National Security

More Chaos on Obama's Watch

He lives in a make-believe world, and it has real-world consequences.

Charles Paige · Jul. 18, 2016

Barack Obama and John Kerry’s response to the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey provided additional evidence about which is the real “JV” team. As if that point hadn’t already been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. By continually adopting policies that are based on the make-believe world they’d like to have rather the rough and tumble one they’re actually living in, Obama and Kerry contribute to the instability that dominates current headlines and puts our national interests at great risk. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the attempted coup “adds an alarming twist in world events that already appear to be spiraling out of U.S. control.”

A White House press release stated that Obama “reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for the democratically-elected, civilian Government of Turkey” during a conference call with his national security team, as if election results are the sole determinant of legitimacy and common interest. Tellingly, Hamas — another “democratically elected civilian government” — released a similar statement. In throwing his “unwavering” support behind Erdogan early, Obama gave a boost to a regime that has steadily been moving into the Islamist camp. It will be ironic if — as many analysts predict — the slide toward authoritarianism accelerates and the last vestiges of real democracy are removed thanks, at least in part, to Obama’s endorsement.

Then again, after enduring the last seven and a half years of Obama, perhaps that’s not ironic at all.

Erdogan is already using the coup as an excuse to tighten his increasingly tyrannical grip. Burak Kadercan, a political scientist at the U.S. Naval War College, warns, “Erdogan will most certainly weaponize this coup attempt.” In fact, Kadercan predicts “a further deterioration of Turkish democracy or whatever is left it.”

That one of the first post-coup moves he made was to remove nearly 2,500 prosecutors and judges certainly doesn’t bode well for Rule of Law, a prerequisite for a free and open society.

Although he would almost certainly not present it in this fashion, Obama likely admires the extent to which Erdogan has “fundamentally transformed” Turkey, mirroring many of Obama’s own promises — and outcomes. Erdogan promised to rule on behalf of all Turks, but increasingly he does not. He promised to repair the economy, but a recession could be on the horizon. He promised peace, but his combative policies isolated Turkey in the Middle East and estranged it from the West. He promised security, but Turks fear recent bombings are just the tip of the iceberg.

All of that sounds eerily familiar to the “Hope ‘n’ Change™” mantra Obama and Co. incessantly promoted in 2008. Look where that’s got us. And look where Erdogan has Turkey.

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