In my previous Sunday column, I discussed “Black Swans” and “Gray Rhinos.” Black Swans represent unforeseen and unexpected events that can lead to disaster if necessary precautions are not taken, while Gray Rhinos symbolize things that people see and talk about but fail to take action upon. According to Michele Wucker, who coined the term “Gray Rhino,” many of the biggest problems we encounter at the corporate, political, and personal levels are preventable but often ignored. Recognizing, interpreting, and framing what we see in life requires experience, expertise, and accumulated knowledge. Ultimately, “seeing correctly” is about focusing on what we see. As Michele Wucker put it in an interview, “The more experienced you become at looking, the easier it is to see what’s right in front of you.” In this context, I would like to share a story mentioned in the autobiography of the English historian and philosopher Robin George Collingwood.
In this example, Collingwood drew a parallel between a “Historian” and a “Non-historian” and a “trained forester” and a “passenger with no knowledge of forests.” The passenger casually thinks to himself, “There’s nothing here except trees and grass,” and moves on, while the forester says, “Look, there’s a tiger among those grasses.” Collingwood used this example to convey the following message to the reader: “It falls on the ‘Historian’ to bring out the less obvious aspects of the present situation that might escape a careless glance. To look at the contribution of history to moral and political life means to approach situations with an eye trained for action.”
According to Collingwood, if the “Historian” only shows us the characteristics of a situation without providing rules for action in such situations, they will not be able to help address moral and political difficulties. In other words, it is not enough to see the danger; you must also know how to deal with it. To learn how to protect yourself from a tiger, you must first learn about “forestry.”
The “New Cold War” framing the “great power competition” between the United States and China poses a danger of turning our world into a wild forest. Each state is preparing to sustain its existence by recognizing this alarming reality for their own security and survival. Therefore, it is crucial for us in our country to be aware of the “Black Swans” and “Gray Rhinos” that await us. On the other hand, if we were to liken our country to a body, we must also realize that none of the causes of the illness progress without a predisposition in the patient.
In his book “The Sources of Social Power,” American sociologist Prof. Michael Mann drew attention to the looming crisis on the horizon, which he identified as “Global Warming.” Prof. Mann pointed out that “Global Warming” would not affect every country equally, as affluent nations possess more resources to protect themselves compared to impoverished countries. He warned that without preventative measures, we will face massive waves of migration, conflicts over water resources, and world-war-scale but even more chaotic intense clashes.
Unprecedented natural events are occurring in some regions of our country. We must seriously contemplate the potential changes that could take place in our geographical landscape if these events become more frequent. Geographical transformations will also affect our urban and rural life, as well as our agricultural and industrial structures. Our scientists and relevant institutions need to conduct a “reality check” on which regions may undergo what changes under different circumstances.
For at least the past 30 years, the United States has been attempting to move away from the “neoliberal” global economic policies it once guaranteed. The U.S. is constructing its own ‘new reality’ and pressuring every country to adapt to this new reality. Europe and China, on the other hand, stand firm based on their own realities and within the framework of their own interests. The world is not solely comprised of America, Europe, and China.
As a country, what will be our focus? What should we do, and more importantly, what should we avoid doing? What will our priorities be? Prioritization entails making choices. Therefore, such a choice may require setting aside certain goals in favor of prioritizing others. Since politics is known as the “art of the possible,” we must use our resources wisely and judiciously.