Scott Adams, famed Dilbert cartoonist and political pundit, posed a great question on his most recent podcast: Why is there no American Ambassador to Singapore, the enormously wealth city state that is host the historic peace summit between the United States and North Korea?
The position of ambassador to Singapore has been vacant since Kirk Wagar resigned in January 2017. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath is currently heading the embassy, serving as charge d’affaires, ad interim and acting United States ambassador to Singapore until one is appointed.
As of March 1, 2017, there were 32 countries that still did not have an ambassador. Some of these nations are key allies or strategic regional partners. The list includes Belgium, Egypt, and Ireland.
Singapore’s businesses are tremendously successful, and are looking to invest in the United States.
A city-state island with a population of 5.6 million people, Singapore is the financial center of Southeast Asia. It was the pick of top US officials like secretary of state Mike Pompeo and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as a country that is diplomatically neutral, highly secure, and well practiced at pulling off sensitive events.
The US and Singapore have had friendly relations for almost half a century. More than 30,000 Americans live in Singapore, 4,200 American businesses operate in the city-state, and the free trade agreement between the two countries supports 215,000 American jobs abroad. The regional headquarters for US companies Airbnb, Google, and Facebook are all in Singapore.
The US is Singapore’s largest foreign investor. US companies have invested more than $180 billion in Singapore, with total investment to the nation reaching $228 billion in 2016. And since signing a bilateral trade agreement in 2004, US and Singaporean trade has increased by more than 60%. The US has a $20 billion trade surplus with the small, Southeast Asian country.
The lack of an ambassador to Singapore is directly tied to the Deep State hoax that the Russian collusion story has been revealed to be. In February of this year, K.T. McFarland, a former deputy national security adviser, has asked for her nomination to that post to be withdrawn.
Her confirmation process had dragged on for months as senators questioned her role in the Russian issue that has dogged the Trump administration.
Ms McFarland, 66, is the second ambassador-designate within a week to drop out of a key post.
On Tuesday, Dr Victor Cha, a Georgetown University professor and senior adviser at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, was dropped as the ambassador-designate to South Korea. He had apparently disagreed with the White House’s approach to the Korean peninsula.
The last Ambassador to South Korea was Mark Lippert and Marc Knapper, formerly Deputy Chief of Mission under Lippert, is serving as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in the absence of an ambassador. The Trump administration plans to nominate Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the US military’s Pacific Command, to the post of ambassador to South Korea.
I would urge my politically active friends to contact their congressional representatives about fast tracking ambassadorial appointments, placing those for South Korea and Singapore on top of the stack.
The era of slow-walking President Donald Trump’s appointments, in hopes he will not finish his time in office, is now over. It is clear that the deep state tactic is not working, and the shenanigans are stifling successes in both foreign policy and the domestic economy and will end up harming this nation if it continues.DONATE
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