The unipolar system , which seems to have been filed by history, has entered a deep crisis together with the U.S.-led Western system. The economic and financial collapse and the loss of a reliable partner in the “geopolitical building” such as Turkey determined the end of the U.S. expansion. The U.S. are now on the crest of a very important decision: shelving the project of the world supremacy, and therefore sharing the political and economic choices with other global actors, or instead, insisting on the hegemonic plan, risking their very survival as a nation. The choice will be dictated by the relations that will be established in the short to medium term, among the pressure groups that influence the U.S. foreign policy and the evolution of the multipolar system.
The Turkish crack
The consolidation of the multipolar context and the continuous expansion of the economic and geopolitical spheres of influence of some Eurasian and South American countries require the current U.S. administration to make an important choice. This is happening because Washington does not seem to be able to manage either the financial and economic crisis that hit the western system, that is to say its geopolitical centre, or the relations with the major Eurasian countries, Russia, India and China, for instance. To this situation, one should also add the difficulties the Pentagon daily has to deal with, such as the coordination of the enormous and expensive military deployment fielded from the first Gulf War. The weakness of the U.S. is reflected, in particular, in the misguided attempt by Obama and Clinton to patch some critical situations, such as the Near and Middle East. The important Turkish partner, once representing the interests of the West and of Tel Aviv, has taken unorthodox positions with respect to the position of Washington in the area which used to be of a fundamental importance in the past for the expansionist strategy of the U.S. in the Eurasian mass. This fact introduced an element of destabilization within the architecture planned by the U.S..
The Turkish crack recalls U.S. strategists of another bitter blow, that is to say the facts that happened in the late ‘70s with the loss of Iran as a pawn in the “great game” that at the time their predecessors led against the Soviet Union. Nowadays, in this different global context characterized by the multipolarity, the Turkish crack could be disastrous for American – centralized system at least for 5 reasons. The first reason is related to its military presence in the West, also known as NATO. For how long will this structure, led by Rasmussen, tolerate the eccentricity of one of its members who is so clearly anti-Israel and therefore anti-America? Is NATO able to balance the Turkish expectations in playing an important regional role, without annoying Israel? These are only two of the main questions that a new and adequate reformulation of the aims of the weak transatlantic institution should answer to, beyond the “historic turning point” reached in the recent summit in Lisbon (November 2010).
The second question is connected to the relations between Ankara and Brussels. The new Turkey of Erdogan is ready to join the European Union, but Downing Street (the strategic partner of the U.S.) and France impede this unification process thanks to the insignificant pretext of human rights, the ideological arsenal developed by the American think tank, which the West took as its, especially by Sarkozy. If the unification is denied to Turkey, the country will strengthen its cooperation with other markets, such as Russia, Iran, China, therefore directly enhancing the economic and productive area of the Eurasian mass.
The third area, partly connected to the second one, concerns the Mediterranean. Turkey, which is considered as the forth European peninsula, seems to attract more and more the economic interests of the coastal States, and those of southern Europe as well as North Africa’s. The South Stream project devised by Moscow plays in favor of strengthening the economic agreements between Turkey and the Mediterranean countries.
The fourth area concerns the relations between Turkey and the Central Asian republics. Turkey is a transit route to Central Area, which represents the space Washington aspires to dominate after the collapse of the U.S.S.R.. As long as Turkey was following carefully the direction of the U.S., Washington was pushing its pressure on the Central Asian republics (also known as the “Eurasian Balkans” , as defined by Brzezinski) in order to increase the endogenous tensions, mainly in the anti-Russia direction, but also in the anti- Eurasia one. Now that Ankara seems determined to increase its level of autonomy, the relations that it has with the central Asian republics are not well seen by Washington, although they are well balanced withthose with Moscow. Hence, the recent demonization of Turkey made by the Western.
Finally, regarding the fifth question, it should be noticed that the positive relations that Ankara has with Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and major South America countries herald a change in the geopolitical plans of Turkey. This change goes clearly in the direction of strengthening of the new multipolar scenario.
Once upon a time there was the West
In the situation outlined above, the U.S.-led Western system is very likely to implode. Its expansion to the east is now under braking, considering the more and more leadership of Moscow on the international scene and the disastrous campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that the Pentagon and Washington cannot manage. In Africa, the competition with China is a crucial problem for the whole West. Since neither Washington nor Wall Street nor the Pentagon/NATO – despite the creation of the Africom – succeeded to provide an effective contrast to the Chinese growing power, it is reasonably predictable (and desirable for Europe as a whole) that some European countries, aware of their interests, will try to adapt to the change of the international scenario, enabling new relations with China and African countries, focusing on the bilateral cooperation.
In Japan, despite the failure of the Hatoyama government, which was pretty anti- the U.S., the critical reflection on the benefits that Tokyo would gain in the context of the U.S. – Japan relations established after 1945 continues to increase the distrust for Washington, undermining day after day the U.S. hegemony on the choices of Japan.
Indio Latin America is no longer a “hunting” and useful place for the U.S. incursions, as it used to be in the last century. Brasilia, Caracas, La Paz and in part, Buenos Aires, are increasing day by day their political autonomy. The agreements among these countries, together with those they begin to reach with Iran and Turkey are creating a new “anti-imperialist” cooperation, which is still under construction, and it could catalyze the anti-neoliberal instances in many countries around the globe. The attention the governments of Caracas, Brasilia and Buenos Aires are paying to their welfare state and the renewed strategy of the Russian government are setting a limit to the globalization, in its geopolitical meaning, that is to say the expansion of the U.S. at its highest level. This is more difficult if one also thinks of the social policies Teheran and Ankara are carrying on, also in respect of the particular conception of the Islamic society and economic relations.
The European countries have lost the stability that had enabled them to grow economically, since they started suffering in recent years the dismantling of their welfare states, because of the choice made by the oligarchy connected to the American interests and to the rules of the IMF. The effects the loss of a specific role of importance in the global economy weakens the current economic situation and the western periphery of the system in favor of the centre, which is controlled by the U.S.. This explains the collapse of the U.S. geopolitical construction, built after 1945. In the near future, if there is not anything that keeps Europe united, some European countries could choose the multipolar system.
The time for decisions has come
The thrust of the U.S. seems to be over. From the geopolitical view, Washington finds itself at a crossroad: to set aside, at least temporarily, the bicentennial project of a global domination, or to insist on it by adopting new standards and methodologies.
In the first case, the U.S. would be forced to review its military and social system, and what is more important, to negotiate its position in the world with the former and new players. However, the acceptance of the multipolar system would mean a crisis in the entire military – industrial complex that is the basis of the political and economic power in the U.S.A. The direct consequence of an imbalance at the top of the establishment would be the breakup of the giant sphere of influence that the U.S. has acquired over the past 65 years. The downsizing of the U.S. would mean the beginning of a new cycle of geopolitical stability which will be based not only on the free market model, but also on the real needs of the poles of the geopolitical aggregation.
In the second option, if the U.S. opts for the pursuit of the world supremacy, it will be forced to support a massive economy of “permanent war”. Under the sentence of Edward N.Luttwack launched in 1999, during the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation: “Give war a Chance”, the U.S. will have to apply the logic of the constructive chaos of the neocons, with the risk of provoking geopolitical asymmetric reactions in Asia, Africa and Indio Latin America. Whatever solution is chosen, the relation between the “required nation” and the rest of the world will not be the same anymore.
Tiberio Graziani, Director of “Eurasia – magazine of geopolitical studies” and the series “Quaderni di Geopolitica (Edizioni all’insegna del Veltro, Parma), is the President of the ISAG (Institute of Advance Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences). He is the co-founder of the IEMASVO (Institute of Advanced Studies for the Near and Middle East) and vice President for the years 2007-2008. He is usually invited as a speaker in the international conference World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations. He taught for years at the University of Perugia and L’Aquila. He has taught courses for the ICE (Institute for Foreign Trade) in many countries, such as Uzbekistan, China, India, Libya and Argentina.