Monday, September 24, 2012

In Facing Its Adversaries, America’s Got a Hidden Lever: Armenia

Truman National Security Project’s, Daniel Gaynor, in In Facing Its Adversaries, America’s Got a Hidden Lever: Armenia, left his readership with a set of suggestions with no basis in logic or reality. A response is being posed here due to the lack of reader commentary on Gaynor’s blog.

First, there was no war between Armenians and Turks in 1915 to have resulted in the genocide of a million and half Armenians, as Gaynor claims, and further, he uses a NY Times quote as evidence of Turkey being “the historic nemesis of the Armenians”. Gaynor could have simply taken a second to research the topic, but clearly didn’t. The International Association of Genocide Scholars states:

“ In three previous statements of the International Association of Genocide Scholars—first, a unanimous resolution declaring that the Turkish massacres of Armenians in 1915-1918 constituted genocide; second, an Open Letter to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan calling upon him to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide; and third, an Open Letter concerning scholars who deny the Armenian Genocide—we have made our position clear: the historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence. It is proven by foreign office records of the United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and perhaps most importantly, of Turkey’s World War I allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, as well as by the records of the Ottoman Courts-Martial of 1918-1920, and by decades of scholarship.”

On this single issue alone Gaynor’s post should be dismissed. However, he further claims that Armenia’s geopolitical position provides a unique platform with which the US can advance its foreign policy goals. Gaynor fails to provide any evidence of how Armenia could advance US policy interests. Armenia has been in the same geographic area since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In two decades what has the US done to persuade Armenia that much of its strategic interests coincide or at least parallel those of the US? Apparently little or the US was simply not persuasive enough. Perhaps, Armenia does not provide any Hidden Lever for the US at all. Gaynor never states what Armenian interests the US could promote?

Unfortunately, Armenia is viewed as little more than a nuisance to US foreign policy interests, even if has positioned itself at a functional median political position between Iran, Russia, and NATO. Is the US going to provide the political clout necessary to extract genocide reparations from the Republic of Turkey including the return of land (with significant borders changes) and monetary reparations? Is Armenia going to unilaterally declare itself mortal enemies of Iran, Russia or both, which might in passing, be in the temporal interest of the US? Gaynor does not tell us. What Armenian interest would be served and replaced by US influence that would not radically upset the tenable regional balance? Again, Gaynor is silent.

It is not clear what the Truman National Security Project is engaged in, but basing political projection on erroneous history and proposing national interest void of content does not fit the Project’s mission, “to provide the skills, knowledge, and network to create an influential force of leaders across the country who advance strong progressive national security policy through advocacy initiatives, media appearances, and public service in elected and appointed office.”