Berkeley Political Review Fall 2016

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Berkeley Political Review






DETENTION OR DETOX Deconstructing America’s New Face of Heroin


Letter from the Editor-in-Chief Dear Reader, This year, the Berkeley Political Review was able to earn more than $4,000 in donations from readers on and off campus. On the behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank each and every donor for supporting the research based, long form, non-partisan political journalism that our publication strives to offer. Thank you for supporting political engagement and academic dialogue, particularly in the aftermath of the political rollercoaster that has been the 2016 American presidential election. In our special election issue, we highlighted some of the key issues of the election and the reverberations that it would have on both the American population and global politics. With this issue, we urge readers to look beyond November 8th and explore the global political issues of the 21st century that are far more complex than any presidential election. Of course, this can be difficult. After a harrowing political election cycle that has left much of the country howling in protest and bitterly divided, it is easy to run as far from the splitting ravine as possible, seeking solace in the safe comfort of Netflix or Buzzfeed. Yet there is no better time for Americans to roll up their sleeves and engage with one another. The misunderstandings and misinformation that have spread like a poison across this country can be cleared only with a concentrated effort by both sides to truly understand one another and the world they live in. Only by reading and listening to one another can we begin to heal a country that has been bitterly divided for all too long. In the pages that follow, our writers certainly discuss the election. But they also uncover stories that lie beyond even the recesses of presidential politics. You will read about the hyper-sexualization of women in Bollywood, global sanctions on North Korea, and California’s Cap and Trade system. For the very first time, this issue also includes articles from “The Review”, a traditionally online-only short-form blog. Student readers in particular have an obligation to remain politically aware, if not politically engaged. Whether you spend hours each day in a molecular biology lab, buried in the works of Aristotle, or typing out lines of code, American and international politics impact your education, your livelihood, and the community around you. Amongst the graduate and undergraduate students of this institution lie the future leaders of the world. They will come from the sciences, the mathematics, and the arts, and we at the Berkeley Political Review hope that despite these differing backgrounds, they will come informed, engaged, and empowered. If this is the future we seek, disengaging is not an option. We hope you enjoy the Fall 2016 issue of the Berkeley Political Review.


Nitisha Baronia Editor-in-Chief

MASTHEAD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nitisha Baronia EXTERNAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ruochen Huang INTERNAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gloria Cheung CALIFORNIA EDITOR JJ Kim DEPUTY CALIFORNIA EDITOR Tiffany Lo UNITED STATES EDITOR Rea Savla DEPUTY UNITED STATES EDITOR Cathrine Petersen WORLD EDITOR Giacomo Tognini DEPUTY WORLD EDITOR J Jung OPINION EDITOR Adora Svitak DEPUTY OPINION EDITOR Kush Berry ONLINE EDITOR Suleman Khan DEPUTY ONLINE EDITOR Bhaavya Sinha BUSINESS MANAGER Yash Sanghrajka DESIGN DIRECTOR Dishary Hossain TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Luqmaan Abdul-Cader EDITORS EMERITUS Nikhil Kotecha Matthew Symonds Elena Kempf Niku Jafarnia STAFF Writers: Alex Casendino, Alice Ma, Ananya Sreekanth, Anastasia Pyrinis, Anisha Dangoria, Anthony Swaminathan, Christian Fong, Dahlia Peterson, Dave Bengardi, Dosbal Aibyek, Elyse O’Neill, Faaria Hussain, Gavin Greene, Griffin Potrock, Jack Foley, Jack Sadler, James Yixuan Zheng, Jeffrey Wirjo, Jessie Mao, Jonah Berger-Cahn, Kevin Klyman, Leslie Aguilar, Liya Nahusenay, Manas Agrawal, Manu Meel, Michael Eliot, Nicholas Pingitore, Nicolas Friedlich, Oliver Ma, Ron (Tianlang) Gao, Saalar Aghili, Sean Vernon, Sebastian Miller, Sophie Khan, Taylor Fatherree, Tushita Saraf, Utsav Kedia, Yoojin Shin, Zaki Alattar Design and Business: Carol Gao, Niharika Jain, Olivia Lipari, Sadhvi Mathur, Selena Gomez, Thamashi de Silva, Tonya Ngyuen, Victoria Lu, Vishesh Mehta

ASUC sponsored. The content of this publication does not reflect the view of the University of California, Berkeley or the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC). Advertisements appearing in the Berkeley Political Review reflect the views of the advertisers only, and are not an expression of the editorial opinion or views of the staff.

Berkeley Political Review Volume XVIII, No. 2 / Fall 2016 CALIFORNIA Sean Vernon


Bay Area Private Transportation

Leslie Aguilar


From Bracero to 1066

Christian Fong


Don’t Cap Cap and Trade

Dosbal Aibyek


The New Progressive Frontier: Tough on [Sex] Crimes

Jack Foley


Remembering Moonbeam UNITED STATES

Alex Casendino


Convicts Without Care

Anisha Dangoria


Displacement Epidemic

Kevin Klyman


The War on Terror Confronts Its Origins

Anastasia Pyrinis


Tried and True?

Nick Friedlich


Detention or Detox

Manas Agrawal


Hospitals and Hackers THE REVIEW

Sophie Khan


Buyer’s Remorse

Taylor Fatherree



Suleman Khan


Why the Democrats Lost and Will Keep Losing

Bhaavya Sinha


Modi’s 500 Rupee Solution for Ending Corruption

Gavin Greene


Constitutional Reform in Japan

Michael Eliot


The Legality of Obama’s Executive Orders WORLD

Liya Nahusenay


The Forgotten Migrants Of Central America

Utsav Kedia



Zaki Alattar


Ringed By Walls

Saalar Aghili


America’s ADHD Nation

Griff Potrock


King of Kong OPINION

Anthony Swaminathan



Tianlang Gao


Taiwan’s President Must Prove She Can Lead

Sebastian Miller


Bride Kidnapping

Jonah Berger-Cahn


Nothing is Fair, Sanctions or War

Ananya Sreekanth


The Ill-Named Item Number

Cover artwork by Cathrine Petersen Layout by Carol Gao, Dishary Hossain, Gloria Cheung and Tonya Nguyen




ou might have seen them: sleek, white buses with tinted windows, cruising up and down Highway 101. Or perhaps you noticed one along Market Street, pulling over to accept a herd of young professionals juggling cups of fair-trade coffee and MacBook Pros. Or maybe, if you live further south, you’ve been able to see one release its riders at the campus of Google or eBay or Apple. As Bay Area streets have become increasingly congested, and conventional forms of public transportation remain insufficient, Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have turned to new forms of transit to get their increasingly San Francisco-based workforce into the office: private “Google Buses”, featuring amenities like free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and convenient stops throughout San Francisco. At first glance, this plan makes perfect sense; tech workers can use the hour-long commute to catch up on emails, finish up projects, and prepare for the day so they arrive at work primed for productivity. In addition, the lines run straight to the offices, unlike the Caltrain trains or bus systems. And, of course, the buses are free for the riders. However, these private charters have not come without conflict. The tech shuttles have previously used public bus stops, leading to congestion, and have damaged streets not intended for their weight. Many San Francisco residents also use the buses as another example of the growing wealth disparity in the Bay Area; as the commoners stumble out of worn-out MUNIs, the tech elite are shepherded to their destinations in luxury. The buses are simply the next wave in a never-ending process of gentrification, accompanied by organic markets and eviction notices. Public transit agencies have also clashed with the tech sector over the buses. In 2014, the SFMTA began mandating fees for the use of public bus stops by the private charters. In addition, Caltrans has prohibited the largest buses from driving on streets not delegated as “high-volume”, limiting road damage. But no regulations have been able to slow rent increases in San Francisco, even as UC Berkeley researchers have shown that private bus stops increase nearby rent prices by up to 20%. Nonetheless, the rent increases engendered by the tech shuttles are simply emblematic of the larger issue of affordable housing that plagues the Bay Area. As San Francisco’s population grows, city government finds itself unable to ensure that people of all income levels have equal opportunity to housing. And as those earning the lowest incomes are turned out of their homes, the ranks of homeless described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a civic disgrace” only swell. However, city government is not powerless. Many of the difficulties of building affordable housing in San Francisco stem from the city’s zoning code, which bans high-rises from certain districts and neighborhoods. Allowing developers to build denser apartments, while also passing legislation requiring more new developments to provide affordable housing, would both enable more low-income people to live in San Francisco and help reverse the constant increases in rent by lowering land value. Or, perhaps, the San Francisco county government could work alongside other counties to incentivize the construction of both expensive condos and affordable

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housing in other Bay Area cities, reducing the need for construction of both in the city itself. Methods such as these which promote affordable housing have worked elsewhere, after all. Cities such as Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado have found success creating public housing, as publications like The Atlantic have pointed out. However, these successes are often drowned out by horror stories about “the projects” and other such civic failures.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Regardless of the method, the mere fact that renting a one-bedroom apartment in the City costs an average of $3,500 a month means city government has a civic duty to provide more affordable housing. San Francisco cannot survive with a population consisting entirely of rich condo owners– it needs a working class to continue providing the basic services that keep our society running. In addition, suggesting that those unable to afford their homes in the City should move elsewhere is not just morally wrong, but unfeasible. Almost every city with median apartment rents under $2,000 in the Bay Area is so far away, commuting to San Francisco would require taking Amtrak; among the few close enough to take BART, such as San Leandro, thousands of people compete for only a few hundred apartments. In addition, working class individuals who have found housing often clump together; according to an investigation by Curbed San Francisco, 60% of service-class workers live in majority working-class neighborhoods, while only 16.5% of San Francisco’s population is working-class. This model is not just unsustainable—it’s unacceptable, and yet it is also our reality. In the meantime, the expense and allure of living in San Francisco means the Google Bus will live on, an ode to a city struggling to adapt to the gentrification, homelessness, and influx of tech workers that have marked the last few years. And until solutions are found to these crises, the buses will cruise on, shepherding the tech elite away from the commoners. ■




hile others remember 1942 as a year of global war, that year also belonged to Mexico and Latin-American descendants in the U.S.; it brought with it changes that remain central to U.S. identity: the Bracero Program. That August, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order and began the single largest U.S. contract labor program in history, one that would bring an estimated four million Mexican men into the western United States. At the time, the Bracero Program was a response to the WWII draft that left people fearing a food shortage due to lack of available labor. In response the U.S. decided to extend temporary work visas to Mexican men to come to the U.S. and feed the nation, literally. The men who came then and the millions that came after have been fighting for their rights ever since.

Source: San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

The battleground for that fight has largely taken place in California. The Golden State, the apex of the farm worker, produces an estimated one-third of the nation’s vegetables and nearly two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. It was in California that Cesar Chavez, the leader of the first organized fight for farm workers’ rights, founded the National Farm Workers Association that would later become the United Farm Worker’s Association. The movement garnered nationwide attention largely because of Chavez’s leadership and commitment to nonviolent protest. By 1970, the movement known as “La Causa” had effectively unionized most of the agricultural industry, conducted numerous peaceful strikes (like that of Delano Grape Strike and marches like the Delano to Sacramento March) and

even began a literacy program for farm workers. Its credibility was assisted by Robert Kennedy who developed a close friendship with Chavez. Unfortunately, after the decline of union power in the 1980s, the UFWA had little political power to sway the minds of politicians. Recently, however, the successors of those Mexican workers, now multi-ethnic from all parts of Latin America, achieved a historic win. In September 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown approved Bill No. 1066, which stipulates that all exemptions be removed “…for agricultural employees regarding hours, meal breaks, and other working conditions, including specified wage requirements…”. While such laws have existed for other laborers since before the Bracero Program, it has only recently become a reality for the farm worker. Proponents of the bill argued such a law would correct for decades of injustice that farm workers have endured. Assemblyman Rob Bonta said that “…under current law, we’re telling our farmworkers, ‘You are different than other workers. You are less than other workers. You are less valued and less valuable.’” Democrats throughout the state have long worked with members of the FWA and its President Arturo Rodriguez, while others, especially those with vested ties with big businesses, have resisted the bill. While the bill is a historic win, it is not a silver bullet. The bill will not be implemented until 2019, and even then it will be done on a ‘phase-by-phase’ basis. Some effects may not be witnessed until 2022. The same mechanisms will also be employed for a work week limit of forty hours. With an estimated 75% of farm workers in California being undocumented, the law is likely to have mixed results. While all workers are protected under California law regardless of citizenship, employers often do not extend equal protection to undocumented workers, mainly because undocumented workers do not report abuses in fear of deportation. Until a law provides immunity from deportation for the report of crimes or violations of rights by employers, it is unlikely that violations will be reported, effectively nulling the effects of Bill 1066 on many undocumented workers. Additionally, it is improbable that business groups will passively accept the law; indeed, they have already issued statements condemning the law. The California Cattlemen’s Association has argued that because agriculture is largely dependent on unpredictable weather conditions, restricting working hours on fields would be detrimental to an industry already suffering because of the drought. A likely response from the agricultural industry would be firing workers or hiring more part-time workers to fill time gaps due to the working hour requirements, which could potentially hurt the few benefactors of a largely impoverished working community. It is clear that while any step towards a more egalitarian work environment for neglected workers is an accomplishment, we must also acknowledge the fact that this eighty-year old fight, like most struggles for equality in America, is far from over. The farm working men, women (and at times, children) are not defined solely by what we do or do not know about them; rather, they are defined by the victories of their ancestors and long history for equality, one that will continue beyond Bill 1066. ■

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ince the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), California has implemented a number of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the most ambitious being cap and trade. Heavily influenced by a similar system in the European Union, California’s cap-and-trade program works by putting a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, then allocating allowances or permits that allow companies to discharge a certain amount of pollutants. Because only a certain number of permits are available on the market, companies can buy and sell permits depending on how many pollutants they emit, making it economically beneficial to cut down emissions. The number of total allowances also decreases every year, raising their value and decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases. Environmentally, cap and trade seems to be working well. Jeffrey Greenblatt, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, conducted a study concluding that current environmental policies, including cap and trade, will allow California to meet its goal set in AB 32 of cutting GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Because of its success with its environmental policies, California has been a leader not only nationally, but also globally, welcoming representatives from more than three dozen countries in the last two years in an effort to share the state’s policies on fighting climate change. Economically, cap and trade has become a crucial source of funding. The state keeps a certain amount of allowances and holds a quarterly auction that allows companies to obtain the remaining allowances they need in order to comply with emission standards and buy allowances for future years. This has been an enormous source of revenue for the state: nearly $5 billion have been raised since the program was implemented in 2013. 25% of that money goes to funding the high-speed rail project that will connect

Illustrated by Wesley Bedrosian

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San Francisco to Anaheim, 35% is used for affordable housing projects, infrastructure repair, and clean transportation programs. The other 40% can be spent in various ways as long as they pertain to reducing emissions. Recently, however, there has been cause for concern. A mere 11% of total allowances were sold in the May 2016 auction, and in the following August auction, only 35% of allowances were bought. The market had never had unsold allowances before this year, creating serious doubts about the program. During the May auction, $2.5 million was raised, a fraction of the expected $150 million. Due to the underwhelming amount of revenue in the last two auctions, lawmakers fear that vital programs that rely on the money could be in jeopardy, especially the high-speed rail project, which is expected to receive a total of $22.9 billion from cap and trade funds. Why is the auction stumbling? The most popular theory is that the legal uncertainty of the program has dealt a huge blow to the integrity of the market. Cap and trade has been questioned on its authority to continue past 2020 and whether or not it should be classified as a tax. When cap and trade was first passed, it cited AB 32 as its reason to exist and cut down emissions. However, AB 32 stated that the goal was to cut down greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, leaving the future for cap and trade beyond 2020 uncertain. Fortunately, this has been solved by the passage of SB 32 just a few weeks ago, which is an amendment that extended the emission cuts to 2030. More worryingly, the California Chamber of Commerce has sued the California Air Resources Board (ARB), claiming that cap and trade is an unconstitutional tax. New taxes must be passed through the legislature with two-thirds vote; cap and trade did not receive that many votes when originally passed, and was thus illegal in the view of the Chamber. Cap and trade was originally upheld by the Sacramento Superior Court. Judge Timothy M. Frawley stated in his opinion that “certain revenue measures may be valid despite not having the attributes of the traditional fee classifications.” Frawley argues that even though cap and trade isn’t an orthodox regulatory procedure, it still is perfectly legal. However, the appellate court has been more questionable in its opinion. Although a final decision has not been made yet, the court has issued a series of questions relating to what the ruling will focus on, the most notable being: “If this court finds the auction is deemed to be an invalid tax, what is the remedy regarding the regulations, other than a declaration invalidating the auction component?” The question pertains to what would happen to cap and trade if it were unconstitutional, leading many to believe that the appellate court may rule against the ARB. As with any other credit-based system, cap and trade requires the confidence of its buyers; if companies believe their allowances will be useless in the near future, there is little incentive to buy these permits. In addition, many analysts cite an excess amount of permits in the market due to companies buying a large number of allowances for future years, creating a serious supply-and-demand problem. There are some optimists, however. Frank Wolack, a Stanford economist who helped the state devise the program, stated that, “To the extent that not all the permits are being sold, that is a success of the program…. We’ve reduced greenhouse gases so much


Illustrated by Wesley Bedrosian

is nothing more than an attempt to further ingrain the use of fossil fuels. However, putting a price on carbon directly combats climate change by limiting the total amount of GHG, and additionally, all the money made from the auction has to be spent on reducing emissions. Furthermore, as the years go by, it may be cheaper for industries to install cleaner technology, or even switch to forms of alternative, green energy, rather than to continue to pay for extra pollution permits. To keep a steady revenue stream, regulators will have to cut the amount of allowances sold, especially those sold for future years, in order to stabilize the market and increase demand. The ARB is also allowed to hold unsold allowances for up to nine months, which could help immediately stimulate the market. In addition, cap and trade will eventually need to be reauthorized by the legislature with a two-thirds supermajority if the program is to avoid further legal troubles. In order to receive that much support, business-friendly Democrats and even a few Republicans will have to get on board. This could prove extremely difficult, as oil companies and other industries affected by cap and trade are lobbying hard against the program. Cap and trade has brought immense financial benefits for the state and as the amount of yearly allowances is cut, it will drastically reduce the amount of GHGs released from the biggest polluters in the state. The money has been used to help make California a greener state for all, from funding rebates for low and zero emission cars, to helping install solar panels for low-income residents. Although cap and trade isn’t the perfect environmental solution, it is a flexible compromise that will help ease the transition away from fossil fuels. President Obama is also trying to execute cap and trade once again; his Clean Power Plan would allow states to use cap and trade as a method to reduce emissions. Despite the formidable challenges that lay ahead, the choice is clear: if legislators want to keep an invaluable source of revenue and continue to lead the fight against climate change, they can’t cap cap and trade. ■

that businesses don’t need all the available allowances.” Proponents of cap and trade agree; although the lack of revenue may reflect poor commercial decisions on behalf of the state and unfavorable market conditions, the program shouldn’t be implicated as a failure just because it has been failing to raise money. Erica Morehouse, an attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund, says, “Cap-and-trade needs to be judged first and foremost on how it reduces emissions. Raising revenue is not a measure of its success.” That being said, there is no doubt that revenue received from the program is critical, and the success of the program relies on the money the auction generates; without it, the program will likely lose political support. There are legitimate causes for concern, even if cap and trade is declared legal. The largest cap-and-trade program in the world, located in the EU, has crashed on multiple occasions. Moreover, a bill that would have established cap and trade nationwide was proposed but failed to pass through Congress in 2009, conveying how divisive the idea is nationally. Environmentalists are also torn over whether or not market-based measures are the right way to solve environmental issues. Larry Lohmann, a researcher at Corner House, an NGO that supports environmental and social justice, disagrees with the entire notion of cap and trade, writing, “Solving global warming means figuring out how to keep most remaining fossil fuels in the ground…. Carbon trading isn’t directed at that goal. Instead, it’s organized around keeping the wheels on the fossil fuel industry as long as possible.” Lohmann expresses a concern many environmentalists have: cap and trade Source: CNN Money

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The New Progressive Frontier: Tough on [Sex] Crimes


Can legislation address one of the most pervasive crimes in our society? DOSBAL AIBYEK

n March 30, 2016, Judge Aaron Persky of the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County ruled on the case of People v. Turner, sentencing Brock Allen Turner to six months in prison for a rape he committed on the Stanford University campus in January. Immediately, outrage exploded across social media as indignant watchers condemned both Turner and Persky. Many claimed that the verdict was lax, egregious, and insensitive given Turner’s background and in contrast to the recommendation of the prosecution, which called for Turner to be sentenced to six years in prison. Eventually, that outrage made its way into the California State Capitol; in September, the State Assembly passed AB 2888, prohibiting courts from suspending sentences on sex crimes and the implementation of mandatory minimum sentencing for those same offenses. It was unclear in the aftermath of the Turner verdict whether public outrage would translate into public policy. But through the summer, exactly that had happened. Although the drafting and introduction of the bill preceded Judge Persky’s decision by nearly two months, it is likely that the verdict and the flood of anger it generated compelled the assembly to swiftly pass the bill with an overwhelming majority. With that, California became the first state to ever establish mandatory sentencing for sex crimes. Upon passage, AB 2888 received both praise and critique. Many, including candidate for U.S. Senate Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), commended the California state government for addressing sexual assault. Others envision a higher and more symbolic role for the bill, hoping that it will be a harbinger for addressing rape culture writ large. By establishing mandatory sentencing, lawmakers are betting that sexually violent behavior can be curbed if sentencing mandates are stricter. This law is especially central to preventing incidents on college campuses, where sexual assault is alarmingly pervasive, yet more than 80% of the incidents that occur go unreported. Similarly, in many workplaces, more than 70% of workplace sexual harassment cases go unreported, even though more than a quarter of female employees experience some form of sexual harassment from their superiors and coworkers across all fields of labor. This lapse is due to any number of reasons, which the article does not attempt to examine; rather, the article analyzes how these institutions respond to the cases that are brought before them. The most obvious and frequently applied punishment is ejection from school or work, but recently even those measures have come under scrutiny for a) being applied sporadically , and b) not going far enough in punishing the most heinous violations. This is where AB 2888 applies, by ensuring that no sentence for a rape case can be shortened. The collective expectation of the bill’s supporters is that government intervention can once again address the worst sexual crimes and that ultimately, a social issue as pervasive yet evasive as rape culture can be addressed by changes to the law. By preventing individuals accused of sex crimes from being acquitted or given abnormally light sentences, California lawmakers are hoping to position themselves as sympathetic to anti-sexual assault advocates, and thereby tough on sex crimes.

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Source: NBC News

However, this has inspired criticism that mandatory minimum sentencing, even for sex crimes, is no different from the failed mandatory minimum sentencing policies that applied to drug and other violent crimes. Those critics allude to laws such as California’s former Three Strikes Law, which has denounced as being responsible for disproportionately targeting and incarcerating peoples of color for the same crimes that white people would have been accused of. They have the same worry about about bills like AB 2888, which they fear will have the same effect on communities of color and social disadvantage. Most of that criticism stems from the fact that stricter sentencing will not have as strong an effect on the frequency of sex crimes as it is expected to have. The question is: what good will the law do if it is only going to increase prison populations if so many actual rape cases go unreported? There is no incentive, insofar as AB 2888 is concerned, for victims of sex crimes to disclose their cases. Without addressing such a crucial part of so many sexual assault cases, there is no gauge for whether such a law can be effective and achieve its objective. There is no guarantee that policy-centered responses to sexual assault cases will have as deep and profound an impact on the issue of sexual violence as AB 2888’s proponents expect it will. In many ways, the bill fails to address the issue of underreporting of the cases that actually do transpire; but it is also in many ways, symbolic of a shifting tone on the issue of sexual violence and indicates that lawmakers are beginning to take the issue seriously. For truly effective legislation to be enacted, every dimension of the issue of sexual violence needs to be addressed. ■


Remembering Moonbeam The legacy of jerry brown JACK FOLEY


Source: San Francisco Housing Action Coalition

n 1975, a strange and eccentric character ascended to the Capitol building in Sacramento. Nicknamed “Governor Moonbeam”, this young upstart of a politician was a new type of executive: he didn’t live in the Governor’s Mansion, he drove an economy-class car, and he walked to work. Yet Jerry Brown’s unorthodox habits did not stop him from advancing a powerful new agenda that was at once both conservative and very liberal. He crusaded against the death penalty and was a staunch supporter of environmental protection, but at the same time he cut taxes and supported a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. In both policy and personality, Jerry fought hard to step out from the shadow of his father, former Governor Pat Brown, who preceded him as a consequential governor of the state. Today Jerry Brown is yet again the Governor of California, but he is rapidly approaching the end of his final term. Whether he emulates the image of his father or stays true to Governor Moonbeam to the very end, Jerry Brown must decide what legacy he wants to leave after over four decades in California politics. Jerry Brown is the longest serving governor in California history and, because of new term limit laws, the longest who will ever serve. His political resume in California includes stints as Attorney General, Mayor of Oakland, and Secretary of State, as well as several failed runs for President of the United States. The undoubted pinnacle of Brown’s career, though, has come from his four terms as governor. Brown follows his father in service as governor of California, but unlike Pat Brown, Jerry has served two nonconsecutive sessions as governor. Jerry Brown served two terms as California’s second-youngest governor from 1975 to 1983, and another two terms as California’s oldest governor from 2011 onwards. While his political agenda of today is largely the same as it was decades ago, the bizarrely austere and hippy-esque habits of Brown’s first term as governor are long since gone, as Brown has today assumed the role of elder statesman in state politics. Brown first took office as governor in 1975, riding to success in many ways off of the reputation of his father. Pat Brown served as governor from 1959 to 1967 and enjoyed a positive legacy in the state as a popular progressive governor, and his son was able to parlay this name recognition into early success. In many ways, Jerry Brown’s time as governor can be viewed in relation to that of his father’s period in the Capitol. Pat Brown was a pragmatic yet ambitious Democrat as Governor, and was one of

the last of the “New Deal Democrats” who focused on large government spending on infrastructure. He was extremely influential on the state, and built massive public works projects including the State Water Project and much of the highway system. Unlike Pat, however, Jerry Brown has been much more fiscally conservative as governor. Jerry Brown’s first tenure in the Capitol was marred at the very end by his failure to successfully build a Peripheral Canal linking the LA water system with the Central Valley. This presaged the “Taxpayers’ Revolt” of the 70s and 80s, wherein large government projects became extremely politically unpopular. While Pat Brown was able to build very large infrastructure projects as Governor, his son has thus far been unable to replicate even a fraction of his father’s success in that regard. Though he got his start as a boy-governor sleeping in a cot off of K Street, Jerry Brown is today becoming a different sort of executive than he once was. While he is still considered to be fiscally conservative, Brown is increasingly beginning to tackle large infrastructure projects, much like his father did. This is no easy task, as no large government projects have been successfully built in California since the 1960s. Gov. Brown is trying to change that, by heavily pushing his controversial Twin Tunnels and HighSpeed Rail projects that would, respectively, divert water from the Sacramento River Delta to Southern California and provide a high-speed rail link between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The “Governor Moonbeam” of the 1970s is far removed from the figure Jerry Brown is today. The difference between the two men is stark: the Moonbeam of the 70s was seen as an ascendant star in the Democratic Party, while the modern Governor has dealt with two failed runs for President, a near-collapse of his political career, and a redemption to the same powerful office he once held decades ago. Gov. Brown still holds many of the same frustrated ambitions that he once did in the 70s, but as his time in office draws to an end, Brown has realized that the office of Governor is terminal for his career. Thus, to mark his legacy on California much like his father did, Brown has departed from his long-standing fiscal conservatism and broken from a fifty-year precedent against large infrastructure projects in California. Only time will tell if the current political climate will allow the Twin Tunnels and High Speed Rail to become a reality, but these projects represent the last best hope that Jerry Brown has to emulate his father and leave his mark upon the state of California. ■

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United States




t’s a level of suffering that is unprecedented. The degree of suffering and the degree of harm to these patients is really the result of a system that is extremely, extremely broken.” No, the description above is not of a CIA black site or a sinister underground research facility. The description matches an institution far closer to home: the American prison system and its administration of healthcare to the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated individuals in the U.S. The observation noted above by Alexander Soler, an executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona, of the lackluster state of healthcare in U.S. prisons, is deeply intertwined with the explosion of the U.S. prison population. According to the London Institute for Criminal Policy Research, the prison population of the United States has quadrupled in the past 25 years, and the U.S. tops the globe in incarceration rates.

The financial stress placed upon the rapidly expanding U.S. prison system incentivized local, state and federal prisons to adopt a policy that has led to sinister reverberations in all levels of the prison system: the privatization of health care.

Healthcare Hindered

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, states spend about eight billion dollars annually on prison healthcare. In an effort to cut costs, more prisons are outsourcing healthcare to for-profit companies such as Corizon Health, the largest private prison healthcare provider in the country, and Correctional Medical Group Companies (CMGC). Dr. Marc Stern, an expert on correctional health at the University of Washington and former head doctor of all Washington state prisons, estimates that more than half of all state and local prisons and jails have outsourced their healthcare. Additionally, according to a report issued by the Office of the Inspector General in June 2016, federal prison spending on outsourced healthcare increased by 24% to $327 million between 2010 and 2014. Private healthcare providers have aimed to reduce costs when operating within prison facilities and argue that prisoners are receiving adequate medical attention while saving taxpayer dollars in the process. Costcutting practices, however, have not mixed well with a prison population that is increasingly in need of greater medical care and services. After analyzing data collected from surveys of US inmates in local, state, and federal correctional facilities, physicians at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School uncovered a startling fact: the number of serious medical conditions among convicts were far higher than expected

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compared to the average American population. In the official paper published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2009, the researchers revealed that roughly 40% of inmates of the entire prison and jail population reported a chronic medical condition. The same report unearthed that among inmates with a persistent medical problem, 13.9% of federal inmates, 20.1% of state inmates, and 68.4% of local jail inmates had received no medical examination since incarceration. Infectious disease, mental illness and addiction are common problems for inmates. Unfortunately, the lack of available checkups and services for inmates has resulted in avoidable injury, and in the worst of cases, death. Furthermore, the risks to inmates’ health have been compounded by the reduced coverage provided by private healthcare companies.

History of Neglect

In the 1976 case of Estelle v. Gambelle, the Supreme Court established that ignoring a prisoner’s serious medical needs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. After four decades of rising incarceration rates, the precedent of this pivotal case has been repeatedly neglected by private healthcare entities operating within prisons. From 1975 to 2015, the U.S. prison population quadrupled. Interestingly, Steven Raphael of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael A. Stoll of the University of California, Los Angeles discovered what drove up the imprisonment rates during this time was not just crime, but policy. Harsh sentencing was believed to deter future crime, and by 2015 all 50 states had adopted mandatory sentencing laws, vastly increasing the number of incarcerated convicts. The growth of the prison population placed stress upon the healthcare providers, who were struggling to catch up with the exponentially growing number of clients in prison. In February 2015, the private healthcare provider Corizon paid out $8.3m to the family of Martin Harrison, who died two days after being jailed in Alameda County. Harrison was suffering from severe alcohol withdrawal and was allegedly beaten by prison guards, and his family’s lawyers argued that Corizon had failed to provide reasonable care to Harrison. Harrison’s story is not unique: according to an analysis by the financial research firm PrivCo, Corizon has been sued more than 1,300 times, ranging from wrongful death lawsuits to sexual misconduct charges. However, lawsuits have not halted Corizon’s profitability: according to PrivCo, the company’s revenue has grown by 15.6% from 2012 to 2015, amounting to $1.55 billion in net worth.

Path to Reform

Privatization within the U.S. prison system has led to a pattern of irresponsibility and setbacks for criminal justice reform. Just three months ago, the Department of Justice released a statement supporting an end to federal private prisons, citing unsafe conditions within private prisons and lack of adequate security. Federal private prisons provided private healthcare to convicts, resulting in reduced quality of care. While federal private prisons will soon be transferred to government regulation, millions of convicts in public prisons and privately-run state facilities must still rely upon private healthcare providers that routinely fail to protect inmates’ health. There is a comprehensive set of solutions that we can pursue to initiate greater reform and ensure humane treatment of prisoners. Greater funding for rehabilitation programs, from substance abuse to mental health reform, can target specific prisoner groups and address chronic illnesses. Additionally, greater oversight of private health care providers will ensure that profit is considered a second priority to convicts’ health. Ultimately, Americans on both sides of the prison gate will reap greater rewards, including saved taxpayer dollars and improved health conditions for convicts, by addressing the injustices brought about by the privatization of health care in prison. ■





f the garbage isn’t picked up once a week, people tend to get annoyed. School children, teachers and parents alike begrudge a lack of cleanliness in school bathrooms and in classrooms. It is likely that the average American can fill his or her car’s gasoline tank while also not knowing how to replace brake pads or even change a tire. Society requires certain things to be done in order to function. If such things failed to happen, not only would there be widespread distaste, but there would also be economic and social ramifications. Without blue-collar jobs, there is no way for modern American society to function as it does. As cities like Oakland and Cleveland have poured more money into attracting companies to their downtown business districts, they have increased their desirability to young professionals. While the influx of higher income professionals has reduced crime rates and bettered maintenance of existing infrastructure, it has created an affordability crisis for low-income Americans already living in those areas. As cities around the country implement locational policies to attract businesses, they are effectively displacing working class Americans. Though many people certainly see gentrification as a blessing rather than a burden, displacing working-class Americans robs wealthy, big cities of workers needed to maintain infrastructure and local economic wellbeing. The widespread local displacement of low-income individuals in order to accommodate businesses subsequently is a problem American society needs to—but is failing to—address.

Gentrification is happening next door...

As a student, I have often discussed gentrification within confines of a classroom, often failing to realize that this national epidemic is transforming neighborhoods around me. San Francisco is expensive. However, the cognitive cultural economy of the Bay Area means that many firms are unwilling to leave the general vicinity, making alternative locations in the Bay Area extremely attractive, and it leads companies like Uber to open offices in cities whose practices are more favorable to business, such as Oakland and Fremont. In the second half of 2015, Uber announced it would be opening a new office–supposedly holding around 3,000 employees– in downtown Oakland. With the opening of an Uber office in Oakland, an influx of highly paid workers with higher willingness-to-pay than current residents threatens to inflate the housing market of Oakland. Coupled with the trend in which those displaced by the volatility and unaffordability of San Francisco property markets often seek refuge in the East Bay, this pro-business policy implemented by the city threatens to create an affordability crisis in Oakland. In an effort to increase local economic activity, Oakland, according to the city website, has worked to “enhance the local business climate to attract, grow and retain Oakland businesses.” Following this story of San Francisco, Oakland’s influx of highly educated, high-income people with the expansion of companies like Salesforce and Twitter put immense pressure on the local housing market. Oakland’s community of the industrial working class makes an average monthly salary of under $4,200 per year, an income that cannot keep up with a $3,000 median monthly rent housing market becoming 12.5% more expensive each year. In the last ten years, over 8% of the total population of Oakland has been displaced due to high housing prices in the area. With over 1,000 evictions in the city per month, there is an increased push for city government to shift Oakland’s priorities from becoming a center of technological development to finding affordable housing solutions for employees whose jobs are crucial to the maintenance of infrastructure and the economy as a whole.

..and it’s happening around the country

Oakland is not the only city in the nation whose push to enhance the local economy has resulted in the displacement of large groups of their mi-

nority, immigrant and working-class populations. Cleveland, Ohio has also faced an increased level of gentrification and subsequent displacement as a result of its recent economic growth. Cleveland is a city on the rust belt that is well-known for being the home of Lebron James and for losing over 50% of its manufacturing jobs between 1950 and 2000. However, since the end of the Great Recession, efforts by the municipal government of Cleveland have pushed its economic growth to a new speed and have placed the city on the forefront of re-establishing itself as a prominent industrial center. Downtown Cleveland in particular has benefited from city-wide efforts to enhance the local economy. According to the Committee for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, 50 new businesses have moved into downtown since 2015, attracting 5,000 more jobs. These advancements have also attracted new residents–the population of downtown Cleveland has grown by 79%. This growth is due largely to the $8 billion large corporations like AT&T have invested in the city to build out networks to enhance infrastructure and appeal to more businesses.

What can be done?

It would be foolish to say that the only way to stop the gentrification epidemic plaguing America would be to eliminate policies geared toward economic development. After all, a certain level of economic growth per year is required for sustained economic health, and when the economy improves, society as a whole does as well. However, it is important that each socioeconomic group can benefit from such improvements. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Because local policymakers have been unable to target the problem directly and develop a solution, certain cities have been taking independent measures to compensate. Cities like San Francisco have forced big corporations moving in to sign “community-improvement agreements” to be eligible for tax breaks created to bring businesses into the city. According to TIME Magazine, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee requires companies, like Twitter, that are based in the city to provide pro-bono legal advice for evictions and donate $50,000 worth of computers and IT systems to schools in the Tenderloins to assist the low-income communities that occupy such areas. The rationale behind this is that, by connecting children in low-income islands with richer cities with a solid educational foundation, they can open opportunities for future social mobility. Similarly to San Francisco, Cleveland has also attempted to make amends to displaced communities. In an effort to allow displaced individuals to keep their city jobs, the city has increased its transportation development in the face of increased displacement. In doing so, it looks to help displaced communities commute to and from work, allowing them to keep their employment situations constant in the face of continued economic change. Furthermore, city funding into anchor institutions, such as the Cleveland Clinic, or Case Western University, have provided a further level of stability and reliability in employing members of communities that are at risk for displacement. While San Francisco and Cleveland are attempting to address gentrification, they are both compensating the gentrified community rather than taking actions to prevent future displacement. The role of cities in contributing to economic development and stemming its detrimental side effects has become increasingly present in public discourse since the end of the Great Recession. As cities take the initiative to make themselves the next great industrial centers, they also must ensure that working class Americans, a group crucial to the economic, social and cultural fabric of that city’s society, is taken care of. However, cities need to make a more active effort to indemnify displacement; currently, their courses of action do nothing more than place a band aid over a bullet hole. ■

Berkeley Political Review | 11





f things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know that I absolutely love you.” These were the words of Brian David Sweeney, who was on United Flight 175 when it was hijacked on September 11, 2001. Brian left a voice message for his wife, Julie Sweeney Roth, before the plane struck the World Trade Center. Julie still deals with the grief today, as do all of those that lost someone they knew on 9/11. Julie ultimately settled a lawsuit that she filed against United in an attempt to garner answers about alleged negligence, but in the end she was left without closure. Stories like these were the impetus for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA. The bill broadens an exemption to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which regulates American courts’ ability to hear lawsuits against other nations. The exemption currently allows for Americans to sue nations whose misconduct causes injury and death or nations that are sponsors of terrorism. However, under the current interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Americans have been largely unsuccessful in their attempts to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in 9/11. JASTA attempts to improve the prospects of lawsuits against state sponsors of terrorism by allowing lawsuits against foreign countries whose sponsorship of terrorism harms the US, regardless of where conduct related to sponsorship of terrorism occurred, and by amending the Anti-Terrorism Act so its interpretation is less likely to prevent US citizens from suing those countries. Although JASTA may marginally increase the probability of deterring states to sponsor terrorism, it is on balance negative for US interests due to the potential for other actors to sue the US under similar legislation and its capacity to undermine ongoing counterterrorism operations. JASTA could negatively impact the US by provoking backlash from other countries. Countries that might be sued under JASTA could in turn pass laws that enable their citizens to sue the US for actions including international terrorism, opening the door for lawsuits against American servicemen, diplomats, and government officials in their own courts. US allies such as France and Iraq are already considering countermeasures, while international organizations including the Arab League and European Union came out against the legislation, suggesting that their members would likely take retaliatory legal action. US policymakers dismissed these concerns as insignificant because, in the words of New York House Democrat Jerrold Nadler, “the United States does not engage in international terrorist activity.” Nadler’s reasoning is doubly flawed. First, even if one agrees that the United States does not support international terrorism, foreign judges will be the ones to decide whether or not this is the case. Second, the United States has routinely engaged in crimes consistent with international terrorist activity. Moreover, the US has intervened in numerous countries’ affairs with bloody results; JASTA makes these missteps actionable in a court of law, meaning that following international legislative retaliation, the US could be sued for supporting murderous regimes, training militias that commit atrocities, or bombing civilians. Lawsuits against the United States under new retaliatory laws would harm US interests by constraining future US military action. The US would be less likely to intervene abroad if it might be held responsible for civilian lives lost to US backed forces, meaning the US has a lesser ability to pursue economic and humanitarian interests abroad. While holding the US accountable for atrocities abroad is a laudable goal, doing so through piecemeal lawsuits under myriad laws from various nations would under-

12 | Berkeley Political Review

mine the possibility for international criminal courts to penalize the United States for taking civilian lives abroad, a more viable long-term solution. JASTA may also harm the US by further estranging it from the alliance of Sunni Nations with which it is combatting terrorism in the Middle East. JASTA has prompted Saudi Arabia to threaten to reduce its support for US counterterrorism operations, and it flexed its power to convince its close allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council to limit counterterrorism investments and U.S. access to important regional air bases. These negative ramifications of JASTA may be avoided if Saudi Arabia is able to effectively lobby for a new bill to scale back JASTA, as it plans to do after the presidential election. If JASTA is not altered there is a substantial risk of US-Saudi relations souring further, which would severely limit the ability of the US to combat terrorism in the Middle East. Some argue that the US should not align itself with Saudi Arabia due to its human rights abuses, domestic and international; however, this position ignores the need for the United States to work with all potential partners to solve global challenges such as international terrorism. Proponents of JASTA suggest that the bill would provide meaningful redress for families of the victims of 9/11 and deter potential state sponsors of terrorism. With respect to the latter, members of Congress have argued that JASTA allows states that engage in terrorism to be penalized for doing so without putting those states on the official list of state sponsors of terrorism. This could be a valuable strategy for the US in cases where labeling a country as a state sponsor of terrorism would have negative side effects or where there is insufficient evidence to conclude the state systematically sponsors terrorism, as is the case with Saudi Arabia. While it is difficult to estimate the financial penalty that a lawsuit under JASTA might impose on a state that engages in international terrorist activity, it is likely that such penalties would deter terrorism to some extent. Yet this outcome is relatively uncertain compared to the backlash that has already ensued between the US and Saudi Arabia, which directly hinders US counterterrorism efforts and increases the likelihood that there will be more families of victims of terrorism demanding redress in the future. There are several ways in which the federal government could work to mitigate the harm that JASTA may cause the United States. Congress could repeal part of JASTA to minimize US vulnerability to lawsuits, amend JASTA to limit its reinterpretation by foreign governments, or pass concurrent legislation to deal with the myriad problems posed by state sponsors of terrorism that are not addressed by JASTA. Moreover, the government should work with Saudi Arabia and its lobbyists to find conditions that could be added to JASTA that might calm Saudi backlash, while still allowing for US citizens to sue Saudi officials who played a significant role in the 9/11 attacks. 9/11 will forever be viewed as a watershed moment in American history, not only for the intense pain wrought on American civilians but also due to the immense policy errors made in wake of the attacks. JASTA is inextricably linked to the emotion provoked by 9/11, just as the Patriot Act and the expansion of U.S. military operations in the Middle East, which explains its overwhelming support. It is high time that America reflects on whether the policies of the post-9/11 era have made us safer or merely increased the likelihood that more families suffer the same pain of those that lost loved ones on 9/11.■


Tried and True?



Source: Fox News

ntil the winter of 1917, the hallmark of American government had been limited federal power. With the entrance of the United States into the first World War, President Woodrow Wilson shattered this standard with a single signature. In December 1917, he signed the Federal Possession and Control Act, effectively nationalizing the railroad industry in order to meet the delivery demands of war. However, his policy was shortlived and ended in failure just two years later. At this point, Wilson established a precedent for encroaching federal power on traditionally privatized industry. Shortly afterwards, Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed the New Deal, a set of programs designed to employ impoverished Americans suffering from the Great Depression. While these programs did temporarily employ eight million people, the great cost of the program could not be maintained indefinitely. Rather, it took another World War to end the Great Depression. A recent and controversial example of nationalization is President Barack Obama’s universal health care program. Having run on a platform of “hope” and “change”, Obama’s election greatly relied upon his promise to implement universal health care. In 2010, Obama’s dream of universal health care coverage passed in the form of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. From its inception, no one seemed to be pleased with Obamacare. Conservatives feared that Obamacare would be a “job-killer” for businesses while liberals argued that Obamacare did not go far enough. While the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell finding Obamacare constitutional ended much controversy surrounding Obamacare, the debate over the ACA has recently been renewed with the release of a White House statement announcing that in 2017, premiums “will rise sharply.” According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, “the average cost for the benchmark silver plan will experience a 22% hike” and “will cost… $296 more per month”. Additionally, the Obama administration reports that some states will now only have one insurance option available. Outside of the United States, many other developed countries have successfully implemented universal health care - Sweden (ranked number three) and Canada (ranked number ten) are just two examples of highly regarded universal health coverage policies. So why has universal health care failed in the United States while other countries with similar policies succeed? One possible answer can be found by examining the United States’ history of nationalization. In an attempt to improve railroad efficiency af-

ter America’s entrance in World War I, Woodrow Wilson nationalized the railroad industry. Despite Wilson’s intentions, railroads were unable to keep up with demand. They were marked with greater inefficiency and higher costs, partially driven by Wilson’s campaign to increase wages for unskilled railroad workers. A main cause of the failure of railroad industrialization was that the federal government was not concerned with profit, unlike railroad companies. Quite simply, the federal government did not attempt to reduce costs in order to maximize profits, resulting in the nationalized railroad industry burdening the federal budget. The final nail in the coffin for railroad nationalization came about as a result of public opinion. The public had to wait longer than ever for deliveries of basic goods, an indication of government inefficiency. From the public perspective, railroad nationalization only hindered their lives. The nationalization of the railroad industry is not America’s only example of the failed execution of increased nationalization. America’s social security program likewise exemplifies the difficulties associated with nationalization. While benefiting some individuals, the social security program is often controversial in its effectiveness; it is disadvantageous for veterans and a burden to the national budget. On average social security costs $725 billion annually, comprising of 20% of the federal budget, which exceeds national income by 1 trillion dollars annually. Nationalization in America does not work because conformity costs are too high. In the case of the railroads, it was too difficult for the federal government to meet the demands of various states while also meeting military demands. In the case of social security, differing states have differing population sizes and differing numbers of retirees, complicating the allocation of spending between states. In the case of Obamacare, the same issue applies. States are allocated money by the federal government, but the needs of people in different states differ, as does efficiency of state allocation of funds. Hawaii, for example, outspent all other states in terms of its federal Obamacare funds allocation by nearly $70 million. With the fewest number of enrollees, the amount of money spent per enrollee was on average, $35,749, nearly $10,000 more than the second highest spending state and $20,000 more than the third. A chief reason for this discrepancy is that each state differs in demographic and institutional structure. Each state differs in income, industry, and its ability to implement such a system. That is why “Romneycare”, a similar policy to Obamacare implemented at the state level (in Massachusetts) was successful, while the ACA has failed. America is too diverse a nation to attempt to blanket any one policy across all states. While nationalization in other countries may work, the difference in America is the inherent emphasis on the power of states rather than the federal government. In America, states have a long-held tradition of greater political power in comparison to other provinces and regions of different countries. The overarching trend in American history has been that nationalization in America simply does not work. The nationalization of the railroad industry lasted two years. Following the Great Depression, the New Deal dissolved. Most recently, it appears as if Obamacare is threatened as well. With the election of Donald Trump as President and Republican control of the House and Senate, it is speculated that Obamacare will soon be repealed. If this is accomplished, it would make Obamacare the next in a line of failed attempts at U.S. nationalization. ■

Berkeley Political Review | 13




ustin, Indiana, in many ways, is remarkably unremarkable. A small, mostly white, non-Hispanic population nestled in the center of the state, Austin may be your quintessential small-midwestern town. Family-owned ranches interspersed with mobile homes and yard signs that read, ““No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” “Keep Out.” A lackluster main street and struggling small businesses typify the Austin experience. Median household income is down $15,000 compared to the Indiana average, as found by a May 2016 Digg piece. The town is isolated, derelict. Yet, in recent months, Austin has made international headlines. Austin has become the latest victim of a sweeping, nation-wide epidemic. 200 of its roughly 4,000 inhabitants have been diagnosed with HIV. The epidemic has affected small-towns from Massachusetts to West Virginia. A 2014 article in The Guardian details the spread of this epidemic across the United States, beginning in the Appalachian region of West Virginia: “In central Appalachia, as in many parts of the country, the prescription painkiller epidemic also fuelled the influx of a cheap, alternative opioid: heroin… In all, West Virginia’s overdose death rate rose nearly eightfold between 1999 and 2014.” 2014 may have been the apex of the now decade-long heroin epidemic weaving its way across the U.S. The Center for Disease Control reports “More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid. And since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) nearly quadrupled.” Heroin is an overwhelmingly white issue. Between 2011-2013, white communities experienced a 114% increase in usage, while black communities experienced little to none. 90% of first-time users are now white, and a majority are middle-class or wealthy. The spread of heroin to small, suburban communities has altered police practices. A June 2016 NBC News article cites that the heroin epidemic has triggered a revolution of sorts in how police deal with addicts in small communities: “Across the country, police and prosecutors are embracing similar programs that divert nonviolent offenders away from jail and into programs to help beat their addictions. This development has been driven by a growing acknowledgment that old methods of locking up addicts, which may have cut crime in the short term, did little to stem the flow of drugs into the country — or reduce the demand for them.” This shift from increased policing to compassionate reform marks an overarching trend in how policies are now designed to meet drug addicts: with rehabilitation rather than incarceration. This empathetic response to the heroin epidemic marks a stark policy reversal to the police militancy that met the last American drug epidemic, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. Crack-cocaine first emerged in United States markets in the early 1980s, arriving primarily from Columbia and other Latin-American countries. This epidemic was primarily tied to inner-city communities comprised of ethnic minorities, predominantly African Americans. Many argue the epidemic spread in inner-cities due to the affordability of the drug, compared to powdered-cocaine which is generally more expensive. The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 1999 found that the influx of crack to inner-cities

14 | Berkeley Political Review

Source: NCHS

prompted waves of violence and heightened incarcerative stringency. “In 1986 and 1988, Congress passed anti-drug abuse acts that mandated long prison terms for crack-related crimes and dedicated funding for new drug enforcement efforts… What began with $2 billion of federal money snowballed into $16 billion by 1998” In a 2015 Atlantic piece, writer Andrew Cohen explained that the mandatory-minimum sentences instituted to punish users of crack cocaine disproportionately affected African American communities who could not afford the powdered, more expensive version of the drug. A 2006 Harvard University study of the effects of crack-cocaine prevalence in the 1980s highlighted the violence in minority communities emblematic of the racial divide: “We find that the rise in crack from 1984-1989 is associated with a doubling of homicide victimizations of Black males aged 14-17, a 30 percent increase for Black males aged 18-24, and a 10 percent increase for Black males 25 and over, and thus accounts for much of the observed variation in homicide rates over this time period.” This data points to the stereotype that was born from the heightened violence: inner city communities, composed of many African Americans and minorities, are inherently violent and as Ekow Yankah of the New York Times puts it, “an indistinguishable and unsympathetic mess.” In Yankah’s Feb. 2016 article, he placed this militant stereotype in the spotlight, underscoring just how systemic the perpetuation of crack culture has become for black communities: “The plight of Black America was evidence of its collective moral failure — of welfare mothers and rock-slinging thugs — and a reason to cut off all help. Blacks would just have to pull themselves out of the crack epidemic. Until then, the only answer lay in cordoning off the wreckage with militarized policing.” Yankah, too, underscores the idea that politicians and media alike have responded so disproportionately from the crack to heroin epidemics due to the constituencies they seek to protect: white communities.


“The national attitude toward drug addiction [heroin] is utterly different. Even Republican presidential candidates are eschewing the perennial tough-on-drugs speeches and opening up about struggles within their own families. More importantly, police chiefs in the cities most affected by heroin are responding not by invoking military metaphors, weapons and tactics but by ensuring that police officers save lives and get people into rehab.” This new understanding of addiction has even spawned legislative activity. President Obama signed into law on July 22, 2016 the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) with the intent of advancing: “a large number of treatment and prevention measures intended to reduce prescription opioid and heroin misuse, including evidence-based interventions for the treatment of opioid and heroin addiction and prevention of overdose deaths.” The media has, too, steeped the heroin epidemic in a victim culture of compassionate, narrative reporting while the crack epidemic of the 1980s was steeped in militancy and violence. Stories such as a 2014 Rolling Stone piece, “The New Face of Heroin,” have sought to humanize the epidemic in many suburban northeastern communities: “Shumlin’s core initiatives – expanding treatment programs and funneling addicts into them instead of prison – are already being embraced as models for the rest of the country.” This conversation of empathy that has predominated the comparatively sparse coverage of the epidemic points to a greater question: Why is that we ascribe a victim connotation to the white communities affected by heroin? Why is their crisis met with rehabilitation and treatment converse to the vitriol that met black communities? The answer is not definitive. Local politicians may be looking to protect their largely white constituencies in rural American towns, as was stated in the same 2015 Atlantic piece: “Heroin use has changed from an inner-city, minority-centered problem to one that has a more widespread geographical distribution, involving primarily white men and women in their late 20s living outside of large urban areas.” An argument that has been used in the past to justify historically stringent sentencing limits for crack cocaine users is that crack cocaine users are inherently more violent. A 2010 study done by The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse explored how crack-cocaine users may be seen as more violent in comparison to powdered cocaine: “Another reason there may be an association between crack cocaine usage and greater violence

may be a function of cost. Crack cocaine “rocks” or pellets are less costly in relative terms, and thus potentially greater quantities can be ingested for less money in a shorter amount of time and with greater intensity of effect than powdered cocaine. This may increase the likelihood of rage or paranoia-induced aggression among crack cocaine users compared to powdered cocaine users.” Crack cocaine users are additionally more susceptible to join street gangs, as was stated by a Department of Justice article in 1999: “Several studies document considerable youth and adult gang involvement in the drug trade after the cocaine epidemic began around 1985”. Statistics that emerged from these at-risk communities helped to further the growing stereotype that minority crack users are far more susceptible to joining neighborhood gangs and lashing out violently to fund their addictions. Heroin users, however, do not suffer from the same stigmas of violent behavior. This may have informed the severe police response and stringent mandatory-minimums that plagued minority communities suffering from crack abuse in the 1980s. However, after the passage of the 20120 Fair Sentencing Act, we have seen the severe sentencing for crack cocaine offenders dissipate over time. What remains important in comparing epidemics is not to dismiss the progressive policies that now value treatment over prison time, but to address how progressive policies have not been evenly disseminated to all communities and minority groups. Austin, Indiana is not anomalous. Nor is it isolated or unique. Austin, Indiana is a link in the growing chain of white, suburban communities being ravaged by opiate addiction. Instead of heightened police presence, a culture of empathy and compassionate reform has met these communities – a response that may have benefited afflicted minority communities in the 1980s. In his New York Times piece, Yankah may state it most succinctly: “It is hard to describe the bittersweet sting that many African-Americans feel witnessing this national embrace of addicts. It is heartening to see the eclipse of the generations-long failed war on drugs. But black Americans are also knowingly weary and embittered by the absence of such enlightened thinking when those in our own families were similarly wounded.” The gulf has been made clear. The disparities, entrenched. ■

Berkeley Political Review | 15

United States



MANAS AGRAWAL arlier this year, hackers coerced a hospital in Hollywood, CA to pay a into a Hospira infusion pump. The pump releases controlled amounts of a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin after they infected the hospital’s computer substance and can be used to administer insulin to a diabetic or chemotherapy network with malware, temporarily disabling all of the hospital’s drugs to a cancer patient. They’re found in almost every hospital and... computers. The hackers refused to relinquish control of the network until Hundreds of them can be monitored and controlled from a central station the hospital paid the ransom. In the end, “In the best interest of restoring in the hospital.” This demonstrates that many devices that are widely used normal operations” the hospital agreed to the hackers’ demands and paid by patients today are not only easy to hack into, but also can be hacked the ransom. As devastating as this cyberattack was, what’s more concerning simultaneously to administer overdoses and kill patients. is how common attacks like these are becoming. According to the LA Times, Hacking into and misusing pacemakers is another example of “Since 2010, at least 158 institutions, including medical providers, insurers how patients are at risk. Dr. Krishnun Sansurooah of Edith Cowan and hospitals, have reported being hacked or having information technology University found, “Several pacemakers have little to no security in wireless issues that compromised patient records, federal records show.” These types communication, although they allow for control commands to be transmitted of breaches can be extremely harmful to patients and hospitals: hospitals are wirelessly. This implies that a malicious attacker could spoof a command in forced to deal with the costs of these attacks and patients receive less care order to send shocks to a patient.” Wireless medical devices lacking proper and attention while the staff tries to work around the cyberattacks. cybersecurity measures have created a new frontier of risks that have not These types of data breaches are forcing hospitals and other medical been adequately dealt with by the medical community. With lives at stake, providers to balance the efficiency and productivity brought forth by hospitals, manufacturers, and regulatory agencies need to collaboratively technology with the security risks that need to be addressed. One important remedy the situation. issue pushing the healthcare industry further toward that crossroad is the Hospitals and medical device manufacturers have been dangerously slow growing use of wireless medical devices lacking proper security measures. in dealing with this issue. Dr. Sansurooah also details why these problems “By 2020, Internet-connected healthcare products are expected to be worth have not yet been addressed: hospitals “possess very limited knowledge an estimated $285 billion in economic value.” Moreover, “Each year, 300,000 regarding current threats. This is due to the fact that up until a few years ago Americans receive wireless medical devices including implantable medical securities was not an integrated part of the hospitals function for implanted devices (IMDs) such as cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants, devices and have no working knowledge in order to provide security this neuro-stimulators, as well as drug delivery systems such as insulin pumps.” way.” Sansurooah also argues that hospitals “Possess no knowledge of the The wireless medical device industry is going to be a critical part of technology that is inside of these devices. Hospitals are also ill equipped modernizing the healthcare industry, and medical devices that lack the in dealing with the possible failure of multiple devices simultaneously. A proper security measures can be hacked and can put hospitals, patients, and medical device such as a pacemaker requires specialist intervention in order healthcare companies at severe risk. In order to address this increasingly to be replaced; most hospitals only possess one to two specialists at any given important issue, hospitals, device manufacturers, and the government need time.” Hospitals are simply ill-equipped to deal with these types of hacks to come together in order to ensure that wireless medical devices meet and lack the expertise to prevent them. Moreover, unless hospitals demand security standards that match today’s security risks. higher security standards from manufacturers, there is little incentive for the Two critical reasons cybersecurity is important for hospitals are high medical device industry to make the necessary adjustments to protect patients costs and protection of patient data. Cybersecurity expert Thomas Lewis, and hospitals, and as a result, manufacturers will not focus on security. Partner-in-Charge at LBMC Information Security, says that “hospitals The FDA has played a weak role in regulating these devices and ensuring have become more of a target in recent years as Wi-Fi has made them that they meet up-to-date security standards. A study published by the more vulnerable to data breaches or being encrypted with ‘ransomware’ -- National Institutes of Health states that even though regulatory authorities, a program that shuts down a system until a ransom is paid.” These types such as the FDA, recognize the enormous cybersecurity risk at play here, all of attacks have become prevalent as hackers have begun finding ways to they have done is publish a non-binding list of recommendations for device paralyze hospitals. A recent report by the SANS Institute detailed that “94% manufacturers to follow. A separate study from the National Institutes of healthcare organizations have been the victim of a cyberattack. This of Health found that due to current FDA regulations of medical devices, includes attacks on medical devices and infrastructure.” In perhaps the worst roughly 78% of medical devices that were recalled between 2005 and 2009 incident, “Last July, hackers may have accessed as many 4.5 million patient were originally approved because the health risks were considered low records in UCLA Health System’s computer network.” enough that they were exempt from proper review and screening procedures. In addition to the risk that data breaches pose to patients, recovering Weaker regulations exist because the FDA needs to strike a balance between from a cyberattack is costly for a hospital as well. In 2014, “An estimated consumer safety and costs to manufacturers. Delaying the approval of 85% of large health organizations experienced a data breach, with 18% of medical devices strikes an opportunity cost for manufacturers. The second breaches costing more than $1 million to remediate.” For medical providers reason is because the FDA is having trouble adopting an adequate definition already reeling from cyberattacks, increasing the use of wireless medical for “medical device.” This demonstrates that the best way for the FDA devices for patients provides yet another gateway for hackers to access a to balance these concerns with patient safety is to collaborate with major hospital’s computer network. medical device manufacturers and major hospital groups to develop a Current proposals to address this issue include segmenting certain solution. wireless medical devices away from the rest of a hospital’s computer network, Hackers cost the medical industry millions of dollars each year and so that even if anyone gains access to a hospital’s network by hacking through now have the potential to endanger patient lives. Cybersecurity experts a wireless medical device, the risks are mitigated by the fact that the device is and hospital executives have already expressed concerns pertaining to only connected to a small part of the hospital’s entire network. this multifaceted issue. The FDA needs to regulate the safety of medical Wireless medical devices that haven’t been properly secured can also devices more stringently and consult with cybersecurity experts to draw up put patients at risk of death. Many cybersecurity experts have demonstrated benchmarks that all devices need to meet before they can be manufactured. hacking into implanted medical devices and causing the device to malfunction Without bringing together all of these groups onto the same page, these is relatively easy. In 2013, “Cybersecurity expert Billy Rios remotely hacked types of cyber security problems will continue to linger. ■

16 | Berkeley Political Review



Buyer’s Remorse





n Wednesday, Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JUSTA), the first veto override of Obama’s presidency. JUSTA permits the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government. Fifteen of the nineteen attackers had Saudi citizenship, though a 2002 congressional inquiry found no evidence that the government or any high-ranking government officials funded Al-Qaeda. In his veto message, Obama stated that he sympathized with the victims’ families and their need for justice, but that the bill “would be detrimental to national interests” as it could lead to lawsuits against the US government and its proxies while hurting the US financially. He also argued it would take away the executive branch’s power to make national security decisions and put it in the hands of courts. Soon after the vote, almost thirty Democratic Senators wrote a letter saying they were concerned that the US could face lawsuits. Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also expressed their concern after the override, blaming the administration for not explaining the “potential consequences”. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest termed these comments “buyer’s remorse.” There may be changes during the lame duck Congressional session. One amendment proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham would “prevent American interference in foreign countries’ internal policies”. The Saudi government’s US business allies will likely lobby for this amendment, as it could impact their holdings in Saudi Arabia. These companies include General Electric and Chevron, along with ten US lobbying firms. JUSTA is an amendment to the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which states “the exceptions” under which foreign states can be sued in US courts. Saudi Arabia was not named as a state sponsor of terrorism when 9/11 occurred, which was a requirement before a country could be sued prior to the passage of the bill. Previously, Saudi Arabia successfully invoked the act to stop 9/11 lawsuits against itself these grounds. There is a precedent for cases like the one against Saudi Arabia. Iran was ordered to pay over $7 billion in damages to victims of the 1993 marine barracks bombing in Beirut carried out by Hezbollah, whom they materially supported. The Republic of Sudan was also ordered to pay $7 million for the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing carried out by Al-Qaeda. However, both were designated as state sponsors of terrorism at the time of the attacks. President Obama does not take vetoing a bill lightly, as he is tied for the least number of vetoes in the last 100 years. This makes it all the more notable that JUSTA became law over his objections. ■


Source: Yahoo

To President-elect Donald Trump:

I didn’t expect that. I don’t think you expected that. You now have the presidency, and with it the responsibility to lead us, to respect us, and to unify us. In a sense, this is an undeserved do-over for you: your encouragement of xenophobia, racism, sexism, separatism, and general bigotry are unacceptable. However, we live in a democratic nation that relies on the peaceful transition of power for its stability, and the people have spoken. That must be respected. Thank you for showing those of us on the edges of the country that maybe we had forgotten about people whose experiences differ from ours. This will be an opportunity for us to reach out to them, to seek an America that works for all of us, and to acknowledge their very real struggle. What you have done, however, is to recognize that disenfranchisement while misdirecting it towards immigrants, foreigners - people different from them and easy to blame. That divisiveness will no longer do. You have revealed to us a deep current of racism that runs through our country -- something many of us had underestimated. Included in this is the legacy of slavery and hatred rooted in America’s genesis, which many have fought their entire lives to leave behind. You must not only denounce this, but actively work against it. The world is watching, and while we respect the democratic process as legitimate, you must now sustain that legitimacy. We accept the results, but do not accept your intolerance. You will not be my President if you deny rights to those around me, or make decisions that jeopardize the safety of the world’s most vulnerable people. People have had enough of the establishment, and they have a right to that. You built a campaign on a promise to help the forgotten, the economically disadvantaged, and those who feel voiceless. Please don’t betray that - you now serve those who voted for you, as well as the rest of us. You have an obligation to govern for the people, and to tie our competing ideas and goals together in a way that builds a strong, inclusive nation. It is not too much to ask for a country in which all are safe, have access to opportunity, and do not fear discrimination. You have your chance now to, as you said in your speech, “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” We will tolerate nothing less. ■

Source: Washington Post

Berkeley Political Review | 17


Why the Democrats lost (and will keep losing)

Modi’s 500 Rupee Solution for Ending Corruption

SULEMAN KHAN resident Trump. Let that sit in. People across the country are confused, angry, or celebrating Donald Trump’s decisive victory over Hillary Clinton after a bitterly divisive presidential election. Misogyny, racism, and the FBI are being suggested as potential causes for the loss of a former Secretary of State and First Lady to a playboy businessman. Despite the validity of these causes, they are overshadowed by the fundamental fact that the Clinton Democrats have outstayed their welcome. Across the country, Americans have thoroughly rejected the status quo of corporate money in politics and the political establishment in favor of populist fervor. Since the late 1980s and the meteoric rise of Bill Clinton as the Democratic Party’s leader, the organization has shifted right and openly embraced political money from multinational corporations and Wall Street. In the process, the Democratic Party has alienated its core voting base: working class Americans. Blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have been faced with waves of layoffs ostensibly due to automation and free trade deals like NAFTA signed by Bill Clinton. Hilary failed to win any of these reliably Blue states, while Trump and Clinton’s Primary opponent Bernie Sanders both tuned into the frustration experienced by voters. Clinton also failed to properly engage with voters and excite them, only visiting Pennsylvania three times, Michigan twice, and never holding any events in Wisconsin after May. Bernie Sanders’ treatment during the Democratic Primaries also highlights the Party’s establishment. As WikiLeaks emails from July 2016 demonstrate, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other top officials systematically violated campaign neutrality by coordinating only with Clinton’s campaign to set debate dates, editing a Politico article about Hillary’s fundraising before publishing, and questioning Sanders’ Jewish faith. Schultz, who co-chaired Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been forced to resign as DNC chair. Remorseless political cronyism at the highest levels of leadership may not inspire voters to vote for one of the least-favorably viewed candidates in US history and Party members in down-ballot races. Even with Trump’s constant barrage of incendiary comments dragging down Republicans, Democrats failed to regain control of the Congress. The 2018 electoral map is essentially a nightmare for Democrats, with a majority of incumbents facing reelection in states that Trump carried. With Hillary Clinton’s political career essentially finished, the Democrats are also plagued with a leadership crisis if they wish to remain relevant. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are highly popular with liberal millennials, but are 75 and 67 respectively. California Senator-elect Kamala Harris and Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard are slotted as potential charismatic leaders. Ultimately, the Democrats need serious soul searching about what direction they will take their party, be it embracing the passionate populist left or continuing the Clinton machine, and whom they will choose to lead them from the ashes of 2016. The 52.7% of Americans who did not vote for Trump are looking for a party to trust in and a leader who will speak for them. ■

BHAAVYA SINHA ndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over screens in an unscheduled television address on the evening of November 8th and announced the invalidation by midnight of the 500 and 1000 rupee bills, currently the largest bills in circulation. Talks about the ban had been taking place for a while, but any actual confirmation was kept from the public until hours before the ban was instituted so as to block the intended targets from trying to circumvent the anti-corruption component of the ban.


18 | Berkeley Political Review


Source: Quartz

Modi, who campaigned on promises of cracking down on corruption, previously pushed a tax amnesty program, which turned up over 10 billion rupees in untaxed income, but has had little success stopping undeclared income flow to foreign countries. Analysts note that this bold move comes just a year before elections in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, where it could give Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party a boost in polls. The law, which is intended to target black market cash transactions and terrorist groups that use cash to buy weapons, has caused problems for the middle class civilians as well. Although Indians have until December 30 to deposit 500 and 1000 bills or exchange them for new ones, stores (and, in a highly publicized tragedy, a hospital) stopped accepting bills while the over 200,000 ATMs in the country were still being adjusted to the new currency and often ran out of cash as people waited to exchange their money in long lines. There’s also a limit on how much cash one can have exchanged in a day. Other unintended victims of the measure are villagers, beggars, sex workers, stay-at-home wives and mothers who put aside cash for themselves or their children, runaway children, and lower class folks who might not be able to afford ID cards in order to get their money exchanged at banks, in an ironic twist of fate, due to corrupt Indian bureaucrats. Critics have pointed to these current problems as well as the fact that the extremely rich individuals who this ban might most effectually target likely have their wealth in offshore accounts, different currencies, or in foreign assets. Still, the ban has received praise from many in India who are frustrated with extreme corruption. Modi addressed and defended the ban while pleading with the public to look past the immediate inconvenience: “Experience tells us that ordinary citizens are always ready to make the sacrifices and face difficulties for the benefit of the nation.” Although Modi seems to be decided, the rest of the nation must wait and watch to see how much of a benefit the ban will truly be. ■


Constitutional Reform in Japan

The Legality of Obama’s Executive Orders






apan has a complicated relationship with its constitution, which was imposed on the nation by the United States after World War II. It has never been revised, but as Bloomberg reports, the LDP has stated that “several of the current constitutional provisions are based on the Western European theory of natural human rights; such provisions therefore [need] to be changed” in campaign booklets. Also, critics of Prime Minister Abe’s administration have noted that several high-ranking LDP members, including Abe himself, are part of a radical nationalist organization called Nippon Kaigi, which advocates for abandoning a “masochistic view of Japanese history,” denying the atrocities committed by Japan during World War II, and reinstating worship of the Japanese Emperor. At a Nippon Kaigi party celebrating Abe’s new cabinet appointments in 2013 (of which 15 out of 18 are members of Nippon Kaigi), the old Japanese Imperial “Rising Sun” flag was flown, pledges to “break away from the postwar regime” were affirmed, and the imperial national anthem sung. Now, with a two-thirds majority, the LDP can potentially cement the radical beliefs of Nippon Kaigi into its constitution. In particular, the LDP are staunch advocates of repealing Article 9, which prohibits Japan from having “land, sea, and air forces” and promises that Japan will “forever renounce war as a sovereign right.” If the LDP delivers on its campaign promises and passes Article 9, the effect on the security of the Asia-Pacific region would be enormous. Ever since the current Japanese constitution was signed after World War II, U.S. foreign policy in Asia has centered around the idea that the United States would maintain close ties with Japan, and that it would be the overseer of Japanese security interests. Thus, to prevent tensions in the region from escalating further, the U.S. recurrently reassures its allies that Japan would not be an aggressor with its armed forces under U.S. supervision. By repealing Article 9 and allowing the Japanese to militarize and declare war, parts of the last 50 years or so of treaty negotiation would be undone. Foreign policy experts also note that due to Japan’s recent surge of nationalism, the LDP government has been able to centralize control. In addition to winning these elections, in the last five years Japan’s press freedom has fallen from 22nd globally to 72nd due to LDP policies, according to Reporters Without Borders. As a result, government watchdogs express concern that since the Japanese people have not been against the restriction of speech that is critical of the government, that nationalistic fervor may transfer to a general approval of repealing Article 9. ■


Source: Yahoo

uring the recent in-the-gutter name calling of the Presidential campaign, the Republican presidential candidates repeatedly and loudly have proclaimed that the moment they step into the Oval office, they will immediately undue the flagrantly illegal Executive Orders that President Obama has issued. They assert that the Executive Orders are illegal because Obama is using them to make new laws. Rather than the duly elected members of Congress solely making laws, we would now have two branches of the government making laws, the legislative branch and the executive branch. Not only is this contrary to what our founding fathers intended as bounding the scope and powers of each branch, it also starts us down a very slippery and ugly slope. As French political philosopher Montesquieu famously stated: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” Therefore, are Republicans (and other critics of Obama) correct that these Executive Orders are illegal? Strictly speaking, there is no specific constitutional definition for Executive Orders and a president can even opt to not particularly publish or make public an Executive Order. This means that the public at large might not even know that a president has issued an Executive Order and be kept in the dark about what it contains and its effects. Though in some rarer cases this might be appropriate if the Executive Order deals with sensitive national security matters, it has generally been the expectation that a president will make known and publish his or her Executive Orders in the official Federal Register. Clearly, the use of Executive Orders is well established as a presidential prerogative and has been used by both Democrat and Republican presidents, by liberals and conservatives, ranging from somewhat trivial matters to matters of the utmost importance. The question arises as to whether any specific Executive Order is potentially legal in its reach or illegal in its reach. To ascertain legality, we need to turn to the third branch of government, the judicial branch. Ultimately, it is the U.S. Supreme Court that ascertains whether an Executive Order is consider illegal or legal. ■

Source: Washington Post

Berkeley Political Review | 19





he term “climate refugee” is increasingly entering the mainstream as more people are displaced due to climate change. But what about those being pushed out of their homes by people who want to save the planet? Will there be a rise in what former U.C. Berkeley lecturer Mark Dowie calls “Conservation Refugees?” Earlier this September, the latest session of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress came to a close. The IUCN is an international organization that brings together scientists, government officials, NGOs, civil society organizations and indigenous representatives to discuss environmental law and protection. As they gathered in Hawaii to discuss strategy and funding, the Administrative Court of Thailand was ruling that the forced eviction of the Karen community from Ban Bangkloi Bon was legal. This ruling is sure to set a dangerous precedent for how human rights issues are dealt with as Thailand continues to pursue more conservation projects. However, this issue is not limited to Thailand. Globally, there have been clashes between indigenous communities and conservation groups over territorial rights. As things currently stand, indigenous groups are losing the battle. Environmental conservation protects biodiversity, which is important for climate regulation, nutrient management, and maintaining the availability of resources like food and water. As the effects of climate change increasingly become a part of our present reality, environmental protection organizations and NGOs are doing damage control, protecting the land that can still be protected and minimizing further damage. But this biodiversity-centric approach to conservation is proving to be problematic. The land that is under protection or that is being sought for preservation often overlaps with indigenous and tribal territory. In many occasions, the reason conservation areas contain enough biodiversity to be conserved in the first place is because generations of indigenous people have managed to live off of the land without destroying it. Conservation projects that ignore this fact are part of the problem and do not pursue conservation through partnership with indigenous communities. The lack of cooperation between conservation projects and indigenous communities is not a new problem. During the November 2004 IUCN conference in Bangkok, Martin Saning’o, leader of the Maasai — an indigenous group dwelling in Kenya and northern Tanzania — stood up in front of a room full of conservationists and declared that the Maasai were “the enemies of conservation.” Saning’o was expressing his frustration with the lack of respect conservation groups seem to have for indigenous territorial rights. To their credit, environmental organizations have made an effort to increasingly include indigenous groups in their decision making, but this has not stopped the forced evictions of thousands from their homes. A few months ago, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, sounded the alarm on this very issue. Her report to the UN General Assembly stressed the same points indigenous rights groups have been making for years: environmental conservation is hurting indigenous communities worldwide. Her report states that about 50% of the land that is currently deemed “protected” is land that used to be occupied by indigenous communities that are now displaced. This displacement happens despite the protections that are in place. Article 29 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples gives indigenous people the right to control their own land and contribute to the management of sustainable development efforts. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights asserts that human beings who are lawfully residing in a state have the

20 | Berkeley Political Review

Source: Reuters

right to determine where they live and cannot be forcibly removed. Yet the displacement continues. In Botswana, the San of the Kalahari desert were pushed out of their ancestral homeland, which overlaps with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, in 1997. In 2006 the San won a case against the government allowing them to live and hunt within the reserve, yet they are still subject to strict hunting restrictions and a “shoot-on-sight” policy the government originally put in place to deter poachers, despite the fact that the San need to hunt to feed their families. Botswana’s Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama has claimed that the policy is aimed at deterring poachers who hunt for profit with automatic weapons and does not target the San. However, a representative for tribal rights organization Survival International working on the ground in Botswana with the San told the Berkeley Political Review that “bushmen [San] hunters inside the reserve were arrested, beaten and shot at by government officials.” This comes after an announcement in May about a potential easing of the hunting ban. During an interview with the Sunday Standard, Minister Khama said “we are now looking at how we can regulate and monitor how Basarwa [the San people], and other Batswana [citizens of Botswana] in general, can be allowed to kill animals for the pot in certain areas. This is because the number of animals we feared were under threat at the time of the hunting ban have increased.” Even if conservation may have led to an increase in the number of previously endangered animals, this does not change the fact that the San had their access to water cut off and their homes destroyed for this conservation to take place. Further, the representative from Survival told the Berkeley Political Review that there has been no evidence of this easing and that the Bushmen his team has spoken to are not aware of it. Despite the terrible human rights abuses being inflicted upon indigenous groups, conservation and human rights are not diametrically opposed. The current model for conservation might be working for the planet, but it is not working for people. Earlier this September, the IUCN took a step in the right direction by finally granting membership to indigenous peoples’ organizations and showing a willingness to change its strategies. As the Survival International campaigner pointed out, “indigenous peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. They should be at the forefront of the environmental movement.” Environmental conservation is meant to protect the planet for the sake of human civilization. It should not have to forsake the most vulnerable and the least culpable to do so.■




Source: Reuters

mid intense coverage of the assault to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from from ISIS, a far deadlier conflict has disappeared from the headlines. The world’s deadliest terror group, Boko Haram, is still waging a deadly war While it has retreated from their former strongholds it still poses a major threat, as it showed in recent attacks. Even if the Nigerian military accomplishes President Muhammadu Buhari’s goal of defeating the militants, it will be difficult to bring peace to Nigeria’s troubled northeast. A recent report from the United Nations Secretary-General verified the use of at least 53 child soldiers in the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), an armed group formed by locals with the stated mission of defeating Boko Haram and defending civilian lives. Although this doesn’t come close to the horrors perpetrated by Boko Haram, including the abduction and killing of children, it is still indicative of the lack of rules prevalent in the CJTF. Even if the children recruited by the CJTF are mainly used to man checkpoints or as spies, their presence in a war zone marked by rampant violence is worrying. The organization started as an armed civilian group to defend Nigeria’s beleaguered northeast from Boko Haram and prevent collateral violence from Nigeria’s notoriously undisciplined military, whose crimes sometimes rival Boko Haram’s. A recently released video from Amnesty International shows fighters from the CJTF slitting detainees’ throats and then dumping the bodies in a mass grave. That the video shows CJTF and military fighters committing the crimes together is a sign that the CJTF is becoming more violent and is operating less as a purely protective organization. If this is true, then the CJTF has overstepped its proper role and come to resemble a grassroots militia — one that potentially undermines the Nigerian government’s influence in the state of Borno, the center of the Boko Haram conflict. Increased documentation of the CJTF has led to further insight on exactly how the organization is run and what exactly could be leading to this steady militarization of a civilian group. Only around 1,850 out of the 26,000 CJTF members were initially supplied with guns and trained in how to use them; others had simply picked up the weap-

ons from dead Boko Haram members. A heavily militarized CJTF poses a problem for the Nigerian army or government, who may now be hard pressed to find the military resources necessary to regulate or halt the violence meted out by the CJTF for supposedly protective purposes. An even more worrying ramification is that these additional weapons, which should have been taken out of unchecked circulation, are simply being reintroduced into circulation without the permission of the Nigerian government. The government cannot expect to reintroduce peace to the North, which has been wracked by Boko Haram’s insurgency for seven years, if it does not limit the spread of weapons in the area. Leaving weapons in the unchecked hands of the CJTF entertains the possibility of them starting a separate insurgency after Boko Haram exits the scene. With President Muhammad Buhari’s statement that the war on Boko Haram is “technically” won, Nigeria’s overburdened security forces are long overdue to shed weight and begin firing unqualified personnel instead of hiring more to replenish the ranks for the war effort. This would be a rude awakening for the many CJTF members for whom battling Boko Haram is the sole source of income. Mr. Buhari’s government should prepare for the possibility that once the CJTF is disbanded, some of its armed members may refuse to return to civilian life, putting the weapons to unsanctioned use. If the CJTF were to one day begin its own insurgency it would be one of many similar groups in the country, most of whom cite government corruption as one of their main reasons for taking up arms against the state. The prominent of these groups is the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in the southeast, which has repeatedly attacked oil pipelines and oil production facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The NDA’s spokesperson Mudoch Agbinibo blames the poor state of local oil infrastructure and widespread government corruption for robbing the Niger Delta region of its rightful wealth. One of the NDA’s more quixotic requests is that President Buhari explore for oil in “commercial quantity in the North” so that the central government desists from taking the Delta’s oil wealth. The group’s repeated disruption of the region’s oil production has led to Nigeria losing its place as Africa’s largest oil producer to Angola. To prevent the CJTF from transforming into a violent insurgent group like the NDA, the government should examine the reasons that led to the birth of the NDA. The main complaints of insurgent groups other than the jihadists of Boko Haram are government corruption and economic neglect. Groups like the NDA are violently articulating already widespread anti-government sentiment in the many economically neglected regions of the country. Oil theft, or ‘bunkering’, is already a prevalent practice in the Niger Delta where ‘bunkerers’ — allegedly including some government officials — steal around 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Not only does this constant theft undermine the government’s rule of law in the region, but it is also indicative of Nigeria’s enduring economic instability. Nigeria must learn the lessons from past insurgencies to pacify and rebuild the northeast, or it risks perpetuating the conflicts that have long made the country so unstable.■

Berkeley Political Review | 21


Ringed By Walls


Changing Perceptions of Israel in the U.S and Abroad ZAKI ALATTAR

s President Barack Obama delivered a speech stating that “a nation ringed by walls will only imprison itself ”, many analysts interpreted the statement as an adage against Republican President-elect Donald Trump. At Obama’s farewell address to the United Nations General Assembly he could have touched on many of the walls that he has sought to bring down over the course of his presidency — from the fences surrounding Guantanamo Bay to the trade barriers of the Asia-Pacific region and the legal obstacles to American citizenship — but instead he directed it to one far from American borders: the 403-mile palisade between Israel and Palestine. The declaration marks the first time that any American official has called for an end not just to the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, but to the very legitimacy of the established settlements themselves. The importance of this announcement is paramount in an increasingly multi-polar geopolitical landscape. The American alliance with Israel dates back to the Truman administration, which was the first to recognize the nascent Jewish state, but the unconditional support seen today first appeared under John F. Kennedy’s “special friendship”. The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founded in 1951, has helped advance the cause of the Israeli state in the U.S. Congress and is widely considered one of the most powerful organizations in Washington, D.C. Recent years have shown a shift in public opinion on the issues of Israel and its occupied territories. Since July 2014, there has been a 5% increase in Americans who say they sympathize with Palestine. In particular, there is growing support among young voters and progressives in the United States. Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held up the importance of “treat[ing] the Palestinian people with dignity and respect” during the Democratic presidential primaries, and was the only candidate to turn down an invitation to address the AIPAC. Indeed, Obama’s own remarks come at the end of a long and often hostile relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Despite running on Obama’s legacy, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has expressed a greater willingness to work with Israel. In interviews she has defended Israeli military attacks in Gaza that killed 2,250 Palestinians in response to the Hamas rockets in 2014. Her supporters removed anti-occupation language from the party platform. She has specifically spoken out against the domestic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Leaked emails point out that Netanyahu himself believes he would’ve trusted a Clinton administration much more than he has Obama’s. The history of the international support for Israel has run on a separate track. The original 1947 UN General Assembly Partition proposal had passed with a 72% majority, but the Suez Crisis of 1957 sharply coalesced international consensus against Israel. In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which stated that Zionism was a form of “racism and racial discrimination”. The 2014 war in Gaza marked a crucial turn in international sympathy for Israel. According to a poll by the BBC, negative views outnumber positive views of Israel two-to-one. In 2015 alone, twenty individual resolutions were passed in the UN General Assembly that detailed either support for Palestine or criticism of Israel. Israel has long enjoyed support from European nations since its inception. The United Kingdom’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 established the foundation for the Jewish state, and French war hero and then-president Charles De Gaulle saw Israel rightfully as the Jewish “national home”. Many Israeli Jews today have European origins, and the European Union is Israel’s

22 | Berkeley Political Review

largest trading partner. There have been some blips in the post-war history of closeness between the two. In the War of 1967, France chose to support the Arab nations by imposing a temporary arms-embargo that mostly targeted Israel. It later made that embargo permanent. In recent years, however, relations with the EU have soured further. Two-thirds of UK citizens now believe that Israel has committed ‘war crimes’. On January 27th Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, despised in Israel, was welcomed to Paris on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On October 7th, the European Union External Action Service issued a statement decrying on the construction of 87 new homes in the West Bank.

A stop sign demarcates and overlooks the West Bank Settlements in Gaza

Source: NBC News

As relations with the EU turn increasingly bitter, Netanyahu has shifted eastward to strengthening ties with India and China. Israel and China continue to deepen their economic ties, and as its population has concentrated in dense urban centers China has looked to Israel for technologies “preventing desertification, refining water desalination, [and] improving their agricultural capacities.” Ohad Cohen, head of the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration noted that “bilateral trade with China has skyrocketed almost 200x in the past decade.” Trade is set to double in the coming years. However, economic ties don’t translate to political ties. Chinese President Xi Jinping declared to the Arab League in Cairo at the start of the year that “China supports... the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital being eastern Jerusalem.” This comes as no surprise; China has long spoken out against Israeli settlements. In 2006, then foreign minister Li Zhaozing called for Israel to recognize “an independent state of Palestine” in a statement at a UN Security Council Meeting. Even though Israel was the first country in the Middle East to recognize the People’s Republic of China following the 1949 Chinese Revolution, China did not open up diplomatic channels with Israel until 1992. Israel is aware of China’s two-faced approach to the region. In 2013, the former Israeli Economy Minister noted that “They never once asked us about the… occupation…the only thing that interests them is Israeli high-tech.” With the rise of regional powers such as China and Russia with ever-increasing interest in the Middle East, the fate of Israel’s international support seems not as certain as usually imaged in America.■


America’s ADHD Nation


The Prescription Drug Crisis In The United States SAALAR AGHILI

fter a summer filled with doping scandals and athletes barred from the Rio Olympics, Russian hackers exposed American gymnast Simone Biles in September for taking prohibited medication during the games. No scandal came of the revelation because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pre-approved Biles of her Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication. But what it did do was shed some light on the prevalence of ADHD among America’s youth today. The U.S. has the highest rate of diagnosed ADHD at 11%, compared to a rate of around 5% in Brazil, China, and Europe. The number is even higher among teenage boys, with figures as high as 20%, according to the Center for Disease Control’s latest report. Dr. Stephen Faraone, a child psychologist focusing on attention disorders, conducted a study to compare a sample of clinical trials from American children to a sample of clinical trials from children in other parts of the world. He questioned if there are social and cultural factors within the U.S. that drive a higher prevalence of ADHD among America’s youth. The researchers also questioned whether the rest of the global medical community didn’t address the issue, unlike their American counterparts. But other factors, like government policy, make it seem like the American medical community is actually focusing on ADHD too much. Ever since the enactment of school accountability laws like No Child Left Behind, school systems are pressured to make sure every student passes certain standardized tests. School systems depend on the success of their students on these exams in order to receive necessary funding, and it is low-income communities that are typically more vulnerable to losing this funding given their school systems’ lack of resources. Health economist Dr. Richard M. Scheffler and psychologist Dr. Stephen P. Hinshaw of UC Berkeley write in their book The ADHD Explosion that a 59% increase for ADHD diagnosis among students in low-income communities occurred since the launch of school accountability laws. This is compared to a less than 10% increase in middle and high-income children. Lower-income school systems turn to ADHD diagnosis and treatment in order to maximize test scores with “attention-enhancing” medications or special testing accommodations to ensure they do not see the negative impact of school accountability laws. The impact of school accountability laws is more apparent on a regional basis due to education being under the jurisdiction of state power. A student in North Carolina is 2.5x more likely to be diagnosed than a student in California. Many states go beyond No Child Left Behind with laws passed that require further examination, like some that are required for high school seniors to graduate. But one regionally specific cultural factor that is considered by Hinshaw and Scheffler is the marketing campaigns put out by major pharmaceutical companies. Novartis, the creator of Ritalin — the most common medical treatment drug for ADHD — invests significant funding into magazine advertisements. This helps explain why ADHD may be more common in some parts of America than others, because the South has the highest number of magazine subscriptions relative to other regions in the country. This revelation brings to light another factor that drives the overdiagnosis of ADHD in America: the power of pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry. Both sectors are some of the biggest spenders in government lobbying and the healthcare industry in America is one of the most lucrative in the world. While healthcare professionals take the role of diagnosing patients, pharmaceutical companies make and distribute the drugs that health professionals prescribe to patients. It is the same health professionals, in this case psychiatrists, that determine the criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders and diseases through the sporadic publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Doctors, health regulators, and pharmaceutical companies rely on DSM to base their diagnoses, produce the proper treatments, and appropriately supervise healthcare practices in the US. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was first acknowledged in the DSM-III manual in 1980 and the hyperactivity component

was added in the fourth edition in 1994. With every new edition ever since, the criteria for ADHD diagnosis has broadened significantly. The latest manual published in 2013, DSM-5, allows for late-onset diagnosis and revised the wording of the criteria to replace phrases like “clinically significant” to more ambiguous descriptions. DSM’s European counterpart, ICD-10, calls ADHD hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), with a lower prevalence of diagnosis among children. The publication of the DSM by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has raised some flags in the legal community for the relationship between healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies. One lawyer, Dickie Scruggs, surfaced this conflict of interest in a lawsuit against Novartis, APA, and the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). Although all lawsuits failed in four states and Puerto Rico, it shed light on the dynamics between the three organizations: the APA sets guidelines for ADHD diagnosis by psychiatrists, Novartis manufactures the Ritalin that doctors prescribe to ADHD patients, and CHADD raises awareness and advocacy for ADHD. Many professionals within the healthcare sector have also voiced concerns over the proliferation of ADHD diagnosis in America. Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, speaks of ADHD diagnosis’ affiliation with “cosmetic psychopharmacology” — the use of psychoactive substances to change functions for conditions that are either normal or subclinical, serving purposes of enhancement rather than treatment. This is similar to the policy adopted in Israel, which makes it possible to get ADHD medication prescribed to improve performance in the work setting. While there is no question of the legitimacy of Simone Biles’ ADHD diagnosis or need for treatment, if her prescription was found to be a part of the cosmetic psychopharmacology seen around ADHD medication, then her substance intake could be regarded as a form of enhancement rather than treatment. This would violate her waiver for a clinical condition — but that’s not the way Americans and the rest of the world see it, yet. It is the long-term effects of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, another popular ADHD medication made with amphetamine salts, that raise concerns of how an ADHD diagnosis can drive American society to giving their kids these pills on a daily basis. In its early days, amphetamine was taken to elevate mood, suppress an appetite, or stay thin. Then, in the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped in with regulations and amphetamine consumption decreased. It wasn’t until the drug was reintroduced in the market for ADHD patients in the 1990’s that its popularity started coming back. Although there is no substantiated research on the long-term effects of Adderall, amphetamines can cause an increased breathing rate, amphetamine-induced anxiety, and many more side effects depending on the dosage. Millennials and their parents are a generation starry-eyed by school accountability laws and the influence of the medical community in believing that many of their children need a daily pill to stay focused. It’s the overdiagnosis of ADHD that’s enabled Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions for children to be ubiquitous in society today. It’s the manipulation by the APA and DSM criteria, combined with marketing appeal by pharmaceutical companies, that has blinded parents into consciously making their kids dependent on amphetamines and other stimulants. But ADHD is not the only disease, and other diseases and disorders like asthma and autism have also seen an increase in their diagnosis among millennials for their own respective driving factors. As more and more of these phenomena within healthcare continue to come to the fore, they are likely to spread to other parts of the world — and it won’t be only an American problem anymore.■

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hina has long struggled to contain separatist movements around its periphery. Until now, the Chinese Communist Party’s focus has been on deterring activists and leaders in Tibet and the northwestern region of Xinjiang, while militarily dissuading Taiwan, where it has never held sway, from formalizing its independence. In Tibet and Xinjiang, the Party uses its traditional tools: restricting freedom of expression, censoring critical press coverage, locking up activists, and putting pro-establishment politicians in power. That calculus has now changed since the September 4th elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council — known colloquially as LegCo — where pro-democracy candidates made gains that have alarmed leaders in Beijing. Since reacquiring the former British colony in 1997, China has struggled to manage Hong Kong’s successful but outspoken civil society, many of whose members consider themselves culturally separate from the mainland. Under the conditions of the 1997 handover agreement, China has agreed to maintain a policy of “one country, two systems” until 2047. In the meantime, Hong Kong mostly retains its British-era electoral process, a convoluted system which — much to Beijing’s elation — strongly favors pro-establishment politicians. 35 of the 70 seats in LegCo are for “geographical constituencies”, geographic areas apportioned a number of seats based on their population with representatives elected by popular vote. The other half of LegCo’s seats, however, are controlled by “functional constituencies”, a convoluted system by which Hong Kong’s various business, government, and professional interests are apportioned seats. Including the five directly elected functional constituency seats for District Council (Second), 40 of LegCo’s 70 seats are meaningfully democratically elected. The September elections were the first to take place after the semifailed 2014 “Umbrella Movement”, named after the protesters’ shields of choice to deflect pepper spray and tear gas. Since then, Hong Kong has been wracked by a series of scandals and protests, souring an already complicated relationship with the mainland. In 2015, five booksellers from an anti-Communist Party bookshop in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay were allegedly abducted from Hong Kong and Thailand and imprisoned in mainland China. In February of this year, riots wracked the densely populated district of Mong Kok in a city where riots haven’t occurred in years. Beijing attempted and failed to modify the election of the Chief Executive to present voters with only a slate of Party-backed candidates, sparking the 2014 demonstrations. The head of operations at Hong Kong’s venerated Independent Commission Against Corruption was fired while investigating embattled pro-establishment chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Protests in front of government offices in the Admiralty district are still a common occurrence. In the run-up to the election, establishment forces tried to disqualify several pro-democracy and pro-independence candidates, including requiring candidates to sign a pledge stating that they would recognize Hong Kong as an “inalienable” part of China. Several LegCo members-elect had their oaths rejected after intentionally modifying them; after LegCo president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen allowed the oaths to be retaken, the pro-establishment camp staged a walkout.

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These heavy handed tactics may have backfired in the one corner of China where the Party has no official presence. Pro-democracy politicians now hold 30 of LegCo’s 70 seats, winning 55% of the vote in the geographical constituencies. But the development unnerving Beijing is not the marginal increase in pro-democracy politicians in LegCo, it’s the character of the new politicians being elected. For the first time, six candidates have been elected who openly call for—or at least accept the possibility of—Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland. These so-called “localists” represent a new, mostly young, radical element of the pan-democratic movement. Nathan Law Kwun-chung, an Umbrella organizer and now the youngest person ever elected to LegCo, is calling for a referendum on Hong Kong’s status after the current agreement expires in 2047. Meanwhile, Beijing has been mostly silent, perhaps reflecting divisions within the party on the issue. Broadly speaking, China must decide whether to fold its hand and preserve its remaining political capital to fight another day, or to double down on its traditional strong-arm tactics. Both options present risks. Pulling back may allow the current anti-mainland fervor to fizzle out. Not all localists are directly calling for independence; many suggest only Hong Kong’s right to self-determination. Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of localist party Demosisto and a former Umbrella organizer, argues that “If Hong Kong can enjoy the promised autonomy and democracy under Chinese rule, we wouldn’t need independence.” On the other hand, Beijing risks allowing localist elements to grow unchecked; election to LegCo has already offered the localists access to new funds and a larger platform. Worse, China has long worried about relatively free Hong Kong’s influence on the mainland, and tolerating democratic movements in Hong Kong risks allowing them to spread across the border. Beijing’s other option is equally fraught, however. While repressive tactics have been fairly successful in the mainland, their sudden prominence in Hong Kong may lead to an even larger backlash. Noam Yuchtman of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, who has studied political attitudes in Hong Kong, argues that “it’s clear that people in Hong Kong respond much more strongly to police force. [The tear gassing of protesters] is what generated the explosion of Umbrella. Nobody was talking about independence during the Umbrella Revolution, nobody was in support of independence. It was just not on the agenda… there was no coalesced independence movement and it wasn’t an ideology that anyone was talking about. Two years later we’re in a situation where people are talking about independence as they’re being sworn into the Legislative Council. That is [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s creation.” The incident with the booksellers in particular has already left many Hong Kongers on edge about their relationship with the mainland, and the elections bear out that such tactics have a political cost for the Party. And Beijing has more to lose with such tactics in Hong Kong, an internationally renowned and closely-watched financial hub, than it does in Xinjiang or Tibet. Many of the functional constituencies, associated with business and social groups, are supportive of Beijing only so long as they have something to gain from their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party in the


Harcourt Road in Admiralty, Hong Kong during the Umbrella Revolution in 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons

city. A crackdown and resulting disruptions in Hong Kong may convince some that they have little left to gain in supporting such a situation, further eroding Beijing’s legitimacy. The path forward for localists and pan-democrats alike is far from clear. Beijing seems unlikely to back off. The pan-democrats 30 seats allow them to block pro-establishment politicians from enacting any major constitutional changes. But with many of the functional constituencies dependent on groups unlikely to cross Beijing, it will be a difficult for the pan-democrats to expand on their 55% share of the popular vote and acquire the 6 seats they would need to hold a majority. The path toward an independent—or even a fully democratic—Hong Kong is extremely fraught. Political will for independence is dubious: one poll by the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows support for independence after 2047 at 17%, with even fewer believing independence is actually possible. Even if the popular support existed, it’s unlikely Beijing would ever allow such a situation to materialize. Professor Yuchtman argues that

a show of military force in Hong Kong is not credible, and therefore if Hong Kong ever approached independence, the Party would seek to negotiate a settlement. He also acknowledges, however, that “at every point in time when Xi Jinping had an opportunity to compromise and really defuse the situation, he’s doubled down.” The Party demonstrated 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square that it was willing to take drastic measures to maintain power and has worked hard since then to head off challenges to its position before they come to such a dramatic boiling point again. Hong Kong may one day come to resemble neighboring Shenzhen, with police, troops, and military hardware as common sights on the streets. Still, the election of six localist candidates means that the drama of recent years has clearly made an impact on the electorate, especially the young: Professor Yuchtman’s research suggests that forty percent of Hong Kong’s university students support independence. Time will tell if the legacy of the Umbrella Movement will find more success in the legislature than it did on the streets. ■

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ot long ago, Venezuela sought to brand itself as a leader, a resurgent power eager to lead the escape from U.S. imperialism towards true Latin independence. With a new constitution and the charismatic Hugo Chávez at the helm, Venezuela underwent extensive political, economic, and social restructuring as the government attempted to use socialism to escape the economic and political morass of the 1980s and ‘90s. In justifying his path to the Venezuelan people and the world, Chávez had no greater weapon than his shiny, new ideology: Bolivarianism. Bolivarianism is a direct claim to the legacy of the great liberator, Simón Bolívar, who led the nations of Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador out from the darkness of Spanish Imperialism. At its core Bolivarianism is a mix of pan-American, socialist, and democratic ideals fixed against the injustices of imperialism, inequality, and corruption so common to the Latin nations. Instantly popular, Bolivarianism was an essential ideological tool in Chávez’s search for support and legitimacy for his revolutionary programs. In recent days, however, Bolivarianism has fallen out of favor. Since the death of Chávez and the accession of his hand-picked successor Nicolás Maduro to the presidency, Venezuela has floated from crisis to crisis as falling oil prices have led to economic collapse, and the government has become the target of widespread discontent for its handling of corruption and democracy. Looking back, the Bolivarianism of the 2000s seems like a golden age. Even farther back, however, is the Bolivarianism of Bolívar himself. Coming into the spotlight in the 1810s, Bolívar “the Liberator” was an immensely powerful figure whose beliefs and actions dramatically shifted the course of Latin American history. Unfortunately for Chávez’s Bolivarians, Bolívar’s Bolivarianism is characterized by violence, authoritarianism, regional imperialism, and the ever-present specter of capitalism — not the egalitarian principles of Chávez and his socialists. Simón Bolívar was born in 1883 to a military family in the Creole aristocracy of Caracas, and grew up privileged in both education and wealth. When he was 16 he was sent abroad to Europe, like most nobles of his day, to learn from the great philosophers of the age. In Europe during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Bolívar was exposed to the Enlightenment ideals of freedom and equality, to which he was an easy convert. Incensed by the wrongs of Spanish Imperialism, Bolívar returned home to lead three separate republican wars and finally achieve Venezuelan independence in 1818. But Bolívar wasn’t finished and he continued to wage war, fighting short, successive conflicts that by 1825 had liberated Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, and northern Peru from Spanish rule. He christened this enormous new state “Gran Colombia”, becoming its first president. While Bolívar’s story seems heroic on the surface, it doesn’t represent the man’s true beliefs. Bolívar “the Great Liberator” was never a huge fan of democracy, believing it to work better when tempered by a strong hand. It should come as no surprise that Bolívar was in essence a dictator throughout the entire period of his rule, exercising complete control over every facet of the state. This dictatorial tendency came to the fore in the constitution of 1828, proposed by Bolívar to remedy the problems of a failing Gran Colombia. The new charter sought to enshrine a lifelong presidency with strong central power but was rejected by the constitutional assembly. No matter for Bolívar, who took matters into his own hands by declaring himself dictator under the “Organic Decree”. Just as Bolívar was no Bolivarian democrat, he was no socialist either. While Bolívar did emancipate slaves, he was wholly unconcerned with the issues of wealth distribution or class inequality so central to modern Bolivarianism. He was no different from many other elites during the Enlightenment, a time when ideas were formulated primarily by and for the elites, who

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were the driving forces behind the major revolutions in Venezuela, France, and elsewhere. In terms of rights, representation, and welfare, little changed for most people as a result of Bolívar’s wars of liberation. Ironically enough, Karl Marx himself once wrote an article entitled “Bolívar y Ponte” in which he describes Bolívar as a Latin Napoleon, with the same bourgeois, imperialist aims as any other member of the privileged classes. The establishment of Gran Colombia merely replaced one imperial power — Spain — with another, Bolívar. Taking into account the immense violence and destruction caused by his wars and policies, Bolívar begins to look far less “Bolivarian”. But Chávez was undeterred. Bolívar was the man, the myth, the legend, and attaching his name to a powerful symbol was a simple way to gain legitimacy. Bolivarianism was soon applied to anything and everything. Throughout the 2000s, Chávez aggressively pursued domestic programs of land reform, wealth redistribution, socialization of healthcare, and expanded public education, all in the name of a Bolivarian revolution. In foreign policy, the newly renamed “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” sought to spread pan-Latin sentiment and forged close ties with the socialist governments in Nicaragua and Bolivia, while actively opposing the United States and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Chávez was known as a price hawk in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil producer cartel, arguing strongly for production quotas and high oil prices in order to invest in the Venezuelan economy. The breadth and significance of these reforms cannot be understated: this truly was a social, political, and economic revolution. Chávez understood, however, that the reforms he proposed couldn’t pass easily. In order to circumvent these difficulties, Chávez appealed to the cult of Bolívar, characterizing himself as his second coming and the representative of the disenfranchised masses. Chávez was able to construct a populist movement around the Venezuelan identity with the cult of Bolívar at its core. When the politics of Chávez came to represent what it is to be Venezuelan, opposition to Chávez became opposition to Venezuela itself. In framing the discourse like this, Chávez appealed to populism and nationalism, dividing the country into “us” and “them”. Chávez made opposition to his rule politically unfeasible, pushing his reforms through with the overwhelming weight of the public behind him. The “golden age” of Bolivarianism ultimately came to an end with the death of Chávez in 2013, presaging a period of great strife and instability under his successor Nicolás Maduro. Whereas Chávez had initially come to power with the support of the people, Maduro was a handpicked successor relatively unknown to the public until his appointment as Vice President in 2012. Chávez relied on his populist rhetoric and charisma for the popular support, but Maduro could only appeal to the memory of his predecessor. With no strong orator to keep the Bolivarian ideology alive, the movement began to fade and the political tide turned against the government. In the end, the movement for the people has led to nothing but pain for the average Venezuelan. In the past two years Venezuelans have seen rampant inflation destroy their life’s savings, hospitals run out of life-saving medicine, and basic goods like diapers become so scarce they have to be smuggled in from Colombia. All the while, Nicolás Maduro is abroad negotiating oil prices with OPEC and the opposition is busy denouncing his government for orchestrating a coup. Much like Bolívar, Chávez brought revolution to Venezuela with his radical ideas and strong leadership only to leave the scene with his dream for the country on the brink of ruin. Whether you’re socialist, Bolivarian, or capitalist, in Venezuela’s current state the greatest casualty is the common man. ■




Source: News18

n May 20th this year, I landed in Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport, full of excitement because I was finally able to live through a historic moment. It was Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration day. Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai of the Democratic Progressive Party came across as a capable, pragmatic politician, famously known for her pro-independence stance about Taiwan’s future. I perceived a breeze of unease throughout the island: people appeared encouraged by Tsai’s vision of economy revitalization, but were perturbed by the uncertainties of a new government. Tsai’s leadership, as it turned out, failed many expectations. Two months after my visit, twenty-four tourists from my hometown Dalian died from a bus fire on the highway to Taoyuan Airport. My city was heart-broken; the media lamenting “They were three miles away from returning home.” As investigations soon uncovered, a convicted, drunk, and suicidal bus driver poured fuel into the bus and then swerved into a roadside barrier, blocking the exits and initiating a fire. Across the strait, many Chinese tourists abandoned the idea of traveling to Taiwan. It seemed that the new Taiwan was not benevolent to mainland tourists after all. One hundred days into Tsai’s presidency, Tsai has largely failed her promises of fixing economic, social, and political issues. Especially in terms of cross-strait relations, the previously peaceful relationship under President Ma Ying-jeou has transformed into a political stalemate with unpredictable future. President Tsai has a choice to actively amend relations henceforward, and she must do so to prove herself a capable leader. The tourist bus incident plunged Taiwanese tourism into deep darkness, and many have examined the issue in light of worsening crossstrait relations. Taiwanese authorities were unresponsive in assisting relatives of the victims with visas, travel and logistical issues. To make matters worse, Tsai sparked vast controversy when she sent tokens of condolence to the funeral of the Taiwan-born tour guide, but chose to not to do so for the twenty-four mainland tourists. All she had to do was express her condolences to the victims’ families, but Tsai failed to deliver. The explanation from the administration was jaw-dropping: “They did not ask for it.” It was quoted that “the most beautiful parts of Taiwan were not its mountains and lakes, but its people.” Since Tsai took office, the mainland tourists started to reject this notion, triggering a monthly double-digit percentage decrease of mainland visitors population since May. The shrinking of revenue from Chinese tourists is a devastating blow to the tourist sector, a vital component of Taiwan’s economy. In September, five thousand people in tourism-related industries marched on Taipei’s streets to call for governmental attention to their dilemma. “If Chinese tourists do not come, we cannot work,” tour guide Debby Huang exclaimed. Tsai’s pro-independence posture has always been an anathema to

China. Many international observers observed that the “honeymoon” between Tsai’s government and the mainland wouldn’t last very long. But in fact, the honeymoon was over before it started. Tension between the two governing parties across the strait arose due to Tsai’s reluctance to accept an agreement that China holds central to its Taiwan policy-making: the “1992 Consensus,” signed by both parties in 1992, declared that “there is only one China, and Taiwan is a part of that China.” China has held the 1992 consensus as the political foundation for its dialogue with Taiwan, although the reference of “China” is left purposefully ambiguous. For mainland China undeniably denotes People’s Republic of China, but Taiwan would insist on its government—Republic of China, which Taiwan claimed to have governed in exile since the Kuomintang lost the civil war against the Chinese Communist Party in 1949. Tsai’s inaugural speech made ambiguous references to the consensus, but she did not accept the consensus of “One China.” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office labeled her speech as “an incomplete answer” in violation of the current political foundation; all official exchanges across the strait have since stalled. Being the weaker side, Taiwan’s suffers much more from a stalemate than China does, particularly affecting the future of Taiwan’s economy. Taiwan’s economy has endured seventeen months of exports decline ending June, the worst streak since the 2008 global financial crisis, but Tsai had a solution. “In order to bid farewell to our past overreliance on a single market,” Tsai declared in her inaugural speech, the administration will pursue a new “Southbound Policy,” broadening exchanges and cooperations with ASEAN countries and India. While the effect of Tsai’s Southbound Policy awaits thorough evaluation, it certainly demonstrates Tsai’s resolution to bring Taiwan on a more independent path. China’s stance on Taiwan has always been clear: “resolute determination against Taiwan independence, and safeguard state and territorial sovereignty.” The Chinese government has repeatedly claimed that the Taiwan issue is “China’s domestic issue,” meaning it does not welcome other foreign nations’ influence in the region. Nevertheless, the geo-strategic position of Taiwan and the versatile Asia-Pacific diplomatic circumstance render the Taiwan situation the number one priority in China’s foreign affairs today. To maintain its strategic grip on Taiwan, with or without diminishing economic influence, it is possible that China may consider augmenting military involvement in the region, thus escalating the chances of conflict. While China’s policy remains clear and predictable, Tsai should grasp the limited opportunity to proactively mend fences with Beijing and avoid further conflict. Shortly after taking office, Tsai explained her philosophy on crossstrait relations in an interview: “We do not take provocative measures, we make sure that there are no surprises, and we hope that through channels of communication, we can gradually build up trust.” As the leader of Taiwan for over a hundred days, Tsai fulfilled none of the above. On the contrary, during her first days of presidency, Taiwan has misfired a missile toward China, reapplied for membership in the U.N., and appointed a pro-independence ex-foreign-minister as the new head of its strait-relations agency. Cross-strait relations looks dimmer than they have been in the last two decades, and the future appears ever more unfavorable. The current situation of Taiwan, economically and diplomatically speaking, is that it is not ready to leave the powerhouse that is China. If President Tsai was dedicated to her promise of a brighter future, it is her responsibility to demonstrate sincerity and earn trust from China. As a vital region in the Asia-Pacific, Taiwan under the new government has so far been unsettling. Meanwhile, Tsai’s approval rating has dipped below fifty percent. Tsai must start amending problems to fulfill her promises as a capable leader. ■

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Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, Sexual Assault, Physical / Emotional Abuse

n 1997, Aberash Bekele of southern Ethiopia was walking home from school with several friends. A girl of 14, Aberash was abducted by men on horses wielding whips and lassos. One of her captors, who intended to marry her, spent that afternoon beating and raping her. The following morning, Aberash was able to snatch a Kalashnikov from the hut she was being held in, and shot her rapist after warning him not to get near. Two years later, she was acquitted in the name of self-defense. Bride kidnapping is a troubling and persistent plague on the modern world. Local NGOs powered by Western nations are currently in the best position to fight it, despite frequent skepticism about their motives. After all, Aberash’s story is not new in Ethiopia. The BBC reports that in Ethiopia, kidnapping and raping a woman until she becomes pregnant is seen as “a legitimate way of procuring a bride”. Some estimates suggest that as many as 69% of Ethiopian marriages begin in this way. Troublingly, traditions of bride kidnapping also exist outside of Ethiopia. In Kyrgyzstan specifically, bride kidnapping, or “ala kachuu” (“grab and run”), is incredibly common. As many as 40% of Kyrgyz women will be kidnapped and subsequently forced to marry their kidnapper. In Kyrgyzstan however, the procedure for kidnapping is different: once a “groom” abducts a victim, he takes her to his home, where the women in his family convince the victim to marry him. Bride kidnapping is technically a criminal offense in Kyrgyzstan. According to the nation’s criminal code, abductors can face up to five years in prison if found guilty. In actuality however, almost no cases ever go to trial, and those convicted usually end up paying a small fine. The inefficacy of these laws points to their failure in addressing the underlying causes of this tragic phenomenon. As the Wilson Center argues, bride kidnapping in post-soviet states has three major causes: “Firstly, popular support for and state promotion of Kazakh nationalism has encouraged the restoration of “traditional” gender roles. Second, an increasing perception that the legal system is corrupt has ensured that young men are confident that they can get away with this crime. Third, many young men have less economic stability to offer prospective marriage partners”. The Wilson Center has proposed that major change should come through local NGOs working with central governments to establish support groups, create crisis centers, and improve economic conditions so men won’t feel pressured to kidnap from economy circumstance, and strengthen the legal process so that women can trust the courts to help them. Such change, however, is no small task. It would require both infrastructure to find and prosecute offenders, as well as a cultural shift to prevent kidnapping from occurring in the first place. Learning to respect the

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bodily autonomy of women has been an uphill battle in all regions of the world, with the West being no exception (as cases like the Brock Turner rape illustrate). Yet, not all is lost-the element which has the best chance of making a difference in these struggles is unity; nations and groups working together is the best, most reliable way of seeing long-term change. To this end, western nations should provide funding and support to the NGOs like the Kyz Korgon institute to help end bridal kidnapping. As a collection of wealthy nations that strive for the enforcement of human rights, the West is in a unique position to fight against this violence. Such support would not only be effective on the smaller scale, as NGOs have far more knowledge of the cultural and political landscape than any outside actor, but it would also shift feminist discourse concerning bodily autonomy away from specific countries, and towards a more global message of respecting a woman’s right to bodily security. The power of global feminist movements is well evidenced; Malala Yousafzai’s fight for women’s education and Emma Watson’s speech at the UN both made huge waves in drawing international attention to the issue of women’s rights. An expanded framework for change is crucial, as it allows for more meaningful change all over the world on a unified front, as opposed to individual battlegrounds divided by national borders, where calls for women’s equality are often silenced. This solution undoubtedly raises a variety of legitimate concerns, not the least of which is the dearth of women’s agency such an action would imply exists. Often, western observers are careless in assuming women in other regions of the world have no ability to create change themselves. Supporting and empowering NGOs, however, bolsters agency rather than diminishing it. Action is being taken by women in these nations, as evidenced by the protests that arose in the wake of two 20-year-old students and alu kachuu victims who committed suicide. It is in support of and accordance with these voices that the West should take action, not in place of them. Other concerns pertain to NGOs as actors. Specifically, as Arundhati Roy argues in “The NGO-ization of Resistance”, NGOs “are accountable to their funders, not to the people they work among”, and perhaps more poignantly, NGOs “unwittingly reinforce racist stereotypes… [the tough love] of Western civilization”. NGOs are indeed tied to their sources of revenue. However, government agencies are also tied to those holding the purse strings, perhaps even more so than NGOs (politicians desire money to stay in power), so this issue is unavoidable, and shouldn’t obstruct beneficial changes. As to the second concern, a primary incentive to shift feminist dialogue to a global scale is to combat the very stereotypes that Roy talks about. Making the issue of women’s autonomy a human one, rather than one divided by east or west is imperative to achieving long-term change. Finally, western intervention in any form is bound to stir painful memories of colonialist sentiment employed in the 20th century by European and American powers. The West has an incredibly poor track record with imposing its ideologies on other parts of the world, often in the name of “Western” standards of morality. This case, however, is simply different. All the countries mentioned thus far have signed the Convention on the Elimi-


“western observers are careless in assuming women in other regions of the world have no ability to create change themselves” nation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Article 19 of CEDAW stipulates that forced marriages are highly condemnable, namely because “such violence… [denies women] the equal enjoyment, exercise and knowledge of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Article 23 is even more specific, clarifying that “no marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” The values critics would accuse the West of imposing on these nations are values to which the nations themselves have already subscribed, but are currently unable to enforce. Furthermore, the presence of protests further proves the desire for change exists beyond the governmental level, so the West would not merely be lumping on moral imperatives to the chagrin of local populations. Certainly, Western support for NGOs is no perfect solution. It’s messy, and is unlikely to bear fruit in the near-future, as cultural shifts take decades of struggle. It’s fortunate for us that we would be joining a battle already underway—many people have had enough, and have made their positions known. The West should enter the fray not because it won’t be messy, but because it must play its part in ending the cultural abuse of women like Aberash in Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia, and work to end the mistreatment of women on a global scale. ■

Source: RadioFreeEurope

Berkeley Political Review | 29




t the ripe age of 12, most American kids are concerned with making friends at school or convincing their parents to let them see R rated movies. When Joseph Kim was 12, he was solely concerned with survival. Joseph grew up at the height of North Korea’s decades’ long drought in the 1990s. Before even making it into his teens, he had suffered the death of his father to starvation, the loss of his mother to ‘disappearance,’ and the loss of his sister as she fled to China in search of food. In North Korea, this life story is far from unique. But what is unique is the way in which the international community has compounded the plight of people like Joseph, by isolating North Korea from the rest of the world through the employment of devastating multilateral economic sanctions. This past September, North Korea conducted the latest in a series of underground nuclear tests. As the earth shook, so too did the geopolitical foundation for the U.N. and United States’ sanctions strategy towards the rogue nation. Considering Ban Ki-Moon’s recent comments about the extraordinarily “heightened tension on the Korean peninsula,” a reevaluation of the sanctions currently crippling North Korea’s already diminutive economy is almost assured. Given this opportunity, now is a prudent time for America’s leaders to reconsider the impact that indiscriminate economic sanctions have historically had on civilian populations, and whether the geopolitical vice-grip associated with these types of sanctions is worth the very real cost to civilians.

At the same time, Saddam Hussein’s grip on power merely increased, and thousands more were killed as a consequence. As the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq at that time, Denis J. Halliday put it, “We are in the process of destroying an entire society.” In an era of globalization, where international trade isn’t just an option but a necessity, being cut out of the global economy hurts more people than just the ruling elites. And in non-democratic states, economic pressure on the civilian population doesn’t always channel itself into political pressure on those in charge. The case of Iraq is an example of this, but in situations often used as examples to showcase the efficacy of comprehensive sanctions, there are still tangibly inhumane consequences. Iran is a recent example. Yes, sanctions did, in part, lead to forcing the theocratic regime to the discussion table on its nuclear weapons program. But the numerous multilateral sanctions imposed on the country – including an EU and American oil embargo that devastated the rentier state’s last, and primary, source of revenue – have also had significant impacts on the quality of life for the general population. Given Iran’s significant food and housing subsidies, this is no coincidence. Today, Iran continues to be defined by food insecurity, increasing unemployment rates (especially for younger Iranians), medicine shortages, and general human misery. Stores in Tehran may be filled with the latest in Western apparel and technology, from Apple iPads to Gucci bags, but the majority of Iranians are more concerned with day-to-day subsistence than obscure Western luxuries. Since the end of the Cold War, economic sanctions have occupied a crucial niche in the arena of international politics. Nearly 20 years ago, University of Chicago Professor Robert A. Pape wrote that the reason for this is that proponents typically believe “that economic sanctions can often be as effective as military force and are more humane.” In the 20 years since then, conventional thinking in the US has hardly shifted. Across the political aisle, it is understood almost axiomatically that if an aggressor-state’s economy is in tatters, it is more likely to relent to American demands – so why not employ something more humane than other kinetic kinds of incentives. But are indiscriminate sanctions that ravage a country’s domestic economy and infrastructure actually more humane than military force? No. That isn’t to say that military-conflict should be the go to solution for geopolitical problem solving. But far too often public discourse in the US is quick to rally around a new regime of sanctions, while those same forces would not be so quick to advocate for the deployment of military force, Source: AP Photo / Seth Wenig even though they both have historically entailed extensive human suffering. This is compounded by the fact that mainstream America’s exceptional The dire circumstances faced by many in North Korea epitomize this world-view conceptualizes other, rival countries merely in terms of their reality. Of course, these conditions are not solely the result of international leaders. Iran is portrayed as the Ayatollah’s Republic, Iraq was portrayed constrictions on the hermit country. No other country in world history as the nation of Saddam, and North Korea is continually portrayed as has so closely resembled Oceania, the dystopian state described by George the state of Kim Jong-Un. The reasons for this aren’t opaque. These are Orwell’s 1984, in terms of its brutality, mind control and general despothe individuals widely responsible for the actions taken by their respective tism. But sweeping multilateral economic sanctions have only exacerbated countries on the international stage, but it must also be recognized that this fact, further insulating North Korea’s elite from its civilian population within these countries are large populations of people who have manifestly by creating incentives for Kim Jong-Un’s regime to hoard whatever food similar interests to people in the West. Citizens of Iran are just as interested and capital still remain in the country. As a result, North Korea’s general in music and movies, or gossiping with friends and walking around town as population continues to suffer a plethora of preventable maladies, from those in the US. Comrades in North Korea are just as concerned about the malnutrition and dehydration to premature death. fallout from nuclear war as those in Korea, Japan, or the US. In Iraq during the 1990’s, the situation was similar. Immediately And so, this next time when the public discussion begins on the best following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August of 1990, the UN Security way to punish North Korea for its new bout of belligerence, it is importCouncil issued resolution 661, effectively isolating Iraq and its people from ant for policy makers and pundits alike to be transparent about the impact the rest of the world through a blanket ban by all UN members on Iraqi sanctions are intended to have. Multilateral embargo-type economic sancgoods. During the eight and a half years those sanctions were imposed, life tions are not more humane than military force. They just impose a different expectancy dropped by almost a decade, child and infant mortality rates kind of suffering, a less obvious and less photogenic kind. Because of this, rose, and unemployment skyrocketed alongside a dramatic rise in inflation. the moral language used to describe them should reflect that. ■

30 | Berkeley Political Review




Source: News18

colorful brothel. Scantily dressed women. Intoxicated men ogling prostitutes. These set the scene for one of the most popular item numbers in Bollywood, “Munni Badnaam Hui” from the 2010 movie Dabangg. “Munni was dishonored, just for you darling” is the unsettling, catchy chorus of the item song that continues to entertain millions in India and abroad. The ill-named “item number” typically refers to an upbeat, sexual dance performance, which has little to do with the subject matter of the film. They feature women, usually portrayed by famous Bollywood actresses, who are labelled as the item or object of the sequence. During the flashy performance, the male lead attempts to pursue the woman, thereby perpetuating a plethora of problematic ideas. The existence of the item number has become the flagship of Bollywood movies as that is what seems to attract viewers and boost box office sales. Item numbers have become such an integral part of the Indian film industry; a raunchy, provocative dance number can be expected from almost every single Bollywood film. Objectification of women is definitive of Indian pop culture. In a country where public displays of affection are taboo, the existence of overtly sexual entertainment seems ironic. In contemporary Bollywood films, the over-sexualization of women has become the norm. It is rare to find a woman as a powerful lead whose purpose to the story exceeds that of being a one-dimensional character who serves as eye-candy. Item songs propagate the problematic notion that a woman is solely an object meant to please those around her. This is not only archaic, but a hindrance to social development in India. How is a woman supposed to make a living for herself, whether professionally or otherwise, when others around her don’t value her worth besides her appearance? It is this antiquated idea of what a woman should be that contributes to the countless sexual harassment cases in India. In 2015 alone, an average of 6 rapes and 15 molestations occurred each day. In light of these numerous rape, molestation and sexual harassment cases, the objectification of women in the media needs to end. India’s Daughter, a harrowing documentary directed and produced by Leslee Udwin, delves into the 2012 gang rape of Jyothi Singh that took place in New Delhi. Singh was raped by six men in the back of a bus and was violated so brutally she had to be flown into Singapore for treatment where she died shortly after. Udwin interviews the rapists and their Defense Attorneys in the documentary, which provides a disturbing view of the way women are perceived in Indian society: “A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy” says Mukesh Singh, the bus driver and one of the convicted rapists. This outdated thinking stems from the deeply ingrained notion that a woman needs to be

constrained within the limits of what society proclaims as “decent.” Perhaps even more distressing is the rapists’ lawyer, M.L Sharma’s opening statement in the documentary, “We have the best culture. In our culture there is no place for a woman.” Sharma epitomizes the misogyny prevalent in India even amongst the seemingly well-educated. These interviews reveal the mindset of the men who partook in this atrocity and also set a precedent to excuse such rapists. Jyothi Singh’s rape and murder incited a wave of activism for gender equality from women and men alike. Unfortunately, in India the total number of reported rape cases increased from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013. Jyothi Singh’s story echoes with the hundreds of rape cases reported in the media. In 2014, two teenage girls were raped, murdered and left hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh. While national and international outrage ensued at this misogynistic massacre, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the head of the governing party in Uttar Pradesh, responded with, “Boys will be boys. They make mistakes.” Excusing such vicious actions reveals the underlying social norm that exists in India that undermines most forms of violence against women. India is a land of a billion people, made up of an amalgam of different ethnic groups, customs and religions. Amongst all these differences, Bollywood seems to be one of the few forms of entertainment that unite the Indian masses. Needless to say, the scope and impact that Bollywood can have on the Indian public is enormous. Despite the immense influence Bollywood can have, few actors and entertainers have publicly spoken out against the underlying sexism present in the industry. Anushka Sharma, one of the most prominent Bollywood actresses, did an interview in 2015 and remains in the minority of actors who have articulated the issue of over-sexualizing women in Indian cinema: “Girls are expected to be good looking, look nice and just be interesting enough for a guy to be interested in them in a film. In India, it is reflective of our society and that’s the way we want to look at women.” On comparing the way men and women are viewed in the film industry Sharma states, “Women are only desirable when they are young. Desirable has a sexual connotation attached,

“Women are only desirable when they are young. Desirable has a sexual connotation attached, we are looking at women in that way because that is what we are shown in films.” Anushka Sharma

we are looking at women in that way because that is what we are shown in films. Till that does not change then we are going to be in this situation.” Sharma’s statements are supplemented by a study conducted by the Geena Davis Institute of Gender and Media Studies which found that female characters comprise only 24.9% of all speaking roles on screen. When facing an issue so deep-seated in society’s view towards women, the question of why the entertainment industry continues to produce unintellectual, discriminatory sequences like “Chikni Chameli” (Agneepath, 2011), “Fevicol Se” (Dabangg 2, 2012) and “Lovely” (Happy New Year, 2014). Bollywood’s obsession with over-sexualizing women without giving them a substantial, noteworthy role breeds this ongoing culture in which women are not valued beyond their appearances. In light of the numerous molestation, rape and sexual harassment cases that plague India, a commercial and social force like Bollywood has a responsibility to do right by the Indian public. Instead of producing flashy, cheap entertainment, Bollywood can cast strong female leads to change the deeply-rooted sexism and misogyny that perpetuates in Indian cinema and society. ■

Berkeley Political Review | 31

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