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.