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  • Author: Mehmet Fatih Öztarsu
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Soviet Union, which has two contradictory definitions (“Prison of Peoples” and “Free Association of Peoples”), is seen as the perpetrator of many ethnic and regional problems in Eurasia today. Its management of culture with numerous ethnic and religious elements and an ideological perspective that deflects criticism are the most important issues to focus on to understand the Soviet Union. The ideals imposed on social and cultural life by communist ideology – nationalism, religious movements, local conflicts and decomposition – tell the true story of the Soviet geography.
  • Topic: Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Soviet Union, South Caucasus
  • Author: Priya Singh
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Robert O. Freedman\'s edited volume, Israel and the United States: Six Decades of U.S.-Israeli Relations, is a compilation of an interesting assortment of essays by Israeli and American scholars from various fields, contending with different aspects of a complicated and multilayered relationship that comprises not only diplomatic and economic links, but also religious, legal, military and strategic connections as well as common beliefs. The first section of the book articulates the political ties between the United States and Israel since 1948. It contends with U.S.-Israeli diplomatic relations, an enquiry of the progression of the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, and an analysis of the evolution of U.S. public attitudes toward Israel. David Makovsky\'s essay, which deals with the U.S. and the Arab–Israeli conflict, emphasizes that the U.S.\'s relationship with Israel and the Arab world is not a zero-sum game and that the United States can maintain good ties with both sides. The essay reiterates that Israel has been an asset for the United States rather than a liability, which has been suggested by the likes of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Robert Freedman, in contending with the policies of George Bush and Barack Obama towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, brings to the fore the similarities in their approaches as well as the significant differences, with the former pursuing an episodic approach while the latter has adopted a more continuous line. In his essay on the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, Dov Waxman discusses the ruptures and fissures that have emerged within the lobby and concludes that there is no single organization that can persuasively claim to exemplify the vast majority of American Jews; as such, its clout/influence is expected to wane. Amnon Cavari\'s essay deconstructs the shifting trends in American support for Israel, contending that a decline in support among college-educated Americans along with an upsurge in support among evangelical Christians could weaken bipartisan backing for Israel.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel
  • Author: Anita Sengupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The relationship between Islam and foreign policy has become the subject of a number of volumes in recent years as scholars seek to understand the role that political Islam plays in determining foreign policy. This is more often than not accompanied by the assumption that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modernity. Turkey, with its complex history of modernity and the transition from its Ottoman past, remains an interesting case for the study of the causal relationship between the construction of a modern nation state, secular identity and nationalized foreign policy. The rediscovery of Turkey's regional interests and affinities from the 'Balkans to Western China' – areas that had been largely absent from Turkish foreign policy debates since the foundation of the Republic – have emphasized the significance of the state's internal evolution in determining its external policy. In her book, Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy, Ayla Gol critically analyzes Turkey's engagement with modernity in the course of its transformation from the Ottoman structure into a modern nation state in order to understand Turkey's foreign policy towards its eastern neighbours between 1918 and 1921. This is a clear and important departure from studies that tend to examine this transition period in terms of Turkey's engagement with the West.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans, South Caucasus
  • Author: Candice Moore
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The use of the concept of agency in relation to Africa's foreign relations has, up to now, been very limited. This has often related to the actions of individual pivotal states, such as South Africa or Libya. Indeed, there has not yet been an in depth examination of African agency in international relations, making this volume a welcome addition. Admittedly, this is an enormous subject, one that has grown in significance and relevance given the deepened involvement of actors such as China on the continent since the end of the last century. Questions started to be asked about how African states could structure their engagement with an actor so obviously superior in economic and political power. However, this is not the first time that African agency has been addressed, as these questions were previously inspired by the post-colonial experience and the analysis of enduring Great Power involvement in African affairs, during and after the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Libya