Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

While Greece sinks, Syria splits and the Mideast is in turmoil, Turkey quietly rises

While everyone worries about the Arab spring, the Syrian turmoil, the Iraq mess, and the Greek economy, Turkey seems to be quietly collecting its winnings. Economy doing well, economic and political influence spreading northeast, southeast and south. Seems pretty stable politically. My guess: It is reassuming the role it played for thirty or more centuries, ...

546485_chart6.jpg
546485_chart6.jpg

While everyone worries about the Arab spring, the Syrian turmoil, the Iraq mess, and the Greek economy, Turkey seems to be quietly collecting its winnings. Economy doing well, economic and political influence spreading northeast, southeast and south. Seems pretty stable politically. My guess: It is reassuming the role it played for thirty or more centuries, before the Cold War temporarily cut it off, of a great nexus of trade both east-west and north-south. I remember reading that a lot of the wheat for ancient Greece and then Rome came on ships out of the Black Sea. (If I recall correctly, Rome's three great breadbaskets were Sicily, Egypt and Ukraine.)     

But there are some rumblings of concern out there. One smart guy I know writes, "Turkey probably sees the removal of the Al-Assad regime and the Baa'th Party with that its downside of civil war as inevitable, and is putting is putting its weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood. . .the crux being which is better: a secular Syria in orbit with Iran under the Ba'ath Party, or Syria dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood .  .  . it is now about what Turkey finds best in its interests." Hmm-I wonder how that plays out.

While everyone worries about the Arab spring, the Syrian turmoil, the Iraq mess, and the Greek economy, Turkey seems to be quietly collecting its winnings. Economy doing well, economic and political influence spreading northeast, southeast and south. Seems pretty stable politically. My guess: It is reassuming the role it played for thirty or more centuries, before the Cold War temporarily cut it off, of a great nexus of trade both east-west and north-south. I remember reading that a lot of the wheat for ancient Greece and then Rome came on ships out of the Black Sea. (If I recall correctly, Rome’s three great breadbaskets were Sicily, Egypt and Ukraine.)     

But there are some rumblings of concern out there. One smart guy I know writes, "Turkey probably sees the removal of the Al-Assad regime and the Baa’th Party with that its downside of civil war as inevitable, and is putting is putting its weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood. . .the crux being which is better: a secular Syria in orbit with Iran under the Ba’ath Party, or Syria dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood .  .  . it is now about what Turkey finds best in its interests." Hmm-I wonder how that plays out.

(HT to DLM)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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