We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My friend Gerald Robbins is an expert on Turkey, and Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. After reading my post yesterday, Uncertainty Is An Excuse For Obama Inaction In The Middle East, Robbins wrote to me about my comment that “it is Turkey, closest and able, that should bear the weight for now if there is to be armed intervention” in Syria.
I should have added that is unlikely, in addition to my recommendation that at most for now “the US and other Western countries, if they really care about the deaths from Assad’s forces, can supply some arms [I should have italicized for emphasis “some”] to the rebels, to be more effective, to defend against Assad’s onslaughts, and to keep Assad preoccupied while Iran is dealt with” as the priority.
Below, Robbins elaborates on why there is no Turkey likely for Syria:
While I largely agree with your thoughts about the Obama administration’s muddled response to what’s transpiring in the Middle East, I don’t believe that Turkey will “bear the weight” for what’s occurring in Syria and furthermore Iran.
If I’m reading the tea leaves right, Washington envisions Ankara becoming the regional gendarme.It jibes with the popular theory of Turkey being the vital cultural, economic and strategic “bridge” between Europe and the Middle East.It’s also reminiscent of circa 1970’s Beltway thinking when pre-revolutionary Iran was deemed the necessary sheriff for keeping the peace amid its Arab neighbors.It was wishfully oversimplified thinking then (such assessments didn’t recognize the internal problems besieging the Shah) and while circumstances have changed, governmental viewpoints haven’t.Furthermore it’s yet another rebuke to Israel and the strained relations it has with Obama’s presidency.Since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is deemed by President Obama to be one of his closest friends, the nettlesome Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t merit such bonhomie.
Turkey will not bear any weight regarding Syria and Iran unless there is prior approval coming from the UN, EU, NATO, Arab League or any other multi/unilateral organization.Despite the growing unrest occurring along its southern border with Syria (its longest frontier), current Turkish foreign policy is consensus-driven.Ankara won’t endanger its EU membership application by embarking on a self-determined adventure, nor will it squander its newfound reputation as the Arab Spring’s democratic beacon – nevermind the “brotherly” ties Prime Minister Erdogan recently had with Bashar Assad.Furthermore Turkey needs to be mindful of the Kurdish issue and the crossborder problems it can cause.Syria’s well aware that the Kurds are Turkey’s greatest domestic challenge and can enflame the situation via subversion and subterfuge.Ankara can look at nearby Lebanon to heed what Damascus can potentially wrought throughout Anatolia.Add to this reticence that the Turkish military is presently concentrated along the Iraqi border dealing with nearly thirty years of Kurdish separatism and subversion.Another separatist front emanating form the Syrian side would tax logistical resources.
CIA director David Petraeus held meetings with Turkish officials in Ankara this week to discuss “more fruitful cooperation on the region’s most pressing issues in the coming months”.It would also be advisable that US intelligence review recent history and possible scenarios before making a final decision.History repeats and often in unfavorable ways.
True that re. the economy. It's in a very tenuous state - one of the multiple matters the MSM doesn't report amid the Turkey as strategic ally POV.
The military's getting co-opted via a series of overblown, politicized scandals and infiltration, especially the security services. The latter is a no go zone for investigative reporting, since it usually causes imprisonment.
Without getting too deep in the weeds, here's a couple of unsolicited thoughts. First, it seems uncertain that western opinions about Syria have any real influence in Ankara. While the U.N., NATO and the U.S. are always making noise about what should happen, they are more bark than bite. The bottom line is that the West has no political staying power for an invasion, silly 'no-fly' zone or whatever. Which is a good thing because any western military action is the worst possible choice. As for EU economic leverage and the 'benefits' of membership, have you seen Greece lately? Other, smaller nations are rethinking EU membership, why not the Turks? The last time I checked, the EU is in big trouble and the Turks will not be keen to bail out the Greeks. At most, the Turks may seek to carve out some exceptionally favorable E.U. membership terms for themselves. Speaking of carving, where is it written that the new Syrian nation will control the same territory? So, Western influence is marginal and the Turks will do as they see fit. As for the uncertainty of Turkish intervention in Syria. It is not uncertain, they are intervening. Turkey is reportedly providing safe haven and supplies for the refugees and the rebel forces. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim Arab countries are also contributing money, supplies and political backing. That the Arabs would prefer we bankroll their efforts should not be surprising. That Obama, McCain and other confused Americans are falling for it, doesn't surprise me either. Bashar Assad is a dead duck. It's only a question of how long and how messy. We, in the west, need to let the Turks and Arabs take care of their mess, on their dime and with their blood, without any direct interference from us. Interference from the west will only make things worse. On this point, western interference will likely tip the political balance in Turkey towards clerical rule, as it did elsewhere. That would be a bad thing. So, whatever replaces Assad, Iran and Hezbollah will be weaker and the Russians won't have a Mediterranean port. Good stuff. For the guys in Washington who love to orchestrate regime changes and 'enforce' humanitarian efforts with precision bombing and other kinds of consequence free killing, please get over yourselves. Or, we can begin our invasion of Iran in Lebanon. Once we settle Lebanon with American loving Muslims, we can invade Syria. Then, Turkey. And so forth.
What most Muslims seem not to understand is that Americans don't care what happens in Muslim economies, simply because the Muslim world seem incapable of creating anything useful to humanity, thus depriving their fellow humans of over 20% of its potential brainpower. (If one must go back to the Caliphate to find an invention, it's simply proves the assertion.)
(Note: In case it needs stating, oil is not created. Also, this assertion does not apply to Muslims in the West, where they have been free to apply their intellect.)