U.S. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continues her misguided foreign policy escapades.
The most recent — Taiwan, where the mere presence of her provoked a vulnerable Xi Jinping, who is desperately trying to hold on to power; this with the looming Chinese Communist Party October Congress — which will decide whether he in fact does, or not.
The kerfuffle resulted in the most threatening set of People’s Liberation Army exercises against Taiwan to date.
The speaker and her delegation’s visit to Armenia attempted to communicate solidarity in the face of Azerbaijan aggression.
One would have to look exceedingly hard for U.S. equities in this potential renewal of the war between these two states. Their very presence was a catalyst for unity of a sort.
Major regional players: Russia, Iran, and Turkey (yes, NATO member Turkey) all agreed that Pelosi’s trip was destabilizing.
In a predictable response, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay characterized the speaker’s statements in Armenia as sabotaging their diplomacy efforts and that they were "unacceptable."
Meanwhile, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sidled up to (and with) Vladimir Putin, Xi and Raisi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
This confab occurred on the same day the speaker’s visit offended Turkey.
Naturally, Erdogan announced his goal for Turkey to join the SCO.
Why would a NATO member state leader embrace such a pursuit?
Turkey is in trouble and has been for many years.
Boasting the largest standing Army in NATO second only to the U.S., the Turks are facing 80% inflation, food and energy insecurity, and a region on a hair-trigger for major theater war.
After seeing the aftermath of the Taiwan trip and learning that Armenia was next, one must wonder if the Turkish leader decided to shift his SCO strategy from observer to participant.
The Turks are known to be hard-nosed negotiators.
It's because they know they are important in the global realpolitik scheme of geopolitics.
The nation’s very proximity to Europe and the Mideast warrants such significance.
Turkey is positioned at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Mideast, and eastern Mediterranean. Beginning with the Turkmen in the 11th century and the Ottoman Empire, to the 14th to the 20th centuries, Turkey has mattered.
How ironic that Erdogan aims to follow in Marco Polo’s 13th century footsteps, connecting Turkey to China on the New Silk Road or "One Belt, One Road" initiative by joining the China-led SCO.
So What? Why does this matter?
This writer has heard more than an earful from colleagues wishing Turkey "Good Riddance!" Yet, it’s advisable for geopolitical masterminds to keep the champagne on ice and reconsider such sentiments.
If we disenroll Turkey from the NATO plan, the final tie with the west will be severed.
Does anyone remember how aggressively the Turkish lobbied to join the EU?
The Turks certainly do.
China, Russia, and Iran would be most pleased with this outcome.
Afterall, the top-tier consortium of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) are just a few partnerships away from rivaling the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency.
They have some strange notion that the dollar has been weaponized at their expense.
Turkey is a crown jewel in that lofty ambition.
One would hope both Pelosi and the administration take these plausible outcomes very seriously.
Turkey has had a troubled history with Armenia. They bristle at the retelling of Armenian genocide while the globe was focused on World War I.
Any engagement in Armenia will always draw a defensive and watchful eye in Turkey.
At a time when Turkey's frustration has boiled over and there is no recognition of a NATO ally’s domestic challenges to remain in good standing, is a provocative Speaker Pelosi visit to Armenia the medicine our beleaguered ally needs?
Find your answer to that in Samarkand. It appears Turkey may finally be quitting the West.
Or will they?
What if the Turks, masters of strategically straddling and playing the fence for centuries, remain in NATO but take up full SCO membership alongside of China, Russia, and Iran?
This dreadful scenario leaves Turkey with incredible veto power over consensus in NATO, to impress their new friends in the East.
Taiwan, who may need unified NATO resolve in the near future will be watching with great concern. Of course, NATO could consider expelling Turkey. Would that not play into the strategic designs and ambitions being crafted in Beijing and Moscow?
This writer knows first-hand that the Turkish are a proud people and will negotiate to every advantage possible. I was in the thick of it in Ankara as their parliament voted "No!" to supporting our 2003 invasion of Iraq.
We were still able to work lesser forms of support at the negotiating table, but a "No Support!" vote stings.
A quick review of Turkish history and its importance today should instill heightened reticence in leaders, especially about pushing Turkey farther East.
To Speaker Pelosi and our foreign policy team . . . the most extreme caution, please.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Blaine Holt is a co-founder of Restore Liberty, former Deputy Representative to NATO, lifetime member on the Council on Foreign Relations and Newsmax Contributor. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or its components. Read Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Blaine Holt's reports — More Here.
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