Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor in Chief
Paris nor Brussels!
We want to live in peace with all
regardless of their religion, color and origin.
Therefore, we condemn any
kind of terrorism!
Ne više Pariz ni Brisel!
Mi želimo živjeti u miru sa svim našim
bez obzira koje su vjere, boje kože i porijekla.
Zato mi osuđujemo svaku vrstu terorizma!
Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis
Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty -
Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity
Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak
DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA
- INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International
Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is
currently teaching in Bangkok.
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana,
Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US
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 is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and
specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation.
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?
Univ. prof. Dubravko Lovrenović is one of the leading
European Medievalist specialized in the Balkans, pre-modern and
modern political history.
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at
the Geneva-based UMEF University
professor of IT law
and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
, 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.
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:
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 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:
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 :
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.
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.
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO
is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist
University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her
research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
Dutch - Nederlands
French - Français
German - Deutsch
La-La-Land of Central Asia
Kazakhstan and its “Astana Code of Conduct”
By Samantha Brletich
defining terrorism in any particular case implies a political
component, this very category becomes quite extensive - a subject to
different readings and understandings. Having permanent – primarily
political – disputes over the category and scale of ‘conflict’,
contemporary international community repeatedly failed over decades
to agree upon a single and comprehensive but universal instrument
determining, prescribing and combating terrorism. As a consequence
of these - mostly political and less legal – implications, today we
are confronted with some two dozen international (universal and
regional) instruments. These instruments are good, but far from
being a norm-setting standardized and harmonized.
Thus, the tentative political definition of (international)
terrorism could be as follows: Terrorism is the use of violence as
political means of pressuring the government and/or society into
accepting a radical socio-political or/and socio-economic change
(ideological or/and territorial). The word terrorist is obviously
self-incriminating (demonizing and alienating), and consequently
most terrorists would not apply the label to themselves.
Experts estimate that for every apprehended/detained terrorist
another 9 remain at large (rating it to 10%). Therefore, many
describe terrorism like a balloon: squeeze one end and it expands at
the other.” - professor Anis H. Bajrektarevic analyzed in his
seminal work ’JHA Diplomacy – The Palermo Treaty System 10 years
Hereby is the take on the national legislation with the huge
regional impacts that comes from the ‘heart of gold’, biggest and
most relevant Central Asian republic – one of the key pivots to
* * * *
In President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s first speech to
the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Kazakh Head of State set
forth what is considered a landmark initiative called the “Astana
Code of Conduct” focused on preventing and tackling terrorism and
extremism while maintaining human rights standards. The Astana Code
of Conduct reflects Kazakhstan’s four main UNSC priorities and
trends in international security: energy security, food security,
counter-terrorism measures, and nuclear safety. These four
priorities reflect greater Central Asia interests “to ensure its
stability and security, to effectively respond to regional
challenges and threats, to strengthen cooperation and promote its
growth and development.”
President Nazarbayev’s political address “at the UNSC addresses
seven key priorities, the fourth priority emphasizing the acute
problem of international terrorism. The fourth priority introduced
the Astana Code of Conduct was hailed by members of Kazakhstan’s
Government as a landmark initiative, hoping that nations would
“refrain from the actions which may lead to destruction of
statehood” emphasizing Kazakhstan’s desire push to end or mitigate
global conflict. It also reflects the ubiquitous diplomatic trends
of engagement, cooperation, and partnerships, in Kazakhstan’s
multi-lateral and regional policies and arrangements.
The Astana Code of Conduct is nascent. The Code of Conduct will
probably be based on Kazakhstan’s prior national-level programs and
priorities, cooperative efforts, and current counter-terrorism
efforts. The central tenet of the Astana Code of Conduct, ending
extremism and terrorism, is already visible in Kazakhstan’s attempts
to be the mediator in high-profile negotiations and talks aimed at
sustaining peace such as Syria and Iran. Kazakhstan hopes that the
Astana Code of Conduct will lead to the formation of the Global
Anti-Terrorist Coalition (Network) to defeat terrorism and reduce
the global terror threat. Kazakhstan will chair the Security Council
1267 Committee on ISIL and Al-Qaida.
The Astana Code of Conduct will be a multi-lateral effort focusing
on challenging the root causes of terrorism, confronting
transnational groups, preventing power vacuums, and destabilization.
In March 2016, Kazakhstan called for a new program, “Manifesto: The
World. The 21st Century,” focusing on non-proliferation, global
cooperation, and ending war. Kazakh officials met with the OSCE
Astana Program Office to discuss anti-counter terrorism efforts in
mid-October 2016. Kazakhstan would also benefit from European
assistance and cooperation combating terrorism online.
After 2011, Kazakhstan reformed its counter-terrorism strategy
through community participation by creating web-based instruments to
prevent terrorism: www.counter-terror.kz , and a mechanism created
recently for citizens to report terrorist or extremist activity via
the Prosecutor General’s Office website. Changes to the
Counter-Terrorism Law improving counter-terrorism methods, increased
regional security and cooperation through the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) and the Collection Security Treaty Organization
aid Kazakhstan’s fight against domestic terrorism.
Kazakhstan also shut down 950 websites (with court approval) and
increased the use of information technology against terrorism, and
in January 2013, the Kazakhstan National Security Committee
announced the launch of a Security Academy to train specialists.
Kazakhstan has long been the recipient of criticism about its human
rights records, the misapplication of anti-terrorism measures to
silence the opposition, and the absence of basic civil liberties
including freedom of press, assembly, religion, and association.
Changes to the Counter-Terrorism Law resulted in violations of
religious freedoms among Muslims, arbitrary detention, and increased
powers among the security services.
Like its chairmanship of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Kazakhstan’s position on the UNSC
provides the country with access to materials, resources, and the
opportunity to implement policies and improve its human rights
record. This Central Asian colossus did not live up to its
commitments as OSCE chair. Kazakhstan recently announced future
basic constitutional reforms to redistribute power among the
executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Kazakhstan must be
willing to implement resolutions and programs developed during its
UNSC chairmanship and not use the UNSC as a way to push an
international agenda without a domestic commitment.
About author: Samantha Brletich is a
researcher on the region of Central Asia and Russia. She focuses on
extremism and terrorism, governance, culture, mining, and foreign
policy. She holds a Master’s in Peace Operations Policy from George
Mason University. She is an employee of the U.S. Government
(opinions and ideas are her own).
January 31, 2017
Donald Trump, Nuclear Issue and
By: Markus Wauran
were so many controversial statements made by Donald Trump during
the United States Presidential Election, which makes many parties
underestimated Trump’s chance to victory towards the White House.
One of Trump’s controversial statements was during an exclusive
interview with the New York Times on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Trump
said if he is elected as US President, he would be open to Japan and
South Korea producing their nuclear deterrent. They should not
always be depending on the US military to protect themselves from
North Korea and China. The US military would not be able to protect
Japan and South Korea for a long period of time. He argued that the
US cannot always be the policemen of the world.
Trump also asserted that there will be a point where
the US could not be able to do all that anymore. North Korea
probably has their nuclear arsenal, so he would rather have Japan
and South Korea having a nuclear capability too, as we are living in
a nuclear world right now.
This controversial statement alarmed the world and
received a strong reaction from various sides. President Obama,
during the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on
Friday, 1 April 2016, among others stated that all this time the US
involvement in the Asia-Pacific region has been important. Because
it is also the safeguard key that maintain the peace between the US
and countries in that region up until now. Having US presence is
very important to withstand any conflicts between each other.
Therefore, Obama continued, the person (Donald Trump) who made such
comments does not know much about policies, as well as nuclear
policy, or the Korean peninsula, or even about the world in general.
Japan and South Korea has been considered important as the pillars
of US presence in Asia Pacific, as it advantaged the US quite
substantially on the trade side, and prevent nuclear escalation and
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fumio Kishida as quoted by CNN, also
reacted by expressing his disagreement with Trump’s proposal, saying
it is impossible for Japan to build a nuclear capability. Japan is
the only country that has experienced a nuclear attack, and if they
follow Trump’s proposal, there will be a chance that the Hiroshima
and Nagasaki tragedy can happen again.
Jonathan Cristal, a professor and observer from a think-thank
agency, the World Policy Institute in New York, also commented by
saying that Trump’s proposal is contrary to the government’s
commitment to strengthen the alliance with various countries like
Japan and South Korea, the two strongest allies in Southeast Asia.
Cristal stated that Japan and South Korea will consider various
options if true that the US is no longer protecting them. First
option, Japan and South Korea will pay a protection fee to the US,
similar to the way Estonia contributed 2% of their GDP to NATO for
protection. Second option, Japan and South Korea will develop their
own nuclear weapon. Cristal concluded his statement by saying if
Trump ignored the US alliance in Asia and triggered Japan and South
Korea to produce nuclear weapon, there will be a domino effect
following to happen to other countries.
Trump’s statements is in fact denying international
convention, which regulated in the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation
Treaty) set by the United Nations on 12 June 1968 in New York, and
effective from 5 March 1950, and which the US ratified. Basically,
the NPT consists of three pillars, namely: first, non-proliferation,
i.e. nuclear-weapon states pledge not to add and must reduce as well
as revoke/separate their nuclear warheads; second, disarmament, i.e.
nuclear weapons eradication which non-nuclear-weapon states pledge
not to acquire and manufacture nuclear weapons; third, peaceful use,
that is nuclear energy serve only for peaceful purposes. As a matter
of fact, the NPT was inspired by President Eisenhower, one of Donald
Trump’s predecessors (also from the Republic Party), from his speech
in the UN General Assembly session, 18 December 1953, entitled “Atom
Almost all states ratified the NPT except India,
Pakistan, and Israel. North Korea ratified the NPT on 20 December
1985 and withdrawn from the treaty on 10 April 2003. On the other
hand, after the NPT signing, there are only five states recognized
as nuclear-weapon states, namely US, Russia, UK, France, and China.
We can have a different opinion with the above
statement from Trump. But as the new US leader, Trump will do his
best for the people of the US, to make US great again as promised in
his campaign. Trump’s statement is probably due to some of the
following. First, US reducing the burden as a country that has been
a guarantor of the security of Japan and South Korea if attacked by
other countries, and the focus right now came from China and North
Korea; Second, renegotiating the terms of payment to be received by
the US from having their troops on the ground, as many as 54.000 in
Japan and 28.500 in South Korea, in which Japan paid USD 1.6 billion
and South Korea USD 866 million annually; Third, creating a balance
of power among nuclear-weapon states in East Asia, which is
currently being monopolized by China and followed by North Korea;
Fourth, if there is a nuclear race, triggered by Japan and South
Korea, the US will be very much advantaged as the main supplier,
although it would violate the NPT, which the US is one of the
signatories. The US weapon industry is allegedly influenced by
sympathizers of the Republican Party and many prominent figures from
the Party are known to be belligerent. For example when President
Nixon, the Vietnam War happened, President Reagan with his Star Wars
concept and the bombing of Muammar Kaddafi’s residence, the leader
of Libya, President Bush (senior and junior) the Afghanistan War and
Iraq War broke out.
Fifth, diverting or creating East Asia as the new
crisis region beside the Middle East, whereas the US will be
benefited economically, politically, and militarily; sixth,
balancing the military/arms advancement of China as well as to
counter the aggressiveness of North Korea.
After the statement and announcement of Donald Trump
as the winner of the US Presidential election, there is an
interesting development that can be analyzed further. The
development is the signing of a nuclear agreement/treaty between PM
Shinzo Abe from Japan and PM Narendra Modi from India on 11 November
2016, in Tokyo. The content of the agreement/treaty is that for
Japan companies to be able to export nuclear technologies to India.
We know that the India and China relation has been hostile for a
long time, and just recently the dispute and tension over Senkaku
Island is also escalated. The Japan-India nuclear agreement gave a
strong indication that both countries are on their way to creating
an alliance, in parallel with strengthening the longstanding
strategic alliances between the US, Japan and South Korea, to
counter the expansive behavior of China and the aggressiveness North
Korea. To neutralize the agreement and as not to arouse any
suspicions based from Trump’s statement, PM Shinzo Abe stated that
the agreement constitutes a legal framework to ensure that India is
using its nuclear energy responsibly.
After the Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration as the
President of the US in 20 January 2017, it is hoped that Trump’s
statement will not become his policy. The role of the UN to reassure
Trump to comply with the NPT is very much needed, similarly to Japan
and South Korea as member states of the Treaty, to adhere with the
NPT and not to produce a nuclear weapon. As we know that Japan and
South Korea are very advanced and have their grip on nuclear
technology, so it will not be hard for both countries to produce a
If Trump remains on his stance and Japan and South
Korea implement the idea, it will create a domino effect where other
states in the Asia region will not stay idle. They will definitely
take measures to keep and defend their sovereignty. There may be an
ASEAN state that will extricate itself from the joint commitment of
SEANWFZ (South East Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone) Treaty, putting
its national interest above all else. On the other hand, China and
North Korea will keep on competing to enhance their nuclear
capabilities. As a result, the East Asia region, including ASEAN,
will be a hot zone and it is not impossible that a Nuclear War may
well be started from East Asia.
Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1943 – Amurang,
North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public
Writer was a member of the House of Representatives
of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of
Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National
Development Planning (1988-1997).
Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace.
January 29. 2017
By Tomislav Jakić
Friday, January 20th 2017. the United States have a new President –
for many, not only in America, still at least controversial and in
the extreme version: totally unacceptable Donald John Trump. In a
precise ceremony in front of the Congress Trump gave his oath and
delivered his first speech as head of state. And for everybody who
is not biased or has not become prisoner of prejudices, he announced
a complete turn in regard to the US policy, as it was until now.
This turn can be detected in a couple of key messages which are,
admittingly, populist, but not without a deeper political contents.
First of all, Trump confirmed that he is a convinced enemy of
political elites, accusing them of prospering while ordinary
Americans suffered. To the “forgotten men and women” of America he
promised: “You are not forgotten any more and you will never be
forgotten again”, adding that the day of his inauguration marks not
the transfer of power from one political party to another, but from
Washington DC to the people. Then, using – historically speaking –
the slogan of American isolationists, he stressed that from this day
in deliberating on any decision only one principle will be applied
and that is: America first! (accepting that every state in the world
has the right to put its interests above everything else). After
that, more clearly than ever before, he repeated what he said for
the first time accepting the nomination of the Republican party as
presidential candidate. Last summer, namely, he announced that the
US will stop imposing regimes.
In his first presidential address he was even more precise: America
will not impose her way of life to anybody. It is worth noting that
the “American way of life” was until now sort of a sacred cow in the
vocabulary of American politicians. Trump added that the US will be
a shining example and the other will follow (if they want, of
course). And finally he said something that European neofascists,
who (wrongly!) think of him as “one of them” would never understand:
“If you open your heart to patriotism, there is no place for
Had he said nothing more, this speech should be remembered.
Therefore it is absolutely wrong when the reporter of the German
public TV (ARD) says this was not a presidential speech at all, but
only a continuation of the election campaign.
By the way it would be interesting to hear what would this so called
liberals say had he after the inauguration changed his rhetoric and
contents. They would lament about hypocrisy and not-consistency.
But, as Trump remained consistent, they wrote him off as somebody
who did not grasp at all that he is the President and is just
continuing his campaign. But, objectively speaking, the messages we
mentioned have – for everybody willing to hear them – mark not only
the beginning of what Trump described as the necessity to turn form
empty words to deeds. The core of his economic policy can be
detected from the short slogan “buy American and hire American”. And
only after being 30 minutes in office he put into question the
multilateral trade agreements for American continent and Pacific
region, confirming what he announced during the campaign, namely
that he prefers a net of bilateral trade agreements instead of those
He did not mention any of the concrete problems he will confront as
President, such as relations with Russia or health insurance system
in the US. But, it was a programmatic speech, based on crucial
messages and principles. He did, however, mention radical Islamism
(not Islam, but radical Islamism), promising that he would eradicate
it from the face of the Earth, for which he will without any doubt
need cooperation from Russia.
He repeated that he will create new jobs in America, he spoke again
about the decline of former US industrial centres (“inspiring” the
German television to say that this is simply not true, but
forgetting how many times we had seen the empty fabric hales in
Detroit and empty streets in the now declining and many years ago
prosperous American cities). And he promised, once again, that he
will change this situation, that he will build new highways, new
bridges, new railroads. Some objected immediately that he did not
say: how. It would have been almost a miracle had he done so in a
situation when many of his planned members of the US government
still lack the Congressional approval and when even some of them
voice opinions quite different in regard to his own.
Be it, as it is, Trump has his vision of the future and he outlined
the corner-stones on which he intends to build his vision, despite
his critics who were not hesitating to say that he does not
understand today’s world. Some analysts heard in his words the echo
of the inaugural speeches of the most famous American president of
the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and some said they had
the impression that Bernie Sanders, the “apostle” of the democratic
socialism in America is speaking through Trump’s mouth. We would
dare to go even one step further.
If we put aside Trump’s person and the fact that he is extremely
rich, and if we forget his repeated mentioning of God at the end of
his speech, we can come to one conclusion only: what was said by
Donald Trump should be embraced by every liberal leftist in the
world. Caring for ordinary, forgotten people, wealth for everyone,
equality between all people (“we can be black, brown or yellow, but
we all have the same red blood”), transformation of a system which
benefited the politicians, while the middle class suffered, starting
of new production, the transfer of power, it is worth repeating, not
from one political party to another, but from the Washington elite
to the people, all this can be seen, let us not deny this, as a
populist, if not even a nationalist approach. But, at the same time
it is closer to the left side of the political scene, than to the
right one. These are the first impressions based on Trump’s
But, let us make one thing crystal clear. This is not a noncritical
pledoayer for Donald Trump, who has many minuses – from the total
lack of political experience, the unnecessary and potentially
dangerous antagonizing of the People’s Republic of China to the very
dubious hints about his energy policy or his standpoints about the
global warning phenomena. But, at the same time it is a pledoayer
for much needed and long overdue change of American policy which
made the world unstable and insecure and which made the global
terrorism a real threat for everybody and everywhere by accepting
the protagonists of this terrorism as allies in its projects of
toppling the regimes in the Middle East.
Yes, such a change, even if it would be Trump’s turn, would be
mostly welcome. Of course, if he delivers, what he had promised: it
stops here and it stops now. In only a few months we will know if he
would be able to transform into reality his vision of America and
its new role in the world. Not more: just a few months. After that
we will know if Trump’s turn can become a success, or not. And his
voters will know if he was right, when he promised them on the
Inauguration day. “I will never let you down”.
(Author, born 1943., is a Croatian journalist – TV
and press, specialized in covering the international relations. He
was foreign policy advisor to the second President of the Republic
of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesić)
January 22, 2017
Facing the Trump Presidency –
Will the Monroe doctrine finally die?
to Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential election this November
North American foreign policy will experience radical changes. The
new government creates hopes and fears. On the one hand, there is
hope cooperation with Russia will be improved. On the other hand,
peace dialogues with Iran are expected to worsen. However,
international geopolitical equilibrium will have a different
The US has always influenced South American political history due to
its geographical proximity and its economic interests. So how will
Latin America be affected by Trump’s foreign policy? Hilary Clinton
was supposed to continue Obama’s political strategy in the
continent. But which heritage did Obama leave in South America?
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama became famous
worldwide because of his charm and great oratory skills. In his
electoral platform there was a message of cooperation and peace to
all Latin American governments. Obama’s victory thus was celebrated
by leftist Presidents in the entire continent. Lula – the former
Brazilian President from 2002 to 2011 – said that Barack’s election
was a historical moment for the world,
“In the same way that
Brazil elected a metalworker (Lula himself), Bolivia an aboriginal (Evo
Morales), Venezuela a (Hugo) Chavez and Paraguay a bishop (Fernando
Lugo), I believe it will be an extraordinary thing if in the biggest
economy in the world a black person (Barack Obama) is elected
Also Chavez was optimistic about improving Venezuelan cooperation
with the US.
promised to improve North American partnership with South America
based on multilateralism. But the opportunity to repair the
relationship between Latin American countries and the US was already
lost in 2009. In June 2009, the elected President of Honduras Manuel
Zaleya was overthrown by a military coup. The US foreign office
considered Zaleya as a dangerous leftist leader. Even though the OAS
(Organization of American States) expelled Honduras after their
break of constitutional order, Hilary Clinton, secretary state at
the time, and President Obama pushed for new elections rather than
asking for the return of Zaleya, the democratically elected
President. US government immediately recognized the legitimacy of
the new Lobio government in Honduras and it pressured other Latin
countries to do the same. Clinton, when talking about Honduras coup,
said “Now I
didn’t like the way it looked or the way they did it, but they had a
strong argument that they had followed the constitution and the
However, Hugo Llorens, the US ambassador in Honduras stated “Zelaya
may have committed illegalities but there is
no doubt that the military, supreme court and National
Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and
unconstitutional coup against the executive branch.”
Obama’s strategy in Honduras thus worsened the US relationship with
Brazil and with all leftist parties in South America. Furthermore,
the Colombian and US government signed an agreement on military
cooperation in 2009 without consulting any other Latin American
countries. American and Colombian economic and military alliance
finds its roots since the 1990 with Plan for Colombia establishment.
Former President Bill Clinton approved a massive military and
economic aid initiative to fund Colombian struggle against drug
cartels and left-wing insurgent groups. The aim of the plan was to
supply Colombia with military training and military technologies to
contrast violence in the country. The flow of money from the US
government to Colombia has not stopped since then. Former President
G.W. Bush and Obama maintained Plan for Colombia. According to the
US Foreign Office, in 2012 the US allocated 644.304.766$ in
Colombia. Breaking down the aid, we discover that 446.552.148$ were
funds for military and security help. The tight relationship between
the two countries is confirmed by the trade deal signed in 2011.
Besides chief architect and broker that of Cuba, Obama was a strong
sponsor of the peace dialogue between the FARC and Santos
government. He even promised to increase American economic aid to
Colombia totalling 450 million of dollars. Even though Obama was not
personally involved in the discussion of the peace agreement in
Colombia, he has started a process of normalization with Cuba. The
US and Cuba has not had diplomatic relations since the 1960s. After
the communist revolution in the country, the US imposed a trade
embargo against Cuba. Obama’s plan was to improve Cuban and American
relations by reviewing Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and by
ending the economic embargo. After formal talks, American Congress
will be called to vote for the official revocation of the embargo.
The new course, however, was not just due to Obama’s effort. The
role of the former Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis was
fundamental to foster peace between the two countries. Regardless
the fact that it was a multilateral effort, the improvement of Cuban
and American relations has been the most considerable heritage of
Obama’s presidency in South America.
Obama has not been able to improve the precarious diplomatic
relationship whit Venezuela and Ecuador. Even if the US is the
largest trading partner of Venezuela, US governments have not sent
Ambassadors to this Latin Am country since 2006. Their diplomatic
relations are now extremely tense. Maduro accused US governments of
imperialism and of trying to defeat his government in Venezuela,
while American diplomacy denounced human rights violations against
Maduro’s adversaries. The latter, instead, declared US Ambassador
Persona non-grata in 2011 in response to the release of secret
documents in which US diplomatists accused Ecuadorian President
Correa to be corrupted. In the last months of 2015 Ecuador and the
US re-established diplomatic relations. However, there is still a
considerable tension between them. Guillaume Long, Ecuadorian
foreign minister, said that he wanted to cooperate with the US but
American governments needed to not interfere with internal political
decisions in South America.
In the last eight years Brazilian and American relations have been
problematic. After the disclosure of NSA secret reports on Brazil,
former Brazilian President Dilma cancelled her official state visit
in 2014. NSA was spying the conversations of top Brazilian managers
and politics, even Dilma was recorded during her private calls. It
appears, at least, unusual that US secret services were spying the
establishment of a country which is a stable democracy and an
American ally for the last thirty years. Obama’s presidency had
tense diplomatic relations also with Argentina and her former
President Kirchner. Specifically, their conflict was about
Argentinian default in 2014. American hedge funds, which bought
cheap Argentinian bonds in 2001, were asking for a full pay out that
Kirchner refused to provide.
Interestingly, both, Dilma and Kirchner, found themselves at the
centre of scandals the last year. The former was indirectly involved
in Petrobas investigation, the latter was accused to have covered
Iranian responsibility on the terroristic attack which killed 84
people in Buenos Aires in 1994. With their defeat, Latin America is
going through the end of the leftist season. The new Argentinian
President, Mauricio Macri, has already endorsed his priority to mend
relations with investors and big foreign groups. The new Brazilian
President, Michel Temer, has already approved liberalizations on
natural resources exploitation which will attract foreign investors
in Brazil. The new courses in Brazil and Argentina seem to find
North American support. Actually, Macri and Temer will be aiming to
improve Argentinian and Brazilian economic and diplomatic
cooperation with the US.
Eight years of Obama’s presidency has left lights and shadows. On
the one hand, he fostered normalization with Cuba and he played an
important role in FARC’s and the Colombian government’s peace
agreement. On the other hand, he was not able to radically change
American relations with Latin countries. Obama promised to establish
multilateral relations with South American countries failed. It
cannot be identified a turning point in how Obama’s governments
interfere with internal political affairs of Latin countries.
Trump, uncertainty of
Trump has promised to radically change US foreign policy. However,
it is unclear how he will do so. During his presidential campaign,
he contradicted himself several times. Trump said that he would
reduce America’s intervention in the world. First of all, Trump’s
disengagement will alter US commitment to international
organizations. NATO and the defence agreements with Japan and South
Korea could experience a decrease of US military and financial
dedication. In addition, the relationships with China and Iran seem
to be critical factors in the international equilibrium. Trump
criticized Obama’s the Nuclear Deal with Iran, he could run away
from the agreement and re-impose sanctions. His proposal to impose a
45% tariff on Chinese import would start an economic conflict with
the Chinese government.
The South American continent does not seem to be a priority in the
new President’s agenda. Three main topics on Latin America
dominated his electoral campaign:
(i) According to
Pew Hispanic Center, in 2014 there were 11. 7 million Mexican
immigrants residing in the US and 6.5 million of them would be
illegally living in the country. So when he promised that 11 million
illegal immigrants would be deported, it was clear whom he was
referring to. Trump even claimed that he would force the Mexican
government to build a wall on the border between the US and Mexico.
His economic plan for “making America great again” claimed to bring
back manufacturing factories to the US. Trump said he would overtax
North American companies which produce in Mexico. After having
described Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, criminals and rapists,
in August 2016 Trump officially met Mexican President Nieto. But
there were no significant results from their conversation.
Actually, while Trump said Niento agreed to pay for a wall on the
border, the Mexican President posted a tweet to contradict Trump’s
(ii) Trump is one
of the few Republican leaders that support the process of
normalizing relations between Cuba and the US. The President-elected
is said to agree with the “Cuban Thaw”, however, he argues that the
US could have made a better deal. In this case, uncertainty about
the future of Cuba-US relations is driven by the fact that the
majority of the Republic party does not support the normalization of
Cuban and North American relations.
thought Nicholas Maduro, President of Venezuela, recently stated to
hope for improving his relations with the US in Trump presidency,
few days ago he called Trump a bandit. During his campaign, Trump
was not friendly to Maduro, he said that “Venezuelans
are good people, but they have been horribly damaged by the
socialists in Venezuela and the next president of the United States
must show solidarity with all the oppressed people in the
 Even if
Trump does not believe in “exporting democracy”, it is unclear how
he will work to improve US relations with Venezuela.
It is not clear what Trump’s presidency will mean for American and
Latin countries relations, Trump is still a mystery. Obama’s
presidency instead was an unsuccessful hope that the US would have
been able to establish multilateral forms of cooperation with Latin
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA in History from Università
degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History from the London
School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance Research Assistant
at The Banker (Financial Times) and collaborates as an external
researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di Geopolitica e Scienze
 N. Lakhani,
Did Hillary Clinton stand by as Honduras coup ushered in era
of violence?, The Guardian 31/08/2016
 N. Lakhani,
Did Hillary Clinton stand by as Honduras coup ushered in era
of violence?, The Guardian 31/08/2016
  M. E. Jorge,
Venezuela expectant as to how Trump will address Chavismo and
country's crisis, Fow New Latino 18/11/2016
January 19, 2017
Human Misery monetized
By Aleksandra Krstic
and profiteering from the occupation: corporate human rights
violations in the occupied territories) While
the new cold war is taking its momentum, the world community is
gradually forgetting other pressing issues; such as human
rights, right to labor, human dignity and respect. Of course,
the national and international corporations hereby play a major
role when comes to respect and observance of social and labour
rights. Even at the Geneva-based world standard-setting
organization, that of ILO (International Labor Organization),
corporation have a strong say.
What is the degree of due diligence deployed by
corporations today? Does the corporate world comply with the law
and standards of business conduct, transparency of business
operations? And – importantly – does the private sector respect
standards of international humanitarian law, especially in
situations of armed conflicts and the so-called forgotten
conflicts? Places where open hostilities have ceased, but yet
peace has never really come. Notably, does the corporate world
comply with the set of important international standards such as
the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or the
OECD Guidelines for multinational corporations, to name just a
few? Could we go as far as to claim that in some cases the
private corporate entities play a decisive role in funding,
enabling and facilitating permanent changes in economic,
demographic and cultural character of the occupied territories?
And if so, does it serve, to say, dual purpose: a corporate gain
and a prolongation of the occupation on the given territory?
* * * *
understand the gravity of that problem, let’ take as an example
conditions in Caucasus – a typical case of the forgotten
conflict – region where war stopped, still peace has never
Armenian companies, as well as foreign (mostly
diaspora controlled, such as the Lebanon-based Artsakh Roots
Investment; the US-based Tufenkian Foundation; Armenian General
Benevolent Union /AGBU/; Cherchian Family Foundation, etc.)
businesses play a decisive role in funding, enabling and
facilitating permanent changes in economic (including fiscal and
monetary), demographic and cultural character of the occupied
territories both for private gain and for supporting the
prolongation of the occupation of these territories.
Over the past years, the well-orchestrated
transfer of Armenian settlers from Armenia and elsewhere into
the contested territories (via e.g. Hayastan All-Armenian Fund),
including the areas adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, in particular
the districts of Lachyn, Kalbajar, Gubadly, Zangilan and
Jabrayil, has continued with accelerated pace.
To worsen the things, fishing of the human souls
exploits an epic human tragedy of Syria and its people: The
shadowy Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) is deceiving
Syrian Armenians with an instant-better life promise if they
relocate from e.g. Qamishli and Aleppo cities in Syria to
Caucasus and its occupied territories (e.g. Zangilan, Gubadly
and Lachyn districts). Nearly a mass-manipulation replica of the
famous call to Bosnian Croatians from Zagreb to settle the
former Serb inhabited and ethnically cleansed territories of
Croatia. This is of course, a direct criminal meddling into the
domestic matters of two sovereign states.
Armenia, directly or via its corporate proxies,
continues permanent energy, agriculture, social, residential and
transport infrastructure changes in the occupied territories.
This is increased and prioritized as to change the demographic
character once for good: That of course includes the
construction of irrigation networks, water-canalization, roads,
power-grids and other vital economic and social facilities.
(Several international reports, conducted independently by
different FORAs, repeatedly confirmed that property of IDPs has
been appropriated. E.g. that empty houses of Azerbaijani
internally displaced persons were often dismantled for use as
construction materials or that new houses are being built on
their lands and properties.)
Armenia exercises pervasive control over the
entire economic and commercial system in the contested
territories, including inbound and outbound trade flows and
economic resources. Tacit presence of the international
companies is rather interesting: there are hundreds of various
types of US-manufactured Caterpillar machines, farm tractors and
equipment of US-based John Deere and Germany’s Deutz-Fahr
companies, South Korean Hyundai trucks, Belarus MT3-82,3 model
farm tractors, as well as other heavy machinery for illegal
mining, agriculture, expansion of settlements and construction
of the supporting infrastructure. The true ownership for most of
those companies remains unclear, as oftentimes registered
offshore in Cyprus, Liechtenstein and the like.
Often their funding is channeled through the
branches of Armenian banks operating in the occupied territories
and conducting international financial transactions via
intermediary banks in Russia, EU and elsewhere. Further on, a
numerous foreign retailers, from Ukraine, the US and the EU
states (particularly from France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Belgium,
Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands), as well as from
Australia and UAE, have concluded their supply contracts with
Armenian companies. That, of course, makes them complicit with
Armenia’s occupation of the territories, drain of resources,
expansion of illegal settlements as well as with a violation of
fundamental rights of IDPs.
Little wonder, since Armenia’s high-ranking
officials, including President Sargsyan, PM Abrahamyan and
other ministers, routinely visit the occupied territories and
inspect production facilities there. To camouflage the illegal
nature of production there, Armenian agricultural and liquors
export companies (e.g. “Stepanakert Brandy Factory” and “Artsakh
Fruit CJSC”) routinely mislabel the products wholly or partially
produced or packed in the occupied territories as originating
from Armenia, thus misleading governments, international
retailers and consumers.
The agricultural lands in the contested
territories along the Araz River (Zangilan and Jabrayil
districts, too) have been illegally appropriated and extensively
exploited by Armenia. This poses a stress on natural water flows
(for consummation, irrigation or opportunity for an illegal
electricity generation) and soil (overuse of arable lands and
monoculture cropping) – which, in return, alters micro climate
and jeopardizes the biota and human existence (e.g. Armenia’s
Arm Water Project Company Ltd. in the Araz Valley).
Dismantling of infrastructure (metals, pipes,
bricks and other construction materials) from the ruins of
demolished Azerbaijani households and public buildings was
previously conducted more sporadic. However, the currently
examined cases show that it becomes more organized system of
pillage with a clear foreign involvement.
Mining of the precious minerals and metals is one
of the main enterprises in the occupied territories. E.g.
Gyzylbulag underground copper-gold mine (wholly owned subsidiary
of Armenia’s Vallex Group CJSC, registered in Liechtenstein),
led to its almost complete depletion. Similar faith is of
Demirli open-pit copper and molybdenum mine. In 2014, Gold Star
CJSC reportedly started exploitation of gold near Vejnali
village (occupied Zangilan district of Azerbaijan). Since 2007,
GPM Gold, a subsidiary of Russia-based GeoProMining Ltd., has
been extracting ore in Soyudlu gold mine in the occupied
There is an illegal traffic in natural resources
across the occupied section of the international border between
Azerbaijan and Armenia that is controlled by the armed forces of
Armenia via Armenia constructed Vardenis-Aghdara highway. The
Government of Armenia, via its Energy Ministry, is directly
operating: The ore concentrate from Gyzylbulag is transported to
Armenia, where it is further processed into gold containing
copper and exported to international markets, mainly to Europe.
Armenia is also extracting coal from the mine near Chardagly
village in the occupied part of the Tartar district to supply
the power plant in Yerevan, Armenia.
There is a clear correlation between the business
and the political status quo. Hence, it is safe to conclude that
the prolong occupation directly translates into more mineral,
agricultural, water resources and other wealth for the
neighboring government and gloomy international business.
Demographic engineering is a key here, and is – of course – done
by conflicting the fundamental human rights and norms of
humanitarian law, including those of IDPs.
its epilogue, a clandestine population-reshuffle coupled with
illegal economic activities on the contested territories
produces the notorious “blood diamonds”: socio-political
status-quo, demographic inversion, and extension of the armed
Is there anything larger than a problem of such a
huge gravity for the resident population?
Of course, there is. Our silence about it !
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.
January 19, 2017
Jakarta Gubernatorial Election
2017: Who Will Be Eliminated?
By: Igor Dirgantara
the polls February 15, 2017, competition has been increasingly
rigorous among the three candidates who are contesting in the
Jakarta Gubernatorial Election (Pilgub) 2017, namely, incumbent duet
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama-Djarot Saiful Hidayat (Ahok-Djarot), Agus
Harimurti Yudhoyono-Sylviana Murni (Agus-Sylvi), and Anies
Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno (Anies-Sandi). Many said that the fight in
Jakarta gubernatorial election this time is a ‘proxy war’ of the
rivalry among the political elites Megawati Soekarno Putri, Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono and Prabowo Subianto. Ahok-Djarot is supported by
the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the People's
Conscience Party (Hanura), The Functional Group Party (Golkar), and
the National Democratic Party (Nasdem).
Agus-Sylvi is supported by the Democratic Party, the United Development
Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the National
Mandate Party (PAN). Whereas Anies-Sandi is supported by the Great
Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the Prosperous Justice Party
(PKS). Presently, the Jakarta gubernatorial election is entering the
stage of formal debate among the candidates that will begin on
January 13, 2017. In the previous informal debate that was aired by
some private televisions, the Anies-Sandi duet looked dominating
over other candidates.
Predictably the Jakarta Gubernatorial Election 2017
will take two rounds, because the winner is required to get 50%+1
vote. Agus-Sylvi, Ahok-Djarot, and Anies-Sandi are having equal
opportunity to win and at the same also potentially to lose, or will
not qualify for the second round. Support to the three pairs of
candidates are still fluid and attitude of the voters tend to be
still able to change until the end days before the voting day
February 13, 2017. Supporting votes for the three pairs of
candidates is nearly the same in number. Electabilities of the three
pairs of candidates who will compete are still overlapping each
others within the margin of error. Statistically, no certainty can
be made on which pair of candidates will win.
Despite of Good Performance’s of Ahok, Jakarta’s
Residents Want New Governor
From the results of survey conducted by SPIN (Survey
& Polling Indonesia) during August-December 2016, it was revealed
that Ahok is still considered by the public as the figure who best
understands the problems in Jakarta (73%), compared to Anies (40%),
or Agus (33% ). The pair of incumbent governor Ahok-Djarot has had
the advantage in selling the programs they have achieved.
On the other hand, his two contenders focused on
issues that have not been covered yet by Ahok-Djarot. Anies-Sandi
pairing, for example, developed issues of job availability, basic
stuff price control, and clean water availability in Jakarta. These
issues were raised as a criticism against Ahok’s policies that were
more physical, rather than human oriented. Anies-Sandi also intends
to stop the policy on reclamation in Jakarta Bay which has been
being contested by many environmental activists. Meanwhile,
Agus-Sylvi’s programs highlighted more the provision of financial
assistance, such as the granting of Rp 5 million per poor family, or
Rp 1 billion per RW (Rukun Warga) in Jakarta. It is obvious that the
2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election will be the momentum to evaluate
the incumbent governor’s performance and to draft the overall
Significantly, the trend of favorability to Ahok as
the incumbent has decreased. Only as low as 30% believe that Ahok
deserves to be re-elected Governor, while 55% want a new figure for
Jakarta governor. Ahok’s positive popularity is equal to his
negative popularity. Negative sentiment against Ahok is also
prevalent in various segments of Jakarta voters due to the alleged
religious defamation case which has resulted in a commotion and
protest by Muslim community. Presently, Ahok is the accused
(defendant) on the religious defamation case before the court for
quoting a Quranic verse in surah Al-Maidah 51 during his working
visit in the Thousand Islands. As at January 10, 2017, the case of
alleged religious defamation by Ahok was entering the fifth trial
Despite, in one side, majority of Jakarta people
being rational voters, but on the other hand they are in fact unable
to escape from the political choice based on primordialism. The
anti-Ahok struggle is stronger due to the religious motive. Ahok is
at a disadvantaged position because he comes from minority ethnic
and religion. Ahok is now in trouble with a sensitive issue of
religious defamation. His status as the accused becomes a
psychological barrier for the public from reelecting him. Primordial
identity has been used for political benefit and gaining support.
Ahok’s weakness is none of Muslim-based parties supports him.
However, for Ahok’s supporters, he was merely a victim of religion
politicization. Although it is possible, but somewhat difficult, for
Ahok to rebound his electability within this remaining one month.
In contrast, Anies Baswedan is seen as a figure who
is more caring to the Jakarta people (57%), than Ahok (52%), or Agus
(47%). Anies is also considered more as representing the entire
strata of Jakarta people (52%), compared to Ahok (41%), and Agus
(39%). Jakarta’s public is indeed expecting a new leader who has
respect and integrity, represents all strata of the Jakarta people,
capable of creating jobs, and has the ability to improve education
of his residents.
Agus Harymurti Yudhoyono is today very popular as a
candidate for Jakarta Governor. His personal branding as a young man
and handsome has heavily attached in Jakarta’s people. By hearsay,
human is an eye animal. A candidate who is physically
attractive may earn 3 times more votes, particularly from the
first-time and female voters segment. This is because the first
impression that begins from physical appearance of someone is
usually difficult to change. Theoretically, one’s first image is
usually based on visual aspect. Furthermore, human’s mind is
limited, thus the voters’ perception tends to be filtered by a
physiological filter. This is the advantage of Agus Harimurti
Yudhoyono that is also possessed by Sandiaga Uno.
This differs with Ahok who has controversial
leadership style in the public eye. The voters in Jakarta presently
give Anies Baswedan and Agus Harimurti an opportunity to be the new
governor of Jakarta. However, Anies Baswedan is very vulnerable to
be rushed by negative religious issues, such as allegation as a
follower of Shia or Liberal Islam. Whereas Agus Harymurti Yudhoyono
is deemed lack of experience and as a part of a political dynasty or
a son of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
In 2017, the Jakarta people will predictably have a
new Governor on February 15. He will be either Agus Harimurti
Yudhoyono, Anies Baswedan, or Djarot Saiful Hidayat. This means, if
the incumbent Ahok-Djarot pair even wins, there will be very little
chance for Ahok to be the Jakarta Governor for the second period
because of his accused status and potential imprisonment related to
the religious defamation proceeding to which he is now subjected.
Ahok will remain able to survive if there is a gigantic power
intervening his case. However, this may trigger a national political
uproar that is even greater. Jakarta Gubernatorial Election 2017
indeed correlates with the process and decision of Ahok’s court
trial that is still current.
Approaching the voting day February 15, 2017, each of
the candidates will be campaigning more actively to grab undecided
votes and swing voters, particularly of first-time voters, Muslim
voters, Javanese voters, and the urban middle class. In the capital
Jakarta, social media can be used as a tool to grab supports and
influence these voters. However, undeniably, the Ahok’s religious
defamation case indeed gave benefit and opportunity to Anies-Sandi
and Agus-Sylvi pairs to win on the Jakarta gubernatorial election on
February 15, 2017. Even if Ahok loses the election, the public will
still look at Ahok’s performance that has been deemed good as a work
barometer for anyone who will succeed him, no matter whether he is a
polite Muslim or not.
Igor Dirgantara is
Lecturer at Faculty of Social Politics, University Jayabaya,
Jakarta, and Director Survey & Polling Indonesia (SPIN).
January 14, 2017
Brazil’s Locomotive Breath
By Nicola Bilotta
Brazilian ‘locomotive’ has stopped. Oil production has been one of
crucial drives in fostering not only economic but social growth in
Brazil, but now sees the country gripped by economic crisis and
political instability,. The inquiry of Petrobras’s scandal is
changing the equilibrium of powers in Latin “China”.
The process of growth and modernization in Brazil has
been always described as an example to be followed by other
developing countries. Nevertheless, the Brazilian ‘locomotive’ has
The country is going through a period of dramatic political and
economic instability. Although the Olympics Games should have been
an international show of Brazilian power, they revealed the
structural weakness of a country full of ambiguities and
contradictions instead. Petrobras’ inquiry, combined
negative effects of the economic crisis, seem to have
temporarily buried the China of South America. Oil wealth becoming
yet another time not a blessing but a curse.
“In a broader sense, the hydrocarbons and its
scarcity phychologization, its monetization (and related
weaponization) is serving rather a coercive and restrictive status
quo than a developmental incentive” – diagnoses prof. Anis H.
Bajrektarevic, and concludes: “That essentially calls not for an
engagement but compliance.“
To describe the
history of the nation we need to focus our attention on oil, because
the black gold is the
embodiment of the success -and fall- of the
Oil – how black is gold
One the central drivers of
Brazilian economic growth has been the production and the export of
natural resources and their products. Looking at Brazil’s GDP
between 1982 and 2015, three main trends can be observed. (i) A
stable growth pattern from 1982 to 2002. (ii) The GDP rocketing up
between 2003 and 2012, with a light slowdown during 2009-2010 caused
by the financial crisis. (iii) A fall of GDP’s values between 2012
and 2015. Analyzing the evolution of the percentage of annual GDP
growth’s, it is not possible to identify a specific trend.
The most significant point
that can be made is the constant growth of the GDP between 2004 and
2008, which was around 5% per year. The economic growth does not
just imply a dramatic increase of GDP but also the improvement in
social-economic status of millions of poor brasilians. Starting from
2001 the level of absolute poverty – defined as the percentage
living with less than two dollars per day – decreased 12%. The
levels of relative poverty – defined as the percentange of people
with less than 50% of the average income – fell by 25% between 2002
Graph 1: Trend of
Brazilian GDP 1982 e il 2014
Graph by the author, source: World Bank Database
Grafico 2: Percentage of
GDP Grotwh 1982-2014
Graph by the author,
source: World Bank Database
Graph 3: Trends of
poverty levels 1995-2013
Source: OECD Economic Surveys
Brazil, 11/2015, p. 34
The value of export and of
the satellite activities of natural resources for Brazilian is
represented by their proportion on the total GDP. As clearly shown
in Graph 4, one of the engines of the Brazilian boom in the 2000s
has been oil. Its incidence on GDP increased remarkably from 1999, a
stable growth that reached its peak during 2000s. Between 2003 and
2006 oil rents produced around 3% of total GDP. Graph 5 shows the
cost of oil per barrel from 1980 to 2015. To clarify, the most
important oil reserve in Brazil is Pré-Sal, which needs to compete
in a market in which the price is of at least 70 dollars per barrel
in order to be profitable. The fall of the international price of
oil, then, has been penalizing the Brazilian economy that was
already damaged by the crisis of Chinese demand and the slowdown of
Graph 4: Percentage
of oil and natural resourcces on Brazilian GDP 1982-2012
Graph by the author,
source: World Bank Database
Graph 5: Trends of oil
Graph by the author,
source: World Bank Database
imagine of Brazilian fable
The story of Erike
Batista is bond with the growth and the fall of Brazilian economy.
Batista has been one of the richest man in the world, 8th
in the Forbes rank of worldwide billionaires and owner of 30 billion
dollars in 2012. However, this changed in 2014 when he admitted to
the loss of his wealth
and his debt of one billion dollars. How is it
possible that this self-made billionaire lost his wealth totalling a
whopping 30 billion dollars?
The success and the fall of Batista’s business is
connected to oil. In the 80s, after completing his metallurgic
studies, he went to Amazon forest to implement machines in the
research and the extraction of gold. In the 1983 he bought a small
society in the Canadian stock exchange, of extraction and trade of
natural resources., that gained the value of 1.7 billion dollars in
a few years. In 2002 he sold his company for 875 million. The
devaluation of the asset was due to wrong investment done by the
society in Greece, Russia and Czech Republic, which cost million of
Batista exploited new
opportunities that arose during the Brazilian economic boom. Between
2001 and 2002 he created and subsequently sold two companies to the
Brazilian state; a thermodynamics and an iron production company.
The holding that would make a Batista billionaire was OGX (Petròleo
e Gàs Participacoes), specialized in the research and refinement of
oil and gas. The market strategy of OGX was aggressive from the
In 2007 he arranged the
rights of exploration for 21 areas for OGX doubling the amount
offered by its competitors. The next year OGX was able to produce
barrels at the cost of 145 dollars per barrel and it announced their
structures would be able to produce 1 million barrel per day in
2019. Batista’s ambitions and his confidence in Brazilian economy
encouraged him to invest a large amount of money to build up an
harbour at Acu, 400 km away from Rio de Janeiro. The project was
supposed to create a centre for the refinement and the trade of oil
products, thereby radically increasing OGX’ productivity.
From 2008 onwards, the Brazilian magistrate started to investigate
bribes that Batista allegedly gave to the Governator of Amapà,
Waldex Gòez, concessions of privileges for his companies. Even
though the media caught wind of the investigation, the judiciary
case was closed without any charges. The slowdown of Brazilian
economy and the fall of the oil barrel started to strain foreign
investors and foreign shareholders and lead them to reduce
investments into Batista’s companies.
The final blow was caused by the Abu Dhabi fund, Mudabala
Development, which retired from EBX – one of Batista’s holdings –
and asked for the liquidation of all their stock options which
totalled 1.5 billion dollars. The financial pressure then cut the
liquidity of Batista’s companies, which, having invested a lot of
money, survived using financial leverage. Like a balloon, EBX
snapped under the weight of financial debts that made Batista lose
all of his assets.
In March 2014, a group of
Brazilian judges started to investigate the relationship between the
Worker’s Party and the public oil company Petrobras. The charge was
that executive directors of Petrobras and of the main building
societies (Btp) developed a corrupt system in which Btp would
receive contracts for the construction of oil platforms increasing
the building costs between 1% and 3%. In exchange, governmental
parties would obtain illegal funds to sponsor political campaigns.
The companies involved were Camargo Corrêa, Oas, Utc-Constram,
Odebrecht, Mendes Júnior, Engevix, Queiroz Galvão, Iesa Óleo & Gás e
Galvão Engenharia and members of the Workers’ Party, the Brazilian
Democratic Movement Party (Pmdb) and the Progressive Party. (Pp).
The main consequence of the
inquiry was the delegitimization of the Workers’ Party that led
Brazil from 2002 onwards. The President, Dilma Rouseleff was forced
to leave office despite the fact she was not personally involved in
the investigation. The successor of former President Lula endured
immediate pressure to resign for her knowledge of systematic
corruption as Chairman of Petrobras and Minister of Energy
(2003-2005). Nevertheless, the impeachment of Rouseleff regarded the
charge of having transferred public funds from national banks to
finance social expenses that went beyond the fixed amount allocated
for public expenses. However, the charges that led to her dismissal
did not include the Petrobas scandal. Eduardo Cunha was the
political leader leading the group that called for Dilma’s
Paradoxically, he was not
only found with a secret million dollar bank account in Switzerland,
but was also barred from assuming any public position for eight
years due to an investigation for his involvement in corruption and
bribes. Some representatives of worldwide left-wing parties talk
about a conspiracy to dismiss the Workers’ Party. The Brazilian and
international elite allegedly exploited the economic crisis to
destroy the consensus of Lula and Rouseleff’s party, which had
always had significant popular support. Lula won the election in
2002 with 46.4% of the votes against just 23.3% of his opposing
candidate José Serra. In 2006, Lula was confirmed President with
48.6% in the next election. His successor, Dilma Rouseleff, won in
2010 with 46.9% of the votes.
Even though she experienced
a small decline, Rouseleff won the election in 2014 with 41.6% of
the votes. These Brazilian governments made enemies in the
international market due to their politics of nationalization and
semi-nationalization of natural resources. For example, Petrobras,
founded in 1953, was partially privatized during the 90s. However,
Lula started a propagandist campaign in 2007 to return company under
state control. In addition, to prevent the private exploitation of
the Pré-Sal oil reserve,
Lula’s government passed a law to give to Petrobras the monopoly to
explore the area and extract oil from Pré-Sal.
Some influential voices,
such as independent Brazilian experts and academics raised concerns
about the nature of the process. Pedro Fassoni Arruda argues that
there were secret powers behind the impeachment that were also
involved in the coup d’etat in 1964. In a similar vein, Pablo
Ortellado criticised the framing of Rouseleff in the media. Sapelli
contends that the modern political history of Brazil is
characterized by a deep fragmentation of parties, which means every
President has to deal with many small personalist parties.
The external support that
every government needs to administrate generated the construction of
a system of corruption intrinsic to Brazilian society. Many experts
believe that judge’s actions could enforce the trust of markets and
investors in Brazilian institutions. Cutting the ambiguous bonds
that exist between parties and companies should help to make the
legal framework more stable and safe, strengthening the power of the
Law. This could be a message from Brazil to all the world, that
whoever is corrupted, no matter what status, will be punished.
Recently, the news reported
the Brazilian parliament approved a law with 292 in 393 to abolish
the monopoly of Petrobras on the reserve of Pré-Sal. This law seems
to be just the first step of a greater project of privatization
pursued by President Michel Temer. With strong politics of
liberalization for Brazilian natural resources, Brazil seems to
offer intriguing opportunities for business and investments for many
multinationals. If Petrobras’ inquiry is just conspiracy or smart
intuition is hard to understand. Surely, the destiny of Brazil will
be, another time, defined by black gold. For better or worse.
By Nicola Bilotta
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA in History
from Università degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History
from the London School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance
Research Assistant at The Banker (Financial Times) and collaborates
as an external researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di
Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliari) N_bilotta@lse.ac.uk
• K. Blankfeld, Big
Man in Brazil, Forbes 3/11/2010
• ECB, What is
driving Brazil’s economic downturn, Issue 1/2016-Box 1
• J. Leahy, Brazil’s
left fears Rousseff coup, Financial Times 3/04/2016
Brazilian politician who led Rousseff impeachment arrested on
corruption charges, 21/04/2016
Surveys Brazil, 11/2015
S. Romero e V.
Sreeharsha, Dilma Rousseff Targeted in Brazil by Lawmakers Facing
Scandals of Their Own, New York Times 14/04/2016
M, Sandy, Brazilian
politician who led Rousseff impeachment arrested on corruption
G. Sapelli, Dal
Brasile all’Italia. I poteri forti dietro le inchieste pilotate sul
petrolio, Il Sussidiario 7/04/2016
J. P. Spinetto, P.
Millard and K. Wells, How Brazil’s Richest Man Lost $ 34.5 billion,
4/10/2013 Bloomerang 4/10/2013
World Bank, Dataset
January 12, 2017
Battling the Tiger: Combating
corruption in the Sino-world
By Lingbo ZHAO
the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China a
new round of anti-corruption campaign has been going on. With almost
fifty provincial officials, more than 600 director-level officials
and more than 200,000 petty officials snared, this campaign is being
conducted in a harsh way on a large scale. More importantly, as Vice
Primer WANG Qishan pointed out, the ultimate goal is to reach the
“would not think of it”stage from the current “would not dare”stage.
In order to realise this goal, the passive control and surveillance
measurements which have been carried on over decades may not be able
to meet the demand. What should be prior taken into consideration is
institutional designs for a clean government.
If we look for a successful example for China on
anti-corruption reform, Hong Kong may be a good one. During the
1960s, with the increasing population and the rapid expansion of
manufacturing industry, Hong Kong was faced with a similar situation
which corruption was wide-spread around the force and the community
in mainland China nowadays. (Manion, 2004) And yet since 1974 when
the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was created,
the anti-corruption interventions has empowered to accomplish the
transformation. This commission, according to the Basic Law,
functions independently and is directly accountable to the Chief
Executive. (Scott, 2011)
So the paper is conducted by analysis on causes of corruption and
anti-corruption measurements in mainland China, followed by the
evaluation and comparison of Hong Kong and mainland China.
Though sharing a Chinese culture, great difference
remains between each other. Especially when we focus on the
anti-corruption achievement, Hong Kong, considered as the freer
market from government intervention, has incredible achievements in
combatting institutionalised corruption while China, during two
decades of anti-corruption campaign, remains one of the most corrupt
This paper considers the rooted causes and problems of the
anti-corruption strategy in mainland China. By introducing the
incidence of Chen Xitong and the general situation on state
personnel corruption, it argues extent, forms and characteristics
and the institutional loopholes of Chinese government. Meanwhile,
the process of the transformation in Hong Kong will be illustrated
empirically and compared with the process in mainland China. The key
part——ICAC will be evaluated. And the suggestions of establishing
such commission in mainland China will be introduced and tested. The
main researching method is new institutionalism by focusing on the
institutional design and informal practice in mainland China.
The definition of corruption
Corruption, simply speaking, means the abuse of power
for illegal monetary transaction. One of the most comprehensive
definitions that by a short simply wording includes both a public
and private sector corruption comes from a Vienna-based prof. Anis
H. Bajrektarevic: “Seemingly victimless, hidden trade-off between
influence and gain” (Bajrektarevic, Palermo Treaty system, Addleton
NY, 2011). The World Bank defines (public) corruption as the abuse
of public office for private gains However, when it comes to a
definition in concrete terms which contain too much
connotation.(Girling, 1997) In addition, the causes and the results
of public-private sector corruption are diverse. It can be traced in
governments and civil societies, which include economic systems,
administrative systems, judiciary systems and so on. (Harris, 2003)
No matter how broad and complicated the concept is, it can reflect
rules and violators who against those rules can be identified and
punished. (Gambetta, 1999)
In the Chinese context, there are two major
definitions that can be applied to China in the transition period.
For those who are in favor
[H1] of a tough enforcement and party disciplinary, they would
like to provide a more broad-based definition which includes public
offices, public interest and public opinions factors. By contrast,
for those who are in favor
[H2] of an effective effacement and market efficiency, they
would focus on the abuse of public office. (Sun, 2004) Though there
is no formalistic answer to the question on what the definition is,
this paper would use a definition corresponding with the Chinese
context. The corruption is defined as the abuse of authority or the
public power by occupants in the government or the party to gain
private interests. This interpretation narrows down to the public
office level that focuses on the abuse of public power in the
Corruption in Mainland China
The process of corruption in China after 1949 can be
roughly divided into two periods. There is the classical communist
period from 1949 to 1976 and the socialist market from 1976 to the
present. (Harris, 2003)
From 1980 on, the development of corruption took
place together with the legitimating of financial pursuit,
delegation of power to an individual or an agency, fast expansion of
the market economy, deficiency of the Party’s discipline as well as
delaying in introducing regulatory control and required on time
legislative renewal. (Kwong, 1997)
One case disclosure shocked the public. That is that
the mayor of Beijing——Chen Xitong was found directly engaging in
bribe taking, with numerous bribe givers and huge material rewards.
Even for Chen Xitong, whose downfall is often interpreted as
political, the size of his booty warranted his fate. Two private
villas, where Chen spent his leisure time and kept his mistresses
between January 1993 and February 1995, cost the public nearly Y40
million in maintenance fees, and Y1.05 million in catering expenses.
According to Sun (2004), “The villas were filled with luxuries
ranging from gold doors and agate floors to extensive maintenance
and security. Eventually, he was sentenced to 16-year jail term.
In Alan Liu’s categories, the forms of corruption in
mainland China can be roughly divided into three groups. The first
one is universal in all political systems including bribery,
embezzlement and abuse. The state property is still a main target
but not the only one. Instead, it is the greater inducement from and
dependence on the market that now defines the forms and methods of
violation. The second type is related to the economic reform, such
as accounting violation and privilege seeking. When decentralisation
was carried on gradually, autonomy and increasing resources have
facilitated corruption dynamically. Precisely, there is linkage
between economic liberalisation and corruption. Third one is
resulted from moral degradation in a broad way. Sun (2004) states
that “even here the marketplace has stimulated distinctive forms of
moral deviation in recent years.”(p. 51).
Causes of corruption in China
The growth of corruption is considered as a policy
outcome. It results from mainly the economic reform in an
unconscious way during the reforming and opening period. In general,
economic reform which is for market development and economic growth,
has built up the advantageous condition for the explosion of
corruption. Increasing business opportunities, the looser economic
policies and the higher payoffs motivated officials to get involved
To break through the planned economy which made the
economy in China stall market economy was introduced to China 30
years ago. Wedeman (2012) states “this reform help China accomplish
an economic miracle,” which also makes China lie on the top in the
international community. As the continuous development of market
economy and reform and opening going deeper, corruption has come out
as an ineluctable social phenomenon.
During the reform of economy, market competition is
one of the most important factors which cannot be underestimated.
When analysing the relationship between market economy and
corruption, both western and Chinese scholars found out the paradox.
There is a negative correlation between economic growth and
corruption. Firstly Paolo Mauro, followed by other economists, found
that the higher the rate of corruption is, the lower the rate of
development is. Empirically, they drew out a conclusion that when
the rate of corruption increases one point, it results in the
reduction of one percent in economic growth.
Theoretically, this statement also can be correct because equality
and justice are the key factors of market competition. However, this
kind of developmental corruption model cannot successfully reflect
the facts in Mainland China where we can see the increasing
corruption rate together with the fast development of market and
economic growth. Some severe realities are quite obvious. The number
of officials corrupting keeps increasing. The involvement in
business field of governmental officials is enlarged. Corruption,
originally a concealed individual behaviour, is turning into an
organised collusion such as Shanghai Gang. (Gong, 1997)
As I mention before, there is a paradox about the
relationship between market economic growth and corruption.
Admittedly, corruption keeps developing in Mainland China together
with the rapid growth economy. Gong Ting (1997) uses a conceptual
framework which is the interactions of formal and informal practice
from new institutionalism to give the explanation. She believes that
corruption, as an informal practice, is actually a production of
formal practice with loophole.
They are interactional to some extent. To stamp out corruption, the
starting stage should be on the amendment towards formal practice
such as legal framework, judicial system and institutional design.
As for the judicial system, she also points out that the wide spread
of corruption is facilitated by the way the courts are organized and
supervised. The courts, in mainland China, are not different from
other governmental agencies. They are not independent. The local
government decides the finances of the courts.
Senior judges are nominated by the local CPC Committee and endorsed
by the local People’s Congress, meaning judges whose decisions are
seen to violate Party policy may be discharged or otherwise
punished. The courts are subject to the extra-legal authority of the
Political-Legal Secretary of the local Party Committee, which deals
with difficult and important cases referred to it. (Manion, 2004)
Anti-corruption strategy in Hong Kong
What makes Hong Kong’s economy successful? Several
points below are worthy being remarked such as low tax collection,
freedom in market competition, a relatively efficient legal system,
an efficient and effective network on transportation and
communication and “a competent workforce working along with a pool
of enterprising entrepreneurs”described by Howlett (1997, p.47) (as
cited in Manion, 2004). Those factors not only significantly
contribute to the economic development in Hong Kong but also enable
Hong Kong’s economic wealth which does good to combatting
corruption as the government can afford the salaries of civil
servants and enough human and financial resources can be committed.
Different from the Central Commission for Discipline
Inspection of the Communist Party of China (Zhongjiwei) the ICAC
operates independently in terms of structure, power, finance and
personnel. Before 1997, there was a direct access between its
Commissioner and the Governor. After July 1997, the ICAC is directly
responsible to the Chief Executive. So far, the ICAC has developed
into three major functions which are investigation, prevention and
education to fight against corruption in Hong Kong. (Scott, 2011)
The Structure of the ICAC
As for its structure, there are main three unequal
branches and the Administration Branch. Among the three departments,
the largest one which is the Operation Department takes the
responsibility of the investigative function. The over nine hundred
employees takes up 73% of the ICAC human resource. The head of the
Department also serves as the Deputy Commissioner, assisted by two
Directors who are in charge of the government sector and the private
sector respectively. The second largest one is the Community
Relations Department. The two divisions of this Department are mass
media and the public.
It has 202 staff which is 16% of the total staff in
the ICAC. Intensive education projects are conducted in schools and
business sectors. In addition, it also builds up a close
relationship between mass media and district organisations in order
to raise the public awareness and gain their support towards the
anti-corruption movement. The smallest department is the Corruption
Prevention Department (CPD), taking up 4% of the total employees in
In concrete terms, the objectives of the CPD is to inspect the
practice and procedures of government and public bodies. Also, it
takes the responsibility of making amendments and suggestions on the
working methods. Training for civil servants is also offered by the
CPD for the purpose of prevention. Apart from these three
departments, there is a separated administration department. It is
in charge of human and financial resources and general matters such
as accommodation and technologic service. Besides, an advisory
committee is to examine the work of each department.
The ICAC also has its own recruitment practice. The
employees are recruited out of the control of the Public Service
Commission, which makes the staff of the ICAC separate from other
governmental sections. During the recruitment process, the ICAC
itself takes the whole responsibility of promotion, screening,
interviewing and other process. As for the financial fund of it, by
the 2001/2002 financial year, its budget has reach 81 times compared
from the first year when it was established. This rapid increasing
in budget reflects the strong will of the government on the support
of the ICAC anti-corruption enforcement. (Quah, 2003)
Comparison on Anti-corruption Strategy in Mainland
China and Hong Kong.
The main difference in mainland China and Hong Kong
is the anti-corruption agencies. In Hong Kong, the ICAC is an
independent agency with power and increasing budget. More
importantly, the Commissioner of the ICAC is directly answerable to
the Chief Executive, which makes the ICAC a separated agency apart
from other governmental departments. (Harris, 2003) However, in
mainland China, unclear boundary exists between the party and
government branch. Junctional jurisdictions are dominated by
communist party committee generalists at each level. The second
point is the institutional design.
In Hong Kong, one of the three important methods of anti-corruption
is the prevention through institutional design is; in mainland
China, certain economic reform policies actually stimulate
corruption. Reorganisation of procedures to reduce incentives for
corrupt transaction has been shown recently. Finally, the analysis
will go back to the basic ground of anti-corruption strategy which
is the constitutional design. This essential difference lies in the
two different regimes. Hong Kong has a functioning rule of law
regime and effective civil liberty while mainland China is conducted
by a rule of law regime less constructively and neglect of civil
liberty. (Manion, 2004)
Hong Kong’s institutional design not only focus on
the enforcement measures but also pays high attention to the
prevention by offering suggestion. The ICAC’s Corruption Prevention
Department is to study the work procedures in governmental
departments to identify opportunities for corruption. (Manion, 2004)
Having studied and analysed, suggestions would be offered so as to
reduce the possibility of corruption by redesigning the working
Further, after the suggestions are given, the Department is still in
charge of checking the effectiveness of the suggestions, making sure
the new design would not offer ground for new chances for
corruption. The function as consultant is one of the key and unique
notion of this department, especially when the government is on its
way to draft and amend legislative text and policies. To a great
extent, this function makes sure the anti-corruption movement starts
from the beginning level where new laws are introduced for an
Also in mainland China recently, more attention has
been paid towards designing incentive structures from the original
forcemeat stage. In Anhui province in 2000, the “taxed for fees”
reform was adopted from the perspective of being incentive. The
reform is to reduced possibility of corruption in the township
governments and villages by reforming the basic collection system.
It replaces a single agricultural tax, capped at about 7 percent of
income and collected by higher level governments, for various fees
and charges levied by township and village administrations. Compared
with the previous regulations against illegal fees in 1990s, Manion
(2004) described that “the reform frees officials at the rural
grassroots level from fee collection and makes corruption at the
township and village more difficult.”(p. 205) In 2003, this reform
was successfully adopted nationwide, becoming a good example in
mainland China of transforming to the incentive structure.
According to policy analysts, the key part of
institutional design in Hong Kong is the independence of the ICAC
and it is what mainland China should emulate when reforming the
anti-corruption strategy. This refer to the exclusive
anti-corruption mission of the agency: “The ICAC is not embedded in
the civil service or any other larger organisation with multiple
goals”. Among this, the most important is the police force remaining
independent, especially in the 1973 context of a public perception
of that department as the most corrupt of all.
Agency independent worked in Hong Kong primarily because this agency
design worked as a signal, a public announcement of an “equilibrium
switch”——but it worked especially well in a particular context. With
corruption structured this way, the creation of an agency that
effectively rejected the police as anti-corruption agents helped
legitimate the government effort and enlisted ordinary citizens as
voluntary enforcers. Independent was complemented by power, also an
element of agency design: the ICAC was given strong investigate
powers and considerable financial resources.
Difference also lies in the law set in Hong Kong and
mainland China. The reasons behind it are partly contributed by the
different policy choices which illustrate different experience and
views. From a perspective of a higher degree, however, basic
difference on constraints of power should be noticed.
A solid legal foundation has become the base of Hong
Kong’s anti-corruption reform. Two important legislative context
have to be introduced. The Prevention of Bribery Ordinance was
strengthened in 1971. It provided with a clear definition by
including “unexplained income or property”which can serve as the
evidence of corruption practices. Clarity, stability, scope and
whether it is easy for application, all the points above greatly
influence on whether and how a corrupt official can be punished
according to law. (Quah, 2003)
To build up a clear legal basis, several points
should be well defined. Legal clarity, breadth, stability, and ease
of application all contributed to a situation where corrupt
officials were routinely punished according to law. And the public
confidence of the anti-corruption enforcement is also, to some
extent, basing on whether the law is harsh without loopholes.
On the contrary, in mainland China, the main force on
combatting corruption is centralised by the CDIC which plays as a
leading and administrative role. But as for the legal system itself,
it remains weak.
What depletes the development of law and a
legal-based authority in mainland China? One point should be noticed
that under the leading of the CDIC, the investigation and punishment
are conducted within the party system. This makes lag when a
criminal case is transferring into the prosecution process. So the
agency design which makes anti-corruption enforcement outside the
criminal procuratorates system may be one of answers to the question
above. (Gong, 2004)
Besides, the law making process is also not
propitious. The first criminal code was passed in 1979. Then comes
rapid changes on political economy which forced law makers refine
the law with taking lots of new factors into consideration. The role
of law and its distinction between party leadership shows a
fundamental contradiction in mainland China. The law should serve as
a powerful tool to fight against the abuse of official power. (Manion,
China’s path of corruption is actually quite similar
to the process in Hong Kong, rapid growth in population and economic
transition. By viewing Hong Kong as a good example of mainland
China, we can find basically one main loophole which is the
ambiguity of power between the party and
judiciary from both legal and institutional prospective. If mainland
China are going to set up an independent agency like ICAC in Hong
Kong, a clear boundary must be well-defined. First of all, as for
the institutional setting, it is to avoid the interference from the
government and the party in order to ensure authority and
transparency of this agency. Second, it is to reduce delay when a
corruption crime transferred from the investigation of the party to
Further, even though the “fight against
tigers”movement achieve success for the current situation, refining
the present legal framework still remains the determinant.
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO is a
candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Department of
Government and International Studies. Her research interest includes
Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
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Corruption, capitalism and democracy (Taylor & Francis e-Library
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Gong, T. (2004). Dependent
judiciary and unaccountable judges: Judicial corruption in
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Harris, R., 1947. (2003).
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Kwong, J. (1997). The
political economy of corruption in China. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E.
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(1991). Bureaucratic corruption during the deng xiaoping era.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese
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Corruption by design: Building clean government in mainland china
and hong kong. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Quah, J. S. T. (2003).
Curbing corruption in asia: A comparative study of six countries.
Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
Scott, I., 1943, & City
University of Hong Kong. Department of Public and Social
Administration. (2011). Corruption control in hong kong: Rules,
regulations and policies. Hong Kong: Dept. of Public and Social
Administration, City University of Hong Kong.
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Corruption and market in contemporary china. Ithaca, N,Y:
Cornell University Press.
Wedeman, A. H., 1958.
(2012). Double paradox: Rapid growth and rising corruption in
china. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
January 04, 2017
A European swamp – corruption and
A European Swamp
Dear friends of ESI,
Can basic international norms be undermined by corruption? Can
international politics be fundamentally reshaped by the personal
greed of politicians? These are among the most important questions
in global politics today. When it comes to the Council of Europe,
guardian of the European Convention of Human Rights the answer to
both questions is yes.
See new ESI Report:
The European Swamp (Caviar Diplomacy part 2)
Prosecutors, corruption and the Council of Europe
In recent years, the leaders of Azerbaijan have shown
how easy it is to undermine core human rights standards and bend a
formerly proud institution to its will. They have done so in close
cooperation with Russia, and with the active support of elected
politicians from across Europe, including from some of its oldest
democracies. In the process, they filled a rolodex with names of
politicians across the continent who have something to hide and can
be blackmailed in the future.
Nobody should have illusions that these methods are restricted to
the Council of Europe. Nobody should assume that it is only
Azerbaijan that is exploiting the greed of politicians. And it is
not only the massive corruption that should worry us. Azerbaijan's
actions have been met with almost complete silence from national
parliaments, governments and political parties.
In 2012 ESI published
"Caviar Diplomacy – How Azerbaijan silenced the
Council of Europe" to sound an alarm. The
reaction of Azerbaijani officials was neither alarm nor outrage, but
For as long as the only cost of corruption in the Council of Europe
was the institution's failure to speak out about the imprisonment of
Azerbaijani journalists, dissidents and youth activists, most
leaders of European governments felt that it was not a matter of
deep concern. Yet the failure in Strasbourg to hold the line on core
European values has now come to haunt European politics. It
consequences can be seen in the growing confidence of autocrats, the
increasing ruthlessness of their methods and the widespread retreat
of liberal politics. The ease with which democratic institutions and
safeguards can be undermined has emerged as a fundamental threat to
In this follow-up to Caviar Diplomacy, we take a closer look, four
years later, at the progress that has been made on miring the
Council of Europe in a swamp of corruption. We describe in detail
how the corruption of MPs proceeded, from early visits with precious
gifts meant to test the beneficiaries' reactions, to long-term
contracts involving huge sums of money.
"Your gifts are very precious"
Elkhan Suleymanov (member, PACE) and Luca Volonte (former member,
In April 2012 Italian parliamentarian Luca Volonte
travelled on a private trip to Baku to negotiate with the regime
what services he could offer. He arrived in Baku to meet with Elkhan
Suleymanov, a fellow member of PACE, and presented his ideas how to
boost Azerbaijan's image. This was not his first trip to Baku. Upon
his return from a trip in July 2011 Volonte sent an effusive note to
"Dear Elkhan, Thank you for everything!!! Thanks to you I have
discovered a very interesting country, our friendship is certainly
growing!! Thanks, your gifts are very tasty and very precious!!!"
Volonte was an experienced politician with many contacts. He entered
the Italian parliament in 1996 as a representative of a small
Christian Democratic party supportive of Silvio Berlusconi's
government. Between 2011 and 2013, he was one of Italy's full-time
representatives in PACE, where he also led the EPP group, the
largest group in the assembly.
The Marshall Islands – linking Baku and Milan
On 14 December 2012, a transfer of €100,000 was made
to the bank account of Luca Volonte's foundation (Novae Terrae),
where it arrived three days later. On Christmas Eve 2012, another
transfer of €220,000 was made to the bank account of his company,
LGV. The money came from two companies registered in Birmingham and
on the Marshall Islands, a chain of volcanic islands and coral
atolls in the Pacific Ocean. They reached Italy via two banks in
Estonia and Latvia. This path was chosen to conceal the fact that
these were payments from one PACE member (Elkhan Sulyemanov) to
another (Luca Volonte).
In late 2012 and early 2013 Volonte helped Azerbaijan build a
coalition in PACE to defeat a resolution on political prisoners,
drafted by German rapporteur Christoph Strasser. He suggested a
concrete lobbying strategy. In one email to an Azerbaijani PACE
member on 15 December 2012 Volonte wrote:
"We need to name a lot of friends during the debate and nominate one
person for each of our political groups: it would be useful if you
could suggest to [Luigi] Vitali and/or to the ex-Minister of Greece
to nominate themselves for the EPP, [Tadeusz] Iwinsky and others for
SOC, [Michael] Hancock and Bob [Robert Walter] for EDG, Jordi Xucla
Costa or some others for the Liberals. If their group has decided
for a "free vote", they need to stress their opinion in favour of
Pedro and consequently, against Strasser."
His efforts succeeded. Strasser's resolution was rejected by 125
votes to 79. Azerbaijan had managed to mobilise PACE
parliamentarians in an unprecedented manner; the vote in January
2013 was the best attended vote on a human rights resolution in the
history of PACE.
Volonte's efforts paid off. Over the next two years, he received
more than €2 million from Azerbaijan.
RAI Documentary –
"Caviar Democracy" (November 2016)
On 27 June 2014, the Public Prosecutor's office in
Milan wrote a notizia di reato – a notification when an alleged
crime is reported – concerning Luca Volonte and two bank transfers.
On Friday 13 February 2015, the court in Milan informed Volonte in a
letter that the prosecutor's investigation would be extended. Police
searched his offices. The investigation is ongoing.
On 21 November 2016, the Italian public broadcaster RAI aired a
documentary with the title
"Caviar Democracy". It
confronted Luca Volonte with the charges made against him.
RAI: The Terrae Novae Foundation was paid on the basis of an
agreement with Elkhan Suleymanov's NGO ACSDA. So, the foundation
signed a contract with…
Volonte: A consultancy. The foundation drew up an agreement …
RAI: Which lasts ten years.
Volonte: In the agreement, it says that it lasts ten years.
RAI: For how much?
Volonte: A million a year.
RAI: Ten million, then.
Volonte: Yes … that money was paid for advice which I
personally provided to Suleymanov as president of this NGO.
Watch the full documentary here:
RAI 3 Report "Caviar
Democracy", 21 November 2016.
For an earlier documentary about caviar diplomacy, with a focus
France 2, "Mon
président est en voyage d'affaires"
What next in Strasbourg?
It is essential that these developments are put on
the agenda of the next plenary session of PACE in late January 2017.
One argument some in PACE use already to prevent a serious debate is
bogus: that it is inappropriate to comment on an ongoing
Luca Volonte has publicly admitted that he accepted € 2.3 million
from Suleymanov. These transfers started on the eve of an important
vote on human rights in Azerbaijan. If this is not contrary to the
Code of Conduct for PACE members, then the Code is clearly
Any serious reforms in PACE are certain to meet with stiff
resistance from those who benefit from the status quo. For this
reason, concerned members of PACE and officials in the secretariat
and among governments and parliaments of member states need to act
decisively. They need to make clear what is at stake. Caviar
diplomacy is a mortal threat to the credibility of one of the
world's most important human rights institutions.
The Council of Europe was created in 1949 as a club of democracies,
led by politicians aware of Europe's autocratic past, conscious of
threats to the rule of law, determined to affirm human rights
against external and internal opponents. It is time to recapture
this spirit. It is high time to take back the Council of Europe.
Many best regards,
PS: Some concrete proposals, to be further developed in January
PACE should immediately suspend the two members accused of bribing
other members, pending a full investigation. PACE should also
withdraw the voting rights of the entire Azerbaijani delegation in
January 2017 until such time as it is clear that these practices
Given the dark shadow cast over the vote on 23 January 2013, PACE
should immediately appoint a credible special rapporteur on
political prisoners in Azerbaijan to apply the definition adopted by
PACE in October 2012.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Ministers should
discuss this issue and appoint a special independent investigator
with experience of such cases to do a serious investigation of
allegations for bribery by Azerbaijan since 2001 to present to the
Committee and to PACE.
Prosecutors in France, Spain, Germany and in other countries should
talk to their Italian colleagues and cooperate in investigating
suspicious behaviour during this period. The capture of PACE and
international institutions is not just an Italian problem.
The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland,
should make a very strong statement to affirm that there can be no
tolerance of any corruption of parliamentarians or officials.
Governments and parliaments of all Council of Europe member states
should make clear how seriously they take both these specific
discoveries and the structural problems they reveal. They need to
underline that inaction is no longer an option.
January 04, 2017
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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.
is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace
& Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.
Founder of Internacionalista
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age
political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and
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SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY
is a master`s degree student on the University for Criminal justice and Security
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George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and
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Interview on HRT-Radio
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Dr Filippo ROMEO,
is the outspoken Indonesian thinker,
social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.
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
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
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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
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.
Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian
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Graduate of the London School of Economics,
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Mr. Nicola Bilotta
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA
in History from Università degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History
from the London School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance Research
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researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliari)
Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1943 – Amurang,
North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public
Writer was a member of the House of Representatives
of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of
Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National
Development Planning (1988-1997).
Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace.