4 February 2010

Projections for 2020: Global Political Focus

Certainly we are neither diviners, nor trying to report news from the future. We are just providing some insights about what could have happen in the world in the next 10 years under the light of science. We tried present arguments with provocative articles to social scientists. In some areas, we brought philosophical underpinnings. Possible developments were tackled with the perspective of historical dialectic. The reflections of developments that have been experienced during the Cold War, post-Cold War environment until 2001 and since 2001 were the landmarks of the analysis.

As much as what we are experiencing today are reflection of the recent past, it also have footsteps of what we will experience tomorrow. The foundation of this dictum is the fact that since the end of the Cold War, there have been no signed peace agreement. Processes like Dayton and Oslo included just the ceasefire. Talking about a full fledged peace is impossible. Furthermore, this new period was defined as, with a great illusion, New World Order. 1989-2001 passes as a historical intermission. Relative wealth that humanity experienced made the deep abyss more clear. Behind the shadow of artificial alliances, the infrastructure for conflict have been laid. While the victorious US enjoyed this period, other were busy with their preparations. The post-2001 period offered extra time and opportunities for those, who are preparing.

Future Projections of Turkish Defense Industry : Regional Interest

The continuation of stable development of Turkish defense industry, which has been rapidly improving since 2002, is dependent on improving export and having the capability of design; thus, to this end, we aim lowering the dependency on critical sub-system, component and technology and increasing the number of indigenous products with the improvement of design capability. These domestically designed products is planned to contribute to sustainable growth of defense industry with the support of firms that produced them and the realization of modernization. When, national defense industry reach the level of developing product based strategies, studies will be done in becoming world leader with the support of products that are developed by supplier industry or main contractor and have the potential for being world leader. Products that are developed by national industry has a serious success in export, thus we can observe this fact by looking at the year by year increasing export volume. We believe that the deterrence of Armed Forces would increase with the equipment of products that are nationally developed.

Eurasian Food Security in 2020: Two Scenarios

Eurasian populations face an unprecedented challenge over the coming decade to secure adequate nutrition and healthy food for their populations, and at the same time an extraordinary opportunity. The main problem we face is not a problem of an exploding population. Rather it is a problem of the nutritional quality of the food we produce and consume across Eurasia from Turkey to China to Russia and Central Asia.

Why do I state the problem thus? First, to dismiss the false “over-population” argument, it should be noted that the net reproduction rate across the world over the past four decades of aggressive birth control programs sponsored by the US Government and by private interests, above all the Rockefeller Population Council, is intended to drastically reduce population growth among developing country peoples. It has succeeded to the point the greatest potential problem the world will face in the next several decades will be like that Japan, Germany, Italy and other industrialized nations already face: lack of young growing populations, a demographic “population death.” The present birth rates across the EU are below net replacement levels meaning slow demographic death. The same is the case across much of Eurasia especially the former Soviet Union countries. Population growth will not be our problem.

The greatest danger to Eurasia’s food security over the next decade will come from the threat of agribusiness, the industrial production of food purely for profit. Some historical background is helpful.

Regional and Global Cooperation in the Context of Turkey’s Energy Corridor and Terminal Concept

Improving the investment environment for sustaining energy supply security paves the way for establishment of a competitive and transparent market. The deepening of international, bilateral and multilateral relationships in the energy sector increases the importance of energy connections and regional cooperation processes that operate in an economy of scale.

In today’s energy sector, the diversity of export routes for producer nations is as important as the diversity of resources for consumer nations.

This means that Turkey is very important to producer nations currently implementing policies seeking to diversify their oil and natural gas export routes.

Turkey, given its unique geostrategic position, can facilitate the transport of Caspian, Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy resources to Europe and the world market by routes that are secure, economic and respectful to nature. From this perspective we see that Turkey is already the natural and de facto bridge and intersection between Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Turkey’s physical location is an “advantage” and a “value” both for energy resource producer nations and for market nations.

Potential Conflict Zones in Eurasia: The End of a Historical Intermission

Raiding shepherd tribes is like a bear who destroys the bee hive while trying to steal from it. Oppenheimer uses this analogy while describing how people submit during state formation as transformation from bear to bee-master. No doubt, since Oppenheimer many new ideas have been added to theories of the state. However, none of them have described the contemporary age with such aptitude while presenting the birth of state.

At the end of the Cold War, contemporary models of the state were reduced to a single option. The state was proclaimed an endless ‘civitas diaboli.’ Society, on the other hand, was the eternal ‘civitas dei.’ However, the historical intermission that began with the end of the Cold War has come to an end. As the twentieth century began with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, September 11 was the starting point of the twenty-first century, and it points to three fundamental changes that will determine the age’s ideological identity:

With the political activation of the Third World, the entire human race has become politically active for the first time.
The Far East is winning for itself the hegemony of the Atlantic World.
Global problems (climate change, hunger, poverty, insufficient resources, etc.) will trigger new polarizations.

Eurasia is the primary region where all of these things will be experienced, since this is the region where the powers that threaten US dominance over the oceans are rising. Low intensity and short term conflicts, the aftershocks of the New World Order, have been occurring in Eurasia. The pressure of Western bloc is causing an accumulation of energy in Central Asia and the Pacific. In these regions, low intensity and short term tremors will be experienced, but this time they will be forerunners.

We see that the work of Western strategists and scientists in particular focuses on Third World countries as potential conflict and war zones. However, it would be incorrect to say that Third World countries are the only communities at risk, with the potential transformation of this risk into crisis. Thus, warnings of some potential risk are to be found in every region and nation, and in certain regions these warnings have been intensifying as a function of regional and national economic, political, social and cultural indicators.

The shift of economic development to the East is a plain reality. The emergence of new markets implies new alliances and conflicts. The natural resource needs of the rapidly growing East have the potential to cause conflict between old and new powers. Competition for the control new markets has the potential to cause conflict between old powers. We may include ethnic problems and disagreements, some more than a hundred years old. Furthermore, the weaponization of space brings dangers that may mark the next ten years.

Beyond this general view, there are ten regions that have the potential for conflict due to their special structures.

Forging the past: OUP and the 'Armenian question'

In 2005 Oxford University Press published Donald Bloxham's The Great Game of Genocide. Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. The first hardback edition was followed by a paperback version in 2007. The book is more of a prosecutor's brief than a balanced study of the fate of the Ottoman Armenians during the First World War, but forgery and not balance is the point of this article.

The book includes nine photographs printed on glossy paper. Eight of the photographs are credited. One is not. It shows a man in an unbuttoned jacket and tie standing in front of a circle of ragged children and one apparent adult with something in his hand. The caption reads: 'A Turkish official taunting starving Armenians with bread'.

Even a cursory glance is enough to show there is something wrong with this photo. One side of the man's jacket is darker than the other. A ragged line clearly runs between the two halves. The wall in the background abruptly disappears into a blank white space behind the standing man. A child lying on the ground is raising an emaciated arm. If stretched out to its full length it would fall below his knees. His scarcely visible other hand and wrist seem quite plump by comparison. The little boy sitting to the right of the standing man seems to be clutching something in his hand but it is impossible to tell what it might be.

Turkish Chemicals Industry Report

Sector Overview

The Turkish chemical industry has been active for several decades, providing many basic and intermediate inputs to various industries. The industry employs more than 80,000 people in around 4,000 companies with a production value around 15 billion Euro in 2006 (latest available).
The industry comprises 11 publicly quoted companies, with a total market capitalisation of around $2 billion (December 2009), the largest company being Petkim Petrokimya Holding A.Ş. (“Petkim”) with a market capitalisation of $ 926 million (December 2009).

On the Threshold of Digital Battlefields

The renowned military strategist, Carl von Clausewitz is probably best known for his quote, “War is merely a continuation of politics by other means.” This statement reflects the relationship between military strategy, agency and politics. Armies have always acted as an agent of national will throughout history, with evolving weapons and tactics. George S. Patton, the famous American World War II general once said, “Battles maybe fought with weapons, but they are won with men.” This very true statement may be said to be evolving into something like, “Battles maybe fought with weapons, but they are won with information.”

Information, in fact, has always been an essential tool for military maneuvers. The very basic questions of self and situational awareness have remained the same: “Where are friendly units?”, “Where is the enemy?”, “What are the properties of the environment?”, and so on. What has changed, or developed, are the means and systems that answer these questions and communicate the responses to the army as a whole.

One proverb says, “It is much more easier to fight a hundred individuals than it is to fight an army of a hundred men.” To function as a unified entity an army must move, act and react in coordination with itself, which requires close communication and coordination between its sub-units. This very basic problem of communication and coordination was solved by messengers, smoke, flags and trumpets in ancient times, but now there are computers, satellite communication systems, high power radios and sophisticated sensors.

Since the end of the Cold War, military systems, tactics and strategies have been evolving rapidly, reflecting a vision in which the conventional vertical chain of command is replaced by a spherical network of individuals, “a system of systems,” in which each unit bilaterally exchanges information with others and distributes it to other assets. This evolution, or “transformation,” as most military circles prefer to call it, was enabled by developments in Information Technologies (IT). Advances in computer, communication, data storage and handling systems have geometrically increased the capability to generate, process, analyze, distribute and store information. This dramatic increase in information processing capability presents both advantages and challenges to defense and security strategists and decision makers. Described as “Network Centric Warfare” (NCW) or “Network Enabled Capability” and a number of other phrases, almost all of which contain the word “network,” a new approach has been developed to overcome to this challenge.

To understand the true nature of the paradigm shift that defense and security decision makers face, the developments that led to this inevitable situation and their roots in the first decades of the twentieth century must be examined. This very transformation is going to shape the defense systems, technologies and strategies of the coming decade.

Central Asia, Ten Years into the Future

Since 2002, geopolitical struggle in Central Asia has become a multifaceted affair. Alongside the formerly hegemonic Russia, China has become a regional economic force, and the United States is trying to balance the game with its military supremacy. The struggle for influence that determines Asia today will become more concrete over the next 10 years.

Apart from these two nations, the presence of second tier powers pursuing their own strategic interests in the region both demonstrates the region’s strategic significance and suggests that the future will see Central Asia become the arena for even larger struggles, since interests to be achieved in dynamic multiple interactions include geopolitical power, national and religious influence, security and economic opportunities. Currently, the struggle in this region, which can be seen as the heart of the world, focuses on the factors that connect the region to the outside world: roads, pipelines and the management of natural resources, as well as political issues. Whoever can control these factors will be the region’s geopolitical and economic conqueror.

For political and economic reasons, the Russian Federation still has imperial designs on its former territories, and it is seriously concerned about the United States’ goals in the region since the occupation of Afghanistan made that nation the second force in the region. For this reason, Russia established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with China and the four nations of Turkestan in 1996. In 2001, Uzbekistan joined the organization.

This organization has made successful moves in recent years, proving its ability to maintain security in Central Asia and to resolve border disputes, and increasing its political significance during the process. Major Asian powers such as India, Pakistan and Iran felt a need to join the organization as observers, and this significant fact is proof of the SCO’s increasing power.

However, the organization, which came on the international scene with the slogan of “Eurasia for Eurasians,” has as a primary deficiency for becoming a balancing mechanism against the US and NATO superpowers, and it has have always been known: its lack of a joint military force.

The Middle East in 2020

Although it may be presumptuous to predict the future of the Middle East and what kind of changes we should expect by 2020, the political volatility of the region and the nature of the conflicts that have been raging for decades have created certain facts on the ground that cannot be changed, short of catastrophic events. These facts will eventually determine certain outcomes, regardless of the continued instability or even the possibility of another major violent eruption. To envision what the Middle East will look like in 2020, it is necessary to identify these facts in each conflicting area and place them in their historical perspectives. The five most likely conflicts that will be subject to a dramatic change for better or worse are the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, the dispute between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights, the future stability of Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the war in Afghanistan.