Alexander Vershbow

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Alexander Vershbow
Alexander Vershbow.JPG
Alexander Vershbow in 2005
Born (1952-07-03) July 3, 1952 (age 62)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Other names Alexander Russell "Sandy" Vershbow
Alma mater Yale College, Columbia University
Occupation Deputy Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Alexander Russell "Sandy" Vershbow (born July 3, 1952) is an American ambassador and the current Deputy Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

From October, 2005 to October, 2008, he was the United States Ambassador to South Korea. Before that post he had been the ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2001 to 2005[1] and the ambassador to NATO from 1998 to 2001. For his work with NATO he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Service Award.

In March, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Vershbow as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, a position that holds responsibility for U.S. policy toward NATO, coordination of U.S. security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.[2] He was confirmed in April, 2009.[3] After almost three years with the U.S. Department of Defense, in February 2012, Vershbow moved back to Brussels where he took the position of Deputy Secretary General of NATO.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Vershbow was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School before moving on to Yale College, from which he graduated in 1974 in Russian and East European Studies. He earned an MA at Columbia University in 1976 in International Relations and Certificate of the Russian Institute.[5]

Career[edit]

Vladimir Putin with Alexander Vershbow

National Security Council[edit]

Vershbow was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (1994–97). He was the first recipient of the Department of Defense’s Joseph J. Kruzel Award for his contributions to peace in the former Yugoslavia (1997).

Ambassador to Russia[edit]

Vershbow was US ambassador to Russia from 2001 to 2005. He is famous for ignoring the official ceremony of giving his letter of credence to Russian President (V. Putin) due to his planned vacation.[6]

Ambassador to South Korea[edit]

Early in his tenure as ambassador to South Korea he generated controversy by continuing the hard line on North Korea begun by his predecessor Christopher Hill. He pressed North Korea on the issues of human rights and superdollars, calling the government a "criminal regime",[7][8] and called on them to return to the Six-Party Talks.[9][8] The South Korean government has asked him to tone down his rhetoric,[10] in accordance with their Sunshine Policy, and one lawmaker even tried to have him expelled from the country.[11][12] In January 2006 his attempt to meet with the Korea Internet Journalists' Association, which describes itself as 'progressive', was blocked by protestors from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.[13][14]

Together with Christopher Hill, who is the assistant secretary of State, Vershbow has also pioneered a strategy of speaking directly to the Korean people through the internet and by actually appearing and speaking at street rallies.[15][16]

Vershbow spoke out in favour of the expansion of the US base at Pyeongtaek. Local people demonstrated in great numbers against this expansion, although Vershbow claims that they are "out of step" with the sentiments of most residents of the area.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs[edit]

Vershbow is Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA).[17] In a July, 2010, organization chart he was shown as five ASD's serving under Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, with the other four being Wallace Gregson, Paul Stockton, Michael Nacht, and Michael Vickers.[18]

Vershbow was leading sessions for the chief of staff of Egypt’s armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, and a delegation in Washington in January, 2011, when the visit was truncated due to concurrent Egyptian protests.[19]

Personal[edit]

Vershbow's wife, Lisa, is a prominent designer of contemporary jewelry.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. Ambassadors to Russia: Alexander R. Vershbow (2001-2005)". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Obama taps new ambassadors for Iraq, Afghanistan". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  3. ^ "Alexander Vershbow". Head Count: Tracking Obama's Appointments (The Washington Post). Retrieved 28 January 2011. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Alexander Vershbow". North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 
  5. ^ a b "Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs – Leadership: Alexander Vershbow". Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Посол США отказался выпить с Путиным" [U.S. Ambassador refused to drink with Putin]. The Russian Gazette. 27 August 2001. 
  7. ^ "Unknown". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – Daily News from Korea. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b "US says N Korea 'criminal regime'". BBC News. 7 December 2005. 
  9. ^ "Unknown". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – Daily News from Korea. [dead link]
  10. ^ Goodenough, Patrick (7 July 2008). "US Envoy Calls North Korea 'Criminal Regime'". Cybercast News Service. 
  11. ^ "Unknown". Cybercast News Service. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Unknown". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – Daily News from Korea. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Unknown". The Korea Herald. 13 January 2006. [dead link]
  14. ^ Koehler, Robert (13 January 2006). "Protestors stop Vershbow from attending meeting". The Marmot's Hole: Korea... in Blog Format. "U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow was stopped by KCTU protestors from attending a meeting with the Korean Internet Journalists’ Association, reports the Korea Herald: 'The U.S. envoy to Korea was to meet with members of the Korea Internet Journalists’ Association at the office of progressive radio channel, Voice of the People in Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul. But members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions who share an office in the same building barricaded the entrance and held out placards saying "U.S. obstructs reunification."'" 
  15. ^ "Unknown". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – Daily News from Korea. [dead link]
  16. ^ "New U.S. Envoy to Woo Young Koreans". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – Daily News from Korea. 23 September 2005. 
  17. ^ "Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs". Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 19 October 2012. "Alexander Vershbow is currently the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA). In this capacity, Ambassador Vershbow has responsibility for coordinating U.S. security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including NATO), the Middle East and Africa." 
  18. ^ Policy Leadership Slate (PDF), United States Department of Defense, retrieved 28 January 2011 [dead link]
  19. ^ Bumiller, Elizabeth (28 January 2011). "Egyptian Military Chiefs Cut Pentagon Visit Short". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Franklin Collins
Ambassador of United States to Russia
2001—2005
Succeeded by
William Joseph Burns
Preceded by
Christopher R. Hill
Ambassador of United States to South Korea
2005—2008
Succeeded by
Kathleen Stephens