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"America's Silence by Default"

Turks protest against the United States in Istanbul, Mar. 5, 2010, after a U.S. congressional committee approved a resolution branding the World War I–era killing of Armenians a genocide. The banner reads that Incirlik should be taken by Turkey.
AP Photo

"America's Silence by Default"

Op-Ed, GlobalPost

October 28, 2010

Author: Joshua W. Walker, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security


America is without an ambassador in Ankara, Turkey, and other key capitals.


As an American who has just returned from a series of discussions on international relations and America's role in the Levant and the South Caucasus, I'm left with a sinking feeling.

It was eye-opening to see the discrepancy between America's vibrant debates at home over the upcoming mid-term elections and virtual silence on U.S. foreign policy priorities in this region of the world. This silence is not because of a lack of U.S. foreign policy, but is rather by default because in each of these areas, America is without an ambassador in key capitals.

Take one of America's closest historic allies in the region that itself is a rising power, Turkey. At the very moment that Turkey's "rise" is being felt in its region, the U.S.-Turkish relationship is experiencing one of its most significant periods of turbulence.

Given divergent views on Iran and Israel, and conflicting interests of a newly arrived super-regional versus traditional super power, American foreign policy towards Turkey is in dire need of extensive diplomatic engagement and leadership that is currently lacking given the absence of its highest diplomat in the country. America is missing a critical tool of effective diplomacy, namely a U.S. ambassador in Ankara that can help to communicate and coordinate an already difficult relationship....

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For Academic Citation:

Walker, Joshua W. "America's Silence by Default." GlobalPost, October 28, 2010.

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