Miša Stojadinović, PhD is the Research Associate of the Institute for Political Studies, Secretary of the current research project: “Demokratski i nacionalni kapacitet političkih institucija Srbije u procesu međunarodnih integracija” (Democratic and National Capacity of Political Institutions in Serbia in the Process of International Integrations) and Executive Editor of the journal Srpska politička misao (Serbian Political Thought). Author of numerous academic papers and two books: “Potraga za identitetom” (Search for Identity) (Institute for Political Studies, 2014). Professor at the Faculty for International Politics and Security, in graduate and master study programmes.
GEOPOLITICS AND ENERGY SECURITY OF THE BALKAN STATES
The end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st is characterized by numerous challenges in all fields. Limited resources and the need for energy have taken their place among the key factors in creating the international policy of all countries around the world. This influenced the birth of a new type of diplomacy – energy diplomacy. The main goal of this paper is a critical analysis of the energetic security of European countries, with a special focus on the energetic security of the Balkan countries. The paper relies on a geopolitical approach to understanding international relations using a geographical and comparative method. The author in this paper is especially analysing relations between Bulgaria and Serbia. A relation between those two countries is important in terms of geopolitical and economic perspectives. This is especially important in the light of the fact that their relations have been one of the least analysed issues in European international relations. Although the power has important role in international relations, some small and middle states such as Bulgaria and Serbia, despite their great underestimation can have a significant role in shaping geopolitical map of entire world. One of the main tools to achieve such position for Bulgaria and Serbia is the establishment of mutual cooperation and their joint strategy of using so called “soft power” and “soft balancing”. This is why bilateral relations between Serbia and Bulgaria should not be ignored in scientific analysis of international relations. Building the Turkish Stream pipeline on the Russian initiative might be exactly this. Serbia is one of the most important parts of this project in the process of its implementation from the Bulgarian to Hungarian border. There are also some notions coming from the side of the Republic of Bulgaria that this could become some kind of Balkan Stream pipeline which would deliver energy from different sources, which is an interesting initiative. Although the USA have not been particularly happy about this project, it is very important for entire Europe, and therefore both Bulgaria and Serbia.
PANDEMICS AND INSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES IN THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
The analysis of social and political consequences of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemics brought with it a huge number of challenges. Certainly, one of the largest one is the fact that this field is mainly studied from medical and economic perspective, while political and sociological aspects are set in the background. The second problem of our analysis is that it is happening in the moment when is currently happening right before our eyes. This makes any kind of analysis from the aspects of political and social science difficult, because there are no many studies on which we can rely on. This is why the main goal of this paper is to provide us general political and social framework for understanding coronavirus pandemic, without any kind of tendency to provide any kind of final answers. The first part of the paper deals with global preparedness for pandemics, while the second part analyse institutional challenges in the health sector. The numerous processes which characterized contemporary society ultimately have led to the fact that there are no more problems which can have only local consequences. Every local crisis can very fast become a global problem. This is especially important in the field of natural disaster, pandemics, global warming, pollution, security, poverty etc. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the unwillingness of international organizations, and the international community in general, to face with coronavirus pandemic with some kind of global coordinated action. With all these mentioned we emphasis that there are three main lessons which we must be learned from coronavirus pandemic. The first lesson is that there were many signs in the past that some kind of global pandemic will happen in the near future. One of the main reasons why we did not recognize those signs is that large industries did not see the profit in dealing with preventive measures. The second lesson is that there were no reliable studies which can estimate global capacities for dealing with consequences of global pandemic. Because of that many states faced with this pandemic unprepared. The third lesson of the coronavirus pandemic, which is perhaps the most important one, is the lack of global cooperation and solidarity. The pandemic provoked a chaotic response of individual countries which were guided primarily by their own national interests. There were any kind of visible role of international organizations to organize a joint response on a global level, which would certainly be much more effective.
THE FALL OF DEMOCRACY AND BIRTH OF THE NEO-IMPERIAL TYPE OF CITIZENS
This paper represents a critical analysis of the position of the citizen in the contemporary democratic society. There is also a necessity for the analysis of the process of weakening social and political engagement of citizens. The main goal of this paper is to redefine the concept of citizen from the neoliberal aspect, underling at the same time the collapse of the democratic capacities of political institutions globally. Numerous social changes at the global level have led to numerous challenges that test democratic capabilities of political institutions daily. Many so-called humanitarian interventions are forced around the world in the name of democracy and human rights. For these reasons, the very concept of democracy has come under attack, with the emerging need for redefining it. Today, also, the concept of “good citizen” is called into question. There are tendentious of the development of a new type of citizen, who is an obedient and imperceptible consumer, excluded from all spheres of decision-making process. The loss of confidence in political institutions has produced a huge democratic deficit with which we must be faced as soon as possible. Creating an insecure environment automatically precludes any possibility of strengthening the democratic and national capacities of political institutions, which automatically leads to the disappearance of the citizen as an important actor from the political sphere. The notion of a citizen as an active participant in government has been called into question. Neoliberal democracy atomizes society by creating a disorganized group of individuals who is unwilling to take any collective action. A citizen in the most general sense represents a person with certain rights and duties within the socio-political community to which he is bound by relatively permanent membership. Bearing in mind the context of the study in this paper, it is necessary to emphasize in particular the political rights and duties of the citizen as an equal actor in political processes. This further leads to the need to develop a democratic environment in which citizens will be active participants, and not just passive observers. This underlines the importance for the development of participatory democracy, which has proven to be the most optimal model for fulfilling basic democratic principles.