Trump, Erdogan, Netanyahu and the risks of war in Syria (and Eastern Mediterranean)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Since 2016, people in the US and all over the world  have been debating whether or not Trump is a Russian agent! Of course, a mere journalist like me cannot know whether this is true or not. Even the intelligence services seem to be confused on this issue!

In addition to being a journalist, I studied Physics and my father happened to also be  a physicist. When I was a child, he tought me that, when examining a problem, I have to begin not by taking my own views, fears, hopes or aspirations for granted. I should rather begin by the observed reality itself and then develop theories which explain it, not the other way round. This is why it seems to me better to begin by examining what Μr. Trump is doing to understand what he is.   

What Mr. Trump has done is extremely hostile to the Russian interests. He  has continued and accelerated the arms race, abolished the INF treaty, bombed Syria twice, in spite of the presence there of Russian troops, made direct threats to use nuclear weapons (against North Korea and Iran), abolished all kind of rules in international relations, ordered the assassination of Gen. Soleimani, rumoured to be a man having greatly contributed to the rapprochement between Tehran and Moscow, imposed new sanctions on Russia and supported the Ukraine with more weapons. He is doing everything he can to destroy the German-Russian plans for energy co-operation (Nord Stream II), he has overthrown pro-Russian Morales in Bolivia and tried the same with Maduro. In the light of such policies, it is a little bit difficult to call such a politician a friend of Russia, much more a Russian agent! If Russia has friends and even agents like Mr. Trump, then it does not need enemies.

Many people in the US and in the world misunderstood Mr. Trump  in the beginning. They wanted to fight against US imperialism and neoliberal totalitarianism, but did not understand (or did not want to understand) Imperialism as an organic product of Capitalism (which they like, but not  its results) and they hoped Trump could become their man. They thought Trump was a kind of fighter against the establishment, an isolationist, an opponent of wars. (They have thus fallen into a trap analogous to the one German voters fell into, when they supported Hitler, thinking he was a kind of anti-establishment socialist!). Errors, even serious ones,  are not only human, but can also be the greatest teacher of humans, on condition they are not too grave and that people have the courage to acknowledge, correct and learn from them  as soon as possible.

Two months after Soleimani’s assassination, Trump’s game came to a new climax with his “absolute support” for Erdogan against Syria and Russia.  But there is even more. The State Department special representative to Turkey has asked the Pentagon to supply Patriot missiles to Ankara. The State Department is run by Pompeo, who seems to be the leading figure among the neocon friends of the President, an absolutely central person in the effort to realise the big wars in the Middle East that the Neocons  want to provoke and, also, a “theoretician” of the new, fully totalitarian version of Imperialism (read his recent speech in Stanford University). The US Military have denied providing Patriot missiles to Ankara, out of fear of being involved in a conflict with Russia. It is worth pointing out here that the US Department of Defense (the US deep state by definition), has constantly opposed the ideas of Mr. Trump’s neoconservative friends during the last three years, contributing to avoiding disasters in Korea, Syria and Iran.

A conflict between Russia, Syria and Turkey would represent a colossal victory for the neo-totalitarian forces seeking a war against Iran and a widespread conflict in the Middle East, the chaos and the “war of civilizations” throughout the region and beyond, in both the eastern Mediterranean and in the Indian subcontinent. 

Trump, Netanyahu and the Neocons

We have tried to answer the “Russiagate” question by examining Trump’s policy. If we use the same method, we will also conclude that if there is a country which has most profited from Mr. Trump’s policies it is none other than Netanyahu’s Israel. In reality the Trump political enterprise was not but a way to put the dissatisfaction created by the Neocon wars to the service of repeating them. Elected upon a promise to stop them, Mr. Trump did everything possible to provoke a new conflict with Iran, much more serious than any of the wars we have seen up to now.

Donald Trump has done everything possible to satisfy Israel (Jerusalem, Settlements, Golan etc.), more than all other US Presidents together. At the same time he overturned US official policy on the central question of Iran in order to satisfy the plans of the Israeli Prime Minister and the Neocon Party of War. Netanyahu was informed beforehand of the decision to kill Soleimani, a decision kept secret from the leadership of the US Congress!

One could reasonably ask at this point whether America is the superpower or whether Israel has taken its place, and how that has happened, but these are rather unorthodox questions. Israel is so powerful that it has virtually forbidden any discussion of its influence. It is the only country in the world that has done so. You can criticise Americans, Russians, Germans, Chinese and anyone else, but not Israel. If you do it you are immediately classified as anti-Semitic (or masochistic, if you are Jewish yourself!).

Mr Trump even appointed the most extremist Neo-conservatives, such as Pompeo and Bolton, to the most critical posts of his administration. Neo-conservatives are the architects of the wars in the Middle East, and Netanyahu is one of their inspirers, creators and leaders.

We will not conclude from all of this that Mr. Trump is an agent of Netanyahu and the Neo-Conservatives, because we dislike this kind of reasoning. We are however afraid that, without doing much research, we have already provided the reader with more and more convincing evidence of the Trump-Netanyahu and Trump-Neocons relationship, more convincing, if juxtaposed with what the FBI found after searching  the US President’s relations with Russia for three years.

But we should admit that President Trump has an astonishing capacity to make other people believe he is their friend. It seems one of them is Tayip Erdogan.

The rope that will hang Erdogan

By saying to Erdogan that he “fully” supports him against Syria and Russia, and also by demonstrating some kind of “understanding” for what the Turkish leader is doing in Libya and Eastern Mediterranean, the US president is in essence encouraging him to openly clash with Damascus and Moscow (he has done it previously and indirectly also with Greece and Cyprus). The fact the the US President seems to support Mr. Erdogan,  probably has a lot of influence on the Turkish President himself, boosting his self-confidence.Never in its history, Ankara did not act aggressively outside its borders, if it did not have the encouragement of at least one international center of power.

A military conflict of Turkey with Syria and Russia (or with Greece and Cyprus) will represent a triumph for Israel and a tremendous contribution to the Neocon plans for widespread wars in all the region stretching from India and Pakistan to the East to Libya in the West. By provoking such conflicts Mr. Erdogan will help Netanyahu and Pompeo and their deranged plans to provoke wars and spread chaos everywhere. At the same time the Turkish President will destroy himself, by entering the path of imperial over-extension and strategic decomposition. He will not be the first leader to be dragged into conflicts he cannot win. It has happened to many people in the past, like Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. Both thought they had the green light of the Americans to intervene in Kuwait and Kosovo respectively, intervened and were destroyed. This is the real meaning of Trump’ s encouragements to Erdogan and they cannot be anything else.

Any military conflict of Turkey with Russia and Syria (or with Greece and Cyprus) will have catastrophic repercussions for Turkey itself and will  again make the US, Israel and the Neocons an absolutely dominant force in Mediterranean but also in Europe, given the fact that the EU will most probably be unable to handle such a crisis. Neocons want the decomposition of Europe  into smaller competing blocs. A way to achieve it is to present European powers with challenges they cannot face.

There are forces which want such a perspective of generalised conflict. The people who decided to kill Soleimani could not know in advance what would happen. They were ready (if they did not want it) for a great war in the Middle East, for an economic and ecological crisis, even for the probability of use of weapons of mass destruction. Why? Because they believe that it is only by war and chaos that they can stop the emergence of China, the Road and Belt corridor, the resurgence of Russia etc. Behind the battle for Iran and Turkey lies the war for the control of the Planet Earth.  

Of course, the Turkish President would be foolish to believe that he is likely to find a permanent compromise with the US and Israel. After what he has said about Israel and what he did to the Americans with the S400, there is not one chance in a million that they will accept him as President of Turkey. If he will play their game against Moscow and Damascus, they will use him and then they will topple him and take care that he has a fate similar to that of the Egyptian President Morsi, to give an example to all other people who will think of imitating his policies. They will most probably try to impose a kind of open or dissimulated pro-western and pro-Israeli dictatorship in Ankara.

Does Erdogan understand that? We are not in a position to judge. Speaking to his own party he said he proposed to Putin to let him fight Assad in exchange for a base in Syria. Such talk means that he has not only not understood the reasons Russia intervened in Syria, but also that he probably overestimates  his country’s capabilities, something which is also reflected in his exorbitant behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean towards Cyprus and Greece. If in all that you add all that talk about Mahdi and his coming, things get very complicated, to say the least. 

The example of the Greek-Turkish crises

It is useful to remember that this is not the first time in history a leader has been pushed into the orbit that will probably lead him to disaster. The method is classic. The history of all the Greek-Turkish crises and wars over a century is also an example of the manipulation of the two nations’ leaders to clash in a manner that serves the great aspirations of the Western powers and Israel in the region, and especially in Cyprus, an island 82% of the population of which is Greek. The union of Cyprus with Greece, or even the creation of a “normal”, independent state on this ex-British colony was totally unacceptable to the British, Americans and  Israelis, because of the strategic importance of this island. The British Colonial Secretary made this very clear speaking to the House of Commons. Secretary Kissinger, who organised the coup d’ etat against Cypriot President Makarios in 1974, and planned along with Ecevit the two Turkish invasions that followed, used to say “Who controls Gibraltar, Malta, Crete and Cyprus reigns the world”. As for Israel, it believes that the control of Cyprus by “hostile forces” is a vital danger for Israel (the “great Israel” plans usually provide for the incorporation of Cyprus).

In order to prevent the Cypriots from exercising their right to self-determination, these forces had to call Turkey into the Cyprus equation, although Turkey had renounced any claim on Cyprus by the Treaty of Lausanne, signed by Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Subsequently, they organised via Gladio and the CIA (which were behind both Greek and Turkish “nationalists”) the Greek-Turkish conflict, from 1955. They did it in a way that eventually rendered the problems between Greeks and Turks virtually impossible to resolve. The goal was to dominate all the Eastern Mediterranean by the “Divide and Rule” method. They succeeded in doing so by creating appropriate expectations, leading to the behaviours they wished from the leaders of Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. In 1974, they persuaded the Greek dictator Ioannides, whom the Americans put in power in Athens, that he would succeed in establishing the Union of Cyprus with Greece by a coup d’ etat and killing the Cypriot President Makarios. Then they planned the second Turkish attack (August 1974), which made any solution of the conflict almost impossible to find and transformed both Greeks and Turks into hostages of their antagonism for eternity. In this way they were able to keep alive the Greek-Turkish confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the main instrument used by the US, Britain and Israel to dominate in this region and make all  local players dependent upon them.

Difficulties in opposing the Empire

The Turkish example is a good illustration of the problems many countries have when facing the pressure of US-Israeli power. On the one hand, they need to resist, otherwise their nations are lost. On the other hand, these countries, their economies, and especially their elites, are deeply embedded in Western capitalism and the global financial system, so they find themselves in a huge contradiction, quite apart from the fact that “globalisation” is exerting unbearable pressure on the unprotected economies of many countries. There is no obvious “socialist”, “anti-imperialist” solution nowadays (which also explains why societies that want to resist the new world order sometimes resort to “pre-modern” ideological forces, such as religion).

The Empire will win as long as its opponents do not possess any global and comprehensive anti-new world order vision. Mr. Erdogan or anybody else cannot be one day “anti-imperialist” and the other day “pro-imperialist”. You cannot form any anti-Imperial front if you try all the time to maximise your narrow national or group interests. You cannot help form any serious anti-imperial front by speaking only about Palestinians and Muslims, and not about Christians, who are also persecuted in the Middle East. You cannot oppose and resist  imperial plans without also developing an economic and social alternative.

Thirty years after the demise of the USSR, the first Gulf war and the destruction of Yugoslavia, 20 years after the launching of the Neocon wars in the Middle East, ten years after the economic and political war launched by international totalitarian forces in Europe itself (Greece), the world has seen a lot  of resistance to the Empire, but not much of an alternative to it.