The causes of the current societal, economic, and political crisis in Sri Lanka are complex. The immediate roots of the crisis are the local and global economic factors fueled by the popular protests against the corruption of the governing political elites. What does the ongoing crisis have to do with catastrophic or distant events like the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine? What role does foreign debt, especially indebtedness to China, play in the crisis? How does the fragile architecture of Sri Lanka's political economy and its dependence on remittances survive when funds are being siphoned off into foreign investments by the national elites? What are the prospects of civil society-led democratic reforms in the face of Sri Lanka's militarized political structures?
A new world order is in place where according to Kaldor, perpetual violence has become the norm. How come these so-called new wars, or “forever wars” as Kaldor refers to them, are not tied to contest over national territory? Furthermore, does NATO still adhere to Cold War patterns of thinking and is there a willingness in the organization to change the focus towards matters relating to human security? Is Putin's war of aggression in Ukraine not a throwback to the old wars fought for control over territory against neighboring states? And where can we locate the sights and actors of successful resistance, and should these be civilian rather than military? Can the military even be part of the solution, or is the inherent logic of the military industrial complex part of the problem in the first place? Given the current geopolitical tensions can democratic status quo be preserved by relying on a self-limiting and limited capacity for defensive deterrence mixed with policing functions?
What are the main threats to diverse societies and why is the timely recognition of these threats more important in liberal democracies? Can we or should we overcome the framework of methodological nationalism when we talk about the future of diverse democracies? Is the nation-state still the optimal scale for political action? How can diverse societies coexist with democratic institutions and governance structures on both the subnational and the supernational scales? How can the metaphor of the public park apply to diverse democracies of today?
This episode presents a description of the current situation in Putin's totalitarian Russia and analyzes whether there is hope for change coming from within the country itself. It is a vivid picture of how authoritarian regimes shape what citizens see, believe, and think and how this leads to a profound sense of hopelessness, isolation, a state of general anxiety and despair. Is the resurgence of Putin’s new imperial ambitions likely to bolster his power nationally and internationally? Can sanctions or economic sanctions in general give a hope in resolving the conflict?
In this episode Shalini and her guest discuss the current state of democracy around the world. Why is democracy faltering around the world even in countries where it was previously well established? Why an unelected, non-democratic body like the House of Lords has joined the debate on democracy and is sounding off alarms? Can crises like Brexit or the war in Ukraine encourage the debate to rethink how democracy works? What type of media and politicians can best assist in achieving this?
In this episode the focus is on the latest presidential elections in France and the state of its democracy. What were the significant differences between this election and the previous one? Is there a new wave of anti-intellectual sentiment spreading across the country? It also delves upon how current political entities manoeuvre their way within the framework of the traditional right/left divide: has Macron forsaken his liberal values and did that lead to reluctance among his voters? Did Marine Le Pen’s strategy of de-demonization work? How did the far-left fare and who did they vote for in the second round?
This episode discusses how Vladimir Putin’s worldview was shaped and explores his possible motives for invading Ukraine. Also examined is the global response to the invasion, which has not been uniform around the world, as well as how the invasion has brought about closer unity between the United States and Europe, which had been drifting apart for some time.
This episode provides insight into why Hungary’s Viktor Orban was reelected to a consecutive fourth term with another parliamentary supermajority. Discussed is the role of the unlevel playing field in the leadup to the elections in terms of electoral laws and media domination, as well as how the war in Ukraine benefited the government. The episode closes with some thoughts on what Orban’s reelection could mean for the European Union.