Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’
I read an interesting and enlightening article in yesterday’s New York Times titled Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties.
“. . . If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
“We took our time” in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt “decisively” with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.
“We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,” he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger. . . ”
No doubt this article will get a rise out of the hawks. I can just hear the squawks from the barnyard now: ”We are going to let a Muslim dictate to us?” and “This is what we get for having a President who is soft on Muslims.” [A president who as Commander-in-Chief has overseen not only the demise of the #1 world's terrorist but who has seen the demise of over 20 terrorist leaders in the Middle East.]
Going forward, I am going to make a conscious effort to stop identifying terrorists as “Muslim” or “Islamic” terrorists. After all, a terrorist is a terrorist and their religion, even if they may use it as an excuse, is incidental. For example, we didn’t read in our papers and on the blogosphere that the people who made the anti-Islamist film The Innocence of Muslims were “Christian Terrorists” did we? When Timothy McVeigh set off a blast in Oklahoma City that claimed 168 lives including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people, although he identified himself as a Christian, we didn’t label McVeigh a “Christian Terrorist” did we? The media didn’t label Scott Roeder, the man who gunned down Dr.George Tiller in a church in Wichita Kansas as a “Christian Terrorist” did we?
I respect President Morsi standing up to the USA and telling us that we should keep our own agreements–particularly the one about the Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule.
What! The USA officially agreed to allow Palestinian self-rule? I wonder how many Americans knew that? If I did, I had forgotten, One certainly would not surmise as much from the behavior of US leaders for the past 30 years.
Note: I went to Haaretz to see what they had to say about the New York Times articles. Interesting that they had quoted essentially the same passage from the Times as I did. The comments that I read were in support of what President Morsi said in regard to the USA keeping their Camp David promise (and in case you don’t know, Haaretz is a Hebrew media).
ABOUT THE CAMP DAVID ACCORDS
The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David.
The first agreement had three parts. The first part or preamble was a framework for negotiations to establish an autonomous self-governing authority in the West Bank and the Gaza strip and to fully implement SC 242. The Accords recognized the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”, a process was to be implemented guaranteeing the full autonomy of the people within a period of five years.
HMMMMM let’s see: signed in 1978 with a guarantee of full autonomy for the people of Palestine within a period of five years. Then according to that agreement Palestine should have been fully autonomous since 1983.
That puts the USA and Israel just about 30 years behind on keeping their agreement.
I can see President Morsi’s point here.
The people who attacked the US embassies should heed the warnings of the man who had Osama Bin Laden executed when he said yesterday: ”To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished,” he said. “No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.” Indeed, more Al Queda terrorist leaders have been killed under Obama’s watch than were under the 8 years of George Bush.
For intelligent discourse on the topic, I turn to the foreign press. The USA press core cannot think beyond politicizing everything and anything this elections year. As I recommend: Never form your opinion based on one source–whether it is Fox News or MSNBC. To do so is nothing short of ignorant–regardless whether you choose right or left opinions.
From the Center right German paper, Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung:
“The murder of an ambassador in Libya and the attacks on US diplomatic missions in other Arab countries is sure to strengthen the skepticism that more than a few Americans feel toward Muslims and the political changes brought by the Arab revolutions. The deeply held American belief that all you have to do is liberate people from serfdom and dictatorship, and then democracy and a market economy will develop more or less on their own, burned to ash in the trial by fire of Iraq. A fact that academics and historically informed diplomats have always known can now be observed throughout the Arab world: Deeply ingrained cultural attitudes do not change simply because one political regime replaces another. In the long process of building a democratic society, it is not possible to simply skip stages.”
The conservative Die Welt had this to say:
“One thing is clear: If jihadists believe they can attack American installations and kill an ambassador on the anniversary of Sept. 11, then America’s deterrent power has declined considerably. For a superpower, it is not enough just to want to be loved. You have to scare the bad guys to keep them in check.”
Emma Comment on this Viewpoint: First of all you must define who the “bad” guys are. Is it Mubarak and his army generals who stole billions from the people of Egypt and tortured their own citizens while the US Foreign policy was to turn a blind eye for 30 years to this while forking over billions of American taxpayer dollars to these monsters. Is that “good” foreign policy to support ruthless dicators?
“You have to ‘scare’ the bad guys”? If murdering their #1 commander Osama Bin Laden is not “scaring” them, what is? As said previously: Deeply ingrained cultural attitudes do not change simply because one political regime replaces another. In the long process of building a democratic society, it is not possible to simply skip stages.”
And I would add to that: One does not simply erase 50 years of US Foreign policy which has resulted in the image of “the ugly American” abroad and lay it on the shoulders of Obama.
The financial daily Handelsblatt gets it straight with this assessment:
“Three years after Obama’s speech in Cairo, which was supposed to initiate a new beginning in the Middle East, the United States now has even less support in the region than before. That’s not a failure of this president. Instead, it is the consequences of an American foreign policy that for decades favored power over democracy, and a hard line over human rights — and which will suffer from a credibility problem for a long time for precisely those reasons.”
EMMA COMMENT: Yes that is key to remember: what has happened and is happening in the Middle East today is the result of 50 years of US Foreign policy–not that of one US President.
The mass-circulation daily Bild wrote what I believe is the most intelligent assessment. Indeed, this is not just an attack on the USA, it is an attack on the West:
“Naked hatred is raging against a country that many people in the world regard as a symbol of freedom. When US flags burn, embassies are vandalized, and diplomats are murdered, it is an attack on the West, and not just America!”
“We rooted for the demonstrators at Tahrir Square, and many of us have longed to see democracy in the Arab nations. But democracy includes honoring the lives of fellow humans”–something that the Muslim terrorists and the military of the West have ignored and continue to ignore.
“The turmoil in Libya, Cairo, and Bangladesh is a return to the Middle Ages, when people were beheaded and stoned to death. No pathetic anti-Islam film can justify hate-filled murder.” [I agree. Democracy does not happen overnight. It is a long and arduous path that only the people who live in that nation can forge. As difficult as it may be to watch, we should leave them alone and allow them to fight their own battles. We need to stop being the "Dudley Do-Rights for Wall Street investors" and bring our assets home to the American people.]
“The West must be tough on terrorism. And it must show that it can differentiate between rabble-rousers and peaceful Muslims.” [Yes, that is our challenge. At the same time we must leave these people to fight their own battles for democracy. It is wrong for the USA or any military from the West to intervene. Let them make their own mistakes and have their own victories as we did as a nation. Democracy is never handed to any nation on a silver platter. The people of that nation must want democracy and be willing to fight and even die for democracy.
And above all, for a Democracy to thrive, the majority of the population must be educated. In January of 2006 the literacy rate for females in Egypt was at 57.81percent. down from 59.36% in 2005 Source Egypt has a lot of work ahead before it can be a democracy--not the least of which is the education of its people. The overall literacy rate for Egypt including men in 2011 was at 66%. Afghanistan has a 37% literacy rate. Morocco 61%. Yemen 62%. Libya has a much higher literacy rate than these countries.--97.7%. Gaddafi supported public education for all citizens--including females. Interesting, isn't it?]
Things will never be the same in northern Africa and the Middle East.
What is happening in Egypt, Libya, Yemen (and is likely to happen in other Arab nations as well) is the fruition of decades of tyrannical American foreign policy fueled by the greed of oil interests is finally coming home to rest. It has little to do with a silly film. What is happening today was destined to happen at some point within the next year. That goofy film is just an excuse that some can point to. And the good news is that it does not necessarily have to portend a tragedy for the American people. It all depends on the choices we make in November.
This morning I read that people in Yemen have stormed the US embassy there and burned the American flag. These people in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere in the Arab world have hated the USA for years. The only thing that has kept this hatred under wraps for years has been the ruthless dictators who murdered and abused the people with the implicit OK from the USA who fed evil, vile men millions and billions of American taxpayer dollars to keep a lid on things and prevent democracy from developing in those countries.
These uprising are not all about one silly film. these uprisings are about much much more. A long history of a Foreign Policy fueled by Wall Street interests is finally coming home to roost. Why did the leadership of the USA support such corruption and evilness for years? They did it on behalf of US oil interests and companies like Exxon Mobil who don’t pay any taxes, literally none. Specifically, our leaders in Washington did it for the executive management and preferred stockholders of these companies.
I thought about it all yesterday when I filled up my car with gas for $3.69 a gallon. It will likely be the last time I ever fill my car up so cheaply–$41.00 a tank will seem like peanuts to what I will be paying in November, in December etc.
But the implications are so much more far reaching than whether I can put gas in my car. Americans need to start thinking seriously about these implications before November.
- The USA, because of Egypt and Yemen, will soon not be able to send oil tankers through the Suez Canal and it is doubtful that they will even be able to send the tankers though the strait of Gibraltar because of the proximity of Libya. The route of oil will likely be overland across Europe.
- The price of gas will soon soar beyond the means of many Americans. The bottom will drop out of the market for automobiles that run on oil and gas. Yes, the life span of cars that run on oil and gas alone has been foreshortened to perhaps five years at the outside. The relationship between the USA and these countries will take generations to rebuild. In the meantime, these oil nations have the vast markets offered by China and Russia.
Implications for Voters and the types of Candidates to Support in November — We simply cannot settle for more of the same that we now have in the U.S. Congress–a bunch of nuts who are more interested in seeing that President Obama is a one-term President than they are in passing legislation that will help you and me.
There will be two types of candidates in November:
1. The more of the same types that we currently have in Congress who advocate more of the same: ”Drill baby drill” (The sly ones for this will pay lip service to solar and wind alternatives, but their main push will be for the oil an gas companies to drill on our park lands, pollute our water supplies and ruin our oceans with careless and dangerous drilling.)
2. Those who push for new innovations that will replace fossil fuels altogether–Now, not within some distant future when all the oil and gas reserves are depleted and those who own the oil companies have wrung the last possible dollar from their investments.
It is absolutely absurd that the USA does not have a solar satellite receptor in space right now working for the American people. As long as we have a conservative and not a progressive Congress in place solar power will continue to be on the back burner. Do you think, for example, that someone like Joe Barton who apologized to BP for President Obama “taking advantage of BP” is someone who will represent you in Congress? We currently have hundreds of Joe Bartons in Congress. Pete Sessions is another example.
More of the same is not going to get the USA where we need to be.
Look at this illustration. Look at the date 1976. Developed during the “do-nothing” Jimmy Carter days. Ask your Congressional representative why this has not been developed and put into place. I can give one answer to that question: Look no further than Ronald Reagan, the president who ripped solar panels off the roof of the White House. Reagan cared more about the oil and gas industry than he cared about the American people.
We already have the technology for solar-based power. It is here now. It is time to put it on the table for Americans to use. It is time for GM to stop pretending that the cannot build an electric car at least as good as a Prius for the same or less cost.
It is time for Congress to stop giving billions of dollars in tax breaks and other handout to fossil fuel corporations.
It is time for Congress to start supporting the full potential for solar power.
Now, more than ever is the time for a forward-thinking leader. Although I personally would have one who is more progressive than President Obama, he is certainly by leaps and bounds more progressive than Mitt Romney. Romney would take us where we no not need to go–back to the same failed policies that got is here in the first place.
Our job now is to get as many of the nay-sayers out of Congress as possible by going to the polls and voting out the old an in with the new. And by choosing a President who will move us forward as opposed to a President who will take us backward.
On the plus side of this all: Since we won’t be pouring billions of dollars into Libya, Yemen and Egypt, we can use that tax money to rebuild the USA, our factories, our infrastructure, our local economies, and our energy sources.
President Barack Obama responded to Mitt Romney’s charge that the White House mishandled its response to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya by accusing his challenger of having a tendency to “shoot first and aim later.”
“There’s a broader lesson to be learned here: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later, and as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday. “It’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.”
When asked if he found Romney’s statement “irresponsible,” Obama responded, “I’ll let the American people judge that.”
Romney looks like the scattered irresponsible chicken that he is, the untested amateur while President Obama comes across as a dignified Commander-in-Chief who is in control–the Rooster of the barnyard.
Thousands gathered in Tahrir Square to support move to replace the defense minister and army chief. Mohamed Morsi announced through a spokesman on Sunday the dismissal of Tantawi and his appointment as a presidential adviser. [More]
COMMENTS FROM EMMA ON THIS MOVE TO A CIVILIAN, NOT MILITARY GOVERNMENT:
For decades, Egypt had a dictatorship held in place for Mubarak by the military.
No surprise here at the celebratory mood of the Egyptians. During the revolution many protesters many demanded the execution of Tantawi. Looks like Morsi is going about it in a tactful way. Instead of punitively dismissing Tantawi, he is making it look more like a voluntary retirement and is retaining Tantawi as a presidential adviser (very wise to keep your enemies close).
This should be interesting.Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi is the powerful head of the country’s armed forces.
Mr Mursi, who was elected in June, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Relations between Islamists and the military have been increasingly tense. Field Marshal Tantawi, 76, has not yet indicated whether he accepts or not. As head Scaf, Field Marshal Tantawi became Egypt’s interim ruler after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted following mass protests in February last year. More on this story at BBC News.
Ahram Online reports this morning that various groups participating in the sit-in at Tahrir Square issues separate statements with similar demands.
Political groups participating in the Tahrir Square sit-in issued two statements Sunday underlining their demands. Though issued separately, the demands are almost identical:
One statement was issued by the Revolution Youth Coalition, The Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Democratic Workers Party, the National Front for Justice and Democracy, the Free Egyptians, the No to Military Trials Campaign, Mosharka (participation), Bedaya (A beginning), the Karama Party and Hamdeen Sabahy for President campaigners.
It states that the concessions made by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf came only after pressure was exerted by the sit-in and therefore the sit-in will continue.
A second statement, issued in parallel, was released by the National Counci, its constituent groups, as well as the Federation of Independent Trade Unions. The statement was read on Tahrir Square’s central stage by union activist Kamal Abu Eitta who confirmed that after six months the revolution’s demands have not been met and that consequently people decided to retake the streets.
I hope that those who are planning the October 6 events in Washington DC are taking lessons.
We Americans have always been suckers for carnivals.
Crowd listening to barker at sideshow, state fair, Donaldsonville, Louisiana - Date Created/Published: 1938 Nov. Part of: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-011768-M3 (b&w film nitrate neg.)
Like rubes at a Carnival Side Show we listen to the “two-party” Democrat/Republican political barkers yelping at us to come into their tent every election year and every election year the result are equally disappointing, regardless the tent we choose. Are we always going to be suckers, or will 2012 be the year we say HELL NO?
A comment by Homeroid, on FDL started me thinking: Try as you might I doubt it will do much. Nothing will change from the degrading of our rights till the pitchforks come out and the streets are filled.
If you consider the people’s clashes with the rich in America down through the years, a good case can be made for the point that it does take violence in the streets to effect real change in the USA. And you better be prepared to have your head bashed in because no one does it better than those hired by the rich. They will literally kill to protect their god-given right to rob you. They don’t like unions because unions make it possible for the people to be organized and protected from their greed.
Look at the Two Party Side Show that we have going on at this moment starring millionaire elected officials, John Boehner and Barack Obama, over raising the Debt Ceiling.
Raising the Debt Ceiling is no solution and the majority of Americans know that. All raising the debt ceiling will do is increase our already staggering national debt and provide more revenue for Wall Street banksters to play with. Boehner has it half right in resisting raising the debt ceiling, but his solutions reflect an evil and greedy purpose of the rich to destroy entitlement programs which are independently funded by taxpayers and have NOTHING to do with the budget or deficit.
So the two of them put on their ridiculous sideshow. We already know how this farce will end. Boehner will allow the debt ceiling to be raised a little and Obama will allow the rich to take yet another bite out of Americans who can least afford it. Obama and the Democrats will pat themselves on the back for being “bipartisan.”
The Real Solutions to the National Debt?
1. End the $2 billion dollar a week war in Afghanistan. BINGO! $104 billion in one year
2. End all but the $500 million in farm subsidies paid to small farmers who still live on their land. BINGO! $19 billion in one year.
3. Start collecting taxes that are owed but not paid. BINGO! In the USA tax evasion added $3 trillion to the deficit over the past decade alone, an average of $300 billion a year, according to IRS data. This isn’t revenue lost from legal tax write-offs, like the mortgage interest deduction. It’s not even, as the IRS notes, “taxes that should have been paid on income from the illegal sector of the economy.” That $300 billion represents the amount of revenue lost from people deliberately cheating on their taxes every year. This includes underreporting income, hidden offshore bank accounts, sham trusts, and other ways to illegally stiff the IRS.
4. How about taking back what’s left of that $100 billion the American Taxpayers forked over to IMF in 2009?
Do you get the drift. These are only four suggestions off the top of my head that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars and I didn’t even mention repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich. And two of the top three highest elected officials in the land, both of whom purport to represent the majority are quibbling over cutting benefits on Seniors whose Social Security income averages $1,000 a month? What fakes! Both of them!
What will it take for the pitchforks to come out?
I don’t know. Maybe it will be people like you and me telling the truth again and again and again until finally a critical mass has been reached. Calling them out for who they are and what they are doing.
I don’t know what it will take. Already today all of the top 10 highest poverty rated cities in the USA have poverty rates that exceed the poverty rate of Egypt (23%) and Egypt took to the streets for their revolution months ago.
Sometimes I think that hope is the greatest enemy of the American people. There is that hope of “hitting it big”, winning the lottery, grabbing the brass ring that keeps people in their places. Revolution won’t happen in the USA until more Americans realize that their ability to grasp the brass ring is totally in control of the carnies in DC and the “prizes” they give out are never worth the price you and I pay.
As long as we allow the millionaire and billionaire carnies to be in charge, they will always win because they are the ones who rig the game.
HUNGER IN THE USA–YOU WANT MORE OF IT, ELECT RICK PERRY
Perry, like Bush before him is sometimes described as a “bidness”* man. [Bidness is the opposite of legitimate business--a shady or illegal venture.] Here are a few stats for those who might be thinking that a “successful” bidness-driven governor like Rick Perry might make the perfect President:
Five states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2007-2009: 1
- Arkansas 17.7%
- Mississippi 17.1%
- Georgia 15.6%
- Texas 17.4%
- North Carolina 14.8%
ADDENDUM: El Paso, Texas has a poverty level of 26.4% and what’s more many of its residents–American citizens–risk their lives to cross the border daily to work in the Maquiladoras located in Juarez for as little as $65 a week. [No, not a day, $65 a week.]
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau.Carmen DeNavas-Walt, B. Proctor, C. Lee. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007.
Poverty by City May 2011 – Interesting to note that all of the top 10 cities in the USA have higher poverty rates than Egypt whose poverty rate was at 23%. Looks like our corporate owned media do a better job of managing impressions than the state television run by Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has already had their revolution? Where is ours?
1. Detroit, MI 32.5%
2. Buffalo, NY 29.9%
3. Cincinnati, OH 27.8%
4. Cleveland, OH 27.0%
5. Miami, FL 26.9%
5. St. Louis, MO 26.8%
7. El Paso, TX 26.4%
8. Milwaukee, WI 26.2%
9. Philadelphia, PA 25.1%
10. Newark, NJ 24.2%
American Spring 2012–Are we ready yet?
LIBYA: The Guardian UK reports today regarding “Operation Unified Protector”.[Interesting how our leaders name their wars to make them more palatable to the majority, isn't it? "Operation Iraqi Freedom" under George and now under Obama we are calling the war in Iraq "Operation New Dawn."] As of June 3, 2011, Washington had spent $715.9m on its military operation and associated humanitarian assistance (More than half, $398.3m has been spend on bombs and missiles along.) Doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that by September 30 the Libya bill will have risen to $1.1bn. We can know this for certain because President Obama himself told us. It was laid out in a document produced by the Obama administrationfor Congress last week.
TUNISIA: The rich aren’t like us. When we are accused of a crime, we are required to show up for the trial whereas the rich can be tried in absentia–Just in case the verdict is not in their favor, they can make a quick get-away.
BBC reports today that ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has denied all charges against him on the eve of the start of his trial in absentia. Mr Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January following a popular rising.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on various charges, including corruption and drug trafficking. But the Saudi authorities have yet to respond to an extradition request from Tunisia for Mr Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, and there seems little likelihood of them being brought to justice in person. SOURCE
BAHRAIN: The UK Telegraph reports today that Bahraini leadership faces new claims that torture took place in hospital.
“One of the world’s most respected humanitarian organisations, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), alleges that security forces loyal to the tiny Gulf state’s authoritarian leader, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, regularly beat hospital patients who had injuries that could have been sustained during the rallies that started in February. It also says that, after working alongside the country’s doctors and nurses for months, the charges against them are without merit.” MORE and once again, we should ask: Because the USA continues to maintain a military presence via the U.S. naval base in Bahrain, isn’t that an indirect stamp of approval of the Bahraini government?
SYRIA: The New York Times reports that ”The Obama administration, seeking new ways to force the Syrian leadership to halt its violent crackdown on domestic dissent, is examining whether war crimes charges can be brought against President Bashar al-Assad, senior administration officials said.
The articles stated that United States was examining whether Mr. Assad’s actions constituted war crimes and whether it was possible to seek international legal action against him, his government or Syria’s police forces and military.
A U.S. official was reported as saying that the United States was “looking into” whether “there are grounds here for charges related to war crimes, and whether referrals on that are appropriate.” MORE [The Obama administration better watch it as they could find themselves sliding down the slippery slop of war crimes themselves. There are those who say that Obama's insistence to "look to the future" [i.e. beyond the war crimes of the Bush Administraton] is in fact a war crime itself.]
YEMEN: Voice of America News reports today that clashes in south Yemen kill 12 militants and two soldiers. Military officials in Yemen say clashes have killed 12 al-Qaida-linked militants and at least two Yemeni soldiers in the south, where insurgents have launched several attacks during the country’s political unrest. The Daily Star reports that fearing both civil war and political reform as results of the Yemen crisis, Saudi Arabia is struggling with its role as regional kingmaker.
While publicly backing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, still in a Saudi hospital after being wounded in fighting in the capital Sanaa after months of protests aimed at ousting him, Riyadh has also tried to broker a succession on its own terms.
EGYPT: CNN reports today that Egypt appointed a new foreign minister.
Egypt’s interim cabinet filled its recently vacant foreign minister position Sunday with Mohamed el-Orabi, the deputy foreign minister for economic affairs. The previous foreign minister, Nabil Elaraby, was elected in May to head the 22-member Arab League after Amre Moussa decided to be a candidate in the next presidential elections in Egypt, expected to take place in December.
At least based on his experience, Orabi appears to be suited for the job as he has extensive foreign service experience. He was deputy ambassador in Tel Aviv from 1994 to 1998 and has worked in Kuwait, London and Washington. He held the position of ambassador in Germany from 2001 to 2008