The Contrétemps et Médiocrité of Liberia’s Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Representation, 1980-the present
The Contrétemps et Médiocrité of Liberia’s Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Representation, 1980-the present.
Sarr Abdulai VANDI PhD
10 February 2022
Diplomacy is the conduct of the relations of one state with another by peaceful means. Diplomacy is a skill in the management of international relations. Statecraft manages state power to promote national interests and diplomacy; using non-lethal means to manage interstate relations and foreign threats is central to global Realpolitik. Rapid increases in the availability and power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) or, more correctly, telecommunications (telecoms) and infocommunications (infocoms) are changing the modes of international relations and the conditions and transformations for statecraft in the 21st century and beyond. Liberia’s legendary and the Afriqué Continent model diplomacy at its best, brightest, and highest; now reduced to mediocrity, effective 1980-Present! This paper and analytics attempt to catalogue Liberia’s most OK diplomatic path and accomplishments and its unfortunate attrition in recent times amidst ugly governance and dismal statecraft.
By description, “diplomacy is the point of contact between two or more sovereign states. It is, therefore, the only branch of public power and global transactions that, even as a last resort, may never resort to duress; its action is through dialogue, otherwise known as negotiation” and rapprochement.
Diplomacy is no longer limited to negotiations between States and geopolitik. International talks in general also encompass negotiations between people, corporations or businesses and non-governmental organisations (NGOs & IGOs) across borders and regions.
Diplomacy is a tool of foreign policy. War, alliances, international trade and economic transactions and international telecommunications and infocommunications services may all be manifestations.
A state’s foreign or external policy is its objectives and activities in its interactions with other states, whether bilaterally or through multilateral platforms.
The most critical value in international affairs is predictability and stability.
Approaching Foreign Policy and Shaping a Country’s Relationship with the World
All foreign policy has a similar aim: to influence other countries to protect and advance a government’s interests. However, leaders approach this common goal with different strategies.
Generally, three main questions inform a government’s approach to foreign policy. One debate considers how much foreign policy to have. Should a country actively participate in global affairs (engagement) or try to pull up the drawbridge and shield itself from the outside world (isolationism)?
Another debate revolves around how a government sets its foreign policy priorities. Idealists would say that foreign policy should reflect a country’s internal values and that countries should seek to promote those values abroad. On the other hand, Realists would say that foreign policy should focus less on domestic policy and more on shaping the foreign policy of other countries.
A third debate explores how best to achieve a country’s foreign policy goals – whether to work with others, multilateralism or go it independently, unilateralism.
All foreign policy combines elements from both sides of those debates. The question facing decision-makers is how much to emphasise each approach to achieve one’s aims.
We live in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Globalisation touches every part of our lives, from the products we buy to the food we eat to how we communicate.
Globalisation is also tied to the other most significant issues we face in the modern era, including climate change, trade, terrorism, and spreading of deadly diseases.
Networking with countries and connecting with markets worldwide has benefits and downsides, so globalisation has proponents and detractors. No matter which side one chooses, globalisation is simply a reality of modern life; therefore, it is essential to understand how it affects us and our choices.
An ambassador is any nation’s President or head of state highest-ranking representative to a specific country or international organisation abroad.
An effective ambassador has to be a strong leader, a good manager, a resilient negotiator, and a respected country representative.
An ambassador is a rank or a title, while a diplomat is an occupation.
Ambassadors are diplomats of the highest rank, formally representing their head of state, with plenipotentiary powers; full authority to represent the government.
Ambassadors hold the highest diplomatic level and have precedence over chargés d’affaires, which the foreign minister or secretary of state accredits.
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, an ambassador has the highest diplomatic rank. Governments may choose to maintain diplomatic relations at a lower level by appointing a chargé d’affaires in place of an ambassador.
The equivalent to an Ambassador exchanged among the Commonwealth of Nations members are known as High Commissioners. The “Ambassadors” of the Holy See are known as Papal or Apostolic Nuncios.
According to eDiplomat, an ambassador is:
“The chief of a diplomatic mission; the ranking official diplomatic representative of his country to the country to which he is accredited, and the personal representative of his head of state to the head of state of the host country.”
An ambassador is the highest-ranking diplomat who represents a country. Ambassadors are the chief officers of embassies, which governments place in the capitals of foreign countries. Ambassadors exist in embassies, businesses, finance, charities, and other organisations.
The term may also refer to a representing activity, company, or organisation.
Sir Harold NICOLSON, the highly celebrated U.K., legendary and all-time favourite and consummate diplomat, writes;
“These, then, are the qualities of my perfect diplomatist. Truth, accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty and loyalty.”
Benjamin FRANKLIN, United States of America’s founding father, reminds us of a diplomat’s “qualities: sleepless tact, removable calmness, and patience that no folly, no provocation, no blunders may shake.”
Other qualities of an ideal diplomatist include intelligence, knowledge, discernment, prudence, hospitality, charm, industry, courage and even tact.
Liberia, diplomacy, international affairs transactions, and foreign policy were the models for developing nations and Africa.
The République triggered the diplomatique assault against colonialism, apartheid, and racism on the Continent.
The Homeland, and the singular Lone Star, State; vigorously advocated and supported independence and sovereignty for individual African nation-states throughout the mid-50s and the 60s and 70s.
As one of three singular and preeminent African sovereign nation-states, the Lone Star Republique was represented at the founding of the League of Nations on 10 January 1920 in Geneva, Switzerland, and the United Nations, on 24 October 1945, in San Francisco, California, USA.
Abyssinia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa were the only African independent states represented in San Francisco, USA., and signatories to the new U.N. Founding Charter.
Liberia’s Exceptional Diplomacy and Exemplary Foreign Affairs Representations
The two former Mano River Union (MRU) secretaries-general, Augustus F CAINE PhD, and Theophilus Ernest EASTMAN were very competent, extremely qualified, and impeccably capable. Both gentlemen were seasoned civil service professionals and extraordinary diplomats.
The Mano River Union constituent member states are la Côte d’Ivoire, Guinée, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Notwithstanding, the Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF last and final Mano River Union (MRU) secretary-general appointee (2017-present), Medina Shepherd WESSEH, is incompetent, unqualified, mediocre, and complete and thoroughly unfit. She is vulgar, vile, and corrupt, an alleged State Assets Capturer and an influence peddler.
Liberia has enjoyed considerable diplomatic representation and standings amongst its peers, members, and sovereign nation-states. Our past diplomats and former foreign affairs representatives have been astute, extraordinary, and plenipotentiary in their overseas assignments and discharges of their respective and appropriate duties. The Republic’s diplomats of yesteryears were revered and reserved and acted with befitting dignity.
Our diplomats’ leadership roles at the United Nations, other international bodies, and regional organisations have been exemplary and emulating. The Republic’s diplomats were models of Africa’s diplomacy and were highly equipped with the appropriate and modern diplomatic etiquettes and decorum. They were the consummate, complete and thorough diplomatic corps.
Liberia’s exquisite representative at the League of Nations in Genève, Switzerland, and the Republic’s signatory at the founding of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California, USA, His Excellency, Clarence Lorenzo SIMPSON Sr, was an excellent, superb, and highly respectable diplomat; and a distinguished and proper gentleman.
His presence and participation in founding the League of Nations in Genève on 10 January 1920 and at the signatories of the United Nations in San Francisco, USA, on 25 June 1945, respectively, are legendary and extraordinary and unique to Africa Continent. It remains a unique history and respect for Liberia and the Continent.
The Homeland initially produced the only African female President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). She is Angie Elizabeth BROOKS.
Angie Elizabeth BROOKS (24 August 1928 – 2009 September 2007) was a Liberian stateswoman, diplomat, and jurist.
She was the only African female and Lady President of the United Nations General Assembly. She was the second woman from any nation to head the U.N. body.
In 1974 she became Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Much of her work involved transforming former colonial states into independent countries.
The Ghanaian diplomat, Alex Quaison-SACKEY PhD (09 August 1924 – 21 December 1992), who served during the first and third Ghana Republics, was the first black African to serve as President of the United Nations General Assembly, 1964-1965.
The excellent and model Africa Foreign Ministers aka Secretaries of State; Manmade DUKULY, Joseph Rudolph GRIMES, Rochefort Lafayette WEEKS Sr, Charles Cecil DENNIS Jr, et al. Secretary of State Joseph Rudolph GRIMES, in particular, was a diplomatic maestro on the Continent and globally.
Liberia Ambassador to the United States, Samuel Edward PEAL, in the William Vacanarat Shadrach TUBMAN et William Richard TOLBERT Jr administrations, 1961-1976, was the top diplomat and Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps in Washington DC and inside the Beltway for fifteen years.
Ambassador PEAL was highly respected among his diplomatic colleagues and peers; and mentored and provided counsel to the African diplomatic corps in D.C. and the powerful corridors of the Beltway.
The Decline of Liberia Diplomacy and Médiocre Foreign Affairs Representations
Unfortunately, Liberia’s legendary diplomatic positions and prowess have been distorted and reduced to marginal and insignificance with the election and tenure Of Madame President; and with her subsequent and inferior diplomatic and foreign affairs appointments and placement gaffes and blunders. The UP Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointments was a catastrophe, and an opportunity sacrificed, favouring cronyism and taffy.
Recent Liberian leaders and heads of state tarnished the Republic’s foreign representations and diplomatic corps. Samuel Kanyon DOE (PRC/NDPL, 1980-1990), Amos Claudius SAWYER (IGNU, 1990-1994), Charles McArthur Ghankay TAYLOR (NPP, 1997-2003), Charles Gyude BRYANT (NTGL, 2003-2006), Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF (UP, 2006-2018) and the incumbent and accidental 25th POTROL, George Manneh WEAH (CDC, 2018-Present).
The Madame President’s diplomatic appointments and overseas placements, in particular, dramatically and recklessly declined in merits and competence favoured mediocrity, nepotism, cronyism, and underachievement.
She packed cabinet-level positions with dodgy Generations-X (G-X) and Generations-Y (G-Y) in her false prism of intersectional feminism, gender parity, and two-faced generational change. And foreign affairs assignments at ambassadorial levels with unfit and unskilled women and Machiavellian G-Xers at significant posts abroad; in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Most of Liberia’s incumbent and core diplomats and resident overseas envoys are unprepared and incapable of diplomacy and the conduct of modern and emerging international relations and foreign affairs policy representations and transactions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), once the citadel of Liberia’s foreign service officers and international affairs interlocutors, has been reduced, transgressed, and transformed into a den for the Homeland’s diplomatic Yokels and Yahoos.
L’ancien, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Doyen of the Cabinet, Gabriel Baccus MATTHEWS (1980-1981), initiated the downward spiral and degraded the Capstone MoFA by deploying and infesting the overseas foreign service and the core diplomatic representations with his uncouth and unfit PAL disciples, chaotic and untrusted UPP partisans, and deplorables in the Republic’s foreign embassies and chancery postings, in the 1980s PRC régime.
The disruptive international service downward trend and its significant deterioration abounds and remains unabated to the present (1980-2021) and possibly shortly if the Nation’s dysfunctional governance path and trajectory persist unabated.
Liberia’s current cadrés of Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, particularly at the U.N., at the Court of St James, China, France, Italy and the Holy See, Japan, the E.U., the Gulf, et the sovereign nation-states capitals; are non-diplomats of fame and reputation. Similarly, those in Asia and the Far East, Arabia, and the Maghreb region, in the Africa Continent, south of the Sahara, the A.U., UNESCO, and now at the MRU, IMO and INMARSAT, are categorically insignificant; undignified. With minimal exceptions, they are unworthy and undeserving of the postings. They lack the necessary skills, expertise, and experiences; they are purely unfit.
It is unlikely that the so-called soccer legend, footballer, and moronic accidental President of the Republic, George Manneh WEAH, might reverse this diplomatic anomaly and blunder and, possibly, resurrect the Nation’s overseas representations with international credibility soon.
Unfortunately, he has upped the ante, aggravated the ugly diplomatic representation, and wounded the Republique’s disastrous foreign policy transactions and transformation.
His two recent foreign ministers and Doyens of the Cabinet are neophytes in diplomacy and negotiations and naïveté to international affairs and foreign policy transactions. Moreover, his diplomatic representations and overseas postings are also derelict, amateurish, and deplorable.
The CDC’s foreign policy and international affairs representation have taken a nosedive and mediocrity to the highest.
The Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary are dismal and outrageous at significant European and Asian postings, at the Court of Saint James, the E.U.’s Brusselles, Paris, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo, et al. None of these so-called diplomats is trained, skilled, or experienced in international relations and foreign affairs policy and transactions. Some are masquerading with fake credentials from notorious overseas Degrees Mills and mercenary Essays Mills.
Moreover, the assigned embassy and chancery support staffs are neither career diplomats nor the usual and highly reserved cadrés of efficient and experience Liberia foreign service officers (FSO). They are almost all selected and unqualified and incompetent CDC partisans. Whose only pedigree and quality are party loyalty and ethnic affiliations, siblings to the inner circle, and the influence peddlers of the régime.
Listing of Liberia, incumbent Overseas Embassies, Missions, and Heads
Amb George W PATTEN Sr
Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Canada, and the United States of Mexico
Amb Gurly Teta Gibson-SCHWARZ
Liberia’s Ambassador to the U.K. and the Court of Saint James
Amb Isaac W NYENABO II
Liberia’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union(E.U.)
Amb Al Hassan CONTEH PhD
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS
Amb. Willie-Mai Tolbert-KING
Libéria Ambassadeur to la République de Côte d’Ivoire
Amb Youngor Sevelee TELEWODA
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany
Amb Ethel DAVIS
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa (Azania)
Amb Blamo NELSON
Liberia’s Ambassador to Japan (Nippon- koku)
Amb McKinley THOMAS
Liberia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China
Amb Edwin SELE
Liberia’s Ambassador to Egypt
Amb Archibald Richelieu WILLIAMS
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco
Amb Musu Jatu RUHLE
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone
Amb Jeff DOWANA
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Arab Kingdom of Kuwait
Amb Andrew W KRONYANH
Liberia’s Ambassador to Italy & the Holy See
Amb Moses Owen BROWNE Jr
Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and INMARSAT
The following Embassies and Missions are currently without proper and accredited Ambassadors; the UN, France, Switzerland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia et A.U., Ghana, Guinea, etcetera. They are headed and managed by Chargé d’Affaires. Most of them are new to foreign services. They are unskilled, untrained, and inexperienced in diplomacy and negotiations.
This huge diplomatic void speaks volumes about the mediocrity and attrition of Liberia’s diplomacy and foreign affairs representation; and international naïveté against the background of the République’s chequered history and existence.
President WEAH has no foreign policy doctrine, and the CDC administration drowns in the peripheral of regional, continental, and global affairs and pervasive and emerging international transactions. The A.U., formerly OAU, which Liberia founded in 1963, suspended and expelled the Republic in 2019 for indebtedness and non-payment of membership dues over $10M.
Unfortunately, Liberia continues to rely on its strategic location and the generosity of its allies; that includes the United States, which funded its founding and earlier settlement and colony in the 1800s.
There is brazen corruption, creeping abuses of power, blunt tyranny of this administration, and duplicity; a significant breach and rupture of trust and contempt in governance, international affairs, and foreign policy.
The overall government operatives and administration comprises neophytes and oddballs who are clueless and intolerant.
President WEAH is a moron, rapacious, empty political spectacle who betrayed the trust of the millions of youthful and new Liberian voting populations and the public. He is a feckless classical compound-complex new breed of generation African politician, an opportunist, and a traitor.
The POTROL, President of the Republic of Liberia, South Eastern ethnic kingpins, and his elusive politico-tribalist elements’ primary interests are the Commonwealth power and unlimited access to national largésse.
The CDC’s prohibited governance and transactional iniquity policies represent a clear and present danger to the Homeland’s international image and transactions and an existential threat to the Rest of Us’ national security and resilience!
Sarr Abdulai VANDI PhD is ITU Senior Expert, IBB Senior Fellow & Dean Emeritus, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, former and primary LTA Chairman and CEO, and the Ancien Minister of Posts & Telecommunications, Republic of Liberia.