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  • Author: Ondrej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine has turned the tables of the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia. The ongoing transformation can result in a number of outcomes, which can be conceived in terms of scenarios of normalisation, escalation and 'cold peace' - the latter two scenarios being much more probable than the first. NATO ought to shore up its defences in Central and Eastern Europe while Washington and its allies engage in a comprehensive political strategy of 'new containment'. This means combining political and economic stabilisation of the transatlantic area with credible offers of benefits to partners in the East and pragmatic relations with Russia which are neither instrumentalised (as was the case with the 'reset') nor naïvely conceived as a 'partnership'.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Washington, Ukraine
  • Author: Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Two years after the popular mobilisations in Egypt and Tunisia of early 2011, post-uprising authorities, including the Islamist parties that came to power, have failed to deliver on the demands for social justice that triggered those protests. They have responded to past and present socio-economic challenges by adopting measures that are in clear continuity with previous regimes and lacking any coherent long-term vision of economic reform. Indeed, albeit with differences between the two countries, post-uprising authorities, lacking experience and competence, have not fully broken with the old system in reconfiguring power relations within and outside state institutions and have continued to adopt a top-down approach to economic decision-making.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Laura Guazzone
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After winning the 2011 elections, the Ennahda Islamist Party was the majority partner in successive coalition governments, whose poor performance - namely in the economic and security fields - disappointed the people's high post-revolutionary expectations. Opponents accused Ennahda of incompetence, greed for power and double talk. Many of the Ennahda-led governments' failures were due to factors beyond their control, but some did indeed depend on Ennahda's own political weaknesses. Nevertheless, Ennahda contributed positively to the overall development of Tunisia's political transition thanks to its moderation and pragmatism and its contribution remains paramount for the democratic consolidation of Tunisia and other political Islamic actors.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Robert D. Springborg
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Turkish model deemed most relevant to 2011-12 post-Mubarak Egypt was the Islamist-led transformation of the polity and economy that occurred following the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election. As it transpired, this version of the Turkish model lasted but one year before another took its place. That model was the political project of the Turkish military that seized power in September 1980. This thirty-one year old Turkish model of a constitutionally empowered executive body, controlled by the military appears to have trumped the contemporary, Islamist one in Egypt. But the Turkish military coup of 1980 unwittingly and unintentionally laid the groundwork for the transition that ultimately swept it from power and its leaders into jail. The pertinent question then is will Egypt's civilian political and economic actors be similarly and sufficiently astute to exploit the opportunities they inevitably will have even under military rule? Egyptian political forces will inevitably mount serious challenges as they did in Turkey. In Egypt, however, the domestic and regional political and economic contexts are so different from those in Turkey that the outcome of the struggle for power between civilians and the military are likely to deviate substantially from this Turkish model.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Egypt
  • Author: Susannah Verney
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Greek election of May 2012 failed to produce a government, resulting in repeat elections six weeks later. This shock outcome was a symptom of a broader delegitimation of the national political system. Over the past decade Eurobarometer data show a much more extensive loss of confidence in political institutions in Greece than in the European Union as a whole. In a first phase, rising political discontent was managed within the traditional political framework through alternation in power between the two major parties. In contrast, the second phase, following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, led to the dramatic fragmentation of the party system and changed the mode of government formation. This process is not reversible and entails serious democratic dangers.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Lorenzo Mosca
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The enduring economic crisis, austerity measures and corruption scandals have created a favourable environment for the advent of new political actors all over Europe. During the last general elections (February 2013), Italy was shocked by the inexorable rise of the Five Star Movement. Beppe Grillo's creature upset the political system, occupying portions of the public sphere that had been ignored (the web) or gradually abandoned by traditional political parties (the squares). Its unusual campaigning style, its internet-based organisational structure, its atypical political positioning (beyond left and right), and its oversimplification of complex problems all help to explain its electoral performance, and distinguish it from similar anti-establishment parties that have emerged in Europe over the past decade.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States is currently negotiating two massive regional economic agreements, one with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim countries and the other with the 28-member European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) herald a substantial shift in US foreign economic policy as Washington turns its focus from the stalemated Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and scattered bilateral trade agreements to 'mega-regional' trade diplomacy. As the only party to both negotiations, Washington seeks to leverage issues in one to advance its interests in the other, while reinvigorating US global leadership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Ayla Gurel, Laura Le Cornu
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic rationale for energy collaboration between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel is compelling. Cyprus and Israel need commercially viable export routes for their gas while Turkey is eager to diversify and increase its gas supplies. Hydrocarbon resources could potentially be a catalyst for both bringing about a Cyprus settlement and a Turkey-Israel rapprochement. A trilateral cooperation scheme involving a Turkey-Israel pipeline and an LNG plant in Cyprus could offer strong commercial incentives to all parties. But it would require bold political vision on the part of the region's leaders, coupled with backing from influential external actors with an interest in reconciliation and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • Author: Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Fifteen years ago, the European Union (EU) launched a Common European Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Since then, the CSDP has been the focus of a growing body of political and scholarly evaluations. While most commentators have acknowledged shortfalls in European military capabilities, many remain cautiously optimistic about the CSDP's future. This article uses economic alliance theory to explain why EU member states have failed, so far, to create a potent common defence policy and to evaluate the policy's future prospects. It demonstrates, through theoretical, case study-based and statistical analysis, that CSDP is more prone to collective action problems than relevant institutional alternatives, and concludes that the best option for Europeans is to refocus attention fully on cooperation within a NATO framework.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and EU3+3 have provided the grounds for establishing direct talks between Iran and the United States, subsequently creating a positive prospect for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff after a decade of negotiations. The effect of economic sanctions and political change in Iran have made it possible to bring an important foreign policy issue into domestic politics discourses. The fact that the nuclear negotiations put Iran in a position comparable to the other world powers strengthened a sense of movement towards a win-win situation among Iranian political forces. All of this created a relative political consensus among Iran's ruling elites regarding the need to initiate direct talks with the United States in order to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff. The nuclear programme is also linked with the regional equation, the result of which has been the emergence of a new kind pragmatism in the conduct of Iranian regional policy in hope of revising Iran's place in US Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Sanam Vakil
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: US-Iranian relations have been stalled for over three decades due to missteps in timing, distrust, hostility and ideological differences between Tehran and Washington. Six American presidents have experimented with different political and economic tools in an effort to reverse Iranian support for terrorist groups, its opposition to Israel and its pursuit of a nuclear programme. President Barack Obama's direct engagement with Tehran to end the nuclear standoff is a first step towards improved relations between two estranged countries that share a number of mutual interests.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Tehran
  • Author: Montserrat Guibernau
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Various factors have triggered the recent shift from devolution to secession in Catalonia: the Aznar government's lack of response to demands for greater autonomy for Catalonia, the legal challenging of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia and, increasingly, economic arguments as Catalan society endures a harsh economic crisis. After evaluating the impact of the Spanish transition to democracy upon younger generations' expectations regarding the meaning and content of democracy in post-Franco Spain, it is argued that democracy based upon 'consensus' rather than 'majoritarian democracy' would be better suited to respond to national minorities' demands in Spain.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Jonathan Laurence, Gabriel Goodliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency presented a mixed record on the issues of Muslim immigration and integration. On the one hand, his administration took novel and constructive steps to advance the integration of Muslim immigrants into French society, notably through the granting of unprecedented official recognition and institutional representation to Islam in the country. On the other, by placing the immigration issue at the centre of his 2012 re-election strategy, he overshadowed and undermined the effectiveness of these integrative policies. Given the country's worsening economic outlook and rising unemployment, immigration is therefore likely to remain as salient and difficult an issue under the new Hollande administration as it was under Sarkozy's.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Russian government sincerely believes that Assad's removal from power would trigger the expansion of jihadism and instability in the Caucasus and southern Russia. Moscow is deeply concerned about the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia's efforts to support the most radical factions in Syria. At the same time, the obvious absence of the ideological background behind current Russian-Syrian relations makes them a trade item. Thus, official guarantees that the jihadists will not export their revolution elsewhere accompanied by promises to preserve some Russian economic positions in post-Assad Syria will probably create the necessary ground for the emergence of a compromise stance on Syria (including the issue of foreign intervention).
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Augustus Richard Norton
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab awakening augurs the return of political contestation to key Arab societies in which little more than token opposition had been tolerated. Unfolding experiments in democratisation in which Islamically-oriented parties are leading players are underway but the prospects for the consolidation of stable political systems in key countries, such as Egypt or Syria are problematic. These developments have hastened a new regional balance of power in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to stem the tide of change as well as thwart the hegemonial ambitions of Iran. Persistent issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, remain unresolved and have a powerful grip on the conscience of the Arab world. Key external powers, especially the United States, confront not only stubborn familiar issues but also a host of new strategic, economic, diplomatic and military challenges.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Vivien A. Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic policies of the eurozone crisis, generally presented in apolitical terms, are political both in their underlying principles and in their effects. The EU's 'policy without politics', based on ordo-liberal ideas for macroeconomic austerity and neo-liberal ideas for structural reform, has left the member states with 'politics without policy', in which dissatisfied citizens have had little recourse. This has led to increasing political disaffection, polarisation, and Euroscepticism. Proposals to politicise so as to legitimise the EU by electing the Commission President hold some promise, in contrast to election of the Council President. But the danger, given the eurozone crisis, is that such elections will only politicise so as to delegitimise.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Peter Draper
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Support for regional economic integration in Africa runs high amongst the continent's international development partners and African elites. However, its expression in European forms of economic integration is not appropriate to regional capacities and in some cases may do more harm than good. This lacuna is exacerbated by technical and theoretical analyses rooted either in economics or international relations literature. This article sets out to reconceptualise the foundations of African economic integration by reviewing key debates within each literature and comparing the results across disciplinary boundaries. Overall, it is concluded that a much more limited approach is required, one that prioritises trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation in areas related primarily to the conduct of business; underpinned by a security regime emphasizing the good governance agenda at the domestic level. Care should be taken to design the ensuing schemes in such a way as to avoid contributing to major implementation and capacity challenges in establishing viable and legitimate states. In doing so, the presence of regional leaders with relatively deep pockets - South Africa in the Southern African case - points to the imperative of building such limited regional economic arrangements around key states.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa
  • Author: Magnus Killander
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Despite the lofty objectives set out in the treaties of African intergovernmental organisations, such as the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC and the East African Community, legal harmonisation in Africa is still underdeveloped. Apart from a push towards harmonisation in the protection of human rights and the environment, mainly driven by a global agenda, some progress has been made with regard to legal harmonisation linked to economic integration at the sub-regional level. However, the process is slow and measures to ensure implementation of agreed norms at the national level and ensure consistent interpretation are still underdeveloped. This is illustrative of the lack of political will and the big gap between political rhetoric and reality on the African continent.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: David Camroux
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Revolving around the concept of 'Community' or 'community', debate on an Asian region has ostensibly pitted those who proposed an entity limited to East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN) against those who proposed a much wider region embracing India, North (and, perhaps, South) America, as well as Australasia. Previously these two conceptualisations possessed their eponymous translation in the East Asian Economic Caucus (reincarnated as ASEANþ3) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. However, with the creation in 2005 of the East Asian Summit to include India, Australia and New Zealand and, above all, its 2011 enlargement to include the United States and Russia, the contrast between the two conceptualisations of an Asian region has become confused. In order to explain this development, this article suggests that the language of 'region' or 'community' is a discursive smokescreen disguising changes in approaches to multilateralism. An examination of the East Asia Summit, contrasting it with another recent regional project, the Trans Pacific Partnership, suggests that the actors involved are seeking to ensure the primacy of individual nation states in intergovernmental multilateral relations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, America, India, East Asia, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Andrés Malamud, Gian Gardini
  • 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: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America