International Relations and Diplomacy in Central Europe

Carlos Flores Juberías: Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo – The Dayton Treaty, the Ohrid Agreement, and the Proposal of Final Status for Kosovo
The intervention of the international community in the most recent Balkan conflicts -namely, in the cases of Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo- came in response to situations which offered clear similarities, since the three cases mentioned showed up a minority which mainly professed Islamic religion and which was the object of an armed aggression, or became the victim of a systematic policy of marginalization in the hands of an Slavic majority. In the three cases this intervention came in support of this ethnic group and led to the imposition to the conflicting parts of a political agreement guaranteed by the international community in order to put an end to the conflict. However, a more detailed analysis reveals that it is exactly at this point where the similarities between these three cases come to an end, since neither the scale of the problem, nor the intensity, the promptness, the duration, and the nature of the involvement of the international community in its resolution, nor the suggested solutions have followed a common pattern.

Rafał Boguszewski: Public Perception of Conservatism and Liberalism in Poland
The concepts of conservatism, liberalism, or of being conservative or liberal, are continuously used in the political discourse, the mass media and everyday language, even though their meaning is far from clear.  Therefore, it would seem that most people associate these terms with something and, depending on different factors and experiences, these associations are either positive or negative.  The Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS) 1 asked the Poles in one of its public opinion polls about their emotional associations with the terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ and their understanding of the terms ‘conservatism’ and ‘liberalism’.  The respondents were also asked to identify themselves using conservatism and liberalism as two criteria.  Apparently, the concepts of liberalism and conservatism are to a large extent unclear to the Polish society.  Those who declare familiarity with these terms frequently define them in quite different ways.  Therefore, the meanings attributed to these concepts are heterogeneous and diverse, sometimes even contradictory.  The political self-identifications of the Poles are closer to liberalism than conservatism, and the understanding of these terms differs significantly depending on the individual self-identification.

Csaba Varga: Failed Crusade – American Self-confidence, Russian Catastrophe
We may be tempted—and not without reason—to suppose that it is perhaps not some specifically Soviet or American affliction but a fate characteristic of big powers2 that they frequently resort to simplifying schemes and explanations, reduced to one single principle. After all, their experiences are drawn from more universal or global a perspective and dimension, so they tend to become mistrustful towards anything unique, small-sized and changeable, out of their everyday routine. The situation is paradox. So is the fact that not long ago we still attributed the Communists’ suspicion towards any spontaneity in society to their historico-philosophical indoctrination by Marxism; yet looking at presently felt global trends, we cannot rule out the chance that a direction determined for us from the outset may too, in some unhoped future, be valued as a perfection of the democratic principle.

Vladimir Rukavisnyikov: The Templation of Missile Defense. The US Administration and the Russian policy-makers
The anti-missile shield consists of interceptor missiles and radars linked with them. As for the powerful radar in the Czech Republic – the most important element of the In-Flight Interceptor Communications System (IFICS) for controlling US missiles, which, as I‘ve said, according to the Russian experts, might be aimed to the Russian strategic missiles, it is considered also as an instrument, which can be used for watching a military activity at the Eastern part of the Russian Federation, including missile launches for various purposesTo resume, the temptation of missile defense became for President Vladimir Putin a harsh lesson. However, let us not forget that the issue of missile defense is just a part of a broader content of international relations. And hope that a responsible leadership of Russia, and Dmitry Medvedev as newly elected Russia’s president, as well as the Russian society, would like prevent ‘freezing’ the cooperation with Europe or pushing the country to a new military and political confrontation with the US.

Károly Grúber: Enlargement and the European Constitutional process: The Hungarian Experience in the European Convention
The European Convention on the future of Europe was the first EU body in which old memberstates and candidate countries were equal partners. The representatives of the candidate countries were given chances to understand how coalition-building works in the enlarged Union and how various networks do have an impact on European decision making. By establishing the co-called „like-minded„ groups the mostly small or medium-size Central-European states did have a significant impact on the final outcome of the body led by Giscard D`Estaing. This paper tries to analyze how generally the representatives of the candidate countries found their place in the work of the Convention and how the Hungarian representatives were successful in lobbying for the incorporation of minority rights in the final document prepared by the Presidium.

Hosszú Hortenzia: Role of the Party Competition in Cabinet Performance in Hungary
The paper seeks to provide an explanation of cabinet performance in Hungary. Taking party competition as basis of my hypothesis I state that the rivalry among coalition parties or/and its intra-party groups and the prime minister’s relation to coalition parties’ intra-party groups are the main determinants of cabinet performance. The article proceeds as follows. It starts with introduction and literature sections following with a short introduction to Hungarian politics. Since the political competition can be instrumentalized through party and coalition politics, which is linked to changing power relationships within and among parties, I examine how these changing relationships form and influence the cabinet performance in case of Hungary in 1994-2006 through political cycles in decision-making. Finally, I summarize the major findings and suggest avenues for further research.

József N. Szabó: Hungarian-French Relationships in Arts and Literature /1945-1948/ – Cooperation in Music and Fine Arts
In the years directly following the end of World War II Hungarian cultural diplomacy made the utmost effort in order to conquer new positions for Hungarian culture in the world, thus contributing to the nation’s efforts to break out of international isolation. It was hoped that through the channels of cultural connections Hungary would be able to bring Hungarian culture onto a suitable level with international culture and re-integrate the country into the mainstream of human progress. The music and the fine arts have had an important role in the Hungarian-French relationships between 1945 and 1948.