For a week-it would seem the world had spun out of orbit- hit by one crisis after crisis. There was global chaos. But, itÂ Â was not funny, unlike our resident politician who seems to “habla a little English,only, Senor.”
First, it was France, the very citadel of libertarian democracy who was struck by a depressed 31 year old Muslim French Tunisian Mohamed Lahonaiji Buhlil who pile-drove his truck into a group of revelers celebrating the fireworks of one of its festive national toasts “The Bastille Day”
Mohamed opened fire at the horrified crowd -killing 84 people (10 children) and wounding 204 ( 54 children) Â to the hospitals and turned Nice, France into “not-so-nice town”. (pun obvious)
French president Francois Hollande extended the state of emergency into three more months, aghast at the breach of security of this Mohamed (who was already under surveillance) and worried how many more Â fanatical Muslims from Syria and Iran -can still Â come in wholesale into France.
Hollande vowed not more than 20,000 refugees in the next two years will France allow entry – doubly worried as well with their Â 10% unemployment rate Â which is -double that of its peer country Germany.
War in Middle East and African states has pummeled millions of migrants away from the line of fire into Europe and the USA, the greatest wave of migration since World War II. (No wonder, Republican candidate Donald Trump is losing his hair piece in exasperation).
One such affected Â nation is Turkey, whose government Â Friday night was almost toppled down by a group of military coup plotters .Luckily – it has been stymied in time but it has permanently damaged the reputation of Turkey for a long time coming.
Turkey with 500,000 soldiers ( 71 million population) is the second largest NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Â military force. Turkey a huge nation geographically divides Asia from Europe. That is the reason Turkey houses 2.7 million Syrian migrants.
The West had always labeled Turkey as an example of a Muslim nation that thrives in a democracy. It had , for a time, foiled Russia’s expansionism and its base in Incirlik ban has been religiously used by the Americans to launch air assaults versus Syria.
Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan is an arrogant authoritarian whose record in human rights and protection of freedom of expression and media have been questioned by both allies Europe and America. The West, however, Â tolerates Erdogan because they are the West’s SOB (Â son of a bitch) and has been a foil to the cauldron of heated fights in the Middle East.
It was the same way our unlamented dictator Ferdinand Marcos was cradled like a baby by Washington because at that time- Â he advanced American interests in the region with the presence of the US military bases here.
Turkey’s topography explains its strength at containment. It Â is multi- bordered with such troubled countries such as Syria, Iraq, economically fragile Greece and Soviet derivatives Armenia and Georgia. Â Turkey is also Â bounded by three strategic bodies of water : Mediterranean, Black Sea and Aegean Sea.
So vital is Turkey that had the coup succeeded, it would have resulted in the first major shift in policy in the Middle East for containment , anti-terrorism Â and the refugee problem since Erdogan assumed office in 2003.
For a while, Washington, was breathing heavily as events unfolded with thousands of rebel soldiers slowly Â dying, arrested or wounded. Now, its strategic ally Turkey has survived the crisis.
Europe is as equally desperate for Turkey’s survival – thus it pays the country 3 billion Euros a year to contain the migration and provide for their own 2.7 million migrants. The blocking of the Balkan state and Turkey’s stricter migrant rules reportedly resulted in Italy now getting just a few 47 Syrian refugees a day compared Â to 1.907 a day in February.
Earlier than that, the International arbitration court at Hague , on the other hand, mandated China to stop her incursion in the South China Sea at the expense of the Philippines who brought China to court. While China tried to save face, RP tried to cotton-candy her words of victory.
RP could send former president FVR (Fidel Valdez Ramos) in a preliminary talks with China. It has not been lost though that FVR , though a statesman, is also a graduate of the highly-fancied West Point Military school -and is therefore Â not bound to suffer amnesia in knowing what the best interest of Uncle Sam is.
Superpowers America and Japan had also Â asked all nations, including China, to respect the rule of international law. But more than that are the real interests of the super giants.
For some US$5-Trillion value of goods pass through the contested seas -needing a perpetual “freedom of navigation” happenstance Â for easy commerce while Japan’s energy needs pass through Â the same route.
Supplies are also religiously landing in South Korea and Japan using this sea route and they happen to be America’s staunchest military allies in the region.
Ironically, much of the commercial traffic in the area goes to Mainland China and Hongkong (China). Â Wouldn’t China , therefore, more than the others, want a “freedom of navigation” situation in the disputed seas ?
It could be that China’s aggressive stance of hosting war ships, MIG- fighter jets and air to missile artillery in the Spratlys Â is its so-called Â The Â Chinese “advance defense” before America uses its two allies also disputing ownership of the isles ,namely, RP and South Vietnam -to also arm themselves in the isles as China had done .Â Quo vadis, Senores?Â
So, indeed, what a week it has been. Â The symptoms of the “clash of civilization” between the Muslims and the West were carried out in the drama that befell Turkey and France – spiced by the possible disruption of Turkey as the bridge between Western democracies and the Muslim nations in the Middle East.
Let us pray that no shooting battles ensue hereafter Â in the intense collision of variant interests in the South China Sea.
Pray Â likewise Â for that funny politician who must know by now that – little (English) Â learning is a dangerous thing and that there is certainly- no bliss in ignorance.
But we heard, the circus is coming to town. Clowns are needed- just in case.
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