Daniel Szewc | Poland
Many question the morality of the USA’s decision to maintain a strong relationship with the Republic of Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. How can the bastion of global democracy associate itself with a well-established theocracy, as well as what seems like one that poised to adopt a similar model? Geostrategy isn’t as simple as it may seem- one cannot only ally with whomever they deem as morally correct. This is most apparent during the geopolitical equivalents of tectonic shifts, ie wars- when new realities rise and fall so often. If ideology were the only factor, it is almost certain that the USSR and the Third Reich would never sign the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. Thus, ideological barriers crumble even in cases of the most confirmed enemies, under the unstoppable forces that garner geopolitical interests of nations, in this case, the German and Soviet ones.
In the case of America and Turkey, there are two major reasons as to why they maintain a love-hate relationship. One of these reasons was what caused Russia to annex the Crimean peninsula- that is, the strategic advantages of holding the straits of Bosforus and Dardanelle, with Istanbul/historical Constantinople as the epicenter of political control of the region. If Turkey was to lose control of the city, Russia would fulfill its historical dream of becoming a naval AND Orthodox Christian supreme power by annexing Constantinople. Why? There are two reasons. The first is that Russia feels the moral obligation of restoring it’s religious capital, as the title of Tsar came from Imperial Russia roots are based in the tradition of Eastern Rome. Securing Constantinople would create a complete monopoly on Orthodoxy for Russia, which perfectly fits in with their pan-Slavic aspirations of the 19th century. It was this time in which Russia fought an exceptionally underestimated war with Turkey. The outcome of this war proved that Russia was for the first time capable of being taken down by a European power. Surprisingly, Turkey, being foreign in its culture and civilization to Europe received the support of Sardinia, the UK, and France during the Crimean war of 1853. A new threat to European imperialism emerged for with Constantinople, Russia would be able to partake in the colonization of Africa, having finally gained access to the Mediterranean, as well as potentially conquer Greece. Russian influence in the Mediterranean would allow them to control not only Austria’s trade through the Black Sea but also its access to trade in the Adriatic Sea. After crushing what was then the only strong Germanic state, Russia was uninhibited in its path to becoming the sole power of Europe… except for the Poles.
In contrast to Slovaks, Czechs, and Croats, Poles were the only people who felt even more violated by Russia than by Germanic nations. Of course, Russia tried to loosen its grip on the Poles after the Vienna Congress, thinking that stirring up pro-Russian sentiment was possible. Yet the Poles resisted, causing Russia to act self detrimentally, crushing rebellions and with them Russia’s chances of peacefully uniting all Slavs under one banner. The goal of uniting Slavic groups was becoming less and less possible, considering that what later became Austria-Hungary gave Galicia, a region which is now part of both Poland and Ukraine, extreme autonomy. This could have been done with the goal of dismantling Russia’s plans. While Poles fought against the potential threat of Russian dominance, Prussia grew in power, and with it, grew the UK’s safety from another invasion by France. At their own disadvantage, the British failed to consider that the Prussian identity was inherently against the last factor keeping Russia away from hegemony- the Second Reich also had an extreme anti-Polish set of policies. Although it seemed like a stronger Prussia was a potential safeguard against Russia.
Now, Turkey will have an even greater potential impact on Russia- the construction of the Istanbul Canal will finally make it possible for large navy vessels to enter the Black Sea, letting Russia’s soft underbelly to the East of Ukraine become an easy target for an American offensive. To be clear, it is not that America favors Turkey and its regime, which controls the straits, but just like it’s predecessors in marine power, France and the UK, it must secure access to the straits for its own gain. It is for this reason that the US is seeking to maintain a partnership with Turkey.
Yet how does America make sure that Turkey doesn’t become too strong? Using Saudi Arabia. With the house of Saud controlling what was formerly much of the South-East of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey is kept strong enough to disrupt Russia’s Mediterranean trade if necessary, whilst too weak to control the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. This, in turn, explains why the USA cannot let Saudi Arabia fail. If Saudi Arabia lost influence, Turkey would become too strong and could monopolise the West’s counter-influence to Iran and Russia.
For an insight into the struggle for world dominance between Russia, China, and the USA, I suggest these works:
71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!