Tom Ellis TOM ELLIS

The turbulent Trump administration and the rest of us

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy

The chaotic developments inside the US administration are truly unprecedented. Dozens of officials have left within a year, some voluntarily, though most were forced to resign.

It is not just the sudden dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who learned that he was being replaces from a POTUS tweet. The past two weeks have seen another two significant departures: White House communications director Hope Hicks and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who disagreed with the Republican president’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In little over a year of governance, the administration has also lost chief of saff Reince Priebus – how long his replacement, John Kelly, will last is questionable – and national security adviser Michael Flynn – there is similar uncertainty regarding his successor, H.R. McMaster.

Before them, we saw the FBI director James Comey, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Hicks’s predecessor Anthony Scaramucci, as well as the administration’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer.

In all, almost half of the people appointed by US President Donald Trump have left the administration.

Beyond the general uncertainty this exodus of high-ranking officials creates regarding how the superpower is being run, it is natural for other countries to wonder what the consequences of such constant changes will be.

As far as Greece and Cyprus are concerned, it is still too early to make an assessment, though the appointment to the State Department of former CIA director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s successor is cause for some concern, as he is known for having close ties with the Turkish lobby.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has radically shifted his country’s international stance and orientation, so that today it is regarded as anything but a reliable ally by the traditional foreign policy establishment in Washington. A lot will depend on the stance of Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell, an expert in the region who will be visiting Athens on Thursday and Nicosia on Friday.

What is certain is that the dismissal of Priebus, who is of Greek descent on his mother’s side, from the crucial post of chief of staff was not a good development for Greece.

On a more general level, the American president’s apparent disdain for the European Union and his limited interest in NATO – he prefers bilateral agreements and deals – provide no support for the Greek approach, which relies on respect for international laws and treaties, and the role of multilateral organizations and institutions.

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