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[Crossposted at Over the Line, Smokey!]

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:<span class="pro95">

<span class="pro95"><span class="votsikko">Having a foreign posting cut short is not</span> seen as an exceptional event in American diplomatic legations today.</span>
<span class="pro95"> 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.</span>
<span class="pro95"> Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University, wrote in arecent op-ed piece that </span>

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 remember, the solution to Iraq is political, not military....?

Originally posted to seesdifferent on Sat May 19, 2007 at 10:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We have a long and sorry history (7+ / 0-)

    of appointing political cronies to ambassadorships.

    It’s one reason why our diplomatic relations with other countries seem so childish when viewed from the outside.

    •  yes, and Bush has explored new heights n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      fouls, excesses and immoderate behaviors. at Over the line, Smokey!.

      by seesdifferent on Sat May 19, 2007 at 10:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  True, and the practice is common in both parties (0+ / 0-)

      Pamela Harriman, appointed by Clinton, had little diplomatic experience to be the Ambassador to France.  That is, unless being considered "the 20th century's greatest courtesan" is a qualification.

    •  Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's awful (4+ / 0-)

      This is a story about a good one..

      When we lived in Burma, before it was Myanmar, the US Ambassador was Henry A. Byroad. He was a political appointee, and a good ambassador. He left the policy to the DCM(Deputy Chief of Mission), a career diplomat, and he handled the social scene and also endeared himself to the Burmese. In Burma, they had occasional problems with tigers who found that eating people by rivers was easier than hunting in the jungle. So when a tiger became a problem, they would call Ambassador Byroad who was a big game hunter in the '50's. He would go and shoot the tiger, end of problem. He also found in a garage, rusting away, a 1948 Rolls Royce. He restored it and drove it around Rangoon. He used the pelt from one of the tigers to trim the seats and dash with, and gave the tail with a patch of skin to his son, who put it on the seat of the 1943 Indian motorcycle that he had found and restored. The British left a lot of good stuff behind when they left..LOL

      And the kicker of the whole thing is that Henry Byroad invented pierced steel planking, which they used to make runways and roads out of during WWII. The Burmese are great recyclers, and the fences lining the roads in Burma were mostly made of pierced steel planking. So were some gazebos, and other airy shelters, like bus stops. No matter where in the country Mr. Byroad went, he saw his invention being used for just about anything you can imagine. It was made known when he arrived that he had invented the pierced steel planking and the Burmese really appreciated the stuff, and the man who invented it.  

      What happens when Bush takes Viagra? he gets taller. Robin Williams

      by Demfem on Sat May 19, 2007 at 11:29:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A good ambassador makes a difference. (6+ / 0-)

    I lived in another country for three years during the Clinton administration.  During that time, there was first a bad ambassador, who did little more than live in a big house and chase women, then a very good one.  The result of the good one was:

    Improved relations with that country.

    Improved image of the United States among the citizens of the country.

    Improved morale and attitude of all Americans living there, especially those with an official connection to the embassy.

    These are not meaningless, figurehead jobs to be used for patronage purposes.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sat May 19, 2007 at 10:35:23 AM PDT

  •  They are all just the "second coming of the same (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seesdifferent, goodasgold

    ole calvery."  Its not enough to have bush sprouting words that inflame the World but now there is the second tier trotting behind him and blaviating the same ole shit. Think about how great it will be when we win in 08 and how relieved we will be. Now times that by 10 and that is how greatful the rest of the World will be when bush's wage of terror comes to an end. The whole World will breathe a big sigh of relief.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sat May 19, 2007 at 10:37:19 AM PDT

  •  You would have to be blind to miss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seesdifferent, trashablanca

    the pattern of political appointments and loyalty stacking with no regard to experience or expertise:  US Attorneys, ambassadorships and inspector generals.  All those who disagree are harassed and/or banished.  From an OpEd in today's LA Times:

    Protect government watchdogs from politics
    Washington's in-house inspectors general often fall victim to the officials they investigate.
    By Clark Kent Ervin, CLARK KENT ERVIN is the director of the Homeland Security Initiative at the Aspen Institute and the author of "Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack."

    May 19, 2007

    STUART W. BOWEN JR.'S job is to investigate alleged waste, fraud and mismanagement of the U.S. tax dollars being used to rebuild Iraq. He's done that job so well that he is himself under investigation.

    This is no surprise to me. Since assuming the post of special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction in 2004, Bowen has issued one damning report after another documenting the misuse of billions of dollars that should have been used to restore Iraq's economy and civil society. In doing so, he has embarrassed the Bush administration and its allies in Congress. Embarrassing them has proved to be something that an inspector general does only at his peril.


    This hunch is based on personal experience. During my time as inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, I, like Bowen, issued one report after another documenting the misuse of tax dollars as well as the more serious failure, time and again, to close gaping holes in our nation's security. I too was investigated (for not investigating a matter I deemed beyond my jurisdiction in my previous post as State Department inspector general). No wrongdoing was established, mind you. But the result was that my nomination to serve in a permanent capacity (I'd received a recess appointment) stalled in the Senate, and I ultimately lost the support of the White House.

    The time is near for the Democrats in congress to begin illustrating to the public the larger picture.   Our federal government has become an expensive and deadly playground for the Bush administration and has little to do with actually running the country for the befit of its citizen.  

  •  It will take quite a while to heal the damage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seesdifferent, trashablanca

    Probably the world will be even more happy to see the US come back to its senses than us. I can't understand what with the poll numbers we have been seeing for the past six months why there hasn't been more interrest in impeachment. That would send an even clearer message to the world. I'm afraid we have lost more than esteem, we've lost our way.

    •  decline is here, is fall coming n/t (0+ / 0-)

      fouls, excesses and immoderate behaviors. at Over the line, Smokey!.

      by seesdifferent on Sat May 19, 2007 at 10:56:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  History 2020 (4+ / 0-)

        The first administration of the 21st century was that of George W. Bush. This period, known as 'Bush's Folly', was marked by rampant cronyism, deliberate and flagrant mendacity, and a general policy of "no policy" at all. Historians now mark this as the beginning of the decline of American Empire.  Despite the hopes of "Pax Americana" that heralded the Bush I and Clinton I administration, the Bush II ushered in the perpetual war we see now. Instead of a global approach to terrorism, Bush deliberately misled the Americans into the Iraqi War, the area now know as the Islamic Republic of Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, and the Al Qeada Caliphate. This misadventure left the US unprepared, both militarily and economically, for the Invasion of Taiwan and the Collapse of the US bond market....

  •  Excellent Diary!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seesdifferent, trashablanca

    Love the quote from the career person.  Regarding the "buying" of Ambassadorships, however, that's no new thing or unique phenomenon...

  •  As for kindasleazy, even her mentor, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texamer, seesdifferent, trashablanca

    bush 41 said she's not up to the job of Sec'y of State.
    Incompetence is the rule, not the exception of this madadministration.
    I feel sorry for whomever is our next president. He/ she will be working 24/7/365 trying to repair fences with all our allies and enemies, too.  No vacations at the ranch, beach or mountains.  Nothing will get done on the domestic front, it will all be foreign policy makeovers.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Sat May 19, 2007 at 11:12:08 AM PDT

  •  It's the Congress (0+ / 0-)

    It is for more important to have Democrats in Congress and that is what we should work on. The Republican Party proven that even a moron can become president if he has enough money.

    My VOTE will go for the first person to prommise to try Bush and co. for crimes against america and humanity

    by roxnev on Sat May 19, 2007 at 12:39:27 PM PDT

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