Friday, August 17, 2018

Multipolarity Arrives in the Middle East: Strengthening Strategic Autonomy

hat tip to J for leaving the link to this oped in the comment section of :

Is Turkey Sleepwalking Out of the Alliance? Incirlik, Brunson, S-400's

Also see Bhadrakumar's (former Indian Ambassador)

His point is, that it's not about Turkey to 'defect' away from NATO to Russia (and China). It's only about multipolarity returning in international politics.

I think, the same may be true for the EU states. Trump and the Congress behave like a "school-class bully". and this accelerates it even more.

I found the piece quite thoughtful- And think Bhadrakumar makes some very valid points- not so much about Turkey exiting NATO as it is countries concerning themselves with what is beneficial for their nation's interests- He addresses some points about Russia and the relationship between Turkey and Iran which have not always been friendly- But still they are all working together... to calm the Syrian situation down and stabilize the region.
 A point I've made on more then one occasion about the Astana partners and their ability to cooperate, despite their many differences, as speaking well of the leadership of the 3 nations. 

Without further adieu:

"Trust Turkey’s Recep Erdogan to have had a game plan when he challenged the Trump administration and promised that the latter will regret its “unilateralist” policies"
Mr Erdogan looks to be doing right by Turkey- He's attempting to save the Lira and avoid being forced to the IMF. As mentioned in The Sun Doesn't Rise Because the Rooster Crows: Turkey's Currency Crisis Created To Force an IMF Bailout

"Some pundits thought Russia and China have been inciting him and are lurking in the shadows to escort Erdogan to a brave new world.
Others fancied that the Eurasian integration processes would now take a great leap forward as Turkey embraced Russia, while a few forecast that Turkey would now sell itself cheap for Chinese money.
And then, there is the ubiquitous prediction in such situations that whoever defied the lone super power would come a cropper and Turkey’s fate is going to be miserable"
All these apocalyptic predictions overlooked the fact that Turkey may have a ‘third way’ forward – by strengthening even further its strategic autonomy and optimally exploiting its foreign policy options.
This path opened dramatically on Wednesday with the unscheduled arrival of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar’s emir, in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Economic projects, investments, deposits

Qatar’s royal court has announced in a statement that Al-Thani “issued directives that will see the State of Qatar to provide a host of economic projects, investments and deposits” worth $15 billion to support the Turkish economy.
A government source in Ankara told Reuters that the investments would be channeled into Turkish banks and financial markets.
 Al-Thani confirmed the direct investment plans in Turkey, which he described as having a “productive, strong and solid economy.” He tweeted: “We are together with Turkey and our brothers there, who stand by Qatar and problems of the Ummah.”
Readers here should recall that Saudi Arabia embargoed and wanted to attack Qatar. But Turkey and Iran came to the aid of Qatar. Helping them circumvent the embargo


"Erdogan responded, saying his meeting with al-Thani was “very productive and positive.” Erdogan thanked the emir and Qatari people for standing with Turkey. “Our relations with friendly and brotherly country Qatar will continue to strengthen in many areas,” he tweeted.
At its most obvious level, we may locate the historic Qatari gesture toward Turkey in the matrix of the strong convergence that has accrued in their relationship in recent years in the backdrop of the emergent power dynamic in the Middle East. The axis works on many planes.
On the ideological plane, importantly, the ruling elites in both countries share a unique affinity toward Islamism and in visualizing the Muslim Brotherhood as the vehicle for the democratic transformation of the region. (Not a fan of the muslimbrotherhood stuff- But I don't live in either nation)  As a result, both have been targeted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE – and Egypt.

Joint military exercises

Until the retreat of Qatar from the Syrian killing fields in recent years, it was collaborating closely with Turkey (both nations have long retreated from the overthrow mode and Turkey is actively cooperating with Russia and Iran I will relink the plans for Idlib at the bottom, again) in the failed project to overthrow the Assad regime. Of course, both countries are strong supporters of Hamas, too.
Turkey keeps a military base in Qatar, which may seem symbolic in comparison with the Western bases, but turned out to be an important lifeline for Doha for pushing back at Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the past couple of years. Turkey and Qatar are also planning to hold joint military exercises this year.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi resent Erdogan’s projection of power through Qatar into the GCC territory, which they regard as their playpen. The Turks in turn suspect that Emiratis had a hand in the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in July 2016.
Meanwhile, there is great complementarity in the economic sphere between Turkey and Qatar. Turkey has a dynamic export industry and an economy that has registered impressive growth in the last decade, while Qatar has a huge surplus of capital for investment.
One consideration for Doha will be that the Turkish construction industry, which is affected by the present financial crisis in Turkey, is involved in preparing the infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which Qatar is hosting.
Fundamentally, therefore, the planned Qatari investment in the Turkish economy holds big resonance for the geopolitics of the Middle East. No doubt, it proclaims the adulthood of the Turkish-Qatari axis. Regional states ranging from Iran to Israel will carefully take note that Al-Thani has come to Erdogan’s help at a critical moment.

Some spice in a heady brew

Yet, the Qatar-Turkey axis will not project itself as a strategic defiance of the United States – although the Qatari emir is well aware of Erdogan’s face-off with the Trump administration. Nonetheless, what adds some spice to this heady brew is that the Trump administration has been unabashedly partial toward the Saudi-Emirati line-up in the Gulf region.
A recent American report even claimed that former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lost his job because he stood in the way of a Saudi-Emirati plan to attack Qatar.
At any rate, the apt description for the Turkish-Qatari axis is that it is a manifestation of the arrival of multipolarity in the politics of the Middle East. Both Turkey and Qatar have good relations with Iran.
Although US Central Command is headquartered in Doha, Al-Thani also has a warm relationship Russian President Vladimir Putin, too.
In the power dynamic of the Middle East, the trend toward multipolarity is poised to accelerate. As time passes, conceivably, even Saudi Arabia and the UAE will see the attraction in strengthening their strategic autonomy.
It will be a fallacy, therefore, to continue viewing the Middle East through the Cold War prism, as most US analysts do, as an area of contestation between the big powers – as if the regional states don’t have a mind of their own or multiple options in developing their policies.
Simply put, Turkey or Iran may lean toward Russia, but can never forge a strategic alliance with Moscow. With a view to pushing back at US pressure, they may lean decidedly toward Moscow from time to time, but they have no intentions of surrendering their strategic autonomy.
But to caricature these countries as passive participants in Russia’s Eurasian integration processes will be delusional.
Russia understands this complicated reality, which is not surprising, given Moscow’s historical memory of its highly problematic relationships with Turkey and Iran through centuries in its imperial history. 
Thus, the Russian policy is not unduly demanding and is willing to accept their nationalist mindset. (which is wholly appropriate and sensible policy)
On the other hand, the failure of the US policies lies in Washington’s inability to accept equal relationships and its obsession, ‘You’re either with us, or are against us.’ (which causes a pile of problems as we've all seen)
Make no mistake, the European capitals watch with exasperation the Trump administration’s handling of Erdogan – although he is by no means an easy customer to handle. The point is, European countries are closer to Russia in their appreciation of the complexities of the Middle East. Nor are European countries inclined to view Turkey through the Israeli prism. 
Therefore, a concerted Western strategy toward Erdogan under US leadership will remain elusive. Germany’s decision to lift its sanctions against Turkey can be seen in this light. Equally, Erdogan is due to pay a state visit to Germany in September. "
As mentioned in this previous post:

Lavrov in Ankara to talk Syria and 4 Party Summit

"The statement also said that a four-way Syria summit "is planned in the upcoming future," with the leaders of Russia, France, Turkey and Germany attending. The summit is of great significance as the four countries have taken an initiative to resolve regional issues at a fragile time.

The summit was first announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 28 in Johannesburg, South Africa"
The plans made by Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey to, as smoothly as possible, return Idlib to the leadership in Damascus:


  1. Yes, also in Eirope things may change!
    Today: Vladimir Putin dancing with Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karin Kneissl, on her wedding reception:


    1. "Europe", of course


    2. Hi J
      Yes, my hubby had read that in the news about Putin dancing with Austria's foreign affairs minister...

      So he's not as reviled in Europe as our media would have us believe?

  2. 1) "So he's not as reviled in Europe as our media would have us believe?"

    Here a survey in Germany from 2016:
    "Germans what closer partnership with Russia" -

    Here a survey from March 2019: "85% of Germans are not afraid of Russia" -

    From 2017 :

    (Translate thoese links above with )
    I think that the public view in other continental EU states is not much different. The German press, of course, is all poisonous at Putin and Kneissl dancing!

    2) And all those government-conspirycy-theories, that are so absurd, that even our simple minded (yes, they are) co-citzens don't swallow anay more: "Skripals" - the Russians did it! "Malysian airliner over Ukraine" - the Russian did it! "Trump victory" - the Russian did it!
    Google, Youtube, Facebook: Where are your conspiracy and fake news blockers now??!!

    Or take this fake news of "Russia annected the Krim".
    Russia never annected the Krim., It was Ukraine(!) that annected the Krim in 1954!
    This was done then by the Generel Secratary of the Sowjet Communist Party, Nikita Chrutshov, who was an Ukrainian National. chrutshov did this by ignoring totally the Sowjet law. So this annexation was invalid. But it was even more invalid because of international law. this, because a state can not simply abondon its own citizens.
    If Merkel would decide Helgoland to be from now on an Bitish isle and those citizens there to be no more German nationals - this would be invalid not only because of German law but also because of international law!

    But finally, when the Sowjet Union desintegrated, the people of the Krim could declare themselves independent. Like did a lot of - nowadays - other countries (Kasakstan, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia - and yes: Ukraine).
    So the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was established by the 1991. but already in 1994 Ukrainien Troops marched in and annected the Krim.
    To this see:

    Here, Penny, for Your and your "hubby's" ( a new englich word I learned now) Sunday relaxation: A cartoon I love, mockin this 'Trump-Putin-collusion' thing:


    1. Sorry, I had two Word-files open and the not-debugged version made it by mistake.
      The General Secretary's name was: " Nikita Khrushchev".

      And its of course "annexed".
      By the Way: Hawaii on the other hand was really annexed with brutal military force. And the native Hawaiians were all dispossessed and they live in total poverty since then.


    2. Hi J
      I looked at the cartoon and will definitely share it with hubby (sorry, I just assume everyone understands these shortened words)- and as you figured out hubby is indeed husband- In this case my husband :)

      And I'm familiar with that specific bit of history (regarding Ukraine/Crimea and Krushchev) your mentioning- because my husband's grandparents hail from that part of the world..

      re: Hawaii?
      Didn't Bill Clinton recognize, somewhat, what was done there? I think so?

      thanks again for the links, I will translate and read later today

      oops one more thing
      J "2) And all those government-conspirycy-theories, that are so absurd, that even our simple minded (yes, they are) co-citzens don't swallow anay more:

      German or Russian? just curious.

    3. Me? … An elder (no more working!) German citizen living in Vienna/Austria.

      "Vienna" … Yes, yey, yes, I know what You, Penny, think now: "Did You, J, also dance with Putin?".
      No, I didn't!
      They did not invite me!


    4. Not Invited!
      Maybe another time ;)

      I'll bet the food was excellent?!

    5. "I'll bet the food was excellent?!"
      No, not so hot, I think!

      "The cook Heinz Preschan made a 4-gear-menue
      1) mashed pumpkinseed (for the vegetarian Kneissl)
      2) as starter: "Verhackert’s“ -
      3) brook trout
      4.) "Rindsschulterscherzel" = beef from the shoulder
      No dessert?

      The Austrian kitchen is what I call (and dislike) 'old-German kitchen' - simple, next to no salad, little vegetable, next to no sauce.
      I'd rather eat at Putin's datsha!

      Austrian kitchen is like the (West)German kitchen was up to the 1950s. A lot of things changed (West)Germany in the 1960s (Austria obviously skipped this decade). Especially the kitchen. They discovered "salad" - with a lot of help from the new "Italian restaurants" and, yes, English "steak houses" (the English kitchen is not at all as bad as it's reputation!). They learned not to cook spaghetti and green beans (and other vegetable) until they are completely soft. As the Germans became to fat ("Wirtshaftswunder") every magazine not only offered a "diet" but also gave tips for cooking. On TV a cook hat a famous show, everybody watched. And that improved the kitchen enormous. .

      I would have cooked:
      1) Consommé (clear soup) of quail
      2) half a lobster, toast, Mayonnaise (lightly sweetened)
      3.) brook trout (or other local fish) with fried prawn pasta (this version of little shells),
      4.) saddle of venison, chanterelle, fennel (melted Roquefort on top), potato croquette, sauce (to explain the sauce I'd had to write another chapter, so I skip this)
      5) Dessert - for choice: mousse au chocolat, ice-cream, cheese
      6) Espresso (or a classic "Mokka" of the old kind)

    6. Hey J!
      Your menu is much more delicious to read!
      And surely to eat-
      mashed pumpkin seed- and I like pumpkin seeds (from the pumpkin, roasted in butter and salt) but that sounds gross...
      trout is always good
      I'd definitely take your menu- I'll look up the sauce
      a chef or a foodie?
      I'm a definite foodie- and like to cook, but, not a chef

    7. "a chef or a foodie?"
      No (always been an attorney)

      "Not Invited! Maybe another time ;)"
      These mountain tribe people (Austrians) have no manners, that's all!

    8. They musn't have manners or they'd have invited me too!

    9. @Penny, August 20, 2018 at 4:12 PM

      … may be this Putin is behind this us not being invited …
      (Fecelbook, Twitter would of course block this comment immediately and call it a "conspiracy theory"!)

    10. Yah the censorship lately has been getting very heavy.
      It was always there anyway, but, has gotten more extreme.

  3. Putin in Austria on the wedding reception


  4. Although this article above is already some days old - and only few readers will now read here anymore - Penny's/Bhadrakumar's topic of the (obviously) upcoming Multipolarity in international politics is much to interesting to leave it alone now.

    1) Penny's article looks at "Multipolarity" in Middle East. Among other things it's the idea that Turkey will not simply 'switch over' to Russia/China. But instead will keep thinks on the brink or rather undecided/"open". Because this is the best bargaining (they are "Orientals") position for Turkey. By this the US as well as Russia are forced to permanently rival for Turkeys favour.

    2) We all feel that also the EU - or at least some EU states - possibly(!) might also take a more multipolar position. This means not 'switching over' to Russia/China but moving away from being simply heelers of all orders coming from the regime in Washington.

    3) Now my point: I find it interesting that also in those countries of the SOUTH CHINA SEA things seem to be on the move - in the sense of multipolarity:

    See: and




    1. thanks J

      Just so you know the post will still get reads.
      More links to read! I suspect that there would be movement in the south china sea as well

    2. I forgot:
      "1) Consommé (clear soup) of quail" - it should be toppeled by (unsweatened) wipped cream, powdered a little with english curry powder.

    3. J, your killin' me with that menu!
      (in a good way)

      You must be a chef at heart?!

    4. @Penny
      I am not a musisian, but the desire to cook well (and having good ideas) is probably comparable of the desire of a musician to compose somthing really good.

      But I'd hate to be a cook nowadays. Unlike, let's say, 50 years ago as a cook you'd must have one or even more alternatives for every step of the set meal:
      Jews, at least the Orthodoxe ones, don't eat pork. Nowadays you are likely to have also one or more Muslims and Hindus at the table. They also don't eat pork (also not meat of wild pork!).
      You have diabetics - many more, it seems to me, then only some decades ago.
      You have people, who are sensitive to lactose (milk products). Think of the whipped cream on the soup of quaile (or partridge).
      And, yes, you have vegetarians, like the bride Karin Kneissl.
      By the way, Penny: If You ever get attacked by a vegetarian for being so cruel as to eat the meat of animals, simply answer: "Hitler was also a vegetarian!".

    5. Excellent response- I will remember that!