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What Does the Ambassador Do?

There’s been a certain amount of harrumphing in Washington DC about the appointment of Louis Susman, retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking (and Obama fundraiser of $500,000), to be ambassador to Britain. Another big fundraiser ($100-200k), former financial analyst Charles Rivkin is heading to Paris to be America’s ambassador. Biotech lawyer John Roos (who raised more than $500k) is heading to Tokyo; theology professor Miguel Díaz to the Vatican and Tim Roemer to New Dehli.

What do they all have in common? They are all friends and associates of President Obama. These appointments have ruffled feathers of career diplomats who feel a bit put out that they’ve been robbed of the opportunity of going to Paris, London or Tokyo as US ambassador (although it is normal practice for two-thirds of appointments to come from the ranks of civil servants and the rest to be awarded to the incumbent president’s friends or donors.

But what do ambassadors do exactly? Let’s see behind the scenes….

Read more in Slate.


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