O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

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quinta-feira, 24 de maio de 2018

Liberalism: the life of an idea - Edmund Fawcett (The Economist)

Why liberals need to be vulgar

An interview with Edmund Fawcett on his book “Liberalism”

Insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology, books and arts.
“A feeble creed for weedy people! Rightists and Leninists love that caricature,” says Edmund Fawcett about liberals. The Economist asked Mr Fawcett to reply to five direct questions in answers of roughly 100 words.
Mr Fawcett is the author of “Liberalism: The Life of an Idea”, which was published this month in a second edition, making room for President Donald Trump, Brexit and other political tremors that have shaken the liberal mindset. He was a journalist at The Economist for 30 years before retiring in 2003.
His responses are below. They are followed by an excerpt that he picked because, as he put it: “Liberalism is easy to recognise but hard to sum up. You have to start somewhere, though, and this extract — from my preface — works, I trust, as a front door.”
In a word, liberalism needs to become democratic again.

What is liberalism?

There’s no one-sentence answer, yet you can fill a library with complicated academic answers. The thing to hang on to is that we can all recognise liberalism, especially now it’s under threat. If pressed for a thumbnail, I’d pick out four key liberal beliefs: society is always in conflict; undue power — of the state, wealth or oppressive majorities — has to be resisted; human progress is possible; and everyone deserves society’s respect, whoever they are. Each idea has ancient roots. Looking for them in political form before the 19th-century is like looking for the Athenian bicycle or the medieval microchip.

Not long ago liberals won the Cold War. They dominated public argument and the agenda for policy. What went wrong for them?

When Soviet communism collapsed, liberals needed to wake up and see two things. One, there were attractive non-liberal roads to capitalist development. Liberals shouldn’t have been surprised by Turkey or Hungary, let alone Russia and China. Two, in the liberal West itself, liberalism’s strength and scope greatly varied. Liberalism could be more democratic or less democratic: more for everyone, or more for a few. Liberals are forever forgetting and having to relearn that lesson. After 1945, liberalism spread its benefits and protections to many. Now, liberalism looks too much like privilege. In a word, liberalism needs to become democratic again.

Liberalism devours itself by giving too much freedom and letting anti-liberals undermine it by, for example, banning certain kinds of speech.

No-platforming makes a handy bat for bashing liberals. But liberalism has nothing to answer for. Acceptable speech is bound to be fought over. What’s socially acceptable or unacceptable to say in public shifts. Think of blasphemy. Think of the word “fuck”. The fight now is over demeaning stereotypes and views that endorse them. Unacceptable? Some think yes, some no. Liberalism rightly sets a high bar against laws limiting speech. But legally permissible doesn’t mean socially acceptable. If talk of some kind becomes odious in society, it’s not for liberals to make society change its mind on behalf of free speech.
Liberals do need to sound tougher. They need clearer, shorter, more vulgar ways to say what they stand for.

Is the liberal credo intellectual and passive? Under attack from active, muscular creeds, does liberalism hide in its library?

A feeble creed for weedy people! Rightists and Leninists love that caricature. It’s cheap and easy. But who laughs last? Recall what liberals believe in. It takes tough-mindedness to see conflict in society as inevitable. You need toughness to stand up to undue power, to press for progress even if it rolls back on you, to stand up for everyone, however stupid, burdensome or seemingly useless. Liberals may look wet. But don’t push them. Think of Lincoln or Roosevelt. That said, liberals do need to sound tougher. They need clearer, shorter, more vulgar ways to say what they stand for.

Are there any modern or contemporary thinkers who you rank among the great liberals, or are all liberal heroes of a bygone era?

You can get a long way without giants and heroes. Liberalism hasn’t at present intellectual heroes like Constant, Humboldt or Mill in the 19th century. They not only thought and wrote about, but also practised, politics. On the other hand, liberalism is much better defended in depth intellectually than it was then. That’s hard to see, of course, as knowledge is fragmented and specialised. To make those deep defences accessible to a wide public takes breadth of view and skill at summary. Outstanding professors still combine learning and eloquence, for example, Thomas Nagel in America or Pierre Rosanvallon in France.


An excerpt from the preface of “Liberalism”, 2nd edition:
To shore up a weakened building, you need to understand its foundations. You need to grasp what it rests on, why it arose, and what it is for. So it is with democratic liberalism, or to use the more familiar name, liberal democracy. Nobody who witnessed recent political shocks and watched anti-liberal successes in Europe and the United States can doubt that liberal democracy is under challenge from inside and out.
As discrepancies of wealth and power widened in recent decades, disaffected citizens questioned liberalism’s aims and ideals. A great structure of historic wealth and shelter that lately appeared to be the envy of the world showed weaknesses and flaws. As the pride of its occupants gave way to self-doubt, people on all sides asked, were those flaws reparable or fatal? Across the world, liberalism’s geopolitical prestige was dimmed by rising powers that offered attractive-looking non-liberal paths to material progress and stability. The liberal democratic world itself appeared to be splitting as the United States and Britain took illiberal paths politically and unilateralist paths internationally, leaving a shaken France and Germany as European standard-bearers for the liberal order.
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    Insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology, books and arts.
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    Insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology, books and arts
  • quarta-feira, 7 de março de 2018

    O populismo contra a democracia - Yascha Mounk

    Dear reader,

    we would like to draw your attention to a new publication by our partners from Harvard University Press.

     ​​​​​​​
    The world is in turmoil. From India to Turkey and from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, Yascha Mounk shows, democracy itself may now be at risk.

    Two core components of liberal democracy—individual rights and the popular will—are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.”

    The consequence, Mounk shows in The People vs. Democracy, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few.

    ​​​​​​​The People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy. 

    segunda-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2018

    Thomas O'Keefe publica livro sobre as relacoes do EUA com a AL

    Meu amigo Thomas O'Keefe, a quem convidei logo no início de minha gestão como Diretor do Instituto de Pesquisa de Relações Internacionais, IPRI-Funag – aqui: “O que pode o Brasil esperar de um governo Donald Trump nos EUA”, proferida pelo Professor Thomas Andrew O’Keefe, Brasília/DF, 23 de novembro de 2016 – acaba de publicar um novo livro: 


    Gostaria que ele viesse novamente ao Brasil, para apresenta-lo e para que pudéssemos debater o seu conteúdo, aqui revelado parcialmente: 

    Vejamos mais um pouco...

    George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, and the Decline of United States Hegemony in the Western Hemisphere
    By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Dedication
    List of Graphs
    Acknowledgments

    Chapter One: What is Hegemony and When Has the United States of America Been a
     Hegemon?

    I.               Introduction………………………………………………………………………………
    II.             The Theoretical Underpinnings of Hegemony…………………………………………...

    Text Box: Variegated Hierarchy…………………………………………………

    III.           The United States of America as a “Global” Hegemon………………………………….

    IV.           The United States of America as a Regional Hegemon………………………………….
    Chapter Two: The Inter-American System Under the Aegis of United States Hegemony
    I.               Introduction………………………………………………………………………………
    II.             The Pan American Union……………………………………………………………………………………..
    III.           The Organization of American States (OAS)……………….……………………………………………………………………
    Text Box: Human Rights in the Inter-American System…….…….…………...
    IV.           Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………….
    Chapter Three: A Post Hegemonic Inter-American System
    I.               Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….

    II.             The Diminishing Influence of the United States of America in the OAS……………...

    Text Box:  The War on Drugs…...………………………………………………..

    III.           The Appearance of Potential Rival Institutions to the OAS……………………………

    a.     The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)……………………………….

    b.     The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)...……………

    IV.           Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...

    Chapter Four: The Emergence and Collapse of the Free Trade Area of the Americas
    I.               Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….

    II.             Preparing the Stage for the Negotiations………………………………………………

    III.           The Growing Rift between U.S. and Brazilian Objectives…………………………….

    IV.           The Negotiations Become Hopelessly Deadlocked…………………………………....

    V.             The Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America and the Peoples’ Trade Treaty…………………………………………………………………………………..

    VI.           Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………..

    Chapter Five: The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
    I.               Introduction……………………………………………………………………………

    II.             Launching the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)....………….

    III.           ECPA Initiatives………………………………………………………………………..

    IV.           A Missed Opportunity to Establish a Hemispheric Cap and Trade Program…………..

    V.             The Caribbean Energy Security Initiative………………………………………………

    VI.           Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...

    Chapter Six: China in Latin America and the Caribbean
    I.               Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….

    II.             China’s Growing Commercial Presence in Latin America and the Caribbean………...

    III.           The Chinese Challenge to U.S. Hegemony in Latin America and the Caribbean……..

    IV.           Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...


    Chapter Seven: The Record on Other Major U.S. Foreign Policy Initiatives for the Western
                                Hemisphere under George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama

    I.               Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..

    II.             Plan Colombia…………………………………………………………………………..

    III.           The Merida Initiative…………………………………………………………………...

    IV.           Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas………………………………………………..

    V.             The Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)………………………….

    VI.           The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI)…….…………………………………

    VII.         100,000 Strong in the Americas………………………………………………………..

    VIII.       Restoring Normal Diplomatic Relations with Cuba……………………………………

    IX.          Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...

    Chapter Eight: The Current State of Affairs and Future Ramifications
    Bibliography
    Index

    LIST OF GRAPHS

    a.     Andean Community Exports and Imports……………………………………………...

    b.     Central America Exports and Imports………………………………………………….

    c.     MERCOSUR Exports and Imports……………………………………………………..

    d.     Mexico Exports and Imports……………………………………………………………

    e.     Lending to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016…………………………………

    Apreciações: 



    A Introdução:

    I.                   Introduction
    The genesis for this book is the flurry of discussions in the media and academic circles on the purported decline of United States hegemony in the Western Hemisphere that coincided with the start of the twenty-first century.  These assertions blossomed following the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, as the administration of George W. Bush concentrated its attention on eliminating Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamist cells in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Somalia.  There was a widespread sentiment that because of this new focus, the United States was “ignoring” Latin America and the Caribbean.  This period also coincided with the election of leftist governments in many Latin American countries that frequently adopted policy positions that were blatantly hostile to the agenda long promoted by Washington, DC.  Unlike what might have been the response in the past, the United States now seemed to acquiesce to the new status quo in the Americas.  This book tests the thesis of whether there has indeed been a decline in the hegemony traditionally exercised by the United States in the Western Hemisphere since at least the end of the 19th century.
    At the outset, it is important to underscore that this book is about hegemony and not about power per se Although the United States emerged as the sole superpower after the end of the Cold War, with cumulative, economic, military, and other capabilities, preponderant capabilities across the board do not guarantee effective influence in any given arena.[i]  For one things, American dominance in the international security arena no longer translates into effective leverage in the international economic arena, as the United States faces rising economic challengers with their own agendas and with greater discretion in international economic policy.[ii]  Accordingly, this book focuses on those international relations theories where the concept of hegemony is a key component for explaining United States foreign policy and actions.  It also addresses the conception of hegemony as developed by the Italian sociologist and neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci.  Furthermore, this book does not attempt to wade into the lively debate within the international relations field over which conception of hegemony is more valid or to propose yet another theory of international relations for that matter.  Instead, its goal is less ambitious.  It utilizes existing definitions and notions of hegemony to answer whether its exercise by the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean objectively declined under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.
    It is also important to emphasize the distinction between imperialism and hegemony.  The fact that both terms are, often, used interchangeably to describe United States behavior in the Western Hemisphere leads to much confusion, even in academic circles.  Although the precise definition of imperialism may be as contested as one for hegemony, imperialism reflects a geopolitical arrangement whereby one state extends its dominion---frequently through use of force---over populations beyond its borders that are culturally and ethnically distinct from its own.[iii]  While an imperial power attempts to control both the internal and external affairs of a client state, a hegemon respects a subaltern’s domestic sovereignty but impinges on its autonomy to conduct an independent foreign policy.[iv]  Without a doubt, the forcible annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1898 against the clear wishes of its monarch and the overwhelming majority of its indigenous population provides an egregious example of U.S. imperialism.  Similarly, a case can be made for the U.S. annexation of Puerto Rico and the Philippines where, following the defeat of Spanish forces in 1898, the U.S. refused to recognize, and in the Filipino case, ruthlessly crushed a vibrant independence movement.  On the other hand, labeling as imperialistic the U.S. invasions and subsequent occupations of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua in the earlier part of the 20th century is debatable given that there was never an expressed intention by U.S. government officials to hold on to these countries indefinitely.  In fact, the delays in quickly restoring sovereignty was often because U.S. efforts to implement “reforms” and make a hasty exit was complicated by the fierce, armed resistance that arose to American occupation.
    This work utilizes four case studies to test whether there has indeed been a decline in United States hegemony in the Western Hemisphere since the January 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush.  These include the inter-American system centered on the Organization of America States, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, and the expanding role of China as a major trade and investment rival to the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean.  In addition, the book also examines other illustrative foreign policy initiatives under Bush and Obama to support or debunk the notion that there has been a decline in U.S. hegemony.  In particular, the book examines:  (1) Plan Colombia; (2) the Merida Initiative; (3) the Central American Regional Security Initiative (including the subsequent Alliance for Prosperity of the Northern Triangle of Central America); (4) the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative; (5) Pathways to Prosperity; (6) 100,000 Strong in the Americas; and, (7) the re-establishment of normal U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba.



    Mais um pouco: 

    ACKNOWLEDMENTS

                I deeply appreciate the encouragement that my colleagues and friends Annette Hester, Robin King, Barbara Kotschwar, and Carol Wise have extended to me over the years in our mutual quest to create a more economically integrated Western Hemisphere rooted in equity, as well as the intellectual support of decades from Cathy Schneider in deepening my understanding of Latin American politics.  I am indebted to Jane Kamide as well, whose retirement offered me the opportunity to get an inside view of how U.S. foreign policy is formulated and implemented while serving as Chair of the Western Hemisphere Area Studies program at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute between 2011 and 2016.  I am also grateful to Stanford University and the trust it has put in me since 2007 to educate its students, and the access it has provided me to its rich archival and book collections as well data banks and electronic resources that facilitated writing this book.  I especially want to thank the following Stanford University faculty and staff:  Rodolfo Dirzo, Herbert Klein, Ivan Jaksic, Adrienne Jamieson, Julie Kennedy, Lynn Orr, Ken Schultz, Stephen Stedman, Megan Gorman, and Elizabeth Sáenz-Ackermann.  Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the anonymous reviewer at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS) journal, Latin American Essays, who faulted an article I had submitted for publication some years ago for not including a discussion of the different theories of hegemony.  Although this omission did not prevent the article from being published, it did serve as the catalyst for me to eventually write this book to remedy that oversight.

    Vamos ver se consigo trazê-lo durante o ano...

    Paulo Roberto de Almeida