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essay / Manuel Lamela
The skill to communicate, to weave alliances, to generate a narrative... These are characteristics of what is understood today as public diplomacy. Although it covers a wide variety of topics 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 in order to appropriate the "story" and generate greater influence on a global scale. This struggle for the dominance of thought is not new, but in the last half of the twentieth century, concepts were generated to illustrate this conflict between states, which perhaps before the Cold War was in the background, and they appeared programs of study To analyze this subject of strategies. Despite this, it is enough to take a look at the classics to see clear references to what we currently understand as 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 synonymous with 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 past century, we now find a significant increase in the weight that individuals have when it comes to 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 that exists in populations on the use of social networks. Leaving aside the 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 in the United States. network, cybersecurity diplomacy, etc., which are currently present in most State strategies and which 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 bringing together internship with theory and its mission statement to bring the foreign policy of its various states closer to the general public. Think tanks are, without a doubt, a clear example of soft power exercise. They position themselves as ideological pillars in the construction of new narratives, generating a competitive advantage over the rest.
Anglo-Saxon History and Leadership
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. military could develop and plan war strategies. Rand Corporation was founded in 1948 with the goal of promote and 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 U.S. government. Although most of the renowned think tanks appeared in the 1950s, there are several previous examples, both in American and British society, that illustrate in a more obvious way the reason for their leadership in the degree program of idea generation.
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 Labour Party. On the other side of the Atlantic, examples abound: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and the 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 policies at the national level; Over the years, its importance and relevance will increase until it becomes the most prestigious and influential think tank in the world.
From the 1980s onwards, the phenomenon of the think tank multiplied and expanded to continental Europe, where associations dedicated to analysis and analysis began to be created. research in those fields. Intellectual production in the old continent had been worryingly scarce after the war. So the need to get the machine of ideas back into operation was vital to make sense of the new united Europe and to gain some independence from the Anglo-Saxon world. Today, 55% of the world's think tanks are spread across the US and Western Europe.
With the entrance In the turn of the century, we have seen a significant increase in the issue think tanks on the Asian continent, with the mission statement to rename and redirect Western ideas and even to generate their own ideas, which is popularly known as the "Asian Way". Undoubtedly, the emergence of China as a major world power is essential in the growth of think tanks in Asia. The "sleeping dragon" seeks to consolidate its global position with the creation of a new diplomacy that exports the statement of core values China 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 dominance is Russia, which, thanks to its high quality in terms of human capital in matters of intelligence and diplomacy, always positions itself as a fierce competitor, despite the fact that its material resources are smaller. In the case of Latin America and Africa, their contribution continues to be residual and with limited influence at the regional level; the issue think tanks on these two continents account for less than 20% globally.
Types 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 U.S. 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 ranking 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 evaluating and classifying the different think tanks that exist today.
The report It provides the following categories:
Think tanks linked to the university or government sphere continue to account for the majority of cases, while think tanks linked to the university or government continue to account for the majority of cases. research profit-making companies are a growing minority.
The Influence of Ideas on U.S. Politics
It is interesting to analyze how Robert D. Kaplan's book "Balkan Ghosts" decisively influenced 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 resulted in underestimating the transcendental role that history and physical geography play 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 capital importance that ideas can have when it comes to conducting a state's foreign policy.
Originally, think tanks were born as advisory bodies aimed at providing financial aid and committee to the U.S. government. With the advance of the Cold War and later with the Internet revolution, the need for ideas and independent policy-making became a primary necessity for the United States, which saw in think tanks the best possible solution to nourish itself from the Internet. committee of experts.
The ability to generate new and original ideas away from the political stratum, together with the educational capacity, are two of the main factors that have led to think tanks being considered as benchmarks when it comes to shaping US foreign policy. The direct influence they have 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 field; In the U.S., think tanks have a real impact on state policies. It is in these "factories of thought" that the values and ideas with which they will try to sweeten foreign policy and thus expand their sphere of influence to all corners of the globe are built. The mission statement Identifying and solving future problems and conflicts is another of the main tasks of think tanks. They do not always consider themselves government allies and often lead the fiercest criticism; In any case, the autonomy they enjoy is what makes them perceived as a highly valuable asset within American society.
The export of the model to Europe
In Europe, the issue think tanks have multiplied since the 1980s, but their issue and relevance are still very distant 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 model The American think tank has been both praised and criticized, and the option of imitating it has been discussed in many countries and carried out in many others. Critics of its implementation believe that history and tradition play a fundamental role in making it extremely difficult to export the product. model.
Traditionally, in Europe, universities have been responsible for developing the statement of core values European, and in the past they were very successful in making Europe the vanguard of humanity. Today, however, Europe does not enjoy the leading role it had in other historical periods; the fact is that it has been ideologically outmaneuvered by the United States and has had no choice but to commune with the latter in order to confront greater threats. The latter, together with the greater complexity of the problems in the current panorama and the status In the European Union, it is necessary to renew the European social contract and generate a new narrative that brings European citizens together 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 its nature of bringing together academia and politics, the creation of new ideas and values that revitalise 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 that, ultimately, written request, political participation increases, so that bonds of trust are strengthened rather than broken, as is predicted to happen. As we mentioned in the U.S. case, the value of educational it is another of the main characteristics and will serve as a solution to several of the problems that plague Europe today, 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 without a doubt the power of ideas will play a fundamental 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 world's spheres of thought will continue to be present, so think tanks will continue to grow and develop, gaining more and more relevance at the international level. In the hierarchy of dominance, ideas occupy the last rung, behind individuals, physical geography, and history; However, since ideas are a pure human intellectual creation, they constitute a force of control and movement of the first step, the 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 of the Foreign 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-Kosovo Conflict. United States: S.A. Ediciones B.
Robert D. Kaplan. (2012). The Revenge of Geography. United States: RBA Books.
Pedro Baños. (2018). World Domination: Elements of Power and Geopolitical Keys. 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). Art of War. Spain: Plutón Ediciones.
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 favour 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 favour 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 organises, plans and intervenes, the more difficult it is for the individual to choose freely, to plan for itself. 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.
3. 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.
20. Stiglitz, Joseph. (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin.
21. Landes, David. L.C. p. 516
22. 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.
24. 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.
[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 giving—a less willingness to provide world order—contrast with the destiny of projection on the globe that its nature and size imprint on it. "The United States is doomed to lead. It's the sentence of geography," writes Robert Kaplan. "No. The United States is not a normal country (...), but it 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 American geopolitical author.
Unlike his previous works – the most recent is Earning the Rockies. How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World (2017) – this time it is a volume that collects his essays and articles published in different media over the last few years. The longest, 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 talks about returning to the world of framework Polo is meaning two things. The main one is the new link that is emerging between China and Europe thanks to the increased trade, symbolized by the new Silk Road, which gives rise to a long essay about the materialization of what until now was only an idea: Eurasia. The other meaning, which he develops further elsewhere in the book, has to do with the new international order we are moving towards, which he calls "competitive anarchy": an era of greater anarchy compared to the time of the Cold War and the one we have known since then (the Cold Age). average of framework Polo was also a time of multiple powers.)
Kaplan is one of the authors who is most concerned about the emergence of Eurasia. The arrival of Syrian migrants in Europe has made it dependent on the vicissitudes in the Middle East, showing that the internal borders of the supercontinent are fading. "As Europe disappears, Eurasia becomes 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 Great Indian Ocean.
Realism, Morals and Values
Among the many strategic aspects that Kaplan considers in relation to Eurasia, perhaps one important caveat can go unnoticed: much of China's success in its Belt and Road course depends on Pakistan acting as the leader of the Belt. core topic which, in the middle of the arch, gives it completion and at the same time sustains it. "Pakistan will be the main recorder of China's ability to link its [land] Silk Road through Eurasia with its [maritime] Silk Road through the Indian Ocean," Kaplan said. In his view, Pakistan's instability, even if it does not end up causing the country's collapse, could well limit the effectiveness of the great project Chinese.
Outside of that Eurasian chapter, the book is an argument, sober and calm, with 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 caution knowledge of history are embedded in the realistic way of thinking." For a realist, "order comes before freedom and interests before values," because "without order there is no freedom for anyone, and without interests a state has no incentive to project values."
Kaplan discusses these considerations in articles dedicated to the thought of Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer, all of them realists of different stripes, of which he is close, especially the first: Kissinger's reputation will only increase over the years, he says. 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 a guide with recipes for acting in crisis situations, and certainly on various pages he enters into the discussion on whether the external actions of a State should be guided by morality and the defence 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." "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."
[Geoffry Sloan, Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History. Routledge. New York, 2017. 251 p.]
review / Emili J. Blasco
Today we are witnessing a frequent use of the term geopolitics that is often devoid of content. After decades of the word being stigmatized, given the contamination it suffered in the first third of the twentieth century by elaborations such as Lebensraum, its employment It has become widespread in recent years as China and Russia have begun to take positions in the new post-unipolar world order. However, it is not uncommon to speak of geopolitics as a mere synonym for international relations, without a specific meaning.
Remembering the strict value of the concept, stripping it of trivializations or misunderstandings, is the purpose by Geoffrey Sloan, a British academic specialising in Halford Mackinder, one of the great names in geopolitics. Sloan understands this as a "tripartite construction" of geography, strategy, and history, elements that give rise to the degree scroll of his book.
The author locates the dawn of geopolitics in a "first wave" of thinkers distant in time and in their philosophical conceptions, such as Aristotle, Machiavelli and Montesquieu, but it was not until the "second wave", at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, when the discipline adopt that name and define its contours with the help of Ratzel, Mahan, Mackinder, Haushofer... After a long period of ostracism, because it was considered that some totalitarianisms had fed on the ravings of certain schools, at the beginning of the 21st century the term geopolitics resurfaces. However, in Sloan's opinion, it is affected by a triple problem: its lack of definition, the lack of bibliography and its confusion with realpolitik.
Today, people have begun to talk about geopolitics so often that it has lost its proper meaning. "The term geopolitics has enjoyed a ghostly life after death, becoming used everywhere while being drained of substantive theoretical content, and is used in so many ways that it has become meaningless, if there is no further specification," warns a statement. quotation by S. R. Gokmen.
In contrast to its generic use, assimilated to that of international politics, Sloan defends its original meaning, absolutely attached to geography. "Although all the politics of a state do not derive from its geography," say the 1938 words of Nicholas Spykman—another classic of geopolitics—that open the book, "the state cannot escape that geography. Size, shape, location, topography and climate provide conditions from which there is no escape, no matter how qualified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or how resourceful the General Staff may be."
The temporal break in geopolitical thought – Sloan notes that no book on geopolitics was published in English between 1945 and 1977 – may explain why many today have lost track of the strict geographical content of the term. But even among those who seem to want to give it a specific meaning, there is the confusion of assimilating geopolitics with the realist theory of international relations. According to Sloan, "Perhaps the most common misconception about geopolitical theory is its symbiotic relationship to the realist approach. It maintains that all thinking about international relations should begin with the recognition of the primacy of power and that geographical factors are a vital part of the evaluation of power." The author warns that in geopolitics there is also room for an idealistic approach, since it is not something tied to the administrative state nor is it exclusively identified with conservative political ideologies.
Sloan proposes a "trinitarian structure" of geopolitics, in a diagram where the relationship between geography and strategy generates geostrategy, the relationship between geography and history gives rise to historical geography, and the relationship between history and strategy derives into diplomatic history.
The approach of the work is in its first part theoretical, and then gives way to certain historical concretions, for the most part in the light of concepts elaborated by Mackinder.
COMMENTARY / Daniel Andrés Llonch
Cyberspace has established itself as a new domain in which the security of States and their citizens is decided. On the one hand, attacks no longer have to involve the employment armaments; On the other hand, non-military actions, such as certain operations of interference in the affairs of other countries, can be especially effective given the access to millions of people that information technologies allow.
These capabilities have contributed to a climate of growing mistrust among world powers, characterized by mutual accusations, cover-ups and secrecy, since cyberspace makes it possible to conceal the origin of aggression to a large extent. That makes it difficult to mission statement of the State to protect national interests and complicates its management of individual freedoms (the tension between security and privacy).
The governments of Russia and China have frequently been singled out by the West as sponsors of cyberattacks aimed at damaging sensitive computer networks and stealing data confidential transactions of both individuals and companies, and operations aimed at influencing world opinion. In the case of China, the activities of secret units dependent on the People's Liberation Army have been targeted; in the Russian case, organizations such as Fancy Bear are mentioned, behind which many see directly the hand of the Kremlin.
The latter agents are blamed for Russian cyberattacks or interference in Europe and the United States, whose goal it is to destabilize those powers and diminish their capacity for global influence. There are several sources that suggest that these organizations have intervened in processes such as Brexit, the presidential elections in the United States or the separatist process in Catalonia. This activity of influence, radicalization and mobilization would have been carried out through the management of social networks and also possibly through the use of the Dark Web and the Deep Web.
One of the most prominent organizations in this activity is Fancy Bear, also known as APT28 and linked by various means to the Russian military intelligence agency. The group serves the interests of the Russian government, with activities that include support for certain candidates and personalities in foreign countries, as happened in the last elections to the White House. It operates many times through what is called Advanced Persistent Threat or APT, which consists of continuous hacking of a given system through computer hacking.
Although an APT is normally addressed to private organizations or States, either for commercial reasons or for political interests, it can also have the following characteristics: goal citizens who are perceived as enemies of the Kremlin. Behind these actions is not a lone hacker or a small hacker. group of people, but a whole organization, of very vast dimensions.
Fancy Bear and other similar groups have been linked to the dissemination of confidential information stolen from world banks, the World Anti-Doping Agency, NATO, and the electoral process in France and Germany. They were also credited with an action against the network in which there was theft of data and extensive spying over a long period of time.
The European Union has been one of the first international actors to announce measures in this regard, consisting of a considerable increase in the budget to strengthen cybersecurity and increase research by technicians and specialists in this field. The new figure of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) is also being created, which is the person in charge of overseeing all issues related to the protection of data and your privacy.
The sophistication of the Internet and at the same time its vulnerability have also given rise to a status of insecurity in the network. Anonymity makes it possible to perpetrate criminal activities that know no borders, neither physical nor virtual: this is cybercrime. This was confirmed on May 12, 2017 with the Wannacry virus, which affected millions of people worldwide.
Reality, then, warns us of the dimension that the problem has acquired: it speaks to us of a real risk. Society is increasingly connected to the network, which, together with the advantages of all kinds that this entails, also implies a exhibition cybercrime. Hackers can use our data personal data and the information we share for their own purposes: sometimes as a way of blackmail or as a key to access fields of the subject's privacy; other times that private content is sold. The fact is that the magnitudes to which such a problem can reach are overwhelming. If one of the world's leading security agencies, the U.S. National Security Agency, has result hacked, what should simple users expect, who in their innocence and ignorance are vulnerable and usable subjects?
Added to the problem is the progressive improvement of the techniques and methods used: identity theft and viruses are created for mobile phones, computer systems, programs, emails and downloads. In other words, there are few areas within the cyber world that are not considered susceptible to hacking or that do not have some weak point that represents an opportunity for threat and intrusion for any person or organization for illicit purposes.
[Gabriel Tortella, Capitalism and Revolution. One essay of contemporary economic and social history. Gadir. Madrid, 2017. 550 pages]
review / Manuel Lamela Gallego
The main goal The aim of this book is to offer an extensive view of contemporary history, in order to make us able to understand the wonderful, yet overwhelming, complexity of the world in which we currently live. To accomplish this task, the work has a real approach multidisciplinary, with economic history as the focal point meeting and reference letter for the rest of the social sciences. Consequently, the book offers us an accurate economic and social analysis, but without ever forgetting the political, a factor that the author considers essential for the true understanding of past events.
With this look at the past in order to observe the near future with greater lucidity and clarity in the final chapters, Gabriel Tortella completes, improves and nourishes with a greater issue of reflections and thoughts in his previous work, "The Origins of the Twentieth Century" (2005). Economic historian of B After an academic life and internationally recognized, the author presents us with an entertaining study that will undoubtedly awaken in the reader an interest in the study of contemporary history.
To do this, the author takes us by the hand to what he calls the first World Revolution (the author actually goes back to more remote times to, in a brilliant chapter, explain the triumph of Europe and how it will lead and lead this process). This development The historical revolution is made up of the so-called Atlantic revolutions or bourgeois revolutions, led by England (17th) and Holland (16th-17th) and followed by the rest of Europe and the American continent during the last decades of the eighteenth century and almost the entire nineteenth century. Finally, the Industrial Revolution that began in the British Isles during the eighteenth century brought this First World Revolution to a close.
Already here, the author tells us sample his acuity as a historical analyst in distinguishing between the bourgeois revolution and the industrial revolution, concluding that an evolutionary process is being followed: first, a revolution of a political nature is necessary that results in advances both at the social and economic levels, as was the case in England, with an increase in maritime trade, development parliamentarism, changes in agriculture... The latter will eventually lead to an Industrial Revolution where progress and improvement will be total and will encompass all areas of human society. This reflection explains and crystallizes the status It was lived in Europe during the eighteenth century, where we found societies like the English, practically submerged in its industrialization, and at the same time societies like the French, still immersed in its bourgeois revolution.
The author marks another turning point in the historical evolution at the end of the Belle Époque and the beginning of the First World War, in 1914. As he did previously, he will name the process, which began in the early part of the 20th century and culminated in its second half, as the Second World Revolution. When the author speaks of revolution, he is in no way referring to the Russian Revolution or Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, nor to the series of totalitarianisms that arose during the interwar period. For Gabriel Tortella, these events are nothing more than monstrous experiences destined to remain silent in the dustbin of history. When the author speaks here of revolution, he is referring to the consolidation of the social-democratic state based on the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes.
Next, the author makes a historical-economic review, reaching the economic recession that occurred in 2008. The author concludes by explaining the reason for the triumph of capitalism: a capitalism undoubtedly renewed and shaped by the different crises that have occurred since 1945. A conclusion that can be summed up in the almost prophetic phrase used by the author of: "Tomorrow Capitalism" (p. 498).
Tortella devotes the last pages of his book to reflecting on the present and the time to come. Taking stock of the last 250 years and far from dark futures, we sample how humanity, after several decades of a development Unprecedented, it is at its peak in terms of living standards and conditions. Despite this well-founded optimism, the author also warns us of serious problems that humanity will have to face in order to move forward in its progress. The author considers the overpopulation and lack of demographic control in third world countries to be the great problem of our time.
essay / Alejandro Palacios
The violent revolts in Nicaragua, the war in Syria or the status in Yemen are examples of some of the most bloody episodes that are being experienced around the world. Such episodes are, for the most part, aggravated by the disintegrative mentality that prevails in a large part of the world's societies. The promotion of an inclusive culture of peace is one of the challenges posed by the Norwegian sociologist and mathematician Johan Galtung.
Johan Galtung is considered, due to his long trajectory and wide academic experience, as one of the best experts in the topic of alternative conflict resolution. In addition, he has been the founder of two of the most renowned institutions in the field of conflict resolution, such as the high school International Peace research in Oslo (1959) and the Journal of research on Peace (1964). As a result, his books and essays have been widely echoed in the community of experts in this subject. Here we will focus especially on his work "After Violence, 3Rs: Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Resolution", published in 1999 and still very relevant today, as it sheds light on the causes of the conflict and its possible solutions.
His main thesis is that conflict is innate in society as there are limited resources and overlapping interests, but whether these lead to violence depends on the will of the individual. In his own words: "Violence is not like eating or sexual relations, which are found all over the world with slight variations". That is why the author rejects Hobbes' thesis in the famous sentence "Homo homini lupus", i.e. that man, in his state of nature, tends to his extinction. From this point Galtung provides a series of aspects that the peace worker must take into account for the correct resolution of a conflict.
Galtung emphasizes the need for a deep analysis of the conflict in order to understand its multidimensionality. Otherwise, the peace worker may misdiagnose the conflict. He puts it this way: "One of the problems is not understanding that conflict has a broader dimension. Therefore, sometimes it may not be given the right treatment (as if the doctor says that an ankle inflammation is an ankle disease and not a heart dysfunction // or hunger as insufficient food intake and not a social problem)".
To make this task somewhat simpler, Galtung provides us with two triangles of violence, which are related to each other. The first is the ABC triangle: Attitudes adopted towards conflict or peace-making; behaviors adopted or peace-keeping; and contradiction underlying the (root) conflict or peace-building. The second triangle indicates that there are two types of violence: the visible and the invisible. The visible is direct violence and the invisible is cultural violence (which causes or feeds direct violence) and structural violence. This is why the author insists on the importance of promoting a culture of peace in which peaceful mechanisms to resolve a conflict without resorting to violence predominate, i.e. a culture based on non-violence, empathy and creativity (to go beyond the mental Structures of the parties to a conflict). Thus, the so-called golden rule "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you," he says, is a good way to start forging such a culture. Although this, he says, has one problem: that tastes differ.
Politics, according to Galtung, can help create this culture, which he considers essential to avoid violence as much as possible. Galtung considers democracy to be the best system for creating what he calls a "culture of peace". However, he himself makes a number of criticisms of this political system. First of all, he claims that democracy is equivalent to the dictatorship of the 51% against the rest. This is something that, however, is mitigated thanks to human rights, as he himself acknowledges. Secondly, the author asserts that the sum of all democracies is not universal democracy. An action that affects other states does not have legitimacy just because it has been adopted democratically (something mitigated by international organizations, but which can lead to the status described in the first place). The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that democracy entails a certain Degree of structural violence, but less than with other systems of government.
Finally, Galtung makes a comparison between the Western and Eastern ways of resolving a dispute from the perspective of the temporal dimension of a conflict. While the Western one makes use of a diachronic approach of time, i.e. over time, the Eastern one makes use of a synchronic approach of time, i.e. at the same time. At summary, the Eastern perspective works in the three areas of resolution, reconciliation and reconstruction (the 3Rs) successively and not one after the other, as does the Western world.
Experts on subject of conflicts make a clear distinction between three types of conflicts. On the one hand we have direct violence staff (verbal or physical); indirect structural violence (political and economic exploitation); finally, there is cultural violence. In particular, the English economist Kenneth Boulding criticizes Galtung's analysis on the grounds that it analyzes conflicts from a purely structuralist perspective. In this way, he criticizes, on the one hand, that the method used is very taxonomic, since, according to Boulding, "taxonomy is a convenience of the human mind rather than a description of reality". On the other hand, Galtung's emphasis on equality, as opposed to hierarchies, for conflict mitigation is criticized, since, according to the Briton, Galtung does not take into account that such equality has negative consequences in terms of quality of life and freedom.