Several months after the idea was first bruited, the White House has announced that President Obama will nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan. The Times had this to say about the idea in an editorial in April:
"If Caroline Kennedy were simply a lawyer and author, it's doubtful that she would be on any president's short list for a major diplomatic appointment. But Kennedy is also a member of a storied American political family and an early and valued supporter of Barack Obama's presidential ambitions. As a result of those dubious 'credentials,' Kennedy is reportedly in line to be nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. It won't be the first time that Obama has rewarded a prominent political supporter with a prestigious position, continuing a bipartisan practice of doling out ambassadorships to supporters and fundraisers. But Kennedy's thin resume and the importance of Japan make it a particularly egregious example of that time-dishonored practice."
Others disagree. At the Washington Post, Max Fisher suggests that Kennedy's family legacy in Japan "is a bigger asset than many Americans might realize" and that "she can play an important role in guiding Japanese politics a bit closer to gender equality."
Fisher adds: "There are many reasons that the alliance with Japan became what it is now, but the Kennedy family’s role, particularly at the pivotal moment of the early 1960s, is unmistakable. That doesn’t mean that Caroline Kennedy has special DNA that would make her a particularly adept ambassador to Japan, of course. But her family name means something more than just 'political royalty' in Tokyo — it’s a reminder of how special the relationship is between the two nations and a badge of what it took to achieve it."
The problem with that argument is that it could apply to any member of the Kennedy family, and there are zillions of them. Maybe some of them are also experts on Japan.
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