tl;dr: Putin and Turkey have Europe surrounded and you don’t’ have to be that racist to be concerned that Erdogan might release ISIS terrorists under his influence into Europe. In this context, many peoples around the world are finding it preferable to cozy up with other right wingers in the world, close up shop, and become Fortress (Western) Europe and leave the rest of the world to fend for itself against Russia and China and hope that Putin, Erdogan, et alia will actually leave them alone.
First, consider that Russia, both through its own dealings and by extension through its new client state Turkey, has a strangle hold on European energy distribution.
Now consider a map of Europe from which we can work out how Putin very literally has Europe surrounded, which helps to explain the state of siege Europeans are feeling that I don’t think Americans really grasp. Lord knows I didn’t until I watched some people I like and respect lose their minds over Brexit.
That red mark is Tripoli in Libya. As part of Erdogan’s efforts to expand Turkey’s influence over the Middle East and the transportation of its energy, Turkey has entered into a strategic partnership with the GNA government in Tripoli.
Under this agreement, Erdogan has claimed the legal right to send military support despite international treaties. Turkey has sent equipment and troops; a lot of it was promptly blown up, but suffice to say the struggle for control of Libya is intensifying.
Russia started sending mercenaries there a few months ago through the Wagner Group and appears to be supporting the LNA against the GNA, so there may be some tension between Russia and Turkey here. Or it just might be Putin’s predilection for making a mess that other people have to sort out.
Now, consider Russia and Turkey’s strategic partnership, as represented in Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia.
Russia’s pitch to the world for the S-400 right now is that air supremacy is the key to US intervention abroad, so effective air defense is the key to self-defense, and Russia is prepared to offer the system to anyone who wants it to resist the West, for which they get not just money, but strategic influence and hard data intelligence on any air craft the system engages anywhere, which will radically improve its effectiveness against US aircraft over time.
Turkey’s purchased the S-400 from Russia and has threatened to purchase more. So this isn’t a missile system; it is a strategic with Russia against the Europe and the United States.
This is what the NATO summit was really all about: Whether or not NATO would stand up to Turkey and its new self-assertions and alliances in the world.
What Turkey holds over Europe is his threat to release refugees from the Syrian conflict, a population widely believed to have been heavily infiltrated by ISIS, into Europe.
No resolution was achieved, but NATO definitely blinked, and fundamentally demurred.
So NATO backed down not just on Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Syria, but on fundamental global strategic alliances with and against Europe, over Turkish control of the gateway to Europe from the Middle East.
The gateway to Europe from Africa is Tripoli.
MSNBC: Damned for Trying
A massive wave of migration is crashing through North Africa, but there is only one major gateway to Europe — and it’s through Libya.
The largest flow of modern African migration funnels through a single country — Libya.
We know that militant jihadis, even those that don’t get along with each other as with al Queda and ISIS, are taking marching orders from Erdogan. We know Erdogan is cultivating his status as a religious leader for radical nationalist Islam both in Turkey and abroad.
And we know that Turkey is in a strategic partnership with Russia and now with Libya, specifically in Tripoli.
And we know Russia has been planning on weaponizing immigration against the West for some time.
US News & World Report: Russia Positioning Itself in Libya to Unleash Migrant Crisis Into Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be capitalizing on ways immigration can destabilize Western countries.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin suggested to the West last month that the widening chaos in Libya after almost a decade of war should have been obvious: “A flow of migrants went through Libya to Europe,” he said in an interview, recalling the displacement of refugees that has reached crisis levels in recent years. “They have what they were warned about.”
This week, The New York Times documented the deployment into Libya of Russian mercenaries. While Moscow denies its involvement, the situation mirrors tactics it has successfully employed in Syria and Ukraine to gain influence in chaotic war zones by dispatching private forces Putin can disavow until the point of victory.
Now, I don’t want to get too far afield from Europe here, but it probably won’t come as a huge surprise at this point that, while some debate as to whether or not this is more bark than bite, Russia has made moves to assert military control over the arctic and its natural resources.
CNN: Inside the military base at the heart of Putin’s Arctic ambitions
Situated in a vast landscape of blinding white above the Arctic Circle, the Kotelny base is closer to Alaska than to Moscow. It is one of three new Russian bases above the 75th parallel, part of a larger push by Russian President Vladimir Putin to flex his country’s military muscle across its massive Arctic coastline. The Russian military says it has built 475 military sites in the past six years, spanning from the country’s western frontier with NATO borders to the Bering Strait in the east
Oh look. Turkish media. That’s cute.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that Russia has recently engaged in a bunch of strategic security and information sharing agreements with China.
South China Morning Post: Russian TV production echoes China’s line on Hong Kong protests
“Moscow is demonstrating that it’s ready to stand by Beijing on the global stage, in terms of this media war of competing narratives on what’s going on in Hong Kong. The West has its narrative, but Russia and China are presenting their own,” Lukin said.
“Recently, they have this common adversary – the United States – and one of the fronts in their rivalry or competition with the US is the mass media front.”
China and Russia have been teaming up online as well.
In October, the countries signed a cooperation agreement aimed at combating illegal content on the internet. There have also been at least two Russia-China online media forums since September involving news media and government representatives.
China has also recently asserted a claim to being a “near arctic” country.
But this is heading into even bigger game stuff and I don’t want to distract from the Russia-Turkey-Europe thing.
So yeah, let’s just peak back at that map.
Europe is surrounded at multiple levels of engagement, which really is so Russian if you think about it.
We’ve long known that racism can be used as a weapon in politics. It is now clear that right wing governments, using the logic and realities of the global war on terror, have weaponized racism at the international level.
Moreover, they are using that weapon as political leverage against the liberal democracies of the West. And for a Russia who’s economy isn’t as strong as it might be, it can be done on the cheap through Turkish and ISIS proxies and online information campaigns.
The benefits that accrue to Erdogan are obvious, as this promotes Turey’s acquisition of energy resources and distribution networks in the eastern Mediterranean and Libya, while also increasing his leverage against Europe by controlling the spigots to a potential refugee crisis for Europe.
So this is the context for Brexit. NATO has already demurred. England just voted not to engage.
For those of us who are Americans, our referendum is in November.