American ambassadors, Cronyism in State Department, Fundbundlers rewards, Robert Wood Johnson IV, Trump draining the swamp, Trump's personal ambassadors, US amatuer ambassadors, US Diplomacy, US Political appointees
Lose the hat you amateur…
Only in America. Only here (and a few basket case corruption pits in the former Soviet Empire) do you get to be an ambassador simply because you fancy the idea, and can drum up cash for politicians. Only America can allow its prime diplomatic missions to be run by crass foolish amatuers with no experience of “foreign” whatsoever. It is as blatant an example of how the cronyism oligarchy engenders holds the levers of power and influence, and it is as corrupt as it is sloppy and inefficient. And nowadays it might be positively dangerous.
It has been ever thus. In its first hundred years America never had any professional representatives relying instead on political appointees. This was through an aversion to the trappings of monarchy and ambassadors being thought of as a king’s emissary. Before the second World War the balance had settled to about 70% professional and 30% personal political appointees but the wretched system only really took a life of its own after World war II with the need for ever increasing heaps of cash to run the endless rounds of mid-terms, local party machines and the elections.
And those who pay the piper call the tune. 56.7% of the tune.
It’s not one side or the other. Both parties are equally guilty. When Obama was in power it was 30.05%, GW Bush 31.8% (including his own cousin Craig Stapleton), Clinton 28.06%, GHW Bush 31.30%, Ronnie Reagan 37.6% and Carter 26.24%
A lot are fairly useless, but able to be managed by the professionals (who should have had the jobs in the first place) in the embassy. Others are spectacularly inappropriate like Oreck. Some like Stephen King have never been to the country they now work in, others like George Glass had once been there years ago on a day trip. Obviously he liked the place, so asked to go back. Others appear on camera with no idea how they look to the host nation. Robert Wood Johnson IV who appears in the photo above is the self-made heir to the Johnson and Johnson pharmaceutical billions. He once bought a local football club, the New York Jets, of which he seems inordinately proud. He insists on being seen wearing their baseball cap at every opportunity. Sadly, he does not have the knowledge (or will not listen to advise) that wearing baseball caps in Britain is a sure sign that you are both thick and working class. They call this look “chav” and it has undertones of being from the travelling gypsy community. I am certain that this is not the image most American’s would like for their countries representative. But that’s what happens when you have an unprofessional Ambassador class.
We might have hoped this would change with the much promised “draining of the swamp”. Less cronyism more professional. Sadly no, and of those Ambassadors already placed, 56.7% are Political Appointees, fund bundlers, old pals and golf buddies all.
Let us name names and, where we can, state how much they donated / paid to get the posts they will now enjoy – at the American Tax-Payers expense. Don’t forget the pensions too!
Bahamas Doug Manchester $500,000 + $222,800 to the Republican party
Canada Kelly Knight Craft $260,000 + $16,000
Costa Rica Sharon Day
Croatia W Robert Kohorst
Czech Stephen B King
Denmark Carla Sands
Dominican Rep. Robin Bernstein
Estonia Edward Mano
Finland Robert Frank Pence
France Jamie McCourt $400,000
Vatican Callista Gingrich
ICAO Thomas Carter
India Kenneth Juster
Israel David Friedman
Italy Lewis Eisenberg $35,800 + $25,000
Japan William Francis Hagerty IV
Morocco David T Fischer
NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison
Netherlands Peter Hoekstra
New Zealand Scott Brown
Norway Kenneth J Braithwaite
OAS Carlos Trujillo
Portugal George E Glass $77,000 + $38,000
Russia Jon Huntsman jnr
Spain Richard Duke Buchanan
Switzerland Edward McMullan jnr
UK Robert Wood Johnson IV
UN Nikki Haley
UN Economic & Social Council Kelly Eckels Currie.
All rather depressing.
Copyright David Macadam 2018