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Change of balance of power in Europe and Asia

By Ihsan Aktas

Daily Sabah, October 11, 2020 


It looks like the United States is carrying out a social experiment in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.

After the end of the Cold War, the U.S. declared itself the sole master of the world. In the name of the new world order, the George H.W. Bush administration found itself unrivaled in many regions of the world, including the Middle East. International law became null and void, while international institutions turned into mere means of the U.S. hegemony. Today, the United Nations has lost its international credibility to such an extent that it could not play a role in the current Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict.

Unchecked by international law and unbalanced by international institutions, the unrivaled hegemony of the U.S. soon incurred heavy costs for the international system. The military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan concluded with the emergence of persistent political instability in the region, a devastating refugee crisis and global terrorist organizations.

Frustrated by these consequences, the U.S. administration failed to make reasonable policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Late in responding to the Syrian crisis, former U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policies in the Middle East paved the way not only for Iran’s military domination in Iraq and Syria but also for Russia’s military involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As opposed to the ineffectiveness of the U.S. and European countries, Turkey takes responsibility for the resolution of the Syrian crisis. During the political crisis in Libya as well, Turkey stepped forth to protect Libya’s legitimate government from warlord Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces. In all these regions of crisis, Turkey comes face to face with Russia. Despite all odds, Turkey has never abstained from negotiating with Russia through diplomatic channels.

In the face of the illegitimate demands of Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey defends its international rights with its own power. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration has abstained from getting involved in the crisis.

The influence of European countries continues to decrease in the international arena. It is no longer possible to speak about a united Europe. As the political crisis in Ukraine proved, without military might, economic power remains ineffective to shift the balance of power in the international system.

Although France aspires to become the leader of the European Union, French President Emmanuel Macron does not have the capacity to exert such a geopolitical leadership during this chaotic phase of the international system. Therefore, Greece struggles in vain to drag the European powers into the crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean.

If the U.S. truly carries out a "social experiment," then they aim to observe who will fill the political vacuum in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Russia and Turkey appear to be the principal candidates for such regional leadership.

While Russia has too much on its plate, Turkey has the capacity to take political risks involving regional crises with its age-old state legacy, strong army and economy, and effective political leadership.


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