Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 02, 2019

Turkey's Problems Will Change The Dynamics On The Idlib Front

In Sunday's the local elections in Turkey the opposition parties won in the three biggest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. They managed to do that by concentrating their forces. The Kurdish aligned HDP made no nominations in cities where the main opposition party, the Kemalist CHP, already had a strong standing. HDP voters voted for the CHP candidates which brought them over the line. The CHP likewise held back in HDP strongholds which allowed the HDP candidate to win in Diyarbakir.

The elections show that Turkey is not a dictatorship (yet) and that voters still can change the political picture. The opposition parties also showed some unusual flexibility and presented candidates that were acceptable by a wider electorate than previous ones:

The winners of Istanbul and Ankara, Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, are not the typical hardcore Kemalists who despise the women in headscarves and anything that is visibly religious, always alienating the average Turk. Quite the contrary. Yavas is a politician from the nationalist right, and Imamoglu (whose surname literally means, “Son of Imam”) is an unusual figure in his camp who can recite the Quran. During his campaign, Imamoglu recited the Quran in a mosque, to honor the victims of the massacre in Christchurch. Such actions have capitalized on the “religion card” that Erdogan has exploited for too long.

The loss of Istanbul, at a very small margin, is seen as a personal loss for President Erdogan, who started his national political career some 25 years ago as mayor of that city. It is no wonder then that the Erdogan's party, the AKP, is now demanding recounts.

The CHP win in the big cities and in the liberal tourist centers along the Mediterranean coast does not mean that Erdogan is defeated or his power diminished. In total his AKP and its allied parties won 51.63% of the nationwide votes. The municipalities in Turkey depend on handouts from the national government. As Erdogan controls the central purse he can easily squeeze the cities the opposition won. The next nationwide elections will only be in 2022 which gives him time to take on other problems and to recuperate the losses.

There are plenty of problems that demand his attention. Turkey's credit bubble, which helped Erdogan to win the presidency, is bursting:

Turkey's interest rates remained at record low levels from 2009 to 2018, which caused the country's credit bubble to go into overdrive. Turkey's low interest rate era ended in 2018, when the central bank hiked rates from 8% to 24%. Rapid interest rate hikes cause credit bubbles to burst, which then lead to credit busts and recessions.

Over the last two quarters Turkey's GDP declined. The country is in a recession. Inflation is near to 20% which leaves no room to lower interest rates. Before Sunday's election the central bank of Turkey propped up the Lira. It will have to end that or will otherwise diminish Turkey's foreign currency reserves. After the long build up of the credit bubble it will take years for the economy to return to a steady state. There is little room for the government to turn the economy around.

Erdogan's decision to become more independent of NATO is also taking its toll. Buying the Russian made S-400 air defense system secures Turkey from a potential U.S. attack but also means that its access to 'western' weapons ends. Germany stopped cooperation for the production of a new Turkish tank even before the S-400 issue came up. Today the U.S. halted all F-35 fighter plane deliveries and training for Turkey. This will be a loss for both sides but add to Turkey's economic problems:

“Because Turkey is not just an F-35 purchaser, but an industrial partner, blocking delivery of these systems represents a major escalation by the United States as it threatens to impose serious costs on both sides,” Hunter said.

Reuters reported last week that Washington was exploring whether it could remove Turkey from production of the F-35. Turkey makes parts of the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays. Sources familiar with the F-35’s intricate worldwide production process and U.S. thinking on the issue last week said Turkey’s role can be replaced.

Russia will be happy to supply Turkey with Su-35 fighter planes. They are arguable better than the F-35 and will likely be cheaper. But they will come with a political price.

Turkish supported Jihadis still hold Syria's Idleb provinces and need to be removed. Erdogan tried to turn them into 'moderate rebels' but failed. Russia has for some time pressed Turkey to become more active in Idleb and to do more common Turkish/Russian patrols. These alienate the Jihadis, some of whom start to see Turkey as an enemy. Russia intends to do everything possible to intensify that feeling, while urging Turkey to finally solve the problem.

The U.S. still wants to 'regime change' Syria and will keep the northeast under its control. Trump's idea to led Erdogan establish a security zone along the norther border was buried by the hawks in his administration. While that may comfort the Syrian Kurds with whom the U.S. is allied, it will further alienate Turkey. The removal of U.S. troops from northeast Syria is quickly becoming a common Turkish, Russian and Syrian aim.

A country that gets rejected by its NATO allies, is angered by U.S. moves to its south and under economic pressure will be easier to convince to follow Russia's advice with regards to Syria. We can therefore expect that the dynamics at the Idleb front will soon start to change.

Posted by b on April 2, 2019 at 02:06 PM | Permalink

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More like jive Turkey, amirite?

I kid, but it's getting pretty hard to keep track of all these global hot spots. How many regional conflicts are the Neocons and their Israeli handlers planning on inflaming?

By my count we've got Syria and Iran along with Russia, all of which are intrinsically linked to one another. There's also Venezuela, which now also includes both Russia and China providing material - if not moral - support to the battered Maduro government. Then there's the delicate issue on the Korean peninsula, which certainly wasn't made more stable as a result of the Consulate invasion in Spain. Add to that the rising tensions in the South China sea, the deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan - which has seemed untenable for years anyway - and if I didn't know better I'd say WWIII is well under way. Am I forgetting anything? Oh right, there's the ongoing assault/siege on Yemen and the ongoing drone campaign in Somalia for good measure.

Now it's just a question of who's going to sink someone else's ship or submarine first. Can anyone sale Gulf of Tonkin? Can't wait to see what kind of horrors the Zionist menace has up its sleeve to get things kicked off for real.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Apr 2, 2019 2:24:57 PM | 1

Turkey's interest rates remained at record low levels from 2009 to 2018, which caused the country's credit bubble to go into overdrive. Turkey's low interest rate era ended in 2018, when the central bank hiked rates from 8% to 24%. Rapid interest rate hikes cause credit bubbles to burst, which then lead to credit busts and recessions.

Forbes is lying. Turkey isn't in crisis because it propped up a financial bubble and then magically decided to raise its interest rate.

Here's the real reason:

Getting longer but lower

From the link above, here's the excerpt of interest:

Increased costs of borrowing in dollars and the fall in global trade, along with the risk of an outright trade war between the US and China have led to foreign investors holding back from putting their money into weaker or troubled emerging economies like Turkey, Argentina, Venezuela, and even Indonesia. Their currencies have plunged, driving up costs of borrowing even further and leading a flight of capital by rich Turks or Argentines. William Jackson, the chief emerging markets economist at the consultancy Capital Economics, said: “The scale of the tightening of financial conditions is similar to that during the 2011-12 eurozone debt crisis.”

With the news that Turkeys’s Trump, Erdogan lost local elections in the big cities like Ankara and Istanbul because the economy has gone into a slump, the Turkish lira has gone into meltdown. Turkey’s central bank has used up one-third of its dollar reserves in trying to prop up the Turkish lira and, after that failed, the government is now blocking ‘short selling’ and banks lending money abroad. Erdogan has refused IMF funding because it would mean severe austerity and loss of control over government policy. But the lira is still slipping.

Posted by: vk | Apr 2, 2019 2:40:44 PM | 2

Erdogan tried to turn them into 'moderate rebels' but failed.

Did Erdogan really try, or was it just kabuki theater?

The U.S. still wants to 'regime change' Syria and will keep the northeast under its control.

Is it too much to acknowledge that the cynics were right?

Trump's idea to led Erdogan establish a security zone along the norther border was buried by the hawks in his administration.

Well, cynics would say that this was also kabuki theater. Trump pretended 'pull-out'
was always bogus and rowing that back required some public efforts that (of course) would prove futile.

The removal of U.S. troops from northeast Syria is quickly becoming a common Turkish, Russian and Syrian aim. [Because] A country that gets rejected by its NATO allies, is angered by U.S. moves to its south and under economic pressure will be easier to convince to follow Russia's advice with regards to Syria. We can therefore expect that the dynamics at the Idleb front will soon start to change.

Turkey is reliant on Foreign Direct Investment from US and Europe. It's unclear (at best) that Russia can replace that in any meaningful way. Thus, economic problems are likely to make Turkey more compliant to US/Israel/Saudi wishes, not less.

We shall see how Turkey's economic problems play out in the next weeks and months. US-Russian tensions related to Venezuela are likely to affect the situation in Syria as well. The combination of economic hardship and Cold War geopolitics will make it difficult for Erdogan to continue to play both sides.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 2, 2019 2:41:34 PM | 3

Kemalists in Turkey used to be solid nationalists. But the newer ones seem to be toadies to the globo-homo West. I don't like Erdogan, but better Islamism than degenerate globo-homo-ism.

Posted by: Andrea Daley Utronebel | Apr 2, 2019 2:49:33 PM | 4

thanks b, for the great overview.. i am happy with the changes, although they are not huge, they are in the right direction..

the pressure has to stay on turkey as i see it.. until they have greater clarity on who their enemy actually is, they will continue to waffle.. i too hope the situation in idlib changes and the facade of erdogan and his moderate headchoppers disappears.. the financial pressure will likely ramp up on turkey for even considering jumping out of bed with uncle scam...

i still think the shit hits the fan in syria with usa-israel on the one side, russia-iran on the other and turkey playing some losing game in it all - until they smarten up..

Posted by: james | Apr 2, 2019 2:53:04 PM | 5

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 2, 2019 2:41:34 PM | 3

>> Erdogan tried to turn them into 'moderate rebels' but failed.

> Did Erdogan really try, or was it just kabuki theater?

Is there anyone anywhere who actually thought that would work even if good faith attempts were made?

Posted by: Ash | Apr 2, 2019 3:31:24 PM | 6

@ Posted by: Andrea Daley Utronebel | Apr 2, 2019 2:49:33 PM | 4

You're on drugs if you think there's some kind of global homosexual conspiracy among the world capitalist class.

Posted by: vk | Apr 2, 2019 3:33:24 PM | 7

Whatever else is happening to Erdogan, not having to purchase the overpriced lemon F-35s has to be viewed as a good thing.

Posted by: worldblee | Apr 2, 2019 3:40:22 PM | 8

Thank you b.
That's a clever strategy that the opposition parties employed. Very interesting.

vk@
Thanks for that info. What stands out to me is that Erdogan has refused IMF funding. That's interesting, looks like Turkey is trying to keep it's options open. I'm thinking it's time to choose.

Russia!
Ah. Somehow that's such a comforting thought. Of course, I'm one of those whose brain has been messed with, consciousness transformed, the whole bit. >>>Thank you very much Russia, please, mess with me some more!<<<
I've been thinking lately that Russia has kind of coaxed China out politically on the world stage. To me, the change in China's stance seems tectonic. Previously, China has been in a defensive position in world politics. Very forward on the economic front but reserved on the political. The partnership between China and Russia seems to hold so much promise of possibility, for another future, for a different path.

I think it's a time of alignment, not just for Turkey, but for the world, for each of us.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 3:44:16 PM | 9

Erdogan is a sovereignist. As a Nato member, Turkey was doing the heaviest lifting with the largest Nato military. It never was allowed to join the EU because it was Muslim. Nato with closer ties to Israel, was an anti muslim coalition. The best move for Turkey was Eurasian integration joining the rising Chinese economy and leaving the declining European market. Thus Turkey chooses sovereignty over second class citizenship.

Posted by: El Cid | Apr 2, 2019 3:51:20 PM | 10

Ash @6:

Is there anyone anywhere who actually thought that would work even if good faith attempts were made?

Are you suggesting that Putin is a fool?

IMO Putin expected a genuine effort to be made. It wasn't. Which is strange because those that tout Erdogan's "turning east" tell us that Putin saved Erdogan from the 2016 coup.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Note: Cynics are skeptical that the coup was genuine as the result of the coup was beneficial to both Erdogan and the 'Assad must go!' Coalition: Erdogan strengthened his grip on power while USA-Turk distancing allowed USA to cozy up to the Kurds.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 2, 2019 4:03:11 PM | 11

I don't think Putin expected Erdogan to seriously attempt to distance his rebel buddies from Nusra. He probably expected Erdogan to do just a show, but since it didn't cost him anything and it wasn't strategically risky to let him pretend he would act while doing nothing, he went for it. Such a bet was Erdogan's to lose, and he clearly lost it.

I just hope things stay moderately calm in Turkey, because the country has been and is still going through enough hardships as it is, it doesn't need open rebellion or military crackdown. But AKP deciding to contest the results not only in Istanbul but also in Ankara isn't the sign things will quiet down.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 2, 2019 4:26:42 PM | 12

I expect the delivery or non delivery of the S400 to Turkey expected soon, will determine Turkey/US relations dramatically, Erdogan says it is a done deal but ....
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States expects that Turkey will opt to purchase Patriot missile systems instead of S-400s, in a move that would resolve its dispute with the country over F-35 deliveries, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday. Whereas..
Despite Beijing having its own fifth-generation fighter, Russia may soon approve sales of the Su-57 to China - and other countries like Turkey, which has shown interest and recently lost access to the US’ F-35 over another Russian weapons deal. Choices, Choices.

Posted by: Harry Law | Apr 2, 2019 4:51:19 PM | 13

El Cid @ 10- well said.

jackrabbit @ 11 " Erdogan strengthened his grip on power while USA-Turk distancing allowed USA to cozy up to the Kurds."

And that benefits Turkey how? That's your implication.

As for Idlib.. there's been plenty going on there... The Russians have been in there working deals with HTS to open border crossings

Turkey and Russia are doing patrols- because it's not reported here does not mean- it's non existent

b failed to mention:

Turkey trading with Iran- to the ire of the US (this goes way back, not just present day)
Turkey supporting Venezuela to the ire of the US
Turkey and the pipeline deals with Russia
Astana partnership (Turkey in partnership with Russia and Iran egads)
Turkey and Russia doing military exercises

Turkey and the US drifted apart years ago.. When Obama was in.


Posted by: puffn' stuff | Apr 2, 2019 4:57:45 PM | 14

and of course the S-400 purchase which cost Turkey the f-35 flops
the S-400's could allow Russia to create a larger A2/AD in the region
other things b forgot to mention

Posted by: Puffn'Stuff | Apr 2, 2019 4:59:43 PM | 15

puffn' stuff @13

And that benefits Turkey how?

I said it benefited Erdogan, not Turkey.

Turkey and Russia are doing patrols- because it's not reported here does not mean- it's non existent.

b reported about the patrols, writing that: Russia has for some time pressed Turkey to become more active in Idleb and to do more common Turkish/Russian patrols. (emphasis is mine)

b failed to mention ...

I think b took those things into account in his conclusion.

Turkey and the US drifted apart years ago.. When Obama was in.

My impression is that the parting was sudden, not a 'drift'. The parting occurred after the apparent coup attempt. Erdogan's power was threatened by the Russia boycott. As I noted, the coup attempt helped both Erdogan and the 'Assad must go!' Coalition. The Kurds were wary of USA prior to the apparent coup attempt.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 2, 2019 5:25:17 PM | 16

"There is little room for the government to turn the economy around."
If it can wean itself off the ideological teat of neo-liberal economics it can change things rapidly. Turkey is under attack by Wall St, The City and international finance. But it is perfectly placed, geo-strategically, to form a mutually supportive trading bloc with Iran, Russia, China and their many partners. Dropping the dollar and leaving NATO would follow.
The long struggle between the Empire, now dominated by the US, and its peripheries/victims precedes 1917 and was barely affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union. And all the advantages now lie with Eurasia with its internal lines of communication and its overwhelming mass, in terms of both resources and population.
It is time, perhaps, for us to examine the very foundations of our systems of government and the illusions of representative democracy- for it is those systems which, time and again, are used by the imperialist camp to disrupt and unbalance their opponent/victims. They do so, basically, by re-purposing the political shifts developed domestically-propaganda, xenophobia, faux nationalism, occasional but highly publicised cases of social mobility, liberalism as a velvet glove worn on the iron fist of total surveillance and full spectrum ideological hegemony- in systems which while apparently democratic are actually impossible for popular movements to take over and control.
The least remembered lesson of the Russian revolution was that of the soviet, the grassroots council which put decision making in the hands of the working people. It didn't last very long, thanks to the rabid response it provoked from the imperialists who did not rest until hierarchy and authoritarian structures had been restored. They understood that, without local active grassroots control over decision making even a fully nationalised economy would lead to a society in which all the weaknesses of capitalist society would be mimicked and reproduced.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 2, 2019 5:37:48 PM | 17

VK @ 2, Mourning Dove @ 9:

If Erdogan is resisting IMF loans - and few would blame him for doing that, since they come with demands for austerity programs of the kind that have cut down Greece - the temptation to switch over to the alternative money transfer system that China and Russia have set up, knowing that sooner or later they will both be cut off from SWIFT, must be growing strong. Also the trade war between China and the US presents opportunities for Turkey to take advantage of: if the US refuses Chinese investment, Turkey might step up to take some of that money.

The issue though is that as part of any Chinese investment deal, Turkey would have to surrender any Uyghur terrorists currently in Idlib province to the Chinese government. Any agreement Turkey makes to surrender those terrorists would be motivation enough for some of those jihadis to try to infiltrate Turkey (since Idlib province shares a border with Turkey) and stage an attack on Turkish soil.

On top of any Chinese investment deals, Erdogan, his son, his son-in-law and their business cronies must not be allowed or seen to be benefiting personally out of them by demanding kickbacks or other payments under the table. (It was such corruption, among others, that turned the Iranian middle classes and business sector against Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in the 1970s.)

I am not sure if the Chinese attach conditions to their investment loans but surely one condition they can insist on is that their money should be used in useful infrastructure - like building roads, railways and schools in poorer parts of the country - and in educational institutions that teach skills and critical thinking that enable young people to study the sciences, engineering and other knowledge sets that will help them help their country to grow. The money should not be used to brainwash young people into radicalised Islamist ideology by rote learning and repetition.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 2, 2019 5:52:04 PM | 18

It's been a slow afternoon here, and my only unread books are on depressing topics. So I've killed some time looking up Foreign Leaders the US has either ousted or killed. I'm sure the list is incomplete, but time to halt anyhow.

1953 Mohammad Mosaddegh survived but forced out of office
1954 Jacobo Arbenz survived but forced out of office
1961 Fidel Castro survived invasion attempt and many US murder plots
1964 Joao Goulart survived but forced out of office
1988 Manuel Noriega survived but put into prison for the rest of his life
2004 Jean-Bertrand Aristide survived but forced out of office
2014 Viktor Yanukovych – see “fu*k the EU" Nuland - survived but forced out
2016 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived coup

1961 Patrice Lumumba executed shortly after being forced out of office
1963 President Ngô Đình Diệm did not survive removal
1965 Rafael Trujillo did not survive removal
1973 Salvador Allende did not survive removal
1991 Saddam Hussein weakened, finally removed by US invasion and executed
2011 Muammar Gaddafi - see “gleeful Hillary” - did not survive removal

Given the success rate here, Erdogan must have decided he needed to improve his odds for Round 2. True or not, it's an assumption in mil-blogs that if Country Y sells you a weapon, that weapon will not perform well against Country Y's military forces. This is said to be why the apartheid Jewish state was comfortable with Egypt getting F-16 fighters.
If Erdogan buys Patriots, they're going to be useless if his NATO "allies" decide to do another "Libya" operation. He wants insurance, and the S-400 provides that. So long as Turkey remains in NATO, Russia's immunity to S-400 rockets isn't going to be an issue.

I really do wish the mideast bloggers I used to rely on would come out of hibernation, for the scant reliable news from over that way has left me in the dark as to what's going on - especially in Syria.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 2, 2019 6:09:55 PM | 19

@ El Cid #10

I wonder how interested China is in assisting Erdogan, for he has been involved in the general hell-raising in their western Xinjiang province. Recruiting young men to fight for ISIS has been the game, and some of those are going to survive and go back home.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 2, 2019 6:29:46 PM | 20

It seems that Turkey's problems are manageable, perhaps a short recession and a limping recovery, both needed to restructure the economy. I checked some stats and quotes. This is from Modern Diplomacy (seems an investor oriented commentary without clear axe to grind):

The position of Turkey is aggravated by the uncertainty of foreign capital about the independence of the Central Bank, its concerns about the unpredictability of the country’s policy and the adequacy of its economic course (first of all, its adherence to ambitious projects with questionable economic efficiency).

The stats are not THAT bad. Turkey lived through a panic last summer, afterwards the exchange rate stabilized. The restructuring is necessary because Turkey had more than a decade of quick growth that was in part relying on increased manufacturing and export, but in a major part on real estate and foreign loans that fueled real estate and consumption. The stream of foreign investments is much thinner so the country has to adapt to a much tighter balance of trade.

The good news are that the drop in the exchange rate by ca. 1/3 (one needs 4 lira to purchase the dollars that could be purchased one year ago for 3 lira) was followed by three-fold reduction in the trade deficit. A combination of lower real wages and employment and thus lower consumption, and more favorable terms of trade for the exporters.

So far, political losses seem manageable. Erdogan always collected a bit above 50% of the vote, and has some room for handling a drop to a bit below. In that respect, the data from the last local elections does not represent any earthquake. Extensive repressions cowed the media and politically, they require that the population believes in his conspiracy theories. But ALL Turks believe in conspiracies, in part because of actual historical experience, they differ on "details" and Erdogan electorate believes him.

Concerning the politics, Turkey is a bit peculiar because of the ridiculously high threshold of popular vote that is necessary to benefit from proportional representation. Thus there are only 4 parties that count and it is hard to introduce a new party. Of those, repressions may bring "pro-Kurdish" HCP under 10% or not, if happens, Erdogan wins. CHP seems to eternally get 25%, these Kemalist would need to replace old and unimaginative leadership. There are also more "objective reasons" why it is hard. Then there is a Fascist-Kemalist party. If they get 10% as they did in the recent election cycles, Erdogan has an insurance policy if AKP drops under 50%. Basically, for Erdogan to become a member of opposition one needs a shift in party support above 10%, while Turks seems to be a loyal lot in respect of their parties.

The current/coming crisis in itself is too mild. Some charismatically led opposition is needed, but this is easier said than done. Personally, I detest Erdogan for boofonery, cronyism, repressions, criminal foreign policy (e.g. decisive contribution to the rise of ISIS), but he is also mercurial in a good sense, namely he is capable of adapting. Picking some fights with NATO can bolster his stature as an independently minded leader who is making Turkey great again, and help decreasing defense spending -- great time to postpone purchases of costly imported weapon systems. Trumpian sanctions have limited impact given that USA represents ca. 7% of trade and bolsters the Turkish victimhood scenario that Erdogan's electorate believes -- it always helps to have valid excuses.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 2, 2019 6:35:01 PM | 21

bevin @16--

Good points. The Soviets were built atop the previously existing village councils run by village elders. Native Americans--North and South--had similar governing elder councils which I suspect are Asian in origin and tens of thousands of years old. Narrative Control now seems to be a hot topic as it should be since an attempts being made to retain what was built during Russiavape. But most of that's all about here, not Turkey. The Turks are controlled by a narrative tailored to their national situation. When Russia entered the Syrian fray in 2015, I opined: Wouldn't it be something if Russia and Turkey became allies as NATO tries to wean former Warsaw Pact states away from Russian influence. Ukraine as yet isn't totally lost; and with the Comic in charge the last laugh will likely be at NATO's expense.

We shall need to see how time shapes the outcome. Economically, Turk Stream coming online in the 4th quarter of 2019 will be a major boost, and commerce throughout the region ought to increase as peace is further established. But for the region to really begin its return to prosperity, the Outlaw US Empire military presence must be evicted and never allowed to return. And for that to happen, it was important for Erdogan to continue with a legislative majority. Realpolitik means I don't have to like Erdogan as long as he continues to be useful.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 2, 2019 6:50:21 PM | 22

As mentioned above, here's why Turkey is wise not to buy F-35s:


https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-f-35-assessment-2018

"The Pentagon's Latest Assessment Of The F-35 Is In, And It Ain't Pretty"

Posted by: ben | Apr 2, 2019 7:01:53 PM | 23

politics:

I'm not quite convinced.
The last paragraph sounds logical, but these conditions have been valid for a while, without much happening in Idlib. So what has changed that would make it more probable now? Because the elections are over and there's nothing left to pressurize Erdogan about?

@Jackrabbit 15:

The parting was before the coup, in Feb. 2016 to be precise. The Neocons tried to get Erdogan to invade Syria (i.e. start war with Russia), he wanted NATO backing for that but didn't get it, so he decided to see what arrangement Moscow could offer him. The coup attempt followed shortly thereafter.

economy:

Trying to 'crush' Turkey financially failed before and will fail again, China won't allow that to happen. However the 'uncertainty' is a welcome opportunity to unload useless $$$ (a.k.a. 'capital flight').

The term 'credit bubble' is misleading. Turkey's economy was running hot, its finance sector overblown, current account really bad for some years. Things have changed though, right in the middle of transition.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 7:08:32 PM | 24

> Are you suggesting that Putin is a fool?

Not intentionally, no. He's been in the public eye long enough to have proven otherwise. I'm skeptical he actually believed it would happen though, even if he believed Erdogan to be a good faith actor (I'm skeptical about that too).

As for the coup in Turkey, I don't consider myself well enough informed to have any idea what really happened there.

Posted by: Ash | Apr 2, 2019 7:24:57 PM | 25

Smuks @ 22:

"... Turkey's economy was running hot, its finance sector overblown, current account really bad for some years ..."

Are these not symptoms of a probable credit bobble, especially if the financial sector is awash with far too much bank lending coupled with artificially low interest rates (even if they are at 10% when they should be higher to discourage excessive lending) and the national current account is consistently in deficit (an indication of excess capital sloshing through the economy)?

An economy that's "running hot" - in whatever, but one might presume in property speculation or excessive government spending on too much infrastructure of dubious worth eg many dams on rivers that happen to pass through Syria after leaving Turkey - is another symptom of a bubble.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 2, 2019 7:25:29 PM | 26

@mourning dove 9

China couldn't change its foreign policy strategy while it still needed the Dollar.
In an alliance with Russia since 2014, it can be much more assertive and independent.

I kept wondering why that didn't happen earlier, had been expecting it for many years.
My best bet is that a. neither were militarily 'ready', and b. Moscow actually would have preferred allying itself with Europe, and then cooperate with China as equals. The way things are going, it will always be Beijing's 'junior partner'.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 7:35:21 PM | 27

@Jen 24

Not saying there were no bubbles in real estate etc. - but what's a 'credit bubble' supposed to be?
Lots of capital flowing in, also lots of lending as in any 'economic miracle land'. Maybe 'too much', but measured against what? (Also, there's no such thing as 'artificially low interest rates'.)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 7:43:37 PM | 28

reply to smuks 25
"Moscow actually would have preferred allying itself with Europe, and then cooperate with China as equals. The way things are going, it will always be Beijing's 'junior partner'."
I agree and I think he held to that hope until he saw US's treachery in Libya.
There is a photo of him taken when the No Fly Zone was agreed to at the UN. He looked so happy probably believing that disaster had been averted.
There is another photo of him when he realized he had been played. That was the end of any thoughts of Partnership with the West. He turned to China and has never looked back and IMO won't until the US falls beneath its own weight and the world resets.


Posted by: frances | Apr 2, 2019 7:43:55 PM | 29

Smuks @ 26:

By "artificially low interest rates", I meant interest rates being held down by banks because of political expediency.

In the Turkish context, I suspect that's because President Erdogan, being a highly religious Muslim (outwardly at least), is opposed to high interest rates because of their historic association with usury in Islam, not because he might be under pressure from the IMF or some other external organisation to keep interest rates down. The notion of using interest rates as a tool to control the money supply and money flows could be lost on him for religious reasons.

Yes I agree the language used to describe bubbles as "credit bubbles" or "debt bubbles" is very sloppy.

I'm sure there's an opportunity for Turkey to benefit from China's Silk Belt project and to join the alternative money transfer system that China and Russia have organised in the event of their both being sanctioned by SWIFT. China could impose a condition on Turkey of surrendering all Uyghur jihadis currently in Idlib if Ankara wants to be part of the project and to receive Chinese investments.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 2, 2019 8:01:53 PM | 30

Smuks @ 25, Frances @ 27:

Putin wasn't President of Russia at the time the no-fly zone was agreed to at the UN Security Council meeting in 2011. Had he been, he might well have advised the Russian representative not to agree to the no-fly zone.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 2, 2019 8:11:41 PM | 31

@bevin 16

Good point indeed - seems we're going back to Lenin's famous:
"Communism is Soviet government plus the electrification of the whole country."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GOELRO_plan
Democracy and capitalism are mutually exclusive (at least in the long run). Capital will always try to capture political power by controlling key institutions like pol. parties, the media, education. Good laws can limit its influence, but it'll always try to (re-)expand.

As for electrification, we could have had it much earlier, had it not been for the oil industry and the petrodollar system. Now climate change is forcing us.

@frances 27

Libya wasn't the first such 'disappointment' though. In Syria, it looked like some agreement could be reached - but then came Ukraine and the sanctions, and Moscow had no choice but to ally itself with Beijing. That really sealed it imo - probably would have happened anyway sooner or later.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 8:20:00 PM | 32

smucks
To me, a fundamental difference in the partnership between Russia and China, and the entire concept of Eurasian integration, is a change from that paradigm of junior and senior partners or other similar form of heirarchal structure. It's one thing that I find so promising about it. It proposes a new form of relations and a different way of thinking.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 8:33:35 PM | 33

"... opportunity for Turkey to benefit from China's Silk Belt..." <- Jen

Perhaps, but indirectly. Directly, I doubt that infrastructure is a bottleneck in Turkish economy, Erdogan actually was attentive to infrastructure even if some of his ideas were too grandiose (like his palace). Turkey needs to change gears toward balanced trade. I did not see very disconcerting symptoms of the flight of hot capital -- the currency exchange crisis was ca. 9 months ago and lira actually recovered some ground and remains stable IMHO. The industries that can export exists, the European markets are not about to close, American market is of secondary importance, regional markets -- also secondary importance, but any politically driven bad news happened already.

Concerning regional influence, Turkey has ties with Turkic nations of Central Asia, but transportation to Central Asia is so-so, and there Silk Road may help.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 2, 2019 8:33:43 PM | 34

@Jen 28

Interest rates, set essentially by the Central Bank, reflect the needs & growth of the 'real economy'.
The faster it grows, the higher average returns on investment, the higher the appropriate interest rate(s). Whether high or low, it's always 'artificial' - I find this term rather strange when talking about things determined by humans.
Controlling money supply through interest rates has never really worked. When there's a bullish euphoria, banks hand out credit and people 'invest' (or rather, speculate) no matter the rate. In times of bust and crisis, they don't. The problem is that there's no rate that is universally appropriate for any sector or type of business, it may be too high for most industries but really cheap for real estate speculation.

So, I don't think it has anything to do with religion, it's just normal EM growth pains.

Turkey's geostrategic location is quite interesting, to say the least, so it can definitely benefit from Eurasian integration plans. It doesn't even need to formally align itself with China/Russia to do so, but it needs China for financial protection (currency swaps) and Russia militarily (S-400).
...and why would China want the uyghur jihadis back? Aren't all countries (east and west) glad if their 'crazyheads' head out and die on some far-away battlefield?

Thanks for pointing out that Putin wasn't president in 2011, I keep forgetting. But my impression was always that P. and M. coordinated their actions quite closely, so I doubt it would have made a difference.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 8:46:53 PM | 35

reply to Jen 29
"Smuks @ 25, Frances @ 27:
Putin wasn't President of Russia at the time the no-fly zone was agreed to at the UN Security Council meeting in 2011. Had he been, he might well have advised the Russian representative not to agree to the no-fly zone."

Quite true, but I don't think that is an issue. As he was PM at the time, in between his terms as President. Medvedev was President and I think we can be sure they were working hand in glove.

Posted by: frances | Apr 2, 2019 8:47:36 PM | 36

@mourning dove

Sounds nice, but is it grounded in reality? Power/ influence/ hegemony are not a matter of decision or deliberation, but rather based on economic, military, political and cultural potential. Even if Beijing wanted, it couldn't decide to deal with South Africa or Bolivia as 'equals'.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 8:56:40 PM | 37

Russia will be happy to supply Turkey with Su-35 fighter planes. They are arguable better than the F-35 and will likely be cheaper. But they will come with a political price.

The Turks may have a choice between the Su-35 and the Su-57. Seems Russia has hastily defined an 'export' model of the latter for customers who might be in the market for a stealth jet airplane which isn't an F-35.

U.S. Withholding F-35 From Turkey Could Give Russia The Chance It Needs To Export SU-57

The Su-57 is still an unfinished airplane, but as most people know, so is the F-35. The Russians simply cannot afford to build a version of the F-22, and they haven't bothered to try. Which is the reported reason India dropped out of the 'partnership'. But the machine has many virtues, including a (probably) lower cost than the F-35, a longer range, and in the case of a close-up 'fur-ball' knife fight, it would do very well. There is another potential customer for the Su-57 - China.

At first that puzzled me, for the Chinese have their own stealth programs, and they're reported to be doing well with them. Very well in everything except a suitable jet engine. Since the Russians have been burnt by Chinese copying, they might be offering a 'tie-in' deal. Purchase some of our S-57s and we'll sell you the new engines for your own airplanes when those engines are ready.

If the Su-57 got enough foreign orders the unit costs would come down to the point the Russians could afford the planes themselves.

China mulls to buy Su-57 stealth fighter jet from Russia

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 2, 2019 9:36:10 PM | 38

@ b who wrote
"
Erdogan's decision to become more independent of NATO is also taking its toll.
"
I think the execution of this decision is causing Turkey the most of its economic problems. Its currency lost 3% today and sanctions by the US are being threatened which will give the private finance folk reason to manipulate the Turkish lira even more.

smuks commented above
"
Interest rates, set essentially by the Central Bank, reflect the needs & growth of the 'real economy'.
"
This is text book BS when in real life the Central Banks are privately owned and don't have the best interests of the public on their radar. They work with the private currency markets (except China) and the private BIS to produce the 3% loss that the Turkish lira took today.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 2, 2019 9:51:03 PM | 39

smucks
I think that fully appreciating, or even truly understanding, the concept of a multipolar world requires a paradigm shift, especially for Westerners who are indoctrinated by unipolarity from a very young age. Rather than relations between nations being defined on the terms of power/influence/hegemony, multipolar relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, and an understanding of the differences between various partners. It creates that situation where the whole is larger than the sum of it's parts. While the paradigm of power/influence/hegemony (Unipolarity) may not allow for a relation between different countries as equals, multipolarity does.
On a personal level, I don't feel less equal to someone who is stronger, richer, or more educated, and I'm assuming that you don't either. Nations absolutely can have relations as equals despite their differences socially, politically, economically, militarily etc.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 10:24:37 PM | 40

smucks
Also, how does a system which doesn't allow the freedom to choose the nature of relations come to be defined as "reality"? And an inescapable one at that. It's a paradigm, not a natural law, and not reality.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 10:37:21 PM | 41

Maybe, the current downturn .. this time .. is wider in scope and .. much deeper. by: SlapHappy @ 1 thanks for the link

Syria with usa-israel on the one side, russia-iran on the other Posted by: james @ 5 <=a stand off nothing more IMO

[Turkey refusing] overpriced lemon F-35s ... by: worldblee @ 8 <=along with recent Bowing a\e quality of America made
vehicles and other manufactured good describes the real problem: the USA has mucked Americans up so much, no
company that depends on American workers can survive. the USA has exported American brains, quality, technology
and the cohesive sense of pride that made things made-in-America-by-Americans outstanding. Now that which is made
in America is made by foreigners, financed by foreigners, sold to purchased from foreigners, and resold to foreigners..
and is paid for by taxes assessed against struggling Americans. The down fall coming to America is directly
attributable to the 527 persons that are paid a salary to manage the USA and those outsiders who directed those paid
managers that governed the people of the once best nation in the world. IMO

here's why Turkey is wise not to buy F-35s: https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-f-35-assessment-2018
"The Pentagon's Latest Assessment Of The F-35 Is In, And It Ain't Pretty" by: ben @ 21 <=interesting

I think it's a time of alignment, not just for Turkey, but for the world, for each of us. by: mourning dove @ 9 I agree..but first we the governed must rid the world of the power possessed by those who think they are better than we the governed. First step, to eliminate the divide and conqueror strategy of the nation state.. The people of the world are one nation, while the leaders of the world are the divisors that split, fragement and pit one people against another people..
The next reorganization of the world should be around human rights, not Oligarch owned corprate monopoly powered take no prisoner economics. In fact, I will go on record as saying nothing else will do.. meaning I do not think there is sufficient support among the governed for those in power today to be the organizers of the coming new world. IMO

a new form of relations and a different way of thinking. by: mourning dove @ 31 I agree..

Power/ influence/ hegemony are not a matter of decision or deliberation, but rather based on economic, military, political and cultural potential. Even if Beijing wanted, it couldn't decide to deal with South Africa or Bolivia as 'equals'.by: smuks @ 35 I agree..

I just hope things stay moderately calm in Turkey, because the country has been and is still going through enough hardships as it is, it doesn't need open rebellion or military crackdown. but AKP deciding to contest the results not only in Istanbul but also in Ankara isn't the sign things will quiet down. by: Clueless Joe @ 12 Exactly, the coming new world is everywhere yellow jackets in France, Bexit, Spain, Venezuela, Syria, ...everywhere those who govern are having trouble, because they are basically "corrupt old has beens" .. none of the governed wants to put up with them anymore.. something different is on the immediate horizon..probably it will surface as the global economy falters IMO

"There is little room for the government to turn the economy around." by bevin @ 16.. agree..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GOELRO_plan
Democracy and capitalism are mutually exclusive (at least in the long run). Capital will always try to capture political power by controlling key institutions like pol. parties, the media, education. Good laws can limit its influence, but it'll always try to (re-)expand. by smucks @ 30
Yes, democracy is about human rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and right to self determination.. capitalism is a miserable state of affairs when the nation state does not protect the openness and fairness of the competition space.. essentially capitalism evolves to monopolyism.. IMO

Posted by: snake | Apr 2, 2019 10:53:06 PM | 42

Today the U.S. halted all F-35 fighter plane deliveries and training for Turkey.
-------------------

Shanahan predicts Turkey will get the F-35

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 2, 2019 11:07:12 PM | 43

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said the U.S. government "hasn't given up yet" on delivering the F-35s to Turkey, but he acknowledged that the issue is complicated.

"The S-400 and the F-35, we've made it very clear that those are incompatible systems," Duford told reporters on Tuesday. "But we're still working our way through that and hope we can come up with an arrangement with Turkey."
---------------

Of course incompatible. Indeed, thanks to the S-400 system, at some point in time the Turks will find that the F-35 is no longer an invisible plane, but a fat spot on radar screens.

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 2, 2019 11:20:04 PM | 44

China couldn't change its foreign policy strategy while it still needed the Dollar.
In an alliance with Russia since 2014, it can be much more assertive and independent. I kept wondering why that didn't happen earlier, had been expecting it for many years.
My best bet is that a. neither were militarily 'ready', and b. Moscow actually would have preferred allying itself with Europe, and then cooperate with China as equals. The way things are going, it will always be Beijing's 'junior partner'.
Posted by: smuks | Apr 2, 2019 7:35:21 PM | 25

That's probably wrong, as is 'since 2014'. Russian History, and current Russian respect for and promotion of the concept of National Sovereignty suggests that Russia will never become anyone's junior partner.

From Wiki's Sino-Russia relations since 1991...
...
In December 1998, at the end of Prime Minister Li Peng’s visit to Moscow, Russia and China issued a joint communique pledging to build an ‘equal and reliable partnership’. This reinforced the Sino-Russian view that the United States was their main competitor in the global political scene.
In 2001, the close relations between the two countries were formalized with the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, a twenty-year strategic, economic, and – controversially and arguably – an implicit military treaty. A month before the treaty was signed, the two countries joined with junior partners Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The organization is expected to counter the growing influence of the United States military outreach program in Central Asia. The PRC is currently a key purchaser and licensee of Russian military equipment, some of which has been instrumental in the modernization of the People's Liberation Army. It is also a main beneficiary of the Russian Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.

This supports my recollection, from the early Noughties via Joe Vialls' website, that Ru & Cn were bosom buddies. Vialls was a big fan of Russia's ramjet anti-ship missile the SSN-22 Sunburn and published photos of Chinese patrol boats equipped with Sunburn launch tubes circa 2003.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 2, 2019 11:23:02 PM | 45

Off topic?
Just a friendly reminder - Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow!

https://youtu.be/xiqmEibSY0I

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 11:31:38 PM | 46

Hoarsewhisper
The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. Fking fantastic! Thank you for that.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 11:36:52 PM | 47

snake
I'm right there with you as far as the people rising up and shaking off the chains of the oppressors and breaking the strategy of divide and conquer. But I think that the concept of national sovereignty is a complete departure from the model of the nation state that we have become so accustomed to. I wouldn't say that the world is one nation, but I do believe we are one people, many families. We're all in this together, and the only way that we take our world back to even have a hope for the future, is by working together. I think we agree on that. Cooperation is much more fruitful than competition.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 12:14:53 AM | 48

An anti-USA, anti-NATO Communist Party also won the first municipal leadership election for the far left in Turkish history. The Erdogan regime will hopefully be replaced soon by a more enlightened and humanistic government.

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Apr 3, 2019 12:28:47 AM | 49

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 2, 2019 11:31:38 PM | 44

Off topic? Just a friendly reminder - Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow!
-----------------------

Such a universal advice can not be off topic. He is always on the subject under any circumstances and in any weather.

How to send the above youtube link to the State Department?

Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook:

"In Iraq, I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports, that Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011."

Department Press Briefing - April 2, 2019
-------------------------

Chutzpa...

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 3, 2019 12:33:43 AM | 50

The head choppers of Idlib are a minor problem compared to the US, The headchoppers no matter if they are Erdogan supported will disappear if US power dissapears.
Why would Erdogan by F25 if S400 will take them out anyway.
What is the cost of Turk F35s compared to what Turkey make making a few parts. My guess is, buying the target drone is more costly than the renumeration of making a few parts for them.
As Erdo it a bit antagonistic towards the US and the opposition may not be, I hope Erdo keeps on keeping on.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 3, 2019 2:06:22 AM | 51

I'm rather unimpressed by the political significance of the opposition winning local elections, even in major cities in Turkey. London being run by a Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, doesn't seem to have upset Theresa May very much. Dems run Chicago, and Trump doesn't seem to have difficulty. I don't quite see why CHP mayors in the Turkish cities already most opposed to Erdogan are going to be a great surprise. Erdogan's support is in rural Anatolia, not the westernised cities.

Posted by: laguerre | Apr 3, 2019 4:45:35 AM | 52

Kemalists in Turkey used to be solid nationalists. But the newer ones seem to be toadies to the globo-homo West. I don't like Erdogan, but better Islamism than degenerate globo-homo-ism.

Posted by: Andrea Daley Utronebel | Apr 2, 2019 2:49:33 PM | 4

Most ardent Kemalists are from Izmir. They voted for a publicly known freemason who celebrated victory dancing to the tunes of CIAo Bella. Mustafa Kemal is known to have closed down all masonic lodges in 1935 (at least that's what we have been tought in school). That's rather paradoxical for me because how a Kemalist (I'm one of them, sort of) could vote for an esoteric chap I really can't understand it. Or perhaps, I do understand it, considering that, large cities worldwide are said to be under the influence of the globalists.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Apr 3, 2019 5:38:17 AM | 53

@36 Zachary Smith I don't think it is the cost of the SU-57 that is holding back the purchase orders from the Russian military.

It's the engines. The engines that were designed for the SU-57 aren't ready, and so the handful of pre-production models that the Russian Military do have are sporting inferior engines.

Good enough to play with the thing. Even good enough to deploy to Syria for a while.
But not ready for prime-time, not until those engines are sorted out.

The Russians are just being canny: while the plane is still unfinished then they see no point in putting it into production. When it is ready then they'll open their wallets and order the production line to crank up.

They have the money. After all, they aren't paying for them in US dollars.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 3, 2019 7:44:17 AM | 54

Slightly OT but relevant to waning Yankee meddling influence.

Bhadrakumar's latest, April 2:
Chinese PLA troops in Venezuela - A Game Changer.
(Extract)
...
"The reports mention that the group of Chinese military personnel is 120-strong and arrived on the Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea off the Venezuelan mainland on March 28 ‘to deliver humanitarian aid and military supplies to the government forces.’ After delivering the humanitarian supplies, the Chinese PLA troops were apparently transferred to a Venezuelan military facility."
...
This is an exquisite example of Bad Faith colliding untidily with the Law of Unintended Consequences.
All the Yankee Suprmacists, except Trump, are beginning to realise that they've fallen for a similar Trump gambit as the 2 which the Dumbass Jews fell for. By threatening Venezuela, the US has virtually INVITED 'encircled' Russia and 'encircled' China to establish a NATO-style military foot print in AmeriKKKa's used-to-be sphere of influence.
Bhadrakumar's article points out that China has $70B investments to protect in Venezuela, and Russia has $17B invested. China would still be smarting over the $30B it walked away from due to NATO's looting War on Libya. So one doesn't need to be a genius to conclude that Russia and China are in Venezuela for AT LEAST as long as Maduro wants them there. When the Yanks whinge about "Occupation" everyone will ROFLTAO and point to Yankee-occupied Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 3, 2019 8:35:41 AM | 55

@ John Smith | Apr 3, 2019 12:33:43 AM | 48

Starting to look like a full court press...

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/01/cnn-and-wapo-demand-that-trump-further-escalate-tensions-with-russia/

Posted by: Desolation Row | Apr 3, 2019 8:36:50 AM | 56

jackrabbit @ 3

Agree with your viewpoint here and also count myself as one of the "cynics" from back when, although cynicism in this case resides in the the eye of the beholder.

I do recall a series of events 6 months ago or so, including the "accidental" shootdown of the Russian spy plane, Astara, etc. where I challenged the "non-cynical" viewpoint of all these events. Turkey is a key player. Erdogan emulates Putin in some respects, playing both sides opportunistically.

The world economy is very close or already in the leading edge of a downturn from which China itself is hardly immune. They borrowed their way out of the last recession and may have limited means to borrow their way out of another.

The ripple effects of global slowing will impact politics throughout the world's major and emerging economies. A time of unrest beckons and presents an opportunity for the left. The greatest weakness of globalism in downturns is also its strength during recovery. One fall down all fall down. This contagion is unavoidable until and unless countries first choose socialism, bind themselves together in their own political and trading blocs and then go off the globalist grid. One country alone cannot achieve anything surrounded by the jackals of finance and sanctions. Three or four led by a major or at least major emerging power will throw a monkey wrench into the global power structure.

Some will say Russia and China are already coupling to which I respond "show me." This is mostly a rhetorical mirage. Especially China because of its economic might (someone said Russia is the juniour partner which is correct although "partner" is too strong a term. "Butler" might be more accurate) but also Russia's elites are as firmly ensconsed in the globalist structure as ever. The uber wealthy aren't investing in socialist change and never will. They are investing in safe tax haven nutrients. It is to their benefit to remain where they are despite whatever economic and geopolitical challenges back home.

The evil empire's recent experience of an inverted bond yield clearly indicate recession on the horizon. The idiocy of Brexit may well be the tipping point, although it now appears we are headed for phony Brexit in the form of a customs union which may blunt the recessionary pull for a time but will also serve to enrage the hard Brexiters, many of whom belong in prison next to the Wall Street Banksters responsible for 2008.

Posted by: donkeytale | Apr 3, 2019 8:49:17 AM | 57

@Psychohistorian:

Sorry, I really disagree with you here (unlike on other things you write).

Central Banks are not 'privately owned', even if some obscure websites claim that they are.
Take the case of the ECB. Real interest rates are well below zero, which directly benefits states' budgets and stabilizes the economy. The post-2008 crisis would have been *much* worse without it.
So overall, it does serve the 'common interest' of society/ the economy.
You could argue that the Fed has been raising rates somewhat, even though it doesn't make economic sense. But without a rate differential vis-a-vis Japan and Europe, would there be any demand for $$$?

Turkey is under financial/ economic pressure to conform to NATO's wishes/ demands.
It's taking advantage of the current lira devaluation to rid itself of $ reserves, just as China is doing (or rather, trying). The US is threatening half the world with 'sanctions', but is anyone really scared about that? I highly doubt it at this point. It's just walling itself in.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:11:49 AM | 58

@snake 40

Yes, the tendency towards monopolies is systemically inherent in capitalism.
Democracy is essentially about equal rights for all, while capitalism means concentration of wealth (and thereby power) in an ever decreasing number of hands.
Or even simpler: "Democracy = one (wo)man, one vote / Capitalism = one Dollar, one vote"

The economic system of the last 200 years is not without its merits, though. Its decentralized nature and inherent incentive principle have led to an incredible dynamic of expansion, growth and (material) wealth.
But it is entirely unable to deal with the most pressing problems of today, ecological destruction and social inequality - bc. it has caused them. So its time is up, we need something new.

PS. It's difficult to find your replies if you misspell my nick. ;-)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:24:45 AM | 59

donkeytale @56

Overall a good summary which I found interesting as it fleshes out your socialist vs capitalist perspective. I'm skeptical about all nations going socialist together. The more people get disgusted with oligarchs, the more they turn toward socialism (rightly or wrongly) as a knee-jerk reaction. Maybe you are referring to this ground shifting under the oligarchs feet?

China-Russia "coupling" is in early stages so no surprise that you don't see it. I would disagree with "butler" due to Russia's vast resources and military tech.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 3, 2019 9:50:26 AM | 60

@Hoarse 43

I'm aware of the SCO foundation, and had heard about the Sino-Russian treaty at some point.
The difference is that until 2014, Moscow had both options, could always play one against the other. This changed when Russia agreed to ditch the Dollar in oil and gas trade (in exchange for Chinese financial backing when its currency was under attack in late 2014), thus turning its back on the west.

Russian History may suggest it, but the reality on the ground is that China has much more leverage and strategic options, thus 'senior partner'. Putin understands perfectly that he needs Beijing more than v.v. imo.

That's probably wrong, as is 'since 2014'. Russian History, and current Russian respect for and promotion of the concept of National Sovereignty suggests that Russia will never become anyone's junior partner.

@laguerre 51

I agree. If the AKP losses are indicative of things to come, that's very long-term.

@mourning dove 38/39

That sounds really positive and I'd love to agree, but I'm afraid differences don't go away if we pretend they're not there. It's better to clearly acknowledge and find a way to deal with them.

It's not about uni- vs. multipolarity, but rather about objective power potentials.
China has an economic potential of maybe ten Russias, or fifty Egypts. In negotiations with these countries, its interests will usually prevail, simply because it doesn't need them as much and can just 'walk away'. Whoever wants to do business with China has to adapt to Chinese wishes/ customs/ markets.

From my time living in China, I know that the superiority of the Chinese culture ('We have 5000 years of history.') is deeply rooted in the collective psyche. People expect the rest of the world to adapt to Chinese ways, but they're tolerant and patient: Not everyone had 5000 years to learn.

On a personal level, we can pretend that someone who barely makes a living cleaning offices has the same influence/ power as a billionaire working there - but who are we kidding?

(Yes, I adhere mostly to the realist school of thought.)

@donkeytale 56

What do you understand by 'globalist/globalism'? I've heard so many different, contradictory explanations...

PS. It's difficult to find your replies if you misspell my nick. ;-)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:55:43 AM | 61

add:
Sorry, copy-and-paste error - this was a quote from @43:

"That's probably wrong, as is 'since 2014'. Russian History, and current Russian respect for and promotion of the concept of National Sovereignty suggests that Russia will never become anyone's junior partner."

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:57:43 AM | 62

@Jockrabbit 59, donkeytale 56

'Early stages' was in the early 2000's, see Hoarsewhisperer @43.
I'd rather call today the 'final stages' due to the close financial cooperation and work-sharing on the global political stage.

China and Russia do complement each other fairly well today(!) - Russia has military tech, natural resources, intel and transport corridors, China has everything else. But longer term, China can/ will develop all of that itself and thus reduce its reliance.
Russia has one trump ;-) though: In times of accelerating climate change, it is one of the very few countries where arable land might actually increase. China may not need Russian tech or Russian gas in 2050, but can it survive without Russian soy and wheat?

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 10:07:11 AM | 63

As to what concerns us, pretty cool and nice situation, this one of turkey. And how about CRUELLY thinking this is the same country coopted for so long by Warshington--- and for so long enslaved by a FALSE aspiration to be part of the EU...
Every single day with fewer options on the table.
Until their only sound option is finally found...
But as a friend of mine says: ' it s not yet the way I like.

Posted by: augusto | Apr 3, 2019 10:18:41 AM | 64

smuks 30, 62

"As for electrification, we could have had it much earlier, had it not been for the oil industry and the petrodollar system. Now climate change is forcing us."

All industrial-level electrical production has been and will continue to be, for the duration of the ecocidal civilization (which with any luck for humanity and the Earth will be as short as possible), based completely on fossil fuels. What you say couldn't be more incoherent.

Don't bother replying about industrial "renewables" (a contradiction in terms). Anyone who knows anything about the subject knows those too are completely dependent upon the fossil fuel platform, and couldn't sustain themselves for a day without that platform.

As for electrification as such, we've seen what an unmitigated ecological and social disaster it's been.


"Russia has one trump though: In times of accelerating climate change, it is one of the very few countries where arable land might actually increase. China may not need Russian tech or Russian gas in 2050, but can it survive without Russian soy and wheat?"

I take it you also know nothing about boreal soils, and undoubtedly about industrial agriculture as well, also 100% dependent on fossil fuels and several other non-renewable "resources".

Good to see how joyfully you contemplate the destruction of the last forests on Earth, though, in a deranged attempt to make that untenable soil produce crops. As if humanity itself could continue to survive in such a deforested, totally desertified world.

The climate types who see ecocide as nothing but another business opportunity are if anything even more loathesome than the Trump-type de jure deniers. "Green capitalism" is nothing but literally the ultimate disaster capitalism.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 3, 2019 10:36:28 AM | 65

To Russ @64:

Fossil fuels are just stored solar energy. Nothing magical about them. They have the advantage of being cheap and easy to make a profit off of, which explains the current capitalism-dominated world's infatuation with them, but they are not the only option.

Just because something doesn't make business sense at the moment doesn't mean it is not possible. That's just a blind spot that many in the West have.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 3, 2019 10:47:56 AM | 66

Turkey should give TOTAL ASSHOLE country the USA the one finger salute, and tell them to fuck off with their shitty F-35, which is a shitty plane by most expert assessments. Go with the Russian fighter jets, which are better. Turkey will be many times better off cutting ties with TOTAL ASSHOLE country the USA. Why do business with a country which is always threatening you as well as countless other countries with punitive sanctions if you don't only buy their shitty shit? I for the life of me can not understand why the world puts up with TOTAL ASSHOLE country USA's nonstop sanctions, invasions, regime changes, and threats. USA should absolutely PAY and help rebuild Aleppo, Raqqa, Mosul, Baghdad, and the countless other cities it has destroyed and left uninhabitable.

Posted by: Deschutes | Apr 3, 2019 11:05:50 AM | 67

@53

The Russians are not going to mass produce the Su-57, nor their superior tank, the T-14 Armata. They decided several years ago they don't need them. They will take orders for export.

Russia built its military, not to wage an aggressive war, but to defend Mother Russia and to project power in a few regions.

They cut their military budget to put more money into domestic projects.

It is impractical to mass produce products (weapons systems) you will not use. Shrewdly, they are following that plan.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Apr 3, 2019 11:13:02 AM | 68

smuks @63

By "early stages" I meant increased trading and complex economic ties. Much of the agreements and other activity that underpin the economic relations have been put into place relatively recently. Example: Russia's SWIFT replacement and BRIC's moves to replace IMF and World Bank.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 3, 2019 11:31:17 AM | 69

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:57:43 AM | 61 & 60
(Re HW @ #43)

Don't lose any sleep over it. I understand that your #25 was speculative and pretty wide-ranging. I was quibbling ONLY with your 2014 date and the notion that Putin (and China) would ever allow Russia to be perceived as China's junior partner.
I am biased. I've watched Oliver Stone's 4 x Putin Interviews several times and believe that they provide sufficient insight to make a more accurate assessment of Putin than was revealed by Bush II's "peek into his soul." I'm convinced that Putin sees himself as Russia's "saviour" - the instrument sent to MRGA.
Only Putin could change my mind about that (and I'm not holding my breath) :-)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 3, 2019 11:50:25 AM | 70

John Smith
I'm glad you liked that. Thank you for that link, chutzpah indeed. Also, I haven't said, but I appreciate the links you share. I go back through threads to catch up on some reading and I just wanted to say thank you.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 12:05:44 PM | 71

smucks
I don't appreciate you speaking down to me. And I don't appreciate you twisting my words either.
I didn't say that differences go away or that I'm pretending that they don't exist. You can choose to view the world and relations through the lens of power and influence, but that is your worldview, it isn't the only lens available. Since you can't imagine any alternative, you project your view upon the world.
I said that I don't feel less equal to someone who is stronger, richer, or more educated than myself ,your response is what exactly? That plebs should accept our lot in life because the system which allows a small group to dominate the rest of us is "reality" and it's only a pretence that it could be different? Is that about it?


Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 12:33:52 PM | 72

Hoarsewhisperer
You might enjoy this if you haven't seen it.
https://youtu.be/y8Jo5KV-Zjk
It's a Russian documentary about Putin. It's a couple of hours, but it's time very well spent.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 12:40:04 PM | 73

Wonder what would happen in Erdogan's Turkey if elite Turkish Army soldiers were caught on film using a portrait of the main opposition politician for target practice as has been revealed to have occurred with UK Paratroops/terrorists stationed in Kabul.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 3, 2019 12:53:47 PM | 74

"On April 4, at 11.00, the #valdaiclub will host an expert discussion titled “#Russia-#Turkey Relations: the Syrian Factor”, with the participation of the experts from the Turkish #SETA Foundation."

The 11:00 time is Moscow Time I believe. The Valdai Club's very active with many items to read and watch. Like most of its presentations, this one's timely.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 3, 2019 1:09:48 PM | 75

Regarding the alliance between Russia and China, I see it as one of mutual dependence and mutual benefit. China has a larger economy but it needs energy and food imports from Russia. Also, while experience, expertise, and advice may not generate economic activity that is reflected in GDP, ask Maduro or Assad how much Russian advice and assistance are worth. Russia has a long experience in world politics acting as a counterweight to Western imperialism. In this area, I'm seeing China follow Russia's lead on the political front. Someone mentioned the Uygurs, China has the same incentive to fight terrorism and prevent it's spread as Russia does. China has the same interest in halting the trend of US regime change efforts that Russia does.
China's recent moves in Venezuela have the potential to completely change the dynamics of world politics and geopolitical manoeuvring.
I see this as a very promising development.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 1:16:13 PM | 76

Snake
I was thinking about it, and I had it backwards before. I said we are one people, many families, but I think that it's really- one Family, many Peoples.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 2:00:39 PM | 77

Aside from the normal crew protesting "Nooo! The empire meant to do that! It's all part of our... uh, I mean their plan!" (kinda like my cat when she doesn't make the jump to the open spot on a bookshelf... "I meant to do that!" [cleans paw]) there is some very impressive commentary here today.

I think a particularly important point was raised by mourning dove @38 by pointing out a conspicuous blind spot many westerners have, even really smart ones. The idea that there can be a basis for relations other than power and force is an alien concept for people in the West, and Americans in particular. This is why Americans project their own history of violence onto the Chinese as China's influence grows in the world. "The Chinese must be planning to enforce their influence in the world with drone murder and starvation sanctions and humanitarian bombing! What other way is there?" As well, when you have maintained your position in the hierarchy by clubbing baby seals (or fledgling socialist states, whatever), the idea of letting those seals grow up to where they are no longer threatened by your clubbing is terrifying. They might turn on you for revenge!

But in fact there are countries that have gone decades, or centuries, or even their entire existence without inflicting violence on another state, and not just because they couldn't but rather because they didn't want to. This fact is incomprehensible to a great many in the West.

I don't have much to contribute to the discussion other than to propose a possible reinterpretation of the "globo-homo" rant by Andrea Daley Utronebel @4. I agree with vk that a global homosexual conspiracy is about as credible as a global Jewish conspiracy, but I think the "homo" epithet traditionally covers more territory than just sexual preference and it is in this regard that the "globo-homo" charge might be relevant. Specifically, it suggests moral degeneracy. If we look at the underlying assumptions of the western cultural phenomenon of identity politics we can see that it is based upon competitive victim status, or a culture of victimhood. When contrasted with cultures possessing an honor basis to status, cultures that base status on victim-ness are easily seen as being degenerate.

I believe that the "anti-homo" reactions we are seeing in various parts of the world have little to do with sexuality and much more to do with a rejection of identity politics and victim culture in general. After all, it goes without saying that nobody who has seen traditional Turkish oil wrestling could argue that the Turks are homophobic. Various parts of the world have homosexual subcultures that do not define themselves by victim status and it appears that those subcultures do not trigger offense or rejection from the mainstream cultures they are embedded within.

I think it is important to make this distinction for a couple reasons. As more countries pivot away from the American empire, more people will vocally reject the empire's cultural exports. Making it clear that it is the culture of victimhood that is being rejected and not necessarily individuals who have embraced victim culture will help eliminate confusion and reduce the probability of counterproductive attacks on individuals with victim identities. Making clear what is being rejected will also help discourage others from embracing victim culture.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 3, 2019 2:35:27 PM | 78

@karlof1 #74: Quite similar to Strzok, Page, and others plotting to remove Trump because “he is a traitor”.

Posted by: S | Apr 3, 2019 2:40:02 PM | 79

@William Gruff: Can you think of a particular group of people who seem be extremely over-represented in any number of arenas - government, media, and finance, for example - and who also rely heavily on a self-proclaimed and perpetual victim status to inoculate themselves from scrutiny?

I can.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Apr 3, 2019 2:52:55 PM | 80

@ SlapHappy #80

You forgot to mention the part about this particular group of people being unique in their victim status. No other tragedy in all of human history can compare to the one endured by their fathers and grandfathers about 80 years ago in Europe. Suggesting otherwise has become a criminal act in some places.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 3, 2019 3:33:13 PM | 81

Slap Happy
I can too.

William Gruff
We agree on the need to recognize and overcome our blind spots, we all have them. In that spirit, I have to challenge your conflation of "homo" with embracing victim identity. To avoid the tangential morass of identity politics, I'm just going to point to the one minority group in the US who is statistically the most likely to suffer violence- trans women. It is a fact that they suffer more violence than any other group in the US, blaming them for that fact is what perpetuates their victim status. I have known many trans women, on whole they just want what everybody else wants- to be free to live their lives as who they really are, to not have to hide themselves behind a mask and pretend to be something that they aren't. To live free and to enjoy and hold the same rights and responsibilities that everyone has. Is that really too much to ask?
I also have to dispute your conclusion that "homo" culture in general and the trans phenomenon in particular, are products of Western denerency. Investigate Two-Spirits in Native American culture.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 3:34:15 PM | 82

William Gruff

https://goo.gl/images/Ex2WVc
https://goo.gl/images/cTdjoN

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 3:41:10 PM | 83

@Zachary Smith - Everyone knows that if there's one thing that needs draconian laws to protect it, it's the truth. In fact, I believe our host's nation - still under the boot of occupation as are all so-called Western nations at this moment in time - regularly sends its citizens to prison for daring to question the forced conventional wisdom with respect to said victimization.

In fact, if I didn't know better I'd think that anyone who defends an historic claim so vehemently as to criminalize its discussion might have more to hide than just the claim in question itself. Would that rational people could debate our supposed history without fear of social, political, and economic destruction, we might one day get to re-write that history.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Apr 3, 2019 3:53:38 PM | 84

The overwhelming majority of Turkey’s $146 billion (USD equivalent) external debt maturing before July 2019 is owed by the private sector. In contrast, maturing government debt is only 4.3 billion.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-currency-debt-jpm/turkey-faces-179-billion-external-debt-repayments-until-july-2019-jpmorgan-says-idUSKCN1LE0WS

Of this private debt total, about $6.4 billions USD was due before the end of 2018. The remainder is due in the first half of 2019.
https://www.ft.com/content/72f9b76e-bc26-11e8-8274-55b72926558f

Much of the Turkish debt is short term as the total debt is about 445 billion USD as of third quarter of 2018.
https://tradingeconomics.com/turkey/external-debt

Of this total debt about two thirds is in foreign currencies, primarily as Euro loans from European banks (the total debt provided is probably wrong). The Lira denominated debt will partially offset the need to purchase foreign currencies to pay back corporate debts.
https://qz.com/1400630/in-turkeys-currency-crisis-spanish-banks-have-the-most-exposure-of-any-foreign-country/

Spanish banks are not alone in having Turkish loan exposure as European banks will also suffer if the Turkish companies fail to meet their debt obligations. Not sure what insurance (derivatives) was taken out by the counterparts!
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/if-turkey-implodes-heres-who-else-gets-hurt.html

Why has Turkey setup such a large private banking sector when it could have nationalized all the banks? This move would have provided stability and immunity for currency speculation, especially if Turkey used a basket of currency reserves approach.

Politics will pay a major role as allies, such as Qatar, are coming to the aid of Turkey.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/turkey-lira-crisis-180814132601100.html

There is also the Turkstream gas pipeline which will provide transit fees to Turkey and the potential for rail and pipelines via a possible Qatar/Iran/Iraq/Syria hydrocarbon transportation route i
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-30/new-middle-east-alliance-shakes-world-powers

Posted by: Krollchem | Apr 3, 2019 3:56:09 PM | 85

mourning dove @82

The problem is not with "homo" culture but rather with "victim" culture. See how easy it is to confuse the two? Even you did it. That makes homosexuals particularly vulnerable to being targeted (along with Jews, for that matter) when reactions develop against victim culture.

As I mentioned, there are many places in the world where homosexual subcultures coexist with the dominant cultures without friction. As you noticed these are not western neoliberal cultures. A portion of the reason for friction in the neoliberal West is the effort by culture shapers (corporate mass media) to force a victimhood culture on society there. Homosexuals tend to draw the lightning first when there is a reaction to this effort. Thus, paradoxically, the stated aim in pushing identity politics and its associated victim culture of fostering tolerance and acceptance is actually subverted by identity politics!

To my knowledge (admittedly limited) all cultures where homosexuals are accepted without issues are still honor cultures and not victim cultures.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 3, 2019 4:16:46 PM | 86

US / Pompeo doubling down, will Turkey fold?

https://www.rt.com/news/455485-turkey-must-choose-between-remaining/

Posted by: Desolation Row | Apr 3, 2019 4:18:55 PM | 87

Pence threatens Turkey over S-400. Similar content to article linked @87.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 3, 2019 4:45:50 PM | 88

@87 desolation row... sounds like the ultimatum of a bully... i don't believe erdogan is going to respond favourably to it..

Posted by: james | Apr 3, 2019 4:45:51 PM | 89

William Gruff @78--

Did you happen to read this: "Western Wishful Thinking – ‘Excluding Everything That Makes China What It Is’?"

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 3, 2019 4:51:34 PM | 90

Since the NATO issue has been mooted, it should be noted that Canadian writer Yves Engler is publishing a 4-part series on NATO's Roots to mark its 70th anniversary as a Reactionary Organization.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 3, 2019 5:13:40 PM | 91

SlapHappy @84:

Don't say that around Black Americans! Suggesting that having great-great-grandparents who were slaves isn't the very worst thing that can happen to you and excuse every last personal flaw and failing is fighting verbiage! And don't get women started on their victimhood! Women have been victimized ever since the first penis was evolved! Who can match hundreds of millions of years of being the phuquee instead of the phuqueur?

No, people are right to rebel against victim culture.

Posted by: Williasm Gruff | Apr 3, 2019 5:23:24 PM | 92

@Russ 65

I'd appreciate it if you actually read and tried to understand what I'm posting before replying.
Completely agree with your last paragraph though, it's what I've been saying for 20 years.

@Red Ryder 68

Interesting point in your first paragraph re. Su-57 and T-14, but what's the source for that?

@Jackrabbit 69

That does sound like final stages to me, but let's not argue about terms and definitions.
My money (fig.) is still on an upcoming Beijing-inspired IMF reform that reflects the changing balance of power; the spring meeting (April 12-14) might be interesting. In a globalized economy, we need global institutions.

@mourning dove 72

Sorry if I misunderstood or misrepresented what you meant.
It's the old discussion between the different schools of thought. Yes, the goal should be a democratic global system with equal rights, but that's an ideal to be strived for, not the current state. At the same time, we have to face existing differences of power/ potential and find ways to deal with them.
We seem to agree that both views are important, just we places different emphases.

And no, I absolutely do *not* say that we should accept socio-economic inequality as it is. What I'm saying is that we have to analyze and understand the current societal system in order to change it.
(and...as I said, if you spell my nick correctly, it's easier for me to reply;-)

@Hoarsewhisperer 70

Perception or 'fact'?
I'm sure Putin wouldn't want that and do everything to prevent it, and he's a highly intelligent man (been saying that since c. 2002). Also, Beijing is very willing to help him save face. But does this change the somewhat lopsided nature of the Sino-Russian relationship?
Something important changed in May 2014. It's no coincidence that the oil price declined shortly thereafter, and the London and NY real estate bubbles popped. The west can deal with either Russia or China, but it's no match for the two of them combined.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 3, 2019 5:59:32 PM | 93

@ smuks | Apr 3, 2019 9:11:49 AM | 58

Central Banks are not 'privately owned', even if some obscure websites claim that they are.

Some obscure web sites?!?

The so-called “Federal” “Reserve” in the US (it's neither) has itself gone to court and gotten a judgment stating that it is not a government agency.

Top-notch economists like Michael Hudson (“Killing the Host") and Ellen Brown (“Web of Debt”) have published detailed proofs that the so-called “Federal” “Reserve” is neither federal nor a reserve, but a privately owned banking cartel, as has G. Edward Griffin in his magnum opus “The Creature From Jekyll Island,” if one prefers the view from the conservative side.

All central banks are privately owned, and the privately-owned Fed has been sucking wealth from the US economy with the force and velocity of a fire hose for the past 105 years. It's way past time to kill it off, once and for all.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Apr 3, 2019 6:07:43 PM | 94

For some interesting, out-of-the-ordinary observations on the Turkish election, see:

https://www.checkpointasia.net/us-israel-punish-renegade-erdogan-with-iran-sanctions/

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Apr 3, 2019 6:09:22 PM | 95

87 88 89

Turkey out of NATO??
That will cause quite the stir.

Posted by: arby | Apr 3, 2019 6:17:23 PM | 96

When reading all the hullabaloo about how important it was to never allow the F-35 to be in the hands of anybody operating the S-400, I had always assumed there were some deep technical reasons beyond my understanding which made this so necessary. Earlier tonight the veil was removed from my eyes when I ran into this headline:

With Turkish loss of the F-35, Israel keeps its aerial superiority

Suddenly the issue was resolved. None of the explanations had ever made any sense. Look at the freaking age of the F-35. The Wiki says "F-35 development started in 1992 with the origins of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program" and that the first flight took place in 2006. There has been plenty of time for snoops of all interested nations to have found out just about all they wanted to know by this time. Indeed, the Chinese J-31 is reported to be an improved copy of the F-35 built from an entire set of stolen blueprints, and it first flew in 2012. I never did believe the story line about "preserving the secrets" made any sense, but nobody had provided any better explanation. Now a newspaper in the apartheid Jewish state has given what is almost certainly the real reason for hammering the Turks on this issue. The pissant state simply doesn't want them to have F-35s.

We all know who holds the whip hand in the US, so it looks as if Turkey will have to be refunded the money it has paid for the two airplanes already turned over to them in the US. And there will be a several month delay in the F-35 program while new suppliers for several parts currently made by Turkey are found. But what the heck, that program is already 27 years old, and what does it matter if a few more months get added? Folks around the world can start calling us "Nippers" because we're always listening for our Master's Voice. It's a tradition now that we're willing to obey.
Cueing Nancy Pelosi, 2019:

Thank you all for what you do. Thank you AIPAC. I’m here to pay my respects. Thank you for honor of joining you this morning. Thank you for your leadership.

May God bless Israel. May God bless the United States of America.

Notice who got first dibs on God's Blessing?

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 3, 2019 11:06:19 PM | 97

smuKs
You haven't said anything to me before about misspelling your 'nick' but I'll watch that, thanks.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 11:27:35 PM | 98

William Gruff
Wow, you can really twist things up. It's disingenuous to say that I confused homo culture and victim culture when I was responding to your comment which explained the one by the other.
FYI oiled fighting isn't a homo subculture, it's homoerotic but that's not the same thing. Do you consider American football and MMA fighting to be examples of homo culture? Both are very homoerotic.

I'm not going down that road with you regarding your racist and misogynist comments, but I will suggest that perhaps you have fallen in to the white-males-losing-their-privilege-feels-like-oppression victim culture.

Posted by: mourning dove | Apr 3, 2019 11:37:06 PM | 99

Smersh @ Highway 61

(jk smuks -- your question and comments are most excellent)

What do you understand by 'globalist/globalism'? I've heard so many different, contradictory explanations...

I understand globalism as the deep state times 3.142

Posted by: donkeytale | Apr 3, 2019 11:42:05 PM | 100

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