- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Irish feel betrayed, the Japanese are honored and gay advocates are happy.

That sums up the diplomatic developments over the past week.

Irish-Americans are complaining that President Obama has failed to appoint a U.S. ambassador to Dublin since Daniel M. Rooney retired nearly a year ago.

The Japanese are thrilled now that Caroline Kennedy has arrived as the new American envoy in Tokyo.

And gay advocates are cheering the Senate confirmation of James W. Brewster as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, where he will serve as the sixth openly homosexual ambassador appointed by Mr. Obama.

Leading Irish-Americans grumble that the 11-month absence of a U.S. ambassador to Ireland is the longest vacancy since 1927.

“It’s a slap in the face to the millions of Irish-Americans that supported this administration,” Brian O’Dwyer, head of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in New York, told The Sunday Times in London.

“I have no idea why this is happening. It’s a disgrace,” he added.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Ms. Kennedy arrived Friday to warm greetings from Japanese officials and citizens who hold strong respect for her father, President John F. Kennedy.

Ms. Kennedy noted that her father, who was assassinated 50 years ago this week, had wanted to visit Japan.

“I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies,” she said in a video posted by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Although she has no diplomatic experience, her close relations with Mr. Obama could make her a “new bridge” between the two countries as they continue to work on sensitive subjects such as bilateral trade talks and the relocation of the Marine Corps air base on Okinawa, The Japan Times reported Saturday.

Gay advocates applauded the Senate for confirming Mr. Brewster, a Chicago marketing executive, on Thursday, despite strong resistance from some leading Catholics who objected to a homosexual ambassador serving in the Dominican Republic.

“All of us at Victory are delighted by this news,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute.


Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis of Lithuania; Elvinas Jankevicius, vice minister of the Interior of Lithuania; Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union’s commissioner for home affairs; and Viviane Reding, vice president and commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship in the European Commission. They meet with top Obama administration officials.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who meets with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week. He addresses the Brookings Institution on Tuesday.

Serena Dandini, a celebrated Italian television personality and author of “Sister Don’t Sleep,” a book on violence against women. She addresses the World Bank.

Arnaldo Posadas, president of Ecuador’s Judiciary Council who speaks at the Inter-American Dialogue.


Theresa Villiers, Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland. She speaks at American University on the 15th anniversary of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which helped bring peace to the conflict-torn British province.


Vincent Siew, former vice president of Taiwan, who meets with administration officials and members of Congress. He also addresses the Brookings Institution.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at [email protected] or @EmbassyRow.



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