Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Grenell: Steps Forward for US Foreign Policy


By Nancy G. Brinker
April 27, 2018

International relations today stands at one of its most volatile points in modern history. While our nation is faced with tremendous challenges, we also confront numerous opportunities to expand our global influence, strengthen diplomatic ties among the world community, and stem the time of oppression, hunger, civil strife, and war. The recent confirmations of Mike Pompeo, America’s 70th Secretary of State, and Richard Grenell as our Ambassador to Germany should rightly be commended as steps forward in our foreign policy.

According to the American Foreign Service Association, nearly one-third of our foreign Ambassador slots have yet to be filled. From notable positions at the United Nations to posts in Belgium, Panama, and Turkey, these vacancies are the result of foot-dragging on the part of a Republican Administration and obstruction by a Democratic Senate. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now has the opportunity to take action in rectifying this situation — and with nuclear deals to negotiated, Russian aggression to be contained, and the rising threat of international terrorism, it couldn’t come at a more important time.

Having served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary from 2001-2003, and subsequently as the Chief of Protocol at the White House, I know that senior posts at the State Department and our ambassadors overseas are the best conduit to serve on the front lines of promoting American interests in an increasingly interconnected world.

Ambassadors represent our eyes and ears inside international capitals, overseeing a team of diplomats and representatives of extremely vital U.S. aid organizations. The diplomatic corps represents the best exchange program America has to offer, and it is up to our ambassadors to lobby for our interests with presidents, chancellors, and prime ministers in each of these countries.

Yet, not all of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Administration. It took 234 days for Richard Grenell, an exceptionally well-qualified, thoughtful, and thoroughly experienced nominee to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as our Ambassador in Germany. That’s entirely too long for the United States to go without a representative in Berlin whose responsibility it is defend our nation’s interests inside the veritable powerhouse of the Eurozone.

Ambassadors and senior leaders at the State Department come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. They are strong leaders, pragmatic negotiators and skilled managers with tremendous experience. They are recruited from both the public and private sectors and carry with them a vast portfolio of knowledge and important relationships that have been accumulated over decades.

Mike Pompeo is a faithful public servant who will serve America well at his post. Rick Grenell’s confirmation will strengthen our ties with a powerful ally and also send a message to the world’s LGBT community about our nation’s hope for peace and equality at home and abroad. These are excellent selections by President Trump, however it is in America’s best interests that his Administration pick up the pace by which they appoint and seek confirmation of additional senior leaders of this caliber. It is also incumbent upon overly partisan Democrats in the U.S. Senate to heed the president’s calls for bipartisanship and swiftly confirm them.

Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer charity, has served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary, U.S. chief of protocol, and as a Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control to the U.N.’s World Health Organization. She is continuing her work in efforts to end death from cancer.