Ambassador as Change Agent
During my drive home, Dan Yorke was talking about rumors that Caroline Kennedy might be poised for appointment as President Obama’s ambassador to the Vatican:
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond L. Flynn is giving a thumbs down to Caroline Kennedy as a potential pick for his former diplomatic post, saying the pro-choice values of JFK’s daughter would make the nod “a mistake.” …
According to the Italian publication Panorama, Sen. John F. Kerry asked Obama to consider Caroline Kennedy for the Vatican ambassadorship. Neither Kerry’s office nor the White House would comment yesterday.
Dan’s core point was that the Vatican isn’t just another country, but an ethnic entity to which it is traditional to send an ambassador of the Roman Catholic faith, and being pro-life is critical to such a role. I’d suggest that the special status of the Vatican (in contrast to a nation) is only relevant in the sense that its public character is more starkly drawn than normal.
Sending Kennedy would be like sending an anti-Zionist Jew as ambassador to Israel. It would be like sending somebody whose beliefs run absolutely contrary to those of France or England or Brazil or wherever — somebody who stands in opposition to a core value of the foreign power. Such treatment is only suitable with hostile, or at least unfriendly, countries.
The only reason the United States would send an inimical ambassador is if it is more concerned with challenging a nation’s policies and beliefs than with ensuring good relations.