US diplomats worry that crackdowns at home will undermine their mission

US diplomats worry that crackdowns at home will undermine their mission abroad
Demonstrators kneel in front of a line of police officers during a protest for the death of George Floyd. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with survivors of China’s brutal 1989 crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, just less than 24 hours after law enforcement officials violently dispersed peaceful protesters outside the White House with rubber bullets and pepper balls. Now US diplomats worry that crackdowns at home will undermine their mission.

The current protests in the US did not come up in the meeting, but one of those survivors, Henry Li, told that they are worried.

He said on Tuesday: “The US is the leader of the world. It is very tough for Americans right now.”.

President Donald Trump on already called on state governors to pursue “total domination” amid violent crackdowns on protesters and journalists in cities across America.

Former and current diplomats tell the events at home are “heartbreaking” and “scary” to watch — and also undermine their mission abroad.

Nancy McEldowney, former US Ambassador to Bulgaria noted that “under any other circumstances it would, of course, be wonderful for the American Secretary of State to meet with the survivors of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, because that’s what the United States stands for.”

She pointed out the US supported the protestors in Tehran, in Hong Kong and Maidan in Ukraine, adding that ”But how can we do so now?”

The fallout from George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis has already spread over US borders, with shows of solidarity spreading across European countries and even in the wartorn ruins of Idlib, Syria.

Adversaries and allies have weighed in, and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said the response to accuse the US of a double standard.

The President encouraged governors to be more aggressive in responding to the protests, telling them to seek “retribution” for violent acts in their states.

Journalists covering the protests across the country have been targeted by the police. An attack on an Australian television crew by police in Washington, DC, has prompted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call for an investigation.

The United States was perceived as the standard bearer for human rights in the past, calling for restraint, the beacon of light, calling for reasonable compromise.

McEldowney said: ”Instead, we are now the subject of, at best, great anxiety, and at worst, derision and scorn.”

Meanwhile, in a rare public comment about Donald Trump, former Defence Secretary James Mattis has denounced the President, accusing him of stoking division and abusing his authority.

He said the president had sought to “divide” the American people and had failed to provide “mature leadership”.

He said he was “angry and appalled” by Mr Trump’s handling of recent unrest.

President Trump in response described Mr Mattis as an “overrated general” and said he was glad he had left the post.

General Mattis resigned in 2018 after Mr Trump decided to withdraw US troops from Syria. His resignation letter in December 2018 was full of implied criticism of the president’s foreign policy.

Since then, he was mostly silent, until his stinging rebuke of the Trump administration was published in The Atlantic magazine on Wednesday.

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