The International Spectator, Vol. 48, No. 4, December 2013

Sezioni speciali su Arab Islamist Parties and Power e Civil Society and Global Politics

Playing with Fire. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Leviathan Free
"Forgotten" Directions in the Study of Transnational Networks Free
Recent Publications Free

Data pubblicazione: 


Germany after the Elections: Prospects for Europe?
Ulrike Guérot
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.
Keywords: Germany, elections, coalition, austerity
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Arab Islamist Parties and Power

Delivering the Revolution? Post-uprising Socio-economics in Tunisia and Egypt
Maria Cristina Paciello
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.
Keywords: Egypt, Tunisia, post uprising economic policies, political economy
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Ennahda Islamists and the Test of Government in Tunisia
Laura Guazzone
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.
Keywords: Ennahda, Tunisia, Islamism, Arab Spring, democratisation
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Playing with Fire. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Leviathan
Daniela Pioppi
After the fall of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) decided to act as a stabilising force, to abandon the street and to lend democratic legitimacy to the political process designed by the army. The outcome of this strategy was that the MB was first 'burned' politically and then harshly repressed after having exhausted its stabilising role. The main mistakes the Brothers made were, first, to turn their back on several opportunities to spearhead the revolt by leading popular forces and, second, to keep their strategy for change gradualist and conservative, seeking compromises with parts of the former regime even though the turmoil and expectations in the country required a much bolder strategy.
Keywords: Muslim Brotherhood, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Arab Spring
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Civil Society and Global Politics

"Forgotten" Directions in the Study of Transnational Networks
Raffaele Marchetti
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The Global Right Wing and Theories of Transnational Advocacy
Clifford Bob
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
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Protest Diffusion and Cultural Resonance in the 2011 Protest Wave
Paolo Gerbaudo
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.
Keywords: protest diffusion, cultural translation, national culture, world regions
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Civil Society-Government Synergy and Normative Power Italy
Raffaele Marchetti
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.
Keywords: civil society, transnational campaigns, normative power
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Transnational Islamist Networks: Western Fighters in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria
Emmanuel Karagiannis
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.
Keywords: Islamist networks, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria
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American Views of Europe
David Calleo
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.
Keywords: Western alliance, isolationism, hegemony, multipolar world order
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Book Reviews

Transnationalism with Chinese Characteristics?
Silvia Menegazzi
Review of: Transnational Civil Society in China: Intrusion and Impact, by Chen Jie, Elgar, 2012
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The World Needs Better Global Governance
Juha Jokela
Review of: The Challenges of Inclusive Multilateralism, by the Global Governance Group 10, 2013
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Recent Publications
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