‘Diplomacy’ Choice of the USA in the Syria instead of ‘Power’
For few weeks, the world agenda is occupied on possible punishment operation to be made by the USA for the Assad regime who used chemical weapon to his people on 21st August. However, U.S President Barack Obama has warned the Syria government not to use chemical weapon, and has declared that he will change his opinion on military intervention in case of use of chemical weapon, and this is his “red line”. It is expected from the USA that at this point, even USA does not get necessary support from its allies and international community USA will make this operation. For keeping chemical weapons of the Syria under control, Obama has brought this issue to the Congress through diplomacy, and has asked to make voting for authority to use military power. During the progress, U.S President Barack Obama has stated that he has asked the Congress to postpone the approval of draft declaration for authority to use military power against Syria. During this time, he has preferred to wait confirmation of fulfillment of undertaking to deliver the chemical weapons through the Syria’s powerful ally Russia.
In addition to the strategic and political dimension of the developments in the Syria, this shed a light on us in terms of understanding what it means in terms of international balances, if we understand new “U.S’ s new cautious policy” ‘Smart Power’ ” concept launched by USA to the world’s public opinion of Brack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton since 2009, the Syria developments that come to a dead end in the Middle East, and especially reasons why USA is unwilling at intervention.
The letter of the Former U.S Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with date November 2011 which has been published in the Foreign Policy with title “America’s Pacific Century” can be called as a kind of policy declaration; the future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action; also Obama government is willing to point out present challenge and opportunities in Asia; the government does not just win seat at the East Asia Summit, it has a tendency to redirect the foreign policy for Asia.
The power factors to be used by states have many types to achieve political goals. The actors must calculate costs of the steps which have been taken while achieving to the purpose or after achieving goals. The ideal one in this context is to “reach target in lowest cost”. The actors evaluate tools and power factors to be used according to the target from this logic, and they choose those from which most proper and best efficient result is taken.
Today in existence of various power factors, those factors of power can be expressed with different characteristic features like soft and hard power according to the types of use. The character of power is revealed in applying hard power based on forcing, discouragement, intimidation, and soft power actor based on logic to persuade and attract other actors. The smart power recommends arranging a power inventory by considering all of the power factors, then use one or few different factors according to the specified target with ratio of necessity set forth by target. In other words, the smart power is to evaluate all of the diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural values at the same time, and select proper instrument among them for each case, or make selection from power and use it..
When we look at the comments of the public opinion at present, we can see that Obama is subject to severe criticism at the Middle East policies arisen from the general conjuncture.
There are big movements in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria; these movements are prevented in a point in countries like Bahrain, Morocco, and at this period, the U.S government has fixed attitude and has difficulty to implement this. Being quiet in Morocco, trying to act with allies in Libya, changing discourse in Egypt every week, changing monthly decisions at two points of axis, the U.S has caused criticism related to the Obama government either in U.S.A or at the world.
The loss caused by the matters arisen from the conjuncture of the U.S.A in foreign politics at recent period has severely shaken the Obama government. In addition, the economic crisis in Europe started to prevent Obama’s positive statements related to the future of the economy in the U.S.A, and this resulted in Obama to hit for six in both national and foreign policy. When we look at final current status of Obama and today certain public opinion research companies of the USA today; we can see that Obama’s popularity and trust votes are started to decrease below final period of former president Bush.
The most important reason why Obama’s cautious foreign policy depends on the new concept of Obama, Smart Power concept; “the actors must calculate the cost of the steps taken while going toward the goal or after achieving goal. The ideal one in this context is to calculate “achieve goal with lowest cost”. Will the president Obama make radical changes on line of foreign policy implemented in the Middle East during either first government time 2009-2012 or last government term of office 2012 and 2016? What action will he take about Syria in incoming days?
At his speech made before senate prior to starting to his position of Secretary of State on January 2009 providing bridge between Obama government with the popularity of the Smart Power concept, Clinton has stated that “smart power is central principle guiding foreign policy”.
In addition to the strategic and political dimension of the developments in the Syria, this shed a light on us in terms of understanding what it means in terms of international balances, if we understand new “U.S’ s new cautious policy” ‘Smart Power’ ” concept launched by USA to the world’s public opinion of Barrack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton since 2009, the Syria developments that come to a dead end in the Middle East, and especially reasons why USA is unwilling at intervention.
We are in opinion that the most powerful candidate for the Democrats in USA elections for year 2016 will be Hillary Clinton with campaign and fund activities made for long time. Clinton has made some important attempts by not accepting the Secretary of State in second period of Obama. First, she has paid attention to set her aside from this period by remaining outside the foreign policy of Obama which is no good. Second, she has prepared a working program for four years getting support in the context of financial and deputy of the campaign.
In the event successors of Obama to which his term of office will be left in three years later, 2016, if the Clinton is elected as president, it is possible that Clinton continues “Asia – Pacific” vision and mission in foreign policy. However, Asia-Pacific oriented foreign policy is a factor that guides future of the Middle East.
The political critics and historian who has great contributions for election of Obama in 2009, Noam Chomsky points out “USA targets to control global energy, for this reason, USA must secure the energy transfer of the petrol lines at the Middle East. Chomsky has stated that for this reason, this causes USA to get in conflict with China who want to revive the Silk Road.
The reason beyond the policy of the USA to surround the China at the Asia- Pacific is to control energy ways rather than need to the energy sources at the Middle East. An example for this, we can give the Strait of Malacca. When we consider in economic and strategic terms, the world’s most important water ways, Strait of Malacca is located between Malaysia and Indonesia. This water way creates main passing route between Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Map.1. Strait of Malacca
Connecting the countries in which international trade has big importance like China, India, Japan and South Korea, the Strait of Malacca provides approximate 25% of the world sea trade. At the same time, this water way is in key position on energy transportation because of the connection of petroleum producers at the west to the consumers at the east. However, China, Japan and South Korea are leading customers of the petrol at the Middle East. For example, 51% of the petrol going to China comes from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. Also, the petrol coming from the Arabian Peninsula compromises 87% of the total petrol import of the Japan.
Connecting east to west, the Strait of Malacca is most important sea way in terms of region countries and also other big powers as much as seashore countries in either economic or strategic terms. For this reason, all these countries have attempts to provide effect on the Strait. This attempt is an indicator that Mahan is the key of sea domination of world domination, and a county must guarantee sea trade for the growth.
When Barack Obama has been elected second time for the president of the USA on 5th November 2012, it is observed that Obama has easy president task without concern of selecting second time. At the same time, it is not transferred country like in 2008 elections, and he will conduct presidency with many stability, this points out most comfortable period for Obama. In this period, there are many fields on which USA will be effective on world politics. The Middle East and Asia-Pacific that enters into more sensitive period in political terms must end the financial crisis, and missile defense and nuclear programs in terms of international security are few of these field.
The President Obama waits authority of senate, and asks for more time, and this and postponement of Genève II conference related to Syria to October gives impression that progress is blocked. The occurrence of Beijing – Moscow cooperation in Syria shows that USA is forced to use cautious foreign policy “diplomacy” channels instead of “Hard Power”.
At the new trend which has been strengthened with third period administration of Putin, there is development of very strongest relations with the Far East countries in addition to former Soviet geography. In determination of new road map by Russia, the attraction of the Pacific region and also negativity experienced at the West are effective. Because Russia has weight more than 50 percent at the foreign trade, financial crisis experienced in the Europe concerns Moscow. At least 17 EU countries have reduced purchase of natural gas. Consisting of approx. 60 percent of the budget income, the energy export is most sensitive part of Russia.
Turning face to the Pacific by Putin, the developments experienced in the Middle East shacking with Arabic Spring is effective. It is possible to say that Russia is about to lose political influence at the region and also arm sales market and most strategic marine base. Moscow has prevented the military intervention to the Syria with support of China at the United National Council by vetoing three times. Making statements within framework of summit at the Russia Today television, Putin has evaluated that “Russia and China relations at the highest level. We both have most powerful confidence in political and economical field.”. New power center to be established at the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the APEC countries in line with Asia-Pacific can be evaluated as strategic for multipolar world target of Kremlin.
In short, the development of balances in the Middle East comes from balanced policies and stability of the USA at the multipolar world with Russia and China at the USA’s new influence region Asia – Pacific.
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