Turkey’s Erdogan seeks war between NATO and Russia – M.D. Nalapat

Prof M.D. Nalapat“A second downing of a Russian military aircraft will almost certainly lead to a matching response from Moscow, something which Erdogan evidently looks forward to, as he believes that the US and other NATO member-states will be treaty-bound to intervene in force, thereby getting into, at the least, an air war with Russia, which would result in several aircraft getting shot down. Such a spectacle would have the advantage to buyers of military equipment of demonstrating in actual combat the relative strengths of the types of aircraft used by the US, Russia and France.” – Prof M. D. Nalapat

Recep Tayyip ErdoğanPresident R. T. Erdogan clearly believes in gambling. Aware that his own military is puny in comparison with that of the Russian Federation, Erdogan has been acting as bait, seeking to draw his partners in NATO into an armed conflict with Moscow. This is the logic of his call for a No Fly Zone across Turkey’s border with Syria, a plea endorsed by US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who during her tenure as Secretary of State made one disastrous decision after the other: for example, in Pakistan, by backing the military against then President A. A. Zardari, who in some respects resembles Bill Clinton but whose commitment to a moderate rather than an extremist course is undoubted; in Egypt, by backing the Muslim Brotherhood in taking over from Hosni Mubarak; in Libya, by being a cheerleader for the coalition which took out Gaddafi and handed over the country to extremist militias; and in Syria, where Hillary Clinton has backed the arming, training and funding of “moderate” fighters who are indistinguishable from the fanatics who flock to ISIS, Al Nusra and other ideological cousins of Al Qaeda. The Turkish supremo is going the way of Zia-ul-Haq, changing the chemistry of his country through his policies, in the process creating the conditions for civil war and civic unrest which are waiting to erupt within the coming year.

Vladimir PutinGiven that the armaments industry is the only viable Russian export left standing after the collapse in oil prices, it is a high-risk strategy to taunt Vladimir Putin. A second downing of a Russian military aircraft will almost certainly lead to a matching response from Moscow, something which Erdogan evidently looks forward to, as he believes that the US and other NATO member-states will be treaty-bound to intervene in force, thereby getting into, at the least, an air war with Russia, which would result in several aircraft getting shot down. Such a spectacle would have the advantage to buyers of military equipment of demonstrating in actual combat the relative strengths of the types of aircraft used by the US, Russia and France. Despite its popularity with the Ministry of Defence in India, the Dassault Rafale does not appear to have distinguished itself in combat in Syria, as compared to the SU 35 and the SU 27, leaving some to wonder if India has made the right choice in the hyper-expensive deal to purchase fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Indeed, the effort by the US, the UK and France against ISIS in Syria has been puny, with that organisation suffering reverses only after Putin sent in his air force to ensure that Bashar Assad won back most of the territory ceded to extremist fights (otherwise known as the “moderate opposition”). This was fully three years after videos first began to surface which showed “moderates” in Syria slicing away the heads of Christians and others they saw as theological or other foes.

Seal of the North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationGiven the cliff-hanger state of the global economy, with prospects for a global depression gaining momentum despite efforts by central banks in East Asia, Europe and North America to stimulate spending via low (and even negative) interest rates, it is unlikely that there exists any appetite in NATO headquarters in Brussels for joining hands with the Turkish military in taking on Russia. The Turkish head of state seeks to overcome such diffidence by creating a fait accompli. By goading and provoking Russia, he expects a response sufficiently robust enough to result in an activation of the joint defence clause of NATO, when Turkish and Russian aircraft go at each other in the skies above Syria, Iraq and possibly Turkey itself. To get enticed into combat would be to adopt the ISIS playbook, as Russia is for now the main threat faced by the extremist group. Unfortunately for his country, Erdogan has converted the Turkish Air Force into the air arm of the extremists, going after the Kurds when these are among the most potent forces challenging ISIS on the ground, of course separately from Assad’s military and its Iranian allies. Just as in the 1990s, the US seems to be leaving the Kurds to their fate after having received substantial assistance from them in the otherwise lacklustre military campaign being waged by the US against ISIS, a campaign in which the role of the UK and France is derisory.  Hopefully, the Sarajevo of 1914 will not get repeated in Diyarbakir in 2016.

French fighter Dassault RafaleThis columnist has long favoured closer military-to-military ties between the US and India, including signing the three “foundation agreements” which had been consigned to cold storage by Manmohan Singh that would enable closer interaction between the two sides. Rather than expend billions of dollars in the purchase of junk such as the Admiral Gorshkov, the Indian Navy needs many more vessels on the USS Trenton model if it is to ensure that it has a force sufficient for the need of this country and its partners for freedom of navigation across the seas. The US is the only partner that has the capacity to assist the Indian military into becoming a global force at a cost that does not bankrupt the exchequer. Leaving aside the occasions on which he has deferred to the Clintonites that he has filled his administration with, Barack Obama has had almost as clear an understanding of ground realities as Donald Trump has demonstrated on the campaign trail. Hopefully, Erdogan will lose his high-stakes gamble to tilt the world towards a war between the globe’s most deadly militaries, and be left to his fate in case he continues on a policy of provoking Moscow in a manner designed to assist the extremists nurtured by him since 2012. – The Sunday Guardian, 20 February 2016

INS Vikramaditya

One Response

  1. The facts mentioned in this article are correct, but the conclusions are wrong. All the players against the Syrian govt, e.g., Erdogan, Qatar, Sauds, etc. take their orders from the Americans. So when Turkey downed the jet it was not the Sultan’s decision; he was just acting under orders. Turkey doesn’t gain anything by getting into a hot war with the Russians, in fact to the contrary, they end up losing a lot economically. So then, why is Erdogan so insistent on hurting the Russians? His job is to bait the Russians into attacking Turkey, so that NATO can get their fait accompli for coming down on the Russians like a ton of bricks. Because as the things stand, the NATO proxies, are being eliminated like vermin by the Russian planes.
    In that case the Russians will be too busy fending off attacks on their aircrafts from a numerically / technically superior enemy (NATO countries) to be able to go after the ISIS/Al_Nusra/etc thugs. And this is just the lifeline the Islamofascist thugs need to be able to prevail over the legit Syrian government.

    The author’s point of tying up with the Americans on military matters is also not correct. Simply because India does not gain anything by that.
    The Syrian conflict has shown, if any evidence were needed, that the Russian weaponry is second to none and a whole lot cheaper too and comes with no strings attached. In allying with the Americans we will give them an opportunity to infiltrate our Armed forces senior personnel and corrupt them as the US always does in Latin America, Pakistan, other countries. The US can hold back spare parts in times of war with Pakistan. Last but not least, the American weapons are expensive. Look at the results the Russians have shown in just 3 months of banging the ISIS/thugs in Syria. The Americans & their coalition were also bombing ISIS for over an year but with very little to show for it. Of course it doesnot mean that their weapons are laggard, but that their intentions are suspect. What that implies is that they are in bed with the “foe” that did 9/11 (That’s what Bush launched in War on Terror for in 2001).

    Pakistan is just too important for them because of location. They want it for subverting Central Asia & hence will never give up on it. And neither will they leave Afghanistan for the same reason. Despite Modi govt’s best efforts at attaching itself to US, just take a look at the F-16 sale to the Paks! The US even overrules it’s own laws(Pressler/Symington) to be able to weaponize the Pakis. Why? Coz the Pakis are just too damn important in their scheme of things. The job allocated them is to train the Islamofascist thugs for any operation that NATO needs at any point in time. The Gulf states job is to be the financiers for the Islamofascist thugs.

    Just think, all the 911 “militants” came from Saudi Arabia/Egypt (this as per the official American 911 Report) and yet what do the Americans do? They obliterate Iraq on the false pretext that Saddam is involved with 911! And now a US judge has ordered the Iranians to cough up billions of dollars to the families of those killed in 911 !

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