27
Jan

Rusia ha derrotado a la UE en Ucrania. Mientras nos lamemos las heridas, recordemos. Empecemos con un poco de historia. Volvamos a la Crónica General del Rus (a.D. 860). “A estos vikingos se les conocía como rusos, lo mismo que a otros vikingos se les llama suecos, normandos, anglos o godos (…) Rurik llegó a ser el Señor de todos ellos (…) Dos de los hombres de Rurik, Askold y Rir, navegaron Dniéper abajo y, en el curso de su viaje, vieron una pequeña ciudad sobre una colina (…) Askold y Rir se asentaron en esta ciudad y, después de reunir a muchos vikingos, reinaron sobre el país de los polacos (Polianis). Rurik reinó en Nóvgorod”.

Así pues, vemos que Kiev y Nóvgorod son los dos puntos políticos originales de Rusia. Nóvgorod subsistió como república propia, sobre el modelo hanseático, hasta los días de Iván el Terrible. Kiev cayó antes. Ante la imposibilidad de defender la ciudad de las invasiones mongolas (a.D. 1.280), los rusos abandonaron la urbe y se protegieron de la Horda Dorada parapetándose tras los bosques de Moscú. Ucrania se recuperó para Rusia a finales del s. XVIII con Catalina la Grande. Desde entonces, y hasta la caída de la URSS, formará parte de la polis rusas.

Estrategia. Dejando aparte los Caballeros Teutónicos, el corredor ucraniano ha sido el lugar privilegiado de todas las invasiones que Rusia ha conocido. Lo que se le opuso a Rusia en este frente fueron enemigos epónimos, todos ellos parte nuclear del relato nacional. Los polacos de Tarás Bulba; los jesuitas italianos de Boris Godunov; los suecos que retrató Von Heidenstam, y a los que mandaba un rey temerario como Carlos XII; los turcos a los que derrotó Potemkin mientras leía, moribundo, las cartas de amor de Catalina la Grande; los revolucionarios franceses de Guerra y Paz de Tolstói y la Obertura 1.812 de Tchaikovsky; y, finalmente, los nazis de Vasili Grossman o los nacionalistas ucranianos de la “Guardia Blanca” de Bulgakov. Recomiendo al lector el testimonio de Chaves Nogales para la I Guerra Mundial (El maestro Juan Martínez que estaba allí) y, para la II Guerra Mundial, a Jonathan Littell (Las benévolas). Leer mas…

 

Escrito por el Ambajador José A. Zorrilla el 25 de enero en El Confidencial http://blogs.elconfidencial.com/espana/

24
Jan

An Overview of the Political and Social Transformation in the Arab Region

Madrid, Friday 31 January 2014

12:00-14:30 at IE School of International Relations

c/Serrano 105

IE School of International Relations and the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax) are pleased to invite you to the discussion An overview of the Political and Social Transformation in the Arab Region, Friday, 31 January 2014, between 12:00 and 14:30 at IE School of International Relations (c/Serrano, 105). This discussion will include the participation of Marwan Muasher, Dr. Amr Hamzawy, Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou and Nassif Hitti. It will take advantage of the recent publication of Marwan Muasher´s new book, The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism, as well as the expertise and knowledge of the other participants, to launch a dialogue on the future of the Arab world and its political and social transformation.

The planned programme is:

12:00 – 12:10 Welcome Remarks: Ambassador Emilio Cassinello, Director General, CITpax and Dr. Arantza de Areilza, Dean, IE School of International Relations

12:10 – 12:40 Session I: Presentation by Mr. Marwan Muasher based on his book “The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism”

12:40 – 13:00 Session II: Dr. Amr Hamzawy on recent developments in Egypt

13:00 – 13:30 Session III: Panel discussion: Mr. Marwan Muasher, Dr. Amr Hamzawy, Mr. Nassif Hitti and Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

13:30 – 14:30 Session IV: Conclusions and questions

Speakers:

-       Dr. Amr Hamzawy, President of the Egypt Freedom Party and Professor of political science at the American University in Cairo

-       Mr. Nassif Hitti, Senior Arab League Official; former Head of the Arab League Mission in Paris; and permanent observer at UNESCO

-       Mr. Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan

-       Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute and Head of Program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy

 

Please kindly confirm attendance at International.Relations@ie.edu

22
Jan

Three Myths About Global Poverty

Written on January 22, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in International Development, News, Op Ed

By Bill & Melinda Gates

By almost any measure the world is better off now than ever before, in part thanks to foreign aid. By 2035, they predict there will be almost no poor countries.So why do so many people seem to think things are getting worse?Much of the reason is that all too many people are in the grip of three deeply damaging myths about global poverty and development. Don’t get taken in by them.

MYTH ONE: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.

They’re really not. Incomes and other measures of human welfare are rising almost everywhere – including Africa.Take Mexico City, for instance. In 1987, when we first visited, most homes lacked running water, and we often saw people trekking on foot to fill up water jugs. It reminded us of rural Africa. The guy who ran Microsoft’s Mexico City office would send his kids back to the US for check-ups to make sure the smog wasn’t making them sick.Today, Mexico City is mind-blowingly different, boasting high-rise buildings, cleaner air, new roads and modern bridges. You still find pockets of poverty, but when we visit now, we think, “Wow – most people here are middle-class. What a miracle”. You can see a similar transformation in Nairobi, New Delhi, Shanghai and many more cities around the world.

In our lifetime, the global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn. Per-person incomes inTurkey and Chile are where the US was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there. So is Gabon. Since 1960,China‘s real income per person has gone up eightfold. India‘s has quadrupled, Brazil‘s has almost quintupled, and tiny Botswana, with shrewd management of its mineral resources, has seen a 30-fold increase. A new class of middle-income nations that barely existed 50 years ago now includes more than half the world’s population. Read more…

This is an edited text from the forthcoming annual letter of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of which the authors are co-chairs. Mr. Gates is the chairman of Microsoft. To receive the annual letter go to gatesfoundation.org. http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2014/01/21/three_myths_about_global_poverty.html

 

21
Jan

Jose-Antonio-Zorrilla (2)In his very interesting lecture on January 20, Ambassador Jose A. Zorrilla addressed the highly relevant theme of self-determination, one of the cardinal principles in modern international relations. It states that nations have the right to freely choose their soverignty  with no external interference. Retracing history, Ambassador explored the struggle for self-determination throughout the ages and focused more specifically on the dissolution of the Ottoman, Russian and Austrian/Habsburg empires. He also discussed the blocs of influence that were created during the Cold War and the USSR’s very special status and circumvention of the self-determination principle as defined in 1941 in the Atlantic Charter signed by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Paradoxically, the Atlantic Charter was a direct attack on the British Empire and foresaw the end of colonialism by the European Powers. While central in international relations, the right to self-determination contains an inherent contradiction that challenges the principle of sovereignty.  It implies that a people should be free to choose their own state and its territorial boundaries. However, there are far more self-identified nations than there are existing states and there is no legal process to redraw state boundaries according to the will of these peoples. Hence the ongoing struggle for self-determination in many parts of the world such as Africa, Kurdistan, Chechnya, Cyprus and even Spain.

The Master in International Relations students had many questions for Ambassador Zorrilla, including whether or not regional integration in Asia in a model similar to the European Union would ever be possible. The ambassador responded that it was quite unlikely that China, Japan and Vietnam (to name a few examples) would ever integrate. One of the reasons is that, unlike Western Europe, they had never been part of a single empire (the Roman empire). This lack of unifying polity made possible integration today unlikely. Another student asked about the situation in Afghanistan. On a pessimistic note, Ambassador concluded that he believed the problem in Afghanistan to be unsolvable precisely because of the number of very distinct peoples and tribes in an arbitrarily drawn country.

Ambassador Zorrilla is a career diplomat with postings in Milan (1989) , Toronto (1993), Shanghai (2001), Moscow (2004), Georgia and the Caucasus (2009). He has published a book on the rise of China “China la primavera que llega” and shot two documentary films  (“Los Justos” and “El desierto y las olas”) and one full length film “El Arreglo” that won the Opera Prima Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1983.  He has just published a novel “El espía en Saratov” (De Librum Tremens) and is a frequent contributor to El Confidencial. His articles focus mostly on current affairs.

 

20
Jan

America is slipping to No. 2. Don’t panic.

Written on January 20, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Americas, Op Ed

Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. This essay is adapted from his new book, “The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest Is Good for the West.”

America will soon cease to be the world’s largest economy. You can argue about why, when and how bad, but the end is indeed nigh. According to the Penn World Tables — the best data to compare gross domestic product across countries — China’s GDP was worth $10.4 trillion in 2011, compared with a U.S. GDP of $13.3 trillion . But with China’s economy growing 7 to 10 percent a year, compared with the recent U.S. track record of less than 3 percent, China should take the lead by 2017 at the latest.

Already, China is the world’s top trading nation , edging the United States in total imports and exports in 2012. And Arvind Subramanian, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, predicts that by 2030 the world will have four major economic players: China will be the heavyweight, followed by the United States and European Union, with economies about half as large, and then India close behind.

Time to panic? A recent Chicago Council survey found that only 9 percent of Americans believe that Chinese growth will mostly benefit the United States, while 40 percent think it will be mostly negative for us. And a 2012 YouGov survey suggests that about half of Americans would prefer to see the United States stay on top, even with anemic economic growth, rather than grow rapidly but be overtaken by China. You only need recall President Obama and Mitt Romney sparring over who would be tougher on China to see how Washington channels this popular angst.
Certainly, China’s growth poses some challenges — but the opportunities it offers far outweigh them. And no matter the hand-wringing, losing the title of largest economy doesn’t really matter much to Americans’ quality of life. Read more…

Published on January 17 in the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com

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