New administration should draw on wisdom of Jefferson

Our nation's first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, approached diplomacy with the maxim, "In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock."
 
In less than three weeks, our new president will take the oath of office swearing to uphold and protect our Constitution. While the electorate decided that these tumultuous times call for the unorthodox style of an outsider, now more than ever we need to adhere to our historic principles when conducting diplomacy.
 
The Constitution outlines one key principle. This sacred document makes clear that while the president plays an important role in crafting foreign policy, the Senate has equally critical obligations and must serve as a partner.
 
I immigrated to the United States to pursue my education 30 years ago. In 1986, very similar to now, technology was rapidly changing American lives, Moscow featured prominently in the nightly news and there was a general concern about what the future would bring.
 
There are 84 million Americans who are immigrants or children of immigrants. We came here with unique dreams, with an entrepreneurial spirit and, by and large, with valuable perspective on the current pulse of our birth countries. It is our responsibility, as the First Amendment makes clear, to petition our government and make our perspective known.
 
Bilateral relations with Turkey, my birth country, will consume a significant amount of the new secretary of state's time. Concerns within the region such as the migrant crisis, Russian energy leverage, the Iranian nuclear deal and finding a lasting peace to the Syrian conflict will require the attention of not just the administration, but every senator too.
 
Although I am a proud naturalized American raising two American-born daughters, I talk daily with my business partners and my brother in Turkey. 
 
Indeed, my Bethlehem-based multinational organic food business has provided me a deep understanding of Turkish agriculture, trade trends from the Port of Izmir and overall macro-economic trends that define the rapidly growing $18.7 billion  trade volume between our countries. I am honored to employ dozens of Americans and dozens of Turks. I am confident that with the new administration bilateral trade will continue an upward exponential trajectory.
 
Providing additional unique insight are the sobering conversations I have had lately with my brother, a policeman outside of Ankara. Our allies in Turkey are mourning lost innocents and picking up the pieces from twin bombings and a grisly New Year's nightclub mass shooting.  The scourge of terrorism -- be it in Brussels, Paris or now Istanbul -- will confront the new administration and 115th Congress.
 
Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and the new administration must devote time to understand the nuanced and ever-changing complexities facing bilateral relations with Turkey and the region. Our critical ally has lost too many young souls in awful acts of terror in this last year.  Immigrants like me have gone to sleep each night worrying about family members.
 
Even before the inauguration, Casey and Toomey will have a chance to privately sit with the president-elect's cabinet picks. The Constitution does not mention parties or partisan politics, but it does hold our senators responsible for providing our 45th president their advice and their consent.
 
I will not second-guess their perspective, but I will hope they take into account the perspective of our nation's diverse naturalized citizen experts. Our senators should remember the wisdom of our nation's first diplomat. When approaching diplomacy, we should uphold our principles of liberty and justice at home and abroad. So too, we should value the unique perspective of naturalized citizens embracing this diversity.
 
Murat Guzel is the founder and CEO of Nimeks Organics, an organic food company  headquartered in Bethlehem with operations across the United States and Turkey.
 
http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/new_adminstration_should_draw.html