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  • Author: Niklas Helwig, Carolin Rüger
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: When Catherine Ashton took up office as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), she met with high expectations - and much disappointment. As the first incumbent of the remodelled position, she had the chance to leave a legacy for her successor, but faced an unclear job description. What was the HR's role in EU foreign policy? It is argued that the HR acted as a diplomat and manager of EU external action, while her role performance in co-leadership and brokering were less successful. Role expectations and performance entered a fragile equilibrium at the end of Ashton's tenure. However, the future role of the HR might shift more towards a co-leader of EU foreign policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Uwe Puetter
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty fundamentally changed the presidency regime of the European Union at the expense of one of the oldest and most central institutions of European integration: the rotating presidency. The chair positions of the European Council, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Eurogroup have been decoupled from the rotating presidency. Understanding the reduced role of the rotating presidency requires attention for the changing dynamics of EU policymaking, especially for the new intergovernmentalism which implies decision-making outside the classic community method and for the rise of the European Council to the status of a lead institution.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Heather Grabbe, Nadja Groot
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 2014 elections brought a record number of xenophobic populist parties into the European Parliament (EP). They have a strong incentive to be more united and active than in previous terms, and they could use the Parliament to shape voter attitudes, pressure mainstream parties to adopt more xenophobic rhetoric, fragment the mainstream right, and obstruct parliamentary proceedings. The rise of xenophobic populism could affect the open society through the EU's policies and budget if it alters EP debates on issues that split left and right, particularly Roma exclusion, migration and asylum, and EU external policies and development aid.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ivan Krastev
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European elections failed to mobilise public support for the European project. Despite the strong showing of populist parties in the European Parliament, there are indications that the European Union would rather be transformed than destroyed by the current political crisis.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Geoffrey Pridham
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union has a unique opportunity to develop a positive strategy towards Ukraine. A pro-EU government is now in power in Kyiv, there is a revived civil society pressing for democratic reforms and the actions by Russia have both reinforced Ukraine's pro-West line and led to the priority given Moscow being questioned by some member states. It is therefore essential to grant Ukraine a membership perspective to strengthen this trend and encourage Kyiv to confront and overcome the basic problems that face the country.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Alexandra Yatsyk
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea were two major international events in which Russia engaged in early 2014. In spite of all the divergence in the logic underpinning each of them, four concepts strongly resonate in both cases. First, in hosting the Olympics and in appropriating Crimea, Russia was motivated by solidifying its sovereignty as the key concept in its foreign and domestic policies. Second, the scenarios for both Sochi and Crimea were grounded in the idea of strengthening Russia as a political community through mechanisms of domestic consolidation (Sochi) and opposition to unfriendly external forces (the crisis in Ukraine). Third, Sochi and Crimea unveiled two different facets of the logic of normalisation aimed at proving - albeit by different means - Russia's great power status. Fourth, one of the major drivers of Russian policy in both cases were security concerns in Russia's southern flanks, though domestic security was also an important part of the agenda.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Ondrej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine has turned the tables of the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia. The ongoing transformation can result in a number of outcomes, which can be conceived in terms of scenarios of normalisation, escalation and 'cold peace' - the latter two scenarios being much more probable than the first. NATO ought to shore up its defences in Central and Eastern Europe while Washington and its allies engage in a comprehensive political strategy of 'new containment'. This means combining political and economic stabilisation of the transatlantic area with credible offers of benefits to partners in the East and pragmatic relations with Russia which are neither instrumentalised (as was the case with the 'reset') nor naïvely conceived as a 'partnership'.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Washington, Ukraine
  • Author: Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's actions towards Ukraine in 2013-14, which inaugurated a new Cold War in its relations with the West, presented a dilemma to Russia's allies: whether to align themselves with Russia's choices or pursue a more independent course of action. The leadership of Belarus, Russia's closest ally, chose the latter option both by establishing dialogue with the interim government and President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, considered illegitimate in Russia and, later, by being present at the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on 7 June 2014 and downplaying Russia's position on the 'federalisation' of Ukraine as the only way out of the country's instability. The perspective of the intra-alliance security dilemma helps explain the divergence of views between Russia and Belarus, while pointing to the changing position of the parties towards the Eurasian integration project.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Serena Giusti, Enrico Fassi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a recently established instrument of democracy promotion intended to complement existing EU tools. Fashioned after the US National Endowment for Democracy, the EED's privileged area of action is the European neighbourhood. Meant as a small rapid-response, actor-oriented 'niche' initiative, its main task is to select those actors, from both civil and political society able to produce a change in their country. The EED represents a step forward in the EU's capacity to foster democracy, but does not necessarily go in the direction of more rationality and effectiveness. Not all EU member states support the EED with the same enthusiasm and it is still not clear how it fits into the EU's overall democracy promotion architecture. Its actions may be successful in a very constrained timeframe. However, recent crises at the EU's borders would seem to call for a strategy that takes into consideration systemic hindrances, post-regime change complexities, regional dynamics and finally rival plans of autocracy promotion.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Readmission is not simply a means of removing undesirable foreigners through coercive methods. When viewed as a way of ensuring the temporary stay of foreign workers in the labour markets of European destination countries, readmission may also impact on the participatory rights of a growing number of native workers facing equally temporary (and precarious) labour conditions, in a context marked by employment deregulation and wage flexibility. These implications have clear democratic significance. A new analytical perspective applied to the expansion and development of the readmission system, is aimed at promoting a reflection on an unexplored research area bridging the gap between labour migration regulation and labour market deregulation.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna Triandafyllidou, Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: EU migration and asylum policy is facing tough challenges at the southern borders of the Union as migration and asylum pressures rise, fuelled by political instability and poverty in several regions of Asia and Africa. Current European border control practices create three spaces of control: externalised borders, through readmission and return agreements which enrol third countries in border control; the EU borders themselves through the work of Frontex and the development of a whole arsenal of technology tools for controlling mobility to and from the EU; and the Schengen area, whose regulations tend to reinforce deterrence at the borders through the Smart Border System. As a result, the EU's balancing act between irregular migration control and protection of refugees and human life clearly tips towards the former, even if it pays lip service to the latter. More options for mobility across the Mediterranean and more cooperation for growth are essential ingredients of a sustainable migration management policy on the EU's southern borders. In addition asylum management could benefit from EU level humanitarian visas issued at countries of origin.
  • Topic: Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Cameroon
  • Author: Elena Baracani
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Is the EU Doomed?, by Jan Zielonka, Polity Press, 2014.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alba Ferreri
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Politics and the Internet in Comparative Context, edited by Paul Nixon, Rajash Rawal and Dan Mercea, Routledge, 2013.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Author: Oliver Geden, Severin Fischer
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For many years, the EU pursued the strategy of 'leading by example' in international climate negotiations. Climate policy has generally been seen as one of the few policy fields in which the EU is able to develop coherent positions and speak with a single voice. Since the Copenhagen climate summit, however, frictions inside the EU and a paradigm shift have become increasingly evident. With the October 2014 compromise in the European Council on a new framework for 2030, the international climate negotiations have become less important and a more incremental domestic approach has prevailed.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Luigi Carafa
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States and China recently announced a joint climate agreement that creates unprecedented political momentum for the Paris COP21 to be held in December 2015. Yet, it is unclear whether such a deal is an historic breakthrough or business as usual policy. A closer look at the US-China climate agreement shows that the chances that the agreed measures have of limiting global warming to 2°C are very few. If seen in terms of concrete policy action, the US pledge comes closer to a pathway compatible with a 2°C target. By contrast, however, China's pledges are far from consistent with a 2°C pathway. As the COP21 approaches, it is becoming clear that China matters more than ever for an effective climate deal. But it is also becoming increasingly clear that, in the best case scenario, Beijing will support a start now/sprint later agreement in Paris.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Steinar Andresen
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most observers agree that more than 20 years of UN climate negotiations have been a failure. Some argue that the top-down approach is one important reason for this and that a bottom-up approach or more exclusive club approaches would have rendered better results. Based on experience with these approaches so far this is far from self-evident and there are limits to what can be achieved by clever institutional design when deep-seated political conflicts prevail. Many approaches are also hybrids between the various approaches and the future climate regime will probably contain elements of both the top-down and the bottom-up approach. However no quick fixes can be expected for this exceedingly 'malign' problem.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Author: Steven Vanderheiden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Institutional mechanisms for administering international climate finance constitute key components of an effect global climate regime, and the Green Climate Fund represents what promises to become the most important such mechanism. As the Fund begins to serve its function of transferring economic resources from developed to developing countries to support mitigation and adaptation activities, it faces several obstacles. Since contributions to the Fund by states or private parties are voluntary, they are not necessarily based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's "common but differentiated responsibilities" principle. Its governing instrument also departs from UNFCCC principles. In addition, the Fund faces a significant ambition gap in pledges to fund its operations. By instantiating several informal means of applying climate justice norms to assessments of national contributions to climate finance, some of this resistance might be overcome, increasing support for the Fund and, with this, increasing prospects for reaching consensus on a new climate treaty architecture at COP 21.
  • Author: Tomas Wyns
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be an important part of a post-2020 climate agreement under the UNFCCC. However, it is not certain yet what these INDCs will contain and how they will be assessed. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) faced similar challenges in its first years (2005-12). Thus, the mechanisms and lessons learned under the EU ETS could be applied to the INDCs to create a governance and assessment system that increases transparency and builds trust among parties to the UNFCCC.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ernesto Roessing Neto
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Given the lack of a multilateral convention on forests, global deforestation is being addressed through various initiatives, public and private, local and global. Since 2005, the creation of a mechanism for addressing deforestation (among other things) has been moving forward within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regime. Known as REDD+, it is meant to provide incentives to developing countries in return for forest conservation, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. REDD+ could lead to lower levels of deforestation and forest degradation, and to the incorporation of customary governance arrangements in national policy instruments, albeit with some risk of centralisation of forest governance. It could also have a negative social and environmental impact if too much emphasis is put on carbon without adopting the proper social and environmental safeguards.
  • Topic: United Nations, Governance
  • Author: Jennie C. Stephens
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the threats of climate change grow, the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning is increasingly acknowledged by governments around the world. The potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a set of technologies that offers a politically appealing vision of a 'cleaner' way to use fossil fuels, has provided powerful motivation for large public and private investments in CCS technology. But investing in CCS is controversial because, although some consider it a critical climate mitigation technology, others view it as an expensive fossil fuel subsidy that could inadvertently perpetuate, rather than reduce, fossil fuel reliance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Government
  • Author: Kathrin Keil
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In order to assess whether the Arctic region is evolving into a region of cooperation or one of confrontation, a thorough understanding of the existing (and evolving) bilateral, regional and international institutional frameworks with relevant regulations for the Arctic and their adequacy for solving possible controversies is paramount. Disputes can flare up over various issues, as the Arctic has aptly demonstrated in recent years. Whether these disputes erupt into conflict or are handled cooperatively depends significantly on the rules and regulations that parties have put in place. While most of the literature deals with resource ownership, it is argued here that the more significant potential sources of controversy between Arctic states are issues of responsibility, liability, precaution and preparedness concerning possible transboundary environmental risks and dangers and, generally, protection of the fragile Arctic ecosystem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Oil
  • Political Geography: Arctic
  • Author: Zhang Xiaotong
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Chinese policy and academic communities have mixed views about the US-led TPP, either viewing it as a strategic attempt at encircling China, or as a positive spur for domestic reform and opening-up. Although the Chinese government adopted an open and flexible attitude towards the TPP, it has moved strategically by accelerating the negotiations of the RCEP and China-Korea FTA, as well as updating its FTA with ASEAN. A more interesting development is China's new initiatives for building two grand silk roads, one to Central Asia, leading on to Europe, and the other to Southeast Asia, leading on to the Indian Ocean. Both represent China's renewed confidence in finding its role in Asia.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Andrea Ghiselli
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Developments at both the doctrinal and operational level suggest that the 'post-modernisation' of China's PLA Navy (PLAN) has started. Issues such as the maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and how to create a network of bases or 'footholds' outside Asia might slow down or temporarily halt this process. However, as China's economic presence expands on a global scale, its security interests and those of the international community will overlap increasingly with one another. Consequently, once its transformation has been completed, the PLAN is likely to become a global and cooperative force.
  • Topic: Security, Development
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Claudia Astarita
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: China's naval power : an offensive realist approach / Yves-Heng Lim. - Farnham and Burlington : Ashgate, 2014. - xii, 217 p. - (Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies series). - ISBN 978-1-4094-5184-6 ; 978-1-4094-5185-3 (ebk) ; 978-1-4724-0270-7 (ePUB)
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Silvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Following the leader : ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping / David M. Lampton. - Berkeley : University of California Press, 2013. - xiii, 293 p. : ill. - ISBN 978-0-520281-21-9 ; China's foreign policy / Stuart Harris. - Cambridge ; Malden : Polity Press, 2014. - 356 p. - ISBN 978-0-7456-6246-6 ; 978-0-7456-6247-3 (pbk) ; China's foreign policy : who makes it, and how is it made? / edited by Gilbert Rozman. - New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. - 343 p. - ISBN 978-1-137-34406-9 ; 978-1-137-34409-0 (pbk)
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ulrike Guerot
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As long as Angela Merkel remains chancellor, most Germans seem to be in no rush to find a coalition. This is why the coalition negotiations have been going on for weeks (and may only conclude when this journal goes to print). Nevertheless, the elections have shaken up the German political landscape: the Liberals (FDP) are out of the Bundestag for the first time since 1949 and the euro-sceptical Alternative for Germany (AfD) is in. With the Left Party still outside of the 'consensus spectrum', the Conservatives (CDU), Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are the only parties eligible for government in either a grand coalition (CDU/SPD) or a Black-Green coalition (CDU/ Greens). But the SPD's reluctance to enter into a grand coalition a second time, after the disastrous results for the party in 2005-09, led many to hope for an innovative progressive-conservative U-turn in Germany, meaning a Black-Green coalition. Indeed, for a moment it seemed like the CDU and the Greens would dare the impossible after what had been called a "fruitful and harmonious exploration". But in the end, it is going to be a grand coalition again, with the likely effect for Europe that austerity will be softened a bit - but in essence, German European policy will remain as it is, slow and reluctant.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Two years after the popular mobilisations in Egypt and Tunisia of early 2011, post-uprising authorities, including the Islamist parties that came to power, have failed to deliver on the demands for social justice that triggered those protests. They have responded to past and present socio-economic challenges by adopting measures that are in clear continuity with previous regimes and lacking any coherent long-term vision of economic reform. Indeed, albeit with differences between the two countries, post-uprising authorities, lacking experience and competence, have not fully broken with the old system in reconfiguring power relations within and outside state institutions and have continued to adopt a top-down approach to economic decision-making.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Laura Guazzone
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After winning the 2011 elections, the Ennahda Islamist Party was the majority partner in successive coalition governments, whose poor performance - namely in the economic and security fields - disappointed the people's high post-revolutionary expectations. Opponents accused Ennahda of incompetence, greed for power and double talk. Many of the Ennahda-led governments' failures were due to factors beyond their control, but some did indeed depend on Ennahda's own political weaknesses. Nevertheless, Ennahda contributed positively to the overall development of Tunisia's political transition thanks to its moderation and pragmatism and its contribution remains paramount for the democratic consolidation of Tunisia and other political Islamic actors.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Daniela Pioppi
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This article aims to analyse and evaluate the post-Mubarak politics of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in an attempt to explain its swift political parable from the heights of power to one of the worst waves of repression in the movement's history. In order to do so, the analysis will start with the period before the'25th of January Revolution'. This is because current events cannot be correctly under-stood without moving beyond formal politics to the structural evolution of the Egyptian system of power before and after the 2011 uprising. In the second and third parts of this article, Egypt's still unfinished' post-revolutionary' political transition is then examined. It is divided into two parts: 1) the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)-led phase from February 2011 up to the presidential elections in summer 2012; and 2) the MB-led phase that ended with the military takeover in July 2013 and the ensuing violent crackdown on the Brotherhood.
  • Political Geography: South America, Egypt
  • Author: Raffaele Marchetti
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The articles of this core present a number of innovative studies on transnational networks. Mainstream transnational network research has suffered from a number of theoretical biases which have prevented comprehensive study of the wide range of transnational activism of civil society organisations (CSOs). These biases concern, in particular, the notion of the ' civilness ' of CSOs, their Western origin, their bourgeois nature, and their centre-left political orientation in terms of views on global politics.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Clifford Bob
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In recent decades, there have been many international campaigns on numerous issues. In turn, scholars have analysed the activist networks promoting human rights, environmental quality and global justice, developing theories of transnational advocacy, strategies and outcomes. However, analysts have seldom noted that the 'progressive' networks on which these theories have been based seldom act unopposed. Instead, on numerous global issues leftwing groups face fierce opposition from networks of rightwing activists. This article provides examples of such clashes, focusing on these understudied conservative networks. In addition, it outlines a theory for understanding the conflict of networks over many policy issues. Keywords: activism, civil society, transnational advocacy, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Human Rights
  • Author: Paulo Gerbaudo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 2011 protest wave, encompassing the Arab Spring revolutions, the Indignados movement in Spain and Greece, and the Occupy Wall Street movement has often been described as a new global protest cycle. However, the dynamics of diffusion suggest a more complex picture. Transmission of protest frames and repertoires from one country and cultural region to another was quite slow and tortuous. Moreover, adoption of the new ideas and practices of protest spawned by the protest wave of 2011 involved laborious dynamics of cultural translation and domestication. This situation points to the continuing importance of local protest cultures and cultural contexts, in addition to channels of transmission, even in an era of instantaneous communication technologies.
  • Topic: Communications
  • Political Geography: Greece, Arabia
  • Author: Raffaele Marchetti
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is a need for a reassessment of the Italian contribution to international affairs. If a more comprehensive and pluralist reading of Italian action at the international level is developed, an image of normative power Italy may emerge. Italian input has been crucial in a number of transnational campaigns that have had significant impact at the international level. The cases of the peace in Mozambique, the International Criminal Court, the Moratorium on the Death Penalty and, more recently, the Ban on Female Genital Mutilation all illustrate Italy's contribution to international affairs, especially the politics of norm change. These cases are all characterised by the presence of intense civil society-government synergy. In order to advance the understanding of the processes and impact of transnational mobilisations, this analysis examines the domestic conditions that facilitated such synergy, intended as key conditions for the empowerment of transnational activism itself.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Emmanuel Karagiannis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Western Muslims have joined jihadi groups in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Somalia and Syria to defend Islam from its perceived enemies. Transnational Islamist networks have played a pivotal role in bringing them to conflict zones by fulfilling three functions: radicalisation through mosques, radical preachers, and the Internet; recruitment which can be conducted either physically or digitally; and identity formation that provides the radicalised recruits with a larger cause to fight for as members of an imagined global community. Transnational Islamist networks are multifunctional entities on the rise.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia
  • Author: David Calleo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: America's diplomacy towards Europe has passed two broad historic phases. A first, isolationist phase, determined in part by America's need to maintain its domestic multinational consensus, was replaced, after World War II and under the Soviet threat, by a policy of hegemonic engagement. The Soviet collapse opened a new era forcing a reinterpretation of America's role in Europe and the world. Four different narratives have emerged: triumphalist, declinist, chaotic or pluralist. If a unipolar American role seems unlikely to persist, American decline is all too possible. A new hegemonic replacement seems unlikely, which makes the pluralist narrative plausible and desirable. This multipolar world will require an adaptation of the Western alliance and a new way of thinking about interstate relations. Confederal Europe, for its experience in bargaining and conciliation, might have much to offer to the new plural world order.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Sylvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Transnational Civil Society in China: Intrusion and Impact, by Chen Jie, Elgar, 2012
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: The Challenges of Inclusive Multilateralism, by the Global Governance Group 10, 2013
  • Topic: Governance
  • Author: Robert D. Springborg
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Turkish model deemed most relevant to 2011-12 post-Mubarak Egypt was the Islamist-led transformation of the polity and economy that occurred following the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election. As it transpired, this version of the Turkish model lasted but one year before another took its place. That model was the political project of the Turkish military that seized power in September 1980. This thirty-one year old Turkish model of a constitutionally empowered executive body, controlled by the military appears to have trumped the contemporary, Islamist one in Egypt. But the Turkish military coup of 1980 unwittingly and unintentionally laid the groundwork for the transition that ultimately swept it from power and its leaders into jail. The pertinent question then is will Egypt's civilian political and economic actors be similarly and sufficiently astute to exploit the opportunities they inevitably will have even under military rule? Egyptian political forces will inevitably mount serious challenges as they did in Turkey. In Egypt, however, the domestic and regional political and economic contexts are so different from those in Turkey that the outcome of the struggle for power between civilians and the military are likely to deviate substantially from this Turkish model.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt
  • Author: Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Austerity measures are painful. This is why they are unpopular. It is also the reason why governments tend to postpone them until they become unavoidable. They become unavoidable when financial markets raise doubts about the solvency of the country and interest rates on the public debt rise sharply, calling into question the government's ability to refinance its debt. At that point, citizens understand that unless tough austerity measures are adopted the situation might get much worse. They are ultimately willing to accept austerity as the least worse solution.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Author: Susannah Verney
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Greek election of May 2012 failed to produce a government, resulting in repeat elections six weeks later. This shock outcome was a symptom of a broader delegitimation of the national political system. Over the past decade Eurobarometer data show a much more extensive loss of confidence in political institutions in Greece than in the European Union as a whole. In a first phase, rising political discontent was managed within the traditional political framework through alternation in power between the two major parties. In contrast, the second phase, following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, led to the dramatic fragmentation of the party system and changed the mode of government formation. This process is not reversible and entails serious democratic dangers.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Lorenzo Mosca
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The enduring economic crisis, austerity measures and corruption scandals have created a favourable environment for the advent of new political actors all over Europe. During the last general elections (February 2013), Italy was shocked by the inexorable rise of the Five Star Movement. Beppe Grillo's creature upset the political system, occupying portions of the public sphere that had been ignored (the web) or gradually abandoned by traditional political parties (the squares). Its unusual campaigning style, its internet-based organisational structure, its atypical political positioning (beyond left and right), and its oversimplification of complex problems all help to explain its electoral performance, and distinguish it from similar anti-establishment parties that have emerged in Europe over the past decade.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Piergiorgio Corbetta, Renaldo Vignati
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy is one the most europhile countries in the European Union. Nevertheless, as surveys show, over the last few years anti-European sentiments have increasingly surfaced among Italian citizens. Furthermore, there is now an important novelty regarding the relation between Italy and Europe: the Five Star Movement, a new party that expresses a peculiar and contradictory position towards Europe. Its leader, Beppe Grillo, sometimes advocates more, not less, unification, but he also proposes a referendum on Italian membership of the euro. Moreover, Grillo's blog frequently lends its voice to the choir of openly anti-European sentiment. Indeed, Grillo's call for direct democracy is plebiscitarian and his positions contribute to the weakening of a European project that is already facing grave difficulties of its own.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Agustin Rossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Data Protection Directive is often considered the Internet Privacy Global Standard, but this in only partially true. While the European Union sets a formal global standard, the 1995 Data Protection Directive has two loopholes that Internet companies exploit to set the effective global standard for internet privacy. The United States and Ireland have become safe harbours for Internet companies to collect and process Europeans' personal data without being subject to the stringent laws and regulations of some continental European countries. Companies, and not the European Union or governments, are the ones that set the effective global standard of internet privacy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States is currently negotiating two massive regional economic agreements, one with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim countries and the other with the 28-member European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) herald a substantial shift in US foreign economic policy as Washington turns its focus from the stalemated Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and scattered bilateral trade agreements to 'mega-regional' trade diplomacy. As the only party to both negotiations, Washington seeks to leverage issues in one to advance its interests in the other, while reinvigorating US global leadership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Filippa Chatzistavrou
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the post-Lisbon era and especially since the outburst of the financial and European sovereign debt crisis, the EU has been changing significantly, to the extent that the meaning and the process of integration are being affected. While constitutional asymmetry is a longstanding feature of the EU polity, the real challenge today is the expanding scope and fragmented character of newly established forms of flexibility, and how they are being used politically. The flexible configuration of integration reinforces a trend toward fragmented integration. Flexibility within the EU could become an end in itself, a device to serve a wide range of strategic visions and preferences in sectoral politics.
  • Topic: Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Isabelle Ioannides
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU has increasingly intensified the link between its internal and external security concerns and needs, particularly in relation to its neighbours (the Western Balkans and the southern Mediterranean). This adaptation at legal, institutional, strategic and operational levels has sought to improve the coherence and effectiveness of EU external action. Yet, for the Union to tackle ongoing and new challenges in the immediate neighbourhood with today's financial and political constraints, it must be resourceful. The EU should make 'smart' use of its tools and capitalise on existing assets (reinforce the comprehensive approach, strengthen broad-based dialogue on security in the EU members states, and build relations of trust with third countries) to ensure that reforms in the immediate neighbourhood are sustainable, also for the benefit of long-term EU interests.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Francesco N. Moro, Fabrizio Coticchia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italian armed forces have undergone important transformations since the end of the Cold War. Exogenous changes in the strategic and operational environment have driven a reshaping of armed forces in all NATO countries, but the differences between the national responses that have emerged has not always been thoroughly analysed. Deep restructuring in military doctrine, field experience linked to intense force deployment and budgetary constraints interact in shaping the direction of transformation, sometimes in ways that deviate from classic hypotheses on what drives change in the military. The picture that emerges is a complex one, where relevant innovations co-exist with the persistence of problems that call into question the sustainability of the Italian defence model.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Michael Leigh
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy trade cannot overcome longstanding political conflicts. There are no 'peace pipelines' anywhere in the world. Rather peace is a condition for investment in pipelines and other forms of energy infrastructure. Where political breakthroughs have been achieved, however, energy trade can reinforce cooperation between states and contribute to regional stability. These considerations are particularly pertinent to the Cyprus settlement talks and Middle East Peace Process, against the background of energy discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ayla Gurel, Laura Le Cornu
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic rationale for energy collaboration between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel is compelling. Cyprus and Israel need commercially viable export routes for their gas while Turkey is eager to diversify and increase its gas supplies. Hydrocarbon resources could potentially be a catalyst for both bringing about a Cyprus settlement and a Turkey-Israel rapprochement. A trilateral cooperation scheme involving a Turkey-Israel pipeline and an LNG plant in Cyprus could offer strong commercial incentives to all parties. But it would require bold political vision on the part of the region's leaders, coupled with backing from influential external actors with an interest in reconciliation and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • Author: Simone Tholens
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Commission has spelled out its policy ambition for EU energy cooperation with the southern neighbourhood with plans for the establishment of an 'Energy Community'. Its communications make clear that an Energy Community should be based on regulatory convergence with the EU acquis communautaire, much in the same vein as the existing institution carrying the same name; the Energy Community with Southeast Europe. It is puzzling that the Commission insists on repackaging this enlargement concept in a region with very different types of relationships vis-à-vis the EU, especially when considering the lukewarm position of key stakeholders in the field. According to them, any attempt to introduce a political integration model in this highly sensitive issue area in the politically fragmented MENA region might run the risk of hurting the incremental technical integration process that has slowly emerged over the past few years.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anthony Patt, Nadejda Komendantova, Stefan Pfenninger
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Solar power in the North African region has the potential to provide electricity for local energy needs and export to Europe. Nevertheless, despite the technical feasibility of solar energy projects, stakeholders still perceive projects in the region as risky because of existing governance issues. Certain areas of solar projects, such as construction, operation and management, are the most prone to governance risks, including lack of transparency and accountability, perceived as barriers for deployment of the projects. It is likely that large-scale foreign direct investment into solar energy will not eliminate existing risks, but might even increase them. Furthermore, the recent political changes in the region have addressed some governance risks but not all of them, especially bureaucratic corruption. Stakeholders recommend a broad set of measures to facilitate development of solar projects in the region, ranging from auditing of individual projects to simplification and unification of bureaucratic procedures.
  • Topic: Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Fifteen years ago, the European Union (EU) launched a Common European Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Since then, the CSDP has been the focus of a growing body of political and scholarly evaluations. While most commentators have acknowledged shortfalls in European military capabilities, many remain cautiously optimistic about the CSDP's future. This article uses economic alliance theory to explain why EU member states have failed, so far, to create a potent common defence policy and to evaluate the policy's future prospects. It demonstrates, through theoretical, case study-based and statistical analysis, that CSDP is more prone to collective action problems than relevant institutional alternatives, and concludes that the best option for Europeans is to refocus attention fully on cooperation within a NATO framework.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Dover
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The revelations from the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, in July 2013 will have an enduring impact on the modern business of intelligence and the communication strategies of governments and non-state based adversaries alike. Snowden's revelations do not mark a fundamental divergence from the general understanding of intelligence. In making these implied understandings public, however, Snowden has changed the political dynamic around mass surveillance. The revelations amplify a tension within several layers of social contract from interactions between governments to those between governments and citizens. Long-term, diplomatic relations between the US and European governments should remain largely unaffected.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and EU3+3 have provided the grounds for establishing direct talks between Iran and the United States, subsequently creating a positive prospect for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff after a decade of negotiations. The effect of economic sanctions and political change in Iran have made it possible to bring an important foreign policy issue into domestic politics discourses. The fact that the nuclear negotiations put Iran in a position comparable to the other world powers strengthened a sense of movement towards a win-win situation among Iranian political forces. All of this created a relative political consensus among Iran's ruling elites regarding the need to initiate direct talks with the United States in order to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff. The nuclear programme is also linked with the regional equation, the result of which has been the emergence of a new kind pragmatism in the conduct of Iranian regional policy in hope of revising Iran's place in US Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Sanam Vakil
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: US-Iranian relations have been stalled for over three decades due to missteps in timing, distrust, hostility and ideological differences between Tehran and Washington. Six American presidents have experimented with different political and economic tools in an effort to reverse Iranian support for terrorist groups, its opposition to Israel and its pursuit of a nuclear programme. President Barack Obama's direct engagement with Tehran to end the nuclear standoff is a first step towards improved relations between two estranged countries that share a number of mutual interests.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Tehran
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the time of writing, representatives from Iran and the E3/EU+3 are trying to work out an agreement that will guarantee that Iran's controversial nuclear programme, widely suspected of having a military purpose, serves only peaceful ends. As the negotiations enter their most crucial phase, the time is ripe to attempt an assessment of the role played by the only actor, besides Iran, that has been on stage since it all began over ten years ago: Europe. Throughout this long drama, Europe's performance has had some brilliant moments. Yet the quality of its acting has decreased as a new protagonist, the US, has come on stage. Overall, the Europeans' record is positive, albeit not entirely spotless.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran
  • Author: Hassan Mneimneh
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After more than three years of corrosive wars, Syria no longer exists as a nation-state. It has been replaced by disparate entities and precarious arrangements – to the detriment of the Syrian population. The 'Divided States of Syria' are in large part the result of the survival strategy of the regime, aided by the futile pursuit of a 'political solution' by the international community. As the tragedy deepens, the recovery of Syria becomes more difficult, and the implications for regional stability increase in gravity. The West – the United States in particular – has abstained from forceful engagement. Yet, the price to pay today may in retrospect pale in light of the political, strategic and moral catastrophes that the current reserved approach is enabling.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Author: Lorenzo Trombetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Seen through the eyes of Syrian activists and other observers based in the Middle East, EU policy towards Syria could in some ways appear inconsistent and ambiguous. In Brussels, EU representatives remind us that the Syrian crisis is the most difficult one the European Union has had to face so far, for the unprecedented scope of the humanitarian catastrophe, its geographic proximity to the Union's borders, and the difficulties in deciphering a fluid and multi-dimensional conflict. After more than three years since the eruption of violence, the EU is trying hard to play a pivotal role in the Syrian issue, despite the complexity of balancing its institutions, the different political sensibilities of its 28 member states, and the pressures exerted by influent external actors.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria, Brussels
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In spite of geographic proximity and a number of shared interests, the European Union and Libya have a history of strained relations. The war of 2011 provided an opportunity for a fresh start, but so far neither side has been able to reap benefits from an entirely new political situation. Instead, Libya's difficult internal situation has not only slowed down the process of rapprochement, but also increased EU concern. At a time when cooperation becomes a necessity rather than a choice, Libya is now down-spiralling into implosion at the levels of security, bureaucracy and economy, to the point where it cannot absorb the offers being made.
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Francesco Strazzari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As security continues to be a primary challenge in post-Qadhafi Libya, the availability of weapons to nearby opposition groups and armed insurgencies is a source of major concern for Libya's neighbours and the international community. Uncontrolled weapons proliferation and the rise of new armed groups have gone hand in hand across various conflict fronts. While what is known about weapons acquisition dynamics does not make it possible to establish a strict causal relationship, by observing variations in the various contexts, critical factors can be identified, such as the emergence of a protection market, the multiplication of tactical options and splintering processes, which facilitate comprehension of how greater circulation of weapons is related to regional volatility and destabilisation.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Eduard Soler i Lecha, Hélène Michou, José Ignacio
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's response to the Arab Spring is seen as one of its biggest missed opportunities. It has been unable to bring together its different tools of foreign, development and security policy into a strategic joined-up approach. The interconnectedness of the socio-economic and political demands of the popular uprisings across the north of Africa represented a unique opportunity to implement such a joined-up approach. The EU's ambitious rhetoric and pledges to promote 'deep democracy' have not been matched at policy level in the fields of money, market or mobility. Whilst certain member states have sought to overcome the different operating logics of the development, diplomatic and security communities in their regional Arab Partnership programmes, a number of structural and circumstantial factors limit the effectiveness of these attempts, at both the EU and member state level.
  • Topic: Security, Development
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Paolo Dardanelli, James Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The September 2014 referendum is a milestone in Scotland's history. After 307 years of union with England and a 15-year experience with devolution, Scottish nationalism is within reach of its ultimate goal. Independence would be consensual and Scotland and the rest of the UK would retain multiple links. The EU dimension looms large in the debate and is entangled with the UK's own review of its membership. Scotland's referendum is part of a wider trend seeing other 'stateless nations' in the democratic world pursuing independence. Even if opinion polls indicate voters will likely reject secession, Scotland's experience holds important lessons for the wider world.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Turkey, England
  • Author: Montserrat Guibernau
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Various factors have triggered the recent shift from devolution to secession in Catalonia: the Aznar government's lack of response to demands for greater autonomy for Catalonia, the legal challenging of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia and, increasingly, economic arguments as Catalan society endures a harsh economic crisis. After evaluating the impact of the Spanish transition to democracy upon younger generations' expectations regarding the meaning and content of democracy in post-Franco Spain, it is argued that democracy based upon 'consensus' rather than 'majoritarian democracy' would be better suited to respond to national minorities' demands in Spain.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union's sovereign debt and banking crisis has made apparent a gnawing gap between the northern and southern parts of Europe. Over the course of this past half decade, this divide has been brought into the public debate through a myriad of perspectives, from social trust to competitiveness. Yet, the governance sources of the divide are underestimated in policy practices and misrepresented in the political discourse. A governance approach can help clarify why the pursuit of convergence underpinning EU crisis-resolution mechanisms has become a contributing factor, rather than a prospective solution to the North-South gap. In doing so, governance also forms the basis for recommendations to policymakers in both halves of the continent, especially when confronted with the challenge of populist Euroscepticism.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tim Haesebrouck
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Toppling Qaddafi. Libya and the Limits of Liberal Intervention, by Christopher S. Chivvis, Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Federico Casolari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Competition Damages Actions in the EU: Law and Practice, by David Ashton and David Henry, Edward Elgar, 2013
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo Behr
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The rise of political Islam in the EU's southern neighbourhood represents a political as well as conceptual challenge to the EU as a foreign policy actor. In the past, the EU reacted to this challenge based on its essentialist perception of political Islam and its overarching interest in regional stability and security. However, the growing salience of 'contingencist' interpretations of political Islam and the resolution of the EU's democratisation-stabilisation dilemma in the wake of the Arab Spring have recently provided an opportunity for greater engagement and cooperation. This has enabled a switch in EU policies from a strategy of containment to a strategy of engagement. Despite this, problems remain as the EU continues to expect Islamist actors to adjust to its own discursive framework and as intra-European divisions revive as a result of the renewal of secular-religious divisions in the neighbourhood. This will complicate EU attempts to build a new partnership with Islamist democracies and will fuel old stereotypes and animosities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Laurence, Gabriel Goodliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency presented a mixed record on the issues of Muslim immigration and integration. On the one hand, his administration took novel and constructive steps to advance the integration of Muslim immigrants into French society, notably through the granting of unprecedented official recognition and institutional representation to Islam in the country. On the other, by placing the immigration issue at the centre of his 2012 re-election strategy, he overshadowed and undermined the effectiveness of these integrative policies. Given the country's worsening economic outlook and rising unemployment, immigration is therefore likely to remain as salient and difficult an issue under the new Hollande administration as it was under Sarkozy's.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Author: Dirk Halm
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The process of social integration of the people associated with immigrant organisations, and the social (and potentially religious) change that comes with it, present the organisations with the difficult challenge of justifying their legitimacy to various societal actors. This is certainly true of Muslim organisations in Western immigration societies. In Germany, this process is quite clearly reflected within the community of established organisations, which play a part in creating intergenerational change. This is not to say, however, that they will be the only relevant – or even the predominant – actors involved in establishing Islam in Germany in the future, despite their roots in their countries of origin, nor that they will automatically become redundant over time.
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Karim Mezran
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Muslims in Italy are now a consistent, although not new, phenomenon in the social and political panorama of the country. Like other communities, they are in search of an agreement with the state that would allow them to live and prosper within a legal framework that guarantees rights and duties. Unfortunately, attempts at achieving such an agreement have come up against a wall of prejudice and fear from the Italian population, as well as a lack of courage and foresight on the part of Italian state institutions. The problems and difficulties associated with the struggle of Italian Muslims in reaching an intesa are outlined and analytically presented along with a discussion of how integration may lead to the type of pluralism and tolerance enshrined in the Italian constitution.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Saskia van Genugten
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the elections of 2012, the main party driving the Islam debate in the Netherlands was sidelined. The new government of Liberals and Social Democrats is trying to re-bury the contentious issue, not least because Islam-related questions have had a confusing effect on their parties. Nonetheless, with societal concerns lingering, the topic is likely to reappear. In the Netherlands, the wariness towards (Islamic) immigration is not rooted in fears of ethnic or religious competition. Instead, it tends to receive serious political attention only when cloaked as a defence of secularist and liberal values. As such, curbing Islamic practices is presented as a way to protect a (self-promoted) image of the Netherlands as a non-judgemental and tolerant place. The paradox remains that that self-image was traditionally meant to include minorities, not to exclude them.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Netherlands
  • Author: Catherine Fieschi, Nick Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This piece examines the relationship of Muslim communities to the UK mainstream between 2005 and 2010. Using the dual backdrop of the country's embedded multiculturalism policy and its counter-terrorism strategy implemented through the Prevent agenda, the authors brush a picture of a tense yet ultimately resilient relationship. While Prevent was often accused of leading to a securitisation of community policy, it is arguable that tensions have led to increased visibility and leadership capacity from the Muslim community, and a recognition of their role and diversity on behalf of the public and the government.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Populists argue that Islamic immigrants are fundamentally different from Europeans. As evidence, they point to notions of religious and cultural identity. Such arguments have popular resonance. As more mainstream politicians pick up on these themes, they begin to take on an air of common sense. Nevertheless, they are mistaken. Europe has a long track record of reconciling competing identities. This has happened by focusing on patterns of interaction (solidarity) rather than obvious indicators of distinctiveness. Using the examples of the Netherlands and Turkey, this article illustrates the wide spectrum of European approaches to the challenge of getting different groups to share the same geographic space.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Netherlands
  • Author: Ahmet Davutoğlu
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Three earthquakes have shaken the main pillars of the global system - security, economy and politics - over the past two decades. The foreign policy Turkey has pursued throughout these three major earthquakes draws on principles that are in line with the challenges of the enormous transformations underway. The fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11 and, most recently, the Arab Spring and the euro crisis have had tremendous implications for the international order. With its international position and historical depth, Turkey has shown that it has the potential to contribute to the transformation of the international system, and it will continue to maintain its determined stance in the future.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Daniel Twining
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China and the United States have just experienced political transitions that allow the leaders of both countries to focus on bilateral relations free from the pressures of domestic political campaigns. But the domestic politics of the bilateral relationship inside each country are, like the structural tensions between the established power and the rising challenger, intensifying, as Washington takes new steps to assert its primacy in Asia and Beijing works to edge America out of its neighbourhood. US-China relations are likely to be less stable and more prone to conflict over President Obama's second term, unless the two nations can arrive at a modus vivendi to keep the peace in Asia. The challenge is that such an entente likely requires the kind of political change in China its leaders seem determined to block for fear of the threat it would pose to their own legitimacy. The reverberations of a relationship that is conflict-prone, but in which conflict holds such downside risks for both countries, will be felt well beyond Asia.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Tom Farer
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The only means available to the US to assume a responsibility to protect the Syrian people from slaughter was by credibly threatening Bashar al-Assad and the security and military elite surrounding him with a decapitating air strike if they did not immediately cease murdering protestors and begin negotiations with opposition figures to the end of making the regime broadly representative of the Syrian population. Credibility probably demanded an initial decimation, a technically possible move. In part because the US lacks the ideology and institutional structure of a real imperial power, in part because it is post-Bush a careful calculator of national interests, Syria, unlike Libya but much like Sudan and the DRC, was a bridge too far.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Syria
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Russian government sincerely believes that Assad's removal from power would trigger the expansion of jihadism and instability in the Caucasus and southern Russia. Moscow is deeply concerned about the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia's efforts to support the most radical factions in Syria. At the same time, the obvious absence of the ideological background behind current Russian-Syrian relations makes them a trade item. Thus, official guarantees that the jihadists will not export their revolution elsewhere accompanied by promises to preserve some Russian economic positions in post-Assad Syria will probably create the necessary ground for the emergence of a compromise stance on Syria (including the issue of foreign intervention).
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Muriel Asseburg
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europeans enthusiastically embraced the Arab Spring. However, the EU and its member states have lacked significant influence in a neighbouring region in turmoil. The EU has not devised new and more appropriate approaches towards the region, but rather relied on its traditional tools and frameworks. The Eurozone's financial crisis and threat perceptions have quickly underminded the readiness of EU member states to contribute meaningfully to Arab transformations with money, market access and mobility. In addition, European support has not been equally welcomed across the region, and delays in terms of building empowered governments have prevented a quick impact. Moreover, the violent power struggles triggered by the Arab Spring have revealed the EU's weakness with regard to effective conflict prevention and timely crisis management - and thus created an environment averse to democratic transformation and regional stabilisation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Augustus Richard Norton
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab awakening augurs the return of political contestation to key Arab societies in which little more than token opposition had been tolerated. Unfolding experiments in democratisation in which Islamically-oriented parties are leading players are underway but the prospects for the consolidation of stable political systems in key countries, such as Egypt or Syria are problematic. These developments have hastened a new regional balance of power in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to stem the tide of change as well as thwart the hegemonial ambitions of Iran. Persistent issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, remain unresolved and have a powerful grip on the conscience of the Arab world. Key external powers, especially the United States, confront not only stubborn familiar issues but also a host of new strategic, economic, diplomatic and military challenges.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The political and strategic landscape of the Middle East and North African region has changed dramatically since late 2010 and the events now loosely defined as the 'Arab Spring'. The dust has yet to settle in many Arab capitals and 2013 is set to be another defining year for the greater Middle East as regional actors, particularly new Islamist-led governments, take on more direct roles in influencing political, military and social developments in the Arab world. Israel and the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah are not immune to these developments and while progress towards peace has been all but non-existent, change in the region must not necessarily lead to more tensions and conflict. The EU and US should work to establish greater Arab ownership of the diplomatic process, convince Israel that its security is best served by assuming a proactive approach to its changing neighbourhood and strive to harness the new realities in the region to modify the incentive calculus of the major domestic players in the conflict.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North Africa
  • Author: Arturo Marzano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel's international position has declined in recent years. Even if its relationship with the EU - and even more with the US - is solid, there have been frictions that are not likely to disappear in the years to come. Its relations with other states, from Middle Eastern countries to India and China, are either highly problematic or have not improved despite the Israeli government's efforts. It is Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories that is being increasingly criticised and this is creating a sort of 'vicious circle' in Israel: the critiques reinforce Israeli's 'bunker mentality', strengthening the ethno-nationalist character of Israeli politics and society and causing de-democratisation, and this, in turn, brings on more international isolation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Karen E. Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Can the EU serve as a pole in a multipolar, interdependent international system? The EU will face three particular challenges operating in such a system: the challenge of re-establishing credibility after the euro crisis; the ever-present challenge of achieving unity among the member states; and the challenge of adapting foreign policy behaviour to match the new international environment. There is a risk that the EU could slide into irrelevance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Lorenzo Zambernardi
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: No One's World. The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn, by Charles A. Kupchan, Oxford University Press, 2012
  • Author: Alessandro R. Ungaro
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: The Strategic Use of Military Contractors. American Commercial Military Service Providers in Bosnia and Liberia, by Marcus Mohlin, Finnish National Defence College, 2012
  • Political Geography: America, Bosnia, Liberia
  • Author: Sonia Lucarelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Regions and Crises. New Challenges for Contemporary Regionalisms, edited by Lorenzo Fioramonti, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
  • Author: Philip Hanson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Russian economy, though so far in better shape than Europe, is facing the possibility of very slow growth in the near future. Its tendency to volatility was demonstrated in 2008-09, when Russian GDP fell more than that of any other large country. Looking at that experience and at current concerns, it seems that Russia has both demand-side (slow world growth, uncertain future oil prices) and supply-side (falling labour-force) problems. The continuing failure to provide secure property rights for business probably compounds these difficulties.
  • Topic: Oil, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The furore that greeted news that negotiations were to start on a transatlantic free trade agreement revealed not only the potential importance of any putative deal, but also the tendency of Europeans to view international politics almost uniquely in economic terms. This neglect of security and broader geostrategic issues is short-sighted and dangerous. It is precisely the liberal world order in place since the Second World War that has allowed Europeans to develop their economic potential. Leaving it to the United States to preserve that order is an increasingly problematic strategy, with the US ever more reluctant to police the world in the way it once did. The US has, for many years, asked its partners to contribute more to the preservation of common security interests. Given the failure of these attempts to date, it might be time for Washington to resort to tougher tactics in an attempt to entice Europeans out of their geostrategic retirement.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Daniel Fiott
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union and the United States are on the verge of agreeing to a transatlantic free trade agreement. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is aimed at boosting EU and US economic growth, but the negotiating partners have not excluded the defence sector from negotiations. Europe is at a tipping point regarding the rationale for its defence-industrial integration efforts. Any TTIP extending to the defence sector will raise questions about the nature of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, and, crucially, how it impacts the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Common Security and Defence Policy.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Zhu Liqun
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This rejoinder to Daniel Twining's article in the last issue (June 2013) of The International Spectator argues that both China and the United States recognise how important their relationship is for the world and the Asia-Pacific in particular. But the risk of tension on the security front has increased recently due to the US policy toward maritime disputes that has actually involved meddling between the parties involved, and its 'pivot' to Asia which targets China with more military engagement in the region. The China-US relationship has never been an easy one with the US certain of its primacy and China proud of its glorious past, which almost makes a conflictual power transition a self-fulfilling prophecy. Management of the relationship is the key for both countries to bring about more cooperation and to rein in competition. Co-evolution, a new type of relationship among major countries, is the only way out, in which the logic of interaction is 'live-and-let-live' rather than mors tua, vita mea.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Vivien A. Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic policies of the eurozone crisis, generally presented in apolitical terms, are political both in their underlying principles and in their effects. The EU's 'policy without politics', based on ordo-liberal ideas for macroeconomic austerity and neo-liberal ideas for structural reform, has left the member states with 'politics without policy', in which dissatisfied citizens have had little recourse. This has led to increasing political disaffection, polarisation, and Euroscepticism. Proposals to politicise so as to legitimise the EU by electing the Commission President hold some promise, in contrast to election of the Council President. But the danger, given the eurozone crisis, is that such elections will only politicise so as to delegitimise.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Thomas G. Moore
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The global economic crisis revealed China to be an interdependent giant, one whose 'rise' was undeniable but also one whose deepening participation in transnational production sharing and network trade made it highly susceptible to an external shock. China weathered the storm relatively well - avoiding a recession, in particular - not because it had 'decoupled' from the G7 economies but because its stimulus measures were unusually swift and powerful. One cost, however, has been a worsening domestic imbalance between investment and consumption that carries a heightened risk of asset price inflation, non-performing loans and destabilising levels of local government debt. Meanwhile, China's ties to the world economy have not fundamentally changed since the crisis began. Despite stirring leader rhetoric and summit declarations, the BRICS have made only modest progress in meeting their goals. East Asia, North America and Europe remain China's principal trade partners, and cross-border production chains connecting these regions remain the dominant mode of China's incorporation into the world economy.
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, East Asia, North America
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Relations between Turkey and Northern Iraq have evolved at a breathtaking pace, with Turkish policies currently bolstering the KRG's drift towards independence, a prospect considered unthinkable in Ankara only a few years ago. Energy politics is an important component of this puzzle, but Ankara's strategic choice can only be understood against the backdrop of Iraq's deepening sectarianisation, the unfolding civil war in Syria and the dynamics in Turkey's own Kurdish question. The Turkish government is pursuing a high risk/high gain strategy. A more democratic Turkey, in partnership with the KRG, would be best placed to hedge against the centrifugal sectarian trends afflicting its southern neighbours. It is far more likely that Turkey will win its gamble with the support of the European Union.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Dario Cristiani, Riccardo Fabiani
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The structural problems characterising Mali interlocked with the dynamics of crisis triggered by the war in Libya in 2011, causing the collapse of one of the few African democracies. The Tuareg rebellion of 2012, the coup d'état and the Islamist takeover of Northern Mali were the three key phases of this crisis, which pushed France - the former colonial patron - to intervene military. After analysing the major local actors involved in the crisis, the article critically analyses the engagement of the EU in the crisis.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, France, Mali
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The momentous changes in the Middle East and North Africa have brought the issue of human rights and democracy promotion back to the forefront of international politics. The new engagement in the region of both the US and the EU can be scrutinised along three dimensions: targets, instruments and content. In terms of target sectors, the US and EU are seeking to work more with civil society. As for instruments, they have mainly boosted democracy assistance and political conditionality, that is utilitarian, bilateral instruments of human rights and democracy promotion, rather than identitive, multilateral instruments. The content of human rights and democracy promotion has not been revised.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Jeroen Doomernik
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Migration processes are driven by forces that are by their very nature difficult to address with government policies, especially when these are aimed at control and restriction. Yet, in response to domestic and international policies, governments, jointly and individually, seek to intervene forcefully in certain types of migration. Paradoxically, these interventions by and large go against the logic inherent in migration processes and thus have perverse effects: they do little to reduce migration and instead create a market for human smuggling. The thrust of current policy development is in the direction of further criminalisation. It is argued that this is not the most sensible course of action.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Author: Amitav Acharya
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Is comparative regionalism a field whose time has come? While the contemporary interest in comparing regions and regionalisms may be not completely new, it is different from older approaches. Our understanding of what makes regions has changed with social constructivist and critical theoretical approaches that have led to a less behavioural and more nuanced, complex, contested and fluid understanding of regions. Moreover, the globalisation phenomenon has deeply affected all social sciences and radically redefined the relative autonomy of regions. In keeping with the rapid growth and development of regionalism and institutions in the non-Western world, including in regions which were relatively late starters, such as Asia, there have emerged new ways of looking at regional cooperation, including claims about distinctive approaches and even 'models' that are not only different from those identified with the EU, but also supposedly more appropriate and thus 'workable' for non-Western regions than the EU straightjacket.
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Luk Langenhove
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: States are finding it increasingly difficult to provide good governance in response to today's problems in a globalised world, as they are often either too small or too big to cope with current crises. One of the strategies of states to remedy this situation is to construct regional levels of governance at the supranational or national level. This has led to the creation of diverse forms of regional governance worldwide, thereby ushering in a neo-Westphalian world of states and regions. In order to advance the research agenda of comparative regionalism, scholars need to 'unpack' regions along several conceptual dimensions. This includes seeing regions as economic areas, public goods spaces as well as actors in the international arena. In addition, a distinction needs to be made in studying the projects, processes and products of region building. Moreover, studying regions needs to take into account the discursive context of 'regionalism speak'. Finally, more attention needs to be dedicated to the internal complexity of regionalisms. In sum, comparing regions is not a straightforward exercise, and in some case regions should not be compared with other regions, but with states.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Author: Henk Overbeek
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This article considers the likely impact of the global crisis on the prospects for the European project. First, it considers the nature of the current crisis. It argues that it is comparable, in terms of its deep structural character, to the one in the 1930s. The crisis manifested itself first in the financial sector, but was caused by underlying problems of over accumulation, which explains the succession of speculative booms and busts from the 1980s onward. The article then analyses how the financial crisis transmuted into the current sovereign debt crisis in Europe. It identifies a number of interdependent factors responsible for this: the bailouts of banks following the credit crisis; the stimulus programmes necessitated by the danger of a deep economic recession; the structural problems of the European Monetary Union leading to the accumulation of debt in the peripheral members; and finally the catalytic action of speculation in the financial markets. Finally, the article discusses responses to the debt crisis, outlining the contours of two alternatives (muddling through and Europeanisation), their implications, and some of the conditions for success. The conclusion is rather pessimistic: chances that an effective, timely and sustainable solution will be realised do not seem high.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniela Piana
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the closing of the 20th century, Europe decided the time was ripe to take bold steps towards the creation of a truly integrated European judicial space. Of its overall goals for the new millennium, judicial integration ranked at the top as this reflected shifting global challenges in an increasingly diversified world. After more than a decade, the reality is still that of a policy area in which multiple practices of cooperation coexist. Indeed, political and cultural factors matter in explaining how judicial decisions and practices are harmonised and integrated by EU member states. The article focuses on a number of socialisation mechanisms adopted by the EU to build mutual trust among national authorities and also looks at the European Arrest Warrant as an important test bed of the strengths and weaknesses of European judicial cooperation.
  • Political Geography: Europe