Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Political Effects of Meaningless Resolutions

Today, the Turkish government removed their ambassador from the United States. What had them so upset you ask?

Turkey ordered its ambassador in Washington to return to Turkey for consultations over a U.S. House panel's approval of a bill describing the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians as genocide, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The ambassador would stay in Turkey for about a week or 10 days for discussions about the measure, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman.

"We are not withdrawing our ambassador. We have asked him to come to Turkey for some consultations," he said. "The ambassador was given instructions to return and will come at his earliest convenience."

So, what is all this brou ha ha over some non binding resolution vis a vis an event that happened nearly a century ago? Here are the details...

To understand the situation we need to travel back to 1915-1923 when what is now Turkey was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. During that time period tens of thousands of people were dislocated and murdered, including Armenians.

Since then, of course, the Ottoman Empire is no more and Turkey is a member of NATO and a close American ally. From what I understand, many of our supplies and fuel to our troops go through Turkish ports and air space.

So, basically what we have is the House wants to pass a resolution, non binding I assume, condemning the actions of a country that no longer exists for an event that happened almost 100 years ago. Turkey (the country that took its place), feeling slighted, is threatening a legitimate diplomatic response to this non binding resolution.

Now, a wiseman once told me "you can learn through trial and error or through experience". This is just a case where we can learn from experience, another country's experience. It turns out our good friends the French also tried just such a resolution and here is the response from the Turks. Here is what the Turks did in response to the French resolution

Bagis said no French planes have flown through Turkish airspace since a French Parliament committee passed a similar resolution last year.

Now, it seems to me that having real diplomatic sanctions leveled against us is really not worth passing a non binding resolution about an event that happened almost a century ago.

So, is there something more nefarious going on? I don't know. Let me give you the facts. First, this resolution is being sponsored overwhelmingly by Democrats. Democrats are overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq. Turkey just happens to allow the U.S. its airspace for a plethora of flight missions, and the use of its roads for our ground mission. Judging based on Turkey's response to the French resolution, we could safely assume that their response to our own resolution could be cutting off their airspace and highways, and that of course would significantly weaken our ability to manage the war in Iraq.

Obviously, I cannot get into the mind of the Democratic leadership, however I do know that the potential ramifications of a non binding resolutions could be devastating to our troops and to our country. If you feel the same, go here and find your Congress Person, and let them know how you feel.

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