The Loomis Chaffee World Bulletin www.loomischaffee.org
Winter 2011 U.S.-‐Israel Relationship The Diplomacy of the Nobel Peace Prize Walmart in Africa Diversity in Vietnamese Education Feng Shui 101
BRINGING THE WORLD
TO THE ISLANd
From the Desk of the Editor-‐in-‐Chief
To Our Readers:
“The young men and women of Loomis… represent machines of perpetual motion.” In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, the English Enlightenment philosopher, John Locke, famously wrote, “Every man has a property in his own person, [which] nobody has a right to, but himself.” Within this line lies the basic tenet of social contract theory, the backbone of the modern, constitutional republican society. This political theory sets forth that to successfully depart from one’s destructive, unproductive, Hobbesian state of nature, individuals should, as a collective, willingly cede particular freedoms to a governing authority with the mandate to create and maintain law and order within the community. Fundamental to the founding of the United States, this philosophy has spread since 1776—from the palace of Versailles to the crumbling concrete tenements of Soviet-Communist Eastern 2
Europe—giving voice to the oppressed, and undermining tyrants. The articulation of the social contract by the masters of Enlightenment Europe undoubtedly represents that continent’s greatest-ever intellectual contribution to the progress of mankind and human rationality. Moreover, upon admission to Loomis Chaffee, each student commits to honor the great privileges and uphold sacred responsibilities that accompany a first-class education. Yet, the young men and women of the Island, so dedicated to blazing their own individual identity, often lose sight of their community’s greater significance. If the students aim to preserve this tiny social contract found on the banks of the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers, then they must look beyond themselves, accept their shared responsibilities, and respect each other’s individual rights. Today, Loomis prospers in this respect: each student takes personal accountability and displays leadership— strengthening the community as a whole. Nevertheless, the young men and women of Loomis— scholars of today, leaders of tomorrow—represent machines of perpetual
motion, in constant search for the next intellectually demanding, socially challenging endeavor. So— specific to the eager student who simply does not know where to start—take a moment now, while enveloped in this sanctuary, to discover your drive. Delve deep and reflect. Follow your passions; with time, the change will come. And take comfort knowing that you are not alone; for beyond the Island, around the world, students everywhere yearn to make a difference. Sincerely, Thomas T. Barry ’11 EDITORIAL STAFF: Thomas Barry ’11 Riley Clark-‐Long ’12 Alexandra Crerend ’11 Liana Fernez ’12 Annabel Hess ’12 Laura Iglehart ’11 • Patrick Kennedy-‐Nolle ’12 • • • • • •
The editors of this publication thank Ms. Engelke for her editorial oversight and support.
2 | To Our Readers: Social Contract -Thomas Barry ’11
Europe 4 | The State of Affairs in Europe’s Most Powerful Economy -Patrick Kennedy-Nolle ’12 5 | Transatlantic Education: An Analysis of Schooling in Spain -Nell Pinkston ’11 7 | Culture: A Review of Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks -Laura Iglehart ’11
Africa 8 | Sexual Warfare in the Heart of Africa -Benjamin Hiskes ’12 9 | Elections in the Ivory Coast -Riley Clark-Long ’12 11 | Walmart in Africa -Alexandra Crerend ’11
Asia 13 | The Religious Situation in China -Nathan Harris ’13 14 | Diversity in Vietnamese Education -Bao Phan ’11
Middle East 19 | The Greatest Election That Isn’t -Ellie Yusuf Ali ’11 20 | United States and Israel: Coming Together or Falling Apart? -Doron Shapir ’11 21 | Concord is Key -Liana Fernez ’12 22 | Afghanistan: Costs and Benefits -Abigail Adams ’12
The Americas 24 | Mexico’s Drug Cartels -Joanna Warren ’11 25 | All Blame on China? -Monica He ’12 27 | A Brief Introduction to B.R.I.C. -Samson Chow ’12 29 | Culture: Music in the Spotlight -Thomas Barry ’11
29 | Farewell: Richard Holbrooke, 1941-2010 30 | Survey: Assessing a Nation’s Power 31 | Also in the News
16 | A Return to Southeast Asia (Without the Guns, of Course) -Viet Phuong Dao ’11 17 | The Diplomacy of the Nobel Peace Prize -Jo Wang ’12 18 | Culture: Feng Shui 101 -Audrey Sze ’11
Winter 2011/Volume 2, Number 1
Europe The State of Affairs in Europe’s Most Powerful Economy by Patrick Kennedy-Nolle ’12
Of late, foreign affairs seems to be ignored by many Americans, who are altogether too concerned with domestic affairs to heed the actions of other countries, unless directly affected by them. It is an PATRICK KENNEDY-‐ understandable tendency, NOLLE, from especially as the United Bedford, New York, States combats a is a member of the persisting recession, and Foreign Policy politicians fight over Association and health care and serves as a prefect in Longman government spending. Dormitory. Germany, especially, has suffered as a result of this inattention, despite having one of the strongest economies in Europe. However, a quick glance at a German newspaper reveals events with 100,000 protesters mobbing the streets, denouncing recent social service cuts. Citizens are in an uproar concerning job cuts and the potential enactment of legislation that would move the retirement age back two years. Indeed, the German man is troubled. Some Germans direct their anger towards Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the Christian Democratic Party, who was elected in 2009. Their discontent can be attributed to several issues, including immigration, job cuts, and increasing taxes, all things with which Americans shouldn’t struggle too hard to empathize with. In Germany, however, the antiimmigration sentiment focuses on Turkish Muslims rather than Central American Hispanics, as it does in the United States. German citizens are concerned that immigrants hurt the economy; a poll conducted by the Allensbach Institute reveals that 55% of Germans believe immigrants do more harm than good to both economic and social institutions. Merkel bluntly stated that attempts to “build a multi-cultural society,” within Germany have dreadfully failed, and she
advocates complete integration of immigrants, urging them to adopt the native language and embrace Christianity. To many, her words are seen as an indirect command for Muslim immigrants to leave. Nonetheless, it is quite a telling fact that only 700,000 out of three million Turkish immigrants have chosen to embrace German citizenship, an action which requires forsaking their Turkish citizenship. Do these sentiments, as columnist John Vinocur suggests, imply a slight shift to right-wing policy? A more pressing concern, however, is the economy. Despite the fact that Germany boasts a recovery from last year’s recession, apprehension still exists regarding its exportbased economy. Germany’s GDP surpasses that of the United States, as well as its employment rate, but politicians worry about Germany’s dependency on China’s rare earth metals. China has recently curtailed its rare earth exports, an action that particularly concerns Germany because of its dependence on these metals for industry. These metals are imported, processed and refined, and then put on the market. A paucity of them would severely inhibit the growth and success of German industries and factories, probably leading to more job cuts. Merkel, who comprehends the danger of China’s virtual “monopoly,” urges expanded investments in other parts of Asia. It is ironic that this news comes as Germany finds economic footing after just stumbling out of recession. But perhaps these worries are misplaced, as many large companies in Germany, especially department stores, tell of higher sales and greater profit. Rainer Brüderle, Germany’s economic minister, asserted that, “The recovery is thus on two firm legs and is increasingly seen in the wallets of the citizens.” His hasty conclusion is certainly startling, but the numbers tell of success and profit.
But Germany, whilst slightly unsure of its economic position, is assured in its foreign affairs, particularly within the European Union. Heading negotiations is Merkel, whose somewhat unyielding character does little to ameliorate the growing dissatisfaction among the populace with her policies. In early 2010, Merkel backed a €22.4 billion ($29.7 billion) donation from Germany to the European Union to help bail out Greece, which incensed voters despite the threat of a falling Euro. In response, Greece now blames Berlin for growing debts in the European Union. Furthermore, Merkel, an expedient politician, recently convinced EU leaders to amend a clause of the Lisbon Treaty—which took eight years to draft—that will provide a plan for rescuing nations consumed by debt in which bondholders, rather than the public, account for deficit. The EU is quite lenient regarding fines for countries that have “exceeded the budget deficit ceiling of three percent of GDP,”
and Merkel aims to abolish these German Chancellor longstanding Angela Merkel conciliatory policies. These recent pleas come not from Greece, but from Ireland and Portugal, who seek aid from the EU for their faltering economies. Furthermore, Germany, along with France, are the two nations pushing for a budget increase of only 2.9% in the EU, in hopes of checking a rising deficit. Other nations call for an increase of as much as six percent, an astonishingly large number for a budget, which has been steadily growing since 2000. I’m sure that my fellow American citizens understand these concerns quite well, also being the privileged holders of a massive debt, no doubt partially incited by war costs and profligate loaning. Unlike Greece, however, we have no one to blame but ourselves, and there’s no North American Union to throw us a lifeline.
Transatlantic Education: An Analysis of Schooling in Spain by Nell Pinkston ’11 In my travels abroad to Spain, I encountered an education system quite different from ours, one that praises specialties and focused areas of study. The Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) NELL PINKSTON, of (Law on the General Housatonic, Massachusetts, is a Organization of the graduate of School Educational System) Year Abroad/Spain reformed the Spanish 2010. Nell is on the JV education system in Hockey team and is an 1990. The new system RA in Palmer Dormitory. promised free schooling to age sixteen, general and special education for different levels of student need, basic
vocational training, course material, and teacher education improvement, optional religious instruction, and language learning. The Spanish education system is divided into a structure that somewhat resembles ours, in which students begin their education in mandatory primary and secondary schools through age fifteen, and follows with two additional years of post-compulsory schooling from ages sixteen to seventeen (called bachillerato). Finances permitting, families send their children to private, often religiously associated Catholic schools, but attending “boarding schools” is a rarity, evidenced by my host mother’s gasping at the thought of my living away from home at the young age of
fourteen. About ninety percent of Spanish children between the ages of three and five attend nursery school, and about one third of Spanish students attend private school through age seventeen. While the Spanish curriculum is also similar to the general education requirements we have here in the United States, the most notable difference that stood out to me is the Spanish emphasis on foreign languages. Students choose a second language, whether it be English, French, or German, in primary school and are expected and encouraged to continue with both that language and perhaps another through their years before college. The Spanish culture cherishes the importance of family and it is very common for adults to live with their parents, or until they marry. Few students choose to leave their city to travel across the country and attend universities elsewhere. Instead, they prefer to continue living at home and commute to school. My 42-year-old host sister continues her degree at the University of Zaragoza, and still lives at home with her widowed mother. Superior education includes both private and public universities, and the schools do not require applications, but grant acceptance based entirely on standardized testing. The entrance exam, la
Selectividad, specialized to the student’s projected career, governs the student’s admission. The passing grade on the test determines the profession itself (i.e. to practice medicine, the student must receive an 8.5 or higher on his exam University while a 6.4 is of Zaragoza, sufficient for Aragon, philosophy.) Students Spain have three chances to pass the exam for their desired profession before they must change career paths, and these tests are offered only twice a year. The direction a student wishes to go in their studies is determined at the age of fifteen as they enter the first year of bachillerato. Students take courses and focus their studies in either letras (languages/social sciences) or ciencias (science/math). It is very uncommon for Spaniards to change their area of study or go back to school to earn a different degree. Imagine if the SAT was the only factor considered in college admissions! Imagine giving a teenager the power to choose his future, one that he must live with for the rest of his life. Spanish students are not offered the opportunity to “dabble” in interesting courses of study that do not directly relate to their ultimate career goal. They cannot remain indecisive for very long, and do not receive unlimited chances for success in their dream professions.
Culture: A Review of Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks by Laura Iglehart ’11 Every season American fashion mavens flock to international runways to catch a glimpse of the coming season’s latest trends. The streets of Paris and Milan turn into runways themselves LAURA IGLEHART, as trendy American from Charlotte, North fashion followers line Carolina, is founder of the LC Fashion Club up for designers’ shows. and a member of the Fashion Week, a biConfluence staff. She annual celebration of lives in Palmer designers’ works, begins Dormitory. in New York, then moves to Europe where the final two shows are held in Milan and Paris, respectively. This past fall Milanese runways opened with a punch—that is, a punch of high-octane hues. Ranging from yellow chiffon dresses at Ferragamo to purple tube tops at Gucci, it was evident that next spring and summer will be bright. Ferragamo’s show included a mélange of classic neutrals mixed with eye-popping pink and yellow ensembles. At the Gucci show, designer Frida Giannini opened with a pair of high-wasted teal pants accompanied by a purple tube top and finished with a silky orange blazer. According to The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Giannini’s love for travel inspired her jewel-toned collection, bringing it to life. Meanwhile, retro menswear encompassed the runways of Jil Sander and Georgio Armani’s shows. At Jil Sander, Raf Simons debuted a head-to-toe white men’s suit, cinched with a gold belt. In an interview with The New York Times, Simons added, “it doesn’t work for me if you do something that already exists in a different way. You really have to do something else, and it can be quite primary. That was also the process of thinking with this collection.” Comparatively, at Armani’s show, it was all about the tapered trousers and fitted jackets, all in beautiful shades of royal and navy blue. From jumpsuits to leather mini skirts, camel colored the Parisian runways. Designers, ranging from Akris to Miu Miu to Valentino, introduced this neutral hue into their spring
and summer trends. Chloé, renowned for its mastery of anything camel, chose a minimal look, evidenced by the collection’s array of coats. The coats, simply cut in red, black or white were unornamented except for a few eyecatching buttons. Chloé’s designer, Hannah MacGibbon, also introduced a ballerina-esque look complete with leotards and sheer tutus, all in the camel and beige color palette. Nicole Phelps for Style.com recalls, “If last season’s Chloé girl was headed off to work in seventiesinflected sportswear, now she looks like she’s on her way to dance rehearsal.” In the midst of winter, there is hope—that is promising fashions for the spring. From neon colors to leotards and tutus, both Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks debuted stellar collections of accomplished designers.
Jewel tones colored Gucci’s show in Milan
AFRICA Sexual Warfare in the Heart of Africa The Congo has a long history of oppression and hostility. With land rich in natural resources, the people have fought continuously for power. The latest conflict, from 1998-2003, was largely caused by the Hutus, a tribe fleeing from Rwanda after its genocidal government BENJAMIN HISKES, a day student from was overthrown. The Storrs, Connecticut, Hutus united with other is a member of both groups against the Tutsis, the cross country an opposing tribe, and and track teams. since then, an arduous struggle for power has dominated the Congolese landscape. Although the war officially ended in 2003, organized conflict continued in the east until 2008. Even though thousands of UN peacekeepers have been placed in the Congo to subdue the violence, the
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group and government troops continue to rape and kill members of the opposition. Rape in the Congo differs greatly from rape in the United States. Firstly, the majority of the rapes in the Congo are not performed by individuals, but by groups of men, especially soldiers. The rapists are typically extremely vicious with their victims, cutting them in the most sensitive areas. If the women survive, they may be disfigured for the rest of their lives and
by Benjamin Hiskes ’12
most survivors require extensive time in hospitals, usually under the care of organizations such as Doctors without Borders. Not only has rape become the norm, so has brutality. Humiliation plays a large role with rape in the Congo. Brothers and fathers are often forced to observe, and sometimes even take part in, the rape of their family members. Soldiers sometimes force entire villages to endure the sight of one of their own being violated again and again. If the woman doesn’t die, her soul does through such public torture. These despicable rapes are performed on women of all ages, even young children. Teenagers are the most targeted group, as well as traveling women. In the villages with the highest amount of rapes, the men usually cannot protect themselves and their wives and children from soldiers. The number of rapes committed by non-soldiers has risen as well, most likely due to the relative decriminalization of rape in the Congo. Most of the time, rape reports aren’t investigated. Such appallingly high numbers of rapes per year have made the Congo notoriously known as “the rape capital of the world.” In just 2009, the number of rapes exceeded 15,000. In the Congo, women are not only viewed as devoid of rights, but as objects that can be used by tyrannical groups to further their efforts to obtain power by spreading their terror. Publicly and brutally raping women is designed to instill fear in the hearts of their enemies, for only ruthless killers could perform such evil acts. Rape has become an available and regularly used psychological weapon of warfare in the Congo. It removes any rights the women might have and dehumanizes them. Furthermore, it makes the men of a society appear weak. Because this disgraces the men to such a degree, if the women become pregnant, they are either killed or banished. Rape also facilitates the spread of HIV, a highly feared virus, further encouraging the men of a
society to abandon raped women. Truly such severely disgusting acts warrant some kind of action. Luckily, action has been taken. The United Nations has focused more on the Congo than any other country and has placed numerous peacekeepers in the country. Although the peacekeepers have not had much of an effect yet, this is a start. Doctors Without Borders cares for the victims of rape and tends to their wounds, physically and mentally. The doctors administer a drug, which, if given within seventy-two hours of
rape, will make the woman less susceptible to HIV. The organization also provides morning-after pills. However, in the Congo, it is illegal to perform abortions. Outraged citizens have shown their hatred of the recent rapes in the Congo as well. Recently, D.R.C. First Lady the First Lady of the Congo Olive Lembe Kabila led over 1,000 people on a leading a protest of march against rape and for women in the town women’s rights. Hopefully, of Bukavu. the tendency of mass rapes in the Congo will end soon, but this will come only with increased awareness throughout the world.
Elections in the Ivory Coast The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, is a West African nation that sits between Liberia, Guinea, Mali, RILEY CLARK-‐LONG, Burkina Faso, and from Storrs, Connecticut, Ghana. With a is a member of the Foreign Policy population of more Association and the than 20 million varsity cross country inhabitants of many team. He is a resident of different religions, Taylor Hall. ethnicities, and political beliefs, the Ivory Coast has had a very tumultuous recent history. Originally a French colony, the Ivory Coast gained its independence from France in 1960. Since then, this diverse country’s rise to a modern democracy has faced many hurdles. The earliest French voyages to the Ivory Coast were in the late fifteenth century, but France did not consolidate its power in the region until almost 400 years later. Because of the lack of very deep natural ports, the Ivory Coast suffered less than its neighbors at the
By Riley Clark-Long ’12
hands of the slave trade. Native African tribes, such as the Baoulé (presently 15-20% of the country’s population), bitterly resisted French influence and tried to reclaim their identity when the Ivory Coast gained its independence. In fact, the first post-independence leader and father of the independence movement, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, was the son of an exiled Baoulé chief, who rose to prominence in the 1940s as a labor organizer and a representative to the French National Assembly. The French government practiced a policy of assimilation that tried to force French culture on the people of the Ivory Coast. Citizens were allowed to keep their local traditions as long as they meshed with the new French system of beliefs and politics. Today, the Ivory Coast is made up of refugees from neighboring countries ravaged by war and famine, French expatriates, and members of its own distinct ethnic groups; this is a combination that did not seem volatile until recently. Until 1999, the Ivory Coast experienced relative political stability. There were no military coups, experiments
with communism, guerrilla warfare, or any other violence, in direct contrast to the rest of the region. Instead, the Ivory Coast maintained close ties to Western Europe and the United States. Houphouët-Boigny ruled the country until his death in 1993, and although he was popular and was supported by the majority of the country’s diverse population, there were no truly free elections during his reign. President Henri Konan Bédié succeeded HouphouëtBoigny after his death and was the victim of the country’s first coup in 1999. In October 1995, Bédié overwhelmingly won reelections against a fragmented and disorganized opposition. He tightened his hold over political life, jailing several hundred opposition supporters. In contrast, the economic outlook improved, at least superficially, with decreasing inflation and an attempt to remove foreign debt. After Houphouët-Boigny’s death, the Ivory Coast’s government became more and more corrupt, causing a shortage in foreign aid for the country and widening divisions between Muslims and Christians and the North and South. In 1999, a group of disenchanted military leaders staged a coup and installed a new president as Bédié fled to France. The new President, General Robert Guei, promised free elections and an open government. But the handpicked Supreme Court disqualified all candidates from the two major parties, and left the general against candidate Laurent Gbagbo. When preliminary results showed Gbagbo winning, Guei halted the election and declared himself the winner. Those who felt cheated by the election took to the streets and battled government forces. Hundreds died in the fighting and Guei fled the country quickly. Soon after his departure, Gbagbo’s supporters clashed with the supporters of the disenfranchised parties until RDR party leader Alassane Ouattara called for peace and
recognized the Gbagbo presidency. But peace in the Ivory Coast was short-lived. After a failed coup that threatened to unbalance the country, free municipal elections were miraculously held. For a brief moment, many had faith in Ivorian democracy. Exiled military leaders and their allies simultaneously attacked military and political building in multiple cities across the country in the fall of
First ever televised Presidential debate in Ivory Coast
2002. Although the coup ultimately failed, actions by government forces to quell it caused a full forced revolt that tore the country in two. The “Patriotic Movement of Cote d’Ivoire” and other rebel groups controlled almost the entire northern portion of the country after a few weeks. African and French peacekeeping troops arrived to broker a fragile peace between anti-government forces in the North and progovernment forces in the South. In 2003, Gbagbo and the rebel leaders negotiated a peace agreement that included a coalition government for pro-government officials and rebel leaders. War was avoided, but sporadic violence throughout the country continued. A series of new agreements and closed-door talks were held for the ensuing years, though elections and efforts at disarmament were postponed multiple times, almost every year between 2005 and 2010. The country only became stable enough to hold elections this past November. After a very large turnout, Gbagbo held a noticeable lead,
receiving 38% of the vote. His rival, Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister and IMF official, had 32%. Eighty-seven percent of registered voters participated in the election. Minor hiccups in voter registration and polling places plagued this free election, a new process for the country, but overall, results were accurate. However, none of the candidates received a majority of votes, leaving the Ivory Coast in a tense position. A runoff election was scheduled for November 28. On December 2 the nation’s constitutional council declared “invalid” the Independent Electoral Commission’s announcement that Ouattara won the runoff, proclaiming the militarybacked Gbagbo as winner. Armed gangs have attacked Ouattara’s party offices. Meanwhile, the army has since closed all land, sea, and air
Walmart in Africa The world’s largest public corporation in terms of revenue is Walmart Stores, Inc., an Arkansas-based chain of department stores known for its ability ALEXANDRA CREREND, to provide quality of New Canaan, products at very low Connecticut, is a captain prices. The of the varsity lacrosse corporation has 8,500 team, a resident of stores in 15 different Palmer Dormitory, and a two-‐year member of the countries, under 55 Foreign Policy different names. In Association. late November 2010, Walmart extended its sphere of influence to include South Africa’s Massmart Holdings Ltd. Massmart has 290 outlets in 13 African countries, making it one of the continent’s largest retailers. In South Africa, Massmart is perceived as a high-class store in comparison to other chain stores whose inventories are riddled with counterfeit products. Businessmen can often be seen prowling the aisles for their preferred brand-name products. Massmart is looking forward to accessing Walmart’s worldwide network of suppliers and being able to offer an unparalleled and consistent selection of products at competitive prices. Throughout the world, Africa is
borders into the country and the government, still under the control of President Gbagbo, has ordered foreign media to cease their operations. Separate swearing-in ceremonies for both Gbagbo and Alassane have been held. The future for the war torn nation remains uncertain with ethnic divisions running deep. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been appointed by the African Union to mediate the situation and is now in the city of Abidjan monitoring the situation.
by Alexandra Crerend ’11 underestimated and misunderstood. The spotlight shines on human rights, health, and corruption issues, relegating stories of growth and prosperity to the shadows. The continent’s population reached one billion people last year and the number of African families with a household income of at least $20,000 has exceeded the number of families who meet or exceed that mark in India, a country with a population similar in size to the whole of Africa. Not surprisingly, the disposable portion
of the overall household income is increasing, as evidenced by the fact that consumerspending rose in Africa by a compound rate of 16% between 2005 and 2008. For Walmart, the genesis of a true consumer base was an indicator of a potentially prosperous future in Africa. Walmart’s president and CEO, Doug McMillon, said, “The more we learn about South Africa and the surrounding countries, the more we are convinced that this is an important region with attractive growth characteristics. This combination fits perfectly with our strategy to enter high growth markets in which we can apply our global expertise and generate strong returns.” Massmart’s leadership and shareholders reciprocated, expressing their eagerness to unite with Walmart. Massmart CEO Grant Pattison described the deal as “a milestone,” and a vote of confidence “in the strong growth potential of South Africa and the continent.” However, Walmart’s initial late September offer for Massmart was $4.6 billion. Upon reevaluation, Walmart sliced that offer in half to $2.3 billion, or just 51% of the South Africabased retailer. This hesitation and subsequent decrease suggests that Walmart was uncomfortable putting all its chips on Massmart at this time. Walmart likely realized that such an abrupt foray into an entire continent’s Outside Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas
economy was not advisable since each of the continent’s 53 countries has its own tariffs, laws, regulations, and struggles with corruption. Even though Massmart is present in just 13 of those countries, perhaps the volatility of their political and social structures is enough to deter the world corporation. According to author and globalization guru Thomas Friedman, multinational companies and international investors “[value] stability, predictability, transparency, and the ability to transfer and protect its private property.” Walmart is acknowledging efforts by Massmart—and, by extension, African countries—to adopt modern business standards in order to attract international investment. Last year, the World Bank announced that per-capita income in Sub-Saharan Africa was $1,096; the FTSE/JSE Africa General Retailers Index is up almost 50 percent this year, ahead of the almost 9 percent increase in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index; SubSaharan Africa’s economy will expand 5.5 percent next year, two and a half times faster than developed countries, according to IMF; all of these statistics indicate a blossoming African economy that is preparing itself for a prosperous future, full of foreign investment.
ASIA The Religious Situation in China
by Nathan Harris ’13
Freedom of religion, one attend were stopped at the Beijing Airport and of the rights that Americans were not allowed through. The Chinese are entitled to in the first government stationed 1,000 police officers to amendment of the U.S. keep house church Christians from leaving the Constitution, is not a right country. that everyone in the world In the Xinjiang province in Northern China, is allowed to enjoy. A the Chinese government has been accused of number of situations in human rights violations because it is China—both recently and oppressing the Islamic population. It is using in the past—have called attention to this fact. the excuse of countering terrorism and There are legal, registered churches and separatism to cover up the oppression of the mosques in China, and there are “official” Muslim minority in this region. The printing companies that print Bibles and other government is also vetting imams, closing religious materials. The problem is that there mosques, committing executions, and sending are not enough Bibles being printed in China citizens to re-education camps. Many citizens to accommodate the growing number of favor greater autonomy, which the Chinese Christians. Furthermore, bringing Bibles into government sees as a threat to the state. China is illegal, as is holding unauthorized These are just a few examples of how the religious meetings. Although there are legal leaders of China have tried to seize their mosques scattered throughout the country, citizens’ religious freedom. As long as people there are also illegal underground mosques, attend registered places of worship and forced to exist this way because of political purchase religious materials printed by persecution. government-approved printing companies, they More and more often in China, the seem to be left alone. However, if they attend government attempts to control what is taught underground religious meetings (such as in a in these religious meetings and what religious house church), or obtain a piece of religious material is available for Chinese literature smuggled into the people to read. Here are a few country, they face the possibility recent events to illustrate this of arrest, and even torture. point: In October 2010, some Oftentimes, the people are 200 Chinese Christians were oppressed, detained, or detained or threatened because executed. Since the communists of their planned attendance at came into power in 1948 the the Lausanne Congress, a soChinese government has tried Uyghur women rush a Chinese police officer i n X injiang p rotests called Christian World to take more and more control Evangelical Conference. After over what people do and what receiving an invitation to attend the event, they believe. If nothing is done, then the house church groups in China formed a situation will go from as bad as it is now to even selection committee and raised significant worse. If we Americans are committed to funds to pay the expenses of their chosen creating a free world, especially one free for worship, then we must take notice of what is delegates, a source told Compass magazine. Many delegates, however, were “interviewed” going on around us and do something about it! by authorities after they applied to attend the The U.S. government must stop turning a blind Congress. Some of the members attempting to eye to the religious persecution in China. NATHAN HARRIS, from Canaan, New Hampshire, is a member of the Conservative Club and the Fly Fishing & Hunting Club. He lives in Longman Dormitory.
Diversity in Vietnamese Education It is hard to imagine diversity being discussed anywhere outside of the United States, for not many countries are built on the same foundation of immigration and internationalism. That being said, throughout thousands of years of development, various civilizations have come into contact with one another in very subtle, yet remarkable, ways. These cultural currents convene and diverge, crisscrossing one another and blending together to nourish numerous societies. This process does not stop in modern times, and even accelerates as human activities globalize; therefore, cultures have more opportunities to meet and influence one BAO PHAN, from another. This increasing Ho Chi Minh City, dynamism of globalization Vietnam, is co-‐ has particular effects on president of developing countries such SPECTRUM, the Gay-‐Straight as Vietnam, which is Alliance. A resident facing an identity crisis as of Taylor Hall, Bao it brings itself out into the is a member of the world. Chamber Singers With its Confucian and the NEO influence, education plays Theater. a central role in the culture and society of Vietnam. In many ways, it is considered a device of social mobility. Thus, parents sacrifice much so that their children can obtain the best possible education, even going so far as to sell part or all of their property to pay for tuition and other costs (loans are generally considered undesirable). This mentality also manifests itself in the form of studying abroad: Vietnamese students study overseas primarily to experience a different (and arguably better) education, in contrast to American students’ primary goal in studying abroad, which is to learn about a different culture. The trend in studying abroad has both a positive and negative impact on the Vietnamese workforce and education management. In many cases, it is necessary that students study abroad because the higher education system lacks the capacity to accommodate all of them; graduates return with skills, knowledge and different
by Bao Phan ’11
perspectives that prepare them well for an increasingly globalizing intellectual economy; however, many students do not come back (thus creating a “brain drain”), and even those who do come back may not necessarily find suitable jobs. The aforementioned is just one of many challenges Vietnam is confronting in developing its education system. Other challenges include outdated curricula and teaching methods, a shortage of qualified educators and educational managers, large class sizes and difficulty in engaging students in class a discrepancy between the quality of education in urban and in rural areas, and a lack of facilities and strong infrastructure. Some problems that pertain to higher education are a lack of qualified instructors (less than 20% of instructors at universities and colleges hold advanced degrees), low capacity (currently, colleges and universities in Vietnam can only accommodate about one third of all students who sit for the university entrance exams), lack of accreditation (Vietnamese credentials are not generally recognized worldwide), and a low level of research and application of research. Graduates from Vietnamese universities also tend to lack critical and marketable skills, such as the ability to work independently and in groups, communication and presentation skills, creative approaches to problem-solving, critical thinking, and flexibility. These problems are numerous, and in fact parallel those of many countries, even the United States, where this is a problem especially at lower school levels. What role, then, does diversity play in Vietnam’s education? And how can it help solve many problems Vietnam is facing in its effort to reform its education system? First, we must acknowledge that there is great diversity in Vietnam. There are more than 50 ethnic groups, most of whom reside in sparsely populated highland and mountainous regions. Since opening its door in the late 1980’s to foreign investments, Vietnam has seen an insurgence of international interests in private and public developments, one of which
is education. Situated at the crossroads of many cultural currents, Vietnam’s own culture is a diverse mix of different subcultures, yet with core unique elements preserved over thousands of years. Vietnam’s modern education system is a result of that blending of various cultures: a pedagogical philosophy that favors theory over practice (influenced by the Soviet model and old European schools of philosophy), a preference for rote memorization over innovation (influenced by Confucianism from China), a rigid and standardized curriculum and promotion system that places emphasis on achievement, not performance (influenced by France), and a system that is very teachercentered (an unfortunate side effect of Vietnam’s cultural value of respect for the elder).The rigid social hierarchy and other factors such as class size also that limits students’ ability to develop critical thinking habits. Second, we must recognize the benefits of diversity in education. It brings to the table different perspectives on a problem, allowing each person to dissect and analyze in a much more sophisticated fashion. Diversity helps develop critical thinking, opens many more possibilities, teaches us to respect different cultures, and to respect our own. Diversity teaches us empathy as we learn to build an intercultural bridge; it makes us reconsider our values as we are challenged by different cultural viewpoints, forcing us to be critical of our own society. The benefit to students in such a diverse environment like that of Loomis is two-fold, for both the native and the international students.
Ultimately, though, would educational diversity work in Vietnam? One issue is that Vietnam has such a deep-rooted cultural foundation that might be undermined by foreign influences. In some ways this is true; however, it is due to oversight of authority in preserving Vietnam’s cultural treasures. At this moment, Vietnam is very friendly towards international cooperation in development projects. Several international institutions have been in operation in Vietnam, such as RMIT International University Vietnam (Australia) and the Vietnamese-German University. Other projects that are in progress or in negotiation include one with the United States and one with Japan. Vietnam is becoming increasingly international, and we welcome that fact. The problem lies in how Vietnam is going to utilize that to its benefits. Our hope is that with the assistance of developed educational centers of the world, such as Japan, United States, Germany, and Australia, Vietnam will be able to leverage the quality of instruction at many of its universities and graduate more qualified instructors and researchers, to develop an updated curriculum suitable to this age of dynamic internationalism and the pace of development in Vietnam, and to develop a new generation equipped with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and flexibility necessary to compete in a global environment. How Vietnam defines itself in the world is up to how it shapes its younger generation; and to that end, diversity will be a valuable component.
On the busy streets of Hanoi
A Return to Southeast Asia (Without the Guns, of Course) -Viet Phuong Dao ’11 On July 22nd 2009, while attending the fourteenth summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, marking VP DAO, from Ho Chi Minh American reCity, Vietnam, is an RA in engagement in Warham Dormitory. A two-‐ the region after year member of the Foreign eight years of Policy Association and neglect. And in Model United Nations, VP also serves on the Student January 2010, Council. speaking in Hawaii, Clinton remarked, “the United States is back in Asia,” and is “back to stay.” Such statements signify the Obama administration’s significant focus on Southeast Asian affairs, compared to the lacklustre approach of the Bush White House. Nonetheless, the American public as a whole does not consider such issues crucial to national security. The territorial disputes in the seas of Southeast Asia, particularly the row between China and Vietnam in the Southeast Asian Sea, known widely as the South China Sea, hold incredible implications for regional and global stability, and deserve attention not just from the Clinton and her State Department, but also the ordinary American citizen. Since the mid-twentieth century, the Southeast Asian Sea has seen numerous territorial conflicts, each involving China’s claim to, essentially, the entire area. Based on Sino-Vietnamese animosities dating back to 1,000 BCE, the Paracel and Spratly Islands remain hotly contested between Vietnam and its northern neighbour, China. At stake for China and Vietnam are not only the oil and gas fields lining the continental shelf and the fisheries surrounding the archipelagos, but also the loss of national pride invested in this dispute. With both nations elevating the territorial dispute to the level of national priority, neither China nor Vietnam will back down. Nevertheless, the prospects of a major
armed conflict are dim, as both governments continue to promote economic growth and political stability; a top priority of Southeast Asian nations since the 1990s. Minor military skirmishes and diplomatic stand-offs, however, remain distinct possibilities, threatening the regions political and economic future. That said, with economic interdependency expanding across the globe, the Western world cannot ignore such pressing issues, as they relate to international trade and commerce. Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Scot Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, stated that about “half of the world’s merchant fleet… sails through the [Southeast Asian Sea] alone each year.” The gas and oil fields along the continental shelf provide exploration and production opportunities to multinational oil corporations like Exxon Mobil and BP. Clearly, the security of the Southeast Asian Sea hold great significance not only for future energy production, but also for the stability of international business. Since 2007, the Chinese government has pressured foreign oil companies, including American firms, to cease exploration activities with Vietnamese partners. The 2009 harassment of the USNS Impeccable by the Chinese Navy displays Beijing’s expansive interpretation of its maritime territorial rights, an interpretation that jeopardises non-Chinese merchant vessels’ freedom of navigation. China’s claim of sovereignty over the vast majority of the Southeast Asian Sea, including the Paracel and Spratly Islands, poses a threat to major shipping routes and world trade. The international community, and the United States in particular, has ample reasons to intervene.
Intervention, of course, does not mean storming in, guns blazing. Up to this point, American efforts at becoming a mediating player in the region have been appropriate in form and in force. Washington has adopted and should maintain a consistent and clear policy, stressing American interests in the region and advocating for a multilateral
approach to solving disputes. In bilateral talks, China will simply muscle its way through and bully individual nations into submission. To protect its national security interests in Southeast Asia, the United States must maintain a clear presence in the region, not only as China’s counterweight, but also as the mediator-in-chief for the maritime disputes.
The Diplomacy of the Nobel Peace Prize On October 8, the Nobel Committee awarded the Chinese jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo the Peace Prize for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China,” stirring up various arguments over the fairness and appropriateness of this award. The Norwegian Nobel Committee regards the award part of its support for democratic movements in China. With this prize the Nobel Committee, along with President Obama, urged JO WANG, from China to release Liu Shanghai, China, is Xiaobo, who has been a member of Model incarcerated since United Nations, the Debate Team, and December 25, 2009. JV Girls Ice Hockey However, China Team. She lives in responded by claiming Mason Dormitory. that the Nobel Committee is unlawfully interfering with its internal affairs and is attempting to humiliate China in the eyes of the international community. Ultimately, China does not see the committee’s concern about the democratic issues; it sees only hostility and tension. While China’s economy booms today, the nation of over 1.3 billion people must begin to move towards democracy as well. While China is the largest international exporter of goods with a GDP ten times greater since the Reform and Opening of 1978, the government continues to ignore the basic human rights of its citizens. The freedoms of speech, peaceable assembly, and press are still not protected as they are written in the
by Jo Wang ’12
constitution. Websites such as Facebook and YouTube, and pages that publish political content are not accessible in China. In fact, the Internet is mocked by young Chinese adults as the “Innernet.” Xiaonei.com, a Chinese social networking website, censors blogs and postings referring to politically sensitive issues, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. People dissatisfied about the demolition of their homes to make way for new construction in the centre of cities have no public forum to make their complaints. Nevertheless, this issue has raised much attention from people in metropolitan areas such as Shanghai and Beijing. Young adults, who still have years to go before reaching politically influential positions, pay the most attention. Sooner or later this growing dissatisfaction will burst out and create real progress. While there exists an urgent need for China to democratize, Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, has not chosen the most appropriate recipient for this year’s Peace Prize. While Jagland and Western intellectuals have good reasons to honor Liu Xiaobo for Charter 08, which he co-published in 2008, urging democratic reforms in China, the West 2010 Nobel misunderstands the reasons Peace Prize Winner behind Liu’s imprisonment. Liu Xiaobo Another important part of Charter 08 advocates the overthrow of the current Chinese government and the establishment of a federal republic; thus, Liu is currently in prison. Clearly, the Nobel Committee did not recognize this as a reasonable response by the current
Chinese government, which by Law 2358 must punish any attempts to overthrow the government with force or violence. The question here remains not whether governments can imprison citizens plotting coups, but whether Liu’s actions warrant decades of imprisonment. No doubt, it is stupid for the Chinese government to condemn the Nobel Committee and President Obama as interfering in Chinese affairs by requesting the release of Liu Xiaobo. International leaders and governing bodies have the right to say whatever they want, and merely criticizing a country is not interfering with its domestic affairs. But, it is definitely not wise, either, for the Nobel Committee to move into the realm of action by awarding Liu the Peace Prize, as it fails to recognize the
ideological differences between the East and West with regards to government tolerance. Jagland does not have to award the prize to a jailed dissident claiming falsely that he is jailed only for his effort in democratization. He does not have to choose such a disputed laureate, when there are plenty of others whose efforts are recognized universally, since the goal of the peace prize is to promote peace, not to create contentions between different political ideologies. Doubtless, it is the intention of Jagland to use the Nobel Peace Prize as a catalyst for political reform in China; however, quiet, respectful diplomacy is a much more effective strategy when approaching the Chinese government.
Culture: Feng Shui 101 The next time you visit a Chinese family, try counting the number of steps in the staircase leading to the front door, or noting the colors of the bathroom. You may come to spot two traits: 1.) There is always an even number of steps and, 2.) Bathrooms are never a shade of red or pink. Chinese people are firm believers of feng shui, the art and science of balancing natural forces. With a history of over 3,500 years, feng shui is not merely a corny superstition serving to justify one’s success or AUDREY SZE, from failure, but an ideal that Hong Kong, is an the arrangement and RA in Ammidon furnishing of one’s home Hall, an active can, in fact, bring community service volunteer, and a harmony, fortune, and delegate to the prosperity. Model United The phrase feng shui Nations. literally means wind and water, which are elements associated with good health; wind and water are always in motion and, therefore, can regulate the flow of good and bad fortune. Likewise, the yin yang theory is the balance of the two forces—yin and yang—to create ch’i, the breath of life that circulates around every household. The positioning of elements can help contain the ch’i and to keep it flowing.
by Audrey Sze ’11
It is believed that the world is composed of five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, and that these elements, when grouped together in a positive pattern, will create peace. Water feeds wood, wood produces fire, fire burns to make earth, and in earth metal is found. However, when the elements are positioned in a destructive manner, creating bad feng shui, an imbalance may occur. For example, water puts out fire so it would be bad if these two elements were found together. Similarly, the bathroom, containing the sink, toilet and stall – all of which are water elements – will cause discordance with red or pink, the colors of fire. This does not mean one must remodel the whole house to fix the conflicting elements. To establish balance, one only needs to introduce a third element to act as a medium. In the case of the red bathroom walls, one can create accord by adding earth or wood. This can be achieved by adding wooden decors, plants, or shades of browns and yellows. Roaming around Loomis and visiting different dorm rooms, it is hard not to judge and even to fear the possible outcomes of bad feng shui. I guess it is the Chinese embedded in me that will always be watchful of the clashing color schemes and cringe at the sight of the maroon tiles in Founders bathroom.
Middle East The Greatest Election That Isn’t by Ellie Yusuf Ali ’11 I turned on my laptop hoping to finish writing this article within an hour or two; boy, was I wrong! My name is Elham and I am half Bahraini and half Filipino, but I reside in an archipelago (the size of Miami) in the Middle East called Bahrain. Reading about the elections in Bahrain intrigued my interest about the “hopeful” improvements my ELLIE YUSEF ALI is a nation is about to make, native of Bahrain. She yet I was simultaneously is founder of the disappointed by the Loomis Arab World Affiliation, a member inevitable results in of the Student Council favor of one party over and JV Girls Hockey the other. Team, and a resident In October, the in Palmer Dormitory. Bahraini citizens voted in what I think was one of the most heated and debatable parliamentary and municipal elections in the history of the kingdom. The rivalry between the natural born Shiite and Sunni Bahraini citizens will rise to a whole new level. More than twenty Shiite political activists have been detained since August, charged with terrorism and conspiring against the government. Natural-born Bahraini Sunni citizens are advocating for their oppressed rights. The Middle East capitals and the United Nations are keeping an eye on evidence of human rights violations, while watching in terror as evidence of suppression of freedom of speech, press, media, and torture are prevalent. Who is to blame? The government and the monarchy. The conflict between the Sunni and Shiite denominations of
Islam has its origins in the death of the Muslim prophet Mohammad. The struggle for succession led to a split between the Sunnis, those who elected Abu Bakr to the position of Caliph (the leader of the Islamic community), and the Shiites, who held that before his death Mohammad had ordained his cousin Ali as Caliph, believing that the role of Islam’s spiritual leader must be passed down through Mohammad’s bloodline. Bahrain is usually labeled as a Shiite-majority country ruled by the Sunni royal al-Khalifa family. This may no longer be so. For many years, the government has been providing fast-track citizenship to Sunnis from Pakistan, East Africa, and other Arab states which may have created an additional 200,000 citizens along the way. If this continues at this rate, Bahrain may soon have a Sunni majority among its estimated 500,000 citizens. This vast assimilation may result in a demographic imbalance (Bahrain’s current population is 708,573), employment conflicts (naturalized Sunni citizens have the upper hand in getting jobs), and battles for rights among the people (Will the government do what it takes to silence opposition? Yes). The government’s hidden propaganda of boosting the Sunni community is widely recognized as an effort to reduce the risk that Iran will revive its claim to the island. In Shiite areas, anger is rising, because of the arrests and longstanding recognized prejudice against Shiites and poor economic opportunities and privileges given to new Sunni citizens, many of whom serve in the security forces. For example, the
Wafaq Party is currently the single largest Shiite group in Bahrain’s lower house, holding 17 of the 40 available seats. Yet smaller Sunni groups still outvote it as they are favored by the electoral boundaries of Bahraini electorates. Ironically, Shiite areas have as many as 20,000 voters, compared with just a few thousand in Sunni districts. Thus, will the newly naturalized Sunni residents’ votes create greater proportionality in the results? The question remains: is justice being served? Are natural-born Bahrainis, both Shiites and Sunnis, treated fairly in regards to the assimilation of new neutralized citizens? The main issue remains about the balance of rights in Bahrain, where both the Shiites and Sunnis deserve to claim their rights, even if that means speaking out against the government. Many have argued that there’s palpably a predictable electoral outcome in favor of the government and its hidden scheme. Shiites and Sunnis deserve to have their voices to be heard; it is their rights after all. How does this involve the United States?
The U.S. has longstanding close ties with Bahrain as Washington has an interest in neutralizing the prevalent tension. Some Shiite spokesmen have been critical of American officials, such as blaming Ambassador Adam Ereli for supposedly allowing the detention of activists who spoke out during trips to Washington and London. In October 2010, Janet Sanderson, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, discussed the human rights situation with Bahraini leaders. Yet Washington will not pressure the Kingdom in anything, stating: “We are not here, frankly, to impose our views on others but to encourage the countries of the region to fulfill their priorities in this area. The dialogue that we had on human rights could be difficult, but it is open, ongoing, and part of our relationship.” The election outcome could be crucial to future political harmony in Bahrain. This election is the stepping stone for furthering the citizens’ rights, a fight for freedom, and an overthrow to the occurring oppression.
United States and Israel: Coming Together or Falling Apart? by Doron Shapir ’11 I love America. I just love it. The United States is a nation of many cultures, a nation of people who came from different places, faiths, and backgrounds, but who all come together under the 50 starred flag. The good thing is that people are still coming and the American dream endures! Honestly, I salute America! But my home is not America. I was born to native Israeli parents in the city of Haifa, in the north of Israel. I feel very lucky to be Israeli, and I feel very passionate about my ability to improve my country and to make it better everyday. Many of you may not know the story of Israel and the United States. Established in 1948, Israel was a melting pot for Jews who came from the four corners of the Earth. Eastern culture and Western culture, religious and
secular, rich and poor, all emigrated to the new country, which was under attack by Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. With the courage of the new Israelis and the help of international aid, Israel won its war for independence. Since our stories are similar, and Americans felt compassion for a Jewish state, it was natural for the United States to support the new Jewish State. I am writing you today to make it clear that Israelis are thankful for the support and DORON SHAPIR, from Haifa, Israel, raised aid of the United $1,234 for the Seeds of States from 1948 until Peace organization to this day. We are assist victims of the flood thankful to American in Pakistan. He is a citizens for their member of the Jewish understanding and Student Union, the Debate Society, and the concern.
Model United Nations.
For me, as an Israeli, individuals and for it’s very important that countries to overcome the alliance between arguments. We all know Israel and the United that people can overcome States continues. This arguments, and there is alliance has potential to no reason why nations help both countries. I cannot do that, too. know that some As the only democracy Americans doubt the in the Middle East and as importance of the only Jewish State in supporting Israel. Many the world, Israel needs people look at the recent the support of the United tension between the States. United States and Israel, I understand that some Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with believing that they are a of you have questions, U.S. President Barack Obama good reason for the U.S. doubts, and to stop supporting its ally. I believe differently. disagreements regarding what you hear about Think about your good friend. Think about Israel. I encourage you to come and talk with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Have you ever me, come and tell me what you think. I may not argued? Have you ever disagreed? I am sure be able to convince you that Israel is always that most of you have fought with your very right, but I hope that I will be able to explain to good friends and had some disagreements you what the situation is in my point of view. throughout the years. I actually believe that And, more than that, let me invite you to those disagreements had a positive influence on come to the Holy Land! It will be hot… but very your relationships; the fight made your fun! connection stronger. It is a test for both
Concord Is Key Surviving dramatic ups and downs, hope and anticipation glitters in the eyes of Americans as the struggle with Iraq marches tediously forward. On August 31, 2010, President Barack Obama declared an end to the combat mission in Iraq; today, only 50,000 military troops remain but there is much work still left to accomplish. While American soldiers look to lead the Iraqi people toward peace and stability, American politicians wish to guide Iraq toward establishing a more democratic federal parliamentary LIANA FERNEZ, from Bolton, Connecticut, is a republic, a political member of the Foreign system they feel will Policy Association and a benefit the divided three-‐year veteran of the country. Prime NEO Theater. She is also Minister Nuri ala Peer Counselor and a resident of Palmer Maliki’s promise of Dormitory. restored security
by Liana Fernez ’12 struck Iraqis and Americans alike as empty with violence and suicide bombings permeating the pre-parliamentary election on March 7, 2010. The Obama administration continues to urge Iraq’s quarreling political parties to form a government that includes all religions and ethnicities, yet the work of current president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, is less than impressive. The final departure of American troops that Obama has promised does not signify the end of American involvement in Iraq. Yet, Obama’s ambitious endgame involving a United States embassy, aiding the Iraqis in purchasing and fielding American military equipment worries some Iraq War veterans; to them, it seems the only possible outcome is the eventual reentry of thousands of American troops after 2011. Ideally, the State Department will succeed in its training of the Iraqi police forces by October 2011, and, with no American military to aid
them, American diplomats will be on their own, solving disputes between the belligerent sects of northern Iraq. However, Obama’s eager mission to cement American authority in Iraq rests not only on an increasingly unstable Iraqi government and security framework, but also on the assurance that Iranian influence will soon cease in the region—an outcome unlikely any time soon. Citizens of Iraq live in constant fear of two major occurrences: civil war and domination by its eastern neighbor, Iran. Iran and Iraq are both majority Shia nations. Saddam Hussein empowered Iraq’s minority Sunni during his reign, suppressing the majority Shia population. Now, many Iraqi Shia feel it is time to reclaim their nation by taking a powerful, ruling role in the government. While Shias have been empowered since the fall of Hussein, further shifts within Iraq’s internal political structure will greatly upset the ethnically
diverse nation’s Nevertheless, Iran and training Iraq’s funding legitimate
delicate balancing act. stands accused of arming Shia insurgents as well as Iraqi Shia politicians. No doubt, when the United States finally withdraws a power vacuum will consume the region. Neighboring Sunni-governed nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Parliament its fellow Persian Gulf states, have promised to fill the void the United States leaves by whatever means necessary to prevent the spread of Iranian influence in the Middle East. Nevertheless, hope remains for Iraq, the so-called “cradle of civilization.” Iran will only succeed if Iraqis continue to stall on the creation of a stable, entirely democratic, unified government. Iraqis must take responsibility for their security and governance before it is too late.
Afghanistan: Costs and Benefits ABIGAIL ADAMS, from Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, is president of the Phage Club. Abby is also a member of the Arab World Affiliation, the Foreign Policy Association, and she is active in the NEO Theater.
Today the United States faces violent extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban, organizations based in the lawless, mountainous regions of western Pakistan. Using the relative safe haven of Pakistan to conduct their business, the Taliban continues its
By Abigail Adams ’12
insurgency to the west, destabilizing President Hamid Karzai’s Afghanistan, but it also wages war against every element of modern, nucleararmed Pakistani society, fighting the Pakistani army in the northern Swat Valley, while, simultaneously, terrorizing major cities, like Islamabad and Karachi, with the reality of daily, civiliantargeted suicide bombings. Given this challenge, rather than launching a narrow counter-terrorist strategy of drone attacks, the Obama administration continues to focus on strengthening political unity within Afghanistan and Pakistan,
the local on call to provide peace governments secure their as well as the newly own territories. appointed Afghan By deploying more governor, ready to assume than 30,000 additional his role. Nevertheless, troops to Afghanistan in McChrystal, while on all early 2010, bringing the accounts a brilliant man, total number of United oversimplifies the States military personnel situation. To this day, in the country to over Operation Moshtarak 90,000, President Obama continues and ISAF attempted to reverse the troops remain in Marja, recent Taliban land gains. attempting to secure the This pressured President city and protect its Karzai, a sometimes residents. Daily firefights Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai with uncooperative and often between ISAF troops and U.S. President Barack Obama tricky political figure, to Taliban insurgents create a more effective, stable, democratic continue to interrupt the flow of life in the Afghan government. Moreover, in November, dusty city streets. Normality is a distant—but NATO leaders agreed to a conclusion of not unattainable—dream for residents. combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014 as In addition to the challenges posed by the well as to withdrawal the majority of the insurgencies, corruption continues to plague 138,000 ISAF troops. The Afghan Taliban Afghan daily life. In September 2010, called NATO’s plan “irrational.” parliamentary elections were held. However, While ISAF strategy and tactics have fraud was prevalent with 25% of legitimate changed over its nine years occupying votes likely thrown out. Through ballot box Afghanistan, in the end, the fight remains the stuffing as well as armed intimidation by warsame: a constant struggle lords-turned-politicians and through a political, social, the Taliban insurgence, this Taliban f ighters and military quagmire. In pervasive fraud only results February 2010, ISAF in questions over the launched Operation legitimacy of President Moshtarak, a military Karzai’s government. With offensive through the the 2014 withdrawal date nation’s southern Helmand looming, one must ask: Province aimed at taking What are the costs of this Marja, a city held by the indefinite war? Leaving too Taliban for four years and a early will only show center for exporting the weakness on America’s part, region’s locally grown leaving Afghanistan’s opium. United States and neighbors—Iran, Pakistan ISAF forces mounted a large-scale military and India—to fill the ensuing power vacuum. operation to take the city. After many That said, the War in Afghanistan, the war that casualties, both civilian and military, the city may help define Obama’s presidency, is was taken. Referring to the taking of Marja as becoming ever more unpopular with the then Commander of ISAF and United States American people. In the end, with no victory in forces in Afghanistan, now retired four-star sight and costs—both human and economic— General Stanley McChrystal famously stated, mounting, the United States must withdraw “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll militarily from Afghanistan. in,” referring to the 1,900 Afghan police officers
The Americas Mexico’s Drug Cartels
by Joanna Warren ’11
We’ve all heard the words Mexico, drug and the Beltran-Leyva Cartel, while the other trafficking, and cartels jumbled together, but consists of the Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel and what exactly do they mean, how do they relate, La Familia Cartel. Since the demise of and why does it matter? Colombia’s cartels in 1990, these cartels, whose Drug cartels are commonly defined as illegal endeavors are often hindered by bribery, organizations created with the primary purpose intimidation, and corruption, have become of controlling and encouraging drug trafficking more powerful and now dominate the illegal operations, the trading, and transportation of drug market in North America. drugs. According to the United States As The New York Times reported, Mexican Congressional Research president Felipe Calderon has declared that, Service report, Mexico “drug violence [is] a threat to the Mexican JOANNA WARREN was born in Thailand, currently has seven state.” These two cartel groups are fighting over and has lived around different drug cartels: land containing major routes through which the world as the the Juarez, Tijuana, Los they transport drugs into the U.S. In addition, daughter of a U.S. Zetas, Beltran-Leyva, the government combats the cartels as one diplomat parents. She Gulf, Sinaloa, and the organization. But too often, their actions only is a member of the Foreign Policy La Familia Cartel. The escalate the violence that has been present Association and a birth of these cartels since the creation of the cartels. Thousands of resident of Palmer can be traced back to Mexican lives, from authorities to civilians to Dormitory. the early 1980’s, when cartel members, have lost their lives. In Miguel Ángel Félix addition, a majority of this fighting takes place Gallardo, a former Mexican Police agent, began near the U.S.-Mexican border. U.S. authorities smuggling drugs, especially cocaine and commonly report killings, kidnappings, home marijuana, into the United States. In 1987, invasions, and injuries to American citizens. Gallardo decided Furthermore, that his drug some evidence transport suggests that operations would several Mexican become more drug cartels are efficient and safer joining U.S. from authorities if prison and street he divided up the gangs to facilitate trading routes into drug trafficking different groups. within the United However, he States, and that chose to still the cartels have oversee everything associations and, thus, earned present in most his name as the major U.S. cities, Confiscated arms in the Mexican Drug War Godfather of these contributing to the cartels. Currently, certain cartels have bonded distribution of drugs and increasing violence. together, creating two opposing groups. The The U.S. Justice Department considers the C.R.S. report states that one division consists Mexican drug cartels as the greatest organized of the Juarez Cartel, Tijuana Cartel, Los Zetas crime threat to the United States; President
Calderon has announced that the cartels are seeking to replace the government and are trying to impose their own laws. Both the U.S. and Mexico face the problems with these cartels and so, both countries have decided to take action, together and separately, to prevent the situation from intensifying. Mexico’s efforts at stopping trafficking were largely unsuccessful until Calderon was elected in 2006. Within 18 months of this election, he spent over $7 billion on the war against drugs and one of his first actions was to send over 6,500 troops to end drug violence in certain parts of Mexico. In 2008, the Mexican government doubled the size of its federal police force to combat drug trafficking. Most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. The money they use to purchase drugs allows the cartels to buy more weapons and to continue the vicious cycle of drug trafficking. The U.S. Congress passed legislation in June 2008 to provide Mexico and Central American countries with $1.6 billion USD for a three-year international assistance plan. Together, Mexico and the U.S. vigorously promote anti-drug campaigns, in an attempt to try and reduce the demand of these drugs. If the demand decreases, there will be less money to supply the cartels, eventually driving them out of business. In addition, both countries are working together to try to capture the key drug leaders. They have already arrested several leaders and associates. On August 16, 2006, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) and the Coast Guard arrested several Tijuana cartel leaders off the Mexican coast. Unfortunately, however, violence merely increased as the other cartels fought for control over these trafficking routes. Because the problem had worsened, in March 2009, President Calderon instilled 5,000 more troops in certain areas of Mexico, and the U.S. sent the National Guard to the border to stop the threat of drug violence from spilling over into the United States. Regrettably, the cartels have the power to corrupt or intimidate law enforcement officials, and so the troops sent to cease the actions of the cartels succumb to a mediocrity of compromise with the cartels. If the cartels continue to gain strength, there is a fear that perhaps the Mexican government may collapse and this conflict could spread even further into the U.S., harming more U.S. and Mexican citizens. Working together, the U.S. and Mexican governments have spent billions of dollars to end violence and drug trafficking. Mexico and the U.S. are trying to reach their goal by targeting the root of the problem: U.S. demand for illicit drugs. In May 25, 2010, President Obama redirected $300 million to fight the smuggling of illegal drugs, to promote antidrug campaigns, and to deploy 1,200 more National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to protect citizens and aid the Customs and Border Protection agents. This situation is large and serious, and hopefully through the continuation of teamwork between these two countries, the U.S. and Mexico will one day be able to eliminate the cartels entirely.
All Blame on China? During last fall’s U.S. congressional midterm elections, candidates from both political parties tried whatever method they could to accuse their MONICA HE, from opponents and gain Hangzhou, China, is a support from the member of the Foreign public. Interestingly, Policy Association, is a on one view they prefect in Harman Hall, seemed united: both and serves on the Student Council. parties pointed their
by Monica He ’12
fingers at China for taking so many overseas jobs, which they claimed could have belonged to Americans. Politicians are often smart enough to know when to take sides. Years ago, before the economic crisis, American politicians were quite happy with the free-trade policy between the United States and China, saying that thanks to all those manufacturing companies and cheap labor in China, Americans could enjoy
cheap prices and good quality for daily products. In order to establish a more stable economic relationship with China, the U.S. government had also supported multi-national corporations between the two countries. But now, when the world is still suffering from the recession and when the voters are still anxious about the future economic prospects, American politicians quickly change their attitude towards the free trade, criticizing China for eliminating all possible jobs for their natives. Being Chinese, I find this kind of accusation deplorable. First of all, China has been involved in world trade for many years; we did not just start manufacturing global products a few days ago. The American politicians clearly find China to be an easy target to win the voters’ hearts, because they all understand that the public is now looking for candidates who can lead them out of this economic crisis. Secondly, because Chinese products are cheaper than the U.S. domestic products (due to our inexpensive labor), many Americans prefer to buy stuff that is “made in China.” When people go to Target or Walmart, almost 90% of the products in the dollar aisle are Chinese, and often times they would choose a $1.00 shower caddie made in China instead of a $10.00 one made in the U.S. Thus, in this way, China is offering necessary and preferable daily products for Americans; their politicians who also buy Chinese products should not blame China for contributing and participating in free market trade. In addition, the candidates who made these accusations could not even guarantee that Americans would want these jobs that China is supposedly taking away! According to some campaign ads, these candidates are assuming that the Chinese are taking over many good jobs in international trade; however, they probably don’t know that, in reality, a lot of the jobs that workers hold in
Chinese factories are tough, strenuous and exhausting. Just like when residents of Texas or Arizona were accusing illegal Mexican immigrants of taking over American job opportunities, they were not aware of the truth that many Americans, even though they were given the opportunities, were not willing to do some of the blue-collar jobs the Mexicans had been willing to do. Therefore, the politicians should not just put blame on the Chinese because they can’t figure out ways to create more jobs for their own people. However, I can still understand why the candidates would come up with this idea of selecting China as a target in their campaigns. The main reason is that they understand perfectly that now a lot of Americans are cautious and uninformed about the relationship between China and the United States. On the one hand, Americans still want to maintain an economic and political friendship with China, as China continues to develop rapidly in the coming years. On the other hand, some Americans are worried that with this tendency, especially during a recession, the advantage of international trade China might soon overrun the economy of the United States and become the most powerful country in the world. As American voters worry about the future, the candidates wish to use these ads to encourage their voters to not blame the U.S. government for its failure in job creation. Just like Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense aroused so many American colonists’ determination to fight against the British and demand their independence in 1776, the politicians of today might also consider those ads a good way to create tension towards China among the public, and to gain the patriotic voters’ support for their elections.
A Brief Introduction to B.R.I.C. On June 16th, 2009, four countries convened in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg to discuss a diverse collection of matters, ranging from the global economy to nuclear power to national security. Inevitably, this summit has shocked their allies around the globe. Establishing themselves as a significant voice in international politics, these four countries have affirmed themselves as an influence that cannot be denied. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proclaimed this convention an “historic event,” an assembly that has set forth indications of SAMSON CHOW, a native tremendous shifts of Hong Kong, is a member in the present of the Foreign Policy distribution of Association and is a three-‐ year thespian on the NEO worldwide stage. Samson lives in economic power. Warham Hall. The members of this convention are the renowned BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. After considerable growth in their national economies, the BRIC nations have emerged as a potent force. In the triumphant words of Chinese President Hu Jintao, the primary objective of the summit is to “establish a fairer world order” by challenging the economic dominance of the United States. Their most ambitious plan, to replace the U.S. dollar as a leading reserve currency, creating a “more diversified international monetary system,” was unsuccessful, but the BRIC convention has foreshadowed an era in which many aspects of the global economy may change with the development of these countries. Fareed Zakaria, Editor-At-Large of Time magazine, declares that the prosperity of these emerging nations signifies a post-American world dominated by the BRIC countries. The term “BRIC” was first coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neil in his 2001 paper entitled “The World Needs Better BRICs.” According to O’Neil’s thesis, countries with the biggest and fastest emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will become the international “Big
by Samson Chow ’12
Four” by 2050. Significant factors contributing to the economic growth of the BRIC countries include the nations’ collective 25% of the earth’s land mass, 40% of the world’s population, and a stunning combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 15 trillion USD. O’Neil also argues that through the capitalistembracing policies found in each of the countries’ constitutions, the BRICs will become entities of economic prestige. With the current exponential rise of the BRIC economies, O’Neil’s recent reports have become increasingly bullish, offering optimistic views about the countries’ economic futures. The prominence of Brazil, Russia and China has indeed become a matter of great urgency on the global stage. Considered the more economically robust of the group, India and China are eminent figures in the global economy. While the United States and European countries, especially Spain and Greece, have suffered greatly from the credit crisis, India and China have witnessed unprecedented growth. With an average GDP growth of seven percent since 2007, India has become the fourth largest economy in the world, leaping from its previous position as the 11th largest in 2009. China, on the other hand, has trumped Japan as the second largest economy in the world with an average GDP growth of eight percent. These achievements not only reflect the successful stimulus packages that these countries established during 2009, but also the significance of the economic reforms that these countries undertook in the 1970s and 1980s. By promoting fiscal decentralization and allowing foreign investment, both India and China have prospered as leading suppliers of manufactured goods and services and as export platforms. The economic prosperity of these two nations also depends upon the government’s increasing focus on social welfare, particularly in education reform. Furthermore, China’s recent sanction of precious metals against the United States and Japan, as well as President Obama’s trip to India, signify the growing authority of India and China in the international economy,
allowing them to flex their diplomatic muscles. industries have experienced a 75% growth, However, India and China face growing while the amount of foreign investments competition, as they contest each other in increased by 125%. The Russian economy, with obtaining economic dominance in the East an average GDP growth of six percent, boasts a Asian region, cultivating their inward economic diverse portfolio of multinational companies development, and fortifying their domestic that stretches their influence to the four markets. This economic battle between the corners of the earth. As leading global Bengal Tiger and the Dragon reflects a flourish suppliers of raw commodities, Brazil and Russia that will inarguably affix both countries as have risen to distinction in an impressively economic pillars in Asia. short amount of time, especially compared to Respectively ranking ninth and sixth in the India and China’s growth toward prominence. world’s GDP, Brazil and Russia have marked Understanding Brazil and Russia’s incredibly themselves powerful presences in the global quick growth, one can assume the massive market as well. Under the presidency of Luiz economic impact these two countries will “Lula” da Silva, the Brazilian economy has create. sprung to the world’s attention as it emerged as Formidable, foreboding and fascinating— the eighth largest economy in 2009. Such these are three words that describe the recent economic success is attributed to president economic expansions of Brazil, Russia, India Lula’s efforts in reducing the national budget and China. Yet, these four countries may still and debt profile, building up foreign reserves, face a wide range of problems that could and promoting macroeconomic stability in the transform their present prosperity into country. Through ambitious fiscal policies, the economic depression. India and China struggle Brazilian economy begins to strengthen as both with undeveloped infrastructure, rising a thriving domestic and export market. Though inflation, and dreadful poverty. Fluctuations in possessing the commodity prices slowest GDP greatly affect the percentage Russian economy, increase of the four which depends countries, Brazil heavily upon actually has a precious minerals political advantage: and oil. The unlike India, it has succession of national and ethnic President Lula by unity; unlike China Dilma Rousseff has and Russia, Brazil been questioned by garners universal Brazilian politicians, political sympathy wondering whether and easier access Rousseff will allow to political Brazil to continue its alliances due to its considerable degree democratic system. of economic growth. B.R.I.C. leaders convene at their 2010 summit— Russia, on the other Moreover, all four from L to R: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev , former hand, has countries suffer Brazilian President Luiz da Silva, Chinese President Hu Jintao, experienced from a political vice and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tremendous growth crucial to the from its transition from a centralized socialist stagnation of certain developing economies in and isolated government to a market-oriented the world: corruption. The path towards and globally integrated economy. Under the economic prosperity for the BRIC countries is supervision of former president and current filled not only with unrestrained zeal, but also prime minister, Vladimir Putin, Russian with wary uncertainty.
Culture: Music in the Spotlight Kanye West’s disciple Kid Cudi recently released his second album, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” The album, one of many set to premiere within the year, marks a new age for modern music. West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Ke$ha’s “Cannibal,” The Black Eyed Peas’ “The Beginning,” and Rihanna’s “Loud,” are all prime examples of the final step in hip-hop’s seismic shift from classic rap to a new, computer generated sound. While not dead, hip-hop is without a doubt currently undergoing the most radical, exciting transformation since its inception on the New York Club scene in the mid ’70s. For three decades hip-hop dominated the Billboard charts, undergoing organic evolutions from Sugar Hill Gang’s original “Rapper’s Delight,” to the political militancy synonymous with the Golden Age of the ’80s, right through the West Coast’s Gangsta Rap years, until propagating into the international cultural happening reminiscent of the late ’90s. These innovations produced clear variance between THOMAS BARRY, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, is the founding editor of the World Bulletin, and is a two-‐ year member of the Foreign Policy Association and Model United Nations. Tom is a resident of Batchelder Dormitory.
by Thomas Barry ’11
subsections. Nevertheless, the genre always stayed faithful to the nucleus of street inspired rap lyrics and chill, steady rhythm and blues beats—until now, that is. History states in the mid ‘90s the Wu-Tang Clan’s minimalistic, hardcore style of hip-hop revolutionized the music industry. However, one must recognize the sharp, crisp sounds now atop Billboard’s Hot 100. The iTunes Era has arrived with a vengeance; this allows the consumer to purchase the specific song he or she wants, a liberty never before granted. Technology surrounds the modern man, pervading his existence. That said, some critics, stuck in the past, still brush off Lady Gaga and her contemporaries as a fad. But the establishment’s myopia, no rival for youth eager to establish a distinct cultural identity, has finally begun visibly receding. Humanity craves rhythms and beats that mirror the sequences of modern existence. Thus, contemporary artists produce steady, yet dynamic melodies–their focus, the nightclubs of New York, Berlin, and Tokyo–the eternal refuge from the responsibilities of age. Nonetheless, as today’s young people mature, the torch of adolescence will naturally pass to the next, eager generation, prepared to cultivate their own unique intellectual and artistic identity. And when building something new, the old must always come down.
Farewell: Richard Holbrooke, 1941-2010 Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2009, but a powerful and respected diplomat on the world stage for over four decades, including in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, died suddenly on December 13 after suffering a tear in his aorta. Holbrooke is
probably best known for his role in brokering the 1995 Dayton peace accords, which brought an end to the war in Bosnia. Mr. Holbrooke’s career began with his 1962 diplomatic post to Vietnam; he would later author one volume of the Pentagon Papers. He also played a crucial role in establishing ties with communist China in the 1970s, with post-communist Germany in the early 1990s, and he was the U.S. chief representative to the United Nations from 19992001, where he raised attention of health crises and conflicts in Africa and Indonesia.
Survey: Of the options listed below, which offers the best single means of assessing a nation’s power?
The World Bulletin recently took a survey on which option is best at assessing a nation’s power. The Loomis Chaffee community decided that economic strength was the most influential characteristic. Within the past three years the United States has seen the effects of recession and economic downfall, resulting in chronic unemployment, billion dollar bailouts, and low consumer confidence. How can another nation look up to a country with a dried up economy? If the analysts are correct, this will be the “Chinese Century”—a century dominated by the overwhelming economic might of the most populous nation on the planet.
The editorial staff of the World Bulletin conducted this survey informally. One hundred Loomis students were surveyed; here are the results from the 43 respondents.
ALSO IN THE NEWS United States – With the leaking last year of over 250,000 secret U.S. government cables by the whistleblower organization Wikileaks.com, a treasure trove of sensitive intelligence— as well as caustic criticisms of foreign leaders by U.S. diplomats— is now available for public viewing. These game-‐changing documents provide not only in-‐depth views into private diplomatic dealings, but also the uncensored opinions of some of the U.S. government’s most high-‐ranking Foreign Service workers. South Korea – For the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953 North Korea unleashed a targeted artillery attacked on the South Korean civilians of Yeonpyeong Island on November 23rd, killing two South Korean civilians and two South Korean military personnel. Since then, the United States and South Korea have engaged in war games, arranged before the shelling by the North, but, nonetheless, a strong show of force by Seoul and its most powerful ally. China, North Korea’s neighbor and strongest supporter, has called for calm as tensions on the peninsula continue to flame. Russia & Qatar – The announcement came December 2nd that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host the games in 2022. Jubilation immediately broke out in Moscow and Doha. Nevertheless, both nations have a long way to come before they will be prepared to host. Both must build their stadia entirely from scratch. Russia must improve not only its internal transportation network, but also rail links with Western Europe. Qatar will face temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing the small Persian Gulf state to air condition the entirety of their stadia. Brazil – Following her victory in the October 31st run-‐off elections, Worker’s Party candidate Dilma Rousseff succeeded Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to become the first female president of Brazil. Egypt – Allegations of corruption and fraud marred the second round of voting in parliamentary elections December 5th. The outcome of the second round guarantees the governing National Democratic Party, the party of President Hosni Mubarak, an absolute majority in parliament. Ireland – With Dublin facing a deep recession and a bailout of Irish banks, an agreement has been reached between the Republic of Ireland and the European Union, granting the Irish government an 85 billion euro rescue package in return for the implementation by Ireland of a severe austerity program. Now European regulators turn their attention to other financially weak E.U. members, such as Spain and Portugal, who appear on the brink of their own financial crises.
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