Soon the election will happen, and America will have chosen its next President. The constant horse race polling will stop, but the speculation will not. Of course, this speculation will obviously not be about who will be the next President, but rather who will advise, represent, and generally surround that president. Of particular interest to us here at UN Dispatch, is the President’s selection of a new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Of course, we have no idea who it will be, but it is interesting to think a bit about the position, and maybe that could give some insight into who might best fill the role.
What is not widely known about the position of Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN, or Perm Rep, is that it (like a few other major government posts) can be elevated to a cabinet-level position, should the Commander-in-Chief so desire. Indeed, the position has been part of the cabinet under some administrations, beginning with that of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his Perm Rep, Henry C. Lodge. Other administrations, including Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, have also had UN Ambassadors as part of their cabinets, a group that includes names like Adlai Stevenson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Bill Richardson, among many others. Some administrations have also included the Perm Rep in the National Security Council, making the Perm Rep a key adviser to the President on matters of security and foreign policy.
So beyond speculation of who the U.S. Ambassador to the UN will be, speculation should also consider what the position will be. Would an Obama administration include the Perm Rep in the cabinet? Would a McCain administration include the position as part of the National Security Council? Do the answers to those questions make a major difference in who should be selected?