Today's Blogs

Turkish Path

Bloggers react to the Turkish incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan and the anti-globalization protesters’ incursion into Rostock, Germany. Also, there’s much vicarious salivating over what the world eats.

Turkish path: According to two Turkish security officials, thousands of Turkish troops have entered Iraqi Kurdistan to hunt down and capture guerrillas associated with separatist PKK, or Kurdish Workers’ Party, accused of attacking Turkey. Turkey’s foreign minister and U.S. sources claim there has been no such activity in northern Iraq. Whatever the reality, bloggers ponder the dangers of having another Middle Eastern country invade an already parlous one.

 “The Turkish government has made heavy handed efforts to insure that Kurdish nationalism is rejected, even going so far as to ban the language until 1991. … The regions within Turkey where these people live are treated as second-class areas, and economically deprived,” writes the lefty at Caffeinated Politics. “As a result a group fighting for broader rights, and in some cases actual separation from Turkey, was created.  The PKK has much support from the Kurds in Turkey, but the main desire from the people seems to be for social and economic betterment, and not the actual creation into a separate nation.”

Righty Joshua Pundit explains that one reason why the Turkish incursion wasn’t a full-scale invasion is that “since the US military has maintained its positions in Kirkuk while withdrawing from the rest of Kurdistan, the Turks may have decided that an invasion of Kurdistan without that rich prize may not be worth it.”

Tim F. at liberal Balloon Juice adds: “We obviously cannot act against a NATO ally and Maliki cannot act without our help, so I have a hard time seeing how long his government can survive a shooting war with Turkey. The new Sadrist coalition may get its chance sooner than expected. … Today’s incursion follows several days of shelling by both Turkey and Iran. The Iranians also own a chunk of Kurdistan and PKK rebels have terrorized both countries. If Turkey starts carving out pieces of Iraq for itself I wonder how long the healthy Iranian army will go on sitting on its hands.”

Read more about the Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens writes of some other looming problems for the Kurds.

Deep-sixing the G8: Riot police wielding tear gas and water cannons were called out to scatter anti-globalization crowds in Rostock, Germany, there to protest the G8 summit. The protesters had trundled through the woods to block roads leading to the meeting of heads of state from the big industrial nations.

Jason Steck at The Moderate Voice sees the G8 protests as “mere exercises in narcissism and nihilism” when one takes into consideration that “[t]he overarching slogan of the G-8 protests ‘another world is possible’ begs the question of what that alternative world would look like and how it would function. Few details are offered, and they certainly are not available for assessment and critique. They hate capitalism, but they don’t defend any alternative. They defend the poor, but give no ideas on how to feed or employ them. They idolize the environment, but they are blind to the empirical record about where environmental protections are economically and politically possible (hint: socialist countries finish a distant second place).”

Globalization critic Jens Martens guest posts at Blogging G8:  “Demanding that the G-8 be replaced by a new body where the South is assured equal representation and participation by civil society organisations is guaranteed is also superfluous. Such a body need not be invented: it is already there in the form of the ECOSOC, The UN Economic and Social Council which has been in existence for more than 60 years. Power politics has prevented this council from performing its duties. That is because the G-8 are a minority among its 54 members.”

Jan Langehein at World Politics Review points to one alarming though underreported contingent of the anti-globalization protesters: “the neo-Nazis of the National-Democratic Party of Germany or NPD. Under the motto ‘There is no such thing as fair globalization,’ an NPD-sponsored anti-G-8 demonstration had been scheduled to take place in the nearby city of Schwerin on Saturday, the same day as the ‘leftist’ demonstration in Rostock. The NPD protest was, however, cancelled at the last minute, as the state supreme court of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, citing the potential for violence, upheld a ban issued by the local authorities. … In spite of the ban, over 1,500 NPD members are reported to have taken part in smaller, ‘spontaneous’ anti-G-8 protests in several German cities.”

Read more about the anti-G8 protests in Germany.

International yummy: ThisTime slide show, excerpting photos from Peter Menzel’s new book Hungry Planet, examines gustatory customs around the globe. Nothing gets the Internet riled like food porn.

Kate Hopkins at Accidental Hedonist compiles a few observations from the photo spread: “One family’s eating habits do not represent that of an entire country. An obvious statement, to be sure, but it needs to be said. The differences in the amount of food consumed from the families of first world countries and third world countries are striking. The Mexican Family? Good lord that’s a lot of Coca-Cola! Compare the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by the American and British families against those from Mexico, Germany and Italy.”

Palmer at Fearful Symmetries strikes on one Teutonic proclivity: “Firstly and the most obvious is that German people love beer. Back in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, everyone drank beer - men, women, and children. Beer was potable whereas most water sources were not. Secondly, it reminded me of an attitude not commonly held here in the States, namely, that beer is food. It ain’t called liquid bread for nothin’. If you’re a youngin’ like me, ask your grandparents if they remember the days when Schlitz advertised the vitamin content of their beer.”

Read more about what the world eats.