Turkey, if you check your programs, is anti-Assad. Russia and Iran are pro-Assad. And now they're shooting at each other. The Turks vow to shoot down more Russian warplanes if they violate Turkish airspace. The Russians promise it will "never happen again" despite the fact that it has happened repeatedly and there's no reason to believe it won't continue. Technically, in fact, Russia and Turkey are now in a state of war. And since Turkey is, technically, still a member of NATO, that means Russia and NATO are, technically, in a state of war, which means Russia and the United States are, technically, in a state of war.
- Me, six weeks ago
And now Turkey has made good on their threat against what Vladimir Putin vowed would "never happen again" but has been happening repeatedly and consistently:
Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.
It was the [second] time [in a month] a NATO member's armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s and Russian and Turkish assets fell on fears of an escalation between the former [?] Cold War enemies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of being accomplices of terrorism, warning of “very serious consequences” for relations.
“We understand that everyone has their own interests but we won’t allow such crimes to take place,” Putin said at talks with Jordanian King Abdullah in Sochi. “We received a stab in the back from accomplices of terrorism.”
That was certainly a much angrier reaction than the Kremlin evinced six weeks ago. Since the MiG-29 Fulcrum was shot down last month, Putin looked to be pivoting off of that incident to draw the Turks away from NATO and into the Russian orbit. Today's downing of the Sukhoi-24 Fencer - which killed one of its two occupants - would appear to at least put that psy-op on hold. Perhaps the Russian strongman is harrumphing a bit louder to remind the Turks of which country in this equation is the "strong horse," but this reminds us once again that a Russo-Turkish war means a Russo-NATO war which means a Russo-American war. Unless NATO opts to expel Turkey out of fear of that conflict, in which case we'd have finished making another not-informidable (especially now that Barack Obama has denuded U.S. military capabilities) Middle East enemy, and lost the northern air base at Incirclik that we had finally succeeded in wheedling the Turks to re-allow us to use,
But Russia and Turkey would still be at war, the focus on Syria and ISIS would be completely lost, and Czar Vlad would be highly unlikely to let us off the hook for what the Turks have done in their capacity as a NATO member state, even though Obama has forfeited all U.S. influence in that part of the world (and every other part, really).
Viva "Smart Power"!
The Turks appear to be at least somewhat alarmed:
Turkish F-16 [Falcons] warned the jet over the airspace violations before shooting it down, the military official told Reuters.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has spoken with the chief of military staff and the foreign minister about the developments on the Syrian border, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, without mentioning the downed jet.
Sounds like Davutoglu took both his subordinates to the proverbial woodshed.
He has ordered the foreign ministry to consult with NATO, the United Nations and related countries on the latest developments, his office said.
The foreign policy equivalent of firing up the Bat signal.
John Bolton thinks we should preemptively tell Putin to back off any thoughts of retaliation, which is both two years too late policywise and many, many metaphorical dollars short since we have no practical means of backing up such a quasi-ultimatum, even if there was the slightest possibility that Barack Obama might do so. Marco Rubio, on the other hand, is of the opinion that such an ultimatum is unnecessary because Putin won't press his luck:
"At the end of the day, although Vladimir Putin is a gangster and a criminal, he's also a geopolitical actor who makes decisions on a cost benefit analysis," the Florida Republican senator told Fox News' Happening Now program. "He will have to save face, but ultimately he won't test the alliance if the alliance stands up [to] him, because he would lose in that confrontation, and that would be a bigger setback for him."
I don't think Putin would lose in that confrontation even if we - oh, my apologies, "NATO" - did stand up to him, because the Russians, in concert with the Kremlin's ChiComm allies, have military superiority over the U.S., to say nothing of its other twenty-seven pathetic, toothless, defenseless member states. And, of course, there's no way in seventy-two blue hells that Barack Obama is ever going to stand up to Vladimir Putin, other than in that faculty lounge lizard pedantry of his that might split France off from NATO and into the Russian orbit in Turkey's place.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson used to have a famous catch-phrase he'd use on hapless WW[E] announcers and opponents:
On the world stage, Vladimir Putin is The Rock, and Barack Obama is Michael Cole.
And that stage is in the process of burning down - in a Turkish minute.
UPDATE: Here's The One to remind us all of the REAL threat, and his "shit just got REAL!" badassery in standing up to it.