The reader can access the article written by our Institute President Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı for Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung from the link below.
The reader can access the article written by our Institute President Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı for Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung from the link below.
The People’s Republic of China is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia ruled by the
Communist Party of China with a one-party regime. It is the world’s most populous country
with approximately 1,400 billion and the second-largest country in terms of land area with 9.6
million km2. When we look at the structure of the country, we see twenty-two states, five
autonomous regions, four directly governed cities, and the special administrative regions of
Hong Kong and Macau. China also claims sovereignty over Taiwan. In this article, we will
talk about China’s place in the world economy.
Up to the Deng Xiaoping term, The People’s Republic of China did not have an open
economy. Considering the year 1977, although it brought a lot of restrictions to the Chinese
people, it became the 30th largest economy, and this situation brought limited freedom and
controlled liberalism with Deng Xiaoping, who came to power in 1978. This was the first step
of openness which can be seen as a critical tool in a strategy for getting development. China
got 2 percent growth after this, and before liberalization, China got just 0.7 percent growth.
Namely, openness provided adding double growth. So, how did openness reveal that
situation? Because openness has four important positive effects: domestic monopolies’ market
power can be limited, opportunities to seek rent are reduced, technologies and organizational
methods are learned, and production scales become large. (Of course, there are disadvantages
which are living destabilizing shocks and getting economic sanctions from trading partners;
but we do not see for China these so much clearly).
With the openness strategy that has been used, there have been changes in the commercial
field. The rate of export materials increased, and the export rate became 14 percent which was
resulted in increasing the income of the export firms in China. This situation was the first
since the 1920s. Also, China got more money, began to manufacture and export to
manufactured goods, such as clothes, toys, machines. In line with all these results, China has
shown very rapid development. Looking at China’s trade with the USA in 1998, while the
USA had a trade deficit, China had a surplus. In addition to all these, China became the 4th
the country in world trade in 2009.
The worldwide financial panic experienced in 1997-1998 did not affect China much due to
its closed economy yet; However, as the measures to be taken in the transition to an open
economy were not paid attention to, some problems arose later. Foreign investors
concentrated in the south of China have also preferred Taiwan, Hong Kong (the former
British colony can be seen as a financial center), and Singapore. While the people living in the
south earned the negative effect in the factories opened as a result of the investments, the
people living in the north made a living from agriculture, which led to in-country migration
after income inequality. There have been many developments in technology and business
management as a positive effect on foreign investment.
China joined the World Trade Organization, which was established in 1995, in 2001. With
this participation, foreign investors’ access to China’s market would be easier and more
secure, and China would make it easier for foreigners to find a business environment, and
reduce customs taxes. Although these things may seem like a burden for China, they actually
contributed to China’s income at first. Because with the formation of the free market, growth
and prosperity have been realized in the economy. The only problematic situation is the
increase in the unemployment rate after the privatization reforms were postponed. However,
these were easily overcome and China is now the second-largest economy in the world.
Today, China is very advanced in technological terms both in civilian and military are.
Because China provides a contribution to its engineers with opening institutes.
Consequently, when we look at the history of the state, which was named the People’s
The Republic of China in 1948, the increase in the country’s earnings with the open economy and
foreign investment can be seen quite clearly. In addition, we see with the example of Hong
Kong that there are certain criteria in the selection of the cities where investment is made.
This region, which was a financial center during the British colonization, was also chosen by
the People’s Republic of China. In addition to these, China, which joined the World Trade
Organization in 2001, has had a lot of duties (reducing customs tax, supporting foreign
investors, etc.) and as a result, it got very good results. Today, it is the second-largest
the economy in the world and is highly developed technologically.
This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu
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
In the 1910s, three important wars which were the First and Second Balkan Wars and First
World War were lived. From these wars, everyone has a different importance. After Balkan
Wars, independence and the map of states were determined, and after the First World War
Kingdom of Yugoslavia was established. Then, after the Second World War, it began to call
the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, and in 1963 its name was changed with the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There were six countries which were Serbia, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro; and two autonomous
regions which were Kosovo and Vojvodina. This regulation had continued to until Tito’s
death in 1980. In this writing, we will look at the historical structure of the Balkans in the
After Tito’s death, the regulation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke
down and Serbia had got more power than other ones. Because of that situation occurring, the
distribution of the federal structure of Yugoslavia was lived. The concrete reason can be seen
as Serbia’s taking president mission from Croatian Stipe Mesiç with the rotation method in
1991. After that, Croatia and Slovenia in 1991, Macedonia (in today Northern Macedonia),
and Bosnia Herzegovina in 1992 got their independence. Although any problem has not
occurred for the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina’s one resulted in war. Also, a meeting was made in Rome to determine of
NATO’s operations area in 1991. According to that meeting, out of area operations can be
made by NATO. However, NATO had not made operations in the Bosnian War until 1994.
After joining the operation, the Serbia army surrendered, and the Dayton Agreement was
signed. Because of Dayton Agreement’s content which was about related to while Kosovo
waits for its independence from autonomy, Serbia has decided to include Kosovo in its
borders, Kosovo Crisis occurred. Kosovo Liberation Army began to attack to Serbian Army,
and United Nations and NATO came for helping to Kosovo. Also, we can say that NATO has
got more action than the Bosnian War years for that crisis. At the end of 1999, Serbia failed,
and the United Nations managed Kosovo by the international community until 2008( Kosovo
gained its independence in 2008).
When we look from Turkey’s perspective to these years, we see that Turkey used the
United Nations, NATO, Islamic Conference, and the Organization for Security and
Co‐operation in Europe for talking on the Balkans. Also, Turkey wanted to get an active role
in the Balkans, but at the beginning of the Bosnian War Turkey was not accepted by other
ones. After Serbia’s attacking became more dangerous and United Nation’s power is not
enough, Turkey got acceptance and sent troops under UNPROFOR. Moreover, although
Turkey had good relations politically and economically with Serbia, after the Bosnian War
and Kosovo Crisis Turkey revised its relations with Serbia. Also, for Kosovo Crisis Turkey
got a military mission under NATO. Turkey got actions with the not only military but also
diplomatically with the United Nations and NATO.
To sum up, with the increasing influence of communism after the Second World War, there
have been certain changes in Yugoslavia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
which was said to consist of 6 social states and 2 autonomous regions until Tito’s death, lost
its balance in the 1980s and Serbia gained weight in the federal structure. When it comes to
the 1990s, we see uprisings in the name of independence. Croatia and Slovenia in 1991,
Macedonia (North Macedonia), and Bosnia Herzegovina declared independence in 1992.
Although Serbia did not get destructive actions against Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia,
Serbia declares war against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, during these years when the
NATO alliance decided to participate in out of area operations, it joined the Bosnian War late.
When it was seen that the force of the United Nations was inadequate against Serbia, NATO
participated and Serbia withdrew as a result of the bombardments. As a result of this war, the
Dayton Agreement was signed and the Kosovo Crisis broke out after the agreement. Turkey is
no longer indifferent to the developments in the Balkans. Turks, Bosnians, and Albanians
living in these lands, who have ties depending on the history, supported financially and
morally and sent troops to NATO by Turkey.
This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu
The tension between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean continues
feverishly. This is because countries can not compromise with other countries to protect
their interests. A legal solution seems difficult due to the limited enforcement power of
The latest tension between the two countries is that the Turkish ship " Oruç Reis" was
sent to search for oil and natural gas in Cyprus. Greece considered this a violation of
sovereign rights and sent warships to the region. This situation has been criticized harshly by
Turkey. President Erdogan also announced that Turkey will react harshly if established
If we consider the event on the basis of international law; The U.N. Convention on the
Law of the Sea asserts that countries may claim a territorial sea extending up to 12 nautical
miles (nm) from their coasts including the sovereignty of offshore oil underwater. Also,
distances of countries up to 200 miles are considered as Exclusive Economic Zone. In other
words, they have the right to benefit from this region economically.
Implementation of this law that is written in countries such as Greece and Turkey are
close together, it becomes difficult. Normally the 12-mile limit was reduced to 6 miles with
the Turkey-Greece because of the proximity. But Greece’s desire to raise this border again
strained the relations. Turkey said it would be a casus belli. Although it seems difficult for the
two NATO countries to fight, it is certain that the tension between them will increase if it is
not resolved diplomatically.
As I mentioned before, international law expects the countries to come to an
agreement and to be resolved since it is not fully authorized on sanctions. Control of small
islands between the two countries to be given to Greece opposes Turkey. And it claims to
have the right to extract oil in these regions. This causes countries to not agree among
Turkey began tracking a tougher stance on foreign policy after the economic
slowdown. From this rule, it is extremely insistent on defending his rights in the Eastern
The Mediterranean. Other European countries see Turkey as a threat and so they do not support it.
The only way to solve this situation seems to be that the two countries agree to share
oil resources in the region. Otherwise, the disagreement on the issue will cause further strain
in the relations between the two countries.
This article is written by Esma Kaya
The USA has a significant effect on the Middle East in a very long time. When we look at
history, we encounter the effect of the USA on the Middle East in the 1920s, after founding
oil in there. The USA took part in the Middle East with the companies which are related to
products of the oil. However, the most active attitudes of the USA was seen after the Second
World War years. Especially, after establishing Israel in 1948, although their relationship got
along slowly, the USA got a policy on the Middle East which was being a leader and
providing security and stability. In this writing, we will look at the USA’s plans on the Middle
East, relations of Israel and the USA, and agreement between Israel, Bahrain, and the United
After the Second World War, there were two powerful states which were the USSR and the
USA. Also, the USA wanted that the USSR could not come into the Middle East area and
change any regulations there. Moreover, the USA was seen as the leader of the West bloc in
the Cold War years, and the USA had to get areas of the oil that had economic and strategic
significance. Also, from 1980 to 1988 Iraq and Iran got war, and because of the USA’s
publishing of the Carter Doctrine which defends that if any state got any intervention on the
Persian Gulf, the USA could take part in that issue, the USA helped Iraq with not only giving
weapons but also helping production of the biological weapons. However, the USA changed
that policy with following in wake of balance policy between these countries. Here, the
USA’s main aim was that not determining which state was powerful, and at the end of the
war, the USA’s want was occurred with anyone’s not gaining war. Moreover, during the Cold
War years, the USA took part in the Middle East, but it was not as much as after the 9/11
attack. After that attack, the USA developed a strategy which was called the National Security
Strategy of the USA. According to that, the most significant point of international politics is
that being more secure and better. Also, to apply that strategy the USA invaded both
Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to these, in today Greater Middle East project which is
related to Morocco, Mauritania, Central Asia, Mongolia, Caucasus, Turkey, the Arab world,
and Somalia’s legal, political, educational, economical, social, and security dimensions of the
“Islamic world” and claims transformation strategy aims for a long-term change in these
The USA was the first state to recognize the state of Israel which was founded in 1948.
However, it would not be correct to say that their relationship is progressing very quickly and
that they were as close as they are today. We can say that after the Iran Revolution in 1979,
the negotiations between the USA and Israel increased and the strategic relationship
developed accordingly. In addition, after the declining influence of Britain in the Middle East
after the 1960s, the changes in the Arabs, Israel’s strongness in the Arab Wars, and the USA’s
support for domestic policy interests, there has been increasing rapprochement with Israel. It
is even possible to see Israel as the most important ally outside of NATO. Today, we can say
that the common interests of the USA and Israel continue due to the threats posed by Iran’s
On 15th September 2020, agreements were signed between Israel and the United Arab
Emirates, and Israel and Bahrain. The USA had an effect on that attempt of these countries,
the USA provided that living in that process faster and in a month. According to that
agreement, these countries will appoint an envoy to each other, and they will try to make
partnerships in economic, social, and political areas. Also, the conflict and problems between
Israel and Arabs can be got rid of with that kind of agreement. On the other hand, the visual
reason for that agreement’s signing is the threat of Iran. In today, there are three blocks which
are Turkey and Qatar; Iran, Syria, Hezballah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, and several
militants in Iraq; Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. From these blocs,
we examine second and third ones. From the second bloc, Iran is the reason for the worries in
both in the USA and in the third bloc because of having nuclear threat. Therefore, the USA
made a meeting in Warsaw in February 2019 with Israel and UAE. Then, September 2020
Israel, Bahrain, and UAE came together and signed agreements about partnership. When we
come to why the USA took part in these, we can answer that with the instability of the region,
preventing regional imbalances of powers and smoothing tradition of the Gulf can be made by
the partnership of the USA with the local ones, this is also good for the USA’s own interests
which we were mentioned before.
To conclude, the USA has an effect on the Middle East since the 1920s, and the
significance of the Middle East to the USA never decrease, on the other hand, after the 9/11
terrorist attack it increased. Moreover, Israel was founded in 1948 and the first recognition
was provided by the USA. In the beginning, their relationship has made the process not fast,
but then with the threat of Iran increased, they became very close. Also, the USA tried to
provide not only good relations to Israel with neighborhoods but also own interests which
were related to instability of the region, preventing regional imbalances of powers and
smoothing tradition of the Gulf.
This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu
Cyprus has a significant part in history at any time for many countries, such as Greece,
Ottoman, England. When we look at the beginning of the 1900s, we see the increase of the
England effect in there after the Ottoman’s power decrease. Also, in the 1930s, Enosis came
to the fore and it was used to mean the “attachment of the island of Cyprus, which was under
the administration of the United Kingdom, to Greece”. With this Greece began to be more
active in Cyprus, and this was not good for neither Turkey nor the United Kingdom. In these
years the war was lived. In the 1950s, the choice of having two governments and two
nationalities with a border on the island was accepted, but also the negotiation plans were
talked. However, this did not continue in a long way. Moreover, the right of the Turkish
minority was crushed, and in 1974 Turkey organized an operation on Cyprus. This was not
seen as the right behavior by other countries. Moreover, after Turkey intervened in Cyprus in
1974, the USA put an embargo on Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and
that situation had continued until Jimmy Carter lifted it in 1977. Then, in 1987 the USA put
an embargo on all of Cyprus in order to a peaceful environment in Cyprus, and good relations
between Greeks and Turkish minorities.
According to today’s news, the USA lift embargo from “only” Southern Cyprus on the 1st
of September 2020. Moreover, that decision will come into force on the 1st of October. What
did change during this time? Why the USA chose just the Southern part when Greece and
Turkey have problems in the Eastern Mediterranean in these days. From the 1990s, the USA
and Southern Cyprus does not have strict relations, and the USA just contributes negotiations
of the Northern and Southern parts of Cyprus. However, after Greece’s voices on the rights of
the Mediterranean Sea increases at the end of June 2020, the USA got the meetings with not
only Greece but also Southern Cyprus. Moreover, the United States Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo said that “the relations of the USA with Southern Cyprus will improve”.s Namely,
the problem in Eastern Mediterranean resulted in occurring good relations between the USA
and Southern Cyprus.
The lifting of the embargo resulted in opposition to the USA and Turkey after fifty-six
years. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey said it was to ignore equality and balance
between the two peoples on the island. In other words, this decision will adversely affect
efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue. Also, these days when efforts are being made to reduce
tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, the USA’s signing of such a decision that poisons the
peace and stability environment in the region, this situation can not be seen as compatible
with the spirit of alliance. This led to a break down of the relation with the USA, and Turkey,
as a guarantor country, so that the appropriate legal and historical responsibility to guarantee
the security of the Turkish Cypriot people will take the necessary steps it will take
determination. Also, Northern Cyprus defends that lifting the embargo will not contribute to
peace, but the conflict of the Greek side. On the other hand, Southern Cyprus’s President
Nicos Anastasiades got pleasure about lifting the embargo and getting improvement relations
with the USA. Also, US officials told the Greek press that lifting the embargo is independent
of the agenda in the Eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, it was emphasized that lifting the
embargo will only apply to non-lethal weapons, and this attempt will continue “just” a year.
However, either just being a year or related to non-lethal weapons this will affect the balance
of power of the Southern and Northern Cyprus.
To sum up, in a manner of today’s Cyprus issue has continued between Greece and Turkey
since the 1930s. In addition, the USA put an embargo firstly Turkey in 1974, Cyprus Peace
Operation, then the USA gave up the embargo on Turkey in 1977. Moreover, in 1987
embargo on not only Northern but also Southern was put by the USA. Also, up to 1st
September 2020, this situation was continued. On that date, the USA repealed the embargo
“just” on Southern Cyprus, although there is a critical situation in the Eastern Mediterranean
between Turkey and Greece today. Because of that Turkey got much more worries about the
balance of power and on the Northern Cyprus citizens. On the other hand, Southern Cyprus
have pleasure, and according to the Mike Pompeo lifting embargo is not related to the Eastern
Mediterranean issue, and this will not affect Northern and Southern Cyprus negotiation about
the unification decision for a bi-zonal bi-communal federation.
This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu
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
Famous Lebanese writer and thinker Amin Maalouf released his last book, ‘Adrift,
How Our World Lost Its Way’ in 2019. This book includes Maalouf’s perspective on the
change of the world in the last decade. Compared to his last two essay books, his ideas
seem more pessimistic in his last book. He foresees a change in the existing world order,
which is based on the decline of the West. Starting from 1979, with Thatcher’s and Reagan’s
administrations, the two big Western powers started to minimize the role of state. This meant
the decline of social states. The Islamic Revolution in Iran followed these two conservative
revolutions. All of these factors coming together, created a transformation in the world order
that lasted until now, according to Maalouf. However, as the concept of social state declined,
people started to feel alienated and left alone. This created tensions in many societies and
caused the demonstrations that are happening in different places of the world, such as Iraq,
Iran, France and Lebanon. People are for a change but they don’t know how the new system
should be. Amin Maalouf relates the crisis in today’s world to the lack of ethical respectability
of people, institutions and discourses and criticizes the Arab countries because of their
effortless attitude about saving themselves from their historically difficult position. His
comments of the Beirut explosion and the following demonstrations in Lebanon are parallel.
Lebanon is a corrupted country, which once carried a potential to be a regional power. It’s
human capital and strategically important position couldn’t be used to become an example to
follow for modernization and development. Instead, the administration is occupied by a
denominational system rather than meritocracy. This leads the young generations to
pessimism about their future and their ideals about using their potential to increase the value
of their country. This is a general problem for the younger generations of countries with
corrupt administrations. After the explosion, Lebanese society decided that they don’t want
to continue living under this system and they asked for a change. Their action is a piece of
the big change that Maalouf describes. Of course, resisting is not equally easy in all regions
of the globe but if the Arab societies are asking for a better life, they have to start asking for
it, instead of continuously blaming the Western world. They have a history of exploitation and
they lack national consciousness due to the unnatural division of their country borders. Also,
they are administered by authoritarian regimes in many countries. Yet, without leaving the
obedient attitude they see the world as under the control of ‘big powers’, any change couldn't
be created. Maalouf compares the change that he foresees, which is happening with the
decline of the West with Titanic. An arrogant, modern, bright civilisation that believes it can
solve any crisis is sinking with its passengers from everywhere and every social class. Just like the Titanic, because it was not seen possible for it to sink, the precautions were not undertaken. We will see if Maalouf is right and if he is, how will the new order be.
This article is written by Beyza Kumanova
For Russia, the question now is not how it will deal with China in the future, but how threatening Beijing’s confrontation with the United States is for its survival right now. If Russia assesses its neighbour’s confrontation with the United States as a systemic one, the task of breaking this Western adversary looks paramount for the survival of the country and its political system, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev. So paramount, that it will be necessary to think about how to arrange relations with China, should it theoretically win a new Cold War. This is to say little of the short-term consequences of such a choice. They are generally of little importance for the development of Russia.
The rivalry of great powers is a common phenomenon in international politics, which has determined its development over several millennia, as war is the main way to resolve interstate conflicts. It can be caused by the revolutionary behaviour of one of the most powerful states, or simply by the objective growth of its power, which causes fear among others. In this sense, the growth of China’s opportunities in the international arena provokes fear in, for example, Russia or Europe, no less than the indignation and desire to stop this growth on the part of the United States. In Thucydides’ formula, “the growth of the power of one increases the fear of the other” the names of specific states are not at all important — the rule is the same for everyone.
When we witness an American offensive against China, we must be aware that it is based on the same emotions that every member of the international community can feel. The difference is that for the United States, the strengthening of China poses a threat to the American way of life and its role in world politics since World War II. For Russia, Europe or India, the rise of China only provokes a natural desire to hedge against the consequences of uncertainty in the foreign policy of states. In modern conditions, a nation has two options: building up its own power capabilities, and/or including relations with China in a complex balance of power.
The growing confrontation between China and the United States is gradually pushing out all other issues from the international agenda, directly or indirectly subordinating them. It is not surprising, in this regard, that other states throughout the world are increasingly thinking about their role in the context of this conflict, and Russia cannot be an exception. So far, most of the US declarations and practical activity in this conflict look like manifestations of internal American confusion, or, at best, an active search for sources of strength to combat Chinese pressure. Even amid conditions where the United States itself has come very close to the brink of an internal civil conflict, most observers are still confident that the US will somehow succeed in defeating China in a new Cold War.
The colossal opportunity that the United States has created over the past 100 years is a fantastic example of “structural strength”, to use Susan Strange’s definition. These opportunities cover not only the military or economic fields, but also the information, ideological, cultural and many other areas. An important source of them is the current political system in the United States. It not only provides the administration with a flow of fresh blood, in which many other states are limited, but also promotes the aggressiveness which is, in principle, inherent in democratic states. China, in turn, has not yet shown a similar willingness to fight; a significant part of its elite is closely integrated with the West and its positions are still strong.
However, even the combination of these factors is not enough to argue decisively, albeit on a purely hypothetical level, that there is no possibility the People’s Republic will survive. And, moreover, to “win” in this confrontation, it will only need only the support of another great power. The question seems to be quite reasonable: how much should such a power be wary of partnership, in order to be successful in achieving its main goals, in the long term? For Russia, this question is no longer purely theoretical. From the moment the tensions between China and the United States became irreversible, the pressure on Russia from both has been considered, among other things, in the context of attempts to secure Russian support in the longer term. 45 years ago, the fact that China sided with the United States in the Cold War became one of the most important external factors in the defeat of the USSR. A partnership with China would alter the dynamic along Russia’s longest border; Moscow would not need to be so concerned about its security.
For more than 10 years, Russia has been actively developing cooperation with other Asian countries. They may be more restrained if Moscow becomes more active on the side of China. The partnership with Japan, for example, is hindered by the question of the Kuril Islands, whose affiliation to Russia is now indirectly enshrined in the Constitution. In the case of South Korea or the ASEAN countries, common wishes over the past 10 years have not led to serious joint projects or investments in the Far East. Assessing the scale of Japanese or Korean investments in Russia, it is difficult to say that even greater restraint on the part of these partners is possible. So, in the case of other Asian countries, Russia is still looking at castles in the sky. Despite all the calls and ideal conditions for doing business, 80 percent of total investments in the Far East are of domestic Russian origin, and of the remaining 20 percent, China accounts for half.
Therefore, in the discussion about Russia’s position in the Sino-American conflict, fears related to the reaction of other countries to deepening cooperation between Moscow and Beijing may not come to the fore. Much more important are the strategic goals of Russia itself and how much China can help achieve them. Let us make a caveat that, in the framework of this analysis, we take Russia’s ability to ensure its own freedom of foreign policy by force as an axiom. Because, if this is not the case, then there is not much to talk about.
In the 1970s, it was so important for the United States to defeat the USSR that it created a significant part of the Chinese economic miracle itself. The author of American policy at the time was Henry Kissinger, one of the best-known realists in international relations. This gives reason to believe that the alliance with Beijing against Moscow was not then viewed in the United States as a guarantee against the fact that in the future they would have to deal with China itself. However, the success in the Cold War was worth creating the “monster” of the Chinese economy, integrated into the liberal economic order, where the norms and customs were determined by the United States. There were those in America who believed that as a result of the policy of reform and openness, China would become part of the liberal order led by the United States. But, as the most serious experts can confirm, such hopes have never been dominant.
Therefore, for Russia the question now is not how it will deal with China sometime in the future, but how threatening its confrontation with the United States is now? If Russia assesses Beijing’s conflict with the United States as a systemic one, the task of breaking this Western adversary looks paramount for the survival of the country and its political system. So paramount, that it will be necessary to think about how to arrange relations with China, should it theoretically win a new Cold War. This is to say little of the short-term consequences of such a choice. They are generally of little importance for the development of Russia.
It is important that Beijing is not the leader of any sufficiently powerful group of states and it is unlikely to become such even if it achieves convincing success in its relations with Washington. For this, China does not have the main thing it would need — a socio-economic model and development ideology that could claim universality. For the United States, the use of globalisation in order to satisfy its selfish interests became possible precisely because it initially represented a revolutionary ideology and was ready to see it “dissolved” in the world around it. China continues to maintain a conservative idea of sovereignty, which is based on its own national interests.
Even if relations between the United States and its allies are not very good now, with the most important of them — the Europeans — America is united by a political structure and basic foreign policy interests. China cannot yet boast of such allies “in blood and spirit” and there is no reason to believe that they will appear. But more importantly, since China is not part or the leader of a bloc, it will not act on the basis of collective interest. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has constantly encountered this interest in the West and had many opportunities to make sure that this interest is able to completely subjugate the individual mind and morals of individual members of the community. In this respect, China is clearly preferable to Europe as a partner, because the European countries will always place their collective interest above the need to think about Russia.
The question of how far support for China should go in these difficult times is not idle or momentary. The answer to it can determine whether its independence in international politics will be determined by its own forces, or will increasingly depend on external factors and the balance of power, taking into account the many opinions — Europe, the United States, or various Asian countries. Strengthening China and weakening the United States as much as possible will leave much more room for Russia’s security to depend only on itself.
This article is taken from valdaiclub.com
By Jeffrey A. Bader
With the November presidential election looming, many China watchers are focused on what the outcome could mean for relations between Washington and Beijing. That question is no doubt a crucial one. At the same time, many trends in that all-important relationship are of course longer-term than one presidential administration. What are the long-term prospects for U.S.-China relations at this stage?
The differences between the United States and China on political, economic, ideological, technological, and security issues are real. They can and must be managed through dialogue, but we can’t pretend that we simply have a communications problem. Both sides know better. The basic framework for the relationship going forward is likely to be strategic competition, with cooperation in discrete areas, hopefully covering many subjects. There could instead be strategic rivalry, which would be more adversarial and require cool heads to manage disputes. Or the relationship could degenerate into a cold war, which would be in the interest of neither the United States nor China.
A U.S.-China cold war would not be like the U.S.-Soviet one, which was largely military and ideological. A cold war would begin with radical decoupling and disengagement, which regrettably we are already seeing. It would descend and expand from there. It would fracture the international community on issues on which there should otherwise be widespread cooperation. It would build walls between economies, scientists, scholars, and ordinary people. It would likely foment ethnic stereotyping, discrimination, and hatred. It would prevent two great civilizations from benefiting from each other’s strengths and contributions. It would exacerbate an arms race that would crowd out domestic priorities. Above all, it would increase the risk of military conflict, even if neither side desires it.
How do we avoid such an outcome? There are fundamental questions the U.S. and China will need to answer.
For the United States: Is it willing to accept a peer competitor, particularly one with a different political system and ideology? In principle, the answer should be yes, but there is an action/reaction mechanism in U.S. politics. An administration that fully accepts China as a peer inevitably will have to endure and beat back harsh attacks from a nationalist opposition. So it will require long-term steadiness, not a one-off decision. The United States can sustain such a view if China accommodates to the traditional stabilizing role of the United States in East Asia rather than seeking to undermine it.
For China: Can it comfortably integrate and assimilate into a rules-based international order created and historically dominated by the United States, and characterized by certain norms, such as on trade, protection of intellectual property rights, privacy, digital freedoms, rule of law, due process, transparency, law of the sea, and human rights? (I would add that it is essential that the U.S. failure to show traditional respect for the rules-based international system over the last several years must be corrected, as well.)
Can China adjust to these norms, or will it simply demand that its national system be respected? Can China find ways to ensure that its activities in international affairs are consistent with these norms, or at least do not undercut them, while maintaining its own political, economic, and social system?
A lesson of the past few years is that, in a globalized world, it is difficult for the international system to function well if there is a large gap in attitudes and practices among major countries regarding these norms.
China made the fundamental decision 40 years ago to join the international system, from which it has derived great benefits and to which it has made important contributions. But the world’s accommodation of China’s unorthodox practices when it was a relatively minor player is a different matter entirely. Today, China has become a dominant actor. China, along with the United States, is now an elephant in the canoe. The elephants have to be careful, or they can swamp the canoe and everyone in it.
For understandable historical reasons, China is especially fierce in safeguarding its sovereignty and asserting the sovereignty of nations and non-interference as the foundational principles of international norms. No more than the United States can China be expected to renounce that position. But China will need to do more than invoke its sovereignty under Westphalian principles if it is to be a leader in the international system and enjoy its full benefits. The country has not yet completed the journey it began in 1978 toward full integration into the international rules-based system. For example, it needs to accept the full obligations of developed countries in the World Trade Organization, open its internet and level the information technology sector playing field for foreign participation on a reciprocal basis, and provide complete transparency to the World Health Organization and international health experts.
It will need to lead by example. It will be hard for China to make such changes. The United States can provide an example, and serve its own interests, by showing that it intends to adhere to the rules-based system that it played the key role in creating.
This article is taken from www.brookings.edu
BY JAVIER SOLANA
Lebanon is mired in its most serious crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, and the recent explosion in Beirut is just the tip of the iceberg. Any hope the country might have of rising from its ashes will lie, as in Tunisia, in allowing local voices to ring loud and dynamic social movements to develop from the bottom up.
MADRID – “The intellectual capital of the Arab East” and “the ideal place for maximum flowering and pluralism” is how the writer Amin Maalouf, one of Beirut’s most celebrated sons, has described the city as it was in the 1960s. In his latest work, The Shipwreck of Civilizations, Maalouf charts the decline of that vibrant and resplendent Lebanon after it was razed by the same sectarianism that robbed so many countries in the Middle East of a promising future.
At the beginning of August, much of the Lebanese capital was literally razed by a huge explosion at its port. All indications suggest that the tragedy was the result of repeated negligence directly linked to the country’s political sclerosis. On the eve of the disaster, the Lebanese foreign minister had resigned, warning that narrow party interests threatened to turn Lebanon into a failed state.
The explosion in Beirut is just the tip of the iceberg. Lebanon was already experiencing a deep economic and financial crisis that prompted a wave of protests last October against political deadlock, systemic corruption, and the continued interference of foreign powers. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse.
The United Nations World Food Program estimates that the price of food in Lebanon rose by 109% between October 2019 and June 2020. To this must be added the effects of COVID-19, which have been aggravated by the chaos resulting from the explosion. Moreover, this troubled country has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world: today, displaced Syrians make up 30% of the population.
Lebanon is mired in its most serious crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, although in fact the country has never succeeded in closing the door on that bloody chapter. Its recent trajectory represents a paradigmatic case of what the British academic Mary Kaldor calls “new wars.” In this type of conflict, opposing factions seek to encourage extremist identities and perpetuate hostilities, because doing so gives them free rein to pursue extractive policies.
Furthermore, factional leaders tend to use peace agreements to consolidate their positions of power and patronage networks, as was the case with the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war. This pact slightly modified the confessional quota system that has prevailed in the country’s public bodies since independence, hindering effective governance and the construction of a national identity.
As Kaldor points out, peace agreements often don’t even end the violence. The emergence of the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah during Lebanon’s post-civil-war period attests to that. The group, which many countries classify as a terrorist organization, has used Iranian and Syrian support to establish what has come to be regarded as a state within a state. On August 18, a United Nations-backed special tribunal found a member of Hezbollah guilty of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a truck bombing that also claimed the lives of 21 other people. Hezbollah’s leadership, however, was exonerated.
In short, Lebanon has been adrift for many years, and the international community simply cannot look the other way. Let us not forget that the predecessor of the current Lebanese state was conceived precisely a century ago by the victorious powers of World War I, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The League of Nations placed Lebanon under a French mandate that lasted until 1943, and France maintains close relations with the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut two days after the explosion and subsequently hosted a UN-backed virtual donor conference, emphasizing that France and other world powers have an obligation to provide emergency aid to Lebanon immediately. The European Union has done this quickly and generously.
But the West, in particular, has a broader historic responsibility that includes encouraging effective governance systems in Lebanon and the rest of the region. All too often, however, it has not been equal to this task, resorting to interventionist excesses and paternalistic attitudes in its desire to assert control.
The case of Libya, for example, shows how Western arrogance in backing regime change without viable reconstruction plans can contribute to state failure. Above all, any policy initiative undertaken on humanitarian grounds should respect a basic maxim of medicine: primum non nocere – “first, do no harm.”
This article is taken from www.project-syndicate.org/
BY TARIK OĞUZLU
Analyzing the causes of Turkey’s gradual estrangement from the West in recent years would be incomplete if one didn’t discuss the reasons why Turkish decision-makers feel quite comfortable in their interactions with their Chinese, Russian and Iranian counterparts. In addition to emerging ruptures in Turkey’s strategic cooperation with the United States during the Barack Obama and Donald Trump presidencies, as well as the declining appeal of European Union membership in Turkish eyes over the last decade, the allure of the East should be factored into the analysis of Turkey’s recent strategic orientation.
When the decreasing western imprint on Turkey’s strategic posturing is combined with the growing attractiveness of the Eastern option, one can better understand why Turkey has of late found itself in opposition to western powers in the wider Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Despite the lack of a uniform western position on Turkey’s strategic preferences in such regions, it would not be an overestimation to argue that the strategic gap between Turkey and key western powers seems to have widened in recent years. The ongoing confrontation between Turkey and Greece over the contours of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean region; the emergence of an anti-Turkey block comprising Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and the French and American support for this block from the outside all attest to the fact that Turkey’s strategic priorities do not find receptive ears in many western countries and the traditional western allies in the wider Middle East.
While Turkey’s relations with Western countries have worsened in the past decade, its relations with rising Eurasian powers, notably China, Russia and Iran, in political, economic and strategic realms have dramatically improved simultaneously. Despite historical roots of animosity and structural and ideological causes of rivalry between Turkey and these three countries, Turkish leaders have succeeded in compartmentalizing their relations with them. Worth underlining here is that while the latest national security and national defense strategies of Trump’s America characterized these three countries as major challengers and rivals of the U.S., Turkey’s cooperation with them over the last three years has further deepened.
Similar to these three countries, Turkey also comes from an imperial legacy and an imperial geopolitical vision has occupied Turkey’s political agenda from time to time. Turkish ruling elites have increasingly redefined their country in an imperial fashion in that Turkey deserves to have influence in the post-Ottoman geographies. The primacy of state elites in defining national preferences, security interests and the strategies to be adopted to deal with them in a top-down fashion is common to all of them. The state is deemed sacred and omnipotent in all of these societies. Defining national interests and security policies from the perspective of the state is a practice shared by them all.
These societies are also conservative, seeking to preserve traditional societal, political and cultural values against liberal, postmodern and hedonistic Western values. State and society are defined as constitutive of each other. If policies being adopted in the name of strengthening liberal democratic transformation were to imperil the cohesive and harmonious nature of the society, then such policies should be abandoned immediately. It is no wonder that in all these countries, a mixture of ethnic nationalism and religious conservatism has increasingly shaped national identities in recent years.
Ruling elites in these countries tend to interpret strong Western support for further liberalization and democratization in their neighborhood as part of larger geopolitical designs concocted in Western capitals to contain their growing geopolitical influence. Just as Russia has been extremely against the so-called color revolutions in the post-Soviet space, Chinese leaders interpret the Western calls for improvement of human rights in Tibet and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as an intervention in China’s internal affairs. While the regime in Tehran thinks that Western nations never miss any opportunity to stir chaos in the country, Turkey has adopted a skeptical attitude toward Western attempts at regime change whenever it felt this would damage its own territorial integrity. It can be argued that Turkey’s ruling elites interpreted the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013 as a Western ploy against the ruling government and therefore adopted sharp measures to suppress them. Their common perception of exclusion from the West seems also to have brought Turkey and these countries much closer to each other in recent times
Societies in these countries seem to provide fertile ground for strong and charismatic leaders to flourish. Holding strong executive powers in their hands, mobilizing their societies behind national grandeur, defining their nations as living organisms that need wealth, power and space to exist and survive, claiming to represent the national will against the corrupt elites detached from the society, and offering simple and mostly emotional solutions to the complex and multifaceted problems of their societies in a globalizing and shrinking world are common leadership traits of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and China’s Xi Jinping. Strong personal chemistry also exists among these leaders, and they have met each other numerous times in the recent past.
All these countries also believe that the U.S.-led liberal international order has long been in terminal decline and that the emerging international order should be defined in a multipolar fashion whereby non-Western powers are in a much better position to determine the constitutive rules and norms. Claims to cosmopolitan morality and universal human rights face strong criticism in these countries.
This article is taken from Daily Sabah
How do recent developments of the world have changed the concept of power? What does
power and being powerful mean within the new framework of this new world? What can be
told about the new scope of the power, powerful actors and the future of these new powerful
actors? Moises Naim, in his book The End Of Power: From Boardrooms To Battlefields And
Churches To States, Why Being In Charge Is Not What It Used To Be which was published by
Basic Books in 2013, focuses on developing insightful arguments and clear explanations for
those questions. Despite the much-debated conventional argument on accelerated
concentration of power within the hands of very few people in the new millennium, Naim
puts spotlight on a different debate on power, and aims to explain how power decays and
loses its edge. According to Naim, however, power is decaying and no longer buys as much as
it was in the past because it is easier to get, harder to use and easier to lose. What could be the
underlying explanation behind this argument? This paper aims to interpret Naim’s arguments
on power and hopes to bring a comprehensive understanding on the impact of the recent
global developments on using the power as a way for influence.
Naim focuses on definitions of power, influence and measurement of the power as three main
concepts; muscle, reward, code and pitch as four channels of the power, and The More
Revolution, The Mobility Revolution and The Mentality Revolution as three major
developments of the modern world which have scattered the power among increasing
numbers of newer and smaller players from diverse and unexpected origins. Although power
required size, scope, history and tradition in the past, those barriers no longer shield the mega-
players from being challenged by micro-powers. By putting the challenge between mega-
players as traditional powers and micro-powers as the new incumbents at the centre of his
argument, Naim starts by criticizing the two debates about the impact of the internet and
changing geo-politics on changing dynamics of the power. He mainly argues that neither the
birth of internet nor the changing politics can explain the new power dynamics alone unless
the three revolutions and their role in power decay is kept in mind. According to Naim,
different than the influence which can be defined as the capacity to change the behaviour of
others by changing the perception of situation rather than the situation itself, the power is the
ability to direct or prevent the current or future actions of individuals and groups; and can be
measured by understanding the channels to exert it. The use of force (muscle), carrot
(reward), moral obligations (code) and convincing with advertisement (pitch) in the right way
help to manipulate other party’s decision by changing the assessment of the situation no
matter this change evolves to an improvement in the situation or not. In the past, using these
channels and holding power required size and capacity. The barriers mentioned above,
however, do not facilitate concentration of the power any more due to increased numbers of
identities, motivations, abilities and attributes of the players. Today, a micro-power may
easily develop the ability to use the four channels of power and overcome the old barriers by
focusing on those identities, motivations and abilities.
Here it is important to clarify what he means by referring to power decay. Up until the
beginning of the 19 th century, big size, scale, centralized and hierarchical Weberian type
organizations had enjoyed the concentrated power in their hands because entry barriers to
markets, transaction costs, regulations and licensing procedures helped them to form
monopolies and prevented small powers to challenge those big power centres. Birth of the
internet and the end of Cold War, however, facilitated three revolutions and decoupled the
power from size and capacity; which, in return, eroded the capacity for effectively managing
the control of money, resources and loyalty of people. This, as a result, generated a power
decay and decreased the capability for using power as those mega-players did in the past. As
Naim argues, global developments created more of everything in quantity and quality where
the population size, standards of living, level of literacy, quantity of products, number of
countries, number of terrorist organizations, natural disasters, environmental threats and even
the number of economic crises increased due to the More Revolution. Parallel to that, Money,
goods, people, ideas, values, labour, migrants and information started to flow faster and easier
with the internet and mobile phones which led to the Mobility Revolution. These revolutions,
in return, created a shift in the mindsets of people and new aspirations and expectations of
huge-sized populations challenged authorities more than ever thanks to the Mentality
Revolution. Today, it is much more difficult for states and mega-players to reward people and
buy their loyalty because there are many options for them. Moral obligations and traditional
dogmas are no longer taken for granted by the people where cost of loyalty has increased due
to the awareness of universal values in addition to new alternatives and opportunities in the
In today’s world, unlike the Cold War times, rising middle class started to challenge despotic
leaders and authoritarian governments where lifespan of governments is shorter than before.
Thanks to the Mobility Revolution, as Naim notes, an individual travels the world cheaper
than before and this global individual can easily erode the power capacity of centralized
authorities by just using social media power. Not only political leaders but also international
regulators, social media campaigners, interest groups and a stockholder in finance markets are
the actors in governing. A hacker can challenge the security of the state, a terrorist group or a
non-state military actor can easily destroy a country psychologically where Naim gives the
example of the drones used by Hezbollah to attack Israel. As it was seen in 9/11 attacks,
hegemons have also the limits in providing security for their own people. The monopoly of
the state in use of violence is heavily challenged and private armies or drug cartels forcefully
or voluntarily shared the role of security with national military armies. This monopoly is
challenged not only in security but also in foreign affairs where government-organized non-
governmental organizations (Naim uses the term Gongos) are representing states abroad
together with Ambassadors. At the end of the day, the rule of geopolitics has changed in such
a way that small countries started to use economic diplomacy and soft policy to challenge big
countries, by facilitating economic tools such as intellectual property and licensing rights or
other instruments such as religious, ideological or ethnic arguments. The internet, in this
respect, enabled small countries to challenge big powers economically where domination of
markets by few companies from the West is no longer applicable. Today, Skype from Estonia
can easily compete with Google, Qatar can use soft diplomacy after it bought Volkswagen or
Paris St. Germain football club. All in all, entry barriers against small powers are no longer
applicable due to the three revolutions and mega-players can no longer enjoy the same
comfort zone for their power concentration as in the past, even though they did not totally
In depth-analysis of Naim’s book reveal that he criticized the conventional debate on
concentration of power in the hands of very few people and argues that it is a power elite
myth. As a matter of fact, half of the total wealth of the whole world concentrated in the
hands of 26 individuals by 2019, which was 41 individuals in 2017, 62 in 2016 and 388 in
2010. Here, it is important to note that Naim focuses on the influential capacity of the power
rather than concentration of it. That is to say, despite its concentration in terms of material
resources or monetary terms, money or material capitals are no longer the source of the ability
to buy the loyalty of people. In other words, concentration of wealth does not necessarily
mean to use the channels of power to change the behaviour or perception of others. A 16
years-old youtuber or an individual social media influencer may be more powerful than the
wealthiest individual in terms of buying loyalty of people by convincing them through pitch.
Likewise, a radical fanatic may easily challenge the security of the same wealthiest individual
with his improvised explosive integrated to a drone, which may cost only a few dollars. As
Naim clarifies, power concentration does not prevent the power decay where concentrated
power loses its ability to control those four channels as it did in the past.
This insightful book about power decay may drive three key conclusions about the recent
global developments. The world is smaller in geographical terms however the scope, ability,
needs, alternatives and expectations of individuals are much higher than in the past. Although
the power play is not in equal terms, opportunities for gaining power is more equal but also
losing it is easier than in the past. Finally, being powerful does not mean being secure or
being resourceful in manipulating others’ decisions anymore.
This book review is written by Dr. Burak Kürkçü
Turkey, Qatar, and U.S. domestic politics loom just as large as the Islamic Republic in the Middle Eastern powers’ decision to normalize relations.
by Matthew Petti
Israel will establish diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and hold off on the U.S.-backed plan to annex part of the Palestinian territories, all three countries announced Thursday.
The UAE and Israel have long cooperated on countering Iranian influence, but the latest move portends more cooperation on other issues, including the growing Turkish-Qatari alliance. And it comes as U.S. President Donald Trump comes looking for a diplomatic breakthrough ahead of November’s elections.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the United States, Israel, and the UAE claimed in a joint statement.
The two sides will be establishing a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East” alongside the United States, according to the statement.
The only other Arab countries to have formal relations with Israel are Egypt and Jordan. The UAE is the first Persian Gulf nation to normalize its relations with Israel.
“Formalizing what has been an informal relationship is a wise move by both parties,” said International Institute for Strategic Studies fellow and former U.S. diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick. “It wins them plaudits from across the political spectrum in the U.S. and strengthens their de facto partnership vis-a-vis Iran.”
The threat of Iran has long loomed large in the UAE-Israeli relationship. Both sides opposed the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and both sides are currently pushing for the United Nations to impose an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
But the move also came just a week after Iranian and UAE foreign ministers held a rare public meeting, signaling that UAE-Iranian relations are beginning to warm.
“Why is this happening now? It has nothing to do with Iran,” said Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute. “The word that would sum it up best is Turkey.”
Turkey, Israel, Qatar, and the UAE were once all part of the same pro-U.S. bloc in the Middle East.
Their relations soured during the Arab Spring, when Turkey and Qatar backed uprisings by populist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, while the UAE supported established regimes.
“Why the UAE and not any other Gulf country?” Ibish said. “Israel and the UAE share the same threat perception in a unique way. They agree on Iran, but then they agree on Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Qatar.”
The UAE-Israeli deal comes as Turkey ramps up its regional efforts along several different fronts.
In recent months, Turkish forces have launched massive offensives against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq, intervened against the UAE-backed strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya, backed Azerbaijan in its post-Soviet territorial dispute with Armenia, and confronted the Greek Navy in disputed waters.
Just this week, Israeli officials formally declared their support for Greece in the eastern Mediterranean dispute.
Israel, however, is not totally aligned against Qatar’s regional activities. Qatar helps finance the unrecognized Palestinian statelet in Gaza in exchange for keeping the Israeli-Gazan border quiet.
Israel’s state broadcaster reported on Wednesday that Israeli officials were asking Qatar to renew its payments to Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas, as militants began to launch explosive balloons across the border.
“Everybody needs somebody to do it,” said Ibish. “If the Hamas regime in Gaza collapsed with nothing to replace it, that’s worse for everyone.”
He said even close UAE allies like Egypt worry that groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda could fill the power vacuum.
The Israeli-UAE deal now opens space for the UAE to appear as a champion of Palestinian rights, as it has apparently suspended Israel’s plans to annex parts of the disputed West Bank.
“The UAE can boast of being the only Arab state to successfully limit Israeli expansion, even though Israel didn’t want to annex the West Bank anyway,” Fitzpatrick claimed.
Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan would have allowed Israel to annex its settlements in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian leaders denounced the plan as a sham and neighboring Jordan warned that annexation would undermine the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.
Israel pressed ahead, claiming that it would begin annexing territory by July 1.
But the Israeli government was bogged down by the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility of the fourth round of elections in less than two years, and July 1 passed with no announcements.
The U.S.-Israeli-UAE joint statement credits UAE diplomacy for stopping annexation.
“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President [Donald] Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over” disputed Palestinian territories “and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to the statement.
The statement adds that “[t]he parties will continue their efforts…to achieve a just, comprehensive and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The statement still leaves the door open for annexation at a later date. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is “still committed” to annexing the disputed territories.
Palestinian leaders were not thrilled with the Israeli-UAE deal, and the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority referred to it as a “betrayal of Jerusalem.”
“The Palestinian Authority is very, very weak,” said Israel Policy Forum policy advisor Shira Efron. “This will probably weaken it further, because it’s a failure of its strategy.”
Normalization of relations with Arab countries had been a very strong “incentive” for Israel “to go for peace with the Palestinians,” she explained at a Wednesday video conference hosted by the Israel Policy Forum, and this leverage has now been “taken away” from the Palestinians.
The Israel Policy Forum noted in a statement attached to the event that “beginning the process of normalization with the UAE is not the same as achieving regional peace or a permanent status agreement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
But the appearance of progress has already helped ingratiate Israel and the UAE with both parties in Washington—both Republicans looking to salvage the Trump peace plan, and Democrats uneasy with prior Israeli plans to annex Palestinian territory.
“We hope this provides a good foundation for building on the vision for peace that the President has laid out, and I wanted to just thank all the participants—the Emiratis, the Israelis, and all of the team on the United States side—that brought this to fruition,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R–Idaho) called the Israeli-UAE announcement a “historic agreement” with “the potential to dramatically improve relationships across the Middle East.”
“I look forward to greater collaboration between two key U.S. partners as we address common challenges and shared threats across the region,” he said in a statement.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D–N.Y.) had similar praise.
“This is a mutually beneficial step that will strengthen both countries,” he said in a statement. “I hope that this new breakthrough will give courage to other countries to move forward toward normalization and motivate Palestinians to give peace a chance