Please forgive my failure to comment on Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continued rise to power, as it’s all been according to plan, and I honestly wouldn’t dream of expecting a different outcome.

When domestic politics fail: Go to war

I hate to say “I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so”, which is why I’m very pleased to say that for once my predictions weren’t altogether accurate.

Avid readers may remember how I, in a late December 2016 blog post, appointed the Middle East the new East–West battlefield. Turned out that I was indeed right, but what I failed to see, was the escalation of the Southeast Asian conflict now materialising in North Korea’s armament and the U.S. Navy’s race towards the Korean peninsula’s shores.

The Middle East Midtøsten

Make no mistake about it: We may think the Middle East resembled hell on earth, but I fear we haven’t seen the half of it. With Southeast Asian conflicts on the rise, on top of Russia’s aggressive stance on neighbouring countries, such as Ukraine, it’s safe to say that it’s been some time since we were this close to a potential world war 3, hard as it is to imagine.

Of course it’s all to do with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s lack of success in domestic affairs and their need to show international force, coupled with fellow madman Kim Jong-un’s megalomaniacal delusions.

Kim Jong-un og Malaysia Airlines
Kim Jong-un and Malaysia Airlines aircraft. Blogger’s manipulation.

While I hate to admit failing to see this development in advance, there’s no denying it’s currently playing out right under our noses, and I, for one, am scared shitless.

But it doesn’t stop there: With Brexit underway, and Spain and the UK fighting over Gibraltar, Europe’s stability is at risk, too.

The situation may be diffused, if parties involved are willing to take a step back. At present, however, that doesn’t seem very likely.

And then, of course, there’s Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

At the risk of repeating myself, I think I’d better repeat myself:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Top illustration: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Blogger’s drawing.

 

Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (foto fra Wikipedia).
Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Wikipedia.

Any attempt to concentrate power to one out of three branches of government must be opposed vehemently.

Build a strong Europe – or abandon all hope

Having spent around a decade fervently warning against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s master plan, it is something of a relief to see that even the mainstream media have gradually come to realise what’s been going on, even if they perceive it as an outcome of recent events, establishing some sort of consensus that the objective is to destabilise and, ultimately, disintegrate Europe, leaving the northern hemisphere with only two really influential powers; Russia and America – among whom the latter currently under the influence of the former.

Concluding that a strong Europe is the best preventive action isn’t rocket science, and yet we’re left with no option but to witness the UK’s departure, possibly followed by other countries, depending on whether or not nationalist parties emerge victorious in this year’s European elections.

Of course you may object that it’s easy for a citizen of a non-member country, such as my own, to call for a European consolidation, even if I’ve championed a Norwegian EU membership since the age of ten (which amounts to approximately 45 years), but remain cautiously optimistic that the non-nationalist parties will prevail in this year’s general election, luckily to be held in September, at which point I would hope Norwegian voters will have had ample time to witness Putin, Trump, Le Pen, Petry and Wilder’s frenzied attempts at destroying European unity.

valgutstyr, valg, stemmesedler, stemme, norsk form, oslo rådhus
Norwegian ballot.

There is, of course, a distinct possibility that they like what they see, considering that nationalist tendencies are palpable, also in Norway – especially among the Progress Party, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party supporters, eagerly resisting a Norwegian EU membership, among whom the rural, energetically anti EU Centre Party just made a formidable leap forward in recent polls.

Screw you, EU! Blogger's feeble attempt at a comic strip.
Screw you, EU! Blogger’s feeble attempt at a comic strip.

Voters able to see beyond narrow-minded self-interests, on the other hand, may conclude that the ongoing Russo-American race to tear Europe apart, with the aid of European nationalists, needs to be met with a firm support of the European Union.

The obvious approach would be for Norwegian voters to not only support EU friendly parties, but to demand resumed membership negotiations – if Europe will have us, that is (it wouldn’t surprise me if they decline, seeing as two former applications already failed, due to discouraging referendum outcomes).

At any rate it is time to reinforce European unity as a countermeasure against the emerging nationalism – and a world lead by a through and through non-democratic Sino-Russian-American trio, accompanied by the Erdoğan regime in the Middle East.

If not I’m afraid we may as well abandon all hope.

Top illustration: EU flag. Blogger’s own painting.

A series of Reichstag fires?

The new year started with a bang, or rather a series of shots fired in an Istanbul nightclub last night, resulting in a death toll currently amounting to 39 nightclubbers, in what appears to be a one-man show, carried out by an individual dressed up as Santa (from what I’ve been told).

Terrible as it was, I’d hesitate to call it a terrorist attack just yet, even if the Turkish regime has enemies by the numbers, including this blogger, and for very good reasons, which is not to say that I’d even dream of condoning any attack on civilian Turks, deserving of our collective loathing and rejection (the attack, that is, not civilian Turks).

Yes, we are, like Turkey’s home secretary Suleyman Soylu, quick to label the atrocities an act of terrorism, and understandably so, in a country whose government deliberately provokes actions against itself. Thing is, though, that this probably isn’t one (although I’d like to emphasise “probably”).

Attacks on Turkish civilians do not serve as blows to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, but as arguments in support of the president’s continued oppression, making it just as easy to suspect the regime itself, as Kurds, ISIL or the PKK – terrible regimes have been prone to similar measures in the past.

But I won’t. What appears to be the act of a single individual may have occurred for a number of reasons, and I’m not about to speculate.

Assuming that 2017 is going to be a tumultuous year, on the other hand, is a fairly safe bet, considering the leaders at the helm in Turkey, Russia and, any minute now, America – and then some.

2016 saw a series of attacks, an attempted coup d’etat against Erdoğan, even, resulting in an even tighter grip on power (hence the Reichstag fire inuendo) – and the budding alliance between Russia and Turkey (soon to be accompanied by America?), which is a move put to use by several authoritarian and totalitarian regimes throughout times, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to connect a dot or two …

But again, I’m not about to speculate, eerily resembling as the early 1900s and 2000s may be.

Episodes akin to the Reichstag fire and the Gleiwitz incident do frequently spring to mind, though, tempting as it is to shake the whole idea off.

But I’m making assumptions.

My sympathies go to the Turks, even though I struggle with their support of their leader, just as I will continue to question the Germans’ support of theirs, some 80 years ago. But in the spirit of mutual (?) respect:

Jarle Petterson and Turkish flag.
Yours truly clad in Turkish black and white colours.

Also, I should add that I fear the volatile situation in which the entire world currently finds itself may blow right up in our faces any minute now. I, for one, am going to keep an eye on the Russo-Turkish Middle East involvement. It’ll end in tears, you know.

So happy new year, once more!

So you think 2016 was bad?

I’m sure we can agree that it’s been a terrible year, what with the countless terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, the innumerable refugees and their suffering, the immense growth of fake news, Russia’s continued intervention in Ukraine, Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, won by Vladimir Putin’s very own Donald Trump.

And then, of course, there’s the incredible demise of uncountable artists throughout the entertainment industry, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise in times sporting more celebrities than ever before, among whom a considerable share in the geriatric segment. But you cannot help wonder how some regard that the worst aspect of the year now approaching its ultimate finale. Text continued below painting.

David Bowie (1947–2016). Blogger's own watercolour painting, made with Waterlogue.
David Bowie (1947–2016). Blogger’s own watercolour painting, made with Waterlogue.

While I wouldn’t even dream of making fun of the fans’ undoubtedly sincere grief (I’ve been mourning some of them, too, in my own small way), perhaps pointing out that we do have bigger fish to fry – or much bigger problems – is in order?

Terrible as 2016 was, I fear it didn’t even come close to what the upcoming year has in store.

I’m confident that, like me, you never expected to live to see Donald J. Trump elected president of the USA, which, I’m sure, adds up to nothing, compared to experiencing him executing his job while in office. Text continued below photo.

Donald Trump og Nigel Farage (foto fra UKIP).
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage (photograph from UKIP).

Seeing as I accidentally happened to pick a photograph of him and fellow nationalist Nigel Farage, there’s no avoiding next year’s consequences of Britain’s 2016 decision; the implementation of the EU’s article 50, which once and for all is going to sever the United Kingdom from the European Union, with all its implications (covered in this blog throughout the first half of the year). Unless Westminster finds a way to declare the outcome of last June’s referendum null and void.

Worst of all, however, is the fact (?) that we no longer seem able to distinct facts from fiction, as the number of fake news outlets grows every day, a matter I touched on in a blog post the other day, and make no mistake about it: It’s all Vladimir Putin’s doing, in an attempt at destabilising the west, which he successfully achieved in Britain last summer and in America this autumn. However, I fear we’ve only seen the beginning. Text continued below photo.

Festung Europa? Fotograf: Schroeder Alain/Den europeiske union
Festung Europa? Photographer: Schroeder Alain/The European Union.

We should, I’m afraid, brace ourselves for global tension the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, possibly not since the early 1960s, for those of us who recall the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But please … Pretty, pretty please stop this talk about the possibility of a cold war. It’s been around for years, even if you didn’t notice.

Having established that, I find that the Russian national anthem, performed by Russia’s Red Army Choir, whose members died in a Christmas airplane crash last week, rest their souls, en route to Russia’s latest occupation, Syria, is in perfect order:

Judging by current goings on, people around the globe may as well start rehearsing its lyrics, the sooner the better.

And of course, as indicated by the top illustration, the Middle East will continue to play a vital part in next year’s news. Predominantly, I’m afraid, as a Russo-Turkish conquest. Also, as indicated in the illustration, the ripple effects will be significant.

Meanwhile we may as well conclude that we’re already there, unless you can provide evidence of other reasons why Vladimir Putin is the one to declare a Syrian ceasefire today.

Oh, and a very happy new year to you.

Top six global threats

The world’s top six global threats, in no particular order.

We do of course have candidates of our own in these parts. Fortunately we are, contrary to own belief, utterly irrelevant.

Here’s hoping

Come New Years Eve I shall party just as hard as the next guy. Not because there’s any cause for celebration, considering the hopeless situation in which we find ourselves, but because, after all, it is what people expect, my own family not excepted. I will, of course, comply, without a trace of the concerns boiling inside.

There’s been much talk of the cold war revival, of a World War III already in progress – allegations I wouldn’t even dream of contradicting, as I’ve been trying to raise awareness of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive approach for about a decade already, albeit to little avail – as one should expect, considering the blog’s obscurity.

However, we would be ill-advised to expect WWIII to be a blueprint of its two predecessors, considering that the war has been going on for quite some time, sans traditional or conventional confrontations, save the extensivity of Russian false news, aiming at destabilising western Europe and the U.S. – and successfully so, given Putin’s 2016 triumphs in the United Kingdom and the United States, both early examples of the Russian propaganda machinery’s unsurpassable efficiency.

While the entire west desperately endeavours to figure out how to prevent further distribution of fake news, and, as a consequence thereof; even more western states falling into the hands of politicians under Russian influence, Mr. Putin keeps busy forging alliances with leaders disliked by the west, currently Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, while a civil war in Yemen, a former Soviet outpost in the Middle East, still rages, what ever prospects it may hold.

There is a distinct possibility, you know, that Putin’s foothold in the Middle East may well be even firmer, now that Russia in fact controls Syria and the Crimean peninsula, whence the Black Sea Fleet hails, lacking only free passage through the Bosphorous, controlled by Putin’s soon-to-be ally (?) and fellow strongman Erdoğan, leaving more or less the entire Middle East under Russian control, in spite of the protests we may voice through the UN security council.

After all, since when did Vladimir Putin bother listening to the UN? On the contrary, the following countries (most of which siding with Russia), voted against protecting Syrian civilians, suffering from a war which has now outlasted WWII: Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, N. Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, S. Sudan, Syria (i.e. the Assad regime), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

So yes, a World War III most certainly is in progress, even if we may find that it’s being fought on the Internet and on battle fields far from home, with victims we only see on the news. We should, however, also accept that Britain’s Brexit and America’s Trump victory are defeats good as any, both battles won by Putin’s virtual soldiers, because that’s the kind of war this is – a war in which I try to involve myself, however uninvited, and inconsequential my feeble efforts, considering the west’s shortcomings pertaining to propaganda measures on equal terms.

I simply refuse to side with those advocating reservation and self-muzzling, based on the eventuality, however small, that Vladimir Putin is in fact a pretty good guy, so let me reiterate my decade-long message, as some (but sadly all-too few) also did in the 1930s: He is not, so I long since decided to be this guy:

August Landmesser
August Landmesser (1910–1944), refusing to salute Adolf Hitler during the opening of German navy training centre Horst Wessel, summer of 1936.

Also, living in a country sharing borders with Russia, as I do, I can, to a certain extent, understand some people’s reluctance to raise their voices against a potential invader … Or maybe not.

Which,  hopefully, explains my reluctance – to yell “Happy New Year” at the top of my lungs, but hey, here’s hoping.

P.S. I used the same headline on a post earlier this autumn (simply forgot), and we all know how that turned out.

A quick historic brush-up

  1. 28 June 1914: Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo by the Bosnian-Serb revolutionary Gavrilo Princip
    1. 19 December 2016: Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov (62), assassinated by Turkish police officer Melvut Mert Altintas (22), protesting Russia and Turkey’s butchery of Syrian civilians
  2. 27-28 February 1933: The German Reichstag put on fire, allegedly by the Dutch socialist Marinus van der Lubbe
    1. 15 July 2016: A fraction of Turkey’s armed forces launches an attempted coup d’état, primarily in Istanbul and Ankara, while president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan away on vacation in the coastal resort town of Marmaris
  3. 31 August 1939: German soldiers posing as Poles carried out a false flag operation against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia
    1. 25 December 2016: Russian military aircraft carrying 92 people, predominantly military personnel (among whom many allegedly on their way to provide humanitarian aid – you better believe it – to Syria’s war-struck population), crashes in Black Sea, with no sign of survivors
    2. Date Month 2017:

Merely stating a few obvious facts. Far be it from me to imply anything at all, other than offering a quick reminder that in all cases heads of state swore revenge, of course.

Please understand that I wouldn’t even dream of claiming that facts are what they are. I simply want to point out that they may be.