Sources say today that the Jeffrey Gedmin announcement will be made soon, probably within days.
Since TWN first posted the news that Gedmin would join John Bolton’s senior team at the U.S. mission to the United Nations, we have been deluged with emails in support of and opposed to Gedmin.
I want to be clear that I think Jeffrey Gedmin is a complex and interesting person — a deeply committed neoconservative thinker and policy entrepreneur, who is proud of that distinction. He is personable, a nice guy — open to debate — but nonetheless ferocious in his convictions. The issue I have raised is less about Gedmin, though I disagree with him on various fronts. This is all about JOHN BOLTON and his judgment.
John Bolton is bringing an ideological fellow-traveler to the U.N. to bolster his views within the State Department bureacracy and to joust with other factions in the Republican foreign policy establishment. This strategy argues that Bolton is building a power base to do battle from his current spot; it is not indicative of someone who is going to be managed by or converge closely with the State Department bureaucracy and leadership.
One interesting question is the role that Jeffrey Gedmin is being appointed to. Most of those TWN has confirmed this story with have reported that it is Anne Patterson’s job, the “Deputy” position, that has been offered to Gedmin. It is that job, they say, that he thinks he is getting.
That said, I have no confirmation from Gedmin — and since that time — I have had a flurry of emails from some of the nation’s most famous and capable former diplomats. They generally say the same thing: that the Deputy position is always a career foreign service officer and that to try and put a political appointee in the Deputy Ambassador position would seriously breach long-held understandings and agreements with the foreign service corps.
So, TWN does not know what to make of this. There is a possibility that those who have interacted with Bolton and Gedmin are making a mistake in how they describe the position.
There is an alternate and vacant high profile “Ambassadorship” in the U.S. Mission that others like Nancy Soderberg held during Clinton’s term. This position is titled “Representative for Special Political Affairs,” and this spot is ALWAYS political.
There is a possibility that those who have interacted with Gedmin and leaked news to TWN are thinking that this is the “deputy” position which Gedmin is seeking. Gedmin himself may have called this “Representative for Special Political Affairs” job a Deputy job — when formally, it is not.
Alternatively, Gedmin may really be in line for Anne Patterson’s position — which the foreign policy bureaucracy seems positioned to fight tooth-and-nail.
In any case, rumors now indicate that Gedmin’s nomination will be announced rather quickly.
— Steve Clemons