Let’s be fair and admit that ambassadorships are often handed out to friends of the president. So I will cut President Obama some slack if he chooses a political friend to fill an ambassador’s post.
But not Argentina. Not today’s Argentina.
Senator Rubio and Mr. Noah Bryson Mamet, our future ambassador, had this incredible conversation:
“SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Mr. Mamet, have you been to Argentina?
NOAH BRYSON MAMET, NOMINEE: Senator, I haven’t had the opportunity yet to be there. I travel pretty extensively around the world, but I haven’t yet had the chance.
RUBIO: Well, here’s why I ask — this is with all due respect. You have an impressive resume, work, and so forth. Obviously, we’re interested in your testimony and what we learn in the days to come leading up the nomination, but I don’t view this appointment as one — I think this is a very significant post.”
Yes, it is a very important post.
There are two problems with this nomination:
First, it will make him a “joke” before he presents his credentials in Buenos Aaires. Most people in Argentina will find this appointment insulting and further confirmation of President Obama’s indifference to the region.
Second, Argentina is in deep trouble, as reported by Ian Vazquez of Forbes:
“Argentina’s luck is finally starting to run out. It devalued its currency by 15 percent last week, marking the beginning of a possible economic crisis of the kind Argentina has become known for.”
Argentina may soon default on its foreign debt and it could hurt its neighbors.
My bottom line is that we need someone in Argentina who’s had some knowledge of this very important country.
We don’t need a US diplomat who will be the target of jokes, such as never having been to the country he is ambassador to.