8
Nov

Arab Awakening

 Written by Marine Andraud, MIR Student, 2014/2015 Intake, Co-President of the IR Club

The IR Club started off its 2014/2015 Speaker Series with expert Haizam Amirah (@haizamamirah) looking into the aftermath of the “Arab Awakening”. A topic that is of significant interest to many at IE, so much so, that we had a full house and some. Everyone seemed eager, for one reason or another. Eager to learn, contribute, dispute, clarify, question. With an active audience, Haizam began by setting the stage: why had most Arabs been living under their potential for so long, what factors lead to this unprecedented awakening of the Arab world, and why now?

To answer these questions, he first highlighted three overarching societal deficits: freedoms, women empowerment (which, he argued, was a result of a patriarchal society propagated by the mothers themselves) and lastly the spread of knowledge through education. However, as we would come to witness in 2010, societies would no longer stand for these injustices. What Haizam, and many, identify as factor X: a young street vendor setting himself on fire in the middle of a market place in a small town of Tunisia, would soon come to ignite a fire that would consume an entire region. One that, according to Mr. Amirah, had three specific drivers:

  • Demographics, a young population, ⅔ of which was under 30 and whom felt totally disconnected from their aging authoritarian leaders.
  • Equally as important, the women within that youthful population. They had been marginalized for so many generations prior, and who were now seizing the opportunity to become literate, pursue higher educations, and join the workforce.
  • Thirdly, technology, although this one was contested, which for the first time allowed individuals to become producers of information rather than simple consumers.

Having framed the Arab awakening, Haizam went on to classify what ensued under the three broad outcomes that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Read more…

4
Nov

Britain ‘At Point Of No Return’ over EU Membership

Written on November 4, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in EU Expansion, Europe

MERKEL CAMERON

Angela Merkel has given David Cameron an ultimatum over his intransigence on European Union freedom of movement, warning that Britain is fast reaching “the point of no return” when it comes to exiting the union.

Der Spiegel news magazine quoted sources within the German chancellor’s office and German foreign ministry as saying that Merkel made clear she will withdraw her support for Britain’s continued EU membership if Cameron insists on pressing for measures which would undermine the principle of the free movement of labour.

At a recent summit in Brussels, Merkel is said to have made it abundantly clear Germany would not accept any tinkering or redrawing of freedom of movement principles, bluntly telling him: “That’s it.” It should, Der Spiegel noted, “have left the British Prime Minister in no doubt”.

The Prime Minister, who is under pressure to tighten Britain’s immigration controls to counter the rise of Ukip, has already torn up one proposal to impose quotas on low-skilled EU migrants in the face of German opposition, according to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper said that Cameron was now looking at plan to stretch the EU rules “to their limits” in order to ban migrants who do not have job and to deport those who are unable to support themselves after three months.

The Prime Minister was said to want to be able to present a “German-compliant” plan to re-negotiate the terms of Britain’s membership ahead of the Conservatives’ promised in/out referendum by the end of 2017.

Downing Street would not comment on the reports, but did not deny that they had taken place.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister will do what is right for Britain, as he has repeatedly made clear.”

Cameron is under pressure on both sides of the channel, heighted by the imminent Rochester by-election likely to be won by Ukip defector Mark Reckless. But he also faces a haranguing from some colleagues. Arch pro-European former cabinet minister Ken Clarke who dismissed Ukip as an “extreme right-wing protest party” and said that free movement of labour was “absolutely essential” to the working of the single market.

“If you’re going to have a sensible single market, if we want to compete with the Americans and the Chinese and so on and modern world, we need the free movement of labour,” he told BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

“All our companies, multinational companies, will go spare if you start inferring with that.”

Published on 3 November  in http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/11/03/merkel-cameron-eu_n_6091982.html?1414999633&utm_hp_ref=uk

3
Nov

“Arab Spring: where are we now?”

Written on November 3, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in News

“The Arab Spring: where are we now?” Four years after the riots, protests and revolutions that redefined much of the Middle East, we will analyze the aftermath with expert Haizam Amirah.

On Tuesday November 4th, IE International Relations Clubs will host a lecture given by IE Humanities and IR Associate Professor Haizam Amirah Fernández. Besides his teaching duties at IE, Mr. Amirah is a senior analyst of the Arab world at the international think tank, Real Instituto Elcano, not to mention a frequent commentator on the subject in the Spanish media.

The International Relations Clubs would like to invite you on November 4th at 6:30pm in room 101Maria de Molina 31bis to kick off its Speakers Series. Mr. Amirah will set the stage with his presentation and then move to a Q&A session, which will be followed by a networking cocktail reception for all participants.

To register please click here

31
Oct

IR Guest Speaker_Tom Burns

On Oct. 30th, the IE School of International Relations welcomed Tom Burns, Journalist & Essayist, Managing Partner, Eurocofin for an engaging discussion on different aspects of nationalism. Mr. Burns began his lecture by identifying several key figures in the history of nationalism. He first mentioned Johann Gottfried von Herder, a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic who emphasized the importance of the German language. Herder rejected the influence of French, so prevalent in cultural circles at the time. He wanted the German people to be proud of their language and their heritage.

Mr. Burns then showcased Sir Walter Scott, a pillar of the Scottish establishment in the 18th century. In addition to being a prolific writer, Sir Walter Scott celebrated the folklore and ballads of Scotland. He made being Scottish acceptable, respectable. A little bit later in the 19th century and early in the 20th, Joan Maragall, a Catalan poet and journalist also took pride in the Catalan culture, and language. This was not necessarily a political movement but was more focused on celebrating the Catalan culture, in line with Herder’s canon earlier. These thinkers and poets sowed the seeds of nationalism in the 18th and early 19th century. Mr. Burns last identified Gavrilo Princep, the Bosnian Serb nationalist who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie. To this day, Gavrilo Princep is considered a hero in Serbia. His nationalism was political as opposed to cultural in the above examples cited by Mr. Burns.

Today the resurgence in nationalism in Europe, in Spain and Scotland, is largely due to the recent in economic crisis in 2008. A lot of those clamoring for independence are left leaning blue collar workers who reject big government, globalization, the IMF, austerity measures and the hardship brought on by the crisis. These movements, even if they fail short term, are unlikely to go away any time soon. The MIR students in the audience had many questions for Mr. Burns that he answered with candor and humor. On a more personal note, one student asked Mr. Burns why he had special interest in nationalism. “Because it’s a good story”, was his response. “One of the great stories of our time”. Spoken as a true journalist indeed. 

31
Oct

Japan Moves to Defuse Maritime Dispute with China

Written on October 31, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Asia, Foreign Policy, Security

Japan de-escalates the Senkaku-Diaoyu dispute

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China’s President Xi Jinping are set to meet for the first time in their respective tenures at the APEC meeting in Beijing in November. However, the privilege of meeting the Chinese head of state comes with a cost for Shinzo Abe. The Japanese PM has conceded to a significant change of attitude in the dispute about the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

While Japan previously denied there being any dispute in the first place, now the wording has changed into an acknowledgement of the fact that “China has a case as well.” Since China has refused talks with Japan until the existence of the conflict in the East China Sea was acknowledged, this has prevented the two nations’ heads from meeting.

The proposal to Xi Jinping from Shinzo Abe, of which the admission that the islands are indeed disputed is one part, contains further points. Japan suggests that it, together with China, settle the issue bilaterally over time, and that no statements or other documents detailing this agreement be officially released.

These additional points are, however, secondary to Japan’s huge concessions to Chinese demands on this matter. Indeed, as Abe stated during a press conference at the UN Summit, “Senkaku is an inherent part of the territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law, and the islands are under the valid control of Japan.” He noted that Chinese government vessels regrettably continue to invade Japanese waters, and that Japan would not make concessions on territorial sovereignty but would avoid a further escalation. It seems fair to say that Japan just did make concessions. Read more…

Published on Oct. 28 by Mikala Sorenson in http://globalriskinsights.com/

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