26.10.2019 Author: Deena Stryker

World’s Biggest Empire Talks Itself into Oblivion


In France, there is a derogatory term for people who sit around in neighborhood cafes fixing the world: “They’re just cafe du commerce”, referring to the small town meeting places of nineteenth century entrepreneurs. Well, the Trump impeachment inquiry’, which has dragged on for months, has turned the media into one great cafe du commerce: day in and day and night out, each ‘news’ hour consists of an anchor surrounded by anywhere from two to five ‘experts’ guessing the meaning of each twist in the American soap opera based on the most recently uttered words. Rising numbers of Blacks and Latinos, ranging from young female podcasters to professors emeritus at prestigious universities, not to mention former State Department or Pentagon officials, many appear to be on call. Although they are not remunerated, their daily presence in every home is great for advancement.

The current issue under discussion has to do with Donald Trump’s callous betrayal of Syria’s Kurds, whose renowned fighters, including female brigades, have been killing or capturing ISIS fighters with US support for several years. It took only one phone call from Turkey’s President Erdogan for the US President to agree that he could ‘move a border’ with tanks, as Russia is accused of doing after consulting the mainly Russian-speaking inhabitants of Crimea in a referendum.

Responding to loud condemnation by soldiers and civilians aghast at this betrayal of America’s ‘sacred honor on the battlefield, Trump claimed dismissively that ‘we never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives’, finally convincing Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, who until now, fearing the Republican Senate would refuse to actually impeach the President, had been dragging out the ‘investigative’ process hoping be able to declare in January that a trial would be too close to the start of the first major event in the 2020 election season, which should be allowed to decide Trump’s fate.

Most Americans, dependent on television, or local newspapers that are part of a nation-wide conservative chain, knowing nothing about daily events in other countries — whether Europe, Africa or Asia — will continue to believe that the only things that matter happen in Washington, D.C. They don’t know that our European allies, while still too pusillanimous to declare their independence, have scuttled our sanctions on Iran, and are horrified at our abandonment of the Kurds. In reality, the American media is clueless about the Kurds, as well as to Turkey’s unique geopolitical position. They know that it has been a member of NATO since 1952, designated as ‘a bulwark against the Soviet Union’s southern flank’ — but not much more.

In the late eighties, as the historic rivalry between Turkey and Greece, began to quiet down in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey embraced its position as the geographic hub between Europe and Asia, while applying to meet the criteria for joining the fledgling European Union. Year after year, panicked at the thought of a Muslim country entering its all-Christian club, the EU kicked the Turkish can down the road, until US wars in the Middle East created thousands upon thousands of refugees, who headed to Europe via Turkey, making it an indispensable partner in its growing struggle to keep all Muslims at bay, since many were crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey. First, the EU got Ankara to police its beaches but when they proved almost impossible, it made Turkey promise to take back those who had failed to obtain refugee status, allowing it to wield a certain power over it.

Meanwhile, still smug in its thousand year history, Europe, failed to pay attention to the 2009 founding of the BRICS, that united Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, in a first step toward a multi-polar world. Nor did they pay attention when Putin and Erdogan began healing relations between the former Ottoman and Russian Empires (Catherine the Great won Crimea back from the Turks in the eighteenth century). Having been eyeing the BRICS since 2013, in 2018 Erdogan, who could potentially bring the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims (24% of the world population) into the organization, was invited to join the yearly summit as an observer.

All of these events having flown under the Western media radar, the US and the EU have been ill-prepared to evaluate the tragedy playing out for Syria’s Kurds, (there are also significant Kurdish communities in Iran and Iraq as well as in Turkey, where the PKK has fought for a piece of the pie for decades, enraging Ankara. Oblivious to the local drama, Americans remember Turkey as ‘a NATO ally’, guarding Russias southern flank’, (and storing nuclear warheads at its Incirlik airbase). Hardly aware of the BRICS, the fail to realize that Eurasia today counts for so much more than Europe did in the days of of the Greek-Turkish standoff, whose lasting achievement was the partition of Cyprus between the two enemies).

In the latest installment of Trump’s new foreign affairs gambit (following North Korea and Iran) our former vassal Iraq has refused to host the American troops being withdrawn from Syria, while predictably, Iran declares its support for Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Kurds. In what has become a regular occurrence when things need to be sorted out in the area, Erdogan and Putin met in Sochi, a convenient venue for the two Black Sea former rivals, signaling to those whose job it is to wipe up Trump’s messes that it was time for him to backtrack. For once, visibly cowed by what he had unleashed, the president read a low-key statement crafted by his foreign affairs handlers, attempting to put a positive spin on what could have developed into a new Middle Eastern War.

It must also be said, however, that in a backhand way, Trump has brought to life the very scenario he has been trying to sell to the military-industrial complex. While the chattering classes continue to push the most powerful empire the world has ever known into oblivion, when all is said and done, the US and Russia are actually working together to heal a long-standing wound between Turkey and the Kurds, instead of preparing for war. As a matter of fact, President Putin’s website publishes detailed reports of his daily activities, that show his consistent efforts to bring nations together rather than being the rogue actor the deep state has created for its own purposes.

Deena Stryker is a US-born international expert, author and journalist that lived in Eastern and Western Europe and has been writing about the big picture for 50 years. Over the years she penned a number of books, including Russia’s Americans. Her essays can also be found at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.