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Romania’s Neighbourhoods:An Exercise of Critical Thinking

Romania’s Neighbourhoods:
An Exercise of Critical Thinking

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

At the township level, the “community spirit” is a function of knowledge, and proper action, about / towards people – as persons – and their places – or properties, either private or public. A community is defined equally by bonds and bounds, wisely informed and duly enforced, so that a neighbourly peace, not necessarily a heavenly harmony, will emerge and endure. In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” there is a famous line – “Good fences make good neighbours” – suggesting the common sense truth that order among humans requires, much sooner than empathy or sympathy, an order “in rem”, with respect to their belongings, which are part and parcel of their personal universes – teleological prolongations of their beings. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people”, said once G.K. Chesterton. This might be the most pessimistic view of a neighbourhood, which we are advised to treat with utmost kindness. If love is too much to ask, then the next line of defence is to understand, not understate, things. More

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    Rendez-vous in Paris: Trump vs. Macron, Round No. 4

    Rendez-vous in Paris: Trump vs. Macron, Round No. 4

    No. 6, Jul.-Aug. 2017

    Paris sera toujours Paris, as the title of a famous song rightfully acknowledges: traditionally a land of grace and sophistication that inspired poets and artists for centuries, and the shiniest jewel in Europe’s crown, which, through its charme et... More



    Culture and Property Rights

    Culture and Property RightsMarkets, hierarchies and shared values

    No. 5, May.-Jun. 2017

    The International Book Fair Bookfest 2017 gave me the opportunity to exchange some thoughts, with quite exquisite and exigent readers, on my recent work – Spiritualitate, materialitate și proprietate. Cultura mea, cultura ta, cultura noastră... More



    China Welcomes Representatives from over 100 Countries to the First Belt and Road Forum

    China Welcomes Representatives from over 100 Countries to the First Belt and Road Forum

    No. 5, May.-Jun. 2017

    Last week in Beijing, leaders and officials from dozens of countries and international organizations participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Here, Chinese leader Xi Jinping reinforced the need for cooperation in... More



    Saudi Arabia and the New Middle East

    Saudi Arabia and the New Middle East Strategy and response to the Arab Spring

    No. 5, May.-Jun. 2017

    The Arab Spring, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, represents a series of protests that embraced the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), since the end of 2010, resulting in the collapse of certain authoritarian regimes in the region. In... More



    Trump’s First Quarter

    Trump’s First Quarter

    No. 5, May.-Jun. 2017

    Donald Trump’s history as a real-estate tycoon and a TV star relied on and enhanced certain qualities which were on display during the presidential campaign, where he managed to confound his opponents and energize the people, thereby... More



    Considerations on North Korea

    Considerations on North Korea

    No. 5, May.-Jun. 2017

    The “hermit kingdom” of North Korea is back in the news, at the center of a new round of exchanges of bellicose declarations, underpinned by failed tests for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that, nevertheless, show the impressive progress... More



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    Shakespeare & Eminescu – Measure for Measure

    Shakespeare & Eminescu – Measure for Measure

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Eminescu – widely celebrated by Romanians worldwide – may well be the most unknown great national poet to the English-speaking world.Without a doubt, Shakespeare is the most universally celebrated national poet. Eminescu, widely celebrated in Romania and by Romanians the world over, may well be the most unknown great national poet to the English speaking world.While excellent and varied renditions of the Bard’s plays in Romanian abound, Eminescu translations into English are not only scarce, but, to a large extent, unconvincing. Language competency plays its part, since Romanian translators have traditionally been scholars with a thorough understanding of the English language, literature and Shakespeare. Conversely, one can hardly find a native English translator with more than a superficial understanding of ‘folkloric’ Romanian. More

    On the “Awakening of Civic Consciousness”

    On the “Awakening of Civic Consciousness”

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    “A few revolutionists walk from house to house and knock at each door: “everybody in the street / it is outrageous to stay in the house!” And every conscience, the gimp, the blind, the crippled went to the market; none of them remained in the house! For half a century they ravaged, wailing and fighting. At home is misery, poverty and disorder, but the master is not interested in this. He went to the market to save his people – and this is easier and much more exciting that the unpleasant work from home.” More

    A Colchoneric Tragedy

    A Colchoneric Tragedy

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Santiago Roncagliolo did not do anything out of the usual. A young Peruvian writer, playwright, producer and journalist – a man of arts and letter, in a nutshell – emigrated to Spain at the turn of the century in search for a better life, in search of a career that he seemed to have been banned from in native Lima. This is the sort of brain-drain you get all over the world, sourced mainly underdeveloped countries. Santiago was only 27 when he settled in Madrid, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of García Márquez and Vargas Llosa, the ‘corps d’elite’ of Latin American erudite triumph on European soil. Full of ardor, he descended to Barajas ready to mesmerize with pen on paper. More

    Ethnogenesis in Davos

    Ethnogenesis in Davos

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The Davos World Economic Forum, established in 1971, is emblematic of our era for its courtship of notoriety, as opposed to the old Bilderberg Group’s more discrete operation, along with a calculated transparency regarding the power of those attending and the topics of high interest on a global level that are discussed (among some trivial diversions). If you are rich and affluent, then you will be present at Davos, and if you are present at Davos, then it is confirmed that you are rich and affluent. The fact that Davos is a phenomenon in itself, which transcends its components, is confirmed by the emergence of numerous events that imitate the Davos style or that take place simultaneously, just three streets away, in the ghetto of the millionaires in the alpine resort, so that the striving classes can also experience a counterfeit Davos for signalling their social status. When the famous Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington were silently confronting each other, the former with the theory of “the end of history” and the latter arguing for “an end of the beginning” (in Winston Churchill’s words) through the clash of civilizations, Huntington was the one proven right by history, not only through the rise of militant Islamism, but also after inventing the atavistic formula of the “Davos Man”. This subspecies of Homo sapiens sapiens has no national loyalties; he is able to consider himself a citizen of the world and to be inclined towards thinking globally and acting in this direction. More

    Opportunities for Romania

    Opportunities for Romania

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Just a couple of months ago, after I met an old friend, I came across a paper called ”100 opportunities for Finland and the World”; since then, after reading the pragmatic document, I began promoting it, hoping it would go viral and underscore that Romania has a similar need to the one the Finnish document addresses.. More

    Changing for Success

    Changing for Success

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Changes in business can either simply occur, or it can be implemented by people through knowledge, resources and strategy. Waiting for the “perfect” knowledge to make decisions might lead to missing opportunities, as there is no such thing as flawlessness. For each and every instance, one should assess what can be done best and make a decision to empower fellow colleagues or the project team to deal with a particular issue. More

    Striving Towards a Consensus

    Striving Towards a Consensus

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Almost a century ago today, Winston Churchill said that the Balkans produce more history than they can consume. It seems like this has remained unchanged over the years and Albania is no exception. Along with political events and conflicts in Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, recent and momentous political developments are taking place in one of the most important countries for the stability of the Western Balkans. More

    Bulgaria – Geopolitical Near Future Outlook

    Bulgaria – Geopolitical Near Future Outlook

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Rapid progress in today’s modern world is also generating a significant speed-up of the rate with which social and technological challenges rise up to hinder the peoples of the 21st century. Bulgaria, through its position on the crossroads of the Balkans, has a rather complex geopolitical profile, influenced by neighbouring countries, by EU and NATO and by global and regional powers like Russia, the USA and Turkey. In this context, a multicriteria approach has to be outlined for social, economic and security facets, in order to achieve a more concrete future analysis. More

    The Big Misunderstanding with Bulgaria. Why Not Cross The Danube?

    The Big Misunderstanding with Bulgaria. Why Not Cross The Danube?

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    It seemed that this motto would best reflect the attitude of many Romanians, diplomats, experts, politicians, regarding the bilateral relations of Romania with her neighbour from across the Danube. For the Romanians, Bulgaria, located so closely, remains a distant land, a great unknown and a mysterious and even exotic place. Regardless, our stake in Bulgaria might turn out to be at least as important for Romania as the bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, multilateral formats, strategies, initiatives and partnerships that have been hatched for years in Bucharest by policymakers.  More

    The Hungarian Government’s Chase of “Foreign Agents”: The Orgy of Hypocrisy

    The Hungarian Government’s Chase of “Foreign Agents”: The Orgy of Hypocrisy

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Last month, Hungary made headlines in the international press again by making further steps towards Viktor Orbán’s illiberal dream, which was highlighted three years ago at an event in Băile Tușnad in Romania. Viktor Orbán’s government recently passed a law that enables the authorities to shut down the Central European University – the university established by George Soros, and operating in Hungary for more than two and a half decades. More

    Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union: A Risky Game or an Opportunity?

    Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union: A Risky Game or an Opportunity?

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The regional economic integration within the globalized world has been recognized as an important driver for economic growth and job creation. Hence, free trade is one of the essential points for future regional economic development that would lead to a more productive and competitive economic structure. In this respect, the Eurasian Economic Union, which came into force in 2015, aims to establish a single regional market with the elimination of all customs barriers between its Member States. Even though a number of Post-Soviet countries have already become members of the EEU, Azerbaijan has managed to maintain its neutral position in this regard.  More

    Iran in the South Caucasus – A Keystone to Nagorno-Karabakh?

    Iran in the South Caucasus – A Keystone to Nagorno-Karabakh?

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The Republic of Azerbaijan occupies a key geostrategic position in the region of the South Caucasus. Lying at the geographical crossroads, this country is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and controls large reserves of hydrocarbon energy resources in the basin. This geographic location and geoeconomic importance of the area not only creates opportunities, but also generates threats, or at least challenges. More

    Macedonia – The Sounds of War Drums Are Mass Auditory Hallucinations

    Macedonia – The Sounds of War Drums Are Mass Auditory Hallucinations

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    It has been 16 years since the last war on the Balkan Peninsula. The last time anything resembling a war occurred, hundreds died and the small country of Macedonia was left with a reorganized political system, a crushed economy and a convulsing system of social relations. These days, we hear the dogs of war begin their gruesome growls yet again as rule of law collapses in the Republic of Macedonia, but you would be a fool to believe your ears. So what has been going on in Macedonia?  More

    Politics in the Republic of Moldova – Strong Essences in Tiny Bottles

    Politics in the Republic of Moldova – Strong Essences in Tiny Bottles

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The Republic of Moldova is a post-Soviet geopolitical entity, underdeveloped and currently maintained by financial interests, domestic and abroad: because of its geostrategic position in Eastern Europe, it is being used as an interface between the Eastern and the Western financial markets, an enabler for transactions and other movements that would otherwise not take place or be more difficult, especially for Russian oligarchs. At the same time, under this cover, Russian operatives affiliated to SVR are maintaining clandestine operations within the Western hemisphere because they have in their possession a “launching pad” – Transnistria, the first “frozen conflict” and the 14th Russian Army base, which can be used as a “pressure point” in different negotiations. Through this “open window” to Europe, plus their tradecraft ability, they are able to penetrate and control large swathes of the Republic: Russian speaking minorities, mass-media organizations and different political parties through businesses and other actors. More

    How to Steal a Billion in the Wild East

    How to Steal a Billion in the Wild East

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The Republic of Moldova is a very small state in the East of Europe, very far from the rich core of the continent. As an economy, it is one of the smallest in Europe, being the 41st largest economy of the continent (in Purchasing Power Parity methodology) and the 144th largest economy of the world, with a GDP of about 18 billion USD. In nominal terms, the size of the GDP is somewhere over 6 billion (6.8 last year, according to its own statistics). Small is not beautiful here: as an image for its poverty, the trade deficit is over 2 billion US dollars, about 30% of the GDP, and one fifth of the public budget is made up of foreign aid. More

    The Russian Federation and the Implementation of the A2/AD System in the Black Sea: Risks and Threats to Romania

    The Russian Federation and the Implementation of the A2/AD System in the Black Sea: Risks and Threats to Romania

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The Crimean Peninsula was under Tatar control until the end of the eighteenth century when Catherine II announced the annexation of the region in 1783 to the Russian Empire. She established the main naval base of the Russian Empire on the Black Sea in the city of Sevastopol in 1785. It retained its importance until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the peninsula became part of independent Ukraine since it had been offered to the Ukrainian SSR as a gift in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at that time, celebrating 300 years of Russian-Ukrainian friendship. The breakup of the Soviet Union meant that its successor state, the Russian Federation, lost the strategic position and the freedom of maneuver which Crimea offered in the Black Sea region. However, Moscow would regain its position on May 28th 1997 when Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma signed the Treaty of Friendship Cooperation and Partnership in Kiev. Among other things, it created the division of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in two parts and allowed the use by the Russian Federation of the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol and its territorial waters until 2017, for 98 million dollars per year.[5] More

    Germany-Russia: Normative Deadlock and Confrontation Fatigue

    Germany-Russia: Normative Deadlock and Confrontation Fatigue

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Due to the Ukrainian crisis, political relations between Russia and Germany, which used to call each other “strategic partners” at an earlier date, have hit rock bottom. The Germans were embarrassed by the fact that Russia had undermined, in their view, the foundations of European security architecture of which Germany self-identifies as a key advocate. It even became known that Angela Merkel allegedly said, after one of the rounds of negotiations on Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin “exists in another reality”, which demonstrated very well the deepening communication failure. As a result, Germany was one of the initiators of economic sanctions against Russia, working closely with the Obama Administration on a common policy towards Moscow, and broke off all possible bilateral negotiation formats at the highest level. Some symbolic “red lines” were crossed: for instance, Germany became the framework nation for NATO reassurance forces in Lithuania, so the German army again approached the Western borders of Russia. Both sides described the current state of relations as a complete loss of trust. More

    Serbia's Geopolitical Position and Challenges, According to Its Elites

    Serbia's Geopolitical Position and Challenges, According to Its Elites

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Serbia is a state in the Balkans whose foreign policy should be well balanced to be effective, given the heavy historical legacy of the region and its susceptibility to distortions of global politics. That is why Serbia’s elites should know the position of their country in international relations well, and act in accordance with this knowledge. The main problem with this is that most of these elites are predominantly driven by their group and personal interests, rather than the national one. More

    Serbia – A Blockage of Options

    Serbia – A Blockage of Options

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The European continent is the most balanced from a civilizational and cultural standpoint, having a common history dating back at least a thousand years and whose co-evolution has meant that concepts of good governance, rule of law, checks and balances and others are interpreted in the same way, even though their application and success differ from one country to another. Despite this, there are four countries currently undergoing a crisis of options. In three of these cases, we are discussing a blockage of geopolitics and psychology, while the fourth option stands to resolve itself in time, according to current trends, even as reactionary forces try to stem the inevitable. This last state is the Republic of Moldova, whose Western path is more difficult and fraught with danger than for other countries, but whose direction is set by economic realities that cannot be denied. More

    The turning point for Turkey

    The turning point for Turkey

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    2016 proved to be a critical year for the Turkish economy, witnessing enhanced risks of falling into a recession.The situation has been marked by three important events that took place both internally and externally. First of all, last summer’s failed coup d’état and the subsequent repressive measures undertaken by the regime (with more than 50,000 people detained and other 100,000 sacked) outlined the instability of Turkey’s internal politics. Within this context, the European Union bestowed heavy criticism upon the Turkish authorities, and the European Parliament consequently decided on November 24th, 2016 to freeze the accession negotiations, on the basis of severe violations of human rights. More

    The Clash of Realism and Liberalism: Understanding the Nature of Cooperation on Energy Security between Turkey-Azerbaijan and Georgia

    The Clash of Realism and Liberalism: Understanding the Nature of Cooperation on Energy Security between Turkey-Azerbaijan and Georgia

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The South Caucasus is home to both important reserves of hydrocarbon resources (oil and gas) and a crossroads of transport routes which connect East and West, as well as North and South. However, despite its geographic significance, as Amanda Paul stated, “the region is one of the most security-challenged and fragmented regions in the world”. It is particularly true that, since the end of the Cold War, the political map of South Caucasus has changed dramatically and the region became a focus point for conflict and competition on the international political agenda. More

    The 21st Century’s Search for Equilibrium: Isms, Phobias and the Culture of Labels

    The 21st Century’s Search for Equilibrium: Isms, Phobias and the Culture of Labels

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    There is much to be said on the subject of today’s world, even though events happen much in the same way as they have been happening since the dawn of human history. There is violence, war, famine, disease, empty political discourse, yet there are also festivals, scientific developments, and a higher standard of living than ever before in many parts of the world. In short, humankind moves forward through time, if I may be allowed this perhaps scientifically inaccurate expression, in much the same way it has always done. More

    Worrying about Wetware

    Worrying about Wetware

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    There is a silent revolution taking place in robotics, and automation in general. It is related not just the capabilities, but also the accessibility and affordability of the new means of production. Greater productivity is one of the results and the one most robo-evangelists cling to. The other is uncertainty. Our entire social and economic systems are predicated on working for income. This affects not just the life rhythms which human redundancy purports to improve, but also social status, consumption capacity and self-esteem. We will have to see if the revolution actually delivers on its promises, but even a partial result could lead to a hair-raising social upheaval, regardless of whether the final result is a net positive or not. In discussing past industrial revolutions, we often gloss over decades of labor unrest, migrations, community destruction and uncertainty in a few lines, with an intellectual carelessness more appropriate to Communist rationalizing of the piles of dead than humanist interest in the general welfare. More

    Robots and Empire(s)

    Robots and Empire(s)

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Few concepts have ever been as tightly related to the notion of technological advancement and the future in general as that of artificial intelligence. The idea of highly intelligent, even sentient robots permeating various facets of human activity and society has been a staple of science fiction since the past century. Though the term “robot” itself was introduced to the English language and the world by Czech playwright Karel Capek in 1920 (“robot” meaning “work” in Czech), robots and artificial intelligence were developed most prominently through the works of such authors as Isaac Asimov (one of whose novels lent its title to this article), Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick, while Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has also been viewed as another example of artificial beings appearing in fiction. The concept has been heavily featured in several blockbuster science fiction films and TV series as well, either as the main theme or as part of the technologically advanced future. Prominent examples include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Aliens, Star Wars, Terminator, The Matrix and more recently, Interstellar and Ex Machina. More

    On taxing the robots

    On taxing the robots

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Bill Gates, a pioneer in computer innovation, recently opened the gates to a debate that will become mainstream in the coming decades. He suggested that taxing robots would be a perfectly acceptable policy to defray the losses stemming from automation.His assumption is based on the correct fear that the advancements of high-tech industry threatens a large number of low to medium skilled jobs, of mostly equivalent income. This would lead to a high rate of unemployment in areas where automation may replace human labour. One wonders which sector is safe from the replacement of its labour force and the substitution of human capabilities. This is accompanied by reassurances of increased labour demand in the “caring sector” or other interpersonal service jobs. There is a growing need for caregivers for older people, people with special needs, helping children in education. It is logical to focus on areas that manifest increases in needs to reorient employment and then rely on innovation and automation to create wealth and increase productivity wherever possible, but there are some underlying assumptions which are left unchallenged, with regards to ease of reemployment, quality of remuneration and so on. More

    State-Building and Breaking

    State-Building and Breaking

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    We live in a world beset by inequalities. The differences between the highest and the lowest are, in stark economic terms, the highest they have ever been. Moving closer to the middle of the pack, we also see the frustrating persistence of lesser differences, that are nonetheless significant for politics, migration and consumption. This is apparent in the EU and is also apparent in the United States. The differences between parts of an interlinked system create a flow, generating energy that, in the case of society, may translate into vibrancy, creativity and entrepreneurship, or tensions, recrimination and violence. The “what” and the “who” of the matter stare us in the face every day and sometimes rile us from the polls and the voting booths. The “how” and the “why” are still open to discussions, and true answers are not forthcoming because they will invariably reflect our preconceptions. More

    The Course of Empire

    The Course of Empire

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    We no longer cultivate an understanding of history and art. Western democracies are increasingly relentless in denying their ancestors. The present sneers at the past with a sense of superiority that comes from simply being the present, with the ancient dead having no recourse or appeal against judgment rooted in contemporary bias. No other kind of ignorance indulges in current Western levels of self-flattery. More

    Debating the EU's Fiscal Union

    Debating the EU's Fiscal Union

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    A common European fiscal policy? Sure, but not too soon. This would be a simple answer to a very generous topic of debate among economists and decision makers.After the recent global economic crisis, where governments took most of the blame for their excessive indebtedness and for the lack of in-depth structural reforms, European Union (EU) proponents have pushed for a deeper integration of the EMU - “The Economic and Monetary Union”. The EMU is fundamental for the functioning of the EU structure. Economic integration has been historically the main driver for the continuous European integration project. More

    System-Of-Systems to the Rescue? Solving Unsolvable Problems

    System-Of-Systems to the Rescue? Solving Unsolvable Problems

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    The term system-of-systems is increasingly used to describe systems operating under conditions of ambiguity, complexity, emergence, interdependence, and uncertainty. Although there is a good understanding of the kinds of systems that could be considered as systems-of-systems, a consensus on an exact definition of the term has yet to emerge --- bringing into question the nature of solutions to the problem space of system-of-systems. Terms, including large-scale systems, socio-technical systems, and cyber-physical systems are often used. Convergence in different nomenclature is: system-of-systems exhibit several specific characteristics, to various degrees. These characteristics are the subject of this article along with challenges associated with using system-of-systems as an approach to address modern worrisome issues. More

    Romania and the Belt and Road Initiative

    Romania and the Belt and Road Initiative

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Historically, Romanian territories have been frequently a key to the geopolitical ambitions of the rising players on the international arena due to their strategic geographic position, Romania being located at a crossroads between the East and West, between the CIS, Middle East and Western spheres of influence, on the Danube and the Black Sea’s shores, rich in natural resources and with one of the highest degrees of energy independence in Europe. Nowadays, an additional advantage comes from its human resources, its educated class standing out in essential niches like various branches of the IT sector. More

    A Social Alloying Model for Immigration

    A Social Alloying Model for Immigration

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    When discussing the question of nationalism, I am not alone in believing that the traditional and biblical understanding of a “nation” as being based off of shared culture, mores, and traditions is superior to the modernistic “genetics only” view based on shared ancestry held by some people, including most of those who would subscribe to white nationalism. White nationalism is a concept that is alien to Europe, with its long history of intra-European ethnic and sectarian rivalries. In the United States, where the proverbial “melting pot” has almost obliterated the former ethnic and group distinctions between the various waves of European migration, a generic European blended ethnicity (an ethnic American) could be contemplated for political and identitarian purposes, first informally (in the “us vs them” of politics and culture) and then formally, through overt politicization, affirmative action privileges and quotas and through self-identification on census forms in an increasingly (and visibly) diverse nation More

    Space Debris – Visualizing the Risk and Informing Stakeholders

    Space Debris – Visualizing the Risk and Informing Stakeholders

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Everybody in a reasonably advanced society (and many of the not so advanced ones) uses products and services that are dependent on satellites and their specific capabilities, many of which cannot be substituted for on Earth. You may use satellite communications and weather prediction services, and sometimes you may use GPS (for transport, tourism and for tagging your friends on Facebook), but you are also consuming space services through intermediaries. Your Amazon order arrived safely, cheaply and on time through a GPS dependent global distribution service. The gadget you bought was the result of a globalized production chain kept viable by global communications, global transport and global finance. Your online payments, bank transactions and stock market investments are time stamped by atomic clocks located in GPS satellites. One day, you may even receive medical services or even have a robot perform surgery on you through telemedicine. And, in a crisis and emergency situation, space services such as Earth Observation are invaluable for decision makers and responders. The list goes on and on. More

    Plato’s Cave, American Edition

    Plato’s Cave, American Edition

    No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017

    Plato’s cave is a place where people sit chained seeing the shadows cast on the wall by a fire and thinking that that is reality. Escaping the cave requires a rough ascent into sunlight to experience reality as it is. A weird and troubling phenomenon is taking place in the political battles surrounding Donald Trump’s Presidency that will reverberate beyond this embattled term, as it sets a new low of public discourse which future political leaders and scandalmongers will find it easier to match. While there is a necessity for strategic ambiguity in politics, it has become impossible to distinguish reality from theater, especially since the media has decided to become a player and not an arbiter. More

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    Amfiteatru Economic

    OEconomica No. 1, 2016
    IN THE AGORA
    Agora
    “Pierre Werner Centenary” medal “Pierre Werner Centenary” medal

    The National Institute for Economic Research “Costin C. Kirițescu” of the Romanian Academy bestowed the “Pierre Werner Centenary” medal to the Rector of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Professor Nicolae Istudor, Ph.D., in recognition of his contributions to higher education and academic research and of his sustained efforts to promote the national culture and its values in the Wernerian sense of harmony and compatibility with the wider European civilization and its aspirations.

    The ceremony was occasioned by the 4th edition of the International Conference ESPERA 2016 on “Economic Scientific Research – Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Approaches”, which took place in Bucharest on December 15-16, 2016. Professor Nicolae Istudor’s keynote speech may be viewed here.

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    Geopolitics and the New Silk Road Geopolitics and the New Silk Road

    Professor Silviu Neguț, Ph.D., delivered a speech on the geopolitics of the New Silk Road and its Eurasian philosophical backdrop during a conference organized by the Black Sea University Foundation on the subject of “Oil and the New Silk Road”. The event took place on December 13, 2016, and brought together a host of noted Romanian specialists from academia, government and private sector. Among them were Vasile Iuga, Senior advisor at PwC Romania, Radu Dudău, the Energy Policy Group, and Liviu Mureșan, the EURISC Foundation. The discussions were moderated by Professor Dan Dungaciu, Ph.D., President of the Black Sea University Foundation and head of the Institute for World Economy, the Romanian Academy (details here).

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    NATO foreign ministers’ meeting NATO foreign ministers’ meeting

    Alexandru Georgescu was a participant, alongside Răzvan Munteanu, Iulian Popescu and Andrei Vlăsceanu, on the ZIUA Z (D Day) TV Show hosted by Col. (ret.) dr. Ion Petrescu on the subject of the latest meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. The TV Show aired live on December 8, 2016, on 6TV and can be viewed online here.

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    Romania’s EU Council Presidency Romania’s EU Council Presidency

    On November 28, 2016, dr. Octavian-Dragomir Jora declared for Agerpres: “Looking forward to Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council in the first semester of 2019, our country has to employ wisdom and intelligence in mating two essential strains of modern governance by utilizing an appropriate political decision-making structure and an open and competent popular consultation. The first is going to be the often invoked ‘country project’. It does not have to represent a simple piece of ‘literature’, filled with the intellectual infatuation of the contributors and the documents’ custodians, but a two-directional educational exercise (between the decision-making and reflecting elites, on the one hand, and the public, on the other hand) and a sincere discovery of ‘national interest’. In my opinion, this is the best known ‘unknown’ of the domestic public discourse. It is a fixture in the national psyche post-accession, while remaining tantalizingly out of reach of both the public and the authorities and their advisors. The second one is this administrative exercise, which demands institutional maturity: the Presidency of EU Council. Addressed responsibly and rigorously, the course of managing the EU agenda represents a unique moment of opportunity and challenge which can have the benefit of improving Romania’s image as an exotic and erratic presence in the European picture”. (www.agerpres.ro)

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    European challenges for Romania European challenges for Romania

    Europarliamentarian Laurențiu Rebega and the Foundation for the Europe of Nations and Freedom organized on the 26th of November, in Târgu Mureș, the Conference “The European Union and Economic Challenges for Romania”. The event took place in proximity to the impending anniversary of Romania’s accession to the EU, nearly ten years ago. The presentations discussed the pros and cons of accession and highlighted the risks, vulnerabilities and threats that our country will have to manage. Professor Dumitru Miron, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Octavian-Dragomir Jora, Ph.D., from the Faculty of International Business and Economics, the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Professor Nicolae Băciuț, writer and publicist, and Cora Maria Muntean, President of the National Association of Romanian Merchants (ANCR), were among the speakers (details here).

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    CEECs and the geopolitical winter CEECs and the geopolitical winter

    Alexandru Georgescu was a participant, alongside Răzvan Munteanu and Iulian Popescu, on the Valori Euroatlantice (Euroatlantic Values) TV Show hosted by Col. (ret.) dr. Ion Petrescu on the subject of the Geopolitical Winter in Eastern Europe. The TV Show aired on November 20, 2016, on 6TV and can be viewed online here. Key quotes and comments can be found here.

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    Science and the metrics of visibility Science and the metrics of visibility

    Octavian-Dragomir Jora delivered a speech at Târgul de Carte Gaudeamus (the Gaudeamus Book Fair), on November 16, 2016, during the launch of an important book, “A concepe, a redacta și a publica un articol științific. O abordare în contextul cercetării economice” (“Conceiving, Writing and Publishing a Scientific Article. An Approach in the Context of Economic Research”), written by Vasile Dinu, Gheorghe Săvoiu and Dan-Cristian Dabija. Octavian-Dragomir Jora argues that the neglect of scientific dissemination in national journals is a result of a structure of perverse incentives for researchers, for whom a series of “minimalistic” criteria have been set with an exclusively external orientation and without an attempt to establish a reasonable set of coefficients for truthful comparison between internal and external publications. This leads to distortions of the Romanian landscape for reviewing, validating and disseminating scientific ideas, hindering their gradual entry into the worldwide scientific marketplace and maintaining an unproductive separation between national and global spaces (details here).

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    Riga 2016, China-CEECs meetings Riga 2016, China-CEECs meetings

    As a member of the EURISC Foundation, Alexandru Georgescu was the only Romanian attending the International Think Tank Forum of China and Central and Eastern European Countries held in Riga, Latvia, on November 4, 2016, in parallel with a series of other events related to 16+1 cooperation, including the Summit of the Heads of Government of 16+1, the launch of the Logistics and Transport Center for 16+1 in Riga, a business forum and a conference of sinologists. A short article in Romanian describing the event can be accessed here. A publication titled “Afterthoughts of the Riga 2016 China and Central and Eastern European Countries Think Tank Forum” can be accessed here, featuring also a contribution from Alexandru Georgescu.

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    16+1 and Belt and Road initiatives 16+1 and Belt and Road initiatives

    As a member of the EURISC Foundation, Alexandru Georgescu accompanied EURISC Foundation President dr. Liviu Mureșan to the International Conference on Synergies between 16+1 and the Belt and Road Initiative, organized by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) on September 25-26, 2016, in Shanghai. A short article in Romanian describing the event can be accessed here.

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    EU, liberal or illiberal momentum EU, liberal or illiberal momentum

    The Center for Institutional Analysis and Development – Eleutheria (CADI), The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FN), The Institute for Economic Studies – Europe (IES – Europe) and The Society for Individual Freedom (SoLib) organized The September School of Economics, Politics and Philosophy, September 20-25, 2016, at the Hotel Apollo Hermannstadt in Sibiu, Romania. This year’s theme was “Europe at the Crossroads: Illiberal Challenges, Liberal Alternatives”. On this occasion, Octavian-Dragomir Jora delivered a speech entitled “Brave New Europe: Technology, Democracy, Technocracy, Demagoguery” (details here).

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