Countries Must Take First Step Toward Peace

It’s obvious that the recent peace treaty upon which Turkey and Armenia have agreed isn’t the strongest signifier of peace between the nations’ citizens. Regardless, overarching statements from world leaders do make a difference over time.

As powerful players in history, Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan recognized that — given the 1915 Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks — one that the nation still refuses to acknowledge — bad blood still runs pretty deep here.

While clearly, a single well-publicized treaty can’t instantly reverse 96 years of ill will, hostility does fade with time.

A sincere and convicted declaration by a national leader can also seep into his people’s consciousness over an extended period of time. The Truman Doctrine of 1947, for instance — which stressed the need to spread democracy by preventing communism from taking root in Turkey and Greece — set the tone for decades of interventionist foreign policy in America.

In this case a tone of peacefulness is still far from being fully established, but signing a peace treaty is a positive first step on the road to reconciliation. For genuine good will to be established between two long-hostile nations, a pre-emptive gesture may need to be the starting point.

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