Fri, Feb 14, 2020 - Page 7 News List

Ousted envoy says US diplomacy is based on threats

AFP, WASHINGTON

US foreign policy is “amoral” and based on threats, former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said on Wednesday.

Yovanovitch, who US President Donald Trump recalled in May last year from her post in Ukraine, spoke at Washington’s Georgetown University where she received a prize from its Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

“Right now, the [US] State Department is in trouble,” she said. “Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership skills.”

“To be blunt, an amoral, ‘keep ’em guessin’ foreign policy that substitutes threats, fear and confusion for trust cannot work over the long haul,” Yovanovitch said.

Trump last year criticized Yovanovitch in a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, with the call leading to the US House of Representatives bringing impeachment articles against the US president. The House accused Trump of pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations, including into former US vice president Joe Biden.

In October last year, Yovanovitch testified to the US Congress that she was recalled due to “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

The 33-year-old said that she was subjected to a smear campaign orchestrated in part by Trump’s lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

She also leveled criticism at US Department of State leadership, and by extension US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accusing it of failing to push back against forces that “apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy” or to support her in the face of “dangerously wrong” attacks.

The US Senate acquitted Trump this month.

In her Georgetown address, Yovanovitch called for the department to develop a stronger relationship with Congress, to offer more training and flexibility for diplomats, and to take seriously the job of countering misinformation.

“Truth matters,” she said.

The Trainor Award she received is presented to “an outstanding American or foreigner for distinction in the conduct of diplomacy,” according to Georgetown.

Previous recipients include former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

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