Europe

Joachim_Gauck

Is Europe’s Problem German Strength or Weakness?

By Roland Bensted

The election in March 2012 of Joachim Gauck as Germany’s President demonstrates a remarkable achievement of recent German history. For the first time since unification in October 1990, Germany has a Chancellor and President from the former East Germany. Widely admired both for the size of its export oriented economy, Europe’s largest, and for its more enlightened way of doing capitalism, Germany had the capability and the necessary goodwill before the start of the Eurozone crisis to take a positive leadership role during the downturn. Its voice within the EU is very strong, as it has been since the EU’s inception. Yet Germany has squandered these advantages.

Atlantic Community

Partners in Democracy, Partners in Security: NATO and the Arab Spring

By Alexander Corbeil, Gillian Kennedy, Geoffrey Levin, Vivien Pertusot, Josiah Surface

The Arab Spring has created significant challenges and unprecedented opportunities for NATO and its partners in the Mediterranean region. New security issues have emerged alongside new regimes and regional instability looms. State failure, civil conflict, and institutional collapse could present a number of major security threats, among them the creation of a refugee crisis affecting NATO members, increased illegal arms trafficking, and a breeding ground for militant groups in a Somali-like setting near European shores.

Boris-Johnson-Ken-Livingstone

The Race for City Hall

By Roland Bensted

An outside observer to the race for Mayor of London could be forgiven for wondering how little has changed since 2008. With the election for what is sometimes said to be the second most powerful role in British politics due to take place on 3 May alongside the election of members to the Greater London Assembly, the three main parties have selected the same candidates who contested the May 2008 Mayoral ballot. Yet, outside of the Mayoral race itself, the UK and London, have faced significant economic and social turbulence since the May 2008 ballot. 

UK Budget

The Art of the Comprehensible

By Christian Nicholson

The economic policy of any government is one of the most politically charged elements of its portfolio. This should be an obvious point, but is not always fully appreciated by economists who deal primarily with data and, in the modern form of the discipline, through abstracted models. This point was also obscured for us all during the 2000s boom years when the rising tide seemed to lift all boats, and the great battles over economic policy appeared to be a thing of the past. Tweaks here and there to policy could be left to the technocrats and need not concern the electorate too much.

Olympic Security

The Emergence of a National Police Counter Terrorism Service in the UK

By Arthur Hayes

The first edition of the UK Terrorism Analysis was published in early February 2012 by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). One particular section of the report, ‘The Post Olympic Challenge – Staying Secure’ examines the potential reforms to the UK national counterterrorism (CT) community once the 2012 Olympics are over. 

Scottish Independence

The Case Against Scottish Independence

By Roland Bensted

The political success of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in recent years, driven by the charisma of its leader, Alex Salmond, has brought into sharp focus the UK’s still nascent devolved authorities, in existence only since 1998. Furthermore, in the Scottish case, repeated public statements by Salmond about possible independence, with a putative referendum on the issue to follow in the next few years, have brought into question whether Scotland, after more than 300 years, will withdraw from the UK.

CCTV

The Reverse Panopticon

By Giulio Caperchi

Is the advent of widely available recording technology coupled with the mass distribution of content through social media platforms allowing for the democratisation of the state’s surveillance apparatus? Most of us fear the totalitarian dystopia imagined in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which citizens are controlled and stripped of private rights through the use of technologies enforcing total surveillance. It is easy to draw parallels with our world today, where the proliferation of CCTV devices and the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement eerily appear to emulate Big Brother’s tactics.