NATO Monsters (and Super Creeps)

America loves its monsters. We love to make em and we love to blow em up. For all our high talk of freedom and democracy, we are a superpower with a long and storied history of building up and breaking down authoritarian lunatics in Third World countries. Some of histories vilest dictators, from Pinochet to Suharto, were built with made-in-America stamped on their right foot like a goddamn GI Joe. Back in the good old days we would spend decades showering one of these psychopaths in praises and weapons and then use the bloody exploits we financed to justify going to war with the same bastard. We used Noriega down in Panama to launder our filthy Iran-Contra dollars and then invaded his banana republic in the name of the War on Drugs. We armed Saddam to the fucking teeth with weapons of mass destruction so he could wipe out whole villages of Kurds and Iranians and then used the receipts to justify three decades of rape and pillage in Iraq. And don’t even get me started on our cross continental love affair with Mr. Bin Laden….

Those certainly were the good old days. The all or nothing days, as Frank Miller would say. America still loves its scary monsters and super creeps but now we need them more than ever to fight our forever wars for us. With an American populace increasingly weary of direct conflicts and a national debt soaring higher than eagles dare, American might has become increasingly dependent on proxy warfare. Long story short, we actually need the fucking scum we arm now. We need Nazis to bash babushkas on the Russian border of Ukraine. We need blood drinking Wahhabi lunatics to chop off heads in every other country in the Muslim world. And we need sadistic strongmen to micromanage the madness indefinitely while we try to figure out what the fuck we’re doing anymore.

For decades this meant Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud has long been a reliable source of self-fellating pseudo-monarchs ready and willing to ship psychos to all corners of the globe. It was a win-win. We got to spread violent chaos and destabilization to any nation who wouldn’t take our money and behave, and the Saudis got to spread their own perverted bastardization of Islam to more kids who couldn’t afford shoes. Mohamed Bin Salman aka MBS seemed like the perfect monster to bring this vile tradition into the 21st Century and for a minute he was. The western media swooned over his swarthy date-rape charms and his empty promises of social reform while he helped us turn Syria, Libya, and Yemen into blood belching bungholes from hell. But then the little cunt got cocky. He began breaking the script and behaving like us, a dusty little superpower in his own right. He went bonkers blockading Qatar and kidnaping Lebanon’s prime minister before really crossing the line and hacking up a Washington friendly journalist named Jamal Khashoggi over a slight. Even worse, he began losing control of the war in Yemen, getting his ass kicked by Houthi rebels and falling out with the UAE.

America can’t afford to overthrow proxies like the Saudis anymore, but with their monopoly on the energy market slipping, we can afford to replace them as our go-to proxy and I believe that we may be in the process of doing so with that wannabe sultan Recep Erdogan and his fledgling Turkish empire. Erdogan may seem like an odd choice at first glance. He’s killing our Kurds in Rojava and buying military hardware from the Russians, both of which we’ve lightly sanctioned him for. But over the last few years, Erdogan has been hauling ass across the map, keeping things heavy in all our hot spots. He’s propped up our slave-trading thugs in Libya. He’s kept Assad bleeding in Idlib. He’s sent drones to our Nazis in Ukraine. He’s even shipped armored vehicles to our failed Saudi backed militias in Yemen.

There are a lot of harsh words being tossed back and forth between Erdogan and their NATO allies, including us. But on paper, aside from a few slaps on the wrist, that is about all this supposed animosity amounts to, words. Words that make Erdogan look good to brown nations through with our shit while he plays the avenging rebel. This narrative totally flies in the face of the fact that Turkey has become a shining star for NATO advancement in the Western Asian theater. The coalition’s second largest member was awarded this year with command over NATO’s prestigious Very High Readiness Joint Task Force followed by America’s newly proxied mission in Afghanistan being turned over to Turkish Brigadier General Selcuk Yurtsizoglu. These are not rewards you give to a problem child. These are tasks given to a trusted proxy. The kind of proxy that could best both Russia and Iran with an ambitious proxy war of it’s own in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Just last year Turkey successfully micromanaged Azerbaijan’s sacking of the sovereign region of Artsakh. A region under the protection of Armenia, both one of Russia’s and Iran’s most important allies, not to mention a member of the Collective Treaty Security Organization, Russia’s own answer to NATO. What Erdogan achieved with relative ease wasn’t just the ethnic cleansing of a supposedly protected minority, but a successful do over of what NATO hopeful and American proxy Georgia failed to do to South Ossetia in 2008. Turkey helped Azerbaijan purge themselves of a slice of contested territory keeping them from becoming a full NATO member in their own right. This wasn’t just a gift to a historical Ottoman ally. It was a display to the United States that Turkey could achieve what they couldn’t. Turkey could bitch slap Putin and get away with it.

We live in uncertain times. A tumultuous era where new powers are crashing and old powers are rising from the grave. The American Empire may not be down but it is on the ropes. It desperately needs to refocus it’s ambitions. Turkey can help them do this in more ways than one. With Erdogan’s unique blend of Sunni pan-Islamism and Turkic revanchism, they can help the US keep their bloody fingers on the pulse of the Middle East, while also helping them open up new veins in Russia and China where long oppressed Turkic minorities like the Uighurs continue to serve as an exposed Achilles heal for the Eurasian Century. America would also be wise to remember however that proxies have a long history of replacing dying empires in times of collapse. After all, isn’t that what we did once upon a time to the British? What goes around has a nasty little tendency of coming back around again. Yesterday’s scary monster is tomorrow’s Camelot.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.