Top ten foreign policy and national security issues for 2012

Map of Asia
Map of Asia

From the American Enterprise Institute.

Here’s the list:

  1. Iran, and the American retreat from Iraq
  2. Dealing with Islam and China in South Asia
  3. America’s strategy for Pakistan
  4. Defense spending priorities
  5. American support for Israel
  6. The Islamization of Turkey
  7. Collapse of the European economies
  8. Demographic crisis in Europe
  9. Demographic crisis in Russia
  10. Strategy for the Middle East

They have one article linked for each topic, so I chose the Islamization of Turkey.

Full text:

Turkey was a key American ally throughout the Cold War. As one of only two NATO countries to share a border with the Soviet Union, Turkey proved pivotal not only to the defense of Europe but also for American interests in Asia. The Turkish army fought alongside U.S. troops in Korea. Americans embraced Turkey not only for its strategic role, but also for its values. The Turkish government was decidedly Western-leaning. Turkey may have been majority Muslim, but most Turks saw their future tied more to the West than the Middle East.

Over the past nine years, however, Turkey has changed. No longer can Turkey be called a democracy. The Pew Global Attitudes Project now ranks Turkey as the most anti-American country it surveys. Reporters Without Frontiers ranks Turkish press freedom below even Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than even China and Iran. As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought to Islamize society, Turkish women have lost both their equality and safety: The murder rate of women has increased 1,400 percent since Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party took power.

Erdoğan has reoriented Turkey’s foreign policy as well. 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. Whereas a decade ago, the alliance between Turkey and Israel stabilized the Eastern Mediterranean, today diplomats worry that Turkey’s antagonism toward both Israel and Cyprus could lead to military conflict in the region. In September 2010, Turkey raised eyebrows at the Pentagon when it held secret war games with the Chinese air force without first alerting Washington. Because Turkey increasingly is the obstacle to NATO consensus, its future in the defensive alliance may now be open to question.

Any new president will be faced with serious decisions regarding Turkey. Should Turkey remain in NATO? If so, should the United States share its next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Predators, and AWACS aircraft with Turkey? Lastly, if Erdoğan fulfills his promise to use the Turkish navy to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza, leading to a fight between two traditional American allies, on whose side will the White House be, and what actions would the new president take?

This is a primer, so the articles are fairly short. Just enough to give you background information on the hot spots that the next President will have to deal with. Can you think of any issues they left out? I think that we should also be concerned with the drug cartels in Mexico, the continuous sabre-rattling from Venezuela, threats to our Asian allies from China, and whether we still need to have so many troops in Europe and South Korea.

It’s good for Christians to have some awareness of national security and foreign policy issues. It only takes an hour to read a few articles and to have some understanding of the issues we are facing, so that we can discuss them with others and vote properly. There’s going to be a foreign policy debate for the GOP primary on November 22, 2011, so it would be good for us to study up so we can understand what they are talking about.

2 thoughts on “Top ten foreign policy and national security issues for 2012”

  1. I think the Turkey question is one of the most neglected issue in foreign policy; it seems we in the West have largely been ignorant of the rise of Noe-Ottoman Islamic ideology within Turkey. It seems that there are some quarters who wish to bring back a vision of the good old days of Turkish Islamic influence. I suspect we will see more of Turkey’s influence and clash with other western country’s policy in the middle east. One can argue that they are the most powerful country (or has the potential of being the most powerful country) in the Islamic Middle Eastern world, being the largest producers of finish goods than any other country in the middle east (not just natural resources like oil). Stay tune in the next few years of more muscle flexing of Turkey…


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