Chuck Hagel is reportedly the current frontrunner to Replace Ambassador Schieffer in Tokyo but Joseph Nye is still in the running. Of course you’d know nothing about that unless you followed the Japanese media. Other than the top Ambassador to the U.N.—currently a Cabinet-level post—there’s little to no speculation in the U.S. media on U.S. ambassadorships as a part of the transition. Is there any other nation in the world where this is going on? After all, ambassadors haven’t been making any important decisions since the advent of the telephone, have they?
In any case, Chuck Hagel would not quite be the status symbol embodied by a true national figure, he is nevertheless the Magic Republican, a decent mainstream conservative Senator who broke with President Bush on the war in Iraq—think Roger Maris instead of Mickey Mantle, but not Billy Martin either. I think that the message would be more or less the same regardless of which one (or any other meaningful candidate) winds up in Tokyo.
Incidentally, this dialogue continues.