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How the weak vanquished the strong

According to this book, Romania's predatory rulers, the heirs of the sinister communist dictator Ceauşescu, have inflicted a humiliating defeat on the European Union. The book argues that Brussels was tricked into offering full membership to this Balkan country in return for substantial reforms which its rulers now refuse to carry out. It unmasks the failure of the EU to match its visionary promises of transforming Romania with the shabby reality. Benefiting from access to internal reports and leading figures involved in a decade of negotiations, the book shows how Eurocrats were outwitted by unscrupulous local politicians who turned the EU's multi-level decision-making processes into a laughing-stock. The EU's famous ‘soft power’ turned out to be a mirage, as it was unable to summon up the willpower to insist that this key Balkan state embraced its standards of behaviour in the political and economic realms. The book unravels policy failures in the areas of justice, administrative and agricultural reform, showing how Romania moved backwards politically during the years of negotiations.

The dynamics of compound bureaucracies

This book introduces international bureaucracy as a key field of study for public administration and also rediscovers international bureaucracy as an essential ingredient in the study of international organizations. Firstly, the book systematically compares behavioural dynamics within a carefully selected number of international bureaucracies. The focus is on studying these dynamics within international bureaucracies at the actor level - that is, by studying the behaviour and roles as perceived by the officials themselves. The book outlines a conceptual map of four generic behavioural dynamics that are likely to be evoked by these officials: intergovernmental, supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics. Essentially, the Westphalian international order dominated by the intergovernmental dynamic is challenged to the extent that international bureaucracies embed supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics in everyday decision-making processes. Admittedly, there are no guarantees that these dynamics always materialise in the actors' behaviour and ultimately in the decisions reached by international organisations. However, they serve as cognitive and normative frames for action, rendering it more likely than not that particular decision-making dynamics are associated with certain behavioural patterns. Secondly, the book illuminates some causal factors that may help to explore the conditions under which different behavioural dynamics are manifested in the behavioural and role perceptions of the incumbents of international bureaucracies. Essentially, the authors do not propose to 'test' the four dynamics outlined above in a rigorous manner. They serve more as 'searchlights for illuminating empirical patterns in our data'.

A poststructural critique

Why adopt a poststructural perspective when reading about the military strategy of national missile defence (NMD)? Certainly, when considering how best to defend the United States against attack by intercontinental ballistic missiles, the value of critical international relations theory may be easy to overlook. So, how might the insight of scholars such as Michel Foucault contribute to our understanding of the decision-making processes behind NMD policy? The deployment of NMD is a sensitive political issue. Official justification for the significance of the NMD system is based upon strategic feasibility studies and conventional threat predictions guided by worst-case scenarios. However, this approach fails to address three key issues: the ambiguous and uncertain nature of the threat to which NMD responds; controversy over technological feasibility; and concern about cost. So, in light of these issues, why does NMD continue to stimulate such considerable interest and secure ongoing investment? Presented as an analysis of discourses on threats to national security – around which the need for NMD deployment is predominately framed – this book argues that the preferences underlying NMD deployment are driven by considerations beyond the scope of strategic approaches and issues. The conventional wisdom supporting NMD is contested using interpretive modes of inquiry provided by critical social theory and poststructuralism, and it is suggested that NMD strategy should be viewed in the context of US national identity. The book seeks to establish a dialogue between the fields of critical international relations theory and US foreign policy.

A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan
Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair

humanitarians to integrate historical reflection into their work practices and to establish a model that might be replicated in a variety of institutional contexts. We wanted to create an environment, in other words, in which it was possible to think historically about what did and did not work in the field, what contextual factors shaped decision-making processes in humanitarianism and whether the outcomes of those decisions – some of which had decades-long consequences and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Lessons Learned from an Intervention by Médecins Sans Frontières
Maria Ximena Di Lollo
Elena Estrada Cocina
Francisco De Bartolome Gisbert
Raquel González Juarez
, and
Ana Garcia Mingo

decentralised nature of governance in Spain led to poor coordination and cohesion between central government and autonomous communities and resulted in late and unclear decision-making processes. Likewise, there was a lack of coordination between care homes and epidemiological surveillance systems (the test and trace programmes were initially absent or very limited), as well as between primary and specialist health care and between care homes and the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector
Miriam Bradley

suspension of programming, it is seen as sending a message about the severity of the situation to the authorities and the international community ( Humanitarian Practice Network, 2010 : 86). Relocating large numbers of civilians could also send a message about the severity of the situation, but when it comes to checklists of costs and benefits to be analysed as part of the decision-making process before evacuating the local civilian population, this

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Louise Beaumais

humanitarian situations is to make bets in the face of uncertainty. 34 Thus, part of the resistance to databases and quantitative data lies in the desire to keep the decision-making process as human as possible, based on staff expertise. Current EBH is seen as promoting the opposite: So these systems that want to do a lot of data in a short amount of time forget that the value of humanitarian information is linked to the trust

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
Nikki Ikani

policy continuity, by using such narratives. Actors interpret crises. This interpretation often include allusions to what kind of policy change is necessary. Foreign policy analysis Whilst both deal with the most pressing questions emerging from the realm of international affairs, the main difference between FPA and other IR approaches are FPA's focus on the actor and on the decision-making process, involving problem recognition, framing, perception, goal prioritisation, option assessment and final decision

in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
Nikki Ikani

This chapter proposes an analytical framework for studying changes to EU foreign policy. The Introduction explained how the ambition to draw up such a framework for the EU level is founded on a theoretical dialogue between historical institutionalism (HI), foreign policy analysis (FPA) and public policy studies. The key argument of this study is that to understand changes of EU foreign policy in the wake of critical junctures we need to understand the decision-making process following those critical junctures, in order to

in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
Christoph Knill
Duncan Liefferink

, 179ff.). The question of which actors assert their ideas in defining a political problem and during the agenda-setting process can be of utmost significance for the further decision-making process. The manner in which a problem is specifically defined has direct ramifications for the potential measures, upon the basis of which the problem is supposed to be solved. As the questions asked invariably colour the answers received, it is important to consider who is asking the questions, and who (or what) causes environmental issues to be placed on the European agenda

in Environmental politics in the European Union