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  #1  
Old 10-22-2007, 02:17 PM
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Foreign policy leadership

Pelosi's judgment questioned over Armenia issue
Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:50am EDT
By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Nancy Pelosi's pledge of a new direction took a detour when she fumbled an Armenian genocide resolution and raised questions about her leadership as the highest ranking member of the U.S. Congress.

Pelosi, 67, speaker of the House of Representatives and next in line to the presidency after the vice president, swore she would push the controversial resolution to a vote, then blinked when some fellow Democrats withdrew their support in the face of furious reaction from Turkey.

President George W. Bush warned the symbolic resolution to affirm the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide would harm Washington's relations with Ankara. But as long as it looked like it would pass, Pelosi stuck to her guns.

When Democratic support started waning last week amid protests from NATO ally Turkey -- which denounced the measure as "insulting" and hinted at halting logistical support for the U.S. war effort in Iraq -- Pelosi wavered.

Critics say she miscalculated.

"It's certainly not her finest moment," said Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"There's been no great harm done, but we do have to find some ways to mend the U.S.-Turkish relationship."

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed in World War One, but denies they were victims of a systematic genocide.

Pelosi took office amid much fanfare 10 months ago. She proposed "a new direction" for America and vowed to challenge Bush on a host of fronts, including the Iraq war.

Her stumble on the Armenia resolution gave Republican critics more ammunition.

They called the bill another "irresponsible" or "dangerous" foreign policy gambit by Pelosi, who flew to Syria last spring when the White House was not on speaking terms with Damascus.

Pelosi also has tried for months without success to defy Bush's policy on Iraq with legislation forcing a withdrawal of U.S. troops.

NO 'DAMN ALLIES'

Even some of Pelosi's closest allies, like Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, say she misjudged the Armenian resolution.

Murtha, who opposes the measure on the grounds the United States doesn't have any "damn allies" and therefore needs to keep Turkey on its side, counted up to 60 Democratic votes against it and said it would fail if brought up.

Pelosi is one of several Californians in Congress with many Armenian-Americans in their districts. They have pushed similar proposals for years.

"She feels morally committed to this issue," said Murtha. "It's just, is it practical at this point to go forward with it?"

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich offered another excuse for Pelosi's misstep: she had too much on her plate.

This week House Democrats also tried and failed to override Bush's veto on a children's health program. A bill to revise rules for government eavesdropping on terrorism suspects had to be pulled from the floor at the last minute.

"The pace of this institution is not always conducive to a well-thought-out approach, to considering the consequences of a certain type of action," Kucinich said.

Pelosi still has not ruled out calling a full House vote on the Armenian resolution, which the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed on October 10.

Some conservative commentators suggested the genocide measure was part of a hidden Democratic agenda to undermine the Iraq war effort, but other analysts said that was unlikely.

"I think it's more domestic politics, playing to interest groups, than backdoor foreign policy," said George Washington University professor of international affairs Henry Nau.

"If members of Congress are plotting with interest groups to weaken Turkish support of U.S. policy in Iraq and thus undermine American forces in Iraq, the drama thickens beyond my capacity to comprehend," he said.

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  #2  
Old 10-22-2007, 03:18 PM
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What's next, an up or down vote of support for the Balfour resolution?
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2007, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
1.
Pelosi is one of several Californians in Congress with many Armenian-Americans in their districts. They have pushed similar proposals for years.
2.
"She feels morally committed to this issue," said Murtha. "It's just, is it practical at this point to go forward with it?"
3.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich offered another excuse for Pelosi's misstep: she had too much on her plate.
"The pace of this institution is not always conducive to a well-thought-out approach, to considering the consequences of a certain type of action," Kucinich said.
Excuse the edit of the original post:

1. Payback. Nuff said

2. Political BS with a side of truth.

3. See 2. Hold the side order.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:00 PM
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I don't get it. She pushed for it, then thought she couldn't get the votes. Common sense would tell you not to keep going when you are expected to fail. Unless you don't want your legislation to make it.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tankdriver View Post
I don't get it. She pushed for it, then thought she couldn't get the votes. Common sense would tell you not to keep going when you are expected to fail. Unless you don't want your legislation to make it.
Point is, what IS the point?
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2007, 05:11 PM
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I think Speaker Pelosi's critics are getting carried away here. Take this part of the article:
Quote:
..."It's certainly not her finest moment," said Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"There's been no great harm done, but we do have to find some ways to mend the U.S.-Turkish relationship."...
Somehow I doubt that the harm done by this resolution is nearly as bad as the harm done when then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz suggested that Turkey's military might want to overthrow Turkey's civilian government if that government refused to cooperate with our invasion of Iraq.

I don't know why Speaker Pelosi feels the need to push this issue now, but it's wrong to try to blame her for the strains in our relations with Turkey.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:27 PM
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Okay, so the Congress wants to pass a resolution that berates Turkey for genocide 80 years ago (which, btw, destroys our name with Turkey during a freaking WAR but I guess that's beside the point), but they're against toppling Saddam Hussein who was committing genocide recently.

Pelosi is selectively against genocide. Stupid Congress - glad they backed down from this one.

And...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dculkin View Post
I don't know why Speaker Pelosi feels the need to push this issue now, but it's wrong to try to blame her for the strains in our relations with Turkey.
Why is it wrong to blame her when she's the one doing the pushing? Should she not be held accountable for her actions? If that's the case, then I say "I don't know why President Bush feels the need to push this [Iraq] issue now, but it's wrong to try to blame him for the strains in our relations with the world." You buy that?
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dculkin View Post
I don't know why Speaker Pelosi feels the need to push this issue now, but it's wrong to try to blame her for the strains in our relations with Turkey.
I'm not so sure about that. Wasn't the Turkish ambassador recalled on the heels of the Comittee vote? Granted it's just more diplomatic grandstanding in large measure.
But she's driving the bus! She should have her radar operating at levels far above the locals back home. It doesn't reflect well on her judgement,viewed in a national and internaonal context, imo.
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:31 PM
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Convenience is not supposed to be > morality.
The Turks IMO are overreacting, but it doesn't really matter.
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:05 PM
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Do the Turks think that the Turks are over-reacting?

What would be the purpose of Congress doing this thing?

B
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2007, 07:06 PM
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When can we get a vote on the genocide perpetrated against Neanderthal man?


Just because it was 50,000 years ago doesn't mean it shouldn't be a law.
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2007, 07:48 PM
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Do the Turks think that the Turks are over-reacting?
Read my subordinate clause. I don't know what the Turks think. I think it's possible they are overreacting so they can use it in the justification for invading Iraq. Maybe, unlike the Germans, they aren't ready to admit to themselves their countrymen did bad things.

Quote:
What would be the purpose of Congress doing this thing?

B
What was the purpose in Congress declaring the Holocaust genocide?
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tankdriver View Post
...

What was the purpose in Congress declaring the Holocaust genocide?
Maybe we should bring back slavery and the 3/5ths rule to deal with Mexican immigration... after all there is a precedent.
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2007, 08:22 PM
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It is an extremely touchy subject among Armenians (i'm half, from my pop's side) and a lot of them voted for Bush because he said he would recognize the genocide (but apparently he backed down). That's how important it is to them.

Me, I don't think it really matters if Turkey owns up to anything or not, the people still died and this won't bring them back or even make people who lost their relatives feel better about it. I think they make themselves look worse by denying it though.
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:35 PM
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Why does she think we need to be involved with something that happened almost 100 years ago, and that happened on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean? I would presume so that either she can put a feather in her cap for accomplishing something, or she wants to ruin the relationship between Turkey and the U.S.
From what I heard, the Armenians in the U.S. never asked for such a thing, and apparently were surprised that it even came up.

Don't these people have something else to do....like run the country???

All this Pelosi person is doing is undermining the credibility of her party. Something lacking dearly in both parties, and another damned good reason to get a third party - if only to keep the first two in line, because they obviously can't keep themselves in line. Idiots.

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