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Sciences Po Paris| February 2013| Issue 6

IN FOCUS


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INFOCUS

TEAM

A publication of the Association Affaires Internationales de Sciences Po, AAISP rue Saint Guillaume 27 Paris Cedex 7 75337

Managing Editor and Copy/Layout Editor for this issue Claire Le Barbenchon Editor-in-Chief Alexandra El Khazen Writers and Editors Monika Pronczuk Philip Colin Richards Jessica White Karina Piser Leyla Mutiu Victor-Manuel Vallin Hilary Norris

COVER PHOTO: ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES/WIKICOMMOS/CC

ED’s NOTE

« Intervenir ou ne pas intervenir ? Telle est la question. » En général, il s’agit d’une décision qui mérite une longue réflexion dans un court laps de temps. Il est question de nécessité (y a t-il des alternatives ?), de légitimité (intervenir au nom de qui ? la communauté internationale via l’ONU, une organisation régionale ou encore un Etat?), de responsabilité (des acteurs impliqués) mais aussi il s’agit surtout de mesurer les enjeux d’une intervention et ses conséquences. Intervenir pour protéger, préserver et prévenir mais aussi pour résoudre, améliorer et innover. Une intervention ne s’inscrit pas uniquement dans le domaine de la sécurité, normalement pour préserver et maintenir l’ordre et la paix dans le monde, elle s’inscrit aussi dans tous les domaines à savoir l’environnement, la santé, l’économie et les droits de l’homme entre autres. Le dossier de ce numéro traite la question de l’intervention sous tous ses angles, revêtant diverses formes : les sociétés militaires privées dans le conflit israélo-palestinien, la crise économique en Europe, la censure et la liberté d’expression sur Internet, la géo-ingénierie de l’environnement, les cyber guerres et l’état de la démocratie en Europe de l’Est. Plus que cela, et malgré le fait que cette édition ait pris du retard, ce numéro aborde des sujets brûlants d’actualité: l’élection d’Obama pour un second mandat et la défaite républicaine; le rôle de la France au Mali bien avant son intervention en janvier 2013 pour stopper les islamistes ; le sort tragique de la Syrie avec plus de 60 000 morts et une guerre civile qui dure depuis déjà presque deux ans, les disputes territoriales autour de la souveraineté d’un archipel de la mer de Chine orientale entre la Chine et le Japon; l’Iran, les Etats-Unis et la guerre nucléaire parmi d’autres articles .. Sur une note plus légère, les étudiants vous font aussi part de leurs aventures lors de voyages dans ce qu’on appelle parfois la Russie blanche, la Biélorussie, ou alors en Equateur. La revue d’InFocus ne vous apportera probablement aucune réponse aux problématiques globales, nous ne sommes pas là pour ça, mais vous fournira sans doute des pistes d’analyse et de recherche à travers les écrits des étudiants. Un des buts de ce travail, mis à part laisser une trace de votre passage dans l’histoire de l’école, c’est aussi d’enclencher des débats explosifs (en matière de productivité !) et permettre de véritables échanges entre les étudiants. Premier numéro pour l’année académique 2012-2013, l’équipe d’InFocus revient aujourd’hui en force, mieux équipée et préparée, pour attaquer le second numéro avec un dossier prometteur sur les « Power Shift ».

Alexandra El Khazen Rédactrice-en-chef/ Editor in-Chief

InFocus est une revue en constante évolution : vos questions, suggestions et commentaires sont donc les bienvenus ! Contactez-nous à alexanra.elkhazen@infocusrevue.com

All photos are under the copyright of their author unless stated otherwise

InFocus is a constantly evolving publication and we welcome all questions, suggestions and comments! Please contact us at claire.lebarbenchon@infocusrevue.com


ED’s NOTE

InFocus is Growing... and We Want Your Help The InFocus team is proud to release this issue of InFocus, the first for 2012/2013, in print and online. The team of writers and editors, assembled in August 2013, as well as the student contributors featured in this issue, have shown, through their work, the talent and intellect of PSIA students. The magazine remains a bilingual platform for students to showcase their writing, and continues to reflect the high quality of the student body in the Masters of International Affairs. We hope that it can reach out to even more people this semester, to promote the exchange of ideas and provoke dialogue on world issues outside of the classroom. As InFocus reaches the halfway point of its third year of operation, it has bigger plans for its future. With the importance of the internet in the distribution and sharing of information, ideas, and news, InFocus’ blog will be expanded in the coming months to reinvent itself as a premium platform for exchange for PSIA students. A new blog team has been recruited, and the InFocus team now has six new members. The InFocus blog welcomes not only submissions from the regular bloggers, but invites all students to write about international issues that they are passionate about, to read the articles posted by their peers, and to comment on what they have read, in order to create a dynamic atmosphere. While all articles can go up on the blog, the print magazine will continue to showcase poignant, longer articles of the highest quality. As Managing Editor, along with a new representative for Public Relations, I will continue to expand InFocus’ relations to other universities with links to Sciences Po, in order to create a strong intermagazine and inter-blog network where our publications can thrive. We hope also to forge relationships with studentbased NGOs and other groups, who would like to inform others about their cause, have a platform for debate, or simply connect with like-minded individuals. If you are a PSIA student who is part of an organization, or would like to write for the blog, do not hesitate to contact us, as usual.

Claire Le Barbenchon Managing Editor/ Directrice de Rédaction

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Contents

Toy soldiers: French sailors wearing the uniforms in use during the Sino-French War. Made by Mignot C.B.G. between 1876 and 1902. WIKICOMMONS/CC/RAMA

Current Affairs South China Sea: Grips, Ships and Some

Comments 6

Precious Barrels

Facts and Fiction in the US Elections

32

When Conflict Meets Social Media

34

Recreational Marijuana in the US

10

Intervention in Syria: Why Peace with a

The Near East and the End of Territories

12

Capital P Requires International

35

DOSSIER: Intervention

I-Witness 96 hours in Belarus

36

La France au Mali: Il faut en finir avec

Discovering Ecuaor

38

l’hypocrisie

16

Outsourcing Occupation

18

Free Speech Arbitratos in the Age of

Interview

the Internet

20

Fawaz Gerges: “With Iran, it’s either

Geoengineering: From Idea to Reality

22

diplomatic breakthrough, or war”

European Economic Disunion

24

40

Why Cyberintervention is Just Not Enough

26

Is the Washington Concensus Dead?

28

Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus: The State of Democracy in Eastern Europe

30 InFocus 5


CURRENT AFFAIRS

South China Sea: Grips, ships and some precious barrels Elena DOMASHNEVA

T

oday, the Asia-Pacific region (APR) is becoming increasingly important for global development. It is necessary to mention some general key trends in the APR for in-depth understanding of regional security issues. China has come to the fore and is now dominating the region, both in economic and political terms. The rest of East Asia is concerned about the increasing influence of Beijing, and therefore some of the smaller regional countries, not powerful

“ Today, the main

transport corridor between Europe and Asia goes through the East China Sea.

recently escalated dramatically. Before the 1970s, it seemed that no one needed those islands, but today, submarine energy reserves which are supposed to lie in the vicinity of the Spratlys have attracted many claimants. Both territorial proximity and historical realities allow the five countries to voice their claims on the territories mentioned. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, the territorial dispute threatens to escalate into a military conflict again as it happened in the middle of 20th century when territorial disputes resulted in a series of military clashes between Vietnam and China.

Energy resources, transportation corridors and control issues Recent studies of the region have

enough to resist China by themselves, are forced to seek support from the United States looking upon Washington as a force capable of neutralizing China’s ambitions. This article analyzes one of the most interesting phenomena in the AsiaPacific: a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, including the role of two key players in the region- the US and China. For several decades, the Asian region has been characterized by three dominants: rapid economic growth, attempts to create Asian community and raging territorial disputes. It turns out that almost every Asian country has some disputable territories with their neighbors. For instance, Japan and China cannot agree on Senkaku/Diaoyu Island, Japan and South Korea still argue on Liancourt Rocks, and, finally, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and China are disputing over the sovereignty of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The latter conflict 6 InFocus

PHOTO: VOA/WIKICOMMONS/CC

proved that the South China Sea is really a tasty morsel in terms of energy resources. According to various sources vast deposits of oil are stockpiled under the South China Sea waters: estimates range from 28 to 213 million barrels of oil (US Energy Information Administration, Report on South China Sea, March, 2008). Even 28 million barrels is a significant volume for the fast-growing Asian economies, especially for China, the second largest global energy consumer and oil importer. Increasing Chinese demand, as well as an unstable situation in the Middle East, which is currently the main energy supplier to the Asian markets, pushes China to seek new energy sources. Under such conditions, the resources of the South China Sea could become, if not the energy lifebuoy, then at least a reliable support. Obviously, all the countries that have


CURRENT AFFAIRS

PHOTO: JACOB. JOSE/WIKICOMMONS/CC

View of the South China Sea

even the slightest reason to claim these territories would bid for them. The energy attractiveness of the South China Sea is not limited by the immediate availability of oil resources. Today the main transport corridor between Europe and Asia goes through the East China Sea. Moreover, the oil from the Middle East to Asia is transported the same way - through the Strait of Malacca to the South China Sea and then directly to the consumers including China and Indonesia, two of the world’s fastest growing economies, as well as Japan, South Korea and the Pacific Rim. Sovereignty over the islands would not only add several hundred square kilometers of land to some country’s territory, but also would cause a significant expansion of the exclusive economic zone in accordance with UNCLOS III, which, in turn, means the territorial proximity to a key oil chokepoint and consequently more dominance over the strait.

Naval arms race Given the dual energy attractiveness of the Spratlys, we can hardly imagine that someone decides to put up its ambitions without a fight, even in the literal sense. Jean A. Garrison argues that “from a historical, geopolitical prospective securing access to energy resources has meant militarization and belligerent policies among the great powers as they compete for control of resource rich, strategic real estate” (Garrison, 2009). The pace-

makers in this region are undoubtedly the US and China. Obviously, the United States’ main interest in the region is not confined to the trade routes including the Malacca Strait. The energy resources in the South China Sea may be of greater importance to Washington, even though its official estimates of the oil resources are lower than those of Beijing. In the recent years, the focus of the US strategy shifted towards the APR which is further confirmed by a statement of the US president Barack Obama who underlined that the US is going to expand its influence in the AsiaPacific region and “project power and deter threats to peace” (Barack Obama speech in Canberra, November 17, 2011). The US currently deploys 330,000 service members in the Pacific Command area, and according to the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta proportion of the total military in the region will only rise (Leon Panetta Speech at Asia security summit the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2012). Moreover, Washington and Canberra have signed an agreement allowing the US to deploy 2500 marines in North Australian city of Darwin. China also aims at maritime dominance in the Pacific Rim. The new naval doctrine of the PRC was proclaimed in the late 1970s, and today we can witness the significant success that China has achieved. Now China may be considered the third naval power after the United States and Russia, if not in absolute terms, but in terms of the existing potential and

shipbuilding capabilities. The major breakthrough for the Chinese naval force development is the first aircraft carrier’s entrance into service which happened in the fall of 2012. Liaoning aircraft carrier is a remake of the Soviet Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier, but China has already announced its intentions to build at least 6 original carriers in the future. This is a serious claim to maritime dominance in the region. Moreover, the South China Sea lies within “the first islands chain” zone of priority interests of the People Liberation Army Navy according to China’s naval doctrine. Both the US and China clash diplomatically and in the press over each other’s actions and initiatives in the region. For example, Beijing’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City in the disputed sea and establishment of a new military garrison there, made the US express concern over the development of the situation in the region in a special Press Statement (State Department Press Statement on South China Sea, August 3, 2012). Needless to say that the statement ignited a fierce reaction from Beijing’s official press even telling the US State Department to “shut up” . To sum up, military buildup and intertwined economic interests summed with

“ Today neither China

nor the US are interested in a military conflict in the South China Sea, at least in the short-term prospects, as losses can be much more serious than gains.

unsolved territorial claims of ambitious and energy-dependent powers make it obvious that in the future the South China Sea may become a testing ground for great powers’ naval might. In recent years all the necessary prerequisites were created.

Is military confrontation possible? As it was stated before, the South InFocus 7


CURRENT AFFAIRS China Sea disputes date back to the middle of the previous century, but up to now, the states involved were not able to make a step toward the peaceful resolution. Moreover, the states could not even come to an agreement on the negotiations format. While ASEAN countries Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam in-

“ ... the probability of a

serious military conflict is relatively low. It is unlikely that China or the US consider it a priority of thier policies in the region.

sist on multilateral talks, China prefers bilateral format. The expansion of the US political and military influence in the region aggravates the situation and reduces the possibility of resolving the conflict by diplomatic means in the short-term prospective. The involvement of the third party such as the USA in the regional affairs makes the Chinese position even less flexible, adding another political dimension to the conflict. At the same time ASEAN countries also become less compliant feeling the support of the USA. Today neither China nor the US are interested in a military conflict in the South China Sea, at least in the short-term prospects, as losses can be much more serious than gains. However, minor powers, relying on the formal and informal support of a mighty ally and having less special obligations and responsibility before the international community than great powers can even go as far as provoke China militarily to strengthen their grip over the disputed islands. The situation becomes even more complicated with the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which stipulates the US support for Philippines in case of military conflict. The agreement does not mean that the United States is obliged to provide support to the Philippines in the event of a military conflict in the disputed islands, but on the other hand, Washing-

8 InFocus

ton obviously expands its military presence in the region. Moreover, on October 2012, the US and Philippine officials confirmed that Subic Bay - a natural harbor 80 km north of Manila that was the US 7th Fleet’s home until 1992 - is going to be playing a much larger role in US Pacific Fleet deployments from now on. The reality is that in case of any kind of military confrontation between Philippines and China, the United States will face a very difficult choice. Firstly, they may stay away - and then, perhaps, they will be legally right. However, such behavior can seriously affect the US’ image in the region, as it will create a precedent when the United States does not support its military ally (even if it is not bound to do so). The second alternative is not much better – the use of force against China or even the threat of use of force will lead to unpredictable and catastrophic consequences, not only for the powers involved, but for the whole world as this would be the first major clash between the two nuclear powers since the end of the Cold War. The possibility of China using force or threatening the smaller states is also

“ Now China may be

considered the third naval power after the United States and Russia, if not in absolute terms, but in terms of the existing potential and shipbuilding capabilities. ” almost non-existent as Beijing is not interested in a military conflict which could hamper its economic growth and lead to a political isolation of the growing superpower. Therefore, China can find itself in a very difficult position as evasion from provocations and potential threats will mean “shimian” (lose of face) and weak-

ening of its influence in the region.

Finally, what we have to deal with? The Asia Pacific region is gradually moving from the rear of international politics and economy to its vanguard. The region experiences escalating conflicts, aggravated by the interests of third parties, and the arms race, especially in naval arms. South China Sea becomes an ideal platform to measure swords. In fact it has everything to give it the maximum importance in the eyes of the opposing powers: energy, trade routes and strategic chokepoint. It’s really an ideal Mahanian strategic location in terms of maritime power. Today the probability of a serious military conflict is relatively low. It is unlikely that China or the US consider it a priority of their policies in the region. However local collisions are rather probable. Moreover, relations between two great powers may become strained in the long-term prospective. But even under those conditions, China is unlikely to strike first. Rather, following the traditional Chinese strategic thought, it will be waiting for a fair wind to win the battle in this area without a fight. It is still unclear which way the wind will blow, but we all know that if necessary China may wait for thousands of years. Garrison, Jean A. China and the Energy Equation in Asia. Colorado: FirstForumPress, 2009 Raghavan, V.R. Emerging Challenges to Energy Security in the Asia Pacific. Chennai: Centre for Security Analysis, 2010 Sakhuja, Vijay. Asian Maritime Power in the 21st Century. Strategic Transaction, China, India and Southeast Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011

Elena Domashneva is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Security with concentrations in China and East Asia and Defense and Security Economics


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InFocus 9


CURRENT AFFAIRS

Recreational Marijuana in the US: Reopening the legalisation debate in Mexico

T

he week after the 2012 US presidential election was covered by the Mexican media in a very unusual way. Normally the debates oscillate around the elected president’s approach on economic and immigration policy. Yet, the Mexican media and academic circles are not as interested in Obama’s victorytheir attention is on the results of Colorado and Washington referendum in legalising recreational marijuana. While many analysts have argued that these developments will not have any effect on the power of Mexican drug cartels, it cannot, however, be seen as a minor referendum result. What the Colorado and Washington referendum results have caused is a reopening of the debate about the national strategy against drug trafficking in Mexico. Beyond the indirect or direct positive or negative impacts that this new legalisation may have on Mexican cartels and their power, this development necessarily implies a shift not only of Mexico’s drug trafficking policies but also on the way in which we understand and imagine the long celebrated anti-drug bilateral relations with the US. Drug trafficking is not a new phenomenon in the Americas nor is the “war on drugs” discourse in the US. For several decades the US government has emphasised the importance of fighting drugs not only domestically but also at the regional level. Drug trafficking has been conceptualised as an illegal transnational economic transaction driven by the ‘invisible market forces’ of demand and supply. Reducing drug trafficking to a simple economic transaction - despite its illegality - implies that drug trafficking can be addressed by effectively controlling the supply and demand of drugs. As a result, there are clear discrepancies between how this so-called “war on drugs” is fought and how it is experienced in the 10 InFocus

María Elena HERNÁNDEZ DOMÍNGUEZ US and in Latin America. Drug-producing and drug-trafficking countries have experienced increasing levels of violence and a constant threat to stability and good governance, often adopting militarization to fight against the powerful drug cartels. On the other hand, the US, the main drugconsuming country in the world, has been successful in criminalising consumption but has not been efficient in decreasing it. Moreover, the economic reductionism of the drug trade results in overseeing its intrinsic social aspects and social consequences including those who get caught in the middle of the “war”. Long ago, Mexico’s drug policies were quite different. During the Cárdenas administration, Mexico did not criminalise drug consumers and they were treated as substance addicts. The Mexican government provided the drugs themselves to avoid the addicts falling in the hands of the cartels who, even if they were not as powerful back then, did indeed exist. As drug consumption in the US kept on

rising, the American government pressured Mexico and other Latin countries to change their drug policies, often towards militarization. Despite the fact that the US has been the main advocate of a militarization approach to drug trafficking, it is clear that US war on drugs and drug policy is only applicable South of the border. We don’t see any militarization in the US even when it has been said that drug

“After six years of violence and over 50,000 people murdered in drug-related violence, the Colorado and Washington referendum is opening new

lines of debate in Mexico

PHOTO: GRUPO REFORMA/WIKICOMMONS/CC


PHOTO:U.S CONGRESS, COMITEE OF FOREIGN RELATIONS /WIKICOMMONS/CC

CURRENT AFFAIRS

dealers operate in over 200 towns in the country. What we did see during the last election, though, is a major shift in drug policies in the US with the referendum approval of the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado and Washington D.C. While the legalisation of marijuana in only two states might appear to be insignificant, it loudly resonates in Mexico’s current violent reality as a major shift in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. Cocaine is the main export and source of revenue for Mexican cartels, whereas legalizing marijuana in two states might not represent relative high profit loses. However, talk of legalization (regardless of its impact) and narcotics opened a long-ago dismissed Pandora’s Box in Mexico. Throughout the past six years, suggesting drug legalization in Mexico was simply dismissed on the basis that, since Mexico is not the ultimate consumer, legalizing drugs would not necessarily have an impact unless the consumer countries adopted the same policy. Academic and political circles in Mexico regularly agreed that not only would legalization be inefficient, but it would also harm bilateral relations with the US. The idea that the US would ever legalize any type of narcotic for recreational purposes was simply unimaginable. In Colorado, the votes in favour of legalizing marijuana were higher than

any of those obtained by the presidential candidates. It wouldn’t be surprising that other states that already allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes will soon consider expanding its legality to recreational purposes. It is unlikely that legalization will be extended to other narcotics, but something that everyone is suspected

“...the celebrated US-Mexico bilateral partnership and compromise in fighting drugs

is nothing but a nice myth

is finally clear: the celebrated US-Mexico bilateral partnership and compromise in fighting drugs is nothing but a nice myth. Whether it is in reducing consumption, controlling arms, or launching controversial covert operations, Washington’s drug agenda is not in sync with that of Mexico City. Drugs are expensive commodities; they attract a lot of people in Mexico who, in the past decade, have been marginalized as a result of bad economic policies. Mexican society voiced their inconformity, fear, and exhaustion with Mr. Calderón Hinojosa’s militarization approach in the last election. After six years of violence and over 50,000 people murdered in drug-

related violence, the Colorado and Washington referendum is opening new lines of debate in Mexico. It is unfortunate that this event coincided with the last two weeks of Mr. Calderón Hinojosa’s presidency; these are not Calderon’s deaths but everyone’s because a large part of the population has been marked by violence. The problem of drug trafficking in Mexico had to be addressed, but two weeks before a new government, many were asking themselves: “was militarization really the only way?” Drug related violence is very present in the average Mexican conscience, especially in the North. As the new government takes office on December 1st, the majority of Mexicans are waiting to see how the war on drugs might change. Mr. Peña Nieto enters office with a great challenge: a highly divided country, a strong opposition from a sector of the divided left and unprecedented social problems. However, this is Mr. Peña Nieto’s chance to prove his critics wrong and see the recent developments in Colorado and Washington as a great opportunity to redesign and re-imagine the bilateral relation with the US in the combat against drug trafficking. María Elena Hernández Domínguez is a graduate student in International Public Management specialising in Global Risks and International Energy at PSIA InFocus 11


CURRENT AFFAIRS

The Near East and the End of Territories Riccardo DUGULIN

I

n 1995, Bertrand Badie coined the concept of ‘la fin des territoires’, which may loosely be translated as: the end of territories. In a time when the fall of the Berlin Wall and the self-destruction of the Soviet system strongly influenced the way intellectuals and analysts approached international relations, the above mentioned theory challenged the classic understanding of international organization based on interactions between states. In the view of Dr. Badie, three characteristics visible in the 1990s led to the ‘end of territories’: the socio-economic globalization, the fall of a bipolar order and the net increase of failed states and non-state actors. The effect of such a theory has been the development of an intellectual framework in which state actors would no longer be considered as the only players within the international chessboard. From financial institutions to terrorist movements and from religious organizations to aid groups, actors with weak or no state links have prospered and substantially altered the international power equation. Nevertheless a number of events cur-

Hezbollah Flag in Syria 12 InFocus

rently taking place in the Near East have prompted press analysts, researchers and policy makers to fundamentally reconsider the assumptions that had become the bases of post-Cold War strategic thinking. The starting point of this reasoning may be found in the bloodied land of Syria, theater of an ongoing and worsening civil conflict and proxy war. Theorizing the end of territories and the decline of state power implicitly refers to a weakening control and role of borders. In a global order, or disorder, where non-state actors play an increasingly pertinent part in the overall power equation, the crossing of national borders may no longer be considered as an essential part of international rivalries. The Syrian crisis does highlight a different side of reality, and this for three reasons. The first characteristic of the evolving Syrian conflict can be seen by the importance given to the borders surrounding Syria and more precisely those of Turkey and Lebanon. As the violence is worsening, the re-

gions close to Syria are experiencing a renewal of old realities: inter-state power plays and the development of politically motivated smuggling networks. As for the first argument, the tensions between Ankara and Damascus are instrumental in understanding the growing role governments and borders are playing in this crisis. Small units of anti-government rebels are no longer the only opponents to Bashar Al Assad’s power. The high rate of exchanges of artillery fire between Turkish and Syrian armies represent a turning point in the Syrian crisis. At the beginning of October, the world held its breath over the possible conflagration of the Near East as an international war that has been close to exploding. Since 1973, no regional power has seen it fit to engage in a full frontal conflict with one of its state adversaries and this due to two factors: on one hand the balance of power was such that it was in no one’s interest to attempt such an adventure, and on the other hand the use of proxy terrorist groups was considered a preferable option for achieving strategic goals. This second point concerning the use of terrorist organizations is taking an interesting spin in the Near Eastern crisis. If up until 2006 the major local terrorist organizations, namely Hezbollah and Hamas, may at best have been regarded as powerful militias acting as sub-state groups, since the Hamas political victories in January 2006 and the Hezbollah led campaign against Israel in the summer of 2006, these two movements effectively took up a state-like apparatus. This is increasingly visible through the ongoing political and military changes that both the Hezbollah and Hamas are undergoing in order to adapt to the varying balance of power in the region. In respect to the Syrian crisis, the role of Hezbollah is instrumental to understand the resounding change in the use of political violence in Lebanon and Syria. Today

PHOTO: UPYERNOZ/WIKICOMMONS/CC


CURRENT AFFAIRS

PHOTO:ORTHUBERRA/WIKICOMMONS/CC

Hamas Flag

inside Syria. In addition to that, both Gulf Monarchies understand that their help is needed in order to curb Iranian interests in the Near East, which are today openly protected by a number of Iranian military forces present in Syria and Lebanon. If in the 1990s the end of the Cold War may have led an ensemble of researchers and strategic thinkers to think of the world order as undeniably altered and the role of states clearly weakened, the current Syrian crisis may tend to highlight the resurgence of a new aspect of state power. The control and use of borders, the support of armed groups and the increased diplomatic pressure on international organizations are only a few means of realpolitik Middle Eastern power houses such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran are attempting to use in order to shift the Syrian civil war toward their own governmental interests.

Riccardo Dugulin holds a Masters degree from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and is specialized in International Security. He is currently working in Paris for a Medical and Security Assistance company. He has worked for a number of leading think tanks in Washington DC, Dubai and Beirut.

A Free Syrian Army member prepares to fight with a tank whose crew defected from government forces in al-Qsair

PHOTO: FREEDOMHOUSE/WIKICOMMONS/CC

the Shi’a militia is a full-fledged ruling political party in Lebanon and uses part of its power and legitimacy to limit the ability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to seal its border with Syria, retaliate against Syrian attacks, and limit cross border violence. Direct rivals and supporters of the Al Assad regime are now openly using state structures and international borders to effectively change the nature of the ongoing Syrian conflict, shifting it back to a pre“end of territories” strategic issue. A second aspect pointing to the role played by international powers and Syrian borders may be found in the open diplomatic confrontation between the United States and Russia over a possible way to resolve the crisis. The US establishment and diplomatic apparatus have, in the last twelve months, led a frontal campaign at the United Nations with the attempt to gain the legal right of setting humanitarian safe areas and a no-fly zone over the Syrian territory. Such a strategy, similar to the one used in Libya, would effectively push for military operations bypassing Syrian borders. On the other hand, the Russian government sticks to its diplomatic line of non-interference, while providing logistical support to the Syrian Arab Army. This political standoff leads to a strategic impasse evoking the centrality of governmental decisions in this crisis. After the beginning of the TurkeySyrian shelling in early October, the first direction international commentators looked to was Brussels and its forthcoming NATO summit. The increased attention paid to Moscow’s statements and Washington’s debates further highlights the role played by national decision making processes. The third point to be stressed in regard to the Syrian crisis is certainly the most controversial. The increased presence of

international non-state actors, under the form of irregular fighters, is greatly changing the nature of the Syrian conflict. Starting as a homegrown revolt, the civil war is evolving into a proxy war where jihadist elements from the region’s top adversaries of Al Assad rule are taking part in major operations deep inside the Syrian territory. At a first glance such a situation may tend to point to the consolidation of the “rise of non-state actors” theory, nevertheless the logistics and structure of this reality are such that these elements may no longer be considered as simple nonstate actors. The overt Qatari support received by Sunni radical elements, both through military material and financial aid, is progressively providing the armed fundamentalist opposition groups with the ability to wage a campaign against regime forces. It is an ability they wouldn’t have without the direct help given by Emir Al Thani. In addition to that, Saudi Arabia has been stepping up its arms shipments to Islamists inside Syria. European and American made weapons are now in the hands of Syrian opposition forces due to the transit hub found in the Saudi Kingdom. The state competition between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are likely to be the driving forces between the stepped up efforts to arm and influence Sunni forces

InFocus 13


Dossier LA FRANCE AU MALI: IL FAUT EN FINIR AVEC L’HYPOCRISIE

OUTSOURCING OCCUPATION

FREE SPEECH ARBITRATOS IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET

GEOENGINEERING: FROM IDEA TO REALITY

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC DISUNION

WHY CYBERINTERVENTION IS JUST NOT ENOUGH

IS THE WASHINGTON CONCENSUS DEAD?

GEORGIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS: THE STATE OF DEMOCRACY IN EASTERN EUROPE

PHOTO: CHILDREN IN KOREA, 1951/ MAJ. R.V. SPENCER, UAF (NAVY). U.S. ARMY KOREA - INSTALLATION MANAGEMENT COMMAND. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION/ WIKICOMMONS/CC


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La France au Mali: Il faut en finir avec l’hypocrisie Depuis des mois,l’hypothèse d’une intervention militaire africaine au Nord-Mali se précise. La France, acteur récurrent des crises de l’Afrique sub-saharienne, se propose d’y participer mais de manière effacée et discrète. Selon Victor-Manuel VA L L I N , une position hypocrite et contre-productive.

Le 11 janvier 2013, la France lance une vaste opération militaire, visant à engager la reconquête du Nord-Mali. Cet article a été édigé bien avant ces événements, et est publié afin de souligner la prégnance de ce dossier pour Paris.

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a crise malienne s’est imposée comme étant la principale préoccupation du président François Hollande en matière de politique étrangère. L’inquiétude des autorités françaises est grande quant à la constitution d’un sanctuaire terroriste au Sahel menaçant directement l’Europe. Si la France refuse d’assumer le premier rôle dans une future intervention militaire au Mali, elle se dit prête à apporter un soutien logistique aux forces africaines de la Communauté Economique Des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) qui assureraient

PHOTO: ORIONIST, EVZOB, WHISPERTOME/WIKICOMMONS/CC

16 InFocus

l’essentiel de l’opération. Une position hypocrite qu’il convient d’éclaircir. A la suite de l’insurrection et du coup d’Etat du début de l’année 2012, l’occupation du Nord-Mali par des éléments d’Al-Qaïda au Maghreb Islamique (AQMI), du Mouvement pour l’Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) et des Touaregs islamistes d’Ansar Eddine, a achevé de plonger le Mali dans une crise où les négociations ont rapidement montré leurs limites. Depuis l’été 2012 et la destruction des mausolées de Tombouctou, patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO, par les combattants jihadistes, le discours interventionniste de Paris s’est consolidé. La situation sur le terrain s’est aggravée par une application stricte de la Charia, la loi coranique, imposée par les jihadistes aux habitants du Nord Mali, pourtant connus pour leur pratique modérée de l’Islam. La France s’inquiète légitimement car la crise malienne la concerne au premier plan. La crise combine les problématiques liées au terrorisme, qui ont violemment resurgi avec l’affaire Merah, et celles des crises de l’Afrique sub-sahariennes que Paris connait bien pour en avoir toujours été un acteur en tant qu’ancienne puissance coloniale. Rajoutons à cela qu’AQMI détient six otages français dans la région, qu’elle désigne explicitement la France comme sa cible principale depuis la création du

mouvement, et on comprend pourquoi Paris plaide pour une intervention le plus rapidement possible au Nord-Mali. Or c’est bien là que les problèmes se posent puisque les autorités françaises se sont pour ainsi dire autocensurées dans leur action pour contrer les accusations de néo-colonialisme, systématiques dès qu’on évoque l’activisme militaire de la France en Afrique. Paris a posé comme condition sine qua non à son implication qu’elle ne soit pas en première ligne dans l’intervention, mais simplement en appui des forces africaines qui doivent être les vrais acteurs de la reconquête du NordMali. Après d’intenses efforts diplomatiques, la France a poussé à l’adoption de la Résolution 2071 à l’ONU le 12 octobre dernier : cette résolution donne quarantecinq jours à la CEDEAO pour établir un plan d’intervention militaire détaillé avant qu’un second texte soit voté, autorisant le recours à la force pour reprendre le Nord-Mali aux combattants jihadistes. Le plan adopté début novembre par la CEDEAO prévoit le déploiement d’une force multinationale appelée « Micéma » (Mission de la Cédéao au Mali) composée de 3300 hommes et se déroulant en trois phases: stabilisation du sud du pays rétablissant les institutions gouvernementales à Bamako et les capacités de l’armée malienne, une offensive vers le nord pour reprendre notamment les villes de Gao, Tombouctou et Kidal, enfin le maintien de la paix dans le nord sur le long-terme.1 Côté français, les autorités gouvernementales n’ont cessé de réitérer leur volonté d’être en retrait dans le dossier, et répéter que la France joue simplement « un rôle de facilitateur » dans les termes du Ministère des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius, excluant une présence au sol ou de l’appui aérien. Concrètement ce rôle a pris plusieurs formes: missions de formation auprès de l’armée malienne ainsi qu’aux troupes de la CEDEAO et assurées par les différentes forces françaises présentes au Sahel, détachement de quatre


officiers au siège de l’organisation ouestafricaine pour appuyer la planification opérationnelle2, et un intense lobbying auprès des alliés européens pour aboutir à une mission d’assistance militaire de l’Union européenne au Mali (EUTM European Union training Mission in Mali) dont les contours sont vagues. La France revendique d’ailleurs le leadership en Europe sur ce dossier et une « responsabilité d’initiative » par la voix de son Ministre de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian.3 Dans son interview du 11 octobre dernier à RFI, France 24 et TV5, François Hollande a clairement exprimé la responsabilité de la France en posant: « nous avons deux devoirs: libérer nos otages et libérer le Mali du terrorisme ». Pourquoi dire que la position française est hypocrite alors ? Parce que la CEDEAO n’a absolument pas les moyens de mener cette opération sans un sérieux appui français (voir américain), bien au delà du « rôle de facilitateur » ou d’un soutient logistique. Tout d’abord, une fois le feu vert de l’ONU obtenu, le déploiement de la Micéma devrait prendre de quatre à six mois si on en croit les informations de Radio France Internationale4; c’est un temps précieux qui ne peut profiter qu’aux jihadistes du Nord-Mali. Cependant le problème le plus grave concerne la qualité des forces de la CEDEAO. Quelques pays seulement se disent prêts à fournir des troupes, au devant desquels le Nigéria qui dispose de la première armée de la région mais qui a déjà fort à faire sur son territoire contre la rébellion des islamistes de Boko Haram. Même situation pour les forces sénégalaises qui sont occu-

pées prioritairement dans la région de la Casamance. La Côte d’Ivoire reconstitue quant à elle son armée après dix ans de crise politico-militaire alors que les forces tchadiennes sont tristement célèbres pour leur indiscipline au combat et leur mépris des droits de l’homme. Les troupes de la CEDEAO n’ont pas l’entraînement ni le matériel pour mener une guerre de reconquête qui s’annonce difficile si les jihadistes décident de s’éparpiller dans la région à la manière des insurgés afghans. Ce que les Occidentaux n’ont pas réussi à faire en dix ans en Afghanistan ne pourra jamais être accompli par les armées africaines au Mali sans un lourd soutien français, avec des forces spéciales et de l’appui aérien. Prétendre le contraire est fallacieux. En réalité la France avance ses pions au Sahel depuis déjà plusieurs mois. Le quotidien français Le Figaro a récemment révélé qu’une centaine de membres de ses forces spéciales ont été déployées dans la région et seront renforcées en nombre et en matériel, notamment des quelques drones dont dispose Paris. En réalité les forces françaises sont déjà déployées de manière permanente ou ponctuelle dans la plupart des pays de la région, au Burkina Faso, au Niger, au Tchad, au Sénégal, en Côte d’Ivoire... avec des moyens spécialisés: hélicoptères de combat, de transport, avions de reconnaissance, trois chasseurs Mirage 2000D et un Mirage F1CR spécialisés justement dans les frappes aériennes et la reconnaissance . Tous ces moyens pour un soutien purement logistique ? L’argument ne tient pas la route. Il est compréhensible que Paris sou-

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haite faire profil bas au sujet de son activisme militaire dans le Sahel ; la vie des six otages a été explicitement menacée par AQMI en cas d’intervention et les bruyantes critiques sur le néo-colonialisme français en Afrique sont une réalité qui entrave la lisibilité de la politique étrangère de la France. Pour autant les autorités africaines n’ont pas exclu Paris du règlement militaire de la crise malienne: Paris s’est exclue elle-même de manière unilatérale, et nous l’avons vu, hypocrite. Tout comme le président Hollande a reconnu que la France ne pouvait se faire dicter sa conduite par des groupes terroristes qui utilisent les otages comme monnaie d’échange, le gouvernement français devrait maintenant reconnaître qu’il se prépare si nécessaire à lancer des opérations de vive force contre AQMI et les autres jihadistes présents au Sahel, tout spécialement au Nord-Mali. L’hypocrisie serait levée, la position française clarifiée et réaffirmée. Quant aux accusations de néo-colonialisme, il faut avoir leur courage de les ignorer, à moins de vouloir que la crise malienne dure indéfiniment.

Photo:Les rebelles du groupe islamiste Ansar-Dine Victor-Manuel Vallin est étudiant en première année de master à la PSIA en International Security et il se spécialise dans les questions militaires et stra-

Olivier Berger (7 novembre 2012), Mali: les chefs d’état-

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major de la Cédéao ont définit un plan d’intervention pour la reconquête du Nord. Disponible sur: http://defense. blogs.lavoixdunord.fr/archive/2012/11/07/mali-les-chefsd-etat-major-de-la-cedeao-ont-defini-un-plan.html Jean-Dominique Merchet (28 octobre 2012), Mali: le

PHOTO: ANNE LOOK A VOICEOFAMERICA/WIKICOMMONS/CC

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point sur l’engagement miliaire français. Disponible sur: http://www.marianne.net/blogsecretdefense/Mali-le-pointsur-engagement-militaire-francais_a811.html Le Ministre de la Défense français, interrogé par 20min-

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utes: (2 octobre 2012) « Chaque semaine perdue fait le jeu des terroristes » disponible sur http://www.20minutes. fr/monde/1014817-chaque-semaine-perdue-fait-jeuterroristes (27 septembre 2012), « Mali: l’envoie d’une force

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internationale pourrait prendre des mois » disponible sur: http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20120927-envoi-une-forceafricaine-mali-pourrait-prendre-mois

InFocus 17


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Ou tso urcing O c c u p a t i on What are the stakes when the private sector intervenes in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Karina PISER explains.

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he 2004 Taguba report, which detailed the heinous acts of torture that occurred at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq, shed light on the inherent risks of outsourced military security. Though the human rights abuses in Iraq were not limited to private security actors, the Abu Ghraib incident, coupled with reports of civilian deaths at the hands of private contractors, revealed the dangers of unaccountable military force.1 Private military corporations (PMCs) are profit-driven organizations that specialize in warfare and security needs including tactical operations, strategic planning and analysis, operational support and military technical assistance.2 These corporate entities provide governments with a widerange of military capabilities that exist outside bureaucratic limitations, and present a complex challenge to state actors; PMCs both compliment and negate government autonomy and force us to question what their presence means for the Weberian state “monopoly over force.” Though 9/11 and the subsequent war in Iraq yielded an increased reliance on private security, the use of PMCs is not unique to the American-led War on Terror. The end of the Cold War served as an “immediate catalyst”3 for private military entities. The emergence of new security threats after 1989, many of which were ethnic or internal in nature, presented a challenge for state actors who were not accustomed to the development of local warlords, terrorists, drug cartels and criminal networks that create a climate of constant instability. The post-Cold War era also heralded in a period of military downsizing, leaving many former service members looking for work; an estimated 70 percent of the former KGB integrated into the private industry. This shift, coupled with massive amounts of arms entering the market, created a new demand for non-state threat management amidst a global political climate in which states were less willing to intervene in external conflicts to restore stability. PMCs thus exploded as a mechanism to fill this void, 18 InFocus

presenting themselves as highly specialized, cost-effective alternatives to state intervention that were skilled in utilizing emerging technologies.4 Furthermore, the emergence and increased legitimacy of private military entities is not unexpected amidst an increasing global reliance on economic rationalism that emphasizes small government and private industry; PMCs can be viewed as a mere extension of widespread privatization into the military domain. Though extensive research exists on the American use of PMCs in Iraq and on the role of private security in combat situations, PMC use in territorial occupations has received less attention. There are numerous reasons why a government might contract services to private actors to do their “dirty work” for them, particularly in effectuating an already controversial and precariously supported policy, as was true of the Iraq war. Similarly, the Israeli occupation presents a telling case study in understanding the widespread use of PMCs. Accounts in newspapers and reports from Israeli and Palestinian NGOs point to a growing PMC presence in the West Bank and Gaza, particularly in areas surrounding Israeli settlements that are often secured by “security guards” not necessarily tied to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). PMC action in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) distinguishes itself from other instances in that the West Bank and Gaza are not traditional combat zones in legally declared wars.5 PMC presence in these areas, then, represents the outsourcing of a military occupation with already dubious legality and deserves academic attention. It is not difficult to argue why PMC presence in the oPT is problematic. As an occupying force, the Israeli government is legally required to protect individuals in its territories. Contracted security, then, creates space for violations and destroys accountability, diminishing the Israeli government’s responsibility to advance the peace process. Outsourcing IDF responsibilities to private actors reinvents

the Occupation by presenting an opportunity to recreate abusive policies without legal repercussions.6 IDF-run checkpoints, for example, have been identified as humiliating spaces, characterized by invasive searches that lack legal basis. Some argue they exist solely to disrupt the flow of Palestinian life, rendering basic movement so cumbersome that many residents of the oTP become confined to occupied zones. It is not surprising, then, that officers clad in uniforms bearing no resemblance to those of the IDF have been reported to be manning terminals from Jenin to Tulkarem and Khan Younes to Rafah. These officers operate in legal limbo, distant from the justice system or the military chain of command, enabling Israeli officials to turn a blind eye to crimes they may commit. Reported PMC activity is not limited to checkpoints. Numerous accounts of private officers surrounding Israeli settlements point to the way in which outsourced security facilitates lawlessness and exacerbates the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In 2010, Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Israeli settlers threatening to use private security companies to evict four Palestinian families if they did not leave their homes in East Jerusalem’s contested Silwan neighborhood. The families were residing in the Beit Yonatan structure, illegally constructed by Israeli settlers in a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood. Settlers put pressure on government officials to evict the Palestinians but their request was denied, identified as unfeasible due to “political constraints.” 7 Here, PMCs were directly invoked to bypass state limitations, enabling settlers themselves to operate lawlessly. The context of the settlements only cements the exceptional space private actors create; their activities, immune from state regulation, occur in a zone that international legislation already deems illegal. American, Israeli and European companies provide a range of services to settlements in Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank that the United Nations


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Village of Silwan below Mount Zion

“ PMC’s intervention in the Palestinian-Israeli conPHOTO:GILABRAND/ WIKICOMMONS/CC

flict...should be criticized as a perpetuating mechanism of a conflict that seriously impedes regional stability

and the rule of law.

considers illegal. A Denmark-based investigative organization, DanWatch, reported on ISS, a Danish company that operates in settlements in the Golan Heights and West Bank and offers services ranging from cleaning to security. The broad range of private services gives company employees a sense of distance from the conflict. Company spokesperson Kenth Kaerhog claimed that ISS does “not operate in conflict areas”, a claim that reveals the complexity of private military action in zones that are not in a declared state of war. In decreasing the Israeli military’s profile in illegal territories, however, private companies normalize settlements. Earlier this year, settlers took over an East Jerusalem house in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood, with the court-authorized assistance of private security forces. The seizure of Palestinian-owned property marked the beginning of a broader takeover of the neighborhood, notably the expansion of the Ma’ale Zeitim settlement. The Interior Ministry’s use of private security actors directly facilitated this expansion. The government’s reaction, faced with growing security concerns for settler communities, is not to reconsider the settlements entirely but to step outside the public sector, enabling them to avoid criticism. International security companies have also facilitated an increasing privatization of Israel’s prison system. The BritishDanish G4S, the world’s largest international security company, reportedly provided assistance for the Ketziot and Megiddo prisons, two facilities notorious for holding Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli territory and thus in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Conven-

tion, which prohibits prisoner transfer outside their country of nationality. Despite international pressure on Israel to cease such unlawful acts, unjust imprisonment persists, made possible in part by the 2007 contract between G4S and the Israeli Prison Authority. Israeli Prison Service statistics from earlier this year reveal that of 4,706 prisoners detained inside Israel, 285 were held in administrative detention without charge or trial. Prisoners, many of whom are children, are rarely granted family visits. When confronted with allegations by the British government, G4S officials claimed to have not violated any international regulations: the Geneva Convention applies exclusively to signatory states, not private companies. With the growth of PMCs, this sad reality could decrease international law’s authority in regulating conflict and military operations. The ease with which Israeli authorities can obfuscate their role in evading international law and violating human rights is unsustainable. PMC’s intervention in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must not be overlooked as a benign enforcement tool, but should be criticized as a perpetuating mechanism of a conflict that seriously impedes regional stability and the rule of law. PMC presence in the oPT is a symptom of a growing trend in privatized industry that has empirically generated bad press, and Israeli officials should operate with caution before continuing to contract military services to private actors. PMCs are problematic even from a utilitarian perspective: unlike state actors, private companies are profit-driven and see no incentive to serve the public good. This distinction alone creates the possibil-

ity for less effective services due to potentially lower standards for recruitment criteria and equipment. Furthermore, PMC deployment in conjunction with IDF presence risks confusion and overlap, hindering efficiency. These shortcomings are not intended to bolster the argument for expanding the number of Israeli soldiers securing settlements or for increasing the number of state-run checkpoints. Israeli decision-makers should, however, take note of the dangers of privatizing the occupation.8 Karina Piser is studying International Security at PSIA, with concentrations in Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa Burlas, Joe. “Taguba faults leadership for Iraqi detainee abuse,” Army News Service, May 12, 2004. 2 Singer, Peter (2001/02) “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry and Its Ramifications for International Security”, International Security, 26 (3), 186-220. 3 Singer, Peter. 4 Singer, Peter. 5 Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (PHPCR), Policy Brief, “Private Security Companies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT): An International Humanitarian Law Perspective,” March 2008. 6 Levy, Daniel, “A more private occupation,” Ha’aretz, April 11, 2008 http://www.haaretz.com/ print-edition/opinion/a-more-private-occupation-1.243793. 7 Hasson, Nir. “Settlers threaten to forcibly evict East Jerusalem Palestinians,” Ha’aretz, June 23, 2010. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/ settlers-threaten-to-forcibly-evict-east-jerusalempalestinians-1.297871. 8 Nandy, Lisa. “How G4S helps Israel break the Geneva Convention,” The New Statesman, September 30, 2012, http://www.newstatesman.com/ blogs/politics/2012/09/how-g4s-helps-israel-breakgeneva-convention. 1

InFocus 19


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F ree Speech A rb i t ra t ors in t he Age of th e In t e rn e t Jessica WHITE looks at the issues surrounding the internet’s role as a stage for government and coroporate control, and what happens when these giants begin to flex their muscles

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he Internet offers a powerful space for free expression and participation, and holds huge potential for development. Innovative uses of information and communication technologies

“The challenges of guaranteeing free speech in an open online public space are getting increasingly complex, especially when such a public space is owned by a small number of powerful private corporations.

have expanded internet usage and connectivity, bringing access to information that governments have long sought to censor. But it also introduces a complex tension between encouraging technological innovation and ensuring that fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of expression are not misused or compromised. The ease with which certain types of information can be transmitted internationally over the internet can pose a threat and put added pressure on governments to manage potential backlashes. When a bigoted crook from California posted the amateurish video ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on YouTube, it sparked violent protests across the Middle East and drew severe condemnation from the United Nations 20 InFocus

secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who warned in his statement on 19 September that ‘when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.’ These recent events added fuel to a heated debate over the role that governments must play in protecting freedom of expression, and to what extent they can and should regulate potentially dangerous and inflammatory ‘hate speech.’ But they also reveal the role that web platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter play in regulating online content, even in a country like the United States where free speech is given the most protection among Western countries under its First Amendment. Faced with the escalating reactions to the YouTube video, the White House requested Google (which owns YouTube) to review its guidelines to determine whether the video breached its terms of

PHOTO:SHERIF9282/WIKICOMMONS/CC

use. While this was not a formal ban, and Google declined to take the video offline in the United States, it did block access to it in Egypt and Libya, a decision that Google claimed stemmed from the ‘very sensitive situations’ in those countries, and not because the White House requested it. This decision disturbed many civil liberty advocates, causing critics to slate Google for censoring access to certain viewers. This controversy shows to what extent large corporations controlling these web-based platforms not only face strong pressures by governments to censor or monitor users, but how they also have the power to act on their own initiative based on politically sensitive situations. In this way, if the most obvious form of censorship comes from direct government intervention, such as legislation banning certain forms of speech, these ‘intermediary’ internet platforms may act as new mechanisms for regulation and potential


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PHOTO: FAN YANG/WIKICOMMONS/CC

censorship in their own terms. Indeed, internet platforms must face the difficult challenge of playing a ‘balancing act’ between upholding basic hu-

“...large corporations controlling these web-based platforms not only face strong pressures by governments to censor or

monitor users, but ... also have the power to act on their own initiative based on politically sensitive situations.

man rights and complying with country legislation. Countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom, among many others, prohibit some forms of ‘hate speech,’ although each country defines the term differently. Google and Facebook have had to adapt to these laws, under the scrutiny of both the governments and free speech activists. Even Twitter, known for playing a pivotal role in the Arab Spring, recently embarked on this transition as news came out about its decision to block a neo-Nazi account in Germany. As it explained on its website: ‘With hundreds of millions of Tweets posted every day around the world, our goal is to respect our users’ expression, while also taking into consid-

eration applicable local laws’1. In compliance with such country legislation, Nazi propaganda, for example, can be found on Google.com but not Google.de, the site designed for use in Germany, where such hate speech is banned. The task remains a challenging one as internet platforms must now play a key intermediary role in acting on what deserves protection and what should be banned. The complicity of web-based platforms in complying with government legislation and regulating free speech is even more problematic when faced with pressures from authoritarian regimes that do not uphold basic human rights, as it raises a critical question of corporate social responsibility. In countries such as China, foreign internet companies must comply with China’s rigid censorship rules before being allowed to operate inside the country. This means that companies may be obliged to limit the open flow of information and jeopardize freedom of expression in order to comply with government demands. In January 2010, Google took a bold stance by shutting down its mainland Chinese search service, google.cn, as it moved its offices and servers to Hong Kong, beyond the reach of Chinese censorship laws. This decision drew praise from human rights groups, who commended Google for standing up for its principles, while Chinese officials accused Google of violating its written promise by stopping filtering its searching service, even though Chinese firewalls are still able to censor results. However, while rights group such as Reporters without Borders encouraged

other internet companies to follow this move, not many commercial companies are prepared to turn their backs on the world’s biggest internet market. The challenges of guaranteeing free speech in an open online public space are getting increasingly complex, especially when such a public space is owned by a small number of powerful private corporations. The YouTube video controversy highlighted how much of the world’s information is concentrated in the hands of these privately-owned intermediary platforms who may take decisions on banning content based on their own arbitrations. This nebulous balancing act between free speech and compliance with domestic legislation and the sometimes blurry distinctions between ‘free speech’ and ‘hate speech’ calls for clear and consistent guidelines to establish when content is removed or blocked from some viewers. As seen with Google’s stance on China, big corporations running Internet platforms might have to make equally serious decisions between commercial profit or upholding universally recognized rights to free expression, particularly when governments fail to respect these rights. 1. Twitter, www.twitter.com

Jessica White is a first-year Masters student at PSIA studying International Development, specializing in Human Rights and Africa

InFocus 21


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Geoengineering: From Idea to Reality Geoengineering is no longer an idea but a reality, and may well be a policy option for climate change in the near future. Hilary NORRIS explains how its utilisation raises considerable social, ethical and geopolitical issues, which its governance must take into account

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odification of our environments has been a central feature of human development. Throughout history we have altered and sought to master our surroundings, with considerable successes. But for how long will this sense of control last? Raising the topic of climate change evokes a succession of doomsday scenarios of unmanageable changes to the environment. Warning signs are increasingly well known; melting icecaps, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, extreme weather, and biodiversity loss are but a few of the indicators that the current state of the global environment is in trouble. Though actions to moderate climate change are under constant debate, the speed of the changes in the climate occur at an increasingly rapid rate and leave many worried about the possibility of reaching a tipping point in the near future, after which action will no longer be possible. With current efforts unable to address these concerns, the general outlook for the future is not optimistic. This bleak situation has led some to search for alternative strategies. Climate change itself may be considered a consequence of human modification of the environment; is it possible to use the same approach to solve this problem? Geoengineering proposes direct interventions in the environment in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Its proponents argue that the urgency of the current climatic situation necessitates such dramatic actions, but the ethical, geopolitical, and social implications of such interventions are considerable. Up until fairly recently, governments have been wary in seriously considering geoengineering as a climate policy option. Yet as demonstrated in the recent discovery of a geoengineering experiment in Canada, geoengineering is a reality. Especially considering its implications, how to govern geoengineering must be better understood. 22 InFocus

Not mere science fiction, but reality Geoengineering, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s environment in order to counteract greenhouse gas-induced climate change1, is done either through reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide removal) or by seeking to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth (solar radiation management). Proposals often sound like the stuff of science fiction – injecting sulphate particles into the atmosphere to mimic the atmospheric cooling effect of volcanoes, fertilizing the ocean with iron in order to enhance algal blooms (in order to stimulate photosynthesis and sequester

“...as humans are already altering the environment,

perhaps we should do it more intelligently... geoengineering may be a necessary risk, if it means avoiding some of these

consequences.

carbon from the atmosphere to the ocean floor), or even placing mirrors in space in order to deflect light from the sun – but their proponents hope they may be effective as an emergency measure in averting the worst impacts of climate change. While its role in the climate change policy debate is relatively new, the idea of geoengineering is not; ideas of weather modification date back to the 1830s, and the first US presidential briefing on climate change offered climate modification as a solution to the greenhouse effect in 1965.Though some studies on weather modification were undertaken during the

1970s–1990s, global climate change policy has focused on mitigation and the need for emissions controls, with geoengineering largely overlooked.2 Yet as global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rapidly increase and as governments have been largely unable to commit to reducing emissions in the face of energy and economic growth requirements, geoengineering is attracting more serious attention by scientists, policy makers, and other non-state actors. However, its use raises serious ethical, social, and geopolitical concerns.

A Risk Worth Taking? Unsurprisingly, the idea of intervening in the environment in such a drastic manner is controversial. Climate change itself can be seen as the unintended consequence of using technologies without fully understanding their effects on the environment; geoengineering proposes to solve climate change effects in a similar manner. Critics argue that the risks of unintended consequences make geoengineering a dangerous idea. The utilization of technologies that one does not fully understand seems to go against the precautionary principle, an integral component of sustainable development and environmental principles. Side effects of geoengineering projects, such as the impacts of ocean fertilization to biodiversity, or changes in weather patterns caused by solar geoengineering, are not well understood. Changing our habits, by reducing energy use and emissions production, and developing new energy sources, are widely considered to be the risk-free tactic to mitigating climate change. Advocates argue, however, that as humans are already altering the environment, perhaps we should do it more intelligently. Furthermore, as the likely results of inaction are so unpleasant, geoengineering may be a necessary risk, if it means avoiding some


GEOENGINEERING TAKES MANY FORMS. THE SPICE PROJECT PROPOSES THE SIMULATION OF NATURAL PROCESSES THAT RELEASE SMALL PARTICLES INTO THE STRATOSPHERE, WHICH THEN REFLECT A FEW PERCENT OF INCOMING SOLAR RADIATION, WITH THE EFFECT OF COOLING THE EARTH WITH

PHOTO:SHUGHHUNT/WIKICOMMONS/CC

RELATIVE SPEED

of these consequences.

Moral Hazard? Another major concern regarding geoengineering is the possibility of it creating a ‘moral hazard’ situation, in which policy makers see the short term problems of climate change avoided, and the incentive for traditional climate mitigation efforts of emissions reductions reduced. Indeed, geoengineering has been supported by those traditionally who typically oppose climate mitigation efforts such as emissions reductions. However, geoengineering is generally advocated as ‘options of last resort’, a means of buying back some of the time lost on fruitless mitigation negotiations3, and not as a ultimate solution to climate change.

A Question of Control Perhaps most significant are the questions of control that the prospect of geoengineering raises, which have yet to be adequately resolved. The global consequences of geoengineering raise serious questions regarding who has the right to determine when and where they should be used. As it is certain that side-effects will arise from geoengineering projects, questions of equity, representation, and even compensation are considerations that have yet to be resolved. The geopolitical implications of geo-

engineering have yet to be addressed as well. Traditionally the approach to address transboundary problems such as climate change has focussed on collective action. Geoengineering inverts this dynamic completely. With some geoengineering technologies cheap enough to be accessible to many reasonably developed nations or even wealthy individuals, unilateral action is much more significant. Countries, with their own individual interests, could implement geoengineering projects that result in costs to others, or may be even less unwilling to commit to collective action if they know that they possess geoengineering technology. This expansion of actors with direct influence on the planet’s climate changes the traditional climate policy dynamic completely, and does not bode well for collective action.

Geoengineering in action Indeed, some are taking matters into their own hands and putting geoengineering technologies into action. In July 2012 a large-scale ocean fertilization experiment was performed off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Working with a local indigenous group, a private company dumped more than 100 metric tonnes of iron sulphate into the ocean 200 kilometres from the coast, which produced a plankton bloom 10 000 square kilometers large and was intended to increase salmon

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populations and sequester carbon. This was performed without government authorization and has sparked considerable controversy, as its legality is unclear.4 Under the London Convention on the dumping of wastes at sea, ocean fertilization is only permitted for legitimate scientific purchases, and the experiment has been widely condemned by the international community.5 Regardless the resolution of the ocean-fertilization controversy, it demonstrates the urgency of developing a deeper understanding of geoengineering in climate policy. It is true that some are working towards this, such as a geoengineering governance initiative led by the British Royal Society,6 but these technologies are starting to be employed before issues surrounding their implications are resolved. Geoengineering is a reality, one that poses serious risks but also potential benefits. It is time that governments consider it seriously.

UNESCO, http://unescodoc.unesco.org/ images/0021/002144/214496e.pdf 2 Broad, Williams, “How to Cool a Planet (Maybe),” The New York Times, June 27, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/science/ earth/27cool.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all&. 3 Royal Society, “Geoengineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty,” The Royal Society, 2009, http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2009/8693.pdf. 4 Lukacs, Martin, “ World’s biggest geoengineering experiment ‘violates’ UN rules,” The Guardian, October 15, 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ environment/2012/oct/15/pacific-iron-fertilisationgeoengineering 5 Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, “Q&A on ocean fertilization,” UNESCO, October 23, 2012, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/naturalsciences/ioc-oceans/single-view-oceans/news/ ocean_fertilization_we_cannot_afford_to_gamble_with_the_ocean/. 6 “Advancing the International Governance of Geoengineering”, Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative, http://srmgi.org. 1

Hilary Norris is currently in her first year of a Masters in Environmental Policy at PSIA with concentrations in Project Management and South and Central Asia

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European Economic Disunion In light of the Euro crisis that continues to shape political debate, Philip RICHARDS explains some of the main factors affecting the currency’s decline and how they can be addressed

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symmetric economic conditions are currently pressuring the euro from the North and the South, threatening to tear it apart entirely. When the euro came into existence, it was hoped that a single currency would even out the differences between economies, leading to a homogenous common currency area. However, the opposite occurred during the eurozone’s first decade. Current polices attempt to reverse this asymmetry by enshrining fiscal prudence and pushing for competition-enhancing structural reforms. But there could be a different, more devastating culprit than fiscal imprudence: European economies are simply too heterogeneous – and not solely in the Mundellian1 sense to co-exist within the same monetary union. This view does not just underscore Europe’s current challenges. Unless it is addressed, it could prevent the existence of a truly functioning eurozone forever. Clearly, the eurozone is not an optimum currency area. The endogenous asymmetry predicted by Krugman’s regional specialisation theory contributed to a clustering of manufacturing industries in the European North. As these industries tend to be more exposed to international competition than, say, construction, a focus on competitiveness was the natural outcome in these economies. Consequently, wage growth dynamics diverged significantly across the eurozone, resulting in current account imbalances. So far, so bad. However, the real source of this crisis is deeper. It relates to the fundamental institutional differences between European economies, their private-sector behaviour and their economic culture. These differences do not merely imply that some economies are better equipped than others to function in a common currency area. They also make it impossible for these economies to cohabitate under the same monetary roof.

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First, there is considerable variation in government performance and the quality of administrative systems across the eurozone. If a government is more efficient, then ceteris paribus it will need fewer resources for the same outcomes. It will spend relatively less on its bureaucracy while providing the same services. In effect, it will simply use the national budget more efficiently. Indeed, a recent study has shown that government efficiency in the eurozone varies as expected: while the most efficient governments can be found

in the North, the least efficient ones are Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. This divergent efficiency clearly has implications for public debt – a less fiscally prudent country will amass more of it. What’s more, less efficient governments are also worse at implementing structural reforms. Parliamentary approval is not enough. For reforms to be successful, administrative systems need to be effective at carrying out the new policies. Therefore, government effectiveness affects the success of structural reforms and has consequences for competitiveness. More worrying in view of the current situation is that ineffective governments are less able to deliver successful debt reductions. Overall then, institutionally embedded heterogeneity in government efficiency and effectiveness complicates coexistence in a common currency area.

A second source of heterogeneity in the eurozone is the diversity of wagesetting institutions. When the Bundesbank set interest rates for Germany, it instilled a very specific behaviour in the country’s private sector. Excessive wage growth was met with a tightening of monetary policy, hurting the German export sector through a nominal appreciation of the Deutschmark. Consequently, Germany’s private sector coordinated wagesetting to control nominal wage growth and target the inflation rate. Unions and employer associations worked together to keep a lid on wages, eager to protect the export sector’s competitiveness. When the euro was introduced, this behaviour was so entrenched in Germany’s private sector that it begun to successfully target the real exchange rate in order to regain competitiveness lost after unification. Germany can thus imitate a flexible exchange rate through coordinated wage-setting, achieving a real depreciation by restraining wage growth. Sharing the same nominal exchange rate with Germany, it is therefore extremely difficult for economies lacking this type of wage-setting coordination to gain or even preserve their competitiveness. The rules of the game are the same across the eurozone, but heterogeneous wage-setting means that the ability of economies to compete in this game differs significantly. The third factor leading to heterogeneity in the eurozone is arguably the most fundamental. Economic culture and preferences seem too diverse to reach a sufficiently broad common denominator. Owing to its experience with hyperinflation in the 1920s, Germany values monetary stability over almost everything. Differing views on the European Central Bank’s mandate have led to many disagreements between French and German politicians in the past. In order to understand the potential


power of economic culture, it is useful to look slightly beyond the eurozone.; it has been argued that Latvia, the poster child for internal devaluation, was able to pull it off because of the higher threshold of economic pain its citizens developed during the years of communist rule, when consumption was constrained by supply choices made by the state. Lativan euro membership could be a scary prospect for some of its uncompetitive members. The above list of heterogeneities in the eurozone is hardly exhaustive. We can extend it by including differing legal systems or human capital formation. For example, Germany’s apprenticeship system supplies the type of industry-specific skills that might persuade an international firm to locate production in Germany instead of, say, Portugal. As argued by

the Varieties of Capitalism approach2, it may be impossible for other economies to adopt this system due to Germany’s unique ‘institutional comparative advantage’. These asymmetries make the current eurozone highly unstable, and current account imbalances and inflation differentials are the natural outcomes. Currently, the policy emphasis is on addressing these divergences ex post facto. However, the goal should be the broad harmonization of institutions across the eurozone. Deeper economic and political integration can achieve this. But harmonizing economic cultures and preferences could be an even more ambitious task.

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1 Robert Mundell is a Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He has written extensively on currency areas; his seminal work is ‘A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas’, published in 1961 in the American Economic Review 2 The Varities of Capitalism approach has been formulated by Harvard and Oxford economists Peter Hall and David Soskice. It aims to explain the differences between capitalist economies. It contrasts Coordinated Market Economies (e.g. Germany) with Liberal Market Economies (e.g. the US), with the latter possessing e.g. lower unionisation rates, higher inequality, a better environment for radical innovation, less regulation and lower taxes than the former.

PHOTOS: WIKICOMMONS/CC

Philip Richards is a International Economic Policy major in the double degree Masters with Columbia University.

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Why Cyber Intervention is Just Not Enough Leyla MUTIU talks about the high stakes of this emerging form of intervention and the threats of cyberwarfare on today’s political scene

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yberwarfare is the new hot topic of the day, sometimes regarded as a new form of war, sometimes as a form of intervention that does not involve the responsability of the perpetrator. Without any clear juridical frame and escaping the jurisdiction of any criminal court, cyber interventions are a new comfortable way for those that wish to interfere in the affairs of another state covertly, without entering the logistics of war. If hostile actions can be carried out under circumstances that do not involve armed conflict, then how does this form of sabotage differentiate itself from the Clausewitzian characteristics of a war? Also, does changing the nature of the conflict from conventional to unconventional also mean that cyber interventions can prevent physical wars by postponing them? In order to answer these questions, this article will analyse the case of the US intervention in the Iranian nuclear program through the Olympic Games cyber operation, as well as examine the Russian cyber attacks on Estonia and the more recent accusation against the phone producer Huawei of covering for Chinese espionage on American soil. These case studies will help the reader understand how cyber interventions and wars interact in the absence of a declared war (in which case the use of cyber technology is already obvious). Next, the author of this article will analyse the similarities and differences between Clausewitz’s point of view on wars and todays’ cyberwarfares and will try to decide on whether cyber intervention is only a different form of war or its modern herald. The Olympic Games cyber attack is perhaps the most known, large-scale cyber covert operation directed by one state against another one in the aim of postpon-

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ing or avoiding military conflict. It was started in the United States during the Bush years, but reached maturity and efficiency only later on, under the leadership of president Obama. According to David Sanger, the New York Times columnist, president Bush has insisted that Obama keep this program operational, alongside the development of drones. The operation involved provoking the centrifuges from the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz to crash repeatedly and suddenly for no apparent reason. Ideally,

these centrifuges would race out of control, blow apart, and force the Iranian to shut down the entire plant in order to find out what went wrong, a process which could take weeks. “The thinking was that the Iranians would blame bad parts, or bad engineering, or just incompetence,” one of the makers of the programme told Sanger. The cover was very plausible since the Iranians bought the parts from A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani who presented himself as the father of the Pakistani bomb. Even though the chances of actually blowing up the nuclear facility itself were slim, the sole idea of having the abil-

ity to slow down the uranium enrichment process by a few weeks, various times, was sufficiently attractive to the US. As the US realized that it could not act alone in such a complex operation, Israel joined the program shortly after. The expertise of the Mossad, with its already in-depth knowledge of the facility and of the reality on the ground, came to complete with the superior cyber abilities of the US operators. It also aimed at creating a bridge of confidence between the overwhelmingly paranoid Israeli government, worried about the threat of a Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, and the American side. The US government was seeking to assure Israel of its backing- to show Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, that the US was doing something to stop the Iranians from acquiring the nuclear bomb and, at the same time, preventing Israel from acting alone against Iran, thus inevitably dragging the US into a military conflict it did not wish to have. From this perspective, the cyber operation was not meant to be a weapon of unconventional war, but a tool for the preservation of peace. If the Olympic Games were meant to prevent a war, then at the other pole lays the Russian attack against Estonia, meant to intimidate the Baltic state with the threat of war. After the Estonian government decided to change the location of a war memorial dating from the Soviet occupation, 85.000 Estonian computers found themselves under attack for three weeks in April 2007. The attack peaked on May 9th, when 58 web pages were brought down alongside the online services of the largest Estonian bank. This operation led to the creation of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Talinn. If the Estonian Foreign


Minister, Urmas Paet, initially accused Kremlin of direct involvement in the cyberattacks, the Estonian Defense Minister admitted later of not having any evidence linking the cyber attack to the Russian authorities and avoided an escalating diplomatic crisis. Whatever the official discourse, this case presents a new form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of another state through the use of cyber technology: as a means of protest against what it perceives to be threatening actions. Although they do not represent a declaration of war (such as the Russian attack on Georgia in 2008), nor are they an integral part of a declared conventional or unconventional war, foreign cyber attacks are a form of intervention because they aim at disrupting the use of the victim state’s infrastructure or at coercising and/or intimidating its government. Another more recent showcase scenario uses a bottom-up approach of intervention. According to the latest report published in October 2012 by the US House Intelligence Committee, the Chinese phone producer Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp pose a threat to US national security and it advises American companies to avoid doing business with them. After several cyberattacks traced to China, the report argues that “China has the means, opportunity and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes”. Furthermore, the report says these two companies failed to provide responsive answers about their relationships and support by the Chinese government or offer detailed information about their operations in the US. The intelligence panel explained that ZTE Corp refused to provide any documents on its activities in Iran, but agreed to provide a list of nineteen individuals who served on the Chinese Communist Party committee within the company. As for Huawei, the company managers denied being financed to undertake research and development for the Chinse military. However, the committee pointed out that it had recevied internal Huawei documentation from former employees showing that the company provided special network services to an entity, allegedly an elite cyber-warfare unit, with the People’s Liberation Army. The committee concluded that Huawei had likely substantially benefited from the support of the Chinese government. The participation of the Chinese government in the functioning of the compa-

ny only complicates the already difficult process of identifying the actors involved in the conflict – can Huawei be regarded under this light as a company and therefore as a private actor, or as a hybrid, but ultimately an avatar of the Chinese government? In this case, to what extent can a suspicion of covert action be considered as an act of cyber intervention? If the answer to this question is debatable, it is however certain that cyber covert actions do constitute a form of cyber interference that act as a tool of manipulation in the relationship between two states. The importance of nuances goes further on when wars are analysed from the classical persepctive of Clausewitz, who

“ In cyber interventions, physically destryoing the enemy becomes redundant - it is now enough to destroy the enemy’s operating capacity.

defines war as “an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will”. The Prussian theorist also argued that destroying the adversary and its military capacities were a politically strategic objective. However, in cyberwarfare and in cyber interventions, physically destroying the enemy becomes redundant - it is now enough to destroy the enemy’s operating capacity and thus entail a possible process of selfdestruction. The sole fear that the enemy can alter a state’s defensive capacities can be enough to determine it to view its capacities as less valuable and to make it less probable for the state to use it in the future. In this case, it is less important to destroy the adversary than to paralyse its command and control and neutralize its operating abilties. Another difference lays in the types of attack and defense cyber intervention can use, as opposed to the ones that Clausewitz describes in the case of classical wars. If theory highlighted only the existence of defensive and offensive actions, cyber intervention introduces the concept of active defense. This type of self-protection is used for describing every kind of action in which the public sector, and hence the military, can engage in order to

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protect information. However, its exact application is still open for debate and its limits are yet to be discovered. The Pentagon announced that it would not hesitate to use force for defending the US against cyber attacks. Keith Alexander, the US Cyber Commander, declared that, according to the American and international law, it was in a commander’s right to defend its country. Interestingly, he did not offer more details on the extent of a cyber attack that might launch such a response, nor did he detail more on how the calculate the proportionality ratio between a virtual attack and a physical act of defense. Bearing this in mind, it seems that a cyber intervention of a larger scale would be the equivalent of a declaration of war in the classic sense. Even if this did not stop the US from engaging in a large scale cyber operation against Iran, a similar attack against the infrastructure of the United States can imply a clear military response from its part. The fact that cyber intervention is based on traditional warfare theory, but manages to go beyond it and become a hybrid modern version of military intervention, makes cyber interventions a useful multipurpose tool in the international relations of the 21st century. The fact that it can be used to prevent a war makes the name of cyberwarfare seem paradoxical on the one hand, while on the other hand it is difficult to believe that there will ever be a cyberwar without the physical damages that are traditionally provoked by wars. From this perspective, cyber interventions represent at most a part of a traditional war, as a herald or tool, but cannot constitute by themselves an exclusive means of conducting a military hostile intervention: compelling our enemy to do our will may be done at the beginning through taking over the electronic control of its infrastructures, but it is unlikely that the human appetite for physical destruction will ever be left only in the hands of computer geeks.

PHOTO: QURREN/WIKICOMMONS/CC

Leyla Mutiu is a first year graduate student at PSIA in International Security with concentrations in the Middle East and Intelligence

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Is th e Was h ing ton Co ncensus Dead? Philip R I C H A R D S analyzes the future of the Washington Concensus in the wake of recent policy changes in a crisis environment

The Washington Consensus is now behind us”, Dominique StraussKahn proclaimed at a speech at George Washington University in April 2011. It is remarkable that the former head of the IMF, an institution attacked for its perceived staunch neo-liberalism, draws this conclusion from the Global Financial Crisis. As Greek unions called for another strike in early November 2012 to protest against the latest austerity measures imposed by the troika consisting of the EU, ECB and the IMF, it is worth examining whether this “consensus” still exists. In fact, in its 2012 World Economic Outlook, the IMF itself suggested that the fiscal multiplier (i.e. the extent to which fiscal policy affects GDP) is a lot larger than previously assumed, thereby implicitly arguing that austerity can have excessively negative effects and triggering an academic debate on the merits of fiscal austerity. This seems to contradict the spirit of the Washington Consensus, a set of economic policy prescriptions that were seen as ‘best practice’ by Washington-based institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the US Treasury. The economist Williamson coined the term to describe the economic paradigm including trade liberalization, deregulation and minimum state interference. These policies were often pushed through in countries that sought IMF assistance, representing serious economic interventions into sovereign nations. However, capitalism has just witnessed its deepest crisis since the Great Depression. What does this mean for the Washington Consensus? Did its policy prescriptions play a role in bringing about the financial crisis? 28 InFocus

Firstly, lax regulation in the financial sector led to excessive leverage and risktaking. Financial intermediation chains were not monitored adequately by regulators, allowing the originate-do-distribute model in the US to churn out ever-higher amounts of subprime mortgage debt. And it is still slightly amazing how AIG could agree to a mountain of insurance contracts it would never be able to service without regulators preventing the mess.

PHOTO: VILLIAMCURTIS/WIKICOMMONS/CC

Secondly, while even more left-wing economists broadly accept trade liberalization to be useful, financial liberalization is a different cup of tea. The interconnection of international capital markets channeled toxic assets linked to the US mortgage market to balance sheets around the world. Financial contagion infected banking systems globally, necessitating government bailouts. The Consensus view that financial globalization would allocate

resources more efficiently was royally disproved. Indeed, there is now a vivid academic debate on the merits of financial globalization and the IMF itself has raised doubts about the merits of capital account liberalization. A third Consensus prescription, privatization, also played a role. Privately held rating agencies are pressured to generate profits. Therefore, they are inclined to give favourable ratings to securities issued by banks that pay for the ratings. Negative verdicts, although potentially more realistic, could prompt banks to consult other agencies. The fourth Consensus proposal that could have brought about the crisis represents a more fundamental problem. Respected economists such as Chicago University’s Rajan or Columbia University’s Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate, believe that American income inequality played an important role. As inequality-reducing reforms take long to pay off, politicians preferred cheap credit for poor households. Mortgage debt was used to stimulate depressed demand resulting from poverty linked to the kind of welfare cuts that the Washington Consensus pushed for. Overall then, it seems that Consensus proposals such as deregulation, financial globalization, privatization and welfare cuts contributed to, if not caused, the crisis. However, a further challenge to the Consensus comes in the form of policy reactions to the crisis. In a 2009 article for The Monthly, the Australian Prime Minister of the time, Kevin Rudd, declared “… the role of the state has once again been recognized as fundamental.” This does not fit the minimalist-state prescriptions by the Consensus. Keynesian fiscal stimulus made an


improbable comeback. As demand collapsed, governments supported the economy through public expenditure. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the largest fiscal stimulus package in recent US history. The fundamental rift with the Consensus is particularly striking, as even the IMF itself called for fiscal expansion. Expansive monetary policy such as quantitative easing in the UK and the US also conflicts with the Consensus, which emphasizes these policies’ inflationary dangers. Finally, the bank bailouts by governments would also be rather unpopular with staunch followers of the Consensus. Therefore, it seems that crisis responses including Keynesianism and bank nationalizations conflict with Consensus prescriptions. This suggests that policymakers might have deemed its proposals inadequate to respond to the crisis. However, it could be argued that the Washington Consensus was discredited long before the financial crisis hit. Already in 2002, Stiglitz described Washington-consensus based IMF policies as “the single most important cause” of the 1990s Asian financial crisis. And as if that wasn’t enough, the IMF’s excessive focus on restrictive macroeconomic policies may have exacerbated the recessions in

those economies. In general, the “reign” of the Consensus has been marked by slower economic growth and devastating economic crises, while increasing income inequality in developed economies. The growth miracles of the recent decade, most importantly China, are interesting because they resisted many of the Consensus’ policy prescriptions. China experienced the biggest poverty reduction in history while restricting capital flows and bolstering its industries with state support. Similarly, India, although currently somewhat a problem child of the global economy, experienced strong growth amid conservative financial sector and trade liberalization policies. Overall, Consensus policies performed disappointingly. Countries adhering to its proposals experienced slower growth, if not serious crises, whereas countries that resisted Consensus reforms drove global growth. So is the Washington Consensus dead? Not quite. Even anti-Consensus economists such as Bhagwati and Stiglitz accept international trade as beneficial. The 2009 G20 summit in London also implicitly defended global trade by warning that protectionist measures by individual countries could deepen the crisis. And

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Keynesianism is also no longer en vogue: Europe’s periphery is slashing government spending and the influence of fiscal conservatives helped Paul Ryan snatch the Vice Presidential nomination for the Republican ticket. The Washington Consensus lives on. But capitalism can change shape. Neoliberalism was a response to stagflation in the 1970s. Developing economies are now creating their own forms of capitalism. In these countries the question is not whether the Consensus is dead but what will replace it. Brazil implemented its version of the Scandinavian ‘mixed’ model, emphasizing welfare and equality. In China, the state still uses its heavy hand to influence the economy. The 2010 Seoul G20 summit crafted the Seoul Development Consensus, with an emphasis on government intervention. With regards to the economies that will shape our world’s future, Strauss-Kahn’s conviction that “the Washington Consensus is now behind us” may well be true. Philip Richards

PHOTO: FELIPE MENEGAZ/WIKICOMMONS/CC

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Geo r g i a , U k raine, B elarus : The s ta te of dem ocracy in Eas tern Euro p e Monika P R O N C Z U K deals with the health challenges facing our increasingly urbanized societies

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all of 2012 has been a very important one for the post-Soviet space, as three of the biggest republics went through a major democratic test. Recent elections held in Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine were largely seen as a challenge for those countries, still stuck somewhere between Soviet-style autocratic regimes and full-fledged democracies. Observed closely by international media, and monitored scrupulously by international organisations, their results however give a very unclear answer about the state of democracy in the region. After the fever of colour revolutions, it is fair to say that the enthusiasm for democratic change in the post-Soviet region has somewhat faded. Actually, to say that the democratic standards have been in stagnation for the last couple of years would be an understatement. This inevitably leads to questioning the way forward and the purpose of various democracy promotion initiatives founded by the international community in the region; the majority of political leaders in the globalized world aspire to international recognition, and rely on election monitoring for domestic and international legitimacy. However, in the specific context of the post-Soviet republics, can measures such as election monitoring or economic conditionality bring about tangible effects?

Ukraine: democracy reversed? Let us consider in detail the case of Ukraine. The 2004 elections and the Orange Revolution that followed were seen as a wind of change both by the West and by Russia, although the direction of that wind caused quite opposite reactions. While Russia was preoccupied by the possible domino effect in the other republics, the West enthusiastically embraced the regime change, and played an active role in supporting the democratic opposition. As New York Times journalist, C.J. Chivers puts it, ‘election monitors’ gave credibility to Mr. Yushchenko’s opposi30 InFocus

tion movement, and his supporters’ mass demonstrations provided a basis for an international outcry which helped lead to a complaint to the Supreme Court to nullify the voting’. As Yushchenko gradually lost power to his main rival, Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine has been slowly retreating from the road to democracy. The autocratic tendencies of the new regime were proven by numerous examples, such as the illegal replacement of Yulia Tymoshenko’s government with Mykola Azarov’s, the cancellation of the 2004 constitutional reform and come-back of the presidential system, the fight against independent media and academia, and – last but not least - the arrest of two opposition leaders, Tymoshenko and Lucenko who were thus unable to run in the elections. Moreover, the elections took place for the first time according to the new reformed electoral system, which favours the ruling party. Although the picture is not as blackand-white as the West would like it to be, the re-transformation of Ukraine into autocracy remains a fact. Unfortunately, the fall elections seem to deepen this trend. According to the polls, Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions won 185 out of 450 parliament seats, followed by the two main opposition parties: Tymoshenko’s “Fatherland” with 101, and Udar, led by famous boxer Kliczko with 40 seats. The other two parties that surpassed the election threshold were nationalist Svoboda,

and the Communist Party. As fair elections were a part of conditionality package offered by the European Union in exchange for the final ratification of the new Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement (DCTA), the election results were (almost) not falsified, and reflect the real vote distribution. However, manipulation in the course of electoral campaign attained a new level of sophistication. Vote distribution was largely influenced by an electoral campaign characterized by corruption, vote purchasing, and biased media reports. New roads, schools, rail stations and even children playgrounds materialized miraculously all over Ukraine – obviously thanks to the generosity of the Region’s Party, and the only independent television chain TVi suddenly started experiencing severe problems with broadcasting. When Tymoshenko commenced a hunger strike as a sign of protest, the international public opinion severely criticised Yanukovych. According to the leader of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, Walburga Habsburg Douglas, democracy has been reversed in Ukraine through ‘the abuse of power and the excessive role of money in this election’. Other international observers, notably of the Council of Europe, share her opinion. Thus, the future of the new Association Agreement between EU and Ukraine, and its crucial component– the DCTA, remains highly uncertain. It is clear that neither the EU’s conditionality tools nor the international election monitors halted Yanukovych from abusing his position and breaking the rules of democratic elections. As Andriy Kluyev, head of the Party of Region’s election campaign

Far left: President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia Left: Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko


The Rose Revolution, Georgia, Tbilisi in 2003

PHOTO: ZARAZA/WIKICOMMONS/CC

put it: ‘We lead in all polls…We are, therefore, least interested in the elections not being judged legitimate’.

Lukashenko’s Iron Fist Another post-Soviet leader who does not seem to need domestic nor international legitimacy is Alexander Lukashenko, who has been performing the role of Belarusian president since 1994. The recent elections confirmed pessimistic expectations about Lukashenko’s regime; while the official polls showed 74.3 % turnout, the only parties that won the parliament seats are the ones backing government policies, and independent observers confirm a participation level of 19% and lack of any genuine electoral campaign. Actually, the show put on by Lukashenko hardly deserves the name of election, as independent media in Belarus are non-existent, oppositionists imprisoned, and two main opposition parties did not participate; the United Civil Party and the Belarusian Popular Front in a desperate move withdrew their candidates from the elections and called upon their supporters not to vote at all. Judged by OSCE as undemocratic, and even compared to Soviet style of voting, the elections surely will have no impact whatsoever on the political life in Belarus. Beyond that, despite the severe economic situation, the sanctions imposed both by the E.U. and the U.S. on Belarus do not seem to influence Lukashenko’s policies either. The regime’s iron fist is still rigid.

Georgia: democratic defeat of the revolution’s hero The only republic that offers a glimpse

of hope in the light of recent elections is Georgia. This is somewhat ironic as it is during the rule of the Rose Revolution’s hero that the democratic standards in the country decreased significantly. It was under president Saakashvili that the rights of the opposition were limited, and corruption spread widely in state administration. In his defence, however, the development of the country in the aftermath of the Rose Revolution constituted a tough challenge, with its standards far away from European ones in terms of both economic and political development. It was no secret that Saakashvili, who is currently finishing his second and constitutionally last presidential term, was hoping to change his presidential seat to the one of the Prime Minister after the planned victory of his party, United National Movement in the legislative elections this fall. The victory never came. Following a major scandal regarding life conditions of detainees in Georgian prisons, the Georgian people have used their democratic rights, and elected the coalition of the opposition parties, Georgian Dream with more than 55% of votes. Their leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, though widely presented in the Western media in blackand-white rhetoric as the pro-Russian candidate, in reality is a riddle. Indeed, while he made his significant fortune in Russia, there are no visible signs or convincing proof that he is being backed by Putin’s regime. His first foreign visit took place in Brussels, not Moscow, where he pronounced EU integration as the top priority of his government . Even if it is just a part of Ivanishvili’s political game, it does send a strong signal both to the West

DOSSIER

and to Putin. On another positive note, Saakashvili improved the previously unsatisfying democratic record of his rule through assuring the conduct of the elections in line with democratic standards. Not only did numerous international observers judge them as transparent and fair, but Saakahvili himself, instead of trying to manipulate the election results in the line of Georgian tradition, congratulated his rival, saying that ‘democracy works in this way – the Georgian people make decisions by majority’. Thus, he showed his people and the world the forgotten face of the pro-democracy hero – well, better late than never. Right now, the major democratic challenge for both would be setting the rules of the first cohabitation in the history of Georgia’s renewed democracy.

No clear-cut line The image projected by the elections in the post-Soviet republics is complex, and their democratic development can be described as anything but linear. Despite the wishes of Western observers, the autocratic-democratic division is not distinct. Still, international pressure remains a very important means of influencing domestic regimes. Various democracy promotion initiatives do play an important role, but they should be focused on the support of domestic civil society as in order to support democratisation, one needs the pressure from the inside as much, and even more, than the pressure from the outside. A note of caution: it seems that the EU countries sometimes forget about their own complicated road to democracy, and are therefore simplistic in their judgements of younger democracies in the region. As the ‘bad guys’ turn good, and the ‘good guys’ contribute to the deterioration of the democratic standards, it is useful to remind oneself that the complexity of the political scene is a central characteristic of democracy all over the world. Monika Pronczuk is a first-year graduate student of International Public Management at PSIA specializing in Russia and Human Rights PHOTO SAAKASHVILI::ERIC DRAPER/ WIKICOMMONS/CC/ /WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV/NEWS/RELEASES/2005/05/IMAGES/20050510-2_G8O3953JPG-515H.HTML PHOTO LUKASHENKO: Пресс-служба Президента России / WIKICOMMONS/CC

InFocus 31


COMMENT

Facts and Fiction in the US Elections Alexander CAMERON

A

s the wreckage is cleared from the recent U.S. election, the post-mortem is being conducted over the Republican Party’s latest failed attempt to take back the White House. Analysts are concluding that the fatal causes were the Party’s stubborn inability to adapt to the changing demographics of the country, the base of their party becoming increasingly unhinged, and a conservative agenda dramatically out of step with a more engaged and young electorate. All of this is true, but I would like to offer another cause for their demise: their ardent adherence to mythology over reality, or fiction over facts. The late New York Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once quipped to his political opponent, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts”. If Senator Moynihan were alive today he would see that, in fact, being entitled to one’s own facts has become common political practice. It seems that, currently, in U.S. politics truth has become irrelevant if it disagrees with a politician’s beliefs, policies, or their campaign platform. Attacking the media is nothing new, but to indict polling information, climate research, paleontological evidence or economic data is now also party doctrine. Evidently, Mitt Romney’s campaign did not even have a concession speech ready for their candidate, so assembled one at the last minute. They were genuinely shocked when the decisive results came in; they truly believed they were going to win. According to their information, Obama’s supporters’ turnout would be way down and their own feverish supporters would flood the polls in a massive wave of electoral triumph. This outcome, of course, never materialized. So, how could the Romney campaign have had such different information from the Obama campaign? What about “objective numbers” and “scientific 32 InFocus

conclusions” made by independent polling firms? They had Obama with a slim lead, but a lead, nonetheless. Famous New York Times statistician Nate Silver had calculated, several weeks before the election that Obama had about a 70% chance of winning. Those odds increased to about 80% a week before the election,

“One aspiring senator

claimed that the Almighty could prevent a pregnancy if a woman were raped, and the other asserted that even pregnancies caused by rape were God’s will.

and, on the eve of the election, Silver predicted Obama had an 85% chance of being re-elected. Naturally, he was vilified by Republicans, accused of being a

PHOTO:WIKICOMMONS/CC

charlatan, hyper-partisan, and of engaging in witchcraft. He had simply applied math, calculating the averages of polling for every state and then making a forecast based on those averages. But this speaks further to the Party’s belief in blind faith and its squeamishness when it comes to science. Two candidates from the Grand Old Party caused a furor when they avoided any specific discussion over the issue of abortion and possible cases of exception by dragging the God into it. One aspiring senator claimed that the Almighty could prevent a pregnancy if a woman were raped, and the other asserted that even pregnancies caused by rape were God’s will. Jim Broun, a Congressman, who believes that the Great Flood is coming and that Evolution, the Big Bang theory, and embryology are torn out of “the pit of hell”, is not even a black sheep in his Party, or, evidently, in his congressional district. In addition to being a doctor of medicine, Congressman Broun is a member of the Science Committee of the House of Representatives. The 2012 Republican Party platform addressing climate change started promisingly enough,


COMMENT

PHOTO: DIRK GOLDHAHN/WIKICOMMONS/CC

cal climate because he raised taxes, and increased the debt and deficit. However, what he is most associated with economically is his policy of trickle-down economics, which had the habit of not trickling down; Bush Senior once referred to this economic vision as “voodoo economics”. Despite this sudden moment of lucidity in Republican ranks, the illusion of wealth filtering down to the lower strata is faithfully maintained. The Congressional Research Service, an independent

“They will be expect-

“Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources”; then, it continued in the familiar vein: “This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain”. Vice- Presidential candidate Paul Ryan wrote an op-ed charging climatologists with “statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change”. Even regarding the economy, they subscribe to mythology. Ronald Reagan, the hero of the GOP, has been virtually deified, though he wouldn’t survive a Republican primary in today’s politi-

ing to ride a wave to victory, but, suddenly, they will find themselves with high fevers, stranded in a desert.

panel of researchers for Congress, looked at the correlation between government policies and employment since 1945 and established that cutting taxes for the top earners does not, in fact, create more jobs. Republican Senators responded predictably by denouncing the researchers as partisan hacks, and the report was excoriated and its release withheld. We have grown accustomed to politicians determining their beliefs based on

whether or not they’re in the thrall to big donors, e.g. the coal industry, oil companies, or Wall Street, much like the politicians and even doctors who once told the public there was no conclusive evidence for the negative consequences of smoking. Such political maneuvering is deplorable, but I wonder if many in today’s Republican Party are actually that cynical, or if they truly believe their own “facts”. Do some high ranking politicians really believe that earth is 9,000 years old, or that climate change is ordained by God? And, this leads me to the future of the Republican Party. Many pundits are now advising Republicans on what they must do in order to regain power: they must craft their message to Latinos better; they must reach out to younger voters, to single women, to people of color. The political landscape is undeniably moving away from them, but, more fundamentally, they must learn to believe in actual facts; if they continue to deny science and embrace myth, they will suffer the same fate as befell the Romney campaign. They will be expecting to ride a wave to victory, but, suddenly, they will find themselves with high fevers, stranded in a desert. Alexander Cameron is on exchange at PSIA, in his second year of Master’s in International and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Economics of Prague, focusing on Political Parties and Elections in the Americas

InFocus 33


COMMENT

When Conflict Meets Social Media Karina PISER

T

he most recent chapter in Palestinian-Israeli hostility erupted amidst changing regional dynamics. Operation Pillar of Defense, an air campaign that began on November 14, marked the first conflict of its nature since Operation Cast Lead, a 2006 Israeli incursion that resulted in 1,400 Gazan casualties within the span of three weeks. An externally brokered ceasefire brought the latest wave of tension—eight days of lethal violence—to a precarious pause on November 21 that quickly degenerated when Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians only two days later. Though many have described Pillar of Defense as déjà vu, its nuances provide insight into the future of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, characterized by Israel’s increasingly hawkish attitude, Hamas’ radicalization and the deepening of schisms within the Palestinian community. Pillar of Defense enabled Israel to eliminate Hamas’ military chief, but it also served as a point around which Hamas can rally support and further distance Gazans from the secular Palestinian Authority and West Bank Palestinians. The peace process is once again paralyzed. Richard Haas, writing in the Financial Times, noted that “Israel has a choice: it can work to strengthen the secular leadership on the West Bank or it can work to moderate Hamas.” It is clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not intend to make either possible. His recent alignment with the conservative Avigdor Lieberman reduces the twostate solution to a mere historical ideal. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict never ceases to provoke impassioned outrage on the ground, across the region, and in the West. In this article, my aim is not to compile and rehash analyses that have already been well articulated in newspapers and blogs. Rather, I hope to shed light on the explosion of largely uninformed exchanges that have cluttered my Facebook newsfeed (and probably yours!) as soon as Le Monde and Agence France Presse reported on Israel’s assassination of Hamas’ military chief in Gaza on the 14th. And it came at a bad time, too. Three weeks 34 InFocus

of Facebook commentary on the American election left me irritated. I was tired of scrolling through poorly written and grammatically unsound two sentence posts allegedly posing as arguments. Once the election was over, things were quiet again, and my Facebook feed returned to normal: people I don’t know well uploading pictures of their cats and fuzzy instagram snapshots of what they ate for lunch (hey, it’s not great, but at least it’s apolitical). But then BOOM! Ahmed al-Jabari is assassinated and now all my Facebook friends are suddenly pundits, overly eager to evoke their views on a complex conflict that certainly deserves deeper attention than a sloppy blip on a social networking site. The conflict in Gaza makes me upset, too, and outbreaks like Pillar of Defense solidify my fear that reconciliation remains elusive. I also understand that Palestine and Israel hit close to home for many. Social media empowers citizens to express themselves, but the explosion of Facebook nonsense reveals a shift in the way that our generation produces and consumes information. One-liner “tweets” are easier to stomach than indepth articles, and sloppy Facebook posts gloss over details that make posts like “Israel targets terrorists, Hamas targets civilians” seem completely reasonable. As if

things were so simple, as if only one side were the cause of civilian casualties. Let’s be real: if this conflict were so black and white, it would already be over. Citizen engagement is a good thing, and social media does have the potential to encourage dialogue. And it has. We’ve all heard about the role of Twitter and Facebook in helping to rally protesters during the revolutions in North Africa. But quick, opinionated posts not only exclude warrants and complex analysis but also bestow Facebook users with a false sense of activism. Becoming a “member” of a politically oriented “group” does not translate into concrete action, but in the virtual la-la-land of Facebook, people think it does. This trend gives young people the false impression that claims without analysis make for productive conversation about controversial issues. Even worse, people might actually confuse status updates for news reports. Méfiez-

vous.

PHOTO: SCOTT BOB/WIKICOMMONS/CC

Karina Piser is a first year graduate student at PSIA, studying International Security

Smoke Above Gaza, 2012


COMMENT

Intervention in Syria: Why Peace with a capital P requires an international consensus

Marie ALTER

T

his article is being written at a time when the question of humanitarian intervention in Syria should not even be one anymore. The facts speak for themselves: with up to 39 000 casualties (200 deaths per day), an estimated 250 000 refugees and proof of continuous violence being streamed daily into the world wide web, there should be no more room for debate. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is recklessly killing its own flesh and blood and is not ashamed to officially confirm it, but also the violence perpetrated by the rebels has led human rights groups to accuse them of ‘war crimes’. The overused argument that intervention would infringe Syria’s national sovereignty is the favorite excuse of dictators. Yet, the international community is still on standby. The Russian and Chinese vetoes in UN Security Council have divided the international community along lines that we thought had disppeared by the end of the cold-war. One side is made up of the so-called ‘friends of Syria’ which includes the European Union, the Arab League, the United States, the Gulf Monarchies, Qatar, Turkey and many others, whereas Russia and China, joined by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, are on the other side of the divide. While we can endlessly criticize the UN Security Council’s anachronism, the fact remains that our supposedly multipolar and multi-level international community is still ruled and held to inaction by this restrictive representation. Unlike in Libya where Russia and Chinas’ UNSC abstention indirectly allowed NATO to intervene to avoid the Benghazi massacre, intervention by bodies other than an internationally approved one is currently off the agenda. As they risk coming across as weak once again, Russia and China are staunchly upholding their veto, and pride is not the only factor in the equation. In fact Russia’s motivation can be explained by geopolitics, as losing Assad’s secular Syria would not only mean losing its closest political ally in the region, an important economic partner and a strategic naval access, but also a territorially crucial bulwark against radical Islam. China’s position can also be understood partly by

interests, but also by a coldwar like affirmation of its nonaligned orientation. Why is international consensus for a humanitarian intervention so important? Is there no way of bypassing it? If what is needed right now is the establishment of militaryprotected humanitarian safety zones inside Syria (in the form of humanitarian corridors, buffer zones, no fly zones, no kill zones etc.) to treat the wounded, encourage military defection and provide shelter for the refugees, the means to achieve this are far from straightforward. In fact, for real peace to happen, actions to encourage and eventually put a halt to physical violence must be accompanied by diplomatic negotiations whose outcome must be at least agreed to by every party. History has proven often enough that without this latter condition, peace remains fragile and can even make the situation worse. Applied to Syria, this means that humanitarian intervention will only make sense if it is done in a framework of international consensus. Any peace initiatives should be agreed upon by every one of the five UNSC members, or else this neo-Cold War polarization risks being deepened, and future conflicts even more difficult to resolve. This is why rallying, not alienating, Russia and China should be the diplomatic priority. It might seem like an impossible task, but theoretically it only takes overcoming the cold-war mentality and finally endorsing a global perspective. If the French-led initiative to encourage international recognition of the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition, the so-called National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, is a bold and necessary step forward, the biggest effort should be invested in seeking Russia’s and China’s recognition. This could be done for example by encouraging the National Coalition to engage negotiations with the Russian Government - the peace and conflict ne-

gotiation rule goes that the weaker party always needs to reassure the stronger one, promising that post-Assad Syria will remain a privileged strategic partner to Russia. It is the international community’s duty to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible; but it must also think about the long-term consequences of its actions. For example, if the call to lift the EU embargo on arms in order to supply weapons to the opposition is not only a terrible idea from a humanitarian perspective , it will also only further alienate Russia and China. They could allow further provision of arms to Assad’s fighters and create a vicious circle, a spiral of violence. This is why seeking an international consensus is absolutely necessarily for peace. Yet, in order to achieve this, we need to accept that the UN Security Council is still the key international authority and work hard to rally Russia and China to the cause. Only this has to be done as quickly as possible, for every day Syria is destroying itself a bit further while Assad is continuing to delay his inescapable fate. PHOTO: WIKICOMMONS/CC

Marie Alter is a first year graduate student at PSIA, studying International Security InFocus 35


I-WITNESS

96 hours in Belarus Stefan F. WINDBERGER shares his experiences in Belarus before the parliamentary elections in September 2012

It’s better to be a dictator than to be gay”, the President said after having been criticized for the apparent lack of human rights in his country. But what sounds like a quote from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat actually is a recent remark by Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. In power since 1994, he holds a firm grip on the one country where the KGB is still called the KGB and the local chocolate features the same Soviet imagery since the times of Khrushchev. Zoom forward. Shortly before the Belarusian parliamentary elections in September 2012, I was selected for a fact-finding mission organized by the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). Apart from getting a general impression of the political conditions of the country, our aim was to talk to IFLRY’s local partners and discuss further means of cooperation. So far, so good.

36 InFocus

Since I was not in Vienna those days, I asked a friend of mine to submit my visa application to the Belarusian Embassy. A first try to submit the documents encountered fierce resistance from the Embassy, who wanted a written confirmation that my host was allowed to rent out his apartment. A second try encountered even more problems and so I ended up at the Embassy myself. Having applied for a 14 day visa, the consul’s question baffled me: “You can see Minsk in two or three days, why do you want to stay longer in Belarus?” Somehow irritated by a diplomat saying that there is basically nothing to see or do in his own country, I shortened the duration so that I would leave the day before the elections. A week later, I found myself with a visa in my hand on a train in Vilnius and arrived on a sunny Monday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The day after our arrival, we met with a few of our local partners in Mogi-

lev when suddenly two men entered the room. “We need check light bulbs”, they said. We quickly dismissed the accident as we thought that the KGB wouldn’t act in such a visibly unprofessional manner until 20 minutes later, when a dozen Belarusian immigration officers, police and members of another well-known security institution proved us wrong by storming into our room. Despite us showing them valid visas in our passports, all foreigners were shovelled into a minibus and driven to the Immigration Office. Our interpreter, a university professor for English and German, told us that the police arrived at her university and forced her to stop her lecture as her services are needed by the state. Now imagine a French policeman doing this at Sciences Po – he would be met with laughter. Our request to explain to us on what grounds we were detained was met with a simple answer: We were considered to be in violation of Belarusian visa laws as we entered on tourist visas and spoke to local youth representatives, which apparently tourists are not allowed to do. The ensuing process took a distinctly Kafkaesque turn when our plea to see the respective law was met with sullen faces and an even more telling remark: “I am not obliged to show to you which law you have violated.” That said, we knew that we were guilty even before a lengthy Stasilike interrogation which culminated in highlights such as “Whom do you know in Belarus and what is their occupation?” or “What did you do since entering the country?”. After spending four hours at the Immigration Office, we were temporarily released and ordered to pick up our passports the next day. The Belarusian opposition media immediately covered the issue and we informed the OSCE and the


I-WITNESS

German and Dutch Embassies. After spending several more hours at the Immigration Office on Wednesday, our passports were returned to us with a stamp saying that we had to leave the country the next day. The accompanying paper referred to a law that, according to independent Belarusian lawyers, was not applicable to us and even if it was, one would have needed to get in trouble with the authorities five times before getting deported. In fact, this was not a formal deportation but a shortening of the duration of our visas, which practically is the same but saves Belarus the diplomatic outrage that a deportation would have caused. When we finally left Belarus on Thursday, we read stories about Western journalists getting brutally beaten up on that day in Minsk and realized that this could as well have been our fate. While we are able to continue our lives in the West, my highest respect goes to those Belarusians who continue their struggle for a free and democratic Belarus despite being under a constant threat of arrests, beatings and assaults.

The author feels inclined not to comment on the elections, where 109 out of 110 seats went to Lukashenko’s candidates and polling stations offered subsidized vodka and sausages in order to increase voter turnout.

Stefan F. Windberger is enrolled in the Sciences Po – LSE Dual Degree in International Affairs and serves as a Vice President for International Affairs for the Young Liberals Austria (www.julis.at)

If you’re interested in learning more about Belarus, you can look up IFLRY’s Belarus Program (www.liberal-belarus.org) or become active in the Belarus Project

(www.belarus-project.

eu), an initiative founded by three Sciences Po students

To learn more about Corporate Tax Evasion in today’s world, visit: http://www.mastersdegreeonline.org/masters-of-tax-evasion/ PHOTO:CREATIVECOMMONS/CC

InFocus 37


I-WITNESS

Discovering Ecuador A Photo Essay

PSIA student Vincent AUREZ went on a UNDP internship in Ecuador for his third year at Sciences Po. He had the opportunity to travel the country and meet a host of different people. He is now studying Environmental Policy and is in a dual degree with Peking University. Top Right: In the Amazon, a native is informed again that she must pay the month’s rent for the land that her family occupies. Her tribe has occupied the land for over 100 years, but has had to pay rent for the past thirty years. Below: Aurez had the opportunity to go to the Yasuni Research station. This photo was taken during the one day travel from Quito to the rainforest of Yasuni National Park.

38 InFocus

Bottom Right: A horse-back treck through Ecuador en route to Cotopaxi, a statovolcano in the Andes.


I-WITNESS

InFocus 39


INTERVIEW

Fawaz Gerges: “With Iran, It’s Either Diplomatic Breakthrough Or War” It would be the best moment for both Obama and the Iranian leaders to make a bold move towards a deal. However, Obama’s interests lay on his home agenda and the Iranian leaders lack the intellectual capacity to take such a step. LSE and SciencesPo professor and scholar, Fawaz Gerges, explains to InFocus what are the stakes in game in the US-Middle East relation and why the world is at a standstill.

Leyla MUTIU

Q

In your latest book, Obama and the Middle East, you argued that “the reality of Obama’s Middle East policy carried more continuity than change”. Will there be even more continuity during Obama’s second term?

A

What many of us are trying to understand is whether Barack Obama will change his foreign policy approach, not just in the East, but internationally. One of the major conceptual points about Obama is that he is a realist. He subscribes to the dominant paradigm in American foreign policy: relations with and between the other states are built on interests, on security concerns, on economic relations and not on liberal foundations. So, in this particular sense, Barack Obama has tried to reclaim the American foreign policy from the neoconservatives who believe in the liberal use of force and anchor American foreign policy in realism. That’s why many people, on the liberal side, were very disappointed: they though that Obama represented a radical change – he does not. He never said he was a liberal president in terms of foreign policy. In fact, he compares himself to president George Bush Sr, which tells you a great deal about his thinking. Whether it was on the Arab-Israel conflict, on Iran or on the Arab uprisings, he shows consistency: international relations are based on mid to short term interests such as the balance of power or security interests. That’s why he tried to broker this settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. When Netanyahu resisted, he fell back on what most American presidents did - he did not challenge Israel because Israel is perceived to be a traditional ally of the United States. Now, on the question of Iran, he has adopted a very muscular approach, simi40 InFocus

lar to the one of Bush, when the Iranians resisted his efforts to give up their nuclear program. And on the Arab uprisings, even though he embraced them, he did not try to invest America’s interests in the region. So, I don’t think we are going witness a dramatic shift, because he is a realist. What we might witness is that he might have more leeway to pursue an aggressive American foreign policy, he might challenge the Conservatives and have much more flexibility. In this sense we have to wait to see: will he exert more pressure on Netanyahu? Will he try to broker a settlement with the Iranians? Will he invest more resources in the post-totalitarian Arab states? All these questions remain to be seen. But if Obama remains who he is, I don’t think we should expect a critical shift.

Q A

The Olympic Games cyber operation is now a world-known fact. What is your take on this type of intervention? First of all, what we need to understand is how Obama is literally waging a war by other means against Iran: war does not happen because you take military strikes. War can be waged by different means: you have economic war, financial war, technologic war, intelligence war, cyber war... Also, he has established one of the most broadly based international coalitions which imposes sanctions. The Iranian economy is now bleeding : the rial, the unemployment, the mid-class... the question is, I think, if there will be either a war or a diplomatic breakthrough in the next years. You see, Obama has put himself in a bind. He says “if Iran decides to build a nuclear weapon, then he will activate the military option”. He cannot go back. So, it’s really up to the Iranian leadership to

proceed. My take on it is that the Iranian leadership will not make that decision. First of all, they have not made the decision to build the nuclear bomb. Secondly, they have been trying to send messages about their willingness to make a deal. I think Obama will be more flexibile because he will have this capacity in the second term to meet the Iranians half-way. I believe, if you press me hard, that the potential for a diplomatic breakthrough is much higher than in military confrontation.

Q

Seeing how the Iranian rial has plummeted in the last months because of the international embargo, what do you think is the perception of the Iranian people on their government?

A

majority of the Iranians believe that Iran should have the ability and the right to develop its own nuclear program. This is a matter of national pride. This is a matter of natural right. They ask us: “Why do you tell us we have no right to build a peaceful nuclear program while Israel has more than 100 nuclear devices?” For them it is a matter of justice. The question is not whether they believe their country has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program, but how do you convince the Iranian people that the Western powers are not trying to force them to climb down. A deal will be to first help the Iranian leadership to save face and to provide insurances to the Iranian leadership that they have the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program and provide them with a potential political entry in the international political system, so that they can climb down about their nuclear programs. It’s really win-win. To go back, the question is to what extent does he have enough political capital


to invest in the political Iranian portfolio? It’s gonna cost him a lot of political capital back in the US because he will have to face the Republicans, the hardcore Democrats and the many pro-Israeli elements. And that’s why it’s not easy, even though he would like to meet the Iranians halfway. If I were Obama, I would ask myself if I could afford to really invest so much political capital in this. Obama still has a lot to lose because he has a big agenda at home. You see, Barack Obama is not a foreign policy president, but a domestic one: his heart and passions are not in the Middle East, he doesn’t give a damn about it. He really doesn’t. He is forced to deal with it because he had no choice. What he is in fact really interested in is battering the American economy, trying to help the middle class survive, Medicare, the minorities, the civil rights. These are the questions that resonate with Obama. For us it matters because we are interested in the world. For Obama it also matters, but his world is much more at home than outside. He has done relatively much better than many of us, I fear. At the end of the day, these are the questions from a political perspective: do I have enough capital to invest in the Iranian situation? Will something come out of it? However, the Iranian leadership has not proven to be very intelligent, I’m

sorry to say it. They have mastered the art of making blunders- it’s a blunder proneleadership. I don’t expect them to provide any visionary roadmaps. But if they are indeed intelligent, then we might be underestimating their leadership. If they realize that somehow this is it, that they should grab this moment because it is a limited opportunity in the first year, then there will be a diplomatic breakthrough in the next year. Or war.

Q

In an article you wrote in July, you mentioned Saed Jalili’s declaration that “Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way”. Is this still the case now?

A

The Iranian leadership does not view the Syrian conflict as internal, but one that is part of an external conspiracy to destroy the axis of resistance. And the conspirators are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Unites States and Israel. Syria is so critical to Iran because of Hezbollah. That’s why I think the Iranians might be ready to make a deal, not just on the nuclear program, but on Palestine and on Syria as well. If Obama really looks at the region through the prism of interconnectiveness, then he might be able to achieve a historical deal. The Iranian leadership might be able to sell this particular deal to its population, as a historical breakthrough. But there are many “if’s” and that’s why it depends on many variables: if Obama moves forward, if the Iranian leadership seizes the moment and, with Syria being at all-out war, the Syrian conflict. Regardless of what Iran or the US does, this is a war till the end. Syria has

INTERVIEW

reached the point of no return. Just two days ago, Assad gave this interview to the Russian television, and said “I was born here, I will live here, I will die here”. We’re not really surprised. I never believed he was just going to step back and leave. That’s not what he is. Anyway, they won’t let him go, not even his inner circle will let him go.

Q A

Is Turkey taking the lead in ending the unrest Syria by asking NATO to provide it with Patriot missiles to station at its borders? Turkey has taken the lead, it is at the spearhead of the war against Syria, it is sheltering the military and political opposition against Syria: Turkey is at the foundation of the war against Syria. Turkey, like other states, thought that the conflict would end much sooner. They believed that somehow Assad will not last as he has so far. So, Turkey is very upset and disappointed with the US and the Western powers because it thought they would intervene. Syria has transferred this conflict over to Turkey, it has reached the Kurds, fighting is now all over the place, Turkey now has over 260.000 Syrians refugees, there are armed skirmishes on the borders, it’s a serious conflict. So Turkey found itself in a terrible bind. That’s why Turkey has been exerting pressure on the Western world to do something about the Syrian conflict. I don’t think intervention is in the cards at this point. I see that the re-election of Obama will make the US much more deeply engaged in the Syrian conflict. The US is now trying to reorganize the ranks of the opposition, trying to make the opposition more inclusive and coherent, trying to weaken the militant jihaddist elements. If the opposition succeeds in unifying its ranks, the US could provide advanced weapons to the opposition in the next few months. But this is indeed in the longterm, because there is no shortterm for this conflict. PHOTO: AUDEWIKICOMMONS/CC

Fawaz Gerges is professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and SciencesPo Paris, director of the Middle East Center at LSE and author of various books such as “Obama and the Middle East: The End Of America’s Moment”and “The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda”. InFocus 41


ASSO’ PSIA

Asso’ PSIA Qu’est-ce? L’Asso’PSIA est l’association des étudiants de l’Ecole des Affaires Internationales de Sciences Po. Créée en octobre 2009 sous le nom d Association des Affaires internationales de Sciences Po, elle est parrainée par M. Bernard Kouchner, ancien Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes. Nos objectifs : - Impulser une réelle dynamique d’émulation au sein de l’ensemble des promotions de l’Ecole des Affaires Internationales. - Favoriser la création de liens durables entre les étudiants, qui seront amenés dans un futur proche à collaborer tant dans leurs parcours professionnels qu’individuels. - Faire vivre l’Ecole des Affaires Internationales de Sciences Po au-delà des deux années de Master en tissant des réseaux déterminants pour le futur de chacun des étudiants. Le Pôle Voyages consiste à organiser des excursions à l’échelle nationale et européenne pour découvrir la structure et le fonctionnement interne d’institutions nationales, européennes et internationales avec des professionnels du métier. Ce pôle organise également un voyage d’une semaine dans un pays au cœur de l’actualité pour découvrir sur place la situation politique, économique, énergétique, humanitaire, avec un encadrement professionnel, des conférences ainsi que des visites d’institutions. Ce pôle vise à élargir les horizons des étudiants et leur offre également de nouvelles perspectives de carrières. Le Pôle Conférences ambitionne d’animer le débat d’idées parmi les étudiants ou enseignants-chercheurs de Sciences Po et au-delà. A cette fin, le pôle fait intervenir régulièrement des experts reconnus pour diffuser leur savoir et échanger leurs opinions avec les étudiants de la PSIA. Praticiens ou théoriciens, analystes objectifs ou polémistes engagés, le choix des intervenants est pensé avec le souci d’offrir une diversité d’expériences tout en veillant à ne laisser aucun angle inexploré. 42 InFocus


ASSO’ PSIA

La Revue InFocus est une revue des Affaires Internationales rédigée en français et en anglais par des étudiants de PSIA. Elle cherche à donner un aperçu et de nouvelles perspectives sur des questions globales telles que analysées par des étudiants. Elle met donc en avant les réflexions des futurs acteurs des relations internationales à travers des articles qui témoignent d’une vraie émulation intellectuelle au sein de notre communauté étudiante.

Le Pôle Soirées & Gala a pour mission de promouvoir une atmosphère amicale où les étudiants de la PSIA peuvent se rencontrer. Les soirées sont organisées régulièrement et un gala est prévu pour le mois d’Avril en vue de célébrer la fin de l’année.

Le Pôle Stages & Emplois a pour objectif d’organiser quatre rencontres métiers au cours de l’année pour que chaque étudiant ait une chance de rencontrer des experts dans le domaine professionnel qui les intéresse et puisse échanger avec de jeunes profesionnels du monde des affaires internationales.

Le Pôle Relations Extérieures met en place des partenariats entre l’association et des entreprises mais également avec d’autres universités ainsi que ONG et des organisations internationales. InFocus 43


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InFocus Revue Issue 6 Feb 2013