Today, we release the 2014 edition of the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs. The Journal is the print version of what we have tried to do all year on the website – provide a forum for SAIS students to contribute to vital debates in international relations.
The theme of this year’s Journal is Stalemates, by which we meant those international problems that seem locked in a state of inertia. The obvious issues come to mind: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian Civil War, and efforts to address global climate change, among others. We were pleasantly surprised to receive papers applying this theme not only to these familiar questions, but also to issues we had not anticipated, like the future of the World Trade Organization or the International Criminal Court’s response to atrocities in Sudan. For some of these conflicts, solutions are known, but the political will to implement them remains elusive. For others, answers remain unknown. Additionally, though the notion of ‘stalemate’ refers to a lack of action, it also contains the possibility of breakthrough. We asked our authors to consider how these issue might be resolved as technology, globalization, and other forces reshape the world. We hope that the Journal’s 17th edition will help add to the scholarly debate over these issues. The quality of the analysis in this edition gives us hope that these issues will not remain stalemated forever.
This edition also features interviews with three veteran observers of the international scene. Ahmed Rashid, an experienced Pakistani journalist and the author of the definitive book on the Taliban, helped us envision the future of South Asia after the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan this year. Serge Schmemann, a former New York Times bureau chief in Moscow, spoke with us about how Russia understands its role in the former Soviet sphere, shedding light on its recent moves in Ukraine. Finally, we sat down with SAIS’s own Prof. Filippo Taddei to hear about his role as economic advisor to Matteo Renzi, Italy’s new prime minister, and the government’s plans to overhaul the Italian economy.
The Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs is an entirely student-run enterprise, and its publication would not be possible without the selfless work of many in the SAIS community. That is especially true of the website, and I want to especially thank our web editor, Laura Mojonnier, for her hard work this year that has given SAIS students an open forum for their writing on a range of important international issues.
On behalf of the Journal’s staff, I am pleased to present the 17th edition of the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs. It has been our pleasure to produce it, and we hope you enjoy reading it.
Jeffrey S. Wright