Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Even Turkeys Understand

Turks shoot first and ask questions later...

You might have read in the news lately...a Syrian artillery shell, or missile, or something...landed in Turkey. Turkey responded with 8 artillery shells. Another Syrian shell hit outside a Turk village and killed 5 people. Turkey responded with a five-day barrage of artillery fire. Turkey is a delicious Thanksgiving treat, and a funny country. They are a NATO member, and while not technically a "western nation", still live as if they are one. But they are vastly a majority Muslim country. But also the last territorial vestige of the Roman West as it gets. Christianity, Orthodoxy, and Islam co-habitate there, and Turkey considers itself European. And geographically, they are. Did I mention they are a NATO member? And they are a parliamentary republic. Not an Islamic Republic.

So it seems reasonable that Turkey might be a country to look to when it comes to dealing with Islamic countries. They understand the Islamic mindset, and have historically dealt with nations in the Middle East for millennia. They have been the Roman seat of power, and the Islamic seat of power. They are like a cross between two worlds. 

So when a single shell from a country like Syria lands in Turkey, it should behoove other western nations to observe what Turkey does about it. Tellingly...Turkey did not try diplomacy first. They simply shot back, and shot more than Syria did. When Syria actually killed 5 people in Turkey, the Turks began shelling Syria for days.

What does this say about how to properly deal with cultures that only respect strength and action, and not words? This isn't exactly a revelation. It has been known for centuries that the way to deal with the Middle East cultures is with force, not with diplomacy. The Turks didn't hesitate, yet America and our allies continue to hesitate when it comes to the Middle East, and have for years. Obama even ran on a "sit down with Iran" policy in 2008, when anyone who knows anything about Middle East diplomacy knew that such an idea was foolhardy at best, and dangerous at worst.

So why does the West continue with this diplomacy angle, when an actual ally, Turkey, shows how to deal with such a situation? Cowardice? No...not a country in Europe or North America shies from sending troops to their death if it is politically expedient. So why?

Political expediency of course. Consider the most recent debate between Biden and Ryan. Ryan brought up an issue that is not spoken about enough by Republicans...that showing strength and weakness are as good as diplomacy when dealing with certain cultures. The left likes to go on about diversity, but then they try and use western diplomacy to solve problems. They completely ignore what makes other cultures tick. In the Middle East, it is the strong who survive, and those who show weakness that suffer. We in the west do not like that. Too bad, that is just how it works there. So if we want to be taken seriously, we have to respond in a way that does not show weakness.

Setting specific dates to remove troops from a region in the Middle East shows weakness. Publicly saying that we won't use certain options is a sign of weakness. It isn't about truly wanting a nuclear war with, say, Iran...nobody wants that. It is that Iran knows we would consider it if necessary that matters.

But why is showing weakness politically expedient? Well, because Iranians don't vote for American politicians. The line "peace not war" sounds great. Seriously...only deranged people actually want war. Republicans don't want war, Democrats don't want war. Nobody wants war. But war is a reality of human conflict. Sometimes it is flat out unavoidable. But what is more unavoidable is that the threat of war can oft times prevent war. If Iran truly believed that the consequence of their building a nuclear weapon was that both Israel and the United States would bomb the Shi'a out of them, then they might actually reconsider the whole thing. As it stands, they believe Israel to be a puppet of the United States, and the United States unwilling to commit to anything concrete to stop Iran.

That is the political damage caused by the Obama administration. That is what Ryan was talking about in the debate. He said "we have to change their minds". Indeed, we have to. And the way to do that is to begin projecting a zero-tolerance attitude towards nuclear proliferation in our foreign relations. That means not setting absolute dates to leave the Middle East. That means not taking nuclear weapons off the table. That means working closely, and most especially publicly with Israel. It might even mean as drastic steps as placing American nuclear assets near Iran. Perhaps in Saudi Arabia, or at least in the waters close to Iran. We have to send a message that we will not accept what they are trying to do and are willing to use the nuclear option to stop it.

Otherwise, Iran will be the one with a nuclear option...and that will be catastrophic.

No comments:

Post a Comment