IPE - International Political Economy

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Question Description

And overall view about IPE, do research on books and material provided first, then think about larger issue. This should NOT be a book report.

Absolutely NO PLAGIARISM !!!
These will be 15 pages each (they can and should be longer), based on a Chapter Question, starting with the textbook then at least two other sources from any legitimate mainstream book, journal article, periodical, or newspaper (in that order of importance; email me if you are unsure of a source’s legitimacy).
No dictionaries or encyclopedias, especially Wikipedia, are allowed. You must properly cite a source using the APA Style for anything that is not common knowledge, let alone if you quote from it. The more sources and citations, the better your grade will be (good social science needs cited facts to back it up). I will also expect these
Use standard formatting (double-spaced, 12 point Times or Times New Roman, normal margins, page numbering, etc.).
Do not do a Title Page or sub-headings. Do a Works Cites section (which will not count for length).


I also attach a essay example of what the professor expected so you have a better idea.
Thanks.

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Political, Economic and Societal Transitions in Eastern Europe’s Post-Soviet Environment IR 6642 – Russia and Eastern Europe in World Affairs Troy University Instructor: Dr. Michael O. Slobodchikoff Prepared on: 6 May 2014   2   Table of Contents Abstract……………………………………………………………………………....................3 Introduction………….……………………………………………………………….................4 Historical Synopsis: The Post-Communist Transition to Europe…..………………………5 Communist Society’s Downfall: The Idealist Marxist Utopia………....…………….………9 Diversity, Durability and International Influences in Politics……………..………………..12 European Union and NATO: Security, Economy or Survival?..............………………….14 Thoughts to Ponder……………………………………………………………………………17 Conclusion..…..………………………….…………...........................................................18 Bibliography……………………………………………………............................................20   3   Abstract The fall of the Soviet Union brought about rapid, unexpected and very dynamic changes across the entire spectrum of Central and Easter Europe, as well as Russia’s sphere of influence. Shifting focuses on democratization, struggles for political and economic reform, as well as strengthening of alliances for the greater benefit of security and cooperation in the European continent replaced the threat of nuclear retaliation and escalating tensions amidst Communist rule. (Hillman, 2007) The Marxist ideologies used for furthering the cause of socialism failed miserably and gave way to diversity, durability and various expansions of international influences on a global scale. NATO and the EU deliberately expanded and absorbed the greater portion of Central and Eastern European nations into the alliances and left Russia with a great deal of uncertainty, suspicion and mistrust as to the impact of its foreign policy and regional security in the near abroad. (Kydd, 2001) As such, tensions over NATO’s and EU’s expansionist policies have risen over the past decade and the current regional stability will continue to be threatened as Eastern Europe and part of Asia continue their transition out of post-Communist status. (White & Sakwa, 2010)   4   Introduction The fall of the Soviet Union brought to an end an era of high tensions, military escalation and the threats of nuclear retaliation among the world’s superpowers of Russia and the United States. While the International Community was relieved to see the closure of the so-called Cold War, what was not expected was the near-chaos that unraveled with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. (Hillman, 2007) Defeating communism was only the beginning of Western Europe and US’s challenges; many nations formerly part of the Warsaw Pact and USSR now found themselves in a precarious state of political disarray, economic decline and social unrest. (Ciobanu, 2010) Understanding the extent of the complexities in dealing with the Eastern European crisis in the post-Communist environment requires not only understanding the underlying problematic Marxist and Leninist ideologies of communist governance, but also demands a deep understanding of the roots, cultures, ethnicities, religions and national identity nuances of Eastern European societies. Furthermore, understanding the historical events and periods that have defined Eastern European nations for nearly a Millennium is vital to gaining an appreciation for the complexities that faced the region after the fall of the Soviet Union. (Caratan, 2009) Numerous border re-drawings due to conflicts, wars and shifts in the political, economic and social integrity of sovereign nations of Eastern Europe have further complicated the prism through which democracy, capitalism and free market economies can be viewed. In essence, in many cases what was thought of as liberating actions from the “evil of communism” proved to be a challenge of equally large magnitudes, exposing weak economies, crumbling infrastructures and corrupt political and social spheres. (Ponsard, 2007) Such lapses   5   and decline in the political, economic and social transitions of Eastern European nations troubled many in the international community; threats of asymmetric nature posed great concerns regarding the stability, security and cooperation among nations, especially in the European continent. Eastern Europe plays a strategically important role in European and Asian affairs and it simply cannot be allowed to fail, neither economically, nor politically. (Tverdova, 2012) Historical Synopsis: The Post-Communist Transition to Europe The states of the former Warsaw Pact and those which were under Russia’s span of control have assimilated into Western European spheres of influence, largely through membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). (Tverdova, 2012) Very few nations remain outside of both NATO and EU influences throughout the European continent, mostly those nestled in the Balkans Peninsula and still struggling to recover from the 1990’s conflicts. While political and economic development reforms have brought some state of “Europeanization”, there are still a multitude of characteristics that taint the progress of Eastern Europe. “Populism” has taken over and quite literally hampered development and progress, in a multitude of aspects. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Corruption and organized crime have in some cases outweighed the benefits of democracy and capitalism, leaving many citizens discouraged and distrustful of the true advantages of capitalism and private ownership. Multinational organizations have also not delivered quite to their fullest potential, as the inequalities in status among society’s layers have seen large voids appear between the rich and poor. (Ciobanu, 2010) This is yet another sign of the huge disappointment by so many who saw a promise in democracy and capitalism.   6   Entry into the EU has become a symbol to many as the “saving grace” to the post-Communist environment’s crisis. It is difficult to overcome the fact that Eastern European nations are not seen as equal to the original members of the EU; thus, the economics of post-Soviet nations are weaker, less advanced and developed, as well as less promising regarding market potential. (Boehmer & Nordstrom, 2008) The greatest hurdle Eastern European nations faced is overcoming the differences between centrally planned economies, to an open, free-market economy based on democratic and capitalist principles. Those who gained political and economic influence in the postCommunist environment did not have the expertise or experience in understanding the nuances of the transition from Communism to democratic rule; this lack of understanding ultimately impeded the efficiency and the progress of the transitions underway. (Hillman, 2007) To add to the complexity of the transitions and the regional affairs of Central and Eastern European nations, one would also have to consider the cultural, religious and nationalistic differences that historically exist between the different nation-states. The multitude of boundary re-drawings through the powerful influences of the Ottoman, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Prussian empires are undeniably responsible for the complications in defining and preserving national identities, much like the crisis experienced by Russians with regards to their national identity. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Historically, though freedom from Communism was achieved, it brought great uncertainty to most nations of the post-Soviet block and a common state of economic degradation amidst political trouble. (Tverdova, 2012) One huge downfall of Communist idealism was the coupling of many religions, cultures, languages and nationalities as   7   ones sharing common grounds for the greater benefit of the authoritarian governments, especially the ruling powers of bureaucrats and military elites. (Forest, Johnson & Till, 2004) Ultimately, regardless of the differences in conditions, which led to Communism’s demise in individual nations (because there were varied means by which it came to an end), the common theme shared by all was the end-goal of achieving “Democracy, Free Market and return to Europe”. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) It became apparent that there was an immediate need to not only revise the legal systems and constitutional structures in order to attain compatibility with democracy, but a greater need of “reeducating” the population away from the influences of communism that were so engrained over the past decades – in all aspects of political values, attitudes and practices. (Tverdova, 2012) Economically the challenges were no less severe or important, the tasks of privatization and restoration of previously confiscated private property were innumerable. Efforts of joining the safety of NATO and EU became the focus of many who sought to regain what they thought was rightfully appropriate for the Eastern European nations which they believed belonged to the European Community all along. (Dobbins, 2005) Social and psychological dimensions changed rather drastically as well; especially evident was the drastic change in social groups’ status. A large number of entrepreneurs emerged and became nearly instantaneous millionaires through their knowledge of influences to black markets, shifting of state and transnational subsidies and practices in restitution of property. This phenomenon was quite similar to what Russia experienced with its oligarchs; society was drastically divided into those “who have” and those “who have not”. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) What became an even worse   8   outcome of the fall of the Soviet Union was the disappearance of the tight control of borders – they became porous and susceptible to illicit activities, organized crime and transportation of unknown quantities of drugs, weapons, human trafficking and who knows what else. Such activities were lucrative to the severely underpaid customs and border control agents, who became the prime targets of payouts and corruption. This opened huge doors for criminal organizations, especially the infamous Russian mafia, to activities that spanned control and influence up to the highest levels of the postCommunist environment. (De Nerves, 2007) Extremely damaging to the social image and structure of Eastern Europe were the rampant human trafficking, smuggling, and sex trade that occurred fairly openly within society. Discrimination against minorities (Roma and other religious groups) also became an issue of political discussions and electoral platforms. (Ciobanu, 2010) Realistically, the goals of International Organizations and Western Europe were to create and support stable democracies and provide economic assistance for the crumbling post-Warsaw Pact nations of Central and Eastern Europe. They received substantial political and economic assistance in order to help them get started on a democratic path to recovery. (Slobodchikoff, 2013) While most nations have been quite cooperative with e European bodies of law and regulation, especially the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT) of The Hague, some have faced hard-to-resolve internal challenges based on divisions in popular support and opinion. This problem is largely focused on the Western Balkans nations of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. This has significantly delayed their acceptance into NATO and the EU; such membership has been seen as invaluable in the post-Communist environment from a   9   multitude of perspectives, the most important of which is economic. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Despite all the challenges Eastern European nations are facing, there is forward progress towards integration with Western Europe through political and economic cooperation, as well as bilateral and multilateral frameworks and treaties. This is in the best interest of all nations in Europe and the near East Asia region, as it assures regional stability and security cooperation that are so vital to not only Russia’s, but many other nations’ national security strategies and foreign affairs policies. (Willerton, Slobodchikoff & Goertz, 2012) Communist Society’s Downfall: The Idealist Marxist Utopia The main downfall of communist was that in many cases it was simply imposed on the less-powerful nations, such as Hungary and Bulgaria, by the Soviet Union. Political freedoms of the pre-existing structures were gradually restricted and stripped of freedom of action, ultimately leading to scripted and manipulated elections in placing the Communist Party in power. Once the party had emerged as the dominant force in politics, it had all the necessary tools to place the rest of society into submission. (Ciobanu, 2010) Communist-installed party members were not always placed into their positions due to credibility, ability and expertise; special emphasis was placed in trust, loyalty and the unwillingness to question the established system. Those who did not manage to live by these principles found ‘strange’ faiths in very unpopular places in farEast Russia. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) The rebuilding in a post-WWII environment was a monumental task for some and not so much for others. One of the greatest faults in the communist ideology was the assumption that collectivization would lead to cooperation and centrally managed economies. This was a faulty assumption that led to decreased   10   levels of production, increased worker dissatisfaction and a general state of stale progress and lack of efficiency in the industrial complex. (Goldman, 2010) Perhaps the greatest fault of the Communist regime was the assumption that a central government can own every aspect of political, social and economic state of affairs within a nation, and through the placement of various trusted party members the government can control everything in a society, no exceptions. To quote Wolchik and Curry, as it seems quite an appropriate description of the state of affairs: “Ostensibly, the arrangement was to speed up the transformation Karl Marx predicted in which industrialization first brought capitalist exploitation of the working class and then increasing equality and power for the working class.” (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Communist leaders remained blind to the fact that what Marx had predicted in his utopian ideology was not intended for application to these particular states of Eastern Europe, nor to their existing economic conditions. The promise of transforming the working class into a ruling class through governments’ involvement in the industrialization process, rather than capitalists, was an empty promise that could hardly be fulfilled. Moreover, what really happened were innumerous failed political and economic policies that were never well received by the populations, thus leading to function through imposed actions from above, rather than social buy-in and cooperation. The Communist Party maintained a heavy hand into every single affair of the nation’s domestic and foreign spheres of influence, suppressing societal and religious differences, cultural uniqueness and instilling a one-party system, which allowed absolutely no organized political dissent. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011)   11   The communist and socialist models of economic development and performance were poorly designed and led to dismal conditions and economies that were unable to compete on world markets, because there was little incentive for innovation, competition or the pursuit of efficiencies. Instead, what occurred were cradle-to-grave economies that ultimately led to low quality of life, shortages of basic consumables and services, illicit trade and black market practices, as a tendency to circumvent the correct way of doing anything in order to “cheat the system” and get it done faster and more efficiently. (Caratan, 2009) The governments instilling communist power did not stop with political and economic influences; they went as far as trying to change the populations’ value systems, social hierarchies and direct social conformity and loyalty. This proved to be a recipe for disaster regarding communist rule. Trust became a common value lacked at all levels, the Warsaw Pact societies were sheltered and restricted from travel abroad, as a method to enforcing the ideals of socialism and communism, rather than exposing citizens to the democracies and capitalism of the West. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) There were different forms of communism that ranged from socialist democracy to all-out dictatorship; what they all had in common was the oppressiveness of the regime to the common citizens and lack of opportunities it presented for any sort of economic development or private ownership. Ultimately, the ideologies that Communism claimed never came to fruition and only served as its demise, as they were never capitalized upon. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Popular dissatisfaction with the established systems, coupled with easing of policy by Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, led to massive protests and challenges to the Communist Party’s authority. (Tsygankov, 2010) Once the downfall was in motion there was little the party could do to stop the   12   downward spiral. The biggest problem with the fall of communism came in the form of the gaps it left behind, amidst crippled economies, disillusioned people and anarchic politics. The younger generations are credited with being the most active leaders in the toppling of communism; they would also be the ones left picking up the pieces. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Diversity, Durability and International Influences in Politics In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union many nations found themselves free to choose forms of governance and ability to explore democratic rules and capitalist practices. While the degrees to which each nation took these opportunities may vary, it is largely true that the forms taken were much more democratic, respectful of civil liberties and oriented towards open market economies and greater political freedom. (Hillman, 2007) Political diversity was evident in the range of regimes that flourished in the post-Communist environment. Baltic states, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary boasted highly democratic practices and processes, characterized by free and fair elections, as well as the encouragement towards political and social diversity. At the opposite spectrum were Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, where authoritarian dictatorships prevailed. (Caratan, 2009) Yet more diversity was evident in the rest of the Eastern European nations, such as Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and many others, where a mix between authoritarian dictatorship and elements of democracy brought confusion to the political and economic reforms, as well as to society in general. (Wolchik & Curry, 2011) Political diversity, regime change and the existence of significant differences in the platforms of the communist parties and their opposition were quite characteristic of the early and mid-1990’s, leading to unrest and instability in many of the Eastern   13   European nations. The interesting part to note is that, while many claimed expertise the methods by which democracy and capitalism should be built and instilled, none actually possessed the necessary knowledge or experience, which resulted in much political jousting with no particular progress. (Ciobanu, 2010) There was a prevalent faulty assumption that the demise of authoritarian regime ...
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