In a personal essay for Politico Magazine, former State Department employee Max Bergmann reflected on the dramatic changes at Foggy Bottom under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "He is quickly becoming one of the worst and most destructive secretaries of state in the history of our country," Bergmann wrote after visiting the department for the departure of a former colleague.
Bergmann served in the State Department between 2011 and 2017 and said he had been hopeful after Tillerson's appointment — "after eight years of high-profile, jet-setting secretaries, the building was genuinely looking forward to having someone experienced in corporate management" — but Tillerson "is not reorganizing, he's downsizing."
As I walked through the halls once stalked by diplomatic giants like Dean Acheson and James Baker, the deconstruction was literally visible. Furniture from now-closed offices crowded the hallways. Dropping in on one of my old offices, I expected to see a former colleague — a career senior foreign service officer — but was stunned to find out she had been abruptly forced into retirement and had departed the previous week. This office, once bustling, had just one person present, keeping on the lights.
This is how diplomacy dies. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. With empty offices on a midweek afternoon. [Politico Magazine]
Tillerson has been heavily criticized for being inaccessible as well as leaving gaping holes in his department staff. "America is not in decline — it is choosing to decline," Bergmann said. "And Tillerson is making that choice." Read Bergmann's entire evaluation at Politico Magazine.