After 13 months, Australia gets a new US Ambassador


It seems that the upcoming visit of Condoleezza Rice has prompted the appointment.

Is it normal practice for US Ambassadors’ posts to be left vacant for such a long time?

No, it isn’t, especially for such a high-profile ally. Sometimes there are lengthy vacancies for teeny-tiny or very dangerous countries, but I’ve never heard of such a long one for someplace like Australia. We love you guys!

It may reflect the fact that, among all the diplomatic problems the US faces in the world, Australia just ain’t one. There are 2 types of US ambassador, the career diplomat and the political appointee. The trouble spots, requiring some actual foreign-relations skill, go to the career diplomats, as do the shithole countries. The posts in nice, stable, friendly, developed countries, that don’t require any real skill of an ambassador other than hosting cocktail parties, go to wealthy campaign contributors. That’s you. There’s a story that there were celebrations in the streets of Budapest when the US first sent Hungary a political ambassador instead of a careerist, since that meant they’d finally fully joined the West.

Maybe nobody higher up on the campaign contributors’ list wanted to go so far away from home, or liked the idea of living in Canberra?

I love Australia! I wish I had known the position was vacant. I would have applied for it.

What the hell, you’re a Texan, so you’ve already got a leg up! And if you’d given $100,000+ to Bush-Cheney 2004, I’ll bet it’d be yours for the taking…

What’s there to talk about really? We all think kangaroos are cute. Beaches and great big sharks are cool. Hell, I even had a boomerang as a kid. A lot of the U.S. keeps close watch on the pulse of Australia via Fosters and the Outback Steak House. Just because all of this is informal doesn’t mean it is any less effective.

After the recall of Ambassador Farish in June 2004 we went without one here for eleven months

I am unable to find the site, but a few years ago I read an interesting article on the price of becoming an Ambassador. The upswing was that the more money you donated to a Presidential campaign, and the closer you were to the candidate, the more likely you were to become an Ambassador in some cushy country like France, England, Germany, Italy, etc. The only “career” jobs, as mentioned, were in locations where the Ambassador might actually have to know what the hell he/she is doing - Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel etc.

My guess is that Dubya has probably been hanging the job of Ambassador to Australia as a carrot on a stick to multiple current and future donor cronies, and probably forgot about actually filling the position until it got too late.

So people donate vast sums of money and kiss presidential arse so they can live in Canberra??? Youse Yanks is weird. :smiley:

Can this ambassodor find Australia on a map?
Just asking…

It’s the big pink thingy towards the bottom of the globe, isn’t it?

I would have nominated the guy starring in Outback Steakhouse’s irritating new series of commercials. Things would be better if he were far, far away.

More common than one would think. We went for a long time in Portugal with a charge d’ affaires, waiting for Clinton to pick one of his campaign contributors to replace the career diplo-raptor. When he finally picked one, the guy had some shady financial problems as the heir to a tobacco fortune, so he nominated the guy’s wife, who turned out to be one of the biggest assholes on the planet. I could do an entire essay on her abuses of position.

Again in Bamako, we had a charge’ for quite awhile, but that falls into the ‘teeny-tiny’ category.

Well, with all due respect… does Portugal qualify as a “high-profile ally”?