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Biden, on the Armenian genocide recognition bill

May 14, 2007 |  7:31 pm

We had Democratic Delaware Senator and perennial presidential longshot Joe Biden into the Editorial Board the other day, to talk largely about Iraq and the state of his campaign. At the very end of the meeting, we asked about the enduringly controversial Senate resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide. Here's how the conversation went:

Times: Do you have a view on the Armenian genocide resolution?

Biden: Yeah -- I'm the guy that originally introduced it years ago. And it is a very difficult time to re-introduce it again; it's been reintroduced again by Durbin, and I support it. And the reason is simple: I have found in my experience that you cannot have a solid relationship with a country based on fiction. It occurred. It occured.

And to continue with this fiction that it never occurred -- let's shove it down their throats, that it never occurred -- means that you never get to the place where you have a relationship based on a factual set of norms. And they've got to get over it.

Times: Do you think it'll pass?

Biden: Uh, probably not. I support it; Dole and I used to be the ones that carried it for years, it was the Dole-Biden initiative, and it is one of those things that right now, I have very serious staff. My staff says, "You sure you want to do this, Senator? Because look at the circumstance right now, with Gul being denied the presidency [...] and a real nervousness out there that the Army may very well take over. [...]

My view is, it's the same way I think we oughtta be dealing with Russia and every other country: If you want to be a member of the international community in good standing, it's got to be based upon historical fact. You can't pretend. And we've allowed Putin lately to pretend, and we're gonna pay a hell of a price for it. We have not in the last six years made clear that we want you part of Europe, we want you part of us, but there are certain basic ground rules.

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