Donald trump is at war with his own government. And on at least one front of the administration’s campaign—the demolition of the State Department—the damage is even more severe than we imagine. It is also more reparable.
What makes the White House’s efforts so destructive is not just the venality and vindictiveness of the president, or even the stupidity of sidelining or driving away professional diplomats at a moment when the coronavirus is spreading, great-power competition is simmering, and regional conflicts are bubbling. George Packer’s recent dispatch from the front lines of Trump’s war paints a vivid portrait not only of the targeted strikes against experienced and honorable public servants, but also of the indiscriminate attacks on the institutions they animate and, in turn, the citizens they serve. [Read more]