The Senate is set to vote on the confirmation of two ambassadors today, Eunice Reddick as Ambassador to Niger and Michael Lawson as Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). While this is welcome progress, it is not enough. The alarming number of vacant ambassadorial positions as a result of holds on nominations by the Senate is coming under increasing scrutiny. As Secretary Kerry argued in his Politco op-ed last week and has been stated repeatedly by others including recent ASP posts, diplomacy is a cornerstone of the smart power approach the United States needs to be effective in the 21st century. Without ambassadors on the ground, who serve as chiefs of missions, the US’s ability to lead and respond to evolving global trends and threats is severely limited.
Maggie Feldman-Piltch is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University and an ASP intern focusing on diplomacy, development, and strategic communications. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.