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(Yahoo)   Let's see what Obama's State Department thinks exhibits competence in its ambassadorial nominations. Hmm. "Speaks conversational Greek." Oh, that should be a hit in Norway   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 53
    More: Stupid, Obama, State Department, demos, Greek, real estate investor, corporate law, Caroline Kennedy, municipal law  
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661 clicks; posted to Politics » on 09 May 2014 at 7:55 PM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-09 02:55:48 PM  
This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.
 
2014-05-09 03:01:02 PM  
Besides, this is Greek graffiti:
thegoddessofthehunt.com
It looks like a physics equation. Just think how smart our diplomat will sound, even if he's swearing like a sailor.
 
2014-05-09 04:21:04 PM  
They all speak American in Norway anyway
 
2014-05-09 04:25:33 PM  

Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.


Also, the skilled diplomats get assigned to countries that don't like us much, or we at least have a tepid relationship at best. You know... the ones where ongoing diplomacy is required to stay out of economic (or shooting) wars.

Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.
 
2014-05-09 04:38:38 PM  

BKITU: Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.


The real work is done by career diplomats at the State Department anyway.
 
2014-05-09 04:39:58 PM  
Subby sounds like he needs an all-expense paid trip to Lightenthefarkupistan.
 
2014-05-09 04:52:21 PM  
both cultures love fish.  And food bridges a lot of divides.

Not that there are any divides.  Norway's Ambassador doesn't do anything but attend parties and do the ol' pump-n-grin.
 
2014-05-09 06:13:13 PM  
THIS IS AN OUT--

the practice of naming big donors to prominent ambassadorial posts did not start with Obama - nor will it end with him

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
 
2014-05-09 06:22:27 PM  
I was born for this job.

If you're reading this, please consider sending me to Oslo, I could make great things happen.
 
2014-05-09 07:22:36 PM  
Obama missed a great opportunity here.

kttv.images.worldnow.com

Bonus:  Speaks fluent Norwegian!
 
2014-05-09 08:01:18 PM  

RexTalionis: BKITU: Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.

The real work is done by career diplomats at the State Department anyway.


I was going to say that the ambassador would have a translator if he was dealing with official business. Even if he was fluent, you wouldn't want him to fark something up by accident
 
2014-05-09 08:01:49 PM  
Very funny, subby.  No one speaks Greek anymore, everyone knows that!  It's a dead language.
 
2014-05-09 08:03:26 PM  
HOLY farkING shiat, HOW WILL WE DEFUSE THAT MASSIVE NORWEGIAN CRISIS THAT'S HAPPENING NOW BETWEEN THE US AND NORWAY NOW WITH THIS INCOMPETENT DECISION OF AN APPOINEMENT OMG
 
2014-05-09 08:09:02 PM  
Is he fully functional and programmed in multiple techniques?
 
2014-05-09 08:11:53 PM  
That is Norway's Benghazi.
 
2014-05-09 08:12:51 PM  

Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.


done in one
 
2014-05-09 08:13:08 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: HOLY farkING shiat, HOW WILL WE DEFUSE THAT MASSIVE NORWEGIAN CRISIS THAT'S HAPPENING NOW BETWEEN THE US AND NORWAY NOW WITH THIS INCOMPETENT DECISION OF AN APPOINEMENT OMG


You forget Norway has lots of oil, all it would take is the ambassador using the wrong fork to eat his fish course and this being politely pointed out by his hosts, and suddenly the US would be forced to free the shiat out of all that oil to cover up the faux pas.
 
2014-05-09 08:19:30 PM  

BKITU: Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

Also, the skilled diplomats get assigned to countries that don't like us much, or we at least have a tepid relationship at best. You know... the ones where ongoing diplomacy is required to stay out of economic (or shooting) wars.

Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.


Impossible to fark up you say....

That sounds like a challenge. I'm sure that this guy will try his best...

/ most ambassadors don't ever have to do much ambassadoring; it's mostly kissing hands and shaking babies
 
2014-05-09 08:41:15 PM  
Anyone that speaks any second language will be a better diplomat than someone who only speaks one language, even if it's not the language of the country involved.

Remember around 2004 when all the GOP were loudly crowing about how proud they were for never having been outside the US, and for never even having a passport? Yes, definitely our national government is best when run by ignorant rubes.
 
2014-05-09 08:47:54 PM  
Did subby run out of Benghazi articles?
 
2014-05-09 09:00:48 PM  
My country is an English speaking nation on good terms with the US and a lot of other nations and is widely noted for outdoors enthusiasts. So the diplomatic corps in Wellington, NZ is filled with political appointees who have managed to wrangle their way into a benign, low-stakes environment.

I don't think this is a particularly bad thing, but there must be a lot of work for the various chargé d'affaires in carrying out routine diplomatic duties
 
2014-05-09 09:21:20 PM  

Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.


You have several good points however all presidents have also taken political hits for doing it to excess. Lichtenstein or some other small nation or one who is small in the geopolitical sense are where the political appointees go, it's hard to fark up something in a major way if there are no major concerns to start off with. They don't go to major partners (Norway is in NATO so right there makes them pretty important) or places where some of our other international partners are in contention, for example Argentina and Great Britain are still locking horns over who owns the Falkland Islands so that position needs someone in Argentina who has at least some knowledge of the country and not someone who is sent there as a political favor first and then gets to learn as she goes because lets face it, we don't know what may happen next week, odds are very good that nothing at all will happen but just like we don't send troops or ships in unprepared and untrained, I assume that when we send something or someone in to be our official representative that they are fully prepared. To do otherwise is unacceptable.

You don't get to try and shove what other presidents have done into what Obama has done as a way of deflection. If it's wrong then it's wrong, even if other presidents did wrong it just means that they were also wrong and not that it's OK for this president to do wrong as some sort of dumb compensation for past mistakes of others. That's supposed to be what is called a learning experience.
 
2014-05-09 09:37:01 PM  

Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.


I don't get the "more important issues exist" thing. S'not like "NORTH KOREA HAZ TEH NOOKS" fills up 24 hours every day. Reminds me of how all scientists are supposed to be curing cancer OR ELSE.
 
2014-05-09 10:11:47 PM  
I gotta think that speaking Norwegian isn't real high on the list of things an ambassador to Norway needs to know. Everyone in that government is 100% likely to speak English.
 
2014-05-09 10:12:04 PM  
Hey, some vikings knew greek and used it to talk to greek-speaking arabs back in the day

/at least according to Eaters of the Dead. =P
 
2014-05-09 10:14:59 PM  
Meanwhile, Norway's ambassador to the US has a record of actual achievements of a non-political-hack variety, and is likely fluent in a variety of American dialects including Old Brooklyn, Alabama, Boston, Florida Alte-Kacker, West Coast stoner, Lawn Guyland and (of course) Minnesotan and Wisconsinese.
 
2014-05-09 10:30:00 PM  

Gulper Eel: Meanwhile, Norway's ambassador to the US has a record of actual achievements of a non-political-hack variety, and is likely fluent in a variety of American dialects including Old Brooklyn, Alabama, Boston, Florida Alte-Kacker, West Coast stoner, Lawn Guyland and (of course) Minnesotan and Wisconsinese.


I would expect that everybody's ambassador to the U.S. is one of their top diplomats; considering the asymmetry in most U.S.-international relationships, they have a relatively larger stake.
 
2014-05-09 10:30:43 PM  

BKITU: Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.


And I support it.  With the State Department doing the heavy lifting, the Ambassador's job comes down to advancing US business interests in the region and making the locals like the president and his policies.  Who better for that than a someone who supports the president and his policies.

That said, when this this "competency certificate" stuff start?  That was the stupid part of this story.  If Congress wants to embarrass an appointee they can (and apparently did).  There's no need to make some poor functionary at the State Department try to torture the English language and common sense to fill out a form.
 
2014-05-09 10:33:41 PM  
Old as dirt. Not that there is anything wrong with ancient dirt. Benghazi.
 
2014-05-09 11:04:01 PM  

sendtodave: Very funny, subby.  No one speaks Greek anymore


That's totally not true. The back pages of the local free paper are filled with ads from lonely young college coeds that speak Greek.
 
2014-05-09 11:14:27 PM  

Manfred J. Hattan: BKITU: Getting an ambassadorship to a friendly country is a political sinecure. It's a comfy plum job that's basically impossible to fark up. Regardless of whether the guy sitting in the Oval Office is (D) or (R) or (W) or (D-R) or (F) -- they have always been given to political allies.

And I support it.  With the State Department doing the heavy lifting, the Ambassador's job comes down to advancing US business interests in the region and making the locals like the president and his policies.  Who better for that than a someone who supports the president and his policies.

That said, when this this "competency certificate" stuff start?  That was the stupid part of this story.  If Congress wants to embarrass an appointee they can (and apparently did).  There's no need to make some poor functionary at the State Department try to torture the English language and common sense to fill out a form.


Short term-like thinking detected. The president is not the be all or do all of policy. He (or she) decides where the ship of state is pointed at the time but at the end of their term he (or she) has to give up command and one big rule of command is that you never ever steer too hard unless you really, REALLY, have to. That's when you start to hit rocks and other large things because you are in charge of a ship that can't really turn all that fast without some major issues coming up. See George Bush as to how that can turn out.

Competency certification has been around at least since the UN opened in the 1940's and probably before that. It's normally a functionary thing but there are a few rules regarding it. Sometimes, in fact probably most times, those rules are bureaucratic bullcrap that get glossed over and never make it into the news. But there are a few positions dictated by history that are sensitive by nature and need a more steady hand. NATO countries are one of those cases.

Even a skilled and experienced diplomat can screw up (April Gilespi anyone). She got hundreds of thousands killed when everything was said and done because she made a simple miscalculation in Iraqs intention. I'm not ever going to be a fan of putting amateurs in positions where they don't have at least some experience in that slot in one form or another. Speak the language. Read the language. Have someone close in your life that used to live there. Whatever. No insight into a culture means that you don't understand it, and that's what gets people killed, sometimes a whole lot of them. Gilespi missed the mark and that is what I would call a cautionary tale about what to avoid in the future.

There are without a doubt the "Kissing hands and shaking babies" positions handed out as favors. I'm not happy about that but it's a reality that has to be accepted. It happens and there's not really any effective mechanism to stop it, but there should be. Sitting in an embassy in Bermuda is not the same as sitting in one in Argentina. The stakes are not the same.
 
2014-05-09 11:16:31 PM  

Krieghund: That's totally not true. The back pages of the local free paper are filled with ads from lonely young college coeds that speak Greek.


And god bless them for that. Keeping a dead language alive is important...

Oh wait... you meant the other kind of Greek... Well god bless them for that too.
 
2014-05-09 11:39:01 PM  

xria: You forget Norway has lots of oil, all it would take is the ambassador using the wrong fork to eat his fish course and this being politely pointed out by his hosts, and suddenly the US would be forced to free the shiat out of all that oil to cover up the faux pas.


fark, HOLY shiat STICKS< HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THROUGH THE NOREGIAN CRISES NOW

I shudder to think how much Morway must be freaking out over this insult.  They're likely preparing for the wars.
 
2014-05-09 11:57:28 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: xria: You forget Norway has lots of oil, all it would take is the ambassador using the wrong fork to eat his fish course and this being politely pointed out by his hosts, and suddenly the US would be forced to free the shiat out of all that oil to cover up the faux pas.

fark, HOLY shiat STICKS< HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THROUGH THE NOREGIAN CRISES NOW

I shudder to think how much Morway must be freaking out over this insult.  They're likely preparing for the wars.


The people responsible for this sarcasm have been sacked.
 
2014-05-10 12:08:16 AM  

moothemagiccow: Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

I don't get the "more important issues exist" thing. S'not like "NORTH KOREA HAZ TEH NOOKS" fills up 24 hours every day. Reminds me of how all scientists are supposed to be curing cancer OR ELSE.


Maybe not, but there are more than enough serious issues to cover 24 hours of every day.
 
2014-05-10 01:39:16 AM  
TL, DR: Not all ambassadors are actually qualified, and this happened LONG before Obama got elected, but we're going to act like he is doing something unique to him while actually telling you that he isn't unique.
 
2014-05-10 02:20:00 AM  
How many languages do YOU speak?

/jerks
 
2014-05-10 03:24:11 AM  
"Rich guy gave me a lot of money" has always been the top qualifier.
 
2014-05-10 04:14:59 AM  
Lando Lincoln: Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

So we we shouldn't discuss this?
 
2014-05-10 06:28:45 AM  

cameroncrazy1984: I gotta think that speaking Norwegian isn't real high on the list of things an ambassador to Norway needs to know. Everyone in that government is 100% likely to speak English.


Really? Why would you think that? I'll certainly grant that a fair number of high profile government member likely do, but it's a representative government. I doubt the Norwegians consider English to be an essential qualification.
 
2014-05-10 06:32:06 AM  

Radioactive Ass: Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

You have several good points however all presidents have also taken political hits for doing it to excess. Lichtenstein or some other small nation or one who is small in the geopolitical sense are where the political appointees go, it's hard to fark up something in a major way if there are no major concerns to start off with. They don't go to major partners (Norway is in NATO so right there makes them pretty important) or places where some of our other international partners are in contention, for example Argentina and Great Britain are still locking horns over who owns the Falkland Islands so that position needs someone in Argentina who has at least some knowledge of the country and not someone who is sent there as a political favor first and then gets to learn as she goes because lets face it, we don't know what may happen next week, odds are very good that nothing at all will happen but just like we don't send troops or ships in unprepared and untrained, I assume that when we send something or someone in to be our official representative that they are fully prepared. To do otherwise is unacceptable.

You don't get to try and shove what other presidents have done into what Obama has done as a way of deflection. If it's wrong then it's wrong, even if other presidents did wrong it just means that they were also wrong and not that it's OK for this president to do wrong as some sort of dumb compensation for past mistakes of others. That's supposed to be what is called a learning experience.


You sound concerned.
 
2014-05-10 07:02:19 AM  

Verrai: moothemagiccow: Lando Lincoln: This shiat again? Seriously?

Yes, ambassadorships are given out as political favors. Yes, lots of Presidents have done this for many many years. Yes, we should take ambassadorships more seriously. Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

I don't get the "more important issues exist" thing. S'not like "NORTH KOREA HAZ TEH NOOKS" fills up 24 hours every day. Reminds me of how all scientists are supposed to be curing cancer OR ELSE.

Maybe not, but there are more than enough serious issues to cover 24 hours of every day.


This point never comes up in immigration discussions
 
2014-05-10 07:42:40 AM  
The system is so damn broken. At least his position is mostly worthless.
 
2014-05-10 07:57:22 AM  
Seriously, for all the poutrage, does anyone really buy that the conservatives in this thread give two farks about who the ambassador to Norway is?
 
2014-05-10 08:07:50 AM  

Frank N Stein: Lando Lincoln: Yes, there are many more serious issues to be discussing than this.

So we we shouldn't discuss this?


That depends on your standpoint.

If it's similar to submitter's, avoid discussion unless you like appearing to be an unrepentant shill.

If it's in regards to the fact that this is a  systematic issue,not an Obama issue, then maybe a discussion can be had without you looking stupid.
 
2014-05-10 08:14:05 AM  
While I agree the political appointment of big donors to ambassadorships is in many ways kind of messed up and probably needs some "reform" to remove it from being a carrot for political donations, I find the timing of the concern interesting. Kind of like the new found concern for the cost of diplomatic trips abroad by the POTUS, vacation expenses of the First Family, department "czars", executive orders, drones, the Patriot Act, NSA domestic surveillance, etc.
 
2014-05-10 08:59:41 AM  
I have it on good authority that Norway thinks we are nuts.
 
2014-05-10 09:29:29 AM  

Mike_1962: cameroncrazy1984: I gotta think that speaking Norwegian isn't real high on the list of things an ambassador to Norway needs to know. Everyone in that government is 100% likely to speak English.

Really? Why would you think that? I'll certainly grant that a fair number of high profile government member likely do, but it's a representative government. I doubt the Norwegians consider English to be an essential qualification.


Seeing as how English have been taught as a core subject in Norwegian primary schools since at least the early 60's... yes, it's a certainty that any given Norwegian under the retirement age knows at least some conversational English. Granted, it may not be much, and the accent might be somewhat thick - but enough to ask for a beer and where the potty is.
 
2014-05-10 09:43:08 AM  

Mike_1962: cameroncrazy1984: I gotta think that speaking Norwegian isn't real high on the list of things an ambassador to Norway needs to know. Everyone in that government is 100% likely to speak English.

Really? Why would you think that? I'll certainly grant that a fair number of high profile government member likely do, but it's a representative government. I doubt the Norwegians consider English to be an essential qualification.


You underestimate the value of learning English to non-native speakers.
 
2014-05-10 09:45:45 AM  

UNC_Samurai: Gulper Eel: Meanwhile, Norway's ambassador to the US has a record of actual achievements of a non-political-hack variety, and is likely fluent in a variety of American dialects including Old Brooklyn, Alabama, Boston, Florida Alte-Kacker, West Coast stoner, Lawn Guyland and (of course) Minnesotan and Wisconsinese.

I would expect that everybody's ambassador to the U.S. is one of their top diplomats; considering the asymmetry in most U.S.-international relationships, they have a relatively larger stake.


This. They send important, skilled diplomats precisely because the US generally doesn't give a fark about them.

I recommend watching the video for the dig from McCain though. One of the few things that man has ever said that put a smile on my face.
 
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