President Obama Breaks His Word to Armenians, Won’t Use the “G-Word”

by Julian Ku

This is not really a big deal, but it is still annoying when President Obama (or any president) flagrantly breaks his campaign promises with respect to foreign policy matters that are completely within their executive discretion.  Today, in his commemoration of the Armenians who died in the 1916 expulsion from Turkey, President Obama carefully avoided the use of the word “genocide” to describe those killings. This is probably the right thing to do since, as a legal matter and as a diplomatic matter, especially given the legal standard that the ICJ has erected to determine intent. On the other hand, the President made a crystal clear promise to recognize the Armenian killings as a “genocide” that he has flagrantly broken. From his campaign website.

As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term “genocide” to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that 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. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

In fact, he has been lobbying hard to prevent the House from using the “G-word” and is clearly never intending to use it himself. Look, I get that this is a really hard diplomatic issue and that the prudent thing to do is to avoid the “G-word”.  But could candidates please refrain from making promises of this sort that they have no intention of keeping?

3 Responses

  1. I thoroughly enjoy it when Julian and I agree!

  2. It is always makes me sad whenever President Obama softens his stance on an issue… but it is expected, after all, he is a politician, I think we expect too much from him… and in this case, diplomatic ties with Turkey would be at stake.

  3. This is a very big deal to the Armenian community, at least.  He campaigned on recognition of an Armenian genocide and has not stood by that statement.   And it should be a big deal to all international lawyers, particularly those who regularly write and speak about the horrors of genocide. 

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. There are no trackbacks or pingbacks associated with this post at this time.