Foreign Policy

State Department Pulls From Afghanistan to Fill Ambassador to Mexico Slot

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The Houston Chronicle is reporting that President Obama will nominate Earl Anthony Wayne, a career diplomat currently stationed in Afghanistan, to fill the spot of Carlos Pascual, whose resignation was thrown at the feet of Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier this year. Here's the Chronicle

The appointment of Wayne, currently serving as the No. 2 in the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan, will require acceptance from both the U.S. Senate and the Mexican government. If approved, he will replace Carlos Pascual, another career diplomat who resigned in March under harsh criticism from Mexican President Felipe Calderon. 

The news of Wayne's nomination led Mexican news websites Tuesday morning. But the White House and State Department did not immediately confirm the nomination.

Wayne has been a foreign service officer for 36 years, except for a two-year stint in the late 1980s when he worked as the national security reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. Through a wide-ranging diplomatic career, Wayne has gained expertise in economic and energy issues, according to the State Department.

He was named ambassador to Argentina in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush and has held a number of posts focused on economic and energy issues throughout his career.

Wayne would take the reins in Mexico as the Calderon government's crackdown on organized crime remains far from successful. Ambassador Pascual ran afoul of Calderon when his leaked diplomatic cables criticizing the Mexican government's efforts were published last December by WikiLeaks, the muckraking website.

Wayne's job in Kabul is supporting economic development, but he's done some drug work. President George W. Bush sent him to Argentina in 2006, where part of Wayne's job was to encourage the Argentine Government to crack down on traffickers.  "We're concerned about the rapid growth in illegal trafficking of chemical precursors such as ephedrine," Wayne said in a TV interview. When he left his post three years later, he said this in his farewell address: "During my time here we have been diligent in informing you about steps we have taken to advance bilateral relations whether it be in the fight against drugs or in providing more scholarships for young people to study English."

That stuff comes standard with most ambassadors. It'll be interesting to see what Wayne says during his confirmation hearing about Mexico's stability. 

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  1. Heroine in Afghanistan, meth in Argentina, pot, meth, and cocaine in Mexico.

    It’s almost as if our foreign policy is entirely driven by drug prohibition. I wonder if there’s any downside to that?

    1. I wonder if there’s any downside to that?

      Unpossible. Their super lawyer powers make sure that can’t happen.

  2. Since we have triumphed over drugs in Afghanistan, our renewed efforts in Mexico CANNOT FAIL.

    COURAGE, COMRADES!

    1. Our many triumphs in Afghanistan have only been achieved by the blood, sweat and tears of our brave soldiers. Soon now, our fearless leaders in Washington will announce peacekeeping deployments across the Rio Grande. The War on Terror and the War on Drugs are but two fronts in the same great war.

      FAITH, COMRADES!

    2. When the new administration came in you have no idea how badly they wanted to find that drug violence was spilling over the boarder. They were visably disapointed when told it wasn’t.

  3. But how does this affect Israel? That’s what we Americans should really be worried about

  4. What are the odds of Mexico failing as a state in the next 20 years?

    I honestly don’t have my own estimate. We don’t really pay much attention to the southern border up here in Vermont.

    1. Depends what you mean by failing. I’d argue it already has. It can’t function as an economy without repatriation money from people in the US, the drug gangs control huge swaths of territory, the government is corrupt and ineffectual. What more do you need for a failed state?

      1. When the drug gangs become the de facto government throughout northern Mexico, that is where I would draw that line. So far, they have been sidetracked with their kidnapping, drug-running and human smuggling operations. They seem to just be waking up to all the loot they can get by going into the governance racket.

        1. So far, they have been sidetracked with their kidnapping, drug-running and human smuggling operations.

          That’s not really a sidetrack; it’s par for the course for most governments, historically and globally speaking.

    2. To me it won’t be a “failed state” until the violence spills over the boarder in a significant way. I honestly don’t think the US cares if Mexico has a huge murder rate. Sad but true. But they will care if that murder rate spills over the boarder.

      My question is what are the chances of that happening and our getting involved in a war down there. If Mexican gangs started really going after US police and so forth we would go into Mexico big time. That would be a giant suck.

      1. Where’s Black Jack Pershing when we need him?

        His was a very successful campaign.

      2. So Somalia isn’t a failed state?

    3. When I won’t go to someplace because there is a high enough possibility I may be kidnapped or murdered, I’d call that a failed state.

      1. You should go to Cabo, since you’re now a Westcoaster. It’s away from the crazy, and it’s a load of fun.

    4. Everything seemed pretty calm and normal in the south when I was there last year. I think a majority (not all) of the problems are in the north, due to the smuggling routes at stake.

      A Canadian ex-pat down there told me something I consider to be a good indicator of a failed state: when the people at large stop using fiat currency with full faith. And that hasn’t happened there yet. All the businesses & residents accept pesos without a thought, much as we do dollars.

      Once the place truly fails and collapses, there won’t be anything backing that currency up, and you’ll see people start to demand payment in other forms of currencies, either the denominations from other countries, commodities, barter, etc.

  5. I don’t know if this Yahoo story refers to a sham, Mexican government poll, but I find it completely plausible. The gist is that the Mexican people still support Calderon’s approach even after all of the violence and chaos that it has caused their country.

    If true, this confirms our worst fears about the war on drugs. It will tear apart our society and the voting majority will simply learn to accept the disastrous consequences as normal. No amount of suffering will convince people to change course.

    1. all those bodies just means you’re making progress.

  6. So these aren’t the kinds of places you give ambassadorships to big campaign donors?

  7. I’m sure this guy is for the legalization of marijuana… right?

  8. It’ll be interesting to see what Wayne says during his confirmation hearing about Mexico’s stability.

    I’m paraphrasing, but: “We need to keep doing the same thing, but MOAR RETARDEDER!!!!”

  9. Zombie Polk! Paging Zombie Polk!

    1. Glad I’m not the only one wondering aloud whether it makes more sense just to invade Mexico. That would make our southern border much smaller and more controllable.

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