Turkey, the Turkey of a U.S. Ally: Part II

Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool

See: Turkey, a Turkey of a US Ally: Part I 


The U.S. has some important national interests in the Middle East that I have discussed before. These include: 1) the U.S. has a primary interest in ensuring its own physical security and that of its citizenry from foreign attack; 2) The U.S. has an interest in protecting its own economic well-being by keeping the oil and natural gas lanes in the Middle East flowing to the U.S. and the world; 3) the U.S. has an interest in bolstering the interests and security of its allies—i.e., positive reinforcement—and alternatively, in undermining or punishing its opponents so as to incentivize pro-U.S. policies; 4) the U.S. has an interest in balancing power in every region so as to deter future wars and help stabilize the world; 5) the U.S. has an interest in maximizing its popularity with other nations; 6) the U.S. has historically expressed its desire to maximize human rights and democratic rights throughout the world; and 7) the U.S. has an interest in aiding the victims of aggression and opposing the aggressors, because the U.S. doesn’t want to incentivize violence throughout the world.

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All of these national interests are implicated regarding Turkey. Some are self-explanatory. Those that aren’t self-evident from the above information require some further discussion, however. Erdogan and Turkey are certainly a danger to the oil and natural gas lanes in the Middle East, because, as a former U.S. National Security Advisor has detailed, Turkey has joined Qatar as a prime source of funding that contributes to the spread of extremist ideology, i.e., radical Islam. Thus, it is a clear danger to Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Kuwait, the moderate Sunni Arab oil-producing behemoths in the Middle East. Also, Turkey is working with Iran, the leading state sponsor of (radical Islamic) terrorism and the main force that is destabilizing the region. Turkey is also an unpopular power in the entire region, including both the Middle East and parts of Asia and Europe. In addition to Armenia, Greece, Israel, the Kurds, and the moderate Sunni Arab oil regimes, many nations and peoples there are turned off by the Turkish background as imperialists under the Ottomans and fear Erdogan’s stated desire to resurrect that hated empire.

Considering Turkey’s horrific anti-American record and its increasingly undemocratic, human rights oppressive, Islamist regime, it is way past the time that the U.S. implement some sort of a punishment. There are a number of options:

  • The U.S. could penalize Turkey in NATO: It is debatable whether the U.S. and NATO can expel Turkey from NATO, as there is no explicit provision in the treaty that foresees the suspension of membership rights, let alone the expulsion of a participant. However, some believe that international law does allow for expulsion/suspension, and others believe that Turkey can be penalized just short of actual expulsion/suspension. (In my view, the U.S. should never join an alliance that it cannot expel other members from.)
  • The U.S. could promote the Kurds: The U.S. is strongly allied with the various Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria, who have assisted our troops in those nations and protected minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, there as well. Turkey, under Erdogan, despises and persecutes Kurds, including the Kurdish minority in Turkey itself. Thus, if the U.S. wants to, it can reward these Kurdish groups by recognizing their complete sovereignty or by rewarding them in some other way, each of which will definitely antagonize Erdogan.
  • The U.S. could verbally shame Turkey for its record.
  • The U.S. could implement sanctions or other economic punishments based on its record.
  • The U.S. could isolate Turkey by diplomacy.
  • The U.S. could disadvantage American and other nations' tourism to Turkey.
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The incoming American administration should evaluate all these differing options, determining which option, or combination of options, is right for the U.S. As I have mentioned before, this should also require a determination of whether this option is going to actually achieve its objectives and whether it is, overall, a positive thing for the U.S.

If Joe Biden wins a second term, we can expect none of this to happen. Joe Biden has been wrong about foreign policy for six decades now, and he and his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama, only know one way to deal with foreign enemies – appease them. Biden won’t change.

But if Donald Trump wins a second term, Turkey can be punished for its anti-American record, its anti-democratic regime, its oppressive human rights record, and/or its promotion of radical Islam. It certainly deserves to be.

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