Wai Chi Wong
Helene Løken Eiklid
Content Editor (Africa)
Content Editor (Middle East)
Content Editor (Americas)
Content Editor (Asia)
Content Editor (Debate)
Creative & Assistant Editor (Americas)
Content Editor (Europe)
Content Editor (Americas)
Webpage www.kclpolitics.org.uk Contact us email@example.com Twitter www.twitter.com/KCLPolSoc Facebook KCL Politics Society
Tom Wilkinsson Creative Editor
Diego Grammatico Assistant Editor (Middle East)
Assistant Editor (Asia)
in the World Trade Organization, the Syrian civil war, the Iranian nuclear dilemma, all highlight a looming challenge for the world: The Crisis of Multilateralism. On that, Dr. Scott evaluates the rise of BRICS in the WTO, Pam Shearing discusses the role of the UN in resolving humanitarian crises and Dr. Keinzle analyzes the impact of multilateralism on nuclear non-prolefarion. The debate section tackles austerity: has it actually worked? While Dawn Holland of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research argues that austerity can become self-defeating, Lord Desai, Chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, believes "Hayek is the only person who is still read". In North America, Mariya Gabriel MEP favours easing EU visa polices for Cariforum countries, with other articles discussing a range of topics from U.S. educational system to Brazil. In Europe the EU dominates: with Koldo Casla defending the role of human rights in foreign policy and others analyzing the likes of green energy and Ukraine. In Asia we look at China, from Dr. Pacheco Padro's analysis on EU-China partnership to Juan Rivas's views on APEC. Elsewhere, we feature an exclusive interview with Mohamed El-kholy, the Egyptian Ambassador to London, who is convinced that no Egyptian " fears the army"! Overall, the Winter 2013 issue of Dialogue is the largest of its kind- with dozens of articles, by students and experts, on a diverse set of topics.
In this issue... 5
Cover story Rethinking the Crisis of Multilateralism
the BRICS in the WTO
The UN and Global Crisis Management After Syria
Multilateralism and its Role in Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Americas EU - CARIFORUM Relations:
Step by Step Towards a Partnership 17
Chemical Weapons Removal in Syria
A Test of Trust and Credibility
US Education: The Failure of Success
The Haitian Dream Brazil and the United States Have Reached a Roadblock: What Happens Next?
Education and Pragmatism vs. War on Drugs
Beyond Murders and Statistics, The Question Mark Behind our Violence 27
Cuba Under Raúl: The end of the Line or Still on the Same Track?
23 25 27 29 31
Debate When can Austerity Become Self-defeating?
The Economics of Austerity
Europe A Normative Defence 24
Of a Foreign Policy in Line With Human Rights
Making the Case for the UK’s EU Membership
Is Renewable Energy the EU’s Next big Stumbling Block?
Fin de la Fiesta
The Battle is on.
The APEC Summit and the Re-balancing of Power
The EU and China:
China’s Ascendancy on the Asia - Pacific Region From Monologue to Dialogue...to Partnership?
Chinese Youth and the Communist Government: A Shifting Relationship
The Changing Dynamics of China’s Foreign Policy Towards its Neighboring Countries
57 59 61 63 65 67
The Rise of Contemporary Islamic Militancy 53
Middle East US Foreign Interests in Iraq
Iran’s new President: Hope for an Agreement on the Nuclear Programme
Gulf States: Tribal Democracy
The Israeli - Palestinian Peace Talks: Whose Peace?
Chaos And Power in Cairo:
An Interview with Egypt’s Ambassador to Britain
Migration and Revolution in North Africa & the Middle East
From Palestine to Jerusalem, new Beginnings?
Africa 73 75 77 79
What is Wrong With Drones? Are Drones - the new Counter-Terrorist Weapon of Choice in Africa - Moral?
The Westgate Crisis: How Fragmented are Relations Between Kenya and Somalia?
Energy Production in Africa Is Mobile Banking the Miracle Cure? The Impact of Mobile Banking on African Development
The International Criminal Court: Why the Accusation of ”Race Hunting” is Misplaced
By Dr. James Scott
little over one year ago the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held its annual Public Forum on the theme “Is multilateralism in crisis?” One-by-one, the plenary speakers addressed the assorted audience to declare that yes, multilateralism is in crisis not just within the WTO but across the range of global governance issues, and we urgently need much more commitment to multilateralism if we are to resolve the many pressing issues facing our world. In listening to these speeches it was striking that at no point in the three-day Forum did any of the speakers explicitly state what they meant by multilateralism. Rather, the term was seemingly used to refer to some unspecified sense of global solidarity, or simply shifted meaning to suit whatever point was being made. The opening speaker – former president of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey – provides an illustrative example of what was a wider tendency. Calmy-Rey did not offer her own under-
standing of multilateralism, but nonetheless managed to take a swipe at the emerging powers for holding a distorted view of the concept. They, she declared, “consider Multilateral Governance as the gathering of strong Heads of state or Government, negotiating among themselves” (WTO 2012), presumably implying that this was to be contrasted with “true” multilateralism, in which each participant has an equal voice. And yet, elsewhere Calmy-Rey also argued that, “Multilateralism needs to be closer to the reality of the balance of power.” If multilateralism implies the equality of all states, how can it simultaneously be rooted in the extreme inequalities of the current distribution of global power? This rather woolly, ill-specified use of the term is hardly unique – indeed, it is a feature of much that has been written asserting the demise of multilateralism in global affairs. Micheline Calmy-Rey’s comments also betray the uncritical, Western-centric nature of much of the debate concerning the rise of the BRICS
and the impact that this is having on global governance. If we are to assess whether multilateralism is in crisis, and indeed whether it is even desirable, it is essential that we primarily seek greater clarity about what is meant by the term. This short article therefore begins with an examination of multilateralism as a concept, before exploring how it has applied to the global trade system as it evolved post World War II (WWII). Only then can we assess how multilateralism has been affected by the rise of the BRICS. Ultimately, I argue that the BRICS have presented almost no direct threat to the multilateral trading system; the problems that have arisen are primarily to be found instead in the reaction within the old powers to the emergence of these new powers.
The multilateral world order was put in place to secure advantages for, and to expand, US capitalism (Cox 1992). The GATT held eight rounds of trade negotiations, culminating in the Uruguay Round that created the WTO, all of which secured the greatest benefits to the most powerful participants – generally the US and Europe – and did little to advance the trade interests of developing countries. Though the liberalisation negotiated under the GATT was multilateralised under the most favoured nation principle, poor countries were generally unable to take advantage of this since the products on which they had an export interest were excluded from the tariff cuts. The GATT’s modus operandi was for negotiations to take place among a small group of the biggest trading nations, which decided among themselves the extent and coverage of liberalisation. Developing countries could take little part in these elite groupings and their interests were consequently marginalised.
In its most basic formulation, multilateralism merely refers to negotiations and agreements that involve three or more states (Keohane 1990: 731). Defining multilateralism merely though this kind of counting process is overly simplistic and robs the term of conceptual utility. To give more substance to the term, The Uruguay Round was supposed to bring the developmultilateralism has been applied more usefully to specify a particu- ing world more fully into the rules-based trading system. It was lar type of governance – one based on the principle of non- termed a “grand bargain” by Canadian negotiator Sylvia Ostry discrimination (see, among others, Cox 1992; Ruggie 1982; see (2000), wherein the developing world secured greater market acalso Wilkinson 2000 for a wider discuscess into the rich countries in sion). Within the trade system this has agriculture and low-technology been operationalised by two core ten- “If multilateralism implies the equality of manufactures in return for allowets: first, that states should not dis- all states, how can it simultaneously be ing a number of new areas of criminate between trading partners but rooted in the extreme inequalities of the interest to the developed world to should give them all the status of being be introduced, namely services, the “most favoured nation”; and sec- current distribution of global power? ” investment and intellectual propond, that imported goods must be erty. However, the “grand bargiven “national treatment” after they have entered the country and gain” was subsequently found to be wholly unbalanced, with the should not face different standards, taxes or other adverse rich world giving up mostly illusory concessions while the develmeasures that are not applied to domestic producers. oping world taking on on immensely expensive and far-reaching changes. This more substantial use of multilateralism distinguishes the multilateral trading system that emerged after WWII from that What does this mean for our understanding of multilatwhich preceded it, and also allows us to begin to think more criti- eralism and the challenge brought to it by the rise of the BRICS? cally about it. Prior to WWII, the global trade system had been First, the criticism directed at the BRICS by Micheline Calmy-Rey based on discriminatory trading blocs among the various empires seen above (that they consider multilateralism to be constituted by – known as Imperial Preferences. The US was, by the end of the a “gathering of strong [states]…negotiating among themselves”) is war, by far the most powerful economy and was therefore the misplaced. In fact, this has been how multilateralism has funcchief architect of the set of institutions that would govern the tioned throughout the period of post-war trade governance. The world economy – the World Bank, the International Monetary difference is that previously, that small group was dominated alFund and (following the demise of the International Trade Organ- most exclusively by Western states pursuing commercial regulaisation) the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). tion that favoured their own interests. What the BRICS have deThe US realised that Imperial Preferences were anathema to their manded is that they be given a seat at that pre-existing privileged commercial interests. Needing to secure equal access to raw mate- table. rials from the countries of the European empires and wanting to Second, it is clear that there has never been a halcyon open those empires up to exports of American manufactures, the GATT, at US insistence, contained provisions to dismantle Impe- period of multilateral trade governance that brought major benerial Preferences and create a non-discriminatory – that is, multilat- fits to the developing world. The GATT excluded developing countries from its core negotiations and largely excluded them eral – system in its place. from its benefits, despite being the basis of a multilateral trading Multilateralism in this sense was never a neutral concept system. On one level, the “crisis of multilateralism” is taken to but has always been bound up with certain commercial interests. mean the failure to bring about a trade agreement that will benefit
the world’s poorest countries, as the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda (DDA) was supposed to do. However, it is impossible to identify a period in which multilateralism was “working” in this sense. It remains to be seen to what extent the inclusion of the BRICS into the core decision-making structures of the WTO will advance the interests of the developing world more broadly. Third, by attending to the meaning and history of multilateralism more closely, we can see that if there truly is a crisis in multilateralism within the trading system, it arises from the failure to find an agreement within the WTO and the subsequent shift toward discriminatory free trade agreements (FTAs) outside the WTO system. Leaving aside whether the turn to FTAs should cause concern, two pertinent questions arise from this development: first, to what extent is the failure to find an agreement in the DDA attributable to the BRICS; and second, have the BRIC countries been particularly forthright in driving the move to FTAs? We will examine each, briefly, in turn. There is little to suggest that the BRICS have been the cause of the failure to finalise the DDA, despite the blame placed on them by much of the Western countries. Their inclusion into the small group of most powerful states has certainly made the negotiation process much harder, since proceedings can no longer be dominated by the US and EU largely dictating the terms of agreement, but the BRICS have not blocked agreement through any special intransigence. In fact, the US and EU have been equal-
ly intransigent in core areas. This is particularly true of agriculture, in which the US and EU have refused to make reductions in the level of subsidies that they currently pay and have offered only to reduce the extent to which they would be permitted to increase subsidies in the future. Despite this, they have consistently demanded that the BRICS make large cuts into their applied tariffs on high technology manufactured goods. Furthermore, the US in particular has continually sought to change the mandates on which the DDA was launched, since it no longer finds them amenable and wants to extract more from the BRICS. The BRICS and the older powers have all behaved in a very similar fashion: all have “red lines” and none have been willing to make large-scale unilateral concessions. Nor is it the case that the BRICS have been uniquely keen on shifting to FTAs. Though all the BRICS are involved in numerous FTA negotiations, this is equally true of the US and EU. The US has been strongly pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as part of its pivot to Asia, seemingly as a means of cementing trade advantages in the region to the exclusion of China (which is not party to the agreement). The EU, meanwhile, has been pursuing highly problematic FTAs with many of its former colonies, known as Economic Partnership Agreements, which have proved to be extremely unpopular and elicited widespread civil society protests. All major trading nations are undertaking a similar shift to FTAs in the absence of movement in the WTO negotiations, but there is little reason to think that the BRICS initiated this process. The rise
of FTAs is a more general shift in trade governance that predates the recognition of the rising powers phenomenon. What, then, is the way forward? The root cause of the difficulty in finding global agreement – the “crisis of multilateralism,” if you want to put it that way – perhaps lies less with the economic constraints of making a deal sufficiently enticing but in broader debates that are taking place on the back of the rise of the BRICS. China’s rise in particular has elicited a strident, at times near hysterical, reaction that has created a situation in which agreement is almost impossible. Fear within the US at perceptions of its decline in the face of the rise of China has generated a poisonous discourse of panic and recrimination. Best-seller lists consistently include harbingers of China coming to dominate the world and supplant the US. Examples include Red Dragon Rising: Communist China’s Military Threat to America (Timperlake and Triplett 2002), When China rules the world: The rise of the middle kingdom and the end of the western world (Jacques 2009) and even Becoming China’s Bitch (Kiernan 2013), among many more. Though most acute in the US, this is a discourse that is taking place across the Western world.
The hyperbole surrounding the rise of the BRICS and the discourse of crisis and decline that it is generating makes it hard to envisage a WTO agreement taking place while things remain as they are. When China acceded to the WTO, there was widespread opposition within the US to the deal despite, as President Clinton said, it being a deal in which China “makes one-way concessions to
open its markets to American goods, services, and farm products ... [while] the United States makes no new market access commitments” (Clinton 2000). Unsurprisingly, within the DDA negotiations – when the US has had to make concessions in return – it has proved impossible to secure a deal in which the BRICS gave sufficient concessions to make the deal worth putting to Congress. Perhaps this does come back to multilateralism. What is needed is greater self-reflection by the Western states on the nature of the multilateral system that they created post-WWII and the interests that it served. The challenge, such as it is, presented to that multilateral trade governance by the rise of the BRICS has not been through any effort on their part to overthrow the foundations of the system. Rather, it is the challenge it presents to established patterns of negotiation that have always hitherto favoured the Western world, and the basis of any future unlocking of the crisis must be found first and foremost in recognising this fact.
DR JAMES SCOTT is a lecturer in International Politics at the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London.
By Pam Shearing
hen representatives from 150 states gathered at the World Summit in 2005 and endorsed the Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”), they sought to clarify how the international community should respond to humanitarian crises, adopting many of the values proposed in December 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.
to provide such protection, then the international community assumes the responsibility and should adopt, where possible, coercive measures such as economic sanctions, diplomatic communications and humanitarian support, leaving military intervention as a measure of last resort and only with the authorisation of the UN Security Council (the “UNSC”).
R2P sought to unravel many of the controversies of the 1990s, during which the international community had often hesitated or categorically failed to act to prevent humanitarian atrocities from taking place in Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica and East Timor. It sought to balance the concept of state sovereignty alongside human security and the protection of human rights, reconsidering state sovereignty as giving rise to responsibilities as well as rights.
“The application of R2P in Libya marked a monumental step for R2P’s development. If the intervention was successful, many believed that it would establish a precedent for the future use of R2P and would encourage states to adopt multilateral behaviour “
Whilst R2P maintains the concept that the state has primary responsibility for its people, notably to protect its population from the most heinous of crimes (principally genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing), it also requires the international community to have a responsibility to assist states in their efforts. If a state is, for example, either unwilling or unable
Despite some initial hesitant steps (not least as some sought to link R2P with humanitarian principles when seeking to justify intervention in Iraq), the 2011 Libyan crisis was R2P’s first real test when NATO forces, on the authorisation of the UNSC, attempted to prevent a humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Libya,
and in doing so, attempted to root R2P as an international principle both in theory and in practice. The application of R2P in Libya marked a monumental step for R2P’s development. If the intervention was successful, many believed that it would establish a precedent for the future use of R2P and would encourage states to adopt multilateral behaviour and swifter responses to humanitarian crises. Furthermore, it would deter other like-minded tyrant leaders from inflicting their own humanitarian abuses on their populations. Accordingly, intervention in Libya marked a potential opportunity to cement the concept of R2P as a new international norm. If the intervention in Libya was, however, unsuccessful, there were fears that it could lead to catastrophic repercussions for the future development of R2P, highlighting the new principle’s shortcomings and discouraging states from implementing similar strategies in response to other humanitarian crises. Failure could also impact how states perceived the importance of acting through the UN, with the possibility that some states would revert back to unilateral positions if they felt that multilateral cooperation within the UN was time-consuming or ultimately impossible. The implementation of R2P in Libya therefore represented an important opportunity for R2P’s development. The UN response to the Libyan crisis When Libyan protestors sought to remove Colonel Gaddafi from power, the Libyan leader responded by urging his supporters to cleanse “Libya house by house,” and to attack the “cockroaches” opposing his leadership. He also spoke out in defiance of the wave of international opposition building up against him, categorising such opposition as indicative of a Western will to destabilise Libya. Gaddafi’s rhetoric clearly indicated a willingness to inflict humanitarian abuse on Libya’s population and therefore triggered the application of R2P. Condemning the Libyan leader’s violence against his own citizens, the UN agreed on UN Resolution 1970. This deplored “the gross and systematic violation of human rights” and unequivocally rejected “the incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population made from the highest level of the Libyan government.” It considered that such “widespread and systematic attacks…against the civilian population” constituted “crimes against humanity” and therefore demanded an “immediate end to the violence,” imposing a number of sanctions on the state including an arms embargo, a travel ban and the freezing of Gaddafi’s assets abroad. UN Resolution 1970 also demanded that the Libyan authorities act in accordance with international humanitarian laws and provide immediate access into Libya for humanitarian agencies and aid organisations. The response from Libya was marginal, and with hostilities escalating a further UN Resolution was required. This came in the form of UN Resolution 1973, which called for an “immediate
establishment of a ceasefire” and a “complete end to violence” and “abuses of civilians.” The Resolution also provided authorisation for the international community to adopt “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and provided the legal basis for military intervention with the agreement for a no-fly zone over Libya. The UN Resolution represented a significant step since it marked the first time that the UNSC had approved military intervention in a sovereign state without first seeking permission of a state’s governing powers to undertake such intervention. It represented a move away from unilateral positions previously undertaken by some Western forces during the 1990s, which had frequently provoked significant international debate with regards to their legality and legitimacy. The intervention in Libya also demonstrated that the international community could, if willing, act swiftly to provide international protection from humanitarian abuses, representing a monumental shift from the delay, hesitancy and long drawn-out international diplomacy that had frequently hindered international action, as seen with the slow responses to the crises in Darfur and Rwanda.
In intervening in the Libyan crisis, some UNSC members also demonstrated that they were willing to put aside their reservations regarding intervention in a sovereign state if the sheer scale and severity of humanitarian abuses by a governing regime on its own population warranted an immediate international response. Accordingly, whilst China and Russia, as UNSC Permanent Members, had expressed concerns about the preservation of the norm of state sovereignty, they were nonetheless prepared to abstain from voting so as to permit the passing of the UN vote on intervention in Libya. The UN response to the Syrian crisis
Whilst multilateral sentiment had prevailed and made possible the intervention in Libya, giving rise to some early hope for R2P’s development, R2P soon faced its second major test: a response to the crisis developing in Syria. This time, however, the UN appeared almost paralysed in its response, failing to deliver a coherent and unified position, and ultimately putting at risk not only the stability of the region, but leaving some commentators questioning the credibility of R2P and the ability of the UN to maintain and restore international peace and security. Within Syria, protestors were demanding democratic reform and a change of leadership, with protests taking place across towns and cities in Syria. The protestors soon clashed with the Syrian army, resulting in thousands being injured or killed and with both government and opposition forces accused of inflicting humanitarian abuses upon the other. Despite such events, the international community, which had been so decisive in its response to the conflict in Libyan, was now hesitant in determining whether to intervene.
Unlike in the Libyan crisis, the conflict in Syria was a more complex matter. Whereas Gaddafi’s regime had failed to forge close alliances with other nations who could have provided much needed resources, and existed as a somewhat isolated force in the Middle East, Syria’s web of alliances, both across the Arab region and beyond, made any international intervention a more precarious issue. Several states had economic, military or diplomatic ties with Syria or neighbouring countries, and some states, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, had already begun to aid the rebel forces in Syria. These ties therefore complicated any decision on whether to act and often acted as discouraging factors when attempting to reach consensus over international intervention. In particular, Syria’s strategic relations with influential powers, not least the UNSC Permanent Member, Russia, effectively meant that the latter could, by exercising its UNSC veto, prevent multilateral consensus over any possible intervention in the Syrian conflict, and ultimately exist as an international protector for Syria within the UNSC. Intervention in Syria was also complicated by the fact that it came so soon after the implementation of R2P in Libya. Observing the intervention in Libya, some states had become concerned that the international community had exceeded its authority and had effectively implemented regime change going beyond the specific authorisation of the UN Resolution. For example, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, suggested that the desire for a swift resolution in Libya had effectively turned the crisis into a full-fledged civil war, and that this should be considered when determining any international response in Syria. Accordingly, whilst states such as Russia and China had previously been prepared to abstain over intervention to ensure that a UN Resolution could pass, they were now prepared to use their veto over discussions concerning UN intervention in Syria. The subsequent double veto by the two nations therefore brought to an immediate end to any discussion of a UN response and gave rise to much acrimonious debate within the UNSC. US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, for example, expressed her disgust over the double veto, whilst the French Ambassador declared the position a “sad day for the Council,” “for…Syrians,” for “friends of democracy.” The deeply entrenched differences within the UNSC therefore ripped apart any possibility of a collective UN response. Unanimous consensus was, however, possible when allegations surfaced accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own population. The resulting UN Resolution 2118 condemned the use of chemical weapons, seeking their “expeditious destruction” and called for “an international conference on Syria to implement the Geneva Communique.” Consensus was, however, limited and to date diplomats remain locked in disagreement over the basic requirements and principles of convening the conference. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League Special Envoy for Syria, maintains his campaign for the conference’s implementation. However, as the timing of the conference continues
to slip, many question whether the conference is a mere diplomatic delusion and it, in any event, is unlikely to take place this year. What does this mean for the UN, R2P and the future of multilateralism? The international community’s responses to the Libyan and Syrian crises have led some to question the UN’s ability to maintain international peace and security, particularly as recent diplomatic discussions concerning Syria’s use of chemical weapons have been predominantly played out in bilateral discussions between Washington and Moscow rather than through multilateral diplomatic discussions at the UN. Certainly the involvement of the G20 has given hope to the possibility of greater multilateral efforts, however, the substantive nature of discussions still often takes place outside the UN so that the institution risks being somewhat marginalised in determining a response to the crisis. Furthermore, whilst a number of influential states continue to express their interest in adopting international consensus and in working through the UN (as demonstrated by the consensus over the intervention in Libya), the Syrian conflict has highlighted how such rhetoric can quickly give way to
SC’s disunity effectively undermined “the role of the United Nations and the international community” at a time when “the Syrian authorities must hear a unified voice.” Some have therefore questioned whether the UNSG now needs to do more to bring about much needed international consensus. Nevertheless, what has become crucial is that in both scenarios, states have become more entrenched with the idea that they must seek UNSC authority for intervention, even if subsequently such authorisation is not forthcoming. This marks a stark contrast to the frequent unilateral stance often adopted by states during the interventions of the 1990s and demonstrates how states still regard the UN as a relevant and influential organisation in bringing about multilateral support and regard the various strands of R2P as important and guiding principles. Accordingly, whilst it is perhaps too early to assess whether R2P has been successful in Libya, if it will ultimately be applied in Syria, or to make an assessment of the influence of the UN, what is important is that states are now prepared to engage with the UN for authorisation and to work through the elements of R2P before adopting any intervention – all of which require multilateral negotiations. Such a position reflects a significant shift from the difficulties of the 1990s and demonstrates states’ commitment to the UN and to the main principles of R2P, albeit that much more work still needs to be done to ensure that the potential of each is fully achieved.
unilateral or bilateral behaviour if multilateral consensus is not immediately forthcoming. The impasse in the UNSC over the ongoing Syrian crisis should not, however, lead us to an immediate assessment of the role of the UN, multilateralism, nor the emerging concept of R2P. Whilst certainly the UN has struggled diplomatically to bring about a resolution in Syria, its operational humanitarian work in Syria and in neighbouring countries seeking to respond to the flood of Syrian refugees fleeing across their state borders has been instrumental. In particular, there are a number of UN personnel who work with the UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to deliver aid and much needed support. Certainly more aid is required. However, the UN has already taken a number of significant steps towards ensuring that humanitarian aid is available. The impasse between UNSC members has also led some to question the influence of the UN. Whilst UN Secretary General (“UNSG”) Ban Ki-Moon attempted to intervene, encouraging efforts to formulate a diplomatic solution in accordance with the letter of the UN Charter (which permits the use of force only in instances of self-defence or if authorised by the UNSC), the UN-
PAM SHEARING is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University for the 2013-2014 school year.
By Dr. Benjamin Kienzle
ultilateralism has become a dominant feature of the international system as we know it today. Multilateral treaties, formal organizations or informal groupings exist in virtually all issue areas that affect states and citizens around the globe. These entities deal with matters as different as poverty, epidemics, commercial relations, agriculture and telecommunication. Historically, they have also played a key role in matters of international security. Increasingly, they have even covered issues that used to belong to the fiercely guarded prerogatives of nation states, such as Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), i.e. nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations & Regimes by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, one of the most authoritative inventories in this field, currently lists over twenty international organizations and institutions and over fifteen multilateral treaties. However, the expansion of multilateral forms of cooperation says very little about their effectiveness. In Europe, multilateralism usually has very positive connotations and is seen as a favourite way to engage in international affairs. In other world regions, however, it is seen much more sceptically, most notably
in the United States. From an academic perspective, the overall picture is not much clearer either. Essentially, academics do not agree on the very basics of what multilateralism actually is and how to measure its effectiveness. In this essay, I will shed some light on the different perceptions of multilateralism and how to evaluate its effectiveness in practice. Subsequently, I will use the European Union (EU) non-proliferation policy towards Iran as an example to illustrate some of my points. Major fault lines Already at the end of the Cold War – when multilateralism became a prominent research topic – Robert O. Keohane complained that, “When a scholar refers to multilateralism, it is not immediately clear what phenomena are to be described and explained.” This has hardly changed more than two decades later. There is a division between interpretations of multilateralism: minimalist and maximalist. The minimalist tradition goes back to Robert O. Keohane, who argues that, “Multilateralism can be defined as the practice of co-ordinating national policies in
groups of three or more states, through ad hoc arrangements or by means of institutions.” From this perspective, multilateralism can be differentiated from unilateralism and bilateralism – the other two basic forms of international interaction – mainly through the number of state actors, and can take many forms, including alliances such as NATO. The states themselves retain a high degree of national sovereignty when they act multilaterally and choose multilateralism for their foreign policies among different options. The maximalist interpretation of multilateralism has its origins in the work of John Ruggie, for whom “… multilateralism is an institutional form that coordinates relations among three or more states on the basis of generalized principles of conduct...” (my emphasis), e.g. diffuse reciprocity. This tradition has in common the emphasis of the importance of certain principles that govern multilateral interaction; the ability of states to pursue only its own national interests is diminished. Increasingly, this form of multilateralism is seen within the context of the debate on global governance. In its most extreme form, this kind
of multilateralism literature merges with the literature on global governance. Sven Biscop argues, for instance, that, “Effective Multilateralism can best be understood as an effective system of global governance.” At a more abstract level, the minimalist and maximalist traditions can be distinguished depending on the purpose of multilateralism. It is possible to distinguish in particular between normative and functional multilateralism. Normative multilateralism implies that multilateral activity is not only a policy choice but the result of a normative preference for multilateralism. Multilateralism is generally seen as the superior form of interacting with other entities in the international system. In a sense, it is rather a belief or an ideology. Although it is globalist in outlook, with the United Nations being the principal framework for multilateral activity, it also favours the maintenance of multilateral principles over universality at any cost. In other words, the willingness to limit multilateralism by making compromises with a few reluctant states, in particular the United States, is low. On the contrary, functional multilateralism regards multilateralism
merely as a foreign policy tool. It assumes that actors can choose between unilateralism, bilateralism and multilateralism, both at the regional and global level. Thus, the sovereignty of the individual actors involved in instrumental multilateralism is limited only minimally. Even more, the inclusion of key states (read the United States) is indispensable for the proper working of multilateralism. From this perspective, multilateralism can also be “dysfunctional;” “forms of international cooperation and organization that affect the decision-making calculus of states […] but are at best suboptimal and at worst counterproductive from the perspective of international order.” For functional multilateralists, multilateralism is, therefore, a legitimate option if it is effective, whereas for normative multilateralism, it is effective because it is the most legitimate way of dealing with international problems.
sions, including the institutional relation between an international organization and its member states and the relevance of the available resources. Crucially, it also distinguishes between performance at different levels, in particular process and outcome. That is, it differentiates between how an international organization has done something and what has been accomplished. The European Union and the negotiations with Iran
The European Union is often seen as one of the most successful examples of multilateralism in recent history. According to the Nobel Peace Prize, which it received in 2012, “for over six decades [it] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” Since the end of the Cold War, the European Union has also intensified its interaction with the world outside of its region. Nowadays it has its own Measuring success in multilateralism “External Action Service” that implements a “European” foreign But how do we know how effective multilateralism is? and security policy. As the EU’s foreign policy mantra of The basic idea behind multilater“effective multilateralism” shows, alism in terms of effectiveness is ”The basic idea behind multilateralism in it has clear preferences for multithat it is (sometimes) better to lateralism in this context, turning solve certain problems together terms of effectiveness is that it is (sometimes) it into a peculiar case of a multithan acting alone or in pairs. The better to solve certain problems together lateral organization that prefers to classical example is climate interact multilaterally with the than acting alone or in pairs.” change. Being a problem caused wider world. One of the key exby a number of states and beamples of the EU’s multilateral cause it affects the globe as a whole, it is hardly possible to deal policies is its non-proliferation policy that was kick-started in the with it uni- or even bilaterally. Beyond this basic tenet, however, wake of the 2003 Iraq war with the adoption of the EU WMD questions of effectiveness get murkier. Even in the broader field of Strategy. foreign and security policy, “analytical and conceptual anarchy” As part of this Strategy, the EU has become a key negotireigns when we want to examine success and failure in a rigorous way. The different aspects that have to be taken into consideration ator in the Iranian nuclear crisis. From the classical perspective of include the achievement of goals, the degree to which these goals goal-attainment, the European negotiations with Iran are easily were achieved, the various costs involved and the establishment of dismissed as a failure. After all, at the time of writing (early Noappropriate standards for distinct types of actors. In the context of vember 2013), more than ten years of negotiations have not multilateralism, the existence of multiple treaties, organizations and brought about any substantive outcomes. However, taking into groupings with often overlapping membership and competing consideration the broader context, the overall picture may change. mandates makes any proper evaluation even more complicated. It First of all, the Iranian nuclear crisis is a particularly complicated is also difficult to establish which actors are responsible for suc- problem in international affairs. In this regard, it may help to recall cess or failure. In the case of an international organization, for that the United States and China have not been able to solve the instance, is it the organization’s secretariat, the member states or North Korean nuclear crisis either. Secondly, the European Union is not a nation state. Although it has some state-like characteristics, both? it does not have the same resources and institutional virility as a In recent years, a new set of publications has emerged great power. Lastly, the perceived “crisis of multilateralism” in the that attempts to mitigate the existing shortcomings by applying the early 2000s made the implementation of multilateral policies parconcept of “performance“ in the context of individual internation- ticularly difficult. al organizations, the most visible embodiment of multilateralism. Taking these factors into consideration, it is possible to This concept allows going beyond the often rather simplistic analysis of foreign policy effectiveness as the mere achievement of pre- discern some notable results. First, the EU has maintained – for established goals. Pre-established goals of international organiza- almost ten years – both internal and external unity in its approach tions are often problematic benchmarks, because they tend to be to the Iranian nuclear crisis. Internally, all EU member states have ambiguous or conflicting and may not reflect the multidimensional largely followed the E3 leadership (consisting of France, Germany reality of complex policy fields such as non-proliferation. On the and the UK). Although foreign and security policies remain essencontrary, performance evaluation offers a more nuanced picture of tially intergovernmental, where each member state has a de facto international actors by taking into consideration additional dimen- veto power, regular information exchange and the inclusion of the
High Representative in the E3 directoire made the new EU/E3 format acceptable for all member states. Furthermore, the concentration of major policy-decisions within a small circle consisting of the High Representative, the E3 foreign ministers and the respective political directors, made the EU/E3 format relatively efficient. This does not mean that EU member states have agreed all the time, in particular regarding sanctions, but ultimately, internal divisions have not prevailed. Externally, the EU has also been able to maintain a broad international coalition, especially among the P5. The five United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions on Iran after 2006 are certainly in large part the result of the E3 negotiation efforts in the Security Council. In short, the EU/E3 has been an effective bridge-builder. Secondly, the EU has made a constant effort to work through existing multilateral organizations, in particular the IAEA and the UN Security Council. This has strengthened these institutions and the principle of multilateralism in general. Moreover, through this example of “effective multilateralism,” the EU/ E3 has offered a viable alternative to other, more radical approaches; not least military attacks on Iranian nuclear installations. In this way, the EU has prevented the further escalation of the conflict with Iran. It may also have prevented Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold and developing actual nuclear weapons. Ultimately, these achievements have kept the negotiations channels with Iran open – and the current rounds of negotiations clearly show how important this has been. However, despite their preference for dialogue, the EU has also shown that it can take a tough stance, if necessary. Most notably, it imposed a completely unexpected oil embargo on Iran in 2012. This does not mean that the EU/E3 approach has been free of important shortcomings. First of all, as has been pointed out already, the EU/E3 has not been able to bring the negotiations with Iran to a successful end. Consequently, it has not been able to achieve a highly visible success; its effectiveness has, rather, been discernible at the more technical level of the negotiations. At the same time, as any other actor during prolonged crises, the EU/ E3 made tactical mistakes during the negotiations. Most notably, in 2005 it expected the moderate Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani to win the presidential elections and acted accordingly. Yet it was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who won the elections and the overall situation deteriorated. Furthermore, the EU/E3 has come much closer to the US approach, for example, regarding a stricter negotiation position on (limited) uranium enrichment activities in Iran or international sanctions. This has had the advantage of involving the US administration more closely in the negotiations. The United States even offered some minor concessions such as US support for Iran’s entry into the World Trade Organization. On the downside, however, the EU/E3 has become increasingly identified with the hard-line US approach, which has limited its unique negotiation power. In sum, the evaluation of multilateralism – or multilateral treaties, organizations and informal groupings for that matter – is hardly a straightforward affair. There are no generally accepted definitions of multilateralism or clear standards of assessment. Even the evaluation of international organizations, the clearest example of multilateralism, is complex and requires the analysis of the varied elements at play, including the structural conditions of an organization, the levels of goal achievements or the employed resources. This does not mean, however, that the evaluation of multilateralism is a futile endeavour. As the example of the EU’s policy on Iran shows, it is possible to discern a relatively clear picture of to what extent an organization such as the European Union can be effective in international affairs. Multilateralism is certainly not a panacea, but the careful examination of multilateralism may reveal a more nuanced picture of what we can realistically expect. DR. BENJAMIN KIENZLE is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre for Science and Strategic Studies within the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. His research project, EUNONPROLIF, is funded by the European Commission and focuses on the increasing interaction between the EU and international non-proliferation institutions in the field of nuclear and chemical weapons.
By Mariya Gabriel MEP (EPP Group)
irst of all, we shall recall the framework in which the EUCariforum relations take place. The Cariforum is a subgroup of the ACP group of countries, comprised of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. These states are members of the Cotonou Agreement, a contract that took over the LomĂŠ Convention and was originally signed in 2000 between 79 ACP States and the then 15-Member States of the European Community. The Cotonou Agreement has been revised twice (2005, 2010) since the original agreement was drafted, and now brings together all 28 members of the European Union and 79 ACP states for a development partnership. This one-of-a-kind partnership has a broad scope and includes political dialogue, development cooperation, economic cooperation and mutual obligations. The Cariforum was established in 1992 to provide a forum for regional consultation for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of projects financed by the European Development Fund (EDF). Later on, in order to promote the full inclusion of ACP countries in the global economy, and taking into account the growing disparities among ACP countries in terms of development and macroeconomic trends, negotiations were launched for regional economic partnership agreements (EPA). One of the first EPAs was signed in 2008 between the EU and 15 Cariforum countries.
Aside from the EPA framework for relations between the EU and the Cariforum, there remains a logic, which goes beyond the trade and development rationality; the logic of the Cotonou agreement is to also promote political dialogue and the participation of civil society within the states as part of the agreement. Current negotiations on visa liberalisation between the EU and some Caribbean countries illustrate this broader logic. Visa liberalisation for Caribbean countries: an example of how EU-Cariforum relations can be deepened At the moment, the European Union is amending its visa regime. The European institutions are negotiating under an ordinary legislative procedure called Regulation EC NÂ° 539/2001, which lists third-countries (countries a part of the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Agreement) whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of any of the EU Member States, and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement. The EU visa policy is a key factor in the relationship between the EU and third countries. A liberalisation of the visa regime will foster these relations as it will reduce the time and cut the costs associated with travelling to the Schengen area. Exemption from the requirements
for a visa will also facilitate people-to-people contact – an essential condition for the steady development of economic, cultural, scientific ties, among others. The visa system also intensifies contacts between peoples and embodies the principle of freedom of movement, which is one of the fundamental rights of the EU.
tries in order to protect sensitive products and growing industries from trade competition. Agricultural and processed agricultural products, certain chemicals, furniture and other industrial products are excluded from the liberalisation.
Additionally, the EPA is supported by financial assistance from the EU Development Fund (165 million euros for the period 2008-2013), and the EU is supporting Caribbean governments and organisations to fulfil their commitments. Inside the European Parliament in 2011, a parliamentary committee was set up to review the implementation of the EPA and to advise the Trade and The current revision of Regulation EC N° 539/2001 aims Development Committee (T&DC), a EU body composed of Euto remove visa requirements for certain Caribbean and Pacific ropean Commission officials and representatives form the EU Island Nations. According to the European Commission, there is Member States. During the second meeting of the Cariforum EUno longer any justification for imposing a visa requirement on the Joint Parliamentary Committee in Trinidad and Tobago’s capital following Caribbean Island and Pacific Island citizens: Dominica, Port of Spain in April 2013, the European Commission's proposal Grenada, Kiribati, Marfor a visa waiver for shall Island, Microne- “A liberalisation of the visa regime will foster (…) relations Caribbean Island Nasia, Nauru, Palau, Saint tionals was one of the as it will reduce the time and cut the costs associated -Lucia, Saint Vince and main issues on the the Grenadines, Solowith travelling to the Schengen area.” agenda. Despite the mon Island, Samoa, EPA providing inTimor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago. To put it in other creased mobility, the current visa requirements for Caribbean Iswords, the European Commission proposed to update the regula- land Nationals still poses a lot of obstacles to the fulfilment of this tion and to remove the visa requirement for certain Caribbean and part of the partnership agreement. It is for this reason that the Pacific Island Nationals. The European Parliament's Committee Commission's proposal for the amendment of Regulation EC N° on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is negotiating 539/2001 is so important. with the European Commission and the Council on the amendment of the visa regulation. According to the European CommisEven if the amendment of the EU visa policy will not sion, the rapporteur in the LIBE committee, the Caribbean and waive the visa requirement for all Cariforum countries, the liberaliPacific Island Nations mentioned above pose no threat to the EU sation of the visa regime will be a step in the right direction and either in terms of irregular immigration or public security. foster the relations of both regions. Moreover, it has to be kept in mind, those countries whose citizens will not be exempt from the Despite the amendment of Regulation EC N° 539/2001, a visa requirement in this EPA will not be left behind; new and reguchange does not mean an end of the EU visa requirement for all lar case-by-case reconsiderations of the other countries’ situations, Cariforum countries. Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vin- along with other criteria, will be analysed. We are talking about a cent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago are five out of process in which no doors are closed, which should hopefully enthe 15 Cariforum countries who are subject to the amendment of courage efforts from all sides. the current visa regulation. The liberalisation of the visa regime will foster the process of deepening relations between the EU and these countries and undoubtedly contribute to improving exercises MARIYA GABRIEL of justice and respect for freedoms. is a representative member of the European People’s Party Group (EPP) However, the visa policy is not the only way of strengthenin the European Parliament. ing relations between the EU and third countries. From the EPA’s perspective, Caribbean countries and the EU aim to build on their long-established economic ties to foster growth, jobs and development in the Caribbean. This agreement creates a more equal partnership as it reflects the two regions’ stages of development, covers trade and supports the region's integration process. More specifically, the EPA will remove all tariffs and quotas on Caribbean exports to the EU immediately. The only exception is sugar, which will be liberalised over a period of seven years. Furthermore, the EPA contains considerable flexibility for the Caribbean counIn this regard, the following question is eligible: Should we end the EU visa requirement for Cariforum countries? How will the visa policy impact relations between the EU and these countries?
By Heather Williams
n an unprecedented agreement, Syria volunteered in September 2013 to give up its chemical weapons arsenal, to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and to allow the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations (UN) to assist in the implementation and verification of the agreement. While the plan and its implementation reached denouement under the wire to resolve an otherwise seemingly intractable political dilemma, it builds on the legacy of WMD norms of nonuse and arms control. Any agreement wherein states agree to manage or reduce their weapons under the auspices of an inspecting party, whether that be a state or international organization, as is the case in Syria, harkens back to the Cold War mantra of ‘trust but verify.’ But does this apply to chemical weapons removal from Syria? Is there any trust in the Syria agreement? And what are the risks involved for the three key sets of stakeholders: the UN and OPCW, the Assad regime, and the United States and Russia? Removing Syria’s Chemical Weapons The evolution of the chemical weapons agreement is key to understanding the risks involved. According to the UN report investigating the incident, chemical weapons were used on a large scale in Syria on August 21, 2013 in Damascus. Over 1000 people were killed in the sarin gas attack. The subsequent UN report does not conclude who launched the attack and both sides in the
civil war claim innocence. It does, however, offer numerous pieces of evidence suggesting the Assad regime is responsible. First, the scale of the attack is larger than the rebels’ assumed capabilities. Second, in particular, the sophistication of the delivery vehicles, the presence of precursor chemical materials, and the release timing of the munitions suggest they came from the Syrian military. Third, the missile trajectory literally leads back to Assad and can be traced to the Presidential compound.
The UN report findings, released 16 September, precipitated an international maelstrom. In August 2012 President Obama laid out a ‘red line’ on the use of chemical weapons, stating ‘We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.’ Obama responded to the UN findings a year later that ‘after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.’ The ensuing debate in the United States over whether or not to respond militarily revolved around issues of upholding the norm of nonuse of WMD, US credibility, responsibility for authorizing the use of force, and humanitarian intervention, along with the legacy of US intervention in the region. For both domestic political reasons, along with the more substantive ones, President Obama announced his plan to present the question to Congress. An unanticipated chain of events, however, prevented this debate when US Secretary of State John Kerry inadvertently offe-
red a solution, which was seized by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whereby the United States would refrain from intervening if Syria gave up its chemical weapons. The United States and Russia subsequently drafted a framework that was adopted as UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2118, which outlines activities and a timeline for chemical weapons removal from Syria. The underlying principle of the agreement is to secure, remove, destroy, and verify Syria’s chemical weapons stocks over three phases by mid-2014. Trust and Credibility Trust is the expectation of favorable behavior in a mutually vulnerable and reciprocal relationship. It is a trade-off between accepting risks and vulnerability in exchange for potential pay-off. In the case of Syria, the international community is trusting the Assad regime to fulfill its commitments under UNSCR 2118, namely to join the CWC, provide a full accounting of its chemical weapons, to cooperate with UN and OPCW inspectors, and to destroy its chemical weapons stocks. At the same time, the Assad regime is trusting the international community to stay within its mandate and assist in implementing the agreement.
”(…) if the agreement is successfully implemented and the rebels fail to overthrow the government, will Assad remain in power in Syria?” Looking first at the UN and OPCW, the risks are immediate and physical. One hundred inspectors are in Syria to verify Assad’s declaration of chemical weapons capabilities and stocks, working in the middle of an ongoing civil war. This requires coordinating with both the Syrian government and rebel leaders to ensure they are not attacked either intentionally or unintentionally. The courage and importance of this work was manifested by the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the OPCW as an acknowledgement not only of its work to date, but also as a demonstration of support and credibility to its ongoing and future efforts. In addition to these physical risks, the UN and OPCW are also risking their organizational credibility to some extent. Were it later discovered that Assad withheld information or inspectors missed material, it could be damaging to the organizations’ goals and legitimacy. For the Assad regime, the agreement leaves it particularly vulnerable on numerous fronts. First, the regime is responsible for the safety of UN and OPCW personnel while in Syria. Second, it is offering transparency not only into its chemical weapons arsenal, but also indirectly to its military activities and the ongoing civil war. Finally, while attention at present is focused on chemical weapons removal and destruction, that may eventually shift to attributing responsibility for previous chemical
weapons attacks. This step would be crucial for upholding international law and setting an important precedent. While Syria was not party to the CWC at the time of the 21 August attack, it is a party to the Geneva Protocol and therefore members of the Assad regime may be subject to trial in the International Court of Justice. The potential benefits are large, however, as this provides an opportunity for Assad to rebuild international credibility and begs the question, if the agreement is successfully implemented and the rebels fail to overthrow the government, will Assad remain in power in Syria? Perhaps the most important benefit for Assad, however, is avoiding a US military strike. And finally, the United States and Russia are also taking great risks to their credibility in the course of pursuing the plan. By assuming responsibility for the framework, the two states have bound themselves to its successful outcome. The plan is a key component of Russia’s strategy to portray itself as a counterbalance to US power in the region, if not on the broader geopolitical level, and as a sponsor of the Assad regime. For the United States, the implementation of the plan will have repercussions for its credibility as an international leader. It will also impact US credibility in upholding its red lines, and if the plan does not succeed, President Obama may have to revisit the difficult questions he managed to deflect in August. Conclusions And yet trust is not just about risk, but also about expectations of cooperation and future benefits. In the case of Syria, those payoffs are largely shared and in the interest of everyone. Loss of credibility is a risk to these three sets of stakeholders, but increased credibility is also a potential benefit. Syria’s accession to the CWC increases the treaty’s legitimacy. This is not meant to suggest that the UN, OPCW, Syria, United States, and Russia trust each other completely, nor that a positive outcome of the chemical weapons crisis will have spillover effects into other relationships or in the Syrian civil war. Indeed, major challenges remain for the implementation of UNSCR 2118, including financing operations in Syria, destruction, and meeting the ambitious timeline. For now, however, the international community can capitalize on opportunities to trust, focus on the successful implementation of the agreement, and ensure chemical weapons are never again used in the Syrian civil war. HEATHER WILLIAMS is a PhD Student at the War Studies Department at King’s College London.
By Krista Greiner
ow does a country that produces highly educated citizens fails its children and still succeed? Or is it succeeding? What is the immediate, long-term, economic, socialcost of the failures in the education system? Can it be remedied? How can it be remedied? What are the first steps?
doctor’s office, soothing immediate nerves but causing potential long-term damage. This has compounded the issue by creating programs of good intent that only exacerbate the problems in application.
Many states instituted emergency teacher certification programs that werea quick fix to teacher shortages in specific fields. But recent government cutbacks have led tofew new hires at best, Secondary education in the US is ranked 17 th in the world and in some cases, mass layoffs. Participants in these teacher certiaccording to Pearson. Not bad, but not outstanding. The US also fication programs often find that there are few open positions in has not had solid growth by these indicators in decades. In fact, this “high demand” field. The positions that are open are at highthe Council on Foreign Relations says that US graduation rates risk schools on the extreme fringe of poor test scores. Success and have fallen ten places failure as a teacher is over the past thirty “Is education in America truly failing? Or are Americans measured by how years.In an intriguing overreacting and creating problems that didn’t exist through quickly scores rise. twist, the 2013 Times Classes sizes are growHigher Education their panacea of forced “cures” for a hypochondriac’s illness?” ing, extra-curricular rankings put more options are shrinking, than half of the world's 100 best universities in the US. The US is and more pressure is being put on school administrations. After also listed by Yahoo Finance as the 4th most educated country in these quick summer certification programs, new teachers are rarely the world. Where is the disconnection between primary, secondary, prepared for the myriad of challenges that await them. and post-secondary education? Other programs reward teachers, schools, and districts with Internally the public primary and secondary education sys- the highest test score indicators and punish those who fail to meet tem is viewed as floundering, perhaps even in crisis. Recently there the standard. But these programs are based solely on test scores has been a slue of books, documentaries, exposés, and even mass and take into consideration no other means of measurement. If market movies about the failures of the education system. New university entrance was based solely on the outcome of one test government programs are made and doled out like candy at the how would that reflect on higher education?
Perhaps the state of secondary education in America is not as bad as it’s made out to be. Pearson’s bases their ranking mainly on children’s test scores in grades 4 and 8 with graduation and literacy rates rounding out the score. If these same factors were used to compare universities worldwide there would be a much different ranking distribution. Instead, the criteria by which universities are evaluated is based mainly on teaching, research, and citations with international outlook and innovation completing the final ten percent. Secondary and primary education rankings are solely student-dependent and do not take into consideration other factors such as teaching methodology, class-size, educational focus, or scope of learning. Post-secondary education rankings are broader in spectrum taking multiple factors into consideration, except students’ scores. If the system of scoring were to be reversed and standardized testing were to befocused on for post-secondary education and overall school performance for primary and secondary education, how different would the story be? Is education in America truly failing? Or are Americans overreacting and creating problems that didn’t exist through their panacea of forced “cures” for a hypochondriac’s illness? We are hurting ourselves more than helping. The current federal administration has looked to South Korea and commented on how America should start to emulate the South Korean education system. Does that include trying to attain one of the highest adolescent depression and suicide rates in the world? (Full-disclosure: I am a teacher in South Korea presently. I have found that the statistics ring true for high test scores and depression, and that’s it. The educational system here develops excellent test takers, in fact their entire education is based on doing
well on standardized tests. The students have little creativity or self -thought, they are taught by lecture and rote memorization and they have no input into their education.) It is a wonder that there have not been calls to emulate Finland, the top country in the world for secondary and primary education. In comparing the Finnish system to the South Korean it is easy to see that there is no fixed way to go about achieving excellent primary and secondary education and the US would do well to remember that. It would be best to look to what is already in place and strengthen it, rather than picking it apart and searching for an illness that is not there. KRISTA GREINER
is a teacher in English as part of the English Program in Korea (EPIK) and was a Peace Corps volunteer.
By Joseph G. Lissade
ven after three years of living in the United States after the January 2010 earthquake and regularly coming back to Haiti; I still try very hard not to let the reality of things hit me and train my mind not to get used to the first images that are presented to travelers as soon as they walk out of the airport. They shouldn’t be used to the idea that Haiti is an insalubrious state or that Haiti is a country that is not making changes. However, there’s always an aspect to the population that hits me quite often and that my mind cannot change its perspective on. As I pass by a number of people on the streets, a blank look is very noticeable on the faces of the people. It could be true that a judgment cannot be based on just the facial expressions of one, but it struck me particularly because the people seem to have no happiness. I tried to add up a lot of things in order to understand why that is. I came to the following conclusion: if there needs to be happiness, the person has to be searching for it, but in order to search for the happiness, it has to exist somewhere or there needs to be some kind of idea of what that happiness is, there needs to be a greater example of happiness for Haitian: the Haitian dream. That reflection thus brought me to ask the question: “Who is sending out the idea of happiness to the people?” Should it not be the highest ranked authorities? Should the government not fill that role? This then brings up the second part of my questioning. “What is the Haitian government?” Yes, “what”. What makes up for this government? Who has promised to raise this land to new international standards through the “Haiti ap dekole!” (Haiti will take off!)?
built to help the younger generations; athletic programs are being put in place to give the youth better support. Overall, this is a lot of good social work. In my opinion, it is a load of distractions to keep the Haitian people away from the reality of things.
The reality is that we have been kept in ignorance for cenThe government today is trying to get Haiti to fit to new turies. That ignorance always kept us away from seeing what international standards after Haiti has missed so many global renthings really are and we have never been able to see the truth dezvous. A considerable amount of work has been done in order being certain situations. We for that plane to take off. Preshave never been pointed toident Martelly is very much “On the verge of this new era that Haiti is the best way of living. involved with the population. attempting to take part in, people are still being wards The means of oppression of He has invested a lot in the oppressed, being kept away from the truth.” the people has changed from social aspect building soup time to time and it persists kitchens in the poorer areas of even today. On the verge of this new era that Haiti is attempting the country, for example. He has even allowed the population to to take part in, people are still being oppressed, being kept away celebrate for three days straight twice a year at Carnival for the from the truth. President Martelly has made this country look development of tourism, so they say. New athletic parks are being
better and has made the population look up to him as an example of how far one can come and how far they can go, himself starting as a popular Haitian singer. I believe that Haiti needs something much stronger in order to fire up drive for development and change. Haiti is on the wrong flight. The passengers of that plane have no idea where they are landing. It is as if they have no idea what their destination is. Us Haitians do not have the right to even dream; both because of the culture that we live in and also because of the social conditions. Culturally, the Haitian has been taught to “play” their dreams as a lottery number it is what we call “chaka”. Socially, as mentioned above, Haitians have been kept in ignorance for so long that they do not know what it is to have goals and have objectives not can they dream about something that they want to accomplish. Haitians from the start have “I would love to see a generation who uses never been given an ideal to obtheir intellectual potential to create serve. The Haitian, prior to January revolutions of thought and not ones of 1st 1804, was considered an object This is what my idea of and in just one day he became a guns and constant coup d’états” the Haitian dream is. citizen. Let us reflect on that for a second. Just the day before the independence Haitian men and Haiti needs her children to still believe and Haiti needs a women were objects, they were sold by their owner, they were new direction, a new revolution of thought. Friends of Haiti, let whipped day by day and were forced to work in horrid condius give Haiti a chance, do not listen to the media, trust that those tions. Just the day after, they became masters of themselves. They people still want to believe in a better tomorrow. They only need became the leaders of the first black nation in history. What ideal some hope and I believe that there is a light at the end of the could our leaders give to us at the time, when they still feared a tunnel for my little nation. return of the French? How could we work on an ideal when JOSEPH G. LISSADE France kept asking us to repay them for the damages of the war for independence? How could we dream of an ideal during the is BA Economics Major, at Ave Maria University Florida, American occupation from 1915 to 1934? How could we sit and United States of America. think of a dream for our nation during the several dictatorships, coup-d’états, corrupted governments? If anyone were to give me a chance to state what my dream for every Haitian should be, this would be it. I dream of a country where the people are allowed to dream. I would love a country where everyone believes in the future and is not discouraged by the images of the past; the past would only be a reference point to see how far we have come. I would love to see a generation who uses their intellectual potential to create revolutions of thought and not ones of guns and constant coup d’états. The Haitian dream should consist of a government that gives out an ideal that the people can relate to, a government that thinks about the people. I want the people to stop getting poorer the more they work; I want to see a Haiti where people see the fruit of their labor. I want a Haiti where a mother does not have to decide which kid should go to school, as she should be able to afford for all of them. A country that does not have to worry about what tomorrow looks like because they know that it will be better. I want Haitians to look at tomorrow as an inspiration as to how far they want their beloved land to go.
By Renan Silva
iplomatic relations between Brazil and the United States have come to their lowest point following the cancellation of President Rousseff’s state visit to Washington last September. This was prompted by a series of revelations that the US had spied on Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and even on the Brazilian head of state and her closest advisors, for which the White House did not apologise or justify its actions in a convincing manner. Some commentators have argued that the Brazilian move amounts to no more than electioneering to please an ever more nationalist and left-wing electoral base ahead of the 2014 presidential elections. Standing up to the imperialistic colossus would, according to them, make for good PR, especially as Rousseff is still recovering from the recent decline in her popularity in the polls following the mass protests that occurred in the South American giant over the summer. However, to dismiss the Brazilian government’s response to the NSA surveillance as just self-interested and short-sighted opportunism is erroneous, as much as it is to expect Brazilian-US
relations to improve without President Obama’s acknowledgement that Brazil now perceives itself as a global power that should be treated accordingly. Indeed, this is what this diplomatic crisis is about. It is not about Rousseff’s concerns about the violation of her country’s sovereignty or the protection of the individual right to privacy, as she has contended. Rather, it is focused on the fact that the US has tarnished Brazil’s image as a rising power by laying bare that the latter is completely vulnerable to superior US resources and technology. At the same time, the US has not even provided a way for the South American country to save its face before its domestic audience and the international community. Brazil’s increasing international leverage, propelled by its period of rapid economic growth from the mid-2000s until recently, has left the foreign policy-making elite in the country staunch in their belief that Brazil deserves to be seen as a major power. But what they have got from the US over the last decade has disappointed them. In 2009, when the Brazilian government, alongside Turkey, tried to broker a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, the White House became extremely irked. While the
US quickly came to be in good terms with Turkey, it was only after some months into Rousseff’s first year in office that Brazil and the US started to see each other more positively again.
Another source of resentment has been the US’s reluctance to support Brazil’s candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC). While in 2010 President Obama explicitly stated he ‘liked’ the idea of India being a future permanent member of the UNSC, a year later, on a state visit to Brazil, he only expressed ‘appreciation’ for the interest Brazil had in attaining a seat, or if one translates that from diplomatic parlance, that he did not support a Brazilian candidacy. Nonetheless, during the same sojourn, hopes were high that USBrazilian relations were going to undergo a positive actual (as opposed to merely rhetorical) shift towards recognition of Brazil as a major player in world affairs and that economic ties between the two countries would tighten.
”(…)the US has tarnished Brazil’s image as a rising power by laying bare that the latter is completely vulnerable to superior US resources and technology(…)” But neither of those expectations materialised. Brazil continued to be neglected by the US while the latter got closer to its other non-Western allies, notably India, Turkey and South Korea. Over the last two years there has hardly been any highlevel contact between the two administrations, and barely any significant economic cooperation, or any other form of meaningful liaison that could strengthen the bilateral relationship. The White House eventually changed course by inviting Rousseff for a state visit that would have taken place last October. State visits are perceived to be the greatest honour that a US government can bestow on foreign heads of government and state, as the pomposity is reserved to no more than one country each year. Furthermore, the Brazilian leader was to be the first to be granted such honour in Obama’s second term. However, following the interception of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ aircraft in Europe in July, due to suspicions that Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, was hidden on board, Brazil’s outlook towards the US began to sour again. Although the US was not openly involved in the affair, Rousseff’s government agents almost certainly believed it to be. And in response they pulled its ambassadors from the European countries that had denied landing to Morales’ plane, to rebuke that allegedly US-sponsored insult. The following revelations about US snooping on Brazil compounded Rousseff’s rage tremendously. What had been considered ‘imperial overstretch’ due to the NSA leaks and the plane interception was now also seen as an affront to Brazil’s standing.
The cancellation of the state visit marked a momentous change in the South American country’s position on the world stage. Critics immediately castigated Rousseff’s confrontational attitude towards the US, claiming that Brazil, whilst suffering from an economic slowdown, ought not to be wasting its time with symbolic statements about its sovereignty and privacy rights. It should be trying to improve its economic prospects by cooperating with the US, thereby guaranteeing the continuing growth that might win Rousseff a second term in 2014. Additionally, should Brazil really wish to become a major global player, to have a voice in international organisations and other influential fora, it must first seek the support of the world’s main state actor, the one with the key to power, the US. Nevertheless, the Brazilian government has stuck to confrontation and submitted, alongside Germany, a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly’s third committee, which focuses on human rights, to curb infringements on privacy. The proposal is expected to have the support of the majority of the Assembly, and though not explicitly targeting the White House and having no binding effect, its passage would be an enormous moral blow to the US. In the meantime, Brazil has been garnering support for the draft in international meetings, such as the Mercosur gathering of foreign affairs ministers that took place on the 31 October in Caracas. A joint statement was issued, rebuking the excesses of foreign spying. What all this demonstrates is that despite Brazil’s uncertain economic future, it can still draw upon the leverage it has acquired in recent years to push for the maintenance and expansion of its international position. In Brazil’s view, if the US is unwilling or incapable of proactively giving the amount of respect the former believes it deserves, this shall have to be achieved passively, possibly through international ignominy. The cost of this might be that of compromising a potential increase on exports to the US or other improvements in economic cooperation in the medium term. Only when the US learns how to deal with Brazilian perceptions of global power, will relations between the two countries be on track again. RENAN SILVA is a second year International Politics BA Student at King’s College London.
By Ramon Santillana
ragmatism. Some issues can only be treated based on this term. During the last decade, we testified how the Latin American region became an unstable paradise for drug dealers and organized crime. Countries like Brazil and Mexico entered a war against the production, distribution and consumption of drugs, which provoked a massive escalation of violence.
crime which runs not only drug trafficking, but many other sorts of illegal activities such as prostitution, traffic of influences, people trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, and a long list of related practices.
The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, leaded by the former presidents of Mexico, Ernesto In Brazil, the slums known as “favelas” evolved into Zedillo; Colombia, César Gaviria; and Brazil, Fernando Henrique criminal districts where no official authority can realistically keep Cardoso, declared that the governmental policies in the region control of what is happening. Millions of people in cities like Rio related to the consumption of marijuana represented an absolute de Janeiro or Sao Paulo live day failure. Not a single country by day under the law of the ”Millions of people in cities like Rio de Janeiro has shown an improvement in jungle imposed by criminal violence levels related to the gangs that control the or Sao Paulo live day by day under the law of combat against drug trafficking. distribution of all types of Not a single country reduced the jungle imposed by criminal gangs that drugs. In Mexic o, the the levels of consumption. The government of president Felipe control the distribution of all types of drugs.” results have been exactly the Calderon decided that It was opposite: more violence and a more effective to put the army on the streets and try to dismantle staggering increase in consumption, of not only marijuana, but drug cartels, without really understanding that the drug issue in also other drugs such as methamphetamines. Mexico is not only a matter of production-distributionThe only country in the region that has taken a different consumption. A whole structure based on corruption and terrorism (even though the Mexican government avoids the use decision about this topic is Uruguay. Since the arrival of José of this term) has set in the last decades an empire of organized Mujica, a former “guerrillero”, things in the South American
Mujica has said in different occasions that it will be much easier to identify people having particular issue with drugs if they can openly -and legally-, purchase them. The information about the consumption habits of the population will be more reliable since people will know that they are not doing something against the law. They can openly speak their minds about their preferences and habits regarding marijuana. Is this a perfect solution? Obviously not. The consumption of drugs in the region is not only limited to marijuana. As previously mentioned, other drugs such as methamphetamines are growing in popularity within the society. Other hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin are still a matter of deep discussion. The illegal activities of the organised crime groups are much more diverse now. The violence provoked by the war against drugs has already damaged the social tissues of the subcontinent in such a manner that trust in the governmental actions is now under stake. The corruption associated with criminal activities, the government officials involved in many different cases, the suspicion of political campaigns financed by drug lords in many countries; give us all the impression that we have not yet taken a real and firm step towards a definite solution.
nation have dramatically changed. Mujica spent almost 15 years of his life in prison because of his constant opposition against dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in his country, regimes that where very popular in the region during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Mujica has been considered as “the poorest president of the world”. The reason of this is that he refused, once elected president, to move to the official presidential house. He still lives in his old and small house in the outskirts of Montevideo with his wife. He also rejected the wage assigned to him as chief of state. More than 90% of his salary is destined to philanthropic projects and he only lives with the minimum resources. All these facts give us the context of how a pragmatic leader establishes his legitimacy.
”Mujica´s government considers that the only “war” against drugs must be education.” Uruguay has become the first nation on the planet to give a personal computer to every student. Uruguay has become, as well, the first nation on the planet to formally present a project for the legalisation of marijuana, opening the market for its production, distribution and consumption. Mujica´s government considers that the only “war” against drugs must be education. Openness will also bring the possibility of introducing a real debate on useful issues for society. José Mujica is, perhaps, the only president in Latin America that understands that the combat against drugs consumption is not a political matter, and, of course, is not a security issue: it is a public health situation.
Nevertheless, decisions like the one in Uruguay are brave and pragmatic ways of presenting a different perspective on the issues. The discussion is now exhausted. Actions are needed and the only way of having different results is, precisely, doing different things. The legalisation of marijuana will not eradicate violence and high consumption with a blink of an eye. It represents only the first step in a long series of actions and strategies. It is also important to establish that the isolated efforts of one nation are not going to end the problem. Drug traffic in Latin America must be faced regionally. An international treaty on this matter is necessary in order to make all the efforts worth. Organised crime is more “organised” than any government in the region. They are pragmatic; governments are not. They do not waste their time with ideological or dogmatic discussions; governments do. What do governments have that organised crime does not? The legitimacy of representing the people, the monopoly of force and authority, the capacity of bringing all the social actors together in order to propose different ideas and actions. RAMON SANTILLANA is an International Politics profesor at ITESM Mexico (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey).
By Ernesto Tiburcio
atin America is the most violent region on the planet. Violence is an epidemic that has affected the subcontinent in an incomparable way. Perhaps above poverty and inequality, savagery is the single most pressing challenge that we face.
One of the best articles I have read about violence in Latin America is Moisés Naim´s “The World’s most Murderous People”i. Rather than presenting a solution, Naim only focuses on describing the gigantic problem. Statistics show that with 8 percent of the world population, Latin America witnesses 42 percent of the total murders in the world. As Naim cleverly points out, the number of casualties of the war in Afghanistan in 2012 was approximately the same as the number of assassinations occurred monthly in Brazil in 2011. Comparisons always put things in perspective.
A better hypothesis could be that of replacing the independent variable to be inequality instead of poverty as triggering violence. It is not poverty but relative marginalization and income distribution that accounts for violent behaviour. The idea makes sense, since Latin America is also the most unequal region on the planet. At least from a macro scale of perspective, the hypothesis holds. The USA is the most unequal among the developed economies, and it is also presents the highest violence rates. The hypothesis begins to lose explanatory power when more countries are included. El Salvador, the third most violent country in the region, has a lower Gini index than Chile, one of the most peaceful countries. Moreover, Venezuela, the third most equal country in the entire subcontinent, is also the second most dangerous.
Is it culture? Perhaps there is something within the Latin American genetic code that makes us prone to violence. Well, if Naim, a former Minister of Finance in Venezuela, is aware that would be the case, then how are intraregional differences exof the severity of the violence level as well as its complexity. He plained. Not all cities in Brazil show the same violence levels. Salprobably knows that solution or even a diagnosis on the roots of vador and Recife have significantly higher homicide rates than violence cannot be drafted in less than one thousand words. Nev- Natal, in the same region. On a similar note, what could explain ertheless, he still introduces the topic into discussion and considthe notable differences in violence rates between Nicaragua and ers possible initial reHonduras, two neighborsponses to the main ques- “(...), the number of casualties of the war in Afghanistan ing countries? tion: Why? in 2012 was approximately the same as the number of Maybe violence is He states, and this related to widespread assassinations occurred monthly in Brazil in 2011. argument should be reenillegal markets. Naim Comparisons always put things in perspective. acted, that it becomes disregards this idea by quite a complicated matpointing out that Morocter when we try to draw unequivocal causal relationships between co, is as Mexico, an important participant in drug trade on a global violence levels and a potential explanations. The brutality to which scale and yet violence did not become an issue of the same degree we are all exposed is certainly multi factor and just trying to find a of importance in the former. South and Southeast Asia are genergeneral, almost absolute explanation is absurd. This is what shall ally considered to be the ‘meccas’ of sexual slavery and the rebe discussed. gion’s average homicide rates are around 4 times lower than Latin America’s. The obvious correlation between poverty and violence is not enough to begin with. In Latin America, the most marginalOne may think that this is a problem of political ideology. ized and unprivileged societies, are not even close the most danCountries with leftist governments could generate more peaceful gerous. Bolivia and Paraguay, two of the poorest countries, have societies than those with rightist governments. However, this hymedium level homicide rates for Latin American standards. From pothesis also fails. The Venezuela of Chavez and Maduro is the an international perspective, the correlation does not hold either. second most dangerous country in the subcontinent, while Uribe’s To illustrate, Cameroon and Denmark have the same homicide and Santo’s Colombia falls only a few places behind. The differrates. ences between Argentina –one of the least violent - and Brazil –
one of the most violent - surpasses the political similarities of their economic policies. Is it political institutions? Well yes, these could explain major differences in the realities of these countries. It is problematic, nonetheless, to identify which institutions, among the whole institutional set, are the ones that would affect the outcomes more effectively. Are security and justice institutions the core of the problem? Even if we manage to recognize security institutions it is not clear exactly which one of them is the key; the prosecutorial system, the penal system, the police structure? How about the rest of the political system? Is it irrelevant whether a State is corrupt or whether the bureaucracy is not professional? Of course, there are no perfect correlations in the real world. There are always some exceptions to the rules but there are always tendencies as well. Nevertheless, it is complex to analyze the rules and explanations of violence in Latin America. All the above factors contribute to our shameful situation but it is unclear
which one of them matters the most. In order to override the situation and be able to select the most desirable set policies and institutions it is inexorable to have a conclusive diagnosis. Extensive research that not only relies on data but on sound theory is a necessary initial step towards this discovery. ERNESTO TIBURCIO is a Political Science and International Relations graduate student at CIDE Mexico ( Centro de Investigaci贸n y Docencia Econ贸mica).
By Antoni Kapcia
ince 2006-8, when Raúl Castro first temporarily replaced Fidel Castro as Cuban leader and then was elected President, various judgments have been made by outside observers; these have ranged from assumptions of Raúl’s ‘dynastic’ succession, through some surprise that, having long been seen by outsiders as the ‘hard man’ of the Cuban regime, it was Raúl who, after expressing harsh criticisms of Cuba’s recent system, launched a programme of unprecedented reforms, to predictions that Raúl would either become Cuba’s Gorbachev (unleashing a transition to capitalism) or would take Cuba down a ‘Chinese-road’. Such widely differing views perhaps say much about some common misunderstandings of a system usually assumed to be a personalist autocracy, and also about our ignorance of Raúl himself. So it is good to clarify things. The first step to this clarification is to make two confident predictions. Firstly, since Raúl has promised legislation prohibiting more than two consecutive presidential terms, in 2018 he will step down; secondly, the post-1963 US embargo will remain until at least then, since its 1997 adjustments effectively prevented its re-
peal while a Castro remained in power. Hence, Cuba’s basic reality will remain unchanged for a few more years. The second step is to assert that, whatever our surprise at a reforming Raúl, this was no surprise to Cubans (who had seen him champion a programme of change in 1991, to rescue Cuba after the Soviet collapse), and also that it is a mistake to assume that he has ever intended fundamental change to the Cuban system, since the evidence is clear that, in the 1970s, the 1990s and now, he has always sought the most viable way of protecting ‘the Revolution’ and guaranteeing its survival. But what does this actually mean? One simple truth, as a starting-point, is that our old image of Raúl was always misleading, reflecting our own preconceptions and assumptions based on his brief 1953 membership of the Cuban communists’ youth wing, his early preference for a close relationship with the USSR, and his leadership of Cuba’s new armed forces. However, each of these needs clarification: immediately after joining the Juventud Socialista, Raúl participated in the
Moncada attack (which the communists condemned) and then became a full activist in an insurrection which they continued to condemn until late 1958; in seeing the USSR as a useful ally in the early years, Raúl was not alone, many others (including Guevara) also admiring the Soviet development ‘model’; and the core of the Cuban army after 1959 was essentially the still popular 1956-8 guerrillas. However, along with this ‘natural’ gravitation towards the Socialist Bloc, there was also a measure of pragmatism: not only was the Soviet Union the only large untapped market for Cuban sugar once the US market was closed to Cuba, but the leadership’s determination to defend the new ‘Revolution’ also meant a willingness to exploit whatever means necessary to achieve that, albeit it limited by the polarised Cold-War world.
building. This brings us back to Raúl and his role and place in the leadership. For the reading of his assumption of office as ‘dynastic’ ignored the reality that, by late 1958, he had become one of the group of popular guerrilla leaders (along with Fidel, Che Guevara and possibly Camilo Cienfuegos). His right to belong to that circle was based on his military abilities (successfully leading a second guerrilla front in Oriente) and his political and leadership skills. Hence, while his subsequent authority was enhanced by his crucial success in building Cuba’s defences and helping to shape the Revolution’s ideological, political and economic development, his legitimacy remained rooted in that pre-1959 history. Crucially, by 2008, he was the ‘last man standing’ of the four.
In fact, though, that same legitimacy was partly shared by all of the In fact, that same determination and willingness later drove ex-guerrillas who survived beyond the immediate post-victory both the decision, in 1991-4, to opt for unprecedented reforms to years; for one enduring feature of the Revolution has been the recover from economic collapse, and Raúl’s current campaign for survival of that larger group of veterans, and of the collective loyurgent reform. However, since some of these reforms (e.g. allowalty which has always bound them together, allowing them to trust ing the US dollar to circulate freely in 1993, and now the aim of each other’s commitment and judgment. One only has to count shedding public-sector the number of exemployment and al“(…) one enduring feature of the Revolution has been the guerrillas remaining as lowing a growing selfsurvival of that larger group of veterans, and of the collective key players in the post employed sector to -1959 decades (even loyalty which has always bound them together, allowing until the present day), employ others) conflict with our expectato realise that Raúl’s them to trust each other’s commitment and judgment” tions of communist position and legitimasystems and Marxist cy owe as much to his economics, this raises a fundamental question: what exactly was, membership of this wider group as to his skills - or, certainly, any and is, meant by ‘the Revolution’? family ties. At one level, this is relatively easy to answer: it is the same process proposed in 1953 (in Fidel’s famous ‘History will absolve me’ speech and manifesto), refined and sharpened in 1956-8 (during the guerrilla insurrection) and enacted and radicalised after 1959, until, in 1961, the Cold War distorted its shape. That process was, in essence, a long-delayed drive towards post-colonial nationbuilding, something that (unlike in the rest of Latin America) was never an option in the 19th century, did not happen after 1902 independence (because of the United States’ legal neo-colonial hold) and failed to happen after 1934, because of continuing economic dependency and a weak state. However, when the rebels came to power in 1959, the ‘models’ available were no longer those of a century earlier but, rather, those which attracted radicals across the decolonising world, namely ‘socialism’ (however defined), the Soviet development model, and a Prebisch-style stateled mixed-economy, incorporating welfare and land reform. What made a crucial difference with Cuba, though, was, firstly, the subsequent deep effect of three decades of Soviet and Socialist Bloc ideas, models and training, and, secondly, decades of isolation and ‘siege’; both experiences not only cemented a socialist definition but also radicalised it more than elsewhere. Nonetheless, the goal remained the same: to complete the delayed process of nation-
However, if 2018 will certainly see Raúl leaving the political stage (at least as President, since his future Party role is currently less clear), the same can also be said of that wider group; steadily reduced by death and retirement over recent years, its days are also clearly numbered. All of this therefore leaves open the question of ‘succession’, not so much the familiar question of a succession ‘after Fidel’ as one following the group’s disappearance. This means inevitably looking at those increasingly identified as the next generation, not least the recently elected senior VicePresident, Miguel Díaz-Canel, someone who, though lacking the ex-guerrillas’ historic legitimacy, clearly fits the bill of those preferred by Raúl and the other leaders, namely someone trusted, ideologically reliable and efficient, capable of balancing change and continuity. Hence, while it may well be the ‘end of the (guerrilla) line’, the ‘Revolution’, as envisaged in 1958, may well still be ‘on track’. Only time will tell.
ANTONI KAPCIA is a Professor of Latin American History at the University of Nottingham. .
By Dawn Holland
Government budget deficits rose sharply in almost all major industrialised countries in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The associated Great Recession led to a sharp and prolonged fall in output which, together with fiscal stimulus packages and emergency financial sector support, transformed public finances, resulting in very large fiscal deficits and a sharp rise in government debt. Long-term fiscal sustainability was called into question across the major economies. While it is generally agreed that over the medium term fiscal consolidation is necessary for most industrialised countries, there is considerable debate about the appropriate design and timing of consolidation measures. With the notable exception of Japan, consolidation efforts in most major economies have been heavily frontloaded into stringent austerity programmes introduced starting in 2011 – at a time when most were still facing large negative output gaps related to the deep recessions in 2008-9. To uncover the motivations behind austerity, it is important to distinguish between the crisis-stricken economies of the Euro Area (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus), which have all required external financing assistance, and the other major economies, especially those outside the Euro Area. The possibility of default by a Euro Area government – hitherto unthinkable – became openly debated starting in 2010, culminating in the massive write-offs absorbed by private sector holders of Greek government
% of GDP
Figure 1. Cumulative fiscal consolidation measures introduced 2011-2013
debt. As the probability of default increased, the borrowing costs faced by governments in the more vulnerable Euro Area economies rose to untenable levels and the market value of government debt from these countries dropped. This had negative consequences for the asset base of debt holders, the majority of which are banks and other financial sector institutions. A vicious circle between sovereign debt and the banking system ensued, whereby a rise in the probability of a government default caused bank asset bases to deteriorate, pushing banks towards insolvency, which increased the likelihood of a major bank requiring a government financed bail-out, which in turn increased the probability of a government default, and so on. The crisis countries have had austerity measures imposed as a condition attached to their external financing assistance. Other Euro Area members have also been constrained by the Stability and Growth Pact (and its successor the Fiscal Compact) as well as a fear of contagion stemming from the sovereign debt crisis. Outside the Euro Area, austerity programmes have been self-imposed, with the ostensible aim of ensuring fiscal sustainability in the medium-term and preventing a crisis such as that seen in Greece or Ireland from erupting in the short-term. Fiscal sustainability is broadly defined as an expected path for government debt that is stable or declining relative to the size of the economy. A number of studies have identified a link between the government debt to GDP ratio and the borrowing costs faced by governments (see, for example, Arghyrou and Kontonikas; Bernoth and Erdogan; De Grauwe and Ji; Schuknect et al). Given the links between debt financing costs, government deficits and borrowing needs, this suggests that an upward trending debt-to-GDP ratio can quickly become explosive. Below we look at, first, the impact of austerity on GDP, and second, the impact of austerity on fiscal sustainability, to identify when austerity measures may be considered self-defeating, in that they may cause debt-to-GDP ratios to rise rather than fall.
How does austerity affect GDP?
-6 -8 -10 -12
There is considerable debate about both the short-term and long-term effects of austerity measures on output. The ‘impact multiplier’ is generally defined as the expected impact on output in the first year following a policy innovation that raises spending or cuts taxes by 1 per cent of ex ante GDP. Since the
crisis, there has been considerable controversy about the likely magnitude of fiscal impact multipliers in industrialised countries, and indeed some economists have even proposed the concept of an ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’, suggesting that a cut in government spending may actually raise the level of GDP. Policymakers and the international institutions have, at least until recently, tended to assume impact multipliers of between 0 and 1. In 2010, the IMF concluded that on average multipliers were about 0.5. Meanwhile, others have consistently argued that multipliers are in fact likely to be considerably larger. The recent poor growth experience of many industrialised countries – in particular those that have undertaken large fiscal consolidations – has prompted the IMF to move towards the latter position, concluding that “multipliers have actually been in the 0.9 to 1.7 range since the Great Recession. This finding is consistent with research suggesting that in today’s environment of substantial economic slack, monetary policy constrained by the zero lower bound, and synchronized fiscal adjustment across numerous economies, multipliers may be well above 1.” This conclusion is supported by a broad strand of recent literature on fiscal multipliers, which suggests that the size of the impact multiplier may depend on the state of the economy (see, for example, Auerbach and Gorodnichenko; Bagaria et al.; Delong and Summers; Jordà and Taylor). The implications of this are that the timing of fiscal consolidation matters. Austerity measures, if introduced in an economy with a large output gap and an impaired banking system, may be far more costly in terms of output loss than if the measures were postponed until the economy was operating closer to capacity. There are three main channels of transmission that may lead to heightened multipliers during a prolonged downturn. First, under normal circumstances a tightening in fiscal
policy can be expected to be compensated by a relaxation in monetary policy. However, with interest rates already at exceptionally low levels – effectively at the zero lower bound – further tightening of fiscal policy is unlikely to result in such an offsetting monetary policy reaction. While quantitative easing/credit easing measures have been introduced, the effects of these measures are also limited by low interest rates on ‘risk-free’ assets. It is less clear that monetary easing measures have a significant impact on the risk premia attached to assets that bear a greater risk of default. Second, during a downturn, when unemployment is high and job security low, a greater percentage of households and firms are likely to find themselves liquidity constrained. This is likely to be particularly acute when the downturn is driven by an impaired banking system, as lending conditions will tighten beyond what would be expected in a normal downturn. There is less scope to smooth consumption in response to short-term income losses through an adjustment in savings. Third, extended periods of depressed output and high unemployment can have long-term implications for the productive capacity of the economy through ‘hysteresis’. This could result from reduced capital investment, premature capital scrapping, reduced labour force attachment on the part of the long term unemployed, scarring effects on young workers who have trouble beginning their careers and changes in managerial attitudes.
How does austerity affect the deficit and debt positions? A negative shock to GDP will worsen the fiscal deficit, as people become unemployed and are entitled to benefit payments while no longer contributing tax revenue. This has important implications for the effectiveness of austerity measures that are intro-
deficit will reduce the numerator of the government debt to GDP ratio, but will also reduce the denominator. The net impact on the ratio depends on a range of factors. The debt ratio is more likely to worsen initially: the larger the initial debt to GDP ratio; the larger the impact multiplier; the larger the ‘automatic stabilisers’, which can be broadly defined as policies (such as social safety nets) that prevent the full impact of a negative shock to output from falling on individuals. If the impact multiplier is sensitive to the state of the economy, as suggested above, this means that austerity measures are more likely to be self-defeating if introduced when economies are in recession or suffering from a large negative output gap, which certainly describes the state of the majority of EU economies during the period of 2011-2013. What were the alternatives? duced at a time when fiscal multipliers are heightened. Consolidation measures are designed to bring the deficit under control, but the ex post impact of these measures on the deficit will be partially offset by their negative impact on GDP. The bigger the fiscal multiplier, the greater the offset. If fiscal multipliers are large during an economic downturn, austerity measures will be less effective at bringing down the deficit and hence the stock of government debt. The most stringent austerity programmes have been introduced in Greece, Portugal and Ireland (figure 1), three countries that have suffered dramatic output losses. Ex ante consolidation measures for 2011-2013 amounted to 8-10 per cent of GDP. The ex ante estimates are based on an assumption that the consolidation measures will not materially affect the level of GDP and employment. The actual ex post improvement in the deficit positions over this period, which incorporates any feed through to output and employment levels, has been just 4-6 per cent of GDP, indicating a significant loss of effectiveness and higher economic costs
“The argument that immediate and stringent measures were needed in order to ward off contagion from the sovereign debt crisis is not supported by the evolution of events.” than suggested by ex ante estimates.
If we define fiscal sustainability as a government debt to GDP ratio that is expected to stabilise or decline, we can use a narrow definition of ‘self-defeating’ austerity as a situation in which a fiscal consolidation programme is expected to raise rather than lower the debt to GDP ratio in the short- to medium-term. Over the longer-term, a permanent fiscal consolidation will improve the debt to GDP position, as output returns to capacity and inflation returns to target. But when an economy is operating far from equilibrium it may take several years before these improvements feed through. Fiscal consolidation measures that reduce the size of the
If policy makers are striving to improve the perception of debt sustainability, the current strategy of stringent austerity being pursued across most of the EU may be fundamentally flawed. In an economy that is in recession or has yet to recover from a prolonged downturn, impaired transmission channels exacerbate the negative effects of fiscal consolidation measures on the economy, and may even lead to a vicious debt-deficit spiral. Timing matters, and postponing (necessary) consolidation efforts until after recovery would have significantly reduced the economic costs of austerity measures and may well have improved government debt to GDP ratios relative to where they currently stand. The argument that immediate and stringent measures were needed in order to ward off contagion from the sovereign debt crisis is not supported by the evolution of events. More and more stringent austerity measures failed to have a significant impact on government bond yields in the crisis-stricken economies such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. Financial market pressures only began to ease after the ECB announced its commitment to Outright Monetary Transaction (OMT) in August 2012. This essentially allows the ECB to act as a lender of last resort for countries facing financing difficulties, decoupling of the vicious links between sovereign debt and bank solvency. If OMT had been introduced back in 2010 and consolidation programmes postponed, economic recovery in Europe would have commenced much sooner and government debt to GDP ratios would likely be somewhat lower than they currently stand. DAWN HOLLAND is a Principal Research Fellow and heads the macro-modelling work at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. She is also a Member of the Centre for Macroeconomics.
By Lord Meghnad Desai
ith the centenary of the First World War approaching, there are peculiar things happening to the global economy which echo the past. For one thing, we are in the fifth year of the Great Recession, something which was not supposed to happen after the advent of Keynesian Economics. Yet no country has relented and reflated with an aggressive fiscal policy. Monetary policy which Keynesians had written off has been the active instrument of reflationary policy in the US, the UK and Japan. Only the European Central Bank (ECB) has been prevented legally from an outright Quantitative Easing (QE) operation. Politicians and intellectuals who take interest in such matters are puzzled. Why do we have austerity? Why are we not deploying Keynesian tools? To answer these questions requires us to delve a bit into the recent history of Economics.
divided about the cure? Why do we have austerity as an “approved” policy and not a Keynesian reflation?
A Potted History of Recent Macroeconomics
This phase of the attack on Keynesian Economics, known as Monetarism, was very successful in its political impact. But analytically a much more devastating attack came from Robert Lucas, Thomas Sargent, Edward Prescott (all three have Nobel Prizes in Economics) and their associates from the Chicago-Minnesota Universities. They argued that Keynesian macroeconomics lacked sound microeconomic foundations. A Walrasian foundation was needed and New Classical Macroeconomics (NCM) had arrived. After much academic debate it had established its hegemony. New Keynesian Macro had some small reservation concerning the
From the perspective of academic economics, this situation is both to be expected and still to be puzzled over. There was a time, fifty years ago, when the economics profession had convinced itself and indeed the world that it had a cure for recessions and that the situation of the 1930s will never recur. Keynes had given us the analytical tools and the policy prescriptions for maintaining full employment. However, many politicians never learned any economics beyond that phase. So why are economists
The economics profession itself went through a detailed critique of Keynes’ theory and his policy prescriptions during the sixties and seventies. Milton Friedman undermined the Keynesian ‘Consumption Function’ by proposing the concept of ‘Permanent Income’ which negated the idea of a large multiplier. He also attacked the Phillips Curve which was used to devise an antiinflation policy by Keynesians. He re-established the Walrasian idea of a Natural rate of Unemployment which was invariant to any short run reflation. Friedman also convinced many politicians, Thatcher and Reagan including, that inflation could only be cured by controlling the money supply.
possibility of short run gains from policy activism but, otherwise, a ‘Great Moderation’ prevailed in which economists all agreed. So Why the Crisis? NCM rules out the possibility of sharp discontinuities in economic data. Based on the ideas of Rational Expectations and Efficient Markets, it argues that if anyone foresaw a sharp break in the data, that information would become part of the general knowledge and actions would be taken by agents to prevent that from happening. Thus NCM did not, and, indeed claims no one else could have predicted the crisis. There have been calls for a New Economics which would explain the crisis. It is possible however that what we need is not new economics but relearn some of the economics which was there before Keynes. Knut Wicksell had in the nineteenth century put forward an idea that whenever the market rate of interest is below the natural rate (the rate of profit) then there will be overborrowing and boom will ensue. Sooner or later this boom will collapse as banks realise that they are overstretched and jack up the market rate. Hayek developed some of these ideas further. He argued that during the boom many ‘mal-investments’ take place which result in bankruptcies. The answer then is not to lend more but to let the system work out the poison of mal-investments from within itself. This argument, somewhat simplified, essentially explains what happened. There was plenty of credit available because Asian countries had surplus savings which they lent to Western banks.
Financial markets had globalised and innovated many ways of lending money. This resulted in over borrowing by households and governments, the sub-prime lending for the housing market in the USA being the best example of this. The USA was also able to run a double deficit on the budget and in the trade account under George W. Bush. Indeed the US Budget has only been balanced during the last two years of the Clinton Presidency. The UK also borrowed during the boom, ostensibly for investment purposes. The share of government budget in GDP reached 44 per cent in 2007 and went up to 48 per cent by 2010. Can Modern Macroeconomics Explain the Crisis? Macroeconomics, whether Keynesian or New Classical, does not have a large financial sector within it. The basic model is also a model of flows and avoids any stocks in its model structure. Keynesian theory tells us how to correct a flow disequilibrium caused by insufficient effective demand and over-saving. But the problem was that we had excess effective demand and undersaving by households and governments. Thus the situation was one of stock disequilibrium to which none of the theories had an answer. The cure for stock disequilibrium was to deleverage – reduce debt – and that requires refraining from consumption and enhancing savings. This was argued as impossible by Keynes (the ‘Paradox of thrift’) but that was in the context of a closed economy.
“The government debt problem was exacerbated by households being in debt as well. It was the concurrence of the public and the household debt which made the argument for austerity strong.” This is why governments in Western countries have resorted to deficit reduction. Deficits are flows but the debt is the stock. Hence the discussion is also focussed on debt to GDP ratio and reduction of the debt. In Keynesian Macro, the government’s ability to borrow is only restrained by the desire of the rentiers for a high interest rate. The answer was to force interest rates down and cause an euthanasia of the rentier. Keynesian theory views debt as a problem of intra-generational redistribution. But if you take a dynamic perspective, it can be viewed as an inter-generational redistribution problem. Why Austerity? It is in this context that governments seem to have concluded that a Keynesian type stimulus will not work. This has been the decision not just of one government such as the UK Coalition but across the Eurozone as well. In the UK the incoming government in 2010 undertook to eliminate the budget deficit over five
years. The deadline has now been extended over seven years. In the Eurozone, the problem of sovereign debt has affected countries of Southern Europe – Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy – as well as Ireland. The consequences have been high interest rates on the borrowing by these countries and formal intervention by the IMF, the ECB and the Council of the EU. In the US, after his initial stimulus package of $831 billion in 2009, President Obama has not reflated further. Indeed in the USA as well the debate is about retrenchment and debt reduction. The arguments which have raged about the policy of austerity reflect the debate between Keynesian and New Classical Macroeconomics. For Keynesians the fiscal multiplier is an effective remedy which will cure the recession and self liquidate the extra borrowing. New Classical Macroeconomists doubt that the multipliers are sufficiently large to cure the problem. In their theory, the Ricardian Equivalence dominates. If a government borrows money, rational taxpayers know that their taxes will go up to finance the borrowing. Hence they save enough to neutralise the positive effects of the spending. Here again, as in the debt problem, Keynesians take a static, intra-generation view of the fiscal problem while New Classical economists take an inter-generational long run view. Governments have perhaps been influenced more by the fact that most developed country governments borrowed even during the boom rather than balance the budget over the cycle. Thus when the crisis came, while fiscal reflation was required, the debt position was already such that markets were hostile to further borrowing. The government debt problem was exacerbated by households being in debt as well. It was the concurrence of the public and the household debt which made the argument for austerity strong. The debate has not been settled. Keynesians – Krugman, Skidelsky, Blanchflower – still argue that by not reflating much potential output has been lost. There has however been a turnaround in the economies despite the austerity to which we now turn. The Surprise Recovery
The surprise though is that everywhere in the developed economies, there are signs of revival. The US recovery has been around for a while though the Fed still does not feel confident enough that it can start tapering, i.e. selling those bonds back to the markets. It has fixed a single target figure for unemployment which it is waiting to be reached before tapering. The surprise is that thanks to its dysfunctional legislative system, there is an enforced budget cut happening – sequestration as it is called. Despite this slight fiscal tightening, the US economy is recovering with growth in the range of 2-3 %. This is below the historical path of 1992-2007 but then that growth rate proved unsustainable without excessive borrowing. So one would expect the US economy to
converge to a growth path at a lower secular rate than before. The UK economy seems to have finally turned the corner in the third quarter of 2013. The UK has adopted a tight fiscal path which aims to eliminate the budget deficit in five to seven years. This was an explicit anti-Keynesian strategy .The Chancellor George Osborne was much criticised by the IMF and many Keynesians. There were dire predictions of a double dip recession. Despite all that, the economy has turned around and is set to go on growing at 2-3 % in the next two to three years. Here again the trend path will be lower than before but the economy will be hugging that trend path. The biggest surprise is the Eurozone. There have been no exits as many predicted or even heartily wished for as in my case with Greece. Ireland has been off the bottom for a while now thanks to its flexible labour market. Spain has just recently come out of a two-year recession in part because its problem was not fiscal but due to a bubble in the housing market. A similar story can be told about Italy where the political obstacles are slowly being removed to make room for reform. It will take time but the relentless pressure of bond markets has eased. Again there will be positive territory for GDP growth. Conclusion What seems to be happening is what used to be the conventional wisdom in the pre-Keynesian days. Hayek is the only person who is still read and whose theory reflects this attitude. An economy goes through booms and bust in the normal course of capitalist accumulation, to use a Marxian phrase. Its up and downs can be exaggerated by bad policies which try and fail to stabilise. But eventually decumulation and deleveraging take place and the economy reaches a bottom from which it will rebound. As far as Hayek was concerned when the economy was down, it was a fatal error to try artificial stimulus. That would make things worse. But if every policy maker can bear to refrain from interfering, the recovery would come ‘naturally’. Luckily for the Eurozone and for the UK there has been little room for fiscal interference. That perhaps singly explains why the economy had the room to behave in its ‘natural’ manner. Crises as Marx would say are ways in which a capitalist economy purges itself of all the bad stuff it has ingested. It is a purgative. When the effects of the purgative have been washed out, the economy is ready to recover. That is the good news. LORD MEGHNAD DESAI is a British economist and Labour politician. He is Chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum and Professor Emeritus of Economics at the LSE.
By Koldo Casla
n the last two decades, norms and beliefs have put on weight in Powers who are contracting Parties to a treaty, the provisions of scholarly research in international relations. Traditional (neo) municipal law cannot prevail over those of the treaty”. realists would still insist that international relations are only about As a consequence, since human rights are recognised in one predetermined goal, that is - survival. Nonetheless, among those willing to accept that there is room for choice in foreign international law, respecting them is not a matter of policy but of affairs, the study of human rights in foreign policy has focused so rule of law. Still, the conventional approach has seen human rights far on issues like motivations, consistency, assessment and impact. law as imposing certain obligations for public bodies only when These are certainly critical aspects that deserve due attention in they act within national borders, but not beyond. This is the effect order to comprehend the possibilities of a foreign policy that in- of national jurisdiction. International rules on diplomatic procludes human rights into its defining elements. However, I believe tection and States' responsibility indicate that a State must refrain it is time to take another step and make the case that the existing from causing harm to another State. These rules also mean that when a State harms another global legal regime imposes certain human rights duties on States ”In order to be truly effective, human rights State's national, such action is also when they work as interna- must be a response to power, wherever this considered a wrongful act by the former State against the latter. tional actors. power comes from. ” However, the principle of nationA necessary starting point is the principle of pacta sunt al jurisdiction sets an important barrier: at least in theory, diplomaservanda (“agreements must be kept”), enshrined in Article 26 of tic protection works fine when the national of State A is within the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which says the jurisdiction of State B and is victim of a wrongful act by the that “every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and officials of this second State; however, diplomatic protection does must be performed by them in good faith”. Article 27 expands on not seem effective when the national of A remains within A's juthe idea and states that “a party may not invoke the provisions of risdiction but is victim of a wrongful act committed by B. its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty”. In order to extract the ultimate potential of human rights As observed by the Permanent Court of International Justice back in 1930 (Greco-Bulgarian communities case), “it is a generally ac- law and principles, it is necessary to assess State responsibility bacepted principle of international law that in the relations between sed on the effect or impact that States' officials may have, regard-
less of territoriality. There is a growing volume of normative research and advocacy work on the legal dimension of international cooperation and development as a State duty. Similarly, a slow move from the concept of “national jurisdiction” to the idea of “effective control” has allowed international courts to apply International Human Rights Law in conjunction with International Humanitarian Law in times of war and military occupation. Finally, in September 2011, Maastricht University and the International Commission of Jurists gathered a group of experts in international law and human rights, who adopted the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Moving from territorial jurisdiction towards effective impact in the understanding of States' legal obligations would open a window of opportunity to frame foreign policy in human rights terms. In order to be truly effective, human rights must be a response to power, wherever this power comes from. States must not be allowed to do abroad what they are not supposed to do at home. In 1981, the UN Human Rights Committee put it eloquently in the López Burgos v. Uruguay case: “It would be unconscionable to so interpret the responsibility under article 2 of the Covenant as to permit a State party to perpetrate violations of the Covenant on the territory of another State, which violations it could not perpetrate on its own territory”. Even though the Human Rights Committee was dealing with very specific circumstances in that case (a Uruguayan national who was kidnapped in Argentina by Uruguayan forces and clandestinely and secretly transported
back to his home country), the point is entirely applicable to the topic at hand: the human rights legal standards that public officials ought to respect at the domestic level, must also rule when the State acts in its international capacity. Insofar foreign policy is public policy, it cannot be conducted as if human rights did not exist. This is not a descriptive or analytical article. It is policy oriented and normative in nature. In fact, due to space limitations it basically only asserts the need to apply human rights in one of the loci where they are needed the most: international relations. The legal basis must be fully explored and the policy implications properly evaluated, and both goals require further and more detailed analysis. As reminded by Goldstein and Keohane, “periods in which power relations are fluid and interests and strategies are unclear or lack consensus generate demands for new ideas”. Based on the assumption that foreign policy is a matter of raison d'état, political leaders have historically taken for granted that foreign policy should be excluded from democratic control and public scrutiny. If we must learn one lesson from the NSA surveillance, it ought to be that the time for a foreign policy in line with human rights has come. KOLDO CASLA is a MPhil/PhD candidate at the Department of European and International Studies, King’s College London. He is a writer for http://normativepower.ideasoneurope.eu/.
By Pierre-Antoine Klethi
ts geographical position as an island may give the impression that the UK develops autonomously, or even separately, from Europe. But in fact, the ties between the UK and the continent are very old, and Britain always cared about what happened on the other side of the Channel - not the least because it could impact its safety. Furthermore, nowadays economic reasons also justify maintaining the closest possible relationship to the continent. The Historical Links of the UK with the Continent Two millenaries ago, England was conquered and Londinium built by the Romans. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Christianity ensured further links to the continent. The Roman Catholic religion, initially spread by continental missionaries, helped establish a sense of nationhood in England, e.g. the medieval English law codes relied on Christian principle, and the King was legitimated by ‘divine origins’. The Norman invasion, with William the Conqueror becoming the new King, only reinforced the British ties with the continent. England (and later the UK) then became essentially focused on being Europe’s major naval power to prevent an invasion from the continent. On the cultural side, the Enlightenment was a period where British and continental philosophers and scientists
influenced mutually each other. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights adopted in 1689, after the Glorious Revolution, can be seen as a precursor to future texts such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).
“Businesses support the EU membership. Can the government ignore them?“ In the 19th century, the UK continued its policy of “checks and balances” on the continent. This policy aimed at preventing that any continental power becomes dominant. In addition, the 19th century also saw the accession of the Windsor house, which has German roots, to the British throne. During the past century, the UK continued being involved in crucial European developments: it was a protagonist of the two world wars; in particular, it kept the flame of liberty alight during the second one. Sir Winston Churchill talked about the “United States of Europe” after WW2, emphasising the need for European integration and reconciliation. The UK also became member of the European Economic Community (a predecessor of
the current EU) in 1973. A decade later, Margaret Thatcher played an important role in pushing for the completion of the Single Market.
Today, the UK is Europe’s main military power together with France, and it is Tony Blair who re-launched the cooperation in defence policy with Jacques Chirac in 1997. Moreover, the British and continental economies are intertwined, making a UK exit from the EU a hazardous project. The EU Membership Benefits the British Economy Businesses support the EU membership. Can the government ignore them? This section will rely on statistics used by a Standard Note published by the Library of the House of Commons (SN/EP/6730).
“Let us remember a few facts. Firstly, the UK must contribute to the EU budget but also receives money from it: this is an example of solidarity between Member States. “ Let us remember a few facts. Firstly, the UK must contribute to the EU budget but also receives money from it: this is an example of solidarity between Member States. Currently, the UK is a net contributor (like other countries such as France and Germany). Secondly, the Single Market is the biggest market of the world. Accessing it without paying customs duties is advantageous. In addition, the Single Market attracts foreign investors. Thirdly, as a member, the UK can influence European economic rules (and this is currently of particular importance for the City). Fourthly, free-trade agreements with other parts of the world are negotiated by the EU, not the single Member States. Finally, regarding the methodology of comparison, it is wrong to assume that the UK would keep all the benefits of EU membership while getting rid of the disadvantages if it were to leave the EU. So, leaving the EU would have huge costs! Let us now have a look at specific economic issues. British exporters would suffer from an EU exit as they would be less competitive in the Single Market. Moreover, they would not benefit anymore from the trade agreements signed by the EU with other countries/areas across the world. The UK admittedly has the Commonwealth, but it would not be able to compensate the damage to British manufacturers and services providers. Regarding regulation, could the UK adopt very different regulations if it were not within the EU? It is unlikely that an EU exit would result in total deregulation. Furthermore, the UK would still need to meet many European standards for products exported to the Single Market. Moreover, there is a global agreement that some sectors such as finance need to be better regulated.
As to investment, would the UK attract more or less foreign investment after leaving the EU? Around 50% of foreign direct investments in the UK come from EU countries, partly thanks to free movement of capital. Moreover, firms investing in the UK are attracted by the size of the Single Market. On the other hand, looser regulation would maybe offset an EU exit, but the establishment of such looser regulation is uncertain. Finally, regarding the migration of workers, the UK is not “invaded” by EU nationals: only 5% of all workers are non-British EU citizens. In addition, could the UK cope with the absence of migrant workers? This is an important question, as all Europe faces a lack of skilled workers and the problem of ageing societies. So, some sectors may find that they would fare better if the UK left the EU, but many firms, especially services providers, would suffer from it. Overall, remaining in the EU is in the interest of the British economy. The Way Forward The elements presented above are only some of the arguments justifying staying in the EU. For example, one could also think about the British role as a promoter of political and economic liberalism in Europe. Indeed, the UK can find allies to ensure that the EU does not become too bureaucratic with an overregulated economy. The UK has always cared about what happened on the continent and needs to continue doing so if it does not want to be marginalised. The question is now: which is the way forward? There seems to be a cross-party commitment to holding a referendum about the EU membership, although internal divisions must not be overlooked. A referendum entails duties: for political parties and other stakeholders (businesses, think tanks…), the duty to fuel the debate with clear and transparent information rather than with lies and populist slogans; for the voters, the duty to show interest in the issue and act as informed citizens. PIERRE-ANTOINE KLETHI is a Law MA student at King’s College London.
By Leonore Tauber
few years ago, Germany was proclaimed the rising star in renewable energy deployment. The concept of the German energy transition was approved at the end of 2010 as an innovative approach to the pressing problem of climate change mitigation. Following the devastating Fukushima disaster in Japan, and a resulting strong wave of protests organised by a large majority of German society, the withdrawal from nuclear power was sped up, and soon a multi-party consensus in favour of an accelerated timetable of the energy transition (the Energiewende) emerged. Not only would Germany fully transfer to renewable energy sources by 2050, but moreover the primary energy consumption should fall by 20% by 2020 and renewable energies achieve a 18% share of gross final energy consumption by 2020: ambitious plans for a country with a population and an economy this large and energydependent.
The initial enthusiasm has now vanished, and Germany's energy transition is increasingly being criticized by citizens and politicians for its bad implementation and high energy prices. Germany's energy concept is not only increasingly attacked nationally, but also several EU states have now joined the debate. While a tremendous amount of lobby groups, environmental organisations and representatives of the economy use the issue's prominence for making their voices heard and distort the dialogue, the critiques have some weight to them. Although the Lisbon treaty fortified the national character of energy policy within the EU, and member states themselves decide on the energy sources and composition within their territory, the energy landscape of the EU has become increasingly interdependent and susceptible in an age of
global reconfiguration. Germany's economic and geographical centrality assures direct, cross-border impacts on EU member states emerging from its energy sector transition.
and consultation is urgently needed.
First, the Energiewende has a noticeable effect on the EU, as Germany is a member of the European electricity system, which aims at becoming fully integrated by 2014. Interconnectivity between regional, national and neighbouring networks is increasing over time. A rising share of renewable energies requires a flexible and resilient energy system to ensure network reliability. Furthermore, electricity grids must be extended to effectively implement a smart cross-regional and cross-national grid integration. In other words, Germany as the largest economy in Europe and energy hub forms part of a larger system aimed at integration and coordination that might be at odds with the Energiewende's new renewable energy requirements.
With Germany as a front-runner in actively pursuing an energy transition towards renewable energy, it is of no surprise that serious challenges and conflicts lie ahead for the EU. In order for the Energiewende not to become an EU-wide stumbling stone, consultation, coordination and adjustments are urgently needed. The EU should take the first step to form an international institution dedicated to this task. Such an institution would effectively serve to develop greater consistency and coordination in Europe and diminish cross-border tensions. As such, it would increase European energy security, which essentially depends on a healthy internal market and a suitable and stable infrastructure. Importantly, it would also exhibit a stronger and coherent EU energy policy to the world. The institution could serve as a global role model and a positive signal to provide the impetus for similar transitions in other industrialised and emerging economies and regions. Because actually, the world's largest wind farms are located not in Germany, but in China. It is left to the EU how to deal with Germany's ambitious plans. But rather than making it an obstacle to its broader energy policy, the EU should use it as an opportunity to play to its strengths and boost its global relevance.
Second, neighbouring countries are clearly impacted by the energy changes taking place in Germany. Member states located in the Nordic region, such as Finland, must deal with integration challenges, whether they want it or not, as rising shares of RE are predicted for the Nordic electricity sector. Germany's infrastructure, in a process of adaption, suffers from bottlenecks. These lead to loop flows, where Germany's power is diverted through neighbouring countries' grids (especially Poland and the Czech Republic) and then back into a different part of the produci ng c ountry. Pol and, the Czech Re public and Switzerland have already complained about this development, as it destabilizes their grids and reduces the profitability of conventional power firms. Poland now even intends to set up mechanisms to inhibit cross-border flows of electricity. The affected member states must urgently work together to identify appropriate solutions to the problems.
â€œIn order for the Energiewende not to become an EU-wide stumbling stone, consultation, coordination and adjustments are urgently needed.â€? Third, EU energy and climate policy developments are also of relevance to Germany. Low prices within the EU Emission Trading Scheme are jeopardizing the necessary incentives to fully implement the Energiewende. Existing European mechanisms and the broader European energy policy framework must be considered in all regional, national and cross-border consultations. Brussels is currently looking into whether the German feed-in-tariffs mean that German ratepayers are subsidizing renewable power that is driving down prices in other EU member states. Clearly, communication has not been ideal. The EU is currently also working on a future framework for 2030 to replace its 2020 energy targets. Will the focus shift away from renewables? The possible acceptance of shale gas exploration by some EU member states might also be a game changer for Germany's ambitious plans. Further coordination
LEONORE TAUBER is a third year student of International Politics at Kingâ€™s College London.
By Gabriel Coupeau-González
hat this economic crisis has changed the face of Europe is Economic (S)pain undeniable. Not only the European Union as a whole has Looking at the current situation, one wonders, what went been agitated by unprecedented political turmoil, but also each of its member states has witnessed how problems like xenophobia, wrong with Spain? For many years one of the world’s most surpopulism and inequality spread across the continent threatening prising economic miracles (3.7% growth rate per year on average democracy and stability. However, rather than providing coordi- from 1999-2007), today the country is the sickman of Europe. nate policies to counteract them, our politicians have sunk into Some blame it on the aggressive neo-liberal policies under Aznar’s (PP) presidency (1996-2004), and confusing and dialectical policies, and given up to fear and political “Unlike it is normally thought, Spain never yet it is true that such policies reached a peak under this period, convenience. The degree to which had (and still has not) a debt problem.” that tendency can be traced back to a young and weak democracy like precedent administrations. Some Spain has been struck is dramatic. others –current government officials included- prefer to criticize The Spanish statist system has proven outdated and no longer affordable: nationalism grows stronger than ever before; unem- Zapatero’s (PSOE) “incompetence” at handling economic affairs, ployment –which rose up to 27.16% (being youth unemployment his failure to early detect the economic recession and to intervene over 55%)- unveils deep and inherited economic misconceptions; accordingly. The answer is naturally much more complex. and the gap between the rich and the poor widens every day. What Unlike it is normally thought, Spain never had (and still lies ahead for Spain? I place my bet on an amendment to the Conhas not) a debt problem. Government borrowing was kept under stitution.
control until the eve of the 2008 financial crisis. The creation of the euro meant a long boom for the economy. Some sectors, like tourism or agriculture, developed healthy and competitive, soon becoming the country’s economic flagship. Nonetheless, this economic bonanza was underpinned by a housing bubble, financed by cheap loans to builders and homebuyers –“toxic assets”- and when this bubble finally bursted, the building and housing sectors brutally collapsed, dragging down to misery those they were giving employment to, around 5% of the active population. To a great extent, this is the reason behind the unemployment issue obscuring Spain’s path to recovery today. If economic and political mismanagement seem quite evident, not so much whose fault they are.
corruption probes; Princess Christina, Urdangarín’s wife, is thought to have helped her husband and faces trial; and even one of the young King’s grandsons shot himself in the foot while under Spanish law, children under 14 are not allowed to use firearms. After decades of stability and extremely high popular approval (always ranking first as the country’s most valued institution), the monarchy began to be seriously questioned. Recession-hit Spaniards reacted with unprecedented anger and outrage to royal excesses, to the extent that the King himself, for the first time in history, felt obliged to apologize for his behaviour.
Becker and Posner (University of Chicago) argue in their joint blog, federal policies could easily integrate those diseconomies, secession is only desirable if cultural differences lead to conflict. Hence, this is the real issue at stake: are Spaniards ready to believe in the multinational nature of their country and strive together for mutual understanding? If so, an amendment to the Constitution is required, and this would certainly be the best possible solution to integrate those minorities and finally overcome separatism.
is a third year International Politics BA student at King’s College London.
However, one year on, the situation has not but worsened. The King’s health issues Recent political scandals and continue surgery sessions “Hence, this is the real issue at stake: highlight the absurdity of a corgive rise to questions on whether are Spaniards ready to believe in the rupt system which in far too he is able to assume his role as many cases anointed small-town multinational nature of their country and head of state. The last taboos mayors or regional politicians regarding the royal family fell strive together for mutual understanding?” often uneducated or lacking govlong time ago. Now the King’s ernmental experience- with the expenses and salary, and those of power to freely legislate or indebt themselves without limits. On his family, are made public, and some policy initiatives attempt to the other hand, they constitute an evidence of how administrative modernize the institution. Despite this, republicanism grows duplicities and nepotism have been a widespread practice in the alarmingly fast among citizens (49% favouring monarchy, while last decades, a heritage from a difficult democratic transition. Party 39% supporting a republic) . politics greatly benefitted from it and could possibly be pointed It will take time to remove lavish spending, unaccountaout as guilty, but it is in the citizens where the power to change ble politicians and nepotism from Spain, but this crisis has carved lies. a sense of justice and equality into the collective memory of the Identity crisis Spaniards. In fact, public opinion has pushed government to pursue reforms in the administration and the electoral process, and Just if the economic, social and political crises Spain were defiant demonstrations cross the streets every week claiming for a not enough to threaten the country’s future, another important change of course. Spain’s statist system has proven outdated and menace has to be taken into account: the risk of nationalism tear- incapable of delivering an adequate answer not only to the crisis, ing apart national unity. Peripheral nationalisms, Spain’s old non- but also to the existing and inherited problems the country faces. resolved problem, push towards independence stronger than ever The path towards change in the form of constitutional reform before boosted by social unrest and economic instability. Catalonia seems more evident than ever. Time has arrived to re-think Spain and Euskadi (Basque Country), historically the most advanced and and make it more competitive, just and efficient. The fiesta is over. industrialized regions, feel they are pulling from the rest of the GABRIEL COUPEAU-GONZÁLEZ country and no longer find it acceptable. But if this is the case, as
Royal scandals 2012 was without the shadow of a doubt an annus horribilis for Spanish royals. King Juan Carlos was caught taking part in an elephant-hunting safari in Botswana; his son-in-law, Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma, was accused of fiscal evasion and faced
By Hélène Maghin
ension in East Europe is at its utmost. The European Union and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), or - to be more precise - Russia, are fiercely fighting over ex-soviet (C.I.S.) states. The typical Western reaction has been to look in a despising way at what seemed to be a Russian proposal to re-launch the old soviet satellites system: surely, countries recently freed from the Kremlin’s authoritarianism would not even consider EurAsEC as an alternative to the European Union! Recent happenings, however, showed the Western leaders the seriousness of this game. Now that Armenia has taken clear steps towards the Russian-dominated market, all our eyes are turned towards the most wanted Ukraine. The growing importance given to Ukraine’s final move has made it ultimately responsible for the region’s symbolic rapprochement to Russia or the EU. In the region of the ex-soviet states, the battle for deals is now on between the EU and EurAsEC…
The EU leaders are now unsure about the development of future relations with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. They parRussia’s strategy to convince its neighbours of the quality ticularly fear that Putin’s economic pressures will be persuasive on of cooperation they could benefit from joining the EurAsEC has already very fragile and dependent economies. Russia is taking been to force them into it, in a advantage of its position as the brutal way. Whether by using trading partner and raw “Therefore, stating continuously that those main economic or political means, materials supplier of the region, former soviet states are fragile economies Vladimir Putin has made it clear to warn against the sharp rise in that he would not let the former which can only be an additional burden to the economic costs the states would soviet states turn their backs on face by walking away. At the him. When, several months ago, EU, is not only completely mistaken, but also moment, it seems to be just ofArmenia moved considerably a mediocre Russian tactic to persuade the EU fering a glimpse of it: ever more towards the EU, Russia used its products from those states are leaders and former soviet states’ leaders to banned from export to Russia strong-arm tactic of persuasion: it supplied Azerbaijan, currently step back from further bargaining.” and the price of Russian gas rein a frozen but long lasting conmains extremely high. Ukraine’s flict with Armenia, with weaponry. Soon after, Armenia’s president situation is particularly critical, as it is on the brink of bankruptcy changed his mind and officially announced its candidacy for the it is in desperate need of financial aid, whether from the EU or the EurAsEC. This unexpected outcome ultimately revealed the seri- EurAsEC. If it is to make a step towards the West, it therefore ousness of the battle between the two economic communities. needs to have the guarantee that the EU will be able to offer a
Russia and Georgia in 2008. What followed from this were continuous counter-attacks to Russian economic pressures, i.e. the EU increased the quotas of Moldovan wine to be imported to the community as a way of compensation to the Russian recent ban of it. Even relations towards Armenia haven’t faltered: some member states of the EU, especially France, persist in their will of fostering democracy and respect of justice as a smaller, but still prominent, alternative to economic trades. Putin should, therefore, reconsider the effectiveness of his economic and political pressures. Even Ukraine’s main issue of gas prices may not be so easily manipulated since alternatives to Russian pipes are being thoroughly sought.
sufficiently advantageous trade area to balance the loss of the Russian market and Putin’s economic war. However, with the crisis hitting Europe, it is fairly simple for Russia’s president to point out the advantages of his proposal, amongst others to cut gas prices if Ukraine were to choose EurAsEC over the EU. Vladimir Putin is, however, not naïve. He is manifestly aware of the willingness of the EU to guarantee deals and to create a solid partnership with the former soviet states. The reason for that stubbornness is not surprising: this region is a door to new market opportunities, amongst others in the Caucasus and in Asia, and offers prospects for new investments. Therefore, stating continuously that those former soviet states are fragile economies which can only be an additional burden to the EU, is not only completely mistaken, but also a mediocre Russian tactic to persuade the EU leaders and former soviet states’ leaders to step back from further bargaining. Indeed, a tightening solidarity and desire to ease trading concretely developed since the EU mediated a ceasefire between
The uncertainty over Ukraine’s choice is now ultimately focusing around a more political issue: Yulia Tymoshenko’s controversial case. This is the only main obstacle remaining to the signing of an immediate partnership with the EU, in the form of an Association Agreement, and is an additional difficulty to the already complicated economic weighing up. Out of fear of a strong opposition for the next presidency elections, Ukraine’s current president seems to be unprepared to release his political enemy from prison. The negotiations have consequently been put to a halt for the past months. Pressures from the EU and Russia for a way out from the status quo, however, have now increased with the Vilnius Summit approaching. The six former soviet states are expected to announce their commitment to tightening ties with the EU on this occasion. The risk is that the Tymoshenko deadlock could lead Ukraine to choose the easy way (EUrAsEC) and reverse its steps in favour of Russia. In order to avoid this, the EU has recently accepted to discuss Ukraine’s offer of transferring Yulia Tymoshenko to Germany for medical treatment. This solution would imply her release from prison but would not permit her to run for presidency nor even live in Ukraine as she would automatically be considered as a criminal. The EU should be cautious not to agree too hastily to this proposal as it could be considered contrary to its basic principles of respect of law and transparency of justice. Until the end of November, the EU has still time to discuss, with Ukraine’s president, the best possible options to minimize undermining the the original requirement. It should be kept in mind that this leaves Russia time to counter-attack as well. The irony behind those increasing tensions is that NATO will hold fictional war games on the Russian border in the beginning of November, just before the Vilnius summit, thus adding some physical reality to the already existing diplomatic tension.
HÉLÈNE MAGHIN is a second year European Studies German pathway BA student at King’s College London.
By Juan José Rivas
n October 8, 2013, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong publicly criticized, in an interview with CNN, the US’s shutdown and the risk of default, saying that it was a longterm damage to the American image on an international scale. The government shutdown forced President Obama to cancel his visit to the annual APEC summit, where he was the only member-state leader missing.
The shutdown is the latest sign of what leaders like Putin or Xi Jinping have been describing for a long time as American decline. The clear symptoms of American stagnation provoked an arms race which resembles Reagan’s deathblow to the Soviet Union in the 80’s. Beijing’s military expenses have more than doubled since 2006, while Russia has the third largest military budget and Putin has promised that he will re-arm the Russian army by the end of the decade.
But the American shutdown or the risk of not reaching an agreement on the US debt issue are not the only issues that raise anxiety in the Asia-Pacific region. Escalating nationalist speeches and rising military budgets of member-states to the APEC are creating a situation of chronic tension in the South China Sea, on whose water trade Singapore and most members depend for the prosperity of their economies.
This move puts economic pressure on a weakened America that is forced to face new military expenditures to keep control. With just a small symptom of recovery and the biggest debt in history, not even Obama’s promise to extend American presence by 60% of the total U.S. Navy instead of the traditional 50 percent is being taken as enough guarantee by his own allies.
This rising military expenditure is not the only sign of a dangerous situation that is being played in the back-yards of the Home Policy offices of member-states, a situation that is slowly starting to resemble a small-scale Cold War in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since he was elected for a second time in 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has adopted some revolutionary measures. First of all, he has raised, for the first time in Japanese history, the military budget (although only by 0.8 percent). Secondly, his political programme includes amending the Japanese Con-
stitution to recognize the existence of a standing army instead of just a nominal Self-Defence Force. Last of all, he has set up radar stations and augmented military presence in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a territory contested with China.
facturing city for Taiwanese technological products. Xi Jinping’s plan for building pipe-lines and railways across Central Asia was the focus of his visit to this region in mid-September. Currently, the Hamburg-Zhengzhou railway ferries around 1.5 million dollars from China to Europe, deviating them from the South China Sea. If the Chinese and Kazakh expectations are confirmed, ChineseEuropean trade through Central Asia could reach USD $4.5 billion worth of trade by the end of the decade.
The Chinese-Russian threat over the South China Sea is alienating other governments, not only Japan and the US, creating a climate of tension that could see the diminishing of trade, which is one of the APEC’s main goal. China considers the South China Seas as 80 percent its territory, and this has led countries like VietMost important of all, every single cent that is shipped nam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, and even their cultural through Central Asia is a cent that is not shipped through the ally, Singapore, to take measuSouth China Sea. The message res. ”The economic crisis has created an American is clear, and is the most eloquent message that could be In 2013, China fired on power vacuum that Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” sent to those governments a Vietnamese ship that was and Putin’s “Eurasian Union” are trying to fill. ” sharing coastal ambitions with sailing on waters claimed by the China: Xi Jinping wants to Middle Kingdom. Previously, in diminish Chinese dependence 2012, Chinese vessels expelled Filipino fishermen out of a disputed on the South China Sea. And at the same time, if China wants to shoal. The aggressive Chinese policy reached a turning point in become less dependent on Pacific transport, it is a sign that soJuly, when China and Russia had a round of military exercises in mething may happen there. the Pacific Coast – the largest combined naval show in their history so far. This provoked a reaction, with an American fleet doing No Central Asian country is a member of the APEC. Devitheir own military exercises along Japanese and Filipino ships. And ating trade from the APEC area and carrying an aggressive policy even more significant than an American shutdown, Singapore al- against them will definitely affect economic prospects. China’s lowed an American ship to anchor in their highly strategic port on desire to become less vulnerable from the coast is a historical goal April 18, this year, the first time an American war-ship has been of its government. No one can forget that the main threats to allowed to do so in the city-state. China in the XIXth and XXth centuries always came from the sea. The arms race is affecting the four biggest APEC memberstates, and all those countries involved in South China Sea commerce. Rising tensions are the result of a process of re-balancing status quo of power within the region. The economic crisis has created an American power vacuum that Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” and Putin’s “Eurasian Union” are trying to fill. The reaction is an arms race, in which the smaller countries (Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei), feeling the United States incapable of keeping the pushing Russian -Chinese standards, have started to invest in a navy of their own. This re-balancing process is therefore a natural consequence. No one within the APEC wants a real war, the consequences of which would be catastrophic for all memberstates: Russia still depends on their exports of oil and gas, and China depends on the American market to sell their products. The same happens with all other economies, including Japan, and, most of all, Singapore. But these tensions and nationalist policies can provoke a slow-down of international trade, especially if China keeps bombing Vietnamese vessels, expelling Filipino fishermen, and closing Japanese radar stations. Chinese ambitions in Central Asia are even more threatening for the APEC’s prospects than these shows of power. On July 17, 2013, the Chinese government inaugurated a new railway connecting Hamburg with Zhengzhou, the largest inland manu-
China’s expansion in Central Asia can be seen as a move that would bring it independence from the rest of the Asia-Pacific area by diminishing its dependence on a contested sea, and therefore enabling the Chinese government to pursue its nationalist policy even more aggressively without having to fear punishment. Also, in the APEC summit, President Xi announced his desire to cooperate with Russia on securing and policing the Asia-Pacific region, a clear move against the US and their allies, and towards Chinese supremacy in the region. If this becomes true, China would gain an incredible ascendancy in the Summit, an ascendancy that the US will not be able to challenge, leaving at the mercy of Beijing the decisionmaking within the APEC. It is for these reasons that Obama’s absence in the Summit (even if represented by John Kerry) and the American shutdown can cause such a damage in a region of the world that is suffering an ever-growing pressure from an evergrowing single power.
JUAN JOSÉ RIVAS is a third year History BA student at King’s College London.
By Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo
he EU and China are central actors in global affairs, thus, it is imperative to understand the nature of their relationship. Sino-European relations have the potential to influence a range of issues affecting most countries around the world â€“ from climate change to counter-piracy to financial governance. Beyond the narrative of Europe's decline and China's rise, relations between the EU and China are moving beyond ideological enmity to practical cooperation. It seems that Brussels and Beijing are leaving aside their political and economic differences to concentrate on forging a partnership based on mutual respect and, more importantly, interest-driven cooperation in key areas. Throughout the 1990s, the EU and China had an uneasy and, at times, even confrontational relationship. Following the Tiananmen incident in 1989, Brussels cancelled high level contacts and economic aid while implementing an arms embargo. Furthermore, the bilateral political dialogue initiated in 1994 was weakened by the establishment of a human rights dialogue one year later. This dialogue reflected the priorities of EU member states, based on an ideological promotion of democracy and human rights in a post-Cold War environment wherein these ideas were touted as universal. Thus, the dialogue between the EU and China could be better described as a monologue during its early years.
Indeed, the EU initially opposed Chinese membership of the WTO on the grounds that China was not a market economy. Certainly, economic protectionism partly informed the EU's opposition, but ideology was a more important driver of Brussels' position. Western-style market economics had triumphed over state interventionism. China's economic model was perceived as an anachronistic Cold War remnant, therefore, the EU should teach China how to best run its economy. Lessons included necessary market-driven reforms prior to and during the early years of WTO membership. The nature of the relationship between the EU and China started to shift in the early 2000s. In 2001, the Commission published Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships. This document overhauled the EU's strategy towards Asia, based until then on the belief that Brussels should support a one-size-fits-all â€œmodernizationâ€? of Asia along Western lines. The 2001 document directed European policy towards the establishment of strategic partnerships with key countries. Significantly, China was the first country with which the EU formalised a strategic partnership. Three reasons best explain why the EU-China partnership was a priority for Brussels. Firstly, economic interest; China is the second largest trading partner of
the EU. Meanwhile, the EU is China's largest trading partner. The second reason behind the prioritisation of Sino-European partnership is the desire by both Beijing and Brussels to be recognised as important players in global affairs. Thirdly, opposition to the perceived unilateralism of George W. Bush’s administration also brought the EU and China closer to each other. The establishment of the partnership transformed meetings between the EU and China into real dialogue. Beijing was developing into an increasingly central actor to the resolution of international conundrums. China, for example, became key to the global trade regime shortly after joining the WTO. Meanwhile, transnational criminal activities had replaced inter-state conflict as the main threat to national security. The Sino-European dialogue allowed both parties to discuss issues of mutual concern in which both of them had an input at the global level. Yet, their dialogue failed to produce tangible results. Vague declarations rather than specific initiatives were the main outcome.
“China, for example, became key to the global trade regime shortly after joining the WTO.” A genuine partnership with practical outcomes, however, is now starting to emerge. This partnership is based on two pillars: issue-specific information sharing and cooperation at the bilateral level and joint implementation of multilateral initiatives. Regarding the first pillar, Beijing and Brussels hold over 40 ministerial and official level dialogues. Even though the evolution of the annual bilateral summit at the head of government level attracts most media attention, narrowly defined meetings and working groups are the real drivers of the emerging partnership. A wide range of issues are discussed by local, regional and national experts and officials who shape and implement policy. Topics covered include migration, cyber issues, urbanisation and food safety, among others. To understand the degree to which the Sino-European partnership has strengthened recently, it is necessary to look at the work conducted within these expert gatherings. A good example is climate change. Over the last two years, bilateral programmes on environmental governance, environmental sustainability and water have been launched. These programmes include specific goals to be achieved mainly through information sharing, capacity building and technical cooperation, and involve public and private sector stakeholders. These underscore the extent to which European and Chinese goals on climate change are more similar than normally acknowledged. Cooperation at the bilateral level is the result of many factors, but two stand out. Firstly, the Lisbon Treaty has conferred
legal personality and legitimacy to the EU as a foreign policy actor. In private meetings, European officials maintain that China has been keen to deal directly with Brussels since the Lisbon Treaty came into force. The second factor that explains increasing bilateral cooperation is China’s preference for non-binding agreements. Most EU officials understand this and have been able to tone down the demands from some member states to take a legalistic approach to bilateral relations. The result has been a significant improvement in the relationship between Beijing and Brussels. The second pillar underpinning a strengthening Sino-European partnership is the joint implementation of multilateral initiatives. The EU has long supported multilateral frameworks to solve transnational problems. It has joined some of them and coordinates the position of the EU in many others. China is part of a growing number of institutions and is taking an active role in most of them. Most noticeably, Beijing has become more assertive in UNSC discussions and financial governance-related institutions. This assertiveness can sometimes lead to clashes with Western countries, but the upside is China's willingness to engage with other actors in multilateral settings. As a result of the increase in the number of issues better tackled through multilateral cooperation, the EU and China have found themselves cooperating on a regular basis. Counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden is a case in point. EUNAVFOR and the Chinese navy are part of a group of over 25 militaries jointly working to keep trade flowing. Financial governance is another area in which Beijing and Brussels are now part of a multilateral framework in which regular cooperation takes place. The People's Bank of China and the European Central Bank have helped to shape the Basel III Accord on banking regulation agreed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. In summary, the EU and China now cooperate through multiple channels, which enhance knowledge of each other and thus reinforce their partnership. It is not an exaggeration to argue that the relationship between the EU and China has suffered dramatic changes over the past 20 years. The establishment of a political dialogue in 1994 laid the basis for the 2003 partnership agreement on which bilateral relations between the two powers rest today. But it has been the practicalities of issue-specific cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels that have created a solid foundation for an enduring partnership between Beijing and Brussels. DR. RAMON PACHECO PARDO is a lecturer in the Department of European & International Studies at King’s College London. He is also an associate at King’s College London’s Lau China Institute.
By Emily Couch
hen people think of youth opposition in China, the horrifying images of the Tiananmen Square immediately come to mind. 2013 has seen the marking of the 24th anniversary of the massacre, which brings the following question to the fore: Where do young Chinese people now stand in relation to the Communist Party? In the 19th and 20th century, political radicalism most often stemmed from the student intelligentsia, and one need only think of Vladimir Lenin and China’s own Mao Zedong, who began his anti-government path in earnest during his time at Peking University, to illustrate this. Though no revolution took place, the students who participated in Tiananmen Square and the protests leading up to it demonstrated a similar passionate desire for genu-
”(…) an illusion of freedom which dissuades them from wanting real political change.” ine change. On the funeral of liberal former general secretary Hu Yaobang on April 22, 1989, more than 100,000 students demonstrated against the government. Figures in the millions were reached on the fateful day of the massacre. One would think that such violent treatment at the hands of the government would have furthered the radicalism among Chinese youth, but it would seem that the opposite is true. There is no denying that distrust towards the Communist Party in China’s younger generation is common, and the increased use of technology has both lead to and been endemic of this cynicism. In the last three years, we have witnessed the internet rapidly become an essential tool for political criticism, with WikiLeaks and web use by Arab Spring protestors being notable examples. China too follows this trend of the virtual world, and official figures show that the country now has 591 million internet users. Of these, 60 percent of them are under 30 years old; giving young people unprecedented freedom to criticise the ruling elite. Han Han, despite being only 29 years old, is China’s most read blogger, is another example of the internet as an outlet for political dissidence. Han Han blogs about key political issues such as censorship, China’s increasing wealth divide and corruption, and his posts are avidly followed by young people. His posting of
empty speech marks in 2010 to represent writer Liu Xiabo’s empty seat at the Nobel Prize ceremony alone drew 1.5 million hits. American assistant professor, Dr. Kelly Inglis, from the United International College in Zuhai, supports this cynicism among the youth, stating that from her experience, “students are not reluctant to criticize the government regarding specific policies.” Yet for all these clear signs of distrust, young people’s opposition seems to be as virtual as China’s version of twitter, Weibo. Unlike in countries such as Egypt, where the internet has facilitated real life actions such as the 2011 revolution, it seems that Chinese youth dissidence is confined to the virtual realm. The trial of Bo Xilai, the Chongqing Party Secretary, was surprisingly transmitted in its minutiae by the Communist Party over Weibo, with millions of people following the updates, suggesting a real political engagement among the youth. A student from Shanghai, Joey, currently studying for an LLM in Law at Bristol University, has a more skeptical view of the interest, stating, “many people followed the trial just to watch and make some jokes.” Even Han Han seems to lack real life radicalism, with his blog posts often relying on subtle wit and ambiguity. An obvious parallel here is with Russia’s Alexey Navalny who ran in this year’s Moscow mayoral elections. Though not as young, like Han Han, Navalny used his blog and Twitter account to great effect in rousing support. But unlike his clearly anti-Putinist Russian counterpart, Han Han has not yet made the leap from popular blogger to genuine political activist, which seems to characterise the attitude of Chinese youth as a whole. Popular culture and rampant consumerism in China is another reason why young people might not have the fighting spirit of 1989. Economic and cultural relaxation was implemented under Chairman Deng Xiaoping in his decade of reform in 197889, and in recent years, the government has followed in his
the country has enjoyed in recent years. According to the World Bank, in 2012, China attained a 7.8 percent growth rate compared to the United Kingdom’s mere 0.3 percent and the United States’ 2.2 percent. The country’s outstanding weathering of the recession is shown by the fact that between 2009-2011, economic figures remained between 9 and 10 percent when the UK and the US were both in negative numbers. With such marked generation of national wealth compared to their Western rivals, it is little wonder that the Chinese, including their young generation, feel a degree of goodwill towards the Communist Party. As Joey states, “If the government does good things for people, a little corruption can be accepted.” Since economic downturn usually forms the seedbed for active political opposition, it is unlikely that, if President Xi Jinping’s aim to stabilise economic output comes into fruition, we will see any mass youth uprising in the near future. The political shrewdness of the Communist government also seems to be successfully pre-empting youth opposition with the theory of implementing reform from above to stop revolution from below. This was begun in the Deng era when the President allowed multiple views to be heard so, as author Merle Goldman states, the Communist Party could “get more feedback so as to rule more responsibly.” The current government follows a similar ethos, with lecturer Wang Yukai from the Beijing Communist Party School admitting that, “the government will lose credibility if it can’t meet the publics demand”. He even commented that the widespread use of internet forms a large part of why the government is cracking down on corruption and allowing more information to be released. It is clear then that widespread mass radicalism is no longer a main characteristic of China’s youth and that apathy may be a cause for its absence. One must not underplay, however, the potential long -term effect of internet-induced cynicism in the younger generation, which will continue to push the Communist government into concessions. All too often the West is imperious about other countries’ need to miraculously become fully-fledged democratic states, but it is worth remembering that in Britain, it took almost half a millennia for full national enfranchisement to be implemented.
footsteps. Reality shows are increasingly standard fare on Chinese television, and the fact that people are able to vote by text message for reality TV shows, in addition to the wide variety of products available to them, likely gives China’s youth an illusion of freedom which dissuades them from wanting real political change. Russia’s Leon Trotsky wanted to consolidate Communist power by creating “homosovieticus.” The current Chinese government appears to be enjoying success by following the same principle; turning their youths into, what famous young intellectual Xu Zhiyuan bemoans as, “homoeconomicus.” A major roadblock to the creation of mass radicalism in China’s youth population is the exceptional economic success
Students, with their expert use of the internet and media, will continue to make the government dependent on their support, hopefully leading to a faster path of transformation. The grateful generation (who can remember the famine of the disastrous Great Leap Forward) will not always be around, but their cynical progeny will remain. So perhaps China’s youth will not have a “Great Leap Forward” into democracy, but that is no reason to say that the little steps they are taking are any less significant. EMILY COUCH is a first year English Literature BA student at King’s College London.
By Dr Enze Han
n October 25, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a There is no denying that China has faced substantial secuspeech in Beijing at a conference on diplomatic work with rity challenges in its dealings with neighboring countries in recent neighboring countries. As the first foreign policy conference since years. In the South China Sea, China’s “nine-dash point” territorial Xi became president, the speech he gave is significant in decipher- claim clashes with those of several Southeast Asian countries, most ing the focus the new government is placing on improving China’s notably the Philippines and Vietnam. Additionally, the continual relations with its neighbors. In Xi’s speech, he specifically empha- tension between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Issized that in the future, lands has significantly China’s strategic goals “The fact that the existing superpower is keeping an eye on deteriorated bilateral are to have “good China and the Asia Pacific region has created substantial relations and has all the neighborly” relations signs for further escalaopportunities and incentives for other countries in the with countries around tion. Earlier this year, China, to make them region to take advantage of this geostrategic competition reports of border clashmore politically friendes with India reignited between the reigning hegemon and the rising power.” ly and economically fears of a repeat of the integrated and to seek 1962 border war bedeeper security cooperation and closer people-to-people ties. It tween the two most populous countries in the world. Furthermore, seems the Chinese government has realized that in order to have a the ongoing regime change in Myanmar and its foreign policy emsmooth path in its continual “rise,” China needs a stable interna- bracement of the West, the United States in particular, greatly tional environment that is conducive to domestic economic alarmed Beijing about its geostrategic interests in Myanmar and growth and political stability. It is then imperative for China to potential security weakness on its Southwestern border. focus on its own “near abroad” to ameliorate other countries’ conMost significantly, however, is the fact that the issues cerns, and to build strong and amicable relationships with many of mentioned above, at some level, have to do with the United States’ them.
“pivot” towards Asia and its overall geostrategic reshuffling from the Atlantic theatre towards the Asia Pacific region, evidently aimed at the containment of China. The fact that the existing superpower is keeping an eye on China and the Asia Pacific region has created substantial opportunities and incentives for other countries in the region to take advantage of this geostrategic competition between the reigning hegemon and the rising power. In fact, in Beijing’s eyes, American interference is the predominant factor for emboldening countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam to openly challenge China in the South China Sea. Thus, for Beijing, the fundamental strategic challenge for its “peaceful rise” is how China and the US manage their competitive bilateral relations in the years to come. One often hears the argument that after the financial crisis in the West in 2008, Chinese foreign policy became overly aggressive. Confident in its continual economic growth while “smirking” at the troubled US and EU, the Chinese government has ostensibly overplayed its hand. Many Southeast Asian countries complained about China being bossy at the ASEAN Regional Forum in 2010, during which the Chinese foreign minister dismissed ASEAN countries as small countries. Through its influence on Cambodia, China also managed to exploit the disunity within ASEAN to shelve the South China Sea territorial dispute off the ASEAN Summit agenda in 2012. The inclusion of a Chinese map with the “nine-dash points” in the South China Sea in newly minted passports further infuriated the Philippines and Vietnam, with the former subsequently submitting its maritime claim to a UN arbitration tribunal, openly challenging the legal basis of China’s claim. Such Chinese assertiveness certainly alarmed many Southeast Asian countries, and has arguably played right into the US' hands by pushing these countries even closer to the American side for protection against China’s potential “aggression.” It seems now, however, China has realized the need to review its policies to patch up relations with its neighbors. In October 2013, both President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang made a swirl of visits to Southeast Asia. Xi visited Indonesia and Malaysia before attending the APEC meeting in Bali. During his visit to Indonesia, he became the first foreign leader to address the Indonesian parliament, during which he envisioned a “maritime Silk Road” linking China with Southeast Asia through trade. Xi also elevated China’s relationships with Indonesia and Malaysia to comprehensive strategic partnerships. Similarly, Premier Li attended the ASEAN Summit in Brunei, and visited both Vietnam and Thailand. In Vietnam, Li reached an agreement with the Vietnamese president in co-managing the maritime disputes between the two sides in a peaceful manner. In Thailand, Li addressed the Thai parliament and reached a memorandum of understanding to barter Thai agricultural products in exchange for Chinese investment in high-speed rail in Thailand. In September this year, China hosted a China-ASEAN expo in Nanning with many ASEAN heads of state attending. In October, Beijing also welcomed the Prime Ministers of India, Mongolia, and Russia. In particular, during Prime Minister Singh’s visit, China and India signed a border patrolling
agreement over contested border territories. Incidentally, the visits by the top two Chinese leaders to Southeast Asia coincided with the shutdown of the US federal government and the canceling of President Obama’s trip to Asia. The contrast has undoubtedly raised many concerns among Southeast Asian countries about US commitment to the region and the US’ strategic priorities. The long-term implication of Obama’s “no -show” is perhaps negligible, but it does not take much for the Chinese side to illustrate to its Southeast Asian neighbors the sober geographical fact that China is near while the US is far, and that China is committed to the region. China’s overtures to its neighbors have two seeming omissions; one is with the Philippines. China’s current approach seems to aim for the isolation of the Philippines in ASEAN, while diplomatically shunning bilateral engagements. More significant, however, is China’s direct confrontation with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. The Japanese side, for its part, has demonstrated a significant turn to the right since Shinzo Abe returned as the Prime Minister. The current Japanese government’s revisionist stance on Japan’s imperial history has constantly angered both China and South Korea, which has pushed the two closer than ever. With rising nationalism in both China and Japan over the islands dispute, it seems no immediate solution is in sight; any escalation of naval clashes between the two would be disastrous for the whole region. With the growing power and presence of China, and the US’ public commitment as a Pacific power, competition between the two will surely bring about many security uncertainties to the Asia Pacific region. Competition itself, if "positive-sum" and healthy, might be beneficial to many countries because they are now more likely to get better deals when courted by both China and the United States. However, if the competition becomes a "zero-sum" situation, smaller countries in the region might be squeezed and forced to pick sides. Currently, it seems such a choice might be hard, and many countries have decided on a “hedging” strategy by engaging China economically while seeking security assurance from the US. How such a balance can be maintained in the future is difficult to predict. With China now wooing its neighbors through its commitment to “good neighborly” foreign policy, many of its neighbors might have to think hard where their true interests lie.
DR ENZE HAN Is a Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London. He was formerly a post-doctoral fellow in the China and the World Program at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D in Political Science from the George Washington University.
By Muhammad Bakht Jamshaid Baryar
slamic militancy has spread like wild fire across North Africa, Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan in the last decade. To understand the reasons behind the trend of this pattern of militancy we need to analyze the role of the Pakistani military establishment and subsequent support from some factions in Middle East. These factors aided the spread of militancy across the MENA region and as of today there a number of flashpoints of militancy in the region. Pakistan's Strategic Depth During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan the Western intelligence agencies led by CIA and financed by Saudi oil money coordinated a massive guerrilla war against Kremlin. At the helm of this intelligence operation was Pakistan's premier intelligence agency ISI which was leading the distribution of funds, training of Mujaheddin and operations against Soviet presence in Kabul. After the success of Operation Cyclone and the withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Pakistani military indirectly aided Jihadist militants take power in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army had long been pursuing a doctrine of 'strategic depth' which combines tacit military and financial support of certain Islamic militant factions and the strategy of having a 'Pakistan Friendly' government in Kabul to deter arch-rival India.
â€?Afghanistan was no longer safe for major Islamic militant leaders and so they searched for new avenues and breeding grounds.â€? Thus Pakistani generals gave extensive covert support to militant groups of Gulbudin Hekmatyar and later Mullah Omar in throughout the 1990's. This enabled the formation of modern day Taliban, fueled warlord-led civil war in Afghanistan and turned Pakistan's tribal areas into major militant sanctuaries. The rise of Islamic militancy stemmed out of Western support of Jihadist elements in Afghanistan in the 1980's but it was consolidated under the light of Pakistani military establishment's misplaced and
misguided 'strategic depth'. It was General Hamid Gul, then in charge of the ISI who supported Mullah Omar's talibs who were later to become the much feared Taliban. The same Taliban who would later give support and refuge to Al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks. It will not be inaccurate to state that much of contemporary Islamic militancy took a firm foothold in Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal belt in the run up from 1979 to 1990's. Support from the Arab World During the 1980's some factions in Middle East, in particular the Saudis, greatly contributed to the Mujaheddin effort through financial and weapons support. Those were the same groups of militants who were to form the backbone of terrorist outfits like Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jangvi, Tehrik-eTaliban Pakistan and Al Qaeda with its various regional
In particular Yemen, Post war Iraq, Somalia, Libya and most recently Syria. To understand the mechanism behind the spread of this militancy and the accompanying wave of terrorism that this militant ideology brings we need to analyze the breeding grounds for militancy. Terrorism and militancy in particular Islamic Jihadist ideology flourishes in three types of states. The first are the postfailed states such as Iraq, Lybia and Syria. The second type are those that are in early stages of failing such as Pakistan. The last type are the failed states themselves such as Somalia. The reason why that militancy takes a firm foothold in these types of political conditions is that they provide the ideal confluence of ideological environment, political instability and chaotic conditions that are necessary for the survival of militant networks. The Future Today, the situation is far more complex than it has been in the recent years. Many countries are covertly supporting militancy in other regions for their strategic aims. At times this support is very overt especially in the case of Saudi support for rebels in Syria. Pakistanis are supporting militant factions in Kashmir and Afghanistan to serve their long term interests. The Iranian support Shiite militancy in Lebanon and surrounding regions in a bid to secure what it sees as regional security interests. The Qataris have been known to finance Sunni Islamic militants in Syria to counter Iranian influence and weaken Bashar ul Asad's embattled regime. It seems that militancy will keep on benefiting some stakeholders while damaging peace in the larger context but nowhere in the future there seems to be a point where we could see a solution to this problem.
offshoots. Money from oil rich nations was distributed by the ISI in the 1980's and 1990's, aiding militancy in Afghanistan. The whole scenario provided ideological support to militants in other regions and the militancy started to spread. Al Qaeda rather than a stand alone organization, developed itself as an umbrella outfit which provided coordination and leadership for various regional terrorist outfits. Spread across MENA Over the years, the militancy started gaining a foothold in the Middle East and North Africa. The central reason to spread of militancy was the pressure on Afghanistan as a militant safe haven after the US/NATO invasion in 2001. Afghanistan was no longer safe for major Islamic militant leaders and so they searched for new avenues and breeding grounds. As a result, we witnessed a surge of militancy and Jihadist elements across the MENA region.
In conclusion, what started as a struggle against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan became a breeding ground for contemporary Islamic militancy. The key players in the early stages were United States and its Western allies along with financiers from the Middle East, though the most crucial role was played by the Pakistani military establishment by injecting religious indoctrination into the Mujaheddin and aiding militancy in the name of religion to serve their regional strategic purposes. The actions of the parties turned a regional phenomenon into a transnational problem for the world and today's Islamic militancy is a major threat to world peace. MUHAMMAD BAKHT JAMSHAID BARYAR is a second year Politics of the International Economy BSc student at King's College London.
By Marlotte Van Dael
n Tuesday September 24th, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, expressing his commitment to focus his foreign policy efforts on the Middle East. President Obama identified four core interests of the United States in the region. These include the confrontation of external aggression against their allies and partners, the dismantlement of terrorist networks that threaten the American people, the intolerance of the development or use of weapons of mass destruction, and safeguarding the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Obama adds to this that besides these core interests, it is in America’s interest to see a Middle East and North Africa that are peaceful and prosperous. Obama clearly states: “we will continue to promote democracy, human rights and open markets, because we believe these practices achieve peace and prosperity”.
It has been shown that these aims set out by the United States are not easily achieved. A good example for this is Iraq, which is recognized by Obama himself as a difficult case. Not only was Iraq at the centre of concern threatening multiple US core interests such as the dismantlement of terrorism, the intolerance of weapons of mass destruction, and the safeguarding of the free flow of energy; Iraq was also a country in which the United States hoped to bring democracy. In his speech, Obama acknowledges that the objectives of democracy, human rights and open markets can rarely be achieved through unilateral American action, particularly military action: “Iraq shows us that democracy cannot be imposed by force”1. As a consequence of the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003 and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the fall of the Ba’athist regime, Iraq has transitioned from an authoritarian re-
gime to a democratically elected government. US troops withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011. Although the move towards a democracy in Iraq can be called progressive, it can be questioned whether this has resulted in a positive development for peace and prosperity. After a decade of US presence in the country, Iraq’s previously nationalised oil interests in 1973 have been opened up for foreign investors in order to reap the benefits of Iraq’s abundant oil resources. Whereas US oil companies had an important stake in the market in the first years, oil companies from China are increasingly more involved, seeking 30 percent of estimated exports in 2014. The Chinese, however, have not shown to be interested in
“Even though economic achievements are gained through the rapid increase in oil revenue, it is important for Iraq to set-up balanced and mutually rewarding alliances with international investors…”
Investments and subsequently hold on to its essential economic development.
More importantly, due to increasing ethno-sectarian violence and hostility towards the government, around 5,000 Iraqis have been killed since April this year. Militias and armed groups from both Sunni minorities and the Shia majority, led by Iraq’s security forces, bare responsibility. Additionally, al-Qaeda forces are heavily imposing their influence in the country again. A group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gives its allegiance to al-Qaeda and is responsible for many of the recent bombings. Prime Minister al-Maliki is calling on Obama to request for military assistance, including Apache helicopters and Predator drones, as his security forces are facing a tough challenge in preventing the violence from growing worse. Since the last US troops have left the country on December 18th 2011, the United States is again being consulted for additional aid. Even though there have been sounds of criticism from US lawmakers that Maliki is not trying hard enough to reach agreements with sectarian minorities including the Sunnis and Kurds, most recent sources inform that Obama is willing to help Iraq battle extremists and expand democratic practices.
Iraq’s political affairs. The country has seen great economic development over the last years. Annual GDP growth has grown from -7.8% in the year before US-led invasion (2002) to 8% in 2012. In addition, average daily oil production has increased from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2005 (b/d), to an average of 3 million b/d in 2013, while production is expected to rise by at least 500,000 b/d in 2014. As a result, Iraq is now the second largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia. Another major attainment is the reduced poverty rate by more than half from 54 percent in 2004 to 23 percent in 2011. However, even though economic achievements are gained through the rapid increase in oil revenue, it is important for Iraq to set-up balanced and mutually rewarding alliances with international investors, rather than simple sell-outs. Moreover, it is absolutely crucial that the increases in economic growth, exports and government revenues are responded to and invested in a proper manner. Since the approval of the constitution of Iraq by a referendum in 2005, multiple elections have taken place while Nouri alMaliki has been elected Prime Minister to be Head of Government since 2006. Although Iraq is going through substantial political development, Iraq faces the reality that its political system is dominated by fierce competition between political parties from various ethno-sectarian communities. As a result of this, gaining a real stable democracy has been a challenge, as well as the strengthening of national institutions and the rule of law. With the absence of well functioning institutions and good governance and economic policy making, it is difficult for Iraq to attract new Foreign Direct
In this light, the quest for prosperity and peace seems to be an ongoing struggle for Iraq. Furthermore, Maliki’s outreach to the US proves again the major importance of the United States in the region. Not only the US itself remains eager as always to show its power in order to secure its interests in the region, countries from the Middle East are also calling upon the dominant world power to help in its domestic affairs. This leads us back to Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, where one of his statements gives food for thought for the future of US-Middle East relations: “The danger for the world is not an America that is eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is that the United States . . . may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill”. Nevertheless, in the end it comes down to the ability of the local governments in the Middle East to enforce enduring political and economic development. MARLOTTE VAN DAEL is an International Political Economy MA student at King's College London.
By Charlotte le Maignan
uclear proliferation is an ugly word but worse still, it is a scary one- one that evokes the Cold war, crazy communist leaders, tensions and uncertainties. But also closer to us, one that revives the trauma of 9/11. Since 2003, the Islamic Republic of Iran- one of the countries outlined by Georges W. Bush as the axis of evil in his 2002 state of the union address- has been developing a nuclear program of its own. Iranian nuclear ambitions have not been looked upon very favourably by the US and the West but especially by Israel who fears that a nuclear Iran would be a threat to its very own existence. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did nothing to alleviate this concern when he stated in 2012 that Israel was evil and that it should be wiped off the map.
more interest than his predecessor Ahmadinejad in engaging with the West, highlighted by Iran's involvement in talks about its nuclear program in Geneva in October with 6 major powers and its visit to the UN in September. Since the hostage crisis of 1979, there has been no American representation in Tehran. Rouhani's appointment of Javad Zariff an American educated diplomat who was former ambassador to the UN as his foreign minister also shows that Iran is moving into a more conciliatory phase. The summit of October 15th is an undeniable breakthrough that has brought to the table East and West and raised issues such as the end-state of the Iranian nuclear programme. "Agreement on the programme will pave the way for an easier relationship, " says James Blitz, a Financial Times journalist. Internal politics in Iran
Rouhani and Zarif's moderate voices ( and Twitter accounts ) The election of a new president in Iran last June: the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, gave hope to restart the abandoned negotiations on Iran's programme. Rouhani has indeed shown
The election of President Rouhani is a glimmer of hope for many Iranians when their economy is crippled with American economic sanctions on oil and banks. During the 8-year presidency of Ahmadinejad, the percentage of Iranian families living under the poverty line has doubled and is now at 40percent. The government
preservation. Historical record also show that when countries become nuclear powers, they become less bellicose and more careful ( China, India and Pakistan have all acted according to that logic.) Regional proliferation is another worry of western analysts and the thought of a middle-eastern arms race a scary prospect. This seems however highly improbable as Israel has retained its nuclear monopoly for 40 years when it was infinitely more threatening to the Arab world as a whole than Iran is now. Israel's regional nuclear monopoly calls for some balance. And Waltz go as far as arguing that a nuclear Iran "would be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability in the Middle-east" After all, it remains an unchallenged truth that two nuclear powers have never gone on a full-scale war with each other. The necessity to engage with Iran The stage where containment was still a viable foreign policy for the West passed and now it is vital that western leaders engage with Iran in a constructive manner. Neither Zarif nor Rouhani can afford one-sided concessions on Iran's nuclear program. " A stupid idealist who has not achieved anything in his diplomatic life - this is what I am called in Iran" admitted Mohammed Javad Zarif to Robin Wright in an interview for Time. If Iran is not granted at least a limited right to enrich uranium for domestic nuclear energy, it will never agree to start constraining its nuclear programme.
is 28 billion dollars in debt, and the rate of inflation at 40percent is smothering the Iranian middle class that has been subsequently pushing for reform.
Three months into his presidency, Iranians already remind their new leader of his promises of reform. And if he fails to act, the hardliners who deeply criticize his approach to foreign policy might very well win the next election. Elected with a comfortable majority, Rouhani is still far from being a consensual president. "Nuclear energy is our absolute right. But the question is whether you agree or whether you are ready to make a deal over our national interest." asked lawmaker Pesmanfar to foreign minister Zarif during a parliamentary session. Nuclear deterrence and regional stabiliy The Iranian regime is not innately irrational and policy is not made by "mad Mullahs" but by perfectly sane ayatollahs who just want to survive, reminds academic Kenneth Waltz. Arguing therefore that the logic of nuclear deterrence does not apply to Iran is a misunderstanding of how States behave in the international system. Iran leaders may indulge in hateful rhetoric but they show no propensity for self-destruction and will always act to secure their own-
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress must refrain from imposing yet new sanctions on Iran before a workable agreement is reached. Rouhani's election, a moderate voice among Iranian hardliners, is an open-window for the solving of the nuclear issue but if the West fails to play its card wisely, the moment will pass. CHARLOTTE LE MAIGNAN is a second year International Politics BA student at Kingâ€™s College London.
By Ali Ahmed Al Sayegh
orty-one years ago Fred Halliday published Arabia without Sultans, a seminal book that sparked a debate that resonates still today. Academics such as Christopher Davidson and Krstian Ulrichsen have been highly critical of the Gulf States, both predicting the fall of the monarchies sooner rather than later. However, despite all this rhetoric the royal families are surviving and, moreover, thriving economically and socially. Why is this the case? How are such so called â€œautocraticâ€? regimes able to survive and thrive? What makes them so popular with their people? The answer is simple: Democracy. Democracy does exist in the Gulf States; however, it is conceived and practiced very differently than that which America has tried to export. Gulf democracy has its roots in the tribal organization of the region. It is easy for one to simplify the regional situation and argue that all Gulf States are the same, in the sense that they share a common history, culture, political system, and religious beliefs. To some degree, one would not be mistaken in that assumption. However, one has to be extremely careful as sometimes there are significant differences especially in the culture. That said, it is my argument that all the Gulf States share the Majlis System, the democracy of the tribes. In this article my aim is to explain how this Majlis System of democracy works and why it has brought
both legitimacy and popularity to the ruling families. The focus here will be on the United Arab Emirates. The Majlis System A Majlis (plural majalis) is simply a place where members of the community meet together to discuss matters of concern. The Majlis can take a number of forms. It can be a large, formal reception hall, a simple guesthouse, or a tent pitched in the desert. All forms share one thing in common and that is they serve to bring people together to discuss a range of issues and concerns. There are a number of different types of Majalis and their usage ranges from a place where friends and family meet and play card games, discuss football matches, and watch television, to a place where senior tribesmen meet with the Sheikh and discuss matters that concern the running of the country. It is the latter that is a matter of discussion here and not the former. The Majalis are typically open to welcome visitors on a daily basis. A tribal sheikh will entertain and listen to the men (and sometimes women) of his tribe at a time known to all members of the tribe. The picture in this article was taken at the Al Dhaid palace located in the outskirts of the City of Shrajah one of the Seven
Emirates making up the UAE federation. His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of the armed forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on this event: “I am very pleased to meet you again to emphasise our keen interest in communicating with you, listening to you, learning about your conditions and taking care of your interests and affairs in order to elevate the level of service to the nation and nationals.” Although the Majlis system works relatively well, there are some glitches that one must acknowledge. The fact that the Majlis is open to all – citizens, residents, and visitors – can make it a rather unwieldy affair to organize people into categories of who wants to pay their respects, who has a favour to ask, and who has a concern to voice. In response to this, the Crown Prince’s Court in Abu Dhabi, for example, has created a computerized system for receiving people. So while in the past it was an open door, firstcome-first-served basis today Emiratis register their names and then wait until they receive notification of a date upon which the Sheikh will receive them and listen to their concerns. This usually takes a week to process but urgent cases are seen as soon as humanly possible. Additionally, Abu Dhabi, like most of the other Gulf States, have taken measures to assure that the majlis system is not abused and so individuals can attend two majalis a year. These new systems and regulations have been carefully created to ensure that all citizens have equal access to their rulers and that no one individual or tribe can monopolize the ruler’s time and attention.. At the tribal level, the majlis of the sheikh is still a very open affair and members of the tribe have unlimited access to their sheikh and can raise issues every day of the week. While I was an intern at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, I devised a table to present to the Embassy staff to explain how the Majlis System works: Royal Family
Senior Tribesman (elected by his Tribe)
Senior Tribesman (elected by his Tribe)
Senior Tribesman (elected by his Tribe)
Different Tribes The above diagram begins to make clear why and how tribal democracy is different than democracy as it works elsewhere. The American style of “one man, one vote” will not work in the Gulf States because the fundamental organization of society and hence political life is not individually based but tribally. The tribes of the UAE and all across the Gulf are not all equal in size. Some tribes, like the Al Manasir are huge and others, like the Bah’arna Tribe (the only Shi’a tribe in the UAE) make up only 2% of the population. If the American version of democracy was im-
plemented then tribes such as the Bah’arna who are currently very prominent and prosperous in the UAE will lose their voice in government. However, under the system of the Majlis the Bah’arna tribe are able to voice their opinions and gain prominent positions in the government.
“Democracy does exist in the Gulf States; however, it is conceived and practiced very differently than that which America has tried to export.“ Final Take In summary, although there is a large inclination by both the media and academics to categorize the Gulf States as “autocratic” and “anachronistic” and make speculations about their immanent collapse; they have been able to stand the test of time. This is especially true now on the fringes of the so called “Arab spring” that shook the Arab world and deposed many truly autocratic regimes. Dr Anwar Gargash, chairman of the UAE National Election Committee, who oversees elections to the Federal National Council has said publicly that, “political change will occur gradually, suiting the country’s temperament.” Moreover, Dr Gargash also states that, “creating meaningful participation is a necessity, not a slideshow and full-fledged democracy will not happen overnight”. The Majlis system of representation in the UAE and all the other Gulf States has proven to be very effective in providing people with access to their government. However, as the populations increase across the Gulf States this system will have to grow and change too. In the future the majlis system may not longer be viable but , as the Gulf States understand, what they need is not a revolution, but a slow and gradual evolution of new processes and systems. This process has already begun in Abu Dhabi. ALI AHMED AL SAYEGH is a Graduate student in MA of International Political Economy at King’s College London.
By Olivia Jones
eace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians were reignited by the Obama administration in July of this year. As the media pundits rally around the prospect of another Arafat – Rubin style handshake and hopes of an Oslo Accord type reconciliation there is a deeper question to be asked: Whose peace, and at what price?
In fact, the peace agreements that were struck, brought advantages to only one side and the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people received no improvement. What was meant to be an interim agreement, a corridor to further agreements, put the furthering of Palestinian rights in a state of stagnant decay. Yossi Beilin, an architect of the 1993 accords stated in 2012 that "The extremists on both sides were very much against it until they lePeace talks of any kind, on first glance, seem an indubitably arned that this idea might not be a corridor but a living room – good thing. Without peace there is no stability, there can be no and the most convenient living room in the world – to continue progress. Peace is, surely, prefethe settlements or not to divide rable to violence. The Oslo ”In fact, the peace agreements that were struck, the land…No one thought the Peace Accords of 1993 were PA would be there for 20 years. brought advantages to only one side and the It should have ended. So I find heralded as one such example of the mutual benefits peace myself in a bizarre situation in humanitarian situation of the Palestinian could bring. They established which I am actually asking to people received no improvement. ” the Palestinian Authority as an put an end to it. But the bottom interim government, setting in line is that, paradoxically, all motion plans for a 5-year withdrawal of Israeli authorities from those who cursed Oslo are now cherishing it." Palestinian territory. The Declaration of Principle of Self Government (Oslo Agreement) set about Israel’s military withdrawal from The accords set up 3 temporary distinct administrative diGaza and Jericho within four months. A Palestinian peace force visions in the West Bank. Zone A is under full control of the Pawould be responsible for internal security whilst Israel maintained lestinian Authority, Zone B is under joint Israeli-Palestinian Autcontrol of external security and foreign affairs. The newly formed hority control, and Zone C is under full Israeli control. Whilst it Palestinian Authority would have power over education, health, should have been handed back to the Palestinians by 1999, Zone social welfare, direct taxation and tourism. Elections for this new, C still constitutes 60% of the West Bank. Area C is allocated for supposedly semi-sovereign government would take place within the benefit of the Israeli settlements, which are deemed illegal unnine months. der international law. This is to the detriment of the Palestinian
people, restricting access to basic needs such as education and healthcare. A UN OCHA report states that in 2012, ‘540 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, including 165 residential structures, were demolished due to lack of Israeli-issued permits, displacing 815 people, over half of them children.’ Moreover, 70% of communities do not have access to the water network, receiving one fifth of the W.H.O.’s recommended intake of water. The problem is further exacerbated by settler activities, diverting springs and preventing Palestinian access to the springs through threats and intimidation. In Gaza, the situation is far worse. Some have referred to it as the largest outdoor prison. There is an ongoing land, sea and air blockade of the whole of the Gaza strip that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. The UN OCHA produced statistics are shocking. Food shortages are vast, with 85% of the population counted as food insecure. 35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli imposed restrictions. 34% of the Gazan workforce and over 50% of youth are unemployed. A severe fuel and electricity shortage results in outages of up to 12 hours a day. Over 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption without treatment. This is, of course, only a limited picture. Numbers cannot illustrate the true tragedy of the situation, but they provide a snapshot of the reality of life in the occupied Palestinian Territory. Moreover, they demonstrate the depth of the failures of past peace accords to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the population. Past attempts at peace treaties have achieved such appalling results because they benefit the Israeli population disproportionally. When two actors go to the negotiating table with unequal power behind them, it is unlikely that a mutually beneficial state of peace will be achieved. The unequal power relationship between
the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators has hardly changed. Israel hugely benefits from almost unquestioning moral approval by the American government and Congress. Economically and politically, Israel holds the upper hand on the world stage. It is also important to address the representativeness of the Palestinian negotiators. After the breakdown of democracy in Palestine after the 2006 elections, the Palestinian negotiators now lack democratic accountability. It is difficult to assess whose interests the negotiators represent. The Gazan blockade and its geographic separation from the West Bank means the negotiators are much more likely to represent the interests of Fatah and West Bank Palestinians. So before we rally around the successes of the next round of peace talks, there must be a deeper examination of the benefactors of this peace. There should be a greater effort to bring a wider range of voices to the negotiating table. International facilitators should consist of more than just the U.S. government, including governments that are less partial to the interests of one side over another. Most importantly, if peace deals do not bring about access to basic humanitarian needs of water, healthcare and education, then they are not deals worth valuing. OLIVIA JONES is a second year International Politics BA student at King's College London.
By Dean Forrester
ollowing months of violent disorder, calm seems to have returned to Egypt. "Now in Cairo, it's like all people are back to their daily routine. Every one is going to school and to work," according to one resident of the Egyptian capital, Omar Khaled Marie. "It's more peaceful now compared to the past four months. From two months ago the military force was all around Egypt and they were in the streets twenty four hours because they were expecting something to happen from the Muslim Brotherhood." Now, he noted, the military's presence on the street was reduced, but still there. This is a surprising contrast to a few months ago when the country was gripped by turmoil and protest. After millions demanded the ex-President, Mohammad Morsi, be removed, many took to the streets again protesting against that removal. Some called this toppling of President Morsi a military-backed popular revolution but others called it a coup which allowed the military to regain dominance in the Egyptian political system. Either way it was hardly a bloodless process, which was a significant draw of international criticism. Now unrest is once again emerging as the former President Morsi is put on trial, possibly for his life. To reflect on the state of Egypt, I spoke to the Egyptian Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Mohamed Ashraf El-Kholy, inside his country's tastefully decadent embassy in Mayfair. Sat on a crimson leather armchair, inside what seemed to be a room for important guests, the ambassador spoke in a faintly mumbled tone and often ambiguously. "The relation with the United Kingdom I think is very well. Of course, since the revolution on the 30th June, it is a little bit affected. The British lawmakers want to be sure that, if there is any military equipment that has been bought or will be bought from the UK, it is not used against demonstrators. They have a very sensitive issue here if this equipment or arms are used against civilians or demonstrators." The fact Mr. El-Kholy was summoned by the British Government suggests the relation between Egypt and the UK isnâ€™t quite as sound as he let on. Nonetheless, I asked why these concerns were raised. "Lawmakers here and NGO's like Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty International keep saying maybe some people can be killed by western weapons. So it is more of a kind of internal policy and they have to take care if these things are used or not but it's not exactly this but they want to be sure they aren't misused."
Many in the West are also concerned that aid could be misused or even condone the new regime. For instance, America's $1.7bn a year package to Egypt, most of it military aid. After the coup, many in the American government voiced serious moral and legal concerns about continuing this military aid. Any suspension of this would come with repercussions but can America really have
another hypocrisy on its conscience? The Ambassador's answer to a question on how justified these concerns are was noticeably cold. "It is their own decision, we don't mind if its justified or not. There is a strategic relation between the UK, Egypt, European countries and the United States, and if they don't want, then it is an open market for Egypt to have whatever they need for their security. So the only problem we care about is it will have an economic effect on both sides." Clearly morality is not a factor in his eyes. He also failed to mention the disturbingly high civilian death toll as a prompt for Western concerns, so I raised the issues. “The death toll on all the events happened in august, it reached one thousand. But the problem is when you measure the death toll and you think it only happens in the sitins, this is not true.” But aside from the deaths of soldiers in Sinai and from various killings throughout Egypt, roughly 560 civilians were killed in the removal of the Cairo sitin camps, why?
”The loss of life, even if they are 1 or 2 or 500, we totally feel sorry for it, but the problem is a big amount of people have been staying there, trying to disobey law and order. This group of people is not all peaceful demonstrators, they are carrying riffles and machines guns, of course they will hurt the police and also themselves.” But not every single casualty had a gun, so according to the ambassador, they would have all been killed by stray bullets which have missed their original taget. Even with this taken into account, I still found the death toll staggeringly high. This was a point I tried to get across but the ambassador simply claimed his country did nothing wrong. Another concern raised by many western governments was the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, though apparently I was mistaken in this question. "Nobody was arrested because they are Muslim Brotherhood, because many of their leaders are still outside and they have been discussing political settlement with them.” One such leader was Essam El-Erain. He has now been arrested. “Everybody has been either tried incite people for violence, maybe he did something wrong with law and order or national security." The only crackdown, the Ambassador assured me, was on the secret militia elements of the group, not the Freedom and Justice Party, as if removing the military elements from Hamas. Comparing Egypt’s events to those abroad seemed to be a recurring idiosyncrasy from the ambassador. Islam in the Muslim Brotherhood was another reason for
their punishment. “Religion is religion and politics is politics,” the ambassador asserted. Though I'm sure many liberals would sigh with relief at his condemnation of political Islam, it is easy to think that the arrests of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members are in fact politically motivated. Mainly because there have been no internal arrests within the new regime, no one charged with things like ‘inciting violence’. Symbolic proof of this point would be the fact that, for technical reasons, Mumbarak is now out of prison under house arrest.
"No, no one fears the army because they said several time that they are going to release their grip on power. If they don't, then we are going to protest again for sure." Egypt’s future remains very unclear. Could democracy be on the horizon or is the vast Egyptian military just reconsolidating it’s power once again? I do not doubt that some pro-Morsi activists used weapons and violence, it is just appears that such a crackdown on the organization would suggest that the army isn’t going anywhere soon. It wouldn’t be hard to believe that the remnants of this old regime still exist somewhere in the new government. Worse yet, it wouldn’t be hard to believe it will exist in the next ‘democratic’ government. I asked Omar if he feared the military would stay in power and his answer seems to be the prevailing mood in Egypt. "No, no one fears the army because they said several time that they are going to release their grip on power. If they don't, then we are going to protest again for sure." Now there is something that gives me hope.
DEAN FORRESTER is a first year International Politics BA student at King’s College London. He is also the editor-in-chief of The International Citizen.
By Hein de Haas
hat is the link between migration and the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa? Most people think about the impact of revolutions in countries such as in Tunisia and Egypt on trans-Mediterranean boat migration and the massdisplacement of refugees resulting from the civil war in Syria. This often amalgamates into an image of a rising tide or even an ‘invasion’ of refugees and migrants heading for Europe. This imagery is often amplified by sensationalist media coverage and politicians constructing a ‘migrant threat’ in order to rally support or distract the attention away from thorny domestic issues.
It is a myth that the ‘Arab Spring’ has led to large-scale migration to Europe. Since the outbreak of the popular uprisings, European media and politicians have been obsessed with the imaginary fear of massive waves of North Africans invading Europe. These sensational predictions were speculative and lacked any scientific basis, so it should come as no surprise that these have never materialized. The number of Syrian refugees moving to Europe in response to the crisis has actually remained small. The Arab Spring had significant implications for migration and mobility internally. While the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, have remained relatively peaceful, the violent conflicts in Libya and Syr-
ia generated large flows of refugees, most of whom fled to neighbouring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt in the case of Libyans and Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and even Libya for Syrians. The second group of displaced people consists of the workers who lived in these countries for years. Most of them tried to return home in the wake of the conflict, although since Khaddafi’s fall many have returned. Violation of basic rights of refugees and asylum seekers remain prevalent in the region. In Egypt, Libya and Syria, the overall insecurity and increasing suspicion against foreigners made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to help vulnerable refugee and migrant populations. In Libya, sub-Saharan migrants fear retaliations because they are associated to “mercenaries” Khaddafi reportedly employed. The revolutions disrupted livelihoods of Tuaregs who fled the violence, and who have ended up in Saharan towns like Tamanrasset in Algeria. Typically, ‘Arab Spring’ accounts are Eurocentric, thus ignoring the adverse impact of these crises on the concerned countries. This does not only pertain to the possible role of returnees in the political violence in countries like Mali, but also the many families in poverty-stricken countries like Niger and Chad are deprived
from vital remittance income since migrant workers returned home from Libya. In many ways, return migrants moved from one to another situation of insecurity.
er previous generation, but at the same time feels rejected, disrespected and angered due to high unemployment, corruption, inequality, and political repression.
Notwithstanding the adverse consequences of the violence in particularly Libya and Syria, the Arab Spring has not fundamentally altered long-term migration patterns. For instance, although decreased policing encouraged more Tunisians and Egyptians to cross the Mediterranean Sea on fisher boats, these migrations are anything but a new phenomenon, and should not been qualified as ‘refugee flows’.
This new, conscious generation of “angry young men and women” has increased both the emigration and revolutionary potential of Arab societies. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the idea that emigration will stop is as unlikely as the idea of a “mass exodus” towards Europe. Certainly a populous and deprived country like Egypt seems to have a significant emigration potential for years to come. However, the extent to which these migrants will go to Europe or elsewhere primarily depends on future economic growth. Additionally, it is likely that Libya continues to rely on migrant labour, and Egyptian and sub-Saharan migrants started to return.
In the Tunisian case, crossings of prospective labour migrants have been a ‘regular’ phenomenon since south European countries introduced visa requirements in the early 1990s. In the case of Egypt, migration to Italy and other European countries from villages in de Nile Delta and regions such as the Fayyoum oasis south of Cairo had been increasing over the past decade. In terms of policy responses, international organizations such as IOM and UNHCR collaborated effectively in responding to the crisis, particularly around the refugee and migrant flows engendered by violence in Libya and Syria. Also regional governments have been relatively collaborative in hosting refugee populations, although Egypt has become hostile towards Syrian refugees. By contrast, response from EU countries has been embarrassing. Although European governments continued to “support democracy”, policies remain driven by imaginary fears about an exodus from Africa, and this obsession is standing in the way of offering protection to refugees. Migration continues to be portrayed like a threat to stability and security. For instance, the disaster of the sunk boat in October 2013 at Lampedusa, which cost the life to hundreds of refugees and migrants, was reported as a 'smuggling crackdown' among governments and international organisations. Over the past decade, this reaction is usual as such tragedies occur on the southern coasts of Europe. However, such reasoning is inversing the causality. Border controls have forced migrants to take more dangerous routes and have made them increasingly dependent on smugglers to cross borders. Smuggling is a reaction to border controls, rather than a cause of migration. Ironically, further toughening of border controls will therefore force migrants and refugees to take more risks and increase their reliance on smugglers. It is unlikely that long-term migration patterns will drastically change due to the revolutions and political unrest. In this context, it is important to observe that the same processes that created the conditions for revolutions to occur are also conducive to emigration, and both phenomena reinforce each other. In countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a new generation has come of age, which is better educated, more aspiring and aware about opportunities elsewhere and injustice at home than any oth-
An intriguing question is whether the economic crisis in Europe has played an indirect role in triggering the uprisings in emigration countries like Tunisia. It is important to remember that, for political elites in the region, migration has fulfilled an important role as a political and economic ‘safety valve’, since the opportunity to migrate abroad relieved unemployment, discontent and internal political pressures for reform. Has this lack of emigration opportunities perhaps turned the attention and anger inwards, and tipped the balance in favour of revolutionary forces? Another key question is what the impact of political reforms and more democratic modes of governance will be on migration and migration policy. More conservative, religiously inspired nature of current and future governments may possibly increase migration aspirations among secular elites, minorities and women, whose rights might be infringed upon. Conversely, possible increases in respect for human rights for their own citizens may also push North African societies to become more reflective and self-critical towards xenophobia and violations of the rights of foreigners. Recent immigration reform announced by the Moroccan king Mohammed VI, includes legalisation of irregular migrants, suggesting that countries in the region may become less willing to collaborate with EU countries. Finally, democratically elected governments may be less enthusiastic about collaborating with European governments in joint border controls and the expulsion of irregular migrants, as preventing emigration may render them unpopular at home. HEIN DE HAAS is the Director of the International Migration Institute(IMI) and University Lecturer in Migration Studies at the Department of International Development of the University of Oxford. This article is an adapted and updated version of the blogpost The Arab Spring and Migration, posted on 21 March 2012 on heindehaas.blogspot.co.uk.
t’s been a little bit more than two years since Palestine was ‘open’ to the world, whatever that means. I can clearly see that a process of reconstruction in taking place, a broken nation, a ‘non-existent’ state, fighting to put the remaining pieces back together, struggling to find new ones. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have become the benefactors of this venture; however, I’ll leave the judgments of the repercussions of that partnership to the reader, for I am not here to give my opinion, only to show the world what my eyes could see and my camera captured. What I perceived was people being tired. Exhausted of the chronicle state of danger they live in, fatigued for a war many have forgotten why it even started, worn out by the constant fights, the evermore meaningless deaths around them. Peace. Peace is what they long for. Just peace. Is that too much to ask? But not everything is lost, not all hope has vanished. Things actually don’t look as terrible as some media outlets portray. People, despite the fatigue, are still fighting to create a new home. Regardless of the neighbor they may have, not caring about anything rather that the pursuit of a new chapter in their history, a more peaceful one I may dare to say. QUENTIN CHALLIER is a first year student at Ecole Superieur de Journamisme in Paris.
By David Fisher
n September 21, 2013 Al Shabaab militants stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi starting a four-day siege that left at least 67 dead. This horrific attack reminded the world of the grave terrorist threat faced in Africa. It was also a reminder of the secret war being waged against that threat by US drones. Revenge for drone attacks was claimed by Al Shabaab as one of the reasons for the assault. From a base in Djibouti, the US regularly mounts drone attacks against terrorists in neighbouring Somalia. A drone strike on January 21, 2012 killed Bilal al-Barjawi, a leader of Al Shabaab in Somalia. From a base in Niger, US unarmed drones have provided vital intelligence support for French forces operating against the jihadists in northern Mali. Drones are the ideal counter -insurgency weapon for use in Africa, given the vast distances to be covered and the local jihadists' lack of air forces or effective anti-aircraft capabilities. Drones are the current weapon of choice for countering terrorism in Africa, as elsewhere. But should they be? Are drones moral?
There are three main objections to drones. First, they kill civilians. An influential New America Foundation report in March 2010 claimed that in the United States-led drone attacks in Pakistan, one in three killed by drone attacks was a civilian. Killing civilians is wrong because it breaches the â€œjust warâ€? principle of non-combatant immunity. It can also undermine the military value of the mission. Drone attacks may successfully eliminate leading terrorists, but if they do so in a way that alienates the local population because of the civilian casualties caused their use can be counter-productive. But are drones inherently indiscriminate? The Hellfire missiles with which drones were originally equipped had been introduced as an anti-tank rather than anti-personnel weapon. There have been improvements in the weapons and tactics for the employment of drones, which can be targeted now with much greater accuracy. The ability of drones to stay on station for many hours or days observing the tactical battlefield can increase the accuracy
with which weapon attacks are mounted. The drone operator may have far greater familiarity with his target than the fast jet pilot, who in the split seconds he is over target, may have little awareness of what is happening on the ground. Drones can be discriminate weapons.
example, in daily application of the principles, so that ethical restraint becomes second nature, just as are the drills with which he wields his conventional weapons. He will need to acquire the habits of thought, feeling and action - in other words, the virtues - to enable him to act rightly, even amid the many temptations to err.
Second, drones attack across borders, as from Djibouti into Somalia. Mounting attacks across borders in breach of national sovereignty is cause for concern. But what if a government is unable or unwilling to take action against a grave terrorist threat from within its territory? In such circumstances those threatened by the terrorists may be justified in taking defensive action against them.
What virtues will the drone operator require? We suggested that in the safe, aseptic world in which he operates with no risk of physical injury or death, he may no longer require courage. Courage is the virtue that enables us to persevere in the face of difficulty or danger, not allowing fear to obscure our judgement of what needs to be done. Where the fear is of injury or death, it is physical courage, the virtue of the warrior on the battlefield. The drone operator, operating without physical risk, may not need the virtue of physical courage.
Third, drones kill people at a distance, with ease and without risk to our own military. The Homeric warrior, daily risking death on the battlefield, displayed supreme courage. The geek behind the computer console operating from a remote airbase deals out death from afar with no risk to himself.
“Drones make killing too easy and cost- free for the operator, just as in a computer game. They lower the threshold of war.” Drones have changed the nature of war in two morally important ways. The airman can wipe out his target, with no risk to himself, nor even any physical effort – just the flick of a joystick. The worry is that the ease and low risk with which death can be dispensed will encourage reckless behaviour by both politicians and the military, whether in initiating military action or in its conduct, deploying excessive force and killing not just military targets but civilians as well. Drones make killing too easy and cost- free for the operator, just as in a computer game; they lower the threshold of war. The drone operator, facing no risk, neither needs nor can exercise the virtue of courage. The heroic self-sacrifice of the warrior is no longer relevant. Indeed, it may be questioned whether any of the virtues are required; drones mark the end of military virtue. But do they? How is such recklessness to be countered? The answer is to insist on the crucial importance of ethical constraints, including both the “just war” principles of proportion and discrimination. We need to ensure that the force used is both proportionate to the good to be achieved and that non-combatant casualties are minimised. The very ease with which the drone operator can breach these principles, underlines their importance in constraining his behaviour. The drone operator will need to be taught the “just war” principles. He will need ready access to assist his operational decisions to legal and ethical advice, as the US and UK now provide. He will also need to be trained, by precept, practice and personal
But there is another variant of courage - moral courage. This is the virtue needed to enable us to stick to our moral principles and to challenge unacceptable behaviour, even when subject to pressure, threats or abuse urging us to do otherwise. Moral courage is an important virtue. To counteract the ease with which the drone operator can dispense death, he may have particular need of such courage to enable him to take the right decisions, despite the countervailing pressures and temptations to recklessness. The drone operator will need moral courage. He will also need the other cardinal virtues of justice or respect for others, self -control and practical wisdom - a habit of sound judgement about practical matters. The present generation of drones are only semiautonomous systems, still subject to human control; a man is in the loop. The search is, however, on for fully autonomous systems, operating, once launched, without human supervision or control. Such killer robots - with no man in the loop - would present far greater ethical problems than current-generation drones, for if there is no human agent to take the difficult moral decisions that may be required in a fast- moving battlefield and to exercise ethical control, use of the weapons would risk being indiscriminate and disproportionate. Drones are here to stay in Africa, as elsewhere. They are too convenient and effective a weapon to go away. But if they are to stay we need to insist that both their present use and future development are subject to tight ethical restraint. They also need to be kept firmly under human control, despite the temptation to go for ever more autonomous systems. DAVID FISHER is a Teaching Fellow at King's College, London, author of Morality and War - Can War be Just in the Twenty-first Century?, winner of the 2012 W.J. M. Mackenzie prize for best book of the year in Political Science.
By Anisha Hira
he Horn of Africa has been an area of persistent conflict. The region has seen much hardship, ranging from extreme droughts, famines, civil wars, ethnic clashes and a multitude of crime and security related events. These factors have unfortunately become a common attribute of countries in East Africa. The mishaps, some man made, have affected foreign relations and diplomatic ties between neighbouring nations, such as Kenya and Somalia. The roots of the recent 2013 Westgate terrorist attack, in Nairobi on September 21 have been a direct response to the upheaval in Somalia. Somalia has endured intense civil conflict since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991. An eruption of civil war between various clans, from which the Al-Shabaab, a notorious terrorist organisation in the region, emerged, has encompassed Somalia for the last two decades. Only recently has a government emerged as the dominant force in the country, and now controls the capital Mogadishu and to a certain extent, Kisamayo, near the
border with Kenya. Both cities were until recently in the control of Al-Shabaab. Mogadishu was re-captured by government forces in 2011, while Kisamayo was liberated in in 2012. The Al-Shabaab was formed after the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was defeated in 2006 by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG's Ethiopian military allies. The organization is now considered to be aligned with Al-Qaeda. Initially, the group was formed to stave off Ethiopian troops in an attempt to protect the interim government that was in place at the time. The African Union, of which Kenya is a member state, had supported the official Somali Parliament under President Sharif Sheik Ahmad, who was eventually appointed by parliament. In 2011, after repeated incursions by Al-Shabaab into Kenyan waters that led to a the kidnapping of Britsh, American and French tourists, the Kenyan military led an incursion into Somalia. The Kenyan troops were to contribute to the progress that
had been made by Ugandan and Burundian troops to re-capture Mogadishu and other cities under Al-Shabaab control. As a result of the Kenyan invasion, Al-Shabaab made several threats implying future attacks against Kenya, much like the 2010 suicide bombings orchestrated in Kampla, Uganda, that killled 76 people. Al-Shabaab has undergone a number of changes since that time. Ideological differences have caused the group to split into those who seek to achieve a global jihadist movement and those who wish to remain within the borders of Somalia. Ahmed Abdi Godane is the leader of the faction that is pursuing a more global Islamist organisation. It is his part of the Al-Shabaab network that is said to have carried out the Westgate attack, under the explicit orders of Godane. There are speculations as to the extent of planning behind the attack. Reports in both local and international press have speculated that the terrorists had rented a shop within the Westgate Shopping Mall up to 8 months prior to the date so that they could store weapons and ammunition in preparation for the attack. The attack began on September 21, as armed men stormed into the security points outside the mall and approximately 3 security guards at the main entrance to the building. The attack lasted 4 days, while the Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) and the police ran operations to systematically clear the building. Sixty-eight people were killed during the siege, including President Kenyatta's nephew and his fiancée. Many of the victims were children who were attending a cooking contest on the rooftop parking lot at the Westgate Mall. There is still much speculation as to the number of terrorists involved. Initially the Kenyan Government estimated that the group consisted of approximately 15 attackers, but CCTV footage that has been released to date, has only shown four men. One of them has been positively identified as being a Norwegian citizen of Somali descent. The pursuance of the global jihadi initiative, in particular by Godane, further drives a wedge into diplomatic relations and unity in East Africa, among other places. Although, the Kenyatta administration sought to pursue a Pan-Africanist ideology, the attack has detracted from this focus, specifically emphasising the need to progress relations in the Horn of Africa. Analysts have speculated that the attack is expected to severely impact the Kenyan economy. A large part of the GDP is accrued through tourism, and organizations are concerned that tourists will now stay away from the country, at least in the upcoming migration season. President Kenyatta alluded to this when he asked other governments not to issue a travel advisory following the attacks.
Combined with the fire at the arrivals section of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on August 7, the turbulent electoral period earlier this year and the imminent ICC trials, Kenyans are facing difficult imminent conditions. In turn, this will further draw attention from the stability and growth of East Africa, as a whole. In the future, security in the entire region will have to be enhanced, but one hopes that relations between Kenya and Somalia will be strengthened.
”The pursuance of the global jihadi initiative, in particular by Godane, further drives a wedge into diplomatic relations and unity in East Africa (...)” Moreover, the attack brought to the forefront the extremity of the Al-Shabaab and its global objectives. The Somali government has openly condemned the attack and the actions of the AlShabaab. Additionally, the African Union and its members will have taken notice of the escalating point of conflict within and beyond Somali borders.
Sovereign governments and organisations in the region will have to be particularly alert as to the developments and actively work on rectifying the growing threat of extremism in Africa. Religious extremism reigns alongside the already rooted ethnic tensions and political clashes, largely with regard to social and economical discrepancies. Specifically, political rifts often culminate in military action between states and groups, which further fuel extremist ideologies. Moreover, Somali Kenyans, one of the smaller ethnic groups in Kenya, have experienced shifting attitudes and escalating tensions within the community. At the moment, Somalia is essentially ranked and recognised internationally as a failed state and it has a long way to go before the government will be in complete control, and the Horn of Africa will no longer be a critical zone for controversy. As neighbouring nations, Kenya and Somalia have to advance their political relations. Under the encouragement of the African Union, Kenya and other countries in the region have made much progress in supporting the new Somali government. According to Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a history and political science professor at Kenya’s Kenyatta University "...the future of Somalia will be uncertain, [and] the stability of the region will be in question". All East African politicians can do now is strive for a more united front. ANISHA HIRA is a first year Politics, Philosophy and Law BA student at King’s College London.
By Alessandro Mancini
n October 29th and 30th, I volunteered at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London. Most Islamic countries were represented by either a political leader or by a company in the exhibition hall. Everyone understood the opportunities that this event offered in building new economic and political relationships. Surprisingly Sudan was not present, despite this forum being such an ideal platform for launching new development schemes in their underdeveloped sectors like the oil industry. It is the political instability over the last few decades that has adversely affected inward investment. Some of the problems that Sudan faces today are a consequence of the British colonial rule that failed to consider the needs of the Southern area of this region. However as civil unrest intensified after the independence in 1956, the Sudanese authorities should have given more attention to foreign aid whilst considering minority interests. In 2005 high expectations accompanied the conclusion of a brutal civil war lasting more than twenty years between the military regime of Omar al -Bashir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. The main cause was the extreme violence of the Bashir regime (an example of this is the Darfur genocide), fuelled by ethnic, tribal and religious differences. Mr. Bashir has been accused of marginalizing the nonArab population by imposing strict sharia law and by reaching out to Islamic fundamentalist groups. The 2011 referendum officially established the independence of South Sudan but conflicts continued especially in contested borders such as the Abyei region. Disputes focused on control of the oil reserves that straddle the border. The oil sector has faced many difficulties since 2011 because South Sudan controls 80 percent of the oil resources, but Sudan has all the pipelines and processing facilities that are required for exporting the product. However access to the Red Sea ports is in both countries’ interests, as 80 percent of oil exports go to China. The past decade has seen China investing US$ 7.6 billion into Sudan’s oil sector giving them controlling interests. The China National Petroleum Corporation is the largest shareholder in three leading companies operating in oil fields and pipelines: the GNPOC, the DPOC and the Petro Energy E&P. Sudan and South Sudan have the 25th highest level of world oil reserves but are only 31st in terms of total oil production, below countries like Malaysia and Indonesia that have fewer oil reserves.
If Sudan and South Sudan were able to cooperate and fully maximize their oil production they would have enough revenues to build new infrastructure and invest in plans to make a better use of their largely untapped water resources. Geopolitically trading with Sudan is a better option for China since the oil that is shipped through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean does not pass from the highly unstable strait of Hormuz that is at the mercy of the Iranians and susceptible to East-West tensions. In addition markets in other countries would open up, for example India, whose ONGC already holds 25 percent of the GNPOC.
However the uncertainties in Sudan are far from ending. In 2012 the SLPA responded to the bombardments of the Bashir regime by successfully invading the Heglig region, a key area “Since late September protests have e for oil reserves. After the South but the government has responded to Sudanese offen- described by human rights groups as sive, Sudan increased the transition fees for the pipelines to which South Sudan retaliated by ceasing all oil production. Both countries have struggled without taking advantage of their natural resources, especially South Sudan as 98 percent of their revenues is dependent upon oil. However after Chinese pressures to mediate, in March 2013 Sudan and South Sudan agreed to implement a peace agreement. Nevertheless, this summer the Bashir regime threatened multiple times to stop the oil from flowing in the Sudanese pipelines accusing South Sudan of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a militant organisation that is trying to overthrow the Bashir government. A consequence of this political stale-mater over the production of oil has caused Khartoum to introduce austerity measures with the price of petrol and cooking gas rocketing overnight. Since late September protests have
China must also avoid certain diplomatic contradictions such as opening a consulate in Juba to improve the relationships with South Sudan whilst selling armaments to the Bashir regime. However patience is running thin: the importance of Sudanese oil for the Chinese may be curtailed once the Gwadar port project between Pakistan, China and Iran comes on stream. This will completely change the future of oil distribution in East Asia and is a better option for China in securing oil supplies. However the landlocked South Sudan may have already found a solution by building a 2000 km pipeline through Uganda and Kenya. Few months ago Hiroshi Suzuki, president of Toyota Tsusho East Africa Ltd, announced that his company will "possibly" create within this year a joint company across Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan to construct the pipeline. This is a turning point for South Sudan as they will become self-sufficient and would no longer be subject to Mr. Bashir’s threats when trying to get access to the Red Sea.
emerged in Khartoum, o this in a ruthless way, a ‘shoot to kill’ policy.”
emerged in Khartoum, but the government has responded to this in a ruthless way, described by human rights groups as a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. For the Doctors’ Syndicate more than 200 people have been killed. According to Princeton Lyman, the former US ambassador, China should not be a passive observer with a narrow focus on oil production as their real self-interest lies in brokering a resolution to this conflict. For Lyman a proactive intervention would be more beneficial because the Chinese can only achieve their goals in a stable region, where peace will bring prosperity not just in terms of oil production but in other sectors as well.
Sudan could respond by maximizing its hydro-electric capacity. The Merowe Dam located in the 4th cataract of the Nile is one the largest hydroelectric dams in Africa. The government is taking advantage of this source of energy by building other dams. In 2010, they awarded a Chinese hydropower contractor Sinohydro a $705 million five-year contract to build the Kajbar Dam. Other dams have also been built for irrigation purposes. In 2017 both Sudan and South Sudan will benefit from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with its 6.000 MW capacity. Both countries are now supporting this Ethiopian project as it will provide cheaper energy and create new jobs in infrastructures projects. Considering that the White Nile crosses both countries a future agreement might be found between the two to cooperate in hydroelectricity and irrigation whilst controlling the floods. Oil resources are finite, but the waters of the Nile are a more sustainable resource making it a better long-term investment. It could improve the welfare of both countries’ population as benefits of water are much more evenly spread throughout the community, whereas oil revenues can be misappropriated and diverted into Swiss bank accounts. This is especially pertinent for a country like Sudan which is the fourth most corrupted in the world and it also offers a significant alternative for South Sudan that is too dependent upon oil revenues.
ALESSANDRO MANCINI is a first year Politics of the International Economy BA student at King’s College London.
By Yuji Develle
n the great void of Africa’s previously impenetrable digital backwardness, mobile banking services are currently heralded by nearly everyone as the miraculous cure. Since the launch of the first mobile banking service in 2007– ‘M-PESA’,designed by the Kenyan telecom Safaricom – the mobile banking phenomenon has spread with varying success throughout the developing world. In Kenya, mobile banking, as defined by the undertaking of bank functions (cash transfers, withdrawals, deposits, borrowing, lending, etc.) using a mobile phone, has proven incredibly popular growing from 2 million to 15 million customers since 2007. With 3 million mobile transactions per day and about 20% of Kenya’s GDP being transferred at any moment in time through this system, mobile banking is on the path of establishing itself durably in East Africa and notably Kenya. How will this change affect Africa’s development as a whole? Will mobile banking replace traditional banking entirely? What are the risks implied by this proliferation? The “bright new world” Safaricom envisions The telecommunications industry represented by companies such as Safaricom, Millicom (or Tigo), and America Mobil, has been instrumental in shaping global opinion on the impact of mobile banking on African and South American development. According to Safaricom’s many aired commercials, mobile banking’s contributions to development are: increased communication, cash fluidity, and reliability in transfers on a local level. One heartwarming account in a Safaricom commercial had Rosemary Ngatara, a Kenyan user of mobile banking, explaining how M-PESA helped her survive the Post-Kenyan election violence by enabling her son to send her enough money to provide for herself. Indeed what this storyshows is that before mobile banking, cash transfers along extensive distances were complex, unreliable, and very expensive. Without a suitable conventional banking infrastructure, many Africans relied on bus drivers that would carry envelops of cash from city to city. Not only was this a lengthy and expensive process (as the middleman had to be paid), but it also carried huge risks of loss or theft. In addition to ‘person to person’ (P2P) cash transfers, mobile banking is said to have revolutionised the efficiency of agriculture and facilitated businesses’ money transfers. It has permitted an increase in the sharing of farming equipment and resource management (such as seeds) throughout the East African basin. Fur-
thermore, businesses are now able to use the service to undertake inter-business transactions and salary payments to actors regardless of their location, permitting local businesses to grow beyond their community outreach. The words of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate MuhammedYunus, ‘When you get a mobile phone it is almost like having a card to get you out of poverty in a couple of years’, summarisemost communities’ beliefs on mobile banking’s positive impact. This is mainly because most of the current research on Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are undertaken or controlled by the private sphere. While the possibilities generated by mobile banking are indeed great, in reality the applications of this service are quite different. The reality and limits of Mobile Banking: The remarkable growth of mobile banking services in awide -ranging variety of countriesirrespective of their geography, GDP per capita, financial inclusion, or degree of mobile penetration, gives it a seemingly revolutionary aspect in Africa. The flagship service M-PESA alone, managed to increase its profits six-fold in three years from 2009-2012, and prompted the creation of hundreds of tech start-ups. This has ledThe Economist to dub Kenya ‘The African Silicon Valley’.
“mobile banking is said to have revolutionised the efficiency of agriculture and facilitated businesses’ money transfers.” However, even within the Kenyan example of a successful conversion from conventional banking to mobile banking services, the applications of these services certainly do not rhyme with comprehensive social development.Safaricom’s commercials highlighting insurance functions and business transactionsfail to reflect the apparent applications of mobile banking. According to GSMA’s ‘MMU June 2012 State of the Industry’ report only 0.05% of transactions were micro insurances and remittances and 0.9% were transfers. The majority of transactions recorded were mobile top-ups and P2P transfers, accounting for 61.4% and 31.4% respectively. This proves that the use of mobile banking is still relatively basic, sticking to transfers between individuals and mobile top-ups, while avoiding more complex banking functions such as micro-insurance and transactions at the business level.
Furthermore, the number of active users of these services is still rather small. Only 0.3% to 26% of mobile banking registered users are actively using the service. So while 80% of the 2.5 billion unbanked (lacking access to banking services) people in the world could potentially have access to banking services through their mobile phone, this does not in any way replace the need for conventional banking structures. Beyond the practicality of Mobile Banking: the hazards it faces
A recent article from The Economist, ‘The threat in the pocket’, warns smartphone users in developed countries that the increased use of phones at a corporate level might attract new types of criminals in the industry (previously confined to computers), as “individuals may be hundreds of dollars out of pocket, companies can be hooked for millions”. The same goes for conventional phones in developing markets; as mobile banking becomes increasingly popular with companies, the risk of advanced types of IT fraud known to technologicalprograms becomes greater. While the prospect of fraud and theft is troubling enough, the spread of such criminal practices in developing countries is truly an issue. Most public security structures in Africa, especially in rural areas, are (very) poorly versed in cyber security. They will not be adequately equipped to take on tasks such as information monitoring or counter phishing. In addition, many of the existing legal structures in countries that have only recently adopted mobile banking are out of date. The lag created by the lack of legal framework may leave a grey area in which the already eminent corruption of some African states may thrive even further. Moreover, the omnipresence of
mobile networks/banking in LEDCs could increase conventional crime as well. As David Kilculen mentions in his 2013 book, Out of the Mountains, increased connectivity will lead to the existence of ‘dark networks’, or communication networks that cannot be monitored or controlled by public security forces. He argues that this can lead to increased coordination of organised crime, and the eventual loss of governmental legitimacy in peri-urban areas where the rule of law is lacking. In Africa, where most economies are quickly urbanising, the prospect of unsafe peri-urban areas is quite unsettling.
It is therefore essential not only to embrace the potential impact that mobile banking may have on African economic development, but also to consider its limitations and negative ramifications so as to give African governments an idea of how to channel the expansion of mobile banking into all banking functions and preserve their governmental sovereignty in the face of new threats. Will African governments face up to this challenge? Will they need help? Only the future holds the answer to these questions. YUJI DEVELLE is a second year War Studies BA student at King’s College London.
By Tobias Udsholt
he targeted ethnic violence that marred the aftermath of the 2007 presidential elections in Kenya resulted in the death of more than 1000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. In 2011 the International Criminal Court (ICC) pressed charges against Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, for their alleged role in orchestrating the violence. In 2013, Kenyatta was elected president and appointed Rutu as his vice-president, putting the ICC in the precarious position of prosecuting a current head of state. Despite a year long deferral of the trial and serious concerns regarding witness intimidation and evidence tampering, the charges against Kenyatta and Rutu have been sustained. The decision to indict a current head of state has taken centre stage in a wider debate over the role and ability of the ICC in enforcing international law. The ICC’s jurisdiction is “over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”. The court derives its legitimacy from the Rome Statute, the legal document which has to be individually ratified by nations voluntarily placing themselves under the jurisdiction of the ICC. The prosecutor may only investigate alleged war criminals in cases where national courts have proven unwilling or unable to do so. However, several members of the United Nations have never ratified the Rome Statute, including influential
countries such as China, Russia, India and the USA. This limited the scope of jurisdiction of the ICC and thereby its legitimacy from the outset. Since the ratification of the Rome Statute in 2002, the court has only ever successfully convicted one individual, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga in 2012. All investigations conducted by the ICC since its inception have been in African countries. This has prompted growing criticism over perceived selective application of international law. The African Union (AU) has given voice to the starkest critics of the conduct of the ICC and its chief prosecutor. In 2011 then AU commission chief Jean Ping accused the chief prosecutor of “double standards” in solely pursuing cases in African states. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and current chairman of the AU, also showed his contempt and has labeled the actions of the court as the “race hunting” of Africans. The criticism of the court has further intensified as it became clear that the ICC would continue to press charges despite the electoral victory of Kenyatta in March 2013. Desalegn claimed the AU spoke with “one voice”, in their condemnation of the indictment of Kenyatta, stating "sitting heads of state and
government should not be prosecuted while in office”. Kenyatta himself has castigated the ICC as “a toy of declining imperial powers”. Amnesty International has characterised the AU as a forum seeking “to protect those charged by the Court”. It is certainly easy to see the self-interest incumbent governments would have in achieving immunity while in office.
“The case of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Kenyatta has become a mouthpiece for growing resentment of the ICC in Africa.” The rift between the African Union and the International Criminal Court has opened the prospect of several African countries withdrawing from the Rome Statute. Such a proposal was made at a summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, but did not gain popular support. Nevertheless stinging rhetoric from the African Union has left several commentators worried. Former UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan called a potential withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the court a “badge of shame”, while King’s Alumni and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu wrote a column in the New York Times expressing strong criticism of African leaders seeking to acquire a “license to kill” by becoming exempt from the jurisdiction of the international community. The outlook now faced by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is very different to the idealistic hopes of global accountability which met the ratification of the Rome Statute in 2002. The question posed by this article is: ‘How legitimate are the criticisms of the ICC?’ The mission of the ICC as stated by the text of the Rome Statute is to ensure prosecution of “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”. This essence cannot be lost or overlooked by exercises of realpolitik in accommodating the demands of the AU. Protesting against perceived racial bias and seeking equal application of international law cannot be equated to an exemption from the jurisdiction of the court. Due process is afforded to all before the international court, including incumbent presidents. This is proven by the difficulty the prosecutor has had in successfully convicting alleged war criminals since the ratification of the Rome Statute in 2002. There are a number of key circumstantial facts which undermine Desalegn’s claim of “race hunting”. The ICC was founded in order to “put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes”. Prior to the creation of the ICC as a permanent Court, crimes against humanity were tried on a case-by-case basis in International Criminal Tribunals set up in the aftermath of an atrocity taking place, by- or in conjunction with the UN. Examples of such courts include the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda (ICTR) and the Cambodia Tribunal (ECCC). It is therefore a distortion to claim “double standards” in international law when recent historical examples exist of the enforcement of international law and indictment of war criminals outside Africa. It is also relevant to consider how the cases currently under official investigation by the ICC came to be considered. Of the current eight ‘situations’, four stem from approaches to the Court by governments (Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda), two were referred by the UN Security Council (Sudan, Libya), while the remaining two cases were opened by the prosecutor (Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire). Additionally the ICC is currently conducting preliminary investigations in eight other countries, five of which (Colombia, Honduras, Georgia, Afganistan and South Korea) are outside Africa. The case of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Kenyatta has become a mouthpiece for growing resentment of the ICC in Africa. Proponents of delaying or dropping the charges against Kenyatta and his vice-president Ruto, argue that regional stability of East-Africa is under threat and should be prioritised higher than a pursuit of justice. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan countered this in a speech at the University of Western Cape: "We must be ambitious enough to pursue both [peace and justice], and wise enough to recognise, respect and protect the independence of justice, and we must always have the courage to ask ourselves 'who speaks for the victims'?" Justice must be achieved in order for there to be peace, for the sake of the victims and in accordance with the mission of the Court. Deferring prosecution due to political considerations would not fulfill the Court’s legal obligations under international law. The ICC was created in the ethos that the global community has an interest and obligation in partaking in the process of justice in the aftermath of an atrocity. The court has a key role to play in establishing precedent for the persecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The interests of justice are founded in a duty to the victims of war crimes. Justice must not be overcome by considerations of expedience for leaders “seeking a license to kill”, however, the dilemma between negotiating political issues and pursuing international justice is not easy. The potential consequences for the civil populations of Africa caused by an AU led wide-scale withdrawal from the ICC are catastrophic, yet any deferral of the cases against Ruto and Uhuru would strike a blow to the legitimacy of the Court. One thing is certain: the ICC’s handling of the Uhuru case will put down an important marker on the jurisdiction of justice for governments all over the world, not just in Africa. TOBIAS UDSHOLT is a first year Politics of the International Economy BA student at King’s College London.
Debates ∙ Conferences ∙ Socials ∙ Workshops
A unique multi-disciplinary enterprise â€“ it is the only academic department of its kind in the UK.
KCL Politics Society's Winter 2013 issue of Dialogue presents several articles by global contributors, including a number of cover stories f...