The Turkish military incursion into Syria is yet another chapter in the continuing tragedy for that country, for Syrians of all confessions and ethnicities, and indeed for most of the Middle East. Ankara is acting, it says, because of a threat from Kurdish fighters (which has a long history) and forces of the so-called Islamic State (a relatively new phenomenon). “Enough is enough,” Turkey seems to be saying. Unfortunately for just about everyone of good will, ample evidence of “enough” has not produced means for ending the Syrian bloodbath, finding a way out of the mess in the region and, in the process, preventing more damage farther afield.
A month after Britons surprised themselves and the world by narrowly voting - 52% to 48% - to abandon their safe harbor inside the European Union, the initially pyrotechnic response in all quarters has given way to a wary lull, as the protagonists in London and Brussels, Paris and Berlin, wait for someone else to make a significant first move to achieve Brexit - the promised UK departure after 43 years.
For his first overseas trip since the failed coup of July 15 that killed 246 people, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tellingly, chose Russia as his destination. Seated next to Erdogan in St. Petersburg on August 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin reassured him: “I was one of the first people who called you on the phone [after hearing of the coup attempt] and expressed my support.”
“Andy Goodpaster,” as everyone called him during his two decades as a military elder-statesman in Washington, would counsel that in any enterprise – especially military ones – it was invariably tempting but always fatal to confuse rhetoric and reality. He had personal experience. In the aftermath of World War II, as the formidable Colonel Andrew Goodpaster, engineer and soldier-scholar with a war record of some bravery, he was picked by Eisenhower to help transform NATO from rhetoric into a functioning military alliance.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from our site and redistribute by email or post to the web.