The US continues to play its poker game of “Show Down” with a growing list of unhappy countries. We are at the point where we might soon see a call to rename the US… to the United States of Sanctions, the USS.
Turkey is getting most of the publicity now with its currency and economy under assault. The sanctions professionals sought out a fertile weak spot, that Turkey had used a tried-and-true method of bolstering an economy via debt. That may work in the short run and for keeping people happy before the last Turkish election, but sticking your debt neck out makes you a bigger target for having your currency and economy sold short.
Turkey joins the EU, Russia, China, Canada, Iran…the list keeps growing, under a semi false-flag of trade imbalances. I say that not tongue in cheek, but because with America’s debt over $20 trillion, the potential revenues from a successful trade war would only put a dent in the budget deficit. Trump knows this.
Why was there no one concerned about these trade deficits for the past 20 or 30 years? Why no concern after 9-11, when the US began hemorrhaging debt with huge budget overruns, later followed by our own pump-and-dump real estate boom and bust that brought our banking system down?
Maybe it is because the US is angry that its unipolar coup was not successful; and its plan to carve Syria went up in smoke, literally; and its plan to turn Ukraine into a front line NATO state was not only unsuccessful, but left the country on life support. Yemen, under attack by the West, will not surrender. Mexico will not pay for the US border wall, and Iran refuses to meet with Mr. Trump.
It reminds me of a famous line from the American comic, Rodney Dangerfield, “I just can’t get no respect!”
China refuses to back off of even giving up extorting US companies to give up all of their patent rights on anything they manufacture in China. Although Veterans Today has been a huge critic of Trump, we have supported his sanctions on China, as China has effectively been sanctioning US companies for a long time. When China was buying a huge chunk of our annual debt, one could understand the tradeoff being made there, but China is no longer buying US debt. It is buying foreign companies and gold.
I am suspicious that the hand around Turkey’s throat is a demonstration to others of what can happen to them, despite Turkey being a US, European and NATO ally. It’s almost like the US is taunting Turkey and Mr. Erdogan over his “win” in the elections by pulling the economic trap door under his feet to listen to him howl; and howl he has, playing the victim to a degree we have not seen before.
Of course Mr. Erdogan will not accept the Syrian people playing the victim. He continues to keep the militants and terrorists in Idlib province well supplied. Certainly the US has not disapproved of that, as it denies Assad a complete victory. But the Pentagon is unhappy with its Kurdish Kaper currently twisting in the wind.
Sure the US-backed Kurdish forces have taken a lot of oil fields from Syria. But they have no logistical power to export those resources. They are just a bargaining card for future autonomy. While we hear almost nothing anymore about the Kurdish insurrection that happened in Turkey, we do hear endless threat mongering from Erdogan over the big Kurdish bogeyman in NE Syria living off the American taxpayer preparing to invade Turkey some day.
Turkey is friends with a long list of countries on the US target list. And they all have been talking a lot about working closely together to build a common defense against US sanctions, something that VT has long editorialized would be a natural response to US economic thuggery and boomerang on the US eventually.
Who would be a better target of economic decapitation than Turkey in order to throw a monkey wrench into the anti-US sanctions movement building worldwide? Are we witnessing a preemptive strike to terrorize the Treasury Departments of those other targeted countries?
Salman Rafi Sheikh at NEO has covered Turkey’s shift toward China in his last article, as it was an untapped source for Turkey. But I disagree that the Silk Road will have anything to do with who wins or loses the current mega trade war. The Silk Road is a long term project, and a lot of geopolitical beheadings will take place before it becomes a gravy train for those along its route.
If Erdogan goes down, he is going down swinging. His political party’s legal supporters have moved to sue American officers at Incirlik base for aiding and abetting terrorists in Turkey. With all the aiding and abetting of terrorism that Erdogan has done in Syria, I would have counseled him not to wave that bloody flag.
Turkey has a long history of geopolitically playing both sides against the middle. It played a key role in looting virtually all of Aleppo’s industrial equipment that was all ripped out of the factory floors and trucked to Turkey, to end up in the hands of, I am sure, Erdogan party supporters. We know of Turkey’s buying ISIS oil in an operation so big it could be seen from the moon by an astronaut with a child’s telescope. US pilots were telling VT early on that they were not allowed to bomb these oil tanker convoys when they are the kind of target that fighter bomb pilots dream of.
VT also discovered that, during the time when Erdogan was making nice to Iran and Israel, he was letting Israeli Air Force planes conduct practice bombing runs over geography similar to what Israeli pilots would face when penetrating Iran’s air defenses.
Not all the Israeli planes returned from those training missions, with some staying over, being shuffled into Georgia and later Azerbaijan for prestaging for use in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel’s threat to “go it alone” was not all bluff.
Gordon Duff and I knew that Israel would want to have bases on Iran’s border for air search and rescue for any downed pilots, and also a drone base for surveillance missions. We decided to go looking on Google Earth one night, and it took us only about 30 minutes to find the drone base – an isolated section on a western Azerbaijan base with its own hanger and access road, with the giveaway being a worn spot in the grass that drones would be using to make night take offs and landings. At the time, Israel was a big customer for Azerbaijan oil, with Baku buying a lot of Israeli military equipment.
On the plus side, Turkey was a big help to Iran during the crunch of the sanctions with a huge border traffic in needed consumer goods, and also in gold trading that was converted to hard currency in Dubai banks. The same banks were popular with US Congressmen on summer junkets to convert their collected gratuity cash into bearer bonds before their stopover in Switzerland on the way home. But the American press would never dare touch stories like these.
While we feel empathy for the Turkish people, a case can be made for the old saying, “Be careful what you do unto others, that they may do unto to you”. When Erdogan asked his people to sell their gold and buy lira, he knew he was asking them to throw themselves onto the funeral pyre; for if he did not survive the current crunch, he did not care if they didn’t.
Turks are not stupid. They never have been. If they have a hard currency stash, they will conserve it to save their families, as that is their main responsibility. As for Erdogan and his ruling party, saving the country is their responsibility.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.