The subtext in Secretary of State Kerry's agonizing over whether to label ISIS's systematic, premeditated rape and slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and Shi'ites in Syria is what it means for the million-and-a-half skeletons in Turkey's closet. There is little objective doubt that during World War I, Turkey murdered around 1.5 million Armenians, but Turkey cannot abide the least suggestion that it engaged in genocide, and the US has thus far deferred to Turkish sensibilities.
The US's failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide and Turkey's culpability, and to induce Turkey to learn from that dark period in its history undermines the US's ability to identify and condemn genocide elsewhere. This is the undercurrent in Secretary of State Kerry's bizarre inability to call a spade a spade in Northern Syria.
In brief, the 2015 omnibus spending bill included a requirement that the State Department make a determination of whether ISIS was engaged in genocide. Anticipating and perhaps hoping to guide the results of that State Department review, on Monday the House of Representatives passed an unanimous resolution declaring that ISIS's actions are genocide. That resolution has no legal effect.