Three Strikes Against Envoy To Turkey

Michael Rubin

Commentary Magazine

Aug 16, 2011

08.16.2011 – 1:30 PM Last year, after Senator Sam Brownback placed
a hold on the nomination of Frank Ricciardone to be ambassador
to Turkey, President Obama sent Ricciardone to Turkey as a recess
appointment. Brownback’s reasons for his hold were well-founded.

During Ricciardone’s posting in Egypt, he sought to ingratiate
himself so much to President Hosni Mubarak that he crippled Bush’s
democratization drive and ultimately undercut American interests.

Wherever one stands on the wisdom of Bush’s transformative diplomacy,
declaring Mubarak so popular that he could win elections in the United
States is not something any American Foreign Service officer should
do and keep his job.

Ricciardone needs to be confirmed by the Senate by the end of the
year if he expects to keep his job. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
appears ready to put a hold on the diplomat because the envoy refuses
to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.

Ricciardone deserves to have his posting curtailed, but it would be a
shame to do so on the Armenian issue: To allow Armenian Americans to
hold up an American envoy to Azerbaijan or Turkey would be as wrong
as Turkish or Azeri Americans to hold up an American envoy to Armenia.

If the Senate sinks Ricciardone’s nomination, they should do so for
a simple reason: He has failed to promote American interests in Turkey.

Rather, he has undercut them. He has downplayed the mass arrest of
Turkish generals which has gone beyond serious allegations criminality
and has more to do with the Islamist prime minister vendetta against
secularists, telling Congress that institutions matter more than
individuals. But when secularists are not allowed to serve at senior
levels, it matters. When the head of Turkey’s intelligence service
favors Iran over the United States, it matters.

If institutions matter more than individuals, it’s time to bring
Ricciardone home and replace him with a new ambassador. Ricciardone
struck out on Iraq, where he counseled the rehabilitation of Saddam
Hussein. He struck out on Egypt, where he lionized Mubarak. And he
struck out on Turkey, where he fiddles while secularism burned. Three
strikes should be more than enough for an out.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS