The job of an ambassador is to support good relations between the home country and the host country. It’s to support the policies of the administration at home and to present those policies in the best possible light.
Dana Shell Smith is a career foreign service officer. She understands diplomacy and how it works. She knows that a successful diplomat is able to clearly explain the political beliefs of the home administration.
Ms. Smith was confirmed as Ambassador to Qatar in 2014. She has served honorably in that role ever since her appointment.
But all that changed when Donald Trump took over as her boss.
U.S. relations with Qatar are based on mutually beneficial trade. They refine oil and gas. We sell them the equipment. Just another oil rich Persian Gulf country, right? Relations should be easy.
They were, but not any more.
That’s because Donald Trump is unable to control either his fingers or his mouth. His ever changing tone toward our allies around the world has made it almost impossible for our diplomats to clearly represent his positions.
Last month, Ambassador Smith expressed her frustration with the administration by tweeting:
“Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.”
Since that tweet, a lot has happened. First the Russian hacked the Qatari news agencies and planted a fake story. It claimed that the Qataris have supported and financed Islamic terrorists.
Four of our other Middle East allies immediately announced they were cutting ties with Bahrain, which created a significant diplomatic crisis.
Next Secretary of State Tillerson urged all parties to chill out and talk things over. He asked them to be careful and diplomatic.
Re: news that 4 Arab nations set to cut ties w #Qatar Sec Tillerson says: we encourage parties to sit down together to address differences
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) June 5, 2017
So Ambassador Smith had a response to share with Qatar. The US wants to get everyone together to heal this rift.
And then Donald Trump spoke up, right out there in public. He said:
“I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding.”
Once the President came right out and contradicted his own Secretary of Sate, Ambassador Smith had had enough.
Today she announced her resignation from her position as Ambassador.
She didn’t come right out and blame Trump directly, probably because she’s a diplomat. She did express her regrets to the country of Qatar, which she worked so hard to support.
This is getting scarier every day. Who knows what kinds of bizarre ideas are going to suddenly come out of the White House?
Featured image via YouTube Screengrab