Türk Dış Politikası ›Stratejik Özerklikten‹ Vaz Mı Geçiyor? – Yaşar Aydın

Türk Dış Politikası ›Stratejik Özerklikten‹ Vaz Mı Geçiyor?

Uzman çevrelerde, yeni ABD Başkanı Joe Biden’ın uluslararası ilişkilerde sözüm ona daha ›idealist‹, ›demokrasi ve insan hakları‹ vurgulu bir yöntemi takip edeceği beklentisi hakim. Türkiye–ABD ilişkilerinde de bu bağlamda ›demokrasi ve hukuk‹ konularının önemli bir başlık teşkil edeceğinin ilk sinyallerini ABD yönetimi vermiş bulunuyor. Sedat Ergin’in (Hürriyet, 5.2.2021) Beyaz Saray’ın açıklamasından aktardığına göre, Ulusal Güvenlik Danışmanı Jake Sullivan, Cumhurbaşkanı Başdanışmanı İbrahim Kalın ile görüşmesinde »Biden yönetiminin demokratik kurumları ve hukukun üstünlüğünü destekleme yönündeki« kararlılığının altını çizmiştir. Dolayısıyla ABD’ndeki yeni yönetimin demokrasi ve insan hakları konularını ABD dış politikasının merkezine koyacak, ikili ilişkilerde bu konuları gündeme getirecektir.

Türkiye ile Biden yönetimi arasındaki ilk ikili temasta tartışılan önemli bir başka konunun ise S-400 füze savunma sisteminin olması, Sullivan’ın yeni yönetimin Türkiye’nin S-400 füze savunma sisteminden vazgeçmesi beklentisini ortaya koyması ve hemen akabinde de Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar’ın ›Girit modeli‹ türünden bir çözümü gündeme getirmesi, Türk dış politikasında bir yön değişikliği beklentisine yol açtı. Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tarafından 2 Mart’ta (2021) açıklanan İnsan Hakları Eylem Planı’nın Adalet Bakanlığı’nın web sitesine konan tam metninde ise insan hakları alanında devletin kendisinin de sorgulanması ve pek çok kusur ve yetersizliğinin de kabul edilmesi önemli bir nokta.

Avrupa ve Almanya’da ise bu gelişmeler olumlu bulunmakla beraber temkinle karşılanıyor. Son AB Zirvesi’nden çıkan sonuç da bu temkinli yaklaşımın bir başka örneği. Uzman çevreler ve karar vericiler arasında Türkiye bağlamında hâkim olan görüşe göre, Ankara’ya demokrasi, hukuk devleti ve insan hakları konularında baskı yapılması gerekiyor. Öte yandan ise bu baskının Ankara’yı daha fazla Moskova ve Pekin’e yakınlaştırmaması gerekliliği ekleniyor Türkiye ile ilgili mülahazalara.

 

Dış Politikada Yön Tartışmaları ve Nedenleri

Bu atıfta bulunduğumuz gelişmelere ilaveten birçok devlet ile diplomatik temas ve ikili ilişkilerdeki gelişmeler de yön değişikliği beklentisini haklı çıkarır nitelikte: Geçtiğimiz yılın sonbaharında belki de İkinci Dünya Savaşı sonrasının en gergin dönemini yaşayan Türkiye–Fransa ikili ilişkilerinde Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan ile Fransa Başkanı Macron arasındaki mektup teatisine istinaden bir yumuşama, diplomatik gerilim ve ikili ilişkilerdeki anlaşmazlıkları aşma yönünde çabalara dair haberler yansıyor medyaya. Keza yine Yunanistan ile – müzakerelerde ilerleme kaydedilmiş olmasa da – görüşmelerin yapılıyor olması, Mısır ve İsrail ile diplomatik yakınlaşma çabalarının konuşulması da yine bu yönde değerlendirilecek gelişmeler kategorisinde.

Avrupa Birliği ile de ilişkilerin düzeltilmesi yönünde mesajlar verildi, sahada bu yönde somut adımlar atıldı ve Türkiye, 25 ve 26 Mart’taki AB zirvesine oldukça rahat bir zeminde girdi. Zirveye az bir zaman kala ise Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ile Avrupa Komisyonu Başkanı Ursula von der Leyen ve Avrupa Konseyi Başkanı Charles Michel arasında bir video konferans görüşmesi gerçekleştirilmiş, sonrası ise olumlu açıklamalar yapılmıştı. Zirveden yaptırım çıkmadığı gibi, yaptırım seçeneği masadan tamamen kaldırılmamakla beraber, başta 2016 Mülteci Mutabakatı olmak üzere birçok alanda iş birliğini geliştirme ve ekonomik ilişkileri derinleştirme kararı açıklandı. Ankara, bundan önceki zirvelerde AB’nin ›yaptırım‹ kartıyla karşılaşmıştı.

Kuşkusuz Brüksel ve Berlin için Türkiye’nin demokrasi, hukuk devleti ve insan hakları konularında AB standartlarıyla uyumlu, en azından bu standartlara yakın olması son derece önemli. Ancak AB’nin somut gündeminde Doğu Akdeniz’deki gerilimin aşılması ve göç ve mültecilik konularında Türkiye ile yeni bir iş birliği zemininin oluşturulması yer almaktadır. Ancak bunun ötesinde ve daha genel anlamda ise temel hedef ve beklenti Türkiye’nin dış politikasında yönünü yeniden AB’ye dönmesi, Batı yanlısı bir dış politika uygulaması yönündedir. Daha kesin bir şekilde ifade edecek olursak: Brüksel, Ankara’nın uluslararası ve ikili ilişkilerde ›stratejik özerklik‹ olarak tanımlanan yöntemden vazgeçerek yeniden AB yörüngesinde bir dış politika izlemesini arzulamaktadır.

Bütün bunlar önümüze şu soruyu koyuyor: Türkiye 2002–2005 yıllarında olduğu gibi yüzünü yeniden Batı’ya mı dönüyor?

Türkiye’de de AKP hükümetinin bir süredir »›stratejik özerklik‹ten vazgeçerek bir tür ›stratejik çekilmeye‹ doğru gittiği ve uyumlu bir müttefik görüntüsü vermeye« başladığı yazılıyor. Örneğin İlhan Uzgel’e göre bunun biri dış politika, biri de iç politika ile iniltili başlıca iki nedeni var. Birincisi, AKP hükümetinin Rusya ile yakınlaşma politikasından beklediği faydayı elde edememiş olması. İkincisi ise, AKP hükümeti ve Erdoğan’ın dış politikayı »iktidarını uzatma mekanizmasına çevirmiş« olması (Gazete Duvar, 22.2.2021).

 

Stratejik Özerklik ve İmkanları

İlhan Uzgel’in tersine, Türkiye’nin vazgeçmek bir tarafa, ›stratejik özerkliği‹ devam ettirme olasılığının daha da güçlü olduğu söylenebilir. Bu yönde düşünmemizi gerektiren birçok gelişme ve geçmişten edindiğimiz deneyim mevcut.

Birincisi: ABD yönetiminin dış politikada tamamen bir kopuşa gideceği beklenmemeli. Daha başından Biden’ın ABD’nin jeostratejik meydan okumalara vereceği yanıtın, bu bağlamda izleyeceği yöntemin Trump yönetiminden çok farklı olmayacağına dair işaretler almış bulunuyoruz. ABD’nin Çin’e karşı – Rusya’yı da içine alacak şekilde – bir çevreleme (encirclement) çabası içinde olduğu anlaşılıyor. Burada kilit ülkelerden biri Türkiye, diğeri ise Mısır. Bir başka kilit ülke ise Yunanistan, çünkü Çin’in Yeni İpekyolu Projesi’nin deniz ayağı için Güney Avrupa’daki köprü başı niteliğinde. Uzakdoğu’dan gelen konteynerler Çin’in yaptığı Yunanistan’daki Piraeus limanından Avrupa’ya dağıtılacak. ABD’nin Yunanistan’da askeri üsler kurmasını sadece Türkiye ile mevcut gerilim bağlamında değil, bu çerçeve içinde de değerlendirmek gerekiyor. Dolayısıyla ABD’nin jeostratejik planında Türkiye’nin yeri Yunanistan ile telafi edilemeyecek derecede önemli. Bu da hem Ankara’nın elini güçlendiriyor hem de dış politikada Türk hariciyesine stratejik özerklik yöntemini devam ettirme konusunda geniş bir manevra alanı sunuyor.

İkincisi: Türkiye geride kalan yıllarda bölgesel güç olma yolunda azımsanmayacak bir yol kat etmekle kalmadı, bunun başarılı bir askeri güç kullanımı ile de altını çizmeyi başardı. Gerek ABD’nin gerekse AB’nin Türkiye’nin bu yeni konumunu kabul ettikleri anlaşılıyor. Örneğin AB Doğu Akdeniz krizinde Ankara’ya Fransa ve Yunanistan’ın beklediği sert tavrı gösteremedi. Bu bağlamda sadece Berlin’in anılması da gerçekleri tam olarak yansıtmıyor. Madrid ve Roma’da en azından Berlin kadar Türkiye’yi kaybetmeme gayreti içinde. Örneğin İspanya bankaları Türkiye finans sektörü ile son derece girift ekonomik ilişkiler içinde. Bundan başka Türkiye 2020 yılında İspanya ve İtalya’dan ülke bazında en fazla silah ve askeri araç gereç ithal eden ülke. Benzeri durum ABD için de geçerli, ancak bir farkla. Washington açısından ekonomi yerine güvenlik ve jeostratejik kaygılar ön planda. ABD yönetimi S–400 füze sistemi ile bağlantılı olarak yaptırımlar konusunda bir hayli ağırdan aldı. Bu saydıklarımız da Türk hariciyesi için stratejik özerklik yöntemini devam ettirme yönünde azımsanmaması gereken bir motivasyon içeriyor.

Üçüncüsü: Rusya ile ilişkiler gerginleşip zaman zaman kırılma noktasına gelse de iş birliği devam ediyor. Son Azerbaycan Ermenistan savaşında Rusya Türkiye’nin Kafkasya’daki etkinliğini arttırmasına göz yummak durumunda kaldı. Birçok analistin öngörü ve iddiasının aksine, Ankara Moskova’nın etki alanına girmedi. Bilakis Kırım’ın uluslararası hukuka aykırı bir biçimde ilhakı konusunda, Suriye’de özellikle 2020 başındaki İdlib krizinde, daha sonra ise Libya’da ve kısmen de Karabağ’ın alınmasında Rusya’nın çıkarları ile uyuşmayan, hatta karşıt pozisyon almaktan ve davranmaktan geri durmadı. Ayrıca Rusya ile ihtilafı olan Ukrayna ile siyasi ve askeri iş birliği içinde olduğuna dair güçlü göstergeler mevcut. Kuşkusuz, Türkiye’nin ABD ve Batı’yı Rusya ile dengeleme siyasetinin arzu edilen sonuçları vermediği ortada. Ancak buradan hareketle bu yöntemin başarısız ya da gereksiz olduğunu söylemek de mümkün değil. Her ne kadar, ›Ankara böyle bir yöntem uygulamasaydı sonuçları ne olurdu?‹ sorusu spekülatif olsa da üzerinde kafa yormakta, fikir jimnastiği yapmakta fayda var. Türkiye, Rusya ile yakınlaşması sonucu Suriye’de siyasi ve askeri olarak etkinliğini artırarak gerçekleşmesi durumunda ülke güvenliği için ciddi bir tehdit oluşturacak olan Irak Kürdistan Özerk Bölgesi’ni Akdeniz’e bağlayacak ve Türkiye’yi karadan Arap dünyasından ayıracak olan YPG kontrolünde bir koridorun açılmasını engelleyebilmiştir. Suriye’deki etkinlik ve Ukrayna ile olan iş birliği Türkiye’yi ABD ve AB için değerli bir müttefik kılıyor. Ukrayna’da Rusya’nın çevrelenmesi bağlamında Türkiye’nin Ukrayna ile iş birliği Amerikan çıkarlarıyla örtüşüyor.

Dördüncüsü: Türkiye son yıllarda özellikle de Karabağ’ın Ermenistan’ın işgalinden kurtarılması sonrasında post-Sovyet Kafkasya’sının başat ve etkin aktörlerinden birine dönüştü. Nahcivan ile Azerbaycan arasında açılan koridor sayesinde hem Türkiye ile Azerbaycan arasında hem de Türkiye ile Orta Asya arasında bir kara bağlantısı açılmış oldu. Bu durum Türkiye ile Orta Asya’daki Türki devletlerle ekonomik ilişkilerin derinleştirilmesine olanak sağlayacaktır. Dolayısıyla Türkiye’nin bu coğrafyaya güç yansıtma olanakları da artacaktır. Sonuç olarak Türkiye’nin Orta Asya hatta Uzakdoğu–Avrupa hattındaki konumunun güçlendiğini, stratejik öneminin arttığını ve Türkiye’nin bu bölgede transit ülke olmaktan çıkarak etkin, gündem belirleyen ülke olma yolunda ciddi atılımlar gerçekleştirdiğini söyleyebiliriz. Türkiye önümüzdeki dönemde Orta Asya Türk cumhuriyetleri ile iktisadi-ticari ilişkilerini ve güvenlik alanındaki iş birliğini derinleştirmesi durumunda, Rusya ile Çin arasındaki dengeden daha fazla yararlanma ve bu iki ülke karşısındaki konumunu güçlendirme olanağına sahip olacaktır. Dolayısıyla Avrasya perspektifinden bakıldığında, Türkiye’nin Batı karşısında stratejik özerklikten vazgeçerek Batı yörüngesinde bir dış politika izlemesini gerektiren bir durum söz konusu değildir.

Beşincisi: ABD’nin eski İŞİD’le Mücadele Özel Temsilcisi Brett McGurk’un yeniden Ortadoğu ve Kuzey Afrika masasının başına dönmesi de ABD ile Türkiye arasında Suriye ve YPG konusunda olası gerginliklerin habercisi niteliğinde. Görev yaptığı süre boyunca Rojava’da Demokratik Suriye Güçleri (DSG) ve Kürdistan Özerk Bölgesi’nde Peşmerge ile yakın ilişki kurmuş olan McGurk hakkında Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, »kesinlikle PKK ve YPG’ye net bir şekilde destek vermektedir« ifadesini kullanmıştı. Ancak Türkiye’nin Batı ile ilişkilerinin ve dolayısıyla da uygulayacağı strateji ve yöntemin – özerklik mi, bağlaşıklık mı? – belirlenmesi konusunda Ortadoğu’daki gelişmelerden çok, Ankara’nın Moskova ve Pekin ile ilişkileri ve büyük güçler arasındaki denge belirleyici olacaktır.

 

Nasıl Bir Stratejik Özerklik?

Özetle, Türkiye’nin ABD ve AB karşısında stratejik özerkliğe dayalı bir dış politikayı geçersiz kılan ya da Ankara’nın bundan vazgeçmesini gerektiren bir durum gözükmüyor. Hatta ulusal çıkarlarını gerçekleştirmek bakımından – 1950’li yıllarda ya da 1999 – 2005 yılları arasında olduğu gibi – Batı yörüngesinde bir dış politikadan daha elzemdir.

Türkiye’nin ABD ve AB karşısında güçlü olabilmesi ve çıkarlarını gerçekleştirebilmesinin yolu gelişmekte olan Avrasya düzeninde ve yeniden şekillenmekte olan Orta Doğu’da etkin ve merkezi bir rol oynamaktan geçmektedir. Bunun için de hem Rusya hem de Çin ile yakınlaşma kontrollü bir biçimde devam ettirilmelidir. Ancak bu yakınlaşmanın ve gerek Moskova gerekse Pekin ile iş birliğinin başlıca bileşeni Batı karşıtlığı olmamalıdır.

Son reform çabalarını ve Fransa, Mısır ve İsrail ile yakınlaşma denemelerini de bu bağlamda değerlendirmek gerekiyor. Bu türden bir denge politikası Ankara’nın hem Brüksel hem de diğer önemli Avrupa başkentleri karşısındaki konumunu güçlendirecektir. Reform süreci ise, başarılı olduğu takdirde, yani demokratikleşme sağladığı ve hukuk devleti anlayışını geliştirdiği takdirde sosyal bütünlüğü de güçlendirerek Türkiye’nin uluslararası ilişkilerdeki hareket alanını genişletecektir.

Türkiye ile Batı arasındaki ilişkileri örneğin bir 1950’lerin ya da 1999–2005 yılları arasının yakın ilişkiler havasına ve bağlaşıklık yöntemine geri götürmek, hem uluslararası sistemin günümüzde o dönemlerden farklı olmasından hem de genel stratejik amaçların paylaşımındaki değişikliklerden dolayı iki taraf için de mümkün ve akıllıca değildir. Türkiye’nin Batı dünyasından (NATO, ABD, AB, GB vs.) koparak ona Çin ve Rusya yanında cephe alması, Türkiye’nin çıkarına değildir ve son derece tehlikeli sonuçlar doğurabilir. Türkiye, belirli bir süre de olsa ne Batı ekonomik ilişkilerini ve askeri bağlarını koparma ne de bu ilişkileri gergin tutma lüksüne sahiptir.

Çünkü Türkiye sadece bölgesel çıkarları olan bir ülke değil, aynı zamanda bölge dışı çıkar ve bağlantıları bulunan orta büyüklükte bir devlettir. Anadolu Yarımadası, coğrafi olarak Asya, Afrika ve Avrupa kıtaları arasında hava koridorları, karayolları ve demiryollarının, doğalgaz boru hatlarının ve deniz ulaşım ve taşımacılığının kesişme noktasındadır. Ayrıca Çanakkale ve İstanbul Boğazlarının uluslararası stratejik önemi vardır. Bütün bunlardan dolayı Türkiye bölgesel bir güç olduğu kadar, uluslararası etkileri de olan orta büyüklükte (second rank power) bir devlettir.

Özetle bir devletin dış politikasını ve dolayısıyla onun ikili ilişkilerini belirleyen dört unsurdan söz edebiliriz: Ulusal çıkarlar, kurumlar, düşünceler, diplomatik birikim ve beceriler ve beklenmeyen olaylar (disruptive events). Türkiye’nin Batı ile ilişkilerinde ulusal çıkarların birebir, hatta göreceli olarak da örtüşmesi yakın zamanda mümkün görünmediği gibi, bu ilişkilerde etkin olabilecek kurumların da (ABD’de Kongre, AB’de Avrupa Komisyonu, Avrupa Birliği Parlamentosu ve Avrupa Konseyi) Türkiye’ye karşı tutumlarının değişmesi kısa vadede zor görünmektedir. Düşünce bazında da Türkiye’de Batı yanlısı, Batı ile bağlaşıklığı savunan düşüncenin güçlü bir dayanağa ve kamuoyu desteğine sahip olduğu söylenemez. Ancak bütün bu değerlendirmelerimiz, 11 Eylül ya da Berlin duvarının yıkılışı benzeri sarsıcı olayların gerçekleşmemesi şartına bağlıdır. Bu tür olaylar tarihin akışını değiştirdiği gibi Türk dış politikasının yönünü de radikal biçimde değiştirebilir.

Analizimizi, bütün bu değerlendirdiğimiz noktaların ışığında, Türkiye’nin Batı ile münasebetlerinde daha temkinli, Batı karşıtı bir retorikten mümkün olduğunca arındırılmış bir stratejik özerklik yöntemini ve büyük güçler (ABD, Rusya, Çin, AB) arasında bir denge politikası sürdüreceği tahminiyle kapatmak yerinde olacaktır.

Visits: 412

CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF MIDDLE EAST

The newly emerged geopolitics in the Middle East could be understood via
understanding America’s foreign policy preferences in the region, not only in today’s terms
but also in the past since there is an evident controversy. According to the current President
of the United States of America Donald Trump: The U.S. has no interest in maintaining the
free flow of energy. The explanation given falsifies the 40-years long existence of America
in the region (Wecshler, 2020). Since the so-called withdrawal of the U.S. from the region is
providing a basis to understand the emerging geopolitics of the Middle East in its roughest
terms. This article aims to interpret another article titled ‘Tomorrow’ the Middle East is
Emerging Today is written by Will Wechsler on 18 September 2020. With the same order, this
article focuses on the US public views, China’s, Iran’s, Turkey’s, and finally Russia’s regional
roles.
The public though is against any incrementally continuous role of the US in the
region for sure. The “multiple presidential campaign cycles” (Wecshler, 2020) in the US
constructs a solid example for people’s views. The military reduction decision is carried by
the ‘election calendar’ rather than strategic thinking either in Iraq or Afghanistan. For
Wecshler (2020), this is the result of malfunctioning U.S. politics coupled with the ever-
the increasing number of divisions inside the country. Therefore, without Trump’s controversial
claim, the public wants the withdrawal of the U.S. and the other parties could easily read the
pools (Wechsler). In the end, despite being more powerful than others in the region, the U.S.
and As a consequence, there is an inevitable emergence of a new geopolitical order,
which was perceived as changeful even closer to become perilous. With the formation of the
new order, its verge as well as limitations are focused and emphasized. Moreover, one should
not forget that the rise and fall of several parties through the years made more adjusted for the
possibility of a more unstable future.
When it comes to the active players in the region, China, it could be right to say, has
not be an assertive one. Yet, being a prominent trading partner for several countries in the
the region is one side; forming a strong navy to secure its energy lifelines would change the
the landscape for the Middle East in the upcoming years as Wecshler (2020) argues. Iran,
Turkey, and finally Russia should be evaluated together as they have already begun to try to
fill the current power vacuum that created by the retraction of the U.S. Resulted from the
mistakes of America; Iran has been extending its influence over Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen,
Syria, and Lebanon by providing it’s with weapons against Israel and Gulf states.
Supposedly Iran also conducts secret operations among the Shite population while expanding its
fluency in international waters and borders (Wecshler, 2020). With the counter-action of
killing Soleimani, it could be thought that Iran is discouraged to make public threats against
the United States of America, whilst still carrying the will of extracting the U.S. out of the
region. For Wechsler, it is important to acknowledge that President Erdogan adopts more of
an Islamic approach as choosing ‘former Ottoman legacy’ over the Kemalist view when
shifted its axis closer to the Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of hurting its relations with
Israel. Military operations in Syria, Iraq, and Libya set an example for Turkey’s close
perspective with the Muslim Brotherhood. Besides, Turkey has an active role in the Eastern
Mediterranean considering the energy disputes with Greece. The final point could be the
relation of Turkey with the United States. It is, for Wecshler (2020), evident that the relation
between them is a formal one because of NATO, but it can be easily changed via the
purchasing of S-400 missiles from Russia. For Russia, it is easily seen that their aims are
contradicted with the U.S. Starting from their alliance with Iran in supporting the criminal
regime of Syria which later on resulted in a horrible war that made the U.S. uncomfortable. It
continues with its expanding presence in the Mediterranean intending to threaten NATO.
Wecshler (2020) argues that even though the fact that Russia is diplomatically weak they
played their hands well. Therefore, Russia’s position remains central in Syria that eventually
enhanced the dialogue with Turkey as well as Israel. For the American side, One of the
great accomplishments of United States Foreign Policy in the last quarter of the 20th century was
expelling Russia from playing a malign role in the region, but Russia got back to the game.
In the near past, non-Arab powers have to fight with the traditional leaders mainly in
Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus. They held significant military capacity which got the
attention of infamous Arab Street and they struggled for a wider impact on the Arab world.
For the author, they could not go further than being their predecessor’s pale shadow.
To overcome the increase of power of non-Arab countries, there should be a new
regional power coalition to Wecshler (2020), but it seems that rather than coalition the
closeness of Israel and the Gulf States should be defined on shared-interests. Although most
of the states would prefer to make bilateral agreements for their safety they can also sign
secret agreements with Russia which they do not trust or China which they do not know
Although the U.S. made efforts to form multiple administration. For Wecshler (2020), the Gulf-Israel coalition; has finally emerged. It is right to think that formation is beneficial for
the U.S. anyways since Iran, Turkey and Russia’s growing powers are not. It could be used on
the efforts of withdrawal more strongly, but it will worsen the situation in terms of instability.
It would be better if America would empower its existence while reinforcing its place to
newly emerged sharing of interests.

This article is written by Ayça Süngü

Visits: 549

"Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces’’

In his article, ‘’Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces’’ 1, Hasan Kösebalaban opens
up the discussion of Shinzo Abe’s legacy by mentioning his grandfather, Kishi who came to
power by the support of the USA in order to counter the Yoshida’s doctrine; anti-military stance
while building the economy. He then mentions what happened in the cold war briefly then jumps
to Abe’s one the biggest dreams that are building a strong military power and use of force by
interpreting the article 9 of the constitution, which declares that the Japanese people renounce
war as a sovereign right of the nation and to accomplish this Japan will never maintain land, sea
or air forces. While Yoshida’s doctrine worked during the Cold War, the consensus among the
Japanese elite has begun to change by raising security threats, such as the North Korea's long-range
missile and nuclear testing, China’s military and economic rise, and the fact that the peace accord
with Russia has not been signed were factors that added to the feeling of insecurity of the
Japanese political elite.
The idea that the country should move out of its shadowed position and become a respectable
economic and military power has gradually ceased to be a taboo and became the dominant view
within the LDP. One of the first acts of Shinzo Abe, one of the keenest representatives of this
trend of thought, in his post of prime minister was to increase his country's defense budget at a
record level which is about 5.31 trillion yen. But Abe could not find the popular support needed
for sweeping constitutional change. Instead, as in 2014, the Japanese cabinet prefers to
circumvent legal obstacles, explaining how it interprets the constitution.
He then concludes the article by writing that Abe hands over the unfinished mission on
constitutional change to the new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. If Suga can persuade the
Japanese people, he can take action to ensure that the country has a military power
commensurate with its economic strength. This means a new era in which new alliance lines will
shape not only in Asia but also in world politics.
I think from this point Suga can benefit from the changes Abe made. First of which is The
National Security Council which established in 2013 by the initiation of Shinzo Abe. The institution coordinates the security policy of Japan with the Prime Minister. Parallel to the establishment, Japan also adopted a National Security Strategy in December 2013 to outline Japan’s security and defense policies. By using the National Security Strategy, Yoshihide Suga can
understand and follow the legacy of Shinzo Abe and implement it by using the National Security Council.
The second one is FOIP – Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’’. 2 This is a strategy
created by Japan and supported by QUAD members (India, the USA and Australia) to contain
China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific region. The strategy plays a crucial role in shaping Japan’s
engagement with other actors in the region and specifically China. Yoshihide Suga can follow
this strategy to shape Japan’s international relations with actors within the region.
But he also should traverse carefully. Where Abe failed to make progression, he must be
cautious. Abe failed to amend the constitution because of the reluctance of Komeito 3, LDP’s
coalition ally, and support from the public. He also failed to resolve the North Korean abduction of
Japanese citizens 4, peace treaty with Russia 5, and resolve the WW2-era comfort women 6 problem
that damages relations with South Korea to this day.
Can Suga convince the people of Japan and its coalition ally Komeito to amend the constitution?
Can he carry the legacy of Abe and success where he has failed? For now, it remains to be seen.

This article is written by Taha Acar

 

Visits: 196

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN DISPUTE AND ITS REFLECTIONS IN WEST

Western states, principally the Unites States and the EU, are concerned about the escalation
of dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean.The persistent and uncompromising attitude of Turkey has been challenging Greece and the EU in political terms.In 2020, Eastern Mediterranean is like a bomb ready to explode due to the competition of possession of the offshore energy resources and transportation routes.The European Union has been seeking diplomatic solutions to resolve the maritime jurisdiction dispute in order to alleviate the tension by the arbitration of Germany and Josep Borrell the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.NATO, on the other hand, has been following the process passively.Uncompromising actions of Turkey and Greece complicate the prevention of a possible future conflict and the resolution of the issues through dialogue and negotiations.
In the recent years, domestic and cross-border operations carried out against PKK terrorist organization, military achievements in Syria and Libya have increased the self-confidence of Turkey.In the context of the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey conducts its foreign policy with ”Mavi Vatan” doctrine (the doctrine specifies the national borders in the seas and national rights and stakes inside that borders).Self-sufficiency on energy by utilization of the resources in the East Med is one of the major objectives of Turkey.It is a fact that significant percentage of Turkey’s imports is on energy.As Turkey awares of this fact, Ankara states that the government will go to any extreme to take this burden off from the country’s shoulders.In the last five years, Turkey has established close relations with Iran and Russia due to the civil war in Syria and made S-400 deal with Russia.In addition, it used the refugees as a trump card against the European Union.Those actions were not supported neither by NATO nor the EU and have changed the perspective of the Western alliance negatively on Turkey.
Greece, exclusively in the recent years, has been following harmonious politics with the EU and taking more active role in alliances.Besides NATO and the EU, Greece has significantly promoted its relations with the countries in the region such as Egypt, Israel and the UAE.Moreover, Greek army conducted joint military exercises with the USA, the UAE, France and Italy.This rich and enviable support that Greece has on this level since the First World War has strengthened the state’s military and political reputation both in the region and international scene.
Nowadays, instead of peaceful talks, Turkey and Greece increased their military exercises and naval capacities in areas where they have declared as their own Exclusive Economic Zone.The problematical events such as the ongoing seismic explorations of Turkey, the collision of Turkish and Greek vessels and the confrontation of fighter aircrafts have made the solution of the dispute even more difficult.Also the opposition of French and Turkish policies about Libya and East Med and the ascended escalation between Turkey and France in the Mediterranean in June have brought Paris and Athens closer.In the disputed maritime zones, the possession of drilling rights and energy research licence of Total the French energy company has led France to stand against Turkey.
The chancellor Angela Merkel requested the president Erdoğan to temporarily suspension of the military and research activities for the peaceful settlement of the dispute.Ankara, in line with its calls for a fair and amicable resolution, fulfilled this request of Germany and suspended the Navtex declaration in July.While the talks were continuing, Greece signed an EEZ agreement with Egypt and Ankara was perceived this aciton as misuse of good offices.This move of Athens has frustrated the parties on the table.As an interesting fact, the United States dominant power of the last century has not been playing an active role to offer a solution in that issue.Washington has been closely monitoring the process in the region, however, neither the US nor NATO has taken a firm action to reduce the tension between two substantial allies.
To conclude, Germany’s efforts to gather the sides around the table have failed.In a different perspective, both Greek and Turkish policymakers think that stakes compromised may cause negative public reactions in domestic policies.Thus, the possibility of negotiation in near future seems unrealistic.By the end of August, Athens deployed troops to the Megisti Island approximately two kilometers away from Turkish mainland.Ankara, on the other hand, has decreased the level of engagement down to the warship captains in the East Mediterranean.Mutual provocations and assertive statements of both sides give the impression that a war risk is possible.A war which may break out between the parties can cause deterioration of relations and cooperation in NATO and between Turkey and Greece and the EU.The pandemic will worsen Greek and Turkish economies already in bad shape.Also, a possible war can cause deeper wounds in both economies and economical development may take more time.Therefore, NATO and the EU should find efficient and peaceful formulas to key this problem immediately and an amicable atmosphere should be created in the Eastern Mediterranean through diplomacy.

This article is written by Eren Çetin

Visits: 455

Turkey-EU relations: What is the Matter?

 

Throughout the years, Turkey’s relations with the European Union has had
fluctuations, and it has been the nature of all human-involved relationships. However, in the
last 24 years, it might be right to say that it is only getting worse. Özdem Sanberk (R.
Ambassador), in his online article, classified problems as tensions with Greece, the European
Union’s unnecessary attitude towards Turkey, and lack of empathy as well as a compromise
not coming from both sides. Even it is possible to widen the causes of decremental
characteristics of the relation between Turkey and the EU, this essay aims to stay in the
predetermined frame provided by former Ambassador Sanberk.
Turkey’s application to the Union is dating back to 40 years. Even though, the
membership application had been reflected as a progressive one, considering the long time
and rare improvements: This process is not an advancing one. On the one hand, Customs
Union is an achievement for both sides, belongs to the 24 years ago, and on the other,
promised membership status had never been acquired by Turkey.
Greek Cypriots’ application, many years after Turkey’s, was admitted despite “they
rejected the UN and EU peace proposals in a referendum” (Sanberk, 2020). Moreover, there
was not a made-agreement on the divided island accordingly. Since then, Greece has acquired
the full-member status and use its ‘veto right’ against Turkey continuously.
Whilst Greece membership creating one of the causes of tension between Turkey and
Greece, the second one is perceived as arbitrary map designs coming from Greece on the
issues such as seabed issue and exclusion of Turkey in energy agreements according to
Sanberk (2020). According to Greece-made maps, Turkey’s seabed rights are narrowed as if
it is a ‘narrow strip’ along the southern coasts, which is an unsubstantial design on the
Turkish side.
In addition to the former issue, exclusion of Turkey from energy trades taking part in
the eastern Mediterranean is no better for Turkey. This thought blockade towards Turkey is
quite hostile and not logical. Sanberk (2020) argues that gas line passing through Turkey “
would be the cheapest and most effective route” whereas the planned alternatives such as
‘EastMed’ -for gas- and ‘EuroAsia Interconnector’ -for electricity- would extract Turkey
from the route could be the “by far longest coastline” (Sanberk, 2020).
The bigger picture and the main issue here is the contribution of the European Union
on each topic. Neutral years of EU on the political developments between Turkey and Greece
were stated as the 1950s and ’60s. After Greece’s full membership on January 1st,1981
transformed the EU’s attitude towards Turkey negative and being against Turkey namely
every situation took place. Acting with the assumption of “community solidarity” and
presumed supremacy – as Merkel did in her latest statement about eastern Mediterranean-,
European Union provoked “consequences could be with us for centuries” (Sanberk, 2020).
As for the unimaginable seabed rights and blockade over energy issues, the EU again stood

up for Greece by denigrating Turkey’s noncompliance with given issues. This fairly “single-
sided exclusionary policy of EU” received Turkey’s angry reaction naturally.

What can be done is extracting tensions between Greece and Turkey by negotiating
in a peaceful and compromising attitude for both sides, and the Union should reward a
conciliatory manner while punishing otherwise (Sanberk, 2020). Trade negotiations and visa
conditions must be enhanced and practiced. Turkey’s criticized recent policies should be
rethought with an “act of empathy” and responded accordingly. Turkey also should not burn
the bridges between her and the EU, and continue to improve herself in every branch both
domestically and internationally, to become one of the developed countries.

 

This article is written by Ayça Süngü

Visits: 566

Conflict With Small Powers Derails U.S. Foreign Policy

The Case for Strategic Discipline

By Michael Singh

Over the past decade, U.S. policymakers have argued for a renewed focus on great-power competition. The primary threats facing the United States, they suggest, are powerful states with global reach that seek to counter both American interests and the international order that safeguards them.

But American foreign policy has in reality focused elsewhere. The United States remains mired in struggles with small adversaries, including military conflicts—such as those in the African Sahel and in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—and efforts at coercion short of war, such as those involving Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. Entanglement in small conflicts has bedeviled presidents with starkly divergent foreign policies—all of whom entered office vowing to avoid such engagements.

Conflicts with small adversaries are not necessarily incompatible with a focus on great-power competition. After all, steps that the United States takes to contain or deter minor powers, such as stationing forces in South Korea or naval forces in the Persian Gulf, can also shape the behavior of powerful rivals, such as China or Russia. Still, conflicts with minor foes can tie down resources and consume attention, and such conflicts have proliferated in the twenty-first century despite U.S. policymakers’ avowed aim to shift focus away from them. Washington needs to exercise discipline and set a high bar if it is to avoid the next quagmire.

COERCION AND STALEMATE
The United States ensnares itself in conflicts with small adversaries in part because even small adversaries can genuinely threaten U.S. interests. Iran, for example, is arguably the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. On its own and through its proxy network, Iran restricts freedom of navigation through important international waterways and threatens the security of U.S. allies. If Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons, the threat it poses would be magnified: possession of nuclear weapons makes any adversary a major rather than a minor threat, no matter what its economic or conventional military profile. Similarly, a small state connected to a larger, more menacing force—for example, Afghanistan, when it harbored transnational terrorists in the early 2000s—becomes a more serious threat.

U.S. policymakers often respond to such hazards with coercion, or the imposition of costs short of outright war. Because the United States enjoys a significant military and economic advantage over nearly any possible foe, its experience—from the wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003 to the current “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Iran—has borne out the assumption that it can inflict large amounts damage on a rival at little apparent risk to itself. To the extent that such policies do exact costs, these tend to be so diffuse, long term, hidden, or otherwise intangible as to factor relatively little into policy decisions. Moreover, the national security decision-making process tends not to see the tradeoffs among disparate policies, because they are often made in isolation from one another.

Even small adversaries can genuinely threaten U.S. interests.
Policymakers often prefer coercion to brute force because it can be deployed efficiently by executive decision and rarely triggers meaningful congressional oversight. Moreover, it capitalizes on the United States’ advantages in power and wealth and its large and growing arsenal of coercive tools, such as economic sanctions and cyberweapons.

And yet the U.S. experience demonstrates that small adversaries are not, in fact, easy to coerce. Scholars have found that more often than not, U.S. efforts fail to force specific courses of actions on less powerful states. Even those efforts deemed initially successful in achieving their aims often do not seem fruitful in hindsight as U.S. involvement drags on.

One reason for this underwhelming track record is that U.S. policymakers tend to misunderstand the logic of power asymmetries. Armed with an overwhelming advantage in economic and military power, the United States tends to make outsize demands of its small adversaries, perhaps on the assumption that Washington should be able to exact a high price for refraining from waging a war that it could easily win. Because the consequences of U.S. military or economic intervention would be more alarming than those of complying with the United States’ demands, policymakers reason that a rational adversary should accept the demands, however reluctantly­.

But for small states, nearly any conflict with a superpower is existential—and not only a military conflict. Small states tend to fear that making major concessions to the United States could lead to escalating demands and signal weakness to regional and domestic opponents. For these states, the loss of autonomy implied by acquiescence is more worrisome than the potential damage the United States might wreak by following through on economic or military threats.

In sharp contrast, such conflicts do not threaten the United States’ survival, and Washington has only limited attention to pay to any one of them. The United States aims to win, but its adversaries often aim simply not to lose—that is, to survive without conceding until the United States decides that its least costly option is to move on. The result is often stalemate.

When such stalemates develop, the United States often has few good options for exiting them. Coercive campaigns sometimes escalate into outright war. Such was the case in Iraq in 1991 and in Libya in 2011. But these and other experiences—including the 2003 Iraq war and the decades-long U.S. engagement in Afghanistan—have left American officials and the U.S. public wary of turning to military conflict when coercion fails.

For small states, nearly any conflict with a superpower is existential.
But even if escalation is not appealing, neither is simply walking away. American officials often fear that doing so will not only deal a blow to U.S. credibility abroad but lead to domestic political repercussions. When policymakers are not satisfied either to escalate or to disengage, the stalemate often continues.

Small adversaries do their part to maintain such stalemates. Although they might seem to have a strong interest in reaching an accommodation with the United States, in fact they often resist doing so. Even if a small state will not accede to U.S. demands, one might imagine that it would be willing to refrain from provocation in return for an end to coercion. Yet for many of the United States’ small adversaries, opposition to the United States is a matter not simply of policy but of ideology: anti-Americanism is foundational to the Iranian regime, for example, just as it lies at the core of North Korean ideology. These regimes likely believe that they would risk their credibility or even their survival if they gave up their antagonism toward the United States. U.S. officials often fail to understand this dynamic.

A DISCIPLINED APPROACH
The United States neither can nor should eschew conflict with small states altogether. The threats such states pose are often genuine, and addressing them can complement a strategy focused on great-power competition. For this reason, among others, the United States will continue to draw on coercive techniques and even military power in pursuing its interests.

But in the era just ahead, the United States will need to husband its power as rivals such as China catch up to it. To that end, the United States should set a high bar for becoming involved in struggles with small states, and it should engage in them fully cognizant of their difficulty and of the need for a clear and realistic path to success.

Such discipline will require the United States to study the long-term costs of any coercive campaign before undertaking it and to gauge how a particular course of action might affect other, especially higher, priorities. Policymakers should carefully consider how a target state is likely to perceive and respond to the demands the United States makes of it, and they should limit those demands to only what is necessary to safeguard U.S. interests. At the same time, policymakers should be willing to back up their demands credibly and should do so with a range of tools, including limited force, that signal a willingness to entertain risk and go beyond arm’s-length measures such as sanctions. Congress should then use the manifold tools at its disposal to monitor coercive campaigns that fall short of war. It could conduct hearings and appoint independent commissions to help assess the long-term costs and benefits of coercive campaigns in order to inform future policy decisions.

The United States will need to husband its power as rivals such as China catch up to it.
At the same time, the United States should make every effort to enlist the support of its allies in coercive campaigns. Doing so involves tradeoffs: the demands of a larger group of states will likely be less potent, but they will enjoy wider support. Furthermore, the costs of the campaign will be broadly shared, and the partners’ participation will reduce or eliminate the friction that measures such as enforcing sanctions might otherwise cause among allies whose cooperation is necessary to other, higher-priority policy initiatives.

Washington must be wary, however, of being drawn into the conflicts of its partners in small states. U.S. intervention in altercations between small states can turn manageable conflicts into existential ones, narrowing rather than expanding the space for compromise. And the United States should resist too readily connecting regional to global threats. In the wake of 9/11, small conflicts proliferated in part because the United States saw them as part of a global “war on terror.” A similar temptation may lead the United States to connect regional conflicts to great-power competition. Small states can indeed sometimes act as cat’s paws for great-power rivals but are just as often distractions from them.

If the United States is to strike a balance between prudence and disengagement and between economical missions and “forever wars,” it must approach conflicts with discipline and foresight. Efforts to change the behavior of small adversaries have a place in a broad foreign policy predicated on great-power competition and can even complement it. But approached incautiously, conflicts with small adversaries can sap American strength and resolve at a time when they are sorely needed.

This article taken from www.foreignaffairs.com

Visits: 132

FPI PRESIDENT PROF. DR. HÜSEYİN BAĞCI IS LIVE ON HABERTURK TV

haberturk

Visits: 314

How NATO Can Avoid a Strategic Decoupling in the Eastern Mediterranean

Since an extraordinary naval standoff occurred between French and Turkish warships in the Eastern Mediterranean in early June, Paris and Ankara have been trading increasingly sharp verbal blows over their respective actions in implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya. While this may appear to be just another moment of friction between NATO allies, particularly with Turkey, it is not. This incident represents a more deep-seated strategic dilemma for NATO as well as an increasingly stark divide between the European Union and Turkey.

This strategic dilemma is rooted in Turkey’s new regional foreign and security policy, based in part on its “Blue Homeland” doctrine. The implementation of this doctrine has caused a series of serious incidents that have been observed by Turkey’s allies but fleetingly, if rarely, addressed. Encountering little resistance, Turkey believes its actions to be largely accepted (as some are, such as limiting Russian influence). But the totality of Turkey’s policies and actions have now reached a point of dangerous escalation, which could substantially challenge the coherence of NATO’s collective defense posture in the Mediterranean and weaken its political cohesion. Turkey’s actions threaten to hinder vital NATO-EU cooperation in the region as well.

To avoid this, allies should approach the growing instability in the Mediterranean through an integrative policy that seeks to deescalate tensions and define, with Ankara, common interests by identifying some agreed principles to guide regional behavior. If Turkey is unwilling to join such an initiative, greater transatlantic tensions lie ahead.

Turkey’s Blue Homeland Ambitions
Turkey’s Blue Homeland Doctrine has its origins in a plan drawn up by Turkish admiral Cem Gurdeniz in 2006. It sets out an ambitious goal to underline and expand, through assertive diplomacy and military means, Turkey’s influence in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas while enabling access to energy and other economic resources. President Erdogan adopted it in 2015 as an integral part of a national strategy of “forward defense” in the context of his sustained drive to assert Turkish independence in all aspects of foreign policy to include influence in its surrounding regions.

Manifestations of the doctrine were on full display during the February 2019 Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland) exercise, which was the largest combat exercise since the establishment of the Turkish Navy and was conducted simultaneously in the Aegean, Black, and Eastern Mediterranean Seas. The Turkish government-controlled media described the exercise as a “war rehearsal.” Another example has been Turkey’s assertive energy claims around the disputed Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In February 2018, Turkey sent naval vessels to stop an Italian drilling vessel on its way to drill for gas off Cyprus’ coast. Then in the spring of 2019, Ankara sent ships into Cypriot waters, escorted by the Turkish navy, to conduct its own drilling activities. European Union member states unanimously denounced those “illegal actions,” expressed their support for Cyprus by restricting EU pre-accession aid to Turkey, and suspended negotiations of an air transport agreement. Israel also encountered Turkey’s naval activism when its oceanographic ship, Bat Galim, operating in Cypriot waters in cooperation with Nicosia, was forced out by Turkish warships. Regional tensions reached a new high in November 2019 when Turkey signed an agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord. The agreement defines a maritime border between the two countries in the Mediterranean Sea and permits Turkey to defend Libya’s maritime interests (which extend to six nautical miles from Crete) as well as allowing for joint extraction of energy resources in the Mediterranean.

To date, Turkey has met little resistance from either the European Union, NATO, or the United States in response to its actions, with the exception of harsh words and limited sanctions. Some EU parliamentarians have denounced Ankara’s “gunboat diplomacy,” and EU high representative Borrell released a declaration stating that EU countries are “growing increasingly concerned about the recent escalations from Turkey.” EU foreign affairs ministers convened on July 13, asking Ankara to provide “clarifications” on its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, and Syria and asking High Representative Borrell to provide options to reinforce the sanctions imposed on Turkey for its gas and oil drilling activities in Cyprus’ EEZ. Secretary of State Pompeo has called Turkey’s illegal drilling in Cypriot waters “unacceptable,” yet this is unlikely to be followed by concrete action given that the Trump administration has not yet imposed legally mandated sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

This lack of a holistic and united transatlantic response to Turkey’s naval actions has emboldened Ankara to take further actions, particularly at a time when Erdogan seeks to project independent power abroad and heighten nationalistic sentiment at home to distract the Turkish population from great economic difficulties. The restoration of Hagia Sophia as a mosque is a powerful example of this policy in action coupled with its military interventions in Libya and Syria. Absent international resolution of the Cypriot and Libyan disputes (which are on the cusp of bringing in other powers, such as Egypt and Israel), President Erdogan has (rightly) concluded that Turkey has more to gain by its unilateral use of hard power and reaching its own diplomatic agreements that suits its needs rather than through broader diplomatic engagement and dialogue.

Escalating Tensions with Allies
As Turkey secures its regional interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, it sets itself on a collision course with official EU and NATO operations, which undermines broader regional and international stability. The first major collision occurred in April 2020 when the European Union launched Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI to implement the UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya. Despite a lack of policy unity over Libya, EU countries agreed on a common objective: the importance of preventing further military escalation by taking joint action to enforce the UN embargo. Turkey denounced IRINI as taking one-sided approach to the embargo that focuses only on constraining the Government of National Accord, which Turkey supports. The U.S. State Department seems to agree. Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker sided with the Turkish interpretation, questioning whether the EU mission was “serious,” because it only focused on interdicting Turkish materiel and not preventing Russian military equipment from reaching Libya.

On June 10 2020, Operation IRINI unsuccessfully tried to investigate a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship, escorted by Turkish warships and headed toward Libya. The Turkish ships prevented the Greek navy from inspecting the vessel, claiming the cargo was “medical equipment.” Tensions further escalated that same day when the French Navy ship Le Courbet, operating in the Eastern Mediterranean in the framework of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, a maritime security operation launched by NATO in 2016 to support maritime situation awareness, counterterrorism, and security capacity building, tried to inspect the same civilian cargo ship. But the Turkish escort intervened again, leading this time to a more aggressive and dangerous incident. According to the French government, Turkish warships turned their fire-control radars on the French warship (the preliminary phase before launching a weapon on a target) and pointed guns at the warship to dissuade any attempts at inspecting the cargo. Ankara rejected these claims, calling them “groundless,” and instead accused the French ship of conducting a “high-speed and dangerous maneuver.” Speaking to reporters in Paris this week, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the United States was “very sympathetic with France” in its dispute with Turkey, and “NATO allies shouldn’t be turning fire control radars on one another.” At France’s request, NATO has launched a formal investigation into the incident, but the results of the investigation have not been released publicly.

The Risk of a Mediterranean Strategic Decoupling
Since the incident, tensions between Turkey and France have escalated as both presidents have used very strong rhetoric against the other. Although it might be tempting to hope that tensions will fade, they are likely to escalate again and have major implications for the European Union, NATO, and the rule of law.

First, tensions have now reached a level where they risk significantly impacting NATO. Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system against the wishes of the United States and its NATO allies, its unilateral military interventions into Syria against Kurdish forces, its frequent military interventions into northern Iraq (its most recent air and ground operation was in mid-June), its violations of Iran (and likely Venezuela) sanctions, its continued probing of Greek airspace, and its recent veto over important NATO plans for the defense of NATO’s eastern flank (which was suddenly lifted days after the naval incident) leads one to conclude that Turkey is increasingly pursuing its national interests over NATO’s collective defense interests. The decision by the United States and other F-35 program partners to remove Turkey from the program (although it continues to contribute to the supply chain) will diminish NATO defenses in general as well as its readiness, interoperability, and effectiveness of NATO’s air defense capabilities. Likewise, the announcement of France’s withdrawal of its forces from NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian following the naval incident with Turkey reduces much-needed naval capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean for both the European Union and NATO to jointly enforce the UN arms embargo in Libya.

NATO has always struggled to articulate and deploy forces to protect and defend its southern flank and has devoted too little strategic attention to the Mediterranean over the last few years while powers such as Russia have consistently reinforced their military presence. With a dramatic increase in conflict as well as migration challenges, NATO and the European Union need to be an effective and unified presence in the Mediterranean despite disagreements with Turkey. The European Union relies on NATO intelligence and other support to execute many of its missions, so a diminished NATO also diminishes the European Union.

Absent more focus on the Mediterranean, Ankara and Southern European NATO members may conclude that the alliance has become, de facto, exclusively focused on its eastern flank. These members may see to protect and pursue their own interests in the region as well, modeling Turkey’s behavior of ad hoc arrangements, new regional alignments, and reversible bilateral understandings, thus creating even greater regional instability.

Second, these tensions reveal troubling divergences between Turkey and the European Union. From the EU perspective, Ankara’s aggressive pursuit of energy interests, disregard for the rule of law within Turkey (which should concern NATO as well), and use of migrants to pressure the European Union and destabilize the European neighborhood are at odds with EU values and interests. In the case of Cyprus, the European Union cannot be an unbiased actor. It supports its member state Cyprus and its ability to advance its economic interests within its EEZ according to international law, as the European Union would with any country elsewhere in the world. And while Turkey is free to pursue its national interests at the expense of collective European interests, its actions move it away from a more constructive partnership or strengthened economic ties with the European Union. And a more problematic EU-Turkey relationship further complicates conflict resolution efforts in the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and the Caucasus.

Eastern Mediterranean Principles
The preamble of NATO’s Charter states that its members pledge to “promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.” All NATO allies, including Turkey, need to promote stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. A first step would be to create an agreed set of principles to include: (1) ensure that all regional partners reap the benefits of energy exploration in the region, with a path toward equitable sharing of energy revenues acting as a confidence-building measure toward restarting the Cyprus peace process; (2) contain Russian influence and presence in the region; (3) ensure NATO’s freedom of action from the Black Sea through to the Mediterranean; (4) work toward regional stability in the Middle East and North Africa region, including counterterrorism efforts; (5) uphold international legal norms and UN resolutions, such as the UN arms embargo on Libya and efforts to reach a cease-fire, as well as countries’ territorial or maritime integrity (regardless of existing disputes); and (6) redouble efforts to avoid future maritime incidents in the Eastern Mediterranean between NATO allies by establishing new procedures.

Stronger U.S. political and security involvement in the region will help strengthen NATO’s resolve in the Eastern Mediterranean, be a bulwark against Russia’s growing military presence, and better balance tensions between France and Turkey. The European Union (and France in particular) will need to identify pragmatic ways to engage with Turkey on a range of issues and not simply denounce its actions. As Turkey’s economic situation deteriorates, greater economic opportunities, such as expanding the EU bilateral trade relationship with Turkey or increasing U.S. foreign direct investment, might encourage Ankara to participate in the development of a regional framework of principles. Unfortunately, these relationships have grown very fragile as tensions have risen, and Turkey’s unilateral actions have significantly destabilized the region. Hopefully, refocusing on a set of agreed principles and incentivizing progress can restore NATO unity and restore focus on protecting its southern flank.

Visits: 416

When the CIA Interferes in Foreign Elections

A Modern-Day History of American Covert Action

By 

This article taken from www.foreignaffairs.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin tends to respond to questions about his government’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a mix of denials and countercharges. It is the United States, he alleged in June 2017, that “all over the world is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries.” The purpose of this claim is to excuse and distract from Russia’s actions, and in many places overseas, it’s working. From Kyiv to Brussels to London, government officials told me that they assume the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) frequently interferes in elections abroad.

This perception is understandable: for decades, it was true. The CIA’s first-ever covert action program was an operation to manipulate Italy’s 1948 election. American intelligence officers spread incendiary propaganda, bankrolled their preferred candidate, and orchestrated grassroots initiatives—all to advantage Italy’s centrist forces over their leftist competitors. After the Italian Communist Party lost, the 1948 operation became “a template,” David Robarge, the CIA’s chief internal historian, told me, for what the agency then did in “many, many countries” in competition with its Soviet counterpart, the KGB. From Chile and Guyana to El Salvador and Japan, the CIA and the KGB targeted democratic elections across the globe. Some of those operations manipulated ballots directly; others manipulated public opinion; all were designed to influence election outcomes.

Then, the Cold War ended, and the opposing objectives of Moscow’s and Washington’s electoral operations—to spread or to contain communism—became obsolete. Since then, Russian intelligence has interfered in many foreign elections, not to advance an ideology but to promote divisive and authoritarian-minded candidates, sow chaos and confusion, and delegitimize the democratic model. But what of the CIA?
Over the past two years, I interviewed more than 130 officials about the century-long history of covert electoral interference, or concealed foreign efforts to manipulate democratic votes of succession. My interviewees included eight former CIA directors and many more CIA officers, as well as directors of national intelligence, secretaries of state, national security advisers, a KGB general, and a former U.S. president. I learned that in the twenty-first century, Washington’s senior-most national security officials have considered using the CIA to interfere in foreign elections at least twice. In one instance—in Serbia in 2000—debate turned into action, as the CIA spent millions of dollars working against the tyrant Slobodan Milosevic. In the other—in Iraq in 2005—the CIA stood down. In both instances, U.S. policymakers weighed the potential benefits of covert action against the perceived risks. These behind-the-scenes stories reveal why, contrary to Putin’s claims, Washington, unlike Moscow, has moved away from the practice of covert electoral interference.

“THERE’S A DEATH THRESHOLD, AND MILOSEVIC CROSSED IT”
The first case arrived in 2000, when Milosevic, the Yugoslav president, was competing for reelection in Serbia. Milosevic was many things: a Moscow-aligned Communist, a Serbian nationalist, and a grave abuser of human rights. In the mid-1990s, he had enabled a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A few years later, he did the same in Kosovo, as his soldiers systemically terrorized, murdered, and expelled ethnic Albanians. The severity of these atrocities prompted NATO, in 1999, to launch an air campaign against Milosevic’s forces and an international court to indict him as a war criminal. Leon Panetta, U.S. President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1997, told me, “Milosevic was viewed as a bad guy and influence and somebody that was going to turn that part of the world upside down if there weren’t steps taken to go after him.”

The 2000 election presented such an opportunity. “I don’t know that we publicly said that our goal was regime change,” said James O’Brien, then Clinton’s special envoy for the Balkans, but “we did not see Milosevic being able to lead a normal country.” From mid-1999 to late 2000, public and private U.S. organizations spent roughly $40 million on Serbian programs, supporting not just Milosevic’s opposition but also the independent media, civic organizations, and get-out-the-vote initiatives. Through this overt engagement, O’Brien explained, the United States aimed to level the playing field in an election that Milosevic was poised to manipulate.

As the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) influenced the Serbian election in the light, the CIA did the same in secret. John Sipher told me that between 1991 and 2014, when he was serving as a CIA operations officer, he knew of just one “successful” operation to interfere in an election: in Serbia in 2000. “There was a covert effort to try to support the opposition to Milosevic,” Sipher said, recalling that after Clinton notified select members of Congress, the CIA went to work “supporting and funding and providing help to specific opposition candidates—that was the main thing.”

Sipher, who became the CIA’s station chief in Serbia just after the election, explained that the agency funneled “certainly millions of dollars” into the anti-Milosevic campaign, mostly by meeting with key aides to Serbian opposition leaders outside their country’s borders and “providing them with cash” on the spot.
As the State Department and U.S.-funded NGOs influenced the Serbian election in the light, the CIA did the same in secret.
In an interview, Clinton confirmed that he authorized the CIA to interfere in the 2000 election in favor of Milosevic’s opponents. “I didn’t have a problem with it,” he told me of the CIA’s covert action program, because Milosevic “was a stone-cold killer and had caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.” Just as Cold War–era U.S. presidents believed they could strengthen foreign democracies by undermining communist candidates, Clinton believed he could strengthen Serbian democracy by working against Milosevic. “The guy was a war criminal,” Clinton told me. “I didn’t consider Milosevic to be a democracy candidate; I thought he was trying to get rid of democracy.”

In Serbia, the CIA’s focus was on influencing minds rather than altering ballots. “We did not rig the vote nor knowingly lie to the voters to get them to support the people we hoped to win,” Clinton explained. Instead, the CIA provided money and other types of assistance to the opposition campaign.

Congressional leaders knew about and backed this secret plan. Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, recalled that when he was briefed on the CIA’s operation, he supported it wholeheartedly. “[Milosevic] was totally out of control,” Lott told me. “We weren’t gonna invade, but it was a mess, and we had to do something.” CIA officers, unlike other U.S. government officials, could operate undercover. “Because of the nature of the way we do business,” explained Douglas Wise, then a CIA operations officer based in the Balkans, “Serbia was a lot more penetrable than it was for people who were much more overt, shall we say.” The U.S. intelligence community’s involvement in the election was “substantial,” Wise continued, as Washington used “all the instruments of our national power to create an outcome that was pleasing for the United States.”
But would it be enough? As the election approached, Clinton worried that Milosevic would cheat his way to victory. “These elections are going to be important, but they probably won’t be fair,” he told Vladimir Putin, Russia’s new president, two and a half weeks before the vote, according to a recently declassified transcript of their conversation. “Milosevic is running behind in the polls, so he’ll probably steal it. It would be preferable for him to lose, but he’ll probably arrange not to.” (Putin, in response, complained about NATO’s intervention the previous year. “We weren’t consulted in the decision to bomb Yugoslavia,” he said. “That’s not fair.”)

U.S. democracy promotion organizations, sharing Clinton’s concerns, sought to ensure that Milosevic could not falsify the vote count. One U.S.-funded NGO trained more than 15,000 activists to monitor polling places. The day of the election, opposition members tallied ballots alongside government officials. The state’s vote count suggested that Milosevic had a narrow lead. The parallel count, however, revealed the truth: he had lost overwhelmingly. Major protests erupted. Milosevic, unable to quell a popular revolution, was forced to resign.

The CIA’s hand remained hidden. Two decades later, now retired American intelligence officers expressed unexplained confidence that their work proved pivotal in defeating Milosevic. Sipher commented on the “success” of the CIA’s operation. Wise said that the United States made “a big difference” and that “a combination” of covert and overt tactics had produced “a positive outcome.” As with all covert operations to influence voters, though, the CIA could not assess its precise impact. “Measuring it is hard,” Sipher recognized. But he noted that Serbian government officials did credit the CIA for their victory behind closed doors. “Many of the key players who became senior figures in the follow-on government continued to meet with us and continued to tell us that it was our efforts that led to their success,” Sipher said, “in terms of helping them with everything, from advertising to financing to how they did things” during the campaign.

In interviews, more senior government officials grew uncomfortable at any mention of the CIA and Milosevic’s defeat. “I know stuff about that, but I’m not able to talk about it,” said John McLaughlin, who was the CIA’s deputy director in 2000. This discomfort made sense: CIA interference in the 2000 election was not representative of the agency’s post–Cold War operations. How often, after all, can a war criminal be ousted by ballot? “There seemed to be a higher comfort level not just in the intelligence part of the world but really just policy writ large that something had to be done in the Balkans,” said Steven Hall, a former CIA operations officer who was stationed in the region in 2000. For Washington, “electoral manipulation” had become “a tool of last resort,” Wise added, and the Serbian case was “the complete exception,” in part because of Milosevic’s atrocities and in part because of the “receptive,” “credible,” and “attractive” nature of the opposition. For such cases, Wise argued generally, “the ends justify the means . . . the risk is you maybe do something that is un-American in the eyes of some.” But the result is “the genocidal maniac is no longer in power.”

When I asked Clinton why covert action was merited in Serbia, he said simply, “There’s a death threshold, and Milosevic crossed it.”

THE CIA IS SIDELINED
In 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush was on the verge of authorizing another such operation. The story unfolded in the White House Situation Room, where, in the summer and fall, national security officials weighed a familiar proposal: for the CIA to engage in covert electoral interference. This time, the target would be Iraq.

In March 2003, the United States had invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, the country’s longtime dictator, and seize weapons of mass destruction that he allegedly possessed. Hussein’s government fell within weeks, but no such weapons were found. Struggling to justify the war, Bush renewed his promise to transform Iraq’s political system. In late 2003, he declared that “Iraqi democracy will succeed” and that its citizens would enjoy popular representation. “For [the U.S. government] at that time it was extremely important to have free and fair elections because that’s actually justifying the invasion,” said Arturo Muñoz, then a senior CIA operations officer. “As long as we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction, we were kind of desperate by then to justify ourselves, so at least we can create democracy in this place.” American democracy promotion organizations poured resources into Iraq. The International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, in particular, launched substantial programs there, helping to produce voter-education materials, train party officials, and facilitate political debates and get-out-the-vote efforts.

The purpose of elections, though, is for voters to determine the direction of their state. In this sense, Bush had a problem: intelligence reports indicated that his preferred candidate, Ayad Allawi, would lose in Iraq’s first-ever parliamentary election, scheduled for January 2005.
The transition from containing Communism to promoting democracy made electoral interference a riskier proposition.
The U.S. intelligence community believed that Iran was manipulating the election in favor of Allawi’s opposition. “Of course, Iran was involved,” said McLaughlin, then the CIA’s deputy director. “Why wouldn’t they be? They’re right next door, they have the capability, and they were close to some of the leadership.” Wise was based in Iraq ahead of the election and a few years later, became the CIA’s station chief there. He described Iranian interference in the Iraqi election as wide-ranging: “We’re talking money, activists, threats, extortion, a paramilitary presence.”

Bush and his advisers debated whether to respond with covert action. John Negroponte, then the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, regularly participated in interagency teleconferences from Baghdad with a sole agenda item: CIA-led electoral interference. “We really thought about it hard,” said Negroponte, who told me that he had been “open to the possibility” in discussions with other senior administration officials.

Deliberations reached a serious enough stage that the White House briefed the congressional leadership on its planning. “[The] top line was that there’s an opportunity here to engage in a way that could provide much more of a guaranteed outcome,” recounted Tom Daschle, then the Senate minority leader. The officials I interviewed could not recall, or were unwilling to share, the operational details of the CIA’s plan, although Daschle told me that it included “a lot of activities that we thought were just untoward and inadvisable.”

For the CIA, interfering in Iraq’s election would be the latest rendition of an age-old operation, and by the fall of 2004, the agency was moving toward action. Allawi had come to expect covert help. “The initial attitude of the U.S. was to support moderate forces, financially and in the media,” he said in 2007. Then, unexpectedly, this assistance “was brought to a halt,” Allawi said, “under the pretext that the U.S. does not want to interfere.”

Within the CIA, Congress, and the White House, an unlikely alliance of officials had united against covert electoral interference. The CIA’s representatives, Negroponte recalled, “least wanted to be involved” with this operation, since it could expose the agency to criticism if detected. McLaughlin, laughing, said that he “wouldn’t disagree” with Negroponte’s recollection. “We had, after all, invaded a country to make it democratic,” he said. “How hypocritical would it be then to subvert their election?” Speaking generally, Muñoz said, “If you’re going to ruin the elections, and it becomes known, and things frequently leak,” then once “word gets out that so-and-so won because the CIA did X, Y, and Z, then you’ve just wrecked the whole foreign policy adventure that you’ve embarked on.”

Congressional leaders also objected to the plan. For Daschle, the arguments against covert action were twofold. The first was a matter of optics: how “terrible it would look” if exposed. The second was normative. “It was no longer the Cold War,” he said. “Doing what we had been doing even twenty years earlier was just not appropriate; it wasn’t keeping with what our country should be all about.” Daschle recalled that Nancy Pelosi, his counterpart in the House of Representatives, was “very vocal” in opposing the plan. Pelosi reportedly found an ally in Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser. “As I heard the debate go on,” Negroponte said, “I realized, ‘It is just not worth it, and people do not want to do it,’ and we rejected it.”

Bush, in attempting to build a democracy, was unwilling to intervene covertly in that democracy’s elections. “You wanted to be pretty much clean and free when it came to interference in their electoral processes,” McLaughlin said. “I was involved in a lot of covert action planning and decisions, and you always have to ask yourself, ‘What are the unintended consequences of what we are proposing to do or thinking about doing?’”

The CIA’s plan was shelved. And come January 2005, Allawi’s coalition lost resoundingly in a contest marred by instability and terrorist attacks. A governing coalition with close ties to Tehran then took power.

A NEW AGE
How, then, has the role of the CIA changed in the post–Cold War period? As Russian intelligence again manipulates elections around the world, the CIA has charted the opposite course. The Serbian operation, according to various U.S. officials, was an “extraordinary” measure that reflected extraordinary circumstances. For the Iraqi election, which did not involve a ruler like Milošević, U.S. policymakers judged that the risks of covert action were too high. In the years since, based on my interviews with the seven directors of the CIA from July 2004 to January 2017, as well as former directors of national intelligence and deputy CIA directors, the logic behind the Iraqi decision has become the norm. Contrary to Putin’s claims, Washington has all but abandoned the use of covert electoral interference.

In interviews about the CIA’s modern covert action programs, the United States’ former spy chiefs fall into two groups. The first insists that the agency no longer engages in covert electoral interference. David Petraeus, who led the CIA in 2011 and 2012, said he is “not aware . . . in more recent times” of such operations. John Brennan, the CIA’s director from 2013 to 2017, offered a more blanket assurance: “With President Obama and President Bush 43, there was never an effort to try to influence the outcome of a democratic election. We believed it was antithetical to the democratic process to do that.” The CIA once targeted foreign elections, he continued, “but over the course of the last 18 years or so, that has not been the case.”

The second group of officials does not speak in absolutes, suggesting instead that the CIA has moved away from, but not necessarily stopped, influencing elections overseas. “There wasn’t much of it. This is not something that intelligence does with anything like the sense of flexibility and freedom that it might have had in the early Cold War,” said McLaughlin, who, as the CIA’s number two in 2000, would have been involved with the Milosevic case. Since then, such operations have, at the very least, been raised at the highest levels. The Bush administration debated the Iraq scheme; the Obama administration weighed similar proposals. “It’s not like these ideas don’t resurface, but at least in [the Obama] administration they would get rejected,” said Tony Blinken, who served in senior national security positions for the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Former CIA director John Brennan testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in Washington, May 2017
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Of this second group, Leon Panetta, the CIA’s director from 2009 to 2011, was the most forthcoming. He said he never “got into” altering votes directly or spreading disinformation. But on rare occasions, his CIA did influence foreign media outlets ahead of elections in order to “change attitudes within the country.” The CIA’s method, Panetta went on, was to “acquire media within a country or within a region that could very well be used for being able to deliver” a specific message or work to “influence those that may own elements of the media to be able to cooperate, work with you in delivering that message.” As in Italy in 1948 or Serbia in 2000, the programs that Panetta described complemented overt propaganda campaigns. “Even though we were operating on a covert basis,” he said, “you had to make sure that the overt methods that were being used at least delivered the same message.” Even this type of operation presented risks. “There is no question it’s a gamble,” Panetta continued, which is why it was an option of last resort and why more aggressive tactics had been sidelined.

Every interview pointed to the same conclusion: for the CIA, covert electoral interference has become the exception rather than the rule. Either the agency no longer seeks to influence election outcomes, as Brennan and Petraeus asserted, or it does so in rare cases when, as with Milosevic, a tyrant can be ousted by ballot. The exact truth is unknown. But this general shift marks a dramatic departure from the Cold War, when the CIA was interfering in the elections of “many, many” countries. Of this evolution, Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence, said, “Frankly, political action of that kind is really part of the past. Iraq convinced me of that. It was just zero appetite for [electoral] intervention.”

Skeptics will insist that the United States’ intelligence chiefs are lying. But considering present-day realities, the skeptics may be the ones defying logic. It would be self-defeating for the CIA to manipulate foreign elections in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. One reason why concerns the end of the Cold War, which robbed the CIA of its long-running purpose: to counter the Soviet Union. Milosevic, for one, was a relic of a previous era. In September 2001, the CIA found a new focus in counterterrorism, which called for drone strikes and paramilitary operations, not electoral interference.

The United States’ post–Cold War leaders declared an era of liberal democracy defined by free and fair elections. This transition, from containing communism to promoting democracy, made covert electoral interference a riskier proposition. As Michael Hayden, a former CIA director, explained, “Meddling in an electoral process cuts across the grain of our own fundamental beliefs. You might want to do it to level the playing field, you might want to do it because of just the demands of national security, but it doesn’t feel right.” McLaughlin elaborated upon Washington’s evolving outlook. “If you are interfering in an election and are exposed as doing so,” he said, “you are a lot more hypocritical than you would have appeared in the Cold War, when that sort of thing tended to be excused as part of the cost of doing business.”

Hypocrisy, however, had not stopped the CIA before. And in recent years, as great-power competition has reemerged, the United States has had a stake in many foreign elections. Changes in high politics, then, only partly explain this shift in CIA activity. The rest of this story has to do with the spread of the Internet, which has exposed American elections to outside interference. Officials in Washington are reluctant to execute the type of operation to which their country has become so vulnerable. “If you’re in a glass house, don’t throw stones,” Petraeus said. “And we’re the biggest glass house when it comes to Internet connectivity.”

The digital age has also made it harder to maintain the secrecy of covert operations to manipulate foreign electorates. “It’s very difficult to keep that kind of activity from ultimately getting out,” Petraeus continued. And for Washington, getting caught matters. “If the United States were identified as having promoted disinformation or tampering with votes in an election, it would undermine our credibility and our policy efforts, given how inconsistent such actions would be with the values we promote, which are at the heart of our soft power,” said Avril Haines, a former deputy CIA director. “The same is not true for Russia.

Visits: 150

Sino-US ties at a crossroads

THE confrontation instigated by the United States with China continues to intensify. The pandemic has escalated tensions between them that were already at a record high before the Covid outbreak. This fraught situation has variously been described as a new Cold War, end of the post-1979 era, a geopolitical turning point and less seriously, a ‘scold war’.

What does this mean for the world’s most consequential relationship? Is this a transformative moment from where ties will have to be completely redefined rather than reset? Will the two global powers arrive at a modus vivendi or will their stand-off become an enduring feature of the international landscape? How much of China-bashing in the US reflects campaign politics in an election year? Is the friction an inevitable result of a global power’s response to the rise of another that can challenge its predominant position — a classic phenomenon witnessed throughout history when power dynamics shift fundamentally?

Is economic decoupling between the two inescapable? Or will present hostilities eventually give way to a restructuring of ties in which relations may end up being fiercely competitive and selectively cooperative but with overtones of hostility?

Clearer answers will emerge over time. But a key factor that could shape future relations will be the US presidential election in November when the next occupant of the White House will have to decide how to manage relations with China: to stabilise the relationship on new terms, or embark on a course of drawn-out confrontation. In both eventualities, a return to engagement that previously characterised relations with China is unlikely.

The future course of Sino-US ties will have far-reaching consequences for the world.

This is because the political consensus and public opinion that has emerged in the US — fanned by President Donald Trump’s actions and rhetoric — sees China as an adversary that has exploited the US on trade and poses a strategic challenge that needs to be countered and contained, not engaged. Many foreign policy advisers of the Democratic contender for the presidency, Joe Biden, also happen to be hawks on China. Therefore, whoever wins the election will likely follow a tough line on China.

Beijing’s interest lies in de-escalating tensions and steadying relations. But it is up against the weight of US-led Western opinion that has become increasingly sceptical and hostile towards China. The European Union which has strong economic equities in ties with China is being assiduously courted by Beijing to encourage it to follow an independent path from Washington. But developments in Hong Kong have added to European suspicions of China.

In the face of Trump’s provocative statements and actions during the pandemic, China has generally kept its cool, reacting sharply only when Washington crossed certain red lines or when Trump’s patently misleading narrative needed to be countered. But top US officials led by Trump have continued virulent criticism of China. This provoked China’s foreign minister Wang Yi to warn that the US was pushing China to the brink of a new Cold War. But he also stressed that both countries had a major responsibility for “world peace and development”, and that “China and the US stand to gain from cooperation, and lose from confrontation”.

There are limits though to China’s forbearance in the face of offensive US actions. There is fresh thinking in Beijing about how to deal with a more antagonistic Washington and growing nationalist sentiment that their country should push back against Western criticism and US bullying. This sentiment is already driving a more assertive Chinese policy in Asia.

China is expected to emerge as the world’s largest economy in a decade. This should itself persuade the US and its Western allies that engagement is necessary in their own interest with a country that will be pivotal to achieving post-pandemic global economic revival and addressing a host of other international challenges. However, this rational calculation and also the fact that China remains Washington’s biggest lender may not be enough to overcome US apprehensions about the challenge posed to America’s global position by China’s rise.

A report titled United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China, submitted by the White House to Congress last month, lays bare these wide-ranging concerns. It says that US National Security Strategy demands that Washington “rethink the failed policies of the past two decades — policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners”. The future approach should be based on “tolerance of greater bilateral friction”.

The report says that America is in strategic competition with China and enumerates the economic and security challenges posed by Beijing. The tone is of a power anxious to counter a strategic challenger whose economic strength and reach have already eroded America’s global pre-eminence. More explicitly, US Defence Secretary Mark Asper declared in February that China is top of the Pentagon’s list of potential adversaries.

In one of the most influential books on Sino-US relations published in 2017, Harvard scholar Graham Allison invoked the ancient Greek historian Thucydides’ depiction of the dangerous trap that emerges when one great power challenges or is poised to displace another. The historian had pointed to the inevitability of war when the fear of the rise of another power determined the established power’s actions. Allison recalled that in 12 of 16 cases in history this dynamic between the two led to conflict.

The need to avoid the Thucydides’ Trap has not only been Allison’s advice but that of several thinkers and policymakers, most notably Henry Kissinger. Allison often quotes Kissinger as saying, “The Thucydides’ Trap is the best lens for looking through the noise and news of the day to the underlying dynamic driving the relationship between the US and China.” Kissinger has also frequently warned of the devastating consequences of falling into this trap and urged the need to place relations on a stable and peaceful course.

The key question is whether the present era’s most significant bilateral relationship will be managed responsibly to avert a complete breakdown, even conflict. After all the future course of Sino-US relations will be a game changer for the world, with far-reaching consequences for the global economy and international peace and security.

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, UK and UN.

This article taken from www.dawn.com

Visits: 136

Redefining National Security for the Post-Pandemic World

This article taken from www.project-syndicate.org

 

Three decades of efforts to broaden the definition of “national security” have largely failed, and it is time to try a new approach. Thinking instead in terms of global security would expand policy discussions beyond national governments and lead to a stronger emphasis on making societies more resilient.

WASHINGTON, DC – The world has spent the last 30 years trying to redefine “national security” in ways that will allow nation-states to prepare for and tackle a wider range of threats to our existence and wellbeing. Alternatively, national security has been juxtaposed with “human security,” again in an effort to focus money and energy on dangers to humanity as much as to national sovereignty.

But those efforts have largely failed, and it is time to try a new approach. Instead of widening our definition of national security, we need to start narrowing it. That means distinguishing national security from global security and putting military security in its place alongside many other equally important but distinct priorities.

We must begin by asking four essential questions: What or who is being protected? What threat or threats are they being protected against? Who is doing the protecting? And how is protection being provided?

In its classic form, national security involves protecting nation-states from military aggression. More precisely, as Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter states, it is about preventing or countering “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Nation-states now face other threats, including cyberattacks and terrorism, although such attacks generally must be sponsored by one state against another to threaten a country’s territorial integrity or political independence. Hence, these threats really qualify as subsets of military security. Climate change, on the other hand, poses an existential threat to many island states as a result of rising sea levels, and similarly endangers already arid countries by contributing to desertification and water scarcity.

Moreover, whereas the world of 1945 was almost entirely defined by nation-states, today’s security experts must also focus on threats that transcend national borders. Unlike military aggression, phenomena such as terrorism, pandemics, global criminal networks, disinformation campaigns, unregulated migration, and shortages of food, water, and energy do not necessarily threaten the political independence or territorial integrity of a particular state. But they do endanger the safety and wellbeing of the world’s people.

The distinction between national and global security is not just semantic. It goes to the heart of the third question: who is doing the protecting? National security is the province of national governments, and of a fairly small group of homogeneous people within them who traditionally have focused almost entirely on military security. Those establishments have expanded in recent years to take account of issues like cybersecurity, health security, and environmental security, but only at the margins.

Thinking in terms of global security, by contrast, opens the door to participation by a far wider group of people – starting with mayors and governors, who are directly responsible for the safety and welfare of the residents of their states, provinces, and cities. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, for example, US city and state officials have been actively engaged in preventing and protecting against future attacks. They are as likely to talk to their counterparts around the world as national diplomats or defense officials are.

Even more broadly, global security has no official designees. CEOs, civic groups, philanthropists, professors, and self-appointed leaders of every description can launch and join efforts to keep all of us safe. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis has provided many instances of effective leadership from sources other than national governments.

For example, while the US and Chinese governments have used the pandemic to ratchet up bilateral tensions, myriad international networks of researchers, foundations, businesses, and government agencies have been working together to develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, with little concern for nationality.

Broader participation in global-security efforts will also increasingly dissolve the boundary between “domestic” and “international” affairs and policy. Health, environment, energy, cybersecurity, and criminal justice have all traditionally been seen as domestic matters, with foreign-policy and security experts regarding defense, diplomacy, and development as entirely separate realms involving relations between countries and international organizations. But this distinction will progressively crumble.

These shifts will in turn create opportunities for a vastly more diverse range of people to sit at the table on global security issues. Despite some gradual changes in conventional military domains in recent years, far more women and people of color occupy prominent positions in city governments, and in fields like health and environmental protection, including environmental justice.

The final piece of the puzzle is how to provide global security. Traditional military security is ultimately focused on winning. But many global threats primarily call for greater resilience – that is, less winning than withstanding. As Sharon Burke of New America has argued, the goal is more to build security at home than to destroy enemies abroad.

We certainly still want to “win,” if winning means prevailing over a virus, or eradicating a terrorist cell or disinformation network. But the deep nature of global threats means they can be reduced, but almost never eliminated. Arming people with the means to recognize and avoid danger, survive trauma, and adapt to new circumstances is a better long-term strategy.

Nearly twice as many Americans have now died of COVID-19 than died in the Vietnam War. But many national leaders in the US and elsewhere remain focused on great-power competition, and appear less concerned with the pandemic’s mounting death toll than with distracting domestic publics by pointing fingers at other countries. And yet the lessons of this crisis will loom large in how we think about and provide for our security in the future.

That will be particularly true for younger generations. New America’s Alexandra Stark, for example, argues that COVID-19 is her generation’s 9/11. Instead of the highly militarized anti-terrorism response that the US adopted in the wake of those attacks, she calls for a new grand strategy “fundamentally oriented around human wellbeing,” refocusing on human health, prosperity, and opportunity. That sounds like security to me.

Visits: 123