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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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May 12, 2014 - 1:43 pm

With the U.S. facing one of its most trying periods in the relationship with Russia, the White House won’t say if it’s even close to filling the ambassadorship in Moscow.

The post has been vacant since Feb. 26, when Ambassador Michael McFaul, appointed to the post in 2011, stepped down to rejoin his family in California.

White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked whether the delay in sending a successor to Moscow is because Geoffrey Pyatt, currently U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is first in line for the job.

“I don’t have any comment on short lists or candidates for any position that’s currently in need of being filled, except to say that a position like that is one that — that teams in place to review personnel decisions act aggressively on, and that, you know, we will move on when the time is right and when everything is in place,” Carney said.

He brushed off suggestions that, with Russian aggression on the rise, it’s not a good idea to be lacking an American ambassador in Moscow.

“I think we have an excellent team at our embassy in Moscow, and I don’t believe that that’s been a hindrance. The fact of the matter is because of the crisis in Ukraine, we have had more high-level direct conversations between U.S. and Russian government officials probably in a short period of time that has been had in a long time,” Carney boasted.

“As a general matter, the president and President Putin have spoken frequently. Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry have met and spoken frequently,” he continued. “Unfortunately, Russia has against the will of the international community, the United States, the European Union, the G7 and pretty much most of the world, have decided to engage in practices that violate flagrantly international law that violate a sovereign nation’s territorial integrity and that seem to seek to destabilize the free and fair presidential elections that have been called for May 25 in that country.”

“So I can tell you on this personnel matter that it will be acted on as soon as the president is ready to name someone,” Carney added.

McCaul announced at the beginning of February that he would leave after the Sochi Games. Russia invaded Crimea as soon as McCaul left the State Department.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Given Obama's record on critical appointments, we're likely better off with the office vacant than with anyone he'll appoint.
But then I think we'd be better off with the Oval Office vacant than with Obama in it.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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According to Senate records, there at at least 15 Ambassadorial nominations pending confirmation. That does not include vacant posts for which the WH has yet o make nominations.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I nominate Roseanne Barr.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
We'd be at DEFCON 2 within a month.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is apparent the Obama/Biden regime is searching for an outrageous homosexual media savvy Murican to send to Russia; just like NBC a department of the ministry of propaganda sent to the Olympic games in Socchi. The former American ambassador was a CIA operative who spent his time trying to undermine the Putin government. America Nova delenda est.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
With this regime, "what difference does it make?".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The job is being kept open for Jay Carney,
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Given Obama's record on critical appointments, we're likely better off with the office vacant than with anyone he'll appoint.
But then I think we'd be better off with the Oval Office vacant than with Obama in it.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you think it would also be better for the nation AND the world if "The Office of President" AND much of the Legislature and Judiciary were also vacant since at least 2008?

Remember "That government is best that governs least"?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, now that you mention it...
It's comparable to Scott Adams' comment about managers: you're expected to do 40 hours of management a week, no matter how much management is actually needed. Legislators think they need to be passing legislation; I wish they'd embrace the idea of a "do-less" legislature that focuses on their real jobs.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wish legislators had to have "real jobs" and their time in DC was strictly an on their own dime, on their own time affaire. The country would be much better off, but the lobbyists would be pissed.
It is much easier to manipulate the law when the "law makers" are conveniently corralled, like fish in barrels.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about Edward Snowdon, he is on a first-name basis with "Vlad" and knows the local scene around Moscow? sarc/off
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
More of that smart diplomacy!
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The current Chargé d'Affaires (Sheila Gwaltney) may be as competent as any Ambassador Obama may send. In fact, judging by her resume, she may have more street cred.
http://moscow.usembassy.gov/ambassador.html
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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