Radio Atlantic: Trump Diplomacy

The former U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering on the state of diplomacy in the Trump era

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This week, the British ambassador to the United States resigned after private cables leaked with his frank assessment of the White House and its occupant. Kim Darroch described the administration as “clumsy” and “inept,” and said that President Donald Trump “radiates insecurity.” In response, the president called Darroch “wacky,” a “very stupid guy,” and a “pompous fool.”

The episode is another in a long string of public feuds for Trump. But the departure of the ambassador from America’s closest ally is no small matter—and one that ripples far outside Washington. So, what consequences could this have for the country and the world? And how do diplomats deal with this president when, as a current ambassador told The New York Times, “it could have been any one of us”?

To discuss, Edward-Isaac Dovere is joined by Thomas Pickering, a career ambassador for the United States whose seven ambassadorships span decades of Republican and Democratic administrations.

Listen for:

  • Pickering’s view that Darroch was “scalped … knifed in the back”

  • Why the former ambassador thinks the episode is a bigger deal abroad than in the United States

  • And his contention that the more the White House relies on conflict to pursue its goals in the world, the more other nations will regard the United States as being on a “bankrupt path”


  • Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere)

  • Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering