Frank G. Wisner
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Frank George Wisner II (born July 2, 1938) is an American businessman and former diplomat. He is the son of Frank Wisner (1909–1965). On January 31, 2011, he was sent to Egypt by President Barack Obama to negotiate a resolution to the popular protests against the regime that have swept the country. A White House spokesman said that Wisner had vast experience in the region as well as close relationships with many Egyptians in and out of government. The New York Times reports that he is a personal friend of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Speaking on the BBC on February 5, 2011, he exceeded statements issued by the White House to date and insisted that President Mubarak should be allowed to remain in office despite widespread calls for him to step down.
Life and career
Wisner was born in New York on July 2, 1938, to Mary Ellis (Knowles) and Frank Gardiner Wisner. He attended Woodberry Forest School, and then attended Princeton University, graduating in 1961. He joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in December of that year.
In 1976, at the beginning of the Carter administration, he served under Cyrus Vance as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State. Among his overseas assignments, Wisner served as the United States Ambassador to Zambia (1979–82); Egypt (1986–91), the Philippines (1991–92), and India, 1994–97.
In late 2002, Wisner co-chaired an independent working group which developed a model for the US's post-conflict role in Iraq, should an invasion occur. Their published recommendations included: establishment of law and order through the retraining of the Iraqi army, focusing on the distribution of humanitarian assistance and reestablishment of vital services, and the importance of avoiding the appointment of exiled Iraqi opposition leaders to dominant positions in the new government.
Wisner is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. In 2012 he succeeded Paul A. Volcker as chairman of the board of Trustees of International House, the cultural-exchange residence and program center in New York City. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the National Security Network, and on the board of Refugees International. Currently he's a member of the board for EOG Resources Inc. In June 2013, it was announced that Ambassador Wisner joined the advisory board of Ergo, a global intelligence and advisory firm.
2011 Egypt protests
Wisner was involved in a diplomatic gaffe during the uprising in Egypt in early 2011. The Obama administration asked Wisner to carry views to Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, including advice that Mubarak should resign to defuse the crisis. Wisner was not successful in convincing Mubarak of the wisdom of the administration's suggestions. Just 4 days later, after a day in which Mubarak allies took violent reprisal against democracy activists, Wisner spoke to a security conference in Europe and called it "crucial" that Mubarak stay on in the interest of "stability", in direct contradiction of the American policy he had been asked to convey. The State Department immediately disavowed his comments and disparaged his previous role, saying he had not served as envoy, but merely as an available conduit for certain administration views Adding fuel to the furor over Wisner's comments was the fact that after retirement from the diplomatic corps, he had been a highly placed official of a firm that has lobbied on behalf of the Mubarak, as well as serving on the board of the largest Egyptian bank.
- "Egypt protests – Monday 31 January". The Guardian. January 31, 2011.
- "Obama Urges Mubarak Not to Run Again". New York Times. February 1, 2011.
- "Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq" (PDF). James A. Baker Institute For Public Policy at Rice University.
- "Press Release". Refugees International. May 9, 2008.
- Ambassador Frank G. Wisner Joins Ergo's Advisory Board, PR Newswire, June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- SHERYL GAY STOLBERG (February 2, 2011). "Frank Wisner, the Diplomat Sent to Prod Mubarak". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition". New York Times. February 5, 2011.
- "Obama turned to envoy". Washington Post. February 1, 2011.
- "US envoy's business link to Egypt". The Independent. February 7, 2011.
- Frank G. Wisner bio at the Wharton Global Business Forum
- Sourcewatch page
- Obama Egypt Envoy Frank Wisner Says Mubarak Should Stay – video report by Democracy Now!