An op-ed in today’s LA Times by LTGen Claudia Kennedy USA (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney USMC (Ret.), both of the American Security Project, call on the Senate to prioritize the confirmation of the more than 40 nominees for vacant ambassadorial positions.
The absence of an ambassador signals to a host country that it isn’t a U.S. priority and that it is unworthy of a direct and official representative of the president.
37 nominees have already been confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and could be confirmed by a single vote in the full Senate. Echoing Secretary Kerry’s earlier piece in Politico Magazine, the generals argue the polarizing Senate confirmation process allows for partisanship to trump real national issues and interests.
National security should never be a partisan issue. During our years of service, we worked with diplomats appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents. And both military personnel and diplomats were able to put aside partisanship in order to advance American security interests.
The strength of our diplomatic initiatives is a national security issue and the absence of chiefs of missions in critical strategic locations like Turkey, South Korea, Niger and Cameroon limited the United States ability to lead in the global community. As the op-ed points out, it also sends a message to countries they are, “unworthy of a direct and official representative of the President… a dangerous message to send to allies and enemies alike.”
The op-ed can be read in its entirety here: You’ll never guess what partisan politics are damaging now
Claudia Kennedy is a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Army. Stephen A. Cheney is a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Marine Corps. They are both board members of the non-partisan American Security Project.