The World Beyond Global Disorder, Rhodes Forum 2015

Every autumn since 2003 the ancient Greek island of Rhodes hosts a session of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" called the Rhodes Forum that brings together public figures and statesmen, academics, religious figures and representatives of the arts, mass media and business spheres from all over the world. The sessions of the WPF "Dialogue of Civilizations" proved the urgency and efficacy of the Forum by brining the focus of world public opinion to the problems of intercultural dialogue and the need to work out instruments to make interaction among cultures and civilizations possible. The results achieved by the Forum give a hope for further harmonization of international relations and strengthening of stability in the world.

The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade

By Joseph Stiglitz and Adam Hersh, Project Syndicate, October 2, 2015

As negotiators and ministers from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries meet in Atlanta in an effort to finalize the details of the sweeping new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), some sober analysis is warranted. The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems.

You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for “free trade.” The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members’ trade and investment relations – and to do so on behalf of each country’s most powerful business lobbies. Make no mistake: It is evident from the main outstanding issues, over which negotiators are still haggling, that the TPP is not about “free” trade.

The Contemporary Ambiguities of Religions as a Source of Civilisational Identity

By Fabio Petito, E-International Relations, Septemer 25, 2015

Against the prediction of the theorists of modernisation on the inescapable withering away of religion, it is back at the centre stage of international politics. Furthermore, this return appears to be antagonistic and does not seem to be for the (common) good. But how can we explain this visible resurgence of religion in world politics in the post-Cold War era? What can we say about the logic—if there is just one—by which religions interact, infuse or even ‘sacralise’ international politics today? These are questions of great topicality, especially in the light of how religion and politics have been recently interacting in both the Islamic and the Western world as well as in their precarious relationship. In this chapter, my starting point is that the resurgence of religion as a central factor in contemporary international relations is linked to the renewed visibility of the concept of civilisation in post-Cold War political discourses. More specifically, drawing on Johann P. Arnason’s recent work—and in this regard Samuel Huntington’s argument retains part of its validity—I want to argue that the resurgence of religions in world politics has to be read in the context of civilisations, defined in a fundamentally culturalist sense, reasserting themselves as strategic frames of references, not as direct protagonists, of international politics. This development also has to be read as part of a longer-term process of challenge to Western dominance that has intensified since the Second World War and which Hedley Bull called the ‘cultural revolt against the West’.

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Resurgence of the World Left?

By Immanuel Wallerstein,, October 1, 2015

The sweeping triumph on September 24 of Jeremy Corbyn to be the leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party was stunning and totally unexpected. He entered the race with barely enough support to be put on the ballot. He ran on an uncompromisingly left platform. And then, standing against three more conventional candidates, he won 59.5% of the vote in an election that had an unusually high turnout of 76 percent.

Immediately, the pundits and the press opined that his leadership and platform guaranteed that the Conservative Party would win the next election. Is this so sure? Or does Corbyn’s performance indicate a resurgence of the left? And if it does, is this true only of Great Britain?

The Yemen Catastrophe: Beset by Contradictions of Will and Intellect

By Richard Falk at his blog, September 28, 2015

Any attempt to provide a coherent account of the political strife afflicting Yemen is bound to fail. The country is crucible of contradictions that defy normal categories of rational analysis. If we look beyond the political fog that envelops the conflict the tragic circumstances of acute suffering imposed on the civilian population do emerge with stark clarity. Long before the outbreak of civil warfare, Yemen was known to be the poorest country in the region, faced with looming food and water scarcities. The UN estimates 80% of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, 40% live on less than $2 per day. Further there are high risks of mass famine and epidemic outbreaks of disease will occur, while continuing chaos is a near certainty, with the prospect of yet another wave of desperate migrants swept ashore in Europe.

Development and Credit for Building a New Global Order

By Paolo Raimondi, World Affairs, autumn 2015, vol. 19, #3

This article recapitulates and summarises recent agreements and ongoing projects intended to build a new international monetary, financial and economic order to replace the moribund Bretton Woods System. At the heart of this transition, the five BRICS member-countries have set up a network of new banks, funds and financial facilities to support massive new infrastructural and industrial projects and revive international development with innovative technology and philosophies for integrated, sustainable growth. The paper highlights the need for Europe not to remain outside this global process and to breakout of American control at a time when a declining US still seeks to block any perceived challenge to its preponderance.

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The Axis of Evil

Johan Galtung, TRANSCEND Media Service, September 21, 2015

Do you remember the Axis of Evil–Iraq-Iran-North Korea?

George W. Bush, or his speechwriter rather, concocted that axis in 2002 as focus for a global war on terror. The key term is “evil”–not “enemy”, “hostile”–the connotation being “possessed by Satan”. The proof is opposition to a USA chosen by God, as God’s Own People, as “In God we trust”. To exorcise Satan only violence works.

Is the Game Up for China’s Much Emulated Growth Model?

By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, The Guardian, August 23, 2015

From Brazil to Thailand, debt-driven development has ended in tears. A more inclusive strategy must emerge.

Whatever happened to emerging markets? Brics, Mints, whatever global investors call them: For a while it appeared as if countries such as Brazil, India and Turkey had secure and buoyant futures, regardless of the travails of advanced economies. There was much trumpeting of their advantages, such as the demographic bulges producing young populations. Few asked about the nature of the growth, or whether it could last. The euphoria spread, leading to large private-capital inflows that pushed up asset prices in these countries.

That already seems a long time ago, as investor opinion has done yet another volte face. Investors who were slow to read the tea leaves during the boom times have now taken fright. In just 13 months, capital outflows from these countries have crossed $1tn. Stock markets have tanked across countries as distant and diverse as Malaysia, India, South Africa and Brazil; currencies have depreciated; and bond issues are slowing down, with fewer takers.