In Memory of Immanuel Wallerstein: Ah, We Were Once Young and Hopeful!

Immanuel Wallerstein (28 September 1930 – 31 August 2019), the political sociologist best known for his writings on the “world system” and I were friends in the mid 1950s. Perhaps not close friends but at least both student activists in the world federalist/world citizen movement, especially in their international dimension. We shared a common analysis of situations and were largely in agreement as to the short-term steps to be taken. I would not say we influenced each other, but rather that we shared a common approach coming from different directions. Our shared interest in Africa as the early 1960s brought independence and later there was a focus on what Manny (as he was known by his friends) called the “world system” and I “the world society.” After the late 1950s, we rarely saw each other, but we continued to exchange offprints of our articles instead of Christmas cards at the start of the year. read more

Preventive Diplomacy and the Political Crisis in Assam, India

A somewhat similar situation to the Rohingya repression is developing in neighboring Assam, in northeast India. The Assam situation has not received the international attention that Myanmar has as wide-scale violence and refugee flows have not taken place, thus the need for preventive diplomacy now. The people of Assam in northeast India are potentially sitting on top of a smoldering volcano that threatens to erupt into catastrophic suffering. The violence would target ethnic and religious minorities, most particularly Bengali-speaking Muslims, somewhat on the pattern of the fate of the Rohingya of Myanmar.

Cyprus: Uniting Toward a Non-Territorial Confederation?

Cyprus has been divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974, with Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south with a U.N. monitored buffer zone separating the two. There is general agreement that Cyprus should be one state and not two, that this one state would be federal in nature, and would be part of the European Union. But the devil is in the details.