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BY DR. ALON BEN-MEIR
Trump’s inviting of Turkey’s President Erdogan to Washington comes at a peculiar time when the House of Representatives is pursuing the impeachment inquiry against Trump and when Erdogan is preoccupied with his invasion of Syria and the growing frustration of the Turkish public with his ruthless domestic and adventurous foreign policy. The question is, what message will Erdogan’s visit send to both the US’ friends and foes? Butcher.
Our adversaries will bask in the notion that the US is no longer guided by any moral principles. Inviting Erdogan to Washington, when Kurdish blood is still fresh on his hands, only confirms that Trump has no scruples and that under his leadership, today’s friends may well become the enemies of tomorrow. Our friends, on the other hand, are bewildered as to why the US would accord a formal visit to the White House to a brutal leader such as Erdogan, who has committed gross human rights violations against his own people and in particular against both Turkish and Syrian Kurds.
Speculation about what might come out of Trump and Erdogan’s meeting abounds, but mine is that nothing of substance will emerge from their face-to-face encounter other than each trying to reap some personal gains. Indeed, Trump is solely for Trump, and Erdogan’s narcissism is surpassed only by Trump’s inflated ego and pathetic self-indulgence.
Erdogan’s eagerness to visit the White House is motivated by a number of “sober” considerations: for Erdogan, the visit demonstrates to his own public that he enjoys the support of the US while showing off that he is a world leader upon whom even the US would accord the status and respect that other prominent head of states deserve, such Germany’s Merkel and France’s Macron.
Moreover, the visit will embolden Erdogan to continue his rampage against his own Kurds and displays a lack of concern by the US about his gross human rights violations. The visit will further demonstrate that the US is conceding to Erdogan’s growing friendly relations with Russia and forgetting altogether Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, even though it severely compromises NATO’s sensitive technology and intelligence.
Sadly and most troubling is that the visit clearly suggests that Trump is careless about Erdogan’s sinister design to decimate the Syrian Kurdish opposition, the YPG, and their comrades in arms, the SFA, and maintain a permanent foothold in Syria, which will only intensify regional conflicts and instability.
For Trump, Erdogan’s visit offers another stunt to distract the American public’s attention from his compounding daily troubles for at least a short period of time. Given the outrage by both Republicans and Democrats following his precipitous decision to withdraw our forces from Syria, Trump wanted to demonstrate that his decision was the right one. After all, there is a ceasefire in place and US forces are protecting Syria’s oil fields, which he cynically views as an advantage, regardless of the fact that hundreds of our closest allies—the Syrian Kurds—have already been killed by Turkish forces and tens of thousands are internally displaced.
Moreover, given that Trump is mostly a facade with no substance, he is desperately eager to demonstrate that he, in fact, is actively engaged in foreign affairs in the search for a solution to various conflicts in the Middle East, including the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. And while he is at it, he wanted to prove to his base that he is the most powerful man and leaders will come from every corner of the world to rub shoulders with him, which also satisfies his ego.
However inconsequential Erdogan’s visit to the White House may be, it is worrisome in that Erdogan has succeeded in effectively sidelining the US from having much of a say about Syria’s future. Syria’s fate is now in the hands of Russia’s Putin, Iran’s Rouhani, and Erdogan himself. For all intents and purposes, Trump dumped Syria on the lap of these three leaders, whose main objective is to push the US out of the Middle East as each wants to pursue his own agenda in the region without American intervention.
To be sure, the Turkish butcher Erdogan and the notorious liar Trump found their match, and they have no shame and no remorse about the extent they use each other to advance their interest.
The visit will end the same way it started. Nothing of any substance will come of their unceremonious meeting, as neither has anything to offer the other and would pretty much maintain their mutual disdain toward one another for as long as they remain in office.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
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Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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