The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president sent shockwaves around the globe and the EU was no exception. Many EU-based politicians, who were so sure that the old world order would survive, revealed this shock even in their first reactions.
Interestingly, however, the election of Trump, as a result of a democratic election, has disturbed many politicians, who make judgments on democracy and it is time the EU politicians gave up this hypocrisy.
For instance, the EU politicians who contradicted democratic values by saying that the support of majority is not everything, in the contexts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Trump, rhapsodized the presidential election results in Austria, which was announced on Sunday. They celebrated that the candidate with racist discourse was not elected as a victory of democracy, and so have we.
EU politicians, however, must give up the habit of assessing results of democratic elections according to their own interests. Respect to the electorate and to democracy is a factor that cannot be glossed over no matter what the results may be.
When President Erdoğan said, "the world is bigger than five," he was objecting to the ones attempting to regulate the world from one center. Voicing a similar tone, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently issued a statement saying how the attempts to establish a unipolar central order in the world has failed.
"This is inevitable. Attempts to create a unipolar world have not succeeded. We are living in a different dimension," Putin said.
Yes, the world is changing and this is what some politicians in the EU must realize.
The new world order will not be U.S.-centered, and those who are ignoring Russia or China might regret it.
So, the question now comes to this, will the EU, which has relied solely on the U.S. until very recently, be able to keep up with this new world order?
The EU will have particular difficulty in adapting to an order that respects the interests of others. And now, in the aftermath of the Brexit it is going to be even more challenging, but they have no other choice.
Until recently, the EU would not be excluded from developments even in the toughest regions thanks to the cooperation between the U.S. and U.K., on behalf of the EU. However, Trump's U.S. does not seem very fervent on taking on its old role. Besides, the EU does not have the support of the U.K. any longer, which used to act on behalf of the bloc. And, the U.K. made this decision after discussing it for at least 20 years. In other words, unlike the naïve expectations of some groups, there will not be any return from the Brexit.
EU authorities and member countries look set to have hard times in 2017 as elections, particularly the one in France, will play a crucial role in determining its future.
To be frank, the EU does not need to be worried if the Netherlands also takes a eurosceptic route like the U.K. A Rotterdam port closed to the German border will not serve anything. But, if France follows the U.K.'s footsteps, it might spell not a crisis, but an end for the EU. Even though this possibility is currently low, it would be useful to be prepared for any kind of surprise nonetheless, especially for the EU which failed to keep its pace with the new world.
Focusing on works to establish an EU army is sensible in terms of its future after the Brexit. It is also a must for the EU to organize its own defense. The targets of a common army and defense industry are more logical ones. Besides, it is more of an obligatory step for the EU countries, tackling economic crises, as jointly produced weapons will be more economic and modern.
This target, however, is not likely to be realized in a short term. Likewise, one of the first steps that will unite the EU and enable its public's support will be the steps taken in regards to the protection of the EU's borders. Targeting to prevent illegal immigration by turning Frontex into a strong organization consisting of thousands of border protection officers will boost the trust in the EU, solidifying the union.
None of the EU's ambitious aims, such as consolidating its armies, Frontex or rendering illegal immigration ineffective, cannot be realized by excluding Turkey or through politics motivated to antagonize Turkey. An EU that is willing to keep up with the new order cannot be considered without Turkey.
Then again, Turkey cannot be wooed with the current sets of defective policies and as a matter of fact, the country's support is about to be lost. The number of alternatives for Turkey is increasing in this new world order.
After the Brexit, the European continent might not be obliged to the EU only and in case of any problem with Russia or China, it would be a mistake to assume the EU as the sole addressee in the continent.
Those rejecting Turkey's EU membership bid seem to ignore the fact that Turkey is one of the permanent actors in Europe, which does not only consist of the EU. And regardless of its membership in the EU, Turkey is not a temporary factor in the continent but an inseparable component.
The EU might turn into an unbearable burden if it cannot keep up with the new world thus it would do well if the authorities, instead of wasting their time and energy on supporting terrorists like the PKK, Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and other foes of Turkey, would ponder over the future of the blocs' integrity.
Unfortunately, if the EU goes on like this, it cannot adapt to the new world order, which would only make it future bleaker and frankly speaking, the EU's future is far more important and precious to be left in the EU's hands alone.