Sunday, June 6, 2010

Talking Turkey

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Gaza flotilla disaster is how it has strained relations between America and Turkey.  It can’t be emphasized enough how extraordinarily dumb it would be for the US to antagonize Turkey. The country has a number of internal issues that I’m not exactly happy with, most notably the relationship between the Turkish majority (58 million) and the Kurdish minority (12 million). But it’s also a middle income country of 72 million people that has been trending in the right direction both economically and politically for the past two decades. And it has been a stalwart US ally for decades, so much so that the US has positioned nukes there and has two large bases.

I was never pleased how much the rhetoric of democracy and human rights was subsumed by realpolitik during the Cold War. But at least when it happened it made short-term sense. Now realpolitik is being subsumed by a bizarre mish-mash of tribalism, religion(s), campaign contributions, and arms sales. That makes no sense whatsoever. In the long-run, the US needs to have good relations with Turkey, Egypt (beyond the military), and Iran. They will be the regional powers in the future. But the US can’t, because for now it is enabling Israel’s immoral and self-destructive behavior.

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