During the Cold War, Turkey was one of our very good friends. Of course this was all because of geography. We wanted to put listening posts on their borders to spy on the Soviet Union. Nonetheless it was a good relationship. After the cold war ended and we didn’t need them anymore, the relationship cooled. We still kept our airbase there and still kept nuclear bombs there, but the relationship wasn’t so friendly. Turkey like many countries in the region has all sorts of issues, most related to different “brands” of Islam. We’ve never negotiated well through the different sects and most Americans don’t even understand the differences. Short analogy: Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, only on steroids. Christian and Muslim wars were rampant from 1095 to 1588! As different as the various sects are within the Muslim world, they only unify against an outside threat. Once that outside threat is gone, then they fight amongst themselves. Look at the Sunni’s and Shias in Iraq for an example. Our current relationship with Turkey is a function of a lot of things. The cold war ended and we didn’t really “need” Turkey anymore. So they lost their special status and don’t really understand why. The US’s on again off again relationship with the Kurds scares Turkey. The last thing they want is a larger group of Kurds in an autonomous state right next door. They have enough problems with the Kurds who are citizens of Turkey. Turkey believes that the attempted coup last year was orchestrated by Fethullah Gulen. Gulen lives in the US and the US has protected him from standing trial in Turkey. Looks like we’re going to lose another ally in the region.

As the banner on our blog reveals, it’s been over 69 years since we’ve had diplomatic relations with North Korea. And we wonder why there is mistrust between our two countries. North Korea does talk with its neighbors, and there is nowhere near the level of animosity between them that there is between them and the US. China and Russia have proposed a peace plan commonly called the double freeze. The double freeze plan calls for North Korea to halt its nuclear program in exchange for the US and Korea to suspend joint military drills. North Korea has agreed with Russia and China. Germany endorses the plan. The US won’t have anything to do with it. I don’t understand why cancelling the Team Spirit exercises is a bad trade off to toning down the tensions that could cause World War III. I was talking with a friend the other day and asked him why we even had soldiers stationed in South Korea anymore. He responded with the common answer that our soldiers were a trip wire. Basically a target so that when they died America would feel obligated to respond. He didn’t mean it in a callous way, but more an acknowledgement of our geopolitical strategy. I do think it’s pretty hideous that we’re willing to sacrifice 20,000 American lives merely to justify a nuclear war with North Korea.

Continuing in my theme of “what’s the harm in talking”, Saudi Arabia’s King traveled to and met with the President of Russia last week. Historic in the fact that it was the first visit ever by the King to Russia. Unlike our media, the rest of the world sees the economic power, growth and influence of Russia in the Eurasia region. We fixate on military might. Russia and China are focused on economic might. Russia and Saudi Arabia have some key differences and some key common interests. Both want higher oil prices. They disagree on Iran and they disagree on Salafi-jihadi terror. Amazingly (not really) oil won the day and the Saudis didn’t get their way on controlling Iran. It was a win-win for Russia and Saudi Arabia. Of course Saudi Arabia still controls the US, so we’ll do their bidding in Iran.

The deep state needs terrorism as an enemy in order to maintain their ever-increasing deep state intelligence and military organizations. The notion that ISIS (for example) needs to be destroyed is ludicrous at best. For now ISIS keeps funding high and supports some of our “allies”. If not ISIS, they would “discover” a new organization. ISIS in Syria has been a tool of Saudi Arabia from the beginning. Saudi Arabia has behind the insurgency in Syria and we went along (just like we support Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen). Russia’s support to its ally Syria put a wrench in our plans, but that hasn’t stopped us from continuing our meddling in Syria. Oddly enough, Israel and Saudi Arabia have become “allies” of sorts in their attempted destruction of Syria. Saudi Arabia has recently indicated that they see the Syria operation as a failure and that they lost. Israel continues to strike in Syria. By all accounts, the democratically elected government has put down the foreign insurgency and has secured virtually all of their country again. Saudi Arabia was recognized the failure of the insurgency. Most of the world recognizes that Syria with the help of the Russians have put down the insurgency. The US continues to send money, send arms, sacrifice Americans, and fight in Syria. Something is wrong in the US.…

Reading foreign country’s newspapers offer a perspective on what the leaders of the country think is important. I’ve long enjoyed reading the Tehran Times, not because I believe everything they say, but to try and get some perspective on what they think is important. The articles and statements coming out over the Kurd independence movement is interesting. When Iran comes to Iraq’s aid on Kurdish independence, bells and whistles need to be going off in your head. Iraq and Iran are historically not good friends. When no country except Israel has publicly endorsed the Kurdish movement, smart foreign policy folks need to take heed. Does anyone really think that the virtues of supporting the Kurds is worth the problems that Kurdish independence will cause to the region? Kurdish independence might sound like a nice idea. Remember though that there is no “land” for them that they get to just become a country in. The land in question belongs to three countries. Three countries that don’t want an independent Kurdish state. This would be like if we somehow decided to support an independent Mexican state in the US with pieces of Texas. California, New Mexico and Arizona.

Foreign policy should always be about what’s in your national interest. Strategic treaties should be entered into with the idea that both sides gain some benefit, but the benefits might be different to both sides. We might make a mutual defense treaty with a country and the other country thinks they are gaining the protection of the United States, while our goal is to control the other countries potential belligerence or merely to expand our global reach. When all is well, everyone is happy and the treaties never get tested. When things get “testy” we learn that both sides had very different ideas about what the mutual defense really means. When you have a country like the US that makes lots of treaties, we sometimes have to make hard decisions that upset our partners. The North Korea conflict right now is stressing our treaty relations. Obviously we have treaties with South Korea and Japan. In responding to threats from North Korea, we can’t just negotiate with North Korea without dealing with our treaties with South Korea and Japan. In the defense of South Korea and Japan what happens if we can’t defend them both? Japan is starting to have serious discussions about whether they can depend on the US, or do they need their own independent capability. While many in the US might say that this is a good thing, we need to understand politics in Asia. Most Americans don’t realize that in the run up to WWII, Japan occupied EVERY country in Asia except one (Thailand). Polls throughout Asia consistently show that Asians welcome the US military in Asian as a counterpoint to Japan! Asians have longer memories than Americans.. …

RT America is the American arm of the state owned Russia Today news outlet. It operates just like the BBC (a state run news outlet), Germany’s Deutsche Welle (stated goal to convey Germany as a liberal state, as part of the government’s foreign affairs function), and many others. A strong argument can be made that as important as it is for countries to share what they think is important about them, it’s even more important for America to learn what foreign countries to think is important. Heck America must have thought it was important seeing as the CIA has been funding and operating 20 monitoring stations around the world to monitor, translate and disseminate openly available news and information from media sources outside the United States. It used to be called the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) and now it’s called the Open Source Center. Now our government has decided that this information is only for them and not for us. Our government has decided that RT needs to register as a foreign agent that is disseminating propaganda in the United States/ I’m sure this will end well. The repercussions from Russia will surely include similar sanctions against American news outlets like Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. Does anyone really think this is good for Americans? It certainly is good for the Neos and the deep state. Knowledge is good. Restricting knowledge is never a good thing.

Catalonia used to be its own country but lost wars to Spain and became part of Spain in 1716. It’s the economic powerhouse of Spain and has had many revolutionary uprisings over the past two centuries. They use their own language. In the 1930s Spain allowed them autonomy. During Francisco Franco’s rule, the autonomy was revoked and they were even forbidden from using their own language. After Franco’s death in 1975 Catalonia adopted a new statute of autonomy. Spain contested this. In 2014 92% of the people of Catalonia passed a referendum for independence. The referendum included a plan for secession by 2017. Spanish courts declared the vote and plan illegal. A recent vote on 1 Oct was an independence referendum. The vote was met with much violence by the Spanish government to include shooting people who tried to vote and physical beatings of women on the street who tried to vote. I’m sure the deep state governments around the world watched closely to see how much violence they could get away with in civilized society.