A shrill voice rings out –

A shrill voice rings out, “This is the Piccadilly line to Heathrow” breaking the rhythmic pumping of the Underground’s wheels. It’s a beautiful summer night, one that must have inspired many a romantics. I am heading back from Angel to catch a flight back to Istanbul in the morning, caught up in my thoughts of the past six weeks. And that’s London for you: the true cosmopolitan, with its perfect weather and finely pressed suits, its enchanting accent and breathtaking views. This is the London that inspires, and I have just spent the summer of 2011 studying at the King’s College London University.

I was looking for something productive to do over the summer, and stumbled upon the concept of summer school. Some of the world’s most prominent institutes run a series of courses for three to seven weeks in their campuses over the summer – attracting students all over the globe for an intense academic experience. From the mesmerizing scenery of the Charles at Harvard to amidst the trimmed lawns and punts at Cambridge, summer school provides an extraordinary opportunity for students to explore a different institution, study a diverse subject and make friends from far-flung nations.

Studying at London, especially in the KCL has always been a dream for me. The KCL is the premier economics, politics, and science school in the world – boasting central bankers, Nobel Prize winners and super-successful billionaire businessmen as its alumni. I applied to do programmes on ‘Managing International Conflicts’ and ‘IR Theories’ and was accepted quickly. A couple of friends also joined in, and we looked forward to exploring London, the student way.

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Classes at the KCL are intense, taking place through the week including a three hour professor lecture and an hour hour tutorial with a teaching assistant each day. The teachers are phenomenal: my professors were Hubertus Jurgemlienk Ph.D. International Security from University of Oxford and Mark Fliegauf, Ph.D International Relations from Cambridge University. Of course, you have to top the classroom lessons with some self-study and preparation; many a student fell behind because they couldn’t keep up with the pace of teaching. The curriculum is cutting-edge, and textbooks include latest publications by leading scholars and authors – keeping one updated with the latest in the field. The tutorials are phenomenal – we have been to Commonwealth Secretariat, DFID UK, ECFR London, and MSF UK which were unique chances for me.

Unlike the Turkish method of education, the KCL simply does not believe in ‘spoon-feeding’; one is left to fend for oneself if one has not revised oneself. I also had two exams over a three week period: which required me to put in a couple of all-nighters. Thankfully, nobody is judged by the length of their answers, and concept clarity is the main focus of the examiners. In contrast, a vast majority of students in my home university, have been ‘taught’ the importance of length of their answers as well as the need to ‘reproduce’ the textbooks word-to-word. I also had conversations on future career paths with my professors over a dinner with my other friends at Convent Garden.

The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. The KCL attracts students from all corners of the globe; some say from more countries than the UN has member nations. Interactions with these people can significantly broaden your thinking.. The networking opportunities in that glorious campus and charming residences is unmatched by any country club in the world. Most of the people I met at London are close friends, and even one year later, we easily pick up from a past conversation.

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Three Evolutions : Road from the 1648 to the Present

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This paper will examine the three major periods of world politics as briefly. My first argument is about one of the catastrophic events which named as World Wars. The conflicts of the World War I based on the various economic, political, military developments all over Europe.  It’s fair to say, states had many expectations however, these goals had resulted with a huge disappointment. Between 1914 and 1945 the political world was shaken by economic, social and political events.  Politically, balance of power is totally transformed Europe. Western Europe, especially, got suffered in two ways: though peace* settlements and major cost of the war. There was the question of what kind of peace to impose on Germany? At the peace conference held at Versailles, Us President Woodrow Wilson, whose occurrence symbolized America’s growing role as a major power in world politics. Wilson’s country had suffered little from the war, wanted tolerance for Germany along with national self-determination for all nations and offered League of Nations to protect the international peace. However, many leaders had to justify the senseless massacre of the past four years to voters back home who wanted revenge for their sufferings of the past four years. Thus, among much disputing that settled nothing, the dominant attitude emerged was that someone must be made the victim and pay for the war. That someone was Germany. As a result of this, Treaty of Versailles (1919) punished Germany badly. It also put the War Guilt burden over Germany as full responsible of the disasters.  So, it does not seem unrational to get how the situatiion paved the way through Nazism.

World War I had been extremely expensive, both in its direct cost to fight and its long-term effects on Europe’s industries. In addition to selling colonial holdings, the allies had resorted to borrowing heavily, especially from the United States. By the war’s end, European countries owed the United States $7 billion. With the result of World War I, the world finance shifted from London to New York City. However, the economic effects of the war went far beyond borrowing money.  Because of huge war debts, the US became the first economic power of the world, creating a heavy dependency on the American economy. This, combined with German instability, made the world economy susceptible to a worldwide depression when the American economy crashed in the 1930’s. And, as discussed above, that would help lead to the rise of the Nazism and World War II.  As the 1920’s progressed, the world seemed to be settling down to the normality longed for so much since 1914. Russia withdrew into itself to complete its revolution. Germany, supported by American loans, seemed to have stabilized. And Europe overall seemed to have recovered its success and maintained control of its colonies. However, World War I released unnoticed forces that would surface with tragic effect to a worldwide depression and World War II.  The human capacity for self-destruction rapidly increased in World War II. It was world’s largest war in the history of mankind.  It has vital role for the nations by bringing new changes to the world politics in the field of strategy and policy.  Socially, millions of people lost their life during the war. Unfortunately, most of them were identified as civilians, and it led to more dramatize warfare. There were also millions of refugees suffered from warfare. Many people displaced from their house and gathered in the small places. Post-war observer would refer Europe as “half graveyard and half junkyard.”

The Second World War was shaped by two superpowers: United States and Soviet Union.  By 1948, they established their spheres of influence in Western and Eastern Europe, respectively.  The fates of world had been directly determined by these superpowers. Both of them challenged each other in what is known as the ‘Cold War’. Cold War was a period of hostility and competition between US and USSR.  During this period, people were in paranoia of nuclear treatment.  Therefore, nation states sought for partnership with these blocks.  The tension between two blocks was never turned into a hot war; it was mostly based on an ideological reasons.  However, the most important controversy between two blocks was known as a Cuban Missile Crisis on October 1962. It was the closest moment which could bring the world ever to the Third World War. In order to general acceptance, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism has prepared the ground; and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold War is over.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the cold war era put forward different opinions about what will happen in the new global order. New World Orders was mainly discussed through End of History, the New Middle Ages, and the Opinions of Chaos (Holliday, 1997). Among these, Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations argues had a great impact as the most ambitious vision.  After that, the external threat of system was re-shaped mostly by the Islamic movements. One of them is the 9/11 terror attack which is caused a major breakdown in politics for the whole Islamic community.  According to the book, the first disposal of interest shown and began to decline after the attacks on the United States, however, the world within the framework of re-shaping policies has continued to occupy an important place.

The terrorist organization, Al-Queada, who is responsible for 9/11 attacks decelerated that it was done for Islam. This strengthened clash of civilizations idea even more and caused a huge external threat for Islamic world. But this is too risky. Because, a religion with a civilization, geography and identity as a whole; without any kind of distinction may cause an instability in world. In this framework, the global struggle against terrorism in the country attacks, wars and politics on the basis of friend-foe distinction leads to an understanding of the system has made a distinction between the “religious fundamentalist Islam” and the “moderate Islam”.   Although the first approach accepts as a threat, the other one can assume as a solution.  It’s hard to make the difference between two approaches however; there should be a solution on tangible level as well as possible. In recent years, moderate Islamic movements are increasingly widespread not only on the geography of Islam but also in the US and Europe.  Obviously, US interests mostly based on to support the undemocratic regimes in the Middle East until 9/11 attack. This perception changed a bit since September 11 while maintains a large extent the weight of U.S. foreign policy. For instance, local governments ignored the suppression of democratic forces in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others have no way but radical movements.

At the first glance, Clash of Civilizations thesis might be think useful to understand the conflicts of world politics. It explains the overall trends, but it does neglect the economical perception.  Worse than that, Huntington suggests that West should act through its own civilization policies, which can be too risky. If American policy-makers consider competing with Islamic world, it may result with more tragic consequences.

The power of saying ‘No’

Some time ago, I was standing with people from my family I didn’t know who invited me to meet them. They had called my phone, insisted that they need me and I was at their house after half an hour. Once on that day, I realized I did not want to be there so I thought I’d changed my mind. But what was ridiculous was that I was there in the first place. Why was it that I so often said ‘yes’ when what I actually meant to say was ‘no’?

My need to please has been exhausting: I have gone to places I didn’t want to go and said things I didn’t want to say, all to please whoever I was with at the time. I’m sure it stems from being high-tolerance person, which meant I subconsciously thought I must be grateful and set my own needs aside to keep everyone else happy. Annoyingly, I carried this trait into adulthood. When I got to my early year of 20’s, I was intimating with people more, and didn’t stand ground on something they asked me to do. And now, somewhere out there is a recording of me saying the words ‘I’m fine’. It’s so excruciating, it makes my blood spoil indeed.. What annoys me is that I didn’t say no at those times – a common theme for most of my life. That is, until now.

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My light- bulb moment came recently, a result of observing people around me. Because of the good intention in the first place I have, people feel they need to please me and do what I ask and realized how uncomfortable this makes me feel. I like honest people who treat me on a level. So why was I behaving in the exact opposite way myself?  My journey into the land of NO has been further inspired by my dad.  He never says yes when he actually means no. This doesn’t make him mean – it makes him sincere, attentive to the things he says yes to and, crucially, happy. He always encourages me to ‘just say no’ when stewing over yet another uncomfortable situation, either in my career, with a friend, or with a window cleaner waving his squeegee at me in my bedroom.

I used to think if I treated people the way I’d like to be treated it would eventually come back positively to me, but it doesn’t mean that at all. What it means is that people take advantage of you, or make you say things which you don’t really mean or keep you from meeting work deadlines while offloading every detail of their lives but never thinking to ask how you are doing.

What I have learned is that you should treat people according to how they treat you, stand your ground at work, ensure your relationships are equal, not be a yes person for the sake of it and take pride in saying no. Has this new attitude made my life easier and happier? Unequivocally, yes. Was I really getting lots of fun at the time of  spending with ppl? Unfortunately, no.