Is the West in Geopolitial Decline?

Prof. Dr. Tarık OĞUZLU
13 October 2015
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The European Union has been facing three vital challenges to its security architecture emanating from different directions. Russia invaded Crimea and put the teritorial security of Central and Eastern European countries at risk, while the core western intitutions, NATO and the European Union, are struggling to adopt common positions that would effectively stem the Russiain geopolitical rejuvenation. The EU is also under great strain with the millions of Syrians and people of other war-torn countries of the global south risking their lives to reach Europe by whatever means available. Finally, internal divisons among member countries concerning how to tackle the refugee and sovereign-debt crises has thrown up a string of suspicions as regards the the future of the supranational integration process.


Moreover, the United States is muddling its way in dealing with the most recent Russian re-penetration into the Middle East through Syria. The question is whether the Obama administration will acquiesce to Russia in order to play an enhanced leadership role over the Syrian crisis by contributing to the survival of the Assad regime in Damascus, whilst targeting the moderate opposition forces, supported by Western actors and the major Sunni powers of the region, in opposition to ISIS.


Also, many ask if the United States has agreed for Iran to play a more decisive role in cooperation with Russia and other Shiite forces in the region following the historic nuclear deal struck in mid July. Besides bringing democracy and contributing to the cultivation of pro-western regimes in the Middle East, the US-led attempts at regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the reluctance to get involved in Syria strongly on the side of the anti-Assad oppostion forces, seem to have further diminished whatever has been left of the American influence in the region. Rather than taking sides in the evolving geopolitical confrontation in the region throughout the so-called Arab Spring, the United States seems to have simply hoped that with the scaling down of an American military presence in the region, not only would the tarnished image of the United States recover but also regional actors would spend more time and effort to finding solutions to regional problems responsibly.


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