Officially In: Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr. to Santo Domingo

Map of the Dominican RepublicImage via Wikipedia

On November 30, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr., to be Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The WH released the following official bio:

Raul H. Yzaguirre, Sr. is currently a Presidential Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. From 1974 to 2005, Mr. Yzaguirre served as President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Prior to that, he served as Vice President at the Center for Community Change in Washington D.C. From 1969 to 1973, he founded two sister management consulting organizations: Interstate Research Associates and InterAmerica Research Associates.

Mr. Yzaguirre served as a Senior Program Analyst in the U.S. Office for Economic Opportunity (OEO) and as a special advisor to the Director of OEO, Sargent Shriver, from 1966 to 1969. He has also been appointed to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Mr. Yzaguirre monitored several presidential elections in Latin America as a board member of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Mr. Yzaguirre also served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps for four years.

He has a B.S. from George Washington University, was an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and studied at La Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, Mexico.

* * *

Mr. Yzaguirre was not an Obama bundler but he was an early Hillary endorser. He was also Campaign Co-Chair and Chair of Hispanic Outreach efforts for her presidential campaign. If confirmed, he would replace lawyer and businessman, P. Robert Fannin of Arizona who served as US Ambassador in Santo Domingo from November 2007 to January 2009.

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Officially In: Bisa Williams to Niamey

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On November 30, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Bisa Williams to be Ambassador to the Republic of Niger. The WH released the following official bio:

Bisa Williams, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was most currently acting Deputy Assistant Secretary with responsibility for Central America, the Caribbean, and Cuba in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She has also served as Coordinator for Cuban Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department and as Director for International Organizations at the National Security Council. As Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius, Ms. Williams oversaw the organization and production of the U.S.-Africa, trade-related conference, the “AGOA (Africa Growth Opportunity Act) Forum.”

Her other overseas assignments include France, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and Panama. Ms. Williams has also served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State; Special Assistant to the Coordinator of Assistance to the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union; and country officer for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde.

She received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University; a Masters Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Masters Degree from the National War College of the National Defense University.

* * *

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) for 2009 ranked Niger 182nd out of 182 countries with data. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). The country’s human poverty index is also at 55.8, just above Afghanistan and it has an adult illiteracy rate of 71.3, just above Afghanistan and Mali.

The Embassy in Niamey was established Feb 3, 1961, with Joseph W. Schutz as Charge d’Affaires ad interim. In the short history of the US Mission in Niger, we have had four non-career diplomats appointed as US Ambassador to Niamey since diplomatic relations were established. The last one appointed was Robert Casey, Jr. of Colorado who served there from 1982-1985 during the Reagan years.

If confirmed, Ms. Williams would succeed career diplomat, Bernadette M. Allen as chief of mission at the US Embassy in Niamey.

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Officially In: Allan J. Katz to Lisbon

Castelo de Almourol - PortugalImage by Portuguese_eyes via Flickr

On November 30, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Allan J. Katz to be his Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic. The WH released the following official bio:

Allan J. Katz is currently of counsel to Akerman Senterfitt and the Chair of the firm-wide Policy practice group. Katz was previously City Commissioner for the City of Tallahassee. In 2007, he organized and created the Village Square, a bi-partisan community based organization. Prior to that, he was the managing partner of Katz, Kutter, Alderman & Bryant, P.A. Mr. Katz was also appointed by Florida’s CFO to serve on the board of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. He also served as the head of the Joint Planning Board which coordinates the distribution of funds to social service agencies on behalf of the City, the County and the United Way.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Katz was Assistant Insurance Commissioner and General Counsel for the State of Florida Insurance Department. He also held positions as General Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Administrative Review; Legislative Director for Congressman David Obey, and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bill Gunter.

Katz has a B.A. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and holds a J.D. from the American University, Washington College of Law.

* * *

According to, Katz is one of the Obama bundlers who pulled together a minimum of $500,000 contributions during the last election campaign. His Akerman Senterfitt’s biography states that he is currently a member of the Democratic National Committee, and was a member of the National Finance Committee of Obama for America, where he served on the 15 member DNC Platform Drafting Committee for the 2008 convention.

If confirmed, Mr. Katz would be the sixth non-career ambassador appointed to Lisbon in the last 16 years. He would replace Thomas F. Stephenson of California who was appointed US Ambassador to Portugal from December 2007-June 2009. The most recent career diplomat (Everett Ellis Briggs) appointed to head the US Embassy in Lisbon served there from 1990-1993.

Previous appointees to this position in Lisbon includes Frank C. Carlucci, Herbert Claiborne Pell and, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley who came back to Foggy Bottom early this year. Ambassador Bagley is currently the Special Representative for Global Partnerships in the Secretary of State’s Global Partnership Initiative and was previously US Ambassador to Lisbon during President Clinton’s term.

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Officially In: Ian C. Kelly to OSCE

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On November 30, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Ian C. Kelly to be to be U.S. Representative to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following official bio:

Ian Kelly has served as the Spokesman for the State Department since May 2009. He is a Senior Foreign Service Officer, with the rank of Minister Counselor. Prior to that, Mr. Kelly was acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs from January to May 2009, with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus, and the Director of the Office of Russian Affairs from 2007-2009.

From 2004-2007, he was Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission to NATO. From 1994-1996, Mr. Kelly was Director of Democratic Initiatives to the Newly Independent States at the State Department, coordinating the activities of nearly a dozen federal agencies involved in democracy building in the former Soviet Union. In addition to NATO, he has been posted overseas in Rome, Ankara, Vienna, Belgrade, Moscow, Leningrad, and Milan.

Mr. Kelly holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College, a Masters degree from Northwestern University, and a Doctorate from Columbia University.

* * *

The United States Mission to the OSCE consists of a multi-agency team with more than thirty staff members from the Department of State, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the joint Congressional/Executive Branch Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (“Helsinki Commission”).

If confirmed, Mr. Kelly would succeed,
Julie Finley, National Finance Co-Chairman for the Bush-Cheney 2004 who was appointed Permanent Representative to the OSCE from August 2005 – January 2009.

Related Items:

  • WH Announcement via HuffPo (Text of official announcement seems to be currently MIA from the official WH website)

SFRC Hearings: Andrew, Nelson, King, Kennedy, Donahoe

1st Session

Senator Dodd

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Building: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building


Anne Slaughter Andrew, of Indiana ,
to be Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica

David Daniel Nelson, of Minnesota ,
to be Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay

The Honorable Betty E. King, of New York ,
to be Representative of the United States to the Office
of the United Nations and Other International Organizations
in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador

The Honorable Laura E. Kennedy, of New York, ,
for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service
as U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, of California ,
for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service
as the United States Representative to the UN Human Rights Council

The prepared testimonies and hearing videos should be posted in this page.

SFRC Hearing: Today, Rajiv Shah’s Nomination for USAID

1st Session

Presiding: Senator Kerry

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Time: 10:00 A.M.
Building: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement


Rajiv J. Shah, of Washington ,
to be Administrator of the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID)

The prepared testimony and video should be posted in this page. Haven’t figured out where they put the links to the hearing videos at this time. From the looks of it, based on its place holders here, we should expect a section for Statements and Hearing Files in this new website. Audio, video and transcript of hearings presumably will be posted under the Hearings Files.

Updated @8:57 pm
Click here to go to the SFRC hearing page. Click on the link “ Archived Version“Recorded Hearing” to watch the video. Video is 130:05 minutes in length. The hearing starts at 25:14 minutes into the video with Senator Kerry’s opening statement. Rajiv Shah’s prepared testimony is here (pdf).

Updated: 12/2

I have added links to the opening statements of Senators Kerry and Lugar above. You can also read the Questions for the Record Submitted for the Nomination of Rajiv Shah to be USAID Administrator. The nominee provided written answers to the 20 pre-hearing questions from Senator Kerry (the Word doc was obtained by Josh Rogin of The Cable).

Revisiting the Powell Doctrine

Some of the central figures in the Bush Admini...Image via Wikipedia

Alexander Wolf, a PhD candidate at the University of the Armed Forces, Munich, and a research assistant at the Academy for Politics and Current Affairs had a piece in the Winter issue of Strategic Studies Quarterly: U.S. Interventions Abroad: A Renaissance of the Powell Doctrine?. In his piece he suggests that “By chronicling the doctrinal premises of US intervention policy during the “interwar years” (1990–2001)1 and the administration of George W. Bush (2001–2008), it will demonstrate that the “smart power” approach of the Obama administration suggests continuity over radical change.” Wolf writes that “despite a liberal humanitarian orientation that in principle should look favorably on intervention, Washington will consider employing its military forces—when necessary, unilaterally and preemptively—only to protect vital US interests and only when confronted by immediate security threats.”

He then brought up the Powell Doctrine (shelved for years over the Bush Doctrine), which “offers a promising framework for military intervention” and why it should be considered in connection with Washington’s interest-based policy approach. With the President scheduled to deliver the much anticipated “way-forward” in Afghanistan, I think it would be interesting to revisit the Powell Doctrine. The following excerpted from Mr. Wolf’s paper:

[T]he Powell Doctrine begins with the interest-based decision to intervene and formulates an operational catalogue of criteria for the “proper” execution of military intervention. Accordingly, the military should only be put to use when:

(1) The national interest requires it;

(2) The number of troops employed corresponds with the mission they are to execute;

(3) The mission is clearly defined, both politically and militarily;

(4) The size, composition, and disposition of the troops is constantly being reevaluated;

(5) The operation has the support of both the Congress and the American people; and

(6) There is a clear exit strategy.

He further writes that “the operational criteria to be fulfilled according to the Powell Doctrine are meant to set up barriers to the ill-considered commitment of military forces in poorly planned operations and to help prevent “mission creep,” the unplanned escalation of a conflict.” He cited as primary example of a military intervention carried out in accordance with the Powell Doctrine, the US-led Operation Desert Storm, conducted under UN auspices for the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.”

Related Item:
Alexander Wolf | U.S. Interventions Abroad: A Renaissance of the Powell Doctrine?
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