WHAT IS NEXT?

27/11/2016



 Chess game continues in the Caucasus… A vacuum effect is not expected from the Caucasus. Most probably, the process started with a cold war décor and accessories will continue with an irregular rhythm. The path that stretches from Kosovo to South Ossetia shows the following: The sides in the conflict could not reach a “casus foederis” so far. They could not produce a condition for the applicability of the treaty or consensus and to make it binding. It should have been provided in Kosovo. If it was provided, Kosovo’s use as an example would be prevented. In this case Kremlin used the same principle for its own interests. In international relations, casus foederis means the automatic action (if there is an agreement between two states, saying one of them would help the other one when it was under an attack or rebellion) without the need of reminding such an agreement if the necessary conditions prevail. Thus, the famous 5th article of the NATO Chart makes the military intervention a requisite when one of the member states is under outer attack. Of course, South Ossetia2s status can be debated here but the start of mistakes was Kosovo. The West’s failure of applying casus foederis in Kosovo but Russia’s application of it in South Ossetia seriously damaged the principle of peaceful co-existence. This principle introduced by the USSR after the cold war years that followed the World War II foresaw the establishment of peaceful relations, stating that relations between capitalist and socialist systems could be sustained without causing any wars. The principle created by Lenin, revitalised by Kruschev and continued by Brejnev can only be possible, from now on, within the measurement of the sides’ “threat perception limits”, “risk analyses” and “time, context and quantity of preventive strike”. Kremlin’s effort to rise in the world politics and its searches to become a dominant power; or, rather, as George Modelsky’s thesis says, the struggle between the dominant power and the one that wants to become dominant power could provide gains to a third country in establishing world dominance. Probably that’s why; countries across the world follow the policy of “wait and see”, although they take law as their reference. In fact, when the flexibility of conditions and high rhythm of process are considered, it seems healthier to wait in patience and to watch the developments closely without acting and adopting a stance according to the latest situation. For this reason, those who own up inactivity and wait in patience, in other word in immobilism may have more advantages. The war in the Caucasus and afterwards may start a new but short term of equilibrium in the world politics because Kremlin’s decisions over South Ossetia and Abhkazia have balanced the White House’s decisions on Kosovo. In addition, Russia’s military action was balanced by political and military determination of the West. But, it is observed that this situation created a “balanced instability” as well as a new stability point in the world politics. Moscow’s Caucasus move broke the balance point in the region and following retaliations, a new point of equilibrium, far from the previous one, came into existence. When the equilibrium of today is looked at, it is seen that both the USA and Russia prefer to act in flexible response doctrine. According to this doctrine that the USA developed during Kennedy’s term and later on adopted by NATO, when an attack or threat is in question, it should be reacted with a same magnitude and degree. This would keep the losses low and provide a freedom of acts and moves to the superior one. This doctrine, mainly developed for nuclear weapons, is now applied to diplomacy field. In fact, Kosovo – South Ossetia process formed a part of a longer and wider domino process. The domino theory first showed itself in mid 1950s. According to the thesis of the US President Eisenhower, if the USA lost the war in Vietnam, other countries in the region, follow each other just like domino stones, and go under the effect of China and Russia. The USA was worried of a repeat of the same theory in Central America. The collapse of regimes in the Eastern Bloc following the Cold War, changes in Arab countries and colourful revolutions in pro-Soviet countries were the effects of the same domino effect. Russia might have stopped the latest domino process with its move in the Caucasus. But this time, a new domino process may start for Moscow, since the arguments voiced in Abhkazia and South Ossetia were ethnocentric, around ethnicities. Moscow underlined the high number of those with Russian origin or passport. This situation may bring some regions that are close to Russia border and where Russian population live under a critical situation. Moscow who tries to be permanent in taking a step for every move of the west and does not hesitate putting the relations at stake for doing this may take new “fait accompli” steps in the near future. Although “fait accompli” means an act that is unilateral and in ignorance to other parties and banned by the international law, a country who is a member of UN Security Council and an energy supplier will not have a lot of constraints for this. But, in every situation, Russia’s foreign policy will continue to be criticised. It is obvious that what happened in Georgia was a justified war when looked at it from Kremlin’s windows. In Mediaeval Europe, use of armed forces of a king outside of his sovereignty zone was taken “right”, if the aim was related to Christianity. A term, irredentism, of Italian root comes into the context at this moment. During the foundation period of the Italian Kingdom, the efforts of people who spoke Italian but lived within Austrian borders to join this kingdom was called irredentism. The point reached in this process can be interpreted as a Russian act in irredentism in its righteous war. The wish of a country to annex some minority that it believes is from the same ethnicity of its own and speaking the same language but living in another country or at least to claim some rights on them does not appear as a very different situation than Russia’s stance. Germany’s annexation of German speaking Czechoslovakian region Südets and Russia’s stance on Abhkazia and South Ossetia are close to each other. Russia can go for a debellatio in Abhkazia and South Ossetia. Debellatio means annexation of a lost country after a war to the winner country. It realised this de facto if it did not do it de jure. The equilibrium of force that would prevent Russia from fait accompli is not present ye, because Washington has not got an opportunity to monitor or direct Moscow. Although the USA was able to affect Russia’s role, stance and behaviours to a certain extent, the result of this effect following the crisis in the Caucasus was limited with a step forward in the upcoming US presidential elections for the Republican candidate John McCain. It does not seem easy for the USA to establish a power balance by having an effect on Russia’s population and workforce, natural resources, geopolitical location, development level, military power, quality of government and national spirit. However, in every condition, Russia may try to increase the number of protectorate countries. Most probably the game theory may be felt more from now on. This theory says as follows, in summary: A- Wins of a player is the total of other one’s loses. B- Players may go for cooperation to increase their joint gains but they experience contradictions in sharing them. If we think of this theory of J. Von Nevmann and O. Mongenstein in the context of the Caucasus, we can say that some regional actors will also join the debate. The followings may happen, as the analyses of clashes would also show: A- Win of one side will mean the direct loss of the other one. The sides, later on, will stabilise a realistic strategy and find the point of balance. B- Although the sides are rivals, they will find a point of balance that will enable mutual win. The “power approach” presented to diplomacy by Hans J. Morgenthau is applied in the process being experienced, by both the USA and Russia. Both power centres follow a policy that sits on three columns. Those are the point of prestige, the policy of status quo and the enlargement policy. The prestige point here is territorial integrity for the USA but the independence of Abhkazia and South Ossetia. The policy of status quo is protecting balances in the Balkans and the Caucasus but protecting strong ties with its traditional allies for Russia. Enlargement policy, on the other hand, means breaking Russia’s foreign politic effect, pushing it behind the Caucasus Mountains, and getting powerful in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Africa, but for Russia, the same policy is increasing the effectiveness of former USSR borders gradually and forming an economic integration with the world markets and the EU. Unit-veto system should be cared for at this point. International politics theorician Morton A. Kaplan voiced the following view on nuclear capabilities during the Cold war: “Almost all units in the system will have nuclear weapons that are enough to start a nuclear war. Search for a bipolar nuclear balance will be replaced by a different understanding of balance. Many units in the system will have a say in a general war or peace.” If we do not keep Kaplan’s theory limited with nuclear opportunities and if we add some other factors such as energy, regional weight, socio-political hinterland into it, we can reach a conclusion that regional actors will appear on the stage in establishing regional peace required for global peace. Will a power balance be established? The answer, no doubt, is yes. But, only fortune-tellers will know how the conditions of the power balance will come into existence since there is not a matured new bloc yet. However, one should not expect that Kremlin would give up on the policy of "quid pro quo".
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