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Eric Margolis

Turkey: Slow-Motion Crash

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Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash. What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.

Today, both are up in smoke as this week’s bloody bombing in Ankara that killed 99 people showed. America’s ham-handed policies in the Mideast have set the entire region ablaze from Syria to South Sudan and Libya. Turkey sits right on top of the huge mess, licked by the flames of nationalist and political conflagrations and now beset by 2 million Syrian refugees.

As Saddam Hussein predicted, George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq opened the gates of hell. Attempts by Washington to overthrow Syria’s Alawite regime – a natural US ally – have destroyed large parts of that once lovely nation and produced the worst human disaster since the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940’s and 1967.

Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash.  What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.
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Beijing Bingo

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My father, a New York financier, used to call dubious stocks or bonds, “Chinese paper.” Last week, we saw a blizzard of Chinese paper, both in China and around the world. 

As manager of a sizeable investment portfolio (an unwelcome second job from my main work, journalism), I watched last week’s near death experience on world markets with a mixture of cynicism and alarm. First of all, remember when Americans – and particularly Republicans – demonized Mao’s China and endlessly warned about the perils of Communism? 

Well, the Chinese seemed to have listened. China ditched Communism and embraced runaway capitalism – or at least a hybrid of 1900 raw capitalism and state socialism. But Chairman Mao was proven right. He warned his people against the evils of “casino capitalism” and money lending. 

The near collapse of China’s stock market in recent weeks scared the hell out of the entire world but, at least so far, really has not mattered very much. China’s markets are insulated from the rest of the world. They serve as a way of letting average people share some of China’s growth and as a form of national lottery – call it Beijing bingo.

Western stock markets are also semi-rigged casino games in which the big boys and their ultra high speed computer systems almost always win at the expense of small fry.
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Destroying Syria to Make it Safe for American Values

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“The Turks have passed by here; all is in ruins and mourning. “


So wrote France’s great writer, Victor Hugo, of the horrors he had witnessed during the Balkan liberation wars of the 1880’s. If Hugo were alive today, he might well have used the same haunting lines to describe the smoking wreckage of the Mideast. Except this time it was the United States, France, and Britain who wrought havoc in the Arab world, assisted by modern Turkey. 

The UN’s refugee czar, Antonio Guterres, just asserted that there are now 4,013,000 Syrian refugees outside their homeland, and another 7.6 million as internal refugees from the war raging there since 2011.

That total’s some 11.6 million refugees – a staggering 50 percent of Syria’s population. Over a quarter million are refugees in Europe; the rest spread across the Mideast with the largest numbers in Lebanon and Jordan. 
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