“The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”
KurdishMedia has something on Dean, the Democratic National Convention, and Kurds. With Howard Dean's acquiescence to Turkish propaganda, and Michael Rubin's sucking up to his Turkish friends, it's fairly clear that those of us who have been suspicious about US intentions toward Kurds, have had a basis in reality for those suspicions.
With the reappearance of the Kissingerians on the US foreign policy stage, and the upcoming results of James Baker's Iraq study group, everyone should be suspicious. Realpolitik is about to run amok.
On the DNC post from the other day, Vlad left an URL to an International Herald Tribune article (Thanks, Vlad). The title of the article is revealing: "Winning back the Turks." Let me think . . . if I remember correctly, the American administration was irate with Turkey for its March, 2003 parliamentary vote which pretty much screwed up US plans for the invasion of Iraq. But now, F. Stephen Larabee, an academic who's been bought and paid for by the RAND Corporation, is making it sound like the Turks were the ones who were irate. Interesting spin.
Mr. Larabee certainly sounds enthusiastic about the Ralston appointment, but I had a few questions about that, so I sent him an email, as follows:
Dear Mr. Larabee,
I read with interest your recent article in the International Herald Tribune titled, "Winning back the Turks."
However, I was wondering how you could view the appointment of Joseph Ralston as "special envoy" to counter the PKK as a sign that the Bush Administration takes Turkish concerns seriously when Joseph Ralston is a member of the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin, is on file with the Senate under the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 as a lobbyist with The Cohen Group for Lockheed Martin, and is a member of the current American Turkish Council Advisory board, an organization in which Lockheed Martin is a member. Since October, Lockheed Martin secured a $2.9 billion sale of F-16's to Turkey, and is on track to secure a $10 billion sale for the F-35. All of this coincided with Ralston's first two visits to Ankara as "special envoy."
Isn't this appointment indicative of an obvious and extreme conflict of interest? Whose interests is Joseph Ralston working for, US interests, Turkish interests, or Lockheed Martin's interests? How will this appointment help to solve the severe problems in Turkey, such as the long history of gross human rights abuses against the Kurdish people, or the Turkish military's continued dominance over civilian government? That second example was a serious concern of Turkey's outgoing EU envoy to Turkey, Hansjoerg Kretschmer.
I would be interested to hear your views on this matter.
I'll let you know what I hear. In the meantime, you can start familiarizing yourself with the RAND Corporation. Basically, it was created by the US Air Force and most of its work has to do with "national security issues." I think that means they are always figuring ways to sell more weapons.
On the same day as the Larabee article, IHT ran another article, this time comparing Turkish Cypriots, Kurds, and the hypocrisy of the Ankara regime in its treatment of both. By Kirsty Hughes, not of the RAND Corporation:
Turkey complains vociferously about the European Union's unfair treatment of the politically and economically isolated Turkish Cypriots. Why then shouldn't Turkey grant a big chunk of its own citizens - the Kurds - the same rights it demands for people who are not even Turkish nationals?
There are many similarities between Northern Cyprus and the Turkish southeast, where many of Turkey's estimated 15 to 20 million Kurds live.
[ . . . ]
But it's the differences that are more striking. Turkey is loudly championing the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the EU. But anyone who champions Kurdish rights in Turkey risks being accused of separatism and even terrorism.
While Turkey expects international support for its Cyprus solution, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality between the two communities, it argues the precise opposite for its own Kurdish citizens.
Read the whole thing. It's really pretty good and certainly very refreshing.