Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch received an award for excellence in diplomacy Wednesday night at Georgetown University where she spoke about foreign policy under the Trump administration. Coming off a year in which she was forced from her post as ambassador and testified against President Trump in the House impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch, who has worked under every president since Reagan, had a bleak assessment of the current State Department.
“Right now the State Department is in trouble,” Yovanovitch said. “Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership skills. The policy process has been replaced by the decisions emanating from the top with little discussion.”
Coming just days after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who also testified against Trump at the impeachment inquiry, and his brother were fired from their posts at the White House, Yovanovitch went on to speak of the effect lack of “moral clarity” and the fear of retaliation is having on diplomats.
“Vacancies are going unfilled and officers are increasingly wondering whether it is safe to express concerns about policy even behind closed doors,” Yovanovitch said. “It’s not news that the State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage.”
Yovanovitch went on to warn of the possibility of alienating allies, seemingly alluding to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine while doing so.
“We need to be principled, consistent and trustworthy. To be blunt, an amoral, keep-‘em-guessing foreign policy that substitutes threats, fear and confusion for trust, cannot work over the long haul,” Yovanovitch said, adding, “At some point, the once unthinkable will become the soon inevitable, that our allies, who have as much right to act in their own self interest as we do, will seek out more reliable partners. Partners whose interests might not align well with ours.”
And Yovanovitch hit back at the idea that those who speak out against the president are part of a deep state conspiracy.
“Working off of facts is not the trademark of the deep state, but of the deeply committed state,” Yovanovitch said. “Truth matters.”
For more check out PBS NewsHour.
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