Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 01, 2016

Russia Again Disciplines The Wannabe Sultan

The Russians just gave (again) a public lecture of how to handle the wannabe-Sultan Erdogan.

Turkey entered Syria to end al-Assad’s rule: President Erdoğan  - November 29

The Turkish military launched its operations in Syria to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Nov. 29.

“In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” Erdoğan said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.

“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” the president said.

If Turkish troops were in Syria to remove its President, instead with the flimsy excuse of fighting ISIS under a badly fitting UN mandate, they would be a hostile invasion force and a legitimate target for Syria and its allies. The remark was thus stupid.  It weakened the Turkish position.

Erdogan was immediately told so:

Kremlin asks Erdogan to clarify ‘anti-Assad’ goals in Syria - November 30

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that his goal in Syria was to end the rule of Bashar Assad has caused consternation in the Kremlin, with officials saying it contradicted previous assurances and was out of sync with Moscow’s take on the situation.

"The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners," he said, adding that Russia is the only country whose armed forces are in Syria on a legitimate basis – at the direct request of the Syrian authorities.

The emphasized part is a hardly hidden direct threat. Erdogan put his forces in Syria into immediate jeopardy.

Erdogan tried to save the situation, promising a retreat from his statement for at least some gain for the Jihadis he supports.

Erdogan and Putin discuss #Aleppo for the third time this week: Disagreement over ceasefire? - November 30

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the grave situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by phone on Nov. 30 for the third time in a week, with the two “agreeing on the need for a ceasefire,” presidential sources said.

The sources said the two leaders agreed to step up efforts to stop clashes in Aleppo and deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in the besieged city.

That was the Turkish version of the call. The Russian statement on that call was sparse and did not mention any ceasefire.

Thus this translation from Diplomatese:

"I will take that statement back if you give me a ceasefire deal in Aleppo," Erdogan told President Putin.

"Screw you," was the response.

Turkey, Russia see need for Aleppo truce but divisions remain - December 1

Lavrov said the bloodshed must stop in Syria and the region, that Moscow was ready to talk to all parties in the war, and that it would continue cooperating with Turkey. But he also vowed Russia would continue its operations in eastern Aleppo and would rescue the city from what he described as terrorists.

Erdogan's statement, aimed at his supporters in Turkey and elsewhere, created a legal mess for his troops. The attempt to sell a retreat from it for some gain was harshly rejected by Russia. Now all Erdogan could do was to take his statement back with no gain at all. This was quite a loss of face for him - a well deserved one.

Operation in Syria only targets terror, Erdoğan clarifies - December 1

Turkey’s military operation in Syria is not against any country or person but terror groups in general, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in contrast to earlier remarks that Turkey’s objective was to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following.

The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation is no country or person but only terror organizations. No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to [misrepresent its meaning],” Erdoğan said at a 30th gathering with village chiefs at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Dec. 1.

Hahaha - see how that dog pulls its tail between its legs - whining in retreat?

The game Erdogan tried would probably have worked with Merkel, or some other EU politician. Russia will have none of it. No means no. When Russia says stay out of Al-Bab it means stay out of Al-Bab. With regard to Syria Erdogan now has to do what he is told to do. He was just publicly lectured about that again. Still, I doubt that he really learned the lesson.

Posted by b on December 1, 2016 at 16:04 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Erdogan is getting more and more Trumpian, sounding off without thinking what he's saying.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 1 2016 16:23 utc | 1

Erdogan is not only stupid he is a dangerous lunatic. By the time the Turks wake up from their slumber that bufoon would be on his way to return Turkey to the medieval age.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 1 2016 16:33 utc | 2

When I heard Erdogan's first statement, I wondered whether he was:

(a) Earnest, planning to attack Syria and, if fired upon, its ally Russia. This would prove his earlier reconciliation with Russia was a feint, a promise to be broken at a time like now when the east-Aleppo mercs are collapsing and, with them, the current hope of the mercs's backers for their aggressive war to conquer Syria.

(b) Faking it, to appeal to his NATO partners. "Look! I see this the way you do!"

(c) Faking it, to see how Russia responds. (Actually, I didn't contemplate this. Adding it for completeness. If I'm reading "b" correctly, I guess he interprets the events this way.)

(d) Misquoted.

(e) Stupid.

...or some combination of above.

Posted by: dumbass | Dec 1 2016 16:41 utc | 3

Per Erdogan's second quote, it seems he's claiming "d" above (i.e., "originally misquoted").

Posted by: dumbass | Dec 1 2016 16:43 utc | 4

My query of two days ago is answered

”The game Erdogan tried would probably have worked with Merkel, or some other EU politician. Putin and Russia will have none of it. No means no. When Putin says stay out of Al-Bab it means stay out of Al-Bab. With regard to Syria Erdogan now has to do what Putin tells him to do. He just publicly had to relearn that lecture.”

or, Erdogan will jeopardize losing the promised basket of economic goodies:

1. A re-instatement of sanctions or slow removal
2. A Kremlin’s travel advisory; caution travel to Turkey
3. Turkish South Stream

Putin should outfit Erdogan with an invisible dog leash. This dude should not be trusted.

And then we have this from the FT rag; cited by RT. Not sure what to make of it. Secrecy is blown.

Moscow & Syrian opposition in secret talks to stop Aleppo fighting – FT

“Leaders of the Syrian opposition are now holding negotiations with Russian representatives to end the fighting in Aleppo, the Financial Times has reported, citing four anonymous Syrian opposition figures. The US is allegedly not aware of the talks.

The talks are taking place in Ankara, brokered by Turkey, and Washington is not participating in the negotiations, the sources told the international daily.
“The Russians and Turks are talking without the US now. It [Washington] is completely shut out of these talks, and doesn’t even know what’s going on in Ankara,” one of the Syrian opposition representatives told FT.
It is not the first time that the Syrian opposition has met with the Russian side, but it is unprecedented that so many rebel groups would participate in the negotiations, the sources added. The Financial Times dubbed it “a sign of where they think they will have to turn to reach a deal.”
None of the sources gave details as to whether the opposition met with Russian officials directly, or with Turkish officials mediating.
“Talks appear to have made little progress, but the fact they are taking place — without US involvement — underlines the shifting political dynamics in the Middle East,” the FT writes.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia and Turkey are constantly in touch with various groups in Syria.”

{emphasis added}

Posted by: likklemore | Dec 1 2016 16:53 utc | 5

Excellent piece 'b'. Erdogan is a loose cannon, he cannot invoke the NATO charter if his troops are attacked on Syrian territory. What a mess he and the US and friends Saudi Arabia, Qatar,Turkey,UK,France and Germany have produced with their crazy and illegal regime change notions in Syria in breach of Article 2[4] of the UN Charter,and the right of every nation to self determination. Bravo Syria and Russia, your efforts will hopefully bring an end to the neocon infested dreams of Israeli/Saudi hegemony in the Middle East.

Posted by: harrylawh | Dec 1 2016 16:54 utc | 6

It's always fun watching b try to spin Putin as a brilliant 'no-nonsense' strongman who's wagging the dog....

Shortly after Turkey shot down his jet, Putin quickly began searching for ways to publicly justify reunification with Turkey (of course the Russian people were strongly against it). During a period of economic decline, the loss of the Turkish market was a major blow to Russia which probably hurt it far more than Turkey. Then this "coup" falls into all of their laps & Putin's seizes on the moment. The trick for Putin was making it seem as if Turkey was going to accept some sort of concession & now cooperate with Russia & deescalate in Syria (needless to say, Erdogan never did, and almost immediately after the "reunification," he sent in 5k jihadists to break the siege on Aleppo). So far Erdogan has done nada to show "good faith" & he doesn't need to: all Putin cares about is the Turkish Stream deal. This latest comment was basically Erdogan shoveling more shit in Putin's face.

This "back-track" by Erdogan is a favor to Putin, designed to give the Russian Master a face-saving out ("See, Erdogan didn't really mean it!").

The Russian government is staffed by ineffectual, incompetent buffoons who simply hobble from one crisis to the next with no plan or vision for the future. That's what happens when you elect neoliberal Atlanticists.

Posted by: Mark | Dec 1 2016 16:59 utc | 7

thanks b. erdogan is a nutcase, plane and simple.. what he does is anyone's guess.. at least he doesn't hide his intent to get rid of assad! i didn't believe it when the media was saying that a few days ago.. i thought he was talking past tense, but i see i was wrong. the guy is a loon.

@7 mark - you don't know what you are talking about regarding russia and turkey.. it is true erdogan is a complete nutcase, but to suggest putin was quickly searching for ways to publicly justify reunification with turkey is complete bullshit as i see it..

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2016 17:11 utc | 8

Interesting that an American fighting with the YPG near Manbij and killed by the Sultan's Air Force, barely registered a blip on the US media radar.

Posted by: drumdufus | Dec 1 2016 17:18 utc | 9

likklemore @5

Russia has been negotiating with the "opposition" since it entered the fray, not just about Aleppo.

Russian FM needs to clarify its remarks about the nations providing military assistance to Syria legally--Iran is fulfilling its mutual defense pact; Hezbollah and thus Lebanon were invited; Iraq invited; plus there are Afghani troops operating under Iranian command.

Yes, the Turkish people must remove Erdogan from power legitimately and choose someone capable of leading their nation out of NATO into the SCO and partner with China's OBOR and Russia's EEU which is where their future lies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 1 2016 18:09 utc | 10

@ dumbfus 9

US media will not report on deaths of Americans fighting in Syria. Chocolate Jesus told us there will be “no boots on the ground.” He forgot to add they are only wearing golf shoes.

@ Karlof1 10

I agree and expect Turkey will exit NATO into The SCO. NATO will break when Trump insists each member should increase military spending at 2% GDP.

Posted by: likklemore | Dec 1 2016 18:28 utc | 11

>>>>> likklemore | Dec 1, 2016 11:53:47 AM | 5
There are opposition groups opposed to so they want to warn Washington, Doha and Riyadh by making the information public..
I wonder if the "get rid of Assad" statement from Erdogan was a smokescreen to prevent the United States finding out about the talks with Russia and applying pressure for them to end. It looks like some of the opposition groups aren't interested in a deal over Aleppo but if some groups accept it, it would be very damaging for the groups that don't.
As for the Turkish people getting rid of Erdogan, his Anatolian power base is too strong but if they turn on him, he's history. But there is more going on than we mere mortals can see and if anyone can carry Turkish public opinion at the moment, Erdogan can.

Posted by: Ghostship | Dec 1 2016 18:44 utc | 12


You have to go back 100 years to the dream of Pan-Slavia to escape the money taxes and blood taxes of the Austrians and Hungarians; together with the Ottoman Empire crescent in alliance with Kurds, Turcomans, Circassians, Chechens and Iranians, all allied against the British Empire; together with the Syrians fighting for independence from both the Ottoman Empire and from Europe; to understand what's going on in the region. (e.g. we can't understand it.)

Those in the West (and the Far East) would be advised to keep the Syrian conflict at arms' distance, and let the Turks and the Syrians fight to the death in the Great Sandbox until all their armies are defeated. Otherwise we'll have a perpetual robotic WW3 wealth bleedout, and the conflict will go on for another 100 years. We don't have that luxury. Humanity is running out of oil. The industrial world has been bankrupted. Sober leadership is required to focus on our own future survival as a species, or we'll die like scavengers, in skins and furs, fighting over the bones of Chaldaea.

Fewer words? You can't 'stabilize' a spinning top, and you can't pacify a whirling dervish.

Posted by: chipnik | Dec 1 2016 18:47 utc | 13

Had fun writing that didn't you b?
A well deserved laugh at the despot's expense.

The Iranian response made me laugh: quite directly "you are not powerful enough to take Assad!"

Following the killing of the 3 soldiers in Syria, the cat is truly out of the bag- There is no more pretending that Turkey is doing anything but follow orders. Turkey has no independent influence outside its borders whatsoever.

Trump may change the situation, but I doubt it.

Queatiin, slightly off topic - rumours that Russia to provode S400 to Turkey - surely not allowed by NATO; German arms maker KOCH will not be trading with Turkey; Austria will not be selling arms to Turkey and lastly, Germany is consisering moving its bases from Turkey
Any truth to the rumours?
Is there something going on?
Is it just 'posturing' to challenge Erdogan and his threats of opening borders again?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 19:01 utc | 14

BHO was clearly worried about Greece, he made a personal visit there within days of Hillary's defeat. Since he pretends to understand nothing about finance, the subject of the face-to-face discussions could only be Syria. Russia taking control of the Bosporus and handing the west bank, the Old City (est an polis actually means 'to the city' in colloquial Greek) back to the Greeks on inauguration weekend, that would be an appropriate 'castle'. Of the BRICS Brazil, South Africa and now India have been broken economically. Trump is a dagger aimed at China. Putin cannot be under any illusions.

Posted by: S.H.E. | Dec 1 2016 19:12 utc | 15

likklemore | 11
Turkey's move to SCO is an interesting idea, but I find it very hard to believe. Turkey has a trade deficit with Asian trade partners, that would only increase significantly were it to leave EU. Leaving NATO would mean that NATO would move its bases to Kurdistan so achieving little in Turkey's favour. The SCO can provide discountes energy maybe, but that will probably be on the table from Russia and Iran to help 'smooth the waters' with Turkey in the near future.
There is talk of a Turkistan bloc, but no '-istan' Asian countries are interested. Lastly, Turkey is of more use to Russia and China in its current position.

Erdogan and BinAli are all over the place at the moment with all sorts of absurd distractions for the public to ponder. This SCO talk is just that, a distraction, I believe.

Presenting "The Tall Man and the Shanghai Five" - Is it a clown act or a fetish porn act? Funny either way.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 19:14 utc | 16

likklemore | 11
Sorry, forgot to mention, that were Turkey to be thrown out of NATO the situation may be very different.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 19:18 utc | 17

>> rumours that Russia to provode S400
>> to Turkey - surely not allowed by NATO;

Why not? Hypothetically maybe someone would like to take a closer look at the merchandise. (Hypothetically maybe this invasion of Syria is not simply about (a) the Wolfowitz Docrtine but also something to do with (b) wanting to maintain low-level conflict with the enemy, to avoid losing an understanding of its contemporary capabilities.) Erdogan seems so untrustworthy that I'd be surprised if Russia ever delivers any cutting-edge, un-handicapped military equipment to Turkey, next year or next decade.

But, who knows... Not me! The ME is such a mess that I have a hard time "firmly" believing anything, even when it comes from people on this blog whom I respect and who are obviously better informed than me. I have to wait to see proxies take *irreversible* actions that prove to the warring principals -- and the rest of us -- exactly where they stand.

Posted by: dumbass | Dec 1 2016 19:19 utc | 18

@Mark| 7
Are you the resident whateverbot?
You have provided a perfectly arse-over-tits explanation of events between Russia and Turkey.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 19:24 utc | 19

dumbass | 18
Good point.
When Turkey wanted a Chinese system a few years ago it was disallowed by the US. We'll see. It may well be nothing more than a ploy to spread unrest within NATO ...

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 19:31 utc | 20

Erdogan really is in la-la land. How he could talk about toppling Assad after Russia's successful and continuing intervention and Trump's electoral victory is a mystery.

I would say that Erdogan's remark was an insult to American voters.

Demian is now known as Adalbrand

Posted by: Adalbrand | Dec 1 2016 19:41 utc | 21

Putin isn't taking BS from anyone right now:

"We will not allow any infringement on the interests of the Russian Federation and we will manage our own destiny without tips and unsolicited advice... We understand the extent of our responsibility and are sincerely willing to take part in solving global and regional problems, of course, where our involvement is appropriate, necessary, and in demand."

Russia has gained a lot of confidence over the past two years and the gloves are coming off. I expect Russia to still stay within the realm of statesmanship rather than vulgar threats, but they have seen enough dangerous and irresponsible language and actions from the West and its partners that they don't need to pretend to make nice to everything anymore. Further, Russia has seen how its weapons have performed in Syria, and everyone else with eyes that can see has as well. The message is clear: while Russia may be outmanned and outgunned by the West in sheer numbers its equipment and personnel are more than equal to anything the West can produce on a 1:1 basis.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Dec 1 2016 19:54 utc | 22

it always amazes me to see how beholden europe and britian are to the usa's agenda... the fact turkey is toying with an alternative scenario here is fun to watch! i have to give erdogan some credit for that, although what other options does he have? nato seems like the usa's trojan horse in russias backyard.. heaven forbid that europeans would tire of the constant attempt on the part of the usa to keep it from viewing russia in any favourable light.. instead the usa and it's euro handlers have to make as much war and mayhem as they are capable of in either ukraine or syria will continuing on with all the rest of the bullshit they provide on a regular basis.. nice to a have a world msm in tow..

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2016 20:05 utc | 23

December 1, 2016 Communications from a parallel universe

EUROPE is on the brink of war as Turkey gathers fleets of boats to ship 3,000 migrants a day to Greece in retaliation over the European Union’s (EU) vote to freeze accession talks.

Greek intelligence officers have discovered the Turkish plans which they say involve thousands of dinghies and motorboats already being gathered along Turkey’s western coast.

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 1 2016 20:12 utc | 24

AtaBrit @16

Turkey is already a Dialog Partner with the SCO and is not within the EU, the EU having effectively denied Turkey's ascension for many years as Erdogan recently raged about.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 1 2016 20:12 utc | 25

Full English transcript of Putin's Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly where much more was said besides the short excerpt provided by WorldBLee @22,

I found the following to be important:

"The principles of justice, respect, and trust are universal. We are consistent in defending these principles on the international stage, and, as we see, not without result. But we must put the same effort into guaranteeing these principles here at home, with regard to every individual and to society as a whole.

"People take any injustice and untruth very much to heart. This is a distinguishing feature of our culture in general. Our society resolutely rejects arrogance, conceit, insolence and selfishness, no matter in who they see it. Our people place greater value on qualities such as responsibility, high moral standards, concern for public interests, and readiness to listen to others and respect their opinion."

Might the above be considered an ideological statement aimed not just at Russians but other interested parties?

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 1 2016 20:22 utc | 26

i'm impressed with Erdogan.

impressed that he's still alive.

Posted by: john | Dec 1 2016 21:14 utc | 27

karlof1 | 25
I am aware that Turkey is not in the EU but it enjoys many priveleges, especially in trade and investment as a result of its accession status - it is not even at accession status with SCO, unlike India and Pakistan.
As for EUs 'denying' Turkey, the latter has failed at all times to meet the criteria that other countries have succeeded in meeting! Even when Merkel bargained with Davutoglu over the visa regime, she really only restated the conditions of EU accession knowing full well that they would not be met. The latest spat is a perfect example - EU has not said "you can't join", it has said that talks are frozen until press freedoms are restored - Erdogan / Turkey knows full well the game it is playing.
As far as I can see, joining the SCO can only be beneficial to Turkey in cultural terms or in the event that it is thrown out of NATO.
Additionally, China has openly accused Turkey of orchestrating Ughur Terrorist attacks, so I am not convinced that China would look so warmly on Turkey's joining.
Anyway, speaking to local businessmen about it this week, the concensus is that it is pure distraction because it makes no economic sense. The question is whether, when the new constitution is passed, Erdogan will still be swayed by the interests of business or not.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 21:16 utc | 28

WorldBLee | 22
Good post. And that confidence is rubbing off on Iran too. I saw a report in Sputnik (take with a pinch of salt, he he!) today that Iran might be planning to create naval bases in Syria and Yemen ... That would shake the place up.
Also gulf investment in Turkish construction has all but been halted only to be redirected to Iran - that is a very significant switch not just politically but financially for both Turkey and Iran, negatively and positively respectively!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 1 2016 21:25 utc | 29

S.H.E. @ 15 "est an polis actually means 'to the city' in colloquial Greek"

Well, although my Greek, ahem, ahem, is not always absolutely perfect, I believe it's actually "eis tin polis" and it's Classical Greek. Still no big deal -- unless you're Greek :)

The old Philhellene versus Philistine thing.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Dec 1 2016 21:43 utc | 30

Love the 'leader-bashing' in the above posts!

Of course leaders are venal ... they are human and thus by definition rotten to the core as greedy bastards (of which I am one). They should all be removed along with the ass-pipes they allegedly lead! And yes, that does include BOTH you and me!

Too bad Clinton lost ... WWIII was assured ... but there is still hope with Trump! Unless and until the virus (humans: you and me) is removed the planet is being f****d to death.

Posted by: rg the lg | Dec 1 2016 21:47 utc | 31

b, 'I doubt that he really learned the lesson.'

There will be more episodes of As the World Turns ... although I see it's been off 'the air' in the usa since 2010.

@28 Atabrit

The EU has been making fools of the Turks for 50 years. The Turks will never be allowed into the Europeans' White Boys' Club - the Brits will never return the 'Elgin marbles' - and the former has finally been acknowledged by Erdogan. The only question is why now, when the EU is on the verge of collapse, would the Turks want to jump onto the sinking ship?

They finally do seem to be "over it", although joining the SCO and EEU doesn't seem to appeal to Erdogan, unless he can lead both.

'China has openly accused Turkey of orchestrating Ughur Terrorist attacks ...' Something about keeping one's friends close and one's enemies ... at least as close?

If Turkey were to embrace its better, larger half it would be better off in the long run. The Turks are not 'White' from the European point of view and will never be allowed to join the club. Putin would be wise to play the sympathetic soul-mate and drive that point home to Erdogan at every opportunity. As the world turns ... and the sun rises in the East.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 1 2016 22:42 utc | 32

Erdogan has made so many failed calculations and promises and he has gone through so many traumatic shocks in the last 5 years that I believe he is showing the first signs of dementia.
His mind is so confused that he just throw lots of nonsense and has to keep correcting them. Turkey is a lousy state, socially, politically and economically and he bears the responsibility. He tries to convince himself that when he will be the president with full executive power in 2017, he could find solutions. He is deluding himself because the problem is not the country the problem is himself.

I doubt he will stay in power very long even if he is treated medically.
He is worn out and a final victory of Bashar Al Assad could be the final nail in his coffin.

Posted by: virgile | Dec 1 2016 22:43 utc | 33

Erdogan has not according to his own words actually withdrawn his threat to Assad. He has simply rebranded Assad as a terrorist. He thinks he is being clever in his rephrasing but Russia knows full well his ongoing subterfuge. What is important is to take notice of what event he attended prior his initial statement. Wake up boys and girls. Wake the fuck up.

And tho I be a lone voice I repeat...neither Don nor Hillary are destined to wear the purple. It goes to Gore after multi deadlockings after January 17 next year.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 1 2016 23:17 utc | 34

thank you, # 30 I should have checked in 'translate' before I posted. I thought it looked too much like latin. But the point remains, 'Istanbul' itself is a Greek phrase. I won't venture into works of living Greek patriarch/mystics who see this change coming....

Posted by: S.H.E. | Dec 1 2016 23:24 utc | 35

@pubumwei, I am a native turkish speaker. Both of his statements (before and after) have been translated correctly by the media. He really did say that the troops are there to remove Assad, and eat it the next day without any ambiguity.

I am also of the opinion that he must be suffering some sort of mental problem as such a large mistake and a self-inflicted wound is not explicable otherwise. I should also add that he recently contradicted himself several times on other unrelated domestic issues, as well. It appears that he says whatever he feels like in some moments and spends next few days to fix it. Fortunately for him, most of the media is under his control, and his men in media is working hard to find meaningful explanations for each of these weird mistakes.

Posted by: kemerd | Dec 1 2016 23:39 utc | 36

I'm less confident that Erdogan's 'depose Assad' remarks were a mistake and I doubt they were any sort of message to NATO partners as those guys hook up at HoG (heads of government) level all the time and any message to the western war hawks could have been delivered to the 'people who matter' privately & a whole lot less contraversially.
For my money the message was a blunt force instrument parading as a dog whistle either to Erdogan's terrorist mates in Aleppo to encourage them to unite which al jazeera claims they have just done:

Meanwhile, rebels in Aleppo agreed to form a new military alliance to better organise the defence of parts of the city they control from the ferocious assault by the government and its allies, officials in two of the insurgent groups said on Thursday.

Rivalry among rebel groups has been seen as one of their major flaws throughout the nearly six-year-old war.

The two officials, speaking from Turkey, said the new alliance would be called the "Aleppo Army" and led by the commander of the Jabha Shamiya rebel faction, one of the major groups fighting in northern Syria under the Free Syrian Army banner.

Alternatively Erdogan may have worked out what too many have been too slow to work out, that the trump has just handed over foreign policy to the most virulently pro zionist mob of assholes (from about 2:30 in) to grab power in amerika ever. Erdogan realises that getting onside in an anti Shia coalition while the train is still in the station might aid in getting his snout in the new trough.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 1 2016 23:41 utc | 37

Well, if Islamic Eschatology is correct: Istanbul's days are numbered

Posted by: jezabeel | Dec 1 2016 23:59 utc | 38

@ 28; 25; 16

Thanks but these 3 recent articles are what prompted my post:

Turkey to mull joining SCO, led by Russia & China, instead of ‘fixation’ on EU – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the idea of joining the SCO, which he said he has already discussed with Russia and Kazakhstan, might be a good alternative for Ankara, which remains bogged down in lingering EU membership talks.

“Turkey should first of all feel relaxed about the EU and not be fixated” about joining it, Erdogan told Turkish journalists on Sunday. “Some may criticize me, but I express my opinion. For example, I have said ‘why shouldn’t Turkey be in the Shanghai 5?’” he said, as quoted by Hurriyet.

The Diplomat:
Will Turkey Join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Instead of the EU?

Turkish President Erdogan has his eyes set on joining China and Russia’s security club.

“I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it will enable it to act with much greater ease,” Erdogan told Turkish journalists on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan. It is not the first time that Erdogan has made such blunt statements. In 2013, then-Prime Minister Erdogan stated,“If we get into the SCO, we will say good-bye to the European Union. The Shanghai Five [the former name of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization] is better — much more powerful.” Later in the same year, Erdogan once again raised the prospect of Turkey’s SCO bid.[.]

European Dialogue:

Turkey's aspirations for membership in the Russian and Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) might materialize as the organization moves towards admitting new members, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a special talk with Today's Zaman.[.]

The Chinese government's statement came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced in a TV interview last week that Turkey might seek membership in the SCO, given the stalled negotiations with the European Union that Turkey has struggled for 40 years to join.

"I recently said to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin: ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five. Take us and we will say goodbye to the EU.' What's the point of stalling?” Erdoğan said, referring to the SCO by its previous name.

There has been no official statement on the issue from the Russian government.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

With Erdogan, it’s known as the art of blackmailing that's his MO during negotiations.

Posted by: likklemore | Dec 2 2016 0:17 utc | 39

On red heifers.,7340,L-4681306,00.html

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 2 2016 0:25 utc | 41


Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 2 2016 0:27 utc | 42

Erdogan is being pulled relentlessly into the trap. He has no choice. He is damned.

Posted by: pubumwei | Dec 2 2016 0:32 utc | 43

@41 The squeamish may have a little trouble with ritual slaughter. There are already problems with tallow in banknotes.

Posted by: dh | Dec 2 2016 0:33 utc | 44

On the issue of trusting Erdogan :

How can anybody trust a president who remains in the same organization (NATO) he accused of trying to overthrow him ?

Posted by: redrooster | Dec 2 2016 1:49 utc | 45

S.H.E. @ 15 "est an polis actually means 'to the city' in colloquial Greek"

The original sentence was "eis ton polin" meaning "to the city" (eis + accusative). Used to answer the question "where are you going?"
It meant Constantinople and slowly became its name for the Turks around, phonetically : ISTANBUL.

Posted by: DemiJohn | Dec 2 2016 2:07 utc | 46

Re Istanbul's etymology: the classical Greek for "to the city" is "eis tein polin" - ( 'eis', preposition governing the accusative case, + 'tein', accusative singular of the feminine definite article, + 'polin', accusative singular of the feminine noun 'polis').


Posted by: Herk | Dec 2 2016 3:27 utc | 47

I don't know what to think about Turkey's actions inside Syria. I have questions concerning the theory presented here. I will wait more days and see more actions, maybe things will clear up. It's a puzzle still, the geopolitical movements, starts and stops, and the question: have we just experienced a tectonic shift? Could be.

Posted by: Donny | Dec 2 2016 3:47 utc | 48

I am sort of at a loss for words on this one.

Is Erdogan 'Putz Pasha' or 'Pasha of Putz'?

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 2 2016 4:16 utc | 49

@36 kemerd.. thanks. i appreciate hearing your perspective.

@37 dedsisdead... separating the 'moderate head-choppers' from the bad ones has always been something that the usa and their sweet friends have said they would look after.. it would be refreshing if the usa and friends joined hands under the banner of 'al qaeda, or al qaeda version 2 and openly stated there direct support for 'head-choppers inc.' maybe they could take a page from erdogans playbook, but they are too sophisticated for that!

good to know the new, new armed mercenary group is going to be called the 'aleppo (head-chopper inc.) army' and that they will get the usual funding and back up from the usual suspects - usa, britian and etc.. i hope they all rot in hell too...

Posted by: james | Dec 2 2016 4:37 utc | 50

First of all, NATO is not going to kick Turkey out, believe me. Turkey plays a strategic role for NATO in ME.

Yes, it appears that Russia/Putin handed Erdogan his ass, but I'm hoping that Putin was not naïve enough to believe that Erdogan could ever have any other goal than the one he truthfully broadcast and then walked back, because if Putin is that deceivable and conciliatory, especially after what Erdogan did to Russia's two fighter jets, then Trump is going to hand Putin his ass next.

I listened to Trump's speech tonight and let me tell you; I don't buy that Trump is going to digress from the Neocon plan; I don't care how many times he parrots no more regime change. Trump is playing the good cop game with Americans, with Putin (and other leaders the U.S. is at odds with), but he just hired a bunch of bad cops to take care of Putin and whoever gets in the way of Zionist U.S. imperial hegemony. You don't hire a general like Mad Dog Mattis equating him with Patton, the general who commanded the U.S. contingent in the invasion on Normandy, and hand him a Trillion U.S. dollars to boost up defense, unless you envision a major conflict in the not-too-distant future and unless you want to ensure domination and kick balance of power to the stratosphere.

Putin in his recent Presidential address:

Our society resolutely rejects arrogance, conceit, insolence and selfishness, no matter in who they see it. Our people place greater value on qualities such as responsibility, high moral standards, concern for public interests, and readiness to listen to others and respect their opinion.

Forgive me if I appear to be projecting, but it sounds to me like he's speaking directly to Prez-elect Trump, and maybe secondly at President Erdogan or whomever the Turkish people decide to replace him if they do, and the recent attempted coup might demonstrate he will survive another election. But if Erdogan survives; it's because NATO wants him right where he is...for now, anyway. He antagonizes Putin and Assad. What could be better? Hey, I hope I'm right about who Putin's addressing, because these two (Trump and Erdogan) cannot and I repeat: can never be trusted.

Turkey should never be welcomed into SCO as an observer. Why? Since 2005 the U.S. has requested observer status at SCO and it got the screw you back. If SCO accepts Turkey as an observer, then it is in essence welcoming a NATO Trojan proxy into its midst. Israel applied for dialogue partner status and if SCO accepts Israel even as a dialogue partner -- they have a Zionist U.S. Trojan in their midst. Turkey and Israel are proxy agents for NATO and the Zionist U.S. respectively.

SCO is the balance, the check on power and it threatens Anglo/Zionist domination. Sooner rather than later SCO will be in the crosshairs. Already, the empire is inflicting economic tyranny on Russia; China's next in that regard; that's a promise Trump made that I'm betting on, but the strategy won't be restricted to economic tyranny. If China or Russia get in the way of the empire's economic dominance and quest for further dominance through oil and gas, therefore interfere in the neutralization of the next target on the empire's list; Iran, you can bet Trump will unleash hell led by Mattis on Russia and/or China and any other member of SCO on that side of the scales of global power.

Trump and his all-Republican Congress (on this issue the majority of Democrats are also Republicans) are going to funnel a trillion-dollar investment into defense, that will include upgrading cyber warfare and missile defense and space defense. see:

No balance of power will be tolerated by the expanding Anglo/Zionist empire.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 2 2016 5:05 utc | 51

Apparently Trump's informal calls to world leaders -- described as "breezy" -- have career state department and diplomatic corps (and their foreign counterparts) stunned. I hate to think what Trump and Erdogan might find they "agree" on .... two blowhard given to "tough talk" ...
NYT: Trump’s Breezy Calls to Leaders Leave Diplomats Stunned

Erdogan's not mentioned but certain dialog from Dr. Strangelove has now achieved earworm status ... Trump's a guy's guy who likes to be liked.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 2 2016 5:15 utc | 52


When Obama took office in 2008 he spoke in vague slogans ("Yes We Can!) and code word ("bi-partisan). His bullshitting is now legendary. Captured in phrases like:

> 11-dimensional chess;

> most transparent administration ever;

> moderate rebels.

The contrast with Trump is stark. But you implore us to ignore Trump's direct and consistent statements about what his 'America First' policy means.

Your comment is more-of-the-same hair-on-fire,Trump paranoia that you've been pushing since he was elected.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 2 2016 6:55 utc | 53

@ Jackrabbit #53 Time will tell it isn't yet time to walk back the call that trump with his talk of normalising with Russia & ClintonInc's promise to get into a conflict with Russia made donald the lesser of two evils.
On the other hand, few expected trump to surround himself with really toxic zionists who aren't just any standard neoliberal AIPAC loving zionists but grade A netanyahoo ass kissing, deep in Likud party corruption & war mongering, zionists.
The type of people who are rabidly crazy enough to decide that Iran's oil belongs to them just as was promised by england & Russia during ww2. They don't care amerika screwed that pooch by installing an incredibly oppressive bunch of CIA trained torturers, as far as they are concerned Russia is still on a promise not to get involved in their claim to get that oil. Having corrupt likud sleazebag murdering crooks onside is logical as they reckon at the end of it israel will be the dominant regional power left standing and will aid them to keep the rest of the ME in chaos until they have grabbed the oil; all it will cost is a few fat wedges tossed into a few likud pockets - much of which comes back in aipac 'grants'.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 2 2016 7:41 utc | 54


Hey! We agree; Obama's a bull shitter; no doubt in my mind.

Even though I believe words can be powerful; it all depends on the messenger. Words can be inspirational and they can be weapons and tools of deception. They can move people to compassion, to do good or they can inspire hubris, latent bigotry, hate and aggression. They can fool, impress and they can stop people from thinking for themselves. It all depends on the messenger and the intent.

Obama has redeeming qualities, but he's very hypocritical and he can be dishonest for political interest. Sometimes it's just a case of lacking the political will/backbone and I refuse to excuse him for that. He has the right intention but no guts to deliver. That spinelessness destroys his integrity and credibility and makes his loftiness (idealism) appear shallow and hollow. Often he sounds unauthentic; yes, a bullshitter. Sometimes it's all about him and his cool factor; and he comes off as real condescending; he acts like he's the center of the universe of intellect. He's just a typical American politician who comes off as gifted but then totally disappoints, shrivelling like a hot air balloon.

Donald Trump is a fake most of the time from his blond hair to his orange tan. He's making promises he can't deliver; some he's already broken or is on the verge of doing so. Example: he says he'll drain the swamp and then he invites swamp creatures into his cabinet. Donald has something in common with Obama; they both like the sound of their voice; they crave attention; Trump even more than Obama; but get them in front of a crowd and they're two peas in a pod; they play the crowd like a violin, and wallow endlessly in the adulation.

I don't go for or trust gimmicky leaders and Obama and Trump are all show and little substance and authenticity. Sure they're fun to watch and listen to and I get a good laugh every time they speak to a crowd; but the Presidency goes way beyond that and once you get them out of the crowded auditorium; they suck as leaders.

Trump is over-estimating his power with his promises and at the same time he's playing the crowd; giving them what they wanna hear. The biggest, badest part of Trump is that he's infatuated with power and trust me; he's going to abuse it; he's already abusing it. If you think Obama's not transparent; wait, you ain't seen nothing yet. Trump is opaque when he's hiding something questionable. So he's already abusing his power; but he'll only get worse with time; much worse.

Obama's a bullshitter and Trump is a bigger and badder bullshitter.

America First; America First...what's that? You wanna know what that is? Hubris according to Trump; and he's going to act on hubris and you think that's good? That's change? Or is it really the empire on steroids? But the fact is that he's lying about what that really means. If Ron Paul promised America First - THENNN, I'd believe it, and I'd believe his definition; definitely not Trump's!

Remember that scripted speech Trump read from the teleprompter at AIPAC? Someone like Ron Paul would NEVER grovel at AIPAC's pedestal like that! That speech says it all, because Trump sold his soul right then and there for the thing he wants most POWER; hey! Obama did the same; it's the ritual now; passing the Zionist torch. So quit kidding yourself; it's not America First; America is first only when it's aligned with Zionism no matter where that leads and the bottomless pit that feeds it. Now if you think it's gonna be different with Trump, than you bought yourself a swamp and an insatiable vortex called Zionism, where American treasure is sucked in with no end in sight.

America First...HA! That's a laugh. I don't need a reality star showman to sell me the Zionist version of America First; I need a true American, someone unassuming like Ron Paul who really understands and defends the Constitution and would never sell it off to a foreign ideology and the interests of a foreign Apartheid republic. So give me the humble patriot who speaks plainly and with honesty; who really puts America First and respects the sovereignty of others!

And spare me these bullshitting showmen bought and paid for by Zionist billionaires.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 2 2016 9:06 utc | 55

likklemore | 39
I had already seen The Diplomat article, and it is the best of those you posted, without doubt.
It is a very contentious issue. In Turkey it is being avidly discussed.
In many ways Europe and Turkey are very different. But so are Asia and Turkey.
Maybe more change needs to occur before such decisions are taken ...
Let's see what happens.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Dec 2 2016 9:50 utc | 56

Erdogan backtracks on comment about Turkey’s incursion to remove Assad. Not surprising really.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 2 2016 9:59 utc | 57

Re Istanbul's etymology: and "eis tein polin". I'm pretty sure that this is a Greek explanation, invented by Greeks to flatter themselves that they're the only people who count there, and Turks don't. I don't really see a problem with the straightforward idea that it's a Turkish corruption of Constantinople by people who didn't know and didn't care how to pronounce it. It is after all rather a long name.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 2 2016 10:09 utc | 58

I have problems with my memory. I could have sworn that the outcome of the US sponsored coup against Erdogan was going to be a great rapprochement between Turkey and Russia on the progressive platform of national sovereignty. Or maybe it's my eyesight, and that's what's happening and I just can't see it clearly?

I don't think Russia has it in its power to satisfy Erdogan's needs for victory over the Kurds, territory in Syria and Assad's overthrow so he can get the aforementioned. Nor do I think Erdogan is able to dispense with jihadi terrorists in his fight against the Kurds. Therefore I cannot see how Turkey is going to usher in a diplomatic revolution. On the other hand, I can imagine an even more reckless and incompetent US government expanding the middle eastern war by allowing Turkey to engage in open warfare like a sovereign state used to be able to.

Posted by: s | Dec 2 2016 11:55 utc | 59

dumbass wrote:


(d) Misquoted.

(e) Stupid.

...or some combination of above.

As much as Erdogan tries to show that he doesn't care about EU, it should be added to this rather accurate list instead of (d):

(d) tries to sleaze himself to the heels of EU showing how good pony and a whip he would be, only if he would be invited to join the EU.

On the other side he managed to drag Turkey into this conflict, biting more then he can swallow, has immense problem with US helping Kurds, knows that Syrian Turks are also in majority hardcore islamists of Daesh/Qaeda schools and he knows that Assad and Putin know of this as well.

US can tout whatever right now and as it seems adds even more reinforcements to the Mediterranean fleet. It will just add an extra effort to the general mess with no real aim - for now.

Sometimes I wonder what decent Turkish generals think of it, hopefully soon realising that entering such worldwide conflict to subdue Kurds, do the dirty work of trying to overthrow Syrian government while messing with Russia wherever they actually can and that, as such, is already a really bad situation they got themselves in. How long can they endure?

Posted by: laserlurk | Dec 2 2016 12:38 utc | 60

In other news, US Congress approved 10 years sanctions extension on Iran, so its up to Obama or Trump to veto (or not). Remarkably hypocritical official said, sanctions doesnt contravene nuke agreement, and yet Iran's missile program supposedly does. Without any evidence whatsoever that missiles are fitted to carry nukes, US and co automatically assumes they do. Newsflash - nukes can be use with artillery shells too, so all shells have to be banned as well. How about briefcases? If Iran makes them, it means they are compatible to carry nukes and Iran breaks its nuke agreement :))

Posted by: Harry | Dec 2 2016 13:26 utc | 61

Does anyone know where Eric Braverman, former CEO of Clinton Foundation is?
He disappeared from social media suddenly. He was the guy hired by Chelsea Clinton to clean up the foundation.

there's a guy George Webb doing videos each day, showing news clippings, talking about Clinton Foundation and shady middle east arms deals.
It would help make sense of Clinton Foundation's actual doings and immense corruption.

What's your opinion about these videos? Hype? Fake, or Legit?

Eric Webb youtube

Posted by: Laura Roslin | Dec 2 2016 13:43 utc | 62

@ dumbass #4.
That's the play of most politicians here in the US. They "mis-state" or make mistakes and never do wrong. Then they accuse others and shift the blame. Marvelous tactic but also very corrupt. At least some people pay attention.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 2 2016 14:11 utc | 63

Circe @55

Remarkably forgiving blathering regarding Obama. Obama was elevated to be a stooge. His bullshit wasn't some forgivable flaw - it was intentional.

You also elide the fact that Israel/Zionists view U.S. nationalism as a threat as well as the expectation that Hillary could not lose since a popular president, women, millions of recent immigrants, and big money were "with her".

As reasonable as you attempt to appear @55, you've already shown your bias with the hysteria and exaggeration of previous comments. Trump is not anti-Jewish so you label him as Zionist; he is not anti-military so you label him a warmonger.

Everyone here knows the problems with Trump and are skeptical enough of power to be concerned. But you and rufus (under different aliases) are pushing the anti-Trump line hard.

I will wait and see on Trump.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 2 2016 14:28 utc | 64

1) Hillary would've brought us to war in Syria.

2) Trump talks shit about Iran (unlikely to actually go to war with them).

Happy to have (2) over (1).

:) - :) - :) - :) - :) - :)

1) Hillary would've signed TPP.

2) Trump will withdraw from TPP.

Happy to have (2) over (1).

:) - :) - :) - :) - :) - :)

1) Hillary-Obama is loved by MSM.

2) Trump attacks MSM.

Happy to have (2) over (1).

:) - :) - :) - :) - :) - :)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 2 2016 15:02 utc | 65

One may also wonder if Erdogan's statement of intent to over throw the legal Syrian government by use of armed force also came as a restatement shock to the Turkish troops involved? Anyway the egg on his face put there by the Russians should cool the heels of this megalomaniac criminal for the time being and hasten the withdrawal of his invasion force back across the Turkish-Syrian border, that is if Erdogan is able to take the hint?

Posted by: BRF | Dec 2 2016 15:07 utc | 66

S.H.E. @ 15
DemiJohn @ 46
Herk @ 47

Didn't mean to let pedantry distract from S.H.E.'s point. Obama's unexpected trip to Greece in light of everything going on with Turkey is certainly interesting. I understand Russian ships recently called at Crete where they waited before heading into the Black sea.

The Greek origin of the name Istanbul is a good reminder of how long the Greeks (and Romans) controlled the entrance to the Black Sea (3,000 years?) compared to the relative short Turkish ownership (600 years?) Obviously Greece still has great strategic importance, although you wouldn't know it from the way it has been treated by the U.S. and the E.U.

Herk, you're right, in Classical Greek the accusative of the feminine noun πόλις is πόλιν. (Except in the Odyssey, [21.252] where it's "πόλει" -- real pedantry is never off topic.) I got 12-million hits for your "εις την πόλιν."

A good reference source for Greek, ancient and modern, is Lexigram: It's a Greek site, meant for Greek users, so difficult unless you already speak at least some Greek. I should have checked it before I posted earlier. If you know a better one please share.

Lexigram's search engine for Ancient Greek words, declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs is:

Posted by: Ken Nari | Dec 2 2016 15:52 utc | 67


The fella you mention, Eric Webb, is George Webb and he's been doing vids for over a month now. I haven't watched his recent work but his question 'Where's Eric Braverman' and the arms dealer whose charges were dropped by the FBI just before Nov 8, I can't recall his name, have not surfaced to date. In one of his earlier vids he intimated Braverman reached out to the Russian Embassy for asylum but never showed for the interview (note: I haven't a clue how asylum requests work so unable to make any educated comment on said interview). His suggestion that both men are either laying low, fled the country or have been fitted with cement shoes certainly piques ones curiosity. Here's to hoping both men are alive and well and are totally unaware of George Webb and his questioning their whereabouts.

FWIW, several alt news journos do follow him over on Twitter -

Posted by: h | Dec 2 2016 16:07 utc | 68


career state department and diplomatic corps

I wouldn't put much faith in those. Those "career" people proved their "worth" once one begins to review the results of their "professionalism". US and West's foreign policy globally is an unmitigated disaster. Wasn't it US State Dept.'s 50 of its "finest" who wrote a letter advocating "no-fly zone" in Syria recently? This is the "level" of current "Western" so called diplomacy and it is bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Dec 2 2016 16:32 utc | 69

Laguerre @ 58

Sorry I overlooked you. "Κωνσταντινούπολις" (Constantinople) is just as Greek as "eis tin polin" so either way "Istanbul" comes from Greek.

The Greeks don't need to flatter themselves about that. There's plenty of archaeological evidence that much of what is now Turkey was once Greek and for a very long time. Before the Greeks the Bosphorus (another Greek word) was controlled by lots of other people who are long gone, and if the world survives, someday other people may live there and have their own names for the geography.

However historical claims, valid or not, have caused lots of bloodshed and continue to do so. That's why S.H.E.'s comment is much on topic on a thread about Turkey. Turkey as a state nearly disappeared after W.W. I, and as with any nation state, its borders can changed again, could be enlarged by taking a piece of Syria, or could shrink by over-reaching as very nearly happen to Greece in 1919 when it attacked Turkey.

Do you know of anyone but you who believes Istanbul is a Turkish corruption of Constantinople?

Posted by: Ken Nari | Dec 2 2016 16:38 utc | 70

@55 circe, 'Sure they're fun to watch and listen to and I get a good laugh every time they speak to a crowd; but the Presidency goes way beyond that and once you get them out of the crowded auditorium; they suck as leaders.'

... and that's why they were chosen - obama - or tolerated - trump, respectively. they both sound like leaders to the 'people' and they both crawl like hounds to the whales with the money.

but i imagine trump has another dimension - an unhinged dimension - like erdogan does. they both play 'the game' personally. make america great again means make trump great 'again' to trump, and 'the ottoman empire' is erdogan's empire to erdogan. and in both cases it'll be crawl in the bunker with melania - with whatever erdogan's sweetie's name is - and bite the cyanide capsule in the event of failure. they're both going for broke. we all gotta die sometime ... i did it my way! ... not a thought for the world left in ruins due to their failed attempt at 'self-expression'.

it's true that they're both spun by forces beyond their control, but unlike obama or the clintons, for instance, they're not playing for the life led 'happily ever after' the power 'play' - although neither was h. clinton, i suppose. the play's the thing with each of them, there is no 'after', and failing at a truly catastrophic level is almost as good as winning. and each of them knows they're spun by forces beyond their control and cannot win.

these guys are real trouble. we've set ourselves up for it. sat and watched all these years as guys like obama piled more and more power into the office. made the consequences of a really seriously damaged human in office so monstrous.

i'm like everyone else, just waiting to see now, what turns up. getting carried away in catharsis, i hope.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 2 2016 17:27 utc | 71

re 69.

There's plenty of archaeological evidence that much of what is now Turkey was once Greek and for a very long time.
You really are an ideological Greek, aren't you? Greeks were colonial masters of Anatolia (another Greek name, but the one commonly used for the geographical peninsula of what is now Turkey), not natives. The ancient peoples are still there, the Hittites and the rest of them. They slowly became Greek-speaking after Alexander's conquest, and then Turkish-speaking after the Saljuq conquest, two events very similar to one another. Both infused a certain new blood, but Anatolia is a large country, quite heavily populated, and you can't replace the lot.

You sound as though you're into the standard Greek complaint that you were unjustly deprived of Constantinople, although the original Byzantium was a Greek colony in a non-Greek land. Well, suck it up, as they say. The Byzantines failed to govern Anatolia properly, and so lost it to a handful of Turkmen tribes (very small in number).

I'm not sure I understand your opening remark. My point was that Istanbul is a Turkish corruption of what is evidently a Greek name. No-one contests that Constantinople is a Greek name. The Turks could have changed the name to something completely different - that happened often, but in this case didn't.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 2 2016 18:07 utc | 72

@71 Didn't the Hittites take over from the Hurrians? A blatant act of colonialism.

Posted by: dh | Dec 2 2016 18:14 utc | 73


First of all I don't give a rat's ass about Hillary and/or Obama! Can we get that out of the way for good? And whatever criticisms or flaws you find in them - I'm fine with, I'm not going to disagree with. I didn't go far enough for you in my criticism of them? My bad. How's this?: Trump, Hillary, Obama, Democrats, Republicans - they're all beholden to and working for the same Zionist bosses, the shadow government, deep state cabal whatever people wanna call it. They're all, with minor, very minor exceptions in each party bought and sold prostitutes for Zionism! So can we finally put to bed your argument that I'm some hasbara trolling for the Democrats? It's really insulting.

As reasonable as you attempt to appear @55, you've already shown your bias with the hysteria and exaggeration of previous comments. Trump is not anti-Jewish so you label him as Zionist; he is not anti-military so you label him a warmonger.

Oh, so because my comment @55 appears reasonable, because God forbid for your cause it is reasonable; your best argument is to discredit me with previous comments that others reading this won't bother to check on to see if they were reasonable or not, as you think, people are that stupid, they're going to believe you, who has no argument but to diminish me with your own personal opinion minus proof. Well FYI I've had some pretty positive feedback from others on my comments. So there goes your argument.

Hello??? I don't care if Trump's not anti-Jewish! I only care that he grovels at the altar of Zionism and has extremist Zionist and Neocon advisors like David Friedman and James Woolsey and other Neocon/Zionist loons advising him and kisses the real President of the U.S., Netanyahu's ass! Trump: Ohhh, Obama treats Netanyahooo sooo badly. - gee he could have fooled me; they seem to fall over each other bending over for Israel. So Obama snubbed Netanyahu for trying to out-stage him the day Bibi gave his state of the Israel union address to Congress? Well, finally Obama's big, fat ego served the right purpose! Too bad it was merely unintended.

Trump's not anti-military...tell me something I don't know for a change. Hey, you think the MIC is doing the American people a favor? Think again. Trump is sending a trillion or more their way; and a big F.U. to people sleeping under bridges who could really use a trillion-dollar break, some of whom almost gave their life for the MIC and another F.U. to the children of others who'll continue to die for the MIC the second most powerful cabal in the U.S. - and for the cause of Zionists being the first cabal.

Everyone here knows the problems with Trump and are skeptical enough of power to be concerned.

Well, some honesty; how refreshing!

Okay, I don't know this rufus guy's history here to comment one way or another, but I've seen his spamming and although I understand that sometimes it's frustrating to elicit honesty and sometimes, I don't know, I'm just speaking for myself, but sometimes it's hard to be swimming against the tsunami of ignorance and delusion that afflicts America in general; so I get that frustration but I disagree with this individual's tactics; it's unfair to spam a board with pages from the fall of the Roman empire although the simple analogy would have sufficed to make the point; but again the delusion one must deal with on different blogs is beyond laughable at times to the point of total derision.

You will wait and see; okay, that's fair. I don't have to wait because once a candidate is anointed by the Zionist Lobby; there's nothing left there to see, they scorch all hope and the promise that might have been.

And you know, the yellow hair, orange tan and blowhard attitude really doesn't help to gain my confidence either. It just spells snake oil salesman to me. Kind of makes me suspect he was hand-picked straight out of the casino by Adelson himself; tacky meets future Zionist self. Oh, and I remember at one of the debates that toad Guiliani another Islamophobe loon and Zionist stooge on Trump's team of advisors who I have to agree is the spitting image of Nosferatu, was doing the ritual detour by Adelson’s throne on way to his seat in the hall and Adelson didn't even get up out of his chair to shake his hand until Giuliani kissed the ring of the Zionist queen next to the Zionist financier and it was like he was suddenly ejected from his seat. That was funny; and sickening, all in one. It literally makes one cringe and want to throw up in their mouth at that level of bootlicking that Zionism induces. Just thought I'd throw that anecdote in for comic relief.

And there's another bone I have to pick with you. I'm not impressed with your false argument that because Trump's campaign manager is suspected of being a supremacist sympathizer and Trump an enabler they're somehow incompatible with Zionists. On the contrary, and the proof is that when Trump appointed Bannon to his cabinet this caused a fake uproar and temporary schism among Zionists. While the ADL who have a fake image to protect, criticized the choice, the Zionist Organization of American came out defending the choice and Bannon and even inviting him to their annual gala. That's because although the ADL will never admit it, Zionism is in fact a racist, supremacist ideology and ZOA were totally unequivocal and credible in their defense of Bannon because they share an appreciation of their mutual supremacist nature, while the ADL a watchdog front for Zionism were merely covering their ass having to unequivocally condemn all forms of bigotry. Obviously, the ADL had an image to protect while ZOA had nothing to lose in that regard. Meanwhile the Lobby did what it usually tries to do, stayed in the shadows because Trump was really their first choice and Hillary was second. As I stated before Zionists hedge both sides but usually have a favorite. So really, Zionists completely relate to Trump's team and supremacy and they're all birds of a feather in the same supremacist nest.

So hopefully, I demolished this incompatibility argument of yours for good as it has no legs and is total bull and Trump and Zionism are much more than just strange bedfellows.

I’m glad you appreciated #55 as being somewhat reasonable…I think. Hey, it’s a start coming from someone like you.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 2 2016 18:39 utc | 74

It's becoming a multipolar world. That changes everything, all the old narratives are now suspect. First let's consider the old narrative:

1) With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the U.S. and its NATO partners had two choices: dissolve NATO and pursue a peace dividend, or expand NATO and seek a "to the victors go the spoils" attitude. The latter choice was made; eastern Europe and Central Asian ex-Soviet satellites were to be brought into the NATO "sphere of influence" - and their natural resources, especially oil, were to be used to enrich bankers in Wall Street, London, Zurich, etc.

2) This agenda was spelled out by the neoconservative PNAC (Project for a New American Century) in 1998, and has been pursued throughout the Bush and Obama administrations. Under Obama, it was promoted by neoliberal think tanks like CNAS (Center for a New American Security); these two groups have close alliances with the Bush and Clinton circles, who merged into the neolib-neocon alliance that backed Hillary Clinton. A key element of their agenda was to turn Iraq, Syria and Iran into client states of western interests, in the model of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, etc.

3) The essential elements of the PNAC plan in the Middle East: invade and take over Iraq, turning it into "America's aircraft carrier/oil tanker" in the Middle East; fill it with American military bases, which would be used in the next phase, invasions and occupations of Syria and Iran; with the end goal being that the entire Middle East region would be an American protectorate/client state.While this plan utterly failed, Obama's efforts at regime change in Syria in alliance with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Jordan and Turkey represented a continuation of the PNAC plan by other means (covert regime change and secret ISIS support, instead of Iraq-style invasion and occupation by U.S. military forces). Israel and Saudi Arabia were to play supporting roles in this game.

4) The other elements of the PNAC plan: turn all the Central Asian ex-satellite states, the 'stans, into American protectorates; and incorporate all the eastern European states into NATO via "color revolutions" as in the Ukraine. The common theme there is control of pipeline zones and oilfield zones, as in the Middle East. That was supposed to be the basis for global world empire for the next 100 years, with America as the world's only superpower. And then there was the Asian angle, containing China, etc.

It was really all just a pile of megalomaniacal bullshit, in the end.

So, what next? Some people think Trump will continue with the PNAC plan by trying to overthrow Iran, but really, the PNAC plan seems as dead as Hitler's Thousand-Year-Reich. What's the debt load so far from these stupid empire games? $6 trillion or so? The domestic problems in the United States are directly related to this - crumbling infrastructure, gross wealth inequality, Brezhnev-era Soviet Union-type corruption rampant across government and on Wall Street - it's game over for the American Empire, just as it was for the Soviet Union (collapsed in late 1980s) and the British and French Empires (collapsed 1950s). That's the new reality, but a lot of people are having a hard time adjusting to it, and are still thinking in terms of the old narrative, on all sides of the American political spectrum.

Posted by: nonsensefactory | Dec 2 2016 19:11 utc | 75

# 72. I noticed how you ignored an 800-year empire in that one sentence history of the period of the Byzantines. We could start with the most stable monetary regime that the world has ever experienced for that length of time, facilitating trade across the Med and along the spice and silk routes. Why the pillars in the cisterns under the city are just the refuse from temples built and abandoned across Anatolia over a millenium. The city's influence stretched from Spain, Calabria and Carthage, across the Black Sea, through Crimea and up the rivers to the Baltic. The city gave the Russians and Ukrainians their religion, and later their high culture. The King of Norway in 1066 had been a Varangian Guard. What, exactly, have the Turkmen produced since then?

Posted by: S.H.E. | Dec 2 2016 20:26 utc | 76

@nonsensefactory #75:

Brilliant, cogent comment.

Your comment suggested to me: maybe Trump is America's Gorbachev? He is tasked with dismantling and replacing a failed and unsustainable system, as Gorbachev was.

Hopefully, since the American system was not built on lies to the same degree that the Soviet system was, the changes that Trump makes will not be as harmful to the welfare of the public as those of Gorbachev and his depraved successor Yeltsin were.

In any case, I think that everyone here should be able to agree that with the election of Trump, we have entered a new period of history. There was the post-WW II, Cold War era, and then there was the post Soviet collapse unipolar era. Hillary was in denial about the neocon plan to maintain a unipolar world being unfeasible. Trump getting elected meant that the American people (and the deep state) understood that it is time to move on.

Demian is now known as Adelbrand

Posted by: Adalbrand | Dec 2 2016 20:35 utc | 77

S.H.E. @ 76 -- Don't take Laguerre too seriously. He's just quarrelsome -- hence his name.

Laguerre @ 72 "You really are an ideological Greek, aren't you?"

Dunno what that is, but you obviously feel pretty strongly about it.

"You sound as though you're into the standard Greek complaint that you were unjustly deprived of Constantinople.."

I've never heard of that "standard" complaint. Everyone today -- everyone -- lives on land taken from someone else. There are no "native people."

The most accepted theory currently is that proto-indo-europeans came out of the Pontic Steppes. The Greeks" would have crossed Anatolia on their way to Greece and that migration may well have taken thousands of years. In any event the people we call "Greeks" came from somewhere else and the time of their arrival in Greece has been fairly well established. The ancient Greeks were not "native" to Greece, and the Greeks today are only partly descended from the ancient Greeks.

You write a lot, but you don't seem to be able to read -- a condition called "alexia without agraphia." (alas, more Greek words.) What with all your goofy talk about "natives" you're kinda living proof of what I was saying: that historical claims, usually invalid, are great for generating conflict.

As for my thinking I was unjustly deprived of Constantinople, I'm primarily of Swedish decent. The only claim I have on the place in based on some runes carved on a statue there -- vandalism in other words -- so they were probably done by a Norwegian or a Dane anyway.

b's got a new post up, so I'm going to leave it at this. See you there

Posted by: Ken Nari | Dec 2 2016 20:43 utc | 78


Obviously, I disagree with the premise that it's game over for the empire. You fail to mention, whether intentionally or not, that PNAC was based on Clean Break and, more importantly, that both plans were authored by Zionists. This is a very important fact because in so far as you lump Israel into the same subordinate client group as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, you deliberately minimize and in essence write-off the monumental role that Zionism has been playing in American politics and other branches since at least the end of the Kennedy presidency and the fact, that Zionism (ergo Israel) is the engine behind the America's imperial Middle East ambitions such a major player in fact evolving into the tail wagging the dog, figuratively speaking. I know how preposterous that sounds to Americans, the image of a puny protectorate ruling a military giant, but it's a fact that Zionism has gatekeepers in every branch of the American system and until Americans realize that Zionists with heavy-handed influence have been taking America down an endless rabbit hole sucking all its treasure, the fat lady won't sing to announce the end, and the game's not over. It's that awareness, the awareness that all this is being done to protect a destructive, supremacist ideology that will free the U.S. and set it on a course that is beneficial for all Americans and the global community. And I know that Zionists think that's the course they plotted and the end justifies the means; but the facts speak for themselves: this is the path of destruction for millions and the ruin of the Republic.

And it really doesn't help getting America out of the destructive vortex Zionism has put it into, when people such as yourself, minimize, write-off, or blatantly conceal that the culprit behind America's misadventures in the Middle East intentionally woven into America's imperial ambitions is ZIONISM first and foremost.

And even if it's unintentional on your part by omitting that not-so-minor detail it makes me question your intention whether it is to calm people's fears regarding a Trump Presidency or deflect from the fact that Zionism is the number One cause of America's gradual decline.

Nothing, not even the illusory promise held by a Trump Presidency justifies omitting such a significant fact that raises awareness to the monumental injustice that Zionism has created for Americans and millions of other victims of this Supremacist ideology, Zionism.

You don't see the King of Saudi Arabia or the head of the Junta in Egypt delivering a speech to Congress, upstaging and getting more standing ovations than the actual commander-in-chief or should I say American understudy chosen by Zionism? Therefore don't lump Israel into that client state group. As if those clients have the pull and influence that Israel, and specifically, Zionism has over the American system.

Zionism is so flawed, so morally corrupt and therefore fragile that it required attaching itself to the most powerful nation in the world to survive; but it will continue to sink and suck the treasure right out of America if it's not condemned and exposed for what it really is and before it seizes on its ultimate target and destroys everyone in the process.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 2 2016 20:51 utc | 79


You forgot to add: Trump is the messiah...

come to rescue America from PNAC, with General Mattis, Flynn, Pompeo and his soon-to-be-name SoS the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Aye...the delusion is so dense; it's like treading molasses.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 2 2016 21:02 utc | 80

Posted by: Mina | Dec 2 2016 21:11 utc | 81

More difficulties for the refugee deal with Turkey
The Netherlands is joining Austria and the European Parliament in asking for a suspension of Turkey's EU accession negotiations, on concerns over human rights in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt. Foreign minister Bert Koenders was under pressure Wednesday in the Tweede Kamer from his own labour party PvdA as well as the opposition left-liberals D66 and christian democrats CDA. Initially he resisted but finally agreed to advocate in the European Council for a six-month suspension of talks. The Netherlands will not go as far as to ask for an end to negotiations, but asking for a temporary suspension of talks is a tougher stance than for instance Germany's, which only advocates not opening any new chapters for the time being. 
In the background of this debate is of course the fight against ISIS but also primarily the continuation of the EU's refugee deal with Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to throw open the floodgates again last Friday if the EU freezes accession negotiations, which Koenders dismissed as "megaphone diplomacy" as quoted in Volkskrant. If Erdogan does not end the refugee deal out of spite, the European courts might. The latest development on this front is an appeal by a Pakistani refugee, Shabbir Iqbal, who is awaiting deportation in Greece under the terms of the EU-Turkey deal. A collection of Spanish and Greece NGOs are helping to challenge the EU-Turkey deal before the ECJ. Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, a former anti-corruption prosecutor who served briefly as MEP for Podemos after the 2014 European Parliament elections, is one of the drafters of the appeal. He argues the deal is incompatible with the EU's charter of fundamental rights, as well as with European asylum laws and related directives. According to Villarejo the European institutions have abused their power to pursue spurious interests with the Turkish government. 
High tensions between Greece and Turkey
Tensions between Greece and Turkey continue to rise with Recep Tayyip Erdogan staking claims to hundreds of Greek islands and disputing Greece's sovereignty and related rights in the Aegean sea. The latest spat was provoked by the Turkish foreign minister over the Greek islands of Imia, a pair of small uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea, saying that Imia was in fact Turkish land. His remarks drew a stern response from the Greek foreign ministry, which described them as “irresponsible and provocative".
A dispute over Greece’s Imia islets in the eastern Aegean almost led to a military skirmish between the two countries in 1996, 
Turkey’s provocations in recent days have not only been verbal, as there have been frequent violations of Greek air space over the Aegean. Greek diplomatic sources on Thursday attributed the spike in Turkish aggression to the insecurity of the Turkish administration after the failed coup in July.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 2 2016 21:57 utc | 82

re 76

I noticed how you ignored an 800-year empire in that one sentence history of the period of the Byzantines.
Of course, the Byzantine empire was an important cultural period in Anatolia. Nobody would deny it. However, the Turkish period is as long, with the same effects on the local population. The one is no different from the other. Only the Turks are today's people, having converted to Islam and speaking Turkish.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 2 2016 21:57 utc | 83

re 78

Don't take Laguerre too seriously. He's just quarrelsome -- hence his name.
Contest outmoded ideas? yes, why not?

You are right in the idea that Indo-European peoples came out of the Eurasian steppes, in principle. You forget how this happened in detail. Firstly the Turks were just another people who came out of the Eurasian steppe, much like the Indo-Europeans. Secondly, the number of invaders is relatively slight, both for Byzantines as for Turks, mainly men, who then intermarry with local women, and produce a local cultural norme. That's why most Turks are genuinely of Anatolian origin. I once knew a Turkish professor who seemed to be genuinely central Asian Turk, by his physical appearance, but otherwise Turks are physically Anatolian, not Greek.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 2 2016 22:44 utc | 84

@jfl | Dec 1, 2016 5:42:16 PM | 32

the EU is on the verge of collapse...

Nah, that's just a decoy. An age-old trick, pretend that you're weak and dying to confuse your enemies and play your strengths at the right moment. Note that the EU has been 'on the verge of collapse' for many years, and it just doesn't seem to get closer to that cliff.

As for Turkey, their joining the EU may have been an option sometime in the 90s, but certainly not since. Keeping these negotiations going is an instrument to exert some influence, but also to simply have an open line of communication (which is always a good thing).

Same for the SCO: There's no chance of this happening in the foreseeable future, but publicly playing with this option gives Erdogan strategic leverage. At least he thinks so. Turkey is situated right in the middle between those big power blocks; anything other than balancing its alliances would be lunacy. Same goes for the other major powers on the Eurasian rim: Germany, Ukraine, Iran, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, South Korea.

Posted by: smuks | Dec 3 2016 0:20 utc | 85


I understand the viewpoint you profess, but I think there are some problems with it. Yes, Israel has a lot of political influence in the United States - but they were backing Hillary Clinton and that effort really failed. Where Israel has less influence than Saudi Arabia is on economic issues - the Saudi lobby is just as large as the Israel lobby, but much quieter. Obama signed off on over $100 billion in arms sales to the Saudis; the Saudis are dedicated to the petrodollar system and to banking with London and Wall Street, as is Qatar and the rest of the GCC coalition. It's also the case that the Saudis have a quiet cooperation arrangement with the Israelis; both supported the rise of ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria (and notably underreported in the U.S. media, Israeli Defense minister Ya'alon said he'd prefer to see ISIS overrun Syria than have Assad, an Iran ally, remain in power.). So it seems pretty clear that Israel and Saudi Arabia have similar levels of influence over the United States government, in a bipartisan manner.
Here's a great photo on that issue: McCain and Pelosi chortling together as they go to greet the Saudi dictator:
And here is a similar picture, of Pelosi and Boehner with Netanyahu in the U.S. Congress:

So arguably, going to Saudi Arabia to pay homage to the king is not very different from inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress. But this whole alliance is on increasingly shaky ground. The PNAC plan really did fail; Iran has far more influence with the Iraqi government than any other country right now, Syria is not going to turn into a Saudi proxy caliphate, and any notion of regime change in Iran is highly, highly implausible. The neocons and neolibs are on their way out; corporate Democrats are in the doghouse right now, and establishment Republicans are not so far behind. I don't see a return to the neocon-neolib bowing and scraping to Israeli and Saudi leaders in the future; that would have been the Hillary Clinton route, but that's over and done with.

As far as Trump's criticism of the Iran deal, it seems to be that it was not economically favorable to the U.S., and "renegotiating" would be more about those issues, not about trying to go on with the PNAC plan. I can see Trump pushing for a trade deal with Iran on very favorable terms, for example - regardless of whether that upset Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, Israel is in trouble on numerous fronts - they will face increasing global pressure to open up their nuclear weapons program to IAEA inspections in the future, their efforts to maintain sanctions against Iran are not gaining global traction, the BDS movement in the United States has been a huge shock to AIPAC and similiar outfits - not looking too good. There's no "two-state solution" in the works, so the long-term result could be what? The collapse of apartheid as in South Africa and voting and land ownership and immigration rights for all Palestinians, and coming clean about their nuclear weapons program?

Saudi Arabia also has major, major issues. They're entirely reliant on oil to support the luxury lifestyles of the House of Saud; they've got big problems with domestic economic issues (food imports, jobs for their population, etc.), they've got the Shiite minority and Yemen to worry about - and if oil demand plummets, there goes the House of Saud, it could very very easily be a replay of the 1979 Iranian revolution with the royal family fleeing the country for Europe with as much loot as they can carry. At the very least, it would result in a parliamentary system replacing the House of Saud, who'd then become ceremonial-British-type Royals.

Sure, that's speculative, but the trend seems obvious; Iran will probably become the region's biggest economic powerhouse, and Saudi Arabia and Israel will have to cut some kind of peace deal with Iran, while the U.S. and Russia, hopefully after working together to defeat ISIS, will likely play minimal long-term military roles in the region. That's what a more multipolar world would look like, in any case.

Posted by: nonsensefactory | Dec 3 2016 2:20 utc | 86

@ nonsensefactory who wrote all about the geopolitical situation in the ME

But said nothing about the elephant in the room, global private finance.

As I have written before in comments here and is becoming quite evident, Trump is the "don't throw me in the briar patch" candidate for the global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else. The iron fist is coming out of the velvet glove or the heat of the semi-boiling frogs is being turned up, take your pick of metaphors.

The multipolar world that you describe is based on conflict over development financing and debt management world wide. The BRICS, their friends and China in particular are challenging the hegemony of Western private finance and the proxy wars are just cloud cover for the bigger war of ongoing global financial control.

It is interesting that you say Iran will probably become the biggest regional powerhouse while the US just extended its lock on Iran's global financial holdings and ability to not be subservient to the private finance tools of the IMF, World Bank, BIS, etc.

The facets of the multipolar world I see developing are based on private versus sovereign financing considerations more than proxy wars over the outposts of empire in the ME.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 3 2016 2:45 utc | 87

IMHO nonsensefactory has it right.

Trump's actions - and the actions of those that resist Trump - are best understood in the context of the Syrian War.

Clinton and her neocon cronies would double-down on the pro-extremist, "lead from behind" Syrian Adventure. Trump & Co. recognize that the war is lost and that the entire exercise has failed.

Iran is a strawman that Trump can safely beat as distraction from the embarrassment of the lost war and the support for extremists.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 3 2016 5:29 utc | 88

I can only lead a horse to water. I can't make them drink.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 3 2016 5:55 utc | 89

Giving the turkish terrorist dog a (bone) lesson

Posted by: guy | Dec 3 2016 8:37 utc | 90

"First of all, NATO is not going to kick Turkey out, believe me. Turkey plays a strategic role for NATO in ME."

Who needs Turkey if an independent Kurdistan will be established? Don't you see what is going on in the ME? Kurdistan is a perfect place for Israeli military bases...

I found an interesting map
As we know Iraq and Syria are virtually done. It's time for Turkey and Iran. It will be much more difficult to destabilize the two countries, but not impossible. Trump openly said that Iran is an enemy. The first year of his presidency will tell us whether he is really outside the clique or like earlier Obama just an insider pretending to be an outsider.

Posted by: jas7mas | Dec 3 2016 8:48 utc | 91

- I don't know. I see another (additional ??) reason. Obama has directed the US army to direct its attacks towards Al Nusra in Syria. And that's something the CIA and one Hillary Clinton don't like.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 3 2016 8:59 utc | 92

- The WaPo has a very hard time ackowledging that Obama has is doing what doesn't go down too well in a number capitols in e.g the Middle East.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 3 2016 9:01 utc | 93

Thanks Okie
If European newspapers were writing these news plainly, extreme-right parties would not go up. It is indeed unbearable to see that our 'democratic' countries have no problem making deals (involving people's lives) with Turkey under Erdogan's Stalinist purges as long as the higher NATO staff don't tell them to change the relation with Turkey. It is in the Netherlands and Germany you hear more about Turkey in the news because they have the wider communities in Europe, but elsewhere nothing. I am glad to hear that some Greeks and Spanish also believe this "deal" is a shame. I do think that most refugees, when asked, will return to Syria. They have heard enough from relatives by now that it is not so easy to build a life in Europe.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 3 2016 9:13 utc | 94

You people don't seem even vaguely aware that Erdogan has lined up with Russia on Syria as the NYT reports:

Now that all the reactionary pigs around the world from Trump in the USA to al-Sisi and Erdogan in the region are opposed to the Syrian rebels, doesn't it occur to you that your own support for Assad has little to do with "anti-imperialism"? I suppose not since your Islamophobia probably trumps any consideration of class.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Dec 3 2016 14:15 utc | 95

Proyect's "You People" condemnation confirms that we are on the right track nearly as much as WaPo's "fake news" slur.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 3 2016 16:20 utc | 96


Your entire post is wishful thinking not based on fact, and as you yourself wrote: Sure, that's speculative...

I can see Trump pushing for a trade deal with Iran on very favorable terms, for example - regardless of whether that upset Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Wow! You're kidding, right? And this is just one of the many speculative comments you made that are not based in reality. Maybe in a parallel universe where Zionism doesn't rule.

PNAC and Neocons ain't going anywhere anytime soon. Trump has many Neocon advisers on his team including Steve Yates who was Cheney's deputy national security advisor for five years and John Bolton. These two are no doubt responsible for Trump breaking with one China policy to antagonize China:

On the same day as the call, Trump met John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, a candidate for the secretary of state job, and a fierce advocate of stronger commitment to Taiwan as a way of exacting a price for China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal in January: “The new US administration could start with receiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department; upgrading the status of US representation in Taipei from a private ‘institute’ to an official diplomatic mission; inviting Taiwan’s president to travel officially to America; allowing the most senior US officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business; and ultimately restoring full diplomatic recognition.”

Stephen Yates, a former White House aide to Dick Cheney now advising the Trump transition was in Taiwan at the time of the call. “It’s great to have a leader willing to ignore those who say he cannot take a simple call from another democratically elected leader,” Yates tweeted.

These two set up the call. The Taiwanese are admitting to this!

And he has other Neocons on his advisory team including James Woolsey who's not doubt advising him on IRAN!

As I've stated repeatedly here; look at the FACTS, look at who he's surrounding himself with and quit with the wishful thinking that's not based on reality. Trump is all in with Zionist Neocons and full throttle on PNAC!

Posted by: Circe | Dec 3 2016 16:26 utc | 97

Meant to write: James Woolsey, who's no doubt advising him on IRAN.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 3 2016 16:29 utc | 98

"Trump is all in with Zionist Neocons and full throttle on PNAC!"

Even if true, that would be a losing strategy. The PNAC agenda has run up a $6 trillion debt, and that also affects the whole "private finance" issue that psychohistorian (@ 87) is talking about. But I think you're stuck in the past; the world has changed around you and you haven't been paying attention to the new realities. Neither have the neocons and the neoliberals who are so closely allied with Israel and Saudi Arabia - who are indeed client states of the United States, they are not the ones calling the shots. Psychohistorian's argument about global private finance - hedge funds and banks in New York and London, mainly - being in the driver's seat is a more convincing argument - but even there, that's relied on that IMF / World Bank / WTO arrangement, in which "free trade" deals allow unrestricted capital flows around the world, into and out of countries like Greece, stripping assets at will. But look at Brexit, as a counterexample - it puts the whole London financial center at risk of being locked out of the EU, over the "passporting" issue.

So no, I don't buy the "Zionists run the world" argument, it's ludicrously oversimplified. If they did "run the world," Hillary Clinton would have been elected and she'd be on the phone to Netanyahu and the Saudi Royals plotting a neocon agenda for the Middle East, she'd be pushing for a no-fly zone over Syria and conflict with Russia in eastern Europe as well, and doing the same with China in Asia.

Likewise, regime change in Iran? Not plausible. Iran has too many economic relationships around the world for that to be acceptable - and if you've not noticed, Israel has dropped the call for sanctions over Iranian nuclear weapons and is instead calling for sanctions because they say Iran is developing ballistic missiles. Why is this? They don't want more people saying, well, what about the Israeli nuclear weapons progam? Why doesn't Israel accept IAEA inspections of its nuclear arsenal? Realistically, any attempt to attack Iran would bring Russia in and set off World War III, even more so than Syria, and might involve China as well. And now that Trump has talked to Taiwan, I wouldn't be surprised to see China retaliate by bringing Iran into the SCO, part of China's Central Asia strategy.

The reality is, the PNAC plan has utterly collapsed and any attempt to expand it will just lead to more disasters, both military and economic. The only real option for the United States right now is to focus on internal issues - infrastructure, manufacturing, etc. Otherwise, it'll look like Russia in the 1990s - which is what Hillary Clinton would have been, another Boris Yeltsin run by fat cat oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky. Now, Trump might also utterly fail - but if he does, then Bernie Sanders Democrats will almost certainly take over in four years - the neolibs and neocons are not on their way back into power.

Posted by: nonsensefactory | Dec 3 2016 18:14 utc | 100

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