A career foreign service officer writing on the Life After Jerusalem blog clarifies Mark’s and Matt Y.’s posts on President-elect Obama “ordering” political appointments to resign their positions.
[A]ll ambassadors, even career Foreign Service Officers, offer their resignation at the end of an administration. It is true that some are allowed to stay, at least for a little while. This is just more overt than usual.
The writer also makes the very valid point that the president should be making foreign policy based on input from the full range of ambassadors — from Holland and Chad — and not just the high-profile ones:
But I would hope my President would be wise enough to listen to his Ambassadors from all countries, because crisis can strike anywhere and small countries can have big global impacts.
This would further the argument that it is important to have personnel at all posts that are both competent and enjoy access to the president. That may seem like wanting to have my foreign policy cake and eat it too, but it also seems a rather straightforward step toward elevating the influence of “soft power” to the level it should be at.