The International Spectator, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 2012

Sezioni speciali su Transatlantic Relations and the Multipolar World e Perspectives on the Mediterranean after the Arab Uprisings

The West and Global Swing States Free
Recent Publications Free

Numero: 
47/3
Data pubblicazione: 
15/09/2012
Opinions
A Nuclear-free Middle East - Just Not in the Cards
Liviu Horovitz and Roland Popp
A scheduled conference to promote a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has renewed hopes for nuclear disarmament in this unstable region, if only innovative diplomacy could take advantage of the current shifts. However, a realistic assessment suggests that optimism is unwarranted. Fundamental strategic considerations related to Iran's nuclear program, Israel's atomic options, and the region's ingrate security architecture remain nearly insurmountable hurdles. Therefore, policymakers should focus first on attaining a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Keywords: Middle East, nuclear weapons, disarmament, proliferation
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No Return to the Past for Russia
Dmitri Trenin
Russian society is awakening and issues of domestic political and economic performance have come under closer scrutiny. To respond to the change, the Kremlin has moved to modify its method of governance - and strengthen its instruments of control - but there can be no return to the past. How the political process will evolve, and what the results will be, is impossible to predict, but the change will impact on Russia's domestic and foreign policies. In the meantime, Russia's international partners will have to deal with a familiar set of policies aimed at balancing between Moscow's real needs, its views of Russia's role and the opportunities which present themselves.
Keywords: Russia, elections, awakening, policy
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Libyan Election Breaks Arab Spring Pattern
Ronald Bruce St John
In landmark elections, Libyans went to the polls for the first time in 60 years to elect a General National Congress which will form an interim government, oversee the writing of a constitution, and supervise polls for an elected government based on the new constitution. Taking place only nine months after the successful conclusion of the 17 February Revolution, the elections were widely hailed as an extraordinary achievement. The election results were a surprise to many observers as Libyan voters largely supported moderate parties and candidates, reversing a regional trend in support of Islamists.
Keywords: Libya, constitution, elections, Islam, political parties
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Essays
Transatlantic Relations and the Multipolar World
Transatlantic Relations Four Years Later: The Elusive Quest for a Strategic Vision
Emiliano Alessandri
The transatlantic tensions of the Bush years are behind us but the future of transatlantic relations remains uncertain at the closing of the Obama term. Policy alignment has been found on a host of issues but 'existential' questions have resurfaced, casting shadows on Western unity and relevance in the coming years. So far the crisis has failed to focus attention on the need for a common vision for the 21st century. Key strategic issues, from the future of the European order to transatlantic engagement in the Middle East, should figure prominently on the next transatlantic agenda, shifting the debate from the notion of a 'Pacific century' to how the West can address ongoing power transitions.
Keywords: Obama, NATO, transatlantic
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Crying Wolf Again? The Decline of Western Economic Influence after the Great Recession
Matthias Matthijs
Since the turn of the millennium, scholars and pundits have been musing over the decline of the West. The disappointing US military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the subprime mortgage crisis, seem to be evidence of an abrupt end to America's 'unipolar' moment. In Europe, the sovereign debt crisis has amplified Europe's long-term structural economic problems and laid bare the fragile institutional foundation on which the Economic and Monetary Union was built. At the same time, the BRICs and other emerging economies have been growing at unprecedented rates. Those same analysts see a 'decoupling' in the world economy: the developing economies pulling the world out of recession, while the advanced industrial economies are unable to solve their domestic difficulties. So to them, the events of the past five years signify the beginning of the end of Western influence, eventually leading to a more complete rebalancing of the world economy's current 'Western' system of governance. This article argues instead that the West still has a significant edge when it comes to most critical factors that determine long-term economic growth potential, including technology, innovative capacity, research and development, investment climate and education. Furthermore, the transatlantic economy is less vulnerable than the rest of the world to outside economic shocks and might eventually prove more capable of reform than many expect. The current malaise in the transatlantic community might therefore prove once again to be more cyclical than structural. Relying on linear projections, many are 'crying wolf' again, too loud and too soon.
Keywords: decline, decoupling, West, Rest, transatlantic economy, world economy
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The West and Global Swing States
Daniel M. Kliman
To adapt and renew today's fraying international order, the West must partner more closely with democratic rising powers that remain ambivalent about existing international arrangements. There are four such 'global swing states': Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey. An effective engagement strategy will need to adjust the order's main pillars to enhance their appeal without transforming the fundamental character of the system in the process. It will need to influence what global swing states want through outreach to publics and private sectors. And it will need to make the case that all four can best manage China's rise by strengthening international rules of the road. If the West can enlarge the circle of countries that uphold the global order to include these rising democracies, the system that has long safeguarded international security and prosperity and promoted human rights will be able to endure.
Keywords: the West, international order, new partners, global swing states
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Perspectives on the Mediterranean after the Arab Uprisings
Transatlantic Democracy Promotion and the Arab Spring
Ruth Hanau Santini and Oz Hassan
The Arab Awakening can be seen as a symptom of failure of US and EU democracy promotion policies in the region. By identifying democracy with 'liberal democracy' - a discursively powerful political move - the contingent character of democracy has been lost. The US and the EU, the main promoters of a neoliberal understanding of democracy, have sided with the wrong side of history. And because they have failed to deeply revise the philosophical underpinnings of their policies, even after 2011, they risk another, even bigger, policy failure.
Keywords: Arab Spring, liberal democracy, security
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Tipping the Balance Towards Intra-Maghreb Unity in Light of the Arab Spring
Yahia H. Zoubir
In the late 1980s, prospects for Maghreb integration were high; the process of integration reflected the aspirations of Maghreb states and societies. However, analysis shows that the process was merely a response to internal and external events of that period, namely, economic difficulties, 'fortress Europe', and the rise of radical Islamism. Following the Arab Spring, incessant calls for unity have re-emerged. Once again, these calls for unity, after a long period of tense relations, especially between Algeria and Morocco, have resulted from internal and external constraints. The threats to the incumbent regimes and/or the insecurity prevailing domestically and at the borders have compelled the Maghreb states to seek greater cooperation to overcome the hardships with which they are faced.
Keywords: Arab Maghreb Union, Arab Spring, Maghreb cooperation, regional integration
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Europe Forum
CSDP, Strategy and Crisis Management: Out of Area or Out of Business?
Luis Simón
The EU's ineffectiveness vis-à-vis Libya and the southern Mediterranean crises more broadly is largely explained by the CSDP's narrow mandate centred on crisis management. The EU's emphasis on external crisis management was strategically sound given the geopolitical context of the 1990s. CSDP's quiet drift towards a 'softer' kind of crisis management from the middle of the first decade of the 2000s was also instrumental in highlighting the EU's differences from post-11 September US unilateralism. That said, (soft) crisis management has become progressively obsolete in the light of a rapidly changing geopolitical environment characterised by an overall retreat of Western power globally, a weakening of America's commitment to European security, an increasingly tumultuous European neighbourhood, and Europe's financial troubles. In order to meet the demands of a changing geopolitical environment, CSDP must break away from its distinctively reactive approach to security to include all the functions normally associated with the military including, chiefly, deterrence and prevention. This would allow the EU to actively shape its regional and global milieu.
Keywords: CSDP, crisis management, strategy, geopolitics
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The European Budget and the Principles of Solidarity and Added Value
Peter Becker
By presenting a proposal for the EU's fifth Financial Perspective, now named Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), in June 2011, the European Commission started negotiations on the European Union's budget policy and financial programming that are expected to end in December 2012. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the MFF negotiations will be extremely difficult because a settlement can only be achieved by consensus. That means that all 27 member states and the European Parliament will have to agree. Two principles might be taken as guidelines to facilitate a compromise: the principle of European solidarity and the principle of European added value. The task will be to define a concept that combines both principles so that it can become the main argument and narrative for explaining the complex budget negotiations, enabling the European Union to avoid a stalemate.
Keywords: European budget, principle of solidarity, principle of added value
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Book Reviews
EU Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management: Looking Back to Look Ahead
Nicole Koenig
Review of: EU conflict prevention and crisis management : roles, institutions, and policies, edited by Eva Gross and Ana E. Juncos, Routledge, 2011
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Defining Innocents
Francesco N. Moro
Review of: The image before the weapon : a critical history of the distinction between combatant and civilian, by Helen M. Kinsella, Cornell University Press, 2011
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Recent Publications
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