Bosnia: the unfinished peace project

By Shuting Xia, on 14 April 2017

Written by Ella Bowie

Disclaimer: This blog post solely reflects the opinion of the author and should not be taken to represent the general views of IPPR’s management team or those of fellow authors.

wikimedia.org

Photocredit: wikimedia.org

This Spring marks 25 years since the onset of the Bosnian War, which claimed the lives of an estimated 100,000 Muslim, Croat, Serb and Yugoslav minority citizens. Any peace agreement which followed this extraordinarily complex conflict; imbued with competing histories, repressed memories and virulent ethno-nationalism, would have its work cut out. Nonetheless, the Dayton Accords, signed in Ohio in December 1995, took on the task in earnest.

What followed has been described as the “world’s most complicated institutional set up.” In 2009 the scholar Patrice McMahon predicted the “death of Dayton”, should contemporary governance remain enshrined in identity politics. Recent events do not suggest a positive prognosis. On 28 March 2017, The European Union peacekeeping force (EUFOR) in Bosnia stated that it would intervene if necessary to prevent the outbreak of ethnic conflict. How is it, that after a quarter of a century, we are back here once again?

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Grounding our moral obligation to accept more Syrian refugees

By Shuting Xia, on 4 April 2017

Written by Stefano Alberto Merlo

Disclaimer: This blog post solely reflects the opinion of the author and should not be taken to represent the general views of IPPR’s management team or those of fellow authors.

Photocredit: cnn.com

Photocredit: cnn.com

Suppose you are walking along a lake and you see a child drowning in the water. If you can swim and therefore save him, do you have a moral obligation to do so?

This widely-used thought experiment, suggested by Peter Singer, is meant to help us think about a hypothetical scenario, from which we can rationally judge what morality requires us to do.

Today there is no need for this philosophical trick though. The child we could have saved from drowning was called Alan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee en route to Canada with his family. The moving picture of this 3-year-old child confronts us with some fundamental questions which we cannot avoid to answer.

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Combatting Euroscepticism while ensuring security

By Shuting Xia, on 26 March 2017

Written by Edmée Vaudremer

Disclaimer: This blog post solely reflects the opinion of the author and should not be taken to represent the general views of IPPR’s management team or those of fellow authors.

Photocredit: clingendael.nl

Photocredit: clingendael.nl

Whatever the result of the first round of France’s April 23rd presidential election, it provokes anxiety and promises upheaval extending beyond its borders. Popular support no longer lends credence to a strong, ever-closer European Union. However, a recent Pew Research Center survey demonstrates that 74% of Europeans want a more active role of the EU in world affairs. The EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) outlines the common defence and security interests of the 28. However, strengthening this foreign policy can have an impact not only on external conflicts, but also on domestic and transnational relations within the EU by offsetting Euroscepticism. Amending the CFSP with the specific aim of countering Euroscepticism in mind has so far been insufficiently debated, but could have positive consequences for EU unity and international peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Romania’s grassroots fight against corruption

By Shuting Xia, on 18 March 2017

written by Ioana Badea

Photo credit: i.dailymail.co.uk

Photo credit: i.dailymail.co.uk

Romania’s clarion call against corruption has been clearly heard across the globe. How does one of the newer EU Member States deal with this crippling phenomenon?

Some Background

“Eastern-Europe” and “corruption” are two terms that, very often, go hand in hand. “European Union” and “corruption”, not so much. So what about an Eastern European country which is also member of the EU? Romania currently ranks 57 out of 176 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) but it remains committed to further EU integration – a process which requires nations to meet high standards of anti-corruption measures. In the last decade, Romania has undergone great efforts to fight domestic corruption with the help of the National Anti-corruption Agency (Directia Nationala Anticoruptie, or DNA). The aggressive measures enforced by the DNA have received both praise and criticism. Although the great majority fully support the Agency’s tireless fight against corrupt politicians, there are some who doubt DNA’s accountability – and who further argue that the methods used by DNA are reminiscent of the Communist Security Services (Securitate). Romania has also long been known as a pro-EU country with few Eurosceptic or extremist trends. For many Romanians the EU is seen as a representation of the hope and promise for a better and more prosperous future. One of the reasons for Romania’s positive attitude towards European integration could, in fact, be the low trust in the presumably inefficient Romanian system of governance. Romanians may not genuinely and consciously trust the EU for its very nature, but instead see the EU as a counterweight to the weak performance of the domestic government. Perhaps this is the reason why during the most recent protests against corruption in Bucharest, protesters have formed the EU flag as a symbol of hope and justice. It can also be argued that EU membership benefits can explain Romania’s faith in EU policymaking. Being part of the EU means a lot for Romanian citizens who can work, study, and live in any of the other 27 EU countries. Read the rest of this entry »

India at 70, Britain at Crossroads

By Shuting Xia, on 11 March 2017

Written by Tim Falder

Photo credit: dnaindia.com

Photo credit: dnaindia.com

‘Congratulations!’ said I, beer-swilling lout that I am, ‘2017! 70 years of India!’. Ravi looked back at me stony-faced. ‘India has been around for 5000 years, Tim. It’s not a birthday, it’s our independence’.

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Implications of Trump’s Foreign Policy

By Shuting Xia, on 3 March 2017

Written by Ahmed Elgen 

Photo credit: slate.com

Photo credit: slate.com

So, it has been a month since President Trump assumed office and, well, what a month it has been. It seems that the President not only wants to make the American military stronger, but the executive order archive larger. From rolling back Obamacare to demanding the construction of a 1,900-mile long wall along the border with Mexico, Trump has maintained his campaign rhetoric and is now translating it into White House action. Governments across the world will be analysing Trump’s policies to monitor whether the changes will have a positive or negative impact on them. Here’s my take on the US-China and US-Russia relationships moving forward.

To some in Beijing, Trump’s victory signals opportunity. A real estate billionaire with no prior political experience, taking the helm of the most powerful nation on earth – surely he’ll make a strategic error at some point?

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