Unexpected Consequences of the 2016 US Presidential Election
by Russell Imrie, Jan 18, 2017
But will she kick ass? yelled one old hand.
Veteran Foreign Service Officers were gathered in October at a Washington DC meeting room for lunch and a briefing by Laura Rosenberger, foreign policy strategist on Hillary Clinton’s election team. Clinton’s election victory looked like a shoo-in with Donald Trump’s campaign clouded by conflicts with the Republican Party and outrageous statements by the candidate that offended a majority of Americans. Diplomats were looking for robust leadership. That’s not what these experienced skilled diplomats got.
The talk, “Secretary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Priorities and Approach,” ranged broadly over relations with China, ISIL, Syria, Iraq, Russian adventurism, and other policy agenda items to be managed effectively given Clinton’s experience in diplomacy and security as Secretary of State. The audience was encouraged by a more robust foreign policy roadmap compared to what some saw as President Obama’s flaccid track record. It all looked good.
Now, today, assumptions and conventional wisdom have been turned on their heads. The age of disruption has rolled over decades of post-WWII diplomacy and Cold War positioning. Disruption comes in guises but as several experienced diplomats said yesterday on Capitol Hill 3 days before the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, much of it is in the form of social networking. It’s fast, it changes as we speak.
Staid habits and the practice of foreign policy no longer can be crafted, sourced, and targeted coherently as they were just 10 years ago. Sea-changes in national policies are now signaled (carefully or not) in the blink of an eye and the new Trump administration is very adept at it. More than Clinton’s campaign has been upended and weighty political discourse now happens at 3 a.m. and changing history before we arise, sip hot coffee, and begin our days. The days of cables have gone the way of the teletype machine.
Note: Linda Rosenberg: Foreign Policy Advisor for Hillary for America, coordinates development of campaign’s national security policies, messaging, and strategy. Background US State Dep’t, National security Council. Member, Council on Foreign Relations.
Russell Imrie is a Networking and Content Specialist, webmaster and an American Indian blogger living in the Washington DC area. More opinion pieces are at China Daily Mail (under nom de blog supTweet) Tweeting at @tweedyBard
Copyright Russell Imrie