World View: Israel/Turkey Relations Poisoned Further by Spy Revelation

This morning's key headlines from

  • Israel / Turkey relations poisoned further by spy revelation accusation
  • Saudi Arabia shocks U.N. by rejecting Security Council seat
  • Obamacare insurance companies trapped in a vicious financial Catch-22

Israel / Turkey relations poisoned further by spy revelation accusation

Erdogan and Netanyahu
Erdogan and Netanyahu

The mutual personal hatred between Turkey's hardline president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel's hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pretty apparent the last few years as Israeli-Turkish relations have become poisonous. Tensions have been high particularly since the the deaths of nine Turkish citizens on May 31, 2010, in a confrontation between Israel's navy and the boat Mavi Marmara in a flotilla headed for Gaza in violation of Israel's Gaza blockade. Israel finally apologized several months ago (see "15-Apr-13 World View -- Turkey warns Israel against 'dirty bargaining' over flotilla compensation"), but it did little to help the relationship between the two countries. 

Now, a new accusation is threatening to worsen relations even further. According to a report by David Ignatius in the Washington Post, at the height of the mutual bitterness over the Mavi Marmara incident, Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), transmitted to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to ten Iranians who had been working with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. Israel believes that the disclosure by Erdogan's government was deliberate, and that President Obama supported Erdogan. 

However, Turkey is vehemently denying the charges and counter-charging that the Israelis are manufacturing accusations as a form of "psychological warfare against the government and its intelligence service." According to one of Erdogan's advisers, "Ignatius' article is so incoherent. The intelligence world operates according to agreements." Washington Post and Hurriyet (Istanbul)

Saudi Arabia shocks U.N. by rejecting Security Council seat

After spending months lobbying to get one of the nine non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, and after finally achieving their goal when they were awarded at seat on Thursday, Saudi Arabia shocked the U.N. diplomats by rejecting the seat because of the U.N.'s hypocrisy. The Saudis are giving the following reasons for the dramatic rejection: 

  • There have been over 100,000 deaths and several million refugees from the fighting with Syria, and there was a horrific chemical weapons attack on August 21, and yet the U.S. and the U.N. have done nothing and are doing nothing to stop it.
  • In particular, the Saudis are unhappy with President Obama for several reasons, most recently his pathetic flip-flop on the Syria issue, after setting "red lines" which he then ignored. Secretary of State John Kerry has even said he was "pleased" with Syria's president Bashar al-Assad for signing a chemical weapons agreement, even though al-Assad is free to ignore the agreement with impunity.
  • After World War II, the deadliest conflict in history, the U.N. was supposed to stop wars between countries, but it's track record is dismal.
  • Because any of the five permanent members (U.S., Russia, Britain, China, and France) can veto any attempt to stop war, as the horrific situation in Syria has illustrated, it leaves the Security Council handcuffed. Since 1982, the U.S. has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions that criticize Israel.
  • It has been argued that the five permanent members of the Security Council, who are all nuclear powers, have created an exclusive nuclear club that predominately addresses the strategic interests and political motives of the permanent members to the detriment of other states. Since three of the five permanent members are European, and four are predominantly white Western nations, the Security Council has been described as a pillar of global apartheid.

It's very hard to disagree with the criticisms, especially after the recent debacle over Syria, where al-Assad has been committing genocide of innocent civilians through heavy weapons supplied by Russia and by chemical weapons. This is happening right before our eyes, but the U.S. is too confused and the United Nations is too pathetic to do anything about it. 

Meanwhile, Sunni and Shia jihadists from around the world are converging in the Mideast, particularly in Iraq and Syria, in preparation for sectarian war which can be blamed on Russia, the U.S., and, most of all, the United Nations. Saudi Gazette and CS Monitor

Obamacare insurance companies trapped in a vicious financial Catch-22

A survey by the Wall Street Journal finds that the insurance companies that have received insurance plan signups from the Obamacare websites are finding that the information they're receiving is wrong. Some spouses are shown as children, some people are shown as signing up for multiple plans, in other cases data is missing. "Luckily," there have only been a few signups for many insurance companies, so they're calling the customers on the phone to verify the information that the Obamacare website has provided. 

This is giving rise to a kind of "Catch-22." In order to control prices, the Obamacare law specifies that insurance companies are only allowed to charge 20% of the premiums they receive to administrative purposes. In order to make Obamacare work, millions of young, healthy people have to sign up. But if that ever happened, then the insurance companies would have enormous administrative costs verifying the signup data, putting them into a huge financial squeeze. 

Obviously, millions of young, healthy people are not signing up for Obamacare, and it's very unlikely that they will. The only people who are willing to put up with the "glitches" on the website are those who desperately need insurance -- that is, the old and sick people. This would destroy the entire financial model of Obamacare. (See "15-Oct-13 World View -- Aetna CEO predicts Obamacare IT failures until 2017"

Long-time readers are aware that from the day it was first proposed in 2009, I've referred to President Barack Obama's health care plan as a proposal of economic insanity, because it's a repeat of President Richard Nixon's wage-price controls, which were an utter, total disaster for the economy. 

Some people have written to me to complain that the comparison to Nixon's wage-price controls is not valid because there are no price controls in Obamacare. 

I'm no expert on the details of Obamacare, but from the day it was proposed in 2009, I heard story after story about all the different ways that prices were going to be controlled. Insurance companies are limited in profits, hospitals and doctors were restricted in charges, and so forth. Some of the loudest complainers are labor unions who are being taxed because they offer "Cadillac" plans. Whether done by taxes or restricting prices, these are all price controls, as in the case of Nixon's wage-price controls. 

For those of you who are "liberal" and "progressive," you're the ones who owe the world an explanation, not me. 

If you're "liberal" or "progressive," then you have to believe that Nixon's wage-price controls should have worked. They were enthusiastically backed by labor unions and other liberals, they were fully backed by the Nixon administration, and almost everyone thought they'd work to reduce inflation from 2-3% down to 1% or so. 

Instead, they were a disaster, and inflation rocketed to 10%. ( "5-Jul-13 World View -- Eurozone and Obamacare continue their parallel economic collapse"

If you're liberal or progressive, then you owe me and others an explanation why that happened. This is a simple non-ideological question. 

Wage-price controls were a typical liberal program, attempting to control the markets through government regulation, and it was a disaster. Give me and others an explanation of why this typical liberal program was a disaster. 

When you go past your ideology and understand that you have no explanation why Nixon's wage-price controls were a catastrophe, then you'll also understand why Obamacare is a catastrophe. 

In simple economic terms: 

  • If you want health care prices to go down, then you need to increase the supply of medical services -- doctors, hospitals, devices, insurance companies, and so forth.
  • The only way to increase the supply is to allow prices to find their own levels, which means no price controls.
  • Instead, Obamacare seeks to control prices, which is going to DECREASE the supply of medical services.
  • This means that the prices of medical services are going to explode.

That's exactly what happened in the Nixon era, and it's exactly what's happening today. 

Once again, forget your ideology for a moment, and go back and check out what happened under Nixon's wage-price controls, and you'll see the same thing happening today. 

One bit of irony: Labor unions were the loudest advocates of wage-price controls, and they were the loudest complainers when the controls failed. Today, labor unions were the loudest advocates of Obamacare, and today they're the loudest complainers. Go figure. WSJ and USA Today

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza, Mavi Marmara, National Intelligence Organization, MIT, Hakan Fidan, Saudi Arabia, United Nations Security Council, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Obamacare 

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