We take a back seat to no one including the New York Times or Wal-Mart for our cut-rate prices for opinions gleaned from the tomes of the ancients to the garbage heap of the daily news.
The recent news of the gas line explosion was tragic to be sure but it calls to mind the gas explosion of the New London School in East Texas in the depths of the Depression. In the mid ’30’s the local school exploded one day with the deaths of over 200 kids. The entire community was devastated as one can imagine. This was in the days before they added methane to the gas lines so you could smell the odor and have some warning of a leak. You can look up the old photos of the event.
Military power and political goals have worked hand in glove since the dawn of recorded history. The annals are replete with a big army showing up on someone’s doorstep and then the negotiations begin. Without a battle the larger force more often than not got its desired object. Military power doesn’t always have to be used, just visible and credible to serve the political purposes. Read your Bible for many of these lessons. With this in mind it is concerning to see the steady buildup of the Chinese military power both its land forces and especially its Naval power and the new missile systems it is deploying. We are only a couple of decades away from the Chinese exerting influence over the entire Pacific area by the sheer force of its military power and the projection of that power. Remember we never know for sure what they are spending on their military we only know what the Communist Party wishes to have published. A real concern for our children.
The recent Turkish vote on their Constitutional amendments put the nail in the coffin for the foreseeable future for entry into the Common Market. The vote was a victory for the Islamists pure and simple. The Germans are already very worried about the number of Turks in their land and the influence of Islamists views spreading. The Germans will not agree to their entry with this tilt to a more radical Islamist governing body. France is nearly as repelled at the moment so the Turks will turn more to their Muslim neighbors for future development. Good luck with that. They missed a historical moment to truly join the modern world with that step back into the dark.
Many on the left in this country wish for more government involvement in our economy and a far larger role for government employment policies. They want even more people working directly or indirectly for the government. Big government, big control. They like it that the slice of the GDP controlled by the Federal government is growing. Curious that Cuba which has complete control of the economy by central planning is laying off 500,000 workers with the comment that the government payrolls are “bloated”. And we are following their example? Guess some believe we are nothing but lemmings who will follow any Pied Piper promising easy money, to mix some metaphors.
Is it just me but is professional football becoming more and more like the WWE? These celebrations for the most routine of plays is very annoying and completely unsportsmanlike. Play the game, do your assigned job and then get back to the huddle. Those tattoos look like a Las Vegas strip gone wild. Explain those to your grandchildren some day.
From Proverbs to Jefferson it has been noted that debt is slavery. Is the US on the path to enslaving all its people? Do the math and you will see the tens of thousands you owe for your share of the public debt, not counting of course the “trust” funds in the Social Security agency. You didn’t put this on your credit card the politicians did it for you and in your name. But we elected them. Lots of us don’t like being enslaved by politicians from all over the country who don’t represent our views. Why can Sanders and Schumer cause me to go into debt? I didn’t even vote for or against them and can’t vote them out no matter how much I disagree with their views. Pelosi and the others keep using my identity to charge on my credit card for things I don’t want.
One of the most peaceful places to spend a summer afternoon is high in the Jemez mountains just west of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Going north from Santa Fe you take the turn off to Los Alamos. A visit to the museum is well worth the stop. Then proceed north and west on the state highway toward Farmington over the Jemez peaks. A few miles down the road you will come to a very large valley high in the mountains. Believe me you can’t miss it. It is about a mile wide and probably three miles long. It is ringed with the aspen and pine trees and the mountain tops. The valley is lush with high grass in the summer months. The cattle will be chomping it. You will see the ranch house off on the far side of the valley. It is peaceful and very beautiful. It is also very unknown. It is off the beaten trail of tourists. It is a wonderful place to spend a few hours and contemplate your life and journey. You can also fly fish in the stream running down from the mountains into the valley. If God didn’t make this place then I want to know who is Mother’s Nature’s decorator.
Just like FDR made farmers plow up their crops to increase demand and prices, the cash for clunkers program required that all the autos traded in had to be destroyed. Of course that made the prices for the reduced number of used cars go up. You and or a friend tried buying one lately? You tell me if that program on our credit card really helped the economy? http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com
If you think back over a few years or even a couple of decades how often to remember seeing anything about Turkey in the news? It is a good guess you can’t recall any. Don’t feel bad there weren’t that many anyway. But if you are a person who does keep up with the news a bit then you will surely have noted that Turkey now appears regularly on the back pages of the paper. It doesn’t make headlines but there are the little bits here and there. This has accelerated since the Islamists have increased their power in the government in the last decade. That increase in power is working its inevitable influence on the Turkish government and policies both domestically and on the diplomatic scene. These changes have and will have a profound effect on the US and its European allies and present the West with another set of challenges in dealing with the Islamist around the world.
Hate to bore anyone with a geography lesson but it is essential to understanding the importance of Turkey. It truly is the epicenter of where East meets West and where the Mid East meets West. It is the bridge between those two worlds and has been for millenia. From the time of Troy to Alexander the Great and the World Wars that has been vital territory for empires, kings, tyrants and rulers of all stripes. It has also been the historic melting pot for cultures and religions over the history of Man. The US is a new comer relatively speaking as a melting pot compared to Turkey. It fell under the influence of Islam centuries ago and that conquest was completed when Constantinople fell to the Islamist in 1453 and allowed a permanent foothold on Europe proper for the Muslims that has endured to this day.
Istanbul controls the entrance to the Black Sea. You may not think that is very important but ask the Russians, it has been their dream for centuries to have power over that vital outlet to the world by access to the Mediterranean Sea. The Sea of Marmara at Istanbul separates Europe and the Mid East by only a few miles. You can see across the expanse from one land mass to the other. Whoever controls that passage controls the Black Sea. They even have a back on a few miles to the southwest in the Dardanelles and the Hellespont where once again the seas narrow so much you can look across from one to the other.
Think of the hot spots in the world today and Turkey either shares a border with it or is within a relative stone’s throw away. The obvious ones are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia and Georgia. Israel is only a short drive to the south as is Lebanon. The Ottoman Empire waxed and waned for centuries but the critical mass of Turkey has been under Muslim domination for lo these centuries. When the Ottoman Empire was weakened by the events of WWI the young and ambitious in Turkey led a revolt to modernize the country and bring it into the 20th century. They were successful and although they did not ever come close to abandoning Islam they were mostly secular in their outlook about government and economics and politics. It was not a theocracy anymore. The advances they made were so profound that the European Union began to give serious consideration within the last decade to admitting Turkey as a member state. Recent developments have put that idea of hold if not killed it for a generation of more, depending on the near future events in Turkey.
Under the rule of the Young Turks and their successors Turkey was mostly a civilized and westernized state with basic freedoms and prohibitions on allowing Islam to dominate the government or its policies. The new party in Turkey has begun to change that and it is rapidly moving to return Islam to the forefront of power. From schooling to dress to allowing westerners to dress and drink in their many tourists attractions they are clamping down with Islamist injunctions on behavior and culture. The secularists in Turkey are under assault on all fronts and many have been recently arrested for alleged plots to revolt and eject the current religious party. You don’t have to be a member of some fancy think tank to observe and realize they are winning and likely will have total control of the country in the very near future.
The new Muslims in charge are already playing more than footsy with Iran and Syria and are suspected of having support groups for Hamas and Hezbollah both covert and overt. Historically Turkey has been a supporter of Israel out of perceived self-interest but that perception appears to be changing. Now the thinking there is they are better off in partnerships with the more radical Islamists governments in the area. That carries serious implications for the US and Europe. You think it is hard now to travel from Pakistan or Yemen to the US then just imagine how much easier it will be for new radical Islamist terrorist to travel in and out of Turkey to destinations in the West. Turkey has a well-armed and funded military thanks in large part to the US and NATO. One wonders if we have been supplying our future enemy.
Once the Islamist have a firm grip on total control of government the reliability as an ally will be questionable at best. They will be having a new effort to rewrite their Constitution this year. If that succeeds the US and Europe need to treat Turkey as not an ally but an adversary to be dealt with firmly and looking only to our own protection and interests. Name one place where the Islamist once in power have ever willingly allowed civil liberties and western rights without a war? For our own best interest we need to recognize that this Turkey is done and stick a fork in it. We don’t need to invade or anything that dramatic but we should never turn our back on them for one minute and treat them as hostiles with whom we have a truce. They will be in the enemy camp or at least their informal allies.
“Almost any man worth is salt would fight to defend his home, but no one ever heard of a man going to war for his boarding house.” Mark Twain. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com