Video of the Week: Presidents and Foreign Policy

A panel discussion was held on the late Peter Rodman’s book, Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. Among the topics they addressed were presidential leadership styles, the role of the Cabinet and advisers, and reaction to events that have shaped U.S. foreign policy.

This is a program from the Brookings Institution with Carlos Pascual, Vice President and Director Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Studies and guests, Lawrence Eagleburger, 62nd Secretary of State, Department of State and Eric Edelman, Undersecretary Department of Defense Policy. The video is from cspan.org (length: 01:40:54). About 13 minutes into the video, watch Secretary Eagleburger talk about those “benighted” people who did not get us into Iraq during the Kuwait invasion, but managed to get us there years later.

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Officially In: John V. Roos to Tokyo

Residence of US Ambassador to Tokyo
Source: State Department
From the Secretary of State’s Register of Culturally Significant Property


On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate John V. Roos to be Ambassador to Japan. Official bio below:


Mr. Roos serves as Chief Executive Officer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he has overseen and managed the global, technology-focused law firm since 2005. Mr. Roos has been a partner at the firm since 1988 and also served in a number of other senior leadership roles. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Roos helped lead the firm during the various waves of innovation in Silicon Valley, from the growth of software and communications to the Internet Age, the emergence of biotechnology to the present focus on clean technology and renewable energy. He has been a leader in cultivating the firm’s diversity initiatives, which recently resulted in its number one ranking in the country. Mr. Roos has been responsible for building consensus across all geographies and practice disciplines to develop, communicate, and execute on strategic priorities and growth initiatives for the business.

Mr. Roos is a Member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Stanford Law School and at the Stanford School of Education. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

* * *


OpenSecrets.org
on John V. Roos: “This lawyer has bundled at least $500,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign. He and his wife have also contributed at least $77,500 to Democrats since the 1992 election cycle, including $6,900 to Obama. Roos is the CEO of the technology-oriented law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and has been nominated to be ambassador to Japan.”

Four of the last five ambassadors who served in Japan were political appointees, including Walter Mondale and Howard Baker, Jr. The last career diplomat to serve as US Ambassador to Tokyo was Michael Armacost (May 1989-July 1993). If confirmed, Mr. Roos will succeed Thomas Schieffer (one of only three non-career appointees to serve in both the first and second terms of President George W. Bush’s Administration as an Ambassador).

Mr. Roos will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador in Japan, at one time called “Hoover’s Folly” — the chancery and the residence with imported Georgia walnut wall panels and Vermont marble flooring, were completed during The Depression at a cost of $1.25 million dollars. During World War II the compound was under the protection of the Swiss government. And was apparently also called “The Big House,” from 1945 to 1951 during General Douglas MacArthur’s time.


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Officially In: Timothy J. Roemer to New Delhi

US Embassy New Delhi Chancery
Source: State Department

From the Secretary of State’s Register of Culturally Significant Property

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Timothy J. Roemer, to be Ambassador to India. Official bio below:

Mr. Roemer is President of the Center for National Policy (CNP) in Washington, D.C. Before joining CNP, he represented the 3rd District of Indiana for six terms as a U.S. Congressman, from 1991 to 2003. Congressman Roemer served as a member of the 9/11 Commission. He was appointed to the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism, a bi-partisan commission created by Congress to examine how the U.S. can best address this threat to the country’s national security. In addition, he serves on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Presidential Task Force on Combating the Ideology of Radical Extremism, and the National Parks Second Century Commission. As a Distinguished Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Congressman Roemer works with Members of Congress and staff to improve public policy outcomes by teaching on the legislative branch and policy analysis.

Congressman Roemer holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. and PhD. from the University of Notre Dame.

* * *


OpenSecrets.org
on Timothy J. Roemer: “The former six-term Democratic congressman from Indiana was a member of the 9/11 Commission and provided Obama with a hearty endorsement during the contentious primary race with Hillary Clinton. He currently heads the Center for National Policy, a DC-based public policy organization, and has been nominated to be the ambassador to India. He has not made any personal campaign contributions to federal candidates, but he does appear in our Revolving Door database.”

The last three US ambassadors to India were all political appointees. Previous to that, we had three career diplomats who served consecutively there: Frank Wisner, Thomas R. Pickering and William Clark, Jr. If confirmed, Mr. Roemer will succeed David C. Mulford, appointed during George W. Bush’s second term.

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Officially In: Miguel H. Díaz to the Holy See

US Embassy to the Holy See
Source: US Embassy website


On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Miguel H. Díaz, to be Ambassador to the Holy See. Official bio below:

Dr. Miguel Díaz is a Professor of Theology at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. He is the co-editor of the book “From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology” and author of “On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives”, named “Best Book of the Year” by the Hispanic Theological Initiative at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Díaz taught Religious Studies and Theology at Barry University, the University of Dayton and the University of Notre Dame. From 2001 to 2003, he taught and served as Academic Dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He is a Board Member of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and Past President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS).

Dr. Díaz holds a B.A. from St. Thomas University and a M.A. and PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame.

* * *


OpenSecrets.org
on Miguel H. Díaz: “A professor of theology at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, Diaz contributed $1,000 to Obama’s campaign last fall, the only disclosure-worthy federal political contribution he has given since 1989. He also served as a Catholic adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign. He has been nominated to be the ambassador to the Vatican.”

Actually, since the United States established diplomatic relations with the Holy See on January 1984, the ambassadors appointed to the Vatican have all been political appointees. If confirmed, Dr. Diaz will succeed Mary Ann Glendon, appointed during President George W. Bush’s second term.


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Officially In: Louis B. Susman to London

Winfield House: Official residence of US Ambassador to London
Source: US Embassy London

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Louis B. Susman, to be Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Official bio below:

Mr. Susman is retired and was Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, and was a Member of the Citigroup International Advisory Board. Prior to joining Salomon Brothers, Inc. in June 1989, Mr. Susman practiced law in the City of St. Louis for 27 years and was a senior partner at the St. Louis based law firm of Thompson & Mitchell. His practice focused on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law, and as part of his practice, he was a member of the Board of Directors and Management Committee of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1975 to 1989. In 1988, Mr. Susman was appointed by President Ronald Regan to the U. S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which provided oversight to the U.S. Information Agency. USIA’s mission was “to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions, and their counterparts abroad.” He was a Director of the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C. a nonpartisan organization that examines national public policy issues.

Mr. Susman holds an A.B. from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Washington University.

* * *


OpenSecrets.org
on Louis B. Susman: “This lawyer and investment banker has reportedly earned the nicknames the “vacuum cleaner” and “big bundler” for his prowess as a bundler of campaign cash. He bundled nearly a quarter-million for Obama’s presidential campaign and at least $300,000 for his inauguration, according to Public Citizen. This includes $50,000 from his personal funds. Further, he and his wife have contributed at least $581,400 to federal candidates, committees and parties, with 99 percent of that sum going to Democrats, including at least $12,800 to Obama. He has been nominated to be the ambassador to the United Kingdom.”


Only one out of the six ambassadors assigned to London in the last 20 years was a career diplomat (Raymond George Hardenbergh Seitz). If confirmed, Louis B. Susman will succeed Robert Holmes Tuttle, a non-career appointee (who reportedly
raised more than $200,000 for President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign and his inauguration ceremony). Mr. Susman will reside at Winfield House – the residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Court of St. James’s – occupying twelve and a half acres on the northwest side. Visiting U.S. Presidents regularly stay at the residence. Apparently, President Reagan was a frequent visitor. Read more here.


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Officially In: Charles Rivkin to Paris

Source: Published State/OIG Report

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Charles H. Rivkin, to be Ambassador to France. Official bio below:

Mr. Rivkin is a Member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), a Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is active with many other organizations. Mr. Rivkin and his family have presented the “Rivkin Award” at the U.S. State Department since 1968, honoring constructive dissent in the American Foreign Service. Mr. Rivkin joined W!LDBRAIN, an award-winning entertainment company, as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2005. In 1988, Rivkin served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Jim Henson Company. Previously, Rivkin was a Corporate Finance Analyst at Salomon Brothers Inc. In addition, Rivkin served as an at-large California delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Senator Kerry in 2004 and for President Obama in 2008.

Rivkin holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

* * *

OpenSecrets.org on Charles H. Rivkin: “The head of the entertainment company W!LDBRAIN, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee in support of Obama last summer. Moreover, he sent at least half-a-million towards Obama’s campaign committee as a bundler and another $300,000 toward his inaugural committee. Since the 1994 election cycle, he has personally contributed more than $97,500 to Democrats, including $6,600 to Obama, and now he has been nominated to be the ambassador to France.”


Our ambassadors to Paris in the last 20 years have all been well-connected political appointees. Previous occupants to this position include the late, Pamela Harriman, and also Felix G. Rohatyn and Howard H. Leach. If confirmed, Charles H. Rivkin will succeed Craig Roberts Stapleton (a non-career appointee who is Bush’s cousin by marriage and
top campaign fund-raiser). He will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador to France, the Hôtel de Pontalba, a Parisian mansion located at 41 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The residence has been called “one of Paris’ outstanding mansions with its beautiful gardens and magnificently restored historic reception rooms.” See photo from exclusive Paris tour company, eventsofprestige. You can read about the residence here.

Mr. Rivkin does have a long Foreign Service connection. He is the son of the late US Ambassador to Luxembourg, Senegal and Gambia in the 1960s. AFSA’s Rivkin Award for “Constructive Dissent” given to a midcareer Foreign Service officers is named after his father, William Rivkin, who died in Dakar in 1967. Charles Rivkin along with his siblings, Julia Wheeler, Laura Ledford, and Robert Rivkin, selects the winner for that annual dissent award.


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Officially In: Laurie Fulton to Copenhagen

Rydhave
Official residence of the United States’ Ambassador to Denmark
Source: US Embassy Copenhagen


On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Laurie S. Fulton, to be Ambassador to Denmark. Official bio below:

Ms. Fulton is a Partner at Williams & Connolly LLP, where she has a national practice in complex civil litigation, internal investigations and white collar criminal defense. In 2004, she was named one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” by the Washingtonian magazine. Ms. Fulton is co-chair of the Criminal Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association. She was appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace from 2004 to 2008, and serves as Co-Chair of USIP’s International Advisory Council. She has been active in non-profits and community organizations such as Bright Beginnings, Inc., Girl Scouts Women’s Advisory Board, Alumni Admissions Interview Program at Georgetown Law School and the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation. Prior to entering the field of law, Ms. Fulton worked on Capitol Hill and as Executive Director of Peace Links and Access, A Security Information Exchange.

Ms. Fulton holds a B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a J.D., magna cum laude from Georgetown University.

* * *

OpenSecrets.org on Ms. Fulton: “The long-time lawyer who also served on the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace from 2004 to 2008 bundled at least $100,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign. Moreover, she has personally contributed at least $48,900 to Democrats since the 1992 election cycle, including $4,850 to Obama.”

Of the 33 ambassador who previously served in Copenhagen in the last 100 years, only 7 were Foreign Service Officers, 26 were non-career political appointees. If confirmed, Laurie S. Fulton will succeed James P. Cain (non-career appointee). She will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador to Denmark,
Rydhave.


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Officially In: Vilma S. Martinez to Buenos Aires

First non-career ambassador to Argentina in 20 years

Palacio Bosch
Source: State Department
From the Secretary of State’s Register of Culturally Significant Property


On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Vilma S. Martinez, to be Ambassador to Argentina. Official bio below:

Ms. Martinez has been a Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson since 1982, where she specialized in federal and state court commercial litigation. Currently, her practice focuses on providing advice to companies enhancing their equal employment opportunity policies and building diversity and inclusion initiatives into their business plans. She served as President and General Counsel of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for nine years. Previously, she was a litigation associate at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel in New York and also a staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Ms. Martinez was Chair and a Member of the University of California Board of Regents. She also chaired the Pacific Council’s Study Group on Mexico and served on the advisory boards of Columbia Law School and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California.

Ms. Martinez holds a B.A. from the University of Texas in 1964 and a LL.B. from Columbia Law School.

* * *

According to OpenSecrets.org, Ms. Martinez has contributed more than $9,800 to Democratic candidates and groups since 1989, including at least $1,900 to Obama.

In the last twenty years, the five ambassadors we have to Argentina had been Foreign Service Officers. The last non-career appointee was Theodore E. Gildred who served from Nov 1986 – May 1989 during Ronald Reagan’s second term. Another non-career appointee Hassan Nemazee was appointed in Jan 6, 1999 but the nomination was returned without confirmation on Aug 5, 1999. Career diplomat, William Graham Walker was also nominated on May 12, 1992 but nomination was not acted upon by the Senate.


If confirmed, Ms. Martinez will succeed Earl Anthony Wayne, a career diplomat who has been
US Ambassador to Buenos Aires since August 2006. She will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador in Argentina called Palacio Bosch, designated a historic property by the Buenos Aires municipality and the Argentine Republic. The residence was designed by French architect René Sergent for Ernesto Bosch and his wife Elisa de Alvear. Bosch sold the residence to the United States government in 1929 following recurrent propositions by U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood Bliss. Some of the furniture preserved in the residence was donated by Ambassador Bliss.

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Officially In: Michael A. Battle, Sr. to the African Union

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael A. Battle, Sr., for United States Representative to the African Union with the Rank of Ambassador. Official bio below:

Dr. Battle serves as the 7th President of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been an administrator at several higher education institutions, including Chicago State University, Virginia State University and Hampton University. At Hampton University, he served as pastor to The Hampton University Memorial Church and as Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, the nation’s largest interdenominational conference among African American clergy. Dr. Battle served as a Chaplain in the United States Army Reserve for 20 years, retiring with military honors and a rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1997.

Dr. Battle served as Vice President of the American Committee on Africa from 1994 to 1998. He was an Election Observer for the first South African free election in 1994, and also served as a liaison between the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference and The South African Council of Churches. He served as chair of The Robert W. Woodruff Library of The Atlanta University Center, and as a member of the UNCF Institutional Board of Directors, the Atlanta Rotary Club, 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Congressional Forum Steering committee.

Reverend Battle holds a B.A. from Trinity College, a Master of Divinity from Duke University and a Doctor of Ministry from Howard University.

* * *


According to OpenSecrets.org, Dr. Battle
has no known history of giving federal campaign cash. He has also been an administrator at several higher education institutions, including Chicago State University, Virginia State University and Hampton University. If confirmed, Dr. Battle, Sr. will succeed John Simon (non-career appointee).

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Officially In: Robert S. Connan to Reykjavik


On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate
Robert S. Connan, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland.

Mr. Connan has served as Minister Consular for Commercial Affairs to the US Mission to the European Union since September 2008. Mr. Connan began his international career in the private sector. In 1980, he entered the U.S. Commercial Service. His first assignment was Commercial Officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, followed by Johannesburg, South Africa. He was Senior Commercial Officer (SCO) in Algiers and then Stockholm, Sweden. Next, he was assigned as SCO in Kuwait from 1991 to 1992, right after the end of the Gulf War, to rebuild the Commercial Section. In 1992, he was assigned as SCO in Seoul, Korea, where he went on special detail to Beijing China as acting SCO for the first Secretary Commerce trade mission into China. From 1996 to 2000, he served as SCO in Rome, Italy.

From 2000 to 2004, he was Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for Australia and New Zealand, at the American Consulate General in Sydney. During this period, Mr. Connan also served in Baghdad, Iraq from 2003 to 2004, setting up the Iraqi Business Center as part of the reconstruction process. From 2004 to 2008, he was the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs in Paris, France.

Mr. Connan holds a Bachelors of Science from Carnegie Mellon University and earned his MBA from University of Pennsylvania.

* * *

If confirmed, Robert Connan will succeed career diplomat Carol Van Voorst in Reykjavik. I should note that five of the last seven ambassadors assigned to Iceland in the last 20 years have been career diplomats. The last non-career appointee to this position was Sigmund A. Rogich of Nevada who served from Jun 4, 1992- Oct 14, 1993.

OpenSecrets.org on Robert S. Connan: “Working for the U.S. Commercial Service within the Department of Commerce since 1980, Connan has not made any contributions exceeding $200 to federal candidates, committees or parties. His most recent position has been with the European Union, and he has been nominated to be the ambassador to Iceland.”


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