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Turkey’s Weasel Problem
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Though we head into 2016 without a direct war between the US and Russia, such a conflict still hovers over mankind. It’s hard to imagine Uncle Sam relinquishing his supremacy without a crazed fight. By abetting Turkey in shooting down that Russian plane, the US achieved one important objective, at least, and that’s scuttling the Russia-Turkey natural gas pipeline, the Blue Stream. Through its EU vassals, the US is now trying to block the expansion of Nord Stream, a pipeline that goes directly from Russia to Germany. The American-directed regime change in the Ukraine was also an attempt to interfere with Russia’s gas export. Energy is Russia’s economic lifeline and its political leverage. Rupture that advantage, and you cripple Russia, make it compliant to your wishes. It ain’t gonna happen.

Say, is there a bigger weasel in world politics than Recep Tayyip Erdogan? With him, a yes may be a no, and a warm hug is a prelude to a backstab. On September 23rd, Erdogan went to Moscow for the opening of the grand Cathedral Mosque of Moscow, partly built with Turkish money, and while there, he called Putin “dear brother.” Shaking the Russian leader’s hand, Erdogan also grabbed the man’s elbow, such was his affection for Putin. (I’m reminded of how Berlusconi used to lean all over Bush.) On November 24th, however, Erdogan gave the order to shoot down that Russian plane. Two Russians died. At first cockily claiming credit for this near trigger to World War III, Erdogan is now blaming it on Abidin Üna, his Air Force chief. What a weasel. With such men, though, words mean nothing. They can be contradicted from one moment to the next.

Erdogan, then, sounds like any recent US President. Shameless weasels all, they will arm, fund, train and do business with terrorists while pretending to fight terrorism. Triggering a horrible refugee crisis, they will pose as protectors of these poor wretches begging in Turkish cities or overwhelming Europe. There are already 2.3 million Syrians in Turkey, with 220,000 in Gaziantep, and at least 330,000 in Istanbul. Only 261,000 Syrians are in refugee camps, with the rest left to fend for themselves. Most are penniless, unable to speak Turkish and legally prevented from working. These miserable Syrians are only slightly better off than the stray dogs and cats you find all over Turkey.

Next to Turkey, Lebanon has the most Syrian refugees with 1.1 million, Jordan with 633,000 and troubled Iraq, incredibly, with 245,000. Remember that 250,000 Iraqis fled to Syria after the US devastated that country. Now Syrians are escaping to Iraq. Americans seem unfazed, though, at their country’s status as the world’s leader, by far, in destroying other people’s homelands when not killing them. History will curse our cold-bloodedness. Come election time, we will enthusiastically vote for another butcher. America has become a nation of cold-blooded butchers.

Syrian Mother Begging in Istanbul.  Credit: Linh Dinh

Syrian Mother Begging in Istanbul. Credit: Linh Dinh

As the left shout “refugees welcome,” the right cynically pretend that most of these refugees are merely economic migrants or potential terrorists, but almost no one is demanding with any urgency that the US, the EU, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf States stop their criminal war against Syria. How can all these nations gang up to terrorize and destabilize Syria for nearly six years without creating a massive refugee crisis?

On a recent visit to Istanbul, I found Syrian mothers with infants silently sitting on sidewalks. I saw entire families huddling in the cold. Not used to begging, they were meek and spoke in whispers. Shooed away by shop owners, many occupied poorly lit, less trafficked spots. I saw a lone child of about eight on the concrete, looking stunned. He had three packets of tissue paper he was trying to sell. Street cleaners swept around these human detritus.

Many had plastic sleeved signs, “WE ARE FROM SYRIA / GAN YOU HELP US!!! Thank You,” “I AM FROM SYRIA / PLEASE HELP,” “PLEASE / ME AND FAMILY NEED HELP / (WIFE AND 3 GIRLS) / WE ARE FROM SYRIA / WE CAME HERE BECAUSE OF WAR / WE HAVE NO PLECE TO BE SAFE / THANK YOU / MAY GOD HELP YOU / HELP US,” etc. They showed passports to prove that they’re really Syrian. Like most Americans, however, many Syrians never had a passport. Fleeing from the war zone, others have lost all papers.

Syrian Family Begging in Istanbul.  Credit: Linh Dinh.

Syrian Family Begging in Istanbul. Credit: Linh Dinh.

On Cadirci Cami, I think, I saw a couple with two kids, one an infant. It was extremely cold. Sitting on the ground in darkness, they had a sign, “WE ARE FROM SYRIA !! / WE SLEEP IN PARK / CAN YOU HELP US !! / THANK YOU.” He showed me his Syrian passport. While looking at me, she picked up the empty box of Bebelac powdered milk and shook it a couple times. With no shared language, we couldn’t talk. I gave them some money and tried to indicate that I would return shortly with some more, but when I came back, they were gone.

Living so precariously, many Syrians naturally dream of escaping to Europe. Greece seems so close, with Lesbos right there. In several Istanbul neighborhoods, stores stock inner tubes, life jackets or even boats for Syrians. These brightly orange symbols of survival dangle outside grocery and hardware stores. The cheapest inner tube can be had for $5, and the most suspect life jacket for $15. It’s estimated that 5,000 Syrians have already drowned in the Aegean Sea. That’s nearly 1% of those who’ve attempted to reach Greece.

ORDER IT NOW

Living in limbo, Syrians have no permanent legal status in Turkey, and their children born there are stateless. Turkish politicians have threatened to send them all back home. Riots have already broken out against refugees, with Syrians beaten up and their store windows broken. Turks, one must remember, are adept at the wholesale removal of an unwanted people. Their Armenian and Greek populations, once so numerous, are almost entirely gone. The expulsion of Greeks came in a population exchange after a Greek invasion had been repulsed, so Turks shouldn’t be blamed, but the Armenian Genocide that killed 1.5 million is a huge black stain on the Turkish soul, though Turkey still refuses to acknowledge it. Turks also murdered or chased out nearly 300,000 Bulgarians in 1913.

A poor Turk, though, sees no reason why he should have to compete against Syrians working illegally. More than a third of Turks have had to survive on only $343 a month, the second lowest minimum wage in Europe. (There are talks to raise it to $446.) Unemployment is over 10%. In Mardin, near the Syrian border, unemployment has doubled within four years to at least 21%, with the increase blamed on the Syrian influx. There are also regular complaints about crimes committed by refugees. Staging war against Syria, Erdogan brings social chaos to his own country.

A graffiti in English, “fuck israel REAL TERORIS.”

Man Sleeping on Istanbul Street. Credit: Linh Dinh.

Man Sleeping on Istanbul Street. Credit: Linh Dinh.

A graffiti in Turkish, “DEATH IS AFTER YOU WHAT YOU GONNA DO… A LIFE OF FAITH AND JIHAD…” [“ÖLÜM SENIN PEŞINDE SEN NEYIN PEŞINDESIN… HAYAT IMAN VE CIHAD…”]

By the Golden Horn, two teenaged boys sniffed glue as ferry commuters hurried by. Like most Turks, they were neatly dressed. I saw scavengers of plastic and glass pull heavy carts containing huge, tent like bags. Roaming all over at all times, including way after midnight or before dawn, I spotted almost no homeless Turks, however. I did run into an old man who slept sitting up with his feet wrapped in white, plastic trash bags, fastened to his calves with yellow strings. For a city of 17 million, Istanbul has almost no visible homeless population save its war refugees.

Besides Syrians, Turkey also hosts large numbers of immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Bulgaria. Wandering through Kumkapi, formerly an Armenian neighborhood, I saw plenty of foreigners from Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East. At numerous call centers, signs display dozens of flags, and per minute rates are posted for countries like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Iraq and Cameroon. At night, African whores lurk and smile, while in adjacent Laleli, you can also find Ukrainian, Romanian, Belarusian and Russian prostitutes. I asked a whore with dirty blonde hair if she was Turkish. Guessing my preference, she declared quite unconvincingly, “Yes, I am Turkish girl.”

Though street walking is illegal in Turkey, prostitution itself is not. With some restrictions, the making of pornography is also legal, and anyone can buy it, there is no age limit. Homosexuality was legalized by the Ottoman in 1858, way ahead of other countries. Unusual for a Muslim nation, Turkey also makes a fine pilsner, Efes. Beer is sold widely.

Writing in 1963, Paul Bowles tied beer drinking to Westernization and perhaps even to democracy, “Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction. It is to be expected that there should be a close relationship between the culture of a given society and the means used by its members to achieve release and euphoria. For Judaism and Christianity the means has always been alcohol; for Islam it has been hashish. The first is dynamic in its effects, the other static. If a nation wishes, however mistakenly, to Westernize itself, first let it give up hashish. The rest will follow, more or less as a matter of course.” Tellingly, the title of the essay is “A Man Must Not Be Very Moslem.”

Until a month ago, Laleli was swarming with Russian tourists. Many shop signs feature Russian Cyrillic. Making up the second largest nationality to visit Turkey, Russians were second only to Germans, though many of the latter were just Turks returning home. Getting on the Turkish Air flight in Leipzig, I could clearly see elation on the faces of many Turkish passengers, and when the plane landed in Istanbul, I anticipated applause before it happened. I knew the phenomenon from seeing Vietnamese returning home. It’s as if a weight had been lifted and they could jettison the double life of the immigrant. For the duration of their stay in Turkey, these folks could be fully themselves. There is no deception implied here, for the same dynamic affects all transplants, even a city-based country boy heading for the blue hills, corn rows, bayous, sticks or trailer park.

A displaced person knows that home is also a matter of degrees. Chanced upon the Goethe Institute in Istanbul, my heart gladdened because it made me think of my temporary home in Leipzig. When I lived in Certaldo, Italy, I took a train from Paris to Florence by way of Geneva. Hearing Italian at the Swiss train station, I also cheered up because I knew home was getting closer, and I would be there soon.

Just in 2014, 4.48 million Russians visited Turkey and spent nearly $4 billion. That cash spigot has suddenly gone dry thanks to Erdogan’s hubristic insanity. Ninety-thousand Turkish workers will also be kicked out of Russia, and Turkish agricultural exports, chicken in particular, will have to find new markets.

Erdogan thought the war with Syria would be over by now. Foolishly, he didn’t think the Kremlin would intervene, but a war against Syria is an attack on Russia.

Turks used to storm into Europe as conquerors, not be treated as scorned immigrants or be rebuffed, repeatedly, as a European Union aspirant. Surely this rankles. Dissed by the West, Turkey could have retaliated by pivoting East and aligning itself with Russia, but Erdogan had to shoot that plane down.

Reacting to a Greek-sponsored coup in Cyprus, Turkey invaded it in 1974 and was accused by Greece of “Neo-Ottomanism.” It was a hyperbolic tag flung by a war adversary. Ottoman glories, though, have served as a nagging reminder of what Turks used to be, how far they have fallen and, if only one would draw deeper from that shisha pipe, can become again. In 2012, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared, “Without going to war, we will again tie Sarajevo to Damascus, Benghazi to Erzurum and to Batumi.” No ephemeral, fringe politician, Davutoglu is now the Prime Minister.

ORDER IT NOW

From January 2011 to September 2013, Turkish television viewers were mesmerized by 139 episodes of The Magnificent Century, a series focusing on Suleiman the Magnificent. It was also hugely addictive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. See, see, they’re all coming back into the Ottoman folds! Even the Greeks were hooked, leading Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki to bark, “No one should watch The Magnificent Century. By watching the Turkish series, we are telling them we have surrendered.”

Five centuries ago is like yesterday to a Turk. After seeing Suleiman’s execution of his oldest son, Sehzade Mustafa as dashingly portrayed by Mehmet Gunsur, a 47-year-old man in Bursa went to the prosecutor’s office and demanded that all of the murder’s plotters be punished, and Mustafa’s honor restored. Who wouldn’t be outraged by the three-minute killing scene, much of it shown in slow motion? Employing some mean ass kung fu moves, Mustafa fought back gamely against six goons before two finally overwhelmed and strangled him. With fierce eyes, his father stonily watched. In death, Mustafa’s handsome, bearded face filled the screen of practically every home in the former Ottoman Empire. Dude kissed the carpet, all right.

Metal Detectors at Istanbul Shopping Mall.  Credit: Linh Dinh.

Metal Detectors at Istanbul Shopping Mall. Credit: Linh Dinh.

While using terrorists to do go after both his foreign and domestic foes, Erdogan poses as a shield against terrorism. A blood red poster announces, “LET’S UNITE AGAINST TERRORISM / REPORT TERRORISTS TO MAINTAIN PEACE AND SECURITY.” Someone should turn in the President. At the Kale Outlet Center in Gungoren, I saw airport style security at each entrance. At the risk of starring in the next Midnight Express, I had to photograph the walk-through metal detectors with McDonald’s advertising. Outside mall, a security guard peered into the trunk or rear hatch of each car before it entered the underground garage. At the touristy Grand Bazaar, cops waved metal detector wands at selected visitors.

Erdogan’s charisma, working class background and even stint as a semi-professional soccer player have endeared him to ordinary Turks, but too many devious moves have exposed the weasel, and his terrorism sham has been called out very publicly, most noticeably by Russia. Inside Turkey, however, one can’t state the obvious, for it’s a crime to “insult” the Mad Man of Ankara.

A Turkish friend emailed me, “Erdogan is an absolute disaster. The great strength and beauty of Istanbul, and also Turkey in general, have been the subtle ways the secular and religious forces in the country have been held together in exquisite balance. It has always been a place that looked chaotic, but also was intensely alive. Erdogan is destroying this. He has become a megalomaniac with hopes of resurrecting the Ottoman Empire (in that way, his attempts are not unrelated to ISIS’ idea of the caliphate). Erdogan’s insanity is also similar to Trump’s—a dream of grandiose power. Let them both rot in hell.”

Thanks to the United States and Israel, one Muslim society after another, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., has been fractured and ruined, but the unraveling of Turkey has been primarily accomplished by one of its own, and a duly elected leader, no less. In this, Turkey also resembles the United States. Perhaps it’s not too late to save this still magnificent country.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Immigration, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Syria 
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  1. ref: “Thanks to the United States and Israel, one Muslim society after another, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., has been fractured and ruined”

    For the thicker headed amongst us, Mr. Linh, can you explicitly show how/where/when the Israeli complicity in this ruination is demonstrable.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Art
  2. I really enjoy your writing Linh. Turkey is a puppet of the US which is a puppet itself.

    The USA will be to this century what Germany was to the last, and bear in mind how it ended up. There’ll be no Marshall Plan for the US though, just a few gated communities and the rest a teeming polyglot of wretched souls struggling to survive in a dystopian nightmare reminiscent of a scene from Bladerunner. A China plate in LA keeps saying, “But dude, this is America. We’re number one”. Like most, he wouldn’t understand even if it was right in front of him, which it actually is.

  3. 22pp22 says:

    Trump HAS spoken out against US policy in the ME.

  4. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    Hi Hanoi Paris Hilton,

    I won’t be able to do it any better than Dan Sanchez’ “War Is Realizing the Israelizing of the World,” published right here at Unz Review.

    Linh

    • Agree: gruff
    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  5. unit472 says:

    I realize there is a Kremlin directed ‘Hate Turkey’ campaign being waged and it uses the same form as the old Soviet disinformation campaigns from 30 and 40 years ago only instead of ‘Front Groups’ it has bloggers and websites recycling Kremlin talking points. Its a lot cheaper to use Zero Hedge than to have to fund an international organization like the WCC or CND and if Russia’s leaders live large in the Rodina they are frugal when it comes to supporting their foreign stooges.

    With that in mind let’s look at this ‘refugee crisis’ . Only about 38% of the people arriving in Europe are from Syria. Most are young men traveling without family and they are from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other Muslim nations. Of the women, 15% are pregnant before they even reach European soil! Obviously the conditions they are fleeing from are not so horrific as to prevent them from getting knocked up!

    The number of so called Syrian refugees is troubling. It is a huge percentage of the population inconsistent with the level of combat operations that take place in the country. It certainly is not as intense as the most recent dust up in Gaza between the Israelis and Hamas. It resembles more the migrations out of Central America than genuine war refugees. Hondurans now claim asylum in the US because of the ‘crime rate’ in Honduras, others do the same after a hurricane.
    Something like this is now going on in the middle east. The fighting is simply an excuse to move from a poor nation to richer ones.

    • Replies: @krollchem
    , @5371
    , @Anonymous
  6. Devout Muslims are require to give money to the poor. The idea that some of the richest Muslim countries in the world can’t handle this problem seems a bit off somehow.

  7. @Linh Dinh

    US/NATO have removed secular despots, in thrall to their Trotskyite democratic ideology. This has unleashed otherwise subdued centrifugal forces that have been present in the Middle East through the Roman, Mohammedan, Ottoman, British and French Empires. US/NATO are not blameless, but the Middle Easterners have moral agency as well. There is nothing but their own clannishness and sectarianism stopping them from establishing their own Peace of Westphalia.

    • Replies: @gruff
    , @Maj. Kong
  8. krollchem says:
    @unit472

    Enough of the American Exceptionalism and White Man’s Burden crap.
    Why is there so much hate in your heart? Have you been neo-conned?

    Please consider the study of system dynamics. Peter Senge’s works would be a good start to learn about system arch-types such as feedback loops, tragedy of the commons, etc. Spending a few years learning history would also help you appreciate how history fits into the models. Such knowledge is useful in the optimization of systems.

  9. On September 23rd, Erdogan went to Moscow for the opening of the grand Cathedral Mosque of Moscow…he called Putin “dear brother.” …On November 24th, however, Erdogan gave the order to shoot down that Russian plane.

    Note also that Putin went to Turkey and met Erdogan in a cordial follow-up meeting on November 15th at the G20 Summit, just 9 days before Erdogan gave the order to shoot the Russian plane down.

    It gets worse. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, was scheduled to visit Turkey on November 25th, the day after the shoot-down.

    Erdogan must have made up his mind to shoot down a Russian plane before the G20 meeting.

    Putin evidently forgot Peter the Great who apparently said “Never trust a Turk or a drunk”.

  10. 5371 says:
    @unit472

    Good to see that defeat in the real world has set you frantically searching for red russkies under your bed.

  11. “Perhaps it’s not too late to save this still magnificent country.”

    Which one?

  12. gruff says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Nothing but their own clannishness? Surely you jest.

  13. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Shameless weasels all, they will arm, fund, train and do business with terrorists while pretending to fight terrorism.

    Unfortunately true. As the curtain has been slowly pulled aside the involvement of the US and it’s allies with the worst sorts of terrorists has become undeniable. All this while the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been delivering his homilies to gullible audiences. Erdogan is out of touch with reality and deludes himself with neo-Ottoman fantasies. The Russians disrupted his family business of enriching themselves through buying cut-rate oil from the terrorists and he lashed out in anger. They were obviously laying in wait to ambush the Russians and then scurried quickly to hide behind the back of US-NATO. We’re supposed to protect this gangster and thief from the Russians, one supposes.
    The US is not the fairy tale they told me in grammar school. They were lying to me then, they’re lying to us all now, they’re lying about everything all the time even when it’s not necessary. It’s an environment of total deception non-stop every day of the week.

    • Agree: Kiza
  14. Once again with Dinh, it’s all America’s fault.

    Apparently Dinh hasn’t heard of ISIS, comprised in large part of European jihadists from the slums of Paris, London and Brussels. They’re the proximate cause of the poor suffering refugees Dinh goes on and on about. Some of the “refugees” are probably gaming tourists like Dinh for a quick buck, but that’s another story.

    Yes the “Assad must go” policy of Obama is straight out of AIPAC’s playbook and 100% terrible. Trump BTW is on record for opposing that policy and helping Assad.

    But hey, Trump’s an American and therefore a cold blooded butcher–I guess!

    Dinh doesn’t understand Trump one bit, and neither does his idiot Turkish friend.

    • Replies: @Greg Bacon
  15. […] “Turkey’s Weasel Problem” […]

  16. Maj. Kong says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Establishing a regime of state-state relations is antithetical to the claims of Islam to represent all believers with no distinguishing characteristics. It goes much farther than Paul in Galatians, even farther than Voltaire, Rosseau and Mill.

    In practice, since the first four caliphs, this has not come to pass. Shia Iran has a government that panders to Persian nationalism, and is a philosophical descendant of Marx. The Saudi monarchy is a degenerate joke, and hereditary rule is a Shia concept, not Sunni. Meanwhile the Egyptians believe that by being the oldest settled civlization, their Al-Azhar teachings and formerly the Muslim Brotherhood matter more than the Beverly hillbillies.

    What the secular Pan-Arab despots did, was actually enforce multiculturalism. To Dinh, who like Giraldi, Derb, and the Saker, is a liberal at his core the great crime is that the Middle East is being reshaped into a prism of ethno-religious states. To some, the Pan-Arabists are the replacement for the British installed monarchs they displaced.

    And from this “balance of power” outlook, Israel is seen as the focal point to be blamed, if we just removed the pesky Jews (of course, no one here ever mentions how this will be done, Khamenei has) then we would be seen as the “honest broker”.

    So a post Westphalia arrangement is not entirely what is called for, what is needed is a “state-building” that no longer forces people to live with hostile sects under the same government. Reconstructing an Arab Christian state in Lebanon and a Coptic zone of autonomy, would be the right steps in this direction. As would an Alawi and Druze states. An independent Kurdistan is hard, for reasons of being landlocked, as would an expanded Armenia to what Wilson promised them.

    • Replies: @geokat62
  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @unit472

    Sounds like Turkish propaganda.

    1) A lot of the non Syrian refugees going through Turkey are victims of the same circumstances as the Syrian refugees. Extremist Wahabi terrorists funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey wrecking the Middle East and raping anything that moves.

    2) 15% of the women are pregnant? Sounds like a whole lot of raping going on. Hope you Turks can sleep well at night knowing the horrors you caused your fellow Muslims.

    3) Yes the combat opporation in Syria seem to be winding down. Mainly because Russia kicked the Turks out of Syria and the Turkey backed terrorists are turning tail.

    Sorry unit472, the whole world sees the crimes against humanity Turks are perpetrating against yet another group of people. Remember the Armenians?

    Have fun seeing your country split 4 ways in the coming Great War.

  18. Greg Bacon says: • Website
    @Bragadocious

    ISIS is being funded by the USA and Saudi Arabia, and getting medical care from Israel from hospitals set up in the Golan Heights.
    The breakup of Syria is the long planned fantasy of Zionists who want to enlarge Israel from the Rivers Nile and Euphrates, from southern Turkey to northern SA.

    Oden Yinon’s plan from the 1980’s laid this out and has been followed religiously.

    What Israel did to the native Palestinians, her puppets in the USA are now doing to Syria, with help from ISIS thugs given weapons, money and satellite intelligence from Occupied America.

    Whether the USA is dropping weapons to ISIS or Israel is giving them medical care and shelter in the Golan, it all leads back to Israel, the real terrorist state in the ME.

    And with no end of Israeli bought US politicians running for POTUS, Israel’s future and the USA’s demise, due to endless warring, is assured.

    More than 500 jihadists cared for at Israel’s Ziv Medical Centre

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article189411.html

  19. You’ll know this nation is on the right track when a future president stands before cheering crowds to denounce the failed neocon policies of George Bush and his successors. That day can’t come too quickly.

    • Replies: @Realist
  20. iffen says:

    Praise to all the Gods! Beer, the cornerstone of Western Civilization.

  21. Quote from the article.
    “Erdogan gave the order to shoot down that Russian plane. Two Russians died. At first cockily claiming credit for this near trigger to World War III, Erdogan is now blaming it on Abidin Üna, his Air Force chief.”
    We do not really know who was behind the shooting. All we know is what the media says. Perhaps it was Erdogan, perhaps not. He had good relations with Russia why would he sabotage that? He did not benefit in any way but others, who did not like Turkey getting to close to Russia did.

  22. Realist says:
    @Epaminondas

    The neocons have lots of money and power. That day may never come.

  23. joe webb says:

    invective without argument.

    Joe Webb

  24. Art says:
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    “For the thicker headed amongst us, Mr. Linh, can you explicitly show how/where/when the Israeli complicity in this ruination is demonstrable.”

    No one is thick headed and interest in Israel.

    Your sentence proclaiming the innocence of Israel is a bold faced lie – it is an attempt to intimidate the reader. Propagandistic crap like that is not welcome on the net.

    Only CNN and Fox-n-Krauthammer can get away with those big lies.

    p.s. Israel has two hundred hidden nukes – how can a devious think like that be innocent?

  25. geokat62 says:
    @Maj. Kong

    To Dinh, who like Giraldi, Derb, and the Saker, is a liberal at his core the great crime is that the Middle East is being reshaped into a prism of ethno-religious states.

    Nice try, Maj. Kong. So the goy should welcome the neocon/Israel firsters’ decision to launch a crusade to remake the ME?

    Rather than being opposed to PNAC’s strategy of promoting democracy by regime changing those countries deemed hostile to the Zionist project (all in an effort to enhance the security of the villa in the jungle), the real reason the above-noted people oppose this “great crime” is that they are liberals who prefer to see the proliferation of liberal democracies, as opposed to ethno-religious states… do I have that right?

    Boy, you guys sure are creative.

    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
  26. RobinG says:

    Thank you Linh Dinh for your personal account of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and for risking your life to get it, if the Turks knew you were a journalist.

    Thank you also for qualifying your statement, “….but almost no one is demanding with any urgency that the US, the EU, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf States stop their criminal war against Syria.”

    TULSI GABBARD and H.R.4108 – To prohibit the use of funds for the provision of assistance to Syrian opposition groups and individuals.

    One of those brave exceptions is Tulsi Gabbard, Representative from the 2nd District of Hawaii. She had been campaigning, through TV appearances and official Hearing questioning, with just that urgency. On Nov. 19 she introduced a bill, H.R.4108, that would stop all US support for Syrian ‘rebels’. Please urge your Member of Congress to co-sponsor this bill, which would facilitate a public debate about US actions in Syria.

    Here is the full text:

    PROHIBITION ON PROVISION OF ASSISTANCE TO SYRIAN OPPOSITION GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities, or to the National Security Council or its staff may not be obligated or expended to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, stipends, construction of training and associated facilities, and sustainment, to any element of the Syrian opposition or to any other Syrian group or individual seeking to overthrow the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, unless, after the date of the enactment of this Act, funds are specifically authorized to be appropriated and appropriated by law for such purpose.

  27. Maj. Kong says:
    @geokat62

    The geopolitical situation has changed since 2003, sending large amounts of ground troops into the Middle East is no longer possible for the US. Even if Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton becomes President, they can’t just double the DoD’s size from thin air. The public isn’t keen on supporting higher taxes or conscription, and without that you can’t invade more countries.

    I don’t think its unfair to label some of the writers here, “liberals”, because they are at a philosophical level. Usually referred to as “classical liberals” as distinct from the “left-liberals” or social democrats. Their opposition to neoconservatism is that it attempts to short-circuit “modernization theory”. Neocons want to force liberalism on countries in the way the US did to Japan after WWII. The Iraq experience tells us that it doesn’t work. The Arab Spring revolutions, which are more linked to Islamist Qatar than the US or Israel, told us that again.

    Assuming the prism of modernization theory, if the dictatorships had been left in place, society would have developed in the way that the US-backed dictatorships in ROC and ROK had, eventually yielding to democratic elections after the middle class rose in influence.

    But if it makes you feel better, feel free to imagine that I’m a bot on a Mossad server.

    • Replies: @geokat62
  28. geokat62 says:
    @Maj. Kong

    But if it makes you feel better, feel free to imagine that I’m a bot on a Mossad server.

    Sorry, MK. If you make statements like “Neocons want to force liberalism on countries in the way the US did to Japan after WWII,” what am I supposed to conclude?

    You know, as well as I, that the neocons/Israel firsters couldn’t care less about democracy promotion. Need proof? How ’bout the pressure to have elections in Palestine? When the results, following the 2006 legislative elections that brought Hamas to power, were not what they were hoping for, they simply decided to punish the Palistinians for making the wrong choice by imposing economic sanctions against them.

    And as you have no doubt noticed, the desire to “force liberalism on countries” is limited to a certain subset of countries. Need proof? How ’bout Bahrain? Wasn’t there a popular revolt by the majority of the people (Shia) to topple the authoritarian regime (Sunni)? Why aren’t the neocons/Israel firsters calling for regime change (oops, I mean democracy promotion) there? Might it have anything to do with the fact that the US fifth fleet is based there?

    No, MK, the desire to “promote democracy” wasn’t meant to “force liberalism” on just any country. There was a specific hit list that was drawn up. I’ve highlighted the real motives behind democracy promotion in a previous comment:

    [It] is very important to remember the source of the Bush Doctrine of promoting democracy at the point of a gun. It was a book (The Case for Democracy) by Natan Sharansky who was a refusnik and former Interior Minister of Israel. Rather than having a genuine desire to liberate the peoples of the ME, Sharansky devised an ingenious scheme that would destabilize Israel’s remaining enemies. These countries were targeted because they were supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli oppression. The common trait among these countries was that they were led by autocrats – Hussein in Iraq, Assad in Syria, Gaddafi in Libya – or autocratic regimes – the theocracy in Iran. Since these regimes proved difficult to subvert from without, Sharansky’s brilliant idea was to topple them from within. And this would require little effort thanks to how most of these countries were artificially constructed on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The Sykes-Picot Agreement was based on the principle of “Divide and Rule.” So Shia, Sunni, and Kurd were placed within a common border. Good luck trying to establish a functioning democracy under these circumstances. So next time someone talks about the virtue of “spreading democracy,” remember these are really code words for spreading instability and ultimately, bringing about regime change.

    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
  29. Maj. Kong says:
    @geokat62

    And your point of view just so happens to coincidentally overlap with the priorities of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

    You play the equivalency game, others can too. I don’t have much sympathy for those with the mantra of “Israel is the problem”, their next phrase is all too often “Islam is the solution”.

    • Replies: @geokat62
  30. geokat62 says:
    @Maj. Kong

    I don’t have much sympathy for those with the mantra of “Israel is the problem”, their next phrase is all too often “Islam is the solution”.

    Can you cite even one of my comments that would suggest I am a proponent of that “solution”? While I agree that the neocon/Israel firsters decision to remake the ME …. is the problem, my view is that adherence to international law is the “solution.”

    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
  31. Maj. Kong says:
    @geokat62

    International law is just feel good liberal mush. I’m a realist, not a Wilsonian.

    • Replies: @geokat62
  32. geokat62 says:
    @Maj. Kong

    International law is just feel good liberal mush. I’m a realist, not a Wilsonian.

    Oh, ok. You are a “realist.” In other words, you’re a “might is right” kind of guy. So, do you think that it was unnecessary to haul the top Nazis before the Nuremberg judges b/c they committed, among other crimes and misdemeanours, the most serious international crime of all, waging a war of aggression?

    I always get a kick from so-called “realists.” They play the moral card when it suits them, and the “might is right” card when it doesn’t. Pure hypocracy.

  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Writing in 1963, Paul Bowles tied beer drinking to Westernization and perhaps even to democracy, ‘Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction.’”

    Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World

  34. aandrews says:

    “Writing in 1963, Paul Bowles tied beer drinking to Westernization and perhaps even to democracy, ‘Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction….’”

    Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World

  35. Nero says:

    “250,000 Iraqis fled to Syria after the US devastated that country.”

    I don’t understand, there are large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq that have been untouched by war, why hasn’t the Syrians helped there own brothers and sisters? Most recently in Iraq and Syria healthy happy people were ringing in the holiday festivities.

    “As the left shout “refugees welcome,” the right cynically pretend that most of these refugees are merely economic migrants or potential terrorists”

    The fact of the matter is most if not all the “refugees” are men. Last be real here, those countries were hell hole before US intervention and they will continue to be so, if ISIS want to show a human face and build a caliphate utopia they could but they instead execute religious minorities and rival Muslim men women and children, this is a centuries old blood feud these wretched people are engaging in, but I’ll give you this much..We should have never have gone into Iraq but we did so now I’m going to say that we should have never left.

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