Yes, I know it has been going on for some time, but I don’t think most people are fully aware of just how bad it is – Spengler writes about Turkey’s problems:
…Turkey is a mediocre economy at best with a poorly educated workforce, no high-tech capacity, and shrinking markets in depressed Europe and the unstable Arab world. Its future might well be as an economic tributary of China, as the “New Silk Road” extends high-speed rail lines to the Bosporus…
…The whole notion was flawed from top to bottom. Turkey was not in line to become an economic power of any kind: it lacked the people and skills to do anything better than medium-tech manufacturing. Its Islamists never were democrats. Worst of all, its demographics are as bad as Europe’s. Ethnic Turks have a fertility rate close to 1.5 children per family, while the Kurdish minority is having 4 children per family. Within a generation half of Turkey’s young men will come from families where Kurdish is the first language…
Spengler also notes that corruption is a big problem and, of course, that Turkey is honey-combed with bad debt, now coming due with little chance the Turks can pay. Iran has the same sort of problem – declining birth rate, low-skilled labor force, corrupt, bad debt…its why they were so eager to cut a deal with Kerry in return for easing the sanctions: Iran’s economy teeters on the edge of complete collapse and the deal frees up money for the mullahs (and, of course, the Iranians were doubly delighted to do it as, having taken the measure of Obama, they knew that they could get the sanctions eased and still just go on sponsoring terrorism and making nukes). So, add Turkey to Iran to Syria to Egypt to Libya to Sudan as failed States…and look warily at the corrupt monarchies of the Arabian peninsula which keep themselves alive only so long as the oil keeps flowing and they can bribe people to silence. Meanwhile, Islamism continues to spread and even in Afghanistan – with American troops still there – the Afghan government works out how to implement laws allowing for the stoning to death of adulterers.
So, what of it? What can we do about it? Not much. Suffice it to say that at some point, this mess will draw us back in militarily, but for now there is not much we can do. First and foremost, because Barack Obama is President of the United States. The level of ignorance of facts and unwillingness to face the truth about the Middle East entirely cripples any efforts made by the Obama Administration – and if we did get sucked in to active military operations, it is certain that the lack of courage and military knowledge of the Obama Administration would ensure an American defeat. All we can do is watch in fascinated horror while this goes on.
In the longer term, when we hopefully have better leadership, when we are forced to again fight in that area, it is to be hoped that we will do so with a clear eye to the harsh realities. For whatever reason, Islamic peoples are simply incapable, as such, of building and maintaining a civilization. They can take over from others (as they did when they first conquered such areas as Turkey, Syria and Egypt), but they cannot maintain or build on their own. There is something in Muslim theology which prevents rationality – which prevents a Muslim government from really exercising democracy, from really allowing people to be independent, from really allowing minorities to have rights. When we have to go back in, our policies must be governed in this light.
To be sure, I don’t want us to have to govern large, Muslim populations – whatever else may be said about them, Muslims dislike intensely any foreign domination. So, no attempt at nation building. But when the next war in the Middle East comes to our door, we must ensure that at the end of it, we are firmly protected against the violent acts of Islamist extremists and that the minority peoples of the area are afforded independence from Muslim rule – or even from a Muslim minority within their territories. This will require a significant reworking of the map of the Middle East. As I’ve pointed out in the past, new nations will have to be created where non-Muslim minorities can live in peace and independence – in places like Lebanon, parts of Syria, parts of Iraq, parts of Egypt, land must be carved out so that non-Muslims can be safe, with the additional benefit of locking the Muslim nations, themselves, in to positions from which they cannot by offensive action influence the course of world events.
We all of us – right and left – have been living in a bit of a dream world as regards policy towards the Middle East. It is time we woke up to reality and acted accordingly.