Cautiously Optimistic about Success of Biden/Harris in Presidential Elections

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier


On November 3, 2020, the American public, including Armenian-Americans, will vote for the next President of the United States.

As to whom should we elect on Nov. 3 to be President and Vice President is a highly controversial subject. There are strong and passionate feelings for and against Biden or Trump, often expressed in rude and offensive terms. 

Given Pres. Trump’s pro-Turkishness, non-existent position on Armenian issues, and his erratic behavior, I decided to vote for the Biden/Harris ticket. In doing so, I am motivated not just by the merits of their candidacies, but even more so by the failings of the Trump/Pence duo. Therefore a vote for Biden/Harris is necessarily a vote against Trump/Pence. Four years ago, I did not vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, given my total disappointment with both candidates. However, I cannot remain neutral this time around because four more years of Trump would be the death knell of democracy in the United States and American relations with the world. The United States cannot continue to be held hostage by the minority of radical right-wing U.S. citizens who form Trump’s base. Trump was saved in 2016 by the Electoral College, despite getting three million less votes than Hillary Clinton.

As far as Armenian issues are concerned, given the Armenian community’s disappointment with previous U.S. Presidents’ lavish pre-election promises which they ignored afterwards, I am not optimistic that what Biden/Harris are promising now will be fulfilled, should they be elected. Nevertheless, we have repeatedly witnessed Trump’s love affair with Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan which is not about to end any time soon.

However, Turkish leaders are clever enough to woo Biden/Harris to their side after the election as they have done to Trump and many other previous presidents. This will be a critical battle between Turkish and Armenian lobbyists which regrettably has been won repeatedly by Turkey.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris have clearly expressed their strong support for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

In a letter to the Armenian National Committee of America on Sept. 16, 2019, Presidential candidate Biden stated: “The United States must reaffirm, once and for all, our record on the Armenian Genocide. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children and the mass deportation of 2 million Armenians from their homes. If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words ‘never again’ lose their meaning. The facts must be as clear and as powerful for future generations as for those whose memories are seared by tragedy. Failing to remember or acknowledge the fact of a genocide only paves the way for future mass atrocities.”

While this is a very supportive statement, Biden has left out from his text the name of the perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide: Ottoman Empire or Turkey.

Biden has a long record of supporting various Armenian genocide resolutions as a U.S. Senator, but when he was Vice President, President Barack Obama thwarted all efforts in Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, breaking his multiple campaign promises. Instead, Pres. Obama repeatedly used the term “Meds Yeghern” (Great Crime) to describe the Armenian Genocide, which was copied by Pres. Trump in the past four years. It is ironic that the two Presidents disagree on almost everything, except for their agreement to avoid the term Armenian Genocide.

Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, as a U.S. Senator, sent a letter to the Armenian Assembly on Sept. 16, 2019, expressing her support for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Harris wrote: “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of Senate Resolution 150, which ensures that American foreign policy appropriately reflects and acknowledges the horrors of the Armenian genocide. When it comes to crimes against humanity, we can never be silent -- we must always speak uncomfortable truths about the past, lest we repeat it.”

Given the adoption of Armenian Genocide resolutions by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate last year, Armenian issues are no longer limited to the reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. There are several other important issues such as providing a larger amount of foreign aid to Armenia and Artsakh, improving U.S.-Armenia relations, supporting the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, and pressuring Turkey to remove the blockade of Armenia. These are some of the key issues that Armenian-Americans should demand that Biden/Harris take a strong position on before they are endorsed for President/Vice President.

Ali Chinar, President of Turkish Heritage Organization, wrote in the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah on August 12, 2020, describing Biden’s negative views about Turkey:

“– He is against storing nuclear weapons at the Incirlik Air Base [in Turkey].

– He is against Turkey’s military operations in Syria and stated that YPG/PKK was betrayed by the U.S.

– He made statements relating to concerns about freedom of the press and human rights in Turkey.

– He emphasizes that, in collaboration with its allies in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey must be isolated.

– He sides with Turkey’s withdrawal of Russian S-400 missiles; otherwise, he demands sanctions.

– He has not made any statements about the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) or the extradition of its members to Turkey, and nothing was done on the issue during his vice presidency.

– He criticized the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

– He said that he would recognize the so-called Armenian genocide.”

Between now and the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential election, there is much more to be said in future articles about Biden and Trump and their positions on Armenian and Turkish issues.


Other Articles from Author

Read also

Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s meeting with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov commenced in Geneva
On October 29, Azerbaijan continued targeting peaceful communities of Artsakh, including the capital Stepanakert.
This is followed by photographing or videotaping the atrocities and published publishing them. 
Оggi il Consiglio Comunale di Palermo ha adottato all'unanimità una mozione urgente sul riconoscimento della Repubblica di Artsakh.
Azeri Soldiers Wearing Armenian Uniforms May Be Shot by Their Own Troops
Beginning tomorrow, a detachment of 13 females, including myself, will begin military training exercises
1 civilian killed and 2 wounded in Avetaranots village as a result of Azerbaijani missile attacks
As agreed yesterday in Washington DC, with the US mediation, from 08.00 Armenian side will maintain the full ceasefire.
The humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020.
Both the Army and the militia forces stand firmly in their positions, exerting heroic efforts to defend the Homeland.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s Interview to Deutsche Welle
We call on Azerbaijan and its supporter Turkey not to undermine the efforts of the international community to establish a verifiable ceasefire regime
Both our army and the population are well aware of ​​the difficulties this war presents and the problems of overcoming them in the long run
I am Voting for Biden… To End the Trump Nightmare
They have to document all these violations physically being in Artsakh; they have to see and perceive everything in person.
The briefing of the representative of the RA Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan and Albert Hovhannisyan’s (was posthumously awarded the Medal of Courage) father Artak Hovhannisyan
We are ready to join our brothers
Perpetrators of such criminal actions should be punished by all means of international criminal law.
Mercenary terrorists in the uniforms of the Azerbaijani border guard troops... you can imagine what happened to them.
The Azerbaijani enemy launched an attack in the southern direction in order to occupy favorable positions.
From 16:30 to 17:45 the Air Defence units shot down 3 enemy UAVs in the air space of the Republic of Armenia and 1 UAV in Artsakh.
Since the last update the new losses of Azerbaijan are: 5 UAVs, 2 armored vehicles, 1 plane, 150 casualties.
The announcement of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan that a Su-25 airplane belonging to the Armenian side was allegedly shot down on October 17 is another misinformation
Air defense units of the Armed Forces of Armenia shot down two enemy UAVs in the airspace of the Republic of Armenia.
Statement by the MFA of Armenia on targeting of the territory of Armenia by Azerbaijan