U.S. Diplomacy Is on the Defensive, on Several Fronts at Home and Abroad

U.S. President Donald Trump along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).
U.S. President Donald Trump along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

These are difficult days for U.S. diplomacy. In the two biggest global challenges, North Korea and Syria, the United States hasn’t had any easy successes lately. When President Donald Trump has decided to lead, as on the smaller, intra-Arab showdown in the Gulf, the parties paid only the briefest respect for his effort and then resumed their feud. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attempts to reform the State Department—some of them credible and desirable—could reduce its capacity to represent American leadership around the world. If there was any doubt about America’s reduced global standing, the North Korean crisis provides […]

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