At a recent roundtable discussion held at Instabul’s Bilgi University, a group of Turkish academics and the former US Ambassador to Turkey s well as American government experts examined Bush’s policies toward Turkey. The participants described Bush’s policies toward Turkey as “I want what I want when I want” was very counterproductive to establishing trusting bilateral relations between the two nations. The group felt Bush had an attitude that could best be described as “Turkey will always be there since Turkey has always been there.” Participants felt the Bush approach was a sharp divergence from Clinton’s policy of making Turkey a key player in strategic issues within the Middle East, and that channels of communication were always open to Clinton and Gore. A consensus was that Turkey must accept the reality that a Kurdish entity was now on its border because Bush will not back away from clamping down on Kurdish rebels. The group explored long term policy changes that might emerge if Turkey is denied entry into the European Union such as turning toward forging close relations with either Russia or Iran or the emergence of a new tripartite alliance of this group.
One of the major failures of Bush foreign policy is being immediate centered and not considering long term projections. The invasion of Iraq was an emotional reaction to some immediate conclusions without any consideration as to its impact on the Middle East. Hopefully, a new Democratic Party led government in 2009 will begin to make long term foreign policy decisions such as the famous Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine which set in motion US foreign policy for half a century.