Friday, 18 November 2016

Turkophilic Flynn at NSA likely to clash with others in Trump cabinet

President-Elect Donald Trump has reportedly tapped Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn to be his National Security Advisor. This ought to worry Greeks. Flynn laid out his Turkophilic credentials in an op/ed to The Hill just days ago. 

Both Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute and Nick Larigakis of the American Hellenic Institute have written rebuttals of Flynn's view, explaining his inaccuracies and whitewash of Turkey's problematic behaviour as a US ally. 

Flynn's view seems especially at odds with Washington thinking considering the disagreements Turkey has had with the US and EU over its crackdown against dissent over the Gezi Park development in 2013, its reported support for ISIL, its attack on Kurdish fighters in Syria in August 2015, and its resistance to allowing the US to use the Incirlik air base in operations over Iraq in 2003. All these problems have occurred while Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held power as prime minister or president. 

Outgoing head of national intelligrance James Clapper reflects the negative view of Turkey that seems to have accumulated in Washington. Larigakis writes: "When asked during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 26, 2015, if he was optimistic that Turkey would become “more engaged” in the fight against ISIS, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper replied, “No, I’m not. I think Turkey has other priorities and other interests.”

Will Flynn manage to single-handedly alter perceptions of Turkey in the White House? It seems unlikely given the extent of the damage done in the foreign policy, military and intelligence communities. Flynn is also likely to be rebuffed by several Greek-Americans in the administration, including Chief if Staff Reince Priebus and presidential advisor George Papadopoulos. 

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