Armenia Genocide – Obama’s About Face

Alex Massie and  Matt Welch hammer President Obama for joining a long line of politicians who use the phrase “Armenian genocide” on the campaign trail and then scrupulously avoid the G-word once in office.  Andrew Sullivan seems to agree.

Certainly, Obama boxed himself into a corner on this one, talking boldly on the campaign trail and then acting less boldly upon talking office. In my New Atlanticist piece “Obama Rethinks Armenia Genocide Declaration,” though I argue that,

Being president carries different responsibilities than being a Senator, a presidential candidate, or a political pundit.Of course the slaughter of a million and a half people between 1915 and 1923 constitutes genocide.  Of course, the history books should acknowledge this.

But it’s far from clear why the President of the United States must declare this fact from the perch of his office and alienate a key ally in the region.The tragedy ended 86 years ago, after all.  Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, Christendom and Islam, and is the linchpin of the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.   It borders Georgia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria — all rather important actors in the region.

Much more at the link.

Photo by Flickr user Rita Willaert under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Certainly, Obama boxed himself into a corner on this one, talking boldly on the campaign trail and then acting less boldly upon talking office.

    Far from an outstanding event, this is merely one more datapoint, in a long list of such backtracking by Obama once office was attained. Exposure to reality does much to focus the mind.

    Beisdes, the alligator theory applies, here. To wit: When you’re up to your ass in gators, its not easy to remember your original objective was drain the swamp. You might wanna ask Nancy Pelosi about that, who, despite her promsies to drain the swamp, ended up merely adding to it.

    The comparison here seem valid to me, since in both cases, the question logically arises, if either ever really planned on following through on their rather grandiose promises.




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  2. Franklin says:

    I fail to see an “About Face” here yet. Has Obama actually spoken about Armenia since he became President, or has he been busy with other stuff?

    Just because some low-level official didn’t use the word genocide is hardly proof that the word is banned for all time.




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  3. Bithead says:

    For all time?
    No.

    Until it’s usful again in creating votes/maintaining power?

    You betcha.




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