The Syrian civil war has drastically changed foreign policy approaches. Conventional alliances have lost ground. From the end of the Cold War until the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the new world order had not yet encountered a true existential challenge. First and foremost, the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States has concluded with two extremely destabilized countries to such an extent that they have lost their status as independent and sovereign states.
Interpreting the post-Cold War era as a unipolar world order, American foreign policy became all the more arbitrary, reckless and lawless. Finding its new status unrivaled, the U.S. has turned out to be an irresponsible and unaccountable hegemonic power. Meanwhile, almost all of the Middle Eastern region has fallen under the yoke of bloodshed, civil war and terrorism.
The Arab Spring was the second greatest trial that the new world order faced. Against their long-standing dictators who had been in political power thanks to their alliance with the Western powers, the Arabs rebelled in the name of democracy, equality and prosperity. As opposed to the apathy of international powers and the hypocrisy of their democratic discourses, Turkey has emerged as the only country that heard the popular demands that emanated from the Arab streets. Interpreting the Arab Spring as a substantial threat to their neocolonial order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the Western powers occupied and split Libya into two opposing halves. Then, they openly supported the coup d'état in Egypt against the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood.
Finally, the Syrian crisis erupted and clearly exposed the inner dynamics and the true character of the global order. In other words, the Syrian civil war has indisputably demonstrated that the new world order has failed, or rather, it is the new world disorder.
As the Arab Spring undoubtedly proves, the Western political powers do not aim at spreading democratic principles and institutions. The United Nations has emerged as an impotent international organization that has absolutely no institutional capacity for resolving conflicts, let alone bringing forth a just and peaceful world order. Almost all conventional alliances have collapsed. The nature of alliances has become all the more volatile, mutable, and transient.
Thanks to the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war, Russia has reappeared on the world scene as a rival hegemonic power. The unipolarity of the post-Cold War era has already become null and void.
The capacity of Western political powers in constituting and managing terrorist organizations has been put to the test. Just like al-Qaida, Daesh was constituted and managed by Western intelligence organizations. Today, nearly all the lands that Daesh formerly occupied are under the control of the PKK's Syrian wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey has drawn vital lessons from the Syrian civil war: The U.S. administration, Turkey's own ally, aims at deepening the Syrian chaos by supporting terrorist organizations, including most notoriously Turkey's archenemy the PKK.
The U.S. administration keeps the Syrian opposition groups and their democratic demands in suspense. Interpreting both Daesh and the PKK as existential threats, Turkey has waged an uncompromising war against both of these terrorist organizations.
As a truly independent and sovereign regional political power, Turkey has adopted a multidimensional and multilateral foreign policy attitude.
In other words, the Syrian civil war led Turkey to prioritize its own national security concerns. Grasping the fact that strong diplomatic power only comes along with the deterrence of strong military power, Turkey has adopted not a unipolar, but a multilateral strategy of alliances. In the new world disorder, Turkey continues to remain in the leading position.
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