TAGS (Trump Armenian Genocide Statement)

Trump Armenian Genocide Statement—that’s what TAGS stands for. Last year, when he had his first chance to do right on the matter of the Armenian Genocide, U.S. President Donald Trump gave us the same mealy-mouthed meaninglessness we had gotten accustomed to from his immediate predecessors in that office.

Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

We are about six weeks out from proclamation/resolution/statement (PRS) season when it comes to the annual spike in intensity of genocide recognition efforts, so it is very timely to discuss what our expectations of Trump are or should be. It seems to me there are two aspects to consider.

First, let’s address how we should approach heads of state and governments when it comes to Armenian Genocide recognition. It strikes me that should adopt a “one chance” policy. The first April that person is in office, s/he should be expected to make an appropriate statement, including the word “genocide” coupled with relevant, implementable, policy that will guide the course of that country. Anything less, even if it includes the word “genocide” is far too little, too late. The time for such platitudes is past. Armenians’ expectations are far more hard-nosed now. We want something that will produce real results, not just good feelings. It should be permanent in its effect, that is, it should not require annual renewal. Otherwise, we will forever be in the position of the proverbial dog chasing its tail. This does not mean we should sever relations with an executive-office-holder who fails to deliver on our expectations. Rather, we should appropriately criticize her/him and simply focus on other issues of Armenian concern where cooperation is possible. Repeatedly groveling for a “handout” when one can reasonably expect no benefit is simply humiliating.

In Trump’s case, since this “one chance” rule was not in place last year, we should make every effort to elicit an appropriate utterance from him in 2018. Turkey’s crescendoing arrogance and troublemaking might provide sufficient impetus to move the White House’s various entrenched bureaucracies to reduce or eliminate their opposition to a proper Genocide PRS, as described in the previous paragraph. Congressmember Adam Schiff makes this argument in his piece Turkey’s Descent into Authoritarianism published a little over two weeks ago.

Another interesting argument is made by Robert M. Morgenthau, the famous Ambassador Morgenthau’s grandson, in a Wall Street Journal piece from late January titled Will Trump Tell the Truth About the Armenian Genocide? He thinks that because Trump is so unconventional, he just might be willing to rock the boat enough to give proper recognition to the Genocide. Of course this would still be insufficient based on my requirements for something results, rather than feelings, oriented. It is something worth thinking about.

But, let’s say that Trump is willing to go all the way, recognize and change policy, give appropriate marching orders to the Departments of Defense and State. The question becomes, do we, Armenians, want that action to come from someone like Trump?

Why would this question even arise? Trump’s inconsistency, erraticness, thoughtlessness, impulsiveness, intellectual-rigorlessness, vacuousness, and just plain inappropriate-for-the-presidency personality could easily devalue, render meaningless, any Genocide related action or position he may take. He is not even like Reagan, who at least had some political experience and a tolerable presidential bearing and mien. That’s why Reagan’s 1981 statement (inserted by his speechwriter, Ken Khachigian, after getting appropriate clearances, as recently documented by Peter Musurlian in an interview with him) carried weight then and still does now.

Nevertheless, I think it would be a good thing if he were to take action, but especially because of who he is, it becomes doubly important that what he does meets the “practicality” requirements I set forth above.

All the Armenians who voted for him (and heck, everyone else, too) should engage in a massive letter writing/e-mailing/tweeting campaign urging Donald Trump to properly characterize the Genocide and direct that U.S. policy reflect it.

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About Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly in the Weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble.

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10 Comments

  1. Garen, on the assumption that Trump is guided by the principle that he will do the opposite of whatever Obama did, you might be right to hope for a clear and unambiguous statement from the current President, perhaps in a Tweet. But be careful what you wish for. It might not come out right, or it might come out very wrong. I could imagine something like, “Sure, there was an Armenian Genocide, but it’s time to just get over it, folks!” Obama’s statement of 2009 (his first go at it) was the most forward leaning ever issued, except for Reagan’s, which had a special history and was later rolled back. Though it did not employ the word “genocide,” it nailed the issue of “intent.” I cover this in my book. So I would caution people to tread cautiously, not to cause harm accidentally through an excess of zeal.

  2. Garen for a guy who wants to help shape Armenian policy/opinion about how non Armenian leaders should/shouldn’t respect “certain” sitting U.S. sitting presidents, your crass attitude about “our” yes, our president appalls me. You aren’t the conscience of Americans nor do you speak for all Armenians. Millions of “us” voted for President Trump and we are more than thrilled with how he is making America Great Again.

  3. Don’t have high hopes. Trump will never mention Armenian Genocide. He looks at the upcoming buildup of Trump Towers in Ankara and Istanbul.His friendly relations with Erdogan and being business partners with Aliyev’s son in Azerbaijan will never let him to mention the Genocide. Besides, what does he care about Armenians, if he knows where Armenia is….

  4. Pres. Trump has failed to bring forth to recognize the well documented Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 by the Young Turk Regime. The Armenian Weekly should record Trump’s E Mail address so that Armenian’s can respond to him directly before April 24th.

  5. FYI, in 2009 Michael Bobelian had documented Ken Khachigian’s role in Ronald Reagan’s statement. Also, it would be worth to mention the interesting fact that Trump’s last year statement was practically plagiarized from Obama’s 2016 statement.

  6. President Trump will not pronounce the “Armenian G” Words! Simply because American – Armenians have not voted for his Presidency. He knows it; he will not forget.

    Suppose that he used the G word! What difference will that really make? What value such a political usage would bear in view of the fact that “genocide is precisely a legal concept”, neither political, nor historical!
    I believe that all of us accept this legal truth and start establishing best relations between the two peoples and states of Armenia and Turkey.

    Besides what real and moral value would AG usage carry when obtained through various maneuvers, political, financial etc pressures, massive propaganda considering that almost all presidents of the US did not recognize the “AG ” claims. Besides can TRumpss use of the words change the truth that the tragic events of 1915 in the Eastern Anatolia were instigated by Tsarist Russia and by the shameful intrigues and machinations of imperialist European and American powers which concluded “secret agreements” before the 1st WW”, such as Sykes-Picot, disclosed following the Bolshevik Revolution by Lenin, causing the death of hundred thousands of innocent Ottoman Muslims and Armenians.
    U.Bassoy

  7. The outbursts and adjectives used by Garen about President Trump are out of line, inappropriate and downright unacceptable.
    Get over it Garen. You have become the mouthpiece of Hilary Clinton.
    It does more harm than good.
    Reading his comments is becoming a total waste of time.
    Vart Adjemian

  8. My comment stays the same. If we want respect, we have to have top guns. I f you want your solders not to be killed by your enemies, then keep them at bay by your super army. Rest of talks are just talks nothing more.

  9. Subject; “TAGS”
    Mr.Yegparian;
    “Trump’s inconsistency, erraticness, thoughtlessness, impulsiveness, intectural-rigorlessness, vacuousness, and just plain innappropiate-for-the-presidency ______________ position he may take.”
    Spoken like a true, “Never a Trumper”.
    As Mr. Vart Adjemian wrote,”Get over it Garen.”

  10. President Trump will not pronounce the “Armenian G” Words!, we should concentrate on April 24 , 2018 to honor , remember our martyrs , pray for there soul and forget every year begging these politician to use “G” , forget presidents remember our people lost there lives hands of Ottoman – Ittihadi ve Terakies , young turks in 1915.

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