NATO stepped up its game in Russia’s “Near Abroad” in response to the post-Soviet (and cynical) near destruction and depopulating of Syria; Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea (and installation of another Moscow-sustained “Frozen Conflict”), and the dictatorship’s continued support for terrorism (for Afghanistan’s Taliban challengers to state authority; for Hezbollah, the global transnational crime operation); and for its “Active Measures” meddling in EU/NATO territory.
Generally speaking, The Bear has been a bullying, cowardly, and disingenuous force on the world’s stage, persistently authoritarian, underhanded, and totalitarian, and NATO has made itself popular to states wishing to be not so broadly . . . played.
Welcome to Cyprus
Fifteen years ago, NATO welcomed seven new members into the Alliance, expanding its borders eastward from the Baltic to Black Seas. As NATO reaches its seventieth birthday, it could now be time to look toward adding a new member: this time in the Eastern Mediterranean.https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/nato-membership-for-cyprus – 3/31/2019
The end of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) failed to sustain western-leaning government in Moscow. Yes, the Cold War was over; the habits of Russian paternal authoritarianism were not. With the ascent of Vladimir Putin to power, Moscow continued to act as a beacon of hope to dictatorships intent on remaining unfettered in their brutality, corruption, and criminality in relation to the ginning of their wealth.
NATO has stood fast against Putin’s rush to sink the world in a renewed feudal morass informed by vanity and absent of conscience, such being the nature of his own malignant narcissism.
Cyprus, of course, lists among the world’s frozen conflicts.
In Damon Wilson’s analysis for the Atlantic Council, the time seems ripe for unification: “Cyprus remains the only European Union member who is not even a member of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, due entirely to the outstanding reunification problem. Immediate NATO membership for a reunified island, however, would automatically embed, and therefore replace, a joint Greek-Turkish-British security guarantee within an Alliance commitment to the entire island without any need for alternative mechanisms.”
Yes, but . . . .
Feudal Absolutism v Modern Democracy: Turkey’s Islamist Leader
Our minarets are our bayonets Our domes are our helmets Our mosques are our barracks We will put a final end to ethnic segregation. No one can ever intimidate us. If the skies and the ground were to open against us If floods and volcanoes were to burst We will not turn from our mission. My reference is Islam. If I am not able to speak of this What is the use of living?
Secondary source for the above quoted portion of Erdogan’s 1997 speech delivered in Siirt: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2016/08/11/notes-on-erdogans-emerging-regime/ (the primary source seems at the moment inconveniently lost somewhere in the web and beyond the editor’s patience for hunting).
Cyprus would be more easily unified if the Turkish President were an authentic NATO leader. However, in BackChannel’s humble opinion, by apologizing for the downing of two Russian jets overflying Turkish airspace, Erdogan made himself part of Putin’s new feudal estate — the estate of post-Soviet dictatorships responding to Moscow.
Not so noble that New Nobility.
While pressure has been applied — okay, infant terrible, Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile defense or American F-35s — from whose jets do you intend defense of, say, your Islamic principles. . . or of Turkish Stream? — results, so far, appear indefinite.
Ah well, every family has a conflicted, selfish, and troubled member.
In lieu of kicking Turkey out of the house, so to speak, this has been the kind of headline NATO has had to tolerate in relation to Erdogan’s family business: “Erdogan: NATO gives arms to ‘terrorists’ but not to Turkey: President accuses NATO allies of supporting ‘terrorism’ with thousands of truckloads of weapons, but none for Turkey” (Al Jazeera, February 18, 2019).
Perhaps the baggage is only getting in the way of the journey, for the Turkish government speaks in glowing terms of the state’s relationship with NATO: “Ever since our NATO membership in 1952, the North Atlantic Alliance has played a central role in Turkey’s security and contributed to its integration with the Euro-Atlantic community. Turkey, in return, has successfully assumed its responsibilities in defending the common values of the Alliance.”
There would seem to be some discrepancy between Turkish idealpolitik and its president’s realpolitik.
Another Neo-NATO President: Hungary’s Viktor Orban
Written into existence by James Kirchik:
Most of the international criticism directed at Hungary over the past nine years has focused on domestic indicators such as the rule of law, separation of powers and press freedom. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been remarkably blunt about his designs for Hungary, citing China, Russia and Turkey as models. After an election in April widely deemed free but not fair, he sounded a triumphal note, declaring that “the era of liberal democracy is over.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/03/is-hungary-becoming-rogue-state-center-europe/ – 1/3/2019
Is Hungary becoming rogue?
Read Hungarian Spectrum and mouse back a few years.
The indicators of reversion to the feudal mode and its medieval blood-and-soil worldviews, including the idolatry associated with the “Great Leader” may be the same across afflicted states: the boast of a gloriously romantic history; contempt for and manipulation of the press, previously free and independent; renewal of anti-Semitic tropes accompanied by tolerance for Far White Right extremism (in Hungary, that would be Jobbik); transfer of powers to family and with it the growth of associated business alliances (open nepotism and cronyism); xenophobia; fear of George Soros 🙂 : the democratic state succumbs to the will of the President (for Life!) who then treats the assets of the same as if they were of his very own feudal estate — and so they become exactly that.
In every way, Orban’s illiberal Hungary — or the illiberal Orban’s captive state — fits with the renewal of — or renewed drowning in — feudalism in more than one or two NATO states..
BREXIT, Poland, others . . . BackChannels blames Moscow (and the obscure method of manipulation knows as “Reflexive Control” (on this blog: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2017/03/11/reflexive-control-process-allahu-akbar-terrorism-new-nationalism-neo-feudalism/ ) for a part of what has happened. In Turkey and Hungary, resurgent old habits have had their effects.
Russia may not have need for plowing tanks into EU/NATO targets where “Active Measures” and the leveraging and seduction of deeply narcissistic state leaders may suffice for the perversion of NATO values — those supporting the democratic and liberal humanism that have been the hard fought and won treasures of western civilization — in targeted space. No sane child of the post-WWII west would think continuous conflict, political absolutism, and the wars of all against all the natural fate of western states, but that’s what has drawn near.
While NATO may be militarily on its game and strong, the system has shown its weakness in the egotism — the malignant narcissism — of several of its leaders (add another but lesser figure in Jeremy Corbyn, a perhaps unwitting son of Soviet Era cant and today’s piper of Far Out Left — and anti-Semitic — attitudes and beliefs — and then note his xenophobic complements occupying the British Far White Right).
May God smile on them all 😉 — but it is NATO that defends them, and if the same or similar come into power, then what would it be that NATO found itself actually defending?
From the deposing of old generals to the defeat of a pro-democracy coup, Erdogan’s story has unfolded and been met by the west even more slowly — but at least, finally, met.
What of others?
Nonetheless: Happy Birthday, NATO. May you and the full suite of pro-democracy institutions and moral entrepreneurs worldwide advocate for and defend authentic democracies, related responsive and responsible governance, and forever human dignity and freedom and the many good dream and rights given to mankind.
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