Fairy Godfathers in Congress Cast Their Riddikulus Spell For Ambassadorships

 

We are the only country in the developed world that does this over and over and over again. Remember when Russia sent one of its top diplomats to the UN and we sent our amateurs? Yep, that wasn’t fun to watch.  The Russians must have wondered, “how did we get this lucky?”
The Gordon Sonland episode during the first impeachment trial may have shocked people to attention but it did not dampen the interests of political donors, nor that of the current administration.  In fact, this is a tradition gleefully shared by the Democratic and Republican administrations. Of course, promises will be made, now and again but in the end, this will never get fixed. Why? Both parties benefit from the practice of using plum ambassadorships as rewards to friends, donors, political allies, and supporters. Also if you’re a congressional representative, would you really shut the door on a potential new career in diplomacy when the time comes for you to retire from politics?  Nah, that would be silly!
Obviously, Congressional representatives think the job is easy peasy it does not require diplomatic experience, and it can be done by anyone with good manners and a nice bark.
Now, we’re just wondering which party would be the first to award an ambassadorship to man’s best friend! Because why not?
Wouldn’t a well trained dog like Major could do just as well?  Just get Major an excellent DCM who will not crash his party!  And really, Major is the President’s best pal in DC, who wouldn’t want to be friends with him?
Somebody give that dog an agrément!
Note that Palmerston did run Whitehall for a bit, and Larry, the Cat, well, he does lord over 10 Downing Street and poor Boris. They’re two nice  inspiration; Palmerston and Larry, that is, not Boris. Pardon me? Incitatus, too? Well, that horse was never made a consul contrary to ancient rumors.
Listen. Here’s the thing. If you recommend Major for an ambassadorship and senator cruz barks about everything (except the insurrection), Major could just as quickly bark back about doggy biscuits or anything at all under the sun.  The Senators could then have their bark-a-bark marathon, and it’ll be on a double pay-per view at C-SPAN and DOGTV.
In any case, who can blame entry level diplomats considering their career options with this reality in mind (not the doggy ambassador, silly!). Not that all career diplomats get to become ambassadors, of course.  But most of them will get to babysit most amateur ambassadors unless Elon Musk develops an FSD for ambassadorships.  When that happens, folks can just skip FSI’s three-week Ambassadorial Seminar, and get the George Kennan chip (with two ambassadorships). Or level up to a Thomas Pickering chip (with seven ambassadorships). You can’t cram 30 years experience into a three-week seminar, how could you? But Elon can put all that in an embedable chip!
You think we’re making fun of the Senate? Nah, won’t dream of it. But don’t you think Congress is now just having fun with us since elected reps don’t really think the general public cares?

Somehow, the folks over at Share America are missing a few important steps; who’s going to tell them that their infographic needs more work?

Yo Wanna Spank Schumer But Not @Senatemajldr McConnell For Non-Confirmation of Ambassadors? Very Unfair!

It looks like the President of the United States is ending 2018 by ranting that “heads of countries” are calling and asking why Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer “is not approving their otherwise approved Ambassadors.” Well, first, to be clear, if they are really calling the WH asking about this, they would not be calling about “their otherwise approved ambassadors” because that would mean, these countries are calling about “their” ambassadors representing them in Washington. As far as we know, the U.S. Senate is not the entity that grants agrément for foreign diplomats to be appointed to the United States.

The president appears to be talking about U.S. Ambassadors nominated to foreign countries, which means, these are “our” ambassadors, and not these countries’ ambassadors even if they are assigned to these mysterious countries (whose “heads of countries” are um apparently “calling” and asking about stuff). If this is kinda confusing, try and imagine Saudi Arabia’s MBS or Turkey’s Erdogan calling the WH and asking what Schumer did to “their otherwise approved Ambassador” – that is, the Saudi Arabian and Turkish Ambassadors to the United States. They would not call the U.S. Ambassadors destined to their respective countries “their” ambassadors. We doubt if MBS would even call and ask what Schumer did to John Abizaid, Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Why would he? He got you know who. Would Erdogan call and ask what Schumer did to Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey? He wouldn’t, cmon. There isn’t one.

Second, we should note that there are indeed multiple nominees pending on the Senate Calendar and waiting for their full Senate votes. Except for two nominations who are subjects to two Democratic Senate holds, the rest of the nominees have been waiting for GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put them up for a vote. Over the past year, the GOP appeared to prioritized the confirmation of judicial nominees. In the last 12 months, approximately 70 Judiciary nominees were confirmed while only about 47 State Department nominees were confirmed for the same duration (excluding USAID, UN, and Foreign Service lists).

We have a separate post on the nominations that are currently pending at the SFRC. We are anticipating that most of these nominees will be renominated at the beginning of the next Congress, and that most of them will probably get confirmation from the Senate given the GOP’s expanded majority in the 116th Congress. We don’t know how many more judicial nominees the GOP is planning to shovel through the confirmation process, however, but if there is a large enough number, those again could have an impact on the speed of confirmation for State Department nominees.

Below are the nominations pending in the Executive Calendar. May be there is a potential for the U.S. Senate to have mass confirmation of these nominations on January 2? You all can hope, right? We’ll have to wait and see. 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Carol Z. Perez, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service, vice Arnold A. Chacon, resigned.

Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research), vice Daniel Bennett Smith.

Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

AMBASSADORS (CAREER)

Lynne M. Tracy, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia.

Christopher Paul Henzel, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Yemen.

Sarah-Ann Lynch, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Earle D. Litzenberger, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Matthew John Matthews, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam.

Michael S. Klecheski, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mongolia.

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