By Edmond Y. Azadian
It looks like the recent Turkish-Israeli conflict has opened a Pandora’s box in the Middle East political forum, heralding new alignments and questioning historically-sound alliances.
After the flotilla flare-up off the coast of Gaza, Turkey has made some diplomatic moves, which do not augur well for it in the West. The major dramatic shift in Turkish diplomacy came at the UN Security Council, where Turkey, joining Brazil, voted against the US-sponsored sanctions resolution against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Brazil, in its turn, like several other South American countries, is tilting away from US policies. During the election campaign, President Barack Obama had blamed the Bush administration for focusing on wars in distant regions, and leaving the US backyard unattended. He has yet to address his administration’s new approach to South America.
Brazil, like Turkey, is flexing its muscles inspired by its newly-found economic powerhouse, but unlike Turkey, it has not precipitated any open conflict with the US or the US’s allies in the region.
Turkey has challenged the US at the United Nations and antagonized its most trusted ally, Israel, in the Middle East. Turkish leaders feel so secure in their position that after challenging the US and Israel they seem to have full control of the domestic agenda. In the past, every time the civilian government flexed its muscles, the military intervened. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes’ liberal government ended in disaster. A few years ago the Islamist coalition government of Necmettin Erbakan evaporated at blink of the eye of the military, which always has had strong ties to the US military establishment.