These are uncertain times for living – basically everywhere. Especially in the West, there are few things, if any, that we can take for granted. European leaders struggle, without any clear path to save the Euro(pe). It looks like that the more summits that are held (and boy, weren’t there too many of those already) the less results are achieved. In America, the same indecision about a clear view for the future has taken over. In North Africa, the Arab Spring has somewhat stalled and there’s no guarantees that the revolution will lead to a democratic consensus in the region, with the rise to power of Islamic parties in Tunisia and most likely in Egypt as well.
These are, however (but due to the same reasons), exciting times to write about. Protests occupied a big part of these year’s news – on its last issue, for instance, TIME has named Protesters their 2011 Person Of The Year. Turmoil spread rapidly across all over the world. From Tahrir to Wall Street, from Lisbon to Athens, from even Tiananmen (!) to Moscow, people went out to the streets to rise against what they perceive as an unfair order. In North African countries, people claim for basic things such as democracy and respect for human rights. In Europe and America, where that is already taken for granted, the protests focus on a degrading economy and the rise of income inequality. As to Russia, to my mind it’s too early to tell in what the protests focus the most, although there’s a consensus on free and fair elections.
These are even more challenging times to dream. The world is at a crossroads, clearly; but where do we go from here? Current world leaders, arguably most notably in Europe, have lost (assuming that they ever had) the ability to dare. Today’s European leaders are simple maintainers of the status quo, terrified with the idea of making changes. The actual paradigm has clearly failed; why not think about a new model for the EU? Across the globe the situation isn’t that much different, though: austerity plans are making a really successful world tour, making people suffer and even causing politicians from Italy to Egypt to cry. There is something wrong in this, something that cannot be explained by simply saying that states spent too much. This sudden concern about debts show how much we are exposed to a heavily-financial system, that puts people’s priorities to a second or third level.
Given the profile of everyone that will contribute to this blog – young people interested in International Politics – we will obviously not seek to find concrete and technical solutions for the problems that Europe and the World struggle to get over/overcome. We will, however, comment on policies that we think are right – and others we don’t.
Despite considering myself a social democrat, contributions are welcome from other ideological fields. Being myself a Portuguese citizen, as probably many future contributors will as well be, contributions are welcome both in Portuguese and English, and we won’t also abstain from discussing the Portuguese situation specifically. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy following this blog.