Political appointments to diplomatic posts are an easy target, he says, while noting that the three nominees’ lack of familiarity with the countries in which they would be posted is not impressive.
However, Benjamin writes, “the further conclusion many draw—that political appointees are almost by definition inferior to Foreign Service ambassadors—is flat wrong. In recent years, we’ve had a batch of unusually talented political appointees—ones who added skills and insights to their jobs that few, if any, career diplomats could match.”
Benjamin is the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. He formerly served as ambassador-at-large and coordinator of counterterrorism for the U.S. State Department.
Read the full opinion piece, published 3/16/14 by The Boston Globe.