The House needs to focus on real problems

Doug Hite

People who are now dead killed other people in a place that doesn’t exist any more. And I don’t care.

This past week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution giving the title of “genocide” to the actions taken by the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago. No one who took part in the alleged genocide is still alive. And the Ottoman Empire has been defunct for nearly a century. So, the House of Representatives is evidently taking a break from worrying about pressing issues and is, instead, taking a stroll down memory lane to pretend they’re being proactive.

Political lip-service is never helpful. It usually just wastes time and makes C-SPAN more boring than it already is. But every once in a while, lip-service can actually make a difference. In this case, the House Committee’s emphasis on rhetoric has paralyzed any type of relations the United States can have with Turkey – one of the few Middle Eastern countries that actually doesn’t completely hate America. The House’s love of reliving the early 20th century and focusing on the problems caused by a fake country has given us 21st century problems – with real countries.

What’s maybe the most frustrating aspect of this situation is that the United States needs to strengthen alliances with Muslim countries, and Turkey’s a great place to start. Turkey is maybe the only Middle Eastern country that has a Muslim-led government, a focus on democracy and a guarantee of religious freedom. These criteria can serve as a model for developing countries in the region. (Iraq anyone?)

Or maybe our motivations for befriending Turkey should more reflect our own self-interest. First, Turkey is in a great location among Iraq and Afghanistan – two places that we’re probably going to be hanging out in for a while. Furthermore, Turkey is a passageway. Seventy percent of our military’s supplies come through the Habur Pass, bordering Iraq. A large section of our fuel also comes through the country as well as nearly all of our armored vehicles.

It seems to me like this is a bad time to anger this country about something that happened nearly a century ago. This would be comparable to an allied nation passing legislation condemning us for slavery or for the atrocities the United States has committed against Native Americans. In the same sense, none of us have owned slaves, none of us have mass-murdered Native Americans and no one from Turkey participated in the Armenian genocide.

We’ve made so many Middle-Eastern countries mad at us that we have to try to pick fights with countries that are no longer in existence. As if we don’t have enough problems at home, House Democrats are just picking fights hoping to win votes from their Armenian constituency. Hopefully, the House of Representatives will begin focusing on real problems that are actually in existence today some time soon.

Let’s leave fake countries alone, and worry about real problems.

Doug Hite is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].