Political Articles Part 1
Uncharted Waters: Global Politics in Disarray
2011 showed that international politics is a mess and no one is strong enough to recover it.
Early 20th Century was the time of great statesmen. Even though they have been severely criticized in their time, men like Churchill, De Gaulle, Schumann, Brandt, Roosevelt and Kennedy showed the world how to overcome stalemates, put greater good over short term interests and keep politics on right track. Unfortunately, today’s world is lack of such leadership. Neither Barack Obama nor Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have a significant influence on global politics. They do not have effective solutions on the woes of their countrymen let alone global concerns.
European economy is at its worst state since the end of World War 2. Not only Greek, Italian and Spanish but also French economy experiences dire consequences arising from the problematic regulations of the common currency. Despite Eurocrats’ efforts to introduce a stricter financial code, Euro Zone is at the brink of collapse. US economy which has been under the heel of bankers for so long, is not better. It has not recovered from the recessive state since 2008 and social unrest is on the rise. (see article) Polls suggest that Merkel, Obama and Sarkozy are all losing people’s hearts and minds.
But there is more than that. U.S. and Europe are losing face and their strenght to set course for international politics is getting weaker day by day. This is simply due to current leaders’ inadequacy to take the right steps towards global issues (be they economic or political) that make progress impossible in international politics. For one, they could not avoid double-dip recession; people still suffer the consequences of malpractices of the financial moguls. Nevertheless the problem is not economy only. Italy and Belgium almost simultaneously witnessed racial violence causing 4 people dead and a tens of people injured last week when the massacre in Norway still haunts the streets of the old continent. Israel-Palestine issue, a tumor intoxicating every single positive development in the region, continues to be a great destabilizor for the whole global politics. High hopes on Obama particularly regarding this problem were debunked when he was intimidated by the Israel lobby upon his referrence to pre-1967 borders. They also could not decide in a timely fashion whether to back or overthrow the dictators of the MENA during the Arab Spring.
In fact, this should not be a suprise in a time when leaders can not even address regional issues. For the last twenty years, EU was not able to bring anything significant to regional conflicts. International community has witnessed and still witnessing its failures in Bosnia and Cyprus among others. Let alone military action, it did not even embrace a common stance towards similar regional stalemates. The latest example of Britain’s self-exclusion from the new financial regulations of the EU also reflects a similar discord on regional issues.
U.S. endeavors to “bring peace” to different parts of the world also proved useless. Even if current and previous U.S. Administration’s unavailing efforts to deliver viable solutions to situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran could be deemed controversial, Somalia is a clear instance of a US failure on a regional crisis. (see article) Although cynics might think that the real motive behind US actions on Somalia was not to solve the crisis (through peace and/or state building), it cannot also be claimed that the current situation in Somalia is in its best interest.
According to some critics, declining influence of EU and U.S. is due to the emergence of new players in the international fora such as China, India and Russia. Often referred as decoupling, this theory claims that this new axis limits the capabilities of once great powers. This blog does not agree with that. There has always been challengers; even in the Cold War, there were non-aligned countries which stood against the bipolar politics. The important thing is to possess true leadership skills which enable to shape global politics (within the framework of reelpolitik) beyond self-seeking interests. It usually requires to set aside daily politics and focus on long-term benefits which are significant not only for a country but also for the whole world.
The Time of Tragedy
This is closely related to reelpolitik. Leaders of the early twentieth century led the world during the greatest tragedies of mankind. Two world wars and an economic downfall showed them that everthing built by the modern civilization of men in centuries could be destroyed in the months. These events surely had a profound influence on them and helped to improve their vision. Clearly or implicitly, their priority have always been to prevent similar tragedies so they have acted as such. Leaders not witnessing and comprehending the actual results of such predicaments, are having difficulties to meet half way. They consider compromise as withdrawal and reconciliation as defeat. They are often limited to see overarching issues in world politics. Nonetheless, a leader should see and build future beyond the debates of daily politics. That’s how history is written.
In the late 1930s, churchill and roosevelt were severely criticized for unnecessarily interfereing continental Europe’s politics. Setting their differences aside, Churchill and Stalin also found a way to reach an entente against the Nazi Germany during the World War 2. Today, most academics accept that it would have been too late if Hitler were allowed to invade the whole Eastern Europe, mobilizing all resources extracted there to wage a total war towards Western Europe.