Barack Obama opted for politics as usual in his ambassador appointments yesterday, writes David Rothkopf for ForeignPolicy. Like recent predecessors, Obama turned to deep-pocketed campaign donors; hence Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, will deal with a tech lawyer whose sole qualification seems to have been his ability to raise $500,000, while France gets a guy who used to run the Muppets. Which raises the question: Do we even need ambassadors?
“If a job is meaningless enough to be entrusted to someone who is unqualified to do it, do we really need to fill that post?” asks Rothkopf. Once upon a time, we needed ambassadors to carry vital messages, but technology’s progressed a wee bit. Other countries hate dealing with ambassadors—they’d rather call someone consequential at the State Department. Let's put highly skilled professionals in the important posts, and forget the rest.