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« The transcript of Tom's Politics & Prose speech | Main | Director's commentary on Chapter 2 of Blueprint for Action »
Thursday
Mar022006

Preface to the Turkish edition of Blueprint for Action

As the Bush Administration's Big Bang strategy continues to unfold in the Middle East (i.e., the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as a trigger for political change throughout the region), no one country confronts more peril or promise than Turkey, because no other country can play a more destructive or constructive role in demonstrating to the Muslim world just how modernity, pluralism, and markets can thrive within a state that is at once both secular in form and Islamic in content.

Whether Turks aspire to this pivotal role or not is inconsequential, because history has thrust it upon them. Your people, your nation, your state plays "lead goose" to the integration process that must inevitably occur between Europe and the Islamic Middle East, and your current negotiations for membership in the European Union place you squarely in the docket of history's judgment of whether a "clash of civilizations" shall reign supreme or be superseded by their convergence.

In this fateful moment, Turkey will be judged as much by its actions as inaction, as much by its fears as its forbearance, as much by its wisdom as its will. I know there is great suspicion within your country as to America's aims in trying to "transform" the Middle East, and I welcome them, for your vigilance in steering my country toward the necessary next steps is quite vital to the success of this ambitious strategy, one that many Americans likewise view with suspicion regarding the possible outcomes and fear for loved ones sacrificed.

But I have always believed, and continue to believe, that no Global War on Terrorism can be won unless the West can connect the Middle East to the larger world of globalization--in a fair and just manner--before the radical jihadists can disconnect it and, by doing so, sentence hundreds of millions of Muslims to lives of continued deprivation and humiliation in a world where the rest of humanity will enjoy a far better path because of successful integration into the global economy. In that grand struggle, Turkey is far more than pivotal. Indeed, it may well prove to be history's tipping point.

If this Blueprint for Action convinces you--in any way--of how important Turkey can be to this struggle, then I will consider myself well paid for my effort in crafting it.

I welcome your debate, your questions, your comments. Please reach me at tom@thomaspmbarnett.com.

Thomas P.M. Barnett
March 2006

Reader Comments (5)

I think its a great preface, and one that beautifully portrays Turkey's crucial role.

Just hope some marketing exec doesn't package it with two movie tickets to "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq"!

March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMenno

Passionate yet precise as usual, but in the third paragraph there is a grammatical error. The singular of "great suspicion" does not agree with "welcome them." In addition, what you are trying to get at is not that you welcome the suspicion, but the conversations and vectors that must arise from those suspicions. The reader can probably figure out your meaning, and your translator certainly will have to. Still, not your best-wrought sentence.

much respect

Michal

March 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichal Shapiro

The "lead goose" saying caused me to ruminate on how gesse are smarter than governments.

The lead goose actually does the hardest work, in that he is the one who breaks the air resistance for the other to draft off of. Typically only the biggest and strongest do this job.

Geese, when going wherever they are heading, actually have several "lead geese" in the group. When one gets tired, another one takes over at the lead position. But all the geese instinctively know where the group is heading. Any one of them could play the role of "lead goose", if only for a short period of time.

Sure would be nice if we weren't the only lead goose in the world, and if everyone instictively knew where we are heading.

March 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRVanValkenburg

changed the pronoun agreement, Michal. i'll let Tom decide about the 'suspicion'. thanks for the heads up.

March 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSean Meade

fyi, goose in turkish slang means something resembling an idiot...

March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergraham

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