The contemporary international system and its driving forces Răspunde

world system map

The current international system comprises an immense amount of academic concepts and empirical, real world elements, so its characteristics are both complex and numerous. My argument is that the capitalist structure is the most important of these characteristics, the central pillar around which all other elements revolve.

In this essay, I will argue for the central role of the capitalist structure by linking it to other secondary elements (democracy, the high interaction capacity in the system and its size). I will also make the argument that the current international system was born around the 1500s (as opposed to 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia). More…

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Egypt. Waiting for a revolution Răspunde

After 30 years of military state of exception (the Emergency Law), Egypt’s transition from dictatorship is unsurprisingly still negotiating its institutional destination regarding the delicate equilibrium of a democratic political regime, as this is evident in the present talks concerning the powers of the new president, the new Constitution, the structure of the legislative and the role of the judiciary. Most dramatic is the very process of demolishing the old regime while it’s key-players still hang on to their self-assumed prerogative of “protectors” of the “Revolution”. Even if this meant until now torture and murders in the streets and the state prisons, sexual harassment and rape, encouraging religious clashes between Muslims and Copts or between pro-Mubarak youth and the people in the public squares of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, Al-Mansoura, Qena, Minya etc. To get rid of the past is very much different than trying to look into the future and in all probability this will be the long-term institutional and public deadlock for Egyptians and other people caught in the “Arab Spring”. They are not the firsts to find themselves in such a collective nightmare. More…

Don’t leave the streets! Egypt’s revolutions still to come 1

Those of us Eastern Europeans, who did not witness the 1989 revolutions, are nevertheless the children of a revolution. If we were too young to discern for ourselves the communist fall, we grew up during the making of the narratives of the revolution, in which innumerable stories and actors fought hard in the streets, in the media and inside the newly crafted institutions to convince us of their truth. More…

Amnesty laws in Spain and Brazil. Double standards and a judge without friends 2

Brazil and Spain are two countries that share a curiously similar dilemma these days. One may be tempted to think this has to do with their economies in these times of crisis, or maybe with the high visibility of their leaders. Time 100 has just chosen Brazil’s President Lula da Silva as the world’s most influential politician of the year (Obama reached only the fifth place) and he is a truly beloved leader preparing his succession in a booming country on the global scene. Spain is also on the front pages as it represents EU’s rotating Presidency with a very ambitious program. However, their dilemma is not one about the present or the future, but about their past. More…

Regional integration or regional delusion in Latin America? 5

The Cuban political dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in prison on February 23 after 85 days of hunger strike to protest against severe beatings in jail. Initially sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for contempt, public disorder and „disobedience”, he later was sentenced to 36 years for disobedience in jail. Actually, he was the victim of a very harsh regime of beatings and other privations, a situation very often mentioned in reports of various human rights organizations, Amnesty International being one of them. More…

Kazakhstan’s big plans for OSCE. Let’s hope not 4

Dmitry Medvedev and Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana, 2008 (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Kazakhstan promises to reform OSCE. Europe still hopes to democratize the entrenched authoritarian Kazakhstan. Who is under the bigger illusion?

Yesterday, Kazakhstan took up the chairmanship of the OSCE for the 2010-2011 mandate. The US manifested all its support to the new OSCE leaders and “stands ready to encourage your efforts to lead by example and reflect in practice the principles and provisions of the organization you now chair.” The Finnish foreign minister, whose country occupied this seat in 2008, explicitly stated his faith in the good intentions of the new team chairing the OSCE and even mentioned a possible reform of the organization concerning the European security. He believes in the Kazakhstan’s projects for the OSCE despite the fact that “none of the Central Asian countries are, I guess, perfect from a Western, democratic, rule-of-law perspective.” He also believes in the diplomatic ability of Kazakh leaders in bringing at the same table all OSCE members in order to reform the European security framework with the help of a recent plan endorsed by the Russian president Medvedev.

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