Undiplomatically speaking, Rick Perry Commits Perry-Kiri When He Talks…

Every time Rick Perry opens his mouth and talks about something “foreign,” he commits Perry-kiri.  Remember that debate in Florida not too long ago where he was asked by moderator, Bret Baier what he would do first, as president, if he received a 3 a.m. phone call “telling [him] that Pakistan had lost control of its nuclear weapons at the hands of the Taliban.”  You don’t remember that? Here, we’ll repeat for you the world famous Rick Perry word salad, his response to that gocha question — on the house:

“Well, obviously before you ever get to that point, you have to build a relationship in that region. That’s one of the things that this administration has not done. Just yesterday, we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has been involved with, and that’s a terrorist group, directly associated with the Pakistani country. To have a relationship with India, to make sure that India knows that they are an ally of the United States. For instance, when we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16s, we chose not to do that. We did the same thing with Taiwan. The point is, our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends, we will be standing by there with them. Today, we don’t have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality.”

Well, obviously, if he ends up in the WH, even the Chinese spies who speak perfect English would need a translator to discipher what this guy is talking out his ass.

Today, while I was running around doing errands, a blog pal wrote and asked if I have seen the CNN report about Texas presidentiable, Rick Perry questioning the intentions of our American diplomats. So, of course, I had to stop and look it up. Bottomline — Perry minders should really not let him open his mouth until he has done his 10,000-page homework. Below via CNN:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Monday he didn’t think some State Department employees were working in the best interest of the country.

“I’m not sure our State Department serves us well,” the Texas governor said on a radio program with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “I’m not talking about the Secretary of State here. I’m talking about the career diplomats and the Secretary of State who, all too often, may not be making decisions, or giving advice to the administration that’s in this country’s best interest.”

Perry said Congressional action might be required to ensure the nation’s diplomatic corps is taking actions that benefit America.

“We need to have a discussion with Congress to make sure that the decisions that are being made are in America’s best interest,” Perry said.

Mr. Perry said that our American diplomats are not working in the best interest of the United States of A. Why, he can see them from his porch, sort of.  And just look at its name. It’s called the “Foreign Service,” what more proof is there that they’re working for those foreigners?  Plus, think about it, these diplomats live in foreign countries, wear foreign clothes, wear funny hats, some have foreign names and most speak foreign languages! And oh, the horror, their children go to international schools run by foreigners. It’s crystal clear as Texas skies whose side they’re on, eh?

The next thing you know, Mr. Perry will have our diplomats embedded with brain cameras, so there is public record ensuring that “they are taking actions that benefit America.” Another presidentiable already wants to eliminate five federal agencies departments, Guv Rick might just decide to eliminate the State Department, too.  Especially as he has three on his list and can only remember two.

And by the way, the last time an ambitious politician had a discussion with Congress about the faithfulness of our diplomatic corps, we had a full blown witch hunt called Joseph McCarthy.

More from CNN:

Perry said tougher action was required in Pakistan, where he suggested the Pakistani intelligence agency was involved in actions harmful to America. Perry said the message to Pakistan hasn’t been clear enough from the United States.

“We need to lay down the law to Pakistan,” Perry said.

Mr. Perry must think that our American diplomats serving in over 260 posts around the world including those in a few declared and undeclared war zones wake up everyday and play mini-mini-mini-mo in deciding what foreign policy objectives they feel like doing that day.  It doesn’t work that way, Guv.

Our diplomats have their set of instructions from the State Department, who gets its marching orders from you guess it, the White House.  So if the Congress succeeds in passing that nutty bill making it illegal for our diplomats to talk to Iranian diplomats, and a President Perry signs that into law, our American diplomats have to abide by it; as they have abided, followed, implemented the foreign policies of this country through Republican and Democratic administrations.   

Our diplomats do not have a DIY foreign policy that they think up from their garages. To accuse them of not working in the best interest of the United States is not just stupid but shows a laziness in understanding where the pieces fit.  There’s a hole in your brain, Guv, patch it up.

Hey, what moss is this guy chewing?


Officially In: Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to Valletta*

A church in St. Julian's, Malta.Image via WikipediaPresident Obama recently announced his intent to nominate Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to be Ambassador to the Republic of Malta.

The WH released the following brief bio:

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Deputy Coordinator for Policy, Programs, and Budget in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism. Prior to this role, she was Director of the Office of Egypt and the Levant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.  Her previous positions include: Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Senior Advisor for Middle Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Director for Near East South Asian Affairs, and Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.  Her earlier posts include: Political Officer at the Embassy in Tel Aviv with responsibility for the Gaza Strip, Consul in Baghdad, and postings in Jakarta and Cairo.  She joined the Foreign Service in 1985 after serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the United States Information Agency.

Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley received a B.A. from George Washington University and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

If confirmed, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career diplomat would succeed political appointee, Douglas Kmiec who resigned in August this year as US ambassador to Malta. We haven’t had a career diplomat assigned to the US embassy in Valletta since 1985 when Gary L. Matthews was appointed chief of mission by President Ronald Reagan. 

We note that Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley had spent most of her recent
assignments in the domestic offices of the State Department.  Except for a stint as Consul
General in Jeddah (presumably a three-year tour see update below), and earlier assignments overseas, her bio indicates that she spent the last several years in the offices of CT, NEA, FSI,
USUN, NSC. As far as I can tell, all those offices are not overseas. And really, except for USUN in New York where rental rates are awful (and Jeddah), would anyone call any of those assignment a hardship?  But Malta is an island, with only a few thousand folks; and if State takes away its R&Rs, it’ll definitely be a hardship assignment.

Update: Not sure how long was the Jeddah assignment and how long ago was the assignment there but see the comment from one of our readers.  I stand corrected.  Note that Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is currently a 15% danger post, a 20% hardship post, and a 15% cost of living differential.

*Note: In honor of Mr. Dorschner who recently wrote about “a rule is a rule,” Diplopundit will start monitoring the prior gigs of ambassadorial nominees, particularly those of our career diplomats. We heard that FSOs cannot get promoted without hardships assignments which seems to mean, right now, the war zone destinations of Iraq and Afghanistan (Pakistan, too).

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | Oct 17, 2011

Officially Moved: Julissa Reynoso to Montevideo

Maldonado City, Uruguay, viewed from la BarraImage via WikipediaPresident Obama recently announced his intent to nominate Julissa Reynoso to be Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

The WH released the following brief bio:

Julissa Reynoso is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America and the Caribbean in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.   Prior to her appointment in November 2009, Ms. Reynoso practiced law with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, focusing on international arbitration and antitrust law.  During this time, she also served as a Fellow at New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.  In 2006, Ms. Reynoso worked as Deputy Director of the Office of Accountability at the New York City Department of Education. 

Ms. Reynoso holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

If confirmed, Ms. Reynoso, a political appointee would succeed career diplomat, David Nelson.   Ambassador Nelson who was appointed by President Obama to the US Embassy in Uruguay in 2009, presented his credentials in February 2010, then stepped down in May 24 this year. According to the statement from the US embassy, Ambassador Nelson stepped down as chief of mission and left the country on May 24, 2011. “The Ambassador’s decision is based upon family reasons.”

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | Oct 17, 2011

Before #Occupy Wall Street, There’s #Occupy Congress, and It’s Still On

Crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff explains in 60 Minutes how he “owned” Congress for years, and how such corruption continues today despite ethics reform. Must be said that even before #Occupy Wall Street, we actually had #Occupy Congress. Except unlike #OWS where everybody’s welcome, Occupy Congress was a nice get together for the deep pockets and their lobbyists, for the buyers and the bought, for the owners and the ownee– who could not admit they were owned and paid for (just listen to Mr. Nye).  

At the end of the interview, Abramoff says: “If you make the choice to serve the public, public service, then serve the public, not yourself. When you’re done, go home. Washington’s a dangerous place. Don’t hang around.”

You think our elected public servants in Congress would listen to that advice given their 9% approval rating?


You want to keep tabs of our reps and their staffers, check out LegiStorm.  Launched five years ago, the site provides a variety of important information about the US Congress including a database of congressional staff salaries as well as a comprehensive
database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress
and congressional staffers. 

Now, if only they can start a database of dangling job offers, we’ll know who’s been shopping and who’s been bought before they go through the revolving door.