Joel Cairo’s Journal – November 23, 2014

Joel Cairo

 

It is with some trepidation that I open this series of reports for the IntellectualConservative. As you may know, I have spent many years in search of the elusive Maltese Falcon. That devious rascal Khamidov must still have it and it appears that he has left Istanbul for some other location. Being an international adventurer is expensive leading to my unfortunate need to sign on as a foreign correspondent. Perhaps, on the other hand, it is a good idea, as it gives me a certain legitimacy that would not otherwise be available.

 

The news media has paid extremely little attention to the recent meetings between that pompous Joe Biden and Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu. It should be clear to even the casual observer that the meeting was largely a matter of public relations, given the true situation in Turkish society during the last few years. What the less than casual observer fails to note is that there is a desire among many of the people to restore the past glory of the Turkish Empire by restoring the decadent society of that now-departed entity. It reminds one of the Italian Mussolini’s foolish desire to restore the Roman Empire which he would then rule.

 

The official position of the Turkish government is quite simply to play for time by using foreign governments to do the dirty work it should do, itself, if it were truly interested in maintaining the Western identity established by the modernizer, Ataturk. But the vagaries of politics in the Levant make it much more difficult for them to do so than one might imagine.

 

Consider, for instance, the rise of Islamic militarism in the Turkish political scene. It did, unfortunately make my job more difficult in locating Khamidov, but more importantly, this trend results from an equally unfortunate strain of nationalism that has erupted as the people of that country. A strain of nationalism that believes that atavistic behavior is the key to future progress. Experience teaches that using outdated methods rarely results in any benefit to the practitioner, but people infatuate with faded glories are not fond of that knowledge. They ignore what they do not wish to understand. Meanwhile, these same people engage in Anti-American demonstrations and attack three sailors on shore leave. It is a travesty that they do not understand that they are cutting their own throats.

 

But on the larger political scene, Davutoglu and Erdogan are playing the popular oriental game of riding the tiger. The tiger they are riding in this instance is the wave of atavistic, islamist, nationalism that has become a major political obstacle for their desires to continue in power over the nation. It is because of this that they dare not intervene significantly against the self-identified Islamic state militants. They are afraid of outrage among their own people if they do. While they are stalling, hoping to gain favor among the people they run the risk of alienating foreign allies and the equal possibility of invasion from the very forces they hope to successfully court behind the scenes. Thus, they are in en unenviable position of potentially falling off in any number of directions, each of which could result in their deaths, or worse. At this time they do not yet desired to become the honored dead.

Mr. Biden was quoted in the media as stating that “We’ve been friends for a long time and one of the great advantages of being back in Turkey with a friend and NATO ally is we’re always direct with one another.” Biden is too much the fool to know when he is being lied to. He does not understand the mind of the local people. He believes what he wants to believe, which is either that he can trust all foreign officials all the time, or that they are so in awe of him that they will never try to do anything under the table. Biden is, in short, a fool.

 

Meanwhile, Davutoglu, seems more intent on the situation in Syria and the removal of its dictator Assad. “Look at how things are getting better in Iraq after a government chosen by the people is in place,” Davutoglu publicly stated. If you can imagine a nation in chaos, struggling with a homegrown invasion better than what was there before, then his statement might have merit. But Assad is a force for stability in the region because he maintains the status quo. Beyond that, there is little he has little to offer. Biden has not determined why the Turks are determined to remove Assad. If Assad is removed, or dies in the near future, he will find out.

 

There is a lesson from all this; that to send a pompous fool on a diplomatic mission to a region that specializes in dealings under the table, back-stabbing of supposed friends and the like will not bring about a desirable outcome.

 

I hope you have all enjoyed my little foray into reporting international affairs. I will return when something of interest occurs wherever I may happen to be.

 

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