Aftermath of the Arab Spring:
Students Reflect on the Regionâ€™s Progress
ICJ Maritime Dispute: Peru and Chile Exclusive Interview: Former President of Zambia His Excellency Rupiah Banda
The IR Review is an undergraduate student publication written and edited by members of the Boston University International Affairs Association.
Index 3 Briefing 4 A Transfer of Legitimacy
While some critics disregard the UN as an ineffective organization, its involvement in contemporary issues, such as the Arab Spring, may prove the opposite. Will Carbery argues that the United Nations as an institution is gaining legitimacy. By Will Carbery, CAS ’14
6 Kosovo and South Sudan
In most cases, the international community is able to clearly define the legality of statehood. However, the more recent cases of statehood for Kosovo and South Sudan have proven to be communities of ‘peoples’ deserving of autonomy, but do not fulfill all of the requirements outlined for statehood. By Wilaene González, CAS ’14
Photo Credit: MAddie Rosenberger COM ’14
Aftermath of the Arab Spring
A year has passed since the Tunisian Revolution, and subsequent democracy movements have swept across the Arab world. What has changed? What will the future bring? In this exclusive feature, Samantha Weinberg (CAS ’13), Cody Marden (CAS’13) and Ali Uslu (CAS ’15) weigh in with their opinions on the Arab Spring. 22 Corruption or Accountability NGOs play a vital role as watchdogs of governments and businesses, ensuring that treaties are enforced and corporations are honest about their practices, but there still remains the question of NGO accountability. By Meredith Peters, CAS ’13
8 Uncertain Future
The Dominican Republic held presidential elections on May 20, 2012, and many fear that with the exit of the current Dominican president, Leonel Fernandez Reyna, communication between the Dominican and the Haitian governments may stall. By Jatnna Garcia, CAS ’14
24 Cuba, the OAS, and CELAC
The expulsion of Cuba from the Organization of American States was a defining point in the organization’s policy. Latin America has developed and regrouped with little recognition by the US and is clamoring for a change in policy. By Laura Bachmann, CAS ’12
11 Baha’is in Iran
The Baha’i population in Iran faces marginalization and persecution for their religious beliefs. While the international community has recognized these human rights violations, little action has been taken to redress these crimes. By Angela Farmer, CAS ’13
26 Haiti’s Political Conflict: Intractable? Haiti has experienced political turmoil for decades. The failure to sufficiently address political issues may be a result of the recalcitrance of the struggle, as analyzed by William Zartman’s characteristics of intractable internal conflicts. By Stephanie Miliano, CAS ’13
14 Crises and Context The recent crisis over the North Korean satellite launch has brought attention to diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea. Cultural misunderstandings have impeded the development of stable relations between the two nations. By Kelly Miller, CAS ’14
Editorial: The South China Sea
29 Peru and Chile’s Border Dispute
In 2008, Peru referred a case against Chile to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to redefine the maritime border between the two nations. The decision made by the ICJ will not only affect Peru and Chile but also future maritime border issues. By Jun Il Hwang, CAS ’12
32 Rethinking Iran Over the past decade, Iranian-American negotiations have been mostly unsuccessful. Although a window of time may still remain to repair these relations, both nations must reassess their policies and perspectives towards the other. By Richard Berger, CAS ’13
36 Exclusive Interview His Excellency Banda, former President of Zambia, is currently residing at Boston University through the African Presidential Center of BU. He has recently given the IRR an interview highlighting his years as head of state of Zambia and the importance of democracy for the growth of Zambia and the entire continent. By Amrita Singh, CAS ’14
The South China Sea is predicted to be a future arena for international conflict. The region is important economically and politically for six claimant countries. The conflict is likely to be resolved, however, due to a culture that sponsors cooperation.
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Briefing Boston University
In the middle of May, when the seniors were getting ready for graduation, Boston University students mourned the loss of three fellow classmates when a van carrying study abroad students overturned in New Zealand. Here at the IR Review we fondly remember those we’ve lost: Austin Brashears (ENG’13), 21, from Huntington Beach, CA was studying mechanical engineering with a minor in energy technologies and environmental engineering and was president of the BU men’s water polo club. Roch Jauberty (CAS’14), 21, lived in Los Angeles, CA but was born in Paris, France. He was double majoring in international relations and economics, minoring in business administration and management and was involved in the CAS student government. Daniela Lekhno (SMG’13), 20, from Manalapan, NJ was studying business administration and management and minoring in finance. She was also a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Brashears, Jauberty and Lekhno families for their tragic loss. They were our friends and classmates, and we will miss them dearly. Rest in peace our lovely Terriers, you may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.
Zambia Wu Shengzai, a Chinese manager of a coal mine was killed in Sinazongwe, Zambia when workers began rioting outside the mine. The workers were protesting the delay in implementing a new minimum wage, now set at $220 a month. Human Rights Watch reports Chinese-owned mines pay workers less than any other foreign-owned mines in Africa.
Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and commercial capital has come under attack in Syria’s recent civil war. Thousands of civilians have fled the city as military troops and rebel soldiers descended upon the city. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that this battle could be the “nail in the coffin” for the Bashar Assad regime.
Fourteen Ugandan citizens died last month in a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. The World Health Organization reports that 36 suspected cases have been reported in the western district of Kibaale. Ugandan health minister, Christine Ondoa, says they have traced the outbreaks to health workers who have come in contact with Ebola patients. The virus, which is believed to have originated in Central Africa, is highly contagious, causes massive bleeding and has a 90 percent fatality rate. President Yoweri Museveni is urging the public to reduce physical contact and avoid “promiscuity” to prevent spreading the disease.
Jose Chinchilla, a journalist working for the El Progreso radio station in northern Honduras, has requested asylum for him and his family in the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa. Unknown gunmen open fired on his home earlier in the week, injuring Chinchilla’s son. Violence targeted at journalists has become common in Honduras, with 20 journalists murdered in the past three years. None of the crimes have been solved.
United States Twelve people died and 58 were injured when a gunman set off tear gas and fired multiple automatic weapons into the audience of a multiplex in Aurora, Colorado. The shooter, James Holmes, was charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.
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A Transfer of Legitimacy:
Why the United Nations May Be Stronger than We Think By Will Carbery, CAS ‘14
Photo Credit: Tim Gazin, CAS ’15 The U.N. headquarters is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, NY and has been the official headquarters for the U.N. since its completion in 1952.
In the United States, there has been discussion about what kind of role, if any role at all, the United Nations should play in international relations. Criticisms have been levied from all angles at the U.N. and contemporary scholars scoff at the effectiveness of the body as a whole. Their analysis hinges on a surface understanding of the U.N. and its history.1 In this coming decade, the U.N.’s sixth, it may be stronger then we think. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for all of its tragedy, afforded the international community a glimpse of the U.N. as it could be. Even after sustaining heavy losses of their own, the myriad grouping
of U.N. agencies loosely organized under the 2004 U.N. Peacekeeping Force was rapidly coordinated by Kim Bolduc, the humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, to address the crisis.2 In a matter of weeks, working from the remains of Port-auPrince, Bolduc coordinated efforts by the WFP, UNICEF and multiple refugee relief agencies to provide a critically needed response to the crisis. Throughout the previous decade, these same organizations oversaw a fragmented approach to economic growth in Haiti. Now with the pressures of the earthquake and with an effective coordinator, these same agencies were responding to one of the
largest crises the U.N. had ever managed.3 The gap between the U.N.’s normal presence in Haiti and their postearthquake presence should not be overanalyzed, but a large portion of the U.N.’s capabilities in Haiti were generated by the prompt coordination instituted by Bolduc and others in the time of crisis. Indeed, coordination in general is the biggest problem that the U.N. faces in the 21st century. Uncoordinated, the actions of the U.N. seem duplicative and ineffectual.4 The very structure of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) testifies to this perception. Originally charged with the coordination of the U.N.’s economic
Summer 2012 and social mandates, ECOSOC was consistently undermined by a process in which industrialized countries hijacked broad proposals supported by the majority of developing countries and reconstituted these proposals to say much, but do little.5 Over time, the process had a pluralizing effect on ECOSOC, so specialized agencies that should have fallen under its control became independent entities in the U.N. By the 21st century, ECOSOC was reduced to a few standing committees of experts. When the 18 U.N. bodies that involve water-related activities were coordinated directly by the secretariat, the agencies worked in perfect tandem to address the issues that, left to their fragmented status, had not been addressed. Thus, UNESCO provided training and education about sanitation, the WHO and UNICEF addressed immediate health concerns, and the FAO improved agricultural irrigation technology.6 This coordination of efforts was the exception to the rule, however, and in general industrialized nations battled any attempt to fulfill ECOSOC’s original mandate. There was, however, a very valuable aspect of the U.N. that the United States and other industrialized countries were keen to participate in: the U.N.
to translate the international legitimacy of the United Nations into political action. The United Nations’ ability to confer legitimacy on international actors is demonstrated in the way it provides assistance. It is the norm in the international community for developing countries to choose the multilateral rather than unilateral source of aid if the offer is equivalent. Whether to save appearances or to ward off economic dependence, it does not matter. In economics as well as in politics, receiving help from a multilateral source is seen as more legitimate than receiving it from a “donor” country.8 The U.N. also derives legitimacy from its own universal values. Self-styling realists will scoff at this assertion, but the language of every UNSC resolution made in 2011 was built upon past resolutions, international laws and the U.N. charter itself so that each new resolution became unassailable on precedent alone. The legitimacy of the U.N., however, may be changing. Last year was not the first time that the United States withdrew funds from UNESCO, but UNESCO’s decision to grant full membership to the Palestinian Authority challenged the UNSC’s exclusive ability to confer political legitimacy. The transition is subtle, but ultimately UNESCO’s
“The diffusion of legitimacy may once and for all liberate the United Nations, blurring the line between UNSC and the GA. ” Security Council. In light of the Arab Spring, it is easy to forget the broad spectrum of peacekeeping and political initiatives that the UNSC undertook in 2011. A quick survey of resolutions passed by the UNSC indicates a busy year. The UNSC extended missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus and Bosnia-Herzegovina; expanded peacekeeping forces in the Ivory Coast; discussed North Korea’s nuclear program; reiterated support for the international tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia; and met to discuss security issues regarding Iraq, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, and Sudan.7 The breadth and number of resolutions passed by the UNSC conveys that the Council has the extraordinary ability
decision could be an indication that political legitimacy in the U.N. may now be contingent on economic and social legitimacy. If the challenge stands, then UNESCO has made a redistribution of power within the United Nations. Industrialized nations can no longer intervene with the economic and social mandates of specialized agencies and ECOSOC without diffusing the legitimacy they have carefully built over six decades. Anecdotal evidence that this subtle but momentous change will stick can be found in the UNESCO vote itself. In 1984, the United States had allies in their withdrawal of funds, chiefly the United Kingdom. In 2011 no such country supported the U.S.; indeed, France and other traditional European allies voted in
favor of Palestine, while the UK abstained.9 A change in the way legitimacy is conferred upon nations by the U.N. could have a strong impact on the nature of U.N. actions. The economic and social mandates of the U.N., broadly voiced by ECOSOC, are bound to gain from any increase in coordination. The diffusion of legitimacy may in fact once and for all liberate the United Nations, blurring the line between the UNSC and the General Assembly. In regards to Syria, the U.N., responding to global public opinion, could freely withhold social legitimacy from the Russian delegation, indirectly weakening Russia’s political legitimacy on the UNSC. Alternately, the United States or France could pursue political legitimacy for the civilians in Syria, indirectly mobilizing the WHO, WFP and UNESCO to lend supplies and legitimacy to the protesters. It is doubtful that the United Nations will realize its potential for becoming an international arbiter of legitimacy in time to stave off tragedy in Syria. Look to this coming decade, however, for the United Nations to emerge as a more powerful organization. The intertwining of social, cultural and economic legitimacy with political legitimacy in the United Nations would mark an unprecedented transition in the way the U.N. functions on the world stage. Industrialized countries, who appeal to the U.N. for political legitimacy, can no longer ignore the demands of small, undeveloped countries without losing social, cultural and economic legitimacy. This is a good thing. As the General Assembly and the UNSC slowly begin to balance each other, the U.N. can strive towards greater coordination, something denied to it since its founding. With Haiti as testament, a coordinated United Nations makes for a stronger United Nations. Indeed, from Palestine to North Korea the United Nations may already be stronger then we think.
All citations for articles in the Spring 2012 issue of the International Relations Review can be found online. Visit the Boston University International Affairs Association website at buiaa.org/ir-review/ to access the bibliographical information.
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Exception or Norm in Contemporary State Creation A Comparison of Kosovo and South Sudan By Wilaene González, CAS ‘14 The creation of states under international law in contemporary history has come with great complexities. There are many cases in which international courts have been able to provide clear-cut analyses regarding the legality of statehood, such as countries arising from colonial rule as in the case of Croatia and Slovenia. Nonetheless, there are two recent cases, which still provide uncertainty within the international community: the case of the Unilateral Independence of Kosovo in 2008 and the case of South Sudan in 2011. This paper will argue for the exceptional nature of both nations while detailing the importance of a clearer definition of a “peoples” within that of self-determination. The first aspect necessary for this analysis is examining whether Kosovo and South Sudan possess the right to self-determination. According to Article I, paragraph II of the U.N. Charter, the purpose of the United Nations is to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.1 Similarly, U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1514 on the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples proclaimed “all peoples have the right to self-determination” and that “immediate steps shall be taken in non-selfgoverning territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories.”2 Furthermore, U.N. Resolution 2625 on the Declaration on principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the United Nations Charter, expresses the principle of equal rights and the right to self determination as a right conferred on all peoples. The resolution mentions that the “establishment of a sovereign and independent State [...] or the emergence unto any other political status freely determined by a people constitutes modes of implementing the right to self-determination by that people.” In the case of Kosovo and
South Sudan, these U.N. resolutions pose juxtaposing views for the right to self-determination. Mainly, they were crafted for colonial territories, not for the secession of existing states. As evidenced in the Quebec secession case, the Canada Supreme Court stated that, “although much of the Quebec population certainly shares many characteristics of a people, it is not necessary to decide the people issue [...] a right of secession only arises under the principle of self-determination of people at international law where ‘a people’ is governed as part of a colonial empire. [...] Quebec does not meet the threshold of a colonial people or an
“Kosovo and South Sudan’s actions threathened the territorial integrity of their parent states because of their implied secession could affect the wellbeing of the nation as a whole” oppressed people, nor can it be suggested that Quebecers have been denied meaningful access to government,”3 that is the right to internal self-determination. According to the National SelfDetermination in Post-colonial Africa,4 the elements which constitute ‘a peoples’ are language, ethnicity, religion, culture, common historical traditions and territorial connection.5 Similarly, a UNESCO group proposed seven characteristics necessary for constituting ‘a peoples’: common historical tradition, racial or ethnic identity, cultural homogeneity, linguistic unity, religious or ideological affinity, territorial
connection, and common economic life.6 In contemporary history with the migration patterns and various ethnic groups within countries, these definitions seem outdated. Some examples of these ethnic groups are the Basques in Spain and the people of Quebec in Canada. Needless to say that these ethnic groups have very distinct cultural and ethnic differences from those in their nation; but this does not imply their right to create a separate state, as secession might affect their parent state and its members. The Canada Supreme Court ruled that Quebec had the right to internal selfdetermination because it had not been rejected the liberty to pursue its own interests. Internal self-determination is the right to gain autonomy within the state; that is, people’s right to determine their system of government. But this does not concern state borders, only government institutions. It allows groups with strong historical, ethnical and cultural ties to pursue their ideologies and traditions within their parent state. Conversely, external selfdetermination grants a group of people the right to organize itself as a state, as well as the right to independence. There are three ways to exercise the right to external self-determination according to U.N. Resolution 1541, Principal VI: “A nonself-governing territory can be said to have reached a full measure of self-government by: (a) emergence as a sovereign independent State; (b) free association with an independent state; or (c) Integration with an independent State.”7 Nevertheless, the conglomeration of an ethnic majority in a specific area is not enough to satisfy the requirements for statehood, nor can they become independent without compromising the territorial integrity of their parent state. Statehood is determined by a set of factual conditions, which according to Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is defined “as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) the capacity to enter into relations with the
Photo Credit: Leijla Huskic CAS ’15 A memorial for the 12,000 children killed in the Bosnian War, located in Sarajevo
other states.”8 This definition arises from the declaratory school, which sees recognition of a state as a confirmation of a preexisting factual situation. In the case of Kosovo and South Sudan, the requirements for a state were fulfilled, but there is a question concerning the qualification of a defined territory in letter b of the Montevideo definition. Kosovo and South Sudan occupied areas of their parent state, yet they did not, as in the case of other colonial states, possess a defined territory of their own. Kosovo had never been a territory of its own, but a province for over four centuries within the Ottoman Empire until the Serbs took over the territory in the First Balkan War. Finally during the First World War, Kosovo became a part of Yugoslavia.9 South Sudan, on the other hand, was a clear part of Sudan, which acquired its independence in 1953, but remained in a bloody civil war immediately thereafter. The North, primarily Arab-Muslim, traditionally controlled the country through Muslim law, while the South was opposed because of its mainly Christian population.10 The northern and southern regions lived under
constant turmoil, with the South pleading the right to self-determination and the North refusing to acknowledge their right to do so. Kosovo and South Sudan’s actions threatened the territorial integrity of their parent states because their implied secession could affect the well-being of the nation as a whole. U.N. GA Resolution 1514(6) mentions that “any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”11 Therefore, in order for Kosovo’s and South Sudan’s actions to be legal and admissible for secession, they must provide evidence that their actions do not affect the parent states’ territorial integrity. However, there were some exceptional circumstances in both of these cases. In the case of Kosovo, it gained independence through remedial secession due to serious human rights violations as well as the breach of intrastate autonomy agreements.12 The U.N. had set up an interim administration in the territory in order to “resolve the grave humanitarian situation”13 because Serbia was not able to
retain the control of Kosovo through the many internal conflicts that arose during the Kosovo conflict of 1998, in which Albanian secessionist rebellion groups opposed the Serbs and the government of Yugoslavia. During that time, Kosovo developed its own political and economic structures until 2008 when it formally declared its independence from Serbia. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, paragraph ten mentions the establishment of an international civil presence in Kosovo to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which its people could enjoy “substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.” What is not clear is the definition of this so-called substantial autonomy, which set the grounds for their unilateral declaration of independence. Paragraph 10C of the same resolution states one of the main responsibilities of the international civil presence as “organizing and overseeing the development of provisional institutions for democratic and autonomous self-government pending a political settlement, including the holding of elections.”14 Although Serbia was informed of the situation in Kosovo and no
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longer in control of the region, it still saw Kosovo as part of its greater territory and did not acknowledge Kosovo’s inclinations to claim independence. The International Court of Justice concluded that Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence was neither prohibited under general international law15 nor was it in breach of the UNSC Resolution 1244(1999).16 South Sudan’s case is very different due to its Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with Sudan, which provides interesting insight into the dynamics between the two parties. This document proves the acknowledgment of South Sudan as ‘a peoples’ and Sudan’s willingness to grant independence without seeing it as a violation of its territorial integrity. Different from other peace agreements, the CPA provides a clear acceptance of South Sudan’s external right to self-determination as it provides that ‘The people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status.’17 The nature of this peace agreement establishes from both parties herein referred to, the existence of opinio juris as
a basis for their agreement.18 Its nature set the parameters for the exercise of South Sudan’s self-determination, consistent with international law and therefore, made it difficult for the Sudanese government to reject the South’s right of self-determination. In the case of Kosovo as well as in the case of South Sudan there are similarities concerning the issue of territorial secession as neither possessed individual territory of their own. This is an essential quality for statehood which is not clearly defined in Article one of the Montevideo Convention. On the other hand, both Kosovo and South Sudan deem exceptional recognition due to the nature of their relations with their parent state. Kosovo was not under the control of Serbia in the immediate years before its Unilateral Declaration of Independence that is from 1999 to 2008, which in turn gave the Kosovars the sentiment of autonomy as well as national unity necessary for constituting ‘a peoples’. On the other hand, South Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Sudan provided an alley, by which to determine its own status and proclaim its already acknowledged right to self-determination through a referendum.
A reflection on Dominican-Haitian Relations By Jatnna Garcia, CAS ‘14 Although the Dominican Republic shares the island of La Hispaňola with Haiti, traditionally relations between the two countries have seldom been amicable. In the 19th century, Haiti repeatedly invaded, pillaged and occupied the Dominican Republic. Over the years, higher salaries and better living conditions persuaded many Haitians to settle in the Dominican Republic. Dominicans resent this ‘Haitianization,’ but have come to accept this migration because they depend heavily on Haitian labor.1 Both governments have tried to maintain communication across the border and collaborate on issues that affect the two nations. Even with the actions being taken by different U.N. bodies, NGOs, and both governments relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti are still tense. There are many disagreements due to differences in interests, language, culture and time availability. Furthermore,
the political and economic situations on both sides of the border constantly draw away time and interest, which could otherwise be used to improve their bilateral relations. The Dominican Republic held presidential elections on May 20, 2012, and many fear that with the exit of the current Dominican president, Leonel Fernandez Reyna, who is known for his focus on foreign policy and international relations, communication between the Dominican and the Haitian governments may stall. Haiti was a French colony, and the French did not mingle with their African slaves, following a very strict caste system. The separation of races is still very evident today,2 with 95 percent of the Haitian population as black, while only 5 percent as white or mulatto.3 Also due to colonial legacy, economic classes seldom interacted, leading to class isolationism that still exists.4 With 80 percent of the
The distinction between these cases is the issue regarding recognition from a parent state. South Sudan through the CPA had Sudan’s binding recognition of its selfdetermination and the possible secession. However, Kosovo’s situation was isolated from Serbia in such a way that there was never any middle ground by which to reach an agreement due to Serbia’s inability to control the territory. Due to the magnitude of these distinctions and their role in the independence of Kosovo and the secession of South Sudan, these cases prove to be exceptional in manner and therefore, do not set a precedent for future state creation. One thing is clear after the analysis of these cases: contemporary international law has not had enough cases post-colonialism to set standardized verdicts concerning the secession of territory through the argument of self-determination. In the event of future cases of this nature, there must be a clearer definition of ‘a peoples’ that is analogous to the current times especially with the rise of non-state groups and stronger ethnic nationalism.
population living below the poverty line,5 the gap between the poor and the rich is evidently large with almost no middle class. Few get access to an education, and those that do aim to excel in order to move abroad in search of better opportunities. Statistics show that only 59.2 percent of the population is literate6 and many learn to read outside of a formal school environment. Economic advancement is not expected or even perceived as possible, and most of the population lives and works solely to survive. The Dominican Republic, a majority Catholic country, was a Spanish colony. Unlike the French in Haiti, the Spanish mingled with their African slaves and the Tainos (Indigenous/Native Americans) leading to a more gradient racial classification system. In the Dominican Republic, 73 percent of the population is mixed, 16 percent is white and 11 percent is black.7 However, despite widespread racial integration, economic classes in the Dominican Republic seldom interacted. The division between the rich and the poor is still prevalent, with 42.2 percent of the population below the poverty line. Only a small amount of the population is considered middle class.8
Summer 2012 Relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been historically strained due to Haiti’s continuous invasions of the Dominican Republic in the 19th century. Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and his army exterminated Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic during the 1940s and 1950s. This extermination, along with the racial, cultural and ethnic differences between nations since colonial times, are legacies of the historically strained relations.9 In addition, Dominicans carry an unconscious sense of superiority which has evolved from viewing Haiti as “African and uncivilized” and the Dominican Republic as “Hispanic and European,” and therefore more civilized.10 In the past, if there were any major disagreements between the two nations, the Dominican Republic would immediately close its border, directly affecting the border market trade and diplomatic relations. There would also be an increase in cases of reported violence against Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. The Haitian government position was always characterized by non-confrontation with the neighboring country.11 There have been several attempts at improving the relations between the two countries. Both governments met in 1996 to set up a Bilateral Mixed Commission, an initiative of the Dominican President Leonel Fernández Reyna. The Commission’s goal was to formalize cooperation in areas of joint interest such as trade and migration. Later, the Commission’s mandate was extended to take into account other topics such as agriculture, education, culture and the youth. Unfortunately, the Commission met infrequently and was rather ineffective after Fernández left office in 2000. On July 31, 2010, however, during the current term of President Fernández (who took office again in 2004 and was reelected in 2008), two official delegations led by the Dominican Foreign Minister, Carlos Morales Troncoso, and the Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, met in Ouanaminthe, Haiti to try to re-launch the Bilateral Mixed Commission.12 After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid in the aftermath of the destruction, and much of the relief effort was coordinated through Dominican institutions. As Fr. Lazard Wismith, director
Photo Credit: jatnna garcia, CAS ’14 A tourist boat flying the flag of the Dominican Republic.
of the Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service, said, “There are two important communities that have not been fully recognized for the role they played in supporting earthquake victims. They are Haitians themselves and Dominicans. They provided relief to the victims in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. And they will continue to do so.”13 Two international summits were held in the Dominican Republic, at which the government pushed for the fulfillment of donation pledges, and support for the reconstruction efforts in Haiti. However, both Dominican and Haitian civil society organizations articulated concern that if no official dialogue were instituted between the two countries, the “informal engagement” that originated in response to the earthquake would not be long-lasting.14 The planned revitalization of the Bilateral Mixed Commission and the reaction of the Dominican Republic after the earthquake in Haiti are just a few examples of the interest in fixing the longbroken relations between the two nations.
Through education and the continuation of current efforts, relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti may stabilize and continue to improve. The countries still need to address issues such as migration, border trade, cultural ignorance, isolation of both ethnicities (mainly in the Dominican Republic) and discrimination against the migrant Haitian population living in the Dominican Republic. After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, as expected, there was a significant increase in migration to the Dominican Republic as many Haitians sought to rebuild their lives and find better opportunities for their families. The Dominican Republic has not taken any important steps to recognize the rights of Haitian migrants within its borders, but the Haitian government has also failed to respond to the large amounts of Haitians entering the Dominican Republic without proper documentation. Political willingness is needed to ensure that these problems are addressed effectively. Haiti is also a practical trading
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partner for the Dominican Republic, but more investment is needed together with a formalization of trading plans and strategies. There is a huge need for more initiatives, both from the two governments and civil society organizations, to provide legal and humanitarian assistance to Haitian migrants in the border area.15 Unfortunately, repatriation as a solution to the Haitian immigration problem has proven to be disastrous, and the system is in need of major changes. President Fernández has reiterated the importance of reactivating the Bilateral Mixed Commission to help alleviate pressures and direct political focus to regulated migration. It is imperative that political leaders in both nations realize that the benefits of regulated migration outweigh the potential social burdens, including separation of families, increase in migration to the Dominican Republic and possible increase in unemployment due to surplus of workers. Although border regulations would not completely stop immigration, they might be able to reduce tensions.16 On the one hand, the presidential election of Michel Martelly on April 6, 2011 brought great optimism to Haiti. Martelly has proposed nationwide improvements in order to bring back repatriated Haitians. However, these improvements, which include major infrastructure projects and agricultural investments, will take many years to execute. This demonstrates that not all of Martelly’s planned implementations are likely to benefit those who need them the most. As part of a campaign aimed at moving earthquake victims away from public places, Haiti’s police destroyed three Portau-Prince refugee camps by May. Since the capital city is still rundown, these actions have left hundreds of people homeless. Although Martelly did promise that he would get the victims out of the temporary tent camps, kicking them out without relocating them is surely not the answer. On the other hand, on January 12, 2012—exactly two years after the devastating 2010 earthquake—Haiti received a full university campus built by the Dominican Republic in Limonade in northern Haiti. This new university complex symbolizes one of the many contributions the Dominican Republic has made in a collaborative effort to rebuild the neighboring nation. Fernández and Martelly led the inauguration acts of
Photo Credit: Kristell Dauphin, CAS ’14
“Through education and the continuation of current efforts relations ... may stabilize. ” King Henri Christophe University, which contains 4 buildings with 18 classrooms, has capacity for 10,000 students and was paid for by private and public Dominican funds.17 Fernández faced criticism from the opposition who were angry that Fernández invested public funds for Haitian education, when he has not allocated the 4 percent of the national budget, required by the constitution, to education in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, with presidential elections in May 2012 in the Dominican Republic, Haiti is not a priority in the agenda of Dominican political leaders, and many fear that with the change of government, advancements in relations may stall. Fernández, who is well-known for his involvement in international relations, has thrived on making relations between the two states as stable and
beneficial as possible. Through initiatives like the Bilateral Mixed Commission, the recently donated university, immediate aid after the earthquake and others, he has proven that favorable relations are more than just a possibility. Fernández is stepping down from power after his third term in May, and Danilo Medina is the candidate running for his party, the Dominican Liberation Party. Hipólito Mejía, who was president during the 2000-2004 period, is the candidate for the major opposition party, the Dominican Revolutionary Party. The fight for the presidency seems to be a very close one. If Medina, who ran against Mejía in the 2000 election, wins, there might be hope that relations between the two nations will continue to improve. Although he claims to concentrate more on domestic issues, many expect that Margarita Cedeño Fernández, vice-presidential candidate and current first lady, will influence and shape many of the decisions and actions. However, if Mejía comes to power one more time, there is little hope for continued improvement of relations or for previously enforced programs like the Bilateral Mixed Commission to continue to run. If Mejía wins, all of Fernández efforts may halt, and the two nations might once again resume hostilities.18
Baha’is in Iran:
the Marginalization of Minority Religions in the Middle East By Angela Farmer, CAS ‘13 Today, the world tends to view the Middle East as an Islamic region. However, while Islam is the majority religion in most countries in the Middle East, there are many religious minorities. These minorities have played an important role in the region’s history, but unfortunately, Islamic theocracies in many Middle Eastern nations have implemented policies to marginalize and eliminate these groups. The establishment of Islam as the official state religion is just the start of many persecuting tactics used by these governments. Nations that previously encompassed a rich diversity of culture and religion are becoming increasingly homogeneous as persecuted minorities are forced to leave their homelands. This is especially true with the Baha’i religious minority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Baha’is were persecuted before 1979, but after the Islamic Revolution it became an official government policy. Hundreds of Baha’is have been killed and thousands have left Iran to seek refuge;1 today, the Baha’i community constitutes just 1 percent of the population in Iran.2 The persecution of Baha’is in Iran is tragic, but it is just one of the many cases of marginalization of minority religions throughout the Middle East. Bahá’u’lláh founded the Baha’i faith in Iran in the mid-19th century. The main tenet of Baha’ism is the belief that humanity should be united “in a global society.”3 Today, the headquarters of the Baha’i faith— the Universal House of Justice—is located in Haifa, Israel. Most Baha’is believe in peace and non-involvement in politics. Despite these peaceful tenets, Baha’is have been persecuted throughout their religion’s existence. There was a very negative reaction to the creation of Baha’ism in Iran. Baha’is do not consider themselves Muslims, but they preach the teachings of Mohammed as a messenger of God.4 However, Iran does not recognize them as having any similar beliefs or values and officially considers them to be apostates of Islam. Before 1979,
Baha’is faced discrimination and were treated as scapegoats. This was taken to an extreme and became official government policy after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power.
Before the revolution, Khomeini “asserted that ‘[Baha’is] are a political faction; they are harmful; they will not be accepted.’”5 The 1979 constitution states that Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians are the only groups accepted as religious minorities under the law.6 Therefore, Iranian law does not recognize the religion, and Baha’is are not allowed to convene to practice their faith. In addition to restrictions on the practice of Baha’ism, the Iranian regime openly persecutes members of the Baha’i
Photo Credit: mahtab Motazedian, CAS ’14 The Vakil Mosque in Shiraz is situated to the West of the Vakil Bazaar in Southern Iran.
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faith, limiting their rights in society and in some cases threatening their lives. Baha’is have very limited access to education. While there are well-known human rights violations in Iran, all Muslim Iranians, including women, have access to education up to the university level. In contrast, Baha’is are frequently denied access to higher education, and Baha’irun schools and teachers are targeted by the government. In order to counter these education restrictions, the Baha’i community founded the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education in 1987. However, many students and teachers have risked their lives by participating. The Baha’i International Community highlights the story of Mahvash Sabat, a public education teacher for fifteen years who was dismissed from her job after the Islamic Revolution and later arrested for teaching at the Baha’i institute. The government will take any measures necessary to limit access to education for Baha’is. Since the Islamic Revolution, hundreds of Baha’is have been arrested and detained simply for their beliefs. The Iranian government will often claim that a Baha’i is guilty of anti-government propaganda or that they are working with the United States and Israel to undermine the Islamic Republic. These allegations are almost always false, as Baha’ism teaches non-involvement in politics and supports whatever government is in power. Under these accusations, the victims are typically detained indefinitely, prevented from accessing legal counsel and given extremely harsh sentences. For example, Mahvash Sabat and the six other teachers who were arrested in 2008 were accused of spying for Israel and were held for a full
year without access to a lawyer. At their trial each was sentenced to several years in prison.7 There was a renewed crackdown on Baha’is after the 2009 elections that reelected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. These elections caused mass protests because of a widespread belief that the results were fraudulent.8 During the protests, the Iranian government arrested hundreds of Baha’is and detained them under purported charges of spreading antigovernment propaganda and organizing demonstrations. There was no legal reason for these specific arrests, but the government wanted to shift attention from the protests and did so by demonizing members of the Baha’i community. This renewed campaign against Baha’is and other religious minorities continues. Observers have identified many other forms of persecution of Baha’is, the worst abuses resulting in death or execution. More than 200 Baha’is have been killed in Iran since the Islamic Revolution began in 1978.9 The most killings took place in the 1980s when the fervor of the Revolution was still sweeping through the country. Most of the recent killings are unofficial, not judicial executions. Baha’is face the worst conditions in Iran’s prisons, and several cases have been recorded of prisoners’ deaths due to maltreatment, illness or torture. Negative perceptions of the Baha’i community—instigated by the government—also lead to violence. Many undocumented and uninvestigated deaths of Baha’is are attributed to violent crimes committed by non-Baha’is. While these are not necessarily killings ordered by the government, authorities overlook these deaths. The Baha’i community lives in constant fear under these threats of violence.
Three decades of extreme and systematic persecution has taken its toll on the Baha’i communities of Iran. This has led to the mass emigration and resettlement of Iranian Baha’is. Of more than 5 million Baha’is worldwide, only about 300,000 reside in Iran, the birthplace of Baha’ism. Today, the largest Baha’i populations are found in India, the United States and several African nations. However, limited employment opportunities, government policies and the frequent detainment of Baha’is makes leaving Iran difficult. Many Baha’is now living abroad have shared stories of failed escape attempts resulting in police brutality and punishment. The international community is largely cognizant of the plight of the Baha’i people. The work done by the Baha’i International Community at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva has brought the issue to the forefront of the Human Rights Council and other organizations. During the 2010 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran conducted by the Human Rights Council, several countries expressed concern about the persecution of Baha’is. The recommendations provided by the UPR report include assurance of fair and transparent trials for Baha’is, maintenance of freedom of religion, the right to education, the right to freedom from discrimination and improvements in the overall conditions for minorities in the country.10 In October 2011, the General Assembly Third Committee, which deals with issues of human rights, passed a resolution regarding the situation of human rights in Iran. This resolution “expresses deep concern at the… increased persecution and human rights violations against…Baha’is” and calls
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Summer 2012 upon the government of Iran to eliminate “discrimination against and execution of” members of the Baha’i faith.11 Many national governments have also recognized the persecution of Baha’is and have taken steps to prevent it. The U.S. Center for International Religious Freedom named Iran a “Country of Particular Concern” in its 2011 Annual Report, highlighting Baha’is as one of the most endangered religious minority groups.12 The United States and European Union have made efforts during recent years to reach out to both the Iranian people and the government to urge better treatment and more rights for members of religious minorities. Civil society and nongovernmental organizations have also made huge efforts to help the situation of Baha’is in Iran. At the 2011 U.N. Forum on Minority Issues, representatives from many NGOs voiced concern for Iranian Baha’is and offered suggestions for the Iranian government. In its annual report on “Freedom in the World,” Freedom House rated Iran as “not free”, largely because of the treatment of Baha’is.13 Other organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Minority Rights Group, have taken up the cause of Iranian Baha’is and have made huge strides in promoting awareness of this issue. Unfortunately, these recommendations and calls from the international community have been largely unheeded by Iran. The nature of the Human Rights Council is such that it cannot actually enforce any of its recommendations. While many nations have further sanctioned and isolated the Iranian regime for their treatment of minorities, it is likely that Iran’s other policies, primarily its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its political repression, would have brought on these same sanctions. The international community is aware of persecution of Baha’is in Iran, but the question of addressing and taking action on the problem still remains. The best action that could be taken by governments is the facilitation of mass emigration out of Iran. Many countries already accept large numbers of refugees from Iran and the Middle East in general. Countries with large Baha’i populations should be leaders in opening their doors to welcome greater numbers of emigrants from Iran. Though resettlement is difficult for all parties involved, it
would be beneficial for a Baha’i to find a new home in a community that includes members of their own faith. Countries bordering Iran that do not discriminate against Baha’is should work to implement programs to assist Baha’is exiting Iran’s borders and establish safer escape routes. Emigration is not the perfect solution, but until Iran takes action to cease persecuting Baha’is, resettlement is the best method to protect members of these communities. The international community has imposed sanctions against Iran in attempts to enforce international agreements and punish the government. Sanctions have proven to have little effect; they unintentionally harm the Iranian people without causing governmental change. Under harsh sanctions Iran has refused to curb its nuclear program, so it is unlikely that sanctions would push them on an internal issue like minority rights. Instead of reaching out to the government of Iran,
many countries have shifted their policies. The Obama administration in particular has implemented a policy that focuses on the Iranian people. The goal of this policy is to encourage and support movements for change within the country. This strategy has been successful in raising awareness and showing solidarity with the Iranian people, but the Iranian government still shuts down any uprisings. Despite the importance and increased awareness of the persecution of Baha’is, there is little that the international community can do to actually enforce change within Iran. The U.N. has taken many steps and recommended many solutions to the government, but as the U.N. respects state sovereignty, the individual country must choose to implement these changes. The plight of the Baha’is in Iran is a tragic human rights issue in today’s world. The movement to end this persecution has grown significantly thanks
Photo Credit: Maddie Rosenberger, COM’14 One of seven Baha’i temples in the world, this is the North American temple located in Wilmette, Ill., near Chicago. An eigth temple is currently under construction in Santiago Chile.
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to increased awareness through the U.N., individual governments and civil society. However, persecution of Iranian Baha’is is just one of many situations facing religious minorities in the Middle East. What was once a diverse region is becoming extremely homogeneous. Once widespread communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and others are now nearly obsolete as members of these communities emigrate to other regions of the world to escape persecution. Of the many reasons for this trend, the rise in Islamist movements has been most effective. The Iranian Islamic Revolution is just one example of the implementation of Islam as the state religion accompanied by increased persecution of all others. More recently, the Arab Spring has brought
on a wave of Islamist sentiments. The October 2011 elections in Tunisia brought to power a moderate Islamic party,14 while the Muslim Brotherhood has been very active in Egypt’s revolution, leading many to fear for the Coptic Christian communities in that country. Since the overthrow of Mubarak, there have been increased attacks on Christian churches and communities. Democracy in the Middle East is a very positive step, but it remains to be seen if Islamist groups in power will contribute to the overall marginalization of religious minorities. Changes in the Iranian government and leadership will certainly have an impact on the situation of Baha’i communities in the country. With the next presidential elections scheduled for 2013, Iranians are
hoping for fair elections that will bring to power a leader who truly represents the will of the people.15 However, due to generally negative pubic opinion of Baha’is, even a legitimately elected president could still persecute these people. Even without the ability to take concrete actions to protect Baha’is, the international community must continue to raise awareness and pressure the Iranian government to stop persecution of religious minorities. The world must not give up and stop discussing the issue: this would only condone the persecution. With the renewed activism and passion for democracy spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa, one can hope that these movements will also bring greater tolerance and preservation of the diminishing religious diversity in the region.
Crises and Context:
What the North Korean Satellite Launch Implies About Future Negotiations By Kelly Miller, CAS’14 North Korea is historically viewed by the United States as a country whose diplomats are liars and untrustworthy, while North Koreans are taught that the U.S. is the main country that stops them from advancing economically and politically. In such an environment, suspicion and mistrust should be expected. So it comes as no surprise that North Korea’s decision to launch a satellite during the Nuclear Security Summit this spring quickly escalated into a full-scale diplomatic crisis. Despite North Korea’s supposed antagonistic and duplicitous qualities, the real problem stems from the nature and format in which North Korean-American negotiations take place. A virulent reaction by the U.S. will only cause North Korea to stiffen its resolve and increase its desire to pursue nuclear technology. This spring the Nuclear Security Summit was held in Seoul, South Korea.1 Participants included the heads of the fifty-three states and the international organizations that participated in the first Washington Nuclear Security Summit, including the U.N., IAEA and the EU, as well as INTERPOL.2 The summit focused on preventing terrorists from getting nuclear and radioactive materials3 with the specific goals of enacting “cooperative measures to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism,
the protection of nuclear materials and related facilities, and the prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear material.”4 Partway through the conference, North Korea announced its decision to celebrate the 100th birthday of its founder, Kim IlSung with a satellite launch. The launch was reported to be the dying wish of General Kim Jong-Il, whose main legacy was the Korean nuclear weapons and a long-range missile programs.5 The North Koreans insisted that despite a February agreement establishing a North Korean moratorium on “long-range missiles,” the satellite was sanctioned since the agreement did not include “long-range missiles including satellite launches or launches using ballistic missile technology.”6 The international community, including North Korea’s longtime ally, China, condemned the launching of the missile. President Obama and other leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit said it could be a cover for developing missile technology and violated a United National Security Council resolution.7 Uriminzokkiri, a website run by the North Korean government, responded “employing a term that essentially means ‘mind your own business,’ advised Mr. Obama to ‘wash his own snotty nose first.’”8 The North Central News Agency released a statement
saying, “If there is any provocative act such as the issuance of a so-called statement concerning ‘the North’s nuclear issue’ at the Seoul Conference, it would constitute an extreme insult. Any provocative act would be considered as a declaration of war against us, and its consequences would serve as great obstacles to talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”9 Historically, North Koreans have responded poorly to threats of strength. After one altercation, a spokesperson stated, “It is a miscalculation if the United States thinks it can get some kind of concession from us by combining force and diplomacy. It is the disposition and will of our people and army to confront to the end of dialogue with dialogue, and force with force.”10 North Korea did not defend its decision to launch the satellite without risks: Obama threatened to pull the millions of dollars of food aid for the starving North Korean populace that the U.S. had agreed to provide in exchange for North Korea signing the moratorium.11 The launching of the missile jeopardized much-needed food aid. Despite vigorous protests from the international community, North Korea launched the satellite on Apr. 12, 2012. It disintegrated moments after launching, and the pieces landed harmlessly in the ocean. Hours later, the government issued
Summer 2012 a terse statement recognizing the failure, the first time North Korea has done so.12 Despite the satellite’s failure, the United States still decided to pull the food aid. Although the satellite failed, the situation continues to generate discussion. Did North Korea use the situation to intentionally aggravate the international community, or was it another miscommunication from the isolated country? Will the Koreans accept the launch failure and return to abiding by the moratorium, or will the failure speed the North’s determination to conduct nuclear tests as a way of saving face? Despite the temptation to view North Korea as a nation of duplicitous people, the real problem lies in the nature of negotiation. The two sides use ambiguous language in order to reach a consensus, leading to differences in interpretation about implementation, as countries view the wording through the lenses of their own cultural context.13 As one former American diplomat said, “The idea itself does not really travel, only the code, the word, that patterns or sound or print. The meaning that a person attaches to the words received will come from his own mind. His interpretation is determined by his own frame of reference, his ideas, interests, past experiences, etc.”14 This cultural context and the discrepancies between that of the United States and that of North Korea has a higher impact on the negotiations than the countries are prepared to deal with. Part of the difference in cultural practice stems from the different emphasis the United States and North Korea place on context. The United States is a low context culture: it relies on detailed articulation, using precise language to guide implementation. This reliance on explanation contributes to a lack of reverence for the personal relationship as diplomats become so focused on specific wording that they unintentionally neglect forming a personal alliance with their North Korean counterparts. North Korea, by contrast, is a high context culture. It is concerned with general feelings and understandings and values indirect communications in order to save face and preserve harmony. This causes the American misinterpretation of their counterparts as evasive and insincere.15 The lack of American effort to generate a harmonious environment is an insult to the North Koreans. The North Korean defensiveness of
their missile program has an origin in Juche ideology and historical experience. Juche ideology, which values selfdetermination, self-reliance and freedom from foreign influence, is an unshakable framework at the core of North Korean society. After suffering at the hands of the Japanese in World War II, North Korea swore to never again be or appear to be subordinate to another country.16 This makes the moratorium on nuclear weapons a matter of national pride: to many North Koreans, nuclear power seems to be the only way of achieving true independence from capitalist countries. The concept of face-saving, or cheyman, is very important in North Korean culture. Americans confuse the avoidance of embarrassment with face-saving, but it is more than that. Face-saving affects an individual’s reputation, image and honor.17 It is for this reason that the failure of the satellite should be a topic best approached cautiously. After engaging in so much
grandstanding and putting so much on the line, North Korea must prove to the international community, as well as its own citizens, that it is not a nation to be mocked or patronized. This failure will cause North Korea to redouble its efforts to be a respected world power, a force with untarnished honor and unequivocal self-reliance. These efforts could very well include accelerating their efforts to develop nuclear technology, including nuclear tests. This current crisis is just one more line in an increasing list of North-KoreanAmerican disputes. But while writing the problem off as unsolvable might seem an alluring possibility, the U.S. must bear the responsibility for its failure to contextualize the negotiations and accommodate North Korea’s cultural philosophies. Seeing an issue through an opponent’s perception is not the same as agreeing with them, but rather allows for a starting point that can lead to lasting negotiations and a more stable international community.
Photo Credit: Jake wildstein, smg’14 The Arirang Festival in Pyongyang, North Korea is a mass gymnastics and artistic performance held on April 15 to celebrate the birthday of Kim Il-sung.
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Aftermath of the Arab Spring
Students Reflect on the Regionâ€™s Progress The Arab Spring quickly spread across the Arab world, toppling dictators and establishing free elections. While the protests impacted national governments, they have also changed the international political environment. In the aftermath of these democracy movements, how has the world changed?
Photo Credit: Matthew Goldberg , CASâ€™14 Bedouins walk through Al-Siq, the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra in southern Jordan.
The Quiet Voices of the Arab Spring By Samantha Weinberg, CAS ‘13 The Kingdom of Morocco is a beautiful country located in North Africa, directly South of Spain. Most don’t know much about it because the international community views Morocco as one of the more stable countries in the region. When the Arab Spring shook neighboring Tunisia, Libya and Egypt last year, Morocco was not making the headlines. However, Morocco is experiencing its own version of the Arab Spring, though not one as violent or newsworthy as other revolutions in the region. Most Moroccan citizens still support King Mohammed VI. Instead of his removal, they request more modest changes to the overall system of government. The first protests in Morocco started on Feb. 20, 2011, giving the protest group their name, the 20th of February Movement. The group came together mostly through mechanisms of social media, especially Facebook. The group consists mostly of youth, whose demands are principally for the democratization of the government, specifically more parliamentary power. King Mohammed VI responded swiftly to these protests in an attempt to quell any potential violence. This led to
his creation of a working group to draft a new constitution for the country, to be put to referendum later. Between March and June this new constitution was written, and on July 1 it passed with an overwhelming majority of 98.5 percent in favor. Some consider this progress to be monumental, since it makes Morocco look like a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute one. However there is controversy on many aspects of the situation. Although the elections were observed by various organizations to ensure fairness, the equity of the results is still in question. In reports made by the National Human Rights Council of Morocco, there were people present at voting stations to promote a “yes” vote, even though this was not permitted. There is the argument that all of the efforts to change the constitution are merely artificial. The complaint is that the government only created this “new” constitution to appease those who protested, not to actually instill change in the government. For example, the phrase in the old constitution that refers to the king as “sacred” was removed, however, it still refers to him as “inviolable”. This word shift is just one instance of changes
that won’t really change anything. On the other hand there are certain aspects that Moroccans seem to approve of. One such case is the requirement for the King to choose a Prime Minister from the majority party. Previously, the prime minister could have been chosen from any party even if they held a very small number of seats in Parliament. Furthermore, the constitution names the Prime Minister the head of government, rather than the king. This places more emphasis on the electoral process and the voice of the people in government, two things Moroccan politics had previously ignored. At present, there are still protests throughout Morocco. People have seen small improvements, but they are not satisfied. King Mohammed VI did appoint Abdelilah Benkirane to be Prime Minister after the November 2011 elections in which his Justice and Development Party won the most seats in Parliament. However, he also maintained one of his most infamously corrupt personal advisors, Fouad Ali El Himma. This inconsistency is what continues to drive the unrest, but it is unclear how much longer the 20th of February movement can hold on their hopes for change. They lack any central leadership or unified goal and membership has diminished over the span of the movement. The future of Morocco is unclear, but it seems as though it will remain under the radar for larger headlines like Assad’s atrocities in Syria.
Photo Credit: Samantha Weinberg , COM’13 The Jemma el-Fna, literally the Square of the Dead, located in the old city of Marrakech, Morocco was the site of a terrorist bombing in April 2011.
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March January Violent protests topple Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, ending more than two decades of authoritarian rule. Mass demonstrations begin in Egypt. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak orders troops and tanks into cities to quell demonstrations.
Libyan rebel leaders declare themselves the country’s representatives. The UNSC passes Resolution 1973 authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya. NATO airstrikes begin. Demonstrations begin in Syria. In response, the government crackdowns on protesters.
2011 In Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolates in protest of harassment from municipal government officials. Buoazizi’s death is the catalyst for protests that spread quickly across the country.
Mass protests begin in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after protests. A military council is formed to run the country.
An explosion at the presidential compound in Sana’a, Yemen injures President Abdullah Ali Saleh. He leaves the country, but refuses to step down.
Groundhog Day in the Islamist Winter: Why the Arab World is Moving Closer to Democracy By Cody Marden, CAS ‘13 On Jan. 21, 2012 a shocked Western world watched as the Muslim Brotherhood won a sweeping victory in the first elections of the new Egyptian democracy. Western leaders and citizens alike could no longer pretend that the democracy arisen from the Arab Spring would be analogous to our Western-style democracies. Contrary to hopes that free Arab states would embrace the secular Turkish model of governance, the past months have caused many to believe that a theocratic Iranian model is more likely. It would seem that the Arab Spring has devolved into the “Islamist Winter.” An extreme view argues that the success of political Islamist parties in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya will be akin to an Islamist takeover. Moderate thinkers acknowledge that such developments could endanger the stability of the fledgling democracies and destabilize their long-standing peaceful relationships with
Israel. These views, however, are exaggerated. Despite the recent Islamic leanings of Arab states, democracy is more likely than ever to succeed in the Arab world. A common misunderstanding is that democracy in the Arab world has the potential to destabilize at any moment, returning to theocracy or dictatorship. There is a much larger middle ground than this view propagates. Democracy, as it is seen in the West, must be secular in order to be egalitarian. Though this is preferable to a theocratic alternative, Islam by no means is a categorically restrictive factor to fundamental democracy. It is almost unreasonable to expect that fledgling Arab democracies will not include Islam as a key part of their political ideology. Since democracy reflects the popular will, it should not be surprising that democracy in the Arab world is building off of traditional Arab society, which
includes Islam. Even the United States Constitution, which explicitly supporting secularism, reflects a cultural Christian value system. The question then remains; can Islam coexist with democracy? The answer lies in the basic foundation of the democratic system: majority rule. In order to build enough popular support to set up a viable government, political Islam needs to moderate its aims. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has developed a pragmatic political platform that stresses restructuring Egypt’s economy, not installing Sharia law. The same is true in other countries, such as Tunisia and Morocco. In many cases these former extremists are adapting their rhetoric to avoid anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments. It is becoming clear that Islam is only one part of a political platform and more importantly, is not the most decisive piece of that platform. The Arab people
December After nine months of violence, the U.N. estimates that 5,000 Syrians have been killed, the majority of whom were noncombatants.
Former Egyptian President Mubarak goes on trial. Libyan rebels enter Tripoli, while Gadhafi goes into hiding. The rebels continue pursuing Gadhafi’s loyalists. Moammar Gadhafi and one of his sons are killed by members of the National Liberation Army. Tunisia holds its first free elections since the country’s independence in 1956. The Islamic party Ennahda wins with over 37 percent of the vote.
After 33 years of rule, President Saleh from Yemen signs an agreement to resign his position. Egyptians begin the first phase of parliamentary elections with the Muslim Brotherhood taking an initial lead in the polls. Bahrain’s security forces are accused of using excessive force against protesters. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa agrees to install reforms.
Photo Credit: Matthew Goldberg , CAS’14 A Jordanian Camel enjoys a cold Coca-Cola on a hot desert day.
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don’t want the violence that radical Islamist governance could bring with it. They want welfare programs, a better economy, better food prices, jobs, but most of all, law and order. In an ideal world, do the Arab countries want to codify Islam to be a part of their everyday society? Yes: it has been at the core of their society for more than 1500 years. However, it wasn’t Islam that started the Arab Spring, it was bread. A vital remaining point that must be addressed is the rise of Salafi Islam around the Middle East over the past several months. Salafi Islam is, in many ways, the Arab equivalent to the Tea Party in the United States. These parties exist to force other, more legitimate, organizations to respond to their criticisms. Democracies tend to keep extreme parties like these relegated to the sidelines. Both the Tea Party and Salafist movements can influence the outcome of elections, but neither movement will ever have a chance to win a majority of the electorate. No one could envision Sarah Palin winning the presidency, so why expect that a Salafi candidate could win in the Middle East? The only things necessary for democracy to survive are basic elements that are already in place. Free elections, rule of law and political pluralism have emerged as a result of the Arab Spring, and given
the recent political and social atmosphere none of these elements appears to be in jeopardy. The Islamist parties are far from united: even supposedly cohesive political units such as the Muslim Brotherhood are divided on certain key issues. Without an effective coordination of these Islamist
“Despite the recent Islamic leanings of Arab states, democracy is more likely than ever to succeed in the Arab world.” factions, new Arab governments will result in political coalitions. Since the Islamist parties will be forced to deal with their counterparts in order to pass legislation, it is unlikely that ruling Islamist parties would ever be able to gain such a wide majority of the vote that they could severely inhibit the democratic process.
Implications of a Revolution:
How the Arab Spring compares to the end of the Cold War By Ali Uslu, CAS ‘15 As night was falling on Berlin in November 1989, the Cold War was on its deathbed. As the “free” world cheered, communism was standing at the brink of collapse. Not much later, the heart of the socialist world fell as Hermés stores and McDonald’s started to appear in Red Square in Moscow. But what was the essence of this change? What were the results of these structural economic and social changes? Has anything changed after all? The Soviet model was loosely based on Marx’s concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Theoretically, the state would be governed by the people and would use its power to ensure the needs of the working class. In practice, this translated into static and monolithic
political structure that created an elite class of bureaucrats and high-ranking officers that regulated, controlled and manipulated the political atmosphere of the country. This model of bureaucratic rule was not unique to this region. In fact, the bureaucratic approach was favored during the era of decolonization. Most of the movements were organized and put into practice by the country’s middle class. For example, as Turks progressed into the 20th century, prominent intellectuals and future policy makers advocated for social and economic protection with an emphasis on a nationalistic economic model. The foremost objective was to create national capital rather than strengthen the economy. This ultimately meant the creation and
Democracy takes time. As free elections occur the Arab people will come to realize what parties and what policies are best for them. Democratic principles will moderate the fundamentalist tendencies of Islamists as such an evolution occurs. However, democracy is not expected to be perfect right away. There may be mistakes at the polls or democratic setbacks. Similar setbacks still occur in democracies like the United States, but as election cycles pass, Arabs will focus on what’s important. This will mean a democracy based in Islamic culture, but with moderated political, social, and economic institutions that will make the Arab world a leading light on democratic modernization. At this point, any firm conjecture about the future of the Arab democracy is merely speculation, but recent developments tend to show an encouraging moderation of the Arab world. Contrary to anti-feminist Islamic practices, the Islamist parties have made promises to allocate seats for women in national legislatures: one-fifth in Tunisia, one-quarter in Egypt, and one-half in Tunisia. Similarly, on Apr. 1, the largest Islamic party in Tunisia, despite pressure from Salafists, declared that they would not base the government on Sharia law. It would appear winter isn’t coming after all.
establishment of a regime consisting of high-ranking soldiers, bureaucrats and judges who would not necessarily leave after the creation of a strong economy. Another example is Egypt, where the free offices movement deposed the monarchy and transformed Egypt from an English client state to a sovereign nation. However, this revolution was marked by violent oppression and the creation of a centrist single-party state, thus creating its own secular, nationalistic regime. The most paramount problem was the regime’s imposing nature; intellectually and politically. Yet what started as a form of enlightened despotism quickly became an old school dictatorship. Thus, the guardian nomenclature decided to forgo its duties and enjoy life. Their fatal mistake was their failure to detect the plummeting of their perceived usefulness as a result of the changes in Middle Eastern demographics. In the 1990s a new generation of young people was born who would be exposed
Summer 2012 to more information than their parents. Danger, however, laid in their numbers rather than the content of information they absorbed. Never before in Arab history had there been such a large social group that shared a common agenda. While they did not necessarily constitute a monolithic class or social identity, they shared a common goal in opposing their government. Internet served as a mere catalyst for change that seemed inevitable under such social and political circumstances. Middle Eastern dictatorships’ inability to offer new jobs, a prosperous and secure life and a decent platform to express needs of this generation prepared the wrath that brought the end of their reigns. This movement of “democratization” could be summoned up as the cleaning out of the bureaucrats, but what’s next? As we have seen in 1989, the dream of democracy could very well turn into a nightmare. Putin’s iron fist is
not all that different from the oppressive Brezhnev days. Economic liberalization and integration with the global economy is a universal objective of these new regimes, but what about democracy? As Slavoj Zizek puts it, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over, if it ever existed. Libya was a dictatorship integrated into the global economy, and so was Egypt. It is very hard to determine where these countries are headed ideologically, but it is obvious that the Muslim Brotherhood and its variants will have some influence. These revolutions would be best interpreted as conflicts between the old secular elites and an alliance between the Islamic conservatives, the traditional opposition base to Middle Eastern dictatorships, and the new young generations, generally liberals. With advanced communication and information technologies, the Muslim Brotherhood managed to organize itself practically everywhere in the Arab world, as the Ba’ath had done so in many countries
during the second half of the 20th century. Under the current economic system, Middle Eastern regimes are the middlemen, and the West is more than happy to bypass them for direct exploitation of the Middle Eastern markets. Whether it is oil or sugary drinks, no company wants a strong nationstate with supreme dominance over its land and its people interfering with business. The Middle East is en route to reform its ways analogous to 1989, yet what happens next is critical and even more important than the revolution itself. Revolution brought the people to crossroads, and whichever road they choose to take, the decision will be irreversible. One can only hope that the Arab Spring will be more successful at defending the ideals of liberty and equality. Arab Spring may become inspiring and mighty, or it may fade away under the iron fists of domestic and foreign oppressive powers. Only time holds the answer to this mystery and it seems that it will hold on to it for a while.
Photo Credit: Maddie Rosenberger , COM ’14 A local convenience store proudly displays the Jordanian flag in al-Jiza, a small town outside Madaba.
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Corruption or Accountability: Management of the Non-Profit and NGO sector By Meredith Peters, CAS ‘13 In recent years there has been an increase in the importance of nongovernmental organizations in world politics. These institutions defend the oppressed, provide a voice to the disadvantaged, and demand attention to issues that governments are hesitant to address. NGOs also play a vital role as watchdogs of governments and businesses, ensuring that treaties are enforced and corporations are honest about their practices. However, if it is the job of NGOs to oversee governments and businesses, then who is responsible for the accountability of NGOs? Because NGOs
are presumed to have noble ideals, many believe that there is little need to examine their operations. Unfortunately this has created an ideal environment for corruption and deceit, in which NGOs operate largely independent from any oversight. It recently came to light that many organizations in this sector, such as Invisible Children, have been engaging in dishonest practices. The most accurate civil society definition of corruption, according to Transparency International, is “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of
people in a position of authority.”1 Society gives NGOs a large amount of authority in the form of monetary funding and personal support, hoping that these funds will be spent responsibly. Finances give NGOs tangible influence, but legitimacy is the most important component of their power. NGO legitimacy was derived from their humane causes and beneficial activities, leaving the public confident that there was no need to examine their activities. The possession of power and legitimacy gives NGOs the opportunity to engage in corruption, but it does not completely account for their dishonest practices. The environment surrounding NGOs promotes dishonest behavior because their practices often have large benefits, both for the organization’s members and for the population assisted by the NGOs. These practices can often
Photo Credit: Maddie Rosenberger , COM ’14 Arab Union for the Blind is a not-for-profit private charitable organization run by the blind for the blind. It was founded in 1932 for the education, rightful employment and servicing of blind persons in Palestine.
Summer 2012 generate the funds needed to provide aid to the disadvantaged, thus justifying their existence and attained through misrepresenting their plans. This practice, undoubtedly corrupt, seems acceptable in the sector because it leads to greater funding to achieve their generally beneficial goals.2 Furthermore, non-governmental workers are often lower-middle class citizens struggling with personal debt, which can lead them into corrupt activities in order to resolve their own financial struggles.3 Due to pressure, environment and opportunities existent in the NGO sector, these organizations commonly engage in many other unethical practices. NGOs have been “co-opted by wealthy donors,”4 used as a front for terrorist organizations,5 participated in bribery and misspent expenditures.6 The main consequences of these actions are that the public is deceived and the money is misspent, reducing the effectiveness of the organization. The only solution to this problem is increasing accountability7 even though it is a long and arduous process. Oversight systems will have to be designed, tested, and evaluated for effectiveness because currently “no industry-wide standards for transparency and accountability are in place.”8 A system that could actually decrease corruption should be able to monitor how NGOs present themselves, their endeavors, their enterprises and their fundraising-to-administration ratio.9 However, by eliminating corruption, unintended negative consequences will occur for the people under the NGO’s mandate. Money to finance investigations and resolutions will be difficult to acquire. Funds will be needed to hire workers to oversee the organization, as well as to pay for the substantial costs of travel, due to the high proportion of NGO activities that take place in remote locations. Therefore, this solution could conceivably deprive vital field operations and, in turn, those individuals most in need of funding. Recently, the media has been focusing on reports of corrupt NGOs. The most known case involves Invisible Children and their campaign to draw attention to the abduction and abuse of children in Africa by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), specifically their video Kony 2012. This short film released on March 5, 2012 was “the fastest spreading viral video of all time.”10 Its purpose is to spread
awareness about the LRA’s commander Joseph Kony, who is indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes charges in order to expedite his capture and end violence in Northern Uganda. Invisible Children has received numerous criticisms following the film’s release. The complaints are centered around the organization’s
“However, by eliminating corruption, unintended negative consequences will occur for the people under the NGO’s mandate. Money to finance investigations and resolutions will be difficult to acquire. ” internal operations procedures, the image portrayed in the film and the impact of their advocacy on peace building efforts.11 Investigations have proven that much of the information in the film is incorrect or misleading. Invisible Children presents Kony as a huge, monstrous presence in Northern Uganda who is causing major problems in the area. In reality, Kony and the LRA operations in Uganda stopped in 2006. While there are many difficulties in the region, most are caused by other rebel groups, drought or the outbreak of “nodding disease.”12 The film embellishes Kony’s current influence in the region; part of the footage used to demonstrate the group’s power is in fact from the early 2000s. Society reacted strongly, accusing Invisible
Children of “manipulating the facts to promote its cause”13 and “intentionally misinterpreting and misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict.”14 Corruption is overtly evident in this case as the organization is essentially lying to the public to gain money for their campaign. While this practice is immoral and takes advantage of the uninformed, the positive impact of this film cannot be denied. The producers skillfully displayed disparities between African and Western life, pulling on America’s heartstrings. This led to an augment of incoming funds and an increase of interest on the current situation of Africa. While the film is a prime example of corruption, it is also one of the most successful campaigns ever launched by an NGO. Kony 2012 may be seen as misrepresenting facts and raising support and funds through misinformation, but its positive impact far outreaches the deceit employed to solicit contributions. Invisible Children justifies their use of misrepresentation by stating that the situation is too difficult to fully explain in a short film and the simplification was necessary.15 If Invisible Children was monitored by an independent agency and not allowed to release this video due to misrepresentation of facts, a large population would still be ignorant about the atrocities occurring in eastern Africa. Further investigation is needed to find a solution to the harmful side effects of accountability on NGOs and their causes. Presently, the only options to limit corruption are through self-reporting and through the work of other NGOs, such as NGO Watch whose purpose is to scrutinize the practices of others in their field. Having an NGO monitor others is bound to result in minimal bias at best, but it is the best solution so far. Research in this area must focus on impartial methods of limiting corruption without requiring NGOs to divert time and funds from their operations. NGOs should be honest to their donors and supporters, but it should always remember that their “primary accountability is to the poor people… that [they serve].”16 Sometimes unscrupulous practices may seem acceptable because they are aiding the disadvantaged, but NGOs must be aware of crossing the blurry line between questionable and immoral.
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Cuba, the OAS and CELAC:
Cuba’s New Role in Latin America By Laura Bachmann, CAS ‘12 The expulsion of Cuba from the Organization of American States (OAS) was a defining point in the organization’s policy. It made having a democratic government system, similar to the American one, a requirement, excluding communist countries from membership. Except for the two year expulsion of Honduras following the coup d’état against the democratically elected President Zelaya in 2009, the OAS has not banned any other members.1 This raises the question of whether Cuba’s expulsion is legitimate or instead, the result of an irrational, personal dispute, originated from the craze of the Cold War. It gives the rest of Latin America some leeway in conducting policies that go hand in hand with the reasons for why Cuba was expelled. Some of the qualifiers for OAS membership cited in the 1962 resolution banning Cuba including “respect for the freedom of man and preservation of his rights,” have not always been followed. There have been gross human rights violations committed against Native Americans in the Amazon in Brazil and Ecuador. Another qualifier for membership, is “nonintervention of one state in the internal or external affairs of another.”2 The U.S. intervened to overthrow governments in Chile, Nicaragua, and Honduras during the Cold War. Although countries failed at times to be democratic, they maintained friendly relations with the U.S., allowing them to remain in the OAS. The Rio Group was founded in 1986 by the members of the Contadora Group: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In 2010 the group had expanded to include 23 countries in Latin America. The inclusion of Cuba represented a blow to U.S. foreign policy, since the group excludes North America and demonstrated the increasing independence of Latin America from U.S. influence.3 The Rio Group was specifically started as an alternative method for dealing with armed conflict in Latin America (especially Central America) in the 1970s. Their other option was U.S. intervention, which often overthrew democratically elected presidents.
In 2010, at a Rio Group Summit in Cancun, Presidents Lula and Chávez proposed a new regional organization to encompass all of Latin America and the Caribbean. Notably, this was the invention of leftist leaders, both friendly, though to varying degrees, with Cuba. At the next Rio Group Summit in Cartagena, Mexico, formal plans were set for the new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). In his opening speech, President Felipe Calderón of
For over a decade the U.S. has neglected Latin America and the region has developed without overwhelming U.S. influence. As a result, regional alliances, involving both trade and diplomacy, have emerged. These include organizations like MERCOSUR, ALBA, CELAC, UNASUR, and others, meaning that Latin America has developed its own position on Cuba. The Castros have been active in the formation of these upcoming regional blocs. Raúl praised the formation of CELAC, calling it the “the most important event on the continent.”7 Fidel and his staunch ally, Hugo Chávez, founded ALBA. Through ALBA, Castro gained a group of allies that were able to argue on his behalf in the OAS. In 2009, just half a year after the addition of Cuba to the Rio Group and the expansion of ALBA to six member states, the ban on
“Cuba has found acceptance in the region despite the traditional hegemony of its northern neighbor.” Mexico said that the bloc would promote economic development and integration and give the region a stronger voice in international settings. Also, the organization would serve as a counterbalance to the OAS.4 CELAC is frequently dismissed in U.S. media as unlikely to achieve more than the promotion of dialog. Since its first summit in December 2011, it has set up a bold agenda and has the potential to become an important multilateral actor and a forum for Latin America to present collective positions in an international setting. At this time, however, the group does not have any permanent institutions, making it appear insignificant.5 More intriguing is whether CELAC can emerge as a true alternative to the OAS. It is now a large and truly regional body, encompassing all 33 independent nations in the region. While left wing leaders in the region clearly hope it will be an alternative, others have tried not to undermine the OAS. For instance, Chile’s President Piñera said at CELAC’s founding summit, “The OAS is a permanent organization that has its own functions.”6 While its impact is unclear, CELAC has the potential to be an influential regional alternative to the OAS.
Cuba from the OAS was officially revoked. The repeal of the resolution banning Cuba has several implications. Cuba’s anti-U.S. position has caught on, and even U.S. allies like Colombia no longer support the embargo and want to invite Cuba to the next OAS Summit.8 Cuba’s ALBA allies pursued Cuba’s interests in the OAS Summits. The decision to repeal the ban of Cuba from the OAS served in a way to delegitimize the organization because it goes against its established position which holds all of its members to democratic standards. Cuba is not a democracy and has yet to undertake major reforms showing it is on a path to democracy. Through diplomacy, Cuba has gained recognition and friends in Latin America, despite U.S. isolation. Cuba has had visits from several heads of state recently, most notably Presidents Lula and Rousseff of Brazil and Calderón of Mexico. Though the 2009 resolution rescinded the 1962 ban on Cuba, it did not immediately extend membership. The second clause resolves “that the participation of the Republic of Cuba in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the
Summer 2012 Government of Cuba, and in accordance with the practices, purposed, and principles of the OAS.”9 The U.S. media reacted to the uplift of the ban by questioning the ability of the OAS to uphold democracy. Many U.S. congressmen denounced the resolution as an assault on human rights and democracy. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida and head of the house committee on foreign relations, called the OAS a “sham of an organization.” Cuba must first engage in a dialogue with the organization and would
need to at least show that it is beginning democratic reforms to gain the approval of the U.S., Canada, and others. Even though the repeal is probably a step in the right direction, U.S. politicians refuse to consider a new approach. All of these events indicate a new chapter for Cuba. Cuba has found acceptance in the region despite the traditional hegemony of its northern neighbor. CELAC could develop into an important regional forum, and perhaps it will one day overshadow the OAS. Latin
America has voiced the opinion that the U.S.’s policy towards Cuba is outdated and has failed. With his first term over and 2012 elections in sight, it is unlikely that President Obama will dare touch the Cuba debate more than he has to. If reelected, he may be more inclined to act. An aging U.S. policy towards Cuba has long been at a rim, seeing no results. Latin America has developed and regrouped with little recognition by the US and is clamoring for a change in policy. Time will tell how the U.S. will respond.
Photo Credit: Kristell Dauphin, CAS ’14 Coconuts and rum are a common sight in street markets in Haiti.
• Created on February 23, 2010, at the Caribbean Community Unity Summit held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. • It consists of 33 sovereign states.
• Created on December 14, 2004 by Presidents Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro. • It consists of 8 member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.
• This regional international organization was created on April 1948. • It consists of 35 member states. • Headquarters are located in Washington, DC.
The International Relations Review
Haiti’s Intractable Political Conflict: An Analysis of Aristide’s Return to Power By Stephanie Miliano, CAS ‘13 Haiti’s lack of a stable government is one of the major reasons for its internal instability and consequent conflict that impedes the consolidation of democracy. The present political instability can be traced back to the exit of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986. This exit destabilized Haiti because after many years under the Duvalier regimes, people had to decide who was going to lead the country and how. The road to democratization is rocky, with many challenges including different groups with conflicting opinions and interests. The emergence of democracy is dependent on whether or not these conflicts are intractable. The conflict in Haiti can be analyzed, and determined to be intractable or not, by using William Zartman’s five characteristics of intractable internal conflict: identity struggles, profitability, ripeness, solution polarization and the protracted time of the conflict. From its independence in 1804, Haiti fought with the status quo established by the white dominating powers at the time. Haiti was the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere. France’s withdrawal from the country left behind many
social divides created by the colonizers, including cleavages between mulattoes and blacks, Christians and Voodoos. Authoritarianism returned with Duvalier but once he was out of power, democratization gave rise to the Aristide camp and the Convergence Démocratique. These two groups differed on the definition of democracy: who should rule and how. The rise of Francois Duvalier in the 1950s represented a step back for democracy in Haiti. As a dictator, he kept a tight grip on many aspects of the country. The end of the Duvalier regime gave rise to powerful classes that continually influenced Haitian politics. The dominant class consisted of the possessing class (the private sector) and the ruling class (people in government or the military). The ruling class took advantage of the private sector’s need for protection in their economic interests.1 Both dominant classes feared social change and therefore united to defeat and suppress the non-elite class.2 Up until the election of Aristide to power, regimes in Haiti changed, but social structure did not. Aristide’s election and the civil society that supported him were a threat
Photo Credit: Kristell Dauphin, CAS ’14 Two young girls display their love of their home country, Haiti, with colorful paint on their arms.
to the dominant class that benefited from the status quo. This threat was met with strong retaliation, which led to the 1991 coup against Aristide. It showed that Haitian “civil society [had] the baggage of a profoundly class-divided nation.”3 Operation Uphold Democracy returned Aristide to power in 1994, but his time out of office changed him. Aristide’s original intentions were to cause social change, but the zero-sum game of Haitian politics that led to the coup against him and changed his identity along with that of the party.4 There were allegations, supported by the CIA in 1993, that he was mentally ill.5 These allegations were made with the help of the Haitian military, Aristide’s main opponents at the time. When any party in a conflict feels the threat to be real, “endangerment becomes part of its identity.”6 For this reason, when Aristide returned to government he was set to suppress anyone who challenged his power and “stifle[d] the development of any autonomous forms of power.”7 Later, Aristide changed the party’s name from Organisation Politique Lavalas to Organisation du peuple en lutte (Struggling People’s Party) in order to reflect Haiti’s change in attitude and self-identification and adopted nepotistic behavior. The Aristide government in 2001 attempted a gouvernement d’ouverture, an “open government,” to welcome members of the opposition into his cabinet. This was a new strategy by Lavalas to eventually absorb the opposition and eliminate it.8 Aristide was able to include some of his enemies from the Duvalier camp, but he did not have the same success with the Convergence Démocratique. Each side engaged in conspiratorial behavior to protect their identity and their beliefs by damaging the other’s.9 This element of identity denigration is evident after the attack on police stations that broke down possible negotiations between the Lavalas and the CD. Each party blamed the other for the attack during the negotiation period.
Photo Credit: Kristell Dauphin, CAS ’14
The Convergence Démocratique was able to afford taking this staunch stance against Aristide because they received funding from the International Republican Institute.10 The IRI’s support ensured the CD’s continued existence and, therefore, the CD did not have to compromise and unite with Aristide. The CD was unwilling to compromise because of fundamental ideological reasons, but it also did not have any incentive to do so. The profitability and corruption during a conflict for the parties involved is one of the most evident characteristics of intractability.11 In this “sauve-qui-peut”12 culture, “control of the state is the means to acquire and monopolize wealth.”13 Each leader’s promise for a better Haiti was their bid at gaining power and attaining wealth like their predecessors. The system disposed of old leaders by replacing them with new leaders who achieved the same lack of results. The broader political conflict had not reached a point in which the parties recognized a stalemate. In the case of the CD and Lavalas, they did not fear imminent mutual destruction. If there had
been a fear of mutual destruction they would have been deterred from attacking each other.14 The conflict had existed for so long that violent episodes became routine. If the direct cost of continuing the conflict is low the conflict will not reach ripeness because the stalemate is “stable, soft, [and] self-serving.”15 This type of stalemate is difficult to recognize
resolution. The intervention by external actors in bringing together the belligerent parties brought hope for a solution. Unfortunately, this hope did not last long. They retreated to their polarized positions and solutions17 soon after the attacks on the police stations when the government arrested suspects, “a majority of whom supported the opposition.” The CD declared
“The road to democratization is rocky, with many challenges including different groups with conflicting opinions and interests.” and allows for the confronting parties to exist with respective followers. Lavalas and the CD would have never recognized a stalemate had they not been pushed to do so by external actors. The U.S. and the Organization of American States recognized, unlike the CD, that domestic support for Aristide was strong16 and the CD’s demand for Aristide to step down was not going to lead to a positive
it would not resume negotiations in “an environment of persecution and terror.”18 Recognition of a stalemate leads to a solution that might not please everyone involved. The solutions Lavalas and the CD suggested were polarizing and left no room for collaborative compromise. The optimal outcome for one was inconceivable to the other, resulting in a zero-sum game. When considering solutions, the interests of the
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parties were the main concern. However, neither was willing to compromise in the interest of the greater good. The promising talks between the Convergence Démocratique and the Lavalas toward some type of peace and recognition of the Aristide government were stalled and eventually collapsed. A violent attack outside of these talks spurred conspiracy theories from both parties accusing each other of organizing the attack in order to dissolve the talks.19 The unwillingness to come to an agreement also arose from the belief that the conflict was a zero-sum game and only one party could win. However, the talks actually represented an opportunity for negotiation in which both could win. The duration of this political instability over whether the elite or civil society will rule has many effects on Haitian society and politics. The instability experienced by the many heads of state fed off of civil unrest and vice versa. It gave rise to a military coup of the democratically elected president to protect elite interests and led to U.S. intervention with Operation Uphold Democracy. Once Aristide was back in power, the protracted conflict, “set up hurdles,”20 in the form of stronger identities. The rise of the Convergence Démocratique further precluded the hope for an end to the conflict. This conflict shows how the history of conflict became part of the identities of these parties and defined the outcome of the situation. The historical reasons for the foundation of these groups go so far back that the real cause for the conflict is almost forgotten. It has been described as a battle simply over personal animosities to the degree that, as put by Edzer Pierre, “amounts to ego and bullshit.”21 The conflict may be protracted if “mediators do not want to touch it.”22 In the case of Haiti, the problem of democratization is a socioeconomic one with the elite looking out for financial interests, rather than general improvement of living conditions. It so happened that the other characteristics like identity polarization were stronger and prevented success to come from outside intervention, which made the conflict return to square zero. Haiti’s inability to consolidate democracy or any type of stable government led to many years of political instability. Many Haitian groups claim to know the right way to rule democratically,
while others are better off with the status quo. These different groups compete to establish a government that benefits their personal objectives and interests. The Zartman framework indicates that Haiti’s political instability is an intractable conflict. Protraction leads to more identities formed; the more identities the harder it is for each to admit defeat in order to move on to a solution. Because these groups do not want to show defeat, they must stick to their positions even if it’s extreme one. An intervention or mediation by outside actors will not solve the inherent and deeply embedded instability of the political system. These groups, at times, did not know why they were in conflict. As soon as a new point of disagreement arose it became the main reason of dispute. Intervention could not solve the disagreement on the
legitimacy of the Aristide government. The profits each received from the conflict led to a stalemate in which all were able to benefit from the conflict. This contributed to the protraction of the conflict because the groups were not threatened with mutual destruction. It was a low-level conflict of low cost to the groups. They were able to maintain it and were in no hurry to recognize the stalemate in order to find a solution. Haiti is a case in which intractability is the result of tightly interwoven factors. Stability cannot be attained in an atmosphere in which the parties do not feel safe to express their political view without fear of violent retaliation. It shows that “corrupt structures of the past do not die easily,”23 and new governments emulate the old ones.
Photo Credit: Kristell Dauphin, CAS ’14 A little boy stands by the road in Port-au-prince, Haiti.
Border Dispute Between Peru and Chile: A Maritime Case Under the Eyes of the International Court of Justice By Jun Il Hwang, CAS ‘12
Photo Credit: Megan Kenslea CAS ’12 The Andes Mountain Range is the longest continental mountain range in the world, stretching across 7,000km (4,300 mi) and running through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile (pictured).
The issue of maritime borders has long been a discussion among nations, similar to the debates over territorial acquisitions. However, until recently, there had been relatively weak laws that defined maritime borders. Due to recent technological developments in equipment used to extract resources, nations have found more ways to unleash their coastal areas’ full economic potential.1 Therefore, nations started taking international maritime laws more seriously and finally began to incorporate them into practice; consequently, the United Nations’ first
conference on the Law of the Sea was held in 1958.2 Despite such improvements, maritime borders remain open to questions. States continue to debate over how nautical borders should be determined and drawn. This discussion of maritime borders is applicable to the questions of the sea borderline between Peru and Chile. In 2008, Peru referred a case against Chile to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to redefine the maritime border between the two nations. According to the plaintiff, the Republic of Peru has tried to negotiate directly with the
defendant; however, the Chilean State has refused to enter diplomatic negotiations regarding the issue.3 Chile has agreed to go to the Hague for this case, even though it had the option of refusing to do so, for it has not accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ;4 it is confident that the Court’s decision will be in its favor and gladly agreed to take the issue to the Hague.5 Currently, the maritime frontier, which is accepted by Chile, is drawn horizontally, approximately following the latitudinal line of 18 degrees South, where the territories of the two states
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Photo Credit: Rodrigo espinoza montalvo , CAS ’14 The sun sets on Makena Beach in Lima, Peru.
meet. However, Peru insists that the current border be drawn southwesterly, following the direction of the territorial borderline between Peru and Chile instead of the geographical parallel. This will give Peru a total area of at least 342,000 square kilometers of the seafood rich water and will deprive Chile of the same area.6 The dispute between the two states rises from differing interpretations of the previous bilateral treaties between the two nations and international laws regarding maritime limitations. Moreover, while Chile refers mostly to the former agreements which both countries were part of, Peru favors looking into customary laws that are particularly practiced in South America.7 Peru suggests that the Court review customary laws in particular since it believes that “no maritime boundary
has ever been agreed” even in the bilateral treaties the two states signed in the past, namely Declaration on the Maritime Zone in 1952, Agreement relating to a Special Maritime Frontier Zone in 1954, and the Act of the Landmark Nº1 in 1969.8 To make matters even more complicated, the maritime border begins in a region that relates to a historical event that involved three different countries: Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. From 1879 to 1883, Bolivia and Peru forged a defensive alliance against Chile and the three nations entered The War of the Pacific. During this conflict, Bolivia lost a large portion of land to Chile and was deprived of its only outlet to the Pacific Ocean.9 To this day, the territory belongs to Chile, and Bolivia questions Chile’s sovereignty over the land. It is from this region that the sea
border starts to stretch out. Therefore, the issue of the maritime border is a sensitive case for the three states, including Bolivia. An understanding of the basic international laws of the sea is necessary to understand the case referred to the ICJ by Peru. According to the international law of the sea, states have direct sovereignty over sea areas within 3 to 12 nautical miles from their coasts.10 Moreover, under the regulations on contiguous zones, a coastal state can exercise customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary regulations within 24 nautical miles of shore.11 However, many nations in South America have unilaterally declared 200 nautical mile zones for their offshore sovereignty and such claims for control over larger breadth of maritime zones are likely to continue.12 The ICJ will consider the case on the maritime border
Summer 2012 between Peru and Chile soon, before the two parties make further claims on this issue. What affects this case even more deeply is the concern of Exclusive Economic Zones. Under EEZs, a coastal state is granted “two kinds of authority: sovereign rights over the natural resources of the water column and jurisdiction over activities affecting those resources, including offshore platforms and artificial islands, marine pollution prevention, and marine scientific research.”13 Therefore, even if South America’s unilateral claims on 200 nautical miles of direct sovereignty offshore turn out to be futile, the decision by the ICJ on the maritime border will affect the rights of the two states over natural resources, mainly over fish stocks and activities concerning those resources.14 There are other pieces of international law that apply as much as the bilateral treaties and the laws of the sea. First of all, customary laws of South America will have particular influence on this case. “Custom is an evidence of a general practice accepted as law” and it even has power to “exert an influence and change the treaty rule”.15 For example, a maritime border issue between Qatar and Bahrain arrived at The Hague in 2001 and the Court noted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’s Article 15, which illustrates the principle of Equidistance, has a customary law character.16 It also stated, “The most logical and widely practiced approach is first to draw provisionally an equitable line and then to consider whether that line must be adjusted in the light of existence of special circumstances.”17 Since the article did not define the special circumstances, it is up to the ICJ to define them for each case. This concept of international law gives chances for both parties of the case to challenge the written documents that relate to their maritime border and bring other diplomatic factors into the case as “special circumstances.” In its attempt to change the frontier line, Peru strongly urges that the Court consider customary laws, since Chile continually brings up the bilateral treaties they had regarding the maritime zones. Peru acknowledges that it had made some agreements with Chile regarding the maritime zones, but argues that none of the treaties refer to the maritime borders.18 Moreover, Peru looks at the Principle of
Equidistance, which supports the idea that median line beyond the coast between two adjacent countries should be equidistant from each other, because, according to Peru, Chile currently holds right to a stretch of 200 nautical miles of its sea, while it only possesses a stretch of between 0 to 40 nautical miles of Peruvian coast.19 Chile denies the claims from the other country regarding altering the current
Germany and Denmark faced a conflict over a maritime border issue, and unlike the case between Qatar and Bahrain, the ICJ did not take customary practices into account against the Principle of Equidistance.24 Another case that the two states could look at as a model for solving their dispute is Jan Mayen, involving Denmark and Norway. That case revolved around a disputed maritime boundary between
“The dispute between the two states rises from differing interpretations of the previous bilateral treaties between the two nations and international laws regarding maritime limitations ” maritime border and refers back to bilateral agreements both parties concluded over the maritime borderline in the past.20 Chile names three bilateral treaties in particular: ‘Declaration on the Maritime Zone’ in 1952, ‘Agreement relating to a Special Maritime Frontier Zone’ in 1954, and the ‘Act of the Landmark Nº1’ in 1969.21 Moreover, the defendant claims that the geographical parallel has long been a standard nautical frontier between the two countries and that, in fact, it has become a customary law for this matter. Furthermore, it presents the case of the Qatar and Bahrain maritime border issue in 2001 as an example of an exception to the Principle of Equidistance. Peru again refuses to accept Chile’s position by stating counter examples and interpreting the bilateral agreements in depth. It displays that the objective of the treaty ‘Declaration on the Maritime Zone’ in 1952 was “to adopt agreements over the problems originated by the hunting of whales in waters of the Southern Pacific and the industrialization of its products.”22 It also argues that ‘Agreement relating to a Special Maritime Frontier Zone’ in 1954 settled fishing boundaries, not a legal delimitation.23 Moreover, it presents a case opposing the Qatari and Bahraini that Chile submitted. In 1988, the Federal Republic of
Greenland, owned by Denmark, and Jan Mayen Island, possessed by Norway. The ICJ allowed the two nations equal access to the disputed areas of the sea. Although Peru and Chile could take this alternative, many of the circumstances could be different and the Court should consider, before imposing this solution. The decision by the ICJ for this case is likely to have impacts not only for these two countries but for the entire region and possibly throughout the world. Peru has territorial border with Ecuador in the north and also has a maritime border with that country. If the Court decides in Peru’s favor, it is very likely that the other maritime border in the north would change. Therefore, the decision made by the ICJ will not only affect Peru and Chile but also future maritime border issues and possibly nautical frontiers of other neighboring nations. Moreover, the fishing industry, which is one of the major components in the discussion of the law of the sea, is a big part of both Peru and Chile’s economy.25 Consequently, the decision by the Court will have a tremendous effect for both states. It is essential that the case be reviewed carefully and prudently to promote justice and equity, and to set a model for future maritime border cases.
The International Relations Review
A Window of Opportunity for U.S.-Iran Relations By Richard Berger, CAS ‘13 "The 1143-year-long war had been begun on false pretenses and only continued because the two races were unable to communicate. Once they could talk, the first question was 'Why did you start this thing?' and the answer was 'Me?'" Though lifted from Joe Haldeman's The Forever War—an allegorical novel of the Vietnam War—this sad conclusion would be equally apposite to an Israeli-American war with Iran. Nobody believes that Iranian possession of nuclear weapons will improve any nation’s strategic situation. Why, then, have negotiations been bogged down for a decade and taken so many wrong turns? On April 15, Obama said that “we still have a window in which to resolve this conflict diplomatically. That window is closing and Iran needs to take advantage of it.”1 The April 16 Istanbul talks produced a long-awaited shift when Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called the negotiations “a turning point.” He offered that Iran was “prepared to resolve the nuclear dispute... providing the West shows goodwill by easing sanctions.”2 Though Obama wasn't privy to the Istanbul developments,
his eschewing any responsibility for the United States to "[take] advantage of the window” reflects the continued halfhearted attempts by U.S. officials to understand the negotiating climate. The American debate on Iran's nuclear program is undermined by
“ ...linking Iranian and American policy objectives is impossible if Iranian aims are misunderstood” two failures of policymakers: first, an ahistorical view of Iranian-American relations married to an inability to consider Iranian viewpoints; second, an ignoring or deliberate eliding of crucial linkages between convergent policy objectives. These two mistakes are mutually reinforcing and
Photo Credit: Mahtab motazedian CAS ’14 A poster of Ayatollah hangs in an Iranian marketplace.
especially pernicious. Because of a desire to cast Iran as part of the ‘axis of evil,’ any recourse to historical facts is discouraged and linking Iranian and American policy objectives is impossible if Iranian aims are misunderstood. These two distortions in thought preclude use of an untried policy option: the partial cessation of sanctions against Iran. Removal of extant sanctions, rather than the threat of new sanctions, has never been tried. It is time for the U.S. to use the diplomatic leverage it has stored in the longstanding patchwork of sanctions. Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian summarized American-Iranian negotiations since 2003 and concluded, “The United States missed great opportunities...but both sides would have needed a stronger commitment to changing the direction”.3 His characterization of the negotiations as a cat and mouse game, evocative of the Craigslist “missed opportunities” section, is roughly correct. However, the failure is more fundamental and deepseated than Mousavian admits. The two administrations have never met in earnest despite recent short-term partnerships, like deposing the Taliban in 2001. The failure to connect short-term objectives to the long-term similarity of IranianAmerican Persian Gulf objectives shows a basic distrust of each other. Iran feels threatened and has retaliated by acting in ways that threaten others. On the American side, this led to a long-standing, incorrect appraisal of the Iranian regime as irrational. In Feb. 1980, President Jimmy Carter was asked whether the 1953 removal of Mohammed Mossadegh by the CIA might be connected to the American embassy hostage crisis. He dismissed the idea as “ancient history” and added that it was not “appropriate or helpful for [him] to go into the propriety of something that happened 30 years ago.”4 That Operation Ajax played second fiddle to the American acceptance of the exiled Shah that October is no matter. Carter’s championing of a view lacking any historical context set the stage for
Summer 2012 continued indifference to Iranian reasoning. Iranian-American relations have deteriorated since George W. Bush's inclusion of Iran in the axis of evil in January 2002. States of tension equal or greater to the current climate occurred in 2005 and 2007, and Iranian nuclear capabilities have been “one year away” every year since. From this history emerges an essentially cyclical process in which mainstreaming the issue of Iranian nuclear development occurs periodically in the hope of defining a new strategic adversary. In 2008, while on the campaign-trail, thenSenator Obama said, “The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.” Implicit in his view that Iran “challenges us across the region” is an interesting corollary: Iran has an ability to bolster the security of both Afghanistan and Iraq, an ability that has never been recognized or alluded to by American administrations since the Iranian-American alliance in 2001. U.S. officials have been parsing Ayatollah Khameini's garbage
heap—analyzing his fatwa against nuclear weapons, for example—for a decade, yet none have talked to Iranian leaders directly. There are dozens of diplomats clamoring for a chance to sit down with Iranian negotiators,5 but politically equal dialogue can't flourish when the American president expresses something like glee at the Iranian economy being “in shambles.”6 Obama's rhetoric toward Iran hasn't changed since his first day in office; the thought that he would diplomatically engage Iran comes from the same mindset that preemptively awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Dec. 2010, added that Iran can enrich uranium “once they have demonstrated that they can do so in a responsible manner.” Adopting a condescending tone—talking to Iran as a parent talks to a child—does nothing for U.S. objectives and only provides Iranian leaders clear evidence to shore up their anti-imperialistic propaganda campaign. To understand the mindset of
Iranian officials is not to condone any of their decisions, and if American officials could see the Iranian point-of-view, much of the mutual distrust could be dispelled. Briefly, Iran feels threatened by the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Central Asian Republics and several of the Gulf States. As Ray Tayekh notes, the March 2003 invasion of Iraq shocked the Iranian government: “Iran had fought for eight years without securing even a modest change of the boundaries, and yet in three weeks, American forces had managed to march into Baghdad.”7 Tehran reacted quite rationally by floating a generous offer to Washington soon after, only to be denied a reply by the Bush administration for no valid reason. Most likely they had mistakenly decided that Iran, like Saddam's Iraq, could not be negotiated with or deterred. Many Iranians remember the American allegiance with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, and are quick to view the U.S. as adversarial in the cases of the
Photo Credit: Mahtab motazedian CAS ’14
The International Relations Review
Stuxnet worm, scientist assassinations, allegations of an Iranian plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in late 2011 and the RQ170 crash in October of the same year. The veracity of these allegations is immaterial to the state-controlled news organs of Iran and in public proclamations by Iranian policymakers, who have long defined their foreign policy against “The Great Satan.” Israeli-American portrayals of Iranian policy ironically follow a similar logic. The War on Terrorism, though misguided by definition, strategically selfdefeating and quixotically vague, is more importantly unsatisfactory to the public. The United States and Israel both share foreign policy agendas that rely on expansionist external threats for their justification. The
scrambling of neoconservatives to find a worthy enemy to replace the Soviet Union is being repeated here on a smaller scale. Saddam Hussein was deposed and the Taliban removed from theocratic rule; the fear of Chinese ascension is rooted in economics and therefore boring, while North Korean policy options are few. This leaves Iran, publicly designated a black sheep in 2002, as the “winner” for geopolitical villain of the U.S. In contrast to the American focus on global terrorism, Israeli foreign policy is primarily defined against the weakening militant wings of Palestinian nationalism and the increasingly independent Hezbollah.8 Israel views Iran as an existential threat bent on regional domination and the obliteration of the
Photo Credit: Mahtab motazedian CAS ’14
Jewish state. Here, American and Israeli foreign policies explicitly converge in error. Writing in late December, Stephen Walt nimbly opened the debate by noting that the case for war is often made by presenting the “worst consequences of inaction” and the “best possible military outcomes.”9 The above inability to understand the Iranian viewpoint culminates in an absurd accounting of Iranian aims and capabilities and sets the scene for overblown cases requiring military action. Core arguments levied for intervention are that a nuclear Iran would destabilize the region—whether by sparking a nuclear arms race or by overt territorial aggression—and that a nuclear Iran poses an threat to Israel’s existence. The case for nuclear domino theory in the Persian Gulf is repeatedly invoked as if it were an a priori truth. Israeli possession of nuclear weapons since the mid-1960s has not sparked an arms race. This alone would be damning evidence, but it must be added that over half of this period was defined by Israeli concerns over Arab denials of Israel’s right to exist and Arab fears of a Greater Israel. If the 1967 or 1973 Arab-Israeli wars failed to spark a nuclear arms race, there is no reason to believe that Iranian nuclear capability would trigger one. Iran's two primary foreign policy challenges since the inception of the Islamic Republic were Iraqi aggression under Saddam Hussein and the ascension of the Taliban in Afghanistan, both of which have been conveniently removed by the U.S. Under Khomeini, Iran has not indicated a wish for territorial expansion, except for an occasional covetous glance at Bahrain. Notwithstanding the friendship with Syria, there exist no potential allies for Iran in the area. The umma's opinion on Iranian leadership has been dropping for two years in light of its hypocrisy in championing the sovereignty of Islamic consciousness whilst meddling in the affairs of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Additionally, the fear of nuclear proliferation was proven unfounded in the countries of the former Soviet Union and in Pakistan—a half-dozen countries with far greater instability and disorganization than Iran. The cornerstone of real friendship, which the United States and Israel claim to have, is honesty and an obligation to alert a friend when their
Summer 2012 beliefs and actions are self-damaging. The allegation that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel is frequently proclaimed, always unchallenged and completely false. Insofar as Iran and Israel are pitted against one another, the ideological battleground is Palestinian nationalism, not Israel's right to exist. Iran is aware that striking Israel would kill millions of Palestinians and ruin the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and is also cognizant of Israel’s disproportionate conventional military strength and the strength of Israel’s allies. Thus, fears of the “worst possible consequences of inaction” are wholly unfounded and have prevented genuine negotiation. But even for those with a less dire view of Iranian aims, the championed policy over the last eight years has been increasingly harsh sanctions despite no clear evidence of their effectiveness. Professor Kayhan Barzegar has aptly summarized the effect of the sanctions to date: they have “led Iran to build approximately 8,000 more centrifuges, increase the degree of enrichment by 20 percent, establish a new nuclear site, and move many enrichment activities to a site at Fordo...Iran has also recently expressed its determination to use 20 percent indigenous enriched fuel in the Tehran Research Reactor in the near future. Iran's threat last month to shut down the Strait of Hormuz is another case in point.”10 The painfully obvious conclusion is that ratcheting up sanctions has failed to moderate Iranian actions and has backfired in two ancillary ways. First, sanctions have pushed Iran toward Beijing and New Delhi: in 2004 Iran and China signed a $75 billion liquefied natural gas deal over 25 years and soon after conducted a similar oil deal with India worth $40 billion.11 Second, sanctions furnish convenient evidence to support an anti-American narrative that Ahmedinejad and Khameini dearly need to retain power. The actions taken to stop Iran from developing nuclear capability and Iranian responses to the same have contributed to a mutually harmful downward spiral. To end this spiral, U.S. officials must realize the potential benefits of cooperation, not just the hypothetical ramifications of Iranian nuclear weaponry. Several Iranian objectives coincide with American aims: a stable Iraq and Afghanistan are
desirable to both, and American military efforts would prove far more successful if coupled with Iranian diplomatic exertion in Shi'a Iraq and Western Afghanistan. The geopolitical negotiating weight of Turkey is renowned; as a high-functioning Islamic democracy, it can go places and say things the U.S. simply cannot. Iran can fill a similar role in the Persian Gulf as its geography and influence extend to areas of conflict in which the U.S. is failing. Levantine stability is desired by both, and both Palestinian nationhood and Israeli security cannot be achieved without the mutually reinforcing efforts of both countries. Iran is aiding the Syrian regime economically and militarily in ways that complicate efforts toward ceasefire and future regime change. Nothing can be done
hasn't been effective largely for the same reasons Khomeini was able to hijack the 1979 revolution: the protesters aren't ready to commit to the level of violence the clergy employs. Iranian citizens do not desire imposed regime change and American support for the democratic dissidents compromises their effectiveness, as journalist Stephen Kinzer has noted.13 The best course of action is thus to halt the militarized portion of the Iranian nuclear program through negotiation and allow regime change to come about internally. Mutual concessions should first include an immediate change in Iranian enrichment policies in return for the selective lifting of sanctions. Western recognition of Iran's ability to continue its peaceful nuclear energy program can precede complete
“ The United States and Israel both share foreign policy agendas that rely on expansionist external threats for their justification” in Syria without effects in Iran and vice versa, but a side effect is that pressure can be exerted on Assad through withdrawal of Iranian support. If tensions with the West dissipated, this might be a possibility. In the event of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran, there would be serious complications in global oil flow, adversely affecting international attempts at economic recovery. Additionally, Iranian leadership would coalesce, though effects on the populace will be disparate, with the possibility that nationalism would trump desire for regime change.12 War will provide a convenient cover for further repression of democratic dissidents in Iran, as it did in the 1980s. This would effectively halt any growth of the Green Revolution since 2009. Over a million of Iran's children were thrown away in the Iran-Iraq War, and the remaining popular contempt for the regime becomes clear when one combines opinion polls with anecdotal evidence like Reading Lolita in Tehran, from the exiled Azar Nafisi. The nascent protest movement
opening of all nuclear-associated facilities to the IAEA. Compliance with inspections would be coupled with the cancellation of impending sanctions. The Syrian crisis is too volatile to be useful in negotiations; instead, a joint recognition of overlapping policy objectives in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arab-Israeli conflict should be pursued. In 1953, Dean Acheson spoke on the “block-headed British:”14 “Never had so few lost so much so stupidly and so fast.” The U.S. runs the risk of inheriting this expression if it fails to reverse its policy toward Iran. If this is going to be the “New American Century,” the United States and Iran must not only reset their relations, but restore embassies and continually defuse tensions. Iran cannot continue as a pariah state, and American geopolitical goals—the flourishing of Iraqi democracy, global oil stability, Syrian regime change, Arab-Israeli peace, and some semblance of order in Afghanistan— are unmanageable without the cooperation of Iran. Our policy should reflect this.
The International Relations Review
Former President of Zambia His Excellency Rupiah Banda on Democracy in Africa IR Review staff writer, Amrita Singh, interviewed former president of Zambia, His Excellency Rupiah Banda, about his experience with democracy in Africa. His Excellency Banda was residing at Boston University until May 2012, through the African Presidential Center of Boston University (APC) as a participant in the President-in-Residency program. By Amrita Singh, CAS ‘14
After speaking to the director of the African Presidential Center at Boston University (APC), Ambassador Stith, it is evident that the cooperation of His Excellency Banda is not only essential for the progress of democracy within Zambia but also for the entire continent of Africa. “We probably couldn’t have anyone who better personifies and understands the challenges the continent is facing right now. During Banda’s tenure in office, Zambia had a growth rate of 7.6 percent. Especially
during the middle of a global recession, one would have thought that the people would not only build a statue for him, but would have certainly re-elected him by an overwhelming majority. Yet, he lost. The election was close and Banda did not contest the outcome, but instead stepped aside without drama or rancor to preserve democracy in his country. Not only is that good for the short term prospects of democracy in Zambia, but that’s also the kind of statesmanship that helps anchor democracy in the country for a long time.”
Photo Credit: Amrita Singh CAS ’14
Amrita Singh with Former President of Zambia and his wife after His Excellency’s presidential speech. Banda was in office from June 29, 2008 to September 23, 2011. Michael Sata succeeded Rupiah Banda and is the current President of Zambia.
Summer 2012 Amrita: What were your main priorities
as President of Zambia during your tenure?
His Excellency Banda: The priorities
that we promised the people during the campaign were that we would try to improve the standard living for the people, so that by the time we left, Zambia would be a better place. We would do this by creating more jobs for our people. We put policies in place to encourage direct investment into the country to improve opportunities for employment. We also rebuilt schools, something which had not been done for many years, from the primary to the university level. We promised the people that we would put economic policies in place that would stimulate growth. By the time I was leaving office, economic growth had certainly occurred as the growth rate exceeded seven percent. We also had saved enough money in the Bank of Zambia to increase the Zambian foreign reserves from almost zero to 2.6 billion dollars. Also, agriculture is very much a part of the economy. If you are not able to feed yourself, you must spend a lot of money on foreign exchange to bring in food from other countries. Having good agricultural policies enabled our people to grow enough maize, our staple crop, as well as other crops each year for three consecutive years during my presidency. Therefore we did not need to import food from outside and we were even able to sell some of our crops to our neighbors. Those were our main policies and the Zambian people appreciated it. You could see the change in the country. We were commended by the IMF and by Standard and Poor’s as well as FITCH for our economic growth and given a higher rating than before. We were given a B+.
organizations that need my assistance. For example, during the last election in the Congo, the Carter Foundation asked me to lead their observation of the elections. I have received a number of invitations to observe the elections in Lesotho. I will also be at the meetings in South Africa that will take place through BU’s African Presidential Center, where I will be engaging with former presidents. There will be a lot of these things happening in Africa, which will require people like myself to make sure elections and transitions go smoothly.
Amrita: What do you hope to accomplish by coming to the United States and giving lectures at different universities and conferences?
His Excellency Banda: We have
already accomplished much simply by speaking to young people. I hope they have learned something from someone who has been the head of state in a successful country. We have had a number of meetings with young people and with professors in Atlanta, North Carolina and here in Boston, on a number of issues that concern the world, Africa and Zambia in particular. I have found that young people in the United States are very interested and concerned about the future of Africa. I will continue to rely on young people in Africa as well. The young people are the future of the world. I will always have time to speak to them. I have a duty as a former president to show my colleagues that there is life after presidency. There is no need to cling onto presidency once the people have
voted. You must go and do something. I have a little farm that I will be paying more attention to when I return home as well.
Amrita: What are your expectations for democracy in Africa, especially with recent events in Mali?
Excellency Banda: I am optimistic about democracy in Africa because all the organizations in Africa, the political organizations and the leaders of every country in Africa have agreed that they will defend democracy. That is why the Malian situation is where it is now. The ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] neighbors and West African leaders have taken steps, which have compelled the people who have staged the coup in Mali to step down and realize that arrangements must be made to put civilian rule back in place. After the elections is when the democratic process occurred. I did everything in my power to hand control over to my colleague. I had done my job. Now, there is a new government in place. I am very optimistic about Africa. I know it has been called all kinds of names, including the “dark continent.” But I think many countries in Africa are on their way to growth in economic, industrial mining, and agriculture sectors. I have a lot of hope that Africa will emerge as a continent where growth is vivid. They’ve got everything – a good climate, good soil, good populations – and our people can transform the continent, especially once we achieve stability in our governments.
Amrita: How have your priorities changed as you transition into a retired president?
His Excellency Banda: My priorities
have to change so that I can leave room for my colleague to bring his new policies into place. It is still not clear what my colleagues want to do, but we will see as time goes on. Boston gives me a good opportunity to reflect about the past and to think about what to do in the future. I am going back home in May and will be available to any
Photo Credit: Mahtab motazedian CAS ’14 His Excellency President Rupiah Banda gave his inaugural address at Boston University on April 2, 2012
The South China Sea: A New Era of International Conflict When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in 2010 that the U.S. had a “national interest” in the South China Sea and would extend assistance in facilitating talks between the conflicting nations, she received a dismissive response from the Chinese.1 “Regarding the role of the United States in this, the United States is not a claimant state to the dispute,” said Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai. “So it is better for the United States to leave the dispute to be sorted out between the claimant states.”2 The South China Sea has long been a disputed area, with six nations voicing territorial claims over the oilrich Paracel and Spratly Islands. China, Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia stake claim to all or part of this sea, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The South China Sea extends from the Straits of Malacca to the Straits of Taiwan and sees passage of 50 percent of all oil shipped worldwide as well as 50 percent of goods shipped by merchant ships.3 It is a crucial link between the Indian and Pacific oceans and thus is crucial to the global economy and the balance of naval power in the region. Conflicting claims stem from political and historical claims from different
Photo Credit: Molly Masterson CAS ’13
regions. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) mandated a 200 Nautical Mile limit from a coastal state’s baseline, establishing the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of a country. China and Taiwan also claim that their territory and national economy have for hundreds of years included these islands in the South China Sea. Truly, the argument is between who owns what resources, as the EEZ grants rights to the seabed, subsoil, and superjacent waters.4 Thirty percent of the world’s fishing, oil, and coral reefs resources, which are located in this area, are in question with these intersecting territorial lines. In April of this year, Russia and China conducted joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, involving drills for antisubmarine and rescue of hijacked vessel operations. Considering the tensions between China and the other conflicting states in the region, this display of naval operations in the Sea just north of the disputed area signals China’s military might in the region.5 It also indicates a shift in bilateral relations between Russia and China, which have “oscillated between friend and foe” over the past century.6 In the week before Russia and China’s joint tests, the U.S. and the Philippines conducted even more inflammatory naval drills, including a mock beach invasion of China’s east coast.7 These exercises followed a standoff between the Philippines and China at Scarborough Shoal, during which a Chinese fishing vessel entered disputed waters. The Chinese Navy blocked a Philippine warship from approaching the fishing boat, and the Chinese boat was allowed to keep its catch despite being caught illegally.8 Since China began its rise to great power status, U.S.-China relations have avoided the instability and rivalry that defined U.S.-Soviet competition. However, China has begun constructing an aircraft carrier, a warship that defines naval power projection in this century. It is as if China is now pursuing a Mahanian policy of seapower, in which a state gains great
power status through the development of an equally strong and powerful navy. However, the Chinese White Paper creates a deviation from the Mahanian seapower theory, as it defines the country’s naval policy to be one that “develops itself through upholding world peace, never engaging in aggression or expansion, and pursuing a defence policy which is defensive in nature.”9 The development of China’s navy can at best be described as two faced: on one side China is engaging in aggression by performing demonstrations in conflicted areas, yet on the other side China is pursuing a peaceful defence policy excluding aggression. Experts predict that the South China Sea will be the next arena for global conflict. The region is exemplary of the era of global conflicts defined as “resource wars,” a term coined by Michael T. Klare.10 At the core of the conflict is the competition for resources and advantageous economic positions. This competition fuels the military actions and naval arms race in the region. However, what is different in this conflict than other disputes elsewhere is culture. The “Asian Way,” a cultural phenomenon which preaches respect for diversity, consensus building, pragmatism, and economic gradualism,11 could be the key to a peaceful solution. This culture that fosters cooperation perhaps is the reason why the region has not burst into armed conflict. To understand this new era of international conflicts, the interventionist and alliance policies of surrounding powers, such as American relations with Taiwan and the Philippines and Russian relations with China must be observed. Aside from the nations that are taking part in the area, the institution that is most involved in resolving the issue is UNCLOS. Since the U.S. has not signed UNCLOS, it is only an observer to any maritime dispute that UNCLOS undertakes, including this one. The “Asian Way” should take its course in the South China Sea with the United States and other outside powers left on the sidelines.
The International Relations Review
The International Relations Review Summer 2012 Volume III, Issue III Maddie Rosenberger, Editor-in-Chief Sarah Miller, Senior Layout Editor Katrina Trost, Senior Copy Editor Jatnna Garcia, Senior Copy Editor Abbie Gotter, Copy Editor Amrita Singh, Copy Editor Jason Chappell, Copy Editor Fatima Mohie-Eldin, Copy Editor Kelsey O’Neil, Copy Editor Sofiya Mahdi, Staff Writer Rebecca Shipler, Staff Writer Megan Kenslea, Staff Writer
COM ’14 CAS ’13 CAS ’14 CAS ’14 CAS ’14 CAS ’14 COM ’14 CAS ’15 CAS ’14 CAS ’14 CAS ’15 CAS ’12
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ISSN 2151-738X (Print) ISSN 2151-7398 (Online) Vol. III, Issue III Since 2009