Vol. 3, Issue 7, March 8, 2005
After 2 Years, Ambassador Learns Luxembourg is a Real Country
Ambassador Peter Terpeluk was astonished to learn last week that Luxembourg is an actual, physical country, and that as ambassador he is required to spend a substantial amount of time there.
"I did not for one instant imagine that I was neglecting any duties," said Terpeluk in a statement released to the press. "While I regret the misunderstanding, I would like to point out that no international incidents have taken place as a result of this misunderstanding."
Founded in 963, Luxembourg became a grand duchy in 1815 and attained full independence in 1867. Overrun by Germany in both World Wars, it ended its neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union).
"I thought that it was one of those theoretical nations which exist on paper and hold a symbolic seat in the United Nations," Terpeluk added. "I mean, the description says it's smaller than Rhode Island, which is itself barely a state. How on earth could a country survive with less than half a million people?
Ambassadorships are commonly awarded to significant campaign contributors. In 2000, Terpeluk, director of a D.C. lobbying firm, was one of Bush's "Pioneers," people who raised at least $100,000 for the presidential campaign. A majority of people who attained "Pioneer" or "Ranger" contributor status received appointments either to ambassadorships or key committees.
"Of course, the president generally appoints career foreign service officers as envoys to developing countries and other nations requiring the presence of an experienced diplomat," said University of Georgia political science professor Lester Keyes. "But ambassadorships to friendly first world countries often are offered to generous contributors. France, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden - those ambassadorships went to people who brought in over $300,000 for the Bush campaign. Luxembourg is kind of a second-tier reward."
Luxembourg has apparently not complained about the lack of an ambassador. In fact, government officials say relations with the United States have "never been smoother."
Terpeluk's discovery has reportedly prompted discreet inquiries by other Bush appointees concerned that they have not been performing their duty.
"Well, I've confirmed that it's okay for me to stay at home," said fellow "Pioneer" Stephen Bradshaw, who Bush appointed as Ambassador to Oz in 2002 after he raised $50,000 for Bush's presidential campaign. "I mean, I'd feel kind of guilty for drawing a government salary if I wasn't doing my job. But apparently, I'm fulfilling all my actual diplomatic responsibilities right here in my house. It's comforting to know that."