U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone
stands atop the U.S. Embassy
in Ankara after a suicide bomber struck the edifice. Ricciardone's comments at
a press conference afterwards brought a sharp rebuke from Turkey
'How to Treat Your American Ambassador' (Alfahir, Hungary)
no counting the number of times Hungary's government has gotten kicked in the
pants by the French administration, the German Bundestag, the European Union,
Washington, and its place in Budapest, i.e.: the local American Embassy. ... The
Hungarian government's reaction is in every such case silence or the issuance
of embarrassed apologies - and pledges that next time, it will consult with the
complainer and modify its behavior. ... Those who say that 'a flea shouldn't
jump when the elephant lifts its leg,' appear to be offering some sensible
There's no counting the number of times the Orban Government [Hungary] has gotten kicked in the pants by
the French administration, the German Bundestag, the European Union, Washington,
and its place in Budapest, i.e.: the local American Embassy.
The Hungarian government's reaction is in every such case
silence or the issuance of embarrassed apologies - and pledges that next time,
it will consult with the complainer and modify its behavior ...
Those who say "dare to be small," or that "a
flea shouldn't jump when the elephant lifts its leg," appear to be
offering some sensible advice.
Consider how the foreign ministry of Latvia, a country it
would be generous to call small even by Baltic nation standards, reacted to superpower
Russia, when itsambassador, Alexander Veshnyakov,denied on Wednesday that the Soviet Union ever
occupied Latvia. What's the trouble with this?: The Soviets not only
occupied the Baltic states from 1941 to 1991, they simply incorporated them
into the Soviet Union.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry noted Veshnyakov's
public denial of the occupation of Latvia "with regret," adding that
such rhetoric does nothing to encourage "a positive environment" for
Not quite incidentally, we note Riga's 2010 passage of laws
stipulating penalties for anyone justifying, denying or soft-pedaling international
crimes - including crimes committed against Latvia by the USSR and Nazis.
Even if we question the story of the elephant and the
flea, who can forget how upon independence, Estonians wanted the Soviet
memorial trucked out of their capital Tallinn so quickly, that the truck driver
didn't even stop for Elevenses
on route to its new cemetery home.
In fact, Riga's tune is just a little off. Meaning, it
reflects a wisp of timid "regret."
And on Wednesday, Turkey provided a worthy example of how
to honorably rebut censure from abroad, after American ambassador to Turkey, Francis J. Ricciardone, criticized Turkey's legal system.
Briefing reporters after
a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing
took the occasion to criticize the country's legal system, citing long
detentions for army officers, scholars and students based on vague accusations.
He said, "You have your military leaders, who were
entrusted with the protection of this country, behind bars as if they were
terrorists ... When a legal system produces results like this and confuses such
people with terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to
match up." [Ricciardone
was referring to hundreds of military officers being held as part of the
ongoing Sledgehammer coup
investigation and other cases].
Hüseyin Celik, MP and number two man in the ruling Justice and
Development Party, told a commercial TV station: "We are inviting Ricciardone to remain within his boundaries and limits. We
are not pleased with [his remarks]; we condemn and denounce them." Celik added, "He
should know his place."
Celik also said that it would
be good if Ricciardone would first explain Guantanamo
to the world, adding that the U.S. courts are not courts of appeal for Turkish cases,
so the U.S. need not concern itself with them.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
So over a mere two days, the Hungarian government and Foreign
Ministry have had two more good examples of how to firmly rebut a major foreign
power interfering in its domestic affairs.
It's tough forecast what's in the cards, but we'll
venture a guess: an American official will soon issue criticism again, like the
Russian ambassador did toward Latvia, or the American ambassador toward Turkey.
The flea, then, will set its sights on the elephant's eye.