October 19, 2010

POST-HEGEMONIC, ANGLOCENTRIC:

All Roads Lead to Istanbul: Turkey is more popular now than it has been since the Ottoman Empire. But can it please all of its new friends at the same time? (JAMES TRAUB, OCTOBER 15, 2010, Foreign Policy)

It's great to be Turkey just now. The economy, barely scathed by the global recession, grew 11.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, and 10.3 percent in the second. Like the Ottoman Empire reborn, Turkey has sponsored a visa-free zone with Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, and is moving toward creating a free trade zone as well. And Turkey is a force not just in its neighborhood but, increasingly, in the world. It's the next president of the Council of Europe, an observer of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and a new friend of ASEAN and Mercosur. And the world is beating a path to its doorstep: When I was in Ankara this week, the Sudanese foreign minister was in town; the French, the Austrians, and the Poles had just visited. Senior Iraqi politicians were making regular pilgrimages. Turkey has become a net exporter of diplomatic services. "For the first time," says Selim Yenel, the highly Americanized deputy undersecretary of foreign affairs responsible for relations with Washington, "they're asking us for advice."

Like its fellow emerging powers Brazil and South Africa, Turkey was once a right-wing state that the West could safely pocket during the Cold War. And like these countries, the Turks now have the self-confidence to feel that they no longer need belong to anyone. Such states are now a force unto themselves, as Turkey and Brazil demonstrated -- to Washington's chagrin -- when they reached a deal with Iran this past May to ensure that Tehran would not produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel. Intriguingly, Turkey, Brazil, and Nigeria currently serve on the U.N. Security Council, and South Africa and India will next year -- a murderers' row of emerging powers, and a glimpse of a post-hegemonic, polycentric world.


India and Brazil should certainly replace France and China on the UN Security Council with Australia replacing Russia. The matter of which African nation to give a seat to is vexed. It would be nice if Nigeria got its act together enough to deserve it.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2010 6:38 AM
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