Much is being made of recent nominations for ambassador positions. Nominees not having ever visited the country to which they are being nominated. Not being fully versed in the current political situation of the country. Being rewarded for fund raising for the sitting president. Big whoop!
Ambassador positions have always been political plums for presidential supporters and fund raisers. Of recent presidents, Reagan and Carter led the way with almost 40% of their nominees being party supporters as opposed to career State Dept. employees. Obama surpasses Clinton and the two Bushes but not by much. Let's be realistic. How much does the nominee for Iceland need to know before he is confirmed? Do we really believe he will immediately jet off to take up his post before being fully briefed by experts from the State Dept? Do you think he's out there by his lonesome with no one to advise him?
Most ambassodors are career diplomats. Especially those in countries with which relations are delicate or fraught with sensitive issues. Even those who are not professional and are in low impact locations have a staff of career State Dept, employees to advise them, as well as a CIA operative or three. This is another example of the opposition party (now the Republicans but could just as well be the Democrats) and the media ginning up controversy where there really is not any meat on the bones.
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