Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mass Media Agenda Threatens Our Freedoms. Erdogan and Turkey - Ultimate Threat To NATO?

A 14 year old girl has allegedly been raped and sodomized by two older boys who happen to be illegal immigrants from two South American nations which are among the most lawless in the entire universe. The mass media has chosen to ignore this event because if they were to highlight and report on it the case against Trump's immigration policies would be enhanced.

It is indeed a tragic day when the agenda of the mass media is so politically themed they refuse to report on worthy news events.  Have the mass media become one of the greatest threats to American life and freedoms? You decide.
Obama called Erdogan his closest friend and considering the direction he has taken his country all I can say is "Watch Turkey!!!"  I daresay, Turkey will prove to be another miscalculation and/or purposeful one regarding Obama's judgement.

In time, Turkey could also become a true threat to NATO. (See 1 and 1a below.)
Have a great weekend.
1) Turkey: A Sunni Iran in the Making?

In theory, Shiite Iran and Sunni Turkey (both Ottoman and modern) have been at peace for nearly 400 years, with their shared border unchanged since the signing of the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639. In reality, they have remained regional rivals, cold war adversaries, open enemies, and security and ideological threats to one other ever since. These days, they are not-so-discreet sectarian foes.

According to Kemal Okem, a prominent diplomat and Turkey's first ambassador to Tel Aviv after Turkey and Israel "normalized" relations in 2016, Turkey shares Israeli concerns about Tehran's regional ambitions and nuclear potential. "Iran's nuclear file is a concern for everyone," said Okem, formerly a chief advisor to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. "They [Iranians] see us as a strategic competitor ... We saw the need for engaging and containing their ambitions."
Concern about Tehran's "nuclear file" is an open secret in Ankara. Officially, Turkey maintains that a nuclear Israel, not Iran, is a threat to the Middle East because of its undeclared arsenal. This position is backed up by occasional private threats by Ankara to work against Jerusalem at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In fact, Turkey feels threatened by both Israel's and Iran's nuclear capabilities, be they existing or emerging. The Turkish ambition to possess advanced offensive military capabilities reflects two desires: first, to become a regional power; and second, to erect a deterrent force against a rapidly changing, re-prioritized, and long list of enemies.
Turkey hopes to erect a deterrent force against a long, re-prioritized list of enemies.
In line with that ambition, in late 2011, the state scientific research institute, TUBITAK, announced that its scientists would soon finish a missile of unknown flavor with a range of 1,500 km (932 miles) and in 2014 another with a range of 2,500 km (1,553 miles). A further missile with an 800-km range was ready for precision tests, according to the official narrative. The order for the missile program had come from then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

This missile program was curious, not only in terms of military technology but also in terms of the political deliberations that might have pushed Turkey into such a venture. Tehran is not the only potentially hostile capital Ankara could target within a 2,500-km range. The map shows many other possibilities: Algiers, Amman, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Copenhagen, Damascus, Geneva, Jeddah, Kiev, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich. But Ankara's deliberations regarding the missile program apparently matured when the Turkish-Persian rivalry heated up in 2011, with Tehran claiming to possess Shahab-3 missiles with a range of 1,300 km.

In 2013, Turkey's defense officials said that TUBITAK's 800-km missiles, primarily targeting naval and aircraft shelter targets, had been successfully tested. They were fired from aerial platforms and hit targets over the Black Sea. The 1,500-km missile was to be launched in 2014, and the 2,500-km missile at an unspecified subsequent date. Since then there has not been a credible follow-up statement.

The announcement of these plans does not appear to have been a wise move. Forget the enormous problem of access to the ingredients needed to build up long-range missile capabilities (in the missile trade, participants face strict international proliferation controls – and Turkey is a signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime). Turkey, with its unrealistic neo-Ottoman ambitions, wants to revive the mighty Ottoman army, this time with sophisticated gear to supplement its manpower. But are missiles the best choice of firepower?

Ballistic missiles are often imprecise, can be intercepted, and can carry only limited payloads (on average 500-1,000 kilograms). In comparison, a conventional F-16 fighter jet can carry a payload four or five times bigger and is an agile war asset. Rogue states often opt for missiles, calculating that these war toys can carry biological, chemical, and nuclear warheads. So why would Turkey, a NATO member state with a modern air force, go after a military capability that would better suit a rogue state with potentially sinister ambitions?

With which countries within a range of 2,500 km does Turkey think it might eventually have to battle? Which targets within that range might it hope to hit – targets that it cannot reach with a 1,000-km missile? Are biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons in Ankara's contingency plans for future warfare?

Apparently, as Turkey feels more isolated and threatened by real or (mostly) imagined enemies both near and far, it feels it needs maximum possible military deterrence in order to survive (a defensive goal) and to be assertive (an offensive one). Erdoğan's Turkey wants more than just missiles.

As Erdoğan's silent war on the West has taken new and more aggressive turns of late, a Muslim cleric known to be Erdoğan's religious mentor said what many Turks are thinking but are reluctant to express plainly: that Turkey needs its own weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Hayrettin Karaman, a columnist at a fiercely pro-Erdoğan newspaper, wrote on March 16: "We need to consider producing these weapons [WMDs] rather than purchasing [them] without losing any time and with no regard to words [of caution] and hindrance from the West ... Let's invent [these WMDs], balance [the West] out, but let's not use WMDs unless it is necessary; the way for not resorting [to WMDs] is to possess weapons that are equal to or more powerful than the ones the enemy has." So, the West is the enemy, and WMDs are the means to fight that enemy.
What matters is not whether Turkey can build up a dangerous arsenal but why it wants one.
The Ottoman siege of Vienna might have failed in 1683. But it looks as though the neo-Ottoman Turks are determined to get back to the gates (well, the skies this time) of Europe. Or at least that is their ambition.

Precise long-range missiles are a near impossibility for Turkey, given the technological and political barriers. Nuclear warheads are even more improbable. The problem for Turkey's western "friends and allies" is not the risk of its achieving missile and nuclear capabilities. It is the Islamist ideology that encourages Ankara's leaders to overtly or covertly harbor that ambition.
Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

1a) Does Europe Treasure NATO Again?

 It is a bit rich to hear Europeans insist that any Trump Administration doubts about NATO’s usefulness is heresy—given their occasional popular indifference to and ambiguity about the alliance.
In current journalistic groupthink, Donald Trump has endangered NATO by suggesting a) it does not have a clearly defined role and needs to find one for the 21st century; and b) the vast majority of European members have welched on their defense spending commitments, on the expectation that the U.S. defense budget would always take up the slack, protect Europe, and thus indirectly subsidize the European social welfare project.
No one really disputes the logic of Trump’s criticisms, only his supposed recklessness in daring to be so rude as to voice them.
But we forget that by the mid-2000s, especially after the invasion of Iraq, there was growing European unease with the trajectory of NATO. A different narrative was then in currency of a regrettable omnipresence of the United States (the “hyperpuissance”) within NATO. Hundreds of thousands of soft-power Europeans hit the streets to protest the Iraq War and hard-power American imperialism, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld earned furious pushback for characterizing Western NATO allies as “Old Europe.”
A European solution at a time of a strengthening euro and widespread loathing of George W. Bush was greater autonomy. The long overdue reification of an all-European Union defense agreement (“Common Security and Defence Policy”), would work side-by-side with NATO, but in truth draw indirectly European resources from it and eventually supersede the transatlantic alliance. We are still waiting to see the fruition of a European External Action Service; so far there are lots of impressive acronyms for various forces and programs, but no brigades in action.
What explains the rapid European about-face on NATO by 2017? A number of things:
1) Over a decade ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to many Europeans as growing into a likely benign figure (a “flawless democrat” in the words of then socialist German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder), much less worthy of criticism than was George W. Bush. Schröder himself, just weeks after he left the chancellorship, went to work for Nord Stream, the Russian Gazprom pipeline project. Now Putin, who formerly was supposed to be reasonable, has transmogrified into a land-grabbing existential threat. A U.S.-backed NATO is suddenly seen as a more viable deterrent than the once hyped European defense force; and the Cold War American-led relic is now seen as a vital Hot War American-led deterrent.
2) A decade ago the United States was a thirsty oil-importer dependent on Middle East energy, while Europe was next-door to an oil-rich Russia, which increasingly was seen as an asset in a way the energy-short U.S. was not. Now America is the largest energy producer in the world, soon to be a natural gas and coal exporter, and is immune from Middle East oil chaos in a way a petrol-short Europe is not, especially given the worrisome implosion of the Middle East between 2011 and 2016 and the rise of a hostile and unreliable oil-exporting Russia.
3) The shaky European Union of today is not the confident EU paradigm of a decade ago, which, in Robert Kagan’s formulation, played more a fun-loving Venus to our arms-obsessed Mars. The euro has been weakening, not strengthening. The north-south financial crisis has been papered over, but not resolved. Global sympathies have shifted somewhat, from a “they got what they deserved” feeling about the often deceptive and undisciplined southern Mediterranean debtor nations to a more nuanced view that the lender Germany has gamed the EU for its own trade advantages, monopolizing through its exports a highly regulated European market and relying on weaker EU states to keep the value of the euro lower than a free-floating Deutsche Mark would have been.
The immigration disaster, advanced by the naiveté of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has fueled populist pushbacks against German immigration policy throughout the EU. Currently, the European economy is anemic and ossified. Turkey is no longer seen as a future EU member and protector of NATO’s southern flank, but rather a neo-Ottoman belligerent that considers fellow European NATO allies all but enemies. Given all that, the idea of NATO is now once again seen by European elites as essential in a way it was growing optional a decade ago, when European media caricatured the organization as moral cover for U.S. adventurism and imperialism. Brexit, and the United Kingdom’s reinvestment in its navy, are hints that bilateral relations could extend to two-party defense pacts.
4) Past European ankle-biting about NATO was part and parcel of an asymmetrical transatlantic relationship, sharpened during the Reagan years, in which Europe characteristically distanced itself from the United States, on the assumption that U.S. bipartisan postwar “wise men” would merely grimace a bit and press on with ensuring the costly military subsidies of Europe.
Indeed, Europe, militarily dependent on America during the Cold War, had rhetorically reinvented the dependency as one that served more selfish U.S. Cold War strategic interests to the point that U.S. bases on European soil were supposedly neocolonial outposts. (During the 1973 Yom Kippur War some European NATO members denied the U.S. the use of airspace to resupply an endangered democratic Israel, while letting Soviet transports to Egypt and Syria fly over some NATO nations; when I lived in Greece, weekend demonstrations started off with the obligatory chant Ekso Nato!). During the 1983 Pershing Missile crisis, the Reagan administration was sometimes seen by European leftists as more the aggressor against than the protector of Europe.
But now? The outsider Trump is no globalist Bill Clinton or internationalist George W. Bush. Instead, he’s seen as wildly unpredictable. Trump appears to the Europeans as the first U.S. president who might well react to European mantras about outsized American influence in European affairs, with an almost happy, “So long, it’s been good to know you” attitude. Past U.S. presidents, even after the Cold War, accepted that a U.S.-led NATO (“America in”) was critical to confining an always powerful Russia to its own territory (“Russia out”), while dealing with the age-old “German problem” (“Germany down”) of continental aggression that had led to three European wars.
Yet Lord Hasting Ismay’s original tripartite Russia-America-Germany formulation for NATO by the 21st century was looked upon as outdated and simplistic jargon.
Not anymore. Ismay seems prescient again. Fears of an imperious and domineering Germany have returned, along with worries about Russian unpredictability, both of which require America to be engaged as never before—and all of which has stopped dead European parlor talk of U.S. hegemony over NATO and replaced it with “don’t even dare think we don’t need you” desperation.
The existential threats to NATO are not Donald Trump’s, but rather the continuing European lack of confidence that it can create a peaceful, democratic, and secure continent that does not once again devour itself, along with its own chronic reneging on promised military contributions.Ironically, Trump’s herky-jerky warnings about redefining strategic missions and meeting required contributions may jolt the alliance into reform—in a way that past American presidents’ mellifluous but empty rhetoric about the fissures within and the contradictions of NATO seem to have only made things worse.

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