National Security, Essay Example
- Clearly identify the national security issue.
One important issue of national security that is on the near-horizon for the United States is the Islamification of Turkey. This issue is obviously one that has not yet been covered widely by the mainstream media in the U.S., but which nevertheless could prove to have profound consequences in regard to shaping International Relations between the Middle East and the Western world. As pointed out by Michael Rubin in his article, “AEI Debate Prep: What to do with Turkey?” the role of Turkey as an important ally with America during the Cold War has shifted dramatically in the modern era. Rubin writes that during the height of the Cold War and even in the period immediately following the decline of the Soviet Union, “Turkey may have been majority Muslim, but most Turks saw their future tied more to the West than the Middle East” (Rubin). The fundamental change that has happened in the post-Iraq era has been that Turkey is not only no longer pro-American, but it has shifted toward a fundamentalist Islamic nation.
This shift carries profound consequences for the United States Rubin details many of the cultural and political changes that have happened in Turkey over the past decade. Among the negative and potentially dangerous changes are the facts that “The Pew Global Attitudes Project now ranks Turkey as the most anti-American country it surveys” and that in addition to the anti-American sentiment now rampant in Turkey, “Reporters Without Frontiers ranks Turkish press freedom below even Zimbabwe and Venezuela” (Rubin). Further consequences of the Islamification of include the victimization, loss of rights, and mass-murder of women, along with extreme changes in Turkey’s foreign policy.
Although the changes in domestic policy and anti-Americanism that have engulfed Turkey are clearly important issues for international relations, it is, obviously, Turkey’s foreign policy that indicates the full brunt of the Islamification process and its impact of American-Turkish relations. In this regard, Rubin points out that Turkey now not only embraces the Arab world, but it allies itself with its more radical factions: “Turkey endorses Hamas, Hezbollah, Sudan’s genocidal dictator Omar al-Bashir, and the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Rubin). These facts alone would seem to be enough to bring Turkey to the forefront of American concern in regard to foreign policy and national security. A further complication of the situation exists in the fact that Turkey is a member of NATO and, as such, is entitled to asking the U.S. to “share its next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Predators, and AWACS aircraft” (Rubin) a proposition that is dismal considering that Turkey has already threatened to use its navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
All of these facts seem to feed into a central idea that Turkey is no longer, in actuality, an ally of the United States and probably stands as a significant threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East. Several important questions about U.S. national security are raised by the recent Islamification of Turkey, not the least of which is: what should the U.S. response be to an attempt by Turkey to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza? Is the United States poised to enter an armed conflict with Turkey, or can relations with Turkey be salvaged? Also, what are the implications of Turkey’s human rights violations and the increasing radicalism of its social and cultural changes?
- Explain the issue according to major IR perspectives.
In trying to understand the changes in Turkey in regard to international relations, one of the most functional systems of reference is the neorealist political perspective. The origination of neorealist perspective is generally attributed to the theorist Kenneth Neal Waltz and it is through this perspective that the situation in Turkey can be read as an example of international anarchy, one of the core principles of the neorealist philosophy. Although the idea of global anarchy is probably off-putting to many people, the fact remains that international relations do take place without any kind arbitration by an over-riding world government or even a system of enforcable international laws. Doyle and Ickenberry mention in their book New Thinking in International Relations Theory. (1997) that the situational morality of world politics tends to emphasize individual volition rather than adherence to a world order. Therefore, “World politics is defined by the identity of actors who see themselves as representatives of nations, free citizens, members of a class […] each of whom is acting a world political environment that lacks a global source of law and order.” (Ikenberry 9). The lack of global law and order is precisely what Waltz’s theory of global anarchy is intended to address under the philosophy of neorealism.
There are additional factors in the neorealist philosophy that are important in regard to the national security issues that have recently arisen between Turkey and the United States. One of these issues is the fact that neorealists such as Waltz believe that “”that the international system is conducive to competition and conflict among states,” (Ickenberry, 172). In other words, by regarding Turkey from the neorealist perspective, the changes within Turkey indicate a change in its orientation to competition and conflict in the global arena. This change in perspective is something that places the United States and Turkey in opposition to one another and it means that Turkey poses a threat to the Unites States both as a competitor for regional influence in the Middle easy, but also a potential enemy in military conflict.
- Support the descriptions from K Waltz, Henry Nau or any other International Relations writer.
The ideas presented by Waktz and the neorealist school of political philosophy are supportable by a comparison of those ideas with the developing situation in Turkey and in the Middle East as a whole. The first fundamental principle to understand in this regard is that Turkey’s process of Islamification represents the waning influence of NATO and the United States in the Middle East. Insofar as NATO imposed a system of international law over the countries attached to it, Turkey remained contained from the overall anarchistic influence that Waltz and the neorealists view as being a default state of international relations. Without the protective overview of NATO, Turkey has devolved into a radical state with regional and global ambitions that are directly in conflict with the designs of NATO and the United States. The biggest concern that faces the United States is, obviously, the way in which Turkey has changed its posture toward the nation of Israel. If, for example, Turkey decides to challenge the blockade of Gaza with it’s navy, the United States will be forced to choose a course of action that will ultimately place the U.S. in conflict with one of its two allies.
This is a direct example of Waltz’s theory of “multipolar systems” where there are multiple conflicts and permutations that hold the potential to destabilize international relations. According to Waltz, ” multipolar systems tend to be more prone than bipolar systems to instability and possibly severe military conflict.” (Ickenberry, 172). The immediate task of U.S. national security policy is therefore to find a method for stabilizing the multipolar conflicts that are presently emerging in the Middle East die to Turkey’s Islamification. Unfortunately, the neorealist school of political philosophy is better equipped to forecast potential conflicts in international relations than to offer workable solutions to these conflicts.
One very important thing to keep in mind in regard to conflict resolution in the neorealist perspective is that individual conflicts are not, according to Waltz, resolvable through an intact system of global politics. In other words,it is the anarchistic nature of international relations that brings about international conflict and multipolar conflicts. Simply addressing a regional conflict or concern will not address the more profound and important questions of international relations that are, at root, according to Waltz, the reason for continued conflicts between nations. Robert Keohane points out in his study, Neorealism and Its Critics (1986) that “Waltz regards changes in the intensity of interactions among the members of a system, or in the international institutions that connect them, as unit-level phenomena because patterns of interaction are not included as part of his definition of system structure” (Keohane 22). This means that resolution of a single conflict, even a multipolar conflict will not negate further conflicts in the same region.
- Suggest some possible solutions backed with your theoretical perspective.
According to the neorealist philosophy of international relations a permanent solution to the national security crisis that is evidence by Turkey’s Islamification is practically unachievable. Therefore, the best solutions for minimizing the harmful effects of Turkey’s Islamification are based in meeting the destabilization of the region with strength rather than appeasement. In other words, the U.S. in attempting to stave off further destabilization of the Middle East should increase its military and economic support for Israel thereby making military action by Turkey less desirable. Secondly, the U.S. in order to maintain its equilibrium with NATO should begin the process of severing Turkey from NATO as an active member and an ally. Thirdly, the U.S. should recognize and condemn Turkey’s recent human rights violations including Turkey’s poor treatment of women adn its attempts to undermine and eliminate the free press within its borders.
Lastly, the United States should immediately stop any sharing of weapons or intelligence with the nation of Turkey since the sharing of these resources could prove to have an immediate and long-term negative impact on American national security. Turkey, by undergoing a process of Islamification, has emerged not as an ally of the United States, but as a potential enemy both politically and militarily. The neorealist perspective demands that the threats posed by Turkey should be regarded as both serious and potentially unavoidable. If conflict should arise between Turkey and the United States, the national security issues of the U.S. are best served through a posture of military and economic strength.
Doyle, Michael W., and G. John Ikenberry, eds. New Thinking in International Relations Theory. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.
Keohane, Robert O., ed. Neorealism and Its Critics. New York: Columbia UP, 1986.
Rubin, Michael. “AEI Debate Prep: What to do with Turkey?” 10-24-2011. AEIdeas.com. accessed 10-17-12; http://www.aei-ideas.org/2011/10/aei-debate-prep-what-to-do-with-turkey/
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