Turkey’s rise points to the post-American Middle East

In the New York Times, Anthony Shadid writes:

In a series of stalemates — from the Arab-Israeli conflict to Lebanon — Turkey has proved the most dynamic, projecting an increasingly assertive and independent foreign policy in an Arab world bereft of any country that matches its stature. Its success is a subtle critique of America’s longstanding policy in the Middle East of trying to isolate and ostracize its enemies. From Hezbollah here to the followers of a populist, anti-American cleric in Iraq, Turkey has managed to forge dialogue with America’s enemies and allies alike.

“Turkey has become, I think, until the contrary is proven, an indispensable state in the reorganizing of this region,” said Sarkis Naoum, an analyst and prominent columnist in Beirut.

So far, the interventions of Turkey and others in the Lebanese crisis are mostly symbolic, ventures into a maddeningly complex political landscape that hews to a formula of “no victor, no vanquished.” But in contrast to past crises, when Turkey was virtually irrelevant, the new effort signals the country’s ascent as a regional superpower.

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