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.

Vache Thomassian

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.
Vache Thomassian

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  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.

    • She’s awful! Why did Lynn Tracy survive the transition, from Trump to Biden? And, why didn’t she get fired?

  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…

    • Concerned Armenian! I am someone who doesn’t belong to either of the belligerent countries I am sure you would dispute the term belligerent and declare that only the Turks are belligerent and aggressors here. That doesn’t concern me anyway. You raised some interesting points to remove the US embassy, the CIA bases if any there and all the NGOs and all the traces of western culture. Good thought but will these actions bring any benefits to Armenia as we can clearly see that America has not bound Armenia in shackles like Russia treat it’s nominally captive ally. It does not allow Armenia to progress to trade openly with Iran, Georgia, India or China, the Arab and central Asian countries. On the contrary America was influenced by your countrymen their to cease aid to refugees in Azerbaijan. An alliance only with Russia will take your country several decades back to the Soviet times and people will leave like the indigenous people of Siberia. Instead of so much blaming your neighbours to the east and west, even Georgia, Iran and Russia are not in the Arguments’ good book but they just want to keep a veneer of good friendship on the surface why because picking problems with them will further isolate them. My advise for you is to set down with your neighbours and sort out this problem. The Turks as you call them in derogatory term (by the way they don’t mind this term and seems pretty proud of those nationality as everyone is and should be like the Armenians) had earlier shown an interest that they are ready to provide maximum autonomy to Karabakh and these can and should be discussed. This logic that your people live there entitle them to tear down that territory from the host country not justifiable in any forum. If that is the logic then can we assume that foreigners especially Indians who outnumber the Kuwaitis, the Emiratees, the Bahrainese and the Omanis are entitled to tear down those countries and establish statelets for themselves. Of course this can’t be justified. The current borders of all countries established after the conclusion of the second world war and those inherited at the time of independence are recognized internationally and can’t be abrogated unilaterally as Armenia wants. If this was the case then turkey can also demands that many parts of Greece, Iran, Iraq,Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Israel,Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Bosnia. Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Somalia and Sudan should be returned to turkey because parts or all of these countries were once ruled by them. Pakistan can demand that before the cursed English India was ruled by the Mughals so India should be returned to Pakistan. This logic is simply not applicable in the modern world. So sit down with your neighbours, sort out all these problems on negotiation table as was done on November 10 last year. When all problems are solved with them then there would be no need to run to Russia, America and Europe and begging them to come to help as their advise would be the same. Once these issues are resolved there would be no need to run to them and keeping the army always on alert, foreign forced will be removed thus gaining some measure of sovereignty. The country would be free to pursue relations with anyone country with interference from big powers. Keeping 7 million people of your country in other countries is not a sign of strength it’s a sign of extreme weakness. America, England. Germany. France, Italy etc are some of the most rich and powerful countries currently but they keep those population at home. So you bring them to the country once true lasting peace is achieved with your neighbours. I would also say that don’t take my words to the heart of these seems bitter and undesirable but your country must consider these as in my view no country in the world including Armenia can progress and move forward with out peace in the country and the region. Thanks a lot

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