Which new Middle East?
A Palestinian youth waves his national flag near an Israeli army watchtower in the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on September 23, 2011.
September 23rd, 2011
01:18 PM ET

Which new Middle East?

Editor's Note: Joschka Fischer, was Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, and was a leader in the German Green Party for almost 20 years. For more, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate

Regardless of whether democratization in the “new Middle East” succeeds or authoritarian forms of government prevail once again, one fundamental change has already become clear: no one will be able to govern without taking into account domestic public opinion.

This change will shift the foreign-policy parameters of the Middle East conflict (understood as both an Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as a conflict between Israelis and Arabs more generally). Despite wars in Lebanon and Gaza, and the intifadas in the occupied West Bank, these parameters have proven surprisingly stable for decades, anchored by the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and the Oslo accords with the Palestinians.

All this is about to change. And, while the tectonic shift in the region was triggered by the “Arab Awakening,” its players are not limited to the Arab world or to the confines of the Middle East conflict. The United States, Europe, Turkey, and, in a certain sense, Iran all play a role – some more directly than others.

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Topics: Global • Israel • Middle East • Palestinian Authority • United States
The world needs a strong, united Europe
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August 30th, 2011
08:38 AM ET

The world needs a strong, united Europe

Editor's Note: Joschka Fischer, Germany’s foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1998 to 2005, was a leader in the German Green Party for almost 20 years. For more from Fischer, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Joschka FischerProject Syndicate

BERLIN – Slowly, word is getting round – even in Germany – that the financial crisis could destroy the European unification project in its entirety, because it demonstrates, quite relentlessly, the weaknesses of the eurozone and its construction. Those weaknesses are less financial or economic than political.

The Maastricht Treaty established a monetary union, but the political union that is an indispensable precondition for the common currency’s success remained a mere promise. The euro, and the countries that adopted it, are now paying the price. The eurozone now rests on the shaky basis of a confederation of states that are committed both to a monetary union and to retaining their fiscal sovereignty. At a time of crisis, that cannot work. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Europe