BERIL – Middle powers and their choices

Middle powers and their choicesProbably all generations believe their lifetime is a andldquohard timeandrdquo in the history of their country. Itand#39s simply human nature.

There are times, however, which are particularly trying indeed for the international system and for the countries that compose it.One can notice these crucial periods while studying history.

The main players of these hard times, in other words, those who dictate the outcome of these periods of crises, are the great powers.Besides, the main reason for these crises is disagreement between those great powers about how to share the benefits of the international systemThe crisis erupts when one of the major players of the system starts claiming a bigger slice of the cake.

This doesnand#39t mean, though, that rival powers start fighting with one another instantly and directly. First, they use divergent non-state players in their struggle, like terrorist organizations, separatist groups or Marxist-Leninist parties.

These relatively small players of the international system can act only on a local level in the beginning. But if their actions prove insufficient for those great powers who use them, these widen their scope progressively: the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) has become very active in Iraq and Syria with time, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) originated in Egypt but has extended its actions to Syria and to other parts of the Middle East, and Marxist-Leninist groups have operated in the whole of Latin AmericaThe following phase starts with the involvement of middle powers in this equation, by fighting against these non-state actors, or by supporting them using various methods.

The involvement of middle powers, however, also means that they will demand their share of the cake from the great powers they assist. As a matter of fact, if great powers want these regional powers to support their actions, they will have to renounce some of their gains and share them with their allies.

The game is designed to prevent great powers fighting directly with each other, because their clash would mean tremendous destruction. Moreover, it would be too risky as no one can predict the outcome of such a struggle.

Letand#39s look at todayand#39s events from this angle: Russia has grown stronger in the past decade and has begun claiming a bigger role in the international system: First, non-state actors emerged in its nearest regions, and then middle power states became involved.In the Middle East, for example, one may accept Iran, Turkey or Israel as middle powers in Europe that will be Germany, Britain and France.

When these powers enter the game, they do it by building alliances or counter-alliances. Thatand#39s when they decide which major power they will support.

Their decisions directly affect the fate of small powers and non-state actors.As for todayand#39s crisis period, middle powers havenand#39t all picked their side yet.

Besides, they still try to impose their own games in the hope of getting the andldquosliceandrdquo they want and not the one that will be given to them by the great powers at the end of the game. Thatand#39s why the system seems to be very chaotic nowadays.

These middle powers doubt that the major powers they help will give them the share they deserve. Also, they want to be sure that other middle powers will not have a bigger share than theirs as well.

In brief, as long as middle powers donand#39t give, or are not forced to give, their final decision about the camp they will belong to, regional conflicts will continue. Thatand#39s why the decisions of Turkey, Iran, Germany and Israel matter Of course, once they decide with which great power they will cooperate, they will also have to give their decision about the extent and method of their assistance.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman