Should America Have Inexperienced Ambassadors?

March 21, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

We’ve previously covered how being the American ambassador to Austria costs just $1.3 million. Nicholas Kralev looked at the pros and cons of this practice:

  • Wealthy donors who are appointed to ambassadorships around the world generally have a close working relationship with the President.
  • Having no experience in foreign policy before they can also bring innovation to the post and challenge traditional kinds of thinking.
  • They normally have extensive management and leadership experience. They may also be wealthy enough to fund glamorous parties and receptions.
  • Yet in the end these are inexperienced individuals responsible for helping conduct America’s foreign policy – no different than, say, a General.
  • Often inexperienced appointees won’t speak the language of the country they’re assigned too and might even have their own personal agenda to promote in the country.
  • The State Department oversees two weeks of training for new ambassadors. After that they’re mostly on their own.

Read more thoughts about the practice, some examples of the inexperienced appointees that have been successful, and some of the abject disasters over here.

Source: The Atlantic