America needs an Ambassador in Armenia

US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau pictured next to America’s current Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia Lynne Tracy.

Soon after America achieved its independence, the US Department of State was formally and wisely established as the Department of Foreign Affairs by our very first Congress on July 27, 1789. In less than a year, President George Washington moved to appoint Thomas Jefferson as our nation’s first Secretary of State.

As the office of the historian at the US Department of State has noted, “The first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, oversaw a small staff of one chief clerk, three other clerks, a translator, and a messenger and only maintained two diplomatic posts, in London and Paris, as well as 10 consular posts.” Notwithstanding this small staff, Jefferson would go on to successfully engage the world, negotiating a commercial treaty with Prussia and a consular convention with his beloved France.

Since Jefferson’s distinguished service as our nation’s top diplomat, the US Department of State has grown – with currently over 15,000 domestic and overseas employees and over 165 diplomatic posts across the globe. This expansion has made good sense for America – as its interests abroad have expanded in line with our nation’s status as a global superpower.

In the Republic of Armenia, the United States has maintained a formal diplomatic presence since February of 1992 – just three months after America recognized Armenia as an independent state. Over this period, the United States has had a number of distinguished individuals serve as ambassadors in Yerevan. Most notable among these diplomats was John Evans, who in 2006 was summarily terminated by President George W. Bush for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

Six months ago, I wrote about America’s Failure in Armenia. I highlighted the Armenian National Committee of America’s report card grade of an “F” to America’s diplomat at the United States Embassy in Yerevan, examining a broad and diverse set of 15 metrics. Since then, the shameful inaction has continued.

Ambassador Lynne Tracy gets “F” Rating as US Ambassador to Armenia from the ANCA

Lynne Tracy’s tenure in Yerevan has been marked by a shameful record of silence and inaction with respect to Azerbaijan and Turkey’s genocidal assault on Artsakh.

Lynne Tracy’s tenure in Yerevan has been marked by her silence in the face of Azerbaijan’s attacks against the sovereign borders of the Republic of Armenia in Syunik.

Lynne Tracy’s tenure in Yerevan has been marked by lack of concrete action to help return Armenian POWS. She believes that she has fulfilled her diplomatic duty by sharing a feeble statement from State Department spokesperson Ned Price calling “on both sides to urgently and peacefully resolve” the recent capture of six additional Armenian servicemen in Armenia proper.

Lynne Tracy seems to be more concerned with news about surfing rather than assaults on Armenia’s national sovereignty—a total wipeout. 

It is long past time for Congress to call on the US Department of State to end Lynne Tracy’s failed tenure in Armenia and for America to place a diplomat in Yerevan who can address all the damage done since she was confirmed by the US Senate on January 2, 2019. As the title of this article notes, America does indeed need an Ambassador in Yerevan.

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Vache Thomassian

Vache Thomassian is a practicing attorney with 20 years of experience in Armenian community activities in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk and abroad. He holds a bachelors degree from UC Berkeley (Legal Studies), a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University. Additionally, he teaches constitutional law at Woodbury University.
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11 Comments

  1. What is she to do? Do you expect things that only actual leaders in America can do? How is it that her fault that she does the job that is expected of her from Washington DC? This is misplaced aggression. Find some other person who you feel should be responsible for the Armenian government, like the Armenian people who actually live there, not in the US

    • “…that she does the job that is expected of her from Washington DC…”
      I am afraid you don’t have a clear understanding of what Ambasodor’s job is. This small article is not a “misplaced aggression.”
      Sometimes, people are not competent at their jobs, and this article brings that up and points to some shortfalls. That’s all.

  2. Fields, you missed the point of the article. No one is saying Armenia and it’s people are not ultimately responsible for Armenia’s progress, etc. But as in the case of most democratic countries around the world, who are surrounded by dictators, most notable Israel, the US has recognized the importance of supporting that country instead of just being there. I agree with the author. Let’s find a new ambassador who can at least understand and articulate to the US State Dept the existential challenges that Armenia’s young democracy is facing and try to be helpful instead of neutral.

  3. Stoic analysis. An American ambassador is not supposed to solve the myriad of problems being faced by the host country. The Rating Card formula is also of no consequence to foreign governments. Instead of asking for aid in military, security and economic spree first you need to analyze your freedom of action. Will Russia allow for all these things you want from America. The best thing is to solve this Karabakh problem. Remove the 100000 people as they can easily be accommodated in near empty Armenia. Solve the border demarcation problem with Azerbaijan. Then the Tatars as you often call them in derogatory terms will have no justification to amass army on borders and keep the border closed. Once you improve relations with your eastern and western neighbours problems will start to decrease.

    • Tatar is not a derogatory term – it’s not news that Turks and Tatars are ethnologically related and Tatars contributed significantly to Turks’ genetic ancestry and cultural heritage. Why you find “Tatar” to be derogatory is completely another question; after all, Tatars were known for their cruelty and savagery and “to turn Turk” is hardly a compliment. As of “near empty Armenia”, there is plenty of empty space in Souther Siberia – homeland of Turkic people – for all Azeris. And for demarcation problem try and read Treaty of Moscow (1921) about Lenin – Ataturk division of Armenia, aka stealing Armenian land.

  4. What is she to do? Her job as an ambassador? Misplaced aggression? On whose part?
    Do not denigrate the Armenian people with your ignorance. Please reread what you have written…………it doesn’t make sense. Is the job that she is expected to do the same as the jobs done in Russia, China, Ukraine, etc? Think before you speak. She is a failure in the position she accepted.

    • I think you miss my point. I do not denigrate the Armenian people. I am saying laying blame on the shoulders of one person, is wrong and misguided. Do you believe this is an independent position from the US government? It is the misplaced aggression of people who think someone else would do this same job differently where I lay blame. As a representative of the US, what has the US government said that she has not?

  5. By Ms. Fields’s absurd logic, we can never criticize anyone in the Executive branch of the Federal government except the president.

    For example, the Sec. of State or VP can never be criticized because they are under the president. No cabinet member can ever be criticized. Only the president.

  6. It is helpful to understand that US ambassadors (and those of other countries) are routinely, and as a matter of standard policy, rotated from country to country. The purpose and intent is to avoid too close of an identification with the people and country of their post to the detriment of their own. It is therefore naive to think that any ambassador will be the voice-piece and advocate of the country of their post. One has to look at policy formation and continuity across rotations of Ambassadors, as well as how the individual appointments are made.

  7. The Ambassador’s job is to uphold and further U.S. national interests in the particular country/region, nothing more, nothing less.
    Were the US national interests upheld and furthered during Lynne Tracy’s Ambassadorship?

  8. What Armenia needs is the closure of one of the largest CIA front offices in the world. Wake up and realize that Washington’s core interests run countrary to Armenia’s interests. Uncle Sam is the reason why Armenia has not fully benefited from its ties to Russia; Uncle Sam is the reason why the Turkish military and Islamic extremists are running amuck throughout the region; Uncle Sam is the reason why Armenian culture/civilization is in decline; Uncle Sam is the reason why we have the current, disastrous government in Armenia. Shut down the US embassy, or drastically downsize it; shut down the American-Armenian University, which is nothing but an incubator for Americanized agents; and shut down all Western funded NGOs, which have for the most part sown toxicity throughout Armenian society for the past 30 years. Do this and then watch Armenia find its natural place in the political order of the world and therefore begin to prosper…

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