Why Armenians Should Lean Left in 2016

Special for the Armenian Weekly

Billions of dollars grease the machinery of American electoral politics as the 2016 election season heats up. Promises will be made and broken. Hope will flutter and flounder. Voters will feel valuable in a courtship constructed by the 1%. And for the first time, our next president could be female, Latino, or thick with braggadocio.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the first Democratic debate in October 2015. (Photo: CNN video screen shot)
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the first Democratic debate in October 2015. (Photo: CNN video screen shot)

As a modest but influential voting bloc, particularly in densely populated states and districts, Armenian Americans and their supporters pride themselves on embracing positions of nuance and principle despite the harsh tendrils of realpolitik.

Armenian-Americans demand Armenian Genocide recognition during a protest.
Armenian-Americans demand Armenian Genocide recognition during a protest.

To echo Harout Sassounian’s June 2015 piece in the Armenian Weekly, the promise of Armenian Genocide recognition should no longer serve as a litmus test for presidential endorsements. For decades aplenty, American politicians have wooed Armenian voters and financiers with empty promises to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Sassounian presents seven core “issues of significance” to evaluate as alternative barometers for directing support. He also suggests another strategy: Sit this election out “to avoid being misled by false promises” and later favor elected officials who promote these core Armenian issues.

Sitting out the 2016 presidential election would disempower voters in America and stakeholders the world over who are Armenian or care about core Armenian issues. Instead, the following points on corruption, human rights, and international affairs offer a fresh perspective on how to consider the impact of American left-leaning progressivism upon Armenian issues and how that impact should galvanize support from our community during the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

 

Reigning in Corruption: Oligarchs in Armenia and America

One of the primary distinguishing philosophies between Democratic and Republican politics is the matter of government regulation at the federal level.

Democrats espouse regulation to limit private sector corruption that withers the middle class. Remember the subprime mortgage crisis? Republicans seek to reduce federal governmental regulations and gut government spending (not the military, but entitlement programs like Medicare), arguing instead that America’s robust private sector will garner economic prosperity for Americans. Though America’s inception emerged from a revolutionary spirit opposing bureaucratic heavy-handedness, one must recognize the private sector’s ultimate interest in profit juxtaposed against the public sector’s ultimate interest in social welfare. The two interests may not necessarily be mutually exclusive, but the overlap is nominal. An honest assessment of Wall Street, K Street, and Main Street leaves one facing the stark reality of corporate America’s sheer power and the government’s limited capacity to tame that strength. Nevertheless, America has and can set an example to the rest of the world of what a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” should look like.

In this case, no example for just governance is more critical than the one that must be set for Armenia. The Armenian government’s culture of corruption has produced fraudulent elections, environmental catastrophes, the destruction of the middle class, bureaucratic largesse, and racist and sexist ideologies permeating society. One parallel in modern America involves Republican Governor Rick Snyder (R) of Michigan who looked the other way as citizens in Flint drank lead-contaminated water for months despite a $575 million budgetary surplus and ample warnings that something was awry in the city’s piping.

With a new administration forthcoming, America must encourage Armenia’s government towards a “better way” that loosens the shackles of regional governing practices. From big bank bailouts to Citizens United to the NRA’s destructive stranglehold on America’s public health, the United States teeters on the edge of oligarchy, if it has not fallen into the abyss already, and no amount of deregulation will promulgate the reforms necessary to reignite America’s middle class and the spirit of representative government. The United States must set an example by restoring integrity in the rule of law before a new wave of criminal millionaires and billionaires produce the next global financial crisis.

 

Human Rights: Minorities in Armenia and Turkey, and the American Left’s Civil Rights Record

America’s left has advocated domestic and international human rights causes from women’s suffrage to the civil rights movement to healthcare reform and beyond. Armenia’s need for leadership and support in human rights causes are manifold.

Thousands gathered in Taksim Square on April 24, 2015, to commemorate the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Nanore Barsoumian)
Thousands gathered in Taksim Square on April 24, 2015, to commemorate the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Nanore Barsoumian)

First, the state of minority groups within Turkey demands attention. This includes Armenians, Kurds, and others contending against an authoritarianism that permeates the region and heightens the palpable legacy and continuation of genocide. Indeed, it is in the political left of Turkey where Armenian activists and their sympathizers have found a voice to achieve unprecedented gains in confronting the deep and profound discrimination codified by the Turkish state.

Second, Armenia’s government must address the suffering of its own minority groups. Activists fighting to protect diversity in religion, political belief, economic policy, and sexual orientation in Armenia must not exist in a vacuum. Their cause correlates with a universal pan-progressivism present in all societies that promotes rule of law, environmental sustainability, and middle class development.

The (American) Republican Party’s rhetoric has underscored a troubling ideology: America for the Americans. This simplistic identity formulation, coupled with anti-immigration sentiments, promotes intolerance and erodes the tendencies that helped Armenians prosper in multicultural societies.

We must reject discrimination and recognize that the fight for civil rights around the world directly overlaps with left-leaning, progressive politics in the United States.

 

Hawks or Doves: The Republican Party’s Propensity for War and the Further Destabilization of the Middle East, Armenia

War and diplomacy offer tools to address the same issue: existential threats.

War harnesses military resources to kill enemies, destroy their infrastructure, and demoralize their will to fight. The military also employs humanitarian and coalition development strategies, though these do not represent its raison d’être.

Donald Trump at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention on Jan. 16. (Photo: Donaldjtrump.com)
Donald Trump at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention on Jan. 16. (Photo: Donaldjtrump.com)

Diplomacy functions to manage international relations around the world by working with friends and foes alike to resolve conflicts, strike deals, and promote values without force.

Though Democrats and Republicans utilize both of these tools, Republicans trumpet America’s military might and threaten devastating military incursions against enemies. Leading candidates for the GOP’s nomination have already showcased this trademark posture. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) threatened to “carpet bomb” Islamic militants to see if “sand can glow in the dark,” while Donald Trump said he would “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS.”

Democrats emphasize diplomatic resolutions to conflict before resorting to military force. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton led the charge in restoring America’s standing in the world after George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, while Bernie Sanders has voted against most American foreign military interventions during his 26 years in Congress.

Increased American military engagement in today’s fragile world will destabilize the Middle East, its Armenian communities, and the Republic of Armenia itself. Since the 1970’s, wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria have forced hundreds of thousands of Armenians to dismantle their homes and communities and start anew elsewhere. Today, the Armenians of Aleppo, Syria, are facing some of the harshest consequences of the Syrian Civil War. Should the United States engage Syria with the same heavy-handed approach with which it engaged Iraq, the consequences would be devastating. No amount of carpet bombing or Rumsfeldian conquests will solve the Rubik’s cube of Syria. Instead, look no further than the historic developments with Cuba and Iran to appreciate the seismic shifts possible through diplomacy.

An Aleppo street in ruins
An Aleppo street in ruins

It is hard to conceive of a true and lasting peace in the Middle East, but we cannot hope for better days with the specter of further American military intervention. The Syrian Civil War has brought tens of thousands of Syrian Armenians to an Armenia that has welcomed the new population with open arms and limited economic opportunity—a stark reminder of the nation’s fragile economy and virtually non-existent middle class. Armenia’s corrupt, oligarchical system offers a difficult environment for Syrian Armenians to grow their businesses. Instead, Armenia must focus on resolving the corrosive culture that has stymied its economy and society to reduce brain drain and recruit businesses, students, expats, repats, and new immigrants. Moreover, enhanced American military intervention in the Middle East will stoke Russian aggression, further destabilizing the Middle East, South Caucasus, and Eastern Europe.

Democratic tendencies to put comprehensive diplomacy before war will ultimately serve the best interest of Armenians in the Middle East, the Armenian Republic, and stakeholders throughout the global diaspora.

***

Reigning in corruption, protecting human rights, and emphasizing diplomacy over war represent three major touchstones in the American left that will benefit the sustainability of Armenia’s nationhood and diasporan communities. As a small but influential bloc of voters and stakeholders, Armenians in America and stakeholders the world over should lean left and help ensure America’s next president champions core values of progressivism.

 

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Raffi Wartanian

Raffi Wartanian’s work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, and World Policy Journal.

84 Comments

    • The fat lady’s mantra has been “democratic and secular” Turkey as a model for moslem counties. Turkey, of course is neither. My vote will go to the braggadocio fellow, when he’s nominated.

    • Remember Condi Rice and her gloating on how she thwarted the Armenian Genocide resolution as she was so proud of her work while secretary of state? I do.

    • I concur your analysis. Hillary is the antithesis of Armenian interests in US domestic & international politics, and she is an anti-Christian Freemason – ALWAYS bad for Armenians and humanity at large. On the GOP side, the only decent candidate that has any logic, morality and sensibility in his convictions is Jeb Bush, but it seems that he doesn’t stand a chance to win the Republican nomination.
      My thorough research, sense and logic as well as my heart & conscience is pointing towards Bernard Sanders. The man, for better or worse, is brutally honest in his ” controversial” views. We need honest leaders , who are non-Freemasons.
      Wake up people, do some research and use your brains when voting.

  1. There is no such thing as “democracy” in the US. It’s a two part system. Both sides of the political fence will have no choice but serves the imperial elite once they get into office.

  2. My God why would anyone want the government to spend your money rather than you. That’s what the Democrats want, and they lie to get what they want. Remember, Obama said he’d recognize the genocide? How quickly Armenians forget. Vote for someone that lets you use your head rather than government telling you what to do.

    And I agree with the author, both sides of the fence stink, I just think there is less stink on the republican side. And if Sanders gets in God help us all. Russia tried that, China tried that, neither worked,,,, now China is coming around (slowly) to capitalism.

    • David TELL ME ONE TIME THAT DE-REGULATING AND CUTTING TAXES ACTUALLY CREATED PROSPERITY? ALL THAT DOES IS FUNNEL MORE AND MORE IN LESSER HANDS. THE SAME PEOPLE THAT SCREAM “FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT” ARE THE SAME TOP 1% THAT WANT TO STEAL THE REST OF US UNHINDERED. A PROGRESSIVE TAX MODEL, WHERE THE WEALTHIEST FEW PAY MORE IN PERCENTAGE , ACTUALLY HISTORICALLY WORKS THE BEST FOR ALL. NO REASON FOR MORE TAX CUTS TO BILLIONAIRES YET ALL THE GOP WANT THAT FOR SOME REASON.

      THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO INSURE SAFETY AND MAKE SURE ITS EVEN AND FAIR FOR ALL. AND ITS NOT. ESPECIALLY WITH THE GOP INDUCED CITIZENS UNITED CASE ALLOWING THE WEALTHIEST TO BUY POLITICIANS = TOTAL CORRUPTION.

    • David, both parties in the government are guilty of spending tax payer money. Money corrupts. It trumps party ideology. You think Republicans have not used the government to funnel taxpayer money to their own state for election votes?

      The Iraq war happened under a Republican president. And future generations will have to pay for the trillion dollar expense. With interest.

      I think the Republicans stink more when it comes to caring for the non-rich. They prefer to see lower taxes on the rich over regular folks who need every cent they earn.

  3. Leaning left toward socialism? Didn’t Armenians suffer enough under the Soviet Union? Also, the policy of the Dems has further de-stablized the middle east.

    • Let’s also not exaggerate that Armenians “suffered” under the Soviet Union. The American propaganda machine has drubbed this idea into your heads and you keep parroting it 20+ years after the demise of the Soviet Union. If you really want to know about the sufferings that Armenians endured, look into the centuries of the Ottoman colonization. Soviet Armenia produced so many scientists, engineers, writers, composers, etc. that in terms of scientific and cultural achievements the Soviet period may be considered the third Golden Age of the Armenian nation.

  4. Wall Street has gotten its way in Thw administrations of Bill Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama. Bill signed the law that did away with The law that divided commercial banks and investment banks which allowed banks to become too big to fail. He also signed the laws that expedited the creation of securitization which created the housing crisis. The Dodd Frank law to regulate banks was preferred by Wall Street and Obama rather than bringing back the the old separation of commercial banks and Wall Street investment banks. The claim to regulate banks under Dodd Frank will result in the destruction of small community banks because they can not afford to hire lawyers and others to keep up with the regulations which will result in fewer big banks and fewer places for small businesses to get loans. Much of this would be avoided if the separation of commercial and investment banks still existed.
    The Democrats are just as responsible for this as the Republicans. There may be differences between the parties on other issues but on Wall Street they are both just as bad.

  5. The bias of this article is shameful and embarrassing…..I would never support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders…Obama lied to get the Armenian vote, promising recognition of the genocide. The platitudes of the liberal left only serve to gain support from every small sector while there is no intention of ever fulfilling their political promises. Wake up!
    P.Chilian

    • Bias was obvious ! As was the ” You can’t trust their (any candidate ) word ” .the suggestion is that Bernie is the lesser of evils to Americans and Armenians worldwide . I’ll be voting for Jill Stein 2016.

    • I was thinking the same. The writer forgets he is talking to Armenians-pretty intelligent bunch. What disturbs me is the push of the Armenians into “victim” playbook of the liberals whom they manipulate as to lead their lemmings march to socialism. Just a tool as there is no democratic party without racism, sexism, feminism, anti-semitism, homo-phobism etc etc.

  6. Those who want jobs, an end to _illegal immigration_, and a chance to live in a prosperous and growing culture should vote for Trump. He is far closer to Armenian cultural ideals than the Democrats, who promise everything for free but never deliver.

    There is only one person running for president in America that has not lived off the government his or her whole life, who has not corruptly relied on other people’s money to maintain their position of power. Neither Sanders nor Hillary are that person.

    This author is obviously misleading. He suggests Republicans are responsible for Flint, when Democrats have controlled the state for decades and looked the other way while people got sick. He says republicans are anti-immigrant, when they are instead anti illegal-immigrant. This confusion is a ploy for Democrats who want people to feel hated.

    Armenians should lean right.

    • What is the difference between receiving money from the government and receiving money from your parents? In both cases it is unearned income. Trump inherited millions from his parents.

    • How is Trump closer to cultural ideals?!

      I’m waiting to hear what he might say about us. Given what he’s said about other groups, I doubt it will be pretty.

  7. There are so many issues to address. First of all the Bank Crisis is not as simplistic as stated. This all started with the banks being told to give out mortgages to people who could not afford them. At a bankers meeting, that left bankers shaking their heads, when they were urged to give out these loans, the response was, “they have no skin in the game, they can`t afford the upkeep of a house, etc etc we will lose money”. Keep in mind, it is the little person who has their money in a savings bank. THEY lose on defaults. The answer they were given by the Government was “Don`t worry, the Government will bail you out”. Go on to student loans, it is now finally coming out that tuition rates went up 5 to 6oo%. Far exceeding any normal cost of living. Keep throwing money at problems??Flint , Michigan, There is more than a Governor to blame. Democrats are running the city. EPA was well aware and wanted to keep it quiet. I am so tired of Armenian Weekly shilling for Democrats. I`m first generation born, and my parents would be appalled at this article. My friends who came here as DPs in the late 40s and 50s are appalled at the later wave of Armenian Immigrants who have come here all set to play the system. Armenians historically, came here and worked the factories and saved to open their own businesses. Compassion has been there to help the truly needy. Without naming names, I know of one first generation born Armenian who has built a business, along with his wife. He built it to multi million even billion dollar business through a lot of good hard work. Their workers were happy. Now you are saying they need to give up more of their money?
    let me assure you, thy will not be turning “left” anytime soon. Nor will I and my family. You have people VERY angry because of these issues, hence the rise of Trump, Cruz, etc. However, you should be listening and supporting the likes of Kasich who give you good common sense and compassion. The Left is pushing an unrealistic agenda of “We will take care of you”. This smacks of what US has been all about…we all left Kings. Tsars. Lords of the Land, etc. They all “took care” of their people. So did slave owners. What you don`t mention, is that you sell your soul and freedom, to be “taken care of”. So, who in your mind will “Rule” us? You have a president now, who is attempting that. You have Bernie who is feeding the youth a fantasy of Free everything. How is this generation of youth going to feel when they find out, because it is free, they aren`t?

  8. The character of a leader is vitally important… speaking of Mrs. Clinton.
    The President’s extreme left policies have weakened the country.
    We don’t have to lean left!

  9. voting for Trump tired of the same clones running thing and getting zero done. Don’t want some guy/gal that takes payola and then does the bidding of the donors. Trump self funds and will not be bribed.

  10. This article was extremely disappointing, demonstrating only shallow cliches, inability to see the big picture and a strong bias. I’ve lost respect for this writer and the Armenian Weekly. I appreciate and agree with the 13 comments before mine.

  11. Armenians are in a bind, as are all Americans. The party with the best policies domestically is not the party with the best policies internationally.

    The article is a long one to comment on so I will just confine myself to one item at the very start, that set the tone and made the rest predictable.
    “Democrats espouse regulation to limit private sector corruption that withers the middle class”
    Almost all Democrat supported laws and regulations bias our system in favor of the already successful, the already wealthy, the already powerful, the largest companies. As a result they inhibit opportunity, so much that it becomes harder and harder to progress from whatever economic class one was born in.

  12. I will never forget the snear on Hillary’s face when Nalbandian was told to either sign her protocols (without restitution)or face the end of American bucks. Maybe a better way to protest would be to run our own candidate.

  13. Mymy is someone trying to brain wash us with this article??????? we Armenians lived in Armenia under socialism for 75 years-not enough-now lets bring that policy here and live happy ever after what a JOKE.

    • Every place Armenians landed post WWI had its pros and cons. However, I really do consider the Soviet Union the savior of the Armenian homeland. And please don’t forget that it was socialism that bred Aram Khachaturian, Artem Mikoyan, Arno Babjanyan, Frunzik Mkrtchyan, Victor Ambartsumian, Tigran Petrosyan and countless others who have made lasting impressions on modern academic and cultural realms. If not for socialist policies like free education, promotion of the arts, and healthcare Who knows if we would have the people we are so proud of today. Maybe Aram Khachaturian would have never written his Sabre Dance and maybe Tigran Petrosyan would have never inspired generations of talented grand masters.

      With that said, yes, the Soviet Union had its evils. But so do all the other places Armenians ended up (ie Syria Lebanon, Turkey and even the United States). The commercialism that exists the the US strips and brainwashes Armenians of their culture within a span of 2 generations.

    • Seriously? To reduce incredible Armenians to a bunch of Soviets is not complimenting to Armenians. Why don’t you write how every intellectual was half tortured, why don’t you write how H. Tumanian’s sons were executed by the Reds, or he is not worthy son of Armenia? And if you would study what humiliation would someone like A. Tigranian and others suffer. In any case, it is a faulty thinking of good old times. There is almost never good old times, we just forget the bad faster then the good.

    • Tigran you have a lot to learn. The Soviet Union is the “savior” of the current Armenian republic that was mainly intended as a reservation, and the destroyer of an Armenian state encompassing most of the Armenian Highlands. Who knows how many talented and accomplished individuals Armenia could’ve produced if it’s existence wasn’t always threatened, but crediting the USSR for those it has is treason. If it wasn’t for the Soviet Union,Khatucharian and Petrosian would be full Armenian citizens, that’s the only difference.

    • I never ‘reduced Armenians to a bunch of Soviets”. When I write about the Soviet Union being the savior of the Armenian homeland I am speaking to the millions of people who died (many of which were Armenians) stooping the Germans at the footsteps of the Caucuses. As far I know, the United States were far far away from providing help to the Armenians when their existence was threatened during BOTH world wars. You can claim what you will, but again, if it were not for the millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians and Armenians who died during WWII, Armenia would now (at best) would be a colony of Turkey.

      Again I am not saying that the Soviet Union did not have evils. But one can not deny that the socialist programs of free education, healthcare, and promotion of the arts did wonder for the Armenian people. Denying that the Soviets saved Armenians from the grasp of another genocide is as absurd as saying the Soviet Union was a utopia.

  14. Armenians should actually keep all the voting money and buy their lands back. Never trust any politician. The best friend and the best adviser is God. Without God nothing has happy end. So pray and be clever. Never repeat the same mistakes.The enemy is too clever, never underestimate him. win by stopping back.it is the only way to win completely. america is loser. there is no any iota that God does not count. so. be on the right side. you cant be in the middle. it is only for One.so look 100 years, what was your american politics. on one side taking money from turks on the other side talking money from armenians. one corrupt, other stupid. if you are clever, the other side will never be able to be corrupt.ignore.

  15. If Armenians were right leaning to begin with, perhaps they would not have given up their arms to the Ottomans and avoided an easy slaughter. Both parties will lie to us to get votes. It’s only when the US interests align with ours that Genocide recognition will occur.

  16. will the donald acknowledge the genocide, has he said anything about it so far, I haven’t heard a word. harout sassounian suggests that reparations are now more important, go for it. he also mentions that the turks have admitted during those days that a genocide was being
    committed. in my book, I think trunp would be the only candidate to acknowledge it.

  17. What good did supporting the left-leaning Obama machine in 2008 do for the Armenian cause? NOTHING. Obama promised us Genocide recognition, and we are left holding an empty bag. We came to DC in 2015 to speak truth to power. VP Biden was there, but he remained silent.
    So far, leaning left has not helped us at all. Bernie will take America down the dead end road of the USSR. Hillary will continue to pretend the genocide never happened.
    The only American statesman to actively espouse our cause in the past 20 years was Republican Senator Bob Dole. The way we treated Dole was enough to make me puke.

  18. Trump recently invested with Azerbaijan hotels. Where do you think his allegiance will go.
    Hillary support Armenian Genocide Recognition but then flip Flopped
    My vote will be with Sanders, who has sat with Armenian priests and has a history understanding Armenian Issues. It doesn’t mean he will do anything , but at least there is hope.
    If he is out of race, I’ll stay home

  19. Armenians need to lean on local and state representatives. We can’t rely on any president to change the USA position on Turkey. What we can do is constantly remind the world that we’ll never forget what the Turks did and continue to do to Christians.

    Re: which candidate or party? Left, right, doesn’t matter, which candidate is best for Armenian business here and abroad, and who will steer financial support for a culture built on Christian values and contribution to the world we live. There’s plenty of rich Armenians aligned across the board.

    Lean to the left? Armenian line dances lean right.

  20. I think Republic of Armenia should step in & tell all Armenians particularly American Armenians who to vote for the benefit of all Armenians & RA of course. Unfortunately, RA also stinks with corruption & its oligarchies so left or right, democrats or repubs all the same. I would suggest to all American Armenians DO NOT VOTE AT ALL

  21. Armenians HAVE NEVER LEARNT TO BE A UNITED people , and the above comments prove it. If you imbeciles believe the Republican racist , xenophobic and cut-throat neo-liberal parasites who could care less if Armenia and Armenians cease to exist tomorrow will do YOU any good, then remember Krikor Zohrab, Ottoman Parliament MP and Freemason on the eve of April 24, 1915: He thought he was UNTOUCHABLE, yet he was one of the first Armenians to be tortured, mutilated to his death. LEARN YOU IMBECILES, LEARN !!!

  22. Why would any Armenian vote for a candidate who embraces genocide–the genocide of children known as abortion, the most despicable sin and crime which cries to heaven for vengeance? The Democratic party is morally bankrupt and supports Planned Parenthood, the organization that not only sells abortion but also traffics in the body parts of aborted babies. Genocide is not just the evil of Turkey but also the crime of the Democratic Party and all those involved in the slaughtering of children.

    • It’s pathetic that you have a ” Dr. ” as your prefix… Just HOW MANY MORE BILLIONS of human hordes can this planet support, huh, “Doctor”..? Are you willing to dole out another 20-30% of your income as taxes to support these unwanted babies , huh?
      The stupidity and senseless rhetoric of so called “pro-life” advocates is making America the laughing stock of the entire planet. STOP THE MADNESS, ENOUGH of your B.S. , calling abortion a ” genocide”!

  23. I feel so angry with your biased article that I want to cancel my Armenian Weekly emails. Isn’t eight years of lies and deceit by this president enough?
    The only consolation for me is reading the comments afterwards and that is proof enough that our Armenian populace are smart and aware politically and will not drink the “democrat” cool aide.

  24. When it comes to delivery of promises there is very little between the parties. We should learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. Vote for the one whose policies are more sympathetic to our needs. Bernie seems more trustworthy and is a new player. His policies would suit us better. Lets give him a chance.

  25. You have to realize that neither the USA nor England will go against Turkey. Today even Israel is on the side of Turkey and Azerbaidjan.
    After 20 years of Armenia s independence we can see that Armenians cannot govern themselves. Look what we have in the government of Armenia a bunch of crooks and murderers who only think about feeling up their own pockets and could care less about the people.Our faith will be with Russia again, Armenia is in the neiborhood of Russia and not the USA.Russia is now talking about annulling the treaty of 1921 between Lenin and Kemal Ataturk, we could have a chance to work with that if we are clever enough, but I doubt it

    • {Look what we have in the government of Armenia a bunch of crooks and murderers who only think about feeling up their own pockets and could care less about the people}

      Look what we have in the successive governments of Armenia.
      Governments that, since Independence recovered more historic Armenian lands than in several centuries of our history.
      A secure RoA.
      A secure NKR.
      The most combat ready army in the region.
      About 41,000 square kilometers of our historic lands under the feet of Armenian solders.
      Who did that, the Martians?
      What “cannot govern themselves” are you talking about?

      Stop worshiping Russia and Russians: our peoples are linked by 200+ years of friendship, and Russia has our back when it comes to Turkey, but stop trashing your own people (…assuming you are Armenian).
      I love Russians to death: good people. Our peoples need each other.
      But I am not Russian: I am Armenian.

      Our people did not elect a drunkard like Yeltsin, who sold Russia to foreign gangsters and allowed foreigners to loot Russia of $100 billions of dollars. Russia was almost dismembered under the leadership of an alcoholic who was democratically elected by the Russian people.
      Russian people also allowed a deep agent, Gorbachev, to single-handed dismantle USSR: what kind of “govern-themselves” people would allow that?
      And Armenians are the ones who allegedly cannot govern themselves?
      Russians almost allowed a Chechen Islamist, Ruslan Khasbulatov, to become the leader of Russian Federation. Got that ? Russians themselves almost overthrew an Orthodox Christian, Yeltsin, to be replaced by a Muslim.

      So stop the self-hating and self-loathing.
      I am all for very tight friendship with Russia and the Russian people.
      But if you are either Armenian or something else: can’t be both.
      Make your choice.

    • Avery,

      The Soviet Union was falling apart when Gorbachev came into power. Wasn’t he brought in to reform things because of that? As soon as he allowed some breathing room for the people of SU, it came apart. Not because of his actions but because it was ready to fall apart. People did not want to live under that system anymore. It was an unsustainable, rigid system.

    • Random,

      What you wrote is an egregious error that people with no expertise in the Soviet/Russian studies typically make.

      First, the Soviet Union was not “falling apart” when Western sell-out Gorbachev was brought to power. Nor was it “ready” to fall apart. The Soviet Union was in a structural, repeat: a structural—not systemic—crisis. One that every now and then affects virtually every Western country. In our times, as a rough example, we see such crises in several EU member-states.

      Second, Gorby was tricked by his transatlantic masters to believe that he was brought in to reform things because the SU was “falling apart”.

      Third, to say that “as soon as Gorby allowed some breathing room for the people of SU it came apart”, is an unalloyed oversimplification. He didn’t just allow some breathing room, but actually—and deliberately—made a self-inflicted mess with nationality issues, a calculated and very effective weapon when Messrs. globalists decide on ruining a multinational country.

      Fourth, people did, actually, want to live under the Soviet system. 77.85% of the eligible voters during the 1991 Referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union, voted in favor.

      Fifth, “it was an unsustainable, rigid system”. Go tell this to the tens of millions of people from the former Soviet republics who grow more and more nostalgic about their Soviet past.

  26. I think we can be proud that many Armenians are independent thinkers, as demonstrated by many of these comments. I think our history has taught us not to put ourselves in the hands of one party or the other, hoping to be treated well. We have learned the hard way that we cannot expect any government to take care of us. So any party that promises to do so is the one not to trust. We are capable individuals. What we need is individual freedom. Not to be highly taxed, not to be told what to believe or how to behave, not to be told what to say, not to be “taken care of.” Both the left and right deprive us of freedom in their own ways, but the left’s promise to take care of everybody is precisely the reason not to lean that way.

  27. The author of this article must have never lived in the Soviet Union where they had real equality, everyone but the ruling class were dirt poor. There are several thousands of Armenians, other Christians and Yezidis that have paid with their lives because of the incompetence and malevolence of the Obama Administration. Tell me what heart the Democrat Party has when they prevent veterans from visiting war memorials. If the discussion is about crooks, How did the Clinton Foundation amass $2.3 Billion in 15 years, tax-free? Hillary should be in jail. I believe serious Armenians will consider the harm to our country and Armenia perpetrated by this Administration, and vote to set this country on the right path.

  28. Thank you for writing a clear article that connects Armenian American issues to wider issues of importance to many people. This is great. Thank you for helping evolving the debate and discussion.

  29. I’m sorry guys, but you should all wait until March before you make a big decision. Another smart “a??” character is considering to be in the picture soon to play a big “Kharnagitch” role as an Independent candidate to mess up the elections. That person name, ladies and gentlemen is Michael Rubens Bloomberg.

  30. I sympathize with the emotional and ethical goals of the essay, but the flaws in the arguments and ironies of reality lead me to voice a brief comment. Marx and Stalin could talk the talk but they cannot walk the walk. The US suffers from a leadership that is not able to speak freely and truly. Benghazi shows what happens when agendas trump truth and block entities from doing their utmost in a timely manner. The report on Fort Hood ‘domestic violence’ leads one to predict that leftist politics cannot solve or deal with either violent warfare or legal lawfare from radical islam. This bodes a dark cloud for Armenians as islamic viewpoints become entrenched in the left-side of US political debate. Eight years of the left in US policies has been a fata morgana and left smoke rising throughout the MiddleEast. (This is not to excuse Cheney and Bush from their colossal mistakes in 2003- first, manufacturing evidence, and secondly, staying in Iraq ‘for democracy’ after the practical goals were reached.) As for safety in the US and the NRA, maybe some armed administrators at schools and a responsible citizenry carrying firearms will lessen the San Bernardino and SandyHook incidents. Responsibility and training with firearms is what the US needs, not more laws and forms for the good guys to fill out. The left, misquoting facts about semi-autos and current laws, only promises laws that hassle the good guys, and will not reduce firearm violence, to show that ‘they are doing something.’ The common people are not impressed.

  31. Americans live in a fundamentalist society that is driven by and divided by carefully cultivated delusions and hatreds held and expressed with religious-like conviction, with a superficial but deeply ingrained distrust of everything and everyone, an island-state mentality far greater than supposedly isolationist places like North Korea, and an inexplicable belief that all this actually makes America a role model for the rest of the world to follow.

  32. My vote will be as follows:

    If for Democrats – ONLY Bernie Sanders. Hillary is for Turkey outright. She will lie and curse at Armenians and our Genocide means a rats tail for her.

    If for Republicans – I might hold my nose and vote for Rubio. IN a group of war-mongerers he seems to be the most intelligent.
    FORGET Trump, his two dollar bill in his pocket means more than the entire Armenian people.
    FORGET Cruz, the stubborn neocon is pro Turkish and the Armenian people are not worth his old shoe.

    The rest of candidates have no chance to be nominated.

    Why there isn’t one Armenian descended senator, governor or congressmen to run for office so we would galvanize around?? I need our people to look into this issue.

  33. Let’s evaluate what left-leaning has done for us in the last seven years
    Recognized Armenian genocide – Not
    Job growth – Not, when you count all those that left the job market and those that are under employed
    Wages – how many of you make the same salary today made 7 years ago?
    Economy – it’s collapsing- just wait-and-see. There’s not much the feds can do to stimulate the economy but go negative on interest rates. Japan tried that.
    Housing – bubble ready to collapse
    Stock market – if you read at all, you know where that’s headed
    Inflation – how full was your cart the last time you went to Costco and spent $100? Pray we don’t get hiper-inflation
    Obamacare – it’s great if you’re receiving significant government subsidy, otherwise your insurance rates went through the roof, whether company purchased/independent
    World is a safer place – Not , need I say anything?

    The difference between Democrats and Republicans
    Democrats will lie to your face and stab you in the back
    Republicans will tell you the truth and may stab you in heart

    I would rather know the truth

    • The salary issue predates Obama. You’re conveniently starting the history of wage stagnation with Obama.

      And the economic issues started before Obama too. The housing market happened because of policies from previous administrations (plural).

      Yeah, about the Iraq war. That blunder of short-sighted idea was not Obama’s.

      You seriously think Republicans are not lying to us? Have you seen the current mess of presidential candidates? All that trickle-down economic policy is a self-serving, pro-rich hoax.

  34. This article reminds me of Armenians having to choose between the Ottomans and the Young Turks a century ago. The so-called “Democrats” are promising to undo the damage of the “Republicans” and are at least the “lesser evil”.

    Translation: if you thought “Republicans” were bad, just wait and see what the “Democrats” have in store for you. And we saw that play out exactly as stated for the past eight years.

    So supposing Clinton is the candidate, we should vote for her? The one that nearly destroyed our decades work of Hye Tahd with the protocols, and the one that stated that the Armenian Genocide was a matter of “historical debate”? Really?

    Here’s what I have to say to that: I’d sooner go jump off the nearest cliff than vote for that witch.

    Oh, here’s a “better” choice: Sanders the closet Bolshevik! Maybe we can take that route this time, but I wonder how quickly his views will change right after an AIPAC meeting.

    2008 was quite laughable where candidates for president were concerned. And silly me I thought that was a fluke in America’s history. Never did I realize 2016 was gonna be even worse.

  35. Wake up from your deep sleep, folks. It is said that “democracy” is when two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner.

    That said, America has never been a real democracy. The US is an elite based two party political system overseen by a handful of special interest groups. The political system in question is like a two ring circus managed by ringmasters the audience does not get to see. Candidates from both sides of the political fence will therefore have no choice but to serve the imperial elite once they get into office. Presidential elections in the US has therefore evolved to become a contest between two groups of well connected people competing for the empire’s control panels.

    Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. Every four years the elite in the US decide what shirt the sheeple will wear, the sheeple are given the “democratic” choice of picking between two colors.

    Moreover, we must dispel the false notion that the US reached its pinnacle as a result of “democracy”. The US became a wealthy world power as a result of: Mass scale enslavement of millions of blacks; systematic extermination of millions of native Americans; global wars for plunder; and controlling global trade and commodities. Protected by oceans, the finical/political elite in the US took two hundreds years to grow the country to what it is today. After about two hundred years, more specifically after the end of the Second World War, some of the accrued wealth basically trickled down to the masses.

    Entrusting a nation’s politics to the whims of the ignorant masses is a sure way to societal decay and destruction. Perhaps this is why Western powers has been imposing “democracy” on nations targeted with either destruction or occupation. Libya and Ukraine are good examples.

  36. Hilary is just one step away from being a socialist herself. What has a Democrat done in the last 8 years? Nothing but push his socialist agenda? Bernie or Hilary as a president? Our country would never survive! Please, Armenians, think carefully when you vote. The left is too left for us.

  37. Well written and well analyzed article Raffi! Lot of varying point of views on the subject but IMO I believe a strong Armenian diaspora driving for more liberal and democratic policies in Armenia is the path forward. Given the circumstances in Middle East and US relationship and interests in that part of the world, Armenia’s close relationship with Russia, it will be impossible to expect pro Armenian policies whether they represent the left or the right. The only thing that will pivot the lever in Armenia’s favor would be the implosion of Turkey and radicle Turkish sentiment towards US.
    I say, vote for the best person who supports your personal views and values.

    • I also agree from Armenian point of view ,a good article,and I think it’s true American recklessness and involvement in Middle East caused huge number of well established Armenian owned businesses and lives has been destroyed recently.
      One other thing about American presidents not recognising Armenian Genoside or not keeping their promise I think about time to grow up.and accept the fact that not every one likes us ,Armenians are successfull people.we are not mouratsgan we can buy our way into success,all you have to do is look back Koch brother oil magnet David and Daniell funded Obamas first term in the office by a tune of almost billion Doller,on recent account Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer considering similar amount of money invest on Rubio.
      Currently watching on CNN the serge of Trump and Sanders,Mr.Paul Singer might consider his offers elsewhere

  38. -Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican, it will not change the US policy towards Turkey, who continues to blackmail the US with the military strategic considerations and the need of having NATO bases in Turkey.
    -In the many comments posted, it is obvious that there is no consencus among Armenians on who is the preferred and best candidate for the Presidency.
    -Armenian-Americans are savvy and intelligent people. Each one of us has the wisdom and liberty to decide and vote for his/her choice.
    – Elections in the US have always been messy and sometimes ugly. At the end,it is the votes that count. Sadly, this year non of the candidates on either side exudes confidence and a clear choice.
    -Left or right? Depends on your political inclinations and convictions.
    Obviously Mr. Wartanian is a leftist. He is entitled to express his opinion. However, I hope that the Armenian Weekly is not endorsing or supporting his views.
    There are many Armenian-Americans who are moderate Republicans and leaning right of center.
    – We cannot become a single issue electorate. We must recognize that we do not have the votes necessary to influence National elections.

    Vart Adjemain

    • “-Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican, it will not change the US policy towards Turkey, who continues to blackmail the US with the military strategic considerations and the need of having NATO bases in Turkey.”

      That certainly has been the policy for ages. Not expecting it to change.

  39. Neither party cares about Armenia. But after seeing the havoc that Republicans create here and abroad on behalf of their wealthy masters, how they twist religion to whip up hatred and division, how they shamelessly promote war and intolerance, how they spend money on war and neglect our infrastructure, schools, healthcare and the needs of the many, all in favor of the desires of the very wealthiest, I can’t vote for them. Yes, Obama’s shameless reversal on recognition of the Genocide disgusted me. But I was not surprised. No Republican administration has done it either. As long as we remain part of the “I hate Russia Club” we will need Turkey and no president will ever force recognition. I stand with progressive values, love, tolerance, compassion, kindness, charity. Thank you for printing this opinion piece.

  40. Norserunt

    I agree with your analysis.
    As long as US has bases in Turkey she will always side with Turkey. So do not expect any official acknowledgment for genocide recognition. Save your support to fight Turkey in International courts for our rightful demands and justice.

  41. I used to support Donald Trump full heartedly, but as soon as I found out he is in close relations with Azerbaijan’s changed my mind. There is a ‘war’ right now in Armenia against the Azerbaijani, and Trump has a ton of businesses and money flowing from from their country. They are also really good friends with Trump, so if Trumps president, he will help the Azerbaijanis win the war and take more than half or Armenias land!

    • That is troubling and definitely a reason not to support Trump. But there was plenty already for not supporting Trump to begin with. His constant lying and exaggerations of his achievements, on which he bases his qualifications for presidency, disqualifies him. That and pandering to racism. Trump offers nothing to back up his claim that he will make everything better. He really is a salesman.

      Granted there isn’t much to choose from from the rest of the candidates either.

    • I feel the same about Trump, he has good ideas about the economy, and is not controlled by any special interests, but his ties to Azeri money ruins it for me. But I don’t know if he would help Azerbaijan against Armenia, that’s a toss-up since he is unpredictable. I think that is why the special interests, neocon politicians, mainstream media, etc are working to bring him down, because “he does not want their money” and thus cannot be ‘controlled’ they way they like.

  42. Armenians voted for Obama after he promised to recognize our genocide.. instead he become close friends with Erdogan and used Turkey as his Middle East advisor.

    Only Donald Trump can help restore our cause and what we have lost.

  43. Donald Trump was a buisnessman and therefore did deals with whoever gave him money. As president he will be very nationalistic and do what is best for Christians, that is reason enough to vote for him. Armenians who vote for Hillary have sold their soul and have betrayed everything Armenia stands for

  44. The author has committed here a , is a classic case of Davajanootyoon. Armenian davajans are notorious, remembe Gagik Artsrooni in the book Ashot Yerkat? This isn’t the first or last time we’ll have a trader of our people come out from the shadows.

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