lsesu politics & forum journal 2014
This journal and its launch event in Edinburgh were again made possible by a generous donation from the LSE Annual Fund. The LSE Annual Fund draws on the generosity of LSE alumni and friends to enable students to pursue a wide variety of activities which enhance the student experience. The 2013-2014 committee would like to record its thanks to the Annual Fund and all who have donated towards it. Copyright Notice Permitted Uses; Restrictions on Use Materials available in this publication are protected by copyright law and have been published by the lsesu politics & forum society. lsesu politics & forum (“LSESU Politics & Forum Society”) is a member of the London School of Economics and Political Science Student’s Union. Copyright © 2014 lsesu politics & forum. All rights reserved. No part of the materials including graphics or logos, available in this publication may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without specific permission. To request permission to use materials, please contact our editorial team firstname.lastname@example.org. Distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited unless prior agreed upon with lsesu forum. Disclaimers The views and opinions expressed in the articles that form this publication are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of lsesu politics & forum. The authors of the articles retain full rights of their writings, and are free to disseminate them as they see fit, including but not limited to reproductions in print and web-sites. lsesu forum does not endorse, warrant, or otherwise take responsibility for the contents of the articles and the accuracy and/or completeness of any references. 2
From the President This year we launch LSESU Politics & Forum’s second annual journal in the beautiful city of Edinburgh as part of the LSE Annual Fund sponsored Politics Weekend. The three days LSE students have spent in Scotland has seen them debate with their Edinburgh counterparts on the role of Britain in the EU, hear from the key actors in the Scottish referendum debate and finally enjoy a journal launch party with Dr. Angus Bancroft. I hope that this weekend will be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between LSESU Politics & Forum and Edinburgh University’s Buchanan Institute and we look forward to welcoming Edinburgh students to London in spring next year in the run-up to the 2015 Westminster General Election. This year has seen LSESU Politics & Forum grow to become the largest politics society at LSE and we have held a series of amazing events, including panel debates with MPs, a debate between General Secretary candidates at LSESU and of course the launch of this stunning new journal. I would like to thank all those who have helped to make this possible, most notably, Josh Babarinde, Konstantin Sietzy Kate Houston-Floyd, Jeffrey Mo, Devon Jane-Airey and Jonny Ross-Tatam. I would also like to thank LSE Annual Fund and LSESU for being so generous in their funding and helping to make this year such a memorable one for all society members. I will be leaving LSE this year after two years of involvement with the society. It has been my pleasure to work as Treasurer and President during this time. The amazing experience of running this society would not have been possible without the dedication of LSE students, keen to understand politics in the modern world. This journal showcases a small part of that wider thirst for knowledge about world politics which pervades the LSE community. Although this journal covers the range of political debates currently making headlines around the world I believe we still have a long way to go to represent all the areas of the world often neglected by academic scholarship. That includes right here in the UK which is why this Politics Weekend to Edinburgh has been so invaluable in introducing students to the Scottish political debates which will shape the UK’s future in the short and long-terms. LSESU Forum was set up in September 2012 to expand and formalise debate at the LSE. We decided to set up this society as we noticed a widespread thirst for political debate amongst our fellow students that was decidedly fragmented. We hope to bring together in an ideas network, discussion previously limited to small friendship groups, brief academically-focused classes and Beaver Comment pieces with little opportunity for response. After merging with the LSE Politics Society, LSESU Politics & Forum is better placed than ever to deliver on the promise of being a centre for political debate at LSE. The challenge for the future is to continue to grow the society and expand the ideas network at LSE. This journal moves us one step closer to achieving that goal and I wish my successor the best of luck in taking the society forward in the future.
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Regional Autonomy in Europe: A Predictor of Scottish Independence? Josh Martin
In 2014, the citizens of Scotland will vote on whether or not they want independence. Severing ties with the UK would be a quintessential display of regionalism and result in the ultimate form of regional autonomy. A frenzy of regionalism is sweeping across Europe spearheaded by regions like Scotland, Catalonia, and Wallonia. Regionalism has proven itself to be a political factor in most European democracies, but an interesting question remains: which regions secure more autonomy than others and why? Although no single factor dominantly and independently explains the continuum of regional autonomy given to regions of countries in Europe, a list of factors in order of importance that affect the likelihood of a region gaining autonomy is as follows: the electoral system of the country, the primary religion of the region, the history of the region, and the voting behavior of the citizens of the region. Before delving into each factor (focusing on the three countries of Belgium, Spain, and the UK), it is valuable to understand what the end goal of regionalism is and how autonomy is usually attained. Regionalism has two main effects on the national political sphere: resource allocation and consistency. Heller considers the two as such: for resource allocation, locally focused politicians would like to dedicate all of a state’s resources to local interests. Consistency regionalists wish for asymmetric regional autonomy, meaning that different regions receive different levels of autonomy (Heller 658). Achieving asymmetric regionalism, however, requires either policy to be made subnationally or national policy makers to be sensitive to local concerns (Heller 660). Since countries like the UK and Spain are unitary states, and therefore do not have the federal institutions to make policy subnationally, regionalists in these two countries turn their focus toward influencing national policy makers. The best way to do so is through regional political parties, founded on the claim that certain regions should be treated differently than the country at large. “Regional parties participate ‘normally’ (i.e., in the same way as national parties) in coalition politics, but because they focus primarily on their own regions rather than the entire country, they do not seek the same set of rewards as national parties” (Heller 660). These parties do not receive a special status in politics; they compete for votes with national parties. Heller argues that regional parties influence policy making by trading policy for authority, i.e. they help national parties enact the policies they want in return for transferring policy-making authority to regional governments (Heller 658). Because these regional parties are willing to sacrifice policy for autonomy, they tend to occupy a large range on the right-left continuum of political ideology in which they are comfortable enacting policies. This compensates for their narrow spectrum of acceptable levels of regional autonomy. National parties 6
tend to be the opposite. Theoretically, the Labour party and the Conservative party in the UK have narrow policy spectrums, but wide regional autonomy spectrums. This leads to a scenario where two national parties would rather create a coalition with a regional party than with each other because it achieves their policy goals at the expense of higher autonomy for the region. This culminates in the fact that “there is more room for negotiation between a national party and a regional party than between national parties” (Heller 663). Because of this interesting game of coalition politics between regional and national parties, most regional successes stem from the give and take of coalition politics (Heller 668). With this better understanding of regionalist goals and their means to achieve said goals, it is time to readdress the question of which regions achieve higher autonomy than others and why. The factor that influences a region’s autonomy the most is the country’s electoral system. Belgium has a high level of regional autonomy because its federal structure enables regional governments. In fact, Belgium has become so regionalized between Wallonia and Flanders that there no longer exist any national political parties, only regional ones (Heller 666). The existence of only regional parties coupled with an executive branch, which by law must include members of both regions, leads to the agreement that control over the central state is not so much about control over the allocation of resources among policies as among regions (Heller 680). The Spanish electoral system continually requires coalitions to form in order to secure a majority and form the unitary central government. The main Spanish regionalist areas of Catalonia, the Basque region, and the Canary Islands each have had relative success in increasing regional autonomy in the past 30 years. After the 1993 election the PSOE (a nationwide socialist party) took over the Cortes in a coalition with only the CiU (Catalan’s party, who also could have formed a government with the PP, another nationwide party), but the CiU became unhappy with both the pace and content of authority transfers to Catalonia, and dissolved the Cortes (Heller 674). What followed was a PP minority government who had the support of the CiU of Catalonia, the PNV of the Basque region, and the CC of the Canary Islands insofar as the PP raised regional autonomy in each region (Heller 674). The key fact in this example of 1990s Spanish government is that both the PP and the PSOE chose to work with regional parties over working with each other, thus backing the claim that regions can achieve their local goals by trading them against the national party’s national goals (Heller 679). Lastly, the regions in the UK have struggled to gain autonomy due to their electoral system. Because the UK tends to be a single party majority government, the regional political parties, like the SNP (Scottish National Party), rarely influence governments via coalitions. To use the SNP as an example, they are almost never needed in government because not only are they small in number and regional in focus, they align policy-wise with Labour much more than with the Conservatives, further reducing their ability to negotiate for coalitions (Heller 667). It is worth noting, however, that the Labour party in the 1970s incorporated devolution into its electoral program (due to their historical need of Scottish support in the polls to gain a national majority), and that the UK may well have seen dramatic change fa7
voring devolution until Thatcher’s Conservatives squashed the idea in 1979 (Keating 66, Heller 680). This shows how tough it is to gain autonomy under a single party majority electoral system. From Belgium to Spain to the UK, it is clear that a nation’s electoral system institutionally hinders or helps a region’s ability to gain autonomy to a significant extent. Religion unsurprisingly can prove to sever bonds between a nation and a region. Looking at Israel and Palestine today, one notices how high tensions can become when a stateless minority with a different religion than the central government demands autonomy or independence to deaf ears in central government. The Puritan settlers of America provide another example of a stateless minority who wanted autonomy. Fleeing from the Church of England, these Protestant settlers left the country in hopes of securing more autonomy. Perhaps the largest example of religion leading to autonomy (or independence) is Ireland. In 1801, Ireland joined the UK (O’Neill 86). However, after years of tension between Catholic Ireland and the Protestant UK, the central government, in 1921, decided to implement independence for the 26 southern counties of Ireland (O’Neill 87). Although religion clearly played a role in gaining independence for Ireland, Ireland also benefitted from having a recent history of independence only about a century earlier. Considering the history of a region helps contextualize the region’s pursuit of autonomy. For instance, when Franco ruled Spain the regions of Catalonia, the Basque Country, and to a lesser extent Galicia had very little autonomy, so when the Spanish dethroned Franco, these regions, sick of having little power, immediately demanded regional autonomy (Keating 67). An interesting country to view historically in re autonomy is the UK. In the 19th century the UK controlled three regions that were each acquired differently: Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. “Wales was forced into the English state, and didn’t enjoy civic institutions of its own” (O’Neill 71). Whereas England forcibly included Wales in the UK, Scotland was an independent kingdom until the voluntary union of the crowns in 1603, which ensured both a stronger residual identity and warranted greater political autonomy for Scotland (O’Neill 70). Lastly, Ireland united with the UK in 1801 (O’Neill 86). Examining the autonomy of these three regions today, one can easily agree that Ireland secured the most autonomy (independence), followed by Scotland and then Wales. Interestingly, a correlation emerges based on the relationship between a region’s union with England and their current autonomy: the longer a region has been in union with England, the less autonomy it currently has. This indicates that regional autonomy is more difficult to attain the longer the region has been in union with the nation. History also affects regionalism by past events involving regional autonomy. For example, Home Rule in Northern Ireland was mismanaged after Ireland left the UK, making it hard to approve Home Rule for other regions of the UK (O’Neill 87). This category can also include past legislation on regionalist topics. In the UK, “Kilbrandon’s proposal [The Kilbrandon Report] for asymmetrical devolution set the pattern for future reform of the Kingdom” (O’Neill 72). The Scotland and Wales Bill of 1979, which proposed greater home rule for Scotland and Wales, followed the Kilbrandon Report but failed to pass (O’Neill 8
73). Then, 18 years later the Scotland and Wales Acts of 1997 reiterated most of the elements of the 1979 proposals (O’Neill 78). A region’s historical record with autonomy influences the region’s current ability to demand it. The last factor that affects a region’s demand for regional autonomy is the voting behavior of its citizens. On the issue of regional autonomy, Keating points out the two main camps of thought: regional traditionalists and modern regionalists. Regional traditionalists, who tend to be depoliticized and conservative, may be uninterested in regional autonomy, preferring the status quo of traditional representation in central government. Alternatively, modern regionalists, who tend to be more educated, see the region as a dynamic force for economic and social change and as an element in the modernization and construction of Europe (Keating 89). Viewing these two trains of thought in the context of Scotland and Wales one can see a major reason why Scotland enjoys more autonomy. The Scotland and Wales Acts of 1997 had mixed results. In Scotland the referendum to increase autonomy was supported by a margin of three to one at 60 percent turnout. Wales, however, barely got to 50 percent turnout and only had 50.03 percent support, with most negative votes coming from Cardiff and most positive votes coming from an ‘old Labour’ industrial belt in the valleys (Keating 67). Wales clearly has an ambivalent political identity, which is content with enhanced regional status (O’Neill 78). This ambivalence can be explained by understanding that the negative votes from Cardiff correspond to regional traditionalists, and the positive votes from the ‘old Labour’ belt match modern regionalism. Issues of political identity proved to be far less troublesome in the Scottish vote, however. “Political rhetoric in Scotland refers to home rule as restoring an ‘ancient right’” (O’Neill 78). Scotland identifies with modern regionalism. The Scotland and Wales Acts of 1997 prove that voting behavior of regional citizens affects the region’s demands for autonomy. Demands for regional autonomy occur in countries all over Europe, but some regions are destined for more success than others. Considering the current situations in Belgium, Spain, and the UK, the nation’s electoral system must be the single most important factor on whether or not a region can increase its autonomy. After that, other factors including religion, history, and voting behavior significantly help or hinder a region’s chances of autonomy. Considering all of these factors, if the Scotland and Wales Acts of 1997 indicates anything, it’s that the Scottish vote on independence in 2014 has a serious chance of passing. However, it may be hindered by its electoral system and the lack of religious reasons to separate from the UK. It is difficult to guess which regions will have their demands for autonomy be met by the central government, but hopefully this framework of four factors helps establish which regions are most likely to have success.
Heller, W. (2002). “Regional Parties and National Politics in Europe: Spain’s Estado de las Autonomias, 1993 to 2000.” Comparative Political Studies 35 (6): 657-685. Keating, M. (1998). The New Regionalism in Western Europe. Territorial Restructuring and Political Change: Edward Elgar. O’Neill, M. (2000), “Great Britain: From Dicey to Devolution”, Parliamentary Affairs: A Journal of Comparative Politics, Vol. 53, pp. 69-95.
The awkward third wheel?
Special advisers and the politicobureaucratic relationship Josh Babarinde This article argues that the emergence of special advisers (SpAds) came as a reaction to, rather than a cause of, changing relations between senior civil servants and ministers. Outlining the three characteristic elements of politico-bureaucratic relationships, it traces the change in all three, showing that since the 1970s, a series of critical junctures in the political environment destabilised the minister-civil servant relationship. The present emergence of SpAds seeks to restore this relationship to its original form. Traditionally, three factors have characterised politico-bureaucratic relations in the UK. The first is the custom of the civil servant to act as the minister’s principal policy adviser.1 Secondly, consistent with the Northcote-Trevelyan Report, civil servants have traditionally pursued a relationship of objectivity and impartiality with ministers, supplying policy advice free of (party) political prejudices. Thirdly, the ‘Haldane relationship’ characterised political-bureaucratic relations insofar as a de facto ‘fusion’2 between senior Civil Servants and ministers took place, with the former, through a process of “conceptual divination”,3 being able to accurately anticipate and thus execute the wishes of the latter.4 It has been posited that the emergence of special advisers (SpAds) – partisan agents who provide ministers with policy and political support – under Harold Wilson has compromised each element of the traditional politico-bureaucratic relationship.5 On the contrary, this essay will argue that since the 1970s, a series of critical junctures in the political environment destabilised the minister-civil servant relationship, setting it on a new trajectory. It will be asserted that the exponential emergence of SpAds represents an executive endeavour to freeze, not change, the minister-civil servant relationship, and indeed restore it to its original course. The first element of the traditional minister-civil servant relationship is the custom of the civil servant to act as the minister’s principal counsellor, holding a near-monopoly over the provision of ministerial policy advice.6 It is clear that since the Harold Wilson years, a number of challenges were made to this monopolistic relationship, each representing respective critical junctures in its original trajectory. The first set of junctures are represented by exogenous developments in the 1 2 3 4 5 6
Foster (2001) Haldane Report (1918) Page (2012), p.12 Freedland (1996) Dillman (2007) Foster (2001)
political and economic environment such as Europeanisation, internationalisation, globalisation and devolution.7 These forces added new layers to the policy-making arena, increasing its complexity. It was thereafter essential, owing to limited administrative capacity, for a plurality of external advisors – including SpAds – to partake in the policy process in order to navigate through what had become an “overloaded”8 intricate web of policy development.9 10 The traditional unitary structure of Whitehall had been undermined – decisions were being made suband supranationally – and so too had parliamentary sovereignty. The Civil Service’s advisory monopoly was contingent on the upholding of these constitutional principles, and without them the monopoly could no longer exist. In this sense, while it is clear that a “partial downgrading”11 in the role of civil servants as policy advisers has taken place, it also is clear that SpAds were less a cause than a consequence of this change in the politico-bureaucratic relationship.12 The policy advisory role of SpAds developed in response to a change in minister-civil servant relationship that had been exogenously triggered by a series of critical junctures. The Civil Service’s monopoly on ministerial advice was diluted by a further juncture represented by the tendency for “civil servants [to] increasingly give ministers the answers they want[ed].”13 Such conduct constituted a “serious professional failure” of the Service.14 This crack in the “governing marriage”15 is significant insofar as it combats the implied assumption that high-quality (honest) policy advice is, consistent with historical institutionalist logic, a path-dependent outcome of the existence of an administrative advisory monopoly, irrespective of the external factors.16 In reality, the critical juncture in the aforementioned path, represented by civil servants becoming increasingly compliant, clearly renders such a monopolistic “flawed relationship” a redundant means of ensuring the path-dependent provision of sufficient policy advice.17 The only viable response to such a juncture was for politicians to supplement the Civil Service with individuals who were not afraid to offer unpalatable counsel to ministers: SpAds.18 Moreover, the SpAd is able to interact with such a juncture by acting as civil servants’ conduit for transmitting negative advice that they may wish (only indirectly) to transmit to ministers. By acting as a bureaucratic buffer/messenger and being conducive to the administrative honesty (rather than compliance) in the manner described, SpAds enhance the availability of high-quality advice and thus preserve the aims and aspirations that the traditional monopolistic politico-bureaucratic advisory relationship sought to achieve. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 12
Richards et al. (2012) Klein and Lewis (1977) Richards et al. (2012) Brack (2012) Dorey (2005), p.74 Blick and Jones (2013), p.273 Plowden (1994), p.104 Faulkner (1991) Riddell (2013), p.3 Pierson (2000) Plowden (1994), p.102 Gains and Stoker (2011)
Furthermore, a paradigm shift that took place within government from the 1980s also constituted a critical juncture. The Thatcher Government embarked on bureaucratic revolution, influenced by the New Public Management (NPM) agenda, and fundamentally restructured politico-bureaucratic relations.19 Pursued under subsequent administrations, adherence to this paradigm involved the application of private sector practices to the Civil Service. One such transposition included the shift in which civil servants became more “policy managers rather than makers or originators”.20 This reform was an embodiment of Thatcher’s frustration toward bureaucrats’ lack of private sector-like innovative policy entrepreneurialism.21 Bureaucrats, instead, were traditionally of a cautious disposition, which, in light of a critical juncture triggered by such radicalism, led to a “worrying deterioration… in the working relationship between ministers and officials.”22 SpAds emerged as a response to the ministerial demand for policy entrepreneurs in order to minimise the innovation and creativity deficit. They were able to “think the unthinkable,”23 challenged accepted orthodoxies and were effective in changing the direction of policy, contrary to the inertia that characterised the administration.24 25 Evidence for such innovation can be seen upon observation of the endeavours of SpAds David Young26 and Christopher Foster27 who were instrumental in the respective privatisations of BT and British Rail. In this element of the policy-making dimension of the politico-bureaucratic relationship, it is vital to stress that SpAds played little role in changing the dynamics of the partnership. They simply froze and reinforced the new division of labour established by the critical juncture represented by NPM reforms.28 29 Since the critical juncture represented by the NPM paradigm shift diminished the policy initiation role of the bureaucracy, the process of “conceptual divination”30 and the intensive and extensive ministerial contact that it necessitated became less necessary. It is, in fact, noted that the bureaucracy’s diluted policy-making role resulted in Chancellor Gordon dealing with few civil servants directly.31 This change thus undermined the second element of the traditional politico-bureaucratic relationship: the de facto ‘fusion’ between the two actors. The paradigm shift aside, a series of other critical junctures in the political environment – preceding the emergence of SpAds – resulted in the destabilisation of the “proximity” element that characterised the traditional minister-civil servant re19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Greer and Jarman (2011) Rhodes (2002) Shaw and Eichenbaum (2012) Plowden (1994), p.104 Elcock (2002), p.2 Jacobs (2012) OECD (2007) Dorey (2005) Blick (2004), p.193 Foster (2001) LSE GV314 Group (2012) Page (2012), p.12 Paun (2013), p.11
lationship.32 The first is the declining cohesiveness of parliamentary parties since the 1970s. From this period, for all manner of reasons that this essay has no space to explore, the number of government backbench rebellions in House of Commons divisions exponentially increased to the record levels that are visible today.33 In light of this, it has been necessary for ministers to spend more time liaising with backbench MPs in order to minimise revolts. This has been to the detriment of spending time with civil servants, which would have aided the Haldane ’fusion’.34 The second juncture affecting the proximate relationship between the politician and the bureaucrat is that of the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle in the 1980s (and particularly the online news revolution triggered in the 1990s).35 The media’s newfound omnipresence meant that ministers were inevitably forced to depart from the traditional policy-dominant trajectory, characterised by frequent interaction with senior bureaucrats, and instead pursue a new path that required more political (media) management. It is clear that SpAds merely constituted a response to this juncture of media intensification and were not the agents of change in this element of the politico-bureaucratic relationship. While not being the cause of a change in politico-administrative relationship, it is clear that SpAds – in their role as political media management advisers – and civil servants are in direct competition for the “most scarce of all commodities – the minister’s time.”36 While not a complete violation of the Haldane relationship, the fact that it is now necessary for civil servants to compete for ministerial ‘fusion’ represents a distortion of it at the very least.37 In spite of such competition, however, SpAds do play a role in unifying ministers and bureaucracy, contrary to the media’s near undermining of such fusion and unity. Even if civil servants were to have unlimited ministerial access, real fusion or ‘conceptual divination’ could not be achieved since bureaucrats inherent neutral, administrative dispositions to a large extent inhibit them from viewing and understanding decisions in a political context.38 SpAds, owing to their political expertise, do not share this problem, however, and can thus act as political translators between the minister and the bureaucrat, better enabling civil servants to understand the political considerations of the minister.39 This makes the prospect of a Haldane cognitive ‘fusion’ more likely than ever before. In this sense, irrespective of the aforementioned competition for ministerial attention, SpAds can, paradoxically, be best understood as conservers of the traditional Haldane relationship. The impartial and objective manner by which civil servants have traditionally operated in their interactions with ministers is the final element of the politico-bureaucratic trinity underpinning the actors’ relationship. In the context of this element, 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 14
Blick and Jones (2012) Cowley and Stuart (2012) Foster (2001)
Klein and Lewis (1977), p.12 Butler (2012) Jacobs (2012) Gains and Stoker (2011)
SpAds act as a “firewall”, protecting the Civil Service from politicisation.40 This is since, in the wake of the 24-hour news cycle among other junctures, the presence of SpAds mean that civil servants are not drawn into “crossing the line”41 between advising ministers and engaging in political decision making out of a natural desire to support their ministerial masters.42 In this sense, SpAds allow for the realisation of the fact that “while the institution of the Civil Service is the property of government… it is not the property of ‘the government’ of the day”.43 As such, it is clear that SpAds play a crucial role in preserving, not undermining, the Northcote-Trevelyan impartiality that characterises the traditional minister-civil servant relationship. To conclude, the traditional politico-bureaucratic relationship is constituted of a trinity of three elements. The first is that bureaucrats have a monopoly over ministerial policy advice. The existence of such a monopoly is no longer the case. Critical junctures, such as devolution and globalisation have disrupted the original trajectory of this element of the traditional minister-bureaucrat relationship, and, owing to the newfound complexity of the UK’s policy-making arena, have led to a pluralisation of policy advice. The emergence of SpAds was merely a consequence of this juncture. Furthermore, the declining quality of civil service advice – deriving from its partial dishonesty and conservativeness – in the context of the critical juncture represented by the NPM paradigm shift led to a ministerial demand for more innovative policy advice. Again, SpAds emerged as a solution to this dilemma. The second element of the relationship – the ‘Haldane fusion’ – was compromised by the diminished policy-making role of the Civil Service but also by junctures such as the increase in backbench rebellion and the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle. These constituted additional demands on limited ministerial time. While acting as bureaucrats’ competitors for ministerial time, SpAds, in the context of the ministerial-bureaucratic distancing occurring in response to factors already described, can act as political translators between ministers and the civil service, facilitating a cognitive ‘fusion’ superior to that which bureaucrats could ever have achieved through increased physical interaction with ministers. Lastly, SpAds preserve the impartiality of the Civil Service’s relationship with ministers – the third element of the traditional relationship– by acting as a “firewall” in ensuring that civil servants are not compelled to cross the political divide in the course of their duties. In short, SpAds are less a cause than a consequence of a changing relationship between politicians and civil servants that, in light of a number of critical junctures in the political and economic environment, had already departed from its traditional foundations. In fact, SpAds often represent an executive endeavour to mediate the effects of critical junctures, and to restore the politico-bureaucratic relationship to its original course.
40 41 42 43
Gruhn and Slater (2012) p.7 Richards et al. (2012), p.4 Civil Service Commission (2012) Committee on Standards in Public Life (2003)
Blick, A. (2004) People Who Live in the Dark (London: Politico’s) Blick, A. and Jones, G. (2013) At Power’s Elbow (London: Biteback) Brack, D. (May 2012) ‘Being a Special Adviser Under the Coalition’, Total Politics. Retrieved from http://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/316907/being-a-special-adviser-under-the-coalition.thtml [Accessed 2 February 2014] Butler, R. (2012) ‘Written Evidence Submitted by Lord Butler of Brockwell’ In. House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (ed.) Political Special Advisers: Written Evidence (London: TSO) Civil Service Commission (2012) ‘Written Evidence Submitted by the Civil Service Commission’ In. House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (ed.) Political Special Advisers: Written Evidence (London: TSO) Committee on Standards in Public Life (2003) Defining the Boundaries Within the Executive: Ministers, Special Advisers and the Permanent Civil Service. Ninth Report, Chairman Sir Nigel Wicks (Cm 5775) (London: TSO) Cowley, P. and Stuart M. (2012) ‘A Coalition with Two Wobbly Wings: Backbench Dissent in the House of Commons’, Political Insight 3: 8-11 Dillman, D. (2007) ‘Enduring Values in the British Civil Service’, Administration & Society, 39(7) 883-900 Dorey, P. (2005) Policy Making in Britain (London: Sage) Elcock, H. (2002) ‘The Proper and Improper Use of Special Advisers’, Public Policy and Administration, 17 1-4 Faulkner, D. (1991) ‘Continuity and Change in the Home Office: An Occasional Paper Written in 1991 for Internal Use Within the Home Office’, Home Office, Occasional Papers in Administrative Studies no2 Foster, C. (2001) ‘The Civil Service Under Stress: The Fall in Civil Service Power and Authority’, Public Administration, 79(3) 735-749 Freedland, M. (1996) ‘The Rule Against Delegation and the Carltona Doctrine in Agency Context’, Public Law, 19-30 Gains, F. and Stoker, G. (2011) ‘Special Advisers and the Transmission of Ideas from the Policy Primeval Soup’, Policy & Politics 39(4) 485-498 16
Greer, S. and Jarman, H. (2011) ‘The British Civil Service System’ in van der Meer, F. (ed.) Civil Service Systems in Western Europe (Cheltenham: Elgar) Gruhn, Z. and Slater, F. (2012) Special Advisers and Ministerial Effectiveness (London: Institute for Government) Haldane Report (1918) Report of the Machinery of Government Committee (London: HMSO) Jacobs, M. (2012) ‘Written Evidence Submitted by Michael Jacobs’ In. House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (ed.) Political Special Advisers: Written Evidence (London: TSO) Klein, R. and Lewis, J. (1977) ‘Advice and Dissent in British Government: The Case of Special Advisers’, Policy and Politics 6 1-25 LSE GV314 Group (2012) ‘New Life at the Top: Special Advisers in British Government’, Parliamentary Affairs, 65 715-732 OECD (2007) ‘Political Advisors and Civil Servants in European Countries’, SIGMA Papers, No.38 (OECD Publishing) Page, E. (2012) ‘Britain: Bureaucrats and Imaginary Ministers’ in Page, E. (ed.) Policy Without Politicians: Bureaucratic Influence in Comparative Perspective (Oxford: OUP) Paun, A. (2013) Supporting Ministers to Lead: Rethinking the Ministerial Private Office (London: Institute for Government) Pierson, P. (2000) ‘Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics’, American Political Science Review, 94(2) 251-267 Plowden, W. (1994) Ministers and Mandarins (London: IPPR) Rhodes, R. (2002) ‘New Labour’s Civil Service: Summing-up Joining-up’, Political Quarterly, 151-166 Richards, D., Smith, M. and Diamond, P. (2012) ‘Written Evidence Submitted by Professor David Richards, Professor Martin Smith and Mr. Patrick Diamond’ In. House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (ed.) Political Special Advisers: Written Evidence (London: TSO) Riddell, P. (2013) Minsters and Mandarins: How Civil Servants and Politicians Can Work Better Together (London: Institute for Government)
Shaw, R. and Eichenbaum, C. (2012) â€˜Ministers, Minders and the Core Executive: Why Ministers Appoint Advisers in Westminster Contextsâ€™, Parliamentary Affairs, 1-33
Labour Market Issues in the UK:
Why Low Pay is not always better than No Pay Josh Martin
This article reflects on the rising rates of in-work poverty amongst the British workforce. Often of lower visibility than out-of-work poverty, in-work poverty has further negative externalities in terms of social inclusion and loss of individual dignity. Raising the NMW, adopting a universal basic income, and investing in the UK’s major cities are suggested as policy solutions. In Hard Times Charles Dickens introduces Stephen Blackpool, a factory power-loom weaver during the Industrial Revolution who earns dangerously low wages. His job, working long hours doing manual labour with no chance of advancement, is not enough to escape poverty; he finds himself utterly alone—truly socially excluded. Society today contains countless modern-day Stephen Blackpools. In-work poverty continues to rise in the UK at alarming rates due to low wages and an ineffective benefit structure, proving that ‘any job’ is not enough to avoid poverty and social exclusion. The struggles of the working poor confirm that low pay is not always better than no pay, because low-paying jobs still lead to poverty and social exclusion. In-work poverty is still poverty and on the avoidance of poverty and social exclusion, those in low pay and no pay are equals because both are doomed to join the ‘low-pay-no-pay’ cycle of poverty. To understand the issues surrounding in-work poverty, it is worth examining the current labour market before delving into policy analysis. It seems paradoxical that finding work can lead to poverty, but such is the situation faced by the working poor. One-third of families who move into work do not escape poverty, and a large proportion of those that manage to escape fall back into poverty over the next three years1. Coupling this daunting statistic with the rise of in-work poverty during the recent recession2, it is apparent that in-work poverty is increasingly urgent as an issue3. Amongst other explanations, the failure of low-paying jobs to help people avoid poverty mainly stems from the evolution of the labour market, the change in household composition, and the current policy structure. The labour market changed with society from Fordism, full of mass production and low skilled work, to post-Fordism, emphasizing niche markets and skilled work4, hurting the employment prospects of the poor, who struggle to find fulltime work 1 Gottfried and Lawton (2010). 2 Ibid. 3 McKnight (2002). 4 Standing (2011). 19
because traditional work patterns and hours are now less common. Consequently, they find multiple part-time jobs with no guarantees of steady hours while continuing to do the unpaid work that happens in every household5. Access to work proves even more difficult thanks to spatial issues. Unemployment stands disproportionately high in Britain’s major cities because rural areas secured the lion’s share of job growth during the skills revolution6. Labour market changes led to higher job uncertainty and expendability, often sending the working poor back into worklessness instead of financial safety. Household composition also significantly affects those at risk of in-work poverty. Having a job and living with other people with jobs is the most likely way of avoiding poverty7. Work-rich households (households with multiple workers) can pool finances and squeak by more often than work-poor households. UK policies operate under the assumption that two parents can work fulltime8, hindering lone parents and households with parent(s) who are not employed fulltime due to legitimate reasons. Households that contain members of the most disadvantaged groups (disabled people, lone parents, ethnic minorities—especially Pakistani and Bangladeshi households, and people aged over fifty) are especially hindered9. Because more households have evolved into work-poor households10, it is unsurprising that low-paying jobs do not help them avoid poverty or social exclusion. While the labour market and the average household composition have evolved, the relevant policy-making has not, contributing largely to in-work poverty. Over the past few decades, UK politicians have consistently preferred supply-side policies known as ‘workfare’ schemes, where the unemployed must demonstrate they are searching for work in order to receive benefits11. These active labour market policies are often means-tested, aiming to shape the unemployed into the mold suitable for the current available jobs. Although Campbell points out the successes of the New Deal12, a major workfare policy, far more authors have condemned such policies for failing to take into account the spatial issues of poverty13 and for being too ineffective14. Workfare’s out-of-work benefits are meager because workfare visionaries worry that a ‘culture of worklessness’ is developing amongst the unemployed, where they feel content to stop searching for work and take the benefits entitled to them; however, the Social Exclusion Unit found no evidence of such a culture brewing15. In fact, these policies, according to Dwyer and Ellison, imply that it is the unemployed individual’s responsibility not only to find work, but also 5 McLaughlin (1998). 6 Turok (2000), McLaughlin (1998), Dornan (2005), Gottfried and Lawton (2010). 7 Dornan (2005), McLaughlin (1998), McKnight (2002), Gottfried and Lawton (2010). 8 Dornan (2005). 9 Dornan (2005), NEP (2010), Ratcliffe and Newman (2011), McKnight (2002), Barrett (2010). 10 McKnight (2002). 11 Campbell (2000). 12 Campbell (2000) 13 McLaughlin (1998), Turok (2000) 14 Gregg (1998), Robinson (1998), Dornan (2005) 15 SEU (2004) 20
to have life shaped by work16. Workfare defines success as decreasing the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits17, but defining unemployment as the claimant count ignores the unemployed who cannot claim benefits due to legitimate reasons and unjustifiably disregards those who fall back into unemployment within a few months18. The ILO method of surveying to calculate unemployment results in higher—though still imperfect—unemployment numbers19. Additionally, Guy Standing argues that the current means-tested policies are too numerous, confusing, and expensive in their implementation20. Workfare policies lead to a poverty trap, where the low pay received for work is only marginally better than the out-of-work benefits, preventing the working poor from escaping poverty21. And, plainly, workfare leads to social exclusion. The inability to say no to a job for fear of losing benefits degrades human dignity. For both those on low pay and those on no pay, workfare policies do not provide a way out of poverty. The relevant UK policy debate rages between policies focusing on unemployment consequences versus causes. Workfare and all other short-term approaches fall under the former category, while long-term solutions fall under the latter. If means-tested approaches continue, they should be modeled after the Canadian Child Tax Benefit, which consolidates numerous programs and provides benefits to 85 percent of Canadian households22. However, after analyzing the ineffectiveness of workfare policies, something new must be tried. Raising the minimum wage, adopting a universal basic income, and investing in the UK’s major cities are long-term solutions, which are comparatively inexpensive to implement, that can help the poor avoid both in-work poverty and worklessness poverty. Firstly, raising the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’ will boost the pay of the working poor, preventing further turns in the ‘low-pay-no-pay’ cycle. After being introduced in 1999, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) successfully raised workers wages without hurting employment numbers23. Raising the NMW again will help alleviate in-work poverty to a significant extent. Gottfried and Lawton even suggest having a higher minimum wage in London to combat spatial issues24, but this would likely attract further migration of the working class to London, saturating the relevant labour market even further; thus, the NMW should not be regional. Secondly, adopting a universal basic income, where every legal resident receives a modest monthly payment, will help alleviate all levels of poverty. No country has implemented a basic income policy, but a pilot project in Otjivero-Omitara, Namibia produced glowing results. On top of seeing the population under the poverty line drop by sixty percent, the project saw decreases in crime, child malnutrition, and debt, and increases in employment, school attendance, clinic visits, savings, house 16 Dwyer and Ellison (2009) 17 Ratcliffe and Newman (2011) 18 Campbell (2000) 19 Campbell (2000) 20 Standing (2011) 21 Dornan (2005), Ratcliffe and Newman (2011), McKnight (2002), Campbell (2000), Standing (2011) 22 McLaughlin (1998) 23 McKnight (2002) 24 Gottfried and Lawton (2010) 21
improvements, household income (excluding the basic income), and a 300 percent increase in income generated by self-employment25. Even further, current pilot projects in India, where citizens receive an amount of about 30 percent of bare subsistence, echo Namibia’s success26. For a national program, the BIG Coalition in Namibia suggested implementing tiers of recipients27, meaning one’s basic income would depend on their financial situation, but this defeats the attractiveness of basic income by adding a financial means-tested component. The beauty in basic income is its simplicity. Rich or poor, all are entitled to this monthly payment. This cash provides a sense of security that infuses confidence and grants people a greater sense of control over their lives28. It both helps the unemployed find work and propels the working poor into financial safety. The basic income should follow Guy Standing’s advice and add top-ups for citizens in disadvantaged groups (the only necessary means-tested component), while also changing the basic income monthly amount depending on the economic conditions29. Combining these two policies with Turok’s plan of investing in cities to attract more jobs and combat spatial issues30, the avoidance of poverty and social exclusion is possible for both those in low pay and those in no pay. Throughout Hard Times, one realizes that Stephen Blackpool deserves better. The in-work poverty he suffers, which others endure today, is truly unfair. The evolutions of the labour market and the average household composition show that jobs alone are not the key to avoiding poverty and social exclusion, while workfare policies failed to combat the poverty trap. However, raising the NMW, adopting a universal basic income, and investing in the UK’s major cities can replace the countless workfare programs, fight poverty, and promote social inclusion! Since the NMW and the basic income are not means tested, a degrading stigma cannot be attached to program recipients, meaning the poor will retain their dignity. By enacting these three policies, in-work poverty will fall, replaced by a ladder of opportunity for those on all levels of pay to reach financial safety and avoid poverty and social exclusion. The Stephen Blackpools of the present and future may finally be justly rewarded.
25 BIG Coalition (2009) 26 Standing (2013) 27 BIG Coalition (2009) 28 Standing (2013) 29 Standing (2011) 30 Turok (2000) 22
Barrett, R. (2010) ‘Disadvantaged groups in the labour market’, Economic & Labour Market Review, 4 (6). BIG Coalition. (2009) Making the difference! The BIG in Namibia. Basic Income Grant Pilot Project. Assessment Report, Windhoek. Campbell, M. (2000) ‘Labour market exclusion and inclusion’ from Percy-Smith, J. Policy Responses to Social Exclusion (pp 22-42), Buckingham: Open University Press. Dornan, P. (2005) ‘Working a way out of poverty?’ from Preston, G. At Greatest Risk: The children most likely to be poor (pp 30-43), London: Child Poverty Action Group. Dwyer, P. and Ellison, N. (2009) ‘Work and welfare: the rights and responsibilities of unemployment in the UK’ from Giugni, M. The politics of unemployment in Europe: Policy responses and collective action (pp 53-66), Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. Gottfried, G and Lawton, K. (2010) In-work poverty in the recession, IPPR. Gregg, P. (1998) ‘Comment: Employment, taxes and benefits’ from Oppenheim, C. An Inclusive Society: Strategies for tackling poverty (pp 129-136), London: Institute for Public Policy Research. McKnight, A. (2002) ‘Low-paid Work: Drip-feeding the Poor’ from Hills, J., Le Grand, J. and Piachaud, D. Understanding Social Exclusion (pp 97-117), Oxford: Oxford University Press. McLaughlin, E. (1998) ‘Taxes, benefits and paid work’ from Oppenheim, C. An Inclusive Society: Strategies for tackling poverty (pp 95-112), London: Institute for Public Policy Research. NEP (National Equality Panel). (2010) An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK: Report of the National Equality Panel, London: Government Equalities Office/CASE. Ratcliffe, P. and Newman, I. (eds) (2011) Promoting Social Cohesion: Implications for policy evaluation, Bristol: The Policy Press. Robinson, P. (1998) ‘Employment and social inclusion’ from Oppenheim, C. An Inclusive Society: Strategies for tackling poverty (pp 113-128), London: Institute for Public Policy Research.
SEU (Social Exclusion Unit) (2004) Jobs and enterprise in deprived areas, London: ODPM. Standing, G. (2011) The Precariat: The new dangerous class, London: Bloomsbury. Standing, G. (2013) Can Basic Income Cash Transfers Transform India?, Basic Income News. Retrieved from http://binews.org/2013/02/opinion-can-basic-incomecash-transfers-transform-india/. Turok, I. (2000) â€˜Inequalities in employment: problems of spatial divergenceâ€™ from Pantazis, C. and Gordon, D. Tackling Inequalities: Where are we now and what can be done? (pp 59-86), Bristol: The Policy Press.
The Key to a Modern European Debate Neil O’Neill This article blames the success of Eurosceptic far-right parties on the systematic failure of moderate parties to provide an adequate platform for Eurosceptic concerns. This has resulted in a bipolar discourse, leaving moderate Eurosceptics favourable to integration in a non-supranational manner without representation, and has thus driven voters to the political fringe. Only if Euroscepticism is acknowledged as not a per se extremist perspective, but taken serious by its opponents, can a constructive dialogue emerge that prevents moderate Eurosceptic voters from associating with parties they otherwise disagree with for lack of better representation. This article aims to outline how important it is for Britain’s future in Europe to have the current European debate brought back from the precipice of the political spectrum, and into an arena of rationality and moderation. Recent political coverage has indicated surprisingly sharp rises in support for far-right groups within the continent, partly a symptom of Eurosceptic views having little or no place amongst moderate political parties. I provide two major suggestions as to how we can break away from the manner in which the European debate has been carried out to date, and to what I hope will provide impetus for the creation of a European project which will provide gains from integration whilst satisfying the concerns of the Demos. Euroscepticism has not been a position which would win favour for those within main-stream politics for a long time. It was an issue which the Labour Party initially struggled with in the UK at the time of the 1975 referendum, and it has plagued certain elements within the Conservative Party, most prolifically under John Major’s leadership. The Eurosceptic position, despite having a wide variety of proponents has been continually dismissed with derision, playing the issue into the hands of more extreme political elements. In a more centralised flouting of Eurosceptic voters, referendums held over the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland and France demonstrating a lack of support were ignored and then re-polled until a “Yes” decision was made (in the Irish case), or re-decided by parliament (in the French case). This is one example, which alongside other areas such as the creation of the Eurozone, demonstrated the rushed approach to integration. In tandem, it also demonstrated the rather spineless response from domestic politicians in European countries in opposing what has been a hasty process. The fundamental lack of moderate representation for those who are genuinely, and rationally concerned about aspects of EU politics has done much to weaken the perceived legitimacy of the European project.
The lack of moderate representation for Euroscepticism has also played into the hands of parties with a more extreme approach on the European debate, such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Despite David Cameron taking up a seemingly polemic approach since January 2013 with his promise of a referendum in 2017 if the Tories get re-elected in 2015 (a state of affairs which has looked increasingly unlikely in the polls), it is not a position which he deems favourable for his Party and the British Government. A stark choice now stands before the British people if the much coveted referendum is attained. On the one hand, there is the potentiality of breaking their currently close political ties with the EU, and on the other, maintaining and ultimately giving a strengthened mandate to closer European integration with the prospect of treaty opt-outs. The nature of the debate surrounding the European project thus far has been a major factor which has forced David Cameron to kowtow to the pressures of extremist groups. Whilst the rise of UKIP, propelled by the charismatic leadership of Nigel Farage has signalled a loud rallying cry for British Eurosceptics and given them a centralised voice, one must ask a further question of: why is it that only parties outside the mainstream have been dominantly held Eurosceptic views which are clearly favourable amongst wide-sections of the electorate? It has been to the detriment of moderate parties that they have not managed to find a way in which to incorporate opposition to Brussels and the EU, whilst maintaining support for the principles of a more politically and economically integrated continent. The two positions are not polemic, but have been made to appear so. One of the key reasons surrounding the lack of moderate representation for Eurosceptic views has been the derision Eurosceptics have faced. The position has been treated as extreme in any shape or form, and has played into the hands of extreme parties who had an effective monopoly on the position. The holding of such views has been automatically associated with ideological extremism, in some cases rightly so, but certainly not in all. This has left many moderate, rational Eurosceptics unwilling to step forward to have their views adequately represented. The â€˜Third-Wayâ€™ in British politics, despite its advantages to the strategic manoeuvres of the likes of Anthony Blair and David Cameron has been disastrous for representation of such concerns for the electorate, and subsequently for the general quality of debate. In a more recent example, the debate of immigration in the UK took an interesting turn. It had been a taboo subject, swept under the carpet of main-stream politics. However, as the debate has unfolded in a more open manner in recent months with Labour Party members such as David Blunkett talking about the dangers of immigration, retorts such as those of the findings in the report from University College London showing a net-benefit from immigration have received greater attention. It was through a process of more open debate that such views could be recognised and brought to the fray of the debate. Partly this was also down to individuals 26
such as Blunkett stepping forward, against the general sway of the Labour Party to voice his concerns. I doubt that this would have been possible if he held a senior position in government. If Eurosceptic positions are to be reclaimed by moderates, then moderates need to step up to represent them. This is one way in which a more open forum for debate can emerge, which can in turn undermine extremist use of Euroscepticism. Tied into the need for an open discussion is a need for a moderate approach from Pro-EU supporters. Just as I suggest that Euroscepticism should not be dismissed as a monolithic extreme, Pro-EU supporters also need to find a stronger voice for moderation. Ideological preferences need to be reconciled with the shortcomings of the EU to date, including the ongoing economic debacle which still shrouds Southern Europe. If Eurosceptics do not get a sense of urgency from Pro-EU supporters of the necessity to tackle such problems, such failures will play into the hands of support for more extreme policy decisions towards the EU, creating a very real existential threat. The EU is not the only potential manifestation of the ideology underpinning European integration, and it thus should not be treated as such. It is extremely refreshing to come across Pro-EU supporters who can openly critique the manner in which the EU carries out its policies, and the nature of the political structure itself whilst being equally steadfast in their ideological preference for supranational political decision making. Such views need to gain more attention if the EU is to go down the path of much needed reforms required to provide an institutional framework which realistically can accommodate national interests with that of the EU as a whole. To conclude, this article provides some points of contention surrounding the manner in which the EU debate has been carried out to date. In order for moderate groups to reclaim the strong hold on Eurosceptic views that are dominated by more extreme political groups in Europe, they need to adequately address the concerns of those who feel threatened by the EU, but at the same time are not inherently opposed to integration. The two should not be seen at loggerheads, but as complementary views which would actually open up the debate and make it a more rational one. Additionally, Pro-EU supporters should make distinctions between their ideological preferences and their support for the EU as it is, which are not necessarily compatible. Instead, an open attitude of critique towards Brussels should be seen as a means by which a European Project can emerge to sustainably carry out the process of integration.
The European Sphere
European Parliament, Strasbourg
Austerity and the Spanish Welfare State Sebastian Diessner
This essay discusses whether changes in the Spanish welfare state help or hinder the EU country to overcome the considerable difficulties it faces since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008. This essay outlines the background to welfare state changes in Spain, and covers concrete changes made. It concludes that welfare cuts have failed to achieve the goal of fiscal stability, while on the contrary undermining social stability in Spain. The Spanish state has been one of the EU member states hit most severely by the financial crisis since 2008, entailing serious economic and social repercussions which have led not least to political and social upheaval in the form of mass protests and repeated general strikes (Lane, 2012). It is in countries like Spain that improvements to the status quo need to materialize most urgently, and it is therefore of increased interest to have a close look at whether such improvements are being achieved by means of contemporary measures or not. This essay will do so by analysing measures within the realm of the welfare state in particular. Before that, in order to be able to draw reasoned conclusions on the ultimate success or failure of such measures, it is important to clarify the overall aim that is to be achieved. In other words: what ‘difficulties’ does Spain have to ‘get out of’, in the first place? Without going into the details of the root causes and manifold consequences of the financial crisis in Spain (due to delimitations in size of this work), this essay acknowledges that it is financial stability that needs to be reinforced in Spain in order to restore the country’s access to financial markets and thus to avert its public financing crisis. This is in line with the agreements made in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Commission and Spain (2012: 1 & 3). The MoU, mainly concerned with financial sector reform, requires Spain to fully commit to its obligations under the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), decided upon by the Council of the EU (2009) after the outbreak of crisis left the Iberian country in financial turmoil. It is under this procedure, aiming at reducing the size of Spain’s budget deficit to 3% of GDP or below, that significant policies have been initiated which also affect the Spanish welfare state considerably1. In their entirety, these policies have come to be publicly known as ‘austerity’ or ‘austerity politics’2 and have as such been subject to extensive commentary in media as well as academia (cf. Lane, 2012; Navarro, 2013; Holland and 1
This has left commentators to note that in Spain measures tackling the realm of welfare have not been implemented primarily because of “grave problems with ‘welfare’ per se”, but because “the demands of current market and economic conditions must be met” (Farnsworth and Irving, 2012: 136; with reference to OECD, 2011: 21-22).
Generally speaking, austerity can be practiced by governments by reducing public expenditures and/or by increasing revenues through taxation (Farnsworth and Irving, 2012: 137). 30
Portes, 2012; The Economist, 2010; 2012). In the years following the outbreak of the financial crisis, the Spanish government has undertaken austerity measures under the EDP that aimed at increasing its revenues as well as reducing its expenditures. Measures aiming at the latter, however, have been so substantial that they have left scholars to find that the Spanish reform package’s major focus is on cuts in “social benefits and public services” (Theodoropoulou and Watt, 2011: 21) and that these clearly outweigh the revenue-focused measures (Navarro, 2013: 191). Eurostat data from 2012 supports this, showing an estimate of close to €9 billion in spending cuts between 2009 and 2011, compared to €6 billion in tax increases over the same period (Laven and Santi, 2012). This is reflected in substantive changes in the Spanish welfare state over the last years, as several of its key components faced considerable retrenchments. Take, for instance, the Spanish healthcare system. Since the election of Mariano Rajoy as Prime Minister of Spain, it is estimated that a total of €6 billion has been curtailed from the Spanish healthcare budget (Navarro, 2013: 191), corresponding to a budget cut of close to 14% in 2012 alone (Legido-Quigley et al., 2013: 18). At first sight, such figures of reductions to overall spending may tell little about either their necessity or their actual consequences, and thus about how they should be assessed. It is, therefore, important for our later evaluation to also have a closer look at how these reductions were and are brought about. In addition to an extensive decrease of funding for professional training, it is, in particular, by means of reducing healthcare benefits for pensioners and by introducing considerable copayments for a wide range of medical treatments that expenditures were and are to be saved in the Spanish public healthcare sector (ibid.; Laven and Santi, 2012). An example for this is the need for employed Spaniards to bear 60% of the cost of any medication (40% if annual income is below €18,000). On the whole, healthcare thus has become decidedly less affordable for large parts of the Spanish population, especially for pensioners (Legido-Quigley et al., 2013: 18). Beyond this, as introduced by Royal Decree 16/2012, costs shall further be contained by refusing all but emergency, prenatal and paediatric care services to undocumented migrants living in Spain – a decision that stirred considerable controversy in Spanish public debate (ibid.: 18–19). An area where overall expenditure arguably is of interest, though, is that of automatic stabilization by means of social spending. Here, the focus should thus rather lie on changes to the overall public spending on Spanish welfare than on specific changes within the Spanish welfare system. As Furceri (2009: 12) has shown, automatic stabilization in cases of asymmetric shocks can not only be facilitated through taxes and transfers or through government spending in general, but may also be provided by means of social spending in particular. Moreover, stabilization effects are significantly and positively correlated with the size of social spending (ibid.: 13). According to Dolls et al. (2010a), such income stabilization further translates into demand stabilization for credit-constrained households, which can 31
be deemed of considerable importance in the face of Spain’s heightened problem of lack of demand (Navarro, 2013: 191). In this context, it is of interest to notice that social spending in Spain had already been significantly below the average of EU-15 countries before the outbreak of crisis (22% of GNP in 2007, compared to 27%) (ibid.: 190), thus compromising its capacity to stabilize3. One explanation for this can lie in Spain’s particularly low unemployment benefits in comparison to other EU member states (Dolls et al., 2010b: 15). As the financial crisis unfolded in the Iberian country, making for Spain’s output gap to multiply ninefold in the years of 2008 to 2010 (from –0.9% of potential GDP to –8.2%) (Schelkle, 2012: 45), automatic stabilization through increased social spending could arguably have played an important role in smoothing income and demand. In contrast to this, however, downward pressures on social expenditure due to obligations under the Excessive Deficit Procedure have translated into different substantial cutbacks in the Spanish welfare state: In addition to the aforementioned curtailing of the Spanish healthcare system, a post-crisis pension reform has engendered shifts in both the official age of retirement (from 65 to 67, starting in 2017) and in the base for the calculation of benefits (from the last 15 years to the last 25 years of employment) (Casey, 2012: 256, table 5). I will now turn to evaluating these changes in the Spanish welfare state in terms of their intended objective, namely that of reinforcing financial stability. Firstly, with regard to the changes in the Spanish healthcare system, doubts have been raised whether the copayments introduced actually prove effective in containing costs, as administrative expenses of collection may outweigh potential savings (Legido-Quigley et al., 2013: 19). It is, thus, at least questionable that this measure of cost containment lives up to its purpose. More crucially, the decision to prevent undocumented migrants from accessing large parts of healthcare provision may in fact turn out to be highly inefficient, other concerns left aside. In total, a number of around 500,000 migrants over the age of 18 are affected by this fundamental change, making for a considerable gap in coverage (ibid.). In line with the theoretical argumentation elaborated by Barr (2012: 178–179), such non-insurance comes with considerable external costs, both to potential dependants of the uninsured (e.g. spouses and children) as well as to other members of society (e.g. through a resulting increase in crime or the spread of health hazards). In the end, such costs will likely need to be accounted for by the Spanish state. Thus, the perceived savings in treatment costs for undocumented migrants that Royal Decree 16/2012 aims at may well be undermined by the externality costs this very policy entails. Taken together, it can indeed be called into question whether these changes in the Spanish healthcare system will contribute positively to the financial situation of the country. Secondly, the overall reduction in social spending and the correlated adverse effects on automatic stabilization prove to be another cause for concern. If one takes 3
In a comparison of the five biggest EU economies, Spain’s budget was in fact considered the least responsive in 2005 (Schelkle, 2012: 45; referring to budget elasticities measured by Girouard and André, 2005: table 9; see also Bieling, 2012: 260-261). 32
austerity politics into account, it is compelling to see that the countries that already exhibit lower levels of social spending, such as Spain, are the ones required to curtail expenditure the most, as repeatedly promoted by the IMF, amongst others (Farnsworth, 2012: 191, 193, 196). With old age and health spending being actively reduced – adding to the already low spending on unemployment benefits – one can come to conclude that the three most effective sub-categories of social spending in terms of income smoothing (Furceri, 2009: 13, 21) are left decisively impaired in the aftermath of crisis in Spain. Ultimately, I want to add a further dimension to these observations. The welfare state changes driven by austerity politics described in this essay do not only turn out to have an adverse effect on Spanish finances instead of fostering their stability (Armingeon and Baccaro, 2012: 254) – they are also likely to have undermined, and continue to undermine, social stability within the Spanish population. This is of relevance because, as argued by Fischer-Lescano (2013) in a substantive legal study forthcoming in January 2014, there is indeed a “nexus of social and financial stability”: The latter cannot effectively be sustained without preserving the former (Fischer-Lescano, 2013: 43–45). In Spain, which has witnessed major resistance to austerity politics, entailing social unrest and mass mobilizations and having culminated in four general strikes since 2008 already (Navarro, 2013: 191), one can certainly establish a significant deterioration of social stability in connection to severe austerity. In the given short essay, I have tried and analysed whether changes effected in the Spanish welfare state in response to the financial crisis since 2008 have proved supportive or obstructive for Spain in overcoming its considerable difficulties. In this vein, I have argued that the main objective to attain for Spain is the restoration of financial stability. I have subsequently discussed a number of major welfare state changes, mainly in the realm of healthcare as well as overall social spending, and evaluated their effects on financial stability. I come to conclude that the given changes in the Spanish welfare state have hindered Spain from restoring financial stability in a threefold manner: costs have likely not been contained but amplified in certain instances; automatic stabilization in the form of income and demand smoothing has been weakened; social stability has been corroded.
Armingeon, Klaus and Baccaro, Lucio (2012): ‘Political Economy and the Sovereign Debt Crisis: the Limits of Internal Devaluation’, Industrial Law Journal 41 (3), pp. 254–275. Barr, Nicholas (2012): ‘The Economics of the Welfare State’ (5th edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bieling, Hans-Jürgen (2012): ‘EU facing the crisis: social and employment policies in times of tight budgets’, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 18 (3), pp. 255–271. Casey, Bernhard H. (2012): ‘The implications of the economic crisis for pensions and pension policy in Europe’, Global Social Policy 12 (3), pp. 246–265. Council of the European Union (2009): ‘Council Decision of 27 April 2009 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Spain (2009/417/EC)’, Official Journal of the European Union. Dolls, Mathias, Fuest, Clemens and Peichl, Andreas (2010a): ‘Automatic Stabilizers and Economic Crisis: US vs. Europe’, NBER Working Paper 16275, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Dolls, Mathias, Fuest, Clemens and Peichl, Andreas (2010b): ‘Automatic Stabilizers, Economic Crisis and Income Distribution in Europe’, IZA Discussion Paper 4917, Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). European Commission (2012): ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and Spain’, Brussels: European Commission. Farnsworth, Kevin (2012): ‘Social versus Corporate Welfare: Competing Needs and Interests within the Welfare State’, London: Palgrave Macmillan. Farnsworth, Kevin and Irving, Zoe (2011): ‘Varieties of crisis’, In: Farnsworth, Kevin and Irving, Zoe (Eds.) (2011): Social Policy in Challenging Times: Economic crisis and welfare systems, Bristol: Policy Press. Farnsworth, Kevin and Irving, Zoe (2012): ‘Varieties of crisis, varieties of austerity: social policy in challenging times’, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 20 (2), pp. 133–147. Fischer-Lescano, Andreas (2013): ‘Austeritätspolitik und Menschenrechte: Rechtspflichten der Unionsorgane beim Abschluss von Memoranda of Understanding’, Bremen: Centre of European Law and Politics (ZERP).
Furceri, Davide (2009): ‘Stabilization Effects of Social Spending: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries Overcoming the Financial Crisis in the United States’, OECD Economics Department Working Papers 675, Paris: OECD. Girouard, Nathalie and André, Christophe (2005): ‘Measuring Cyclically-Adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries’, OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, Paris: OECD. Holland, Dawn and Portes, Jonathan (2012): ‘Self-Defeating Austerity?’, National Institute Economic Review 222 (1), pp. 4–10. Legido-Quigley, Helena, Otero, Laura, la Parra, Daniel, Alvarez-Dardet, Carlos, Martin-Moreno, Jose M. and McKee, Martin (2013): ‘Will austerity cuts dismantle the Spanish healthcare system?’, British Medical Journal 346, pp. 18–21. Lane, Pat (2012): ‘Austerity’s Children’, Harvard International Review 34 (1), pp. 4–5. Laven, Zachary and Santi, Federico (2012): ‘EU austerity and reform: A country by country table’, Washington, D.C.: The European Institute, Retrieved online (last accessed January 8, 2014): http://www.europeaninstitute.org/ April-2012/eu-austerity-and-reform-a-country-by-country-table-updated-may-3.html. Navarro, Vicente (2013): ‘The Social Crisis of the Eurozone: The Case of Spain’, International Journal of Health Services 43 (2), pp. 189–192. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2011): ‘Restoring Public Finances’, Special Issue of the OECD Journal on Budgeting 2011 (2), Paris: OECD. Schelkle, Waltraud (2012): ‘Good governance in crisis or a good crisis for governance? A comparison of the EU and the US’, Review of International Political Economy 19 (1), pp. 34–58. The Economist (2010): ‘The pain in Spain’, The Economist Vol. 395, p. 62. The Economist (2012): ‘Happy new year, austerity in Spain’, The Economist Vol. 402, pp. 44–45. Theodoropoulou, Sotiria and Watt, Andrew (2011): ‘Withdrawal symptoms: an assessment of the austerity packages in Europe’, Brussels: European Trade Union Institute.
National and European Identities: A Changing Relationship? Konstantin Sietzy Studies of the relationship between European and national identity abound, yet are hampered by a superficial knowledge of integration history. Seeing it as the gradual public emergence of the Eurofederalist motivation of political elites since Adenauer and Schuman, developments in integration history provide a more appropriate framework for understanding the changing (perceived) relationship between levels of identity. The broadening awareness of the existence of an influential voice advocating ever-closer union as an end-goal has generated a conflict-of-interest discourse in matters of identity, where previously the primary fear regarding European encroachment related to sovereignty. Academic interest in the relationship between national identities and the diffuse notion of a ‘European identity’ has exploded since the creation of the European Union in 1993. At the same time, these notions, hampered by an often superficial understanding of the complex and contested history of European integration, are portrayed as static rather than dynamic in their relationship to each other. Framing the political question of identity in its appropriate historical context, the relationship between the national and the European level is visibly changing, from what one may term ‘peaceful cooperation’ to a more openly confrontational one; and this change is contemporaneous with the gradual emergence of a significant pro-European movement in public perception. The broadening awareness of the existence of an influential voice advocating ever-closer union as an end-goal has generated a conflict-of-interest discourse in matters of identity, where previously the primary fear regarding European encroachment related to sovereignty. Cooperation and confrontation have long existed as two separate strands of explanation in the literature relating European and national identity. Erika Harris indicatively titles her paper “Nation-state and the European Union: Lost in a Battle for Identity,” while Laura Cram’s “central hypothesis is that European integration facilitates the ﬂourishing of diverse national identities.”1 Yet at which point authors proffer one or the other seems detached from historical backdrop. This is reflected in the fact that authors replicate theories they submitted prior to the 2009 crisis almost to the word after what arguably presents the greatest caesura in European identity politics since the Community’s inception in the 1957 Rome Treaties.2
1 2 36
Cram, 110. Compare Fligstein (2008) and Fligstein, Polyakova and Sandholtz (2012).
Nevertheless, to compare European identity to national identities, some kind of working definition of it is required as a point of departure. In the case of national identity, scholars have come to agreement that it is constructed by individuals according to circumstance, drawing upon a vast pool of narratives of common pasts and common missions, rather than arising out of stable ‘primordial’ characteristics.3 In similar vein, Cram points out that European identity should be understood as “banal, contingent, and contextual.”4 Realising the contingent and thus dynamic nature inherent to any concept of European identity suggests a closer look at the history of European integration, or rather change evident in this history. Three broad stages crucial to the rise of a pro-European group in public perception can be identified. Firstly, the Second World War had the effect of ensuring that by the late 1940s Europe’s highest positions of power were staffed by a network of figures, already of pre-war political prominence, that were united in a distinct Eurofederalist commitment. In France, the role of Jean Monnet is well known, whose hard-headed foreign policy realism was complemented rather than constrained by his personal conviction of supranational solutions, acquired during his tenure as Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Nations and his organisation of transatlantic economic cooperation during World War 2.5 In Germany, with Konrad Adenauer the first post-war Chancellor had a history of advocating Western European integration against the backdrop of a common Christian-occidental value framework, expressed in his prominent role in Count Coudenhoeve-Kalergi’s Paneuropean Union, and his membership of the Committee for the Coordination of the European Movements and the Hague Congress 1948.6 Tony Judt points to the fact that Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gasperi grew up in the Rhineland, Lorraine and the Trentino respectively – all three from the cultural-linguistic margins of their country, and all three seeing their place of birth change hands between countries during their lifetime.7 Significantly, “when they met, the three men conversed in German, their common language.”8 The emergence of a stratum of national political leaders that were fundamentally conscious of the transient nature of the nation-state, while certainly not sufficient, formed a fundamentally necessary cause permitting the steps towards institutionalised integration taken in the 1950s. This turned out to be the onset of a pattern rather than a one-off occurrence: following the 1950s, rarely was a leader of a major Western European country (with the partial exception of Great Britain – but only after its actual accession to the Community in 1973) not a genuinely committed pro-European, though not necessarily a Federalist. Nevertheless, the first forty years of integration were characterised by almost complete citizen disattachment from the political process in regards to European matters. 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cf. Mols and Weber; Breuilly; Eller and Coughlan. Cram, 110. Duchêne. Cf. e.g. Fligstein, 208. Judt, 157. Ibid. 37
The resurgence of European integration during the early 1990s, propelled by Germany’s reunification and overcoming any remnant charges of ‘Eurosclerosis’, provides the second caesura in the history of citizen relationships to European identity. The formal establishment of the European Union proved the prerequisite to the emergence of a banal Europeanism. Cram applies Billig’s theory of banal nationalism, the elusive but consistent “daily reproduction” of the nation-state in the minds of its citizens through subtle means,9 to the supranational level: the existence of a European flag, a European hymn, and the introduction of the Euro as a European currency all foster the enhabitation of European identity.10 Ettore Recchi refers to this sociological hypothesis that “symbols, mostly targeted through verbal messages, mold [sic] collective identities … as ‘the culturalist model of collective identification’.”11 Significant increases in media coverage of European-level politics12 paralleled by a new self-conception of the EU institutions’ mission as including directly engaging European citizens13 have fostered the development of a European-level demos. Indicative is the growth of scholarly interest in the European Union itself, reflected in a sudden surge of academic papers. Europe’s economic and political crisis since 2009 reflects a third shift. Naturally, increased activity at the European level and increased media coverage of European policy decisions and institutions has translated to an increase in the enhabitation process. Yet the change in rhetoric has not only been in magnitude, but also in kind. Europe’s crisis has visualised the schism between Eurofederalists and their nationalist opponents by visualising the federalist argument itself. Antonsich sees pre-crisis “EUrope [sic] as a socio-political space [that existed] only as a network of upper classes and elites.”14 European integration, while having no visible (negative) impact on the lives of its citizens, fed off a tacit agreement between elites content with taking decisions without public accountability and citizens content with the low information-costs apathy brings with it. The effective attempts by conservative nationalists to portray the Union as the scapegoat of the crisis forced political elites, for the first time in its history, to publicly defend supranational policy decisions specifically, but also the integration process generally. This topdown engagement, coupled with bottom-up critical scrutiny, radically changed the public discourse on Europe – or rather, created one where previously there was none. The nature of the trigger events ensured that this discourse would be marked by polarisation from its beginning. Empirically, that European and national identities can coexist in specific circumstances is well-established.15 One of the most common models, based on social 9 Billig, 6. 10 “Patterns of social life become habitual or routine, and in doing so embody the past. One might describe this process of routine-formation as enhabitation: thoughts, reactions and symbols become turned into routine habits.” Cram, 104. 11 Recchi, 2-3. 12 Fligstein, 210. 13 Indicative are the creation Citizens’ Dialogues, youth engagement from school age, as well as the vast social media presence of both European institutions and representatives. 14 Antonsich, 489. 15 Cram, 110. 38
psychology findings, is to view identities as ‘nested’ within each other, as Juan Díez Medrano and Paula Gutiérrez have shown to be the case for Spanish citizens’ European identities.16 Social Identity Theory (SIT) suggests that “it makes little sense to measure ‘attachment’ to the nation-state and EU, or ‘perceived national identity threat’ emanating from the EU, as the meaning of these categories will vary from one context to the next, and depend on what inter-group comparisons are (made) salient.”17 The discourse of national and European identities locked in zero-sum conflict with one being internalised at the expense of the other, then, is in itself constructed. This raises the question who stands to gain from creating the notion of conflict; or rather, who might believe they stand to lose from the rise of European identity? Analysing the social and domestic-political stances across a wide range of Eurosceptic movements, it becomes clear that they provide a platform for fundamentally conservative mindsets. In Britain, plans for “repainting trains in traditional colours,” abolishing maternity pay and scrapping equality legislation formed central parts of UKIP’s 2010 manifesto.18 Similarly, the nascent German AfD has found itself embroiled in two high-profile scandals in recent months when its leader, a self-identified Eurosceptic on purely economic grounds, became embroiled in a homophobic row19 and refused to disassociate from palpably racist comments of party candidate Beatrix von Storch.20 Finally, religiously motivated Euroscepticism “can be found in all the major Christian confessional traditions.”21 Eurosceptic MEPs form issue-specific coalitions on questions of social legislation such as abortion.22 Euroscepticism, viewed in this light, appears to be a mere attribute of a broader classical Burkean conservatism. Yet, where is the causal link between the visible emergence of a group of Eurofederalists and a conservative-driven polarisation of the identity dialectic? One frequent strand in the literature seeking to define European identity is referencing Karl Deutsch’s social communication theory.23 Deutsch’s theory provides an important clue by pointing to class conflict as an important factor in constructing identity discourses. The literature on European identity generally identifies a relatively small and compact circle of ‘winners’ from European integration. Neil Fligstein points out that such winners are by no means distributed equally across socio-economic class divides.24 “Europe so far has been a class project, a project that favors the educated, owners of business16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Medrano and Gutiérrez. Mols and Weber, 509. Mason. “AfD-Chef kritisiert Hitzlspergers Coming-Out.” Wurster. Madeley, 108. Mills. Cf. Fligstein; Fligstein, Polyakova and Sandholtz. Fligstein, 145. 39
es, managers, and professionals, and the young.”25 These groups are more likely to encounter, and build and sustain meaningful relationships with, foreign nationals from other European countries. Furthermore, Christian Fernández shows that “second-country nationals” stand to gain far more from European citizenship rights than “first-country nationals.”26 Therefore, this class of ‘Europeanists’ is more likely to favour European integration because they are more likely to conceptualise themselves and others in their roles as Europeans rather than national citizens – but at the same time they also stand to benefit most from it. In a self-reinforcing process, more liberal-minded citizens are likely to make use of the benefits of free movement and European citizenship, which in turn is likely to make them more liberal. Therefore, attributes threatening conservative values fundamentally correlate with (and reinforce) identification as European; and so do their proponents. In SIT terms, “when people self-define in terms of their social identity, they generally seek to positively differentiate their ingroup from relevant outgroups.”27 Euroscepticism, then, unites citizens who, against a backdrop of fundamentally conservative mentalities, oppose the newly perceptible class of cosmopolitan, dynamic and socially mobile ‘Europeanists’ on a variety of counts. Eurosceptic elites variously abuse the fact that their targeted supporters are not aware, or are themselves not aware, that national identity, irrespective of its merit, is simply one of a multiplicity of possible constructed identities, and therefore cannot by some unwritten law of metaphysics be seen as ex ante superior. The nation-state further benefits from its conceptual association with democracy itself. Harris identifies a “fundamental historical and ideological congruence between them,” deriving from the perception that “both nationalism and democracy are rooted in the idea that all political authority stems from ‘the people’,” where “‘the people’ stands for popular sovereignty and participation from below, rights, beliefs, expectations and interests.”28 The nation-state is therefore “so deeply entrenched in citizens’ political consciousness that any questioning of their continued validity creates a near existential anxiety.”29 Reverence for national identity serves as a canvas on which to project status-quoism; and the intricate link between a distinct class of beneficiaries from European integration, and their stronger beliefs in the existence of a European identity, serves as a convenient pretence to mobilise against the European ‘threat’ to the nation-state. In the words of Robert Ford, Mathew Goodwin and David Cutts, “the popular description of these supporters as ‘angry old men’ does contain an element of truth, although ‘insecure old men’ is a more accurate description.”30
25 26 27 28 29 30 40
Ibid., 156. Fernández, 154. Mols and Weber, 507. Harris, 96. Ibid., 98. Ford, Goodwin and Cutts, 226. Emphasis added.
There exists, then, a clash between both identities in the post-crisis European demos. While the literature of European identity unfortunately regularly fails in delineating this clash through its desire to depict European identity as a form of national identity,31 one theoretical framework exists that allows for conflict between identities: Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined communities.’ I have attempted to show elsewhere that Anderson unintentionally shows the nation to be only one of a series of possible ‘styles’ of community. Anderson is emphatic in pointing out that “communities are to be distinguished by … the style in which they are imagined.”32 Yet he does not actually explain how the nation is different in ‘style’ from other communities. He offers the ‘dynastic realm’ as well as the ‘religious community’ as concrete alternatives. While strictly speaking Anderson’s arguments pertain to ‘community’ rather than ‘identity’, understanding the latter as a feeling of deep-core attachment to one or multiple of the former allows one to use Anderson as a constructive framework. European identity defines allegiance to one of a multitude of imaginable forms of governance unit other than the nation-state that satisfy Anderson’s conditions for the ‘imagined’ community.33 In effect, Euroscepticism forms a common denominator allowing conservative (in the broad sense of the word outlined above) elites to unite a variety of concerned interest groups in opposition to a specific class that appears threatening to the status quo. The first decade of the 2000s has fundamentally altered the closeddoor nature of previous European integration policy decisions made by national but anti-nationalist political leaders. The newly-created bogeyman of national-conservatives is, from their point of view, conveniently associated with a small and privileged class, allowing the formation of a broad coalition of anti-Europeanists by conflating issues of socio-economic equality with those of identity. The outlook is not unequivocally negative. The existence of conflict and debate, provided it is constructive, may serve to reinvigorate and propel the European project. Nevertheless, before citizens are not made aware of the premise that their identities are constructed and thus changeable rather than inert, this will be difficult to achieve. On the other hand, Eurofederalists should make a greater effort to identify how the European project can be made attractive to those whose socio-economic circumstances exclude them from the circle of the ‘winners’, given the empirical evidence that its benefits are disproportionately distributed.
31 32 33
Cf. Antonsich, 486. Anderson, 6. Sietzy, 2013. 41
“AfD-Chef kritisiert Hitzlspergers Coming-Out.” 11 Jan. 2014. Die Welt Website. 21 Feb. 2014. <http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article123770676/AfD-Chef-kritisiert-Hitzlspergers-Coming-Out.html>. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised Edition. London: Verso, 2006. Antonsich, Marco. “Bringing the Demos Back In.” European Societies (2012): 484-501. Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 1995. Breuilly, John. “Dating the Nation: How Old Is an Nation?” Ichijo, Atsuko and Gordana Uzelac. When Is the Nation? Towards an Understanding of Theories of Nationalism. London: Routledge, 2005. 15-39. Cram, Laura. “Identity and European Integration: Diversity as a Source of Integration.” Nations and Nationalism (2009): 109-128. Duchêne, François. Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd., 1994. Eller, Jack D. and Reed M. Coughlan. “The Poverty of Primordialism: The Demystification of Ethnic Attachments.” Ethnic and Racial Studies (1993): 181202. Fernández, Christian. “Patriots in the Making? Migrants, Citizens, and Demos Building in the European Union.” Int. Migration & Integration (2012): 146163. Fligstein, Neil. Euroclash: The EU, European Identity, and the Future of Europe. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Ford, Robert, Matthew J. Goodwin and David Cutts. “Strategic Eurosceptics and 42
Polite Xenophobes: Support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2009 European Parliament Elections.” European Journal of Political Research (2012): 204-234. Harris, Erika. “Nation-state and the European Union: Lost in a Battle for Identity.” Politicka Misao (2011): 91-109. Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. New York: Random House, 2011. Madeley, John. “Religious Euroscepticism in the Nordic Countries.” Foret, François and Xabier Itçaina. Politics of Religion in Western Europe: Modernities in Conflict? London: Routledge, 2013. 108-126. Mason, Rowena. “The Ukip Policies Disowned by Nigel Farage.” 23 Jan. 2014. The Guardian Website. 22 Feb. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/23/the-ukip-politices-disowned-by-nigel-farage>. Medrano, Juan Díez and Paula Gutiérrez. “Nested Identities: National and European Identity in Spain.” Ethnic and Racial Studies (2001): 753-778. Mills, George. “‘Spain’s New Abortion Law Should be Scrapped’.” 17 Jan. 2014. The Local Website. 23 Feb. 2014. <http://www.thelocal.es/20140117/european-parliament-debates-spanish-abortion-law>. Mols, Frank and Martin Weber. “Laying Sound Foundations for Social Identity Theory-Inspired European Union Attitude Research: Beyond Attachment and Deeply Rooted Identities.” Journal of Common Market Studies (2013): 505-521. Neil Fligstein, Alina Polyakova, Wayne Sandholtz. “European Integration, Nationalism and European Identity.” Journal of Common Market Studies (2012): 106-122. Recchi, Ettore. “Pathways to European Identity Formation: a Tale of Two Models.” Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research (2014): 1-14. 43
Sietzy, Konstantin. “A Critique of Benedict Anderson’s ‘Imagined Communities’.” 2013. Academia.edu. 21 Feb. 2014. <https://www.academia. edu/5390312/A_critique_of_Benedict_Andersons_Imagined_Communities_>. Wurster, Linda. “Lucke: „Friedman passte nicht, was ich sagen wollte“.” 21 Feb. 2014. Focus Website. 23 Feb. 2014. <http://www.focus.de/politik/ deutschland/afd-chef-rauscht-aus-dem-studio-das-sagen-lucke-undfriedman-zum-talkshow-eklat_id_3631992.html>.
Policy Integration in the EU Political Opportunism or Functional Economics? Laszlo Horwitz, Barbora Vaclova and Cyril Max Neumann This essay evaluates whether functional economic reasons can be used to justify the level of integration of policy areas in the EU, or whether this process is dominated by politics, with emphasis on political opportunism. We use the policy areas of secondary education, common agricultural policy and defence policy to argue against the prevalence of functional economic theory. We conclude that European integration remains a predominantly political, rather than economic process, which however may not necessarily be strictly opportunistic. There is much debate surrounding the issue of policy allocation along the integration spectrum which ranges from the regional/national level to the supranational European Union pinnacle. This essay assesses both the economic and political forces that influence policy allocation, and compares this optimal theoretical position with real world application. To illustrate why certain policy areas are more integrated than others, three policy areas will be analysed using both economic and political theories. Secondary education policy, the common agricultural policy (CAP) and defence policy effectively pinpoint these different dominating forces. As will be seen, there are policy areas where functional economic predictions correspond with the actual level of European integration. This will be illustrated with the analysis of secondary education policy. Nonetheless, policy areas where this is not the case will show that despite important economic forces at play, the ultimate factor deciding upon the level of integration is of political nature â€“ the CAP and defence policy accurately depict this phenomenon. These examples not only highlight cases where the level of integration is driven by political opportunism, but also outline where the political reasoning behind the level of integration is of a plainly factual character. Within the policy area of secondary education, despite evidence of growing convergence (Martens, 2010:251), the level of integration is currently low, coinciding with fundamental economic reasoning. There is compelling support for maintaining this policy at a national and/or sub-national, rather than the European supranational level. This view is supported by Shah (2001), Alesina et al. (2001), Letelier (2001) and Smekal (2001) according to Breuss and Eller (2003). Whilst 45
Fiske and Ladd (2000) identified decentralisation of education by governments as a means of increasing educational attainment of pupils, Hoxby (1999) pointed to efficiency gains from decentralised provision stemming from more intimate knowledge at local levels. According to fiscal federalism, first generation theory stipulates two allocation criteria which determine the classification of policy areas, the first being the question of externalities, economies of scale and spill over effects. Secondary education is perceived to possess low externalities, as providing secondary education in one country does not in itself lead to better educated populations in neighbouring countries. Consequently, the cross-national spillover is small and therefore secondary education policy should remain at the national level. Addressing the question of economies of scale, there is no evidence which suggests costs to fall with each additional unit of education. The second allocation criterion refers to the heterogeneity of preferences which are obviously very high in secondary education. As pointed out by Barr (2012:267) “education, is multidimensional, will depend on the economic, political, and social structure of the country concerned”. For example, each member state’s history curriculum encompasses that specific country’s history. This generates a broad topic coverage at the European level that would be difficult to compress into a standardised course, let alone gain consensus on content. Not only does the curriculum differ, but so do education systems; the UK’s system is not interchangeable with say, the Spanish or Czech one. Normative analysis by Alesina et al. (2001) thus suggests the ‘optimal’ allocation corresponds with the real world in terms of secondary education policy. According to neofunctionalist theory, the lacking functional and political common interests do not lead to a higher level of integration in this policy area. Sparingly few spillover effects do not present the need for further integration and therefore the needs of citizens are best served by the regional/national governments. Heterogeneous preferences point to why political theory also places secondary education policy into the low integration category. Franchino (2004) highlights the tendency for decentralisation in the event of heterogeneous preferences due to veto intervention. The widely divergent social and political interests of member states reduce the common ground shared by political actors and therefore reduce the likelihood of consensus. This also suggests why intergovernmentalist theory would predict low integration. Varieties of Capitalism can both contextualise and join the economic and political reasons behind this policy positioning. Hall and Soskice (2001) demonstrated the existence of institutional comparative advantage and argued an interlinked relationship between education and training, the labour market and national production. A market economy is specialised in a specific form of production which was in part enabled by a workforce possessing relevant skills. In the case of Germany, a highly skilled workforce is enabled by a deliberately organised education sys46
tem. On these grounds it is therefore understandable why certain member states would be strongly opposed to the idea of relinquishing control over their secondary education system which is the source of inflow of workers. Member states would see their control over secondary education policy necessary, the alternative being a possible skill mismatch between the upcoming workforce and the needs of companies. Rational choice theory therefore supports the ‘self-interested’ political desire to retain control over secondary education systems. The decision making level of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) does not correspond to normative economic criteria. The CAP is a competence shared between the EU and the member states. Central policy making assures that EU price floors are kept above world prices, governs the single agricultural market and sustains a rural development scheme, all of which is funded jointly by member states accounting for almost half of the EU budget (Baldwin, Wyplosz, 2012). Fiscal federalism (Alesina et al., 2001) suggests that the CAP is too highly centralized, as there are only minor degrees of externalities and economies of scale involved, whereas the heterogeneity of national preferences is strong. With regard to single market policies, which enable gains from trade and optimal resource allocation, the allocation at Commission level is optimal. With regard to the single payment scheme, transfers have been decoupled from production volumes and now resemble income distribution measures. Preferences with regards to the latter vary greatly and there are no externalities or economies of scale involved. The rural development scheme is a complex and heterogeneous set of rural support policies which are increasingly designed by sub levels, but heavily centralized for financing. As these policies address varying regional issues, many of them do not have external effects or economies of scale; centralized financing refutes the principle of fiscal equivalence (Grethe, 2006). The degree of centralization of the CAP mostly contradicts the normative economic criteria. We expect that political reasons have played a significant role in its initial attribution and current persistence at the EU level. In 1962 the six founding member states had vastly differing national agricultural policies. Excluding a relatively large sector from a common market did not make sense and France pressed for the liberalization of agricultural trade (Koester, 2009). Reasons for the creation of the CAP and for its centralization can be found in liberal intergovernmentalism, where intense preferences, common benefits and significant commitment problems in agriculture led to political bargaining and deal making (Moravcsik & Schimmelfennig, 2009). Member states’ intense preferences reflect the importance of national sectors and special interest formation. Farmers’ interests are predominant, as the agricultural sector is comparatively big, producers are well organized, whereas taxpayers and consumers face collective action problems (Olson, 1965). This leads to office-motivated incumbents catering for special interests while knowingly producing deadweight losses to society (Lohman, 2003). France possessing a compar47
atively large agricultural sector, De Gaulle fought for market integration and high external tariffs, catering to demands of their lobby. Political opportunism took the face of “horse trading” where France threatened to veto industrial trade liberalization if Germany did not comply with its requirements of the CAP. Moravcsik suspects common benefits to be decisive for creating the CAP as farmers’ interests in France and Germany converged. The CAP was designed along the preferences of Franco-German farm interests: trade liberalization with high price support and subsidies. Liberal political opponents were offset by France’s threat to withdraw from the EC. Lastly, CAP’s degree of centralization is largely due to problems of credible commitment. Member states chose an appropriate governance arrangement for the deal struck. The competence remained firmly in the hand of national governments with unanimity prevailing and precluding commission initiative. France insisted on centralization of the CAP making sure that Germany complied with it and to prevent future enlargement countries, especially the UK, from endangering the high subsidies paid to farmers that were agreed on. With enlargement and changing preferences of core member states the resilience of a highly centralized CAP cannot be explained by intergovernmentialism. Supranationalism is useful for understanding this resilience, where institutional capture results in a tendency to centralize policy ex post (Alesina et al. 2005). Pollack (2003) provides criteria for testing the Commissions’ capacity to centralize policies. Applied to the CAP, three criteria are particularly relevant (Grethe, 2006): firstly, information is imperfect between sub-governance levels and the EU. Secondly, there is uncertainty about the evolution of the CAP due to enlargement and increasing pressure from globalization. Thirdly, as national preferences are diverse and the CAP is a multifaceted policy domain, the transaction costs of negotiation are high. Hence, as second generation fiscal federalism suggests, the CAP is subject to severe principle-agent problems which arise between the Commission and member states. The Commission’s discretion becomes a powerful political driver of further centralization, distorting the optimality of policy delegation. A second example where European integration does not represent the normative economic recommendation of competence assignment is defence policy. When centralizing defence at the European level, big externalities could be internalized. Displaying a strong army makes opponents less likely to push for armed conflict since the likelihood of their defeat appears high (Miller, 1976). Given that military and political unrest are major factors inhibiting economic development, an army that ensures a secure and stable market facilitates as an externality economic growth. Advantages can also be gained through economies of scale due to a decrease in negotiation and decision-making costs as well as increased specialization (Alesina, 2005). By centralizing defence, problems such as reaching the minimum size of an army or free-riding are overcome (Hoeller et al., 1996). Looking at the level of heterogeneity of interest, one could conclude them to be low, as 48
each country wants to ensure national security. Hence, based on the dimensions of first generation theory as outlined above and following a cost-benefit analysis with states as rational actors, the normative recommendation argues for centralizing the defence policy domain. Furthermore, according to the delegation principle (Franchino, 2004), the level of centralization can be determined by the skill-sets and information intensity necessary to execute the tasks. Centralisation is advised where policies require generic or managerial skills. Conversely, if local or specific knowledge is required, this should lead to decentralization. As military education is deemed similar in different countries, this policy level should be delegated to the European level. However, instead of a European army, each country employs their own military defence. Hence, the outlined economic drivers are not strong enough to push defence to a European level. To understand this, one needs to investigate the political mechanisms at play. First, according to the theory of intergovernmentalism, integration only happens if the matter aligns with the national interests and domestic pressures drive centralization. Additionally, integration is predicted to only take place on policy choices that are ‘low politics’. However, even though the last war on European soil is more than 65 years back, this continent has a long history of warfare between neighbouring countries. For instance, in France or the UK, where sovereignty plays a crucial political role, protecting a national defence system represents ‘high politics’. Therefore, according to the intergovernmentalism point of view, defence policies at a European level cannot be expected. Secondly, the unanimity principle in the voting rules provides those nations with the most ‘heterogeneous’ preferences with veto powers (Franchino, 2004). This ‘joint decision trap’ (Scharpf, 1988) promotes negative integration through, for example, the removal of trade barriers but complicates positive integration, namely the establishment of institutions such as a European defence system. Against this background, the assumption that defence policies consist of homogenous interests should be revisited. In fact, the ideologies of using military forces differ considerably among member states. Switzerland, for example, employs a defence army with a long history of war neutrality. The UK’s army, in contrast, actively intervenes outside its borders. No credible commitments can be expected to reconcile the opposing views in a European policy mechanism. Lastly, it can be considerably difficult to motivate a population to fight for an ever growing European Union. More specifically, when defending one’s country, soldiers possess a clear idea of the values they are fighting for. With 28 member states which embody divergent economic as well as historical backgrounds, it becomes increasingly challenging to find a common identity for which soldiers are willing to die for. Hence, despite functional economic reasons for moving defence policies to a Eu49
ropean level, one cannot expect this to materialise in the near future. The underlying reasons are of political nature. However, it is important to distinguish between this case and the example of agricultural policies. Contrary to the aforementioned CAP, regarding defence policy sound political reasoning is what makes integration improbable, instead of opportunistic political behaviour. To conclude, compelling evidence suggests that European integration is a predominantly political, rather than economic process. As this essay has shown, the inclusion of politics into the process of integration prevents this phenomenon from being relatively simplistic as pictured by deterministic theory. Whilst economic factors matter for determining the level of integration, corresponding allocation to that level is only endorsed by political processes. These processes may indeed be opportunistic in nature where office-seeking politicians attempt to achieve the best outcomes for themselves, whether by adhering to strong domestic pressure or satisfying the demands of powerful lobby groups. However, they can just as well be based on sound political reasoning, as illustrated with the examples of secondary education and defence policy. Therefore, we believe functional economic reasons are trumped by political incentives and motives; however these may not necessarily be strictly opportunistic.
Alesina, A., Angeloni, I. & Schuknecht, L. 2005, “What does the European Union do?”, Public Choice, vol. 123, no. 3-4, pp. 275-319. Baldwin R. and Wyplosz C. (2012), Economics of European Integration, MacGraw-Hill. Barr, N. 2012, Economics of the Welfare State, 5th Edition. Oxford University press. Breuss, F., and Eller, M. 2003, “On the optimal assignment of competencies in a multi-level governed European Union”, EIoP – European Integration Online Papers, vol. 7, no. 8. Education System in Spain. Expatrica.com. 31.05.2011. http://www.expatica. com/es/education/school/Education-system-in-Spain_14443.html Fiske, E. B. and Ladd, H. (2000). When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale, Brookings Institute, Washington, DC. Franchino, F. 2004, “Delegating powers in the European Community”, British Journal of Political Science, vol. 34, pp. 269-293. Grethe, H. (2006), Environmental and Agricultural Policy: What Roles for the EU and the Member States? Keynote paper for the conference “Subsidiarity and Economic Reform in Europe”, organized by the European Commission, the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and the Dutch Minstry of Economic Affairs, November 8-9, 2006, Bussels. Hall, P. Soskice, D. (2001). Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage. Oxford University Press. Hoeller, P., Louppe, M. & Vergriete, P. 1996, “Fiscal Relations within the economic union”, OECD Economics Department working papers, vol. 163, OECD Publishing. Hoxby, C. M. (1999). The Productivity of Schools and Other Local Public Good Producers, NBER Working Paper 6911, Cambridge, MA. Koester, U. (2009), Common Agricultural Policy, in Princeton Encyclopedia of the World Economy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 184-188. Lohmann, S. (2003), Representative Government and Special Interest Politics (We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us), Journal of Theoretical Politics vol.15: 299-319. 51
Martens, K. Nagel, A-K. Windzio, M. and Weymann, A. (2010). Transformation of Education Policy. Transformations of the State Series. Moravcsik, A. and Schimmelfennig, F. (2009), Liberal Intergovernmentalism, in Antje Wiener and Thomas Diez, eds. European Integration Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Miller, EM. 1976, “The Defense Externality”, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 271-274. Olson, M. (1965), The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups, Harvard U.P.; Oxford U.P. Pollack, M.A. (2003), The New Institutionalisms and European Integration, In Wiener, A. and T. Diez, European Integration Theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 137-156. Scharpf, F.W. 1988, “The Joint-decision trap: Lessons from German Federalism and European Integration”, Public Administration, vol. 66, pp. 239–78. Understanding the UK Education System. Schoolswork.co.uk
Pure Power, or a Culture of Unanimity? Decision-making in the European Union Council of Ministers Knut Ulsrud The EU Council of Ministers is currently undergoing organizational change. Qualified Majority Vote (QMV) thresholds are dropping from 74% to 65%, and votes are weighted in a manner more closely resembling the population size in EU countries. What will this mean for decision-making in the council? Will large countries override smaller ones? Will this change the apparent norm of consensus in the council? An analysis of formal power shows that while larger countries do get more power from the voting weights, the opposite is true for the QMV change. Following this, a discussion on whether we can take these models at face value conclude that decision-making in the council is largely influenced by norms and might in fact remain consensus oriented. In order to consider how formal power changes in the council, we can calculate power index scores for each country. For this purpose, we will use Banzhaf scores, which are a measure of relative theoretical voting power, purely based on voting rules and disregarding factors such as diplomacy and country relations. Because Banzhaf scores cannot be compared under different voting rules1, scores have been calculated separately for Nice and Lisbon voting weights with the thresholds of 74% and 65%. This way, we can analyze what the vote weight changes mean independently of the two thresholds. Scores are calculated using the vote weights in table 1. From analyzing the scores in table 2, we find that the two rule changes create distinct, in fact opposing changes. First, we can look at the change in vote weights, without taking the threshold change into account. From the column that illustrates the change in Banzhaf scores in the 74% situation, we can see that the largest countries gain more power, as indicated by green numbers, the middle-sized countries generally lose out, indicated by red numbers. The smallest countries seem to have moderately negative changes, indicated by orange color, with the exceptions of Cyprus and Luxembourg. This result emerges because the Lisbon treaty makes the vote weights more closely resemble population numbers, evening out the relatively low power given to big countries and relatively high power given to medium countries in the Nice treaty. 1
Felsenthal and Machover (2004). 53
Table 1: The EU member states and their voting shares under the Nice and Lisbon
Knowing the effect of the changed vote weights, we can turn our attention to the voting threshold. If we hold the threshold at 65%, we can see that the changes in Banzhaf scores are relatively lower for the large countries with Lisbon weights. In addition, the negative change for medium and small countries is smaller, moving more countries into the â€œmoderateâ€? category. In short: Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Spain gain relatively less power, and all other countries have either a larger gain or a smaller loss, than in the 74% situation. Thus, the effect of the threshold is to smooth out the power gains, working directly opposite to the power transfer from the Lisbon Weights. So how does the threshold change meet this end? Figure 1 illustrates what happens in a situation with 3 blocs and a move from 74% to 65% threshold. First we can analyze the situation where the QMV threshold is 74%. We can name the three blocks North, South and Opt-out. When the three blocks are the same size, 33.3%, they can all individually block any proposal from other blocs, as 26% is needed. If North is large and South and Opt-out are small, we are facing a situation where North can coalesce with either one of them to get their proposal passed. Due to the relative strength of the blocs, North will likely be 54
Table 2: Banzhaf scores under Nice and Lisbon treaty weights, for 74% and 65% QMV thresholds. Calculated using University of Warwick Power Index Calculator
able to pass something close to its preferred position if coalescing with either South or Opt-out. For this reason, North would want to avoid a situation where South and Opt-out coalesce into a large “South-out”. When North and “Southout” are both large, North will have to compromise with the large “South-out” coalition to get their proposal passed. We can then analyze the situation where the QMV is 65%. When the blocs are the same size, it is no longer possible to block proposals alone, as 35% is needed. When North is large and South and Opt-out are smaller, North still has to coalesce with either one of them in order to get something passed, so in this situation little changes. Finally, with two large blocs, it is now harder to block for “South-out”, as they require 35%, up from 25%. The bottom line is that it is harder to block, and easier to get proposals through. This would imply a move away from consensus decisions. At this point, it would be helpful to sum up our results thus far. The new vote weights will give the biggest countries more power, and everyone else less power. This effect will in theory make it easier for large countries to block. As an opposing effect, the change to a 65% threshold will give the large coun55
Figure 1: 3 blocs competing, changing from 74% to 65% QMV
tries relatively less power, and smaller countries relatively more power. The reason is that it is harder to block with the lower threshold, and the big countries need to include smaller countries in order to reach the required 35%. We can use Germany, France, and the Benelux countries as an example. With new vote weights and a 74% threshold, they will have 16.50 (Ger)+12.90 (Fr)+3.30 (Be)+2.10(Ne)+0.10(Lux)=34.9% of the votes. They would easily be able to block any proposal. In fact, Germany and France alone would be able to block anything between them. When changing to the 65% threshold, they are dependent on Benelux and an additional country to block. This illustrates how the threshold change transfers power from large to medium and small countries. However, formal rules are not everything. Cultural norms and traditions count for much when it comes to decision-making, the Council of Ministers being no exception. One could make the case that current informal norm of unanimity existing in the Council was created as early as 19662 with the Luxembourg compromise3. This compromise stipulated that unanimity should always be reached, even in areas that only required QMV, if any country thought the policy affected important national interests. Effects of this compromise are still evident; 81% of decision-making4 in the EU Council of Ministers between 1994 and 2002 were done through consensus. 2 3 4 56
Heisenberg (2005). Wallace (2002). Heisenberg (2005).
This adherence to consensus has been quite consistent, including from when the council changed from unanimity to QMV system in 1986. Evidence suggests that voting behavior did not really change5 after this reform. The same pattern was observed after the expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe – official voting disagreement did not increase after the enlargement. Instead, an interesting practice is observed: countries express disagreements with policies decided by consensus through formal statements,6 published along with the policy in question. Thus, even with the increasing level of disagreement that was to be expected after the enlargement, the adherence towards consensus was kept. This does not necessarily mean that such models are completely useless. First of all, they would predict what could happen in a situation where the norm of consensus potentially could break down. However, strict assumptions are a limit to their applicability7. By relaxing these assumptions, one can create models that more accurately predict the behavior displayed by the council. Dutch scientist Frank Häge recently presented one such model8. It is based on agents with bounded rationality, which means that they do not make decisions based on complicated calculations, but rather heuristics. In addition, their goal is to create blocking minorities, in effect becoming a force to be reckoned with in negotiations. When a blocking minority is reached, actors then keep building their coalitions to have as much weight as possible in the legislative discussions. The final outcome is generally a consensus compromise between a few strong blocs. This model has proved quite successful in predicting council voting behavior. While this model does predict voting behavior in the council quite well, we should be careful not to disregard the norm argument. While Häge argues that consensus is a complete by-product of the voting rules, it is unlikely that the members of the council – all of them successful politicians – are completely oblivious as to why they make decisions in a certain way. In fact, between 1999 and 2006, 37.3% of consensus decisions had formal statements9 indicating disagreement, compared to 19.5% explicit voting against the majority. This discrepancy would imply that there is a strong norm on how to indicate disagreement other than explicit voting. Does this mean that voting rules are redundant in the council? Claiming this would be too extreme, for two reasons: 19% of voting is still being done without unanimity. In addition, it would be extremely irresponsible to have a decision-making body without clear voting rules. This last point is especially valid if a group in the council decides to go against the current norms. In addition, voting rules can affect how negotiations are made in the council.10 For instance, as was shown in the bloc analysis above, and implied by Häge, a lower threshold can 5 6 7 8 9 10
Hayes-Renshaw, van Aken and Wallace (2006). Hagemann (2007). Heisenberg (2005). Häge (2013). Hagemann (2007). Hayes-Renshaw, van Aken and Wallace (2006). 57
potentially create a situation where there are incentives for creating two strong blocs when negotiating rather than three. In sum however, it would appear that norms are a stronger explanation than power measurements when predicting voting behavior in the council.
Dunleavy, P. and Konstantinidis, N. (2012), Gv4D5 Organizations, Power and Leadership: Case Study 7. The EU’s change of QMV voting rules for European Council. London School of Economics Felsenthal, D. S. and Machover, M. (2004), A Priori Voting Power: What Is It All About?. Political Studies Review, 2: 1–23. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-9299.2004.00001.x Hagemann, S. (2007), Voting and Formal Statements: How governments record their positions in the enlarged EU (Paper to the ECPR Conference, Pisa) Hayes-Renshaw F., von Aken, W., and Wallace H. (2006) When and why the EU Council of Ministers votes Explicitly, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 161-94. Heisenberg, D. (2005), The institution of consensus in the European Union: Formal versus informal decision-making in the Council, European Journal of Political Research, vol. 44, pp. 65-90.
Häge, F. M. (2013), Coalition Building and Consensus in the Council of the European Union. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 43, no. 03, pp 481-504. Wallace H. (2002) The Council – an Institutional chameleon?’ Governance, Vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 325-44. University of Warwick. 2013. Power Indices Calculated by Generating Functions http://homepages.warwick.ac.uk/~ecaae/ipgenf.html#data_input last visited 12/12-13
Africa, Asia and the Middle East
African Renaissance Monument, Dakar 60
The Illegality of the 2013 Egyptian military coup Rayhan Chouglay
The ousting of Mohammed Morsi on the 3rd of July 2013 was the moment that the Egyptian revolution hit a roadblock. The Egyptian military carried out a military coup that I believe was disappointingly wrongful act. In this comment piece I argue not only that the coup was illegal and should be reversed, but also that it will have extremely disastrous consequences for Egypt and the wider Arab world for years to come. The 2011 Arab Spring reached its most climactic point when Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was finally removed from power after months of protests from a large majority of the Egyptian population. After a short interim period of military rule Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected on 30th June 2012 in the first fully democratic election in Egyptian history. Just over a year later, on the 3rd of July 2013, Morsi met a similar fate to Mubarak as the military initiated a coup d’état to arrest and remove him from power. This came after weeks of protests against his rule. The brutal removal of Morsi from power was illegal in my opinion and I will examine why. I will then go on to put the coup in context of Egypt’s long and controversial relationship with its military as well as the context within the Arab world as it stands today. I round of my piece by setting out what I feel the long term consequences of the coup will be and what the country should do to stabilise itself. The coup itself was illegal mostly because of the fact that the military ousted Morsi with no direct support. Although there had been very public opposition to Morsi’s rule throughout the summer of 2013, the army acted on their own in arresting Morsi and placing Adly Mansour as interim President. The fact that the military removed a man who had gained 51.73% of the vote in the most recent election provides evidence of the fact that the military effectively rejected the process of democracy and installed their own form of rule. Furthermore, while some may point to the anti-Morsi protests as proof that this coup was carried out in the interests of the people, there were just as many demonstrations in support of Morsi before and after the coup. Furthermore, unlike with the 2011 removal of Mubarak, there was a clear divide between two camps: those for and against the removal of Morsi. Therefore the military acted in their own discretion in deciding to remove Morsi, interfering in a situation where, as a state body, they had no real right to be involved. Ultimately the military overstepped their jurisdiction in carrying out the coup and it is that which made it illegal. Egypt has a chequered history with its military with the army as the most powerful force in the country for over 50 years. It was the military who first wrested power from outside influence in 1952 when the Free Officers Movement, led 62
by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, carried out a military coup and overthrew King Farouk. This process banished the large British influence in the country. In 1954 Nasser acted to remove Naguib and established himself as the primary source of leadership and power in the country. He remained in power until his death in 1970, after which he was succeeded by his close confidant Anwar Sadat. Sadat was a senior military official who had also played an important role in the 1952 coup. Sadat ruled Egypt from 1970 until his assassination in 1981 and was succeeded by Mubarak. Mubarak had also been part of the military and served as the fourth president of Egypt until the Arab Spring. Therefore the military has been more or less in power in Egypt since 1952. In fact 2012-13 stands as the solitary year when the military was not in power in recent memory. As you can see, the military is a core part of Egypt and thus the July 2013 coup is in actuality nothing new. However, it is likely the first time where action has been taken to remove a legitimate government (by current ‘Western’ standards). The coup has come in a period when the Arab world is still very much in the public eye. The Arab Spring of 2011 is still fresh in the eyes of many while the civil war in Syria has now been going on for 2 years. Furthermore the importance of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to be a hot button topic. Egypt’s instability is not unique. While the coup is largely an internal issue, the effect on the Muslim Brotherhood has ramifications for the whole of the Middle East. Along with Morsi the Brotherhood has been repressed and thus the influence it had been cultivating throughout the region is now being curtailed. While the effects on its neighbours are not entirely clear right now, it will undoubtedly be significant in the next few years. The coup itself threatens to have potentially disastrous consequences. With the power of the Egyptian military reconfirmed, there is a potential for them to hold on to power and reverse the entire 2011 revolution. The interim military government have promised to carry out elections in early 2014 but there is little evidence that they are certain to occur and even less evidence that they will be democratic and free of corruption. Furthermore a precedent has already been set by the signing of a new constitution earlier in 2014 that further widens the military’s powers. With the coup the military have set the precedent for future illegal acts. The coup has also led to the potential for the Arab Spring to stall. Other Arab countries could potentially see the coup as a sign that revolution is fragile and ultimately doomed to fail. Most significantly, the Syrian rebels could be disheartened and could result in a Syrian government under Basher al-Assad remaining in power for the foreseeable future. Overall the potential consequences are numerous. In conclusion, it is clear that the July 2013 Egyptian coup is multilayered in both its formation and its outcomes. While I hope that democracy will ultimately be realised and the military will willingly step aside from power, the actual probability that it will happen is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the coup was illegal and has confirmed the sense that the military remains the core power base of the country whatever the effects of the revolution. 63
Is Egypt a Regional Hegemon? Mahmoud Abdou
Mearsheimer’s theory regarding hegemons is that a state can never truly be an international hegemon. The highest it can reach is to be the only regional hegemon. Egypt has never managed to be a truly regional hegemon, let alone the only one, but the recent revolution challenges the history of Egypt and suggests that regional hegemony is possible. This article will examine why Egypt never managed to reach truly regional hegemonic status in the 20th century, and how now the forces that held it back have now changed. From a realist perspective, states are rationally egotistical entities constantly seeking to increase their power relevant to other states in the system; their pursuit of power only stops “when hegemony is achieved” (Mearsheimer, p.34). Mearsheimer holds that “a hegemon is a state that is so powerful that it dominates all the other states in the system.” He then divides into the regional and the international and argues that “the best outcome a great power can hope for is to be a regional hegemon” (Mearsheimer, p.40). In short, Mearsheimer asserts that while global hegemony is unattainable, “the ideal situation for any great power is to be the only regional hegemon in the world.” “The United States,” in Mearsheimer’s view, “is in that enviable position today as it dominates the Western Hemisphere and there is no hegemon in any other area of the world” (Mearsheimer, p.41). From 1943 – 1967, Egypt’s rise as a regional power saw its foreign policy orientated around achieving regional hegemony and denying that title to other rising powers in the region, such as Iraq. However, in line with Mearsheimer’s definition, such regional hegemony never materialized, Egypt’s regional power status was crushed as a result of the 1967 and the 1973 wars, and Egypt even fell into regional isolation for most of the period from 1978-1989. Thereafter, and until the 2011 revolution, Egypt was simply a regional stabilizer and a moderator (Hinnebusch, 2002), not a regional hegemon, while acting as a via-media for U.S. hegemony. Despite the fact that it remained under the effective control of Britain until 1956, Egypt gained its FP independence in accordance with an agreement between the Egyptian monarchy and Britain in 1936. From 1943-1945 the Egyptian elites championed the creation of the Arab League. This led to the crystallization of two main blocks of Arab states in the region: the Hashimite Iraq and Jordan on the one hand, and “the Triangle Alliance” of Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia on the other. “The Hashimite bloc stood for a continuation of the British regional order, which the Triangle Alliance sought to destroy” (Doran, p.100). In practice, the Arab League functioned as a tool for projecting Egyptian leadership in the region, while “in theory” it championed the anti-imperialist interest of all Arab states. As a result of this regional atmosphere, Doran holds that Egypt participated in the 1948 war to counter the influence of Jordan. Given the Jordanian – British security agreement of 1946, “the worst nightmare of the Triangle Alliance fixated 64
on the possibility of a British-endorsed agreement to partition Palestine between Jordan and Israel” (Doran, 101). In other words, non-participation in the 1948 war would have made “the Triangle Alliance…cease to function as a platform for projecting Egyptian power into the global Arena” (Doran, 102). While balancing its regional influence against that of Jordan, Egypt was also keeping Iraq in check. As three military coups in Syria in 1949 pushed it in favour of a union with Iraq in order to counter the Israeli threat, Egypt claimed that “the most effective plan of defence against Israel was the one that included all of the Arab states – and Egypt in particular, since it was the largest and most powerful. [It] further claimed that any union with Iraq would be rotten at its core,” because Baghdad was a satellite state of Britain (Doran, p.103). To counter the potential influence of the Iraq-Syria federation, Cairo proposed the creation of an Arab League Collective Security Pact (A.L.C.S.P), which came to force in 1952 after Amman ratified it. The ALCSP was designed by Cairo as “an indigenous alternative to the web of Anglo-Arab military alliances” and it “envisioned an independent bloc of Arab states, led by Egypt, that would cooperate in matters of defence and present a common face to the outside world” (Doran, 103). The Egyptian appetite for regional hegemony intensified as a result of the Free Officers’ revolution that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy in 1952 and brought to power Jamal Abel Nasser. Nasser and his associates “continued to call for an independent Arab bloc based on a system of regional defence defined by the A.L.C.S.P. To this end, Egypt maintained the alliance with Syria and Saudi Arabia, while seeking complete independence from Britain” (Doran, p. 104). Egypt’s drive for regional hegemony was part of a grand strategy to gain Arab independence from Britain. Pan-Arabism harnessed Arab nationalism and anti-imperialism and aimed at reaching independence from former imperial powers. Simultaneously, anti-imperialism was one of the tools used by Nasser to advance Pan-Arabism. For instance, the signing of the Bagdad Pact coincided with an Israeli raid on Gaza in 1955 and exposed the weakness of the Egyptian army (Hinnebusch, 2002), Nasser “depict[ed] the pact and the Israeli strike as two prongs of a conspiracy designed to force the Arabs to submit to both Israel and Britain” (Doran, 107). The Pact also prompted Nasser “to initiate a hostile propaganda campaign against the Iraqi regime, which stood accused of breaking Arab ranks in order to please its British masters” (Doran, 108). In the grand scheme of regional politics, the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Nasser in 1956 could itself be seen as a countermeasure to the Baghdad Pact. Moreover, the war that followed the nationalisation gave Nasser an increased legitimacy as he stood firm in the face of a triple invasion by Israel, France, and the UK. A second major boost for Nasser’s ambitions for regional leadership came with the unification of Syria and Egypt in 1958. At the same time, from 19581961 Nasser’s energies became directed at maintaining authority and day-to-day governance in Syria, a task that he could not fulfil. His Pan-Arabist rhetoric was additionally undermined by the rise of Abd al-Karim Qasim in Iraq in 1958, a figure that maintained an open channel with the USSR. Abd al-Karim Qasim made 65
the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Nasser no longer credible as a tool for demonising Iraq and its own ambitions for regional hegemony. In addition, the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957 that was designed to contain Nasser as well as the influence of communism in the region, made Riyadh distance itself from Cairo, “thus ending the powerful alliance with Egypt that had been a fixture of the local scene since 1945. [Further], Jordan and Lebanon increased internal security measures, and both demonstrated a willingness to turn to the Western powers to prevent a pan-Arab coup” (Doran, 111). In practice, the Egyptian sphere of influence after 1958 became limited to Syria, and it was even more eroded by the fall of the United Arab Republic in 1961. Nasser’s claim to regional hegemony was further weakened after his decision in 1962 to intervene in the Yemeni civil war. The Egyptian intervention opened a new sphere of influence for Nasser, but involved Egypt in a proxy war against Saudi Arabia. It also harmed Egypt’s relationship with Washington, Saudi Arabia’s main ally, and forced Nasser “ultimately into an uncomfortable dependence on the Soviet Union” (Doran, 112). This is why during the 1967 war, “in stark contrast to its behaviour in 1956,” Washington “displayed no interest in re-training the Israelis” (Doran, 112). Until 1967, Cairo’s top foreign policy priority was to destroy the British-created regional order, and more specifically from 1957-1967 its main priority was to hold the balance in Arab affairs. However, the 1967 War effectively ended Nasser’s aspirations for regional hegemony, and the aftermath of the 1973 war further eroded Egypt’s status as a regional power. The 1967 war caused extreme economic hardships in Egypt as it led to the closure of the Suez Canal and the loss of access to the oil fields in the Sinai Peninsula. After the death of Nasser in 1970, Egypt’s orientation became defined by “the primacy of Egyptian nationalism,” as Anwar al-Sadat pursued an “Egypt-first” policy and distanced the country from the Pan-Arabist ambitions of Nasser (Karawan, p.161). The severe socio-economic crises following the 1967 and the 1973 wars culminated in Cairo’s food riots in 1977, and prompted Sadat to visit Jerusalem in Nov. 1977 in search of Western aid (Doran, 2004). As Dessouki explains, “[t] he signing of the Camp David accords in 1978, and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, opened the door for an influx of Western aid and money to Egypt” (Dessouki, p.173). Egyptians were made to believe that “Egypt’s major economic malaise was justified against the backdrop of its prolonged involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict,” and that the only solution to their hardships lay in improving the country’s relations with Israel (Karawan, p.164). In other words, “Egypt attempted to reach a settlement with Israel as part of a grand strategy,” that of solidifying Egypt’s reliance on the U.S., abandoning Egypt’s former Soviet allies, and pushing for economic liberalization at home (Doran, 115). At the same time as Cairo decided to “go it alone” and signed its peace agreement with Israel in 1979, “Baghdad quickly seized the mantle of Arab leadership” by organizing an Arab boycott of Egypt, championing the expulsion of Egypt from the Arab League, and facilitating the relocation of the headquarters of the Arab 66
League from Cairo to Tunis (Doran, 116). Sadat’s “De-Nasserization” not only brought to an end Egypt’s strive for regional hegemony, but it also threw Egypt into a decade-long regional isolation. However, such isolation was not expected to last. Egyptian policy makers argued that “because of Egypt’s long experience in dealing with the Israelis, its close ties with the U.S., and its diplomatic history, Cairo can be a benefit to the Arab negotiating parties” (Karawan, p.166). “When other Arab actors, including the Palestinians, Jordan, and Syria, embarked on the path of negotiated settlements with Israel, the regime argued that their policy of alteration proved the wisdom of Egyptian disengagement from the conflict” (Karawan, p.167). Meanwhile, even though Egypt eventually came out of its regional isolation and regained its seat in the Arab League by 1989, Egypt’s new regional role only reached the level of mediator and the stabilizer in inter-Arab affairs. In particular, Egypt became a via media for U.S. hegemony in the region, especially after the end of the Cold War. In 1990-91, Cairo even sided with Washington in a war against a sister Arab country, a stark contrast to its history of championing the cause of Pan-Arabism and anti-imperialism. To encourage continued Egyptian support after the 1991 Gulf War, Washington cancelled Cairo’s $7 billion military debt. This has had the effect of bringing to an end the hegemonic ambitions of Egypt, while turning it into the ally that would support Washington’s peace initiatives between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and its ambitious calls for democratization in the region. For the U.S., as highlighted by State Department representative PJ Crowley in an interview with Al Jazeera, Egypt became “a model that the region should adopt broadly speaking” (Qtd in Hoover, 2011). Mearsheimer holds that “a hegemon is a state that is so powerful that it dominates all the other states in the system” (Mearsheimer, p.40), which is a status that has never been reached by Egypt within the regional system of the Middle East. From 1943-1967, Egypt’s priority was to hold the balance in Arab affairs and to be the only regional hegemon. However, such regional ambitions were crushed as a result of the 1967 and the 1973 wars, which pushed the country into an economic recession and even led to the regional isolation of Egypt for the majority of the 1980s. Thereafter, and until the 2011 revolution, Egypt became simply an actor in a multi-polar Arab world, not a regional hegemon, and acted as a via-media for U.S. hegemony in the region. As Hinnebusch argues, Egypt’s ambitions for regional hegemony provoked a reaction to contain it, not just by other rising regional powers such as Iraq, but also by the U.S. through the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957. “States that achieve regional hegemony” i.e. the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere, “seek to prevent great powers in other regions from duplicating their feat” (Mearsheimer, p.41). Not only was Egypt contained, it was also forced to submit to U.S. hegemony due to the socioeconomic hardships that the country experienced after 1973. It became dependent on U.S. economic and military aid. At the same time, the 2011 revolution marked a major turning point for Egypt, one that could bring back its drive for 67
regional hegemony. The revolution and its aftermath has had the effect of destabilizing the Egyptian alliance with the U.S. and reviving its alliance with Moscow, while the Gulf states have so far given Egypt nearly $10 billion in aid over the past year alone, as a way of beefing it up against the potential regional hegemony of Iran. In contrast to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq rivalry for regional hegemony in the 1980s, Egypt is not linked to Iran by land, it is the most populous Arab state, and it is the only Arab nation-state.
Doran, Michael “Egypt: Pan-Arabism in Historical Context” Ch. 5 in Diplomacy in the Middle East: The International Relations of Regional and Outside Powers, Brown, L. Carl (ed.), I.B.Tauris, London and New York (2004) pp.97119. Dissouki, Ali E. Hillal, “Regional Leadership: Balancing off Costs and Dividends in the Foreign Policy of Egypt,” Ch.5 in the Foreign Policies of Arab States. Korany, Boughat & Ali, Dissouki (eds.), Westview Press (2008), p.167-192. Hoover, Joe “Egypt and the Failure of Realism” Critical Globalization, Issue 4, (2011). Karawan, Ibrahim “Identity and Foreign Policy: The Case of Egypt” Ch.7 in Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Telhami, S. & Barnett, M. (eds) Cornell University Press. Ithaca and London, (2002), pp.155-169. Mearsheimer, John The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, W.W. Norton & Company. New York (2001). Meital, Yoram, “The Struggle over Political Order in Egypt: the 2005 Elections,” The Middle East Journal 60.2 (Spring 2006), pp. 257 – 279. Hinnebusch, Raymond, “The Foreign Policy of Egypt,” Ch.5 in The Foreign Policies of Middle East States Hinnebusch, Raymond and Ehteshami, Anoushirvan (eds.). Manchester University Press. Manchester and New York. pp. 91-114.
Resources, State Weakness, and Ethnic Conflict: War in the Developing World Mark Haichin Many states within the developing world have been subject to various manifestations of largescale violence for decades, including genocide and civil and inter-state wars. This paper will argue that conflict endures in a considerable portion of the developing world due to the combination of ethnic strife, weak or failing government, and an abundance of natural resources, also known as the natural resource curse. Following a review of the literature, the case of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is investigated. Conflict has continued to persist throughout the 20th and 21st centuries in what has been collectively referred to as ‘the developing world’. This term includes a number of states in several regions, including Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria (‘Country and Lending Groups’). Many states within the developing world have been subject to various manifestations of large-scale violence for decades, including genocide and civil and inter-state wars. This paper will argue that conflict endures in a considerable portion of the developing world due to the combination of ethnic strife, weak or failing government, and an abundance of natural resources, also known as the natural resource curse. The first section will briefly discuss the debate over defining a developing state and is followed by a brief review of the prevailing narrative within academic literature on the subject of continuing conflict in the developing world. The third section will discuss the previously mentioned reasons for conflict in greater depth, using the continuing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an example, followed by a brief conclusion with observations. The first main issue is defining what a developing state is, as there is no universally agreed-upon definition for the term. The World Bank defines a developing economy as one that is either low- or middle-income; that is, where the annual gross national income (GNI) is either $1,035 USD or less, or between that amount and $12,615 USD, respectively (‘How We Classify Countries’). Even this definition is somewhat problematic, since it lists several states with strong economies, such as China and India, alongside significantly poorer states like North Korea and Zimbabwe (‘Country and Lending Groups’). The World Bank itself admits that the term ‘developing economies’ is meant more as a matter of convenience for organising statistics, and ‘does not necessarily reflect development status’ (‘How We Classify Countries’). This definition is still useful, however, as texts on the subject of conflict in the developing world appear to use it when defining developing states, to the point that the terms appear to be considered interchangeable by scholars (Rice 70
and Patrick 8; van der Ploeg 367). One issue with the literature on the recurrence of conflict in the developing world is that many of the authors fail to account for why some wars are fought, resulting in incomplete explanations. Mary Kaldor describes the conflicts of developing states as ‘new wars’ that focus on identity politics, in contrast to the ‘old wars’ of the West that had geopolitical and ideological objectives. However, this fails to explain civil wars being fought over the political control of a state (Kaldor 6). Isabelle Duyvesteyn argues that contemporary wars continue to conform to the Clausewitzian definition of ‘a continuation of politics by other means’, with supposed economic and ethnic reasons obscuring the true objectives for fighting (Duyvesteyn 92). This argument is somewhat problematic in that it ignores wars that have been waged specifically for ethnic reasons, such as the Rwandan Civil War, where the leaders of the primarily Hutu Rwandan Armed Forces promised to keep fighting until the Tutsi were dead or expelled from Rwanda (Stearns 15). David Keen regards wars as being a result of political and economic processes within society, describing it as ‘a continuation of economics by other means’ (Keen 6769). This theory, however, neglects wars fought for control of a state and ethnic conflict. What this paper aims to argue is that ethnic clashes, abundant resources, and weak government are all needed for developing world conflict to persist. Clashes between ethnic groups are often a significant factor in wars, especially in the contemporary developing world. They have become so prevalent, in fact, that Nicolas Sambanis and Moses Shayo estimate that between 50% and 75% of all civil wars fought since 1945 have been ethnic conflicts, with those wars being especially prolonged and bloody (Sambanis and Shayo 294). These conflicts tend to occur in states where only a few large ethnic groups exist, such as Rwanda; states with many smaller groups, such as Tanzania, have a tendency to remain more stable (Bakwesegha 54). Christopher Bakwesegha argues that ethnic tensions do not directly lead to violent conflict; instead, violence erupts when a group feels that power is being exercised against them or in favour of a rival group with ties to the ruling class (Bakwesegha 55). In some cases, ethnic conflict occurs as a result of ethno-nationalism, which in turn leads to the polarisation of groups (Tepfenhart 87-88). This type of factionalism ultimately divided Yugoslavia following the end of communist rule, resulting in a bloody ethnic war between Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians (Tepfenhart 88). Some authors, such as Frederick van der Ploeg, have also found that states with multiple ethnic groups have a marked tendency to suffer greater issues from resource abundance, especially when corruption and political instability are present, as groups often compete amongst each other for those resources (van der Ploeg 392). Ethnicity played a significant role in triggering conflict in the DRC, and continues to motivate the on-going violence today. The division between the Hutus and Tutsis in the Great Lakes region of Africa, which currently includes Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC, was an invention of European colonial powers for administrative purposes (Alden, Thakur, and Arnold 38). Following the 1959 Hutu Revolution, approximately 200,000 Tutsis fled Rwanda and formed the Rwandan 71
Patriotic Front, which won a civil war with the Hutu-dominated government following the 1993 Rwandan Genocide (Lemarchand 62-64). Following the RPF victory, the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and various Hutu militias that carried out the genocide subsequently fled across the border into the DRC, exacerbating already-present tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis of the Banyarwanda in the eastern DRC and the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, which was promoting exclusionary policies against them (Lemarchand 63-64). The Banyarwanda soon collapsed into infighting between Hutu and Tutsi militant groups, while smaller ethnic groups banded together to form the Mai-Mai, which quickly gained a reputation for continuously changing its allegiances (Lemarchand 64). Anti-Tutsi sentiment increased throughout the country following the Rwandan-backed coup of Mobutu’s regime by Laurent-Desiré Kabila in May 1997, with more rebel factions emerging throughout the DRC during the following year (Lemarchand 64-65). Even today, ethnic violence continues to play a role in the DRC, as Tutsi rebels attack Hutu civilians and vice-versa, with both groups claiming to defend themselves against the atrocities of the other (Eichstaedt 3-4). Weak and failing governments often serve as an aggravating factor in the endurance of conflict, especially in the developing world. It is important to note here that a weak state is difficult to define due to the lack of consensus about what criteria need to be met (Patrick 648). Both failed and weak states suffer from institutional weakness and corruption, which results in their governments being unable ‘to provide physical security [and] social welfare’ to its inhabitants (Patrick 648). The difference between the two appears to be one of degree, as failing states often have civil wars and governments that lack any semblance of political legitimacy and are unable to control entire regions of the state (Patrick 647). Paul Williams has argued that neopatrimonial states are especially prone to experiencing armed conflict, as the combination of authoritarianism and the use of institutions to support clients foments increased factionalism among interest groups (Williams 5556). The power of the government in these states is often based on the threat of retribution against any opposition, forcing the governing elite to devote most of their efforts and resources towards safeguarding their positions (Williams 56). Any indication that the government is unable to maintain control, such as a major crisis, can thus be interpreted as a sign of weakness ripe for exploitation by armed groups, resulting in conflict (Williams 56). Additionally, some militias will form and participate in these conflicts, in order to provide the security for their communities or ethnic group that the government is either unable or unwilling to provide, rather than to take advantage of state weakness (Alden, Thakur, and Arnold 116). The DRC is a near-perfect example of how state weakness can facilitate armed conflict in developing states. The Mobutu regime lasted for more than three decades in power before being overthrown by Kabila’s forces. During that time, members of the government looted the country’s wealth for both themselves and their supporters, which usually compromised the capabilities of government institutions (Alden, Thakur, and Arnold 120). The slow erosion of government under Mobutu, combined with the sudden influx of militias and refugees from neigh72
bouring Rwanda following the 1994 genocide, resulted in armed groups such as the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADLF) and the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) forming to take over the DRC (Alden, Thakur, and Arnold 120-121). Even after Kabila’s ADLF successfully overthrew the government, the eastern DRC remains outside Kinshasa’s control, as do the various militias fighting within it, including the Hutu-controlled Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Mai-Mai (Eichstaedt 2-4). The result is that a significant portion of a state considered to be ‘roughly the size of Europe’ has more or less lost any semblance of governance and is being consumed by a civil war that shows no signs of ending in the near future (Eichstaedt 3-4). The ‘natural resource curse’ is the concept that an abundance of natural resources within a state, which is normally expected to bring economic prosperity and development, instead causes severe economic and social problems, including ‘largescale violent conflict’ (Collier 2). Research has found that resource-rich states often suffer from armed conflict, as armed groups either begin looting these resources to fund their military efforts or enter into conflict for the purpose of enriching themselves (Bakwesegha 58). Diamonds are especially popular for this purpose, as they are considered very valuable and can be acquired by coercing individuals instead of large corporations, making them a popular target for rebel groups such as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone (Collier 5). Van der Ploeg argues that while easily extracted resources, such as minerals and drugs, have a tendency to prolong armed conflict within a state, they do not increase the chances of conflicts actually starting (van der Ploeg 390). Instead, these become more likely when there is a combination of significant institutional corruption and inequality, low economic growth, and a reliance on exports in the GNP (van der Ploeg 306). In short, resource wealth only becomes a major factor in starting armed conflicts when weak government is already present. The area that now makes up the DRC stands out for having suffered due to its natural resources for centuries. It was originally colonised as the Congo Free State during the late 19th century by Leopold II of Belgium, who looted the region of its minerals, ivory, and rubber for his own profit, killing up to half of the estimated population of 20 million within a few decades (Hochschild 87, 233). Since then, the DRC has been shown to be rich in several rare resources, including oil, coltan, diamonds, uranium, and various other strategic minerals (Fairhead 195). All of these resources have been used by armed groups in some capacity to finance themselves, particularly by selling them to the industrialised world (Fairhead 195). Coltan (a combined term for columbium and tantalum) is especially notable in this regard, as most of the mines throughout the province of Kivu have been under the control of armed groups since a mining boom in 1999 (Fairhead 207). If UN reports are to be believed, all of the coltan exported from the eastern DRC serves to financially benefit either the various militias or foreign armies in the area, motivating them to use coerced labour to compensate for falling prices (Fairhead 208-209). Much of this financing comes from foreign electronics manufacturers, 73
since coltan and various other conflict minerals mined in the DRC are vital to the production of many electronics, despite the DRC only holding 10% of the global tantalum supply (Eichstaedt 212-213). The wealth of resources based in the DRC has ultimately worked against the countryâ€™s interests, having served mostly to prolong conflict through the financing of belligerent groups. This paper has argued that conflict in the developing world is an enduring phenomenon due to the combination of ethnic clashes, state weakness, and the allure of resource abundance to armed groups. As demonstrated by the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, these three factors can come together to ensure that conflict in a region can last for decades without showing any signs of stopping. The fact that these conflicts tend to occur in under-developed regions that are flush with valuable minerals and oil demonstrates that globalisation plays a role in promoting war: after all, the sale of these resources to multi-national corporations helps to prolong conflicts.
Alden, Chris, Monika Thakur, and Matthew Arnold. Militias and the Challenges of Post-Conflict Peace: Silencing the Guns. New York: Zed Books, 2011. Bakwesegha, Christopher J. ‘Ethnic Conflict and the Colonial Legacy’. In Andreas Wimmer, Richard J. Goldstone, Donald L. Horowitz, Ulrike Joras, and Conrad Schetter, eds., Facing Ethnic Conflicts: Toward a New Realism (pp. 53-60). Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Collier, Paul. ‘Natural Resources, Development and Conflict: Channels of Causation and Policy Interventions.’ World Bank. 28 Apr. 2003. Accessed 1 Dec. 2013. <http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/04/27/000265513_20040427110039/Rendered/PDF/28730.pdf>. Duyvesteyn, Isabelle. ‘Contemporary War: Ethnic Conflict, Resource Conflict or Something Else?’. Civil Wars 3.1 (Spring 2000): 92-116. Eichstaedt, Peter. Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2011. Fairhead, James. ‘Transnational Dimensions to Environmental Resource Dynamics: Modes of Governance and Local Resource Management in Eastern DRC’. In Quentin Gausset, Michael A. Whyte, and Torben Birch-Thomsen, eds., Beyond Territory and Scarcity: Exploring Conflicts over Natural Resource Management (pp. 195-215). Stockholm: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2005. Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost. New York: First Mariner Books, 1999. Kaldor, Mary. New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era, 3rd edition. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012. Keen, David. ‘A Rational Kind of Madness’. Oxford Agrarian Studies 25.1 (Feb. 1997): 67-75. Lemarchand, René. ‘Exclusion, Marginalization, and Political Mobilization: The Road to Hell in the Great Lakes’. In Andreas Wimmer, Richard J. Goldstone, Donald L. Horowitz, Ulrike Joras, and Conrad Schetter, eds., Facing Ethnic Conflicts: Toward a New Realism (pp. 61-77). Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Patrick, Stewart. ‘”Failed” States and Global Security: Empirical Questions and Policy Dilemmas’. International Studies Review 9.4 (Winter 2007): 64475
662. Ploeg, Frederick van der. ‘Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?’. Journal of Economic Literature 49.2 (Jun. 2011): 366-420. Rice, Susan E., and Stewart Patrick. Index of State Weakness in the Developing World. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2008. Sambanis, Nicholas, and Moses Shayo. ‘Social Identification and Ethnic Conflict’. American Political Science Review 107.2 (May 2013): 294-325. Stearns, Jason K. Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa. New York: Public Affairs, 2011. Tepfenhart, Mariana. ‘The Cause of Ethnic Conflicts’. Comparative Civilizations Review 68 (Spring 2013): 84-97. Williams, Paul D. War & Conflict in Africa. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011. World Bank. ‘Country and Lending Groups’. Accessed 24 Nov. 2013 <http:// data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/country-and-lendinggroups>. World Bank. ‘How we Classify Countries’. Accessed 24 Nov. 2013 <http://data. worldbank.org/about/country-classifications>.
Consolidating Nigeria’s Democracy in the Face of Religious and Ethnic Division Joel Jaeger
The move to democracy has proved to be an unstable process for Nigeria. Nigeria has made many improvements to its electoral process, but election violence has been tough to eradicate even with these institutional changes. The challenge now facing Nigeria is how to combat ethnic violence in the face of deep-rooted ethno-religious divides, manipulative and corrupt politicians, marginalized poor populations, and insufficient state security institutions. It seems that to solve this problem will require both time and concerted effort by the government to tackle the issues that make ethnic violence in Nigeria so prevalent. States divided on religious or ethnic grounds face a more difficult democratization process than homogenous societies, and Nigeria is no exception. The four elections that have taken place since the end of military rule in Nigeria have engendered fraud, election violence, and disenchantment with the government. Support for political parties is split along religious, ethnic, and regional lines, with no universal Nigerian identity. There is a widespread sense that ethnic politics and corruption are holding Nigeria back from becoming an African economic and political powerhouse. Even so, gains were made in the most recent election in 2011 and further consolidation of democracy is possible if the manipulations of the elite sector can be checked. Nigeria will not be able to lessen election violence and increase credibility in the electoral process until it discourages regionalism in its institutional system, decreases incentives for politicians to pander to specific ethno-religious groups, reduces corruption, and constructs a credible state security apparatus. Since the introduction of democracy into Nigeria, problems in Nigerian politics have come to the surface that must be overcome. In 1999, after decades of military rule, President Olesegun Obansanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was elected. The 1999 elections produced little violence, but one third of the states experienced widespread fraud and another one third experienced moderate fraud (Kew 141). In 2003, President Obansanjo won another election, and this time fraud was accompanied by pervasive post-election violence (Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart 3). In the 2007 elections, President Obansanjo was replaced by his fellow PDP member, Umaru Yar’Adua, in elections again characterized by electoral irregularities and communal violence (Lewis 64). Yar’Adua formed an Electoral Reform Committee, but ignored its suggestions (Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart 4). In 2010, Yar’Adua died, and was replaced by his Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, who revived the electoral reform process (Lewis 65). Finally, when Jonathan was elected to his first full term as President in 2011, the elections were fair, free, 77
and credible according to international observers (Baker 34). Still, even with no fraud in the 2011 elections, an explosion of violence in northern Nigeria made it the deadliest election period yet, with over one thousand people killed (Lewis 61). The question remains as to why election violence has not subsided with the advent of more transparent, accurate elections. The first main reason for Nigeria’s endemic election violence is the regionalism that is inherent in its institutional system. The Hausa-Fulani ethnic group in the north is mostly Muslim, and the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups in the south are mostly Christian (Onwudiwe 146). Often, people are more invested in their particular ethnic groups than they are in the country as a whole. The military was able to keep these disparate groups united under a central power structure, but democratization has increased pressure to divide Nigeria’s various regions (Paden 139). Despite difficulties, Nigeria has yet to break apart, but the religious and ethnic divides contribute to bitterly-contested electoral politics. Currently, the PDP has an informal power-sharing agreement called “zoning” in which its presidential nominees rotate between northerners and southerners with the vice president chosen from the opposite region to that of the president (Lewis 8, Paden 208). Being by far the most dominant party in Nigerian politics, the PDP must draw on all areas of the country to achieve legitimacy rather than solely relying on one or two major ethnic groups. Zoning has greatly added to stability in the electoral process, since each area knows that its turn will eventually come around. However, the death of President Yar’Adua and the ascension of Vice President Jonathan caused a zoning crisis. Obansajo, a southerner, was in power from 1999 to 2007, and then Yar’Adua, a northerner, was in power from 2007 to 2010. When Jonathan, a southerner, took over and announced that he would run for office in 2011, northerners felt that they were being cheated out of the five years that Yar’Adua would have been president had he lived (Okeyim et al. 44). This feeling of exclusion contributed to the violence that took place in the north in the pre-election period. The northerners’ frustration extended to the actual election as well. Even though international observers graded the 2011 elections as free and fair, northerners believed that they had been rigged (Baker 35). Credible elections do not account for much if a large sector of the population does not have faith in the results. How elections are perceived is just as important as their actual accuracy when it comes to building confidence in the electoral process. While Jonathan should be commended for the electoral reforms that he introduced to make the 2011 elections free and fair, it may have been better if he had stepped aside to avoid controversy. Even so, one advantage he has is that he is not known as a particularly ethnic figure (Lewis 67). As president, Jonathan must emphasize his Nigerian side rather than his Christian and southern side. Power-sharing arrangements such as the zoning plan are not ideal since they highlight regional divisions rather than erode them. However, zoning still seems to be the best option at this point in Nigeria’s democratization process. In the 78
2011 elections, the PDP won 23 of 24 southern states (the other state was won by a minor third party) and the main opposition party, Congress for Progressive Change, won 12 of 12 northern states (BBC News). With not even one example of a party appealing across the north-south divide, it is likely that voting patterns will remain strongly tied to ethnic geography. Until a viable opposition group threatens the PDP hegemony in Nigeria, the party will have to continue a rotation of regional candidates to maintain legitimacy. Divisive, zero-sum democracy is often a result of the institutional rules of the game rather than ethnic differences themselves (Reilly 2). Nigeria must maintain electoral rules that minimize opportunities for ethnic fissures. One rule currently in place is that to win the presidency, a candidate must win at least twenty-five percent of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeriaâ€™s states, in addition to the total majority of votes (BBC News). This means that a candidate from the south must have at least a small amount of support from the north, and vice versa. This rule has been followed in the past, and Jonathan was able to fulfill it. The threshold could even be raised to a higher percentage in the future to ensure that Nigerian presidents are seen as leading for all Nigerians, not just certain ethno-religious groups. Eventually, Nigeriaâ€™s democratic system may progress to the point that its leaders feel that these rules are no longer relevant. Until then, they are necessary to mitigate factional tensions. While ingrained ethno-religious differences already put a strain on the electoral system, the problem is compounded by the manipulations of Nigeriaâ€™s political elite. The next main cause of election-related violence is the tendency of elite politicians to play up ethnic rivalries, encourage extreme attitudes, and hire armed militias. In Nigeria, elites have huge incentives to win elections and are willing to exploit communal grievances and ethnic loyalties to defeat their opponents. Elected officials make an exorbitant amount of money, and often have few prospects for high-end employment outside of politics (Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart 9). It is impossible to tell exactly how much Nigerian politicians make (due to kickbacks and other forms of corruption), but there is an expectation that they will use a substantial amount of public funds for their own personal gains. There is substantial competition for these positions, and plenty of intraparty feuding between ruling party elites (Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart 3). The winner-take-all attitude of elites degrades public confidence in political institutions. The only way to reach and maintain these coveted positions is through factional alliances. To get into power, candidates gain more votes by playing up extreme ethnic ideologies than they do by moving to the center (Reilly 4). Appealing to ethnic and religious identities guarantees a solid support base, while taking a moderate stance can lead to competition with other parties. Second, once candidates are elected, they consolidate their power by making alliances with and distributing public goods to people of the same ethnic group (Wimmer et al. 317). This locks the avenues of power onto purely ethnic lines.
This elite power structure eventually provokes electoral violence because of the intense ethnic rifts that it has created. It is not ethnic differences themselves that cause ethnic conflict, but feelings of political exclusion along ethnic lines (Wimmer et al. 329) When people feel that their access to state resources is blocked because the relevant official is of a different ethnicity, resentment can boil to the surface. The rhetoric of elites stoke the flames. For example, in 2007 President Obansajo announced that the next election was a â€œdo-or-die affairâ€? (Okeyim et al. 46). If political leaders convince the people that the opposition candidates would institute policies that discriminate against them because of their religion or ethnicity, violence is much more likely to erupt around election periods. Instead of encouraging extreme action through divisive rhetoric, Nigerian politicians must seek to be inclusive in their language and to convince the people that even if their preferred party loses an election, they will have a second chance next time around. This mindset will become easier to cultivate with each successful transition of power from one leader to another. As Nigerians come to trust an electoral system that does not leave one ethnicity in power indefinitely, election violence should begin to subside. Another main reason for electoral violence in Nigeria is the poor economic conditions that lead to dissatisfaction with the electoral system. Nigeria has a robust economy overall, but poor infrastructure, corruption, and profound inequality is holding it back (Lewis 61). With the largest population in Africa and plenty of oil and natural resources, Nigeria is expected to become an economic giant in the region. While it has made progress in economic development, the gains are slow in coming and benefit the rich more than the poor. Since 1999, public optimism that democracy would ensure economic growth has given way to frustration about corruption (Smith 429, Onwudiwe 141). Since the federal government is unable or chooses not to provide basic services to the poor, they must turn to other options for help such as religious groups (Reno 225-227). The large amount of unemployed youth in Nigeria is especially troublesome. Youth populations can be an extremely volatile demographic force. Their frustration and boredom with unemployment make them susceptible to extreme ideologies and violent movements. Unemployed youth are easily manipulated by disgruntled politicians to perpetrate election violence (Okeyim et al. 45). The 2003 elections in Nigeria saw the emergence of armed militias as an election-period factor. Politicians hired young, unemployed men to intimidate voters and advance their electoral ends (Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart 3). Whether or not these youths actually supported the politicians they were working for is irrelevant. They did not have any other economic choice. The elimination of corruption in the federal government is imperative if Nigeria hopes to combat the communal violence that it is plagued by. Overall economic development is essential, but just as important is making sure that the benefits of economic growth reach the disaffected populations that are likely to turn to election violence. Finally, the stateâ€™s failure to provide adequate security for citizens causes election violence. In general, crime has increased in Nigeria since the introduction of 80
democracy, causing people to become nostalgic for the order of military governments (Smith 438). Nigerians will never be satisfied with democracy when they feel that their physical safety is compromised. Modern states are supposed to have a monopoly on the use of force. However, the Nigerian government has inadequate state control over coercion (Reno 233). This leads to disrespect for the rule of law and general instability. Additionally, the lack of effective police or military forces can inspire vigilantism. As military rule faded, a number of vigilante groups, the most famous of which was the Bakassi Boys, took matters into their own hands. In the early 2000s, the Bakassi Boys carried out violent acts of vigilante justice in several of Nigeriaâ€™s southeastern states, often with the backing of regional governments that could not tackle crime on their own. This continued well into 2002 when they were forcibly disbanded due to alleged human rights abuses (Smith 431). More recently, Boko Haram, an Islamist jihad group, has conducted numerous attacks in northern Nigeria (Lewis 61). The instability in Nigeria caused by inadequate security forces and violent non-state actors produces an environment that is not conducive to the democratic process. The state must ensure that citizens feel safe in their everyday lives, and especially during election periods. Nigeriaâ€™s deep-rooted ethno-religious divides, manipulative elite politicians, marginalized poor populations, and insufficient state security apparatus combine to make a perfect recipe for election violence. Nigeria has made many improvements to its electoral process, as evidenced by the credibility and transparency of the 2011 elections, but election violence has been tough to eradicate. Democratization can be quite an unstable process, especially in a state that was held together by a strong central government for so long. The Nigerian government must strive to mitigate the social, economic, and political conditions that stimulate communal violence. Time may be essential in the curing of Nigeriaâ€™s ails. As each year brings Nigeria farther away from its authoritarian past, confidence will increase in the electoral process. If all goes well in the next elections in February 2015, inclusiveness in the institutional system could prevail over the pressures of separation.
Baker, Pauline. “The Dilemma of Democratization in Fragile States.” UN Chronicle 48.4 (2011): 34-36. BBC News. “Nigerians Vote in Presidential Election.” BBC News Africa. April 16, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13102541. Kew, Darren. “The 2003 Elections: Hardly Credible, but Acceptable.” In Crafting the New Nigeria, edited by Robert I. Rotberg, 139-173. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004. Lewis, Peter M. “Nigeria Votes: More Openness, More Conflict.” Journal of Democracy 22.4 (2011): 60-74. Okeyim, Matthew, John Anyabe Adams, and Peter Ojie. “Managing Election Violence in Nigeria.” International Journal of Arts and Sciences 5.2 (2012): 43-48. Onwudiwe, Ebere. “Communal Violence and the Future of Nigeria.” Global Dialogue 6.3 (2004): 141-149. Onwudiwe, Ebere, and Chloe Berwind-Dart. “Breaking the Cycle of Electoral Violence in Nigeria.” United States Institute of Peace Special Report 263 (2010): 1-15. Paden, John N. Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution: The Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. Reilly, Benjamin. Democracy in Divided Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Reno, William. “The Roots of Sectarian Violence, and Its Cure.” In Crafting the New Nigeria, edited by Robert I. Rotberg, 139-173. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004. Smith, Daniel Jordan. “The Bakassi Boys: Vigilantism, Violence, and Political Imagination in Nigeria.” Cultural Anthropology 19.3 (2004): 429-455. Wimmer, Andreas, Lars-Erik Cederman and Brian Min. “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis of a New Global Data Set.” American Sociological Review 74.2 (2009): 316-337.
Divergent Paths of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Elisabeth van Lieshout
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated between twelve countries in the Pacific Rim. It covers an extraordinarily wide scope of issues and is widely seen as an attempt to bypass impasses in discussions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Ratification of the TPP depends upon the concessions that member states are willing to make and, crucially, upon US leadership in opening up their domestic market. This agreement is important as it may pave the way for an expanded APEC-wide trade agreement and, in addition, affect the relevance of the WTO. Hailed by some as the trade treaty of the 21st century, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has already been a long and difficult process, having been in negotiation since 2008 and with 19 rounds of talks completed so far. Going forward, there are a number of paths this that mega-treaty may take, with significant consequences for both the negotiating countries and the rest of the world. This article explores some of the most crucial junctions, at which the path of the TPP might go in one of several directions, and aims to point out the factors that might influence these outcomes. If you don’t know much about the TPP yet, that is not surprising; mainstream media, especially outside the countries involved, have given it relatively little attention so far, in part because its negotiations happen completely behind closed doors and there is thus very little to report. The TPP is a free trade agreement, originally negotiated between Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, and Brunei but now also involving, in order of joining, the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, and Japan. It is likely to encompass a wide range of issues – not just the conventional market access provisions but also intellectual property protection, agricultural subsidies, and state-owned enterprises, to name a few. In total, 26 chapters are under discussion. The aim of the first four countries was to form the basis for an agreement encompassing all countries in the Pacific region. The organisation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation had the long-standing intention of forming a free trade area, but little progress to that end had been made. As the initiators intended, other countries have joined over time, and Taiwan and South Korea are currently in the process of coming on board. The original target for completion was 2012 but has been delayed several times; the current aim is to have a draft completed in April 2014, but at time of writing, this seems overly optimistic. Paul Krugman recently wrote in the New York Times that the TPP is, in fact, ‘no big deal’. He is right in so far as trade liberalisation is concerned: the countries negotiating already have very open trade arrangements with one another, and 83
so the economic impacts may be quite limited. The TPP is particularly attention-worthy because it is different from previous treaties in a number of ways, implying that it could serve as a model for a different kind of treaty in the future. Firstly, it covers an extraordinarily wide scope of issues. Indeed, it encompasses issues that are considered â€˜WTO-plusâ€™, that is, outside of what is discussed in the World Trade Organisation, and goes much further than the WTO does on issues that the WTO does cover. Such far-reaching provisions have previously only been included in bilateral treaties, and even then not very often. Secondly, the TPP seems to be a reaction to the gridlock that is currently commonplace at the WTO. Since the Uruguay Round of negotiations was completed in 1994, negotiations at the WTO have made negligible progress, with the Doha round still ongoing but with little hope of a productive conclusion. Therefore, states are looking outside the WTO in order to move trade liberalisation along, and the TPP is arguably the biggest example of this. Thirdly, from a geopolitical angle, some believe that the TPP signals a shift of American focus towards Asia, particularly towards Southeast Asia, although the US is also in negotiations with the EU regarding the twin treaty to the TPP, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). While the TPP holds promise to significantly change the face of global trade regulation, there are three major stumbling blocks along the way, which this article will be addressing in turn. The first of these is that for the treaty to cover ground-breaking new issues, countries do indeed need to agree, which requires all countries involved to make concessions. When some form of agreement has been reached, countries will need to ratify the treaty in their domestic political system, which could prove more challenging than their governments might hope. The third fork in the road is what the subsequent reaction of other states not in the agreement will be, whether the TPP will lead to a general APEC free trade area, and what impact it will have on the configuration of global cooperation and the WTO. Negotiations for the TPP are difficult: trade agreements are never easy, but the diversity of the countries involved and the ambition of their original aims make for a steep challenge. The negotiating states are in very different stages of economic development, ranging from Vietnam, with a GDP per capita of $US 1,411, to Australia at $US 60,642. The range of specializations is even wider, including telecommunications and services (Mexico), agriculture (Australia, Chile), technology (Japan, South Korea) and cheap labour (Vietnam, Malaysia). This means that on each of the 26 chapters under negotiation, there will be a spectrum of interests that are difficult to reconcile, and each of these must be weighed up and traded against other issues for a general agreement to emerge. The most important thing is that each country needs to be willing to give up some things it would rather not, in order to also induce other countries to do the same. Only in that way will substantial progress be made.
Formally, there is no public knowledge of the current state of negotiations, as they are all held behind closed doors. However, government statements (as well as a few WikiLeaks documents) make clear the make-or-break issues. The starting point for every free trade negotiation is the lowering of tariffs. There are already many bilateral trade agreements between countries involved in the TPP, meaning that there are not a terribly large amount of tariffs left to lower. However, countries are still reluctant to let go of their protected industries. Once a country starts listing certain industries as off-limits, other countries will be induced to add their own industries, rapidly decreasing the scope of the treaty. The TPP negotiations started from the premise that everything was on the table, but it remains to be seen whether this will hold true for the final version. Beyond tariff reductions, the TPP encompasses a wide range of ‘behind-the-border’ measures that are also supposed to facilitate trade. Such changes aim to make competition between domestic firms and foreign firms fairer and to more widely harmonise standards. One particularly contentious issue in this is intellectual property (IP) rights. Stronger protection of IP is important to countries that engage in a lot of research and development – in this case, the US – but hurts countries that produce goods that have been invented elsewhere, as they then have to pay higher royalties to inventors. It may also harm citizens when it comes to medical patents, as shoring up of protection could make certain medications more difficult to access or more expensive. The US is demanding that the other TPP countries adopt its more stringent IP rules, but other countries will be hesitant to commit to this without being sure they will get something in return. Another key sticking point is agricultural policy. Several states involved have significant agricultural subsidies and other protections in place in order to sustain their own production and remain self-sufficient in terms of food. However, several agricultural exporters would like to see these measures removed to allow them fair market access. Related to this are issues of food safety regulations, where countries currently with the highest standards fear that the harmonisation of rules would lead to a decrease in their public health and safety. Moving beyond these and other issues will be a difficult task that requires someone to make a first step and get the ball rolling. US leadership will be important, as access to the American market is a large part of the incentive for other countries to be part of the treaty. However, the US is usually very cautious in trade negotiations and has given up relatively little in most of its bilateral trade treaties. Moreover, given the frictions in American domestic politics, significant concessions will be very difficult for President Obama to defend even if they ensure benefits for the US in other parts of the treaty. American negotiators will likely be hesitant. If countries are unable to move forward, gridlock may occur. This is what happened in the WTO negotiations of the Doha Development round, where developing and advanced countries came to a standoff because neither side was willing to make considerable concessions without the other moving first. As the TPP 85
was aimed to circumvent these negotiations, there is significant political will to avoid such a situation. Yet, as the issues being dealt with are highly contentious, gridlock is still a possible outcome. Even if countries fail to arrive at the kind of ground-breaking treaty they were aiming for, the TPP will still be significant. A watered-down form will still have economic impact, and the symbolic impact of its form and background, both domestically and internationally, could still be significant. Regardless of the content of the agreement should one be reached, member states will then need to ratify it through their national procedures. Rules differ between treaties, but generally some clause is included stating that a certain proportion (such as two-thirds or three-quarters) of the countries involved need to ratify the treaty before it comes into effect. Each country will have its own procedure of approval, often involving a vote in parliament. The countries making up the TPP are politically diverse and include some fairly autocratic states where obtaining approval will be a mere formality. However, other member states are democracies and even in relatively fragile democracies, significant public opposition can be a concern for governments. The first possible outcome is that states manage to pass the treaty without any significant mainstream debate. It is quite likely governments will want to do this, as the benefits of trade treaties are hard to prove and long-term, making them a hard sell. It is also quite likely that they will be able to; trade negotiations are not exactly an exciting topic for most citizens, and indeed, most treaties in the past have been passed with just moderate discussion between politicians. For example, the passage of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in the US was, to a large extent, driven by private meetings between President Clinton and members of Congress in an attempt to win enough votes. Whether governments will be able to do this will depend in part on the contents of the treaty and the way this is perceived, which will depend on whether fast-track authority passes in the US Congress. This is a special authority that Congress can grant the President, allowing him to make many more executive decisions during negotiations and significantly simplifying the ratification process. A bill conveying fast-track authority was introduced earlier this year and is yet to go to a vote at time of writing. Since public debate in the US is likely to spill over to other member states, obtaining the fast-track and avoiding debate would decrease the likelihood of the treaty encountering obstacles elsewhere. However, events so far seem to suggest that things will not be that easy. Although formal debates about the TPP have not yet started, civil society groups are already mobilising around the issue, and in some cases opposition parties have joined them. A particularly strong example is in New Zealand, where various anti-TPP groups exist such as “It’s Our Future” and “The TPP Action Group”, who have held a series of protests. Meanwhile, a group of opposition parties has called for the text of the treaty to be released so that the public can prop86
erly hold the government accountable. In the US, too, groups of citizens have raised concerns, and both Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) and Nancy Pelosi (House Minority Leader) have spoken out, cautioning against the treaty. In Malaysia, a group of protesters dressed up as zombies campaigned to object to possibly rising drug prices, while several environmental charities have warned against a loosening of regulations. This resistance is also being organised cross-border; the Green parties of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada released a shared statement speaking out against the treaty. The arguments being employed in this debate are also worth mentioning. Civil society groups are using rhetoric that is strongly anti-capitalist, or at least opposed to the kind of free trade capitalism that is embodied in free trade agreements. These include concerns about losing domestic jobs, decreased protection of the environment and of strategically important industries, and a potential loss of political autonomy. The economic arguments of those speaking out against free trade are often dismissed as irrational or lacking an understanding of economics, as economic theory predicts that free trade benefits all those involved. However, this is an over-simplified view. Even if we accept that free trade can benefit the country as a whole (which in itself is up for question), it will inevitably create specific winners and losers within each country. The concern with the TPP is that the beneficiaries will be big business, while ordinary workers and consumers will lose out. Since the 2008 crash, there has been a lot of attention towards the dangers of finance capitalism, but arguments about trade have receded into the background compared to their height around the ‘Battle of Seattle’ protests. Even if critics of the TPP manage to mobilise people around the issue, there is still a significant chance that the treaty will be ratified in enough countries to come into effect. Governments so far have been fairly successful at convincing their citizens of their version of the economic benefits likely to accrue, even in cases where this later turned out to be false. For example, European governments have taken divergent approaches to the choice between austerity and Keynesian policies in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. For the most part, governments have managed to get their people on board with the path pursued, at least until the point at which results were expected. They may appeal to expert knowledge – “all the clever economists say that trade is good; only stupid people would disagree” – or to constraints from international forces – “if we don’t go along, other countries will be upset; our hands are tied”. Even if this fails, at the very minimum, all governments need to do is convince their parliaments, which might involve political bargains rather than concrete arguments. The flipside of this is that parliaments might also block the treaty purely as a political tool, something a Republican-controlled US Congress seems inclined to do. It is not uncommon for a treaty not to be ratified by certain countries within it, and this need not ruin the agreement as a whole. However, the inability of the US government to approve the TPP would rob it of most of its thrust, as men87
tioned earlier, and other governments will thus be hesitant to hold up their end of the deal. More widely, once countries start to appear to have difficulty with approval of the treaty domestically, others may be inclined to hold off. This kind of knock-on effect is unlikely but possible. Failure of the TPP to come into effect would raise serious issues for the future of trade liberalisation and for international cooperation more generally, especially as the TPP is already a measure to circumvent other failed forms of collaboration. In the more likely scenario that the TPP does get ratified in some form or another, the next important point of divergence is the reaction of other states. Given the various exceptional features of the TPP, its passing will require other states to at least consider what this means for them. The two most important reactions to consider are what will happen in the APEC region, and the effect on the WTO and the conduct of treaties more generally. The most logical next step would be to expand the TPP to an APEC-wide treaty, in line with its original aim. Indeed, the TPP will, in all likelihood, contain explicit provisions allowing any country in the Pacific region to join it, provided they are willing to agree to the text as it stands. However, this scenario is not necessarily that likely. Countries that are keen on being part of the TPP are much better off joining negotiations now, as opposed to waiting until the treaty is completed, because this gives them a chance to join the bargaining and possibly get a better deal for themselves. Indeed, the scramble to sign on seems to be an indication that countries do think in this way. The other scenario is a whole new process of negotiations for an APEC free trade treaty, taking the TPP as its basis. Indeed, the TPP itself is formally based off the P4 treaty between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, completed in 2005. This will be better for the new countries joining, as it gives them the opportunity to make their demands, and may also benefit the TPP countries as it would offer a new chance to further pursue their aims. This path is especially likely if China were to express a clear interest in joining; being as powerful as it is, China would have no interest in signing on to what others have decided, and would instead want some serious demands of its own met. However, it seems the current configuration of the TPP very consciously does not include China, and although Beijing has expressed no interest in joining, this may be in part because it is aware that other countries would be averse to this. Thus, an APEC treaty that includes China would be a difficult political project in its own right and may fail to even take off. The other important knock-on effect is how the world will react to the TPP. The WTO is a prime example of the kind of worldwide cooperation that some argue is becoming obsolete. and were the TPP to succeed, given that it was partially driven by the need to go around the WTO, the idea that the WTO is no longer a use88
ful forum could be confirmed. In that case, there would be a wider proliferation of these kinds of ‘plurilateral’ treaties where a moderate number of countries forms a ‘coalition of the willing’, finding and cooperating on an issue that they can agree on. This is not to say that the WTO would become completely irrelevant, as it has other roles beyond facilitating trade negotiations, but it would be a blow against the idea that international cooperation is done best when including as many countries as possible. This attitude may also spill over into non-trade issue areas, such as environmental agreements, which also have not had much success when attempted on a global scale. However, it is also possible that the TPP will provide new support for the WTO. Firstly, once the world realises that it is indeed possible for a mix of countries with very different economies and interests to come to an agreement, confidence may be raised that such an accord is also possible on a larger scale. Moreover, those who are in the TPP will have an incentive to push for the general adoption of the provisions in the treaty. While some of them have always wanted this more general implementation, others will now feel that they are disadvantaged compared to states that have not had to enact these changes and restrictions. Therefore, the members of the TPP may form a coalition to push for wider trade liberalization within the WTO. Assuming South Korea and Taiwan join the treaty before its completion, the TPP countries will account for over 40 percent of world GDP, and so their shared voice is likely to be at least listened to by other states. Although the TPP has the makings of becoming a hugely important piece of international cooperation, and has certainly been touted as such, its eventual impact still remains to be seen. The negotiating states will first have to manage to come to the kind of ground-breaking agreement they aim for, and then manoeuvre it through their domestic systems. The subsequent ripples it will cause worldwide are not certain. A number of factors recur as important determinants of this eventual outcome: US domestic politics, given the importance of the US as the leading state within the TPP; the way the global economy develops over the next two years or so; and the way that civil society will react to the treaty, as it will matter to negotiators and will impact how other states choose to react. Hopefully, a wide debate around the TPP and its associated issues will emerge in its member countries, which could make governments accountable, since trade negotiations are usually obscured from the public view. In the meantime, the rest of us will have to wait and see what happens.
Turkish Foreign Policy in the PostCold War Era Mahmoud Abdou Kemalism, an ideology that emphasises secularism, cultural homogeneity, and territorial integrity and cohesiveness, dominated Turkish foreign policy from the end of World War II to the end of the Cold War. Historically supported by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), Kemalism was oriented towards the United States and the European Union and away from the Muslim world. However, the Islamist Welfare Party rose in popularity in the 1990s, with a simultaneous loss in faith in the TAF. Kemalism can be seen as nation-building from above, while the Islamist movements are an example of nation-building from below. Turkish foreign policy today reflects its desire to establish a wider circle of friends diplomatically. Modern Turkey was established after 1923, when the country gained its independence from France and Britain. Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, the founding father of Turkey, abolished the Caliphate system and called for national sovereignty to replace the sovereignty of the Islamic Umma. As a result, Turks became to think of themselves as Turks first as opposed to being members of a “pan-Islamist” state. His ideology of “Kemalism” is based on secularism, cultural homogeneity, and territorial integrity and cohesiveness. Here, state power is centralised as a vanguard of economic liberalism and secularism is equated with modernity, civilization, and western values. It is a nation-building project from above, as opposed to a revolution from below (Gerges, 2014), and despite the vicissitudes of time, it has had proven appeal in both the military and civilian spheres (Cizre and Cinar, 2003). From 1945 until the end of the Cold War, Turkish foreign policy (TFP) has generally been characterised by a continued adherence to the Kemalist tradition, which prompted attentive observers to brand Turkey a status quo power “par excellence” (Hinnebusch, 2002). Constants in TFP that adhered to the Kemalist tradition included NATO membership and support of a leading role for the US in the organisation; a European orientation and the quest for EU membership; solidarity with the Turks of Cyprus; wariness of the Russian Federation; and the subordination of relations with the Middle East and the Islamic world to that with Europe (Hinnebusch, 2002). In the post-Cold War era, TFP orientation has remained in line with this Kemalist consensus and has not witnessed any major structural shifts. However, the rise of the Islamist elite has increasingly defined TFP as the reflection of a revolution from below, as opposed to being crafted through the Kemalist nation-building project from above. This is seen through an increase in Turkey’s political involvement in the region as well as its closer ties to the Muslim world. Hinnebusch argues that “[f]oreign policy elites are ‘Janus-faced’, looking both inward and outward, attempting to reconcile demands from domestic actors with 90
threats or constraints from external powers,” and vice versa (Hinnebusch, 2003, p.93). Traditionally, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAK) have assumed the role of the guardian of the Kemalist heritage, as, for example, it did when intervening in politics in order to forge a strong alliance with the U.S. in 1960, 1971, and twice in the 1980s. When Turkey was seen as once again deviating from its Kemalist traditions with the rise of the Islamist Refah/Welfare Party (WP) in the elections of 1995-1996, the TAF implemented a series of countermeasures that became known as the February 28 (1997) process. It included proceedings such as the closing down of the WP and its successor, the Virtue Party, and banning their leaders from active participation in politics. Anti-Kemalist attitudes of the WP included the signing of a $23-billion natural gas agreement with Iran by Prime Minister Erbakan, which was heavily criticized by the U.S. In defiance of warnings from home and the western powers, Erbakan also travelled to Libya “for what he hoped would be an important step toward Islamic solidarity” (Sayari, p. 52). Further, Erbakan “used both formal and informal diplomacy, including sending emissaries to Damascus and Bag[h]dad, to improve Turkey’s relations with its Arab neighbours” (Sayari, p.52). If earlier interventions by the TAF were mostly due to economic reasons, its intervention in the 1990s was an attempt to counter the threat of iritica or what it perceived as Islamic reactionism. After 1995, the TAF was involved in creating policy and political intrigue, issuing public demands, and creating bills through its own internal institutional framework. However, this has damaged the reputation of the TAF and led it to become viewed by the public as an institution that is above politics (Cizre and Cinar, 2003). In the state of official government “inertia” that lasted until 2002, the TAF redefined the idea of state security, identified Islamic and Kurdish groups as internal enemies, and controlled the public agenda. It developed and maintained power mechanically, through the mistaken belief that political control could be obtained by managing the rules of political engagement (Cizre and Cinar, 2003). The TAF’s “hegemony” resulted in a loss of faith in politics among the public and the view that the February 28 process was an attempt to control politics through indirect, conniving means that exaggerated the threat of Islamists. It fuelled the popular perception that Turkish politics required an injection of morality, a perception that was successfully capitalised on by political Islam (Cizre and Cinar, 2003). While the TAF and the Kemalists were involved in a state-building project from above, their loss of reputation due to the TAF’s hegemony over politics resulted in a revolution from below, one that sought a government more representative of the Turkish people. The re-emergence of the Islamists in the image of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its victory in the elections of November 2002 reflected the fact that “it is increasingly being realized … that there is no contradiction between Turkey’s national and religious identity”, which was further evidenced by the AKP’s second victory in the 2007 elections (Ayoob, p.463). As Oguzu puts it: “the AKP has truly become a centrist party, getting votes from different segments of the Turkish people” (Oguzu, p.17). While the WP insisted in the 1990s that “Turkey should identify itself as part of the Islamic community rather than as a member of 91
the western political, military and economic organisation” (Sayari, p.51), the AKP describes itself as a “‘conservative democratic party’”, in order to “position itself as the repository of Turkish tradition and culture, including religion, without explicitly emphasising religion and thus appearing to violate the [secular] constitution” (Ayoob, p. 459). This second phase of Islamism in the post-Cold War period threatened the secular elites who felt that the Islamic agenda was being advanced through the system in a democratic manner that would be difficult to combat on the grounds of preventing iritica (Cizre and Cinar, p.325). By the end of the 1980s, TFP has aimed at increasing the country’s circle of friends and at expanding to new markets, including the Kurdish-Iraqi economy (Gerges, 2014). The turn towards the region started with the economic reforms of former prime minister/president Turgut Ozal (in office from 1983 – 1993), which aimed at strengthening the Turkish economy. Ozal arguably believed that “Turkey could continue to be a valued ally of the West only by expanding its regional role and influence”, and this regional outlook was fully realized in the late 1980s (Sayari, p.45). In particular, the Gulf Crisis in 1990 was of pivotal importance for TFP as it marked the end of the conventional wisdom that Turkey need not be an actor in the region. In other words, it underscored the continuing geostrategic importance of Turkey (Hinnebusch, 2002). President Ozal complied with UN sanctions, immediately closed oil pipelines from Iraq in accordance with UN resolutions, and Ankara became the base for Operation Provide Comfort (OPC) to protect the Kurds above the 36th parallel (Sayari, p. 46). As the Cold War ended, “and particularly following the Gulf War, Turkey abandoned its low-profile posture in the Middle East for a more activist regional role” (Sayari, p.44). The issue of Kurdistan became “the single most important item on the country’s domestic and foreign policy agendas” in the 1990s and it exacerbated the country’s relations with Syria (Sayari, p.44). In fact, in 1998, it led to a Turkish ultimatum to Syria that either it expelled PKK leadership or faced military consequences. Additionally, through its membership in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Turkey took a leadership role in gathering the organisation’s support of the Muslims under persecution in Bosnia. Turkish Islamic identity was further asserted when the country was recently elected to the post of Secretary General at the OIC and “the AKP government has also increased references to Turkey’s Islamic identity in an instrumental way to attract as much Arabic capital as possible” (Oguzu, p. 14). Moreover, the country started developing “closer economic and political relations with the newly established states in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans”, such as with Iran (Oguzu, p.13). The TAF stroke a close military alliance with Israel “supposedly needed to win U.S. support for the counterinsurgency against the Kurds” (Hinnebusch, 2003, p.108). It signed a military training and education agreement with Israel in February 1996 and another agreement in December 1996 to upgrade the Turkish air force (Sayari, p. 49). Not only were those agreements criticised by the Welfare Party, but they were also condemned by the Arab states and Iran (Sayari, p.49). In a more 92
balanced approach to this regional conflict, Turkey supported the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and “sought to establish closer economic and political ties with the Palestinians” (Sayari, p.50). At the same time, Turkish-Israeli relations have deteriorated in recent years. For example, Erdogan heavily criticised Israeli policies to put down the second Palestinian intifada and in 2004, he labelled those policies “Israeli terrorism” (Robin, p.299). Turkey endorsed Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian municipal and parliamentary elections (2006-2007), and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became more central at the turn of the new decade, especially after the death of nine Turkish citizens by Israeli commandoes on board of a ship intending to break the siege on Gaza Strip. In particular, it became tied to Turkey’s approach to the Cyprus issue, in light of recent energy agreements between Israel and the Greek Cypriot administration, despite Turkish protestation. As some analysts such as Oguzu argue, the Turkish turn towards the region became increasingly obvious in light of the continued delay in its EU accession negotiations. Since the mid-1990s, “Turkey’s relationship with the EU was one of the two or three foreign policy issues that most clearly divided Kemalists and Islamists in Turkey” (Robin, 291). Interestingly enough, the AKP “has become the champion of Turkey’s accession to the EU, while the secular, pro-Western military has become lukewarm to the idea” (Ayoob, p.459). As explained by Ayoob, “Turkey’s membership in the EU, which insists on civilian control of the military, would push the Turkish military out of the political scene. Furthermore, the implementation of EU human rights criteria … would hinder the security apparatus … from coercing political elements it does not like” (Ayoob, p.459). Turkey was officially offered EU candidacy status in 1999 and the 2-3 years following the election of the AKP were “the high points of Turkey’s engagement with the EU; [however] the relationship cooled noticeably in 2005 and 2006” over the issue of Cyprus” (Robin, 293). While the negotiations were suspended in 2006, they became further complicated with the EU’s admittance of the Greek Cypriot administration as the official representative of the whole island. During the Cold War, Turkey was the most plausible potential new member of the EU. However, after the fall of the USSR, all Eastern European countries were ahead of Turkey in preference for entry into the European Union, much to the displeasure of Turkey (Hinnebusch, 2002). At the same time, “[i]f the EU issue had clearly divided Kemalists and Islamists [since] the 1990s, the same was not quite the case with regard to Turkish-US relations, at least not when seen within the wider alliance context” (Robin, 293-4). In fact, in issues of both EU membership and U.S. friendship, the Islamists seem to be the ones acting more in line the Kemalist tradition than the Kemalists themselves. While the secular Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) came out strongly against the deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq through Turkey in March 2003, and while the TAF “maintained studied silence on the issue,” the AKP supported it and it was the AKP government in October 2003 that “pushed through the decision in Parliament permitting the deployment of Turkish troops into Iraq” (Ayoob, p.452; p.460-461). In September 2006, the U.S. and the AKP government “established an institutional mechanism 93
to coordinate their efforts on the PKK – the appointment of special representatives on terror – and … the parties signed a formal document in 2006 regulating the modalities of their strategic cooperation” (Oguzu, p.8). More recently, Barack Obama has spent more time talking to Erdogan than to any other leader in the world (Gerges, 2014) Lastly, other constants in TFP include that of policy towards Russia. At the heart of the Ottoman Empire was the perception of Russia as the enemy. Since its independence, however, Turkey has always maintained good relations with Russia despite its alliance with the U.S.-led system. Issues that threatened the bilateral relations of the two countries since the 1990s include Bosnia and secessionist movements. While Russia supported Serbia in 1990s, Turkey was on the side of the Muslims; and while Turkey refused to become involved in the conflict in Chechnya, Russia was under the impression that Turkey was supporting the Chechens and in turn it “flirted” with the PKK (Hinnebusch, 2002). Generally speaking, Russian-Turkish relations have proved to be stable, mostly due to close economic ties between the two countries since the 1980s. For example, Turkey imports natural gas from Russia and it has built joint ventures for sugar refineries with Russia (Hinnebusch, 2002). To conclude, Kemalism as an ideology is based on the suppression of the Islamic elements of Turkish identity. However, as seen through the rise of the new elite who appealed to the masses using Islamic rhetoric, such elements of Turkish identity, which turned made Turkey the centre of the Islamic world for more than 500 years, cannot be simply ignored. The Islamic elements in Turkish identity are highlighted by the fact that the AKP is gathering support from all sectors in Turkish society and though its rise to power since 2002. In line with the Kemalist tradition, the AKP became the champion of EU membership; solidified Turkey’s alliance with the U.S.; participated in NATO wars in Afghanistan and Iraq under the leadership of the U.S.; and maintained a “cold peace” with Russia. However, while Kemalism implied keeping Turkey out of regional wars and inter-Arab rivalries, Turkey’s new elite, who came to power through a revolution from below, have become increasingly involved in building and solidifying close political and economic ties to its neighbouring regions. “As one senior Foreign Ministry source observed, the ‘JDP [the AKP] is closer to the region, closer to the public sentiment and a tool to represent the larger public sensitivity’” (Robin, 230). At the same time, as Gerges argues, this is not a structural shift; it is simply a reflection of the Turkish desire to increase its circle of friends and expand into new markets (Gerges, 2014).
Index: Timeline – Main Events in Turkish History since the end of the Cold War: 1993 – High point of Turkish diplomacy at the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) regarding Bosnia March 1995 – Ankara sends 40,000 troops across the Iraqi border for a sixweek military operation aimed at demolishing the PKK 1995 – Customs Union agreement signed between Ankara and the EU Jun. 1996 – Rise of Refah Government in coalition with the True Path Party (DYP) 1996 – Three military agreements between Turkey and Israel; WP prime minister Necmettin Erbakan obliged by the TAF to sign Feb. 1997 – The February Process – measures to counter iritica (Islamic reactionism) Jun. 1997 – Collapse of the coalition due to “anti-iritica” (Islamic Reactionism) measures implemented by the Military through the National Security Council, the so-called Feb. 28 process Second half of 1990s - Welfare/Refah Party (WP) closed down and declared illegal by the Judiciary. It was succeeded by Fazilat or the Virtue Party that was founded in Dec. 1997 1997 – WP-led party forced to resign by the military 1998 – Turkish ultimatum to Syria over the latter’s support of the PKK 1998 – Turkish-Syrian agreement (Adana Agreement). Capture of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK 1999 – Winding down of Kurdish insurgency April 1999 – Inclusion of the nationalist/conservative Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, (MHP) in the largest bloc in elections, along with the leftist core of ASAP and DSP. This coalition remains in power despite setbacks such as the 2001 economic crash. 1999 – The Helsinki Summit formally makes Turkey a candidate for EU membership 2000 – present: Increased sympathy towards the Palestinian cause after the breakout of the 2nd intifada Jun. 22 2001, The Virtue Party closed down on the grounds of violating the terms of the ban on the Refah Party. The movement is divided into two parties after the closure of FP: the traditionalist Felicity Party (SP) and the reformist AKP (JDP) 2001 – Establishment of the JDP who embraced the goal of EU membership. Nov. 2002 – AKP’s rise to power (victory of the Justice and Development Party in the elections) with 32% of popular vote and two-thirds of the parliamentary seats Dec. 2002 – EU Summit in Copenhagen: Erdogan re-asserts Turkish desire to join the EU. The JDP expresses readiness to resolve the Cyprus issue Jan. 2003 – Negotiations start on Turkish assistance to U.S. action against Iraq. The secular Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) against U.S. troop deployment through Turkey 95
March 2003 – US invasion of Iraq Oct. 2003 – AKP supports deployment of US troops through Turkey into Iraq, and then offers Turkish troops to support the American occupation of Iraq Nov. 2003 – Suicide bombing in Istanbul. 60 killed by Turkish Hezbollah that was armed and trained by the secular military in the 1980s and the 1990s to fight the Kurdish insurgency 2003 – At least 7 EU harmonization packages adopted by the government Feb. 2004 – Revision and re-energizing of the Annan Plan for Cyprus. Kemalists strongly make concessions April, 2004 – Erdogan publicly criticises “Israeli terrorism” Dec. 2004 – EU decides to commence accession negotiation with Ankara May 2004 – Greek Cyprus joins the EU May 2005 – Erdogan visits Israel to improve relations Oct. 3, 2005 – Resumption of accession negotiations 2005 – Assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri – Turkish/Syrian relationship stalls Jan. 2006 – Hamas wins the Palestinian municipal elections. The JDP welcomes the result April 2006 – Erdogan attends the Arab League Summit in Khartoum, visits Darfur
Ayoob, Muhammed, “Turkey’s Multiple Paradoxes,” Orbis 48, 3 (2004), pp. 451463. Cizre-Sakallioglu, Umit; and Cinar, Menderes “Turkey 2002: Kemalism, Islamism, and Politics in the Light of the February 28 Process,” The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 102, Number 2/3, Spring/Summer 2003, pp.309332 Gerges, Fawaz “Turkey,” a lecture delivered at the International Relations Department, London School of Economics and Political Science. January 27, 2014. Hinnebusch, Raymond, “Foreign Policy Making in the Middle East,” Ch.5 in The International Politics of the Middle East, Manchester University Press (2003). Hinnebusch, Raymond and Ahteshami, Anoushiravan “The Foreign Policy of Turkey,” Ch. 14 in The Foreign Policies of Middle East States Lynne Reinner Publishers, Boulder, Colorado (2002) Oguzlu, Tarik “Middle Easternization of Turkey’s Foreign Policy: Does Turkey Dissociate from the West?” Turkish Studies, 9:1 (2008), pp. 3 - 20 Robin, Philip, “Turkish Foreign Policy since 2002: between a ‘post-Islamist’ Government and a Kemalist State” International Affairs 83:1 (2007) 289304 Sayari, Sabri “Turkey and the Middle East in the 1990s,” Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring, 1997), pp. 44-55
One World Trade Center, New York City
American Exceptionalism and its Relationship with US Foreign Policy Thaddeus Jahn
The attitude of ‘exceptionalism’ in governance, politics, and responsibility in world politics, underwriting US foreign policy for much of the 20th century, has been called into question by the first decade of the 2000s. This essay will attempt to capture the debate that has ensued and assess the term’s utility in accurately expressing the basis of U.S. foreign policy. It concludes that, while ‘exceptionalism’ is indeed a genuine aspect of identity rather than a neo-conservative ploy, it is rarely empirically grounded, and at present serves centrally as a rhetorical tool used by the executive to justify various foreign policy objectives. In 1840, the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville remarked that “the position of the Americans is […] quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”1 This analysis captures the fundamental American belief that the United States- in its governance, politics, mission, and place in the world- is qualitatively and objectively different. However, particularly in the last decade, one which featured American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the reality of a rising China and a devastating financial crisis that caused the meltdown of the world economy, the ideological cornerstone of “exceptionalism” has come increasingly into question. This essay will attempt to capture the debate that has ensued and assess the term’s utility in accurately expressing the basis of U.S. foreign policy. Firstly, it will be argued that American exceptionalism is not merely a chimera invented by neo-conservatives to justify their imperial project; it is a long-standing expression of national identity that informs of U.S. values and foreign policy attitudes. Secondly, this essay will critically assess exceptionalism as an empirical truth and find that, in fact, it is often inaccurate and makes wrong assumptions that have yielded a frequently ill-conceived foreign policy. Finally, however, it will be suggested that perhaps exceptionalism is simply best understood as a tool of rhetoric that is employed by U.S. Presidents to persuade their publics of specific policies. Having considered multiple facets of the term, this essay will conclude that although exceptionalism offers a vital component to understanding different facets of U.S. foreign policy, it must also be understood as an inaccurate reality with sub-optimal to catastrophic decision-making consequences. In the past the United States has been alluded to as an “empire of liberty” (Jefferson), a “city on a hill” (Winthrop), even the “indispensable nation” (Albright). This exceptionalism that has been transported through time may be roughly divided into two dimensions- domestic and foreign. Domestic exceptionalism which bases itself on five distinct characteristics that the American founding fathers and thus the U.S. Constitution sought to establish – “liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, 1 102
Tocqueville, Reeve and Spencer (1840) 36-37.
populism and laissez-faire”2- interact with components such as a geographically privileged position and unique institutions to guide America’s behavior in the foreign realm. Ignatieff (2005) highlights the emergence of “distaste for the rule of force that characterized European diplomacy.”3 Instead, the tenets of unilateralism, moral pragmatism and legalism shape American society and its opinions on American foreign policy. Constructivist approaches, such as that of Kuhn’s dominant paradigm, inform us that actors such as Bush Jr. “operate within societies and institutions which give priority and validity to a set of units of analysis that are deployed to understand the world.”4 In the case of Iraq, American exceptionalismthe dominant paradigm captured as neo-liberalism- constrained and empowered the policy option to become one of invasion. This approach then, informs us of the importance of exceptionalism in shaping the parameters of foreign policy.5 Certainly, the exceptionality of exceptionalism lies in its longevity.6 The term appears in policymaking since the mid-19th century, and as a set of ideas it dates back much further. Whether we turn to President Truman who saw “the greatest republic the sun ever shone upon,”7 Reagan’s concept of a “divine plan”, Bush in the 2000s proclaiming “we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom” or Obama who recently professed “I believe in American exceptionalism”, there is a clearly traceable pattern of an underlying ideology. Gans (2011) emphasizes the case of the recent election between Romney and Obama where both candidates coalesced around the “exceptionalist consensus”, one that is supported by 80% of Americans who believe that the U.S. “has a unique character […] that sets it apart from other nations.”8 According to Holsti (2010) exceptional states believe that they have a mission to liberate others, are free from external constraints, operate in a hostile world, develop a need to have external enemies and portray themselves as innocent victims.9 A historical reflection allows us to demonstrate how U.S. foreign policy has in fact been laced by aforementioned components of exceptionalism since the beginnings of regional expansionism (1871). To name select examples, liberation was a motive in Reagan’s support for the Contras in Nicaragua, Bush’s refusal to ratify the ICC stem from the U.S. desire to remain free from constraints, NSC-68 formalized a hostile and universal Soviet threat, the 1990s featured America searching for enemies first in Japan and then after the economic crisis in drug-exporting nations, and finally Roosevelt drew on innocence in his 1941 address to the nation following Pearl Harbour. While the first paragraph explored the importance of exceptionalism as an ideological truth that creates the parameters in which foreign policy decisions are made, this paragraph will attempt to investigate whether exceptionalism has been useful in guiding a successful American foreign policy. Certainly it may be argued that 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Lipset (1996) 19. Ignatieff (2005) 225. Dodge (2010) 1271. Widmaier (2007) 780. Holsti (2010) 402. Truman (1948).
Holsti (2010) 384. 103
the U.S. has benefitted from exceptional ideals. After all, it has mastered the path from a “new” nation with zero influence to the dominant hegemon after the Cold War trumping any country on earth in political, military or economic terms. A more precise reading of American policy suggests that this tremendous achievement derives not so much from exceptionalism based on superior ideology or a God-given destiny, but rather from the interplay of a productive market economy, conducive institutional arrangements and a favorable geographic position. Unchallenged faith in exceptionalism does not encourage successful policy, it merely serves to blind Americans to the truth that “less and less people are enthusiastic about U.S. dominance and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy.”10 In fact most great powers considered themselves superior to their rivals at one point in time (The French “la mission civilisatrice” and British “white man’s burden”); the U.S. has not conducted itself more moral than other nations (see Indochina War, Guantanamo Bay controversy, Hiroshima, Nicaragua, drones), and much of progress in humanitarian terms has not originated in the United States (e.g. Europe and LGBT rights). To take an even harsher stance, the U.S. can be held responsible for major GHG emissions, the support of brutalistic dictatorships, and in effect the greatest financial crisis of our times. Paul Krugman and Herbert London subscribe to “pre-emptive declinism”- one that disregards U.S. exceptionalism and instead argues that the America is not, by virtue of history, destined to play a different role in international politics.11 Exceptionalism as a universally accepted concept has suffered immensely and “while still bellowing its claims to special status as the global palladium of liberty, the United States is now acting with an updated version of the simple realist script, doing what immediate security threats seem to make necessary, with little regard for international institutional fallout.”12 In this sense, exceptionalism has lost some usefulness in explaining contemporary policy since Bush. The third paragraph will offer an alternative argument, focusing on the ability of exceptionalism to capture a process of rhetorical appeasement that is undertaken by Presidents to justify foreign actions. The American system is unique in that it features a highly decentralized political system and society-dominated policy networks. Risse-Kappen (1991), in his study of liberal democracies, concluded that public opinion has the greatest impact on policy decisions in the U.S. because of “a comparatively open system that allows societal actors to mobilize support and to affect the balance of forces within the policy network”13. The importance of mass public in affecting foreign policy becomes obvious during the Vietnam War when the overwhelming movement against the war effort resulted in eventual U.S. withdrawal. Presidents and policy-makers are forced to rally for widespread support. Resistance at home will typically lead to policy failure abroad. Effective national cohesion is a potent way of avoiding foreign policy failure. Only an important rallying point that large parts of the country agree with can serve this purpose. At this point the notion of Amer10 11 12 13 104
Walt (2011). London (2009). Co and Stokes (2008) 40. Risse-Kappen (1991) 502.
ican exceptionalism becomes significant. As a concept that is historically prevalent, exceptionalism features in the socialization of citizens and is promoted by both Republicans and Democrats alike: Presidents can convince large parts of the public that their policies are good. An example of this is Reagan’s ability to overturn growing criticism of nuclear proliferation using exceptionalist rhetoric. In a 1983 speech he urged Americans “to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority.”14 In conclusion, American exceptionalism is a concept that must be taken very seriously in foreign policy analysis. Its study reveals a historical importance of the term which repeatedly features in Presidential speak and expression of cultural identity. Excluding a notion of exceptionality from American power fails to understand the broader picture in which frameworks of acceptable policy options are generated. Nonetheless, “American leaders have been caught in a web of exceptionalist ideology and have in consequence espoused mistaken policies.”15 Since Bush’s cataclysmic Iraq foreign policy, a slow transformation has begun that began viewing exceptionalism as a recipe for disaster. Exceptionalism certainly continues to be employed as a rhetoric for internal cohesion but the U.S. has lost much of its foreign “internationalist exceptionalism” to a domestic policy of greater reflection and sensibility. This is reflected in Obama’s recent and deliberate attempt to weaken the influence of exceptionalism on American foreign policy, captured by his remarks “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism…”16 All in all, American exceptionalism is necessary in understanding past foreign policy. Nonetheless, there is strong evidence to suggest that it will lose utility in describing American foreign policy as the world becomes more multipolar and states are forced to shift their attention to domestic restructuring.
14 15 16
Reagan (1983). Hunt (1987) 2. Barack Obama, quoted in Jones and Wright (2012). 105
Cox, Michael, and Doug Stokes. US Foreign Policy. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Dodge, Toby. “The Ideological Roots of Failure: The Application of Kinetic Neo-liberalism to Iraq.” International Affairs 86.6 (2010): 1269-286. Holsti, K. J. “Exceptionalism in American Foreign Policy: Is It Exceptional?” European Journal of International Relations 17.3 (2010): 381-404. Sage Journals. 18 Nov. 2010. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://ejt.sagepub.com/content/17/3/381.full.pdf+html>. Hunt, Michael H. “Coming to Terms with Ideology.” Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy. New Haven: Yale UP, 1987. 1-18. Ignatieff, Michael. American Exceptionalism and Human Rights. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2005. Jones, Bruce and Thomas Wright, “Reviving American Leadership,” The Brookings Institution, May 25, 2012. <http://www.brookings.edu /research/papers/2012/05/25-americas-role-jones-wright Jr., John A. Gans. “American Exceptionalism and the Politics of Foreign Policy.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 21 Nov. 2011. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://www.theatlantic.com/international /archive/2011/11/american-exceptionalism-and-the-politics-of-foreign-policy/248779/>. Lipset, Seymour Martin. American Exceptionalism: A Double-edged Sword. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. London, Herbert I. “Preemptive Declinism and the ‘Unexceptional’ America.” 24 July 2009. 24 Jan. 2014. http://www.herblondon. org/5869/preemptive-declinism-unexceptional-america>. Reagan, Ronald W. “”Evil Empire” Speech.” Address. Address to the National Association of Evangelicals. Orlando, Florida. 8 Mar. 1983. Miller Center of the University of Virginia. 25 Jan. 2014. <http://millercenter.org/scripps/ archive/speeches/detail/3409>. Risse-Kappen, Thomas. “Public Opinion, Domestic Structure, and Foreign Policy in Liberal Democracies.” World Politics 43.4 (1991): 479-512. JSTOR. 25 Jan. 2014. http://www.jstor.org. gate2.library.lse.ac.uk/stable/pdfplus/2010534.pdf?acceptTC=true&acceptTC=true&jpdConfirm=true>.
Tocqueville, Alexis De, Henry Reeve, and John C. Spencer. Democracy in America. New York: J. & H.G. Langley, 1840. Truman, Harry S. “Remarks.” Address. National Health Assembly Dinner. Statler Hotel, Washington. 1 May 1948. Truman Library. Web. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://www.trumanlibrary.org /publicpapers/viewpapers.php?pid=1612>. Walt, Stephen M. “The Myth of American Exceptionalism.” Foreign Policy Magazine. 11 Oct. 2011. 24 Jan. 2014. <http://www. foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/11/the_myth_of_american_exceptionalism>. Widmaier, Wesley W. “Constructing Foreign Policy Crises: Interpretive Leadership in the Cold War and War on Terrorism.” International Studies Quarterly 51.4 (2007): 779-94. Wiley Online Library. 23 Jan. 2014. <http:// onlinelibrary.wiley. com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2478.2007.00476.x/pdf>.
An American Universal Basic Income: Proposals for the Future Josh Martin
Two basic income projects conducted in the 2000s, one in Namibia and the other in India, have not yet led it to become widely considered in American policy debate. This would require pilot projects in the United States conducted in three locations: one where no changes occurred, one where a basic income supplements current welfare benefits, and one where a basic income replaces current welfare benefits. They should also be conducted in three types of environments: poor urban areas, poor rural areas, and a socioeconomically-average area. The Alaska Permanent Fund could be used as a model for pilot projects in similarly oil-rich states. A putative basic income scheme would cost only 8.7% of US GDP, compared to the 42% of GDP that Switzerland proposes to spend on its programme. Over the past decade, basic income ideas have forced their way back onto the world’s social policy radar. The two-year basic income pilot project in Otjivero-Omitara, Namibia from 2007 to 2009 saw immense success in propelling Namibians out of poverty and into financial safety. As a result, a second, larger pilot project began in India. The Indian basic income project consisted of evaluating one urban community in West Delhi and eight rural communities from 2011 to 2013. Although results are still being analysed, the Indian pilot appears to echo the success of the Namibian project. In the Indian pilot, some of the chosen rural villages were used as control villages in order to truly understand the implications of a basic income on life in rural India. This inclusion of control villages suggests that basic income advocates are seeking out ways to legitimise the basic income as an option in policy discussions regarding poverty and inequality. However, despite the success of these two pilot schemes, basic income has not gained enough traction in the United States for it to be considered as a legitimate option in poverty policy discussions. For it to become so, localised pilot projects and state-wide policies must be implemented. Hopefully, success in projects like these will lead America towards the introduction of a national basic income. If the basic income movement is to gain any following in America, pilot projects must be started in its backyard. The pilots in Namibia and India were undoubtedly successful, but these two countries are categorically different than the US. Namibia is a developing country with nearly unemployment at nearly fifty percent and India’s status as one of the “BRIC” countries labels it as a state on the upswing of economic production with significant issues regarding poverty. The locations chosen for the pilot projects in Namibia and India were areas with stark amounts of poverty; any sort of financial intervention would probably have produced positive results. For America to consider basic income, successful pilot projects in developed Western economies similar to America’s need to take place. 108
Pilot projects in the US should be conducted in groups of three communities in the same geographic area with similar standards of living. Of these three communities, one should act as a control community by seeing no change in their welfare system and no introduction of a basic income. The second community should receive a basic income on top of current welfare benefits, and the third community should replace the current welfare benefits with the basic income. The third community is especially crucial as in the Namibian and Indian pilots, it is unclear what sort of government benefits the citizens had been receiving prior to and during the pilot. As for the size of the basic income to be distributed, the Namibian and Indian pilot projects amounted to approximately thirty percent of the absolute poverty line, so since the poverty line in the US is $11,4901 per person per year, the US pilot projects should hover around the $3,500 mark, coming out to around $300 a month per citizen. Furthermore, children’s basic incomes should be sent to their mother’s bank account. This idea was incorporated into Namibia’s pilot project with tremendous success in empowering women and ensuring that the child’s basic income is used in the best interest of the child2. These projects will most likely needed to be funded with outside donations, just as the Namibian and Indian projects were. Administratively, logistical costs should only arise from ensuring that everyone has a bank account as well as in deciding who should receive a child’s basic income if their mother is deceased or deemed unfit to care for her child. The biggest question remaining, then, is in choosing a location to conduct such a pilot project. In order to fully explore the impact of a basic income in the US, there must be multiple pilot projects covering different sectors of American life. For example, it is imperative to have an urban pilot project as well as a rural one. Furthermore, it is important to avoid starting pilot projects only in areas with serious poverty issues. Thus, pilot projects should be implemented in at least three areas: a poor urban area, an equally poor rural area, and an area that can be considered “average” in terms of poverty levels. Using an interactive map run by Morello on the website of The Washington Post3, one can identify the percentile of each zip code in America on a scale based on median household income and college education, thus providing a way to identify possible target locations for a basic income pilot project. For instance, by examining Detroit, Michigan, one can discover that the zip code 48210 has a median household income of $24,836 and a college graduation rate of 4%, putting them in the first percentile of Morello’s metric nationwide. Two neighbouring zip codes, 48204 and 48209, are in the second percentile, so these three urban zip codes in the same city would be an ideal place to conduct a pilot project. Alabama provides an excellent group of three towns to compare for a rural basic income pilot: the towns of Hackleburg, Bear Creek, and Brilliant, Alabama all have populations of around 1,000 and are in the bottom fourth percentile, like the communities in Detroit. Comparing the Alabama pilot with the Detroit pilot will divulge valuable information on the ne1 Department of Health and Human Services (2013) 2 BIG Coalition (2009) 3 Morello (2013) 109
cessity of differences in urban and rural social policy. A third pilot might take place in a group of cities like Saint Charles, Bridgeton, and Florissant, Missouri. These three suburbs of St. Louis linger around the fiftieth percentile nationwide and are in a state with average poverty numbers. Comparing the results of a pilot in an â€œaverageâ€? American community with those from the Detroit or Alabama projects will help the American people understand the effects a basic income might have on the lives of those not necessarily in danger of poverty. Of course, these three locations were chosen crudely, but ideally the characteristics of the pilot locations will remain similar. Local pilot projects run into inevitable issues, however. In order to follow the pilot project structure outlined above, one of the three communities must forgo their current benefits in order to receive the basic income. Multiple issues might arise from this, including towns refusing to withhold benefits for an academic study, so it may prove difficult to find communities willing to participate in these pilots. Another issue lies in migration. The Namibian project saw a significant uptick in migration to Otjivero-Omitara as a product of extended family members moving in with relatives who recently began receiving the basic income4. Even though these migrants did not receive the basic income, they benefitted from others receiving it and diluted the real effects of the basic income on life in the village. A national basic income would not see such an effect due to migration. Furthermore, it is difficult to know how much of the success from the Namibian and Indian projects derived from psychological factors. These pilot projects consisted of foreigners flying into these remote areas, giving these people free money, and then closely monitoring their economic activity. Clearly, these recipients understood the importance of the pilot project and thus were more likely to make economic decisions that they knew would reflect well on themselves. Would citizens make these positive choices without the unique presence of these outside researchers monitoring their every decision? The psychological effect can hardly be measured, so it seems that local pilot projects may not be the best way to estimate the effects of a basic income on a Western society. Because local pilot projects for the basic income suffer from serious obstacles, state-wide implementations of a basic income are the best possible way to explore the effects a basic income will have on Americans. Although undoubtedly difficult, convincing states to implement a basic income scheme is easier thanks to a project already established in Alaska. The Alaska Permanent Fund started in 1976 by means of a constitutional amendment, dictating that some of the revenue generated by the stateâ€™s oil reserves must return to the people. Starting with a deposit of $734,000 in 1976, the Fund now sits at above $40 billion after decades of intelligent investing5. Beginning in 1982, the Fund paid dividends to each citizen of Alaska who planned on living there indefinitely. Since its inception the dividend has amounted to at least $300 and at most $2000 per year to each citizen. This unconditional cash grant determined by citizenship is an ex4 BIG Coalition (2009) 5 Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (2013) 110
cellent example of a basic income. Even though the amount varies each year and never reaches an amount comparable to the pilot projects discussed earlier, the dividend represents a basic income to all citizens. The Fund has certainly been successful; Alaskan politicians never approach the topic of ending the Fund because of its popularity with the state’s citizens. As a result of the Fund’s success, other states undergoing a resource boom might consider looking to Alaska for guidance on how to wisely take advantage of their situation. Thus, oil-booming states such as North Dakota, and to a lesser extent Pennsylvania, should consider starting their own Alaska-type funds. These two states seem to be the most likely candidates to implement a resource-based basic income program. However, basic income research would benefit most from a state implementing a full basic income program similar to the pilot projects discussed earlier at the suggested amount of around $3,500 per year per citizen, paid for by the funding usually given to means-tested welfare programs. Although no precedent of this type exists in American politics, one might deduce that progressive, liberal states like New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut could be contenders to implement a relatively unproven welfare system. Looking at the health care systems in Massachusetts and Vermont, these states seem to be willing to take risks on social policies that encourage equality. The best way to discover which states might be interested, however, is to ensure that discussions on the basic income are happening in state legislatures all across the country. The Alaska Permanent Fund provides an exceptional example of a state-wide basic income, but there must be further state-wide examples in order to help legitimize the basic income as an option in federal social policy. Whether these take the form of North Dakota or Pennsylvania mimicking Alaska’s resource-centred basic income or states implementing the purer basic income scheme seen in pilot projects, state-wide successes are paramount in furthering the cause for a national basic income. If the US hosts multiple basic income pilot projects and multiple states implement basic income policies, it would not be too outrageous to consider a national basic income. Although such a national policy is currently unfeasible, by using today’s expenditure reports, one can create a revenue-neutral basic income scheme that might appear attractive to lawmakers in Washington. Examining current government spending, the US spends $1.3 trillion on Social Security6, $550 billion on means-tested welfare benefits (excluding Medicaid)7, and $173 billion on child tax benefits8. By consolidating these programs into one basic income program—and leaving Medicare and Medicaid untouched—the budget for a basic income program is just over $2 trillion. The following table outlines the details of a basic income policy that costs only $1.87 trillion. 6 Social Security Administration (2013) 7 Rector (2012) 8 Urban Institute (2013) 111
Age Group Population in US Annual Basic Income Under 18 73 million $2,000 18-24 30 million $4,000 25-65 167 million $6,000 Over 65 40 million $14,000 Under this policy, working age adults would be guaranteed around fifty percent of the poverty line and those of retirement age would be guaranteed an income equal to the average current Social Security benefit, which is coincidentally above the poverty line. Furthermore, 18 to 24 year olds would be incentivized into further education and job training via the $4,000 they would receive per year. This would also be their first chance at spending their own basic income, since the basic incomes for those under 18 would be sent to their mothers when possible. Furthermore, in order to combat regional differences in the poverty line, this basic income should be topped-up by states as they see fit in areas with higher costs of living. This basic income scheme would equal 8.7% of US GDP, which is a relatively low percentage compared to the current basic income proposal in Switzerland of paying each citizen $33,600 USD annually, equivalent to 42% of Switzerlandâ€™s GDP9. To conclude, although currently infeasible, examining a revenue-neutral basic income proposal like the one outlined above could persuade legislators and citizens to support a basic income as a way to combat poverty. However, in order to move the basic income movement forward, pilot projects need to be tried in different areas of America. If successful, there is no telling how influential the basic income might become in social policy discussions all across the country. An excellent historical example detailing a similar movement happened in the 1960s surrounding the idea of a Negative Income Tax (NIT) as a solution to poverty and welfare spending. In the spring of 1968, over 1200 economists from 150 colleges and universities signed a petition in favour of an NIT, leading to multiple NIT social experiments throughout America over the next decade10. This embodied a national movement towards welfare reform that culminated in President Nixonâ€™s Family Assistance Plan (an NIT plan) that died in Congress in 1972 after years of debate on the topic11. If the basic income movement can gain the amount of traction the NIT did in the 1960s, it would be impossible to determine just how successful this basic income movement could be in American politics. After the recent revival of interest in the basic income caused by stories in Namibia, India, and Switzerland, now is the time for the basic income to become relevant in American social policy. Implementing successful local pilot projects throughout America that recognize the shortcomings of such projects will lead to states adopting basic income schemes. These experiences will force the basic income movement into the public spotlight, hopefully gaining enough traction to lead to a discussion on implementing a national basic income. 9 Baghdjian (2013) 10 Neuberg (2004) 11 Neuberg (2004) 112
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. (2013). “Landmarks in Permanent Fund History”. Retrieved from http://www.apfc.org/home/Content/aboutFund/ fundHistory.cfm Baghdjian, Alice. (2013, October 4). “Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult”. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/04/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O620131004 BIG Coalition. (2009) Making the difference! The BIG in Namibia. Basic Income Grant Pilot Project. Assessment Report, Windhoek. Retrieved from http:// www.bignam.org/Publications/BIG_Assessment_report_08b.pdf Department of Health and Human Services. (2013, January 24). “Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines”. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https:// www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/24/2013-01422/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines Morello, Carol. (2013, November 9). “Washington: A world apart”. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2013/11/09/washington-a-world-apart/ Neuberg, Leland. (2004). “Emergence and Defeat of Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan”. Discussion Paper #66, the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network. Rector, Robert. (2012, April 17). “Examining the Means-tested Welfare State: 79 programs and $927 Billion in Annual Spending”. Testimony before Committee on the Budget US House of Representatives. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/rectortestimony04172012.pdf Social Security Administration (2013). “A Summary of the 2013 Annual Reports”. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/ Urban Institute. (2013). Kids’ Share 2013: Federal Expenditures on Children in 2012 and Future Projections. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www. urban.org/UploadedPDF/412903-Kids-Share-2013.pdf
The Harlem Renaissance as Resistance Culture Nathan Bullock The Harlem Renaissance, unlike the francophone Negritude movement that it influenced, has been largely neglected as a manifestation of resistance culture. The major themes of this movement are encapsulated in Langston Hughes’s poem, Let America Be America Again. The poem intertwines the African American experience and that of other maginalised groups into the history of the United States. If analysed as a response to the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the United States Constitution, Hughes has asserted the rights of the repressed. Future research should examine the role of the Harlem Renaissance in the postcolonial movement. “The raison d’être of politics is freedom, and its field of experience is action.” – Hannah Arendt, “What is Freedom?” In Culture and Imperialism, Edward Said describes not only the ways in which colonialism intricately linked the economies, literatures and identities of the colonised and coloniser, but provides a detailed description of the ways in which these connections began to unravel during decolonisation. He explains both the history and methodology of multiple movements of resistance and opposition in decolonising societies, beginning in a section entitled “Themes of Resistance Culture”. He especially highlights the Negritude movement and extensively quotes Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon of the francophone Caribbean. While he acknowledges the connection between the Harlem Renaissance and Negritude, he does not complete a full analysis of the Harlem Renaissance. However, it is clear that a reading of the Harlem Renaissance as resistance culture, as defined by Said, is both necessary and overdue. Said made it clear that his attempt was not to be exhaustive because when he wrote Culture and Imperialism, the understanding of the relationship between these movements as such was still in the early stages of development and he was not attempting to posit a total description.1 Connections between the Harlem Renaissance and Negritude have been looked at in a limited way when approaching both as parallel postcolonial movements.2 Thus, I will apply the pattern outlined by Said for identifying the major themes of cultural resistance during decolonisation to the poetry of Langston Hughes. Hughes is often considered the leading poet of the Harlem Renaissance and is frequently cited for his influence 1 Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p. 194. 2 See Celia Briton and Michael Syrotinski, “Francophone Texts and Postcolonial Theory,” Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory, 24.3 (2001); F. Abiola Irele, “The Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude Movement,” (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004); Robert Philipson, “The Harlem Renaissance as Postcolonial Phenomenon,” African American Review 40.1 (2006). 114
on Negritude poets. I will focus my attention on the poem Let America Be America Again as it is of the appropriate length and richness of detail in articulating the anti-imperial resistance of the Harlem Renaissance. The first great topic that Said notes is “the insistence on the right to see the community’s history whole, coherently, integrally. Restore the imprisoned nation to itself”.3 Seen in the title and the first two lines “Let America be America again. / Let it be the dream it used to be.”4 is the explicit insistence on restoring the nation to itself. The title is repeated throughout almost as a refrain and the idea is moulded in various rephrasings such as “Must bring back our mighty dream again” or “We must take back our land again, / America!” and “We, the people, must redeem / … / And make America again!”5 He emphasizes the community’s coherence and integrated history as one by referencing not only the Founding Fathers of the United States, but including simultaneously “the one who left dark Ireland’s shore, / And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea, / And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came, / to build a ‘homeland of the free.’”6 African American presence is deleted from the history written by white Americans and Hughes asserts that the two must be read together as one whole history. As Irele brilliantly points out, “African American literature is one that is most closely bound up with the social history of the United States”.7 The urgency of this integration is seen in the use of exclamation points and declarative sentences with the repetitive use of “must”. As Said adds, “it formulates expressions and emotions of pride as well as defiance, which in turn form the backbone of the principal national independence parties”.8 There is pride in the use of “we” as a collective, which is understood in “The land that’s mine – the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME – / Who made America, / Whose sweat and blood, / Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,” a group that indicates the unity of the immigrant society of the United States.9 He further evokes pride in valourizing the work and contributions of these immigrants in building America. They physically participated in creating the urban built environment and he gives them credit for it. His defiant tone persists in every call to action and this forceful promise near the end, “And yet I swear this oath – / America will be!”10 Although Hughes did not advocate a Black Nationalist or separatist movement such as “Back to Africa”, his message is consistent with an independence movement that requires decolonising the mind. As the Harlem Renaissance flourished, it provided the intellectual foundation for the later activism of the civil rights movement and Negritude. 3 Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 215. 4 Langston Hughes, The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Vol. 1 “The Poems: 1921-1940” Ed. Arnold Rampersad (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2001), p. 131. 5 Hughes, p. 133. 6 Hughes, p. 132. 7 Irele, p. 765. 8 Said, p. 215. 9 Hughes, p. 133. 10 Ibid. 115
The second main idea behind resistance, according to Said, “is an alternative way of conceiving human history. It is particularly important to see how much this alternative reconception is based on breaking down the barriers between cultures”.11 As Hughes makes clear, his connection to his countrymen is not based on the socially constructed category of race. He allies himself with all categories of marginalised peoples and transcends the boundaries of American society. He repeats the phrase “I am the …” thirteen times, inserting identities such as “the young man”, “the red man”, “the farmer”, and “the poor white”.12 He accepts, values, and crosses the multiplicity of cultures represented in America and breaks down those seemingly fortified walls which hitherto separated them. These linkages speak to the concept of what Hughes’s movement is to him: a form of nationalism, but one that is more akin to Walker’s description of Negritude as “the dream of a new enlightenment characterised by an all-inclusive counterhumanism”.13 Said’s third point, that there “is a noticeable pull away from separatist nationalism toward a more integrative view of human community and human liberation”, fits in here.14 He notes that both Benedict Anderson and Hannah Arendt theorise this type of global solidarity based on imagined and rhetorically-created characteristics.15 Hughes reconceives American history by asserting his absence and exclusion from it as an integral piece. He, along with the subalterns with whom he speaks, declares, “O, yes, / I say it plain, / America never was America to me”,16 just before his oath that it will become that imagined “Promised Land”. However, in three parenthetical asides at the beginning, he states, “(America never was America to me.) […] (It never was America to me.) […] (There’s never been equality for me, / Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free.’)”.17 Paradoxically, Hughes does seek to construct an idealised America as “that great strong land of love / Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme”, but only after he has deconstructed the mythologised “homeland of the free”, one based on his silence and the denial of his existence through the dehumanising genealogy of history and discrimination. This is unique in that Hughes has specifically targeted his American audience and focused his strategy on decolonisation of the mind rather than an armed revolt. Black Americans, lacking the rights of citizenship, were oppressed and colonised in the same way as others who entered European imperialism, and thus our analysis of the Harlem Renaissance as resistance culture must follow in that framework. With white America being the dominant culture, it is equally true in this case that “metropolitan culture, in short, can now be seen to have suppressed the authentic elements in colonised society”.18 Once the space was opened by 11 Said, p. 216. 12 Hughes, p. 131-132. 13 Keith Walker, Countermodernism and Francophone Literary Culture: the Game of Slipknot (Durham: Duke UP, 1999), p. 2. 14 Said, p. 216. 15 Said, p. 216. 16 Hughes, p. 133. 17 Hughes, p. 131. 18 Said, p. 251. 116
Hughes and others for speech and action of liberation and resistance, the authentic elements of the colonised society emerged. Further, this “emergence of a new literary style in the works of Césaire, Senghor, poets of the Harlem Renaissance like Claude McKay and Langston Hughes, is a central part of the global history of modernism”.19 As cited here by Said, Hughes is particularly renowned for his creative and novel literary style. He pioneered jazz poetry and indeed, the form of “Let America be America Again” is non-traditional and rejects the formal and recognised categories that define most poetry. This rejection of style is representative of the resistance movement overall, just as this assertion of rights is analogous to the assertion of new standards of poetry and what is considered poetic. For Arendt, political agency occurs through speech in a space created by that action. She affirms this creativity in politics as “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before”.20 The next level of interpretation necessary for the association of the Harlem Renaissance with resistance culture is a contrapuntal reading of the poem. Contrapuntal reading requires taking two works and holding them in tension as they complement and contradict each other. The interaction and reinforcing relationship between them gives each its full identity. More explicitly, “the point is that contrapuntal reading must take into account of both processes, that of imperialism and that of resistance to it.”21 As a form a resistance, the question regarding Hughes’s “Let America be America Again” is to what colonial text is it responding? I argue that his poem is directly replying to the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Hughes exhorts, “Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed –”22 in reference to the Founding Fathers who wrote those sacred documents. He explains that the dream is a land devoid of kings and tyrants. In the Declaration of Independence, those dreamers decried, “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States”.23 In Hughes’s vision they dreamed “a land where Liberty / Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, / But opportunity is real, and life is free, / Equality is in the air we breathe”.24 The early visionaries of America said of their coloniser, “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”.25 For Hughes, there is no question that America “must be—the land where every man is free.” To the likes of Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, an equivalent image is to be found in their claim that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.26 Hughes notes 19 Said, p. 243. 20 Hannah Arendt, “What is Freedom?” The Portable Hannah Arendt (NYC: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 444. 21 Said, p. 66. 22 Hughes, p. 131. 23 Thomas Jefferson, “Declaration of Independence.” The Charters of Freedom. U.S. National Archives. 24 Hughes, p. 131. 25 Jefferson, n.pag. 26 Ibid. 117
the failures to uphold the Preamble in lamenting “The millions who have nothing for our pay – / Except the dream that’s almost dead today”.27 Thus, it is with an unbreakable resolve that “We, the people, must redeem” the America that will be. The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States proclaims, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.28 The tension between these texts is further elucidated when following Said’s instruction, “one must open it out both to what went into it and to what its author excluded”.29 His model is that “If, for example, … Caribbean … and British history are studied separately rather than together, then the experiences of domination and being dominated remain artificially, and falsely, separated”.30 In reading American history only through these canonical political texts and treatises, they are separated from the domination and suppression of other voices. The ideals of life, liberty, and equality were not experienced as a reality by the majority of the population. The absence of the guarantee of these freedoms and unalienable rights to all Americans – to African and Native Americans, and the poor among others – is best seen through this contrapuntal reading where Hughes deconstructs what is lacking and gives it a most immanent presence. As Arendt puts it, The fundamental deprivation of human rights is manifested first and above all in the deprivation of a place in the world which makes opinions significant and actions effective. Something much more fundamental than freedom and justice, which are rights of citizens, is at stake when belonging to the community into which one is born is no longer a matter of course and not belonging no longer a matter of choice […] This extremity, and nothing else, is the situation of people deprived of human rights. They are deprived, not of the right to freedom, but of the right to action; not of the right to think whatever they please, but of the right to opinion.31
By not truly or fully belonging to the American community created by and codified in the Preamble and the Declaration of Independence, the various subaltern groups in the United States were denied the rights of citizens. It is through Hughes’s and others’ action and speech – in this case, his poem – that he asserted his rights to action and to opinion and the rights of all others who were similarly repressed on their behalf. It is a somewhat ironic fact of history, given this context and analysis, that Said points out: “The United States was routinely turned to by many nationalist parties and leaders in the Third World because through World War Two, it was openly anti-imperialist”.32 Although this may be 27 Hughes, p. 132. 28 “U.S. Constitution.” The Charters of Freedom. U.S. National Archives. 29 Said, p. 67. 30 Said, p. 259. 31 Hannah Arendt, “The Perplexities of the Rights of Man,” The Portable Hannah Arendt (NYC: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 37. 32 Said, p. 241. 118
true of its foreign policy, the inability to see the Harlem Renaissance as resistance culture causes a blind spot in reading American history, politics, and literature as colonialist or imperialist. This missing work in the scholarly analysis and popular understanding or consciousness is a further explanation of the need to show, through its liaison with Negritude, that the Harlem Renaissance was an anti-imperialist resistance culture and open to a postcolonial lens. Thinking of Hughes in the same vein as his contemporaries in the Caribbean and in Africa, one can see the point Said makes that The post-imperial writers of the Third World therefore bear their past within them—as scars of humiliation wounds, as instigation for different practices, as potentially revised visions of the past tending toward a post-colonial future, as urgently reinterpretable and redeployable experiences, in which the formerly silent native speaks and acts on territory reclaimed as part of a general movement of resistance, from the colonist.33
In his speaking, Hughes calls to memory all of the abuses and suppression of the natives’ voices. He recalls the violence of “those who live like leeches on the people’s lives”, and “the rack and ruin of our gangster death, / The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies”34 that have marred the lives of many. His acknowledgement and naming of the physical, psychological, and emotional violence allows the experiences to be reinterpreted and redeployed “toward a post-colonial future”.35 That post-colonial future is one in which the previously mute subalterns have reclaimed the land and the rights of their postcolonial citizenship, as Hughes envisions and proffers in his poem. From the reconsideration of the Harlem Renaissance as a site of resistance culture, new avenues and spaces are open for a more diverse array of interpretations of the movement and its history, literature, and politics and its place in the context of the history of the United States of America. Through the contrapuntal reading, more texts may be subject to pairing and parsing in a way previously unconsidered. The concept of a postcolonial movement within the United States offers many exciting opportunities for future research. Describing what that will mean for a postcolonial future and citizenship is just the beginning of reconceiving and applying the critique of imperialism in this setting.
33 34 35
Said, p. 212. Hughes, p. 133. Said, p. 212. 119
Arendt, Hannah. “The Perplexities of the Rights of Man,” The Portable Hannah Arendt (NYC: Penguin Books, 2003). – . “What is Freedom?” The Portable Hannah Arendt (NYC: Penguin Books, 2003). Briton, Celia and Michael Syrotinski. “Francophone Texts and Postcolonial Theory,” Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory, 24.3 (2001). Hughes, Langston. The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Vol. 1 “The Poems: 1921-1940” Ed. Arnold Rampersad (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2001). Irele, F. Abiola “The Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude Movement,” (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004). Jefferson, Thomas. “Declaration of Independence.” The Charters of Freedom. U.S. National Archives. Philipson, Robert. “The Harlem Renaissance as Postcolonial Phenomenon,” African American Review 40.1 (2006). Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). Walker, Keith. Countermodernism and Francophone Literary Culture: the Game of Slipknot (Durham: Duke UP, 1999).
Argentina and Chile: A Comparison in Democratic Consolidation
Andrew McIntyre, Mattie Melin, and Zach Rivera Chile and Argentina share a similar political history: in both, democracy only emerged after long-lasting military coups. Now, both are consolidated democracies from a procedural view of democracy but from a substantive view, Chile is more democratic with economic and political stability, rapid growth in standards of living, and Chile’s stricter adherence toward civil growth. A process oriented democracy, as defined by Charles Tilly in his book Democracy and in conjunction with Robert Dahl, asserts that a successful government must have elected officials, fair, free, and frequent elections, alternative sources of information, associational autonomy, inclusive citizenship and elected officials held accountable to their constituents (Tilly, 2007, 9). Even though both Argentina and Chile meet these criteria, we assert Chile to be the more democratic of the two because it features higher levels of democracy including: economic growth, democratic consolidation and substantive tradeoffs. We glean these additional provisions of democracy from Tilly’s outline of substantive democracy and the implementation of the Washington Consensus, outlined by John Williamson, that joined the idea of democracy and economy (Hellinger 2011, 25). Operating under these modified democratic assumptions, this paper compares Chile and Argentina based on the timing and scope of each state’s military dictatorship, human rights atrocities, and the consolidation of democracy that followed, as well their economies. Even though both states returned to democracy following military coups, Chile is more democratic now than Argentina based on Chile’s economic and political stability, the improved quality of life, and Chile’s stricter adherence toward civil growth. The histories of both Argentina and Chile seemed destined to be different from one another. Chile, prior to 1973, had a steady history of democracy whereas Argentina had an ebb and flow system of cycling military and civilian governance. These seemingly unrelated states, however, experienced long-lasting military coups, following the overthrow of Salvador Allende by general Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Isabel Peron by the Argentinean army. The military dictatorships lasted from 1973-1988 and 1976-1982 in Chile and Argentina respectively. The brutality, human rights abuses, lack of democracy and the implementation of neoliberal economic policies expressed in both of these military dictatorships left an indelible mark on both countries and resulted in a struggle to return to democracy. Both dictatorships left a mixed legacy. In Chile, this is evidenced by author Patricio Navia who writes “through a custom-made constitution promulgated in 1980 and 121
still in force, and a neoliberal economic model adopted before any other country in Latin America, Pinochet also set the foundations of a new Chile” (2008, 251). Therefore, Pinochet’s legacy not only includes human rights abuses that occurred under his regime but also some moderate economic successes. However, not feveryone enjoyed the fruits of Chile’s success because, “When he left office in March 1990, almost 40 percent of Chileans lived in poverty” (Navia, 2008, 251). Thus, while some Chileans benefited under Pinochet’s neoliberal economic model many more were forced into poverty. In Argentina, while there is no denying that the years of dictatorship were filled with human rights abuses, some positives later arose from this horrific period in Argentina’s history. Enrique Peruzzotti (2004) writes, “The politics of human rights altered well-established features of Argentine political culture and introduced a novel and healthy concern for rights and constitutionalism, which provided normative validity to claims for the consolidation of a constitutional form of democracy” (111-112). From a terrible moment in Argentina’s history emerged courageous resistance to an oppressive regime and civil actions that eventually led to a brighter situation in which the voice of the people had been found. Negative effects of this legacy include an example from Stanley (2001) which cites that after military rule, “Argentina essentially reverted to the constitution of 1853 (modified in a number of reforms, the last being in 1994)...” (82). This demonstrates that, unlike Chile, which had a current example of democratic resistance in the form of a plebiscite, Argentina had to disregard its more modern examples of governance to establish a framework and instead had to use an older model in the form of the 1853 constitution. When comparing the level of consolidation of both the Argentinean and Chilean democracies, it is important to consider the institutional structures of each state. According to Navia (2008), Chile, “though modified several times, its institutional structure is still based on a strong presidential system that Pinochet carefully masterminded into the 1980 constitution” (252). The fact that Chile retains the presidential system was created under Pinochet is noteworthy. Chile’s institutional structure has remained consistent over time which points towards Chile’s ongoing political stability. Political stability is a key aspect of a democracy and Chile has been demonstrating its continued support for it based on its political history. The political institutions in Argentina post-dictatorship have not been as successful as those in Chile. This is evidenced by the corruption ranking of Argentina, 83, (0 representing a completely non-corrupt government with 100 representing a fully corrupted government) in comparison to Chile with a score of 67. (Hellinger, 2011, 55). Argentina’s rank has been greatly affected by the Menem administration. Menem’s “cronyism” and corruption have been well documented by many authors including Mainwaring (1995). As he writes, “the Menem years: (1) the president has sometimes shown scant regard for democratic institutions, and (2) he has frequently undermined the mechanisms of accountability” (117). Menem’s actions hurt the stability of Argentina’s political institutions. For a democracy to 122
be deemed credible, its institutions must be respected. The second point mentioned, regarding accountability, is also vital to consider. A lack of accountability can potentially lead to corruption which hurts the credibility of a state’s leaders and leads to a lack of faith in a democracy. Argentina’s sometimes corrupt political institutions have been a challenge in the quest for a consolidated democracy. Since the Pinochet years, Chile has had much more stable political institutions which has helped it avoid the fate of its neighbor, Argentina. As a result of this stability, Chile is much further along in its path towards consolidating democracy. Democratic elections were held directly after the conclusion of the dictatorships in both Chile and Argentina leaving some groundwork for the policies and outcomes of both states on their paths to consolidated democracies. However, the way democracy was returned to each respective nation provides clues as to the reasons behind their relative successes today. Chile was given the opportunity to vote out general Pinochet in a plebiscite which is, “a direct vote by qualified voters regarding important public affairs” (Stanley, 82, 2001). From this emerged a campaign against Pinochet that heavily utilized the media and employed many grassroots movements. The unification of the Chilean people toward a common goal and the Chilean military’s decision to respect the outcome of the vote demonstrated to the people that if they all united then a democratic system could be successful. The Chilean people were able to work within the confines of a democratic structure. Argentina, on the other hand, was not offered a democratic way out of the dictatorship; instead, the people working hard in grassroots movements similar to those movements in Chile had to wait until the military was completely discredited in the battle for the Falkland Islands against the British before they could finally be successful. The ramifications of this are huge; it implies that the Argentinian people collectively recognized that the military was not working and they struggled to bring democracy without the opportunity of a plebiscite to expedite the process. This difference allowed the Chilean people to have a higher degree of trust in democracy than Argentina’s people. The shakiness of Argentina’s fledgling democracy was exacerbated by the election of a series of weak (Alfonsin) or corrupt (Menem) presidents who hampered the reforms that might have occurred immediately following the dictatorship. The pitfalls of Argentinean presidents, Alfonsin (1982-1989) and Menem (1989-1999), are further elucidated by Mainwaring as he states, “During the Alfonsin years in Argentina the number of those living in poverty increased and conditions on inequality worsened. When the Menem administration came to office it ignored those issues placing them on the back burner.” (Mainwaring, 145, 1995) He goes on to criticize not only Menem’s failure to address the growing inequality on the part of substantive democracy, but also his lack of respect for constitutional democracy claiming, “Menem’s first step in office was to reverse his campaign promises.” (Mainwaring, 124, 1995). Both of these quotes highlight a lack of respect for the substantive and democratic processes on the part of the Argentinian government immediately following the military rule. The failings of the Argentinean government are most apparent in the discrepancy between political disaffection, as Emily Cary defines, “When long-term and short-term perceptions and opinions towards governments and democratic 123
regimes combine creating the subjective feeling of powerlessness, cynicism, and lack of confidence in the political process, politicians, and democratic institutions.” Chile shows less disaffection and it is reported 43.5% of the people trust the government; whereas, in Argentina, only 34.9% of people trust in their government. (Carty, 2011, 4-5). These levels of trust speak directly to the varying degrees of democratic consolidation within Chile and Argentina. Even though it can be argued that Chile has been more successful than Argentina in its transition to democracy, it has certainly not gone unscathed or uncriticized. Despite experiencing initial joy of achieving democracy, some Chileans found themselves frustrated by the relatively small changes occurring after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in contrast to the major changes that they had assumed would occur. According to Navia (2008), “Except for its respect for human rights and a consolidated democracy, Chile today looks very much as Pinochet wanted” (252). Chile’s adherence to certain aspects of Pinochet’s rule including his neoliberal economic model, has caused some tension amongst those who had hoped the recent elections of socialist leaders would completely overhaul remnants of the brutal dictatorship. Despite some of the Pinochet’s institutions in place in modern Chile, the most heinous part of his legacy, the blatant human rights abuses, were not continued after his regime. As human rights abuses are threatening to democracy, it would be concerning if they were continued into Chile’s transition but ultimately were not and instead are beginning to be brought to light. While the consolidation of democracy, as cited by the Carty paper above, may have been a crucial factor in determining the success of both nations, Argentina and Chile need also be compared on another level. Democracy, as stated in the thesis, cannot be found in the dimension of consolidation alone. Another important measure of democracy is the impact, both positive and negative, on the state’s people. This phenomena, as outlined by Tilly in conjunction with Robert Dahl, is known as substantive democracy (Tilly, 2007, 40). According to the human development index and the Index Mundi, Chile ranks higher than Argentina does specifically in the percentage of the population living below the poverty line (15.1% in Chile versus 30% in Argentina) and literacy rates (99.8% in Chile vs. 98.1 in Argentina)( Human Development Index, 2012). In Chile, lower infant mortality, 7.19 deaths/1,000 as compared to 10.24 deaths/1,000 live births in Argentina and unemployment 6.4% in Chile and 7.2% in Argentina (Index Mundi, 2012). These factors suggest that the overall quality of life is better Chileans than Argentineans. Based on the criteria for the substantive tradeoffs inherent in a good democracy, one could assume, given these statistics, that Chile succeeds further in achieving democracy then does Argentina. Substantive democracy and a better overall quality of life stems not only from a strong consolidated government, but also from a robust economy. Since both states experienced similar extents of their military dictatorships with rampant human rights atrocities and the suppression of democracy, how can one explain the divergence of democratic growth, where Chile is now seemingly more democratic 124
than Argentina? Logically yet simplistically, it would seem that Argentina would be more democratic than Chile since Argentina has had a longer time to recover from its military dictatorship and its military dictatorship’s reign lasted only a third the time that Chile’s did. However, Argentina’s lack of stable economic growth and sturdy institutions refutes this assumption. From an economic perspective, Chile and Argentina’s divergence can be traced back to both states’ dictatorships. During Pinochet’s rule, Chile enjoyed moderate economic growth coupled with relatively low inflation rates. For example, Chile’s inflation rate was 27.33% (“Historic”, 2013) whereas Argentina’s inflation rate was 924% (“Around”, 1983) at the end of their respective dictatorships. During this supposed “Chilean Miracle,” Chile was able to diversify its economy, maintain high investor confidence, and keep debt relatively low (Mainwaring, 1995, 137). The “Chilean Miracle” came about through the moderate success of neoliberal reforms that were strongly recommended by American-trained economists and wholeheartedly implemented by the Pinochet regime. These neo-liberal reforms allowed Chile to modernize and be ready to develop so that by the time Chile transitioned to democracy, policy-makers did not have to initiate massive and sweeping reforms to the economic system (Mainwaring, 1995, 138). This is not to say that Chile did not have its share of economic woes. For example, in 1982, “Chile’s foreign debt was $17.2 billion” (Hudson, 1994). Additionally, due to the brutality of the dictatorship and the implementation of neo-liberal reforms, “In 1989, average real wages were 8% lower than they had been in 1970” and public, social expenditures drastically decreased (Mainwaring, 1995, 139). It is also important to note that the seeds of significant inequality that paved the way for today’s inequality in Chile began during the Pinochet regime through the strict execution of the neo-liberal policies. These reforms, which were in direct contrast to Allende’s plans, led to the depletion the social net. This explains why while “the percentage of households deemed to be living in extreme poverty rose from 8.4% (in 1969) to 14.9% in 1989,” the “wealthiest 20% increased its share from 44.5%... to 54.9%” (Mainwaring, 1995, 139). It should be noted that our consideration of Chile’s relative economic success during Pinochet’s reign is not meant to detract from or lessen the pain and suffering felt by Pinochet’s victims. In other words, Pinochet’s brutality towards the Chilean people exacted a human toll, a social cost that is not always reflected in economic statistics. While the refrain, “the Chilean Miracle,” gained popularity following the moderate economic successes during Pinochet’s rule, one does not hear about an “Argentinean Miracle.” In essence, this is because the Argentinean dictatorship not only destroyed political and civic expression but also worsened the already fragile Argentinean economy. As in Chile, Argentina’s military rulers favored “more laissez faire policies and privatization of many state-owned companies” (Hellinger, 2011, 245), which contributed, at first, to a reduction of inflation. However, in comparison to Chile, Argentina failed to sufficiently modernize its economy and bring in substantial investment. The military junta led an economy that was “semi-closed, 125
largely inefficient [and] characterized by little investment or growth” (Mainwaring, 1995, 123). Essentially, the dictatorship mismanaged the economy. Therefore, the state of the Argentinean economy during the transition to democracy was in shambles. Case in point, in 1983, “the junta left their civilian successors a foreign debt of $46 billion,...an inflation rate of 344% (1983 figure), a public sector deficit that reached an alarming 11% of GDP that year...and a standard of living that was lower in 1983 than in 1970” (Mainwaring, 1995, 122). Furthermore, the debtto-GDP ratio rose from 19% to 60% from 1976 to 1982 (Lovering, 16). Thus, the different economic paths both regimes took has contributed to the divergence in the performance of these states’ economies. Nevertheless, the dictatorships are not solely responsible for current economic trends. When Alfonsin became Argentina’s first democratically elected president following the military dictatorship, he inherited and was charged to fix a myriad of problems including inflation, debt, wages, and distribution of income. Although these economic problems were daunting, Alfonsin “...switched economic plans every few months as the currency collapsed, inflation soared and the government fell behind in its debt payments” (Krauss, 2009). Also, during this period, “per capita income fell by 25%” (Hellinger, 2011, 246). In order to tame inflation, Alfonsin introduced the Austral Plan which had momentary success yet was followed by epochs of hyperinflation that reached nearly 5,000% by 1989 (Mainwaring, 1995, 124). After this political and economic disaster, the 1980s became known as the “lost decade” for Argentina. Conversely, Chile’s transition to democracy in 1990 coincided with positive economic growth. Under Aylwin’s administration, Chile’s GDP expanded from $25 billion in 1990 to just over $50 billion in 1994 (“Canada”, 2012). Aylwin’s government wisely used the increased revenues from Chile’s growth on social spending in an attempt to reduce inequality. Meanwhile, Aylwin’s government also posted budgetary surpluses which eased pressure off Chile’s debt problems (Mainwaring, 1995, 140). However, during this time period and continuing to today, inequality was and is one of the most pressing issues facing Chilean democracy. The gap between the increased wealth of the state and what trickles down to the poor poses a threat to substantive democracy because the poorest citizens feel left out of the system and likely do not have the means to an improved quality of life. This then will pose a threat to democracy as a whole if these citizens become disenchanted by the system to the point of revolution or through another way of dismantling democratic institutions. That being said, Chile’s economic system and growth trends seem stable and promising. In fact, Chile is considered by some as one of the most successful economies in South America in the early 21st century (“Chile”). The trick to long term economic success will likely be the way in which the Chilean state passes its wealth based on the neo-liberal model to its most vulnerable citizens. With this strategy, it is likely that more Chileans will be more integrated into the state’s economic system and its democracy. President Michelle Bachelet, a socialist, ran on 126
this platform of increased social spending and was elected in 2006 and then was re-elected for a term beginning in 2014. Whether or not or the degree by which Bachelet delivers on her campaign promises will be of interest going forward. As Chile transitioned to democracy in 1990, Argentina transitioned out of the “lost decade,” which was marked by hyperinflation, stagnation, and wage decreases. As part of this transition, Argentineans resoundingly voted for the Peronist candidate, Carlos Menem, almost as an outright rejection of the Radical Party which oversaw Argentina’s disastrous 1980s. Menem’s first priority in office was curbing inflation, which was at astronomical levels. To this extent, Menem unveiled many neoliberal reforms including ensuring “a fixed exchange rate vis-a-vis the U.S dollar” (Corrales, 2002, 31). These reforms had great economic success, bringing the inflation rate down from 4923.3% in 1989 to 7.7% in 1993 (Mainwaring, 1995, 126). However, the policies that brought economic success in the early 1990s also brought about turmoil in the late 1990s as the pegging of the peso to the dollar proved to be unsustainable. Moreover, Argentina still faced massive debt payments resulting from the military dictatorship. As Argentina was forced to continue the strict neo-liberal policies as part of the IMF debt agreement package, the peso became increasingly unstable. To counteract the peso problem, Argentina had to devalue its currency and unpeg the peso, which caused the exchange rate to plunge and inflation to skyrocket (Hellinger, 2011, 248). Consequentially, Argentina sank into a severe depression in 2001 with increased poverty and unemployment and decreased foreign capital and investment. Middle class savings were wiped out, factories were shut down, and provincial governments failed to provide basic services (Hellinger, 2011, 248). This economic tumult inevitably had political repercussions. The president during the time of the collapse, De La Rua, resigned in December 2001 and had to be evacuated by helicopter to avoid massive and deadly demonstrations. Additionally, Argentina cycled through numerous ministers of the economy leading some to question how constitutionally democratic Argentina was during this tumultuous year. Although the Argentine economy bottomed out in 2002, the economic spread between Argentina and Chile increased since Chile did not have to endure a similar fate. Although it has generally improved in recent years since the depression in 2001, the Argentinean economy is still susceptible to shocks in international markets and to cyclical boom and busts. According to Business Monitor International, Argentina’s economy is threatened by “Expansionary monetary and fiscal policies [that] will continue to support economic growth at the expense of high inflation, with the possibility of a sharp adjustment still looming” (“Argentina” 13). Argentina’s economic instability has even played out in recent days as the peso has been free-falling after the Kirchner administration eased restrictions on purchasing dollars. According to the BBC, the easing “...was an unexpected announcement 127
and a shocking political reaction to the biggest devaluation of the peso in 12 years - and the biggest crisis of confidence for the Argentine economy since the collapse of the country in 2002” (De Los Reyes, 2014). Despite its economic woes including pervasive inequality, Chile does not have to worry as much about economic volatility as Argentina must. According to Business Monitor International’s report on Chile, “Strong institutions and political stability, combined with sound macroeconomic fundamentals, make Chile an attractive destination for foreign investment” (“Chile Business” 13). Thus, while Chile will likely need to tackle its inequality problem, Argentina will likely need to tackle its currency problem and its propensity to have cyclical booms and busts. Chile and Argentina have both similarly gone through a period of oppressive military dictatorship in their histories however, there paths have since diverged. While both have been relatively successful, Chile today is much further along democratically than Argentina. Despite both countries’ large strides towards a better democracy Chile surpassses its neighbor Argentina in regards to the strength of the political institutions and the economy, and the improvement of the quality of life. While any of these factors alone would not necessarily allow any quick conclusions to be drawn regarding the success of a democracy, the combination of the three aforementioned traits demonstrates Chile’s substantive democracy to be the stronger of the two.
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Published on May 7, 2014
The second edition of the annual LSESU Politics and Forum Society Journal. Editor: Konstantin Sietzy. Society President: Alistair Hughes