Our man in Morocco

In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune my friend Katherine Kersten reports on the performance of United States Ambassador to Morocco Sam Kaplan. Kaplan is a Minneapolis business attorney/businessman who demonstrated his qualifications for the position the old-fashioned way. He bundled campaign cash for President Obama.
Kaplan thus provides something of a local angle on the Hope and Change delivered by the Obama administration. At the time of his appointment Kaplan commented on the reaction some might have. “I understand the criticism, but all in all, I’m at peace,” he said. What a relief.
Kathy’s column arises from Morocco’s expulsion this past March of so-called Christian “proselytizers,” including about 50 Americans. The issue was addressed earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal editorial “Expelled in Morocco.”
In June, Rep. Frank Wolf (R, Va.) conducted a hearing on the issue. Kathy may be the only reporter/columnist who actually read the transcript of Rep. Wolf’s hearing. It reveals the American embassy’s lack of interest in the egregious mistreatment of American citizens in Morocco as well as Britain’s and Canada’s comparatively better representation of their citizens.
Kathy cites an April Star Tribune article about Kaplan’s response to the expulsions. It shows him to be more concerned about his image in the Moroccan press and cozy relations with King Mohammed than about American citizens’ well-being. The April Star Tribune story cited by Kathy is available online here.
One witness at the hearings testified that the embassy helped him only by providing a list of lawyers when he was deported. He testified, however, that a few weeks ago “the American embassy in Rabat brought Moroccans to Washington, D.C., and fed them and housed them to help them brainstorm on how to build businesses in the Muslim world.”
We probably shouldn’t be surprised. The State Department profile of Kaplan presents him as seeking “to help fulfill President Obama’s vision of a new beginning for U.S. relations with the Muslim world based on mutual respect and defined by partnerships in areas of mutual interest.” Kathy’s column appears to reveal business as usual for the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Muslim countries.
Kaplan’s profile is worth a look in this context. It unintentionally reveals a man whose ego exceeds his qualifications for his current position. He touts his “community activism” and work with the Democratic party including his “early support” for the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. Kaplan even claims credit for “vaulting Wellstone from obscurity to election as a U.S. Senator.” Success, as they say, has many fathers.
“By opening their home in Rabat for diplomatic functions, as they opened their home in Minnesota for fundraising events,” Kaplan writes in his profile, “Ambassador and Mrs. Kaplan seek to reciprocate the warm hospitality that they have received from their Moroccan friends, colleagues and hosts.” I can see where he might not want to do anything to spoil those parties.


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