Karen Pierce has been appointed as Britain’s first female to hold the prominent position of ambassador to the US. Pierce is currently serving as the UK’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Pierce, has served as a diplomat for much of her career, joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1981, and holding diplomatic posts in several countries since, including Switzerland, Japan and most recently Afghanistan-where Pierce served during 2015.
After Pierce’s stint in Afghanistan she returned to London, where she worked as the FCO’s political director and chief operations officer until her appointment to the UN. Pierce commented “I am honoured to have been asked to represent the UK in the US. I think it is the UK’s single most important relationship. There is a deep bond between Britain and the US, built on many pillars. We have a fantastic cross-government team across the US and I look forward to working with them to strengthen and even further deepen the special relationship between our two countries and peoples.”
Pierce will be the first UK ambassador in the US since Kim Darroch. Darroch resigned in July following leaked emails dating back from 2017, which were critical of the Trump Administration. In turn, President Trump criticized Darroch and pushed for his resignation as US ambassador.
This rift, and recent events following Brexit-including a decision by Britain to allow a Chinese telecommunications firm (Huawei) a part in construction of Britain’s new 5G broadband network, despite American warnings against it-are likely to create challenges for Pierce’s dealings with the Trump Administration. Pierce will be aiming to help assist in securing a trade deal between the US and “post-Brexit” Britain, which she will have to navigate cautiously. Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab is confident in Pierce’s abilities to do so, commenting, “We’re proud to be sending to Washington such an outstanding diplomat, and I warmly congratulate her on her appointment.”
Sources: The Guardian 02/07/2020; BBC 02/07/2020; New York Times 02/07/2020