TALK ABOUT geopolitics and people think of great-power rivalry: America v the Soviet Union or, more recently, China. Fair enough. Great powers are, as the name suggests, important. But as America retreats from its role as globocop, it has opened space for medium-sized powers to become more assertive.
Turkey has occupied a chunk of Syria, sent troops to Libya, helped Azerbaijan vanquish Armenia and dispatched its navy in support of dubious claims to Mediterranean waters. Iran backs militias that prop up Syria’s despot, have a chokehold on Lebanon and were accused this month of trying to murder Iraq’s prime minister with an explosives-laden drone. Pakistan helped a group of misogynistic jihadists take over Afghanistan. Belarus hijacked a plane and has been giving migrants bolt-cutters and ordering them to cut through Poland’s border fence. Cuba trains Venezuelan spooks. Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen. Medium-sized menaces are on the march….