Studia Politica, vol. XVIII, no. 3, 2018


JÖRG MICHAEL DOSTAL, Syria’s Global War and Beyond: Will the Balance of Power in the Middle East be Restored? (pp. 351-392)


This paper analyses the Syrian conflict since 2011 in the context of the larger Middle East, focusing on local, regional and global actors. The first section highlights some geopolitical and historical factors regarding Syria. The second part outlines post-Cold War US and Israeli strategic debates on Syria and the Middle East. It is argued that US policy in the Syrian conflict since 2011 underlines the continuing significance of US-led regime change agendas as initially associated with the so-called “neoconservatives” and near unconditional US backing of Israel’s regional strategic objectives. The third section examines how local conflicts in Syria, since mid-March 2011, became transformed into a lengthy global war over world order during which the US challenged Russia’s long-standing geopolitical patronage of Syria’s political leadership. The interaction between military and political factors and the manner in which the “crisis narrative” was managed in the Western media system is also sketched. Finally, the fourth section focuses on the theory of “peripheral realism” and offers a discussion of this theory’s concept of state hierarchy applied to the Middle Eastern context. It is suggested that the war in Syria serves to destroy the existing regional state hierarchy and regional states’ potential capacity for upward mobility in the global state system.


Geopolitics, Middle East, peripheral realism theory, Syria, US foreign policy.

JÖRG MICHAEL DOSTAL, Associate Professor, Seoul National University,

ARMAND GOȘU, The Time of the Oligarch. Relations Between Romania and the Republic of Moldova (2009-2018) (pp. 393-421)


This article aims to present the evolution of relations between Romania and the Republic of Moldova over the last decade, in the period between “the Twitter revolution” and the summer of 2018, the moment when there was a dramatic cooling of relations between the European Union, the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, on the one hand, and Moldova on the other. In this article, we also analyze the way in which Romania has reacted to Moldova's side skids and try to make sense of the extent to which the government in Bucharest may be considered responsible for the transformation of Moldova from the success story of the Eastern Partnership into a captive state, as it is considered today.


foreign policy, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Plahotniuc

ARMAND GOȘU, Associate Professor, University of Bucharest,

PETAR ŠTURANOVIĆ, Political parties and their influence on the parliamentary mandate after the fall of communism in Montenegro and Serbia (pp. 423-445)


This article analyzes the relations between political parties and parliament, and the specific issue of the parliamentary mandate. It examines the issue of the increasing influence of political parties and how this causes the weakening of modern parliaments, and also changes the nature of the parliamentary mandate from a free to an almost imperative mandate. We focus on specific instruments political parties have developed to establish and maintain full control over their representatives. We look into the specific experience of Montenegro and Serbia and the way these countries have changed their political system during the transition from communism. Among other factors that influence the weakening of the parliament, we focus primarily on the electoral system. The current proportional electoral system (proportional with closed lists) in both countries causes a lack of legitimacy for the members of parliament (MPs), which is why we analyze the effects of an electoral reform in order to strengthen the position of MPs. The mechanism of the transition to a preferential proportional electoral system is analyzed, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of this kind of reform proposal.


Montenegro, Serbia, parliamentary mandate, electoral system, EU integration.

PETAR ŠTURANOVIĆ, Teaching Assistant, University of Montenegro,

MIHAI CHIRVĂSUȚĂ, Caricatura, lirica și afișele electorale. Forme ale confruntărilor partizane în alegerile generale din 1937 (Caricature, lyrics and electoral posters Forms of Partisan Conflict in the 1937 General Elections) (pp. 447-475)


This study proposes an analysis of how the National Liberal Party (PNL), the National Peasant Party (PNT) and the National Christian Party (PNC) used caricatures, lyrics or electoral posters to build a more favorable image of their own party or compromise the opponent. Based in particular on the sources existing in the official party press and the so-called independent one, we proceeded to a description of the three elements, including the meanings and messages intended for the electorate. With a predominantly rural population (over 80%), poorly educated in regard to civic issues, caricature and electoral lyrics were used in particular by the PNT and the so-called independent press to attack the ruling party, as well as the formation of A. C. Cuza and Octavian Goga, and to target those with a nationalist-peasant affiliation. Through the three types of confrontation, the parties in our study have endeavored to transmit as effectively as possible the eccentric populist and manipulative messages aimed at attracting thousands of voters. Although both the national and the nationalist-peasant press used caricature and versification as a political weapon, there are immense differences between the contents of the two camps, the caricaturist Petrică Lazar and the anti-Semitic poet Vasile Militaru -known also under the pseudonym of Radu Barda -preferring the construction of satirical images and poems that contained huge doses of grotesque, beliefs and prejudices about the Jewish minority.


electoral caricature, electoral discourse, the parliamentary elections of 1937, the National Peasant Party, the National Liberal Party, the National Christian Party.

MIHAI CHIRVĂSUȚĂ, Ph.D. Student, University of Bucharest,

TAYLOR FRANCIS, OCTAVIAN MANEA, The Black Sea and NATO in the age of Access-Denial (pp. 477-505)


The article explores the implications of the rise of Russian anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities for NATO’s Eastern Frontier, especially the broader Black Sea region. The reality is indicative of a broader global trend where assertive revisionist powers are not only questioning the post-1989 rules-based international order, but are also developing the antidotes to the so-called American Way of War, one that largely shapes the NATO operational profile. This type of ecosystem is at the forefront of what Russia has been doing over the past few years in Kaliningrad and Crimea – developing concepts of operations, especially the A2/AD component, that challenge NATO’s way of reassuring its frontline allies. The problem is that the NATO caucus in the Black Sea remains highly fragmented in its threat perception. Increasingly close economic and political ties to Russia combined with diplomatic discord concerning the US and NATO makes Turkey a less reliable ally. Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s long tradition of close cultural and economic ties to Russia remains concerning. At the same time, NATO needs to do more. The West must understand that its smaller allies don’t have the luxury of time or economic power, and must adapt its approach accordingly to credibly reassure its Black Sea allies.


A2/AD, precision guided munitions (PGMs), Russia, Black Sea, Romania, NATO, offset strategy.

TAYLOR FRANCIS, Student, School of Advanced Military Studies, USA,

OCTAVIAN MANEA, Analyst, Romania Energy Center,

ANEMONA CONSTANTIN, Le Mémorial de Sighet, entre « devoir de mémoire » et contraintes de l’histoire. Analyse sociologique d’une réussite improbable (The Civic Academy Foundation: between moral duty and history constraints. A sociological study of a successful memorial enterprise) (pp. 507-543)


The Civic Academy Foundation and its Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance emerged in the mid 1990s as one of the most prominent actors of the memorialization and decommunization discourse in Romania after 1989. Considering the political context that was then dominated by the National Salvation Front, a party known for its political reluctance to dealing with the communist past, the Foundation’s success is astonishing. Contrariwise to the studies that focus on the discourses of the actors who made it, the purpose of our article is to analyze this endeavor from a sociological perspective. Through paying attention to the biographical trajectories of the main groups involved in the creation of the Civic Academy, the aim of this study is to bring to light their specific interests when addressing the communist crimes after 1989. Furthermore, this article establishes the connections between the social and professional positions of the intellectuals who launched the Memorial and a specific decommunization discourse that conquered the Romanian political life from 1996 onwards.


Sighet Memorial, memory/history of communism, dealing with the communist past, sociology of Intellectuals, democratization.

ANEMONA CONSTANTIN, Ph.D. Student, University Paris Nanterre,

JAN HOLZER, MIROSLAV MAREŠ (eds.), Challenges to Democracies in East Central Europe, Routledge, London and New York, 2016 (ALEXANDRU-IONUȚ DRĂGULIN) (pp. 547-551)

DANIEL R. BRUNSTETTER AND CIAN O’DRISCOLL (eds.), Just War Thinkers - From Cicero to the 21st Century, Routledge, London and New York, 2018 (GEORGIANA CONSTANTIN) (pp. 551-554)

VIRGINIE GRZELCZYK, North Korea’s New Diplomacy. Challenging Political Isolation in the 21st Century, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2018 (VERONICA ENE) (pp. 554-558)

FRANCESCA RAMOS PISMATARO, ANTONIO DE LISIO, RONAL F. RODRÍGUEZ (EDS.), De Chávez a Maduro: Balance y Perspectivas, Editorial Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, 2016 (ANDREEA IRIMIE) (pp. 558-564)

LAVINIA STAN, DIANE VANCEA, România post-comunistă. Trecut, prezent şi viitor, Polirom, Iaşi, 2017 (DELIA-GABRIELA COCORA) (pp. 564-569)

EDUARDO ONGARO (Ed.), Multi-level governance: The Missing Linkages, Bingley, UK, Emerald Books, 2015 (NATALIA CUGLEŞAN) (pp. 570-575)