Perry talks Crazy about Turkey, but is Par for GOP Course

As an American, I’m deeply relieved that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is highly unlikely to be president of the United States. As a blogger who occasionally enjoys a bit of satire, I have to say it is a real shame. Sometimes I spend an hour or so scouring for what news I want to blog about. All you’d have to do is just follow this guy around and report whatever came out of his mouth and it would be endlessly entertaining (at least until he provoked someone to rain down nuclear missiles on us just to shut him up).

For the blogger-satirist, the good news is that the rest of the Republican carnival talks nearly as crazily about foreign policy, with the exception of Ron Paul, as Perry. They all want to go to war on Iran, put US troops back into Iraq, and abdicate on Palestine to right wing Israeli policies. Incidentally, Perry’s hatchet job on Mitt Romney resembles that of the Neoconservatives on Paul (see also this article.

Here was the gem of last night’s debate at Myrtle Beach, sponsored by Fox Cable News and Wall Street Journal (i.e. by Rupert Murdoch, who doesn’t deserve more respect than Donald Trump but has nevertheless managed to get it despite his unhealthy interest in the messages on your home phone).

So here was the leading question that set Rick Perry off:

BAIR: Governor Perry, since the Islamist-oriented party took over in Turkey, the murder rate of women has increased 1,400 percent there. Press freedom has declined to the level of Russia. The prime minister of Turkey has embraced Hamas and Turkey has threatened military force against both Israel and Cypress. Given Turkey’s turn, do you believe Turkey still belongs in NATO?

[Dear Fox News: A cypress is a kind of tree. The Mediterranean island you are looking for is Cyprus.]

Bair’s charges against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey are mostly pure propaganda. Things like the murder rate of women don’t change in accordance with which party is in power! Turkey has not threatened military force against Israel– rather the Israeli military attacked a civilian Turkish aid ship in international waters in an act of piracy and killed 9 people including an American citizen, to which Turkey replied with a demand for an apology. Erdogan has urged a secular constitution on Egypt and has not “embraced” Hamas in the sense of agreeing with its fundamentalist ideology. He has simply declared that Israel’s policy of placing the whole civilian population of the Gaza Strip under severe embargo is illegal and immoral, and he has encouraged aid volunteers to get civilian supplies to Gaza’s children. (Fox Cable News and some of the Republican candidates feel about Palestinians pretty much the way Nazis felt about Jews before the Holocaust– i.e. that it was better that they be stripped of citizenship and kept stateless and downtrodden).

The only thing Bair got right is the point on press freedom. Turkey has jailed over two dozen journalists in the past year, which is very worrisome. I’m not sure, however, that the situation of journalists in Turkey is worse than in Putin’s Russia. Indeed, my impression is that there is substantially more press and political freedom in Turkey than in the Russian Federation at the moment. ( @JosephFCrater pointed out on Twitter that two dozen journalists have been arrested this fall by American mayors like New York’s Michael Bloomberg for covering Occupy Wall Street).

So then the would-be tippler-in-chief delivered himself of his informed response:

PERRY: Well, obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes. Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.
(APPLAUSE)

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is not even fundamentalist, much less terrorist. Its members want a multicultural Turkey that makes it possible for observant Muslims to be full members of the nation and play public roles. Compared to Rick Perry’s Dominionist wing of Christian fundamentalism which resembles Khomeinism in wanting a religious theocracy, Erdogan’s AKP is positively Voltairean!

It hasn’t committed terrorism against Turkish citizens, as Perry weirdly implies. It has acted as a parliamentary party.

Turkey has peace-keeping troops serving alongside US ones in Afghanistan, and in danger of being killed by Taliban, and it is a profound insult to reward their friendship with the US by this kind of trash talk. Turkey responded to President Obama’s troop escalation in Afghanistan by more than doubling the size of its contingent, and it has an important troop training effort for the Afghanistan National Army.

Turkey has been targeted by al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Ironically, the United States, by invading Iraq and dissolving the Iraqi army, turned the north of that country into a safe harbor for Kurdish guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), designated by the US as a terrorist organization. Some 5000 PKK fighters were based in US-occupied Iraq, and on the American watch, they sneaked across the border to kill dozens of Turkish troops (which is to say, NATO troops) and to commit acts of terrorism in Turkish cities. By the rules of the George W. Bush administration, US-occupied Iraq was harboring terrorists and could have been held accountable by Turkey. (Turkey would be better off if it gave more rights to its Kurdish citizens and moved toward ethnic as well as religious multiculturalism, and the Turkish military has a lot to answer for from the dirty war against the Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s. But the PKK has often behaved despicably and surely is the terrorist in the story at this moment.)

Undeterred by his complete ignorance, Perry continued flapping his lips:

PERRY: And you go to zero with foreign aid for all of those countries. And it doesn’t make any difference who they are. You go to zero with that foreign aid and then you have the conversation about, do they have America’s best interest in mind? And when you have countries like Turkey that are moving far away from the country that I lived in back in the 1970′s as a pilot in the United States Air Force that was our ally, that worked with us, but today we don’t see that. Our — our — our president, has a foreign policy that makes our allies very nervous and emboldens our enemies. And we have to have a president of the United States that clearly sends the message, whether it’s to Israel, our friend and there should be no space between the United States and Israel, period.
(APPLAUSE)

PERRY: And we need to send a powerful message to countries like Iran, and Syria and Turkey that the United States is serious and that we’re going to have to be dealt with.

Governor Perry might want to notice that there are many differences between Turkey and Iran. For instance, look at this pdf report on Turkish-US military cooperation and see if that sounds like Iran to you. Turkey still hosts that Incirlik Airbase where the young Rick Perry says he was stationed but where he apparently did not bother to learn anything about his host country. If anything, US-Turkish military relations are on an upswing.

As for Israel, it is an informal US ally and has often been helpful, but it isn’t bound by treaty to fight to protect the US from forces that attack it. In contrast, Turkey as part of NATO is under Article Five of the NATO treaty, which says that an attack on one is an attack on all. Turkey fought with the US in Korea, and is helping out with peacekeeping and training in Afghanistan. Which war was it that Israel fought alongside US troops?

Ironically, Perry is doing what he accuses Obama of– making an ally nervous and uncertain. Whereas Obama hasn’t done that, at all.

25 Responses

  1. According to Fits News in South Carolina -
    “Some have speculated that Perry – a left-leaning crony capitalist who ran as a right-wing reformer – is remaining in the race in an effort to help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the choice of the Republican establishment.”
    “Perry and Romney have formed an alliance for Perry to stay in – (I’m) 100 percent sure of it,” one SCGOP source tells FITS.”

    Romney plays political hard ball – the Romney’s always have. 2012, to the GOP establishment it to be Mitt’s year. Karl Rove a strong backer of Mitt, as well as Dick Cheney, manipulation of the GOP selection process to accomplish this will be done.

  2. If Perry stays in the S.C. votes remains excessively split, giving Mitt the opportunity to walk away with the election. Romney knows there is a backlash to his running, but the backlash votes are split. If they were not split Romney would not win S.C. Mitt has stayed at no more than 25% approval within the GOP – and that per centage is GOP establishment.

    IMHO, some of the other candidates also stayed in to give Romney a chance to win in Iowa and by larger per centage in N.H.

  3. From what I understand, the American system has changed recently to allow unlimited money to support candidates and political positions.

    Sorry to sound apocalyptic, but, in my opinion, allowing unlimited money will fundamentally alter the political landscape of the United States. Discourse will be narrowed to the interests of billionaires. The only MSM public debate will be trivial topics not of interest to billionaires, or debates between billionaires.

    On the bright side, I see real business opportunities in election consulting. With the large amount of money available to influence elections, there are needs for professional campaigners and propagandists to ensure that money is efficiently spent. I predict that by 2015, electioneering companies will be the rising stars of the corporate world, and the last of any independent-minded politicians will be gone.

    • Exactly the reason people are asking for Mitt’s income tax returns. Last years, not this years.

      Romney formed “Restore our Future” with heavy hitters from Utah, many linked to pyramid scheme companies and companies that have had numerous ethical complaints lodged against them.

      The Romney families personal investment firm Solamare, headed by Mitt’s eldest son Tagg with G. Scott Romney on the board of directors, is also funding Mitt’s campaign. There is a sub company under Solamere, I believe called Solamere
      Advisers that has people from Sanford a company from Texas that ran the second larges Ponzi scheme next to Bernie Madoff.

      One manager who soured on Bain By JOSH GERSTEIN
      has a good article on Bain Capital.

      link to politico.com

      The gentlemen quoted in the article pretty much says it like they are – (they are most temperamental, yell and scream (a whole bunch)

  4. As for Israel, it is an informal US ally and has often been helpful

    Can anyone provide examples of Israel being helpful to the US?

    Israel attacked Egypt under Nasser, but Nasser was an adversary of the United States mostly if not entirely because of the West’s association with Israel.

    Other than that, as far as I can tell, Israel has been a tremendous drain on US material, diplomatic and moral resources since its inception.

    • C’mon. The Mossad is and has been the single best source of intel on those wild-eyed middle-easterners that the US has, and without them we never would have gotten the substantiation we needed for the Iraqi WMD.

      • Nor would we have proof that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Thanks to Mossad, working hand to hand with the US media, we know Iranis attempting to take over the world and force everyone to become a muslim.

  5. “As an American, I’m deeply relieved that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is highly unlikely to be president of the United States. As a blogger who occasionally enjoys a bit of satire, I have to say it is a real shame.”
    Yeah, and I miss Herman Cain too.

  6. re: “you go zero with that foreign aid”

    actually, turkey doesn’t get what is normally thought of as “foreign aid”:

    As for foreign aid, Turkey is a wealthy country that already gets virtually no foreign aid from the United States. The State Department this year made a request for about $5 million, which was earmarked for peace-keeping and security operations — not what one could consider traditional “foreign aid.”

  7. Thankfully, Rick Perry will likely disappear after this Saturday. Apparently, assuming he was at Incirlik, he never went off base. I was at Karamursel in ’67 and ’68 and found the Turkish people open and friendly, if modestly reserved. Perry is typical of the Southern branch of Republicans, narrow-minded, bigoted and xenophobic. I have lived in the South all my life and am confident whereof I speak.

  8. Oh, Turkey. Did you mess with Texas? Heh.

    And you go to zero with foreign aid for all of those countries. And it doesn’t make any difference who they are

    …countries like Iran, and Syria and Turkey

    I think I just got a little bit stupider. Like one little corner of my brain couldn’t take it anymore and gave up the ghost.

  9. The US gives the lowest % of GNP in “foreign aid” of any developed country, and most is tied (ie spent in US), military, and for political purposes, not to reduce poverty or help the needy.
    It is apparent that the “candidates” for the Repugs are designed to allow Obama to win by default. He acts like a Repug, is subservient to Israel, and will never condemn his criminal predecessors.

  10. I just discovered your blog and would like to follow it regularly. Do you send your commentaries via e-mail? Thank you.

  11. Perry is a weathervane and conduit for the crazies he courts. He has no convictions of his own; but a governor of Texas can pursue crazies that a governor of Massachusetts credibly cannot.

    However, I would love it if a GOP president was so crazy that he would dismantle or leave NATO in outrage over our allies’ socialized medicene, generous social benefits, gay rights, and secularism. Unfortunately, I would be enjoying this news from my cell in the concentration camp that such a president would have tossed me in.

    The only thing that stops Perry from being a contender is not the madness of his statements, but the doubts of the redneck zombie army that he really means them. His political consultants probably have proof that many Republicans would indeed support armed bullying of Turkey and CIA support for the overthrow of its elected government.

  12. Perry doubles down on his crazy from last night.

    link to talkingpointsmemo.com

    Called on to defend calling the leaders of Turkey “Islamic terrorists”, Rick Perry managed to accuse Wolf Blitzer of defending honor-killing.

    Rush transcript and video after the jump …

    Blitzer: On this specific issue of Erdogan and the other turkish leaders, in your words they’re Islamic terrorists? Are you saying that?

    Perry: I say if they are treating their citizens that way, that they approach that terminology. When you allow for honor killings, wolf — I mean, I hope you’re not defending honor killings as an appropriate act in any country, much less a country we send foreign aid to, and we do send foreign aid to that country … Let me ask you, are you sitting here and defending the act of honor killing?

    Blitzer: No, of course I’m not. That’s horrible and disgusting, and people who do that should be punished, but I believe the turkish government isn’t defending it, either. It happens in turkey, it happens in egypt, in a lot of islamic countries, but they’re not supporting that. No one defenses that except for extremists.

    • It also happens in Latin America, and did under many US-installed dictatorships in the past.

      And Saudi Arabia, Rick? Huh? Surely you don’t defend Wahhabism, Rick?

  13. Satire alert!

    I remember the day! It was ten years ago, Justice and Development party won the elections. Starting the very next day, men came out to streets with Ottoman swords. Yes! That was the day Turkish men became 14 times more violent towards women overnight!

  14. If you need to take a test to see if you have the knowledge to drive a car, why do these clowns get a free pass on the knowledge test when it comes to driving the most lethal military machine in human history?

  15. Turkey is still one of the allies of US in the Middle east and Tayyip Erdogan declared several times that he is the co-president of Obama for the Middle East Project of US. However, there are several secular Turkish Citizens who feel and believe that Turkey is going to be divided by sepration of the Kurds and loater perhaps even by the Armenians, i.e, the late progress of the Serv treaty which took place after the first wrold war and was dissolved by Ataturk.

  16. Instead of defending Turkey position we must ask the question why those attacks and accusations against Turkey in this particular time?

    • Islamophobia is not only acceptable but required in the GOP today. Since Obama is a Muslim (in their way of thinking), attacking Islam in any form is a way to attack Obama.

      Newt calls Obama the food stamp president because calling Obama the n word is too crude and direct. Instead Mewt calls him the food stamp president and his South Carolina audience knows exactly what he means by that dog whistle insult that appeals to their most inner prejudices without being overtly racist. (at least in their mind).

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