US diplomacy in the middle of nowhere
For the last several years one of the most frequently
written topics in regards to U.S. relations with its allies have been the
future of its partnership with Turkey. Many U.S. allies have been watching the
relations between the two countries in order to understand the meaning of
alliances in the evolving international system. The developments in the last
few years generated less hope and more pessimism the alliance relations.
In the last decade observers of American foreign policy
puzzled about its main objectives. Increasing unilateralism in its approach,
rising insensitivity to the national security concerns of its allies and lack
of an effort to fix the weakening and breaking ties generated worries among the
U.S. allies about their relation with the world’s superpower.
Almost every foreign policy analysts emphasized the emerging
problems between the U.S. and its allies and rising problem of trust between
these partners. However there was a lack of effort to recognize, understand and
resolve these problems. In this period, the U.S. foreign policy makers did not
show sufficient care and attention to their relations with their allies. They
sometimes accuse the allies of free riding and sometimes they act or inact
without consulting or discussing with the allies in some key foreign policy
Some of the allies started to have high levels of skepticism
in regards to the U.S. commitment for the treaties they signed while seeing
that U.S. foreign policy makers fail to fulfill some of the promises they made
earlier. This problem continue to deteriorate with the emergence of new crises
in different parts of the world. U.S. allies were frequently confused due to
the differences in rhetoric and action of U.S. administrations.
While reacting to different crises the U.S. allies had hard
time to figure out the official position of the U.S. foreign policy due to the
mixed messages coming from the different branches of the administration. In
fact even some within the U.S. was aware of this worsening state of relations
with the allies. During the election campaigns, throwing an ally under the bus
has become an accusation to the U.S. presidents by their opponents or the
opposition. Some of the contenders underline the loss of U.S. credibility and
reliability in regards to its relations with allies.
It was not only during the elections, some former foreign
policy officials, those who knew about the value of the alliances and allies to
U.S. power, influence and credibility around the world often warned about the
potential impacts of this discourse and actions. Regardless of whether the
administration picks retrenching or isolationism as its foreign policy
doctrine, the allies still matter to provide international security and advance
mutual interests. However these warnings and redflags so far did not change
Those who look at the U.S. alliance relations with Turkey in the last few years have more questions about the future of alliances. Failing to commit promises in Syria, supporting the People’s Protection Units (YPG), not showing sensitivity to national security concerns gave serious damages to mutual trust between the two countries. In the last week the statements on Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence and the three different resolutions that were introduced to the Congress by lawmakers increased tension and stress over the ties between two countries. These statements and actions today being closely watched by other U.S. allies in different parts of the world. The inconsideration to strategic partnership and using a language that does not fit the spirit of alliance will make every U.S. ally in the world less confident about the future of its relations with the U.S. It is risky for the alliance system, damaging for the Turkey-U.S. relations and further disparaging for the U.S. image in Turkey.
This article was first published by Daily Sabah April 12, 2019.