Involvement in the Middle East is not something new for the states of East Europe, especially those in southeast Europe, such as Bulgaria and Romania. During the communist period both countries traded extensively with Iraq and Libya, whose regimes were not receptive to Western countries. Bulgarian and Romanian involvement in the Middle East now comes, not as supporters of a putative struggle against Western imperialism or exploitation, but as allies in a security—based struggle against tyranny and terrorism. Moreover, it is the US—more than any European ally—that is determining the terms of that struggle and demanding contributions, including from new allies. Although the East European allies have seemed more eager than most to contribute to the US-led coalition, these new circumstances and demands set up unique challenges to the new allies in East Europe.
In their literature, culture and early twentieth-century politics, the Czech people have a history of emphasizing moral virtue, tolerance, and respect for human dignity and freedom. Sadly, there is a growing chasm in Czech society between pre-revolution aspirations and post-revolution reality. The Czech Republic is infected with the destructive kind of nationalism found in other parts of East Central Europe, and now is characterized by a xenophobic citizenship law and violence against Roma. Will the Czechs ultimately honor their legacy of liberal humanism? The answer will speak volumes on the compatibility of nationalism and constitutional liberalism in the heart of the European continent.
November 2000- The undeclared war between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, initiated by NATO on March 24, 1999, was formally ended on June 9, 1999, with the signing of a military technical agreement under which the Kosovo International Security Force (KFOR) obtained a legal foundation.
Fighting Poverty and Reforming Social Security: What Can Post-Soviet States Learn From the New Democracies of Central Europe?Jul 07, 2011
Conference proceedings from a meeting held in Washington, DC, June 10, 2005. After decades of communist rule, reforming social policies and welfare state institutions turned out to be much more difficult and complex than previously anticipated. Regional trends emerged. Most Central European democracies introduced significant institutional reforms in social security, while changing social assistance programs to fight risks associated with poverty. In contrast, many post-Soviet states are still struggling to provide modernized and reliable welfare state protections to the elderly, the disabled and the poor during the prolonged era of political and economic transformation. This one-day conference convened international scholars and policy practitioners to examine patterns of welfare state development in select post-communist states and to analyze how national histories, international actors, domestic institutional contexts and the interdependence of recent social, economic and political reforms have contributed to differences in social policies and welfare state provision. Conference participants explored major similarities and differences in social protection reform in various countries with special attention to practical and theoretical lessons of transition that can enhance our understanding of present and future problems and challenges facing the evolving post-Soviet welfare states in Russia and the neighboring states.
December 2004 - The pages that follow, I first place the Hungarian debate into a comparative framework of emerging kin state politics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), then comment on the particularities of the Hungarian case. The lessons that emerge from this discussion highlight two important aspects of CEE politics today. First, rather than weakening nation-building aspirations, the pursuit of EU membership in many instances reinforces such aspirations. Second, rather than uniting "the nation," some ambitious propositions for nation-building create or reinforce divisions within the population they proposed to unite.
October 1997 - The expansion of NATO is nothing new. NATO has enlarged itself several times in the past, most recently absorbing the G.D.R. (through the back door of the G.D.R.'s incorporation into one Germany). But the currently envisioned expansion is different from previous ones: this enlargement is primarily politically motivated and it is about the future shape of Europe. The foremost political challenge on the continent after the Cold War is the integration into European organizations of the countries previously included in the Soviet bloc, and NATO has stepped up to this challenge as part of its transformation. If the NATO-Russia Council is successful and NATO's relations with Russia develop along a constructive path, then the alliance's eastward enlargement has the potential to accelerate the integration of Central European countries into a Euro-Atlantic community in a manner that erases the animosities that caused armed conflict in the past.
337. Language Politics and Language Policies in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Infinitives, Turkisms and EUrolinguisticsJul 07, 2011
April 2007 - Although the Western Balkans today is generally construed as Albania and former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of Balkan linguistics, Greece is also in this region. Here I shall examine some recent policy and political developments through the prisms of linguistics and of language ideology, i.e., the ways people think about language. Because language is both act and artifact—it exists in documents and the minds of speakers but at the same time it is constituted by everyday practices—the intersections of linguistics and politics are complex. This is true in Western Europe no less than in the Western Balkans, as can be seen, for example, in official French persecution of regional languages from 1794 to 1951, the 1972 statement of Georges Pompidou, then President of France, that there was no place for regional languages in France, the exclusion of Breton schools from French public funding in 2002 (Mercator-Education: Breton, 2003), the recent contretemps over the use of Occitanian in examinations ("L'occitan interdit en Ile de France?" Communique: Federacion dels Ensenhaires de Lengua e Cutlura d'Oc, 31 October 2006), etc. It can even be argued that EU ideologies of inclusiveness are being reflected in certain types of linguistic research that peripheralize the Balkans. In order to provide the necessary context for the following discussion, I will give a brief outline of some basics of Balkan linguistics.
April 2002- Governor Dinkic succinctly summarized the achievements and challenges of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in economic reform since the ouster of Milosevic in October 2000. Among some of the most important economic reform achievements over the last year, Dinkic listed: attaining durable market economic stability; lowering inflation; the reform of the banking sector; the start of serious privatization of national industries; and, the reintegration of Yugoslavia in international institutions, especially financial institutions. These successes were made possible, according to Dinkic, by the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies - a factor lacking in the previous reform attempts of the 1990s.
Fidelity to traditional values has generated a peculiar approach to politics as such throughout Eastern Europe. The author found in Poland that the criteria people used to judge political excellence, or political leadership, had little to do with programs and performance, and almost everything to do with morals and ethics. Poles tended to judge leaders not by whether they were or were likely to be effective at moving the country in a given direction, but by whether they were good or bad men: decent or indecent, strong or weak, kind or brutal, loyal or disloyal. The author's conclusion was that this moralization of politics made swinstwo--swinishness--the primary category for political condemnation. This paper then analyzes this phenomenon throughout the region as a whole.
December 1999 - Ten years ago, when we returned to Belgrade to report on the Balkans, Yugoslavia was a place with a future. It seemed best positioned to make the jump from communist dictatorship to democracy. Marshall Tito had made it the freest communist country in Eastern Europe. Under Tito, Yugoslavs had been allowed to travel, work abroad and had other personal freedoms, provided they did not criticize Tito or provoke nationalism. The late New York Times correspondent, Cy Sulzberger, stated at the time: "Sure, Tito is a Marxist. But his dogma is that of Groucho, not Marx."