Etiket arşivi: Afghanistan

Turkey’s Dance with the Taliban

July 26, 2021

Turkey’s “offer” to remain at the Kabul airport beyond US and other nations’ withdrawal from Afghanistan has become another controversial foreign policy topic. Like the rest of our foreign and security policy issues, this too has immediately turned into another “riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”, to use Winston Churchill’s words referring to Soviet policies in 1939. Because Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government keeps the public in the dark about its “intricate” foreign policy schemes.

Okumaya devam et

Global Leadership: The Moral Dimension

July 19, 2021

On February 19, President Biden addressed the global community for the first time. At 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference he defined the partnership between Europe and the US as the cornerstone of all that the West hopes to accomplish in the 21st century, just as it did in the 20th century. He expressed his strong belief that democracy will and must prevail.

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Afghanistan Withdrawal (2)

July 13, 2021

On July 8, 2021, President Biden delivered remarks on the drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan and took some questions. With the words “Afghanistan” and “failure” now glued to one another, and reports from Kabul reflecting nothing but doom and gloom, his was a tough task. Contradictions were unavoidable.

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President Biden’s First Overseas Trip

June 17, 2021

In June 1961, President John F. Kennedy, on his first overseas trip, visited France. At the time France had not withdrawn from NATO’s integrated military command and the Alliance headquarters was still in Paris.

On June 1, 1961, President Kennedy addressed the North Atlantic Council. The following are from his remarks:

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The Biden-Erdogan Summit (2)

June 16, 2021

In an earlier post, in addressing West’s Turkey conundrum I said:

“On the one hand, most Western governments now regard JDP’s Ankara only a “nominal ally” if not an adversary, but they cannot turn their back on a country which enjoys a geo-strategic location surrounded by three seas and joining Asia and Europe, when tensions with Russia are on the rise. Turkey is a unique window into the Middle East. Sadly, it has also acquired a critical role in Europe’s dealing with its refugee problem…

“Thus, sanctioning Turkey has increasingly became a balancing act between targeting the JDP government and not alienating the Turkish people…”

Okumaya devam et

Afghanistan Withdrawal

June 10, 2021

An open-ended US/NATO military engagement in Afghanistan was never an option. The aim was achieving optimal conditions for withdrawal. On April 14, President Biden announced that US troops as well as forces deployed by America’s NATO Allies and operational partners will be out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The plan he said, had long been “in together, out together.” Have optimal conditions for withdrawal been achieved? No. But it is “out together”, regardless.

Okumaya devam et

The Taliban Are Back

April 19, 2021

An open-ended US/NATO military engagement in Afghanistan was never an option. The aim was achieving optimal conditions for withdrawal.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 12, 2012 President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron mentioned shifting to a support role in Afghanistan.

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A Turning Point in Washington

January 20, 2021

With inauguration safely behind, President Biden would now start addressing America’s polarization, Covid-19, and a wrecked foreign policy. He has a far heavier agenda than many of his predecessors.

Among his major tasks in the international arena would be restoring confidence in the Washington’s foreign policy steadiness and charting a reasonable course in relations with China and Russia. Washington’s traditional Western allies, disillusioned with the Trump presidency, would give Mr. Biden more than a warm welcome while anxiously watching domestic developments in the US. Because according to a CNN poll, 47% of Republicans still say the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. And remains to be seen whether going ahead with a second impeachment, though more than justified, was a politically wise decision.

Okumaya devam et

Failure in Afghanistan

November 23, 2020

On February 29, 2020, “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America” was signed in Doha. Throughout the text, one party is referred to as “the United States” and the other party as “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban”. Because Washington “only recognizes” the Kabul government.

On Saturday, a State Department statement said, “Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Taliban Political Deputy and Head of the Political Office Mullah Beradar and members of the Taliban negotiating team in Doha, Qatar.” 

So, for the sake of brevity and clarity I would also refer to them as the US and the Taliban.

Okumaya devam et

Afghanistan: Beyond Titles

March 10, 2020

Some believe that first impression is the last impression. So, they say one never gets a second chance to make a first impression. For others, first impressions count but last impressions are forever.

I had my first impression of the Afghan mujahideen in Pakistan. In 1989 Turkish President Evren paid a visit there. I was his director of private office. The program also included a meeting with the mujahideen leaders. The President was going to tell them that since the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan it was time to end their infighting and focus on rebuilding the country. The meeting was to take place at the guest palace where the President was staying. A few minutes before the meeting our Pakistani hosts told me that the leaders had arrived. Just to make sure that everything was ready, I went downstairs and peeked through the door. I saw like ten battle-hardened, somber looking warriors in their traditional costumes. Okumaya devam et