Relations between Turkey and the European Union have become increasingly tense in the aftermath of July’s failed coup against Erdogan.
Hence, when Russian president Vladimir Putin welcomed his Turkish counterpart in St. Petersburg this week, Western observers intently followed the meeting, fearing the two leaders’ first meeting in nearly a year could lead to a dangerous partnership of anti-Western autocrats.
Yet, the emergence of such a partnership is highly unlikely.
Relations between both countries are fraught, anti-EU and anti-Western sentiments cannot unite them in any meaningful or threatening way. One just needs to revisit their opposing stances on Syria to understand their intractable differences.
Last November, Turkey shot down a Russian airplane on the Turkish-Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace. In retaliation, Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey, hitting the country’s economy hard.
The sanctions were lifted a month ago, following a half-hearted apology from Erdogan and an apparent rapprochement between the two countries.
The tensions that led to the downing of the Russian jet remain, Moscow and Ankara have positioned themselves on opposite sides of the region’s crucial geopolitical question: the future of Syria.
Continue reading at EUobserver.
As chaos reigns across the Middle East, Americans can rest easy knowing that President Obama is keeping the U.S. from sliding into another quagmire in the region. After all, the president has assured us that there won’t be any boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
Of course, this is only true if you don’t count the 5,000 soldiers in Iraq and the 300 soldiers in Syria as being “boots on the ground,” and ignore a military campaign in which several combat deaths have occurred.
Yet the Obama administration continues to deny that this large and increasing American presence in Iraq and Syria counts as a ground force. Pentagon officials have attempted to qualify the president’s previous statements by saying that the Americans who are deployed do not take the lead in combat operations, even though they may find themselves in combat. Of course, such qualifications are only used in instances when government officials aren’t flat-out denying that there ever was a “no boots on the ground” policy in the first place.
Such astonishing word acrobatics and bald-faced lies have sadly come to characterize the Washington foreign policy establishment, also known as “the blob.” They call to mind George Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language,” in which Orwell argues that “political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.” Because the American public would not be pleased with an honest answer about America’s involvement in the Middle East, the foreign policy elite’s “political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”
Read the rest at Rare.
The Syrian refugee crisis continues to worsen. Winter weather is creating new challenges for the huge numbers of people fleeing their homes, making this tragic international situation even uglier. Recent images of severe starvation have been circulating throughout the world, providing stark evidence that time is running out for many refugees. More needs to be done now.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government is dragging it’s feet, and preventing Americans from helping.
Our elected leaders may be unwilling to help these Syrian refugees, but they should at least allow Americans citizens to privately sponsor them.
Read the rest on CapX, here.
Tragedies lead to emotions running high. The terrorists that murdered 130 people in Paris are not to be taken lightly. Those 130 lives deserve much more than passive apathy in response to this brutality. But they also deserve more than hasty recklessness.
A foreign policy that rationally assesses its prior successes and failures, looks at the long-term consequences of its actions, and prioritizes the safety of people against terrorism is the answer to the recent barbaric Paris attacks. The temptation to immediately retaliate by bombing ISIS targets in Syria should not be pursued without careful consideration of the costs. Reason must temper our anger.
Public policy, guided by politicians focused on short-term public opinion, is often shortsighted and brash, especially in the wake of tragedies. Responding to pressure that we “must do something,” and motivated by anger and hate, people pursue thoughtless vengeance, rather than deciding on a course of action through rational deliberation.
Yes, justice should be swift, but we must figure out what justice is before acting.
Read the rest on AntiWar.com here.
The decision to go to war is the most consequential and serious choice a government ever has to make.
Recently, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons voted 397 to 223 in favor of bombing Syria, with the main purpose of combating the Islamic State (ISIS). More important than the decision is the fact that it was reached democratically, and that there was ample time for lawmakers to consider their position, with the debate lasting around 10 hours.
The United States should take note of this respect for the democratic process. Like Her Majesty’s Government, the US legislature should debate the pros and cons of military action, and not allow such a profound decision to be made by the president alone.
This is exactly what the Constitution intended. While there is legitimate debate about how to interpret other parts of our founding document, Article 1, Section 8 unquestionably gives the power to declare war to Congress.
Read the rest on the PanAm Post here.