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  • Author: Peter Draper
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Support for regional economic integration in Africa runs high amongst the continent's international development partners and African elites. However, its expression in European forms of economic integration is not appropriate to regional capacities and in some cases may do more harm than good. This lacuna is exacerbated by technical and theoretical analyses rooted either in economics or international relations literature. This article sets out to reconceptualise the foundations of African economic integration by reviewing key debates within each literature and comparing the results across disciplinary boundaries. Overall, it is concluded that a much more limited approach is required, one that prioritises trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation in areas related primarily to the conduct of business; underpinned by a security regime emphasizing the good governance agenda at the domestic level. Care should be taken to design the ensuing schemes in such a way as to avoid contributing to major implementation and capacity challenges in establishing viable and legitimate states. In doing so, the presence of regional leaders with relatively deep pockets - South Africa in the Southern African case - points to the imperative of building such limited regional economic arrangements around key states.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In a changing world ridden with crises and characterized by a general redistribution of power, regional organizations need to reinvent themselves. Equally, the study of regionalism has to reject its traditional Eurocentrism to embrace new conceptual categories in order to describe more effectively the variety of regional processes across the world. Against this background, this article looks the European project and its current crisis before discussing other regional 'experiments' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which rest on different principles but also manifest considerable shortcomings. The analysis points to need to look at regionalism with a critical eye, emphasizing the undeniably important achievements but also the hidden threats that a certain model of regional integration (for instance, the classical top-down elite-driven process adopted by the EU founding fathers) can pose to the sustainability of regional cohesion and the adaptability of this model to other areas of the world.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Haubrich-Seco
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Rethinking EU studies : the contribution of comparative regionalism. A special issue of the Journal of European Integration, edited by Luk Van Langenhove and Alex Warleigh-Lack, Routledge, 2010
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Chinese overseas investment is a new, and growing phenomenon. In the last decade, there have been exponential increases in how much direct investment is flowing from China, particularly into the resource sector. As the eurozone crisis has deepened since 2008, there has been continuing talk by political and business leaders of investment in Europe being a key target for Chinese companies. And yet, the amounts invested so far come to less than 5 percent of China's global overseas foreign direct investment (FDI) total. In the crucial determinants of Chinese FDI, the EU ranks low. There is therefore a good structural reason why, despite the ambitious talk of the Chinese coming to invest more in vital sectors in the EU, this is not happening at the moment and is not likely to happen until China develops into a middle income, more developed economy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Here are three very different books about China's rise and its relations with the world. The first two tend to give the shivers while the third, much more nuanced and balanced, is somewhat reassuring – up to a point. However, the three authors highlight the challenges that China's apparently irresistible re-emergence represent for the world. They also all share a focus on, if not an obsession with the United States which, in spite of its supposed decline, clearly remains in their eyes the ultimate benchmark of leadership and success, neglecting to various degrees other and less classical forces structuring and constraining China's rise, such as the European Union, globalisation, multipolarity and the social media.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The transatlantic tensions of the Bush years are behind us but the future of transatlantic relations remains uncertain at the closing of the Obama term. Policy alignment has been found on a host of issues but 'existential' questions have resurfaced, casting shadows on Western unity and relevance in the coming years. So far the crisis has failed to focus attention on the need for a common vision for the 21st century. Key strategic issues, from the future of the European order to transatlantic engagement in the Middle East, should figure prominently on the next transatlantic agenda, shifting the debate from the notion of a 'Pacific century' to how the West can address ongoing power transitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Matthias Matthijs
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the turn of the millennium, scholars and pundits have been musing over the decline of the West. The disappointing US military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the subprime mortgage crisis, seem to be evidence of an abrupt end to America's 'unipolar' moment. In Europe, the sovereign debt crisis has amplified Europe's long-term structural economic problems and laid bare the fragile institutional foundation on which the Economic and Monetary Union was built. At the same time, the BRICs and other emerging economies have been growing at unprecedented rates. Those same analysts see a 'decoupling' in the world economy: the developing economies pulling the world out of recession, while the advanced industrial economies are unable to solve their domestic difficulties. So to them, the events of the past five years signify the beginning of the end of Western influence, eventually leading to a more complete rebalancing of the world economy's current 'Western' system of governance. This article argues instead that the West still has a significant edge when it comes to most critical factors that determine long-term economic growth potential, including technology, innovative capacity, research and development, investment climate and education. Furthermore, the transatlantic economy is less vulnerable than the rest of the world to outside economic shocks and might eventually prove more capable of reform than many expect. The current malaise in the transatlantic community might therefore prove once again to be more cyclical than structural. Relying on linear projections, many are 'crying wolf' again, too loud and too soon.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America, Europe
  • Author: Ruth Hanau Santini, Oz Hassan
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab Awakening can be seen as a symptom of failure of US and EU democracy promotion policies in the region. By identifying democracy with 'liberal democracy' - a discursively powerful political move - the contingent character of democracy has been lost. The US and the EU, the main promoters of a neoliberal understanding of democracy, have sided with the wrong side of history. And because they have failed to deeply revise the philosophical underpinnings of their policies, even after 2011, they risk another, even bigger, policy failure.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yahia H. Zoubir
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the late 1980s, prospects for Maghreb integration were high; the process of integration reflected the aspirations of Maghreb states and societies. However, analysis shows that the process was merely a response to internal and external events of that period, namely, economic difficulties, 'fortress Europe', and the rise of radical Islamism. Following the Arab Spring, incessant calls for unity have re-emerged. Once again, these calls for unity, after a long period of tense relations, especially between Algeria and Morocco, have resulted from internal and external constraints. The threats to the incumbent regimes and/or the insecurity prevailing domestically and at the borders have compelled the Maghreb states to seek greater cooperation to overcome the hardships with which they are faced.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Algeria, Spain
  • Author: Luis Simón
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's ineffectiveness vis-à-vis Libya and the southern Mediterranean crises more broadly is largely explained by the CSDP's narrow mandate centred on crisis management. The EU's emphasis on external crisis management was strategically sound given the geopolitical context of the 1990s. CSDP's quiet drift towards a 'softer' kind of crisis management from the middle of the first decade of the 2000s was also instrumental in highlighting the EU's differences from post-11 September US unilateralism. That said, (soft) crisis management has become progressively obsolete in the light of a rapidly changing geopolitical environment characterised by an overall retreat of Western power globally, a weakening of America's commitment to European security, an increasingly tumultuous European neighbourhood, and Europe's financial troubles. In order to meet the demands of a changing geopolitical environment, CSDP must break away from its distinctively reactive approach to security to include all the functions normally associated with the military including, chiefly, deterrence and prevention. This would allow the EU to actively shape its regional and global milieu.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya