West's Defense Center of Gravity Moves Steadily Eastward

West's Defense Center of Gravity Moves Steadily Eastward 
Sunday Journal and Sentinel, s. 14B 
Rahşan Ecevit Arşivi 
West’s Defense Center of Gravity Moves Steadily Eastward

Turkey, Greece Peg Perimeter
Pakistan Forms New Fixed Point

By Bulend Ecevit

Journal and Sentinel Guest Writer from Turkey

The center of gravity of the defense of the West has been moving eastward ever since the Truman doctrine came into force in 1947, giving official recognition to the strategic importance of Turkey and Greece for the security of the Western World.

And, as the concept of regional defense gave place to that of peripheral defense, these two Near Eastern countries have even more closely been knitted into the defense system of the Western World.

The fact that the postwar global policy of the United States has insured this change in the position of Greece and Turkey in spite of various objections raised by some of America’s allies in Western Europe, stands in sharp contrast with the one-time isolationist policy of this country.

One of the objectives of American policy at present seems to move the center of gravity of the Western defense even further east by trying to have a reliable defense system established in the Middle East, stretching as far as Pakistan.

Military Commitments Limited

It would be physically impossible for Turkey, which is regarded now as the eastern outpost of Europe, to stretch her military commitments any further than Pakistan- even the reasonableness of stretching them that far being dubious under the existing conditions. Therefore, the chain of the peripheral defense system which is to encircle the Communist block from the south must be completed by effectively extending the defensive arrangements in the Pacific area farther west, thus linking the two loose ends of the chain.

Turkey's recently signed alliance with Pakistan is bound to remain on paper in case of a war, as long as Iran, which lies in between the two countries, and some of the Arab countries lying further south remain out of it. And there seems to be no desire on the part of any of these powers to make a move to join that alliance.

Turkey would never allow this pact, or any other defensive arrangement in which she may take part, to be exploited as a threat or means of pressure on Israel. Yet any political or military arrangement in that area that has not been designed with such motives seems to make no sense at all for the Arab world.

Pact Throws New Light

However, in spite of its ineffectiveness under the present circumstances, the pact between Turkey and Pakistan, the signing of which was particularly desired by the United States and which may be regarded as a new cornerstone in that country's foreign policy, throws new light upon the objectives of the newly developed peripheral defense strategy.

Both the United States and some of her allies seem to have realized the necessity of being in a position to strike back effectively if and when a local or world war has been started by nations of the Communist block. The Middle East and the northern parts of the Indian peninsula would probably provide the most advantageous bases for such a strike-back either by land or air forces.

An invading army hardly stands a chance of success in Russia unless it is in a position to strike directly at the inner regions of that country without having to endure the hardships of the winter.

Distance Shorter From South

The distance to these vitally important regions of Russia is much shorter from the south, that is from the Caucasus and the northern parts of the Indian peninsula. This distance has further been shortened by the increase in the striking power of air forces.

No matter in which part of the world Russia starts a war, an effective retaliatory action from both or either of these two regions may destroy that country's war potential.

It should be clear therefore to any American who thinks in terms of world strategy that the economic and military commitments which his country has been undertaking in those distant parts of the world are by no means contrary to his own interests. It may even be said that by adopting this method of peripheral and active defense, the United States has insured the isolation of her own territory in case of a new world war to a much greater extent than the so-called “isolationists” could have done with a more conservative policy.

However conservative a nation may be in the conduct of her internal affairs, she can hardly afford conservatism in strategy, as the conditions under which wars are fought have been constantly changing ever since the sword and arrow were discarded as weapons.

Isolation No Longer Possible

Turkey, on the other hand, no longer can hope to remain isolated in a new world war, in view of the vital position that she occupies on the defensive belt now encircling the Communist Block. Consequently. Turkey has to carry a proportionately heavier economic and military burden than even the United States does, so long as the cold war continues.

She already has a larger number of troops at hand. She provides one third of the NATO forces now under arms. Apart from her commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty, she is also committed to the defense of the Balkans as a result of the military pact between Greece, Yugoslavia and herself, and of the Middle East in general, in view of her alliance with Pakistan.

As a small country with a little over 20,000,000 population, with nearly half a million men under arms and about half of her national budget going to the maintenance of these armed forces, Turkey now seems to have reached the verge of a serious economic crisis. A drastic cut in her defense expenditure should avert this crisis, but the Turks are determined never to resort to such a measure.

Whether Turkey can safely survive this imminent crisis should be as of great a concern to her allies as to herself. Because a decline in the strength of this country would not only deprive the Western powers of an important outpost with great possibilities of a strike-back at Russia, but would also expose the rich oil fields of the Middle East to an attack from the North. 




“West's Defense Center of Gravity Moves Steadily Eastward,” Bülent Ecevit Yazıları 1950-1961, 24 Mayıs 2019, http://ecevityazilari.org/items/show/133 ulaşıldı.