Those “bushiness” moguls (and their wives) who bought their way into ambassadorships with campaign contributions don’t always make friends in foreign lands, either with the citizens or with the career diplomats who have to straighten out their snafus. One career diplomat who spoke out about the trend got transferred to Iraq after writing:
When talking points arrive…from the White House or the Bureau of Public Diplomacy at the State Department, written by domestic political experts and sounding like they were prepared for a campaign speech, they don’t merely fall on deaf ears, they tend to alienate their recipients. Instead of engaging the overseas public in order to explain our position and the reasons for it, they try to tell it what to think.
Unfortunately, the sudden transfer of career diplomats (like US Attorneys) is not uncommon these days:
Having a foreign posting cut short is not seen as an exceptional event in American diplomatic legations today.
Many US ambassadors who got their jobs as political rewards for supporting President George W. Bush have been finding themselves at loggerheads with increasingly critical State Department subordinates.
Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University, wrote in a recent op-ed piece that
there is the awkward fact that [swiftboater and recent recess appointee to Belgium Sam] Fox has become at least the 43rd(!) of our present crop of American non-career ambassadors to be rewarded for contributions to Republican Party funds. In fact, the Star lovingly details the amounts donated to the party by our present ambassadors to Italy, Germany, the European Union, Brazil and other non-insignificant states.
No doubt some are doing a good job. But 43?
And all party contributors, and many without prior diplomatic experience?
Little wonder that the American Foreign Service Association (the career diplomats’ organization) bemoans this latest example. And it is easy to imagine how such appointments are received in the countries affected: Most foreign governments send extremely experienced diplomats to Washington, but may well get in return well-heeled industrialists, investors and real-estate moguls.
Of course, Condi Rice has also, as part of her “Transformational Diplomacy” program, also installed “hit squads” from the Defense Department in American Embassies. Those guys aren’t always real popular, either.
Quite a job you’ve done, Condi. Toss in all the progress you’ve made in the Middle East, Israel, North Korea, Iran..well, it’s almost too much to catalog. You can retire secure in the knowledge that you have been not only the worst National Security Advisor in history, but also the worst Secretary of State, and that takes in some breathtaking failures. Yes, we will grant that some of that is your hubby’s fault.
We do like your makeover, and your new shoes, however.
ps: we’re still waiting for those Provincial Reconstruction Teams for Iraq…you remember, the solution to Iraq is political, not military….?
[crossposted at dKos]