Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ambassador Kristie Kenney: A Dismal Failure in Defending Democracy

The Philippine foreign minister on August 31 slammed the former US ambassador to his country as a "dismal failure" in an angry reaction to a secret cable published by anti-secrecy website Wikileaks.

Albert del Rosario assailed Kristie Kenney, who stepped down as US ambassador to Manila last year, after she allegedly criticized the Philippines' revered democracy heroine, the late president Corazon Aquino.

"She (Kenney) was a dismal failure in helping the Filipinos defend our democracy. It would seem that she preferred to be favorably looked upon by the (Philippine presidential) palace," del Rosario said.

Del Rosario's comments, via text message to AFP while he was in Beijing, were in response to requests for a reaction about a leaked cable apparently sent by Kenney in July, 2009.

According to the Wikileaks documents, Kenney wrote that Aquino had been a weak and tarnished leader.

Aquino led the "People Power" revolution of 1986 that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos, then served for six years as president.

Her son, Benigno Aquino, was elected president in July last year in a landslide victory, partly due to the outpouring of public sympathy for his mother after she died of cancer in August, 2009.

The comments from Del Rosario, a key member of the latest Aquino administration, about Kenney referred to what he indicated was her apparent desire to curry favor with the president of the time, Gloria Arroyo.

Aquino's administration has repeatedly accused Arroyo of vote fraud and massive corruption during her nearly 10 years in power.

Kenney, now the US ambassador to Thailand, replied to a discussion on the microblogging site Twitter about the cable with a short message saying: "Good morning! Don't believe all you read."

And why shouldn’t we believe what we read about Kenney being a “dismal failure in defending democracy?” Why shouldn’t we believe what we read about her preferring to be favorably looked upon by those in the country’s “palace?”

Because she is doing exactly the same thing in Thailand by not vigorously attempting to release American Joe Gordon from a Thai prison on bogus lese majeste charges; all part of her modus operandi of failing democracy in an attempt to be favorably looked upon by a palace.

If Wikileaks has shown us anything, it's that US ambassadors have tended to be closet royalists/fascists who care little about the denial of civil rights that Americans take for granted. Their main concern is that Thailand be a stable and reliable ally, and to hell with democracy. This is a mistake that career diplomats have made all over the world. Our current diplomat in Bangkok with the frozen Pepsodent smile looks like she's cast from the same mold: don't rock the boat, even if a lot of people are drowning.

US Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney
As a US citizen, I am wondering if we've made some vacuous career bureaucrat the Ambassador who hasn't a clue that what's going on in Thailand right now is a life and death struggle for freedom and democracy. And if she is not going to lead the way, she should get the hell out of the way.


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