Friday, December 28, 2007
Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations. Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first century, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2003.
Albeit this is not a most recent publication, it nonetheless deserves to be considered for its sweeping interpretation of today’s global predicament. In this small book of essays Robert Cooper argues that two revolutionary forces are transforming international relations: the breakdown of state control over violence, reflected in the growing ability of tiny private groups to wield weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of a stable, peaceful order in Europe that is not based on either the balance of power or the sovereignty of independent states. In this scheme, the Westphalian system of nation-states and power politics is being undermined on both sides: by a postmodern Europe and a premodern world of failed states and post-imperial chaos. Furthermore, Cooper explores how the West should cope with the encroachment of premodern violence. The American approach to such threats is hegemonic. The European Union, meanwhile, aims to expand outward to absorb threatening societies on its periphery. In Cooper’s view, neither approach is sustainable, and he seeks a synthesis that would allow the United States and Europe to confront threats together over the long haul.
Robert Francis Cooper was a British diplomat until 2002 when he assumed the role of Director-General of the Directorate-General E - External Economic Relations, Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.
Born in 1947, he joined the Diplomatic Service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1970. As a diplomat, he has worked at various British Embassies abroad, notably those in Tokyo and Bonn. At the Foreign Office, he was Head of the Policy Planning Staff from 1989 to 1993. He was the UK’s Special Representative in Afghanistan until mid-2002. Since 2007 he has been a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
In 2004, Cooper was awarded the Orwell Prize for The Breaking of Nations.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The French diplomat Philippe Moreau Defarges has published Introduction à la géopolitique (Collection, Points du Seuil, 2nd ed., 2005). As the title already reveals the aim of the book is to introduce the reader to geopolitical thinking. The author provides clear definitions and historical examples, which demonstrate the importance of geopolitics. Moreau Defarges offers an introduction to the geopolitical dimension of the great international issues such as war, international trade or international organisations. The book outlines the importance of geopolitical reasoning, the close link between spatial and political realities and how the geopolitical reality determines inequalities between states, which cannot be ignored.
Philippe Moreau Defarges, Minister Plenipotentiary, is also the co-director of the RAMSES report at the Institut français des relations internationals (IFRI) and professor at Science-Po. He is the author of several publications on international relations and geopolitical issues. These publications include Relations Internationales, Tome 1: Questions Régionales (Poche, 2003), Relations Internationales, Tome 2: Questions Mondiales (Poche, 2007) and Les Institutions Européennes (Broché, 2005).
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The books vary form International Affairs (Viaje Real a Grecia by Javier Jiménez-Ugarte) to Memoirs (Episodios de un Diplomático by Jaime de Piniés y Rubio), from Novels (La Cumbre by Jorge Fuentes) to Poetry (Rimas en claro. Primera Antología de Poetas Diplomáticos (s.XX)), from Culture (La Magia del Teatro by Enrique Llovet) to history (Las Depuraciones de la Carrera Diplomática Española
(1931-1980) by José Luis Pérez Ruiz).
This series is published under the auspices of the Association of Spanish Diplomats (ADE) which supports it through specific subscriptions of its members.
More titles of books published by Spanish diplomats are also available on the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperacción) at the page:
Monday, November 19, 2007
The book traces the evolution of Peacebuilding activities since the early 1990s and sheds light in those areas thatrequire further attention. In spite of the considerable efforts and resources invested in years of practice,Peacebuilding activities throughout the 1990s were undertaken by a multitude of actors in absence of an overall political strategy. The main challenges of Peacebuilding are therefore not due to lack of knowledge or lessons learned;instead, they are due to the failure to produce a commonly agreed doctrine and to translate it into meaningful guidelines on the ground. The book further argues that although progress is being made, the United Nations system and donor agencies have failed thus far to address satisfactorily three main gaps: political leadership,strategic coordination and a comprehensive mechanism.
Note that a Free Online PDF version of the book is available at: http://www.ssi.unitn.it/working_papers/index.htm
Cutillo Alberto, Reviewing Fifteen Years of Peacebuilding.Past, Present and Future of International Assistance toCountries Emerging from Conflicts and Italy's Contribution,Universita' di Trento, Scuola di Studi Internazionali,Working Paper 01/2007, Trento, 2007, pp.139
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
A young Italian diplomat, Cesare Bieller, has recently published a book (in Italian) on the famous French Diplomat Paul Morand.
Paul Morand ( 1888 - 1976) was a French diplomat who excelled in writing novels. His books were noted in the Twenties for their elegant and concise narrative style, and for the author's insightful observations of the many countries he visited. Morand's reputation has been marred by his political stance during the Second War War, when he collaborated with the Vichy Regime. After the war he lived in exile in Switzerland and wrote more profound texts.
Paul Morand's books, be they his travel narratives or his moralistic works, are extraordinarily relevant today. Cesare Bieller reveals to us a few of the many facets of this modern and contradictory writer who loved Italy so much that he named his Memoirs, "Venices". It is a journey into the universe of a writer who, although misunderstood during his lifetime, remains compelling to this day.
Here are the bibliographic data:
Bieller Cesare, Paul Morand. Giorno e notte, Liaison editrice, Courmayeur, 2007, pp.79.
The book is available at http://www.ibs.it
Monday, November 05, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
The book contains information and unique data on the structures, operation and the working style of the foreign ministries of the five key countries in Asia, mentioned in the title. The book offers a comparative examination of the performance of these foreign ministries together with new insight into the countries covered, as also for its examination of the cultural dimension of the diplomatic process.
A brief quote from the Introduction: "World Affairs are more fluid than before and therefore demand greater attention. Diplomacy is globalised. One consequence is that almost all foreign ministries are reorganizing themselves, and fine tuning their diplomatic machinery to deliver improved performance. Such MFA adaptation-transformation
Further information on the book and order form for the book are available at the page http://www.diplomacy.edu/Books
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The Dutch Diplomat Carel Jan Schneider has published several novels under the pseudonym of F. Springer. He has been posted in
He was born in 1932 in Batavia (today Jakarta) in the former Dutch East Indies.
His stories are often located in places where he has served. This is the case, for example, of Teheran, een zwanezang (Teheran, A Swan Song, 1991), considered as one of his best novels.