I said that it did back in February, and I say it now. It happened, and while there are consequences to saying that it happened, there are consequences to not saying so, too. And the administration has apparently decided to go with the latter set of consequences.
The Obama administration is hesitating on a promised presidential declaration that Armenians were the victims of genocide in the early 20th century, fearful of alienating Turkey when U.S. officials badly want its help.
President Obama and other top administration officials pledged during the presidential campaign to officially designate the 1915 killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as genocide. Many Armenian Americans, who are descendants of the victims and survivors, have long sought such a declaration.
But the administration also has been soliciting Ankara’s help on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other security issues amid Turkish warnings that an official U.S. statement would imperil Turkey’s assistance.
Administration officials are considering postponing a presidential statement, citing progress toward a thaw in relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia. Further signs of warming — such as talk of reopening border crossings — would strengthen arguments that a U.S. statement could imperil the progress.
One of the frustrating aspects of realpolitik is that you end up having to deal with the fact that there’s often exceptionally and compellingly logical reasons to do things that are really quite awful. The problem here is that I don’t actually consider the above to be bad reasons for delaying our recognition of the Armenian Genocide. They are not in my opinion sufficient reasons, but this is one place where I can concede that other people might consider my opinion to be primarily partisan in nature. I don’t think that it is, but I could be trying to delude even myself on the topic.
That being said, I think that Obama supporters like Congressmen Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman deserve a bit more transparency than a carefully-parsed statement from somebody on the NSC. Particularly since Obama was very explicit on the campaign trail in the first place:
…to say nothing of Samantha Power:
But not this Turkish diplomat, who pretty much called this development last year:
As I said: realpolitik is frustrating.
PS: Crossposted to Moe Lane.