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There is no room for Armenian Genocide in U.S. realpolitik

Washington needs Turkey for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is precisely the reason why U.S. does not recognize the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire during the years of the World War I.

The Middle East has always been among the vital interests of the USA. This position was established especially after the World War I, when America, seriously forcing the UK to the background, replaced her in this troubled region, rich in oil. In the Soviet years there was a ding-dong struggle going on between the two world powers for leadership in the Middle East. However, after the collapse of the Soviet empire the struggle tuned into a sluggish clarification of who the stronger is.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Russia is gradually bowing herself out of the region: she has almost no one but Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey is a key country in the Middle East and, naturally, both Washington and Moscow seek normal relations with her. Washington needs Turkey more for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is precisely the reason for the U.S. non-recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire during the years of the World War I. The U.S. will hardly be driven by morality or humanity in this matter. To be honest, it’s appropriate to mention that the Holocaust was recognized not (only) because of the unprecedented quantity of victims among the Jewish people, but (also) because of the profound influence of the Jewish diaspora throughout the world, which is far ahead of Armenia in weight and influence. Anyway, it must be emphasized that both the tragic events are disgusting and unacceptable.

Unfortunately, it’s beyond doubt that that the Armenian Genocide resolution shall not be adopted by the U.S. Congress in the foreseeable future. As long as Turkey is a key partner for the United States in the region, none of the major politicians in Washington will ever get involved with her for the simple reason that America recognized the fact of the Genocide still back in 1916, and to recognize it for a second time would give nothing to the Armenians. It’s simply a matter of wording, behind which, at times, the true meaning of recognition of one a half million Armenians’ destruction is lost.

But let us revert to the statements of the White House, which, as befits a superpower, says one thing and does another. However, it should be noted that, for instance, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice never stated that the “tragic events of 1915” were genocide. She did not need it, as she was not engaged in a pre-election campaign. As reported, Rice is going to publish the book “No Higher Honor”, which tells about her activity as U.S. Secretary of State. It is understandable that a great portion in the book is dedicated to the relations between the U.S. and Turkey, especially in light of the U.S. Congress Resolution on the Armenian Genocide. “Our diplomatic relations with Turkey were at risk. The powerful Armenian American lobby has for years pressured Congress to pass a resolution branding the Ottoman Empire’s mass killings of Armenians starting in 1915 as genocide. All this left its mark on our relations with Turkey. My first experience with this problem came in 1991. The Turks, who had been essential in the first Gulf War effort were outraged at the prospect of being branded for an event that had taken place almost a century before – under the Ottomans! Back then I had succeeded in my assigned task. It was not that anyone denied the awful events or the tragic deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenians. But it was a matter for historians—not politicians—to decide how best to label what had occurred. In 2007, in the midst of tension on the Turkish-Iraqi border and with Ankara’s forces on high alert, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor of the resolution. I’d begged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do something to prevent a vote, but she said there was little she could do. Defense Secretary Bob Gates and I delivered a press statement outside the White House, reiterating our opposition and saying that our own commanders in Iraq had raised the prospect of losing critical bases in Turkey. We managed to convince the Turks that we would do everything possible to prevent a vote in the full House, which we eventually did. The democratically elected Armenian government had little interest in the resolution, either. In fact, it was engaged in an effort to improve relations with Turkey, so it didn’t need it either,” Rice writes in her book. But, to put it mildly, Rice is wrong in her last statement and measures others corn by her own bushel. The Armenians, however willing the may be to develop relations with Turkey, will never abandon the struggle for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Condoleezza Rice should know this at least as a politician. But, obviously, she is more satisfied with statements implying collective guilt: no one but the Armenian American community is for the adoption of the Resolution, but Armenian organizations do not do what befits true Americans. This is the estimated essence of Rice’s idea...

Meanwhile, the 30th Annual Conference of American-Turkish Council (ATC) started in Washington. The conference addressed the Turkish-American relations and was attended by Minister of National Defense, Ismet Yilmaz and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Clinton was the keynote speaker on the American side, and once again stated the importance of U.S.-Turkish relations. Noting “Turkey’s growing role in the region and on the world stage”, she reiterated the need to ratify the Armenian-Turkish Protocols on normalization of relations. It seems that mention of the Protocols has become a mandatory part of the performances of American diplomats, and even the President himself. At the same time everyone knows about the impracticability of this condition as long as the Turkish side does not recognize the Armenian Genocide and interferes in the settlement of Karabakh conflict. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the Obama administration remains committed to protecting Turkish interests, which in itself is not a novelty.

“Improving relations between Turkey and Armenia would be a positive step, and we hope that the Turkish parliament will ratify the Protocols during its current session and normalize ties with Armenia. These festering conflicts hold back progress and development in the region. Reducing tensions with neighbors, increasing stability, is a recipe for expanded growth and influence,” Clinton said. In his turn, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Philip Gordon said the U.S. continues to pressure the parties to ratify the Protocols. That is, the main thing for Washington is ratification of the Protocols, but not human rights, which are so affectionately talked about on Capitol Hill. The reason lies in U.S. realpolitik, where, in fact, there is no place for the Armenian Genocide...

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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