The new U.S. ambassador, John Tefft, has come to the Ukraine. Yesterday, he presented the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko with copies of his credentials, and said that he was very happy to be there. Whether we should be happy with the new ambassador is debatable. America loves specialization, and every diplomat is responsible for his own agenda. One of them visits a country on the eve of a “color revolution,” another enters prior to a military occupation, and a third specializes in economic expansion.
In these terms, John Tefft is more likely to alarm the Ukrainians. After all, he was the ambassador to Georgia when Saakashvili attacked South Ossetia. Analysts are well aware that the Georgian president started the aggression because of American approval. The task was simple: drag Russia into a military conflict, and ensure that the conflict receives a detailed and “correct” coverage in the media (in essence – Russia is once again dangerous to the democratic world). This would help the militarist John McCain, and not Barack Obama, become president. Although the plan failed, it was quite realistic. The Americans did not take into account Ossetian and Georgian civilian victims. After all, they are so far away, while the election is in the U.S.
Could the ambassador have been unaware of these secret games in the spirit of the cloak and dagger? No, he was most likely responsible for the communication and coordination. Now, Tefft has come to the Ukraine on the eve of the presidential elections. It is very promising.
As required by diplomatic protocol, the original credentials will be given to the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. In a sudden flash of diplomatic talent, Poroshenko wished that the new U.S. ambassador be productive in his Ukrainian work. According to Vadim Karasev, a prominent Ukrainian political analyst, the new U.S. ambassador will not allow Ukraine to become a part of Russia’s zone of influence. He said, “Americans understand that the power struggle in the Ukraine will not end with the presidential elections. It will continue throughout 2010. Everything will be done quietly. The United States will keep Ukraine in the same geo-political parameters. They will not let Ukraine finally swing in Russia’s direction. Tefft’s objective is to preserve the status quo.”
Polemika’s Note: Who is John Tefft?
John Tefft is considered to be one of the best American experts on Eastern Europe. He has worked as a diplomat in Hungary, Russia, Lithuania and Georgia. He worked as a deputy in the U.S. State Department. He was the U.S. ambassador to Georgia for five years, which included the time during last year’s hostilities. Usually, after working in such conditions, diplomats stay on their own turf for a while, to relax. But instead, Tefft was once again sent to the post-Soviet region, although, working in Kiev will not be difficult for him. He has already learned a lot about the Ukraine.
In September 2004, Tefft (among other diplomats) came to Kiev to talk to Kuchma (then head of Ukraine), about the need to hold transparent presidential elections in the country. This time, he also came during the election campaign, but now as an ambassador.
For five months, the post of the U.S. ambassador was not filled. It could have still remained vacant, because U.S. Congressmen have increasingly preferred to wait until elections are over, and then appoint the ambassador. Tefft has worked 37 years in the U.S. State Department. During this time, the country has had eight presidents. Teft is known as a true professional. He has even received several state awards for his service. The embassy did not specify for what he was awarded – for Ossetia, perhaps?