18 September 2014
Budapest ESI talk at CEU: The Rhetoric of Reaction - Pessimism, Complacency and Newspeak in 2014
The rhetoric of reaction – Pessimism, Complacency and Newspeak in 2014. Video CEU

ESI's Gerald Knaus has been invited to deliver the keynote speech for the opening of the academic year 2014/2015 of the School of Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest. He spoke about lessons to be learnt from recent events in international relations, from Iraq and Lybia, to Syria and Ukraine. Gerald was invited and introduced by Wolfgang Reinicke and John Shattuck frrom the CEU. Thomas Carothers, Vice President of the Carnegie Foundation, was in the audience and took part in the debate that followed.

This year has seen a cascade of crises and a bonfire of assumptions about the post Cold War world. It is a time for hard questions.

What remains of the commitments of November 1990 – the Paris Charter for a New Europe – in light of current events? Of the promise of peaceful regime change and color revolutions? Of the hopes of liberal interventionists, in light of news from Libya and Iraq? Of the moral authority of the Council of Europe, when the country chairing it is putting its human rights defenders in jail? Was the grand project of European enlargement – and the US vision of "one Europe, whole and free" – hopelessly naive and recklessly overoptimistic? Does 2014 mark the end of an era: the moment when the West returns from a strategy of enlargement to a strategy of containment?

Are we condemned to chose between complacency and pessimism: the belief that liberal democracy and human rights are the wave of the future or the fatalistic view that the law of the world will always remain the law of the jungle?

Click here to learn more

Recent presenations by Gerald Knaus:

Oslo, 13 May 2014: How the government of Azerbaijan has captured the Council of Europe. Video: Norwegian Helsinki Committe
Istanbul, 26 February 2014: Enlargement and the benefits of competition. Video: ESI
Berlin, 2 June 2014: Political prisoners in Europe - what is to be done? Video: ESI

Further reading:

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Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com