Diary

Euros Upset at Lack of Obama 'Change' With Ambassador Picks

Wanna be an Ambassador in the era of “change”? OK, then what do you have to do? Do you need to speak a foreign tongue? How about have some training in diplomacy? Maybe exhibit familiarity with any particular foreign culture? Nope, not in Obama’s Washington. All you need to do is donate a hefty sum to the Obama campaign and voila, you are in like Flynn. It may not bother Obama, but this big donor cum ambassador situation is striking a sour note with those Europeans that thought that Obama was going to be a man more interested in professionalism, qualifications and a serious attention to foreign policy than in paying off big donors.

So much for “change.”

To be sure, this practice is no change from the past as American ambassadorships have often gone to big donors to presidential campaigns. It is a long tradition, though one that may or may not be a good one. But the fact is, Obama has made little effort to curtail this tradition proving that there is often far less “change” with President Obama than his advanced publicity claimed. This truth is something that has disappointed European allies that expected a new way of doing things to emerge from The One.

Maybe he’s NOT the one they have been waiting for?

According to AFP, “Obama has been criticized for naming fund raisers with no diplomatic experience — and who together drummed up well over a million dollars for his record-shattering campaign — to be ambassadors to Britain, France and Japan.”

“It’s an 18th-century practice we are continuing which no other major democratic country does,” said Ronald Neumann, a veteran ambassador and head of the American Academy of Diplomacy, a lobby of former senior diplomats.

“It’s not ‘change you can believe in,’ but it’s not terribly surprising,” said Neumann, referring to Obama’s campaign slogan.

This AFP report claims that the British and the Japanese are a bit miffed that the ambassadors sent their way are folks with no diplomatic experience nor any real familiarity with their various cultures. Worse, Japan is alarmed that the ambassador sent to China, Jon Huntsman, is just the opposite of that sent them, John Roos.

Many Japanese are nervous that the United States will ignore its longstanding Asian ally as it builds ties with a rapidly growing China.

While Tokyo publicly welcomed Roos’ appointment, one Japanese magazine worried that Obama was “Japan-passing” — opposed to US “Japan-bashing” during the 1980s trade wars.

Tokyo-based analyst Robert Dujarric said Japanese worry that Roos is “lightweight” compared with Obama’s pick for Beijing, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman — a Mandarin speaker who some eye as a future president himself.

Once again, we see an Obama administration that pays little attention to our allies while fawning over our enemies. This isn’t a good trend.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying we should allow foreigners to pick our ambassadors for us. Any change that occurs in how we pick our ambassadors should be done because it is efficacious, not because Europeans demand it. All I am saying is that Obama’s program of “change” is not that as sold to the nation and our allies and many are finding this out much to their shock and surprise. This is just one more example of that fact.