Power, Influence and the Normalization of History

Turkey's deepening ties with China are worth paying attention to regardless of the academic reasoning used to justify them. But I thought Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's formulation was worth passing on. Referring to Francis Fukuyama's famous "end of history" as a framework for understanding the end of the Cold War, Davutoglu instead referred to the Cold War and the colonial period that preceded it as historical anomalies, with Turkey's foreign policy orientation now reflecting the ways in which history is undergoing a "normalization."

I've seen this same anomaly framework applied by French Gen. Vincent Desportes to Cold War approaches to strategy and tactics, with the new counterinsurgency emphasis representing a return to a more-Clausewitzian approach. And Hubert Védrine titled a recent book "Continuer l'Histoire," which was cleverly translated as "History Strikes Back," although it literally means, to continue history. But both were from a distinctly Western perspective, with the latter being a discussion about the persistent relevance of nations in the era of globalization.

With all the discussion these days about U.S. and Western primacy and relative decline, it's worth considering what a normalization of history represents to the rest of the planet. For Turkey, it means deep ties with both the U.S. and Europe on one hand, and with China -- as well as Iran and Syria -- on the other.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.