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Second Thomas Shoal: The Next South China Sea Flashpoint?

<p>In 1999, the Philippines Navy intentionally grounded one of their navy ships, the BRP Sierra Madre onto a small shoal, known as the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea out of frustrations regarding territorial disputes with the People&rsquo;s Republic of China (PRC). Just four years earlier, in 1995, the PRC took control of Mischief Reef, a neighboring geographical feature within the same island chain of the Spratly Islands . In the past few decades, the Spratly Islands have ...
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Somalia’s Sovereignty in Checkmate with Ethiopia’s Latest Move?

On January 1st 2024, the historical feud in the Horn of Africa between Somalia and Ethiopia woke from its temporary hibernation when Ethiopia signed onto a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – a type of nonbinding agreement between two parties – with Somaliland to gain access to 20 kilometers of Somali coastline bordering the Gulf of Aden . Landlocked Ethiopia lost its best bet of a naval base when Eritrea became independent in 1993 and Djibouti renounced their entry into the Red Sea,...
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Analyzing the United States in International Law: A Case for U.S. Membership in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC)

In December 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Putin’s commanders, but the chances for the extradition of the Russian nationals are slim–the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says that they would not recognize the warrants as Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.   With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine conflict, international law struggles to find legal avenues to hold individuals in power accou...
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Assessing the China Threat: Competitor or Enemy?

While delivering a campaign speech in January, ex presidential candidate Nikki Haley warned that the U.S. must prepare for a war with China . She asserted that China is an “enemy," not a “competitor,” and that “China's dictators want to cover the world in communist tyranny” . In a 2022 speech, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confused observers when he asserted that the U.S. is not looking for a Cold War with China only to paradoxically state later on that...
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Government Restriction on Dress, Religion, and Control of Women

<p>In August 2023, France barred children in public schools from wearing the abaya &ndash; a long, loose-fitting robe worn primarily by Muslim women that covers most of the body . Critics questioned how far clothing restrictions will go, as this policy compounds upon a previous 2004 ban of &ldquo;ostentatious&rdquo; religious symbols in public schools in favor of an increasing attitude towards secularism . The Taliban arrested women in the Afghan capital city in January 2024 fo...
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Two Koreas: The Waning Possibility of Korean Reunification

<p>During the Cold War, there was a schism on the Korean peninsula along the 38th Parallel between the North (backed by the Soviet Union) and the South (backed by the U.S.). Following the schism, the North Korean People&rsquo;s Army invaded the South on June 25th, 1950, marking the beginning of the Korean War. Nearly three years after the beginning of the War,&nbsp; an armistice was agreed upon, splitting the peninsula into current-day North and South Korea. Given the nature of the...
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Silk Road To Authoritarianism: Debt, Diplomacy, and The Wielding of Power

<p><strong>From Mao to Xi: Historical Context and Economic Evolution</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Upon Mao Zedong&#39;s consolidation of power in China in 1949, the Communist Party (CCP) wielded an iron fist, mirroring the Soviet model and instituting a command economy. Since initiating Deng Xiaoping&#39;s economic reforms in 1978, China has undergone a transformative journey from a closed economy to a global economic powerhouse, lifti...
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The Fate of Petro-States in a Petro-Free World

<p>Despite international efforts to address the climate crisis, collective action has barely moved the needle in reducing fossil fuel emissions. A major hurdle to this global climate effort is petrostates. An astounding 40% of the world&#39;s crude oil and 60% of oil traded internationally are produced by petrostates, which are countries whose economy is fueled primarily by oil or natural gas exports . Many countries like the United States, China, and Canada also export vast quantities...
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COP28: Conquering Climate Change One Conference at a Time?

<p>From November 20th to December 13th, the United Arab Emirates hosted the 28th UN Climate Change Conference. The irony was stark as 85,000 delegates gathered in Dubai to limit and fight the effects of climate change&mdash;the largest climate conference also had the largest carbon footprint. Last year, over 100 private aircraft flew to COP27, which had half as many delegates in attendance, producing 10 times more carbon pollution per passenger than commercial aircraft . Delegates&...
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“Two States, One Nation”: Pan-Turkic Military Cooperation in the Synchronous Collapse of Nagorno-Karabakh and International Law

Broken “khachkar,” an Armenian religious symbol resting in the Lachin district following capture by Azeri forces.   On the eve of Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Adolf Hitler affirmed his plans of territorial expansion eastward, boasting, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of Armenians?” While Hitler delivered this statement almost a century ago on the imperceptible plight of Armenian communities fighting ethnic cleansing and genocide by Ottoma...
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The U.S. Must Increase Strikes Against the Houthis

<p>Since the start of the Yemeni civil war, the Houthi militia has been a cancer in the Middle East. With over 200,000 dead and many more displaced, this crisis, initiated by the Houthis has allowed the militia group to operate with extreme influence in the region. Domestically, Houthi forces have stolen food and medical aid from suffering Yemeni civilians in addition to kidnapping, torturing, and murdering them . Across borders, the Houthis have recently committed acts of piracy against c...
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The Great Divide: Special Economic Zone - Economic Boon or Social Bane?

<p>In a world where economic growth is pursued fervently to boost signs of a country&rsquo;s economic vitality and strength, special economic zones (SEZs) have emerged as tantalizing avenues for nations seeking rapid development. Since the establishment of the first SEZ in 1959, in Shannon, Ireland, these zones have epitomized a bilateral compromise between state intervention and market dynamics, facilitating economic globalization either as a supplementary or alternative mechanism to ...
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Child Marriage And Its Skewed Ethics Debate

<p>What do over 70% of Malian, Chadian, and Nigerian women have in common? They get married before the age of 18 . Though child marriage carries negative connotations that evoke uncomfortable emotions, its consequences, specifically to girls&rsquo; health and education, are graver than vague assumptions of human rights infringements. Surprisingly, however, there have been intriguing attempts to underscore nuance in child marriage&rsquo;s morality through arguments of pragmatism and...
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Drug Debate: South Korea's Strict Sobriety vs. America's Dramatic Decriminalization

<p>The passing of Lee Sun-kyun, who starred in the Oscar-winning movie Parasite, abruptly thrust South Korea under the international spotlight for its hard-line stance on drug regulation and the issue of suicide that often trails it. The country&rsquo;s emphasis on total abstinence from drugs, although strict and seemingly authoritarian, has ensured relatively low drug consumption in comparison to the United States. In the U.S., drug use and overdose deaths run rampant &ndash; the ...
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Javier Milei’s Austerity and Opposition: The Trials and Tribulations of the Argentine Economy

<p>The chainsaw is the symbol of choice of Argentina&rsquo;s new president, Javier Milei. This symbol cuts to the core of his libertarian ethos and points to his ambitious plans to prune the oversight of the state in a country long run by left-wing disciples of 1940s and 50s Argentine president Juan Per&oacute;n. Per&oacute;nism, Per&oacute;n&rsquo;s associated political ideology, is a flexible populism that contains both nationalist right-wing and socialist left-wing e...
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Unveiling Populism: A Global Examination of Populist Movements and Structures

<p>The city of the people burns. Bread prices are in the millions of dollars; the people cannot afford simple loaves. The people are losing their homes, and they are living on the streets. The people are angry. The enemy of the people is victorious. Like a fairytale, along strides the hero. He speaks of the greatness of the people. He alone can extinguish the fires and bring bread back to the people. He alone can bring back their homes and solve the crisis. He alone can challenge the enemy...
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Healing South Korea’s Healthcare System

<p>37% of all South Korean doctors have gathered in Seoul in preparation to resign, threatening to cripple the country&rsquo;s healthcare system in protest of a recently announced government initiative set to increase the cap on medical student admissions starting in 2025. Though ongoing, the strikes are indicative of much larger problems within the South Korean labor system stemming from intense nationalism and the culture&rsquo;s destructive glorification of work ethic. Consideri...
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Myanmar: A Forgotten Conflict?

<p>From November 2020 to January 2021, much of the world watched in disbelief as one of its beacons of democracy teetered to the brink of collapse. Donald Trump and his supporters repeated falsehoods about the illegitimacy of the 2020 election which ultimately culminated in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election. Ironically just eight weeks later, the world watched in horror at what could have happened had these attempts succeeded as Myanmar&rsquo;s mi...
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Why Israel Must Finish Hamas

<p>On October 7th, 2023, the world witnessed the largest terrorist attack in Israel&rsquo;s history and the largest massacre of the Jews since the Holocaust. Attendees of music festivals were brutally murdered, hundreds of rockets were fired into southern Israel, more than 15 kibbutzim were ravished, and hundreds were kidnapped, all by Hamas, the organization that rules Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. Since this brazen terrorist attack, Israel has massively ...
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Why Iran Sees War Between Israel and Hamas as a Win

<p>On October 7, 2023 Hamas achieved the impossible: an effective and brutal attack on Israel, a state long known for its security prowess and strongman leadership. The attack was catastrophic for Israelis and promised retaliation. It came at a historically weak time for Israel, which was in the midst of reorganizing its legislature. The tensions in Gaza have spilled over into neighboring states proving to be a focal point in the region&rsquo;s politics. Soon after the attack, analysts...
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The World’s Forgotten War: Why Has Peace Been Evading Sudan?

<p>As one of the most failed, fragile, and war-torn states in Africa and across the world, Sudan has followed a &ldquo;one step forward, two steps backward&rdquo; pattern in its quest for peace. Large-scale attacks and genocide between two major factions&mdash;the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), its current leader, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)&mdash;have continued since the outbreak of another round of conflicts in April 2023. Violent political transitions have also cont...
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Crisis in Caracas: Why Democratizing Venezuela is an Increasingly Sisyphean Task

<p>Venezuela was once hailed as a pillar of democratic resilience. In 1978, it stood among the mere three out of twenty Latin American nations that practiced democratic governance . While the region was plagued with relative instability, over the next three decades, Venezuela remained resolute in its commitment to democratic principles. However, it too was ultimately unable to withstand the recent surge away from democracy and towards authoritarianism.&nbsp;</p> <p>&...
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Is Integration Possible for the Muslims in France?

<p>On January 7, 2015, several Islamist extremists stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satiric magazine infamous for its satirical portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad, and indiscriminately shot at journalists and office workers. The assault resulted in the death of twelve people, deeply shocking France. People gathered to march against terrorism, united under the slogan &ldquo;I am Charlie,&rdquo; seeing the attack as one on freedom of speech.&nbsp;</p> <p>&...
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Modern-Day Borders and the Birth of Neocolonialism

<p>Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana&rsquo;s first president, coined the term &ldquo;neocolonialism&rdquo; at the 1963 Charter of the Organization of African States. By his definition, neocolonialism describes the condition in which states appear to have international sovereignty from an outside perspective, despite their economic and political activity being directly controlled by external forces . By this definition, neocolonialism is currently rampant across the African continent. But wh...
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The Troubled Landscape of India-Canada Relations

<p>On September 18, 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that &ldquo;agents of the government of India&rdquo; had assassinated a Sikh community leader in Canada in June of the same year . Hardeep Singh Nijjar &mdash;the leader in question &mdash; was an activist in the Khalistan movement which aims to create an independent Sikh homeland.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Khalistan movement gained prominence in India in the ...
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Prigozhin’s Death is a Neat Fix to an Ugly Problem

<p>On June 23, 2023, the Wagner Group and its former chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, initiated a historic rebellion against the Russian Ministry of Defence. On August 23, 2023, precisely two months after the mutiny, Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash in Russia; the most glaring threat Putin&rsquo;s reign has seen was met with a violently efficient response.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The revolt revealed deeper infighting within the Kremlin than many s...
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It Is Time for the U.S. to Reconsider its North Korean Sanctions Policy

<p>Recent economic pivots from North Korea put the U.S.&rsquo; continued sanctions policy under purview&mdash;amid the growing trade relations between Pyongyang and Moscow, the U.S. must carefully navigate the complex international geopolitics of the status quo. Considering North Korea&rsquo;s embassy shutdowns, and recent military deals with Russia amid the Ukraine conflict, it may no longer be in the U.S.&rsquo; best interest to continue imposing stricter sanctions on Pyo...
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China is Using Palestine to Challenge U.S. Hegemony

<p>Over the past three decades, China displayed little interest in wars raging in the Middle East. It opposed the Iraq War in 2003, remained neutral throughout the Syrian Civil War, and maintained relative silence on the war in Yemen. Chinese leadership saw little benefit in taking sides or providing support in any conflict in the Middle East. However, in response to the latest stage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, China has led calls for peace in Gaza, taking on a more critical tone tow...
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The Struggle for Poland’s Democracy: Populism’s Resilience Amidst Electoral Change

Eight years after the Law and Justice Party (PiS) led the United Right coalition to an electoral victory in the lower house, the right-wing populist party’s grip on the Sejm appears to be slipping. After the opposition bloc—headed by former Prime Minister Donald Tusk—gained control of the lower house of parliament in the October 15th general election, PiS’s democratic opposition hopes that this transition of power indicates a weakening of populism’s hold on Poland. ...
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Puzzling Decisions and Cults of Personality: An Expansion Upon Political Realism

<p>In times of conflict, it is commonplace for the actions of leaders to be attributed to strategic, calculated, and power-centric aims. In line with traditional &ldquo;realist&rdquo; thought, which places the institution of the state and its desire for power and hegemony at the forefront of international relations, many intuitively assume that every military campaign, policy, executive order, and comment to the press is part of a rational and straightforward crusade for power .<...
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Deep Sea Mining is the World’s Next Environmental Dilemma

<p>Perhaps the most important aspect of the global environmental crisis is the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy technology that will produce net-zero greenhouse emissions. Not only will clean energy halt environmental damage caused by fossil fuels, but it also presents a lucrative opportunity for whoever capitalizes on this emerging industry. Yet, the transition to clean energy technology is no simple task. It will require a momentous, multifaceted overhaul that includes substa...
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United States and East Asia: A Nuclear Alliance for a Nuclear War

<p>The introduction of nuclear weapons in the 1940s revolutionized warfare technology and shifted the dynamics of armed conflict. The debut of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima spoke for its immense power and impact; not only was the city&rsquo;s infrastructure decimated and its people almost entirely wiped out, but the radiation from the bomb caused a dramatic spike in cancer levels for Hiroshima locals that would linger for generations to follow. In response to the dangers posed by the us...
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A Troubling Horizon for Kazakhstan’s Multi-Vector Foreign Policy

<p>In terms of historical and geographic attributes that affect a country&rsquo;s ability to accrue power and autonomy, Kazakhstan has, in many respects, drawn the short end of the stick. First, it is an exceptionally young state. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became a formally independent state for the first time only in 1991. Second, it is not a populous state. Despite its immense physical size, Kazakhstan possesses one of the lowest population densities on th...
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Contend or Cooperate? Redefining the US-China Dynamic

Foreign policy is often characterized as a protracted chess game; it is necessary to anticipate several moves ahead, assess risk and reward, strike a balance between offense and defense, and create synergy between various pieces . While chess is zero-sum, there is one winner and one loser, foreign policy is not. Foreign policy can promote critical moments of cooperation with joint gains for allies and adversaries alike. Thus, successful foreign policy details not only when or how to compete, but...
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Japan and South Korea: Rebuilding the Burnt Bridges

<p>Two of East Asia&rsquo;s oldest and strongest players &mdash; Japan and South Korea &mdash; have had a hostile relationship for as long as some can remember. In a BBC World Service poll that was taken in 2014, only 13% of Japanese viewed South Korea positively, and only 15% of South Koreans viewed Japan positively. This dislike for the other is deep-rooted in history, with both countries having a strong mutual distrust for the other, and a multitude of incidents and events h...
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Navigating Geopolitical Protectionism in the European Union: A Proactive Approach

<p>Humanity has come far from the rhetoric of denial and indifference that defined decades of climate inaction. Nations, corporations, and individuals accept the geopolitical colossus that climate change presents. Yet, where environmentalists frame the issue as existential and immediate, world governments thrust domestic priorities into the conversation. On the world stage, issues of national security, industrial capability, and economic prowess are included in the discussion of the planet...
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The Wagner Group Must Leave the Central African Republic

<p>The activities of the Wagner Group in the Central African Republic (CAR) must be stopped immediately. Though it styles itself as a private security company, the Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization made up of tens of thousands of mercenaries. In fact, it is often referred to as &ldquo;Putin&rsquo;s Private Army&rdquo; (Faulkner). The Group first entered the CAR in 2018. Initially, its activities were building a cultural center and making several deals to gain ...
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The True Consequences of Audience Cost in the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

<p>As the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine passes, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine shows no sign of ending. To analyze the dynamics of the peaceful resolution of this military escalation, it is essential to examine the international relations theory of audience costs. Political scientist James Fearon popularized the term &ldquo;audience costs&rdquo;, which suggests that state leaders have three choices in an international crisis: attack, back down, or...
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The Pakistan Predicament - Taliban and Nukes

<p>On April 14th, 2021, President Biden announced that the U.S. Military troops would completely withdraw from Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which had first spurred the U.S. to take military control of the country. However, the Taliban ultimately managed to storm Kabul and complete its own transition into power a month before that date, on August 15th. Coincidentally, this was also the anniversary of the formation of Afghanistan&rsquo;s most int...
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WTO to Regional Trade Agreements: Inequities of Globalization

<p>The World Trade Organization (WTO), a multilateral institution that regulates trade, is dead. Over the last two decades, the WTO (known as the GATT agreement before 1995) has significantly declined in terms of legitimacy and power . The WTO&rsquo;s decline has correlated with the rise in protectionist foreign policy of various administrations which prioritized national interests over the rules-based system. Proponents of the liberal international order (LIO), a paradigm that promote...
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A New Cold War: the Artificial Intelligence Race

<p>Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing at an unprecedented pace, and with the advent of deep learning, AI systems can now analyze vast amounts of data and perform complex tasks that were once thought impossible. From self-driving cars to intelligent robots, AI is rapidly changing the way we live and work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It even wrote that entire paragraph.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The relevance of artific...
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Europe's Right Wing Wave: Is France Next to Fall?

<p><em>Bruno Barbey. FRANCE. Paris. December 8, 2018. Yellow Vests ( &quot; Gilets Jaunes &quot; ) Protest. jstor.org</em></p> <p>In a little over a half-decade, Europe has transformed from a bastion of progressivism to a hotbed of nationalism and far-right-wing political ideology. Right-wing parties have recently seized power in numerous European countries, such as Poland, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden, while far-right movements are gaining popularity in ot...
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The Failure of the Two-State Solution: Human Rights in Israel-Palestine

In the aftermath of a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem committed by two Palestinian nationals, bloodshed between the two warring countries continues to escalate at the expense of the ongoing refugee crisis along the Israel-Palestine border. The violence between the two opposing factions is nothing new to the region ever since Israel’s creation in 1948. The two-state solution was culminated by the victorious allied powers in the aftermath of the Holocaust as an attempt to make reparations ...
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China’s Domestic Policies Endanger Human Rights Everywhere

<p>On October 16, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials from across China converged in Beijing for a historic meeting. Every five years, the CCP holds a week-long conference to set its leadership and outline its policy agenda. It is usually a routine affair meant to project the CCP&rsquo;s power, but at the 20th National Congress, premier leader Xi Jinping broke traditions, forcefully removing his predecessor from the meeting and extending his reign indefinitely. Xi&rsquo;s most ...
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The UN Fails to ‘Strike Hard’ Against Modern Slavery

<p>In August 2022, just minutes before outgoing commissioner Michelle Bachelet&rsquo;s term ended, the UN Human Rights Council released a long-awaited and vehemently opposed report on human rights abuses in China . The report, which included interviews with dozens of Muslims in the region and public documents, suggested that the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for severe human rights violations against ethnic minorities . Crimes in Xinjiang specifically target Uyghurs, a Muslim ...
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The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and the Consequence of Broken Border Sanctity

<p>One of the most pressing international issues in today&rsquo;s world is the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the subsequent destruction of the international norms of conquest and border sovereignty. The blatant attempt by Russia to disregard Ukraine&#39;s authority and storm the country&rsquo;s borders disrupts the decades-long status quo of state sovereignty upheld within the international community. It has been 30 years since another country outwardly invade...
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Why Taiwan, and Why Now?

With its involvement and large contribution to defeating the Axis Powers in both World War I and World War II, the United States has established itself as the superpower of the Western Hemisphere. On top of its military success, the United States quickly rose to power in the last century to become the world’s largest economy. After becoming a recognizable force, the United States began interfering with countries around the globe in order to protect American interests and ideals. Thus, the ...
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A Withering Jasmine: Examining Right-Wing Populism in Tunisia

<p>On December 17, 2010, a fruit vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi would set himself on fire after being harassed over his lack of a merchant&rsquo;s permit and ignored by his local officials when he applied for one . Bouazizi&rsquo;s self-immolation cemented him in the annals of Tunisian history as a symbol of defiance against the authoritarian Ben-Ali regime that controlled Tunisia for 20 years. It also marked the beginning of Tunisia&rsquo;s Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Sprin...
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Why African Countries Should be Allocated the Rest of the Carbon Budget

<p>In the modern age, access to energy has become increasingly unequal, creating difficulties in each nation&rsquo;s ability to adapt to a newfound climate crisis. Many sub-Saharan African countries have fallen behind economically after the Industrial Revolution advanced much of the West at a rapid rate. Despite having emitted the majority of carbon pollution over the past 200 years, many Western leaders are suddenly and ironically demanding halting any new fossil fuel development acro...
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El Salvador’s Bitcoin Experiment: An Economic Gamble

<p>On June 5th, 2021, attendees of the Bitcoin Conference in Miami witnessed a dramatic turning point for the world of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin fanatics eagerly listen to young crypto entrepreneur, Jack Mallers, as he discusses the future of cryptocurrency and its ability to tackle issues with our current financial institutions. Taking the audience by surprise, Mallers then introduces an unexpected speaker: El Salvador President Nayib Bukele. Appearing virtually through a video recording, B...
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The Case for Climate Reparations

It is nearly impossible to be a citizen of the 21st century and not be aware and somehow impacted by the increasingly pressing issue of climate change. Current estimates have predicted that by the end of the century, the average global temperature will have risen 5℃, leading to the displacement of 140 million people. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by 2070 nearly three billion people may be living in areas too hot to be habitable. The consequences of climate c...
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Cryptocurrency: What It Is and Why You Should Care

During the 2022 Super Bowl, millions of Americans watched as a colorful QR code bounced around their black TV screens. Interests piqued, over 20 million people scanned the QR code which led them to Coinbase, a cryptocurrency company urging viewers to join their exchange platform by offering $15 in free bitcoin to those who sign up for an account . However, the excitement did not stop there. Super Bowl fans witnessed not one, but four commercials featuring cryptocurrency exchange companies: Coinb...
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The Rising Importance of PSMCs and Russia's Growing Influence in Africa

Russia has been steadily gaining strategic footing in Africa. This involvement marks a departure from Moscow’s traditional guarded stance vis-à-vis the African continent, where it had historically privileged economic cooperation and technical assistance (with Algeria for instance in the 1980s). Russia’s newfound involvement in Africa is characterized by a distinctly urgent dimension, taking place around the conflicts and crises playing out in Libya and Mali since the early 201...
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Opinion: The Removal of Russian Institutions From SWIFT Does More Harm Than Good

Article was written as the war unfolds in Eastern Europe, thus the scope is limited as the situation is constantly evolving   LOS ANGELES - On Wednesday, February 23rd, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, essentially waging war on Ukraine in what he calls an act to “protect people who are subject to abuse and genocide… and will strive to demilitarize ” . In reaction to Russia&...
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Fast Fashion, A Silent Killer

Introduction: In the early 1990s, fast fashion took the world by storm. Since then, the industry has grown exponentially. In fact, in the first six months of 2019, fast fashion accounted for 66% of all online fashion traffic . Companies’ ability to mass-produce clothing at remarkably low costs forever changed the fashion industry and the world. On the surface, fast fashion seems to be a positive development — both clothing companies and consumers economically benefit. Producers pr...
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U.S. International Food Aid Policies are Harmful and Inefficient

Hunger and food insecurity have been global crises for decades, one that is progressively worsening. According to a 2020 World Hunger report , approximately 750 million, or 1 in 10 people, suffer from severe food insecurity and malnourishment. Over 55 countries, many of which are considered to be developing, face hunger crises. However, such issues in these countries hardly developed overnight. Many of these nations were historically subjected to colonialism, and the aftereffects of colonization...
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COVID-19 in India: Is the Government to Blame?

17.7% of the world’s population resides on the subcontinent of India. But in May of last year, India accounted for a staggering 47% of global COVID-19 cases. This didn’t occur organically. Rather, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s politically-motivated COVID policy jeopardized the health and safety of Indians.   Similar to many western countries, India initiated its first nationwide lockdown in late March of 2020. Prime Minister Modi’s initial messaging was ...
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The World Should Not be Stuck in the Geopolitical Landscape of 1945

The United Nations is the closest thing there is to a world government, representing 193 of the world’s 195 countries (excluding the Holy See, the universal government of the Catholic Church, and Palestine) . The stated goals of the United Nations are to promote global peace, develop diplomatic relationships between countries, and act as an institution where countries can coordinate common goals– namely the protection of human rights . If the U.N. plays such an important role in glob...
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As the Conflict With Russia Drags On, What Options Does Ukraine Have?

The buildup of Russian troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border became one of the first international incidents the new Biden administration has had to contend with this year. When discussing the conflict, much attention is paid to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinking and strategic decisions–and less is paid to Ukraine, a nation whose sovereignty and very existence is threatened by the continued conflict. What decisions and strategic alliances Ukraine makes is hampered by the...
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International Vaccine Inequity is the Problem, But a Vaccine Patent Waiver is not the Solution

Disclaimer: This article was originally written June 30, 2021 and in light of the evolving global COVID-19 situation, data and trends may have evolved as well   After a year of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, the focus has turned from mitigation to eradication. The miraculous expedition of COVID-19 vaccines from companies worldwide has presented new challenges in vaccine implementation and inequity. While wealthy nations that either host companies that develop vaccines or can affo...
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The Precarious State of Cross-Strait Stability: Calibrating Risk and Averting Conflict

US-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century – A Great Power Competition   The relationship between the United States and China is categorized, in many respects, as the most significant bilateral relationship of the 21st century. Previous expectations that China would eventually undergo liberal democratic reforms, adopt market capitalism, and accept American hegemony in a unipolar world, have gone from winning support among U.S. officials to being nothing more than a delusio...
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South Africa’s Voter Turnout Problem: How Lack of Government Accountability has Created Voter Apathy Amongst Their Citizens

Introduction In 1994, South Africa held its first election with universal suffrage, allowing all adult South African citizens to vote regardless of their race. The election results dramatically changed the composition of South Africa’s government, with the African National Congress (ANC), which was previously banned from participating in South African elections, obtaining 62.65% of the national vote and 252 out of 400 seats in the lower house of the national legislature. A new constitut...
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MAD World – The Politics of Nuclear Armament

There are about 13,100 nuclear warheads stockpiled today. A single 5 megaton bomb, or half the tonnage of the U.S.’s strongest deployed bomb, can destroy the greater L.A. area in a matter of seconds. There are enough warheads on ‘high alert’ to obliterate nearly every major city in the world in the span of a few minutes. Despite these grim realities, a number of countries are still investing in, expanding, or maintaining nuclear arsenals at world-ending capabilities. Why? And, ...
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Russia’s Sham of a Democracy is Crumbling in the Wake of Navalny’s Arrest

Vladimir Putin’s presidency is on the brink of returning Russia to its old totalitarian state given recent events. Alexei Navalny’s arrest has shaken up not only Russia but all of the West in fear of Putin’s growing autocratic rule. It is no surprise that Russia has been disguising itself as a free, democratic nation for a long time, but recent events suggest an alarming shift towards a dictatorship. With growing intolerance for political opposition, Putin is slowly becoming a ...
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The Battle for Regional Hegemony: A Realist Examination of the Trump Administration’s Handling of Competing Coalitions in the Middle East

Since the beginning of the United States’ intervention in the Middle East, countries around the world have looked to our involvement as an example of the dangers of overextending resources and lack of planning. Following the September 11th attacks in 2001, the United States military intervened in Afghanistan to drive the Taliban from power, and then in 2003 invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime. These decisions inserted the United States military into the Middle East for ...
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The 2019 Hong Kong Protests Through A Realist Lens

Abstract  In 2019, the Hong Kong protests against the extradition bill captured worldwide media attention. The Hong Kong government proposed a bill that would allow China to exert greater control over Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic government order. As a response, Hong Kongers took to the streets with five demands to Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, which contributed to Hong Kong’s growing social movement against China. Over the course of six months, only one demand received...
World

Canary in the Coal Mine: Twitter's Warnings and Possibilities for the Future of Diplomacy

Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s humorous 1964 film Dr. Strangelove will recall a scene of the U.S. presidential administration gathered dramatically in a war room, frantically trying to reach a drunken Soviet Premier through landline explaining that total nuclear annihilation is only a few hours away, as a result of a rogue armed bomber. Four decades later, in Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, a nuclear disarmament deal is only reached through secret code, as the Russian president mistrusts hi...
World

America’s Moral Obligation to Palestine

We stand today on the precipice of a great moral crisis as an international community, and indeed as a nation; one that has been culminating for over seven decades. Ironically, the crux of this crisis parallels the motivation that drove our country’s birth; yet that irony has seemingly been lost on our leadership, and perhaps more regrettably, on our general populace.   Since the end of the Second World War, the United States’ inaction on the humanitarian and political cri...
World

China’s Threat to American Hegemony: Is This It?

America’s hegemonic decline has been ongoing since the early 2000s, but the US is now facing an increasingly difficult path to maintain the liberal international order. The emergence of China as a military peer-competitor, preeminent economic power, and a regional player through the Doha Round and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) represents the most significant postwar challenge to American leadership, leading to the revitalization of a Cold War-like setup that is causing many countries ...
World

Will Thailand Ever Break the Status Quo?

In 2020, Thailand gained international attention for a series of mass protests led by the Free Youth student group. Among many other democratic reforms, the student group called for the dissolvement of the parliament and the application of the rule of law in regards to the King . This is not the first time that Thailand has experienced political unrest. In order to understand why this cycle of pro-democratic mobilization has persisted for so many years with no end in sight, we must recall past t...
World

Understanding the Causes of Hong Kong’s National Security Law

As Beijing unilaterally imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last year, right before the twenty-third anniversary of the city’s handover to China from British rule, scholars have argued that the legislation signaled the “end of Hong Kong” and likened it to a “dagger that has stabbed into the heart of the city’s liberal foundations.” Others, such as  Lord Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, condemned the law as a “compreh...
World

A Not So United Europe is At a Crossroads

When the clock struck midnight to bring in 2021, the United Kingdom left the European Union’s Single Market. The future of the United Kingdom is increasingly uncertain with a slow economic outlook and the popularity of nationalist parties in Scotland and Northern Ireland threatening the union itself .  In contrast, much of the conversation about the EU’s future is optimistic, especially around the prospect of further integration.   Two twin crises–Brexit and the...
World

Reassessing the North Korean Nuclear Threat

Foreign policy pundits have paid acute attention to Chinese and Russian nuclear enhancements over the past decade as geopolitical concerns and technological capacities have increased. Just as considerable is the North Korean nuclear threat. Despite the DPRK’s nuclear program creating vast implications for international security and foreign policy, the country has received little sustained attention. Yet, viewing Kim Jong-un’s North Korea as a limited nuclear power instead of a formid...