Sad Times for Democracy

July 5, 2020

China had a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s. Xi Jinping became president in 2012. In April this year, the National People’s Congress approved the removal the two-term limit, effectively allowing him to “remain in power for life”.

China is one of world’s leading powers. Henry Kissinger has said, “No other country can claim so long a continuous civilization, or such an intimate link to its ancient past and classical principles of strategy and statesmanship.” However, without even an interlude of democracy in its history, China has failed to make progress in that direction and President Xi’s two terms in office are no exception. Okumaya devam et

Turkish-French Tensions Over Libya

June 29, 2020

Two weeks ago, France accused Turkey of harassing a French frigate off the coast of Libya while it carried out checks on a Turkish ship that it suspected of breaking the UN arms embargo. Turkey denied the charge. A week later, President Macron said, “I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President Erdogan I consider today that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya and is in breach of all commitments it took during the Berlin conference.” Turkish officials reacted. NATO is now investigating the incident at sea. Okumaya devam et

Turkey Needs to Pivot to Diplomacy

June 22, 2020

Ataturk was the hero of our War of Independence, the founder of the Republic and Turkey’s greatest ever reformer. His motto was, “peace at home, peace in the world”.

Suffice to say, we no longer have peace at home. Our democracy is in steep decline and we are polarized like we have never been.

Neither the world is at peace. Particularly in the Middle East internal strife and proxy wars are taking their toll on the unfortunate masses. Okumaya devam et

The Day of Reckoning

June 15, 2020

The end of the Cold War raised hopes for a more peaceful and stable world with the “international community” collectively confronting global challenges. This proved a myth. After three decades, all we hear now is Cold War II, which essentially means that world’s major powers have failed to redefine their self-centered foreign and security policy priorities and their relationships. Okumaya devam et

Confrontation over Hong Kong

May 26, 2020

In April 2017, President Trump hosted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for a two-day summit at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. After their meeting, Mr. Trump spoke of “tremendous progress” in the U.S.-China relationship. A year later, the Trump administration announced sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports. The trade war escalated with more tariffs and Chinese retaliation. In December 2018, the chief financial officer Huawei was arrested in Canada at Washington’s request. The trade war intensified. In November 2019, President Trump signed a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters.

At present, the focus is on Hong Kong because China plans to push through, at this year’s China’s National People’s Congress, sweeping national security laws for Hong Kong to bar subversion, separatism or acts of foreign interference against the central government. Critics say this will effectively end the territory’s democracy and autonomy. Okumaya devam et

The Syrian Quagmire

May 18, 2020

Syria’s relations with Moscow have traditionally been close and steady. Russia operated a military base in Tartus for more than four decades. In the mid-1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher Warren Christopher, believing that this offered an opportunity to move Syria away from Russia, went to Damascus 24 times always to leave empty-handed. Okumaya devam et

Fighting King Covid XIX

May 11, 2020

Two months ago, underlining the regrettable shallowness of the concept of “international community”, I said that the world now needs the kind cooperation  commensurate with the enormity of the coronavirus challenge, like emergency meetings at the UN Security Council, frequent telephone calls between world leaders and senior health officials, video conferences at the highest level if leaders are advised not to travel. Because, closing of ranks is the only way to fight King Covid XIX’s phantom troops. Okumaya devam et

The Idlib Problem Still with Us

April 27, 2020

Coronavirus is seen as the greatest global challenge of modern times. Because, the death toll in some countries has reached tens of thousands. Just as important is the shock of unpreparedness, helplessness and vulnerability of a technologically advanced world under attack. A second wave is looming, but second-strike capability is of no consequence. Nonetheless, countries including those hardest hit are planning to ease restrictions because the economy matters. Okumaya devam et

“International Community” and the UN System

April 20, 2020

Some say that after coronavirus passes “nothing will be the same”. Should that prove to be the case, hopefully the past will not dictate the future.

Last week, President Trump announced he was halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO). It seems that Washington was not happy with WHO’s praise of China in fighting the coronavirus. “Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Mr. Trump said. Okumaya devam et

Sailing in Uncharted Waters

April 7, 2020

The Arab Spring threw the Middle East in chaos. Then came the Ukraine conflict and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. As the Syrian conflict moved up on the international agenda the former receded. Despite on and off official statements regarding the illegitimacy of Crimea’s annexation, everybody knew that there would be no going back. With a rising China and a resurgent Russia “global realignment” became a current topic. There was even talk about “Cold War II” and more investment in military power. The rise of populism and authoritarianism led to a pessimistic outlook regarding the future of democracy. Okumaya devam et