Poland-Germany struggle to gain influence in the European region between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea
The latest summit of the Three Seas Initiative (TTI) was attended by the president of the European Commission, which sample was an endorsement from Brussels that did not seem complete until now. German representatives also attended attendance , although Germany is not part of the twelve-nation club of Central and Eastern European countries. Poland, backed by the United States, wants to lead the ongoing effort to reduce the region's energy dependence on Russian gas; in reaction, Germany has announced a timid bid to import liquefied gas from the US.
article / Paula Ulibarrena
On 17-18 September 2018, the third summit of the Three Seas Initiative took place in Bucharest, aiming at the economic development of the area of the European Union (EU) between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas. The meeting was attended by nine heads of state, two presidents of national parliaments, a prime minister and a foreign minister, along with several senior European officials, led by European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, and a large German representation, as well as US leaders.
The Three Seas Initiative (BABS-Initiative: Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea) was launched in 2015 and consists of twelve countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
According to the Polish Foreign Affairshigh school , the EU's initial reticence about the MTI seems to have been overcome, as the summit was endorsed by the European Commission and the European Parliament's Commissioner for Regional Policy. This recognises the role of the MTI in cohesion and in strengthening the EU.
The importance of energy supply
One of the main aspects that the ITM deals with is energy. Its goal is to have agile access to energy, but also to ensure supply from various points, so as not to depend on a single provider, and also to try to play a diversifying role in supplying other European regions. At present, its efforts are mainly focused on the so-called project BRUA, which aims to open up the possibility of transporting gas from the Caspian Sea area to Romania's southern border, and from there to Romania's north-western border with Hungary.
BRUA is an acronym for Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, and aims to diversify the natural gas supply system in the region. "We are creating a distribution network ," said Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change, "it is not just a big classical pipeline but small reverse flow pipelines that allow gas to be sent south, east, west, so the region will have more sources of energy and cheaper energy.
The BRUA pipeline would be, to some extent, a replacement for the failed project Nabucco. This project consisted of the development of a natural gas transport capacity between existing interconnection points with the natural gas transport networks of Bulgaria (at Giurgiu) and Hungary (Csanadpalota), through the construction of a new pipeline with a total length of 550 km, on the route Giurgiu-Podisor-Corbu-Hurezani-Hateg-Recas-Horia, and three compressor stations located along its route (at Corbu, Hateg and Horia). It planned to reach a gas flow of 4.4 million cubic metres per year in the direction of Hungary, and 1.5 million cubic metres to Bulgaria.
The BRUA pipeline will only account for one third of the flow that Nabucco would have provided, thus minimizing the risk of market loss for Russia. The route, which crosses Romania from east to west and from north to south, has an estimated cost of a total of €560 million. Romania anticipates that the Black Sea exploration activities of OMV Petrom ExxonMobil could lead to the finding of new natural gas fields. To this end, it is envisaged to extend the BRUA gas pipeline for another 300 kilometers, from Giurgiu to the Black Sea perimeters.
Germany sent its foreign minister to the summit as an observer. Germany's interest is to strengthen its economic presence in the eastern region of the EU in order to prevent the growing weight of China, secure its energy supply and play an important role in the network gas distribution within Europe, in a context of conflict over Russian gas supplies, and the dependence that this entails for European countries. The construction of the second North European pipeline, known as project NS2 (Nord Stream 2), which will carry liquefied gas from Vyborg (western Russia) to Greifswald on the Baltic coast of Germany, is currently being finalised. civil service examination This project has always been opposed by the United States, which dislikes the EU's energy dependence on Russia, which is why the US is inclined to promote the ITM as area of development and entrance of energy sources that are not dependent on Russia.
BRUA pipeline, marked in blue, and TANAP (Turkey) and TAP (connection to Greece) pipelines, both in black, on an image taken from Google Maps.
Poland comes into play
Poland is aligning itself with the US and trying to reduce Eastern European countries' economic and energy dependence on Russia. But it is also trying to reduce Germany's weight in the region; this is reminiscent of the Intermarium that Poland promoted in the years between the two world wars. Poland's aim is to become a new gas distribution hub for the EU, where its ports would be used for the unloading of liquefied natural gas of US origin. These ports would be connected to the project BRUA, replacing Ukraine as entrance of gas to the EU and in turn replacing Russian gas with US gas (9).
Precisely this project of the ITM, together with pressure from the US president, has provoked a reaction from Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel counterattacked in October with the advertisement that Germany is once again opening the door to US gas by deciding to co-finance the construction of a 500 million euro liquefied natural gas ship terminal in the north of the country. This would strengthen Germany's alliance with the US, but could also reduce its dependence on nuclear energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
The TTI projects are financed by a financial fund provided by six of the member states (Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Latvia), but open to the participation of all the countries that make up the group. Its goal is to provide financial support for the development of trans-national infrastructures in which at least three ITM member states participate. The institutional contribution exceeds 5 billion euros, and aims to attract external investment, from private funds, to strengthen the fund itself. With a thirty-year perspective, the aim is to exceed 100 billion euros.
[Justin Vaïsse, Zbigniew Brzezinski. America's Grand Strategist. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, 2018. 505 p.]
review / Emili J. Blasco
Zbignew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter, is one of the great names in U.S. foreign policy in recent decades. In some respects comparable to Henry Kissinger, who also went directly from the University - where both were colleagues - to the Administration, the latter's greater renown has sometimes obscured Brzezinski's degree program . Justin Vaïsse's biography, written with access to Brzezinski's documentation staff and first published in French two years ago, comes to highlight the singular figure and his own thinking of one who had a continuous presence on the discussion on the action of the United States in the world until his death in 2017.
Born in Warsaw in 1928 and the son of a diplomat, Brzezinski arrived with his family in Canada during World War II. From there, he went to Harvard and quickly rose to prominence in the academic community in the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen and lived for the rest of his life. If in the 1940s and 1950s, the leading positions in the Administration were nurtured by an older generation that had led the country through the war and established the new world order, in the following decades a new group of statesmen emerged, in many cases from the leading American universities, which at that time had acquired an unprecedented preeminence in the gestation of political thought.
This was the case of Kissinger, born in Germany and also emigrated with the war, who was first National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, and also under Gerald Ford. The next president, Jimmy Carter, brought Brzezinski, who had advised him on international issues during the election campaign, to the White House. The two professors maintained a respectful and often cordial relationship, although their positions, ascribed to different political camps, often diverged.
For biographical reasons, Brzezenski's original focus - or Zbig, as his collaborators called him to overcome the difficulty of pronunciation of his surname- was on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Relatively early on he came to the conclusion that the USSR would be unable to maintain the economic pulse with the West, so he advocated a "peaceful engagement" with the Eastern bloc as a way to accelerate its decomposition. This was the doctrine of the Johnson, Nixon and Ford Administrations.
However, from the mid-1970s, the USSR faced its evident decline with a headlong rush to try to resettle its international power, both in terms of strategic arms and its presence in the Third World. Brzezinski then shifted to a tougher stance toward Moscow, which brought him into frequent confrontation with other figures in the Carter Administration, especially Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Carter had arrived at the White House in January 1977 with a certain appeasement speech , although without ceasing to be belligerent in terms of Human Rights. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 reinforced Brzezinski's thesis .
Carter's short presidency gave little room for the National Security committee to score special triumphs. The biggest, albeit the joint work of the presidential team, was the signature of the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt. But the fiasco of the attempted rescue of the hostages at the Tehran Embassy, which was not Brzezinski's direct responsibility, weighed down an Administration that could not have a second term.
Situated on the right of the Democratic Party, Brzezinski is described by Vaïsse as a "fellow traveler" of the neoconservatives (the Democrats who went over to the Republican side claiming a more robust defense of U.S. interests in the world), but without being a neoconservative himself (in fact, he did not break with the Democratic Party). In any case, he always remarked his independence and was difficult to pigeonhole. "He was neither a warmonger nor a pacifist. He was hawkish and dovish at different times," says Vaïsse. For example, he opposed the first Gulf War, preferring extreme sanctions, but was in favor of intervening in the Balkan War.
After leaving the Administration, Brzezinski joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington and maintained an active production of essays.
essay / Manuel Lamela
The skill to communicate, to weave alliances, to generate a narrative... These are characteristics of what today is understood as public diplomacy. Although it covers a wide variety of issues and areas, we can say that we are referring to power in its communicative facet, for which States compete in a degree program of ideas with the aim of appropriating the "story" and generating greater influence on a global scale. This struggle for the domination of thought is not new, but in the last half of the 20th century concepts were generated to illustrate this conflict between States, which perhaps before the Cold War was in the background, and programs of study appeared to analyze this subject of strategies. In spite of this, it is enough to take a look at the classics to see clear references to what we currently understand by Public Diplomacy; thus, in works such as Sun Tzu's "Art of War", great importance and value is given to information, both internal and external, and its control is presented as a synonym of triumph in most cases.
Despite the novelty of the concept, Public Diplomacy has undergone several changes and transformations with the entrance of the new century. Along with the importance of non-state actors already present in the last century, we now find a significant increase in the weight of individuals in shaping or influencing the policies of their States. The increase is undoubtedly due to the emergence and "democratization" of the Internet and more recently to the total dependence of populations on the use of social networks. Leaving aside discussion on whether social networks bring benefits or rather their uncontrolled use generates deficits, which is not relevant in this analysis, what is clear is that social networks create a clear status of vulnerability conducive to state intervention and control, both domestic and foreign.
Given this metamorphosis in terms of diplomacy, various concepts have begun to be coined, such as diplomacy at network, cybersecurity diplomacy, etc., which are currently present in most State strategies and encompass the phenomena discussed in the previous paragraph. Within these new strategic plans, think tanks acquire great relevance and importance as generators of ideas and shapers of public opinion given their hybrid nature of combining internship with theory and their mission statement to bring the foreign policy of their various States closer to the general public. Think tanks are, without a doubt, a clear example of the exercise of soft power. They position themselves as ideological pillars in the construction of new narratives, generating a competitive advantage over the rest.
Anglo-Saxon history and leadership
The Anglo-Saxon hegemony in cementing the values and ideas that constitute the liberal international order is closely related to the origins of the first think tanks and their role within those societies. Modern think tanks emerged during World War II as safe rooms where the U.S. Army could develop and plan war strategies. Rand Corporation is founded in 1948 with the goal of promote and to protect U.S. interests abroad. Funded and sponsored by the Administration, RAND will inspire and serve as an example for the emergence of new think tanks linked to the US government. Although most of the renowned think tanks appeared in the 1950s, there are several earlier examples, both in American and British society, that illustrate more clearly why they were leaders in the degree program generation of ideas.
At the end of the 19th century, the Fabian Society was founded in the United Kingdom, a syndicalist organization that laid the foundations for the creation of the Labor Party. On the other side of the Atlantic, examples abound: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, created by former President Herbert Hoover, emerged prior to the 1920s and exemplify the importance of this subject of associations in American society. But if there is one case worth highlighting, it is that of the Brookings Institution, which was founded in 1916 under the name of the Institute for Government Research (IGR). This philanthropic corporation is one of the first private organizations dedicated to the study and analysis of public policy at the national level; over the years, its importance and relevance grew to become the most prestigious and influential think tank in the world.
From the 1980s onwards, the think tank phenomenon multiplied and spread to continental Europe, where associations dedicated to analysis and research in these fields began to be created. Intellectual production in the old continent had become worryingly scarce after the war. So the need to put the ideas machine back to work was vital to give meaning to the new united Europe and to gain some independence from the Anglo-Saxon world. Today 55% of the world's think tanks are divided between the USA and Western Europe.
With the entrance of the new century we have seen an important increase in the issue of think tanks in the Asian continent, with the mission statement of rebranding and redirecting Western ideas and even generating their own ideas, popularly known as the "Asian Way". Undoubtedly, the irruption of China as a great world power is essential in the increase of think tanks in Asia. The "sleeping dragon" seeks to consolidate its global position with the creation of a new diplomacy that exports the Chinese statement of core values to all corners of the world, a process in which the new Silk Road will play a fundamental role as a distribution channel. Along with China, the other threat to Western domination is Russia, which, thanks to its high quality in terms of human capital in intelligence and diplomacy, is always positioned as a fierce competitor, despite the fact that its material resources are smaller. In the case of Latin America and Africa, its contribution continues to be residual and its influence is limited to the regional level; issue think tanks from these two continents account for less than 20% of the world's think tanks.
Typology of think tanks
Two different forms of think tanks have already been mentioned in this analysis: the case of RAND as a association closely linked to the US government and the case of Brookings as an independent organization. Within the think tank community there is a great diversity and we can categorize them according to their funding, whether or not they present ideology, their composition, their approach discipline... Today the most important classification of think tanks is the one provided annually by the University of Pennsylvania with its report "Think Tanks and Civil Society Program". This report is dedicated to evaluate and classify the different think tanks that exist today.
The report provides the following categories:
Think tanks linked to academia or government continue to account for the majority of cases, while for-profit research groups constitute a growing minority.
The influence of ideas in U.S. politics
It is interesting to analyze how Robert D. Kaplan's book "Balkan Ghosts" had a decisive influence on the American intervention in the Balkan war and, paradoxically, led years later, in 2003, to the invasion of Iraq. Kaplan himself, in another of his great works, "The Revenge of Geography", blames the upper echelons of American society for being infected by an unbridled idealism that led to a disregard for the transcendental role played by history and physical geography in determining the future of nations.
The role played by the various pressures exerted by American think tanks in the invasion of Iraq is the perfect example to illustrate the paramount importance that ideas can play in the conduct of a state's foreign policy.
Originally think tanks were born as advisory bodies oriented to provide financial aid and committee to the US government. With the advancement of the Cold War and later with the Internet revolution, the need for ideas and independent policy formulation became a primary need for the United States, which saw think tanks as the best possible solution to nurture the committee of experts.
The capacity to generate new and original ideas far removed from the political stratum, together with their educational capacity, are two of the main factors that have led think tanks to be considered as a reference when it comes to shaping US foreign policy. The direct influence they possess is one of the fundamental characteristics that distinguishes them from those existing in other regions, such as Europe, where they are more tied to the academic sphere; in the USA think tanks exert a real impact on State policies. It is in these "thought factories" where the values and ideas are constructed with which they will try to sweeten foreign policy and thus expand their sphere of influence to all corners of the globe. The mission statement to identify and provide solutions to future problems and conflicts is another of the main tasks of think tanks. They are not always considered government allies and often lead the fiercest criticism; in any case, the autonomy they enjoy is what makes them perceived as an asset of great value within U.S. society.
The export of model to Europe
In Europe, issue think tanks have multiplied since the 1980s, but their issue and relevance are still far from the Anglo-Saxon world. In the list of the most important think tanks created by the University of Pennsylvania, only two belong to the European Union: the Institut Français des Relations Internationales and the Belgian Bruegel. The American think tank model has been both praised and criticized, and the option of imitating it has been discussed in many countries and implemented in many others. Critics of its implementation believe that history and tradition play a key role in making the export of model extremely difficult.
Traditionally in Europe the universities have been in charge of developing the European statement of core values , and in the past they had great success making Europe the vanguard of humanity. But nowadays Europe does not enjoy the leading role it had in other historical epochs; the fact is that it has been overtaken ideologically by the USA and has had no choice but to go along with the latter in order to face greater threats. The latter, together with the greater complexity of the problems in the current scenario and the status that the European Union is experiencing, make it necessary to renew the European social contract and generate a new narrative that brings together European citizens around a new cause, with the spirit of the Treaties of Rome as a great reference and starting point.
To carry out such an arduous task, think tanks are presented as one of the possible solutions and tools of financial aid. Given their nature of bringing together the academic and political spheres, the creation of new ideas and values that revitalize European society will allow us to aspire to higher qualities. Another key factor is the flexibility of the model think tank, which will generate greater accessibility within civil society, making citizens feel involved and ultimately written request, political participation will increase, so that the bonds of trust will be strengthened rather than broken, as is predicted to happen. As mentioned in the U.S. case, the value of educational is another key feature and will serve as a solution to several of the problems currently plaguing Europe, such as the rise of extremist parties of different stripes.
Europe has a duty to generate a narrative with which its citizens can identify, and the power of ideas will undoubtedly play a key role in the success or failure of this task.
The think tank phenomenon is already one of the models on which the public diplomacy of various states gravitates. The eternal conflict to dominate the spheres of world thought will continue, so think tanks will continue to grow and develop, gaining more and more relevance at the international level. In the hierarchy of domination, ideas occupy the last rung, behind individuals, physical geography and history; however, since ideas are a purely human intellectual creation, they constitute a force of control and movement of the first rung, individuals.
Diego Mourelle (2018). Think tanks the diplomacy of ideas. 4/11/2018, from The World Order Website.
Cristina Ariza Cerezo (2016). The American ideological landscape: the case ofForeign Policy Board. 1/11/2018, from IEEE Website.
Katarzyna Rybka-Iwanska . (2017). 5 reasons why Think tank are soft power tools. 1/11/2018, from USC Center for Public Diplomacy Website.
Robert D. Kaplan (1993). The Balkan Ghosts: A journey to the origins of the Bosnia and Kosovo conflict. United States: S.A. Ediciones B.
Robert D. Kaplan (2012). The revenge of geography. United States: RBA Books.
Pedro Baños (2018). El Dominio Mundial: Elementos del poder y claves geopolíticas. Spain: Ariel.
Pedro Baños (2017). This is how the world is dominated. Unveiling the keys to world power. Spain: Arial.
Hak Yin Li (2018). The evolution of Chinese public diplomacy and the rise of Think tanks. 1/11/2018, from Springer Link Website.
Lars Brozus and Hanns W. Maull (2017). Think tanks and Foreign Policy. 1/11/2018, from Oxford politics Website.
James G. McGann (2018). 2017 Global Go To Think tank Index Report. 1/11/2018, from University of Pennsylvania Website.
Sun Tzu (2014). Arte de la guerra. Spain: Plutón Ediciones.
After breaking off relations with Taipei, the Salvadoran government could give Beijing the management of a strategic port in the region.
Until a few years ago, China had no interest in Central America, basically due to the lack of raw materials. The region's quasi-bloc diplomatic relationship with Taiwan also diverted its attention. But the dynamics have changed. Encouraged by Chinese promises, in August El Salvador joined other neighbouring countries that have been closing their embassies in Taipei. Why is China now interested in Central America? The Salvadoran case points to a desire to gain weight in a area of historic US influence.
article / Jimena Villacorta
"After this careful analysis, advertisement that my government has taken the decision to break the so-called diplomatic relations maintained until today between the Republic of El Salvador and Taiwan and to establish diplomatic relations between the Republic of El Salvador and the People's Republic of China". This is how Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén announced the establishment of diplomatic ties with Beijing on 20 August. The decision followed those taken in May by the Dominican Republic and in 2017 by Panama, breaking the Central American countries' support for Taiwan.
Taiwan responded to this advertisement by asserting that the government of El Salvador had demanded an "astronomical sum" of money to finance the Salvadoran port of La Unión and the 2019 presidential election campaign of the government party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), which the Salvadoran government denied. The Taiwanese foreign minister, Joseph Wu, presented the rupture of relations as a decision by Taipei, due to its refusal to yield to these pressures, even though everything indicates that the initiative was Salvadoran.
The internship of hidden payments is, of course, nothing new in the links between Taiwan and Central America, as it has been demonstrated that submission cheques have been given to leaders of El Salvador and other countries to maintain diplomatic recognition that is so convenient for the Asian island. In any case, this is a margin of corruption that, sometimes in the form of commissions, has also accompanied China's disembarkation in various countries.
The Salvadoran government's move was criticised by civil service examination. The mayor of San Salvador, Ernesto Muyshondt of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), described the decision as "terrible" and regretted that the FMLN leaders not only support "the repressive and murderous dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua", but also that "now they are breaking with a democratic country to establish relations with another dictatorship".
partner The civil service examination criticised the government for being motivated by partisan interests and leaving in the air the treaties and agreements signed with Taiwan, which has been a strategic partner for the country for 85 years and one of its main cooperating partners in the areas of technology, health, agriculture and Education. Thus, there has been a loss of cooperation projects, financial resources and other aid, such as the scholarship scheme for Salvadoran students in Taiwan.
The change of partner is expected to mean the replacement of Taiwanese programmes with Chinese investment projects. In recent years, El Salvador has imported much more from China (804 million dollars in 2016) than from Taiwan (135 million dollars), but has exported similarly to both countries (around 50 million dollars to each). It is likely that Taiwan will now stop favouring the purchase of Salvadoran products, which it used to prioritise, and that China will compensate for the new relationship with investment in infrastructure.
This is where the possibility that China could take over the concession for the port of La Unión Centroamericana, in the south-eastern corner of El Salvador, in the Gulf of Fonseca, comes in. The government has acknowledged Chinese interest in the port, while civil service examination criticises the lack of information in the negotiations. The US Embassy has even raised suspicions about the risk that, given the lack of transparency in the negotiations, China could use the facilities as a military base. Ambassador Jean Manes stated that "China's strategy of expansion in the region, not only economically but also militarily, is alarming". In fact, Washington has been warning for some time about China's increased presence in Central America, as in the case of the Panama Canal, in principle with civilian projects but which in certain circumstances could call into question US security.
The US Embassy has also indicated Chinese interest in buying Perico Island, located next to the port of La Unión. Last October, Ezequiel Milla, mayor of La Unión, declared that he had met with Bo Yang, a Chinese businessman and vice-president of the China-El Salvador Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the sale of the island to build hotels. For his part, the businessman admitted to having discussed purchase intentions with the owners of the private part of the island, where several families reside, who must be willing to vacate their homes. The island contains an important flora and fauna reservation .
The port of La Unión is strategically located on the Gulf of Fonseca, where El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras meet (it is Honduras' only access to the Pacific). In addition, it can connect in a matter of a few kilometres to the dry canal that Honduras is about to complete by widening the road linking its facilities at Puerto Cortés on the Atlantic to the Gulf of Fonseca. Honduras' coastline in the Gulf is not suitable for a deep-water port, so the natural outlet for its goods to the Pacific would be La Unión.
The project construction of the port started in 1994, under the presidency of Armando Calderón Sol, with the goal aim of becoming the future "hub of the Americas", so that ships larger than the Panama Canal could dock there. Thanks to a loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the project was launched. The port was built between 2005 and 2008 and inaugurated in 2010.
Under the presidency of Antonio Saca, there were two decrees for its concession. The first, in 2008, was a master concession formula, i.e. there would only be one operator managing the port for 25 years; however, it was not possible to reach an agreement in the Legislative Assembly, agreement . In 2009, the second decree was presented, proposing a company composed of the state-owned Autonomous Port Executive Commission (CEPA) and an international operator, with a 10% and 90% shareholding, respectively. But due to the change of government and other internal complications it was not approved either.
In June 2010, with Mauricio Funes as president, the port of La Unión was inaugurated under state administration, in the hope that a concession could be agreed that same year. In the end, it was decided to apply the master concession. In September, the Assembly approved decree 834, containing the port concession law. Due to the lack of approval of the instructions tender and the contract by other institutions, the port concession was postponed for a couple of years, during which time the interested companies dropped out of the talks.
The bidding process was finally launched in 2014, but the tender was declared void in 2015 because there were no bids to operate the infrastructure. In 2017, some laws were amended to attract investors, given the urgency of operating the port, which has cost the country almost $20 million to maintain over the past decade.
Port of La Unión, in the Gulf of Fonseca, in the Central American Pacific [ECA].
Special Economic Zone
If the facilities have so far attracted so little interest from investors, what benefit could China see in La Unión? ARENA deputy Mauricio Vargas does not believe that Beijing has any economic interest in the port, but rather that it is pursuing strategic objectives, as the Gulf of Fonseca provides access to three Central American countries and is part of the area which the US considers important for its own security.
To make the option of La Unión more attractive, in July 2018 the FMLN government presented the Special Economic Zone Law for the South Eastern Region of El Salvador, area corresponding to La Unión and a score of neighbouring municipalities. Thanks to tax advantages, China could turn this Pacific point into a distribution centre for its products in the Central American Northern Triangle and Nicaragua. The connection through the Honduran dry canal would facilitate connections with the Atlantic.
The civil service examination believes that the creation of this special economic zone, which in case of a massive influx of Chinese products could negatively affect local manufacturing, has been agreed in advance with China. The ECA president, however, denies any obscurantism in the process. "We have nothing to hide. The process we are going through is transparent; we have entered a stage of enquiry. The interest of our administration is that the port of La Unión is operated and we must see it as project of the country". He assured that there are companies interested in the concession also from Europe and America, not only from Asia.
Against a backdrop of growing populism, the battle between Brussels and Rome is decisive for the future of the EU.
In a measure without parallel in the history of the Union, the European Commission has rejected the national budgets presented by the populist Italian government for not meeting the deficit targets set. Neither Brussels nor Rome seem to have the intention of abandoning their positions, so that an institutional confrontation threatens the European horizon.
▲ Giuseppe Conte, President of the Italian Government, with Vice Presidents Luigi di Maio (left), leader of the 5 Star Movement, and Mateo Salvini (right), leader of the Northern League. [Gov. of Italy]
article / Manuel Lamela
After seven months in government, the coalition formed by the 5 Star Movement and the Northern League have fulfilled their promises and started, with the presentation of the budget of the Italian Republic, a process of confrontation and defiance with the European Union (EU). The Brussels authorities accuse Italy of breaking, with its irresponsibilities, the bonds of trust that forge and give meaning to the European project .
On October 16, Giuseppe Conte's executive presented a budget with a deficit forecast of 2.4%; although it is true that the figure is below the 3% limit set by the European rules and regulations , it is three times what was previously agreed between Rome and the EU. Moreover, if Italy's public debt is 131% of GDP, which makes it the second highest in the monetary Union, only surpassed by Greece, the new budget will only increase it, as it intends to significantly increase the public expense .
The increase of expense seems to obey the populist interests of the Northern League leader and Minister of the Interior, Mateo Salvini, who has made no secret of his intention to seek support from the most fractured sectors of Italian society. Cultivating victimhood vis-à-vis Europe may give a certain political gain, but the example of Greece sample shows us that such attitudes subject usually end in tragedy, weakening the State in the face of another possible debt crisis.
The European Commission rejected at the end of October the Italian budget draft -refund the budget of a Member State was an unprecedented act -and urged Rome to send a revised version in a maximum of three weeks deadline . The decision does not close the doors to dialogue and negotiations, as stated in his explanation of what happened by the Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici; "The opinion adopted today should not surprise anyone, as the project of budget of the Italian government represents a clear and intentional deviation from the commitments made by Italy last July. However, our door is not closed. We want to continue our constructive dialogue with the Italian authorities. I welcome Finance Minister Giovanni Tria's commitment to this end and we must move forward in this spirit in the coming weeks."
But Conte's government assures that there is no plan B and that there is no possibility that Italy will take a step back. Both Mateo Salvini and the leader of the 5 Star Movement, Luigi di Maio, both Vice-Presidents of the Government, defended the Italian position and attacked Brussels, claiming that it is normal for Brussels to be unhappy, since it is the first time that Italy is free from the clutches of the Eurogroup when it comes to deciding its economic policy. They also stated that, with its response, the high school of Commissioners is directly attacking the Italian people. And they accused Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of "only talking to inebriated people", something that certainly sample little respect for the institutions.
The tactic of feigning strength and determinism, which both Italian political formations used during the election campaign, is being matched by the rest of the European leaders with an exercise of real power. The request of the Italian Minister of Finance, Giovanni Tria, for Italy to enjoy the same opportunity that Portugal had in the past, when Brussels accepted that the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, did not apply the volume of cuts desired by the Commission, will be drowned out by the reckless ways used by the political leaders of the Italian Republic.
If Italy refuses to follow the recommendations given by the EU, the Commission may consider imposing fines, up to 0.2% of GDP, for non-compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact. But apart from the sanctions, the EU does not have the right to veto nor does it have any other skill to prevent the entrance of the Italian budget from coming into force. As several experts indicate, it will be the pressure of the markets that will make the Italian measure be corrected, thus avoiding a direct confrontation between Rome and Brussels, which would damage both parties equally. Goldman Sachs analysts predict that "Italian debt must worsen to exert adequate pressure and force the government to opt for a different rhetoric".
Even if the European Commission manages to avoid a confrontation with Italy, it may be exposed to the campaign of victimhood of the Italian populist groups, a tactic they successfully employed in the last elections. This is a tactic that is not of Italian creation, as since the crisis of 2008 various groupings and parties have emerged with a clearly anti-Brussels stance, accusing the EU institutions of all the ills suffered by European societies. There are several examples; perhaps Brexit is the most resounding given its relevance at European and international level, but we should not forget the rise of formations such as the National Front in France, the Freedom Party in Austria or Podemos in Spain, the latter party having had its great public launch following the European Parliament elections of 2015.
So far, Europe has not been able to find a way to avoid or neutralize the demagogy campaigns that proliferate in today's Europe. Although some progress is being made in terms of the EU's communicative power, it is incomprehensible that Brussels has not been able to effectively explain the European project to the citizens of the Union. This is a deficiency that the European project has been dragging along since its birth and that has been the cause of many of the ills that have affected regional unity in recent decades. In this case Europe has to provide data that are easy to understand for the average Italian citizen and that make him/her see that the measures adopted by his/her government will be harmful for the Italian society in the near future, even if they are sweetened by messages that respond to empty promises and messianic policies.
Another factor of concern within the Commission is the risk of contagion of the virus generated within the EU's third Economics (already discounting the UK). At first it may seem possible that other member states will be attracted to follow in Italy's footsteps; however, European authorities say they firmly believe that their tough response to Rome will strengthen monetary union and even increase integrity in areas such as banking unity. Externally, the decision will show that EU budgetary rigor is being enforced, generating confidence and security in the markets, and finally demonstrating that there is no respite for populist formations within Europe.
ESSAY / María Granados
Most scholars and newspapers (1) claim that the inequality gap is widening across the globe, but few provide an explanation as to why this apparently growing concern occurs, nor do they look into the past to compare the main ideologies regarding potential solutions to such problems (i.e.: the Austrian School of Thought and Keynesianism). The following paper attempts to do so by contrasting interventionist and libertarian approaches, to ultimately give an answer to the question.
Alvin Toffler predicted and described what he called 'The Third Wave', a phenomenon consisting of the death of industrialism and the rise of a new civilisation. He focuses on the interconnection of events and trends, (2) which has often been ignored by politicians and social scientists alike. Notwithstanding, J.K. Galbraith points out that the economy is shaped by historical context, and attempts to provide an overview of the main ideas that have given birth to current economic policies; (3) while Landes's focus on the past suggests inequality is not a new phenomenon. (4) Hence, its evolution cannot be overlooked: On the one hand, it led Marx to proclaim that private capital flows invariably lead to property concentration in consistently fewer hands; on the other hand, it led Kuznets to believe that modern economic growth would make developed countries to reach out geographically, spreading process to developing countries thanks to major changes in transport and communication. (5) First and foremost, we shall delve into the why question, sustained by the premise that there is, in fact, inequality, which sets up the foundation for economic studies. (6) Piketty asserts that 'arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities' are generated 'when the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income'. An advocator for open markets and the general interest, he rejects protectionism and nationalism, (7) but is it possible to establish justice through capitalism, and, more importantly, is capitalism the most suitable system to do so?
Famous liberal philosopher Adam Smith wrote on the matter of state intervention that public policy should only be used insofar as it stimulates economic growth. (8) Freedom of trade made economies specialise through the division of labour, and so it resulted on low prices and an abundant supply of marketable products. The critique on corporations, state-chartered companies, and monopolies, made him conclude that the State should control (9) common defence, the administration of justice, and the provision of necessary public works. Contrary to popular belief, he was also in favor of a proportionate income tax. (10) David Ricardo added that a tax on land rents was necessary to prevent landowners from an increase share of output and income. In the nineteenth century, Marx pursued the destruction of the inevitably accumulated private capital. In the same period, realist theories (11) were embraced by Müller and List, among others, who viewed the state as a protector for the citizens, the equality provider. What all of the aforementioned theories have in common is that the State does play a role to a certain extent on the prevention of 'unfairness'. (12) Although thinkers may well be a product of their times, John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Von Hayek have heavily influenced current policies regarding inequality. Arguably, their thoughts stem from the above-mentioned ideas: the input of Marx's Capital in the Keynesian welfare state is contrasted with Smith's liberal approach ('let the invisible hand be') Hayek embraced. During the Great Depression, the preference for liquidity made Keynes focus on the shortage of the demand, to suggest that the corrective action of the government, borrowing and spending funds, was the best way out of the crisis. Several concepts were born or renewed, such as public work, or the social security system, and, more importantly the 'deliberate deficit'. His theory regarded the deliberate unbalance of public budget so that more money would flow into the economy, sustaining demand and employment. (13)
Libertarians would argue that Ricardo failed to foresee that technological progress was going to diminish the dependence on agriculture, therefore decreasing and stabilising land price. Marx also rejected the likelihood of a long-lasting technological development. The latter challenged his ideas, since an increase in productivity and efficiency led to higher salaries and better living conditions, providing more opportunities for the workers. Indeed, with industrialisation came an improvement in the essentials of life. Mitchell, Schumpeter and Robbins, who studied the business cycle, theorised that the economy was a tendency whose problems had no prevention or cure. Thus, inequality had to be allowed to run its course, since it would eventually decrease. In the Post-Keynesian Revolution, the interaction of the wage-price spiral caused inflation. Hayek rhetorically asked the interventionists: 'in our endeavour consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?' (14) The OPEC crisis in 1973 made governments apply the Austrian School to WIN, (15) removing any obvious impediments to market competition (i.e.: government regulation). Milton Friedman, in favor of the classical competitive market system, followed Hayek's liberalism. He did write about the negative income tax, consisting of securing a minimum income for all by controlling money supply; nonetheless, he agreed with what Hayek stated in 1945: The more the state organizes, plans and intervenes, the more difficult it is for the individual to choose freely, to plan for himself. For Hayek, private property was 'the most important guarantee of freedom'. The division of the means of production amongst independent citizens was his concept of fairness. (16) Professor of Economics Walter E. Williams introduces The Road to Serfdom explaining Hayek's underlying three premises: If using one individual to serve the purpose of another is morally wrong (slavery), taking money from one individual to serve the purpose of another is just as wrong; collectivists or interventionists cannot ignore that free markets produce wealth; and men cannot know or do everything, thus, when the government plans, it assumes to know all the variables. (17)
In 1945, when Hayek challenged the Keynesian perspective, multilateralism arose, giving birth to institutions at the global and regional levels. (18) Currently, whilst there is a tendency to focus on 'global' problems and solutions, Piketty (19) asserts that globalised capitalism can only be regulated through regional measures, stating that 'unequal wealth within nations is more worrisome than unequal wealth between nations.' Specifically, he proves that salaries and output do not catch up with past wealth accumulation. He believes that taxing capital income heavily could potentially kill entrepreneurial activity, and decides that the best policy would be a progressive annual tax on capital. Despite Hayek's premise being the unknown, thereof disgraceful consequences of interventionism; Stiglitz disbelieves that trickle-down economics will address poverty, considering that it is precisely the lack of information what makes the 'invisible hand' fail. Neoliberal assumptions are heavily critisised by Stiglitz, who evaluates the role of the IMF and other international economic institutions' performance, concluding that their programs have often left developing countries with more debt and a more corrupt, richer, ruling government. Moreover, good management ultimately depends on embracing the particular and unique characteristics of each country's economy. (20) At this point, one could ask itself, is justice a biased concept of the west? Landes claims the rich (in IPE, developed countries) will solve the problem of pollution, for instance, because it is them who have more to lose. (21) This could result in a natural redistribution of wealth. By contrast, he demonstrates that the driving force of progress was seen as 'Western' on the realms of education, thinking and technique; until the uneven dissemination made people reject it. (22) The egalitarian society is seemingly in between both of the main economic branches previously discussed: It includes the free will of the rich to tackle current problems the so-called globalization poses; (23) the free-will of developing states to apply national solutions to national problems, and the impulse of international cooperation and regional political integration.
To conclude, history evidences most economists, thinkers and scholars resort to the state to try to distribute wealth evenly. The way they portray the same problem makes them disagree on the way to solve it, but there is an overall agreement on the need to intervene to a certain extent to prevent the inequality gap from broadening. In Galbraith's words: 'Economics is not, as often believed, concerned with perfecting a final and unchanging system. It is in a constant and often reluctant accommodation to change.' (24) On this quest for justice, it may be worth realising that the concept of unfairness cannot be taken for granted.
1. E.g.: Lucas Chancel in The Guardian in Jan. 2018, Piketty (2014), Ravenhill (2014), David Landes (1999).
2. Toffler, Alvin (1980). The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.
Galbraith, John Kenneth (1987). Economics in Perspective. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Trade and Reference.
4. Landes, David (1999). The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. London: Abacus.
5. Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, publisher Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.
6. The aim of the subject being the allocation of scarce resources (according to e.g.: L. Robbins).
7. Piketty, Thomas (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, US: Harvard University Press. p. 7.
8. Galbraith, John Kenneth. l.c. f.f. 8.
9. E.g.: through the imposition of tariffs or taxes following the canon of certainty, convenience, and economical to assess and raise.
10. Read Smith, A. (1776). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. 1998 edition. Milano: Cofide. Book V: On the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth; Chapter II: On the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society; Part II: On Taxes. I.
11. For more on the theories that shaped economic thought, read Paul, Darel, and Amawi, Alba, (Eds.). 2013. The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See p. 16-19 and p. 153 for Realism, p. 95 and 102 for Friedrich List.
12. Note: Even in socialism, prior to the State's dissolution, workers had to become the ruling government to ensure the process ensued.
13. Keynes, John Maynard (1936). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. Cambridge: Palgrave MacMillan.
14. Hayek, Friedrich A. (1945). The Road to Serfdom. Reader's Digest. Combined edition, 2015: The Institute of Economic Affairs. p. 40.
15. Whip Inflation Now
16. Ibid. p. 41
17. Ibid. Introduction
18. Read Ravenhill, John (2014). Global Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
19. Pikkety, Thomas. l.c., pp. 303-304, 339 f.f.
Stiglitz, Joseph (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin.
21. Landes, David. l.c. P. 516.
Ibid. p. 513
23. Hirst develops the following points: In the 1870-1914 period there was as much economic integration as now; most transnational corporations are not truly 'global'; the Third World is becoming marginalised with regards to the movement of capital, employment and investment; and supranational regionalisation is a more relevant trend than that of Globalization. Hirst, Paul, et al. (2009). Globalization in Question. Oxford: Polity.
Galbraith, J.K. l.c. Chapter 22, p. 326.
Chancel, Lucas (coordinator). World Inequality Report. Wid.world: Executive report. World Inequality Lab, 2018, pp. 4-16.
Galbraith, John Kenneth (1987). Economics in Perspective. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Trade and Reference.
Hayek, Friedrich August (1945). The Road to Serfdom. Reader's Digest. Combined edition, 2015: The Institute of Economic Affairs.
Hirst, Paul, et al. (2009). Globalization in Question. Oxford: Polity.
Keynes, John Maynard (1936). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. Cambridge: Palgrave MacMillan.
Landes, David (1999). The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. London: Abacus.
Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, publisher Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.
Paul, Darel, and Amawi, Alba, (Eds.). 2013. The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Piketty, Thomas (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, US: Harvard University Press.
Ravenhill, John (2014). Global Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, A. (1998). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Scotland.
Stiglitz, Joseph (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin.
Toffler, Alvin (1980). The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.
[Jorge Orlando Melo, Historia mínima de Colombia. El high school de México-Turner. Bogotá, 2018. 330 p.]
review / María Gabriela Fajardo
This history of Colombia written by Jorge Orlando Melo stands out for its evident effort of political neutrality. The processes, continuities and historical ruptures of the nation are mentioned without revealing any partisan tendency subject . The author tries to remain impartial in narrating the events that have brought Colombia to where it is today. This makes the work of Melo - born in Medellin in 1942, historian at the National University of Colombia and presidential advisor for human rights in 1990 - especially suitable for readers without a special knowledge of Colombian history, as they can judge for themselves the evolution of the creation of a nation where the State was first. This is precisely the purpose of the collection of "minimal histories" commissioned from the high school of Mexico.
A large part of the book is devoted to the colonial period, thus highlighting the importance of the historical report in the process of training of the country and in its current changes. It is not, therefore, the usual linear route through political events, but rather focuses on the cultural evolution of that report forged early and developed in successive social dynamics.
On the other hand, the role of the regions is an element core topic in the training of the colonial society, whose bequest is an inefficient central power, in a country where there are laws that seem to be negotiable, the society is divided into different social strata, the land belongs to a few and there is a constant political polarization at the hands of clientelist governments.
This happens in a Colombia in which the role of geography has been a determining factor in the processes of development of the nation. Melo speaks of isolated areas of difficult access, of very diverse subject: "islands of prosperity, security or healthiness in the middle of an ocean of poverty, violence and disease". That ocean has diminished today, but there are islands that continue to be the perfect route for drug trafficking.
The ideological struggles in Colombia have been intense: the Conservative Hegemony, of 32 years, was followed by the Liberal Hegemony, of 13; then came the era of the National Front, during which Conservatives and Liberals alternated in each period, creating an atmosphere of equilibrium and relative tranquility for a short deadline period of time. "The struggle between liberals and conservatives was, more than a political confrontation for electoral triumph, a holy war for different social models," writes Melo. However, this generated political exclusion and led to the training of groups outside the law, raised against the government and financed by drug trafficking. The confrontation made the institutional weaknesses visible and left little room for justice. Violence then became routine and ended up being Colombia's greatest historical failure, with special responsibility of those who promoted violence as an effective tool for social change.
For Melo, it is "human agency"-that is, the way in which people use their resources to adapt to circumstances-that defines history; it is men and women who, in their joint action, generate change and are the builders of their history. Unlike the most common position on Colombian history, Melo does not fall into determinism: he does not make reference letter to a culture of innate violence that naturally condemns Colombians to fight each other. On the contrary, he makes it clear that events such as April 6, Rojas Pinilla's coup d'état in 1953 or the bloody seizure of the Palace of Justice in 1985, must be seen in perspective and considered as moments of a social process.
The Colombian state did not achieve nationhood properly until the end of the 20th century, when the "dream of the creators of the nation" of having the whole territory covered by law, a single market and a political system was achieved. Colombia's unique history began with the Patria Boba, as the stage between the cry for independence and the battle of Boyacá, when the Creoles effectively achieved independence, is usually called. Since then there was a great lack of unity, manifested in an endless number of revolutions, reforms and constitutions. Colombia underwent an exhausting, exhausting and at the same time violent process aimed at achieving political, legal, economic and cultural cohesion throughout this extremely diverse country, with a geography that segmented it into regions, with varied and dispersed human groups.
But this past does not prejudge the future. The reader arrives at the end of this "Minimal History of Colombia" with the awareness of an open future for the great South American country. Colombia, once one of the most violent countries, now has a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is in a post-conflict process and has begun to be taken into account to a greater extent by the international community for its great progress.
The 24 partner countries are seeking greater South-South partnership from both shores, but progress is slow.
If in the North Atlantic there is NATO, in the South Atlantic there is ZOPACAS (Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic). Without repeating the model of NATO's military club, ZOPACAS has as goal the cooperation in subject of security and defense, but also the partnership for the development endogenous of the region. Created in 1986, the organization is an interesting forum for addressing common problems, but lacks mechanisms for further engagement.
▲ Countries that are part of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic [Wikimedia].
article / Alejandro Palacios
In recent decades, the proliferation of South-South cooperation forums has revealed the desire of many countries in the world to seek their development and regional partnership without the tutelage or interference historically exercised by the more industrialized countries. The goal has been the articulation of new forms of regional association that guarantee the independence of the South in its relations with the North and promote a true development, without incurring in the old imbalances.
In this context, the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS, also known as ZPCAS) was created in 1986 at the initiative of Brazil. It is a transcontinental consultative organization, made up of 24 countries on both sides of the Atlantic1 and supported by the United Nations Assembly through resolution 41/11.
The organization was formed at the end of the Cold War, a period during which some countries sought ways to cooperate outside the bipolar power sharing between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was also born at a time when Angola and Brazil were becoming important regional players due to the high presence of hydrocarbons in their territories. This gave rise to the need to create greater security conditions in the area so that economic operations by sea could be carried out with as little uncertainty as possible.
Nevertheless, the growth and development of ZOPACAS was progressive, both institutionally and in terms of membership. It is worth mentioning the case of South Africa, a country that did not join the organization until it put an end to its apartheid policy. The incorporation of South Africa at the Brasilia summit in 1994 increased the organization's prestige and marked the end of its constitution process.
Even so, ZOPACAS still lacked maturity at the institutional level. At meeting in Montevideo in 2013, its members agreed to meet annually on the margins of the UN General Assembly and to create a group of contact which, in addition to implementing the decisions adopted at the meetings, also coordinates issues relevant to the area related to peace and cooperation.
In the short deadline, ZOPACAS achieved important advances in favor of peace and security in the South Atlantic. signature One of the most noteworthy is the 1996 Pelindaba Treaty (African Treaty for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone training ), which made Africa, after South Africa's accession2 , the third nuclear-free zone in the world. This followed the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco, which made Latin America and the Caribbean the first nuclear-free region.
Despite its remarkable achievements in subject peace and security, ZOPACAS is currently in a status lack of momentum. While it is true that some analysts speak of re-emergence, others claim that in order for the organization to re-emerge, it must first undergo institutional restructuring to better face the threats and challenges posed by the new geopolitical realities.
As mentioned above, the aspirations for the organization's revival are based on the increased importance of maritime trade, the exploitation of Brazil's new deepwater oil fields (pre-salt layer), and the need to protect maritime transport from piracy, among other issues. For the director of the South American School of Defense, Antonio Jorge Ramalho, all this is increasing the geopolitical importance of the South Atlantic region, which would make ZOPACAS a "tool ready to be used in case there is a perceived threat in the area" that puts at risk the extraction and trade of the region's raw materials.
However, risks associated with a possible re-emergence of ZOPACAS are also noted. These have to do, paradoxically, with greater interference by countries in the Northern Hemisphere, some of which have expressed the intention of extending their zone of action to the South Atlantic. France has purpose to extend its influence from French Guyana, while Russia has already received approval from Equatorial Guinea to use the country's main port.
It is clear that the zone of peace and cooperation has the capacity to counteract this influence, primarily by increasing partnership among the South Atlantic states. For this to happen, the area has two defining characteristics: being a fairly peaceful zone per se and the fact that most of the countries involved have economies based on natural resources and raw material exports. These factors may encourage much-needed cooperation to ward off alleged Western interference.
Although, therefore, the capacity of development of ZOPACAS is clear, it should be kept in mind that the organization does not currently have an institutional structure capable of promote these synergies and cooperative practices in an effective manner. In fact, some analysts argue that, contrary to what should be happening, countries are increasingly less interested in project, as evidenced by the frequent absence of country presidents from the organization's meetings.
Thus, it can be concluded that both because of the lack of material resources and the consultative nature of the organization, ZOPACAS has not been able to project sufficient influence to become an international reference letter organization. It has been more successful in the short term deadline, at subject peace and security, but is finding it difficult to establish long-term economic cooperation deadline. Therefore, a greater commitment is required on the part of the member states in order to solidify a project necessary not only for peace and security in the region, but also for the political, economic and energy independence of the South Atlantic states.
(1) Such are: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo and Uruguay.
(2) The South African case is interesting, as it is the first and only country to date that, after having developed the nuclear bomb, decreed the complete dismantling of its nuclear program after signature of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991.
Did the Provisional IRA lose its 'Long War'? Why are dissident Republicans fighting now?
ESSAY / María Granados Machimbarrena
In 1998, the Belfast Agreement or Good Friday Agreement marked the development of the political relations between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. Several writers, politicians and academics claimed the British had won the 'Long War'.(1)
However, according to other scholars and politicians(2), the armed struggle has not left the region. The following paper delves into the question as to whether the war is over, and attempts to give an explanation to the ultimate quest of dissident Republicans.
On the one hand, Aaron Edwards, a scholar writing on the Operation Banner and counter-insurgency, states that Northern Ireland was a successful peace process, a transformation from terrorism to democratic politics. He remarks that despite the COIN being seen as a success, the disaster was barely evaded in the 1970s.(3) The concept of 'fighting the last war', meaning the repetition of the strategy or tactic that was used to win the previous war(4), portrays Edward's critique on the Operation. The latter was based on trials and tests undertaken in the post-war period, but the IRA also studied past interventions from the British military. The insurgents' focus on the development of a citizen defence force and the support of the community, added to the elusive Human Intelligence, turned the 'one-size-fits-all' British strategy into a failure. The British Army thought that the opponents' defeat would bring peace, and it disregarded the people-centric approach such a war required. The 'ability to become fish in a popular sea', the need to regain, retain and build the loyalty and trust of the Irish population was the main focus since 1976, when the role of the police was upgraded and the Army became in charge of its support. The absence of a political framework to restore peace and stability, the lack of flexibility, and the rise of sectarianism, a grave partner-economic phenomenon that fuelled the overall discontent, could have ended on a huge disaster. Nonetheless, Edwards argues the peace process succeeded because of the contribution of the Army and the political constraints imposed on it.(5)
In 2014, writer and veteran journalist Peter Taylor claimed that the British had won the war in Northern Ireland. He supported his statement through two main arguments: the disappearance of the IRA and the absence of unity between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Former Minister Peter Robinson (DUP Party) firmly rejected the idea of such a union ever occurring: 'It just isn't going to happen'. Ex-hunger striker Gerard Hodgins was utterly unyielding in attitude, crying: 'We lost. (...) The IRA are too clever to tell the full truth of what was actually negotiated. And unionists are just too stupid to recognise the enormity of what they have achieved in bringing the IRA to a negotiated settlement which accepts the six-county state.' They were all contested by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, a political fighter and defender of a united Ireland, and Hutchinson, who stated that the republicans were fighting a cultural battle to eradicate Britishness. He agreed that the war had changed in how it was being fought, "but it is still a war" he concluded.(6) Former IRA commander McIntyre disagrees, in his book he suggests that the PIRA(7) is on its death bed. So is the army council that plotted its campaign. 'If the IRA ever re-emerges, it will be a new organisation with new people'.(8)
There is an important point that most of the above-mentioned leaders fail to address: the so- called cultural battle, which is indeed about the conquest of 'hearts and minds'. Scholars(9) find there is a deep misunderstanding of the core of republicanism among politicians and disbelievers of the anti-GFA groups' strength. In fact, there has been an increase on the number of attacks, as well as on the Provisional movement's incompetence. Historical examples show that the inability to control the population, the opponent's motivation, or the average leads to defeat. E.g.: C.W. Gwynn realised of the importance of intelligence and propaganda, and H. Simson coined the term 'sub-war', or the dual use of terror and propaganda to undermine the government.(10) T.E. Lawrence also wrote about psychological warfare. He cited Von der Goltz on one particular occasion, quoting 'it was necessary not to annihilate the enemy, but to break his courage.'(11)
On the other hand, Radford follows the line of Frenett and Smith, demonstrating that the armed struggle has not left Northern Ireland. There are two main arguments that support their view: (1) Multiple groups decline the agreement and (2) Social networks strengthen a traditional-minded Irish Republican constituency, committed to pursue their goals.
In the aftermath of the GFA, the rejectionist group PIRA fragmented off and the RIRA was born. The contention of what is now called RIRA (Real IRA) is that such a body should always exist to challenge Great Britain militarily. Their aim is to subvert and to put an end to the Peace Process, whilst rejecting any other form of republicanism. Moreover, their dual strategy supported the creation of the political pressure group 32CSM.(12) Nonetheless, after the Omagh bombing in 1998, there was a decline in the military effectiveness of the RIRA. Several events left the successor strategically and politically aimless: A new terrorism law, an FBI penetration, and a series of arrests and arms finds.(13) In spite of what seemed to be a defeat, it was not the end of the group. In 2007, the RIRA rearmed itself, an on-going trend that tries to imitate PIRA's war and prevents the weaponry from going obsolete. In addition, other factions re-emerged: The Continuity IRA (CIRA), weaker than the RIRA, was paralysed in 2010 after a successful penetration by the security forces. Notwithstanding, it is still one of the richest organisations in the world. Secondly, the Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) is politically aligned with the RSF and the RNU. They have not been very popular on the political arena, but they actively contest seats in the council.(14)
In 2009, the Independent Monitoring Commission acknowledged an increase in 'freelance dissidents', who are perceived as a growing threat, numbers ranging between 400-500. The reason behind it is the highly interconnected network of traditional republican families. Studies also show that 14% of nationalists can sympathetically justify the use of republican violence. Other factors worth mentioning include: A growing presence of older men and women with paramilitary experience; an increase of coordination and cooperation between the groups; an improvement in capability and technical knowledge, evidenced by recent activities.(15)
In 2014, a relatively focused and coherent IRA ('New IRA') emerged, with poor political support and a lack of funding, but reaching out to enough irredentists to cause a potential trouble in a not so distant future.
Von Bülow predicted: '[Our consequence of the foregoing Exposition, is, that] small States, in the future, will no more vanquish great ones, but on the contrary will finally become a Pray to them'.(16) One could argue that it is the case with Northern Ireland.
Although according to him, number and organization are essential to an army,(17) the nature of the war makes it difficult to fight in a conventional way.(18) Most documents agree that the war against the (P)IRA must be fought with a counterinsurgency strategy, since, as O'Neill thoughtfully asserts, 'to understand most terrorism, we must first understand insurgency.' In the 1960s, such strategies began to stress the combination of political, military, social, psychological, and economic measures. In the 1960s, such strategies began to stress the combination of political, military, social, psychological, and economic measures.(19) This holistic approach to the conflict would be guided by political action, as many scholars put forward in counterinsurgency manuals (e.g.: Galula citing Mao Zedong's '[R]evolutionary war is 80 per cent political action and only 20 per cent military'.(20) Jackson suggests that the target of the security apparatus may not be the destruction of the insurgency, but the prevention of the organization from configuring its scenario through violence. Therefore, after the security forces dismantle the PIRA, a larger and heavier response should be undertaken on the political arena to render it irrelevant.(21)
One of the main dangers such an insurgency poses to the UK in the long term is the re-opening of the revolutionary war, according to the definition given by Shy and Collier.(22) Besides, the risks of progression through repression is its reliance on four fragile branches, i.e.: Intelligence, propaganda, the secret services and the police.(23) The latter's coordination was one of the causes of the fall of the PIRA, as aforementioned, and continues to be essential: '(...) these disparate groups of Republicans must be kept in perspective and they are unlikely, in the short term at least, to wield the same military muscle as PIRA (...), and much of that is due to the efforts of the PSNI, M15 and the British Army' maintains Radford. Thus, 'Technical and physical intelligence gathering are vital to fighting terrorists, but it must be complemented by good policing'.
Hence, unless the population is locally united; traditional, violent republican ideas are rejected, and the enemy remains fragmented, the remnants of the 'Long War' are likely to persist and cause trouble to those who ignore the current trends. There is an urgent need to understand the strong ideology behind the struggle. As the old Chinese saying goes: 'It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles'.(24)
1. Writer and veteran journalist Peter Taylor, Former Minister Peter Robinson (DUP Party), ex-IRA hunger striker Gerard Hodgins, and former IRA commander and Ph.D. Anthony McIntyre.
2. M. Radford, Ross Frenett and M.L.R. Smith, as well as PUP leader Billy Hutchinson and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
3. Edwards, Aaron. "Lessons Learned? Operation Banner and British Counter-Insurgency Strategy." International Security and Military History, 116-118.
Greene, Robert, The 33 Strategies of War. Penguin Group, 2006.
5. Edwards, Aaron. l.c.
6. Who Won the War? [Documentary]. United Kingdom, BBC. First aired on Sep 2014.
7. Provisional IRA
8. McIntyre, Anthony. Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism, 2008.
9. E.g.: R. Frenett, M. L. R. Smith.
10. Pratten, Garth. "Major General Sir Charles Gwynn: Soldier of the Empire, father of British counter-insurgency?" International Security and Military History, 114-115.
11. Lawrence, T. E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph. New York: Anchor, 1991.
12. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement
13. For instance, Freddie Scappatticci, the IRA's head of internal security, was exposed as a British military intelligence agent in 2003.
14. Radford, Mark. 'The Dissident IRA: Their "War" Continues' The British Army Review 169: Spring/ Summer 2017, 43-49 f.f.
15. 'Terrorists continue to plot, attack and build often ingenious and quite deadly devices' Ibidem.
16. Von Bülow, Dietrich Heinrich. 'The Spirit of the Modern System of War'. Chapter I, P. 189. Cambridge University Press, Published October 2014.
17. Von Bülow, D.H., l.c. P. 193 Chapter II.
18. Indeed, some authors will define it as an 'unconventional war'. E.g.: 'revolutionary war aims at the liquidation of the existing power structure and at a transformation in the structure of society.' Heymann, Hans H. and Whitson W. W., 'Can and Should the United States Preserve A Military Capability for Revolutionary Conflict?' Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, Ca., 1972, p. 5.p. 54.
19. O'Neill, Board E. Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005. Chapter 1: Insurgency in the Contemporary World.
20. Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. London: Praeger, 1964.
21. Jackson, B. A., 2007, 'Counterinsurgency Intelligence in a "Long War": The British Experience in Northern Ireland.' January-February issue, Military Review, RAND Corporation.
22. 'Revolutionary War refers to the seizure of political power by the use of armed force. Shy, John and Thomas W. Collier. "Revolutionary War" in Peter Paret, ed. Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1986.
23. Luttwak, Edward (2002). Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Cambridge, US: Belknap Press.
24. Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Attack By Stratagem 3.18.
Edwards, Aaron. Lessons Learned? Operation Banner and British Counter-Insurgency Strategy International Security and Military History, 116-118.
Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. London: Praeger, 1964.
Greene, Robert. The 33 Strategies of War. Penguin Group, 2006.
Heymann, Hans H. and Whitson W. W.. Can and Should the United States Preserve A Military Capability for Revolutionary Conflict? ( Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, Ca., 1972), p. 5.p. 54.
International Monitoring Commission (IMC), Irish and British governments report on the IRA army council's existence, 2008.
Lawrence, T. E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph. New York: Anchor, 1991.
Luttwak, Edward. Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Cambridge, US: Belknap Press, 2002.
McIntyre, Anthony. Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism, 2008.
O'Neill, Board E.. Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005.
Pratten, Garth. Major General Sir Charles Gwynn: Soldier of the Empire, father of British counter-insurgency? International Security and Military History, 114-115.
Radford, Mark. The Dissident IRA: Their 'War' Continues The British Army Review 169: Spring/Summer 2017, 43-49.
Ross Frenett and M.L.R. Smith. IRA 2.0: Continuing the Long War-Analyzing the Factors Behind Anti-GFA Violence, Published online, June 2012.
Sepp, Kalev I.. Best Practices in Counterinsurgency. Military Review 85, 3 (May-Jun 2005), 8-12.
Sun Tzu, S. B. Griffith. The Art of War. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964. Print.
Taylor, Peter. Who Won the War? [Documentary]. United Kingdom, BBC. First aired on Sep 2014.
Thompson, Robert. Defeating Communist Insurgency. St. Petersburg, FL: Hailer Publishing, 2005.
Von Bülow, Dietrich Heinrich. The Spirit of the Modern System of War. Cambridge University Press, Published October 2014.
[Robert Kaplan, The Return of framework Polo's World. War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century. Random House. New York, 2017. 280 pp.]
review / Emili J. Blasco
The signs of "imperial fatigue" that the United States is showing -a lesser willingness to provide world order- contrast with the destiny of projection over the globe that its nature and size imprint on it. "The United States is condemned to lead. It is the sentence of geography," writes Robert Kaplan. "No. The United States is not a normal country (...), but has the obligations of an empire."
Between the reality of a great power whose foreign policy has entered a new phase - a certain withdrawal on the international scene, begun by Barack Obama and continued by Donald Trump - and the demands of its national interest, which in Kaplan's opinion requires an assertive presence in the world, moves the new book by this well-known U.S. geopolitical author.
Unlike his previous works - the most recent being Earning the Rockies. How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World (2017)-this time it is a volume that collects essays and articles of his published in different media during the last years. The longest one, which gives degree scroll to the compilation, was commissioned by the Pentagon; the headline of another of the texts, also from 2016, heads these lines.
When Kaplan speaks of a return to the world of framework Polo he means two things. The main one is the new linkage that is emerging between China and Europe thanks to increased trade, symbolized by the new Silk Road, which leads the author to a long essay on the materialization of what until now was only an idea: Eurasia. The other meaning, which he develops further in other parts of the book, has to do with the new international order to which we are heading and which he qualifies as "competitive anarchy": an era of greater anarchy if we compare it with the time of the Cold War and the one we have known afterwards (the Age average of framework Polo was also a time of multiple powers).
Kaplan is one of the authors who is most often referring to the emergence of Eurasia. The arrival of Syrian migrants in Europe has made Europe dependent on the vicissitudes in the Middle East, showing that the internal borders of the supercontinent are fading. "As Europe disappears, Eurasia is cohesive. The supercontinent has become a fluid and comprehensive unit of trade and conflict," he writes. And with the cohesion of Eurasia the specific weight of the world shifts from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific or, as Kaplan also calls it, the Greater Indian.
Realism, morals and values
Among the many strategic issues Kaplan considers in relation to Eurasia, perhaps one important caveat may go unnoticed: much of China's success in charting its Belt and Silk Road depends on Pakistan acting as the core topic that, in the middle of the arc, both gives it completeness and sustains it. "Pakistan will be the main registrar of China's ability to link its [overland] Silk Road across Eurasia with its [maritime] Silk Road across the Indian Ocean," Kaplan advances. In his view, Pakistani instability, even if it does not lead to the country's collapse, could well limit the effectiveness of the great Chinese project .
Apart from that Eurasian chapter, the book is a sober and calm argumentation, in Kaplan's always elegant prose, of the principles of realism, understood as "a sensibility rooted in a mature sense of the tragic, of all the things that can go wrong in foreign policy, so that caution and the knowledge of history are integrated into the realist way of thinking". For a realist "order comes before freedom and interests before values," for "without order there is no freedom for anyone, and without interests a state has no incentive to project values."
Kaplan unpacks these considerations in articles dedicated to the thought of Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington and John Mearsheimer, all realists of different stripes, to whom he is close, especially to the former: Kissinger's reputation will only grow over the years, he assures. On the other hand, he rejects that Trump's foreign policy can be framed in the realist doctrine, because the American president lacks a sense of history, and that is because he does not read.
Kaplan presents realism as a sensibility, rather than as a guide with prescriptions for action in crisis situations, and certainly in several pages he goes into discussion on whether a state's foreign action should be guided by morality and the defense of values. "The United States, like any nation - but especially because it is a great power - simply has interests that are not always consistent with its values. This is tragic, but it is a tragedy that has to be embraced and accepted," he concludes. "Because the United States is a liberal power, its interests - even when they are not directly concerned with human rights - are generally moral. But they are only secondarily moral."