The Russian elite have realized that the country will have to live in a new reality that differs from the past rosy dreams of integration with the West, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. Yet they have not yet used the confrontation and the growth of patriotism for an economic revival.
The development of the Russian Far East, which has been declared by President Putin a “national priority for the 21st century” has so far not fully lived up to expectations. The key problem is that numerous tools for an accelerated development of the region are used without a clear idea of what its future should be like and without an analysis of its competitive advantages and factors that restrain economic growth. This article analyzes these advantages and restraints through the lens of the new international trade theory and new economic geography. The focus is on economies of scale, the use of the advantages of which is a prerequisite for the competitiveness of companies producing manufactured goods. According to these theories, the main obstacles to accelerated growth in the Russian Far East are the insufficient size of the market and the continuous population distribution pattern, a Soviet legacy which makes it impossible to use the benefits of agglomeration.
The Syrian experience may prove to be a model for a new approach to the organization of the army. In the Middle East, this institution continues to play not only a military but also a political role as a state-forming element of the political system.
Russia’s soft power should develop a broad and long-term narrative, capable of giving constructive answers to challenges facing Russian and Western societies. Berdyaev’s model of liberal conservatism can serve as the basis for an alternative discourse
The fast build-up of China’s military power is a natural and inevitable process, albeit belated. China is only bringing its military capability into line with the scale of its economy, territory and population. More importantly, it is taking systematic and very costly efforts to make its armed forces ready for active combat operations in remote regions of the world.
Those who are used to thinking of foreign policy and diplomacy as some sort of ceremonious activity should forget the Congress of Vienna and Helsinki talks. The time of intellectual battles between responsible professionals behind closed doors is gone. Now everything is put on display.
The Russian-U.S. confrontation provoked by the Ukrainian crisis is most often viewed as a purely regional phenomenon. However, its roots are much deeper than the problems faced by Ukraine; its nature is much more complex than the ongoing geopolitical struggle for that country; and its consequences affect the United States’ relations with other centers of power and global governance in general. The outcome of the Ukrainian conflict will likely determine the rules of relations among the great powers for decades to come.
The European Union’s development vector will largely depend on Germany, the engine of the European economy and integration. Europe in general and Germany in particular are at a crossroads. Strained relations with the United States, the migration crisis, the rise of populism, climate change, and China’s economic boom push relations with Russia into the background. How do young Germans see the future of Europe and their own country? To answer this question, it is essential to take a look at the entire spectrum of political trends in Germany and to analyze which of them evoke the greatest response from the younger generation.
Ideological rivalry or trash discourse
Dialogue (in its original meaning) can hardly be regarded as an effective instrument for handling urgent political crises “right here and now.” Nevertheless, the “strategic,” communicative potential of dialogue, though in little demand today, remains significant.
Over 32 years of its history, the G7/G8 has expanded both its agenda and institutional system, and is now appreciated as an instrument of deliberation, direction-giving and decision-making on global governance issues. It has also become a subject for criticism and reform proposals. The critique mainly focuses on the forum’s representativeness, legitimacy and effectiveness.
There may be three points of departure for reflection on the G8 commitments compliance.
First, when the forum arose in the mid-1970s to respond in a coordinated way to the problems and challenges that the existing international institutions could not cope with, its architects set a very high level of expectations on the meetings’ outcome: they should treat crucial economic, financial and political issues, and they should yield results.
Second, St. Petersburg produced 14 summit documents plus the Chair’s summary totaling 317 specific commitments. Although it has confirmed the tendency for increasing the number of commitments characteristic of the seventh series, this is the highest number of any summit held since 1975. Of these, 216 commitments reflect decisions on the Presidency priority issues: 52 relate to fight against infectious diseases; 114 to global energy security; and 50 to education for innovative society in the 21st century. However impressive this may seem, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “the viability of the decisions hinges on the members’ commitment to their consistent implementation within the systemic strategy of joint actions. Serious and multifaceted work on the St. Petersburg commitments implementation lies ahead, including the period of the German presidency of the G8.” Thus, a weighted assessment of the summit performance and the leaders’ commitment to the decisions made is still to come, inter alia on the basis of compliance study results.
Third, over 32 years of its history, the G7/G8 has expanded both its agenda and institutional system, and is now appreciated as an instrument of deliberation, direction-giving and decision-making on global governance issues. It has also become a subject for criticism and reform proposals. The reform proposals are well known and range from expanding the institution to G10 and G12, restructuring the G20 into L20, restructuring the G8 into G4, abolishing the G8, etc. The critique mainly focuses on the forum’s representativeness, legitimacy and effectiveness.
While it is difficult to argue against proposals to expand the G8 to include China and India, or the rationale for coexistence of the G8 and the L20, it is worthwhile considering what data and instruments of evaluation are available to support, inform or refute the perception of the G8’s shortcomings. It is also useful to analyze what these tools offer for monitoring, comparing and sharing, but, moreover, for communicating the G8 performance results to the wider public.
Law is an important resource of international communication, a language for stating national interest. Interest spoken about just as interest and presented as the reason of egoism may never be realized.
Ethnic nationalism cannot be a strategic ally of the forces interested in Russia’s modernization. Realizing the impossibility of a purely elitist modernization, these forces will inevitably need mass support and national consolidation. Consequently, they will need nationalism, although of a different strain - the civic one.
The 2018/2019 world political season ended in an atmosphere of some fated madness, with tragedies degrading into a farce in line with Hegel’s trite aphorism. But the atmosphere of farce makes everyone fear that the situation may spiral out of control for the most trivial of reasons.
Society is ready for new national interests to appear that will pave the way for effective and long-term policies “for all.” Now the situation hinges on those who will formulate them correctly.
Russia is in a precarious position: although formally enshrined in legislation, quite legal private property very often is not considered to be legitimate. The “unfair” procedures that brought about the emergence of mammoth private wealth during the privatization period breeds distrust in the authorities, the laws it adopts, and the measures it takes.
Russian-U.S. relations seem to have entered a long period of not just keen rivalry, but also confrontation. This unpleasant conclusion stems from the actual way these relations have developed recently. Already in 2012-2013 the parties were in a stalemate of utter irritation with each other, and today the interests of both countries’ elites are definitely in a conflict. All of us will now have to live in a new reality. It is essential that the confrontation does not degenerate into a direct military clash, which, as we all know from the experience of the Cold War from 1945-1991, can threaten everyone’s existence.