Expelled diplomat is next ambassador to the Philippines

The nomination of Philip S. Goldberg awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate

The nomination of Philip S. Goldberg awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate

By Maricar CP Hampton

The Philippines is due to bid Harry Thomas farewell following the nomination of Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg as the next ambassador to Manila.

Goldberg’s nomination is awaiting the confirmation of the U.S. Senate before it becomes official.

Former State Department official Sonny Busa said Goldberg’s nomination is indicative of the “seriousness of the U.S. pivot towards Asia.”

“The best and brightest of the State Department are being sent to the region,” said Busa, a Visiting Professor of International Relations at West Point.

As the former head of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Goldberg possesses technical knowledge that could be useful to U.S. efforts in assisting the Philippines’ counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts, he said.

“Ambassador Goldberg will bring a wealth of diplomatic experience to what is America’s most important bilateral relationship in Southeast Asia. He served with distinction in many sensitive posts to include Pakistan and Bolivia,” Busa said.

Goldberg, 57, is a career diplomat who has served in various posts around Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America throughout his career. His previous overseas assignments include: consular and political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia and political-economic officer in Pretoria, South Africa.

He served as ambassador to Bolivia from 2006 to 2008, and was expelled for allegedly fomenting civil unrest, which he denied. Goldberg said the decision to remove him was Bolivia’s way of blaming the U.S. for its serious political and economic problems.

A Boston native, he received his B.A. from Boston University. The route to a diplomatic career began when he worked as a liaison officer for the City of New York for the United Nations.

Mitzi Pickard who works for the nonprofit Asia America Initiative, which assists displaced communities in Mindanao, said Goldberg brings extensive experience into defense and security, counter-terrorist/insurgency measures, among other issues.

“With the strategic pivot to Asia by the Obama Administration, and the Philippines playing a primary role in this renewed focus, the ambassador-designate will also heighten emphasis on trade, economic development, good governance, anti-corruption/transparency matters,” Pickard said.

Community leader Nap Curameng said he knew little about Goldberg but said his intelligence background is “a concern.”

He said, “The only thing I’m concerned about is why somebody from the intelligence community? We’re already weary of all this cloak-and-dagger activities going on all over the world.”

One Comment

  1. Maurese Owens wrote:

    He has an impressive background which should be reassuring for the Philippines. With the current concerns about security, economic growth and corruption, Goldberg sounds like an experienced and knowledgeable ambassador.

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