Government and Society


Russia’s Hobbled Civil Society
Caught between old ideologies and a powerful state
01/09/2006 | by Barbara von Ow-Freytag
For most Russians, the shock of the early 1990’s has discredited the notion of democracy, making it difficult for civil society to prevail over new authoritarian trends and old ideologies. Nevertheless, the struggling civic movement in Russia deserves the West’s support.
Category Government and Society, Russia, Eastern Europe, Europe
New Features of an Old Middle East
In pursuit of regional stability, give the nation state a chance
01/09/2006 | by Volker Perthes
In the Middle East today, the existence and credibility of functioning nation states provides a prerequisite framework for brokering a lasting, multilateral peace deal in the region. Despite the rise of religious sentiment and non-state transnational actors across the region, many of the secular Arab leaderships understand this reality well.
Category State Building, Government and Society, Near and Middle East/North Africa
German Self-Definition Against the US
America’s one-time protégé turns against its patron
01/11/2005 | by Richard Herzinger
Why has the mood in Germany turned so vehemently against the United States? The usual answer is George W. Bush. On closer examination, however, this does not fly. Opposing Bush’s war plans in Iraq did not require siding with France in an outright showdown with the US.
Category Germany - USA, Transatlantic Relations, History, Government and Society, Military Capacity, Security, Germany, United States of America, Iraq, Afghanistan
Iran’s Presidential Election
The main victors are the conservatives of the Iranian revolution
01/11/2005 | by David Menashri
With election of President Ahmadi-Nejad, Islamic conservatives have regained their monopoly on power in both un-elected and elected offices.
Category Political System, Religion, Political Culture, Government and Society, Iran
Uzbekistan Is Running Out of Time
The only hope may be some government-clans arrangement
When demonstrations swept Andijan, Uzbek President Karimov did not follow Kyrgyz President Akayev’s example and abdicate, but chose instead to suppress the demonstrators. Hundreds were probably killed by his security services. Yet it’s not quite as black-and-white as most news accounts suggested. Real insurgents were involved, using civilians as human shields.
Category Political System, Religion, Political Culture, Political Participation, Government and Society, Uzbekistan
Leadership and Postcommunist Transition
The new Central European democracies succeeded on their own
The new democracies that emerged after communist collapse in Central Europe did not enjoy strong or charismatic leaders. It was much more a case of improvisation by political amateurs. Yet the likes of Poland’s Leszek Balcerowicz and Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Havel effected radical changes. The President of the Batory Foundation, Warsaw, suggests twelve reasons for this counterintuitive success.
Category State Building, Corruption, Poverty, Government and Society, Democratization/System Change, Central Europe, Eastern Europe
Religion, Secularism, and Sovereignty
The EU nations’ secularism and softer sovereignty are unique
01/11/2005 | by Michael Mertes
A three-way culture war pits fundamentalist secularism against religions, Christianity against a suspicious secularism, and Islam against secularism.
Category Religion, Government and Society, Europe
A New Geography in International Trade
Global ambitions- regional responsibility
01/08/2005 | by Claudia Decker, Stormy-Annika Mildner
Brazil, India, and China (nicknamed, along with Russia, the “BRICs”) are the new, fast-growing regional economic giants. And they know it.
Category Emerging Market Economies, Trade, Poverty, Government and Society, China, Brazil, India
Religion as Unifier and Divider
Believers practice their faiths in remarkably similar ways
01/08/2005 | by Alan Wolfe
Often enough in history, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews thought their religions divided them. But today believers are not crossing swords as much as expected on such hot-button issues as abortion. Non-judgmentalism and generic traditionalism offer some explanation for this.
Category Religion, Government and Society, Worldwide
Dueling Paradoxes
01/08/2005 | by Marcia Pally
Church and state are separated in the US, but not in Europe-- with some surprising results.
Category Religion, Integration, Migration, Government and Society, Transatlantic Relations, Europe-USA, United States of America, Europe
»Ijihad is about creative reasoning«
Irshad Manji talks to IP
01/08/2005 | by Irshad Manji
Why not counter jihad with ijihad-- to the benefit of both Muslim women and men?
Category Religion, Gender Relations, Migration, Government and Society, Worldwide, Islamic world, Western World
Ismail Abdullah's Barbershop
Two cheers for the election and Iraqization-- but what's next?
01/08/2005 | by Christoph Reuter
Ismail Abdullah doesn’t want to be murdered, and therefore he is desisting from trimming beards in an un-Islamic fashion. He has to live with the aftermath of the successful January vote and the three-month failure of those elected to form a government. If the Shiites get their way, there will be more sharia law. If the Kurds get their way, there will be greater autonomy. If the Sunnis get much of anything, it will be a miracle.
Category Religion, Government and Society, Democratization/System Change, Iraq
The Seven Pillars of State-Building
The military genuins of Lawrence of Arabia lay in his politics
01/08/2005 | by John C. Hulsman
Lawrence of Arabia was no ivory tower theorizer, but an on-the-ground practitioner of politics and warfare. His and Emir Feisal’s force of 3000 pinned down 50,000 Turks. We could do worse than following his example as we try to do 21st-century state-building around the world.
Category State Building, Fragile States, Government and Society, Iraq
Antisemitism–and Anti-antisemitism
Anti-Americanism and anti-anti-Americanism too have many uses
01/04/2005 | by Claus Leggewie
As everyone knows, scholarly inquiry begins with differentiations. In the present case, they sound like this:
Category Religion, Government and Society, Worldwide
An Empire of Law and Consensus
A call for a Europe–and Europeans–beyond the nation-state
01/02/2005 | by Ulrich Beck
Europe can become neither a state nor a nation–and it won’t. Hence it cannot be thought of in terms of the nation-state. The path to the unification of Europe leads not through uniformity but rather through acknowledgment of its national particularities. Diversity is the very source of Europe’s potential creativity. The solution to national problems lies only in European interaction.
Category European Union, Globalization, Economy and Finance, Political System, Government and Society, Europe
Violent Islamists in the UK and Europe
The British government’s complacency is not warranted
01/02/2005 | by Alex Alexiev
The Muslim Council of Britain, the best known Muslim umbrella organization, touts itself and is touted by British officials as a model of moderate Islam. Yet a large majority of its “affiliates” are extremists. These include scores of Deobandi- and Ahle Hadith-controlled organizations.
Category Terrorism, Security, Religion, Government and Society, Europe, United Kingdom
Nationalism as Unifier–and Risk
Does nationalism make China’s rise less peaceful?
01/02/2005 | by Suisheng Zhao
Chinese nationalism is far more complex than emotional anti-Japanese street demonstrations might suggest. It has been an instrument for rallying support during the rapid, turbulent transformation of a Communist to a post-Communist society. But the government has striven to keep passions under control and to keep foreign policy prudential. The question of whether it is succeeding or not remains open.
Category Political System, Political Culture, Political Participation, Government and Society, Media/Information, China
How Not to Deal with a Backsliding Russia
Distinct authoritarian trends are emerging in Putin’s Kremlin
01/02/2005 | by Heinrich Vogel
Russian foreign policy has managed to play off the competitive reflexes of Western governments, which are jockeying for privileged access to Putin.
Category Political System, Political Culture, Government and Society, Russia
Russia’s Near Abroad
What will happen the next time a Soviet successor state rebels?
01/02/2005 | by Jacek Cichocki
How will the Kremlin act next time around? After its rebuffs in 2004 in the Rose and Orange Revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, how will Moscow behave when the next country in Russia’s sphere of influence seeks to dilute that influence?
Category Political Culture, Corruption, Government and Society, Russia
From Shared Tragedy to Catharsis?
The best post-tsunami scenario would be reconciliation in Asia
01/01/2005 | by Ramesh Thakur
The loss of 280,000 lives might even bring Jakarta and Aceh, Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers closer together. The main spur to the generosity of governments and peoples alike around the world was the sense of shared loss and the desire to help the survivors. It can only be hoped that the tsunami of human solidarity will now be converted into longer lasting institutions of cooperation in the whole Asia-Pacific region.
Category Government and Society, South Asia, Asia