On Thursday we explored the politically controversial measure
before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to formally recognize
as genocide the Turkish government's 1915 killing of up to a million Armenian
civilians. The committee has since passed the measure,
leading a furious Turkish government to recall its ambassador
The White House urged the committee not to proceed, and the entire
House would have to approve the measure for it to become formal, which
is unlikely. But is the diplomatic damage already done?
- Who Wins Today The Washington Note's Steve Clemons says
it's the diaspora of Armenian refugees, who fled in masses during the
genocide and many of whom arrived in the U.S. "It is difficult to
fathom how today's developments will help Turkey and Armenia move
forward. Rather, today's vote is the triumph of diaspora politics over
serious foreign policy."
- Stupid and Short-Sighted The Wall Street Journal scoffs,
"So much for the new era of U.S. appreciation for the sensitivities and
cultural nuances of America's allies." They write, "Turkey is one of
the few NATO allies that has substantially increased its troop presence
in Afghanistan, and has responsibility for security in Kabul. Turkey
also has an important influence over events in Iraq, which this weekend
holds national elections that will affect the pace and ease of American
- Bad For Everyone The Guardian's Bulent Aras fumes,
"The genocide bill simultaneously harms Turkish-Armenian normalisation
and the intensified peace attempts to solve the Karabakh problem. It is
for the benefit of the US, Turkey and Armenia to pursue constructive
policies for the normalisation process."
- Non-Recognition Has Consequences The Weekly Standard's Philip Terzian dissents,
"as a half-Armenian American with paternal family members who perished
in the Genocide, permit me to make a few observations." While U.S.
recognition is bad politics, "it must be acknowledged that the
persistent Turkish attitude of denial, denigration, and outright
misrepresentation about the systematic Ottoman massacre of Christian
Armenians... has had the inevitable effect of infuriating Armenians
and hardening their determination to force Turkey to come to terms with
its historic past. The fact that governments which should know
better--notably our own, and Israel's--have been willing to accede to
Turkish threats and intimidation has only deepened the resolve of
Armenians to force the issue."
- Childishness On Both Sides The New Atlanticist's James Joyner sighs,
"It's difficult to gauge who's being sillier here: The Turks for being
unable to admit that which has been obvious to everyone else for
decades or the U.S. Congress for banging this drum every year over an
incident that transpired nearly a century ago and that has zero bearing
on the United States except that bringing it up alienates an important
- Israel Lobby At Work That's Media Matters' MJ Rosenberg's theory. "That battle is now being carried to Washington. The Israelis are trying
to teach the Turks a lesson. If the Armenian resolution passes both
houses and goes into effect, it will not be out of some newfound
compassion for the victims of the Armenian genocide and their
descendants, but to send a message to Turkey: if you mess with Israel,
its lobby will make Turkey pay a price in Washington."
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