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Fail in Democracy Return to Authoritarianism

by Oui Fri Sep 15th, 2023 at 11:41:40 AM EST

Study of dictatorships Portugal Spain Greece transition to Democracy and entry to the European Union. A blueprint devolved from within in global environment of some stability. Where did it go wrong with Eastern Europe, the former Soviet bloc of nations ... meddling by a foreign power with mal intent? That is my suspicion... let's see what experts have written on this topic.

Just as the Middle East is a hard nut to crack moving towards peace ☮️ ... the hardened revolutionaries take a long time to accept failings of military conflict. Sudan and Yemen are primary examples. Hopefully the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue on a long path of rapprochement.

My fear is the democratization of New Europe is on a path of utter failure and will take Old Europe along in EU's demise. More expansion is a foolish concept when division is present for all to see. Abolishing veto power will exacerbate the problem of disunity and throwing a sauce of NATO militarism over Europe will cover-up the abscess, not heal the problem.


Mehmet Fuat Köprülü
Speaking at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Lisbon, 20 February 1952

Framing the Transitions at the Outset: A Revolution, a Restoration and a New Start

In the 1970s, the form of regime change determined to a large extent its synchronic perception: a revolution in Portugal, a restoration of the previous democratic regime in Greece and a pacted transition that offered a "new start" in Spain. Ιn the Portuguese case, the military coup of 25 of April quickly turned into a revolutionary dynamic that marked the nature of Portuguese democracy. Challenging the image of a resigned people with "mild manners", during the so-called "revolutionary biennium" (1974-1976) the repressive apparatus of the dictatorship was destroyed, new forms of popular organization were developed, and the independence of the former African colonies was established. The program of the victorious military forces would transform three verbs beginning with the same letter into a national goal: Decolonize, Develop, Democratize-the three Ds of the MFA ("Armed Forces Movement")-embodied, simultaneously, a collective will for change and a strategic direction for the country.

In Greece, the term Metapolitefsi ("quasi-instantaneous regime change") indicated the "slick" handover of power by the army to the conservative political elites. However, the rupture with the dictatorship became possible through the restoration of the limited democracy that had preceded the dictatorship. According to the parliament's emblematic 4th Resolution on 17 January 1975, the dictatorship was a parenthesis of violent abduction of power, so democracy was never abolished according to law. The regime change was related to the earlier mnemonic signifier of "post-war democracy", establishing continuities with this period (the anti-communist legacy penetrated still all forms of political and social life) but also significant ruptures (the legalization of the communist Left and the abolition of monarchy), since the ultimate goal was a liberal democracy within the common European project.

In the Spanish case, the transition began gradually with a liberalization process of the Francoist reformers through negotiations with the democratic opposition. The result was an elite-driven democracy, which would not call into question the pre-existing social and political hierarchies. In this context, the past was considered an obstacle for democratic development and progress, modernization and Europeanization. The hegemonic political discourse "imposed" on the social imaginary the transition to democracy as a "clean slate". In the absence of a suitable reference point in recent history, which could be transformed into an integrative common history, it was necessary to resort to an invented tradition. Indeed, the Transición constitutes still, despite the critical voices, the hegemonic unifying myth of the Spanish democracy. However, even if it facilitated the transitional process, the lack of discussion about the traumatic past in the public sphere, the so-called pacto de olvido ("pact of oblivion"), would become unsustainable with the passage of time.

Greece, the generals and Dutch diplomat Max van der Stoel (PvdA - Labour Party) ...

Max van der Stoel: The Indefatigable Traveler for Human Rights

His generation of Cold War diplomacy has vanished and will not return anytime soon 🥲 🙏🏽

Napoléon is said to have once quipped that ’Africa Begins at the Pyrenees’ or ’Europe ends at the Pyrenees,’ given the Moorish conquest and seven hundred year rule of the Iberian Peninsula.

    C’est une erreur de la géographie que d’avoir attribué l’Espagne à l’Europe; elle appartient à l’Afrique: sang, mœurs, langage, manière de vivre et de combattre; en Espagne tout est africain. Les deux nations ont été mêlées trop longtems, les Carthaginois venus d’Afrique en Espagne, les Vandales passés d’Espagne en Afrique, les Maures séjournant eu Espagne pendant 700 ans, pour qu’une aussi longue cohabitation, pour que ces tranfusions de peuples et de coutumes n’aient pas confondu ensemble les races et les mœurs des deux contrées. Si l’Espagnol était Mahométan, il serait un Africain complet; c’est la religion qui l’a conservé à l’Europe. [Source: Mémoires historiques sur la révolution d’Espagne (1816), M de Pradt]
This notion of Spanish and Portuguese exceptionalism resonated with the European political and economic elite for some two hundred years: there was a widespread belief that Portuguese society and government existed outside of European understandings of society, politics and authority relations. This belief could draw some support from the fact that even at the start of the twentieth century, the political views still dominating Portuguese political discourse involved a rejection of the democratic and liberal revolutions of the modern era (see Payne 1976, Robinson 1979, Manuel 2002). In the 1960s some social science scholars even wondered if the Roman Catholic country could ever become democratic, because its hierarchical political culture rejected the fundamental Enlightenment values of equality, individualism and the general will (see Almond and Verba 1965). Portugal was accordingly viewed among the European political and economic elite as existing at the outer orbit of the European existential space, trapped in the historical and philosophical vacuum of overseas exploration and lusotropicalism2 (see Freyre 1942, Martins 1969, and Birmingham 1993).

Portugal’s return to Europe was complex, multi–dimensional and included many people. During the turbulent days following the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, one political slogan particularly resonated with the hopes and dreams of the Portuguese people: A Europa Conosco (Europe is with us). This slogan—coined by the Socialist Party to help gain electoral support in the 1975 and 1976 elections— spoke to both a generalized hope to end the country’s historical isolation from the rest of Europe, as well as to a European future of peace and prosperity for Portugal. In many ways, Portugal’s successful transition to democracy, and its subsequent adhesion to the European Union, were two concrete steps that helped to fulfil the existential hopes pregnant in that slogan.

Perhaps the starting point of the process took place on 28 April 1974 when Socialist leader Mário Soares arrived in Lisbon from his long political exile in Paris, on what he called the comboio da liberdade, or the liberty train. He knew that a dramatic change had occurred when he was greeted by huge crowds at each train stop—at one stop, the train conductor even waited for Soares to tell him when it was time to depart (Soares 1976: 24). Lisbon was full of admirers who looked to Soares with great hope and anticipation. Arguably, more than any other single individual, Mário Soares’s articulated vision of a socialist and European Portugal eventually captured the imagination of most Portuguese, and helped propel his party to electoral success over the Communists and other rivals in the following years.

Work In Progress 🚸 ⚠️

The former Soviet bloc states devoid of democratic principles for decades and exploited to support aggression against neighbouring Russian Federation. A boomerang that will return and make a deadly swipe at the back of the head.

Why Are We In Ukraine? | Harpers Magazine |

On the dangers of American hubris

From Murmansk in the Arctic to Varna on the Black Sea, the armed camps of NATO and the Russian Federation menace each other across a new Iron Curtain. Unlike the long twilight struggle that characterized the Cold War, the current confrontation is running decidedly hot. As former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former secretary of defense Robert Gates acknowledge approvingly, the United States is fighting a proxy war with Russia. Thanks to Washington's efforts to arm and train the Ukrainian military and to integrate it into NATO systems, we are now witnessing the most intense and sustained military entanglement in the near-eighty-year history of global competition between the United States and Russia.

Washington's rocket launchers, missile systems, and drones are destroying Russia's forces in the field; indirectly and otherwise, Washington and NATO are probably responsible for the preponderance of Russian casualties in Ukraine.

The United States has reportedly provided real-time battlefield intelligence to Kyiv, enabling Ukraine to sink a Russian cruiser, fire on soldiers in their barracks, and kill as many as a dozen of Moscow's generals. The United States may have already committed covert acts of war against Russia, but even if the report that blames the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines on a U.S. naval operation authorized by the Biden Administration is mistaken, Washington is edging close to direct conflict with Moscow. Assuredly, the nuclear forces of the United States and Russia, ever at the ready, are at a heightened state of vigilance. Save for the Cuban Missile Crisis, the risks of a swift and catastrophic escalation in the nuclear face-off between these superpowers is greater than at any point in history.

Follow-up ...

Dilemmas of Europeanization: Eastern and Central Europe after the EU Enlargement

By Grzegorz Ekiert

The EU enlargement, completed in 2004, has been hailed as one of the most significant EU accomplishments. It has also been called the most effective democracy promotion mechanism ever developed and applied. There is a lot of truth in such claims. The eight Central and East European countries that joined the EU have been the most successful examples of democratic consolidation and transition to a market economy in the entire post-communist region. This paper examines the impact of the EU accession process on democratic consolidation and the consequences of EU membership on the quality of new democratic regimes in these countries. In the first part of the paper, I will review empirical evidence showing the diverging trajectories of post-communist transformations and the deepening split between two parts of the former Soviet bloc. In the second part, I will sketch five dilemmas faced by the new, post-communist members of the EU. These dilemmas reveal the tension between the requirements of EU membership and continuation of post-communist transformations aimed at improving the quality of democracy and securing faster economic growth.

The EU Accession and Democratic consolidation: complementarity or conflicting logics?

Since its inception, the European integration process has aimed at strengthening liberal democracy across Europe. Participation in emerging European institutions has been reserved for states with secure democratic systems and a consistent record of respect for political and civil rights. While this principle remained implicit in early EC documents, the presence of a strong democratic system in the candidate country soon became an explicit sine qua non condition for EC/EU accession.

Formally, the 1957 Treaty of Rome allowed any European country to apply for EC membership (Art. 237), subjecting the conditions of admission and necessary adjustments to Community legislation to an agreement between old member states and candidate countries. Despite the apparent openness, European leaders all knew that “a democratic political system was a necessary qualification for entry.” De facto, Cold War divisions excluded Eastern Europe from participation in the Community, while Spain and Portugal remained isolated because of Francisco Franco’s and Antonio Salazar’s dictatorships, respectively.

When demands for Mediterranean enlargement emerged in the 1960s, European institutions systematically emphasized through their actions the strong link between the possibility of EC accession and the existence of a liberal democratic system in the candidate country. Hence, in 1962 the European Commission ignored Spain’s written request to open pre-accession negotiations. The EC suspended its association agreement with Greece in response to the 1967 right-wing coup that ushered in a military dictatorship. Likewise, the authoritarian nature of Salazar’s regime excluded Portugal from membership in the Council of Europe and, by extension, the EC. Meanwhile, three well-established democracies (Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland) joined the Community in 1973. The power of precedent thus confirmed and reinforced the general assumption: a country had to be democratic in order for its application for accession to be even considered.

Tikun Olam @richards1052

In this video clip, fascist minister Ben-Gvir says that "Muhammad, my life takes precedence over yours."  This is an explicit call for, and justificaton of genocide.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Sep 16th, 2023 at 06:22:24 PM EST
The VOC, Formosa, and Maritime East Asia - an Interview with Dr. Chen Kuo-tong

The glory of the seventeenth-century United Provinces of the Netherlands was made possible by grand ships fitted out by merchants and missionaries: the former in search of profit; the latter, souls. Men, women, and children spurred on by faith and dreams risked the long, dangerous voyage to the Orient. For the Dutch East Indies Company or VOC, the ports of Java, China, Japan, and Formosa held tempting treasures worth dying for: exotic spices, teas, silks, porcelains, Japanese silver, and Formosan sugar. Trade routes brought the Hollanders wealth unequalled in the world. For Dutch Reformed missionaries, they brought them nearer to the Great Commission, to preach the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world.

On January 20, 1625, a very important transaction took place on the southwestern coast of Formosa: the Dutch representative of the VOC bought a strip of land from the western plains aborigines for fifteen pieces of cloth. The story of colonial trade and tragedy on Formosa during the next thirty-eight years of Dutch rule holds secrets about this island which exchanged everything -- names, languages, people, cultures, religion, and trade -- everything, that is, except its heart.

[Source: The Dutch roots of New York City and Taiwan by Panhu from Wuling - May 11th, 2007]

Interview Transcript

Heylen: Dr. Chen, for about two centuries the Dutch East India Company, or VOC, has been able to maintain a powerful trade monopoly in Asia. In the beginning, the enterprise was closely related to the expansion of Spanish and Portuguese maritime trade in Asia. Could you, in short, address the general background of the VOC maritime history in the seventeenth century?


The richness of the land and the availability of immigrant workforces, meaning the Chinese colonists, to exploit the lands led the Company to devote attention to the island's land products. During the late 1630s, the connection between Batavia and Formosa grew into a principal trade link in the Indies for the VOC. Formosan exports included porcelain, silk, sugar, deer hides, nutmeg, and even iron pans. The VOC trade in Formosa could not have been possible without the cooperation between the Dutch colonial administration, the Dutch Reformed Church, indigenous people, and southern Chinese immigrants to Formosa.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Sep 17th, 2023 at 05:10:21 AM EST
by Cat on Sun Sep 17th, 2023 at 03:45:42 PM EST

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