James Fallows makes some good observations about the influence of ethnic and interest group lobbies and the legitimacy of criticising the potentially adverse effects of their recommended policies on American interests. He is correct that opposition to the genocide resolution doesn’t make someone anti-Armenian. Then again, I would make a point of noting that no one who supports the resolution has made such a stupid charge. That’s one place where there seems to be a significant difference in the treatment of different lobbies.
Of course, the chief difference between the Armenian lobby, so called, and the Cuban and “pro-Israel” lobbies is that the latter two actually get concrete policies enacted that they want to see enacted in the face of the obvious costs and disadvantages those policies involve. According to the harsher critics, the “pro-Israel” lobby has enough influence to propel America into regional wars or at least to acquiesce in Israel’s own excesses, helping to alienate us from most of the world and contributing to security threats to our own country. The Armenians can’t even get a symbolic resolution through one side of Congress, the only consequence of which would be the irrational overreaction of one ally. Does anyone really think that Armenian-Americans could effectively shape U.S. policy in the Caucasus or our relationship vis-a-vis Azerbaijan? Could they get Washington to recognise Karabakh? Of course not, and therein lies all the difference in the magnitude of the influence of different lobbying groups.