Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
On July 15th, the government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a member of both the United Nations and NATO, an ally in the conflict seeking to defeat ISIS, and with a bid for acceptance into the European Union on the table, faraway Turkey became an instant concern to the West. The unrest especially drew attention because of Turkey’s proximity to the land currently possessed by the Islamic caliphate ISIS.What happened in Turkey clearly stems from its early 20th century moves away from militant Islamism. For 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region from which it launched several attempts to conquer Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these was the naval battle at Lepanto in 1571 when an outnumbered fleet of Europeans defeated the Islamic foe. Other forays by Islamic forces met defeat at Vienna and Belgrade. This series of setbacks led to several centuries of a most welcome live-and-let-live policy by the Islamic world.
After World War I, in which Turkey participated, a more modernized nation began to take shape. Determined Islamists bristled under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who became Turkey’s leader in 1923. The term “Ataturk,” meaning father of Turkey, is an addition to the name of the country’s leader who is greatly revered by more secular Turkish Islamists. A Muslim himself, Ataturk relaxed but didn’t destroy the Islamic hold on the nation. His rule had always angered some who resented the acceptance of numerous Western ideas and values for their country.
In 2014, a more determined follower of Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won election as the nation’s president. The July 15th coup, led by those who preferred Ataturk’s ways, sought to erase numerous trends and revisions in Turkish life. But quick action by Erdogan and his followers overwhelmed the less militant Muslims in the military and many other posts within the nation. In a matter of days, Erdogan’s followers accomplished firing 9,000 police officers and 21,000 educators. They suspended 21,000 schoolteachers and either detained or suspended 10,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and lawyers, 1,500 university deans, and 1,500 of the government’s finance officials. Added to this upheaval, the government shut down more than 100 electronic and print media outlets and instituted censorship over other suspected adversaries of the government. President Erdogan had quickly demonstrated his determination to reemphasize Islamic practices as he put an emphatic stop to the modernization of the past century.
Turkish officials blamed the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past 15 years. The Erdogan government calls his followers in Turkey the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has emphatically denied having any role in the failed coup, but the Erdogan government has demanded his extradition from America. He remains – for now – at his home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has enraged secular Turks by canceling some celebrations honoring Ataturk while commemorating past Ottoman victories and celebrating the birthday of Mohammed.
It seems completely correct to believe that Turkish Islamists led by President Erdogan have gained more power because of the incident and their success in quashing it. Erdogan has reached out to some of his adversaries in hopes of calming fears, but Turks who wanted modernization – and they include freedom from some of the Islamic-style strictures seen in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – are the losers. Will there be more unrest generated by those who want a return to Ataturk’s ways? Only, time will tell. But Turkey is now in the hands of a more regimented government that has gained more power by severely putting down the forces behind the failed coup.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.
Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
The nation of Turkey sits in Western Asia. That is, most of it. A small part of Istanbul, the great city in Western Turkey (formerly Constantinople), can be found across the Bosphorus Strait that separates Asia from Europe. This European portion of Turkey (a mere three percent of the nation’s land area) is geographically and even culturally part of Europe.A charter member of the United Nations (membership since 1945), Turkey also became a member of the NATO alliance as far back as 1952. A huge U.S. air base sits in the Asian part of the nation. In addition, Turkey has applied for membership in the European Union. Therefore, what happens in Turkey is of great concern to the West, certainly including the United States.
Turkey has experienced several coup attempts in recent years (1960, 1971, and 1980). Each failed and each sought to increase the secularization of the nation. The latest attempted coup d’état during July 15-16 failed almost immediately. After a surprising absence in the early hours of the plot, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged and reasserted control. Immediately, the government forces captured several thousand military personnel along with an equal number of judges. Some commentators labeled the coup a failure through ineptitude. But others have speculated that Erdogan engineered the short-lived event in order to centralize and increase his power.
Turkey is at least 95 percent Muslim; some claim that the figure should be 99 percent. Without doubt, yearning exists among a small percentage of the people for a more Westernized style of living. But Islam rules, not as strictly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere, but a dominant force nevertheless. Erdogan himself is a relatively strict follower of Mohammed. Suspicion has arisen that he engineered the plot so it would quickly fail and, while being put down, provide him an opportunity to increase his power and send a message throughout the nation not only that he is solidly in control, but that Islam and many of its controlling strictures would continue to prevail, even grow tighter.
Over the years, military forces within Turkey have become a sort of watchdog or guardian of a partial secularization of the nation. Hence, a more committed Muslim such as Erdogan would surely seize any opportunity to water down, even eliminate, such a challenge to Islam’s power. Ergodan’s allies have claimed that Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, engineered the coup. Gulen immediately denied having any role whatsoever. But Ergodan has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen to face charges back in Turkey. Is such a request real? Or has it emerged to help cover up Ergodan’s creation of the now-failed plot that will undoubtedly result in an increase in his power and more dominance by Islam.
Three years ago in Egypt, the military rose up and, in a lightning coup d’état, deposed elected president Mohammed Morsi, a strict follower of Islam. That country went from rule by increasingly dominant Islamists to a more westernized secularism under the generals. Turkey seems to have undergone exactly the opposite transition as a result of the recent coup attempt. How Erdogan deals with the judges and military personnel he has in custody will indicate how deeply Islam will rule in the future. Meanwhile, ISIS in next-door Syria and Iraq looks northward to Turkey to see if help in achieving its draconian goals will be forthcoming from its nearest neighbor.
COOL and the WTO
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Shirts, suits, dresses, undergarments, and numerous other items we purchase carry a little tag that tells where they were produced. “Made in China” appears on many. If not China, then Vietnam, Bangladesh, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, or some other foreign nation.
Clothing, of course, is not the only category of foreign-made products filling our stores. Many of the automobiles, scooters, tools, bicycles, electronics, and more are also foreign made. Sometimes, finding a particular product not imported presents an unsolvable problem, frequently great enough to have many Americans simply give up and settle for foreign-made goods.
What about food? In 2002, Congress enacted a law that came to be known as COOL (Country of Origin Labeling). It required retailers to provide country of origin information for beef, pork, and lamb. In 2008, Congress expanded that requirement to include fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But in late 2015, Congress repealed COOL as part of the omnibus budget bill. There is no longer any requirement for labeling the origin of what we eat.
Five months after the cancellation of COOL, a new report tells us that 47 million pounds of frozen chicken and meat products mixed with vegetables had to be recalled because of worries about listeria monocytogenes. Consuming them could cause listeriosis, an infection that can lead to fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, loss of balance, diarrhea and more. The products being recalled carry such brand names as Simmering Samurai, Tai Pei, InnovASIAN, Yakitori, Casa Solano Southwest, etc. They are not made in America.
The recall of these products came out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It turns out that there’s no need for COOL if these agencies are doing their jobs. In fact, reliance on them and other U.S. safeguards already in place is what led the majority in Congress to repeal COOL as an unnecessary and costly requirement. The vote to repeal was 300 to 131 in the House.
But there’s another reason why Congress voted to cancel COOL. Canadian and Mexican meat producers, both affected by COOL’s past requirements, complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO). That UN agency has four times ruled against the United States and our COOL mandate. Our two neighboring nations were given authority by WTO to impose tariffs totaling several against the U.S.
Here we have the United Nations making decisions about the food we Americans eat. We won’t know if the beef we consume came from Canada, where mad-cow disease had been detected a few years back, or from Mexico whose cleanliness and butchering processes don’t match requirements imposed by USDA and FDA.
But let’s not give these agencies any constitutional legitimacy. Since these powers have not been delegated to the federal government according to the Constitution, the states reserve the power to make these decisions — and definitely not the UN. So having the United Nations making decisions regarding our food supply is a very unsettling development. If the WTO can force its will regarding food, it has gained a truly significant power. This situation brings to mind the attitude of one of the 20th century’s worst tyrants. As leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said that controlling the people’s food is the way to gain control of their nation. Enter the Holodomor.
The main point of these comments, therefore, isn’t so much about the food we consume. It’s much more about whether we will always have food to eat. Considering the power already possessed by the WTO presents another excellent reason to break away from the United Nations.
Industries Still Heading for Mexico
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton 21 years ago, has certainly spurred many manufacturers to close plants in the U.S and build new ones in Mexico. This is precisely what opponents of NAFTA, including The John Birch Society, expected and predicted.
In April 2016, the list of closed, or soon to be closed, factories in the U.S. grew larger when the Ford Motor Company announced its plan to build a new assembly plant in Mexico to produce its Focus compact vehicle and its C-Max hybrid. Company officials said Ford would possibly begin production of its trucks and sport utility vehicles at the Wayne, Michigan plant which will soon be vacant. Workers are holding their breaths hoping that Ford actually does what is merely a possibility at this point.
Ford admitted that it will pay Mexican workers less than half the $29 per hour workers in Michigan have been earning. Ford’s Chief Executive Mark Fields stated, “At the end of the day, we are a multinational company, and we will do what’s best for business.” Claiming that his company had added 25,000 jobs during the past eight years, he nevertheless announced that Ford intends to move more manufacturing to China and elsewhere. United Automobile Workers union leader, Dennis Williams condemned the Ford decision while blaming it on NAFTA.
The move by Ford parallels similar planned moves to Mexico by Toyota, Kia, and Audi. General Motors has already built a huge plant in Mexico to produce its automobiles. Eighty percent of the vehicles produced in Mexico are exported from Mexico, most of them into the United States.
While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama targeted NAFTA saying, “One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA.” He also lambasted Hillary Clinton for her claim that “NAFTA has been good for New York” during her campaign for a Senate seat. In 2016, GOP candidate Donald Trump has made NAFTA one of his targets, even promising to have the pact repealed. And President Obama, no longer a foe of NAFTA, is anxiously working to have Congress approve the NAFTA-like Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPP will accomplish for 12 Pacific nations what NAFTA has done for Mexico. The TTIP would effectively have the United States join the sovereignty-compromising European Union.
The 20-year-old NAFTA pact filled 2,000 pages and covered far more matters than just trade, even establishing a tribunal whose decisions on trade matters have unfavorably impacted American companies. The pact additionally sets environmental standards for the three nations. It amounts to an economic and political revolution.
Yes, NAFTA is a job destroyer for Americans. But it also waters down U.S. sovereignty, something quietly desired by many of its creators and partisans. NAFTA should be repealed. And Congress should reject immersion into the TPP and TTIP.
If America continues down the road already shown by NAFTA and favored by President Obama, third-world status will soon be America’s fate. Contact Congress today to tell them to vote no on the TPP and TTIP.
Brexit: EU on Trial
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will make good on a promise made in 2013. Even though very opposed to Britain leaving the European Union, he has scheduled a national referendum on the matter of membership for June 23rd. The possible loss of the second largest contributor to the EU budget has the moguls managing the Brussels-based EU quite worried. Cameron will do all he can to persuade his countrymen to remain tied to the 28-member super government knowing that other EU member nations may follow if Britain leaves.
England has been a member of the EU since its founding by virtue of already holding membership in the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1973, the EEC was known as the Common Market, a clever but deceitful name persuading many to think their country would benefit from increased trade and nothing more. But after Britain and other European leaders signed the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, the EEC became the European Union and member countries were now not only trading goods; they were trading away sovereignty.
Britain’s membership in the EU is somewhat unique in that the nation variously known as the United Kingdom has never given up its own currency. Where the Euro prevails in almost all of the 28 formerly independent nations, including nearby Ireland, the British pound still exists and is a constant reminder for many Britons of the desire to remain aloof from the many political and economic ties to the continent. Resistance to being dominated by a multiplicity of EU regulations and subjection to the decisions of the European Court of Justice have led many to prefer to quit the EU and go it alone.
In 1994, a Referendum Party formed by Sir James Goldsmith gathered support from many desirous of exiting the EU. But it never gathered enough strength to force a vote on membership and faded out of existence. Almost simultaneously, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) arose and has attracted greater support. UKIP members even won a few seats in Parliament but its main effect has been to increase opposition to the EU.
Soon after Prime Minister Cameron’s Conservative Party won the 2015 election, Parliament passed the EU Referendum Act and the fight to stay or leave the EU captured the nation’s attention. Those who want out are referred to as advocates of a “Brexit,” a cleverly coined term formed from the words Britain and exit. Though an opponent of quitting, Cameron has released his party’s membership from any requirement that they oppose Brexit. A recent count shows that 140 of the 330 Conservative members of Parliament, including half a dozen cabinet ministers, support breaking away. Their numbers are growing. London’s popular Mayor Boris Johnson has announced favoring Brexit even though he is a Conservative Party member and Cameron’s close ally.
Here in America, the Obama administration has proposed the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that will initiate a tying of the United States to the European Union. Just as small steps resulted in Britain becoming subject to the huge EU bureaucracy in Brussels, passage of the TTIP will start in the process of having the United States similarly subjected to Brussels. Should Brexit partisans prevail in the June referendum, prospects for congressional passage of the TTIP will surely be dealt a crippling blow. In what surely would be a huge bit of historical irony, English voters, whether they know it or not, stand poised to provide assistance in the campaign here in breakaway America to scuttle entanglement of our nation in the sovereignty-compromising EU.
What Altered Reality is President Obama In?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama managed repeatedly to avoid reality. Simply stated, his performance as chief executive has harmed America. He ended his speech with the claim that “the State of our Union is strong.” Many Americans disagree. One clear measure of that disagreement is the powerful showing of a candidate seeking to succeed him who employs the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Americans who support this candidate, and others as well, believe that our nation’s greatness isn’t strong.
In his speech, the President pointed to the nation’s “broken immigration system.” He has had seven years to fix it but, as he himself admitted, it’s still broken.
He called again for a raising the minimum wage, as if such a task fits within his job description. Sound thinking economists insist that arbitrarily forcing employers to pay higher wages discourages hiring, especially among the youth.
He took credit creating “14 million new jobs.” But whatever wealth-creating jobs have opened up aren’t the product of any government magic. Real jobs get created despite the taxes, regulations and bureaucratic control government creates.
He patted himself on the back for cutting the rate of unemployment when the figures regularly given by government don’t count the many would-be workers who have given up looking for a job.
He claimed the “No Child Left Behind” educational program had improved education. Reality shows it to be another failed scheme forced on the schools by the federal government.
The president’s cheers for solar and wind power failed to mention the tax breaks and subsidies the government provides for such industries. Even more, he skirted the fact that the combined product of both of these energy sources adds up to a mere one percent of what is needed to power our nation.
He took credit for cutting imports of foreign oil when those cuts really resulted from discovery by private enterprise of new domestic sources and new methods of obtaining previously unavailable oil and natural gas.
He insisted that our nation’s “standing around the world” has improved in the years he’s been in office, and he termed any disagreement with such a boast “political hot air.” The reality is that respect for America has declined substantially with him at the helm.
He claimed it is a “lie” to believe that radical Islamists spring from a reading of Islam’s holy books. While it surely is true that most Muslims don’t seek to implement some of the directives appearing in their basic creed, a minority does take what they find literally. And they act accordingly.
He urged acceptance of the dangerous Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new form of entanglement that will surely lead to surrendering hard-won independence just as European nations have surrendered theirs to the European Union.
He congratulated himself for steering the nation into climate change agreements. Yet the number of competent scientists who strongly disagree with the need for such action continues to grow.
Near the beginning of his speech, Mr. Obama praised America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” But, like numerous predecessors, he employs executive orders to make law, a horrendous flouting of the rule of law. He also sanctions sending our military into war without a constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. And he does nothing to abolish unconstitutional departments of energy, education, medicine, housing, and more. The rule of law has virtually disappeared.
Missing completely from his address, however, was any mention of the enormous national debt that will almost double during his presidency ($10.9 billion in 2009 to $20 billion when he leaves in 2017). Indebtedness that grows daily can alone destroy this nation.
The state of the union isn’t “strong.” It is weak and getting weaker. And much of the blame for this growing weakness can be laid on Barack Hussein Obama.
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Obama Turns to CFR Globalists To Help Obtain Approval of TPP
by JBS President John F. McManus
The President’s campaign to get Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is obviously in need of help. So President Obama gathered several former secretaries of state and national security advisers to a White House confab to get their assistance.The invitees to the White House included Henry Kissinger, James A, Baker III, Madeleine K. Albright, Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, Stephen J. Hadley, and William S. Cohen. There were others of course, but we named these seven because they’re all members of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. Expecting these CFR members to warn of the danger to our nation’s sovereignty posed by the TPP is akin to expecting the sun to rise in the west.
In 1974, CFR veteran Richard N. Gardner wrote an article for the CFR’s flagship journal Foreign Affairs. Entitled “The Hard Road to World Order,” Gardner boldly noted there would be difficulty getting the United States into “instant world government” because there would be objections from those who favor national sovereignty. So, in his call seeking a “house of world order,” by which he meant having the United Nations run the planet, he said it would have to be done via an “end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece.” He stated that this method would, in the long run, accomplish much more than seeking “instant world government.”
Lest there be any doubt what about he was proposing, Gardner recommended added an incremental slide into world government. His article proposed: “In short, the case-by-case approach can produce some remarkable concessions of sovereignty that could not be achieved on an across-the-board basis.” Calling his goal “interdependence,” he wrote that it would lead nations “to abandon unilateral decision-making in favor of multilateral processes.”
This is precisely the route toward the long-standing goal that has been carried out by a succession of U.S. leaders for decades. America will be persuaded to give up its sovereignty piecemeal via trade agreements, military alliances, environmental pacts, banking agreements with the IMF and World Bank, and more.
Years later, in the spring of 1988, Gardner repeated his call for an end to U. S. independence with another Foreign Affairs article entitled “The Case for Practical Internationalism.” It included urging the next President to convince the America people that strengthening international institutions was in “the national interests of the United States.” The next President happened to be George H. W. Bush who repeatedly called for a “new world order” and always included with it a need to “strengthen the United Nations.”
The individuals named above are aware of the CFR’s plan. They are globalists who have made war on America’s hard-won independence, and they will continue to do so. That is why President Obama sought their assistance in getting the TPP approved by Congress.
The TPP’s text has now been published. It calls for a commission to oversee all of the projected activity among the 12 TPP member states it would dominate if formally created. This is precisely how the European Union has been constructed and its member states are now more subservient to the EU Commission than they are independent nations. And the EU is already subservient to the United Nations.
Our nation’s independence will be severely impacted if Congress approves this pact. It’s another step along “the hard road to world order” so boldly recommended by the CFR 40+years ago. The above-named CFR members will not advise the President to scrap his plan to have the sovereignty-cancelling TPP rejected. That will be up to Congress and the American people.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.