Fall 2016 Edition is Out!

GlobalVU’s Fall 2016 edition is out in print and online! You can see our Fall Edition here as a flip book and download the PDF here!

Table of Contents

The Panopticon and the Case of Anwar al-Awlaki p.1

The Shadow of Falklands Sovereignty p. 6

Edward Azar’s Protracted Social Conflict Theory & its Arab-Israeli Application p. 9

Female Education and Its Effects on Fertility Rates p. 12 UN Peacekeepers: Friend or Foe? p. 18

The Prevention of Gender-Based Violence in Dadaab: A Capability-Oriented Approach p. 21

Death by Oil: Venezuela’s Economic Crisis p. 25

The Relationship Between Foreign Direct Investment and Political Corruption in the Developing World p. 29

The Ghost of Gaddafi p. 35

The Push for Populism around the World p. 40

Al-Maqdisi’s Wahhabi Criticism of Saudi Arabia and the Rise of Salafi-Jihadi Organizations p. 43

 

Browse our other print editions here!

The Election and Russian-American Relations

By Jackie Olson

When America elected a new president on November 8th, we were not only choosing the next president, but also deciding a business deal, one that even state officials in Moscow would have a hard time making. While unable to change Putin (he is here to stay) America did, in some ways, decide if she wants to see a newly-constructed Trump Tower on a street in Moscow, along with a new style of Russian-American relations.

Since the 1980s, Trump has made numerous business deals and created financial ties to Russia. In addition, Trump wants to build a Trump Tower in Russia’s capital, but he has been snubbed at each turn. His latest attempt, during the Moscow-hosted Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, left him close to a deal with Aras Agalarov, a friend of Putin often dubbed Russian-‘Trump’, but it was halted. This close success also coincided with a failed invitation to Putin to attend the pageant. While ultimately unsuccessful from a business and political perspective, the event seems to have heavily influenced Trump’s favorable opinion of Putin’s Russia, despite growing criticism from the US government.

Though Trump was not important to him prior to the election, his clear desire for business ties and willingness to respect Putin makes Trump by far the better candidate, in the eyes of Russia, for President of the United States. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is a threat. She is an outspoken woman who takes a strong liberal-democratic stance on foreign affairs and was not going to revoke her talks of a “no-fly” zone over Syria anytime soon, let alone formally recognize Crimea as a part of Russia, something that Trump has supported several times this fall.

In 2011, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State at the time, was blamed riots in Moscow, when people took to the streets in near-zero temperatures to protest the supposed ‘rigged’ re-re-election of Putin. Putin lamented Clinton’s interventionist messages, especially when she proclaimed, “the Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve free, fair, transparent elections.” Putin since then has made it his goal to openly condemn Clinton, the results of which have been seen this election season. Russian media has portrayed Clinton in a negative manner by continuously playing footage of her coughing on state television and reminding Russians of her botched “reset” attempt of relations in 2009, yet the fact that Trump has a 28% higher approval rating than Clinton in Russia does not mean much to any legitimate poll, Russia did not elect our president.

Regardless of America’s choice in candidates, nothing will change. America has put so much emphasis on the Putin state, that Russia is becoming a relic of the past, a trigger word for individuals born in the 1970s-1980s who only know of it as the Federation presided over by Yeltsin. Even Hillary Clinton has separated “Putin” from “Russia,” declaring in 2015 that the U.S. “needs a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular Putin.”

American policy has increasingly isolated Russian policy from Putin’s policy, which is entirely problematic for the mentality in solving overseas tensions. Indeed while Putin has turned relations sour, even this year, Russia itself pulled out of the Plutonium Disposition Agreement and did not participate in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit talks. Yet if America stops focusing on Putin’s physical appearance, such as his infamous shirtless photos, and his banter about the American election, and considers the true Russian state, it would be beneficial to not only our understanding of their increasingly aggressive foreign policy, but the faults within Russia’s domestic conditions.  

Since 2014, Russia has been facing a harsh recession from the fall in the price of oil and from economic sanctions. The economy has not grown for six straight quarters and real wages have dropped by 10%. While minimum wage has increased by 20% and Putin cut his own salary by 10%, the IMF projects the Russian economy will shrink by another 1.2% by the end of this year before a projected growth period.

During this predicted growth period, America should be fully ready to grasp and acknowledge the threat Russian corporations, not Putin, will serve to the United States security. For example, 2013, Rosatom, a Russian corporation, took over Uranium One Inc., a corporation in Canada, giving them direct control of 20% of all American uranium. Ironically, investigations found that from 2006-2011 over 40 million dollars from U1 advisors and associates was donated to the Clinton Foundation, a potential cause for concern as Clinton was Secretary of State at the time of the deal. Yet while Clinton did not become the president-elect, Russian corporations such as aggressive Rosatom, a state-run “non-profit”  business out of Moscow will be more than eager to use the cover of  ‘friendly’ Putin-Trump relations to garner a larger acquisition of natural resources, indirectly making the U.S. weaker as an international force.

Yet, our obsession with Putin and consequently his banter with Trump, is just a distraction from the real issue; Russia is going to rebound and with that in need of natural resources to grow its previously stagnating economy. The U.S. needs to realize that Russia is not just Putin and the threat is truly derived from economics. The more willing the U.S. is in understanding the country’s issues than the man in power, the better the country will be in tackling her ultimate foe, one that has arguably been brought down before through economics.

Russia on the Rise

By Javan Latson

The world was shocked on Christmas of 1991, as the hammer and sickle was lowered for the last time in the Kremlin. After a series of relatively peaceful events throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Soviet Union collapsed. The U.S. and other nations were optimistic and eager to help the new Russian Federation, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin. Russia could finally be integrated into the world system. The Cold War was over, or so we thought.

Twenty-five years later, the world is watching as Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin and various oligarchs, is morphing into a rogue nation whose actions need to be addressed. It’s time to treat Russia as an international pariah, the same as Gaddafi’s Libya, Iran, and North Korea, for their reckless actions and constant violations of international norms and laws.

Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues in our society, and many critical industries are vulnerable to the threat of a cyber-attack. Russia is a major cyber power and has invested a lot of money into computer science and cyber technology R&D, which can be seen in the level of sophistication and inventiveness their hackers display. The Russian government also has utilized and contracted hackers for operations, and turned the blind eye to criminals as long as their attacks serve national interests. These attacks cause billions of dollars worth of damage as seen in a 2007 attack on Estonia, and attacks on major financial companies such as JPMorgan Chase & Co.  The most recent allegation of Russian hacking involves the leakage of emails from the DNC, which has caused speculation that the Kremlin is trying to manipulate the U.S. presidential election. This willingness to conduct espionage and attack critical infrastructure, combined with their technological capabilities, makes Russia a major threat to our allies and us.

Another area of concern is Russia’s constant violation of international law/norms. Putin is taking desperate measures to gain global influence, especially in former Soviet states. Russia treats these countries as client states and uses them as a buffer against NATO.  The Kremlin has used harsh tactics to maintain regional supremacy and to prevent neighboring countries from adopting pro-Western positions. These measures have included cutting gas exports, embargoes, and fueling internal conflicts. The most blatant disregard of international standards can be seen in the 2008 invasion of Georgia following a bid for a NATO membership action plan, and the 2014 annexation of Crimea after Ukraine’s pro-Russian president was deposed. All of these actions, including the reckless bombing campaign in Syria and the arming of pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine, have done nothing but destabilize those regions.  

Tough action against Russia will help drive reforms and prevent future escalated confrontation. Sanctions against Iran crippled their oil industry and greatly damaged their economy, which subsequently increased American negotiating power. Likewise, tough sanctions against Libya pressured the government into making reforms. In the case of Russia, military action would be foolish due to their large army and nuclear stockpile. Russia isn’t Iraq or Panama, and cannot be forcibly coerced. Hurting their wallets, and Putin’s in particular would have the effect of causing them to reevaluate their current policies, especially if the people of Russia are negatively affected by the consequences of their decisions. Putting pressure on the Russians this way could change popular opinion, and the prospect of financial ruin could cause the ruling party to change their policies.

Some don’t believe Russia is a threat to the U.S., and think it’s simply a regional power. This is partially true because it is not as powerful as the Soviet Union was – it is no longer a state that possesses equal parity with the U.S. The decision for the various Soviet Republics to leave hurt because Russia lost significant amounts of territory, access to natural resources, and control of warm water ports. Today, Russia’s global influence comes through membership in the G8 and UNSC. Russia also possesses a nuclear arsenal, strong military, and advanced cyber capabilities which make them a force to be reckoned with. Another argument against taking a stronger stance against Russian aggression is that we should let Putin continue his expansionist policies because eventually, they will cause his end. This sounds logical because over-expansion and financial problems lead to the USSR’s dissolution. However, Russia’s centralized government keeps Putin and his cronies in power, and there isn’t a strong multi-party political system capable of making a significant change in domestic policies. The Russian Federation is no longer a brutal dictatorship like in the days of Stalin, but it’s definitely not a democracy. Also, his approval ratings are currently very high which means that there may not be a change in regime anytime soon. Lastly, the rising price of oil along with growing partnerships with China, Iran, and other Eurasian states may help bolster the economy, but military endeavors in Syria and Ukraine may negate that gain. Stronger sanctions against state-owned energy companies could have a positive impact, as could boycotting the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup, declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror for supporting separatists in Ukraine, and placing a travel ban on chief Russian leaders. These actions could send the necessary message that such behavior from the Russian Federation will not be tolerated and that changes need to be made.  Russia’s actions must be addressed, and how our nation responds to this behavior will be an important aspect of foreign policy for the next presidential administration.

Political Turmoil in the Land of Tears and Soul

By Victoria Herring 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the site of our most recent Olympic games, is a vibrant city that serves as the cultural heart of one of the largest and most politically turbulent emerging countries in the world. Amid its great tourist attractions, be it to the Amazon rainforest or the beaches of Copacabana and Leblon, a political controversy has pitted many parts of the population against each other. The powerful tug of corruption has enveloped Brazil’s political atmosphere, leading to the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Unemployment has reached unprecedented heights at 11.2%, and with the country spending millions on Olympic infrastructure and combatting the spread of the Zika virus, Brazil’s economy is at a dangerous tipping point. What precisely is the root of this complicated problem, and what can be done to mend it? To understand Brazil one must understand the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in August of 2016 and how the country reached the point of impeaching their president.

In order to understand the crisis, one must look to history. Brazil has long been known as the pioneer letter in the BRICS acronym, naming the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These “Big Five” are depicted as being in a newly advanced stage of economic development, with a promising future as the world’s leading trade partners and producers. What kind of leadership resulted in this enormous catapult onto the international stage? In 2002, the Worker’s Party of Brazil elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, frequently shortened to Lula, an endearing and soon to be a controversial figure. This election was one of tremendous importance because of the type of leader Lula would turn out to be; Lula’s education ended in elementary school; he was a poor, uneducated man, and had never run for public office. A leader of this caliber was unheard of in Brazil since the country gained its independence in 1822.

In 2002, Brazilian citizens were in a state of unrest. Many predicted the protests against Lula, due to his seeming lack of qualification to be president, would be enough to discourage voters from supporting his faction, the Worker’s Party. Interestingly, he gained popularity by maintaining the liberal policies of previous governments, as advised by the Washington Consensus’s standards for economic prosperity to developing countries. His leftist policies promoted investment in infrastructure and public goods and services, creating a burgeoning economy by encouraging production and heightened activity. Lula enjoyed the highest approval rating of any Brazilian president in recent history at 87% approval in 2007. His approval rates remained very high until the following year when the American mortgage crisis sent the world economy into a massive recession.

Nearly every single country had to respond to the American crisis. Brazil chose to increase spending in order to maintain its prosperous economy. Unfortunately, this huge public spending created a massive debt. After one year, the national deficit could be represented by sixty-five percent of the country’s total exports; in other words, the capital spent on internal improvements was such that it would take 65% of the country’s products to pay for the debt. How did this affect the social environment? The answer is dangerously simple: it did not.

The social effects of this increase in spending were not felt by the country’s citizens, as it takes months or even years for economic complications to affect a republic’s people personally. This allowed for Dilma Rousseff to be elected with the support of Lula’s popularity in 2007; however, as a president, she was not an independent leader. The previous president handpicked Dilma and her policies were direct recommendations from Lula. During her presidency, people began to feel the consequences of the massive deficit. Unemployment began to rise slowly, and more citizens were falling below the poverty line. As part of the country’s welfare program, the poor have the option of receiving a “bolsa familia,” or “family basket,” that provides necessary material resources to poor and very poor families, or those earning under $200 a month. Main features of this program clearly show how it creates a cycle of deficiency: hard cash is delivered to the family, who has the freedom to use it in whichever manner they choose to. However, with no conditions for continuous aid, namely mandatory vaccinations or attendance in school for children, the money is not able to break the cycle of poverty. In addition, a family may receive this assistance permanently as long as they fit the income criteria. The Worker’s Party wins the majority vote of the poor, and has done little to change the conditions in which their constituents can escape from poverty. This unfortunate truth led to an exceedingly close election between candidates Dilma and Aecio Neves, her opponent, in 2013. The people knew something was terribly wrong, yet the poor served as a significant force in electing the incumbent as opposed to Aecio, who pledged to revise the current welfare system.  

Just last year, Brazil learned that Dilma Rousseff had been masking Brazil’s massive deficit over the years. Further economic scandals among Worker Party “elites” and Dilma herself – namely with oil giant Petrobras – revealed a state of corruption never before seen in Brazil, calling for a reassessment of transparency and integrity within the government. It is important to note that the goal of such corruption was not to put money in politician’s pockets, but to perpetuate the power of the Left. Accused of hiding the deficit from the people illegally under the guise of creative accountability, Dilma was impeached after an arduous process in August 2016. This crime of responsibility came with outrage from the people, who protested and largely participated in the forces to either impeach or keep her in power during the months leading up to the contentious vote. An indispensable aspect of the nation – freedom of speech and of press – proved to be instrumental in this turbulent time. The independence of the federal police force, supreme tribunal court, and the public ministry significantly helped to unveil the vast amounts of corruption taking place. The transition of power to her vice president, Michel Temer, led to much relief and the call for change in the form of transparent economic policies from the Brazilian people.

As president, Temer has reinstated the economic standards of the Lula years – investment in infrastructure and public goods. With the rise of investment in public goods and laissez-faire, the country’s currency, the real, has gained value. The movement towards free enterprise stimulated growth, particularly among trade and the stock market. Today, Brazil’s economic situation is slowly improving. Its people are hesitant and untrusting of the government, and understandably so. It will be a gradual path to recovery; nonetheless, the vibrant culture and warmth of Brazil, with one of the largest and most influential economies, is alive and well.