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Obama Appoints New AfPak Ambassadors

In the midst of a period of great activity in Central Asia, Obama has just chosen new ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are tough jobs. It’s hard to think of two more troubled countries than Afghanistan and Pakistan, and there are few U.S. allies with whom our relationship is more fraught. The New York Times reports:

President Obama chose veteran diplomats on Tuesday to fill two of the most difficult overseas posts as he seeks to manage an evolving transition in war-torn Afghanistan while repairing relations with neighboring Pakistan after a period of deep friction.

While Mr. Obama made a campaign swing through Texas, the White House announced that he would nominate James B. Cunningham, deputy envoy in Kabul, to be the new ambassador to Afghanistan. He chose another member of the Kabul embassy staff, Richard G. Olson, who until recently oversaw economic affairs and development, to be the new ambassador to Pakistan.

Let’s all wish these two gentlemen well. They are taking on top assignments. Neither one can expect a lot of good press, and both face real danger in service to their country. The nearest we at Mead Manor ever get to violence is when misbehaving interns receive a few harmless floggings and “enhanced interrogation” sessions for daring to defy the Professor.

We hear a lot about honoring America’s troops, and Via Meadia is very much in favor of honoring their sacrifice.

But every now and then, it’s worth remembering our diplomats and honoring their service as well. They won’t get medals, and there will be no marching bands to greet them when they return home. But these men and their colleagues are patriots and heroes. We salute their courage and wish them all the success in the world.

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  • Rafael

    This is about a previous story published on this blog on allegations of forced conversion of Christians in Gaza.

    WRM overread on the story. The AFP is inconclusive on claims that the two Christians converts to Islam were made to leave their religion — though one wouldn’t know this from reading his blog post — and the AFP author who wrote the piece said herself that the forced conversion claims were unlikely and that, most probably, the converts left their families to seek shelter with Hamas due to fears of retribution from the Christian community.

    See her tweets below.

    The Palestinian Center of Human Rights, an independent group, confirmed that it held meetings with the two converts and their families, and denies that they were kidnapped or forced to leave Christianity.

  • dr kill

    That’s all very nice. But how do they feel about circumcision?

  • Luke Lea

    We are certainly asking them to do the impossible.

  • Maid Abusing Socialist

    Shame McGurk was pulled off the team. Whatever he might have accomplished in Iraq, he was surely the man to effect a back-channel rapprochement with the deeply aggrieved DSK…

  • Adam Garfinkle

    Actually, Walter, they do get medals, sort of. Returning ambassadors from the Absurdistans of the world, as well as others for various kinds of service, typically get Superior Service Awards. These awards typically consist of an actual medal, a certificate/plaque sort of thing, and a wad of cash. I know; I have one.

    Parades? No. Your general point stands proud and tall.

  • thibaud

    A pity that good ol’ Jesse Helms (peace be unto him) isn’t around to read this.

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