Back to the Future?

The Role of the Communist Party in the Czech Republic

Opinion polls in Central and Eastern Europe in recent years have identified considerable nostalgia for the Communist era among the population. The German term ”Ostalgie”, coined in the course of public debate on the subject, shows the importance that researchers attach to the phenomenon. A return to Communist rule is a conceivable or even desirable option for the citizens in question.

Continuity in Costa Rica for the Coming Parliamentary Term

Costa Rica Has Elected Its New President

On 7 February 2010, Costa Rica elected a woman as head of state for the first time in its history with Laura Chinchilla of the Social Democrat – Liberal governing party, Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN). 60 years after the introduction of voting rights for women in Costa Rica, a woman has made the leap to the country’s top job.


Ausgabe 4/2010 der Auslandsinformationen der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

Material for Conflicts

Egyptian Row over the Full Face Veil

Since the French attempted ”burka ban” in December 2009, if not before, the Islam debate in Europe has a new element, the argument whether to tolerate or ban the full face veil. What many don’t know is that the pioneer in this controversy was not strictly secular France, but deeply religious Egypt. Largely unnoticed by the European public, a fierce public debate has been raging for months over the ”niqab” – the Arab version of the burka.

On the Current Situation of Christians in the Middle East

In his book Vie et Mort des Chrétiens d’Orient published in 1994, the French historian, Jean-Pierre Valognes, who spent part of his life as a diplomat in the Middle East, questioned whether in 3000 A.D. there would still be Christians in the Middle East.

The Current Context of Syrian-Israeli Tensions

Movement in the Region and Stagnation Inward

Once again there is talk of war. Analysts in the local media and people in the street consider this possible. Only three and a half years after the devastating destruction in the showdown between Israel’s government and Lebanon’s virtual ”partial government”, Hezbollah, the war scenario once again awoke in the Levant. For a long time this has meant nothing in the region – war breaks out suddenly here and there, and the more that is spoken about it, the more improbable it is in reality. Yet, the fears draw a picture of the current fault lines.

The Presidential Elections Are over

How Can the Ukrainian Democracy Be Consolidated?

For some time now, the European Union and German foreign affairs politicians have been regarding developments in the Ukraine mainly under the aspect of securing gas supplies. However, the current significance of the second largest European state in terms of geographical area with 46 million inhabitants stretching from Lviv to Donetsk goes far beyond that of a raw material transit country.

United Instead of Divided?

What Effects Are Western Sanctions Having on Iran?

Since the Iranian nuclear program was revealed in 2002/3, the international community, in the form of the 5+1 countries (veto powers of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) along with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has been struggling with the Islamic Republic of Iran as regards the Iranian nuclear program. The lengthy negotiations have now reached a threatening phase, which could entail economic sanctions and, in the worst case, a military confrontation.

Brazil and the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

The Brazilian elite are well aware of the importance of the UN climate debate. There is widespread anxiety that the world community (UN), under the leadership of the USA, could use the threat to the climate as a reason to place the Brazilian Amazon under international administration.

China as a Challenge to the Security of European Energy Supplies

In the future, Asia’s growth economies in particular will, in the course of their economic development, have an enormous influence on the increase of global energy demands. The People’s Republic of China, globally speaking, is already an important energy consumer, as it consumes over two-fifths of the world’s coal and almost a tenth of the world’s petroleum. Although this means that Chinese energy demands are already assuming a significant scale, the energy demand per head remains at only around 30 percent of the average for OECD states.

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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