Friday, April 11, 2014
Deputy US Secretary of State William Burns is retiring from the Foreign Service this year. His career has been a distinguished and varied one, but no small part of it dealt with the Middle East. Although the linked article does not mention it, he served as Ambassador to Jordan (where I crossed paths with him a time or two), and also (which is mentioned) as Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs. He also was Ambassador to Russia, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and most recently was Under Secretary, only the second career Foreign Service Officer to hold that post; most recently he handled the backchannel contacts through Oman that led to the US-Iran nuclear talks. Bill Burns has had a distinguished career, though many Americans won't no his name, and he will be missed. I suspect though, we'll be hearing more from him in retirement.