Bram De Ridder

The Expert: Interview with Ambassador Neelam Deo

For Issue IV of Distilled Magazine, our goal is the possible. How do we make things happen the way we want them to happen? How do we successfully contribute to change in an immensely complex global world? One simple answer could be by looking at people who already did so. Therefore, Distilled Magazine spoke to Ambassador Neelam Deo, a distinguished representative of the Republic of India. Ambassador Deo holds a degree from the Delhi School of Economics, and amongst her numerous postings have been Denmark, Ivory Coast, Washington D.C. and New York. Besides her function in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), she is also active in numerous political and nonpolitical organizations, such as Breakthrough, Oxfam India and Gateway House. For Distilled Magazine, she was prepared to shed light on her own work and career, and how she managed to procure change through them. (Read more)

Liberté, Egalité, and...?

In its first issue Distilled Magazine discussed the crisis in confidence the Western World currently experiences. The economic malaise, political opportunism, and a number of doubtful wars seem to hide a much more engrained sense of insecurity. In the texts they put forward, many of our contributors therefore debated the lack of faith some have in our society’s endurance. Although this certainly wasn’t their intent, I would like to rephrase the doubts they uncovered as one single question: (Read more)

Letter from the Editors

We’re facing a global crisis in confidence. That was the conclusion of the first issue of Distilled Magazine. In it, our contributors gave their views on where, why, and how this feeling of unease influences the people’s lives. Some wrote about the consequences of this crisis while others of the way to restore our belief in the future. But what exactly do we do now? That’s why this second issue of Distilled Magazine wants to pick up the debate where we last left off. (Read more)

Private Military Companies and the Modern Machiavellism

How many people would call themselves Machiavellists these days? Probably no one, and certainly not those who contemplate a political career in a democratic country. The cold and strict ragion di stato (reasons of state) that is often identified with the Renaissance writer seems highly unfit for political communities build on negotiation, consensus, and inclusive thinking. Nevertheless, many politicians are real machiavellists, although they are often not aware of it. They would never put it so succulently, but the following two quotes from the Floretine politician would almost certainly receive a lot of endorsement: (Read more)

The Expert: Luc Dirckx

Already long before the global economic crisis, people tended to be critical of large corporations. They were seen as gargantuan institutions, beasts of production that were only concerned with amassing ever more wealth and influence. Global brands such as Coca-Cola or Nike never completely got rid of this image, and after 2008, these criticisms became ever more widespread. But despite the criticism and the current crisis, these companies nevertheless remain standing: seen from the companies’ perspective they were highly successful. (Read more)

Keep calm and carry on(wards)

“If the euro explodes, Europe would explode. It’s the guarantee of peace in a continent where there were terrible wars.” With this statement Nicolas Sarkozy acted as spokesman for a new approach to the Eurozone crisis, one that hinted at the repetition of a dreadful European past. He was joined in this strategy by Angela Merkel and Herman van Rompuy, who respectively declared that “History has taught us that countries with a joint currency don’t go to war with one another”, and that “Together with the euro the Union will fall, and with the Union our greatest guarantee of peace”. Apart from the obvious rhetoric behind such statements, we can indeed wonder whether or not there is a danger that things are going to become a lot worse. Disturbing as this might seem, the historical record to which these politicians allude nevertheless allows us to argue that as long as we keep our reactions relatively moderate, a disaster surely does not need to come about. (Read more)