Quoted: Japan Times on Admiral Harris Nomination As Ambassador to Korea


Trump nominates Pacific Command chief Harry Harris to be South Korean ambassador


Mintaro Oba, a former State Department official who worked on North Korean issues, voiced reservations about having a former top military official occupying the ambassadorship “under normal circumstances,” noting that such a move could cause conflict with “the U.S. Forces Korea commander already there.”
“But these are not normal times, and I think Trump can benefit from an experienced admiral with a strategic mindset and established credibility within the administration,” Oba said. “It’s clear military people carry extra credibility in this administration.”
“From the perspective of leading a large diplomatic mission, a military officer might be a lot better than someone whose background is in academia or smaller organizations” such as the National Security Council, Oba added. “Military commanders are trained to be executive leaders of large organizations, and that’s a skill political appointees often lack.”
“Any link to Japan can be a lightning rod for Korean public opinion,” Oba said. “Adm. Harris’ Japanese heritage shouldn’t be a factor — American is American. But close observers of Korea will know better than to rule out that it can at least color how Koreans perceive his actions and words as ambassador.”

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