Hungary’s Sovereignty Struggle

April 6, 2012 by

When the Hungarian Communist regime fell in 1989, the transition occurred rather smoothly. The transition to democracy had been encouraged by political parties such as the Christian Nationalist Party and the Hungarian Democratic Forum. Hungary did not witness the same amount of violence that has followed dramatic shifts in governance like in Romania at the time, or Iraq in the early part of the last decade or in Libya this decade. A gradual transformation to full democracy was planned and executed.

Why Europe is not yet ‘A Culture of Peace’

April 5, 2012 by

It is undoubtedly true that the greatest unacknowledged achievement of the European Union (EU) is to establish ‘a culture of peace’ within its regional enclosure for the 68 years since 1944. This has meant not only the absence of war in Europe, but also the absence of ‘war talk,’ threats, crises, and sanctions, with the single important exception of the NATO War of 1999 that was part of the fallout from the breakup of former Yugoslavia.

Iceland’s Loonie Idea: Will Ditching the Krona Solve its Currency Quagmire?

March 27, 2012 by

After having gone through a dramatic financial meltdown and two years of recession in 2009 and 2010, Iceland started to recover in 2011 and IMF estimates now indicate that economic growth should average between 2.5% and 3% over the short-medium term. Yet the country is in a post-crisis transition and a number of systemic and structural issues still need to be addressed by the authorities in order to secure economic stability for the future.

A Need for Pan-Asian Institutions in Asia

March 20, 2012 by

For over a decade, many relevant academic journals have prophesized the 21st century as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on impressive economic growth, increased production, trade and booming foreign currency reserves. Undoubtedly, the fact that Asia holds nearly 1/3 of the total world population doesn’t hurt its chances from overtaking the United States and Europe in many areas.

Ireland’s Debt and the Heart of St. O’Toole

March 16, 2012 by

Someone has pinched the heart of St. Lawrence O’Toole, and thereby hangs a typical Irish tale filled with metaphors, parallels, and some pretty serious weirdness. Who done it? The suspects are many and varied. Could the heist from Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral have been engineered by the infamous “troika” of the European Commission, the European Bank, and the International Monetary Fund?

China: Tehran’s Reprieve?

March 15, 2012 by

The latest chapter in the Iranian nuclear saga contains some signs that coordinated unilateral sanctions from the United States and the European Union are actually working. But, will China’s reluctance to jump on board provide the Iranian regime with the trapdoor that it needs to escape the noose and hang onto power?

Expelled Ambassadors and Europe’s Brezhnevization

March 1, 2012 by

The diplomatic ballet between Minsk and the European Union - Minsk expels two European ambassadors, and the EU in response recalls all of its ambassadors to Belarus - is a caricature of what is happening between Europe and the embattled Middle East (Syria, for one), and indeed between Europe and the rest of “non-Western” world. This is a sad example of the EU responding simply because it feels it must.

Trouble in Euro Zone Paradise?

February 24, 2012 by

The Europeans evidently thrive on instability and the ongoing threat of systemic risk. There is nothing else to explain the renewed hardline stance adopted by both Mario Draghi of the ECB and the German government on fiscal policy, just as the markets appeared to be calming down again.

The Post-WWI Years and the 21st Century

February 24, 2012 by

The world today and the world immediately before the Second World War are strikingly similar. The military and foreign policy of the United States today is comparable to the close-minded introversion of isolationism. European countries are teetering on the brink of economic collapse. The German industrial juggernaut has reignited. The announced rearmament of Russia resembles that of the former Soviet Union, during and immediately after the First World War.

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War

February 23, 2012 by

Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them. World War I was not started over the Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination, nor was it triggered by the alliance system. An “incident” may set the stage for war, but no one keeps shooting unless they think it’s a good idea. The Great War started because the countries involved decided they would profit by it, delusional as that conclusion was.

Europe Must Choose Between an Iranian Oil Embargo and Default

February 20, 2012 by

Experts say that if Iran stops its oil deliveries to the European Union, the EU will need several weeks to find alternative suppliers. Britain and France, to which Iran stopped deliveries on Saturday, February 19, are unlikely to be hit hard, but Greece, which is tottering under the weight of its economic problems and is the largest importer of Iranian oil, will most likely have to declare a default.

The Fight within Albania

February 15, 2012 by

The Republic of Albania marks its centennial this year since it proclaimed independence on 28 November 1912 in Vlorë, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted after a decade of fighting. Today, Albania is a member of NATO and is on its way to gain the status of a EU candidate country this year. However, in order to achieve that goal, Albania has to implement numerous reforms, especially in the justice system.

Israel and the US versus Iran: Talk Peace!

February 14, 2012 by

We are witnessing the state system at its worst. The options are tighter sanctions, or war. The far better option of sitting down with mediators, talking and searching for solutions is absent. Polarization and escalation, the material of which wars are made, fill the media. What a shame!

Greece: A Default is a Better Outcome Than the Deal on Offer

February 13, 2012 by

Pick your poison. In the words of Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the choice facing Greece today in the wake of its deal with the so-called “Troika” (the ECB, IMF, and EU) is “to choose between difficult decisions and decisions even more difficult. We unfortunately have to choose between sacrifice and even greater sacrifices in incomparably more dearly.” Of course, Venizelos implied that failure to accept the latest offer by the Troika is the lesser of two sacrifices.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

February 10, 2012 by

Nobody likes getting dumped on an anniversary. January marks the ten-year anniversary of the euro, whose introduction was supposed to herald an era of not just economic prosperity, but closer integration across the continent. But as the financial crisis grips Europe, enthusiasm for the euro is waning quickly among the public in many member states, and nations that had once pledged to adopt the currency are getting cold feet.

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