Sunday, June 20, 2010

Turkish Delight

A friend recently sent me this link, to a strongly pro-Israel article on an American political website. It's a gratifying read (even if she's got a few of her numbers wrong), but that's not the point, since if you know where to go looking, you can always find people who are even more hawkishly pro-Israel than many Israelis. (Hint: most American outlets who don't define themselves as stridently liberal). The point of the story was the person who sent me the link, a moderate woman who doesn't deal much with politics, with whom I've had past discussions from the left. In recent times, however, the amount of blatantly irrational invective being directed at Israel is so outlandish, that she's seeking comfort from wherever she can find it, even from folks who are not her natural allies.

This irrationality is becoming one of the main stories of our time, and probably deserves closer scrutiny than I'm giving it.

Which is why Thomas Friedman's column about Turkey is important. Not because he's right - I fear he's significantly understating the case - but because he's got the basic dynamic right. The deterioration in Turkey's relationship with Israel is mostly not Israel's doing, and its slower deteriorating relations with Europe and the US are also not Israel's fault. Actually, the possibility that they might be, the mere idea that Israel be blamed for sovereign Turks doing what sovereign Turks choose to do, shows how bad things are getting, how deep the rot of irrationality is reaching. It's a glum day when we need to pat ourselves on the back that the top NYT columnist on international affairs is being rational, but that's where we've arrived. So at least enjoy it, because this also may yet change.


Barry Meislin said...

Except that he's not being rational. Not really

He's contradicting himself left, right and center and trying to look profound.

Except that he's produced a column that is all over the map, replete with Tom Friedman's wishful thinking (Inc.) and hence profoundly idiotic.

Erdogan is smart, charismatic and can be very pragmatic.

is not a rational statement.

He’s no dictator.

is not a rational statement.

I’d love to see him be the most popular leader on the Arab street, but not by being more radical than the Arab radicals and by catering to Hamas, but by being more of a democracy advocate than the undemocratic Arab leaders and mediating in a balanced way between all Palestinians and Israel.

There you have it: The dream vs. the reality. Yes, Tom is another one who loves playing "Spot the contradiction" and he seems to enjoy creating them just as much.

Grasp at those straws, Tom!! Grasp hard!! Harder!!!

That is not where Erdogan is at, though, and it’s troubling.

Oh, finally some hint of rationality kicks in. Troubling, though, isn't it? Just how troubling? Take a good look, Tom.

But we still have our wishful thinking to fall back on!

Maybe President Obama should invite him for a weekend at Camp David to clear the air before U.S.-Turkey relations get where they’re going — over a cliff.

One can but despair.

Anonymous said...

"The fight for Turkey’s soul is about to be joined in a much more vigorous way." (Tom Friedman)

how excited these scribblers start to sound when they smell blood.

Not a word of Erdogan having been proud of Jihad exported from his country. Facts are of no interest whatsoever as always the world turns a blind eye if it believes a perpetrator can benefit it.

Look at what AKUS has linked under the title "We have been unmasked" - it seems there are much more interesting Turks around than Mr. Erdogan but somebody like Mr. Tom can't be bothered with anything else than the highest echelon, n'est-ce pas?