11 votes

Iceland's leader has announced that she will skip US Vice President Mike Pence's visit – opting instead to keep prior commitments

5 comments

  1. [5]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Pence is only the Vice President, and the U.S. equivalent of a Foreign Minister. It's fine for him to deal with his Icelandic counterpart.

    “This is unprecedented for an Icelandic prime minister,” historian Thor Whitehead told The Associated Press. “I doubt any other Western leader would decide to address a friendly conference abroad instead of welcoming a major foreign ally.”

    Pence is only the Vice President, and the U.S. equivalent of a Foreign Minister. It's fine for him to deal with his Icelandic counterpart.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      The VP is not the equivalent of a Foreign Minister, that would probably be the Secretary of State. The VP is usually seen as standing in for the President on diplomatic missions like this,...

      The VP is not the equivalent of a Foreign Minister, that would probably be the Secretary of State. The VP is usually seen as standing in for the President on diplomatic missions like this, depending on the administration.

      I’m not saying the Icelandic PM should rush to meet him, but not doing so is certainly a political message and not simply an issue of delegating peers to meet peers.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Is Pence not the Secretary of State? I thought he was, as well as being the Vice President. Either way, he's not the leader of the government, and doesn't need to be met by a leader of a...

        The VP is not the equivalent of a Foreign Minister, that would probably be the Secretary of State.

        Is Pence not the Secretary of State? I thought he was, as well as being the Vice President.

        Either way, he's not the leader of the government, and doesn't need to be met by a leader of a government.

        Also, as the Iceland PM says, "This visit [...] has been bouncing a lot around the calendar so that it has been very difficult to organize oneself around it". I found this article from only 6 weeks ago which says "As it is, nothing is set in stone. The sources contend Pence has expressed an interest in visiting the country [...] but the visit has not yet been confirmed." These things are usually organised many months in advance, but less than two months out from his intended visit, he hadn't even made a firm decision to go. Ultimately, the visit was announced only last week. How is Ms Jakobsdottir supposed to organise to be there to meet Mr Pence when he hadn't even been able to give a definite date for his visit until recently?

        2 votes
        1. spit-evil-olive-tips
          Link Parent
          Officials in dual roles like that are very rare in the US (I believe it's more common in parliamentary systems?). What you may be thinking of is that the Vice President also serves as "President...

          Is Pence not the Secretary of State? I thought he was, as well as being the Vice President.

          Officials in dual roles like that are very rare in the US (I believe it's more common in parliamentary systems?).

          What you may be thinking of is that the Vice President also serves as "President of the Senate", but that's a largely ceremonial role - more or less the only meaningful part of that job is on occasions when a vote in the Senate is tied 50-50, the VP casts a tie-breaking vote. The Senate Majority Leader (currently Mitch McConnell) has the real control over the Senate.

          2 votes