The president, not diplomats, sets 'official foreign policy'

There’s an important revelation from the first day of impeachment hearings that I haven’t heard discussed. It has to do with the witnesses’ strange notion of how foreign policy works.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor both accused President Trump of interfering with U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine.

They indicated they differed with Trump’s skepticism of Ukraine’s newest leadership, and they disagreed with Trump’s apparent decision to keep Ukraine at a measured distance while he assessed the situation.

They further said that Trump gave approval for his attorney and adviser, Rudy Giuliani, to develop a communications channel on Ukraine diplomacy that was outside the “regular” diplomatic chain. Some in the media have dubbed that a “shadow campaign.” 

Kent and Taylor strongly disapproved.

“Kent and Taylor … gave compelling testimony about why [President Trump’s] ‘shadow campaign’ was so at odds with America’s official foreign policy,” wrote Rolling Stone.  

The Huffington Post wrote, “State Department officials say Rudy Giuliani’s foreign policy backchannel ‘undercut’ U.S. policy on Ukraine.”

And Ambassador Taylor testified, “The official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Rudy Giuliani.”

There must be some confusion. 

Under the U.S. Constitution, it is the president of the United States who determines foreign policy. How can President Trump be “at odds with foreign policy” when he’s the one who determines it? 

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