Sir Kim Darroch, who was the British ambassador to the United States, resigned last Tuesday only days after secret cables were published in which he called President Trump “incompetent” and “insecure.” But if it’s an ambassador’s job to report honestly back to the home office, why did Darroch resign?
All too often during my 28-year diplomatic career did I see ambassadors and political officers reporting pablum — whitewashed reports minimizing important political and economic issues — back to Washington. For example, when I was serving in Mexico City during the 1970s our embassy was reporting that Mexico was making great progress on issues like official corruption and economic inequality. I knew that wasn’t true, however, because I spent many weekends with my late wife Consuelo’s family in a less affluent “barrio” of Mexico’s sprawling capital city.
I worked for the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency (USIA), which was charged with sending honest, unvarnished media reaction reports to Washington. We submitted accurate reports that sometimes made political officers nervous because they contained harsh criticism of U.S. policies. But, with the support of ambassadors who understood the importance of honest reporting, we persisted despite internal opposition within the embassy. That was particularly important during a failed coup attempt in Spain in the early 1980s.
Returning to the current diplomatic imbroglio involving Darroch, a senior career diplomat, he incurred the wrath of Trump by describing the president as “incompetent” and “insecure” and his administration as “dysfunctional” and “inept” in secret diplomatic dispatches leaked to the media. What part of that isn’t true?
As he so often does, our president resorted to juvenile name-calling, describing the ambassador as “a very stupid guy” and “a pompous fool.” In his resignation statement, Darroch said “the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like” while a British Foreign Ministry spokesman praised the ambassador for his “dignity, professionalism and class,” adding that ambassadors are expected “to provide an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country.” After all, that’s what ambassadors do and that’s why their communications are usually classified.
Therefore, as a retired diplomat, I congratulate Darroch for reporting accurately and honestly to his home office in London. Well done, Mr. Ambassador.
The Betsy Ross Flag
I saw a Betsy Ross flag on the Fourth of July, and it made me proud to be an American. I was at the State Museum plaza on the morning of the Fourth to hear a concert by the Fife and Drums of Nevada, followed by an inspired reading of the Declaration of Independence. No one appeared to be “uncomfortable” in the presence of the historic flag.
The poster child for those who are uncomfortable in the presence of patriotic symbols like the American flag and the National Anthem is former University of Nevada and NFL quarterback Colin “Kap” Kaepernick, a rich and oh-so-sensitive biracial professional athlete and self-described social justice warrior who is a well-paid adviser to Phil Knight, the very wealthy president of the Nike shoe company. Kap is so sensitive that when he saw Nike’s new patriotic tennis shoe featuring a mini-Betsy Ross flag, he advised that the shoe might make some people uncomfortable, so the politically correct Knight immediately took the red, white and blue shoes off the market. Yes, really.
Kap trashes the country that made him rich, aligns himself with Black Lives Matter, which disparages white people and police officers, and wears socks that depict cops as pigs. Another Appeal columnist once suggested that Kap is a “hero,” but I don’t think so. How about you?
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.