There is no doubt that ambassadors, especially those from powerful countries, influence or at least try to steer the countries in which they are serving their term in the direction that is best suited to their respective governments.
But there are few diplomats who cross the line in doing so and they, as a rule of thumb, come from the United States of America.
Serbia played host to a handful of such ambassadors. The latest US Ambassador to Serbia, His Excellency Christopher Hill is known to frequently spout “advice”. He says he doesn’t have any influence on choosing the new government ministers, and yet says that the new Serbian government should be pro-Western. He is also known to comment on individual statements by Serbian ministers and advocates the stand that Serbia really doesn’t need Russia.
This is nothing new. To remind, the former US ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, who was said to have reconciled the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and the Democratic Party (DS) and made them work together in the government in 2008, has been quoted as saying that the US could not cooperate with Serbia if Vojislav Koštunica or the Serbia Radical Party helm the country.
Another US ambassador to Serbia, Michael Kirby, once expressed his annoyance with the Russian President Vladimir Putin coming to Serbia to celebrate the liberation of Belgrade in World War II, and added that Serbia should have invited other leaders of the former Soviet Union as guests at the commemoration, because ‘these countries also took part in the liberation’.
US Ambassador Kyle Scott turned up at a polling station in Zemun during the elections for the Belgrade Assembly to ‘check how the election process was going’ and kept correcting journalists by saying that Kosovo is in fact a ‘sovereign state’.
A gentleman who thinks twice before saying nothing, as the writer John Steinbeck described a diplomat, is not something Americans prefer. Inflammatory words only add fuel to fire to conflicts and are unnecessary because everyone has known for a long time what we think of each other.
(Vecernje Novosti, 27.07.2022)
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