Adrian-Ioan Damoc
Adrian-Ioan Damoc
Economist, Ph.D. candidate, the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, interested in international relations and economic diplomacy
The Grand (Binary) Chessboard: Security, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics in the Cyber-era

The Grand (Binary) Chessboard: Security, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics in the Cyber-era

For each age that we think to define, there are words that describe the aspects or characteristics that are thought to define it best. The mid-twentieth century was known as the ‘Atomic Age’, when the results of research into nuclear physics were brought to the forefront with the detonation of nuclear bombs. Shortly thereafter, it was succeeded by the Space Age, with the drive to explore outer space and the competition between the world’s superpowers to develop technology to that end. Somewhere from the 1970s, the Information Age is believed to have begun, sprung by the Digital Revolution, with information technology playing an increasingly greater role in human affairs on an ever-growing number of levels: the economy, society, culture, language and politics. Thus, geographic distance became less and less relevant in defining human interaction, and physical contact was no longer an imperative for relations between people. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


À la recherche de l’identité perdue

À la recherche de l’identité perdue

In most contexts, the name Catalonia is typically associated with the world of culture, arts, architecture and sports. It evokes the splendour of the Sagrada Familia, the distinctive styles of Antoni Gaudi and Salvador Dali, the venerable Montserrat Caballé and, of course, the famous Barcelona FC. Yet, in the aftermath of the declaration of independence passed by the Autonomous Community’s Parliament on October 27, 2017, the name is now also associated with the increasingly prominent trend towards fragmentation that has defined socio-political dynamics in the Western world in recent years, in particular Europe. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Matter of Persia: Discerning Meaning from Strife and Unrest

The Matter of Persia: Discerning Meaning from Strife and Unrest

The year 2018 began with a renewal of some of last year’s main geopolitical clashes, the most prominent being the nuclear threats exchanged between North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping delivering grim speeches to his army, urging troops to be ready for war, and analysts offering generally gloomy forecasts for this year. One other significant event that has erupted near the end of 2017 were the unexpected and violent protests in Iran that have continued up to at least the first week of 2018, with mass demonstrations held both for and against the country’s current government and an uncompromising crackdown by Iranian police. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


From the Queen to the Tsar: on Trump’s Travels to Europe

From the Queen to the Tsar: on Trump’s Travels to Europe

An eventful week passed from July 12 to 17 as US President Donald Trump made two high-profile visits to Europe: one to the United Kingdom where he met with the British monarchy and government officials, and one to Helsinki where he met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. These events occurred in a complicated geopolitical context: on the one hand, it appears we are witnessing a paradigm shift in US-EU relations, with increasingly divergent viewpoints on a number of key issues, most notably security in Europe’s Eastern flank and the Middle East; on the other hand, the suspicions of Russian involvement in the US elections in order to skew the votes in Trump’s favour are still alive in the eyes of certain US officials and part of the American electorate.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Fortress Europe under Siege: The Ongoing Refugee Crisis

Fortress Europe under Siege: The Ongoing Refugee Crisis

The term “Fortress Europe” was used during World War II to denote European territories occupied by Nazi forces, as well as military operations conducted by the British military against mainland targets in Germany. It was also used by Britain’s enemy, Nazi Germany, to refer to its goal of conquering the entirety of Europe so as to create an impenetrable powerbase. After the war ended, the term was used in the context of the European Union’s policies on immigration, border control and trade matters, with positive connotations for conservative factions opposing migration and negative for the more open factions.  More

No. 5-6, May.-Aug. 2017 2017


Blood Is Thicker than Oil: The Throes of Venezuela’s Crisis

Blood Is Thicker than Oil: The Throes of Venezuela’s Crisis

As the smoking gun of Venezuela’s unrest clears away, onlookers wonder whether it is about to be holstered back or cocked for another shot. To most observers, the socio-political crisis in Venezuela came as a big surprise, as if out of nowhere. Owing perhaps to its remote geographic location and the prominence of more spectacular geopolitical events, it is easy to overlook the fact that we are not speaking about a recent outbreak. Instead, the current presidential scandal is but the very latest addition to a long-lasting crisis that began somewhere in 2010 due to economic shortages and worsened with the upheaval of the existing political equilibrium following the death of long-standing president, Hugo Chávez, in 2013. Venezuela has been a powder keg for nearly a decade, as the country’s unsustainable oil-reliant economy has shown its unfortunate limits, which were further compounded by the government’s ineffectual policies, strongly influenced by the anti-Western leanings common to both Chávez and current president Nicolás Maduro.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Passions of France

The Passions of France

Monday, April 15th 2019, was the third day of the Holy Week for Catholic Christians, the week that commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ preceding His crucifixion and resurrection. The day followed another weekend of protests in France, when 30,000 people demonstrated in several major French cities against President Emmanuel Macron. It is therefore a most unfortunate coincidence that, on that day, one of France’s most recognisable monuments, the 850-year old Cathedral of Notre-Dame, caught fire and was nearly destroyed before the fire was eventually put out some 15 hours later. The cathedral’s spire was completely wrecked by the flames, and the building suffered notable structural damage; some of the artefacts stored within it were touched by fire and smoke to varying degrees. The incident took France and the world at large by storm, drawing strong reactions from the general public as well as from celebrities and world leaders. It did not take long for some of France’s wealthiest personalities to pledge vast sums to the reconstruction of the cathedral, while president Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral within five years. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Sicut in Caelo, Et in Terra

Sicut in Caelo, Et in Terra

When Pope John Paul II visited Romania in 1999, he achieved a historical landmark as it was the first time the head of the Catholic Church visited a primarily Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054. While his papacy did not escape criticism and controversy, John Paul II was arguably one of the most charismatic and well-liked popes in recent times, having received recognition for several breakthroughs: he is widely credited for his role in motivating political movements that led to the collapse of Communist regimes and of the Duvalier rule in Haiti; he publicly addressed apologies in the name of the Catholic Church to those individuals and groups who had suffered because of it, for instance the Galileo affair, the actions of the Inquisition or the Church’s underwhelming response to the Holocaust. Another key feature of his tenure was the efforts he invested to establish and sustain dialogue among the Abrahamic faiths. Although, from a theological viewpoint, he is considered to have been a conservative, he came under criticism from both progressives and traditionalists for issues such as failing to adequately handle the sex abuse of children by Catholic prelates, his stances against artificial birth control methods or his support of religious freedom. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


No Laughing Matter: What the Presidential Elections in Ukraine Have to Teach Us about Politics

No Laughing Matter: What the Presidential Elections in Ukraine Have to Teach Us about Politics

When the possibility arose that Ukrainian actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky could run for President of Ukraine and actually win, it might well have elicited a few amused chuckles and raised eyebrows, but it was no longer a laughing matter when he came to dominate opinion polls and eventually confirmed his approval ratings by winning the elections by a landslide, garnering over 73% of the votes. Zelensky soundly defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko against the backdrop of the ongoing war in the Donbass region between anti-Russian and pro-Russian factions.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


South-Asian Standoff: The Broader Implications of Russian Involvement in the South China Sea

South-Asian Standoff: The Broader Implications of Russian Involvement in the South China Sea

Sino-Russian relations are never easy to categorise neatly. Marked in equal measures by common interests and a mutual distrust, by a tendency to cooperate as well as the pressure of the competition that their geopolitical profiles consign them to, China and Russia have not had any significant clashes since the end of the Cold War, when a Sino-American alliance was forged as part of the US strategy to contain the USSR. Over the years, there have been various efforts on both camps to capitalise on their mutual interests and solidify their collaboration. Both countries are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and China has resumed importing Russian military gear following a European Union-enforced arms embargo in the wake of the Tiananmen Square protests. The NATO presence in Central Asia and the Middle East has also driven Russia and China to seek common ground in order to avert the expansion of American influence in the region. Moreover, in 2014, China and Russia signed a 30-year deal to sell energy to China and to build the ambitiously named Power of Siberia, a pipeline which would transport Russian gas to the Far East. More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


Robots and Empire(s)

Robots and Empire(s)

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

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Triangle of Terror

The Triangle of Terror

A lorry crashes into a crowd of people gathered at the Berlin Christmas fair, killing 12 and injuring 56. At an art exhibition in Ankara, Turkey, Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov is shot dead by a young police officer who shouts Allah’s name and vindictive slogans against military actions in Syria before being gunned down himself by the Turkish police. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016