President Donald Trump’s three-day consideration of whether to heed a request from Russian President Vladimir Putin to send a former ambassador to Moscow for questioning will make current diplomats less willing to put themselves at risk while representing the U.S. government’s interests abroad, predicted former State Department officials.
…Diplomatic immunity: a concept that was codified in the Vienna Convention of 1961. Countries that are party to the convention agree not to detain or prosecute diplomats for actions carried out in accordance with their jobs. The point of diplomatic immunity is to allow diplomats to carry out their work without constantly fearing that they will be imprisoned if they do something the host country’s government doesn’t like. Without diplomatic immunity — or confidence that the U.S. government will invoke its protections — diplomats couldn’t do their jobs, several former ambassadors said.
…The former diplomats who spoke to HuffPost said that Trump’s comments about McFaul appeared to be more of an indication of how little the president understands about international relations than a sign that he meant to upend part of the Vienna Convention. But that he apparently didn’t know or care about how diplomats perform the basic functions of their jobs doesn’t bode well for the State Department, which has seen a high resignation rate under Trump.