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Senator Boxer objects to ambassador nominee

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California’s junior U.S. senator objects to the president’s nominee for ambassador to Azerbaijan. A Washington Post editorial accuses Barbara Boxer of “pandering” to Armenian lobbying.

The nominee, Matthew Bryza, is a foreign policy veteran. Azerbaijan is an energy-rich transit point to move U.S. military material into Afghanistan. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer doesn’t think Bryza is the right choice for ambassador.

Tensions have been heating up between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Earlier this summer, five soldiers – four Armenian and one Azerbaijani – were killed near Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region with historic ties to both countries. Boxer says Bryza “demonstrated a pattern of unwillingness to speak out forcefully in the face of continued Azerbaijani aggression.”

The Washington Post editorial dismissed Boxer’s concerns. The paper called her objections “craven election year pandering” to California’s Armenian voters. Boxer’s staff says the senator opposes Bryza only for policy reasons – she contends that he’s the wrong nominee at a time of growing threats of violence in the region.