Big news, folks. We’ve been without an ambassador here in Azerbaijan for eight months now, to the chagrin of the leadership in Azerbaijan. Despite the fact that Don Lu is awesome, apparently Azerbaijan wanted someone with the title and rank of ambassador instead of the amiable, intelligent Lu. And now I, too, will quote Steve LeVine, as do various news sources:
…the Bush-era State Department had sent the name of a diplomat with long experience in the region — Matthew Bryza, a skilled player of pipeline politics whom I’ve known for some 13 years — to the White House as its choice for the Azeri post. But the White House didn’t send Bryza’s nomination to the Senate, and neither has the Obama Administration.
Until now. I’ve received confirmation that — after the clearing of a couple of remaining administrative hurdles — the White House will officially nominate Bryza as U.S. ambassador. He will then be scheduled for a nomination hearing in the Senate.
Should be some exciting hearings coming up. I’m not sure this really changes anything from a Peace Corps perspective. But maybe having an ambassador will help things out. And it’s probably good that he wants to be the ambassador here.