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Thursday, 28 June 2018

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

Federico Pieraccini

There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran. 

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs.

Japan and Turkey have perfectly fulfilled America’s role for them in military, financial and economic terms. Ankara, for example, is a key part of NATO and offers military bases like the Incirlik Air Base, allowing for US military influence in the Middle East. Qatar, for example, is a satellite of Turkey, thanks to the shared religious bonds of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not by coincidence, one of the most important US air bases is located in Qatar, helping further lock in America’s regional presence. The goal, of course, is geopolitical, highlighting America’s ongoing confrontation with Iran, Russia and China. The United States tends to control certain geographical areas because of its military and economic power that is expressed directly or indirectly through compliant allies like Turkey and Japan. 

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