More than half the world’s population still doesn’t have a US ambassador

"America First"
"America First"

Since he fired all the US ambassadors who were political appointees of Barack Obama, US president Donald Trump has had only two replacements confirmed by the Senate: Nikki Haley, to the United Nations, and David Friedman, to Israel. That means the US has no top representative to 57 countries and territories with a total population of 3.9 billion.

Those countries include some of the US’s most important allies and partnerships—such as Canada, India, the UK, and Saudi Arabia—and makes for tricky situations when, for example, you have the Chinese president about to visit.

Trump’s administration has also announced political nominees only for Japan, China, and the UK, as well as career diplomats for Senegal and the Republic of Congo. Of those five, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can only process Senegal and Congo, since paperwork for the Japan and China nominees hasn’t been finished, said Sean Bartlett, spokesman for senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee.

“The question is not why hasn’t the Senate moved forward on nominees,” said one senior Senate Democrat staffer. “It is: Why is the administration either incapable of, or choosing not to, send up complete files of their nominees in a timely fashion?”

Trump has said New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will be ambassador to the UK, but his name has not been formally put to the Senate, Bartlett says. Meanwhile, former ambassador to China and governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, has reportedly accepted the job of ambassador to Russia, but the White House has not officially announced that—and there’s currently a career ambassador, John Tefft, in place.

The White House didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment on the nomination process—we’ll update if it does.

The full list of countries (plus the Vatican) without ambassadors:

Country/Territory Population in 2015 (millions)
Afghanistan 32.53
Argentina 43.42
Australia 23.78
Austria 8.61
Bahamas 0.39
Belarus 9.51
Belgium 11.29
Belize 0.36
Bolivia 10.72
Canada 35.85
China 1371.22
Congo 4.62
Cote D’Ivoire 22.7
Cuba 11.39
Czech Republic 10.55
Denmark 5.68
Djibouti 0.89
Dominican Republic 0.07
Eritrea** 4.79
Ethiopia 99.39
Finland 5.48
France 66.81
Germany 81.41
Guinea-Bissau 1.84
Haiti 10.71
Holy See <0.01
Hungary 9.84
Iceland 0.33
India 1311.1
Ireland 4.64
Italy 60.8
Japan 126.96
Liechtenstein 0.04
Luxembourg 0.57
Mauritius 1.26
Morocco 34.38
Netherlands 16.94
New Zealand 4.6
Norway 5.2
Paraguay 6.64
Portugal 10.35
Samoa 0.19
Saudi Arabia 31.54
Senegal 15.13
Seychelles 0.09
Singapore 5.54
South Africa 54.96
South Korea 50.62
Spain 46.42
Sudan 40.23
Sweden 9.8
Switzerland 8.29
Syria 18.5
Tanzania 53.47
Trinidad and Tobago 1.36
United Kingdom 65.14
Venezuela 31.11
Total 3900.05

Data: The World Bank

** Data for Eritrea is from 2011

home our picks popular latest obsessions search