As I write this on Memorial Day weekend, I find myself feeling a special sense of gratitude to the men and women who have served in our armed forces and sacrificed their lives for our liberty. My own life these past twelve months has been particularly rewarding in terms of the opportunities I’ve had and the projects on which I’ve worked. None of it would have been possible without their service and sacrifice.
While it is never appropriate to compare the service of current civilian members of government with that of fallen soldiers, the weekend does bring to mind the general virtues and attributes of duty, honor, dedication, and loyalty. These are not just personified in our military but can be found in others who devote their careers to representing their nation in non-combat roles.
It is with that backdrop that I turn my keyboard’s attention to the United States’ Ambassador to Germany, Richard (Ric) Grenell. The role of Ambassador of the United States to a foreign country has historically been one of mixed use and seriousness. The position has sometimes been awarded as a pure act of political patronage, it has been awarded ceremonially, and it has been awarded substantively for the purpose of placing a serious person in a role to make a serious contribution. Ambassador Grenell certainly falls under that last heading.
Since his appointment to the post he currently holds in May of 2018, Ambassador Grenell has made it clear he has no intentions of holding a ceremonial position and hosting dinner parties serving blutwurst and kraut. The Ambassador went in with a clear understanding of his role: to carry out the president’s agenda regardless of how uncomfortable it might make his German hosts. This is a role made easier for him by the fact that he and the president share the same ideas as to the United States’ role proper role in the world.
One year in on his assignment, he has become the Berlin-based version of President Trump, willing to make strong stands that do not compromise on principle and which hold our German allies accountable for the actions that impact the United States and others.
It didn’t take the Ambassador long to shake things up. On his very first day on the job he sent out a tweet suggesting that U.S. sanctions on Iran would be tough and German companies doing business with that rogue state should take warning. This created outrage within the German government and within the American press.
If they had only known the Ambassador was just getting started. Since then, he has repeatedly placed himself at the forefront of promoting policies and ideas that make Germans uncomfortable.
The Ambassador has taken a strong stand against the growing dependence of Germany upon Russian-supplied natural gas. While the American press has gone digging for collusion evidence between the President and Russia, all they had to do was put on their swimsuits and dive into the Baltic to find collusion between Russia and the German government.
As the German-Russian bond has strengthened, Ambassador Grenell has pushed back hard, threatening sanctions against German companies that engage on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The strength of U.S. opposition, championed by Ambassador Grenell, has even had the peculiar effect of having the French stand up to the Germans on the issue. Standing up to Germany is not strongly woven into French DNA.
The Ambassador also played a key role in getting former Nazi Jakiw Palij expelled from the United States back to Germany prior to his death. Extradition of the monster had been authorized years ago, but no action had been taken. Ambassador Grenell made it a priority and our President forced the issue. Palij is now deceased and his final extradition to a place south of the Earth’s core should have already taken place.
Grenell has been active on other issues, as well. He has been a strong advocate of ending the persecution of homosexuals across the globe, especially in the Middle East. This is an uncomfortable issue for Western countries on which to push their less civilized global members because they simply do not like the conflict. The Ambassador has shown no such absence of spine.
He is even a fiscal conservative, something unheard of in foreign diplomacy. is recent request to Washington for this year’s Embassy budget asked for a zero increase in dollars. Nobody in Washington can recollect this ever happening.
His use of Twitter has been off-putting to the same people who rail against our president on social media. They do not like strong people reaching out with strong messages directly to citizens. The Ambassador views Twitter as just another way to make sure people get to hear what they need to hear without the filter of a biased press.
With our president getting ready for his second term, consolidating his leadership team with people who have proven loyal and capable is a must. Too much of President Trump’s first term has been spent fighting enemies from within. Ambassador Ric Grenell has been someone he can count on. Perhaps it is time to stop letting the German government have all the fun and bring him back stateside. Let’s see how those inside Washington who are opposed to the reasserting of America’s preeminence deal with a man who, like our president, is simply unwilling to back down.