June 23, 2004

Who Else Is In the Crowd?

In the midst of his swearing-in ceremony this quick aside from John Negroponte:

AMBASSADOR NEGROPONTE: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, Ms. Rice, Minister Rend al-Rahim, other colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps who have already been recognized by Secretary Powell, distinguished guests and friends, I guess I would like, first of all, just to acknowledge the presence of one other person who is here today and with whom I look forward to working extremely closely in the months ahead, and that is General George Casey who has just relinquished his or is about to relinquish his duties as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army to come out to be the Commander in Iraq. So I just wanted everybody to know that George is here as well.

Yeah, not your typical Ambassadorship. George Casey is, indeed, "here as well."

And while Negroponte opened by mentioning the U.S. commander who will lead 130,000 U.S. G.I.s on the ground, he ended by addressing the U.N. community:

I would also like to honor our fallen colleagues from the United Nations, notably Sergio Vieira de Mello and to thank United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and his Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi for guiding the political process that has led to the interim Iraqi administration. I look forward to continued collaboration with UN colleagues in the months ahead.

Watch Negroponte pull off a degree of U.N. involvement, assuming the security situation materially improves, that well exceeds Nancy Soderberg's (a passionate and smart observer of the U.N. scene) somewhat pessimistic take.

P.S. Note too, per Powell's remarks, his mention of sitting Ambassadors that have stepped down to serve as "DCMs" or Deputy Chiefs of Mission under Negroponte.

Once you become an Ambassador, you normally don't downgrade back to DCM status.

But, of course, this is probably the most critical Embassy to serve at since Saigon in the late 60s and early 70s.

Posted by Gregory at June 23, 2004 09:53 PM
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