The Turkish insistence on going ahead with a gesture designed to prop up the Islamist dictators of Gaza shows that the entire premise of Kerry’s plan for a new bout of Middle East peace negotiations is based on false hopes and misperceptions. While Kerry already seemed to be setting himself up for failure with the Palestinians, the umbrage expressed by Ankara seems to indicate that more is wrong here than the new secretary’s faith in shuttle diplomacy. It’s not only that the administration seems blind to the realities of the Middle East. The former senator, who thinks of himself as a skilled and sophisticated envoy to the world, is handicapped by his blind faith in diplomacy and determination to ignore the power of Islamist ideology. And as this latest spat with Turkey illustrates, that failure may lead to Kerry making a bad situation even worse.
Tobin notes that Erdogan's grand plan to be seen as the savior of the Palestinian Arabs -- and thus expand Turkey's influence in the Middle East -- depends on the perpetuation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. That puts Erdogan's plans on a collision course with Kerry's mission to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Turkey is determined to go ahead with strengthening the Hamas terrorists, even as the Abbas regime and the Palestinian Authority is further weakened as a result.
Ironically, this time around, the US discovers what it means to actually be insulted by a country in the Middle East:
This is an administration that once turned a minor housing start announcement in Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden into a major diplomatic contretemps in which it claimed Netanyahu had insulted it. But it is now finding out what it really means to be insulted by a nation that calls itself an American ally, and the result is far from pretty.This follows on the heels of Kerry's blunder, also while in Turkey, of comparing the terrorist victims in the Boston Marathon bombing with the Turkish terrorists killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
Kerry is learning, as Obama found out, that having influence inside the US is not an indicator of an ability to exert influence outside of American borders.
Especially when it come to the Middle East.
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