On War #106
By William S. Lind
The February 15 Christian Science Monitor describes a situation which, to anyone familiar with American-Turkish relations in the post-World War II period, is almost beyond imagining: an American attack on Turkey. According to the Monitor’s story,
Here we see in dramatic fashion America’s loss of the “Global War on Terrorism” at the moral level. By invading and occupying Iraq, a country that posed no threat to us, and threatening to do the same to other countries around the world, we have made America into a monster – even in Turkey, the country that has been our closest Islamic ally since the onset of the Cold War. So dramatically has America managed to reverse its post-9/11 moral ascendancy that not only can Turks imagine us attacking Turkey, they see Russia coming to their rescue! Russia has been Turkey’s number one enemy for centuries.
It seems America has managed to bring about what historians call a “diplomatic revolution,” a fundamental shift in alliances, by encouraging everyone else, ancient enemies included, to ally against herself. The Monitor goes on to report that
The Bush administration, one of whose ‘droids reportedly recently said that “we make up our own reality,” will take comfort in the fact that Turkey’s government, like governments elsewhere, remains our humble and obliging servant. To observers who seek rather than shun reality, that is cold comfort. In today’s world, public opinion is strategically more important, not less important, than the attitudes of governments. It is one of the many ironies in the jumble of contradictions that make up this administration’s policies that the democracy it promotes would quickly worsen, not better, America’s diplomatic position. We can bully or buy elites much more easily than we can do the same to world opinion.
The Monitor quotes an American diplomat, speaking of the situation in Turkey post-Metal Storm, saying “We’re really pulling our hair out trying to figure how to deal with this.” That unhappy diplomat now knows how it felt to work in the German Foreign Office before both World Wars. The task he faces goes beyond what diplomacy can hope to accomplish. So long as a powerful country is on the grand strategic offensive, demanding that everyone else in the world bow to its wishes and adopt its ideology or be subject to attack (Wilhelmine Germany did not actually go that far, though America’s neo-cons now do), it will push everyone else into coalition against it. Just as Bismarck’s successor Holstein could not imagine an alliance between republican France and Tsarist Russia, and watched it happen nonetheless, Metal Storm now portrays an equally unimaginable alliance between Turkey and Russia. Will that too come to pass? An American attack on another Middle Eastern country, which I think likely, may bring about many unimaginable alliances.
Russell Kirk, the grand old man of the post-war American conservative movement, put it best:
Not only will that make an enemy of anybody, it will make an enemy of everybody.
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation
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Jill Sutherland Farrell
The Free Congress Foundation is a 26-year-old Washington, DC-based conservative think tank, that teaches people how to be effective in the political process, advocates judicial reform, promotes cultural conservatism, and works against the government encroachment of individual liberties.