By Theodore Shoebat
Erdogan has just recently said that Turkey’s plan to have its military presence in Syria will not be ceased by the supposed tensions with the United States. In other words, the United States still supports Turkey’s military expansion into Syria. As we read in one report from the Hurriyet Daily News:
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 3 that he expected a joint roadmap with the United States regarding the northern Syrian city of Manbij not to be impacted by tensions bewteen the NATO allies.
Erdoğan’s comments, in a speech in Ankara, came two days after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the trial of a U.S. pastor accused of backing terrorism.
So basically the supposed ‘tensions’ going on between the US and Turkey is one big distraction, and to me it looks like some way for the United States to appear balanced in its dealings with Turkey. If the United States appears too pro-Turkey, it would get accused of backing a totalitarian regime. So, in order for the United States to appear that they are not completely in bed with Turkey, they have to have a show of ‘tensions’ with the Anatolian country.
Turkey is bringing back the caliphate, and NATO is helping them to accomplish this.
According to some prominent politicians in the Turkish parliament, there is a plan being conspired by Erdogan and his ilk to bring back the Caliphate to the center of the religious and political paradigm of the Islamic world. Cem Toker, the former head of the libertarian Liberal Democratic Party in Turkey, recently warned in an interview:
“There will be another referendum in the next four years… There is one more referendum left to come. I believe that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is assertive (on this point). My guess: the caliphate. We will ask the nation, ‘shall we bring back the caliphate or not?”
When asked by the interviewer on whether or not he was certain of what he was saying, Toker responded: “It’s a very, very great possibility, yes …March 3, 2024 is the hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the caliphate…”
The interview was done on the Turkish private television station, KRT, which is known for being opposed to Erdogan’s Islamist aspirations. It is thus not surprising that the Turkish regime has been working to have the station shut down. In January of this year, Cem Küçük, who is a mouthpiece commentator for the Erdogan regime, demanded that the station be shut down. Lawyer Fidel Okan announced on Twitter that the station will be closing down.
Meanwhile, there are very prominent officials in the American government working to help Turkey gain the military technology it needs to have a conquering force.
There seems to be an internal struggle taking place within the United States government on whether or not to allow Turkey to obtain F-35 fighter jets. But there are very influential officials lobbying to permit the defense company Lockheed Martin to sell F-35s to the Turks. Meanwhile, in the NATO summit, NATO countries have affirmed that they will back Turkey against the Syrian government, which thus gives further leeway for Turkey’s geopolitical agenda of expanding its military into Syria.
In its most recent meeting in Brussels, NATO backed Turkey against Syria, declaring in a joint statement that Syria poses a national security threat to Turkey. “We remain concerned that Turkey has been hit three times in the last four years by missiles launched from Syria. We continue to monitor and assess the ballistic missile threat from Syria,” the declaration said.
“The increasing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the vicinity of the south-east border of the Alliance has been and remains a driver in NATO’s development and deployment of a ballistic missile defense system, which is configured to counter threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area,” it added.
The NATO alliance also vowed “tailored assurance measures” for Turkey against Syria:
“Tailored assurance measures for Turkey to respond to the growing security challenges from the south contribute to the security of the Alliance as a whole, and will be fully implemented …We have increased the strength of the NATO Response Force, and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is ready to deploy on short notice”
Pointing to a missile threat or to Kurdish separatists is simply a way of justifying enabling Turkey to expand its hegemony into Syria. Erdogan claims that he wants Turkish forces in Syria to crush the YPG, but remember what he said back in 2016: “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason”. Turkey wants to enter Syria to replace the government and conquer the land. And the United States is giving Turkey the green light to expand into Syria. As a Whitehouse press statement pointed out early this year: “President Trump stressed the need to intensify cooperation with Turkey with respect to shared strategic challenges in Syria.”
Erdogan most certainly has fantasies about reviving the Ottoman Empire, and this is reflected in the fact that Erdogan envisions that Turkey will be once again a great power in the year 2071, and paralleled this date to 1071, the year the Seljuk Turk Sultan Alp Arslan defeated the Christian Byzantines in the Battle of Manzikert. In August of 2017 Erdogan declared in a speech:
“Just like [Turkey’s vision for] 2023 and 2053, we’ve also determined 2071 [marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt] as a ‘horizon line’ … We are proud of our ancestors who walked with glory, honor and victory into the center of Europe after entering Anatolia from Malazgirt, with the red flag in one hand and the green sanjak in the other”
Erdogan then mentioned Mehmet II, the conquerer of Constantinople, and Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic, and said that he and the Turkish people are continuing their struggle:
“Whoever Osmangazi [the founder of the Ottoman Empire], Fatih Sultan Mehmet [the 7th Sultan of Ottoman Empire who conquered Istanbul], Sultan Abdulhamid [the 34th Ottoman Sultan] and the veteran [Gazi] Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [the founder of the Republic of Turkey] struggled against, we also struggled with them on July 15”
Erdogan sees his cause as the perpetuation of the struggle of the sultans before him, including the most famous of sultans, Mehmet II, one of the most significant figures in the formation of Ottoman power. Mehmet was greatly influenced by Zaganos Pasha, a Slavic military commander who left Christianity and converted to Islam, and who held tremendous influence on him. In fact, it was Zaganos who urged Mehmet to conquer Constantinople, an aspiration that he completed on May 29th of 1453. After this, Mehmet sealed his reputation as a supreme leader, and selected all of his grand viziers from his personal slaves, concentrating government power to his hands.
After this, Mehmet then began to expand the Ottoman Empire deeper into Europe. The Ottomans took Athens in 1458; Serbia in 1459; Morea in 1460. Bosnia got absorbed into the Ottoman empire in 1464, and the Bosnian nobility took up the jihad of the Ottomans and warred against Hungary. After a long war with Venice (1463-1479), the Ottomans took control of Negropont and the Adriatic coastline. The Turks took Trebizond in order to control the Black Sea coastline of Anatolia and to make the Black Sea into an Ottoman maritime territory. Eventually the whole of Crimea went into Ottoman hegemony after the khan of the Golden Horde agreed to become an Ottoman vassal in 1475. Mehmet II established a major trading network, connecting Constantinople (now Istanbul) with routes north into Russia and Central Asia, and west into Europe (See Itzkowitz, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition, ch. 1, pp. 24—27) It is this empire that Erdogan desires to revive.
Whether or not you believe that Turkey is going to return to a caliphate, one thing that is certain is that Turkey is trying to revive its empire. This is evident in Turkey’s recent military expansions into both Syria and Iraq. There has been a struggle within the US government on whether or not to help further enable Turkey in its militarist expansionism in the Middle East. A focus in these tensions is Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who is currently in Turkish prison. Numerous American lawmakers want to put pressure on Turkey to release Brunson through efforts to prevent Turkey from getting F-35 fighter jets.
US senators have twice voted in favor of preventing Turkey from getting F-35s, a vote which is being apparently ignored by Lockheed Martin which recently held a ceremony for the giving of the first two F-35s purchased by Ankara. Other than the situation of pastor Brunson, another focus of US lawmakers is Turkey’s move to purchase two Russian S-400 missile-defense systems. With the Cold War mentality of the Americans, US senators have threatened Turkey in a defense authorization bill with stopping the delivery of F-35s unless it ceases its purchase of Russian S-400s. According to one report from Radio Free Europe:
“U.S. senators have moved for a second time to block delivery of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey unless it abandons an arms deal with Russia, even as the plane’s manufacturer announced the roll-out of the first aircraft purchased by Ankara.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill for U.S. foreign operations on June 21 after adding an amendment blocking delivery of the F-35s unless Turkey drops its plans to buy Russian S-400 missile-defense systems.”
Politicians in the State Department have been supposedly very unhappy with these moves by the US Senate to prevent Turkey from getting F-35s, with one US official reporting that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has personally told lawmakers to remove any anti-Turkish language from the defense authorization bill.
There has also, reportedly, been some deception taking place on the part of the State Department. For example, the State Department lobbied for Turkey early this year when it stated that pastor Brunson might have been released by the Turkish government. This convinced some US lawmakers, like Senator Jeanne Shaheen, to rescind the sanctions that prevented Turkey’s purchasing of F-35s. But this turned out to be not true when Turkey remanded Brunson. Ragip Soyly, writing on the Daily Sabah reported on this:
“The State Department, on the other hand, earlier this year convinced Senator Jeanne Shaheen and others that Turkish courts might have released Brunson in May, and in return Shaheen retracted the then-intended sanctions. Their expectations proved to be fruitless. As a Turkish judge later remanded Brunson, senators came up with fresher and bolder sanction ideas like the F-35s. Their intent was hitting Turkey where it would hurt.”
Another report from the Daily Sabah from late last month reads:
“Sen. Shaheen and Sen. Lankford, also previously acknowledged that they would pursue targeted sanctions against Turkish officials in the 2019 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs spending bill. The same senators dropped a similar attempt in March following State Department lobbying. However, because a Turkish court remanded Brunson last month, the senators brought this threat back on the agenda, expecting more leverage against Ankara.”
While there have been moves by senators to stop Turkey from acquiring American Air Force technology, there are senators who, while acknowledging this, still advocate for ‘strategic partnership’ with Turkey in Syria. In June of 2018, US senators Jeanne Shaheen and Lindsey Graham had a meeting with Erdogan in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) headquarters in Ankara, which lasted about an hour. Graham then went onto Twitter to say that while there are things about Turkey’s policy that differ from American policy, and that this has been a cause of tensions, the US must continue its strategic partnership with Turkey in the Middle East, saying that “failure is not an option” when it comes to such relations.
Democrat senator Chris van Hollen questioned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Turkey acquiring the F-35 late last month, stating:
“Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400s, in combination with the F-35s, would allow Russia to detect and expose potential vulnerabilities with the F-35, and that would present a national security threat. I know you testified over in the House that quote — you were quote — ‘imploring’ — unquote — the Turks not to go forward. I think we want a more definitive statement. This committee just passed last week legislation, saying that its one or the other. We want the Turks to get the F-35. But can you tell us today, Mr. Secretary that we will not deliver the F-35s to Turkey until they pledge they won’t acquire the S-400?”
Now, while working to prevent Turkey’s efforts to get American F-35s should be acknowledged, we should at least observe what van Hollen is stating here, and how it really does not serve as an adequate response to the Turks’ actions. For one, van Hollen does not say that he does not want Turkey to have F-35s because of their militarist expansionism into Syria and Iraq that is being fueled by the imperialist ideologies of Islamism and pan-Turkism. Van Hollen says nothing like this. Instead, van Hollen says emphatically: “We want the Turks to get the F-35s.” This does not sound like an enthusiastic response towards the intensifying policies of Turkish militarism. For Mr. van Hollen, all Turkey needs to do is drop the deal with Russia in purchasing its S-400, and then it can acquire the American F-35 fighter jet.
Pompeo responded to van Hollen by saying that he and others in the Trump administration have been very “clear” with Turkey about the “risks” involved with their acquisition with the S-400. To van Hollen’s credit, he told Pompeo that he did not understand what Pompeo meant by “risk” (an ambiguous term) and that the Turks would only understand a “definitive statement”. Van Hollen then urged Pompeo to make a statement right there and then, because (in his words): “there was this ceremony in Texas”. Pompeo ended his response with typical slippery language, that “It’s a very complex situation, Senator … We’re certainly reviewing it. We’ve spoken to the Turks a great length.” Basically, there are people in the US government who want Turkey to buy more American weaponry, not caring what innocents die under Turkish terror with such weapons. Its blood for profit.
LOCKHEED MARTIN AND TURKEY
But lets go back to Van Hollen’s mention about this ceremony in Texas. While he did not go into detail, van Hollen was speaking of a bizarre ceremony organized by Lockheed Martin, celebrating its sale of two F-35s to Turkey. In this ceremony (with all of its strange dancing) Orlando P. Carvalho, the executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, mentioned that there were representatives from several Turkish corporations present in the event:
“We also want to welcome and thank the individuals from the Turkish industry that are with us here today, including our distinguished colleagues from the following companies: Tusaş, the Kale Group, Alp Aviation, AYESAŞ, Tusas and the Engine Industries, Havelson, Roketson, TUBITAK, SAGE, Kale Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engine Industries Joint Venture.”
Lets inquire into some of these companies. Tusas is a Turkish defense company that is ran by very prominent figures in the Turkish scientific establishment. The chairman for Tusas is Oğuz Borat, who has been a member of the Scientist Development Group in the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) which, as we have written before, is the scientific establishment of the Turkish government whose scientists are heavily involved in eugenics and human experimentation.
Just last month, the CEO of Tusas, Temel Kotil, personally promised Erdogan the creation of an indigenously engineered Turkish engine for military helicopters, another reflection of how Turkey is pursuing independence from the American security umbrella.
Kale Group, another Turkish defense company, is currently working with Rolls Royce to develop the TF-X, Turkey’s first independently made fighter jet. According to one report from Invest in Turkey:
“Rolls Royce, the British automotive and aviation giant, and Kale Group, one of Turkey’s prominent defense contractors, have announced the establishment of a joint venture.
Kale Group will own 51 percent and Rolls Royce 49 percent of the joint venture company, which will be known as the TAEC Aircraft Engine Industry Corporation. The agreement was signed on May 8, 2017, in Istanbul. TAEC will produce jet engines for both military and civilian purposes, with intellectual property rights to the engines remaining in Turkey.”
Kale Group announced that they are taking the lead on the TF-X National Fighter Jet project currently being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI). The TF-X will be Turkey’s first domestically designed and produced fighter jet and it is meant to replace the current ﬂeet of F-16s in the early 2020s.
The event included a recorded speech by Prof. Dr. Ismail Demir, Turkey’s Undersecretary for Defense Industries and a big backer of Erdogan. In this recorded speech, which played on a screen for the ceremony in Texas, Demir said:
“Today is a great day for us that we are going to have our first F-35. It will take our air force and our country to another state, and our pilots and air force will be owning the most advanced air system, and then this will increase our fight capability overall.”
Look at the words: “this will increase our fight capability overall.” Fight capability for what? The Turks would argue that its for combating Kurdish terrorists in Syria and Iraq. But Kurdish YPG insurgents in these regions, if anything, serve as the pretext for Turkey to expand in Iraq and Syria. Lets remember that the Americans backed the YPG in their fight against ISIS in Syria. Turkey then began to fight the YPG, and now the Americans are backing the Turks as part of their ‘roadmap’ to stabilize Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on June 27, 2018, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that: “They [Turkey] will ultimately be part of political resolution there [Manbij, Syria] and an important part. And we need to recognize that and do our best of work alongside them”. The deal consists of the YPG — the very group the Americans were backing — withdrawing from Manbij and on ‘stability’ in the region.
So now that ISIS has become insignificant, the US is working with Turkey to control Syria. Thus, the sale of the F-35 to Turkey, and the lobbying being done to allow Turkey to purchase the F-35, is part of a policy to strengthen Turkey’s presence in the Middle East.
Another subject that was discussed in the Lockheed Martin ceremony in Texas was the integration of Turkish technology in the F-35. Reha Ufuk Er, a Turkish major general, gave a speech in the ceremonial event in which he said:
“Another aspect of F-35 program, that pleases me most, is the prospective integration of Turkish indigenous weapons with the F-35 aircraft.”
Er spoke of adding in the Precision Guidance Kit HGK, which is a system made for jet fighters to aim bombs with exact precision. It was designed by Turkish defense company TUBITAK SAGE and produced by ASELSAN, another major Turkish defense corporation.
The F-35 to Turkey will also be developed with a SOM-J high precision cruise missile, which was also developed by TUBITAK SAGE. The SOM is Turkey’s first indigenously made missile for destroying either moving or stationary targets at a stand-off distance of over 180 kilometers. The modification of the F-35 into an American-Turkish hybrid is a reflection of Turkey’s desire to be independent of the United States in the production of military technology. As Serdar Demirel, the Turkish deputy undersecretary of defence industries, said in the ceremony in Texas:
“I would like to say that, starting with the AA1 (the first F-35 aircraft), there’s a part which is produced by the Turkish industry on every aircraft flying now. So we are very proud that we are the partner of this program, and that we own this weapons system. So F-35 is changing the battlefield forever.”
Notice Demirel’s fixation on how Turkey owns some of the technology integrated into the F-35, and the mention of how the jet fighter “is changing the battlefield forever.” Turkey is looking into its own future, a future of war, conquest and empire. Engineering military technology independent of the American security umbrella is pursuant to Turkish policy. In recent years president Erdogan has been pursuing a plan to make Turkey more and more independent of foreign military technology, and Turkey has been showcasing this in its military operation in Syria, as well as in Iraq. Early this year Erdogan boasted:
“Almost all of the armored carriers (operating) in Afrin are domestically produced. I thank our friends who produced them”
In 2016, the Turkish government underwent a number of reforms which put Turkey’s defense industry deeper under the auspices of the Erdogan regime. For example, the presidency now superintends the Defense Industry Executive Committee, which is the most powerful entity overseeing Turkey’s arms procurement projects. In 2017, Erdogan made a presidential decree placing Turkey’s weapons industry directly under his control. Since then, the Turkish government has spent billions of dollars in investments to boost its military capacity. A presidential statement reads: “A total of 55 projects worth $9.4 billion were evaluated”. Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners states:
“In the past there was no money, but now there is a lot of money slushing around, and the AKP has the vision to realize this project. This is a success story of the AKP … We used to procure 80 percent of our (armament) needs from abroad; now we are producing our own rifles, simple drones, armored vehicles. It saves foreign currency, it develops an industry which has some export potential and reduces foreign dependency.”
In 2015, Erdogan, in a speech commemorating the Battle of Gallipoli — in which the Ottomans gained a major victory over the British in World War One — affirmed that “A nation without its own defense industry cannot fight the cause of liberation,” and he further added that by 2023 a Turkish made combat plane will “fly the Turkish skies”.Turkey is home to two of the top 100 biggest defense corporations in the world: Aselsan and TUSAS. Faik Eken, General Director of Aselsan, said in 2015 that: “We’re making products better than most in the West. We’re cheaper … We’re ready to share technology. The Turkish defense industry can be a valid alternative to the West”. Muharrem Dortkasli, the chief executive of TUSAS, confidently affirmed that Turkey is “a country that will have its own national tank, national ship, national helicopter, satellite and war plane”.
A Stratfor report from May of 2017 states that Turkey’s “goal is to achieve full self-sufficiency by 2023.” Turkey desires to become the dominant arms exporter in the Muslim world. As the same report tells us:
“The Turkish government wants to establish a respectable industry based around a wide array of defense projects — some of which Erdogan has a keen interest in — from maritime vessels to army vehicles to aerospace projects. In the naval sphere, Turkish defense industries including Istanbul Shipyard and Golcuk Naval Shipyard are close to securing warship and submarine contracts worth billions of dollars with countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.”
Turkey is also working to build its own navy battleships. For example, Sedef Shipbuilding, the largest private shipyard in Turkey, is right now in the process of building Turkey’s first assault ship, which will eventually be used for holding aircraft. Turkish defense company, Otokar, has developed the Altay main battle tank to replace the old tanks in Turkey. And Turkish defense company, Turkish Aerospace Industries — in conjunction with Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland — has developed the T129 attack helicopter.
Perhaps Turkey has learned from its own history of depending on other countries for advanced military technology. In 1911, The Turks made a deal with two British shipbuilders, Vickers and Armstrong, to purchase two state-of-the-art British dreadnoughts. The two dreadnoughts were scheduled for delivery in July 1914. The Ottomans wanted these two battleships in order to advance the Turkish military (just as Turkey today bought two F-35s to further advance its own air force). The Ottomans called the two dreadnoughts the Sultan Osman and the Resadiye. But they were a burdensome drain on the Ottoman economy. The Ottoman government had to solicit the nationalism of its subjects in order to receive charitable donations, and Turkish school children were exhorted to give their own pocket money for the cause of securing possession of the ships. Fund-raising stands were made in city squares where people were encouraged to donate five piasters or more.
Turkey, at this time in 1914, was in the dreary stage of recovering from the devastating defeats in the Libyan and Balkan Wars, and it was the hope of the empire that the ships would reinvigorate its military. Russia and Greece watched with much consternation as the two dreadnoughts were almost completed in the spring of 1914. Greece was in the midst of a dispute with Turkey over three islands in the Aegean Sea — Chios, Mytilene and Lemnos —, much like how today the Greeks and Turks are in vicious dispute over the Imia islands, which are really just small uninhabited islets (just like how China and Japan are disputing over the uninhabited Senkaku islands, which are really uninhabitable rocks).
In the summer of 1914, after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, war was in the air, and the plans of war — which were deeply entrenched in the political minds behind the curtains of the face of diplomacy — war was in the conscious of the highest echelons of power, war crept from the shadows of the murky waters of the dark principalities, and was now in the light, like a filthy puddle turning stale in the muggy heat. The Ottomans tried to secure an alliance with the Entente in order to prevent Russia from invading their empire, but to no avail. The Turks were eager to get their two British dreadnoughts.
In July of 1914, shortly after the murder of the Archduke, Cemal Pasha went to Toulon in France at the invitation of its government to witness the manoeuvres of the French fleets. Cemal took advantage of his stay in Europe to visit the Turkish officers who were overseeing the building of the ships. They told Cemal that “the English were in a very peculiar frame of mind. They seemed to be always searching for some new excuse for delaying the completion and delivery of the warships.” Cemal told the officers to make the delivery of the ships happen as soon as possible. Cemal then left Toulon and went to Paris where he told the director of political affairs: “You must take us into your Entente and at the same time protect us against the terrible perils threatening us from Russia.” As a way to return the favor, Cemal promised the French that Turkey would be loyal to them and to the British in helping “forge an iron ring around the Central Powers”.
The French diplomat told Cemal that France could only make an alliance with Turkey with the approval of their allies, which was “very doubtful”. Cemal recounted: “I understood perfectly that France was convinced that it was quite impossible for us to escape the iron claws of Russia, and that under no circumstances would she vouchsafe us her help.” On July 18th, Cemal left Paris and returned to Istanbul with nothing. On July 1914, Austria declared war on Serbia, and what started as a conflict in the Balkans quickly spread like a burning conflagration across Europe (which was part of the plan of the Germans). On August 1st, The British refused to give the dreadnoughts to Turkey, even though the Ottomans paid for the ships in full. Cemal wrote that he knew that the British delays to deliver the battleships “had been nothing but pretexts which… revealed the design England had long cherished of making these ships her own”. The Turks were humiliated, and on August 2nd — the very next day — the Ottoman Empire made a secret alliance with Germany and joined the Central Powers. (See Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans, ch. 2, pp. 31—39)
Speaking of Germany, the Germans, like the Turks are strengthening their military to establish themselves as the major power in Europe. In NATO’s most recent meeting, NATO countries backed Turkey. And in the same meeting, Trump again pushed for Germany to boost up their defense industry. Trump stated that Germany is controlled by Russia because it purchases most of its oil from Russia, and that Germany is not paying enough for its own defense. All of this implies one thing: Germany needs to become militarily independent:
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened. And I think we have to talk to Germany about it.
On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also.”
The secretary general for NATO, the Norwegian general Jens Stoltenberg, agreed with Trump, and said that European countries are already boosting their defense spending thanks to his exhortations:
“SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: First of all, it’s great to see you again, Mr. President. And good to have you here for a summit. And we are going to discuss many important issues at the summit. Among them is defense spending. And we all agree that we have to do more. I agree with you that we have to do make sure that our allies are investing more. The good news is that allies have started to invest more in defense.
After years of cutting defense budgets, they have started to add billions to their defense budgets. And last year was the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in that generation.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Why was that last year?
SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: It’s also because of your leadership, because of your carried message. And —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They won’t write that, but that’s okay.”
So, there are Europeans who are happy about Trump pushing Germany to spend more on its military, including the Germans themselves. In fact, just recently Germany’s Defence State Secretary Peter Tauber said that Germany’s current defense spending plan is not enough, stating: “Further increases in defense spending should follow in the next years … to meet the Bundeswehr’s (military’s) needs”. Trump encourages this further when he said in Brussels that NATO countries need to increase their spending by 4% of their GDP.
Imagine Germany spending 4% of their GDP on its military; what a difference this would be from what they are spending now. But this is exactly what the Germans want, because they want to bring back their reich. Last year, the German politician, Andreas Nick of the Christian Democrats said that he wanted to increase defense spending to 3% of German GDP. But Trump is giving the Germans more than this, saying that they should spend 4%. Germany is in glee knowing that the Americans are pushing them towards military independence. Turkey and Germany are both receiving the green light to make their plowshares into swords.
But we cannot discuss what has been taking place in the Middle East and Europe without talking about America’s foreign policy. The toppling of Saddam in Iraq led to a power vacuum that sucked in the horrifically violent instability that the world witnessed under both the Bush and Obama administrations, with jihadist groups unleashing a reign of terror on the populace. Apologists for the war would argue that the United States invaded Iraq to bring democracy and defeat terrorism. But there is no democracy in Iraq, and terrorism still has a very strong presence. They said that they wanted to remove Saddam because he had some connection to the 9/11 attacks. But many of the voices lobbying for the invasion of Iraq did not even care if this allegation was true or false. This was made evident in a letter made by the Project of the New American Century (PNAC), addressed to president Bush, which declared that “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.”
So it didn’t matter to the lobbyist for war if Saddam was or was not involved in the 9/11 attacks. They just wanted him removed. Removed, for what? For 9/11? That didn’t matter, because they wanted him removed regardless. They said it was about WMDs. But shortly after the invasion of Iraq, and after it was revealed that there were no WMDs, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Israeli Knesset released several reports showing that the intelligence Israel gave to the Bush administration was false.
So going beyond the justifications of “democracy” and the “war on terror,” the reasoning behind the war in its totality is not fully comprehended. As journalist George Packer writes: “it still isn’t possible to be sure, and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war.” Richard Hass, the director of policy planning in the State Department under Bush Jr., said that he would “go to his grave not knowing the answer.” (1) At least for now, in our time, the true reasons for entering Iraq have not been completely revealed. But maybe, in the chaos of it all, we find the answer that we seek. Perhaps the reason for invading Iraq was chaos, chaos to help the most powerful of countries bring more chaos in the name of order. The Iraq War left the power vacuum that Turkey is now filling.
Why is Turkey invading Syria and Iraq? Why is Germany working to becoming a powerful military force again? The answer may lie in the conclusion the historian David Fromkin gave to the question of why Germany invaded her neighbors and ignited World War One:
The decision for war in 1914 was purposeful; and the war itself was not, as generation of historians have taught, meaningless. On the contrary, it was fought to decide the essential questions in international politics: who would achieve mastery in Europe, and therefore in the world, and under the banners of what faith.” (Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer, ch. 51, p. 296)
They will bring up ‘terrorism,’ but at the end of the day, its all about supremacy.
(1) See Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby, ch. 8, pp. 235—236, 248