Friday, December 4, 2015

Turkey-Russia: The inevitable clash of the titans

This is a reader comment that never made it past Al Jazeera's moderators. I attempted to post this and for two days while other comments appeared, including some with profanity, this never made it past Al Jazeera moderators. This reader comment has nothing so profound as to upset the government of Qatar, but in any case here it is. The original Opinion piece is Turkey-Russia: The inevitable clash of the titans.

While one could conclude the current belligerence as being sourced by the personal leadership of Turkey and Russia, this is the view at 1000 feet. At 50,000 feet the situation is rather different.

The Su-24 shoot down was an offensive political act, with a hypothetical spectrum of outcomes ranging from declarations of war to some back room deal, each with its calculated probable outcome. The actual result: Russia upped the ante, Syrian airspace in Russian control. It was only after the ante was jacked up that London decided to start bombing ISIS.

Obama and the Pentagon provided somewhat better than tepid support for the Turkish downing. This was entirely expected as anything less would prove lack of resolve for Washington's allies especially coming only days before Montenegro's NATO invitation. Ultimately, these are not the designs of local titans, just as the creation and nurturing of ISIS were not parochial actions.

Turkey won't blink first because it has more to lose than Russia, due to the depth of its institutions as suggested by the author. The stakes are not defined by an Ottoman revival or not. Bernard Lewis's rehash of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations was not a venture in historical determinism but rather a convenient blueprint.

Yerevan, Armenia

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