Steyn Talks Turkey

Pessimistic, black-hearted, hate-filled bigots like me occasionally feel the need to point out that Islam — not “extremist” Islam, or “radical” Islam, mind you, but Islam — presents rather a problem for the rest of us, and in particular is fundamentally incompatible with Western norms. Morally enlightened Western folks who want us all to feel OK about Islam (1,400 years of instructive historical precedent notwithstanding) usually respond by mentioning Turkey, or perhaps Indonesia, as edifying counterexamples. (There never were, of course, a whole lot to choose from, and lately the list is growing shorter. Pakistan, the go-to guy in years past, now seems for some reason to be out of the starting lineup, and even good old Indonesia isn’t carrying the ball quite the way it used to.)

In the wake of the IHH-flotilla ruction, and with Turkey now having announced its intention to use its Navy to run the Israeli blockade, Mark Steyn assesses Turkey’s brief and fading infatuation with the ways of the West, and its predictable reversion to type. An excerpt:

Demography is destiny, for the most part. For example, European Muslim populations are young, fast-growing, and profoundly hostile to Jews. European Jewish populations are old, fading, and irrelevant to domestic electoral calculations. Think of your stereotypically squishy pol, and then figure the reserves of courage it would require for the European establishment not to be anti-Israeli, and, indeed, ever more anti-Israeli as the years go by.

But demography alone isn’t always destiny. A confident culture can dominate far larger numbers of people, as England did for much of modern history. Bismarck’s famous remark that, if the British army invaded Germany, he’d send the local police force to arrest them is generally taken as a sneer at the minimal size of Her Britannic Majesty’s armed forces. But, in another sense, it’s a testament to how much the British accomplished with so little. Erdogan would not be palling up to Ahmadinejad and Boy Assad in Syria and even Sudan’s genocidal President Bashir, the Butcher of Darfur, if he were mindful of Turkey’s relationship with the United States. But he isn’t. He looks at the American hyperpower and sees, to all intents, a late Ottoman sultan — pampered, decadent, lounging on its cushions puffing a hookah but unable to rouse itself to impose its will in the world. In that sense, Turkey’s contempt for Israel is also an expression of near total contempt for Washington.

Read the rest here.

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