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Former ambassador relieved to no longer have to 'defend the indefensible'

Many career diplomats have resigned from the Trump administration for the same reason: they just couldn't tolerate Donald Trump's agenda.
The US State Department is seen in Washington, DC.
The US State Department is seen in Washington, DC.

Roberta Jacobson, who stepped down earlier this year as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, wrote an interesting op-ed for the New York Times over the weekend in which she shared some of her experiences as a member of Donald Trump's administration.

For example, Jacobson, a 30-year veteran of U.S. diplomacy, lamented the "chaotic decision-making style that has undermined America's diplomacy and national interests across the globe. I observed this disarray up close for more than a year as the ambassador to Mexico. It wasn't pretty."

Some chaos is normal at the start of an administration. But it has been extreme under Mr. Trump. About 30 ambassadorships remain vacant, including in vitally important countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Moreover, the disconnect between the State Department and the White House seems intentional, leaving ambassadors in impossible positions and our allies across the globe infuriated, alienated and bewildered. [...]... I cannot pretend anything less than relief at no longer having to defend the indefensible. But I also feel glad to escape the disorder I witnessed for more than a year.

Not long after Jacobson stepped down, James Melville, another U.S. diplomat with more than three decades of experience, resigned as U.S. ambassador to Estonia. In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, the career diplomat argued in support of a foreign policy vision that's largely the opposite of the current president's vision: rules-based order, skepticism toward Russia, and support for the United States' longtime allies.

"Arrogance does not suit us well," Melville wrote. "'America First' is a sham."

These are important perspectives from public servants who know what they're talking about, but as regular readers know, they're not the only ambassadors who felt compelled to quit rather than serve on this president's team.

In March, for example, John Feeley stepped down as the U.S. ambassador to Panama, and soon after wrote in a Washington Post  op-ed, "I resigned because the traditional core values of the United States, as manifested in the president's National Security Strategy and his foreign policies, have been warped and betrayed. I could no longer represent him personally and remain faithful to my beliefs about what makes America truly great."

Meanwhile, David Rank, a top official at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, quit over Trump's abandonment of the Paris climate accords, while Elizabeth Shackelford, who served as a political officer based in Nairobi for the U.S. mission to Somalia, resigned because of her belief that the Trump administration "had abandoned human rights as a priority and shown disdain for the State Department's diplomatic work."

Don't be surprised if this list grows.