Monday, April 09, 2007
Barnett, T.P.M. 2007. Like Hanson... Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. April 8, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/04/toms_column_this_week_6.html#comment-16630.
Tom Barnett, who I admire greatly, responded to my concerns that Turkey may not belong in Europe:
Like Hanson, I think you're too observant of friction and not of force (the former being primary a function of the latter, but hardly its master). It's very seductive and seems very perceptive in historical terms (hence the appeal to historians), but it's a trap of immense proportions in terms of solid strategic thinking (live in the world you find yourself in, because these are revolutionary times).
Acutlaly, I think Tom and I are closer than that. The recent Islamism in Turkey is doubtless a response to the uncertainties of a globalizing economy, and thus come from different sources than Arab extremism. And again, I am naturally sympathetic to the Turkish cause. I've criticized German maltreatment of Turks before. But the idea of mass Turkish immigration to Europe, which is inseparable from a meaningful entry of Turkey to the European Union, is too dangerous.
Earlier, Dr. Barnett opined on a possible strike on Iran.
Back to our asynch dialogue of late: to me, attacking Iran overloads the Core on feedback, thus putting it at risk. I can't grow the Core if I split it, thus my fear.
This is the best reason for keeping Turkey out of Europe. Europe is in making national identities more fluid than they have been any time since the Dark Ages. That's not an exaggeration. The blending of German, French, and Italian peoples has not happened on this scale since Charlemagne. Europe apperas to be able to handle this, but Europe already is having problems processing Muslim immigrants. Allowing Turks to live freely in Europe would ramp up this disruptive feedback to Europe, perhaps splitting Europe off from the rest of the Core. (The concern is not that Europe would descend to a third-world country -- though the no-go zones already have --- but that Europe's attention and concerns would become centered on its unique Islam problem and not applicable to other Core-wide pursuits.)
The impact of massive Turkish immigration to Europe would far, far exceed yet another chapter in the "America acts recklessly in the Middle East" saga that Europe's been watching for decades. So how can one oppose an Iran War, out of concern for the Core's reaction, while supporting Turkish immigration to Europe? Especially when other larger and vital states, such as Ukraine, have yet to be integrated.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
"The Gates of Vienna, transcribed by TigerHawk, TigerHawk, 10 October 2005, http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/10/gates-of-vienna.html (from a private email).
An Ottoman army 140,000 strong had advanced on the greatest city in central Europe, the seat of the Austrian Habspurgs and a bulwark of Christendom that had defied repeated Turkish campaigns, assaults and sieges. This time the sultan did not intend to fail. He had dispatched his grand vizier, Kara Mustafa, with the finest soldiery the empire could muster: the corps of janissaries formed of Christian boys taken as tribute and school to Muslim fanaticism, and the Spahis, cavalrymen who had swept away the sultan's enemies from the Danube to the Euphrates. The Muslim heart of the Ottoman army was wrapped in the muscle of tributary states: Christian auxiliaries swelled the sultan's leviathan force, the contingents of princes and noblemen whose lands had been conquered in generations past. Mercenary French artillery masters directed the Ottoman siege guns, and the king of France, Louis XIV, had concluded an agreement with the sultan not to assist his fellow Christians against their would-be conquerors. For the Sun King, humbling his Habsburg rivals was more important than the fate of Europe. He set a pattern from which the policy of France has only rarely strayed.
French diplomats had done their best to dissuade any other European states from sending troops to raise the siege of Vienna. Fearful of Bourbon malice, the states of Italy chose to remain passive, and the Habsburgs could rely upon only the remnants of their battered armies and slight reinforcements from Bavaria and a few lesser German principalities.
The numbers were not enough to defeat the massive Ottoman force. Only a single power remained with the strength to save Vienna. The Poles had defended Europe against Turks and Tatars, against Cossack raids and Muscovite barbarism, for a quarter of a millennium. Attacked on all sides in the mid-seventeenth century -- by Tatars, Turks, Ukrainians and Swedes -- the Poles had nonetheless presesrved their state and further burnished their reputation as dauntless soldiers and devoted Christians.
France did all that policy could effect to prevent the Poles from riding southward to rescue the Habsburg Empire. The rough democracy that prevailed among the Polish nobility proved susceptible to French blandishments and threats. Poland's kind could not unite his own country behind his purpose of saving Vienna. Louis XIV and his coutiers at Versailles were certain that France would soon be the dominant power remaining in Europe.
The West had won on the continent of Europe, with Christendom saved by a Polish king. Poland's thanks was dismemberment in the next century, as the rulers of Austria, Russia, and Prussia partitioned its territory and drove its heroes abroad to fight for freedom wherever such wars were waged -- and still fought for their homeland in hopeless rebellions.
No Europeans fought longer for their freedom and the liberty of others than did the Poles. And none have received less gratitude.
Read the whole thing
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"Guerrillas Kill 29 Iraqis Tuesday, Wound over 100 in North; 3 US Servicemen Dead; Kurds Abducting Arabs, Turkmen in Kirkuk," by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 15 June 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/06/guerrillas-kill-29-iraqis-tuesday.html.
Steve Fainaru and Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post report that the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan have used their police and security units in Kirkuk to kidnap hundreds of Arabs and Turkmen in the city. They have been held in prisons outside any legal framework, and some have been tortured. The two intrepid reporters have gotten hold of a US State Department memo on the issue:
'A confidential State Department cable, obtained by The Washington Post and addressed to the White House, Pentagon and U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said the "extra-judicial detentions" were part of a "concerted and widespread initiative" by Kurdish political parties "to exercise authority in Kirkuk in an increasingly provocative manner." '
Kirkuk is a powderkeg. After the fall of Saddam, the city of about 1 million was estimated to be about 1/3 each Turkmen, Arab and Kurdish. But many Arabs have been chased out, and many Kurds have come into the city (in many cases returning to a place from which Saddam had expelled them). Fainaru and Shadid now seem to suggest that the Kurds are about 48 percent of the population, with Turkmen and Arabs a quarter each.
The kidnapping tactics extend to Mosul and perhaps to Tel Afar.
Arab on Kurdish violence could provoke a civil war. Kurdish on Turkmen violence could bring Turkey into northern Iraq, since Ankara sees itself as a protector of Iraq's 750,000 Turkmen.
US military and Kurdish officials denied the abductions or said they had ended, but obviously the State Department does not agree, and Fainaru and Shadid find plenty of evidence that they are continuing.
Good. The 85% of Iraq has been terrorized by an ethnically-based civil war for years. A basic concern for the human rights of Iraqis demands that the 85% fight back.
Juan Cole's ability to delay relay the horror of Iraq, warning of a (future) civil war, is breathtaking.
Monday, February 07, 2005
MOSUL, Iraq (Army News Service, Feb. 3, 2005) -- An estimated $25 million is being spent to construct 100 new border forts along the northern borders of Iraq, as well as rehabilitate and enhance numerous points of entry.
In several northern provinces, 34 forts are currently under construction and 66 others are planned to start in the coming months.
“Renovations will take approximately two to three months and new forts will take about six,” explained Capt. Dave Bouffard, battalion civil engineer for the 133 ECB(H). “The forts are being constructed using a concrete masonry process that maximizes the use of locally available materials. All construction is being done by local Iraqis. No Coalition Forces are participating in the actual construction.”
“The forts function as the Iraqi border patrol’s command outpost from which they run 24-7 operations,” explained Bouffard. “All forts include living quarters and office space, as well as independent life support sources for water, fuel, power generation and sewer.”
“We know how important it is to prevent foreigners from coming into Iraq,” said Wilson Myers, Project and Contracting Office representative for Iraq’s northern governorates – Dahok, Irbil and Ninewa. PCO is the contracting agency for distribution of the construction funds. “We are focused on properly equipping and manning the force in order to protect freedom for a sovereign Iraq.”
Wikipedia shows that these "northern governorates" are Kurdish provinces bordering Turkey. Adding this to earlier news of forts on the Saudi, Jordanian, and Turkish borders, it is further proof of our committment to free movement of people between Iraq and Iran.
(Parenthetically, to answer the question of the anti-immigration right, "When do we get our border forts [with Mexico]?," the answer is never. Just as we are building a Shia sphere in the Greater Middle East, we are continuing the work of President Madison in united a North American Sphere at home.)
Clearly one purpose for connecting Iraq to Iran is to put pressure on the Shia Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. But why are forts going up on the Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkish Kurdistan border? One possibility is that the pressure is coming from the Kurds, showing Turkey that 1990s-styles interventions in Iraq will not be tolerated. Alternatively, pressure for the forts could be coming from Baghdaders trying to enforce an artificial border in the Kuridsh homeland.
I believe it is the former. The Kurds are too strong militarily for an anti-Kurd system of forts to appear on the border. "All construction is being done by local Iraqis" means that Kurds are in charge of these forts in their construction, and they are doubtless manning them now. And if they are truly self-supporting, the Kurds will be manning them until they are united with their Turkish brothers.