COMMENTS: ‘Dependable Ally’?
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That about covers it.

Actually, I have a fair bit of sympathy for the Turks. We really left them in the lurch last time when we failed to finish off Saddam, one reason their economy sucks now. And lots of arms got through to the Kurds, but many were then used in Turkey. They lost a lot of people.

So I can't really blame them for being a so cautious this time. It's not like the French or anything. Still, this is going to hurt them more than it's going to hurt us. I wish they hadn't done it.

Posted by Joe Katzman at March 4, 2003 11:59 AM

I work with a fellow from Turkey. In regard to the Turkish government's decision he said, "I am very disturbed! I hope they will fix it soon." My impression is that the previous Turkish administration would have acted differently.

Posted by LSG at March 4, 2003 01:29 PM

I seem to remember a quote from a Turkish general who said "the problem with trusting the Americans is that you never know when they are going to stab themselves in the back." /irony off

Posted by geo at March 4, 2003 02:31 PM

Joe Katzman ... I basically agree with what you're saying. U.S. foreign policy has been inconsistent to say the least. Leaving Saddam in power was a big mistake, along with a string of other mistakes that have sent the message to our enemies that we're a paper tiger. That said, however, I don't think anyone -- even the Turks -- can look at the U.S. and Iraq and rationally conclude that America is a military threat and Saddam should be left in power.

geo ... Unfortunately that has been all too true. I think we're often our own worst enemy because we don't fight back consistently, as a matter of principle, to protect our interests.

Posted by Allen Forkum at March 4, 2003 07:06 PM

Turkey is always on the verge of going to the dark side. Their pro-western tilt is maintained only through a military junta.

The Wahabbi/Islamists won a majority in the last popular election. While I am all in favor of "democratizing" Iraq, what will we get. Even France is a democracy.

There is something much more fundamental that needs to change in the Arab world before a majority rule solves all of our problems there.

They need to be de-nazified, pure and simple. But how can we expect Arabs to de-nazify when so-called liberal European democracies are cloaking themselves in socialism, facisim, anti-semitism and anti-americanism. Is it realistic to expect Iraq to behave better than France or Germany?

Such is only realistic if we are in the de-nazification for the long haul. Just like naming a prime-minister will not make the Palestinian Arabs stop wanting to kill Jews, we cannot simply institute procedural reforms. What we need is a cultural revolution which can only be accomplished by eliminating indoctrination and propoganda, and by prohibiting Wahbbi Islam to take root.

These are all things we are unwilling to stop in our own country and we will not likely do it in Iraq. In fact to do so would cut off the free exchange of ideas that represent a liberal democracy.

So we are in a catch 22. To create a liberal democracy before the people are ready to be tolerant of opposing view points with the wisdom to reject destructive viewpoints is to simply create at best another Turkey, where adherence to democratic principles is accomplished only at the end of the barrel of a gun.

Don't get me wrong, we need to topple Saddam and replace him with anything that is better than him, but I see Turkey as a model of the best case scenario and that is not encouraging.

Posted by J. Lichty at March 5, 2003 11:03 AM