For the first time since the 1950′s, a Russian warplane has been shot down by a NATO member, Turkey. The excuse given was repeated violations of Turkish airspace, but let’s get real here. NATO members and the Russians have been violating each others airspace since forever and nobody shot anybody down simply because no one was being attacked. The Russians come within our airspace all the time, we radio warnings to them and send up some fighter jets to let them know we’re still on the ball, and they fly away. We do the same to them, it’s just a little cat-and-mouse game. Again, why shoot when you’re not being attacked?
So why did the Turks really attack that Russian airplane? Because Turkey is Islamist now and they’ve been aiding ISIS as well as Al Qaeda, and Russia is aligning with NATO powers like France and the UK against ISIS, and Turkey wants to put a stop to it. Turkey is a NATO member, and part of the NATO charter is Article 5, which is an “All for one, one for all” thing like the 3 Musketeers story. A nation under attack can invoke Article 5 and all the other NATO nations are required to come and fight for them. So if Russia enters a conflict with a NATO member, like Turkey, this may prevent France and the UK from joining forces with Russia against ISIS in Syria. Certainly it enables Obama in saying NO to any Russian alliance against ISIS.
Just for fun, I’m going to try and guess what Putin will do in response to this act. One thing I’d do for sure would be to use any pressure or bribe available to get the French to denounce Turkey’s support of the Islamists, maybe a “new discovery” about their pro-Islamist activities. It would be easy, the facts are there already, all France has to do is start screaming. I’m sure the Russians could make this well worth it to France.
What I wouldn’t do is retaliate militarily until NATO opinion had turned against Turkey. Then I’d force a situation that resulted in some sort of Turkish incursion into Syria where the Russians “had no choice but to defend themselves against the Turkish attack”, and I’d do some really major damage to Turkey’s military. Totally justified under International Law, of course.
Watching this jockeying for position between these leaders is interesting, but at some point it’s going to really blow up if Putin is pressed too far, simply because he’s not all that enthused about diplomacy. Diplomacy is mostly just pretending something didn’t happen, and finding a workaround where everybody’s ruffled feelings get soothed. Putin is a Realist, and not a bullshitter, and diplomacy is only useful to him if it gets him what he wants without a fight. Otherwise, screw it, he’ll fight, because he doesn’t like pretending and being nice to someone who’s messing with him.
Tayyip Erdogan is the name of the President of Turkey, and he’s an Islamist. No doubt an intelligent one or he wouldn’t have risen to the top, but he made a serious mistake with this little scheme of his to disenfranchise Russia. Putin is not only smarter, he’s deadlier and Russia can stomp Turkey flat.