Gray Heading for Europe, Diplomats Heading Out

Brussels is home to no fewer than three US ambassadors: one to the Kingdom of Belgium, one to NATO and one to the European Union. Yesterday President Bush appointed C. Boyden Gray as American ambassador to the EU. The President invoked his power to make “recess appointments” when the Senate is out of town. He had nominated Mr Gray to the EU post in July 2005 but Democrat senators have been delaying the vote of confirmation for months. The senators are angry with Mr Gray for accusing some Democrats of being anti-Catholic because they opposed the nomination of a Catholic pro-life judge.

Mr Gray, a lawyer and former White House counsel to president Bush’s father, is co-chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation, of which the Center for Global Economic Growth (CGEG), is a subsidiary. The General Director of CGEG is Dr. Richard Rahn, a contributor to The Brussels Journal. Ambassador Gray has been a lifelong promotor of free markets and limited governments. Given that this is exactly what Europe needs President Bush could hardly have picked a better man as US representative to the EU.

Meanwhile Washington has decided to move hundreds of its diplomats from Europe to emerging Asian economies such as India and China. The American government is aware that Europe is in decline, both economically and demographically. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told an audience at Georgetown University yesterday that the United States has nearly as many State Department personnel in Germany – which has a population of 82 million people – as in India, with 1 billion people. “This is where the action is today, and this is where we must be,” she said.

As a first step 100 diplomats will immediately be shifted to expanded US embassies in Asia. Officials say that ultimately as many as one-third of the 6,400 diplomatic positions could be affected in the coming years. Secretary Rice explained the move as part of the administration’s plan to build up a “transformational diplomacy,” which attempts “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”