A review essay on books by (1) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Imperiet (Oslo: Spartacus , 2005); (2) Michael Hardt and Anotnio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin , 2005).
Is democratic governance possible in a globalized world? This question is addressed by confronting three positions on the issue: a pessimistic one, whose adherents argue that the lack of integration & trust among citizens make it difficult to establish a well-functioning democracy across national borders. The optimists, on their part, share a belief in democracy across borders & the ends realized by such international democratic processes, but differ on the question of how this can be achieved: One group of thinkers argue that the challenges of global capitalism, & the need to protect the rights of individual citizens, require the creation of transnational institutions. Others reject the calls for supranational structures emphasizing instead the prospects for democracy inherent in a strong & dynamic international civil society & in the formation of international regimes. 39 References. Adapted from the source document.
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo was received well internationally, but also raised a fair amount of criticism. Even if giving the peace prize to a democracy activist is more in line with Alfred Nobel's original intent than giving it to an environmentalist, Mr. Xiaobo is also undermining the Chinese stability and therefore threatening the country's internal peace. Some critics have also argued that the Nobel committee went again after a popular media personality, whose selection is not going to change the direction of a large populous country. Another problem is that the Nobel peace prize committee consists of Norwegian politicians and therefore the award is often seen as an extension of Norwegian foreign policy. L. Pitkaniemi
This article provides a perspective on the EEA agreement as a political decision-making process characterized as being in between the domestic democracy political system & the international political system of diplomatic interaction. Democracy presupposes representation & participation. Diplomacy presupposes secrecy, flexibility in negotiations, & the 'hegemony of the diplomats.' These conditions are rarely met simultaneously. The number of issues covered by the EEA agreement indicates that a democratic process is required. However, the EEA agreement is basically a traditional international treaty between states, & thus the diplomatic logic is equally appropriate. At the end of the article it is argued that this contradiction between domestic & international politics is neither new nor particular to the EEA agreement. 58 References. Adapted from the source document.
Discusses the history and development of democracy and freedom in China from Mao Zedong to Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. During Mao's regime the Chinese people lacked every freedom from travel to the freedom of speech in their own homes, and as late as 1989 the Tiananmen Square protests were brutally ended by the regime. Since then China has freed its economy and by the early 21st century Chinese people enjoy the right to select their local leaders, to live in any community they like, and to communicate freely with each other. However the highest party officials are still above criticism and the media is censored. L. Pitkaniemi
An armed conflict will often lead to various problems concerning private property. The solution of these will be legal in the first instance, but there is a range of other issues connected to a property dispute. This article discusses the individual & societal consequences of a mass claims process in Kosovo managed by the UN organization HPD. This process had opportunities to strengthen democracy & facilitate the return of refugees. The article emphasizes some missed opportunities in Kosovo & how the process can be improved. The restitution of property disputes in Kosovo is summarized as successful on the legal side, but with substantial shortcomings in the implementation of decisions & democracy building. References. Adapted from the source document.
India & China are fast becoming global giants. Because of an economic growth at about 10 percent per year over the last one or two decades, their impact on the rest of the world is becoming highly visible -- not least in the field of energy. The article analyses India's energy supply situation & IEA's estimates for the next decade. It also discusses India's increased need for & import of fossil fuels, the increased emission of greenhouse gases, & the very uneven distribution of energy consumption. Among the more prominent issues discussed are subsidized or free electricity for agriculture, the immense poverty, & the soft state & corruption. Among India's strong points in facing the energy challenges, two are focused upon here. The article underlines the high level of engineering capacity in the country, central to the development of renewable energy, & the democratic institutions that enable political participation in & influence on energy & climate issues. Tables, References. Adapted from the source document.
Introduces sports aid and sports organizations as a form of foreign policy that demands more attention from political scientists. In Norway, a redefinition (1972-1973) of culture provided sports a political arena for the first time, which eventually expanded into the foreign aid territory and thus became a part of overall foreign policy. A similar kind of shift has taken place internationally as the UN declared year 2005 as "The International Year of Sport and Physical Education". The main goal for Norwegian sports aid is to enhance peace and democracy by providing opportunities for the people to engage in sporting activities by mainly building sporting infrastructure. A case study of this policy in action is provided. L. Pitkaniemi
Popular uprising against authoritarian regimes is not enough to allow transition towards democracy to begin. The military has the final word on whether such an uprising will be successful or the uprising will be repressed in order to preserve the incumbent dictatorship. The military supported the uprising in Tunisia while it sided with the regime and repressed the uprising in Syria. In Egypt did the military refrain from supporting the regime and took over power themselves. Why did the military act so differently in the three cases? The article propose a theoretical explanation which combines variables influencing whether the military has the potential to support a popular uprising or not; and if there is a political situation, which allows for this potential to be exploited. The model of explanation is then tested against the cases of Tunisia, Egypt and Syria during The Arab Spring. Adapted from the source document.