Caroline Kennedy — The New American Ambassador to Japan

Caroline KennedyOn July 25, the Obama administration nominated Caroline Kennedy, 55, as the new U.S. ambassador to Japan.

As a longtime family friend, the director, Mike Nichols, said, it’s a job for which Ms. Kennedy is ideally suited. After all, he said, “In the course of her life, what has she learned if not diplomacy?”

Clearly, this is an important moment in Japanese politics. The new prime minister of Japan , Shinzō Abe, is planning a more “robust” military and a policy of “collective self-defence.” Abe said such principles as pacifism, the sovereignty of the people and respect for basic human rights would be preconditions for any such change, and that discussions are now “deepening” about what kind of Constitution best suits modern Japan.

The new ambassador may well wonder whether Mr. Abe’s reported wish for drones as an element in the robust new military is compatible with the concept of pacifism.

Source (in part): The New York Times, July 28

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5 responses to “Caroline Kennedy — The New American Ambassador to Japan

  1. The New York Times is quoting a film director, who endorses a socialite for an Ambassadorial position to a critical US ally at what looks like a pivotal point in its history…
    … just saying…

  2. Michael Gundy

    While I am sure that Caroline Kennedy is intelligent and kind to children & dogs, this announcement underlines that diplomacy should be left to diplomates (preferably professional ones).

  3. Fred Langan

    Read the biography of her grandfather, Joseph Kennedy, earlier this year. Let’s hope she is nothing like the Ambassador to London.

  4. Readers may have the misconception that U.S. Ambassador’s at “A” list Embassies are predominantly professional diplomats. Actually the opposite is true, most have been either retired political veterans of their Party, or fundraisers for the President in their campaigns. The Professional US Foreign Service Officer aspires to be the Number Two at a G7 or Top OECD Embassy, or perhaps Ambassador to Mozambique, Tunisia, or Kuwait. There are honourable, even great exceptions of linguists, scholars, activists, and yes Professional diplomats. Canadian-born economist, and FDR Administration official, JK Galbraith, was Kennedy’s Ambassador to India.

    What other nations governments seek in a U.S. Ambassador is a person that can communicate their position at the highest level on issues that require resolution at the highest level, a communicator with ready access to the President. What a U.S. President wants is an Ambassador that can follow orders and deliver his message, a communicator with ready access to Japanese leadership and elite influencers. Presidents and U.S. State Department must weigh whether country specialists, scholars, and linguists have their own bilateral stakes in the game. Caroline Kennedy will have no difficulty navigating gatekeepers on the White House switchboard. Time will tell how well she delivers the U.S. message in Japan. She will have their attention. She may or may not become an exceptional Ambassador, but her appointment was not an exceptional one.

  5. Very enlightening, Henry. Thanks.