An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption -- an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense. More

Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire

On Tuesday, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that was carrying out military operations against jihadi groups in Northern Syria. The downing of the Su-24 fighter jet, is part of a broader plan by the administration of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to topple the secular government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to establish "safe zones" on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border. Erdogan needs the safe zones to provide a sanctuary for the militant extremists who are the footsoldiers in his war against Syria. The downing of the Russian fighter is a desperate attempt by Erdogan to incite a reaction from Russia that will draw either NATO or the United States deeper into a conflict which has dragged on for 4 and a half years and killed 250,000 people. More

Who Created This Monster?

Amid calls for revanche, a young French woman interviewed by the BBC asked, “Who created this monster?” Indeed, who or what gave life to a movement that revels in beheadings and mass executions of persons not committed to the new Caliphate? Does the fervor of Muslim extremists stem from passages in the Koran? Is it the result of brainwashing by serpent-tongued mullahs? The product of training manuals and social media calling on good Muslims to wreak havoc among the non-believers? What would extremists do without the weapons smuggled to France from the Balkans?

Each question is valid and suggests part of the answer. But few Westerners dwell on the roles played by their imperial past in fostering fanaticism and campaigns to destroy alien influences and recreate past glories. French empire builders in the 19th century claimed a mission civilatrice to subdue and civilize the natives abroad; English leaders, a “white man’s burden”; Americans, a “manifest destiny.” Late-comer imperialists in Belgium, Germany, and elsewhere devised their own rationales. More

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Jane Goodall: A Retrospective

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Exclusively in the New Print Issue of CounterPunch

vol-22-no-8-cover-350x442BERNIE and the JETS:
Jeffrey St. Clair on Bernie Sanders’ dogged promotion of the F-35 Fighter and Obama’s killer drone program; The Political Economy of Scapegoating: Ben Debney on the politics of modern witch hunts; Assange and the Embassy: Binoy Kampmark reports on the ongoing pursuit of Julian Assange and Wikileaks’ latest explosive disclosures; The Great Lakes Nuke Dump: Joyce Nelson investigates the demented scheme to dispose of nuclear waste on the banks of Lake Huron; Frontline, East Jerusalem: Jennifer Loewenstein on the All Out War on Al Aqsa; Mike Whitney on Putin’s peace plan for Syria; Lee Ballinger on Music as the Conscience of the World; Chris Floyd on the bombing of the Kunduz hospital; and Paul Krassner on his friend Robin Williams.