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Should Congress Prohibit Parts Sales For U.S. Arms Reprogrammed To See Our Allies As Enemies?

Should Congress Prohibit Parts Sales For U.S. Arms Reprogrammed To See Our Allies As Enemies?

A followup to Professor Jacobson’s Turkey Roundup:

Hot Air reports:

According to Turkish press, as quoted by Ynet, the Turkish air force will be fitting its F-16 fighter jets with new IFF systems, which will not treat the signal from an Israeli IFF transponder as friendly, and will thus facilitate more efficient attack.  The F-16’s original IFF system is made to US/NATO specifications, and identifies an Israeli IFF response as friendly.  This creates an inconvenient requirement to override the system’s restrictions preventing engagement of friendly aircraft, in order to fire on an Israeli plane.  (A serious inconvenience when both the shooter and the target are traveling at 500 knots or more.)

Perhaps Congress should consider legislation to prevent the export of spare parts or the execution of maintenance agreements on products that have been reprogrammed for use against U.S. allies.

I’m not sure what the correct reaction is to this particular event, although it is becoming increasingly clear that the United States should seek alternative arrangements, where possible, for those matters in which we currently depend on Turkey.  While it may be slightly premature to write off Turkey entirely, contingency plans must be made to lessen the damage that would come from the sudden severing of military ties, and procedures must be in place to rapidly expel them from NATO if it comes to that.


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…it is becoming increasingly clear that the United States should seek alternative arrangements, where possible, for those matters in which we currently depend on Turkey.

Agreed. Turkey is becoming a turkey. It’s been militarily convenient for access into the Middle East, but perhaps… how about Libya…

David R. Graham | September 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

A serious and pressing question. I am ruminating upon it now for several months, with no conclusive result. Mix and match. On the one hand, Turkey is going aggressive for a Mohammedan reason. On the other hand, Turkey is a prosperous secular society that can ill-afford severed relations with its technology suppliers. On the third hand, Turkey shows signs of renewing its ancient competition with Iran for recognition as Caliph. On the fourth hand, something tells me Turkey is far less self-puissant than her leadership appears to suppose. On the fifth hand, Turkey is lopping off the head of its military, not a reasonable prelude to opening international armed conflict. On the sixth hand, I understand the Kurdish component of the Turkish population is outgrowing the Turkic and Celtic components, so that long-term she is internally conflicted and lamed from unified operations.

(Kurds have been superb allies of US forces in Iraq. In Iraqi Kurdistan, US forces can move about in public without weapons or body armor.)

However, the Caliphatic yearnings are strong and not known for realism or success since the European Renaissance. So overall, I expect Turkey to be a belligerent, more so than today, but not well. Mohammedans, especially Arab Mohammedans, are not good at seeing self-interest or getting along in a crowd. They are good at self-promotion, even when suicidal. For this reason Ataturk removed the Mohammedan component from the government of Turkey.

Turkey will fight both Israel and Iran, Israel for territorial not religious reasons, and Iran for political and religious reasons. But the situation is too complex for her leadership and will prevent their thinking or finding their way through to success as they define it, the restored Caliphate based on Turkey. There’s a late-Ottoman stupidity showing up under the Turkish skirts.

For USA national security, China and the Western Pacific are the critical areas of the globe. The Levantine nations, including Israel, will sort themselves out. They are not a major USA national security threat. Let ’em rip, they’ll figure it out for themselves and be strong in the outcome, with Turkey and Iran both chastised, as is proper for them. The USA is threatened by China. China. China. China. … to use a rhetorical device currently favored by a local Chinaphile.

Finally, people, not technology, make success or failure in war. People make technology and operate it, well or not, do or don’t. It’s always people. The machines they make express who they are and what they can do. In themselves, the machines mean nothing. The finest equipment in the world doesn’t help those without skill to operate it, or make it. Think Saudis. Think Japanese at the end of WWII with thousands of planes guarding the homeland but no propellors, fuel or pilots. Wars are fought against supply lines, not against troop formations. The Turks cannot fight a war without losing their supply lines. They may think they can and probably do. That’s the Turk’s problem and the problem of the other Levantine nations. They’re able to solve it amongst themselves, is how I see it. Sort of a “states’ rights” posture.

Is there a precedent for this?

One thing is clear, we can’t not respond. Though Dear Leader may do just that.

Spare parts I think sends an unmistakeable signal. They have to have em, and can’t get em from anyone else.

Let me see. The Turkish Air Force is going into combat with Turkish radar and avionics against the Israelis with Israeli radar and defense avionics? Wish those boys luck. Aviation electronic warfare is the very definition of cutting edge technology.

The sooner we can sever military ties with them, the better. Their failure to support the US in the 2003 Iraq war should have been the last straw. These provocations directed at a *dependable* ally are more than we should tolerate.

“While it may be slightly premature to write off Turkey entirely”

No, it’s not.