On more than one occasion recently, New Eastern Outlook has featured, as have other media outlet publications, what kind of “love” US ambassadors have merited in many countries owing to their behavior and genuinely aggressive countenance, which no diplomatic status can conceal.
The publications in media outlets are more frequently expressing the scandals linked to US ambassadors and all the new protests erupting against them in various countries.
Starting in December on a regular basis, protests against Ambassador Harry Harris – who is insulted by saying that he “resembles a Japanese colonial governor” – take place in front of the US embassy building in South Korea.
This is not the first month that authorities and society in Germany have openly expressed their dissatisfaction with the actions taken by Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to their country, right up until the time he recently left Germany.
In December, the US government was forced to recall its ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, after authorities in this African country had stopped expressing their desire to work with him.
The US ambassador in Warsaw, Georgette Mosbacher, uses Poland like a club by threatening other nations with it, the Polish Kresy even writes, trying to drive home the point to the Poles that she virtually treats Poland like her own possession, and demonstrating that her main priority is merely the income American business owners make in Poland.
In Moldovan society and media outlets, intense criticism is leveled at the actions by American ambassador Dereck Hogan for how he gives the center-right and liberal parties instructions on what to do, and how to do it, in current Moldovan day-to-day realities.
And even today, media outlets in Lebanon wrote that the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will demand that Dorothy Shea, the head of the American diplomatic mission there, comply with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We should recall that pursuant to the Vienna Convention the ambassador of any foreign nation does not have the right to interfere in the host country’s domestic affairs, or make speeches that goad some in the country to speak out against others in the country, or against the government.
Another scandal with the US ambassador to Lebanon flared up with particular force after Dorothy Shea, during an interview on June 25 broadcast on the Al Hadath TV channel in Dubai, rained down criticism on the Shiite Hezbollah party – which is represented in both the parliament and the government – accusing it of not allowing decisions to be made that would let Lebanon get out of its economic crisis, and of depriving the country of billions of dollars. The diplomat affirmed that Hezbollah has become “a state within a state and bled Lebanon dry”, hindering the cabinet of ministers from making decisions that would “help Lebanon get out of a deep-rooted economic and financial crisis”.
Previously, the US ambassador D. Shea publicly announced that Lebanese politicians from various regions and communities that support close ties with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and Syria could be subject to impact from new American sanctions. On top of that, to back up her threats Shea reminded people that the “United States is the largest donor country for the Lebanese economy.”
In response to that proclamation, Judge Mohamed Mazeh in the city of Tyre delivered a ruling on June 27 that prohibited local journalists from interviewing the US ambassador to Lebanon for one year, and said that all people who violate that directive will face both losing their licenses and a pecuniary fine of 200,000 USD. When explaining his ruling, the judge underscored that the words spoken by the American diplomat were geared toward undermining stability in Lebanon. “The voice of any ambassador that inflicts damage on civil peace should not be heard in the media,” stated Mazeh.
Mario Aoun, a Lebanese deputy from the Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc, called it “absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable interference by American diplomats in Lebanese politics.”
On June 29, Nassif Hitti, the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, called Ambassador Dorothy Shea to a meeting at the ministry to deliver an official protest from Lebanese authorities elicited due to her interference in the domestic affairs in her country of accreditation, and the impermissibility of stoking the country’s domestic political situation.
Lebanese media on June 29 reported that the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, where the American diplomat was summoned after several scandalous announcements made on local television channels, was where the Lebanese public held a campaign involving many thousands to protest against US ambassador Dorothy Shea for meddling in the country’s domestic affairs. Protestors proclaimed during the action that Lebanon does not need to take lessons in democracy from the American ambassador. “An economic boycott on Syria and Lebanon will not break the resistance to US and Israeli plans!” chanted activists.
On May 17, Michael Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, stated that Washington is imposing new sanctions on Damascus as part of the so-called “Caesar Act”, or the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which not only Syrian citizens and companies can fall under, but organizations from other countries, including Lebanon. The “Caesar Act”, which was signed by President Donald Trump on December 20, 2018 was incorporated into the US military budget for the 2020 financial year. It gives the US administration the right to impose sanctions on organizations and individuals that provide direct and indirect assistance to the Syrian government, and to various armed groups that are active inside the country’s borders and that – according to the version of events put forth by the United States – receive support from the authorities of Syria, Russia, and Iran. According to a statement made by Gebran Bassil, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanon’s parliamentary majority, the new round of American sanctions “specifically affects Lebanon’s interests and its ties with the Arab world”. He is convinced that sealing off the border with Syria will “squeeze the life out of” the Lebanese economy, and cause famine.
The reaction to the aggressive actions and behavior on the part of US ambassadors shows that instead of searching for ways to develop relations between the US and other countries, they only reinforce the anti-American sentiment in other countries.
Owing to this, the maxim by Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, a Roman consul in 127 BC, involuntarily springs to mind: Cui prodest? (Latin for “Who benefits?”).
Platov Vladimir, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.