Turkey’s gradual estrangement from the West and the allure of the East

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

Visits: 123

Israel and the UAE Just Made Peace. Is It About Iran—Or Turkey?

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

Visits: 420

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: 136

The old transatlantic relationship ain’t coming back

This article written by Paul Taylor

Even if Joe Biden replaces Donald Trump as US president, Europe will have to learn to carry its share of the burden.

With those four words, uttered at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Joe Biden warmed the hearts of Europeans despairing at the erratic, indifferent and at times openly hostile foreign policy of U.S. President Donald Trump.

But even if the Democratic presidential contender wins the election (an increasingly likely “if” should Biden prove able to maintain his advantage in the polls), it’ll take more than warm feelings to get the transatlantic relationship back on track.

With or without a reliable partner in the White House, the European Union and Europe’s leading powers will have to learn to live in a world in which Washington may still be the ultimate guarantor of the Continent’s security, but won’t have the bandwidth to fix all the region’s many problems. And in which they will be required to do more to prove the utility of the transatlantic partnership.

Like Trump, Biden will expect Europe and NATO to carry more of the security burden in the Middle East.

“We can’t just wait till Biden arrives. We need to have a plan,” says David O’Sullivan, who was the EU’s ambassador to Washington until last year. “What’s our offer? The United States is our indispensable partner for the foreseeable future. It is in our interest to bolster American leadership rather than undermine it. What price are we prepared to pay to achieve a balanced agenda?”

In his speech in Munich, Biden called for a reform of NATO to meet threats unique to the 21st century and promised “serious coordination and consensus-building.” In recent speeches and articles, he has vowed to return on “day one” of his presidency to the Paris accord on fighting climate change and to the World Health Organization. He has also pledged to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal torn up by Trump if Tehran resumes full compliance, and to reaffirm unequivocally NATO’s mutual defense clause.
All that will be welcome news to European policymakers looking to rebuild one of the most successful partnerships in history and respond to global challenges alongside the U.S., instead of reacting defensively to pre-dawn Twitter storms from the irascible tweeter-in-chief.

But while a Democratic administration in Washington can be expected to consult allies more, be more active diplomatically and be more supportive of international institutions, a Biden presidency will not mark a return to the post-World War II era in which Europe could afford to live comfortably under the American umbrella.
Gerard Araud, a former French ambassador to Washington, argues that Trump’s nationalist isolationism is not an aberration. On the contrary, he says it is deeply rooted in historic U.S. suspicion of foreign entanglements. And whoever ends up in the White House in 2021, there will be no return to liberal interventionism or to global American hegemony.

“Trump is following in the footsteps of [former U.S. President Barack] Obama, who understood the exhaustion of the American people with overseas involvements,” Araud wrote in his book “Diplomatic Passport,” published late last year.

“Style matters, and [Trump’s] approach is brutal, unilateral and non-cooperative, but the common thread of a relative disengagement from the international scene is probably irreversible.”
Would a Biden administration be more willing to step in if Turkey used force to press its continental shelf claims in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean? If Lebanon descended into civil strife and famine after the Beirut port catastrophe, prompting a flood of refugees? If the proxy war in Libya pitting the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia against Turkey and Qatar escalated? Or if Russia intervened in Belarus to crush protests following a disputed election?

Washington’s strategic pivot toward East Asia and away from Europe and the Middle East, which began under Obama, entails a permanent redeployment of military power and economic focus in response to China’s accelerating ascent as the main challenger to U.S. global dominance.

Like Trump, Biden will expect Europe and NATO to carry more of the security burden in the Middle East. European governments might be more inclined to help if U.S. policy on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reverted from Trump’s unilateral pursuit of regime change in Tehran and of a peace deal overwhelmingly slanted toward Israel. But whether the Europeans have the means or the political will to tackle any of these challenges is highly doubtful.

The real litmus test of U.S.-European cooperation under a Biden administration is likely to come over China, on which the Europeans are far from united among themselves but are eager to avoid being dragged into a new Cold War by Trump.

Tony Blinken, one of Biden’s senior foreign policy advisers, says how to handle Beijing is the most important question a Democratic president would face.

“There’s no more important relationship in the world than U.S.-China. We have to work together to get it right,” he told a recent Chatham House videoconference. A Biden administration would approach it by working with allies and “showing up in institutions instead of going AWOL.”

Given this new reality, it will take more than hope or wishful thinking, which abound in the corridors of Brussels, to put the transatlantic partnership back in gear. In short, Europe needs to stop treating the U.S. as a protective Big Brother it can always count on to scare away the neighborhood bullies — and more like an equal in a partnership in which both sides carry the burden.

If Biden makes good on his day-one promises, Europeans should be ready to respond with “deliverables” of their own, to borrow the ghastly bureaucratic terminology.

A more self-confident Europe should offer a President Biden a grown-up partnership, but not subservience.

They should offer to work with Washington to reform the World Trade Organization and renew transatlantic trade talks with new flexibility on agriculture and aerospace subsidies if Washington scraps punitive tariffs on EU goods.

European countries, including France, should agree to hold off on implementing digital taxes if the U.S. reengages in a good faith negotiation of corporate taxation principles at the OECD with a fixed deadline. They should also step up their common defense efforts to complement NATO with a stronger European pillar, and get firmer with China by insisting on investment reciprocity and the protection of critical infrastructure and technology.

The EU should also suggest a permanent transatlantic consultative forum on sensitive issues of technology transfer and investment — open to partners such as Canada, Japan and Australia.

In exchange, it should seek a U.S. commitment to forgo the kind of extraterritorial secondary sanctions used by the Trump administration that weaponize the dollar’s dominance of the international payments system to penalize foreign companies accused of breaching U.S. national sanctions against Iran or other targeted countries.

It is not certain that Biden would be willing or able to end this constant irritant in transatlantic ties, which is often spearheaded by Congress. But EU governments should make clear that this is a condition for good faith cooperation among allies in addressing the strategic challenge of China and others.

A more self-confident Europe should offer a President Biden a grown-up partnership, but not subservience. In a dangerous and uncertain world, rebuilding transatlantic ties after Trump’s wrecking spree must be the foundation for the post-COVID recovery, which is the top priority on both sides of the Atlantic.

This article taken from www.politico.eu

Visits: 105

How Hegemony Ends

Multiple signs point to a crisis in global order. The uncoordinated international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturns, the resurgence of nationalist politics, and the hardening of state borders all seem to herald the emergence of a less cooperative and more fragile international system. According to many observers, these developments underscore the dangers of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” policies and his retreat from global leadership.

Even before the pandemic, Trump routinely criticized the value of alliances and institutions such as NATO, supported the breakup of the European Union, withdrew from a host of international agreements and organizations, and pandered to autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He has questioned the merits of placing liberal values such as democracy and human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Trump’s clear preference for zero-sum, transactional politics further supports the notion that the United States is abandoning its commitment to promoting a liberal international order.

Some analysts believe that the United States can still turn this around, by restoring the strategies by which it, from the end of World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War, built and sustained a successful international order. If a post-Trump United States could reclaim the responsibilities of global power, then this era—including the pandemic that will define it—could stand as a temporary aberration rather than a step on the way to permanent disarray.

After all, predictions of American decline and a shift in international order are far from new—and they have been consistently wrong. In the middle of the 1980s, many analysts believed that U.S. leadership was on the way out. The Bretton Woods system had collapsed in the 1970s; the United States faced increasing competition from European and East Asian economies, notably West Germany and Japan; and the Soviet Union looked like an enduring feature of world politics. By the end of 1991, however, the Soviet Union had formally dissolved, Japan was entering its “lost decade” of economic stagnation, and the expensive task of integration consumed a reunified Germany. The United States experienced a decade of booming technological innovation and unexpectedly high economic growth. The result was what many hailed as a “unipolar moment” of American hegemony.

But this time really is different. The very forces that made U.S. hegemony so durable before are today driving its dissolution. Three developments enabled the post–Cold War U.S.-led order. First, with the defeat of communism, the United States faced no major global ideological project that could rival its own. Second, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its accompanying infrastructure of institutions and partnerships, weaker states lacked significant alternatives to the United States and its Western allies when it came to securing military, economic, and political support. And third, transnational activists and movements were spreading liberal values and norms that bolstered the liberal order.

Today, those same dynamics have turned against the United States: a vicious cycle that erodes U.S. power has replaced the virtuous cycles that once reinforced it. With the rise of great powers such as China and Russia, autocratic and illiberal projects rival the U.S.-led liberal international system. Developing countries—and even many developed ones—can seek alternative patrons rather than remain dependent on Western largess and support. And illiberal, often right-wing transnational networks are pressing against the norms and pieties of the liberal international order that once seemed so implacable. In short, U.S. global leadership is not simply in retreat; it is unraveling. And the decline is not cyclical but permanent.

THE VANISHING UNIPOLAR MOMENT
It may seem strange to talk of permanent decline when the United States spends more on its military than its next seven rivals combined and maintains an unparalleled network of overseas military bases. Military power played an important role in creating and maintaining U.S. preeminence in the 1990s and early years of this century; no other country could extend credible security guarantees across the entire international system. But U.S. military dominance was less a function of defense budgets—in real terms, U.S. military spending decreased during the 1990s and only ballooned after the September 11 attacks—than of several other factors: the disappearance of the Soviet Union as a competitor, the growing technological advantage enjoyed by the U.S. military, and the willingness of most of the world’s second-tier powers to rely on the United States rather than build up their own military forces. If the emergence of the United States as a unipolar power was mostly contingent on the dissolution of the Soviet Union, then the continuation of that unipolarity through the subsequent decade stemmed from the fact that Asian and European allies were content to subscribe to U.S. hegemony.

Talk of the unipolar moment obscures crucial features of world politics that formed the basis of U.S. dominance. The breakup of the Soviet Union finally closed the door on the only project of global ordering that could rival capitalism. Marxism-Leninism (and its offshoots) mostly disappeared as a source of ideological competition. Its associated transnational infrastructure—its institutions, practices, and networks, including the Warsaw Pact, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and the Soviet Union itself—all imploded. Without Soviet support, most Moscow-affiliated countries, insurgent groups, and political movements decided it was better to either throw in the towel or get on the U.S. bandwagon. By the middle of the 1990s, there existed only one dominant framework for international norms and rules: the liberal international system of alliances and institutions anchored in Washington.

The United States and its allies—referred to in breezy shorthand as “the West”—together enjoyed a de facto patronage monopoly during the period of unipolarity. With some limited exceptions, they offered the only significant source of security, economic goods, and political support and legitimacy. Developing countries could no longer exert leverage over Washington by threatening to turn to Moscow or point to the risk of a communist takeover to shield themselves from having to make domestic reforms. The sweep of Western power and influence was so untrammeled that many policymakers came to believe in the permanent triumph of liberalism. Most governments saw no viable alternative.

During the 1990s, most governments saw no viable alternative to Western sources of support.
With no other source of support, countries were more likely to adhere to the conditions of the Western aid they received. Autocrats faced severe international criticism and heavy demands from Western-controlled international organizations. Yes, democratic powers continued to protect certain autocratic states (such as oil-rich Saudi Arabia) from such demands for strategic and economic reasons. And leading democracies, including the United States, themselves violated international norms concerning human, civil, and political rights, most dramatically in the form of torture and extraordinary renditions during the so-called war on terror. But even these hypocritical exceptions reinforced the hegemony of the liberal order, because they sparked widespread condemnation that reaffirmed liberal principles and because U.S. officials continued to voice commitment to liberal norms.

Meanwhile, an expanding number of transnational networks—often dubbed “international civil society”—propped up the emerging architecture of the post–Cold War international order. These groups and individuals served as the foot soldiers of U.S. hegemony by spreading broadly liberal norms and practices. The collapse of centrally planned economies in the postcommunist world invited waves of Western consultants and contractors to help usher in market reforms—sometimes with disastrous consequences, as in Russia and Ukraine, where Western-backed shock therapy impoverished tens of millions while creating a class of wealthy oligarchs who turned former state assets into personal empires. International financial institutions, government regulators, central bankers, and economists worked to build an elite consensus in favor of free trade and the movement of capital across borders.

Civil society groups also sought to steer postcommunist and developing countries toward Western models of liberal democracy. Teams of Western experts advised governments on the design of new constitutions, legal reforms, and multiparty systems. International observers, most of them from Western democracies, monitored elections in far-flung countries. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) advocating the expansion of human rights, gender equality, and environmental protections forged alliances with sympathetic states and media outlets. The work of transnational activists, scholarly communities, and social movements helped build an overarching liberal project of economic and political integration. Throughout the 1990s, these forces helped produce an illusion of an unassailable liberal order resting on durable U.S. global hegemony. That illusion is now in tatters.

THE GREAT-POWER COMEBACK
Today, other great powers offer rival conceptions of global order, often autocratic ones that appeal to many leaders of weaker states. The West no longer presides over a monopoly of patronage. New regional organizations and illiberal transnational networks contest U.S. influence. Long-term shifts in the global economy, particularly the rise of China, account for many of these developments. These changes have transformed the geopolitical landscape.

In April 1997, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Boris Yeltsin pledged “to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order.” For years, many Western scholars and policymakers downplayed or dismissed such challenges as wishful rhetoric. Beijing remained committed to the rules and norms of the U.S.-led order, they argued, pointing out that China continued to benefit from the current system. Even as Russia grew increasingly assertive in its condemnation of the United States in the first decade of this century and called for a more multipolar world, observers didn’t think that Moscow could muster support from any significant allies. Analysts in the West specifically doubted that Beijing and Moscow could overcome decades of mistrust and rivalry to cooperate against U.S. efforts to maintain and shape the international order.

Such skepticism made sense at the height of U.S. global hegemony in the 1990s and even remained plausible through much of the following decade. But the 1997 declaration now looks like a blueprint for how Beijing and Moscow have tried to reorder international politics in the last 20 years. China and Russia now directly contest liberal aspects of the international order from within that order’s institutions and forums; at the same time, they are building an alternative order through new institutions and venues in which they wield greater influence and can de-emphasize human rights and civil liberties.
At the United Nations, for example, the two countries routinely consult on votes and initiatives. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, they have coordinated their opposition to criticize Western interventions and calls for regime change; they have vetoed Western-sponsored proposals on Syria and efforts to impose sanctions on Venezuela and Yemen. In the UN General Assembly, between 2006 and 2018, China and Russia voted the same way 86 percent of the time, more frequently than during the 78 percent voting accord the two shared between 1991 and 2005. By contrast, since 2005, China and the United States have agreed only 21 percent of the time. Beijing and Moscow have also led UN initiatives to promote new norms, most notably in the arena of cyberspace, that privilege national sovereignty over individual rights, limit the doctrine of the responsibility to protect, and curtail the power of Western-sponsored human rights resolutions.

China and Russia have also been at the forefront of creating new international institutions and regional forums that exclude the United States and the West more broadly. Perhaps the most well known of these is the BRICS grouping, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Since 2006, the group has presented itself as a dynamic setting for the discussion of matters of international order and global leadership, including building alternatives to Western-controlled institutions in the areas of Internet governance, international payment systems, and development assistance. In 2016, the BRICS countries created the New Development Bank, which is dedicated to financing infrastructure projects in the developing world.

China and Russia have each also pushed a plethora of new regional security organizations—including the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism—and economic institutions, including the Chinese-run Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)—a security organization that promotes cooperation among security services and oversees biennial military exercises—was founded in 2001 at the initiative of both Beijing and Moscow. It added India and Pakistan as full members in 2017. The net result is the emergence of parallel structures of global governance that are dominated by authoritarian states and that compete with older, more liberal structures.

China and Russia have been at the forefront of creating new forums that exclude the United States.
Critics often dismiss the BRICS, the EAEU, and the SCO as “talk shops” in which member states do little to actually resolve problems or otherwise engage in meaningful cooperation. But most other international institutions are no different. Even when they prove unable to solve collective problems, regional organizations allow their members to affirm common values and boost the stature of the powers that convene these forums. They generate denser diplomatic ties among their members, which, in turn, make it easier for those members to build military and political coalitions. In short, these organizations constitute a critical part of the infrastructure of international order, an infrastructure that was dominated by Western democracies after the end of the Cold War. Indeed, this new array of non-Western organizations has brought transnational governance mechanisms into regions such as Central Asia, which were previously disconnected from many institutions of global governance. Since 2001, most Central Asian states have joined the SCO, the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, the EAEU, the AIIB, and the Chinese infrastructure investment project known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

China and Russia are also now pushing into areas traditionally dominated by the United States and its allies; for example, China convenes the 17+1 group with states in central and eastern Europe and the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum in Latin America. These groupings provide states in these regions with new arenas for partnership and support while also challenging the cohesion of traditional Western blocs; just days before the 16+1 group expanded to include the EU member Greece in April 2020, the European Commission moved to designate China a “systemic rival” amid concerns that BRI deals in Europe were undercutting EU regulations and standards.

Beijing and Moscow appear to be successfully managing their alliance of convenience, defying predictions that they would be unable to tolerate each other’s international projects. This has even been the case in areas in which their divergent interests could lead to significant tensions. Russia vocally supports China’s BRI, despite its inroads into Central Asia, which Moscow still considers its backyard. In fact, since 2017, the Kremlin’s rhetoric has shifted from talking about a clearly demarcated Russian “sphere of influence” in Eurasia to embracing a “Greater Eurasia” in which Chinese-led investment and integration dovetails with Russian efforts to shut out Western influence. Moscow followed a similar pattern when Beijing first proposed the formation of the AIIB in 2015. The Russian Ministry of Finance initially refused to back the bank, but the Kremlin changed course after seeing which way the wind was blowing; Russia formally joined the bank at the end of the year.

China has also proved willing to accommodate Russian concerns and sensitivities. China joined the other BRICS countries in abstaining from condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, even though doing so clearly contravened China’s long-standing opposition to separatism and violations of territorial integrity. Moreover, the Trump administration’s trade war with China has given Beijing additional incentives to support Russian efforts to develop alternatives to the Western-controlled SWIFT international payment system and dollar-denominated trade so as to undermine the global reach of U.S. sanctions regimes.

THE END OF THE PATRONAGE MONOPOLY
China and Russia are not the only states seeking to make world politics more favorable to nondemocratic regimes and less amenable to U.S. hegemony. As early as 2007, lending by “rogue donors” such as then oil-rich Venezuela raised the possibility that such no-strings-attached assistance might undermine Western aid initiatives designed to encourage governments to embrace liberal reforms.

Since then, Chinese state-affiliated lenders, such as the China Development Bank, have opened substantial lines of credit across Africa and the developing world. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, China became an important source of loans and emergency funding for countries that could not access, or were excluded from, Western financial institutions. During the financial crisis, China extended over $75 billion in loans for energy deals to countries in Latin America—Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela—and to Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan in Eurasia.

China is not the only alternative patron. After the Arab Spring, Gulf states such as Qatar lent money to Egypt, allowing Cairo to avoid turning to the International Monetary Fund during a turbulent time. But China has been by far the most ambitious country in this regard. An AidData study found that total Chinese foreign aid assistance between 2000 and 2014 reached $354 billion, nearing the U.S. total of $395 billion. China has since surpassed annual U.S. aid disbursals. Moreover, Chinese aid undermines Western efforts to spread liberal norms. Several studies suggest that although Chinese funds have fueled development in many countries, they also have stoked blatant corruption and habits of regime patronage. In countries emerging from war, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and South Sudan, Chinese development and reconstruction aid flowed to victorious governments, insulating them from international pressure to accommodate their domestic foes and adopt more liberal models of peacemaking and reconciliation.

Chinese state-affiliated lenders have opened substantial lines of credit across the developing world.
The end of the West’s monopoly on patronage has seen the concurrent rise of fiery populist nationalists even in countries that were firmly embedded in the United States’ economic and security orbit. The likes of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have painted themselves as guardians of domestic sovereignty against liberal subversion. They dismiss Western concerns about democratic backsliding in their countries and emphasize the growing importance of their economic and security relationships with China and Russia. In the case of the Philippines, Duterte recently terminated a two-decade-old military treaty with the United States after Washington canceled the visa of the former national chief of police, who is accused of human rights violations in the Philippines’ bloody and controversial war on drugs.

Of course, some of these specific challenges to U.S. leadership will wax and wane since they stem from shifting political circumstances and the dispositions of individual leaders. But the expansion of “exit options”—of alternative patrons, institutions, and political models—now seems a permanent feature of international politics. Governments have much more room to maneuver. Even when states do not actively switch patrons, the possibility that they could provides them with greater leverage. As a result, China and Russia have the latitude to contest U.S. hegemony and construct alternative orders.

CENTRIFUGAL FORCES
Another important shift marks a break from the post–Cold War unipolar moment. The transnational civil society networks that stitched together the liberal international order no longer enjoy the power and influence they once had. Illiberal competitors now challenge them in many areas, including gender rights, multiculturalism, and the principles of liberal democratic governance. Some of these centrifugal forces have originated in the United States and western European countries themselves. For instance, the U.S. lobbying group the National Rifle Association worked transnationally to successfully defeat a proposed antigun referendum in Brazil in 2005, where it built an alliance with domestic right-wing political movements; over a decade later, the Brazilian political firebrand Jair Bolsonaro tapped into this same network to help propel himself to the presidency. The World Congress of Families, initially founded by U.S.-based Christian organizations in 1997, is now a transnational network, supported by Eurasian oligarchs, that convenes prominent social conservatives from dozens of countries to build global opposition to LGBTQ and reproductive rights.

Autocratic regimes have found ways to limit—or even eliminate—the influence of liberal transnational advocacy networks and reform-minded NGOs. The so-called color revolutions in the post-Soviet world in the first decade of this century and the 2010–11 Arab Spring in the Middle East played a key role in this process. They alarmed authoritarian and illiberal governments, which increasingly saw the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy as threats to their survival. In response, such regimes curtailed the influence of NGOs with foreign connections. They imposed tight restrictions on receiving foreign funds, proscribed various political activities, and labeled certain activists “foreign agents.”

Some governments now sponsor their own NGOs both to suppress liberalizing pressures at home and to contest the liberal order abroad. For example, in response to Western support of young activists during the color revolutions, the Kremlin founded the youth group Nashi to mobilize young people in support of the state. The Red Cross Society of China, China’s oldest government-organized NGO, has delivered medical supplies to European countries in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign. These regimes also use digital platforms and social media to disrupt antigovernment mobilization and advocacy. Russia has likewise deployed such tools abroad in its information operations and electoral meddling in democratic states.

Some of the forces driving the unraveling of the liberal order have originated in the United States itself.
Two developments helped accelerate the illiberal turn in the West: the Great Recession of 2008 and the refugee crisis in Europe in 2015. Over the last decade, illiberal networks—generally but not exclusively on the right—have challenged the establishment consensus within the West. Some groups and figures question the merits of continued membership in major institutions of the liberal order, such as the European Union and NATO. Many right-wing movements in the West receive both financial and moral support from Moscow, which backs “dark money” operations that promote narrow oligarchic interests in the United States and far-right political parties in Europe with the hope of weakening democratic governments and cultivating future allies. In Italy, the anti-immigrant party Lega is currently the most popular party despite revelations of its attempt to win illegal financial support from Moscow. In France, the National Rally, which also has a history of Russian backing, remains a powerful force in domestic politics.

These developments echo the ways in which “counter-order” movements have helped precipitate the decline of hegemonic powers in the past. Transnational networks played crucial roles in both upholding and challenging prior international orders. For example, Protestant networks helped erode Spanish power in early modern Europe, most notably by supporting the Dutch Revolt in the sixteenth century. Liberal and republican movements, especially in the context of the revolutions across Europe in 1848, played a part in undermining the Concert of Europe, which tried to manage international order on the continent in the first half of the nineteenth century. The rise of fascist and communist transnational networks helped produce the global power struggle of World War II. Counter-order movements achieved political power in countries such as Germany, Italy, and Japan, leading those nations to break from or try to assail existing structures of international order. But even less successful counter-order movements can still undermine the cohesion of hegemonic powers and their allies.

Not every illiberal or right-wing movement that opposes the U.S.-led order seeks to challenge U.S. leadership or turns to Russia as an exemplar of strong cultural conservatism. Nonetheless, such movements are helping polarize politics in advanced industrial democracies and weaken support for the order’s institutions. One of them has even captured the White House: Trumpism, which is best understood as a counter-order movement with a transnational reach that targets the alliances and partnerships central to U.S. hegemony.

CONSERVING THE U.S. SYSTEM
Great-power contestation, the end of the West’s monopoly on patronage, and the emergence of movements that oppose the liberal international system have all altered the global order over which Washington has presided since the end of the Cold War. In many respects, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be further accelerating the erosion of U.S. hegemony. China has increased its influence in the World Health Organization and other global institutions in the wake of the Trump administration’s attempts to defund and scapegoat the public health body. Beijing and Moscow are portraying themselves as providers of emergency goods and medical supplies, including to European countries such as Italy, Serbia, and Spain, and even to the United States. Illiberal governments worldwide are using the pandemic as cover for restricting media freedom and cracking down on political opposition and civil society. Although the United States still enjoys military supremacy, that dimension of U.S. dominance is especially ill suited to deal with this global crisis and its ripple effects.

Even if the core of the U.S. hegemonic system—which consists mostly of long-standing Asian and European allies and rests on norms and institutions developed during the Cold War—remains robust, and even if, as many champions of the liberal order suggest will happen, the United States and the European Union can leverage their combined economic and military might to their advantage, the fact is that Washington will have to get used to an increasingly contested and complex international order. There is no easy fix for this. No amount of military spending can reverse the processes driving the unraveling of U.S. hegemony. Even if Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, knocks out Trump in the presidential election later this year, or if the Republican Party repudiates Trumpism, the disintegration will continue.

The key questions now concern how far the unraveling will spread. Will core allies decouple from the U.S. hegemonic system? How long, and to what extent, can the United States maintain financial and monetary dominance? The most favorable outcome will require a clear repudiation of Trumpism in the United States and a commitment to rebuild liberal democratic institutions in the core. At both the domestic and the international level, such efforts will necessitate alliances among center-right, center-left, and progressive political parties and networks.

What U.S. policymakers can do is plan for the world after global hegemony. If they help preserve the core of the American system, U.S. officials can ensure that the United States leads the strongest military and economic coalition in a world of multiple centers of power, rather than finding itself on the losing side of most contests over the shape of the new international order. To this end, the United States should reinvigorate the beleaguered and understaffed State Department, rebuilding and more effectively using its diplomatic resources. Smart statecraft will allow a great power to navigate a world defined by competing interests and shifting alliances.

U.S. policymakers must plan for the world after global hegemony.
The United States lacks both the will and the resources to consistently outbid China and other emerging powers for the allegiance of governments. It will be impossible to secure the commitment of some countries to U.S. visions of international order. Many of those governments have come to view the U.S.-led order as a threat to their autonomy, if not their survival. And some governments that still welcome a U.S.-led liberal order now contend with populist and other illiberal movements that oppose it.

Even at the peak of the unipolar moment, Washington did not always get its way. Now, for the U.S. political and economic model to retain considerable appeal, the United States has to first get its own house in order. China will face its own obstacles in producing an alternative system; Beijing may irk partners and clients with its pressure tactics and its opaque and often corrupt deals. A reinvigorated U.S. foreign policy apparatus should be able to exercise significant influence on international order even in the absence of global hegemony. But to succeed, Washington must recognize that the world no longer resembles the historically anomalous period of the 1990s and the first decade of this century. The unipolar moment has passed, and it isn’t coming back.

This article taken from www.foreignaffairs.com

Visits: 870

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: 417

Power Changes and Economy in Turkey

There was never an idea that was the sole sovereign in Turkey. There has therefore been a
diversity of power in the country since the past. Especially between 1960 and 1980, there was
an extreme change of power. Each time these changes of government brought with them new
ideas and new changes in the field of Economics. Thus, capital groups have changed
periodically. For example, in the early years of the Republic, the great landowners were
important to the economy and represented the bourgeoisie. Between 1960 and 1970, industrial
capital came to the fore. After the 1974, we see the place of trade in the economy.
Between 1950 and 1960, the Democratic Party was in power in Turkey. During this period,
the statist economic system was tried to be abandoned and a liberal economy was preferred.
Turkey turned to agriculture and stopped being an industrial country. Foreign capital was
encouraged, and a large amount of foreign debt was taken on. The number of tractors
increased from 1,000 in 1945 to 40,000 in 1955. These steps, which are not quite right, have
brought a number of problems to Turkey. The end of the Korean War and Europe's
improvement in agriculture reduced exports. The liberalization of foreign trade caused a trade
deficit. Thus, the economy became dependent on the outside. As a result of this period,
Turkey experienced an economic revolution and no significant successes have been achieved
in order to increase the share of private enterprise in the economy. In this period, the inflation
external pay problems and accordingly, the devaluation phenomenon has been the subject of
the agenda.
The period between 1960-80 is the period of coups in Turkey. These coups have prevented
the economy and democratization. It is one of the parameters that caused these coups to the
economic problems he experienced in the late 1950s. Due to changing forces, economic plans

could not be long-term, the goal was simply to eliminate existing problems. The importance
of exports and foreign capital in foreign economic relations is emphasized and while
encouraging, it is aimed to give weight to goods that will increase domestic production in
imports. In foreign economic relations, incentives have been started to bring the economy in
line with the conditions of external competition and to open Turkish industry to world
markets.

In the face of this precarious situation, urgent new arrangements were made after 1980.
Their primary goal is to prevent inflation, external through export growth achieving
equilibrium and free market conditions in the economy January 24 decisions to ensure that the
country's current industrial sector production it is based on the arrangement of its structure by
opening up to external competition. Thus, the volume of dental trade went on an upswing. If the crisis in 2001 is kept out, during this period, gross national product grew by 32.8%, while
exports increased by one-fold and imports by one-and-a-half. In the same period, Turkey's
foreign debt increased 2.3 times. As a result, growth and GDP per capita doubled by 2008.
Import-based trade boom with US, Far East and Russia. Exports to the Middle East and Africa
outweigh imports, and the start of negotiations with the EU has positively affected trade with
the EU. Turkey's total external debt has increased exponentially; in 2017, the public external
debt has increased to $ 129.5 billion, the CBRT external debt to $ 704 billion and the private
sector external debt to $ 307 billion and the share of the external debt in GDP has been
51.9%.
As a result, the economic process in Turkey is constantly changing. the new moral values
produced in order to secure the new power of the ruling new class have created new political,
military and economic bonds. The party, which is generally in power, has made
transformative movements in the sense of their ideology.

This article written by Elif Su Yatkın.

Visits: 112

Russian Referendum

In Russia, with referendum held between June 25 and July 1, Putin launches the law he could
become president until 2036 and got more politic force. According to Montesquieu, some
nations should be ruled by democracy and the others should be ruled by autocracy. Russia has
been ruled by autocratic leaders throughout most of its history, including the imperial period and
the Soviet Republic period. Putin, who saw the disintegration of the Soviet Union as the disaster
of the 20th century, restricted the characteristics of Russian republics unlike Yeltsin ,who is the
older president of Russia.
Although Russia has developed economically since 1991, there are still some problems. The
main problems of Russia are population decline and economy dependent only on the arms and
energy industry
Each region has different characteristics that affect its voters. Although this situation brings
differences and similarities together in Europe, Russia’s social life and political movements are
very different from Europe.
Despite the reforms of Peter the Great in the early 18th century, Russia, which did not develop
sufficiently, remained an agricultural society. Russia, which could not keep up with this in the
19th century while a major industrialization was taking place in Europe, continued its old social
life. Karl Marx and no political theorists did not expect a revolution in Russia. But the
transformation that started in 1905 brought the revolution in 1917 and the USSR was
established in 1922 as a result of the civil war.
According to Putin, Russia’s modern autocratic structure is an advantage. By comparing himself
with Trump, he emphasizes that he will not question a governor or prosecutor’s decision. This
shows that the centuries-old Russian autocratic rule is still valid and adopted by leaders and
bureaucrats.

This article written by Mehmet Berkay Bilge.

Visits: 114

The effect of the Libyan Civil War on the relationship between France and Italy

After the Muammer Kaddafi is overthrown in the year 2011; the rival groups’ desire of
obtaining power by controlling the lands and oil resources of Libyan have been increased and
it caused a civil war in Libya. In this process, France and Italy are two of the main political
actors that work for gaining foreign political interests by using the outcomes of the civil war
in Libya. After the elections done in June 25, 2014; the second civil war erupted, and two
independent governments occurred in Libya which divided the state in two regimes. One of
them is called House of Representatives which placed in the far east of the country; Tobruk
and headed by Aguila Saleh Issa. Therewithal, the government against it which is named as
Government of National Accord is established under United Nations through mediation of
Italy and by the guidance of the Libyan Political Agreement that signed on 17 December
2015. Then, on March 30, 2016 the Government of National Accord came to Tripoli with 18
ministers under the leadership of Fayez al-Sarraj. Thereby, the conflicts and disagreements
between two governments has been officially started. The results of conflicts and recent
developments that emerge during the civil war can be easily influenced by the economic and
politic competition between these two countries: France and Italy.
On the side of France, the policies that are implemented during the war can play the
key role about having the control over the Africa’s coastal region by using Mediterranean’s
strategical location and gathering the countries like; Chad, Sudan and Niger which are
neighbours of Libya and under a political sphere to achieve two-staged population area.
That’s why France Government continue to support the Caliph Hafter by increasing its’
diplomatic actions about military and economy in domestic and international level. In
addition, we can show as an example the fact that they gave antitank missiles which made by
United States to Hafter in July 2019. Besides to military and financial aids they did, the armed
struggle that they went into against the Government of National Accord had caused the
French government to reconsider its policies against this civil war. On the other hand, the
Italian administration evaluates the situation under geopolitical reasons by highlighting Libya
is a neighboring country to Italy and the country being the only country where Italy maintains
'private' relations among North African countries. Due to these reasons, Libya has a crucial
role in Italy's foreign policy in terms of economy and security. Italy has been the most
affected European country by the civil war, as it invested heavily in Libya, including in the
energy field. Due to the important role of Italy in Libya, the Macron government aims to

strengthen its relations with Italy in order to achieve its strategic goals. In addition, the
relationship between the two countries has gained importance to eliminate the problems that
emerged in the Rome due to the French stance on Libya and to fill the strategic leadership gap
in the European Union (EU). Although the Italian government has implemented a partial
balancing policy against France, the civil war in Libya has been a key factor in emerging a
strategic and economic competition between Italy and France.

This article written by Yaşar Bora Togo

Visits: 250

Analysis of No Man’s Land Film

 

The film" No Man's Land " was shot by Danis Tanovic in 2001. The Film was highly
acclaimed and received many awards internationally. Bosnian Tchiki and Tsera find
themselves in an empty trench on enemy lines due to fog. With Nino the Serb coming to the
trench for control, events begin to develop. But the soldiers who come for control place mines
under Tsera, which they think is dead. Tchiki, hiding inside, opens fire on Serbian soldiers.
The soldier who planted the mine dies and Nino is wounded. Thus, the trio must cooperate in
order to get out of the ceasefire line. For the stuck soldiers, the peacekeepers go to the area
despite the opposition of their superiors. With the involvement of the press, the situation
reaches a different dimension.
The Film clearly contains an UNPROFOR critique. The incompetence of peacekeepers has
been rendered in many ways. Some of the criticisms are that the chain of command is quite
long, the lack of sufficient information and the inability to make quick decisions. The United
Nations sets new rules for each situation and has no fixed rules. These decisions, therefore
implemented as ad-hock, delay interventions. Accordingly, soldiers cannot move without
orders, and most operations end in failure. The goal of peacekeepers is to ensure peace as
soon as possible. The areas of movement to use force are not flexible at all, they can only use
weapons when self-defense is required. Therefore, the effects remain insufficient. In the film,
we can see the criticism of this by the soldiers calling the peacekeepers "Smurfs." This is not
the only failed operation of the peacekeepers. We also see criticism of their lack of
insufficient power in the film "Rwanda Hotel" or the crisis in Yugoslavia. Captain Dubois,
who orders the soldiers to stay in place, comes across as not giving enough importance to the
people. The captain says he can't risk his own soldiers for other soldiers. This is an
unacceptable order for a peacemaker. We are also witnessing the importance of the role of the

media in the film. The British reporter listening to the military radio understands that
peacekeepers are not telling the truth and follows an idealistic attitude to reflect the truth to
the public.
Last but not least, we see the passivity shown by the UN forces in the past years in the
Bosnian war. Here we can conclude that the causes of the glitches should be examined. The
United Nations must find a solution to the conflict between the principle of non-interference
in internal affairs and the protection of human rights. The final scene of Tsera lying
motionless on the mine is a reference to the uncertainty of the future.

This article written by Elif Su Yatkın

Visits: 155

SUN TZU – ART of WAR – Book Review

SUN TZU – ART of WAR

Art of War written by Sun Tzu 2500 years ago in China. Taoism has influenced it
significantly. Ideas in Art of War not only helped war situations also it helped today’s
businesspeople. Japan’s modernization process used ideas in the book. These examples show
that Art of War is a classic which is not only about war but almost all human relations.

I am going to analyze the book chapter by chapter because every chapter has ties inside it.

I. Laying Plans: In this chapter Sun Tzu explains how war making, civil life and
political life connected each other. How effective making plans and preparations on
result of a war. (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5)
Method and discipline. These elements govern to conditions of war. Sun Tzu gives
some questions for commander to answer. Answers of these questions will show
current situation of army.
II. Waging War: This part says that making war has a significant cost for a state so
before starting a war making plans on logistics, taxes and preparing budged is
necessary. Making points to finish war in a short time is crucial. Otherwise, war will
be far costlier than the aim. Additionally, loots during war will help to reduce cost of
war of yours and increase the opponents.
III. Attack by Stratagem: Sun says There are three type of generalship. “supreme
excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.” This part of
the book is one of the popular one. Winning wars without fighting is the highest form
of generalship. Additionally, Sun Tzu says that army moral, officer’s quality and
discipline are strongly affects an army’s power.
IV. Tactical Dispositions: After giving strategical advices Sun Tzu gives general tactical
advices in this part. Avoiding from a defeat is the first step for a general. Later a
general should seek mistakes of the enemy for winning a war he says.

V. Energy: Shun Tzu defines energy as a preparation of tactics. After creating energy
commander will release this energy upon enemy. He gives this comparison to better
understanding “Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow, decision, to the
releasing of a trigger.”.
VI. Weak Points and Strong: Subtlety and secrecy defined as divine things by Sun Tzu.
To “hold enemy’s fate in our hands” those two are key abilities for a commander.
VII. Maneuvering: knowledge about enemy and geography are most important
information to create tactics.
VIII. Variation in Tactics: This part advises are generally focused on Commander. Sun
Tzu says that commander should take initiative for victory. Sometimes orders from
superiors should not be followed to achieve victory. The burden he puts on
commanders’ shoulders are very high. He says that a commander should change his
personal traits. He lists some bad traits for a commander; recklessness, cowardice, a
hasty temper, a delicacy of honor, over-solicitude for his men.
IX. The Army on the March: This part gives tips to commander about marching stance.
Where and when to engage enemy, how to use geography, understanding behaviors
of enemy soldiers, uncovering traps, and lastly reading your own soldier’s behaviors
to understand their needs.
X. Terrain: Terrain part’s one half is about terrain features other is about general’s
responsibilities. In first half Sun Tzu says that there are six types of terrain which are
named natural ones: “(1) Accessible ground; (2) entangling ground; (3) temporizing
ground; (4) narrow passes; (5) precipitous heights; (6) positions at a great distance
from the enemy.”. For Sun Tzu, these different types of terrains require different
tactics and movements. Second half is about commander’s failures. He points these
failures so a commander can avoid them. (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse;
(4) ruin; (5) disorganization; (6) rout. These failures are all about army management,
discipline, sustaining authority and merit.
XI. The Nine Situations: These nine situations classified by enemy and ally lands. (1)
Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5)
ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8)
hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate ground. The most detailed part of the book is this
part. Sun Tzu gives detailed information about features of these nine situations.
Also, some tips to avoid from defeat and winning a war.

XII. The Attack by Fire: Fire is one of the common war technologies at Shun Tzu’s time.
He gives technical and tactical information about fire usage in war. He explains
suitable conditions to use fire in a war by weather conditions, astrology, and seasons.
Then he connects the topic to anger control’s importance for a commander.
XIII. The Uses of Spies: gathering a country’s all power into an aim is significantly costly
for every element of it. So, usage of conspiracy is crucial to lead such power to a
victory. Sun Tzu categorizes spies into five classes. (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies;
(3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies. These spy categories are
for where to use them how much resource to give them.

This article written by Ozan Anıl Özmercan

Visits: 146

The Next Liberal Order

The Age of Contagion Demands More Internationalism, Not Less

Source: www.foreignaffairs.com By 

When future historians think of the moment that marked the end of the liberal world order, they may point to the spring of 2020—the moment when the United States and its allies, facing the gravest public health threat and economic catastrophe of the postwar era, could not even agree on a simple communiqué of common cause. But the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic engulfing the world these days is only exposing and accelerating what was already happening for years. On public health, trade, human rights, and the environment, governments seem to have lost faith in the value of working together. Not since the 1930s has the world been this bereft of even the most rudimentary forms of cooperation.

The liberal world order is collapsing because its leading patrons, starting with the United States, have given up on it. U.S. President Donald Trump, who declared in 2016 that “we will no longer surrender this country . . . to the false song of globalism,” is actively undermining 75 years of American leadership. Others in the U.S. foreign policy establishment have likewise packed their bags and moved on to the next global era: that of great-power competition. Washington is settling in for a protracted struggle for dominance with China, Russia, and other rival powers. This fractured world, the thinking goes, will offer little space for multilateralism and cooperation. Instead, U.S. grand strategy will be defined by what international relations theorists call “the problems of anarchy”: hegemonic struggles, power transitions, competition for security, spheres of influence, and reactionary nationalism.

But this future is not inevitable, and it is certainly not desirable. The United States may no longer be the world’s sole superpower, but its influence has never been premised on power alone. It also depends on an ability to offer others a set of ideas and institutional frameworks for mutual gain. If the United States abandons that role prematurely, it will be smaller and weaker as a result. A return to great-power competition would destroy what is left of the global institutions that governments rely on for tackling common problems. Liberal democracies would further descend into disunion and thereby lose their ability to shape global rules and norms. The world that would emerge on the other side would be less friendly to such Western values as openness, the rule of law, human rights, and liberal democracy.
A return to great-power competition is neither inevitable nor desirable.
In the short term, the new coronavirus (and the resulting economic and social wreckage) will accelerate the fragmentation and breakdown of global order, hastening the descent into nationalism, great-power rivalry, and strategic decoupling. But the pandemic also offers the United States an opportunity to reverse course and opt for a different path: a last-chance effort to reclaim the two-centuries-old liberal international project of building an order that is open, multilateral, and anchored in a coalition of leading liberal democracies.

For guidance, today’s leaders should look to the example of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. The collapse of the world economy and the rapid spread of fascism and totalitarianism in the 1930s showed that the fates of modern societies were tied to one another and that all were vulnerable to what Roosevelt, using a term that seems eerily prescient today, called “contagion.” The United States, Roosevelt and his contemporaries concluded, could not simply hide within its borders; it would need to build a global infrastructure of institutions and partnerships. The liberal order they went on to build was less about the triumphant march of liberal democracy than about pragmatic, cooperative solutions to the global dangers arising from interdependence. Internationalism was not a project of tearing down borders and globalizing the world; it was about managing the growing complexities of economic and security interdependence in the pursuit of national well-being. Today’s liberal democracies are the bankrupt heirs to this project, but with U.S. leadership, they can still turn it around.

THE PROBLEMS OF MODERNITY
The rivalry between the United States and China will preoccupy the world for decades, and the problems of anarchy cannot be wished away. But for the United States and its partners, a far greater challenge lies in what might be called “the problems of modernity”: the deep, worldwide transformations unleashed by the forces of science, technology, and industrialism, or what the sociologist Ernest Gellner once described as a “tidal wave” pushing and pulling modern societies into an increasingly complex and interconnected world system. Washington and its partners are threatened less by rival great powers than by emergent, interconnected, and cascading transnational dangers. Climate change, pandemic diseases, financial crises, failed states, nuclear proliferation—all reverberate far beyond any individual country. So do the effects of automation and global production chains on capitalist societies, the dangers of the coming revolution in artificial intelligence, and other, as-yet-unimagined upheavals.

The coronavirus is the poster child of these transnational dangers: it does not respect borders, and one cannot hide from it or defeat it in war. Countries facing a global outbreak are only as safe as the least safe among them. For better or worse, the United States and the rest of the world are in it together.

Past American leaders understood that the global problems of modernity called for a global solution and set about building a worldwide network of alliances and multilateral institutions. But for many observers, the result of these efforts—the liberal international order—has been a failure. For some, it is tied to the neoliberal policies that produced financial crises and rising economic inequality; for others, it evokes disastrous military interventions and endless wars. The bet that China would integrate as a “responsible stakeholder” into a U.S.-led liberal order is widely seen to have failed, too. Little wonder that the liberal vision has lost its appeal.
Liberal internationalists need to acknowledge these missteps and failures. Under the auspices of the liberal international order, the United States has intervened too much, regulated too little, and delivered less than it promised. But what do its detractors have to offer? Despite its faults, no other organizing principle currently under debate comes close to liberal internationalism in making the case for a decent and cooperative world order that encourages the enlightened pursuit of national interests. Ironically, the critics’ complaints make sense only within a system that embraces self-determination, individual rights, economic security, and the rule of law—the very cornerstones of liberal internationalism. The current order may not have realized these principles across the board, but flaws and failures are inherent in all political orders. What is unique about the postwar liberal order is its capacity for self-correction. Even a deeply flawed liberal system provides the institutions through which it can be brought closer to its founding ideals.

However serious the liberal order’s shortcomings may be, they pale in comparison to its achievements. Over seven decades, it has lifted more boats—manifest in economic growth and rising incomes—than any other order in world history. It provided a framework for struggling industrial societies in Europe and elsewhere to transform themselves into modern social democracies. Japan and West Germany were integrated into a common security community and went on to fashion distinctive national identities as peaceful great powers. Western Europe subdued old hatreds and launched a grand project of union. European colonial rule in Africa and Asia largely came to an end. The G-7 system of cooperation among Japan, Europe, and North America fostered growth and managed a sequence of trade and financial crises. Beginning in the 1980s, countries across East Asia, Latin America, and eastern Europe opened up their political and economic systems and joined the broader order. The United States experienced its greatest successes as a world power, culminating in the peaceful end to the Cold War, and countries around the globe wanted more, not less, U.S. leadership. This is not an order that one should eagerly escort off the stage.

To renew the spirit of liberal internationalism, its proponents should return to its core aim: creating an environment in which liberal democracies can cooperate for mutual gain, manage their shared vulnerabilities, and protect their way of life. In this system, rules and institutions facilitate cooperation among states. Properly regulated trade benefits all parties. Liberal democracies, in particular, have an incentive to work together—not only because their shared values reinforce trust but also because their status as open societies in an open system makes them more vulnerable to transnational threats. Gaining the benefits of interdependence while guarding against its dangers requires collective action.

THE ROOSEVELT REVOLUTION
This tradition of liberal internationalism is often traced to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, but the great revolution in liberal thinking actually occurred under Roosevelt in the 1930s. Wilson believed that modernity naturally favored liberal democracy, a view that, decades later, led some liberals to anticipate “the end of history.” In contrast, Roosevelt and his contemporaries saw a world threatened by violence, depravity, and despotism. The forces of modernity were not on the side of liberalism; science, technology, and industry could be harnessed equally for good and evil. For Roosevelt, the order-building project was not an idealistic attempt to spread democracy but a desperate effort to save the democratic way of life—a bulwark against an impending global calamity. His liberalism was a liberalism for hard times. And it is this vision that speaks most directly to today.

Roosevelt’s core impulse was to put the liberal democratic world on a more solid domestic footing. The idea was not just to establish peace but also to build an international order that would empower governments to deliver a better life for their citizens. As early as August 1941, when the United States had not yet entered World War II, Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill articulated this vision in the Atlantic Charter, writing that if the United States and other democracies vanquished the Nazi threat, a new international order would secure “improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security.” In the words of a Chicago journalist writing at the time, the New Deal at home was to lead to a “New Deal for the world.”

Roosevelt’s vision arose from the belief that interdependence generated new vulnerabilities. Financial crises, protectionism, arms races, and war could each spread like a contagion. “Economic diseases are highly communicable,” Roosevelt wrote in a letter to the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. “It follows, therefore, that the economic health of every country is a proper matter of concern to all its neighbors, near and distant.” To manage such interdependence, Roosevelt and his contemporaries envisioned permanent multilateral governance institutions. The idea was not new: since the nineteenth century, liberal internationalists had championed peace congresses, arbitration councils, and, later on, the League of Nations. But Roosevelt’s agenda was more ambitious. International agreements, institutions, and agencies would lie at the heart of the new order. On issue after issue—aviation, finance, agriculture, public health—multilateral institutions would provide a framework for international collaboration.

For better or worse, the United States and the rest of the world are in it together.
Another innovation was to redefine the concept of security. In the United States, the Great Depression and the New Deal brought into existence the notion of “social security,” and the violence and destruction of World War II did the same for “national security.” Both were more than terms of art. They reflected new ideas about the state’s role in ensuring the health, welfare, and safety of its people. “You and I agree that security is our greatest need,” Roosevelt told Americans in one of his fireside chats in 1938. “Therefore,” he added, “I am determined to do all in my power to help you attain that security.” Social security meant building a social safety net. National security meant shaping the external environment: planning ahead, coordinating policies with other states, and fostering alliances. From now on, national governments would need to do much more to accomplish the twin goals of social and national security—both at home and abroad.

What also made Roosevelt’s internationalism unique was that it was tied to a system of security cooperation among the big liberal democracies. The collapse of the post-1919 order had convinced internationalists on both sides of the Atlantic that liberal capitalist democracies would need to come together as a community for their common defense. Free societies and security partnerships were two sides of the same political coin. Even before U.S. President Harry Truman and his successors built on this template, Roosevelt-era internationalists envisaged a grouping of like-minded states with the United States as, in Roosevelt’s words, “the great arsenal of democracy.” With the rise of the Cold War, the United States and its fellow democracies formed alliances to check the Soviet threat. The United States took the lead in fashioning a world of international institutions, partnerships, client states, and regional orders—and it put itself at the center of it all.

CLUBS AND SHOPPING MALLS
In the face of today’s breakdown in world order, the United States and other liberal democracies must reclaim and update Roosevelt’s legacy. As a start, this means learning the right lessons about the failures of the liberal international order in the past three decades. Ironically, it was the success of the U.S.-led order that sowed the seeds of the current crisis. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last clear alternative to liberalism disappeared. As the liberal order grew from being one-half of a bipolar system to a truly global order, it began to fragment, in part because it no longer resembled a club. Indeed, today’s liberal international order looks more like a sprawling shopping mall: states can wander in and pick and choose what institutions and regimes they want to join. Security cooperation, economic cooperation, and political cooperation have become unbundled, and their benefits can be obtained without buying into a suite of responsibilities, obligations, and shared values. These circumstances have allowed China and Russia to cooperate with the liberal system on an opportunistic, ad hoc basis. To name just one example, membership in the World Trade Organization has given China access to Western markets on favorable terms, but Beijing has not implemented significant measures to protect intellectual property rights, strengthen the rule of law, or level the playing field for foreign companies in its own economy.

To prevent this sort of behavior, the United States and other liberal democracies need to reconstitute themselves as a more coherent and functional coalition. The next U.S. president should call a gathering of the world’s liberal democracies, and in the spirit of the Atlantic Charter, these states should issue their own joint statement, outlining broad principles for strengthening liberal democracy and reforming global governance institutions. The United States could work with its G-7 partners to expand that group’s activities and membership, adding countries such as Australia and South Korea. It could even turn the G-7 into a D-10, a sort of steering committee of the world’s ten leading democracies that would guide the return to multilateralism and rebuild a global order that protects liberal principles. The leaders of this new group could begin by forging a set of common rules and norms for a restructured trading system. They could also establish an agenda for relaunching global cooperation on climate change and confer about preparing for the next viral pandemic. And they should better monitor and respond to China’s efforts to use international organizations to advance its national economic champions and promote its authoritarian mode of governance.
This club of democracies would coexist with larger multilateral organizations, chief among them the United Nations, whose only entry requirement is to be a sovereign state, regardless of whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship. That inclusive approach has its merits, because in many realms of international relations—including arms control, environmental regulation, management of the global commons, and combating pandemic diseases—regime type is not relevant. But in the areas of security, human rights, and the political economy, today’s liberal democracies have relevant interests and values that illiberal states do not. On these fronts, a more cohesive club of democracies, united by shared values, tied together through alliances, and oriented toward managing interdependence, could reclaim the liberal internationalist vision.

A key element of this effort will be to reconnect international cooperation with domestic well-being. Put simply, “liberal internationalism” should not be just another word for “globalization.” Globalization is about reducing barriers and integrating economies and societies. Liberal internationalism, by contrast, is about managing interdependence. States once valued the liberal international order because its rules tamed the disruptive effects of open markets without eliminating the efficiency gains that came from them. In giving governments the space and tools they needed to stabilize their economies, the order’s architects tried to reconcile free trade and free-market capitalism with social protections and economic security. The result was what the scholar John Ruggie has called the compromise of “embedded liberalism”: unlike the economic nationalism of the 1930s, the new system would be multilateral in nature, and unlike the nineteenth-century visions of global free trade, it would give countries some leeway to stabilize their economies if necessary. But by the end of the 1990s, this compromise had begun to break down as borderless trade and investment overran national systems of social protection, and the order became widely seen as a platform for global capitalist and financial transactions.

“Liberal internationalism” should not be just another word for “globalization.”
To counteract this perception, any new liberal international project must rebuild the bargains and promises that once allowed countries to reap the gains from trade while making good on their commitments to social welfare. Economic openness can last in liberal democracies only if its benefits are widely shared. Without sparking a new era of protectionism, liberal democracies need to work together to manage openness and closure, guided by liberal norms of multilateralism and nondiscrimination. “Democracies have a right to protect their social arrangements,” the economist Dani Rodrik has written, “and, when this right clashes with the requirements of the global economy, it is the latter that should give way.” If liberal democracies want to ensure that this right to protection does not trigger destructive trade wars, they should decide its exact reach collectively.

How, then, to deal with China and Russia? Both are geopolitical rivals of the United States, and both seek to undermine Western liberal democracies and the U.S.-led liberal order more generally. Their revisionism has put blunt questions of military power and economic influence back on the diplomatic agenda. But on a deeper level, the threat emanating from these states—particularly from China—only gives more urgency to the liberal international agenda and its focus on the problems of modernity. The struggle between the United States and China is ultimately over which country offers a better road to progress. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s great project is to define an alternative path, a model of capitalism without liberalism and democracy. The jury is out on whether a totalitarian regime can pull this off, and there is reason to be skeptical. But in the meantime, the best way to respond to this challenge is for liberal democracies to work together to reform and rebuild their own model.

“BRACE UP”
It would be a grave mistake for the United States to give up any attempt to rescue the liberal order and instead reorient its grand strategy entirely toward great-power competition. The United States would be forfeiting its unique ideas and capacity for leadership. It would become like China and Russia: just another big, powerful state operating in a world of anarchy, nothing more and nothing less. But in its geography, history, institutions, and convictions, the United States is different from all other great powers. Unlike Asian and European states, it is an ocean away from other great powers. In the twentieth century, it alone among the great powers articulated a vision of an open, postimperial world system. More than any other state, it has seen its national interest advanced by promulgating multilateral rules and norms, which amplified and legitimized American power. Why throw all this away?

There simply is no other major state—rising, falling, or muddling through—that can galvanize the world around a vision of open, rules-based multilateral cooperation. China will be powerful, but it will tilt the world away from democratic values and the rule of law. The United States, for its part, needed the partnership of other liberal states even in earlier decades, when it was more capable. Now, as rival states grow more powerful, Washington needs these partnerships more than ever. If it continues to disengage from the world or engages in it only as a classic great power, the last vestiges of the liberal order will disappear.

And so it is left to the United States to lead the way in reclaiming the core premise of the liberal international project: building the international institutions and norms to protect societies from themselves, from one another, and from the violent storms of modernity. It is precisely at a moment of global crisis that great debates about world order open up and new possibilities emerge. This is such a moment, and the liberal democracies should regain their self-confidence and prepare for the future. As Virgil has Aeneas say to his shipwrecked companions, “Brace up, and save yourself for better times.”

Visits: 193

Turkey and Libyan Crisis

Two Main Rival Factions

Like most of the Arab nations in Arab Spring of 2011, protests also broke out in Libya, a geopolitically important state in the international arena because of its richest oil reserves in the North Africa. Eventually these protests led to a civil war and the death of the leader, Muammar Gaddafi by NATO airstrikes but it was not the end. After the death Muammar Gaddafi, violence escalated again and the second civil war erupted in 2014 because of the proliferation of armed groups in the country. The second civil war is mainly among two rival factions; Marshal Khalifa Haftar who was appointed by the parliament of Libya, House of Representatives in 2014 with only an 18% turnout and relocated to Tobruk and the Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, the leader of Government of National Accord based in Tripoli, the capital of Libya which officially recognized by the UN as Libya’s legitimate government. In addition, both of the factions have foreign supports like; Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France support the House of Representatives and the United Nations, Western powers including the United States but mainly Turkey, Qatar and Italy support the Government of National Accord. On the other hand, these instabilities resulted in the collapse of the state’s economy and oil industry.

Turkey and Second Civil War of Libya

Foreign powers intervened in Libyan civil war because of their strategies and economic concerns and interests and flooded this country with weapons and drones in spite of UN arms embargo. Turkey, as a foreign power in this conflict has also its own ideological and political reasons to support the Government of National Accord to increase its political and economic dominance in the region. One of the main ideological reasons is that this faction is related to the Muslim Brotherhood because in the past Turkey reportedly supported a Libyan Islamist group named the Justice and Construction Party with close ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, to gain a foothold in the GNA which opposes a threat to other Arab countries such as Egypt and UAE. In addition, as Mediterranean Sea is geopolitically important for the regional states, by signing a Maritime Boundary Treaty with GNA, Turkey established an exclusive economic zone in Mediterranean Sea which enables this country to claim rights to ocean bed resources which contain vast gas reserves. According to the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu in an interview with local broadcaster 24 TV, Turkey signed this agreement to preserve the rights of Turkish Cypriots and to protect its interests in the continental shelf, while the legitimacy of this agreement have been disputed by a number of states including European Union, Cyprus, Egypt and Greece because it does not comply with the Law of the Sea and it violates the rights of third states.

Unfortunately, in spite of several diplomatic meetings and agreements on cease fire and truce among the two rival factions of the Libyan conflict and the foreign powers, the conflict has not been de-escalated enough.

This article written by Aida Farrokhpour

Visits: 64

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TRILATERAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US, EU AND TURKEY

By THO Contributor, Tarik Oğuzlu

The dynamics of security relationship between the European Union and Turkey have been closely informed by the dynamics of security relationship each has with the United States. The role that the United States might potentially play in the context of EU-Turkey relations is strongly informed by the nature and quality of transatlantic relations. The historical records show that whenever the transatlantic relations were in good shape, the lobbying efforts of American administrations across European capitals on behalf of Turkey’s prospective EU membership struck a sympathetic chord. No matter the current Trump administration views the liberal international order and its quintessential institutional platforms, such as the European Union and NATO, through skeptical eyes, the United States has continued to view Turkey’s eventual transformation in the image of European norms and values, let alone its full membership in the EU, in its national interests. A Turkey, that turns its face towards the European Union and adopts European practices in its internal and external politics, would not only shun assertive and aggressive policies in the name of becoming a regional hegemon but also adopt a more rational and predictable foreign policy stance. Such a Turkey would align its national interests with those of the European Union and contribute to peace and security in the larger Middle East and North Africa region. Besides, the ability of the United States to have leverage on Turkey’s policies would likely increase should the latter adopt a pro-European/western national outlook. Such a Turkey would also act as a role model for the European/western transformation of predominantly Muslim nations across the wider Middle East. This is surely in American national interests.

Supporting Turkey’s European transformation and potential EU membership is the United States’ dominant strategy, no matter Washington views Brussels and leading European capitals as partners or rivals/challengers. In case the United States views the EU as a rival and challenge, Turkey’s membership in the EU would help weaken the union from within as Turkey’s strong state identity and realpolitik security culture would put a brake on EU’s transformation into a single-voice powerful international actor. Turkey’s presence inside the Union would help the Americans play the time-tested divide-and-rule game. On the other hand, should the United States view the European Union as a strong partner, Turkey’s eventual accession to the Union would fast transform the Union into a strong international actor that could undertake more responsibility in maintaining peace and security in its neighborhood so that the Americans could channel their limited capabilities to other locations where threats to American security interests are more visible and imminent, such as the Indo-Pacific region.

Looking to this trilateral relationship from the perspective of the European Union members, one comes to a similar conclusion. Turkey’s transformation in European image, let alone its eventual accession to the Union sometime in future, seems to be EU’s dominant strategy. In case, the EU views the United States as acting against the letter and spirit of the liberal international order by transforming into a global rouge state, then strengthening of Turkey’s European credentials as well as Turkey’s coming closer to the European Union in defining its national foreign and security policy interests would likely add up to European Union’s leverage over the United States. With Turkey coming much closer to the European Union each passing day, the chances of the European Union to become a powerful international actor with a strategic mindset will certainly increase. Should the European Union see the United States as its number one ally and strategic partner, then Turkey’s European transformation will be a gift to the United States, for a strong trilateral relationship between the United States, European Union and Turkey will tremendously strengthen the resolve of the transatlantic community to deal with the Chinese challenge in the emerging post-western multipolar international order.

Even though Turkey’s European transformation and coming closer to the transatlantic community seems to be the dominant strategy of Europeans and Americans, the picture from Turkey’s perspective is a little bit more complicated than meets the eye. Conventionally speaking, developing closer relations with westerners in general and Europeans in particular and transforming into a more European polity each passing day has long been among Turkey’s key national interests. There are two important causes of this. First, located at a very critical geographical location and feeling exposed to various conventional and non-conventional security challenges to all directions, Turkey’s own ability to deal with them successfully is quite limited. Seeking western/European help against non-western/non-European threats and challenges had pushed Turkey to join NATO and seek membership in key western international organizations in the past. This logic still applies today. Second, Turkey’s western/European transformation is also a hedge against the possibility of westerners/Europeans viewing Turkey as a threat and doing everything they can to help contain the so-called Turkey challenge. Given that the Ottoman Empire came to the end at the hands of colonial European nations and that the Republic of Turkey gained its independence during the wars waged against European states, the founding fathers of the new Republic thought that unless Turkey’s western/European identity were recognized as such by westerners/Europeans themselves, the latter might easily view the former as a potential threat to its security and well-being. That said, the Europeanization/westernization process has been seen from the very beginning first and foremost as a security strategy. A more western/European Turkey would not only be able to deal with non-western/European challenges more successfully but also feel itself more secure and comfortable in its relations with westerners/Europeans.

The risk for Turkey arises from the fact that whereas Americans and Europeans do generally view Turkey from an instrumental and technical perspective, a tool to be utilized in meeting core security interests in and around Turkey, Turkey’s approach towards the West//Europe is predominantly psychological. Status-seeking efforts do still manifest themselves in Turkey’s interactions with western/European countries. Another fundamentally important point is that whenever Turkish rulers do intensify their efforts to help lessen the psychological imprint in their relations with westerners/Europeans and adopt a more technical and strategic approach towards them, questions about Turkey’s strategic choices and foreign policy orientation pop up instantly across western/European capitals. One cannot help but come to the conclusion that westerners/Europeans would be quite happy to see Turkey’s psychological need to be recognized as a western/European nation continue unabated.

Whereas the rise of challenges emanating from Russia and China might help rejuvenate the trilateral strategic cooperation among the United States, European Union and Turkey, one would do well to recognize that the psychological dimension of this relationship also matters, maybe more than strategic-security considerations. The confluence of four important developments in recent years appears to have psychologically aggravated this trilateral relationship. First, the transatlantic rift between the United States and its European allies has widened over the last decade as the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean have somehow diverged from each other as to how to define western identity and the core tenets of the liberal international order. The cohesion of the so-called western international community has weakened as liberal-democratic credentials of its identity have come under existential challenges across the Atlantic. Looking from Turkey, the question of who remains the gatekeeper of liberal democracy has become difficult to answer.

Second, Turkey’s penchant for further liberal democracy has further decreased as not only liberal democracy has moved from one crisis to another in its homes countries but also Turkey’s liberal democratic reforms alongside the EU accession process have not been positively reciprocated by Europeans. Paradoxically, while Turkey has institutionally come closer to the European Union since the beginning of the formal accession negotiations in 2005 the psychological distance between the two has spectacularly widened with an increasing number of Europeans arguing that this process should be defined as open-ended and Europeans should most offer Turkey a privileged membership.

Third, Turkey has adopted a more nationalist and illiberal turn since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. The fact that neither the United States nor key European Union members took as much a pro-government position as adopted by Russia, Iran and many other non-western nations seems to have aggravated the fears of Turkey’s ruling elite that promotion of liberal democracy abroad is more a strategic weapon at the hands westerners than reflecting their sincere commitment to such values wherever they are abused.

Finally, the growing clout of China, Russia and other non-western countries in global politics in recent years appears to have strengthened realpolitik security considerations and material power calculations at the expense of value-oriented normative underpinnings of international order. While such a tectonic shift in international relations seems to have triggered a crisis of trust in Turkey’s relations with western/European nations on one hand, it has improved Turkey’s ability to develop strategic, pragmatic and interest-based relations with non-western powers on the other.

I am of the view that the continuation of the trilateral cooperation between the United States, European Union and Turkey is in their common interests, yet unless the parties build their relationship on a solid psychological and normative basis, then the years ahead might see more crises arise.

source: www.turkheritage.org

Visits: 164

What We Owe Essential Workers

The praise in America for low-paid essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic is long overdue, but it should be followed with meaningful reforms. Beyond raising the federal minimum wage, the United States desperately needs to overhaul its approach to technological innovation.

BOSTON – The low-wage workers who make up nearly half of the US workforce have long been neglected, steadily falling behind highly educated workers in expanding industries such as technology, finance, and entertainment. Since the 1970s, real (inflation-adjusted) wages have stagnated for prime-age men with less than a college education, and declined significantly for those with a high-school education or less.
Many of these workers find themselves on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, where they serve as hospital orderlies, nursing home aides, warehouse and delivery workers, and grocery clerks. Now that there has been a groundswell of (belated) appreciation for their contributions to the economy and society, the question is whether America can use this moment to turn things around for the bottom 50%.

Change is possible, but not assured. In an age of big-money politics and union bashing, the bargaining power of low-wage workers – especially minorities – has shrunk, together with their economic fortunes. Consider the federal minimum wage: at $7.25 per hour, it has actually declined by more than 30% in real terms since 1968. A first step, then, would be to raise it to $12 per hour. This would increase earnings at the bottom of the income distribution, and likely have only a minimal effect on overall employment.

A harder challenge is to restore workers’ bargaining power. Though political decisions over the past 40 years have undoubtedly weakened organized labor, the decline of unions also reflects broader secular developments. Reversing the trend will probably require new organizational forms.

Technology represents the biggest obstacle to improving the lot of low-wage workers. Because the US economy today is so much more automated than it was in the 1970s, a push for higher wages would encourage firms to adopt even more labor-replacing technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

But raising the minimum wage is not the only option. Labor-replacing automation has become prevalent because we have adopted policies and strategies that actively encourage it.
For example, the US tax code strongly favors capital, generating a powerful incentive for firms to replace workers with machines. When a company hires a worker, the government collects both income and payroll taxes, thereby inserting a significant wedge between what employers pay and what workers take home. A company pays less when it deploys a machine, because capital income is taxed much more lightly, and the government implicitly subsidizes capital investments through accelerated depreciation allowances, further tipping the scale against workers.1

But the problem doesn’t stop there. In the tech sector, the prevailing business model is highly dependent on removing human labor from the economic equation (that is how you “move fast and break things,” to borrow Facebook’s early slogan). These firms face few constraints in pursuing this model, not least because the US government has abandoned its traditional role in shaping the direction of scientific research and technological innovation.

Low-wage workers are not the only the casualties of this change. As good, high-quality jobs have dwindled, wage growth for all workers has begun to ebb, and increasingly unequal growth has begun to erode social cohesion and democratic principles and institutions.

There is nothing inevitable about this. We can use our knowledge base to develop technologies that complement, rather than compete with, human labor, by creating new tasks or boosting workers’ productivity in existing and emerging sectors. Moreover, such a worker-first tech policy goes hand in hand with a higher minimum wage and other sorely needed reforms. When technology makes labor critical to the production process, workers’ bargaining power will necessarily increase.

Altering a country’s tech policy is a tall order, but it has been done many times before. In the 1940s, the United States rapidly redirected its enormous innovation capacity toward munitions and materiel as it mobilized for war. And globally, there have been notable gains in clean-energy innovation in recent decades, to the point that renewables have become competitive with fossil fuels. These technologies did not spring fully formed from the head of the free market. Rather, they are the result of government clean-energy policies such as carbon pricing (though not in the US) and various forms of direct support.

These policies were born of a broader recognition that rising greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions pose a major threat to humanity. And they benefited from a shared measurement framework that enabled governments and firms around the world to quantify the environmental damage caused by emissions. The same playbook can be used to drive human-complementary technologies. But in this case, it is the first step that may prove most difficult. We need to generate a widespread recognition that relentless automation will not lead to prosperity, but to ruin.

Then comes the second step: We will need a measurement framework by which to quantify and categorize different technologies. Those that will benefit only capital should incur a cost in the same way that GHG emissions do, whereas those that bolster human productivity and labor demand should be encouraged.

 

by DARON ACEMOGLU

source: www.project-syndicate.org

Visits: 108