Looking at present-day tensions, it is easy to understand that an intercontinental struggle is at play. On the one side, we have the U.S. as a Pacific power, fighting its Asian rival China. On the other side, as an Atlantic power, it is sieging continental Europe. In other words, there is a struggle here between the American and European continents. This struggle is not obvious at first glance: It seems as though the U.S. and EU are gathered under the NATO umbrella, allied against their common enemy, Russia. Yet, this alliance cuts off the lifelines of continental Europe (the EU), primarily Germany, France, and Italy. It divides its energy, raw material, and even semi-finished product supply chains. The options that are presented as alternative sources doom it to heavy cost increases. Furthermore, it deprives Europe of a major investment and consumption market like Russia. Finally, and more importantly, it stops Europe from expanding into Asia, primarily China, in the long term. It seems like the U.S. and the U.K. joined powers after Brexit, and are doing everything they can to make sure continental Europe collapses from within. There is now a Europe-Eurasia tension line through Europe, which seems to have been played.
If we were to look at the world in a bracket between the Atlantic and the Pacific, this bracket contains the striking tension lines in which the U.K. plays the dominant role based on the Global Power Britain Doctrine. Toward Eurasia and inside Asia, there is a serious strain between the U.K. and Eurasia’s biggest power, Russia, replaying the Great Game. The U.K. is bringing to line Europe, which it left and has its biggest rival at the center, through the U.S.’s superior military power. It is striving to form another Europe that is dependent on it, through a line that runs from the Baltics to the Black Sea. On a hydraulic basis, the E-40 waterway completes the picture. This is the root of the specific significance it attaches to Turkey. Its intention is to move Turkey away from Russia in the Black Sea, join it to the Bucharest 9, and break the Montreux. But Turkey is not falling for this. It is avoiding any step that will ruin the peace in the Black Sea it has been maintained with Russia so far.
The Caspian region is the other line the U.K. has set its sights on. Cooperating with Israel here, it is keeping Azerbaijan at the center despite Armenia. It has set the Turkey-Azerbaijan alliance against the alliance between Iran and Russia. We can guess what the closed book Turkmenistan is due for in the future. Both Azerbaijan and Turkey are following a very sensitive path here. They do not want to lose the ground on which they can uphold the cooperation they developed with Russia.
Tensions between Russia and the U.K. run deeper in the Turkestan region. This tension is felt most intensely in Kazakhstan. Lastly, Uzbekistan joined this. Russia threatening Turkic states, which were formerly Soviet Republics, is not against the community of Turkic states, but against the influence the U.K. is trying to increase in this area. The steps Turkey will take in the Turkestan region cannot be taken by excluding the subjects of the New Great Game. Turkey will either advance with one of these parties, or through the voids in the conflict, without directly joining the game. The first is very problematic, while the second option seems more viable.
In the Asia equation, relations between the India-Pakistan-China trio will play an extremely critical role. While the U.K. has control over Afghanistan, its biggest aim is to pull India away from Russia and convince it to act together. India currently has a good rapport with Russia, and wants no problems with China. However, Indian nationalist Modi’s anti-Islamist policies continue to escalate. This gives the U.K. the chance to move the chess pieces through India and Pakistan.
The U.K. is increasing its influence in the Middle East as well. Together with Israel, it is strengthening an Arab nationalism that has been purified of traditional anti-Israel policies and is geared toward anti-Iranian sentiment. This line is quite problematic. Jordan is very eager while Qatar and Egypt are distant. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have close economic relations with China. The situation is uncertain in the unstable and Iran-influenced Iraq, as well as Syria, where Russia has influence and the war is ongoing. The U.S., which works together with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), may step in any time. The policies Turkey will develop in the region must take these complex equations into account.
Through all this, the U.K. aims to take control over China’s paths to the world, and be in the most advantageous position when sitting at the negotiation table tomorrow with whomever wins the great showdown between the U.S. and China.