Non-binding Idiocy

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not wanting to be upstaged by the Senate's "outrage" at Moveon.org's NYT ad, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a measure 27-21 on Wednesday evening calling the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in WWI, a genocide. Turkish foreign policy advisor Egeman Bagis has responded by saying that, "yesterday some in Congress wanted to play hardball. I can assure you Turkey knows how to play hardball." There is a good chance that this response would include closing off that country to US planes and supplies. In addition, it would hurt our relations with Turkey, who is also a member of NATO and an ally.

I am not condoning the conduct of Turkey, but I have a hard time understanding what this is supposed to accomplish and seriously doubt the wisdom of doing this when we already have enough strained relationships in that part of the world. I see it as a huge waste of time, and an insult to the people that elected them to work. How much lower can their approval rating go? The Democratic leadership said they would bring it to the House floor if it made it out of committee. Bush is trying to to convince them otherwise. If I were paranoid, I'd say they were doing this just to make him look bad (as if he needs any help in that area), but I'd like to think they weren't that petty.

...One can dream.

9 comments:

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 1:01 PM  

I know one Armenian family, whose Dad escaped the Turks as a child, who will appreciate the sentiment.

Bit late though...

steves 1:59 PM  

My point wasn't to condone what the Turks did. I just see this as form over substance. It doesn't really do anything and may hurt us.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 2:36 PM  

I understand your point and agree with you.

This could have been done long ago, but instead is being done at a time when it will damage our interests without any real benefit.

B Mac 3:07 PM  

I think this does go a little deeper than just a squabble/disagreement/death-feud between the Turks and the Armenians. In fact it reminds me of standard American policy these days:

Pakistan has become "Democracy-challenged" in recent years. But we need them to fight the Taliban, so we look the other way.

Saudi Arabia has some issues, but we need their oil and their support in the region, so we look the other way.

Ohio serves no purpose whatsoever, and for some no good reason our elections hinge on them. But we need something to connect Michigan to Kentucky, so we keep them around.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that we should ONLY work with people who share our views on everything. The enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but he's better than my enemy.

But this is one of the serious drawbacks to the "With-Us-or-with-the-Terrorists" dichotomous world the administration has built (or at least reinforced): the people who are "with us" can get away with a whole lotta crap. Because there is no middle ground to which we can relegate them. And they know it.

How powerful is that threat? In this case, it is so powerful that the President is afraid that Congress will talk smack about a country killing people... 92 years ago.

Smitty 3:32 PM  

I'm with steves. There is no purpose behind this, other than a power constituent somewhere wanted to see this acknowledged. We need not participate in this. That it is a detriment to our interests in the Middle East, however misguided, still means that it is a detriment.

As a whole, these types of resolutions are pretty meaningless either way. It's like the 500 resolutions every year in our state legislature declaring a state dog, tree, cat, lizard, butterfly, flower, tree, sidewalk or bush. Doesn't mean a lot. So October 9 is declared Buffoonery Day....big deal.

In some cases, though, a "nicey" for a constituent who asks for it can turn out to be a disaster. SOrt of like this resolution.

Whatever you think about Iraq, making it harder to get our supplies in there just makes it that much more untenable.

B Mac 3:59 PM  

I forgot to mention the part where I think this resolution is a dumb-ass idea, at least right now. There were plenty of times in the past that we could have pissed off Turkey without consequences. And there will be many in the future, I'm sure. Let's face it; it's Turkey. But now is a dicey time to mess with that.

steves 5:24 PM  

Maybe this seems overly simplistic, but if we are going to do things like condemn the Ottoman Empire or apologize for slavery, it should be more timely. We should have condemned the Turks in WWI. We should have apologized to the people that were slaves.

I would rather see Congress address racism and discrimination in a way that can actually help. I would rather see them address current Turkish treatment of Kurds.

Smitty 10:25 AM  

I would rather see them address current Turkish treatment of Kurds.


That, I think, is exactly where we need to head, especially in our discussion of few posts ago about Iran, Israel and balance in the Mid-East. Well played, steves.

steves 12:19 PM  

Thanks, I think a Kurdish state in the northern part of Iraq is something we will see. From what I can tell, Turkey will not be supportive, which needs to change.

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