Tuesday, February 11, 2003


For the next couple of days I will be in sunny Orlando, Fla., for the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium. I have not had time to blog as much as I would ordinarily like to have done, given the work schedule and certain places I needed to be early in the morning.

That said, I've got alot on my mind. The current dust-up in NATO over whether or not to extend formal protection to fellow ally Turkey is indicative of many, many things. The European Union has always been wary of Turkey, given the latter's economic position and uncertain alignment in the overall European picture. The direct conflict with Greece over Cyprus is also an agitating factor, as is Turkey's status as Europe's Muslim state. However, Turkey is the alliance's historical lynchpin in the south, and is a bulwark against the rise of a direct, established military threat emanating from Southwest Asia. The Turks' army is one of NATO's largest.

The Axis of Detriment -- France and Germany -- have in the life of NATO been able to eat from two troughs. The first is the well of protection that Turkey provides for NATO in the southern flank. The second is the deep well of cynical anti-Americanism that the leadership of both countries draws from in times of domestic unrest. Since the U.S. is trying to shore up Turkey in the event of war with Iraq, the Franco-German bloc, with the Belgians on for good measure, vetoed efforts to provide alliance-wide support.

This is of course providing a serious crisis for the alliance. An out-of-area contingency is aggravating the erstwhile dormant NATO structure. But this is serious stuff.

Turkey will likely be attacked by Iraq in the event of open hostilities -- triggering an automatic Article V contingency in NATO's North Atlantic Charter -- put basically, an attack on one is an attack on all.