Wer heute vor der Frankfurter Paulskirche steht, wird vielleicht eher enttäuscht auf die vor dem Hintergrund der Skyline unscheinbare Stadtkirche blicken, in der während der Revolution von 1848/49 die deutsche Nationalversammlung tagte. Für einen der zentralen Erinnerungsorte der deutschen Demokratiegeschichte, die „Wiege der deutschen Demokratie“, wirkt sie ziemlich unspektakulär. Aber was ist es, was ihr fehlt? Seit dem Wiederaufbau der zerstörten Paulskirche 1948 diskutiert man in Frankfurt und Deutschland über die authentische Form ihrer Gestaltung. Ist es das, was ihr fehlt, die Authentizität, die besondere Zauberkraft, durch die Geschichte erlebbar wird? Und was bedeutet Authentizität für die Paulskirche eigentlich?
Decoupling and the “New Cold War”: Cautionary Lessons from the Past
An emerging “new Cold War” appears to pit democracies, led by the US, against autocracies, led by Russia and China. But the analogy between today’s regime competition and that of the “old” Cold War is deceptive. China and Russia today are much more closely intertwined with Western democracies than the Soviet Union ever was. These linkages will complicate the conflict considerably. There is already growing pressure to engage in “decoupling”, that is, to break these interdependencies. Research on past instances of decoupling shows that such processes often exacerbate conflict. This research offers four lessons about the general dynamics of decoupling – and little cause for optimism about today’s disengagement processes.
Regime Competition in a Fragmented World: Consequences for Peace and Conflict
More than thirty years after the proclaimed “end of history” and the third wave of democratization, the world is once again marked by increased diversity in political regimes. The (re-)emergence of powerful authoritarian states like China and Russia and the trend of backsliding in seemingly consolidated democracies have created a more pluralistic and multipolar world, in which states with different political regime types increasingly view each other as competitors, seeking to prove the superiority of their own political and economic systems and to win the allegiance of third countries.
Ungehorsamer Klimaprotest: Proteste werden intensiver – eine Radikalisierung in die Gewalt ist nicht in Sicht
Wie mit dem Klimawandel umgehen, das wird aktuell intensiv diskutiert. Die Klimabewegung betont die Notwendigkeit einer globalen, sozialen und ökologischen Transformation, dafür intensiviert sie den Protest auch in Deutschland. Zunehmend stehen Aktionen des zivilen Ungehorsams im Zentrum. Im Raum steht der Vorwurf der Radikalisierung in die Gewalt, aktuell ist dieser allerdings unbegründet: Die Bewegung entfaltet sich auf dem Terrain des Demokratischen, verleiht der legitimierten Forderung nach Einhaltung des 1,5-Grad-Ziels von Paris Nachdruck und skizziert Visionen aus der Krise heraus.
Inklusion statt Systemkonkurrenz
Im UN-Kontext wäre es kontraproduktiv, einen globalen Konflikt zwischen Demokratien und Autokratien zu forcieren, argumentieren Pascal Abb, Hanna Pfeifer und Jonas Wolff in einem Standpunkt für die Zeitschrift Vereinte Nationen.
Have the Tables Turned? What to Expect from Kenya’s New “Hustler” President William Ruto
Kenya had awaited the presidential elections held on August 9, 2022 with bated breath. The elections were won by William Ruto, who defeated opponent Raila Odinga by just a few percentage points. Ruto succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who leaves office having served his two permitted terms. This Spotlight analyzes the reasons for Ruto’s success, and, reflecting on his political career, discusses what can be expected from his presidency. We argue that both his success and his career have been strongly influenced by Kenya’s political history and the power structures of political alliances—especially in the context of previous elections.
“For this Forced Heaven”: Women’s Rights as the Path to Democracy in Iran
Iran’s streets have been the scene of inspiring portraits created by women and young girls chanting “women, life, freedom” over the past six weeks. Starting as a reaction to the death of 22-year-old Zhina (Mahsa) Amini, who was killed by the so-called “morality police” for wearing her hijab improperly, the protests have now turned into a cross-class, women-led movement for democracy and rule of law. This post looks at the situation of women from a historical perspective after the Islamic revolution and argues that women’s rights are acting as a connector to unite different groups and social classes fighting for democracy and rule of law in the current protests.
Brazil’s Presidential Election: How Far does the Populist Glow Reach?
The first round of Brazil’s presidential elections took place on 2 October 2022. The result was 43.2% for incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and 48.4% for ex-president (2003–2010) Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva. Given that none of the candidates achieved more than 50%, a final run-off is scheduled for 30 October. Pre-election polls predicted Lula would reach the critical 50% threshold. These polls also projected Bolsonaro would win around 36%. But in the end, his vote share was more than 43%. This result left the world searching for an explanation.
Responding to Foreign Interference in the EU: Beware of Unintended Consequences
The EU’s emerging response to foreign interference, as it is currently debated in the EU Parliament, contains striking similarities to arguments put forth by some governments around the world seeking to justify harsh restrictions on foreign funding and “foreign agents.” This risks producing serious ramifications for civic spaces and international civil society support—both within and beyond the EU.
The 2023 Elections in Turkey. Can the Opposition Challenge Erdoğan and the AKP?
Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 18, 2023, will be a notable juncture point. These elections will determine the country’s future and direction, and are therefore not only significant for domestic politics, but also at the international level as regards Turkey’s capacity to serve as a global actor. During these elections, the opposition will take on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to gain political power after two decades of AKP rule. They will only have a chance of success if they propose a strong candidate to challenge Erdoğan.