Could a Third Way save Afghanistan?

As Afghanistan marks its 101st Anniversary as an independent state, both the international community and the Afghan people themselves are concerned about the country’s future pathway.

Since the fall of the monarchy the political system in Afghanistan has suffered a few major crises. The establishment of the Jihadi regimes and anti-patriotic coup along with global colonialism have resulted into the country’s destruction and led to the rise of Taliban. Moreover, President Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai has led the country to a corrupt state unable to deal with the terrorist groups and Taliban.

Invaded by various foreign-backed powers and different political ideas (left and right) Afghanistan has lost its national identity and failed to build its own economic and political system. Torn with corruption, bloodshed and terrorism over the decades, the country today, as some analysts believe, could be saved by a Third Way. The Third Way is a philosophy used to describe the voice of masses, the silent majority of people all the world, including Afghanistan.

The Afghan society needs a reform. The Third Way and adoption of it by a society can lead Afghanistan to a modern state, different from which the country has experienced over the pat 40 years. The Third Way is based on the idea of establishing a secure and sustainable state where the rights of the citizens are respected regardless the influence of any political parties or social groups and ethnic, racial and religious beliefs. Ensuring security and social justice in Afghanistan can be reached through following the several principles.

A balance of Power. Afghanistan has enough of security and defense to maintain and consolidate the national power. Supported by a strong and professional political leadership with pro-national interests Afghanistan will be able to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

A balance of domestic politics. The political and economic strategy of Afghanistan should be focused on creating sustainable living environment for its citizen and development of the economic and labor system that will allow Afghan citizens to use the country’s national resources and increase their living standards. In this scenario the Afghan people will stop looking for any possible ways to leave the country.

Balancing of economic growth and regional development will allow Afghan people to supply with jobs and comfortable life not only in major cities but also in the country’s provinces.

Finally, to achieve a Third Way the political system of the country should be based on national and democratic principles. The national principle means the country should use its own capacities and resources, while the democratic principle means that there is no other political regime acceptable in the country, but democracy.

By listening to the needs of the society and recovering its national values Afghanistan in the long-term perspective could become a safe and sovereign state with a sustainable economic growth.

Central Asia Faces New Future: between Turkey, Iran, China and Russia

Central Asian leaders are known for their absolute power and life-long immunity from prosecution. The tradition that was started by the late Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov who held the title Turkmenbashi (The Leader of All Turkmen) until his death in 2006, later followed by his successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 77 and finally the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, 64, has been well enjoyed by its followers for over 20 years by now.

However, the leaders are getting old and the region just might be on the threshold of the new era. The recent death of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov has marked the beginning of inevitable changes and has made the issue a public debate. The Central Asia is of great interest of its strong neighbors: Turkey, Iran, Russia and, finally, China. Each of the country is eagerly waiting to gain its own geopolitical goals and ambitions there. It’s only a matter of time now. In the long-term scenario, as seen by political analysts, China will most likely strengthen its political and economic development, while Turkey will likely become more stable economically. Finally, Iran might recover its power due to its nuclear program agreement.

The key factor might be played by migrant workers. Though China is the huge labor pool that offers low-cost migrant workers it still cannot compete with Russia when it comes to the Central Asia: most of the people’s income in this region is coming from Russia as there are more jobs to Central Asian migrant workers than in any other country. Nevertheless, the competition between Turkey and Iran will most likely continue to grow. Considering the fact that some Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are highly vulnerable due to terrorism threats and geographic proximity with Afghanistan, Turkey, if it keeps its stable economic growth, has all chances to confront terrorism by taking the leading control in the region in the long run.

Meanwhile, the current Central Asian leaders keeping in mind all the dangers coming to them struggle to extend their authoritarian leadership as longer as possible by empowering their children and by filling all the important government positions with their family members. One of the brightest examples of such practice may be found in Tajikistan. Earlier last year Emomali Rahmon’s daughter, Ozoda Rahmon has been appointed as his chief of staff while her husband, Jamoliddin Nuraliev, the First Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Tajikistan is one of the strongest candidates for the President elections in 2020 along with the President’s son, Rustam Rahmon. But due to the recent scandal that put Jamoliddin Nuraliev in the spotlight as he has been regularly seen in public together with Takhmina Bagirova in Austria (where Bagirova lives) and other countries during the holiday season, Nuraliev might soon be off the game leaving Rustam Rahmon the only real candidate for the President.  But whether the current leaders’ successors be able to be as powerful as their fathers or their presidency will mark the end of the authoritarian power in the region the Central Asia’s new wave of development is inevitable. As the pro-Moscow leaders will go, the region this will most likely be the platform of disputes between Iran, Turkey and China.


Turkish P.M. Erdogan: We Cannot Deny Our Ottoman Past

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stands among Justice and Development Party (AKP) members during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara, September 28, 2011. (Photo: Adem Altan /AFP / Getty Images)  Read more:
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stands among Justice and Development Party (AKP) members during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara, September 28, 2011. (Photo: Adem Altan /AFP / Getty Images) Read more:

Our interview with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published earlier this week on Global Spin, dwelled mostly on the growing shadow cast by the charismatic premier across the face of Mideast geo-politics. One question edited out of the earlier transcript raised the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, whose dominion once stretched over much of the region. As they now swagger through Cairo, Tripoli and other former Ottoman strongholds, Erdogan and — perhaps to even greater degree — his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have earned the monicker of “neo-Ottomans.”

Few democratically-elected statesmen in this day and age would welcome the label of imperialists. And, for whatever connotations “neo-Ottomanism” invokes abroad, it’s a far more sensitive subject domestically in Turkey. Nearly a century of Ataturk-inspired, Western-facing secularism meant those raised in modern Turkey looked with wariness upon the decadence, decay and religiosity of Ottoman times, when, after all, Istanbul was the veritable capital of the putative Caliphate.

But much has changed since Erdogan’s rise to power. Turkey no longer pines after Europe — indeed, see Erdogan’s matter-of-fact retort at the close of our interview with him — is ruled by a moderate Islamist party, and has signaled clear intent to influence events in many of the countries once ruled by Ottoman Sultans. Below is Erdogan’s response to a question I posed to him on whether he accepted donning the neo-Ottoman mantle:

Of course we now live in a very different world, which is going through a scary process of transition and change. We were born and raised on the land that is the legacy of the Ottoman empire. They are our ancestors. It is out of the question that we might deny that presence. Of course, the empire had some beautiful parts and some not so beautiful parts. It’s a very natural right for us to use what was beautiful about the Ottoman Empire today. We need to upgrade ourselves in every sense, socially, economically, politically. If we cannot upgrade ourselves and the way we perceive the world, we will lag behind tremendously. It would be self-denial. That’s why whether it be in the Middle East or North Africa or anywhere in the world, our perception has in its core this wealth that is coming from our historical legacy. But it’s established upon principles of peace. And it all depends on people loving one another without discrimination whatsoever.

Critics may wonder how willing Erdogan and other Turkish leaders are to actually admit to the empire’s “not so beautiful parts”, not least the grisly massacre of Armenians when the Ottoman Empire itself was on its last legs. Turkish diplomats on the sidelines of U.N. meetings spoke to TIME of Erdogan’s professed commitment to values of peace, tolerance and neighborly love — a lofty sentiment not exactly on display during the continued Turkish offensive against rebel Kurds in the country’s east.

Still, it’s noteworthy that the Turkish P.M. sees in the Ottoman past a “wealth” — a soft-power cachet, based presumably on the empire’s extraordinary diversity and tolerance of many faiths — to inform the present. We tend to forgive many Western powers, say the French, British and even the Americans, for tracing their foreign policies sometimes in memory (or nostalgia) of lapsed empire. An ascendant, capable Turkey has every right to walk its own post-imperial path as well.

via Turkish P.M. Erdogan: We Cannot Deny Our Ottoman Past – Global Spin –

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