NATO won’t collapse- Obama building stronger relations leading to a greater NATO role
Konurov 9 (Andrei, Оrbis Terrarum writer, Strategic Culture Foundation Barack and NATO, http://en.fondsk.ru/article.php?id=1962)BAF
And now the time of Barack Obama has come. There are so many expectations for this man that it is just frightening. It seems that only Antichrist would be met on Earth with more exaltation. Obama has plans regarding Iran, Africa and even Fidel Castro said a couple of good words about him let alone traditional allies of the US. Their expectations are getting stronger thanks to the presence of such symbolic figure from Bill Clinton’s team as Hillary Clinton at the post of State secretary. Will it mean the new thriving of NATO and the comeback of the good old days? It is known that political carrier of Barack Obama was very impetuous and its recent period before he became the president did not relate to US’ international relations. That is why both experts and wide audience learnt about Obama’s views on US foreign policy only during his election campaign. Obama had repeatedly spoken about his views on the foreign policy issues including the transatlantic relations. Obama called for the strengthening of these relations it would be strange if he did the opposite. In his election program he stated that once he was elected as the US president he would strengthen the current alliances and form new ones for the US. In his program he also made it clear that he expected NATO to provide US more active support regarding US actions in Afghanistan. But neither his election program nor his speeches make an impression that NATO will become the key issue of his foreign policy agenda. On the contrary - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine – it has been said and written more about any of these countries than about NATO. In general it looks like in his foreign policy program Obama plans to reduce the use of force and to lay stress on diplomacy to achieve US foreign policy goals. It is enough to remember his promise to open American consulates even in very remote countries. Until the last moment all weekly addresses of the president to his nation were dedicated to the US economy rescue plan he has signed recently. By now there have been only two meetings with foreign leaders - Obama has visited Canada on the invitation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso at the White House. And though Canada is a member of NATO the talks’ main topics were the power sector and the climate change. In his first address to the Congress, on February, 25, Obama was speaking almost exclusively about the economic crisis and gave only five minutes of his one hour speech to the international relations. He mentioned Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, China, Japan, Korea and Germany. Of all these states only Germany is a member of NATO but the president only mentioned it saying that the US is inferior to Germany in terms of solar batteries use. Again Obama did not say a single word about NATO. Meanwhile the people in Obama’s team who are in charge of national security and foreign policy issues have experience in US-Europe interaction within NATO framework and know how to use NATO to promote American interests. First of all it is Joe Biden who before his election as the Vice President was the head of The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Then it is Hillary Clinton who, as evil tongues say, had great influence on US foreign policy in the times of her being the First Lady. Not to forget about James Jones, Obama’s national security advisor who before his resignation was in charge for NATO forces in Europe. That is why it can be expected that the relations between US and Western Europe will improve and no collapse of NATO, which in fact took place in times of Bush’s presidency, will take place.
-----A2: Democracy Advantage-----
Turkey Won’t Democratize
NYT 07 (New York Times, Democracy in Turkey http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/01/opinion/01sat4.html) BAF
The election of Abdullah Gul, an observant Muslim, to the Turkish presidency was a victory for democracy. The military, which has a habit of defending Turkish secularism at the expense of Turkish democracy, tried to block his candidacy last spring. Rather than bow to the generals, the government took the issue to the people, who delivered Mr. Gul’s party a mandate in July’s Parliamentary elections, smoothing the way for lawmakers to overwhelmingly approve Mr. Gul for the presidency. Though nearly all of Turkey’s 70 million people identify themselves as Muslim, the Turkish Constitution calls for strict secularity in public life. The insistence on secularism, in place since the country’s founding in 1923, was intended to counter what were viewed as anti-modern strains within Islam that impeded development. Over time, however, it led to the entrenchment of a secular ruling elite and the exclusion of more openly devout Muslims. In recent years, that observant group — which also accounts for much of the Turkish middle class — has fought back at the ballot box and scored victories. Secular Turks have been understandably anxious about the ascendancy of Mr. Gul’s Justice and Development party. Widely known for its Islamist roots, the party now holds all the top offices in government. Mr. Gul himself has attracted a great deal of attention because his wife wears the Muslim headscarf, a visceral affront to some secularists. They fear that religion may creep into government and then into their own lives, encroaching on precious freedoms such as women’s rights. Mr. Gul and his party have pledged to maintain a secular government, and their five-year record in power so far — a time of economic growth and legal reforms that have brought Turkey closer to joining the European Union — suggests that they will keep their word. The military, which has toppled four elected governments since 1960, waves the banner of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in its ferocious embrace of secularism. But Ataturk’s ultimate goal was for Turkey to become a Western-style democracy. And in such a democracy, the military exists to serve the government, not the other way around. The generals, who treasure Turkey’s ties to the West as a member of NATO, have yet to grasp this. On Tuesday, they disrespected the very notion of democratic development by boycotting Mr. Gul’s inauguration. Like their counterparts in other NATO countries, they need to help the elected government to succeed — by staying out of politics.
No democratization- Shariah history impedes
Ozgunes 08 (Ahmet A., Istanbul Staff correspondent, Turkey and democracy; The American model, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/opinion/01iht-edlet.html) BAF
Democracy in Turkey is still not in good order. The Islamic sects and the civil and military bureaucracies still exert undue influence on the political process, and basic liberties are not secured. Why does the democratization process prove to be so slow and problematic? The answer lies in the history. Like all traditional Islamic states, the Ottoman Empire was governed by a coalition of autocratic rulers and the religious class. Shariah, the Islamic law, was supreme and provided authority and legitimacy to the rulers. The judiciary was in the hands of the religious scholars. This happy arrangement functioned well in keeping the general population subservient until the 19th century when the ideas and the increasingly powerful armies of the West convinced the rulers that the old order was obsolete and the empire had to modernize. This new situation led to centralization of authority in the hands of the bureaucrats, taking also the judiciary out of the hands of the religious class. After the establishment of the Turkish republic, Shariah was deemed the main obstacle to progress and banished from the public domain. However, the religious class never agreed to its new modest position, and ever since has been fighting to regain its former power and glory. Democracy was established in Turkey after the World War I, and since then the power struggle between the secular state establishment and the religious class has been the underlying current of Turkish politics. Recently, the chief prosecutor asked the constitutional court to close down the ruling Islamist-oriented Justice and Development Party, or AK, and ban its leaders from politics on the grounds that they undermine the secular principles of the republic. This latest political crisis once again demonstrates the power of these underlying currents. The AK Party came to power in 2002 with the realization that the great majority of the Turkish people wanted more prosperity and more liberty. They carried out sweeping economic and political reforms, the economy boomed and they came to power again in 2007 with almost half of the electorate voting for them. Since this election, we have observed a mysterious change of mood in AK; the reforms have stalled and apparently more radical elements in the party have been given a free hand in their efforts to re-Islamize the country. Could this latest crisis teach AK leaders a lesson or two to continue with their reform agenda rather than surrender to the Islamist elements in their midst? The ordeals of Turkish democracy are not over.