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northeastern university political review

Censorship and Self-Censorship: China and the NBA EVAN CRYSTAL Re-Examining Japan’s North Korea Strategy—What Can Be Done? RINTARO NISHIMURA

Why Americans Don’t Vote ALEX JARECKI

Letter from the Editor & the Co-Presidents Dear Reader, Overseeing the extraordinary growth in size and scope of the Political Review over the course of 2019 has been our unique privilege as your Editor-in-Chief and Co-Presidents. Furthermore, this semester allowed us to reflect on NUPR’s past, and most importantly, appreciate the incredible individuals to whom we owe the creation of our beloved publication. With the help of the Political Review’s founding member and President, Matt Cournoyer, we had the privilege to organize a ten-year anniversary celebration, bringing together past and current members to engage in collective reflection. Once again, we were reminded of the importance of a space like NUPR, which allows our Northeastern community to partake in interesting discussions, together. We dedicate this edition to those individuals preceding us, who leave behind legacies with evident resonance, as we are continually inspired by their dedication to thoughtful and genuine work in everything we do. We feel both deeply humbled and motivated to continue building on their strong foundation, for ourselves and for those who will follow in our steps. We pause to share our deepest gratitude for our Co-President Gabriel, who will be transitioning away from their position after two years of dedicating their time, creativity, energy, and exemplary work ethic to the organization. We also thank our writers, editors, designers, and members for investing their time and talents in NUPR this semester. Looking toward 2020, we reaffirm the Political Review’s mission to serve as a non-affiliated space on campus for students to discuss and publish politically oriented discourse of the highest caliber. We promise to uphold our commitment to elevating good journalism—regardless of the perspective— that is dedicated to showcasing truth and displaying advocacy, above all else. Thank you for picking up NUPR’s Fall 2019 print magazine, our most globally oriented issue in years. We encourage you to be inspired, to get writing, and to get involved. Sincerely yours, Gabriel García Elena Kuran Jillian Wrigley

Meet the Team Executive Board

Mission Statement

Gabriel GarcĂ­a Co-President

The Northeastern University Political Review seeks to be a non-affiliated platform for students to publish essays and articles of the highest possible caliber on contemporary domestic and international politics, as well as critical reviews of political books, film, and events. The Political Review aspires to foster a culture of intelligent political discourse among interested individuals while promoting awareness of political issues in the campus community. The organization envisions itself as a place where students with a common interest in politics and world affairs may come together to discuss and develop their views and refine their opinions. The Political Review hopes to reflect the diversity of thought and spirit at Northeastern, including the dual ethic of academic and experiential education our school embodies.

Jillian Wrigley Co-President Elena Kuran Editor-in-Chief Jamie D'Amato Creative Director Mia Vuckovich Communications Director Reshma Rapeta Treasurer Bryan Bonnett Podcast Director

Editorial Board Kamran Parsa Co-Managing Editor Milton Posner Co-Managing Editor Claire McHugh Magazine Editor Alexandra Jacobs Magazine Editor

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Table of Contents Featured National 6

Is Enough Enough?—Farmers' Dilemma Heading into 2020 Rintaro Nishimura

Global 10

The Culture of Silence Inundating India Reshma Rapeta

Campus 12

Universities in the United States Have Become an Economic and Social Trap Pranav Reddy


Re-Examining Japan's North Korea Strategy—What Can Be Done? Rintaro Nishimura


Censorship and Self-Censorship: China and the NBA Evan Crystal


Why Americans Don't Vote Alex Jarecki

Columns 24

Unmasking Peronismo: Juan Perón's Legacy on Argentina Giancarlo Calvo


(Back)Stop It: The Role of the Irish Border Problem in Brexit Alexandra Jacobs


Hong Kong Attempts to Criminalize the Basic Right to Protest Alex Shaw


The Other War on Drugs: Superbugs and Antibiotic Resistance in the 21st Century Daniel Papes


Is Enough Enough?— Farmers’ Dilemma Heading into 2020 By Rintaro Nishimura / Political Science 2022


s America heads into another presidential election, trade relations with China continue to be a complicated issue. Just recently, Chinese officials canceled planned visits with US farmers in Montana and Nebraska.[1] This was a surprise, as the White House had announced hours prior that it would temporarily spare more than four hundred Chinese products from tariffs.[2] Contradictions like these have been commonplace, with a key White House advisor claiming that there could be additional pressure on China if a trade deal was not agreed upon soon.[3] The negative impact on global markets and the entire US economy is well-documented. Without the trade war, the world economy’s growth would have been closer to


3.5 percent, rather than the current estimate of 2.6 percent.[4] It seems necessary, however, to focus on the sector of the economy that has been hit the hardest, and the choices those in the industry face heading into 2020. Agriculture constitutes approximately one percent of America’s GDP, or $132 billion.[5][6] This may seem like a relatively small sample size to examine the impacts of the trade war, but it is this sector that most strongly feels its effects. When imposing tariffs, nations tend to target politically sensitive goods, knowing this may encourage a politically vulnerable leader to bend to their will.[7] In this case, China has targeted agriculture, as farmers constitute part of President Trump’s rural base and

produce valuable American exports. China is the fourth-largest market for American agricultural exports, and the leading consumer of soybeans, cotton, pork, and coarse grains such as corn.[8] This makes producers of these goods especially vulnerable to Chinese retaliatory tariffs. US government data suggests that soybean exports have reached their lowest levels in the January– June period since 2002.[9] As farmers’ income tends to depend on profits from sold produce,

ironic that a Democratic House majority is bailing out the bailout program initiated by a Republican president for troubled farmers. The program itself has been described by farmers as a mere “bandage” that only leads to further dependence on government money. [15] The Trump administration has invested $28 billion in aid so far, which has been a combination of two rounds of trade relief coupled with the farm subsidy program. Even with the high-

the reason why they may be in overwhelming debt. It may be true that larger farmers are hit harder due to sheer crop output; however, the systematic disadvantages in receiving aid are likely contributing to further hardships for the majority of smaller farmers. For the time being though, that same majority of small farmers seem to be rallying behind the president. A survey of 1,153 farmers in August 2019 showed 71 percent of them approved of the job the president was doing.[19] This seems high considering the brunt of the damage caused by Trump’s trade war has been inflicted on farmers. While an overwhelming majority continue to support the president, the overall level of support is dwindling. Presidential job approval among farmers decreased eight percent from July to August of this year, suggesting that farmers are gradually moving away from the president. While they appreciate the work the president is doing to address unfair trade practices conducted by China, the possibilities of debt and loss of livelihood are becoming more of a reality than ever before.[20] Reality trumps the promises of relief that have been made. Frustrations are at a boiling point as the president continues to send the wrong signals to farmers—even tweeting rather frequently that “farmers are starting to do great again.”[21] Now, more than ever, farmers are facing the choice of persevering with the president or hoping he is ousted from office


a drop in exports in one of their largest markets endangers their livelihood. According to Davie Stephens, the president of the American Soybean Association, “unsold soybean supplies are expected to double before harvest begins in September, further depressing prices and forcing older farmers to consider retiring early to protect their equity and younger ones to look for other careers.”[10] The trade war with China is clearly taking a toll on American farmers. Without the Chinese purchasing $14 billion worth of soybeans annually, these farmers will be looking at a loss of income and possibly be forced to take on debt.[11] In fact, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said that “farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30 percent since 2013.”[12] Farm bankruptcy filings were also up 13 percent from 2018, suggesting farmers may be getting desperate.[13] It doesn’t help that the bailout system designed to aid farmers through these tough times is failing too. On September 19, the House approved a resolution, by a vote of 301–123, that included a provision to continue aid to farmers.[14] This will allow the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue funding beyond its legal limits, as the Trump administration has given so much money to farmers that it was nearing the legal ceiling. It may be slightly

In this case, China has targeted agriculture, as farmers constitute part of President Trump’s rural base and produce valuable American exports. est amount of aid since 2005, farmers’ losses aren’t being covered adequately.[16] According to a study conducted by Iowa State University, farmers in Iowa received $973 million in direct payments, insufficient for a period in which the trade war cost them $1.7 billion. [17] If that wasn’t bad enough, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 54 percent of the $8.4 billion given out in last year’s bailout went to the top one-tenth of earners.[18] EWG’s analysis further found that on average, the top one percent received at least $170,000 more than the bottom 80 percent. The study shows inherent disadvantages for smaller farmers and reveals part of



for a more favorable candidate who will not sacrifice farmers for a “greater” cause. Trouble isn’t brewing just for farmers. Manufacturers who provide the equipment necessary for farmers are facing troubling times too. Deere & Company, a maker of agricultural equipment, said it is expecting further drops in profit this year.[22] The reason for such forecasts has been attributed to farmers delaying purchases due to concerns about access to export markets. As a result, the company is already f a c i n g declining sales and h i g h e r levels of u n s o l d inventory. [23] In the Midwest a l o n e , dozens of dealers of Deere’s agricultural equipment claim that sales were down anywhere from 15 to 50 percent.[24] These trends are worrying for manufacturers, as their profits depend on sales to farmers. Previous tariffs on steel and aluminum have already hurt manufacturers by inflating the cost of raw materials. This dynamic is in jeopardy the longer the trade war drags on. The Trump administration needs to realize that sacrificing the well-being of farmers with retaliatory tariffs puts the health of related industries in danger too. The current system of providing aid is clearly unsustainable in terms of both ballooning farmer debts and funding limits. As the administration continues to test the resolve of the agricultural industry, there seems to be no possibility of winning this trade war. The farmers are losing financially while the Trump administration may face their wrath at the polls. Polls suggest that any waning of rural support could spell the end of Trump’s presidency, especially considering the poor results for Republicans in rural areas during the 2018 midterm elections.[25] So what are the potential ways farmers could be appeased? An immediate solution would be to provide alternative markets for farmers to do business. This process has already begun with Japan through the proposed US–Japan treaty. During the G7 summit, President Trump and Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe announced that the deal had been agreed upon in principle. In this proposal, Tokyo agreed to buy excess US corn that was a byproduct of the trade war with China.[26] Furthermore, this agreement would open up new markets in Japan to over $7 billion worth of American products, which would benefit beef, pork, and ethanol producers.[27] Realistically though, a $7 billion market will not cover the costs the trade war has racked up thus far. The emergence of substitutes to American products also adds to the rapidly increasing losses for domestic farmers. According to the USDA, Brazil is set to emerge as the largest producer of soybeans for China by 2020.[28] Elsewhere, Canada’s share of Chinese imports of wheat has increased to above 60 percent.[29] Substitutes such as these can potentially lead to permanent losses of markets, and statistics show that losing the Chinese market will wipe out many American farmers. It is thus in the interest of the US to either look for several alternative markets such as Japan, or risk losing exports by the millions. Current export levels suggest that the largest US markets for agricultural products are in Canada, China, and Mexico.[30] It is particularly interesting to consider that all three countries have been targets of the Trump administration’s tariffs. These markets will not be alternatives, since the US already has significant access to their markets. The US will be continuing current levels of tariff-free trade agreed upon in NAFTA (Mexico and Canada), with the only new provision being greater access for exports of dairy, poultry, and eggs to Canada’s market.[31] Another possibility would be the EU and Japan. Unfortunately for the US, the EU and Japan signed an agreement amongst themselves, which included the provision to “increase EU beef exports to Japan substantially,” and duty-free trade in processed meat.[32] Having just signed an agreement, it seems unlikely that the EU or Japan would agree to open up their markets further for US agricultural products. Evidence of this would

While they appreciate the work the president is doing to address unfair trade practices conducted by China, the possibilities of debt and loss of livelihood are becoming more of a reality than ever before.

be Japan’s initial reluctance to agree to the terms indicated by the US.[33] The very fact that the US and Japan agreed upon any deal showed a great deal of compromise on Japan’s end. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that Tokyo would be willing to compromise further. Clearly, there aren’t any markets in the world that compare to the Chinese market. The best-case scenario would be to resume trade of agricultural products with China at the past level. With that seeming unlikely, there are only two possible options left. Both seem to hinge on the chance that President Trump either changes his strategy on trade or is ousted from office in 2020. The first option would be for the Trump administration to decide to return to multilateral trade agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, would have added $4.4 billion to net farm income in the US each year.[34] Although this seems small compared to the $23.8 billion Chinese market, several multilateral deals would make up for more than what would be agreed upon in a bilateral deal.[35] Taking into account how long it takes for bilateral deals to come into effect, being able to involve more countries in the same space of time seems more efficient. As this seems unlikely while President Trump is still in office, the other option is a Democratic win in 2020. While the outcome

[1] Siegel, Rachel. “Chinese officials cancel U.S. farm visits as Trump says he feels no pressure to cut trade deal before 2020 elections.” The Washington Post. September 20, 2019. [2] Ibid. [3] Berminghmm, Finbarr. “Donald Trump’s ready to escalate US trade war if deal not agreed soon, says top White House adviser Michael Pillsbury.” South China Morning Post. September 19, 2019. [4] Steinbock, Dan. “US-China trade war is pushing the world economy closer to the edge. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to undo the damage.” South China Morning Post. June 20, 2019. [5] “Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP) - United States.” The World Bank. Accessed September 21, 2019. [6] Melton, Alex. “What is agriculture's share of the overall U.S. economy?” USDA Environmental Research Service. Updated April 16, 2019. [7] Burak, Steve, Kathy Baylis, and Jonathan Coppess. “US Agriculture Often Bears the Cost of Trade Disputes.” Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. October 04, 2017. [8] “The People's Republic of China.” Office of the United States Trade Representative. Accessed September 21, 2019. [9] “Factbox: From phone makers to farmers, the toll of Trump's trade wars.” Reuters. August 23, 2019. [10] Stephens, Davie. “Soybean farmers fear China tariffs could shut down business for good.” Fox Business. May 20, 2019. [11] Ibid. [12] Pamuk, Humeyra. “U.S. farm debt soars to levels seen during 1980s farm crisis: Agriculture secretary.” Reuters. February 27, 2019. [13] Rappeport, Alan. “Farmers’ Frustration With Trump Grows as U.S. Escalates China Fight.” The New York Times. Updated August 28, 2019. [14] Delaney, Aruthur. “Congress Is Bailing Out Trump’s Farm Bailout.” Huffpost. Updated September 19, 2019. [15] Parker, Mario and Mike Dorning. “Trump’s $28 Billion Bet That Rural America Will Stick With Him.” Bloomberg Businessweek. September 19, 2019. [16] Ibid. [17] Ibid. [18] Reiley, Laura. “Trump’s $16 billion farm bailout will make rich farmers richer, report says.” The Washington Post. July


Fall 2019


of the 2020 election is yet to be seen and President Trump does not seem to be changing course, it is safe to assume that farmers will continue to suffer under the president’s trade strategy. Similar to the fiasco-turneddeal called the USMCA, the president’s tariffs on Canadian and Mexican products led to retaliatory tariffs that at one point threatened American farmers in the same way his current strategy is doing with China.[36] It seems that the only hope for farmers, now that the aid system seems to be at its limit, is to vote for a Democratic candidate in 2020. The only problem is that conventional wisdom suggests that the likelihood of that happening is wishful

thinking.[37] In that case, it would be in the farmers’ interest to at least show resistance to the administration by voting against them come 2020. It would be a form of protest— even if he were to be reelected—that firmly tells the president that the trade war must end as soon as possible. The president’s decision to neglect farmers and expect them to silently accept aid and painful trade policies may backfire on him in 2020. Whether this happens or not depends solely on the patience of farmers to wait out the catastrophic effects of the trade war. If they do, that would be another victory for the president. He will have successfully

pursued his ideological battle with China and proven to the world that America will not tolerate any perceived foul play, even at the expense of its own citizens. If farmers decide to stand up and rightly demand the end of this out-of-proportion dispute, they would be doing themselves a huge favor, and potentially put an end to a “war” neither side seems to be benefitting from.

31, 2019. [19] Laca, Anna-Lisa. “Farm Journal Pulse Shows Farmer Support for President Trump Is Eroding.” AG Web. August 23, 2019. [20] Jones, Chuck. “Amid Trump Tariffs, Farm Bankruptcies And Suicides Rise.” Forbes. August 30, 2019. [21] Trump, Donald J. “Farmers are starting to do great again, after 15 years of a downward spiral. The 16 Billion Dollar China “replacement” money didn’t exactly hurt!” Tweet. July 23, 2019. [22] Rappeport, Alan. “Farmers’ Frustration With Trump Grows as U.S. Escalates China Fight.” [23] Kumar Singh, Rajesh. “Farm equipment maker Deere's dealers reel from trade war, bad weather.” Reuters. August 09, 2019. [24] Ibid. [25] Parker, Mario and Mike Dorning. “Trump’s $28 Billion Bet That Rural America Will Stick With Him.” [26] Kihara, Leika and Kaneko Kaori. “Japan denies it gave Trump too much in trade talks.” Reuters. August 25, 2019. [27] Ibid. [28] Khan, Yusuf. “China is sourcing more of its farm goods from other countries, and that's a bad sign for the US." Markets Insider. July 31, 2019. [29] Hayes, Phil. “Canada Grain and Feed Update.” USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. August 09, 2019. [30] Melton, Alex. “Canada remains the top destination for U.S. agricultural exports in 2018.” USDA Environmental Research Service. Updated April 22, 2019. [31] “UNITED STATES–MEXICO–CANADA TRADE FACT SHEET Agriculture: Market Access and Dairy Outcomes of the USMC Agreement.” Office of the United States Trade Representative. Accessed September 21, 2019. [32] “EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force.” European Union Trade Commission. Updated February 06, 2019. [33] Elliott, Kimberly Ann. “The Mini U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Wasn’t a Win for Trump or Abe.” World Politics Review. October 01, 2019. [34] Morgan, Tyne. “How the TPP Would Affect Agriculture.” AG Web. October 05, 2019. [35] “China: Top Market for U.S. Ag Exports.” Department of Agriculture. Accessed October 21, 2019. [36] Clayton Chris. “Canada and Mexico Drop Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Ag Products.” Progressive Farmer. May 20, 2019. [37] Frostenson, Sarah. “What Do We Know About Trump’s Re-election Chances So Far?” FiveThirtyEight. March 20, 2019.

Fall 2019



The Culture of Silence Inundating India By Reshma Rapeta / International Business Finance 2020



fter the 2012 Delhi gang rape, the world shuddered at India’s inability to swiftly prosecute the attackers. Finally, in May 2017, four out of the five perpetrators were sentenced to death. Their punishment has yet to be carried out. More sexual assault cases headlined the media in the years following, summoning fresh waves of outbursts and anger across India. But none of this has stopped India’s rampant incidents of sexual assault. After the 2012 Delhi gang rape, rape attacks increased by nine thousand per year in India.[1] Even more horrifically, the number of reported rapes has surged by 792 percent over the past four decades.[2] According to the Indian National Crime Bureau, a woman is raped every fifteen minutes, and this figure only reflects reported cases. [3] A recent survey released by the Thompson Reuters Foundation has bumped India to first place as the most dangerous country for women, due to its lack of progress in mitigating sexual violence and curbing patriarchal practices.[4] Gender-based violence impairs a woman’s autonomy, security, and safety—basic rights that a government is bound to protect. Yet in India, which lacks adequate government infrastructure to handle reports of sexual assault, the number of attacks continues to escalate. The culture of silence and delay in due process prevents women from speaking up. In the United States, the #MeToo movement has spotlighted awareness of sexual assault cases and openly challenged cultural and corporate practices. It has proliferated across the world, reaching Canada, the UK, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea, allowing survivors to speak up and even leading to politicians being jailed or forced to resign.[5] But in India? A famous playback singer spoke out against her peer for sexual misconduct. She hasn’t received a job offer since.[6] Last April, the media spotlighted a defamation lawsuit filed against journalist Priya Ramani by a government minister instead of highlighting the harassment allegations she and her colleagues brought against him.[7] Another high profile #MeToo case involved an Indian Supreme Court officer accusing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment. Despite

an initial buzz, Chief Justice Gogoi was immediately exonerated and everything went back to “normal.”[8] Confused by India’s stubbornness to change, journalist Madhumita Pandey interviewed 100 convicted rapists to determine the link between them. Their responses to her inquiries included justifying their actions, dismissing that they committed rape, shrugging it off, and blaming the survivor.[9] These people were not born monsters with different brain chemistries triggering their violent behavior. They were not atypical or alienated by society. They were ordinary, walking manifestations of India’s outdated yet still thriving ideologies.

When women do not report, they endure compounded and untreated physical and mental consequences.

Male patriarchy has long been institutionalized in India, beginning with ancient scriptures. In the Mahabharata, for example, a woman named Draupadi is treated as a prize over a game of chess. The winner, a man named Duryodhana, drags her to court by her hair to show all the court officials that she is now his slave. In other famous legends like “Ramayanam,” “Meerabai,” and “Shiva and Parvati,” women are consistently objectified. By integrating these texts as part of India’s culture, including honoring them as religious texts and sharing them to children as a form of “bedtime stories,” inferiority towards women has become inadvertently embedded into our norms and practices. Across generations, many in India view women as weak and built only for childbearing and homemaking. Confined to these stereotypes, many women become financially dependent on their male counterparts and believe that it’s not their role to stand up and speak up for themselves. Men are thus misled into perceiving they are justified in being authoritative and aggressive. Perpetrators feast on this confidence that women are silently discouraged from challenging them, and maintain their power. The most recent UNICEF India Report,

published in 2017, emphasizes that 47 percent of girls and boys between the ages of fifteen and nineteen believe that sexual violence is justifiable and excusable.[10] Another crippling obstacle barring women from reporting sexual assaults is the current structure of governmental response. There’s hardly anyone to report to. India has only about 1.6 million police officers for its population of 1.2 billion people.[11] Emerging economies have more than twice India's ratio of police officers to the population.[12] Police officers are ineffective, sometimes even contributing to the oppression of victims. There was a case of a thirty-year-old Indian woman who looked out of her apartment window to see her rapist and the police chuckling after she had filed a rape complaint. Only after she implored her well-connected brother did the police launch an investigation.[13] Women have lost faith and trust in the police, believing that reporting won’t help, as the police cannot—and do not—take action. And even if, by some miracle, a police investigation pulls through and a case is opened, a single case usually takes a minimum of six to eight years to be completed. For every one million people, there are only fifteen judges. In China and the US, there are 159 and 98 judges per million people, respectively.[14] When women do not report, they endure compounded and untreated physical and mental consequences. They blame themselves for the crime and develop fears, phobias, physiological reactions, and dissociation. The significant and chronic effects of sexual assault stymie women from creating healthy relationships in the future. Most seriously, the lack of instrumental support in speaking up feeds into the toxic cycle of gender-based violence. The government has laid out innumerable promises to reform. However, has the Indian government really increased the number of female police officers since 2012? Or improved judicial systems to accelerate case convicting? Worked with existing nonprofit organizations to raise awareness? Or even introduced school curriculums to distill the importance of rights and gender equality? These promises are yet to be fulfilled.


Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault and violence against women.

[1] "Crimes against Women." National Crime Records Bureau. October 10, 2017. [2] Bahadur, Gaiutra. "India's Missing Women." The Nation. June 29, 2015. [3] "Crimes against Women." National Crime Records Bureau. [4] Dewan, Angela. “India Most Dangerous Nation for Women, US Ranks 10th in Survey.” CNN. June 26, 2018. [5] Booth, William, and Karla Adam. “A Year after It Began, Has #MeToo Become a Global Movement?” The Washington Post. October 07, 2018. [6] Naig, Udhav. "After I Spoke up on #MeToo, My Work Offers Dried Up: Chinmayi." The Hindu. November 30, 2018. [7] Press Trust of India. “It has come at great personal cost: Priya Ramani to court in M J Akbar case.” India Today. September 09, 2019. [8] “Ranjan Gogoi: India's chief justice cleared of sexual harassment.” BBC News. May 06, 2019. [9] Doshi, Vidhi. "A Woman Interviewed 100 Convicted Rapists in India. This Is What She Learned." The Washington Post. September 11, 2017. [10] Khan, Shaan. "What's Really Behind India's Rape Crisis." The Daily Beast. March 25, 2016. [11] Khazan, Olga, and Rama Lakshmi. "10 Reasons Why India Has a Sexual Violence Problem." Washington Post. December 29, 2012. [12] Harris, Gardiner. "For Rape Victims in India, Police Are Often Part of the Problem." The New York Times. The New York Times. January 22, 2013. [13] Johari, Aarefa. "Is India Cleaner after Modi's Swachh Bharat?" Quartz India. February 14, 2019. [14] Campoy, Ana. “Proportion of Judges per 100,000 Inhabitants for Selected Countries.” Atlas. February 04, 2016.

Fall 2019



Universities in the United States Have Become an Economic and Social Trap By Pranav Reddy / Bioengineering 2022


he United States' higher education system is often cited as the best in the world. Since its conception with Harvard University in 1636, it has ballooned to over four thousand universities and colleges. [1] College degrees in the US have become viewed as a tool for economic prosperity and social mobility. As the economy has changed, so too has the utility of college degrees. In the past few decades, we have seen STEM-related majors exploding in proportion to the transition to a knowledge economy.[2] However, the cost of attendance has not risen in proportion to the average income, making higher education more of a financial burden. As a result, student loan debts have almost tripled in the past ten years—from $619 billion in 2008 to $1.5 trillion in 2018.[3] Attending college seems to have, over time, become less and less financially viable, yet enrollment continues to increase. Even those who are aware of the costs cling to the idea that the university system is a site of intellectual liberation, yet in many ways this freedom has come to be dominated by economics. These poor economics have turned what was once a part of the ladder of socioeconomic mobility into a site of economic and social domination.

CritiCal theory and herbert MarCuse Critiques of such financial and social domination of society find their origins in theories like those of Karl Marx, but were adapted to the problems of modern society by the Frankfurt School of political theorists.[4] Building off of the foundation of the analytical methods laid down by Marx and Sigmund Freud, the Frankfurt School developed critical theory to critique the Marxism–Leninism and capitalism of their

time. German philosopher Max Horkheimer describes critical theory as an attempt “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”[5] Modern followers of this tradition include prison abolitionist Angela Davis and deliberative democracy proponent Jürgen Habermas. One of critical theory’s founders was German-American Herbert Marcuse, whose critique of the forms of repression in the predominant capitalist (United States) and Marxist–Leninist (Soviet Union) societies of his time inspired generations of philosophers.[6] In his most famous work, One-Dimensional Man, Herbert Marcuse argues that a “democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial society.”[7] He claims that ideally, as society increasingly satisfied the basic needs of the individuals within it, “individual autonomy” would become possible. Instead, as the vital needs—basic requirements to live—of society have been filled, new false needs have been created to continue the repression of humans. The repressive satisfaction of these false needs has prevented people from forming a consciousness surrounding their economic domination. These false needs are societally imposed to promote a sense of class equalizations and therefore destroy thoughts of liberation. Marcuse argues that new “modes of realization” are needed to reveal the domination of this new society. These modes, Marcuse claims, may be defined only in the negative to oppose the current accepted liberties and freedoms. His conception of economic freedom therefore would be “freedom from the economy.” False needs are also implanted by society into the individual, who may not deviate for fear of societal condemnation. Ascribing to false needs subjugates desires for individuality;

Marcuse uses the examples of the automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, and kitchen equipment.[8]

eConoMiC doMination in our university systeM The economic unfreedom of student debt is a clear example of Marcuse’s theory in the American university system. By characterizing the modern university system as a false need, one can see how higher education has become a tool to force individuals back into economic dependency and complacency. In the new knowledge-based economy that has emerged through the tech boom, new forms of domination have emerged (e.g. internet, media, and software). To be part of the economy and continue to be part of society, one must have a job to purchase certain goods that satisfy false needs. However, in a reality of more productive and efficient manufacturing within the US and cheap labor abroad, it should be easier, not harder, to consume. Domination has found new mediums in the knowledge economy, trapping individuals in a cycle that starts with the university. Knowledge-based jobs increasingly require university degrees to show that one is qualified. This idea of degree-based qualification has extended beyond just the knowledge economy into retail and foodservice industries and other sectors. By some estimates, in 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the US will require some college education.[9] To attain a degree, individuals have to participate in the increasingly controversial college admission process. Here, a process that purports to promote class equality can be seen to instill a sort of false desire that is pervasive throughout society. Obtaining a degree can often seem like an appealing path to increase or maintain class

[1] Moody, Josh. “A Guide to the Changing Number of U.S. Universities.” U.S. News & World Report. February 15, 2019. [2] Porter, Michael E. “Clusters and the New Economics of Competition.” Harvard Business Review. December 1998. [3] Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US). “Student Loans Owned and Securitized, Outstanding.” FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. April 22, 2019. [4] Jameson, Fredric. "The Theoretical Hesitation: Benjamin's Sociological Predecessor." Critical Inquiry vol. 25, no. 2. 1999. [5] Horkheimer, Mark. Critical Theory: Selected Essays. New York: Continuum, 1982. [6] Held, David. Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. University of California Press, 1980. [7] Marcuse, Herbert. One Dimensional Man. Routledge, 1964. [8] Ibid. [9] Carnevale, Anthony P., Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl. “Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020.” CEW Georgetown. January 31, 2018. [10] Bromwich, Jonah Engel, Valeriya Safronova, and Caity Weaver. “Lori Loughlin's Daughter Is Caught Up in College Admissions Scandal.” The New York Times. March 12, 2019. [11] Vedder, Richard. “Why Enrollment Is Shrinking At Many American Colleges.” Forbes. July 05, 2018. [12] Kutner, Max. “How Northeastern University Gamed the College Rankings.” Boston Magazine. February 23, 2016. [13] Vedder, Richard. “Twelve Inconvenient Truths about American Higher Education.” Center for College Affordability and Productivity. March 2012. [14] Marcuse, Herbert. One Dimensional Man. [15] Cunningham, Joseph. “Praxis Exiled: Herbert Marcuse and the One Dimensional University.” Journal of Philosophy Education vol 47, no. 4. 2013. [16] Park, Madison and Kyung Lah. “Berkeley Protests of Yiannopoulos Caused $100,000 in Damage.” CNN. February 03, 2017. [17] Alcoff, Linda Martín. 2017. "Here's my take." Facebook, May 4, 2017. Archived on May 15, 2017. [18] Poppick, Laura. “With Federal Funds Dwindling, Climate Scientists Turn to Unusual Partnerships to Study Methane in a Warming Arctic.” Smithsonian Institution. September 29, 2017. [19] “Students / Co-op FAQs.” Northeastern University Employer Engagement and Career Design. Accessed November 04, 2019. [20] “U.S. Medical School Applications and Matriculants by School, State of Legal Residence, and Sex, 2019-2020.” Association of American Medical Colleges.” October 04, 2019. [21] Kowarski, Ilana. “Getting into Medical School is Becoming Harder.” U.S. News & World Report. October 31, 2017.


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status. The recent admission scandal involving many top-tier universities shows that individuals will go to immense lengths to attain degrees that, in some cases, are not vital. The wealthiest in the nation spend thousands or millions of dollars to secure a better education for their children. For example, Olivia Jade Giannulli—daughter of Lori Laughlin, who paid $500,000 to ensure her daughters’ admission to the University of Southern California—had a successful career as an “influencer” that did not necessarily require a college education. [10] Among the less affluent the opposite takes place; many incur financial burden to pursue degrees at prestigious universities. The nation’s universities of choice are increasingly more highly ranked. As college enrollment has spiked over the decades and recently flatlined—due to demographic change from stagnant generational growth— college admissions at many lower-ranked universities across the nation have actually fallen. For example, Southern Illinois University has seen its attendance at its Carbondale campus fall from twenty-four thousand in 1990 to fifteen thousand in 2018.[11] All the while, applications to more expensive flagship public universities and prestigious private universities have exploded. This is for reasons little more than the school name and ranking, even though this is a system that can be gamed like Northeastern University has in the past decade.[12] Many of those who graduate with a degree, if they graduate at all, do not work jobs that require a college education. According to the US Department of Labor, in 2008, seventeen million college graduates had jobs that did not require any college education.[13] Many of these overqualified graduates work jobs such as bartending, which do not have incomes that can properly pay off the loans incurred. A pervasive culture of false need for a college education has formed among all classes. Through various legitimate and illegitimate avenues, individuals pursue access to an education from prestigious universities at high economic cost. In many ways, this cost draws individuals into economic domination. There has also been a growing amount of prestige associated with degrees that are increasingly more expensive and dubiously necessary, hinting at a cultural shift. This cultural shift is the transformation of education into a false good much like Marcuse’s hi-fi audio sets.[14]

When the eConoMiC beCoMes soCial Many, even Herbert Marcuse, claim that universities, despite the economic consequences, serve as sites of intellectual liberation.[15] This argument holds that the freedom of expression within universities allows space for independent research and brings rise to unique claims that challenge society. However, the goal of free expression is not achieved in the university and has rather been constrained by the pervasive economic and social domination. Political suppression, whether intentional or not, is common in many universities. UC Berkeley was embroiled in controversy after the administration capitulated to student demands to not let Milo Yiannopoulos speak. [16] While this may not seem apparent now, many early feminist philosophers and political scientists were not able to gain their tenure through publishing feminist work.[17] Further, the need for publication in academia constrains the expression of many views among academic circles. Journals inherently compartmentalize subjects and often prevent new forms of thought. Many of these instances of curtailing liberating thought come from economic need to maintain a stable job or the social and economic desire to maintain a positive political image. The pervasive capitalist system regulates the expression of academic work. What defines many scientists' careers is the ability to receive grant money to fund their research. University and third-party interests make grant money available for specific fields, often forcing students and professors down certain paths. In recent years there has been a drought in federal funding for studies that even mention climate change.[18] Furthermore, the regimentation of many degree programs often limits the uniqueness of one’s degree. Many universities, such as Northeastern, direct students toward study that will find them jobs in that field, limiting the creative output of the university toward already defined

fields controlled by the existing system. The co-op program at Northeastern gives its students work experience while still in college. While an excellent resume builder, co-op also restrains the future outcomes of the student to the fields that already exist. If emerging fields or opportunities in research stages exist, there will not be co-op positions. For those students who want to create their own paths, this focus on practicality limits their choices. And while this program is optional, 96 percent of students from the class of 2016 still participated in at least one co-op.[19] Students who want to create their own path have become entrapped. The explosion of the number of business, health sciences, and computer science majors is an indicator of this domination.[20] While the shift is partially explained by the growth of the corresponding industries, it has caused the decline of other degrees. The number of degrees awarded in less profitable but societally important fields such as education have stagnated and then fallen. For high-income fields such as medicine, the number of applications to medical school has increased by 35 percent between 2006 and 2016, but the acceptance rate has fallen as the growth in the number of available seats has not kept up.[21] If a university was trying to create new ideas and explore new fields, these trends would not be as extreme. Students have increasingly had their interests subverted for the needs of the economy, stripping the university of its position as an institution of free thought. As a result, the university system, despite attempting to promote free expression, actually works as a part of the dominating system. It provides a space for those who wish to be free and subverts their desires into false needs.



Re-Examining Japan’s North Korea Strategy— What Can Be Done? By Rintaro Nishimura / Political Science 2022


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n October 3, North Korea launched a missile into the Sea of Japan.[1] It was the eleventh missile test this year, and the first one launched from a submarine. Japan claimed that the missile landed in its exclusive economic zone, an area two hundred nautical miles around the island. In response, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) conducted a missile defense operations drill with the PAC-3, a surface-to-air missile capable of intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.[2] It was the first public SDF operations drill in six years. Japan has no leverage over North Korea, so it relies on the US and President Trump to ensure North Korea ceases production of threatening weapons. So far, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has met with Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but has ignored Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s public offers to restore diplomatic ties. [3] Japan is falling behind in the North Korea talks, a product of its hawkish policy toward North Korea and its lack of bargaining power. Japan faces tough times without the necessary access to senior officials or policy options available to countries such as the US and China. In the early 2000s, Japan was nearing a comprehensive deal with North Korea. The Pyongyang Declaration of 2002 announced the countries’ intent to normalize their relations and led to further talks on nuclear weapons and the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. [4][5] Then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said “ending development of nuclear weapons would lead to [North Korean] economic prosperity,” and in the talks to follow, he would “solve the abduction issue as well.”[6] At the time, Japan held a bargaining chip that it lacks today. North Korea was in a deep economic crisis, and with mounting economic pressure from the Bush administration, took

the chance to make a deal with Japan.[7] In return for economic aid and “protection” from America’s hostile policy, North Korea agreed to provide information on the “missing” abducted Japanese citizens and follow international agreements on nuclear issues.[8][9]

Japan is falling behind in the North Korea talks, a product of its hawkish policy toward North Korea and its lack of bargaining power. The same two issues, abduction and nuclear weapons, sank the negotiations. In the case of abduction, upon agreeing to the declaration, Chairman Kim Jong-il apologized for past misconduct and arranged for five abductees to return to Japan for a two-week visit.[10] While this was a show of goodwill from North Korea, several politicians and family members of abductees pointed out that the Japanese government was willing to let past atrocities slide for normalization of relations. [11] They demanded a probe into the other ten abductees, including the eight confirmed dead by North Korean officials.[12] In response, Prime Minister Koizumi extended the stay of the five abductees, which prompted North Korea to protest a violation of the agreement. [13] Koizumi had not intended to solve the issues with North Korea through this declaration; his top priority was to resume talks with Pyongyang in hopes of reaching a deal on the issue in the near future. However, public opinion pushed an increasingly unpopular cabinet to reverse its course.[14] Japan began to question North Korea’s commitment to the declaration, as a clandestine uranium-based nuclear facility in Yongbyun indicated Pyongyang’s desire to reactivate its nuclear program.[15] The declaration clearly mentioned abiding by international agreements, which North Korea violated. Japan’s

response was an ultimatum: either comply with international commitments or lose aid and normalization of relations.[16] North Korea responded that unless the US backed off from its hostile policy, it would not shut down its nuclear program. This is understandable from the realist perspective, which says that nation-states act to preserve power and pursue self-interest.[17] North Korea's nuclear program protected it from the United States In that sense, it would seem rational for North Korea to not concede to Tokyo’s ultimatum. As a result, talks broke down. Things have not changed much seventeen years later. Japan continues to demand information and the return of abductees. According to government statistics, seventeen abductees are officially accounted for, and another 860 people have gone missing with a high chance of abduction.[18][19] Prime Minister Abe’s persistence on including the abduction issue in nuclear negotiations has caused tension with the North and with Japan’s allies.[20] North Korea considers Abe’s demand outrageous, as, in their eyes, the “abduction issue has already been resolved” with the apology by Kim Jong-il.[21] Furthermore, North Korea still blames Japan for walking away from the 2002 agreement. South Korea is not thrilled with Abe’s demand either. South Korea has bitter memories of Japan’s treatment of Koreans during WWII. From the issue of comfort women (a euphemism for Korean women forced into Japanese military run-brothels) to the South Korean Supreme Court ruling concerning payment for forced labor during the war (which Japan is appealing to the International Court of Justice), South Korea feels Japan has not provided adequate compensation for its actions.[22][23] Tokyo believes that much has already been done, including an apology from Prime Minister Abe to the comfort women and a one-billion-yen (about $9 million) fund to support those women.[24] These tensions inhibit the common goal of

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deterring North Korea. Better Japan–South Korea relations would strengthen military cooperation and security between the two countries. Without a strong relationship, Japan loses a valuable partner; the countries have an intelligence-sharing agreement which South Korea is abandoning.[25][26] Improved relationships between the two countries also help persuade the US to push for Japan and South Korea’s interests. While President Trump has agreed to discuss the abduction matter with Kim Jong-un, this will not be a high priority for him considering his America First policy. At the moment, the President is fixated on concluding the “big deal” and ensuring a historic accomplishment during his tenure. Considering the lack of substantial progress during the Trump– Kim summits, it is safe to assume that negotiations over Japanese abductees aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. At the moment, North Korea’s trust for the US is low, considering the numerous contradictory statements Trump makes. In a relatively short period, the president went from calling Kim “Rocket Man” to calling him a “great guy.”[27] Mixed signals lead to distrust and Pyongyang knows Trump could reverse any deal to increase sanctions or start a conflict. This leads to the need for mediators like South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to facilitate friendly deliberation with Kim. Though North–South talks ended in increased US– North Korea tension—due in part to the joint military exercises between the South and the US—no one had come closer to Kim than

Moon.[28] It would be in Japan’s immediate interest to resolve issues with South Korea and cooperate on facilitating further discussions between the US and North Korea. By framing the issue as a coalition of partners instead of bilateral talks between the US and North Korea, both sides can incrementally gain the other ’s trust. For that to happen, J a p a n w o u l d first have to resolve its issues w i t h S o u t h Kore a, w h i c h s e e m s unlikely in the near future. It has also become painfully clear that the abduction issue will have to wait until an agreement on nuclear weapons is made. Since 2002, Japan has failed to make a deal with North Korea. It would be wise then, to shift objectives and ensure the US can strike a comprehensive deal with North Korea,

even though the abduction issue won’t be addressed. Independent sanctions will not work. Even if Japan imposes tougher sanctions or lifts them temporarily to incentivize North Korea, Japan can only do so much. Unlike 2002 when Japan was the only place Pyongyang could turn, today North Korea can rely on China and Russia for support. Additionally, Abe—whose North Korean policy has always been about exerting pressure—cannot back down from support for international pressure on North Korea now. Abe disagreed with the Pyongyang Declaration of 2002, citing the lack of solid North Korean commitment.[29] It would be political suicide for him to turn back now and incentivize aid or the lifting of sanctions. Japan does not possess the military might the US possesses. America’s capability to destroy North Korea has forced the North to ramp up its nuclear capabilities and negotiate with the US. Without overwhelming military might, Japan has no way of coercing North Korea to negotiate an agreement. In that sense, Japan relies on others for economic and military policies. So what can be done?

A partial deal may remove long-distance capabilities that threaten the US but allow short- and mid-distance capabilities to remain. Such a situation would mean imminent danger for immediate neighbors Japan and South Korea.

[1] “North Korea Tests Submarine-Capable Missile Fired From Sea.” BBC News. October 3, 2019. [2] Panda, Ankit. “Following North Korean SLBM Test, Japan Conducts Missile Interceptor Drill in Tokyo.” The Diplomat. October 10, 2019. [3] Agence France-Presse. “Shinzo Abe Reportedly Willing to Meet Kim Jong-Un 'Unconditionally'.” South China Morning Post. May 02, 2019. [4] “Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Accessed October 12, 2019. [5] “Abduction of Japanese Citizens by North Korea.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Accessed October 20, 2019. [6] “小泉純 一郎がいま明かす「電撃訪朝」の舞台裏(小泉 純一郎) @gendai_biz.” 現代ビジネス. 講談社, February 16, 2018. [7] Kim, Hong Nack. “The Koizumi Government and the Politics of Normalizing Japanese–North Korean Relations.” EastWest Center, 2006, 6. [8] Ibid. [9] “Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration.” [10] Kim, Hong Nack. “The Koizumi Government and the Politics of Normalizing Japanese–North Korean Relations,” 10. [11] Sankei Digital Inc. “【激動・朝鮮 半島】安倍晋三首相がかつて批判した平壌宣言...「拉致解決」最大のツールに16年前「国交正常化優先」.” 産経ニュース. 産経新聞, June 14, 2018. [12] Kim, Hong Nack. “The Koizumi Government and the Politics of Normalizing Japanese–North Korean Relations,” 10. [13] Ibid, 11. [14] Ibid, 10. [15] Ibid, 12. [16] Ibid, 15. [17] Korab-Karpowicz, W. Julian. “Political Realism in International Relations.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. May 24, 2017. [18] “Abductions of Japanese Citizens by North Korea.” Abductions of Japanese Citizens by North Korea. Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, Government of Japan. Accessed October 12, 2019. [19] “北朝鮮、生存者リスト提示  拉致被害者ら「2桁」.” 日本経済新聞 電子版. 日本経済新聞社. July 03, 2014. [20] Reuters. “Will N Korea Talks Also Resolve a Long-Running Japan Abduction Issue?” South China Morning Post. March 13, 2018. [21] “First Japan-North


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Despite stating his desire to not rush the deal, mounting domestic pressure may force President Trump into making serious concessions to North Korea to seal a deal before the 2020 election.[30] A partial deal may remove long-distance capabilities that threaten the US but allow short- and mid-distance capabilities to remain. Such a situation would mean imminent danger for immediate neighbors Japan and South Korea. Japan should also move to resolve issues with South Korea, reminding them of the common threat they face. Reports suggest that President Moon is taking a tough stance against Japan to distract from poor economic performance in South Korea.[31] Waiting out his presidency, currently embroiled in multiple scandals involving his justice minister, may lead to a more proactive government. Japanese analysts remember previous President Park Geun-hye’s more pro-Japan (shin-nichi) stance, and hope a new government will follow in those steps. In the meantime, Japan should continue to demonstrate that cooperation has greater advantages than conflict. Another avenue is the Six-Party Talks. Launched in 2003, they aimed to end North Korea’s nuclear program through negotiations involving China, the US, Japan, North and South Korea, and Russia.[32] Pyongyang agreed to abandon its production of nuclear weapons, then violated the agreement. Like in 2002, this agreement had potential but broke down. The distrust accumulated on both sides makes it difficult to reach an agreement. Japan could

attempt to re-spark interest in this agreement and push a conclusive agreement closer to the finish line. Things could get much closer to conclusion if Japan can replicate 2002’s “nowhere else to turn” scenario by persuading the recently enthusiastic China and Russia to cut ties with North Korea, even temporarily.

increase their demands. Demanding complete withdrawal from nuclear development is unrealistic considering North Korea’s realist motivations. The US should understand North Korea’s motivations for weapons production and consider incrementally lifting sanctions every time North Korea makes incremental changes to its capabilities. While this would take a long time and require great preparation for negotiations (perhaps a snapback of all sanctions if North Korea doesn’t incrementally give up their capabilities), it would be much more enticing than the current demands. Success will largely come down to the US. Japan has limited control over how and when an agreement can be reached, but it can initiate several actions to lead to a tangible outcome. Japan can normalize relations with South Korea and, together, push the US for their inclusion in talks; this will likely be met with scrutiny by President Trump, who prefers bilateral deals. They can also pursue the multilateral solution by proposing the Six-Party Talks resume, with the added proposal that demands toward North Korea be lowered or made incremental. If Japan is to ensure the security of its citizens while pursuing the abduction issue, there are limited choices available. The best the Abe administration can do is to ensure Japan’s inclusion in the North Korea talks and pursue the best course of action for its national security.

The best the Abe administration can do is to ensure Japan’s inclusion in the North Korea talks and pursue the best course of action for its national security.

Interest from China and Russia to resume talks provides hope and alarm.[33][34] In April, a Kremlin spokesman said that there “are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment.”[35] North Korea’s refusal to commit to denuclearization—and America’s and its allies’ distrust of China and Russia— impede serious talks. In 2013, China requested the US, South Korea, and Japan send their chief nuclear envoys to resume talks.[36] The US asked for a solid commitment to denuclearize as a precondition, which Pyongyang declined. The story is the same every time: the US asks for commitment as a precondition, and North Korea declines. It seems rather wasteful to expect North Korea to commit first. As the party with the most bargaining power, the US could ask for less and gradually

Korea Summit Meeting (September 2002).” Talks between Japan and North Korea on the Abductions Issue. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Accessed October 12, 2019. [22] Constante, Agnes. “Who Are the 'Comfort Women,' and Why Are U.S.-Based Memorials for Them Controversial?” NBC News. May 08, 2019. [23] Lee, Wooyoung. “So. Korea's Supreme Court Orders Japanese Firm to Compensate WWII Workers in Forced Labour Lawsuit.” Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. November 09, 2018. [24] Kyodo. “Japan's Abe Rejects Seoul's Call for Apology to 'Comfort Women'.” South China Morning Post. January 12, 2018. [25] Rich, Motoko. “North Korean Missile Delivers a Message: There's Little Japan Can Do.” The New York Times. October 02, 2019. [26] Sang-hun, Choe, Motoko Rich, and Edward Wong. “South Korea Says It Will End Intelligence-Sharing Deal With Japan, Adding to Tensions.” The New York Times. August 22, 2019. [27] Nardelli, Alberto. “Donald Trump Keeps Telling World Leaders The Same Bizarre Story About Kim Jong Un.” BuzzFeed News. September 20, 2019. [28] Martin, Timothy W., and Dasl Yoon. “Pyongyang Threatens Missile Test in Response to U.S.-South Korea Military Exercises.” The Wall Street Journal. July 16, 2019. [29] Sankei Digital Inc. “【激動・朝鮮半島】安倍晋三首相がかつて批判した平壌宣言...「拉致解決」最大のツールに16 年前「国交正常化優先」.” [30] Snyder, Scott A. “Why U.S.-North Korea Talks Failed Again.” Council on Foreign Relations. October 08, 2019. [31] Sang-hun, Choe. “Embattled at Home, South Korea's Leader Turns on Japan, Stoking Old Hostilities.” The New York Times. August 30, 2019. [32] Bajoria, Jayshree, and Beina Xu. “The Six Party Talks on North Korea's Nuclear Program.” Council on Foreign Relations. September 30, 2013. [33] Ibid. [34] Kolodyazhnyy, Anton. “Kremlin: Six-Party Talks Only Efficient Way to Tackle Nuclear North Korea.” Edited by Maria Kiselyova. Reuters. Thomson Reuters, April 24, 2019. [35] Ibid. [36] “(2nd LD) China Proposes Holding Informal Six-Party Meeting on N. Korea.” Yonhap News Agency. 김덕현, September 4, 2013.

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Censorship and Self-Censorship: China and the NBA By Evan Crystal / International Affairs 2020


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NBA's exclusive digital partner in China, suspended business relations with the Rockets.[20] Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly tried to backtrack from his general manager’s statement, saying that Morey did not speak for the organization and that the team was apolitical.[21] However, anything short of firing Morey—who has been incredibly successful in his role—would likely not go far enough to placate the Chinese government. On October 6, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released this statement in English:

All of these examples demonstrate censorship of easily removable sections of media. But what happens when uncensorable content expresses a censorable sentiment?

Films that do not conform to Chinese standards lose out on billions in potential revenue. Mission Impossible III removed a scene where Tom Cruise walks by undergarments drying on a clothesline in Shanghai, because “censors felt it did not portray Shanghai in a positive light.”[12] The 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall cut a scene where a foreign assassin kills a Chinese security guard, because censors worried it made the Chinese look weak. [13] Movies have also inserted material to appease censors. In Marvel’s recent blockbuster Doctor Strange, censors planned to remove an old Tibetan monk character, “The Ancient One.” The film changed the character into a Celtic woman.[14] All of these examples demonstrate censorship of easily removable sections of media. But what happens when uncensorable content expresses a censorable sentiment? On October 4, Daryl Morey, general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, tweeted: "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong."[15] Until that point, the Rockets were China’s favorite American basketball team because it was the former team of Yao Ming, the greatest Chinese basketball player in history, and a current Ambassador of the Game for the Chinese Government.


“Tank Man”—the photo of a man defiantly standing in front of four advancing tanks during the Tiananmen Square massacre thirty years ago—is one of the most iconic photographs of the twentieth century.[1] Search for it in the United States and Google returns millions of hits. Search for it on the Chinese internet . . . nothing.[2] Censorship is common in China, where the right to speech extends to as far as the government allows it. Freedom House, an NGO dedicated to documenting and scoring countries based on their political rights and civil liberties, gave China an 11/100 Aggregate Freedom Score, including a negative one out of forty possible points in political rights.[3] The report stated that the Communist Party’s authoritarian regime is “increasingly repressive,” citing its tightening state control over “state bureaucracy, the media, online speech, religious groups, universities, businesses, and civil society associations.” Some of the more ridiculous examples of censorship have become famous in the West. Winnie the Pooh was banned from Chinese media after bloggers compared his appearance to that of President Xi Jinping, juxtaposing photos of the most powerful man in the state with the honey-loving bear.[4] More seriously, after protests broke out in Hong Kong this summer over a proposed law that would allow the extradition of Hongkongers to mainland China, where there is no due process, the Communist Party began carefully curating the news to support its false narrative—that the protestors are radical, violent separatists.[5][6] To preserve the government’s narrative, China maintains that business entities, foreign governments, and any individuals who wish to interact with the government or economy must also submit themselves to censorship. This means abiding by all Chinese speech laws and respecting the international relations positions of the Communist Party. Google, in an attempt to appease the Chinese government and expand its reach, secretly blueprinted a censored search engine called Dragonfly, which was terminated after the project was leaked to the public.[7] If completed, Dragonfly would have contradicted Google’s typical opposition towards censorship.[8] Google is not the only major technology company to adjust its software to Chinese standards. Because of a longstanding conflict between China and Taiwan, Apple removed the Taiwanese flag emoji from iPhones in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.[9] Major airlines changed their booking systems to list Taiwan as part of China.[10] After Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, quoted the Dalai Lama in promotional material, Daimler was forced to apologize to China, which considers the Dalai Lama a separatist for protesting the annexation of his former home, Tibet.[11]

China didn’t broadcast or stream any of the NBA’s preseason games.[16] Chinese officials canceled all NBA promotional events in the country.[17] This is financially dangerous to the NBA, which receives around 10 percent of its revenue from China, a figure sports business expert David Carter projected to grow to 20 percent by 2030.[18] However, China’s new policy hampers this potential. A drop in revenue would hurt the owners’ bottom lines and salary cap growth, decreasing player salaries. The damage also hit the NBA’s partnerships with Chinese businesses. Li-Ning, an athletic wear brand which sponsors a handful of NBA players, announced that it would suspend business ties with the league.[19] Tencent, the

We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals' educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them . . .[22]

The post the association made on Chinese social media platform Weibo was much harsher towards Morey, using language like “extremely disappointed” and “inappropriate” to classify Morey’s comment.[23] The NBA received further backlash for seemingly betraying its history of supporting social justice issues. The NBA has allowed its players to speak on a number of topics, including Black Lives Matter and LGBT issues.[24][25] The media and general public accused the NBA of putting profits ahead of values. The Washington Post ran the headline: “The NBA doesn’t care about China. Or being ‘woke.’ It only cares about money.”[26] Texas politicians, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz, former Fall 2019



It is inevitable that people around the world—including from America and China—will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences. However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.[28] China’s national television broadcaster expressed its disappointment with Silver’s second statement and offered its own definition of freedom of speech: We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Silver's stated support of Morey's right to free speech. We believe any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability do not belong to the category of free speech.[29] The two sides appear to be at an impasse. The NBA stated its opinions on the matter and is at the mercy of the Chinese government. Neither appear ready to shift their stances. If an NBA megastar such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, or Stephen Curry had made the statement, the Chinese government would have a lot more trouble removing these beloved athletes from the public discourse.[30] Jerseys and posters have already been purchased, and memories have already been made. Games could be blacked out, but there would be diminishing returns on a suddenly inferior product if broadcasters stopped showing crucial games like the playoffs and fan favorites like the All-Star Game. A general manager— even a successful one like Morey—may have trouble making the case that they are worth more to a team than a lucrative business dealing in China. But during this time of unprecedented player movement, no owner would risk angering a passionately pro-freedom superstar player to kowtow to China.[31] If the NBA wins, China will not seek any further consequences for Morey’s comments. In

this scenario, China would stop trying to control individuals affiliated with the league. The popularity of the sport with the Chinese people—if they are ever able to exert public pressure—and the NBA’s lucrative associated business dealings will have convinced the government that this fight is not worth it. The Chinese league does not match the NBA’s talent, skill, and star power and both sides know this; it is the NBA’s trump card that still may not be enough in this political game. If China wins, the NBA will add rules limiting speech for players and executives. This would occur if NBA leadership, mainly the team owners and the NBA Players Association, convince outspoken members that money is worth more than social justice issues. If China doubles down by refusing to air Rockets games until Morey is fired, the NBA community could also double down. NBA players and coaches are willing to speak out on a number of social issues and have had no problem calling out political figures with whom they disagree. LeBron James went so far as to defend Stephen Curry—who had just beaten him in the NBA Finals—against Donald Trump, by calling the president a bum.[32] If President Xi and the Chinese Government target individual members of the NBA, they should expect a similar response from the community. The emerging uneasy equilibrium seems to be the most likely outcome. This equilibrium will presumably see both China and the NBA sacrifice for profitable outcomes: one limits its speech, the other limits its controls on others’ speech. After the initial eruption of this conflict, NBA players and managers learned how costly it is to push China on human rights issues. When the initial outrage died down, it was revealed that China pushed NBA leadership to force the firing of Morey, and considered not showing the opening regular season games.[33] Although the NBA declared that it will not suppress players’ speech, the players understand that supporting causes that go against the

interests of the Chinese government is an unwise financial decision.[34] In his first public comments since the cancellations of his team’s events in China, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Lebron James made a vague, vacuous statement about freedoms, condemning Morey’s comments as unaware of the situation as a whole.[35] This statement reflects many NBA players’ similar desires to retain their status in China without compromising too much on their values of freedom of speech.[36] This led to a quick response from Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter, who has often criticized Turkish President Erdogan on topics of democracy and freedom.[37] This prevents him from leaving the United States or speaking to his Turkish family out of fear of harassment, arrest, or assassination. In a short statement, Kanter fired back at James, “Freedom is not free.”[38] As China globalizes, the issues regarding the censorship of foreign private entities over domestic political matters will only increase. How China and the NBA handle each other will be a roadmap for future business interactions and market expansion. More and more, businesses will have to determine the moral cost of doing business in China. If the NBA is any indication, to a great extent, profits will come first.

This equilibrium will presumably see both China and the NBA sacrifice for profitable outcomes: one limits its speech, the other limits its controls on others’ speech.

Democratic Representative Beto O'Rourke, and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, decried the NBA’s retractions.[27] Commissioner Silver then released a second statement, more in line with the NBA’s previous politics:

[1] Griffiths, James. “World Marks 30 Years since Tiananmen Massacre as China Censors All Mention.” CNN. June 04, 2019. [2] Ibid. [3] “China.” China Country Report. Freedom House. July 18, 2019. [4] McDonell, Stephen. “Why China Censors Banned Winnie the Pooh.” BBC News. July 17, 2017. [5] “Hong Kong Protest: What Is Mainland China Hearing?” BBC News China Bureau. August 16, 2019. [6] Ibid. [7] Moreno, Johan. “Google Has Ended Its Plans For A Censored Chinese Search Engine - And May Never Build One Again.” Forbes Magazine. July 25, 2019. [8] Rosen, Jeffrey. “Google's Gatekeepers.” The New York Times. November 28, 2008. [9] Gurman, Mark. “Apple Pulls Taiwanese Flag Emoji From iPhones in Hong Kong.” Bloomberg News. October 08, 2018. [10] Victor, Daniel. “Hong Kong Protests Put N.B.A. on Edge in China.” The New York Times. October 07, 2019. [11] Ibid. [12] Langfitt, Frank. “How China's Censors Influence Hollywood.” NPR. May 18, 2015. [13] Ibid. [14] Qin, Amy, and Audrey Carlson. “How China Is Rewriting Its Own Script.” The New York Times. November 18, 2018. [15] Isidore, Chris. “The NBA Faces a No-Win Situation in China. Here's What It Stands to Lose.” CNN. October 08, 2019. [16] Toh, Michelle. “China Won't Show NBA Preseason Games as Backlash over Hong Kong Tweet Grows.” CNN. October 08, 2019. [17] Ibid. [18] “No-Win Situation in China: Here's What the NBA Stands to Lose after Houston GM's Hong Kong Tweet.” CNN Wire. October 09, 2019. [19] Wimbish, Jasmyn, and Colin Ward-Henninger. “NBA-China Issue: Latest News Resulting from Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet, What It Means for the League.” CBS. October 17, 2019. [20] Pinghui, Zhuang. “NBA Games Return to China Screens but Houston Rockets Not Included.” South China Morning Post. October 14, 2019. [21] Feigen, Jonathan. “Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta Shuts down GM Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet.” Houston Chronicle. October 08, 2019. [22] Wimbish, Jasmyn, and Colin Ward-Henninger. “NBA-China Issue: Latest News Resulting from Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet, What It Means for the League.” CBS. October 17, 2019. [23] Ibid. [24] Adande, J.A. “Purpose of ‘I Can't Breathe’ T-Shirts.” ESPN. December 10, 2014. [25] Martin, Jill. “NBA to Move All-Star Game over NC Law.” CNN. July 22, 2016. [26] Serazio, Michael. “Perspective | The NBA Doesn't Care about China. Or Being 'Woke.' It Only Cares about Money.” The Washington Post. October 08, 2019. [27] Yglesias, Matthew. “The Raging Controversy over the NBA, China, and the Hong Kong Protests, Explained.” Vox. October 07, 2019. [28] Wimbish, Jasmyn, and Colin Ward-Henninger. “NBA-China Issue: Latest News Resulting from Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet, What It Means for the League.” [29] Ibid. [30] Associated Press. “Popularity of NBA in China Seems to Create Endless Options.” ProBasketballTalk. NBC Sports. September 17, 2019. [31] Paine, Neil. “NBA Free Agency Diary: Today's NBA Superstars Won't Stop Team-Hopping.” FiveThirtyEight. July 17, 2019. [32] Wimbish, Jasmyn, and Colin Ward-Henninger. “NBA-China Issue: Latest News Resulting from Daryl Morey's Hong Kong Tweet, What It Means for the League.” CBS. October 17, 2019. [33] “China Denies It Demanded NBA Fire Daryl Morey over Hong Kong Tweet.” The Guardian. October 18, 2019. [34] Young, Jabari. “Sports Agents Warn NBA Players to Avoid China Talk as Athletes, Executives Walk 'Fine Line'.” CNBC. October 10, 2019. [35] “LeBron's Hong Kong Education.” The Wall Street Journal. October 15, 2019. [36] Blennerhassett, Patrick. “Houston Rockets’ James Harden wants nothing to do with NBA’s controversy with China now.” South China Morning Post. October 14, 2019. [37] Newport, Kyle. “Enes Kanter: 'Because of 1 Dictator I Can't Go Out and Do My Job; Pretty Sad.'” Bleacher Report. February 28, 2019. [38] Bumbaca, Chris. “'Freedom is not free': Celtics' Enes Kanter responds to LeBron James' China, Daryl Morey comments.” USA Today. October 15, 2019.


Fall 2019


Why Americans Don’t Vote By Alex Jarecki / Biology & Political Science 2022


hough the United States has a slight obsession with installing democratic governments across the globe, American democracy is consistently one of the least active among developed countries. [1] In the 2016 presidential election, only 55.6 percent of citizens in the voting-age population cast a ballot.[2] Turnout has been between 52 and 63 percent in every presidential election since 1948.[3] Rates decrease in midterm years, when there is no presidential race. These turnout rates trail most highly developed, democratic states: Belgium has the highest voter turnout with nearly 90 percent, followed by Sweden and Denmark, both slightly above 80 percent. So, why does a country that prides itself on being the world’s most powerful democratic nation consistently lag behind other nations in voter participation by over twenty points? When the Constitution was ratified in 1788, the Founding Fathers decided that only property-owning white men should vote. Eventually, the right of citizenship—and with

it, suffrage—was extended to other groups. It took nearly a century for the federal government to pass the Fifteenth Amendment outlawing the denial of voting rights on the basis of race.[4] This led to the emergence of other barriers to voting, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and the grandfather clause. The grandfather clause was declared unconstitutional in 1915, but it would be another fifty years before poll taxes and literacy tests were abolished.[5] During the twentieth century, voting rights were extended to women, Native Americans, and other minority groups. The Civil Rights movement during the 1960s led to the elimination of poll taxes and literacy tests and the protection of voting rights through the Voting Rights Act. In 1971, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. This was largely due to the argument that if eighteen-year-olds were old enough to die for their country in the Vietnam War, they were old enough to vote.[6] Voting rights and protections have continued

to expand in the decades since, such as the restoration of voting rights in local Washington, DC elections and the extension of the Voting Rights Act through 2031.[7][8] Although the US has always been a “democratic” nation, universal voting rights were not a reality until nearly two centuries after the ratification of the Constitution. While measures have been taken to ensure that more people can register and cast their votes, systemic barriers still prevent citizens from participating in American democracy. Registration is usually left to the individual. Many eligible voters are not aware that they need to register ahead of the election— usually several weeks to months in advance. Less than half of states allow same-day registration, so if someone isn’t registered before the deadline, they cannot vote.[9] Registration is typically not difficult, but many eligible voters are unaware of either the early deadlines or the need to register at all. Registered voters are at risk of being purged from voter rolls.[10] Purging aims to remove Fall 2019


require more research, supporters of the act argue that giving citizens a day off for voting would increase the ability of working-class and low-income voters to make it to the polls. House Democrats introduced a proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday in early 2019.[18] Unfortunately this is unlikely to pass, as Republican legislators have voiced strong opposition to the bill. For now, voters who find it difficult to make time to get to the polls are going to remain at a disadvantage on Election Day. Many laws that increase voter suppression are targeted at minority voters. Thirty-five states require voters to show identification to vote, based on the argument that it limits voter fraud.[19] Voter impersonation fraud is blown way out of proportion by many in the media. [20] In reality, the incident rates of voter fraud are miniscule.[21] A 2014 study found that, out of more than a billion ballots cast, there were only thirty-one credible cases of voter fraud.[22] Though voter ID laws affect a relatively small percentage of the voting population, research has found that they disproportionately affect Black and Latino voters.[23] Another more widespread example of minority voter suppression is felon disenfranchisement, which silences millions of Americans. Laws concerning whether or not convicted felons are allowed to vote vary from state to state. In some states, convicted felons are permanently stripped of their right to vote, while in others, only those who have completed their full sentences can vote. In all, these laws prevent about 5.85 million people from voting, easily enough to swing a national election.[24] Because 38 percent of American

Why does a country that prides itself on being the world’s most powerful democratic nation consistently lag behind other nations in voter participation by over twenty points?


ineligible or inactive voters from registration lists. When implemented correctly, this process keeps states’ lists up-to-date, but when done incorrectly, as it often is, thousands of registered voters can be removed without warning. [11] Purged voters may not even be aware that they are no longer registered, and efforts by states to get them re-registered are not as successful as they should be.[12] Additional barriers to registration, such as being required to do it in person, make it more difficult for full-time workers to register. Thirty-eight states and Washington, DC allow online voter registration, but this helps only if potential voters are educated about the need for registration.[13] The movement to expand voter registration has made massive progress over the past few years—as of July 2019, forty-six states had introduced or carried over bills expanding voting access.[14] Twentyseven states and DC offer no-excuse absentee voting, which allows voters to request absentee ballots for any election without providing a reason.[15] If the end goal is to make sure that all American citizens eighteen or older are registered, this momentum must continue. The easier it is for eligible voters to register, the more likely it is that registration will increase. When registration increases, voter turnout should rise with it. Another significant barrier is that Election Day is not a federal holiday. When Election Day was established in 1845 as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, it was mainly to align with farming schedules, giving rural voters time to get to polling booths in cities. Now that the majority of citizens live in cities and the electorate has expanded, the combination of work, childcare, and school makes it difficult or even impossible for many to get to the polls.[16] In 2018, a survey by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company found that 63 percent of Democrats, 48 percent of Republicans, and 50 percent of independents would support making Election Day a federal holiday.[17] Though determining the specific impact of a national holiday on voting turnout would

felons are Black, felon disenfranchisement disproportionately impacts people of color. [25] They cannot vote even after they have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society. According to a HuffPost poll conducted in 2018, a majority of Americans support restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.[26] In the 2018 election, Florida voters passed the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, which extended the vote to an estimated 1.4 million felons who have completed their sentences.[27] Though the amendment passed with nearly 65 percent of the vote, Florida legislators moved to implement a modern poll tax, requiring recently restored voters to pay outstanding court costs, fines, and fees before they can vote.[28] This significantly impacts low-income voters, as the costs that come with felony convictions can result in mountains of debt.[29] Many Americans do not vote not because it is inconvenient, rather because, for centuries, minority groups have been told that they do not deserve the right to vote. Even though laws such as literacy tests and poll taxes have been abolished, racial voter suppression still persists in the United States. Ultimately, many Americans don’t bother voting because they believe their vote doesn't matter and that participating in local, state, or federal elections is pointless.[30][31] This is due to a number of reasons, one of which is frustration with the two-party system.[32] That most elections come down to two candidates—one Democrat and one Republican—often leads to those who do not strongly identify with a party choosing between the “lesser of two evils.” This was a prominent issue in the 2016 election; many voters believed that Hillary

[1] Congressional Research Service. “Democracy Promotion: An Objective of U.S. Foreign Assistance.” CRS Report: Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress. Updated January 04, 2019. [2] Desilver, Drew. “U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout.” Pew Research Center. May 21, 2018. [3] “Voter Turnout by Election Type.” International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Updated 2018. [4] Editors. “15th Amendment.” History. Updated June 07, 2019. [5] “‘Grandfather Clause’ enacted.” African American Registry. Accessed October 06, 2019. [6] Editors. “The 26th Amendment.” History. Updated July 15, 2019. [7] “D.C. Home Rule Act.” Council of the District of Columbia. Accessed October 06, 2019. [8] “Voting Rights Act Reauthorization 2006.” NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. Accessed October 06, 2019. [9] “Same Day Voter Registration.” National Conference of State Legislatures. June 28, 2019. [10] Morris, Kevin, Myrna Perez, Jonathan Brater, and Christopher Deluzio. “Purges: A Growing Threat to the Right to Vote.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 20, 2018. [11] Root, Danielle and Liz Kennedy. “Voter Purges Prevent Eligible Americans from Voting.” Center for American Progress. January 04, 2018. [12] Kasler, Karen. “Ohio Tried to Re-Register 270,00 Purged Voters. Only 540 Responded.” WOSU Public Media. April 12, 2019. [13] “Online Voter Registration: States With Online Voter Registration.” National Conference on State Legislatures. October 25, 2019. [14] “Voting Laws Roundup 2019.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 10, 2019. [15] “Absentee Ballot Rules.” Updated October 22, 2019. [16] Desjardins, Jeff. “Visualizing 200 Years of U.S. Population Density.” Visual Capitalist. February 28, 2019. [17] Manchester, Julia. “Majority says Election Day should be a Federal Holiday, poll finds.” The Hill. November 06, 2018. [18] US Congress HB1 2019-2020. “For the People Act of 2019.” March 14, 2019. [19] Underhill, Wendy. “Voter Identification Requirements | Voter ID Laws.” National Conference of State Legislatures. January 17, 2019. [20] Watkins, Eli and Rachel Chason. “Trump campaign doubles down on election fraud claims.” CNN. August 13, 2016. [21] “Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth.” Brennan Center for Justice. January 31, 2017. [22] Levitt, Justin. “A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast.” Washington Post. August 06, 2014. [23] Lapowsky, Issie. “A Dead-Simple Algorithm Reveals the True Toll of Voter ID Laws.” Wired. January 04, 2018. [24] “Felony Disenfranchisement Laws (MAP).” ACLU. Accessed October 07, 2019. [25] “Inmate Race.” Federal Bureau of Prisons. Updated October 26, 2019. [26] Levine, Sam and Ariel Edwards-Levy. “Most Americans Favor Restoring Felons’ Voting Rights, But Disagree on How.” HuffPost. March 21, 2018. [27] Associated Press. “Florida ex-felons can begin registering to vote as amendment takes effect.” CBS News. January 08, 2019. [28] Ebenstein, Julie and Orion Danjuma. “Why the ACLU Is Suing Florida For Its New Poll Tax.” ACLU. June 28, 2019. [29] Rivero, Daniel. “Felons Might Have To Pay Hundreds Of Millions


Fall 2019

Many Americans do not vote not because it is inconvenient, rather because, for centuries, minority groups have been told that they do not deserve the right to vote.

election is decided by the popular vote alone, but they are unlikely to gain enough traction to succeed in time for the 2020 election.[43][44] The American voting system leads to voting apathy. Voters believe that their choice does not make a difference, no matter the level of the election. Each time an election rolls around, many activist groups do their best to excite voters and register as many people as possible. However, the apathy of the voting population, combined with the barriers in place that prevent people from voting, lead to low voter turnout.

The only way to drastically increase voter turnout is with massive election reform. The current Congress decided that this issue was important enough to make it the very first bill drafted by the House of Representatives this session: the For the People Act, or US HB1. [45] The bill includes several measures that would make it easier for Americans to vote, including making Election Day a federal holiday, limiting the number of voters that can be purged from voter rolls, and changing the guidelines for campaign financing. The For the People Act was introduced in the House on January 3, 2019, and was passed by the House in early March with a 294–193 vote. However, no action has been taken on the bill by the Senate. Unfortunately, the act has no chance of being law until either Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell brings it to a vote, or he loses his seat in the 2020 election and the new majority leader allows it onto the Senate floor. Though we can’t yet achieve HB1’s overarching federal reforms, many changes have been made on the state level. Sixteen states encompassing over a third of all Americans have automatic voter registration, and twenty-one allow same-day registration.[46][47] These policies reduce the issues that many people have when registering to vote. Many studies have shown a three-to-seven-percent increase

in turnout after the implementation of sameday registration, and automatic registration has increased registration rates in every state where it’s been implemented.[48][49] The United States is behind the curve when it comes to ease of voter registration, but as the reforms increase, more of the voting-age population will be registered to vote by the time the next election rolls around. So, what can we, as everyday citizens, do about voter turnout rates? Until politicians step up to support sweeping, national reforms of our democracy, the answer is “not much.” But that doesn’t mean that it’s completely hopeless. There are plenty of organizations out there that are fighting to ensure that everyone who is eligible has the opportunity to vote and that elections are fair: Fair Fight 2020: headed by Stacey Abrams (the former candidate for governor of Georgia), committed to building voter protection teams to fight voter suppression in the states where it carries the most devastating consequences, especially in communities of color.[50] When We All Vote: a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing election participation by changing the culture around voting and forming partnerships to reach out to every American.[51] American Civil Liberties Union: advocating for policies that make it easier to vote and fight voter suppression and gerrymandering.[52] Let America Vote: with a board of advisors including Bradley Whitford (an actor and political activist), Jon Favreau (President Obama’s former speechwriter, not the director), and several state governors, Let America Vote fights back against voter suppression and protects the right to vote for all Americans.[53] League of Women Voters: fighting voter suppression, getting money out of politics, and promoting fair and impartial redistricting.[54] At first glance, the apathy of Americans toward voting is discouraging. For a country that prides itself on being a beacon of modern democracy, we fall significantly behind other democratic, developed nations. The voters aren’t the ones entirely at fault, either— United States elections have been rigged by the ruling class since the start, and it still isn’t easy for marginalized communities to cast their ballots. But the movement to ensure the right to vote for everyone is growing, and with any luck, voter turnout in the United States will finally catch up to that of other modern democracies.


Clinton and Donald Trump would be equally bad for the nation.[33] According to CNN, 14 percent of all voters believed that neither Trump nor Clinton was qualified to be president.[34] About one in seven of this group voted for a third-party candidate. Two-thirds of Americans believe that the two major parties do not adequately represent the people, and that a third major party is necessary.[35] However, there is little consensus about where on the ideological spectrum that party should fall—centrist, left of the Democrats, or right of the Republicans. Even though many voters feel their beliefs don’t align with either major party, it’s next to impossible for another party to break into the mainstream.[36] The two-party system George Washington warned against has caused deep divisions in the United States, and has led to many voters feeling unheard by the party establishments.[37] Additionally, in presidential elections, the Electoral College comes into play.[38] The Electoral College, set up by the framers of the Constitution, is the process by which the president is actually selected.[39] A body of electors, proportioned to each state roughly by population, cast their votes for president based on the results of the popular vote in their state. Rather than picking the president by simple nationwide majority, candidates must win the popular vote in enough states to win 270 votes in the College. While the Electoral College result typically matches the popular vote, five elections have handed the presidency to the loser of the popular vote. In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the election despite beating Donald Trump by 2.87 million votes. [40] As the population of the United States concentrates in cities, especially in coastal areas, the power of votes in those areas is diluted. A state’s electoral votes equals the sum of their senators and representatives in Congress, so each state gets at least three votes.[41] States with smaller populations have more power—a vote in Wyoming, a state with fewer than 600,000 people, is worth more than three times a vote in California, which has a population of nearly 40 million.[42] The Electoral College leads to party-line divisions in many states. Besides swing states such as Florida and Ohio, most states reliably lean towards one party or the other, so individual votes don’t make much of an impact on the election as a whole. There are growing movements to abolish the Electoral College and rewrite state laws to ensure that the

Before Being Able To Vote In Florida.” WLRN Public Radio. January 20, 2019. [30] Cooper, Betsy, Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, and Robert P. Jones. “The Divide Over America’s Future: 1950 or 2050? Findings from the 2016 American Values Survey.” Public Religion Research Institute. October 25, 2016. [31] Khalid, Asma, Don Gonyea, and Leila Fadel. “On The Sidelines Of Democracy: Exploring Why So Many Americans Don't Vote.” NPR. September 10, 2018. [32] Bashein, Rachel, Zak Cheney-Rice, Amelia Schonbeck, and Emma Whitford. “12 Young People on Why They Probably Won’t Vote.” NY Mag. October 30, 2019. [33] Enten, Harry. “Americans’ Distaste For Both Trump and Clinton is Record-Breaking.” FiveThirtyEight. May 05, 2016. [34] Heath, David and Jennifer Agiesta. “How voters who found both candidates unfit broke.” CNN. November 11, 2016. [35] Drutman, Lee, William A. Galston, and Tod Lindberg. “Spoiler Alert: Why Americans’ Desire for a Third Party Are Unlikely to Come True.” Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. September 2018. [36] Bartlett, Bruce. “Why Third Parties Can’t Compete.” Forbes. May 14, 2010. [37] “Political Parties.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Accessed October 07, 2019. [38] Posner, Milton. “The Good Kind of Popularity Contest.” Northeastern University Political Review. March 25, 2019. [39] “What is the Electoral College?” National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed October 07, 2019. [40] “Presidential Election Results: Donald J. Trump Wins.” The New York Times. August 09, 2017. [41] “Distribution of Electoral Votes.” National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed October 07, 2019. [42] Durran, Dale. “Whose votes count the least in the Electoral College?” The Conversation. March 13, 2017. [43] Corbett, Erin. “Why Democrats Want to Abolish the Electoral College—and Republicans Want to Keep It.” Fortune. April 02, 2019. [44] “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” National Popular Vote. Accessed October 07, 2019. [45] US Congress HB1 20192020. “For the People Act of 2019.” March 14, 2019. [46] “Automatic Voter Registration, A Summary.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 10, 2019. [47] “Same Day Voter Registration.” National Conference of State Legislatures. June 28, 2019. [48] Burden, Barry, David Canon, Kenneth Mayer, and Donald Moynihand. “The Effects and Costs of Early Voting, Election Day Registration, and Same Day Registration in the 2008 Elections.” Pew Research. December 21, 2009. [49] Rosenfeld, Derek. “Automatic Voter Registration Works Everywhere It’s Been Implemented.” Brennan Center for Justice. April 11, 2019. [50] “Our Story.” Fair Fight. Accessed October 07, 2019. [51] “About Us.” When We All Vote.” Accessed October 07, 2019. [52] “Voting Rights.” ACLU. Accessed October 07, 2019. [53] “Our Mission.” Let America Vote. Accessed October 07, 2019. [54] “Voting Rights.” League of Women Voters.” Accessed October 07, 2019.

Fall 2019



Unmasking Peronismo: Juan Perón’s Legacy on Argentina By Giancarlo Calvo / History 2021 Photography by Luz Encor 24

Fall 2019

workers to choose between their livelihoods and personal rights. Before Perón, Argentina was plagued with inequality and a political monopoly. From 1829 to 1943, the Argentinian oligarchy controlled the government with almost no interruption, and implemented laws that gave more and more power to the wealthy landowning class' chosen.[6] In 1942, a few thousand Argentines owned more land than Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Italy combined.[7] Elections were a farce and the public was almost completely politically inarticulate.[8] Even after the landowning class’s chosen president Roque Sáenz Peña granted men universal suffrage in 1912, the oligarchs continued to seize control. [9] When Hipólito Yrigoyen—a member of the Radical Civic Union—was elected president in 1916, the Argentine aristocracy pushed to expel him, finally overthrowing him during his second term.[10] The aristocracy instilled a puppet as president, General José Félix Uriburu. Uriburu’s appointment completely shifted the role of Latin America’s greatest political force: the military. Uriburu’s presidency pushed the army into politics and established an alliance between the army and oligarchy.[11] This alliance was long-lasting; after 1930, and for the rest of the twentieth

early 1940s, many officers, including Perón, formed Grupo de Oficiales Unidos (GOU) in opposition to both the Radical Union Party and the conservative government.[14] By 1943, Perón had begun to establish influence within the government. GOU amassed an enormous following within the military, as 60 percent of the 3,600 Argentine officers joined. During its first years, GOU had no clear leader; however, Perón gradually worked to assume this role. In 1943, the GOU instigated a coup and assumed power.[15] Perón was given the position of Minister of Labor, a position that had little power at the time. Past regimes ignored laborers, and thus Perón sought to capitalize on this untapped demographic through his new position. To gain the support of Argentinian laborers, Perón worked to change the department’s image. First, he renamed it to the Secretariat of Labor and Welfare. Under this new branch, Perón dramatically raised the minimum wage of farm laborers from $15 to $25 a week. [16] Perón also wanted to increase dissent in Argentina and fracture any political coalitions; therefore, he encouraged strikes by promising that all demands of unions would be met. These labor strikes led to negotiations, which Perón used to strengthen his authority. In 1945, Perón gained exclusive control of collective bargaining contracts through an executive decree.[17] This, in turn, allowed Perón to call all the shots in regards to labor. Perón used this power to reward the unions that supported him and punish the ones that didn’t. Instances of government persecution of syndicates against Perón stacked up to the hundreds. Union members who opposed Perón were jailed, while union members who supported him received high-paying jobs as the heads of unions. Perón earned greater support by increasing the scope of the Instituto Nacional de Previsión Social, Argentina’s social security program. In 1946, Argentine workers were funneling 11 percent of all salaries into this system; by 1950, workers were paying only 10 percent and employers paid 15 percent.[18] As Perón garnered more support, his influence in the government also grew. In 1945, Perón became Minister of War and Vice President.[19] By this time, Perón’s ambitions were well known, and very few would be surprised by his move for the presidency in the coming year. Perón even started trying to collect votes, stating that a vote for him would mean every worker received a parcel of land in the future. Fearful of Perón’s growing popularity, his opponents exerted their political influence and forced Perón to resign from all three of his positions.



ctober 27 marked an important day for the people of Argentina, as the country voted for a new president. Alberto Fernández, a center-left politician, triumphed over incumbent Mauricio Macri, a center-right politician. This election came at a pivotal time for Argentina’s politics and, more importantly, its economy. Argentina’s economic crisis spans decades, but the current rate of inflation of the Argentine peso scares many into believing that the damages to the economy may be irreparable. At the end of 2018, Argentina’s inflation rate was 48 percent.[1] Macri worked to slow the inflation rate by negotiating a multibillion-dollar standby deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and by increasing restrictions on the monetary base, but the results have been underwhelming.[2] Macri criticized the former ruling party, Partido Justicialista, and its party leader, former president Cristina Kirchner, who is now the vice-president-elect. At the start of his term in 2015, Macri lambasted the control of capital and heavy government subsidies of the Kirchner era, and blamed Kirchner for Argentina’s worsening economic situation, repealing these policies when he came into office.[3] Nevertheless, Kirchner maintained her popularity in Argentina and used it to ensure Fernández a strong mandate of votes.[4] Since its first coup d’état in 1930, and for the rest of the twentieth century, Argentina has been at the behest of only two political forces: military juntas and Peronismo. The latter stems from the work of Juan Domingo Perón during his three terms as president of Argentina. Peronism is so ingrained in the politics of Argentina that from the time of Perón’s death in 1974 to the election of Macri in 2015, the Partido Justicialista held the Argentine presidency with little exception.[5] Peronism’s influence on modern Argentinian politics can be seen through the adoption of Perón’s labor reforms and social programs. The Peronista party still holds major pull within Argentina, to the point that Peronists such as Fernández can make it to the general elections. However, Perón’s long-lasting progressive image is not only misleading, but also contradictory to reality. Juan Perón established himself as president by building a following in the military, and more importantly, the labor movement. He never relied solely on one faction and frequently made minor concessions to maintain support from each group. As a result, Perón enacted authoritarian measures with little pushback, by creating a dilemma that forced

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While it is true that Argentine workers never prospered as much as they did under Perón, this prosperity came at the cost of their personal freedoms. century, more military leaders governed Argentina than civilians.[12] Juan Perón was born to farm laborers sixty miles outside of Buenos Aires. After a brief stint in the Patagonia region, Perón returned to Buenos Aires to complete school. He enrolled at the Colegio Militar de la Nación and later attended other military education centers. Perón was not a member of the oligarchy, but his position in the military allowed him to get involved politically. In about ten years, Perón went from attending War College, to being Private Secretary to the Minister of War, to serving as Military Attaché (a military expert) to Chile, to teaching at the Naval War College. Then, from February 1939 to January 1941, Perón served as Military Attaché to Italy; Perón’s time in Italy had a profound effect on his ideology. In Italy, Perón learned from the fascist government to emphasize nationalism, authority, and leadership.[13] Around this time, the relationship between the oligarchs and military shifted, as some military leaders grew tired of the oligarchy’s control and saw a chance to insert themselves into the government. In the


He was then arrested and imprisoned, sparking his military and labor supporters to organize, pushing for his release. Perón’s wife, Eva Perón, rallied unions and pro-labor movements together to fight for her husband’s freedom. Thanks to her efforts, around five hundred thousand Argentines took to the streets on October 17, 1947 to demand Perón’s release, in what is now known as the March of the Descamisados.[21] These supporters were crucial to Perón’s successful presidential bid that same year. Using his position and newfound support from laborers, Perón used a smear campaign to push the president out of office; he subsequently established a Peronist puppet government.[22] Perón’s promise to redistribute land did not come to fruition with the same scale that he promised, but some regions did benefit. This limited land redistribution and his new influence within the labor movement were major factors in the success in his later power grab. Ultimately, Perón’s work in the labor sector provided unions a seat at the table, all the while trampling any syndicates that went against him. There is no doubt that Perón’s regime was authoritarian in nature. For every wage increase that Perón gave to the workers, he expanded the power of the executive branch. While it is true that Argentine workers had never prospered as much as they did under Perón, this prosperity came at the cost of their personal freedoms.[23] Nevertheless, Perón had so much support that he was able to implement his policy changes with little resistance— the most important of these was the 1949 Constitution, which was only possible after Perón controlled two-thirds of the seats in the National Congress. Perón updated the 1853 rendition to incorporate verbatim language from his and his wife’s speeches. More essentially, Perón removed the term limits for office in the executive branch, enshrined the coin-minting power to the executive branch, created presidential veto power, and removed Congress’ ability to judge the results of presidential elections. Perón stacked the judiciary branch, the last remaining opposition to his rule, by impeaching justices on weak premises, claiming they had failed to protect the rule of law when they recognized the military governments before Perón. [20]

Perón used the presidency to maintain support for the military through modernization and promotion projects. By 1951, Argentina was the only country in Latin America that held jet fighters in its fleet.[24] Furthermore, national spending on the armed forces nearly tripled under his control. While there were those within the military ranks that wanted to oust Perón, they did not have the ability to do so at that point in time. Perón removed generals when he saw them as troublesome and promoted the generals who supported him instead. For example, in 1951, he replaced the entire high command of the military, in order to create more loyalty in the top ranks.[25] While this worked for some years, the increasing volatility of their positions and opposition to Perón’s policies ultimately created major dissent within the military.

The flexibility and resilience of Peronismo is not only a result of the success of Perón’s policies, but the abject economic failure of the country. By 1956, Perón was ousted by a military junta and forced to flee to Spain.[26] While Perón was in exile, the governing democratic and military governments could not get a handle on the nation. Presidents averaged two years in office between 1930 and 1983, all providing vastly different solutions to get the country out of crisis. The constant turnover of presidents revealed the country’s dissatisfaction with any system offered. Meanwhile, Perón’s legacy with the masses continued to grow, even after the ensuing governments banned the Peronista party; this censorship of Peronismo caused Perón to become an almost mythical figure within Argentine politics.[27] Perón’s influence now spanned from anti-communist union leaders to Montoneros, a group of revolutionary guerrillas.[28] This divided movement allowed Perón to re-establish his populist appeal in the country. This culminated in Perón’s emergence from exile in 1973 for a third term

as president. Perón died a year into his term; still, it was clear that not even he could wrangle the economy and political situation in Argentina.[29] He was followed, once again, by authoritarian military leaders such as Jorge Videla; Videla served from 1976 to 1981 and is largely responsible for the “Dirty War,” where between ten thousand and thirty thousand people were killed.[30] Many more disappeared. The reign of Argentina’s military ended in 1983 with the election of Raúl Alfonsín of the Radical Party. Alfonsín faced some of the harshest moments in Argentina’s economy, with inflation reaching over 5,000 percent by the end of 1989.[31][32] He later resigned from the presidency and Peronist candidate Carlos Menem was elected. Although a Peronist, Menem’s policies were drastically different from previous iterations of the ideology. Menem famously claimed that he would cure the economic ails of Argentina by “major surgery without anesthesia.”[33] This strategy included privatizing most of Argentina’s public enterprises including steel, telecommunications, and airlines. While these strategies worked in the short term, Argentina once again went through a period of hyperinflation. Besides affecting the economy, Menem’s policies jeopardized Perón’s legacy and caused a major fracture within the party.[34] When he left office in 1999, Menem had created a political environment rife with corruption that staved off many investors. Argentina famously stopped payments on its $100 billion debt, resulting in the world’s largest sovereign default.[35] Moreover, the political situation led to a revolving door of presidents, with five being appointed in a span of two weeks. The last of them was the only other non-Peronist president, Fernando de la Rúa, who resigned in 2001 halfway through his term.[36] This paved the wave for a renewed populist movement of Peronismo led by Néstor Kirchner. The clearest emergence of power in Argentina after the turn of the century was undoubtedly Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina, who gained enormous support from various voter bases. They rallied the middle and working class with strong social programs like Universal Child Subsidy, “a conditional cash-transfer program (enacted in 2009) that covers 30 percent of those under 18.”[37] He was credited for the highest economic growth in a century and for the decrease in

[1] Garrison, Cassandra. “Argentina Inflation Rate Will Slow to about 34 Percent This Year: OECD.” Reuters. March 27, 2019. [2] Ibid. [3] Taladrid, Stephania. “Argentina Considers a Return to Peronism.” The New Yorker. August 28, 2019. [4] Ibid. [5] Garcia, Marcelo. “Argentina’s Likely Next President Is Not a Populist. Don’t Make Him One.” The New York Times. August 24, 2019. [6] Mullenbach, Mark. “17. Argentina (1916-Present).” University of Central Arkansas. 2013. [7] Snow, Peter Gordon. “Factors Influencing the Rise and Fall of Juan Perón (Argentina 1943-1955).” Master’s Thesis, Texas Technological College. 1960. [8] Mullenbach, Mark. “17. Argentina (1916-Present).” [9] "Sáenz Peña Law." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Updated October 06, 2019. [10] Mullenbach, Mark. “17. Argentina (1916-Present).” [11] Marsh, Sarah and Brian Winter. “Chronology: Argentina’s Turbulent History of Economic Crises.” Reuters. July 30, 2014. [12] Ibid. [13] Lewis, Paul. “Was Perón a Fascist? An Inquiry into the Nature of Fascism.” The Journal of Politics 42, no. 1 (February 1980): 242–56. [14] Snow, Peter Gordon. “Factors Influencing the Rise and Fall of Juan Perón (Argentina 1943-1955),” 49. [15] McGann, Thomas. “Juan Perón.”Encyclopædia Britannica. Updated October 04, 2019. [16] Snow, Peter Gordon. “Factors Influencing the Rise and Fall of Juan Perón (Argentina 1943-1955),” 31. [17] Ibid, 31-32. [18] Ibid, 39. [19] McGann, Thomas. “Juan Perón.” [20] Navarro, Marysa. “Evita and the Crisis of 17 October 1945: A Case Study of Peronist and Anti-Peronist Mythology.” Journal of Latin American Studies 12, no. 1 (May 1980): 127–38. [21] Snow, Peter Gordon. “Factors Influencing the Rise and Fall of Juan Perón (Argentina 1943-1955),” 65. [22] Ibid, 49. [23] Ibid, 41. [24] Ibid, 88. [25] Ibid, 50. [26]


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unemployment, as he rescheduled loans with the IMF and increased exports by controlling the economy.[38] Most importantly, Kirchner went to Peronismo’s roots, as he implemented wage increases by decree and subsidized integral industries like food, energy, and transport. Kirchner drew support from center-right voters by prosecuting those responsible for war crimes during the “Dirty War.”[39] The Kirchner administration—like those in the past—was slowed down by corruption and bad economic turnover by the end of the 2000s (due to the global recession of 2008), leading to the country’s current economic situation.[40] Although this economic downfall occurred during Cristina Kirchner’s term, she won in 2011 because of the major fractures in her opposition.[41] The flexibility and resilience of Peronismo is not only a result of the success of Perón’s policies, but the abject economic failure of the country. This recent election had the

Argentinian people decide whether they wanted to continue with Marci’s plans for economic liberalism or return to Peronismo by electing Alberto Fernández and his vice-presidential nominee, Christina Kirchner. Evidently, Peronismo reengaged those who were most negatively affected by the economic crisis. Argentina’s economic crisis is so dire that the lives of many Argentines could be at risk, with unemployment rising to 10 percent in 2018.[42] Additionally, three out of ten Argentine citizens are living in poverty. In an attempt to stay out of the public light, Cristina Kirchner endorsed Alberto Fernández for the presidency and joined him on the campaign trail as his vice-presidential nominee instead of running for office herself.[43] Critics believe this indicated that Fernández is a puppet for Kirchner; however, the presidential hopeful heavily criticized Cristina’s second term from 2011 to 2015, calling her branch of Kirchnerismo pathetic.[44]

Ultimately, Fernández channels the spirit of Perón, standing with leftist movements with his pragmatism. Fernández has pushed for a control on currency that will not restrict the Argentine peso and adamantly opposes any labor reform.[45] Those struggling due to Argentina’s economic conditions have decided to give Peronismo another shot, further cementing the continual influence of Perón, his policies, and his legacy. Speculation has already begun on whether or not Fernández can follow through on his platform of currency control; nevertheless, voters have revealed their desire for Peronismo, and so it will remain in the public consciousness until the end of his term. This election reveals that Peronismo is entrenched in Argentine politics, and will continue to be integral to future Argentine discourse, at least for the time being.

Marsh, Sarah and Brian Winter. “Chronology: Argentina’s Turbulent History of Economic Crises.” [27] Jones, Mark. “Peronism’s Remarkable Comebacks.” Americas Quarterly. 2016. [28] Ibid. [29] Marsh, Sarah and Brian Winter. “Chronology: Argentina’s Turbulent History of Economic Crises.” [30] “Argentina - Police and Security Services.” CIA. April 12, 2019. [31] Smith, William C. “State, Market and Neoliberalism in Post-Transition Argentina: The Menem Experiment.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 33, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 45–82. [32] Marsh, Sarah and Brian Winter. “Chronology: Argentina’s Turbulent History of Economic Crises.” [33] Smith, William C. “State, Market and Neoliberalism in Post-Transition Argentina: The Menem Experiment.” 53. [34] Ibid, 58. [35] Marsh, Sarah and Brian Winter. “Chronology: Argentina’s Turbulent History of Economic Crises.” [36] Taladrid, Stephania. “Argentina Considers a Return to Peronism.” [37] Calvo, Ernesto, and M.V. Murrillo. “Argentina: The Persistence of Peronism.” Journal of Democracy 23, no. 2 (2012): 148–61. [38] Wylde, Christopher. “¿Continuidad o Cambio? Política Económica Argentina Posterior a La Crisis y El Gobierno de Néstor Kirchner, 2003 - 2007.” ICONOS: Revista de Ciencias Sociales, no. 43 (August 2013): 109–33. [39] Ibid. [40] Ibid. [41] Calvo, Ernesto, and M.V. Murrillo. “Argentina: The Persistence of Peronism.”[42] Garcia, Marcelo. “Argentina’s Likely Next President Is Not a Populist. Don’t Make Him One.”[43] Politi, Daniel. “Argentina’s Macri Trounced in Primary by Voters Angry Over Economy.” The New York Times. August 13, 2019. [44] Garcia, Marcelo. “Argentina’s Likely Next President Is Not a Populist. Don’t Make Him One.” [45] Binetti, Bruno. “What Argentina Could Expect from Alberto Fernández.” Americas Quarterly. May 22, 2019.

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(Back)Stop It: The Role of the Irish Border Problem in Brexit By Alexandra Jacobs / History & International Affairs 2021


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will be following completely different rules and regulations, necessitating a physical border, potentially aggravating existing tensions, and threatening the relatively new peace. Regardless of whether a Brexit deal is eventually achieved, the Irish border problem will transform the UK and EU as we know them.

Brexit threatens to renew a centuries-long conflict and is already straining the relatively new peace. Brexit threatens to renew a centuries-long conflict and is already straining the relatively new peace. There is a long history of both English and Scottish involvement in Ireland, with continued implications into the present-day. The Protestant-controlled Irish Parliament gained legislative independence from Great Britain in 1782, but attempted rebellion in 1798 caused both the British and Irish parliaments to pass the Acts of Union in 1800.[4] This resulted in the merging of their parliaments and the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Throughout the 1800s, many Irish were strongly opposed to this union and frequently attempted to revolt and repeal the union. For example, the Young Ireland movement grew out of another nationalist movement during the Great Famine (1845–1849).[5] The Young Irelanders originally hoped to create a non-sectarian public opinion based in Irish

cultural nationality, but their goals shifted to the establishment of an independent Irish republic through revolution. During the Anglo-Irish War (1919–1921), the British Parliament passed an act that partitioned Ireland into Northern and Southern Ireland; “each was given a degree of local control over its territory, but both were still formally part of the United Kingdom.”[6][7] Most Irish in the south wanted complete independence, rather than limited local control, but the 1922 peace treaty that established the Irish Free State stopped short of that. The Irish Free State became “Ireland” in 1937, and when it left the British Commonwealth in 1949, it became the “Republic of Ireland.” At this point, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland became an international one, which hardened over time. Northern Ireland specifically became even more divided in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly due to segregation and religious tensions between Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic minority pushed for greater civil rights in the 1960s, but their originally peaceful movement turned violent, causing the British military to respond with harsh crackdowns. Paramilitary groups on both sides, such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force, eventually took matters into their own hands, and “the Troubles” began. “The Troubles” were “decades of political violence marked by bombings, sniper fire, and a civilian population that was both polarized and terrorized.”[8] During this time, the Irish border became a heavily fortified battleground and a symbol of the violent communal struggle.



uring the 2016 Brexit referendum, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union (EU) with 56 percent of the vote, but the United Kingdom (UK) as a whole voted to leave, with 52 percent of the vote.[1] While the Irish border problem was not a talking point in the initial Brexit debate, it quickly emerged as one of the biggest problems facing former Prime Minister Theresa May, and now Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in getting the British Parliament to ratify a deal with the EU. Prior to beginning negotiations, May stated that one of her priorities was to fully leave the EU single market and customs union. She also promised a “frictionless border in Ireland.”[2] Achieving these two objectives together proved not only impossible for May’s ministry, but also polarizing. Many hardliners and unionists—those who want Northern Ireland to remain a part of the UK and were generally pro-Brexit—fear that this issue will keep the UK, and specifically the Republic of Ireland, in a close relationship with the EU indefinitely and consider it a threat to Northern Ireland and the UK’s union. Conversely, nationalists—those who want closer relations with the Republic of Ireland and were generally pro-remain—see the issue as evidence that the “Leave” campaign was unrealistic. Since becoming Prime Minister, Johnson has said he plans to renegotiate May’s Brexit deal, primarily to remove the “Irish backstop.”[3] On October 21, the UK and EU agreed upon a new deal without the backstop. If the UK fully leaves the EU customs union and single market, Northern Ireland and Ireland

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Columns The 1990s witnessed the first peace talks, but violence continued until 1998, when both parties signed the Good Friday Agreement. This agreement “set up a power-sharing arrangement for Northern Ireland, giving both nationalists and unionists a share in government.”[9] As a result, the paramilitary groups agreed to stop using violence and participate in this democratic process. While Ireland remained independent and Northern Ireland remained part of the UK, an open border has been a crucial aspect of the peace process.[10] The EU’s single market also helped with this process because it meant that border and customs checks were unnecessary along the Irish border, and the EU has continued to provide an avenue for communication and de-escalation.[11] For example, after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the rules set by the creation of the European single market in 1993 helped strengthen the all-island economy, especially in agriculture.[12] The Good Friday Agreement and the European single market are both important aspects of the stillnew peace. Brexit thus “appears to put the fundamental structure of the fragile peace process into question, by removing its central structural support.”[13] The “Irish backstop,” which Johnson has removed in the newest “divorce deal” with the

EU, was a significant and confusing aspect of Theresa May’s deal. Prior to beginning negotiations with the EU, May set out her priorities, including leaving the EU’s customs union and single market and keeping a frictionless border in Ireland—two goals which are, in fact, contradictory.

'Brexit, and the hard border that may come with it, betrays that promise,' acting as a British rejection of the peace process just twenty years after it began.

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The backstop was a form of “insurance policy in the EU–UK withdrawal agreement that no matter what happens post-Brexit, the two sides will avoid a hard Irish border.”[14] Specifically, it said that the entire UK will remain in a customs arrangement with the EU if there is no better solution by the end of the transition period. There is currently nothing along the Irish border, and it is hard to tell when you move from one country into the other. This was one of the promises made to nationalists in Northern Ireland during the peace process. But “Brexit, and the hard border that may

come with it, betrays that promise,” acting as a British rejection of the peace process just twenty years after it began.[15] As a result, Johnson’s plans to remove the backstop protocol have drawn significant criticism from both nationalists and unionists. Further complicating the situation, the EU has been hesitant to accept any plan without the backstop. It considers a “fully operational solution in the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, protect the all-island economy and the integrity of the single market” essential.[16] While Brexit will be particularly impactful in the Republic of Ireland due to concerns over the Irish border, it will also impact areas throughout the EU, particularly in terms of agriculture, trade, and migration. Brexit may also affect the EU’s foreign policy, security, and defense.[17] The UK is a large contributor to the EU budget, a nuclear power, and a permanent United Nations Security Council member. As a result, it strongly influences the EU’s foreign policy. Without the UK’s focus on such issues, coupled with possible consequences of a more disjointed union, the EU is likely to focus more on internal challenges to “bounce back” from Brexit. Some, like the Dahrendorf Forum’s 2016 Foresight Exercise that provides possible scenarios of the EU’s global role in 2025, see Brexit as leading to a “profound


neglect of any coherent [EU] foreign policy strategy.”[18][19] The full effects of Brexit on EU foreign policy remain to be seen, but is still an area of great concern. Furthermore, a no-deal Brexit, and the increased uncertainty associated with such an event, would likely exacerbate these potential effects. To prevent the uncertainty created by the UK leaving the EU literally overnight, the UK Parliament has to ratify Theresa May’s Brexit deal. That is, unless Johnson renegotiates, in which case Parliament will have to ratify his new deal by October 31. Parliament rejected May’s deal by 230 votes in January, by 149 votes in early March, and by 58 votes in late March.[20] In May, the EU approved a further extension until October 31 so that the Prime Minister had more time to gain Parliament’s approval. Johnson has consistently stated that he is “committed to leaving on 31 October come what may,” even if that means a no-deal Brexit.[21] Johnson was a key figurehead in the Vote Leave campaign leading up to the 2016 referendum, and since becoming prime minister, has repeatedly

promised that the UK will leave the EU on October 31 regardless. [22][23][24] However, recent developments mean that this promise will go unfulfilled. Members of parliament (MPs) passed the Benn Act to prevent a no-deal Brexit and forced Johnson to request another extension from the EU on October 19. On the same day, MPs passed an amendment in regards to Johnson’s proposed plan, which stated that support of the deal would be withheld until implementation legislation has been passed by both chambers of Parliament.[25] To comply with the Benn Act, Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the EU requesting a further extension, but also sent a signed follow-up letter noting his disagreement with an extension. The EU approved this request and granted an extension until January 31, 2020. Thus, the chance for a no-deal Brexit is still present. The economic relationship between the EU and the UK will change regardless of Brexit’s final form, but if there is a no-deal Brexit, that change could be very drastic. The Irish border will become the “only land border between the EU and the UK,” potentially causing both logistical and communal problems.[26]

Currently, there are about three hundred crossings on the 310-mile border, and a no-deal Brexit or a deal without the backstop would require customs checks to be implemented across the border. Peace is still new and militant groups still exist, and they could target customs checks along the border, possibly requiring another fortified border.[27] A car bomb explosion in Derry, Northern Ireland in January reminded people of the threats of “the Troubles,” and foreshadowed a possible post-Brexit return to violence on the island if the Irish border is not adequately addressed. Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, and the 1998 Good Friday agreement “included an option for a future border poll on a united Ireland.”[28] A no-deal Brexit may lead Northern Ireland and Ireland to consider reunification. The negotiation process would of course be complicated and take a great deal of time. However, if Ireland were to reunite, Johnson and his supporters will have not only caused Britain to leave the EU, but Northern Ireland to leave the UK.

[1] "EU Referendum Results." BBC News. Accessed September 2019. [2] Kirby, Jen. “Brexit’s Irish border problem, explained.” Vox News. February 18, 2019. [3] Barnes, Peter. “Brexit: What happens now?” BBC News. July 26, 2019. [4] Gillen, Ultán. “Ascendancy Ireland, 1660-1800.” In The Princeton History of Modern Ireland, edited by Richard Bourke and Ian McBride, 48-73. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2016. [5] Egan, Timothy. The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2016. [6] Moltmann, Bernhard. Northern Ireland: The End of the Story?: The Peace Process and the Brexit. Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. 2017. [7] Kirby, Jen. “Brexit’s Irish border problem, explained.”[8] Ibid. [9] Ibid. [10] Aughey, Arthur and Gromley-Heenan, Cathy. “Northern Ireland and Brexit: Three effects on ‘the border in the mind.’” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 19, no. 3. June 08, 2017. [11] Stevenson, Jonathan. “Does Brexit Threaten Peace in Northern Ireland?” Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 59, no. 3. May 15, 2017. [12] McCabe, Conor. “How Brexit Threatens Peace in Northern Ireland.” The Atlantic. February 18, 2019. [13] Byrne, Jonny and Morrow, Duncan. “Playing Jenga? Northern Ireland after Brexit.” Political Insight 7, no. 2. September 01, 2017. [14] Kirby, Jen. “Brexit’s Irish border problem, explained.” [15] Ibid. [16] “Brexit: UK ‘planning concrete proposals.’” BBC News. September 27, 2019. [17] Oliver, Tim. “Never mind the Brexit? Britain, Europe, the world, and Brexit.” International Politics 54, no. 4. May 08, 2017. [18] Pfeifer, Franziska and Sus, Monika. “Taking stock of the Dahrendorf Foresight Project—Brexit scenarios.” Dahrendorf Forum. July 21, 2016. [19] Ibid. [20] Kirby, Jen. “9 questions about Brexit you were too embarrassed to ask.” Vox News. April 10, 2019. [21] Barnes, Peter. “Brexit: What happens now?” [22] “EU referendum: Time to vote for real change, says Boris Johnson.” BBC News, February 22, 2016. [23] Cooper, Charlie. “Where Boris Johnson went wrong.” Politico. September 25, 2019. [24] “Brexit: UK ‘planning concrete proposals.’” [25] Barnes, Peter. “Brexit: What happens now?” [26] Kirby, Jen. “Brexit’s Irish border problem, explained.” [27] Ibid. [28] Ibid.

Fall 2019



Hong Kong Attempts to Criminalize the Basic Right to Protest J

une 1989 marked a flashpoint for Hong Kong activism, when one million Cantonese people protested the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.[1] Many Hong Kongers continue to observe June 4 to remember those who died in the crackdown. Martin Lee is one such observer. Lee is the founding chairman of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong and once led the Hong Kong march against military forces in Beijing. As a result, Beijing banned his travel to the mainland.[2] Today, Hong Kong’s pro-democratic movements are once again at odds with the Chinese government. To better understand how Beijing impedes democratic movements in Hong Kong, one must examine Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution. In short, the language underlined in this article “equates opposing the government with opposing the country.”[3] Article 23, understood to be the result of Beijing’s perception that protests in Hong Kong are hostile to national security, was written to criminalize elements of Hong Kong’s free speech.[4] Largely because of Article 23, Lee now believes that “without independence, it’s not possible for Hong Kong to continue to prosper and be stable.”[5] Hong Kong’s history of being a British colony set the stage for recent political strife. In 1842, Hong Kong island was ceded to Great Britain at the end of the first Opium War. Britain subsequently expanded its colony to incorporate parts of the mainland, including the New Territories, which Britain acquired in 1898 through a ninety-nine-year lease. In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong, declaring that China would resume sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, at the end of the New Territories lease. A key caveat stipulated that Hong Kong would retain its own form of government for fifty years, but would be ruled by Chinese sovereignty. Hong Kong would be considered a Chinese Special

Administered Region, which is also referred to as “One Country, Two Systems.” This divide in government required Hong Kong to draft its own “mini-constitution.” Hong Kong’s Basic Law was released in 1990, one year after the Tiananmen crackdown. The drafting committee did not include Martin Lee as a member; he was ousted due to his involvement with pro-democracy marches.[6] One key change between the first draft of the Basic Law in 1988—which Lee was part of—and the final version can be found in Article 23, which states: “the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets . . . ”[7] This part of the constitution has never been enforced. Technically. An attempt was made in 2002 when the government of Hong Kong published the Consultation Document, a proposal to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law. By February 26, 2003, Hong Kong’s legislative body, Legco, introduced the National Security Bill, aimed to curtail criticism against the Central People’s Government. This bill would have weaponized Article 23’s broad language regarding subversion against the government by limiting the freedom of speech for anyone born or living in Hong Kong.[8] Under the Consultation Document proposals, “police powers would also be expanded, enabling officers to enter and search residential buildings, confiscate materials, and make arrests at any time without a search warrant.''[9] Lee’s Democratic Party pushed for the withdrawal of the national security legislation, saying it lacked public support. On July 1, 2003, Lee helped organize a half-a-millionstrong march. The bill was soon withdrawn.[10] Despite the failure to implement Article 23, pro-democracy and independence advocates have been stripped of their platform to make change. In July 2017, four of the six newly elected members belonging to the

pro-democracy caucus were disqualified from Legco on the basis of Article 104 of the Basic Law, which relates to oath-taking.[11] Sixtus ‘Baggio’ Leung Chung-hang was elected to Legco in 2016. During his oath-taking ceremony, Leung wore a banner which read “Hong Kong is not China.”[12] Nathan Law was twenty-three when he was elected to become Hong Kong's youngest legislator in city history. He began his oath by stating he would “never serve a regime that murders its own people.”[13] Law and Leung were both disqualified from office for “intentionally read[ing] out words which do not accord with the wording of the oath prescribed by law, or tak[ing] the oath in a manner which is not sincere or not solemn.”[14] In other words, they were disqualified for using their platform as legislators to protest China. Law remains a Standing Committee Member of the Demosistō political party, which “[aims] to achieve democratic self-determination in Hong Kong.”[15] Fellow party member Agnes Chow Ting was twenty-two when she decided to fill Law’s constituency seat for Hong Kong Island. However, all members of Demosistō were barred from running in elections, because Demosistō’s advocacy for self-determination is not in line with Basic Law requirements of Legco members.[16] A court eventually overturned the ban, but because it did so for procedural and not substantive reasons, it leaves room for future courts to disqualify Chow from running again.[17] With limited legislative representation, pro-democracy and independence advocates took to the streets, where they were met by law enforcement. These officers have authority to limit public speech and mass demonstrations on the basis of public safety ordinances, which are used to monopolize violence in the city.[18][19] Pro-democracy and independence advocates aren’t the only ones protesting government. Recent protests stem from the Extradition Law Amendment Bill (ELAB), which was proposed in February 2019 to address a murder case.[20] Poon Hiu-wing was

[1] Blakemore, Erin and Taryn Salinas. “The history of Hong Kong, visualized.” National Geographic. August 26, 2019. [2] Woo Liu, Ling. “Hong Kong’s ‘Father of Democracy’ to Retire.” Time. April 21, 2008. [3] Sansali, Inbal. “The Threat of Article 23 to Civil Liberties in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” Human Rights Brief 10, no. 3, 2003. [4] Ibid. [5] “Hong Kong’s pro-democracy veteran Martin Lee believes ‘democracy will arrive in China.” South China Morning Post. April 29, 2019. [6] Cheung, Gary. “June 4, 1989 events in China still have a profound effect on Hong Kong's political scene.” South China Morning Post. May 26, 2014. [7] “The Basic Law of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” People’s Republic of China. April 04, 1990. [8] Sansali, Inbal. “The Threat of Article 23 to Civil Liberties in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” [9] “C007-e01 Amend the Crimes Ordinance.” Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Accessed September 2019. [10] Woo Liu, Ling. “Hong Kong’s ‘Father of Democracy’ to Retire.” [11] AP Hong Kong. “‘Longhair’ swears in with radical flair.” Taipei Times. October 07, 2004. [12] Jenkins, Nash. “New Lawmakers Pledge Loyalty to the ‘Hong Kong Nation.’” Time. October 12, 2016. [13] “Incoming lawmaker Nathan Law clashes with LegCo secretary general Kenneth Chen at LegCo oath taking.” Hong Kong Free Press. October 11, 2016. [14] “The Basic Law of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” [15] “About Us.” Demosistō. Accessed September 2019. [16] Wong, Brian. “Election ban on Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow overturned.” South China Morning Post. September 02, 2019. [17] Ibid. [18] Lam, Carrie. “Hong Kong, I am Listening.” The New York Times. September 25, 2019. [19] “Hong Kong Ordinances.” Hong Kong Legal Information Institute. Accessed September 2019. [20] Victor, Daniel and Tiffany May. “The Murder Case That Lit the Duse in Hong Kong.” The New York Times. June 15, 2019. [21] “Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.” The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Press Releases. Accessed September 2019. [22] “The Basic Law of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” [23] “Hong Kong: Timeline of Extradition Protests.” BBC. September 04, 2019. [24] “Hong Kong Ordinances.” Hong Kong Legal Information Institute. [25] Wong, Brian. “Election ban on Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow overturned.” [26] Ibid. [27] “Hong Kong Ordinances.” Hong Kong Legal Information Institute. [28] “Hong Kong: Arbitrary arrests, brutal beatings and torture in police detention revealed.” Amnesty International. September 19, 2019. [29] Ives, Mike. “Hong Kong Police Shoot a Protester, 18, With a Live Bullet for the First Time.” The New York Times.


Fall 2019


By Alex Shaw / International Affairs 2020

rights abuses, but also to support more specific goals.[34][35] The Hong Kong protesters issued five major demands: 1) complete withdrawal of ELAB, 2) withdrawal of the “riot” characterization describing the June 12 protest, 3) the release of arrested protesters without charge, 4) formation of an independent commission of inquiry to police brutality, and 5) universal suffrage.[36]

Hong Kong-specific riot control tactics.[40] On August 29, the Hong Kong Garrison of the PLA conducted the twenty-second rotation of its members.[41] Around six thousand PLA personnel have continuously garrisoned Hong Kong since 1997. While Chinese state press (Xinhua) claims that the twenty-second rotation was a routine, pundits were skeptical of the PLA’s intentions. Some point to a change in the garrison’s armored vehicles to models used by police for anti-riot purposes as proof of the PLA’s preparations to intervene.[42] The combination of training exercises, equipment change, and troop rotations all seem to be China’s way of showing off its military prowess. October 1, 2019 marked the seventieth anniversary of Communist Party rule— National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Pro-democracy advocates used this day to protest, and violence escalated to higher levels than ever before.[43][44] Yet, the PLA did not intervene. Carrie Lam claimed that “Xi Jinping has absolutely no plan to send in the PLA,” and “Beijing has no deadline [to conclude the Hong Kong protests].”[45] We will see if Lam’s comments remain true. Meanwhile, it is equally important to analyze the legal battles for freedom of speech and independence. Modern China has a complicated history of confrontation with pro-democracy student demonstrations. Today’s fight for democracy is similar to 1989—another challenge to the legitimacy of Party rule. However, Hong Kong is not 1989 Tiananmen Square. For the past thirty years, China has stifled Hong Kong’s ability to speak freely. Article 23 equates opposition to the Central People’s Government with opposition to the country, Article 104 disqualified four pro-democracy legislators from taking office, and public safety ordinances criminalize particular protest tactics. Now, with the laws stacked against government critics, one has to wonder how “free” Hong Kong’s freedom of speech really is.

Officers have authority to limit public speech and mass demonstrations on the basis of public safety ordinances, which are used to monopolize violence in the city.

arrested in Hong Kong, but could only be charged with murder in Taiwan, the location of the crime scene. In total, ELAB would have applied to thirty-seven crimes.[21] Extradition would have ultimately been decided by or under the authority of the Chief Executive, head of the executive branch in Hong Kong. The problem is that all Chief Executive candidates are appointed by the Central People's Government.[22] The Taiwan murder case could have been a red herring, while the true goal of ELAB was to make the mainland criminal court the de facto arbitrator for Hong Kong. An estimated one million people marched in peaceful protest against ELAB.[24] Initial marches were followed by a series of escalating protests, which culminated in over nine hundred arrests justified by public safety ordinances.[25] Specifically, on June 12, forty-four protesters were charged with rioting, the first charges of rioting since Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.[26] Legco defines rioting as an unlawful assembly of three or more people where any person “commits a breach of the peace,” and a conviction can carry a ten-year prison sentence.[27] Another concern is police handling of unlawful assembly. Police violence against protests is often viewed as excessive use of force.[28] In one instance, an eighteen-year-old was shot with a live round.[29] Additionally, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam banned face masks via the Emergency Regulations Ordinance.[30] Demonstrators started wearing face masks after the police began using tear gas in large volume.[31] This new regulation is seen as an affront to civil freedoms, and the protesters by and large are not complying.[32] They chant “we have the right to wear face masks.”[33] All three instances of police–protester conflict have created desperation. Protesters increasingly support radical protest tactics, and have asked the international community to condemn human

On September 4, Lam met the first demand by withdrawing the controversial extradition bill.[37] However, this has not stopped mass demonstrations. A reactionary protest slogan calls for all “5 demands, not one less.”[38] However, protesters continue to face difficulty in having their demands met, considering the outcome of Hong Kong’s demonstrations are vital to the legitimacy of the Central People’s Government. To illustrate why China is so invested in the Hong Kong protests, we must examine a Confucian principle: tianxia (all under one heaven), which is China’s prevailing national security ideology. In President Xi’s words, “government, military, society and schools; north, south, east and west—the party leads them all.”[39] Because the Chinese Communist Party and China are so tightly linked, many believe that a decline in Party legitimacy could end China’s control over all special administrative regions. Perhaps as a response to the challenge posed by mass protests, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s armed forces, released military training videos showing troops simulating

October 01, 2019. [30] “Emergency Regulations Ordinance.” Hong Kong e-Legislation. December 13, 2018. [31] Lai, K.K. Rebecca and Austin Ramzy. “1,800 Rounds of Tear Gas: Was the Hong Kong Police Response Appropriate?” The New York Times. August 18, 2019. [32] Bradsher, Keith, Daniel Victor, and Tiffany May. “Hong Kong Banned Masks at Protests. Masked Crowds Protested the Ban.” The New York Times. Updated October 07, 2019. [33] Feng, Emily. “Hong Kong Protesters Defy Ban On Face Masks and Adopt A New Slogan.” NPR. October 05, 2019. [34] Yuen, Samson. “New research shows vast majority of Hong Kong protesters support more radical tactics.” Hong Kong Free Press. September 20, 2019. [35] “H.R.3289 - Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.” US Congress - 116th Congress (2019-2020). Updated October 16, 2019. [36] “‘All five demands must be fulfilled’: Thousands of Hong Kong anti-extradition law protesters rally in Sha Tin.” Hong Kong Free Press. July 14, 2019. [37] Ramzy, Austin and Elaine Yu. “Hong Kong’s Leader, Carrie Lam, to Withdraw Extradition Bill That Ignited Protests.” The New York Times. Updated September 05, 2019. [38] Wong, Joshua. “The 5 demands from people: 1 Full withdrawal of Extradition Bill to China 2 Retraction of the “Riot” characterisation 3 Release of arrested protestors, especially students 4 Legal and independent investigation of event 5 Full democracy & universal suffrage” October 02, 2019. Twitter. [39] Buckley, Chris. “Xi Jinping Opens China’s Party Congress, His Hold Tighter Than Ever.” The New York Times. October 17, 2017. [40] Lu Stout, Kristie. “China's PLA has released a video showing troops simulating #HongKong riot control tactics. Here's our report on the video, with a take from pro-Beijing lawmaker Michael Tien who throws water on any suggestion that the PLA is about to move in. #HongKongProtests ht @gus_watson.” August 01, 2019. Tweet. [41] Huaxia. “PLA garrison in Hong Kong conducts 22nd routine rotation.” Xiahuanet. August 29, 2019. [42] Chan, Minnie. “PLA ‘ready to defend’ Hong Kong’ after morning arrival Beijing says is routine troop rotation.” South China Morning Post. August 29, 2019. [43] Buckley, Chris, Mike Ives, and Steven Lee Meyers. “Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade.” The New York Times. Updated October 03, 2019. [44] Tong, Elson. “18-year-old Hong Kong protester in critical condition after being shot by police with live round.” Hong Kong Free Press. October 01, 2019. [45] “Hong Kong leader would ‘quit’ if she could.” Reuters. September 02, 2019.

Fall 2019



The Other War on Drugs: Superbugs and Antibiotic Resistance in the 21st Century


umanity’s propensity for unbridled technological advancement has pushed us ever closer to the edge of a cliff. The industrial revolution riddled us with greenhouse gas emissions and the Manhattan Project brought us to the brink of nuclear devastation more than once. Our powerful painkillers—once touted as a cure for debilitating chronic pain—are now one of the leading public health issues in America. As we debate solutions to these political, environmental, and health problems, one crisis lurks beneath the surface: antibiotic resistance. The twentieth century was a golden age of infection treatment. It began in 1928, with the discovery of penicillin, the first commercialized antibiotic.[1] The modern era of vaccination followed, starting with the introduction of a state-sponsored polio vaccine in 1960. [2] Life expectancy exploded from 57 years in 1928 to 76.7 in 1998.[3] The role of antibiotics in this trend cannot be overstated. We could treat diseases and avoid complications in operations that previously led to infections. Unfortunately, this powerful medical landscape is slowly coming apart, and we are hearing almost nothing about it from our political leaders. There is the occasional headline or magazine cover with a menacing image of a bacterium, but this issue is still so underreported that these articles resonate only with those unfortunate enough to know someone affected by it.[4] Antibiotics are a class of compounds prescribed and administered to treat bacterial infections.[5] They are typically prescribed in one of three circumstances. First, as a precautionary measure—surgical patients are often given antibiotics for potential infections.[6] Second, as narrow-spectrum antibiotics—they are used as a specific treatment for a confirmed diagnosis, like strep throat or a sinus infection.[7] Third, as broad-spectrum antibiotics—they are prescribed for infections of a basic or unknown kind in the hope that the infection is susceptible to one of those broad applications.[8]


Fall 2019

Antibiotic resistance refers to bacteria developing immunity to these drugs.[9] In any infection, a bacterium may have a gene that makes it resistant or invulnerable to an antibiotic. When an antibiotic is administered, it kills all of the bacteria except the resistant one, which can then reproduce and become the dominant strain in the infection.[10] In severe cases, when this gene has propagated, the infection is untreatable. Antibioticresistant bacterial infections are then treated with stronger and stronger antibiotics, and at each treatment along the way there is a risk of developing resistance.

As researchers begin to deal with this issue, the medical community appears to be its own worst enemy. While the senior community members, like experts at the WHO, appear to understand the gravity of this threat, medical professionals continue to overprescribe antibiotics in preventive and treatment approaches, mostly for respiratory conditions caused by viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three antibiotics prescriptions are unnecessary.[13] Physicians and other primary care providers (including physician’s assistants and nurses) must do more to ensure that prescriptions are necessary and patients are using them correctly. Forty-five percent of Americans do not take their full dose of antibiotics, often stopping when their symptoms subside.[14] It is no surprise that this issue is falling by the wayside. Drug resistance, like climate change, is still abstract. While we are seeing some of its effects now, we won’t see its worst effects for years. Superbug infections killed seven hundred thousand people last year.[15] In 2030, the United Nations predicts that this number could be ten million, which—according to the WHO—will match the number of cancer deaths in 2018.[16] While this problem hides from most of our daily lives, physicians and nurses in hospital settings battle it constantly. Dr. Robert G. Sturgeon, a board-certified doctor of internal medicine at the University of Utah Hospital, described the issue as one “that impacts patient care on a daily basis.” Hospitals, their ethics committees, and their infectious disease doctors have to decide whether a patient should be prescribed powerful antibiotics after weaker or broad-spectrum ones fail. Dr. Sturgeon has “seen infectious disease doctors refuse to approve the use of an antibiotic after physicians in the intensive care unit requested it.” In the end, the infectious disease doctor’s confidence in the diagnosis and the patient’s survival probability and potential quality of life can mean the difference

Our powerful painkillers— once touted as a cure for debilitating chronic pain—are now one of the leading public health issues in America. There are two main concerns surrounding antibiotic resistance. The first is treatment-specific resistance. Tuberculosis (TB), for example, is a bacterial infection that requires a specific regimen of antibiotics. In certain parts of the world, TB has begun to develop a resistance to common treatments like rifampin. This new resistant strain— called “rifampin-resistant tuberculosis”—can no longer be treated with rifampin, leading physicians to prescribe a different series of medications to cure the infection.[11] This leads to the second concern: the development of a totally resistant bacteria, commonly known as a superbug. There are worries that such a strain of tuberculosis is propagating in India. The existence of this strain, and the use of the terminology, are still under review by the World Health Organization (WHO).[12] In cases of totally resistant infections, physicians are left with no treatment options to cure a patient. With diseases as serious as TB, this is catastrophic.


By Daniel Papes / Political Science 2020

between prescribing a powerful antibiotic or continuing to guard it from developing resistance. While still obscure in pediatric offices and walk-in clinics, the crisis exists in every hospital in the world. The lack of antibiotic development— mainly propagated by market failure—is driving the crisis. Antibiotic drug development is difficult and expensive.[17] After the discovery of penicillin, researchers kept finding organisms with antibacterial properties and developing them into drugs. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult for researchers to discover new organisms.[18] Researchers have to either travel the world to find obscure organisms or synthesize new compounds in the lab.[19] Even when a compound or organism is discovered, it can take hundreds of millions of dollars and up to ten years of research and development before the drug is eligible for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.[20] The other aspect of this market failure is that antibiotics are not profitable drugs. [21] They are often short-term treatments, meaning that unless drug companies charge exorbitant prices they can’t make a serious profit. Because many of these prescriptions are for non-life-threatening infections, the companies can’t charge high rates; patients would just refuse the treatment. Antibiotics also have short lifetimes, as resistance begins to develop from the first clinical trial, so even if a company creates a profitable drug, it could become useless within years.[22] The future for antibiotics is complicated. For now, some companies will continue to develop new drugs or improve existing ones. In hospitals, infectious disease doctors are exploring the other side of infection treatment: the host. Some researchers believe

host-focused care to be the best response to drug resistance.[23] A vaccine is an example of host-focused medicine. Instead of introducing a compound to act on an infection, a vaccine arms the body with the tools to recognize and battle an infection on its own. [24] Researchers are exploring the use of antibodies and lysins, which involve arming the host immune system with antibacterial tools. This approach could have much more staying power than an antibiotic, but the challenge will be how to effectively expand supportive care beyond vaccination.

Federal and corporate institutions continue to fail to meet the demands of today’s issues, meaning that the role of the individual has never been greater. Many Americans can take a more active role in their health care, and much of this can be done in tandem with their health care professionals. Those who struggle with chronic illnesses or poverty should not have to bear this burden; Americans with broad access to health care must take action. When you are prescribed antibiotics, ask your doctor to fully explain how to use them most effectively. Typically, this includes taking your entire prescription at consistent times. Patients can also try to confirm the necessity of an antibiotic prescription in the first place. This is something I began doing after I was on broad-spectrum antibiotics six times within eight months in 2017—at least two those instances now appear to have been unnecessary. Even things as simple as washing your hands more often will help fight drug resistance, as this will help prevent the development of diseases. If you use antibacterial soap, make sure these products primarily use alcohol or acid to kill the germs to further prevent bacterial resistance.[27] Americans are beginning to rise to the occasion on the world’s most important issues. Environmentalism, health care, and most other progressive political movements are growing. It is time that antibiotic resistance stepped into the spotlight, either on its own or tied to other health care or wellness platforms. If Democrats want to solidify themselves as the party of science, this is another issue to lead with. This could be one of the flagship issues of a 2020 presidential campaign. Hopefully, one of the candidates will take up that mantle.

It is time that antibiotic resistance stepped into the spotlight, either on its own or tied to other health care or wellness platforms. Today, America’s health care conversation focuses almost entirely on coverage.[25] This is an extremely important issue, but coverage will not matter if we run out of drugs to treat the most routine infections. Political candidates need to integrate this into their platforms in tandem with their health care bills or their labor reforms. Regulators need to either create incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop these drugs or establish agencies dedicated to antibiotic drug discovery. Medical schools are already adjusting curriculums around opioid prescriptions, but now must ensure that antibiotic training is looked at just as critically.[26] Hospital ethics committees must establish clear protocols and processes for the use of the most powerful antibiotic drugs, ensuring that we do not compromise patient care beyond what is necessary for our survival.

[1] American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks. Discovery and Development of Penicillin. Accessed September 2019. [2] Baicus, Anda. “History of Polio Vaccination.” World Journal of Virology, vol. 1, no. 4, 2012, pp. 108–14. [3] “Life expectancy in the USA, 1900-98.” University of California Berkeley. Accessed September 2019. [4] The Editorial Board, “The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance.” The New York Times. May 10, 2014. [5] “What are Antibiotics and How Do They Work?” Microbiology Society. [6] “Uses: Antibiotics.” National Health Institute.” Accessed September 2019. [7] “Glossary.” Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.” Accessed September 2019. [8] Ibid. [9] “Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 2019. [10] Ibid. [11] Bharat Mullerpattan, Jai, Chaitali Nikam, Ujjwal Sharma, Camilla Rodrigues, and Lancelot Mark Pinto. “Rifampicin-Resistant Tuberculosis: What Is the Best Initial Empiric Regimen in Mumbai, India?” European Respiratory Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2017. [12] “Drug-resistant TB: Totally drug-resistant TB FAQ.” World Health Organization. Accessed September 2019. [13] “CDC: 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions unnecessary.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 2019. [14] Palosky, Craig. “Poll: Most Americans See Antibiotic Resistance as a Public Health Problem, But Nearly Half Have Not Taken Antibiotics As Prescribed.” Kaiser Family Foundation. June 21, 2019. [15] “No Time to Wait: Securing the Future from Drug-Resistant Infections.” Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance. April 2019. [16] Ibid. [17] Simpkin,Victoria, Mathew Renwick, Ruth Kelly, Elisa Mossialos. “Incentivising Innovation in Antibiotic Drug Discovery and Development: Progress, Challenges and Next Steps.” The Journal of Antibiotics, vol. 70, no. 12, 2017. [18] West, Julian. “Why New Antibiotics Are So Hard to Find.” Nautilus. May 24, 2018. [19] Satyanarayana, Megha. “The hunt for new antibiotics grows harder as resistance builds.” Chemical and Engineering News. December 16, 2018. [20] Renwick, Mathew and Elisa Mossialos. “What are the economic barriers of antibiotic R&D and how can we overcome them?” Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, vol. 13, no. 10, 2018, [21] Ibid. [22] Ibid. [23] Ibid. [24] “How Vaccines Work.” Public Health. Accessed September 2019. [25] “Health Care is a Basic Human Right.” Elizabeth Warren. Accessed September 2019. [26] “Medical Education's Active Response to the Opioid Epidemic.” Association of American Medical Colleges. Accessed September 2019. [27] Rangel, Gabriel. Say Goodbye to Antibacterial Soaps: Why the FDA is banning a household item.” Harvard University Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences. January 09, 2017.

Fall 2019


Profile for Northeastern University Political Review

NUPR Fall 2019  

NUPR Fall 2019