Ambassador: an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country.
Diplomat: a person who can deal with people in a sensitive and effective way.
Every indication is that Trump will select one Theodore (Ted) Roosevelt Malloch to be the U.S. ambassador to the European Union (EU). The EU is not happy about this choice, and I understand why. Malloch has been outspoken in his criticism of the EU and said, “I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union1 So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.” Given that just last summer the UK voted to leave the EU, this was neither a wise nor tactful thing for Malloch to say. He also said that Trump was not a fan of the EU, described it as “supranational and unelected” and attacked the European commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker. “Mr. Juncker was a very adequate mayor I think of some city in Luxembourg, and maybe he should go back and do that again,” he said. Mr. Juncker, the EU Commission President, was actually the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
Why, one must ask, would you send an ambassador to a nation for which he obviously has no respect? But oh wait … we are speaking of Donald Trump here and his actions are typically 180 degrees away from logic or rationality. There is speculation that the EU will reject Malloch’s appointment, and they would be well within their rights to do so.
According to the 1961 Vienna Treaty on Diplomatic Relations, which codifies concepts such as diplomatic immunity and the inviolability of embassies, gives states quite a bit of leeway on kicking out diplomats. Article 9 states, “The receiving state may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending state that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending state shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission.”
An article in the Guardian leads with this:
“Ted Malloch, the man currently running an expensive media campaign to persuade Donald Trump to nominate him as the US ambassador to the European Union, knows that if he succeeds, it will be taken as a signal that Trump is willing to use his presidency to destroy the EU.”
Guy Verhofstadt, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) said:
“Mr. Malloch has made a series of public statements denigrating the EU, which threaten to undermine our traditionally strong relationship with the United States. The last thing we need in Europe is more nationalism, exported by the Trump administration. We demand that his accreditation is rejected.”
The EU is among our strongest allies, yet Trump would consider sending as ambassador a man who vows to destroy them. In November, Trump suggested that the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, should be the UK’s ambassador to the US, a statement both inappropriate and offensive, all of which suggests that Mr. Trump fails to understand the intent and purpose of diplomatic relationships. To send this man, a man who wishes to see the EU dismantled, to be the ambassador for the United States would be akin to another nation sending an ambassador to the U.S. who would see the U.S. dismantled into 50 nations, rather than one nation with 50 states. The purpose of an ambassador is not to change his host nation’s policies, but to be a liaison, to communicate and represent his own nation’s policies.
A brief article in the Independent elicited some interesting comments on the subject:
- “Freedom for Cascadia! Maybe California can do a Calexit from the USA and join them? Only kiding but seriously, Ted Malloch sounds like a right eejit.”
- “Mr. Mulloch you are a rough customer. Europe will be pleased to teach you manners. Europe and EU need not your coaching in democracy. Europe’s history is at least over 2000 years old. Western world’s culture and the world’ s first Democracy started in Europe. USA exists 240 years … that’s nothing compared to Europe.”
- “Whenever you look, someone even more dumb and illiterate shows up in US diplomacy.”
Most of us think of ambassadors as mostly going to official functions, being in charge of the U.S. embassy in the country to which they are assigned, and generally schmoozing. Their actual power to change policy is nil. However … we must remember that a simple misstatement, a few words spoken, can destroy a relationship, whether it is between two people or two nations. This is why the U.S. and Donald Trump must be cautious and diligent about who we select as ambassadors, lest we begin losing important allies.
1 In reality, Malloch had absolutely nothing to do with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, having served only a brief time as a diplomat at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 1980s. So, in addition to lacking tact and diplomacy, he also lacks honesty and integrity.