- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu has had a long and polarizing history in Albania.

During his three-year stint as U.S. envoy to Tirana, he actively promoted an anti-corruption agenda that many critics say amounted to an attack on conservative Albanian politicians and parties, strongly backing so-called “justice reform.” He worked in conjunction with the socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama, a government heavily supported by liberal U.S. billionaire investor-philanthropist George Soros. The result of the campaign: a complete collapse of constitutional governance in the Balkan country.

The reforms Mr. Lu supported have led to a “vetting process” to ensure non-corrupt judges are placed on the courts. Sounds great in theory, but the consequences have been much different in the real world. No constitutional court is currently active in Albania because of a lack of a quorum, and the court is not expected to be operating for the foreseeable future.

This was all part of the plan, of course — to install pro-Soros people in power and then make it impossible for the opposition to challenge them in the courts. Sounds eerily familiar to those “Abolish ICE” and “Count all the votes, even illegal ones” chants American voters heard in the recent midterms.

With the opposition and the courts neutered, Albanian politicians have happily allowed oligarchs to make fortunes off of local government contracts. Having a pro-Soros government in power also brings with it support for Mr. Soros’ pet projects, including legalization of drugs, the aggressive promotion of gay rights and open borders.

Albania was just a testing ground for the Soros agenda. Now the rest of the Balkans and Central Asia may soon experience the joys of Mr. Soros’ peculiar brand of coercive liberal globalism. Alex Soros, the son of the emperor, has been traveling from Balkan capital to Balkan capital, meeting with heads of state to spread the gospel and promote the virtues of liberal immigration policies.

In Kosovo, a Soros-backed “land swap” could lead to serious ethnic violence between the ethnic Albanian and Serbian communities. (Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel is opposed to the idea.) The sad thing is that the Trump administration, overwhelmed by domestic events, and international crises, appears through neglect to have delegated Balkan diplomacy and policy to the Soros father-son duo.

Now comes the alarming news that Mr. Lu, after promoting a Soros-endorsed agenda in Tirana, has been confirmed by the Senate and is now installed as the American ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. As the Church Lady would say, “How special!”

It is frustrating that, once again, the Trump administration seems to be unaware of the consequences of its diplomatic personnel choices. The Soros agenda for the region, targeting vulnerable countries still struggling to establish durable governance, is the beneficiary.

It is well documented how the State Department in Albania has openly opposed President Trump’s “American first” agenda, to the point of proclaiming their “resistance” and working with the Rama government on its deeply suspect “justice reform” agenda.

Albania is not exactly a foreign policy priority, and White House officials have told me privately that these kinds of issues are simply falling through the cracks given the instability and bigger fires that have to be dealt with on a daily basis.

But personnel decisions should be a particular area of concern, as Obama-era holdovers at Foggy Bottom quietly work to obstruct the MAGA agenda. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “is really having a difficult time. The State Department is a mess of a swamp,” I was told.

Don’t take my word for it on the policy consequences of leaving a diplomat like David Lu in place — just look at Mr. Soros’ own Open Society website. Mr. Lu is praised there as a “new ambassador that offers a chance to start again.” This is re-education at its finest. I am sure Prime Minister Rama lobbied hard for Mr. Lu to get his new posting in Kyrgyzstan.

America needs to get its diplomatic corps in order. Foreign Service officers serve the president of the United States, not their own priorities. It is time they realized that. If they don’t, they should have the grace to resign.

L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached at LToddWood.com.


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