New issue of the Czech Journal of International Relations is out!
Dear readers, the last issue of the Czech Journal of International Relations in 2021 is out. You can enjoy research articles about NATO’s partnerships or about the Gülen movement’s discourses on the EU and Turkey in the Post-2016 online media. A special feature of this issue is The Forum on the Impact of the Coronavirus in International and European Politics. The forum reviews and discusses theoretical and practical insights into the effects of the pandemic, and presents six contributions from scholars from Brazil, the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Finally, there are four reviews on recently published books.
We wish you pleasant reading, Merry Christmas, and all the best in 2022!
The first article NATO Between Exclusivity and Inclusivity: Measuring NATO’s Partnerships by Branislav Mičko addresses the question of what partners NATO engages the most and what the strategic reasons for this engagement are. Using an original dataset built on NATO public communications, the analysis implies that NATO’s partnerships are the most intensive and frequent with countries that play important roles in their regions without regard for their level of democracy.
The second article Framing as a Social Movement’s Transnational Strategy: The Gülen Movement’s EU-Turkey Discourses in the Post-2016 Online Media, is written by Lucie Tungul. It argues that the editors of the pro-Gülen foreign online platforms, representing a former ally of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who was forced to exile after the failed 2016 coup and became one of his key critics abroad, strategically depict the current Turkish regime as a threat to the EU. They also define the movement as a victim of Erdoğan’s authoritarianism to conceal the movement’s contribution to the demise of the reform process after 2007. Their aim is to persuade the relevant international actors to apply pressure on their antagonist and improve their position vis-à-vis the Turkish regime in their domestic power struggle.
The Forum on the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the International and European Politics moves from broader reflections on the changing nature of security and health governance to critical inquiries into the changing nature of populism or discourses of vulnerability. It seeks to answer a simple question – what the pandemic has or has not changed?
The Forum opens with Rychnovská’s Rethinking the Infodemic, which aims to shed light on the newly politicised nexus of public health, information management, and global security. This contribution argues that the discourse of the infodemic securitises information with the use of two distinct frames that cast information as a disease or as a weapon. Drawing on literatures on global health and the emerging research on disinformation, the paper situates the two framings of the infodemic in broader discourses on the medicalization of security, and securitization of information disorder, respectively.
The Forum continues with Guasti’s Democratic Erosion and Democratic Resilience in Central Europe during COVID-19. This contribution attends to the effects the pandemic has brought on democracy in the Visegrad Four countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia). Starting from the understanding that democracy erodes when horizontal and diagonal accountability fail to effectively push back against attempts at executive aggrandizement by illiberal elites, the paper claims that democracy eroded in Hungary and, to a lesser degree, in Poland but remained resilient in the Czech Republic and, to a lesser degree, in Slovakia.
Coming third in the Forum is Švedkauskas and Maati’s Long-term Prescription? Digital Surveillance is Here to Stay. This paper claims that the pandemic has facilitated digital surveillance by shifting communication to digital means, serving as an excuse for governments around the world to develop long-term surveillance solutions, enhancing the ability of governments to politically justify prolonged surveillance.
Subsequently, Hardoš and Maďarová’s On the Forms of Vulnerability and Ungrievability in the Pandemic ponders about what does the discursive framing of vulnerability in the political discourse tell us about our political order. The paper puts forward that the discourse tends to steer away the attention from the structural causes of vulnerability, that the individualisation of responsibility blurs the accountability of state institutions, and that the frequent calls to return to normalcy indicate that our polities have most likely missed to acknowledge the pandemic as an opportunity for transformation.
The Forum then proceeds with Kazharsky and Makarychev’s Russia’s Vaccine Diplomacy in Central Europe. This contribution analyses Russia’s efforts to promote its Sputnik V vaccine and the repercussions this had in Hungary and Slovakia which authorized the use of the Russian vaccine. The paper argues that for Russia, Sputnik V promotion was significant both as a business project and as a political enterprise, as it was supposed to enhance Russia’s international status and help it in overcoming its post-Crimea isolation from the West.
Finally, the Forum concludes with Resende’s Pandemics as Crisis Performance, which proposes to conceptualise the crises that came with the pandemic as constructs and performances in which populists try to increase the antagonism between the people and the elites. This contribution, however, concludes that the Covid-19 crisis could not be owned by the populists, and that it ended up imposing its own reality.
Finally, the new book reviews in this issue are:
Emma Downing: The Care Crisis: What Caused It and How Can We End It? (review written by Tereza Butková)
Adrian Robert Bazbauers and Susan Engel: The Global Architecture of Multilateral Development Banks: A System of Debt or Development? (review written by Mirek Tobiáš Hošman)
Trine Villumsen Berling, Ulrik Pram Gad, Karen Lund Petersen and Ole Wæver: Translations of Security: A Framework for the Study of Unwanted Futures (review written by Zdeněk Rod)
Jaroslav Olša, jr.: 150 Years of Hidden Ties Between Koreans and Czechs (review written by Veronika Kyseláková)