The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2019 11 it would have been caught. Neo-Nazis are not all shaved heads and tattoos, they are hiding in plain sight. I’m horrified Gebert worked for me at the State Department.” “White supremacy and all forms of bigotry or racism are completely unac- ceptable and do not belong in our government,” a spokesperson for the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, told CNN. “Lead Republican McCaul would expect the State Department to hold accountable any employee determined to engage in that type of reprehensible behavior.” Gebert’s brother, Michael Gebert, told CNN Aug. 15 that SPLC’s report was accu- rate, and that he reported his sibling to the FBI in July because he was concerned about his hateful views. “The Department of State cannot com- ment on personnel issues but is commit- ted to providing an inclusive workplace,” a department spokesperson told reporters. Resigning in Protest F ormer Foreign Service officers Chuck Park and Bethany Milton both made waves when they resigned from the State Department and publicized their deci- sions in columns in The Washington Post and The New York Times , respectively. Park, a member of the 157th A-100 class, joined the Foreign Service in 2010. “I was 26, newly married and more than a little idealistic when I set off for my first diplomatic assignment almost a decade ago,” he wrote in an Aug. 8 Washington Post column. “According to a certain type of right- leaning conspiracy theorist, that would make me part of ‘The Deep State’—a shadowy government within the govern- ment that puts its own interests above the expressed wishes of the electorate,” he continued. But, he wrote, “they have it all wrong. Your federal bureaucracy under this president? Call it ‘The Complacent State’ instead.” Three years since President Trump’s election, he said, he has not seen orga- nized resistance from within. “To the con- trary, two senior Foreign Service officers admonished me for risking my career when I signed an internal dissent cable against the ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries in January 2017,” he wrote. “I’m ashamed of how long it took me to make this decision,” Park concluded. “My excuse might be disappointing, if familiar to many of my colleagues: I let career perks silence my conscience. I let free housing, the countdown to a pension and the prestige of representing a power- ful nation overseas distract me from ideals that once seemed so clear to me. I can’t do that anymore.” Milton, meanwhile, spent 11 years as a consular officer. In an Aug. 26 New York Times column, she wrote : “When a diplomat joins the State Depart- ment, she sits through two presentations toward the end of her weekslong orienta- tion class. One is an afternoon session about the State Department’s storied Dissent Channel, which lets employees speak out internally about foreign policy decisions free from the fear of retalia- tion. How to use it, when to use it, what it means. “The other is a much shorter presenta- tion, one that lasts all of 15 seconds: ‘The day you can no longer publicly support your administration’s policies is the day you need to resign,’” Milton continued. “I publicly supported this administration longer than some and for less time than others, and there are no easy answers to these questions. “Every individual has his or her own commitments, own beliefs and own red Before we sat down at the table it was already clear that these were surrender talks, and it is the Afghan government and the Afghan people that are going to pay the price. … We need a right-sized force, which I think we have had now, and a long-term commitment. It’s not a high price to pay, neither in blood nor in treasure. I would see it as a pretty good insurance policy against a return of 9/11 to maintain that insurance policy as long as we need to. … That is the key security point in all of this. The Taliban is no kinder or gentler than they were prior to 9/11, when they ran that country. They seek to run it again. So when they come back, it’s a pretty safe bet al-Qaida will come back with them. We’ve seen this movie before, and to set the stage for what we saw on 9/11 to me is incomprehensible and indefensible. … Our military certainly didn’t lose the war. The politicians just got tired of it and said, ‘Let it go.’ And that’s what we’re doing. We’ll pay the price for that down the road, as will the Afghans. —Ambassador (ret.) Ryan Crocker, interviewed on PRI’s The World radio program, Sept. 5. Contemporary Quote