This morning, I woke up to an infuriating editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
It is a pity Bill Clinton and Barack Obama worked so hard to break NATO. It is an even greater pity that they have succeeded.
First, ponder the following questions:
Which European countries would be willing to invoke Article 5 to help Turkey in case of all out war between among Turkey, Syria, and Iran?
Which European countries would actually be able to help Turkey militarily in such a case?
Would President Obama risk a nuclear confrontation with Russia to save Turkey?
In the Middle East, President Obama has been trying to outdo every previous stupid decision with a stupider new decision over and over again.
His first stupid decision was to undermine the U.S. war effort, among with his fellow Democrats, starting almost immediately after the decision to invade Iraq. Once he became president, he immediately decided to undermine the only uprising in the Middle East he should have supported. He immediately followed that with declarations of American weakness, and hightailed it out of Iraq to create a void to be filled by Russians and Iranians.
Having declared and followed through on U.S. weakness, he went on an Arab Spring rampage, demolishing existing systems while the U.S. military was used as a tool to eliminate existing structures in haste. Libyans are now worse off than they had been under Gaddafi. Egyptians are now worse off than they had been under Mubarak. Iraqis are now much worse off than they had been during the worst days following OIF.
This clueless U.S. President's feckless policies are responsible for incredible death and destruction.
In Syria, the Obama administration recruited Turkey to channel support for the rebels. Turkey also shouldered the responsibility of accommodating an incredible number of refugees. According to the UNHCR, there are 850,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. That is about 1% of the whole population. In border areas, Syrian refugees have been overwhelming local populations.
Of course, there is no reason to assume that only innocent people recorded by humanitarian agencies have made through the border. In fact, a lot of really unsavory characters, representatives of the "Syrian opposition", had been meeting openly with U.S. representatives in Istanbul and Ankara, until the U.S. decided to abandon President Obama's red line last year.
Turkey faces a significant threat of domestic upheaval caused by the fact that it had to absorb a huge flow of humanity created by the fact that Assad decided to call his old American friends' bluff (remember when Democrats supported Assad because he was undermining the Bush administration?)
As the U.S. seemed about ready to intervene forcefully in Syria last year, Putin pulled the reins on Obama, and the U.S. butted out of the Russians' way. Now, Putin is organizing an Assad comeback.
It is not hard to imagine he would try to provide more support to help Assad in the presence of U.S. and allied forces pounding positions in Syria. One way he would do that is by sending ships through Istanbul straits. Would Obama just sit there, and watch the Russian Navy once again kick American forces out of the region?
Or, would the U.S. ask Turkey to try to prevent the Russians from crossing the straits?
Where would that confrontation go?
Could Turkey rely on U.S. and NATO support in the face of Russian aggression even if Putin were to not so subtly threaten use of nuclear weapons?
The answers to none of these questions is heartening.
President Obama, and the Democrats broke the one thing that used to hold NATO together: The credible threat that anyone attacking a NATO country would find the full might of the United States of America bearing down on them.
By declaring at the outset that the U.S. is not willing to do anything other than bomb from air, and maybe say nonsensical things at rallies, Obama has ensured that neither friend nor foe can expect Article 5 of NATO to be upheld.
Given his history of non-committal violent action, it is folly to expect the current U.S. action across Syria and Iraq to lead to anyplace good for the inhabitants of the region.
It is not surprising that others do not want to follow him to the hell he has been creating the moment his ambitions propelled him to the national political stage.
As for the person who wrote the Wall Street Journal editorial: You are clueless, my friend.
When the then freshly elected Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tried to get a resolution to allow 4th ID to be based in Turkey prior to OIF, his efforts were undermined mainly not by Islamists, but the so called "secular" factions of Turkish society. The milder segments of those factions are connected more to the Democrat-voting, Vietnam-abandoning, New York Times-reading crowd in the United States than anything else. The less mild segments of those factions are remnants of various Red groups, fed mostly by the KGB during the 70s.
More to the point, the Turkish opposition to full-fledged Turkish support for Operation Iraqi Freedom was much more closely aligned with Obama's and the rest of the Democrats' view points than anything else. The failure of Mr. Erdoğan government to pass a resolution through the parliament at that point was due to such opposition, fueled also by the propaganda disseminated by 9/11 Truther groups nurtured by the Democrat and liberal establishment in the United States.
Despite the failure of the resolution, then Prime Minister Erdoğan's support for OIF caused a significant segment of Turkish society to label him as a puppet of the U.S. and Israel, and made him vulnerable to the only real political opposition he faced—harder line Islamist challengers.
After working the Obama administration to support Syrian rebels, his government was left to pick up the pieces following Obama's abandonment of Syria at Putin's behest. The Turkish press have been publicizing the ISIS threat for more than a year. Thanks to an Iraqi Army which President Obama abandoned, ISIS is holding quite a few Turks hostage.
Do you think Turkey would remain stable at all if ISIS savages chopped the heads of a few hundred Turks?
In Washington D.C., we have a President who mocked Romney because he understood the Russian threat.
A President who promised Putin that he would be more flexible after the 2012 election.
A President who stands by as a former KGB source becomes the next NATO general secretary.
Put simply, the current U.S. action in Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East has no hope of success (by any reasonable definition of success). There is no vision, there is no thinking beyond the U.S. elections in November. In the coming months, when Europeans are freezing, when Russia annexes more of Ukraine, when it bullies more former Iron Curtain countries, would a United States of America that has essentially abandoned Israel in the Middle East hesitate to abandon Turkey?
Why would anyone descend into a pit with such a President's rope (as one would put it in Turkish)?