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New Emerging Alliances

December 10, 2010

“Over the past few years, one of the most unique and important relationships in the world has started to come to an end”…so begins a new column in the Wall Street JournalMichael Auslin who apparently works for a right wing think tank called “The American Enterprise Insitute” laments the fraying relationship between Turkey and Israel–but he is more chagrined about the diminution of relations between Washington and Ankara. In typical Neocon thinking, he describes the degradation ofTurkish-Israeli relations as the end of the free world and the rise of another evil empire.


What is more poignant is the fact that Mr. Auslin is chagrined about the improvement of the Turkish-Chinese relations. The Murdock owned Wall Street Journal is concerned about the rise of the Turkish power. It states–

What is the rationale for Prime Minister Erdogan reaching out to China and its president, Hu Jintao? Earlier this year, Messrs. Erdogan and Hu agreed to form a “strategic partnership,” aimed largely at increasing the bilateral trade between their two countries. Currently, Sino-Turkish trade totals $17 billion, but the two leaders want to increase that figure to $50 billion by 2015 and $100 billion by 2020. Yet clearly, the Sino-Turkish relationship is likely to deepen beyond increased trade. Conducting air exercises with the Chinese Air Force is yet another sign that Mr. Erdogan is fundamentally altering Turkey’s foreign policy and security strategy, while possibly gaining influential Chinese support for cotinued pressure on Kurdish separatists.

As for Mr. Hu, increasing China’s influence in Turkey is a shrewd strategy. In particular, Sino-Turkish military exercises can only worry Washington and Turkey’s other NATO allies; how far will such activities go? Turkey is part of the consortium building the next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will have to carry the burden of being America’s only front-line fighter aircraft in large numbers. Will Ankara invite PLA Air Force officials to watch F-35 testing and exercises once the Turkish Air Force gets the plane? Will PLA Air Force officers be allowed to test fly it? What other military sales might China make to Turkey in their enhanced relationship—ballistic missiles or advanced diesel submarines? WSJ. A Coming Sino-Turkish Axis?
Ankara is turning away from Israel and cozying up to China. WSJ. Michael Auslin.

After the EUs refusal to welcome Turkey–while other upstart states were admitted to the exclusive Christian Club–Ankara focused on a Zero issues policy with its neighbors. It also focused on the economy–raising itself from the bootstraps to become that 17th largest economy in the world. Ankara is now using its economic clout to build relations with China, Iran and Pakistan.

Turkish disenchantment with Western Alliances is  shared by most Pakistanis. Recent Wikileaks show the symptoms of deep mistrust in the US-Pakistani relationship where Washington seems to be imposing its will on a compliant elite. Most Pakistanis are unhappy with the obsequious cabal in Islamabad and their soaps as captured by Wikileaks.

During a recent state visit by the Pakistani Prime Minister–17 MOUs were signed with deep discussions on defense and economic cooperation. Pakistan and Turkey have formed a joint High Level Council which is described as a combined cabinet between the two countries.

China and Pakistan have already been cooperating in many areas in their “time-tested all weather relationship”. Now the relationship seems to be growing into a trilateral relationship among China, Turkey and Pakistan. This is what Michael Auslin is really afraid of.

 

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