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Turkey will greet us with flowers

Big vote tonight in Lexington, Massachusetts, as Armenian-American activists and their Jewish allies press ahead with their campaign to get municipalities to sever ties with the Anti-Defamation League.

Much more on this later (both a JTA story and some blog posts).

At this point, however, I’d like to focus on the wider geo-strategic fallout if Nancy Pelosi acts on her vow to bring a resolution to the floor that would use the term genocide to describe the World War I-era massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Jewish groups have been warning that the resolution could damage U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish-Israeli relations and endanger the Turkish Jewish community. Armenian activists and their Democratic allies in Congress have scoffed at or essentially ignored these concerns.

Now that the resolution has been approved by the House Committee of Foreign Affairs, Turkish officials are bouncing off the walls. Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the U.S. for “consultations” and is seeking parliamentary approval for raids into northern Iraq against Kurdish forces accused of carrying out terrorist attacks.

But Pelosi and the resolution’s other Democratic backers are standing firm.

The irony here is that usually it has been many of these very same Democrats criticizing President Bush for failing to let practical concerns temper his ideologically driven foreign policy. The Bush administration, critics love to say, was naïve and blind when it came to the realities of Iraq, thinking American forces would be greeted by flowers rather than an insurgency and a sectarian civil war.

Well, now, even as Turkish officials ratchet up their threats, Democrats are still taking a “what me worry” approach.

Pelosi: “This isn’t about the Erdogan government. This is about the Ottoman Empire.”

Tom Lantos: “The Turkish government will not act against the United States because that would be against their own interests.”

For my taste, it sounds a bit too much like “The Iraqis will greet us with flowers and let all use their oil money to pay for everything.”

Is it too much to ask that lawmakers supporting the measure at least say something like: “We are supporting this measure even though it could damage ties with Turkey and spark some sort of military action in northern Iraq.”

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