Are Yanks and Brits going their separate ways?
When Sir Kim Darroch's secret cable to London was leaked to the Daily Mail, wherein he called the Trump administration "dysfunctional ... unpredictable ... faction-riven ... diplomatically clumsy and inept," the odds on his survival as U.K. ambassador plummeted.
When President Donald Trump's tweeted retort called Darroch "wacky," a "stupid guy" and "pompous fool" who had been "foisted on the US," the countdown to the end began.
The fatal blow came when, in a debate with his rival for prime minister, Boris Johnson, who will likely replace Theresa May before the end of July, left Darroch twisting in the wind.
All in all, a bad week for the British Foreign Office when one of its principle diplomats is virtually declared persona non grata in country that is Great Britain's foremost ally. All the goodwill from Trump's state visit in June was torched in 72 hours.
Still, Darroch's departure is far from the most egregious or grave episode of a leaked missive in U.S. diplomatic history.
In December 1897, Spanish ambassador Enrique Dupuy de Lome sent a letter to a friend in Cuba describing President William McKinley as "weak and catering to the rabble ... a low politician who desires ... to stand well with the jingos of his party."
The De Lome letter fell into the hands of Cuban rebels who ensured that it was leaked to the U.S. Secretary of State. New York Journal owner William Randolph Hearst published the letter, Feb. 9, 1898, under the flaming headline: "Worst Insult to the United States in Its History."
Americans were outraged, McKinley demanded an apology, the Spanish ambassador resigned. Coming six days before the battleship USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, the De Lome letter helped to push America into a war with Spain that McKinley had not wanted.
On March 1, 1917, U.S. headlines erupted with news of a secret cable from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to his minister in Mexico City. The minister was instructed to offer Mexico a return of "lost territories in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona," should war break out with the United States and Mexico enter the war on the side of Germany.
British intelligence had intercepted the "Zimmermann telegram" and helpfully made it public. Americans were enraged. Six weeks later, we were at war with the Kaiser's Germany.