The Hill Chapel Hill Political Review Vol. 13 Issue 5 April 2014
REVOLUTION The Hill Political Review April 2014
The Hill Chapel Hill Political Review
Vol. 13 Issue 5 EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Brendan Cooley, Jon Buchleiter (in absentia) ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR Nikki Mandell (in absentia) INTERNATIONAL EDITOR Carol Abken NATIONAL EDITOR Richard Zheng STATE & LOCAL EDITOR Dain Clare ONLINE EDITORS Emily Foster, Matt Wotus ART DIRECTOR Mary Burke ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Tyler Vahan TREASURER Tess Landon DIRECTOR OF PR David Pingre
COLUMNISTS/BLOGGERS Brian Bartholomew, Camille Bossut, Derrick Flakoll, Allie Higgins, Nancy Smith, Zachary Williams STAFF WRITERS Clay Ballard, Kane Borders, Camille Bossut, Elizabeth Brown, Kurtis Brown, Parker Bruer, Brianna Cooper, Giulia Curcelli, David Farrow, Adriana Golindano, Allyesha Hall, Oliver Hamilton, Jamie Huffman, Danielle Joe, Jacob Johnson, David Joyner, Chloe Karlovich, Bobby Kawecki, Tess Landon, Hank Li, Conor Lynch, Ian McLin, Alex Montgomery, Katlyn Moseley, Nick Neuteufel, Hinal Patel, Sumeet Patwardhan, David Pingree, Caley Scheppegrell, Alex Schober, Brian Shields, Taylor Slate, David Snedecor, Ameer Sobhan, Jessica Stone, Avani Uppalapati, Eishante Wilkes, Alfre Wimberly, Savannah Wooten, Matt Wotus, Javier Zurita DESIGN STAFF Giulia Curcelli, Taylor Slate ART STAFF Rini Bahethi, David Wright, Ngozika Nwoko
From the Editor
Recent years have witnessed frequent instances of sweeping political changes sparked by pressure from the masses. Sometimes, these changes prove lasting. In other cases, fleeting. The transience of some of these changes highlights the importance of states’ responses to revolutions. Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea— formally a part of Ukraine—meant that Ukranian revolutionaries enjoyed only a partial victory in their fight to bring change to Kiev. In our April issue, we take a look at revolutions large and small, examining the forces that drive these sweeping political changes.
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Table of Contents State & Local
5 Clay Aiken runs for Congress
9 Venezuela erupts in protest
6 Conservatism and the state legislature
10 Revolution in Europe
7 Performance-based teacher pay in North Carolina
12 El Chapoâ€™s arrest and Mexican drug violence
8 Duke Energy and the Dan River coal ash spill
13 A new age in defense spending
16 The Ivory Tower: Flipped classrooms
14 Schools target healthy, local meal options
17 Around the Bend: Year of the bear?
15 Connected and dissatisfied
17 Two Cents: Putin revives Stalin...literally 18 Book review: Every Nation for Itself
The Hill Political Review April 2014
Around the Nation Key Senate races The Hill previews the 2014 fight for control of the Senate.
1. North Carolina Kay Hagan has been in the crosshairs of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothersâ€™ conservative group, for quite some time. A close race is sure to ensue as Mitt Romney won the state in the 2012 presidential election. According to a recent Elon University poll, Hagan enjoys the support of only a third of North Carolina voters. Multiple Republicans are competing for the right to challenge Hagan. A challenger will be annointed in primary elections to be held May 6. 4
2. Kentucky Mitch McConnell will mostly survive a challenge from conservative Matt Bevin, a businessman from Lousiville, but may have a tougher time against Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes, currently Secretary of State for Kentucky, has garnered support from many bluegrass Democrats in the state. 3. Arkansas Mark Pryor has been trying to distance himself from President Obama, as Romney won the state by more than 20 points in 2012, but Rep. Tom Cotton provides a fresh face in Arkansas politics, and is supported by both establishment and Tea Party factions.
4. Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu has held this seat since 1997, but the state has grown more conservative in recent years. Fortunately for Landrieu, the establishment Republican candidate Bill Cassidy must first beat out the Tea Party candidate Rob Maness before facing off against Landrieu. Like in Arkansas, Landrieu suffers from sharing a party with the President. 5. Alaska In 2008, Mark Begich became the first Democratic senator from Alaska since 1974, but this may end up being his only term. He faces tough opposition from Republicans Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell. April 2014
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Aiken for North Carolina? Clay Aiken faces uphill battle in campaign to represent conservative 2nd District By: Kurt Brown
lay Aiken wants to be your Congressman. Clay Aiken, for those who have never heard of him or might have forgotten, was the runner-up on FOX’s ‘American Idol: Season 2.’ He rode this success to a recording contract with RCA Records, and his debut album Measure of a Man attained multi-platinum status. With six studio albums, eleven tours, a New York Times bestseller, and a cameo on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice later, Aiken is no stranger to the public eye. As he launches his campaign to be the Democratic representative for North Carolina’s second congressional district, the question on everyone’s mind is how a gay, Hollywood liberal will fare in the traditionally conservative district. On the surface, Aiken is a progressive public figure with nice hair and no political experience. Look into his past, however, and a different narrative emerges. According to an article on Aiken from a 2003 edition of TIME Magazine, “before appearing on American Idol, Aiken was a special-education teacher in Raleigh, N.C.” The article describes Aiken as a religious man, forgoing alcohol and other vices as part of his Baptist faith. Additionally, he asked his label not to press him to record any songs with a sexual theme. All of these character traits and ideals suggest that, upon further review, Aiken may not be the radical liberal candidate some would paint him to be. On his campaign website, Aiken provides his potential constituents with a clearer picture of what his motivations and principles are today. “After his success on Idol, it was important to Clay to use the platform of celebrity to bring awareness to the needs of children with disabilities and the importance of inclusion.” He went on to found the NationThe Hill Political Review April 2014
al Inclusion Project and work with UNICEF as a global ambassador for education. Aiken’s various philanthropic endeavors got him thinking, how could he help even more people? Clay is adamant that he is not a politician. He is simply a citizen, frustrated by the current state of the government, seeking to truly put the people first in politics. Despite his noble intentions, Aiken is undoubtedly facing an uphill battle. Aside from the fact that the second district of North Carolina is decidedly Republican—with 57.6 percent of voters in 2012 choosing Romney over Obama—many moderates will question if he will be able to handle him-
self on Capital Hill. Admitting he is not a politician serves as a double-edged sword, endearing him to those weary of corruption while creating skeptics of those who desire practical reform. When current Congresswoman Renee Ellmers was questioned about Aiken’s intent to run and the potential threat he poses, she responded, “Apparently his performing career is not going so well and he’s very bored.” One thing is for certain, though, the media frenzy surrounding Aiken’s announcement is an advantage his competitors lack. If he clears the Democratic primary, this small district in North Carolina will be on the national radar all the way to Election Day. 5
Conservative policies, radical tactics? By: Bobby Kawecki
Only time will tell whether this is the new normal for American conservatism
he Republicans controlling the General Assembly have been acting energetically since they gained power in 2010, including the passage of a variety of far-reaching laws to upset the established order of their predecessors. The most notable of these is the series of restrictions on voting rights passed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This decision gave the state legislature much more freedom in conducting elections, no longer needing the Justice Departmentâ€™s approval before changing election procedure. Opponents have decried this legislation as a thinly veiled attempt to restrict voting of minorities and young people, two demographics who tend not to vote Republican. This issue has invited plenty of public debate on the political motives of these actions. A close analysis of the means by which the Republicans are achieving these goals reveals these actions may be contradictory to other conservative principles. First, it is helpful to explore the story behind the unique bipolarity of American politics. Most other democracies have electoral systems that encourage participation from more than two political parties, whereas the U.S. electoral system heavily favors a two party system. In the formative years of our nation, there were two approaches to politics. The liberal approach argued that society at the time was badly broken, but that political leaders had the tools to make it better through revolution. The conservative approach, on the other hand, asserted that the proper way to amend society was to build upon its best characteristics via slow, incremental change. This simple analysis of the two-party system allows us to pair the current Democratic and Republican parties with their respective ideologies, as well as enable us to discover which philosophy we personally align with. Our nation has embodied this political debate for over 200 years, letting it characterize our nation and main-
taining our political divisions over time. In Raleigh, the policies being implemented by Republicans are undoubtedly conservative in nature, but the method in which they have been pursued is actually rather liberal. The typical conservative course of action would be to allow these changes to occur organically over time, even if it were only within the decade before the next crucial election with redistricting implications. Instead, the Republicans completely revolutionized the stateâ€™s electoral processes and voting rights standards before the ink on the Supreme Court decision was even dry. This creates an interesting paradox of a party that traditionally vows to protect conservative principles obstructing the traditional methods of governance and bringing about rapid radical change. We can debate the success of these measures only after they have been in place for at least one election cycle. Only then will there be hard facts to prove whether or not the laws suppress certain demographic groups from voting. In the meantime, it seems that the Republicans in the state legislature will be successful in their apparent wish to suppress certain voting demographics. Though North Carolina is a hotbed of the Republican revolution in America, it is not an isolated case. The United States government has become increasingly centralized and liberal over the course of the twentieth century. In recent decades, conservative Republicans have challenged this shift by picking away at the massive amounts of federal power and fighting for state sovereignty. The Supreme Court striking down the Voting Rights Act was a momentous event for state sovereignty and many Republican-controlled states immediately seized this opportunity. The electoral processes of these states radically changed almost instantaneously, and only time will tell whether this is the new normal for American conservatism.
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Measuring merit As NC legislature considers performancebased teacher pay system, critics ask how merit will be measured By: Parker Bruer
he North Carolina State Legislature recently passed a new teacher pay policy that granted a pay increase to new teachers. The raise would put North Carolina ahead of South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia in starting teacher salaries. More recently, the existence of a bill to change the teacher pay system to one based around merit pay has surfaced. Merit pay is a system that holds teachers accountable for performance in the classroom and makes salary contingent upon performance. This measure has become increasingly controversial as the debate turns to questions of logistics and cost-benefit analysis. Advocates of merit pay claim that the system will offer an incentive for teachers to perform better because their salary will be tied to their performance in the classroom. Most merit pay systems involve a removal of tenure, and North Carolina lawmakers recently ended tenure. Proponents say this will allow low-performing educators to be removed from the system and replaced with higher-performing teachers. Dr. Lance D. Fusarelli, a Professor in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at NC State University, highlighted in an interview the most common argument against merit-based teacher pay: “How do we effectively and accurately evaluate teachers?” There are several ways to evaluate a teacher’s merit, however there are problems with most, if not all, of the approaches. Merit can be judged based on overall student performance, but “then teachers will want to teach all the
The Hill Political Review April 2014
advanced kids.” It can be judged based on overall growth, but “then that means you need to create more accurate, comprehensive tests for students and administer those at the beginning and end of the school year—and those results would need to be available in a timely manner for principals to make merit-based decisions.” Simply put, merit-based pay systems are complicated to implement and expensive. On top of that, most merit pay plans only allow for a small reward, which may not make a difference to teachers. As hot a topic as teacher pay is in North Carolina right now, the vote for this measure will be split down party lines. Because of the Republican majority and the fact that the governor is a Republican, a merit pay system is almost inevitable. Governor McCrory stands alongside the legislature in support of a merit-based system. While opponents of McCrory and the legislature continue to claim that measures like the ending of teacher tenure and implementation of a merit pay system will lead to a continued slide in the quality of public education, it seems impossible that Republican legislators will change their tone surrounding education reform. These reforms are “just the first step,” according to Governor McCrory, and it is inevitable that we will see more legislation in this vein make its way through the General Assembly. It seems merit pay is here to stay. With its impending passage, North Carolina will take steps towards a new education system and more reforms that will change public education drastically.
Teacher pay in North Carolina
$35,000 Salary teachers with up to 10 years of experience will receive under Gov. McCrory’s new plan.
Raise these teachers will receive over the next two years. New teachers currently make $30,800.
Number of teachers affected by the new plan.
North Carolina’s current national ranking in teacher salaries. Statistics from WRAL and the News and Observer
Friends in high places Coal ash spill contaminates NC river, highlights Duke Energy’s influence over regulations By: Oliver Hamilton
n recent weeks, coal has come under fire, not only as the main component of electricity production, but also for contaminating waterways throughout the Southeast. Starting with the Freedom Industry’s coal-processing chemical spill in West Virginia, to the coal ash spill on the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina. However, the spill highlights not only the effects of lax regulation, but also the entanglements between the energy industry and state government. Coal ash is the byproduct of burning powdered coal in power plants and is collected in storage ponds adjacent to the facility. The spill was a result of a leaky drainpipe under a 27-acre coal ash containment pond from a retired Duke Energy power plant. The pond was not insulated by an internal liner, which helps protect against groundwater leakage and sits less than a mile from the Dan River. To add insult to injury, Duke Energy pledged to improve water lines, after groundwater sources tested positive for arsenic and other chemicals. Despite claims that the contaminated water poses little threat to human health, the spill will have far-reaching effects. For one, the spill of over 50,000 tons of coal-ash is a visual blight on the community by turning the river water into a mottled, opaque confluence of coal particulates and chemicals. The ecological impacts of the spill remain as murky as the waters of the river, however, communities throughout North Carolina and Virginia are protecting themselves against the spill. Officials in Virginia Beach closed an intake valve from a reservoir that is fed by the Dan and North Carolinian agencies continue to test the water. Despite the poisonous mixture of chemicals in coal ash, officials determined that downstream water sources were free of 8
any life-threatening chemicals. The topic of concern, however, is the how the situation is handled and what the future holds for environmental regulation in North Carolina. Regulators from the state’s environmental department were caught flat-footed by the spill and scrambled to announce a comprehensive plan to mitigate the situation. However, the state environmental department faced heavy budget cuts and pressure from industry officials to loosen regulatory processes. In the middle of this debate stands Governor Pat McCrory, who held management positions with Duke Energy for over 25 years. In response to the spill, McCrory issued a statement urging power plants to not only line the storage ponds, but also move them away from water sources. In past cases of coal ash spills, the regulatory response has been timid to say the least, fining the multi-billion dollar Duke Energy Company a scant $99,111 for two spills that occurred last year. Additionally, this event highlights the effects of a deal made between the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which environmentalists claim was in Duke’s favor. The deal
came after spills last year, but did not require Duke to clean up the spills or move containment ponds to more secure sequestration areas. Despite the closing of several coal-fired power plants, the issue of containment and disposal of coal byproducts will continue to be a pressing issue for regulators, as well as environmental advocates.
Regulators from the state’s environmental department were caught flat-footed by the spill and scrambled to announce a comprehensive plan to mitigate the situation. April 2014
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Venezuela erupts in protest By: Adriana Golindano
rotests began in Venezuela as early as January 7, one day after Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her husband were killed in their car in a random act of violence. Protests grew larger after a student alleged she was the victim of an attempted rape in early February. Students were outraged at the lack of security and high rate of crime in Venezuela and took to the streets. These protests began in the cities of Táchira and Merida, but once students were arrested as protests became violent, demonstrations erupted in the capital city of Caracas. On February 12, the Venezuelan holiday National Youth Day, students in 38 cities around the country took to the streets to celebrate with marches in protest of the current situation. Many students have been killed during demonstrations, and on February 14 the National Guard dispersed protesters with tear gas in the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas. Along with a general lack of security, students protested high inflation rates and the absence of basic food needs in their communities. Venezuela is currently ranked as one of the least safe countries in the world. President Maduro’s presidency has been plagued with shortages of basic needs like toilet paper and milk. But when Maduro sent the Venezuelan National Guard to halt the protests, the demonstrations became about the eroding foundations of Venezuelan democracy. Maudro is empowered by an Enabling Law that allows him to pass any law without legislative approval, and citizens are concerned with Maduro’s increasingly autocratic measures. At the beginning of the protests, the former opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost the election against Maduro less than a year ago, shook the president’s hand in solidarity. This symbolic act lost Capriles the support of the opposition movement and allowed for leadership of the movement to pass onto politician Leopoldo López Mendoza. López has opposed the socialist government for some time, and was banned from holding an elected The Hill Political Review April 2014
office position after he attempted a coup d’état against Chávez in 2002. López called on students to demonstrate on February 1 against the scarcity, insecurity and shortages present in the country. Though he never called for anything more than peaceful demonstrations, President Maduro demanded his arrest, claiming protests had turned violent because of his instruction. While López was in hiding, violent protests continued to heighten and the number of students killed by the national guardsmen increased. In a statement of solidarity with the opposition, Lopez turned himself into the authorities on February 18. Lacking the charisma of late President Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro has been unable to both stop the protests and to start the conversations he claims he wants to have with the opposition. From prison, López mocked the president for trying to begin dialogue after national guardsmen killed 17 people in less than a month. According to Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo, UNC Professor of Latin American Politics, about two-thirds of Venezuelans oppose President Maduro and identify with the opposition movement. Venezuelans around the world took March 5 as a symbolic date to call for action. On the anniversary of the death of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelans used Twitter to appeal to influential politicians and leaders around the globe. Writing to these politicians with “#VenezuelaDiesYouAreSilent,” the opposition is hoping for international intervention. Meanwhile, President Maduro banned representatives from the Organization of American States from remaining in or entering Venezuela, and has broken relations with Panama for supporting the protesters. Angered at the lack of basic necessities and adequate security, protests continue all over Venezuela. Yet according to Professor Martinez-Gallardo, “deposing an elected president through street protests is very difficult and the things that would make the strategy more effective (the participation of the military or the escalation of violence) are not encouraging.”
Protests and unrest in Venezuela, 2014
Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and husband killed while on vacation in Venezuela. One day later, protests begin.
Leopoldo López Mendoza calls students to peacefully protest after a young girl was almost raped in a university in San Cristobal.
National Youth Day; Major opposition protests in 38 different cities on the bicentennial anniversary of the Battle of La Victoria.
The death count continues to increase and the Venezuelan National Guard uses tear gas to disperse protests in Caracas.
López turns himself in after President Maduro accused him of inspiring violent protests and called for his arrest.
Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, leads a quiet protest of female students just before a government peace conference. In Táchira, a group of protesters decapitated a statue of late president Hugo Chávez.
One-year anniversary of President Hugo Chávez’s death; Venezuelans around the world used Twitter to reach out to influential politicians and leaders around the world using #VenezuelaDiesYouAreSilent 9
International Right: A government building in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, burns during a protest. Tuzla is the epicenter of the Bosnian protests, where citizens began rioting after a large factory shut down in the city and left numerous citizens unemployed.
Revolution in Europe By: Savannah Wooten Left: Ukrainian protesters assemble in Kievâ€™s Independence Square to protest the governmentâ€™s decision to back an economic deal with Russia. 10
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Protests in Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina reflect similar disenchantment with corruption, unemployment, and political paralysis
onsiderable upheaval has spread throughout Eastern Europe during the past three months. Large-scale political protests have swept through the region, particularly within Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. While these uprisings are notably different in organization, style, and execution, the discontented nature of the protesters remains the same. Citizens within both countries are disillusioned with corruption within the political sphere, improperly functioning democracies, opposing political ideologies, divisive demographic differences, and the economic stagnation that, according to the protesters, stems from their states’ exclusion from the European Union. Current coverage of the Ukrainian conflict has vastly oversimplified the situation, fabricating a direct struggle in which Russia and the European Union compete for Ukraine’s allegiance. In fact, the realities of the Ukrainian protests have much less to do with the Cold-War-reminiscent “East vs. West” dilemma and much more to do with the complex needs of disenchanted citizens within a struggling democracy. The student-driven Ukrainian protests began after President Viktor Yanukovic withdrew the country’s commitment to an economic agreement with the European Union, choosing instead to broker a similar deal with Russia. The younger, pro-E.U. generation was outraged by the decision and began rioting in Kiev. What began as an isolated demonstration of discontent quickly escalated into a nationwide expression of general disenchantment. The protests forced Yanukovic to flee the country and allowed an interim Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to take power. The protests became particularly volatile in Crimea and cultimated in a referedum in which Crimeans voted to join leave Ukraine and join Russia. Russia annexed Crimea in mid-March, sparking diplomatic protests and sanctions from the United States and European Union. The peninsula is home to a Russian-iden-
tifying majority. 60 percent of Crimean residents identify as Russian, as compared to the mere 17 percent of Ukrainian citizens who identify as Russian nationwide. This disproportionate demographic makeup and Crimea’s long-standing ties to Russia place the region at the heart of the conflict. Following the beginning of the protests, Russia moved troops to the Crimean border in what Russian diplomats called “a routine military drill.” Word of Russia’s military mobilization
In the end, the protests in Kiev sparked a chain of events that resulted in dramatic changes in Ukraine. Not only was Yanukovic deposed and replaced, but Crimea seceded entirely from Ukraine. These rapid changes underscore the extent to which the country was divided before the protests began. In early February, a smaller yet similar conflict erupted in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unemployed citizens began protesting in Tuzla, a small industry-dependent town, after several factories unexpectedly closed. The protests quickly spread throughout the country, with significant demonstrations occurring in both Sarajevo and Mostar, the country’s two largest cities. In a manner similar to the Ukrainian protests, anger about a specific event quickly spread to an outcry of general frustration. Bosnia-Herzegovina currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, at 44.55 percent. Bosnia-Herzegovina also faces massive political corruption, bribery, and inefficiency. The government that exists today was established under the Dayton Peace Accords. The Accords were a necessary wartime ceasefire that ended Bosnia’s bloody civil war, but were not designed to serve as the country’s permanent Constitution. As a result, the country suffers from economic instability, a weak government, and countless social ills. The protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina were intense but short-lived, with riots lasting around a week. During the peak of the demonstrations, protesters dumped cars into the Miljacka River and set multiple government buildings on fire. Police responded by using tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters. These two social movements underscore the importance of political reform and economic re-stabilization in struggling Eastern European countries. Citizens of each country are becoming increasingly intolerant of the corruption, unemployment, and lack of political progress and are likely to push for widespread changes in the coming months.
“T he his is ady is t th the he he I he e Ir Ira rey ran ey an n h he de he de ere rey te he ten y “ “T nte re te Th hi s y -Jo ” hea is is dy hn Do eS aid
These two social movements underscore the importance of political reform and economic re-stabilization in the struggling Eastern European countries
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combined with the publication of brutal protest photos created a media maelstrom that stoked international concern and prompted world leaders to respond. Leaders are currently working on stabilizing aid packages for Ukraine while threatening further sanctions for Russia if it violates the sovereignty of other regions of Ukraine. The Operation for the Security and Cooperation of Europe attempted to send a monitoring force to Crimea but repeatedly failed after being shot at by Russian supporters on each of its three attempts at entry.
Mexican drug violence likely to continue By: Clay Ballard
he capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán may be the most noteworthy arrest in eight years for the Mexican government. El Chapo was the foremost leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a cartel that has been referred to as “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world” by U.S. law enforcement officials. El Chapo’s arrest marks one of the first major achievements for President Enrique Peña Nieto, who promised to reduce drug violence following the surge in killings that occurred under Felipe Calderón’s leadership. While this arrest may buy legitimacy for the current government, it is plausible that the violence will not only continue, but also increase. The most recent waves of violence in Mexico began roughly in 2007 under former President Felipe Calderon. The origins of the drug violence, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 60,000 Mexicans, have since been the subject of much debate. Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, recognized that this “debate basically revolves around whether President Calderon’s security strategy helped or made things worse in the government’s battle against organized crime.” President Calderon’s strategy primarily involved aggressive military and policy campaigns aimed at dismantling cartels by either killing or capturing cartel leadership. Many now associate the surge in violence with these tactics, arguing that the arrest of cartel leaders has led to fragmentation of cartels and the
proliferation of smaller, volatile organizations led by young leadership. These factors, coupled with festering uncertainty among cartel members, created an environment prone to violence. Given the violence that underscored President Calderon’s tenure, high profile arrests tend to precede further violence by unwittingly creating smaller, unstable cartels. Dr. Martinez-Gallardo noted that, “El Chapo has been on the run for 13 years and it is likely that the Sinaloa Cartel has already adjusted or prepared for a future in which El Chapo does not play a leading role.” Bearing this in mind, looking at past leadership changes offers a bleak outlook for any reduction of drug violence. Both the Zeta cartel in Mexico and the Cali cartel in Colombia saw captured or killed leaders replaced by younger, more violent, and less seasoned ones. Power struggles over the leadership also tend to result in many smaller organizations, all suddenly put in contention with one another by competing for territory. A United Nations report on drug trafficking found that, “the key driver of violence is not cocaine, but change.” The arrest of El Chapo is the kind of change that is likely to lead to more and further ingrained violence. While the capturing and killing of high profile leaders is ultimately good for rule of law, President Peña Nieto’s original promise to focus on the economic causes of drug violence rather than a strategy of sheer brute force may perhaps lead to less violence.
“[Did] President Calderon’s security strategy help or [make] things worse in the battle against organized crime?” -Dr. Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo 12
Major Mexican drug cartels Sinaloa Federation
Formerly led by El Chapo, referred to as “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.
The Gulf Cartel
Once considered Mexico’s most powerful criminal organization, the cartel was weakened by the defection of Los Zetas.
Formed by former members of the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas are believed to operate internationally. The group competes heavily with the Sinaloa Federation.
The Juarez Cartel
The group is thought to be losing power and is engaged in a violent struggle to maintain control of its turf in Ciudad Juarez.
The Tijuana Cartel
Like the Juarez Cartel, the Tijuana Cartel is fighting to maintain its turf in Tijuana.
The Beltran Leyva Organization
A splinter organization from the Sinaloa cartel, the group has been hurt by arrests and killings of its top leaders.
La Familia Michoacana
A radical splinter of the Zetas, La Familia Michoacana has adopted particularly gruesome tactics, including beheadings. Infomation taken from United Nations World Drug Report, 2010 April 2014
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A new age in defense spending Pentagon proposes plan to cut Army to smallest size since pre-World War II, signalling new approach to defense planning By: Alex Schober On February 24, the Pentagon announced that it was going to minimize the budget of the United States military, in particular by cutting the number of troops in the Army its the lowest total since before World War II. Specifically, the Army force will transition from 570,000 strong from the George W. Bush era to a force of around 440,000. The decision to minimize the military budget was based off national budgetary constraints and the changing nature of warfare, which requires less on-the-ground troops. The rationale is that there is less of a need for such a large overseas land force after the United States The Hill Political Review April 2014
completely withdraws from Afghanistan and lowers its influence in Iraq. However this does not mean that the military will not necessarily be less powerful. According to a senior Pentagon official quoted in the New York Times, “We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army. But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel emphasized that the new budget will provide more money for Special Operations missions and cyber warfare. There are other schools of thought based on these budget cuts. Many hawkish Republicans criticize the cuts and claim that it is not the right time to retreat or draw back on our military budget. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was quoted in The Hill saying, “I believe that, when we are sending the signal that we are cutting defense, I think in this very dangerous world that we live in, is a serious mistake.” On the other side, many believe the United States is still spending too much on their military. Winslow Wheeler, a defense budget analyst with Project on Government Oversight, told BBC that this maneuver is “all hype”. The United States spending is still “scores of billions” above Cold War levels. Wheeler declared that, “since we
are no longer sizing the force for prolonged stability operations, an Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy.” Regardless of the argument, it is evident that the United States is changing its focus on defense strategy. The need for overseas troops is decreasing as unmanned technology is becoming more prevalent. Furthermore, as the United States is planning to withdraw completely from Afghanistan, there is no other major on-the-ground conflict wherein the United States requires troops. Although conflicts can escalade instantaneously, the new budget will still be enough to provide for the most well-equipped military in the world. This new budget ostensibly does not reduce the amount of aircraft carriers that roam the world’s oceans and protects investments in key military technologies. In an age where a significant portion of military actions are done with minimal influence by troops on the ground, it is understandable why the United States would cut the number of personnel in the Army. The need for on-the-ground troops will be reduced in the future as wartime technology continues to advance. Furthermore, the United States’ military budget is still the largest in the world by-far. The country will likely remain adequately protected. 13
Schools target healthy, local meal options By: Tess Landon
n addition to first lady Michelle Obama’s federal initiatives to institute a healthier meal regimen in public K-12 schools, many districts are taking it upon themselves to reinvent the school meal program. These programs are generally designed to incorporate healthier options as well as local produce, dairy or meat, and institute curricula to involve students in the program. Orchestrating such a task is difficult because it requires extensive alterations to an entire lunch program (think tens of thousands of meals a day for just one district). It is especially challenging when introducing local produce due to the nature of small-scale farming. Organizations such as National Farm to School Network are a link between local farmers and school districts, helping in the implementation of a variety of Farm to School programs nationwide. National Farm to School Network (NFSN), a national program independently run from the government, is one of many organizations rooted in efforts to connect public K-12 schools to local farms to create a healthier and more sustainable menu. As one of the broader establishments, NFSN has grown from 2 pilot projects to 2000 different programs over 40 states and is a great representation of other Farm to School programs. NFSN’s goal is to “enable every child to have access to nutritious food while simultaneously benefiting communities and local farmers.” It achieves this in 2 key areas: first, by ensuring all school meals are inclusive of fresh local ingredients, when applicable, and second, developing a food-related curriculum which actively engages students through various hands-on experiences such as maintaining a school garden, farm tours,
and even culinary lessons. Every program is unique to its district and geographic locale. The greatest success stories range from all over the nation, including Portland, Boston and Vermont. In the west, Portland Public Schools (PPS) managed to serve 65,000 lbs. of fresh meat and produce to their elementary and K-8 schools in 2013 and are on track to double that amount in 2014. Nearly 40% of PPS’s food budget is dedicated to bringing in local items. Heading east, 57 of Boston Public Schools are now enjoying the
These programs are generally designed to incorporate healthier options as well as local produce, dairy, or meat. 14
benefits of a Farm to School program. They have Local Lunch Thursdays which feature a seasonal fruit or vegetable from a local farmers market each week, aside from the local foods they purchase in bulk during the summer and preserve for use throughout the school year. BPS also utilizes their cafeteria as an extended learning space to teach students about healthier eating habits. Moving north, Vermont holds one of the most impressive Farm to School programs. Vermont FEED works with nearly a third of all VT Public Schools to rebuild healthy food programs. From fresh salad bars to school gardens, Vermont FEED encompasses all aspects of an exemplary Farm to School program even going so far as to include waste management programs such as composting. The true victory in these programs is the power to educate students on the impact of food on their bodies as well as the world around them. Although these success stories are miles away, Carrboro is also home to a flourishing farm-to-lunch program which will be explored in the next issue. April 2014
The Hill Political Review
Connected and dissatisfied Researchers find connectivity brings with it slew of social problems By: David Farrow
he youth of today haunt the wake of the information revolution. The specters of the preceding era—landlines, dial-up, letters—still linger, yet, to many, they are hesitation marks, representatives of the slow movement towards seamless interpersonal integration. Despite the rapid adoption of these technologies, an underlying dissatisfaction with connectivity persists. As people continue to become more and more connected, meaningful relationships and interactions have binary and mechanical. Technology provides innumerable avenues for conversation, enrichment, and discovery, yet the result of technological integration is the disintegration of real social bonds. In the past 15 years, the percentage of households with Internet access has jumped from 18% to 71%. The march of progress only continues as the Internet becomes incorporated into everyday interactions through cell phones and tablets. Frank N. Magid Associates, a research and consulting firm, finds that in 2013, 74 percent of US mobile phone owners possess a smartphone. Tamyra Pierce of California State University finds that the usage of social media and interactive technology “may be serving as a substitute for face-to-face communication” as teens specifically avoid confronting social anxieties through burying themselves within technology. When applying these statistics to UNC, students maneuver campus with phones and tablets on hand, fixated on the digital world while ignoring the real world. Technology, in this way, has empowered escapism as opposed to connection, offering a window to another world instead of a window to view another person. The reliance on technology not only caters to social anxiety, but also further amplifies it. Constant connectivity places an enormous stress on individuals through offering many The Hill Political Review April 2014
avenues for connection, while imbuing a sense of futility about the relationships formed through social media. Mediated by technology, a “digital veil” is enacted that causes individuals “to develop a disconnect from others, and even from themselves”. Investment within the digital world overall dissociates the user from the real world. Researchers at the University of Michigan argue “the size of people’s Facebook networks [and] their perceived supportiveness” do not significantly change the fact that “the more participants used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time”. Despite all of these tenuous social connections, a lack of responsibility or obligations towards these “friends” fosters quick but shallow relationships. While connectivity is just a click away, value can’t be found liking a status or retweeting a joke. The usage of social media as a means of improving social interaction still perplexes users. The self-serving nature of technology contaminates conventional interactions. The Pew Research Service reports that 42 percent of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships find their partner distracted by their mobile phone while they were together and 18 percent of 18-29 year olds think that their partner spends too much time online. Significant others must now compete with their partners’ phones for time and attention, and the interactions of couples are increasingly funneled through this digital medium. The information revolution has been a boon to modern society through facilitating conversation and integration. Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT, argues technology runs the risk of providing “the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship”. Technology must help us to shoulder those demands, for those demands fundamentally are the burdens of our humanity. Communication ought to be enhanced, not truncated by technology.
Connectivity by the numbers
Percentage of households with internet access
Percent of mobile phone owners that own a smartphone
Percent of 18-29 year olds in a serious relationship that find their partner distracted by their mobile phone while they are together
Percent of 18-29 year olds in a serious relationship that think their partner spends too much time online 15
The Ivory Tower Flipped classrooms Zach Williams is a sophomore majoring in political science and information science
Allie Higgins is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication
Student Body President-elect Andrew Powell aims to bring more ‘flipped classrooms’ to UNC. Is this concept a valuable?
trending topic in higher education, and one supported by UNC’ s newly elected Student Body President, the flipped classroom model will be upon us sooner rather than later. This is a good thing. Flipped classes entail reading and watching lectures outside of class and working on exercises during it. Professors, no longer tasked with giving structured lectures, are free to answer more questions and interact at a more personal level with students. They become “guides on the side” rather than “sages on the stage.” Furthermore, it encourages interaction amongst students who would otherwise be listening silently to the lecturer. The flipped classroom model is a worthy experiment with potential to add value to on-campus education. Flipped classrooms, implemented properly, will be more efficient for professors and students. Instead of repeatedly performing the same lectures with inconsistent quality, a professor can instead record his very best lectures and reuse them. A professor can even forego lecturing entirely by sharing lectures from better instructors. Professors can benefit by freeing time both for research and for directly interacting with students. Students get consistently good lectures, to be absorbed at their pace of choice, and more class time to ask specific questions. Specific answers, previously the domain of one-on-one office hours or email for large classes, can now be broadcasted to all students during class time, thus spreading information more efficiently. Most importantly, the change from the lecture-based classroom will stimulate professors to innovate. High quality information on college-level material is freely available online, and it is increasingly easy to learn advanced subjects without going to a brick and mortar school. Colleges must adapt if they are to remain relevant in the long term. By making classwork more dynamic and instructors more available, universities can maintain their advantage over competing forms of learning and certification. 16
oday’s traditional college classroom differs from a class 10 years ago; technologies have evolved, and so have teaching styles. Online learning programs, homework portals, and university-wide bulletins have arisen to allow students greater access to an array of resources for development. The concept of “flipped classrooms” has also emerged in the progression of educational reform. In a flipped classroom, students are expected to watch lecture videos or listen to recordings outside of class. During class time, students practice the concepts they learned on their own, with assistance from the professor. Although this system seeks an efficient answer to a menacing problem, it falls short because it is simply too idealistic. The expectation that students will complete out of class lectures to their full potential sets the bar higher than ever. While the flipped classroom would allow for more practice time in class with a professor, that assumes that students have even listened to the recordings or watched the videos in anticipation of that practice. For students who struggle to work independently, this system wouldn’t effectively force them to learn the material. Instead, they would fall behind peers, make their own classrooms in crowded dorms or common rooms. Although the concept of a traditional college classroom will continue to evolve, a system like this could force students to make negative educational choices. Why go to class when they’ve got the lecture right there? If students understand concepts, they may not feel the need to come to class at all. Conversely, students may skip over questions that arise while they’re watching outside of class, because they would feel the expectation was for them to learn on their own. Educational planners should question whether the flipped classroom would create a better learning experience for the common student. Certainly changes are needed to keep college curricula relevant and challenging, but a traditional learning system would lead to more potential losses than gains for students. April 2014
The Hill Political Review
Around the Bend Year of the bear?
Brian Bartholomew is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science
orporate debt has been bubbling up in China, totaling over $12 trillion at the end of 2013. For better or worse, China just popped the cork. Egged on by an implicit government backstop, the volume of Chinese corporate bonds has grown more than tenfold since 2007, swelling to $8.5 trillion. With economic growth stalling amidst a broader emerging market downturn, profits have been squeezed to their tightest margins since 2008. Many debt-fueled investments, poured into self-cannibalizing industries suffering from gross overcapacity, are proving unprofitable. These conditions
are making it difficult for Chinese corporations to service their debt. Up until now, the government has staged 11th-hour interventions and encouraged rollovers to avoid outright defaults on domestic corporate bonds. This backing has led to bonds being treated more like interest rate instruments than assets with real risk. In this environment, unprofitable and heavily leveraged borrowers have been able raise capital in the bond market at relatively inexpensive rates. All of that is about to change. On March 7, Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. failed to make an $14.7 million interest payment, marking China’s first onshore corporate bond default since market regulation began in 1997. The default itself was paltry, and the company’s footprint minimal. The same cannot be said of the message sent ringing out across Chinese markets: the era of unlimited corporate backstopping is over. The removal of the government’s implicit guarantee of corporate debt will force investors reassess the distribution of risk in corporate bonds. In industries already suffering from rampant overcapacity such as steel, solar, coal, and shipbuilding, the resultant rise in rates will
almost certainly result in more defaults. This has led Bank of America-Merrill Lynch’s David Cui, to dub the Chaori default a “Bearn Stearns” moment, where market-wide reassessment of risk sets off a chain reaction culminating in credit crunches and a Lehman-style market freeze-up. Most observers hold a less catastrophic outlook. Despite the turmoil that is expected to accompany more expensive capital, most observers are hailing Chaori’s default as a strong step toward the long-term goal of establishing a stable, sustainable market for Chinese corporate debt. Edging out moral hazard and ushering in more accurate risk pricing should lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, which will reduce wasteful investment. While Chinese corporate debt is not the haven it once was, don’t expect everything to be fair game. More corporations will be allowed to default, but only selectively. Nevertheless, the effects of further defaults and tighter credit are bound to spill over into the broader economy. This is to say nothing of separate challenges in local government debt, the shadow banking sector, and a general slowdown in growth. No one ever said reform would be easy.
Two Cents Putin revives Stalin...literally
Nancy Smith is a sophomore majoring in Arabic studies
fter a very public invasion of the Crimea Peninsula earlier this month, Russian President and human Doberman, Vladimir Putin, has announced his success in bringing back to life former Soviet Union leader, Joseph Stalin. In an already contentious standoff between the Ukraine, the European Union, and Russia over future of Crimea and the increasingly disturbing behavior of Eastern Europe in general, The Hill Political Review April 2014
this comes as another shocking blow to all who thought the horrors of World War II were buried for good. Even more disturbing is the technology used to resurrect the Cold War dictator. While Putin has personally “seen too” all scientists directly associated with the project, some information on the resurrection has escaped Soviet - sorry, Russian - borders. To our knowledge, the process involved biological material from the mustache hairs of Stalin’s close relatives, radioactive waste from Chernobyl, and the chanting of a 250-year-old Babushka. There is no further word on what Putin intends to do with Stalin, other than terrify the free world, but video clips released on YouTube and analyzed by reputed American historians have confirmed the identity of the mustachioed tyrant. When asked for comment, President Barack Obama rubbed his temple with his thumb and forefinger, and said, “Are you f****** serious?”
Sources also report that Putin has reached out to the influential American politician Carlos Danger, noting that the two men connected on a very “exposed” level. Secretary of State John Kerry did say something about this, but most of media chose to print Hillary Clinton’s statement instead; “Putin and Carlos Danger are two very unstable men with an intense desire to display personal masculine prowess via social media. I’m not saying this is Hitler-like behavior, but it is does echo Hitler’s behavior.” Will Vladimir Putin, Carlos Danger, and a zombified Joseph Stalin become the next Evil Axis? It may be downright dangerous to say “only time will tell,” but that seems to be the current foreign policy strategy of the entire rest of the world. Sure, the appeasement worked well in preventing World War II, all the way up until World War II started, but perhaps it’s time for the United States to become more diplomatically proactive. Or at least work on getting Churchill and Roosevelt back on their feet. 17
Book Review Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World By Ian Bremmer By: Sumeet Patwardhan “G-Zero: A world order in which no single country or durable alliance of countries can meet the challenges of global leadership. What happens when the G20 doesn’t work and the G7 is history.” In Every Nation For Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World, Ian Bremmer, an insightful geopolitical analyst, analyzes the history and trajectory of our current G-Zero world. Though Bremmer’s work is fairly accessible, the reader must be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the basic considerations involved in international relations, if only to heighten one’s understanding of his analysis. In order to effectively construct his argument, Bremmer splits up the book into only a few chapters, examining what G-Zero means, how our world came to be G-Zero, the implications of this world, the stakeholders that win and lose, the possible trajectories from the present, and the role for America in this G-Zero world. This book offers a good conceptual understanding of our current international order. Bremmer begins by commenting on the inefficacy of the G20 to create any sort of far-reaching, long-lasting change. Countries do not share similar enough values and similar enough goals to cooperate on global problems. Moving on to other collective arrangements, Bremmer
argues that the G7 doesn’t adequately consider the strength of rising powers, the G3 (US, Europe, Japan) fails to include China or the rising powers, and the G1, US hegemony, is no longer a conceivable solution to international crises. Given this background, he goes on to explain the impacts of a G-Zero world – namely, an unstable collection of leaderless states. Without a coherent sense of global leadership, states will face increased risks of direct conflict in the Middle East and Asia, cyber-attacks, economic sanctions and protectionism, misaligned production standards, internet manipulation, climate inaction, and food and water insecurity. Though these implications seem both diverse and severe, Bremmer outlines the possible trajectories from our present situation, and how the US can play a significant role in reshaping a G-Zero world. Specifically, Bremmer argues that our world will become one of five distinct possibilities – G2 (US, China), Concert (US-China cooperation with strong independent powers), Cold War 2.0 (US-China conflict), World of Regions (US-China conflict with strong independent powers), and G-Subzero (breakdown of state order). According to Bremmer, the World of Regions is the most likely. Bremmer’s analysis of the US role in promoting global cooperation rather than regionalization, however, is ultimately lacking. He proposes
shoring up economic vitality along with pushing for more globalization, but his two solutions seem to be too vague and over-arching. Absent specific suggestions regarding implementation, Bremmer’s argument lacks a satisfying ending. Regardless, his analysis of the international order throughout Every Nation For Itself is both thorough and understandable, so I would highly recommend a read.
Spotlight: Asher Hildebrand
taff writer Jacob Johnson sat down with Professor Asher Hildebrand for this month’s spotlight interview. Before Hildebrand joined the public policy department at UNC, he worked as the Director of Policy and Research for President Obama’s North
Carolina election campaign. Chapel Hill is a familiary place for Hildebrand. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UNC before he went on to earn an M.P.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow WIlson School of Public and International Affairs. Hildebrand still currently works on a part time basis
for Congressman David Price (D-NC). Hildebrand and Johnson discussed Hildebrand’s career, his advice for current UNC students, and current political issues. A video of their discussion is available on The Hill’s website (thehill.web.unc.edu) and its YouTube channel.
The Hill Political Review
Notables and quotables “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a blankety blank where the hell they put it. If they put it in Siberia, I’m going to try to go play. If they put it in Owen High School in Black Mountain, Swannanoa Valley, I’m going to try our best to go out and play.”
getting on one of those things.
- A frustrated Roy Williams when asked his thoughts on moving the ACC tournament location. - Literally anyone when asked about air travel in light of several unfortunate occurences in the past few weeks.
Editorial Cartoon By: Ngozika Nwoko
Ther North Korean government announced last month that not a single North Korean voted against Kim Jong Un in recent elections there. The Hill Political Review April 2014
The Hill Political Review