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The article presents the people’s republic of China as a possible alternative model to those represented by the developed world. The focus is, on the one hand, on China’s foreign policy, critically examined in the light of the main theories regarding international relations. On the other hand, China’s prospects for domestic political reform will be analyzed, based on the relevant literature regarding economic growth and democratization. Specific principles guiding China’s foreign policy and the possible adoption of a deliberative kind of democracy characterize the country and allow many to see it as an innovative alternative.

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On April 10, 2010 Lech Kaczynski, the President of Poland, his wife and dozens of top government officials were killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. Poland's army chiefs of staff, deputy Foreign Minister and central bank governor were among the 96 passengers on board. The delegation had been flying to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, in which an estimated 22,000 Polish POWs were executed by the People's Ministry of Internal Affairs (NKVD ). Ironically, some on board the plane were relatives of the officers slain in the Katyn massacre. Bologna Center's Monika Noniewicz interviewed Agnieszka Lada, the Head of the European Program at the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw, Poland, about the implications of the crash.

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The financial crisis and the approach of Britain’s general elections have given a new twist and urgency to the long-running British debate on national identity. The British governing class and Gordon Brown in particular, have responded to the consequent political and economic challenges in three ways. They have intensified the debate on identity and citizenship. Brown himself has inspired a major new reflection on Being British: the Search for the Values that Bind the Nation. Secondly, they have carried forward long-developing and quite radical plans for constitutional reform. Finally they have continued to draw on the United States for models, examples and precedents with which to pursue the ‘modernisation’ of Britain. These trends all point to a decisive shift in the nation’s political development: towards the production of a written constitution. The evidence suggests that London will look first to American experience and expertise when this historic moment arrives.

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The world is still far from reaching a meaningful agreement on climate change. Neither the US nor China are willing to play the role required of them to ensure the international climate change negotiations are successful. Europe is to some degree willing to lead but lacks leverage. Using a game-theory approach this paper will show the difficulties with the way the climate change negotiations are currently conducted. If leaders are to find a consensus solution to the global warming problem, they will need to consider changing the negotiation rules.

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Contrary to what was widely expected when the Soviet Union imploded, the collapse of the old bipolar system has led not to a closely integrated “unipolar” global system but to a more plural world of distinctive and independent-minded states and regions. The old assumptions that lay behind America’s unipolar role and identity – that it possesses infinitely attractive soft power, incomparably superior hard power, limitless economic means, and intrinsic legitimacy – no longer hold true. Instead, the coming world of regional blocs raises questions as to how the West can accommodate the new Asia and avoid a dismal degradation of the Earth’s environment.

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This paper charts the failure of the post-war British governments to adequately acknowledge and adapt to the changing world order, in which the United States (U.S.) was in ascendancy and Britain, with its Empire, was in decline. Characterized by the deliberate preservation of sterling’s prestige on the international stage, fueled by a lingering nostalgia for the halcyon days of international British supremacy, the argument put forward describes the punishing and painful damage inflicted upon the domestic British economy in an effort to achieve successive governments’ international agenda. The conclusion is, therefore, that a strong element of dynamic self-awareness should be promoted when an international power is faced with decline, in order to better facilitate a controlled and measured descent, rather than an abrupt and precipitous deterioration.

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This paper argues that the advancement of Chinese capabilities in the areas of information warfare, anti-access measures, and strategic nuclear forces has substantially altered the balance of forces between China and the US, particularly regarding potential conflicts in China’s littoral waters, including over Taiwan. This challenge to US “command of the commons” may undermine America’s regional dominance in East Asia. More specifically, the article argues that the nature of any conflict between the two powers has been fundamentally changed by China’s development and implementation of technologies aimed at: degrading US communication and intelligence gathering capabilities; limiting the ability of the US to deploy air and sea assets in the Chinese theater of operations; and denying the US the ultimate trump card of an assured nuclear first strike capability.

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This paper analyzes the factors that aided and hampered the growth and popularity of political Islam in Somalia by tracing the history of al-Ittihad al-Islamiyya. After examining the emergence of political Islam in Somalia and the creation of al-Ittihad al-Islamiyya, this paper traces the growth of the group, its association with the Sharia courts in Mogadishu, and finally its subsequent downfall. There are many factors that allowed al-Ittihad al-Islamiyya to become a significant political force in Somalia. These include Somalia’s status as a collapsed state and outside intervention in the country.

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The heart of Brazil’s recent rise in international relations lies in its growing influence in the global economic arena. This article evaluates one aspect of economic activity – the emergence of Brazilian transnational corporations. The article argues that an important legacy of decades of state intervention in the market fostered the successful internationalisation of big business in Brazil, impacting on Brazil’s international profile. However, this legacy also hampered its systemic competitiveness as evidenced by various international competitiveness rankings. The article concludes with some remarks on the long-run sustainability of Brazil’s current economic performance.

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Through analyzing the Mexican and Salvadoran migrant communities living in the US and their remittance flows back to Latin America, this paper attempts to examine the political implications of economically empowered diasporas and how home country governments are responding and becoming more accountable. This paper explores this phenomenon’s implications on political processes through remittance delivery collaboration and reviews recent developments in Mexico and El Salvador in light of the current global economic crisis.

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The global financial crisis has a significant impact on euro adoption strategies in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as national governments use the crisis strategically in national debates about economic policies and future choices. The turmoil in Hungary was a wake-up call exposing the vulnerabilities of emerging economies as Central Europe did not prove resistant to liquidity deterioration, exchange rate volatility and direct and indirect effects of the crisis. The policy implications of the crisis on the euro adoption strategies reveal that these developments only intensified the already existing position on the euro rather than dramatically changed the attitude of the governments currently in power. Analyzing the effects of the financial crisis on Central Europe, exemplified in the issue of euro adoption, helps us to understand policy choices that politicians make and the extent to which these are being influenced by international organizations. The global financial crisis has a significant impact on euro adoption strategies in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as national governments use the crisis strategically in national debates about economic policies and future choices. The turmoil in Hungary was a wake-up call exposing the vulnerabilities of emerging economies as Central Europe did not prove resistant to liquidity deterioration, exchange rate volatility and direct and indirect effects of the crisis. The policy implications of the crisis on the euro adoption strategies reveal that these developments only intensified the already existing position on the euro rather than dramatically changed the attitude of the governments currently in power. Analyzing the effects of the financial crisis on Central Europe, exemplified in the issue of euro adoption, helps us to understand policy choices that politicians make and the extent to which these are being influenced by international organizations.

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Both realists and institutionalists agree that more empirical research is needed to determine the explanatory value of institutions. This paper looks at the EU’s reaction to the 2007–2008 financial crisis for evidence that the EU mattered in shaping the behavior of its member states. Three responses at the EU level—attempts to reform EU banking supervision, the creation of European Economic Recovery Plan, and the push for the November 2008 G20 summit—are examined for evidence of the EU altering member states’ interests, calculations of interests, power, and resources. It concludes that the EU mattered only when member states were not motivated by relative-gains concerns to restrain collective action.

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It has become a cliché to say that there are many forms of democracies: instead, we ask if a policy is “democratic.” With the onset of increasing economic difficulty, governments intervene in otherwise free markets. Voters tolerate corruption when rural development is secured through it. Civil rights have been restricted due to possible harm of the national economy. This essay temporarily defends such incidents from the accusation of being “undemocratic,” for such policies are often believed to be necessary to strengthen a democracy in the long run. After all, our model of democracy is not the only model of democracy, nor is it always the best for them.

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Environmental impact assessments of trade agreements have gained prominence since the 1990s as tools to identify environmental effects resulting from trade liberalization. The European Union and the United States have taken similar, but different, approaches to developing assessment methods: Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) in the EU and Environmental Reviews (ERs) in the United States. Given that knowledge on both the EU and the U.S. side about what the other is doing in this regard is fairly limited, we seek to provide a basis for a more informed and in-depth discussion of the features, experiences, and potential advantages or disadvantages of the two approaches. This article is based on a comprehensive report on the topic, in which we discuss the underlying legal guidelines of trade impact assessments and examine two case studies on each side—for the EU, the agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Ukraine, and for the United States, the Free Trade Agreement with Chile and CAFTA-DR.

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Despite the predictable nature of many threats to public health, safety, and security, governments around the world struggle to find a successful systematic response to these dangers. In fact, lawmakers often respond in a knee-jerk, emotional fashion that all but ensures that the most effective means of protecting the public from harm are ignored. Frequently, policy responses address only a primary danger, leaving us still vulnerable to an even greater secondary danger. Although cost-benefit analysis is not perfect, it carries some clear advantages to other responses such as the increasingly popular precautionary principle. This paper uses the example of lead poisoning to examine the question of why regulators struggle to accept cost-benefit analysis, and opt instead for inferior alternatives based on irrational, and sometimes unfounded, public fears.

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As environmental issues become a growing concern for policy makers, the difficulty of creating international policy becomes evident. With the rise of renewable energies and advances in technology, there exists the potential for using social entrepreneurship as a means of addressing environmental issues while meeting the energy demands and needs of many countries. For-profit businesses create appropriate incentives and benefits while at the same time avoid the issue of state sovereignty and bridge the divide between developed and developing countries. At the same time, social entrepreneurship has its own limitations and has the potential to fill only part of the gap that international and domestic environmental policy is unable to accomplish.

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Sustained economic growth is a uniquely modern concept. World per capita incomes, after millennia of stagnation, only rose significantly at the end of the eighteenth century. This development first took off in Western Europe, and it has largely not taken place in sub-Saharan Africa. This divergence is due, in part, to an interconnected series of Enlightenment-era cultural trends in Europe epitomized by the rise of the developmental state based on a social contract, the increasing influence of rationality and applied science within the economy, and the encouragement of economic development by religion. These trends represented a cultural shift toward individualism in the political, economic, and religious spheres of the Western world during the Enlightenment and stand in stark contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa’s postcolonial culture of collectivism and ineffective development strategies based on Pan-Africanism and statism. As such, the prospect of future economic development in Africa along a Western path would require a cultural transformation.