Category: world affairs

Why I still get excited about UNGA week?

Come mid-September and the annual high level week at the UN General Assembly, I used to be glued to the TV or some other device on hand where I could follow the speeches. Unfortunately these days I don’t have that kind of time on any random September afternoon (I’m on CET), so I couldn’t follow everything that was happening real time, but I was still very interested in the outcomes of those high level meetings. Besides the UN webservice and the still very active international community Twitter (sorry, I can’t call it anything else), I followed the happenings of the…

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Blabbing Tim Marshall’s The Power of Geography

I have read Tim Marshall’s first book about geopolitics, Prisoners of Geography a few years ago, this one picks up where that left off with new maps to explore and topics just as intriguing. Geopolitics and the international order might be one of my top five favorite topics to read and talk about, so it’s no surprise I love Tim Marshall’s writings. His Prisoners of Geography was a world-wide best seller, it contained ten chapters, that is ten maps of somewhere in the world starting with a brief history, then detailing all the geopolitical context down to recent day politics….

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On The Queen’s passing

I didn’t intend to write about this, even though I’ve seen lots of opinions and titles, until I’ve seen someone non-British whom I respect and with whom I ususally agree with liking a meme that compared the days after HM’s passing to scenes from North Korea, and I found it very upsetting. First of all, in Britain, there are royalists and anti-royalist, and there are people in between. There are hard-core royalists who admire the monarch as some religious leader and go out of their way to express this admiration. There are royalists who respect the tradition, respect the royal…

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Blabbing Kati Marton’s book about Angela Merkel

This wasn’t supposed to be one of my vacation reads, but being at my parents’ house, they had it out of the library, so I read it during the few days I’ve spent home in August. First of all, I am a huge fan of Kati Marton’s writing. I am also a huge fan of political biographies, so this book was definitely on my list for later reading. My only complaint is that if I’ve waited, I would have probably wanted to read it in its original language, and not in Hungarian (its Hungarian title is simply ‘Merkel’), but I…

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Thoughts coming from a book I didn’t even want to read

I had the story of Russian protest group Pussy Riot on my shelf for quite some time, but only in the last few months have I felt inclined to take a look behind the workings of the Russian state machinery. The book was actually a friend’s copy, and I had it for an embarassingly long time. About two years ago she gave it to me saying it’s something I need to read, and I was meaning to, but there was always some other book to be read first (you know how it is with books). I even tried to give…

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Reflections on the Hungarian elections

As I mentioned in earlier posts (here and here), I was a counting officer on the April 3 parliamentary elections and referendum. It was hard to even start writing this post, I gave it a lot of thought in the past three weeks, because it’s almost impossible writing about this topic in a neutral tone, and that’s the only tone I should use here. I am not (never was, never intend to be) involved in party politics. I went to great lengths during this whole thing to emphasise that although I was delegated by “the opposition”, I am not affiliated…

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Remembering Madeleine Albright through her books

I was saddened by the news of the death of the first woman who served as Secretary of State of the United States whom as a foreign diplomacy enthusiast, I considered one of my idols. Ever since I read her first book and became familiar with her work and her personality, I was always looking forward to learning her take on whatever happened in the world. The last time she shared her thoughts was about the war in Ukraine, published one day before it started, and about a month before she passed away. Though I have never met her in…

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Blabbing about every election I’ve ever voted on

In Hungary we get to vote on elections after the age of 18, and I’ve taken voting very seriously from the beginning. I can’t say I was very consistent with my party preference over the years, although I can definitely say that I was and still am consistent with the principles I follow. It’s the specificity of Hungarian party politics that certain parties changed colours. Of course I will not share how I voted, but here is a quick account of my memories of all the elections I’ve voted on. The first ever elections I’ve voted on was the 2002…

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What I expect from serving as a counting officer on the April 3 elections

In Hungary the elections are carried out by Vote Counting Committees consisting of counting officers. On election day (parliamentary elections, municipal elections and referendums alike) in Hungary we vote in a very old-fashioned and not very sustainable way. The ballots are on paper with the alternatives (parties, representatives, questions) listed and you have to use a pen to mark your vote. This of course requires a good number of personnel not just to oversee the voting procedure, but to do all the paperwork it entails (registering the voters, counting the ballots, keeping a record of all the happenings of the…

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Podcast recommendations to make sense of these uncertain times

Many of my favourite international law/world affairs podcasts dealt with the war in Ukraine in the past two weeks, here’s what’s worth a listen. It feels kind of insensitive to indulge in brilliant professional conversations or clever writings when it’s on the account of millions of people suffering, but at the same time it’s more important than ever to find trusted sources and be well informed. When the situation is unfolding and things can change by the hour, news items have a pretty short expriation span, and I think the ones that stay useful even after the facts change are…

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