Monday, 25 June

U.S. Ambassador Heffern: ‘Armenia is a long trip to nowhere’

Dear Editor:

I attended the presentation by the US Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, on December 13 at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, MA. Before his presentation, Ambassador Heffern shook hands with some members of the audience. He approached a young boy who was sitting with his mother. However, as the boy was busy playing a game on his electronic gadget, he ignored Mr. Heffern’s offer to shake hands. The ambassador asked the mother if she had ever taken her son to Armenia. “No”, the mother replied.

The boy finally extended his arm, shook hands, and looked away without ever making eye contact with Mr. Heffern. "You should take him to Armenia,” the ambassador told the mother. “It is a long trip, on the way to nowhere."

Heffern then laughed and happened to walk towards me. I grabbed his hand and said "Mr. Ambassador, Armenia maybe on the way to nowhere, but it is certainly in the way of energy pipelines." He walked away laughing.

I think that the ambassador is frustrated and angry that Armenia is not dancing to the U.S. State Department's tune - for example, by refusing to give away Artsakh (Karabagh) to Azerbaijan and by not joining the Turkey-NATO sphere of influence. That is why he described Armenia as “on the way to nowhere.”

If one is astute and “reads between the lines,” here is what Heffern said or implied in his presentation that night:

- The U.S. will continue military assistance to Azerbaijan.

- The U.S. will do nothing to change the status quo of Turkey's border closure until Turkey decides otherwise.

- The U.S. will not ask Georgia (a major U.S. aid recipient) to facilitate trade routes for Armenia.

- The U.S will continue to exert pressure on Armenia until it stops all trade with Iran, even as Turkey continues to do billions in trade with Iran and spurn U.S. sanctions.

- The U.S. wants Armenia to spurn Russia and eventually join NATO (even though the U.S. will never offer any security against Turkey and pan-Turkism).

It is actually Ambassador Heffern and the U.S. State Department who are on the road to nowhere.

Berge Jololian
Watertown, MA

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Comments (43)
1. manumentsi13:33 - 18 December, 2012
someone should have a talk with mr Heffern..........
2. raffi15:07 - 18 December, 2012
Wow, this is an awful article? why was this even published?
3. Zohrab15:10 - 18 December, 2012
Turkey is their watchdog they will keep turkey happy all times he is telling the truth.from this we should know never to trust or rely on USA he is very turkey biased. But time will come there will be changes around turkey then we see their tue picture
4. LG20:14 - 18 December, 2012
Thank you to the person who sent this!
5. Krikor20:25 - 18 December, 2012
Ambassador Heffren must have received an F grade in his Geography course at school. Mr. Jololian's challenges of ambassador Heffren at the church presentation should be a refresher course. May be not. He represents Hilary Clinton and her destructive policies of the Middle East for the sake of Israel.
6. Joseph21:00 - 18 December, 2012
Mr. Heffren you have been to school haven't you? Yes, I forgot you have a BA from Michigan lol! Then you should know that Armenia survied the Assyrians,Greeks,Persian,Romans,Ottamans and this didn't happen by accident!
7. Anton A21:02 - 18 December, 2012
I actually feel sorry for the ambassador for making such derogatory characterization. I don't think he understands what ambassadorship truly means. With those comments he has proven to me that he is the nobody, doing the work of nothing, in the land on the way to nowhere. Incidentally, the land he was referring to, "on the way to nowhere", is Armenia since BC. It may be a lesser Armenia for now, but nonetheless still ARMENIA.
8. Don21:21 - 18 December, 2012
This is a terrific expose of Ambassador Heffern and the US State Department's craven pro-Turkism and pro-Azerism. Mr. Heffern is just the sort of man that oil companies and the Turkish/Azeri lobby are looking for. His career after the State Department is ensured.
9. Mihran22:31 - 18 December, 2012
You can all witness how damaging US policies towards Armenia are and what devious agenda the US has for us in the future. Armenian organisations in the USA should do well to learn and act accordingly instead of acting like prostitutes to US officials. As far as Armenian Government is concerned they should come to the necessary conclusion and act in defending Armenian interests.
10. RK23:46 - 18 December, 2012
Thank you Mr Berge Jololian for sending this valuable information which I am sure will not go unnoticed.
11. Berge Jololian00:23 - 19 December, 2012
For two decades, the US State Department acted in the most counter intuitive manner in its foreign policy towards Armenia. The routine goes something like this: Turkey blockades Armenia's Western frontiers for 20 years, the US State Department puts additional pressure on Armenia to capitulate. The International Association of Genocide Scholars repeatedly calls on Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, the US State Department fires its ambassador to Armenia for uttering the word genocide. The International Monetary Fund evaluated Armenia’s loses due to Turkey’s hostile border closure at the tune of US $1 billion per year, the US State Department lowers US “aid” to Armenia each year to its now current meager $40 million. According to the warped logic of the US State Department foreign policy, if country A (Turkey) closes its borders with country B (Armenia), Protocols are needed to apply pressure on Armenia to open borders. If the US State Department does not succeed in convincing Turkey to stop its billions of trade with Iran; then the US State Department flexes its muscles to arm-twist Armenia to stop its economic survival-dependent trade with Iran. Extreme Islamic terrorists attack US Embassies in Arab world, the US Embassy in Christian-Armenia goes on high security alert. The US State Department and Europe have done nothing substantive about Turkey's blockade of Armenia. No reason exists, therefore, to believe the West will ever truly press Turkey on that issue. Historically, the US and Europe have done nothing for Armenia as it faced massacres and genocide - betraying and breaking promises and leaving Armenians prey to Turkey. Why should Armenians believe the US State Department now? Is Ambassador Heffern so confused with the geography of Armenia that he does not see Turkey's ("a staunch US NATO ally") genocidal and economic blockade on Armenia's Western frontiers - that he wants Armenia to look to the West and deepen cooperation with NATO?
12. Avetis03:17 - 19 December, 2012
This was probably the most honest and the most accurate article published by Hetq... never mind that is was a letter to the editor.
13. GB09:42 - 19 December, 2012
In this case he is not the one who make decision for Armenia, .. it seems to me he represent Turkic tribes messenger for Armenia, He totally ignored Armenia's national security, the way they deal with a Middle Eastern nations... may be he had too much of Armenian brandy, when he had interview during Church hours!! US, Obama should send him to Libya as a new Ambassadorm after all they are looking for a person with revolutionary ideas like Mr. Heffern!! I have lost my respect to this gentleman!!
14. Peter09:47 - 19 December, 2012
How do we know that what Jololian describes actually took place? Is there any corroborating evidence? Did anyone else at the church hear the ambassador utter those words? And even if he did say what Jololian claims, the inferences may be all wrong....
15. Xunsap'ha11:08 - 19 December, 2012
I'd like to thank Mr Jololian for this letter/article. Mr Heffern has exposed both his, as well as US's true colours. I would go so far as to say that, if it hadn't been to the Russian interest in the Caucasus, US and its multinational lackeys would have wiped Armenia of the map, neatly dividing it between their Turkish and Azeri partners, so that oil would flow from east to west, unimpeded. Just as a reminder, it is worth having a look at the number of wars/conflicts/campaigns US has been involved in, against various countries, since the end of WWII.
16. Razmik14:23 - 19 December, 2012
Ambassador Heffern is applying what is called "soft power." This is when political forces use inter-cultural relations, historical remembrances, economic incentives, and in this particular case -- lectures -- to peddle their propaganda in an attempt to co-opt their targets. We know what he is doing and the end of Mr. Jololian's letter summed this up: the US State Department's agenda is not going to get them anywhere!
17. Tsakoug16:56 - 19 December, 2012
Year after year, diplomat after diplomat, Armenian organizations in America continue to make a great fanfare -- complete with hand-kissing, photo ops and gift-giving -- whenever US Ambassadors choose to come down from Mount Olympus to preach heresy to the Armenians. Amb. Heffern, we hope you, Ordway, Yovanovitch, Bryza and the rest of your ilk are reading this. I and others have boycotted your visits, sick and tired of your propaganda and desires for Armenian capitulation, 'reconciliation' and even applause for your offensive remarks and evasive answers. Your policies are not in the AMERICAN interest, much less the Armenian national interest!
18. Don19:28 - 19 December, 2012
I attended the 2nd Heffern presentation to Armenian Americans that was given the next day, December 14. Heffern said essentially the same things at that time as he had said the night before. Heffern was evasive and absurd. Pure US State Department garbage.
19. Sarkis19:37 - 19 December, 2012
This article is right on the money. It doesn’t matter whether the ambassador uttered those words to the mother of the young boy or not. What matters is the US policy towards Armenia and Artsakh, which proves that, unlike the French for instance, the US is a country that does not act on principle, but only out of self interest. In its simplest form, US foreign policy = oil and pipelines and the maintain of Israel as a destabilizing agent in the Middle East. It is my wish and hope for the New Year that, our shameless RoA politicians will cease begging for a few crumbs from the US, because it only serves to line their own pockets. Again, except for France which has actually saved Armenian lives during the Genocide, most other NATO members have actually contributed to the killing of Armenians, e.g. Turkey, Germany, the UK, etc. They have not repented, and have not recognized the Genocide. Armenia; stay away from NATO.
20. GB19:54 - 19 December, 2012
US big eyes are on the pipe lines located in Azer Baboons and Caucasus North where is located in volatile Chechnya, and Caspian basin and Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, where most RF Muslim Turkic tribes living there. They hope Turks can get some influence with the help of Wahhabi and Al-Qaeda of Turkey in order to neutralize Russia's influence over their oil supply toward Europe!! Right now the major obstacle for their future plan is Armenia, where Russia has huge military base and there is no way that Turks or even NATO can get by there. The only solution is to replace Armenian pro Russian regime by any means, and install a regime like Georgia where Turks can walk over us and commit another genocide and wipe entire Armenian left over in Caucasus!! I blame our stupid oligarchs and Armenia's greedy blood sucker politicians, who have no natural intelligence, driving our intellectuals out of Armenia, with the help of people like Mr. Ambassador, who claim politically that US embassy is not safe in Armenia, like the rest of Middle Eastern countries!! For sure US and Russian intelligence having their fun games in Caucasus, especially in Armenia. Only future will show, where Armenia will end up, but for now our stupid politicians are in deep sleep, driving their beautiful loaded Hummers around Yerevan and collecting more wealth from ordinary Armenian citizens, until supply is over. They are cowards, traitors, and enemy of Armenian nation!!
21. Yervant23:36 - 19 December, 2012
@Sarkis....France acts on principle? How naive...Ever read how France pulled out of Cilicia in 1920 in the dead of night leaving Armenians at the mercy of Turkish army and rabble? What about Algeria, Indo-China, etc? France is a third rate power and must appear to be "diplomatic" because it's the only real weapon left in its imperialist arsenal....
22. MK23:54 - 19 December, 2012
To answer to Peters question is obvious,its all about US policies towards Armenia in the region. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to realise that US policies are so dangerous for Armenia,the sooner American Armenians realise this the better for Armenia,must not fall for State Department PR exercise.
23. anto00:24 - 20 December, 2012
"Armenia is a long trip to nowhere" Amb. Heffern says what every one of us has known for years about Armenia , No democracy, No free elections, Sarkissyan strong arms the opposition with treats and jail terms, No justice system, Population drain, why should the ambassador Lie to us with a rosy picture. If we had the democratic values, no civilized country can push us around.
24. Harutik00:29 - 20 December, 2012
This topic, this discussion is essentially related to the following two blog commentaries. Please read them - US working to strengthen relations with Turks and Azeris: As Eurasian Union nears Armenia, West goes into panic mode:
25. Zhannette00:40 - 20 December, 2012
When he was asked a question, he replied, "I'm a US Foreign Service Officer". That was his response. Well, so was I. I quit after 20 years. Don't have to explain why!!!
26. Kevin10:15 - 20 December, 2012
Good job Berge, your post above was very telling. Sadly, in this age, all politicians stink. Its never about truth and justice any more, its only about money and power. And these new breed of US politicians are all a bunch of amateurs and immoral half-wits. Their principles are all guided by oil companies. The destruction of Aliyev's terrorist regime in Azerbaijan would be a good first lesson in morality and values for these greedy western snakes.
27. Alex Postallian10:54 - 20 December, 2012
A beautiful country,my immigrant parents,loved,and I served,after 86 yrs,turned out to be runned by stooges and jackasses.send the guy to Mongolia the origin of his benefactors.
28. thovmas05:39 - 21 December, 2012
@ Peter and Raffi: Let one who was there and has a contrary view of what was said present it. Alternatively, Mr. Heffern is able as well to respond if in fact he is not guilty of speaking these words. Otherwise there is no reason to raise objections; it is not an academic paper but a letter.
29. Antranik12:18 - 24 December, 2012
Berge Jololian you are right on target. Amazing the amount of truth exposed by just one small comment.
30. Antranik12:18 - 24 December, 2012
Mihran comment #9 - right on target!
31. Antranik12:29 - 24 December, 2012
Xunsap'ha comment #15 - right on target!
32. Antranik13:16 - 24 December, 2012
Razmik comment #16 - right on target!
33. Antranik13:26 - 24 December, 2012
Sarkis comment #19 - With the exception about the remarks on France (as pointed out by Yervant comment #21) - LIKE!!! GB Comment # 20 - Right on Target! MK comment #22 - LIKE!!
34. gaytyzag04:03 - 29 December, 2012
My God! Mon Dieau, You guys have made a big issue out of a non-confirmed sentence,as peter above hints at.What´s more this charade of badmouthing an Ambassador who -in his official talks-only tries to do something to foment business between U.S. and RA.I´d also wish to ask some or all of you who think:- 1. The border issue is that important to answer my questions. Right now and since many yrs there is business being conduct between great Turkey and RA border supposedly being CLOSED.This much for that.But if you mean or condition that opening to BYPASSING GENOCIDE RECOGNITION,then be informed that previous emisssaries and or indeed the 3 Powwers to be ,after presssuring the signing of the infamous ¨Protocols¨.-Firstly it was also in presence and bresssure brought upon RA by Mr. Lavrov(you know who ,what power he represented) them Mr. javier Solana(EU) and then also Ms Hillary it was concocted up by ALL THREE!! o.k. sECONDLY WHEN THINGS GOT SERIOUS ,AFTER sERGE SARKISIAN ENDED UP IN l.a. AFTER STOPOVER IN PARIS AND GOT THE fIORST TIP THERE FROM DIASPORAN French Armenians, he understood that RA alone(without its stacuch ally the Diasp-.Armenians) cannot make such devastating decisions.So the message was out loud and clear to aforementioned and especially great ÇTurkey.Latter is content with Status Quo,BIZ.cover up style,then postponging the issue of Recognition as long as possible.. However, RA also knows quite well that this (inherited from Oskanian times) complimentarian diplomacy suits it better than outright confrontation with one or the others..So we must think twice. A.Iran is being handled quite well by RA and All Armenidad.B.If anything we in Diaspora should help get more FINANCIAL aid (like Georgians,an example)no matter if we lean a bit towards this side more than the other temporarily.... Hope some understand what I mean.Then wehn BIZ is conluded ,by and by lean over the other side.This is the essence of the game. I don´t like when we side totally with one and ignore others...after all we live in the area where diplomacy is quite advanced on all sides of us.My first post w/ref to the Ambassador was his being down to earth and if the man let slip a the one above and that not to the audience bufeeling that antagonistic towads him a rep. of a superpowert a child...antagonistic worddshow can we feel that unfriendly towards the rep. of a Superpower.I ask you guys to think this over.Be non-committal, be diplomatic,be courteous to all .even great they use same method towards us.But not little brother who directly calls us HIS ENEMY... not so with little brother who utters
35. MK22:54 - 29 December, 2012
Any astute person who knows about politics cannot close a blind eye to what the US is really up to in this area,be it Syria,Iran,Iraq,and yes Armenia,if we rely on the US we will end up being a Valliyet of Turkey. No Thanks.
36. gaytzag18:13 - 31 December, 2012
It seems we Armenians lack the most important element in -trying-to be diplomatic,say like Persians,Truks and Arabs ,at least-if not Euro-Ams... We cannot afford to side with ONE side only.Be subtle,camaleo type,that is what diplomacy is all about.We need to get material help,especially now,not discourses,or exclaimed paltry words,out of which some amongst us try to make a BIG DEAL. "Yev Ler dznetz moug",The mountain bore a mouse...Try to get U.S. start Ford or GM,like I have written on another A Healthy,Prosperous and progressive NEW Year to all.
37. Mihran23:00 - 31 December, 2012
Please read this article which effects Armenia very badly.[Turkey furthering US-Israeli agenda in Mideast: Gordon Duff] Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defence technologies or acting as diplomatic representative for UN humanitarian and economic development efforts. Gordon Duff has travelled to over 80 nations. His articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest.
38. MK18:27 - 1 January, 2013
The art of diplomacy as one British diplomat put it ,its who, who lies better wins the day.. This is the same scenario,as the US ambassador is trying his utmost to convince the Armenian nation of good US intentions by soft power by meeting US Armenian communities,but the facts on the ground speak louder,the fact that US has the biggest and most sophisticated embassy in the region in Yerevan speaks volumes,apart from the fact that US is heavily involved in Syria,and elsewhere in the region in imposing its puppet leaders on Arab and non Arab countries.
39. Berge Jololian21:03 - 1 January, 2013
It is not about Mr. Heffern per se, it is about the failed US State Department policy – 20 years of counter-intuitive and counter productive policies towards Armenia. Armenians are not fooled with the Ambassador's dance in the streets of Yerevan. What else has the US State Department offered Armenia, besides infamous-TARC, failed-Protcols, and genocide denial? Instead of dancing in the streets of Yerevan, perhaps the US SD can speak up against Azeri war threats and aggression (cease fire violations and shorting at civilians) across Armenia's eastern frontiers. After 20 years of failed US SD "diplomacy", it should be understood that as long as there is no restorative justice to Armenia, there will be no energy pipelines going from Central Asia to the West.
40. MK23:15 - 1 January, 2013
Berge,I totally agree with you about 20 years of failed and devious US policy towards Armenia.US policies towards Armenia are all about imposing their puppet government and implementing their agenda in the area.Anyone who thinks its not the case must have his brains tested.Under US policy Armenians can forget about Artsakh,Genocide acknowledgement and justice.US policies stink.
41. Paul18:19 - 2 January, 2013
I have met Ambassador multiple times in Armenia. He is the most caring Ambassador Armenia has had in a long time, constantly meeting the people and being involved in the community. He is truly a unique diplomat, and an incredibly friendly one at that. The story about this quote does not make sense to me, it seems like a totally unnecessary jab at Armenia coming out of the blue, in the context of all things a diplomatic trip to get to know the diaspora. Even if I had never met the ambassador personally, I would find it hard to believe that a seasoned diplomat would ever say anything like that- even if he believed it how would he win over people blatantly insulting their country? I wasn't there, only Mr. Jololian and the ambassador know for sure what was actually said, but using deduction I have to conclude that if anything even remotely similar to this random insult was said, it was clearly taken out of context to back up what Mr. Jololian wanted to say. I feel like we need to consider the source, if his story made more sense or added up or didn't seem to have an ulterior motive that's one thing, but as none of this adds up then I have to question the source, not the ambassador.
42. MK19:26 - 2 January, 2013
Paul, Read this article and open your eyes,its not about a nice person its about US policy,wake up. Turkey furthering US-Israeli agenda in Mideast: Gordon Duff
43. Haig Erzurumian21:58 - 3 January, 2013
Mr. Heffern is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip. Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie!" till you can find a rock. Mr. Heffern is made up of three ingredients: TARC, Protocols and on-going genocide. The US State Department and Armenia relations are summed up in 20 years of hostile blockade of Armenia's western frontiers by a staunch US and NATO ally. 20 years of active prevention of genocide recognition in the US Congress and worldwide. 20 years of silence on Azeri aggression and weapons supply. Silence on destruction of Armenian cultural monuments (Nakhichevan). Silence on Georgia's hampering of access trade routes by a US ally and major US aid. 20 years of pressure on Armenia to abandon trade with its southern neighbor while Turkey has a waiver. 20 years of granting US green-cards to hundreds of thousands to immigrate out of Armenia.
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