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Former national intelligence leaders are sharply critical of the current American diplomacy. The behavior of the U.S. embassy in Budapest was cited as a warning example.
„The exportation of American culture has long been one of our nation’s greatest soft-power assets. But instead of using it to affirm Western values and U.S. interests, the Biden administration is proselytizing for woke ideology,” John Ratcliffe, former director of national intelligence (2020-21) and Cliff Sims, former deputy director of national intelligence for strategy and communications (2020-21) write in the Wall Street Journal. „The foreign-policy implications could be catastrophic,” they warn.
After raising the question why would the State Department think that funding drag-queen shows in Ecuador enhance American national security or advance US interests, the authors focus on the example of Hungary.
The new ambassador, David Pressman, arrived in Budapest in September. He has been very active, meeting with many pro- and opposition politicians, NGOs, and judges.
They call it a „cringeworthy example of the State Department’s woke virtue signaling,” that the US Embassy in Budapest tweeted a quiz video, asking their followers whether various statements had been made by Vladimir Putin or a Hungarian politician. In one of the quotes ridiculed by the embassy, Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén says that a “downright barbaric ideology is gaining ground, originating in U.S. universities, which denies all the value that humanity has created”. Ratcliffe and Sims note that even though this statement is a „thoughtcrime” according to the embassy, many Americans would agree with it.
„These are grade-school antics, not the projection of American power,”
the authors state. Rather than dealing with foreign leaders through adult diplomacy, the United States’ diplomatic efforts under Joe Biden’s presidency can be summed up as „anyone I don’t like is Putin,” they write.
In recent weeks, several senior Hungarian government figures and government-funded commentators have made harsh anti-Western and anti-American statements. Hungary and the United States are Allies. As Russian aggression threatens us all, we must stand together, not move apart. pic.twitter.com/lG1Rmi74tc
— US Embassy Budapest (@usembbudapest) October 17, 2022
Ratcliffe and Sims remind that „Hungary beefed up NATO’s eastern flank with military deployments after Russia invaded Ukraine and has absorbed masses of Ukrainian refugees this year”. „But instead of encouraging Hungary to continue bolstering these efforts, the Biden administration ridicules its leaders for being justifiably repulsed by the woke ideology of American universities,” they point out.
According to the authors, „to reclaim America’s role in the world, American foreign policy must have as strong a moral core as the American people”. They remind that throughout the Trump administration, the U.S. National Security Strategy focused on the values of “principled realism,” acknowledging that “the American way of life cannot be imposed upon others,” but asserting that “advancing American principles spreads peace and prosperity.”
Featured photo via Facebook/US Embassy Budapest