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October 12, 2007

The Armenian Genocide, Again

Max Boot on the "Problem From Hell."

Bryan first opposes the resolution calling the genocide a genocide, finally, and then backtracks a bit.

The problem here is that conservatives are taking a somewhat inconsistent position on "moral clarity." To be honest, I think this is one of those principles it is quite wise to be inconsistent about; moral clarity is important, yes, when it advances your interests and undermines your enemies, but less so when it is contrary to your interests and helps your enemies and strains relations with your semi-allies.

It's a complicated question, but I'm not sure that saying this isn't the right time is the best reason to oppose the resolution -- this has been proposed or considered for at least ten years, probably more, and it's never the right time. It's never a good time to alienate the one quasi-secular Muslim semi-democracy in the world. It may be true that of all the bad times for this this is the very worst of all bad times; that seems to be true. But I don't think it's really a clean call, and stridency on the issue, and imputations of bad faith on the part of the Democrats pushing for this, may for once be somewhat suspect. Perhaps they do have bad faith; perhaps they are proposing this now, again, precisely because it's such a bad time for it, in hopes of further advancing their cause of military defeat in Iraq; perhaps they wish to show that for once they too can demonstrate "moral clarity" in a callous bit of political theater.

Perhaps. But there was a genocide, and it's never been officially recognized as such by the US. I don't suppose a paper resolution helps matters much, and perhaps, yes, this is again the wrong time, the wrongest of times, for it; but it's a dicey call given our general, if nuanced, belief in the power of moral clarity.

I guess some nuance is warranted here. Opposing the resolution seems to me to be a pretty defensible position, given the high stakes in alienating our semi-ally Turkey, but it's hard to be huffy and righteous about doing so.


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posted by Ace at 04:20 PM

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