Turkey Blocks Sweden from Joining NATO Due to Sweden’s Free Speech Protections

Flag of TurkeyTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been one of the most anti-free speech leaders in the world, particularly demanding the censorship and the arrest of those who insult Islam. Now Erdogan is blocking Sweden from NATO membership because it refuses to curtail free speech. It is a tragically ironic moment for an alliance based on what were viewed as shared Western values. It is now held hostage by one of the most authoritarian leaders in the world.

Erdogan is upset because Rasmus Paludan, a Swedish politician, burned a Quran outside the Turkish embassy during a protest this weekend. It was a hateful and grotesque act. However, it is also a form of political speech. I have previously written about the pressure of countries like Turkey to get the world to adopt blasphemy laws, a move that the Obama Administration and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to support.

 Erdogan declared “It is clear that those who allowed such vileness to take place in front of our embassy can no longer expect any charity from us regarding their NATO membership application.” In other words, reject the core Western value of free speech if you want to join the Western alliance.

Sweden already caved to Turkish pressure to change its laws and crackdown on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK in the country.

However, it now appears to say that it will not allow Sweden to join the alliance to protect it from Russia if Sweden insists on protecting free speech.

108 thoughts on “Turkey Blocks Sweden from Joining NATO Due to Sweden’s Free Speech Protections”

  1. RE:”a tragically ironic moment for an alliance based on what were viewed as shared Western values.” The irony lies in the belief by NATO members that the likes of Erdogan, who has ushered in a more rigorous following of Islam thought and teachings, and sees himself as a self-styled leader of an Ottoman Empire in ascendency, would have any interest in sharing what is the antithesis of his culture and faith.

  2. Jonathan: Well, there is something we can agree upon. President Erdogan is an authoritarian who jails journalists and forces submission of Turkey’s once-vibrant press. That’s why Trump likes him. So I stand with Sweden that refuses to bow to Erdogan’s demands.

    Which beings us to another breaking story. Former VP Mike Pence has also been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. A number of classified docs were found by the FBI at Pence’s Indiana home. Pence’s attorney promptly reported the discovery to NARA–just like in the case of Joe Biden. The attorney said Pence had been “unaware of the existence of the sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence”. Almost the same language when the classified material at Biden’s former office and residence was discovered.

    So what do the Biden/ Pence cases show? Two things. The government’s classification system is a mess. Way too much material is classified. When in doubt classify it is the mantra. Government agencies classify what might cause embarrassment or for some other reason having nothing to do with “national security”. Then there is the problem of “spillage”. It’s the term the FBI uses to describe material that escapes detection because no one can keep track of it. That’s probably what happened in the Biden and Pence cases. Far different than the Trump case where he intentionally took hundreds of top secret docs, refused to return them when he received a subpoena and then obstructed the FBI/DOJ investigation.

    So the Q for you is this: Will you demand AG Garland appoint a Special Counsel to look into the Pence case? To be consistent you should–but none of out here expect you will.

  3. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been one of the most anti-free speech leaders in the world, particularly demanding the censorship and the arrest of those who insult Islam.”

    – Professor Turley
    ______________

    Proving, once again, that the freedom of speech, the right to private property, etc., are immutable and absolute.

    Either private property is absolute or there is no private property and all property is public.

    Either the freedom of speech is absolute or there is no freedom of speech and all speech is censored by dictatorship.

    That one has delusions of grandeur as an omnipotent ruler and despot does not alter the absolute nature of the rights and freedoms in the Constitution.

  4. Turkey has a love-hate relationship with NATO and has always been a burr under the saddle of other NATO members. It’s war against the Kurds (our allies) in Syria, purchasing air defense systems from Russia, demanding the return of a Turkish anti-Erdogan cleric in the United States over Erdogan’s belief the individual had a part to play in an attempted overthrow of Erdogan’s government, threatening NATO countries with permitting Syrian refugees unmolested transit to Europe, etc., are just some of the things that he has done to actually OPPOSE NATO. He is playing both sides to his advantage. He asks for US fighter jets but wants Russian air defenses. All these things are not consistent with an “ally” in an alliance that defends Western values and freedoms.

    There is no expulsion criteria within NATO; the alliance CAN declare a member in “material breach” of the preamble to the NATO founding documents as well as other details contained within the UN charter, Statute of the Council of Europe, the Treaty on European Union, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Article 65). Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress at different times have called for Turkey’s removal, but there has been no unanimous consent within NATO to do so.

    NATO member-states CAN suspend all military cooperation with Turkey, impose sanctions (economic, military, and political), seek a vote from the UN General Assembly to condemn Turkey’s involvement in its war against the Kurds, and suspend transfer of US military technology in Turkey’s possession to any 3rd nation. Essentially, this would make Turkey’s national interests best served by NOT remaining within the alliance and force it to renounce the NATO treaty.

    It was a mistake to admit Turkey in the first place. It is an authoritarian state closely allied with geopolitical foes of the US, and is doing nothing to lessen tensions between the sides. Evangelicals also are in close agreement that Turkey has a part to play in end-time prophecies found in Ezekiel 38 and 39 where it is known by its ancient name of Gomer.

  5. You’re not speaking when you burn a religious book. You’re knowingly insulting others via theatrical infowarfare…it’s the “fighting words” that our law excludes from 1st Amendment protection. I’m personally sick of militants and their clever exploitation of sensationalistic media. They are not contributing except cheap, vile infotainment. They wouldn’t know responsibility if it came up and bit them on the nose. Yes, we need freedom of thought and expression, but not at the cost of civility and rational discourse. Civility, personal accountability, and goodwill are the necessary context for constructive dialog….that leaves people free to express ideas without fomenting and exploiting negative emotions.

    One strident activist here is cancelling the good-faith efforts of hundreds of diplomats invested over many months. If that’s the way JT wants policy development to operate on the world stage, he’s himself toying intellectually with freeform anarchy/subversion. He’s lost touch with rational meritocracy.

    1. Wrong. Burning a koran, or a US flag, is expression, which is what the first amendment protects in the USA, and what every decent country’s laws ought to protect.

      The “fighting words” doctrine is almost certainly no longer good law. But even when it was, it applied only to speech directed to an individual, that was of such a nature that he simply could not help but react with violence. Speech not made directly to the face of the person being insulted was never covered by the doctrine. Nowadays we expect people to restrain their violent urges no matter what is said to them, and we punish them when they don’t.

      Finally, the freedom of speech doesn’t exist in order to protect some other value. It’s an absolute value in itself. It is the very core and essence of freedom, and without it no other freedom is worth anything. So it doesn’t matter what this person’s speech does to “the good-faith efforts of hundreds of diplomats”. A free country has no choice but to protect it, and a country that doesn’t protect it isn’t free.

      1. Yes flag burning expression. Yes, it’s protected under the 1st Amendment due to a 1989 Supreme Court case. But as speech goes it is only minimally above zero. The Supreme Court case was 5-4, so a single vote difference would have meant it wasn’t covered under the 1st Amendment. And the 1st Amendment doesn’t even apply outside the borders of the U.S. such as in Sweden. Bottom line: flag burning, scripture burning . . . it is expression but it’s borderline expression at best.

        The fighting words doctrine (non-protection for fighting words) established in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942) is most certainly still good law. There is no sense in which the Supreme Court has retreated from it. But as you note it is limited to speech directed to a person, a kind of in-your-face, in-person situation.

        1. The so-called First Amendment Absolutists, as Prof. Turley claims to be, are inconsistent. They say the First Amendment guarantee of free speach cannot be tramelled in any way, which is a kind of literalism. But they expand the word “speech” to behaviour. Obviously, they are different. The First Amendment should be considered absolute only in protecting thought and speech that constitutes on ongoing civil and reasoned discussion about the political issues of the day or the abiding issues of human existence. It is that small wavelength of thought/speech that must be kept free so that we can wisley direct the course of the country. The model of this kind of discussion would be Cicero spoking in the Roman Senate, or Burke in the House of Commons, or Franklin and Adams in the Constitutional Convention. Or, even Professor Turley writing about the legal issus of the day. But demonstrating in the street for any cause – no.

  6. It’s very curious that so many in the original “Pro-NATO” political party – the Republican Party – have performed a complete 180 degree flip-flop on supporting NATO today.

    History refresher:
    Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany were in the process of planning an invasion of the United States! Hitler’s ultra long-range weapons were custom designed to attack the United States, if Germany hadn’t been defeated when it was.

    Republican icon and Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower was largely non-partisan. The deciding factor for Eisenhower joining the Republican Party after World War Two was that Republicans supported NATO and Democrats didn’t.

    If the roles were reversed (Democrats supporting NATO, Republicans opposed) Eisenhower would have become a Democrat instead.

    Following World War Two, NATO was originally created in response to Nazi Germany’s past aggression bullying smaller nations, attempting to exterminate an entire race and to counter future threats from communist nations like Russia.

    Thought Republicans were opposed to Nazi fascism and Russian communism, like Dwight D. Eisenhower! NATO is vitally important as a deterrent to despotic regimes – we should fully support it.

  7. Regardless of a nation’s values, isn’t Turkey essentially committing fraud, under color of law?

    Isn’t this like getting a traffic ticket because your neighbor is a cop that dislikes your lawn mowing practices? So he abuses his authority and punishes the neighbor through traffic ticketing for something entirely unrelated. Isn’t Turkey conflating two separate and unrelated issues in a very underhanded and fraudulent manner?

    NATO was created to deter and counter “physical” threats (ie: armies, missiles, military, naval, etc). If a bully-nation physically invades a smaller nation, that weaker nations have a coalition of allies to deter and counter that “physical” trespassing.

    NATO members don’t have the authority to police Freedom of Speech, simply by being a member of NATO. Since the United States is the top donor to NATO, why would we fund an organization repugnant to American values, trying to suppress American style Freedom of Speech?

  8. OT,
    Top Ukrainian officials fired amid corruption crackdown
    https://justthenews.com/world/europe/multiple-top-ukrainian-officials-fired-amid-corruption-crackdown

    Other reports of mansions, high end-sports cars, and vacations in other countries while millions of Ukrainians suffer under wartime conditions.
    I think it was Ran Paul who wanted accountability clauses in all aid packages to the Ukraine, and he was shouted down as being un-patriotic.

  9. I think the US should threaten an exit from NATO if Turkey is not removed and replaced by Sweden. We need to draw a line in the sand somewhere and it might as well be here, nothing good is every going to come of Turkey now that it is in the hands of islamic fanatics.

    1. Before removing Turkey or denying Sweden, there is negotiation. Most only look a what America wants or at America’s fears, but that is not the way to approach the situation. Turkey obtains benefits from being in Nato and influences world policy. We must understand their aims and negotiate with Turkey from a position of strength. That will not happen under a Biden administration, as we have seen the results in Afghanistan and elsewhere. We need someone who respects America, like Trump and understands how to negotiate.

      I think the US should tread water until Biden and his type of administration disappear or when Trump reassumes his official duties.

  10. Simple. Kick this Anti-free-speech authoritarian piece of Muslim scum, out of NATO. And while you’re at it, make sure you use every word you can think of that will insult the living hell out of anybody that will protect a religion that stands, backs-up men preying on little boys & little girls. Call that religion what it is. It is the most dangerous religion on the face of this earth, and it is a home for pedophiles!!!!!!

  11. Meanwhile EU NATO is helping Ukraine by supplying them with 2 cans of soup & a roll of toilet paper. It’s based on ROI…. Return on investment.

  12. Once Upon A Time, NATO’s primary mission — maybe its only REAL mission — was DEFENSIVE:

    “Why was NATO founded?
    The North Atlantic Alliance was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War. Its purpose was to secure peace in Europe, to promote cooperation among its members and to guard their freedom – all of this in the context of countering the threat posed at the time by the Soviet Union.”
    https://www.nato.int/wearenato/why-was-nato-founded.html

    Key phrase: “countering the threat posed at the time by the Soviet Union.”

    Compare that statement of purpose with the history of NATO expansion, 1949 through 2022:
    https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-world-war-ii-sweden-finland-240d97572cc783b2c7ff6e7122dd72d2

    Defense against the USSR stopped being the reason for NATO’s continued existence, much less accelerated growth, back in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yet instead of dissolving, the Alliance appears to have kicked into overdrive and gone looking for enemies and/or excuses to justify its continued operation and EXPANSION — coincidentally enough, going full circle and effectively turning Russia back into an arch enemy when it became politically convenient for Hillary and the democrat party in 2016.

    In that context, I would point out that it doesn’t seem likely that Sweden has any urgent defensive need to join NATO. Rather, the act of joining NATO, if Sweden gets its wish, would seem to increase Sweden’s chances of going to war more than it would serve the cause of peace. The same can be said for other countries as well.

    In short; there’s all the difference in the world between forming a defensive alliance and forming a hostile alliance intent on BULLYING other non-member countries.

    One could make a good argument that NATO’s mission has long since transformed into a threatening cohort of countries lobbying for a one-world government — and sometimes doing more than just lobbying. It seems clear that there must be other explanations than defense for the club’s continued existence and relentless expansion AFTER the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Professor Turley doesn’t appear to have either the interest or related world-policy knowledge to comment thoughtfully on this subject. His wheelhouse of domestic torts seems to have already been stretched to the breaking point by delving into party politics here in the US. I’m aware of nothing that qualifies him as an expert in Turkey vs Sweden politics. His opinion seems to be highly non-expert in this matter, bearing stronger resemblance to political rhetoric than anything taught in law schools.

    1. Anything a government does, or governments join to do together, one must assume is going to be of longer-term existence than the initial mission would seem to provide justification for. NATO is a good example. The Voting Rights Act, as the Supreme Court ruled, was another.

      The U.S. began the co-called “mohair subsidy” to promote the generation of material for uniforms post WWII. It was ended with great acrimony in 1993, then resurrected in 2014.

      The CDC has expanded its mission from dealing with communicable diseases such as those brought on by viruses or bacteria. Now it injects itself into every aspect of public policy. Gun control, climate change, racism, LGBTQLMNOP policies, and which protests are absolutely necessary and which are absolutely unacceptable.

      In the U.S., governmental agencies rush at the end of every fiscal year to spend every penny they have – if they actually save the taxpayers money this year, they might be expected to do it next year!!!

      Former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (and if there could be a better name for a Maine senator I can’t think of it) used to retun the excess of her Congressional budget allowance. She had some to return every year. But she was the exception, not the rule. What people get used to they want to hang onto.

      Whether it’s subsidies, power, status, you name it. And, as Frank Herbert wrote, “power attracts the corruptible.”

      1. “(and if there could be a better name for a Maine senator I can’t think of it)” — how about Chowderhead McLobsterbreath? I’m sure my relatives in Maine might come up with a few more suggestions of their own.

        1. Well, it’s terribly ugly and the reverse of euphnious. Which is basically the opposite of “Olympia Snowe.” So, if that was what you were going for, you got it. Me, I’ll continue admiring beauty joined with aptness.

              1. Turly blocks my replies as part of an intelligent discussion but alllows your garbage? Thanks. That’s a better condemnation of this garbage site than I could have come up with.

                1. Ralph de Minimis,

                  If you use profanity, the website’s software will not permit the comment to post. That’s how it works.

                2. Ralph – Do you want this site to be full of Spam ?
                  If the answer is no, then you already want SOME content filtering.
                  Almost all of us are agreed that we do not want this site to be overrun by spam.

                  Given that JT is going to have to do content filtering to eliminate spam, and that doing so comes at a cost, in terms of some effort to do that filtering – do you want Turley to spend his time reviewing posts getting rid of those posts opne at a time that fit his definition of acceptable speech – which appears to be all legal speech that is not spam.

                  Or can you live with him using third party tools that might filter out more than Turley would do on his own ?

                  As I understand it this site has chosen to use prepackaged WordPress content filtering tools.
                  These are not a perfect fit for JT’s personal values. But they are efficient in that they do not use much human time,
                  and they are politically neutral.

                  The WordPress filters will block messages that contain words in a filter list – such as swearing and vulgarity.

                  This can eaily be worked arround if you desparately need to swear for effect.

                  Thus far F#$K, $hit, Schiff, bat$schiff, H311 and similar derivatives of vulgar terms are not being filtered.

                  Beyond that the site bans anything actually illegal – I do not expect JT to go to jail to support someone’s right to post child porn, also copyright violations – do not cut and past copyrighted material in large blocks.

                  I beleive that people have also been banned for ad hominem personal attacks on Turley – as opposed to vigorous disagreement.

    2. “ Defense against the USSR stopped being the reason for NATO’s continued existence, much less accelerated growth, back in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yet instead of dissolving, the Alliance appears to have kicked into overdrive and gone looking for enemies and/or excuses to justify its continued operation and EXPANSION — coincidentally enough, going full circle and effectively turning Russia back into an arch enemy when it became politically convenient for Hillary and the democrat party in 2016.”
      ————————————————————————————————————

      I could not agree more with your entire comment! Especially this paragraph that you see above. As far as I’m concerned, this paragraph is the heart of your entire comment.

      Donald Trump was correct when he said, “What’s wrong with getting along with Russia? And I assure you if we have a war with China, we will want Russia as our friend and Allie.”

      The worst thing that our leaders did was open the door for China to join the WTO. Furthermore, they have stolen so much of our technology, that It’s mind-boggling! and stolen truckloads of our military hardware secrets. But I digress. Out of all the comments I’ve read so far your comment, is not only the best, it drives every point home.

    3. NATO isn’t expanding because it wants to. It’s expanding because it’s forced to. The irony is often lost on those not focusing on the other part of the equation. If it wasn’t for Russia’s aggressive behavior and open threats and it’s continued atrocities in Ukraine Sweden wouldn’t be considering joining NATO. Putin brought this upon himself when he decided to try to bring back the ‘glory’ of the past by uniting the former Soviet country back into Russia’s control. It was a very stupid idea and naturally it created the problem Russia feared most, an “expansion” of NATO. I didn’t help that Russian threatened Sweden. NATO’s original purpose is no longer relevant, but the cooperative nature of the alliance is more beneficial for all the member nations. Russia still poses a threat under Putin. He threw away a great benefit to the Russian economy to satisfy his massive ego. Russia’s economy was benefitting from trade with Europe and Europe benefited from Russia’s energy resources. It was Russia who did the stupidest thing it could do. Alienate good relations and economic benefits in search of past glory.

      Ukraine has shown the true weakness of Russia’s military. It’s technological know how and ability to create very capable weapons is useless when it’s run by incompetent and woefully outdated military doctrine. Ukraine changed and learned from NATO and they put that to very good effect. Other countries are paying attention and learning that Russia is not as mighty as it seems. It’s only true deterrent is it’s nuclear weapons. Not the capability of it’s military.

      1. Your thesis is that NATO is being forced to expand and your support is that Russia has been shown to be weak?

        Do you even read your own BS?

      2. Please learn the meaning of words.

        It is not being forced to make a choice that is not what you would prefer in a perfect world.
        Just as it is not violence to hear something unpleasant.

      3. There are myriads of actual geopolitical experts on the web – you are not one of those.

        I do not entirely agree with any of them – but they are not morons.

        There are many explanations for Putin’s attacks on other nations. No credible expert thinks nor has Putin said that he is looking to restore the USSR.

        Nearly all experts and Putin’s own remarks paint Putin’s conduct as much like the US invasion of Iraq – pre-emptive agression.
        Putin invades and destroy’s border countries that he perceives as threats.

        While that may not be acceptable behavior it is actually manageable.

        1. “Nearly all experts and Putin’s own remarks paint Putin’s conduct as much like the US invasion of Iraq – pre-emptive agression.
          Putin invades and destroy’s border countries that he perceives as threats.”

          Those “experts” are not the experts you think they are. Putin has long been known to be disillusioned with what happened when the USSR collapsed.. He made no secret of that. Since Russia lost it’s status and ‘prestige’ as a superpower and China gaining more clout Putin was not going to accept the idea of an emasculated Russia after the collapse of the USSR. He sought to regain Russia’s clout and ‘prestige’ by slowly annexing former Soviet states. The Crimea was the start of a more ambitious agenda. The success of the annexation of the Crimea led him to believe he could do the same with Ukraine. He’s always talked about it as a means to regain what was once Russia’s clout in the world stage.
          He had no reason to invade Ukraine other than to meet that goal. We invaded Iraq based on a lie. Putin’s gambit is similar but with the opposite outcome.

          At least I’m offering a point of view. You are not.

          1. Svelaz, those “experts” are OBVIOUSLY experts – they have accurately predicted Putin for 2+ decades.

            If you wish to buy into experts that have been repeatedly WRONG – Go for it.
            No one is trying to stop you.
            It is clearly something you already have lots of experience with.

            Though I would suggest given how frequently you and the experts you cite have been wrong about EVERYTHING.

            You need to look for new experts and think about WHY are you wrong about everything all the time and attracted to people who are wrong all the time.

            Crimea is trival for even you to understand. The black Sea fleet is based out of Sevastipol, which as part of the brakup of the USSR was given to Russia.

            Sevastipol is a major Russian port, and it is NOT defensible without the rest of Crimea. Further more than 50% of the people of crimea (like the Donbas) are ethnic Russians.

            The moment that Ukraine leaned West – Putin was going to take Crimea.

            ONE of the many reasons for the current war is that Crimea itself can not be defended – without a land bridge to Russia.
            I beleive YOU mentioned that as one of Putin’s objectives and likely the Sprig phase of this war.

            As Spring approaches – Russia’s 500,000 recruits will be thrown at the fight – Ukraine will be vastly outnumbered.
            At the Same time the recently negotiated Leopard, Challanger, and Abrams tanks will be in Ukraine with Ukrianians sufficiently Trained.
            Russia has absolutely nothing that can fight them. They are likely far more immune to Anti-Tank weapons than what we saw with Russian tanks earlier in the war. Additionally Ukraine will have recovered and repaired all the Russian Tanks they damaged and captured early on.
            Ukraine probably has more Battle ready Russian Tanks than Russia has right now. Since 2014 Ukraine has been actively training its forces in US/Western military doctrine – High Tech, mobility oriented – and that has served them very well thus far. They have proven that they can take advantage of any military equipment they can get, and that they fight like the West – not like the Russians.

            The Spring is going to be weird. Ukraine is absolutely going to try to sever the land bridge to Crimea.
            They will have incredible weaponry to do so. The do not actually have to make it to the sea – though that is the goal.
            If they do – Crimea Must eventually fall. It can not be defended over the long run. If the Ukrainian’s make it to the Azov Sea, The Kirch bridge will be in range of long range artilery. And the land bridge to Russia will be cut and Russia can not sustain its military in Crimea via the Sea.

            At the same time – and even now, Russia is clawing its way accross the Donabas slowly. They are doing so in a bloody inch by inch war of attrition. Russia CAN hold the Donbas indefinitely, it has a long land border with Russia, Again most of the people are ethinically russian.

            So long as Russia holds the Donbas, they can always try to re-establish a land bridge to Crimea.

            That is the basic military strategy of the next 6 months.

            Both Ukraine and Russia had their plans disrupted by an unusually warm winter.

            This saved Europe from an economic depression. It also deprived Russia of lots of engery $’s.
            And it prevented Ukrain from starting its winter offensive BEFORE Russian conscripts were ready.
            That is a big deal. Ukraine had a temporary advantage in soldiers in the late fall and winter. They will be vastly outnumber and vastly better armed in the spring.

            Next, to the extent he is able to you can count on Puting destroying all of Ukraine that he can reach.

            Ukraine is killing 2-4 Russian soldiers for every soldier they lose.
            But total deaths are about equal, because Putin is targeting Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

            The BIG deal is “Will Putin use a Nuke if he is losing” – the answer is probably no.
            But probably is not certainly, and the odds are about 5 times greater than in 2021.

            The next question is how would the west respond ?

            It is probable that if Putin did use a nuke that would NOT result in a global nuclear war.

            But are you prepared to bet your children’s lives on it ?
            I am not.

            And your not allowed to bet MY children’s lives on YOUR guesses.

          2. Putin’s PRIME reason for invading Ukrain is trivial – He will not allow Russia to be surrounded by NATO.
            He invaded Georgia when the west started talking about Georgia joining NATO. He destroyed the contry and left.
            Georgia does not talk about joining NATO any more.

            When Ukraine previously talke about Joining NATO – Putin invaded Crimea.

            Putin is not going to tolerate countries on his border joining NATO.

            While he overplayed his had this time – Ukraine was better prepared than anyone expected, and once they survived the first onslaught that everyone expected would take them out, Western Weapons slowly gave them an advantage over Putin.

            Putin is NOT going to restore the USSR – He CAN’T – it was outside his ability in 2020 when we thought Russia was much stronger than it has proven to be. It is obviously outside his ability now. Putin probably would have defeated Ukraine but for western aide. But it still would have been a long bloody war that would have left the Russian army in tatters.

            There is no consequential NATO country that Putin stands a chance of conquering.
            Poland alone would defeat Russia in a defensive war, and Poland and Ukraine OR any other NATO country could destroy the Russian Army.

            Russia has proven to be a paper tiger. With a few exceptions Russia has used up their inventory of high tech weapons – they have not committed their Gen 5 fighters or their T14 Tanks – probably because while superior to other Russian arms they are not enough superior and the loss of a single Gen 5 fighter or T14 tank would be a national humiliation.

            There is no doubt that Russia can nto win a conventional war against almost any two European countries standing alone.

            That is also why this moment is dangerous – and gets more dangerous all the time.

            Russia’s “trump card” is nukes.
            How close to a line we have no idea where is – do you want to push Putin ?

    4. In the end, whether Sweden and Norway join NATO or not will make little practical difference. Russia is not interested in invading either of those countries. Nor is it interested in invading the Baltic states.

      On the other hand, at least since 2008, Russia has repeatedly drawn the reddest of red lines around Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO. And after the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which toppled a Democratically-elected government that had decided to accommodate Russia at the expense of the EU, Russia annexed Crimea and asserted hegemony over Luhansk and Donetsk. Then, when the Minsk agreements failed, and Russia’s efforts to negotiate a new settlement providing for Ukraine’s neutrality were rebuffed by the US, they invaded, to cement control over the south and east and restore a more neutral government in what remained.

      That is where we are today. Russia poses no realistic threat to NATO. A settlement that recognises Russian interests in Ukraine would pose no threat to NATO. On the other hand, a Russian defeat in Ukraine would pose an existential threat to Russia. That is why Putin will not allow it to happen.

      Providing more and more assistance to Ukraine will prolong the conflict and lead to escalating destruction within Ukraine. The Russians will gear up for a full war, not just a special operation. They are now in it for the long haul. It is unlikely that, short of Russia’s defeat on the battlefield and expulsion from Ukraine, Putin’s regime will collapse. The only way to avoid a catastrophe for Ukraine is a settlement that accommodates Russian interests.

      1. ” Russia poses no realistic threat to NATO. A settlement that recognises Russian interests in Ukraine would pose no threat to NATO. On the other hand, a Russian defeat in Ukraine would pose an existential threat to Russia. That is why Putin will not allow it to happen.”

        The extent of the left’s understanding of Ukraine is that Trump might have wanted to build a condo in Russia. Based on such specious knowledge, I have no confidence that our government can make a correct decision.

        1. Russia being defeated in Ukraine would pose a threat to Russia because of Putin’s stupidity. Russia attacked Ukraine because Putin wanted to go back to the old glory days when Russia was ‘respected’. Putin made a huge mistake and made Russia weaker in the process. The blame lays with Putin.

          1. There is a lot of blame, all around. But that’s not the question. The issue is what to do now. It seems to me that a settlement that accommodates Russian interests is the best option available. It poses no threat to the US or NATO and would allow for the reintegration of Russia into the world economy and the possibility of separating Russia from China, at least to some degree. Ukraine would be smaller and neutral, but it would cease being demolished.

            1. No matter how the war between Russia and Ukraine ends, who is the winner?

              Not Russia.
              Not Ukraine
              Not America
              Not Europe.

              This is one of those wars where the winner is still a loser which tells us the war should have never taken place.

          2. I would likely personally donate funds to Ukraine for the purpose of defeating Putin in Ukraine – if the only issue was Putin vs. Ukraine.

            I am always opposed to government making such choices for me.
            But in this instance it is more than just taking my money and giving it to others independent of my own wishes for that money.

            The even more significant problem is that we are risking nuclear war.
            Obviously there is a point at which we must chose to “do the right thing” regardless of nuclear blackmail and hope for the best.
            Ukraine is not that moment.

            Adm. Yamamoto is famously cited as knowing that though Japan would do well at the start of WWII, that its defeat was inevitable.

            Much less well known is that nearly all japanese leaders knew that from the start.

            There are strong resemblances between the Japanese stat of WWII and Russia/Ukraine.

            In both instances we have a declining global power, being threatened from the outside.

            It is unwise to bate bears when you do not have to.

            Biden could have stuck to energy policies that raised national and global security.
            He could have handled Afghanistan without making himself and the US look weak.
            He could have kept his and the administrations mouth shut about bringing Ukraine into NATO.
            He did not – and the result is War in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

            That does not let Putin off the hook, Biden is not morally responsible for the War in Ukraine.
            But his bad management is a major factor.

            We are in a similar situation with Nukes.
            The odds of a nuclear war with Russia are small.
            But they are much higher than they were before this.
            The odds that as Russia is increasingly threatened Putin will use nukes – is small.
            But it increases the greater that threat.

            The price for being wrong,
            is 300 Million deaths within a day, and 3Billion within a year.
            It is the obliteration of the entire west – save possibly Australia and New Zealand.
            It is setting the world back 100 years. atleast.

            The tolerance most of us have for that risk is very small.
            Neither you nor Biden are free to take that risk for all the rest of us.

          3. My comment about the extent of leftist knowledge appears correct according to your response.

            “Russia being defeated in Ukraine would pose a threat to Russia because of Putin’s stupidity.”

            Why would Russia be weaker or perceive itself that way? Because (the simple answer) the western border is closer to Moscow. That is why we should have left Ukraine in a more neutral position.

            Russia is dying on its own. Making Ukraine a Nato ally has similarities to Putin losing the Ukraine war.

            Your comment demonstrates further ignorance.

          4. Putin is not stupid, and Russia has the territory and resources to become the greatest political power in the world toward the middle of this century if we continue to destroy ourselves.

      2. Mostly excellent post.

        Sweden and Finland Joining NATA are a serious threat to Russia – but not one Russia can do anything about.
        We absolutely need a peaceful solution to this.

        Contra your final argument – Russia is with near certainty on the verge of collapse – within the next half dozen or so years.
        Regardless of how this war goes.

        There are all kinds of complexities as the nature of he war continues to change.
        Russia does have a very limitted time to turn this arround before its economy collapses.

        While Putin effectively “sanction prooffed his economy” prior to the war – those protections do not last forever.
        The russian economy will likely collapse in 9-18 months if the war does not end first.

        The warm winter has been a life saver for europe – and by extension the world, as it limited the harm to Europe from Energy shortages.
        That will likely mitigate the global recession in 2023.

        At the same time it has deprived Ukraine of its best oportunity to strike back at Russia. The lack of Frozen ground has favored Russia’s war of attrition at Ukraines best oportunity to take advantage of superior mobility. As Spring approaches The Russian mobalization – which significantly lagged the ukraininan one, but is much larger will come into play. As we head into Spring Ukraine must inflict 5:1 sustained casualties rates on Russia to maintain parity – they are closer to 3:1 right now.

        Ukraine has almost everything on its side – except numbers. The outcome is NOT clear.

    5. Congress has the power to tax for ONLY common defense.

      The European Union must have a policy of common defense for its States.

      The Ukraine burden is that of Europe.

      Asian States must similarly engage in common defense.

  13. It is a simple calculation: Which is more important, a “friendly” controlling of the Strait of Bosperous, or freedom to insult Islam? We have to make choices, even when both are bad.

  14. Turley misses the point. Sweden may have free speech protections. BUT that doesn’t mean immunity from the consequences of exercising it and recognizing the responsibility that comes with it. Turkey had every right to be offended and as a sovereign nation they had the right to punish Sweden for it. That is not “anti-free speech” it’s a consequence of exercising it. Turley acknowledges that burning a Quran was still a very stupid thing to do. He expects Turkey to respect the right to free speech, what does that say abou Sweden’s disrespect towards Turkey by not punishing or condemning the burning of a Quran by one of it’s politicians? What if it was the other way around? Should have Sweden not punished Turkey in some way if it had leverage if one of it’s politician’s Burned a bible in protest? Religious zealots don’t take kindly to such acts despite them being protected free speech. They will still have consequences.

    1. @Svelaz – Apparently YOU miss the point of free speech in your rush to impose penalties on any speech dislike. Expressing opposition to the Quran isn’t hate speech… even if it makes you and Turkey uncomfortable. Being able to discuss opposition is the hallmark of a free society, and your Orwellian attempts to stifle healthy discuss will lead to violence.

      If we can talk to avoid a fight, then people will eventually fight.

      Zealots like you believe that you can dictate your world view on others…. even after decades of policy and practical failures. We’re only at a point where you support censorship because you cannot win any other way. Demand “respect” but all you really want is submission.

      1. “Expressing opposition to the Quran isn’t hate speech… even if it makes you and Turkey uncomfortable.”

        This was not just expressing opposition. It involved a deliberate act of sacrilege against another religion. it doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all. But it it’s highly offensive to Muslims. You still miss the point. Exercising free speech isn’t just about saying or expressing your thoughts freely. It also about recognizing and accepting responsibly for it. That guy had a right to express his displeasure by burning a Quran. But it came at a very steep price. He single handedly screwed up an entire county’s chances at being accepted into NATO. His free speech right trampled on a whole lot of other people’s rights or wishes. Having free speech rights doesn’t protect you from the consequences. That guy would be publicly ridiculed, ostracized, even threatened by some. There’s a lot of talk about ‘defending free speech’, but very little about being held accountable for what you say and many don’t want to be held responsible for what their speech or expressions cause others.

        This is not about censorship or being “attacked” for exercising free speech. Those who claim they are being attacked because they support free speech are not realizing that it’s a consequence of exercising it. Those “attacks” are criticism, mockery, ridicule, even insults. That’s part of free speech and many don’t like it and claim they are being “attacked” like many conservatives love to claim when their ideas and views are mocked or derided.

      1. Burning the Quran is only “stupid” because they fight back and we don’t crush them for it.

        FTFY

        That is also appropriate for all the snowflakes in the states that do the same crap whenever they’re “offended.”

    2. “BUT that doesn’t mean immunity from the consequences of exercising it and recognizing the responsibility that comes with it. Turkey had every right to be offended and as a sovereign nation they had the right to ***punish*** Sweden for it. “

      Punish Svelaz for his stupidity. Throw him off the blog.

      Punish Svelaz for what he says. Throw him in jail.

      Svelaz will never learn what free speech is. Send him into oblivion.

      1. S. Meyer, Turkey is not obligated to respect Sweden’s free speech protections. A member of Sweden’s political parties chose to express his disapproval by burning a Quran. That’s his right. BUT, that doesn’t mean Turkey can’t respond to it by choosing to express THEIR view by not supporting Sweden’s membership into NATO.

        Nearly everyone seems to think that Turkey should just accept the idea that it’s burning a Quran shouldn’t be seen as that important. Apparently they are serious about what they deem offensive.

        It’s no different if I wanted to join an organization and I had to appeal to a board and one of my family members did something very offensive and clearly offended one of the board members who had the power to decided whether I would be able to join or not. Turley is doing the equivalent of criticizing the board member for having the audacity to deny my membership because he got deeply offended by a family member’s actions. It’s clearly a consequence of that expression. Truly is ignoring that so he can criticize the board member for doing something that is a result of that expression.

        1. Svelaz, you don’t understand what free speech is. You weren’t satisfied sounding stupid, so you went one step further and jumped into an ocean of stupidity with everything you have.

          There was no loss of intellect in the room when you departed.

          1. S. Meyer, nope. It’s you who doesn’t understand free speech. You have offered zero cogent arguments. Only juvenile insults that make you feel good about your intellect. Pose a real argument. Surely you are smart enough to do the hard stuff instead of insults.

            1. Do you want me to go into an in depth discussion why you don’t know what free speech is? You proved it with what you say. Further if I go into such a discussion, you will complain you didn’t see it. When I post a link to that discussion you will deny its existence. For an explanation see https://jonathanturley.org/2022/01/21/the-other-big-lie-democrats-fuel-doubts-over-the-legitimacy-of-the-coming-elections/comment-page-1/#comment-2153325

        2. Turkey is not obligated to respect Sweden’s free speech protections.

          Actually, yes, it is. It is also obligated to have the same protections itself. That it doesn’t makes it a criminal country.

      2. S. Meyer doesn’t believe free speech comes with responsibility and consequences. He believes it’s freedom from being accountable for what you say.

        1. Free speech comes with responsibility. Any speech comes with responsibility, but that flies far above your head.

          1. Yeah S. Meyer, it comes with responsibility. Problem is you or those who cry ‘freedom of speech’ don’t TAKE responsibility for what you say. You don’t seem to understand the difference between knowing what that responsibility is and recognizing it.

            1. With very few exceptions the consequences for speech – good or bad, are speech by others.

              As an example – Svelaz says stupid things, S.Meyer criticises Svelaz for saying stupid things.

              That is how it works.

              Not Svelaz says stupid things, Svelaz spends years in jail.

    3. With incredibly few exceptions the consequences for poor speech are the speech criticizing you by others.
      NOT Government.

      Government do not have rights, individuals do. Governments have powers.
      Turkey has at the moment power over Sweden. That power is absolutely anti-free speech power.
      Turley as well as the rest of use expect that peoples rights to free speech – including stupid speech like burning a Koran will not be infringed because infringing on speech is much worse than bad speech.

      Sweden is disrepecting Turkey by allowing free speech. They are respecting free speech more than tyranny, and if Turkey wishes to be offended by that – it is their problem.

      Regardless nations that do not value free speech should be disrespected, just as nations that have slavery.

      “Should have Sweden not punished Turkey in some way if it had leverage if one of it’s politician’s Burned a bible in protest?”
      No, and I doubt they would, but if they did I would condemn them, as I am Turkey.

      “Religious zealots don’t take kindly to such acts despite them being protected free speech. They will still have consequences.”
      Yup, one of the problems with religious zealots.

      If you are offended by the WestBoro Baptist Church, you should be offended by Antifa.

    4. Should have Sweden not punished Turkey in some way if it had leverage if one of it’s politician’s Burned a bible in protest?

      Huh? Of course not. Why on earth would Sweden want to do something like that? Are you under the impression that the Bible is valued in Sweden?!

      Sweden did condemn the koran-burning. But it has no right to punish it. And Turkey has no right to demand that Sweden punish it. Being a sovereign country doesn’t give you the right to violate fundamental human rights, which which our Declaration of Independence says all humans are endowed by their Creator, simply by existing.

  15. Free speech is a fundamental human right. It’s not an absolute right (e.g. laws against libel, defamation, fraud, etc.). When I was a little kid back in the early sixties, I complained to my mother that the neighborhood kids were saying things that hurt my feelings. She told me to tell them that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” and then she told me to go back outside and play with the kids. I did just that and pretty soon to my surprise, the same kids were repeating “sticks and stones” back to me because I had unknowingly been hurting their feelings with my words. A great lesson for me to learn at 5 years of age. Sounds like a lot of liberals, progressives, socialists, theocrats, Democrats, RINOs and authoritarians in general have never learned this simple and valuable lesson.

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