By Barry Rubin
Turkey’s Islamist regime subverted and then opposed sanctions against Iran. That regime also declared Iran and Syria, Hamas and Hizballah to be its friends. It also sponsored a terrorist group (the IHH) to provoke Israel into an international incident that would generate Islamist martyrs and dead Israeli soldiers. Now, rejecting Israeli conciliation attempts (regrets; donations to families of jihadists who got killed trying to kill Israelis), the Turkish regime escalated to the verge of war.
Now the Turkish prime minister goes to Egypt, proposes an alliance with the Egyptian revolution, then advocates a united bloc of Arabs, Iranians, and Turks as well as war on Israel to the assembled Arab foreign ministers.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells the Islamist Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to a U.S. diplomat,
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“She encouraged Turkey to keep the door open” regarding Turkey’s relationship with Israel. “We want to see them repair their relationship, so she encouraged them to avoid any steps that would close that door and, on the contrary, to actively seek ways that they can repair (their) important relationship with Israel.”
That’s it? Let me put this into a fictionalized reenactment:
Davutoglu: “The evil Zionist aggressive and lawless forces must be taught a lesson by the Muslims even if it means going to war.”
Clinton: “Well, I hope you keep the door open to improving relations. And hope you like our making you co-chair of the counterterrorist group we set up that didn’t even include Israel!
And then we are told that President Obama is Israel’s best friend? But this isn’t serious foreign policy on any issue. Clinton should tell the Turkish regime that its policy toward Israel ald subversion of U.S. interests are unacceptable. Boy, would he be mad! But that’s the way you have to conduct a foreign policy. This is a concept the Obama Administration has never understood and never will.
And that means more enemies, bolder enemies, frightened friends, and bigger crises.
By the way, like a caricature of a ridiculously biased newspaper no longer even trying to hide that fact, the New York Times had a very friendly editorial toward Erdogan who is forgiven all his overt anti-American, pro-radical, extremist, and war-threatening deeds while at the same time it falsely and repeatedly accuses Netanyahu and Israel of being extremist and not wanting peace.
Let’s be perfectly clear here, it’s true that the handling of Turkey has been still one more example of how the Obama Administration’s campaign claiming that critiques of its policy toward Israel is based on lies and distortions. It isn’t. The administration did nothing over many months as Turkey turned with increasing openness and hostility against Israel. Nothing except to reward Turkey.
Moreover, one of the most amazing things is that the administration doesn’t understand that if a crisis builds over many months and it does nothing to prevent or counter it, this does not prove the Obama Administration is guiltless. Egypt’s revolution, Syria’s upheaval, the rebellion in Iran, the Palestinian drive for unilateral independence, and the growing power of Islamists in Libya–an incomplete list–didn’t just happen, they were events for the United States to shape in a favorable manner to some extent. It failed in each case to do even the tiniest amount.
And finally, this is not a case of any U.S. favor to Israel. Trying to rein in an increasingly anti-American, reckless, pro-Islamit government as it turns one of America’s most important allies into one of its most dangerous adversaries is a fundamental U.S. interest.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com