Daniel Pipes presents this opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Times on Turkey's latest possible games. Erdoğan is a great guy to deal with.....as we found out the hard way in OIF.
by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 6, 2013.
Recent steps taken by the Government of Turkey suggest it may be ready to ditch the NATO club of democracies for a Russian and Chinese gang of authoritarian states.
Here is the evidence:
Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times unsuccessfully to join as a Guest Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (or SCO, informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three (and in 2001 a fourth) former Soviet Central Asian states, the SCO has received minimal attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO, to democracy, to displacing the U.S. dollar as reserve currency. After those three rejections, Ankara applied for "Dialogue Partner" status in 2011. In June 2012, it won approval.
One month later, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reported about his saying to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, "Come, accept us into the Shanghai Five [as a full member] and we will reconsider the European Union." Erdoğan reiterated this idea on Jan. 25, noting stalled Turkish efforts to join the European Union (EU): "as the prime minister of 75 million people," he explained, "you start looking around for alternatives. That is why I told Mr. Putin the other day, 'Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say goodbye to the EU.' What's the point of stalling?" He added that the SCO "is much better, it is much more powerful [than the EU], and we share values with its members."
On Jan. 31, the Foreign Ministry announced plans for an upgrade to "Observer State" at the SCO. On Feb. 3 Erdoğan reiterated his earlier point, saying "We will search for alternatives," and praised the Shanghai group's "democratization process" while disparaging European "Islamophobia." On Feb. 4, President Abdullah Gül pushed back, declaring that "The SCO is not an alternative to the EU. ... Turkey wants to adopt and implement EU criteria."
What does this all amount to?
The SCO feint faces significant obstacles: If Ankara leads the effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, the SCO firmly supports the beleaguered Syrian leader. NATO troops have just arrived in Turkey to man Patriot batteries protecting that country from Syria's Russian-made missiles. More profoundly, all six SCO members strongly oppose the Islamism that Erdoğan espouses. Perhaps, therefore, Erdoğan mentioned SCO membership only to pressure the EU; or to offer symbolic rhetoric for his supporters.
Both are possible. But I take the half-year long flirtation seriously for three reasons. First, Erdoğan has established a record of straight talk, leading one key columnist, Sedat Ergin, to call the Jan. 25 statement perhaps his "most important" foreign policy proclamation ever.
Second, as Turkish columnist Kadri Gürsel points out, "The EU criteria demand democracy, human rights, union rights, minority rights, gender equality, equitable distribution of income, participation and pluralism for Turkey. SCO as a union of countries ruled by dictators and autocrats will not demand any of those criteria for joining." Unlike the European Union, Shanghai members will not press Erdoğan to liberalize but will encourage the dictatorial tendencies in him that so many Turks already fear.
Third, the SCO fits his Islamist impulse to defy the West and to dream of an alternative to it. The SCO, with Russian and Chinese as official languages, has a deeply anti-Western DNA and its meetings bristle with anti-Western sentiments. For example, when Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad addressed the group in 2011, no one refused his conspiracy theory about 9/11 being a U.S. government inside job used "as an excuse for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and for killing and wounding over a million people." Many backers echo Egyptian analyst Galal Nassar in his hope that ultimately the SCO "will have a chance of settling the international contest in its favor." Conversely, as a Japanese official has noted, "The SCO is becoming a rival block to the U.S. alliance. It does not share our values."
Turkish steps toward joining the Shanghai group highlights Ankara's now-ambivalent membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, starkly symbolized by the unprecedented joint Turkish-Chinese air exercise of 2010. Given this reality, Erdoğan's Turkey is no longer a trustworthy partner for the West but more like a mole in its inner sanctum. If not expelled, it should at least be suspended from NATO.
Feb. 6, 2013 updates: (1) Whoever first came up with the various Shanghai sobriquets for the Russian-Chinese organization probably did not realize that in English the verb to Shanghai means "to force or trick (someone) into doing something, going somewhere, etc." How appropriate a nuance for this semi-rogue sextet! Were it not an obsolete term, I would have titled this column Shanghaiing Turkey.
(2) Asked about Erdoğan's remarks, a spokesperson for the European Commission, Peter Stano, declined directly to respond, confining himself to noting that comments suggesting that Ankara would give up its EU bid to seek other options are "speculative." The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, took the remarks in stride: "I may be mistaken, but Prime Minister Erdoğan's remarks actually represent a call to Europeans to assume a more constructive and positive attitude toward Turkey."
(3) The main opposition leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) rejected the SCO gambit on Feb. 4: "The proposal to become a member of the SCO is inconsistent and incorrect. We turned our direction to the West, not to the East. This is not something new, since 1071 our goal is [to head] toward the West. We don't mean geography in saying the West but modernity and civilization." The Battle of Manzikert took place in eastern Anatolia year in the 1071 and marked the first Turkic military victory in Anatolia. "We see the EU as a modernization project."
(4) Erdoğan yesterday offered an explanation for why the EU has not allowed Turkey to join its ranks: perhaps the union was "hesitant because the members will not be able to do everything they want when Turkey gets in." His clear and mildly astonishing implications are that (1) Europeans without Turks are irresponsible and (2) Ankara intends fundamentally to change the EU upon entry.
(5) Noting "Are we not in NATO with these countries?" Erdoğan went on in the same comments to note that Turkey, as the only NATO country with a majority Muslim population, "would stop wrong steps [in NATO]. Thus, we saw such steps toward Israel's inclusion in NATO. We prevented that. We have our own red lines. For us, to be involved in NATO with Israel is never acceptable. To be with such a cruel understanding would conflict with our structure, history and culture." Not only is Erdoğan asserting he kept Israel out of NATO but he is claiming to have a decisive role in NATO something I find quite credible.
When added to Erdoğan's Shanghai gambit and Davutoğlu's paraphrased threat a few days ago that "Turkey would not stay unresponsive to an Israeli attack against any Muslim country," these comments point to a headstrong Turkish leadership that feels it can say and do pretty much anything it pleases. And it can.
If you kill the field operative, you do not have to acknowledge or deal with his State Sponsored funding support stream(s). Body count statistics, Hollywood combat action movies, and the treating of symptoms are good politics.
SO we can blow a guy or group of guys into disconnected strands of DNA and potash and we can' stick their head in a bucket of water and ask them questions.
That's a bit odd, saying indiscriminate blasting away at our enemies in a high tech version of suicide bombings is morally and ethically superior to capturing them, and torturing them with hot showers, cold showers, Peewee Herman music and old Al Gore speeches is unacceptable particularly when it leads to actionable information we can use to stop the next nutjob terror strike?
Tell me this nihilism of no moral absolutes and moral equity is nonsense or what?
Posted by: Bill Clinton ||
Seriously doubt there would be a lot of that face left after being dropped from a drone to pour water on. but we could try. repeatedly.
[Dawn] FUNDAMENTALISM is a controversial term, ascribed first to 19th-century American Protestant groups which preached strict adherence to basic biblical tenets.
It is now applied loosely to all groups exhibiting broadly similar tendencies. While a consensus definition eludes scholars, certain key characteristics are generally ascribed to fundamentalists.
Firstly, they desire strict adherence to their interpretation of an earlier ideology which they view as being perfect and timeless. Their interpretation often distorts the original ideology. Usually, the idealised ideology is religious since religious reverence makes it easier to recruit followers, though political, economic and nationalistic ideologies also occasionally spawn fundamentalism.
Secondly, fundamentalists see only black or white, viewing themselves as perfect and others as wrong.
Thirdly, fundamentalists often invoke the memory of a past community which prospered by supposedly following the idealised ideology.
Fourthly, they believe in manifest destiny, i.e., that they have been prophesised to prevail universally. The more a group exhibits these characteristics, the more fundamentalist it is.
Not all fundamentalists are faceless myrmidons nor are all faceless myrmidons fundamentalists. Fundamentalist groups fall into three categories.
The first includes reclusive fundamentalists who practise their traditions in isolation, e.g., the American Amish and the Pak Kalash, and show little interest in converting others. Beyond adherence to traditions, they share little else with other fundamentalists, being fairly egalitarian in their practices.
The second category includes pacifist fundamentalists who non-violently want to establish states run strictly on "divine" laws though no religion provides detailed divine rules to cover all or even most present-day complexities. Religions do however provide timeless general principles.
The third category includes violent fundamentalists, whom Paks know well. Pacifist and violent fundamentalists believe that a small, morally superior vanguard group must carry the burden of converting the morally inferior majority. Thus, they generally adopt a top-down disciplinarian approach where the vanguard group leads while others follow their wisdom unquestioningly.
Fundamentalism has mushroomed recently largely in reaction to the uncertainty and tumult caused by the spread and dominance of Western liberal civilisation globally. A civilisation is a large national group spread over a large territory for several centuries with a distinct combination of cultural, religious, economic, political and epistemic institutions which make significant contributions to overall human progress.
The distinctive coordinates of Western liberal civilisation include capitalism, democracy, science/rationality, materialism, secularism, individualism and imperialism. Imperialism along with capitalism has been a key factor in spawning resistance to Western civilisation globally despite its other sterling features, e.g., democracy and science.
To date, Western liberalism has faced three generations of global challenges: Nazism/ fascism ...a political system developed in Italia symbolized by the Roman fasces -- thin reeds, each flimsy in itself but unbreakable when bound into a bundle. The word is nowadays thrown around by all sorts of people who have no idea what they're talking about... (a political philosophy); Soviet communism (an economic philosophy); and religious fundamentalism (a cultural philosophy). Common to all three were vanguard groups who attempted to convert the "impure" majority through strong discipline and even force.
Ironically, each succeeding challenger initially cooperated with the West to defeat its predecessor before becoming the West's nemesis. Communism helped the West defeat fascism in 1945 and fundamentalism helped defeat communism in Afghanistan.
Fundamentalism exceeds the other two in the totality of its rejection of Western liberalism and the barrenness of its own ideas. While fascism and communism at least achieved significant geographical and scientific progress before their demise, fundamentalism cannot even boast of that and will fail too.
Humanity's most glorious achievements ever have undoubtedly occurred under Western liberalism, notably the immense freedom provided by democracy and the spectacular technology provided by science.
However, by candlelight every wench is handsome... it is equally true that individualism, materialism, free-market capitalism and imperialism are causing today's most serious global threats, including climate change, nuclear proliferation, unsurpassed inequality, anomie and economic
Thus, there is scope to challenge those specific liberal coordinates. Any successful challenge to Western liberalism must match its positive aspects (i.e., freedom and technology) while avoiding its weaknesses.
By basing their strategy on top-down discipline and even totalitarianism, the three challengers each instantly failed this test and consequently could not attract large numbers of people. Fortunately, other non-violent movements like the global green movement (a political, economic as well as cultural movement) meet this test better, though it has a long distance to travel before it becomes a coherent intellectual challenge.
While all major religions have fundamentalist groups, the most virulent ones today are Al Qaeda-cum-affiliates and the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (the former being far more potent globally).
Consequently, some argue that revealed Middle Eastern religions generally encourage fundamentalism more since each claims to be the only right religion unlike South and Southeast Asian ideologies, e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism etc. However, Switzerland makes more than cheese... Abrahamic religions also emphasise rationality, tolerance and moderation.
Opinions differ on why people become fundamentalists. Some view poverty as the main cause. However, alcohol has never solved anybody's problems. But then, neither has milk... the motivations of its leaders rather than its foot soldiers represent the root causes of any movement. Poverty supplies fundamentalism its foot soldiers, but not its leaders.
What motivates the leaders remains a mystery. Psychologists define defence mechanisms as mental processes people adopt to deal with uncertainty and challenges. One such mechanism is regression, i.e., mentally living in the past when life was better instead of tackling present challenges bravely. The desire of fundamentalists to recreate the distant glorious past literally represents collective millennial regression. Something in the socialisation of fundamentalists gets them hooked to regression.
For anyone dissatisfied with liberalism's downside and contemplating embracing fundamentalism, violent or pacifist, the message is clear -- fundamentalism represents regressive escapism and a blind alley.
Despite their developing nature, progressive global movements already provide better answers to liberalism's downside while embracing its many positive features. However, death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate... to wean impressionistic minds away from fundamentalism, progressives must articulate their ideas more loudly and clearly.
Fundamentalism has always been a *relative* term, because its always relative to a specific document that is read literally: a fundamentalist Christian takes the New Testament as primary and interprets the Old Testament in light of the New, while interpreting the New as literally as the language permits, while a Fundamentalist Jew would take the Old Testament as primary and read it as literally as the language permits. An Islamic fundamentalist would take the Koran as primary, interprets the Old and New Testaments in light of the Koran, and read it as literally as the language permits. Anyone who then says that the behavior of a fundamentalist is the "same" clearly flunked basic World Religions class because religions clearly differ because their base documents are different.
This might offend some Rantburgers at first blush, but I would say that over 90% of our regular visitors and commentators are Fundamentalists with regard to the Constitution of the United States: you probably wouldn't call yourself fundamentalists, but if you are a constitutionalist who holds to the current applicability of the language of the Constitution read as literally as the language of that day allows, then you are a fundamentalist in the strict sense of the term.
Given this, then it should be obvious why Christianity has as many denominations as there are "alternate readings" of the Second Amendment: People have agendas that cannot be fulfilled IF the literal meaning of the text was followed, so they come up with different ways to read the text so that a "figurative but accurate" alternate meaning can be conjured up with the hope that it would be accepted, and followed, as seriously as if it was the literal meaning of the text. When a liberal Catholic Bishop accused me of being a "Fundamentalist like the Taliban", I accused HIM of profound ignorance of the Biblical scriptures, of the Koran, or both. He never brought it up again, because he knew the REAL meaning of what "fundamentalist" really was, knew that I knew it as well, and knew that I had seen through his lame attempt at verbal intimidation.
The second category includes pacifist fundamentalists who non-violently want to establish states run strictly on "divine" laws...
I am rather proud of being a "real" Christian fundamentalist who can read the NT and notice the absolute lack of guidance for governing a nation. If you want an example of what the editorial is describing, look no further than the oh-so-very liberal (politically and theologically) United Methodist Church hierarchy, who think nothing of urging government to TAKE money from the rich and spend it on the poor, and don't mind higher taxes on everyone else. When God wanted to punish the house of Solomon for his idolatry, God let him jack taxes sky high and allowed his son to be too proud and too stupid to lower them, causing a revolution that split the nation.
I disagree: they implement a specific religion with specific teachings that deliberately cultivates and coddles the worst in human nature, directing such spawn of belilal into short term behaviors that, taken as a whole, work toward a common goal.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.