The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to recognize the deaths of many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as “genocide”, but for as much as this move has been praised by its proponents as the “right” thing to do, it was undertaken for the complete opposite of “altruistic” reasons and “historical justice” since it was nothing more than a self-interested ploy to punish Turkey for contemporary political reasons through the subsequent passage of a motion to impose sanctions upon the Mideast country that was craftily disguised by the preceding “humanitarian” gesture.
People across the world have very strong feelings about the deaths of many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, which roughly 30 countries including Russia recognize as “genocide” but which Turkey regards as the unfortunate outcome of an anti-separatist campaign at the time that’s since been decontextualized for political reasons and therefore purposely disregards the other non-Armenian victims that perished as well. The issue is extremely sensitive, and that’s why it made global headlines that the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to recognize this event as “genocide” earlier in the week. Far from being an “altruistic” move motivated by the desire to bring “historical justice” to the victims, this “humanitarian” gesture was actually nothing more than a disguise for covering up the subsequent passage of a motion to impose sanctions on Turkey for its recent cooperation with Russia (the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, cooperation within the ambit of the Astana peace process, and the S-400s purchase) and its latest military intervention in Syria code-named “Operation Peace Spring”.
Trump hasn’t (yet) punished Turkey for any of this out of Realpolitik (“balancing”) considerations that doing so would result in the US forever “losing” the country to its Russian rival, though his domestic enemies in Congress and the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) want to see precisely this outcome occur for purely partisan political reasons ahead of the upcoming 2020 elections. They keenly knew that the deaths of many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I is a very emotive issue for the Christian community in their country so they hoped to trap Trump in a dilemma where he’d be forced to choose between his domestic base and his policy of “balancing” with Turkey, essentially leading to a zero-sum outcome with enormous stakes involved one way or another. On the one hand, Trump can’t risk vetoing the proposal if it eventually passes the Senate (especially because there might be enough votes in Congress to overturn it), though he also can’t risk ruining relations with Turkey by passively allowing it to enter into effect, so the best that he can do is cross his fingers that it stalls at the Senate until after the 2020 elections.
However one feels about the deaths of many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I and however they prefer to describe it, there should be no doubt that House of Representatives’ recent move to recognize that event as “genocide” was carried out with only political interests in mind. This means that even its proponents who believe that it was the “right” thing to do should acknowledge that it was undertaken for the “wrong” reasons, thus abusing the concept of “genocide” and turning it into nothing more than a political instrument to advance partisan goals. The backdrop against which this proposal was passed was the Mainstream Media’s fake news fearmongering that the Syrian Kurds were at risk of their own “genocide” after Trump’s unexpected military drawdown from Northeastern Syria facilitated Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring” advance in the region, though that narrative is completely false because no such crime against humanity occurred, especially not after Russia and Turkey struck a deal in the aftermath of that move to jointly manage a reduced version of Ankara’s envisaged “safe zone”.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov also revealed earlier this week that “the Sochi agreements — both on Idlib a year ago, and on the Syrian-Turkish border on October 22 — were approved by the government in Damascus, personally by President Assad, as well as by Kurds”, proving that the House of Representatives’ fearmongered “victims” ultimately ended up supporting the same Turkish military move that was facilitated by Trump’s unexpected drawdown decision earlier in October. As such, the entire normative context that cultivated the environment in which the Armenian “genocide” motion was passed was completely manufactured for perception management reasons designed to “justify” that provocative action which served to disguise the subsequent passage of anti-Turkish sanctions to undermine Trump’s “balancing” policy towards Turkey. Still, this crafty gambit might fail to succeed because the close personal diplomacy between both countries leaders could mitigate its impact even though it might make it uncomfortable for President Erdogan to travel to the US later this month like he’s expected to do.
It should be pointed out that Russia’s earlier recognition of the many deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as “genocide” has zero impact on contemporary bilateral relations and the close ties between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, so that might also be the case for Trump and his counterpart too. Whether one agrees with Russia’s characterization of those events or not, it made that decision for the “right” reasons having to do with its government’s own understanding of that very sensitive issue, not to wield it as a political weapon against Turkey and therefore disrespect the civilian victims on all sides who lost their lives during that tragedy like the US is presently doing. This proves that there’s a tactful and respectful way to handle extremely sensitive topics such as this one without having them politicized for self-serving reasons, though it shouldn’t have been expected that the US would behave in the same way since its HybridWar outlook on International Relations teaches that everything can and should be weaponized in pursuit of strategic goals, meaning that nothing is sacred, not even the memory of the many Armenian and other victims of that tragedy.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World