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Genocide Day: What Will Obama Do?

Today is the annual day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The US president traditionally issues a sympathetic proclamation on April 24, but invariably one that artfully dodges the word "genocide," mainly for fear of enraging Turkey, which has never come to terms with the Ottoman responsibility for the epic murder of Armenians at the end of World War I. As a candidate, Obama forcefully pledged to end that practice and utter the g-word, a position strongly backed by his pro-human rights advisors like Samantha Power--but one opposed by more geostrategic-minded people in his orbit, reportedly including Rahm Emanuel and Jim Jones. We'll see if he follows through today.

I'm guessing that he won't. The conspicuously-timed announcement of a supposed breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations certainly sounds like a move stage-managed to give Obama cover for avoiding the g-word, on the grounds that healing between the countries is what counts most and that there's no sense interfering in that process with provocative rhetoric.

--Michael Crowley