The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021

Open access: Navigating a Covid World: The European Union’s Internal Rebirth and External Quest Leggi
Open access: Towards a Human and Humane Approach? The EU Discourse on Migration amidst the Covid-19 Crisis Leggi
Free: Pandemic Regionalism or Not? The MENA Region in the Shadow of Covid-19 Leggi
Open access: Comparing US and Chinese Foreign Aid in the Era of Rising Powers Leggi

Numero: 
56/2
Data pubblicazione: 
21/05/2021

Regionalism at the Time of Covid-19: Impact and Implications

Navigating a Covid World: The European Union’s Internal Rebirth and External Quest
Riccardo Alcaro and Nathalie Tocci
The world on which Covid-19 has unleashed its destructive force is one where the partly supranational and multilateral-minded EU is ill at ease. The pandemic has devastated economies across the world and exacerbated pre-existing dynamics of growing geopolitical rivalry and the declining clout of multilateral regimes and practices. The EU’s response to the Covid shock has been twofold: on the one hand, it has embarked on a new integration effort, with the contours of a ‘transfer union’ emerging for the first time in EU history; on the other hand, it has failed to use the crisis to advance its strategic autonomy agenda. The reason for this dichotomy is that, while the severity of the Covid emergency has shifted public and elite attitudes towards economic solidarity, the lingering commitment to the US has worked as a brake on a similar trend in European foreign policy preferences.
Keywords: Covid-19 and the EU; EU integration; EU foreign policy; transatlantic relations
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Towards a Human and Humane Approach? The EU Discourse on Migration amidst the Covid-19 Crisis
Stefania Panebianco
In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the EU discourse on migration has acquired a humanitarian dimension that deserves investigation. The European Commission in particular has provided a discursive conceptualisation of the European human and humane approach to migration, promoting a change in the EU migration frame. Qualitative discourse analysis suggests that the European Commission’s programmatic discourse is not just a coordinative discourse among policy actors, it rather aims to shape the preferences of EU policy-makers emphasising strategic ideas and principles enshrined in EU Treaties. The Covid-19 crisis could thus be a window of opportunity for the European Union to embark on a new migration governance framed within a humane approach.
Keywords: Covid-19 crisis; migration; human security; European Commission; humanitarian discourse
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Pandemic Regionalism or Not? The MENA Region in the Shadow of Covid-19
Meliha Altunışık
Management and control of pandemics can be imperative for regional cooperation and solidarity. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, existing regional organisations mainly failed to deal effectively with Covid-19, although they differed in their performances. Instead, both the regional countries and extra-regional powers preferred to address the pandemic through bilateral health diplomacy. Thus, the pandemic has not been transformative in terms of regionalism and regional politics in the MENA region. There were, however, examples of regionalisation, namely cooperation at the societal level and among health officials, which points to the equal importance of bottom-up processes of regional solidarity.
Keywords: Covid-19; Middle East and North Africa; regionalism; regionalisation
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Unity Is Strength: Covid-19 and Regionalism in Africa
Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba
In addition to the strategies of individual countries, a regional approach has been adopted in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, which has largely helped to mitigate its effects. Under the auspices of the African Union, the Africa Centres for Disease Control has taken the lead in responding to the pandemic on the continent. In West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States has supported member states with funding to purchase test kits, while the West Africa Health Organisation provides daily reports on infections, recoveries and deaths. Differences in the capacity of African states to address the pandemic and its economic implications could pose long-term challenges in containing the spread of the virus as well as ensuring economic recovery. The porous borders between many countries in Africa present additional challenges and opportunities for a regional response to Covid-19. For the future, there is the need to build more regional health infrastructures that can help the continent manage new epidemic outbreaks.
Keywords: regionalism; Covid-19; Africa; Africa Centres for Disease Control; regional economic communities
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Covid-19 and ASEAN: Strengthening State-centrism, Eroding Inclusiveness, Testing Cohesion
Jürgen Rüland
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has responded to the Covid-19 crisis in a path-dependent way. The latter is shaped by a time-tested repository of cooperation norms, which give precedence to national sovereignty. Hence, belated, ad hoc and largely declaratory collective responses to the Covid-19 crisis are business as usual and are unlikely to have disruptive effects on ASEAN’s operations. Yet member countries’ emergency measures are intensifying ongoing processes of democratic backsliding and will have negative repercussions on the grouping’s inclusiveness. They will impair advancements towards a people-oriented ASEAN. Regional cohesion will be further jeopardised by relations with China, which have intensified due to Chinese “mask diplomacy”, but are also increasingly influenced by China’s encroachments on ASEAN member states’ claims in the contested South China Sea.
Keywords: ASEAN; regionalism; Covid-19; historical institutionalism
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Latin American and Caribbean Regionalism during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Saved by Functionalism?
Lorena Ruano and Natalia Saltalamacchia
Covid-19 arrived in Latin America in a context of ideological polarisation among national governments and internal socio-political turmoil, which bode badly for its numerous and overlapping regional groupings. However, in a manner suggested by functionalist theories, some of them have “found refuge” in technical/expert cooperation and side-stepped political paralysis with different degrees of success. With institutions and previous experience in health issues, CARICOM and SICA had a significant role in the management of the pandemic, while CELAC revived by promoting technical cooperation. In contrast, MERCOSUR failed to overcome the political rift among its members, so technical cooperation occurred, yet remained limited.
Keywords: Latin America and the Caribbean; regionalism; Covid-19; neo-functionalism; cooperation
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Comparing US and Chinese Foreign Aid in the Era of Rising Powers
Salvador Santino F. Regilme, Jr and Obert Hodzi
China is emerging as a key state actor in international development – a sector that has been dominated by the United States for decades. US and Chinese foreign aid programs can be compared on the basis of several benchmarks: 1) official state definition and accounting of foreign aid programs; 2) historical foundations and origins; 3) sectoral distribution, particularly in terms of the professed goals and objectives of the aid program; 4) nature of targeted recipient actors; 5) institutional mechanisms for delivery in recipient countries. Notwithstanding particular differences, Chinese and US foreign aid portfolios demonstrate their respective strategic political and economic interests in two ways: they shape the domestic politics of recipient countries in ways that accommodate the donor government’s policy preferences, and they enhance the social reputation and legitimacy of the donor state in the international system.
Keywords: China; United States; foreign aid; international development; official finance
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EU Trade Policy: Principles versus Pragmatism. The Cases of Vietnam and Cambodia
Angela Pennisi di Floristella
European Union (EU) trade policy has appeared rather contradictory recently towards countries in which there are instances of human rights violations, such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Given that principled pragmatism, set down in the 2016 EU Global Strategy, entails the view that the EU approach must fit the reality of EU interests, it is a useful lens for explaining why the EU treats its trade partners differently. This is important in view of the EU’s evolving foreign and security policy in the Southeast Asian region and its distinctive economic, security and strategic interests in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Keywords: principled pragmatism; human rights conditionality; EU trade policy; EU foreign policy; Southeast Asia
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Book Reviews

The Origins of China’s and Europe’s Complex Systems
Nana de Graaff
Review of: Network origins of the global economy : East vs. West in a complex systems perspective, by Hilton L. Root, Cambridge University Press, 2020
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The Past and Present of Public Humiliation
Luigi Lonardo
Review of: The politics of humiliation : a modern history, by Ute Frevertt, Oxford University Press, 2020
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Contiene

20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 1-18
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 19-37
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 38-55
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 56-71
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 72-92
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 114-131
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 132-147
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 148-150
20/05/2021
The International Spectator, Vol. 56, No. 2, June 2021, p. 151-153

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