Anna Wintour may be English, but the English don’t want her as the next U.S. Ambassador. At least not the political conservatives, who are hoping outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will persuade President Obama to drop the Vogue magazine editor from consideration.
Wintour caused an uproar when her name emerged on a shortlist of possible replacements for outgoing ambassador Louis Susman, whom Obama appointed after the 2008 election.
Susman, a lawyer and retired investment banker and Wintour share one important thing in common; they are both major fundraisers for Obama’s political campaigns. Wintour reportedly helped raise $500,000 for his 2012 re-election bid.
Plumb ambassadorships are part of the spoils of politics, and Obama has played the game as much as any former president, even though he said in 2008 he would appoint more career diplomats to important posts.
In England, there are fears that a Wintour appointment would degrade the country’s importance in foreign affairs.
Nile Gardiner, the Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator, for the right-leaning Telegraph newspaper is leading the protests against Wintour’s appointment.
He noted that the Court of St. James has been served by such notable American as John Adams, James Monroe, John Q. Adams, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, Andrew Mellon and W. Averell Harriman. Joseph P. Kennedy also held the post.
But Britain was once a world power, deserving of skill diplomats to safeguard the interests of the fledgling United States. While Britain is still an important ally, today, it no longer dominates global politics. Nothing would drive home that point quite like Wintour’s appointment.
“Her qualifications for the job of US Ambassador to London are woefully inadequate. And who can forget her extremely poor judgment in commissioning a glowing 3,000-word profile of the wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Gardiner wrote.
The Telegraph also question how Wintour would be able to handle such highly complex issues as a US-UK extradition treaty, the Falklands, defense issues, or Britain’s step back from Europe, which the U.S. opposes.
The Tory’s secret wish: “I doubt that Wintour will get the post – it is hard to see Hillary Clinton endorsing her appointment or the State Department signing on to it,” writes Gardiner. Wishful thinking?
Well, Obama nominated 59 ambassadors during his first term and 40 of them were major party campaign donors with no diplomatic experience.