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Until quite recently, it seemed that Turkey had a clearly defined role in the Middle East, from the standpoint of U.S. policy. They were the "good Muslims," who were part of NATO, who contributed troops to U.S. wars, and who had good relations with Israel.  

In the past few weeks, therefore, some Americans may have been startled to see the government of Turkey seemingly playing a very different role. First, together with Brazil, Turkey negotiated a nuclear fuel swap agreement with Iran to defuse the standoff over Iran's nuclear program and forestall a controversial U.S./Israeli push for new sanctions against Iran at the U.N. Although the deal was very similar to one proposed by the Obama Administration - and Brazil and Turkey had a letter  from Obama encouraging them to press forward with the deal - Obama Administration officials dismissed the deal, and far from being grateful to Turkey and Brazil, made a show of being angry. But instead of being chastened, Turkey and Brazil insisted their deal was good - invoking their letter from Obama to demonstrate their case - and insisted that the U.S. should pursue it.

Meanwhile - with much more spectacular results, as it turned out - Turkey gave indirect backing to an international convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in protest and defiance of the U.S.-approved Israeli-Egyptian siege of Gaza's civilian population. When the Israeli military attacked the convoy, killing nine Turkish citizens, Turkey threatened to break diplomatic relations with Israel, unless Israel apologized, agreed to an international investigation of the attack, and lifted the blockade on Gaza. Meanwhile, Turkey sharply criticized the Obama Administration's unwillingness to condemn the Israeli attack or to support an international investigation. In the wake of this high-profile confrontation, Egypt announced that it would leave its border with Gaza open indefinitely, and went so far as to claim credit for having "broken the blockade."

Does Turkey's new, more independent foreign policy represent a threat to America? Or might Turkey's new policies present an opportunity for a new alignment that addresses and de-escalates the conflicts of the broader Middle East?

Since many Americans know little about Turkey, many may find it plausible when Liz Cheney claims that "it looks like" Turkey is "supporting Hamas" in "wanting to destroy the state of Israel."

It's a very opportune time to hear from former New York Times correspondent and bestselling author Stephen Kinzer, whose new book "Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future" is published today. Kinzer argues that the world has changed sufficiently since the Cold War so that a fundamental rebalancing of U.S. relationships in the Middle East, away from excessive attachment to the current policies of the Israeli and Saudi governments and towards greater cooperation with Turkey and Iran, would be in the interests of the United States. [Kinzer will be speaking about the book in a free webinar Friday; here are some other upcoming Kinzer appearances.]

Kinzer's case for a new relationship with Turkey and Iran may strike many Americans as unintuitive, particularly in the case of Iran. But Kinzer's basic point is that a strategic vision for the future isn't merely an extrapolation from the present: it's an ability to envision a future realignment that would be fundamentally different, just as President Nixon saw the possibility for a fundamentally different relationship between the U.S. and China, based on "mutual interests and mutual respect," as President Obama put it in his speech to the Turkish Parliament in April 2009.

Kinzer begins his case with the story of Howard Baskerville, the Rachel Corrie, if you will, of U.S.-Iran relations: a young American whose life and death suggests the possibility of a different relationship between the U.S. and Iran, one based on sympathy for Iranian national aspirations. Baskerville was a Presbyterian schoolteacher from Nebraska working in the city of Tabriz when royalist forces supported by Russia and Britain - who had agreed between themselves in 1907 to partition the country into spheres of influence - laid siege to the city during the Constitutional Revolution. Baskerville - like the nine Turks - was trying to break the siege when he was killed by a sniper in April 1909. Today, Kinzer notes, Baskerville is among the most honored foreigners in Iran: schools and streets are named after him; a bust of him is on display at Constitution House in Tabriz.

Another American in Iran in this period whose contribution suggested the possibility of a different relationship between the U.S. and Iran was Morgan Shuster, appointed Treasurer General of Persia by the Iranian parliament in May 1911. The goal of his appointment was to assist the Iranian Parliament in resisting British and Russian control. Shuster argued that it was essential for the effective functioning of the Iranian state for it to be able to collect taxes - including from wealthy landowners under British and Russian protection. The Russians and the British had other ideas, and in December 1911, Russia demanded that Parliament dismiss Shuster in 48 hours, and promise not to employ foreigners without the permission of the Russians and the British. When Parliament refused to comply, Russian troops occupied Tehran, and under Russian and British pressure, Shuster was dismissed.

In February 1921, in the face of widespread Iranian resistance to direct British control, the commander of British forces in Iran, General Edmond Ironside, told Reza Shah that if he staged a coup, Britain would not object. Four days later, Reza Shah successfully carried out a coup. Although Reza Shah came to power with British support, he took some measures to limit British influence, and when he tried to keep Iran neutral in World War II, Britain forced him to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Shah, in September 1941.

After the war, many Iranians wanted and expected more democracy and more freedom from British control, and by 1950 Mohammad Mossadegh was a key standard-bearer of these two ideas. When the American oil company Aramco made a fifty-fifty split of oil revenues with Saudi Arabia, Iranians demanded the same deal from the British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as British Petroleum.) But the British refused to raise Iran's 16 percent share. In response to the British refusal to negotiate, in the spring of 1951, the Parliament voted to nationalize Iran's oil and made Mossadegh Prime Minister.

To prevent Iran from successfully reclaiming its oil, Britain ordered all British oil technicians to return home, mounted a boycott campaign to make sure oil technicians from other countries did not come to Iran, persuaded oil companies in other countries, including the US, to refuse to buy any oil Iran produced, imposed a naval blockade on Iran to prevent tankers from entering to pick up oil, and froze Iran's accounts in London and stopped exporting key commodities to Iran. Sound familiar?

These measures, of course, brought tremendous economic hardship to Iran. Unemployment and poverty increased. But the Iranian government under Mossadegh refused to capitulate to British pressure. Britain tried its hand at "democracy promotion" - bribing members of Iran's parliament to support a no-confidence notion against Mossadegh - but their plotting was discovered, and Mossadegh shut down the British embassy, sending home all the British "diplomats" - including the British spies who had been assigned the task of overthrowing him. The British turned to the Truman Administration, but Truman wasn't interested in promoting regime change in Iran, believing that the impasse was largely due to excessive British greed. But the incoming Eisenhower Administration was easily sold on the idea of promoting regime change.

How did CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt orchestrate the coup that ousted Mossadegh? Today it would be called "democracy promotion," and perhaps it would be funded by the so-called National Endowment for Democracy.  Roosevelt bribed "newspaper columnists, mullahs, and members of Parliament" to denounce Mossaedegh; they called him "an atheist, a Jew, a homosexual, and even a British agent," Kinzer notes. Roosevelt hired a street gang to rampage through Tehran, "firing pistols and smashing windows while shouting, 'We love Mossadegh and Communism!'" Then Roosevelt hired a second street gang to attack the first one, "seeking to portray Mossadegh as unable to control his own capital city." A mob of several thousand, unaware that it was acting under the direction of the CIA, converged on Mossadegh's house. Military units began shelling the house. Hundreds of people were killed. Mossadegh was arrested and imprisoned for three years, followed by house arrest for life.

If Truman's view had won out rather than Eisenhower's, and the US had not overthrown Mossadegh, perhaps today we would know Mossadegh as a George Washington of Iran. The "murder of Hamlet's dad" of the Kinzer story is that instead of supporting a George Washington of Iran, we overthrew him, because he nationalized Iran's oil. And the central question of the Kinzer story is not avenging the death of Hamlet's dad, but trying to rectify it, with the goal being that the end of the story not be a stage littered with bodies but a negotiated agreement and a new relationship.

To illustrate the enduring impact of the coup on U.S.-Iran relations, Kinzer relates a story told by Bruce Laingen, the senior American diplomat held hostage in Iran after students took over the US embassy in 1979, motivated in part by fears of another US-backed coup. One day, after Laingen had spent more than a year as a hostage, one of his captors visited him in his cell. Laingen exploded, shouting that this hostage-taking was immoral, illegal and "totally wrong." His captor replied: "You have nothing to complain about. The United States took our whole country hostage in 1953."

Yet in response to a reporter's question in February 1980 about the coup - almost a year before Laingen's interaction with the guard - then-President Carter said, "That's ancient history, and I don't think it's appropriate or helpful for me to go into the propriety of something that happened 30 years ago."

If it's true, as many are fond of saying, that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," then an obvious corollary would be that those who want to repeat history have a vested interest in keeping history off the table of discussion. And when one considers the policies being advocated by the likes of the Washington Post editorial board towards Iran today, they bear a strong resemblance to the policies adopted by Britain and the U.S. towards Iran in 1953: sanctions, "democracy promotion," regime change.

In his speech in Cairo a year ago, President Obama acknowledged US involvement in the 1953 coup, the first US President to do so. "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government," Obama said.

Of course, the US intervention did not end with the 1953 coup; for the next twenty-five years, the US strongly backed the Shah's autocratic rule. Kinzer writes: "With the United States firmly behind him, the shah became an absolute dictator." Several members of Congress raised questions about human rights; they were told that the shah had made "important changes" and there was a "gratifying trend" toward respect for dissent. But as Kinzer notes, Amnesty International observed in 1975 that "no country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran."

Meanwhile, President Carter, who had claimed that "human rights is the soul of our foreign policy," had this to say to the Shah in late 1977: "Iran, under the great leadership of the Shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world. This is a great tribute to you, your Majesty, and to your leadership - and to the respect, admiration, and love which your people give to you." A year later, throngs of Iranian were chanting: "Death to the American Shah!" And in January 1979, the Shah fled.

But even after the Shah fell, from the point of view of many Iranians, U.S. intervention in Iran did not cease. It is believed by many Iranians that the U.S. had a hand in Saddam Hussein's decision to invade Iran in 1980. What is beyond dispute is that the US vigorously backed Iraq during the war, at a time when "American intelligence officers knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons" against Iran, according to an August 2002 report in the New York Times, which noted that "Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush ... as justification for ''regime change'' in Iraq."

But despite this history, Kinzer notes, after the September 11 attacks, Iran actively collaborated with the U.S. against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, common foes. The State Department produced a report saying that the U.S. had a "real opportunity" to remake its relationship with Iran, a report endorsed by the CIA. But in January 2002, to the bewilderment of the Iranians, President Bush denounced Iran as part of an "axis of evil." Nonetheless, a year later, Iran proposed comprehensive talks with the United States. Iran would ask the U.S. to lift economic sanctions, guarantee Iran access to peaceful nuclear technology, and oppose anti-Iranian terrorist groups. In exchange, Iran would accept "full transparency" in its nuclear program, end any "material support" for Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, increase its cooperation with the U.S. against al Qaeda, and accept Israel within its 1967 borders. But the Bush Administration ignored the proposal.

It's important to note that while the President of Iran has changed since that 2003 Iranian proposal, the Supreme Leader - the final arbiter in foreign affairs and security policy - has not. This suggests that a similar negotiation might still be possible. Indeed, the recent successful negotiation by Brazil and Turkey with Iran for the nuclear fuel swap along the lines previously endorsed by the Obama Administration also suggests that the prospect of meaningful agreements between the U.S. and Iran is quite realistic, should the U.S. choose to pursue them.

And Turkey is uniquely positioned to act as a bridge, not just as a bridge between the U.S. and Iran, but between Israel and the Arab countries, and potentially, between the U.S. and the Taliban.  For the last several years, Turkey has pursued a foreign policy of trying to improve relations with its neighbors, and trying to help its neighbors improve their relations with each other. Turkey mediated talks between Israel and Syria. Turkey helped persuade Iraqi Sunnis to participate in the post-Saddam Iraqi political process. Despite the recent conflict with Israel, it's still far and away the Muslim country with the best relationship with Israel, including a strong relationship between the two countries' militaries. "No other nation is respected by Hamas, Hizbullah, and the Taliban while also maintaining good ties with the Israeli, Lebanese, and Afghan governments," Kinzer writes.

Turkey has escaped from America's orbit...Turkey's new role, however, holds great promise for the United States. As a Muslim country intimately familiar with the region around it, Turkey can go places, engage partners, and make deals that America cannot. What it has done to separate itself from the United States - refusing to allow American troops to invade Iraq from Turkish territory, for example, or denouncing Israel's actions in Gaza - has enhanced its reputation in other Muslim countries. That strengthens its ability to influence them.

Some powerful Americans appear to believe that negotiating, reconciling, and perhaps building a partnership with Iran would be a form of surrender. Henry Kissinger crystallized this view when asked how the U.S. should deal with its Muslim adversaries:

"They want to humiliate us," he said. "We need to humiliate them."

But the goal of diplomacy should be to advance our interests, not to punish, Kinzer argues. None of the chief American goals in the Middle East, including stabilizing Iraq, achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and marginalizing Al Qaeda, are likely to be achieved without Iran's cooperation. An isolated Iran is likely to be a spoiler. An integrated Iran could be a stabilizing power, a provider of security, a motor of economic development.

Kinzer lists some potential benefits of a new relationship with Iran, including:

- Iran can do more than any other country to assure peace in Iraq.

- Iran can help stabilize Afghanistan.

- Iran can help moderate and broker agreements with groups like Hamas and Hizbullah.  

- An alliance between the U.S. and Iran would weaken Al Qaeda, their common foe.

- Improved relations would open up new opportunities for economic cooperation.

U.S. presidents have rejected compromise with Iran because the U.S. would have to recognize Iran as an important power with legitimate security interests. But Iran is already a regional power, Kinzer notes. That's not going to change, no matter what the U.S. does. The smart policy is to acknowledge this fact, just as Nixon's policy acknowledged the regional power of China.

When the U.S. and China signed the Shanghai Communiqué of 1972, China was engaged in behavior that was at least as offensive to the U.S. as anything that Iran is doing today. China was supplying weapons to the anti-U.S. insurgency in Vietnam. Nixon did not make "good behavior" a condition of negotiation. Agreement came first; changes in behavior followed.

During the presidential campaign, Senator Obama was articulating these ideas: don't make as a precondition of the negotiation things that you are trying to achieve. But recently, the Obama Administration seems to have reverted to the Bush Administration's policy, appearing to insist that Iran suspend the enrichment of uranium before the U.S. and Iran have anything to talk about.  

Yet, the presence of Turkey on the scene could be a game-changer. In the last few weeks, we've gone from a situation where the siege of Gaza was a non-issue to the U.S. to one in which the U.S. is saying that the siege of Gaza must go. What intervened were a set of actions in which Turkey played an indispensable role. If Turkey can play a similar role with respect to the dispute between the U.S. and Iran over Iran's nuclear program, the world will become a fundamentally different - and much better - place.

Originally posted to Robert Naiman on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 12:52 PM PDT.

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I would like to see the U.S. improve relations with Turkey and Iran

80%55 votes
19%13 votes

| 68 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Liz Cheney: it's a Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis. (11+ / 0-)

    Cheney daughter accuses Turkey of joining anti-Israel plot:

    Also in a written statement released earlier at the weekend, the Republican Cheney accused Democratic President Barack Obama of encouraging what she called the "Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis."

    "President Obama is contributing to the isolation of Israel, and sending a clear signal to the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis that their methods for ostracizing Israel will succeed, and will be met by no resistance from America," she said.

    Hmmm, where else have I heard of an axis including Iran and two other countries?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:00:49 PM PDT

  •  Great post (7+ / 0-)

    Indeed a long and bloody history. The BBC had a documentary a while ago "Iran and the West" best round-up I have seen. 3 hours long but worth every minute.

    Non Violence is fine... so long as it works. - Malcolm X

    by Dr Marcos on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:11:28 PM PDT

  •  Turkey (10+ / 0-)

    should be viewed as a model for emerging Middle Eastern democracy and its ruling party as the model for the future major parties  in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco. They are the model or the kind of Muslim Brotherhood that will emerge in a free democratic system.

    Now the US has a choice.

    Play Israel's game and demonize Turkey as it has done with Iran or reposition its foreign policy to take advantage of Turkey's emerging role in the Muslim world.

    I suspect that the US administration will do the first and we will end up with another boogyman like Iran. All for the sake of Israel's insistence on maintaining their occupation and Israel's interests in continual war with the whole Muslim world.

    I think that the administration's has a tough choice. Continual war with a billion mainly poor Muslims or being annoyed by a couple or more  billionaire donors with acutely focused interests---supporting Israel---who may support republican candidates in elections.

    Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

    by simone daud on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:12:00 PM PDT

    •  I don't (5+ / 0-)

      agree. I don't think there will be any kind of substantial shift in Turkish policy or its underlying ties with Israel and the US. There is too much at stake economically and politically for Turkey, even when led by its watered down "Islamist secularists", to substantially shift its actual policies as opposed to its rhetoric. It still needs the US and the rest of the world to look the other way when it violates the rights of Kurds.

      That said, I think it's sad that Arabs are so abused that this tiny posturing by Turkey is interpreted as the coming of a new savior. That's how bad things are politically in the Arab world.

      •   Who isn't violating the rights of Kurds? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic

        Turkey is violating the rights of Kurds. Iran is violating the rights of Kurds. The United States is violating the rights of Kurds (in Iraq).

        A tax cut for the wealthy is the opiate of the rightwing masses.

        by edg on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:40:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (5+ / 0-)

          the Kurds in Iraq are doing rather well compared to the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, and Syria. And they are very pro-American because since 1991, the US has enabled a de-facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq to emerge, with its own government, army, and US protection.

          But in the broader sense, you're right. Nobody is supporting a sovereign Kurdistan.

          •  Our tentacles are entangled (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            esquimaux

            It is a monument to American imperial stupidity that we now have this situation:

            KPP terrorists backed by the Kurdish regional government attack Turkey.  But America must love the Kurds because they were Saddam's victims (while Saddam was getting US support!), and because the twin warlords and KPP are "secularist".

            The secularist, tyrannically anti-Islamic, anti-democratic Turkish Army is chafing to be unleashed and launch an attack on Kurdish Iraq that would likely get Americans killed.  But America must love the Turkish Army because they are a bulwark against the evil that is Islam - translation: against the voters of Turkey.

            The voters of Turkey, including many Kurds, vote for the Islamist AKP.  The AKP is hated by the Turkish Army for rejecting the very dogma of Turk ethnonationalism that said army uses against the Kurds.  Could it be that the AKP rejects this ethnic  hatred because Turks and Kurds should be brothers under Islam?

            Now is a religious Kurd who votes AKP evil, while a secular KPP terrorist who desires to start a war between the Turkish Army and our troops good?

            Or is the only requirement that America has of all people is that they obey America mindlessly, incessantly, and beyond all reason and contradiction?

        •  I know many Iranian Kurds, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, Eiron, Terra Mystica, simone daud

          and they do not favor a separate state. There are Kurdish separatist groups, but the overwhelming majority of Kurds see themselves as Iranian too. Iran is a nation with many minorities, and despite US stated intentions to flame separatist movements--Arabs and Baluchis in particular, this is not really the problem that Iran has. Now, this won't stop the governemnt from executing people like they did a few weeks ago--claiming that a number of dissidents (teachers) who were also Kurds, were foreign supported. They also happened to be active in the Labor movement. See here: Iran Labor Report.

          You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

          by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:08:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was thinking of the executions ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankCornish

            when listing Iran. Not all Kurds want a separate state regardless of where they are located. The Iraqi Kurds are most vocal, but not even all of them favor it.

            A tax cut for the wealthy is the opiate of the rightwing masses.

            by edg on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:15:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  When Carter screwed up, (7+ / 0-)

    he did it royally.  Oddly enough, he got on the wrong side of history and where this country should be far less than any of the Presidents since FDR.  Too bad Americans didn't recognize that in 1980 or anytime since then.

    "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

    by Marie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:15:05 PM PDT

    •  Carter was also misadvised about Afghanistan (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, capelza, esquimaux, erratic

      and in the federal government's mishandling of the 1979-80 oil boycott (of the US) by the Seven Sisters.  The Carter Administration should have taken emergency measures when they had chance.  Instead, they folded, and the oil cartel won without a single vesting order.

      I'd say the screw-up was in Carter's choice of NSA and Energy Dept. Secretary.

      We're still paying the price for the astronomically bad advise of Brzezinski and Jim Schlesinger.  The Af-Pak war, 9/11 and the BP oil catastrophe are just the three most visible results.  Paved the way for Ronnie Reagan and the Bush Family to wreck and loot this country.  

      •  Name one POTUS from Truman (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, erratic, Terra Mystica

        through BushI that didn't view foreign relations through the lens of the Cold War?  Thus, to single out Carter and his advisers as the linchpins in the events of 9/11 assigns too much blame to them.  

        "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

        by Marie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:55:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  JFK tried to change the focus of our thinking, (0+ / 0-)

          and paid the price.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:59:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  JFK was a Cold War warrior -- (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, Terra Mystica, nickrud

            he promulgated the fiction that there was a missile gap in his campaign.

            If he wasn't assassinated by a lone nutcase, it's too big of a stretch for me to see that there was some unacceptable evolution in his thinking on foreign affairs that played a role.

            "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

            by Marie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:18:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  JFK evolved (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lysias

              The question is, what will it take to get the current president to evolve?

              JFK evolved by catastrophe - Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis, the violent attacks on Dr. King's movement, and finally the Diem assassination.  As a result, he had to give up overt attacks against Cuba, recognize the need for nuclear arms control and crisis control with the Soviets, openly begin to move on civil rights, and, some say, begin to lay out plans to scale back operations in Vietnam before he was eliminated.

              The US and USSR, after the Missile Crisis, had begun an unofficial series of mutual defense spending cutbacks.  Both JFK and Krushchev were dealt with.

              But we don't need assassins now.  If any of the above crises occurred today, Obama would be threatened with impeachment unless he went to war with everyone everywhere, enabled by corporate media hysteria and decades of manufactured cynicism about the federal government and America's festering sense of entitlement.  There is no one to push back on him from the Left as there was when Kennedy was president.

              •  His Kumbaya lenses appear to be (0+ / 0-)

                welded onto his skull.  If he can't see by now that his bipartisan religion is but a figment of his imagination, he can only continue to tack right.    

                "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

                by Marie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:02:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Two recent books (one of them multivolume): (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dqueue

              James Douglass's JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

              Douglas Horne's five-volume Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK.

              Horne was chief analyst of military records for the Assassination Records Review Board.

              In my opinion, these books prove that JFK was assassinated by the national security state, and come close to proving that the rationale was in order to keep the Cold War going.

              My opinion matters somewhat because it has been my role in life, in various capacities, to evaluate evidence.  I have advanced degrees in ancient history.  I am a retired naval intelligence officer.  I am currently a lawyer.

              The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

              by lysias on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:51:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Someone's going to have to do better (0+ / 0-)

                than "national security state" for this agnostic.  A single, history changing event perpetrated by a group of conspirators doesn't remain a mystery for decades if that group is larger than a handful or doesn't have a well-defined goal.    

                Incompetence rather than widespread conspiracy generally accounts for all the anomalies of unique events.  The crime scene was contaminated before they got JFK to the hospital, and solving a crime through fragmentary forensic evidence is practically impossible.

                Did we get the full story?  Probably not. Just as we haven't gotten it for 9/11.  However, characterizing JFK as anything other than what he was to explain why the "national security state" would want to bump him off is to me a deeply unsatisfying conjecture.

                 

                "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

                by Marie on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 04:54:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The books don't prove precisely who did the (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dqueue
                  shooting and from where.  As you say, the evidence is too contaminated to permit that.

                  What the books do is to show that the evidence was being tampered with and a coverup begun far too soon after the assassination for it to be a later reaction to an event and far too systematically for it to be anything but government action.  As a matter of fact, false leads were being laid in advance of the deed, and in a way that displayed knowledge that only high-ranking people in intelligence can have had.

                  The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                  by lysias on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:29:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Carter's #1 Problem was Brzezinski. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, esquimaux, simone daud

        Brzezinski was both wrong and excessively arrogant--a terrible combination.

        You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

        by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:00:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eiron, FrankCornish

          I remember Brzezinski., "by by PLO" and the next day the Islamic revolution happens in Iran and crowds chant "by by Brzezinski".

          Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

          by simone daud on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 02:30:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mika's Dad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            simone daud

            because of experience and mistakes, is one of the best FP thinkers we got, today.  

            Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

            by Eiron on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:57:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You think? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eiron, simone daud

              Do you think he has grappled with the gross errors he made when it mattered in 1977-1980?

              You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

              by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:20:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I must add, that I particularly (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eiron, simone daud, Bats on the Rug

              enjoyed the way he schooled Morning Joe, but I still have reservations.

              I come from the old foreign policy school that handed off from Secretary Stimson to Acheson, Lovett, McCloy & Company. They did not exaggerate and they kept their cool. They could be Democrat or Republican and they truly had US interests and not their political careers as their primary focus. Niebuhr was their moral guide. We've lost a great deal since those days. McCarthyism was the first wave that fucked that kind of thinking, and the US population has been at a loss since.

              You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

              by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 05:30:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  If the US could stop viewing the situation (10+ / 0-)

    through the lens of right wing Israeli interests, it would be better for all concerned, including Israelis.

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:17:24 PM PDT

  •  Thank you. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leveymg, erratic, Robert Naiman

    I'm going to get Kinzer's book now.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:25:42 PM PDT

  •  Also another book (6+ / 0-)

    that merits a look is this: Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy. Professor Hashemi's work is ground-breaking, and Turkey and Iran are both case studies.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:30:12 PM PDT

  •  Erdogan is doing what's best for Erdogan (0+ / 0-)

    Only makes sense.

    But it makes him a far less reliable ally of the US than previous Turkish governments.

    •  Define reliable. (5+ / 0-)

      A country willing to stand on their own and pursue their own interests and fairly cooperate with other nations,  

      OR

      Someone willing to do US bidding regardless of the position it puts them in?

      What exactly has the US done for Turkey that makes them so obligated?

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 01:59:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: reliable. add to this the fact that (6+ / 0-)

        As Kinzer argues, Turkey can be more helpful to the US if it isn't perceived as a US lackey:

        Turkey has escaped from America's orbit...Turkey's new role, however, holds great promise for the United States. As a Muslim country intimately familiar with the region around it, Turkey can go places, engage partners, and make deals that America cannot. What it has done to separate itself from the United States - refusing to allow American troops to invade Iraq from Turkish territory, for example, or denouncing Israel's actions in Gaza - has enhanced its reputation in other Muslim countries. That strengthens its ability to influence them.

        •  We treated Malaysia like dirt too (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lysias, Terra Mystica, FrankCornish

          Malaysia was the perfect Uncle Tom Moslem nation.  After 9/11 we should have showcased their industrializing economy at every opportunity to prove to the Moslem world that we were not opposed to their success and independence.

          But Dr. Mahathir, who engineered this success, kept saying bad things about America.

          So the opportunity was jettisoned.

          I guess we are opposed to your success and independence unless you obey us like a prison wife.

    •  Reliable = bitch (5+ / 0-)

      Japan is the 3rd most powerful country on Earth.  But if one prime minister tries to close one US base in accordance with a campaign promise, he's a dead man.

      If that's America's respect for democracy in the 3rd most powerful country on Earth, a country we owe hundreds of billions of dollars to, how much respect do we have for anyone else's democracy?

  •  Thanks, RN! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Trolling is a sad reality of internet life...Directly replying to the content of a trollish message is usually a waste of time"

    by Rusty Pipes on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:17:46 PM PDT

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