Article in "Today's Zaman" Newspaper: «Remembering the future»
The first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end. It could have become a decade of peace and prosperity, but instead it was marked by violence, terrorism, war and economic crisis. On the positive side it taught us important lessons as well. In my humble opinion, the most important one is that war is not a solution anymore. You can take it even more broadly: Force is not a solution anymore. In the era of total globalization one can achieve nothing by imposing one’s will forcefully. It backfires. A small ripple in one part of the world can cause a tsunami thousands of miles away. Countries and continents are interconnected politically and economically stronger than ever before. No wonder NATO is now in the process of redefining itself. In recent years many in the world’s capitals were caught off guard and surprised by the fact that regular armies could not win guerilla or cyber wars. Other solutions are to be found. Hence, I cannot but mention that among winners of this decade are countries that were not part of recent wars --China,Brazil,IndiaandTurkeyincluded. Therefore, as the president of theRepublicofTurkey, H.E. Abdullah Gül, rightfully said in his most recent Chatham House speech, the existing state of “imperfect equilibrium” must give way to a “normal new international order.”
On the political side there are some global and local ideas on the table, ranging from a proposal to develop a network of new multilateral security agreements to efforts to adjust the existing UN and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)-based security and cooperation frameworks. On the economic side, the G-20 is being widely considered as a substitute for the G-8, but it still must prove its effectiveness. The recent meeting of the group brought no results: The major decisions have been postponed for another year. But do we have another year?
On a regional scale, if we descend from a global level to ourBlack Searegion, the most crucial challenge we face is the future of the European project. I sincerely believe that it was the best project of the last century. And it still is. If I were a member of the Nobel Committee I would decorate the architects of this project in the first place. And the point is not in the number of countries involved in the club and even not in the ability or inability of the EU bodies to resolve problems of the union or of the individual members. The point is that in the long run unity and integration won over isolationism and disintegration. No matter how hard the EU was hit by the recent economic crisis, it is a successful project. The EU, with all its drawbacks, appeared to be more effective in coping with the recent challenges than theUnited States. Do you need a better example?
So, what is going to happen next as we enter the second decade of this century? Will the EU halt expansion and concentrate on a solution to the current crisis and some chronic problems? Or are we going to witness a growing understanding that the European project is not complete without the Balkan states,UkraineandTurkeyleft outside the union? I sincerely hope for the latter. In many aspects, the future ofEuropeand the future ofEurasiain the broader sense will be decided here, in the region between the Baltic andBlack SeawithPoland,UkraineandTurkeyacting as major players. Transport corridors, human and economic potential, geostrategic location in between major powers and territories of vast natural resources serve as justification for this statement.
And yet we are entering an era of worldwide electoral campaigns. Therefore, we do not need Mayan predictions to expect global changes coming in2012. In2011 and especially in 2012 many important events will be happening throughout the globe. Presidential elections in theUnited States,Russia,France,India,KazakhstanandMexico, changes of leadership inChina, parliamentary elections inPoland,UkraineandTurkeyare among such changes. These are more than enough. No matter how far some of those countries are situated fromEuropeor from theBlack Searegion, in the globalized world distance does not matter any longer. But whether the currency wars will be continued does matter. The existing international financial system proves its inability to prevent crises. The current security framework is not adequate as well. It is wrong when the national currency of one country serves as a symbol and instrument of global trade, prosperity and wealth. It cannot continue like this or I am afraid that we are on the way to a new crisis. Competition must be fair and based on a real sector and not on the ability to print more money. Apparently the current system crafted after World War II has exhausted itself and needs to be replaced. This is the task for major powers and for the G-20. And strong leadership is needed to be up to this task.