Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On History ...

Yesterday the House of Representatives called on Japan (in a non-binding resolution) to apologize for the use of "comfort women" (women dragooned by the Imperial military during World War II to serve as involuntary prostitutes). Earlier Japan's ambassador in Washington had warned that passage of the resolution would "almost certainly have lasting and harmful effects on the deep friendship, close trust and wide-ranging cooperation our two nations now enjoy."

The resolution passed unanimously. So it is interesting that members of the House who have argued that the House should not be involved in "writing history" when it comes to matters such as recognizing the large numbers of Armenian deaths that occurred as a result of deliberate Ottoman policy especially if it threatens the U.S. - Turkey security resolution didn't see a problem with the precedent this resolution sets (or didn't show up to vote?)

So, do these resolutions in the U.S. rise and fall on lobbying and public relations? Is something like the "comfort women" vote considered "safe"?

The New Republic ran an interesting essay a few weeks ago about lobbying efforts to defeat the Armenian genocide resolution by Michael Crowley. This certainly doesn't enhance America's reputation for "moral leadership".

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