Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Don Bush and the Turkish Undertaker
I often find it amusing to observe those that find that through no fault but their own, that they have deftly maneuvered themselves into some uncomfortable situations. The latest champions in the parade of those who misplayed history are our good friends the Turks.
Looking back to the early days of 2003, the U.S. was preparing for it's invasion of Iraq. To ensure maximum force the military wanted to invade from the south and from the north in a squeeze play that would have resulted in a more effective assault. The results of the invasion have demonstrated that ultimately the northern route was not necessary for regime change, but many believe that today's insurgency would have been minimized had the northern assault occurred as planned.
Unfortunately, for the U.S. to attack from the north, we required the approval of Turkey to stage our troops in their country in order to cross the northern border of Iraq. This required the Turks to make a public determination of which side they were going to be on, for clearly this was a political fight between France and the U.S. Turkey, a country which at the time was desperate for entry into the EU, made the determination that it's future was more assured with the Europeans.
Fair enough, countries must make these sorts of calls during times of conflict, and Turkey took it's best shot........or so it thought. Now, two years later, comes the news that the European public is not all that thrilled with Mr. Chirac's EU constitution, and may even be re-considering this whole EU sovereignty thing. While, its doubtful that the EU will dissolve, it is almost certain that Turkey will not be gaining entry to the EU anytime soon.
What is a poor PM to do? Well, without the economic stability that the EU can provide, step one would seem to be to go to the U.S. with hat in hand and ask for some help. Frankly, I'm a little surprised at the Turks - they really should have seen this coming. Sure, siding with the U.S. would have been politically difficult two years ago, but now, with the EU in disarray, having the goodwill of Uncle Sam, would certainly be comforting for a politician left out alone.
So I was wondering what Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Bush's conversation was like when they met today. I'm reminded of the meeting at the beginning of the first Godfather between Don Corleone and the Italian Undertaker in the Don's office:
Fade from Black: In the Oval Office
Mr. Bush, I believe in America. I have tried to coax my country to move in the American Fashion. America can help my country make it's fortune. I never wanted my country to dishonor America. Yet she found a boyfriend, not an American. She went out with him, he took her on a ride, with other boyfriends. They drank wine, and beer but she did not give up her honor. Now they will not marry her, they cast her off like an animal. They say she is no longer pretty......
(Erdogan breaks down. W gestures to Condi to give Erdogan a drink)
I went to Chirac, like a good EU member but he said there is nothing that can be done. Nothing! I stood in his office like a fool, and that bastard just smiled at me in his oily way! Then I said to my foreign minister "for justice, we must go to W"
W, sitting behind his desk petting Barney:
Why did you go to Chirac? Why didn't you help me when I asked?
What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But please do what I beg you to do
What is that?
(Erdogan gets up and whispers in W's ear)
Free trade, I cannot do.
I'll give you anything you ask.
Our countries have known each other for many years. We've been helpful to you in the past, even though you didn't ask, but this is the first time you've come to me. I can't remember the last time you did a favor for my country, when we asked you said no, even though my predecessors were your country's friend. But lets be frank here: you never wanted my friendship. And uh, you were afraid to be in my debt.
I didn't want to get into trouble with the EU.
I understand. You liked America, but thought your future was with the EU; good trade, a nice living, the EU constitution would protect you; and there would be a world court of law. And you didn't need a friend of me. But now you come to me and say "W give me access to your markets" - but you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship, you don't even call me President.
How much shall I pay you.
Erdogan, Erdogan.....What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? Had you supported me, then this scum Chirac would be alone with his failed dream and you would have all the trade you want with the U.S. this very day. And by any chance that a good country such as Turkey should make any enemies, then they would be the U.S.'s enemies and they would fear you.
Be my friend
(then after bowing, W. shrugs)
W (after Erdogan kisses his hand):
Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. Perhaps in the North of Iraq. But uh, until that day -- accept my blessing as a gift.
Grazie Mr. President
(then to Condi after Erdogan leaves the room)
Ah give this one to Bolton. I want reliable people; people who aren't going to get carried away.......wait, change that. Give this to Zoellick, that Bolton guy is a nut!