Friday, March 13, 2009

Foreign Policy is High School? 

I'm not naive to think that just because Obama may engage in direct talks with our enemies they'll suddenly become our friends, but to not engage them directly b/c it may hurt an allies' feelings is ridiculous.
What made Turkey such a valuable mediator between Israel and Syria was in part the fact that Israel and Syria refused to negotiate directly and in part Turkey's perceived (at the time) non-partiality. But it was also in large part due to the fact that the U.S. refused to engage in direct discussions with Syria, and therefore was unavailable to chaperone the talks.

The same goes even more for Turkey's potential to play a mediator role between the U.S. and Iran.

Now that the American administration has no a priori objections to direct discussions with Syria and Iran, Turkey is no longer necessary as an intermediary. So far, as Yigal Schleifer details, there's a lot of speculation and conflicting interpretations about Turkey's role, mainly coming out of Ankara. But the signs seem to be pointing to a 10th Avenue Freeze-Out.


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