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Former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Leaves Embassy in Disarray

4:00 PM, Feb 11, 2011 • By MATT KATZENBERGER
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After fundraising for Obama during the 2008 campaign, Cynthia Stroum was appointed ambassador to Luxembourg. On January 31, though, Stroum resigned from her position, citing family and business as her reasons for resigning. A recently released report from the State Department tells another story.

The report, completed in January and based on inspections of the embassy, finds that:

The Ambassador’s confrontational management style, chronic gaps in senior and other staffing caused by curtailments, and the absence of a sense of direction have brought major elements of Embassy Luxembourg to a state of dysfunction…Morale among Americans and local staff is very low, and stress levels are high. Most employees describe the Ambassador as aggressive, bullying, hostile, and intimidating, which resulted in an extremely difficult, unhappy, and uncertain work environment.

The report also questions Stroum’s use of funds, including a $2,400 trip to Switzerland and a last minute “scramble” to purchase $3,400 in bulk wine and liquor. Stroum insisted that king-sized bed provided for the ambassador be replaced with a queen-sized bed.

The report makes the consequences of her mismanagement clear:

Embassy Luxembourg is a small, resource-poor mission that has underperformed for the entirety of the current Ambassador’s tenure. At present, due to internal problems, it plays no significant role in policy advocacy or reporting, though developments in Luxembourg are certainly of interest to Washington clients and other U.S. missions in the NATO and EU communities.

Stroum, though, defended her performance, claiming that her major contribution was in the area of public diplomacy, specifically, “representation opportunities” and “diplomatic community events.” She even filed a rebuttal to the State Department’s report.

Most of the embassy’s senior staff in Luxembourg has departed, some even preferring to volunteer for service in Kabul and Baghdad.

Matt Katzenberger is an intern at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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