America and the world might never have known much about the career and work of United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, but for the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2012.
Stevens, a dedicated foreign service officer, was killed in Tuesday’s attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi. Citizens of the newly liberated country are remembering him as “a friend of all Libyans.” Bengali itself was the site of the beginning and ultimate turning point in the Libyans’ overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Details of the attack are still being gathered; all the while violence is erupting in the streets of the Arab world. In less turbulent times, Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues in this country’s corps of Ambassadors serving around the globe have done their work in relative anonymity, given the sensitive positions they hold.
The president is in charge of our official government representatives to the rest of the world. In every country in which we have an ambassador, he or she works as a career foreign service officer, or as a presidential appointee; in either case always at the pleasure of the president.
Representing the world’s superpower in a foreign land poses a tremendous challenge to anyone holding such a post. It must be humbling to be an ambassador who is sincere in the interests of a country that may or may not aspire to America’s life styles, yet must tread carefully along the sidelines in their efforts to help their hosts. It’s especially tough in a world of widely divergent cultural and economic lifestyles, where we often see and suffer violence in the extreme.
Most Americans have little knowledge of, and consequently little interest in, the careers of the long list of ambassadors that represent us around the world. It would serve our nation’s interests well if we all could learn more about the work they are doing. If we heard more directly from them about the social and cultural goings on in the countries they serve; as American citizens we would undoubtedly have a better understanding of and appreciation for the efforts and the dollars we are spending overseas.
We abhor the loss of innocent people in this latest terrorist abomination, and we hope the perpetrators will soon be brought to justice. And for the Libyans, who have already suffered so much, we wish them peace.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.