Yes, Turkey again
It's trite but true: the older I get, the more I realize that I'm simply carrying out my father's legacy.
We didn't talk much. Didn't need to. Both were laconic, observant and experiential.
Nevertheless, I did pick up some large themes from him, and most of what I write here is a continuation of his themes.
Biggest theme: Theory is never the foundation
of thinking, teaching or learning. Theory is a tacked-on frill to impress the yokels. When you can discover or teach
a fact by observation or experiment; when you've pinned down the constants and variables; you don't need a theory.
Along this line, I'm impressed by Turkey's foreign policy.Goal: Zero problems.
Completely original and ELEGANT.
In longer form: Turkey will do whatever is necessary and feasible to have zero problems
with its neighbors, and doesn't much care about countries that aren't neighbors.No theory.
Perfectly pragmatic. Measurable and quantifiable closed-loop goal. You'll know when you reach zero problems. If some problems still remain, you can generally see what must be done to eliminate them, or you can decide to live with them.
Contrast this with America's foreign policy, which doesn't even have a formulation. By Polistra's Law of Inferred Intent,
America's post-1989 foreign policy appears to be something like this:
"USA! USA! USA! We're Number 1! We're Exceptional! We are God! We are the sole wellspring and source of morality in the world. Therefore, any country that threatens Israel or competes economically with Saudi Arabia is suspect. Therefore, any country that violates Betty Friedan's feminist doctrine, or allows normal men and women to marry and have children, is suspect. At any time we may decide for no particular reason to invade any one of these suspect countries, in order to accomplish something or other. We have no idea what we want to accomplish, but we know it absolutely must be done.
Achieving something or other fully justifies any
expenditure of money and soldiers, any amount of permanent disorder and chaos in the suspect country."
This is based on a wild farrago of incoherent theories, and has no measurable goal anywhere. There is no way to find out when we're done, or when we're getting close to done. We just have to keep spending money and soldiers.