On June 14, 2021, Mr. Biden arrived in Brussels on his first trip to Europe as President. The Brussels Summit Communiqué issued by the NATO Heads of State and Government on that day broke new ground by mentioning China in a NATO public statement for the first time. It said, “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to Alliance security.”
On January 20, the US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany under the chairmanship of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The meeting, attended by more than fifty nations and NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg, was the eighth in a series of meetings initiated in April 2022, to discuss efforts to provide military support to Ukraine.
Almost five years ago I said that the alliance between Türkiye and the US which, despite ups and downs had stood the test of time, was under considerable strain, and the so-called “telephone diplomacy” which did not allow for an in-depth exchange of views raised more questions than it resolved. This was the time when President Trump, despite having sent the most discourteous letter in the history of modern diplomacy to his Turkish counterpart, was still Ankara’s only “friend” in Washington.
“The Ukraine conflict dealt a blow to Russia-West relations, more severe than the one dealt by the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. It has led to greater turbulence. Because, while Georgia is located at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Ukraine is a European country, and four NATO nations, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania are Ukraine’s neighbors. Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia border Russia. All three are dependent on Russian natural gas and the last two are home to a substantial number of ethnic Russians. In other words, they have reasons to worry.
With the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, world attention turned to New York. But what made the headlines during the past two days was the September 21 Kremlin address by President Putin announcing the partial mobilization of the Russian Federation and emphasizing that “only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.” Moreover, Mr. Putin declared, “I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”[i]
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 June 15, the New York Times reported that heat waves are becoming more frequent, hotter, and longer-lasting than in previous decades, according to scientists. The US National Climate Assessment noted in 2018 that the frequency of heat waves had jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s. The heat-wave season in the United States has stretched to 45 days longer than it was in the 1960s, according to the report. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing, temperatures are warming, sea levels are rising, and ice extent and glacier mass are decreasing.[i]
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.