Thursday, May 27, 2010

India and Turkey on a Global Stage

With all the renewed interest in Turkey as an emerging global player, I found Peter Pham's essay on Turkey's Return to Africa to be quite interesting.

Nitin Pai's recent Pax Indica column is also well worth a read. Particularly sobering is his assessment that despite the many interests that should push Washington and New Delhi closer together, "it is uncertain if the two countries can achieve collaborative 'win-win' solutions to common challenges." For those who've counted on an India "automatically" being in America's camp in the future, his analysis as to why India should "swing" between Washington and Beijing should be carefullynoted.

In reading Pai's article, I was struck by how similar his advice sounds to the course that Russia also seems to be following these days: maneuvering between Washington, Europe and China, maximizing its options. Since Russia is the weakest of the great powers, and India is still an emerging one, it seems to make sense that they would try to act as balancers. The next step is whether Moscow and New Delhi will try to coordinate more often.
Turkey's new role is seeming to put it at odds with what the U.S. wants. Doesn't work to hem in Russia, the nuclear deal with Iran, etc.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others cannot wait indefinitely for a US-Iran settlement - one way or another.

They have business to conduct, water pipelines to build, trade to regulate, travel to facilitate, etc.

They cannot afford the fantasy life of DC.
Anonymous 2:47: See Flynt Leverett's comments at the Nixon Center policy conference where he makes the same point about the difficulties of lining up the Gulf states, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan in such a way as to contain Iran ...
Well, this certainly complicates Turkey's ability to move westward -- guess this gives the trend for the future ...
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