Thursday, August 13, 2015

Watching From Behind

I noted that "leading from behind" is nice work if you can get it. But it requires allies to fight and bleed for our objectives. Allies will quite naturally figure out that if we aren't going to lead and get our allies to help us fight for our objective, our allies might as well fight for their own objectives without us.

Let's look at Turkey, shall we?

An American military source told Fox News that US military leaders were "outraged" when Turkey began launching airstrikes against the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq just hours after striking a deal with the US opposing the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh. ...

On July 24, Ankara announced it would begin to strike ISIS strongholds in northern Syria and would allow the US to do the same from its Incirlik airbase in southeastern Turkey. ...

But Ankara's recent anti-terror sweep — which has resulted in the arrest of more than 800 suspected PKK members, compared with just over 100 suspected ISIS sympathizers — and the intensity of its bombing campaign in northern Iraq has made it clear that Turkey's main goal is not to prevent the consolidation of ISIS, but to halt the creation of an autonomous Kurdish state along its southern border.

I'm sure by finally getting Turkey to let us use their territory to strike ISIL, we thought we'd practiced some of that trademarked Smart Diplomacy we've come to expect from this administration.

But no. Turkey got us to look like we are with them in striking the Kurds. Ouch. That smarts.

Come on people, this outcome is predicable. When we try to get allies to do our killing for us, they will quickly decide that if they have to kill, they might as well kill who they want and not be our hired gun.

Or it should be predictable. Perhaps a fine understanding of nuance gets in the way of comprehending the real world.

Gosh, I'm so old, I remember when President Obama thought that Islamist-friendly Turkey would be the pillar of our diplomacy in the Middle East.

Yeah. Not so much.

I guess we finally got a real "plastic Turkey" scandal!