2099) Why They Hate Us

The fraying strategic partnership between Turkey and the United States goes deeper than the tiff over the Armenian genocide resolution. Patricia Weitsman October 16, 2007 .

Military alliances are generally celebrated for their ability to deter an attack by adversaries and as a general safeguard against mutual enemies. Even better, if at war, allies aid the cause and increase the likelihood of victory.

Unfortunately for the allies of the United States, the dynamics are working to the contrary.

Being an ally of the United States is an increasingly dangerous proposition. Or at least so say the Turks - the ally the United States is perhaps most in jeopardy of losing. The first harbinger of trouble came with the vote by the Turkish parliament to reject US troop access to Turkish bases in March 2003, at the onset of the war in Iraq, despite the US promise of $6bn in aid and $24bn in loan guarantees.

Last month a poll released by the Pew Foundation found that of all of the Middle Eastern countries surveyed, Turkey has by far the largest percentage of people naming the United States as the country that poses the greatest threat. Sixty-four percent of Turkish respondents named the United States as the most threatening state in the system. Only 48% of respondents in the Palestinian territories felt the same way.

Apparently it is worse to be an ally of the United States than a close ally of an enemy.

Also last month, a devout Muslim became president and commander in chief of Turkey. This does not bode well for the future strategic partnership with the west, despite the billions the United States has plied Turkey with since the onset of the war in Iraq. Still worse, while cooling toward the west, Turkey has begun warming toward Iran.

So what has the United States done to reinforce this strategic partnership?

The house foreign affairs committee endorsed a resolution labeling the Turkish killing of 1.5 million Armenians genocide. Nancy Pelosi decided to allow the resolution to come before the House later this year. Ninety years after the genocide, with American-Turkish relations at a low ebb, partisan politics trumped strategic interests.

The longer American foreign policy continues along its current course in Iraq, the longer domestic politics obscure long-term interests, the more extensive the damage will be to one of the most important American relationships. A quick fix will not be enough to repair relations with Turkey post-Bush or even post-Iraq. The United States must ensure stability in Turkey, to keep it on a course affined with the secular west.

The balance has always been delicate with Turkey. It serves as a strategic outpost bridging the divide between the Middle East and Europe. Nato, which Turkey joined in 1952, for decades served to integrate Turkey to the west and has tempered the animosity between Greece and Turkey. Alliances during peacetime can institutionalize and deepen cooperative relations between friends and enemies. But once wars begin, cooperation breaks down. This is what we are seeing with Turkey, at a critical juncture in international history.

Today, a small tiff between the US and France, or a slight rift between the US and Germany will not take long to repair once the Bush administration has vacated Washington. But the lasting damage to other key allies of the United States, most notably Turkey, could easily change the fault lines of global conflict.

While Nato has been instrumental in maintaining the peace and fostering cordiality among the member states, its ability to continue to tether Turkey may be limited. It is of paramount importance that the United States confront this possibility and do all it can to regain the hearts and minds of one its most strategic allies before it is too late.

All Comments (64)
Comment No. 869629
October 16 20:15
Certain members of the House of Representatives are pushing this resolution, not the Bush administration.
One way to interpret this brouhaha is that the Democratic Congress is intentionally trying to weaken the position of the US in foreign affairs.
Considering what we know about Congressional Democrats, this is a logical possibility.

Comment No. 869661
October 16 20:37
Why they hate us?
It seems that quite a few people around the world do. I wonder why?

Comment No. 869666
October 16 20:40
Deleted by Moderator.

Comment No. 869670
October 16 20:41
By 'commander-in-chief' I presume you are implying that Abdullah Gul is in charge of the Turkish armed forces. If that is the case, you are woefully unqualified to lecture anybody on Turkish politics.

Comment No. 869682
October 16 20:51
@PresidentD- Odd you should say that, I was thinking the same thing myself, is there room in Guantanamo for the Democrats?

Comment No. 869683
October 16 20:52
I thought hatred toward the US was dramatically increased by Bush and his war in Iraq (warning: it existed long before Bush and the Iraq War). But Bush opposed this Armenian Genocided thing resolution. So, does that makes Turkey a supporter of Bush?
So why not outrage when France and Sweden and other nations called the Armenian Genocide...well that... a Genocide?
Clue: ENVY, POWER, SUPERPOWER... Who cares what Sweden or France think? It's only concern IF USA have something to say about it.
For more on this topic see: Darfur/Sudan, Rwanda, Tibet, Burma...
Summary: USA Rules! (and rocks too!).

Comment No. 869694
October 16 20:59
"...is there room in Guantanamo for the Democrats?"
I believe so, ducky. I believe so.

Comment No. 869695
October 16 20:59
"Also last month, a devout Muslim became president and commander in chief of Turkey."
And a devout Christian became president and commander in chief of the US in 2001. Are you Islamophobic?

Comment No. 869726
October 16 21:24
Unfortunately the article does nothing to inform us why the Turks so disliked the USA prior to the Armenian resolution. Simply mentioning Iraq isn't sufficient. So the article just doesn't live up to the title.

Comment No. 869739
October 16 21:33
I am disheartened. The main question for the press seems to be, can the US afford to offend the Turks? This is so cynical. Shouldn't the question be, how could an enlightened people, like the post-Ottoman Turks, commit such a crime? And, what can mankind do to prevent this from happening yet again?

Comment No. 869749
October 16 21:40
@PresidentD- These Democrat fools deserve to be in Guantanamo more than the assorted taxi drivers and jihadis. I believe the Turks are not so stupid as to be sucked into an unwinnable war in the mountains of "Kurdistan", so goodbye to some more of your taxes. Er, no to forget my political standpoint, Yankee go home, cheers.

Comment No. 869755
October 16 21:48
@PresidentD- Just to put a codicil on my last post, is there anybody in the US political establishment that has any understanding of the word Realpolitik?

Comment No. 869779
October 16 22:06
"...And a devout Christian became president and commander in chief of the US in 2001."
Devout Christians don't start wars based on lies.

Comment No. 869784
October 16 22:10

Perhaps the Turks perceive that the US perceives that Turkey is now 'lost'.
Realpolitik should indicate to Turkey that it is of diminishing use to the US.
And so, there is no prospect of, for example, continued pressure on the EU to admit Turkey.
Time for a new path.
Turkey has been used and abused and will be tossed aside.
That's not to shed tears for Turkey. Turkey knew the score.
So now it's not all rosy in the garden. Well , tough.

Comment No. 869787
October 16 22:14
Spatz: Of course they do, just look at the crusades.
Of course, they really believed the Muslims were infidel heretics who deserved to die at the time, and that it was a moral duty for Chritianity to control the Holy Land, so you can't exactly call them 'lies'.
But then Bush also really believed that Iraq had WMDs.
People start all sorts of wars all the time based on their genuine beliefs, however mistaken those beliefs might be.
For instance, the Left keeps fighting America over economic policy because they can't accept that Marxist economics is wrong. That sort of includes supporting mass-murdering psychopaths in the middle-east as a proxy force against 'global capitalism'.
Shall I say that the left is supporting attacks against America based on 'lies'? Because many Americans would consider the left-wing Chomskyite view of history as a pack of lies concocted as a propaganda tool against capitalism.

Comment No. 869790
October 16 22:21
TheresaKlein: "But then Bush also really believed that Iraq had WMDs."
Come on. Bush may be an imbecile, but no one is that dumb. All the reports stating Iraq was WMD-free must have crossed his desk. He must have accidentally glanced at one or two rummaging around looking for a chew toy or a treat for his dog.
Don't over-compensate for being fooled by the Bush-Cheney-Blair propaganda machine. You got conned. You were lied to. Or you supported the war because you believed Arabs dying or US control of oil or all of the above were a good thing. But don't pretend that anyone in the US government believed the WMD claims.

Comment No. 869815
October 16 22:30
"a slight rift between the US and Germany will not take long to repair once the Bush administration has vacated Washington."

I'm not sure about Washington, but my personal relationship with the German government as a citizen of the FRG was always fine, even under Schroeder. I'm much more worried about the Americans taking away my citizenship than the Germans. They aren't vindictive, childish, and petty on the level that the Americans have displayed. The fact of the matter is, it's not the countries themselves which are to be blamed for America's decline in diplomatic relations worldwide... rather the idiots who lied their way into an unwinnable war, recklessly twisting arms and issuing empty threats to get their way.

If there's a longterm shift in alliances it won't be America's recognition of the Armenian Genocide that causes it. It happens to be an appropriate stance to take on a grave humanitarian tragedy, and the moral obligations of the United States are not beholden to any other country's sense of national pride or even fiscal welfare... or so I've always been led to believe. America was certainly very quick to use the Commerce Department to pressure German companies and our government to pay those extra reparations in the 1990s at a time when we faced massive unemployment and record numbers of our citizens were relying on public assistance. America gleefully did this at the risk of destabilizing the Federal German government, knowing full well there were more unemployed than at any time since the Weimar Republic.

Fact being, I wouldn't hold my breath on relations with the German people themselves improving soon with or without Bush, anti-Americanism is now a politically significant current in Europe, and America will always be hated there to the point of tipping elections; and as for the Turks, the USA knows full well that their relationship was always just a marriage of convenience. Turkey declared war on another NATO member, after all, and America said nothing. The Greeks have every right to despise the USA passionately, and if the Turks have now followed suit then America has noone to blame but themselves. Maybe the USA should pick their friends more wisely?

Comment No. 869816
October 16 22:30
After consideration of other sources it must be that the Turks are wary of the American support for and alliance with the Kurds. That's why they have become increasingly fearful and mistrustful of the USA in recent years.
For the Turks have tried to prevent Kurds in Turkey expressing a separate identity. Saddam Hussein kept the Iraqi Kurds in check, but once the Kurds get a sense of nationalism it might be possibly for the 15 million or so Turkish Kurds to demand rights within Turkey or to demand part of Turkey as a separate Kurdish nation - possibly to be joined on the the Iraqi Kurdish bit. That might reduce Turkey's size considerably. It could at the least lead to a Scottish style devolution scenario.

Hence the increasing distrust (amongst the Turks) of American aid to and promotion of Kurdish nationalism in the region. This has been going on since John Major and his allies set up the no-fly zone. That could be what put the Turks off the USA before the Iraq war, despite billions of dollars worth of bribery/sweetners in an attempt to buy their loyalty to the dare I say it, great Satan.

I suppose the icing on the cake as far as the Turks are concerned is the Armenian genocide resolution - now they have the Americans taking the side of both the Kurds and the Armenians against them, despite their hospitality in allowing American bases in their country for numerous decades. Who wouldn't feel persecuted under those circumstances?

Comment No. 869821
October 16 22:35
Notsofanatic did you even read the article? There seems to be about half a dozen Americans on CIF that skim read any article about the United States looking for something that might offend them, and then scream "Anti-Americanism!"

"I thought hatred toward the US was dramatically increased by Bush and his war in Iraq (warning: it existed long before Bush and the Iraq War)."

Just because some people hated the US before Bush, doesn't mean that more don't now. It's well documented that since the disastrous Bush administration took power positive sentiments towards the US have decreased and negative ones have increased. If you care about your country and it's position in the world this should bother you as it makes it much more difficult to achieve your objectives.

"So why not outrage when France and Sweden and other nations called the Armenian Genocide...well that... a Genocide?"

Because as you point out the are not global superpowers and what they do doesn't really matter that much. But that is irrelevant to this article which is by an American academic worried about the loss of American power in the world and what that might mean for global stability. If you can find "Anti-Americanism!" is this article you either need to actually read it or get urgent attention from a psychiatrist to deal with your paranoia.

Comment No. 869825
October 16 22:38
@Sorcey- I think he was that dumb, USers do not get other cultures, they would rather everybody enjoy sucking the blood they rip from the veins of the Earth. No apologies, nothing. The nihilistic, Capitalistic, death cult. We can all be Rockefeller. Not to say f...kers like Saddam aren't the same. Loons, the lot of them.

Comment No. 869827
October 16 22:40
An unnecessarily apocalyptic view, no? When has U.S. foreign policy NOT been a reflection of domestic politics? While the genocide resolution stings, it is the deadly cross-border activity of the Kurds that motivates the Turkish military to pressure the civilian government for a limited military response. To the extent that the U.S. is "losing" Turkey, this may be little more than a shift in emphasis, from a routinely unambiguous support for U.S. policy to something more nuanced and reflective of the increasing role by Islamists in Turkish politics. And the huge pay-off that was needed to buy Turkey's logistics cooperation on the Iraq project suggests that there was a fly in the relational ointment long before the genocide resolution.

Comment No. 869842
October 16 22:48

October 16, 2007 8:59 PM
to his mate duckyjibes:
"I believe so, ducky."
I'm lovin' it!
Yo, PresD, this is an 'English' website.
Check out meaning of "ducky" in 'English English'.
You ain't lovin' it, methinks.
Gotta go to bed now.
Night, night, ducky. ;-)

Comment No. 869859
October 16 23:00
' Devout Christians don't start wars based on lies.'
Suggest you read your history books, look under 'Crusades'.
On another note Turkey is being pushed away from the west not just by American foreign policy but the attitude of some EU countries toward Turkish accession. The west has to make up its mind as to whether it wants to interact in a positive way with moslem countries that have a democratic, secular society or not. If they don't they can't really complain at the result.

Comment No. 869875
October 16 23:08
"Devout Christians don't start wars based on lies."
"Spatz: Of course they do, just look at the crusades."

When I say devout Christian, I mean those people who follow the teachings of Christ.
Bush doesn't fall into that catergory.

Comment No. 869891
October 16 23:25
That's not the way I heard it... I heard, Turkey's on good terms with Israel, and the Turks want the Ottoman Empire back. Once the Turks cross the border, the U.S. can't and won't do anything, they're too tied up and America supplied their warplanes. The Kurds will have to offer to partition northern Iraq or they'll get slaughtered.
The only trouble with that synopsis, is that it suggests the Turks want what the U.S. wants. Oil. That which is already sent through a Turkish pipeline to the Mediterranean. So after that, they'll be trouble...

Comment No. 869902
October 16 23:36
I'm sorry, I don't understand.
Here's a gung-ho, nationalistic country, where internal dissent is not tolerated and so-called "terrorists" are tortured. They have a history of solving perceived political problems by force. Further back their history is a woeful tale of genocide, colonialism, displacement, massacre and oppression. Their president is a devout believer, who claims that terrorist attacks justify a response by the might of his country's military - even should that response be an attack on another nation, with the bloodshed and suffering that entails.
In all this he is supported domestically by the forces of the Religious Right, strongest in the rural areas where educational attainment is low.

Of course, the president never thinks about the root causes of so-called "terror" attacks, or asks "why do they hate us" ? No. Blinded by his vision of the oilfields within the grasp of his Army, he'd rather move tanks and jets into position for a brutal, bloody war that in the long run he cannot win. The reality - that his nation's oppressive, racist brutality has provoked this despairing response from a people for whom all peaceful options have long since been closed down - is too nuanced for this blundering cowboy - sorry, I meant goatherd.

And worst of all, our poodle Prime Minister - and America's poodle President - meekly accept their ally's rush to war without raising a finger in protest or admonition. All we get over here is acres of newsprint about our gallant NATO ally, and our longstanding 'special relationship' with our partners in the Crimean conflict who, in the words of celebrated English lecturer Jerry Brotton, "fatally weakened" the Spanish Armada and saved England so long ago.

Given all that, where's Seamus Milne ? Where's Galloway ? Where's Madeleine the Mad Mahdi ? Where's Andrew whateverhisnameis from the Stop The War Coalition ? When is the big march to the Turkish Embassy ? Where's A L Kennedy's new book ? Where's the Early Day Motion signed by 185 Labour MPs ? Where's my "No Kurdish Blood For Kirkuk's Oil !" banner ?
And above all, where are the 174 different Comment Is Free articles by outraged (and tenured) US liberal academics ?

Comment No. 869909
October 16 23:46
By the way, they don't hate us, they hate you. We don't even feature on the radical radar any more.

Comment No. 869923
October 17 0:08
Is the upshot of your article that Turkey's power means it should be allowed to change history?
Here in Cyprus we are quite familiar with the instability the previous US indulgence of Turkish nationalism caused. But, like Armenians, dead and dispossed Cypriots don't really count, eh?

Comment No. 869929
October 17 0:14
Wow the Turks don't like us? The world hates us? Luckily I have skiing and golf tio make me a happy American. In all seriousness: nations have alliances, not friendships. Times change and alliances do as well. It appears that Turkey as a secular nation is subject to a ticking clock. When the alarm goes off they will revert to Islamism.

Comment No. 869960
October 17 0:41
Now that Bush has hosted the Dalai Lama at the White House and really, really -- and unnecessarily -- pissed off the Chinese, a vital trading partner whose central bank happens to hold a substantial chunk of U.S. debt, are CiF mouth-breathers who allege treason by Democrats and advocate they be sent to Guantanamo ready to do the same with their boy?

Comment No. 869965
October 17 0:44
In a rare moment of common "reflection" with Bush, I have to say I've been puzzled by the timing of this resolution.

What happened in Armenia was genocide and should be termed and condemned as such; but why make this very public judgement now? I'm thinking here from the perspective of US interests and the latter's plummeting relations with and reputation within the global community.

Anyway. I'm sorry, but the author's credentials as a "professor of political science" don't really hold up well on the basis of this article.

First up (yes, a minor point): assuming this piece was written for the Guardian (which appears to be the case), then please do adjust the headline to e.g. "Why they hate the US"

Back to the point - let's look at the varying vocabulary with which the author refers to US-Turkish relations and see how it bottoms out:

"allies aid the cause and increase the likelihood of victory ... The first HARBINGER of trouble came with the vote by the Turkish parliament to reject US troop access to Turkish bases [hmmm ... perhaps this is a complex issue?] ... This does not bode well for ... strategic partnership ... one of the MOST IMPORTANT American relationships ... The United States must ENSURE stability in Turkey ... KEEP IT on a course affined with the secular WEST ... It serves as a strategic outpost ... [NATO - please note capitalisation] for decades served to integrate Turkey to the west ... key allies ... ability to continue to TETHER Turkey "

This is all well and good for a cold assessment re. US interests - but I could well imagine Turks being extremely miffed about this kind of language.

Plus: has the author even gone into the potential reasons (as suggested by the headline) for anti-US sentiment in Turkey??
Where's the beef?
"harbinger" = we don't do what you tell us
And if you're going to mention modern US-Turkish relations, then how about the US having nuclear missiles at bases in Turkey (then bordering the USSR) during the Cuban missile crisis?

And WAIT! What is the following supposed to mean?

"Sixty-four percent of Turkish respondents named the United States as the most threatening state in the system. Only 48% of respondents in the Palestinian territories felt the same way.
Apparently it is worse to be an ally of the United States than a close ally of an enemy."
I've been pondering this statement and still can't make out what the author is trying to conclude here. Any helpers??
And this highly questionable "assessment" also includes ...
"a devout Muslim became president and commander in chief of Turkey"
- As far as I know the Turkish president is NOT CiC.
Unless evidence is given to the contrary, I find this a very shoddy article.
Brightened up, nonetheless, by the following repartee between our American brethren ...
Kicked off by an ambiguous reposte by spatz:

#Devout Christians don't start wars based on lies.#
#Of course they do, just look at the crusades.#
So far, so good! Although immediately compromised by the words #they really believed the Muslims were infidel heretics so you can't exactly call them 'lies'#
So lies, half-lies or regrettable misinterpretations, Theresa?
But your subsequent words really do leave me puzzled:
#the Left keeps fighting America over economic policy because they can't accept that Marxist economics is wrong#
The "Left" as it is commonly understood in the Western hemisphere is not interested in Marxist economics, I can assure you.

#That sort of includes supporting mass-murdering psychopaths in the middle-east as a proxy force against 'global capitalism'.#
Theresa: the only person I can think of who fits your description would be Saddam Hussein, who is no longer in the land of the living.
Would you kindly explain what your words are supposed to mean?
I mean it - I'm confused ...

Comment No. 869972
October 17 0:56
Villa231, what are the Chinese going to do with the US bonds they hold?
Try to cash them all in? That would precipitate the collapse of their economy. They're in a much worse situation economically than the US.

Comment No. 869984
October 17 1:10
Americans ask why much of the rest of the world has grown to hate them. Well the answer is very simple.
First your government appears to believe that it is always on the side of the angles (apparently by definition).
Second, it sees its selfish intersts as the most important.

Third, it sees violence as the solution to almost every problem.
Perhaps these perceptions are wrong, but if so Americans would do well to address each of them. They could make a good start by listening a little more and talking a lot less, by assuming they may have something to learn in any new situation, and not necessarily taking it for granted that they already know what needs to be done.
Always remember urrican Katrina. Deaths in Cuba: nil. Deaths in the US: hundreds. Often Americans don't know the answers.

Comment No. 869995
October 17 1:32
Things have always been a bit wobbly in the area but I thought the last straw was everyone (connected with the Administration) floating the idea a couple of weeks ago of a "Federal" Iraq -- that is, letting the country break into three pieces. This isn't a viable option because the Kurds more than capable of running a government, and as soon as they become a proper, recognized, country then the Kurds in Turkey (and maybe even Iran) will want in as well. Since we're also busy setting the precedent in Kosovo that bits of country 'A' can be chewed off and ceded to country 'B' based on local pressure groups and our ideas of geopolitics its not surprising that the Turks are a little concerned. Add in the whole Armenian business -- its not just opening old wounds but there's this quite large country called "Armenia" just to the north of Turkey.....anyway you get the picture.
Under the circumstances the Turks have been quite restrained. Its nothing to do with who's what kind of Muslim, its just that the Turks seem to prefer to be a sort-of European nation rather than being pushed into the whirlpool of Middle East problems.

Comment No. 870001
October 17 1:40
Deleted by Moderator.

Comment No. 870015
October 17 1:53
' Villa231, what are the Chinese going to do with the US bonds they hold?
Try to cash them all in? That would precipitate the collapse of their economy. They're in a much worse situation economically than the US.'
Actually if they just hang on to them a few more years they will have enough worthless American paper to fuel their power stations and they won't need to buy oil :)

Comment No. 870047
October 17 3:06
Deconstructing the article, in search for clues, perhaps the generating ideology for this article is revealed in this couple of paragraphs:
Where strategic interests where supposed to ideally overcome "partisan" politics (declaration of genocide)...
"The house foreign affairs committee endorsed a resolution labeling the Turkish killing of 1.5 million Armenians genocide. Nancy Pelosi decided to allow the resolution to come before the House later this year. Ninety years after the genocide, with American-Turkish relations at a low ebb, partisan politics trumped strategic interests."
"The United States must ensure stability in Turkey, to keep it on a course affined with the secular west." Why? It's a given for granted situation: "must ensure"... "affined with the secular west"... "must keep Turkey on a course..."

"The longer American foreign policy continues along its current course in Iraq, the longer domestic politics obscure long-term interests, the more extensive the damage will be to one of the most important American relationships. A quick fix will not be enough to repair relations with Turkey post-Bush or even post-Iraq. The United States must ensure stability in Turkey, to keep it on a course affined with the secular west.
So the underlying proposal is interventionism.

Comment No. 870051
October 17 3:13
pretzelberg: You know exactly what my words are intended to mean.
It's not exactly a secret that large swaths of the Western Left hope that the 'insurgents' in Iraq (which count as mass-murdering psychopaths in my book, given their taste for beheadings and suicide bombings), are sucessful. And that they believe that forcing the US to leave will count as some kind of victory over 'the imperialist capitalist system' or whatever they are calling it.

Now, given that their own warped view of history, which leads thme to this position, is based on a bunch of discredited dogma and left-over cold-war propaganda, then it's quite legitimate to say that they are "waging war based on lies". Or at least waging war via Islamist proxies. Go read some of the columns by Seamus Milne, or say comments by people like 'sweetheart' above, if you don't believe me.

Comment No. 870060
October 17 3:33
The reason large swathes of the rest of the world want to see the insurgents drive out the American and British invaders is that they don´t agree with Ms. Klein´s belief that foreigners should have the benefit of an American occupying army.
If the Iraqis were invading your land of fundamentalist nutcases, then we would be supporting the American insurgents.

Comment No. 870073
October 17 4:07
Especially ignorant comments and post on this thread.
And it doesn't even matter that ordinary Turks hate you. You just had to keep the politicians and military in awe (and in clover). You failed to do that by bribing and threatening, by showing them no respect, by putting them in tight spots and making unreasonable demands, even when they just needed something minor from you. You coerced them, used them, and lit a great big bonfire next door. You ignored domestic Turkish politics and made no play to win hearts and minds (4 presidential visits in history). The US influence has been corrupting for Turkey.

Comment No. 870074
October 17 4:08
You wrote not a word about the most important reason Turks are currently so ill-disposed towards the USA, which of course is the liberation of Iraqi Kurdistan and the threat such a nascent polity poses to the territorial integrity of Turkey.
Remove the issue of Kurdistan, and the dynamic would be completely different. In other words, you missed the 800 lb guerrilla in the room. Nice job.

Comment No. 870086
October 17 4:31
American foreign policy has always had one goal in mind. The economic and military advancement of the US at (almost) any cost.
During the cold war we needed Turkey because of the Soviet naval ships passing through the various waterways. Today Turkey is less important in that respect.

It, does however, have a boarder with Iraq, something the Americans tend to forget (along with common sense), and the PKK are a fairly thriving movement. If Turkey were to join the EC, it might be a bit tricky having a predominantly Muslim country in the group. Therefore Turkey sort of needs to see what side it is on, the West (ie US) or the other (predominantly Muslim) side.

The US has NEVER understood foreign policy. That is because most Americans live in a huge country and rarely leave it, to them it is really the only country IN the world, the others are just a pesky nuisance. They have had numerous attempts to place US friendly governments in charge (the Shah for example) but these usually end in disaster as the PEOPLE of the other country see through all the propaganda.

Turkey is a tricky one, if we lost its friendship and cooperation it would be a serious blow for US foreign policy, and certainly a coup for Iran, and probably the Russians, as huge numbers go there on vacation etc.
My main problem with US foreign policy, apart from the fact that is doesn't work, is just the sheer greed behind it. The US government supports loads of US companies (United Fruit in Nicaragua, for example) and then complains when the French government supports Airbus.

We support Boeing, with HUGE military orders, which keeps the civil side of the concern going.
As for those who hate the US, today its just about everyone. One reason are the types of situations outlined above, the other is the war on terror.......very few countries really take it seriously today, very few countries EXCEPT the US which is completely paranoid about another attack.

It is interesting that in foreign countries, recently I visited South Africa, security boarding commercial aircraft had not changed much since 9/11 EXCEPT those going to the US. There one is 'gone through' in case one has 4 fluid ounces of liquid instead of the permitted 3.4. It certainly does not encourage people to visit the US, just way too much hassle. Recently I visited Siberia, and getting home involved several different flights. I had bought a rather nice corkscrew with a small blade for opening the top of wine bottles. The blade was about 3/4 inch long, not lock able.

I traveled from Novosibrsk to Moscow, to Amsterdam, and then on to Memphis where I cleared customs and was inspected (yet) again The TSA found this very dangerous weapon, and I was given the choice of throwing it away or checking my baggage. As I only had had carry on since Novosibrsk, this was a real pain. Talk about paranoid!!!!. People from foreign countries must think we are mad, and in many ways we are. We are mad, and our actions are hated and will be till the US foreign policy changes, which looks like it is very far into the future, even IF Al Gore were to be elected President.

Americans should critically ask themselves the question:
A really critical and analytical answer to this question should tell every American why we are hated worldwide today, as never before.
Its very sad, we WERE THE great country, in ten years time China will be THE GREAT country.

Comment No. 870091
October 17 4:50
Deleted by Moderator.

Comment No. 870115
October 17 5:58
"Military alliances are generally celebrated for their ability to deter an attack by adversaries and as a general safeguard against mutual enemies. Even better, if at war, allies aid the cause and increase the likelihood of victory."

And since Israel isn't able to do any of that for the USA--we can't even use them if we fight a war right smack dab in the Middle East, lest we drive away any possible Arab allies--it's even more of a falsehood to call Israel the USA's "ally" instead of "client-state," "pet," "dog-wagging tail," "election-campaign football," etc.

Comment No. 870158
October 17 7:41
So Israel turned negative equity for the USA, shit happens!

Comment No. 870165
October 17 8:01
Weitsman does not appear to know much about Turkish politics nor do the vast majority of commentators on this thread. Shifting away from the westward look would require nothing short of revolution in Turkey. It is the very definition of the Turkish Republic since it was set up by Kemal Ataturk in 1923. The nationalist discourse in place since then is a very potent anti-colonialist one which depends on sometimes paranoid notions of being beset by enemies on all sides and within. It's a victim discourse which justifies itself by historic oppression. Insulting "Turkishness" is a crime because it threatens the very fragile artificial construct of a Turkish "nation."
The 2003 vote in the Turkish parliament prohibiting US forces from using Turkey as a launch pad for the invasion of Iraq was stunning. Never before had the well bought off Turkish government so blatantly defied Washington, especially because just two years before it had received $15 bn in loan guarantees from the US. The AK party made it an open vote.

The AK party since coming to power has made more liberal reforms than any since the foundation of the Republic. Their support from middle class secular Turks was strong because they were seen as being honest, and the progress made in economics and civil liberties has been profound. Turkey still has a long way to go, but things have definitely changed.

Opening the sealed lid has had some wacky effects. Last year the most popular film in Turkey was an crap action film called "Valley of the Wolves" in which three heroic Turkish spies infiltrate Northern Iraq and save Iraqis from being captured by Americans and having their organs removed. The organs are then shipped as transplants to Israel. The film has been turned into a popular TV serial.

Turks are into conspiracy theories. Living in a culture where secret societies have a long history and where the state is known to be a pathological liar, this is understandable. Often enough to support this belief is that sometimes these turn out to be true, viz the Susurluk scandal of 1996. Add this to the nationalist victim discourse, the rising anti-US sentiment is a bit more understandable.

However, it is the secular nationalists that are largely driving the push for military action against the PKK in northern Iraq and are so upset about the Armenian Genocide vote. The AK has been resisting enormous pressure to act from the military and nationalists. Prime Minister Erdogan has already announced plans to revisit Article 301, the law about insulting Turkishness, and will probably get it amended.

The Turkish polity is split into a kaleidescope of factions which have largely been held down by corrupt governments and the military since the 1920s. The openess that the so-called Islamist AK party has brought in has torn the lid off. It's actually a promising time for Turkey, even if the state becomes more unpredictable for westerners who thought they knew it.

Comment No. 870190
October 17 8:35
Surely, the mistake on behalf of Congress is not having recognised the Armenian Genocide as such a long time ago.
Also, try to imagine what Congress would do if Germany refused to recognise the Holocaust.

Comment No. 870217
October 17 8:57
TheresaKlein and ArseneKnows, don't come with that discredited crusades canard again.
The crusades were an eminently reasonable but relatively small counterattack in the face of the unprovoked muslim attack on christian lands that had been going on for hundreds of years, and had engulfed a huge part of them already. A small countercurrent against a tidal wave. Most people in Palestine and Egypt were still Christians, and the ones in Palestine had loudly complained, and with reason, about their treatment.The crusades were not about converting anyone. Actually, we have muslim reports indicating appreciation of christian rule in palestine.
Beam, mote, eye.

Comment No. 870260
October 17 9:24
Oh sure, but it's okay for them to get the benefit of suicide bombers and religious wackjobs massacring civilians at a whim.
Or just anything, as long as it's not good for the US.

Comment No. 870271
October 17 9:33
Theresa Klein 'the Left keeps fighting America over economic policy because they can't accept that Marxist economics is wrong'
Ummm - the neoconservatives don't think its wrong either where the neocons disagree with the left is that they think that an economic system based on greed and exploitation is just fine - the left doesn't.
Its quite simple an economic system based on the imperative to produce goods as cheaply as possibly will inevitably drive wages down and profits up. This creates the conflict between employer and employee that is at the heart of capitalism.

I assume you are a CEO in a large multi- national. If not you have been duped because capitalism does not work in your favour otherwise (if you are the owner of a small business well - ask any shopkeeper driven out of business by Wall Mart).

It is true that since Marx's day the power of 'big business' has expanded so that it now dictates the foreign policies of even democratically elected governments. It can now be argued that the foreign policies of both Britain and America reflect the needs of the multinationals.

Marxists believe that the role of the state has been to adjudicate between conflicting classes in the name of social order. Remove or reduce this role from the state and you increase the gap between rich and poor increasing the danger of social breakdown. This gap has been widening in both Britain and the US where the control of government by big business has increased enormously in the last twenty years.

Traditionally the democratic left has been in favour of more control on the excesses of business and today that must include foreign policy. The neocons have on the other hand supported 'small government' which has resulted in a foreign policy that has attempted to fulfil the needs of big business with disastrous results.

As to the issue of the Armenian genocide it is indeed unfortunate that Turkey has continued to be in denial over this and although I believe that the house committee on foreign affairs is correct in its stance and that Turkey may well use this issue to become more anti American, I don't think its at base the real reason for it. As other commenters have indicated anti American feeling has been increasing in Turkey before this and even before Iraq. The reason for this is the role America has played in interfering in the affairs of other nations. The powerful always think might is right and from the point of view of the powerless they are almost always wrong. That is the reason why America is globally unpopular it comes with being top nation I'm afraid.
But don't worry... China looms on the horizon.

Comment No. 870295
October 17 9:50
Summary: USA Rules! (and rocks too!).
In reality this means that more American service men and women are sent of to die in foreign lands so that Americans can walk tall and feel good about them selfs.
Have to ask whats this envy crap certain Americans bring into every discussion you only say that becuase you envy me.
I thought only teenagers used that argument.
When I disagree with some its because I disagree with then, not because I hate them or am jealous of them.
And the fact that your political betters can strut and stroll on the world stage since to them its propably better than dealing with boring domestic politics does it add to the quality of the average Americans life.

I want my next Prime Minister to be one puts domestic before foreign politics. With the words Beware of Foreign entanglements tatooed on his forehead

Comment No. 870372
October 17 10:33
The article keeps referring to fantastic sums of money handed over by the US to the Turks. I have noticed that frequently fantastic sums of money handed over to other régimes is cited as a reason for the recipients loving the US, and the US appears to think that the people they pay are ungrateful when they so often and obviously don't love them one little bit.

Remember the BEATLES "CAN'T BUY ME LOVE" anybody? I just wish they would keep their money and their troops at home, when the money fails to buy what the US wants, and they decide to go to war to get it.
I could never see the point in the old westerns of the fist fight between the hero and his "friends".

Comment No. 870377
October 17 10:34
"Why they hate US."
The joke runs: People get the government they deserve. But what drives the rest of the world to gnash their teeth and tear out their hair, is the degree to which they also get the government the US deserves."

Without even getting into the ongoing catastrophe that is Iraq and the negative effects this BS could have on that, there are other good reasons that this resolution should have been killed before it saw the light of day.

Maybe somebody else above has already mentioned this, but if Pelosi and Co. were really interested in advancing the Armenian cause, they would be quietly lobbying the Turks to open their border with Armenia, normalize trade and relations, etc. This would probably have to include some expression of sorrow and regret for the genocide that happened 90 years ago during WWI and the transition from the Ottoman Empire to modern Turkey.

This would do an enormous amount of good for everybody concerned, especially Armenia, which is really struggling right now. It is a landlocked state, its borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed, and its relations with Georgia to the north are also rocky. Like all the other states in the Caucasus, it is struggling with the change from being a Soviet republic to independence, and various festering ethnic conflicts.

But no, for some reason known only to those involved, what they want to do is make an empty and counterproductive gesture that is bound to make everything worse, while adding nothing to the debate. Everybody who cares knows what happened and that it was genocide. Why the Turks are so sensitive about this sort of thing and cannot just say "Those were bad and violent times, but it was wrong and we are sorry," is beyond me, given the benefits of normal relations for both sides.
But a gratuitous kick in the teeth, like the US Congress is gearing up to give, tends to put peoples' back up. And where is it going to stop? Is the Congress going to pass a resolution demanding Russia apologize for Stalin's wide and varied ethnic cleansing policies (the Chechens and the Tatars, among others)?
I personally would hope that they might concentrate a little more on the ongoing mass murder campaigns.

Comment No. 870401
October 17 10:50
"Also last month, a devout Muslim became president and commander in chief of Turkey. This does not bode well for the future strategic partnership with the west, despite the billions the United States has plied Turkey with since the onset of the war in Iraq."
We had an article on blocked thinking last month where an author pointed out that some people are unable to see beyond a certain label attached to someone else and believe that they can make sensible assumptions based on those labels.

Like someone has pointed out, Turkey's president does not control the country's army. Not by a long shot. Do a bit of reading on that subject.
Secondly, most of the leading brass in Turkey's army are strongly opposed to dominant Islamic influence over Turkey. Their desire to maintain a secular society in Turkey is line with what you would probably call "Western" values.

Thirdly, (maybe I'm wrong) but your statement reads like Turkey's president would let his religion take precedence over what was obviously good for his country.
It sounds like you believe a devout Muslim is incapable of intelligently assessing the consequences of losing US support and will make the decision based purely on a religious basis.
If this what you were trying to get across, I suggest that you unblock your mind.
Turkey's president is a politician. He will do what is needed to keep his party in power. If he breaks the alliance with the US, he will do so because it will support his attempt to keep his party in power.
If he keeps it, he will probably do so for the same reason.
Islam is not a "one size fits all" garment that you can use to predict people's reactions to stimuli. There are as many different interpretations of Islam as there are people. You and others who consider themselves "hated" need to learn that people are motivated by a number of different things.
It's not all about Islam.

Comment No. 870430
October 17 11:02
Alas, I say, debating the consequences of the resolution appears now to be a moot point:

Comment No. 870445
October 17 11:13
TheresaKlein: not sure where in the U.S. you are, but in Washington, where the decisions are made, a military assault on Iran is very much a topic.
Lelia (870129): I suspect that war advocates reflect the familiar banality. The fervency of their belief correlates to the distance from where the blood will flow.

Comment No. 870485
October 17 11:29
It's too late, most of the damage has already been done. All this does is demonstrate that the Congress is not only ignorant and myopic, but that they do not even have the courage of their non-convictons. What a miserable farce.

Comment No. 870503
October 17 11:35
Vukojebina, what a fantastic post. All these threads about Turkey spout the same old nonsense; by definition they all need you to set them straight. Great stuff.
With regard to where this vote in Congress leads, I suspect it will come down to Iran. Do the Democrats want to nail Iran? I suspect yes. Do they want to have a pissed off Turkey backing the Iranians beforehand? I suspect no.
Perhaps a Democrat enforced vote over the Armenian genocide would be an effective way to negate the risk of an attack on Iran, but I don't think they want that so I don't think the vote will pass.
Watch the Democratic mouse squeak then crawl back into it's hole.

Comment No. 870520
October 17 11:40
"Why they hate us"
'Cos you da daddy

Comment No. 870955
October 17 14:26
Has anyone every visited the REAL Turkey, that part of the country tourists never see?
I have, and boy is it ugly and backward.
The place is chock full of Greco-Roman and Byzantine ruins, and the Turks living near these sites have no idea as to their origins.
You have to explain the history of Rome and Byzantium to them, and when you do they don't believe you even though the TANGILBE proof of what you're saying, in the form of extensive ruins, is right before their eyes!
Of what use is such a place and such people now that communism is gone? Turkey, no matter what we do, will slide back into the Islmist mold and could well once again attack Europe.
They hate Europe, and they hate America, not for what either may have done, but simply for WHO they are.
It's as though the Turks are angry with themselves for having been forced to embrace the wrong religion and for having ended up, therefore, on the wrong side of history.
Such hatred and resentiment leaves westerners with nothing to work with.

Comment No. 871049
October 17 15:07
Good point that the best thing that the Turkish government could do for Armenia now would be to open the borders and normalise relations. That would do a lot to help real live Armenians, much more than a formal mea culpa. I have been out on that frontier before, and it is a desolate, forlorn part of the world that trade would do a lot to develop.
Thanks. I wouldn't worry too much about Turkey and Iran forming some sort of coalition. Historically they have been traditional enemies, and there is no pan-Islamic character to the AK party. None of the factions there would support it.
Turkey is really just emerging from decades of police state rule. It's actually more liberal and open than ever, sort of Islamo-Liberalism replacing nationalist-fascism. The fuss about the PKK and Iraq is mostly nationalist agitprop. A true Turkish conspiracy theorist would say that the PKK is actually in the pay of Turkish fascists to create a crisis and justify a military coup. Stranger things have happened there.

Comment No. 871189
October 17 16:17
Hi Vukojebina,
Thanks for your reply. Personally I wouldn't be remotely concerned if the Turks chose to form an alliance with Iran at the expense of the West! My point was really that I think the US are determined to attack Iran and will ultimately doctor these issues to suit that.
I wonder if, at a strategic rather than Islamic level, there is a common cause between Iran/Turkey in that the Iranians are also not keen on Kurdish autonomy given their large Kurdish minority. On the other hand, the AKP are unique in that they attract a large number of Kurdish voters and form alliances with Kurdish parties.
The AKP fascinate me - it may be they offer something of a blueprint for the future of Islamic politics; they have managed to find the common ground between religious and secular, showing others in the region how to develop and implement the types of policies that attract majority support from the population.

Comment No. 871502
October 17 18:53
annetan42 writes -
"But don't worry... China looms on the horizon."
after working yourself up into a fine lather, you spoilt your own case by mentioning this. if capitalism is so bad and useless and wicked and horrible, why have the chinese adopted it? And your statement above shows you believe it has strengthened them enough to challenge the US. So how useless could it be?
Self-contradiction is a no no.

Comment No. 872048
October 18 3:31
A very insightful op-ed. I found Weitsman's analysis right on target. The dynamics of alliances are profoundly important for issues of international security and for maintaining the strategic interests of the United States, so it is high time that we ponder the issues Weitsman raises. If we could keep in mind our long-term strategic interests, then perhaps our foreign policy would be less disastrous.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited


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