Earlier attempts to redraw the actual and mental maps of the world took place after real crises. The early 19th century saw European empires create the Metternich system to resist the emerging nation-states and micro-nationalities. The century ended with World War I; following the war, the world map was redrawn on paper and ideologically. In all of these cases the actual crisis defined the lines of the new world map: The Metternich system was clearly pro-status quo because it was designed to prevent change; the post-World War I system was Wilsonian and it created the first superpower of world history and the first ever global system because it was designed to prevent chaos. The Cold War system was inevitably bipolar, with two superpowers and two ideological camps, because its designers realized the world was too large for one superpower. They would soon realize that it was too small for two.
The world is searching for new meanings. We are living in a post-American era. We know the old system is over, but the new era is yet to come. And if humanity is to follow its old habits, it will recreate this new era on the cleavages resulting from a crisis.
No crisis other than the humanitarian-political situation in Syria is more pertinent to a redrawing of the lines of separation in world politics. The discussion has already become a global issue, with political, religious, ethnic, regional and global repercussions. Russia, China and Iran have already made their positions on Syria clear: They want no Western intervention and they won't intervene either. EU and Arab League countries form an almost unified front for intervention, but they cannot agree on the nature of post-intervention developments that should take place in the region. The Syrian opposition is mostly out of the country and the leadership is trying to find ways not to enter but to leave the country to internationalize their struggle.
What will happen if the new world is shaped on Syria's divisions?
First of all, the Muslim world will be fatally divided between the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Sunni Muslim world will be pushed to the Western ideological camp and the Shiite Muslim world to the Sino-Russian and possibly Indian camp. The Christian world will pass through a similar test and the Russian Orthodox Church will lead the general Orthodox world. The Greek Orthodox Church will have to decide whether to stay with the Protestant-Catholic West or to join the culturally more sympathetic Eastern world. The Israeli-Palestinian struggle will be pushed to the back of the agenda and both Fatah and Hamas will lose prominence, as both of them will be in the same camp as Israel. Instead, old left-wing factions -- like the People's Front -- will emerge as the new Palestinian freedom fighters in alliance with the Syrian, Iranian, Chinese and Russian leaderships. Africa and the Caucasus will be new battlegrounds for influence between the New West and the New East.
Turkey will have to stay as the balancing country between the two camps. It will both suffer the most and prosper the most because of this new status.
It would be better to use the Pacific as the basis for the new world map.