Diplomats strive to be invisible, but the once pick for US ambassador to South Korea turned out to be anything but invisible and that should have us all very worried.
Trump's pick, Victor Cha, has abruptly withdrawn himself from consideration. Here's why that matters.
One top U.S. official said embassy staff learned through news reports that their embassy would remain without a top envoy, raising concern that the critical strategic post will remain empty for the foreseeable future.
Now, as the U.S. and its allies look to ramp up pressure against Pyongyang while avoiding military conflict, the prolonged — and now indefinite — vacancy of the job of ambassador to Seoul is raising concern that any hope for a diplomatic solution to the standoff with North Korea is diminishing.
A senior administration official confirmed to NBC News that Cha withdrew from consideration after disagreeing with the administration about its approach to the North Korean crisis. A second senior administration official and a third person close to the decision tells NBC News that South Korea’s government had been informed that Cha was to be nominated as ambassador and he had received his clearances — but then some of his policy positions upset the White House.
A senior White House official confirmed that Cha had withdrawn from consideration and wished him well, but said the policy disagreements have been mischaracterized in the media. The official did not elaborate.
Cha, a professor at Georgetown University, penned an editorial for The Washington Post, which first reported that he had withdrawn from consideration. In it, he said that with regard to confronting North Korea, "the answer is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike."
"To be clear," Cha continued, "(t)he president would be putting at risk an American population the size of a medium-size U.S. city — Pittsburgh, say, or Cincinnati — on the assumption that a crazy and undeterrable dictator will be rationally cowed by a demonstration of U.S. kinetic power."
Did you get that? There's such a cabal within the White House clamoring for a preventive military "first strike" that he withdrew himself from nomination so that he could be free to warn the American people, via The Washington Post, of what is really going on within Trump's Oval Office. This makes Dr. Strangelove look a bit like Shirley Temple, only that was fiction, this is fact. Oh dear.