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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2012
23
Calling Out the
Unqualifed
Nevertheless, ambassadors are still
important in a globalized world. Tere
is no substitute for having a person on
the ground in nearly every country to
protect and promote America’s many
interests and run large bureaucratic
organizations. While it would be helpful
if such ofcials actually understand the
countries to which they are appointed,
the damage may not be all that great
because of where political appointees
tend to be sent.
Tere is value, however, in calling
attention to nominations that should
not go unchallenged. A standing com-
mittee of the American Bar Association
rates each judicial nominee as “well
qualifed,” “qualifed” or “not qualifed.”
A committee of retired ambassadors
under the auspices of AFSA or another
group, like the American Academy of
Diplomacy, could do something similar.
Te president and the Senate might
not care about such pronouncements,
but they would at least draw media
attention to the truly unqualifed. Tey
might also persuade some aspiring
amateur diplomats to avoid negative
publicity by forgoing such positions.
While speaking out won’t end the
practice of pay-to-play ambassador-
ships, it is still worth doing to underline
two key points: Diplomacy is a profes-
sion, and Foreign Service ofcers are, in
most cases, the most skilled practitio-
ners of that profession.
n
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