U.S. Ambassador to Malta Resigns: Barack, Don’t Accept The Resignation!

by Rich Rubenstein on April 19, 2011 · 2 comments

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Douglas Kmiec, a former law professor at Pepperdine University and the current U.S. ambassador to Malta, has resigned from his post under pressure from State Department bureaucrats.  Barack Obama should keep him on the job.

Earlier this month, Kmiec was reprimanded by State’s Inspector General for spending too much time on allegedly extraneous activities, such as speaking and writing on religious and political issues, and not devoting enough time to “strengthening maritime security, promoting U.S. trade and investment, and other mission goals.”

As a frequent visitor to Malta, I can report that Douglas Kmiec has been a remarkably popular and effective representative to that country.  Maltese citizens across a wide political spectrum have told me that he is the best American ambassador they can remember. This is not just because he is a devout Roman Catholic, as are most Maltese, but because he integrates his religious convictions with his politics in a creative and progressive way, and speaks out on many issues (not just religious matters) like a thoughtful human being rather than a robotic mouthpiece.

The recent reprimand may or may not indicate a hostility to Kmiec’s religious views among some at State. It definitely indicates an all-too-typical intolerance of employees whose independence of thought and action challenges the narrow definition of the U.S. mission embraced by some officials.  As if that mission had more to do with dollars and cents than establishing long-term peaceful relationships with other members of the global family! 

In fact, there may be more to the strange campaign against Kmiec than meets the eye, since this ambassador is known for his dedication to peaceful methods of resolving conflicts and his skepticism about military intervention.  President Obama will be making a grave mistake if he accepts his resignation.  His administration needs representatives who know a region’s culture and issues as well as Kmiec knows Malta and the Mediterranean.  And it desperately needs employees who are not afraid to speak truth to power even while exercising it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dominic Ciarimboli June 16, 2011 at 2:09 am

I vigorously support your position that the resignation of Ambassador Kmiec should not be accepted. I know from personal experience and relationships that his is a powerful and revered voice in Malta. The Maltese population and officials have great respect and admiration for his writings and opinions, which have redounded to the benefit of the U.S. To lose such an eminent and articulate representative would, indeed, be a terrible and needless loss of our country’s prestige in the international community.


Rich Rubenstein June 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Thank you, Mr. Ciarimboli. I wish that the Obama State Department would listen to reason, but
it doesn’t seem likely at this point. This will surely not encourage other creative people who are
considering diplomatic careers. What a pity both for the Ambassador and for us!


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