by Seth j. Frantzman
The British, in particular, have had a long spate of biased and strange political representatives in the
The seemingly strange comments by
Diplomats sometimes become completely beholden to their host society, to the point that they no longer represent the interests of the mother country. After retiring, many of them, like Eugene H.
Throughout history, ambassadors have often represented their home countries zealously. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I, the Spanish ambassador to
But diplomats are susceptible to influence and they have their own opinions.
Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, was appointed ambassador to the
In the 19th century, Western powers began appointing representatives in cities such as
THE BRITISH particularly have had a long spate of biased and strange political representatives in the
Harry St. John Philby was born to British parents in
Philby almost immediately became a partisan of the Saud family. But his "going native" didn't deter the British government from keeping him on after the war in Iraq and
Lawrence of Arabia also became overly biased toward his Middle Eastern friends, particularly King Faisal of
To a minor extent the equivalents of Philby and Lawrence in the
Robert Kaplan, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes have all documented the problem of American diplomats sent to Arab countries who developed a "passionate attachment" – what former secretary of state Jim Baker called "clientitis" – and even ended up on the Saudi payroll after their ambassadorships ended.
Among the most notorious is James Akins, a career diplomat and ambassador to
In 1989 Akins attempted to get the Federal Elections Commission to regulate AIPAC. With former ambassador to Qatar Andrew Killgore, he joined the pro-Palestinian organization If Americans Knew. In a 2001 article, "Why do they hate us," he claimed that 9/11 was caused by "the anti-American feeling in the Middle East and South Asia [that] has everything to do with
Charles Freeman (ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1989-1992) has spent the last decade advocating for the Arab world in the
John West (ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1977-1981), according to Emerson, encouraged punishment of Israel for the strike on Iraq in 1981, facilitated Saudi business deals in the US after retirement and, as ambassador, helped lobby for the sale of F-15s to the kingdom.
Robert Jordan (ambassador 2001- 2003) spoke at the 17th annual Arab-US policy-makers conference and noted that "one of the great pleasures" he feels now is visiting Saudi Arabia six or seven times a year, but "I think it's one thing to develop a warm friendship and sense of kindred with the country in which you serve, but you're still there to serve American interests."
His statement could serve as a good reminder to the
Rather than becoming ambassadors without borders, akin to some human rights organization, these diplomats need to be hard-nosed vis-à-vis
For too long the West's representatives in the
Seth j. Frantzman is a PhD researcher at Hebrew University and a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.