Donald Trump, who has been in office since Jan. 21, has yet to find the time to appoint the head of the American diplomatic corps in Italy.
This year, U.S. Independence Day will once again be celebrated in Villa Taverna’s gardens. However, this time there will be no U.S. ambassador to Italy to do the honors. The reason is simple: Donald Trump, who has been in office since Jan. 21, has yet to find the time to appoint one. Let us refrain from howling with indignation; the appointment of new U.S. ambassadors is being delayed in many capitals, and must be viewed in the context of the confusion that has persistently followed the new American administration. Moreover, Kelly Degnan is doing an excellent job in the meantime as Chargé d’Affaires at Palazzo Margherita. Nonetheless, the fact that some of the ambassadors meant for European missions have yet to be designated (Lew Eisenberg has been mentioned with regard to Rome), says a lot about Trump not being overwhelmingly interested in those missions, as well as about his judgment.
There are problems between Washington and Europe that have never manifested themselves so severely. This is a known and proven fact. However, there is still an order to this mutual discomfort (as the nonexistent ambassador would call it). Trump embraced Great Britain first in deference to traditionally special relations, but also because, out of malice toward the European Union, he supported Brexit. Then, Theresa May did almost everything wrong, and now the U.S. president’s visit there is not certain. Germany comes in second, not just because of its obvious importance, but also because there are quarrels with Berlin, with figures on the table, about trade, contributions to NATO, sanctions on Nord Stream, all of which are critical matters.* Next we have France, because of its role playing second fiddle to Germany. Besides, that Macron fellow seems capable of everything. Will it be Italy’s turn then? That is likely. We, too, have a trade surplus with the U.S., and we, too, are supposed to contribute more to NATO. We are as generous with military bases as we are with promises though, and there is an influential pope at the Vatican. When are we going to be worthy of an ambassador? Maybe in the fall.
*Editor’s note: Nord Stream refers to the offshore natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany owned and operated by Nord Stream AG.