A man in Jakarta shows his inked finger at a polling station to proof he voted in the 2009 presidential election, the second since the fall of the Suharto regime. Photo: Isabel Esterman.
Once widely considered a desirable endpoint for all nations, democracy’s seeming benefits are now openly questioned by many. The poor results of democratization in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the rise of economically successful non-democracies such as China, have caused democracy promotion to lose some of its luster. So, given these recent trends, what are democracy’s prospects for the future?
This question was the primary focus of a recent panel discussion hosted by the Forum Aussenpolitik (foraus) and NCCR Democracy at the University of Zurich. Entitled “Democracy Promotion: Lessons from Different Regions of the World,” the discussion featured three experts who analyzed the ways and means of democracy promotion; its feasibility; how and whether it should be encouraged, and its successes and failures.
Trafalgar Class submarine SSN (Ship Submersible Nuclear) HMS Triumph. Photo: Ben Sutton/UK Ministry of Defence
Amidst the financial crisis, European nations have attempted to consolidate resources to tailor their defense capabilities to more efficiently meet the emerging security challenges. Cooperation has become the buzz-word in Europe, with the EU’s Pooling and Sharing Initiative and NATO’s Smart Defense both emphasizing the notion of “doing more with less.” In his opening remarks at the NATO Defense Minister’s meetings in October, Secretary General Rasmussen outlined more multinational teamwork as the solution to spending scarce resources more effectively. On NATO’s Industry Day, he called for industry to propose multinational solutions, instead of individual ones. Yet despite the high level guidance, effective cooperation on long-term capabilities remains elusive.
Albeit long-term capabilities pose significant challenges, cooperation on them is not implausible. The British ballistic nuclear submarine fleet is in need of replacement, and France’s fleet will soon follow course. In today’s resource-scarce and cooperation-prone environment, their futures could converge into a single co-produced platform. This “Eurosubmarine” might initially be designed to fully replace each nations fleet in an economical way, but if the political climate changes, it could emerge as a shared platform, housing two sovereign sets of nuclear missiles, or even as a joint European nuclear deterrent. » More
EU-Russia Summit, Nizhny Novgorod, 9 and 10 June 2011. Photo: President of the European Council/flickr.
MOSCOW – In 1966, Charles de Gaulle’s vision of a Europe “that stretched from the Atlantic to the Urals” was provocative. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin has advanced an even more ambitious goal: “a common market stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”
In the race toward globalization, the stakes are high for both Russia and Europe. If Russia continues on its current path toward becoming solely a raw-materials producer, it will not only become increasingly vulnerable to global energy-price fluctuations, but its scientific, cultural, and educational potential will decay further, eventually stripping the country of its global clout.
If Europe, for its part, fails to respond to the challenges of the twenty-first century, it will face chronic economic stagnation, rising social tension, and political instability. Indeed, as industrial production migrates to East Asia and innovation remains in North America, Europe risks losing its position in the most attractive international markets. As a result, the European project itself could be called into question. » More