Friday, January 09, 2009

He's the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the United States of A-ME-RI-CA!

Should I Believe...what Katō Yōichi tells me?

Joseph Nye to be next U.S. envoy to Japan
The Asahi Shimbun

KATO YOICHI - WASHINGTON--Joseph S. Nye, a Harvard professor who has authored several influential reports on Japan-U.S. relations, is tipped to be the next ambassador to Japan, sources said Wednesday.

President-elect Barack Obama has also selected his nominees for several other key government positions related to Japan in the White House, State Department and Defense Department, sources added.

Analysts said work on picking an ambassador to Japan before Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20 indicates the importance that he places on ties with Japan.

Sources said Nye, 71, has already been offered the ambassador's post and that he was leaning toward accepting it.
Of course I should.

Katō's The Man, the insider's insider. The one with his ear to the ground. The Oracle. The author last year of the immense article that introduced Obama's Asia advisors to an information-famished Japan.

And yet...I am not feeling entirely confident about this pre-announcement. Nye is a big thinker guy, a policy guru, one who paints with a wide brush. He does not talk just about Japan, or even just about East Asia. Accepting the post of Ambassador to Japan would be a straightjacket, putting him in the position of rephrasing, rewording..."localizing", if you will, harsh policy pronouncements originating in Washington.

Can a big ideas man perform such a job, comfortably and effectively?

The simultaneous leakage of the nomination of Kurt Campbell as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs causes me to further furrow my brow. While it is true Campbell was a staunch Hillary Clinton loyalist during the primary campaign and that the incoming Secretary of State should be expected to have an opportunity to reward her own people with significant positions of influence, the presence of Campbell and Nye on the same ticket sounds too much like the nomination of "The Team Brought to You by CSIS" at a time when Brookings and other institutions are supposedly in the vanguard.

Okumura Jun, as is his wont, has a far more knowledgeable and punchy take on the whisperings of the Anonymice.

Later - Tobias Harris, as one might expect, provides, free of charge (Be grateful people!) the full analysis of the purported appointments.

Even Later - The boys over at Transpacific Radio make it a Joseph Nye house party!

C'mon, this is Getting Ridiculous - Well, whadaya know. According to Okumura Jun, I and the Yomiuri Shimbun share suspicions* regarding the Nye rumor.

* Unfortunately, a clear Sign of the Apocalypse.

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