The Cuban Missile Crisis produced great scholarship. A classic of the period, 'Essence of A Decision' by Prof. Grahame Allison, is a study of decision making in the Kennedy administration during a crisis when the world came close to a nuclear collision. By that reckoning, research proposals must be in the process of being cleared as to who ordered the two ballistic missiles towards Syria which Russian intercepts brought down in the Mediterranean? The whole episode is frightening.
For two and a half terms Erdogan and Abdullah Gul kept up a plausible manner: they were non ideological, moderate Muslims. Yes, there was an occasional skirmish on trifles like headscarves for women but no serious threat of a Shariah flag being hoisted on a nation restored by Ataturk. Why, then, did Erdogan manage to shuffle off the moderate image which had caused his reputation to rocket sky high? First, the constitution does not allow a Prime Minister more than three terms. Thus, Erdogan saw the end of the road for himself in internal politics. He will probably try swapping jobs with Abdullah Gul in 2014-15. But will people let him? After all, 70 percent are opposed to conflict with Syria.
After 70,000 Syrians have paid with their lives in the foreign induced conflict in Syria, why has the American perspective changed? Even so, it was nice to see Secretary of State, John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, embrace each other two weeks back in Moscow.
The Western media has been predicting the fall of Bashar al Assad for the past year. An externally induced civil war is on the cards but the collapse of the regime has not materialized.
What is going on? A war against Al Qaeda in Af-Pak and a deliberate manufacture of just those elements in Syria? Has New Delhi forgotten its breast beating against cross-border terrorism in Kashmir atleast since 1989?
Let me jump the gun on the global pundits. The great charge on Damascus is about to be called off, sorry toned down.
An infinitely more serious situation has arisen in a part of Homs where Foreign Mercenaries and special forces are surrounded by the Syrian Army.
The West and Israel obviously find it easier to manage a Mid-East without independent minded trouble makers like Qaddafi and Assad who had a history of being on the wrong side during the cold war.
The ultimate irony, ofcourse, is that after having prepared itself on every possible count for eligibility to enter Europe, Turkey is no longer interested in Europe.