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Africa -

a barren and starving country, or a political giant in the making? The debate is growing, and the focal point of this issue is on providing an overview of Africa’s political, economic and social progress (with our main focus falling on Sub-Saharan Africa in particular). Is Africa on the rise? Decide for yourself by taking a look at our lead articles (p. 310). Moving to the wider international scene, this edition of Dialogue covers a number of topical issues including: the UK referendum (p.17), a look at Iraq a decade on (p. 35), American’s growing incarceration problem (p.43) and a special debate piece on Skepticism (p.19). This issue of Dialogue also includes two new features: a photographic piece on West Sahara (p. 39-42) as well as our new “Outspoken” section, which provides the opportunity for one of our contributors to express their opinion on a controversial issue. For this edition of Dialogue we ignite the debate on whether Islamism is becoming the new communism (p.37). We welcome you to share your thoughts on the issues discussed in this edition by e-mailing:, and remind you that the views expressed by this journal belong to our contributors and do not compromise Dialogue's non-partisan nature. Enjoy!

Society President

Content Editor

Creative Editor

Assistant Editors

Ramtin Hajimonshi

Georgina Singer

Linnéa Strand

Angela Buensuceso Gabriel Coupeau González Helene Løken Eiklid

In this issue... Cover story Africa: Changing Perceptions Africa: The Economic Leap Africa: The Social Burdens

Africa & Middle East 3 7 9 11 14

Understanding Catalan Nationalism

UK-EU Referendum: EU ’á La Carte’



Is Islamism the new Communism?

At home in a Saharai Refugee Camp

- Elections and Beyond?

Goodbye Spain!



Europe Germany in Europe

Iraq: 10 years on



The Americas America’s Prison - Industrial Complex


Mexico’s Drug Cartels




Kirchner’s Woes


Debate Skepticism Revisited


What We Read


In Defence of the ’Big Society’


President’s Message


Asia The Rise of China in Asia North Korea: Asia’s Pariah

Inside China: Behind the Bamboo Curtain

Singapore - Developmental Miracle but Democratic Misery?

25 27 29 31

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By George Davies and Rose Smith


frica is a continent often considered dry, bare and barren, riddled with poverty and disease – but that perception is changing. Africa’s rise is by no means a new idea; it’s been brought up and quickly shot down many times over the past decade. However, this time, the idea is taking hold, and statistics indicate that Africa is toddling forwards, albeit at a cautious rate. This article will focus on the ongoing progress in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, analysing its social, economic, and political progress, and reflecting on the future steps that should be taken if progress is to continue. Socially, the vast region of Sub-Saharan Africa encompasses a number of diverse issues that continue

to restrict the region’s progress. In terms of disease, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic, with nearly half of all African countries declaring AIDS an emergency issue. HIV also continues to escalate, with figures indicating that nearly 23 million Africans are currently living with HIV – 61 percent of which are women1. The plights of Sub-Saharan Africa’s women also stretches to include the highest maternal mortality ratio at 40 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths worldwide, and of these deaths, between 10 to 50 percent are believed to be caused by unsafe abortions2. Malaria also remains a pressing issue, with 56 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide occurring in African children under 5 years old3. Combating the chokehold of

these diseases in Africa has become an ongoing crusade for international organisations and countries alike, and is largely viewed as the key to unlocking Africa’s sustainable development. Only through facilitating the creation of a healthy workforce can the economic and political development of the country begin to take hold. A further major social issue for Sub-Saharan Africa today is facilitating access to education. In 2008, 29 million children of a primary school age were not in school, of which, 54 percent were girls4; indicating that Africa’s gender gap remains prevalent. Similarly, secondary-school enrolment, despite being reported to have increased by 48 percent between 2000 and 2008, is said to only cater to 36 percent of the children of age to enrol5. Adult education also remains a problem, with 38 percent of the region’s adults lackthe last decade, the probability of an African couning basic literacy skills, and with more than six out try experiencing growth acceleration has increased ten of the illiterate being women. The importance to 46 percent, which is up from 21 percent in the and power of education previous decade, and for Africa’s development “Combating the chokehold of compares with the probashould not be underestibility of growth decelerathese diseases in Africa has mated, as the Directortion, which has decreased General of the United Na- become an on-going crusade for from 36 percent down to tions Educational, Scienjust 12 percent. The avertific and Cultural Organi- international organisations and age Gross Domestic sation (UNESCO) emphacountries alike, and is largely Product (GDP) per capita sises, education “is the between 1990 and 1999 only path towards pros- viewed as the key to unlocking was -0.7 percent, which perity”6. In relation to Af- Africa’s sustainable development.” increased to 2 percent rica, UNESCO more spebetween 2000 and 20068, cifically comments, “there can be no escape from and now compares with the International Monetary poverty without a vast expansion of secondary eduFund’s prediction that the region will grow 5.25 percation. This is a minimum entitlement for equipping cent between 2012 and 20139. youth with the knowledge and skills they need to secure decent livelihoods in today’s globalized However, this growth is not spread evenly across world… An educated population is a country’s Sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries. The majority of greatest wealth”7. Africa’s economic growth is being generated by the oil-rich exporting countries, which have grown Wealth, in real terms, is beginning to be reflected more than three times faster than their noneconomically as the region begins to strengthen. In

rica was 14.5 kilometres of road per 100 square kilometres land area in 2007, while the South East Asian median was 3515. This lack of infrastructure plays a significant role in the competitiveness of the region’s exports, with Sub-Saharan African countries exporting goods at a higher cost of $1,974 per container, in comparison to the median cost for Asian countries of $73216. Several reports by prominent international bodies and think-tanks have identified that in order for the African economy to sustain this economic progress, it must continue to invest in its infrastructure and in the education and welfare of its population. However, the region’s political situation is currently unable to fully facilitate this.

exporting neighbours10. The region’s biggest oil producers are Nigeria and Angola, who increased their production by 28 percent and 125 percent respectively between 2000 and 201011, and should be compared with the newly-founded South Sudan, where the economy is almost entirely dependent on oil production and accounts for 98 percent of government revenue Politically, the progress of the Sub-Saharan region and 99 percent of exports12. Although South Sudan’s should be seen as subsidiary to the economic improveeconomic progress currently does not match that of ments, but marthe region’s economic ginally better leaders, South Africa Corruption is “a crime against development, than the falterfollowed by Nigeria, it ing progress of does highlight the democracy, education, prosperity, public social policy, overall economy’s dewhich is largely health and justice – what many would pendence on the price tied to a counof oil, which could po- consider the pillars of social well being.” try’s political tentially be vulnerable situation. The Jonathan Lucas, UNODC r e g i o n ha s to the instability of the international market. struggled to shake the consequences of colonialism, which left it Nevertheless, foreign countries largely remain undeterred at the risks associated with investing in Africa. abandoned to despotic dictatorships that still continue Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has risen from $15 today, albeit under the disguise of democratic elecbillion in 2002, to $46 billion in 2012 – tripling in val- tions. In 2011, the American think-tank Freedom ue13. Comparably, Africa’s trade with China has risen House reported that in Sub-Saharan Africa, 9 counfrom $11 billion to over $166 billion in the last dec- tries are “Free”, 21 “Partly Free”, and a shocking 19 ade14, with the Chinese investing heavily in Africa’s were designated “Not Free” – giving the overall immining and technology industries. It is from these in- pression that the region remains largely unstable politivestments and trade that the region’s economies have cally. been able to begin the process of much needed infrastructure improvements in the power and transport sectors. However, relative to the region’s competitors in South East Asia, transportation infrastructure remains relatively low. Road density in Sub-Saharan Af-

Nevertheless, democracy is coming into practise in Africa today more than it was at the turn of the 21st century. The successful 2011 elections in Zambia saw the 20-years ruling incumbent, President Rupiah Banda, peacefully removed from office after losing to op-

position leader Michael Sata by a majority of 7 percent17. Unfortunately, Zambia’s case remains the anomaly, with Kenya’s elections in 2007 resulting in violent clashes between opposition and incumbent supporters after accusations of cheating were made. After the death of an estimated 1,000 people in post -election violence in 200718, Kenya’s most recent March 2013 elections, which have seen minor outbreaks of violence, should be considered faltering progress in this area. Political corruption in African countries is also constrictive to development, and the sub-Saharan African region is no exception. In 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Southern Africa Representative Jonathan Lucas labelled corruption as “a crime against development, democracy, education, prosperity, public health and justice – what many would consider the pillars of social well being”19. Research conducted by Transparency International consistently ranks the vast amount of sub-Saharan countries between 8 and 30 on a scale of 100, with 0 representing “highly corrupt”20. The most recent 2012 Report indicates that out of a possible 174 countries, Sudan is 173rd with a score of 13, and Chad 165th with a score of 19. As is widely documented, corruption imposes high costs on development. In addition to the implicit costs of cor-

ruption due to bribery, there are also hidden costs associated with corruption. The costs of a form of corruption, termed “quiet corruption” by the World Bank, adversely affects the poor in particular. The World Bank’s Africa Development Indicators of 2010 shows that civil servants' failure to deliver Government-run health, education or agricultural services, further jeopardises Africa’s long-term development21. The focus of this article has been to discuss and analyse the Sub-Sahara African region’s social, economic and political progress, nevertheless, the scope and diversity of the region has resulted in a discussion that is severely limited by its ability to fully address thesissues in-depth. As such, for those with a prticular interest in this issue, we strongly recommend reading McKinsey’s research , as well as the recent IMF Report, and the United Nations Dvelopment Program reports for further information and analysis. GEORGE DAVIES and ROSE SMITH are postgraduate MA International Relations students at the University of Durham.

In 2025, a World Bank report has stated that it expects the majority of African countries to reach the threshold of “middle-income”, putting it in the plus-$1,000 GDP per capita neighbourhood that China and Mexico currently occupy1. By Elizabeth Ginser


his prediction, in conjunction with the more surprising assertion that 22 Sub-Saharan countries (out of a possible 48) have already reached this “middle-income” status2, paints a picture of Africa that is at definite odds with classic western stereotypes of disease, poverty and aid. By first acknowledging the barriers to growth that the African economy must face, it is possible for us to better judge the positive signs that currently do exist, and the steps that should be taken if the African economy’s leap is to land on its feet.

Barriers to Growth To a greater extent, the African economy’s barriers to growth do still fall into what had previously been referred to as the “classic western stereotypes”. Disease – famously HIV/AIDS but particularly malaria, which kills an estimated 660,000 Africans3 every year (most of which are children) – is damaging to a workforce that numbers 382 million4. A 2006 report by Rollback Malaria found that nearly 75 percent of Sub-Saharan African companies reported that malaria had negatively impacted their business; a further 39 percent claimed that the impact was serious5. Although this report is slightly outdated, malaria remains a prevalent barrier to growth, and the costs of treating it (details of which can be found here) continue to be a substantial expenditure that companies are unwilling to take, despite evidence indicating that such an investment is cost-effective6. Poverty also remains a pressing issue – a quarter (239 million) out of the 925 million people the United Nations Food Organisation (UNFAO) consider to be “hungry” or “undernourished” reside in Africa7. Apart from being a humanitarian disaster, poverty directly impacts the ability of an economy to develop; a workforce restricted by low purchasing power and a lack of resources is rendered unable to contribute or spend in the wider economy. A further problem is that economic growth does not necessarily lead to significant poverty reduction; studies into the relationship between poverty and growth have highlighted that it can in fact exacerbate the problems of the poor8. A recent report by the Mckinsey Global Institute highlights that although poverty can be said to be falling, income inequality is on the rise, and it is the government that must ‘harness the wealth that Africa is beginning to produce through ef-

fective policies’9. However some African governments remain too weak to even begin this process.

But increasing FDI also allows the African economy to exploit its abundant resources. Africa is richly endowed with resources high in demand, supplying up to 31 percent of the world’s demand for resources like bauxite (used to make aluminium), gold, phosphate, and uranium.13 African oil also continues to benefit from soaring prices. The US Department of Energy estimates that production could

which is expected to be a rare gleam in an otherwise gloomy world economy as Africa’s stands to reach 5.2 percent growth in 2013, with a slight improvement in 2014 to 5.3 percent.18

The governments of countries such as Ethiopia and The Gambia are highlighted by Freedom House as “repressive”, with Sudan scoring a full 7/7 on a scale of 1 (“free”) and 7 (“least free”), and Ethiopia and The Gambia scoring 6 apiece.10 Arguably, classifying or ranking countries in this manner is not particularly helpful; es“The US Department of Energy estimates that pecially if one considers that production could rise as much as 91 percent in the this is the opinion of a period between 2002 and 2025 – which is a faster single thinktank. Never- rate of growth than anywhere else in the world …” theless it supports the wider evidence that the rise as much as 91 percent in the Steps Ahead: majority of Sub-Saharan Africa period between 2002 and 2025 – Look before you leap remains under the thumb of suffo- which is a faster rate of growth To talk about the African economy cating political regimes that breed than anywhere else in the world as a single entity is a challenge that wider political violence and cor- and only increases the FDI attrac- echoes those that lie ahead for the tion of countries such as Congo region as a whole. By no means ruption. (Brazzaville) and Angola.14 Alt- does this article believe it has comhough Africa’s holding of 9.5 per- prehensively covered the vast terriThe Positive Signs: cent of the world’s oil reserves tory that encompasses a number of The Run-Up Despite the doom-and-gloom of (132.1 billion barrels) remains issues that deserve further investithe previous section, the signs that modest against the 54.4 per cent gation. Nevertheless, it can be said Africa is taking steps to overcome (752.5 billion barrels) of Persian that Africa is taking steps towards these barriers are encouraging. Sta- Gulf countries, it is still higher stronger economic performance, tistics indicate that the vast than those currently held by China and that many statistics weigh in its favour. Significant political isamount of foreign aid that has and the US.15 sues still leave the country divided, been poured into Africa is beginning to take effect. Both malaria Furthermore, if you have strong and corruption is as prevalent as and poverty figures have shown an faith in other indicative statistics of poverty and disease. If Africa’s improvement in the last decade, economic health, then the region potential to be recognized, it will with malaria deaths decreasing by produces even more impressive only be through tackling these bar33 percent and the estimates of signs. Currently, Africa (as a conti- riers. African’s in poverty falling slight- nent) has the youngest population ly.11 What’s more is that foreign in the world, standing at 200 mildirect investment (FDI) has tripled lion aged between 15 and 24, a in the last decade, rising from $15 number that is set to double by billion in 2002 to $46 billion in 2045.16 Education is also predicted 2012. Unlike aid, FDI can directly to flourish – with a projected inELIZABETH GINSER lead to job creation and improve- crease from 42 percent to 59 perments in infrastructure while by- cent of 20-24 year olds to receive is a postgraduate MA student at the passing corrupt governments that secondary education by 2030.17 School of Oriental and African Studies. And this is not forgetting GDP, could misuse funding.12

By Georgina Singer


“...out of the 884 not have access t cent of them are

he Sub-Saharan region of Africa is one which encompasses as diverse a number of territories and ethnicities as it does social barriers. It is increasingly being claimed that Africa has begun its ascent onto the world stage, building partnerships in trade rather than aid. However if the region is to ever “rise” onto the world stage it must lighten the heavy social burdens of poverty, access to water and disease that continuously restrain its progress. Although it can be said that Africa is on the rise economically, it is still seemingly impossible for the country to break free from the disease and poverty that have burdened it for decades. Studies have shown1 that the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction is by no means absolute, and in fact can lead to the inverse. It is an unfortunate truth that the majority of westerners immediately associate the idea of poverty with the African continent, but with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UNFAO) indicating that a quarter of those in poverty throughout the world reside in Africa (239 million), the association still seems justified2. Overcoming poverty in the region is a gargantuan task; popular movements like “Make Poverty History” have successfully captured the hearts and wallets of the western public in previous years, as more recently has the “Global Citizen Festival” in New York. However raising funds can only go so far, academics have identified that poverty in Africa is largely due to ‘government failure’: the inability for the government to effectively distribute resources to those who are in the most need, and can put them to efficient use. In support of this, the Mckinsey Global Institute recently released a report on Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth that highlighted the pivotal role of governments to ‘harness the wealth

that Africa is beginning to produce through effective policies’3. One of the most important ‘resources’ that subSaharan governments must efficiently “harness” is education. The Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) specifically identified that: “There can be no escape from poverty without a vast expansion of secondary education. This is a minimum entitlement for equipping youth with the knowledge and skills they need to secure decent livelihoods in today’s globalized world…An educated population is a country’s greatest wealth”4. Although secondaryschool enrolment has increased by 48 percent in just under a decade (2000-2008) it is still failing to sufficiently cater to those who need it, with only 36 percent of children enrolled5. Education is also marred by gender inequality, with 54 percent of the 29 million primary school children not in school being fe-

male6. This inequality is sustained throughout adulthood, with figures indicating that over six in ten women are illiterate.

Water is another resource that suffers from poor allocation and mismanagement through governments. A World Health Organisation (WHO)/ UNICEF report in 2010 mapped the progress of the development of water and sanitation, they identified that out of the 884 4 million people who do million people who do not have to drinking-water, 37 per access to drinkingwater, 37 per cent e Sub-Saharan Africans.” of them are SubSaharan Africans. The United Nations has identified that the lack of progress in this area is largely down to the limited awareness of water’s contribution to economic development7. The WHO/UNICEF 2010 report uses Sub-Saharan Africa as a prime example of how water and sanitation can constrict economic growth, with women in rural areas spending up to six hours a doing “water chores”. If the time taken to do such basic chores was reduced, the WHO has estimated the region could save up to $64 billion (USD)8. But money and efficiency should not be the primary reason for improving water and sanitation in the region; it is also the lack of basic access to water that is fuelling the region’s struggle with disease. Disease, as the previous articles in this journal have mentioned, is a distinct barrier to economic growth and greater prosperity in Africa. HIV/AIDS and malaria are the more prominent diseases in the region which have a devastating impact on the population. These diseases have a multilateral relationship, with the anemia resulting from malaria increasing the

risk of HIV through blood transfusions from a 3.5 odds ratio for the first transfusion, to 43.0 for those transfused three times during a single admission9. In turn, those who suffer with HIV increase the risk of further disease with an estimated 45 percent of hospitalisations and 80 percent of deaths linked to the respiratory problems suffered by HIV-infected children. One of the most prevalent of these infections is tuberculosis, which has seen caseloads increase by a factor of five or more in the particularly HIV susceptible regions of eastern and southern Africa10. However what should now be considered of equal, if not greater, concern is the impact of HIV on noncommunicable diseases. Children of HIV-infected mothers have a much higher risk of language and cognitive delays, with children who then directly contract HIV more likely to suffer from development disabilities such as low birthweight, prematurity and micronutrient deficiencies. This is in addition to the higher risk of cardiac problems and mental health, in which HIV/AIDS has been linked to inducing: anxiety disorders, depression and manic symptoms. These consequences on health in turn have a wider impact on the region’s socioeconomic development, inducing a large burden on underdeveloped health services, increasing the number of orphans and leaving many to alternative but poverty. If Africa is to “rise” then it must look at lightening the burden of its social problems. The fact that the region is reported to have three mobile phones for every person, the same as India, as well as expected growth of approximately 5 percent in the next few years is a superficial interpretation of a region that is more likely to sink, than rise if progress is not rapidly made in the region’s social policies.

GEORGINA SINGER is an undergraduate BA International Politics student at King’s College London.

By Thomas M. Fröhlich


n a number of occasions, elections in Europe have left the impression that the European electorate is reluctant to follow the route of austerity that has been branded by many as the only remedy for the on-going European crisis. The latest example is Italy, where a well-known comedian and the infamous “Bunga-Bunga” Berlusconi were able to accumulate fifty percent of the popular vote. On the other hand, with these concerning developments comes a perception and depiction of Germany as the dominating superpower of an empire that sucks the life, money, and happiness out of its (mainly southern) partners in Europe. The dictatrix Angela Merkel represents the rebirth of any given historic or fictional villain, but certainly not the ones for which we can feel empathy. What many commentators outside of Germany might overlook is that with federal elections coming up in September of this year, Merkel is in no position to provide her conservative party,

Germany, or the European Union with the necessary leadership the on-going crisis would require, may it be conservative or progressive. And in fact, she never has been able to do so. When one examines her achievements it becomes particularly clear that Merkel has not followed any political programme or values whatsoever. In fact, she has not even participated in political debate in Germany, instead, leaving the difficult and uncertain political decisions to her cabinet ministers. Such instances can be seen with Germany’s abstention from the UN Security Council vote on Libya, and the abolishment of two of the Conservative party’s main issues, atomic energy and military draft, mainly out of populist shortterm considerations. This lack of agenda is exactly what she has been applying to her European policy since the beginning of the crisis. After quick crisis management by then finance-minister Peer Steinbrück, who is now running to become the chancel-

lor of a Social Democrat-led government, Merkel’s ity of a Eurozone split and Germany needing to apcoalition of the Conservative and Liberal parties has preciate its currency. What some commentators shown much anti-South European rhetoric, but very might interpret as Merkel being another Iron Lady is little achievements. The causes of the crisis: unregu- untrue, and does not even deserve to be called leaderlated financial markets, trade inequalities within the ship. What we have witnessed over the past four Eurozone, tax years is merely “What some commentators might interpret as havens within a continuing geographic Eu- Merkel being another Iron Lady is untrue, and state of shortrope, and the term crisis does not even deserve to be called leadership.” lack of internal containment. consumption And this is caused by a decade of stagnating salaries, have not what to expect until the September elections, when been brought to discussion by her government. De- her self-destructing government coalition will receive spite the rhetoric, Merkel, with help from opposition its last defeat in a series of scandals about plagiarised parties, still signed the necessary German cheques for doctoral theses and a series of six lost state elections. Europe. And she was lucky that the Greek, Spanish, and Italian governments have made it so easy for her Europe can only hope for strong popular support for to “externally induce” the “unavoidable” cuts in wel- the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrück, and his possible left-leaning coalition fare and social spending. partners. A new Social Democratic government in Since Germany is one of the main benefactors of the Germany would be more effective, as with the defeat monetary union, Merkel knows that the only thing of the Conservative-Liberal coalition in the state electhat Germany cannot afford is the default of any of tions in Lower Saxony at the beginning of the year, the troubled Eurozone states, as this has negative im- the majority of the second chamber of the German plications for Germany’s biggest export market, the parliament (Bundesrat) shifted towards the left, creatEuropean Union. Germany’s banks are highly invest- ing a deadlock situation where Merkel (or any future ed in EU markets, and if the Euro survived such a Conservative chancellor) is the lame duck and effecscenario, there would be major repercussions for tive policy making is not to be expected. In addition, Germany’s credit ratings, not to mention the possibil- the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) has not

only the expertise, but also the pragmatic ideas and the innerEuropean partners to create a sustainable agenda to overcome the crisis and its causes. The SPD candidate Steinbrück served as finance minister under Merkel until 2009, and therefore possesses the necessary familiarity with the economic challenges and the European system to make progress. And even though he is seen as part of the right wing of the SPD, the party has undergone a shift towards the left since the end of the Schröder years (1998 – 2005). Today, it represents a more progressive social profile than before, with more personnel from

the party’s left in decision-making positions. In effect, this will mean that the next German government, despite a relatively conservative chancellor, will be more European, and in economic terms, more representative of Keynesian economic policy and less austerity. The support of the campaign for a European Youth Guarantee by the Party of European Socialists is just one indicator that progressive policies towards Europe can find a base of support in Germany. Finally, with a centre-left chancellor in Germany, the cooperation with the socialist French government will be able to regain its former strength and influence to create the future of a social and inclusive Europe.

Bringing these assessments to a conclusion, it is foreseeable that there is not much more to be expected from Germany than symptomatic treatments that focus on short-term solutions until the federal elections. However, with the possibility of a new government in September, Germany’s European partners and global spectators can expect Germany to increase its leadership efforts in a more humble, cooperative, and less ultimate way. THOMAS M. FRÖHLICH is a PHD Candidate at King’s College London’s Brazil Institute.

By Gabriel Coupeau González


he end of the War of the Spanish Succession, on September 11th 1714, saw the victorious Bourbon monarchy deprive Catalonia of its old institutions of self-government. It was not until 1978, after General Franco’s death, that Catalans would see their autonomy and “national” symbols restored back. The 18th century defeat was ultimately chosen by the Generalitat, Catalonia’s government, as its national day, the decision being a clear attempt to protest against centuries of contempt and struggle. On this year’s Diada, large demonstrations in Barcelona threw Spanish politics into turmoil. Just two months before the elections, nearly 1 million people, out of a Catalan population of 7.5 million, marched in a call for independence.

Catalan separatism, which has always been considered by the central government as a way of rent-seeking by Catalan authorities, suddenly became a national priority. The past five years have brought Spain the worst economic recession since the Civil War; unemployment is at 26%, and many are beginning to think that the country is falling apart1. Some argue that Catalan nationalism might not be genuine but instead, a desperate and dramatic attempt to exit the Spanish crisis2. When elected in 2010, Artur Mas (CiU), the rightwing nationalist president of Catalonia, responded to the economic crisis with strong austerity measures, heavily damaging his popularity. Unable to promise Catalans nothing more than austerity and a vague political project for independence, Mas called for early

elections hoping to achieve some electoral support from the new nationalist wave. Last November, a hectic Spain, fearing for its unity and the development of the Catalan issue, witnessed how nationalist forces gained control of over 54% of the Catalan parliament3. Artur Mas was electorally punished “...there is an urgent need for dialogue and did not achieve and resolution, not only for the good the outright majority of Spain, but the whole of Europe.” he was looking for, but it was the rise of the socialist nationalists (ERC) that made his ‘victory’ possible. The elections highlighted the clear confrontation between those who want to stay, and those who want to leave – a separation of two Catalonias. Given the electoral outcome, in order to govern, Ar- monarchy attempted to implement France’s centralist system in Spain, and thus angered the Catalans. tur Mas, a man who avoids using the word “independence” in his speeches, was forced to pact In the centuries to come, Catalan nationalism became with the nationalist socialists, a party strongly com- the opposition to a despotic centralist system and a mitted to independence and whose main electoral fo- corrupt monarchy. Over time, Catalanism evolved cus had been precisely against Mas’ austerity and adapted. Under General Franco’s dictatorship, it measures. For many, Artur Mas, who rather than became a socialist movement of struggle against the promising a new land to Catalans was only trying to regime. All this process of identity re-definition is regain some of his lost popularity and a better deal common to all nationalisms and vital for their survivwith the central government, had to pay a high price al4. As Monsterrat Guibernau (Queen Mary Universifor his re-election: Catalonia would get a referendum ty) argues, “nationalisms construct their specifity for independence in 2014. starting from what differentiates them from others, and in general the term ‘others’ is not abstract but refers to a very specific ‘other’ with which there is Traces of the past in a struggle for a better future often a close relationship”5. So with that in mind, Although it enjoyed a high degree of autonomy under what happens when the ‘other’, in this case mainland the Crown of Aragon (s.XI-XV), Catalonia was never Spain, changes? an independent nation-state. Its medieval federal rights remained untouched for two centuries after the General Franco died and the transition to democracy foundation of the Spanish state, but after the War of left Spain with a complex quasi-federal system that the Spanish Succession, the new French Bourbon tried to reconcile the extremist positions after the dictatorship. The political apparatus was still controlled

by Francoist elites; therefore, a radical change to satisfy Catalan demands would have been too risky and threatened the democratic process. Today, Catalonia enjoys more sovereignty than many German Bundesländers, however, its tax system is controlled by Madrid, and it is the central government that decides what percentage of its own taxes Catalonia is ‘allowed’ to keep. Catalonia today: democracy or economics? Catalonia gives more than it receives from the Spanish, and this has led many Catalans to think that they are pulling for the subsistence of the rest of the country. The Catalan economy is much stronger, dynamic and globalized than the Spanish average. Looking at some figures like its GDP per capita, higher than Germany’s or the UK’s average, or its population size, similar to that of Austria or Switzerland, the reasonable conclusion is that Catalonia could well be a successful independent nation. However, much of Catalonia’s economic success is due to the rest of Spain.

not only have to face all these costs, but would also face troubles in legal terms. The current legislation in Spain and the EU means that these two entities would not recognize Catalonia’s secession. Consequently, an independent Catalonia would be left separated and, at least for some time, greatly in national debt and untrusted by other financial markets. Unlike the United Kingdom, it is said that Spain without Catalonia cannot ‘exist’. To give an example of what is meant by this, just look at the UK; though Scotland is different from England, Spain cannot be understood without Catalonia. However, there is only one clear fact about modern-day Spain: the current relationship it has with Catalonia does not work. Spain’s state model has failed, and there is an urgent need for dialogue and resolution, not only for the good of Spain, but the whole of Europe. If Catalans want independence, it is their legitimate democratic choice. However, despite the possibility of Catalonia becoming a very successful country in the long term, the economic sacrifices it would have to make to gain this independence could, in the short term, put recession-hit Catalans in a very difficult situation.

GABRIEL COUPEAU GONZÁLEZ Immigration from poorer parts of Spain in the 1950s, mainly Andalusia, had an enormous demographic impact in Catalonia. Today, only 60% of Catalonia’s population was born in Catalonia, and in Barcelona, that number drops below to 50%. In addition, Catalonia depends on the Spanish market for the sustainability of a great share of its economy, and also avoids many of the costs that being an independent country would entail (diplomatic services, trade agreements, bureaucracy, etc.). An independent Catalonia would

is an undergraduate BA International Politics student at King’s College London.

By Zoé Canal Brunet


t was in the 40th anniversary year of Britain’s membership that David Cameron made his long-awaited speech on the future of Britain in the European Union (EU). In it, he became the first leader of a member state that expressed the possibility of leaving the EU, a move that has been viewed by many as a gamble to obtain leverage in negotiations, and as a means of gathering election support. However, Eurosceptism is increasing among Britons, and according to Professor Richard Whitman of the University of Kent, “it’s impossible to be selected as a MP for the Conservative Party if you have anything but Euro-sceptical views”.1

Britain’s exit would also result in its borders becoming more closed to the continuous flow of migrants from less wealthy regions of Europe, thereby easing the pressure on the welfare system. It is estimated that in 2010 alone, more than 180,000 migrants arrived from other EU member states4, a surge that has undoubtedly cost the government. Additionally, if the UK were to leave it would end its commitments to the CAP – a policy that has been a constant source of disagreement. For years the British government has

control over some policy areas now controlled by supranational bodies, and it would no longer be subject to costly EU regulations. It is estimated that since 2010, Britain has had to implement over 400 new laws to comply with EU standards at a cost of over £700 billion.6 Leaving would take away this necessity, and thus save much of the government’s budget. Some also argue that without the shortcomings of the Euro, the UK would have become a financial hub of the EU.7 But because of the Eurozone crisis, tighter controls over the banking sector in the European Union, as well as the recent credit downgrading8, the UK’s economic credibility has been pulled down along with its crisis-ridden neighbours.

“The CAP might be flawed, but the UK still has the power to reform it…”

Polls now estimate that 56% of British voters would choose to leave the EU.2 The United Kingdom (UK) spends an average of £15 billion annually on the EU budget, with an estimated return of £6 billion through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other subsidies. By leaving the EU, the government could save at least £9 billion pounds per year; funds which could then be used to reduce its deficit.3

pushed for a decrease in spending on the flawed Agricultural Policy, which represents 50% of the EU budget but barely accounts for 1.6% of the total GDP. With the end of tariffs on foodstuff imports to Britain from outside the Single Market, food would become cheaper for the domestic consumer.5 Leaving the EU would also see the British government regaining

However, limits can be found in the arguments put forward by Eurosceptics. The £9 billion Britain would save per year were it to exit the EU only represents a minimal percentage of the national GDP (0.6%). But an exit from the Single Market would

result in significant indirect economic losses, in addition to huge administration costs. This is because Britain sells more than half of its exports to the Single Market, which, according to Sir Ian Begg, supports more than 3 million British jobs.9 A departure would implement a tariff on British producers, thus making them less competitive internationally. For example, it is estimated that British dairy products would be subjected to a significant import tax, leading to an average price increase of 12% once they were to reach the Single Market.10 It is true that the UK could still maintain trade agreements without actually being a member, much like Switzerland or Norway, but this would mean having to comply with regulations without having any power over their implementation.11 The CAP might be flawed, but the UK still has the power to reform it, and British farmers will benefit from it more under EU membership. Moreover, not only is the Single Market the biggest consumer of British products, but Britons are also importing £200 billion of goods from the EU annually.12 Were the UK to leave the EU, consumers would face a general increase in the prices of European goods.

tives would become the responsibility of the national authorities alone, authorities who do not possess nearly as much leverage as 27 member states altogether. Ultimately, the persistent economic recession can be

“...there are undeniable advantages to being part of the largest free market in the world.”

Additionally, London may appear to be a strong financial hub that has been ‘pulled down’ by the Eurozone crisis, but a recent poll reveals that two out of five finance firms choose the UK for its access to the EU.13 The UK does not only rely on this access to the EU, but also on the flow of cheap labour it provides.14 Being deprived of this would be another cause of an increase in labour fees and domestic goods prices.

Without membership in the EU, the UK would also weaken diplomatically. According to The Independent, Ireland, the United States, and the BRICs have been pressing for Britain to remain in the EU.15 UK-EU integration is seen as one of the main reasons to build and maintain close links with the UK16 as the ability to strike deals and obtain preferential trade agreements with all 27 EU states provides a better incentive than to just negotiate with Britain. Finally, the EU institutions have been the pivotal in improving the lives of its citizens: protecting the environment, lowering prices for communication and transportation and increasing protection of consumers17, are some examples of successful EU initiatives. If the UK were to withdraw from the EU, the maintenance and development of these initia-

blamed on the failures of the Eurozone. Despite this, there are undeniable advantages to being part of the largest free market in the world. The intricacies of the EU institutions within Britain suggest that Britain cannot afford to withdraw from the EU18, but with the possibility of a British exit the EU now has two choices: it either refuses to negotiate, and thus risk losing a highly valuable member state; or it will allow Britain to, as the German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle stated, go “cherry picking”.19 In the latter case, Britain would most probably choose to be part of the single market and be subjected to a few regulations. If the EU were to allow this, such a move could open the door to a multi-speed, ‘a la carte’ EU – where each member state is free to determine the degree of integration its country.20

ZOÉ CANAL BRUNET is an undergraduate BA European Studies student at King’s College London.

By Ida Emilie Steinmark


istorically, skepticism has been focused on the debunking of alternative medicine and the supernatural. In itself an entirely noble focus but the key word here is historically. With the rather outrageous exception of homeopathy in NHS, various kinds of fake remedies and spiritual ’crossborder’ connections are, thanks to the skeptics of the past, generally regarded as the utter nonsense it is. But skepticism is not just a mission to expose all quackery. In today’s world there is no reason why skepticism should not be applied to, well, everything – politics included. A question of being convinced For what is skepticism? In Britain, the ‘k’ points to a very specific group of people: the ’skeptics’. It indicates a subtle but crucial difference between their discipline and the general scepticism we all practice once in a while; one that seems mainly to consist of the continued focus on aforementioned debunking and a reciprocally embarrasing lack of sense for time, place, audience and appriopriateness. But is this in fact so? In essense, there is no difference between the two. Looking at the British use of the words, however, one might want to think of skepticism as the discipline of scepticism, the trained, nurtured, practiced scepticism. One might say, for the purpose of illustration, when you are being critical of media coverage of a certain topic, you are being sceptical; when you make a habit of thinking critically about media coverage of most subjects, you are being skeptical.

Nevertheless, if one looks up skepticism or scepticism, one will be lead to the same definition: ”1. a skeptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something: these claims were treated with skepticism” (from Oxford Dictionary Online)

The definition is somewhat vague, but it does not reduce or distort the foundation of all skepticism: doubt. As a fundamental parameter within skepticism, it divides it up into different branches, each branch asking the same question: what are we convinced by? As can be imagined, ”However close this may se different opinions exist on the topic, seems that politicians tend some extreme, their liberal/conservative some less so. It is time to introduce ambition to carry out evi science. Scientific skeptics are convinced by evidence. This means, naturally, that most scientists are scientific skeptics. In fact, they have to be, or there would be no point in them seeking out the evidence. Logically, this leaves them in doubt, uncertain and in essense, unknowing, until evidence is collected to either support or refute. Because they are convinced by evidence and necessarily left in doubt without evidence, their notion of truth, be it forever in bits and up for continuous scrutinisation and investigation, is entirely dependent upon evidence.

decision can be informed – and hopefully, only few would argue that. Which drugs should be legal and which should not? At what age should a person be able to purchase alcohol or cigarettes? Should we subsidise green tech development? When is something ’organic’? At what age should we send our children to school? Scientific evidence cannot make such decisions but it can make them informed.

eem to common sense, it d to brand themselves on values rather than their idence-based policies.” Scientific skepticism in policy-making As a civilised, (at least seemingly) science appreciating society, ought we not to implement similar standards for our own government throughout its organisation? Is it not time for us to embrace evidence as a basis for any policy, any at all? Some might argue that scientific evidence, although the only path to physical truth we have, cannot help us make these important decisions. Surely, this would be the same as arguing that no

However close this may seem to common sense, it seems that politicians tend to brand themselves on their liberal/conservative values rather than their ambition to carry out evidence-based policies. It may seem that skepticism has little place in valuebased political decision-making. Because, really, it comes down to one’s upbringing, one’s parents’ socioeconomic status, one’s level of schooling, et cetera et cetera. Does it not? The children of the unemployed grow up with an insight and a sympathy for the socially challenged. The children of the privileged grow up, well, privileged, but with a similar insight and sympathy for the people taking on the high-paid responsibility. Yet, this is not always so. Numerous people from either background grow up, politically involved with the other side of the political spectrum – or somewhere in the middle. How? Why? Applied skepticism. Critical thinking. Personal investigation. Wonder. Doubt. This is in itself a testimony to an often overlooked process, a process that should not only be elucidated, but taught and trained.

The introspective skeptic Skepticism can and should also be used to investigate beliefs and values. We accept tons of information on the basis of authority, of identity, of trust and naivety. In the debate of Britain’s

”Applied skepticism. Critical thinking. Personal investigation. Wonder. Doubt. ” EU membership a frequent argument is ”Britain is different”. What is the foundation for such a belief? Why is Britian different? What is it different from, exactly? Does difference matter? It is tempting to argue that since there is no hard evidence to answer such questions, what use will one have of skepticism. It is here the vague but to-the-point definition shines in all its glory: skepticism is not, as science, the process of finding hard evidence, it is the process of doubting whatever is being presented to us as truth – even when it is presented from within ourselves. And here, as a skeptic, you must ask yourself: on a personal, somewhat abstract level, what am I

convinced by? Perhaps the belief/ opinion of Britain’s connectedness to Europe is based upon an emotion towards Europe, a gut feeling. Are you convinced by it? Or perhaps it is based on teachings of family and teachers. Are you convinced by it? Convinced enough to act on it? Convinced enough to vote on it? Skepticism is of use to everybody. It can be applied within any subject. Skeptics believe (after a careful process of doubting and being convinced) that skepticism, in fact,

should be used by everybody, for everything. This does not mean that skeptics are always right. It means that their beliefs and opinions are reconsidered with new information, and so should everyone’s.

IDA EMILIE STEINMARK is an undergraduate Psychology student at Glasgow University and the President and co-founder of Glasgow University Skeptics.

Glasgow University Skeptics is a society, based at the University of Glasgow. They are committed to promoting science, critical thinking and freedom of expression, by encouraging debate and discussion. Visit their page at: http://guskeptics.c om

By Katherine Gray


n early January this year, David Cameron’s flagship policy, the ambitious twenty-first century answer to localism, volunteerism and transparent government was declared “effectively dead” by the head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, Sir Stephen Bubb1. It was a crucial blow for what had originally been described by The Times as "an impressive attempt to reframe the role of government and unleash entrepreneurial spirit"2. The policy? The ‘Big Society’: Cameron’s self-proclaimed “great passion”, and the policy that provokes a bite of the lip or a furrowing of the brow when put to your average supporter of the Conservative Party. Mainly because they, like a voter that takes only a passing interest in politics, don’t really know what it is or how to define it. A poll by Ipsos MORI/RSA in late 2010 found that 55%

“… the key misdemeanour of the ‘Big Society’ is that it was never a plan, only an idea. “ of conservative voters hadn’t heard of the initiative3. This is perhaps not entirely surprising when you consider that Cameron himself failed to properly define what he wanted from it. “You can call it liberalism,” he said, “you can call it empowerment, you can call it freedom, you can call it responsibility. I call it the ‘Big Society’”4. Well I call it somewhat confusing. But I’d also call it an inspired idea to reduce the burden of state provisions on the taxpayer

whilst attempting to handle what can only be described as the financial apocalypse troubling the offices at 1 Horse Guards Road. One product of the policy I must also note is that the ‘Big Society’ idea was perfectly designed to unite all factions of the Conservative Party. The social enterprise and decentralisation agenda appeased the libertarians and the push for volunteerism and government transparency pleased the centre-right majority, angry at their tax contributions and their MP’s duck houses and second homes.

sector. This is indicative of the massive potential of charity in the UK, indeed the 2008-’09 Citizenship Survey found that 26% of a

How, then, did this ‘impressive’ idea go from a promising leap forward in the Whitehall mind “We need to help -set to a distant memory recalled with disappointment by charities help themselves.” a charity sector facing, as Bubb called them, “crippling spending cuts”? Can we, as Con- sample met the criteria for volunservatives, then defend the ‘Big tary involvement work on a Society’? monthly basis6. With charities having strong links to local comAs several commentators, includ- munities, a wide knowledge of ing Guardian veterans Richard their specific needs, and their abilWilson and Polly Toynbee ity to constantly adapt and im(someone I sincerely never prove, charities are perfectly posithought I would agree with), have tioned to deliver more public serpointed out, the key misdemean- vices on behalf of the state. This our of the ‘Big Society’ is that it then begs the question, why havewas never a plan, only an idea. n’t they? The answer is atypical of When this government was elect- much government policy: inspired ed in May 2010, the ACEVO idea, poor execution. Government knew that it would face cuts, nota- reform has been insufficient and bly £11 million from pre-existing lagging, offender rehabilitation bodies that encouraged volunteer- and social care funding included. ing, one of the pillars of the ‘Big Many government-initiated cataSociety’ policy5. Yet it still wel- lysts for the shift have been abancomed the idea of shifting the doned entirely. For an example, weight of action onto the charity look at the ‘right to choice’ policy

for public service recipients. There’s a lack of government support for payroll giving, and this drives a wedge between government and the charity sector. Another failure of this policy is its overreliance on spontaneous order. It makes the assumption that in modern Britain, people will shift and adapt to fill the voids left by the withdrawal of government. Unfortunately, in this time-deprived society, people often need incentives. But this isn’t a death sentence, as the papers and left-wing clerics have proclaimed. The same commenters that have ignored the great work that has come from the concept of the ‘Big Society’; the Localism Act of 2011, which is handing back powers to localities previously held by the centralised state, the creation of the social investment bank and Big Society Capital, which helps social entrepreneurs get their plans off the ground, and of course the reform to Gift Aid, are some examples of the ‘Big Society’s’ successes.

Sir Stephen Bubb concluded his January remarks by telling the coalition that he’s “still up for it.” And so he should be. What was a great idea in 2010 is still one now, just one in need of a considered reboot. The reason for the government’s lack of definition

people with a secure future, giving them more flexibility. So far the increasing cuts have been marred by limited reform. We need to help charities help themselves.

Ultimately, I shall remain in defence of the “...we need to go further to provide ‘Big Society’, a policy not dead but in need of a course of antibiotics. What was and still is people with a secure future, giving an inspired idea, pushing power back to localities, handing the reigns of public services to them more flexibility.” charities, and opening the doors of government, is in need of a plan of action; a plan laying out a series of reform to help charities for the ‘Big Society’ policy was to provide a wide over-arching tent by which people could self-arrange start doing the work they’ve set out to do. It isn’t to maximise their individual circumstances. But like too late to create a real ‘Big Society’, and like Sir Stemost great ideas, it needs a definitive plan of reform phen Bubb, I’m ready to give it another go too. to begin producing results. The government can start by reconsidering the outsourcing of public services, which are side-lining the ‘Big Society’ by pushing charities and social entrepreneurs into the background, thus forming an oligopoly of big business. If you want the ‘Big Society’ to work, said a recent report, give the charities a head start7. Secondly, the KATHERINE GRAY government needs to continue reviewing the recomis an undergraduate International Politics mendations of the Dilnot report8. Whilst we welcomed the introduction of an elderly social care cap student at King’s College London. several weeks ago, we need to go further to provide

By Angela Buensuceso


t is undisputable that the rise of the People’s Republic of China has been anything less than significant to the world, more specifically within Asia. Since opening its markets and joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s economic prowess has increased its influence in the political arena of the Asia Pacific1. With its growing economy, willingness to cooperate with regional states, and increased participation in institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China has presented itself as an ideal partner for trade. With its “Beijing Consensus” appealing to developing Asian nations’ desires for economic and political sovereignty, it appears that China’s nuanced approach to trade and governance poses a threat to the typical hegemony of the United States and Japan within “...China’s role its region.

in regional politics is that of an economic powerhouse that is challenging the traditional economic and political hegemony of Japan and the West.”

China’s relationship with the ASEAN began in 1991, when countries within the organization recognized the potential of economic development through Chinese investments2. Since then, China has been given honorary membership as a part of the ASEAN plus three, which also includes Japan and South Korea. But ever since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, China has been looked upon favourably through its willingness to invest in the depressed economies of various Asian countries when the US, International Monetary Fund, and other economically stable countries refused to do so3. In addition to that, the establishment of the ASEANChina Free Trade Agreements (ACFTA) in 2001 has significantly increased the flow of goods between China and its regional neighbours. The ACFTA cuts tariffs for the exchange of goods between China and Southeast Asian countries4. Although ASEAN trade with Japan and the US remains higher than its dealings with China, the ACFTA has allowed the flow of goods between China and the ASEAN to consistently rise5. With China as a global leader in the manufac-

turing of goods, the ACFTA will only strengthen the country’s influence in the region as it centralizes China in the Asian market6.

Aside from the exchange of manufactured goods, China has also supported development projects in Southeast Asia. It seems that its regional neighbours are more willing to negotiate development initiatives with China, as these countries are especially attracted to Chinese investors’ non-interventionist stance on domestic issues7. By providing funds for the building or refurbishing of power plants and regional grid interconnections8, the monetary assistance China delivers for such countries has resulted in a more positive view of China’s rise9. By deepening its trade partnerships and aiding in development with ASEAN, China is quickly catching up with Japan, the region’s current leader in developmental aid. Whereas twenty years ago the majority of aid and trade circulated in the region would have come from Japan or foreign investors, today, China is listed along with these countries.

Politically, China is also attempting to gain greater influence within the Asia Pacific, most notably through soft power relations. China’s soft power has increased as a result of the global financial crisis10, as

ities to Beijing and are more in tune with China’s economic and security interests. The cultural resemblances between China and its regional neighbours result in the increased acceptance of China’s growing role in the region17. Thus, cultural empathy and a rejection of predominantly Western, materialistic values increase China’s soft power within the region. Despite the growth in its cultural influence, however, China’s soft power may not be as effective as some perceive it to be. China’s contradicting actions limit the effect and strength of the soft power they have amassed. Thus, the strength of China’s soft power is weakened, as “it is not easy for governments to sell their country’s charm if their narrative is inconsistent with domestic realities”18. Regardless of such setbacks, however, it is undisputable that China’s influence in Asia is growing, as politicians in the region now find themselves needing to consider Chinese interests before making final regional policy decisions19.

it has presented itself as a new state model to emulate. Due to the West’s recession, the ‘Beijing Consensus’ of an authoritarian government with a successful market economy has become more appealing than the ‘Washington Consensus’ of the liberal, albeit unstable, market economies adopted by the current countries in recession11. The crisis resulted in the desire to look for alternative economic models, and Beijing’s model has gained legitimacy as a result of the economic crash12. China’s commitment to non-intervention within states also makes its model more appealing to developing countries as in contrast to the West, who often use ideology as weapons or as an excuse to interfere in a country’s domestic issues13, China allows countries to “take [their] own road” to development14. But economic admiration is only part of the appeal of China, as traditional Chinese culture is also considered one of the country’s most valuable sources of soft power15. With Asian societies valuing the importance of cultural history and diversity, Ancient China’s “appeal to harmony, peace, and virtue is seen as providing a cultural alternative to Western materialism and individualism”16. It also helps that many Asian countries appear to have greater similar-

China is seen as the bridge between developed and underdeveloped countries20. Its unique disposition as an economic powerhouse that is still relatively underdeveloped, as evidenced by low urbanization rates and GDP per capita21, gives China both the respect and empathy required to negotiate with its less-developed regional neighbours. The breadth and depth of China’s economy means that its interests can no longer be ignored in the regional, let alone global political forum. China’s economic strength and soft power influence now allow it to participate more in regional politics. In today’s world, China’s role in regional politics is that of an economic powerhouse that is challenging the traditional economic and political hegemony of Japan and the West. China’s soft power influence has shown countries that there is another world power much closer to home with whom to negotiate with, and that there is an alternative to the Western process of modernization. Although China’s role as a regional power is dependent on other countries’ willingness to cooperate with them23, it now seems as if the rest of Asia will have to collaborate with China at a certain point in time in order to advance their economies and thus increase their political influence within the region and the world. ANGELA BUENSUCESO is an undergraduate BA International Politics student at King’s College London.

in the capital, Pyongyang, who are said to posses luxuries such as mobile phones and computers, and those living outside the capital in more rural areas where there barely exists food and shelter.

By Harry Grimshaw


orth Korea is a country stuck in time. Under the new leadership of Kim Jong-Il’s son international hopes have been dashed of improved relations and modernisation as Kim Jong-Un leads the country further down the path of belligerency and isolation. A warring sense of déjà-vu has descended on the international community as they are again forced to confront a country that still believes it is fighting the Cold War.

Significant famines have rocked the country, most recently between 1995-1997 when a large number of North Koreans defected to neighbouring China. The wave of famine that hit North Korea in the mid-1990s has been estimated to have wiped out nearly 10 per cent of the population. Furthermore, allegations of cannibalism have recently resurfaced which although might be over-dramatised by the media, appear to be rooted in accurate eye-witness accounts.2 These eye-witness accounts of lucky escapees also give accounts of the North Korean gulags. The gulags house political prisoners who are forced to do manual labour in conditions that human rights activists have condoned as ‘deplorable’. Over the last decade these gulags have rapidly expanded, Camp No.25 which is estimated to hold 5,000 prisoners has increased by 72 per cent and its perimeter expanded by nearly 4,600 feet according to satellite images by DigitalGlobe.3 Although it is impossible to know for definite the reasons behind these expansions, it is thought that the increase in prisoners is caused by Kim Jong-Un’s purges to his power base as well as an overall consolidation of the gulag system. Although there has been continuous disharmony between North Korea and the international community over the leadership’s internal regime, it has been recently stretched to the brink by North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“...a country that still believes it is fighting the Cold War.” Officially named the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’ the country has been more commonly identified as the polar opposite to its southern counterpart the Republic of Korea. Taken as an isolated country, North Korea is extremely weak. Under the thumb of a tight regime, access to data is difficult and often unreliable; nevertheless analysts estimate that per capita income could be as little as $1,000-$2,000 (£640-£1,280) per year. That compares with South Korea, where it is near $20,000 and the UK where it is around $40,000.1 There is also known to be a significant income inequality between those living

North Korea’s nuclear threat is genuine, and

dramatic nuclear standoffs during the Cold War such as the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). Under the leadership of the Kim dynasty, the DPRK has toyed with going to war with the south – notably during the 2002 Yellow Sea gun battle and throughout nuclear arming process. However this has been interspersed by warmer relations such as the emotional reunion between one hundred North Koreans and their southern relatives in 2000, as well as the DPRK’s delegation that in 2009 attended former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung’s funeral and the 2010 promises of further family reunions. With this past behaviour in mind, it might indeed be better to see North Korea’s current rhetoric as an almost routine exercise in belligerent behaviour against outsiders rather than a genuine threat.

“...behind closed doors in Pyongyang a nuclear war against the United States and her allies is still raging.”

has once again become a source of worry for the international community. The fall of the USSR might have been over 20 years ago, but it would appear that behind closed doors in Pyongyang a nuclear war against the United States and her allies is still raging. The United Nations (UN) was forced to sanction North Korea under UN resolution 1718 in October 2006 for nuclear testing that was constituted as: ‘a threat to international peace and security’.4 This was followed in 2009 by UN resolution 1874 that imposed further economic and commercial sanctions. Recent events in North Korea seem to indicate that history has again repeated itself, as the UN announced in March 2013 that North Korea is to face fresh sanctions after the nuclear test carried out on the 12th February is reportedly twice the size of that undertaken in 2009.5 Rhetoric is also at its climax between the two neighbouring regimes with North Korea “ready to rain bullets on the enemy”6, as it threatens to break the 1953 armistice agreement, and South Korea claiming it will "respond in a more resolute and destructively manner"7 if North Korea carries out what the US have referred to as its “bellicose rhetoric”8. But what impact is this situation likely to have on the international community? As ever “a week is a long time in politics” and in such an unstable situation it is difficult for even expert analysts to accurately predict the outcome of this standoff. Looking from a policy perspective, North Korea’s behaviour in the past few decades has loosely resembled the brinkmanship that was made famous in

However the closer the leadership of Kim Jung-Un drives North Korea to the brink of war, the more likely the international community are going to look for a permanent end to these episodes. Despite a large amount of international support for the move, dissolving Kim’s regime in North Korea is not something that could be easily undertaken unless the UN was possibly provoked by a nuclear attack and could claim the right to military intervention. Both China and Russia have sought to protect the North Korean’s interests through their position on the UN Security Council and their past behaviour indicates they are unlikely to agree to dissolution without at least the grounds of serious provocation. If North Korea is to have a say in deciding its own fate it must look at adopting China’s transition model that has allowed it to become a respected superpower through political and economic revitalisation. However the likelihood of it doing so remains slim, for now Kim Jung-Un is firmly standing his ground as Asia’s pariah.

HARRY GRIMSHAW is an undergraduate BA Economics student at the University of Nottingham.

By Alexandra Harrow


hina has a population of 1.37 billion people encompassing 69 minority races1, a decade-long average GDP growth of 10%2, and a manufacturing industry that produces 20% of the world’s annual output3. Statistics are abundant, reinforcing China's position at the forefront of international affairs, but these numbers reveal little else of a country that has been historically reserved. China remains largely shrouded in myth and speculation, hounded by the western media as dangerous to western prosperity and values. My experience of living behind the 'bamboo curtain' in Beijing over the last few years has afforded me the opportunity to see behind these myths and speculations.

Jasmine Uprising (2011)5, have led to widespread condemnation of a government which appears to care more about retaining control than it does ensuring its citizens' welfare.

Famine are distorted by propaganda, with it instead being referred to as 'Three Years of Natural Disasters' (三年自然灾害) China's style of governance is and being represented by a single often portrayed as oppressive plaque in China's National Museand dangerous to the welfare of um, which houses over a million its citizens. Ruled since 1949 as a There is very little defence to be exhibits6. Those who dare menone-party state tion these events under the China “... the West must learn to not force our val- still risk the safety Communist Party of their family as (CCP), the openly ues system onto a country that is not only well as themselves. communist values culturally different, but that may one day When I attended a that China emulabilingual literary tes continue to festival in 2011, a have the power to redefine our values.“ attract suspicion prominent Chinese from democratic powers. Promimade against such atrocities, and scholar who has more than once nent events such as the Great I was deeply shocked to realise been held for questioning, reFamine (1958-1961) which histothat the majority of China's curferred to the 1989 Tiananmen rians estimate killed between 20rent generation (including the Square incident as a 'massacre' 40 million people4, the Tiawell educated) are purposefully causing the room to fall into a nanmen Square Massacre (1989), made unaware of previous sufferdeeply uncomfortable silence at and more recently, the aborted ing. Events such as the Great the prospect of being found

guilty by association if it became known this censored information had been discussed.

democracy are limited by caste and a lack of policy protecting women and children's rights.

The idea of 'censorship' is nowhere more synonymous than in China. The state officially controls all media, with everything from newspapers to social networking websites like Facebook either banned entirely or modified to suit the state's need. As freedom is the pinnacle of western values, it is hard for those of us with that cultural conditioning to comprehend why the Chinese continue to accept and celebrate the rule of the government. I have come to believe that the answer is similar to the reason for our disillusionment cultural conditioning, the idea that subconsciously our values are dictated through the society we live in. In line with the censorship that exists, Chinese citizens have previously had very little opportunity to be exposed to alternate lines of thinking and therefore their cultural conditioning is heavily under the influence of state control. It is because of this restricted access to information and effective government propaganda, that many of the Chinese live in a 'harmonious society' that President Hu Jintao is so keen to secure7.

China is on the path to greater openness and the West must learn to not force our values system onto a country that is not only culturally different, but that may one day have the power to redefine our values. Sometimes when people ask me today what it is like living 'inside' China I tell them that it resembles a type of apartheid - foreigners and natives receive different treatment at the hands of the CCP, and when either side tries to lift the 'bamboo curtain' you are confronted with the distinct possibility that you'll get your fingers trapped.

It was from understanding this idea of cultural conditioning, that I would ask what a variety of individuals thought about the CCP's dictatorship. More often than not, I was given a bland answer, befitting of a person who knows they could be under surveillance. However, a few times I did receive an argument that made me reconsider my aversion to China's system. The argument was that the vast scale of China geographically and socially functions most effectively under a union that restricts decision-making to a small group of elites. Outrageous as it may sound to those of us who uphold democracy; in China's case I have come to agree that this is the best system for rapid development and long-term prosperity. One only need to compare India's sluggish and disaster-riddled ascent to China's cold but efficient development, to realise which one has been more effective in pulling the population out of poverty. Moreover those who argue that India at least trumps China in terms of human rights should look again. Although Indian democracy has provided the population with a voice through voting, its effectiveness has been severely limited by well-documented corruption and a bumbling bureaucracy that has slowed growth down from the decade-long average of 7.9% to a low of 5.3% in the fourth quarter of 20128. Human rights are only marginally improved on those that exist in China, civil liberties that exist in Indian

ALEXANDRA HARROW is an undergraduate student at John Hopkins University .

By Johanna Grusch


ver the course of half a century, the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore has undergone an incredible process of development. In 1965, when Singapore was kicked out of the Malaysian Federation, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew burst into tears out of desperation about his country’s miserable situation. As a small island surrounded by big, aggressive neighbours with virtually no natural or financial resources and an uneducated, poor population, Singapore’s future was indeed everything but bright. But only 50 years later, the once impoverished colony has been transformed into a high income economy and one of the world’s most successful financial epicentres. With a life expectancy of 82 years, one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates and a

literacy rate of 96%, living standards in Singapore are comparable with and sometimes even outperforming those in some of the most highly developed countries in Europe. How was this possible? In the 1960s and 70s, when dependency theorists in South America firmly proclaimed that the development efforts of poor countries were without avail in a capitalist system which clearly favoured the rich and developed, Singapore turned a deaf ear to their recommendations and went ahead to embrace global capitalism. Under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his People’s Action Party policies of rapid industrialisation with a clear focus on exports were implemented, such strategies resulted in the complete restructuring of the economy. Following global economic trends, Singapore’s government welcomed foreign capital, liberalised its economy and started off the country’s specialisation on more skill-intensive, higher-valued sectors, such as the production of electronic and telecommunication components, finance and more recently, biotechnology. Today, Singapore is home to countless skyscrapers, fancy hotels and a bustling business environment. The streets are cleaner than in any European city, crime rates are extraordinarily low, poverty is virtually invisible and numerous different ethnic groups live together peacefully. This incredible achievement, however, did not come about automatically. Singapore is famous for its often absurdly strict laws and regulations: Chewing gum, for instance, is banned from the

country; littering, drinking or eating on the train or not flushing the toilet might result in hefty fines; and rioting, drug abuse or graffiti spraying is likely to lead to corporal punishment, such as caning. Since the death penalty is still in use, but also due to restrictions on the freedom of expression and association and legal discrimination against migrant workers and homosexuals, activists often winced at Singapore’s human rights record. But also in other sectors, Singapore’s citizens often face huge constraints by the government: When buying a car, for instance, Singaporeans have to pay minimum 87,000 SGD (£47,000) just for a certificate which officially allows them to do so.

China, but also their opponents and other controversial players, such as Taiwan, Israel and Iran. In its immediate neighbourhood, where countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia threatened Singapore’s Chinese majority and multi-ethnic, anti-discriminatory policy stances, Singapore managed to build a stable and peaceful regional environment. Its emphasis on diplomacy, the adherence to international law and the non-use of force created an image of the city state as a reliable negotiating partner. And as an extra security guarantee, Singapore’s growing economic power and advanced military capacities provide it with a mighty stick which it is convinced not to use but, nevertheless, does not hesitate to carry around visibly.

”Singaporeans might not humbly love their government, but they trust it. “

Because of all this, Singapore has earned its reputation as a “nanny” state and its former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who served in office for over three decades, is not without reason known as the father of modern Singapore. His party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), has been the single ruling party, winning every single election since independence. In 2004, Lee’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, assumed the role of Prime Minister, continuing his father’s governing style of “soft” authoritarianism and friendly pragmatism. This unique form of governance enabled Singapore to make friends all around the world: By explicitly not adhering to any ideology, neither democratic liberalism nor communist socialism, Singapore’s leaders managed to stay on good terms with powerful, easily irritable countries, notably the US and

Thus, Singapore’s leaders achieved what seemed to be completely out of reach for the small city state only 50 years ago: economic prosperity and security. But is this all that people need? Countless adherents to Western philosophies would cry out in agitation and say that, no, what people also need is autonomy and political freedom and rights, a sense of being one’s own master and a system of self-governance! But for Singaporeans - even though some tentative calls for more political participation arise from time to time – political liberalisation, democratisation and the political empowerment of the people do not seem to be among their priorities. When discussing the painful fight for democracy in the Arab World, one of my professors at the National University of Singapore said: “Political legitimacy is when people humbly and lovingly say: ‘Yes,

mations of economic sectors happened to use the exact amount and the correct combination of ingredients for rapid soci-

”Some lessons of Singapore’s experience could be very useful for other developing countries...“ that is the kind of governor I want’”. Singaporeans might not humbly love their government, but they trust it. They trust it not only because it achieved prosperity and national security, but also because of a nowadays unusually low level of corruption and a strong belief that the government indeed works in the people’s interests. Therefore, as long as the government is able to keep up its image and continue on its path of socioeconomic development, the PAP will not loose its firm grip on power. However, as one of today’s high income countries, Singapore will also have to deal with some of the problems of the developed world, such as a rapidly aging population, steadily rising levels of inequality and one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. But since the current Prime Minister proved to be as pragmatic and open to unusual solutions as his father, confidence about Singapore’s future development seems to be appropriate. And what about the rest of the developing world? Will it be able to copy Singapore’s developmental miracle? Singapore’s mix of benevolent authoritarianism, neoliberal market reforms and major transfor-

oeconomic (though not political) development. Some lessons of Singapore’s experience could be very useful for other developing countries, for instance, the government’s smart moves to strategically invest in education, training and infrastructure, ensure macroeconomic stability and increase foreign investments. Singapore’s high level of centralised political power, however, is something that might be very dangerous to copy since it is not only benevolent leaders who might manage to get hold of it. In the end, Singapore was also lucky: during a time of rising Asian economic giants, it happened to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right people in power.

JOHANNA GRUSCH is an International Politics B.A. undergraduate at King’s College London currently studying abroad at the National University of Singapore.

- a unique multi-disciplinary enterprise –


peration Iraqi Freedom is coming to an end but Iraq is more captive than ever. The brutality inflicted upon Iraq over the past decade has crippled the nation, and its effects even surpass that of Saddam's ruthless dictatorship. Over the last ten years, the US led invasion has dismantled Iraq's army and industry, causing widespread unemployment and insecurity. Baghdad is listed as the worst city in the world to live in, making a normal life unattainable for its people. Furthermore, living standards are now so poor that clean drinking water, electricity and shelter are all considered luxuries. On a good day, the average Iraqi family gets only 7.6 hours of electricity.

�...the cries of the people continue to fall on deaf ears.� Although the 2010 elections brought a flicker of a hope to an otherwise bleak future, the cries of the people continue to fall on deaf ears. In order to begin the process of rebuilding, the priority of the current government should be to establish security across all regions of Iraq. Instead, the pseudo democratic government is merely contributing to its fragmentation. Current Prime Minister Nouri AlMaliki's main concern is consolidating his own power, which results in fears that he is leading the nation back into an authoritarian regime. A handful of men now have complete control over the country's intelligence services, judiciary, and security forces, which allows them to secure their position and marginalise each of their political opponents. The most notorious example of which is Tariq Al Hashimi, the vice president, who was forced to flee Iraq last year due to allegations regarding corruption and the financing of death squads. In addition, the negative influence of external powers, such as that of the United States, continues to play a role in the Iraqi political arena today. Nouri

Al Maliki leads a Shi'a government, deepening the manmade divide between sects in Iraq. This immediately creates social inequalities amongst the people, resulting in further unrest and distrust. Sectarianism comes as a result of both Saddam and the occupation, prior to which Kurds, Shi'as and Sunnis were generally able to live side by side harmoniously. In 1980, Saddam declared war on Iraq's predominantly Shi'a neighbour, Iran. This prompted the beginning of the split, as the regime began to crackdown on Shi'as within Iraq, by means of torture, imprisonment, and exile. Years later, the occupiers in the Iraq War intensified this divide as a means of gaining control of the different regions, creating animosity within the nation. Historically, every single Iraqi tribe consisted of a mixture of people from different regions represented by leaders regardless of sect and ethnicity. Today, this divide segregates assorted individuals and regions in Iraq, simmering into what could become a Civil War. This means that the country now lacks the unity that is paramount for its rebirth. Perhaps the only aspect all three sects can now

what a liberated Iraq could look like. The Kurdish capital city, Erbil, is a particularly worthy example of Iraq in recovery, with a per capita income 50% higher than the rest of the country. Dubbed the 'new Dubai,' the city is taking considerable leaps in increasing its production potential. Today it boasts a British university, a number of new construction

”...there is a general mood of uncertainty towards the future, as the wounds of the occupation remain raw.” projects, and an influx of tourists. Furthermore, it is fast becoming an attraction for foreign investors and traders including Saudi Arabia, China, Korea and most notably Turkey - which accounts for 25.3% of its trade. Clearly the 1.5 million residents of Erbil are at an advantage in Iraq. Unfortunately, for the rest of the country, the Kurdish region's leader, Massoud Barzani, is threatening to seek independence on behalf of his people to avoid 'being dragged down' by the rest of Iraq. It seems that as the Kurdish region's role in the global community strengthens, its faith in the nation as a whole declines. agree on is their discontent with the widespread unemployment, as across the nation more than 50% of adults are without jobs. This is another responsibility and fault of the current government, as they are not taking advantage of their vast oil reserve - the 5th largest in the world - to benefit the people of Iraq. On the surface, there is an illusion of progress as they are now pumping as much oil as they were under Saddam Hussein, with increased hope of foreign investment. However, this often comes at the expense of the people. The most prominent example of this is the partnership of China's national petroleum corporation with British BP to develop the largest oil field in Iraq, Al Rumaila. This does not necessarily benefit the Iraqi people as these corporations are bringing in their own labourers rather than employing the millions of jobless citizens already in the country. On the other hand, despite all these obstacles in securing Iraq's future, hope is not lost. Under the more stable Kurdish Regional Government, the northern cities are making progress and showing us

Although the situation does vary from region to region, there is a general mood of uncertainty towards the future, as the wounds of the occupation remain raw. The country in its entirety has suffered a cultural cleansing, as the vast majority of wealthy and intellectual Iraqis have fled the country. One in ten women have been left widowed and over 1.3 million Iraqis remain displaced. 2003 marks the year of the beginning of a humanitarian disaster, which will take many years to correct. It is crucial that the government now turn their attention to uniting the people and securing a future for them both politically and economically. This is the only way to ensure that Iraq recovers, and goes back to being the cradle of civilisation it once was.

TAMARA JUBURI is an International Politics B.A. undergraduate at King’s College London.


uring the course of the advocate of what they call the tained without notifying their faTwentieth Century several “Islamist Project”. With the sup- milies, echoing the communist revolutions across Russia and Eas- port of Jihadist groups, Salafi gulags. In Tunisia, the opposition tern Europe erupted, overt- groups, and basically any other leader Shokri Belaid was assassihrowing the then reigning nated by Islamist militants dictatorships which had ”...this project consists of unifying in front of his home. In attempted to create a Syria, reports say that Jiha‘communist paradise on dist militants are at the all ’Islamic’ states under one earth’. Although Fukuyforefront of the battlefield ama argued that the fall of against the Assad regime, ’Supreme Leader’…” communism can be seen and most people speculate as the ‘End of History’, I believe Islamic religious group, their goal an Islamist regime to follow the that we are now witnessing an in- is to propagate their ideology to all fall of Bashar Al-Assad. teresting turn of events that pus- Muslim-populated countries, if hes us to question this claim. A not expand elsewhere. In a nuts- What communism and Islamism couple of years ago, the Middle hell, this project consists of unify- have in common is astonishingly East witnessed a not-so-magical ing all ‘Islamic’ states under one remarkable. In a similar respect to event that went on to be referred ‘Supreme Leader’ or Khaleefa, communism, Islamism is an ideoto as the ‘Arab Spring’. However applying the laws of Sharia as they logy that has its own social and today there seems to be an ab- interpret it. Hassan Al-Banna was economic agenda. The Islamism sence in the optimism that filled the founder of the Muslim Brot- movement adopts a strict interprethe air back in 2011. This is due to herhood and their guide for seve- tation of Islamic teachings, with a simple fact: the rise of Islamism. ral years, writing many books that several Islamist parties strictly opoutlined the ‘Islamist project’ and posing females partaking in the What is important to understand his vision for society. The Brot- workforce. The overall focus is to is that the foremost Islamist group herhood view their opposition as live life under their understanding - the Muslim Brotherhood, is not opponents of Islam, infidels who of Sharia law and the Quran simply a political power that is should be exterminated. Activists which, like communism, believes now present in all Arab countries, get deported to security camps that their ideology will foster a life but it is predominantly the main where they are tortured and de- of communal harmony. However,

although communism promises a ‘happy life’ on earth when the proletariat revolution is realised, Islamism only promises a pathway to heaven in the afterlife. They argue that life on earth is of little matter, what is important is that that you embrace Islam as the way to an afterlife in heaven. On the other hand, the economic agenda of Islamism advocates several policies that could potentially cause difficulties in its economic system and steps to integration in international markets. While communism advocated the fall of the bourgeoisie and the rise of the proletariat, thus erasing all socio-economic barriers; Islamism calls for a more compassionate approach. These policies are said to include the banning of interest payments on loans, which recently sparked a crisis in Egypt with Islamist parties opposing the government’s attempt to acquire a loan from the IMF under the claim that it would be “haraam” (sinful). There are also said be discussions of extending the zakat system, which is the compulsory giving of a certain percentage of one’s wealth to the poor, to now operate on a national level. This would operate as an extra ‘religious’ tax that was paid to the government for redistribution to the poorer sections of society. Nevertheless, what remains a greater concern for the international community are the political implications of Islamism. In a similar respect to communism, Islamism is rooted in its opposition to ‘western imperialism’ and its democratic values. The current president of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, was said to be ‘strongly opposed’ to the United States before he got elected, calling it a country of ‘infidels’. What is of even greater controversy is the announcement by some ultra-fundamentalist´sheikhs’ that Egypt’s past democratic elections are a one-time occurrence that

”In a similar respect to communism, Islamism is rooted in its opposition to ‘western imperialism’ and its democratic values. ” has been used to facilitate seizing power. One previous head of the Muslim Brotherhood even stated “that if the brotherhood was to seize power, it shall never let go”.They plan on abolishing this ‘work of the west’ and instituting what they call al-biya’a, which is the system by which a selected number of religious figures choose a person to become the emir, who will rule until he dies or resigns. It is forbidden to oppose this emir and the population must pledge their allegiance to him and follow him with “sam’a wa al-ta’a”, or ‘listening and abiding’. It is through this system that the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest organized political power in the Middle East, has worked for over eight decades. In summary, Islamism is more than a religion or political movement; it is an ideology, and one which is growing in strength. The Islamic States summit that was held in Cairo this February can arguably be seen as no more different than the 1969 International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties in Moscow. With the present conflict between Iran and the United States, as well as the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, a unified Middle-East adopting this ideology will undoubtedly create a conflict with the West. HASSAN FAYED is a Politics of the International Bsc undergraduate at King’s College London

Many people in the Saharawi refugee camp have never experienced their homeland. How long can a people wait before they choose to make a refugee camp their home? They live their lives insecure of their future in the hope that Inshallah (God willing) they will one day return. I experienced a people that had settled down, yet still worshipped their culture. Some parts of the culture are difficult to adapt to when you come from an established home in Norway. When I lived in the camps I got henna, and we couldn't wash our hands for 4 days in order to preserve the marks. This would not have been a problem had we eaten with cutlery and not with our hands. After going two days without my daily hand wash I felt I had two options: either to embrace the Saharawi culture and face whatever consequences the lack of hygiene would lead to, or, to stick to my own habits and reason and wash my hands anyway. I must admit that I tried my very best to avoid water. However, after having participated in the slaughtering of a camel I washed my hands. How much should you try to change the society around you and how much should you adapt to a new culture? Personally I wanted to adapt as much as possible. That is why I happily slept on the floor, ate with my hands and wore the melheffa. The Saharawis inspire me in many ways. One day I even saw my host father, Bishiri, brushing his teeth; apparently I have some influence as well. But we all take one step at a time. I don’t know what the long hours, days, months, years, and decades of waiting will do to a people, but I am sure the waiting will not make them any less eager to get back to their real homes in the Western Sahara.

Sunniva Rebekka Skjeggestad is an undergraduate Human Geography student at the University of Oslo, the international leader of the Liberal Youth party, and lived in Western Sahara through an exchange program funded by the Norwegian Peace Corps.

By W. Matthew Davis


he inherent dysfunction of the American penal system is a complex issue, but some simple historical statistics can be illuminating by themselves. Consider that in 1980, the United States incarcerated roughly 500,000 of its citizens, but in the 21st century, that statistic has exploded to between 2.2 and 2.3 million. That is the highest national figure in world history. One in 99 American adults are incarcerated and when including those under parole or on probation, that rate more than triples to one in 31.

But in transferring this responsibility to loosely regulated capitalists, the government creates a disturbing dynamic in which basic health and safety standards become mere costs and higher incarceration rates benefit profiteering prisons. These prisons tend to be dangerous and of poor quality and are largely paid by the state or federal government depending on the number of inmates they house, with associated tax breaks for providing the service. In one controversial case, a $250 million prison contract was awarded to the Corrections Corporation of America on the basis These are sobering numbers that demand explanaof a government guarantee that enough inmates tion. A rise in violent crime—perhaps owing to relawould be “supplied” over the course of 20 years to tive ease of access to firefill the facilities to arms in the country—is a “...One in 99 American adults are incar- at least 90 percent contributor, but 60 percent capacity at all of criminals are convicted cerated and when including those un- times. for nonviolent crimes. Three related events seem der parole or on probation, that rate The immediate to be the biggest factors: more than triples to one in 31.” concern is of a pethe war on drugs, the onnal system based going trend toward “hard-on-crime” judicial agenda, on quotas or inmate-maximization, rather than on and the rise of private prisons. Together, these facproportional crime and rehabilitation. There is precetors have resulted in a broken penal system of perdent for concern, too: In 2008, two Pennsylvania verse incentives and inhumane consequences. judges were accused of accepting $2 million from The first private prison in the United States opened in 1984. This was an era in which stringent law enforcement began to bring public facilities overcapacity, and a Reagan administration espoused free markets as a catchall solution. Federal and state governments sought to introduce the costminimizing mechanisms of the free market to an increasingly expensive service. Today, private prisons house 8.2 percent of prisoners.

private detention centers in exchange for harsher punishments to over 5,000 juvenile delinquents. These rulings included sentences for crimes as minor as filming a video parodying a schoolteacher. The case drew attention when one 17-year old sentenced for six months for underage drinking committed suicide shortly after his release. Another means of achieving high occupancy numbers is through the proliferation of extremely stringent laws, particularly on nonviolent crime. Mandatory minimum law predates the privatization of prisons, but their application has grown considerably since, most controversially in the form of the Three Strikes law, passed in 13 states, which mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years on the occurrence of a third felony. As the definition of “felony” has become more and more lenient over the years, prison sentences have grown longer and stricter. In some highly publicized cases, the minimum sentence law was applied to subjects whose third felonies included refusal to pay for an air-conditioner repair and cookie theft. It would be a gross misrepresentation to say private prisons are solely responsible for these legal developments, but the fact remains that the industry has pumped in $45 million in the past decade in lobbying for such policy. Private prisons enjoy such political influence because of the lucrativeness of their industry. This refers not only to their inmate housing services, but also their marketing their inmates as a source of very cheap labor. The wages businesses that employ these prisoners pay are subsidized up to 40 percent because of its implications for the domestic versus offshore labor market and supposedly for the practice’s rehabilitative qualities. This has two implications: firstly that in a time of economic downturn, American taxpayers are paying for the accommodation, health, and employment of a prison population that is contributing to their continued unemployment, and secondly, that prisons have made a contemptible revenue stream out of mandating that their inmates perform menial tasks for minimal pay. Though advertised as purely voluntary labor, the reality is that prisoners are only given the choice between what amounts to involuntary servitude and other punishments, such as solitary confinement. Prisoners represent one percent of the adult population, a massive untapped, cheap, and disempowered labor force. Federal Prison Industries (FPI or UNICOR) is a government corporation that employs such labor for the production of goods in other government departments. For this reason, penal labor is solely

responsible for the production of all military’s helmets, ammunition belts, bulletproof vests, and identification tags. Additionally, penal labor contributes 98 percent of America’s equipment assembly, 93 percent of paint and paintbrush production, and significant shares of labor in industries such as home appliances and office furniture, all while being paid well below minimum wage. In New York, the state government sought to manage their budget deficit by requiring all drivers to purchase new $25 license plates. These were made by local prisoners at wages between 16 and 42 cents an hour.

This modern slavery, legal in 37 states, is explicitly permitted in the American constitution’s 13th amendment which prohibits such conditions “except as punishment for crime.” By exploiting this cheap labor, two of the largest private prisons made $2.3 billion in 2011 alone and UNICOR generated $900 million in revenue. So profitable is the practice that some private prisons are tradable on the New York Stock Exchange. The $4.5 million per year apparently required to lobby for incarcerationencouraging policy is pocket change in comparison. Economist Milton Friedman held the view that there was an inherent “intimate connection” between economic freedom and political freedom. But in an American prison-industrial complex that reduces human beings to exploitable capital whose essential human liberties and dignities are financial liabilities, this could not be further from the truth.

W. MATTHEW DAVIS is an undergraduate Business and Political Economy student at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

maintain great power and influence in the Mexican political system, as well as throughout society, thus capturing a top spot in the government agenda over the past years. The new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who was inaugurated last December, has vowed to continue on the path paved by the previous administration of Felipe Calderón, though slightly shifting the focus from targeting cartel leaders to reducing cartel violence against civilians1.

By Eric Klopfer


n the last three decades, Mexico has changed in a number of ways. The country’s closed authoritarian system is gradually shifting towards a more open and democratic one, massive reforms have liberalised the economy, making it increasingly competitive globally, and rising domestic consumption, fueled by a growing middle class with more disposable income to spend on goods and services, is paving the way for growth. These developments have been recognized by the rest of the world, with financial experts from Goldman Sachs and Nomura predicting that by 2020, Mexico will have captured a spot among the top 10 largest economies worldwide. Nevertheless, some elements of Mexico’s political scene still remain messy and far from resolved. Corruption is still visible, resulting in various systemic failures in the enforcing of laws. Such shortcomings have been extensively used by the notorious drug cartels, which

For many decades, the drug cartels took advantage of the corrupt system, securing their distribution rights, market access, and even official government protection through the provision of bribes2. When Calderón took office in 2006, he initiated a mission aiming at eradicating drug trade and launched a massive crackdown on drug trafficking organisations, targeting mainly high-ranking officials. In

“Drug trade makes up 3 to 4% of Mexico’s $1.5 trillion annual GDP, employing at least half a million citizens.” many instances, Calderón’s approach had been criticised for amplifying drug-related violence as these cartels responded to such initiatives through violence. Statistics from a local newspaper Reforma show that the number of drug trafficking-related murders had doubled between 2007 and 20083. In 2009, homicides rose by more than 20% and the number of deaths exceeded 11,000 in 2010 alone4. Over the past five years, around 70,000 people, comprising of those involved with the cartels and

solved. Along with violence, drug consumption has been on the rise as well. Since 1998, when the UN held the event “A drug-free world: we can do it”, consumption of cannabis and cocaine has risen by about 50%, while for opiates, it has more than tripled13. Drug trade makes up 3 to 4% of Mexico’s $1.5 trillion annual GDP, employing at least half a million citizens14. Furthermore, in some regions with high trafficking activity, cartels are providing protection and other “social services”, similar to what Mafias used to do. Consequently, locals have “internalised” the cartel activity, sometimes trusting them more than the federal police15.

innocent bystanders, have been killed in drug violence5. Such numbers have resulted in the government’s introduction of a second anti-crime plan focused on the country’s 100 most violent towns, an initiative created just recently on February 12th6. Drug violence affects those reporting on the issue as well, with the Committee to Protect Journalists citing Mexico as the eighth-deadliest country for reporters, which has moved journalistic action to blogs and social media7. Mexico’s drug cartels supply between 40 and 70% of America’s marijuana8. The State Department found that US drug users contribute between $19 and $29 billion annually into the pockets of these cartels9. The US has taken a number of steps to assist Mexico in tackling drug trafficking, one of them being the Mérida Initiative, a $1.5 billion program ratified by Congress in June 2008, to expand bilateral and regional cooperation to tackle organised crime, drug cartels, and other criminal gangs over the period of 2008-2010. The focus of the initiative has shifted from providing hardware and resources to Mexican security forces to modernising and strengthening institutions of law enforcement and judicial systems in Mexico and Central America10. A successor of this policy, called “Beyond Mérida,” was introduced by the Obama administration in the budget request for the year 2011. The four pillars of the new strategy are: “1) disrupting organized crime groups; 2) institutionalizing the rule of law; 3) building a 21st century border; and 4) building strong and resilient communities”11. In addition to that, in March 2011, the New York Times reported that the US used unarmed drones to fly over areas with high cartel activity and gather intelligence on traffickers12. Despite all the action taken by both Mexico and the US, the problem of drug trafficking is far from being

There is no doubt that the issue of drug trafficking and all that arises from it (corruption, violence, weapons trafficking, etc.) has been deeply rooted into Mexican society. About 40-50% of the Mexican population works in the “informal, if not illegal economy” of drugs16. Consequently the current path to fight the cartels has shown limited success, opening discussions about policies that target the demand -side of the issue, like legalisation and decriminalisation. According to IMCO, a Mexican think-tank, the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington will result in Mexican cartels losing nearly three quarters of their American customers17. Such schemes have been encouraged throughout the US, as the current Marijuana prohibition costs the US taxpayers $41.8 billion in enforcement costs, including lost tax revenues18, while decriminalisation would save $3-10 billion from interdiction, enforcement, court and prison costs19. The resources potentially saved through the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana could then be used to combat the trafficking of more harmful drugs, like heroin and cocaine, or even for drug-related education and treatment. Specifically within Mexico, the potential legalisation of “soft drugs” could reduce income inequality through the increase of legal work opportunities for the lower classes in the Mexican society, a pool from which cartels recruit their soldiers. Ultimately, given the global reach of the problem, Mexico and the US should be open to accepting a more regional stance in tackling drug trafficking, instead of maintaining a closed, bilateral relationship on the issue. Enrique Nieto Peña has a long way ahead of him, but with the legalisation debate now capturing mainstream opinions, other policies more successful than the current initiatives combating drug cartels could be initiated as well. ERIC KLOPFER is an International Politics B.A. undergraduate at King’s College London.


t the start of 2013, Argentinean president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner published an open letter to David Cameron in British newspapers. The letter, “reiterating our invitation for [the UK and Argentina] to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations,” implored Cameron to re-open negotiations regarding the sovereignty of the disputed Falkland Islands.1 This letter was widely interpreted as merely politicking of a president seeking to distract her citizens from the increasingly dismal domestic economic and political conditions that saw large numbers of Argentines turn out to protest against her government in late 2012.2 And yet, a mere 18 months prior, de Kirchner was elected to the second term of her presidency in a land slide victory. What went wrong so quickly? 3

For one thing, the Argentine economy faces severe problems. The first of these of these is the economy’s volatility. The Argentinean economy has been particularly prone to pronounced boom and bust, and at present it is experiencing the latter, with a huge debt bill. Some commentators attribute this to state capitalism, which they claim makes the economy more susceptible to international and domestic turmoil. State capitalism has been the main economic model since the post-WWII era, when Argentina, along with other Latin American countries, introduced import-substitution industrialisation policies in order to reduce their dependence on foreign imports, which legitimised a greater government presence in the economy. At the time of writing, it is feared that Argentina will soon default for the second time in a decade, having recently been ordered by a court in New York State to pay back US$1.3 billion of its debt, following a prosecution by one of its creditors. 4 Furthering its economic woes are the persistent problems with inflation. In 1990, inflation was raising by a rate of about 200% per month.5 This was eventually remedied, but this was not a permanent solution; the issue of inflation has again raised its head, as dissidents took to the street to protest an inflation rate of about 25% per month and a government that seemed only interested in applying shallow solutions, for instance banning supermarkets from raising their prices. 6 The exact cause of this is disputed: business leaders insist that inflation is caused by high levels of government spending, while others blame a lack of foreign investment. 7 Worsening this has been the government’s continued publishing of false inflation statistics. It is estimated that the rate of inflation is around 25%, but figures released by the Argentine government misleadingly suggest that the rate is around 12%. This has prompted a “censure motion” from

the IMF; if Argentina is not transparent about the actual rate of inflation, it will face sanctions that will make applying for World Bank grants very difficult. 8 Kirchner defends her economic policies, arguing that she inherited problems, but she has nevertheless faced criticism over her handling of the economy. Furthermore, the problem with inflation is symbolic of not only of the economic problems, but of the other major grievance of the protestors: the government’s lack of accountability, and perceived levels of corruption. Questions loom large over the accountability of her government. This can be seen in Argentina’s ranking as the 105th most transparent country in the World Accountability Index. Particularly controversial is the proposed amendment to the constitution that will allow Kirchner to run for a third term (at present, presidents are only allowed to rule for a maximum of two terms.) 9

Kirchner has been unsuccessful in reforming the constitution to allow for a third term. Even if she had succeeded, it is questionable whether the beleaguered president would have been returned to power by her disgruntled citizens – although the opposition party is weak. Whoever her successor is, he or she faces inheriting a structurally deficient economy as well a generation with an inherent distrust of the government.

JULIA SYMONS is an undergraduate History B.A. student at University College London.


he terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, generated a great deal of discussion in public policy and disaster management circles about the importance of increasing national resilience to rebound from catastrophic events. Since the majority of physical and virtual networks that the United States relies upon are owned and operated by the private sector, a consensus has emerged that public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a crucial aspect of an effective resilience strategy. Significant barriers to cooperation persist, however, despite acknowledgment that public-private collaboration for managing disasters would be mutually beneficial.

Managing Disasters through Public-Private Partnerships by Ami J. Abou-Bakr constitutes the first in-depth exploration of PPPs as tools of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and resilience in the United States. The author assesses the viability of PPPs at the federal level and explains why attempts to develop these partnerships have largely fallen short. The book assesses the recent history and current state of PPPs in the United States, with particular emphasis on the lessons of 9/11 and Katrina, and discusses two of the most significant PPPs in US history, the Federal Reserve System and the War Industries Board from World War I. The author develops two original frameworks to compare different kinds of PPPs and analyzes the critical factors that make them successes or failures, pointing toward ways to improve collaboration in the future.

This book should be of interest to researchers and students in public policy, public administration, disaster management, infrastructure protection, and security; practitioners who work on public-private partnerships; and corporate as well as government emergency management professionals and specialists.

AMI J. ABOU-BAKR is a lecturer in politics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. She holds a BS from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and a PhD in public policy from King's College London. As a "practitioner academic" who spent several years working in the US financial sector before returning to academia, her research is directed toward informing policy decisions and influencing public and private sector decision makers.


or decades, Africa was associated with disasters. The extreme poverty in the continent had made the images of starving children a symbol of Africa. The spread of AIDS threatened the life expectancy of its people. The corrupt and dictatorial political institutions did not provide any hope. The wealth from natural resources were diverted for the use of a few and bloody civil wars covered several parts of the continent. The story of Africa was one often defined by failure. But, the end of the 20th Century marked the gradual emergence of Africa. Radelet’s “Emerging Africa” is the story of this success. The increasing growth rates suggest the economic rise of Africa. However, Radelet argues that the key to Africa’s success is its increasingly democratic political institutions. After all, the past two decades have witnessed the establishment of African democracies throughout the continent. But there still remain several brutal dictatorships across the continent. Inconsistent economic growth, corruption and resource curse threatens development. The terrifying impact of AIDS is still powerful. So the future for many African nations is not without challenges. The book provides a great analysis of the successful emergence of economic development and democratic institutions in Africa. But it fails to explain why some countries succeeded and some failed.

STEVEN RADELET is an economic adviser to the Presidents of Liberia and Malawi. Prior to this, he was the Chief Economist for USAID, Senior Adviser for Development to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He spent four years as an adviser to the Ministry of Finance in Jakarta, Indonesia, and two years as adviser in the Ministry of Finance in The Gambia. He was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa. Between1990-2000 he was a Fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development.


t has been an exciting and successful year at the Politics Society. The 2012-13 executive committee ended its term with remarkable achievements and the new one was elected in a significantly competitive election. Indeed, the Spring 2013 issue of Dialogue will be the last publication under the leadership of the previous committee. Therefore, it is necessary to look back at the evolution of the Politics Society in the past year and asses its achievements. The late committee started its work with the promise to improve the scope of the Society’s events by increasing their quality, boosting members’ engagement and, notably, establishing a global journal. Today, I am proud to say that we have fulfilled all three promises. Not only has the quantity of the events increased, but their quality has attracted audiences beyond King’s College London. Following our aim to provide the most unique opportunities for you, we have hosted several diplomats, journalists, academics, among others, to provide you with an insight into political affairs and offer distinctive networking opportunities across a variety of fields. As a result of this strong performance, the society’s membership has increased significantly in its number and diversity and its financial outlook is very strong. Likewise, Dialogue has flourished into a global journal. With contributors from different countries, our readership already spans across 20 countries. But our mission does not stop there. While much has been achieved in the past year, it is ever more important to invest in the emerging and increasing potential of this society and broaden our projects to provide a greater political forum based on the founding principles of non-partisanship and student leadership. We owe all of these successes to your passionate engagement, for which we are truly grateful. We believe that you should expect an even great Politics Society from the new Executive Committee in the upcoming year and we hope to have your continued support in our advancements.

Ramtin Hajimonshi KCL Politics Society President

Africa: Changing Perceptions by George Davies & Rose Smith pp. 3-6 Avert: Sub-Saharan Africa HIV & AIDS Statistics <>. 2 Population Reference Bureau: Unsafe Abortion Facts & Figures < unsafeabortion.pdf> . 3 Medical News Today, ‘Malaria Kills 1.2 Million Annually, Double Previous Estimates’ 6 February 2012, <http://> . 4 UNESCO, “Facts and figures: Sub-Saharan Africa’s education progress and challenges” < en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/single-view/news/ facts_and_figures_sub_saharan_africas_education_progress_and_challenges/>. 5UNESCO, “Two out of three children in Africa are left out of secondary school”, < -services/single-view/news/two_out_of_three_children_in_africa_are_left_out_of_secondary_school/>. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 50 Factoids about Sub-Saharan Africa, < AFRICAEXT/EXTPUBREP/ EXTSTATINAFR/0,,contentMDK:21106218~menuPK:3094759~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSiteP K:824043,00.html>. 9 IMF, “Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa”, < eng/sreo1012.htm >. 10 50 Factoids about Sub-Saharan Africa op. cit. 1 Chatham House, “Africa’s Oil and Gas Potential” (Powerpoint), < files/public/Research/Africa/161111katsouris.pdf>. 2 IMF, “Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa”, op. cit. 3 Ibid. 4 The Economist, “Aspiring Africa” [print copy] 2nd-8th March 2013, pp. 3-16. 5 IMF, “Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa”, op. cit. 6 Ibid. 7 The Economist, “Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa”, <>. 8 BBC News, “Kenya elections: Uhuru Kenyatta leads Raila Odinga” 5 th March 2013, < news/world-africa-21665108>. 9 IPS News, ‘Corruption Africa: A crime against development’ 9th December 2009, < index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=205:corruption-africa-a-crime-againstdevelopment&catid=35:corruption-news&Itemid=82>. 20 Transparency International, “2012 Corruption Index”, <> 2 The World Bank: African Development Bank, “Africa development indicators 2010”, <>. Africa: The Economic Leap by Elizabeth Ginser p. 7-8 1World

Bank Blog, “Africa’s MICs” 19th November 2011, <>.

Ibid. World Health Organisation, “Malaria Fact Sheet: March 2013” , < fs094/en/> 4 McKinsey Global Institute, “Africa at work: Job Creation and Inclusive Growth” August 2012, full report available for download here. 5 Roll Back Malaria, “Roll Back Malaria Progress & Impact Series: Business Investing in Malaria Control: Economic Returns and a Healthy Workforce for Africa”, <http://> . 6 Ibid. 7 World Hunger, “Africa Hunger and Poverty Facts”, < africa_hunger_facts.htm>. 2 3

United Nations (1997) Human Development Report [Hard Copy], New York: Oxford University Press. McKinsey Global Institute op.cit. 0 Freedom House, “Sub-Saharan Africa”, <> 1 World Health Organisation, op.cit. 2 World Health Organistion, “Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)”, < > 3 Simons, Bright. African Arguments, “Africa’s Fabulous Mineral Wealth That Isn’t ALL There”, <http:// -by-bright-simons/> 4 Verma, Raj. LSE Blogs, “Is Africa the new Persian Gulf? Not yet” 4th December 2012, < ideas/2012/12/is-africa-the-new-persian-gulf-not-yet/>. 5 Ibid. 6 African Economic Outlook, “African Economic Outlooks 2012: 60 second guide”, available for download here. 7 Ibid. 8 Zawya, “Sub-Saharan Africa 2013 Outlook” 23rd December 2012, < SubSaharan_Africa_2013_outlook-ZAWYA20121223052926/> 8 9

Africa: The Social Burdens by Georgina Singer pp. 9-10 Commission on Sustainable Development: Norway and Sweden Governmental Report, “Making Water a Part of Economic Development: The Economic Benefits of Improved Water Management and Service”, full report available for download here. McKinsey Global Institute, “Africa at work: Job Creation and Inclusive Growth” August 2012, full report available for download here. The Economist, “Aspiring Africa” [print copy] 2nd-8th March 2013, pp. 3-16. United Nations (1997) “Human Development Report” [Hard Copy]. New York: Oxford University Press. UNESCO, “Facts and Figures: Sub-Saharan Africa’s education progress and challenges” <http:// news/facts_and_figures_sub_saharan_africas_education_progress_and_challenges/ UNESCO, “Two out of three children in Africa are left out of secondary school”, <> World Bank, “Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa” (2nd Edition), full report available for download report. World Hunger, “Africa Hunger and Poverty Facts”, < africa_hunger_facts.htm>. Goodbye Spain! : Understanding Catalan Nationalism by Gabriel Coupeau González pp. 11-13 OECD, “Harmonized Unemployment Rates (HURs)”, DataSetCode=STLABOUR, February 27th 2013, Paris. 2 “The Trials of Keeping a Country Together”-The Economist, November 24th 2012. http://,,_2012. ROVIRA I VIRGILI, Antoni, (1920) “Catalan Nationalism”/”El Nacionalismo Catalán”. Editorial Minerva, Barcelona, p.58-59. 5 GUIBERNAU, Montserrat (2004) “Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, Transition and democracy”. Routledge, London, p.3. 3 4

UK-EU Referendum: EU ‘Á LA CARTE’ by Zoé Canal Brunet pp. 17-18 Voyles, Bennett, ‘UK’s Relationship Issues with the European Union’, Forbes India, 18 Feb. 2013, http:// 2 Boffey, Daniel and Helm, Toby, ‘56% of Britons would vote to quit the EU in referendum, poll finds’, the Guardian, 17 Nov. 2012, 3 Chu, Ben. ‘What if Britain left the EU?’, the Independent, 3 July 2012. world/europe/what-if-britain-left-the-eu-7904469.html. 4 Ibid. 5 ‘Britain and Europe: Making the break’, the Economist, from the print edition, 8 Dec. 2012. http:// 6 Beckford, Martin and Elliott, Valerie, ‘Britain has spent £700m passing 400 Euro rules since coalition came to power’, the MailOnline, 27 Jan. 2013, <> . 7 Chu, Ben. Op.cit. 8 ‘Sterling steadies after loss of UK AAA credit rating’, BBC news, 25 Feb. 2013, business-21570578. 9 Chu, Ben. Op.cit. 0 ‘Britain and Europe: Making the break’, op.cit. 1 ‘Lost illusions on Europe: The UK should hold a referendum’ (editorial comment), the FT, 10 Jan. 2013. 2 Chu, Ben. Op.cit. 3‘Britain and Europe: Making the break’, op.cit. 4 Ibid. 5 Spiegel, Peter, ‘Allies voice concerns over EU exit’, the FT, 10 Jan. 2013. 6 Chu, Ben. Op.cit. 7 Hughes, Ken, ‘What’s the EU ever done for us? This lot…’, the Guardian, 11 Jan. 2013, http:// 9 Czuczka, Tony and Parkin, Brian, ‘U.K. ‘Cherry Picking’ in EU Won’t Do, Germany’s Westerwelle Says’, Bloomberg, 2 Jan. 2013, 20 Grant, Charles, ‘Cameron’s optimistic, risky and ambiguous strategy’, Centre for European Reform, 24 Jan. 2013,

In Defence of the ‘Big Society’ by Katherine Gray pp. 19-21 The Guardian, “The 'big society' means little when charities are suffering” 8th January 2013, commentisfree/2013/jan/08/big-society-charities-suffering. 2 The Times [Online], 3 Ipsos, “Majority of voters still do not know what the 'Big Society' means”, researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2675. 4 Cameron, David. Number 10 online, “Big Society Speech” [transcript], -society-speech/. 5 The Guardian, “The 'big society' is a big fat lie – just follow the money” 6th August 2010, commentisfree/2010/aug/06/big-society-is-big-fat-lie. 6 Significance Magazine, “Volunteering and the Big Society”, webexclusive/985359/Volunteering-and-the-Big-Society.html. 7 The Guardian, “Report: Cameron's big society is being thwarted by outsourced public services”, <>. 8 The Department of Health, “Fairer Funding for All – The Commission’s Recommendations to Government”, http:// 1

The Rise of China in Asia by Angela Buensuceso pp. 25-26 1 Guerrero,

Dorothy-Grace. "China’s Rise and Its Increasing Role in Asia." Transnational Institutde. N.p., 25 May 2007. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <>. 2 Shambaugh, David. “China Engages Asia: Reshaping the Regional Order.” International Security 29.3 (2005): 64-99. The MIT Press. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <>. 3 Nye, Joseph S. “American and Chinese Power After the Financial Crisis.” The Washington Quarterly 33.4 (2010): 143-53. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <>. 4 Breslin, Shaun. "Understanding China's Regional Rise: Interpretations, Identities, Implications." International Affairs 85.4 (2009): 817-35. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. 5 Foot, Rosemary. "Chinese Strategies in a US-Hegemonic Global Order: Accommodating and Hedging." International Affairs 82.1 (2006): 77-94. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. 6 McGiffert, Carola, ed. Chinese Soft Power and Its Implications for the United States: Competition and Cooperation in the Developing World. Rep. Washington D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. <>. 7 “China.” Central Intelligent Agency. The World Factbook. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. < https://> 8 Chin, Gregory, and Ramesh Thakur. "Will China Change the Rules of Global Older?" The Washington Quarterly 33.4 (2010): 119-38. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <>.

North Korea: Asia’s Pariah by Harry Grimshaw pp. 27-28 The World Bank, “GDP per capita”, <>. 2 The Washington Post, “The Cannibals of North Korea” 5th February 2013, < blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/05/the-cannibals-of-north-korea/>. 3 The Telegraph, “North Korea expanding gulags, satellite images show” 26 th February 2013, http:// 4 United Nations Security Council, “Resolution 1718 (2006)”, available for download here. 5 The Guardian, “UN backs expansion of North Korea sanctions after nuclear threat” 7th March 2013, http:// 6 CNN, “As rhetoric heats up, North Koreans ready to 'rain bullets on the enemy” 13 th March 2013, http:// . 7 Ibid. 8 The Guardian, “US dismissive of 'bellicose rhetoric' after North Korea nullifies armistice” 12th March 2013, http:// Iraq: 10 years on by Tamara Juburi pp. 35-36 "ALLAWI: Iraqi's Slide toward Renewed Violence." The Washingtion Times. N.p., 09 Apr. 2012. "Anti-government Protests Continue in Iraq." AlJazeera Publishing, 15 Feb. 2013. Editorial. "Iraq: Back to the Future." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 10 Sept. 2012. "Iraq: After the Americans - Fault Lines." AlJazeera Publishing, 31 July 2012. "Iraqi Kurdish Leader Massoud Barzani." Aljazeera.comAlJazeera Publishing, 30 July 2012. "Scramble for Iraq's Oil Wealth." AlJazeera Publishing, 21 Dec. 2012. "Unforgetting Iraq - RT CrossTalk.", 01 Feb. 2013. "What Is Stoking Iraqi Rage?" AlJazeera Publishing, 28 Dec. 2012.

America’s Prison Industrial Complex by W. Matthew Davis pp. 43-44 Biron, Carey L. "U.S. Prison Population Seeing “Unprecedented Increase” Inter Press Service. N.p., 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. Bloom, Lisa. "When Will the U.S. Stop Mass Incarceration?" CNN. Cable News Network, 03 July 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. Brauchli, Christopher. "Legal Absurdities." CounterPunch. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <http://>. Grynbaum, Michael M. "In Need of Cash, State Requiring Drivers to Buy New $25 Plates." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2009. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. < nyregion/11plates.html?_r=1>. Harcourt, Bernard E. "On the American Paradox of Laissez Faire and Mass Incarceration." Harvard Law Review

Forum. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. Jilani, Zaid. "U.S. Private Prison Population Grew 37 Percent Between 2002-2009 As Industry Lobbying Dollars Grew 165 Percent." Think Progress. N.p., 26. Sept. 2011. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. < justice/2011/09/26/328486/us-private-prison-population-lobbying/?mobile=nc>. Johnson, Kevin. "Private Purchasing of Prisons Locks in Occupancy Rates." USA Today. N.p., 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. Liptak, Adam. "U.S. Prison Population Dwarfs That of Other Nations." The New York Times. N.p., 23 Apr. 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. < pagewanted=all&_r=0>. McFarland, Stephen, Chris McGowan, and Tom O'Toole. "Prisons, Privatization, And Public Values." Prisons, Privatization, And Public Values. N.p., Dec. 2002. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. < html/PrisonsPrivatization.htm>. Pelaez, Vicky. "The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?" Global Research. N.p., Mar. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. "Prison Labor Booms in US as Low-cost Inmates Bring Billions." Russia Today. 09 Dec. 2012. YouTube. Russia Today, 09 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. "Private Prisons." American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <>. "Thirty Years of America's Drug War." PBS. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. < frontline/shows/drugs/cron/>. United States. US Department of Justice. Correctional Populations in the United States, 2010. By Lauren E. Glaze. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <>. Mexico’s Drug Cartels by Eric Klopfer pp. 45-46 Aimee Rawlins, “Mexico’s Drug War”, Council on Foreign Relations, January 11, 2013, via < mexico/mexicos-drug-war/p13689>. Date accessed: February 21, 2013. 2June S. Beittel, “Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence”, Congressional Research Service, January 7, 2011, p. 4. 3 Ibid., p. 13. 4 Ibid. 5 The Economist, “Towards a ceasefire. Winding down the war on drugs”, February 23, 2013, via <http://>. Date accessed: February 23, 2013. 6 The Economist, “Mexico’s new president. Tearing up the script.” February 16th 2013 <http://>. Accessed on February 22nd 2013. 7Aimee Rawlins, “Mexico’s Drug War”. 8 The Economist, “Towards a ceasefire. Winding down the war on drugs”.

Department of Homeland Security, “United States of America-Mexico Bi-National Criminal Proceeds Study”, p. 2. 0 June S. Beittel, “Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence”, pp. 18-19. 1 Ibid., p. 19. 2 Ginger Thompson, Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Drones Fight Mexican Drug Trade”, New York Times, March 15, 2011, via <>. Date accessed: February 19, 2013. 3 Ibid. 4 Aimee Rawlins, “Mexico’s Drug War”. 5 Jo Tuckman, “Mexico drug war continues to rage in region where president fired first salvo”, The Guardian, November 30, 2012, via: <>. Date accessed: February 19, 2013. 6 Aimee Rawlins, “Mexico’s Drug War”. 7 The Economist, “Towards a ceasefire. Winding down the war on drugs”. 8 Q. Hardy, “Marijuana’s $42 Billion Question”, found in Forbes Business, 2007. Abstract available via: <> 9 J. Inciardi (editor), “The Drug Legalisation Debate”, (2nd edition), Sage Publications, 1999, p. 90. 9

Argentina: Kirchner’s Woes by Julia Symons pp. 47-48 Fernandez de Kirchner, C. Taken from a letter to David Cameron dated 02/01/2013 and published in The Guardian, 02/01/13/. Accessed from <> 2 Thousands Join Argentina Protests, BBC News, 09-11-2012, obtained from <> 3 Profile: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, BBC News, 24-10-2011, obtained from < world-latin-america-12284208> 4 Argentina Loses Vulture Fund Case, Owes Creditor $1.3 billion, New Statesman, obtained from http:// 5The IMF censures Argentina, Business Insider, obtained from 6 Argentina’s Canute-like Stand Against Inflation, Financial Times, obtained from 7Pardini, N. Argentina Is Replaying Another Inflationary Collapse, Seeking Alpha, obtained from http:// 8 The IMF censures Argentina, Business Insider, obtained from 9 Argentinean President Rejects Constitution Reform, Thomson Reuters, accessed from article/2013/03/01/us-argentina-judiciary-idUSBRE92012020130301? feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed% 3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

Africa: Changing Perceptions pp. 3-6 Africa: The Economic Leap pp. 7-8 Africa: The Social Burdens pp. 9-10 Southern_Nations_Nationalities_and_People_s_Region/Surma_people/Ethiopian_Tribes_Suri.jpg Germany in Europe: Elections and Beyond pp. 11-13 Goodbye Spain! Understanding Catalan Nationalism pp. 14-16 UK-EU Referendum: EU ‘a La Carte’ pp. 17-18 Skepticism Revisited pp. 19-21 In Defence of the ‘Big Society’ pp. 22-24 The Rise of China in Asia pp. 25-26 North Korea: Asia’s Pariah pp.27-28 Inside China: Behind the Bamboo Curtain pp.29-30 Singapore – Developmental Miracle but Democratic Misery? Pp. 31-33 257E0.jpg Iraq: 10 years on pp. 35-36 Outspoken: Is Islamism the New Communism? Pp. 37-38 Photographic: At Home is a Saharai Refugee Camp pp. 39-42 Property of Sunniva Rebekka Skjeggestad America’s Prison-Industrial Complex pp.43-44 Mexico’s Drug Cartels pp. 45-46 Argentina: Kirschner’s Woes pp. 47-48

Dialogue Spring 2013  

KCL Politics Society's Spring 2013 issue of Dialogue presents several articles by global contributers, including a number of cover stories f...

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