There is no question mark after the title of John O’Sullivan’s thoughtful and provocative essay “Sovereignty or Submission”, with which we lead this summer edition. With his revised version of the Preface to John Fonte’s new book Sovereignty or Surrender – again without a questionmark – we are pleased to provide a platform to a writer who challenges one of the central blind faiths of our time – the ideology of global governance. O’Sullivan makes clear that he does not oppose internationalism – understood as agreements freely entered into by sovereign states – but he is deeply concerned about what he identiﬁes as a creeping transnationalism, which he opposes to traditional liberal democracy.
“Global governance” is another political system or regime. It seeks to take ultimate political power (aka sovereignty) from democratic parliaments and congresses accountable to national electorates in sovereign states and vest it in courts, bureaucratic agencies, NGOs, and transnational bodies that are accountable only to themselves or to other transnational bodies”, O’Sullivan writes. It is high-time to de-mystify the ideology of globalism, he concludes.
Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s wide wings, Serbia at the start of Tomislav Nikolic’s era as head of state, Slovenia as an example of a country which liberated itself early on from the trap of cheap labour, all feature strongly in this edition – true to our name as a journal from Central Europe.
Ágnes Gereben compares the externalia and political setting of Putin’s inauguration to the coronation of the last Tsar, Nicolas II, in 1886. She also examines the narrow possibilities available to those protesting against Putinisation, and for greater democracy in Russia and ﬁnds little likelihood of their success.
“Under a leadership reared on the milk of the KGB and socialized on violence, change in any measure can only come from the strife of warring factions and the tactics of loosening the reins upon society”, is her rather unhappy conclusion. Writing of Slovenia, Zoltán Pogátsa does risk a question mark in the title of his essay: “Slovenia–the only success fulcase of economic transition?” “Very few Eastern European sare able to save anything at all” ,is one of his bleakest observations. Whileacknowledging the rather different economic history of Slovenia in the former Yugoslavia, compared to that of former Warsaw Pact countries like Hungary, as well as its smallsize, Pogátsa suggests nevertheless that the rest of the region has much to learn from a combined policy of high quality education, high wages, and a culture of seeking social consensus.
Also in the former Yugoslavia, Serbia takes an account of its future chances in the wake of its presidential election, as Dušan Pavlovićreports. In our evaluations of the East Central European transitions we continue with a personal memoir and appreciation of József Antall, by our publisher György Granasztói, while Péter Ákos Bod adds the necessary corrections to current perspectives of the macroeconomic governance of the Antall team. Ferenc Hörcher, on the other hand, weighs the performance of the present Orbán government in Hungary, halfway through its term.
After John O’Sullivan’s ﬁerce invective about unelected transnational organisations and NGOs, the United Nations Educational and Scientiﬁc Organisation (UNESCO), and the Environmental Commissioner of the European Union get somewhat kinder treatment in Nick Thorpe’s journal of a canoeing trip down the Danube River in Croatia, to visit the almost pristine and ecologically irreplaceable Kopacki Rit wetlands.What happens when a sovereign government draws up plans to destroy the second most valuable ﬁsh-spawning grounds in a river which crosses ten countries? he asks. In the Croatian case, local NGOs established a “river- watch” group, to prevent the illegal regulation work carried out by a state agency. UNESCO and the European Commission are both seen by environmentalists as guarantees against state interference in the ﬂoodplain forests. Similar arguments might be advanced for the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the European Court of Human Rights, as bodies which enforce standards of human behaviour which sovereign states, or their political and military leaders, sometimes fail to guarantee.
Also in this edition, which goes to press as the European Football Championship draws to a close in Poland and Ukraine, and as athletes warm up for the London Olympics, we have a feast of football action – with Peter Murphy’s study of the feats of the Hungarian football team at the Olympics from 1952 to 72, and Andy Clark’s astonishingly detailed account of earlier national teams’ fate in 1912 and 1924 – complete with revelations about the atrocious travelling, eating and sleeping conditions the team had to endure. In Paris, of all places.
We are rounding off our South Slav coverage with three snap shots of everyday life in places that have seen bitter ﬁghting in the War: the tortured town of Vukovár in Croatia, and a cloister in Kosovo. The work of American photographer Charles Meyer is introduced by poet Tony Brinkley.
Some of the early modern architecture of Shanghai is shown and discussed in our cultural section – as that city discovers its cosmopolitan origins in the work of Hungarian architect László Hudecz.
Perhaps you will arrive at Gábor Rohály’ current article on Hungarian wine just at the right time, reading the July edition of Hungarian Review in the summer shade, with a glass of your favourite drink in your hand…