Posted on 31-10-2009
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Foreign Affairs has a post up about Turkey leaving the West.  To some extent it is not surprising.  While people in the West and even previous Pakistani dictator Musharraf praised the Turkish model of secularism as a guide of the Middle East, it has always had an air of artificiality to it.  The aggressive elimination of religion from the Turkish public sphere was influenced by the admiration of the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his fellow officers for the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.  It was also made possible by his iconic status as the defender of the Turkish state following World War I.  As a result it has not been easy to replicate.

The Foreign Policy article however seems excessively alarmist.  For a different tone see here.  In recent years Turkish attempts to engage with the West and  to join the European Union have been repeatedly rebuffed.  It is not surprising that Turkey would want to reorient its foreign policy that has it stuck between Asia and Europe and yet a member of neither.

It is hard to see how a democratically elected Turkish government can totally ignore domestic opinion, which after repeated rebuffs by Europe and outraged by George W. Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, turned very hostile to the United States in the last decade.  The Turkish reaction is yet another example of just how big was the public-relations disaster created by the Israeli military action in Gaza at the beginning of the year.  Turkey’s recent actions also demonstrate the folly of  an approach to foreign policy that eschews active diplomacy.  Countries will follow what they deem to be their best interest and the support, even of allies, should not be taken for granted.

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Posted on 31-10-2009
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Its part of a predictable pattern.  Barack Obama goes to Dover Air Force base to honor returning the war dead.  Shortly there after is the latest Liz Cheney critique on the visit which misleadingly suggests that George W. Bush made similar visits to Dover without cameras (Bush never went to Dover though he visited with the families of the war dead in private).  All of this causes MSNBC’s Lawrence O’ Donnell to sound off on the latest Cheney broadside.

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Posted on 31-10-2009
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The official Republican candidate whose campaign is collapsing suspends her campaign for the good of the party, even though her opponents were willing to see the Democrat win instead of a so-called RINO.  It will be interesting to see how her supporters break out for the other two candidates or if they just stay at home.

UPDATE:  It appears that Scozzafava intentionally did not endorse Hoffman to prevent her disgusted moderate supporters from going to the Democrat and possibly avoiding Hoffman’s supporters from being upset if he praised her personally.  Lets see how they plays out and how much support Scozzafava actually draws at the polls next week.

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It gets worse.  Presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah threatens to  pull out of next week’s runoff.  One of the contentious issues is the head of the Karzai-appointed Independent Election Commission, Azizullah Lodin who made some fairly partisan comments last week essentially assuring a Karzai victory.  I am not sure I understand the American desire for a “power-sharing” arrangement to solve the standoff.  For that to work, it requires a level of trust that does not exist on either side here.  Otherwise you have the problem that caused the breakdown of a similar process in Zimbabwe.

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