The Man Who Made Tomorrow

The Man Who Made Tomorrow

He could have been The Man Who Makes the Future, had the title not been slated for Marc Andreessen, the inventor of the first graphical web browser. The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 film, and The Man Who Saw Tomorrow is a 1981 film. He could have been The Man Who Saved the World, but that’s another story.

On Sept. 26, 1983, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early warning system in the Soviet Union when the system reported a launch from the United States. Petrov judged that the report was a false alarm, instead of erroneously launching a retaliatory nuclear attack on the U.S. and its Western allies. Investigation later confirmed that the satellite warning system had malfunctioned. That earned Mr. Petrov the title The Man Who Saved the World - by doing nothing.

By contrast, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu wants to be The Man Who Saved the World - by doing too much. Hence, he is The Man Who Rides the Thunder. Beyond that, he is The Man Who Made Tomorrow. Mr. Davutoğlu tells us to be patient for his Middle East policy to yield results, for history to prove his vision is correct. It took the Balkans 10 years and may take longer in the more complex and turbulent Middle East, he says, sounding like the Greek communist party which claims we must wait for another couple of centuries to see the victory of Marxism-Stalinism. And now Mr. Davutoğlu says he intends to change the world. Good luck, the world!

After his zero problems with neighbors doctrine brought Turkey near to war on almost all of its borders, plus naval neighbors like Cyprus and Israel, he says “he stands by his book,” Strategic Depth, in which he had formulated this miracle policy. Each time a Middle Eastern peculiarity defeats his bet the minister comes up with higher stakes, not noticing that this greedy gambler posture does not fit his otherwise honest, hardworking and modest academic personality.

Professor Davutoğlu now thinks that “the world order must be reviewed.” He thinks so because he perhaps can see that “the world order” is not good enough for his vision. So, instead of reviewing his vision and adjusting it with the realities, he proposes to change the world order. I shall translate what he means by this proposed revision: Kick out Russia and China as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and put Turkey in their place. To be polite, I would call this only childish.

In his Strategic Depth, Professor Davutoğlu basically argued that “if we don’t clean our (Middle Eastern) backyard, major powers will have justification to get involved.” Who would think one day Professor Davutoğlu would have to appeal to major powers to get involved? When things in Syria did not go as he thought Turkey’s powers would drive them, Mr. Davutoğlu makes appeal after appeal to the international community to take action. Why, Professor Davutoğlu, do we not clean our own backyard? Since his book or policy cannot be wrong, the world must be wrong, so it’s the world that must change!

Decorating the minister with a prestigious award, The Woodrow Wilson Center in 2010 commented that “Davutoğlu has catalyzed the development of Turkey’s foreign relations, by elevating its position in international discussions.” How do they recruit directors at the Woodrow Wilson Center? By forcing them to watch the film “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow” five times a day?

Professor Davutoğlu, you have changed this part of the world more than enough to give everyone a big scare. Please give up on changing the entire world to fit it into your vision. I am sure you would prefer to be remembered as someone “who catalyzed the development of Turkey’s foreign relations by elevating its position in international discussions,” rather than simply as the Turkish Dr. Strangelove.