October 2012

Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration?

European Disintegration? Warnings from History

The irony at the heart of Europe’s current crisis is that although the EU originated as part of a post-1945 effort to consolidate democracy in Western Europe, the Union’s travails are now pushing the continent in the opposite direction instead.

European Disintegration? The Sources of Extremism

The EU is experiencing a somewhat paradoxical phenomenon: On the one hand, it has been a tremendously successful club, promoting democracy and open societies within its borders and in its neighborhoods. On the other hand, the language of national rivalry and of class struggle is re-entering public discourse, especially within the eurozone. 

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European Disintegration? A Fraying Union

Contrary to the expectations of some democratic theorists, the EU will not collapse because of the “democratic deficit” of European institutions. Nor will it be saved by the democratic mobilization of civil society. Paradoxically, it is widespread disillusionment with democracy—the shared belief that national governments are powerless in the face of global markets—that may be…

European Disintegration? Twin Troubles

Confidence in all European institutions is at a record low. What explains this lack of trust, and how can it be restored? To begin with, the eurozone needs a workable long-term solution, and the EU as a whole must come to terms with the reality of a two-speed integration process.

European Disintegration? A Way Forward

The present crisis of the Euro is a near perfect example of how causal complexity, unanticipated consequences, and decisional uncertainty can have a significant and cumulative impact on regional integration. In theory, this should be the crisis that will drive the EU from economic to political integration. In practice, the outcome—at least, so far—has been…

European Disintegration? Markets, Institutions, and Legitimacy

There is a lively public debate in Europe over how to deal with the current crisis. Among the obstacles to overcome, economic diversity, populism, and the distribution of costs figure prominently. Although most now agree on what needs to be done, whether it will be politically feasible remains uncertain. 

European Disintegration? Elusive Solidarity

Europe’s economic crisis has become a crisis of democratic governance that could roll back five decades of integration. The EU may disintegrate because its “commanders” are unable to converge three distinct economic, political and institutional theaters in which the crisis is being played out.

Media and Democracy: The Long View

Modern democracy was born in the era of print, and the press has been one of its essential institutions. With the decline of newspapers and the rise of new media, what are the implications for democracy?

The Opening in Burma

The Ethnocracy Trap

A political system in which power is formally divided among ethnic or sectarian groups may seem like a good idea in conflict-ridden societies, but it bears a high price and makes true democratic transition harder to achieve.

Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Angola, Egypt, Hong Kong, Libya, Mexico, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Senegal, and Timor-Leste.

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which she gave on June 16 in Oslo, 21 years after she was awarded the prize. An excerpt from imprisoned former Yukos oil company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s statement criticizing the Moscow trial of three members of the band Pussy Riot. Portions of Egyptian president…

News and Notes

Oswaldo Payá (1952–2012) On July 22, Cuban democracy advocate Oswaldo Payá died in a car crash in eastern Cuba. Noting suspicious circumstances and prior threats made against Payá’s life, some suggested that the incident was no accident. Payá organized the Varela Project, which in 2002–2003 submitted more than 25,000 signatures to Cuba’s National Assembly in…