Studia Politica, vol. XVI, no. 2, 2016
This article analyzes the geopolitical interests and strategy of the United States (US) in the Middle East region. The focus is placed on a case study of Syria, a state that has been outside of the US sphere of influence since the mid-1950s. Long term, mid term, and short term factors of US conduct in the region and with regard to Syria are jointly discussed. It is argued that the geopolitical writings of Nicholas J. Spykman inspired the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957, which suggested that the US should assume the role of single external balancer in the Middle East. This aspiration explains why US policymakers have intervened in the Syrian conflict since March 2011 using regional proxies and covert action. Such intervention points to continuity in US efforts to balance regional powers such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey against each other in order to strengthen the US geopolitical role.
Bashar al-Assad, Eisenhower Doctrine, Geopolitics, Nicholas J. Spykman, US foreign policy, Syria.
JÖRG MICHAEL DOSTAL, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Korea, email@example.com
Recent debates on informality have challenged the pertinence of the traditional legal-illegal dichotomy for understanding social actions. Located in a grey continuous area, informal practices are based on individuals’ perception on the role of the state in a given sector and results from illegal, legal and extra-legal transactions. This paper is an attempt to bring further this debate by proposing a new conceptualization of informality rooted in empirical evidence: we distinguish between informality “in spite” of the state in order to designate practices that overrule state instructions and try to re-regulate areas already regulated by the state; and informality “beyond” the state, defined as a set of practices and informal rules that arrange an area unregulated or deserted by the state. Our theoretical argument is illustrated by two case studies, one devoted to informal child-care in Romania (informality beyond the state) and the other to corruption in Hungary (informality in spite of the state).
Informality, civic morals, state morals, Hungary, Romania.
ABEL POLESE, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, Dublin City University, Ireland, firstname.lastname@example.org
BORBALA KOVACS, Visiting Faculty, Department of Political Science, Central European University, Hungary, email@example.com
DAVID JANCSICS, Post-Doctoral Associate, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University, US firstname.lastname@example.org
This article aims to focus on the activity of the Commission of Enquiry of the League of Nations in Albania during 1921-1923. It helps to better understand the progress of the relations of this organization with Albania. How much did the work of this Commission influence the decisions of the League of Nations regarding the Albanian issue during these years? The topic is interesting because it has to do with some issues of historiography that need elucidation. The existing corpus mainly focuses on the foreign commissions in Albania and in the majority of the cases investigates the commission for the delimitation of borders and refers to the activity of Commission of Enquiry in Albania. The existing literature is limited to the accont of its presence and visits made in different cities in Albania. The article analyzes the reports that this Commission sent to the League of Nations and also the decisions that the latter took on the basis of the reports and advice of Commission members in order to better Albania’s relations with the League of Nations in the economic and political sphere. In the economic field it is related to the assignment of economic counsellors whilst in the political one with the decisions that the League of Nations took based on Commission reports for the country, and not on the international press. The decisions taken by the League of Nations during this time are an indicator of the efficiency of the activity of this Commission.
League of Nations, Commission of Enquiry in Albania, International Organizations, Albania-Great Powers Relations.
DEONA ÇALI, PhD Candidate, Faculty of History and Philology, Tirana University, email@example.com
The article represents a reply to several of the points raised by Alexandru Volacu in his recent article “On the Ideological Incompatibilities of Distributive Justice”. In his work, Volacu attempts a comparison between the concept of distributive justice and several political ideologies, as epitomized in different party manifestos and platforms. In Volacu’s view, distributive justice requires social democracy and is compatible with ideologies such as feminism or environmentalism. Alternatively, distributive justice cannot be reconciled with anarchism or Marxist communism. In the present article, I argue against Volacu’s understanding of the very idea of distributive justice and conceptualize it as a field of philosophical investigation where the main issue of debate is the principle distribution of primordially economic benefits. Further, I establish a distinction between patterns of distributive justice and principles of distributive justice. Then, I criticize Volacu’s reading of the relationship between anarchism and distributive justice, but reach identical conclusions. Finally, I object to Volacu’s conception of Marxism and of the European Left Party Manifesto.
Distributive justice, anarchism, Marxism, libertarianism.
VALENTIN STOIAN, PhD in Political Science, Central European University, Hungary, firstname.lastname@example.org
In his reply to my article on distributive justice and political ideologies, published in a previous issue of Studia Politica, Valentin Stoian has raised a number of important points and has paved the way for a more indepth discussion on the concept of distributive justice. Stoian offers three central objections to my arguments. First, he claims that the view of distributive justice which I purport to describe is flawed both because it refers to specific distributive justice theories, not to distributive justice as a field of philosophical investigation, and because it implausibly narrows down the scope of the field due to its incorporation of the notion of a pattern (interpreted in a Nozickian sense) instead of a distributive principle. Second, he claims that one of the ideologies that I present in my article as being incompatible with distributive justice, i.e. anarchism, cannot be intelligibly discussed within the framework of distributive justice since it belongs to a different field, namely that of political obligations. Third, he claims that I offer an unfair construal of the European Left Platform (henceforth, ELP) manifesto by focusing on a holistic interpretation of Marxism and that under a more adequate account, the ELP is not incompatible with the idea of distributive justice. In this rejoinder I will largely concede the latter point but offer a refutation of the first two objections.
Anarchism, distributive justice, Marxism, political ideology.
ALEXANDRU VOLACU, PhD Candidate, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, email@example.com
DRAGOȘ DRAGOMAN, Naționalismul. Identitatea etnoculturală și proiectul elitelor, Adenium, Iași, 2014 (ANDREEA ZAMFIRA) (pp. 289-295)