Gustavo Gamallo says that after a decade with an agenda dominated by issues related to economic reforms, Latin America is placing in the foreground the political activity again. However, according to Gamallo that is not enough: an active, conscious and responsible citizenship must be built, capable of plural participation in the political debate and of developing its potency in the public scenario.
Piero Ignazi analyzes Italy’s foreign policy and says that –since the end of Second World War- Italy has been anchored by two forces: loyalty to its NATO membership and to the United States on one side, and an active and willing participation in the process of European integration on the other side. Ignazi states that the Italian political elite followed such a double path without advocating any preference or primacy for one over the other. Nevertheless, the present centre-right government, led by Mr. Silvio Berlusconi (since 2001), has been under scrutiny for its supposedly new direction in foreign policy. What is going to happen now after elections?
By Juan Gabriel Tokatlian (for Safe Democracy)
Juan Gabriel Tokatlian explain that two differentiated models exist today in the fight against terrorism: the American, which looks to deter it through force as well as making it impractible in American soil, and the European, whose aim is to overcome the asymmetry in force in a longer term, not inmediate, and not exclusively through punitive means (dissuasion, development and dialogue). Tokatlian believes that the community of democratic nations today confronts a crucial dilemma: adopt the American model or further develop the European model. The Occidental ideal –and perhaps its own destiny– is at stake in this crossroad.
By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (for Safe Democracy)
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam considers that instead of attempting to excavate the true, eternal essence of Islam, it is worthwile to comprehend the expanding discourses about it within specific ideational situations. This is what he believes is the real challenge posed by Islam. Adib-Moghaddam also illustrates how two transnational Islamic spaces have created a cognitive divide in which the rational majority suffers: “East” by neo-fundamentalist movement and “West”, by neo-conservative strategists. He notes that Bali, Madrid, London, New York, Baghdad, Kabul, Najaf and the Palestinian territories have been caught in the cross-fire of this divide.
Mohammad Darawshe discusses the implications of the results in the recent March 2006 Israeli parliamentary elections and states that the elections increased the Arab minoritie’s representation in Israel’s Knesset, thereby winning ten percent of Parliament seats. Darawshe explains the three factors that contribute to the Arab lower share of voters in terms of their actual population and they are: lower turnout rate, age, and citizenship status. According to him, the Arab political parties must unite to form one coalition (rather than four, separate parties) in order to establish legitimacy as a true option and not simply remain an opposition voice.
Dr. George E. Irani believes that Bashar Assad‘s Syrian regime is in the eye of the storm due to three factors: pressures from the Bush Administration, the UN investigation into the Hariri murder, and regional powers. Dr. Irani does mention the success Assad had in Arab solidarity against the US Congress-sponsored sanctions against Syria. However, Dr. Irani adds that Assad failed to achieve a consensus on both the Lebanon and Palestine arenas. Dr. Irani states that the regime is manipulating the remaining leverage it holds on Lebanon, and it hopes to continue using the Palestinian faction as a means to maintain Syrian intervention: Syria can always play for time and use US diplomatic blunders as a means to enhance and maintain some kind of respect.
Seventy percent of the 3,000 millions of poor in the planet (half of the world population) are women and girls. Two-thirds of the illiterate of the world are women. Bernardo Kliksberg believes that notwithstanding the fact that the conditions of women have improved in the last fifty years, the outstanding challenges are of a great importance: discrimination and exclusion of women have lasted too much in the world –he warns– and it is high time we all contribute to eradicate it.
Pedro G. Cavallero analyzes the current escalating dispute with Uruguay and Argentina in opposition (or in confrontation). As explained, the dispute has come as a result of two European companies’ decision to build an ambitious cellulose-pressing company in Uruguay. Cavallero illustrates the fact that Argentina‘s concern is the would-be environmental impact, stemming from the plant’s operation, in one of its provinces. On the other hand, the Uruguay‘s response has to push forward with expanding foreign trade policy. Cavallero thinks that this dispute has revealed a subtler discontent: the lack of an effective institutional venue to adjudicate transnational matter, in other words, a trusted, impartial mediator.
Fabián Bosoer believes that winds of change are blowing in Latin America again. Some people, enthusiastic or worried, consider that the turn to the left of the continent is getting deeper, in order to stress a rupture with the nineties. For others, he adds, the classic dilemma between populism and liberal democracy is on the table again. Bosoer rejects both positions, which put all the countries of the world in the same basket, and states a third alternative. In any case, the key question is: Is there a new paradigm of the democratic governability in Latin America?