Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Quandary of Epic Porportions

I have a quandary every time I see and article like this. Almost a hundred years ago (before nearly everyone on the planet today was born), the Ottoman Empire killed off a whole bunch of Armenians. Now, some in the US Congress feel the need to condemn this action and label it a genocide.

On the one hand, I am ecstatic that Congress is debating something that isn't going to increase my taxes or limit the rights of Americans. I support a lot of the frivolous-no-action legislation that is passed by our government, particularly if it is something that members can give long winded speeches showing that they support said frivolousness. You know, things like declaring National Hot Dog Day, or Congratulatory Bills to the World Series Champion, or even debating and voting on Mother of the Year awards. These are things that take up their time so that they can't screw up other things. In the end, if they screw up any of these frivolous items (which they amazingly do), since there are no actions at of it, and no money spent, it doesn't affect me.

On the other hand, we appear to be on the path of attempting to right all of the wrongs that have happened throughout history. The latest one to be debated is the Armenia genocide resolution. What would it do, other than saying that the Ottoman's were really bad...nothing. So why are we doing it? I have no clue, maybe to suck up to Armenia since they are strategically better positioned than Turkey? (Except that they aren't.) Did a million plus Armenians get killed back in 1915? Yes. Was it primarily a result of the Ottoman Turks? Probably. However, everyone who perpetrated it is long since dead (except for maybe a 12 year old boy who helped, of course he would be 107 now, so are we going to waste some resources trying him in a military tribunal and putting him in prison for the rest of his life - well, if it will prevent Congress from passing new programs, then yeah maybe we should).

Turkey is naturally upset because they are the descendants of the Ottoman Empire. Of course, if I lived there, I would say: "So what. If we aren't currently killing them or have policies in place that lead to that, why are you wasting your time?" Turkey recalled their ambassador to the US. Frankly, I think he should have just sent a nicely worded letter to the offending congressional committee saying that they really need to grow up.

Which is what we need to do. When we "condemn" actions of other countries (some of which no longer exist) that happened 100, 200, or 500 years ago, we are being childish cowards. How about condemning China for current human rights violations? Back it up with sanctions and not taking any more imports from them? Well, they happen to be one of the big boys. And we can't just stop importing from them. So maybe their human rights violations are not as important as the trade we have. In fact, maybe it is better to sacrifice "human rights" of the present population so that future populations can have freedom. Sanctions and shunning North Korea and Cuba have done nothing for the last 50 years. Cutting off business with Iran has only entrenched the extremist regime in that country over the last 30 years. Condemning people who can't fight back is easy. Asking the tough questions for those that can is much more difficult.

So far, the State Department and President Obama are taking the right approach. Keep encouraging Congress not do take this resolution further. This could actually end up as a win-win for everyone. Congress debates this resolution and doesn't get the "important" legislation passed. Therefore, we are better off in America since there are no new health care monstrosities, cap and trade debacles, or second stimulus bombs. In the end, the Congress doesn't pass the resolution and Turkey wins since we aren't condemning them for what their great grandfathers did. Armenia may not get what they want, but if all they wanted was a piece of paper condemning the Ottoman Empire, I can send them that.

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