During my secondary school days – more than sixty years ago – we were taught that “any number to power zero is equal to one”. But to come to real grips with the rule, it was imperative to insert and save something extra at the back of our minds. For, as they say, it is the exception that proves the rule.
So, for sustainable knowledge, it was (and still is) imperative to qualify this rule and like others with the practical condition of: “except zero itself.” Namely that, “any number to power zero, except zero itself, is equal to one.” And there you go.
This phenomenon came back to my mind within the echo of the most recent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visit to Moscow, for talks with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin. Their agenda was one: “To normalize the Syrian situation.”
This visit, call it the Erdogan Moscow Pilgrimage on Syria if you like because of the implied peace component and as opposed to earlier options like the failed Arab Springs, has many facets, prompting one to ponder about it along the any number to power zero rule.
For, in the event of ruling out “zero itself”, one is already engulfed in fallacies abound on cause and effect which are better represented by the famous Latin Causa causae est causa causati phrase – literally, the cause’s cause is the cause to what has been caused (the effect).
Issues central to this revolve on the axis of event series timing and their possibility of yielding intended results –‘normalization of the Syrian situation’ in this particular case.
The Erdogan visit was before dust had settled on the feet of the US Government termination of an offer to Turkey to purchase a $ 3.5 billion PATRIOT missile system in retaliation for the country’s receipt of the Russian-made S-400 system.
On the same wavelength was the F-35 programme nipped in the bud, translating in Turkish companies being withdrawn from the production chain and pilot trainees being sent back home.
In the background of this is a “zero-to-power-zero” picture of Russian-backed Syrian military advancing against opposition fighters, backed by Turkey. Erdogan complains of “Syrian forces raining death on civilians from the air and land …on the pretence of battling terrorism.”
President Erdogan was in Moscow as the Guest of Honour at the MAKS -2019 fair – showcasing Russia’s T-129 attack helicopter. Together they reviewed the Guard of Honour. So, with or without the Syrian situation, Erdogan would have still become the Guest of Honour at this annual event. The link is somehow farfetched. The invitation must have been made well in advance.
However, what can be read between the lines is that within the reigning circumstances, this was also opportune time for Moscow to introduce Russian sophisticated Su-35 and the next generation Su-57 stealth fighter planes, particularly in the background of Ankara’s forced exit from the Washington F-35 programme.
Isn’t this another zero to power zero for the Syrian situation normalization? Pentagon Defense Undersecretary responsible for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord, revealed that the decision of striking Turkey out of the programme cost $500-600 million. What a colossal zero to power zero ‘commitment’ level towards better livelihoods for the people of Syria more than half of whom are refugees!
At the end of the visit, reports even talked on the possibility of Russia and Turkey going into joint manufacturing programmes. In the words of President Erdogan himself: “Su-35 and Su-57 planes among the alternatives…why not? We did not come here in vain.”
And “in my opinion,” Putin capped it all, “a lot has drawn an interest from our Turkish partners, not only from a purchase point of view but also from joint production.”
What sort of partnership is this; whereby parties funding opposed forces in a conflict come together to find a military solution to a civilian problem? From which holy book did Putin read such an approach, which is contrary to the code of Communism? You cannot be Communist – leader for that matter—and be a believer in the Scriptures. History is devoid of a Communism messenger the likes Moses, Christ and Prophet Muhammad (PPBUH). This is another zero to power zero case.
Actually, as Erdogan and Putin held Moscow talks about how to ‘normalize the Syrian situation’, Russia-backed Syrian forces pounded targets inside Idlib. This means Putin new about it. Putin is a very clever and very tactful person the world has seen. He is the real Lenin genre.
Both share the first name, Vladimir. Retaining the Lenin alias, their surnames differ in three characters (LEN and PUT). Otherwise, their impact of Russian leadership on the globe of their day is greatly similar.
The KGB genius, Putin holds the world on his palm. He stands implicated in influencing polls that brought Trump to the Pentagon. Slowly, but sure, he has infiltrated the NATO camp via Turkey. For every sophisticated NATO missile, he has the Russian version.
If the last G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, is to go by, come the next to be hosted by Washington next year, he already looks set for readmission. This is despite the fact that the Ukraine situation because of which he was shown the NATO exit door has not changed for the better. Putin has drawn China and other Asian nations closer to Moscow.
In Syria, he is at the controls of a near-nuclear conflict platform with all possible participants set on their marks. Heaven knows what might transpire at the mid-September Syria Summit Erdogan is scheduled to host in Ankara for Russian President Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran and Russia are allies of Assad but have been working with his strong armed adversary, Erdogan, for a political solution to the conflict. The US is already there.
A little quote from the Ninth Treatise of Said Nursi’s Seedbed of Light might help. On page 286 of the Third part of the whiff, he says: “… one factor that distinguishes us from animals is that we have relations with the past and the future and can comprehend both the inner and outer worlds. We can discover the apparent causes of events and know how to obtain a desired goal…”
When five Turkish army generals, including two leading the Idlib operations opt out simultaneously, is it right for President Erdogan and the rest of the world to take that for retirement? There must be something systemically going wrong.
To establish the cause one has to go beyond the Latin Causa causae est causa causati fallacy. Then only can we know how to obtain the desired goal in Syrian situation. In the face of problems with Washington, is Moscow necessarily the solution? Why have many countries fallen into this trap? Why have they failed to appreciate that Lucifer’s heaven is man’s hell.