The former prime minister of Norway was detained and questioned at a Virginia airport because he had a passport stamp from a visit to Iran. He was forced to call his embassy, which reached out to State, according to diplomats.
Washington (CNN) – From Moscow to Monrovia, there’s a new guessing game: What’s going on with US foreign policy?
And is there anyone at the State Department to call to find out?
With the new president signaling significant changes in the US approach to the world, key job openings at the oldest US Cabinet agency remain unfilled, leaving some of the State Department’s day-to-day business frozen and foreign capitals unsure whom to reach out to for clarity on new directions the US may take.
Our people are trying to understand who is dealing with what,” said one source within Russia’s Foreign Ministry who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity. “Half of the top management of the State Department has gone.”
While all presidential transitions have their rough patches, they seldom come with uncertainty about US positions on long-stable pacts such as NATO, usually staid partnerships such as the US-Mexico alliance or the possibility of the 180-degree shift President Donald Trump seems to be contemplating on US-Russia ties or his executive order banning travelers from seven countries.
The policy murkiness is compounded by the fact that the administration didn’t seem ready to immediately take on the duties of running the State Department, several diplomats and State staffers said.
The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Published: September 2, 2017