sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Turkish Expansion

Balkan Chessboard (Part 2) On November 29, we took a look at the situation in Greece and the Balkans (link). Since that time, the situation has become more complicated largely because of the Turkish position is changing. Let's take a look at how this is happening and at the strategic implications.

Greece ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador Friday in the latest escalation of a dispute over a controversial deal signed between Libya’s U.N.-supported government and Turkey on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. Turkey and Libya objected but there's not much that the Libyan ambassador can do except leave by Monday.

The Greeks have no diplomatic presence in Libya.

An agreement recently inked between Libya and Turkey will give Turkey access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, over the objections of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which lie between Turkey and Libya geographically. The deal has added tension to Turkey’s ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

The matter will end up on court, but Turkey has a history of ignoring court decisions unless it's a decision handed down by Islamic court, in Istanbul, controlled by Turkish strongman, President-for-life Erdogan. (in other words, a rubber stamp by the Turks)

The Libyan-Turkish security cooperation agreement is complicated because Libya has been divided between two competing governments since 2015, one based in Benghazi in the east and the other based in Tripoli. The Turkish deal was signed with the Tripoli-based government of Fayez Sarraj, and will allow Turkey complete access to Libyan territory including the right to construct military bases. It's not a bad move for the Tripoli-based Libyans because they gain Turkish troops to help support their claim against the "pretenders to the throne" in Benghazi.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sought the support of fellow NATO members on the issue during an alliance meeting in London earlier this week, but because both Turkey and Greece are members of NATO, it's sticky.

For Turkey, it's a pattern that they are deliberately pursuing in an attempt to spread their military and political influence through the Mediterranean. They're trying to forge the same relationships with other weak and divided nations with the promise of military and financial aid. 

Then there is the issue with Cyprus. Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded the country and seized the northern part of the island, where it currently has 35,000 troops. And then gas was discovered on the ocean floor and the Turks started drilling not only adjacent to their claimed territory but in the maritime zone claimed by Greece.

Military Action?

Will Athens support the Greek Cypriot maritime territorial claim with naval action against ongoing drilling? Reliable sources tell me that it's being considered. However, the Greek military operates on a budget half the size of the Turkish military, it has a much smaller army and navy and is at a significant disadvantage without allies to back its play. Both the Greeks and Turks run similar submarine fleets (built in Germany or under license). Their naval forces are roughly comparable. The disproportionate numbers are largely to be found with the land armies. The Greeks traditionally rely on tank-busting helicopters to sway the odds in their favor.

The Christian Greeks are attempting to base their appeal to their long time British and American allies along religious lines. The Turkish (Islamic) caliphate is working hard to keep that from happening. 

Sunday Sermonette

I hadn't planned to blog, but the whole situation with NATO and the recent summit irked me. There's a lot that irks me these days. But I'm very grateful for President Trump and for his leadership and I'm looking to four more years with President Trump in the White House.

Foreign Policy in the age of Donald Trump

During the impeachment hearings, you saw and heard the mandarins from the US State Department crow repeatedly about how they know so much more than President Trump does about diplomacy. They have PhD's from the Georgetown University's Center for Strategic Studies. If you ask them, they will assure you that they're all geniuses. The culture that spawned them was one of unlimited and nearly unaccountable spending. They are the bulwark that stands between the Godless communist Russian hoards and hometown America. Just ask any one of them. 

If you should point out that Russia is a Greek Orthodox (Christian) country and it is not a one party system, the mandarins will scoff at you. If you were to ask about China, they'd just smile. China is not a Christian country and it is a communist country, but at State, Russia is the big threat to our freedom. North Korea is a close second. 

Meanwhile at the recent NATO Summit, President Trump spoke about how the American Middle Class is donating to support European (NATO) countries. He said, "It’s our middle class. We’re funding high-speed railways in Germany. We’re rebuilding airports all across France and central Europe. Our middle class is descending into poverty." The media went crazy, [saying], ‘You’re destroying the greatest alliance in history. It’s our strongest defense.’ And the Pentagon came in, the generals met with [Donald Trump], [saying], ‘Sir, these are our friends, sir,’ and Trump is saying, "Well, if they’re our friends, why do they lie to us? Why do they sign a document promising this percentage they’ll give, and they don’t give it. Why does our middle class have to pay for their defense and to clean up their environment?"

President Trump's approach will work as well or better than any other approach if NATO is to arm itself against its only enemy, Russia. The State Department should be thrilled, but predictably, they are not. It's not how things have been done. Whether it works or not is irrelevant. The bureaucrats are process people, they make entreaties, they take their counterparts to lunch (I'll have the cherries jubilee) on their expense accounts, they cajole (pass the sweet and sour shrimp).  Most of them have forgotten that diplomacy is saying "nice doggy" while you're looking for a rock.

And PM Boris Johnson, yucking it up with Blacky Trudeau and Froggy Macron... oh, that was not the best move. President Trump was willing to do a lot for the UK in their Brexit efforts. Now it will still happen, but it will be more difficult. 

Of the 29 NATO countries,  only five pay their treaty obligation - 2% of GDP to defense of their own nation (and thus to strengthen NATO) they are USA - 3.6%; Greece - 2.4%; UK - 2.1%; Estonia - 2.1% and Poland - 2%. Essentially the US taxpayer subsidizes the rest of the NATO member countries. To add insult to injury, President Trump suggested that the NATO member countries should account for their delinquency by paying the difference between what they paid and what they should have paid for past years. Globalists such as Presidents GW Bush and Obama would never have suggested such a thing, but President Trump is a Nationalist. He concerns himself with America first (how dare he!)

Robert Levinson

He disappeared on March 9, 2007 on Kish Island, Iran. Levinson, a former DEA and FBI special agent went to Iran as a private investigator on a cigarette smuggling matter. The Iranians have held him since then. He's the longest held American hostage in history. Will he be released in 2020? Maybe. Your Sunday Sermonette is that you need to have faith. It precedes the miracle.

WSF - business opportunity.

bleach and fumigate, and sell to somebody else, but yeah, WSF.