17 August 2015

Uncommon Commentary #472

Here's a better idea than reopening our embassy in Havana: let's return to the practice, which was discontinued after World War II, of appointing ambassadors only to countries that play a significant rĂ´le in world affairs. We would save money by closing most of our embassies; more importantly, many persons who have been rewarded with undeserved ambassadorships for their work raising money for Obama’s presidential campaigns (thus becoming bundlers for a bungler) would be put out of work. This change would not amount to a sundering of diplomatic relations, since we would continue to maintain consulates for the sake of whatever citizens of ours might find themselves in the country that is host to the consulate.
Similarly: Many states have severed diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and established them instead with the People's Republic of China (the mainland). It ought to be noted, though, that there are two types of recognition of a country's government: official, and de-facto (viz., recognition in fact though not in name). The former is awarded to whom one considers to be the legitimate leaders of a polity, whereas the latter is conferred upon regimes that one considers to be illegitimate but too important to ignore. Why not, therefore, maintain diplomatic relations with both the RoC and the PRC, recognizing only the rulers of the former as the rightful ones of China? Better, why not make the bestowal of de-facto recognition either the universal practice or at least the rule rather than the exception?