Sunday, April 25, 2010

Obama & the Armenian Genocide

Peter Baker, writing in the New York Times, notices that Obama managed to anger both Turks and Armenians in his commemoration of the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Obama pandered to Armenian-Americans while trying to get elected, "vowed to use the term genocide to describe the Ottoman mass slaughter of Armenians nearly a century ago," but then failed to do so. Armenian-Americans believed his campaign lies and are now upset that he didn't deliver.

“Today we join with Armenians in the United States and around the world in voicing our sharp disappointment with the president’s failure to properly condemn and commemorate the Armenian genocide,” said Ken Hachikian, the committee’s chairman. He added that Mr. Obama’s failure to follow through on his campaign pledge was “allowing Turkey to tighten its gag rule on American genocide policy.”
But even what Armenians see as a weak and evasive announcement was too much for Turkey.
Although the president’s statement did not use the term “genocide” on Saturday, it was strong enough to provoke a sharp statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which called the language a reflection of a one-sided political perception. “Third countries neither have a right nor authority to judge the history of Turkish-Armenian relations with political motives,” the statement said.
Another foreign policy triumph for Obama. Let's insert the U.S. into the middle of something that is none of its business, and mange to anger all sides. Great job. I've been very critical of Turkey lately, as its turn to Islamism makes it an unreliable ally and potential threat to U.S. interests. But the current Turkish government, and the governments since the founding of the republic do not deserve to be beaten over the head with the actions of the Ottoman Empire. It serves no purpose, and is not in the interests of the United States, which has no stake in this sort of fight over what happened almost a hundred years ago. Yes the Ottoman Turks carried out a genocidal campaign against Armenians. That's not in dispute among reputable historians. But there is no need for the U.S. to hold official commemorations about it, or for the president to address the issue.


  1. Obama really needs to say it was a genocide or not or shut up

  2. But as usually he's trying to have it both ways.