Originally posted Jan 15, 2008. Recent updates below in the comments ~ editors
Siebel Edmonds leaked her story to the UK Times two weeks ago, despite a court order. It was filled with tales of American diplomats acting in a treasonous manner by selling secretes to Turkey. If Bush gets the legislation he wants, then the treason will be authorized, and everything is hunky dory.
Naturally, this is all a bit fishy… and I hope those who broke the law for profit get punished severely. However, I can’t find myself being too worried about Turkey having nukes. Geopolitically speaking, Bush may have fallen ass-backwards into something that could stabilize the middle east, and improve the US standing amongst Muslims.
Firstly, Turkey is probably the most modern, secular, and stable Muslim republic around. Besides human rights abuses, problems with the Kurds, and nationalistic rumblings, they’re the top of the pile.
Second, a nuclear powered Turkey could redirect this nationalism away from violent extremism, and in the more positive direction of making Turkey a member of the “nuclear club.” Very, very few countries at that table, and they all command respect. That usually satisfies the hurt egos that feed nationalism.
Third, its an interesting military barrier. Europe doesn’t want Turkey in the EU because of the flood of Muslims through Turkey’s porous borders. This could be a kick in the pants that would force Turkey to secure their borders. Also, a nuclear Turkey might be more willing to wait for full EU membership.
Fourth, all “clash of civilizations” stuff aside, this could make Turkey THE go-to guy when there’s secular problems in the Muslim world. It reduces the influence of Iran, while not trying to step on the toes of religious countries like Saudi Arabia. Turkey could be a universally accepted half-way-point between the west and the mid east.
Of course, I’m no expert in Turkish history, or the Middle East… but I see some silver lining here… if and only if we have somebody competent running our foreign policy.