Radio interview with John Sitilides, BBC Radio
Nov./Dec. 2001 - The current escalation of tension between Greece and Turkey over the fate of Cyprus threatens to undermine alliances that are crucial to the successful prosecution of America's war on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Relying on the metaphors of plan and clan, this essay endeavors to show the similarities and differences in Hungarian and Russian paths and will evaluate the starting points, factors, processes and outcomes of post-communist transformation in Hungary and Russia. Focusing on clientelistic privatization and corruption networks, as well as on forces countervailing clandestine relationships, the author argues that whereas “clans for market” proved to be an accurate description of Hungary’s development, this interpretation is hardly applicable to Russia. The Russian-style clans endangered market building and prepared the reemergence of “clans for plan.” The following discussion will address what these opposite trajectories may mean for Hungary and Russia, as well as for the world at large.
November 2001- The events of September 11 and the subsequent military and diplomatic reactions have consumed the attention of the world's media and viewing public. While the horrible events have been condemned by the global community, that does not mean they have been immune from manipulation by the unscrupulous. Unfortunately, September 11 has provided the latest rhetorical backdrop for a number of personalities in the Balkans who seek to recharge a rationale of war. With its attention directed elsewhere, the mainstream media has failed to cover how policy-making entities in the Balkans have actively sought to associate so-called Islamic terrorism with the region's millions of Muslims. This is a rhetorical gesture that had been frequently used in the past to promote social tensions and create a sense of siege. The new wave instigated by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic and counterparts in Skopje must be addressed if Western diplomats want to bring lasting peace to the region.
Recently discovered vast reserves of natural gas and oil in the Mediterranean have the potential to alter the geopolitics of energy in the region and beyond. In additon to enormous political and economic consequences, there is significant potential for both cooperation and conflict. Expert on energy geopolitics Emmanuel Karagiannis provides an overview of the possibilities.
March 2000 - At the beginning of this new century we may ask what problems we inherited, unresolved, from the last century. One of those problems is the Balkans.
February 2005 - In his 1978 novel The Great Winter, Ismail Kadare paints a chilling picture of a family that doctors its personal photo albums with ink to remove (most of) the faces and figures of people who have fallen out of favor with the Party of Labor. Readers might find themselves immediately reminded of Milan Kundera's great work from the same year, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, in which the Czechoslovak party boss Klement Gottwald appears first in company, and then alone, on a balcony, wearing the hat of a colleague airbrushed from the photograph after his fall from grace. There is, indeed another novel that underscores these themes of manipulation and expendability: The Taste of Power (1967) by the Slovak writer and journalist Ladislav Mnacko, in which a "major retouching department" in the state press office tweaks photos and "rubs out" people who are now undesirable. That Stalin's regime made widespread use of tactics such as these has also been demonstrated by David King in his 1997 study The Commissar Vanishes. Kadare, an internationally famous, prolific and highly regarded author from Albania, has written a number of works about communism that show similarities to fiction from other East European countries and can be fruitfully examined in a comparative context. It is my assertion in this essay, however, that he also makes use of innovative and unique modes of writing about his homeland under the Hoxha dictatorship.