Embassy Row: Caroline Kennedy, again

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President Obama is definitely, positively, unquestionably going to nominate Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan — soon.

That’s the rumor sweeping Washington and Tokyo again, after Japanese reporters last week quoted “sources from both countries” who assured them that the daughter of John F. Kennedy will get the White House nod.

However, talk of an ambassadorship for Ms. Kennedy has sparked conversation at diplomatic receptions since February, when Mr. Obama was definitely, positively, unquestionably going to nominate her as U.S. envoy to — Canada.

The National Post newspaper in Toronto was first to report that Ms. Kennedy was among the candidates to replace Ambassador David Jacobson, who retired as the top U.S. diplomat in Ottawa on July 11 after nearly three years in the Canadian capital.

By the end of February, the narrative had changed. Gone was speculation about Canada. Ms. Kennedy was going to Tokyo, the Bloomberg News service reported, quoting “two people familiar” with Mr. Obama’s intentions.

Comedian David Letterman saw the humor in the situation. After commenting on the Kennedy rumors, he said he would like to be ambassador to Canada. Some observers joked that he would be as qualified as the socialite daughter of the assassinated president.

Soon, however, talk of Tokyo faded, and Ms. Kennedy continued her duties as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

Then on Friday, the Kyodo News Service posted an “urgent” dispatch: “Caroline Kennedy to become U.S. ambassador to Japan: sources.”

TURKISH QUESTION

The U.S. ambassador to Cyprus says Turkey is undermining its own interests by failing to help reunify the Mediterranean island, still divided between Greeks and Turks after nearly 40 years.

Ambassador John Koenig told Cypriot reporters Turkey is hurting its efforts to join the European Union by supporting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by the government in Ankara. The dispute remains on the U.N. Security Council agenda.

“This is not a good thing,” he said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency.

Mr. Koening’s comments come as Turks — under increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — are growing more anti-Semitic as strains continue to develop between Turkey and Israel.

Mr. Erdogan recently uttered racist remarks against a political opponent, causing some to comment that he wasn’t satisfied just denouncing Jews.

In his interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Mr. Koenig insisted the U.S. has adopted a restrained approach toward Mr. Ergodan, who assumed office 10 years ago. He said the U.S. takes a “long view with regard to Turkey.”

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About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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