The Constitution is a Suicide Pact

Trump has exposed the soft underbelly of American democracy [Photo: Getty Images]

Uncodified norms, logic-bombs and a Republican party hellbent on power is driving the country towards the abyss: Barton Gellman argues in The Election that Could Break America.

Lawrence Douglas, professor of law and jurisprudence at Amherst College, recently explained: ‚ÄúThe Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power but rather, presupposes it.‚ÄĚ So begins Gellman‚Äôs revelatory piece for the Atlantic Magazine this week. It could not come soon enough. I would like to use this space to highlight some of Gellman‚Äôs excellent reporting, and add my voice to the urgent warning of a coming election nightmare.

Gellman argues that the ritual of transition in American politics is little more than courtesy. A set of norms we have come to expect, but not bound by law. He is devastatingly correct. The truth is there are no formal rules binding electors to the popular vote. Nor are there common procedures for the 10,500 local jurisdictions that supervise the election. The system has so far relied on deference and decency.

It is failing.

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Die Verfassung ist ein Selbstmordpakt

Trump hat die Schattenseiten der amerikanischen Demokratie entblößt [Photo: Getty Images]
Das Ritual des √úbergangs beruhte in der amerikanischen Politik bisher auf Ehrerbietung und Anstand ohne formelle Gesetze, die die W√§hlerschaft zur Volksabstimmung verpflichten. Doch durch Trumps wiederholte Anstiftung, f√ľr ihn ung√ľnstige Ergebnisse zu leugnen sind die Bedingungen reif f√ľr eine konstitutionelle Krise. W√§hrend der friedliche Machtwechsel in den USA den B√ľrgerkrieg, den Wiederaufbau und die Great Depression √ľberstanden hat, k√∂nnte Trumps Weigerung zur√ľckzutreten, versch√§rft durch ein Wahlsystem, das in nicht kodifizierte Normen und ungeschriebene Praktiken verstrickt ist, einen Wahlalptraum heraufbeschw√∂ren.

Lesen Sie in diesem Artikel von Robert Benson mehr dar√ľber, wie sich die Verkn√ľpfung von Trump mit einem Mangel an Sicherungssystemen in der amerikanischen Verfassung auf die bevorstehenden amerikanischen Wahlen auswirken k√∂nnte.

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Kein ‘business as usual’: Die Rolle von Akademiker*innen im Zeitalter von Trump √ľberdenken


                                                                                                                                                                  [Photo: Cole Keister/unsplash]

‚ÄěMein Haus brennt, und ich stelle die M√∂bel um!‚Äú ‚Äď dieses russische Sprichwort stehe exemplarisch f√ľr die gegenw√§rtige Krise der Sozialwissenschaften, argumentiert Robert Benson in seinem neuen Beitrag. In Zeiten von Neoautoritarismus in Gestalt von Trump und Bolsonaro, Repressionen gegen universit√§re Einrichtungen im Herzen Europas und rechtsextremen Mobs auf den Stra√üen von Chemnitz seien Akademiker*innen mehr denn je in der Pflicht, sich zu Wort zu melden. Stattdessen dominierten nach wie vor elit√§re Debatten innerhalb akademischer Zirkel, weit entfernt von allgemeiner √∂ffentlicher Wahrnehmung. Doch wenn Wissenschaft weiterhin nach dem von Max Weber konstatierten Muster betrieben werde ‚Äď berechnend, exakt und gef√ľhllos, so spiegeln auch die resultierenden Debatten diese Haltung wider. Als Sozialwissenschftler*in hingegen habe man, frei nach Howard Becker, den Luxus moralischer Indifferenz aufgegeben. Daher pl√§diert Benson f√ľr ein Ende des Maulkorbs ‚Äď es sei an der Zeit, den Elfenbeinturm zu verlassen und kollektiv die Stimme zu erheben.

Den vollständigen englischsprachigen Artikel finden Sie hier:

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This cannot be business as usual: re-examining the role of the scholar in the age of Trump


                                                                                                                                                                 [Photo: Cole Keister/unsplash]

The Austrian jurist Hans Kelsen wrote in the summer of 1932 ‚Äėone hears talk on all sides of a crisis‚ÄĒand sometimes even a catastrophe‚ÄĒ of democracy‚Äô. Embroiled in a bitter exchange with his fellow legal scholars, the erstwhile philosophy teacher from Vienna was increasingly isolated and at odds with his profession. ‚ÄėThose who are for democracy‚Äô he argued ‚Äėcannot allow themselves to be caught in the dangers of idle debates‚Äô. Spirited in his defense of the Weimar Constitution, Kelsen was not in keeping with the times. There was, he believed, a sense of urgency to his scholarly work that his contemporaries simply did not understand. We live in a world, he lamented¬≠, absent of heroes. Within months of accepting his professorship at the University of Cologne, Kelsen was summarily dismissed on political grounds.

‚ÄėHistory may not repeat itself‚Äô, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder argues, ‚Äėbut it certainly instructs‚Äô. Once again there is talk of a crisis of democracy. Yet like the fatigue which comes at the onset of a fever, there exists a disorientating malaise amongst social scientists. We work and publish; we debate with our colleagues, but to what ends?

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G-7 Summit: What it Tells Us About the Challenges to Western Cohesion

Image: pxhere.com

1975, Ch√Ęteau de Rambouillet, 50 kilometers south-west of Paris. The heads of state and government of the six leading industrial countries gather for their first joint summit meeting. Today‚Äôs Group of Seven (G-7) was born. At its 44th summit, which took place at La Malbaie, Canada last week, the group saw a historic transition from careful policy coordination to undisguised political discord. From tensions over a possible readmission of Russia to President Trump‚Äôs instruction not to endorse the arduously negotiated communiqu√© ‚Äď the gathering ended in a diplomatic fiasco. The more so as only one day later, on 10th June, China successfully orchestrated the inking of a joint summit declaration among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which also counts Russia and, more recently, India and Pakistan, among its members. Is the West breaking apart while the East consolidates?

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Why Trump’s Withdrawal from the Iran Deal Threatens Nuclear Non-Proliferation

[gettyimages/ Amith Nag Photography]

On May 8, President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal labeling it as ‚Äúdecaying and rotten‚ÄĚ. Right from the early days of his campaign, Donald Trump has not shown much sympathy for this agreement, which the preceding Obama administration negotiated and crafted along with other states to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb. The recent high frequency visits of European officials (Macron, Merkel, Johnson) to the White House were the latest sign of the growing international nervousness and efforts to change the President‚Äôs mind. Indeed, the decision to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal deeply worries many policymakers and experts.

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Can a Populist be the Leader of the Free World?

Populism and the liberal international order don’t mix well: The more populism there is, the less liberal the international order appears to become. Moreover, judging by the year-long presidency of Donald Trump, the liberal international order seems to be in particular danger if the most powerful state in the system catches the populist bug. Why is this so? Are populism and the liberal world order fundamentally incompatible? Can a populist be a leader of the free world?

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My Fury about Trump’s Fire

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Kurz vor Weihnachten schickte ich die korrigierten Druckfahnen f√ľr mein neues Buch zur√ľck an den Verlag. Mein englischer Lektor witzelte darauf hin, dass wir das Buch unbedingt an Donald Trump schicken sollten, damit er es liest. Angesichts der gerade bekannt gewordenen t√§glichen Leseleistungen des amerikanischen Pr√§sidenten errechnete ich sofort, dass er unter Ber√ľcksichtigung der Sommerpausen voraussichtlich kurz vor Weihnachten 2019 fertig sein m√ľsste. Doch als ich kurz darauf die National Security Strategy der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika (NSS) mit dem Vorwort des Pr√§sidenten sah, ¬†hegte ich den Verdacht, dass er zumindest das erste Kapitel meines Buchs bereits gelesen hat.

Dieses erste Kapitel handelt √ľber die normative Grundierung des globalen politischen Systems. Demnach kann dann von einem globalen politischen System gesprochen werden, wenn drei Bedingungen erf√ľllt sind. Continue reading “My Fury about Trump’s Fire”

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My Fury about Trump’s Fire

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Shortly before Christmas, I sent the corrected proofs for my new book back to my publisher. My English editor quipped that we should send the book to Donald Trump so he can read it. In view of the recently leaked daily reading performance of the President, I immediately calculated that, taking into account the summer breaks, he would probably finish it shortly before Christmas 2019. However, shortly after reading the December 2017 ‚ÄúNational Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS)‚ÄĚ with the President’s preface, I suspected that he had already read at least the first chapter of my book.

This first chapter deals with the normative foundation of the global political system. Accordingly, one can speak of a global political system if three conditions are met:

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