In a long Politico article about how longtime American allies all over the globe are deeply disturbed by President Trump’s disruptive foreign policy, unpredictable moves, dangerous ideas and lack of knowledge about our historical alliances, the role of the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner pops out as especially troublesome.
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Despite his complete lack of diplomatic experience, Trump has given Kushner a vast portfolio of duties that puts him on par with a backup Secretary of State.
Among other things, Kushner is charged with bringing peace to the volatile Middle East, where he is a key architect of the widely reviled decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; involved in relations with Mexico, which are at an all-time low; and plays a central role in dealings with China, which has gleefully capitalized on America’s fading role as a world leader.
“Kushner was ‘very dismissive’ about the role of international institutions and alliances and uninterested in European’s recounting of how closely the United States had stood together with Western Europe since World War II,” reports Politico.
Susan Glasser, Politico’s chief international affairs columnist, said a high-level official who had dealt with Kushner told her he said, “I’m a businessman, and I don’t care about the past.”
“Old allies,” continued Kushner, “can be enemies, or enemies can be friends.”
The official summed it up: “So, the past doesn’t count. I was taken aback. It was frightening.”
Some countries who took issue with President Obama’s emphasis on human rights and his appreciation for the value of close alliances are delighted by what Trump and his son-in-law are doing.
In Saudi Arabia, for instance, “Saudi royals and other Arab leaders welcomed the shift and found White House doors open, especially through Kushner,” reports POLITICO.
Seeing Trump as their friend, the Saudis invited the president for a visit, which became one of his first trips outside the U.S.
“He repaid the hospitality by downplaying the kingdom’s abysmal human rights record,” notes Politico, “saying he was ‘not here to lecture.'”
“The enduring image of the visit remains the bizarre spectacle of Trump, the Saudi king and the military rule of Egypt placing their hands on a glowing orb,” adds Politico. “All of this would have been unthinkable in any other presidency.”
That was the same trip where Trump, with Kushner at his side, agreed to a plan by the Saudi’s, the UAE and others in the Middle East for an air, sea and land blockade of Qatar – without seeming to remember until later the U.S. has a crucial military base in Qatar which is what makes it possible to fly military missions across the Middle East.
Longtime State Department officials have complained for nearly a year abut the inexperienced Kushner’s role,” reports Raw Story, “which they see as a direct threat to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.”
“Kushner reportedly worried Tillerson by engaging in secret talks with the Saudi crown prince, which the Secretary of State fears could ‘tip the region into chaos.'”
Tillerson was also against the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jeruselum, which has caused riots across the Middle East and put nascent peace talks into the deep freeze.
Kushner, meanwhile, continues to be a “person of interest” in the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russians.
As a result, Kushner still does not have a permanent security clearance, and it is unclear when or if he will ever have one.
Today is Thursday. That means we need to ask again: Why does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance? Also, why does Ivanka have one? https://t.co/lOEFnnJz4v
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 12, 2017
Besides the Russian investigation, Kushner is also still suspect because he failed to include key information in his security clearance forms and has left investigators scratching their heads about whether he can be trusted.
Kushner is also troublesome to many because while he has cut some ties with his families real estate empire, he continues to have a major interest in the ownership of a company that owes hundreds of millions to a foreign bank and has sought funds in Saudi Arabia, China, France, Israel, Qatar and elsewhere.
“As investigators pore through Kushner’s documents,” Newsweek reported last month, “he still has access to America’s secrets under his temporary security clearance. And that rankles the nation’s security experts.”
“None of this is normal, including the president requesting security clearances for his children,” attorney Alan Edmunds told Newsweek. “I’ve never known a president to do that.”
Kushner continues to serve at the pleasure of his father-in-law, who unlike most other president’s has made it a practice to hire family members for high-level positions, even when they are as unqualified, unsuited by temperament and inept as Kushner.
So Kushner’s disrespect for America’s closest allies and friends around the world, and his refusal to be diplomatic when he is serving as the nation’s top diplomat much of the time is as disturbing as Trump’s presidency is proving to be.
“Over their year of living dangerously with Trump,” reports the Politico article, “foreign leaders and diplomats have learned this much: The U.S. president was ignorant, at times massively so, about the rudiments of the international system and America’s place in it, and in general about other countries.”
So having Kushner, who is just as proudly ignorant as his father-in-law, seems to be comforting to Trump, but the two of them – and this administration’s unpredictable, unreliable, uninformed approach to diplomacy – is frightening to the rest of the world, and to any American’s who are paying attention.