The integration of Western Balkans has been long promised by the European Union. It has, however, recently shown a rather reluctant position towards another enlargement. At the same time, we assist to a certain “promise fatigue” in the Western Balkans, where the EU transformative power to incite reform via the conditionality of acquis communautaire, is fading alongside with its popularity in the region. This article argues, why the Health sector represents one of the key areas for the EU to invest in. It focuses on mutual problems and challenges brought by accession in the area of Human Health and it calls for more political action, finance as well as academic studies on the topic.
In last few decades, Hezbollah has established itself as a solid part of Lebanon’s governmental politics and has gradually become a hybrid terrorist organization operating on different interdependent and interconnected levels – social welfare and religious education; military resistance; and the political plane. Also, the organization has been one of the examples of more influential role of sub-state actors in international relations and security, including specific regional conflicts. In case of Syrian civil war, this phenomenon is caused by strong linkages to Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad, whose position Hezbollah defends. The analysis of Hezbollah’s development and present position will thus open space for reflection of its regional connections and activity, especially in Syrian conflict.
In the 1950s, the modernization theory emerged as an attempt to explain how societies in North America and Western Europe developed. This development was seen as depending “primarily on the importation of technology as well as a number of other political and social changes believed to come about as a result” [CROSSMAN, 2017]. According to social scientists of the mid-twentieth century, modernization is a process that involves industrialization, urbanization, rationalization, bureaucracy, mass consumption, and the adoption of democracy and from that it evolved to contemporary societies as of today. The process of modernization impacted society with the wider access of all sorts. This theory is, however, centralized in Western European ideas conceptualized with a capitalist economy point of view, which can be Eurocentric and do not consider the colonization era, slave labor, environmental sense and sustainability. When it comes to the modernization, the Islamic State is a an example of how modern communications enable spread of beliefs; how modernization enabled both state and religion to increase their sphere of influence and how modern religious organizations contribute to political activity.
Conventionally, gun rights advocates have sought to claim that stricter firearms legislation “does not hit the target” (Charles Cooke) and that the success of Australia’s prohibitive firearms regime in particular, is a “myth” (Ryan McMaken). Nonetheless, as this article will seek to demonstrate, such contentions rest on false presumptions. Legislation in Australia has proven strikingly efficacious and assumptions of the inherent inapplicability of such laws to America are exposed as largely unfounded. The Australian model of rigorous checks and limitations, coupled with the role of civil society actors in utilising major incidences of firearms-related violence to seize the normative initiative and present the nation with stark choices over the future direction of its society, is here posited as the key to passing successful legislation on guns.
The China-Central and Eastern European Countries Initiative, colloquially known as the 16+1, is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in 2012. It is aimed to strengthen and expand cooperation between China and 16 post-communist countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe particularly in the fields of investment and business. The first summit was held in Warsaw and since then the representatives from the member countries meet annually to set new goals for future cooperation. In April 2019, Croatia hosted the 8th summit in Dubrovnik and Croatian Prime Minister Plenković welcomed Greece, which previously had observer status, as the 17th member of the 16+1 Initiative.
For almost two months, a Chinese research chip has been conducting survey activities without permission in the Vietnamese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an action condemned by Vietnam, the U.S., Australia, Japan, India, and the E3 (France, Germany, and the U.K.) Currently, the ship is about 150km southeast of the Vietnamese coast. Hanoi has asked China to immediately withdraw, but China insists the ship is in Chinese jurisdictional waters. Washington uses the word “bullying” – using brute force or strength to hurt or frighten someone who is weaker – to describe China’s actions against Vietnam and other Asian countries. In fact, the power gap between China and other countries has been widening, as Chinese leadership becomes increasingly confident that it can dominate the South China Sea as a “China Lake” through its expanding military and economic influence, and amid increasing doubt about American commitment to regional security.
Due to the effects of global warming, the Arctic is rapidly becoming a more accessible place for international trade and resource extraction. Once ice melting results in the region becoming fully navigable for global transportation, it offers a safer and faster route for trade between Asia and Europe. In addition, an opportunity for increase resource extraction is presented. Estimates vary, but they all agree as to the largely untapped potential of oil and gas in the high north. Therefore, in coming years the area is predicted to become on of heightened global interest due to the economic and resource-based opportunities that exist at present and are becoming more achievable every year. It is for these reasons that China is currently seeking to increase its regional sway and power within the Arctic.
With the recent tensions over the shooting down of the US drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz, the threat of War in the middle-east is yet again a reality. However, Donald Trump surprised many this week by going against what his administration is advising him to do, namely escalating this situation to a full-on conflict with Iran. He de-escalated during a press conference with Canadian Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau on June 20th, citing a possible “human error” in the chain of command, therefore, warranting not attacking as a retaliatory strike. This willingness to set aside any possibility of war at the last second contrasts the previous, quite muscular approach of sending one thousand troops to the region in response to Iran’s alleged bombing of oil tankers in the Strait, coupled with their increase in the enrichment of uranium. This reticence to act is very much in contrast to others’ positions in his cabinet who were neoconservative operatives for George W. Bush’s administration during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, therefore preparing for war. However, from where does this divergence from the rest of his administration stem?
Dating back to the early years of the 20th century, the Nagorno-Karabakh region – located on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, has always been a source of controversy, violence, opposing interests and cardinal acts. After the Bolshevik revolution in October, 1917, Nagorno-Karabakh had become part of the Armenian Soviet Republic. Only four years later, in 1921, Stalin was the one, who put the territory under the control of the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic. Since then, there were several negotiations, diplomatic approaches evolved, both of the countries claimed that the region belongs to their territories, starting a conflict that, at the time was nowhere to be seen this intense and widespread as it is today. Taking all these violent acts from both of the involved parties and such brutal military interventions, as the one in 2016 into account, is it safe to say that the long-time latent conflict have reached a point where it is impossible to be reversed, or can there still be some kind of peaceful settlements?
Mezinárodní Politika has established cooperation with the Peace Research Center Prague, a newly-established interdisciplinary center of excellence at the Charles University, with focus on prevention, management, and transformation of conflicts in world politics. This article is part of the policy brief series published by the PRCP and Mezinárodní Politika. For more information, visit http://prcprague.cz
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