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Op-Ed: Obama – McCain and a State Department Shakeup
July 18, 2008—No. 44 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed: Obama – McCain and a State Department Shakeup

Washington, DC The following Op-Ed appeared in the National Herald, the Hellenic Voice, the Greek News and in the Hellenic News of America.

Obama – McCain and a State Department Shakeup

By Gene Rossides

July 1, 2008


The State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (BEEA) needs a shakeup because of its actions and inactions which have damaged U.S. interests.

Recently the Secretary of Defense, Robert M.Gates fired the Air Force’s two top leaders, civilian Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the military chief of staff of the Air Force, General T. Michael Moseley. He blamed them for serious lapses in nuclear security by lax control over nuclear weapons.

Some of Moseley’s backers say that he might have survived if he had not pressed publicly for a substantial increase in the Air Forces budget for F-22 fighters. Moseley sought an increase from 183 to 381 F-22 fighters and 20 billion dollars more for the Air Force.

Secretary Gates’ response was no. He toured Air Force bases and told its personnel, “There is no room for error in this mission,; nor is there, unfortunately, any room for second chances, especially when serious questions about the safety and security of our nuclear arsenal have raised in the minds of the American public and the international community.”

Readers will remember Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that hit New Orleans and the failure of leadership at the Federal Emergency Management Administration, FEMA, and the subsequent firing of its head.

I mention these two examples of major shakeups in two key Federal agencies to stress the need for a shakeup in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs for (1) its continuing failures to apply the rule of law to Turkey; (2) its continuing cover-up of States’ involvement in Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974 and its encouragement of Turkey’s second massive wave of aggression on August 14 to 16, 1974, which grabbed an additional one-third of Cyprus, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus has been restored; and (3) its continuing appeasement of Turkey; all to the detriment of U.S. interests in the region.

Let’s look at the facts:

State’s Rule of Law Violations

These violations include those in 1974 when Secretary of State Kissinger refused to enforce U.S. laws against Turkey for its illegal use of U.S. supplied arms for aggression against Cyprus, and more recent violations of law.

The Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs has failed for years to apply the law that forbids Turkey to transfer U.S. arms from Turkey to Cyprus. Turkey has transferred newer tanks to Cyprus in direct violation of U.S. law and State has done nothing about it.

Congress passed two laws on religious freedom in 1998. One calls for the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology. State has sat on its hands as Turkey persecutes the Eastern Orthodox Church and Ecumenical Patriarchate, confiscates its property and refuses to allow its Halkic Patriarchal School of Theology to reopen.

Under the other law, the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the President is obligated to oppose violations of religious freedom in any country whose government “engages in or tolerates violations of religious freedom and promote the right to religious freedom in that country.” The Act further obligates the President to take one or more of 15 enumerated actions with respect to any such country. The State Department continues to sit on its hands and has made no recommendations to the President regarding Turkey.

Cover-up of State’s Involvement in Turkey’s Aggression Against Cyprus

A memorandum of August 14, 1974 classified secret for Kissinger’s eyes only and now declassified proves State’s involvement under Kissinger in Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus.

And a declassified map dated August 13, 1974, from State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research shows the Attila Line across Cyprus covering over one-third of Cyprus that Turkey’s military was to grab starting the next day, August 14, 1974.

Yet State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs refuses to state that Turkey invaded Cyprus and committed aggression against Cyprus with the knowledge and cooperation of the State Department!

State’s Appeasement of Turkey

The failure of State to take action against Turkey for (1) its invasion and occupation of 37% of Cyprus; (2) its religious persecution of Christians and Jews and (3) its threats against Greece in the Aegean, is appeasement.

Support of the discredited Annan Plan V, authored primarily by Britain, which was undemocratic, inequitable, not viable and which rewarded the aggressor Turkey and punished the victims, the Greek Cypriots, is appeasement.

A Shakeup of State’s BEEA Is Needed

The Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice should act but she will not because she is part of the problem. She has been in the forefront of the failure to enforce U.S. laws and State’s appeasement of Turkey. President Bush will not press Ms.Rice to shakeup the BEEA.

One possibility for action is from the next president. The winner in November, be it Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama, could demonstrate leadership by a shakeup of the BEEA. It would tell the world community that the U.S. believes in and abides by the rule of law in international relations and that adhering to the rule of law is in the best interests of the U.S.

Specifically, the next president should remove or transfer persons in the State Department who are responsible for making policy and / or carry out policy regarding Turkey if they fail to carry out the rule of law and their constitutional oath of office.

Contact McCain and Obama

I urge readers to call and write to the presidential candidates and seek their support of the rule of law and an end to the appeasement of Turkey. They should request them to call publicly for the removal of Turkey’s illegal occupation troops and settlers and the tearing down of Turkey’s barbed wire fence across Cyprus. They should request the removal or transfer of persons in the State Department who fail to uphold the rule of law and carry out their constitutional oath of office to carry out faithfully the laws of the land.

Their contact information is : Senator Barack Obama, P.O. Box 8102 Chicago, IL 60680, telephone: (866) 675-2008; e-mail through the official website:; and Senator John McCain, P.O. Box 16118 Arlington, VA 22215, telephone: (703) 418-2008; e-mail through the official website: .

Readers should also call and write to the state Headquarters of Obama and McCain in their state.

Act today. Your voice can help and make a difference.

Gene Rossides is President
of the American Hellenic Institute and
former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury