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Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor in Chief
by ORBUS.BE
info@orbus.be
www.orbus.be


 
No more Paris nor Brussels!
Stop terrorism!
We want to live in peace with all our neighbors.
  regardless of their religion, color and origin.
Therefore, we condemn any kind of terrorism!

*****
Ne više Pariz ni Brisel!
Stop terorizam!
Mi želimo živjeti u miru sa svim našim komšijama,
bez obzira koje su vjere, boje kože i porijekla.
Zato mi osuđujemo svaku vrstu terorizma!

Belga
Belang van Limburg
De Morgen
De Standard
Het Laatste Nieuws
La Libre Belgique
Nieuwsblaad

VRT
VRTNieuws

N-TV.DE
Deutsche Welle
West-D. Zeitung




The man of the year 2009
Guy Verhofstadt
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt

The man of the year
L'homme de l'ane
De man van het jaar
2009


A proven Democrat, protector and fighter for justice and human rights in the World.

Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten in de Wereld.

Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des droits de l'homme dans le Mond.

Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und Menschenrechte in der Welt.

Dokazani demokrat,
 zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u Svijetu.





Maasmechelen Village
Belgium



The man of the year


Mr. Barak Hossein Obama

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
2012


Guarantee
peace in the world

Garantie
vrede in de wereld

Garantie
la paix dans le monde

Garantie des Friedens in der Welt

Zabezpečenie
mieru vo svete

Garancija
mira u svijetu





Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis




Eva MAURINA
20 Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty - Eva MAURINA




Aleš Debeljak
In Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak

ALEŠ DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA

ALEŠ DEBEJAK - INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA




Rattana Lao
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently teaching in Bangkok.




Bakhtyar Aljaf
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia




Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US





Amna Whiston
Amna Whiston is a London-based writer specialising in moral philosophy. As a PhD candidate at Reading University, UK, her main research interests are in ethics, rationality, and moral psychology.





Eirini Patsea 
Eirini Patsea is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation
.




Belmir Selimovic
Can we trust the government to do the right thing, are they really care about essential things such as environmental conditions and education in our life?





Dubravko Lovrenović
Univ. prof. Dubravko Lovrenović is one of the leading European Medievalist specialized in the Balkans, pre-modern and modern political history.




Manal Saadi
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University




doc.dr.Jasna Cosabic
professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina




Aleksandra Krstic

, studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.

Contact: alex-alex@gmail.com






Dr.Swaleha Sindhi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact: swalehasindhi@gmail.com





Barçın Yinanç
 It is an Ankara-based journalist and notable author. She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor. Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish, French an English.




 By İLNUR ÇEVIK

Modified from the original: They killed 1 Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)




Aine O’Mahony
Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact: aine-claire.nini@hotmail.fr




Elodie Pichon

  Elodie Pichon has a  bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and Security at King's College London. Contact : elodie.pichon@gmail.com




Qi Lin

Qi Lin, a MA candidate of the George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies, particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy and politics of these two.





ALESSANDRO CIPRI
Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International Security". Having served in the Italian Army's "Alpini" mountain troops, he has a keen interest in national security, military strategy, insurgency theory, and terrorism studies. His Master's dissertation was on the impact of drug trafficking on the evolution of the Colombian FARC.






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Brexit – Pakistanization finally comes home
(Who Needs Greater State Projects in the Balkans?)

Dr. Zlatko Hadžidedić

Ever since the end of the WWI, and especially since the end of the WWII, the UK official foreign policy line was nearly always the same, imperial - partition and division. Divide/atomise and rule (divide at impere) ! Was it Asia, Latin America, Africa, Ukraine, Balkans or the Middle East – Pakistanization was the UK classical (colonial) concept, action and answer ! With the Brexit at sight, seems that the Pakistanization (finally) came home.

However, certain destructive UK quasi-intellectual circles are trying to postpone inevitable. Following lines are about that ill-fated attempt. 

           **********

Foreign Affairs, a renowned American foreign policy journal, recently published an article under the title Dysfunction in the Balkans, written by Timothy Less. In this article the author offers his advice to the new American Administration, suggesting it to abandon the policy of support to the territorial integrity of the states created in the process of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. Timothy Less advocates a total redesign of the existing state boundaries in the Balkans, on the basis of a rather problematic claim that the multiethnic states in the Balkans (such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia) proved to be dysfunctional, whereas the  ethnically homogenous states (such as Croatia, Albania and Croatia) proved to be prosperous. Also, the author claims that the peoples in the Balkans, having lost any enthusiasm for the multiethnic status quo, predominantly strive to finally accomplish the imagined monoethnic greater state projects – so-called Greater Serbia, Greater Croatia and Greater Albania. According to Less' design, the imagined Greater Serbia should embrace the existing Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina (that is, 49% of the Bosnian territory), but also the entire internationally recognized Republic of Montenegro ; the Greater Croatia should embrace a future Croatian entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Greater Albania should embrace both Kosovo and the western part of Macedonia. All these territorial redesigns, claims Less, would eventually bring about a lasting peace and stability in the region. The question is, to what extent these proposals can be seen as founded in the geopolitical reality of the Balkans, or the author only acts as a spokesperson for particular interest groups whose aim is to accomplish their geopolitical projects, regardless of the price paid by the peoples of the Balkans?       

First, let us take a look at the author's professional background. According to his official biographies, Timothy Less was the head of the British diplomatic office in Banja Luka, the capital of the Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also the political secretary of the British Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia. Now he runs a consulting agency called Nova Europa, so he has officially left the British diplomatic service. Thus he served as a diplomat exactly in those two states which are, according to his analysis, the most desirable candidates for dissolution. If one remembers that the British foreign policy, since the 1990s, has occassionally but unambiguously advocated the creation of the imagined monoethnic greater states – Greater Serbia, Greater Croatia and Greater Albania – as an alleged path towards lasting stability in the Balkans, it is difficult to escape the impression that this diplomat, having served in Banja Luka and Skopje, probably acted as an informal adviser to those very political forces, such as the Serbian and Albanian separatists, who should be the most active participants in the realization of those greater state projects. And ever since he left the diplomatic service, Timothy Less has regularly published articles in which he 'foresees', that is, invites new ethnic conflicts and ethnic divisions in the Balkans. In the Foreign Affairs article now he attempts to persuade the new American Administration that it should also adopt the policy of completion of the greater state projects in the region. Ironically, Less now makes that in order to prevent all those ethnic wars that he himself has been announcing, that is, inviting and advocating. Obviously, the long-term strategy of inviting ethnic conflicts in order to implement the greater state projects in the Balkans, together with the current strategy of advocating their completion in order to allegedly bring the stability back to the region, must be perceived as a serious geopolitical projection designed by one relatively influential part of the British foreign policy establishment. In that context, so-called 'independent experts', such as Timothy Less, have a task to persuade the world that such projections can be 'the only reasonable solution'.            

Still, it is clear that he is as independent as his solutions are reasonable. For example, Less claims that multiethnic states, in which the aforementioned national projects have remained unaccomplished, are the main impediments to stability in the Balkans. However, the historical reality has demonstrated that this claim is a simple red herring fallacy. For, the very concept of completed ethnonational states is a concept that has only led towards perpetual instability wherever applied, because such ethnonational territories cannot be created without violence, that is, without ethnic cleansing and wars. The strategy of 'solving national issues' has always led, both in the Balkans and elsewhere, only towards permanent instability, never towards final stability. What is particularly interesting, in accordance with the principle of national self-determination promoted at the Peace Conference in Versailles the winners in the World War I advocated the creation of the common national state of the Southern Slavs. Some seventy years later, the same great powers accepted, and sometimes advocated, the dissolution of that very state in the name of self-determination of some other national states, since all the former Yugoslav republics, with the exception of Bosnia-Herzegovina, had been constituted as national states. And now, their spokespersons, like Less, advocate a dissolution of most of these states in order to complete some greater state projects – of course, again in the name of national self-determination. Looking from that perspective, one can only conclude that national self-determination, as much as the nation itself, is a totally arbitrary category, changeable in accordance with current geopolitical interests – of course, the interests of the big ones, not of those small ones whose 'problem of national self-determination' is allegedly being solved.  

Since we cannot reject Less' proposal as a mere list of the author's wishes and desires, let us ask ourselves what is the true relevance of Foreign Affairs in international political circles and how much this article can really influence future actions of the new American Administration. Foreign Affairs is a publication sposored by the body called the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), whose membership from the very beginning consisted of senior politicians, secretaries of state, directors of CIA, bankers, academics, lawyers and senior media figures. This body was founded in 1921 as a common Anglo-American project, conceived as the embodiment of the so-called special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, which had been created during the World War I and has remained present to the present day. In this sense, there can hardly be a journal in the entire world with greater political influence, comparable only with the influence of the CFR itself. Therefore, the geopolitical manifesto written by Timothy Less must be taken with ultimate seriousness, because it certainly reflects the interests of some influential circles within the Anglo-American foreign policy establishment. Bearing in mind all the public support that Hillary Clinton enjoyed during her presidential campaign from the people gathered around Foreign Affairs, it is reasonable to assume that she would probably adopt Less' suggestions. However, it is less likely that the newly-elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, who did not enjoy a slightest support from these circles, will not be so naive as to adopt the strategy of completion of greater state projects presented in Foreign Affairs as his own strategy and a vision that can contribute to peace and stability in any part of the world. However, if that happens, we shall face not only new ethnic conflicts in the Balkans, but also a lasting instability in the rest of the world.


Graduate of the London School of Economics, prof. Zlatko Hadžidedić is a prominent thinker, prolific author of numerous books, and indispensable political figure of the former Yugoslav socio-political space in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.



December 30, 2016



Why is Europe able to manage its decline, while Asia is (still) unable to capitalize (on) its successes

Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
 

How to draw the line between the recent and still unsettled EU/EURO crisis and Asia’s success story? Well, it might be easier than it seems: Neither Europe nor Asia has any alternative. The difference is that Europe well knows there is no alternative – and therefore is multilateral. Asia thinks it has an alternative – and therefore is strikingly bilateral, while stubbornly residing enveloped in economic egoisms. No wonder that Europe is/will be able to manage its decline, while Asia is (still) unable to capitalize its successes. Asia clearly does not accept any more the lead of the post-industrial and post-Christian Europe, but is not ready for the post-West world.   

Following the famous saying allegedly spelled by Kissinger: “Europe? Give me a name and a phone number!” (when – back in early 1970s – urged by President Nixon to inform Europeans on the particular US policy action), the author is trying to examine how close is Asia to have its own telephone number.

By contrasting and comparing genesis of multilateral security structures in Europe with those currently existing in Asia, and by listing some of the most pressing security challenges in Asia, this policy paper offers several policy incentives why the largest world’s continent must consider creation of the comprehensive pan-Asian institution. Prevailing security structures in Asia are bilateral and mostly asymmetric while Europe enjoys multilateral, balanced and symmetric setups (American and African continents too). Author goes as far as to claim that irrespective to the impressive economic growth, no Asian century will emerge without creation of such an institution.

 

*          *          *          *

 

For over a decade, many of the relevant academic journals are full of articles prophesizing the 21st as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on the impressive economic growth, increased production and trade volumes as well as the booming foreign currency reserves and exports of many populous Asian nations, with nearly 1/3 of total world population inhabiting just two countries of the largest world’s continent. However, history serves as a powerful reminder by warning us that economically or/and demographically mighty gravity centers tend to expand into their peripheries, especially when the periphery is weaker by either category. It means that any absolute or relative shift in economic and demographic strength of one subject of international relations will inevitably put additional stress on the existing power equilibriums and constellations that support this balance in the particular theater of implicit or explicit structure.


Lessons of the Past

Thus, what is the state of art of Asia’s security structures? What is the existing capacity of preventive diplomacy and what instruments are at disposal when it comes to early warning/ prevention, fact-finding, exchange mechanisms, reconciliation, capacity and confidence– building measures in the Asian theater?

While all other major theaters do have the pan-continental settings in place already for many decades, such as the Organization of American States – OAS (American continent), African Union – AU (Africa), Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – OSCE (Europe), the state-of-arts of the largest world’s continent is rather different. What becomes apparent, nearly at the first glance, is the absence of any pan-Asian security/ multilateral structure. Prevailing security structures are bilateral and mostly asymmetric. They range from the clearly defined and enduring non-aggression security treaties, through less formal arrangements, up to the Ad hoc cooperation accords on specific issues. The presence of the multilateral regional settings is limited to a very few spots in the largest continent, and even then, they are rarely mandated with security issues in their declared scope of work. Another striking feature is that most of the existing bilateral structures have an Asian state on one side, and either peripheral or external protégé country on the other side which makes them nearly per definition asymmetric. The examples are numerous: the US–Japan, the US– S. Korea, the US–Singapore, Russia–India, Australia–East Timor, Russia–North Korea, Japan –Malaysia, China–Pakistan, the US–Pakistan, China–Cambodia, the US–Saudi Arabia, Russia –Iran, China–Burma, India–Maldives, Iran–Syria, N. Korea–Pakistan, etc.

Indeed, Asia today resonates a mixed echo of the European past. It combines features of the pre-Napoleonic, post-Napoleonic and the League-of-Nations Europe. What are the useful lessons from the European past? Well, there are a few, for sure. Bismarck accommodated the exponential economic, demographic and military growth as well as the territorial expansion of Prussia by skillfully architecturing and calibrating the complex networks of bilateral security arrangements of 19th century Europe. Like Asia today, it was not an institutionalized security structure of Europe, but a talented leadership exercising restraint and wisdom in combination with the quick assertiveness and fast military absorptions, concluded by the lasting endurance. However, as soon as the new Kaiser removed the Iron Chancellor (Bismarck), the provincial and backward–minded, insecure and militant Prussian establishment contested (by their own interpretations of the German’s machtpolitik and weltpolitik policies) Europe and the world in two devastating world wars. That, as well as Hitler’s establishment afterwards, simply did not know what to do with a powerful Germany.

The aspirations and constellations of some of Asia’s powers today remind us also of the pre-Napoleonic Europe, in which a unified, universalistic block of the Holy Roman Empire was contested by the impatient challengers of the status quo. Such serious centripetal and centrifugal oscillations of Europe were not without grave deviations: as much as Cardinal Richelieu’s and Jacobin’s France successfully emancipated itself, the Napoleon III and pre-WWII France encircled, isolated itself, implicitly laying the foundation for the German attack.

Finally, the existing Asian regional settings also resemble the picture of the post-Napoleonic Europe: first and foremost, of Europe between the Vienna Congress of 1815 and the revolutionary year of 1848. At any rate, let us take a quick look at the most relevant regional settings in Asia.


Multilateral constellations

By far, the largest Asian participation is with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – APEC, an organization engulfing both sides of the Pacific Rim. Nevertheless, this is a forum for member economies not of sovereign nations, a sort of a prep-com or waiting room for the World Trade Organization – WTO. To use the words of one senior Singapore diplomat who recently told me in Geneva the following: “what is your option here? ...to sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), side up with the US, login to FaceBook, and keep shopping on the internet happily ever after…”

Two other crosscutting settings, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – OIC and Non-Aligned Movement – NAM, the first with and the second without a permanent secretariat, represent the well-established political multilateral bodies. However, they are inadequate forums as neither of the two is strictly mandated with security issues. Although both trans-continental entities do have large memberships being the 2nd and 3rd largest multilateral systems, right after the UN, neither covers the entire Asian political landscape – having important Asian countries outside the system or opposing it.

Further on, one should mention the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization – KEDO (Nuclear) and the Iran-related Contact (Quartet/P-5+1) Group. In both cases, the issues dealt with are indeed security related, but they are more an asymmetric approach to deter and contain a single country by the larger front of peripheral states that are opposing a particular security policy, in this case, of North Korea and of Iran. Same was with the short-lived SEATO Pact – a defense treaty organization for SEA which was essentially dissolved as soon as the imminent threat from communism was slowed down and successfully contained within the French Indochina.


Confidence building – an attempt

If some of the settings are reminiscent of the pre-Napoleonic Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – SCO and Cooperation Council for the Arab states of the Gulf – GCC remind us of the post-Napoleonic Europe and its Alliance of the Eastern Conservative courts (of Metternich). Both arrangements were created on a pretext of a common external ideological and geopolitical threat, on a shared status quo security consideration. Asymmetric GCC was an externally induced setting by which an American key Middle East ally Saudi Arabia gathered the grouping of the Arabian Peninsula monarchies. It has served a dual purpose; originally, to contain the leftist Nasseristic pan-Arabism which was introducing a republican type of egalitarian government in the Middle Eastern theater. It was also – after the 1979 revolution – an instrument to counter-balance the Iranian influence in the Gulf and wider Middle East. The response to the spring 2011-13 turmoil in the Middle East, including the deployment of the Saudi troops in Bahrain, and including the analysis of the role of influential Qatar-based and GCC-backed Al Jazeera TV network is the best proof of the very nature of the GCC mandate.

The SCO is internally induced and more symmetric setting. Essentially, it came into existence through a strategic Sino-Russian rapprochement[1], based, for the first time in modern history, on parity, to deter external aspirants (the US, Japan, Korea, India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) and to keep the resources, territory, present socio-economic cultural and political regime in the Central Asia, Tibet heights and the Xinjiang Uighur province in line.  

The next to consider is the Indian sub-continent’s grouping, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – SAARC. This organization has a well-established mandate, well staffed and versed Secretariat. However, the Organization is strikingly reminiscent of the League of Nations. The League is remembered as an altruistic setup which repeatedly failed to adequately respond to the security quests of its members as well as to the challenges and pressures of parties that were kept out of the system (e.g. Russia until well into the 1930s and the US remaining completely outside the system, and in the case of the SAARC surrounding; China, Saudi Arabia and the US). The SAARC is practically a hostage of mega confrontation of its two largest members, both confirmed nuclear powers; India and Pakistan. These two challenge each other geopolitically and ideologically. Existence of one is a negation of the existence of the other; the religiously determined nationhood of Pakistan is a negation of multiethnic India and vice verse. Additionally, the SAARC although internally induced is an asymmetric organization. It is not only the size of India, but also its position: centrality of that country makes SAARC practically impossible to operate in any field without the direct consent of India, be it commerce, communication, politics or security.

For a serious advancement of multilateralism, mutual trust, a will to compromise and achieve a common denominator through active co-existence is the key. It is hard to build a common course of action around the disproportionately big and centrally positioned member which would escape the interpretation as containment by the big or assertiveness of its center by the smaller, peripheral members.   


Multivector Foreign Policy

Finally, there is an ASEAN – a grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations[2], exercising the balanced multi-vector policy, based on the non-interference principle, internally and externally. This, Jakarta/Indonesia headquartered[3] organization has a dynamic past and an ambitious current charter. It is an internally induced and relatively symmetric arrangement with the strongest members placed around its geographic center, like in case of the EU equilibrium with Germany-France/Britain-Italy/Poland-Spain geographically balancing each other. Situated on the geographic axis of the southern flank of the Asian landmass, the so-called growth triangle of Thailand-Malaysia-Indonesia represents the core of the ASEAN not only in economic and communication terms but also by its political leverage. The EU-like ASEAN Community Road Map (for 2015) will absorb most of the Organization’s energy[4]. However, the ASEAN has managed to open its forums for the 3+3 group/s, and could be seen in the long run as a cumulus setting towards the wider pan-Asian forum in future.

Before closing this brief overview, let us mention two recently inaugurated informal forums, both based on the external calls for a burden sharing. One, with a jingoistic-coined name by the Wall Street bankers[5] - BRI(I)C/S, so far includes two important Asian economic, demographic and political powerhouses (India and China), and one peripheral (Russia). Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Iran are a few additional Asian countries whose national pride and pragmatic interests are advocating a BRIC membership. The G–20, the other informal forum, is also assembled on the Ad hoc (pro bono) basis following the need of the G–7 to achieve a larger approval and support for its monetary (currency exchange accord) and financial (austerity) actions introduced in the aftermath of still unsettled financial crisis. Nevertheless, the BRIC and G-20 have not provided the Asian participating states either with the more leverage in the Bretton Woods institutions besides a burden sharing, or have they helped to tackle the indigenous Asian security problems. Appealing for the national pride, however, both informal gatherings may divert the necessary resources and attention to Asian states from their pressing domestic, pan-continental issues.

Yet, besides the UN system machinery of the Geneva-based Disarmament committee, the UN Security Council, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – OPCW and International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA (or CTBTO), even the ASEAN Asians (as the most multilateralized Asians) have no suitable standing forum to tackle and solve their security issues. An organization similar to the Council of Europe or the OSCE is still far from emerging on Asian soil.

Our history warns. Nevertheless, it also provides a hope:                                                         The pre-CSCE (pre-Helsinki) Europe was indeed a dangerous place to live in. The sharp geopolitical and ideological default line was passing through the very heart of Europe, cutting it into halves. The southern Europe was practically sealed off by notorious dictatorships; in Greece (Colonel Junta), Spain (Franco) and Portugal (Salazar), with Turkey witnessing several of its governments toppled by the secular and omnipotent military establishment, with inverted Albania and a (non-Europe minded) non-allied, Tito’s Yugoslavia. Two powerful instruments of the US military presence (NATO) and of the Soviets (Warsaw pact) in Europe were keeping huge standing armies, enormous stockpiles of conventional as well as the ABC weaponry and delivery systems, practically next to each other. By far and large, European borders were not mutually recognized. Essentially, the west rejected to even recognize many of the Eastern European, Soviet dominated/installed governments.


Territorial disputes unresolved

Currently in Asia, there is hardly a single state which has no territorial dispute within its neighborhood. From the Middle East, Caspian and Central Asia, Indian sub-continent, mainland Indochina or Archipelago SEA, Tibet, South China Sea and the Far East, many countries are suffering numerous green and blue border disputes. The South China Sea solely counts for over a dozen territorial disputes – in which mostly China presses peripheries to break free from the long-lasting encirclement. These moves are often interpreted by the neighbors as dangerous assertiveness. On the top of that Sea resides a huge economy and insular territory in a legal limbo – Taiwan, which waits for a time when the pan-Asian and intl. agreement on how many Chinas Asia should have, gains a wide and lasting consensus.

Unsolved territorial issues, sporadic irredentism, conventional armament, nuclear ambitions, conflicts over exploitation of and access to the marine biota, other natural resources including fresh water access and supply are posing enormous stress on external security, safety and stability in Asia. Additional stress comes from the newly emerging environmental concerns, that are representing nearly absolute security threats, not only to the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu[6], but also to the Maldives, Bangladesh, Cambodia, parts of Thailand, of Indonesia, of Kazakhstan and of the Philippines, etc[7]. All this combined with uneven economic and demographic dynamics[8] of the continent are portraying Asia as a real powder keg.

It is absolutely inappropriate to compare the size of Asia and Europe – the latter being rather an extension of a huge Asian continental landmass, a sort of western Asian peninsula – but the interstate maneuvering space is comparable. Yet, the space between the major powers of post-Napoleonic Europe was as equally narrow for any maneuver as is the space today for any security maneuver of Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and the like.

Let us also take a brief look at the peculiarities of the nuclear constellations in Asia. Following the historic analogies; it echoes the age of the American nuclear monopoly and the years of Russia’s desperation to achieve the parity.

Besides holding huge stockpiles of conventional weaponry and numerous standing armies, Asia is a home of four (plus peripheral Russia and Israel) of the nine known nuclear powers (declared and undeclared). Only China and Russia are parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty – NPT. North Korea walked away in 2003, whereas India and Pakistan both confirmed nuclear powers declined to sign the Treaty. Asia is also the only continent on which nuclear weaponry has been deployed. [9]


Cold War exiled in Asia

As is well known, the peak of the Cold War was marked by the mega geopolitical and ideological confrontation of the two nuclear superpowers whose stockpiles by far outnumbered the stockpiles of all the other nuclear powers combined. However enigmatic, mysterious and incalculable to each other[10], the Americans and Soviets were on opposite sides of the globe, had no territorial disputes, and no record of direct armed conflicts. 

Insofar, the Asian nuclear constellation is additionally specific as each of the holders has a history of hostilities – armed frictions and confrontations over unsolved territorial disputes along the shared borders, all combined with the intensive and lasting ideological rivalries. The Soviet Union had bitter transborder armed frictions with China over the demarcation of its long land border. China has fought a war with India and has acquired a significant territorial gain. India has fought four mutually extortive wars with Pakistan over Kashmir and other disputed bordering regions. Finally, the Korean peninsula has witnessed the direct military confrontations of Japan, USSR, Chinese as well as the US on its very soil, and remains a split nation under a sharp ideological divide. 

On the western edge of the Eurasian continent, neither France, Britain, Russia nor the US had a (recent) history of direct armed conflicts. They do not even share land borders.

Finally, only India and now post-Soviet Russia have a strict and full civilian control over its military and the nuclear deployment authorization. In the case of North Korea and China, it is in the hands of an unpredictable and non-transparent communist leadership – meaning, it resides outside democratic, governmental decision-making. In Pakistan, it is completely in the hands of a politically omnipresent military establishment. Pakistan has lived under a direct military rule for over half of its existence as an independent state.

What eventually kept the US and the USSR from deploying nuclear weapons was the dangerous and costly struggle called: “mutual destruction assurance”. Already by the late 1950s, both sides achieved parity in the number and type of nuclear warheads as well as in the number and precision of their delivery systems. Both sides produced enough warheads, delivery systems’ secret depots and launching sites to amply survive the first impact and to maintain a strong second-strike capability[11]. Once comprehending that neither the preventive nor preemptive nuclear strike would bring a decisive victory but would actually trigger the final global nuclear holocaust and ensure total mutual destruction, the Americans and the Soviets have achieved a fear–equilibrium through the hazardous deterrence. Thus, it was not an intended armament rush (for parity), but the non-intended Mutual Assurance Destruction – MAD – with its tranquilizing effect of nuclear weaponry, if possessed in sufficient quantities and impenetrable configurations – that brought a bizarre sort of pacifying stability between two confronting superpowers. Hence, MAD prevented nuclear war, but did not disarm the superpowers.

As noted, the nuclear stockpiles in Asia are considerably modest[12]. The number of warheads, launching sites and delivery systems is not sufficient and sophisticated enough to offer the second strike capability. That fact seriously compromises stability and security: preventive or preemptive N–strike against a nuclear or non-nuclear state could be contemplated as decisive, especially in South Asia and on the Korean peninsula, not to mention the Middle East[13].

A general wisdom of geopolitics assumes the potentiality of threat by examining the degree of intensions and capability of belligerents. However, in Asia this theory does not necessarily hold the complete truth: Close geographic proximities of Asian nuclear powers means shorter flight time of warheads, which ultimately gives a very brief decision-making period to engaged adversaries. Besides a deliberate, a serious danger of an accidental nuclear war is therefore evident.


Multilateral mechanisms

One of the greatest thinkers and humanists of the 20th century, Erich Fromm wrote: “…man can only go forward by developing (his) reason, by finding a new harmony…[14]

There is certainly a long road from vision and wisdom to a clear political commitment and accorded action. However, once it is achieved, the operational tools are readily at disposal. The case of Helsinki Europe is very instructive. To be frank, it was the over-extension of the superpowers who contested one another all over the globe, which eventually brought them to the negotiation table. Importantly, it was also a constant, resolute call of the European public that alerted governments on both sides of the default line. Once the political considerations were settled, the technicalities gained momentum: there was – at first – mutual pan-European recognition of borders which tranquilized tensions literally overnight. Politico-military cooperation was situated in the so-called first Helsinki basket, which included the joint military inspections, exchange mechanisms, constant information flow, early warning instruments, confidence–building measures mechanism, and the standing panel of state representatives (the so-called Permanent Council). Further on, an important clearing house was situated in the so-called second basket – the forum that links the economic and environmental issues, items so pressing in Asia at the moment.

Admittedly, the III OSCE Basket was a source of many controversies in the past years, mostly over the interpretation of mandates. However, the new wave of nationalism, often replacing the fading communism, the emotional charges and residual fears of the past, the huge ongoing formation of the middle class in Asia whose passions and affiliations will inevitably challenge established elites domestically and question their policies internationally, and a related search for a new social consensus – all that could be successfully tackled by some sort of an Asian III basket. Clearly, further socio-economic growth in Asia is impossible without the creation and mobilization of a strong middle class – a segment of society which when appearing anew on the socio-political horizon is traditionally very exposed and vulnerable to political misdeeds and disruptive shifts. At any rate, there are several OSCE observing nations from Asia[15]; from Thailand to Korea and Japan, with Indonesia, a nation that currently considers joining the forum. They are clearly benefiting from the participation[16].

Consequently, the largest continent should consider the creation of its own comprehensive pan-Asian multilateral mechanism. In doing so, it can surely rest on the vision and spirit of Helsinki. On the very institutional setup, Asia can closely revisit the well-envisioned SAARC and ambitiously empowered ASEAN[17] fora. By examining these two regional bodies, Asia can find and skillfully calibrate the appropriate balance between widening and deepening of the security mandate of such future multilateral  organization – given the number of states as well as the gravity of the pressing socio-political, environmental and politico-military challenges.

In the age of unprecedented success and the unparalleled prosperity of Asia, an indigenous multilateral pan-Asian arrangement presents itself as an opportunity. Contextualizing Hegel’s famous saying that “freedom is…an insight into necessity” let me close by stating that a need for the domesticated pan-Asian organization warns by its urgency too.

Clearly, there is no emancipation of the continent; there is no Asian century, without the pan-Asian multilateral setting.

 



Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic, Chairman Intl. Law & Global Pol. Studies

(author of the book ‘Is there life after Facebook’, Addleton Academic Publishers, NY)

Vienna, 16 DEC 16

anis@bajrektarevic.eu

 



Post Scriptum

How can we observe and interpret (the distance between) success and failure from a historical perspective? This question remains a difficult one to (satisfy all with a single) answer...      The immediate force behind the rapid and successful European overseas projection was actually the two elements combined: Europe’s technological (economic) advancement and demographic expansion (from early 16th century on). However, West/Europe was not – frankly speaking – winning over the rest of this planet by the superiority of its views and ideas, by purity of its virtues or by clarity and sincerity of its religious thoughts and practices. For a small and rather insecure civilization from the antropo-geographic suburbia, it was just the superiority through efficiency in applying the rationalized violence and organized (legitimized) coercion that Europe successfully projected. The 21st century Europeans often forget this ‘inconvenient truth’, while the non-Europeans usually never do.

The large, self-maintainable, self-assured and secure civilizations (e.g. situated on the Asian landmass) were traditionally less militant and confrontational (and a nation-state ‘exclusive’), but more esoteric and generous, inclusive, attentive and flexible. The smaller, insecure civilizations (e.g. situated on a modest and minor, geographically remote and peripheral, natural resources scarce, and climatically harshly exposed continent of Europe) were more focused, obsessively organized, directional and “goal–oriented” (including the invention of virtue out of necessity – a nation-state). No wonder that only Asian, and no European civilization has ever generated a single religion. Although it admittedly doctrinated, ‘clergified’ and headquartered one of the four Middle East-revelled monotheistic religions, that of Christianity. On the other hand, no other civilization but the European has ever created a significant, even a relevant political ideology.


Acknowledgments

For the past twelve years I hosted over 100 ambassadors at my university, some 30 from Asia alone. Several of them are currently obtaining (or recently finished) very high governmental positions in their respective countries. That includes the Foreign Minister posts (like the former Korean ambassador Kim Sung-Hwan, or the former Kazakh ambassador Yerzhan Kazykhanov), as well as the SAARC Sec-General post (former India’s Ambassador Kant Sharma), or candidacy for the OIC Secretary-General post (including the former Malaysian Ambassador to the UN New York, Tan Sri Hasmi AGAM, currently the SUHAKAM Chairman in Kuala Lumpur). It would be inappropriate to name them here. However, let me express my sincere gratitude for all the talks and meetings which helped an early ‘fermentation’ of my hypothesis claim as such. Finally, I would like to name the following personalities (in their current or past capacities) for the valuable intellectual encounters and their sometimes opposing but always inspiring and constructive comments in the course of drafting the article:


H.E. Mr. Dato’ Misran KARMAIN, the ASEAN Deputy Secretary General

H.E. Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka PUJA, Indonesia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other IO’s in Vienna (currently Director-General for ASEAN Affairs in the Indonesian Foreign Ministry)

H.E. Ms. Nongnuth PHETCHARATANA, Thai Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OSCE, UN and other IO’s in Vienna (currently Thai Ambassador in Berlin)

H.E. Ms. Linglingay F. LACANLALE, the Philippines’ Ambassador to Thailand and the UN ESCAP

H.E. Mr. Khamkheuang BOUNTEUM, Laos’ Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other IO’s in Vienna

H.E. Mr. Ba Than NGUYEN, Vietnam’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other IO’s in Vienna

H.E. Mr. Ibrahim DJIKIC, Ambassador and former OSCE Mission Head to Ashgabat

However, the views expressed are solely those of the author himself.


References:

Bajrektarevic, Anis, “Verticalization of Historical Experiences: Europe’s and Asia’s Security Structures – Structural Similarities and Differences”, Crossroads, The Mac Foreign Policy Journal, Skopje (Vol. I Nr. 4) 2007  


Bajrektarevic, Anis, “Institutionalization of Historical Experiences: Europe and Asia – Same Quest, Different Results, Common Futures”, Worldviews and the Future of Human Civilization, (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, November 2008) Malaysia (2008) 

Bajrektarevic, Anis, “Destiny Shared: Our Common Futures – Human Capital beyond 2020”, the 5th Global Tech Leaders Symposium , Singapore-Shanghai March 2005  (2005)

Bajrektarevic, Anis, “Structural Differences in Security Structures of Europe and Asia  – Possible Conflicting Cause in the SEA Theater”, The 4th Viennese conference on SEA, SEAS Vienna June 2009  (2009)

Duroselle, J.B., “Histoire Diplomatique – Études Politiques, Économiques et Sociales”, Dalloz Printing Paris (first published 1957), 1978

Friedman, George, “The Next 100 Years”, Anchor Books/Random House NY (2009)

Fromm, Erich, “The Art of Loving”, Perennial Classics, (page: 76) (1956)

Hegel, G.W.F., Phänomenologie des Geistes (The Phenomenology of Mind, 1807), Oxford University Press, 1977 (page: 25 VII)

Mahbubani, Kishore, “The New Asian Hemisphere”, Public Affairs, Perseus Books Group (page: 44-45) (2008)

Sagan, S.D. and Waltz, K.N., “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed”,  (page: 112) (2003)


ABSTRACT:

Following the famous saying allegedly spelled by Kissinger: “Europe? Give me a name and a phone number!” (when – back in early 1970s – urged by President Nixon to inform Europeans on the particular US policy action), the author is trying to examine how close is Asia to have its own telephone number.

By contrasting and comparing genesis of multilateral security structures in Europe with those currently existing in Asia, and by listing some of the most pressing security challenges in Asia, this article offers several policy incentives why the largest world’s continent must consider creation of the comprehensive pan-Asian institution. Prevailing security structures in Asia are bilateral and mostly asymmetric while Europe enjoys multilateral, balanced and symmetric setups (American and African continents too). Author goes as far as to claim that irrespective to the impressive economic growth, no Asian century will emerge without creation of such an institution.


Key words:

Security, multilateralism, Asia, geopolitics, geo-economics, preventive diplomacy,

(nuclear weapons, border disputes, Council of Europe, OSCE, OAS, AU, EU, NATO, OIC, NAM, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, GCC, SCO, KEDO, SEATO, BRIC, G-7, G-20, Japan, China, the US, Russia/SU, Alliance of Eastern Conservative Courts, pre-Napoleonic Europe, growth, middle class, nationalism)


[1] Analyzing the Sino-Soviet and post-Soviet-Sino relations tempts me to compare it with the Antic Roman Empire. The monolithic block has entered its fragmentation on a seemingly rhetoric, clerical question – who would give the exclusive interpretation of the holy text: Rome or Constantinople. Clearly, the one who holds the monopoly on the interpretation has the ideological grip, which can easily be translated into a strategic advantage. It was Moscow insisting that the Soviet type of communism was the only true and authentic communism. A great schism put to an end the lasting theological but also geopolitical conflict in the antique Roman theatre. The Sino-Soviet schism culminated with the ideological and geopolitical emancipation of China, especially after the Nixon recognition of Beijing China. Besides the ideological cleavages, the socio-economic and political model of the Roman Empire was heavily contested from the 3rd century onwards. The Western Roman Empire rigidly persisted to any structural change, unable to adapt. It eroded and soon thereafter vanished from the political map. The Eastern Empire successfully reformed and Byzantium endured as a viable socio-economic and political model for another 1,000 years. Feeling the need for an urgent reshape of the declining communist system, both leaders Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping contemplated reforms. Gorbachev eventually fractured the Soviet Union with glasnost and perestroika. Deng managed China successfully. Brave, accurate and important argumentation comes from diplomat and prolific author Kishore Mahbubani (The New Asian Hemisphere, 2008, page 44-45). Mahbubani claims that Gorbachev handed over the Soviet empire and got nothing in return, while Deng understood “the real success of Western strength and power … China did not allow the students protesting in Tiananmen Square”. Consequently, Deng drew a sharp and decisive line to avoid the fate of Russia, and allowed only perestroika. China has survived, even scoring the unprecedented prosperity in only the last two decades. Russia has suffered a steep decline in the aftermath of the loss of its historic empire, including the high suicide and crime rates as well as the severe alcohol problems. Gorbachev himself moved to the US, and one vodka brand labels his name. 

[2] The membership might be extended in the future to East Timor and Papua New Guinea.

[3] Symbolic or not, the ASEAN HQ is located less than 80 miles away from the place of the historical, the NAM–precursor, the Asian–African Conference of Bandung 1955.

[4] Comparisons pose an inaccuracy risks as history often finds a way to repeat itself, but optimism finally prevails. Tentatively, we can situate the ASEAN today, where the pre-Maastricht EU was between the Merge Treaty and the Single European Act. 

[5] The acronym was originally coined by Jim O’Neill, a chief global economist of Goldman Sachs, in his 2001 document report: “Building Better Global Economic BRICs”. This document was elaborating on countries which may provide the West with the socially, economically and politically cheap primary commodities and undemanding labor force, finally suggesting to the West to balance such trade by exporting its high-prized final products in return. The paper did not foresee either creation of any BRIC grouping or the nomadic change of venue places of its periodic meetings. O’Neill initially tipped Brazil, Russia, India and China, although at recent meetings South Africa was invited (BRICS) with the pending Indonesia (BRIICS).

[6] Tuvalu, a country composed of low-laying atoll islands, faces an imminent complete loss of state territory. This event would mark a precedent in the theory of intl. law – that one country suffers a complete geographic loss of its territory.

[7] Detailed environmental impact risk assessments including the no-go zones are available in the CRESTA reports. The CRESTA Organization is powered by the Swiss RE as a consortium of the leading insurance and reinsurance companies. 

[8] The intriguing intellectual debate is currently heating up the western world. Issues are fundamental: Why is science turned into religion? Practiced economy is based on the over 200-years old liberal theory of Adam Smith and over 300-years old philosophy of Hobbes and Locke – basically, frozen and rigidly canonized into a dogmatic exegesis. Scientific debate is replaced by a blind obedience. Why is religion turned into political ideology? Religious texts are misinterpreted and ideologically misused in Europe, ME, Asia, Americas and Africa. Why is the secular or religious ethics turned from the bio-centric comprehension into the anthropocentric environmental ignorance? The resonance of these vital debates is gradually reaching Asian elites. No one can yet predict the range and scope of their responses, internally or externally. One is certain; Asia understood that the global (economic) integration can not be a substitute for any viable development strategy. Globalization, as experienced in Asia and observed elsewhere, did not offer a shortcut to development, even less to social cohesion, environmental needs, domestic employment, educational uplift of the middle class and general public health. 

[9]Obama, the first seating American president to visit Laos, recalled that the US has dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs on this country during the heights of the Vietnam war – more than it dropped on Germany and Japan combined during the WWII. That made Laos, per capita, the most heavily bombed country in human history. ‘Countless civilian were killed... especially innocent men, women children. Even now, many Americans were unaware of their country’s deadly legacy here’ – the president said in Vientiane in 2016.” It took a good 40 years to the US press to fairly report on it, too. /Landler, M. (2016), Obama seeks to Heal scars of War in Laos, International New York Times, September 07, 2016, (page 6)/

[10] The Soviet Union was enveloped in secrecy, a political culture, eminent in many large countries, which the Soviets inherited from the Tsarist Russia and further enhanced – a feature that puzzled Americans. It was the US cacophony of open, nearly exhibitionistic policy debates that puzzled Russians – and made both sides unable to predict the moves of the other one. The Soviets were confused by the omnipresence of overt political debate in the US, and the Americans were confused by the absence of any political debate in the USSR. Americans well knew that the real power resided outside the government, in the Soviet Politburo. Still, it was like a black-box – to use a vivid Kissinger allegory, things were coming in and getting out, but nobody figured out what was happening inside. Once the particular decision had been taken, the Soviets implemented it persistently in a heavy-handed and rigid way. Usually, the policy alternation/adjustment was not coming before the personal changes at the top of the SU Politburo – events happening so seldom. On the other hand, the Soviets were confused by the equidistant constellation of the US executive, legislative and judicial branches – for the Soviet taste, too often changed, the chaotic setup of dozens of intelligence and other enforcement agencies, the role of the media and the public, and the influential lobby groups that crosscut the US bipartisanism – all which participated in the decision prep and making process. Even when brokered, the US actions were often altered or replaced in zigzagging turns. The US was unable to grasp where the Communist Party ended and the USSR government started. By the same token, the Soviets were unable to figure out where the corporate America ended and the US government started. Paradoxically enough, the political culture of one prevented it from comprehending and predicting the actions of the other one. What was the logical way for one was absolutely unthinkable and illogical for the other.

[11] As Waltz rightfully concludes: “Conventional weapons put a premium on striking first to gain the initial advantage and set the course of the war. Nuclear weapons eliminate this premium. The initial advantage is insignificant…”… due to the second strike capability of both belligerents. (‘The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed’ by Scott D. Sagan and Kenneth N Waltz, 2003, p. 112).

[12] It is assumed that Pakistan has as few as 20 combat/launching ready fission warheads, India is believed to have some 60, and Korea (if any, not more than) 2-3 only. Even China, considered as the senior nuclear state, has not more than 20 ICBM.

[13] Israel as a non-declared nuclear power is believed to have as many as 200 low-powered fission nuclear bombs. A half of it is deliverable by the mid-range missile Jericho II, planes and mobile (hide and relocate) launchers (including the recently delivered, nuclear war-head capable German submarines). Iran successfully tested the precision of its mid-range missile and keeps ambitiously working on the long-range generation of missiles. At the same time, Iran may well have acquired some vital dual-use (so far, peaceful purpose) nuclear technologies. There is a seed of nuclear ambition all over the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and Turkey as the least shy ones. 

[14]The Art of Loving”, Erich Fromm, 1956, page 76. Fromm wrote it at about the time of the Bandung conference.

[15] The so-called OSCE–Asian Partners for Cooperation are: Japan (1992), Korea (1994), Thailand (2000), Afghanistan (2003), Mongolia (2004) and Australia (2009). Within the OSCE quarters, particularly Thailand and Japan enjoy a reputation of being very active.

[16] It is likely to expect that five other ASEAN countries, residentially represented in Vienna, may formalize their relation with OSCE in a due time. The same move could be followed by the Secretariats of both SAARC and ASEAN.

[17] In Europe and in Asia – even when being at the HQ in Jakarta, I am often asked to clarify my (overly) optimistic views on the ASEAN future prospects. The ASEAN as well as the EU simply have no alternative but to survive and turn successful, although currently suffering many deficiencies and being far from optimized multilateral mechanisms. Any alternative to the EU is a grand accommodation of either France or Germany with Russia – meaning a return to Europe of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries – namely, perpetual wars and destructions. Any alternative to the ASEAN would be an absorptive accommodation of particular ASEAN member states to either Japan or China or India – meaning fewer large blocks on a dangerous collision course. Thus, paradoxically enough in cases of both the EU and of ASEAN, it is not (only) the inner capacitation but the external constellations that make me optimistic about their respective success. 



December 29, 2016




Geostrategic Pulse is studied at Harvard!
PDF-format - 6,62 MB

 

December 29, 2016



Sino-Russian neighborhood policy:

Kazakhstan – Euroasian heart of gold

By Filippo Romeo

 

Quite untill recently Kazakhstan was commonly identified as an impervious, legendary and fascinating place, one of passionate, bloody dusks whose natural beauty, combined with the landscape diversity, made it the most seductive country in Central Asia. Today, though these features still distinguish it, it is placed in the new global scenario with a fully renewed guise which makes it the jewel in the area's crown.

Over 20 years it actually managed to endow itself with its own structure and identity, doubtlessly more incisively and further reachingly than other ex USSR countries. This data may be even more appreciated if one considers its population, made up of only 17 million inhavitants, is subdivided into as many as 130 different religious confessions, which the state authorities were wisely able to harmonize, fleeing any attempt to ethnically-religiously characterize the Country. State modernization was also the fruit of smart economic choices, whose strategy did not stop on exclusively exploiting the huge energy resources available, but focussed on encouraging ambitious development projects based on the public - private partnership and attracting foreign investors tempted by the the privileged geographical position placing it near the greatest markets in Russia, China and India.

This geographical peculiarity makes Kazakhstan a transcontinental State and also a potential logistic platform for exchange between Europe and Asia and, in particular, in this moment which is recording an epochal change in geo-political, geo-economic scenarios which the greatest powers involved are also responding to via creating and planning great infrastructural works. In fact there is no doubt that in the emerging context, continental infrastructures form an essential moment for upturn, as they can influence both the technological modernization processes and foreign policy stability. As well as broadening works in the Suez Canals and Panama, which have surely stressed the role played by maritime links, one must in no way ignore the importance of the land ones, which see the Asian continent as one of the main characters.

Indeed, Asia – “pivot of the century”, which prof. Bajrektarevic describes as the place where “demographic-migratory pressures are huge, regional demands are high, and expectations are brewing” is the continent most interested in and involved by projects to create roads, tunnels and rail, infrastructures that should cross it from one strip to another. For example, China, which is playing a major role in this process, has for some years now got down to business, creating several strategic infrastructural projects that are useful in accompanying, protecting and raising the Country's expansive capacities. This surely includes the great land and sea "New Silk Way" project, devised by Peking with the principal aim of moving China closer to the rest of the Euro-Asian continental mass, as well as developing the inland zones remaining behind the coastal strip. There can be no doubt that the full completion of this project will have weighty geo-political repercussions, if one just considers it focuses on linking Europe and Asia under an infrastructural, economic profile, and at the same time going against US replacing on the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

In this new picture, Kazakhstan, already identifying itself as as "bridge" and joining land between the economies of Europe and Asia, finds itself back in the heart of a new East-West efficiency logistic axis represented by the current surge of motorway, Railroad and pipeline constructions. This looks to new, ambitious business opportunities, some of them already grasped by Italian firms (like Salini Impregilo and Todini), already busy creating one of these international transit corridors, while others could be profiled following the passing of the new Nurly Zhol state development programme, “The Walk Toward the Future”.

This programme, which aims to modernize the infrastructure and internal transport apparatus, also in view of the Expo to be held in the very modern Astana in 2017, intends to encurage foreign investments in transport / logistic and industrial / energy sectors so as to make the Country more efficient and in step with the interconnection processes developing both on a global level and in the "Euro-Asian" strip. The Expo event is bound to contribute to giving gloss to the capital representing the perfect synthesis of modernizing processes launched in the last two decades as well as the last in the utopian cities chronologically.

Astana, bearing the signature of Japanese architect Kisko Kurokava with collaboration from artists and intellectuals, was devised to represent, despite its distinctive Winter temperatures, the perfect city of the future model and celebrate the growing power of Kazakhstan. A revolutionary city that expresses the vision of its its planner, man dominating nature, and also embodies environmental sustainability principles, breaking with traditional city structures. Astana was indeed planned and created in sectors, putting the zones in a row starting from the industrial one, located around the station so as to exploit transport possibilities, following with residential areas, with parks and gardens, with the government's administrative ones and the diplomats' zone. As well as Astana, Kazakhstan also dares on the maritime transport megastructures, suggesting a "Euro-Asian channel" so that its ships, starting from the Caspian Sea, can reach the Black Sea and from there, via the Bosphorus, the Mediterranean.

Should this proposal become reality, it could turn the Country, thanks mainly to its geographical position and its constructive big neghbours, into the great "Euro-Asia" logistic platform, a great centre to shift products and services and attract investments located in the golden "heart of the world".



Filippo Romeo Director of the “Infrastructure and Territorial Development” Programme, IsAG Rome



December23, 2016



 


The Role of Europe in the Balkan region's geopolitical crossing
FILIPPO ROMEO
 

Geopolitics, the study of how spatial dimension impacts on and affects states' politics, may offer an important contribution to analysing strategies suited to developing rail infrastructures beween Italy and the Balkans.
The Balkan idea sets and fixes the concepts and definitions between real and ideological, so as to generate a counterposition of geographical and geopolitical concepts.

While in some cases the term "Balkans" does refer to a mountainous system, in others the definition tends to stretch to indicate the peninsula, or an area of chronic instability, a Europe powder keg or Continent underbelly, to the point of being used to decline a value judgement (consider the expression “Balkanization”, a paradigm used in other geographical contexts characterised by political instability.)

The peculiarity of this space, which was for centuries a vehicle for great migrations, wars, traffic and cultural exchange, is provided by its physical form, which made it a fault, or point of contact, between different areas (Western and Eastern), religious and cultural models (Christianity and Islam, Catholicism and orthodoxy), as well as between two opposing economic models. The Balkans, observing a map, further present a triple "personality" in short distances: Mediterranean and maritime along the coast, Central-European in the Southern plains, Balkan in the continental mass. The ethnic mosaic, another concept linked to the Balkans, seems, then, to represent a sole aspect linked to a wider context, characterised by being complex and fragmentary.

The counterpositions and tensions distingishing this area, crossing and subject to external yearning, differently renewed each year till today, appeal to long-term factors in European history, but mainly to insular, peripheral peculiarities and peculiarities of the closed spaces characterising them. These conditions actually made it hard to create and develop a proto-national awareness based on territorial consciousness deriving from urban, borgeouis culture. In contrast, the varied stratification of urban cultures have given rise to various identifying paths, on which Balkan nationalisms, mainly characterised by elements such as ethnocentrism and xenophobia, were built.

Affermation of new nations was actually based predominantly on the glue of purification from elements foreign to the natural Group. Such nationalist drives, on which foreign powers ambiguously weave cultural and geopolitical influence so as to erode definitively the authority of the Ottoman Empire and the institutional base it set up, will turn the Balkans into an area for European powers' rivalries to clash (interposed). In the same way one may remember how the unification of the Balkans was only possible with intervention by the Sultan's foreign power.

One may indeed state the history of these territories, proceeding in the same direction as geography, characteised by complexity and diversity, reinforced certain peculiar traits such as diffidence towards the State, reinforced cultural identities and weak territorial attachment, mainly linked to the field of the small natural region.

Such phenomena reappeared with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappearance of great multinational entities (the dissolvement of the USSR and Yugoslavia), which led to new races to fill empty spaces, hence giving rise to Yugoslav secession wars, which were - not by chance - situated on the ridge of a great geopolitical transition.

Europe - in some way agent for intervention in the US area to follow its own strategic interests - failed to take concrete action, and this not only hindered the search for a solution, but also furthered the existing conflicts, until one may call the area a "geopolitical hotbed”.
All this went on while the Community in Europe was trying to find a common market and negotiate the Maastricht Treaty to create an Economic_Monetary Union. So this crisis created a threat for the European constituting order, and also represented a failed chance for Europe to show it exists and can act as a great power.

It is clear that if the policy of a dynamic era like this one can exploit the evolved communication system so as to spread or compromise spaces and adopt names, concepts and strategic doctrines that do not correspond to previous geography, it still cannot change geography itself, or what man accumulated on the land for millennia, from an urban, economic, infrastructure, ethnic and political point of view.

Indeed, each strategic representation cannot ignore the powerful bonds created by geography and history. In our age's geo-history, the "Balkan hinge", whose borders often divided historians, refers to an idea of a firmly delineated area rather than a great geographical region (is the natural border the Balkan chain or the Danube? Do Rumania or Slovenia belong?

Turkey and Greece?) and occupies a European area represented by countries that entered the EU or are have been nominated to. For simplification, this area's central core may be represented by the triangle of Belgrade-Thessaloníki-Sophia. Under the strictly geopolitical profile, one may state even today the Balkans do not constitute a unified system, but they are very fragmented in both North-South and East-West directions. With the exception of Slovenia, and partly Croatia - for historical reasons tighly linked to Central Europe - the region may be subdivided into Western, Southern and Eastern Balkans. The first area is geopolitically characterised by the contrast between Serbia and Croatia to spread its influence to Bosnia and Herzegovina; the second by the Albanese issue and influence from Greece; the third has special features and is formed of States bathed by the Black Sea.

Europe has, then, the duty to integrate this area by a development and regional interconnection strategy that focuses on a solid infrastructural transport network, a tool that is fundamentally important in that it is suited to facilitate and raise economic interexchange and the cultural "contaminations" necessary to yield that European spirit of belonging, useful to create consolidated continental awareness, embryo for true, structured political union. Trans-Balkan circulation (consider the Danube axis, or Via Egnatia, the Ljubljana-Belgrade axis, and Istanbul therefrom) historically represented an element able to unify the region's various populations, in contrast to country and state atomising, favouring creation of an integrated whole, unifying the Balkans and linking them to the world. The circulation networks, then, represent a fundamental element, especially in this era of multi-pole geopolitical transition.

It is actually true that planning any infrastructural system can hardly ignore the global geopolitical and geoeconomic picture, even more so in the current context, where continental infrastructures constitute an essential moment for economic rebirth, able to affect both technology modernisation processes and foreign policy stability. In this regard it is important to refer to the fact that it is no accident the economic power developed recently by the Chinese colossus is supported by a series of strategic infrastructural projects useful for accompanying, protecting and raising the Country's expansion capacity.

This certainly involves the great "New Silk Way" project for land and sea, devised by Peking with the main aim of moving China close to the rest of the Euro-Asian continental mass and the Mediterranean, and also developing the inland zone, lagging behind the coastal strip.
But not only China, also other players like Russia, India, Iran and countries from Africa, ASEAN and Latin America are moving to create new communication paths.

So in the face of ths activism, experienced globally, it is good for the European front to also approach a development and regional interconnection strategy via a solid infrastructural transport network to involve all Europe and, most of all, the Balkan area. This could arise by simulating innovative initiatives to promote public - private partnership (obviously, no integration form may be painless, and to be held legitimate it must be based on consensus and acceptance by local governments).

This means the development of corridors becomes essential. For Italy in particular, corridors V and VII carry high strategic importance. Corridor V is especially important for Po Valley - Veneto outlets to the North-East. Primarily for the Trieste - Budapest route, which is central to the interests of Austria and Germany, which obviously have the understandable wish to keep intact all the Street and rail traffic using their networks, not least with regard to traffic from Southern France, the Iberian peninsula and Southern Switzerland.

These flows would actually be interrupted by Corridor V, should it present better conditions than the current ones. It must also be added that improved transborder links with the Balkan area could also encouage concrete, real stabilisation and integration thereof with Europe's Western part, freed from the (currently latent) danger of terrorism and crime. Continuing current instability would actually consolidate the proliferation of organised crime and terrorism, making the Balkan fault even more fragmented and unstable and creating an irreparable break with the sparkling Asian area which is living a period of unstoppable growth and expansion.

We must then focus on fully developing the concept of "network" to focus on creating full vertical and horizontal integration of the Europe system. This links could encourage mitigating this fragmentation which, as the opening foresaw, distinguished the history of this region, which could instead reproduce land for opportunity instead of conflict, representing at the same time an element to support Greater European integration.

FILIPPO ROMEO Director of the “Infrastructure and Territorial Development” Programme, IsAG Rome.



December 4, 2016



TRUMP'S ELECTION AND ITS IMPACT ON EUROPE

Authors: Daniele Scalea, Alessandro Cipri
 

It is particularly difficult to foretell what the foreign policy of a US president-elect will be.

We have plenty of examples of US presidents who – after coming into office – did not follow through on their electoral campaign pledges.

Even though Obama did actually conclude the agreement with Iran – as promised during his first presidential campaign – he was able to do that only in his second term, after having embittered the sanctions for years. While George W. Bush presented himself as an “isolationist” – in opposition to Bill Clinton and his humanitarian interventionism – he ended up launching two major wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, restraining from others just because of the poor-performances in these two. Richard Nixon, who won two terms on anti-communism, ended the war against the Vietnamese Communists and stroke a deal with Maoist China. Both Wilson in 1916 and Roosevelt in 1940 campaigned on an isolationist platform, just to lead their country into the first and second world war as soon as they were re-elected.

Forecasting the foreign policy stances of the upcoming administration is now even harder than with those of the past, considering that the President-Elect is not a long-time politician, and we do not even know who his Secretary of State will be. Even though a Republican-controlled Congress is certainly good for President Trump, the GOP is now bitterly divided among opposing factions, with Trump's "populist" wing fighting an internecine war against the mainstream conservatives within the party, many of whom did not even endorse him in the general election.

In fact, regardless of the success of the insurgent candidate, Congress is still filled up with Tea Partiers and establishment Republicans, potentially harboring resentment towards the rising pro-Trump hardliners. This internal conflict may well produce an hostile Congress for President Trump, especially when it comes to the most controversial points of his agenda, such as a review of foreign trade strategies towards fair trade.


So, before trying to figure out the potential consequences for Europe, let’s try to define at least some general elements of Trump’s hypothetical foreign policy.

 First of all, Trump has outlined a non-interventionist policy: no more wars for state-building or regime change. He want to spend less in military intervention and more in military supremacy, which means more R&D and less operational costs. This would imply sharing responsibilities with US allies, as well as leaving them more strategic freedom in and the pursuit of their particular interests.

•   He also wants to normalize relations with Russia, that have reached the bottom on Ukraine and Syria. He thinks that NATO is too expensive for Washington, whereas European allies are acting as free riders . NATO is the 28-nations – almost 70-years old – military alliance that unites US, Canada and Europe. Conceived as defensive alliance against USSR, experienced a consistend expansion of its membership in the years following the end of the Cold War, welcoming many former communist Eastern European countries; at the same time, it switched its focus from European defense out-of-area operations. Those are offensive military operations such as in Yugoslavia and Serbia, during the ‘90, or in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the Gulf of Aden in last fifteen years. However – since the Ukrainian crisis – NATO is redirecting its resources to the defense of its Eastern border, along an arc of tension with Russia ranging from the Arctic to Syria.

•   The July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA), strongly wanted by President Obama, has been harshly criticized by Trump. Under this deal, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. The main criticism on this deal is that the Iranian nuclear programme is suspended, rather than aborted, and in the meantime the Islamic Republic could be strengthened by the lifting of sanctions while keeping a regional stance opposed to the US. It is unlikely that Trump will reject the agreement as a whole, since that would require to negotiate a new one (and many years were needed for the current) or to come back to direct confrontation with Iran, which would mean major efforts in the Middle East for Washington - something Trump wants to avoid. So, the most probable outcome could be that the US introduces new extra verification measures of Tehran’s compliance of the Agreement, and promptly withdraws from it if any violation is observed.

   Trump is a vocal opponent of international free trade agreements, such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investement Partnership (TTIP), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), seen as factors of de-industrialization and industrial outsourcing, especially in China and Mexico.

•   Assuming that these vectors remain sound and Trump Administration manages to implement them at least in part, we could try to forecast some effects on Europe.

•   First, we have to consider that major European NATO members have been reducing their defence spending since the end of the Cold War. Not considering the US, it is only since 2015 that NATO defence expenditures are growing, as a consequence of Russian assertiveness in Eastern Europe. NATO guideline is to spend 2% of the GDP for Defence but, in recent years, only 3 out of 28 members follow this rule: United States (currently spending 3.61% of the GDP), United Kingdom (2.21%), and – surprisingly – Greece (2.38%). Greek good will, which is not diminishing but even increasing under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, is due to Athen's dependance on foreign loans, sometimes informally swapped with arms purchasing. Since 2015, two more countries abide by the 2% rule: Estonia and Poland. No wonder, since they are the most anti-Russian countries in NATO and the most vocal supporters of a military buildup on its Eastern border.

   Anyway, all that said, the remaining 23 members out of 28 spend for defence less than the recommended 2%: for example France 1.78%, Turkey 1.56%, Germany 1.19%, Italy 1.11%, Spain 0.91%. Since 2012, the US alone spends yearly more than all European allies altogether. Moreover, the limited improvement this year is due to the build-up on the Russian border - a military build-up that Trump will probably do not go along with.

It is highly improbable that Trump wants to dismantle NATO and – even if this was the case – it would be almost impossible for President Trump to realize it without facing insuperable obstacles. Most probably, Trump will just follow on Obama’s path in trying to lead from behind - just avoiding to mess up with Russia again. The theory of "leading from behind" arose in business circles, with Linda Hill of the Harvard Business School acknowledged as its mother. In foreign policy, it means to encourage others to take the initiative, while quietly establishing the strategy and leading the game. This, however, is a delicate art, because is a very short step from leading from behind to be led from the front.

About Obama's doctrine, Charles Krauthammer wrote on The Washington Post: “It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) international community to do what only America can”.

The experience of Libya in 2011 isn’t indeed comforting, with the UK and France pressing for a military intervention against the Gaddafi regime, only to leave afterwards a country broken into pieces and exposed to Islamist infiltration, even by ISIS.

But that’s not solely Europe's fault, nor it is completely US' fault: the responsibility is on the West as a whole, as London and Paris messed up Libya, like the US had messed up Iraq before, while our Arab allies are messing up Syria. Consequences are evident: with the treat of al-Qaida doubled up by ISIS, a lot of states in the region are either failed or on the verge of failing, Europe is under pressure from terrorist attacks and from an unprecedented flow of immigrants, with those two factors giving a huge contribution to Brexit and other displays of popular distrust towards the European establishment and institutions.

That’s why I think that the new line dictated by Trump – although challenging – will be positive for Europe We are facing problems that cannot be resolved without Russia’s help, not to say with Russia’s enmity. Think about the Syrian conundrum: a major Arab state has collapsed, and very hardly could be recomposed after five years of savage civil, ethnic and religious war, in which interests of many regional and world powers conflicted one another. Tensions in Eastern Europe compel both Russia and NATO to increase military expenditures, while mutual sanctions are harming both economies.

Even though the European establishment is complaining about Trump's stance on Russia and the mutual exchange of compliments between him and President Putin, we have to keep in mind that it was the United States to push for a confrontation with Russia, while many EU countries – such as Italy – were in favor of improving relations with it.

In fact, Italo-Russian relations have been free from critical issues since the Soviet-Yugoslav "separation" in 1948 and, even though Italy was part of the Western bloc, it often kept pushing for an improvement in its relations with the USSR.

A few years after the end of the Second World War, Manlio Brosio – then Italian ambassador in Moscow (and future NATO Secretary General – looked for Soviet support for his project of a neutral Italy, but failed in his attempt. Ten years later, politicians such as Amintore Fanfani, or public managers such as Enrico Mattei, launched the “New Atlantism” doctrine, according to which

while remaining loyal to the west – Italy would act independently, seeking friendly relations with Communist and Mediterranean countries. After the end of the Cold War, Italy has always been one of the warmest supporters of cooperation with Russia, especially during the government of Silvio Berlusconi, whose friendship with Putin was well-known. In 2002, during a meeting presided by Berlusconi in Pratica di Mare, Russia and NATO signed an historical cooperation agreement.

This agreement could well be the starting point for a new approach to collective security in Europe: one that seeks to engage, rather than confront Russia.

However, not everyone in Europe will agree, especially among the Eastern countries such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania or Hungary that – still recalling the period of Soviet domination – mistrust the Russians. It is true, anyway, that recent elections in Moldova and Bulgaria, both former Communist states, have witnessed the victory of Russia-friendly candidates. Those Eastern countries are also very conservative and suspicious of pro-immigration and liberal policies of Western Europe. In the mid- long-term, this factor could orient them towards Russia again.

Great Britain – a traditional rival of Russia – has in recent years led the front of anti-Russian countries opposed to a lifting of sanctions. But now that London seems next to leave the EU, and considering that the British usually follow a line dictated in Washington, it could be well possible that their stance towards Russia will soften a lot.

A major obstacle remains in Germany, where the German social-democratic party – relatively pro-Russian, for west-European standards ­– is going through a difficult time. Power is still strongly in the hands of the Christian-democrats and especially of Angela Merkel, who is toying with the idea of assert herself as the new leader of a liberal Western front, opposed to both Trump and Putin. Apart from her mania of grandeur, she is also following the objective national interests of Germany: the great winner of the process of European integration. Free trade, combined with a common currency (and so the inability for competitors, such as Italy, to conduct a competitive devaluation) have given Germany the economic dominance in the European Union. If Russia wants to move forward her influence in Eastern Europe, it has to confront face German opposition.

However, regardless of Russia's intentions, confrontation with Berlin may be inevitable, with the Germans pushing to expand their own influence in Belarus, Ukraine, and the Caucasus.

Another major obstacle to a Russia-West rapprochement is still the US: while Iit is true that Trump wants friendship, he could do that also through some minor concessions, such as a limited area of influence in the so-called Near Abroad, as Russians call the former Soviet countries with whom they still have critical security links. Trump is as famous to be a tough negotiator, as Putin is to be astute politician and, despite their good intentions, it is not guaranteed that they will find an agreement - because a very big deal it is required between Russia and the US.

Another side of Trump’s program concerns energy, where he promises to encourage the production of shale oil and gas, which is now limited by environmentalist legislation. Over the past decade, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has provided access to large volumes of oil and natural gas that were previously uneconomic to produce. The United States has approximately 610 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale natural gas resources and 59 billion barrels of technically recoverable tight oil resources. As a result, the United States is ranked second globally after Russia in shale oil resources and is ranked fourth globally after China, Argentina and Algeria in shale natural gas resources. But the tight oil and shale gas industries in the US have been suffering, mainly because of the increasing production from the Gulf states that, lowering prices, is pumping it out of business.

While in late in 2014 there were almost two thousands oil and gas rigs active in the US, in last July only 500 were still operating. Even though Trump cannot fully control some market fundamentals, as a large oversupply and sluggish demand, after his election U.S. shale producers are redeploying cash, rigs and workers, cautiously confident the energy sector has turned a corner. According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the OPEC cartel is poised to slash crude output, with an agreement struck in September by the Saudis and Russians to cooperate in the world oil markets. If all signs are true, prices could well go up in the upcoming months, giving oxygen to the US industry.

Trump’s victory also brings back on the agenda the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf Coast (where many refineries are located): a project blocked by Obama on the ground of its impact on the environment. The main target of the Keystone pipeline is to replace imports of heavy oil-sand crude from Venezuela with more reliable Canadian heavy oil, even though a good portion of the oil that will gush down the KXL will probably end up being sold on the international market.

Now, under the Trump Administration both US and Canadian oil & gas could arrive in greater amount to Europe: a net importer of energy, especially from Russia, which counts for 29% of total solid fuels imports, 30% of oil and 37% of gas. For years now Washington and Bruxelles have been trying to reduce European dependency from Russian energy, worried that this can translate in political dependency. In late February, the U.S. started exporting oil and gas to Europe, 40 years after the oil embargo imposed by the U.S. Congress.

Let’s move now to the Middle East and North Africa. As said before, the situation there is tragic and the West carries some responsibilities for contributing to open the Pandora’s box of regional contradictions, intervening in countries such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria to replace a brutal political order with no order at all.

If the US disengages from the region, however, the risk is to barter the restraint from reckless "adventures" overseas with an overall loss of initiative on the international scenario, with Europe unable to afford more military and security burdens, because of a contentious public opinion and of a very difficult time for economy. Without the US, therefore, it is very likely that also Europe will disengage from North Africa and the Middle East.

Anyway, at least for now, America is not going away from the region anytime soon, especially considering the emphasis that Trump put on ISIS' global threat during the campaign trail. According to the upcoming National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, Islamic radicalism is the enemy number one for the US. This will translate in a solid partnership with secular Arab leaders such as Egypt’s al-Sisi, whereas is still unclear how the Trump Administration will deal with Erdogan or the Saudis, whose links with Islamic radicalism are very suspicious.

Gen. Flynn believes the US is losing a global war against Islamist extremism that may last for generations, but he stresses that this war has to be fought also domestically, against any ideological infiltration. Trump and Flynn want to go after Islamism as Americans used to do with Communism. That brings us back to Europe again. Whereas only 1% of the US population is Muslim, Islam is thriving in Europe, due to ongoing immigration and to the higher fertility rate of Muslim communities, which is of 2.2 children per woman, while that of non-Muslim is 1.5. According to the Pew Center, Europe’s Muslim population is projected to increase by 63%, growing from 43 million in 2010 to 71 million in 2050, becoming more than 10% of the total population. Anyway, in countries such as France, they already are almost 10% of the population and, In some key cities – Paris and London, for example – Muslims exceed 15%. As it is well known, Europe is facing big problems in integrating even second or third generations of immigrants, especially Muslims. Muslim vote is beginning to matter in many European countries and important Muslim politicians are emerging, such as Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, or Rachida Dati, former French Minister of Justice, or Sajid Javid, the British Secretary for Local Government. Only the former is by a leftist party and they are not suspicious of Islamism. Anyway, according to the 2014 Jenkins Commission Report, in the UK the Muslim Brotherhood “[has] at times had significant influence on the largest UK Muslim student organisation, national organisations which have claimed to represent Muslim communities (and on that basis have sought and had a dialogue with Government), charities and some mosques”.

If the Trump Administration is going to consider Political Islam as an ideological enemy – such Communism during the Cold War – it will likely work on barring its way in Europe. The US has a long history of interfering in European domestic politics and Trump has already given a taste by meeting Nigel Farage a few days after his victory in the election. It could well be that the Trump Administration will try to advise the Western European leadership against persisting in their open doors policy toward Muslim immigrants, or to favour those political forces more akin with its ideas: usually the Right, maybe also the anti-globalist one, as the National Front in France, UKIP in UK, the Northern League in Italy, AfD in Germany. The leaders of all these forces, plus the Hungarian President Viktor Orban, in fact rejoiced at Trump’s victory. Breitbart, the news website which spearheaded Trump campaign and from whom the new White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon comes from, already has a London bureau, but is now planning to open new branches in France and Germany.

A few days ago, Francois Fillon has surprisingly won the the Right primaries in France. The hardliner among main candidates, Fillon is pro-Russian, very conservative, quite Thatcherist, and unfavourable to mass immigration. Very probably he will compete for the presidency with the far-rightist Marine Le Pen.

Even if society in the US remains very different from that of Europe, the rampant globalization of recent decades has made it quite close compared to half a century ago. Both the US and Europe have experienced massive deindustrialization with a geographical concentration of the remaining high-tech industries in a few islands of happiness – whose wealth is striking, when compared to the many rust belts of the Western world. Both the US and Europe have seen a deep financialization of their economies and have been overwhelmed by the so-called politically correct way of thinking. It’s true: in the U.S. you can find also the Bible Belt, but if we consider the European Union as a whole, we could see a Catholic Belt in its Eastern countries, opposed to Sweden (a European California) or London and Paris (European New Yorks), or in general the more liberal Western countries. Exactly as in the US, also in Europe, post-modernism is currently hegemonic in colleges and mainstream media, which are trying to inculcate it also in the common man.

Finally, the massive immigration flows of last decades into Europe are making its society more and more resembling to the composite ethnic mix of North American society – even in the trend towards communitarian vote. According to reliable statistics, the last time white voters in the US favoured in majority a democratic presidential candidate was in 1964: Lyndon Johnson. Since then, Carter, Clinton and Obama won the elections thanks to the decisive vote of minorities. If you look to the Brexit vote, for example, you will find out that the social group more favourable to remain in the European Union were not Scottish nor Irish, but the new minorities: Asians, Blacks and Muslims. In such similar environments, it is predictable to find similar political trends and demands: Trump's victory in the US may be soon followed by populist successes in Europe.


In conclusion, we can say that, regardless of his real actions once in office, Donald Trump is already influencing European politics by encouraging the already rampant rightist and populist parties. This will translate in more regulation of the immigration flows, abatement of the EU supranational power on European countries, and better relations with Russia. That is true even if those populist forces do not win any election: in fact, more traditional parties and politicians are compelled to adopt at least some of their requests not to lose approval and power. But, if President Trump will maintain his electoral promises, even greater changes are looming in Western politics and society . A lasting conservative and populist turn could affect the Western system, leading to a possible inclusion of Russia into it.






ALESSANDRO CIPRI

Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International Security". Having served in the Italian Army's "Alpini" mountain troops, he has a keen interest in national security, military strategy, insurgency theory, and terrorism studies. His Master's dissertation was on the impact of drug trafficking on the evolution of the Colombian FARC.





December 4, 2016



ALLONS ENFANTS

By Michael Akerib

 

"The treaty does not say that France must undertake to have children, but it is the first thing which ought to have been put in it. For if France turns her back on large families, one can put all the clauses one wants in a treaty, one can take all the guns of Germany, one can do whatever one likes, France will be lost because there will be no more Frenchmen."

George Clemenceau

A bit of history

France went through the second demographic transition in the middle of the eighteenth century and its population lagged behind those of Germany and Great Britain. While citizens of these last two countries immigrated, France imported migrants from other Catholic countries such as Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain. The French government also took pro-natality measures such as such as family allowances.

While originally Europe’s most populated country, France’s slide into lower birth rates preceded the other countries of the continent by approximately 100 years. At the end of the 1930s, the country had the world’s oldest population.

The French population, which has doubled over a period of two hundred years, has alternated periods of strong growth (in the first half of the 19th century, early 1920s and from the end of the Second World War to the 1960s) and of decline.

One of the reasons for France being a demography laggard was most certainly the fact that French women had easier access to contraception than other European women, and in particular than German women. Further, the First World War killed or made prisoner 1.3 million men. One in eight Frenchmen aged between fifteen and forty-nine died.

Petain’s government during the German occupation attempted to increase birth rates through the distribution of medals, but registered a total failure.

Natality today

Today France is only one of two countries in Europe with a growing population and has the continent’s highest birth rate at 2.0 children per woman, representing three quarters of Europe’s positive demography, but it remains below the replacement rate of 2.07. No doubt this very honourable result is due to the fact that the country offers a large number of day care centers, generous parental leave, allowances and tax breaks. France spends annually nearly 70 billion Euros, or nearly 4% of GDP, in various payments to encourage birth and the upkeep of children. One percent of GDP, or nearly 12 billion Euros, is spent just on the upkeep of children younger than three years old.

Immigrant fertility is another important contributor. In Paris, for instance, one third of the mothers is foreign-born.

These results have been achieved in spite of a number of drawbacks.

Women have, in France like in other countries, entered massively in higher education, and therefore couple formation takes place increasingly later. Therefore highly educated women are time-restrained to have more than one or two children.

While marriages have reached a low point, civil unions (PACS or Pacte Civil de Solidarité) are catching up with marriages – half the cohabiting population is not married. Women in France have their first child at 28 years old, ten years after their first sexual relations, while it was 24 years old thirty years ago.

The number of childless women has remained stable at a low level and one woman in five has only one child and this has been a stable figure. 11% of women remain childless while the norm is of a two-child family.

Women who are practising Catholics have a higher birth rate than non-practising women. The decline in fertility parallels religious decline.

Men are increasingly childless. One of the reasons is that an increasing number of men live alone. However, this increased incidence of childlessness also affects men who have been married or lived with a heterosexual partner – 12% have remained childless.

Aging

It is forecast that France’s population will be of 73.6 million on January 1, 2060, thus representing an increase of 11.8 million compared to 2007. The number of people aged 60 or over will have increased, during the same time period, by 10.4 million and will represent one third of the population or 23.6 million. The number of people aged 75 to 84 will be of 11.9 million and those over 85 would be 5.4 million. Only 22% of the population will be younger than 20. These figures are based on a scenario in which the average number of children per woman is of 1.95, there is a positive migratory flux of 100 000 per year and life expectancy continues to progress at the same rhythm as in the past.

While French women have a long life expectancy, among the longest in Europe, this is not the case for French men. For a male born in 2006, life expectancy was of 77.4 years, while it was 84.4 years for a male. By 2050, these figures are expected to be, respectively, of 82.7 and 89.1 and by 2100 to be, respectively, of 91 and 95.

By 2060 the country should have 200 000 persons over 100 year old. In fact, their number doubles every 10 years with the vast majority (6 out of 7) being women.

If France’s long term demographic growth is confirmed, with a population reaching 75 million by 2050, the equilibrium between European nations would be altered - Germany would have slightly under 71 million inhabitants, Great Britain just under 59 million and Italy 43 million, equal to the present Spanish population.

The percentage of the population over 65 compared to the rest of the population – is expected to increase from 28% in 2013 to 46% in 2050 at which time the average life expectancy will have grown from 81 to 86 years.

Health issues

Compounding the extension of life and the continued higher than European-average birth rates, there will be a lack of personnel to take care of both these extremes of the population curve. This phenomenon has been called the ‘care deficit’.

Economic impact

The economic dependency ratio – in other words the percentage of the population over 65 compared to the rest of the population – is expected to increase from 28% in 2013 to 46% in 2050 at which time the average life expectancy will have grown from 81 to 86 years. This is expected to increase savings rates as pensions may be unable to offer generous payments to retirees. France is, in fact, France is the country in the EU where people spend the longest time in retirement: 24.5 years against an average of 19.8.

A French specificity is the very small rate of employment of the population over 55 years old, particularly in comparison to other European countries. Thus, only 18% of the 60 – 64 years old are employed while the corresponding figure in Sweden is of 64%. Even worse, only 4% of the 65 – 69 age bracket are employed in France against 18% in Sweden. The situation in France is due not only to the fact that it is felt that younger persons are more productive, but also to the large salary differentials between employees due to their age and number of years in employment in the same company.

Another effect of ageing is the later transmission of the inheritance. This means that the inheritors will be older than previously and will therefore be less tempted to make riskier investments, such as in shares. Corporations may face difficulties in raising finance.

By 2060, the cost of aging will represent 3.7% of GDP. The majority of these costs will be represented by health costs as although the population is aging, the number of years during which the population is in good health is not changing.

Conclusion

Will France end up as a poor country of older people with those in the most advanced age groups left to care for themselves as the number of care givers shrinks?

Unless a reversal of the population decline takes place, this is what is most likely to occur.








Michael Akerib, professor of business and entrepreneurship, former University Vice-Rector

Owner, Rusconsult





December 4, 2016


PRESS RELEASE

Camilla Habsburg-Lothringen becomes the new Director at IFIMES

 LJUBLJANA, November 28, 2016 – Her Imperial and Royal Highness Camilla Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Tuscany is the new Director appointed for Euro-Mediterranean Diplomacy and Intercultural Affairs at the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES).



 

At the official ceremony the promulgation document has been handed over to the new Director by the Institute’s Honorary President Stjepan Mesić (former President of Croatia), in the presence of the Vice-Chair of the Institute’s Advisory Board Prof. Dr. Ernest Petrič (former Constitutional Court President of Slovenia), and Institute’s Directors Bakhatyar Aljaf and Dr. Zijad Bećirović.

Upon the ceremony, the Institute’s Honorary President Mesić has expressed his great satisfaction of being part of such esteemed team. He emphasized his content that the Institute gets decisive support from a prominent personality such as Her Highness Habsburg-Lothringen. “Her reputation, experience and vigour will give a new impetus to IFIMES. We are all honoured, thrilled and pleased having Her with us.”

 Vice-chair of the Institute’s Advisory Board, Prof. Petrič has pointed out importance of collaboration of different stake-holders in our decisive build-up of society for the new century. “In the world burdened with grave problems, but short of decisive and lasting actions, it would be hard to imagine better team member than Her Highness Habsburg-Lothringen. Once more, we are proud to have Her in the leadership of IFIMES.”

Closing this, Her Highness also voiced her own gratitude for this prestigious position in the only world institute that connects two fascinating regions, that of the Middle East and of the Balkans. Director Habsburg-Lothringen stressed importance of the unique civilizational circle, that of Euro-Mediterranean – “Euro-Med is the cradle of the Western civilization, today’s pivot, and modus vivendi of our common future”.

Her Highness sincerely hopes that her work with IFIMES in the field of diplomacy and intercultural affairs will strengthen, accelerate and diversify the Institute’s scope and range.

“Consciousness, grand visions and means to achieve them always necessitates wide coalition of both skilled and open-hearted individuals. Our recent past brought untold number of sufferings all over our continent. Names count, but numbers too. 

Our past needs the truth, but not us locked there. It is high time to start living our tomorrow. Cross-continental and cross-generational, our future starts now.

The official ceremony was attended by many officials from Slovenia and the Western Balkans.

Link (in Word&Photos): http://www.ifimes.org/en/9259

IFIMES Presentation film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=645V9eryieI  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ifimes  
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ifimes     
Youtube: www.youtube.com/ifimes   

Ljubljana, 28 November 2016

International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies - (IFIMES)
Vošnjakova 1,  P.O. Box 2795
SI-1001  LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA, EU
Tel.++386 1 430 15 33
Fax. ++ 386 1 430 15 34
E-mail: ifimes@ifimes.org
Http: www.ifimes.org





November 28, 2016



ORPHAN EUROPE

By Tomislav Jakić
 

After Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections (which was, by the way, a surprise only to those indoctrinated, seduced or simply bought), Europe, or to be more precise: the European Union is behaving like an orphan, abandoned by its strong father, whose hand it held and whom he(she) followed wherever he went. Europe does not know. Europe is asking. Europe has to know. Europe is warning. All this is addressed to the new leader who will take over the White House in mid-January next year. When we say “Europe” we think, it should be repeated, on the European Union, although the countries, just a few of them remaining, who are not already members of the EU are equally puzzled, they don’t know what to do and who will give them instructions for their behavior in the future.

This total disorientation and – let us put it frankly – the fear from a situation in which they will have to think for themselves and to take over the responsibility for what they are doing, this is the main characteristic of European countries after Trump’s victory. If we believe him “nothing will be as it was”, but let us be aware of the fact that Europe got accustomed to the role of a US “lackey” from the first days after victory in WW 2 and especially in the days of the cold war and extremely tense relations between East and West. The only exemption was France in the years of President Charles de Gaulle.

The general even took his country out of the military structure of NATO, because –as he saw it – the US dominance in the Atlantic Pact did not correspond with the role he wanted his country to play on the international scene. But the rest followed, although the public opinion in these countries would from time to time openly rebel against the American policy (just two examples: demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and against deploying the Pershing missiles in Germany). What is however important, is the fact that, despite these vigorous protests, the ruling elites in Europe accepted the role of followers of the US, without asking any unpleasant questions.

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November 19, 2016



The Sino-US relations – Recalibration or Repetition?

By Qi Lin

 

The Chinese grab for fossil fuels or its military competition for naval control is not a challenge but rather a boost for the US Asia-Pacific –even an overall– posture. Calibrating the contraction of its overseas projection and commitments – some would call it managing the decline of an empire – the US does not fail to note that nowadays half of the world’s merchant tonnage passes though the South China Sea. Therefore, the US will exploit any regional territorial dispute and other frictions to its own security benefit, including the costs sharing of its military presence with the local partners, as to maintain pivotal on the maritime edge of Asia that arches from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, Malacca, the South and East China Sea up to the northwest–central Pacific. Is China currently acting as a de facto fundraiser for the US?“– professor Anis H. Bajrektarevic famously asked in his policy paper ‘What China wants for Asia: 1975 or 1908?’.

Contextualizing the challenge, hereby a fresh take on the issue. The U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific in Obama Administration has concentrated on reinforcing traditional alliances, redeploying Navy forces, and creating multilateral cooperation mechanisms, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Unfortunately, mounting suspicions have undermined the Sino-U.S. relationship and stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

Washington needs to take a larger, more constructive approach. It needs not only to engage China but use U.S. leverage to influence China to act in a parallel fashion. U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific rely on regional stability and require a compatible China. The focus of U.S. policy toward China needs to become a win-win relationship.

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November 19, 2016



(UN)EXPECTED PRESIDENT

By: Tomislav Jakić

 

Tomislav Jakić
Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić

Shock! Disbelief! Total surprise! Those media (and politicians) who have in the preceding election campaign totally uncritically, but systematically supported Hillary Clinton, try by using such words to convince the public opinion (and themselves most probably) that the election of Donald Trump as the next American President is a total surprise (a mistake, almost). But – this is not how things really are. This is, simply, not true.

On one hand Trump seems to be a surprise to those who conducted an almost unprecedented media campaign for the former Secretary of State and for those too who allowed to be convinced (if not deceived) by this campaign, but on the other hand Trump’s victory is no surprise at all for those who tried, free of all prejudices, to analyze all elements of the election campaign and its foreseeable result. Of course one could argue about the fact that it is tragic for today’s America and its political scene, dominated by Republicans and Democrats who successfully prevent any “third candidate” to come even close to the presidential race, that in these elections we witnessed the confrontation between an excentric millionare, a somewhat dubious businessman and a figure from the reality shows and a woman directly responsible for destabilizing the whole Middle East and for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. But, there is not one single word about this from those who are “shocked” and “surprised”.

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November 15, 2016



The Trump Train is already heading towards Europe

Daniele Scalea
 

The “Trump Train” (once a Twitter hashtag and then a successful metaphor of the assertive, and to date unstoppable, reform wind blown by Donald Trump) is finally arrived at the White House. But this is very likely not the final destination of its journey. The Trump Train could soon arrive in Europe.

And it would be a return trip. As Donald Trump frequently referred to, his campaign owes a lot of inspiration from the Brexit movement. Surely Trump got in politics well before, but after June he's started referring to his rise as a “Brexit plus plus plus”. And it wasn't just a motivational motto.

The Trumpist and Brexiteer final arguments strictly resemble one another: a proudly nationalistic rebuttal of adverse fallouts of globalization, from industrial outsourcing to the (West)self-hating ideology of extreme multiculturalism. The Trump Train and the Brexit share also a common grass-roots social base of support, which are the White working and middle classes of small cities and rural areas especially.

Even if US society is still very different from the European one, the rampant globalization of last decades has made them quite close compared to half a century ago. Both US and Europe has experienced massive deindustrialization with a geographical concentration of the remaining high-tech industries in a few islands of happiness – few compared to the many rust belts of the Western world. Both US and Europe has seen a deep financialization of their economies. Both US and Europe has been overwhelmed by the new ideology of the so-called politically correct, a post-modern, constructivist, relativist and anti-Western set of theories and practices.

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November 12, 2016



Multiculturalism is dead? Not quite yet.

(Recalibrate expectations and travel beyond Europe)

Alessio Stilo*

 

Multicultural approaches and policies vary widely all over the world, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group to which they belong. Two different strategies, as recently pointed out by Ms. Camilla Habsburg-Lothringen, have been developed through different government policies and strategies: The first, often labelled as interculturalism, focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures. The second one, cohabitative multi-culti does center itself on diversity and cultural uniqueness; it sees cultural isolation as a protection of uniqueness of the local culture of a nation or area and also a contribution to global cultural diversity.

A sort of “third way” between the two above-mentioned strategies has been traditioned and further enhanced by core Asian counties, e.g. Azerbaijan, where state policy has been accompanied, in a complementary way, to a certain activism of intermediate bodies (civil society, universities, think tanks).

Multiculturalism is a state policy of Azerbaijan and it has become a way of life of the republic ensuring mutual understanding and respect for all identities. The year 2016 has been declared the Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan, as stated by President Ilham Aliyev on January 10. This decision was made taking into account the fact that Azerbaijan brings an important contribution to the traditions of tolerance and intercivilization dialogue.

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November 5, 2016



The (Trans-Siberian train of) Heartland or (Mare Liberum of) Rimland?
Mega structures for the next century

By Filippo Romeo

 

This year marks the centenary of the creation of the legendary Trans-Siberian railway of Russia. By an ironic twist of fate, this falls right in the middle of an epochal change in geopolitical and geo-economical scenarios, whose main powers involved are also responding by creating and planning great infrastructure works. There is actually no doubt that in the profiled context the continental infrastructures constitute an essential moment for recovery, able to affect both technological modernisation processes and foreign affairs stability. This is true if one considers a nation's economic development, and by effect its geopolitical clout on a global scale, depends heavily on 'voluntary geography' improvement via implementing a modern, technologically advanced transport infrastructure system able to face and overcome the 'distance' factor.



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October 10, 2016


The most dangerous Wizard in the EU

Gerald Knaus

 

One year ago ESI described Viktor Orban as the "most dangerous man in the EU." Since then, Viktor Orban has exploited the confusion and insecurities around the European refugee crisis, and the weakness of mainstream political leaders, to further expand his influence in EU capitals and in Brussel

This week we talked to the Economist, explaining what made Orban so dangerous for the EU:

"Mr Orban presents a unique danger, argues Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative, a think-tank, because he injects a far-right virus into the bloodstream of Europe's political centre. Fidesz's membership of the European People's Party, a centre-right pan-EU political group, gives Mr Orban the ear of Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, and other mainstream conservatives. Yet while he may spurn hard-right outfits like France's National Front or the Austrian Freedom Party, he borrows from their playbook. He lays charges of treason against those who seek to import "hundreds of thousands of people" from "groups outside European culture". Migrants have turned parts of cities like Berlin and Stockholm into "no-go zones", his government argues."


Viktor Orban (in this week's Economist) and the Wizard of Oz

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October 10, 2016



Europe – Hell is other people
(Europe after the Brexit, NATO summit in Warsaw and Turkish geopolitical vertigo)

Anis H. Bajrektarevic

 

A freshly released IMF’s World Economic Outlook brings no comforting picture to anyone within the G-7, especially in the US and EU. The Brexit after-shock is still to reverberate around.

In one other EXIT, Sartre’s Garcin famously says: ‘Hell is other people’. Business of othering remains lucrative. The NATO summit in Warsaw desperately looked for enemies. Escalation is the best way to preserve eroded unity, requires the confrontational nostalgia dictatum. Will the passionately US-pushed cross-Atlantic Free Trade Area save the day? Or, would that Pact-push drag the things over the edge of reinvigorating nationalisms, and mark an end of the unionistic Europe?

Is the extended EU conflict with Russia actually a beginning of the Atlantic-Central Europe’s conflict over Russia, an internalization of mega geopolitical and geo-economic dilemma – who accommodates with whom, in and out of the post-Brexit Union? Finally, does more Ukrainian (Eastern Europe’s or MENA) calamities pave the road for a new cross-continental grand accommodation, of either austerity-tired France or über-performing Germany with Russia, therefore the end of the EU? Southeast flank already enormously suffer. Hasty castling of foes and friends caused colossal geopolitical vertigo in Turkey, whose accelerated spin produces more and more victims.

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October 4, 2016



EU Reloaded?

by Dr. Peter Jankowitsch

 

Revisiting and rethinking Europe recently on these very pages, prof. Anis Bajrektarevic asked: “… is the EU the world’s last cosmopolitan enjoying its postmodern holiday from history? Is that possibly the lost Atlántida or mythical Arcadia– a Hegelian end of history world? ... a post-Hobbesian (yet, not quite a Kantian) world, in which the letzte Mensch expelled Übermensch?” Yet another take on the most critical EU debate comes from Austria, this time from the long time insider into the rocky European policy-making. The narrow result of the UK referendum to leave the European Union was not the catalyst for the increasingly pressing question of whether the concept and practice of European integration, which has defined the course of European history since the end of the Second World War as well as enabled prosperity, security and the advancement of the continent, are now exhausted and should be replaced by other models. Ever since France and the Netherlands voted against a European constitution, there have been more and more signs of Europe becoming less appealing in its current form. This is also evident in the growing number of election victories of ‘Eurosceptics’ to ‘anti-European’ parties within the founding states of the Union. Some of these factions have already managed to gain seats in the European Parliament. Public support of the EU, regularly recorded by the Eurobarometer, is falling in nearly all 28 Member States (MS). It has only remained high in a few candidate countries such as those of the Western Balkans.

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September 26, 2016



DMCA Abuse: How corporations are using US copyright law to harass and silence individuals

Murray Hunter

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was unanimously passed by the United States Senate on 12th October 1998, and signed into law by President Clinton on 28th October the same year. The Act was put into law to interpret and enact two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties which dealt with copyright circumvention and providing Internet service providers (ISP) and online service providers (OSP) safe harbour against copyright liability, provided they meet specific requirements.

The DMCA criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly called digital rights management) that control access to copyrighted works. Further, the DMCA also criminalizes the act of circumventing any access control, even if there is no actual infringement of the copyrighted material itself, i.e., providing a mere link to a third site where suspected copyright material exists is criminal.

The Act has extended the reach of US law beyond its traditional geographical jurisdiction. Moreover, the Act has given copyright right holders a “lethal weapon” to utilize against parties who allegedly breach their claimed copyright. That is, the ability to claim copyright breach directly against any individual. Further, the Act enables copyright holders to force ISPs and OSPs to take down any identified alleged infringing material immediately from any internet site.

However the Act doesn’t give respondents any recourse against a DMCA takedown notice before any material is taken down by the ISPs and OSPs.


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September 24, 2016


 

Italy and Egypt: from Regeni to Libya, the difficult path towards normalization

Daniele Scalea

 

The last, recent joint note of Italian and Egyptian attorneys on Giulio Regeni's murder shows that a good degree of cooperation in the investigation has been finally reached. Unfortunately that has required various months during which Egyptian transparency wasn't so high. Moreover, as the Italian attorney Pignatone has reminded, that underway is not a joint but a mere Egyptian investigation, to whom Italian investigators are only collaborating. So, the chances that we will know one day who and why really killed Regeni are in the hands of destiny and of Egyptian judiciary. For now, it appears fallen at least the trail to the alleged gang of kidnappers killed by the Egyptian police last March.

It is quite obvious that someone among the Egyptian apparatus has tried to sabotage the investigation – too many false trails, omissions and so on. That doesn't mean, however, that Regeni was killed by Egyptian authorities, not to mention a direct involvement of President al-Sisi, which is really unlikely (even if speculations about that appeared on the Italian newspapers “La Repubblica”, citing a mysterious Egyptian source). The admission that police investigated on Regeni isn't an admission of guilt. Egyptian authorities said that the denunciation came from an independent trade union and that the investigation lasted only three days. Could that support the hypothesis of a murder committed by union officials? Whether or not, we are probably still far from any truth, both real or official.


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September 23, 2016



BiH 2016 local election:
Dodik's referendum –opening Pandora's box in the Balkans?”

Bakhtyar Aljaf
 

Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold local election on 2 October 2016. There are 3,345,486 registered voters in the country. The number of voters who will vote by post at the forthcoming election has significantly increased to 65,111. About 30,000 candidates are competing for the positions in the future local government. Altogether 2,835 councillors will be elected, of which 1,687 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), 1,117 in Republika srpska (Rs) and 31 in the Brčko District, as well as 301 city council members of which 117 in FBiH and 184 in RS, 131 mayors of municipalities and 12 mayors of cities. Election will be held in all local government units with the exception of the city of Mostar where no election has been held since 2008. The greatest responsibility for the situation in Mostar lies with two leading parties: the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and Croatian Democratic Union of BiH (HDZBiH). Despite their optimistic announcements regarding the agreement to be concluded on local elections in Mostar, the current political leadership has not reached any solution yet. The current election campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been marked by traditional political rivalries. As usually there are two political blocks in Republika Srpska: one coalition comprises Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Democratic People's Union (DNS) and the Socialist Party (SP), while the other one (Union for Change) is a coalition between the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) and Democratic People's Alliance (NDP).

Director: Bakhtyar Aljaf

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September 17, 2016


Geopolitics of Climate Change:

Future of Tao and Quantum Buddhism
[1]

Anis H. Bajrektarevic

From Rio to Rio with Kyoto, Copenhagen and Durban in between Paris right after and the recent China’s G-20, the conclusion remains the same: There is fundamental disagreement on the realities of this planet and the ways we can address them. A decisive breakthrough would necessitate both wider contexts and a larger participatory base to identify problems, to formulate policies, to broaden and to synchronize our actions. Luminaries from the world of science, philosophy, religion, culture and sports have been invited to each of these major gatherings. But, they – as usual – have served as side-events panelists, while only the politicians make decisions. Who in politics is sincerely motivated for the long-range and far reaching policies? This does not pay off politically as such policies are often too complex and too time-consuming to survive the frequency and span of national elections as well as the taste or comprehension of the median voter. Our global crisis is not environmental, financial or politico-economic. Deep and structural, this is a crisis of thought, a recession of courage, of our ideas, all which leads us into a deep, moral abyss. Small wonder, there was very little headway made at the Rio+20, Paris Summit and beyond.

Between the fear that the inevitable will happen and the lame hope that it still wouldn’t, we have lived… That what can be and doesn’t have to be, at the end, surrenders to something that was meant to be…[2]

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September 11, 2016



Gong or Song from China’s Hong Kong?

Aine O’Mahony, Elodie Pichon

 

Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact: aine-claire.nini@hotmail.fr

Elodie Pichon has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and Security at King's College London. Contact : elodie.pichon@gmail.com

Following the recent abduction of five Hong Kong publishers, alleged to have edited books disclosing “inconvenient truths” about the Chinese government, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest and fight for their right to have Freedom of Expression, which had already been enshrined in the Fundamental Law of Hong Kong. The post 80 generation wants to defend civil liberties and young people are concerned by the fact that the Chinese grip on the media could be the potential starting point for the end of the “1 country, 2 system” policy, agreed on between China and Great Britain for the transfer of sovereignty over this territory. Is it reasonable to believe that this territory could become a simple reproduction of China, as feared by the younger generation?

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Augustus 2, 2016



Europe Hell is other people

(Europe after the Brexit, NATO summit in Warsaw and Turkish geopolitical vertigo)

Anis H. Bajrektarevic

 

A freshly released IMF’s World Economic Outlook brings no comforting picture to anyone within the G-7, especially in the US and EU. The Brexit after-shock is still to reverberate around.

In one other EXIT, Sartre’s Garcin famously says: ‘Hell is other people’. Business of othering remains lucrative. The NATO summit in Warsaw desperately looked for enemies. Escalation is the best way to preserve eroded unity, requires the confrontational nostalgia dictatum. Will the passionately US-pushed cross-Atlantic Free Trade Area save the day? Or, would that Pact-push drag the things over the edge of reinvigorating nationalisms, and mark an end of the unionistic Europe?

Is the extended EU conflict with Russia actually a beginning of the Atlantic-Central Europe’s conflict over Russia, an internalization of mega geopolitical and geo-economic dilemma – who accommodates with whom, in and out of the post-Brexit Union? Finally, does more Ukrainian (Eastern Europe’s or MENA) calamities pave the road for a new cross-continental grand accommodation, of either austerity-tired France or über-performing Germany with Russia, therefore the end of the EU? Southeast flank already enormously suffer. Hasty castling of foes and friends caused colossal geopolitical vertigo in Turkey, whose accelerated spin produces more and more victims.

Read more on the next page:.........

July 19, 2016



Blair + NATO + ISIL = Genocide:

Immaculate Conception of the Iraqi mess

By İLNUR ÇEVIK

 

Britain is receiving blow after blow these days. First, the British people decided to pull their country out of the European Union. This was then followed by threats from the Scots and the Northern Irish to pull out of the United Kingdom. Just as the dust started to settle down, England bade farewell to Euro 2016 in France when they lost to tiny Iceland, a result that was seen as a disaster equal to pulling out of the EU... But that is not all.

Now a report prepared by Sir John Chilcot, an official inquiry, has shattered British confidence and has shown that the invasion of Iraq by the United States and Britain 13 years ago was a great mistake based on lies and deception and has served to ruin Iraq, divide it into pieces, push the Shiites into the laps of the Iranians, create DAESH and eliminate Saddam Hussein. But for the one Saddam Hussein that was removed, another 1,000 Saddam's have emerged. It has also led to the groundwork that has pushed neighboring Syria into utter chaos...

Then-U.S. President George W. Bush and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair today are trying to justify what they have done. Up to now, nearly a million Iraqis have died because of the mess these two created and nearly 5 million people have been displaced. The two have being justifying themselves by saying Saddam was a tyrant and had to be deposed of. But what they have created and the mess they have left behind is unforgivable.


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July 18, 2016



Turkey’s Strategic Reset: engagement instead of contention

By Barçın Yinanç

'The EU loves to portray itself as a pan-European project. However, it stubbornly rejects and systematically demonises the only two European countries that have steady economic growth, Russia and Turkey. Is the EU on its way to end up as the League of Nations – pretending to be universalistic project, but by excluding major powers, derogating itself to the margins of history?’ – asked prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic, well before the Brexit vote, in his enlightening piece ‘Geopolitics of Technology’.  What is the new dynamics in this triangular equitation?  Let’s examine the Turkish take on this fundamental question.
 Ever since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, members of the Foreign Ministry have had ample opportunity to witness the deeply-rooted relations established between political Islamic movements all over the world and the ruling party. One of the best one is with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That’s why, it is not surprising to hear President R.T. Erdogan put Egypt in a different category from Israel and Russia.

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July 13, 2016



Summary of
INTERESTS & INFLUENCES OF
MAJOR EXTERNAL ACTORS IN CENTRAL ASIA
Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic & Samantha Brletich

 


H. Bajrektarevic

Anis H. Bajrektarevic is a Professor and a Chairperson for International Law and Global Political studies, Vienna, Austria. He is editor of the NY-based Addlton’s GHIR Journal (Geopolitics, History and Intl. Relations), as well as the Senior Editorial member of many specialized international magazines, including the Canadian Energy Institute’s Journal Geopolitics of Energy.
 

SAMANTHA BRLETICH

Samantha Brletich, specializing peace operations policy at George Mason University, Arlington, VA, with a focus on Russia and Central Asia. She is the prominent member of the Modern Diplomacy’s Tomorrow’s People platform. Ms. Brletich is an employee of the US Department of Defense.
 

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JULY 4, 2016



IT law - a challenge of dispute resolution

doc. dr Jasna Čošabić

 

IT law or cyber law or internet law, is evolving in giant steps. On its way, it has many challenges to meet and a lot of burdens to cope with. Being a part of international law, it is though specific in its nature, mode of implementation and protection. While the classic international law deals with classic state territories, state jurisdictions, with a clear distinction between national laws, the IT law is uncertain about the state jurisdiction, earthbound borders, rules and proceedings regarding any dispute arising on internet.

However, with a fast development of information technology, the number of legal contracts and businesses on internet rises, requiring the fast response by legal order in terms of regulating and protecting it.

From the time internet emerged, each entity operating on internet provided for its own rules. With the IT becoming more complex and demanding so were the rules. We therefore say that internet is self-regulated, with no visible interference by state, apart from criminal activities control.

Some authors even call the internet private legal order where stateless justice1 apply. Justice usually needs a state, which is a supreme authority, having the monopoly of violence, or the legitimate use of physical force. But speaking in internet terms, self-regulation has evolved, with the state interference being mainly excluded.

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JUNE 08, 2016



Pakistan in the US, the US in Pakistan: Self-denial is the biggest threat to world peace

By Rakesh Krishnan SIMHA

 

One of the ironies of being a Pakistani living abroad, especially in the West, is having to pose as Indian. According to Asghar Choudhri, the chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association, a lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and after the botched Times Square bombing of 2010, it’s even worse. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job,” he told a US wire service.

That is because while Indians are highly integrated immigrants – besides being the highest educated and best paid of all ethnic groups in the US – Pakistanis have taken part in terrorist activities in the very lands that gave them shelter. (Even the frequent Gallup surveys conducted in the US, found out repeatedly that the biggest threat to the international security and peace are: nr. 3 Saudis; nr. 2 Pakistanis, and nr.1 – surprise, surprise –  the US itself.) 

From Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 (8 years before Bin Laden) and is now serving a 240-year prison sentence to Mir Aimal Kansi, who shot dead CIA agents and was later executed by lethal injection, to Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square “Idiot Bomber”, there is a long line of Pakistanis who have left a trail of terror.

The San Bernardino, California, attack of December 2015 by a Pakistani American couple was the most spectacular in recent times. The husband was American-born raised and yet he chose to launch a terror act against the people of the United States.

But while Pakistanis wear an Indian mask for Western consumption, back home it’s business as usual.

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JUNE 01, 2016



MUSEUM 'INVISIBLE' GENERATION

Writes: Dzalila Osmanovic-Muharemagic

 

Many still remember a sign at the door of National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina stating „THE MUSEUM IS CLOSED“, which for years only bothered few of the conscientious. Recently the museum has been reopened in silence and without much fanfare, as if still someone wants the public to be unaware of the times when Bosnia was not prostrated, when it taught the others of tolerance, while its men and women lived and died for its every corner. Right after the reopening an unexpected route led me to the Museum, where a prophetic recollection from my childhood made me realize I belong to an „invisible“ generation.

Long time ago, at the beginning of high school, some good teacher considered it would be useful for high school students, the future intellectuals (today mostly well-educated, unemployed young people or doing a menial job in a foreign country) to visit the Museum, that basic cultural institution. It was an interesting fieldtrip, without too much work, a lot of photos and mingling. Great for us – the high school rookies!

There we watched some old rocks, beautiful exponents of folk garments and much more. We watched, yet we saw nothing... We did not see, since we did not know what there was to see, since the entire primary school we learned about great adventures of Marco Polo, Columbus, French Revolution and Hitler.

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May 18, 2016



Suicidal Nuclear Gambit on Caucasus

(Game of Poker at best, Game of Chess at worst, and neither option should be celebrated)

By Petra Posega

 

Nuclear security is seemingly in the vanguard of global attention, but the large framework of international provisions is increasingly perceived as a toothless tiger. In the contemporary age where asymmetric threats to security are one of the most dangerous ones, the time is high to mitigate the risk of rouge actors having potential access to materials, necessary to develop nuclear weapons.

Nowhere is this urgency more pivotal than in already turbulent areas, such as the South Caucasus. With many turmoil instabilities, lasting for decades with no completely bulletproof conflict resolution process installed, adding a threat of nuclear weapons potential means creating a house of cards that can cause complete collapse of regional peace and stability. That is precisely why recently uncovered and reoccurring actions of Armenia towards the goal of building its own nuclear capacity must be addressed more seriously. They should also attract bolder response to ensure safety of the region is sustained.

According to the report by Vienna-based nuclear watch-dog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Armenia has established quite a record of illegal trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials. There have been a couple of serious incidents spanning from 1999 onward. A large number of reported incidents has occurred on the country`s border with Georgia, tempting the IAEA to conclude there is high probability that the so called Armenian route does in fact exist. There is a further evidence to support this assertion. There were an unusually high number of Armenians caught in nuclear trafficking activities. Additionally, some of the reported incidents that made their way to the official reports suggested that the main focus of trafficking activities is in fact smuggling of nuclear material that could be used for nuclear weapons capabilities. There were also reports suggesting the trafficking of other radioactive material that could be utilized for alternate purposes, such as the building of a so called dirty bomb. Since the stakes with nuclear weaponry are always high to the extreme, the recognition of this threat must not be underrated and dismissed easily.

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May 18, 2016



I FREE myself from Facebook

By Rattana Lao

 

BANGKOK – It was sometimes ago that the New Yorker featured a cartoon that went something like this: “With the internet, you can be a dog behind a computer and nobody knows.”

That's my thought on the internet in general and social media in particular. Behind the masks of perfectly manicured life or perfect make up, there are multiple truth, reality, flaws and imperfection.

I joined Facebook when I was doing my Masters of Science in Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science – far away from my hometown glory of Bangkok, Thailand. Although I have known about Facebook from my highschool roommate when it was only accessible for IVY League students, I was not quite excited about it. I thought to myself “who in their right mind published their lives to the public?”

During the same time, the One Laptop Per Child policy was popular. I remember attending several public forums whereby tech savvy professionals tried to convince low-tech Development experts that the internet is powerful and through it we can end world poverty. Something like that.

Being an outgoing and outspoken introvert, if that makes sense, I signed up for FB with an ambivalent feeling. On the one hand, I wanted to keep in touch with my friends and family from afar – to let them know how I was, what I ate, where I travelled to. On the other hand, I was scared and anxious of the unintended consequences. Well, given that my BFF called me “the most intense meaning making machine,” I was not sure I could cope with the outflow of comments from strangers about my life.

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May 15, 2016



India’s Education – one view on Optimisation and Outreach

Dr.Swaleha Sindhi

 

Introduction

In the present era of globalization, organizations are expected to work with a creative rather than a reactive perspective and grow to be flexible, responsive and capable organizations in order to survive. In the existing scenario people are exposed to diverse knowledge through internet, there is much to learn and more to assimilate. Senge’s (1990) model of the five disciplines of a learning organization emphasizes on the concept of systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision and team learning. This points on continuous learning for individuals and organizations, with a great stress on the idea of bringing change with innovation and creativity. If the future organizations are driven by individual and collaborative learning, it is advisable to transform schools also into learning organizations, instead of school education being restricted merely to the process of acquiring facts and loads of numerical information to reproduce in examination using rote learning methodologies (current scenario in Indian schools).

In line with the needs of education system in India, schools should become more effective learning organizations that ultimately increase the leadership capacity and support the personal development of every individual at the institution. In chalking out the aims of education in India, Kothari commission report (1964-66) stressed that ‘education has to be used as powerful instrument of social economic and political change.

Read more on the next page:.........


May 12, 2016



Hungry of Hungary – One (senti)mental journey

By Julia Suryakusuma

 

Some days ago, I achieved historical continuity between Hungary and Indonesia — well, at least in connection to my father and me.

How so?In the early 1960s, my father was assigned to set up the Indonesian Embassy in Budapest. Indonesia had already established diplomatic relations with Hungary in 1955, but did not actually have a physical embassy.

During my father’s time there as chargé d’affaires, he met with many high-ranking officials. Among the old photos from those times, there is one of him shaking hands with János Kádár, Hungary’s prime minister at the time. Kádár was PM from 1956 to 1988. Thirty-two years, just like Indonesia’s Soeharto.

As dad’s daughter, I was invited to a luncheon at the State Palace on Feb. 1 — hosted by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo naturally — in honor of Victor Orban, the current Hungarian prime minister who was here for an official visit. I had my photo taken with him. Cut-to-cut: in 1962 my dad with the then Hungarian PM, in 2016, me with the current Hungarian PM.

While 54 years have lapsed, my fond memories of Hungary have not. My father passed away in 2006, so unfortunately he could not witness the historical continuity his daughter created, albeit only as a snapshot (pun unintended!).

Read more on the next page:.........


April 26, 2016



450 Years of Jewish Life in Sarajevo

By Mads Jacobsen
 

 In this week's long read, Mads Jacobsen explores the Jewish experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina through the eyes of Sarajevo-born Rabbi Eliezer Papo.

The Ashkenazi Synagogue in Sarajevo (Foto: Mads H. Jacobsen)

“If you imagine Bosnia to be a piece of somun, that piece of bread you eat during Ramadan, you cannot say that Jews are the water of that somun, nor can you say that they are the flour, but you can certainly say that they are the black seeds on the top of it. Now, could a somun survive without it? Yes. Would it still be the same somun? Certainly not. Jews are currently a small percentage of the Bosnian population, but they are an important part of the urban population, and they have contributed a great deal to the country. So, could Bosnia do it without Jews? Yes. Would it still be the same Bosnia? Certainly not”, explained Rabbi Eliezer Papo in an interview with the Post-Conflict Research Center.

This year, the Jewish community in Sarajevo celebrated its 450th anniversary by hosting an international conference in the Ashkenazi Synagogue dedicated to folklore, linguistics, history and the relationship between the Jewish community and other communities. Following this anniversary, Mads Hoeygaard Jacobsen – an intern at the Post-Conflict Research Center – had the chance to interview Sarajevo-born Rabbi Eliezer Papo to talk about the Jewish experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the different epochs of the country’s history. 

These mixed marriages proved important in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995, since the Jewish community of around 2,000 people8 was the only one equally related to the three combating groups.

Read more on the next page:.........

Mads Jacobsen

Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at Aalborg University...

April 24, 2016



Is Caucasus the next Syria - Don’t forget OSCE

By Aleksandra Krstic

 

The recent all-shoot out in Azerbaijan between the ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijani forces brought yet another round of casualties, psychological traumas and property destructions. Sudden and severe as it was, the event sent its shock waves all over Caucasus and well beyond. Is Caucasus receiving the ‘residual heat’ from the boiling MENA? Is this a next Syria? Is a grand accommodation pacific scenario possible? Or will it be more realistic that the South Caucasus ends up violently torn apart by the grand compensation that affects all from Afghanistan up to the EU-Turkey deal?

Most observes would fully agree that for such (frozen) conflicts like this between Azerbaijan and Armenia, mediation and dialogue across the conflict cycle have no alternative. Further on, most would agree that the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) with its Minsk Group remains both the best suited FORA as well as the only international body mandated for the resolution of the conflict.

However, one cannot escape the feeling that despite more than 20 years of negotiations, this conflict remains unresolved. What is the extent of the OSCE failure to effectively utilize existing conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation tools?

The very mandate of the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group is based on CSCE Budapest Summit document of 1994, which tasks them to conduct speedy negotiations for the conclusion of a political agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict, the implementation of which will eliminate major consequences of the conflict and permit the convening of the Minsk Conference. In Budapest, the participating States have reconfirmed their commitment to the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and underlined that the co-Chairmen should be guided in all their negotiating efforts by the OSCE principles and agreed mandate, and should be accountable to its Chairmanship and the Permanent Council (PC).

Read more on the next page:.........

Aleksandra Krstic , studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.

Contact: alex-alex@gmail.com

April 20, 2016



PRIVACY I(N)T CONTEXT

doc. dr. Jasna Cosabic

 

The right to privacy, or the right to respect for private life, as the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees it, has been affected by the IT growth era. Privacy has long been protected, but will face a new dimension of protection for the generations to come. The right to respect for private life is not an absolute one, and may have a different feature in different context.

By Niemitz v. Germany judgment (1992) the European Court on Human Rights ('the ECtHR') included the right to connect with other individuals into the notion of private life, saying that it would be too restrictive to limit the notion of an 'inner circle' to personal life and exclude therefrom entirely the outside world not encompassed within that circle. The right to communicate was thus inscerted into the the privacy context.

But the extent of communication and technologies which enable it signifficantly changed since.

Few decades ago, it mainly consisted of personal communication, communication by conventional letters and phone communication. At the time the Convention was adopted in the mid last century, there was no internet, not even mobile/cell phones, nor personal computers. The feature of privacy protection was much more simple then today.

Now, when we approach the rule of IoT (internet of things) communication, not only do people communicate, but 'things' as well. The subject of that 'non-human' communication may also be private data of individuals. At the same time, the individual, human communication became more simple, available at any time, and versatile by its means.

Read more on the next page:.........

doc. dr. Jasna Čošabić
professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina

jasnacosabic@live.com

April 18, 2016



Saudi – Iranian future: 3 games – 3 scenarios

By Manal Saadi

 

There is no need to argue on Saudi Arabia and Iran as the two biggest regional powers in the Gulf, the rising tension between the two countries who are engaged in proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and somehow Bahrein had installed a climate of Cold War.2.

How did we get there?

Saudi Arabia existed since 1932 as a Sunni country and the birthplace of Islam. Its history of creation is so unique, mesmerizing and fascinating.
Iran, has a glorious past, with various empires that conquered the Arab-Islamic world at certain pe-riod of time.
While the Shah was in power, Iran’s relations with the Arab Gulf States were normalized, Iran’s navy used to act as the policeman of the gulf. The situation has changed when the Iranian Islamic revolution occurred in 1979, with consequences on both countries and on their relationships. Iran’s Ayatollah wanted to export their respective model and undermine Saudi Arabia that Iranian officials see as corrupt and unworthy due to its relation with the United States and the West. The Shia country is also supporting Shia communities in the Gulf which is seen as a direct threat to Saudi Arabia.

Read more on the next page:.........

Manal Saadi, of Saudi-Moroccan origins, is a postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University.
She was attached to the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UNoG and other Geneva-based IOs, as well as to the Permanent Mission of the GCC to the UN in Geneva.

April 4, 2016



Near East and the Nearer Brussles Euro(h)ope possible ?

Anis H. Bajrektarevic

 

There is a claim constantly circulating the EU: ‘multiculturalism is dead in Europe’. Dead or maybe d(r)ead?... That much comes from a cluster of European nation-states that love to romanticize – in a grand metanarrative of dogmatic universalism – their appearance as of the coherent Union, as if they themselves lived a long, cordial and credible history of multicul-turalism. Hence, this claim and its resonating debate is of course false. It is also cynical because it is purposely deceiving. No wonder, as the conglomerate of nation-states/EU has silently handed over one of its most important debates – that of European anti-fascistic identity, or otherness – to the wing-parties. This was repeatedly followed by the selective and contra-productive foreign policy actions of the Union over the last two decades.

Twin Paris shootings and this fresh Brussels horror, terrible beyond comprehension, will reload and overheat those debates. However, these debates are ill conceived, resting from the start on completely wrong and misleading premises. Terrorism, terror, terrorism!! – But, terror is a tactics, not an ideology. How can one conduct and win war on tactics? – it is an oxymoron. (In that case, only to win are larger budgets for the homeland security apparatus on expenses of our freedoms and liberties, like so many times before.)

Read more on the next page:.........

Anis H. Bajrektarevic,
contact:
anis@bajrektarevic.eu
Author is chairperson and professor in international law and global political studies, Vienna, Austria. He authored three books: FB – Geopolitics of Technology (published by the New York’s Addleton Academic Publishers); Geopolitics – Europe 100 years later (DB, Europe), and the just released Geopolitics – Energy – Technology by the German publisher LAP. No Asian century is his forthcoming book, scheduled for later this year.


24 MAR 2016



Poles Saving Jews in Bangkok: History Lesson for Humanity

by Rattana Lao

 

BANGKOK – Polish, Israeli and Thai diplomats, academics and students gathered together to listen and learn about the courage of Polish people saving the Jews during the Second World War.

Chulalongkorn University hosted “The Good Samaritans of Markowa” exhibition to honor the innocent and brave Polish families in Markowa who risked their lives saving the Jews from Nazi extermination. The event took place in Bangkok to celebrate the 40th year of lasting friendship between Poland and Thailand.

During the course of World War II, more than 50,000 Jews were saved by Polish people. Each Jewish survivor needed to change their shelter at least 7 times and required as many as 10 people to be involved in the process.

Irena Sandler, a Polish nurse, was one of the brave Poles who saved at least 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. At the end of the War, 6,600 Polish people were awarded with the Israeli Righteous Amongst the Nation.  However, not every brave Pole survived Nazi capture. Approximately, 1,000 to 2,000 Poles were executed as punishment to save the Jews.  

The brutality of War took away more than 6 millions Jewish lives and has inflicted deep wounds to those who have survived. The Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II in Markowa is one of the Museums established to offer a place of solace and for those who are left behind to come to term with this atrocity.

Understanding the complexity of the Holocaust has far reaching ramification not only to those directly affected, but also to students and public who live world apart and far removed from it.

Why?

Read more on the next page:.........

The first step for Thai students is to get the facts right.
Hitler is not a Hero and the Nazi is not a symbol of democracy.


24.03.2016



Bosnia and the first circle of hell

Gerald Knaus


In the first half of the 1990s, Bosnians found themselves in the deepest circles of hell, in a world of war, genocide and ethnic cleansing. Following the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995 Bosnians were able to escape war, but have since remained trapped in a different European underworld: isolated, looked down upon, seen as hopeless and treated as such.

In Inferno, the first book of his Divine Comedy, Dante describes his journey through nine circles of hell. The Bosnian predicament brings to mind the first circle of Dante's inferno, Limbo, which hosts "virtuous pagans struck with grief from a lack of God's presence." Pagans had the misfortune to be born at the wrong time and in the wrong place. They might be good people but, unbaptized, they could not enter purgatory. Paradise is forever closed, not because of their deeds, but because of who they are. It is time for Bosnia to be allowed to escape from Limbo. A new ESI report sets out how:

ESCAPING THE FIRST CIRCLE OF HELL or  The secret behind Bosnian reforms

One popular idea about Bosnia and Herzegovina among European observers is that Newton's first law of motion applies to its politics: this law says that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. For Bosnian politics, that outside force has to be the international community.

Read more on the next page:.........


24.03.2016


PUBLICATIONS: 2016


 Brexit – Pakistanization finally comes home - Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedic

 Why is Europe able to manage its decline, while Asia is (still) unable to capitalize (on) its successes - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

 Geostrategic Pulse is studied at Harvard! - (Format-PDF)

 Kazakhstan – Euroasian heart of gold - By Filippo Romeo

 The Role of Europe in the Balkan region's geopolitical crossing - FILIPPO ROMEO

 TRUMP'S ELECTION AND ITS IMPACT ON EUROPE - Authors: Daniele Scalea, Alessandro Cipri

 ALLONS ENFANTS - By Michael Akerib

  Camilla Habsburg-Lothringen  becomes the new Director at IFIMES

 ORPHAN EUROPE - By Tomislav Jakić

 The Sino-US relations – Recalibration or Repetition? - Qi Lin

 (UN)EXPECTED PRESIDENT - By: Tomislav Jakić

 The Trump Train is already heading towards Europe - Daniele Scalea

 Multiculturalism is dead? Not quite yet - Alessio Stilo

 The (Trans-Siberian train of) Heartland or (Mare Liberum of) Rimland? - Mega structures for the next century - By Filippo Romeo

 The most dangerous Wizard in the EU - Gerald Knaus

 Europe – Hell is other people - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

 
EU Reloaded? - by Dr. Peter Jankowitsch

 DMCA Abuse: How corporations are using US copyright law to harass and silence individuals - Murray Hunter

  Italy and Egypt: from Regeni to Libya, the difficult path towards normalization - Daniele Scalea

  BiH 2016 local election: Dodik's referendum –opening Pandora's box in the Balkans?”

  Geopolitics of Climate Change: Future of Tao and Quantum Buddhism - Anis H. Bajrektarevic


  Gong or Song from China’s Hong Kong? - Aine O’Mahony, Elodie Pichon

  Europe – Hell is other people - (Europe after the Brexit, NATO summit in Warsaw and Turkish geopolitical vertigo) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

  Blair + NATO + ISIL = Genocide: Immaculate Conception of the Iraqi mess - By İLNUR ÇEVIK

  Turkey’s Strategic Reset: engagement instead of contention - By Barçın Yinanç


  Summary of INTERESTS & INFLUENCES OF MAJOR EXTERNAL ACTORS IN CENTRAL ASIA - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic & Samantha Brletich

  IT law - a challenge of dispute resolution - doc. dr Jasna Čošabić

  Pakistan in the US, the US in Pakistan: Self-denial is the biggest threat to world peace - By Rakesh Krishnan SIMHA

  MUSEUM 'INVISIBLE' GENERATION - Writes: Dzalila Osmanovic-Muharemagic

  Suicidal Nuclear Gambit on Caucasus - Petra Posega

  I FREE myself from Facebook - By Rattana Lao

  India’s Education – one view on Optimisation and Outreach - Dr.Swaleha Sindhi

  Hungry of Hungary – One (senti)mental journey - By Julia Suryakusuma

  450 Years of Jewish Life in Sarajevo - By Mads Jacobsen

  PRIVACY I(N)T CONTEXT - doc. dr. Jasna Cosabic

  Saudi – Iranian future: 3 games – 3 scenarios - By Manal Saadi

  Near East and the Nearer Brussles Euro(h)ope possible? - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

  Poles Saving Jews in Bangkok: History Lesson for Humanity - by Rattana Lao

  Bosnia and the first circle of hell - Gerald Knaus


  Mongolia and the New Russian Oil Diplomacy - By Samantha Brletich

  Noah, Peter Pan and the Sleeping Beauty (Europe – Identity Imagined) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

  Key to Stop Refugee Flows: Unique higher education programme for Conflict zones - Prof. Dr. DJAWED SANGDEL

  Quantum Islam: Towards a new worldview - Murray Hunter and Azly Rahman

  Currency dictatorship – the struggle to end it - by Rakesh Krishan Simha

  Creative Economy and the bases of UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Programme as instrument for growth and development - by Giuliano_Luongo_200
 



info@orbus.be
www.orbus.be






Koninkrijk Belgie - Monarchie Belgique










Maasmechelen Village


Maasmechelen Village




Adria




BALKAN AREA
BALKAN AREA




prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Editor - Geopolitics, History, International Relations (GHIR) Addleton Academic Publishers - New YorK

Senior Advisory board member, geopolitics of energy Canadian energy research institute - ceri, Ottawa/Calgary

Advisory Board Chairman Modern Diplomacy & the md Tomorrow's people platform originator

Head of mission and department head - strategic studies on Asia
Professor and Chairperson Intl. law & global pol. studies



Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic



MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]
HE ONGOING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: IMPACTS ON AND LESSONS FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]



Carla BAUMER
Climate Change and Re Insurance: The Human Security Issue SC-SEA Prof. Anis Bajrektarevic & Carla Baumer



 
Igor Dirgantara
(Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Politics, University of Jayabaya)




Peny Sotiropoulou

Is the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism?




Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella

A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems

Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella




Alisa Fazleeva earned an MA in International Relations from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom in 2013. Her research interests include foreign policy decision-making, realism and constructivism, and social psychology and constructivism.



 
Corinna Metz is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace & Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.




Patricia Galves Derolle
Founder of Internacionalista
Săo Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age





Dimitra Karantzeni
The political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and use social networks?

 


Michael Akerib
Vice-Rector
SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY




  
Petra Posega
is a master`s degree student on the University for Criminal justice and Security in Ljubljana. She obtained her bachelor`s degree in Political Science- Defense studies.


Contact: posegap@live.com





Samantha Brletich,
 George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and Intl. Relations She focuses on Russia and Central Asia. Ms. Brletich is an employee of the US Department of Defense.


Interview on HRT-Radio

Prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarević




Dr Filippo ROMEO,



Julia Suryakusuma is the outspoken Indonesian thinker, social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.

Contact: jsuryakusuma@gmail.com 








Mads Jacobsen
Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at Aalborg University...




Dzalila Osmanovic-Muharemagic
University of Bihac, Faculty of Education, Department of English Language and Literature - undergraduate
University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Philology, Department of English Language and Literature - graduate study




Rakesh Krishnan Simha

New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According to him, he writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.

Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business World magazine, and later worked in a string of positions at other leading media houses such as India Today, Hindustan Times, Business Standard and the Financial Express, where he was the news editor.

He is the Senior Advisory Board member of one of the fastest growing Europe’s foreign policy platforms: Modern Diplomacy.





Damiel Scalea
Daniele Scalea, geopolitical analyst, is Director-general of IsAG (Rome Institute of Geopolitics) and Ph.D. Candidate in Political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. Author of three books, is frequent contributor and columnist to various Tv-channels and newspapers. E-mail: daniele.scalea@gmail.com




Alessio Stilo,
 
Research Associate at Institute of High Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome, Italy, and Ph.D. researcher at University of Padova, is IMN Country Representative in Italy.




Tomislav Jakić
Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić





Zlatko Hadžidedić

Graduate of the London School of Economics, prof. Zlatko Hadžidedić is a prominent thinker, prolific author of numerous books, and indispensable political figure of the former Yugoslav socio-political space in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.