Sunday, May 24, 2009

We Are Not Alone: Ambassador to-Be to London Louis Susman, Another Obama Bagman Extraordinaire

And the British media “are in a tizzy”.

I’ve been reading and hearing from a variety of sources that the Japanese authorities were not pleased to hear that a last-minute switch resulted in Jon Roos’ secondment to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, so I’m happy for the peace of mind of those people to know that we are not the only ones who have been pissed off. What’s a little weird is the fact that Susman’s name has already been in the hat for months. Didn’t that give the British enough time to get over it?

Beyond the surprise element—no one wants to be blindsided—what a government official that I talked to said made the most sense to me. He agreed that the Roos nomination was a sign of U.S. satisfaction with Japan as a trusted ally and that it was not unreasonable to assume that Japan should be happy that Tokyo is seen as a posh reward on a par with London, Paris, and Rome. However, the Japanese side is not as happy with the U.S. treatment of Japanese concerns, most notably the abduction issue—thus, in his view, the dissatisfaction with what was being seen in some quarters as a manifestation of benign neglect. We agreed that it was likely that the Japanese side would eventually be happy that an ambassador with real leverage with the President and his staff—after all, Schieffer is just a friend, and Nye is just an academic—would be in town.

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