What We’re Reading: Colombian History and Croatian Wars

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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Colombia: Democracy Under Assault By Harvey F. Kline This book did not get off to a good start for me, and quite frankly, it never really recovered. From the very first paragraph, I grew suspicious when the author mentioned Colombia’s ties to drug trafficking and presented it as one of the key elements to understanding the country. To be fair, the book was published in the mid-1990s, a time when violence, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) activity and drug trafficking dominated much of the country’s domestic and foreign agenda. Nevertheless, I question such reductionist approaches to any country. Harvey Kline’s book provides a broad survey of Colombia’s history, geography, politics and economics at the end of the 20th century. It’s a fast but very shallow read. The author hits on major themes such as internal violence and critical historical events that shaped the country, including the loss of Panama. However, he stops far short of providing any satisfactory explanation for the conditions that led to these events and their lasting impacts. Rather, he simply rattles off a series of facts, dates and statistics before moving on to a new topic. One section that fares slightly better is the discussion […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.
Ridvan Bari Urcosta
Mr. Urcosta joins Geopolitical Futures as an analyst with wide experience in the Black Sea region, Russia and the Middle East, Ukraine and Crimea as a geopolitical region and Eastern Europe. He is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Warsaw and he also teaches an independent ERASMUS course: “Russia and the Middle East: Geopolitics and Diplomacy.” He was born in Abkhazia, Georgia where he lived until the onset of the Civil War. In the early 1990’s he moved to Crimea where he lived until its annexation by Russia. At the moment of annexation he worked in the Sevastopol State Administration. Right after annexation he worked as a Human Rights Officer in Odessa, Ukraine in the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission. Mr. Urcosta graduated from the Estonian Diplomatic Academy in 2015 and completed The Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) in 2017, a comprehensive human rights training program, that was established by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. In 2018 he gave a speech at the UN Human Rights Council about the human rights situation in annexed by Russian Federation Crimea. Previously Mr. Urcosta has provided insights to different analytical centers including the European Council on Foreign Relations, Jamestown Foundation, War Room (U.S. War College) The Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute), Jerusalem Post and others. He previously worked as an assistant to the Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, a single supreme plenipotentiary representative and executive body of the Crimean Tatar people. He speaks Polish, Russian, English, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar and Turkish. Moreover, Ridvan works as Senior analyst at the Polish think tank "Strategy&Future" with Jacek Bartosiak (Warsaw, Poland).