My wife has become increasingly nervous when political topics arise in conversations with our friends over dinner or drinks. She’s afraid I’ll disrupt a pleasant occasion by expressing views that are anathema to our liberal, Democratic friends.
Like what? you might ask.
Well, there are several, but the most inflammatory one is my denial that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election in a consequential way, much less with the intention of electing Trump.
"What?" you say. Every MSNBC-watching, New York Times WaPo-reading Democrat knows that the Russians hacked the DNC emails and passed them on to WikiLeaks to hurt the Clinton campaign. And how about all those social media posts?
The second I express myself, I am invariably accused of parroting Fox News or even of endorsing Trump. But I despise Trump and have never watched Fox news live for more than a minute or two. (Occasionally, I watch an interview with a left-leaning heretic like myself, who cannot get airtime on the "legacy media.")
How did this happen? How did I come to reject beliefs my liberal friends hold sacred?
Well, to paraphrase an old commercial, I came by my heretical views the old-fashioned way: I earned them. I looked beyond the MSM to independent sources of news and commentary, reading widely and open-mindedly and thinking critically. Some of these sources publish reporting, others opinion; many are left-leaning; most oppose American foreign policy. I weighed them against one another, and the MSM, to assess their reliability.
US Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has been on a whirlwind campaign in an attempt to defeat President Donald Trump in next month’s election. Published policy papers has shown Biden’s strong support for Greece, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Albania and Kosovo as he seeks to win over millions of Diaspora votes. The candidate has taken a very strong anti-Turkey position in his bid to win over Armenian and Greek Diaspora voters at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan makes daily threats of war against Greece and is directly sponsoring, arming and facilitating the Azerbaijani invasion of Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, away from Greece and into the heart of the Balkans, Biden is also appealing to the greatest enablers of Turkish expansionism into the region – BiH, Albania and Kosovo.
If Biden wins next month’s presidential elections, there will be no sudden changes in America’s foreign policy, besides perhaps a stronger position against Erdoğan compared to Trump’s "bromance" with the Turkish president. To empower US positioning in the Balkans, Biden wants to resurrect policies from the 1990’s that resulted in poverty, ethnic cleansing and war in the region.
The renewed fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh has not drawn that much attention in the West, but many of the initial, knee-jerk responses to the conflict have been remarkably bad. Whether it is members of Congress urging U.S. recognition of an independent Artsakh, pro-Azerbaijan advocates calling for US support for the aggressor, or Iran hawks cheering on aggression against Armenians because they have the “wrong” geopolitical alignment, many Americans are eager to co-opt and meddle in a conflict that has nothing to do with us. David Ignatius takes the cake with his new proposal to impose a “no-fly zone” in the South Caucasus (a region whose name he doesn’t know how to spell):
Here’s a simple suggestion for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to meet Friday with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan: The path to real negotiations and stability in Karabakh could begin with a no-fly zone over the enclave, enforced by the United States, Russia and France, the three co-chairs of the “Minsk Group” that had been fruitlessly attempting to settle the Karabakh issue since 1992.
This is a terrible proposal for reasons that I hope are so obvious that they don’t need to be spelled out, but let’s review some of the chief problems. Ignatius has been banging the drum to “do something” about the new war over Karabakh for weeks, but this is the first time that he has explicitly called for military action. It is a mindless, reflexive demand for intervention that makes absolutely no sense. “No-fly zones” by themselves do not halt conflicts, and at best this would just expand the conflict to include more belligerents. It is difficult to see where US planes would be enforcing this “no-fly zone” from, since it is doubtful Turkey would permit basing or overflight for such a mission, and there is a decent chance that the US might have to enforce this “no-fly zone” against Turkish jets at some point. Ignatius’ proposal is hopelessly naive and extremely dangerous.