Brussels, the home to thousands of Eurocrats who run the European Union and other multilateral institutions, rarely speaks in one voice, let alone a loud one.
However the U.S. ambassador to Belgium is not one to speak softly, especially when it comes to rattling Russia over its invasion of Georgia.
While European leaders talked in terms of soft-power diplomacy — urging Russia to respect the “territorial integrity” of Georgia and promoting a cease-fire that could allow Moscow to leave its troops in Georgia — Ambassador Sam Fox, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, had a simple, direct message.
“The world must stand behind Georgia,” he said. “Georgia must be whole and free.”
Mr. Fox speaks clearly perhaps because he is not a career diplomat. A political appointee, Mr. Fox was a powerful supporter of President Bush and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican Party. He even backed the Navy swift boat veterans who challenged Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, over his Vietnam War record during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Mr. Fox, national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, is not afraid to accuse the Russians of acting like Soviets, and he used the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Belgium to do it.
“The scenes of Russian aggression — and now the threats against other countries such as Poland and Ukraine — have brought back frightening memories to the former captive states, which have since chosen a Western model of freedom and democracy for their future,” Mr. Fox wrote at https://belgium.usembassy.gov/georgia.html.
“But the world we live in today is different from 40 years ago,” he said referring to the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to crush democratic reforms.
He warned Moscow that it risks isolating itself from the West, where some leaders are already talking of retaliating against Russia’s invasion by rejecting it from the Group of Eight industrialized nations, blocking membership in the World Trade Organization and removing Russia as sponsor of the 2014 Olympics.
“The Russian people may learn that the cost of … aggression will be measured in ways that their leaders never considered.” Mr. Fox said.
BLAMING THE JEWS
The Iranian media had a different analysis of Russia’s invasion of Georgia and the U.S. reaction.
Newspapers such as Kayhan and Jomhuri-ye Eslami found a way to blame the Jews.
The “schemes of America, Europe and the Zionist lobby” failed to save Georgia from a Russian invasion, and that should be a lesson to any “pro-Westerners” in Iran, Kayhan said of the conflict. Kayhan, one of the most influential newspapers in Iran, is under the direct supervision of the office of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia was drawn towards the West as a result of efforts and plots by America, Europe and the international Zionist lobby. But the scheme of America, Europe and the Zionist lobby went beyond support of their velvet ally and endangered their interests, Kayhan said Aug. 12, referring, apparently, to the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 that toppled communism in Czechoslovakia.
Jomhuri-ye Eslami added that the response to the Russian invasion of Georgia showed the general weakness of the West.
The “era in which America was a superpower is now over,” it said confidently in an Aug. 19 commentary.
The newspaper added that Iran had already “managed to break the horns of the Great Satan [the United States]” and that the Lebanese war of 2006 put “an end to the myth that the Zionist regime is unbreakable.”
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail email@example.com.