Steven Horowitz

Turkey, Hamas and the Future of NATO

Turkey supports the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey refuses to acknowledge its illegal occupation of Cyprus. Turkey continues (after 99 years) to withhold any admission of guilt toward its WWI genocide of the Armenian people. Turkey continues to refuse a referendum on Kurdistan independence. Turkey continues its incessant antisemitism, comparing Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza with the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people during WWII. Yet Turkey is a full member of NATO and considered a close ally of the West. How can this be?
Turkey’s support for Hamas should be reason alone for Europe and the US to place serious restraints on Ankara. One would think that NATO is in agreement with the terrorist infrastructure of tunnels and rockets that Turkey believes to be legitimate. But the tunnel and rocket strategy of Hamas can only be characterized as a double war crime. To target foreign civilians — and then use your own people as human shields — is the height of ruthlessness and cynicism. The mere fact that Turkey would subscribe to such inhumane tactics should give the entire civilized world pause. But the word out of NATO headquarters is mum. So much for the moral high ground.
What is the purpose of NATO anyway? It has been nearly twenty-five years since the Cold War ended, and still the American taxpayer foots the bill for a European public that really doesn’t need US protection. Both France and England are nuclear powers, while Germany has the capacity to become one, literally overnight. Russia would be crazy to attack westward. It doesn’t need to and has no desire to invade and/or occupy Poland. The idea that Russia is a threat to Europe is an absurdity. Yet NATO is still in business, and its mere presence is indeed the cause of the current instability in Europe. Forget the economics of the situation. The European Union is an economic basket-case. The economic crisis of 2008 continues. Just look at the last European elections. The settled working people of Europe have little or no faith in the EU. After years of nearly global zero percent interest rates, Europe still remains mired in recession and depression.
No — NATO is the cause of instability in Europe. As the continent continues its abnormal military division, Russia feels threatened by the uncertainty in its neighborhood. The Ukraine is to Russia what the West Bank and Gaza are to Israel. There is nothing comparable in the US. The Americans are the most protected people on the planet, bar none. As a continental power separated from the rest of the world by two oceans and with a nuclear arsenal in the thousands, Washington has lost all perspective. Just look at the map. The eastern Ukraine knives into the Russian heartland like Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana would if the US were to be occupied by a foreign power. It has been over two hundred years since America had to worry about its southern flank. But if the situation in the Ukraine is bad, the situation on the West Bank and Gaza are even worse. Here the enemy can actually tunnel its way into both Israel’s kibbutz gateway, to its populated coastal strip, or directly into Tel Aviv itself. Those tunnels and missiles must be destroyed. They are the most serious terrorist threat the Jewish state has ever faced. Israel’s economy depends on its international airport. It cannot be allowed to be under missile attack. If the entire terrorist infrastructure is not destroyed through detailed negotiation, then it must be destroyed by siege. There is no alternative. “Mowing the grass” every two years is not only a worthless expression, it is no longer feasible as an appropriate tactical answer. What is needed is a completely new strategic paradigm.
It’s time for the Europeans to wake up to the reality of the State of Israel. They must remind their Islamic Turkish ally what the condition of the Jewish people was like between 1945-1950. At that time, the number one political issue in the world was the so-called “Jewish Question”. Israel was built by refugees from all over the Arab world and the survivors of the Holocaust. Israel, like Russia, understands its own history and strategic position. Perhaps Europe, once again, needs to be reminded that the Jews and the Russians suffered the most from the Nazi hordes. This was especially true in the Ukraine. This territory was ground zero for both the Holocaust and the defeat of the German war machine, a war machine that was very well received by many of the countries that are currently in NATO. Israel has never asked the Europeans for protection, and Israel is entitled to seek a stable geopolitical environment. The same is true for the Russians. Without the great human sacrifices of the Russian people, Nazi Germany and their many allies throughout the Islamic world (including the war-time Palestinian leadership) would probably have been victorious.
Today, those same Islamic Palestinians continue their medieval crusade to destroy Israel and its rightful place in the Middle East (read the Koran 5-21). Their terrorist barbarism is applauded throughout Gaza and the West Bank. In the latest polling by an impeccable US source, sixty-one percent of the Palestinian people in those two territories desire the complete elimination of the State of Israel, and nearly twenty-nine percent more desire a West Bank state as a phased step-by-step strategy in order to defeat Jewish state over time. That figure takes us to ninety percent! Does the Turkish government feel the same way about the so-called two-state solution? NATO must ask its Islamic ally this very question. And NATO, as a fundamental military organization, must ask itself: Would it return to the 1967 lines if it were in Israel’s position?
The future of both the Middle East and Europe remain a huge question mark. Without Russian-US cooperation, nothing can get done, and nothing will get done. The same is true for the Palestinians and Israel. Cooperation does not mean “phased struggle”. The only difference between Hamas and the PA is this concept. It’s time for the Israeli Left to stop kidding itself about the true motivations of the Palestinian leadership and their leftist European allies. If the Gaza tunnels teach the Jewish people anything, it’s that Israel can never leave the West Bank without sacrificing its vital security. But this is exactly what the Arab world — Iran, Turkey and many of the countries of NATO — want Israel to do. On this, Iran, Turkey and the Arabs are united. That’s quite a feat. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” needs to be updated to read: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even though I’m in a regional proxy war with this so-called friend, who is really my enemy whom I wish to destroy”. Does NATO subscribe to this anarchy as well?
For that matter, what is the NATO position on the Middle East? After all, the NATO training mission was a direct participant in the Iraq invasion aftermath (from 2004-2011). Two major NATO countries (the US and England) invaded Iraq, while a third (Poland) also participated. NATO believed that it could reestablish the Middle East balance of power, once it had been broken. It was its mission to train and outfit a new Iraqi army. It was this very pipe dream which has now taken the region to the edge of the precipice. How many more pipe dreams does NATO have in store for the region? Perhaps the NATO four — Germany, France, England and the US — want to smoke a nuclear peace pipe with Iran. That would be the icing on the cake. A bad nuclear deal with Iran, while forcing Israel back to the 1967 lines. Why not just expand the NATO alliance directly into the Ukraine to see what the Russian reaction would be? It would be nearly the same thing.
The world is in a mess because all the old twentieth-century political paradigms remain in place. Neo-liberalism as a European unification model has come undone because globalization has universally brought down the price of labor. NATO and the Cold War as solutions to the “German Question” have brought about an ill-conceived expansion and a destabilizing eastward division of the continent. The economic crisis of the 1970’s and early 1980’s has morphed into a maddening myriad of financial transactions which have now dwarfed the actual productive economy. This crisis of global capitalism appears not to have a solution, other than (perhaps) war.
Maybe that’s the future of NATO — permanent war in order to solve the economic crisis. In that case, the outdated NATO does indeed need an enemy. Why not the Russians? Putin is an ex-KGB operative. Doesn’t Russia want to re-create the old Soviet Union? A gullible public might believe it, just like so many Europeans believe Israel is a Nazi-like aggressor and the Palestinians defenseless victims. That’s the line Turkey wants to spin. It certainly sounds good to Erdogan. Israel and Russia — the two aggressors, victimizing little Palestine and the innocent Ukraine.
But wait a minute. What about the risk of nuclear war? You know, the old Cuban missile crisis. Do we really want to go through that again? Or the 1973 War, when Israel was saved early on by the strategic depth of the occupied territories, only to have Europe refuse to allow NATO airbases as refueling stations for a vital resupply. No, we American Jews haven’t forgotten our good NATO allies in Europe. We remember all too well. Oil was more important than Israel. That was the line then. Only little Portugal reached out and opened the Azores to those essential US planes. Now, nothing much has changed. European NATO remains silent in the face of Turkey’s support for a vast terrorist infrastructure and Ankara’s wild, antisemitic incitement. Meanwhile ninety-nine years have passed, and Erdogan still stays silent about his Islamic nation’s Christian Armenian genocide.
To repeat: So much for NATO’s moral high ground. As to the future of NATO — it should be strictly a European enterprise. That is, Europe from the Urals to the Atlantic. Turkey must decide if it would want to join such a military union or face its Islamic neighbors on its own. As for Hamas, it must either become demilitarized and a part of the peace process — or face the consequences.

About the Author
Steven Horowitz has been a farmer, journalist and teacher spanning the last 45 years. He resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. During the 1970's, he lived on kibbutz in Israel, where he worked as a shepherd and construction worker. In 1985, he was the winner of the Christian Science Monitor's Peace 2010 international essay contest. He was a contributing author to the book "How Peace came to the World" (MIT Press).