Skip to comments.Turkey takes a dive in the fortunes of war "Russia looks good. Turkey doesn't"
Posted on 05/12/2003 8:27:26 AM PDT by Destro
Turkey takes a dive in the fortunes of war
By Ian Bremmar
Published: May 12 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: May 12 2003 5:00
Investors looking around the world to identify who stands to gain from the war in Iraq are in for some surprises. Russia looks good. Turkey doesn't.
That is different from pre-war expectations. Russia's decision to join France and Germany in opposition to the war surprised many in the Bush administration, rekindling Cold War voices that said "you can't trust the Russians". Relations between the two countries cooled as the war unfolded, with Russian technology - and technicians - facilitating some of the few losses experienced by US forces on the ground. Russia's continued support for Iran's nuclear programme has made matters worse. Hopes were pinned on British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent trip to Moscow, but President Vladimir Putin chose to focus on the so far undiscovered Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and rebuffed Blair's request to abandon Iraqi sanctions at the UN.
There will be no quick return to Mr Bush's ranch for Mr Putin. But US frustrations with Russia are short-term. The Bush administration views foreign policy through a national security lens - and in the war on terror Russia is a strategic partner. Washington receives more and better counterterrorist intelligence from Moscow than anywhere except Israel. The significance of this, anchored by regular and high-level relations between the intelligence organisations of both countries, is difficult to overestimate.
Russia is also important as NATO focuses on soft security issues and protection from rogue states. Europe does not have much interest in North Korea. Moscow does, and in an escalating conflict Putin will be called on by Washington to act.
Russia's oil is at least as important. Russia, the world's largest producer, is America's first option to diversify global energy supply away from the Middle East - a key policy goal of the Bush administration.
Finally, unlike Mr Schroeder and Mr Chirac, Putin has a functional relationship with Mr Bush. Through the worst of their troubles, the two spoke regularly. Next month's summit in St Petersburg will bring the two presidents together again, and expectations for the meeting deserve to be high.
Last year Turkey seemed in a secure position. As the sole member of NATO in the region and a strong US ally, the pending war in Iraq only enhanced Turkey's importance to the US. Times have changed. An irony of the war on Iraq is that the most democratic of Islamic states caused the greatest trouble for Washington. Washington relied on the strength of its relations with Turkey's most anti-democratic (and secular) institution, the Turkish military. That was before the fateful vote on March 1, when the Turkish parliament rejected the US request to use Turkish bases for the war on Iraq. Turkey's initial request to the US Treasury department for $90bn to secure its full co-operation (40 per cent of annual Turkish gross domestic product) hardly smoothed the way.
Unfortunately, the problems of Turkey have as much to do with changing geopolitics of the region as with Prime Minister Erdogan and his party's unwillingness to go along with US strategy. Despite the Kurdish issue in the north, Iraqi stability plays against Turkey's importance to the US. The more smoothly the state-building process proceeds in a new Iraq with a large US military presence, pro-Western emigres at the helm and a pro-Israel foreign policy, the less weight Turkey carries as a strategic ally of the United States. And with Saddam Hussein no longer a threat, the US military presence in Turkey will diminish. This, together with the reduction of US troops in Germany and Saudi Arabia, makes likely an announcement on force reductions in Turkey in coming months. It is hard to imagine America's reliance on Turkey remaining intact.
To make matters worse, tense relations between the US and "old Europe" have raised a question over those aspiring European Union member states that played a supportive role in the war. Anyone who believed Turkey's EU accession was on a smooth path had to revise his position by the time the second UN resolution was shot down and Mr Chirac wagged a finger at the "irresponsible" East Europeans. Turkey was always a stretch to be considered a member of Europe proper. Seemingly benefiting from both NATO and the EU, Turkey is now positioned to fall foul of both.
As for Turkey's immediate payments schedule, the government can ride a small post-war euphoric trend and should not fail to fulfil its obligations over the coming months. But if Turkey's external balances are to benefit from its expanded scope for trade with Iraq in the near term, its relationship with the US will have to improve. That, I fear, is not on the cards.
The author is president of Eurasia Group and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute
Supposedly, during the fateful voting newspapers were passed around indicating that the Turks were "rug merchants" holding out for the highest dollar and this was a great insult. But in fact, the Turkish government emissaries were holding out for at least 90 billion dollars, thinking they were in the cat-bird seat and the U.S. couldn't invade Iraq without a northern front launched from Turkey. So our "allies" did play the part of rug merchants out to cut the highest deal with an old and valuable friend, and cut their own throats in the process. "Stupid is as stupid does."
Good read for all the Russophobe zealots. I think some would like to repeat Nazi genocides on us, if given chance.
The only reason the Russians will be given a break by this administration is that nobody ever trusts the Russian government in the first place.
That's true. Dealing with the Russian government, you smile while looking for the knife. The Turks were a surprise, they went native and lost out.
Fear not, Russia has nothing to suffer... it is already dead.
You only make my point. Thanks.
So pointing out that a countrys government is known for being duplicitous (a point you didnt even bother to dispute) is analogous to perpetrating genocide on millions of people over their religious beliefs?
Apparently, the one thing Russia doesnt have a shortage of is hyperbole. Maybe you can export it and gets yourselves some toilet paper.
Thanks for the post.
Thanks for the post.
Thanks for the post.
I'm just a simple, Texas-redneck conservative. Please explain what "your" definitions are of a "Russophobe" and the kinds of "Nazi genocides" some would like to repeat on the Russians. Them don't sound like nice terms to me. When someone throws around the terms Russophobe and Nazi I get a mite prickly because, like thousands of other American families, I lost relatives because of the actions of both the afore-mentioned governments.
If you're saying some of us don't appreciate it when Russian technology and technocrats and under-the-table shenanigans are responsible for American warriors being killed . . . I'd say you're right. If you're saying that we think those who're responsible for the deaths of American warriors should be held accountable . . . I'd say you're right.
If your head is in the sand and you don't find it a mite curious that before the war the Russian diplomats were pounding on the "lift the sanctions" drums quite vigorously as, according to them, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction BUT NOW THAT SADDAM'S GONE these same drum-beaters have changed sides seamlessly and without embarrassment to beat opposing drums saying "the sanctions can't be lifted until UN INSPECTORS CERTIFY THAT IRAQ IS FREE OF WMD'S," . . . then I'd say you pick selective arguments to promote and refuse to face the real world.
I suspect, just as Turkey did, the Russian attitudes are nothing more than shake-down attempts . . . though somewhat more diplomatic and hidden than Turkey's in-your-face blackmail attempts, they remain nothing more than Russian hands being held out wanting Uncle Sam to lace them with greenbacks.
I also suspect I probably fit into your Russophobe category when in fact I, like millions or other Americans, just don't appreciate it when an ally stabs us in the back. And unlike some other countries in Russia's part of the world . . . we put a high value on human life -- American Warriors' lives lost protecting our freedoms more than any other.
Russia, just like the U.S., has her fair share of zealots and for you to try and paint me or any other FReeper with broad strokes as being "Russophobe zealots looking to repeat Nazi genocides on the Russian people" does whatever cause it is you're trying to promote no good. If you have some facts and names to back up your accusations, I'd be interested in hearing them and I'd willingly and enthusiastically join you in condeming these people. If all you have is the two sentences mentioned above, please take your anti-American horseshit somewhere else.
The rest of the world just doesn't get it. WE'RE AT WAR!! I assume by your screen name that you're Russian, not American. If my assumption is wrong, please forgive me and ignore my rant above -- you have the right to say what you will. If my assumption is correct, no Russian, in my book, has earned the right to criticize ANY American. When all the Iraqi facts are shaken out, we'll ALL learn what the culpability of the Russian government's role was in killing American warriors. But I won't hold you, RussianConservative, personally responsible for it as I don't know enough about you to do so . . . just as you don't know enough about me or many, many of my FReeper pals to imply what you imply. But we will hold the Russian government accountable.
You've only been around Free Republic for three weeks but you might've learned that France's problems aren't with the U.S. government. They're with the American people!! WE, We the American People, run this country. We who fight each other, quarrel quite angrily with each other, curse each other on a daily basis, and, yes, sometimes even come to blows against each other . . . it is this WE who somehow manages to govern this country. But we ALL have one thing in common . . . I have the right to criticize ANY AMERICAN I wish, but the citizenry of those countries who would do us harm or have done us harm, as I believe we'll prove France and Russia has, have absolutely no right to criticize even the most vile zealots among us . . . whether they be Russophobes or Francophobes or Phobo-damn-phobes. Us Americans are oftentimes a dysfunctional family, but we're still a family. When push comes to shove, especially in this dangerous world of ours, ALL WE HAVE IS EACH OTHER. I've earned the right to whack my brother or sister on the nose, you haven't.
We're at war, I hope Russia comes to her senses. If not, that is her choice and WE will decide how to deal with her. For the U.S. to expect that our "ally" act like an ally shouldn't surprise you. Just as it shouldn't surprise you if the U.S. and some of her citizens get a mite pissed off when this "ally" is responsible for American warriors losing their lives. The American-Russian relationship is bruised, whether it turns into a full-blown divorce is dependent on future Russian actions and what the REAL facts are in Iraq. If it turns out that, as I expect it will, Russian fingerprints are found on the weapons or tactics used to kill American warriors, I suspect your Russophobe file will become quite large.
RussianConservative, I hope you stay around. We need to hear differing views. But, sir or ma'am, we can police our own zealots. We do it every day.
By your very words, it is obvious that any logical conversation would be pointless.
Well, Captain Logic, I guess youre standing by that Nazi genocide statement.
If thats your standard for logic, I thank you for implying that mine is not in your league.
To the Russians all I have to say is as soon as we can we will stab you in the back the way we did on NATO expansion and on Kosovo and on the State Dept meetings held with Chechen "officials".
As to Putin and Russia's actions, US actions and support of Saudies and blocking Russia of bombing of Taliban caused hundreds of Russian civilian deaths, yet hardly any word or worry from West or Western press.
Goes both ways.
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