O'S AMATEUR HOUR
APPEASING ISLAMISTS IN TURKEY
THE real climax of President Obama's Spring Apologies Tour wasn't his photo op with our troops in Baghdad or even his "American Guilt" concerts in Western Europe. While fans in the press cheered wildly at every venue, the real performance came in Turkey. And it was a turkey.
Obama means well. Just as Jimmy Carter, his policy godfather, meant well. But the road to embassy takeovers and strategic humiliation is paved with good intentions -- coupled with distressing naivete.
On every stage, Obama draped Lady Liberty in sackcloth and ashes, drawing plentiful applause but no serious economic or security cooperation in return. Then, in Turkey, he surrendered our national pride, undercut our interests and interfered in matters that aren't his business.
On the latter point: Suppose the European Union president went to Cuba and insisted that the world's sunniest concentration camp should be welcomed into NAFTA? That's the equivalent of what our president did in Ankara on Monday when he declared that he supports Turkey's bid for EU membership.
The Europeans don't want Turkey in their club. Because Turkey isn't a European state, nor is its culture European. And it isn't our business to press Europe to embrace a huge, truculent Muslim country suffering a creeping Islamist coup.
The Europeans were appalled by Turkey's neo-Taliban tantrum on-stage at last week's NATO summit. The Turks fought to derail the appointment of a great Dane, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as the new NATO secretary general. Why? Because he didn't stone to death the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Mohammed.
Which brings us to the even bigger problem: Obama has no idea what's going on in Turkey. By going to Ankara on his knees, he gave his seal of approval to a pungently anti-American Islamist government bent on overturning Mustapha Kemal's legacy of the separation of mosque and state.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP, means headscarves, Korans, censorship and stacked elections. The country's alarmed middle class opposes the effort to turn the country into an Islamic state. Obama's gushing praise for the AKP's bosses left them aghast.
Obama's embrace of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now orchestrating show trials of his opponents) was one step short of going to Tehran and smooching President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
What was Obama thinking? He wasn't. He relied on advice from State Department appeasement artists who understand neither Turkey, Islam nor the crises raging between the Bosporus and the Indus. State's answer is always "More love, more humility, more aid."
Well, I, for one, don't think our country has anything to apologize for, either to Turkey or to Europe.
Insisting that America's always guilty, Obama omitted any mention of Turkey's wartime betrayals of our troops, its continuing oppression of its Kurd minority or the AKP's determination to turn a state with a secular constitution into a Wahhabi playground.
When it came to the Armenian genocide, Obama bravely ducked: He never dared use the g-word.
And Obama's disdainful remarks about President Bush were just shabby.
After those overpriced tour T-shirts have shrunk in the wash (trust me -- they will), what will we have gained from Obama's superstar act?
He told the Europeans that the global economic crisis is all our fault. No mention of European greed, overleveraged governments, destructive Euro-loans or Chinese currency manipulation. We did it. Whip us, please.
In return, the Europeans gave him . . . nothing.
Even though Obama was right when he said that Europe faces a greater terror threat than we do, the entire continent only ponied up 2,500 short-term non-combat troops for Afghanistan. The Europeans know we'll do the heavy lifting.
He gave the Russians yet another blank check, too. (Meanwhile, in Moscow, Putin's thugs beat an aging pro-democracy dissident to a pulp.) In return, the Russians promised to . . . well, actually, they didn't promise anything.
Then Obama went to Turkey, undercut secular political parties, infuriated the Europeans -- and disclaimed our country's Judeo-Christian heritage. (Did Turkey's leaders respond by denying Islam's importance to them? Naw.)
In Turkey, Obama got . . . nothing we didn't already have.
Then he went to Iraq and told its prime minister that Iraq would get nothing.
I believe that our president wants to do the right thing. But he doesn't have a clue how. For now, he's enraptured by the applause. But he hasn't tried to charge his fans for their tickets. And they've already made up their minds they won't have to pay.