Saturday, May 10, 2014

Career diplomats: collateral damage from ‘nuclear option’

Al Kamen has a piece in "In The Loop" today about how the nuclear option is harming career diplomats on their way to Ambassador.

Until recently, it was also harming even newly minted Foreign Service Officers. In addition to all promotions, all tenures were on hold. 

Those holds were finally released. But these have not been. 

And now they are harming our relations with other countries, and that harms our national security.

"The career nominees at the Senate have waited about 250 days so far on average, even though they are nonpartisan and their hostage value is thus pretty close to nil. The only things damaged by this situation are the country’s national security, its economic well-being, it’s ability to get solid trade, food and energy deals and its capacity to spread U.S. human rights and other values.

Nine of those career folks stranded on the Senate floor are nominated to serve in mineral- and energy-rich Africa. It’s obviously hard to lead there (either from behind or from front) when trained diplomats aren’t in place. In contrast, does anyone think the Chinese are not fully staffed there, locking up deals for raw materials, oil, food and such? Yet one of five U.S. ambassadorial posts in Africa are empty."

Remind me again who Congress works for?