Just FYI, tomorrow is “Nancy Pelosi Screws Up U.S.-Turkish Relations For The Next Decade Day.”
In your paper, you’re probably going to see it as a news brief, something like, “Nancy Pelosi forces the passage of a resolution marking the Armenian genocide,” and maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll see a paragraph noting that the resolution’s passage comes in the face of dire warnings from the Bush administration, Bill Clinton, defense hawks, and anyone who wants Turkey to continue its role as a valued ally to the United States. There are diehard Democrats who work professionally with Turkey who are… not pleased with Pelosi.
This is not to get drawn into a fight over the wording of the resolution or the facts of the bloody events of ninety years ago. It is a question of priorities. This resolution’s passage will bring a very modest gain (Pelosi’s Armenian-American donors will be very happy) and is also going to come at an enormous cost: the Turks will be furious, insulted, irate, etc. and will refuse to cooperate with the United States in any way, shape or form for several years. When France passed a similar resolution, the Turks cut all military ties, canceled a $6 billion pipeline deal, the whole works. (In my old hometown, the Turks are exploring similar moves against U.S. companies if the bill passes.) They just can’t look the other way when another country’s legislative body accuses them of genocide.
Oh, and the pro-American, pro-Western Turks fighting the good fight over in that country will look like suckers.
By the way – Pelosi is willing to meet with Syrian dictators, but refuses to meet with Turkish members of parliament. Will any other Democrat stop her before she wrecks a 50-year-old alliance with a Muslim democracy and NATO member? A country that is currently running the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and that has 1150 troops in that country fighting alongside ours?
Is this really the right time for the U.S. Congress to stick its thumb in Turkey’s eye, playing historical referee over events of 80 years ago?
(Readers, thank you for tolerating my continuing interest/focus on issues relating to Turkey. Old habits die hard; I don’t know if I ever would have predicted calling Ankara “my old hometown.”)
UPDATE: I notice this from a Los Angeles Times article:
“I’m absolutely confident that, ultimately, Speaker Pelosi will do what is in the best interests of our nation,” said Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and an opponent of the resolution. He noted that supplies destined for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan pass through Turkey.
[Resolution supporter and Republican Congressman] George Radanovich dismissed such concern, saying: “The Turkish government will throw a fit, and three months later, they’ll be over it.”
Rarely have I been so confident to declare that a senior and respected lawmaker has no idea what the heck he’s talking about. The Turkish government will not be “over it” in three months. Trust me.