The Demise of Turkey

With the downing of a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish airspace, the Cold War is back between Russia and the West with Turkey, once again, playing a pivotal role in the conflict.  However, this incident, I believe, marks the beginning of the end of Turkey as we know it.  The key to this understanding is looking at this from the broader perspective of where Turkey fits in the Islamic spectrum.

Brief History of Turkey

This video does it much better than I could.

But to pull a major threat alluded to in the video and elaborated on in the classic book by the esteemed Middle East historian, Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?, Turkey shifted towards Europe and the West.  Ataturk switched the script from right-to-left to left-to-right and in so doing began the alignment of Turkey towards Europe instead of the Middle East.  This alignment was complete with Turkey’s ascension into NATO.

Turkey’s Involvement in NATO

Turkey joined NATO alongside Greece in 1952.  There were two strategic goals to both of these inclusions.  For Greece, the country was recovering from what some call the first clash between Capitalism and Communism as Greek communists were attempting to take over the country.  Including Greece into NATO legitimized the ruling government, provided stability for the people and—most importantly—provided a strong signal to the Soviet Union their intervention would be met with force.

Turkey’s inclusion into the union had two important geopolitical ramifications.  First, NATO was concerned about communist activity in the Middle East, specifically Iran, and Turkey’s entrance provided NATO engagement and basing opportunities should communism creep up their “southern flank.”  Second, the Soviet Union does not have a warm water port.  This is a source of anxiety for any Soviet/Russian leader.  The only way for Russian ships to transit from the Black Sea are through two natural straits connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea: the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.

Image of Bosphorus (top) and Dardanelles (bottom-left) Straits.

According to the Wikipedia article, the Bosphorus Straits are the narrowest, internationally navigable water channel in the world.  They are so narrow that only a chain is needed to impeed ships from crossing them.

Yet, it is these two channels that provide Russia her easiest access to warm water.

Turkey’s inclusion into NATO meant that these two straits would be continuously monitored for Soviet ship movement and provide NATO easy access to block Soviet ship movement in the event of hostilities.

Ergodan’s Turkey and Turkey’s Demise

A BBC article highlights the importance of Ergodan’s rule in Turkey as

harbouring a secret agenda to turn Turkey into a fundamentally conservative Muslim society.

And here is a Guardian posting providing more details on Ergodan’s rise in power with some caveats.

However, the point is that under Ergodan, Turkey is enjoying immense staying power, even if his calls for Assad to step down have been rebuffed by the world and Russia as well.  Russia has actively begun supporting his Syrian ally against Turkey, NATO and the U.S. who are supporting rebels who have been fighting to remove Assad from power for over two years.

On the heels of the shoot-down Russia releases a report and various news articles pick it up, claiming that the Ergodan family supports ISIS, primarily through purchasing their oil.  I’m not making claims on this one-way-or-the-other, because the Russian press certainly is used as a mouth piece for the Kremlim’s talking points, but as Ergodan wants to increase his Muslim stature and given ISIS’ popularity, from an Islamic point-of-view, supporting ISIS could be seen as a good strategic move.  One has to wonder why ISIS hasn’t gone into Turkey?  It could be that Turkey is secretly supporting them or it could simply be that ISIS can read.  Article V of the NATO Treaty makes clear that an attack on one is an attack on all member-states and they are obliged to contribute either money or forces to the organizations defense.  Ironic that France is looking to invoke the clause after not participating in military matters for much of the organizations history.

Should Turkey be taking the side of Islam it could mean the end of Turkey as we know it, with Ergodan leading the way.

Are we that scared-y?

The headline of an AP/MyWay news articles reads: Security steps in Paris, Brussels, May Be Spreading Anxiety.

REALLY?!?

I don’t say this sarcastically.  I say this incredulously.  Are we that scaredy of a people that we are more concerned with security measures than people wanting to kill us?  Is there such disdain for authority in “the West” that they see those risking their lives to protect them as evil?

Continue reading “Are we that scared-y?”

“I really don’t think these guys know what they are talking about.” (Richard Feynman)

The environmental movement has done with the whole global warming/climate change hysteria they are creating, and sadly, governments, as we see with the IPCC report just released, are colluding under the assumption that carbon dioxide is causing global warming (or as its now been called, climate change, just in case the temperature does go down, it can be blamed on anthropogenic [man-made] sources as well.)  This fits the characteristics of a Big Lie and extortion because it is undertaken to achieve a policy goal that people would not normally agree to i.e., giving up economic prosperity  to stop something that humans have no control over.

Statistically Speaking

Looking closely at the IPCC report, we see that they consider it very likely that anthropogenic (human produced) carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing global warming. But there is a footnote to that very likely and looking at that we see it is the definition of “very likely.” The report defines “very likely” as “>90% chance of occurrence.” Now that still leaves 10% chance that it won’t occur, which means that there is a 10% chance that the experts are wrong and that their data has been contributed to chance.

What does all this mean? Well, as a student of the political science field, whenever there is a survey, they always quote those numbers at the bottoms of polls saying “+-4%, 95%” What they are saying is that they are 95% certain that the results can be within plus or minus of the number on the screen–the margin of error. So, as you hear the talking heads on TV state that it is a dead heat, that usually means that both candidates or issues are within the margin of error, so, either one could be leading. Well, the IPCC report leaves a 10% chance that they are wrong.

Being that political science has to be held to the 95% confidence interval to taken seriously, why then are we basing drastic economic and policy change on a 90% confidence interval? This question bears acute examination since the hard sciences have always been held to a higher standard. The FDA would not allow a drug on the market that kills 1 person out of every 10 that takes it. They consider that too great a risk. They might allow 1 in 100 and probably 1 in 1000, since the chance of death is 1% and O.1%, respectively, but certainly not 1 in 10 except in rare circumstances.

As Richard Feynman said when the TTAPS report came out about a nuclear war causing nuclear winter: “I really don’t think these guys know what they are talking about.” I echo the same sentiment towards the global warming scientists.

The Christian Response

After the creation of Adam and Eve, God told them to “fill the earth and subdue it.”  Similarly, Adam’s first work in the Garden was the name all the animals.  So, early in the creation account mankind has authority over the earth and is supposed to use the earth to his purposes for food and water, life, shelter and clothing.  At the Fall, we see a merciful God (with foreshadowing that a payment is needed for sin) crafting animal skins to cover Adam and Eve instead of their leaf attire.  So, certainly the picture presented in Genesis and the whole Bible is one of order and one of creatures worshiping the Creator instead of creation.

Further we see in the New Testament that as our bodies are the holy temple of the Lord, we are to take care of them and use them in service fitting to the Lord.  Thus, sinful and destructive activities that do not present the glory of God to others and give Him praise should not be practiced.  Some in the Christian history have said that this prohibits smoking; I do not see this as the case.  However, I certainly do not recommend it nor thing that we can smoke to give glory to Jesus!  I apply the discussion that Paul had with the Corinthians regarding meat sacrificed to idols—do as the Holy Spirit convicts.

The key word here is stewards.  A steward is one who takes care of something for another.  God has given us the ability to use the earth for our benefit but expects us to do so responsibly.  Technological advances in the last 50 years make a lot of the environmental issues moot.  However, a line from Casting Crowns echos the current environment Christians, in our response to presenting the truth, have to fight against:

As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children

Thanksgiving 2015

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

First, I am thankful for Jesus who died for my sins, for God the Father choosing me and the Holy Spirit continuing his difficult task of refining me.

Second, I am thankful for my family including my wife and three girls and one little girl on the way.  I pray that all my girls are healthy!

Third, I am thankful that we still live in a country where we can worship freely without fear of overt persecution, imprisonment, harm or death.

Fourth, I am thankful that we have the ability to speak freely and participate in the political process of the United States and I pray that more and more Christians use this God-given gift to fulfill His glory and fulfill His purposes!  I pray we use this opportunity to reach those with the Gospel!

Fifth, I am thankful for my readers!

I hope everyone has  a very thankful Thanksgiving!!

Kennedy’s UN Speech in 1961

In writing for my post on The Sword of Damocles, I noted that the first reference of the sword of Damocles was made by President Kennedy at a UN speech in 1961 in reference to nuclear weapons. However, I noticed that it is possible Kennedy is using extortion to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  Let’s look.

Speech before the United Nations (UN)

His purpose in the speech is two-fold. First, he wants to pay tribute to the deceased Secretary General of the UN, Dag Hammarskjold, and stop calls for the creation of a triumvirate leadership by the Soviet Union.  Since the inception of the United Nations, the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and China hold permanent veto on the UN Security Council (UNSC).  Any one veto is enough to stop the proposals of the UNSC.  The Soviet Union was utilizing this with great effect to keep U.S.-led proposals on Berlin, nuclear testing and other issues from moving forward.  To further solidify their success in the UNSC, the Soviet Union had been pushing to reorganize the Secretariat to provide the Soviet Union a veto on the UN Secretariat by requiring unanimous consent amongst three equal leaders–the triumvirate.  This would keep any unfavored action from proceeding inside the UN.  Kennedy appeals to the body that this would stop the peace the UN has worked on creating and is thus his reference

But to give this organization three drivers-to permit each great power to decide its own case, would entrench the Cold War in the headquarters of peace.

Second, he desires to move forward on a nuclear testing ban, specifically one that would ban all nuclear testing, but is also taking the moral high-ground in proposing an all out atmospheric testing ban known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty.  This is one measure that the Soviet Union has been blocking within the UNSC.  To accomplish these goals, Kennedy is appealing to the UN through the fear of nuclear annihilation and ineffectiveness to resist the change proposed by the Soviet Union and to eliminate the weapons of war which hold the world in fear.  This extortion is not all bad because it demonstrates something the U.S. made clear during the early days of the Cold War—the moral high-ground of the United States.  Kennedy is using the moral capital of the U.S. in contrast to the Soviet Union to push forward and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Is this extortion?

As I have shown in previous posts extortion is using threats to get someone to do something that they would not normally do.  I don’t think that Kennedy’s speech qualifies here.  He is appealing to reason regarding the destructive power of nuclear weapons and wanting to build trust to prevent force instead of relying on mutual assured destruction.  Ironically this mutual assured destruction provided Kennedy great latitude during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the nuclear triad allowed flexible negotiations with the Soviet Union without sacrificing capability; something the Soviets could not say the same.

So, while Kennedy’s speech here is appealing to the horror of nuclear war and destruction to accomplish his goals of extending the moral capital of the U.S., he isn’t extorting the population or the UN because achieving a world free of nuclear weapons is something anyone would do.  However, today as then it still is not probable.