Longread of the Day…Shrinking State Department

This is a longread by Julia Ioffe. Don’t miss the kicker. “With the State Department demonstratively shut out of meetings with foreign leaders, key State posts left unfilled, and the White House not soliciting many department staffers for their policy advice, there is little left to do. “If I left before 10 p.m., that was a good day,” said the State staffer of the old days, which used to start at 6:30 in the morning. “Now, I come in at 9, 9:15, and leave by 5:30.” The seeming hostility from the White House, the decades of American foreign-policy tradition being turned on its head, and the days of listlessness are taking a toll on people who are used to channeling their ambition and idealism into the detail-oriented, highly regimented busywork that greases the infinite wheels of a massive bureaucracy. Without it, anxiety has spiked. People aren’t sleeping well. Over a long impromptu lunch one afternoon—“I can meet tomorrow or today, whenever! Do you want to meet right now?”—the staffer told me she too has trouble sleeping now, kept awake by her worries about her job and America’s fading role in the world.” (The Atlantic http://theatln.tc/2lAkOh4)

This is what a famine looks like...Thousands of people at the epicentre of a man-made famine in South Sudan emerged from the safety of the swamps this past weekend hoping to receive emergency deliveries of food. Some families eat once a day if they are lucky, but at least in the swamps, they are safe from marauding soldiers. (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/2lWXCKU)

More War Crimes Evidence… The battle late last year for control over Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo was a stage of unrelenting violence, with civilians on both sides falling victim to war crimes committed by all parties, read a report issued today by the United Nations-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The report documents brutal tactics employed by the parties to the conflict in the country as they engaged in the decisive battle for the once iconic city between July and December 2016, resulting in unparalleled suffering for Syrian men, women and children. (UN News Center http://bit.ly/2lAsqAr)

The New UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Just Made Some Progress on a Long Stalled Dispute in North Africa (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2lAiI0O)