What the US House Impeachment Inquiry Wouldn’t Ask Ambassador Marine Yovanovich

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                                                       By David Boyajian  for Veterans Today

Turkey, the increasingly wayward NATO member, has been making more national and international headlines than usual.

On Oct. 29, for instance, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (405-11) Resolution 296.  It recognized the Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, and other Christian genocides committed by Turkey.

A contentious, widely criticized White House meeting involving President Trump, Turkey’s autocratic President Erdogan, and Republican senators then took place on Nov. 13.

Two days later, Marie L. Yovanovitch, dismissed by President Trump in May of 2019 as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, testified on national TV before the House Select Committee on Intelligence’s impeachment inquiry.  Her dismissal, she alleged, occurred because Trump attorney and confidant Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., Fox News hosts, and others had been slandering her as disloyal to the president.

There are intriguing links among the House’s Genocide resolution, the Trump-Erdogan-Senators meeting, and Yovanovitch who was Pres. George W. Bush’s (“Bush II”) Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia.

What no Democratic or Republican committee member dared ask Yovanovitch — and what she didn’t wish to discuss — was her apparent 13-year-long failure to criticize the scandalous dismissal and forced early retirement of a fine American diplomat, John Marshall Evans.

Evans was Bush II’s ambassador to Armenia (June 2004 to Sept. 2006).  Yovanovitch followed him in that post (Sept. 2008 to June 2011).

Due to senators’ revulsion at Evans’ dismissal, the ambassadorship stood empty for two years.

Armenian American communities always host U.S. ambassadors to Armenia.  In February of 2005, Amb. Evans told them, “I will today call it the Armenian Genocide” because “it is unbecoming of us as Americans to play word games.”

It was an honest admission of America’s 90-year-long recognition of Turkey’s extermination (1915-23) of 1.5 million Armenian Christians.  But the State Dept. disliked Evans’ use of the word “genocide.”  Turkey cried foul too.

At Turkey’s insistence, the State Dept. tells American diplomats and presidents to avoid the G word (genocide) regarding the Armenian extermination.  Such spinelessness, while typical of the State Dept.’s traditional obsequiousness towards Turkey, is a disgrace.

Yet Amb. Evans was simply echoing, as but one example, President Reagan’s Proclamation 4838 in 1981 which cited “the genocide of Armenians.”

Regrettably, post-Reagan presidential statements commemorating the Genocide have avoided the G word.  They employ euphemisms such as “annihilation,” “forced exile and murder,” “infamous killings,” “terrible massacres,” and “marched to their death.”

However, House resolutions in 1996 (Res.3540), 1984 (Res.247), and 1975 (Res.148) affirmed the Armenian “genocide.”

Perhaps more significantly, a U.S. filing in 1951 with the International Court of Justice (“World Court”) cited “the Turkish massacre of the Armenians” as “genocide.”

Use of the G word remains important for legal reasons because it is defined in the UN Genocide Convention/Treaty of 1948 which most countries have signed.

Amb. Evans Punished

Amb. Evans was nevertheless forced to issue a clarification in late February of 2005 for uttering the G word.  But the State Dept. didn’t like its wording.  So it wrote a clarification of the clarification and ordered Evans to sign it.  Though Evans bravely toiled on, his 33-year career was in jeopardy.

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) has over 16,000 current and retired Foreign Service members.  In 2005, after Amb. Evans had uttered the G word, AFSA announced he would receive its prestigious “Constructive Dissent Award.”

The award recognizes “initiative, integrity, intellectual courage and constructive dissent” and diplomats who “question the status quo and take a stand no matter the sensitivity of the issue or the consequences” and “stick his/her neck out.”  Perfect descriptions of Amb. Evans.

But Turkish anger and Bush II’s State Dept. bullied AFSA into withdrawing the award.  AFSA’s excuse: Evans’ “genocide” dissent hadn’t gone through official channels.  Had Evans done so, though, his entreaty would surely have wound up in a shredder.

Cong. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) blasted the AFSA for setting “a terrible example.”  The award “was taken from [Evans] because of politics and denial.”

Compare Evans’ courage with Yovanovitch’s publicly bemoaning her recall from Ukraine.  Still a State Dept. employee, she’s now a Senior State Dept. Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

Her predecessor Amb. Evans, in contrast, was driven into early retirement in 2006 by the White House.  “Born-again Christian” Bush II kowtowed to Turkish pressure over the genocide of a Christian nation.

In 2008, Bush II nominated Yovanovitch as Ambassador to Armenia.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee conducted her confirmation hearing.

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and others were upset that neither Yovanovitch nor Bush II would acknowledge the annihilation of Armenians as “genocide.”  She also incorrectly testified that no president had cited the killings of Armenians as “genocide.”  As we know, Pres. Reagan did so in 1981.

After a brutal battle, the Senate nevertheless confirmed her in August of 2008.

As ambassador to Armenia, Yovanovitch was reportedly asked whether she’d acknowledge the Armenian Genocide if the president were to do so.  One would assume she’d simply say yes.  Instead, she dodged the question.

An “ambassador serves his president and may be recalled at any time and for any reason [emphasis added],” she replied. “It fully depends on the president.”

If Yovanovitch really believed that, why is she grumbling about being recalled from Ukraine?

Indeed, newly-elected presidents including Obama and Trump usually require current ambassadors to submit their resignations.  Perhaps Obama-appointee (Aug. 2016) Yovanovitch should be grateful that Trump kept her on for 28 months.

Yovanovitch visited Armenian American communities in 2009.  She again frustrated them with evasive answers about the Genocide and the conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijan over Armenian-majority Karabagh/Artsakh.  I attended one such visit in Arlington, Mass.

And, apparently, Yovanovitch has never commented on Amb. Evans’ dismissal.

The largely unheralded John Evans stands head and shoulders above Yovanovitch, a media darling.

Obama and Other Flip-Floppers

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Senator Obama and his soon-to-be National Security Council member and UN Ambassador Samantha Power promised Armenian Americans to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide if he became president.  Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Problem from Hell (2002) devoted chapter 1 to the Armenian Genocide.

Yet President Obama and Power later avoided the G word.

When Hillary Clinton became Obama’s Secretary of State (2009-13), she flip-flopped too.  She avoided the G word that she’d used as a New York senator and 2008 presidential candidate.

In 2010, Sec. Clinton laid flowers at Armenia’s Genocide Memorial.  She stressed, however, that her stealthy visit was merely “private,” not official.

Yet she and Presidents Clinton, Bush II, and Obama have officially paid their respects at the Kemal Ataturk mausoleum/memorial in Ankara, Turkey.  Ataturk was the Turkish leader who continued the Genocide against Armenians and Christian Greeks and Assyrians from 1919 onwards.

While they avoid the G word for the Armenian Genocide, these top American leaders are comfortable honoring a Turkish genocidist.

The Armenian Genocide is nearly universally accepted by expert historians, despite Turkey’s absurd denials.  Indeed, for one hundred years, historians have possessed Turkish telegrams that explicitly ordered mass murder.  These have been proven, yet again, to be absolutely genuine.

Like his immediate predecessors, Pres. Trump has avoided the G word.  But he has called the Armenian Genocide “mass atrocities” and (as did Obama) “Medz Yeghern” (Armenian for Great Crime).

Some impeachment inquiry members knew all about Yovanovitch’s failure to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and Evans’ dismissal and coerced retirement.  Had they brought it up, however, they would have been walking through political minefields.

Political Minefields

Republican committee members could easily have damaged Yovanovitch’s credibility. They could have revealed her evasions regarding the Armenian Genocide in her 2008 confirmation hearing and her apparent ongoing failure to express dismay at Evans’ dismissal from the post she inherited.  Yet they failed to bring any of this up.

After all, it was Bush II, a Republican, who dismissed Amb. Evans, appointed Yovanovitch, failed (as has Trump) to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and pressured AFSA to rescind its award to Evans.  Plus, Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois withdrew an Armenian Genocide resolution in 2000, partly at the behest of former Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

As for Democrats, committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) represents a sizeable Armenian constituency in Los Angeles.  He knows Yovanovitch’s record very well.  But Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama themselves avoided the G word.  So Schiff said nothing.  Moreover, in 2007 Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) withdrew an Armenian Genocide resolution.

Hence, the impeachment inquiry committee didn’t broach the Yovanovitch/Evans issue even though Turkish and Armenian issues were simultaneously swirling around Washington.

And, of course, had questions about Evans led to the hypocritical roles of the Jewish lobby and Israel in denying/diminishing, and defeating resolutions on, the Armenian Genocide, Congress would have been highly embarrassed.

U.S. Senate Resolution

The Senate has a pending Genocide resolution (Res.150) identical to that the House just passed.

But GOP Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, David Perdue of Georgia, James Risch of Idaho, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have blocked a vote on it.

President Erdogan is undoubtedly threatening the White House over the resolution and other issues.  It doesn’t help that Pres. Trump’s investments in Turkey constitute, in his own words, “a little conflict of interest.”

On May 11, 1920 the Republican majority Senate passed Resolution 359 on the “massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered.” The resolution couldn’t use the G word because it was coined only in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin.  He recognized Turkey’s extermination of Armenians as a seminal genocide and drafted the UN Genocide Convention/Treaty.

Few Americans know that Presidents Cleveland, Harrison, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, and Hoover also condemned the atrocities Turkey perpetrated against Armenians and others over decades.

Why It Matters

Does any of this matter?

Aside from moral and humanitarian considerations, yes.

The Caucasus — Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia — remains a geopolitical hotspot and a major flash point between the U.S. and Russia.  Much is at stake.

Turkey has threatened Armenia, sometimes with genocidal memes, since the latter’s independence in 1991.

Armenia’s 2 million or so Christians are trapped between hostile Turkey and Azerbaijan with their combined 90 million populations.  Turkey and Azerbaijan are allies.  Moreover, Israel and the powerful Jewish lobby are allies of Azerbaijan and unfriendly to Armenia.

Armenia’s existence, therefore, is continually in peril.  It’s a major reason why Armenia allies itself with Russia, the nearest major Christian power.

Armenia has also excellent relations with the U.S. and Europe.

But when American presidents and the State Dept. play word games with the Armenian Genocide, this does not reassure Armenia, which must draw negative conclusions about America’s trustworthiness and intentions.

That, in turn, is not in America’s interests.

In 2008, Cong. Jim Costa (D-CA) wrote the following to Yovanovitch:

“Denying a traumatic event such as genocide, one cannot create, nor implement, honest and effective diplomacy.”

Those words ring truer than ever.

Many of the author’s articles can be found at http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_Boyajian.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Armenia should ally with Iran. The oldest Armenian churches outside of Armenia exist and are still preserved inside Iran. The Armenian Genocide was one of Herzl’s prescriptions along with the targeting of the Ottomans in WWI (and follow-through) into staging the “Kamalites” (Donmeh Ashkenazis), the “Young Turks”, etc. A painful original flaw in Turkey’s creation implanted by the conquerors of the Ottomans from the very beginning. One that requires Turkey now to confess its identity might be artificial (so it won’t) while illustrating a lot of why Turkey’s ability to stop the popular perception of the Armenian genocide in America so far had to do with none other the Israeli accountability for it and ability to quash/cloud those perceptions.

    • Or the holocaust of American Indians here in America for that matter? Or the current genocide of the Indigenous population by the racist coup that has taken over Bolivia?

      The fact is that the Israelis have monopolized Genocide with their Holocaust myth used to promote the state of Israel and justify their own genocide of the indigenous population through settler colonialism. Something the other Europe and America have been doing for centuries and is currently occurring in Africa right now.

      Genocide is Genocide yet there seems to be this effort to make one Genocide more important than another.

  2. The epicenter, creation of, and intention of the creators of Christianity was a militaristic inroad to global domination by way of genocide and forced conversion, with the front line being historical revision, destruction of natural spiritual processes, and infiltration of governments. The end result is lack of spiritual knowledge, perversion of history, and ten percent plus whatever the widow has left at the end. I find it insulting to see any Christian based argument relating to their own genocide, when the comparison does not exist. It should have nothing to do with governance or civic operations, and should come with a warning label on the package like smoking. The “religious wars” are what keeps us from being a sentient species. That was the intention.

    • Behind all this impeachment and foreign blunder, is a stark and alarming push by Christian US, to reassert their domination in our government. Freedom of Religion is as much freedom From religion. If the zealots gain more of a foothold, war will increase across the world. That is the history, and that is the evidence. And they march the “chip” into Bethlehem, pretending. That is why I call it the game of pretend.

    • Antisamitism on the rise again. You can always pick up those Sami reindeer herders from Lappland and put all the blame on them. They changed a very big bottle of booze to Christianity by a man named Lars Leevi Lestadius. Militarism no, global domination no, but local domination for sure yes. You should look that western man demand for domination not 2000 years back but 5000 years back, when India based Yamnaya horsemen came and genocided old Europe and after that proceeded to America. And then put one Josef Stalin in power, who expelled a million Samis to Siberia and then after 75 years came with Dna data, that Samis have a Siberian component, not the other way around.

  3. This is a powerful article and excellent statement by Christopher M. Paul above. When I was a professor at UGA in Athens, GA, I had a friend and colleague the late George Adomian, Ph.D. who was a research professor in the mathematics department. He had a Ph.D. degree in physics from UCLA. He was an expert in stochastic theory and wrote many scientific papers on the subject. He had earlier worked for Hughes Aircraft Scientific Laboratory one of the top places. He was an outstanding scientist and close friend. He was very bitter at the shenanigans by Turkey to deny the correct name to the Holocaust in Armenia by the Turkish criminals of the day. Man’s inhumanity to man did not begin or end with WWII as the many Jewish bigots would have us falsely believe. Talk about small minded selfishness of many Jews to promote the lie that they were the first ones to be mistreated in history! What a lying joke. Man’s inhumanity to man has been going on since the beginning of time. We must expel the egotistical lying Jews from Israel out of our government and end their selfish interests in lying about historical facts in our country. They bribe our congress with impunity. They steal lands of “neighbors”. They possess illegal nukes and refuse to sign the non proliferation treaty. They are a pariah state which must be boycotted by all of us until they join the community of nations. No country has a monopoly on misteatment by others in history. Americans are mistreated by Israel.

    • To all those good Jews in Israel who despise the constant lying and cheating in history by some in their lying propaganda government, how about the Golden Rule: “Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto YOU”. How can so many bright folks in Israel be so ignorant they refuse to honor and practice the Golden Rule to others? Shame, shame, shame…on you! For starters you might stop stealing lands from your neighbors. In the early days of America trespassers were shot on sight.

  4. America’s Trustworthiness and Intentions? I call it the USA Kol Nidre Foreign Policy. Look who calls the shots at the State Department. The Same Sick Crew have done so since at least World War One.

  5. Why would the Entity Known As The State of Israel object when a previous Pope of the Roman Catholic Church stated that the Armenian Genocide was the first Genocide of The Twentieth Century? Why does this concern that Entity and True Israel (The Universal Christian Church)? It would appear that Entity wants to falsely claim a Monopoly on Genocide Victimhood. Armenians were the Earliest Converts to Christianity, after Confirmed Messianic Jews.
    In fact, “Victims” are being Propagandised as the New Victors on a World Scale in so many areas – heavily Judaising the Judeo Christian Dialectic. Christianity is a Creed of Victory for Universality and Unity, whereas Victimhood translates into Identitarianism and Division. A Whole of Human Personhood World View, versus a Dog Eat Dog World. Animals defined by the Master Race, who consider that they also have a Monopoly on Humanity and Human Rights. Turkey has more than its share of Conversos as a result of Sabbatai Zvi’s antics around 1666. One Theological commentator actually named the man who lead the “Turkish” Crusade against the Armenians and he was not Ethnic Turkish.

    • You don’t have to believe me, it is all out there in the various thoroughly documented teachings of different beliefs.