Turkish convergence to the EU
28 February 2021
Here is a great Albert Einstein quote: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” You need to first define problems, which will hopefully separate the significant facts from the trivial ones. Our European friends sometimes don’t think about the problem of Turkey clearly and fail to distinguish the essential from the trivial.
Perspective on Turkish zones in Syria
21 February 2021
A news story featured in the New York Times about the Turkish-controlled zones in northern Syria has been in talks recently. The story quotes Jarir Sulaiman, a once-wealthy landowner in the village of Khiara in the south of Damascus and now living in one of the Turkish-controlled zones in Syria, saying “we won’t go back to our villages until Turkey gives us protection” and “we will not be able to survive without Turks.” The story reports on the relative safety of the zones and how there is still a long way to go in terms of improving the lives of their residents.
Our problem with the Green Deal
14 February 2021
The Green Deal is “Europe’s man on the moon moment” said Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, in December 2019. She presented the program as Europe’s new all-encompassing growth strategy, saying “the old growth model based on fossil fuels and pollution. It is out of date and out of touch with the planet.”
Damage control in Washington DC
07 February 2021
“Humans are pattern-seeking, story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories, whether they exist or not,” said Michael Shermer, an American science writer. That must be why I can’t help but see a pattern taking shape in Washington. Let me tell you my story.
Dr. Fauci’s eyes from across the Atlantic
24 January 2021
Trump has left the stage. Watching the day’s processions, I was looking for something to define the moment, but couldn’t find it. Then, a day later, I saw Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the American Center for Disease Control (CDC), speaking at a press briefing. I don’t think there is anything better to represent the end of Trump’s term than the joy and relief on Dr. Fauci’s face.
Adjusting to the virus in Turkey
17 January 2021
COVID-19 surprised everyone. Fareed Zakaria tweeted on April 10 that “it’s not right to call this a recession or even to talk about a Great Depression. This is a great paralysis.” Looking back, to what happened in Turkey this year, I think that is an apt description.
There is no breaking with Trump legacy
10 January 2021
China is an interesting country. I first visited it about seven years ago and was much impressed not only by the infrastructure of a developing country but also by the way Chinese industrial policy operates top-down. Greater respect for the might of that machine that is now changing the deepest parts of the Western state apparatus. As Trump is leaving office in total disgrace, I see no break from Trump’s legacy when it comes to relations with China. Better policies, perhaps, but the limits of engagement are there to stay. Let me elaborate.
Waiting for Mr. Biden?
04 January 2021
Henry Kissinger is 97 years old, and the diplomat behind the first American visit to the People’s Republic of China is urging his country to design a way to communicate with the Chinese state in a long-term, strategic fashion that is unaffected by electoral cycles. “You can say this is totally impossible, but if it is, we will slide into a situation similar to World War I,” he recently said. In the years leading up to the WWI, of course, the conventional wisdom was that war between the great powers was not possible. The lesson was never to make such assumptions, and jealously protect peace.
The case for optimism and ‘Green Deal Turkey’
27 December 2020
2020 was marked by the virus. Every day, we continue to learn something new about its character and mutations. Economies are slowing down, and people are losing their livelihoods with every wave. Are we going to remember 2020 with total dismay?
Turkey’s breaks with the past
20 December 2020
Dec. 17 was the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring. When young Egyptians flooded Tahrir Square all those years ago, I was fascinated. I thought change was in the air, that our region could change for the better in a very short amount of time.