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Volume 13. No 3 (42). July-September 2015


ECONOMIC CHALLENGES OF THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

REALITY AND THEORY


Natalya Piskulova

The Environmental Dimension of the World System

 

Abstract

In recent decades, the environmental agenda gained prominence across all the domains of the global system. This impact is due to a variety of objective and subjective factors. Environmental considerations became an integral part of the global economics and politics due to deterioration of the environment, wide recognition of the severity of the depth and scale of ecological problems, new opportunities acknowledged by large-scale, medium-sized and small enterprises, as well as for a number of other reasons. The environmental component is on the increase in the global economy, trade and investments, labor migration, R&D, scientific cooperation, information exchange. Environmental protection issues are already among the key components of global agenda and an important factor of global instability. Environmental security is becoming an integral part of national security, especially in the areas of resource control and resolution of ecology related conflicts. Environmental risks are defined as a major threat to humankind by the World Economic Forum. The ecological factor has an impact on and brings about changes to international, regional and state politics, new strategies are being developed with regards to this. The World Trade Organization pays increasing attention to environmental policy; international environmental agreements have been elaborated and signed. This article analyses the changes in the global system due to environmental considerations. The main emphasis is on the transformation of the global economic system. The author shows that one of the main driving forces of the changes are countries and major corporations interests. Building upon the analysis of the recent changes in the global system, the author comes to the conclusion that ecological issues should have a priority place in the Russian policy.


Keywords: environmental factor; global system; environment; global economy; environmental market; environmental technologies.


Marina Sapronova

Emergence of A New Statehood in the Arab World

 

Abstract

 

The Arab revolutions have resulted in the the development of the new legal basis intended to fix the results of the Arab spring and to designate new trends in the development of the Arab society in economic, social and political spheres. However, the constitutional reform faced some difficulties due to the absence of civil society and social consensus in traditional political systems in Arab countries. The elections that followed the reform were controversial and uncovered an obvious opposition between secular and Islamic forces. Considering that fact, adopting innovative legislation did not guarantee political stability inside the country. Political developments of the years 2011–2014 showed the fragility of the balance that was set after the revolution, as well as the limits of the political consolidation that might be overturned at any given moment. This article talks about the recovery of constitutional institutions and the implementation of new governmental authorities in Arab countries after 2011. The author reviews the new constitution and electoral legislation and analyses the Presidential and parliamentary elections in terms of their influence on the progress of regional situation.


Keywords: Arab countries; constitutional reform; electoral legislation; state institutions; Egypt; Tunisia; Libya; Syria; Algeria; Morocco.


Natalya Galishcheva

Prospects for a South Asian Economy

 

Abstract

The task set in this paper is to analyse the major development tendencies of South Asian states. The article highlights the regions' main social and economic problems, their reasons and consequences, as well as the measures undertaken by the governments of the South Asian states to overcome these issues. The author focuses on the scale and efficiency of South Asian states' economic development, on the features of accumulation of innovative potential, the main difficulties of their fiscal and monetary systems, and also on the region’s current place in the world economy. The article underlines the increasing role external factors play in the development of the South Asian economies. The author notes that the states of the region have made noticeable progress in implementing an export-oriented industrialization policy over the last two decades. This policy results in the growth of their export and improvement of their structure. Meanwhile, the level of the South Asian countries' integration in the world economy and in the process of international capital movement still remains rather low. The research is focused on the essential involvement of the South Asian states into the world migration processes and also on the activity of the regional integration organization – The South Asian Association for Regional Сooperation (SAARC). The author examines the main social problems of the South Asian countries. It is emphasized that, despite essential achievements in economic development of these countries, their educational and health care sectors still lag behind those of most developed and even of some developing states. Besides, the region is characterized by mass poverty. The eradication of poverty has been one of the priority social and economic tasks facing the leaders of the South Asian states throughout the entire period of their independence. It is noted that the successfull reforms of the latest decades in the South Asian countries have resulted in a considerable growth of their middle class. The article also presents statistical data on the state of the fiscal deficit in the South Asian countries, poverty, social inequality, tax burden, and also on foreign trade, inflow of foreign direct investments and money transfers, which are made by diasporas of these countries.


Keywords: Economy of South Asian countries; liberal reforms; labour resource; capital resource; poverty; human development; innovative potential development; SAARC; remittances to the South Asian states; diasporas of the South Asian countries; South Asian countries’ external economic sector; forecasts of the economic development of South Asia.


Mikhail Stolbov

The Political Economy of Financial Development

 

Abstract

The article deals with political and economic determinants of financial development. Most empirical studies corroborate that there is a positive correlation between the quality of political institutions and financial development. The paper highlights the advantages and weak points of most widespread indices of democracy and other political variables based on the “Polity IV” database. These indicators exhibit higher statistical significance in comparison with alternative institutional proxies, e.g. legal origin. The article discussies the theoretical concepts underlying the political economy of financial deepening. In particular, the paper juxtaposes the endowment and interest group theories of financial development. In line with the endowment theory, financial development may be hampered by political instability stemming from the inefficient institutions shaped during colonial times. The interest group theory puts forward that financial development depends on the relative rents that its proponents and adversaries can reap. Also, the paper identifies the issues that call for a more detailed investigation, e.g. the interrelation between political institutions and financial structure which is a measure of relative importance of financial markets and banks in an economy. In this regard, it is found that securities markets tend to be more important than banks in mature democracies. The paper also asserts that the political economy of financial development in resource-rich economies and regional disparities in big federations should be examined more carefully. Both avenues of research are relevant to the Russian economy.


Keywords: financial development; political economy; financial depth; index of democracy; interest groups.


ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORKS


Digest of Foreign Publications
Vladimir Bartenev

"Security – Development Nexus" in Western Bibliography

 

Abstract

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, numerous new constructs entered the vocabulary of international relations. Some neologisms may be labeled ‘hybrid’ concepts, since they are composed of previously known terms. The security-development nexus is one of the most illustrative examples. Despite its fast entrenchment in both political and academic discourses throughout the 2000s, this concept remains subject to lively scholarly debate. The first section of this paper examines the historical context of the emergence of the nexus and the key phases of the developement of a relevant discourse. It focuses, on the one hand, on the end of the Cold War and on numerous ‘complex emergencies’ in the former Third World countries during the 1990s. These wars and emergencies formed an environment conducive to a ‘developmentalization of security’, and, on the other hand, the terrorist attacks of the 9/11 and the consecutive Global War on Terror, which in turn led to a reverse trend of ‘securitization of development’. The second and the third sections summarize arguments of proponents and critics of the nexus respectively. The proponents of the nexus tend to be in line with the discourse of international organizations and development agencies of established donors and back their arguments with solid statistical data. The critics’ arguments tend to be more theoretical and methodology-driven. The security-development nexus is being criticized mainly for the following reasons: 1) ambiguity of content; 2) political bias; 3) negative political implications; 4) lack of empirical evidence. The conclusion identifies several research niches to be filled by implementing contextualization techniques. The most promising directions for future research seem to be the following: 1) comparative analysis of the evolution of various international actors’ conceptualizations of ‘security’, ‘development’ and ‘security-development nexus’, in particular; 2) examination of discourse at the intra-state level and comparison of different agencies’ views on the most complex and pressing issues lying at the intersection of security and development; 3) comparative analysis of different donors’ policies in selected fragile states and regions; 4) examination of the impact of budget austerity on the leading world powers’ international development cooperation policies.

Keywords: security, development, international development cooperation, conflicts, aid, securitization, developing countries, donor countries, fragile states.


CATCHING A TREND


Rodion Mikhailov

Latest Trends in the Ideology of Russophobia

 

Abstract

The current article is an elaborated response to the recent publication in ‘Foreign Affairs’ devoted to the works of the renowned Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin and its impact on the current Russian policies. Anton Barbashin and Hanna Toburn, the authors of that article, use selected quotations and distorted excepts from Ilyin’s writings, to present him as an intellectual supporter and defender of fascism and of the national-socialist ideology. Their biased analysis leads them to drawing a parallel between the radicalism of 1920s–1930s and Moscow’s present-day strategy. An impartial analysis of Ilyin’s writings disproves this inaccurate reading of his ideas and reveals that he made a careful and balanced analysis of the major political trends, which defined intellectual landscape of his time. While he was a sincere opponent of Soviet bolshevism and Western liberalism, Ilyin, indeed, criticized both of them from the conservative angle. This approach in itself, however, does not make him an adherent of fascist or national-socialist regimes. In fact, he himself suffered early on from the repression pursued by Hitler's authorities straight after he came to power. The author of the current article demonstrates that this critical assault on Ilyin and his intellectual legacy represents a new development in the Russophobic ideology on the West. Although, this intellectual tradition has deep historical roots, today it becomes more relevant in major Western countries. The author highlights that ‘Russophobia’ – is a complex and multi-level ideological system, aimed to discredit fundamental foundations, of what is now often described as the “Russian World”. This new stage in its development reflects the emergence of Russia as a civilizational challenge to the domination of the West, which aspires not only to political, but also to intellectual leadership on the global arena. The current crisis of liberal values and identities in the West means that Russia, by its very existence, represents a tangible threat.


Keywords: conservatism; Ivan Ilyin; Russian World; Russophobic ideology; Decline of the West; freedom agenda.


Vassily Shaklein

Scenarios of Russia's Future in American Experts’ Assessments

 

Abstract

Twenty-five years after the end of the “Cold War” the future world order remains the main topic of expert debate in International Relations. Though, the concept of a polycentric world order is supported by multiple states, the United States and its NATO allies adhere to a unipolar vision of the world. Therefore, they attempt to consolidate their privileged position in international politics. Their activities have brought about rather vivid and controversial results: various countries, which were affected by American interventions are in disarray. They have lost all opportunity to become active participants in regional affairs to say nothing about world politics. Their future development is programmed by the U.S. and its European partners. Russia remains in the focus of American policy as it strives to sustain its Great Power status and attempts to establish a regulated and stable system of interstate relations around its borders. One of the key issues in this regard is security. American policy in some Post-Soviet countries caused political, social and economic instability and even crises. The growth of the military activity of the United States and NATO is accompanied by publications of American ‘think tanks’ and experts who are eager to justify the unilateralist policies of the West. They even envision scenarios in which the world is depicted without active and potent Russia. The author analyzes some of these scenarios and tries to explain why they are suggested and actively promoted. It also seeks to formulate an alternative agenda for Russian foreign policy, which could reverse the current confrontational trend in international politics. 


Keywords: Russia, the United States, militarization of American policy, world order, new wars, propaganda, political forecasting, think tanks


Natalya Tsvetkova

New Forms and Elements of US Public Diplomacy

 

Abstract

This paper explores a shift in conceptual paradigms of US public diplomacy from soft/smart power to dialogue-based propaganda. In the first section of the article, the author examines the period of 2009–2012, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her experts in the field of public diplomacy followed Nye’s concept of soft/smart power, and conducted the policy of engagement with foreign audiences and the policy of attraction to American values and culture. In the context of wider diplomatic practice, this policy was confirmed by the efforts made by President Barack Obama to improve relations with Iran, Russia, North Korea, and Cuba, and by a new digital diplomacy aimed at empowering civil activists in the Middle East that contributed to the protest movements. In the second section of this article the author examines the period of 2013–2014, when the concept of dialogue-based propaganda, referred to often as the concept of strategic communication, undermined the concept of soft/smart power in American public diplomacy. The concept of dialogue-based propaganda includes more activities of direct traditional propaganda than the concept of soft/smart power and the policy of engagement do. The practical aspect of this conceptual shift is reflected in a current reform of the public diplomacy apparatus and its essence proposed by the US Congress in 2014. Because of the reform, international broadcasting and propaganda became primary instruments of public diplomacy. The author concludes that current American public diplomacy is driven by the concept of dialogue based propaganda rather than the concept of soft/smart power. The following have contributed to the emergence of the paradigm known as the dialogue-based propaganda approach in American public diplomacy: the changes in the community of Washington DC that occurred when Hillary Clinton, who supported and promoted the ideas offered by J. Nye, left the Department of State; the regional crises which unfolded in both the Middle East and Ukraine; and the expanding of international broadcasting in Russia, China, and Iran.


Keywords: Public Diplomacy; US; propaganda; strategic communication; smart power; soft power; engagement.


PERSONA GRATA


Faces and Personalities
Alexey Kuznetsov

“The Problem is Not That We Do Not Listen to Economists. The Problem is That We Listen to the Wrong Economists”


WORLD BUSINESS AND POLITICAL POWER


Aram Afyan

International Political Variables of Russian Aircraft Industry

 

Abstract

The economic aspects of intergovernmental relations reflect the cause and effect links of international political trends. The world history of development of high-end technologies shows a strong interdependency between scientific progress and international cooperation. Reinforcement of economic cooperation between Russia and European countries and the USA in the post-soviet period, on the one hand allowed to significantly expand the range and intensity of intergovernmental cooperation. On the other hand, this cooperation boiled down to purchasing great amounts of high-end products. In the end, Russian companies hadn’t managed to establish any joint ventures or R&D projects with foreign partners or acquire foreign technological know-how. Consequently, in a short period of time a number of sectors of the national economy became fully dependent on foreign supply. The present article describes the current status of Russia’s civil aviation industry which had been seriously affected by the government's inefficient economic policy-making. The research is based on the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the aviation industry programs and shows that their implementation is dependent on the international situation. In this respect, the author makes several proposals regarding the optimization of one of the most important sectors of the national economy; all the while taking into account the current level of technological development of Russian industry.


Keywords: Economic sanctions; aircraft industry; high-end industry; economic security; competitive ability; international cooperation.


SCRIPTA MANENT


Book reviews
Igor Gretsky

The Issue of Armed Intervention in Russian-Western Relations

Allison, Roy. Russia, the West, and Military Intervention. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 308 p. Allison, Roy. The Russian case for military intervention in Georgia: international law, norms and political calculation. / Georgia: Revolution and War / Ed. by Rick Fawn. London; New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 90-117. Allison, Roy. Russian ‘deniable intervention’ in Ukraine: how and why Russia broke the rules // International Affairs, 2014, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 1255-1297.
Lyana Dymova

Untimely Epitaph to American Hehemony

Nye J. Is the American Century over? John Wiley and Sons, 2015. 152 p
Igor Istomin

World War I and the Contemporary World Order

The Next Great War? The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict. ed. by R.N. Rosencrance, S.E. Miller. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2015. 290 p.


In brevi


A POTENTIA AD ACTUM


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ECONOMIC CHALLENGES OF THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT