The Year 2014: A return back to Great Power politics

Prof. Dr. Tarık OĞUZLU
29 December 2014
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The year 2014 has seen many important developments across the globe pitting one great power against another reminiscent of the late 19th and early 20th centuries during which the then great powers had faced each other as they tried to assert their spheres of influence around the globe. The end of the Cold War era and the dissolution of the Soviet Union does not appear to have ushered in a world community grounded on universal liberal values that would render great power competitions all over the world unnecessary at a time of growing economic and transnational interdependencies.


The expansion of the liberal western order into the former communist countries on the one hand and the gradual incorporation of the rising powers of East Asia into the existing multilateral institutions on the other, would bring into existence a conducive environment for peaceful great power cohabitation. In contrast to the timeless and a-historical assumptions of structural realists, particularly those of offensive realists, many opined that great power competition for regional/global primacy would be eventually replaced by the logics of globalization and cosmopolitanism.   


However, what has unfolded in 2014 across the post-Soviet geography on the one hand and in East Asia on the other, vividly demonstrates that great power politics is back in full swing and unless the leaders of most powerful countries on earth found ways to sort out their problems rationally, no one would be in a position to guarantee that we will never again experience the horrors of the world wars of the last century. 


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