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America has pushed Turkey straight into Russia’s arms

American incompetence and Russian pragmatism has drawn Erdogan to a Russia he often disagrees with but trusts, rather than a west he often acts in accord with but increasingly despises.

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In spite of still being on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict with Russia acting as a key member of Syria’s anti-terrorist coalition and Turkey continuing to occupy parts of Syria along with its terrorist proxy group FSA, there are increasing signs that at a wider geo-political level Turkey is moving closer to Russia–slowly but surely.

READ MORE: Putin and Erdogan talk of ‘strategic partnership’ between Russia and Turkey

Simultaneous and indeed related to this, America seems to be placing less and less value on its historic alliance with Turkey which retains the second biggest army in NATO which Turkey joined in 1952.

Turkey’s geo-political re-positioning is due to what is best described as a ‘push-pull factor’.

On the one hand the west is working hard to push Turkey away, while on the other Russia’s door remains both open and hospitable.

Barack Obama had infamously poor relations with Turkish strong-man President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Obama administration’s lukewarm condemnation of 2016’s attempted coup in Turkey along with America’s unapologetic sheltering of Fethullah Gülen, a wanted criminal in Turkey, did nothing to ease tensions.

Donald Trump’s recent hosting of Erdogan in Washington was widely thought to be a disaster. While the public statements of the two leaders looked strained and insincere, it later emerged that Donald Trump was deeply inhospitable to the Turkish leader, something all the more magnified as Trump generally likes to be a good host when in the company of those he respects of values.

READ MORE: Turkey seethes at Trump’s snub to Erdogan

But the most important element in the relationship is America’s continued backing of Kurdish forces in Syria. America has just delivered yet another heavy payload of weapons to the Kurdish YPG dominated SDF operating in northern Syria.

According to a Kurdish source,

“As part of the fight against Daesh (ISIS), the US sent us weapons and armoured vehicles.

Among the weapons received, there are missiles with thermal guidance, which can be used against enemy tanks. In this batch there were no tanks because the US had already sent them earlier”.

The Kurdish source continued,

“It (the US arms) will be used during the operation in Raqqa. We intend to enter the city in June, so our forces are in great need of heavy weapons. The US has already sent us weapons but it is not enough. It is necessary for us to have them in large quantities”.

READ MORE: America’s collision course in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict

If America continues to arm the Kurds and it looks as though America will, this could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in respect of Turkey’s relationship to the United States. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces in both Syria and Iraq as well as the Turkish  based PKK to be terrorists and enemies of Turkey. America is therefore apologetically arming Turkey’s primary regional foe.

Europe’s relationship with Turkey is little better. Germany may be on the verge of stopping flying its jets out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which is also used by the US and UK.

Germany has complained that German politicians have not been granted access to the base in order to inspect German forces there. Turkey has done little to alleviate German tensions. There is no love lost between Turkey and an EU which once promised Turkey EU membership that was always totally unrealistic from any logical point of view. The EU was simply leading Turkey on and Turkey finds this deeply insulting.

Moreover, many key European powers are engaged in a frankly childish ideological war with Erdgoan even since the Turkish sponsored political rallies in Europe prior to the Turkish Presidential Powers Referendum in April were cancelled in countries like Netherlands.

As the US and EU powers push Turkey away, Russia continues to welcome Turkey in a respectful and honest manner.

Turkey and Russia are historic enemies and indeed some would say still are in respect of alliances in Syria. But from a broader perspective, both Erdogan and the Turkish people, including Erdogan’s opposition are aware that Russia has consistently treated Turkey with respect, even in 2015 when both countries stood on the verge of war over Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian military jet near the Turkish-Syria border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in an important dialogue with Turkey designed to ease tensions and it has largely succeeded. Russia has been able to get Turkey to be a member of the Russian initiated Astana Peace Talks. Iran and Turkey have also started to increase trade. Turkey and Iran’s technically co-equal position in the Astana process has without doubt played some part in easing historical tensions between Iran and Turkey.

Russia and Turkey continue to expand in areas of trade and technological exchange. 2017 also marks a year of Russian-Turkish cultural exchange wherein both countries will host important arts and cultural events.

Where the west’s push of Turkey has been rather aggressive and frankly crude, Russia’s pull has been quiet but steadfast. It is now impossible to ignore. Russia based its policy on respect for Turkey’s status as a powerful and important nation. The west cannot get over its own ideological obsession, let alone its diplomatic incompetence

Turkey’s active participation in China’s One-Belt, One-Road trade initiative, which the US effectively boycotted in all but name, is a further sign that Turkey is increasingly finding itself on the Russian side of the multi-polar global axis.

It’s almost surreal that the US will bend over backwards to insure that the geo-politically weak and deeply inconsequential small states of eastern Europe remain firmly in the US sphere of influence/control, yet are doing almost nothing to prevent Turkey from slipping east.

There are several possible reasons for this.

1. Turkey is too big to control 

Unlike the weak Baltic states of Europe with tiny, decreasing populations, Turkey is a massive regional power with a young and growing population.

The Ottoman Empire is gone, but unlike many former colonial European powers, Turkey remains a vibrant and important player on the world stage. One can hate Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman policies while still admitting that Turkey is a deeply important country whether led by secular Kemalists or led by Erdogan and his allies.

Perhaps America’s own declining power means that it is easier to shove Latvia around than Turkey? America may simply be going for the easy game in this respect.

2. Containment via Kurdistan 

Kurds in northern Iraq are set to hold a referendum on creating an independent Iraqi Kurdistan this year. Iraq and Turkey both oppose this move. Turkey opposes it because it is hellbent on opposing the creation of any Kurdish state and Iraq because it does not want to lose the oil reserves in Kuridsh majority regions of the country and frankly also doesn’t need another blow to its pride after decades of utter hell.

America’s project to keep Iraq together after the illegal 2003 invasion of the country led by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, would also officially be a failure if the Kurds decided to fully go their own way.

That being said, many in the US think that Kurdish separatism in Iraq is inevitable and because of generally good relations between the US and both Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, that the US should and perhaps will ultimately support a Kurdistan in Iraq and perhaps later also even in Syria, though this remains more ambiguous at this time.

With a hostile Kurdistan on Turkey’s borders, Turkey would be either contained by the Kurds or in a constant conflict that could seriously inhibit Turkey’s ability to expand its northern and eastern alliances.

In other-words, why should America worry about Turkey if the Kurds will keep them busy for the foreseeable future?

3. Incompetence

Often times the simplest explanation is the best. America’s foreign policy has become so ideologically driven and so dogmatic that perhaps they simply are ill-equipped to deal with Erdogan and his nation.

Under Obama’s radical schoolboy government, it was easy to be friendly with a neo-liberal EU and easy to a hate a sovereignty minded moderately conservative Russian Federation.

Turkey was and is neither of these things. Under Erdogan Turkey has become a strongman dictatorship in all but name. Democratic institutions have been weakened severely. Yet in spite of this, Turkey is militarily a ‘good guy’ in American eyes. Erdgoan hates secular Arab governments and funds the same kinds of jihadists that the US does.

At the same time Erdogan is deeply unpredictable. One day he’s a self-styled new European the next day he’s a Sultan to rule over conquered Arab subjects. One day he’s friends with Israel, the next day he’s a holy warrior for Palestine.

One day, he’s using his NATO jets to shoot down Russian planes and the next year he’s sitting happily beside President Putin.

The mechanistic, unthinking, under-educated and overly ideological America diplomatic corps may simply not be able to handle such a man and therefore such a country.

The real answer is probably a combination of these three factors, but one is inclined to lean most heavily on the ‘incompetence option’.

America and the west have pushed Turkey away through a combination of stupidity and blind liberal ideology. Russia has embraced Turkey due to its pragmatic policy of respecting all great nations, even those it profoundly disagrees with in key areas.

A man like Erdogan prides himself on  marching to the beat of his own drum, even though the rhythm is often erratic, making it difficult to dance to. But just as Russian ballet dancers mastered the odd rhythms of Stravinsky, so too do Russian diplomats know how to follow the beat of Erdogan’s drum, while America settles for the droning dirge of its own increasingly out of touch ideology.

In this sense America did all the pushing. Russia did some of the pulling and now Erdogan has few options but to work with Russia as best he can. Whether he can work with anyone in the long term however, still very much remains to be seen. Furthermore, there is no danger of Russia abandoning its traditional allies in Orthodox southern Europe to placate Turkey. The west doesn’t know this yet, but Turkey does which is why Erdogan would be wise to stay out of the Balkans and wider Hellenic world.

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America’s wars are against American’s interests

War is a racket

Richard Galustian

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To advocate wars are good is insane!

For one, Afghanistan is about a ridiculously flawed US government foreign policy. it is not about ‘winning’ a war as Erik Prince describes in his video.

There is no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan.

Something Mr. Prince seems to fail to understand the reader can judge by watching Prince’s presentation promoting war.

That said, what Erik Prince explains about the military industrial complex is correct. Weapons purchases must be curtailed.

However more importantly, what he fails to say is America must stop its ‘’regime change policy’ and avoid future wars, is the real issue.

To provoke war for example with Russia or China is absolute insanity producing eventually only nuclear armageddon, the consequence is the destruction of the planet.

Trillions of dollars should not be spent (and wasted) by the Pentagon but that money should be used to build America’s roads; expand railways; build hospitals and schools, etc.

Especially also to pay much needed disability benefits to disabled vets who wasted their lives in past pointless wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq et al. Americans soldiers need to ‘go home’.

Withdrawing its unnecessary US bases worldwide; a left over outdated idea from the end of WW11, such as America’s military presence in Korea, Japan, Germany; the Persian Gulf, even in the UK.

Foreign military interventions are adventures pursued by ‘elites’ interests, ‘using’ NATO in most cases, as its tool, only for their (the elites) profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“War is a Racket” to quote the much decorated hero and patriot, US Marine, Major General Smedley Butler.

We can learn from history to understand America’s current predicament.

Brown Brothers Harriman in New York in the 1930s financed Hitler and Mussolini right up to the day war was declared by Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

A little taught fact in America’s colleges and ivy league universities is that Wall Street bankers (with a degree of assistance from the Bush family by the way) at the time had decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “new deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America and build America’s infrastructure.

So the Wall Street bankers recruited the much respected General Smedley Butler to lead an overthrow of the us government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street, not the people; who would crush social unrest and shut down all labour unions. however General Smedley Butler only pretended to go along with the scheme, then exposed the plot. The General played the traitors along to gather evidence for congress and the president. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup, he initially demanded the arrest of the plotters but this never happened because Roosevelt was in effect blackmailed by those same US bankers; another story!

Read the words of Major General Smedley Butler who explains what exactly happened.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. and during that period I spent more of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. my mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of wall street. the record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the standard oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. the best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” —

General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935.

We need peace not wars.

We need infrastructure building in America and Europe……not wars.

Somebody should explain this to Mr. Prince, and perhaps to his sister too…..who happens to be part of President Trump’s administration!

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge


Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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