The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021

10 JULY-AUGUST 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Visiting Greenland Your Arctic focus (May FSJ ) was a grand slam, especially [Coordinator for the Arctic Region] JimDeHart’s cogent presentation, which I will draw from in my work with the U.S. military. While serving as deputy chief of mis- sion in Copenhagen, I made five visits to Greenland in three years (including join- ing Denmark’s queen and prime minister to mark the 50th anniversary of handing the U.S. WWII-era military command back to Denmark). So I appreciated Eavan Cully’s focus on the public diplomacy dimension for why we reopened a Greenland consulate after a nearly 70-year absence. I would have enjoyed learning more about the nuts and bolts of setting up shop in Nuuk, which is closer to Washington, D.C., than Copenhagen. Larry Butler Ambassador, retired Thomaston, Maine, and Reston, Virginia The Arctic: A Compelling Story Congratulations on the Arctic cover- age in your May edition. I was a senior Arctic official during our first chairman- ship of the Arctic Council, so it was great to catch up on all that’s happened and to get such a comprehensive look at the picture today. It’s a compelling story that deserves attention. I was struck by the piece on our consulate in Nuuk because I had served in the Arctic (1986-1988) when Embassy Oslo used to operate the U.S. Informa- tion Office in Tromso—which, sadly and unwisely, we closed during the budget crunch of 1995. Tromso was a “presence post” that had started off as a U.S. Information Service library and was picked up by State in the 1960s to signal our interest in Nor- Indeed, it is one of the most elegant and striking pieces I’ve ever read on any subject. I was stunned by the author’s eloquence and insight. My students at Bard College will be reading it not only for the information it conveys, but as an example of how best to communicate in English. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof Professor and Diplomat-in-Residence Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, New York On the Recognition of Armenian Genocide President Joe Biden’s April 24 acknowledgment that the Turkish govern- ment carried out a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide of its Armenian citizens in 1915 merits careful reflection, notably within State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. At first glance, Ankara’s knee-jerk reaction seems inane. Numerous eyewit- nesses, among them U.S. diplomats and Turkish government officials, includ- ing Ahmed Djemal Pasha, then known among Syrian and Lebanese Arabs as “the Butcher” or “the Bloodthirsty,” reported on the executions and mass deportations. Moreover, the genocide was the culmination of several earlier massacres of Armenians and Assyrian Christians instigated by Ottoman officials, which included the Adana pogroms of April 1909 and the Hamidian Massacres of 1894-1896. That the Turks wanted to expel the Armenians and Assyrians from cen- tral and eastern Anatolia was no secret. But why? Undoubtedly, ethnic and religious rivalries, even animosities, played major roles. The Turks resented Europeans intervening in their internal affairs on behalf of the Ottoman Empire’s way’s border region with the Soviet Union. The work was mostly public diplomacy in nature—meeting in various small towns with the mayor, the newspaper editor, the chamber of com- merce and the English language class at the high school—but it did give me an appreciation for the geopolitical signifi- cance of the Arctic and the special role of Indigenous peoples (in Norway, the Sami) who later became an important and interesting component of the Arctic Council’s portfolio. Great initiative to tackle this theme! Richard B. Norland U.S. Ambassador to Libya & U.S. Special Envoy for Libya Libya External Office, Tunis A Foreign Service Officer’s Art Ambassador William Roebuck’s article on reading Dante in Syria (May FSJ ) struck me as not only beautifully written but as a piece that captures so much of what a great Foreign Service officer does. He reports in a way that grabs the reader, that compels understanding of the foreign view, and that lays out what needs to be done as a policy matter for the United States and why it needs to happen. To do so with brevity and clarity is profes- sionalism. To do it with beauty is art. Ronald E. Neumann Ambassador, retired Washington, D.C. An Elegant Piece William Roebuck’s essay, “Raqqa’s Inferno: A Diplomat Reads Dante in Syria,” in your May edition is extraordi- nary. In almost 10 years of reading nearly everything out there on the Syrian catas- trophe, I’ve not read anything better.