Austerity in “Old Europe”

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The current wave of fiscal austerity across Europe, should not have surprised anyone. While the insistence on social justice is warranted, excessive state debt is also a symptom of basic demographic shifts impacting society, economy and social security systems. A re-definition of “work life” seems to open up the chance of preserving social security systems.

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The US National Security Strategy, “Smart Power” & Karl Mannheim

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While the European Union is still reeling from the “Greece”/“Euro” crisis and Asia is facing a nasty conflict escalation on the Korean Peninsula and a social-political crisis in Thailand, it seems things are going well for the United States. The seemingly bright picture is only disturbed by the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which will have ugly environmental, economic and political consequences for months to come. Looking beyond the headlines, there was an another important event in Washington on May 27, 2010: The release of the “National Security Strategy” of the United States[1]. Barely covered in the mainstream media, NSS 2010 provides key insights into the strategic thinking of the Obama Administration.

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Auf Augenhöhe mit Russland – Aspekte der Modernisierungspartnerschaft

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In den deutsch-russischen sowie den europäisch-russischen Beziehungen haben auf der übergreifenden strategischen Ebene in den letzten Jahren manche Krisen, Missverständnisse und auch Rückschläge das Klima immer wieder belastet. Dennoch wird der Dialog auf allen Ebenen nicht nur fortgesetzt, sondern auch immer neu begonnen. Dass dies so ist und manche Belastungsprobe in den Beziehungen schließlich im gemeinsamen Interesse gemeistert werden konnte, liegt wohl vor allem an den unzähligen „rissfesten“ menschlichen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Kontakten und Gesprächebenen, die vor allem im deutsch-russischen Forum und dem Petersburger Dialog gebündelt werden (www.deutsch-russisches-forum.de). Viel zu wenig von der Öffentlichkeit bemerkt, bewegen sich die jeweiligen Gesellschaften schrittweise aufeinander zu, ohne dabei ihre Eigenarten aufgeben zu müssen – das Stichwort hierfür lautet Modernisierungspartnerschaft. SOLON sprach darüber mit zwei ausgewiesenen Experten des deutsch-russischen Forums: Martin Hoffman (Geschäftsführendes Vorstandsmitglied des deutsch-russischen Forums) und Prof. Dr.Wilfried Bergmann (Stellvertretender Vorsitzender des deutsch-russischen Forums).

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What unites the European Union and Ukraine? – The search for identity!

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Although a comparison between the European Union and Ukraine does not appear compelling at first glance, there is one thing they have in common: their marginal position within larger groupings. The EU forms part of the Transatlantic-Pacific alliance, and extends to its easternmost borders, while the U.S. still perceives itself as the center of the triangle. The ever-declining importance of the inner-western triangle compels the EU to develop its own identity. Ukraine also finds itself in the position of a border state vis-à-vis the EU and Russia, alternately inclining more towards Russia or the EU, or at times being co-opted more heavily by the one or the other side.

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Beyond Greece: The Inflation Debate – The IMF’s Blanchard vs. the Bundesbank

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The „Greek crisis“ has become the catalyst for long overdue regulation of derivatives speculation. As Western governments will have to raise $4 trillion in 2010, speculation against sovereign debt simply cannot be tolerated any longer. But the next big issue of financial policy is already on the table: „Controlled“ inflation as an instrument of crisis management. That is what the IMF’s chief economist is recommending. Not only the Bundesbank is not amused.

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Was verbindet die Europäische Union und die Ukraine? – Die Suche nach Identität!

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Obwohl sich ein Vergleich zwischen der Europäischen Union und der Ukraine nicht auf den ersten Blick aufdrängt, haben beide eine Gemeinsamkeit: ihre Randsituation innerhalb größerer Zusammenschlüsse. Die EU existiert im transatlantisch-pazifischen Verbund am östlichen Rand und die USA nehmen sich nach wie vor als Zentrum dieses Dreiecks wahr. Die weiter abnehmende Bedeutung des innerwestlichen Dreiecks zwingt die EU zur Entfaltung einer eigenen Identität. Die Ukraine steht gegenüber der EU und Russland ebenfalls in einer Randstaatenposition, abwechselnd mehr Russland oder der EU zuneigend bzw. mal mehr von der einen oder der anderen Seite vereinnahmt.

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“New Normal”: The Return of Power Symmetry in Global Affairs

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Reportedly, at the 2010 “World Economic Forum” in Davos, the informal motto is “new normal”. However, this catchword is not supposed to mean that there is a return to the “normality” of the “anything goes” decade prior to the financial crisis. Of course, many financial actors in the USA and Europe are indeed trying to go back to the paradigm of financial speculation with no regard for the real economy. However, I venture the forecast that this attempt will fail. Why? Because another “financial crisis” of the the type we have seen in 2007-08 would not only blow the financial system, but would demolish the whole Western societal “system.” And the political class does know that. Moreover, the Western finance class is the prime “loser” of the new power symmetry in world politics.

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Russia in Euro-Atlantic Space

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Sergei Karaganov is a leading Russian political scientist. He is Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences. In the following article, Karaganov analyzes Russia’s position in the current – multipolar – world political setting. He argues that Russia is facing not only a strategic, but a civilizational choice: Prioritizing relations with China and Asia or with Europe and the USA? By Sergei Karaganov

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Indo-European Dialogue in a Changing World

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On November 25-27, 2009, the conference “Indo-European Dialogue” was held in Brussels and in Paris. The event was organized by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies in collaboration with the French Foundation Jean Jaurès. We publish here Dr. Reinhard Hildebrandt’s discussion paper, titled “Indo-European Dialogue in a Changing World,” for the conference.

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The Lisbon Treaty, the German Constitutional Court & New Franco-German Initiatives

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In the context of the ongoing power shifts in the world economy and the world political system, some observers have voiced the opinion that the European Union will be the main “loser” in the new setting of world affairs. Before rushing to premature answers on this question, one should take a closer look at some quite significant developments that have occurred recently within the EU.

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