In its second published Op Ed attacking the Armenian National Committee of America, The Washington Post tries to silence Armenian American political engagement. It's time for the Post to hear from you.
The Washington Post Op Ed mirrors the talking points of an Azerbaijani American action alert, which was published less than two weeks earlier: http://www.news.az/articles/50723
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Special interests blocking Bryza’s appointment
By Fred Hiatt, Sunday, December 18, 8:10 PM
Barring a last-minute surprise in the U.S. Senate, the well-qualified
diplomat President Obama sent to serve as ambassador to Azerbaijan
will have to come home in less than a month.
In the great modern novel of Washington dysfunction, this is a small
subplot. But the failing nomination of Matthew Bryza, out of public
view and without so much as a committee vote, offers a vivid example
of how the larger U.S. national interest can fall victim to
special-interest jockeying and political accommodation.
This particular story begins not in Azerbaijan, an oil-rich,
predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea
(population: 8 million), but with its neighbor and bitter rival:
oil-poor, predominantly Christian Armenia (population: 3 million).
Armenia was expected to be a post-Soviet success story, given its
clear national identity, proud culture and committed diaspora in the
United States, France and elsewhere.
But the past 20 years have brought disappointment: a government that
is democratic more in form than substance and a corrupt, under
performing economy. Armenia is the 141st poorest country in the world,
with a per capita income of $5,700.
One reason for the sub-par performance has been Armenia’s inability to
settle grievances with neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey. The cold
peace has exacerbated the ill effects of being landlocked and left
Armenia to the not-so-tender embraces of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
And one reason peacemaking has failed is the dogmatism of some
diaspora groups that can enjoy, from afar, the luxury (and fundraising
magic) of sustained grievance. A fervent, at times even
counterproductively so, diaspora is not unique — ask Cuba, Israel or
Latvia — but it has been particularly debilitating for minuscule,
This is the context for the campaign against Bryza, deemed
insufficiently hostile to Armenia’s enemies by the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA) and two Democratic senators with Armenian
American constituencies, Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Robert Menendez
When Obama first nominated Bryza in 2010, Boxer and Menendez put a
“hold” on his nomination, preventing a Senate vote. Obama sent Bryza
to Baku with a recess appointment and renominated him in January. The
two Democrats continued to oppose him — never mind his performance on
the job. Consequently, the administration never pushed for him. John
F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, never scheduled a hearing. Meanwhile, the administration
pushed hard for ambassadorial appointments with Republican opponents.
Arguments against Bryza have included “his opposition to [U.S.]
recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey” (Menendez), his
ostensible failure to speak out forcefully against Azerbaijani
aggression (Boxer) and supposed conflicts involving his Turkish-born,
U.S. citizen wife, also a foreign policy expert (ANCA). Opponents
said, though, that their opposition had “absolutely nothing to do with
the ethnic origin of his wife,” as Menendez said.
Their doubts about Bryza are not widely shared. On the contrary, 36
foreign policy luminaries, including former undersecretaries of state
Thomas Pickering and Nicholas Burns, released a letter last week
calling Bryza an “exemplary” ambassador who has served “with
“He has the right combination of everything — contacts, trust,
strategic vision, operational ability, leadership — everything,” they
If Bryza had been soft on the human-rights-abusing Azerbaijani regime,
as alleged, you would not expect to find among his supporters the
heads of the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, the
National Democratic Institute and the International Republican
Institute — America’s premier democracy-promoting organizations. But
all four signed the letter.
Nor does it make sense to blame a foreign service officer for Obama’s
policy on genocide terminology, as Menendez did. “That is an argument
to be hashed out with the U.S. Administration on the merits,” the
letter points out. “But holding up a qualified career nominee who is
already serving in a key position will not change U.S. policy, and
does a disservice to U.S. interests in a critical region.”
Bryza has been promoting dialogue between the Azerbaijani regime and
civil society; that will be set back. He’s been promoting
reconciliation with Armenia, too. If Azerbaijan sees that the Armenia
lobby, and two out of 100 senators, have veto power, the regime is
unlikely to trust in the neutrality of the next envoy.
The biggest losers in all this won’t be Americans or Azerbaijanis
(who, by the way, enjoy about twice the per capita income of
Armenians), but Armenians — poor, isolated and once again victims of a
power play that has nothing to do with their well-being
Lanzamiento de la Red Informativa de Genocidio y Derechos Humanos
La Fundación Luisa Hairabedian presenta la Red Informativa de Genocidio y Derechos Humanos que tiene como objetivo informar sobre congresos, actualidad, seminarios, publicaciones, conferencias, bibliografía y postgrados relacionados a Ciencias Sociales, Estudios sobre Genocidio, Diáspora Armenia y temáticas afines
lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2011
Washington Post attacks ANCA once again on Bryza nomination
Publicado por Fundacion Luisa Hairabedian en 13:27