Five months ago, I pledged that I had rested my case against political appointments to American ambassadorial posts. A new story in today’s press (February 26) compels me to break my word. And another visit to the web-site of the American Foreign Service Association reveals facts and figures that speak much louder than words. I urge readers to consult “Policy Issues” and “Ambassador Project” at http://www.afsa.org and decide for themselves whether President Barack Obama is really any different from his predecessors in one important respect: the disregard for national security so blatantly evident in entrusting American interests to financial supporters irrespective of their qualifications for the job.
A sampling from among AFSA’s up-dated facts and figures illustrates the special scorn reserved for international organizations by successive U.S. administrations. Consider the following: over the past fifty years, considerably more than half of American ambassadors to those posts have been wealthy friends and backers of the White House resident of the day; namely, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the European Union; likewise, the last-named’s largest members – France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. Today, every single one of the posts named is encumbered by a political appointee named by Barack Obama.
That new story referred to above does not involve political appointments to ambassadorial posts. Instead, it concerns the appointment of the very first man and the very first gay person to the job of Social Secretary in the White House. So startling are these revolutionary firsts in the eyes of “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” and “Huffington Post” that all three skip lightly and matter-of-factly over the detail that the person in question (one Jeremy Bernard) raised a lot of money for candidate Obama and has been serving until now as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to France – “the apex of diplomatic cool” according to one report.
The Foreign Service and national security be damned: for President Obama, money talks.