Obama Seeks 38 Percent Cut in Armenia Aid, Breaks Military Parity

obamagulwavingWASHINGTON–Despite a 9% increase in overall foreign aid spending, President Barack Obama on Thursday called for a38% cut in aid to Armenia, a 20% increase in aid to Azerbaijan, and the abandonment of the longstanding Armenia-Azerbaijan military aid parity agreement in favor of Baku, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

These figures, released today as part of the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget, represent a sharp departure from the President’s campaign commitments to maintain U.S. assistance to Armenia and to foster its growth and development through aid and trade. In January of 2008 and again only days before the November election, the President said he would “help foster Armenia’s growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid,” adding that he will also, “strengthen the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments.”

“President Obama, despite his promise to maintain U.S. assistance to Armenia and his campaign commitment to help foster Armenia’s growth and development, has called for a thirty-eight percent cut in aid to Armenia,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “His proposal to sharply reduce vitally needed assistance to Armenia, even as he is increasing overall foreign aid spending, is all the more disappointing in light of the urgent economic challenges facing Armenia.”

President Obama’s budget calls for $30 million in U.S. aid to Armenia, down 38% from the FY09 allocation of $48 million. Under his proposal, funding for Azerbaijan would increase 20% from $18.5 million to $22.12 million. The complete international affairs budget proposed by the White House is $53,872,901.

In Foreign Military Finance spending, President Obama has requested $4 million for Azerbaijan and only $3 million for Armenia, while funds for International Military Education and Training (IMET) represent an even starker break in the parity agreement struck between Congress and the White House in 2001, with $900,000 being proposed for Azerbaijan and $450,000 for Armenia.

The Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees will now review the President’s budget and each draft their own versions of the FY 2010 foreign assistance bill.

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32 Comments

  1. Ralph said:

    It is quite obvious now that Obama is an ’empty suit’. He has not only turned his back on the promises he made to the Armenian-American community, but to all Americans, in general. Whether the issue is the Armenian Genocide, getting out of Iraq, stopping torture, not having lobbyist in his administration, bailing out special interests…etc, this guy has bold-faced lied.
    The good news is that the the corporate media can only prop him up for so long. In short, the average American is catching on to the fact that they were bamboozled by Obama and that he hi not working for America’s best interests.
    With that said, I will not be surprised if Obama does not serve his full term in office as the American people will demand his resignation…mark my words.

  2. Frank said:

    The Obama VOW factor has faded very fast, we now have another puppet President, I did not expect any thing else. I for ne was never fooled by his so called chisma.

    I really miss George Bush, at least he had the back bone to call a spade a spade.

  3. Garabet Moumdjian said:

    Now that Obama is beligerently revoking his pre-election pledges to the Armenian community and making it clear that he is no different than his predecessors vis-a-vis the Armenian issues, I forcefully ask of all those who time and again cajoled us into believing in him: How do you explain what he is doing?

    This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. After this, I, with enough reason, will never believe any presidential candidate’s pre election promises. Moreover, I will also forcefully rebuff anyone who tries to persuade me that this candidate is better because he/she promises this and that.

    When months ago I said that for me McCain is at least being honest in his stance regarding the Armenian Genocide, many attacked me for being anti-Obama. Now let those people try to find fox holes to hide in.

  4. William Bairamian said:

    Mr. Moumdjian,

    I’d like to respond to you because I would be one of those people who apparently “cajoled” you and others to vote for Obama.

    No one, not even the most ardent supporters of Obama, are happy or try to justify what he is doing. We cannot be because we were the ones, after all, who were responding daily to the naysayers and trying to convince them that if we united behind one candidate, we would be able to engender change. Although you may draw parallels between Obama and Bush and Clinton based on all three candidates having promised to recognize the Genocide during their campaigns, Obama had made a concerted effort to reach out to the Armenian community, something not seen from any other American presidential candidate. He was, therefore, different from them and gave us reason to believe that he would be different as president, as well.

    Now, while you and other skeptics relish not having ever believed him or having supported McCain because of his purported honesty, I ask you to consider one question: would it have been better to support McCain knowing that we would spend at least another four years not achieving the justice we have worked so hard for or was it better to have supported Obama who at least had the wherewithal to acknowledge that Armenians were a significant enough voting bloc to pay attention to? I was, and am, a supporter of latter.

    Your comments represent the mentality that attempts to stagnate any progress that politically active Armenian-Americans make: it is an unfounded submission to the supposed futility of politics. For someone who has worked hard for the advancement of Armenian-American issues in politics and not nearly as hard as some people who have dedicated their entire lives and countless hours toward those objectives, I find your arrogance and condescending tone highly offensive.

    So, no sir, I will not try to find a fox hole to hide in. And, while you are commentating from the sidelines and perpetuating the negativity that has kept us down, I certainly hope you are looking for your own fox hole. Because when we do succeed and we do win justice, I hope not to see you there with those who continued to fight in the face of every setback, every broken promise, and every person like you who had already given up.

  5. Tro said:

    I blame all of it entirely on the ARMENIAN president, Serge Sargsian. This is all HIS doing. It’s all because of him and that “road map agreement” that he signed TWO DAYS before April 24 that Obama did not say the word “Genocide” and is backing out of all the pledges he made to the Armenians. He is a spineless man who caved in to foreign pressure. He is not acting on the interests of the Armenian people; he is acting on the interests of Vladamir Putin.

  6. ajamian said:

    all usa presidents so far are cowards,scared from telling the truth about genocide. the only presidents in the world who got guts are russia, china,south america and most of europe countries france is very good, but unluckyly UK is hesitating…

  7. Edgar Goshnazian said:

    I agree with William Bairamian’s response to Mr. Moumdjian. Well put retort.

    You, Mr. Moumdjian are giving up all too quickly. In the midst of a battle, you are surrendering your arms and falling back, calling to your fellow comrades to do the same.

    Yes there are set backs, as Mr.Bairamian stated, but for someone who isn’t actively involved in politics daily as you are not,and people like Mr. Bairamian and I are; you don’t see the deceit that occurs, as well as the progress…you should hold your tongue.

  8. tanya said:

    Well, there is nothing new here other than the fact that he used the Armenian people for votes. Please, let’s remember who we are dealing with here. It’s a politician who favors the muslim world. Take a closer look at the things he does and the comments he’s made thus far. States that the U.S. isn’t a Christian country. He had gone to lecture at a catholic university and had them cover all the religious icons. That’s not normal for a so-called Christian President of this country, is it? Why is he bowing to a muslim leader?? With all that said, do you think that he is actually going to try to help the first Christian Nation?? NO WAY… I don’t think so.

  9. Rafa said:

    Obama made the cut because of Washington’s disappointment of what happened in Armenia on March 1st…Though as a candidate he couldnt say this, as president and in a realm of executive bureaucracy the US is punishing Armenia for its backtracking-type of democracy. Let us not forget president Sarkisian is still waiting for his personal congradalatory message from former president Bush

  10. gosdanian said:

    Asbarez, ARF, ANCA, called on Armenian Americans to support this president. I didn’t. What do you have to say about him now?

  11. Vasken MAVLIAN said:

    Pre-Election promises should be mandate, and Departure from it should be legislated as a Crime of Corruption.

  12. Katia said:

    What a shame! I hope President Serj Sarkissian wakes up fast from his romantic dream, and annuls
    his “road map” agreement before any more damage is done to us as a people. I hope he sees how everything is backfiring on him. Not only did he majorly set back years of blood and guts efforts to get recognition for the Armenian Genocide, he has played into the Turkish and American hands like a fool. And what did he get for selling off our national pride, history and sacrifice? A proposed 38% reduction in aid to Armenia by the U.S., a road to nowhere reminiscent of the Palestinian and Israeli “road maps”, and yet another grip hold by Turkey. How many kinds of massacre is it going to take for us to get the fact that Turkey wants us out, economically, politically or otherwise. Any agreement with Turkey is most likely bad for Armenia.

  13. Mike said:

    The problem is not Obama: it was clear that he wouldn’t keep all his promises from the very beginning.
    The problem is the strategy of Armenian organizations in US – they ignore the realities and create very dangerous illusions.
    Every time these illusions are shattered they blame someone else – Obama, or whoever it is.
    It’s time to realize that while Armenia remains the corrupt, non-democratic and poor 3rd world country that it is now,
    neither Obama nor any other US president will be able to solve its problems.
    It is high time for the US Armenian organizations to shift their focus on Armenia itself. Instead of waisting millions
    on courting influential lobbyists in Washington, they should start helping Armenians in Armenia fight corruption, defend their basic human rights and build a viable state.

  14. Harut D. said:

    well, this is it. I’m not voting 4 years from now for Obama. Or should I call him scumobama.

    I agree with MIke., US Armenian organizations should concentrate more on Armenia itself, solving its corruption and human rights problems. All that aid that goes to Armenia, where does it really go? ? ?

  15. Jacque armoudikian said:

    guys I go back to history and say remember SEVRE and LOZAN and especialy KHRIMIAN HAYRIG . He who has the big guns wins. Its our dutie and resbonsebility towards our nation to get stronger and more powerfull and show theeth, than everyone will listen, take ISRAEL as an exemple. OBAMA MOBAMA he’s just another peace of the chess game, lets be strong enough to win. The time is now, lets put the bikiring behind us and fight as one PEOPLE and one NATION.See you all on the batlfields.

  16. Julian Maggar said:

    we Armenians should first of all be more united . Armenia is not in a good shape the people are tired and fed up ,the youth want to ,not leave but flee. The armenian males are becoming less and less responsible,the armenian females want to marry foreigners at any price .no jobs, no vision . Armenia is decaying . BEWARNED! it is a shame because armenians are so smart and gifted . Imagine even the armenian churches are separating from each other.

  17. Ara Ghanime said:

    Emotions run deep and it hurts to see injustice to our people repeated over and over again for more then a millenia in the form of genocide, massacres, extermination, racial cleansing and in our present times with denials which amount to POLITICAL GENOCIDE. Shame to those that preach justice, democracy, human rights and so forth, yet feel comfortable to turn a blind eye on a political double standard as long as it will fit “the larger political picture” and become an accomplice in perpetuating the denial of genocide.
    As Mike and Jacque point out, we need to first unite our own stand as a nation. We need to look at our political parties as a means to an end and not the end itself. Our culture, heritage, traditions and nationalism should have priority above all personal aspirations, political agendas and so forth. Once united we need to stand as a viable uncorrupt nation and build relentlessly our might. It is then, that maybe we will exchange the paper spoon that Khrimian Hayrig had with a metal “knife” and carve our destiny as a nation. We as a people, have the right to live and survive as a nation. We probably do not have that many chances left due to the many challenges of the diaspora, having eventual assimilation in mind, it is time to unite. Let us not score points. Remaining hopefull…….

  18. Armanan said:

    obama like other presidents before, does as he is told. In this day and age one doesn’t get to the white house without being bought before hand. I mean well when I say this but, all Armenians who voted for obama because they believed that politicians keep their promises, smack yourself… thanks!

  19. Armanan said:

    Mike and Julian, I wonder what Armenia you two went to? Armenia is NOT a third world country, it is better off comparatively to all its neighbors in standard of life, had higher economic growth in real terms than its neighbors, save azerbaijan (which is a mess) All this with 2 of its 4 borders closed. Stop comparing Armenia with countries that have more resources, larger populations, and have been independent for much longer.

    The u.s. is so great yet 4 years after katrina we still have people without homes, living in shelters. We see how their vets are treated, many end up homeless or in walter reed type hospitals. The slums of major cities are only growing, just look at LA.

    As for democracy, that is fine and dandy but I would rather have a strong Armenia than a weak and democratic one. Now we have neither. A country is powerful not because it is democratic, one is not required for the other. We can make Armenia stronger and I have faith that it will become so, we need to shift much of our focus from lobbying for Genocide recognition to improving life in Armenia.

    Anyway, Armenians need to put their money where there mouth is, otherwise they are full of hot air.

  20. Hovik Derashotian said:

    Strike 2 for the Armenians, it seems that president Bush was not as bad as we thought. Shame on us for believing candidate Obama.

  21. Tsoghig said:

    I have to add my 2 cents to this and as an Armenian Activist and a staunch Democrat. Obama was given the wide opening to re-neg on his promise. The President of Armenia is the real sell out here and if he didn’t make his announcement of rosy relation building with Turkey 2 DAYS BEFORE APRIL 24 Obama would have had to face a much tougher crowd if he had not used the word Genocide. He still should have done the right thing but I am not going to blame him…the blame lies squarely in the President of Armenia’s hands.

    Also people, the reality of DC is that budgets are based on previous year’s budgets. The people who write these things have worked in the state department for years, maybe even since Clinton’s presidency and because of the time crunch these federal employees take the previous years’ budget and just change the dates. So no one should be surprised by this. What we need to do as a community and what the ANCA is doing now is that Armenians need to get degrees in International Relations (BA, MA, and PhDs) and we need them to apply and work for the State Department. If we get Armenians working in the government things will start going our way.

  22. Fighter said:

    I say fight to the end, and unite. Fight with the disconnect, and cultural ignorance we all posses towards Armenia and Armenians. Concentrate on your local Armenian communities, first. If we unite and support each other, it will reflect in Armenia as well. Continuous avoidance to get involved with your local communities, will only drive us apart from each other and at the end, we will be like Irish, and Italians who came and never went back.

    “What can we do to promote world peace?” She answered without hesitation, “Go home and love your family.”
    Mother Teresa

    What can we do to build a stronger nation ? My answer: “Go home and love your Armenian family and your Armenian community.”

    I do not need anyone to recognize what has happen to my family. I know and you know, thats enough for me. We need to move on and build a nation with stronger walls. History will repeat itself , everybody will watch, and there will be NOBODY to stop the bloodshed.

  23. Hovik Derashotian said:

    My dearest sister: Tsoghig
    Neither the Armenian people nor the Armenian president can stand aginst the might and the wealth of the
    Turkey and and the Turkish lobby. And wasn’t President Obama that pressured Armenia to come to an agreement with Turkey by ordering President Sarkysian to go to Turkey, while Obama was there. The only
    president that had the guts to stand up to Turkey was President Ronald Reagan, and the pro Dem Armenians
    can’t accept the fact . We chant Armenians unite every April 24th yet there isn’t any unity among Armenians.
    So many times Republican Armenian’s have been openly rediculed and chastised by Atemnian Dems, that I think it is time to wake up and smell the roses. All Armenians are good no matter what, period. Love one another and we will overcome, and don’t profile one another.

  24. Katia Karageuzian said:

    Katia from a few comments ago (also an ANCA supporter):
    Well said Tshoghig! Noone will respect a country that does not respect its own people first. For the president of Armenia to succomb to pressure and gamble with everything that the Diaspora has accomplished so far is really regretable. One wonders about who he is working for, because he seems to be communicating with the Turks more than the Armenians. Am I to understand from your comment that the reduction in help to Armenia made by Obama was already in the works from last year’s budget? Infiltration into the government system is hands down one of our best bets in gaining some political power in this country. By the way, I am really enjoying this chat, and want to congradulate Asbarez for making this venue available to our communities! Bravo Asbarez.! I completely agree with those of you who think that we should turn our attention to our motherland.
    I suggest that Asbarez make this on-line “chatting” available in Armenia soon, so that we can better understand the viewpoint of the Armenian people, and work on connecting with them on a more effective level.

  25. admin said:

    Actually Katia, not only can you type your comment in Armenian but also comment in the Armenian version of the site. There are two flags at the top right corner of the website (right above the search bar) you can go into the Armenian page and comment in Armenian or English.

  26. Betty K. said:

    I agree with Katia, and I certainly agree with the satement that Vasken made “Pre-Election promises should be mandate, and Departure from it should be legislated as a Crime of Corruption.”

    There is a bigger picture here and that is, what is the lesson for Armenians. Even in this forum we come together and point fingers instead of joining our forces and creating harmony.
    The lesson for Armenians all over the world is to unite, create peace, respect each other and our history, be proud of who we are and where we came from and most of all strengthening Armenia.
    I know we are all disappointed, however let’s use this experience to our advantage and let’s stop “barking up the wrong tree”.

    At last, all I have to say is this; the time for justice and recognition for Armenians will come only when we stop the wars within ourselves. The time is near, all we need to do is BELIEVE that it will happen and it will.
    In the meantime our job is to educate about our history and most importantly about our vision for Armenian.
    Peace to all.

  27. Garabet Moumdjian said:

    Dear Mr. William Bayramian.

    I admire your work and effort for the Anc. Keep that up…

    I am mature enough to take criticism without feeling injured. However, don’t put words in my mouth. I am not a McCain supporter nor would I be. My issue with him was the war in Iraq.

    Neither do I have problems with the ANC and what it represents. I think I am older than you are and, therefore, I can say without hesitation, that I was there before you. Please also regfer to ANCA Chairman’s letter to Obama that came after your and my comments here.

    I am not and I am not going to be in a fox hole in 4 years time. But I will wait and see how you will try to sell Obama again to me at the time!!!!

    Live long and prosper my friend…

  28. Victor Ardzatouni said:

    Having read all the comments above I would like to make a few suggestions:

    1. I cannot understand why (according to some people)… when one President doesn’t do as well as expected, a previous bad one seems to be better than they actually were.

    President Bush was simply bad at his job. Yes, he was straight talking (which is good) but the ‘personal touch’ he gave to his administration along with his vice-president and defense secretary…made the world a more cynical and less optimistic place. Obama stands for change IN America. What we all know is that the US will do whatever is in their interests, which is logical. It is in the US’s interests to be an ally to Turkey (for business and military purposes) and an ally to Azerbaijan (for access to oil and gas fields and the central Asian Republics..yet more oil and gas). Armenia is just a rock for America. It just happens to be at an interesting area and it’s Christian.

    2. Armenians from the Homeland would probably at this stage say that they simply DON’T CARE about being patriotic and ‘clean’. The world has changed and it has become a cynical place. All.. most people want is to live their life. Keeping one’s beliefs and national identity requires too much hard work. What people want in Armenia is economic activity so they will have jobs. Unfortunately, corruption is rife and there is not much the diaspora can do unless a respectable number of incorruptable diasporans move there to control the flow and usage of financial aid. That is the only way…but I haven’t seen many incorruptable people around. Have you?

    In the last couple of years I have read about young Armenian girls being trafficked to the sex industries of Istanbul and Dubai..Frankly I am disgusted and extremely angry about this. We should be ashamed of ourselves that we even let this happen. This is the case when I know many people in the diaspora tha cannot find an Armenian girl to get married to.

    3. The Armenian nation faces 2 major problems. The assimilation of the diaspora and the survival of our Homeland. I have written in the past about both of them. All I will say here is this. Being UNITED and overcoming our petty differences has NEVER been more important. The only way for our small country to survive is for it to occupy a special niche/role in the area. The role Switzerland plays in Europe, the role Israel and (previously) Lebanon play in the Middle East. These places don’t have natural resources. Instead they invest in human capital, education, high tech and construction.

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