Halleh Ghorashi ~ De toekomst van de Westerse democratie en de Civil Society

I Have a Dream… De toekomst van de Westerse democratie en de Civil Society – Lezing Halleh Ghorashi (Bijzonder hoogleraar Management van Diversiteit, VU), Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, 2008.

Enerzijds wordt de Westerse democratie als belangrijk exportproduct gezien door regeringsleiders, anderzijds klinkt zowel internationaal als van binnenuit een steeds luidere kritiek op de Westerse democratie.
De afgelopen jaren wordt het belang van de civil society in onze samenleving als wezenlijk geacht. Democratie is veel meer dan de vrijheid om je stem te mogen uitbrengen. In tegenstelling tot wat vaak wordt beweerd, gaat het bij democratie niet alleen om de meerderheid, maar vooral om de ruimte voor de minderheid. En deze is juist wat democratie kwetsbaar maakt, hoe maak je ruimte voor de ander, wanneer je die ander als bedreiging van democratie beschouwt?

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Kishore Mahbubani ~ The Century Of Asia: The Inevitable Global Power Shift

Kishore Mahbubani: ‘You in the West have no idea how the rest of the world looks at you. They see an emperor without clothes. The world has changed
tremendously, but you do not understand what that means. Globalisation Lecture 23: The Century of Asia: The inevitable global power shift, Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, 13-11- 2008.

For centuries Asians (Chinese, Indians, Muslims and others) were on the sidelines of world history. But the East is rapidly modernizing and is ready to claim their share of world power. They are among the fastest growing economies and have some of the largest financial reserves. On a social and cultural level the East is changing fast. How do Europe and the US respond to the rapid rise of the East? According to Singaporean intellectual Kishore Mahbubani, the Western business world appears to be the only one anticipating changes in the East. Western governments seem to be looking the other way and fail to accept that a shift in economic power will also mean a shift in political and cultural power.

 

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Internationalisation Of The Arts And Culture Calls For A New Approach

Ills.: Joseph Semah

Spring 2006

The international activities of arts institutions are attracting more and more attention. The simplest foreign activity of an arts institution may consist of the artist of artistic company performing abroad, either on their own initiative or upon request. More and more companies, whether large or small, are increasingly being asked to perform at festivals or other events. The fact that this is gradually becoming common practice fits in with the disappearance of every possible barrier to international exchange. There is probably virtually no arts institution which never performs abroad at some time. Of course, there are all kinds of similar phenomena in the opposite direction.

There are special agencies which manage this import and export. Large or small, they are the middlemen between supply and demand, between presenters and producers, or between presenters and presenters. It thus frequently happens that presenters from various countries engage themselves for tours organised by such agencies.

The state of affairs outlined above is not really much more than a simple question of import and export. Strictly speaking, there is no need for the company concerned to do anything besides preparing its performance. The work is primarily aimed at the domestic market. A text or script may occasionally get translated, but generally speaking no effort is required apart from the effort needed to be taken seriously in one’s own country. Besides, regular performances abroad are no automatic guarantee that the company itself makes closer or more artistic international contacts. The most that can be expected is that more markets are opened up for the product supplied by the company, but it is highly questionable whether – and if so, to what extent – the product, the company or the artist are influenced by a different artistic orientation or confrontation.

This kind of cultural exchange will be almost entirely disregarded in a more detailed consideration of the concept of ‘internationalisation’. After all, one may assume that these activities across national borders are a part of the ordinary day-to-day activities of an arts institution.

A dialogue requires modesty
Before an exchange, tour, series of lectures or exhibition abroad comes up for discussion, the first question that has to be answered is whether the foreigners concerned are interested in it: “Do they want it? Are we obliging anyone with it?” Before these questions can be answered, it is first necessary to find out who “they” are. Minimal requirements in this respect are: being able to speak the language of the host country; being familiar with its forms of behaviour and peculiarities; and gauging the interests of both sides by means of personal conversations.

Information can only be transferred after getting to know one another on a personal level, and it should be carried out between the parties themselves: the art gallery owner and the painter, the theatre and the mime company, etc. This demands a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the entire range of the arts available, both in the home country and abroad. As far as the performing arts are concerned, it is virtually impossible for an ordinary person to keep up with the developments of the past twenty years. It is hardly possible any longer for a local organisation to collect the information required to operate as an international orientation point as well.
People will have to respond to issues relating to the arts, cultural policy and production which arise elsewhere in Europe as well. International cooperation is essential if artists are to continue to have the opportunity to create, perform and innovate. Read more

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Blauwdruk Europa ~ Interview met Alicja Gescinksa


Filosoof Alicja Gescinksa houdt een vurig pleidooi voor meer moraal in het openbare discours. We kunnen niet zonder moraal in het gesprek en moeten duidelijk zijn over welke waarden we willen uitdragen, zoals de ander erkennen, geïnspireerd zijn door verschillende culturen, en solidariteit creëren. Het is geen statisch gegeven, maar een eeuwigdurend proces: vrijheid moet je elke dag opnieuw veroveren. Erkenning van de wisselwerking tussen
verschillende landen, erfgoed e.d. is noodzakelijk, evenals een politieke vertaalslag. We hebben de EU nodig als overkoepelend orgaan, maar moeten wel sceptisch blijven kijken naar haar functioneren.

Geschinska heeft zelf een migrantenachtergrond, en moest leren loyaal te zijn in haar nieuwe land België. “Maar als je niet weet waar je vandaan komt, weet je niet waar je naar toe gaat.”

Blauwdruk Europa – Alicja Gescinska, interview Linda Bouws – 23 april 2013

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The Anatomy Of US Military Policy: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich

andrewbacevich3

Andrew Bacevich ~ Photo: democracynow.org

Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been the only true global superpower, with US policymakers intervening freely anywhere around the world where they feel there are vital political or economic interests to be protected. Most of the time US policymakers seem to act without a clear strategy at hand and surely without feeling the need to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Such is the case, for instance, with the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. US policymakers also seem to be clueless about what to do with regard to several “hot spots” around the world, such as Libya and Syria, and it is rather clear that the US no longer has a coherent Middle East policy.

What type of a global power is this? I posed this question to retired colonel and military historian Andrew Bacevich, a Boston University professor who has authored scores of books on US foreign and military policy, including America’s War for the Greater Middle East, Breach of Trust, and The Limits of Power. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Bacevich explains how the militaristic nature of US foreign policy is a serious impediment to democracy and human rights.

C.J. Polychroniou: I’d like to start by asking you to outline the basic principles and guidelines of the current national military strategy of the United States.

Andrew Bacevich: There is no coherent strategy. US policy is based on articles of faith — things that members of the foreign policy establishment have come to believe, regardless of whether they are true or not. The most important of those articles is the conviction that the United States must “lead” — that the alternative to American leadership is a world that succumbs to anarchy. An important corollary is this: Leadership is best expressed by the possession and use of military power.

According to the current military strategy, US forces must be ready to confront threats whenever they appear. Is this a call for global intervention?

Almost, but not quite. Certainly, the United States intervenes more freely than any other nation on the planet. But it would be a mistake to think that policymakers view all regions of the world as having equal importance. Interventions tend to reflect whatever priorities happen to prevail in Washington at a particular moment. In recent decades, the Greater Middle East has claimed priority attention.

What’s really striking is Washington’s refusal or inability to take into account what this penchant for armed interventionism actually produces. No one in a position of authority can muster the gumption to pose these basic questions: Hey, how are we doing? Are we winning? Once US forces arrive on the scene, do things get better?

The current US military strategy calls for an upgrade of the nuclear arsenal. Does “first use” remain an essential component of US military doctrine?

It seems to, although for the life of me I cannot understand why. US nuclear policy remains frozen in the 1990s. Since the end of the Cold War, in concert with the Russians, we’ve made modest but not inconsequential reductions in the size of our nuclear arsenal. But there’s been no engagement with first order questions. Among the most important: Does the United States require nuclear weapons to maintain an adequate deterrent posture? Given the advances in highly lethal, very long range, very precise conventional weapons, I’d argue that the answer to that question is, no. Furthermore, as the only nation to have actually employed such weapons in anger, the United States has a profound interest and even a moral responsibility to work toward their abolition — which, of course, is precisely what the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obliges us to do. It’s long past time to take that obligation seriously. For those who insist that there is no alternative to American leadership, here’s a perfect opportunity for Washington to lead.

Does the US have, at the present time, a Middle East policy?

Not really, unless haphazardly responding to disorder in hopes of preventing things from getting worse still qualifies as a policy. Sadly, US efforts to “fix” the region have served only to make matters worse. Even more sadly, members of the policy world refuse to acknowledge that fundamental fact. So we just blunder on.
There is no evidence — none, zero, zilch — that the continued U.S. military assertiveness in that region will lead to a positive outcome. There is an abundance of evidence pointing in precisely the opposite direction.

Was the US less militaristic under the Obama administration than it was under the Bush administration?

It all depends on how you define “militaristic.” Certainly, President Obama reached the conclusion rather early on that invading and occupying countries with expectations of transforming them in ways favorable to the United States was a stupid idea. That said, Obama has shown no hesitation to use force and will bequeath to his successor several ongoing wars.
Obama has merely opted for different tactics, relying on air strikes, drones and special operations forces, rather than large numbers of boots on the ground. For the US, as measured by casualties sustained and dollars expended, costs are down in comparison to the George W. Bush years. Are the results any better? No, not really.

To what extent is the public in the US responsible for the uniqueness of the military culture in American society?

The public is responsible in this sense: The people have chosen merely to serve as cheerleaders. They do not seriously attend to the consequences and costs of US interventionism.
The unwillingness of Americans to attend seriously to the wars being waged in their names represents a judgment on present-day American democracy. That judgment is a highly negative one.

What will US involvement in world affairs look like under the Trump administration?

Truly, only God knows.
Trump’s understanding of the world is shallow. His familiarity with the principles of statecraft is negligible. His temperament is ill-suited to cool, considered decision making.
Much is likely to depend on the quality of advisers that he surrounds himself with. At the moment, he seems to favor generals. I for one do not find that encouraging.

Copyright, Truthout. 

Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins.

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism’s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

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Dutch Caribbean Digital Platform

dcdp

The Dutch Caribbean Digital Platform is online since 2 November 2015
We – the University of Curaçao Library – are in the process of optimizing the system and building our collections. Much of the content still has ‘restricted access’. For these items, we are in the process of clearing copyright issues. If you are the copyright owner of one of these items, please contact us through library@uoc.cw or call Margo Groenewoud, (5999) 7442236.

Upcoming events
In November and December 2015, we will organise meetings both on Curaçao and in The Netherlands to demonstrate the platform to our stakeholders. We need your help to open up us much content as possible, in the interest of our community and for optimal use in education and research.
If you want to know more or want to be invited to one of these meetings, please let us now through library@uoc.cw.

See: http://dcdp.uoc.cw/

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