December 14th, 2002

[BLOG-LIKE POSTING] On Admitting Turkey into the EU

This posting was originally made in reply to Jonathan Edelstein's posting, at his excellent weblog Head Heeb, of the commentary "Turkey gets shafted again" on the 13th of December.


I disagree about you about the wisdom of admitting Turkey into the EU. The other applicant states have all had at least a decade to demonstrate that, yes, they possess stable liberal-democratic polities that aren't prone to subversion by military coups or populist political parties (or in Slovakia's case, that they can quickly recover). Turkey hasn't taken nearly as long, and Turkish efforts are much shallower chronologically than (say) Polish or Estonian or Slovenian efforts.

Turkey did play a major role in NATO during the Cold War; then again, so did Greece under the colonels, Salazar's Portugal, and (arguably) even Titoist Yugoslavia. The political requirements for EU membership are much more restrictive than, say, the political requirements for NAFTA membership, and rightly so--the US was able to accept, in the mid-1990's, a Mexico that was basically a one-party state (if admittedly a fairly liberal and pluralistic one-party state) because NAFTa was limited to economic issues. If Mexican politicians were going to be taking up seats as elected representatives in a North American Congress, or Americans and Canadians were going to be providing tens of thousands of millions of dollars in transfer payments for projects in Guerrero and Chiapas, it'd be different.

In 1982, when the Spanish military (like its Turkish counterpart now, then strongly conservative and attached to the values of the prior non-democratic regime) tried to stage a military coup, it returned to barracks when the representatives of the new regime chastised them. I'm not at all sure that if the same thing happened in modern-day Turkey, the Turkish military would obey likewise, or that Erdogan wouldn't meet the fate of Menderes. And until people can be sure that wouldn't happen, Turkey should stay out of the EU.

(To say nothing about other reasons for skepticism about Turkish EU membership: the question of whether the European Union wants porous borders with Iran, Iraq, and Syria; the question of how to incorporate a Turkish Kurdistan that's far poorer and far more alienated from its ruling state than any region in the other EU candidate states; the question of Turkish immigration into the EU (from my readings, the Turkish population seems to be far more mobile than the Polish or even the Romanian, although Bulgaria comes close); the question of whether or not it was at all wise for the US to try to lobby the EU to admit Turkey for narrow geostrategic reasons; and others that I can't think of at the moment.)
  • Current Music
    U2, "Summer Rain"

Meme: What does my LJ name mean?

Nothing much, actually. "rfmcdpei" is formed from the initials of my name--Randy Franklin McDonald--and the common abbreviation for my natal province of Prince Edward Island.
  • Current Music
    U2, "North and South of the River"

Meditations on Male Desire (An Economic Model--Part 3)

It is entirely possible to construct an economic model of sexual attraction and romantic desire. Why not? At some level--and pardon the subsequent inevitable pun, or not--it all comes down to what services you want, whether generic encounters (first, second, or third base, or home run) or something more specific. Guys talk about the effort made to secure someone; guys talk about the effort not being worth it (whether because the result impossible to acquire or because its unworthy of the effort); guys talk about what they'd want among themselves.

At first, it might seem that a simple cost-benefit equation might work: If it's worth acquiring, then the effort will be made to acquire it. This, however, can't be applied to any more than one situation, simply because the large majority of people want some variety. What if you (say) like girls more than boys, or vice versa? Or what if you like particular types of people (academic types, black-haired types, loud types, short types, thin types) more than you do other types? Or (here getting into the PG-13 area of livejournal) you prefer certain acts to others? A cost-benefit curve would make more sense.

  • Have cost--the amount of energy you're willing to expend--as the vertical axis.

  • Have benefits--the degree to which you which prefer a particular goal--as the horizontal axis.

  • [Nota Bene: It doesn't particularly matter whether you're willing to use more (or less) effort than other people, or whether "benefits" refers to specific people, acts, or relationships. This is a purely relative and theoretical model, and I'm not at all qualified to talk about a general model.]

To use this model, simply determine what you define as a class of benefits and determine how much effort you're willing to pursue on behalf of each member in the set of benefits. Once this is accomplished, plot the different data points on the chart, and then draw a line connecting these points. The resulting curve will bound the upward limits of your sexual/romantic goals; goals which are located below this curve will be the goals that you'll aim for, while goals located above this curve will be the goals that you'll decide not to pursue, whether for lack of interest in the necessary effort or disinterest in the actual goal.

You could add other variables to this mode, for instance, you could add the variable of time, to reflect changes in your sexual preferences and the amount of effort you're willing to expend, as time progresses.

  • Current Music
    U2, "Numb" (Gimme Some More Dignity Mix)