THE INFORMED STUDENTâ€™S GUIDE TO Cyberattacks: Endangering National Security
Homelessness in Athens: Evolving Community Responses
Syrian Refugee Crisis: The Role of Arab Gulf States
GPR VOL. IX | FALL 2015
4 Letter from the Editor
5 Fair Deal?
The Georgia Governor’s Education Proposal
6 Stars and Barred
The Sanitization of Confederate History on College Campuses Overlooks UGA
8 Homelessness in Athens
Community Housing Efforts in the Classic City
10 The Bern and the Hill 12 A (Republican) House Divided Cannot Stand
14 Cybersecurity Today’s Problem, Tomorrow’s
24 Yemen The New Stage for the Saudi-
16 Decision on Reserve
26 The Shattered Image of a Rising Superpower
28 The Arabic Gulf States
The Fed’s Delicate Situation
Reform and an Uncertain Economic Future
18 Southern Hospitality
Georgia’s Growing Refugee Community
INTERNATIONAL 22 It’s a Man’s War
An Overlooked Solution to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
30 Lights, Camera, and a Lack of Female Action 32 Putting Homeland Security On The Map 34 The Next Big (Internet Of) Things
Georgia Political Review | 3
LETTER EDITOR from the
The Georgia Political Review has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Started in the spring of 2011, GPR was founded on the premise that students deserve a critical and unbiased analysis of current events, and that they should be encouraged to join the conversation. In our ninth edition, we as a staff hope to showcase just how far that vision has taken us. In this magazine, you can read about an upcoming legislative battle in the Georgia Assembly, or take an in-depth look at homelessness in Athens. Learn about global developments from Asia to the Middle East to South America, and find a breakdown of the happenings within our own borders. Nowhere else will you find insightful pieces on local issues side-by-side with fascinating
takes on national and international news—all written and curated by your fellow classmates and peers. It is your peers—the writers, editors, layout designers, marketers, business managers—that are responsible for GPR’s success, which extends beyond this print edition. Whether it be events hosted on campus, daily updates on our Facebook, live-tweeting of the primary debates, or our weekly newsletter the GPR Memo, we as an organization have always been driven by our goal to be the nation’s most interactive political review. Thanks to our incredible staff, those lofty ambitions seem attainable. I want to give special thanks to my editorial board for making this past semester one of GPR’s best, from the editors who have tirelessly reworked and revised countless articles to the layout designers who are responsible for the beautiful magazine you hold before you. And with our biggest and most selective application cycle to date, our team will continue to be a thriving environment for young writers and thinkers. On behalf of
BRUCE LI our entire staff, I present to you the ninth edition of our magazine with excitement for what we have accomplished, and even more so for what GPR has in store for the future.
NINTH EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE GEORGIA POLITICAL REVIEW
Editor-in-Chief Bruce Li Managing Editor Shuchi Goyal Operations Director Eli Scott Senior Editor Robert Galerstein Assistant Senior Editors Austin McCandlish Bailey Palmer William Robinson Sam Schaffer Webmaster Bruce Li Business Manager Nathan Li Marketing Director Rory Hibbler
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Layout & Design Editors Sam Cleare Reilly Megee Staff Writers Swapnil Agrawal Rachael Andrews Davis Beauchamp Madison Bledsoe Alexander Boylston William Brockman Tré Brown Claire Brunner Benjamin Burnum Catherine Carter Bryson Culver Baylee Culverhouse Tommy Desoutter Anthony Farajallah Matt Fasig Caitlin Felt Melissa Florkowski Jake Frenkel
Priyanka Ghosh Kal Golde Jacquelyn Faye Harms James Haverly Joseph Hendricks Grace Holland Gregory Joy Shornima KC Jack Keller Shaun Kleber Megan Kriss Justin Lewis Chris Lewitzke Alex Lilly Gaby Lohner Emily Maloney Prabhjot Minhas Michael Momayezi Grace Nelmes Robert Oldham Christian Pedraza Nathan Pinnell Laura Pontari
Generously supported by the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs
Faiz Saulat Chase Soloman Ryan Switzer Rachel Tepper Bert Thompson Hannah Turner Bobby Wetherington Kathleen Wilson Design Staff Christina Lee Ansley Maness Ashka Patel Samantha Sego Hannah Schriever Mollie Simon Marketing Staff Laura Carr Synclair Copeland Karen Mejia Kim Nguyen Brooke Seitter Rachel Tepper
Fair Deal? The Georgia Governor’s Education Proposal Justin Lewis Staff Writer
he Georgia General Assembly begins the 2015 legislation session in January, but it remains unclear which issues the legislature will take up. Transportation, medical marijuana, failing public schools, and other controversial issues are among those vying for attention, but it is likely that the state legislature will focus on Georgia’s education system, the issue promoted by Governor Nathan Deal. For the year ahead, Deal is planning to propose a whopping $50 million in new spending for the state’s prekindergarten programs. With a dollar amount this great attached to pre-K programs, the issues surrounding pre-K education are likely to steal the spotlight during the upcoming session. The governor has expressed his desire to bolster the effectiveness of pre-K education. In an interview with The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Deal indicated that while specific details on his proposal are pending, the $50 million to be spent would serve to benefit the instructors. According to him, the purpose of this spending is centered on reducing class sizes and increasing teacher pay within Georgia’s early-childhood program. Ultimately, he intends to offset the impact of the 2011 spending cuts in the program, which were aimed at saving the HOPE scholarship program from financial calamity. “We all know the statistics indicate a good pre-K program is the best starting point we can have for children in schools,” Deal said. “Class size and teacher compensation are critical components for being able to have an effective and responsible pre-K program.” Deal hopes to finance this effort by dipping into a distinct source of revenue known as the unrestricted lottery reserve fund. Remarkably, this fund has grown by approximately $60 million annually since 2012, up to almost $350 million at the end of 2014. In touting his plan to engineer his proposed action, Deal asserted that, “It will all be lottery money if we expand and enhance salaries and lower the class size for our pre-K program.” Before the session has even begun, the governor’s proposals are already contentious. State Representative Stacey Evans indicated her particular interest that state money be spent on higher education costs. She favors covering remaining costs of attendance for technical college students whose total financial aid does not cover full tuition. In the words of Rep. Evans, “The difference in funding is sometimes
only $400 or $500, and it’s the difference between completing a program and someone not completing it…anything we can do to drive more people into the doors of a technical college is going to result in more people in unfilled jobs.” On the other hand, fellow Rep. Trey Kelley fully endorsed Gov. Deal’s proposal, stating that showing support for this new spending plan is “another way of showing that education is the number one priority in our state.” Additionally, Georgia Sen. Bill Heath expressed that he would not be able to support the governor’s proposal, because he does not expect to see a satisfactory return on that investment. If these representatives are indicative of the full state legislature, Deal may have a tough road ahead of him once session begins in January. Much of the resistance to Deal’s plan is rooted in the zero sum game between funding the HOPE program and funding pre-K. Deal’s proposals seek to restore funding to pre-K that was diverted to the HOPE program when it was in financial collapse. This back and forth between pre-K funding and higher education funding will continue unless the core problem is addressed. What is this problem? The problem is that Georgia’s education expenses are too intertwined, which makes having an efficient means of funding our state’s priorities nearly unachievable. For example, the unrestricted lottery reserve fund can be utilized to pay for special programs, including college and technical school scholarships, pre-K education programs, and educational technology. It is one of two reserve funds found in Georgia’s Lottery for Education Account. The other fund, designated as the shortfall reserve fund, is used to replenish lottery revenues in this account whenever the amount of revenues becomes insufficient to fund the various lottery programs. A solution to the problem entails establishing a reserve fund for each special program—a fund for scholarships, a fund for pre-K education, and a fund for technology. Logistically, this could facilitate an equal allocation of revenue toward each program, leaving no program with an unfair financial advantage or disadvantage relative to the other two. In effect, lawmakers who pursue education reform via new spending would have a more simplified means of achieving their policy objective. Regardless of whether this solution is implemented or not, Deal can be sure to expect ample debate come next January. ◼
Georgia Political Review | 5
The Sanitization of Confederate History on College Campuses Overlooks UGA
Eli Scott Operations Director
n June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African American worshippers at the historic Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Charleston, South Carolina. This traumatic event and the following battle over the presence of the Confederate flag in front the South Carolina State House has redefined the way that Americans struggle with their tumultuous and often guilt-inducing past. For some, especially those descended from Confederate soldiers, the Confederate flag and commemorative monuments represent tradition and family history. But for others, the call for the removal of the Confederate flag, as well as monuments and even buildings named after Confederate warriors, has been heeded, and this movement is now working its way across college campuses countrywide. After the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina State House, the same battle flags around the country disappeared rapidly. The next items on the list of Confederate history to be sanitized were monuments, including four Confederate pieces in New Orleans. One of these was the Washington Artillery Monument, dedicated to a militia that fought both in the Battle of Gettysburg, as well as in the Mexican-American War. The nuances of this statue led many to question the seemingly blind commitment of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to clear the city of Civil War-era landmarks.
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The movement has caught fire on college campuses, too. The most successful case has been at the University of TexasAustin, where the Student Government voted for the removal of an enormous Jefferson Davis statue. Other colleges, such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have experienced a more convoluted process. The statue known as “Silent Sam,” a monument to 321 alumni of U.N.C. who died in the Civil War serving the Confederate Army, stands forebodingly on campus with a rifle in his hands, denoting his racist past. This statue was defaced in July with graffiti saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Murderer,” but such actions have not been enough to push the university to take action and remove the statue. The process of removing Confederate monuments has been uneven and prolonged in most cases, but hurdles have not stymied activists’ intent on removing Confederate history from college campuses. Others have called for the renaming of many residence halls and buildings with Confederate ties, claiming that such buildings honor the past that so actively offends present-day minority students. The University of North Carolina was successful in renaming Saunders Hall, a dormitory honoring former North Carolina secretary of state and prominent Ku Klux Klan organizer William Saunders, as Carolina Hall. But the activists won a pyrrhic victory when the UNC Board of Regents on the same day announced a 16-year freeze on renaming other buildings, such as the infamous Aycock Residence Hall named after vehement white supremacist and North Carolina Governor Charles Aycock. However, a residence hall of the same name at crosstown rival Duke University was renamed earlier this year as East Residence Hall. Buildings named after unambiguously racist figures are rampant in the Southeast, where over 10 buildings on the campuses of the University of Mississippi, University of Alabama, and University of South Carolina are named after notable racist politicians. Two South Carolina colleges, Clemson University and Winthrop University, have faced protests requesting the renaming of Tillman Halls, named after 19th century pro-Jim Crow Governor Benjamin Tillman. But these protests were not heeded because of a unique legal challenge; after passing the Heritage Act of 2000 in South Carolina, parks and other public areas named for historical figures cannot be renamed without a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly. Similar laws exist in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. With the wide-ranging activism surrounding Confederate history at universities, the University of Georgia has seemingly been overlooked. While Confederate statues at the Capitol in Atlanta have been brought to the forefront of the issue, an ostentatious monument in downtown Athens and a handful of university buildings have missed the scrutiny, despite standing as constant reminders to students of UGA’s bigoted past. The Clarke County Confederate Monument lies in the median of Broad Street, and it was the first county Confederate memorial in the state of Georgia. The obelisk-like shape seems incongruous with the rest of downtown Athens, and an inscription on the monument solidifies its ties to the University. While one side enumerates those that died on the Confederate side in Clarke County, another panel bears a sentimental tribute by former Chancellor of the University Andrew Lipscomb, the namesake of Lipscomb Hall.
Eulogizing the Confederate dead... pales in comparison to the actions of the racist namesakes of other university buildings.
Eulogizing the Confederate dead, though, pales in comparison to the actions of the racist namesakes of other university buildings. The first of these buildings, Joseph E. Brown Hall, is home to comparative literature and African languages. In contrast to the cultural diversity of the students who frequent Joe Brown Hall for class, Joe Brown was a vehement defender of states’ right to maintain slavery during his time as Governor from 1857 to 1865. Brown doubted that the blacks and whites could coexist peacefully and contemplated sending freed slaves to Africa. Brown represents a stark contrast with the purpose of the building on campus that shares his name. Perhaps the most disturbing example of the gross disconnect between the names of buildings and their purpose is Candler Hall, the home of the School of Public and International Affairs. Students can take courses in international affairs and public administration intended to broaden their methods of thinking, yet the building’s namesake epitomized closemindedness. Allen Candler served Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1883 to 1891 and as Governor from 1898 to 1902. Candler also served in the Confederate Army, and as Governor, successfully lobbied for a Democratic whites-only primary based on the argument that the Democratic Party was not subject to the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits states from disenfranchising voters based on race or skin color. In an 1899 editorial, Candler claimed that the “enfranchisement of the Negro was a crime against civilization.” His tenure coincided with the most violent lynchings in Georgia history, and he was noted for his response to the lynching of Sam Hose in 1899, in which he admonished the black victims of the violence as well as the entire black community. While the Confederate flag debate has motivated many to call for the removal of Confederate history in the forms of statues and buildings on campuses throughout the country, the University of Georgia has avoided such activism, mainly due to the persistence of Georgia Code 50.3.1 stating that “no publicly owned monument or memorial … in honor of the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America … shall be relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.” With such prohibitive laws against renaming Confederateaffiliated monuments and buildings, the University of Georgia will be unlikely to see any changes to the controversial names that adorn the University’s halls. ◼
Georgia GeorgiaPolitical PoliticalReview Review| |77
ATHENS Robert Galerstein Senior Editor
he United States has a homelessness problem, and the Classic City is not immune. Homelessness has been on the decline over the last five years, but there is a lot of work left to be done. The homeless population in Athens is at least 200 people. The Northeast Georgia Coalition on Poverty and Homelessness counted 249, while the most recent statewide reports conducted by Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs put the county number at 226. However, these figures only estimate people staying in the county on a particular day and do not account for the different individuals and families that come to Athens throughout the year. Poverty and inequality are hot topics in Athens. From 2009 to 2013, 36.7 percent of people in Athens-Clarke County were living below the poverty level, compared to 18.2 percent of people in the state of Georgia and 15 percent throughout the country. Even when college students with little to no income are factored out, Athens still has a poverty rate of nearly 30 percent. The high rate of poverty makes it difficult to maintain long-term housing, forcing many back on the streets. Homelessness creates circumstances where finding a long-term job is nearly impossible. Poor health, appearance, and even mental health issues keep people in debilitating cycles of poverty. “Right now, I’m just trying to get money to get a home,” said Paul, an Athens resident who only gave his first name. Paul has traveled across the country – living in Louisiana, Gainesville, New York City – but has been in Athens for the last five years. The City Hall recently tasked him with making sure others do not leave their things at the nearby bus stop on College Avenue. He struggles with medical bills for his physical and mental health, but still manages to find shelter most nights at the Salvation Army. Known for its Santa Clauses ringing bells at Walmart, the Salvation Army has the largest shelter facility in Athens, housing 70 people per night. Funded mainly through United
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States Housing and Urban Development grants, the Barber Street shelter is the only place in Athens from mid-April to mid-October that a homeless person can call to get a meal and a place to stay that night. They run a substantial operation with an annual budget of more than a million dollars and have the ability to make accommodations with separate rooms and more private spaces in their women’s facility. While 70 people a night constitutes a large group, the shelter still struggles with turning people away. “The point-in-time count is a really good snapshot, but annually we serve over 500 different individuals. It’s a really transient population, the need still exists, and there is still work to be done,” said Adrienne Bumpers, director of social services for the Athens-area Salvation Army. Fortunately, they were able to drastically expand their family shelter this February, accommodating over 11 families in the first two months. The Athens Area Homeless Shelter, also located on Barber Street, provides housing for families, giving beds to about 20 people for an average of nine months. The Bigger Vision is a seasonal homeless shelter on North Avenue open only during the winter, receiving staff and volunteers from their partnership with Athens First United Methodist Church. They have 35 beds, and open an additional 10 beds on nights when temperatures go below 35 degrees.
Poor health, appearance, and even mental health issues keep people in debilitating cycles of poverty.
GEORGIA 2014 Homeless Point in Time Count, Northeast Georgia Coalition on Poverty and Homelessness
249 Total Homeless Individuals Unsheltered: 87 (35%) Chronically Homeless: 44 (18%) Children (<18): 30 (12%) Veterans: 15 (6%) *Homeless individuals facing at least one identified or self-identified challenge of mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or physical disability: 184 (74%)
Some shelters make specific accommodations for their guests. Advantage Women’s Services has 22 beds and houses pregnant women and mothers with children dealing with substance-abuse disorder. Project Safe has 18 beds available for women dealing with domestic violence. Some are able to get vouchers for hotels or stay the night at churches. Community efforts have made a huge dent in Athens and across the state of Georgia, but shelters in the area are still not sufficient to meet demand. Homeless shelters provide an invaluable resource to those in need of a place to sleep, but the services many of these organizations provide are just as important in assisting people with getting off the street. The Athens Area Homeless Shelter provides case management and financial training to help individuals find permanent housing and ultimately become independent, and has already served 87 people in the last year. The Salvation Army offers case management services to the residents to assist in developing resources necessary to maintain their housing. These shelters work closely with Advantage, often through referrals, assisting the many homeless people in Athens who deal with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. While the homeless population has not declined in the last couple years, the population of total homeless people has drastically declined over the last five years. In 2009, Athens-Clarke County was reported to have 434 homeless people, over 200 of which were unsheltered. In 2013, the population had declined to 213 total homeless with 95 unsheltered. These trends were also reflected across the state; from 2009 to 2015, the total homeless population in Georgia dropped from 21,095 to 13,790 people with the amount of unsheltered people declining from 12,101 to 5,803 people. The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, funded by the 2009 stimulus package, provided housing assistance to people who would otherwise become homeless. In 2011, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs helped 12,037 people obtain housing, with costs totaling more than $11 million. These programs allowed the state of Georgia and Clarke County to cut their homeless population in half. Although national trends of total homeless and unsheltered homeless people are declining, Georgia’s decline more than doubles the national average.
Demographically, Athens’ homeless population also shares many similarities with the national picture. A diverse group with diverse backgrounds, many of the leading variables in homelessness and poverty are reflected in Athens – almost half are severely mentally ill, over a third are chronic substance abusers, and there is a significant amount of military veterans, victims of domestic violence, and children. Over 30 percent are chronically homeless, defined by HUD as having been continuously homeless for a year or more or having at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. Non-profit organizations and churches are at the forefront of tackling homelessness, but students have also been involved. The Reformed University Fellowship meets every Friday at 5 p.m. near Athens’ downtown bus stop to “to feed the hungry, hang out with the forgotten, and find ways to help the poor.” Athens PBJ gathers every Sunday at different locations around the city to provide food as well as friendship and community, attempting to create a “medium to bridge the homeless and non-homeless population in Athens.” These groups not only emphasize the physical provision of food, but also focus on developing relationships and establishing a sense of community with a group that is commonly neglected. The homeless population in Athens is most visible on afternoons and nights when they are downtown begging for money. Efforts throughout the county and state have made tremendous strides over the last few years, but the problem remains. It is easy for students and locals to avoid all interaction, refusing panhandling for fears that their money would be supporting alcohol and substance abuse. Fortunately, there is a litany of other ways for Athens residents to get involved and bridge the gap. ◼
Total Homeless per 10,000 People
Unsheltered per 10,000 People
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THE BERN +
THE HILL Tommy Desoutter Staff Writer
hile most media coverage of the 2016 presidential election has focused on Donald Trump and the Republican candidates, a starkly different race is unfolding within the Democratic Party. Only two Democratic candidates consistently poll more than one or two percent nationwide: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Until a few months ago, Clinton was considered a shoo-in for the nomination. On March 9, The New York Times’ political analysis blog “The Upshot” published an article declaring that Clinton was “in as strong a position as any nonincumbent trying to win a major-party nomination ever has been.” However, as of October 4, polls collected by Real Clear Politics show Sanders leading Clinton by a solid margin in New Hampshire and trailing by only a few percentage points in Iowa. The movement coalescing behind Sanders has revitalized the race and presented Democrats with a choice of seriously different directions for the party. Clinton and Sanders share positions on many issues considered integral to the Democratic Party: same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood, labor unions, the nuclear accord with Iran, renewable energy, etc. Regardless, there are real differences between the candidates on major issues. Sanders demonizes Wall Street and believes bank executives should be jailed over the 2008 financial crisis, while Clinton is much friendlier with the financial industry. Sanders opposes U.S. intervention or leadership in Syria and Iraq, while Clinton has supported the Obama administration policy of arming the “moderate rebels” in Syria and has called for more robust military interventions, including a no-fly zone. Sanders opposes
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free trade agreements, whereas Clinton generally supports them and played a lead role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Sanders opposes capital punishment (Clinton supports it), but has historically been more supportive of gun rights than Clinton. The candidates also project differing public images. Sanders is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist who praises the economic model of the Nordic countries, utilizes strong populist rhetoric, and frequently mentions “political revolution” in his speeches. Though he has executive experience as mayor of Burlington (his achievements in that capacity have been praised in The New York Times), he has embraced the role of protest politician in his 24 years in Congress, standing staunchly by his principles at the expense of deal-making. As a result, he has not authored many successful bills. Clinton has recently been portrayed by social media and some activists as the corporate foil to Sanders: stuffy, out of touch, and too cozy with big business and “the Establishment.” Historically, though, she has been seen as a committed, though divisive, mainstream liberal and champion of women’s rights. Although she was the daughter of a conservative small business owner and served as president of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College, the events of the 1960s changed her philosophy. She became a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and an opponent of the Vietnam War. The New York Times reports that she supported the antiwar Democrat Eugene McCarthy, organized a two-day strike after the assassination of Martin Luther King, and worked to recruit more black students and professors for Wellesley. She spent a considerable portion of her legal career advocating on behalf of abused and vulnerable children. As a Senator in the
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2000s, she opposed both of President Bush’s major tax cuts and voted with the party line the vast majority of the time, but received retrospective criticism for being among the 58 percent of Senate Democrats who voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force against Iraq. As Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, she played a large role in the U.S. military surge in Afghanistan, the effort to improve U.S. cooperation with Russia, the NATO intervention in Libya, and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. She also advocated for the use of U.S. influence to promote women’s rights and gay rights. Sanders has criticized Clinton for her willingness to take money from corporations. She told the Times, “I was rooted in a political approach that understood that you can’t just take to the streets and make change in America.” She wrote in her senior honors thesis that gaining power was essential to effecting change, which could only come through the system. This is the most fundamental difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: he believes in standing by one’s principles until the public becomes aware enough to change the system, while she believes in working within the system to create change. She made this clear in a recorded exchange with some Black Lives Matter activists, saying, “I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws.” Sanders’ campaign has momentum in the polls and draws large crowds when he goes on the campaign trail. Still, Clinton has a number of advantages that will be difficult for him to overcome. One is her overwhelming name recognition, which is over 95 percent nationwide. Another is the sheer volume of endorsements she has received: dozens of current and former governors, more than 30 incumbent Senators and 100 incumbent U.S. Representatives, as well as dozens of business leaders. Remarkably, Sanders has no endorsements from sitting governors or Senators, and only two from U.S. Representatives. This bodes poorly for Sanders because it shows Clinton’s strong hold on the “superdelegates” - the party
elites who make up about 15 percent of the voters at the Democratic National Convention. Finally, Clinton enjoys longstanding support from black voters, and though this support has slipped in recent months, it remains very unlikely that Clinton will lose the primaries in South Carolina and the rest of the South. There is one major caveat to Clinton’s dominance: the email scandal currently dogging her campaign has the potential to do serious damage. The political analysis blog FiveThirtyEight notes that the question of whether Clinton broke the law by using a private email server may become secondary to derivative discoveries. For example, there is a possibility that she covered up or deleted evidence, or that recovered emails reveal “cross-contamination” between her public office and her private interests, such as the Clinton Foundation. Gallup reports that Hillary Clinton’s net favorability among Democrats and “leaners” remains very high despite a dip of roughly 10 percentage points since the scandal broke, but further revelations could seriously hurt public perception of her tenure as Secretary of State and her trustworthiness during the general election. Barring a devastating discovery in her emails, Hillary Clinton is very likely to emerge victorious from the primary season. This should not be a cause for lamentation for Democrats, because Bernie Sanders is a deeply flawed candidate. The word “socialist” is taboo for many Americans due to its association with the Soviet Union. Sanders has been unable to draw any substantial endorsements from lawmakers or other leaders in the Democratic Party. With that and the polarized political climate in mind, it is hard to imagine him successfully working much of his agenda through a Republican-dominated Congress. If the party chooses to reject its heir apparent for an outspoken socialist, it risks alienating the moderates and businesses that have formed an important part of its coalition of support, and the result could very well be single-party Republican rule. ◼
She wrote in her senior honors thesis that gaining power was essential to affecting change.
Georgia Political Review | 11
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Boehner fell on his sword to preserve the legitimacy of the House, but he only funded the government for two more months.
ho exactly is in charge of the Republican Party? Not John Boehner. The Speaker of the House announced his resignation after the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 hardline conservatives, threatened to overthrow him for advancing a government funding bill that included Planned Parenthood. Despite his popularity within the caucus, Boehner was unable to reconcile the goals of conservatives with the necessities of responsible governing. Not Kevin McCarthy either. The House Majority Leader, widely seen as Boehner’s heir, withdrew his bid for Speaker after the Freedom Caucus indicated they would not support him. McCarthy, along with former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, led the “Young Gun” movement in 2010 that promised to usher in a new era of strong conservative leaders. Just four years later, Cantor has lost his seat to a radical primary challenger and McCarthy’s Speakership has been blocked by the very conservatives he helped deliver a House majority for in 2010. The Freedom Caucus? Even though they took down Boehner and McCarthy, conservatives cannot find a candidate of their own for Speaker. Their membership is large enough to impede the 247 member Republican Caucus from obtaining 218 votes to pass bills, but it is too small to assert any real power over the House agenda. The House of Representatives is functioning more like a parliamentary system than a two-party assembly right now. The majority is essentially a coalition, split between establishment Republicans and conservatives. Establishment Republicans are more moderate and work across the aisle to pass necessary legislation like funding the government. The conservatives, led by the Freedom Caucus, oppose nearly all compromise as they push their agenda of shrinking the size of government. Conservatives have not been afraid to use their influence to wreak havoc on the establishment Republicans. The first sign of trouble was when 25 members of the House voted against Boehner as Speaker last January. It only got worse from there. In July, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), a Freedom Caucus member, introduced a motion to vacate the chair, effectively a conservative coup against Boehner. After the aforementioned fight over Planned Parenthood, Boehner had had enough of the hardline conservative faction. Shortly after announcing his resignation, Boehner derided the faction as “false prophets,” who make unreasonable demands to advance their own careers rather than acting prudently to advance the GOP’s long game of recapturing all three branches of government. The Freedom Caucus will reveal how unreasonable they really are as two important fiscal deadlines approach. Boehner fell on his sword to preserve the legitimacy of the House, but
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he only funded the government for two more months. Not only will there need to be a bill funding the government past Dec. 11, but also an increase in the debt ceiling, which, if breached, could trigger a worldwide economic meltdown. If history is a reliable guide, these will both be difficult fights. Since Republicans won the House in 2010, conservatives have been unafraid to use extreme measures to achieve fiscal austerity. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 conservatives brought the country to the brink of economic disaster to try and force spending cuts. Each time, they threatened to allow the debt ceiling to expire unless their demands were met. And many conservatives weren’t bluffing. As Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell put it, “Some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting.” Before he resigns, Boehner has expressed interest in “clearing the barn,” by shepherding the debt ceiling extension and a government funding bill through Congress with a moderate RepublicanDemocrat coalition. But that was before conservatives derailed McCarthy’s Speakership. Although Boehner may still be able to push his agenda through before he resigns on Oct. 30, any attempt to bypass the conservatives will burden the next Speaker, who will need the blessing of the Freedom Caucus to get 218 votes on the floor. They are unlikely to support a Speaker who works with Boehner and the establishment to keep the government functioning. However, the Freedom Caucus does not want a conservative litmus test for the next Speaker. Although it wouldn’t hurt for the next contender to be a strong conservative, the Freedom Caucus stresses that their concerns are not ideological. Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash (R-MI) says that Boehner wrecked the House not by his policy, but by refusing to recognize regular order. Regular order means that the House should work like it does in a textbook. Bills should be introduced to the whole body, referred to committees, and be open to amendment. In reality,
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A (Republian) House Divided Cannot Stand Rob Oldham Staff Writer
important bills are usually negotiated by party leaders without input from the members who eventually vote on it. Boehner’s bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling would surely be outside of regular order. It is doubtful that regular order would work in a dysfunctional Congress that has a tendency to govern in crisis mode. With the stakes as high as a government shutdown or a debt default, House leaders need to be able to write compromise bills that could pass the Senate and be signed by the president without worrying about the concerns of individual members. Compromise bills are more efficient than regular order bills, and they are more likely to be passed before a crucial fiscal deadline comes up. Regardless of the merits of regular order, one can sympathize with the Freedom Caucus’s complaints. They were elected to represent their constituents’ interests on important matters, not be “corralled” to vote for a bill through the establishment’s “fear and intimidation,” as Amash says. Although they did the best they could to manage a divisive caucus while still advancing the Republican agenda, John Boehner and his establishment allies represent a lot of what voters hate about Washington. They promote a “pay to play” system where members are rewarded for fundraising prowess instead of policy skills. They punish noncompliant conservatives by withholding committee assignments. Although money and party loyalty are necessary evils in modern politics, the establishment has not expressed interest in reforming either. Conservative anger is understandable, even justified.
If the Freedom Caucus is genuinely concerned with restoring regular order and not advancing an extreme agenda, then the establishment should listen to their concerns. The rise of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina in the Republican Presidential Primary is a wakeup call for the establishment that voters are more interested in outsiders than the Washington political class for leadership. The Freedom Caucus should change its tactics though. There is never a reason to play chicken with the country’s financial integrity. Conservatives who advocate fiscal brinksmanship as means to topple the Washington establishment risk becoming the “false prophets” that Boehner warned of. But don’t dismiss the merits of the Freedom Caucus platform because of their misguided tactics. If the establishment wants to reassert control over the House, then it needs to consider reasonable conservatives demands like reforming fundraising and committee assignments, and maybe even restoring regular order for certain bills without deadlines. At the moment there is no one in charge of the Republican Party. The establishment and the conservatives are not just divided on ideology, but on the basics of managing a majority caucus. However, the night is always darkest before the dawn. The divided GOP is primed for new leadership who will listen to the both factions and lead the party away from its dangerous flirtation with dysfunction. If the Republican Party can manage that, then it might forestall a future battle with disaster and, eventually, irrelevancy. ◼
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Cybersecurity Today’s Problem, Tomorrow’s Threat
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atching the United States by surprise, the Japanese devastated the U.S. military forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. With calculated ferocity, the Japanese destroyed 188 aircraft, sank or damaged 16 warships, and killed 2,402 people. Tragically, the attack on Pearl Harbor should not have been a surprise. Of the many unheeded warnings that a Japanese attack was imminent, the first came from the U.S. ambassador to Japan in a coded telegram. He warned, “The Japanese military forces planned to attempt a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.” Intelligence officers did not believe him. U.S. military officers in Washington, D.C. then observed that the Japanese fleet had gone into strict radio silence, a discovery they failed to pass along to officers in Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt himself received a memo three days before the attack, warning that the Japanese were “paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii.” Perhaps worst of all, the first wave of attacking Japanese fighter planes were detected by U.S. radar 132 miles away from Pearl Harbor. The officer manning the radar that day, confusing the Japanese fighters for a returning wave of U.S. bombers, advised, “Don’t worry about it.” Warning after warning fell on deaf ears, leaving the U.S. forces at their most vulnerable. Today the United States is once again vulnerable, but this time the threat does not come from across the vast Pacific but the far vaster World Wide Web. A series of escalating attacks has exposed the meager defenses of the U.S. cyber infrastructure. Will the United States be victim to a cyber Pearl Harbor, or will it heed these warnings and prepare for the next attack?
The Warning Signs
The year 2015 has seen more than its fair share of massive hacks, but the most notable of these hacks was the breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which keeps records on every current and past federal employee as well as applicants for federal jobs. Though the U.S. government has made no formal accusations, it is widely believed that China was behind the attack, which gained access to 21.5 million people’s records. The information acquired included important personal information such as social security numbers, and the hackers even obtained the fingerprints of 5.6 million people. Worse yet, the hackers had access to the OPM records for a year before the breach was detected. While the scale of the OPM hack sets it apart, foreign hackers have obtained various forms of sensitive security information from government agencies frequently in recent years. For example, U.S. Department of Energy computers, which possess information relating to power grids and nuclear weapons, were compromised 159 times from 2010 to 2014, and hackers gained administrative privileges in 53 of those breaches, according to USA Today. In another instance, Russian hackers last year succeeded in hacking some of President Obama’s email correspondence, giving them insight into the president’s scheduling, policy planning, and more. Other major government agencies hacked in the last few years include the Department of State, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (whose servers hold thousands of satellite images), and the United States Postal Service. These hacks are alarming and illustrate the vulnerability of the U.S. cyber infrastructure, but they do not constitute a cyber Pearl Harbor. They did not cost American lives.
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In 2012, then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a cyberattack that could kill by compromising water supplies, public transportation, and power grids. “An aggressive nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches,” said Panetta. “[The worst-case scenario would be] cyber-actors launching several attacks on our critical infrastructure at one time, in combination with a physical attack…a cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability.”
budget allocations for cyber programs from Congress, developing a plan for coordinating cyber activities across agencies when responding to a large cyberattack, and constructing an automated capability to share incident information in near real-time. Finally, Congress can take action. The House this year passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015. These bills would greatly increase the amount of information shared between the public and private sectors and mandate heads of agencies conduct periodic reviews of their agencies’ cyber performance. The Senate has yet to vote on any cyber legislation this session. Cyberattacks against the United States have grown in volume and scale. Already, the United States has bled corporate secrets, patented information, and personnel records. With these vulnerabilities comes the risk of a cyberattack capable of taking lives. As in Pearl Harbor, if the United States fails to prepare for the attack, it can only respond to the damage. ◼
These hacks are alarming and illustrate the vulnerability of the U.S. cyber infrastructure.
This gloomy portent is already showing signs of coming true. Russian hackers have breached most of the United States’ critical infrastructure in an attempt to “poke and prod U.S. networks for vulnerabilities,” according to The Hill. Darien Kindlund, director of threat research at cyber intelligence firm FireEye, said the Russian hack could have been a “staging tactic for something larger.”
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Prepare for Attack
In response to the OPM data breach, the Obama administration launched a 30 day “Cybersecurity Sprint.” This initiative mainly increased the amount of two-factor verification used to access certain networks and investigated each agency’s particular vulnerabilities. However, some senior cybersecurity officials and technology experts told The New York Times that this effort gave the United States’ cyber-defenses “the software version of Bubble Wrap.” If that is the case, then what must be done to make the United States substantially cyber secure? First, U.S. policymakers should attempt to codify international ground rules for cyber conflict. Obama tried to do this during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to his country. The result was what Obama called a “common understanding” that neither government would knowingly support the theft of corporate secrets. That “understanding” is nonbinding, includes no other countries, establishes no international norms of conduct, limits itself to corporate espionage, and allows ample room for plausible deniability. When Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked if he was optimistic that this agreement would eliminate Chinese cyberattacks, he simply answered, “No.” The type of rules the U.S. government needs to promote is a Geneva-Conventions-style framework that applies to all state actors. Not only would this establish rules of conduct that should be adhered to, but it would define ways in which states can retaliate. With rules like this in place, the next time the United States discovers a hack coming from China, Russia, or another state actor, it could retaliate in a predefined way. This would also enable the United States to make a deterrent threat against a cyberattack. There is a range of short-term options that U.S. policy makers could choose as well. The Department of Homeland Security outlined many of them in an audit this year. The audit advised instituting a cyber training program for analysts and investigators, ensuring long-term
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DECISION ON RESERVE The Fed’s Delicate Situation
sk the average citizen what he thinks of the Federal Reserve’s choice this September to keep interest rates low, and his response will likely be either confusion or contempt. Ask the average economist, however, and he will likely answer with a fascinating and lengthy lecture. While politicians often characterize the flummoxing exploits of the Federal Reserve Bank as conspiratorial or inconsequential, the institution is both highly methodical and fundamentally significant. Most economists would agree that the Fed is currently in a highly unusual position, and a wrong action by the Fed now will have widespread and potentially disastrous repercussions. Economists are divided, however, over what action the Fed should take. As with most central banks, the Federal Reserve is a politically independent institution whose primary role is to control the U.S. money supply. The Fed does this through a variety of mechanisms, the most important of which is setting interest rates. When the economy enters recession, the Fed lowers interest rates to encourage borrowing and boost spending. By contrast, if the economy is doing well and inflation surges, the Fed raises rates to keep prices from rising too quickly. After the 2008 financial crisis, unemployment soared to 10 percent, inflation dropped to almost nothing, and the U.S. economy fell in to recession. In response, the Fed lowered interest rates. It continued to do so until rates hit near zero percent. Since 2009, the Federal Reserve has kept its target rate at record lows of between zero and 0.25 percent. Many economists credit the central bank’s actions as lessening the blow of the Great Recession and helping the U.S. economy recover. It has now been more than seven years since the onset of the financial crisis. Unemployment has returned to its lowest point in years, and the U.S. stock market has rallied to record levels. With all this good news, one would expect prices to rise and the Fed to
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Austin McCandlish Assistant Senior Editor
raise interest rates. But the current predicted rate of inflation is just 0.2 percent, magnitudes below the Federal Reserve’s ideal target of 2 percent. Such an astonishingly low level risks the possibility of declining prices, or deflation, which can be just as disastrous to an economy as its more common counterpart. And so the Federal Reserve faces a dilemma: keep interest rates at their current levels, risking inflation and financial bubbles bound to burst, or raise rates, risking a stalled economy right after recovery. The Fed is caught in between those who think a rise in rates is premature and those who think a rise in rates is overdue. Economists disagree vehemently on what action the Fed should take. Those who argue for keeping rates near zero point to low inflation, low wage growth, and a high rate of underemployment. Raising rates now, they say, could lead to widespread deflation, freeze investment, and may even push the U.S. economy back into recession. They further argue that while the U.S. economy appears to be recovering, the global economy remains weak. Indeed, the recent financial turmoil of China played a crucial role in Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s decision in September to keep rates low. Proponents of a rate increase point to low unemployment levels. They warn that low interest rates encourage risky borrowing and may result in financial bubbles, just as low rates in the early 2000s contributed to the catastrophic housing bubble burst. Furthermore, they argue, by not raising rates the Fed could lose its only tool to respond to another recession After all, rates cannot be lowered any further than zero. Still other economists contend that the last recession broke down the assumed relationship between inflation and unemployment upon which the Fed justify their decisions. These economists call for the Fed to reevaluate its purpose and goals entirely. Many propose that the Fed should scrap its target for inflation and instead target nominal GDP growth. A few urge the bank to restart its quantitative easing program, whereby the Fed printed money in the wake of the financial crisis to drastically increase the money supply and boost spending. This past September the Fed decided its best option was to keep interest rates at near zero levels until at least December. But shortly thereafter, the chairwoman dropped hints that the Fed may decide to raise rates before year’s end, citing low unemployment and expected increases in future growth. Yellen knows far too well the impact a wrong decision could have at this delicate time. In September, the institution’s choice not to raise rates influenced the decision of central banks in countless other countries. Financial markets also stumbled as investors fretted over signs that the economy might not be improving as much as originally thought. The repercussions of the Federal Reserve’s judgment this December will undoubtedly be far reaching. The world anxiously waits. ◼
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Reform and an Uncertain Economic Future
Nathan Li Business Manager
ust this past October, IBM announced its compliance with China’s request to review “the secret sauce behind its software” in exchange for greater access to China’s markets. The Chinese government labeled this process a self-protecting measure against potential U.S. spying. But given its recent cyber attacks on U.S. companies, combined with its desire to derive economic gain at the expense of foreign technologies, signs point to a greater issue at hand: Communist China’s lack of respect for intellectual property rights, even as its president plans to roll out economic reforms. Basic economics dictates that the health and growth of any economy require the rule of law, especially clear and enforced property rights. Private property gives incentive for the continued production of goods and services, which benefits also to the overall wealth of society. This incentive only exists, however, with adequate enforcement of these rights. Yet China’s unprecedented economic growth without the rights or enforcement has long left economists, political scientists, and legal scholars flummoxed. China’s official economic policy has been termed by the Communist Party of China as a “socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics.” It’s a unique formulation carefully balanced between a capitalist market economy and a government-run, command economy. The government heavily subsidizes sectors like banking, telecommunications, and energy, which combined account for almost 30 percent of China’s economy.And in the past decade, China’s economy has grown exponentially, especially between 2007 and 2011 where it’s GDP grew at a rate of 9.2 percent. However, the economy as a whole is still very susceptible. This year represents a marked decrease in its growth rate, and just recently, its stock market, the Shanghai Composite Index, suddenly dropped by 19 percent in just four weeks. In response, the government allowed its currency to deflate and forced state-owned brokers to buy stocks to bolster the index. While this evened out markets, the intervention demonstrated how dependent China’s economy is on governmental intervention in the event of economic downturn. This recent volatility and need for assistance has set back President Xi Jinping’s plans for reforms to lessen governmental action, increase greater enforcement of the rule of law, and more importantly, flush out corruption and bribes inherent with Chinese corporations. According to The Economist, “The current Chinese judiciary is not independent, judges are often beholden to local interests and the law is not applied even-handedly,” resulting in
underhanded dealings and bribes that have dominated the market. Without effective enforcement, Xi Jiping’s attempt to establish a private property system cannot happen. Without social recognition of the exclusive legal fences that are integral to the property system, enforcement will ultimately fail. The Chinese government’s demand to look into IBM’s source code is a direct antithesis to the ideology that President Xi Jinping so desperately wishes his country’s people to adopt. The government cannot expect its own people to embrace the necessity of private property rights while blatantly choosing to defy its own rule of law. Though the Chinese government claims to have caught more than 100,000 corrupt officials, if President Xi Jinping truly wishes for its new “reformed” socioeconomic model to work, the government must establish a separate judiciary that would guarantee fair competition, the protection of ideas, and law enforcement that is unbiased when dealing with antitrust, contract, intellectual property, and bankruptcy law. Economic commentator Panos Mourdoukoutas points to an even greater issue, arguing that the Chinese economy can only create product imitators, but not product pioneers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. This ties into the very fundamental aspect of private property ownership. The protection of property rights incentivizes citizens to take on the costs of developing innovative technologies by assuring them that they alone will benefit from their efforts, not imitators or counterfeiters. Without this, citizens are more set on finding ways to profit by imitating the designs of other companies, especially in the United States. In these conditions, the innovative capacities of China’s businesses are stifled. The future is uncertain for China’s economy as well as Xi Jinping’s reform agenda. China is still a relatively young nation, not even half of the United States’ age and still trying to learn and evolve as an economy. If China’s volatility leads it to embrace more market reforms that encompass traditional capitalist philosophies, it may eventually come to terms with greater free speech and human rights, both sore points that have long been under attack from the international community. While several economists argue recent events have been nothing but a fluke in an otherwise impressive record for China’s hybrid economy, it is certain that the Chinese government will be busy maintaining sociopolitical balance and its own version of the rule of law. ◼
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SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Georgia’s Growing Refugee Community Melissa Florkowski Staff Writer
A Worldwide Crisis
he distressing image of a 3-year old drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach swept the Internet in early September. Countless articles and artist renditions were shared on social media, seeming to finally capture the world’s attention and turn it towards the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. There are currently 19 million refugees in the world, a number heavily impacted by Syria’s internal turmoil. While massive surges in the number of refugees have left many states strained for resources and divided on policy, refugees themselves are nothing new, and they certainly do not only come from Syria. The United States, resettling about 70,000 refugees per year, has long been known for having one of the highest refugee resettlement rates in the world. But what may be less known is the state of Georgia’s contribution to this effort.
Last year, 2,694 refugees were resettled in Georgia, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s about 4 percent of all the refugees resettled in the U.S., and the ninth largest population of refugees taken in by all U.S. states. Given Georgia’s size and relatively high population density compared with other welcoming states, this is an impressive figure. So where have all these refugees been coming from? This is not a simple answer, as they have not come overwhelmingly from one country in particular. In 2014, the majority of these new Georgians came from Burma, Bhutan, Somalia, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Forced to flee their home countries because of ethnic, religious and political persecution, they wait through painstakingly long bureaucratic processes, and a small portion end up in the U.S.
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With refugees arriving from such vastly different countries, often with little English skills or knowledge of life in America, it is difficult to imagine the process of integrating into American culture. And how, of all places, is this happening in Georgia?
Where Possibilities Grow
Of Georgia’s large number of arriving refugees, the vast majority settle in the city of Clarkston, located in DeKalb County just 10 miles northeast of Atlanta. A small city spanning only 1.1 square miles, Clarkston was largely populated by white Georgians until the 1980s. The city’s demographics were transformed when most of Clarkston’s wealthier residents moved to more expensive suburbs further from Atlanta, leaving the city with an invaluable asset: vacancy. Clarkston was quickly identified as an ideal area of residence for refugees not only because of the availability of safe, affordable housing, but also because of its accessibility. Clarkston contains some of the outermost stops on Atlanta’s public transportation system, MARTA, allowing refugees to access employment in and around the city. Referred to by some as the “Ellis Island of the South,” Clarkston is home to people from over 40 different countries and is one of the most diverse square miles in the U.S. Its motto – “where possibilities grow” – encapsulates the city’s impressive ability to allow refugees to live amongst each other while being close enough to a major city to integrate into American life. Once they have arrived in Georgia, refugees are paired with resettlement agencies such as the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities and World Relief, which help with the countless new obstacles they face. These agencies rely largely on volunteers and donations, but still manage to provide enormous support and contribute to positive outcomes amongst refugees. Georgia boasts one of the highest refugee selfsufficiency rates after 180 days in the nation. According to HIAS, formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, 80 percent of employable adult refugees in Georgia are working and paying their own expenses, including U.S. taxes, within six months of arrival. They play a key role in Georgia’s food processing industry, taking
It is difficult to imagine the process of integrating into American culture.
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up labor roles in processing plants and warehouses that are otherwise difficult to fill. Aside from filling these highly demanded jobs, refugees often start their own small businesses, allowing Clarkston to enjoy business and service options as diverse as its residents. But refugees want more than a job to succeed in their new lives, and these agencies recognize their desire to live lives of dignity as they adapt to a vastly different setting. The International Rescue Committee, for example, provides resources as diverse as English classes, access to a mobile clinic, civics classes in preparation for citizenship tests, women’s health classes, summer programs for child refugees, and even a community garden program. And it doesn’t stop there. Other members of Georgia’s community have worked to make a foreign home as welcoming as possible for refugees. Distressed by the plight of refugee children, Luma Mufleh, a 40-year old native of Jordan, founded a refugee soccer team in Clarkston called the Fugees in 2004. Since its humble beginnings, the organization has since expanded to include year-round soccer for 140 boys and girls, after-school tutoring, an academic summer camp, and the country’s only school dedicated to refugee education: the Fugees Academy. This community of support fosters various success stories. In November 2013, Clarkston elected Ahmed Hassan, a Somali refugee, to City Council. Another refugee, Ibrahim Sufi, ran for mayor. Abishkar Chhetri, a Nepali refugee who arrived in Atlanta in 2009, graduated as valedictorian of his DeKalb County high school and received a full ride scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A Reluctant Welcome
These stories of support are not without their counterparts, however. Old residents of Clarkston have shown concerns over the rapidly changing demographic. In 2012, the state’s government requested a 50 percent reduction in refugees sent to Georgia, claiming budget concerns involving Medicaid, education and social services, and was granted a 20 percent reduction instead. These local oppositions mirror current attitudes towards the recent U.S. pledge to accept at least 10,000 displaced Syrians in the coming year, as many Americans have expressed fear about allowing ISIL supporters into our country. This concern, however, is largely unwarranted. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, ensures Americans that “refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States.” Because of extensive background check requirements and bureaucratic processes, applying for resettlement in the U.S. can take Syrians up to 2 years.
This sudden rise in the quota of refugees may alarm many, but the reality is that we are doing much less than other developed countries to ease the pain of the crisis. Germany, for example, expects to take in some 800,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, making the new U.S. quota seem irrelevant in comparison. The United States should use this delayed effect of the current refugee crisis on our country as an opportunity to look at some of the more positive outcomes of refugees already here and consider how aiding in a crisis can lead to the enrichment of our communities. “Refugees continue to be an important part of the growth of Georgia,” says J.D. McCrary, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta. “As always,” he says of the coming influx of refugees, “they will have a positive impact on the social, cultural and economic aspects of Georgia communities.” ◼
A special thank you to Htay Way and her family for generously posing for these photographs.
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It’s a Man’s World Cait Felt Staff Writer
hile war affects all victims differently, women often bear the brunt of trauma that goes unseen. Throughout history, women have been torn from their homes, raped, enslaved, and have even fought alongside male soldiers in conflicts entirely directed by male leaders. The first record of women in peace negotiations comes from an Ancient Greek comedy called Lysistrata, which details the Greek women’s plight to halt the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their military husbands. Though just a joke, the show epitomizes the degree of women’s powerlessness to exercise political agency except in the most desperate of ways. Unfortunately, women’s active participation in post-conflict negotiations in modern times has not progressed much farther.
The majority of recent international legislation regarding women in conflict is based on the Difference Feminism Theory, which states that women are fundamentally and biologically different than men. For this reason, women bring different skills and perceptions to the negotiating table on issues such as foreign policy, consensus-building, and even law. When this theory is applied to international politics, we get legislation such as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, a binding resolution adopted in 2000, which espouses the ideals of difference feminism and says that because women have an inherently different perspective, they must be involved at all levels of conflict, from declaring war to negotiating treaties. In theory, when women are regarded as legitimate actors, the result is a longer-lasting peace and a more stable postconflict society. But is that really true? It sounds great, and 22 | Georgia Political Review
most people in the US would agree that women should have a seat at the table for the sake of equality. However, equality does not equate to utility. In some states, the inclusion of women may very well hinder the process of peacebuilding or completely disband peace negotiations. Afghanistan was obligated by the United Nations to include women in negotiations following conflict with the Taliban. One male representative tried to forcibly remove the sole woman in the room during debate over a new constitutional government, and negotiations were left to crumble. Granted, there were many issues with negotiations in Afghanistan, but the male-dominated consensus was that women would not receive representation. Afghanistan’s final agreement, still, is tenuous at best. Women’s active participation did not work for Afghanistan because of the compulsory nature of the U.N. mandate: women may only be useful in peace negotiations in a cultural context that is accepting of a powerful, politically motivated woman. However, there are success stories, such as the case of East Timor following the Indonesian invasion in 1975. When the U.N. recommended that women be included in peace negotiations after the conflict, many Timorese men were wary. During the negotiations, however, Timorese women truly made their voices heard in a way that has led to many new rights for women in the post-conflict state, and paved the way for a higher rate of development than ever before. Though the nation is still struggling economically, the GDP has increased by 4.8%, a rate higher than that of its neighbors. Timorese women also have cultural barriers
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Equality, however, does not equate to utility. The inclusion of women may very well hinder the process of peacebuilding in some states.
to overcome, but their inclusion in the negotiations of 1999-2002 resulted in a constitution guaranteeing gender equality. The women’s skillful negotiations and deft consensus building after the conflict laid the foundation for formal rights needed to start a women’s movement in the country. East Timor is also one of the most stable governments founded in the 21st century, boasting an 87% voter turnout and no major revolts since the negotiations. Proponents of gender inclusion argue that the cases in which women were ineffective, or even hindered the peacebuilding process, were due to issues of sovereignty when the U.N. forced gender inclusion despite the reigning cultural norm. The problem then is not a gendered one, but a byproduct of the U.N. (or any occupying organization) overstepping its limits in a culture that may not take well to what it sees as a reversal of power from its own people. This is especially true in places like Afghanistan, where American women were included in some negotiations without any representation by Afghan women. The question must be asked then, would including Afghan women in the negotiations actually make for long-term peace? Most research actually points to no. When privately polled, the overwhelming majority of men in Afghanistan said that women have no place in politics or warfare, and that not reaching an agreement would preferable to a “feminist agenda.” It is difficult for those living in countries where women have relatively equal formal rights to understand that a more inclusive negotiating table may be detrimental to success in the long run. The real issue, however, is ignored.
When a community is at war, most women are likely to favor a faster peace treaty or new constitution than having to submit themselves and their families to constant risk, even at the expense of some fundamental rights. As for whether or not including women leads to a more stable peace, the jury is still out. The majority of states that have included women in their peacebuilding processes did so as a direct result of UNSCR 1325. Since this resolution only passed in 2000, it is difficult to tell how long lasting any treaties reached will be. However, we can learn from cases of voluntary gender inclusion before 1325 because we have a larger amount of time to measure their stability. One example of a state choosing to include women in negotiations is Northern Ireland, which brought women to a seat at the negotiating table in 1997, a full three years ahead of U.N. mandate. Women were integral in securing a peace agreement for the tumultuous nation and continue to be a large part of national politics. Many critics, however, point out that states already at the forefront of inclusivity are not indicative of societies on a global scale. Ultimately, there is no hard and fast answer to gender inclusion in peacebuilding. We do not have conclusive data, nor will we in the near future. In the meantime, then, we can pursue our inclusive ideals in hopes that it will lead to a better future for all women and girls. It is a goal that must be pursued with caution and cultural understanding, but a worthy goal all the same. ◼ Georgia Political Review | 23
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YEMEN THE NEW STAGE FOR THE SAUDI-IRANIAN RIVALRY Michael Momayezi Staff Writer
emen has long been a site of great turmoil and unrest. The current internal political struggle for power is one of the oldest and most complex in the entire Middle Eastern region. Traditional tribal clashes, the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and secessionist sentiments due to the Yemeni north-south divide all contribute to the turmoil that exists in Yemen today. Two main issues, however, constitute the major driving forces in the war: the external rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the internal struggle of the rebel Houthi movement. The decades-long struggle between Saudi Arabia and The decades-long struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for influence throughout the Middle East has strongly impacted regional political culture and alliances. With Saudi Arabia being the most powerful Sunni-majority state in the Middle
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East and Iran the most powerful Shiite-majority state, their conflicts usually fall along sectarian lines, even if the conflict is largely political in nature. Avoiding direct war with one another, they often resort to Cold War style proxy conflicts in other states. This has been the case in Bahrain with Iranianbacked Shiite uprisings against pro-Saudi Sunni governments, and similar patterns have manifested in Yemen. Iran has been accused by much of the international community, namely the United States and Saudi Arabia, of aiding the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group in northwestern Yemen that began in the 1990s. The insurgency has achieved sizeable territorial gains since it overtook the Yemeni capital of Sanaa last year. Many view Iranâ€™s foreign policy as being expansionary, stating that it has a clear interest in seeing the establishment of a pro-Iranian government in Yemen. This motive is mainly
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geopolitical in nature; with Yemen right on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, Iran would have a conveniently located stronghold in the Gulf. On the other hand, the Saudi government also has an interest in maintaining a government friendly to it. As Yemen has a strong Al-Qaeda presence, internal instability or an unfriendly Yemeni government would pose a serious national security threat to the Saudis via an Al-Qaeda spillover. Saudi Arabia has played a direct role in Yemen. In attempts to thwart Houthi expansion, Saudi Arabia has carried out air raids that not only kill combatants but civilians as well. Recent figures put child deaths alone at around 500. As important allies to the Saudi government, the United States and the United Kingdom have provided consistent logistical aid and a steady supply of weapons. The planes and bombs that the Saudis use are both American made. Even more, the Obama administration finalized an arms agreement with Saudi Arabia in September that will provide $1 billion worth of weapons specifically for use against the Houthis. While Saudi involvement is apparent, Iranian intervention in Yemen is not so clear-cut. The Iranian government has systematically denied any claims that it is supporting the Houthi movement. Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated in April, “This issue should be resolved by the Yemenis... Iran and Saudi Arabia need to talk but we cannot talk to determine the future of Yemen”. Despite clear attempts by Iran to portray its distance from the Houthis in Yemen, certain evidence indicates otherwise. In 2013, Yemeni forces intercepted an Iranian ship named “Jihan 1” carrying weapons that were reportedly destined for rebels inside the country. More recently, a Saudi coalition reportedly seized a ship off the coast of Oman that was carrying 14 Iranian nationals as well as missile launchers and antitank shells. Other pieces of evidence come from statements by leaders in Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militia in southern Lebanon. An unnamed Hezbollah commander reported in The Financial Times that Houthi fighters, “trained with us in Iran, then we trained them here and in Yemen.” Additionally, the Houthi strategy of guerrilla warfare eerily echoes Hezbollah’s strategies when Israel carried out its air raids against it in 2006, just as Saudi Arabia is currently doing in order to repress the Houthis. These observations are corroborated by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s claims that Hezbollah’s strategy under Israeli air raids would serve as a model for other organizations in the same circumstances. Countless other connections between Hezbollah and the Houthis exist, such as the fact that the Houthi television channel al-Maseera is based in a suburb of Beirut that is controlled by Hezbollah. It is important to note that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a special branch of the Iranian military, wields a great deal of power in Iranian internal and external policies. The Revolutionary Guard, especially the elite hardline Quds force, is mostly responsible for direct aid to groups such as Hezbollah. Due to the size of the group and the great degree of power it enjoys, it can carry out activities that even some high-ranking government officials may not sanction. This fact paired with official denials of involvement by the president and foreign minister, who are perceived by the international community as moderate, may point to internal disagreement over exactly what role Iran should play in the region. Although it does appear that the Houthis do receive aid from Iran, whether it be direct or indirect, to deem the Houthi insurgency as merely a puppet of Iranian interests in a sectarian conflict would be an oversimplification of the group and the war. While Iran does
have an interest in Yemen against Saudi Arabia and contributes to the conflict, it acts as more of a supervisor than a commander of the movement, lending aid without giving direct orders. The Houthi movement belongs to the Zaidi subsect of Shiite Islam. While both Iran and the Houthis belong to the Shiite branch, the Zaidi sect is vastly different from the Twelver sect of Iran’s government and in many ways is actually theologically closer to Sunni Islam. This fact cuts right into the oversimplification by many Westerners that the war in Yemen, as well as many other wars in the region, is caused only by sectarian tensions. In reality, the Houthi movement is much more concerned with its own issues within Yemen and does not prioritize building an Iran-friendly government. Adam Baron, a Yemen expert with the European Council on Foreign relations said in an interview with NPR, “This is a group that is rooted in local Yemeni issues, and its actions are fundamentally rooted in the decisions of its local Yemeni leaders”. The Houthi’s grievances with the former Saudibacked government revolve around political representation in the national government, economic policies that were unfavorable to them and a desire for greater autonomy in the northwest region of the country where they are a majority group. In a strange turn of events, the Houthis are reported to have recently received aid from former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted in part by the Houthis in 2012 but still retains loyalties from elite Yemeni forces in the country. Clearly, the desire for power is the most important driving force behind the Houthi movement as well as the actions of both Iran and Saudi Arabia to further their interests, the common denominator between the two despite ideological differences. ◼
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, stated in April, ‘This issue should be resolved by the Yemenis... Iran and Saudi Arabia need to talk, but we cannot talk to determine the future of Yemen.’ Georgia Political Review | 25
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The Shattered Image of a Rising Superpower Chris Lewitzke Staff Writer
ust five short years ago, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made a declaration while visiting workers from Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, that reflected the confidence of national leaders.
“The 21st century is the century of Brazil.” In 2010, while most of the developed world was recovering from the financial crisis, the emerging BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) markets became the darlings of the financial sphere and could seemingly do no wrong, especially not Brazil. President Lula was riding high from successful World Cup and Olympic bids, a growing economy, and increased international recognition as São Paulo became the business capital of South America. When Lula’s successor and mentee, Dilma Rousseff, was elected in 2011, the boom continued. Rousseff, a member of the PT or “Worker’s Party,” spent her first term expanding welfare benefits and increasing government spending in an attempt to shrink income inequality throughout the country. 26 | Georgia Political Review
For years, it appeared as though Brazil was barreling down the correct path to become a global economic superpower. Built on a strong base of commodities exports and stable government-owned businesses, such as Petrobras in oil, Eletrobras in energy, and Banco do Brasil in banking, Brazil’s future looked bright. Within just a few years, Brazil’s greatest strengths have become its biggest weaknesses and are dragging the country into its worst recession in 25 years. The instability of Chinese markets, the world’s largest commodities importer, has significantly cut the demand for raw materials this year, putting a big dent in the exports Brazil relies on to keep its economy running. A weak commodities market, however, will not last forever. The real threat to the short-term future of Brazil stems from a dishonest political class that has consistently and systematically used their power for personal gain at the expense of their constituents. And for the first time in the country’s tenuous political history, these politicians are truly feeling the heat for their corruption.
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To fully understand the situation, we have to return to Petrobras, the same Brazilian oil company Lula spoke to five years ago. While Petrobras doesn’t have the same name recognition as some of the other largest companies of the world, the magnitude of the state-controlled energy company should not be understated. Its $70 billion share sale in 2010 was the largest in history, and its revenues were $142 billion last year, placing it in the top 10 of oil and gas producers internationally. As Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras and the Brazilian economy at-large are tightly intertwined, so when the former is involved in the largest corruption scheme in Brazil’s history, the implications are wide-reaching. Since March 2014, federal police have been carrying out Operação Lava Jato, or the Car Wash Operation, in an attempt to clean up political corruption. While the investigation isn’t close to being completed, authorities have already arrested and are questioning dozens of political and business leaders for their involvement. In short, contractors and suppliers would intentionally overcharge Petrobras 1 to 3 percent, and then that money would be funneled back into politicians’ political campaigns or directly to their lavish private estates. Peter Barusco, a senior Petrobras executive, summarized the scheme in his congressional testimony as “institutionalized corruption.”
The real threat to the short-term future of Brazil stems from a dishonest political class. Already, former President Lula, current Camera leader Eduardo Cunha, and CEO of the largest Brazilian construction company Marcelo Odebrecht are being investigated for their participation in the corruption scheme. While President Rousseff hasn’t been directly implicated in the scandal, she was chairwoman of Petrobras from 2003 to 2010, which casts doubt on her ability to lead a corruption-free enterprise. Less than a year into her second term after winning the closest election in Brazilian history, Rousseff has lost almost all of the support she stirred up last year. As of September, the president’s approval rating stood at 10 percent, which is actually an increase from earlier in the year. The year has brought thousands of Brazilians taking the streets to show their disapproval for the current administration, including calls for impeachment as a response to the dire situation. Rousseff, meanwhile, is doing everything in her power to keep this fragile government from completely collapsing. The president has tried to appease the the Brazilian
Democratic Movement Party, the most vocal supporters of her impeachment, by filling several of her ministerial positions with PMDB members. While garnering enough support to oust a president who has not broken any laws may be impossible, it is difficult to imagine Rousseff lasting much longer. Or, as her own vice president, Michel Temer, put it “Nobody can last three and a half years with this low [approval] index” – far from a resounding show of support from her next-in-line. The issue with impeachment, however, is the options after Rousseff are just as unappealing for Brazilians. Neither Temer, nor Cunha, nor Senate President Renan Calheiros have support above 11 percent, according to a poll from research bureau Ibope. What the Petrobras corruption scandal has made evidently clear is that the political dysfunction isn’t a party- or person-specific issue; it’s a systemic problem. Brazilians have faith in zero of today’s political leaders, and understandably so. In January, it appeared as though there was reform on the horizon after the appointment of Finance Minister Joaquim Levy. Trained at University of Chicago and known for his hawkish policies, Levy entered the government with the goal of tightening spending and introducing necessary taxes. After months of Levy publicly promising a 2016 budget with a primary surplus, Rousseff turned in a budget for congressional approval at the end of August with nearly $10 billion of primary deficit. Unsurprisingly, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s responded to the bloated budget and political instability by dropping Brazil’s credit rating to BB+, or junk status. Just seven years after Brazil earned the hard-fought investmentgrade status, a symbol of the country’s global importance, the former darling emerging market has fallen back into its old status quo of instability and uncertainty. The good news for the pessimistic Brazilian is that, in the long-term, their country will be better off after Lava Jato. With such large-scale systematic political corruption, it’s unrealistic for Brazil, or any country, to reach its potential. While one investigation won’t eradicate corruption, it’s an enormous first step toward demonstrating that there is no more impunity for top political and business leaders, especially as more and more of them get thrown behind bars. In response to the credit rating downgrade, Rousseff is also taking fiscal responsibility more seriously, reworking next year’s budget to reduce the primary deficit. In the past 12 months, Brazil has almost completely lost all of the luster it gained throughout the 21st century. It turns out, though, the country investors fell in love with was composed of an unstable economy driven by dishonest politicians. 2015 has destroyed that shiny, emerging-market reputation, but it also gives Brazil the opportunity to rebuild and create an environment that can produce long-term stability and prosperity. There’s still time to make President Lula’s bold declaration come true. There’s still hope the 21st century is the century of Brazil. ◼
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Arab Gulf States
An Overlooked Solution to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Kathleen Wilson Staff Writer
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As the conflict in Syria persists, many of the 7.5 million IDPs will seek to leave Syria and resettle in other countries. While neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan already have large numbers of Syrian refugees and are working to integrate them into the local community, the burden of supporting a growing refugee population will be economically unsustainable for these governments. Although host governments receive funds from international donors, these funds are not sufficient to cover all costs associated with supporting refugees. The U.N. requested $4.5 billion from international donors to provide 2.5
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ylan Kurdi, a three-year-old boy, drowned during his family’s attempted escape from Syria. Arabic newspapers have described the boy’s body as mulqan, an Arabic word that means lying, not gracefully in sweet repose but rather in a position that indicates violence and unnatural force. This single word captures the outrage of the world over the Syrian refugee crisis; however, in focusing on this outrage, the media and the public have lost sight of the magnitude of the refugee crisis and potential options for refugee relocation. As a result of the Syrian Civil War that began nearly four and a half years ago, over 4 million Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Another 7.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) are still living in Syria but have been forced to flee their homes. Both Assad’s ruthless targeting of segments of the population and the violent localized rule by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and other militant groups have decimated entire towns and augmented the population’s urgency to flee the country. Of those refugees who have fled Syria, nearly 95 percent of them are located in just five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. Turkey has hosted nearly 1.9 million Syrian refugees to date; Lebanon has accepted approximately 1.2 million refugees, which now comprise nearly 20 percent of the country’s population. In comparison, nearly half a million refugees have entered the European Union in the past year and the EU plans to resettle an additional 160,000 refugees over the next year. The U.S., which has only accepted 1,500 Syrian refugees, has promised to resettle a meager 10,000 within the next fiscal year.
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aid to Syrian refugees in 2014; however, only 37 percent of this goal has been met. In Lebanon, this lack of funding is projected to have devastating effects on the economy as the government is expected to run a 33 percent budget deficit – $5.1 billion – in order to properly support refugees within the country. In comparison, this deficit is five times as much as the average deficit among OECD countries. The other main option for refugee resettlement is within the European Union. Traveling to EU countries is much longer, costlier, and more dangerous than to Syria’s neighboring countries. In 2015, 11 people have drowned each day, on average, when trying to cross the Mediterranean to seek shelter in Europe. The refugees that do reach Europe face a much steeper cultural, religious, and linguistic acclimation curve than those who resettle within the region. Ideally, refugees should resettle in countries that can monetarily bear the cost of a population influx, as well as provide a strong sociocultural fit. The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar – are the wealthiest countries in the Arab world and would easily be able to meet the monetary requirements necessary to support an influx of refugees. Yet, according to the UNHCR, in 2014, the six GCC states only offered asylum to 13 Syrian refugees. Why has refugee resettlement to the Gulf countries been so limited, and, perhaps more importantly, should the GCC states be obligated to welcome refugees into their countries? Although the GCC states have the highest GDP per capita within the Arab world, this wealth is concentrated among the actual citizens of the state, who comprise a very small segment of the population. In Qatar, citizens comprise only 15 percent of the population, while foreigners, usually migrant workers on short contracts, comprise 85 percent of the local population. Similarly, the population of United Arab Emirates is 88 percent foreigners and Kuwait is 70 percent foreigners. The wealth disparity between the few rich citizens of the GCC countries and the numerous, poor migrant workers, has led to increased worry about the future political stability of the GCC. If the GCC countries were to legally recognize Syrian refugees and grant refugee status, this would further increase the wealth disparity between GCC citizens and the masses. Furthermore, as over 52 percent of Syrian refugees are children, there is a fear that these youth would contribute to increased competition in the labor market and higher youth unemployment rates. This could potentially lead to popular protests reminiscent of the Arab Spring that could threaten to topple GCC governments. Aside from Saudi Arabia, the five other GCC countries were all founded within the past 55 years. The reticence of the newly established GCC countries to legally recognize Syrian refugees can be attributed to their fear of regime changes and an undermined stability within the region.
The burden of supporting a growing refugee population will be economically unsustainable for these governments. Despite not offering official asylum to Syria refugees, the GCC states claim that they are taking adequate measures to lend support. The six Gulf states have, in sum, given over $900 million to support the Syrian crisis, funding schools, hospitals, and emergency relief for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and other Arab countries. Though in an unofficial capacity, the United Arab Emirates claims to have welcomed 100,000 Syrians, Kuwait claims 120,000, and Saudi Arabia claims 2.5 million. However, the GCC states are not required to offer any official refugee status to Syrians entering their country because none of them are signatories of the U.N.’s 1951 Refugee Convention, which defines the status and rights of refugees. As such, the Syrians who move to the GCC states are denied many of the fundamental privileges afforded to refugees by international law. Those who receive refugee status in Europe are given the right to stay indefinitely in the country and are guaranteed access to proper accommodations, schooling, and courses to help with integration. In contrast, in the GCC countries, unofficial refugees depend upon strict visa laws. The transient status of GCC visas and the difficulty for foreigners to obtain citizenship pose a great risk to unofficial Syrian refugees who have little likelihood of being able to return to their homelands once the war ends. The Syrian Civil War and resulting refugee crisis is likely to have ongoing effects within Europe and the Arab world over the coming decades. The economic and sociopolitical landscapes of Syria’s neighbors will suffer under the burden of population influx. In Europe, refugees will struggle to learn new languages and adapt to new cultures. On a personal level, an entire generation of Syrians will bear the economic and psychological consequences of traumatic uprooting from their homeland, interrupted educations, and relocation to a new country. Syrian refugees need more than just monetary support from the GCC countries. It is incumbent on the GCC countries to offer political and economic protections to differentiate between transient workers seeking to send remittances back home and refugees fleeing violence who seek safety for themselves and their families. ◼
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ACTION Jacquelyn Faye Harms Staff Writer
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ollywood is a man’s world. Out of 3,500 television episodes broadcast in 2013 and 2014, women directed only 14 percent. A third of television shows had no female director at all. Women comprised only 25 percent of the Emmys nominees for writer, director, and editor. Women in television are underrepresented on and off the screen. Just last spring, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a request with both state and federal government to investigate why such a disparity behind the camera existed. Why exactly is it so important for women to gain higher representation behind the camera? It is about representation. Television shows tell a story, and these stories have been told with an overwhelmingly male point of view. Diversity behind the camera directly translates to diversity on screen. Different point of views create different kinds of stories. The presence of a female executive producer or creator can have a large impact on a show. For instance, television programs that have a least one female executive producer or creator feature a much higher percentage of female characters. This also holds true for amount of female writers hired. Only 6 percent of a show’s writers are women when there is no female producer, as compared to 32 percent when shows are being overseen by at least one female executive producer. Luckily things do seem to be improving. There has been a wave of prominent women in television over the past few years. Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Shonda Rhimes, and Amy Poehler have all created successful prime time television shows, in both comedy and drama genres.
Diversity behind the camera directly translates to diversity on screen. 30 Rock (which was created by, written by, and starred Tina Fey) started a watershed moment for women in the television industry. Fey is critically and commercially acclaimed for her work in 30 Rock. Now, there are more shows than ever that feature women as their central character who are strong and independent protagonists: Parks and Recreation and The Mindy Project both have leading women that have prominent roles both on and off the screen. Amy Poehler served as the show’s producer and lead Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation. Poehler depicts an independent woman who works for her local town’s Parks and Recreation department. Poehler portrays a tireless, devoted city employee that gives a great name to public service. Mindy Kaling created, produces, writes, and stars in her show The Mindy Project, where she too portrays a hardworking woman. These shows have done a lot for the representation of women on the screen as well. Diversity for women on the screen has vastly improved. Scandal, a show featuring a minority woman as its lead is run exclusively by Shonda Rhimes, another woman of color. Rhimes is at the head of the industry. She has created, produced, and has written for several successful shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Both were considered very
successful with audiences and critics alike. Kerry Washington was nominated for an Emmy for best leading actress for her role as Olivia Pope in Scandal at both at the 2015 and the 2014 Emmys. Transparent, a show about a transgender woman coming out to her family, is another example. This show is largely directed and created by Jill Soloway, and has been critically acclaimed. Soloway won the Outstanding Direction for a Comedy Series for the 2015 Emmy’s. Altogether, the show picked up 11 Emmy nominations and won 5 of those awards. Kerry Washington broke a long drought of black women in leading roles of programs. The last black woman given a lead role in a television show was Diahann Carroll in Julia, which ran from 1978-1981 and was also created and produced by Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis made history during the 2015 Emmy Awards in September by becoming the first black woman to ever win a Primetime Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a drama. Her speech touched millions as she spoke about underrepresentation for women, especially for women of color, in the media. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Her speech, and several others that evening, highlighted a lot of social justice issues that evening. It is important to analyze how a male’s point of view may be affecting how women are represented on the screen. The way a man views the world could potentially be very different than a woman’s view of the world. Storytelling via a visual medium such as television is enriched with different perspectives and experiences. For example, showing women as employed on television may resonate more with a female director than it could a male director. For instance, on primetime television of shows broadcast in 2012, only 44.3 percent of women were showed as employed compared to 54.5 percent of males. In reality, the female employment rate is over 60 percent. Portraying and seeing women as powerful decision makers should be a norm. What young girls see on a screen can strongly affect their ambitions and perceptions of how women can be successful in the world. It has been shown in a study by Kevin Durkin that television strongly influences children’s views and aspirations, and when children are consuming an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes of entertainment media a day, this can mean a lot in the long run. Take Doc McStuffins, a children’s television show featuring a young black girl who plays a doctor and fixes her toys’ various ailments and injuries, all while teaching a message of how to stay fit and healthy to children. From what we’ve seen, exposing children to such ideas does influence their perceptions of women in media. Another great example lies in primetime television. In The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling portrays a successful OB-GYN in a healthy, loving relationship in New York City. She recently has had a child in the show and this doesn’t slow her down-personally or professionally. This is great for women and men of all ages to be seeing: women working even after starting a family Despite all of this improvement, women in media are still excluded, both on-screen and off. A majority of television still features white men as their leads, and a majority of those programs do not have much diversity behind the camera either. Television is an art, and art is an experience that all can create to show the world. Perspective influences this art, and it’s time that Hollywood takes a break from the overwhelmingly male storytelling in television. ◼
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Putting Homeland Christian Pedraza Staff Writer
n October 8, 2001, in the wake of the deadliest, costliest, and arguably most disturbing terror attack to take place on U.S. soil, President George W. Bush signed an executive order creating the Office of Homeland Security. One year later it would become the 15th Cabinet Department, which constituted the most significant reorganization of the U.S. government in nearly 60 years, representing a dramatic shift for national security. In the words of Tom Ridge, the very first Secretary of Homeland Security, “a new philosophy [was] required—a philosophy of shared responsibility, shared leadership, and shared accountability.” Whereas the Department of Defense routinely handles militarized threats from other coutries, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) takes a more holistic, internal approach to national security; included in its mission statement is the devotion to securing the national borders, preventing terrorism, safeguarding cyberspace, and ensuring resilience to disasters, both natural and manmade.
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At the turn of the 21st century, the realization of the need for a unified approach to protecting the homeland was complemented by massive technological advancement that, in addition to forming the foundation of the U.S.’s infrastructure, economy, and government on computers, led to an unprecedented level of global connectedness. This connectivity has not only greatly increased the accessibility and diversity of raw data, but also reinforced to data scientists and homeland security agents the importance and versatility of geographic and geospatial data. GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, is a blanket term that refers to the collection, analysis, and presentation of a variety of geographic data. GIS relies heavily on satellite images of the Earth, obtained through a process known as remote sensing. These images are then interpreted to obtain information about the physical landscape, human activity, and urban developments of the area in question. Basic forms of GIS technology can be found in popular applications like Google Maps, while various government agencies and private
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Security on the Map firms have access to quite advanced GIS capabilities, useful for zoning, infrastructure analysis, and other services. GIS is popular with the U.S. intelligence community; in fact, The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is devoted entirely to collecting geospatial intelligence, known throughout Washington as GEOINT. Though the NGA is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, and therefore provides combat support overseas, the organization strongly fosters homeland security; it has lent its services to securing high profile events such as Super Bowls and the Olympics, as well as damage assessment after Hurricane Katrina. The NGA and its analytical GIS services came to national attention after the successful Operation Neptune Spear, when Osama bin Laden was assassinated in Pakistan by a joint operation of the U.S. Navy, popularly known as SEAL Team Six.
In addition to remote sensing, the use of highly sophisticated weather satellites, facial recognition software, structural composition analysis from space were just some of the tools utilized by the NGA to narrow down the location in which bin Laden was suspected of hiding. Much data crunching later, the town of Abbottabad in northeastern Pakistan was at the center of everyone’s attention as the investigation progressed. One of the most crucial aspects of effective intelligence gathering is data sharing. Recalling Ridge’s mission in leading the DHS, the word “share” evokes the social capacity of computers and the internet; the defense and intelligence communities are no different, and it is often necessary for government officials to create and implement an shared response to a national crisis. The CIA and the Department of Defense were able to apply their own analytical expertise to bin Laden’s compound due to NGA’s sharing the relevant GEOINT with the rest of the intelligence community. In an age of increasing computerization, data is easier to acquire and share than ever before, yet there are still many barriers to data sharing that can render useless the potential of advanced intelligence technology like GIS. The monetary cost of advanced GIS technology is a deterrent to widely sharing resources. When one organization shares data with the larger intelligence community, or even the private sector, it is possible for that organization to feel as though they’ve lost a valuable asset, despite the data going toward national security interests. This is particularly problematic among private firms whose revenues hinge on data collection. Bureaucracy is another barrier to data sharing. The nature of the intelligence community is to classify sensitive data as “need to know,” and therefore there are restrictions on how and with whom it may be shared, both within the intelligence community and outside of it. Even though a large amount of investment in secure servers and channels of communication has been made, these strict policies instill a wary reluctance to share data within the intelligence community, even if it is legal. Without this constant exchange, the efficiency of the intelligence community as a whole suffers, leading to a less comprehensive homeland security force. ◼
The need for a unified approach to protecting the homeland was complemented by massive technological advancement...
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Bruce Li Editor-in-Chief
n the technology industry, we are fascinated by the concept of “the next big thing,” whether referring to a transformative innovation or a short-lived fad. In the 1990s, the Internet was without question the next big thing because it completely changed our work, social, and personal lives. But earlier this October, CEO of Cisco Chuck Robbins discussed something that would be, believe it or not, “bigger than the first wave of the Internet.” It’s called the Internet of Things, or IoT. Just as the Internet is a network of computer systems, the aptly named Internet of Things describes a network of physical objects that are connected online and share data via embedded software and sensors. While the technology has existed in some capacity for more than 30 years —in 1982, Carnegie Mellon University developed the first Internet-connected appliance, a Coke vending machine that could report inventory and drink temperatures—the world may be in for an IoT transformation in the very near future. In fact, this phenomenon is already becoming reality. Today’s consumers have access to smart household applications, like appcontrolled lighting and TVs that make movie recommendations. But, if Chuck Robbins is right, this is only the beginning. “Everything we build will be programmable,” he said, noting that he expects over 50 billion devices to be connected to the Internet by 2020. In fact, industry experts are projecting the whole IoT sector to be worth an astonishing $1.7 trillion within the next five years. Multiple industries are developing ways to capitalize on IoT’s potential. In September, Samsung VP of Marketing in Europe Rory O’Neill announced the electronics company’s plan to allow more of its devices to connect with its competitors’. Citing the importance of the IoT trend, O’Neill said that 90 percent of Samsung’s devices will be connected to the Internet of Things in just two years. Later that month, GE CEO Jeff Immelt hinted at a new IoTcentered business called Current. This business will use Internetconnected devices like LED lights and solar panels that analyze information to help maximize energy efficiency. For example, Current could create a system to use cameras and sensors to monitor the number of people in a mall and then communicate with servers to control the mall’s heating and cooling systems. While GE seems well-positioned to pioneer this service, a market research report published on Oct. 12 expects the IoT energy market to expand from its current $7.6 billion to a whopping $22.3 billion by 2020.
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The following week, Amazon made a splash with its Amazon Web Services arm, creating a new division specifically to assist developers with linking hardware devices to applications through the Internet. Additionally, companies like Google’s Nest and Salesforce have made strides in recent weeks to ensure the strength of their own IoT capabilities. This advent of IoT technology is making waves across multiple industries. For instance, the semiconductor industry— comprised of companies that manufacture microchips for computers—has experienced a rush of activity in recent months. Earlier this summer, Avago Industries acquired Broadcom in a $37 billion merger, a then-record-setting price tag for a technology acquisition. Computer processor companies Intel and Altera joined forces around the same time as well. Although there are certainly other factors at play, executives at these companies cited the IoT trend as a major motivation for this consolidation as they anticipate increased demand. But beyond the massive economic implications, will the Internet of Things improve the quality of our lives? While experts can rave about the brilliant solutions the Internet of Things can offer, many critics have staunchly opposed the rapid development and deployment of these smart devices. Of course, there exist the ever-present privacy concerns. Perhaps we don’t need or want virtual assistants in our appliances that collect data about our personal lives. But the biggest qualm in the IT community revolves around the quality of the software going into the devices. Unlike the software you might find in your laptop or your smart phone, these IoT-compatible devices often rely on cheap software that is much more susceptible to hackers. This September, security consultancy Rapid7 reported that several of the most popular IoT baby monitors were easily hacked. This lack of security is particularly troubling when considering the IoT routers that house all the data communicated by our smart devices. While there are certainly drawbacks in its current iteration—tech journalist Owen Williams tweeted hilariously, “my alarm clock didn’t go off today because it lost my wifi credentials seriously”—we will more than likely move towards an increasingly IoT-filled world. For better or for worse, it is safe to say that the Internet of Things can be one of the most impactful next-big-things yet. ◼
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