Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.

 

World

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A New World Economic Order

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Date added: 12/06/2010
Date modified: 12/06/2010
Filesize: 822.29 kB
Downloads: 1185

Overhauling the Global Economic Governance as a Result of the Financial Crisis, 2008–2009
By Tapani Paavonen

The recent economic crisis, 2008–2009,1 is commonly characterized as the worst since the Great Depression of 1929–1933. This recent crisis, called also the Great Recession, seems to form a turning-point in the global economic governance and the development of the world economy.
Two critical points of view dominate the developments since Autumn 2008: Firstly, governments and central banks in different countries, under the leadership of the Group of Twenty (G-20) (see pp. 37–39), were capable of taking prompt action against depression. Not only did the political decision makers react to the actual situation but the G-20 undertook to design an ambitious long-term programme to bring the very phenomenon of the business cycle under control at last. The G-20 managed to evoke wide-based international cooperation not only among its twenty members but also among existing international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a number of more specific bodies. This is even more astonishing since deregulations have been the recent trend in economic policy. Secondly, the developments since Autumn 2008 have revealed the increasing weight and significance of the emerging and developing economies in the world economy. It has been a gradual, even incremental process, lasting for decades, but during the recent couple of years, a sudden shift seems to have taken place in the apparent “power relations” within the world economy.

Humanitarian soldiers, colonialised Others and invisible enemies: Visual strategic communication nar

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Date added: 10/14/2011
Date modified: 10/14/2011
Filesize: 2.04 MB
Downloads: 1026

Noora Kotilainen
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

The publicity photos released by ISAF sketch a manifold depiction of the current operation in Afghanistan. The images describe and adapt according to the official objectives of the operation and present the coalition presence and work in the area in a positive light. The soldiers are pictured playing, giving gifts, and interacting with the locals, while the Afghans are pictured as child-like, underdeveloped and in need of the Western aid.

Dispute Resolution and Cross-border Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Reflections on the Nordic Experie

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Date added: 10/14/2011
Date modified: 10/14/2011
Filesize: 492.66 kB
Downloads: 1006

Sangsoo Lee and Alec Forss
ASIA PAPER, June 2011, pp. 39

This paper examines cases of dispute resolution and cross-border cooperation in two regions: the Nordic region and Northeast Asia. The two regions are markedly different. The Nordic region is often described as an area where stable peace has been successfully consolidated, and where borders serve as positive interfaces for cooperation rather than as obstacles. The Norway–Iceland fishery dispute, Hässelö Island, Åland Island, Morokulien Peace Park, Haparanda–Tornio EuroCity, and Oulanka/Paanajärvi national park are examples in this context of peaceful resolution of territorial disputes and/or enhancing cross-border cooperation. In stark contrast, the countries of Northeast Asia continue to be locked in seemingly intractable territorial and maritime disputes that have defied resolution. The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the Nordic experience of dispute resolution and cross-border cooperation and to focus attention on how similar mechanisms could potentially be applied in the case of different territorial disputes or points of tension in Northeast Asia: Dokdo/Takeshima, the Kuril Islands, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, as well as the Demilitarized Zone and the Yellow Sea on the Korean Peninsula. In sum, in spite of significant limitations and differences, it is hoped that this paper may show how the Nordic countries and its experiences can prove both instructive and, above all, motivational in generating ideas for setting up similarly inspired regimes of peaceful resolution and cooperation in Northeast Asia in the future.

Afghanistan: The Geopolitics of Regional Economic Integration. The Emergence of China as the New Facilitator

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Date added: 10/11/2012
Date modified: 10/11/2012
Filesize: 539.22 kB
Downloads: 960

Masood Aziz
September 2012

Once a dormant region, the great span of territories and nations surrounding Afghanistan is now more central to global affairs than ever. Indeed, the geopolitics of the region of Central and South Asia may now help define the future of the 21st century.
A
t the same time, across these territories, the very nature and character of the political, economic and security currents have been shifting relentlessly. Rather than simply a replay of the old “Great Game”, what is transpiring here now may be an undeniable precursor of, and a new window looking forward into, the world’s contemporary politics, influencing other parts of the globe.
T
his dynamic is marked by Russia’s retreat, and at the same time, the emergence of China as a new type of Pax Romana power. In turn, China’s rise is now inexorably re-balancing the interests of both regional and global players such as Russia, India, Europe and the United States. A closer examination of this region reveals that as the West is now hindered by its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Asia’s rise may be reflective of a steadfast ascent and signaling a permanent trend pointing to the beginning of an undisputable multipolar world. The military presence of the US and European allies in Afghanistan has defined their engagement in this region for over a decade now. Their efforts were focused on controlling the regional threats impacting Afghanistan and in the process producing economic and social stability. However, despite some advances, Afghanistan’s stability is not assured. In particular, the model of intervention pursued by the West in Afghanistan has not produced results in securing its economic growth and its integration within the region. Without assuring Afghanistan’s economic stability, the region will remain mired in conflict risking wider instability. What other major force might emerge which would allow for the creation of conditions offering new dimension of strategic approaches to realizing the type of stability, often desired but not attained, and which might act as a a positive agent for a more effective regional economic integration?

Lack of Transparency in Russian Energy Trade

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Date added: 08/12/2010
Date modified: 08/12/2010
Filesize: 1.26 MB
Downloads: 925

Keith C. Smith
Jul 7, 2010

Publisher CSIS

A major challenge to the new democracies of Central Europe is the corruption and lack of transparency in the importing of oil and natural gas from Russia and other energy producing states once part of the Soviet Union. This situation also undermines good governance and ethical business practices in the large and wealthier countries of Europe.

EU membership provides only limited energy security to the new democracies. The European Union has no enforceable policy regarding transparency and competition in the energy trade, nor does it have a common energy strategy concerning accountability by Russian state companies such as Gazprom and Transneft. In Western Europe, there is a disturbing lack of understanding of, and support for, greater energy security in the Central European states. And there is no significant support in Western Europe for a common EU energy market.

Wealth accumulation from the energy trade is often used by powerful groups in the East to buy support in Western countries for Russian economic and security policies. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of legal reporting requirements in the West concerning the outside funding of political and business groups. It is already difficult for Western energy firms to make business decisions in the former Soviet area, due to the deeply rooted lack of transparency in Russian, Ukrainian, and Central Asian commercial dealings and to an absence of impartial court systems to enforce internationally recognized contracts between business firms. The most serious threats result from the danger of intervention at any point in the commercial process on the part of elite cartels who dominate the energy trade, particularly in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia. These cartels are composed of governmental leaders, intelligence officials, and favored business oligarchs. The composition of these elite groupings can and often does change suddenly, with a shift in the local political balance, only adding to business uncertainty.

As this report points out, there are several concrete measures that Western governments and the European Union could adopt that would result in greater business transparency, less corruption, and increased energy security, particularly in the more fragile democracies of East and South Central Europe.