Michael Maibach, an alumnus of IWP who recently joined the Board of Trustees, appeared on TRT World TV on July 11 to discuss recent actions of UK Ambassador Kim Darroch. Personal emails of Amb. Darroch were leaked, which revealed him calling President Trump “inept,” “clumsy,” a man who will end in “disgrace.” As a result, Amb. Darroch has resigned from his Ambassadorship.
Mr. Maibach began the interview by stating that there should be a clear distinction between the diplomatic and political arenas. He qualified his critique by acknowledging the 43 years of experience that Amb. Darroch has had as a civil servant, but said, “He brought himself into [the political] arena by commenting personally and unprofessionally on the President of the United States. The whole definition of a diplomat is to be – diplomatic.”
When asked if the comments could be excused since they were clearly meant to be private before they were leaked, Mr. Maibach drew parallels to his own business experience. Speaking of his forty-year business career, including time as President of the European-American Business Council, he said that he had an ethical standard to which he held himself and all of his employees: “Don’t do, say, or write anything that you don’t want to see in the newspaper.” He made clear that Amb. Darroch should have been aware that the digital age is making leaks more common and making such leaks visible to literally billions of people.
Mr. Maibach stressed that ambassadors should be professional at all times in their communications, whether intended to be private or public. In the diplomatic realm, propriety is of the utmost importance, so any personal slights made by an ambassador are simply not professional. And, such words are a poor example to set for colleagues and staff.
Furthermore, Mr. Maibach differentiated between what is acceptable and necessary in criticizing other governments in private communiques, and what is drifting into the sphere of personal attacks. He explained, “A diplomat in private meetings and communiqués can criticize the policy of the government they’re working with, or the fact that they won’t give him a meeting [about a certain matter], et cetera, but you can’t personalize things, because this is professional work, not a personal political comment arena.”
Mr. Maibach concluded the interview by again proffering his own experience as a Vice President of Intel and CEO of the EABC, asserting that even in private emails he would never say anything negative about an elected official with whom he was dealing. Summarizing his opinion on the remarks made by Amb. Darroch, he simply said, “There is no place for these kind of comments.”
Mr. Maibach has been a longtime supporter of IWP, serving on the Board of Advisors for ten years before joining the Board of Trustees. He graduated from IWP in 2019. He serves on several non-profit Boards and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Management. He is the Managing Director and Trustee of the James Wilson Institute. This summer he launched a new non-profit, The Center For the Electoral College.