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The International Relations Review


Published independently by the undergraduate students of Boston University since 2009 Andrew Facini, Editor


The International Relations Review

Winter 2010 In this issue: Turkey’s Emergence as a Pivotal Player in the Middle East p. 3

by Phillip Brougham, CAS ’12

The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement: A Policy for American Lawmakers p. 5

by Jennifer Prüfer, CAS ’10

Forgotten Heroes: A History of Muslim-Jew Relations in North Africa p. 7

by Arsla Jawaid, CAS ’10

Destination Ecuador: Naturally Beautiful, Wonderful People and a touch of Political Instability p. 8

by Hector Soriano, CAS ’11

Staff Editorial The Real Meaning of COP15 p. 10

The International Relations Review Volume 1, Issue 1 Print date Dec. 10, 2009

Andrew Facini, Editor-in-Chief Natasha Cohen, Managing Editor Joshua Levkowitz, Editorial Editor

CAS ’10 CAS ’12 CAS ’11

Elizabeth Prinz, Copy Editor CAS/COM ’10 Edward Hill, Asst. Copy Editor CAS ’11 Giuseppe Caruso, Asst. Copy Editor CAS ’11 This issue’s cover shot courtesy Serame Castillo, CAS ’10 Original found on page 11

The International Relations Review, ISSN 2151-738X, is a fully independent publication of the undergraduate students of Boston University. It is a subsidiary of the Boston University International Affairs Association. For advertising rates and circulation information, please visit:

Winter 2009

Turkey’s Emergence as a Pivotal Player in the Middle East By Phillip Brougham, CAS ’12 It is becoming clear that Turkey is entering a new era in its history. The old policies of a tight U.S. alliance and hostility towards former Ottoman neighbors have been turned on their heads. Turkey has abandoned its Cold War stance and reshaped its foreign policy, which is now leading the country to a privileged position in the Middle East. A Turkish revival is well underway, and it has flourished through diplomatic footwork and increasing trade with its neighbors. This eastward movement was inevitable due to Turkey’s geographic location, its burgeoning economy, the renewal of Islamic feeling after a period of separation of religion and state, and finally, Turkish frustration with protracted E.U. membership negotiations.1 This changing stance is not designed to affront the west;2 the Turks present themselves favorably to the United States and European Union as an accessible bridge to the Middle East, a force in the region for peace and stability and a model for democracy in harmony with Islam.3 But the eastward shift does illustrate growing discomfort with Western policies, from support of Israeli actions in Gaza to the arduous E.U. accession procedure, which has led many Turks to feel indifference towards their entry into “Europe’s club.”4 A foreign policy of “zero problems” with neighbors, advocated staunchly by foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, can be held largely responsible for the new perspectives. It is a policy of utilizing Turkish soft power through tools such as trade and historic and cultural links to promote peace and

stability in the region. To illustrate, Turkish imports grew sevenfold to nearly $31 billion in 2008; Turkish products, which were once unheard of, have now proliferated to every corner of the Middle East. Turkey has doggedly strived for trading privileges with regional neighbors. It has already signed free-trade pacts with Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia, and is currently pursuing a similar arrangement with the Gulf Co-operation Council.5


with Armenia, its historic enemy. This thaw indicates the depth of Turkey’s willingness to pursue its new foreign policy. Turkish policy becomes even more geopolitically significant in Turkey’s relationship with Iran. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey warmly congratulated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his disputed election victory in June in an effort to keep links open with the isolated Islamic Republic.7

“In particular, the U.S. must find a way to profit from Turkey’s development if it has any hope of another round of sanctions against Iran.”

Turkey is also seeking confidence-building and stabilizing measures with its neighbors that are designed to end years of tension and hostility. In October 2009 Turkish ministers drafted separate agreements with Iraq and Syria, which involved wide ranging issues from tourism to joint military exercises.6 More impressively, after years of hostility, Turkey is close to restoring diplomatic relations

In a classic example of realpolitik, Erdogan has publicly supported Iran’s right to nuclear energy for civic use and also requires no visas for Iranian nationals in Turkey.8 As a result, Turkey has great sway with Iran, and is vital to any nucleContinued on page 4

The Sun Sets on the Capitol The U.S. Capitol sits thousands of miles from Istanbul, but will the two nations’ policies move closer in coming years? Photo credit: Jennifer Prüfer, CAS ’10


The International Relations Review ar negotiation or sanctions that the United States desires. Turkey’s geography plays a major role in its growing leverage in the region, as it is a key corridor for funneling energy from resourcerich countries in the east into central Europe. This is becoming more apparent as the proposed Nabucco pipeline is set to carry gas through Turkey from Azerbaijan, and possibly Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq and Egypt. The $11.7 billion pipeline would displace Russia as the principal supplier of natural gas into central Europe and would eventually challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabian oil reserves.9 Turkey’s role as an energy bridge into Europe will greatly effect the geostrategic composition of the region and forces the U.S. and the E.U. to re-evaluate their positions on Turkey. Turkey’s recent rise in the world stage can be attributed to factors other than their pragmatic foreign policy. The reforms that were demanded by the E.U. to meet accession standards shifted power from generals to civil institutions. The seat of power moved to a self-professed Muslim elite based in Anatolia rather than westward-leaning Istanbul.10 A ruling class that sought greater affinity in the Islamic world set the course for a new direction in Turkish politics. This rapprochement is reciprocated by many Muslims, who feel that Turkey is a moderate power to counter Iran, and furthermore it is a bridge to the west: Turkey is a filter of western ideas and culture, and in that way, acts as a buffer. Moreover, a large reason for Turkey’s widespread success is that their growth is taking place in a regional power vacuum. The “southern tier” of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq no longer carries the same clout as it did 10 years ago; as Saudi Arabia will eventually be overtaken by Turkey through its role as an energy bridge, Egypt is marred in economic stagnation

and a succession crisis and Iraq has been torn by war. This moderate “southern tier,” on which the U.S. has based so many of their policies, is quickly becoming feeble and unreliable, and therefore is in no position to confront Iran and its allies. The diminishing grasp of the “southern tier” is coupled with the decline of U.S. influence in the region as a result of the War in Iraq.11 The U.S. must now readjust its policies to accommodate Turkey. Therefore, key western players must be aware of Turkey’s rise and its tremendous potential for impact in the region. In particular, the U.S. must find a way to profit from Turkey’s development if it has any hope of another round of sanctions against Iran. Any sanctions would fail mainly because of an impotent alliance of pro-western Arab states, not because of any unwillingness on the part of Russia or China.12 The U.S. needs Turkey, as it is the only nation with regional influence that can confront Iran. The Western powers must shift their focus from the “southern tier” allies to Turkey, whose power is rising.

The threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel’s security and the future of energy stocks can be solved by understanding the new balance of power in the Middle East, one that is tipped in Turkey’s favor. If U.S. interests are to be realized, then the new reality in the Middle East must be recognized, as the strategic composition on which they have been basing their assumptions is changing dramatically. Turkey’s emergence is just as significant as that of Iran, if not more so. The U.S. must adapt to the new order if it has any designs for the future of the region. ----[1, 3, 7, 10] “Happy Arabs, Outraged Israelis.” The Economist. 22 Oct 2009. <http:// cfm?story_id=14710700>. [2, 4, 11, 12] Crooke, Alistair. “Turkey’s Shifting Diplomacy.” The New York Times, 27 Nov 2009. < opinion/28ihtedcrooke.html?_ r=1&scp=1&sq=crooke&st=cse>. [5, 6, 8, 9] “Looking East and South.” The Economist. 29 Oct 2009. <http://www. world/middleeast-africa/displaystory.cfm?story_ id=14753776>.

He’s Earned It A camel takes a break on a hill overlooking a Moroccan city in the Oarzazate provence. Photo credit: Valerie Tan, CAS ’11

Winter 2009


The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement A Priority for American Lawmakers

By Jennifer Prüfer, CAS ’10 In 2007, the presidents of South Korea and the United States signed the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), proposing a Free Trade Area (FTA) that would encompass most of the trade between the two countries. As of today, it has still not been approved by Congress or the General Assembly of South Korea. President Barack Obama has postponed the issue to deal with the domestic issues of health care and financial overhaul and international security involvements. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has noted its importance, but claimed that the agreement is undergoing careful scrutiny (especially with regards to the controversial automobile provision),1 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expressed avid backing. Still, support in Congress remains lukewarm at best. If it does eventually become approved, KORUS will be the largest FTA signed by the U.S. since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and for good reason.2 South Korea (hereafter referenced as Korea) is the seventh largest trading partner of the U.S.; in 2007, U.S.Korea trade was worth about $101 billion.3 According to the International Trade Commission, KORUS would increase U.S. GDP by between $10.1 and 11.9 billion.4 Current Financial Climate American credibility as a leader in open trade has been damaged amid the current financial crisis by polices enacted by the recent administrations. The Buy American provisions and the recent 35 percent tariff on Chinese tires have

National and Civic Pride South Korean flags fly proudly among the leafy flora of Gangnam-gu, one of the 25 districts of Seoul. Photo credit: Sarah Vencloski, CAS ’12

cast significant international doubt on the U.S. position as a leader of free trade. KORUS, with its strong provisions on transparency, nontariff barriers, labor and environment could serve to rebut the previous criticism, and keep the United States influential in the debate on standards for global trade.2 Additionally, the stimulus package is raising concerns of inflation and a weakening dollar. Even in the face of the financial crisis, however, the government cannot afford to turn its back on free trade; 57 million American jobs are directly supported by trade.5 Furthermore, to retain credibility and leadership in the political arena, the U.S. must focus on reducing its public and private debt and boosting its economy. According to the Chamber of Commerce, failure by the United States to implement the Colombian and Korean FTAs (with 90 percent weighted to KORUS) will cost $40.2 billion in exports and $44.8 billion in national output. Employment losses linked to the lower output level are projected to total $383,400.6

The Alliance The U.S.-Korean Alliance started as a geopolitical one during the Cold War, bound by the common threat of North Korea in the fight against communism. Today, the alliance continues to face the North Korean enemy, but is primarily focused on the northern country’s pursuit of nuclear arms rather than its ideology. The two countries are now concerned with other major international security problems. Korea, which historically deployed troops to Vietnam and Iraq alongside the U.S., is now facing a high possibility of doing so in Afghanistan beside the American military.8 Furthermore, growing Chinese influence in the Asian region threatens to disrupt the balance between the United States and Korea. In the absence of the implementation of KORUS, Chinese and European products are penetrating the Korean market, diminishing the U.S.Korean economic relationship, which could result in a longer-term decrease of American influence. Continued on page 6


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In the past decade, the U.S. has already been replaced as Korea’s largest trading partner, overtaken by China, Japan, and the European Union.9 The ties between the United States and Korea are especially important in the current international political climate because of Korea’s rising global presence. President Lee Myong Bak’s “Global Korea” vision has led to Korea’s chairmanship of the G-20 summit in Seoul next year, and its potential to become a “hub of FTAs.” Already, Korea has concluded agreements with the E.U. and India, and is under negotiation with Canada, Mexico and the Gulf Cooperation Council, amongst others.10 If the U.S. cannot move forward with the American-Korean FTA it risks falling even further on the list of countries that wield influence with the Korean government, people and economy. Without this agreement, the U.S. also risks being overtaken as a player in the larger Asian region. In 2009, the Asian Development Bank Institute claimed that between 2000 and 2009, the number of concluded Asian FTAs increased from 3 to 54,11 a strong indicator of the rise of Asian regionalism. Some of these proposals have included the United States in their agreements, while others have not. Australia’s Asia Pacific Community clearly

indicated that it intends to invite American participation, while Japan’s East Asian Community may not.12 If KORUS is signed, it will continue the tradition of American involvement in Asia, and will serve to stem the rise of China and India. Economic growth and increased visibility in Asia is critical for American leadership in the wake of the financial crisis and increasing Asian insularity. In Korea, the U.S. has the chance to combat these issues by signing the KORUS agreement, ushering in an era of increased trade between the two countries. An expansion of commerce between the two countries would not only give the United States a needed foothold in the Asian region, but also create American jobs, improving the domestic economic situation. -----

[5] Baughman, Laura and Joseph Francois. “Trade Action- or Inaction: The Cost for American Workers and Companies.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce. p. 3 uscc_trade_action_inaction_study.pdfhttp://www. [6] “Benefits of Trade with China.” Treasury Department. hp423.htm [7] “Korea, US adopt joint communique at security meeting.” Ministry of National Defense. October 27, 2009. rchDay= [8] “S. Korea may send troops to Afghanistan.” UPI. com. Nov 27, 2009. International/2009/11/27/S-Korea-may-send-troopsto-Afghanistan/UPI-14101259370913/

[1] Kirk, Ron. “Keynote Address.” Speech, 4th Annual Gala Dinner from U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S.-Korea Business Council, Washington, D.C., November 5, 2009.

[9] Schrage, Steven. The United States and Korea Leading beyond the Storm: The G-20, Trade, and a Roadmap for the Alliance to Lead in the Wake of the Financial Crisis. (Executive Summary). Nov. 2009. p.8

[2] “Korea- U.S. Free Trade Agreement.” July 29, 2009.

[10] “FTA Status of Korea.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. econtrade/fta/issues/index2.jsp

[3] “Korea.” japan-korea-apec/korea

[11] Kawai, Masahiro, and Ganeshan Wignaraja. Asian FTAs: Trends and Challenges. Aug 4, 2009. P.7

[4] “U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Potential Economy-wide and Selected Sectoral Effects.” United States International Trade Commission. Sep. 2007.

[12] Laurence, Jeremy. “Q+A- What is Australia’s Asia-Pacific idea all about?” Oct. 24, 2009. http://

Winter 2009

Forgotten Heroes A History of Muslim-Jew Relations in North Africa

By Arsla Jawaid, CAS ’10 Relations between Muslim and Jewish peoples during the Nazi occupation of North African countries in World War II is a relatively unstudied subject to the world. There were innumerable incidents in whichArabs helped Jews in this time, but today few of these Arabs have claimed recognition for their deeds, largely due to religious and cultural tensions. A Muslim myself, I was fascinated when I read that Khaled Abdelwahhab, an Islamic Tunisian who died in 1997, was nominated for recognition as “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. This title is awarded to non-Jews who saved Jews from Nazi persecution during the Holocaust. Robert Satloff, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, recently discovered Khaled Abdelwahhab’s story. Khaled Abdelwahhab, born in 1911, was the only son of wealthy landowner Hassan Husni. In his youth, Kahled studied abroad in France and New York. After completing his studies, he returned to Tunisia to serve as an advisor in the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture. Anny Boukris, an 11 year old at the time of Nazi occupation in the Tunisian seaside town of Mahdia, convinced Satloff to go to Morocco to investigate further. German troops arrived in Tunisia in November 1942. They soon ordered the Boukris family to leave their house and move elsewhere. Fearing they would eventually have to face such a fate, Anny’s father, Jacob, had already arranged for his family to “seek refuge in an olive oil factory” (Satloff, 123). Soon, relatives and neighbors were living with them as well. Several weeks later, in the middle of the night,

Khalid Abdelwahhab unexpectedly knocked at their door. He warned them of great danger and asked everyone to immediately evacuate the premise and follow him to a safer location — his family’s farm in the small village of Tlelsa. He spent the night helping residents transfer their belongings and escorting them to safety. Around two-dozen people lived on the farm until the end of German occupation of Tunisia in April 1943. Anny’s parents later explained to her why Khalid came to take them away. A well-known citizen of Mahdia, Khalid was in “frequent contact with foreign troops” (125). He would make a special effort to socialize with German troops, thereby learning more about their future plans. In essence, he was a spy. He was aware that the Germans had set up a house where Jewish w o m e n were raped. Khalid would endeavor to save the girls by getting the Germans drunk. As confidant of one of the officers, Khalid learned that the officer was planning to get a particular Jewish woman for the following night. From her location and description, he knew the man was talking about Anny’s mother, Odette Boukris. Fearing for her family’s life, he drove straight to the factory and started whisking everyone off to his farm. Anny’s parents knew the risks involved. If the Germans discovered that Khalid was tricking them and saving Jewish lives, he could have been killed. He could also have been followed that night, thereby putting everyone’s life at risk. However, the urgent need for action was so immense that survival and escape clouded everything else. Anny’s parents were “forever grateful” (126), and from then on Khalid was a frequent, honored


guest at Sabbath dinners. Although the two parties never spoke about Abdelwahhab’s generous deed, there existed a silent understanding and strong relationship. When Satloff presented Anny’s story, many Jewish historians were skeptical. Two in particular, one from Paris and the other from Jerusalem, dismissed it immediately: Rape of Jewish women by German soldiers never took place. To prove its validity, Satloff embarked on a journey to find evidence. Many Jewish Tunisian women confirmed the actions of the German officers. Furthermore, some victims even came forward to provide personal accounts. Satloff then flew to Tunis to meet Anny’s childhood friends, Suha and Salha Chlaifa. Though hesitant at first, both w o m e n accurately recalled the family names and, to his amazement, remembered Khalid Abdelwahhab and his farm as well. The final destination was now Tlelsa. Upon arrival, Satloff asked to be taken to a particular location. The farm matched Anny’s description exactly. His work was complete. All that he had heard and seen complemented Anny’s story flawlessly.

“If the Germans

discovered that Khalid was tricking them and saving Jewish lives, he could have been killed.”

Khalid’s story was not yet complete. Satloff was told by the workers at the farm that Khalid was childless and had no one to run the farm for him or to carry on his name. Years later a friend discovered that while Khalid may not have had any sons to carry on the family name, his daughter, Fafou, was still alive in the town of Carthage. On meeting Fafou, Satloff spoke to her about her father’s righteous deed. It was hardly surprising that she had no clue about her father’s role in saving the lives of many Jews. She described him as a refined


The International Relations Review and cultured man with a “zest for good food and conversation” (135). Family photos also showed that he was strikingly handsome – “a Tunisian Paul Newman” (135). He seemed like the perfect man to arrange for lavish food and wine, if only as a way to extract information from the German officers. His handsome looks and popularity with the ladies made him a person to whom a German officer could confide his sexual desires. It is admirable how Khalid used both his physical appearance and wit to save as many Jewish lives as he could. He knew the situation and circumstances were dangerous, yet he was an “impulsive iconoclast” who had no qualms about participating in high-risk activities, such as driving straight to the home of a Jewish family after leaving a German gathering, or sitting with German officers trying to wean information out of them. His iconoclastic nature came from his experience abroad. He held the ability to come into contact with Jews in a “richer and more varied way than even the most open-minded of his countrymen back home” (136). Having studied in France and New York, he was exposed to ideas and personalities that made him unbiased and dedicated to helping anyone. When he returned to Tunisia, he found that his society was still intellectually backward and narrow-minded

Destination Ecuador Naturally Beautiful, Wonderful People and a Touch of Political Instability

By Hector Soriano, CAS ’10 Since 1996, Ecuador has experienced severe political instability. The country has had three presidents ousted by protests and demonstrations, two constitutions, a change in currency and a massive mobilization of the citizenry in national politics. Four important factors have contributed to Ecuadorian

in helping those with a different religion and culture than their own. This all changed, however, with the German presence in Tunisia. The attitude of many Arabs softened towards the Jews. Some secretly provided help and relief. However, tensions between Arabs and Jews have always existed. Thus, many Arabs, fearing for their own safety or conforming to traditional prejudice, turned a blind eye to the numerous injustices inflicted upon the Jews. There are accounts of those who deliberately leaked names of Jewish families only to save their own lives or to gain favor amongst the Germans. Abdelwahhab’s actions, as compared to the actions of other Tunisians were on a different scale. Ready to overthrow traditional beliefs, Abdelwahhab was the kind of man who would not think twice before risking his own life to help others if it meant doing the right thing. He was openly involved. Fearlessness governed his actions, but he was not rash. He would extract valuable information from German officers and continue acting the part of a confidant until he felt it was safe enough to remove his pretense and play the role of savior. Although such actions had risks, he could not turn his back on those in need.

ularly interesting simply because heroic accounts like this have been lost in time. Tunisia was the only country in North Africa to come under direct occupation by the German army. Who knows how many Arab “Schindlers” the world has not heard of? However, it would be wrong to say that Jews were not still harmed by Arabs. Those like Abdelwahhab risked their own lives to save others, thus forming a unique bond of comradeship. Reading through Satloff’s book Among the Righteous, one is surprised as to how many people did not know of their ancestors’ righteous deeds. These events were never discussed again. Silent threads of understanding held these people together. At such times, it was no longer a question of race or religion. It did not matter whether the person in need was a Jew and the person providing safety was a Muslim. It was simply a question of acting humanely and doing the right thing. ----Works Cited Satloff, Robert B. “Anny’s Story.” Among the Righteous. New York: PublicAffairs. 2006. AP. “First Arab nominated for Holocaust recognition.” as reproduced at MSNBC Online. Jan. 30, 2007. <>.

Anny Boukris’ story was particpolitical instability and mobilization of its citizenry: the historic role of political parties, the indigenous community’s abandonment of their traditional view of politics, poor economic policy and short-sighted trends in Ecuador’s political culture. The rapid descent into chaos begs the question: Is it possible for Ecuador to achieve stability again? The History of Ecuadorian Political Parties Since the end of Ecuador’s military dictatorship in 1979, Ecuadorian political parties have focused

their efforts on maintaining popular appeal. Politicians often pledge unrealistic economic progress and impossible welfare redistribution to gain public approval, but cannot deliver in the long run. This system works well enough to get officials elected, but it creates a rapidly unstable and corrupt political system. The other eventual result of impossible campaign promises is the population’s disillusionment. The main reason for this political strategy is the intense competiContinued on following page

Winter 2009 tion amongst Ecuadorian political parties. Without any clear majority in the government or a clear ideology, parties that attempt to wield unilateral power find that they become embroiled in a “una pugna de poderes,” a power struggle, which usually ends in a deadlock. The resulting decision often does not accurately depict the will of the Ecuadorian people. This result has drawn attention to Ecuador’s political party arrangement as a primary area that should be targeted for reform. The Indigenous Movement Despite its disillusionment, the Ecuadorian public is quite active politically, but because of the state of politics in Ecuador, it has sought influence through unconventional means. The public has taken political activism to the streets, contributing to the destabilization of the country. In 1996, the indigenous community abandoned its tradition of non-participation in the official political system. This community, like many others in the country, had tired of the existing system, which did not accurately represent their interests. That same year, the multicultural movement “Pacha-

kutik” was created and established as the political and electoral force of the Indigenous Movement. This movement eventually rose to equal prominence with the armed forces during the fall of President Abdalá Bucaram Ortiz in February 1997, and of President Jamil Mahuad in January 2000. Accusations of Bucaram’s corruption, his abandonment of important economic reforms, and wide employment of nepotism ultimately mobilized the country, specifically members of the Pachakutik movement. Mahuad, assuming power in the midst of a serious economical crisis, attempted to enact swift economic reforms. His policies, however, only worsened the situation and led to widespread protests. In addition, his dollarization process ultimately alienated the ruling class, eliminating the last effective constituency of the government and leaving the armed forces and the Pachakutik movement as the only two influential organizations in the Ecuadorian politics.1 Without support amongst the public, the government ceased to be effective or properly representative. Economic Situation

The Colors of Quito Ecuador’s capital city rests between beautiful hills and forests. Photo credit: Jaclyn Aliperti, CAS ’10


During this period of political instability, Ecuador experienced one of its worse economic crises in its history. From 1998 to 2000, the country went through banking crisis and the Ecuadorian government ran a fiscal deficit of 7 percent, oil prices dropped to $8 per barrel and the Sucre experienced devaluation from 21.8 percent to 196.6 percent in 1999. In addition, Ecuador saw its largest exodus of citizens in its history – 445,000 people in 1998 out of a population of approximately 12 million.2 It was in this context that Mahuad announced his dollarization plan. The middle class, businessmen and bankers from Quito and Guayaquil, pressured the administration in favor of this policy, but the prevailing conditions did not vindicate their support. The ensuing failure resulted in the aforementioned negative social and economic effects, and the government lost its power to control its currency. This catastrophic loss of authority bred uncertainty and frustration with the administration and limited its influence, eventually contributing to Mahuad’s downfall. The Problem of Corruption Adding to the problems of poor policy, public unrest and party competition, blatant corruption has plagued Ecuadorian politics since the Abdalá Bucaram administration. During Bucaram’s presidency, there was wide use of nepotism. Mahuad was also accused of corruption, and President Lucio Gutiérrez (2003-2005) created a new Supreme Court, mainly made up of members of the Partido Roldosista Ecuatoriana (PRE, Ecuadorian Roldosist Party) whose leader had corruption cases pending in court.3 Current president Rafael Correa is no exception; Correa has been accused of maintaining connections with “Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Continued on page 11


The International Relations Review

Staff Editorial The true meaning of COP15 This week, world leaders and policymakers will convene in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15). As the issue of climate change gains the attention of the international community, it is vital that U.S. policymakers take note of the developments in Copenhagen. The world first began collaborating on the issue of climate change in the late 1980s. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations in 1988 in order to establish a basic knowledge of a thenblasphemous issue. From these initial findings and two subsequent meetings, the Kyoto Conference (COP3) was held in 1997 with the intention of creating the world’s first binding treaty on carbon emissions. The result was the famous Kyoto Protocol, of which the United States is the only significant nonmember.

is real. COP15, like others conferences before it, aims to bring all of the carbonemitting nations together in an open forum for change.

ment should use this conference as a factfinding mission. Policymakers must note international trends and likely actions by their cohorts in Europe and Asia.

Though hopes may have at times been unrealistically high, major countries have made some tangible (yet rhetorical) commitments. China has said it will agree to a binding goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent. India has said that it would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 to 25 percent of 2005 levels by 2020. Even the slumping Russia has stated interest in joining an agreement, given the right conditions.

After eight years’ worth of Republican heel-dragging under the Bush Administration, Congress must objectively find where the major international players in the conference stand. By learning where international interests and aspirations lie, U.S. policymakers can then focus on creating an effective domestic plan to support international agreements at the next major conference.

The European Union has also committed itself to combating the problem. The E.U. has pledged to cut emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and up to 30 percent if other big emitters pledge action. Next to these proposals, the American talks of cutting emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 — pending Congressional passage, naturally — lags severely behind the rest of the world.

In Kyoto, the U.S. representatives actually signed the treaty, confident that it would be accepted domestically. Unfortunately, Congress failed to ratify it, undermining the U.S. effort in Kyoto and tarnishing its diplomatic reputation.

The U.S. should be matching, if not leading, the international efforts to overcome climate issues. But the U.S. must lead with credibility and good faith — things it has not yet shown in this debate.

More than a decade later, the world is again hopeful for multilateral action on climate change. With the Kyoto Protocol nearly expired –– with mixed results –– the need for a new international treaty

U.S. delegates, including President Obama, have their hands tied by a Congress that has left them little breathing room to negotiate with the rest of the world. Realistically, the U.S. govern-

Editor’s Note Welcome, readers, and thank you for supporting the very first issue of The International Relations Review. It is with pride and excitement that this new publication has come to fruition. As international relations students, we represent the largest academic population here at Boston University. Our ranks are among the most traveled, most experienced undergraduates in the nation. Our faculty — our mentors — are respected and renowned globally

for their work. This is a community above all else here at BU. It is for these reasons that a journal like this will thrive. The goal of The IRR is simple: To unite the many experienced and talented voices within BU’s enormous, yet fragmented, international relations department. In this issue you’ll find a small sampling of stories and findings from around the globe. I encourage all readers to share their own area of expertise with their peers.

This is not to say COP15 is without meaning. The very presence and activity of up-and-coming polluters India and China is a huge acheivement for tackling climate change. While it is unlikely any major treaty will come to pass without U.S. participation, with the right preparation and honest domestic efforts, the 2010 conference in Mexico City may finally be approached with earnest credibility by the United States.

The International Relations Review always accepts letters to the editor of no more than 400 words at editorial.irr@ If you are interested in contributing a longer piece or a photo, please visit for more detailed submission guidelines. Please contact with any other questions or concerns.

International affairs is a churning field of facts and opinions, and it changes by the minute. Let us continue the discussion and unite our voices. Our community is built upon excellence. Together, let’s prove what the best IR department in the nation is capable of. Sincerely,

Andrew Facini Editor-in-Chief

Winter 2009


Destination Ecuador from page 9 Colombia” (FARC), a Colombian terrorist group, and has increased presidential power over the Ecuadorian Central Bank. In light of these facts, Correa’s popularity has fallen below 50 percent for the first time in his tenure, and there have been large protests of teachers, nationalistic groups, and academics. The small number of supporters for Correa raises significant questions to the volubility of his regime and the prospects for political stability in Ecuador.4 Possible Solutions Although the issues previously raised about problems in the Ecuadorian political structure are not likely to be solved soon, there are some possible solutions that could help the country move into a better situation in the future. To better the situation between political parties, Ecuador should enact reforms to limit party registration to those with clear ideologies that have large constituencies. Along the same lines, the government should seek to involve all sectors of the country in political and economic dialogue. Isolating one part of the public only

The Old-Fashioned Way On a small family farm in the Netherlands, homemade cheese and clogs have a charming radiance in the sunlight. Photo credit: Kate Wrobel, CAS ’10

breeds resentment and chaos, while providing these groups an official way to present their views can help to provide structure and legitimacy to the governmental process. In the economic realm, it will be vital for Ecuador to diversify its investments and decrease its dependence on oil income. In addition, it should abandon its connection to the dollar so the government can again control its own curren-

cy. Lastly, and most importantly, the issue of corruption needs to be addressed immediately. With the introduction of registered and policed political parties, regulations and considerations of their survival will help to decrease internal party issues. Additionally, laws should be amended to ward against corruption in the government at large and define concrete checks against the power of the executive branch. If the government can get these major issues under control, Ecuador could again wield a functioning government that could serve its population well and thrust Ecuador back onto the international stage as a responsible member of the international community. ----[1, 2] Andrade, Pablo A. “Democracia Liberal e inestabilidad política en Ecuador.” Universidad Externado de Colombia. November 1, 2009 < pdf/531/53101111.pdf>. [3] Country Watch. “Ecuador Review 2007.” Country Watch. November 1, 2009 <http://>.

No Euroskeptics Here In the Spanish capital, the banner of the European Union proudly waves alongside the national flag. Photo credit: Serame Castillo, CAS ’10

[4] EIU. “Country Report: Ecuador, November 2009.” Economic Intelligence Unit. November 1, 2009 < asp?rf=0>.

A special thank you to all of our editors and contributers Jaclyn Aliperti Phillip Brougham Giuseppe Caruso Serame Castillo Natasha Cohen Edward Hill Arsla Jawaid Angela Latona Joshua Levkowitz Elizabeth Prinz Jennifer Pr端fer Meena Sivaraman Hector Soriano Valerie Tan Sarah Vencloski Kate Wrobel

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Vol. 1, Issue 1 Since 2009


IR Review Winter 2009