Friday, December 27, 2013

As Turkey Implodes

The few media outlets that are covering Turkey are focusing on the corruption scandals and the political theatrics. As noted yesterday, they deserve credit for reporting on the failed American policy in Turkey.

But, that’s not even the most important thing that’s happening in turkey. David Goldman, aka Spengler is altering us to the fact that the country is in the midst of an economic collapse.

Goldman has been predicting this outcome for some time now and he deserves credit for an excellent call. For the record he was well ahead of everyone else in his analysis of the situation in Egypt, too.

In a column today Goldman explains that Turkey is in the midst of  a political and economic implosion:

Turkey is coming apart. The Islamist coalition that crushed the secular military and political establishment–between Tayip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and the Islamist movement around Fethullah Gulen–has cracked. The Gulenists, who predominate in the security forces, have arrested the sons of top government ministers for helping Iran to launder money and circumvent sanctions, and ten members of Erdogan’s cabinet have resigned. Turkey’s currency is in free fall, and that’s just the beginning of the country’s troubles: about two-fifths of corporate debt is in foreign currencies, so the cost of servicing it jumps whenever the Turkish lira declines. Turkish stocks have crashed (and were down another 5% in dollar terms in early trading Friday). So much for Turkey’s miracle economy.

Why does this matter? The Obama administration, and also the Bush administration, pinned their hopes on Erdogan. They believed that he would serve as the example of an Islamist leader who could direct an advanced economy.

For some time it looked as though Erdogan’s Turkey was a great economic success. Unfortunately, Goldman analyzes, the Turkish economic miracle was smoke and mirrors:

Erdogan’s much-vaunted economic miracle stemmed mainly from vast credit expansion to fuel an import boom, leaving the country with a current account deficit of 7 % of GDP (about the same as Greece before it went bankrupt) and a mushrooming pile of short-term foreign debt. The Gulf States kept financing Erdogan’s import bill, evidently because they wanted to keep a Sunni power in business as a counterweight to Iran; perhaps they have tired of Turkey’s double-dealing with the Persians. And credulous investors kept piling into Turkish stocks.

Why was it inevitable that Turkey implode?

In Goldman’s words:

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.

For the past ten years we have heard ad nauseum about the “Turkish model” of “Muslim democracy.” The George W. Bush administration courted Erdogan even before he became prime minister, and Obama went out of his way to make Erdogan his principal pal in foreign policy. I have been ridiculing this notion for years, for example in this 2010 essay for Tablet.

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.

If Turkey cannot serve as a role model for the floundering states in the Middle East, what nation can?

You guessed it: Israel.

One understands why political leaders staked so much hope on the Turkish miracle. They knew that most of the region’s Muslims would rather die than emulate the Jewish state.

Thus, Goldman sees little cause for optimism:

Now the hashish smoke has cleared, Erdogan’s Cave of Wonders has turned back into a sandpit, and the foreign policy establishment has nothing to show for years of propitiation of this Anatolian wannabe except a headache.

Now that Turkey is coming unstuck, along with Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, we should conclude that the entire project of bringing stability to the Muslim world was a hookah-dream to begin with. Except for the State of Israel and a couple of Sunni monarchies that survive by dint of their oil wealth, we are witnessing the unraveling of the Middle East. The best we can do is to insulate ourselves from the spillover effect.


Lastango said...

"The George W. Bush administration courted Erdogan even before he became prime minister, and Obama went out of his way to make Erdogan his principal pal in foreign policy."

That's key. For accurate historical understanding and analysis, it's important to know that outreach to radical Muslims was in full swing under Bush. The Bush administration was busy across North Africa and the MidEast undermining allies in stable regimes by building links to revolutionary Islamist elements. Not for nothing did Bush rush to the mosque in Washington after 911, and release hundreds of terrorists from Gitmo (to cite just two examples).

Why does this matter? Because the Bush/Rove/Rice/etc. axis of the GOP is alive and well inside the Republican Party. Elect a bunch of establishment RINOs, and there will be plenty more Washington-abetted Islamism to come. Just getting rid of Obama won't fix the problem.

Dennis said...

RINOs may not be to my liking, but they are far better than most democrats. Take Hillary Clinton.
It would seem she believes in freedom of religion as long as that religion is Islam.
"But as long as we’re talking about reality, what if the “private” actors are really the deadly point of a coercive government’s spear? Mrs. Clinton proclaimed that the Obama administration would unleash “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to squelch speech it disapproved of. We call these “techniques” extortion and intimidation when they are used by mafia families and other like-minded racketeering enterprises."
"Secretary Clinton’s collaboration with the OIC is a good example: They jointly came up with a resolution that would make it unlawful to engage in speech that incites “discrimination” and “hostility” toward “religion.” More translation: “Religion” here does not mean religion; it means Islam. The Obama administration, itself no stranger to incitements against traditional Christianity, is not worried about that kind of hostility."
Anyone noticing a pattern here by the party that calls itself Democrat?
Lord knows I want to see RINO's, all that believe in big government, removed, but not at the expense of people like Obama , Clinton, et al being in charge. I value freedom far too much. Any group, issue, et al that cannot withstand examination through "the marketplace of ideas" is dangerous to all of us.
I have to admit I don't understand this emphasis on purity at the expense of moving one's idea forward. Life never gives us all that we want and neither does politics.

Dennis said...

A List:

Fast & Furious
SEAL Team 6
Aid and comfort to the enemy
Stole our 401K Auto Stock and gave it to the Auto unions
Obamacare would save the avg family $2500 per year
Forcing businesses to violate
their religious beliefs
Violating the rights and sanctity of our Churches
Obamacare web site-cronyism
NSA acting as Obama Gestapo
17 Trillion in debt
Lies about Benghazi
Voter fraud
Intentionally trying to hurt Americans during the sequester
Intentionally trying to hurt Americans during govt shutdown
Blocking veterans from seeing their own memorials
Allowing illegals on mall during govt shutdown
Shutting down ‘The Peoples House’ tours
We can keep our insurance if we like it
We can keep our doctors if we like them
Military not getting their votes counted
Supporting the Muslim
Brotherhood with arms and money
DOJ spying on the free press
Not securing our borders
Spying on Americans on American soil with drones
Picking winners and losers
IRS targeting conservatives
IRS targeting the Tea Party
Millions losing health care coverage
Increasing welfare rolls
Increasing disability rolls
Countless party’s
Countless exorbitant vacations
Releasing illegal’s from prison
Unconstitutional recess appointment
NO budget for 5 years
Destroying the coal industry
Clapper lying to congress
Holder lying to congress
Failing to prosecute the New Black Panther
Reading our e-mail
War on women
Promoting race war
War between makers and takers
A123 Systems
Cash for clunkers failure
Debasing the U.S. Currency through inflationary "Quantitave Easing"
Common Core
Trayvon Martin
Infanticide supporter
Abortion supporter
illegally changing the provisions of Obamacare
Incompetent foreign policy
Incompetent leadership
Failure to enforce our laws

I suspect that most of you could add quite a number of other Obama failure that were aided and abetted by democrats, Hillary Clinton, et al.

It should not surprise anyone that the DNC is starting to get nervous.

I would suggest that the first step is to ensure the defeat of current democrats and the left and then secure the defeat of RINOs. This drivel about people seeing how bad the damage the democrats and the Left are doing to the country is not founded in reality especially given that the more people are made slaves to the state the more likely they are to vote to protect what little they have now.

NOTE: Some of the above list was taken from a commenter named John.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Let's not forget, Holder's justice dept. indicting one white guy for the knockout game while ignoring the fact that all but this one have been committed by minorities on whites.

Dennis said...

The sad part is that the above list does not begin to cover the damage. When one begins to start listing these failures one is almost in awe of the size of it.
Al this DAMN political purity has made this possible.

By the by, I would not have used the word gestapo for the NSA. There may be other agencies that are acting like they fit that title, but aren't there yet.

Lastango said...

Dennis writes:

"I have to admit I don't understand this emphasis on purity at the expense of moving one's idea forward."

May I suggest that that's not the relevant dichotomy. The choice is between (a) an emphasis on purity, and (b) seeing conservative ideas not move forward at all.

Why? Because RINOs cannot be cured. They always co-opt, and undermine the conservative agenda from their positions of power within the GOP. They have to be removed from those positions, and (where elected) be defeated in the primaries by actual conservatives. Fence-sitters need to be sent a powerful message that they'll be targeted for defeat if they go wobble or "grow in office".

That's why the recall and replacement of two pro-gun control Democrats in Colorado was so valuable. (A a third quit before she could be recalled.) Sure, it gives other Democrats pause, but - more importantly - it sends a message to RINOs: go Bush/Romney/McCain on us, and we'll organize to remove you from office.

Dennis said...

I suspect we are saying the same thing from a different perspective. I would think that
Lastango writes "The choice is between (a) an emphasis on purity, and (b) seeing conservative ideas not move forward at all." is not the relevant dichotomy. In most cases one can maintain their principles and recognize that it will take a number of steps in order to remove RINOs. Not voting only guarantees that democrats and ultimately RINOs maintain power. Trying to make moral equivalence arguments does not bode well for one's position.
One has to build the movement in order to build the movement. That takes time. Progressives have spent years building the political, educational, et al infrastructure that now controls government.
Being an Independent I have marginally less disrespect for republicans than I do democrats. Until one removes the "big Government" believers one has not a chance to change the environment in which it grows and survives. I see RINOs as an anathema to that goal, but first one has to remove the more egregious people in the form of democrats and other like minded ilk.
All of this starts for the ground up by doing what Progressives did to the Democrat party, controlling it. That is where the TEA party, et al come into play. It should be no surprise that the Left spends a lot of time trying to destroy it through almost any means possible.
I am reminded of Augustus seeing Romans kill Romans and his desire to stop that from happening. Ultimately he had to accept some of what he hated in order to , in the long run, give Rome 300 years of peace and to maintain Rome's position in the world.
Politic is a mean rough game and sometimes one has to deal with people they don't particularly agree with in order to reach for the ultimate goal. Then one can create the conditions for continued success. Freedom is not easy or free from the exigencies of life.

Lastango said...

"...but first one has to remove the more egregious people in the form of democrats and other like minded ilk."

The problem with RINOs is not Democrats. The problem with RINOS is RINOs. Patience with the process is what got us eight wasted years of George Bush, and denied us a viable candidate capable of defeating Obama.

There's always a reason to delay the revolution, and a perspective from which restraint is advisable. RINOs love it when conservatives think like that.