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On Being a Moral Midget

I spend my time studying the Caucasus. It’s what I do in my free time. It’s what I’ll be doing for the better part of the next decade as a graduate student.

So, while it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of our current President, I respected Barack Obama’s repeated promises to recognize the Armenian Genocide for what it was: the systematic murder of ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Unfortunately, as with so many other cases, the candidate of “Hope” and “Change” has once again revealed himself to be little more than a cynical opportunist who’s more than content to blow smoke up the electorate’s ass and otherwise continue with the policies of the past, in this case choosing to kowtow to Turkish “sensibilities” rather than live up to promises he’s made in the past.

Christopher Hitchens writes:

President Obama comes to this issue with an unusually clear and unambivalent record. In 2006, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, was recalled for employing the word genocide. Then-Sen. Obama wrote a letter of complaint to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, deploring the State Department’s cowardice and roundly stating that the occurrence of the Armenian genocide in 1915 “is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.” On the campaign trail last year, he amplified this position, saying that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.”


It is now being hinted that if either President Obama or the Congress goes ahead with the endorsement of the genocide resolution, Turkey will prove uncooperative on a range of issues, including the normalization of the frontier between Turkey and Armenia and the transit of oil and gas pipelines across the Caucasus. When the question is phrased in this thuggish way, it can be slyly suggested that Armenia’s own best interests are served by joining in the agreement to muddy and distort its own history. Yet how could any state, or any people, agree to abolish their pride and dignity in this way? And the question is not only for Armenians, who are economically hard-pressed by the Turkish closure of the common border. It is for the Turks, whose bravest cultural spokesmen and writers take genuine risks to break the taboo on discussion of the Armenian question. And it is also for Americans, who, having elected a supposedly brave new president, are being told that he—and our Congress too—must agree to collude in a gigantic historical lie.

Were it any other President, it would be tempting to simply write off Obama’s fairly radical shift as little more than giving more value to good relations with a regional power like Turkey than with a political non-entity like Armenia. But, as noted above, Obama’s pre-election rhetoric on this issue was unequivocal.

Obama campaigned as the candidate of “change.” Sadly, it seems that “change” often applies to the President’s ethics, from “don’t ask, don’t tell” to warrantless wiretapping. Sadly, it seems that we can add the Armenian Genocide to the list.

Way to go, Obama.


  1. Vincent says:

    That’s a “fact” that you haven’t supported with any evidence — or, for that matter, any motive. Suffice it to say that once people start talking about all-powerful “lobbies” that run the media and control the government, my eyes start rolling.

    And again, what exactly do you think the intent of those quotes is?

  2. John says:


    Fact: The Jewish/Israeli lobby for years has done it’s best to silence any Armenian Genocide resolution/ recognition here in the United States. Sad.

    Hitler Quote? Contrary to Armenian Genocide denialists that the Hitler quote never existed, Hitler referenced the Armenians twice.

    1.In 1931 Hitler discussed with Richard Breiting the need for massive resettlements (deportations). He said “We intend to introduce a resettlement policy. Think of the biblical deportations and the massacres of the Middle Ages…and remember the extermination of the Armenians. One eventually reaches the conclusion that the masses of man are mere biological plasticine.”

    2. Again in 1939 Adolf Hitler, on his way toward the “final solution” for the Jewish people, made this statement of his plans in Poland:

    I have placed my death-head formations in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion , men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

  3. Vincent says:


    What may or may not have happened between Armenians and other ethnic groups in Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1980’s really has nothing to do with the Armenian Genocide that took place nearly 80 years earlier in the Ottoman Empire.

    Acknowledging one does not excuse the other.


    I’d ask what the fuck “the Jewish Lobby” has to do with Armenia, but frankly I don’t give a shit about what the answer supposedly is.

    As for the “Armenian quote“, its authenticity is by no means established. Even if it is accurate, you’d do well to note that Hitler was using Armenia as an excuse for his own racial policies in occupied Poland (read: genocide).

  4. John says:

    Great Article!

    Great leaders are determined by great action and hence great results. Not by pandering false promises. In all fairness, Clinton and Bush Jr. promised the Armenians full recognition of the truth of the Armenian genocide but in the end both agreed ‘to collude in the gigantic historical lie.’ Apparently Neo-cons and the Jewish lobby always win out when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.

    Hitler may have been right when he said in August 1939, “Who today after all remembers the Armenians”? Time will tell if Pres. Obama does.

  5. Oleg says:

    I think there has no been the so-called ‘armenian genocide’. You should re-flash out your position, as armenians supported by a great power in the region has commited a genocide against Turks – children, women – in Karabag on Azerbaijan land

  6. Arthur says:

    My respects to the author!!!

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