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  • Author: Marco Pinfari
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 1960, Latin American attempts at regionalism have undergone distinct phases. More notably, they have tended to diverge across space, gradually giving birth to separate blocs that seem to be tearing South, Central and North America apart. Additionally, within and across these regions several overlapping projects coexist. This article focuses on the dynamics of segmented and overlapping regionalism in order to describe what they look like, analyse how they articulate with one another, and explain why member states have pushed for such a messy outcome. This situation, linked to the evolution of the global context, might be indicating that regionalism in Latin America has reached its peak, beyond which it may be difficult to achieve further progress. Two conclusions are elicited: first, economic integration is becoming a geographically diffused phenomenon rather than a regional one; second, regionalism is still a compelling foreign policy but its causes, goals and outcomes are no longer what they used to be.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, Latin America, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Claudia Astarita, Dario Sabbioni, Maria Chiara Slucca, Lorenzo Vai
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Discussing China's approach to global warming is not an easy task. Beijing's attitude to this sensitive issue has often appeared confusing. Alessandro Gobbicchi's book, which tries to retrace what the People's Republic has been thinking, doing and achieving in this context over the last three decades, is therefore a welcome tool.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Maxi Schoeman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The ambitions of the global South for a larger share of global wealth and political power are at least partly being played out on the African continent. The increasing Africa-South relations seem to indicate a relative decline in Africa-North ties, with the shift in Africa's trade relations from North to South resulting in trade creation rather than trade diversion. The South partners are also providing much needed infrastructure development assistance to the continent. Politically, these relations are formalised in a host of frameworks and associations and operate in fundamentally different ways from those between Africa and its erstwhile colonial masters. It is doubtful, though, to what extent Africa's capacity to influence the global agenda is strengthened, especially given that not a single African country is (yet) a member of the 'South Big Four', the BRICs.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti, Patrick Kimunguyi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe has been the privileged economic and political partner of Africa, but more recently China has increased its foothold in Africa through important financial investments and trade agreements. Against this backdrop, the empirical research conducted in 2007-08 in Kenya and South Africa as part of a pioneering international project investigates the perceptions of public opinion, political leaders, civil society activists and media operators. While confirming their continent's traditional proximity to Europe, African citizens are increasingly interested in China and its impact on Africa's development. Europe is criticised for not having been able to dismiss the traditionally 'patronising' attitude towards Africa. While African civil society leaders and media operators describe China as an opportunity for Africa to break free of its historical dependence on European markets, other opinion leaders warn against too much enthusiasm for the Asian giant. There is a suspicion that the Chinese strategy might, in the long run, turn into a new form of economic patronage.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, China, Europe, Asia, South Africa
  • Author: Shalendra D. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Given its impressive economic performance over the past two decades, Ireland earned the title, the 'Celtic Tiger'. However, as the contagion from the subprime-induced global financial crisis spread, Ireland's boom went bust. In short order, Ireland (like Greece before it), had to seek financial assistance from the EU and the IMF to stave off sovereign default and national humiliation. How did Dublin and the eurozone respond to the crisis and what lessons can be learned from Ireland's experience? While Ireland grapples with its huge public debt, the EU needs to instill confidence in the markets before the current rolling debt crisis becomes a systemic threat to the eurozone.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics
  • Political Geography: Ireland, Dublin
  • Author: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the US prepares to pull out of Iraq, the 'national reconciliation' process that was launched in the Summer of 2006 remains stalled. The March 2010 legislative elections, which were expected to consecrate the rebuilding of a national pact between Iraqis, have led to even greater fragmentation of Iraq's socio-political landscape. The power sharing agreement ultimately presages more tensions to come. With the essence and reality of the Iraqi 'nation' long debated and subjected to continued deconstruction under the combined effects of authoritarianism, military conflagrations and economic sanctions, it will likely take decades before a genuine reconciliation can come about.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Shamil Midkhatovich Yenikeyeff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The geographic proximity of Central Asia to Russia, China, the Caucasus and the Caspian region, as well as to the Middle East, makes this oil and gas-producing region a crucial and ever-developing player in regional and global energy markets. The method by which Central Asian producers choose to develop their hydrocarbon resources and export infrastructure will have significant implications for the plans for diversification of oil and gas supplies of Europe, China and India, as well as for Russia's energy exports to Europe. It is still too early to tell whether the economic and political incentives are strong enough to promote cooperation between the various actors or whether the energy interests of these key external powers are so diverse as to clash in Central Asia.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Gareth Winrow
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Officials in Ankara are pressing for Turkey to become a key energy hub for the transportation of hydrocarbons from the Caspian region and the Middle East to Europe. It appears that they are seeking to secure certain strategic and economic advantages. Turkey's increasing energy needs could be satisfied, re-export rights obtained, and ambitions to become a significant regional state fulfilled which could facilitate accession to the EU. It seems more likely, though, that Turkey will become an important energy transit state, especially for the Southern Gas Corridor. Here, Turkey could still diversify its gas imports and reduce dependence on Russia.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Kamleh Khatib
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Through a series of open-question interviews carried out with those responsible for the UfM file between late 2008 and early 2009, some undeniable and unanimously accepted merits were voiced. However, views from the southern shores of the Mediterranean appear to be multifaceted and not uniform with only one dominant common trait echoing in all interviews and shaping negative perceptions, namely, the weight the Arab-Israeli conflict exerts in hampering the initiative. While a Union of projects could "address the architectural deficit that has prevented the Mediterranean from becoming a coherently functional economic regional space", high politics emerge, yet again, as an inescapable reality that demands prioritisation.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The ongoing global financial and economic crisis, which initially emerged in North America and Europe, has increasingly spread to emerging and developing countries, including the Southern Mediterranean. The global economic crisis could pose, and is posing, a number of challenges to Euro-Mediterranean relations. On the political front, it has contributed to further undermining the political reform agenda included in the Barcelona Process and the European Neighbourhood Policy. On the economic front, the crisis is jeopardising trade integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area and could slow down the pace of economic reforms supported by the European Union in Southern Mediterranean countries.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America