Kerry’s Dilemma: The Groupthink On Turkey

Secretary of State John Kerry

BY SETO BOYADJIAN, ESQ.

Last week Sen. John Kerry – a long-time supporter of Armenian American issues – was confirmed as our new Secretary of State. In the process of his confirmation hearing, Kerry shied away from his continued stance on Armenian issues and revealed a new face, which in fact is the old face of the outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton.

In his responses to the written questionnaires submitted by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kerry sounded pathetic enough to evade his outspoken convictions on the Armenian Genocide and Armenia. At the same time he sounded hypocritical enough to reflect President Obama’s unabashed retreat on Armenian issues.

We have become accustomed to this kind of “change of heart” by our friends on Capitol Hill as soon as they are offered the opportunity to hold an executive pedestal within the Administration. As such, there must be an explanation to the about-face of “friends” such as Obama, Biden, Clinton, Kerry and their ilk.

The explanation lies in the groupthink on Turkey that is embedded within the National Security Council circles and State Department staffers. This groupthink expresses itself in favor of Turkey on all issues that relate to Armenia and Armenian American concerns.

Groupthink on Turkey at the level of the Administration operates in rationalizing and decision making to support, to please and to appease Turkey irrespective of prevalent realities that manifest harmful consequences to U.S. interests. This is an utterly biased practice that has been going on unchallenged over that past fifty years.

In meetings and dealings with the White House and State Department staffers on Armenian American concerns, it is easily detected how they display an instinctive as well as rationalized conformity to a policy that blindly favors Turkey. When confronted with hard political and geopolitical facts denoting the damaging effects of Turkish positions on U.S. strategic interests, they try to minimize or ignore the problem and stubbornly adhere to their fallacious analysis of the problem.

Groupthink on Turkey is so perfected that our policy makers in the Administration are not bothered with their incorrect or deviant decisions that place our national interests in the harm’s way.

A case in point is the overblown assumption that Turkey is a valuable and loyal ally. Time and again Turkey has evidenced that its credentials as a U.S. ally – let alone as valuable and loyal – is highly dubious. Turkey, just like any other country, pursues its own national interest. In this pursuit it has crossed and conflicted with U.S. strategic interest over and over again. Since 2002, the Erdogan government, with its Ottoman empirical ambitions and Islamist penchants, has repeatedly proven that it has no qualms in ignoring and even confronting U.S. interests.

Another case in point is the exaggerated importance of Turkey in geopolitical terms. Turkey is an important country. It carries its weight in the region. However, in reference to the South Caucasus, Turkey’s geopolitical importance is counterbalanced in significant measures by Armenia. Given the current regional realities and the prevalent instabilities in Georgia and Azerbaijan, Armenia is an important gatekeeper to Eurasia in general and to the South Central Asian countries in particular. In reference to the latter Armenia becomes significantly important given those countries’ proximity to China and China’s relations with the U.S.

Turkey is not the only country that carries geopolitical weight in the region. Armenia, with its geographic location and stability, presents significant geopolitical importance to U.S. strategic interests in the region. Turkey has made one of its main political objectives to minimize Armenia’s geopolitical importance in the eyes of U.S. and the West. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is a glaring example of Turkish attempts to bypass Armenia, thereby trying to diminish Armenia’s geopolitical value.

Unfortunately, the U.S. groupthink on Turkey has become a major obstacle for our policy makers to render Armenia its due share of importance. As explained by the groupthink theory pioneer Irving Janis, the groupthink “tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.” Such an attitude does not serve our national interest well.

Secretary Kerry became the new victim of groupthink on Turkey. The choice now rests with him not too victimize U.S. interests to this groupthink process. This choice is also Kerry’s dilemma.

Seto Boyadjian is an attorney and serves on the national board of ANCA.

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15 Comments

  1. George said:

    How long can US support a Turkey with it’s huge ethnic problems that can explode any minute, never the less Turkey has been a traitorous and unreliable ally to US which has paid dearly so far, Remeber IRAK? US lost more Billions more soldiers dead because of Turkey, Remeber Syria? Syria is lost to Russia because of Turkey’s unreliabelity and Lebanon also is on the way to be lost to Russia, if so what kind of strategic partner is Turkey? unless is for serving Isreal the price US is paying is too high

      • George said:

        I feel upset to see how US relations are unbudged after experiencing so many betrayals from Turkey, keeps flowing US tax payers $$$$$ into Turkey and a Christian nation like Armenia si blockaded against all Intrn’l laws and abandoned on it’s fate

  2. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    His name is reversed to “Kerry John” …
    In Armenian Language everyone knows what means “Kerry”…
    ‘Means respectful slave for politics’

    Sylva-MD-Poetry

  3. Diran said:

    The problem is bipartisan American foreign policy going way back and Turkey’s making itself indispensable to American strategic interests–in other words Realpolitik–not groupthink.
    This despite its few departures from the American script, which are mere hiccups in a robust
    relationship. Groupthink is no explanation of Kerry’s pathetic performance. If only that were the
    problem. . .

    • Charter_Communication=Criminals said:

      Diran, there is no real politik here. From inception this idea of a “Turkish hedge against Russia” was doomed.

      If I was Armenia I would push for Turkish entry into the EU. It will force the hands of the European and then the Americans as they will have a Turkish problem.

    • Arn.Sweden. said:

      I Agree !.

      First the US had Turkey as a Barrier against Communist-Sovjet,
      and now its the Oil in Aserbadjan which are of its consern.

      The US has fallen prey to its Demigod the Dollar and besides,
      States dont have Moral only Egoistic interessts.

      Arn.Sweden.

  4. Ara Nazarian said:

    The general problem is our inability to understand that politics does not resolve on right or wrong. We continue to maintain the line that recognition of the Armenian Genocide is the right thing to do (which it is), but being right has nothing to do with reality. To date, we have failed to understand how the State Department works and what levers need to be pushed to get things done. we keep asking for the same thing, and when we don’t get it, we start calling everyone names and feel “betrayed” by politicians.

  5. Krikor said:

    He is the mouthpiece of the State Department like all his predecesors. What do you expect. Respect for human rights????

  6. reader said:

    “In reference to the South Caucasus, Turkey’s geopolitical importance is counterbalanced in significant measures by Armenia.” lol. What u r drinking? Ha ha ha ha :)

  7. Asya said:

    US could never understand that they can rely on Armenia more than any other country in the region.
    and Kerry is one of them…

    We will survive again, we are much stronger now.

  8. JOHN said:

    Kerry is a fraud just like when he threw his medals over the wall he is nothing but a dog and pony show at best!! Shame on you it is clear he is no friend of Armenian Americans or a advicate for human rights !!!!!!!!!

  9. Shant Harootunian said:

    As much as I hate to admit it, Turkey’s geopolitical importance in the Caucasus, far outranks that of Armenia. They have the population, the army and the allies, while poor Armenia has only Russia, and to a lesser extant, Iran, to rely on.
    Unfortunately Armenia’s political clout will continue to be minimal for many, many years until significant changes occur both internally within Armenia and externally within the Middle East.

  10. Art Melqon said:

    In order to have tangible and noticeable influence in US political process there must be a VERY simple rule for US Armenian population eligible to vote (at any level) – a. if a candidate is not a staunch supporter of Armenian causes (main being the official US government recognition of the Armenian Genocide) just vote for another guy or against all if a staunch supporter is not on the ballot; b. next election cycle if the trusted representative didn’t deliver enough – apply rule (a). Note: This rule must take precedence over any other issue, party affiliation, or any other relative issue! Warning: The rule will give better results over longer period of time.
    If this rule was applied properly, some would feel the “small” clout of The Armenian Vote – in particular Obama in 2012 – and Armenians in US would not the bitter feeling.

  11. Alex Postallian said:

    Kerry is married to a wealthy woman,so its not the money,thats making him pro turkey,gooble.Then he has to be two-face,lacking the guts to stand up to oppression.Why would anyone bow to jerky turkey,if not for a payoff,but for moral principals.They are the biggest COWARDS in middle east,never have they assailed anyone of equal force,always twenty times smaller,UNARMED women children and old people.Thats the jerky turkey style.ALL TALK NO ACTION.The last issue,how can you stand that putrid smell,that is part of them, and live in that swine animal country of injustice…

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