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Turkey marginally useful

Reader comment on item: Do NATO and Turkey Have a Future Together?

Submitted by Malcolm (Israel), Sep 5, 2022 at 09:32

Mr Pipes demonstrates his mastery of the facts in this interview. On what to do about Turkey, however, i would suggest two differences.

First, any suggestion of expelling Turkey from NATO should be firmly rejected. That is, for as long as Turkey's problematic behavior can be managed case-by-case. After all, Erdogan's opposition to membership of Sweden and Finnland was quickly assuaged by some vague commitments from those two countries. Erdogan has also been marginally useful for NATO's support of Ukraine by supplying drones, facilitating grain exports and forcefully asserting - once more just weeks ago - the illegality of Russia's occupation of Crimea.

Second, NATO cannot be replaced even gradually by a broad worldwide alliance because its closely knit military structure - its most distinctive feature - cannot be extended to countries that a geographically remote and have some markedly different concerns (obviously India, less obviously some other countries mentioned by Mr. Pipes). Rather, a more promising approach is that which Shay Khatiri, in a recent post on The Bulwalk, thinks "may be the Biden doctrine." That is: "The Biden team has been cobbling together groups of U.S. allies and partners, each comprising countries with shared interests within a geographic region.

At the center of each group, setting the agenda, is the United States." The advantage is that the degree of cooperation within each such group can be more intensive and yield quicker and more decisive results than would the attempted amalgamation of all countries involved into a single structure. Moreover, the USA can in principle mobilize a combination of such groups to address a specific foreign policy issue, as the Biden administration has done with considerable success in leading the international response to Russia's war on Ukraine.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

1. I do not think the Sweden and Finland issue has been taken care of. Yes, Turkish arms have been helpful to Ukraine but I would argue that Erdoğan would have maintained a balance vis-à-vis Russia even without NATO membership. He does not want to be in Putin's pocket as Lukashenko is.

2. Why can't the military structure be extended world-wide? Sounds like a good idea to me. The Biden alliances are fine, but one big, proto-UN structure sounds better.

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