(New Republic) In September 2016, I applied for a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship that would have allowed me to work for the U.S. government during my sabbatical year at Barnard College. I’m a professor of political science there, and I direct the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute. I’ve been a close observer of Russian affairs for over 30 years, and I was eager to contribute my expertise to one of America’s most pressing foreign policy challenges. I had expected (and hoped) that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election, but after receiving the fellowship, I decided to stay the course and serve my country under Donald Trump. In March, I received an offer from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to help advise on negotiations with Russia in the U.N. Security Council. I received my security clearance in May and then waited all summer as a string of supposed start dates came and went. Finally, in mid-August the offer was withdrawn, because the “front office” at the State Department wouldn’t sign off on it.
I don’t think it was personal. And I’m hardly alone. The State Department under Rex Tillerson is in chaos, and he’s eliminated several other fellowship programs pending “restructuring” of the department. Career foreign service officers have been shut out of the decision-making process, and key duties have been ignored. [...]
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