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Showing posts from 2009

За Гражданството на Демоса и Демокрацията

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Ако историята е някакъв показател, скандалите около „туристическия вот” в избори 2009 ще отшумят точно както отшумяха през 2005, както и през 2001 преди това. Ако историята наистина е някакъв показател, проблемът с „туристическия вот” ще се появи отново през следващите избори, независимо кога са те. Манипулирането и фалшифицирането на избори съпътстват трудния демократичен преход на България от 1989 година насам и пречат на консолидацията на демократичните институции в страната. Но човек трябва да прави разлика между „манипулиране” и „фалшифициране”. Първото е част от демократичния процес (независимо, че това нарушава идеалистичната чистота на идеята за демокрация). За това имаме и парадокс – ограничаването на „манипулацията” на демократичния вот (която руши демокрацията) е „недемократично”. Във втория случай няма парадокс – фалшифицирането на избори е недемократично. Въпросът е дали двойното гражданство и съответно правото да се гласува в две държави е фалшификация или манипулация н…

Why North Korea's Nuclear Bullishness Is Good News for US Foreign Policy

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North Korea tested a nuclear device this past Memorial Day weekend in attempt to call the US bluff. The Great Powers rushed to condemn the test, which was expected, and the UN's Security Council is expected to deliver a strong resolution against N. Korea. South Korea, frightened and frustrated, agreed to back the US plan to search N. Korea's boats for weapons. Pyongyang has warned that such a move would be considered an open declaration of war. Now South Korea must call the North's bluff.  But the real victims of the Dear Leader's power game will be Russia and China, along with his tacit supporters. Conversely, he US actually stands to benefit from this escalation. Here is why.

Before looking at the implications of this new situation, and the possible ways to respond, we must address: a) why the escalation happened and b) why it happened now. There are at least two possible scenarios as to why Pyongyang tested the nuclear devices, and launched the missiles. The first…

New York Terrorist Plot a Test for Domestic Counterterrorism Strategy

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The recently released by FBI information about the arrests of four suspects who allegedly planned to blow up a few synagogues in NYC and shoot down military planes with a ground-to-air Stinger missile system will now become, perhaps, the greatest test for the argument that counterterrorism could be conducted successfully via the traditional court systems, without extrajudicial methods, such as Guantanamo or similar renditions.

[caption id="attachment_148" align="aligncenter" width="249" caption="The targets of the alleged terrorists, courtesy of BBC"][/caption]

To examine this I look into the particulars of each approach.

The Nuclear Ticking Scenario in Pakistan: Deal or No Deal?

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Watching Pakistan dealing with the growing menace of extremists inside the country for the past decade or so reminds of the popular game "Deal or No Deal." After every round of political soup opera the stakes are raised, and the Western allies, primarily the US is asked "deal or no deal?" Then the game goes on into a new round. This comparison would have been entertaining had it not been so demonically tragic for the ordinary Pakistani clamped down between corrupt government(s), unpredictable military institution, and blinded religious fanatics-idealists. The latest round is particularly 'entertaining' because of what seems to be at stake – Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. So now we have ever more emboldened, ever more galvanized, and ever more determined Pakistani Taliban movement, a shaky, unpopular, and divided government, a finalist in the form of the US, and a military 'banker.' Do we have a deal?

Before going along with this crude comparison, …

Политическата Лакомия на БСП/ДПС с Двойно Острие?

Желанието на БСП и ДПС на всяка цена да попречат на крехата коалиция на десницата да осигурят на ГЕРБ очаквана подкрепа за бъдещ кабинет не бива да изненадва никого. Политическите партии, както редица изследователи отдавна са установили (виж например Дж. Сартори), се опитват да постигнат определени основни цели, сред които оцеляване, увеличаване на електоралната си база и взимане на власт с цел прилагане на политическа линия и налагане на определена политика. Нека няма съмнение, желанието да се стигне до властта и да се задържи тя колкото се може по-дълго е напълно рационално желание и няма нищо

Third Time is NOT a Charm: Why Obama’s Af-Pak Plan Could Fail its Mission

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Obama's Administration finally came up with a plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the form of speech by the President, and in the form of a white paper. Surprisingly, the two do not overlap, as some commentators have rightly pointed. This mismatch can be attributed to the ambivalent position of the President to the issue. As New York Times informed over the weekend, the President's announcement came after a significant disagreement between the Vice-President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton on the scope and goals of US involvement in the region. The president promised 4,000 additional troops to be deployed on the ground as trainers, and in his speech focused exclusively on al Qaeda, as the main goal for the operation. There was no mentioning of nation-building, regional stability, or reform. This was, in effect, the Vice President's minimalist approach, tacitly approved by the Defense Secretary Gates, and perhaps the first defeat in what appears to be a repetition of…

Why Global Warming Is Not So Bad When Clinton Resets Russian Winter And Obama Calls For Iranian Spring

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Is this the coming of Obamian naivity?

Last month the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced that the US is pressing the reset button in the relationships with Russia. Last week President Obama addressed Iran for the first day of Spring which marks the Iranian New Year. Together, these two top foreign policy initiatives amount to a global warming in the world political weather, marked by severing Russian political winter and Iranian nuclear fall.

Critics to this new foreign policy approach rushed to lump together the two initiatives pronouncing them to be the new Wilsonian idealism, perhaps worthy a name such as Obamian naivism. Their arguments against this unorthodox foreign policy approach have certain merits. It shows a dose of idealism and inexperience in the tough and cynical world of international

Why Qutb is not Marx, and bin Laden - Lenin, or How Much Should We Fear Somalia's Islamists

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A Specter roams through the world, the Specter of Global Terrorism.
Many politicians and commentators keep warning us of the imminent threat of Islamic extremism and terrorism. They lump together bin Laden's global jihadists, various radical Islamists with clearly national agenda, and devout Islamic fundamentalists with no political agenda, all under the same broad umbrella labeled militant Muslims, or simply 'global terrorist networks.' These same commentators then take this heterogeneous groups with at times contradicting goals, and bundle them together in what I would call securitization of terrorism, to borrow a popular now term from the financial sector. Then just like the bad mortgage security assets they sell them to the general public, raising the expectations of Armageddon any minute now.

You don't know what I am talking about? Did you see Dick Chaney last week on the TV? America, he said, is less secure now with the current president than before. Really?! Well,…

Shit Shares and Wind Trade, or Why Madoff is not Law

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If, in the rarity of quasi-scientific historical frivolousness, one tries to assign specific cause, or 'blame,' or simply 'a major contribution' for such a complex event and with such profound implications for the posterior evolution of Europe, and indeed the world, as the French Revolution of 1789, neither Voltaire nor Rousseau can top the unintended consequences from the grandiose ambitions of the Scottish financial jack-of-all-trades John Law. When his financial adventure for selling shares of what appears to be among the biggest financial enterprises in the beginning of the 18th century - la Compagnie d'Occident - came to an end, the French treasury, and indeed the French crown, were plunged into deep financial recession, which culminated with a spontaneous social revolution.

No one really expects that one such contemporary collapse of another financial empire built on lies and avarice that of the American jack-of-all-trades Bernard Madoff, will cause a social r…