The International Spectator, Vol. 46, No. 3, September 2011

Sezione speciale su The Geopolitics of Energy

Whither the Arab Spring? 1989 or 1848? Free
Recent Publications Free

Data pubblicazione: 
Whither the Arab Spring? 1989 or 1848?
Robert Springborg
Potential Arab democratic transitions will face more substantial obstacles than Eastern Europe did in 1989. Those obstacles include the intense securitisation of the Middle East, the absence of agreed upon models for future polities and economies, the residual power of authoritarian systems, and the limited capacities of newly emerging political and civil societies. Even the poster children of the Arab Spring, Tunisia and Egypt, are not well equipped to imitate the success of Eastern European countries. The Arab Spring of 2011 may thus be more akin to the 1848 failed revolutions than to the democratic transitions set in motion by the crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1989.
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Power, Leadership and US Foreign Policy
Erik Jones
The Obama administration is attempting to 'lead from behind' in Libya, causing much concern among its allies and derision among its adversaries. Nevertheless this strategy represents an appropriate response both to the specific situation in Libya and to the wider constraints on American global leadership. With the shift in global resources from North to South and West to East, collective action has become more difficult to organise and global institutions have become harder to reinforce. Meanwhile governments in the United States and elsewhere must wrestle to bring their fiscal accounts back under control. A cooperative approach is the only answer. The difficulty for the Obama administration is that by emphasizing cooperation they make the success of their Libya intervention depend upon the actions of the other countries involved. Should France and Great Britain fail in Libya, President Obama's new conception of American global leadership will falter as well.
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Iraq's Long Road to National Reconciliation
Myriam Benraad
As the US prepares to pull out of Iraq, the 'national reconciliation' process that was launched in the Summer of 2006 remains stalled. The March 2010 legislative elections, which were expected to consecrate the rebuilding of a national pact between Iraqis, have led to even greater fragmentation of Iraq's socio-political landscape. The power sharing agreement ultimately presages more tensions to come. With the essence and reality of the Iraqi 'nation' long debated and subjected to continued deconstruction under the combined effects of authoritarianism, military conflagrations and economic sanctions, it will likely take decades before a genuine reconciliation can come about.
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Hostage to Fortune? 'Downpayments' and the Future of the Doha Round
Simon J. Evenett
Having recognised that the completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations during 2011 is infeasible, governments and the WTO Director-General are exploring whether a 'downpayment' on the Round could be negotiated before the December 2011 WTO Ministerial Conference. The initial indications are not promising. Worse, as argued here, a downpayment coupled with a retroactive revocation clause are unlikely on their own to change the politics of trade policy in the major trading nations. This makes the signing of the final deal no easier unless something alters the calculus of senior government leaders and establishes a credible end game for the negotiation.
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The Geopolitics of Energy
The Global Status of the Nuclear Industry and its Opportunities for Expansion
Antony Froggatt and Mycle Schneider
Three factors - meeting climate change objectives, dwindling conventional fossil fuel reserves and rapidly growing energy demand from emerging economies - require the rapid transformation of the global energy industry. Within this context, nuclear power is being promoted in new countries and regions of the world. However, even prior to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis at Fukushima, the global expansion of nuclear power was occurring in a handful of countries only and globally reactor numbers were falling. While it is too early to make accurate forecasts of the long-term impact of Fukushima, it is clear that most countries are reviewing from a safety and/or policy perspective their existing and future programmes. The impact that these will have on future reactor orders will be dependent not only on the engineering and operational recommendations, but also on the economic and financial viability of the non-fossil fuel alternatives.
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Energy Interests of the 'Great Powers' in Central Asia: Cooperation or Conflict?
Shamil Midkhatovich Yenikeyeff
The geographic proximity of Central Asia to Russia, China, the Caucasus and the Caspian region, as well as to the Middle East, makes this oil and gas-producing region a crucial and ever-developing player in regional and global energy markets. The method by which Central Asian producers choose to develop their hydrocarbon resources and export infrastructure will have significant implications for the plans for diversification of oil and gas supplies of Europe, China and India, as well as for Russia's energy exports to Europe. It is still too early to tell whether the economic and political incentives are strong enough to promote cooperation between the various actors or whether the energy interests of these key external powers are so diverse as to clash in Central Asia.
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Turkey: An Emerging Energy Transit State and Possible Energy Hub
Gareth Winrow
Officials in Ankara are pressing for Turkey to become a key energy hub for the transportation of hydrocarbons from the Caspian region and the Middle East to Europe. It appears that they are seeking to secure certain strategic and economic advantages. Turkey's increasing energy needs could be satisfied, re-export rights obtained, and ambitions to become a significant regional state fulfilled which could facilitate accession to the EU. It seems more likely, though, that Turkey will become an important energy transit state, especially for the Southern Gas Corridor. Here, Turkey could still diversify its gas imports and reduce dependence on Russia.
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The Equilibrium of the 2010 NATO Strategic Concept
Alessandro Marrone
The 2010 Strategic Concept reaches an equilibrium among different Allies' views by rejecting extreme options, combining 'regional' and 'global' elements in a new common ground, and setting up flexible guidelines for NATO's future evolution. It is the result of 20 years of transatlantic debate over NATO's role and geographic reach, and represents a significant step forward with respect to the previous Strategic Concept approved in 1999.
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Qatar and Expanded Contours of Small State Diplomacy
Andrew F. Cooper and Bessma Momani
It is increasingly obvious that Qatar is playing above its weight in the international role. There is no one script that defines Qatar's diplomatic role. It is best seen as a maverick, willing to work with the US as well as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. It operates a complex form of public diplomacy via Al-Jazeera and other high profile initiatives at the same time as it mediates behind the scenes with Israel and Lebanon. Qatar's role as a unique hybrid diplomatic actor is reinforced by the enthusiastic support it displayed towards the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, including operational support for the UN Security Resolution to place a no-fly zone with respect to the Qaddafi's regime, while being more circumspect on the uprising in Bahrain. Such an extensive, unconventional and differentiated approach creates risks as well as opportunities. Yet, through a combination of resources and vision, it is skilled resilience not vulnerability that defines Qatar.
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Italy in World Affairs
Sleeping Beauty Awakens: The Italian Parliament and the EU after the Lisbon Treaty
Raffaello Matarazzo and Jacopo Leone
More direct involvement in the EU decision-making process has traditionally been an ambition of the Italian parliament. The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty has prompted parliament to maintain tighter scrutiny of the EU legislative process, not only through the use of the new subsidiarity control mechanism, but in particular by exerting a stronger influence on the government on EU affairs. The latter will be the key challenge in the post-Lisbon era. It is too early to say, however, whether this will have a positive or negative impact on the EU's democratic legitimacy.
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Book Reviews
Charting the Future Trajectory of the Muslim Brotherhood
Silvia Colombo
Review of: The Muslim Brotherhood : the burden of tradition, by Alison Pargeter, Saqi, 2010;
The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's succession crisis : the politics of liberalisation and reform in the Middle East, by Mohammed Zahid, Tauris Academic Studies, 2010;
I Fratelli musulmani nel mondo contemporaneo, edited by Massimo Campanini and Karim Mezran, UTET libreria, 2010
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A New Theoretical Perspective on EU Policy Toward its Eastern Neighbours
Michele Comelli
Review of: Constructivism and rationalism in EU external relations : the case of the European neighbourhood policy, by Petr Kratochvil and Elsa Tulmets, Nomos, 2010
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