Good Luck With it... and it isn't a Cold War, it's a Balance of Power - YASIN AKTAY

Good Luck With it... and it isn't a Cold War, it's a Balance of Power

The second round of the June 7 elections, the November 1 election, has given the voter the chance to think about the conditions in Turkey and the world after experiencing the last five months. We have witnessed how the voter has evaluated this decision, in the past few hours. As I write this article, the final decision has not been clarified yet. However, at this point it seems as if the voters have overhauled the decision made on June 7, in favor of the AK Party. Putting election results aside to evaluate later on, let's continue to discuss our previous issue. The election results are closely linked with the Cold War, whether in theory or reality.

After the Cold War ended, many theories were put forward to analyze the international system. Classic theories analyzing the international system have been renewed with “neo” prefixes. Two of the theorists who have been analyzing how the system would form after the Cold War have engendered serious discussions. Francis Fukuyama declared the End of History in Tianenmen Square in China with an anti-regime demonstration, just before the Cold War ended. According to Fukuyama, the liberal western democracies and the struggle between the poles had gained an irreversible victory.

Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory caused heated debates throughout the 1990s. Huntington claimed that the battle between the socialist and capitalist poles would later turn into a clash between civilizations. An important omission in Huntington's theory that stands out is the Orthodox world somehow being left out of this civilization circle. The most important point of Huntington's theory was the Islamic world being polarized as the 'other' in the civilization circles.

The common thread is that all these theories put forward after the Cold War are based in Cold War logic. It is evident that; after a long and tiring experience of 45 years, and determined with the power residue of the United States, researchers could not break free from the Cold War logic when developing theories to analyze international relations. This situation affected the period after too; At times when the US could not direct the system by itself, doubts on whether the Cold War would return arose.

At the Russia-European Union Summit in 2002, Vladimir Putin said that they had finally buried the Cold War. This statement was also a result of the management of the Russia NATO cooperation and competition in the 1990s. Thus, before the Helsinki final act agreement in 1975 statements were also made declaring the end of the Cold War. However, the same Putin with his speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference in 2008, signalized Cold War discourse again. During his speech at the Munich Security Conference, Putin had said, “I consider the unipolar model to be not only unacceptable but also impossible in today's world. And this is not only because if there were individual leadership in today's -- and precisely in today's -- world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.”

Russia's interventions in Georgia and Ukraine after 2008, its current attitude in Syria, and its polarization in international relations have suggested that, in the case of a Cold War, Russia will be leading. Three important points stand out when these arguments are put forward. The first is: Russia does not have the leadership potential to lead in such a case. Polarization leadership, within the polarization system, requires the production of public goods (complimentary financial support, investments etc.).

In this context, it can be said that Russia's effect is more military than economic. It should be remembered that the Cold War is a struggle between economic systems more than anything else. The Cold War was a struggle between the communist and capitalist blocks. Both poles had different pledges in terms of the economic system. Today, a disagreement in terms of the economic system does not exist between Russia and the US. For example, in such a Cold War layout, China would be placed with Russia, however, China is the US' biggest economic partner. On the other hand, Russia's economic relations with the European Union countries are of vital importance.

For example, it does not seem possible to harness China and Russia to the same cart. It can also be said that Germany has overcome the restrictions and has become an effective actor in Europe, and thus has pushed aside the US' sphere of influence in Europe. On the other hand, regional actors, like those of 19th century Prussia, are appearing in the picture as well.

All in all, it seems as if the system is moving towards a balance of power, rather than a new Cold War.


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