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01 July 2019

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Gary Dmytryk

Way off topic, but many of you would be interested in the new anti-interventionalist policy think tank being endowed jointly by George Soros and one of the Koch brothers. Trita Parsi and Andrew Bacevich are among the staff. See the articles in the American Conservative, https://tinyurl.com/y4o33lke and the Boston Globe, https://tinyurl.com/yxwq3o9r .

Eugene Owens

TI -

I believe you are correct about a Turkish puppet state in NW Syria. That process started back in 2016 when the Turkish Army occupied al Bab, Azaz, and Jarabulus. They installed Turkish civilian officials to 'oversee' the locals. They have brought in Turkish police, civil servants, and even some teachers. And are starting to do the same in the Afrin District. So, they may not make it a Turkish Province like Ataturk did to Syria's al-Iskenderun District, but maybe a partial-annex. A quasi-colony? Perhaps not in Idlib though as Erdogan is getting cold feet there.

As far as northern Cyprus, the Turks do not have to actually annex the place. They have a large occupation army there, plus Navy, AF and CG contingents. In addition, the northern Cyprus Security Force of local conscripts is commanded by a Turkish Army general and much of the officer corps is also from Turkey. According to the UN northern Cyprus is one of the most militarized areas in the world. It is effectively a Turkish puppet state.

Walrus

Jack, everything you say about chinese business behaviour is true, but according to our family’s experience, the bait and switch techniques that have sucked in western businesses go back at least as early as 1934, when my father started trading there. It’s not just a CCP thing, if Peking was run by card carrying Republican Chinese, they would do exactly the same.

I know personally know two businessmen who got sucked in by the “huge Asian market” spiel and lost their businesses as a result. One suicided.

If you want some laughs about another, different, market, read “carpet wars” about the fiendish Persians who built that rug industry. The East learned to suck in greedy westerners a very long time ago.

turcopolier

EO and TI

You folks underestimate the intensity of neo-Ottoman irredentism. A puppet state would be for them only an intermediate step. They want Idlib and are doing well in their campaign to get it. You do know that most prople in Hatay are Arabs who did not want to be annexed to Turkey?

Walrus

Col. Lang, not Biden specifically. My point is that China and the CCP deserve some respect for their achievements, even if they are Communists. It should also be apparent as “Elsi” indicates, that China has different threats and priorities from the West.

For example Americans fear government attacks on property rights, Chinese people fear civil disorder.

turcopolier

walrus

Like Canadians? Seriously, when I was a young fellow I remember hearing an old man address a waiter in a Chinese restaurant as "boy." I was shocked and have never heard onything like that after.

ancientarcher

Do you trust Chinese statistics?

No doubt, over time, the Chinese govt. will exert increasing control over Hong Kong. Over the last 10 years, I have seen a significant de-anglicisation of Hong Kong - whether street signs or signage at shops, they have slowly moved to Chinese characters. The steady sinification of Hong Kong has been on for some time now. They will move the peg of the HKD to the Renminbi next. But then, I believe it is inevitable that Hong Kong becomes fully Chinese indistinguishable from the mainland in every respect. And not just because there is no power big enough to stop them. The cultural, financial and political influence of mainland China is just too big!

DH

Sir, thank you for the background.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for your comment. I only ask that you be kind enough to describe how a democratically elected government could function with 1.5 billion citizens

a., 1 representative per million citizens a government of 1500 "house members" guaranteeing chaos[a la European parliament with 750 or so members from 15 or so parties for 450 million citizens]

b., something approaching the size of US Congress 400 odd seats each for about 3 million citizens. Heck the US Congress [or the Canadian Parliament] can not act in the general interest of her citizens with fewer citizens per representative [and far fewer citizens per Members of Parliament in Canada]

Norbert M Salamon

Sorry Fred, I have no use for Ms. Kamala for she stands for nothing consistent - whatever direction the daily wind blows she will follow.

aleksandar

If and only if he was a french speaking canadian, no offense.
We are used to call waiters " boys " or " garçon " instead of " garçon de café " that is the proper job title.
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gar%C3%A7on_!

Walrus

I think i am trying to say that characterising all other nations based on how far they have progressed towards an “ideal”’ that just happens to be what Americans want to think of themselves is not helpful to anyone.

It makes about as much sense as Australians debating how Australian the Chinese are becoming or the French wondering the Chinese “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” quotient. Chinese are not Americans.

I am not uncritical of China. I am concerned for example, by the Orwellian Chinese “social credit” scheme, but not because I think it undemocratic, but because our own Governments may try to replicate it here,,,,,for the children and against terrorism of course.

turcopolier

aleksander

My, how sophisticated you Canadians are.

Barbara Ann

I do not need to describe it, you cited an example yourself; India, whose population is forecast to exceed 1.5 billion within a decade, is a functioning democracy.

Granted, it comes down to the definition of "effective leadership". But then I would flip the question around and ask how long the CCP will be deemed "effective" when China hits its first serious modern crisis - be that economic, environmental, or whatever. Let us see then how the Chinese choose to express their feelings about their self-appointed masters. Judging the efficacy of a political system on a very few decades of one way travel in the standard of living seems premature. But in any case, if the Chinese are happy with their system good luck to them.

The current problems of the US Congress have far more to do with the rampant political corruption much discussed on this blog, than with scale. I for one remain certain that this can be overcome. It must, what is the alternative - appoint a President-for-life or create a US politburo? So long as Americans choose to remain free of such a system, democracy can be made to work at any scale. In the end it comes down to faith, self-confidence and the will to make it succeed - all the things that made America the great nation it is.

Jack

Joshua Wong rebuttal.

https://twitter.com/joshuawongcf/status/1145951726295326720?s=19

Over 2 million people in HK took to the streets. That's the equivalent of 70 million people in the US protesting. That's serious discontent with CCP authoritarianism. People in HK want to be free and no US plot can entice that many people to come out on the streets against the CCP puppets.

BTW, would you care to provide the CCP spin on 2.5 million Uighyurs in concentration camps? Re-education?

Eugene Owens

pl -

Perhaps you are right about full annexation?

But I disagree about Idlib. The Russian VVS is actively participating with the SyAAF to bomb and strafe Erdogan's allies in Idlib. Two thirds of the province has been, and continues to be heavily bombed. Erdogan may have been doing well in Idlib last year, but he is now starting to lose his grip there. The province is completely under the control of jihadis except for a few TKK OPs. The only area he is doing well at in Idlib is on the Kabani Front where he is heavily supplying his Syrian Turkmen allies.

Or maybe my armchair theorizing is full of bullpucky? I've been wrong before.

Fred

Norbert,

You'll be getting her - unless you vote for Trump. Enjoy election 2020.

TI

"According to the UN northern Cyprus is one of the most militarized areas in the world. It is effectively a Turkish puppet state."

I know, Turkey has also promoted settlement of Turks from Asia minor there to cement its control. But no formal annexation, so I don't see why they would do that in Syria. A puppet regime under heavy Turkish influence suits them just fine imo.

TI

"You do know that most prople in Hatay are Arabs who did not want to be annexed to Turkey?"

Yes, I understand that. But there's also the question whether the Turkish public is keen on more Arabs as citizens, some Turks at least aren't happy at all about their increased demographic presence:
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/turkey-dramatic-demographic-changes-loom.html

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/06/turkey-syrians-vote-istanbul-election.html

I suppose Erdogan and his Islamists would be fine with that, since it suits their Islamist agenda and they'd expect Syrian refugees to be a grateful and reliable voting bloc once they've been enfranchised. But Turkey also is a very nationalist country, so imo there's a certain contradiction between neo-Ottoman expansionism and the narrowly nationalist sentiments of many Turks. I'm not sure Erdogan can afford to totally ignore those sentiments.

Elsi

沒有, seriously...

Elsi

Rebuttals from Joshua Wong are not valid rebuttals, any independent source besides of that?

Last from HK ( no privileged info, available to anybody wanting to see...)

The "pro-democratic" activists assault the HK Parliament ( like in Tbilisi, btw..oh, man, this is so from the book..) and feeling that not enough "democratic and sovereign", thye have planted the British colonial flag in the tribune:

https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1145865968993939456

https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1145867923766075392

Btw, since you ask me, let me ask you, would you tolerate this assault on your Congress?

https://twitter.com/BBCBreaking/status/1145693432683388928

Jim S

Mr Roberts,
I read your article on the Uyghurs and the BRI with interest. I think we agree that China's fears of clandestine activity in the NW are founded. The Party's security measures have thus far been effective. It's ironic that the BRI further exposes China to the extremist activity which it must be secured against; actually, this poses something of a strategic dilemma for China, doesn't it? China's economic future rests with the BRI and trade with Muslim countries, but China wishes to avoid becoming entangled in the politics of Islam. The Uyghurs aside, what is China's approach to tensions between Turkey and Iran? Most maps of the BRI have it connecting Tehran and Istanbul (until recently they also connected Kiev and Moscow).

This question may be of interest to a forum filled with ME specialists. Incidentally, stories of the re-education camps are beginning to percolate through Muslim consciousness. Those stories don't seem to paint as favorable a picture as your article.

As for Tiananmen, for the purposes of discussion I'm willing to accept the claim of three dozen soldiers and policemen killed if you are willing to discuss the 3,000 to 10,000 civilians killed when the PLA cleared the square. The streets ran red with blood. That's not suppression? When Deng received the report of the death toll, he is said to have been quite surprised it was so low; some believe he had been willing to accept 100,000 deaths to break up to protests. So perhaps you are correct that by the Party's standards it wasn't suppression. What lessons from Tiananmen will the Party apply to Hong Kong?

Elsi
BTW, would you care to provide the CCP spin on 2.5 million Uighyurs in concentration camps? Re-education?

No way that I care, since, as I have already left crystal clear, I have no idea on CCP spin, but occurs to me that those may well be ISIS Uyghurs, couldn´t they be? Thus, yes, re-education may be then a possibility. In the end, what wpuld you prefer, re-education, or obliteration by the Russian Air Forces in Idlib?

Tidewater

Do you have any information on what Turkey is doing in Qatar? I know that Turkey is building a new air base there. It should be finished soon, I would think. And Turkey reportedly plans to station as many as ten thousand troops there. Is that accurate? Do you know how many Turkish troops are stationed in Qatar at the moment? There could be at least three thousand right now?

Why? What is all this about?

Eugene Owens

TI -

And it has been a Turkish puppet state for 45 years. Ankara seems happy with that. Would that change in the future as Colonel Lang thinks - who knows?

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