Turkey's NATO Trap for Obama
Turkey, a NATO member with a religious-Sunni, right-wing political base, is setting a dangerous trap for President Obama. The United States cannot let itself be drawn into war with Syria by virtue of its formal alliance with Turkey, through NATO. Already, Turkey has been shelling Syria. For more than a year, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan has been itching for a fight with Syria, and now—following a minor incident involving a single mortar shell that crossed the Syrian-Turkish border—he may get one.
If he does, the United States has to stay out of it.
Weirdly, it isn’t even known who fired the mortar, which landed in a Turkish village. As The New York Times reports: "It was unclear if the mortar that struck Turkey was fired by government forces or by rebels fighting to oust the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.”
The problem for Obama is, if he backs Turkey in what is looking increasingly like Turkish nationalist frenzy, a combination Sunni-Muslim solidarity with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rebels and old Ottoman Empire wistfulness, he’ll find himself involved in yet another Middle East war with no end. And if he doesn’t, count on Mitt Romney to accuse him of abandoning a NATO ally.
Various NATO and European circles are calling for restraint, including Catherine Ashton of the EU and the British foreign secretary, William Hague. But the Turks don’t seem ready to restrain themselves, even though their allies in the Syrian civil war are more and more overt terrorists. (continue reading...)