|The Painful Truth||
10 July 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Sir Kim Darroch is a career diplomat and held the plum post of UK ambassador to the US until a few hours ago. He has resigned saying that he is no longer able to do his job. His career blew up last week when confidential cables from Sir Kim to the Foreign Office were leaked and published in the media. He opined about President Trump in a most negative way, and Mr. Trump responded yesterday with his usual whiny complaints and personal attacks. Sir Kim was probably on his way out anyway, but this affair shows again how petty the American president is.
Sir Kim wrote "We don't really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept." It is quite common for diplomats to provide their colleagues back home their personal assessments and opinions of host governments' personnel, even at the highest levels. Prudence would have them make these statements when on leave back home in face-to-face situations. That, of course, is not always convenient. Phone calls would be a bit better, but diplomats should never presume their lines are secure. Sending emails are even less secure. So to a degree, Sir Kim got himself into this mess.
Nevertheless, the leak was a breach of security. Whoever did it has undermined the relationship between the US and the UK, and has harmed the national security of each. An inquiry is needed to determine how, and why, this occurred.
That said, Sir Kim told the truth as he saw it, and in fact, this journal believes he understated the dreadfulness of the Trump circus. It is vital that diplomats and foreign governments understand the degree to which this president and this administration deviate from everything that has gone before, at least in living memory. The United States has an incompetent administration led by a fool with psychological issues.
Once the ambassador's words were published, Sir Kim was doomed. Mr. Trump eventually found out; had he read briefing papers, he would have known sooner. When he did, he announced, "I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him." He also tweeted, "I don't know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool." Mr. Trump was projecting again, and that was that.
Sir Kim was due to leave the post at the end of the year, and with the arrival of Boris Johnson (or possible Jeremy Hunt) at Number 10, a new ambassador might have come about sooner anyway. Mr. Johnson almost certainly put the nail in the coffin of Sir Kim's time in Washington during last night's Tory Party leadership debate when he failed to support Her Majesty's Ambassador. That should also give Britons pause; an ambassador deserves the backing of the government that sent him or her regardless of the issue at hand. If not, there is no point in having an ambassador at all.
The relationship between two nations is not the same as the relationship between the two leaders of those nations. It is quite possible to dislike an ally yet cooperate (De Gaulle and just about everyone in the West for instance). However, there comes a point when the personal becomes the political.
The question is whether the US-UK special relationship has suffered irreparable damage under Mr. Trump and the Brexit disaster in the UK. One fears the worst.
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.