Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stop This Nonsense At Once!

It's all over the news: Turkey has shot down a Russian Su-24 attack jet which it claims violated its airspace.

First thought: If true, Russia has been guilty of foolish provocation.

Second thought: If true, Turkey has been guilty of far, far worse.

In times of international turmoil, it is especially important that front-line states -- those with conflict on their  borders, such as Turkey with Syria -- be especially wary of causing incidents which might escalate into wider trouble.  Turkey as a NATO Ally has a special obligation to consider the Alliance's troubled recent dealings with the Russian Federation before firing air-to-air missiles in the direction of Russian fighter-bombers.

Today's incident is not without precedent -- the difference being that the October encounters were handled properly by the Turks. 

Following the 13 November attacks in Paris and the 31 October downing of a civilian charter flight over Sinai by ISIS, it appeared that Russia, France and the West were preparing for discussions on how best to coordinate international efforts against terror.  

Turkey has now put that at risk.

During this centennial remembrance of the First World War, we must all take extra effort to refuse the easy solution in time of seeming crisis, to look that extra step further at ways to defuse tense situations, and generally to lead with caution and compassion when confronting other countries in their own hours of need.

In short, think first, ask questions next, and shoot last, if at all.  

If only our ancestors had tried that tiny bit harder in the summer of 1914...

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