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  • Author: David T. Buckley
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Religion and democracy can make tense bedfellows. Secular elites may view religious movements as conflict-prone and incapable of compromise, while religious actors may fear that anticlericalism will drive religion from public life. Yet such tensions are not inevitable: from Asia to Latin America, religious actors coexist with, and even help to preserve, democracy. In Faithful to Secularism, David T. Buckley argues that political institutions that encourage an active role for public religion are a key part in explaining this variation. He develops the concept of "benevolent secularism" to describe institutions that combine a basic division of religion and state with extensive room for participation of religious actors in public life. He traces the impact of benevolent secularism on religious and secular elites, both at critical junctures in state formation and as politics evolves over time. Buckley shows how religious and secular actors build credibility and shared norms over time, and explains how such coalitions can endure challenges from both religious revivals and periods of anticlericalism. Faithful to Secularism tests this institutional theory in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines, using a blend of archival, interview, and public opinion data. These case studies illustrate how even countries with an active religious majority can become and remain faithful to secularism.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Senegal, Ireland
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231542449
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Jan Kovář, Zdeněk Sychra
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In 2017, the Czech European policy faced a number of challenges related to the great events of previous years (the migration crisis, Brexit, security policy, Eurozone reform) as well as the ongoing reflection process of the EU. Above all, the Czech approach was a typical example of reactive behaviour, and characteristic of responding to external stimuli coming from EU. There were also partial topics about which proactive assertions were made by the Czech Republic. The polarisation between the individual actors of foreign policy was low, though with some exceptions pertaining to the President of the Republic. In contrast, as regards politicisation, the European agenda was an example of a highly politicised area, which was crucially reflected also in domestic policy. The coherence of the Czech European policy can be referred to as problematic, as the Czech Republic was not able to make a substantial move in its main conceptual priorities, but only in partial areas. Finally, the predominantly critical tone of the Czech discussion on the EU had contributed to the Czech Republic’s very low trust in the Union’s policy, posing a threat to the fulfilment of the key goals of the Czech foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic, European Union
  • Author: Monika Brusenbauch Meislová, Eliska Tomalova
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Both France and the United Kingdom (the UK) occupy a stable position in the Czech Republic’s foreign relations. Both countries have had asymmetrical and pragmatic relationships with the Czech Republic in the last decade, which were mostly influenced by the multilateral context of European integration. The recent developments on the British political scene and the Brexit process have changed the general atmosphere of the Czech-British relations on the one hand and opened a new space for the changing role of France in the European Union on the other. However, at the end of 2017 it was still unclear how precisely these changes would influence the bilateral relations. Thus a major characteristic of the Czech relations with Great Britain and France in the year 2017 was a strong element of continuity in a changing context, as it was a year of mutual observations and expectations between the three states.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, Czech Republic
  • Author: Tomáš Dopita, Daniel Heler, Kristýna Tamchynová
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Similarly to the previous years, in 2017 most of the Czech foreign political actors kept to the strategic notion that they support the efforts of Serbia, other Western Balkan countries and Turkey to integrate with the European Union as a means of ensuring stability, the democratic rule of law and prosperity in Southeastern Europe.2 However, in regard to this matter, the Czech actors themselves were divided between those tending towards a rhetorically offensive foreign policy and those striving to co-operate in the institutional structures of the EU, NATO, and other international organisations. The Czech foreign policy towards the Balkans and Turkey also had to cope with problems stemming from the geopolitical rivalry of the EU (or the West) with Russia, instability in the Middle East, migration, the unfolding of the authoritative turn in Turkey, terrorism, the faltering of the EU integration and enlargement process, and the multiple sore points reminiscent of the Yugoslav wars. The South-East dimension, nonetheless, remained an essential aspect of the Czech foreign policy. Besides, this area has recently attracted rising volumes of Czech investments, and the mutual trade with it has been steadily growing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans, Czech Republic, Mediterranean
  • Author: Petr Kratochvil, Karel Svoboda
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Amid the ever-higher tensions between the West and Russia, the Czechs became more active on the political level in 2017, with the highlight being the official visit of President Zeman to Russia. However, several structural factors prevented this flurry of political activity from turning into tangible political or economic results. First, the ongoing sanction regime and Russia’s aggressive stance in the neighbourhood rendered any deeper economic or political co-operation difficult to achieve. Second, the focus on internal issues (the then upcoming presidential elections in both countries) made foreign policy a mere pawn in the domestic political games. Third, while President Zeman confirmed his role as one of the most vocal advocates of President Putin, the continuing polarisation of the public opinion as well as the re-grouping of Czech anti-Kremlin forces limited his influence on the day-to-day Czech policy vis-à-vis Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Veronika Bílková
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In 2017, the Czech Republic went through the third round of the Universal Periodic Review and, for six months, it assumed the chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the main European human rights organisation. These events might help promote the Czech human rights foreign policy both inside and outside the country. Yet, they were largely overshadowed, first, by the crisis in the government coalition, and, later on, by the parliamentary elections. The elections, resulting in the victory of Andrej Babiš’s ANO and the defeat of virtually all the traditional political parties, heralded potential changes in the Czech human rights foreign policy. Yet, since so far, ANO has been rather ambiguous in its approach to human rights, it is not easy to predict what direction such changes may take.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Ann M. Lesch
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s ruler since July 2013, brooks no dissent. Having “saved” Egypt from the Muslim Brothers, he has ruled by decree in the absence of a parliament, supported by a handpicked technocratic cabinet. His security apparatus muzzles the press, keeps dissident voices off-air, arrests secular as well as Islamist critics, and clamps down on civil society. He has built ten new prisons to accommodate the overflow, as political prisoners may now total 60,000.[1] As typical of military rulers, he announces grandiose projects – the new channel in the Suez Canal, the Dabaa nuclear power plant, million-unit agricultural and housing schemes, and a multi-billion dollar new capital city – without taking into consideration their cost, integrating them into long term plans, conducting comprehensive feasibility studies, or examining their social and environmental impact.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Islam, Politics, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Egypt