Inviting needless trouble

Cincinnati Post, OH
Kentucky Post, KY
Oct 13 2007

Inviting needless trouble

Other than placating their Armenian American constituents, it’s hard
to tell what interest the House Foreign Affairs Committee thought it
was serving when it approved, 27-21, a nonbinding, wholly symbolic
resolution condemning as genocide the deaths of over a million
Armenians when the Ottoman Empire expelled them from eastern Turkey
between 1915 and 1923.

Certainly it didn’t serve America’s geopolitical interests. The
resolution infuriated modern Turkey, which, as President Bush and
eight former secretaries of State of both parties pointed out, is a
vital NATO ally, a necessary partner in the war on terror, site of an
American airbase critical to supporting the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

The Turks immediately summoned their ambassador to Washington home
for consultations and their Foreign Ministry called in our ambassador
to express their "unease" over the resolution. These are diplomatic
ways of displaying extreme pique. And if the Turks are well and truly
angry they can legitimately cause us a lot of trouble in Iraq. They
are amassing troops, helicopter gun ships and armor near the border
of Iraq. So far they have only attacked Kurdish rebels on their own
side of the border but they are threatening to go after facilities in
Kurdish Iraq that they say support the rebels. This would destabilize
the one tranquil part of Iraq.

The expulsion of the Armenians is a part of its history that Turkey
has never come to grips with, and even today reconciliation talks
between Turkey and Armenia are moving very slowly – but nonetheless
moving unless this resolution impedes them.

The resolution should be allowed to quietly languish in the clerk’s
office, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems determined to bring it
to a vote. Told that this was a bad time for the resolution, the
speaker said she’d been hearing that every year for the last 20.
Maybe there’s a good reason for that.

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