20 July 2016   Leave a comment

There are conspiracy theories floating around the attempted coup in Turkey:  these theories suggest that the coup attempt was a “false flag” event–meaning that it was a staged event to give President Erdogan an excuse to punish all his suspected opponents.   There are three “facts” which are used to support this theory.  First, the coup itself was amateurish and the Turkish military is hardly amateurish.  Second, two F-16s flown by coup supporters had their radar locked on President Erdogan’s plane but did not fire.  And third, there was a helicopter attack on the resort where Erdogan was staying an hour after President Erdogan issued a video on social media from Istanbul.  According to the Finanical Times:

“Even the central issue of who was behind the coup is now contested reality, according to a snap poll: it showed that a third of Turks believe Mr Erdogan himself, who says his own life was threatened, was behind the coup. (The poll, by London-based Streetbees, queried about 2,800 Turks, two-thirds via mobile apps, and a third in person.)”

I suspect that we will never know the truth, but, as a rule, I always discount conspiracy theories.  But the perception of a conspiracy is always an important political fact.  Today, President Erdogan declared a state of emergency, suspending normal civil liberties.

As the richer countries begin to pull back economically due to sovereign debt concerns, the British exit from the EU, and rising discontent against free trade policies, the question is whether anyone else will take up the mantle of leadership in the global economy.   We do know that the global economy is not self-regulating: economic flows between and among states are not always equal in velocity and imbalances in current accounts always have to be adjusted.  Since many Asian countries are becoming much stronger economically, they are possible candidates for economic leadership.  But there are doubts as to their willingness and ability to do so.

The US Department of Justice is suing an unnamed Malaysian official, widely believed to be Prime Minister Najib Razak, for fraud.  The suit alleges that the official took money raised ostensibly for a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB and used the funds to subsidize a Hollywood film, to buy works of art by Monet and van Gogh, and a hotel in New York City.  The transfer of money was disguised by a variety of shell companies.  Despite the allegations, which have swirled around for months, Najib remains quite popular in Malaysia.



Posted July 20, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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