Mohammad Darawshe writes on how a small window of opportunity has been opened for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel and Syria. The possibility for peace is existent. Peace agreements are already being established, with provisions to return the Golan Heights to Syria, and create an independent Palestinian state in exchange for security promises to the Israelis. In Darawshe‘s opinion, the people of all three nations are tired of the constant fighting. What are needed now are strong leaders who will have the courage to push for peace through adversity, to fight for what is in the best interests of their people, and to set a positive example in the Middle East.
Bernardo Kliksberg analyzes the role that businesses play in society, pointing out that corporate responsibility not only produces benefits for the companies and institutions, but also for society as a whole. Kliksberg explains why corporate responsibility is taking on an ever more important and urgent role in developing countries, and why it is essential –in a world of increasing inequality, with over 3 billion poor– to ensure that businesses take on an active role in solving society’s problems. With corporate responsibility, everyone wins.
Javier Ortiz explains how, six months after ETA‘s call for a definitive ceasefire, peace may fail in Basque country. In Ortiz‘s opinion, the peace has grown stale because no one –neither the Spanish Government, nor the opposition of the Popular Party, nor the Socialist Party of Euskadi, nor ETA, nor the illegal political party Batasuna– is willing to make the first move toward compromise. Each player seems to be waiting for the others to capitulate, out of a sense of responsibility, and so no one is budging, consequently the stagnant peace process could likely fail.
Pedro G. Cavallero describes Bolivia‘s tumultuous political and social situation, which is causing the country to sink back into the rhetoric of the past. With the opposition to the Presidency of Evo Morales increasing in various regions, a chaotic Constitutional Assembly responsible for the drafting of a new constitution, and an erratic foreign policy, the Bolivian administration has begun reediting old scripts, and applying old cures to new problems. As Morales‘ government struggles to get off the ground, the images of undying guerrilla spirit, indigenous power, the integrationist dream, and Caribbean Leninism have been resurrected to flower over a far from attractive reality.
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam explains how the recent remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI, linking Islam to violence, both show a lack of regard for the heightened sensitivity on both sides of the cognitive divide, as well as establish a new exclusionary discourse, simplifying and falsifying complex issues. Although the Pope claimed to be adhering to the standards of reason and scholarly discourse, his comments have not helped to render Islam in anyway more comprehensible or accessible, and have only ignored the complex multifarious and multi-dimensional imminence of Islam in international society. In Adib-Moghaddam‘s opinion, in order to truly establish a scholarly discourse based upon reason, we must be certain to avoid all religious and political bias, and take on the exploration of complex and unfamiliar territory in an open way.
Antumi Toasije explains why the current crisis in Sudan, in which the Northern Sudanese Arabs are trying to gain control of the Center, Southern, Western, and Eastern regions belonging to black Sudanese, is much more than a postcolonial racial tragedy. Important economic issues are at play in these regions rich with petroleum and minerals. Toasije analyzes the possibility of a UN military intervention, denounces the fact that internal conflicts put Africa back in the hands of foreign troops, and calls for a nonreligious Sudan, united, and linked to the rest of the continent.
Per Persson examines the overwhelming defeat of the Social Democratic Party in the recent elections and explains why, after more than twelve years of uninterrupted governance, the Swedish people have decided to change governments. Not only did the Social Democratic Party fail to outline its plan to create more jobs, but as rigid political lines blur, and all parties drift towards the center, the renewed and revitalized Moderaterna (Moderate) Party and its center-right Alliance were able to attract a vast majority of the votes to lead them to an overwhelming victory. In Persson opinion, this victory presents a golden opportunity for the new majority government of the Alliance and Prime Minister Reinfeldt, to lead the newly transformed Swedish politics towards important, lasting change.
Sohail Mahmood discusses the achievements and failures of the Musharraf regime in Pakistan over the last seven years. Although the government claims to be democratic, Pakistan lacks many of the principal institutions, processes, and structures necessary for the democratic rule of law. In Mahmood‘s opinion, while the Musharraf regime has instituted some very positive, liberal policies to promote constructive change in Pakistan, the Pakistani people are still disappointed with his government. Musharraf is an authoritarian leader governing a people that yearn for true democracy. Many challenges lie ahead for the Musharraf regime in the coming years.
Fernando Delage discusses the changes that have taken place in Japan over the last five years under the administration of Junichiro Koizumi. Prime Minister Koizumi gained extraordinary popularity for his ability to deal with diverse interest groups and bring about the structural reforms that the Japanese economy had been needing since the beginning of the 90’s. Now that Koizumi‘s government is ending, the question to be asked is: whether Shinzo Abe, Koizumi‘s successor, will have the consistency and leadership to clear up economic uncertainty, secure foreign policy, and continue the legacy of reforms?