It is beginning to look like Bahrain’s ruling family has calculated correctly that its close allies in Washington, London, and Brussels do not care enough about al-Khawaja to risk challenging al-Khalifa hard-liners and their Saudi allies by publicly pushing for his release or by making clear that Bahrain’s continued stonewalling will have a price.
It may seem strange, but the EU sees itself as a soldier of the common good. Why is a group of countries whose share in worldwide CO2 emissions is only 12% – and set to decline fast – aspiring to global leadership on the issue, despite US inaction and emerging-market countries’ reluctance to commit to binding emission-reduction targets?
In part, the EU’s stance reflects the preferences of European public opinion. In part, it arises from internal politics: to press ahead with its agenda enables the EU to strengthen its hand vis-à-vis the member states. In part, there is the hope that by moving fast, Europe will acquire a comparative advantage in low-carbon technologies.
Europe’s political left is incensed by the the cuts in social and welfare programmes, but seems to accept the political consensus that there are no alternatives.
Using its super-majority in the parliament, the Fidesz party has spent its two years in office ramming through a new constitution that includes discriminatory provisions and other new laws that undermine media freedom, judicial independence, and the rights of religious minorities.
France is approaching a breaking point. For three decades, the country has pursued the same incompatible, if not contradictory, goals. With the sovereign-debt crisis pushing French banks to the wall, something will have to give, and soon.
Our research indicates that the increase in the share of women on boards has coincided with an increase in transparency and a professionalisation of decision-making. In parallel with the development of less homogenus boards, a new culture of decision-making has emerged in which there is less acceptance of alliances and decisions being made behind the scenes. This fracturing of old networks has also opened the way for men who were previously excluded from boards.
Even the most cynical calculation suggests that it is a bad idea to sneer at people from the countries of the European Union that were once under communist rule. Dutch exports to Poland alone have rocketed from €1.2 billion a year in 1996 to nearly €7.4bn in 2010 (and they will be larger now, given Poland’s booming economy). The Netherlands exports more than €13bn to the other nine ‘new’ member states, far more than to Brazil, China and India combined.
Fidesz came to power in 2010 promising a major overhaul of the old structures, and completion of the transition from communism to democracy. The signature piece of our work is the new constitution of Hungary and the cardinal laws implementing it, replacing the patched-up, temporary revision of our 1949 communist constitution.
From the standpoint of condemning elite behaviour, Russian protesters evoke, at least partly, the actors of the Arab revolution. In their denunciation of “Soviet electoral practices”, they reject the combination of despotism and corruption that characterised Soviet power yesterday and Russian power today – rhetoric familiar from Arab revolutionaries. As young Arabs told the rulers of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, and other Arab countries, this new generation of Russians is telling Putin: “Get out!
Great empires rarely succumb to outside attacks. But they often crumble under the weight of internal dissent. This vulnerability seems to apply to the eurozone as well.