Sunday, 29 January 2017

damnatio memoriæ or diplomatic pouch

Though perhaps not at the levels of the paranoid power-holders of the Roman Empire (yet) nor of more recent lashings out by despots, depleting the ranks at the State Department of senior leadership and repudiating decades of institutional knowledge and highly specialised skills of career consuls without diplomacy or delicacy (no gold watch and pat on the back as they’re ushered out of the building) is very chilling.
While these ranking members of the corps serve at the pleasure of the sitting administration and out of respect tender their resignations, most key division chiefs remain, with many having tenures approaching four decades and beyond and serving both Republicans and Democrats alike, most remain at least until their replacements are vetted to ensure there is little underlap and disruption in the transition and many have remained to ensure continuity. For this purge, however, no one can recall seeing its like in their entire career—damning the memory and progress, it seems, of those that came before and going further to question the department’s role in process and protocol, the arrangements for the first visit by a foreign dignitary carried out (since the first invitee was compelled to stay away, don’t mention the Wall) without the involvement of State whatsoever. I imagine little consultation was sought when enacting the travel ban for Muslims.  What sort of immunities and courtesies can the world be expected to reciprocate when the US is acting-out?