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12:11AM

Co-opting Turkey and Iran--in tandem

Fascinating Stephen Kinzer piece in The American Prospect, by way of WPR's Media Roundup.

The subtitle makes the statement boldly:

Why America's future partners in the Middle East should be Turkey and Iran -- yes, Iran.

Underlying argument:  two countries in the region have a long history of struggling with democracy--Turkey and Iran.  Both currently sport the Islamist veneer, but beneath lies a restive and vibrant civic culture.

In the future, it is not Turkey alone where "they come together." Improbable as it may seem right now, given the current regime in Iran, a partnership that unites Turkey, Iran, and the United States is the future and makes sense for two reasons: The three countries share strategic interests, and their people share values. Our evolving relationship with a changing Turkey offers a model for the kind of relationship we might one day--not necessarily tomorrow--have with a changing Iran. This is the tantalizing possibility of a new way for the U.S. to engage with the Middle East in the 21st century.

Why explore?  Because our Cold War stalwarts aren't working out:

Today we work in the region primarily through two bilateral relationships--with Israel and with Saudi Arabia. These pairings served Washington well during the Cold War. They have not, however, produced a stable Middle East. 

I like this piece very much.  Very intelligent, unemotional, and strategic in vision.

Also adapted from a new book (Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future).

References (1)

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Reader Comments (1)

According to Stratfor's Freidman and the movie, Syriana, the Middle East policy of the United States is general chaos. The idea being that its in the interest of the United States, that no one country is that area can dominate the area.

A bit cynical but basically pragmatic.

Better policy though is convincing the various States to adopt the Seven Pillars of Western Wisdom.

June 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Canepa

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