Because the United States of America is a nation of nations, which draws people from throughout the world, the quarrels of the “old country” sometimes resurface here. On occasion, this has a political impact. Which is to say, sometimes the partisan press tries to use these quarrels to political advantage.
One of the bitterest Old World antagonisms is that between the Turks and the Armenians, centering on the 1915 Armenian Genocide–or “so-called genocide,” as Turkey would prefer. The California race between incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and challenger Republican businesswomen Carly Fiorina has just gotten mixed up in this argument, thanks to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal’s September 20 issue has an editorial titled “Barbara Boxer (D., Armenia).” The Journal claims that Boxer is preventing Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza from becoming the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan. The paper describes Bryza as “a highly accomplished career diplomat” who “carries no partisan baggage.” However, Bryza has a Turkish-born wife, and has made some unspecified statements about Karabakh, the territory disputed between Armenian and Azerbaijan. (The Turks and the Azeris are closely related ethnic groups.)
As a result, the Wall Street Journal alleges, the Armenian National Committee of America–“an influential lobby”–opposes Bryza’s nomination, and Boxer is doing the bidding of the ANCA. This is supposedly because California “is home to a large Armenian community, a potential swing bloc this November, and Ms. Boxer is pandering for their votes.”
All Boxer did was ask for a postponement of the Senate committee vote on the Bryza nomination. The Wall Street Journal speculates that Boxer may put a hold on the nomination, but that’s all that is–speculation. More damningly, what the Journal neglects to mention is that Fiorina has Middle East trouble of her own. Two weeks ago Los Angeles Jewish leaders (no doubt Democrats) held a press conference to demand an apology from Fiorina for Hewlett-Packard’s illegal sales to Iran while Fiorina was its chief executive officer. The claim is that the sales were made through a Dutch subsidiary in violation of U.S. sanctions.
This charge is likely to matter to Jewish voters and others concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Is the Wall Street Journal trying to distract California voters from Fiorina’s Iran problem by creating an Armenia problem for Boxer? Less plausible things have turned out to be true.