Obama-Biden: The Better Team for Armenians, the Nation, and the World
The long and painful tenure of one of the most anti-Armenian U.S. administrations is finally coming to an end. Armenian-Americans, along with most Americans and the rest of the world, are fed up with the Bush-Cheney team and their bellicose neo-con agenda.
The list of blunders committed by the Bush administration is very long: the invasion of Iraq based on false premises, mismanaging the U.S. economy with the national debt reaching ten trillion dollars, and taking deeply offensive positions on key Armenian issues.
After promising to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide during his first campaign, Pres. Bush failed to keep his word. In fact, when the House of Representatives was considering a commemorative resolution on the Armenian Genocide, Pres. Bush personally lobbied members of Congress to block its consideration. Furthermore, he recalled U.S. Ambassador John Evans from Armenia, simply because he had the courage to tell the truth about the Armenian Genocide. Despite repeated requests by Armenian-American organizations to meet and discuss these serious issues, Pres. Bush refused to receive them even once in eight years!
Armenian-Americans have a clear choice. Do they want more of the same anti-Armenian policies for the next four or eight years with McCain-Palin or do they prefer to change the disastrous last eight years by supporting Obama-Biden -- the most pro-Armenian team in the history of U.S. Presidential elections!
Sen. Obama, long before running for the Presidency, was making supportive statements on Armenian issues. He called for Turkey’s acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and criticized the Secretary of State for dismissing Amb. Evans. Sen. Obama declared: "The Armenian Genocide 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. The facts are undeniable…. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide…. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President."
Sen. Obama also pledged to seek "an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades" of Armenia; to try to bring "a lasting and durable peace settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination."; to expand "trade and targeted aid" to Armenia; and to strengthen "commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments."
Sen. Biden, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1972, has an even more extensive record of support for various Armenian causes. Sen. Biden has co-sponsored every Armenian Genocide resolution going back to 1984. He is one of the staunchest supporters of Armenia and Armenians in the Senate.
Sen. McCain, on the other hand, has opposed all congressional resolutions on the Armenian Genocide over the years and has remained silent on the Artsakh (Karabagh) conflict, Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia, U.S. aid to Armenia, and U.S.-Armenia relations. In other words, a vote for Sen. McCain is simply a vote for the continuation of Pres. Bush’s anti-Armenian policies.
Even though most Armenian-Americans are justifiably skeptical, given their many disappointments with promises made by previous presidential candidates, they can take comfort from the fact that Senators Obama and Biden have repeatedly acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, while Sen. McCain has consistently and strongly opposed this critical issue. If statements by presidential candidates are not politically significant, why are then various Turkish and Azerbaijani analysts angrily denouncing Senators Obama and Biden, while heaping lavish praise on Sen. McCain? And why are Greeks and Greek Cypriots pleased with Obama and Biden and not McCain and Palin?
Assuming that Obama-Biden are planning to keep their promises on the Armenian Genocide, even then, Armenian-Americans must not sit on their hands for the next six months waiting to see what Pres. Obama will say on April 24. Instead, they need to immediately start preparing for the inevitable onslaught by the Turkish government with the help of its highly paid lobbyists in Washington. As in the past, Turkey is expected to unleash a massive public relations campaign and a steady barrage of threats against the United States trying to convince American officials and the public at large that "now is not the right time to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide!"
To defuse the Turkish threats and make the new administration less apprehensive about any possible consequences of acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, Armenian-American organizations should advise the Obama-Biden team that they would be simply reconfirming what Pres. Ronald Reagan recognized in his Presidential Proclamation in 1981.
One of the reasons to secure such a repeat statement from the next U.S. President is to undermine the joint historical commission that has been proposed by the Turkish government, aiming to impede third parties from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.
The victory of the Obama-Biden ticket would obviously have a far-reaching impact on many national and international issues. The Obama administration would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, concentrate on fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, and reverse the growing trend of anti-Americanism around the globe by using a less confrontational approach than Bush or McCain. The tens of billions of dollars saved by staying out of unnecessary military engagements could be put to better use by helping create new jobs, reduce taxes, and bring economic prosperity to America and the world!