That’s what the late Professor Erdogan Alkin used to say. Together, we even made a television show under the same name for a long time. After his death, I and Yalın Alpay also published a book with the same title. Frankly, I am not one of those who believe that economy is responsible for every aggressive attitude of countries. I think such aggression is driven by rather different motivations.
Unfortunately, the fact that only the economic side of the tensions between Russia and Ukraine is constantly discussed overshadows the comments about the political side effects of this crisis.
On the one hand, there are those who claim that the Russian invasion into Ukraine was a reaction to the western expansionism led by the United States, on the other, there are those who say that Putin is living on borrowed time and in the meantime, he is attempting unreasonable goals. Regardless of what motivation is behind Putin’s actions, Russian invasion of Ukraine means the return of American hegemony. “America must learn to use its power”. This is the common view of neo-conservatives and democrats in the U.S. There is serious pressure on the White House to reclaim its title of “the power that controls the balance even at the farthest places of the world”, accompanied by a state of panic in the country as pro-Trump candidates come to the fore before the upcoming midterm elections. If Trump supporters dominate again in these elections, the overseas presence of the United States will be under debate. In fact, the reason for the overseas military presence of the U.S. has been under debate for a long time.
In the last 30 years, Americans, who were obviously caught unprepared for a unipolar world after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, declared the Arabs, then the Japanese, then the Arabs again, and finally the Chinese and Russians as their enemies and wanted to take on the role of the world’s superpower. In order to remain a “dynamic force ready for war”, the U.S. crossed the line many times with some outrageous acts. Occasionally, they even considered it appropriate to involve in conflict with the Turkish Armed Forces. It is also known that the United States has not made much effort for NATO’s eastward expansion so far, and even remained indifferent to Ukraine’s independence movement. Or to put it in other words, the USSR and Russia were kept as reserve enemies, as a vaccine to cure the U.S. when it gets sick. In other words, it was deemed appropriate to keep it as “unconscious virus”.
“Putin Put The Russians In A Wrongful Position”
I think this is a reflection of the United States’ “search for an enemy that matches its strength”, an enemy whose presence will be most useful when the government has power struggles in domestic politics. However, the decline of the American presence in the world under Trump, just like the power vacuum left after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has resulted in this void being filled by others. The fact that Trump discussed withdrawing from NATO, his support for Putin, and for the dissolution of the EU accelerated the process of “filling the power void”. The economic difficulties caused by the pandemic have led to increasingly daring attempts by countries holding the main energy commodities.
Russian lands were occupied several times by France and Germany. However, in Russia’s case, embarking on an attack on others before they attack you, out of heartbreak or anxiety caused by history, does not match the values of the 21st century. I just hope that this ongoing Russia-Ukraine war will not cause paranoia from the past to enter the present.
Putin has been the first leader to invade another country on such wide scale for the first time since the WWII. Israel too is gradually occupying its surroundings in its own style, but the Russians put on an ‘invasion’ in a quite flamboyant way, in accordance with their own character and personality. What they have done so far has been brutal enough to have them prosecuted as “war criminals” at the International Criminal Court.
The direction in which the occupation will head and how the U.S. and the West will respond to it will show us how the future will unfold. The Greek Prime Minister’s provocative address to U.S. Congress and the fact that he received a standing ovation for his remarks were answered by Turkey’s rightful reaction against the admission of new members to NATO. Powerfully underlining that it will not let anyone to make decisions without taking Turkish state into account and it will not let anyone to threaten itself, Turkey has put the American hegemony in its place.
Perhaps, thanks to Putin’s recklessness, Turkey’s importance in the region will be remembered again. If Turkey’s relations with the European Union and the United States had been strengthened until today, it would not have been possible for the Russians to treat Ukrainians with such cruelty. Turkey’s transformation from being an ally of the West to a “balance point between the two poles” is not something that has come about organically.
I hope what I have explained above adequately answered the criticism that Turkey’s foreign policy is “too fluctuating”. The fact that the manoeuvres carried out so far by the world’s countries have not had any positive effect on the citizens of any country in terms of economic gain clearly confirms that not every diplomatic step brings economic strength. Obviously, as always, there are those who take advantage of the war to fill their own pockets.