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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Professionals

The new president-elect of the United States is busy choosing his cabinet. Most of the appointments are quite conventional, and appear to be in accord with the wishes of his Party, which makes sense if the nominees are to be confirmed. It is also notable that Mr Trump so far is adhering to a rather rigid professional categorical imperative: his appointee to head the Commerce Department is a businessman; the man to head the Treasury Department, a banker; the woman to head the Transportation Department, a former administrator in the Transportation Department (among other things); and the rumoured heads of the Health Department and the Defence Department, a doctor and a soldier, respectively. So, Talleyrand is bound to ask: why are the four finalists for Secretary of State clearly amateurs: a former mayor and high-priced consultant; a disgraced former soldier and spook; a former governor and defeated presidential candidate; and a Senator and former builder of shopping malls?

Why not nominate a diplomat?

A professional diplomat to run the State Department would be a rarity, no doubt. There has been only one in recent memory: Lawrence Eagleburger... and he got there only by chance. But Mr Trump was elected, so it is said, to shake things up. Better to shake in this instance than to stir.

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