25 Ocak 2016 Pazartesi

Sino-American Normalization

Since Sino-American relations seem to have entered into a tense new period in recent years due to growing Chinese enthusiasm in political and economic leadership in the world politics, it might be a wise effort to look at past experiences and especially concentrate on the Sino-American normalization that took place in the early 1970s. 

Background: Cold War in Asia
Cold War not only took place in Europe, but also in Asia. US policy in East Asia was focused primarily on the elimination of the menace of Japanese militarism and on the support of the nationalist government of China under Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) as the main pillar of stability in Asia. But within 5 short years, the US was confronted with a set of affairs very different from what Washington had envisioned just after the war. During this early phase of Cold War, US foreign policy towards Asia was successful concerning the demilitarization and the restructuring of Japan, but complete disaster concerning stability in China. The nationalist regime in China was defeated by the Chinese communists who, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The largest nation on earth was now under communist rule. Only 9 months later, the communist forces of North Korea invaded the US-supported anti-communist regime in South Korea, and in the Korean War, for the first time, the rivals of the Cold War, East and West, clashed in the field of battle.

Following the Korean War (1950-1953) which had disastrous consequences for all sides and no visible gains, US military involvement in Vietnam (1965-1973) that resulted in the greatest failure of American foreign policy during the Cold War, ironically, coincided with the gradual improvement of bilateral relations between Washington and two great communist states: USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and China (People’s Republic of China). The first détente took place in the 1960s between Washington and Moscow and eased the tensions. However, US-USSR détente was not very fruitful and did not turn out to be a long-term rapprochement. The second détente on the other hand, saw the normalization of relations between US and China. As a result, US President Richard Nixon visited Beijing in 1972. The second détente was a successful initiative and it gradually improved relations between Washington and Beijing. Sino-American normalization was one of the turning points in Cold War history according to many observers since it made US more advantageous and stronger against Soviet Russia.

Sino-Soviet Split
The split between USSR and China gave the US a golden opportunity during the most critical times of the Cold War. Rapprochement between the US and the vast Chinese Empire could only give the Soviets a headache and it did. At the first phase of the Cold War, it had been Moscow that had been able to play the “China card” against USA. With this, Russia’s first line of defense in the east had been on the shores of the Yellow Sea. Moreover, Russia found a strong partner in the Asian world and ideologically also Chinese support (a country ruled by Maoism, a variant of Marxism-Leninism) meant a stronger international communist movement. However, things began to change with the Sino-Soviet split.

The Sino-Soviet split became manifest in the late 1950s. China’s founder and undisputable chef Mao Zedong was already blaming Americans for “capitalist imperialism”. But after the Sino-Soviet split, he began to perceive Soviet leader Joseph Stalin as a “capitalist roader” and blamed Russians for “socialist imperialism”. This meant a more neutralized China, closer to the Non-Aligned Movement rather than the Communist world. This was surely a big loss for Russia but US-China normalization still seemed impossible.

Sino-American Normalization
Sino-Soviet split was a chance for Sino-American normalization. However, two countries had no official relations for more than 20 years and they were acting hostile to each other. Successive US Presidents were denouncing “Red China” as a menace to the peace-loving peoples of Asia. US was maintaining relations with nationalist regime in Taiwan and was calling Taiwan as the only legitimate government of China. Until now, US and its allies implemented harsh embargos on China. However, in 1964, independent-minded French government led by Charles De Gaulle broke ranks and extended formal recognition to China.

This interminable hostility between USA and China ended quite suddenly in the early 1970s, in one of the most dramatic turnabouts in modern diplomatic history. On July 5, 1971, President Richard Nixon made an unanticipated announcement that stunned the world. He stated that he intended to travel to China within 6 months, at the invitation of the Chinese government, for the purpose of developing friendly relations with that government. He revealed that his secretary of the state, Mr. Henry Kissinger, had just returned from a secret trip to Beijing where he and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai had made arrangements for this diplomatic breakthrough.  The Nixon administration had begun making subtle overtures to China in the previous year. In Warsaw, where the US and Chinese ambassadors had periodically engaged in secret talks, the US side intimated its desire for improved relations. President Nixon started to call China with its official name instead of “Red China” or “Communist China”.

Henry Kissinger with Zhou Enlai in China

This opened door for “ping-pong diplomacy”[1], a public relations effort to prepare two societies for the normalization of relations. A US table tennis team was invited to play an exhibition tournament in Beijing, and Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai gave them a warm reception. President Nixon responded by a relaxation of the US trade embargo on China. This was followed by Kissinger’s secret trip to China in July 1971. The following February, President Nixon made his historic two-week visit to China.[2] Nixon was accompanied by a large group of journalists and camera crews. This was very ironic that an anti-communist political figure like Nixon made this historical change in bilateral relations, since it was the first time that a US President visited communist China. Both sides came to the realization that they had much more to gain by ending their mutual hostility than by continuing it.

Sino-American normalization meant for China a quick entry into UN and to have a better position concerning the Taiwan question. China’s international prestige increased quickly and they gained a lot from developing economic relations with US. US also gained a lot from this opening. Nixon and Kissinger developed a new design for global balance of power with this diplomatic initiative. Two superpowers were to be replaced by 5 major power centers in this new design: US, USSR, Western Europe, Japan and China. Moreover, the US was now playing the China card in its relations to Moscow.

The major obstacle for the developing relations was now Taiwan problem. US leaders formulated “two China formula” by recognizing both of the countries. Thus, China became a member of UN and replaced Taiwan as one of the five permanent UN Security Council members. This was just beginning of the normalization process. Formal recognition of China by the US took place few years later in 1979. This was delayed by several reasons; Watergate scandal, death of Mao and Zhou and internal problems in Chinese leadership until Deng Xiaoping’s consolidation of power in 1978. President Carter and Deng became two leaders to resume full diplomatic relations. By this move, China was recognized by all countries in the world and got rid of isolation. This also led to a normalization of relations between China and Japan.


  • McWilliams, Wayne C. & Piotrowski, Harry (2001), The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations.

19 Ocak 2016 Salı

Divisions in Islam and Current Sectarian Tensions

Following the execution of Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia, sectarian conflicts and tensions in Islam are now more widely spoken. Recent Saudi Arabia-Islamic Republic of Iran rivalry and the power struggles between Sunni and Shiite Islamic groups in many countries including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen clearly show how dangerous sectarian fanaticism could become and could eventually cause direct or proxy wars between different countries. Divisions within Islam, in fact, constitute a centuries-old matter and they continue to grow due to current political rivalries between countries.
Islam is the third of world’s great religions to come out of the Middle East. It represents Muslims which constitute the second largest worshipper group in the world after Christians. The revelations to Islam’s prophet Mohammed were codified in the Koran, the holy book of Muslims which contains God’s commands to the faithful. According to Muslims, Koran is God’s word and last in time. There are 5 basic laws of Islam; the affirmation that consists of one of the shortest credos of any religion in the world (There is no god but God and Mohammed is the Prophet of God), pay an alms tax (zakat) of around 5 percent, 5 daily prayers facing toward Mecca, abstention from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset during the lunar month of Ramadan and pilgrimage or haj to the holy city of Mecca. Following the death of Mohammed, Islam spread quickly throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Divisions in Islam
The most visible and radical advocates of resurgent militant Islam are the Shiites, the smaller of the main branches of Islam. The other wing, the Sunnis, represents the mainstream Islam and constitutes 85-90 % of all Muslim population. In Iran, Shiism is the state religion. Shiites are concentrated in Iran, Azerbaijan, Gulf states, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and in Central Asia.
The split between Sunnis and Shiites took place two decades after the Prophet’s death in 632.  A line of khalifa, or caliphs, took Mohammed’s place as his deputies and successors. The first of four caliphs, the Rightly Guided, were selected from the ranks of Mohammed’s associates and after that the line became hereditary. As the caliphs became more tyrannical, problems emerged. There were those who insisted that Ali, the husband of Mohammed’s daughter Fatima, was the true successor. The assassination of the reigning caliph in 656 set off a civil war from which dates the open split between the party of Ali who was also assassinated, and the main branch. The struggle lasted until the Battle of Karbala in 681, when the Sunnis established their domination and the Shiite resistance went underground.
The struggle was both political and religious in nature. Its political content lay in the fact that the Shiites became the champions of the oppressed and the opponents of privilege and power. Politics and religion, in the Shiites’ eyes, cannot be separated as Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran later mentioned: “All of Islam is politics”. Obedience to civil authority unlike Shiite branch, has been a hallmark of Sunni behavior. Sunnis and Shiites both accept the Prophet’s promise of the return of one of his descendants who will fill the world with justice and equity. However, for Shiites, the spirit of messianism is central to their creed. They look to an imam, a divinely appointed descendant of Mohammed, whose purpose is spiritual guidance to the faithful. The Sunnis on the other hand, have always stood for the continuity of the social, political and religious order. They have always emphasized consensus and obedience to civil and religious authority. Radicalism in the name of Islam still exists on both camps and seems like increasing day by day. Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988) seem to be the two most important events that deepened conflicts between Shiite and Sunni camps.
Islamic Revolution in Iran
Sectarian tensions in the Middle East increased rapidly after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. From the end of World War II until the late 1970s, Iran stood in sharp contrast to its neighbors. Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his country appeared to be a rock of stability in the turbulent Middle East, a bulwark against political radicalism, Islamic fundamentalism and Soviet expansionism. It was little wonder that, even after the Shah’s internal position had been shaken by violent protests, US President Jimmy Carter could have still praised him for his stabilizing influence in the Middle East. Surely, there was no solid reason to believe that the Shah, still apparently a vigorous man in middle age, would not continue to rule Iran as he had in the past. Moreover, he was preparing his young son to succeed him on the Peacock Throne.
But Iran turned out to be another case of US involvement in a foreign land of which few people in authority in Washington had an adequate understanding. The outward stability of the nation only masked the volatile undercurrents, which had deep historic roots. The Shah had ruled for a long time, ever since 1941, but his reign had often been unstable, an uncomfortable fact that too many US policy makers often conveniently overlooked. The militant clergy were a nuisance, they reasoned, but they certainly appeared to be no threat to the Shah. Successful resistance coming from militant Shiite clergy over the centuries was a constant thread running through Iran history. Due to political problems, economic problems and increasing authoritarian and repressive policies of the Shah regime, a revolution took place in Iran in 1979. Soon, this was found out to be an Islamic regime although it was initially supported by communists and liberals as well. Even US help to Shah regime was not sufficient to prevent Khomeini and its pious supporters. Khomeini was a militant Islamist who identified the West as Iran’s real enemy and USA as the “Great Satan”. In February 1979, Khomeini returned from exile in Paris and became the religious leader of the new regime. Following the revolution, there were attacks to US Embassy in Tehran. The Islamic Revolution transferred sovereignty from the Shah to the clergy. It swept away Pahlavi dynasty and introduced a new Sharia-based constitution. It also provided a redistribution of land in favor of poors.
Islamic Revolution in Iran did nothing but to increase sectarian tensions in the Middle East. Now ruled by Shiite Islamic doctrine, Iran began to act as the guardian of all Shiite Muslims in the world. This meant Iran’s involvement into many Arab states’ internal affairs. This was not welcomed warmly by the Arab elite. Sunni and Shiite masses began to become more politicized in terms of their sectarian identity.
The Iran-Iraq War
Sunni-Shiite rivalry was deepened by the Iraq-Iran War that lasted between 1980 and 1988. Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980. Saddam sought to destroy Khomeini’s revolution which he feared might spread to his country especially to Shiites in Iraq, to secure disputed territory at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (the Shatt el-Arab) and thus, to improve Iraq’s access to Gulf and to emerge as the paramount leader of the Arab world. Saddam was calculating that -after the revolution- Iran was unprepared for the war. But Iran was to build its Revolutionary Guards simultaneously. The US and USSR declared neutrality in the war. Israel’s Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin was telling frankly that “We don’t want a resolution of this war”. Iran was supported by Libya and Syria. Iraq received financial support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Gulf states were afraid of Shiite insurgency. Both sides knew that oil export was key to the financing of the war. The war saw the first extensive use of chemical weapons since World War I. In March 1988, Iraq launched a chemical weapon attack on its own city of Halabja, densely populated by Kurds. Finally, a UN associated peace was signed in 1988 and the war ended. The war brought nothing but the strengthening of the Islamic regime in Iran as well as the deepening divisions in Islamic world.
Current Sunni-Shiite tension and rivalries are based on power struggles over some Arab countries including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Iran appear as the two most influential actors on the both camps. Gulf countries and Sunni groups in the Islamic world align themselves with Saudi Arabia, whereas Shiite controlled Arab states align themselves with Iran. The tensions mostly built around the acquisition of the ruling power in states. For instance, Iran strongly supports -together with Russian Federation- Bashar al Assad regime in Syria, whereas Saudi Arabia and Gulf states give their support to revolutionary Sunni groups. It seems like both countries benefit from the ongoing polarization since they are not democratic and stable regimes and the legitimacy of their regimes increase in case of sectarian conflicts. However, the danger of a sectarian war and further division in Islam grow as the escalation continues between these two countries and their camps.
It is also a fact that growing sectarian rivalry negatively affects the stability of secular and democratic regimes in the region. For example, Turkey has been transforming into a more Sunni Islamic country in its foreign policy tendencies and identity formation although the country has been able to protect its secular regime until today. Shiite and Sunni populations in the region are more alienated from each other and become much more radicalized in recent years due to growing sectarian politics. Countries having both Sunni and Shiite population might be negatively affected from this trend if they continue to implement sectarian policies.
Historical information is summarized from; McWilliams, Wayne C. & Piotrowski, Harry (2001), The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations, pp. 413-439

8 Ocak 2016 Cuma

Yeni Sunum: “International Crises and Crisis Management”

UPA Genel Koordinatörü Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ozan Örmeci, 7 Ocak 2016 tarihinde Girne Amerikan Üniversitesi'nde düzenlenen forumda "International Crises and Crisis Management" adlı bir sunum yaptı. Aşağıdaki linkten bu sunumla ilgili tüm detaylara ulaşabilirsiniz.

6 Ocak 2016 Çarşamba

Silah Reformu: ABD ve Dünya Örnekleri

2015 yılı içerisinde Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nde yaşanan onlarca silahlı baskın ve katliam vakası, bu ülkedeki bireysel silahlanma konusunun yeniden tartışılmaya başlanmasına yol açtı. Özellikle bu konuda duyarlı olduğu bilinen Başkan Barack Obama’nın çabalarıyla, Kongre’deki ciddi muhalefete rağmen, ABD’de bir silah reformu yapılması üzerinde halen çalışılıyor. Silah lobisinin ülkedeki gayet iyi bilinen gücüne karşın, Başkan Obama ve Demokrat çevreler bu konuda kararlı gözüküyorlar. Bu yazıda dünyadaki bazı ülkelerde son yıllarda yapılan silah reformlarını[1] ve ABD’deki son durumu özetlemeye çalışacağım.

Tazmanya’da 28 Nisan 1996 tarihinde 35 kişinin ölümüyle sonuçlanan felaketin ardından, Avustralya Başbakanı John Howard, görev süresinin hemen başlarında önemli ve başarılı sayılabilecek bir silah reformu gerçekleştirmiştir. Bu reform sonucunda; ülkede yüksek kalibreli tüfek ve otomatik silahların satışı yasaklanmış, lisans verme işlemleri zorlaştırılmış ve ülkedeki tüm silahların kayıt altına alınması sağlanmıştır. Bu reformlar sayesinde, Avustralya’da bir silahlı saldırı sonucu ölme riski son yıllarda % 50 oranında azalmış, dahası, ateşli silahlarla intihar edenlerin oranı da % 80 oranında düşmüştür. Bazı açılardan ABD’ye oldukça benzeyen ve yine bir göçmen memleketi olan Avustralya’daki bu reform, Amerika için de iyi bir örnek olabilir. Ancak şu da belirtilmelidir ki; Avustralya’da, ABD’nin aksine, silah bulundurma özgürlüğü hiçbir zaman anayasada belirtilecek kadar önemli bir konu haline gelmemiştir.

Birleşik Krallık
Hungerford Katliamı’nın ardından, Birleşik Krallık, 1988 yılında yeni bir ateşli silahlar yasası yapmıştır. Bu yasa ile tüm silahların kayıt altına alınması şart koşulmuş, dahası yarı-otomatik ve pompalı silahların satışı yasaklanmıştır. Bu reforma rağmen İskoçya’da yaşanan bir okul baskını ise, Birleşik Krallık’ta lisanssız olarak silah bulundurmanın tamamen yasaklanması sonucunu doğurmuştur. Yapılan tüm reformlara karşın, zaman zaman bu ülkede de silahlı baskınlar yaşanmaya devam etmektedir. Ülkede son dönemde oy oranları artan UKIP ise, silah satışlarının yeniden kolaylaştırılmasını savunmaktadır.

Ülkede 2007 yılından itibaren üstüste yaşanan silahlı baskınlar nedeniyle bir reforma ihtiyaç duyulmuş ve sonuçta silah sahibi kimselerin en az 1 yıl süreyle bir silah kulübünün üyesi olmaları ve doktor ve polis denetiminden geçmeleri şart koşulmuştur. Aynı zamanda bireysel silahları satın alabilme yaşı 20, av tüfeklerini satın alabilme yaşı da 18’e yükseltilmiştir. Lisansların her 5 yılda bir yenilenme zorunluluğu da yeni gündeme getirilen önlemlerdendir. Bu reformlar sayesinde, 2013 yılında verilen silah lisanslarında, 2007’ye kıyasla, yüzde 30 düşüş yaşanmıştır.

Anders Behring Breivik’in 2011 yılında gerçekleştirdiği katliamla hatırlanabilecek olan Norveç, bugüne kadar uyguladığı tüm denetim mekanizmalarına karşın, bu konuda ne kadar kötü duruma düşülebileceğini tüm dünyaya göstermiş olan bir ülkedir. Olayın ardından ülkede yarı-otomatik silahların satışının yasaklanması gündeme getirilmiş ancak henüz bir adım atılamamıştır.

Amerika Birleşik Devletleri[2]
Silah kültürü ve silahlanma geleneği, ABD açısından çok önemli bir husustur. Bu konu öylesine önemlidir ki, Amerikan anayasasının 2. değişikliği (amendment), sadece bu konu üzerindedir; “Düzenli bir milis gücü, hür bir eyaletin güvenliği için zorunlu olduğundan, halkın silah bulundurma ve taşıma hakkı ihlal edilmeyecektir”.[3] Bu durum, ABD’de uzun yıllar devam eden Kızılderililerle mücadele ve tarihsel olarak artarak gelişen göç hadisesi bağlamında anlaşılabilir bir durumdur. Ancak demokrasinin 21. yüzyılda geldiği yüksek standartlar açısından bakıldığında, bu durumun geçerliliği artık tartışmalı hale gelmiştir. Dahası, dünya nüfusunun sadece % 5’ini oluşturan ABD, dünyadaki ateşli silahların % 35-50 arasında çok büyük bir bölümüne sahiptir. Kişi başına düşen silah açısından da, ABD, uzak ara dünya lideri konumundadır. Cinayet oranları açısından da, ABD’nin durumu dünyadaki en kötü ülke konumundadır. Bu durum, ABD gibi gelişmiş bir demokrasiye yakışmamaktadır.

ABD’de 1968 yılında çıkarılan Silah Kontrol Yasası’na (Gun Control Act) göre; 18 yaşından küçük kişilere, adli sicili temiz olmayanlara, akıl sağlığı yerinde olmayanlara, ordudan yüz kızartıcı suçlarla atılmış kişilere ve yabancılara silah satışı yasaklanmıştır. 1993 tarihli Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act ise, lisanssız silah satın almış tüm kişiler için geçmişe dönük bir araştırma yapılmasını şart koşmuştur. Bu yasaların haricinde, eyaletlerin de bu konuda geniş yetkileri ve kendilerine özgü uygulamaları vardır. Idaho, Alaska ve Kansas eyaletleri buna örnektir.

Henüz bundan bir iki gün önce ise, ABD Başkanı Barack Obama tarafından yayınlanan bir kanun hükmünde kararname (executive action)[4] ile, silah satışlarında denetimi arttırmak için yeni birtakım düzenlemelere gidilmiştir. Düzenlemeler, özellikle Cumhuriyetçi Parti taraftarları ve tarafından tepkiyle karşılanmıştır.[5] Hakikaten de, konunun içeriği etik açıdan doğru bile olsa, Başkan’ın yürütme yetkilerini aşarak Kongre’nin kontrolünde olan yasama alanına girmesi, Amerikan demokrasisi açısından istisnai ve sağlıksız bir durumdur.
Bu konunun önümüzdeki günlerde de tartışılmaya devam etmesi ve hatta 2016 ABD Başkanlık seçimleri kampanyasına da damgasını vurması beklenmektedir. Bu noktada kanımca en doğru yöntem; öncelikle bu konunun gerçekten bir sosyal sorun haline gelip gelmediğini belirlemektedir. Eğer konunun bir sosyal sorun haline geldiği düşünülüyorsa (2015 yılı hakikaten bu açıdan bir dönüm noktası olmuş olabilir), bunu Amerikan halkının Kongre’ye yapacağı baskılar neticesinde Kongre’nin çözmesi ve konunun partilerüstü bir mesele olarak alınması, kanımca daha doğru ve demokratik bir adım olacaktır.

Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ

[1] Buradan yararlanılmıştır; “Are mass shootings preventable? These countries have tried”, CNN, Erişim Tarihi: 06.01.2016, Erişim Adresi: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/02/world/can-legislation-prevent-mass-shootings/index.html.
[2] Buradan yararlanılmıştır; Masters, Jonathan (2016), “U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons”, CFR, Erişim Tarihi: 06.01.2016, Erişim Adresi: http://www.cfr.org/society-and-culture/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons/p29735.

Two Different Perspectives on Sino-American Relations: John Mearsheimer vs. Joseph Nye

Sino-American Relations is of the most interesting debate topics and study areas in international politics in the last years. China’s rapid economic modernization and high growth rates followed by the unpopularity of USA after the Iraqi War (2003) led to the emergence of a new academic literature based on Chinese rise and American fall. There are different opinions in the US about how to manage relations with China. In this piece, I am going to focus on two different perspectives offered by two important American scholars; John Mearsheimer and Joseph Nye.

John Mearsheimer:
John Mearsheimer

John Mearsheimer is an influential American International Relations theorist and scholar from Chicago University.[1] Born in 1947, he is especially influential in the military circles. His most controversial views concern alleged influence by interest groups over US government actions in the Middle East which he wrote about in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. He is also the pioneer of the “offensive realism” school within the Realist perspective and defended these views in his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Mearsheimer made two important speeches recently on the Sino-American Relations; one in Ottawa University in 2012[2] and the other as the keynote speaker for the opening of 2013 Army War College Strategy Conference.[3]

According to Mearsheimer, China will continue to rise for another 30 years and eventually will transform into a giant Hong Kong. However, in his view, this rise will eventually bring an inevitable confrontation between USA and China. This is caused fundamentally by human nature and also by the tendencies of new generation Chinese leaders aspiring to world leadership. In Mearsheimer’s perspective, China will soon begin to imitate American methods for world leadership as its self-confidence will continue to increase with its economic growth. However, China will continue to lack the military and economic potential for world leadership. Moreover, the new foreign policy initiative started by the Obama administration will make US and its allies (Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore) stronger in the region. For Mearsheimer, in order to prevent an aggressive China, US has to take the lead and become militarily, politically and economically stronger in that region. Otherwise, it is not the US, but the countries neighboring China will become targets of newly emerging Chinese superiority. Mearsheimer here makes a reference to a new version of “containment policy” advocated by George Kennan against the Soviet Russia during the Cold War.

Mearsheimer, unlike many other American decision-makers and observers, thinks that Russian Federation and its leader Vladimir Putin is not a real threat to United States and Chinese rise is a more important problem for the American leadership. Mearsheimer also thinks that Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, Taiwan and South China Sea are the most risky areas where US-China confrontation might turn into a real military crisis.

Joseph Nye:
Joseph Nye

Joseph Nye is a Professor of Political Science from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[4] Born in 1937, Nye is one of the most important and influential contemporary scholars in the Political Science branch.[5] He is the co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory of neoliberalism, developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. Nye is often known with his concept of “soft power” but he wrote on many different subjects as well. Nye, recently began to focus on Sino-American Relations and made an important speech in Cambridge Forum in 2012.[6]

Nye begins his speech by giving examples from history about the rise of new powers disturbing already existing dominant forces. In his view, similar to the rapid rise of Germany after the First World War, China’s rapid rise in recent years disturb US and create some anxities about the real intentions of that country. However, unlike what Mearsheimer suggests, Nye thinks that this does not mean the rivalry between US and China is inevitable. Joseph Nye accepts that the good economic performance of China in recent years caused a kind of “hubris” feeling among Chinese decision-makers. This was followed by a more aggressive foreign policy and rapid military modernization by the People’s Republic. However, Nye thinks that although China’s rise is for real, American decline is exaggerated and USA’s loss of power is only relative, not absolute against this country. Moreover, in Nye’s perspective, US still has a lot of advantages compared to China which will be more influential in the long run.

First of all, US economy is one of the 5 most competitive economies in the world and China is still way behind the US in terms of competitiveness of the economy. Secondly, American universities are in better position compared to Chinese universities, which means US migth keep its technological superiority against this country for long years.  It is also a fact that China sends ten thousands of students to US each year to learn more about the American education system. Thirdly, in terms of technology and innovation also, although China has made a huge step forward in recent years, US has still the lead in the world.

The real problem for Nye is not the fall of US, but the rise of others including China, India and Brazil. As these countries modernize and begin to have a more stable political and economic system, the gap between US and these countries is narrowing. However, this does not mean that the US is losing power. This does not mean either that China will become world superpower in the near future. China, without any doubt, will soon surpass USA in terms of total GDP, but in terms of per capita income, US will continue to have superiority against this country during the 21st century.

Another important problem for China is that, China’s economic rise might face with some problems. It is a known fact that as countries get richer, their economic growth rates reduce. China might not always protect its attractiveness for international capital since it might have difficulties in the near future in keeping efficiency and cheap labour force. Moreover, for Nye, power is not only related to political, military or economic power. In Nye’s view, US is also more powerful against China in the field of soft power. Chinese President Hu Jintao also mentioned this in 2007 in Communist Party Congress. In addition, China’s rapid military modernization began to disturb its neighbors including Japan, South Korea and Australia. US on the other hand, started the policy of “Asia Pivot” with Barack Obama’s presidency and became a more influential actor in the Asia-Pacific region by bilateral and multilateral economic (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement for instance) and military agreements. US, thanks to Hollywood and its music industry, has a dominant position against China in the field of soft power. For all these reasons, US will keep its gradual superiority against China for long decades. Instead of boosting fears and enmity in bilateral relations, both sides should better work on a cooperative model to arrange their new type of great power relations. It should be also added that both countries are not in the position of existential threats to each other. China, unlike Nazi Germany, is not a power that wants to destroy its challengers. In addition, China and US have to work together on many issues including nuclear proliferation, global warming, fighting terrorism etc.   

If we have to make a comparison between these two important scholars, it should be first stated that Mearsheimer sees the conflict as inevitable, whereas Nye thinks it can be prevented. Secondly, Mearsheimer focuses on hard power instruments such as the military capacity, economic power etc., whereas Nye focuses also on the soft power instruments. However, both of these scholars seem to agree on the idea that during the 21st century also American leadership will continue. 

Assist. Prof. Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ

[2] John Mearsheimer (2012), “Why China Cannot Rise Peacefully”, Youtube, Date of Accession: 06.01.2016 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXov7MkgPB4.
[3] Full speech can be seen from here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3M3RxzJSfU.
[5] “Who are the top international-relations specialists? Surprise! Scholars have a very different view than policymakers do”, Foreign Policy, Date of Accession: 06.01.2016 from http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/25/who_are_the_top_international_relations_specialists.
[6] Full speech can be seen from here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwWT0kbYSZs.

4 Ocak 2016 Pazartesi

Le Congrès Ordinaire du CHP en 16-17 Janvier 2016

Le plus grand parti de l’opposition en Turquie, le CHP (Parti Républicain du Peuple) organisera un congrès ordinaire entre le 16 et 17 janvier en Ankara. Le congrès donnera lieu à une compétition présidentielle entre le chef actuel du parti Monsieur Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu et trois autres candidats.

Avant présenter les candidats, il faut mieux à se concentrer sur la dernière situation du partie. Le CHP, le parti d’opposition pro-européenne social-démocrate, toujours garde sa deuxième place dans les élections et les sondages dans le pays. Mais le problème qui dérange les membres et les partisans est que le parti est encore trop loin de l’AKP (% 50 pour l’AKP et 25 % pour le CHP dans l’élection précédent). Le parti, avec son chef Monsieur Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a réussi d’augmenter ses voix de 19 % en 2002 à 25 % en 2015. Par contre, cette augmentation est très faible et lente et pas suffisante pour les partisans qui veulent voir leur parti gouvernant la Turquie. Il y a une atmosphère pessimiste dans le parti et ses partisans depuis plusieurs années. Le parti maintenant a aussi des problèmes à convaincre les intellectuels.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Le chef actuel du parti, Monsieur Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (68), toujours le favori pour le congrès, avait été élu président du parti en 2010 après un scandale. Surnommé « le Ghandi Turc » par Le Monde, Kılıçdaroğlu était la vedette de l’ascension de la gauche turque avec ses luttes contre les corruptions de l’AKP (Parti de la justice et du développement). Ayant carrière de bureaucratie, il est connu comme « Monsieur le propre » dans le pays. Cependant après avoir perdu plusieurs d’élection contre l’AKP, maintenant il est plus faible en face des critiques. En effet, il possede des projets efficaces pour l’avenir de la Turquie concernant l’économie mais il a toujours des difficultés pour parvenir aux électeurs conservateurs. Kılıçdaroğlu a défendu son siège contre Muharrem İnce avec 740 votes contre 415 en Septembre 2014. Il peut être plus difficile cette fois mais il peut encore garder son contrôle sur le parti. Mais toujours il doit gagner une élection contre l’AKP pour devenir un chef indiscutable. Apres les élections générale de 7 juin, il a eu la chance de renverser le gouvernement de l’AKP avec une coalition entre le MHP et le HDP. Mais il n’a pas pu convaincre les deux autres partis et l’AKP a obtenu une autre victoire dans l’élection précedent de 1 novembre.    

Muharrem İnce

Le deuxième candidat est le député fameux de Yalova, Monsieur Muharrem İnce (52). İnce est comme Robespierre du CHP avec ses discours flamboyants qu’il tient  au parlement et qui a interloqué plusieurs fois Monsieur le Président Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Monsieur Ahmet Davutoğlu (le Premier Ministre)  et ses ministres. İnce est plus nationaliste, Kémaliste et républicain contre Monsieur Kılıçdaroğlu qui est modéré et social-démocrate, et il propose des tactiques politiques plus sévères contre l’Islamisme politique et le sécessionnisme Kurde. Il a déjà un support assez fort dans le parti. Il peut augmenter les voix de parti plus facilement comme il est plus médiatique et il a déjà réussi à politiser les jeunes et les gens apolitiques. Mais le danger avec lui est qu’il peut plus polariser la société concernant les différents identités ethniques (turc-kurde) et styles de vies (séculaire-islamiste).   

Umut Oran

Monsieur Umut Oran (54) est le plus libéral candidat dans le CHP. Venant d’un background de businessman, il est aussi le vice-président de l’International Socialiste depuis décembre 2014. Il a des projets concrets et il peut parler deux langes européens (l’anglais et le français). Mais il n’est pas très connu dans le peuple et le libéralisme est une idéologie trop impuissant en Turquie.  

Mustafa Balbay

Le dernier candidat est Monsieur Mustafa Balbay (56). Il est journaliste et chroniqueur très connu de Cumhuriyet (la République), un journal kémaliste et gauchiste. Il a passé quelques années en prison à cause de l’affaire scandaleuse, Ergenekon, avec la charge d’organiser un coup d’état séculaire contre le gouvernement de l’AKP, mais finalement débarqué. Il est un populiste et assez connu et compétent, mais encore nouveau dans la vie politique.

Probablement, la compétition sera entre Monsieur Kılıçdaroğlu et Monsieur İnce. Monsieur Kılıçdaroğlu est toujours le favori car c’est très rare dans la vie politique turque qu’un leader de parti perd son siège dans un congrès. Mais le CHP est le seul parti démocratique de la Turquie concernant la démocratie dans le parti et tout peut se réaliser si les délègués ont décidé à changer le chef.


RPP Will Hold Its Ordinary Congress on 16-17 January 2016

Turkey’s pro-secular main opposition party, CHP (Republican People’s Party – RPP) will hold its ordinary congress on 16-17 January 2016 in Ankara. The congress will witness a leadership race between the current chair of the party, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and 3 other candidates. In this piece, I will try to analyze the upcoming CHP congress.

We should first look at the latest situation of the party. Although the social democratic party has been increasing its votes steadily since the 2002 elections, due to governing Justice and Development Party’s dominating position in Turkish politics and incredible electoral performances, CHP voters seem to be very desperate in recent years. The large gap between two parties' voting percentages (50 % for AKP and 25 % for CHP) is the primary reason for this pessimistic mood. Consistent but very slow increase in the party’s votes (from 19.39 % in 2002 to 25.30 % in 2015) can be named as the second negative factor. Thirdly, CHP seems to have lost its organic ties with Turkish intelligentsia in recent years. All these factors distance voters from CHP since many people think that the party does not have chance to govern Turkey. In fact, after the elections in June, CHP had a chance to get rid of -13 years of- AKP rule by establishing a coalition government with Turkish nationalist Nationalist Action Party - NAP (MHP) and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party - PDP (HDP). However, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu’s sincere efforts were not strong enough to bring MHP and HDP together within a 3 party coalition government. The result was the renewal of elections and return to single party government by AKP. Although MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli is often pointed out as the real responsible of this failure, it is also a fact that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not create a comfortable political ground for the take-over of such a coalition government before the elections. Thus, this congress will be open to criticism toward party leadership.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

The party leader, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (68) looks for a new term as the current chair of the party. Nicknamed as “Gandhi” after India’s legendary leader, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu comes from bureaucratic background and represents the Alevi minority in Turkey as well as secular-minded Sunni groups who are opposing to increasing sectarian politics in Turkey and Middle East. Although the party represents the secular option against the Islamic or nationalist politics, it does not seem to have enough support from the Western world or Russia. It is also strange to see that the party does not give enough importance and place to non-Muslim groups in Turkey including Christian and Jewish minorities. Kılıçdaroğlu has been also acting very conservatively in terms of proposing a new model related to Turkey’s governance. The party does not advocate a model of autonomy or federalism in relation to Kurdish question and takes the issue mostly from the economic perspective. In foreign policy, the party challenges AKP’s pro-Sunni approach and seems closer to Russia-Iran bloc although they offer a balance policy and never consider Turkey’s exit from the Western bloc and NATO. The party is also very determined about Turkey's full membership to European Union; a good foreign policy ideal that does not seem very realistic in recent years. CHP offered some concrete and good economic projects under Kılıçdaroğlu's leadership, but failed to convince voters. His humble and honest image is also often praised by Turkish people. Thus, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu might increase the party’s votes with a few percent in the next elections. However, it should be added that no one expects a miracle from him after several lost elections.

Muharrem İnce

Kılıçdaroğlu’s most pretentious rival is Mr. Muharrem İnce (52). Coming from teacher background, Mr. İnce is an interesting figure in Turkish politics. His extraordinary oratory skills can be compared only to Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of course, being his secular version. It should not be forgotten that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu was able to secure his seat against Mr. İnce with 740 votes to 415 in the extraordinary congress of the party organized in September 2014. This shows that İnce has already a good support within the party and this time he might seriously challenge Kılıçdaroğlu for being 8th chair of the party (after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, İsmet İnönü, Bülent Ecevit, Deniz Baykal, Hikmet Çetin, Altan Öymen and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu). İnce appeals to right-wing voters as well because of his nationalist opposition to AKP policies. However, this might alienate CHP further from the Kurdish voters if he is elected. Moreover, İnce’s foreign policy approach is also strongly anti-imperialistic and he might challenge many of the policy initiatives coming from Washington and Brussels. It is already known that he is a strong opponent of anti-Iran and anti-Russia policies implemented by the AKP government and its Western allies. His secularism understanding is also very harsh and resembles to single-party years in Turkey. However, in a world where ISIS seems to be the greatest danger for the human civilization, his rigid secular rhetoric might appeal to Western decision-makers as well. İnce might increase the party’s votes rapidly and reach around 30 % easily, because he might appeal to nationalist voters as well and he could politicize young people with his enthusiastic style. İnce is also the youngest candidate among the alternatives.

Umut Oran

There are 2 other candidates for the congress. Mr. Umut Oran (54) seems to be the most liberal and pro-business candidate among the alternatives. Coming from businessman background, Mr. Oran is a self-made millionaire in the textile industry. He has also been the Vice President of Socialist International since December 2014. He speaks French and English. On the paper, he seems like a perfect leader that will lead CHP and Turkey toward a more pro-Western future. However, among the party delegates, he does not seem very popular and powerful. Moreover, his businessman style might not appeal to ordinary voters in Turkey. It is known that Turkey does not have a liberal political tradition and Islamism, secularism (Kemalism), Turkish nationalism and Kurdish secessionism are four main ideological orientations in the country. Thus, Mr. Oran might not be the best leader in practice at least for the moment.

Mustafa Balbay

The last candidate Mr. Mustafa Balbay (56) is a famous journalist and author of many books. Mr. Balbay is the most leftist alternative among the candidates. He writes for left-wing daily Cumhuriyet for many years and spent few years in the prison recently because of false accusations related to a conspiracy to topple down the AKP government with a pro-secular military coup, legal controversies known as Ergenekon and Balyoz cases in Turkey. He has become a symbol of secularism in Turkey and has a good knowledge of Turkish and Middle Eastern politics. However, he is new as an active politician and this might decrease support for his leadership.

It seems like the leadership race will be between Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu and Mr. İnce. Although Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu has an obvious advantage as the party leader who appoints most of the delegates, it should be stated that CHP is the only political party in Turkey that practices intra-party democracy and there can be delegates who are opposing to Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership as well. Thus, the leadership race will be very tight and this time Mr. İnce also has a good chance to win.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ

3 Ocak 2016 Pazar

9 Maddede 2016 Yılı Rusya Ulusal Güvenlik Strateji Belgesi

Rusya Federasyonu Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin'in imzasıyla geçtiğimiz gün ilan edilen 2016 yılı Rusya Ulusal Güvenlik Strateji Belgesi, bazı açılardan önemli bir kırılma noktası niteliği taşıyan önemli bir dokümandır. Son dönemde Ukrayna ve Suriye'de Batı dünyasıyla ciddi anlamda karşı karşıya gelen Rusya, bu ani değişikliği ulusal güvenlik stratejisine de yansıtmış durumdadır. Belgede öne çıkan 9 önemli husus şöyle özetlenebilir:

1. Renkli Devrimler ve Yolsuzluk Rusya İçin Öncelikli Tehditlerdir: Belgeye göre; Turuncu Devrim ve benzeri Batı destekli iktidar değişiklikleri, Rusya ulusal güvenliği, ülkenin toprak bütünlüğü ve istikrarı açısından tehlikeli görülmektedir. Rus Devleti, bu gibi girişimlere Batılı istihbarat servislerinin yön verdiğini düşünmektedir. Ayrıca yolsuzluk da önemli bir sorun olarak işaret edilmekte ve temiz siyaset mesajıyla yönetime yönelik halk desteği arttırılmak istenmektedir.

2. Kimyasal ve Biyolojik Silah Tehditleri: Belgeye göre; son dönemde ABD'nin de desteğiyle Rusya'nın komşusu olan devletlerin biyolojik ve kimyasal silah kapasiteleri tehlikeli bir şekilde gelişmektedir. Bu durum, Rusya için öncelikli tehditlerden birisidir.

3. NATO Genişlemesi Sınırı Aştı: Rus Devleti, yeni ulusal güvenlik stratejisinde NATO genişlemesini öncelikli bir tehdit olarak gördüğünü beyan etmektedir. Bu durum, Rusya'nın Ukrayna ve Gürcistan gibi ülkelerin Batı yönelimli politikalarına devam etmeleri durumunda Rus tehdidiyle karşılaşacaklarını gösteren bir uyarı olarak okunmalıdır. Buna karşın, Rusya'nın hassasiyetlerine saygı duyulması durumunda, NATO, ABD ve AB ile iyi ilişkiler kurulmak istendiği belirtilmektedir.

4. Ukrayna'daki Darbe Yönetimi Düşman Rusya İmajı Yaratıyor: Belgeye göre; Rusya, Ukrayna'daki iktidar değişikliğini bir 'darbe' olarak görmekte ve bu durumun Ukrayna'daki aşırı milliyetçi çevreleri güçlendirdiğini ve bu ülkeyi iç savaşa sürüklediğini düşünmektedir.

5. Nükleere Hayır İçin İki Şart: Yine bu belgede; Rusya'nın nükleer gücünü azaltmaya hazır olduğu, ancak bunun sadece karşılıklı anlaşmalar ve çok taraflı görüşmeler durumunda yapılabileceğinin altı çizilmektedir.

6. Bilgi Savaşı: Belgede vurgulanan bir diğer husus, Rusya'nın maruz kaldığı enformatik (bilgi) savaşıdır. İnternetin yaygınlaşması ile birlikte, habercilik ile istihbarat servislerinin internet üzerinden yürüttükleri propaganda faaliyetleri ilintili hale gelmiştir. Bu nedenle, bu konuda çeşitli önlemler alınmalıdır.

7. Askeri Güç Kullanımı: Yeni strateji belgesinde, Rusya’nın askeri güce başvurmasının yegane gerekçesi olarak diğer yöntemlerin ulusal çıkarları korumaya yeterli olmaması durumu belirtilmektedir. Elbette, bu çok geniş ve her şekilde yorumlanabilecek bir ifadedir. Zira günümüz dünyasında devletler arası ilişkilerde ulusal çıkarları maksimize eden mutlak kazanç durumları pek nadiren söz konusu olmaktadır.

8. Ekonomik İstikrar Tehlikesi: Belgede Rusya’nın son dönemde yaşadığı ekonomik zorluklar samimiyetle kabul edilmiş ve bu durumun yolsuzluk gibi pratiklerle daha da ağırlaştığı belirtilmiştir. Ayrıca küresel ekonomik krizin ve Rusya’ya yönelik siyasi motifli yaptırımların buna neden olduğu ifade edilmiştir.

9. Ekonomiyi İyileştirme Planları: Rus hükümetinin, artan ekonomik sorunlar karşısında gerekli önlemleri almaya hazırlandığı ifade edilen belgede, hükümetin bazı toplumsal ve ekonomik politikaları hayata geçireceği belirtilmiştir. Bu politikaların kapsamında; enflasyonu düşürmek, mali sistemi güçlendirmek ve rublenin istikrarlı hareket etmesini sağlamak öncelikli olarak sayılmaktadır. Ayrıca Rusya'nın, Çin, Hindistan, Latin Amerika ve Afrika ülkeleriyle ilişkilerini güçlendirmek istediği de bu bölümde söylenmektedir.

Raporun genel olarak dengeli yazıldığı, ancak Ukrayna konusunda herhangi bir yumuşama durumu algılanmadığı belirtilmelidir. Suriye konusuna hiç girilmemesi ise, IŞİD'le mücadele ve Suriye'deki geçiş dönemi konusunda Rusya’nın işbirliğine açık olduğu şeklinde okunabilir.

Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ