Josh Rogin writes, at the Washington Post (which has an ad-blocker blocker) and at The Independent:

US State Department considers dropping 'democracy' from its mission statement
Change, if it becomes permanent, would sow confusion throughout the ranks of civil and foreign service

[...] The draft statements under review right now are similar to the old mission statement, except for one thing - any mention of promoting democracy is being eliminated. [...]

--The State Department's draft statement on its mission is: "Lead America's foreign policy through global advocacy, action and assistance to shape a safer, more prosperous world."

[...] Compare that to the State Department Mission Statement that is currently on the books [...]

"'The Department's mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere. This mission is shared with the USAID, ensuring we have a common path forward in partnership as we invest in the shared security and prosperity that will ultimately better prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow.'"

Former senior State Department officials from both parties said eliminating "just" and "democratic" from the State Department's list of desired outcomes is neither accidental nor inconsequential.

[...] The mission statement is important because it sends a signal about American priorities and intentions to foreign governments and people around the world, said Mr Abrams, who was considered by Mr Tillerson for the job of deputy secretary of state but rejected by President Trump.

"That change is a serious mistake that ought to be corrected," he said. "If not, the message being sent will be a great comfort to every dictator in the world."

Tom Malinowski, who served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour for the Obama administration, said the new proposed mission statement brings US foreign policy into closer alignment with that of some of America's chief adversaries, including Russia.

"It's a worldview similar to that of Putin [...]"

Mr Malinowski also predicted that the change, if it becomes permanent, would sow confusion throughout the ranks of the State Department's civil and foreign service because hundreds of State Department officials work on congressionally funded programmes every day that are meant to promote democracy and justice abroad.


The changes in the State Department mission statement may not seem very significant viewed in isolation. But Mr Tillerson has made several statements and decisions that indicate he plans to lower the priority of democracy and human rights in US foreign policy.

In his first speech to his State Department employees, he said promoting American values "creates obstacles" to pursuing America's national security interests. In March, he broke tradition by declining to appear personally to unveil the State Department's annual human rights report.

In another example, the State Department will soon eliminate the website and move its content to an alternative web address,, a State Department official said.

"It's just so gratuitous. What efficiency is achieved or money is saved by taking something that is prominent on the Internet and hiding it?" said Mr Malinowski. "The consequence is that it's the 9,456th signal sent by the administration that they don't care about promoting American values."

The State Department declined to comment.

[Ellipses and bolding mine. Read the whole thing!]

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Replies to This Discussion

"...they don't care about promoting American values."

Democracy is an American value in only eighteen states.

Alexander Hamilton, in the 1797 Constitutional Convention, said the rich and well born should rule.

They will continue to rule until 32 more state constitutions and the Federal constitution have direct initiative and referendum clauses.

This isn't surprising. The Trump administration isn't committed to democracy in America. Why would it promote democracy around the world?


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