The world observatory is an effort for understanding global society. It is a work-in-progress enterprise fostering the forecasting of probable developments. The daily monitoring of events provides the empirical material. The monthly abstract of trends are readable as psycho-maps of world society revealing its mental-map. While the psycho-maps base on qualitative interpretations of the monthly events the mental-maps use methods of content analysis of the events. The events are documented by the diary of its daily stream provided by BBC world news.
• Monthly Bulletin January 2012
• The psycho-mental map January 2012
• The psycho-mental maps throughout the events 2011 reveal a drama
Syria’s narrative of the world In the period of January 2012 the psycho-map of world society shows a diversified state of mind visible in the events.
Main stories. The events of January express the dramatic road of conflicts in Syria, which can be read as the most significant main story of the period, “Syria’s narrative of the world”. It tells about a career typical for a trouble spot: In the Gulf states initiatives to negotiate evolve but they decay and outsource the decisions to the UN security council and to its big players where the rivalries between transatlantic and the Eastern players, China und Russia regain its significance. A second core sequence, “Baghdad and Iraq” demonstrate of how the mankind’s most vulnerable locations are experienced by people and actors, by blood and bombs. The third key-sentence of the January period is marked by “Clashes in Nigeria” mainly between Muslim and Christ groups. The existential, mental and psychic state expressed by these three series of events ranks under the mean of the sample (see fig 3). Indeed the three stories reduce the optimism for negotiating and they indicate the increase of ultimate value orientations (see fig 4, Ownworld). The fourth series of core events are the conflicts between Iran and the transatlantic alliance, “Iran and West”. But in contrast to the former sequences the symbolic aspects of this power play are in the foreground despite the threats of war which are like eruptions within the range of probability. The fifth flow of key events remains still the “World financial and economic crisis”, articulated by many events emphasizing the EU and its impacts on the cohesion of its members, on labor markets and world wide developments. However, compared to the three first expressions these events reveal often more symbolic declarations than real actions.
Side-stories. During January relevant side-stories are visible: The “Installation of the successor in North-Korea”, the “Strikes for lower oil prices” in Nigeria, the emerging “Conflicts between South- und North-Sudan basing on oil”, the symbolic fights between the positions facing the “US presidential elections”, the events recording the management and rules of “Virtual world”, “The efforts to domesticate the Hungarian road”. But one observes also side stories, which could shape optimistic outlooks: The “Change process in Burma”, the “Elections and commemorations in Egypt”.
Signal-words. The streams of events contain a lot of rather individual events. But they are not singular and work like signals for probable developments in the future as well as “rests” from past event series. In the third circle of individual events, for instance, the speech of the Archmandrite at Christmas in Russia announces its probable role facing the presidential election process. The opening of a Taliban office in Qatar could signalize a change in Afghanistan’s deal with Taliban. The Croatian vote for the entry to the EU reflects a bifurcated decision, at the one hand, to leave the old burdens of Balkan past and to confine freedom, at the other hand. In Libya events show that the regime of Gaddafi’s era, the past, remains present and the future of the new regime is not consolidated. Last but not least, world society celebrates regularly its games: A Belarus woman became the champion in Australia and a Serb gained the title.
See the monthly abstracts (below)
Syria’s narrative of the world (January 2012)
Vaclav Havel and Kim Jon-il - two faces of global mourning (December 2011)
Arriving at a burn out? (November 11)
World society's face (October 11)
Global society between macro and micro (September 11)
Cassandra's chatter (August 11)
Back to high-ideologies? (July 11)
Symptoms of late Roman Empire (June 11)
Scenarios live (May 11)
Back to own roads (April 11)
The big explosion and unexpected eruption (March, February, January 11)
Inner borders and external pressures (December 10)
Annual abstracts 2011
The psycho-drama during events 2011. The psychic maps show strong emotional peaks from December 2010 to December 2011. The first one is “The big explosion and unexpected eruption” headed by the events in Fukushima, the tsunami and the nuclear contamination, the impacts of the Arab Spring, the war in Libya. Compared to it the other periods of events, mainly the previous one “Inner borders and external pressures”, which mirror the emerging critical disparities and dissonances in the European Union, are less dramatic and emotional. While in December 2010 Europe’s global context seemed relatively settled, the aftermath of this explosion looks like a rough sea. The periods seem to react to each other. So, “Back to own roads” is a period characterized by fears and options to draw back and consider probable impacts of such critical events and eruptions of the global arena to the own world. “Overview on the streams”: The dramatic events are not only accompanied by emotions but stimulate the mental maps illustrating the changes. The events reveal the hidden architecture of world society and its streams of probable developments. The central shift is the impact of the dramatic Arabic spring events on the sharing of global power and its legitimation among the central players as well as the impact of additional problems for instance mass migrations and instabilities of border situations and rules. A second emotional peak is the period “Symptoms of late Roman Empire”. These events tell about the fears of losing the hegemonic and control power at the margins of the global society, in the South and in the new economies, the BRIC-States. The period is characterized by “skating exhibitions”, strong words without actions, conferences without outcomes and scandalizing events linked to specific leaders. “Back to high-ideologies” describes a significant trend in the field of values and ideologies; the events in Norway shocked everywhere and later on neo-Nazi criminals have been investigated in Germany. Where is the mainstream ideology, the “middle band ideology” joining wishes for a civic and welfare society transcending the classical conservative, liberal and socialist ideologies? In August the fears in face of critical developments increased again and evoke “Cassandra's chatter”. Generally, the events during 2011 illustrate that the world events have to be read as a map of interactions on different levels and locations: “Global society between macro and micro”. Tensions in the macro-scope, the Euro-American hegemony still anchored in common universal ambitions, are visible in the meso-scope, for instance in European nations between the Atlantic and Ural, North and South, and simultaneously in the micro-scope of Middle East, borders and frictions between Egypt, Israel, Syria and Turkey. “World society's face” – events of each period are narratives about the contradictions of global society, if one looks on the daily flow of events, for instance the obscure death of Colonel Gaddafi in a desert compared with the splendid mourning of Steve Jobs, celebrated as the hero of modern virtual world. Simultaneously ongoing events articulate the contradictions and opposing forces, which design together with the commonalities the psychic and mental map of world society. Mankind became close to the psychic map of burnout during the year 2011. The problems and tensions increased significantly while the capacities to act efficiently and just in time seem to be blocked. The period is sketched by “Arriving at a burnout” (November 11). The critical trends continued during the last period of 2011 in December. Like in a clinical situation the problems increased, but the capacity to cope remained on the same level or fell down. Instead of actions, ideals are declared or programmes are postponed to the agenda of tomorrow (climate conference). But in the December period a feature of the psychic map becomes visible: Vàclav Havel and Kim Jong-il contrast two faces of global mourning. In the East, North Korea, Kim Jong died; he represented the collective memory of a most dramatic period, the polarization between West und East, between the liberal and communist world vision. Vàclav Havel symbolized the memory of the “Time of round tables” in Eastern Europe ending the period of two polarized worlds, which Kim Jong perceived as endless. It seems that the world society is still moving between these two extreme poles of evolving its face, its borders and very different diversity. But in 2012 the world will celebrate the Olympic games in London. The narrative of these events, maybe together with the European Football Championship in Poland and in the Ukraine, will surely contrast to the critical outlooks from 2011. First events indicate that the common games will contribute to the pride, mainly of poor nations and of those who demand the entry into the world community since they share big populations with expectations for the future. The world society has various faces and will show them in the coming events 2012.
Vlàclav Havel and Kim Jong-il – two faces of global mourning. Is it coincidental that nearly at the same time of 2011 two mourning-events disclosed the world’s psychic map? In the East, the deceased North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il represented the collective memory of a dramatic period, the polarization between West and East, between the liberal and communist world vision. The mourning involved almost the whole population of North Korea. On the Western side, Vàclav Havel symbolized the memory of another, euphoric period, the “Time of round tables” in Eastern Europe ending the period of two polarized worlds, which Kim Jong perceived as endless. World society revealed and emphasized both faces contemporaneously, but in very different regions, in East Asia and in central Europe. In fact, the psychic map of the last month of 2011 suggests the beginning of a turning period. The events of December 2011 continue the series of November titled “Arriving at a burnout”. The “Euro-crises and the deficits in financial management” are worsening since efficient political efforts are still missing. The dramatic gaps between authoritarian power and people in the Arabic-African space, the bloody events in Syria as well as in Egypt or Yemen reveal the critical state of global society in this part of the world. A new sentence of events is emerging: The clashes and rivalries between different ethnic and religious groups became stronger, in Africa, Nigeria, and also in Middle East, Iraq. Heavy catastrophes, in the Philippines and still the fears of man-made disasters are obvious linked to the case of Fukushima, or for instance, the accident of an oil rig in Russia remembering the shadows of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
Arriving at a burn out? The events of November 2011 stimulate the understanding of the world society as a dramatic criss-cross of events. Thereby, we interpret the events as words and the series of them as sentences. In contrast to the models of planetary society as a system the world society is conceived as an organic entity as it is expressed in the term “mankind”. It is a giant who speaks through the events, expresses tensions, contradictions, sentiments and moods. So we conceive the series of events of November 2011 as particular narrative. In fact it is a dramatic up and down of four key sentences: The first one „Euro-crisis and the deficiencies of financial governance“ dominates overwhelmingly the voice of global society; 30% of the events are expressions of this key-sentence. The search for rescue funds, the global crisis and risks driven by the EU, the whirls in the South of Europe, for instance the paradoxical elections in Spain as well as the diplomatic show conferences deliver the narrative of the month. The second key sentence “Divide between dictatorships and people in the Arab and African parts” is very different and more dramatic; it contains 21% of the monthly events. The events in Syria and again in Egypt are bloody, attacks and counterattacks take place in several places of Arab and African area. Again the targeted hunting of bad figures in Africa, Saif al-Islam and Gbagbo, are symbolic measures of the civil and first world as well as diplomatic declarations of the Arab League, the leading powers and the UN. The third sentence “Rivalries between significant players facing the sharing of global power”, embracing 13% of the words, reveals several events like the G20 conference missing a strong effect, the naval show of US facing China, the reactions of the latter, the conflicts between Iran and the Western alliance, the bomb error in Pakistan and the dissent between the various players facing the climate issues pursueing controversial interests. The fourth key sentence is articulated in parts of global society, which were privileged before the crisis: “Explosion of social protests and strikes” (5% of words = events). In Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and UK this key sentence is noisy disturbing the management of the debt crisis; it could become a central key sentence in future. World society is a polyphonic speaker. He absorbed to 70% of the monthly events by the four key sentences – summarized above. The rest of 30% of words are subordinate sentences. But they are essential since they send the signals that events and issues could return back or will become new under the sun. So four events create such a sentence: “Hopes for the technical feasibility of policy making”. In Greece, Italy as well as at other places the replacement of political figures by technocrats, the role of caretakers outside of political, probably risky games, is profiled as strategy. It could become a strategy like the progress of military technologies, for instance drones, supporting the efficiency of armies. A sentence remembering back is obvious – “Threat of environmental changes”. The detection of particles from Fukushima in Europe, the pessimistic outlooks of experts facing the faith of earth, increased pessimism, mainly in the rich world, are examples. Several events repeat a further sentence: “The backlash to high ideologies”. In China the media should be cleaned from advertising in order to bring back more “socialist spirit” into culture, in the Arab area the religious spirit and sentiments seem to overweight secular values in the on going elections, in the US the divide between liberal and state-oriented camps is stronger than before the crisis, the British come back of conservative values of self-reliance is a strong signal. “Occupy the streets” generated by the movement is still present but is downgrading to a subordinate sentence compared with the relevance during October 2011. The world society uses singular words, events, which articulate often “small things”. But they play often the role as key words emitting signals in face of future events, which evolve later to significant sentences. Such events are, for instance, the birds in North Europe, which delay the date of seasonal emigration to the South because the climate is significantly warmer. So the speaking of the global giant addresses always the tomorrow – like a child tries to articulate sentences using singular words. In sum, the world society expresses dramatic events during the November 2011, maybe really a turning period comparing it with the narrative of December 2010, only one year before. The capacity to cope with the diverse and intensified tensions is still weak – a disposition to arrive at a burn out?
World society’s face. The events of October 2011 reveal the double life of world society. They show convulsions running over the skin, the surface of world’s body; they indicate contradictions and tensions inherent to its inner life. Selected pairs of events illustrate that: • The death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, “greatest of American innovators”, was such a convulsion, which contrasts extremely to the hastily burying of Col Gaddafi in one of the zero zones of the earth, in the desert, or the dumping of Bin Ladin into the sea. • Worldwide rallies of youth occupy the urban places, the most illuminated points in global dermis, throughout the earth (in 951 cities and in 82 countries). Simultaneously the Chinese Communist Party demonstrates its stoic face expressing the harmonic co-operation of all organs of its huge body for the next future. • Tunisia seems to smile as the first country in the Arab world during its elections and building up a coalition joining the two traits to one national face, the Islamic and the liberal one. It contrasts to Syria where the bloody inner wars remain active as the most explosive volcano. In Egypt the disjuncture of religious groups is evident in clashes at public places and in increasing rivalries. • Efforts failed to save the unique Vietnamese animal rhino, a part of its natural heritage – a further point of mourning in the earth’s face. But the world’s population attains 7 billions of inhabitants and will grow to 10 billions. • Slovakia as new Eastern and marginal member was reluctant to agree with the bailout project of the official EU as well as its debt partners Greece and Italy, in Southern Europe, saw further violent clashes between opponents and police in the streets. Small actors became more relevant than in normal times. It seems that in peripheries and small states the inner social tensions oppose to strategies of “great words” of the big players and conferences. Events in the peripheries and small states contrast to the efforts of the grand nations and its leadership, for instance the “three-pronged” agreement to solve the debt crisis after marathon talks. The face of world society shows an emotional period commuting between destructive trends and events tuning to confidence as the examples of October’s events illustrate. However, it seems that the inner life and the body of world society is too sick for showing a smiling face, contrary his face seems stoic or fear-ridden.
Global society between macro and micro. The series of events of September 11 point out the dynamics and dialectic of how borders are changing and interacting. Thereby such changes disseminate from the big lines, the macro-scope of the geopolitical divide (transatlantic hegemony), to the meso-scope of tensions in relevant world regions (Europe), down to micro-scope of conflicts in smaller spaces (Israel and neighbors). Borders have a spatial as well as a temporal meaning, so the commemorative acts of 9/11 in several sites marked the transatlantic line in global space of a ten years’ period of “antiterrorist” control. But these events stay in contrast to the economic global governance which is seemingly losing weight: still the US financial markets, the unsolved debt issues and the pessimistic outlooks of world economy rocked the economic superiority of the transatlantic centers. Nearly everyday events gave signals similar to a fever chart worsening more than improving. The macro-scope is sensitive to concurrent dynamics of global borderlines in the hemisphere of emergent economies and actors. China launched its space station, is rousing expectations to help nations in the EU, Brasilia starts the preparation of megaprojects in face of the World Championship 2014, Russia decides to continue as geopolitical player again with Putin. Such events are a sign that the transatlantic borderline will be superimposed or perforated more and more by the role of emergent economies, China, India, Russia, Brasilia and other “heavy-weights”, as players of economic and political governance. Events in the EU are substantially linked to these changes on the macro-scale, since it is a significant part of the transatlantic region as well as a body in the meso-scope. The events of September 11 reveal dynamics of external borders, which are simultaneously driving inner border conflicts. Greece tries to conform with the European Monetary Union but this external compliance to economic norms by the governmental actors contradicts the needs and norms of people. And also top actors of the EU are confronted by these dilemmas: Governments defending the cohesion of the monetary union by bail-out options (Germany) stay before critical and reluctant parts of population. It is the first time that the breakdown of the European monetary union was not excluded and the vision of EU as the best of possible worlds is hit, for instance by the Tories in UK. A series of events of September 11 are essential in the border issues in the Middle East. Israel is confronted with the articulation of Palestinians as autonomous nation appealing the UN. Simultaneously the former security of external borders to Egypt, Syria and others, is not guaranteed, and contested by the occupation of Israel’s embassy in Egypt. Turkey started a new play as regional heavyweight in that region. Israel and its neighbors look like a micro-scope of the dynamics of borders: It has to play the role as stake- and shareholder of the transatlantic economic hegemony. But even in Israel the under and middle classes seem to be disappointed and they demand more sharing wealth instead of investments into weapons and army; youth protests arose like in many nations of the rich world. The crisis of EU has its negative impacts also on Israel, which is strongly related to Europe as well as to the US. The micro-scope shows the overlapping of several borderlines of the global body concentrated in the Middle East context.
Cassandra's chatter. The events of August shaped the scenarios of global developments significantly. Domesticating World (global power management) shows the dramatic events in Libya. A new hegemonic constellation, France, UK and at the background the most powerful actor, US, seems to have gained the victory. The dilemma of Afghan war, August was the deadliest month for US troops, the continuation of drone-war, seems to be tempered. But the events illustrate strong tensions and dilemmas of the African community of states: they are confronted to a new form of outside and top down change in a member state. The rebels and the new political actor strongly articulate their own victory and reject the presences of UN forces. Significant are the “side roles” of Russia and China in the August’s scenario of “Hobbes”, “ruling by executing orders.” One World (global financial governance) underwent a dance of ups and downs but with a steady trend downwards. After the first period of crises (2008) a new era started: insight into the debts of relevant players and worsening impacts on the world economy. The One World drops back to the “golden era”, gold reached one of the highest values in history. The US state is confronted with a radical polarisation of how to react to the debts – high ideologies (tea party) attract significant parts of society. The EU is confronted with new “clients”, mainly Italy, the weakness of EURO and the economic architecture of the community. Negotiating World suffers under a precondition: the solutions to problems are postponed and increase the fears. The critical events have to be outshined by public and political shows and rhetoric. The “victory conference” in Paris (Libya’s fall), the rituals of “debt-fights” in the US, the rhetoric around the “fall of the wall of Berlin”, the declaration of “broken Society” in London are examples. In that atmosphere it is obvious that UN or negotiating missions are rather rejected, for instance by Libya or Syria. The domesticating power absorbed the negotiating efficiency significantly during the August period. Holy World shows still its overall relevance in many parts of world society: at the end of Ramadan in Iraq, Chechen, Nigeria and at other places tragic events illustrate the role of the hard borderlines. Nearly in all “war places” or “post-war places” the role of holy borders seem to be basic, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey. Even in the EU such trends to conservative high ideologies are not excluded; Hungary wants back the “holy body” of early Hungary. Civil World is still weak in face of hard conflicts, so in Syria. The efforts to convince the international community by “idealistic” appeals fail in face of the “real factors”, the divide of geopolitical and oil interests (what is the problem in Libya too). They generate chronic inconsistencies where and when sanctions will be implemented. Syria profits from that dilemma during the August period. A very relevant event series concerned London, the youth riots illustrating the increased inequality in European cities. Civil Society contains increasingly events, which reflect the divide between losers and winners, poor and rich people, so the protests of youth and middle classes in Israel. So the material drivers of civil society (social needs) could overcome the idealistic drivers (human rights) of Civil World. Cassandra trembled intensively during the August 11 events, the financial crisis, but also through the voice of nature, the storm fears in the US, alarming reports that 12 Mio of mankind are stateless, or the Fukushima finally evoked political aftermaths, the resignation of actors responsible for the catastrophe.
Back to high-ideologies? The events July 11 reveal a probable change of ideologies on a transnational level. Mainly the attacks targeting the government and a youth camp in Norway, a very stable welfare nation, seems to be unique. These actions could announce the evolving of “high-ideologies”, militant or intellectual conservatism, back to ultimate values, in Western countries. Why? Evidently they respond to Islamic ideologies focusing on ultimate values. But what is more, the reactions indicate that the “middle-band ideology” is losing its influence, which comprises various, capitalist, social, liberal and traditional norms. They are like syncretism and seem to miss the reference to ultimate values. This contaminated meshwork between the high-ideologies functions like a historic compromise, a secular religion, everywhere in the world qualified as civil nations – in contrast to the failed parts of it. The events July 11 again disturbed the trust of people to that mainstream ideology, mainly the aftermaths of the first financial crisis, the new threats of financial turmoil (US debt issue), the stress of EU to cope with the currency gaps. Such events undermine the credibility that we are in fact “One World” basing on the Western alliance as trusty economic actor. Moreover, one observes events illustrating the alliance losing its control power in the Arab area, in Central Asia (Afghanistan) and in Pacific area. “Domesticating World” a relevant scenario loses those actors who dominated since the early 90ties. Simultaneously the “Negotiating World” is lagging or drops back to rhetoric declarations without durable impacts. What will happen in other parts of world society? In the Arab arena the opportunist and authoritarian orders are totally or partially abolished or under stress. Here the welfare ideology, the secular religion of Western origins, attracted people but within a context where high-ideologies and ultimate values remain very relevant. Polarization and rivalries are expected in the next periods, which can be bloody. The emergent nations, mainly China, seem to shift to their “Own World”, high-ideologies, which include pragmatically the rising expectations for consumption, they follow the path of Janus.
Symptoms of late Roman Empire The alarming signals of Fukushima, the most urgent “Cassandra-signs” (since Chernobyl) are tranquillized as well as superimposed by the radicalized conflicts within the EU, mainly Greece and the Northern member states. The EURO-borders evolve to a source of various impacts on social conflicts (Greece and the Southern EURO-periphery and its stability). Simultaneously youth movements, “indignation”, reflect tensions between expectations due to higher education and the closed labour markets and income perspectives. The crisis of “one world”, currency affairs, affects the European hegemonic order; dissent increases, for instance between France and Germany; the trends “back-to-future”, i.e. to national solutions of urgent issues (migration) is obvious (France, Italy, Finland, Denmark). At the borders to the Arabic states the war and intervention in Lybia absorb still the efforts of Western hegemony but simultaneously the Arabic revolutions seem to lose its impacts; the civil and national mobilization is responded by the power of traditional patterns and borders; backlashes to the “own world”, rivalries between “holy” and “secular” groups increase (see Egypt). Again the role of “universal and civic” values and trends fall back to symbols and rhetoric formulas. They are downgraded by the unequal application in the different fields and parts of world society, a trend strongly reinforced by the opportunistic treatment of regimes by the “civil alliance” of Western players. The June 11 events are rather chaotic and remember to symptoms of decay of empires: the increasing role of big figures switching between sex, crime and charismatic gestures (S. Kahn, Berlusconi, Gaddafi, Sarkozy et al.), of spectacular events and of the role of “show-effects” (Lybian war, Bin Laden). It seems that the most urgent problems, the financial risks of US, the aftermaths of the financial crisis, the poverty in the South, the real global problems are suppressed. This is linked to the fact that in many big player nations elections are prepared, in US, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt and in the Arabic world which strengthen the trends to choose its own roads.
Scenarios live The systematic collection of event series (since 2008) can be compared with the qualitative interpretation of event series. In fact, the significant stream of events, “own and holy world”, gained a strong influence. It seems that they will increase – as in the May 11 series – due to the revivals of traditional actors and players in some Arab states as well as in Western nations or in the US. But it is evident that the counterpart, “civil world”, remains a relevant source of events as the systematic data document. However, the consent what does mean “universal” and “civil” values falls as the number of such events on different places at global society increases. But the most relevant aspect is that the “domesticating world”, the rivalries for hegemony became a war like character (Lybia, uprisings, repression, physical and cockpit wars). The Hobbes scenario increased since 2008 significantly and contradicts to the justification as “civil war”. It degenerated to the “imperata facere” by cockpit wars far from people, from the ground, life situations and minds. It is clear that the “domesticating” by a cockpit war and its civil justification are the main reason why the appeal of civil values is weak. Since 2008 “one world” scenario is affected by the consequences of the global financial crisis, which is still not pacified as the events in Greece illustrate during the period. The events in May show that the “negotiating world” is restricted to different regional alliances of world society and falling back to the own interests of leading nations (see Germany, US).
Back to own roads The event series April 11 reflect the triggers and effects of events of previous sequences. But still the Libyan affairs are the core of events and attention. Simultaneously the failures of accident management in Fukushima, the long termed impacts on Japan, one of the leading players, on Asia and the international society are actualized. A significant trend is the separation of Libyan events from those in other Arab states, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and others. It seems that the comprehensive looking on the different parts and event series of Arab space becomes fragmented. In each country the inner rivalries, borders and particularities hamper comprehensive perspectives. It looks like the hegemonic players, its dominance as one world actor, profit from such an outlook: it reduces the collective responsibility as well as the singular players choose more individual responses. In that way the global negotiating power of the hegemons (US) but also of Russia and China and others as a whole could be freed; roads to “own” strategies and more self-regard are facilitated. Still visible is the turmoil of financial affairs: in Europe the EURO-crisis and the debt problems (Iceland, Greece, Portugal and others); the debt problem of US is a threatening burden and addressed by Cassandra signs but not really addressed by measures. Indeed, the G20 decides a regular monitoring of financial players with a probable risk for the international and global society (US, China, Japan, Germany, France). Significant events address the urgent agenda of threatened nature and environment by commemorative events, i.e. 25 years of Chernobyl or impacts visible now of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The aftermaths of rising food prices, the poverty and linked huger in specific regions are articulated but do not generate significant events which make evident efforts for measures.
March 2011(including February, January)
The big explosion and unexpected eruption In that period two significant event-series wake up nearly all societies and its players. The Fukushima accident illustrates dramatically the dominance of earth (its inner life) over the security borders in the case of atomic power plants. The events describe how probable but not foreseeable the air quakes attack the man-made infrastructures, of atomic power plants producing fallout borders – expanding circles around the destroyed systems and mutating the regions into dead zones. The events repeat the event series of Chernobyl nearly in all its facets: insecurities, propagation of success, facing angry and tensions of people. The uprisings and protests in the Arabic world at the Southern border of Europe are huge eruptions passing the borders in a very short time. The Western parts as well as China and Eastern Europe were surprised and affected by this Arabic turn mobilizing protest movements. Over night borderlines transformed into portals of exchange, flight, emigration. The events produced trembling territories, broken borderlines and abolished those which guaranteed the restriction of African emigration to the coasts of Europe. The events reveal the incapacities of political actors and institutions in the “civil” parts of world society – including the scientific expertises – they failed to perceive and forecast the real situations, people’s mind and mood behind the established borderlines. Events, mainly the Lybian intervention, Pakistan and Afghanistan, confirm the change of rules in “domesticating world”, handling the Hobbes scenario. The Nato decision is a further step to change the paradigm from the ground to a cockpit war – steered by headquarters and intensively dependent from complex virtual infrastructure. The borders on the ground, in Libya, between different zones, tribes, external and inner borders, pro- and anti-Gaddafi groups, military persons and people can hardly been discerned despite the electronic technologies. Such ambiguities evoke the monolithic appeals and images, the holy mission of charismatic leaders. The cockpit war seems directly derived from the principle of execution of Hobbes (“imperata facere”) but justified by “universal rights” going back to the stream of thoughts going back to civil society. The debates within global hegemony (Russia, China, African states versus Western alliance) as well as within the Western block (France, UK versus Germany, Italy and US) reveal the rivalries emerging within the Western alliance. The events indicate that the “who-is-who” in global affairs and border issues is less clear and explicit than in former periods when the dominance strategies were more collectively shared. These symptoms underline the trends from a period of “dominance” by the global economic and power to a period of “chaos” where events and trends follow more national or regional routes. Such trends favor autonomous, isolated and surprising options and developments. In event periods one observes displaced issues. The financial threats, the debt problems of EU members and of the US, are less manifest than in the former periods (they dominated the December series 2010!). Evidently the global significance of Fukushima decreased in favor of the Libyan story of events which deliver elements of a big “show”. But the Fukushima events triggered intensive debates and impacts on the lower, national level where significant political changes in regard to energy issues have taken place (mainly in Western welfare states but not in the emerging economies).
Inner borders and external pressures The EU's stress on borders is caused by the financial affairs and tensions between the heavy-weights versus failed nations. The continuity of EU as a global currency player, its external profile, is not guaranteed. As a consequence the “rally for the EURO” (Germany and France) is accompanied by efforts to regulate the bank systems risking to lose competitive power in financial markets. The borders vis à vis the new economies have to be opened in terms of energy supply (Russia) and trading (India). The pressure of closed borders, exclusion practice, in regard to immigrants and asylants are not lowered but displaced. The EU as a civil master society is under stress. Responses are ambigous, for instance, actions for compliance to European civilty in the neighbourhood (Croatia, Serbia) or declarations of tough attitudes vis à vis Israel's role in the West Bank. Borders are not fixed demarcation lines but functional outcomes of specific affairs within an area (EU) and to external players. The events illustrate borders are “zigzag roads” through space reflecting EU-internal tensions and efforts to regulate them, primordially that of financial currency affairs. But external actors and forces are simultaneously impacting the making and profiling of external borders, EU's identity, vis à vis its neighbors and other parts of global society. Five types of border affairs are visible: financial ones (EU-internal), energy-(Russia), trade-related (India), geopolitical (China, Israel), cultural affairs (Serbia, Croatia).