The Australians are feeling a little put out that the Bush administration has failed to appoint a new ambassador to Canberra, a post which has been vacant since the end of 2004. There is also concern that the sudden cancellation of a visit by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is a bit of a snub. An article in The Australian highlights the issue.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer emerged from hastily arranged talks in Washington with Dr Rice on Monday, saying the US had given no hint on when it would name a replacement for Mr Schieffer. (Tom Schieffer was posted to Tokyo in 2004)Umm, diplomacy is NOT the Bush administration's strong suit. In fact, it's not even in the cards they're using.
We would like them to appoint an ambassador as soon as possible," Mr Downer said. "Obviously there have been some, how can I put it, there have been some difficulties that they have encountered in relation to potential appointments, which are really not for us. That's a matter for them."Yup. George is really busy trying to get people to like him and Australia is SO far away. However, you can have the US ambassador to Canada! He's a dork, but he's Bush's buddy, so he should be ok for a while.A source close to the Bush administration said yesterday the delay could be explained by the President being preoccupied with a series of second-term political crises, including the Iraq war.
INCLUDING THE IRAQ WAR?!!! No kidding! And then there is the fact that he's spying on his own citizens, lied his way into the invasion of Iraq, can't get a nominee to the Supreme Court past a bunch of religious carpet-baggers, has one of his top advisors under indictment and another one under investigation, has a little fraud and corruption scandal bubbling over and anyway... some Aussie told the administration that "Oz is full 'a 'roos, mate," and they can't appoint an ambassador until all 21 US intelligence agencies provide their separate interpretations.But defence analyst Alan Behm did not think the US was snubbing Australia.
"I don't believe that's the case at all," he said. "I think George W. Bush is looking for another trusted confidant like Tom Schieffer who can operate at high level between himself and John Howard, and they won't be easy shoes to fill."
Short Behm - Bush is running out of cronies to appoint. And since Oz is more than a 1 hour shuttle flight away from Washington, well, it's a long way from the holy waters of the Potomac.
That, or you are really being snubbed. Or maybe just ignored. Don't take it personally. It's the Bush administration. Having no US ambassador for the next little while may be a good thing.