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Turkey

The Geopolitics Of Washington's Stand On Armenian Genocide

Waving Armenian flags wave flags at an LA march commemorating the Armenian genocide
Waving Armenian flags wave flags at an LA march commemorating the Armenian genocide
Sergey Markedonov*

MOSCOW— For the first time, the U.S. Congress has recognized the mass killings and deportations in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as genocide. So why now?

It doesn't seem that the United States has anything really to gain from the country of Armenia. Two of the four borders of the country are closed, and its main military ally is Russia, whose efforts to maintain the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh are keeping Transcaucasia from a new large-scale conflict.

Nor does it appear that the resolution — which the U.S. House of Representatives adopted on Oct. 29 — will worsen Armenian-Turkish relations. There have been no relations between Ankara and Yerevan since the collapse of the USSR. And it is unlikely that the adoption of a resolution will change this.

The topic of the Armenian genocide comes up in the U.S. every time Ankara's behavior displeases Washington.

What, then, is the significance of the move, especially given that there's no telling if the resolution will even pass? A similar project is under consideration in the U.S. Senate, and the executive branch has even more reason for caution given the intricacies of relations with NATO allies, Turkey being one of them.

The document says a lot about how U.S. foreign policy operates. First off, it highlights the constant struggle between values and pragmatism. It's also a reminder that the topic of the Armenian genocide comes up in the United States every time Ankara's behavior displeases Washington.

Commemorating the Armenian genocide in Greece — Photo: Achilleas Pagourtzis/Pacific Press/ZUMA

The United States is clearly and consistently fighting the emergence of any competitor in Eurasia. The point here is not the deeply rooted Russophobia of American politicians, because in fact, Washington is ready to take measures against anyone who tries to break the status quo without taking into account U.S. interests. The bipartisan support the resolution received in the Oct. 29 vote is a case in point.

The adoption of the resolution turns out to be a mirror for all of the parties involved, including Turkey, whose hard-line position on the genocide topic isn't just a matter of avoiding responsibility for the past. It's also about not wanting to set new precedents, because while the issue is ostensibly about Armenians and Greeks, people are also thinking about the Kurds.

The purpose of the mirror, furthermore, isn't just so the stakeholders can gaze at themselves. It's so that they can also learn something.


*The author is a researcher at the Center for Euro-Atlantic Security in the Russian Institute of International Studies

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Ideas

Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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