Saturday, January 07, 2017

Anti-Trumpers Hyperventilate Over Nothingburger Story About U.S. Ambassadors Leaving After Inauguration Day

Anti-Trumpers Hyperventilate Over Nothingburger Story About U.S. Ambassadors Leaving After Inauguration Day - Hit & Run :
"...The New York Times needs to breathe into a paper bag.
Last night, The Paper of Record dropped this bit of alarmism into the anti-Trump slipstream. 
Here's how Times columnist Charles M. Blow shared the news on Twitter:

When you pick through the article's alarmist adjectives to get down to the underlying facts, you're left with this nut: 
Politically appointed American ambassadors (i.e., those selected by the president from outside the Foreign Service, usually from a pool that coincidentally overlaps with his biggest donors and bundlers), by tradition, end their terms on Inauguration Day. 
Usually the president grants waivers to extend the terms of those who need a little extra time for stuff like not disrupting kids' school years. 
This time around, the incoming Trump administration has told the political ambassadors that there will be no waivers. 
Among the phrases and quotes used to characterize this move: "quite extraordinary," "exacerbates jitters among allies," "spite and payback," "guillotine," and so on. 
Among the relevant notions the article leaves out: How many ambassadors are "political" (usually about one-third), and how many of them will be impacted by this change. For the latter, let's go to Associated Press diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee:
In the past two inter-party transitions (Clinton-Bush, Bush-Obama) only about 10 political ambos have gotten extensions, per officials. 
I suppose "Trump inconveniences 10 families" isn't a particularly sexy story, so we're left with heavy breathing like this: 
"The directive has…upended the personal lives of many ambassadors, who are scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to remain in their countries so their children can remain in school." 
In other words, a handful of very rich people find themselves having to navigate the same disruptions that multiple military families face every damned day. 
(Also, re: "scrambling to…acquire visas," each of the four postings referenced in the article—Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Switzerland—allow U.S. citizens to visit without a visa for up to 90 days, which means that those dreaded disrupted school years can likely be stitched together via a single trip outside the country on, say, Easter.)
Part of the attempt at controversy here involves an unrealistic notion of what a U.S. ambassador actually does."

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