On June 14, 2021, Mr. Biden arrived in Brussels on his first trip to Europe as President. His principal task at the NATO summit was to put behind America’s allies’ troubled relations with the Trump White House and rally NATO’s support in the strategic competition with Moscow and Beijing.
The two paragraphs dealing with China, the first time in a NATO communiqué, started by saying that China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to Alliance security. In this connection, the Communique mentioned China’s rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal; its opaqueness in implementing its military modernization; its military cooperation with Russia, including through participation in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area; its “frequent lack of transparency and use of disinformation”.
For centuries Europe remained the world’s main battleground. But the number of casualties of the two world wars, occurring within four decades, dwarfed the losses and devastation of the past conflicts. And as the Second World War ended, the Iran Curtain descended across Europe.
With the war in Ukraine, the “emerging world order” has once again become a current topic even though the use of the word “order” in the global context does not correspond to its Merriam-Webster definition which is “the state of peace, freedom from confused or unruly behavior, and respect for law or proper authority”.
On his first trip to Europe, in June 2021, President Biden arrived at Brussels having mustered the support of the G7 on Russia and China. His principal task at the NATO summit was to put the four troubling years with President Trump behind and rally NATO’s support in the strategic competition with Russia and China.
Last week, the Turkish government sent a letter to the United Nations formally requesting that henceforth it be referred to as “Türkiye” which was immediately agreed upon. The move was seen as part of a push by Ankara to dissociate its name from the bird, turkey, and some negative connotations that are associated with it. The Turkish word for Egypt is “Mısır”. The word also means corn. Yet, never in my life, not even once, have I thought of corn, popcorn, or genetically modified corn when I heard the word Mısır. For me, regardless of being called Turkey or Türkiye, my country will always be Atatürk’s Republic.
On May 19, in a government statement in the German Bundestag, Chancellor Scholz said, “We all share the same goal: Russia must not win this war. Ukraine must survive.” Putin first has to realize that he cannot break Ukraine’s defense before he would be willing to negotiate seriously about peace, he continued. “Emmanuel Macron is right to point out that the entry process is not a question of a few months or even years,” the Federal Chancellor added.
On March 26, in Poland, President Biden referring to President Putin said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Administration officials immediately scrambled to clarify that what he meant was not regime change. “That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.” Two days later, Mr. Biden said that his comment was an expression of his outrage and not a change in American policy.
A country’s foreign policy is shaped by its identity, sense of belonging, world outlook, and geographic location. This last one is a constant; the others are subject to evolution, change, and definition/redefinition within the limits of reason. In today’s polarized Turkey, we do not have a consensus on any of the first three and the last one happens to be a double-edged sword. In countries enjoying such consensus, the task of governments is to merge these with national power into policies designed to maximize national interest. This requires realism, calm, poise, prudence, consistency, and determination.
Last week, the US House of Representatives approved 40 billion dollars in additional aid for Ukraine by a vote of 368-57. The package of military, economic and humanitarian support was 7 billion dollars more than the 33 billion President Biden had requested. The package is expected to pass the Senate this week.
9/11 Led to an outburst of international sympathy and support for the US. President George W. Bush vowed vengeance and ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda’s leadership was based. Russian President Putin was the first foreign leader to call US President Bush and in a statement of support he said: “In the name of Russia, I want to say to the American people – we are with you.” He coordinated with central Asian countries to allow US forces, for the first time, to use military bases of the former Soviet Union.
Soon after, unfortunately, came the US-led invasion of Iraq under false premises, followed later by the Arab spring interventions.