Will the REAL John Kerry Please Stand Up!

Harut Sassounian


Some weeks ago, when Sen. John Kerry’s name was first mentioned as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I cautioned Armenians not to get overly excited just because “a good friend” of the Armenian community could assume such an influential post.

Unfortunately, it did not take long to discover that my words of caution were fully justified. Despite his 30-year-record of support for Armenian issues, Sen. Kerry proved last week, right before assuming his new position, that even such a close “friend” could reverse his long-held views, disappointing the Armenian-American community.

Regrettably, Sen. Kerry turned out to be no different than Pres. Obama, Vice President Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As US Senators and presidential candidates, they all made lavish promises in seeking the backing of Armenian-American voters, and completely ignored them after assuming office.

While some may argue that Armenians should only blame themselves for trusting dishonest politicians, I believe all voters have the right to expect elected officials to keep their promises. Otherwise, lying to the public becomes an acceptable practice with no prospect of replacing deceitful officials with honest ones.

Sen. Kerry experienced an overnight transformation last week, when for the first time in his political career, he shied away from using the term “Armenian Genocide.” In the past, Sen. Kerry had strongly criticized Presidents and Secretaries of State for not acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Ironically, he now refuses to practice what he preached for so many years!

Sen. Kerry proved that he is not the man he used to be, when responding to written questions on Armenian issues submitted by Senators Robert Menendez (Dem.-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (Dem.-CA), after his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When asked for his views on the Armenian Genocide, Sen. Kerry shamefully repeated the euphemisms used by Pres. Obama in his annual April 24 statements. The nominee for Secretary of State, after using the term “Armenian Genocide” throughout his long Senate career, all of sudden shied away from that term and employed every other word in the English dictionary, except genocide. This is what he stated:

“The U.S. government clearly acknowledges and mourns as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. These events resulted in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and the United States recognizes that they remain a great source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent as they do for all of us who share basic universal values. The President honors the victims every April 24th on Remembrance Day, so that we never forget this dark chapter in history.”

In a follow-up question reminding him of his own sponsorship for legislation to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, Sen. Kerry ducked the issue by insisting that he would “represent the policies of the President and Administration faithfully.”

Sen. Kerry’s response to questions on the Armenian-Turkish Protocols were just as disappointing. He insisted that he would continue to support the failed efforts of Pres. Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, pressuring Armenia and Turkey to ratify the Protocols. Four years ago, in a private meeting, I explained to Sen. Kerry, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, why the Armenia-Turkey Protocols were doomed to failure and were contrary to Armenia’s national interests. Back then, the Senator seemed to find my arguments convincing. He has now reverted to supporting the Obama administration’s position on the Protocols which Turkey, under pressure from Azerbaijan, has fortunately refusing to ratify.

In response to another written question, Sen. Kerry indicated that he might be willing to meet with the leadership of Armenian-American organizations, something Secretary Clinton and Pres. Obama have refused to do in the last four years. Such a meeting would provide the opportunity to explain to Secretary Kerry why the Obama administration is wasting its time trying to push Turkey to ratify the Protocols. Turkish leaders have made it clear that they would not finalize the Protocols, unless Armenians make territorial concessions to Azerbaijan on Artsakh.

While Armenian-Americans may not be pleased with Sen. Kerry’s sudden change of heart on Armenian issues, regardless of the reasons, they have no choice but to meet and work with the Secretary of State who is in office today. Armenians’ only wish is that periodically they will be able to interact with the REAL John Kerry whom they knew and loved for the past 30 years!

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  1. sam said:

    it is not up to john kerry or others, whatever the state department plans or prepares or it’s interest .armenians have no oil and they are the russians friend every one knows that the u.s. has nothing to gain by supporting armenians. on the other hand they have a lot to gain from turkie specially now that erdognan is there puppet they can toy with him any way they like with a pleasure.and like bill maher said the armenian lobby has no influence on any congress or a senator other than draining armenians pocket.we should always be on the russian side even we know that we are getting sc……. by them at least at the war time they will not be far from us.

    • George said:

      …..Then American Politicians should be honest and not promise things they can’t deliver, it’s simple cheating to take advantage of battered Armenian’s votes and in the end say I have to respect whatever the state department plans or prepares. Maybe to the politicians is a game but not for Armenians. It is also amazing to see how Turkey keeps betraying US in every ocasion and the US doesn’t take action, today’s mass in Syria is a proof, had Turkey acted on time today’s mass would not have happened and Syria would not have gone under Russia’s sphere of influance. this is the price that the West is paying for TURKISH BETRAYAL

  2. George said:

    OIL and $$$$$$$$$$$$ talks BS walks, John Kerry friends of Armenians? JA JA JA

  3. Pyuzant said:

    If We Armenians not get to gether,and be come stronger nation,we will always on side of the field,like always we were,and will,stop dreaming,start to love each other,,learn from each other,help do business between,get stronger one nation,one for all ,all for one,then see the world how much will respect you as a Armenian,Armenia,Armenian’s,I know it is not easy,we all like to be Generals,no soldiers,so that’s why we will always,be like this,24 April will come everybody will be Armenian,for one day,later on business as usual,10 of thousand years here and there we did something’s ,in our history,and now worst time in the world, GLOBALISATION, easier,to White genocide Armenian’s,get married with stranger,change the name,forget to speak Armenian,I hope and wish I’m wrong, Love you HAYRENAGIRTZNNER.Good luck ,thing about it,

  4. JOHN said:

    Well shame on you Sen. Kerry! At least on the flip side is we know who you really are!
    Just goes to show that being a politician must be the secound oldest profession!!!

  5. Alex Postallian said:

    When a man chooses politics for a profession,you know he is flawed,crooked,two faced.,on the take.THATS IT.

  6. Alex Postallian said:

    When a man chooses politics for a profession,you know he is flawed,crooked,two faced.,on the take.THATS IT. So let me say it again,some people are SLOW.

  7. Assimilated Armenian said:

    Kerry is now Secretary of State under President Obama. That is his boss, who in turn has many advisers. He can not act independently of the other members of the administration. The American intelligence agencies will have input into every decision that he will make. Turkey will never admit to a Genocide and Armenia will not return Artsakh and the surrounding territory unless Turkey admits to its misdeeds. Unless Turkey loses a major war with the West, there will not be justice for the Genocide per se. Aliyev makes a lot of noise, but if he attacks Armenia, Artsakh or their commercial aircraft, Armenia and Russia, who is is militarily allied with Armen, will act. The first retaliation will be the bombing of the pipelines taking Azeri oil to its markets and deal Azerbaijan a major economic blow. Aliyev knows this so the standoff will continue indefinitely.