Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Rare Piece of Good News in the Middle East

This is how Shami Hamid defines the successful defeat of the Turkey coup.

"averting a disastrous coup and the overthrow of a democratically-elected govt is a rare piece of good news in the region."

I argued earlier that 2016 is the year of disorder-everywhere, seemingly. In US politics with the rise of Trump, Brexit in Britain and in many European nations.

You see weakened parties like the GOP in the US and Labour in Britain; how weak do you have to be not to be able to challenge the Tories right now?

The same thing is happening in many European nations with the rise of Far Right and Far Left parties and the collapse of some Center Left parties.

And we see it with ISIS inspired terrorism in the US and in France and elsewhere. Remember the Middle East suffers ISIS as a daily threat in the way we couldn't imagine.

Now we had the Turkey coup.

What's interesting is reading a Middle Eastern scholar like Hamid-who is himself of ME descent and who has family that lives there-we begin to learn a lot more not just about the Middle East and their struggles with democracy but our own.

It is now where Hamid offers some insights not just to understand them but ourselves better.

Here's what he wrote about the Egyptian coup back in 2014.

"On the 30th of June 2013, the President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president was deposed by the military. Among the more surreal events of those tumultuous days, was that the very revolutionaries who had been at the forefront of the Egyptian revolution that led to the downfall of President Mubarak were either calling for military intervention to depose the increasingly embattled Morsi, or cheerleading the coup from the sides. During the Western post-mortem analysis that followed, it was notable how quickly the activists were no longer designated as liberals, but now suddenly described as anti-Islamist instead. How do we make sense of the speed with which many Western analysts dismissed the liberal credentials of the activists—so much so that they were no longer considered worthy of the name."

The whole piece is worth reading. Here also is Hamid's book that is very worth reading. I have it qued up and ready to read soon on Amazon Kindle.

Some sympathized with the coup. The problem is:

 It had no popular support. A military coup is the least democratic option imaginable. 

Turkey has this history of coups. So many like Hamid see the norm against coups as something to celebrate in itself. 

Here was an interesting exchange on Twitter:

2700 judges fired in #Turkey? In one day? WTF did the judges ever have to do with the attempted coup, WTF?!?!"

Zeynep Tufecki-who is from Turkey and has lived through coups responded:

"Look, you guys need to follow Turkey. This is a mix of long, complicated but very real issue *and* opportunitism."


  1. What do you think will happen regarding Erdogan's insane demand that the US hand over the cleric in Pennsylvania he claims was behind the coup? Our airbase there is shut down right now: I don't know if that's because Turkey demands it or because that's our own orders.

    I think Erdogan is going to cause a lot of trouble now.

    1. Now if I were Obama (and thank the non-existent God that I'm not), and it were my last year as president, I might be inclined to hold a press conference wearing an aluminum foil cap and otherwise dressed as Erdogan, fake mustache and all, making fun of him for being an unrepentant conspiritard. =)

      (Yeah, so I guess even Trump would be better suited to the presidency than I am... Lol)

    2. ... I'll be interesting to see what the right wing lunatics in the US do with Erdogan's demand for the cleric: on the one hand in their minds freedom died with this coup (forget about the fact that the public wasn't behind it... that's just what the (((Globalist))) (((NWO))) "neo-cons" like Oh-bummer and Shrillary want you to think, because that's what George Soros ordered!... but on the other hand, why won't Obama kick a ***MUSLIM*** CLERIC out of OUR country???

      Somehow I think they'll construe it so that Obama and the evil Soros puppet master than controls him, is wrong and hates America, white people and freedom (I repeat myself) no matter what.

      Holding contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time, and being firmly convinced of all of them is a skill that wingnuts have mastered long ago... it's in fact the one and only requirement for wingnuttery.

    3. ... I have to say I had a bit of fun trolling Breitbart articles on the coup as it was going down. The consensus there was that the coup soldiers were on the side of freedom, goodness and Jesus, and the evil Erdogan and his Soros bought and paid for street mobs were for Islamic terrorism, ISIS and Dimocrats like Obama. So I had fun pointing out that NONE of the anti-Erdogan or pro-secular parties were endorsing the coup. Of course that fell on conspiritard infused brain stems (I'm assuming they all have at least a rudimentary brain stem), so it didn't impress them much.

      Now I didn't think to point out that the evil (((globalist))) Charles Krauthammer (and probably Bill Kristol too) ALSO supported the coup, so they were falling right into the hands of the (((globalists))) (I think "globalist" is the new word for NWOist).

      Also Fox is running articles that sadly freedom died in Turkey with the suppression of this coup. I wonder what Fox will have to say about this cleric in Pennsylvania if it becomes an issue. They'll probably ignore it if they can't find something sufficiently elementary school bullyesque (i.e. Trumpesque) to say about it... either that or they'll just rely on their audiences' much practiced comfort level with cognitive dissonance to say claim that whatever happens it's Obama's fault because "there's something different about him" (a la Trump).

      I think about Scott Adams' assessment of Trump sometimes... and imagine trying to explain something subtle and complex to the wingnut audience. That's essentially the position the GOP establishment was in when not shutting down the government (for example). They were faithfully serving their financial constituency, but the rubes who vote for them didn't understand: in their minds they put all those so-called conservative firebrands in office *TWICE* during the midterms, and yet they didn't do what they were sent there to do: here's what I imagine was going through their heads when presented with economic or financial reasons why it would be a disaster to shut down the government and not pay our bills... they probably just heard "Blah blah blah" ... and then they looked at a clip of Obama on Fox and said "Yeah, but that n*gger from Kenya named Barack Hussein Obama is ***still*** in OUR fucking white house!!! So what the fuck are you fancy Washington boys in suits gonna do about it??? Why the fuck do you think we sent you there in the 1st place???"

      Thus the fundamental distrust between the GOP electorate and the GOP establishment. They were sent there (after much rage and effort from the Tea Party) to drive that god damn filthy Kenyan n*gger Muslim and his black family out of their sacred white house, and they utterly failed!! OUTRAGEOUS!!! Ohhhh the pain of the white man!!!! OH THE BACKSTABBERS in the establishment!!! How we've been betrayed!!

      Trump cuts though all that. No subtle dog whistles. (I imagine that it must be confusing hearing all those dog whistles and yet the pols in DC still seemed to have a different message than the voters do). He makes certain they understand that he understands what they're really after.

    4. I also had a little fun trolling the more extreme commenters who wrote things about it being nice if there was a coup here... I told them I was going to send a link to their comments to the FBI and said "I hope you don't have a security clearance for your job." Lol... that actually freaked a couple of them out.

    5. We definitely won't be handing anyone over. My guess is that Erdogan is just showing off here for domestic consumption.

      No doubt, after this, he's going go come down hard. He's going to punish and remove many in the military, etc.

    6. So we can tell Erdogan to "go suck it!" then? Lol... good, he needs to hear that, but in a diplomatic tone of course.

  2. Notice that his campaign has totally muzzled Trump. Otherwise he'd probably give us some of the best wing nut explanations around about why the coup 'really failed.'

    George Soros-and maybe Shillary met Soros on a Tarmac somewhere too.

    1. I'm imagining that Trump might pronounce the "p" in coup when reading from his teleprompter. It's probably the 1st time he's encountered the word. That's one of the things he can fix when he's elected King of America... get rid of stupid silent ps.

  3. I have to say, this meme I made is also fun to troll Breitbart or facebook/theresurgent with. My comments seem to get erased every time. =)

  4. Mike, I've been watching this 538 page for some time now:
    And North Carolina keeps flipping back and forth from light blue to light red. I noticed that E. Harding / pithom put a screen shot of it up on his page, but he picked the "now cast" version when it looked most favorable to Trump (radio buttons on the left).

  5. Sounds like E. Harding. Some how me and him ended up chatting on Twitter.

    I diverted him with questions like asking him who his favorite Presidents are.

    He later came back and told me he wrote a post about that.

    I don't like most of his favorite Presidents of course. Most of them were in the 19th century.

    He likes the 1856 Democrats platform-of course they were pro slavery.

    1. Yes, I saw his presidential ranking list: I suppose it goes from best to worst (I think the Civil Rights act was the worst possible thing you could do in Harding's book, so LBJ is ranked dead last of course):

      I actually make use of that trolling already. Some wingnut asked "Name one president more socialist than Obummer! Go on, name one!!"... so I went to Harding's site, cut and paste the whole list, erased Obama from it and that was my answer. Lol. =)

  6. I actually think it would have been a good thing if the coup had succeeded. Erdogan is a theocrat. He is trying to take Turkey away from its traditional secular type govt. There have been numerous coups in Turkey through history, always when the military felt the state was moving away from a secular form of governance. Erdogan wants religious warriors, which is the last thing the muslim world needs more of.

    Interestingly enough it appears the coup may have been a false flag operation which allows Erdogan to solidify power...... not a good thing for people interested in turning the heat down on the Christo/Islam conflict. It sure sputtered out quick for a "real" coup.

    1. I don't know Greg. I'm not an expert at all on Turkey. But from what some who are say, this would not have been a good thing to succeed.

      Even if you don't like the guy in power that doesn't necessarily mean you support a coup against him.

      Even if he's become more authoritarian it matters to ask who replaces him.

      As was shown with Saddam and all over the Middle East.

      I think as it didn't have the popular support, it was doomed to fail and probably should have.

      Interestingly, this article here looks at the counterview. But what it comes down to is what you said-the military is often the leading liberals and secularists.

      Basically, the point is if you're a liberal then maybe you would rather not have democratic government-in the Middle East that is.

      As-the argument goes-an election is gong to elect Islamists.

      In the Mid East, you get more liberal, secular govt, in monarchies or authoritarian regimes than elected governments.

      If Ergodan fell it would also have been very bad news for American foreign policy

    2. Trouble too, Greg, is I was reading this female correspondent on Twitter-she's Turkish and now works for the Times.

      There have been a lot of coups in Turkey and she certainly was glad it failed.

      Her and Shadi Hamid have a lot of interesting things to say about the Middle East.

      As Hamid says, with a coup it's all or nothing as if you fail then you are tried and executed for treason.

    3. Somewhere I saw a nice little mini-documentary on Turkey's coups dating back to 1960. There have been quite a few (maybe a half dozen or so).

      Vox had a pretty good piece on why this one failed:
      Also on what to expect afterwards.

    4. ... the Vox piece gives some historical perspective on how harshly the military is treated after a coup. It suggests that if Erdogan is too harsh, history says he's increases the risk of a 2nd reaction coup.

    5. Again, Im for anything that reduces the power of religious fundamentalist of any stripe.

      Yes, Ergodan was democratically elected, but so might Trump be.

      So Mike, will you support a coup if Trump wins

    6. Greg, I think Trump is far from a religious fundamentalist, but IMO in many ways he's a lot more dangerous than a religious fundamentalist (at least your garden variety Christian one).

      I wouldn't support a coup against Trump ***unless*** he let his ego get to him to the point of foolishly risking thermonuclear war with China or Russia (or France or the UK... it is Trump we're talking about after all)... for no damn good reason except to protect his wounded pride. Then I'd say "Take that fucker out!!!" But if we got lucky and that didn't happen, then I'd say "Just suffer though this fool and impeach him, or get him out at the end of his term legally."

      (FBI, are you going to give me a pass on this one?... I know you're out there reading this somewhere).

    7. Agreed Tom. I didn't intend to paint Trump as a religious fundamentalist, only to point out that being democratically elected does not shield you from a coup in my book.

      Trumps "secularism" isn't the kind that gives me comfort. I like a secularism that takes a view that all claims about God are wrong but most should be tolerated. Trumps secularism is about him.

    8. Trump actually warned yesterday that the religious people are being persecuted and it is going to stop when he's President.

  7. "(Yeah, so I guess even Trump would be better suited to the presidency than I am... Lol)"

    Actually Boris Johnson has done things like this and now he's the Foreign Secretary.

  8. Greg you do make a good case for a coup: if Trump wins.

  9. The irony is while I think Hamid has a point, Greg's right: if there were a Trump coup, I'd join it tomorrow

  10. "So we can tell Erdogan to "go suck it!" then? Lol... good, he needs to hear that, but in a diplomatic tone of course."

    Sad thing is Tom, the last one who told Erdogan to suck it was Boris Johnson.

    1. Thanks for the link. The author there is the guy that teamed up with Sam Harris I think (for a book)