Rick "Ozzie" Nelson
Ivan Manokha, Mona Chalabi
The latest financial crisis has put the state and the international system to the test. In this context one would expect an explosion in literature from the discipline that claims academic monopoly over the international sphere: International Relations. However, as our research shows, surprisingly few IR scholars have made any attempt to analyse the crisis. This article seeks to explain this paucity of engagement, and the failings of those few works that did attempt to engage with the crisis, by exposing the limits of the discipline's orthodoxy. It argues that the discipline of IR has been predominantly concerned with the analysis of political interactions of sovereign states, their external behaviour towards each other in an anarchic international system, with each of these territorial units seen as pursuing their national interests, usually vaguely defined in terms of power or resources. With such privileging of the political over the economic, of the external over the domestic, of state actors over non-state actors, and of the study of conflict over the analysis of other types of interactions, the discipline of IR has inherently and structurally been unable to engage with, and render intelligible, the latest financial crisis and its consequences. The article then sketches out an alternative approach which seeks to overcome the dichotomies that characterize the orthodoxy and provides a more holistic explanation of the crisis.
What kind of future worlds do experts of international security envision? This paper studies the role of experts in DC's think tanks, a relatively small world socially and culturally highly homogeneous. It underlines the characteristics of this epistemic community that influence the way its analysts make claims about the future for security. The DC's marketplace of the future lacks diversity. The paradigms analysts use when they study international politics are very similar. Moreover, the range of issues they focus on is also relatively narrow.
The paper highlights three main features of the relation between those who make claims about the future of security and those to whom these claims are addressed (mainly policymakers). First, it shows that, for epistemic but also for political reasons, the future imagined in think tanks is relatively stable and linear. This future also contributes to the continuity of political decisions. Second, the paper shows that think tanks are also "victims of groupthink", especially when they make claims about the future. Third, it underlines a paradox: scenarios and predictions create surprises. Claims about the future have a strong tunneling effect. They reinforce preexisting beliefs, create focal points, and operate as blinders when, inevitably, the future breaks away from its linear path.
Raymond Benhaïm, Youssef Courbage et Rémy Leveau
By concentrating on heavy trends within a medium to long term framework, these papers are an attempt to break with the alarmist interpretations which characterize most analyses of events in Nonh Africa.
On a demographic level, Youssef Courbage shows how emigration to Europe has had a profound influence on the pace of demographic transition in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. In this area these countries already constitute a coherent regional entity.
In his analysis of economic prospects, Raymond Benhaïm also discerns a logic of integration in spite of the fact that each of the North African countries today favours its bilateral relations with Europe. It is, in fact, in the European interest that these countries become a unified North African market.
Finally on a political level Rémy Leveau examines the new types of political behaviour of both those who govern and those governed. These forms of behaviour are emerging at a time of social disillusion, and when the urbanised and educated social strata claim to have their say in the organizing of society. Neither the states nor the islamic movements can achieve total victory: in the end a compromise solution should thus prevail. However for this to occur each party will need to give up its reductionist view of the adversary. External parties will need to consider other solutions than providing unconditional aid - against a so-called "green peril" - to those in power, all too prone to refuse the control of those they govem