Hamilton: Why the Black Sea matters
Actually, all seas matter; however, the Black Sea matters even more because the world may soon be shaken by a geo-political earthquake, running from the Russian naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea, to western Turkey at Istanbul, resulting in a shooting war tsunami that washes up on the shores of Syria. The conflicting interests of the major forces along this geo-political fault line are even more volatile than those mentioned in this column last week regarding the clash of the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires that led to World War I.
If Vladimir Putin is to achieve his dream of a restored Russian Empire, Ukraine must be sucked back into the Russian orbit, the Black Sea must become a Russian lake, both sides of Turkey bordering the Bosporus and Istanbul must yield to Russian control, and the Russian naval and air bases in Syria must be secured.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad must play both ends against the middle. Assad, an Alawite Muslim, is the puppet of the Shiite Mullahs in Iran while, at the same time, providing his seaports at Tartus and Latakia to the Russian Orthodox, Vladimir Putin. Strange religious bedfellows. Meanwhile, the Syrian religious-political, civil war rages on with Syria’s many Christians bearing the brunt of the fighting between the Iranian-backed Shia and the Saudi-backed Sunnis.
President Obama’s premature pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq created a power vacuum being filled by ISIS with its dreams of carving out a Caliphate from pieces of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and southern Turkey. At the same time, the Kurds are making a righteous claim to parts of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Turkey, sometimes called “the sick man of Europe,” is led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is transforming Turkey from a secular Muslim nation (acceptable to its NATO allies) into a radical Islamist state, increasingly unacceptable to NATO and, at the same time, more offensive to the Russian Orthodox Christians in Russia.
In sum, we are seeing a clash of the Russian, Ottoman, Persian, and Saudi empires concentrated along a line running from the Black Sea to Damascus, Syria. Millions of people are fleeing this cauldron of conflict and are invading the Balkans and, especially, the socialist-welfare states of Western Europe.
This poses an existential threat to the Western European states that were able to turn back armed Muslim hoards at Tours in 732, at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Ironically, in 2015, it is entirely possible for unarmed Muslim masses to achieve what the armed Muslim masses could not – a Europe living under the scimitar of Islam. Meanwhile, the movement of migrant millions includes thousands of displaced Christians. Trying to figure out who is who is like trying to pick out the fly specks from the pepper.
The response to all this from the Obama administration is to make matters even more dangerous by providing the Iranian Mullahs with $150 billion dollars to spend on even more terrorism and a sure path to nuclear hegemony over its Sunni rivals and to the eventual extinction of Israel. But rather than face extinction, Israel may decide to make Iran a neo-Stone Age nation.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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