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INTERNATIONAL > U.S.

Prolonged vacancies at State Department weaken U.S. leadership abroad

  • November 18, 2017
  • , Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

Saturday morning’s Nikkei reported that the prolonged hiring freeze and vacancies in many key posts at the State Department has weakened the U.S.’s negotiating leverage vis-à-vis foreign countries. The paper took up a recent letter sent to Secretary of State Tillerson by a group of influential lawmakers, including Senator McCain, expressing concern about the “health and effectiveness” of U.S. diplomacy being undermined over the long term. The daily said a 30% budget cut would be particularly damaging to the department given that human resources hold the key to designing and implementing foreign policy. Claiming that the USG “readily” accepted Japan’s request for the U.S. to express its defense commitment to the Senkaku Islands in the joint statement issued when Prime Minister Abe met with President Trump in the U.S. in February, the daily quoted a GOJ source as saying: “We were able to take the lead in drafting the statement due to the absence of Trump administration officials who are well-versed in diplomatic documents.” The daily added that President Trump failed to present a coherent Asia strategy during his recent tour of the region.    

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