Past and present in Central Europe

Norman Podhoretz: How Ronald Reagan Won the Cold War–and Why There Were No Victory Parades in America?
Ever since the Communism collapsed within the Soviet heartland itself, the reaction in the United States has exhibited an extremely curious feature. What Flacks’s research showed was that, on the contrary, these young radicals were mostly the children of Communists. They were not themselves Communists in the strict sense but rather a more ecumenical breed of radical leftists–a New Left distinguishable in many ways from the old Communist Left, which they regarded as too rigidly ideological and too timid in pursuing their revolutionary goal. But in one respect, at least, the New Leftists were no different from their Communist parents. They too believed that the United States and not the Soviet Union was entirely responsible for the cold war. though the curtain did not fall on the cold war until R. Reagan had left office and was replaced by his chosen successor George Bush, there can be no question that it was he–with, let us never forget, the indispensable spiritual help of the dissidents within the evil empire and its heartland, as well as that of the Polish pope in Rome–who led the world into the promised post-Communist land. we have two more obligations that go along with these. The first is to be jubilant ourselves, and the second is to work at showing everyone else why they too should join us in shouting hurrah.

Vasile Puşcaş, Christian Radu Chereji, Dacian Duna, Goriţă Dorin Ciprian: Building Democracy in Central Europe and the Post-cold-war System
Following the substantial changes that occurred in Europe in the years 1989, a joint declaration, and commitment to non-aggression was signed in Paris in November 1990 and “The Charter of Paris for a New Europe” was published. These documents formally brought adversarial relations to an end and marked the start of a new era of cooperation in Europe. Shortly after these events, almost all the ex-Communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe claimed their intention to join the Euro-Atlantic institutions, mainly the European Union and NATO. Both organizations had to take in consideration this option and to step up to internal institutional reforms and to set up criteria for integration of the Central and Eastern European countries. The analysis of the official documents and the events that have occurred in the last decade prove the application of the principle of differentiation in assessing the candidates and their readiness to adhere to the Euro-Atlantic institutions. The same analysis shows a different approach of this principle for the EU and NATO, depending on their specific interests and structure.

János Simon: Short Notes on the Reborn of the Civil Society in Hungary – The way from the political elite to the organized civilians
During the exclusive discussions, the old and the new elite agreed and set the time of the elections. By means of discussions of the elites the basic rules of the democracy, the electoral system, the institutions and the temporary constitution have been developed. But the whole process was a one- side agreement, because the Hungarian people were left out. In conclusion, because of the balance of forces there was an ‘incomplete regime change’ in the broken society, so that in the political world the powers of the continuousness could keep higher positions than the powers of change or renewal. Due to the experience of 1956, the message was to compromise, to make it less painful, making the transition peaceful and enhancing the new regime’s stability. The compromise with negotiations between the old and the new political forces seemed to be appropriate, because they had to face with less resistance, seemed to be more successful and quick. But now we have to “pay the price” of those compromises, and we are suffering from them. Among post- communist countries Hungary is the only one that has not constructed a new constitution; Hungary only corrected the old one. Now it is high time to construct a new constitution with ratification by the people, so that we should proclaim the 4th Republic- by a constitutional revolution. The strengthening civil society movements are definitely partners.

Georgi Karasimeonov: The Process of Consolidation of Democracy in Post-Communist Central and East Europe
The author use two notions by which he is aim to present a more precise picture of the consolidation process in post-communist Central and East Europe. One is “level” of institutional consolidation, the other, “quality” of consolidation. Institutional consolidation is reached when a democratic regime’s basic institutions are sufficiently stable and resistant to antidemocratic pressures so that for a foreseeable future it is irreversible if no extraordinary events occur (wars). In that sense democracy is the only game in town and is characterized by “institutional normality”. Institutional consolidation is itself a prerequisite, the sine qua non condition for democratic consolidation. There are various levels of consolidation in different geopolitical and socio-economic conditions. As long as most post-communist democracies are “dependent” democracies, relying mostly on financial injections and support from the West to survive, the author makes them weak democracies unable to generate their own resources to develop qualitatively their democratic system. They would remain clientelistic or oligarchic democracies with weak civil society and corrupt political practices. In that sense on Western democracies weighs a great responsibility to avoid the policy of integration to become a factor of economic impoverishment, discrimination and undeserved favouritisms towards some countries at the cost of others.

Tibor Szabó: Some Remarks on the Italian National Identity and Political Culture
In the paper the author states that the Italian national identity and political culture shows a relative continuity in the Italian political and civic life. They were influenced by political, historical, moral, religious and cultural heritage and tradition. In Italy, we can observe the existence of very diverse political and moral cultures and attitudes. In Norberto Bobbio’s opinion the luck of a very unified Italian identity is due to the luck of an organic civil society. The main characteristics of Italian political culture are the individualism, transformism, familianism and clientelism. Concerning the styles of the Italian political culture we have to state the European character of the tone of the political discussions, but there are sometimes enormous differences, too. There is a well-balanced and equilibrate style or a Machiavellian style of political culture.

Marianna Dobó: Opportunities of New Towns in Hungary – The effects of gaining town status on the settlement-system in Northern Hungary
Analyzing the situation of the settlement-system of Hungary, the most obvious change can be seen on the field of towns. The process of granting town status has been reformed after the system change. Winning town status was an important step in the life of a settlement. It was a gauge of development, and the settlement got new opportunities to develop. The aim of my study is to analyze the regional role of those settlements, which have won town status since 1990 in Northern Hungary, particularly their effects on settlement-system and on local (settlement, district and region) society. The settlements obtained town status between 1990-2007 emphasized ttarted with the gaininheir development turning up already in their applications. It was emphasized that their settlement picture is town like, the standard of their services and their institution supply are good. Additional developments were wished to be sg of town status, newer service areas would be possible to be accomplished.