Our relations with Argentina are likewise at a critical juncture. The current government seized control of the country’s largest private oil company and is ruling undemocratically in many areas. There are also troubling questions about Argentina’s growing relationship with Iran. These recent developments raise real and important questions about whether the current Argentine government is a mature democracy and a reliable U.S. partner.
Yet like the ambassadorial nominees for Norway and Hungary, this nominee, Noah Mamet, a political consultant who reportedly raised more than $2 million for President Obama’s re-election, seemed not to understand basic facts about Argentina or the serious challenges that would confront our ambassador there. He also admitted that he’s never set foot in Argentina.
It is not just the poor quality of some of the president’s political nominees that is so troubling; it is also the quantity of them. Twenty-four were big donors who bundled hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the president and the Democrats. The old accepted practice has been to keep such nominees to 30% of the nation’s total foreign postings. However, just a year in, so far more than half of President Obama’s second-term ambassadorial nominees are political appointees and wealthy donors.