Well it looks like the current US administration proves that it can only focus on one thing at a time and is spreading its chaos globally and further damages their own interests.
Now the reasoning is Pompeo wants Harris for Korea, because, famously, South Korea also doesn’t have an Ambassador (Still no Ambassador in South Korea). In a grim move, Australia was also left, alone to make this announcement, as I assume the Trump administration doesn’t want to highlight that it no longer has a plan B for Australia (or more importantly, the rest of the region).
It isn’t clear why he wants Harris and for what aim. In Korea, other than warming things up for the president there is very little direction to move. Harris’s strengths lay around his regional connections with the nations around the Pacific and his significant standing with them, particularly on issues regarding China. Due to pressures on the Korean peninsula, South Korea diplomatically and military is very much concerned with itself, and its immediate space shared with China, North Korea and Japan.
It seems the main positive quality in Harris they need, is the ability to see military action as being conceivable. If that is the case, why use Harris? Wouldn’t any Admiral or General fill that criteria?
What this means is again, there is no current plan, not just for Australia, but for the wider region. The genius of Harris’s appointment to Australia is that Australia is very much concerned for the region. It would be entirely sensible for Harris to also visit countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Fiji and Malaysia to build relationships and belay fears. It was the role he was doing very successfully when Admiral.
Now in Korea, all key roles on the American side will be filled by Pompeo and Trump and their circle. While Harris is highly experienced, it is unlikely that Pompeo or Trump will listen to him regarding anything to do with Korea.
With in Australia the decision has come under harsh criticism by Kevin Rudd (previous Labor Prime Minister) and Tim Fischer (Deputy Prime Minister under the coalition).
I wonder given the current environment if the US will ever fill Australia’s ambassador position. Using current logic, there are bigger problems everywhere else, so why not bait and switch for future appointments. Turkey, Saudi Arabia are having wars, why not appoint them first before Australia.
The US Chargé d’Affaires is doing a great job, however, he doesn’t have the strategic weight to perform the wider alliance building and also look after the wider region, where US presence has evaporated. Australia isn’t the only country without an Ambassador, most of the Asia Pacific and the Middle East are without US Ambassadors. Countries that are now looking to someone else to help them.
Just more deafening silence from the US.
It is quite plausible that as part of the Korean negotiations, the US will move some, perhaps most forces out of Korea.
Deafening silence and a withdrawal.
It will be interesting to see the wider repercussions with the development in Korea.