Democracy and legitimacy are closely linked. Legitimacy to govern is tested through elections, of course, but the challenge should not end there: throughout their terms, politicians’ legitimacy is linked to their ability to adhere to constitutional and legal constraints. State institutions are similarly held to account. Courts must ensure that remedies are provided to disputing parties and all cases are judged fairly; the legislature must operate according to predetermined rules for adopting laws; ministries must follow their protocols; and all of the branches of government must operate under the checks and balances envisioned by the Constitution. The media, oversight institutions, opposition political parties and NGOs maintain a careful watch on leaders and state institutions to ensure that people with power continue to operate within the law. In a democracy, maintaining legitimacy is as important as the elections themselves.
One of the most critical and complex issues in U.S. foreign policy is the expansion of NATO and the European Union into Central and Eastern Europe. Even the terms are controversial - for example, "Central" versus "Eastern" Europe and who and what are encompassed in these categories. The issues are important, not just to the countries involved but to the future of Europe, U.S.-European relations, to say nothing of U.S.-Russian relations. Based upon on-site observations, interviews and research materials gathered during a recent visit to the area, the author offers some predictions on the future course of European integration as it presently looks.
March 1997 - Over the past two years, the economic performance of three of the most prosperous East European countries, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia, has in some respects been disappointing. In an effort to understand the reasons, Keith Crane analyzed their monetary and fiscal policies and evaluated the progress of their privatization programs.
In part 5 of our series on the Arctic, Russia expert, Marlene Laruelle, shares her thoughts on Russia’s leading role as an Arctic nation and how it might react to a China-US partnership in the region.
November 2000- On March 24, 1999, NATO attacked Serbia and bombed it for two and half months. Around two thousand civilians were killed - a figure most often quoted locally and probably realistic. Milosevic's regime quoted a figure of five thousand, NATO of five hundred. There is more agreement about the number of Serbian soldiers (both in the military service and the reservists) and policemen killed - seven hundred and two hundred respectively. The material damages are between thirty and fifty billion dollars. As a result, Serbia, which had been poor, became even poorer, unemployment increased and wages decreased.