dialogue Undergraduate Journal for Public Policy and International Affairs
Southern Methodist University Student Forum John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs Opinions expressed in issues of dialogue represent only the views of the author; they do not represent the views of Southern Methodist University, the views of the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs, or the views of the members of dialogue. Copyright ÂŠ 2020 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the copyright owner.
dialogue Undergraduate Journal for Public Policy and International Affairs Editor-in-Chief Varsha Appaji
Contents United States Politics A Texas Tradition: Analyzing Texasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Commitment to Capital Punishment Grace Brandt
Free Trade and COVID-19 Audrey McClure
Rifles and Rivals: A study of the Domestic Effects on American Military Policy Rachel Warren
The U.S. Public Education Systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Failure to Accurately Educate Students on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Sanaa Ghanim
African Politics Kenya as a Target for Al-Shabaab: A Theory for Understanding Cross-Border Terrorism Evangeline Mathis U.S. Africa Command & Security Assistance to Fragile States Joseph Kinyanjui
Asian Politics The Resurgence of State-Owned Enterprise in China Under Jinping Max Hogan
South American Politics Argentinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Looming Default: Navigating a Debt Crisis & Global Pandemic Hank Cohen Gracious Neighbors: An Overview of Humanitarian Aid Efforts for Venezuelan Refugees in Colombia Peter Wetherbee
United States Politics
A Texas Tradition: Analyzing Texas’ Commitment to Capital Punishment By: Grace E Brandt Editor: Raleigh Dewan
Introduction Everything is bigger in Texas and capital punishment is no exception. The death penalty is a long-standing Texas tradition first overseen by the quintessential Texan Stephen F. Austin in 1835.1 Just as other traditions, executions in Austin’s era were a public and celebratory affair. In 1923, State Senator J.W. Thomas implemented a shift from hanging to electrocution, outlawed public executions, and placed the role of capital punishment in the hands of the state rather than the county.2 The crowd was lost, but support for capital punishment remained and thrives to this day. The ongoing legislative commitment to capital punishment in Texas stands in stark contrast to the majority of the nation. The death penalty has been abolished or is under a moratorium in half of the U.S. states. Meanwhile, Texas has carried out 569 executions over the past four decades, approximately five times as many as the next leading state.3 The ongoing implementation of the sentence, despite rejection in many other areas of the country, begs consideration of what contributes to the Texan perspective. This paper examines three distinct aspects of capital punishment in Texas: The process, the people, and the reform. 1 White, Jennifer, “Texas History 101: The Death Penalty,” Texas Monthly, December 1, 2002, https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/texas-history-101-45/. 2 White, “Texas History 101.” 3 Death Penalty Information Center, “Fact About the Death Penalty,” as of March 23, 2020.
Methods and regulations have shifted dramatically since Austin first oversaw a public hanging. The modern process continues to act as a deterrent and form of justice, but the rising cost and the treatment of jurors draw concern. In pure democratic fashion, the people are at the heart of the issue. The disproportionate representation of minorities on death row has sparked criticism, yet capital punishment continues to reflect public opinion and the political culture of the state. Reform has sought to address some of these issues and denunciations. For example, Texas recently implemented life without possibility of parole and shortened the appeals process. I contend that Texas will maintain devotion to capital punishment. Barring the Supreme Court outlawing the practice for a second time, executions are likely to proceed without interruption. The traditionalist political culture of the state and need for officials to appease their constituents will outweigh nationwide condemnation and declined usage. Reform will, however, continue to address the disadvantages and concerns due to federal intervention and increasing opposition. If one is considering a capital offense in Texas, they must do so with the knowledge that tradition has not been thrown away. The Process The current proceedings of a capital punishment sentencing came forth after the Supreme Court remanded a death sentence in Penry v. Lynaugh (1989) due to the special issue questions potentially leading to the disregard of mitigating factors. Texasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; death penalty statute had only recently been reaffirmed in Jurek v. Texas (1976) after the Supreme Court suspended capital punishment nationwide in 1972. Knowing the Court was no stranger to ruling the sentence unconstitutional, the Texas legislature took the precaution of devising new special issue questions that centered upon both future dangerousness and mitigating factors.4 Despite this 1991 amendment, direction pertaining to mitigating circumstances remains insufficient. The mitigating circumstances special issue question posed to jurors fails to enumerate potential factors or provide counsel from the law. A study of data from the Capital Jury Project comparing Penry and 4 Vartkessian, Elizabeth S., Jon R. Sorensen, and Christopher E. Kelly, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tinkering with the Machinery of Death: An Analysis of Juror Decision-Making in Texas Death Penalty Trials During Two Statutory Eras,â&#x20AC;? Justice Quarterly 34, no. 1 (January 2, 2017): 2-4.
Jurek era jurors found a larger portion of Penry jurors were unable to identify the legal standard for mitigating evidence in a death sentence.5 This evidence reveals that the 1991 modification actually hinders the impact of mitigation on juror decision-making. Meanwhile, the question presents a “death default” in asking the jury if the mitigating factors merit the imposition of a life sentence “rather than a death sentence.” 6 The downplay of mitigating evidence combined with general confusion as to what constitutes mitigation shift jury consideration far more heavily to future dangerousness. Future dangerousness was a component of special issue questioning from the beginning. The preeminence does not imbue the factor with greater significance, but data shows juries grant it such weight. Two-thirds of Texas capital jurors incorrectly believed affirmed future dangerousness legally requires the death penalty, remaining virtually the same from Jurek to Penry.7 This emphasis is cause for greater worry due to the virtual impossibility of accurately prescribing future dangerousness. A study of 155 cases found expert witnesses were incorrect in predicting future danger 95% of the time. Furthermore, the statute fails to define what constitutes dangerousness.8 A task performed with little-to-no accuracy by experts is thereby placed upon a handful of ill-instructed and unqualified individuals in order to determine life or death. The projection of future dangerousness is difficult to ascertain, but the impact on broader levels of societal danger is more evident in consideration of capital punishment. The sentence spreads beyond the punishment of an individual in order to deter further crime. Each execution in Texas from 1994 to 2005 correlated to a decrease of up to 2.5 murders.9 On a national level, declines in executions were matched with an increase in murders over a 26 year period, whereas each execution was associated with 74 fewer murders the subsequent year.10 5 Vartkessian, Sorensen, and Kelly, “Tinkering with the Machinery of Death,”13. 6 Fowler, Brittany, “A Shortcut to Death: How the Texas Death-Penalty Statute Engages the Jury’s Cognitive Heuristic in Favor of Death,” Texas Law Review 96, no. 2 (December 1, 2017): 385 (emphasis added). 7 Vartkessian, Sorensen, and Kelly, “Tinkering with the Machinery of Death,” 11. 8 Fowler, “A Shortcut to Death,” 381. 9 Mulhausen, David B., “How the Death Penalty Saves Lives,” US News and World Report, September 29, 2014, https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2014/09/29/the-death-penaltysaves-lives-by-deterring-crime. 10 Adler, Roy D. and Michael Summers, “Capital Punishment Works,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2007, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB119397079767680173.
The apparent deterrence could be related to an alternative variable, but one has yet to be conclusively identified. The promotion of general welfare through crime deterrence is coupled with the establishment and assurance of justice. As a largely philosophical concept, justice is difficult to measure. George H. Brauchler, a district attorney in Colorado, contends, “The repeal of the death penalty treats all murders as the same. Once a person commits a single act of murder, each additional murder is a freebie.”11 Brauchler quantifies justice in appropriate severity of punishment for increasingly immoral actions. If so, the gravity of the death penalty enables a just sentence for the most appalling of crimes. The cost for the individual is the utmost they can pay, yet critics point to a significant public cost. Gregg v. Georgia (1976) reaffirmed the usage of capital punishment with the requirement of bifurcated, or separate guilt and sentencing, trials. This lengthier sentencing process combined with more expensive pretrial and security results in capital punishment cases exceeding the cost of an average non-death penalty aggravated murder case by over $1 million.12 The burden is largely borne at the county level. 130 of the 245 counties have never sent anyone to death row likely in part due to inability to fund the process of capital punishment.13 The worth of capital punishment must, therefore, continue to match the rising cost. The People No matter one’s perspective on the humanity of capital punishment, it is entirely human and involves real people. The people facing the death penalty, however, consist primarily of one type of person. Blacks were executed at three times the rate suggested by their population presence between 1982 and 2016, 11 Brauchler, George, “Coloradoans should have the final say on the death penalty (and I’d hope they keep it),” The Denver Post, March 1, 2019, https://www.denverpost. com/2019/03/01/brauchler-coloradans-should-have-the-final-say-on-the-death-penalty-and-idhope-they-keep-it/. 12 Collins, Peter A. and Aliza Kaplan, “The death penalty is getting more and more expensive. Is it worth it?” The Conversation, March 30, 2017, https://theconversation.com/the-deathpenalty-is-getting-more-and-more-expensive-is-it-worth-it-74294. 13 Halperin, Rick and Roger C. Barnes, “How the death penalty fails Texas,” The Dallas Morning News, December 1, 2019, https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/ commentary/2019/12/01/how-the-death-penalty-fails-texas/
whereas whites and Hispanics faced rates lower than their population proportion. Perception of blacks as “a violent, criminal underclass” that are “disproportionately linked to the U.S. penal system” is the predominant racial stereotype and research shows those with this view are more likely to support longer prison sentences and the death penalty.14 The future dangerousness question forces jurors to rely upon their stereotypical conceptualizations to make assumptions.15 The racial disproportion is not new, as blacks faced high rates of execution following Reconstruction as a form of racial control.16 The usage of crime and punishment realigned the political electorate in uniting conservative Republicans of all economic classes against a racial underclass following the civil rights movement. Evidence affirms that differentiation in predominant political forces generates varied incarceration rates between states. Conservative states continue their legacy with higher rates of incarceration overall and minorities being more likely to be imprisoned.17 The bias that permeates the jury bench is not limited to racial prejudice. To participate in a capital punishment trial, a juror must go through death qualification in which they are asked about their ability to sentence a defendant to death. Research confirms that deathqualified jurors are conditioned to be more inclined to conviction and more prone to believe prosecution witnesses.18 Jurors already suffer from misleading special issue questions, but this confusion extends further. Capital jurors are frequently found to be incapable of understanding even the fundamental aspects of sentencing and then error in favor of the prosecution.19 These perceptions do, however, reflect the overarching political culture of Texas. The amalgamation of Southern traditionalism and Western/Midwestern individualism has consistently defined the state. Ideals such as elite governance, maintenance of social order, 14 Percival, Garrick L., “Ideology, Diversity, and Imprisonment: Considering the Influence of Local Politics on Racial and Ethnic Minority Incarceration Rates,” Social Science Quarterly 91, no. 4 (December 2010): 1066. 15 Fowler, “A Shortcut to Death,” 383. 16 Jillson, Cal, Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy, 3rd ed, (New York: Routledge, 2018), 194. 17 Percival, “Ideology, Diversity, and Imprisonment,” 1065-67. 18 Vartkessian, Elizabeth S., Jon R. Sorensen, and Christopher E. Kelly, “Tinkering with the Machinery of Death,” 4. 19 Vartkessian, Elizabeth S., Jon R. Sorensen, and Christopher E. Kelly, “Tinkering with the Machinery of Death,” 5.
and competition are ingrained in society, but also in the commitment to capital punishment.20 With minorities facing the brunt of capital punishment, elites are permitted to extend their hand in furthering subjugation of the traditionally disenfranchised. High rates of parental incarceration contribute to instability in children of poor families and heightened chances of incarceration themselves.21 The traditional social order advocated by traditionalist political culture is thus preserved. Support of capital punishment is not relegated to those with conservative perspectives. Seventy-three percent of Texans strongly or somewhat favored the death penalty as of 2012.22 Texas’ system of electing appellate judges encourages these officials to heed public opinion and, therefore, re-election necessitates a record of toughness on criminals. Updegrove and Longmire argue that “many of the public assumes the death penalty is a good policy because authorities continue to use it” while public officials “continue using the death penalty precisely because the public supports it.”23 The result is a catch-22 of approval. Nevertheless, the profuse and persevering support that permits capital punishment’s reign in Texas is an identifying factor of the working of democracy. The people’s voice is heard and heeded. The Reform Capital punishment looks far different at all stages than it did in Austin’s era. The population qualified to receive the sentence has decreased in recent years. Atkins v. Virginia (2002) outlawed the execution of intellectually disabled inmates but permitted states to individually define intellectual disability.24 The definition crafted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was ruled unconstitutional in Moore v. Texas (2017) due to outdated medical standards and non20 Jillson, Cal, Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State, 6th ed, (New York: Routledge), 2018, 8-9. 21 Western, Bruce and Becky Pettit, “Incarceration and Social Inequality,” Daedalus 139, no. 3 (January 1, 2010): 14-15. 22 Jillson, Texas Politics, 231. 23 Updegrove, Alexander H., and Dennis R. Longmire, “Systems Thinking, System Justification, and the Death Penalty: Thirty-Eight Years of Capital Punishment Legislation in Texas,” Corrections 3, no. 4 (October 2, 2018): 251. 24 Updegrove and Longmire, “Systems Thinking, System Justification, and the Death Penalty,” 253.
clinical factors. The man being sentenced, Bobby Moore, was to be re-evaluated with different methods which were once again overturned by the Supreme Court. House Bill 1839 of the 2019 Texas Legislature aimed to address the legal troubles but died after the House and Senate failed to agree.25 Had the initial version of the bill passed, defendants determined to be intellectually disabled pre-trial would be ineligible for the death penalty and automatically sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.26 The option of LWOP is a recent reform in Texas. If capital punishment was rejected prior to 2005, the alternative was life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.27 Unease regarding a defendant’s potential return to society and future dangerousness encouraged juror predisposition to the death penalty. The implementation of LWOP provides juries a valid and reassuring alternative to execution. Since the addition of LWOP, “the number of new death sentences has fallen by about half.”28 Even so, the reform has proven less influential in juror decision making than expected. Keeping a defendant from killing again was an important factor in sentencing for approximately 90% of Penry jurors.29 The perseverance of this emphasis on future dangerousness is striking considering their inability to return to the general public. Evidently, the focus is on danger within the prison environment. The apprehension is not unwarranted. While on death row in 1985, Jermarr Arnold killed another inmate and had a record of numerous other assaults while in prison.30 It is impossible to completely isolate prisoners throughout their entire sentence from others serving time, guards, and anyone else within the prison. The odds of additional harm transpiring are ultimately unknown, but execution remains the only foolproof preventative option.
Common criticism of capital punishment is the excessive
25 Byrne, Elizabeth and Jolie McCullough, “Despite bipartisan support, Texas bill tackling intellectual disability in death penalty cases fails,” The Texas Tribune, May 26, 2019, https:// www.texastribune.org/2019/05/26/Texas-death-penalty-intellectual-disability-fails/. 26 Byrne and McCullough, “Despite bipartisan support, Texas bill tackling intellectual disability in death penalty cases fails.” 27 Updegrove and Longmire, “Systems Thinking, System Justification, and the Death Penalty,” 254. 28 Jillson, Texas Politics, 232. 29 Vartkessian, Sorensen, and Kelly, “Tinkering with the Machinery of Death,” 15. 30 Goldberg, Guy and Gena Bunn, “Balancing Fairness & Finality: A Comprehensive Review of the Texas Death Penalty,” Texas Review of Law & Politics 5 (October 1, 2000): 130.
length of time prisoners spend on death row. An overburdened court system is argued to prolong the process of appeals. Recognizing this concern, then-Governor George Bush championed legislative reforms that enabled shortened lengths of appeals. The number of years inmates spend on death row dropped from nine to approximately seven. Long appeals are not inherently bad as they exemplify death row inmates’ greater access to justice compared to other prisoners.31 Gregg v. Georgia (1976) mandated an automatic appeal by the state supreme court of all cases that resulted in a death sentence, on top of additional appeals in lower courts.32 Texas still remains behind in reform movements, even amongst states who permit capital punishment. Wainwright v. Witt (1985) permits individuals who oppose the death penalty to serve in capital punishment cases as long as they make their ruling according to law rather than personal conviction. Regardless, Texas jurors are excluded from capital trials if they oppose the death penalty. The Texas Legislature has failed to propose any legislation acknowledging or amending this violation.33 Texas’ history of reform pertaining to the death penalty reflects a cognizance of issues, but initiative to rectify only those which suit them. Conclusion I have shown that Texas remains staunchly committed to capital punishment. The process now involves the consideration of mitigating evidence but remains predominantly impacted by the future dangerousness special issue question. Future danger is only indisputably absolved by executions and they produce an additional deterrent effect. The public benefits from this increase in safety and overall sense of justice. The true justice, however, is questionable as death sentences remain troublingly concentrated in minority populations. Juries are also disproportionately filled, but in that they consist of those with a bias towards death. This view remains in line with that of Texas as a whole. The state’s overwhelming support for 31 Goldberg and Bunn, “Balancing Fairness & Finality,” 94-95. 32 Collins and Kaplan, “The death penalty is getting more and more expensive.” 33 Updegrove and Longmire, “Systems Thinking, System Justification, and the Death Penalty,” 253-261.
capital punishment stands at odds with the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s predominant move away from the sentence. Shifts in Texas have unfolded through reforms in appeal lengths, LWOP, and intellectual disability criteria. The sufficiency, effectiveness, and pace of reform remains a contentious issue. I expect Texas to persevere in handing out one-way tickets to the execution chamber. National criticism and rejection of capital punishment will continue to creep up on the process. As a result, Texas will begrudgingly amend statutes to keep the option on the table. The reforms will be limited and crafted in such a way as to preserve control over the process. Previous attempts have failed due to inability to progress in both house of the Texas Legislature. Imposition of new and dissenting perspectives on capital punishment in the houses would allow greater chances at reform, but the true power over the death penalty resides in the citizens. House and Senate members as well as judges are elected. They will follow the wave of public opinion in order to secure election and then re-election. However, public opinion is not static. The diversification of the population will slowly erode the strict adherence to the traditionalist and individualistic political culture that defines the state. Elite rule and maintenance of social order will thus decline as underlying reasoning, but support will not so readily disappear as both sides of the political aisle continue to back the death penalty. Standing at odds with national opinion is no matter for death penalty advocates in Texas who pride themselves in their commitment to their values. A state infatuated with its history of independence, democracy, and frontier justice will relish in bucking the status quo of the nation by grabbing this gruesome tradition by the horns and holding on for dear life.
Free Trade and COVID- 19 By: Audrey McClure Editor: Mushfequr Rahman
Free trade liberalization has consistently proven to be economically beneficial to all countries involved, but resistance to globalization continues to grow despite greater trade capabilities and global connectivity than ever before. The backbone of trade liberalization, international institutions and treaties, are under increasing scrutiny by world actors as well as the various domestic factions within nation-states. Reasons for this disenchantment with globalization include the inequal distribution of trade benefits, the failure of countries to recognize and adapt to the changing nature of the global value chain, and the dissatisfaction of domestic groups whose jobs are being overturned by globalization. The U.S., who has long been the global leader in trade globalization, faces a difficult but not impossible challenge in better equipping its people and institutions with the necessary tools to not only adjust to the changes and consequences of globalization, but also fully take advantage of the greater and more accessible opportunities that globalization can bring. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global economyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supply and value chains in such an unprecedented way, we are witnessing firsthand the extent to which we rely on globalization and the ways that we can continue to facilitate and expand global trade through technology. Even when countries might have an absolute advantage over the production capabilities of another, they still gain from aligning their economies according to comparative advantage. In a freetrade economy with minimal tariffs and restrictions, the principle of comparative advantage helps countries to produce â&#x20AC;&#x153;goods and services at the lowest possible cost and then distributing them to the people
who want them” (Blinder, pg. 126). The Heckscher-Ohlin theory that “a country will export goods that make intensive use of the factors of production in which it is well-endowed” relies on the principle of comparative advantage (FLS, pg. 299). In the case of China, the origin of the coronavirus, their labor-rich economy relies heavily on manufacturing, leading total global manufacturing 28.4% of all global output in 2018 (Richter). On a macro-level, organizing international production according to comparative advantage is universally beneficial to all actors involved. That is why so many countries who are less labor-rich than China rely on Chinese labor. However, the economic aspects of trade are separate from the domestic politics of trade, which is “infused with battles between winners and losers” (FLS, pg. 308). On the smaller, shorter term domestic scale, benefits are neither evenly distributed nor guaranteed for all parties involved. It is unavoidable that “every move toward freer trade creates both winners and losers” (Blinder, pg. 122).As a result, supporting free trade can be politically risky for countries whose citizens are opposed to freer trade for fear of their own jobs or a lack of understanding as to the true effects of trade. Resistance to trade is especially likely because, often, “gains are widespread but small for each individual, making them almost invisible to most people” but the losses “are concentrated, are highly visible, and hit welldefined groups” (Blinder, pg. 124). According the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, these resistant groups are most likely to belong to or own “the scarce factor of production” because “protection benefits the scarce factor of production” (FLS, pg. 309). Similarly, manufacturing workers in the United States are those who are most vocal in their resistance to the use of Chinese labor. This is consistent with the rationale of comparative advantage, which would dictate that these scarce industries should be relegated to another region where it is more competitive. In a global economy, this often means an industry, and the jobs associated with it, must be moved to another continent or country. This logic is similar to the Ricardo-Viner model, which also predicts support for free trade, but “unlike in the Stolper-Samuelson approach, people’s interests are tightly bound up with the interests of others in their sector of the economy, and the pertinent actors in domestic trade-policy debates are economic sectors, not factors” (FLS, pg. 311). These sector-specific grievances can be magnified and conflated with free trade as a whole, leading to more protectionist
trade policies. However, this failure to “distinguish between what trade policy can achieve and what it cannot,” (Irwin, pg. 46), contributes to a counterproductive, vicious cycle in which other countries react with their own protectionist trade policies, thereby exacerbating economic problems associated with trade. The effects of COVID-19, however, have forced countries to shut down and limit trade regardless of their stance on protectionist policies. As trade has resulted in dramatically sudden shortages and delays, people are experiencing firsthand that the drawbacks of a limited global economy far outweigh its limited protections. One way to combat harmful protectionist policy is the reinforcement of consistent international trading rules. In the absence of properly supported international trade rules, protectionism can be helpful when they “help ensure compliance with international trade rules” (Irwin, pg. 46). The adherence to and integrity of international trade institutions, such as the GATT and WTO, are critical in helping these institutions spread free trade through free trade agreements. Other international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank attempt to regulate and facilitate international economic policy by implementing standardized rules through the Washington Consensus which encourages free trade as a means to aid development. Free trade agreements, on the smallest scale, involves two countries agreeing to lower or eliminate tariffs within a certain industry when trading between each other, thus promoting trade between the two countries across those industries. Institutions promote international trade because they broker free trade agreements on larger scales, facilitate cooperation and trade, as well as instill confidence in the intentions and actions of other players in the international economy. Organizations such as the GATT and WTO “set standards of behavior that governments are expected to follow,” “gather information to assist member states in monitoring and enforcing compliance with their agreements,” and provide “an expectation of repeated interaction” thus increasing trustworthiness for all parties involved (FLS, pg. 325). In the case of the GATT, international trust and participation created “a juggernaut of political economy momentum in which nations kept joining” and “tariffs kept falling” (Baldwin, pg. 96). Specifically, the GATT required countries to extend the most favored nation (MFN) status, which involved limited tariffs and favorable trade policy, to all countries who were a part of the GATT. The relevancy of the GATT’s
principles of nondiscrimination, transparency, reciprocity, flexibility, and consensus decision-making “generated a political economy momentum that drove trade liberalization” (Baldwin, pg. 98). The past successes of international trade institutions prove that cooperation is attainable and beneficial, but the changes in technology and commerce that have since occurred requires a different approach to maintain that success. Today’s WTO rules, despite its attempts at encouraging the trade liberalizations of its predecessor, “were designed for a global economy in which made-here-sold-there goods moved across national borders,” but not for “the flows of goods, services, investment, training and know-how” that “have now become part of international commerce” (Baldwin, pg. 96). In other words, trade organizations are largely designed for the economy of the “first unbundling,” which saw the “first unbundling of consumption and production on a massive scale” that was made possible by steam power’s overthrow of “the dictatorship of distance” around the year 1820 (Baldwin, pg. 77). The fragmentation of production in the first unbundling allowed for countries to industrialize, but didn’t facilitate the spread and sharing of ideas, which restricted the ability and the amount of countries that could industrialize and be competitive in the global economy. By contrast, the second unbundling’s massive leaps in information and communication technology in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries “lowered the cost of coordinating complex processes across great distances” and created “new knowledge flows” that “allowed a small number of developing nations to industrialize with a rapidity entirely out of line with historical experience” (Baldwin, pg. 109). The implications of globalization’s second unbundling have changed the boundaries of international trade and regulation, as well as the flows and impacts of trade on international markets. National boundaries “are no longer the only relevant frontiers when thinking about international competition” as the effects of international competition operate “at a finer degree of resolution on national economies,” making their impact “less predictable and more individual” (Baldwin, pg. 176). In this new economic landscape, international institutions will have to adapt in the same way that the GATT and the WTO would foster a world trade system that previously “had virtually no institutional support” (Baldwin, pg. 67). For the moment, however, governments have responded to these
unprecedented changes and connections with protectionism and higher trade barriers that “would prove much more disruptive” than they did in the past (Irwin, pg. 50). Mexico is an example of just how interconnected and codependent the global supply chain has become. Mexico has a major role in the auto industry, despite not having a global Mexican car brand. However, “assembly plants in Mexico help sustain a robust auto-parts industry across North America,” benefitting not just the Mexican economy with more jobs and income, but also “gave the United States-based auto industry a competitive edge that was critical to its survival” (Porter, NYT). The “complementary labor forcescheaper workers in Mexico to perform many basic tasks, with more highly paid and productive engineers and workers in the United States,” (Porter, NYT) is critical to not only the US, but also the further development of the Mexican economy. However, economic improvement and “global value chains are not magical” and “do not solve the hardest development problems” (Baldwin, pg. 278). The economic impacts of COVID have shown more plainly than ever that in order to develop and remain globally competitive, a country still must gather sufficient cooperation for proper social infrastructure, programs, and security for its citizens. The U.S. is a global economic and technological leader, but failure to adapt to the changing behaviors and operations of the global economy would seriously compromise its domestic prosperity and international influence. Prior to the nationwide economic shutdowns, job growth and productivity were soaring thanks to advanced technological capabilities, but “the divide between those succeeding and those struggling is growing, regional disparities are increasing, economic inequality is rising, and public anger is deepening political divisions” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 2). Perception of and responses to these changes are still rooted in old frameworks that cannot properly address the underlying issues such as access to healthcare and a shortage of technological skills. According to the CFR Task Report, the main task of the government in the face of these problems is to “create better pathways for all Americans to adapt and thrive” by devoting “the necessary resources and attention to meeting international challenges” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 6). Government policy must respond to the issue of job displacement while also encouraging the technological innovation 23
that will inevitably lead to the automation of certain jobs and industries. Though “many new opportunities will likely be created to replace those lost” to automation, “American workers face big obstacles in acquiring the education and skills needed to prosper in a more automated work environment” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 6). Technology “already has caused, and will continue to contribute to, polarization of the workplace” in terms of necessary skill-levels and pay (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 14). The United States must “provide the education, training and resources that Americans need to seize these new opportunities.” As jobs become more volatile and flexible in their required skillsets, Americans will need to change their “notion of education as something largely completed before they enter the workforce” to that of a process of “lifelong learning and periodic retraining” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. vi). The government must provide retraining and education programs with the resources that would allow more citizens to make use of them. In this way, the U.S. can begin “strengthening the link between education and employment processes” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg 2). Policies that “maintain strong growth and full employment are therefore needed to set the table to meet the deeper challenged brought on by rapid technological change” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 21). These efforts would also target struggling communities by “attracting talented and entrepreneurial individuals, facilitating investment in more diverse industries, and ensuring that native residents have access to workforce development and entrepreneurial tools to optimize their productivity” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 24). Another issue affecting American workers is the issue of greater competitiveness in the field of technological innovation, which is “vital to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 16). One way the U.S. can become more competitive is by investing in “foreign-educated, high-skill workers” through programs like the H1-B visa (Baldwin, pg. 229). Additionally, there should be greater “support for basic research” in the form of policies that “set and meet a target of investing at least 1 percent of GDP in R&D activities” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 64). Ultimately, “people and skills are perhaps the most important when thinking about a new paradigm for competitiveness policy” (Baldwin, pg. 230). The long-term trend away from a manufacturing economy towards a much more services based American economy emphasizes the truth behind
this sentiment. The government must first of all “provide economic security and help workers adapt to changing circumstances” (Baldwin, pg. 237). In doing so, Baldwin argues that the “gains and pains of progress” can be more equitably shared among the citizenry (pg. 237). Thanks to the pandemic, we are seeing that, besides offering better pay and benefits, the flexibility of these jobs ensures greater economic security for both the workers and their industries. For those employees whose jobs are replaced or automated, “stronger transition assistance” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 42) is critical to not only individual well-being but also the economy as a whole. One critical policy change includes “providing better-targeted education that leads to better work opportunities, even as the target will continue to shift as new technologies are adopted” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 26). Many of these job opportunities will be in the service industry or will require “some mixture of soft skills, specific technical skills, some practical on-the-job experience, and a capacity for lifelong learning” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 26). The U.S. also has to enable its own citizens and skilled immigrants to have greater access to capital and entrepreneurial opportunities. Currently, U.S. entrepreneurship is limited “by lack of access to capital and the growing dominance of a smaller number of large companies” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 19) which encourages domestic and foreign talent to seek other countries to build their businesses. Increasing mobility, such as through “a major infrastructure package” (Alden and TaylorKale, pg. 58) that would include “greater investments in all forms of transit, especially mass transit,” would help workers to access better job opportunities as the opportunities become more concentrated. The U.S. must also lead efforts in supply-chain governance where “a network of rules is needed since global value chains cover a network of nations” (Baldwin, pg. 240). International cooperation is critical in encouraging progress as well as creating more accessible opportunities for citizens. The U.S. “should lay out the welcome mat for foreign investors and underscore its commitment to treating all investors in a fair and equitable manner” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 57). The government can provide attractive incentives to foreign investors while still accounting for its own wellbeing by negotiating with other governments “to set parameters for investment competition” (Alden and Taylor-Kale, pg. 59). In recent years, especially with the election of Donald Trump, the government has been decidedly
unfriendly to foreign investors and workers such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;rolling out a series of measures that will make it increasingly difficult for highly skilled immigrants to work in the United Statesâ&#x20AC;? (Alden and TaylorKale, pg. 18). Reversing these policies might go against their popular rhetoric but would also provide a way for them to increase the United Statesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; competitiveness and ability to prosper in the face of rapidly changing innovations. In the age of automation, and now in the age of coronavirus, it makes more sense than ever that the most valuable and stable investment one could make would be in people. Many jobs and industries are susceptible to automation; thus, the government should identify and clearly encourage the necessary and durable skills that people will need to secure better jobs and opportunities. Meanwhile, foreign workers, skills, and investments are not only an inevitable factor for the domestic economy, but they also hold a high potential for connecting both workers and consumers in the U.S. with greater opportunities and innovations. By creating a more favorable environment for these investors and workers, the United States will attract the best of these actors and benefit more directly from the spillover effects of their talents. Working with foreign governments to create international rules and agreements would allow for a clearer and more regulated framework for this international exchange of products, talents, and ideas. Though the circumstances of the U.S. and global economy have changed drastically, the answer to the question of economic prosperity remains to be progress through globalization.
Works Cited Baldwin, Richard E. The Great Convergence : Information Technology and the New Globalization / Richard Baldwin. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016. Blinder, Alan S. “The Free-Trade Paradox: The Bad Politics of a Good Idea.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 98, no. 1, Council on Foreign Relations, Inc., Jan. 2019, pp. 119–28. Engler, John, et al. The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century. Council on Foreign Relations, 2018. Irwin, Da. “The False Promise of Protectionism Why Trump’s Trade Policy Could Backfire.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 96, no. 3, COUNCIL FOREIGN RELAT IONS INC, May 2017, p. 45–+. Porter, Eduardo. “Nafta May Have Saved Many Autoworkers’ Jobs.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/business/economy/nafta-mayhave-saved-many-autoworkers-jobs.html. Richter, Felix. “Infographic: China Is the World’s Manufacturing Superpower.” Statista Infographics, 18 Feb. 2020, www. statista.com/chart/20858/top-10-countries-by-share-of-global manufacturing-output/.
Rifles and Rivals: A Study of the Domestic Effects on American Military Policy By: Rachel Warren Editor: Varsha Appaji
The term ‘American Exceptionalism’ has long since been a key part of national and international politics. America’s long practice of splendid isolation enabled the country to build an adept military force. However, this pattern changed following World War II. The American military is now seen as a force for change in the world in the modern era, conducting missionary-like military operations around the world. Due to the widespread impact of American military power, this behavior is ripe for academic exploration. To explain the shift in military behavior, many scholars point to President Eisenhower’s warning to “beware the military industrial complex,” a caution that has been echoed by other experts since. This raises further questions, as it reveals a weakness in the American legislative process. As such, it is unlikely that the military industrial complex (MIC) would be the sole ominous factor inflicting undue influence on foreign policy. Due to the impact that military foreign policy has on the status of the United States in the world, it is important to understand why and how existing policy is made. What domestic forces are most responsible for influencing the formation of military foreign policy in the postcold war era? Though there are contending theories about influence on military policy, I argue that political polarization makes the most significant impact on military foreign policy decisions in the United States.
This essay proceeds as follows. First, I lay the necessary ground work for this essay, including defining relevant terms, unpacking the logic of my argument, discussing the contending perspectives, and discussing my methodology. Second, I test my argument against its rivals by completing a quantitative analysis. Finally, I summarize my findings in the conclusion. I.
It will first be helpful to define terms in the context of this paper to limit the effects of jargon. This research will examine two theories to determine which theory makes the most substantial impact on the formation of military foreign policy. First, this paper will examine political pluralism theory, and will then move to examine polarization theory. Establishing shared knowledge of each theory will help to reveal which one plays the largest role in the policy being examined. Corporate Political Pluralism Theory First, the argument asserting the power of the military industrial complex emerges from political pluralism theory, more specifically, from corporate pluralism. This theory operates under the assumption that though â&#x20AC;&#x153;no single party has the ability to monopolize all decisions, certain groups have been able to acquire controlling power within individual policy areasâ&#x20AC;? (Kelso, 1978, 19). In this case, the groups who have acquired controlling power would be the Military Industrial Complex. The Military Industrial Complex is a compilation of private companies awarded contracts by the federal government in order to create goods and services to aid in our nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defense. For the purpose of this paper, the Military Industrial Complex will be operationalized by Prime Contractors. Prime Contractors can be defined as the defense companies that individually receive more than $9 billion in contracts from the federal government. For this paper, Prime Contractors discussed will be the Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Raytheon Company, General Dynamics Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation (CRS, 2018).
Furthermore, the individual policy area that has been controlled
by the Military Industrial Complex in this case is Foreign Policy. More specifically, the way in which military force is used in conjunction with foreign policy. To better examine foreign defense policy in a tangible manner, this paper will study United States legislative representatives and look at the application of either hawkish and or dovish policy. Hawkish foreign policy can be qualified as supporting and or voting for the use of military force, or for increased defense appropriations. In contrast, dovish foreign policy is measured by not supporting and or voting against the use of military force or against an increase in defense appropriations. As corporate pluralism theory asserts, the Military Industrial Complex has been able to acquire a controlling interest over United States foreign defense policy. Proponents of corporate pluralism argue that in technical and specific areas, industry experts should play a more decisive role in policy decisions. This world view appreciates cooperative decision making, but fails to recognize the value of competing ideologies for the formulation of democratic decisions. Corporate pluralism no doubt has negative effects on participation, and therefore for the practice of democracy in the United States (Keslo, 1978, 56). However, for the purpose of this research, corporate pluralism encapsulates the argument that through achieving a privatized monopoly, the Military Industrial Complex plays a determining role in the formulation and implementation of foreign defense policy. Overtime, the Military Industrial Complex has grown and has theoretically established greater influence over the lawmaking entities of the United States, making itself economically and politically invaluable to the national interest of the country. Once an isolationist nation, the United States now has been credited with applying military force in a number of conflicts around the world. Some assert that this relationship is symbiotic. The influential Military Industrial Complex has an interest in frequent military force because contractors grow as more contracts are awarded. Subsequently, the privatization of the defense industry makes the government dependent on the output of these prime contractors. Due to the nature of their work, prime contractors solely produce weapons. Therefore, the United States government has an interest in keeping these prime contractors afloat, which requires the awarding of pertinent contracts. If the military industrial complex were to influence the formation of foreign policy bills, and it is true that monetary 30
influence is causing a more hawkish United State foreign policy, then representatives of districts with a high percentage of GDP based in the defense industry would be reliably voting for a more hawkish foreign policy. This would include voting to intervene in conflicts, as well as voting to increase defense expenditures in relation to such conflicts. It would also follow that representatives of districts where a lower percentage of GDP is based in defense spending would be voting for a more dovish foreign policy. These representatives may be warier of votes to interfere in international conflicts, or question the budgetary effects of such high defense appropriations. In special cases, such as the vote to interfere in Iraq following the terror attack on domestic soil in September of 2001, these dovish representatives would be expected to vote for the hawkish option, military force, as to not appear unpatriotic. However, in most cases, representatives of districts with a lower amount of Military Industrial Complex influence are expected to vote for more dovish foreign policy decisions. This theory attempts to explains the buildup of the Military Industrial Complex during and following the cold war era. The literature lays out an impressive argument for how the privatized and dispersed military industrial complex hoped to gain influence in American politics. There is no doubt that the Military Industrial Complex is a powerful special interest group with stake in the military foreign policy of the United States. However, this study will examine the extent to which corporate pluralism theory competes with ulterior domestic factors for foreign policy influence. Partisan Polarization Theory At the heart of Washington DC, and in the daily lives of decision makers is partisan politics. Partisan Polarization theory corroborates this story. This theory asserts that politicians will focus heavily on positions that align with their party and their political ideology. As time has gone on there has been increasing polarization between the parties, leading members of congress to vote primarily along party lines. For this case, this partisan divide will be operationalized by two political parties, Republicans and Democrats. Republicans will include policymakers on the right, leaning towards more conservative policies. Democrats are more left leaning, with tendencies towards more progressive policies. For this
case, independent policymakers will not be examined because they do not contribute to measuring the polarization between parties as they are unaffiliated with any party. Ideology is considered to be the general tenets that comprise the platforms of both parties. Democratic ideology falls in line with humanitarian efforts, domestic spending, and more liberal initiatives. Republican ideology is characterized by free market capitalism, strong military spending, and conservative policies towards social initiatives. Partisan Polarization theory has not always been predictive of American politics. During World War II, many issues of foreign policy were passed with bipartisan support (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1078). This was also true of the Cold War era. Bipartisan efforts brought forth such initiatives such as the institution of the United Nations, the Truman Doctrine, and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1078). When there is a common goal, such as the defeat of the axis powers in WWII or the containment of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it encourages law makers to work across party lines. There is common understanding in American politics that â&#x20AC;&#x153;politics stops at the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edgeâ&#x20AC;? (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 60). This supposes that on matters of national security, such as foreign policy and military force, that policymakers should converge their ideologies and come together in support of the national interest. However, the literature disproves this theory. The bipartisan environment of WWII and the Cold War was the last of its kind. Since the Vietnam War, experts have substantiated a break down in bipartisanship (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 59). This partisanship has been increasing consistently since this split, and has reached its highest point at the Iraq War (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 62). This is where Partisan Polarization theory offers an explanation. This theory predicts that policymakers will vote along party lines or by party ideology. Many scholars of this theory argue that politicians are polarized on the basis of ideology. Though the dawn of the Vietnam War was largely bipartisan, the rise of controversy surrounding the war accelerated the partisan divide. The upset caused shifts in ideology and ingrained each party to their own position. The Democrats became neoliberal, antimilitaristic champions of domestic welfare policies (Narizny, 2003, 203). The Republicans doubled their commitment to military activities and a realist world view (Narizny, 2003, 203; Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 62). Jeong and Quirk point out that Republicans
became Hawks and Democrats became Doves. These positions towards military policy represent a solidification of ideology in foreign policy stances. By creating two, well defined poles, each party was able to succinctly define to voters what they stood for. As these policy positions became more entrenched, so too did politicians’ desire to bulwark their own ideology. Studies have found that “liberals, conservatives, and moderates within both parties tend to vote similarly’ on issues of foreign policy (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1097). In addition to those who use ideology to account for polarization, many scholars also present simple partisanship as the divisive factor in this theory. The case for partisanship, or voting along party lines, is encompassed by a few factors. This first is partisan electoral rivalry. Overtime, areas in America have been regionally realigned. For example, the American South, once a Democratic region, became conservative overtime and eliminated the existence of moderate southern Democrats (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 60). This was caused by population shifts, and the tipping of the scale “reduces the benefit of being moderate” (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 60). As such, politicians in these realigned regions are forced to become more partisan in order to ensure their own reelection. The “Gingrich affect” can claim some responsibility for increasing polarization. Newt Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker of the House ushered in the resurgence of partisan America (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 73). Gingrich encouraged a tumultuous partisan divide, pitting republicans against Democrats. Though this was primarily focused on domestic policy, its effects spilled over into foreign policy and played a great role in electoral battles. Along these lines, research also finds that shifting control of the chambers in Congress accounts for partisan polarization. In the game of American politics, the Congressional majority has a strong incentive to oppose the President of the other party. Majority opposition helps prevent his reelection, and instead bolster the majority party’s advantage. However, when there is a slim margin between the majority and the minority party in Congress, polarization increases —the minority party makes strides to differentiate itself from the majority party, in an effort to encourage election results that tip the house (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 74). For example, President Reagan enjoyed bipartisan support when the Republicans held the majority in congress during his term. However, when the Democrats gained control
of Congress, his bipartisan support crumbled, and notably a low number of bipartisan legislature was passed during Reagan’s tenure (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1084). This electoral incentive for opposition shows partisan polarization theory at play: policymakers adhere strictly to party lines in order to either affect their opposition negatively during the election cycle, or to balance their party against the other. In relation to this work, there is an additional sub theory known as two–presidencies (Wildavsky, 1966, 23). This theory states that the presidency is broken down into two realms, domestic policy and foreign policy. The President achieves the most success in his practice of foreign policy, and as such enjoys presiding over them. This theory lays out that in matters of foreign policy, the President receives great support from Congress, as policymakers theoretically defer to his more senior judgement. Studies back up this theory, acknowledging that on foreign policy issues, “presidential influence is strong,” especially when compared to matters of domestic policy (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1081). However, in conjunction with partisan polarization theory, this support comes largely from the President’s own party, and opposition stems from the other. Congress will often defer more to the president on matters of foreign policy, due to his broader authority, access, and capabilities (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 61). Research reveals that Republican Presidents receive the majority of their support from conservatives in Congress (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1091). Though this was not always the case “beginning with Nixon, conservatives have generally provided Republican presidents their greatest support and liberals Democratic presidents greatest support” (McCormick and Wittkopf, 1990, 1098). Taken in conjunction, the two-presidencies and partisan polarization theories offer a logical explanation as to why and how partisanship influences the creation of military foreign policy. If this theory is to be correct, then this study will reveal a sharp contrast in votes on matters of foreign policy from each party. When members of one party vote one way, this theory expects members of the other party to vote the opposite way. This could be observed by a significant negative correlation in Republican and Democrat votes on military foreign policy bills. If the argument for political ideology is to be most valid, then the average votes from each party would be significantly different, with republicans casting hawkish votes and
Democrats casting dovish votes. If polarization occurs primarily from partisanship, then the average votes between the parties are expected to be similar, but a significant negative correlation between party votes will still remain. The two-presidencies hypothesis would be observed by a significant difference between the way each party votes, dependent on White House leadership. With a Republican president in power, Republicans would be observed voting in an overwhelmingly hawkish manner, with Democrats voting in a dovish manner, and viceversa. Methodology In order to measure a connection between influential factors and the use of the force in the United States, it is necessary to investigate the times in which the use of force was employed. This will consist of establishing the impact of the military industrial complex as well as the impact of partisanship on foreign policy decisions of a militaristic nature. This paper will establish the validity of its claims by disproving the ulterior theory in a quantitative research method, creating a T-Test scatterplot to corelate the extent to which military spending drives military foreign policy decisions. The test will compare defense procurement by district against various foreign policy votes by the representatives of each of these districts. The T-Test will sort by district and party to control for ideology. The data for defense contracting has been selected from an aggregate study that reported the average spending by the military industrial complex in each United States district. This is to keep spending controlled across the study. Votes will be selected from ten bills in which the United States employed military force, such as in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Iraq. This model will also contain the data from votes related to the defense budget, such as budget acts, defense stockpiles, and contracts bills. Therefore, the maximum votes in favor of military force is ten and the minimum is zero. These bills span seven congresses to ensure that the results are holistic and not unique to a certain congress. To measure the extent to which partisan polarization impacts votes on military foreign policy, these vote tallies, split up by either party, will be correlated against each other. This will test the differences in how members of each party vote on matters of foreign 35
policy. In keeping with the two-presidencies theory, this study then breaks up these votes into groups based on which party occupied the White House at the time of the vote. Votes, split by party, under Republican Presidents, are tested against votes under Democratic Presidents. This will demonstrate the effect that presidential leadership and partisan loyalty has on foreign policy votes. It should be noted that such method takes into account the best factors available to examine influence on policy. However, votes on matters of military force are often tainted by patriotism. In the aftermath of violence, lawmakers are often willing to vote against military action, for fears that it will appear they are unpatriotic and unwilling to defend American values. Additionally, lawmakers are also wary of voting against increases in defense appropriations once American boots are on the ground. Such applications of public opinion create inevitable noise when examining votes related to military force. Furthermore, the bills studied have varying levels of military force. Though â&#x20AC;&#x153;ayeâ&#x20AC;? votes for every bill indicate support for aggressive military policy, the level of aggression varies, as does the relevance for each district. It should be understood that though each district analyzed harbors spending for the military industrial complex, not all spending is the same or directed towards the same aspect of the military, and therefore different bills will have different relevance in each district. This noise however cannot be remedied with the data available to the public at this point in time. Human judgement will always take into account public opinion, and this paper has created the best possible standard for balance across various bills. Though data is difficult to account for, study into this subject matter is necessary due to its importance and relevance to the American people. II.
This study looks to predict what domestic factors account for influence in military foreign policy. Though two competing theories are at play, the literature suggests that partisan polarization greatly influences the way policymakers vote on matters of foreign policy. To examine this effect however, it is necessary to first debunk the theory that the military industrial complex exerts the largest influence on foreign policy decisions. President Eisenhower and Secretary of
State George Keenan, both publicized fears that the growing military industrial complex exerted a dangerous level of influence on the American government. It is useful to examine this fear in the context of the Cold War. Historical Overview of Containment George Kennan was an adept statesman, and as such, was the father of a tactful foreign policy approach to Containment. In his mind, the safety of the United States depended on “our ability to establish a balance among the hostile or undependable forces of the world” (Gaddis, 2005, 28). The Soviet Union represented both a hostile and a capable nation, and therefore, a strategy to contain its power required insightful diplomacy. Kennan recognized that communism in the Soviet Union was not so much a physical threat as it was a psychological threat, and thus required a psychological solution. If the United States truly hoped to beat the Soviet Union, it was necessary to eradicate the disease of communism, not merely attack the symptoms of it. Kennan recognized the merits of psychological warfare, that “weapons are useful for destroying an adversary, not changing his attitude” (Gaddis, 2005, 47). It is not surprising then, that Kennan felt so strongly opposed to the influence of the military industrial complex. In his “American Diplomacy,” Kennan discusses the fateful weapons race (Kennan, 1984). As he observed it, the United States’ reliance on spending a huge chunk of the national economy on producing and maintaining arms constituted a “genuine natural addition” (Kennan, 1984, 172). This source of budgetary deficit was also engrained into labor communities, with districts made to depend on it. The effect of such a militarized economy, argues Kennan, is that this industry then requires justification, and results in the over militarization against potential enemies. This necessary justification could then theoretically impact policy change. Kennan foresaw that the ramification of such a system will eventually undermine the role of diplomacy. As displayed in his policy of Containment, Kennan operates under the belief that we do not need an extensive budget to make the influence of America felt (Kennan, 1984, 179). However, the same cannot be said of Kennan’s successor, Paul Nitze. Nitze’s policy of containment takes the shape of a document, NSC-68. In this document, one can recognize the dangers 37
Kennan warned of. Though some similarities remain on an ideological level, NSC-68 is a wholly different animal than Kennan’s Containment upon deeper analysis. Though Kennan’s balance of power argument utilized the necessity of keeping the “center of industrial military capability out of hostile hands,” NSC-68 placed a new emphasis on perimeter defense around the Soviet Union. For Nitze, one could only change the balance of power through “intimidation, humiliation, and the loss of credibility” (Gaddis, 2005, 90). As a means to accomplish such a strategy, Nitze and his team heavily argued for increased defense expenditures. Though the administration had been vocally against this due to budget deficits, a coalition formed to argue that the economy could operate at full capacity by increasing the capacity of the defense industry. Propelled by reports that “our military strength [was] becoming dangerously inadequate” in the face of assertions that the Soviet Union would risk warfare, an increase in defense expenditures took hold. The result was an appropriation of $50 billion annually to the defense budget (Gaddis, 2005, 98). This fluctuating practice of foreign policy is the basis for the argument that external factors exert influence on the creation of military foreign policy. As President Eisenhower’s farewell address suggests, many believe that this influence arises from the increased economic influence of the military industrial complex. The literature backs up the assertion that in the 1940’s the United States began a dramatic shift towards a privatized commercial defense industry. Friedberg examines the case of the Navy’s privatization. At the offset of World War II, the number of private shipyards was triple that of the navy. Following the war, procurement continued, as a means to keep the nation ready for potential war and to keep the builders practicing their “design and production talents” (Friedberg, 1997, 256). These desires perpetuated the existence and operation of the private shipyards. However, as the system became more privatized, private corporations realized that the existing procurement policy in the early 1960’s, which favored “nuclear over conventional force,” made for little business (Friedberg, 1997, 261). This situation gave birth to the quest for influence. The private ship building began ad campaigns and created policy debate centering on defense privatization. The literature points out that the dispersal of defense facilities gave these private 38
corporations a “raw political advantage” and that “the representatives of these states tended to be among the strongest supporters of privatization” (Friedberg, 1997, 262). Corporate Pluralism theory provides a basis for examining the relationship between the military industrial complex and its influence on congressional representatives. In The American Warfare State Rebecca Thorpe lays out the argument that the privatization of the defense industry has led to congressional support for defense spending. Since the initial push to privatize this industry, an increasing number of districts benefit from defense dollars, a result of the cold war movement to disperse defense production in the face of a menacing threat (Thorpe, 2014, 67). Such dispersal has created a defense industry that is responsible for a good amount of jobs in many different districts. The impact on GDP that this dispersal had could have created a relationship between congressional representative and their desire to increase military spending (Thorpe, 2014, 113). However, when testing to see if higher spending is correlated with more aggressive votes for foreign policy, this theory is not corroborated. To test the ramifications of corporate pluralism in the American legislative system, this study attempted to establish a relationship between the military industrial complex and policymakers, where higher spending drove a more aggressive defense policy. In her case study on the Navy, Friedberg establishes that the privatized and dispersed nature of defense contractors resulted in greater production and support from the members of the areas that housed these facilities. Yet, when the levels of supposed influence are compared to actual decisions on foreign policy from each party, this theory does not hold up. In the case of Democratic votes, there is no significant correlation between the level of spending in each district and the votes placed by those congressional representatives, (r = 0.02, p = 0.80). Effectively, the data establishes the absence of a causal relationship between the economic influence of the military industrial complex, and the way Democrat congressional representatives vote on military foreign policy. When conducting the same test for correlation on Republican congressional representatives, the data produced somewhat similar results. Once again, the data suggests no significant relationship between the level of spending in each district and the votes placed by those congressional representatives, (r =-0.12, p 39
=0.06). In the case of the Republicans, the relationship was close to significance, however, must still be called insignificant. Moreover, the effect size of votes that would have been influenced by spending was not only incredibly small, but was also negative. This reveals that even if spending in these districts to were to have been significant, it would have resulted in a vote against aggressive military foreign policy. This reveals that regardless of ideology or home district, the military industrial complex fails to influence the formation of military foreign policy. These findings certainly do not corroborate President Eisenhower and George Keenanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theory about the dangerous impact of Military Industrial Complex on the foreign policy of the United States. It can be established that the process of privatizing and dispersing production centers for the military industrial complex was done with the intention of incurring more influence for the military industrial complex. This vested interest hoped to create an impact in the GDPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of districts around the country, so that representatives would need to vote for more hawkish military endeavors in order to feed their districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy. However, this effort clearly failed. It could be inferred that the military industrial complex dispersed strategically. Perhaps they placed greater stake in districts that are not innately prone to vote for aggressive military foreign policy. Strongly Republican districts are prone to vote aggressively for military force even without great influence from the military industrial complex, perhaps from the veteran voters, and the staunchly patriotic ideology that permeating their districts and campaigns. If this is the case, it could explain a lack
of correlation because these hawkish districts may have less Military Industrial Complex spending on account of their ideology.
It may also be the case that representatives are concerned
with their reputation and standing in Washington DC. Though these military industrial production facilities provides an economic benefit to these districts, this economic gain is not the sole concern of the representative. In the modern political climate, representatives must constantly consider reelection. Though military foreign policy is of extreme importance to the wellbeing of the nation, aside from those who have a vigorous interest in politics, many constituents may pay more attention to domestic matters such as taxation, education, health, and other aspects of policy creation that exert a greater effect on their daily lives. The partisan climate also makes it beneficial for
representatives to remain within party lines. Favorable status within the party and leaders within the party is of extreme importance during the election cycles. These factors could have all played into limiting the significance of the impact of the military industrial complex on the creation of military foreign policy. Regardless of explanation, the numbers disprove a relationship between the Military Industrial Complex and American military foreign policy. The failure of corporate pluralism theory to establish causality makes way for Partisan Polarization theory. This theory establishes an increasingly polarized relationship between members of congress on matters of foreign policy. Many experts in the field claim that â&#x20AC;&#x153;national security concerns should give policymakers the excuse to come together in support of the national interestâ&#x20AC;? (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 61). However, the findings of this study hold that politics do not in fact stop at the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge. To examine the effect of partisan polarization on foreign policy, this study establishes a relationship between Republican and Democrat votes on the same span of military foreign policy bills as before. The results are highly significant (r = -0.73, p < 0.001). This highly
significant, large negative relationship reveals that partisan polarization can in fact establish causality for votes on matters of foreign policy. Whereas the economic impact of the military industrial complex exerts insignificant influence on foreign policy, the party affiliation of policymakers is a highly significant influencer. At a consistent level, politicians of either party are voting in the opposite direction from the other. This correlation is consistent with Partisan Polarization theory, finding that the votes by either party are increasing polarized and rarely overlap. This finding corroborates Jeong and Quirkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assertion that â&#x20AC;&#x153;parties may disagree for merely partisan reasonsâ&#x20AC;? (Jeong and Quirk, 2017, 61). This polarization in military policy is charted to have taken place during and following the war in Vietnam. Research charting ideology suggests that this time period is when Republicans became entrenched as the aggressively militaristic party and the Democrats as the idealistic anti-interventionist domestic party. The Vietnam War was brought to American living rooms. As one of the first wars in which pictures were broadcasted by the mass media, there is no surprise that it was also a catalyst for political polarization. The Democrats, to account for the horrors of the war, doubled down as proponents of domestic spending and social welfare programs to distract from the horrors abroad. Meanwhile, Republicans felt compelled to justify the war effort by strengthening their policies on defense. Ever since, the partisan myth has been that each party is bound by these ideological beliefs. However, the findings reveal that this myth is just that. An analysis into the average supportive votes in favor of a more aggressive foreign policy reveals that each party is more moderate than the partisan myth allows for. On average, the votes placed, by a near equal amount of congressional representatives, are very similar. The Democrats, (M = 4.53, SD = 2.29) are slightly less hawkish than the Republicans, (M = 5.00, SD = 2.40). The story these numbers tell is twofold. First, this reveals that Republicans fall dead center on matters of foreign policy, leading them to be less hawkish than many assume. The Democrats likewise, are close to center, and are therefore less dovish than the partisan myth suggests. Secondly, the central nature of these means says that Democrat and Republican policymakers voted on all levels of the hawkish-dovish spectrum. When paired with the negative relationship established above, it is clear that policy makers from each party voted at different levels on different bills. When
the Republicans were dovish, the Democrats were hawkish. These numbers don’t suggest moderate ideology, they suggest a fluctuating understanding of ideology. Earlier studies have found that “parties’ rhetoric on militarism and preparedness is not always a reliable indicator of the strategies they adopt in response to foreign threats” (Narizny, 204). This data reveals that pure partisanship is a better explanation for partisan polarization theory than is ideology. The Regression Model corroborates this, as the R square value reveals that 52.6% of Democrat votes can be explained by, or driven by, Republican votes. Essentially, more than half of votes on matters of foreign policy can be predicted by party lines. This reveals a highly significant relationship between political party and votes on military foreign policy. This negative linear relationship constitutes oppositional voting. The model clearly indicates that Democratic policymakers move, significantly, in the opposite direction of Republican policymakers votes. On average, every republican vote in favor of a military foreign policy bill leads to between a .6 - .8 negative democratic vote. Essentially, this regression model reveals a highly significant linear relationship in which it is clear that on matters of military foreign policy, lawmakers are voting in opposition to each other. Paired with the earlier findings, that partisanship is
more explanatory than ideology, the regression model predicts that policymakers will vote in such a manner to counter the votes of their opposing party. Due to the significance of these findings, and the strong indication that partisan politics strongly accounts for military foreign policy, this study then attempts to understand the driver of partisan polarization, through examining the validity of the two-presidencies hypothesis. When votes on military foreign policy are split into groups based on which party occupied the White House at the time of the vote, it is possible to see the levels of overall support the President received on matters of foreign policy. For the purposes of this study, presidential support is used to determine the source and the extent of partisan polarization in foreign policy. First, an analysis of the means again reveals that both parties have are voting in the middle on foreign policy. Each party, under each President, votes close to the median. The greatest deviation from this trend is seen with Democratic lawmakers under a Republican President (M = 2.68). A look at the correlation statistics reveals more about this point. The data reveals that voting patterns based on presidential leadership differs between each party. For Democrats, there is no significant correlation
between military foreign policy votes based on the President’s party (r = -0.02, p = 0.82). This shows that Democratic policymakers are voting opposite ways based on the President’s party affiliation. But, this difference is not significant, and therefore does not show that the President is a driving factor in the way Democratic lawmakers vote on foreign policy. However, Republican votes do significantly correlate with the President (r = 0.19, p = 0.01). Though the effect size is small, it can be observed that Republican policymakers do correlate their voting patterns with the President regardless of party. Republicans are slightly more likely to vote in support of military foreign policy regardless of the President’s party. It must be acknowledged that due to the scope of the study, all bills taken from Democratic Presidents were passed under President Bill Clinton. President Clinton has been playfully deemed “The Best Republican President.” He had conservative tendencies, and 45
was skillfully adept at navigating his Republican Congress. This could be indicative of the significant support he received from republicans during his tenure. This data set also corroborates the two-presidencies hypothesis. As we see the President supported on matters of foreign policy, it can be deduced that members of Congress felt it appropriate the defer to the leadership of the President. However, the story unfolds deeper as the data is correlated between opposing parties under the leadership of a Republican, then
a Democratic President. First, in looking at how Democrats and Republicans voted under a Republican President, this study revealed highly statistically significant results that point to great partisan polarization, (r = -0.57, p < 0.001). Not only do these findings have extremely high significance, but the effect size is large, meaning that this finding has generalizable validity. What this data shows is that Democratic lawmakers are incredibly divergent from Republican Presidents. They often vote in opposition to Republican lawmakers and the President when a Republican occupies the Oval Office. This
is not in line with the two â&#x20AC;&#x201C; presidencies hypothesis, however, it is a clear example of partisan polarization affecting votes on military 46
foreign policy. As significant as this finding is, when lawmakers under Democratic Presidents are examined, the results are different. The voting patterns of lawmakers under Democratic Presidents fails to be significant (r = -0.22, p = 0.09). This reveals greater party polarization on the part of the Democrats. This could be explained by ideology, two – presidencies, and partisan polarization theory. It could be assumed that Republicans may be more supportive of a hawkish Presidential requests due in part to ideology and the two-presidencies hypothesis.
However, the rhetoric of ideology is primarily measurable in times of low to moderate threat (Narizny, 217). Additionally, earlier findings point the failure of ideology to explain votes on foreign policy. When it comes to the ideology of the President, it is also crucial to understand that President’s rarely govern across merely partisan lines. To underscore the fluctuating ideology of the President, “Democrat Al Gore proposed higher defense spending and a more actively interventionist foreign policy than the Republic George W. Bush (Narizny, 204). Earlier the study found that partisan polarization was a valid driver of military foreign policy votes, the examination into the President’s party reveals that the party affiliation of the President is a driving factor in partisan polarization. In sum, these results assert that military foreign policy is passed on a polarized partisan basis, without great regard to ideology, and that the party of the President influences the extent of polarization as well. III.
As the internationally recognized world power, the United
Statesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; military policy is of utmost importance for American and World citizens. One of the strongest in the world, the United States military is often studied and watched closely. Responsible for invasions, regime changes, and peacekeeping efforts in the modern era, the military is a frequent player on the world stage. Once an isolationist power, the increasing exportation of American exceptionalism following World War II has caused many to wonder about the factors influencing the use of military force in the United States. At the time, foreign policy experts, such as George Keenan, supposed that this shift in military behavior stemmed from the cupidity of forces like the Military Industrial Complex in the United States. Such undue influence would
certainly have ramifications on the illusion of democratic policy creation in the United States. Due to the implications, this study asserts that ulterior factors are responsible for military behavior. Using the tenets of Partisan Polarization Theory, this study contends that the political climate, 48
more specifically polarization, is responsible for military foreign policy in the United States. Around the Vietnam War, the political climate in the United States became increasingly polarized, and has continued in a positive linear fashion since. The findings of the study back up this theory, and exhibits that polarization of the basis of pure partisanship is predictive of how members of Congress will vote on matters of foreign policy. So, politics does not stop at the water’s edge. The findings of this study reinforce the validity of partisan polarization theory as the most explanatory theory for how military foreign policy is created in the United States. More so than voting alongside the party platform and the ideology associated with it, Congressional representatives are making decisions of foreign policy based on their opposing party. This study does not determine what the motivation behind such polarization is, however, the literature suggests that policymakers would act in a partisan fashion to aid in their reelection. These findings have significant implications for American government and politics. The domestic political climate in the United States has become increasingly polarized since the 1960’s. As such, it could be deemed beneficial for lawmakers to reside in a place of strong partisan support. The splitting of both parties into two poles of ideology made policymakers bolster their stances, in order to act in conjunction with the political climate. Congressional cycles also play a role in increasing polarization; the minority party can be seen making an effort to differentiate themselves from the majority party. These tactics exist to aid in reelection. It can be understood that policymakers who act as strong representatives of the party will earn the party’s, and the president’s support in their reelection campaign. In the current political climate, this seems to be strongest incentive for voting alongside one’s own party, and in opposition to the other. Though this paper demonstrates the special interests are not in fact responsible for influencing military foreign policy, the results of this study unearth a different, but equally important finding about the state of democracy in the United States. The American political system is designed specifically to promote democracy, to facilitate the representation of its’ citizens. Military Foreign Policy has monumental severity on the wellbeing of a nation, and as such should be made with great care and concern. The ability to predict the creation of foreign policy merely by partisan rivalry has dubious implications for the 49
internal health of the nation. A Nation that allows itself to be divided, even on such serious matters, is not one in control of its course. Policymakers should be aware of this, and consider the effects of their actions on the long term sustainability of the United States. Though this pattern at present poses no immediate implications, it is not wise to chart a nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s course primarily on personal objectives. Those in Government must make an effort to remedy to environment of partisan polarization in the United States of America. Then, policymakers must once again to create foreign policy to benefit the national interest of the United States of America. It is time for politics to stop at the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge.
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Hartung, William D. Ready for What? The New Politics of Pentagon Spending. World Policy Journal, vol.16 (1999), pp 19-24. Hartung, William D. 2001. Eisenhower’s Warning the MilitaryIndustrial Complex Forty Years Later. World Policy Journal, vol. 18, no. 1, 2001, pp. 39–44. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40209730. Hartung, William D. and Michelle Ciarroca, The Military Industrial Complex Revisited: How Weapons Makers Are Shaping U.S. Foreign and Military Policies. Hartung, William D. The Military-Industrial Complex Revisited: Shifting Patterns of Military Contracting in the Post-9/11 Period. Brown University. Jeong, Gyung-Ho and Paul J. Quirk. 2017. Division at the Water’s Edge: The Polarization of Foreign Policy. American Politics Research, vol. 47, issue: 1, pp. 58-87. Vancouver, Canada: The University of British Columbia. Keenan, George. American Diplomacy: Expanded Edition. 1984. Pg. 168-179. Kelso, William Alton. 1978. American Democratic Theory: Pluralism and Its Critics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Inc. McCormick, James M. and Eugene R. Wittkopf. 1990. Bipartisanship, Partisanship, and Ideology in Congressional – Executive Foreign Policy Relations, 1947 – 1988. The Journal of Politics, vol. 52, no.4, 1990. Pp. 1077 – 1100. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https:// www.jstor.org/stable/2131683 Meernik, James. 1993. Presidential Support in Congress: Conflict and Consensus on Foreign and Defense Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2131989 Narizny, Kevin. 2003. “Both Guns and Butter, or Neither: Class Interests in the Political Economy of Rearmament.” American Political Science Review, vol. 97, No. 2, pp. 203 – 217. Harvard University.
Nivola, P. and Brady D. (Eds.). (2008). Red and Blue Nation?: Consequences and Correction of America’s Polarized Politics. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from www. jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt6wpdqn Porter, Gareth. From Military-Industrial Complex to Permanent War State. Vol. 6. Washington: Inter-Hemispheric- Resource Center Press, 2011. Web. Schilling, Warner R., Paul Y. Hammond, and Glenn H. Snyder. Strategy, Politics, and Defense Budgets. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962. Stockholm Institute for Peace Initiatives, Military Expenditure Page. Thorpe, Rebecca U. The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014. Wildavsky, A. Soc (1998) 35: 23. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02838125
The U.S. Public Education Systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Failure to Accurately Educate Students on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict By: Sanaa M. Ghanim Editor: Noah Meyer
Abstract The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is arguably the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most controversial conflict in modern history. The United States plays a central role in its mediation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the mid-twentieth century, making the ways in which the conflict is taught in American public schools especially relevant to the future of the conflict and more specifically, the role of the United States in the future of this conflict (Arieli, 2016). The United States has put forth numerous peace solutions that have all failed. In understanding why these peace solutions have failed to bring about peaceful change in the region, the U.S. public education system must be investigated to understand how U.S. policymakers have been educated on the conflict itself. An accurate curriculum is a vital precursor to any effort to dissect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in an attempt to develop a peace plan. This paper takes the position that the public education system in the United States of America contains a biased curriculum concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, therefore requiring investigation and reform. Additionally, this paper argues that the United States has failed to provide middle and high school students with an accurate history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Introduction The state of Israel was founded on the idea of creating a unique identity and nation for the Jewish people, yielding a modern nation that withholds sentiments of territorial independence. However, the ideas for the foundation of the state of Israel came to fruition at the expense of a group that was excluded from the plans for the great state—the Palestinians. Modern political Zionism, founded by Theodor Herzl, is defined as “the advocacy of national self-determination for the Jewish people” (Rubner, 2018). It is especially important to make clear that in Theodor Herzl’s vision for the emergence of a modern nation with territorial independence, he envisioned that this state would be governed “by and for Jews but was devoid of any connection to Judaic religious practice, Jewish culture or the Hebrew language” (Rubner, 2018). This fact is relevant to the common claim that the founding of Israel through Zionism was founded on religious principles. The father of Zionism made clear that the state would be absent of any connection to Judaic religious practice, making the founding of the state and Zionism solely rooted in politics, serving as a means to create a national home for Jews. Palestinians have lived in modern-day Israel before, during, and after its founding. Yet, this paper will demonstrate how the story of these people has been neglected in almost every attempt to educate American students on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While erasing the narrative of an entire group of people appears to be an absurd practice, the public education system has repetitively made this mistake. The rich histories of African American and Native American peoples in this country have been misrepresented in the textbooks of public education since the founding of public education in the United States. In the article “What You Supposed to Know: Urban Black Students’ Perspectives on History Textbooks,” Woodson argues that the United States must rethink social studies curriculum and pedagogy as it relates to the historical knowledge about the civil rights movement in the United States (Woodson, 2015). Woodson argues that the misrepresentation of the civil rights movement and the leaders within the movement in history textbooks have the potential to negatively impact the learning experience of urban youth (Woodson, 2015). In similar ways, this study argues that the misrepresentation of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict in social studies curriculum yields similar potential 55
dangers in middle and high school youth populations. The power of the United States’ influence over the IsraeliPalestinian conflict has been prevalent since Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai, informing this study’s decision to specifically investigate public education systems within U.S. territory (Arieli, 2016). This study explores the public education curriculum of California, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. These six states were selected as they collectively account for a diverse group of populations, political trends, demographics, and geographical locations in the United States. United States territory was specifically selected for this study given the United States’ role in influencing the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Data was collected through analysis of the curriculum as well as each state’s textbook/resource recommendations to assist teacher instruction at the middle and high school level. The curriculum, textbooks, and resources were compared to a comprehensive history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict made up of Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin’s The Israeli-Arab Reader, and Ilan Pappe’s The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. The comprehensive history used to analyze and critique public state curriculum focused primarily on these vital points in IsraeliPalestinian history: the birth of Zionism, early Zionist settlement and Palestinian response to this settlement, the Balfour Declaration and other relevant documents, the year ‘1948’ (recognized as the year of Independence for Israelis and the “Nakba” for Palestinians, the 1948 refugees, the building of settlements in Palestinian territory, proposed peace solutions including the plans put forth by the United Nations and the United States, and finally, the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian region and the Israeli government. Additionally, this study analyzes the language used in the state curriculum to gauge biases within the text. California California state curriculum references the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in standard identifier HSS-10.9.6 of grade 10. The content area relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the state of California falls within History—Social Science and the category World History, Culture, and Geography: The Modern World, Grade 10. The overarching standard is “HSS-10.9 Students analyze the international developments in the post-World War II world” and the
standard for teaching instruction is as follows: “Understand how the forces of nationalism developed in the Middle East, how the Holocaust affected world opinion regarding the need for a Jewish state, and the significance and effects of the location and establishment of Israel on world affairs” (California Department of Education, 2019). The curriculum referenced by the California Department of Education is inadequate as it fails to acknowledge the existence of Palestinians. Additionally, the curriculum fails to incorporate key points in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including the birth of Zionism, early Zionist settlement and Palestinian response to this settlement, the Balfour Declaration, the year ‘1948’ (recognized as the year of Independence for Israelis and the “Nakba” for Palestinians, the 1948 refugees, the building of settlements in Palestinian territory, proposed peace solutions including the plans put forth by the United Nations and the United States, and finally, the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian region and the Israeli government. In describing the framework of the tenth grade social studies curriculum that is relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the California Department of Education states that the curriculum is intended to guide students in tracing the “rise of democratic ideas and [to] develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, especially as they pertain to international relations” (California Department of Education, 2019). While California’s History-Social Studies Science Content Standards do indeed trace the rise in the intended democratic idea of the state of Israel, in its negligence of the Palestinian people, the curriculum fails to develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, therefore failing to meet its intended purpose. New York The State Education Department of New York uses the social studies framework to guide the curriculum of grades 9-12. Section 10.7 of the curriculum framework is titled and described as “Decolonization and Nationalism (1900-2000): Nationalist and decolonization movements employed a variety of methods, including nonviolent resistance and armed struggle. Tensions and conflicts often continued after independence as new challenges arose. Point 10.7c of this section is titled “nationalism in the Middle East was often influenced by factors such as religious beliefs and secularism” and instructs
that “students will investigate Zionism, the mandates created at the end of World War I, and Arab nationalism… students will examine the creation of the State of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict” (New York State Education Department, 2019). Section 11.9 of the New York State Education Department curriculum is titled and described as “COLD WAR (1945 – 1990): In the period following World War II, the United States entered into an extended era of international conflict called the Cold War which influenced foreign and domestic policy for more than 40 years” (New York State Education Department, 2019). Point 11.9c of this section is introduced with the following: “American strategic interests in the Middle East grew with the Cold War, the creation of the State of Israel, and the increased United States dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The continuing nature of the ArabIsraeli dispute has helped to define the contours of American policy in the Middle East” (New York State Education Department, 2019). The section then assets that from this curriculum point, “students will examine United States foreign policy toward the Middle East, including the recognition of and support for the State of Israel, the Camp David Accords, and the interaction with radical groups in the region” (New York State Education Department, 2019). The New York State curriculum successfully articulates the rise of Zionism in connection to the creation of the state of Israel while also connecting the conflict to American policy in the Middle East. The curriculum acknowledges the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself as well as the Arab population within the region, the Palestinians. However, the curriculum must extend to include relevant history of the Holocaust in connection to the founding of the state of Israel. The curriculum must also assert more specificity beyond instructing students to “examine the creation of the state of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict” (New York State Education Department, 2019). The New York State Education Department must equip teachers and students with a more specific curriculum, in conjunction with extensive instructional support tools, to yield holistic student understanding of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Massachusetts The History and Social Science Framework of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides a lengthy curriculum for teaching the Israeli-Palestinian 58
conflict at the high school level in the “Cold War Era, 1945-1991” section. The section requires that teachers “explain the background for the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, and subsequent military and political conflicts including a) the growth of Zionism, and 19th and early 20th century immigration by Eastern European Jews to Palestine, b) anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, c) the United Nations (UN) vote in 1947 to partition the western part of the Palestine Mandate into two independent countries, d) Palestinian loss of land and the creation of refugees by Israeli military action, e) the rejection of surrounding Arab countries of the UN decision and the invasion of Israel by Arab countries, f) the various wars between Israel and neighboring Arab states since 1947, (e.g., the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War), g) the diverse mix of cultures (e.g., Jews, Palestinians, and Arabs of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Druze backgrounds) in the region in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, h) attempts to secure peace between Palestinians and Israelis, including the proposal of a two-state solution” (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2018). The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides the most extensive and accurate account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, providing an educational template that should be replicated across the United States. The Massachusetts state curriculum provides history on the factors contributing to the founding of the state of Israel, the peace propositions put forth by the United Nations, tensions between Israel and the Arab world, the current culture of the Israeli-Palestinian territory, and proposed peace solutions (including the two-state solution) put forth by mediators, primarily the United States. North Carolina The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction develops the “Instructional Support Tools for Achieving New Standards” to “increase student achievement by ensuring educators understand specifically what the new standards mean a student must know, understand and be able to do” (North Carolina Department of Education, 2013). In this document, essential standard WH.H.8 analyzes global interdependence and shifts in power in terms of political, economic, social and environmental changes and conflicts since the last half of the twentieth century. This essential standard begins with WH.H.8.1 which requires teachers to evaluate global 59
wars in terms of how they challenged political and economic power structures and gave rise to new balances of power including the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is referenced twice in this standard and requires that students learn “how and why the nation of Israel was established following the Second World War” and the “factors that contributed to and consequences of late 20th and early 21st century conflict in the Middle East” including the Israeli-Arab conflict. The curriculum guide suggests that teachers use an article from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum titled “Postwar Refugee Crisis and the Establishment of the State of Israel” as a tool to educate students on the establishment of the state of Israel. While the article provides relevant information on Jewish displaced persons in the 20th century, the article lacks information on the Palestinian narrative during the founding of the state of Israel. The curriculum guide also suggests that teachers use a Britannica article titled “Arab-Israeli Wars” to teach students about the factors that contributed to and consequences of the late 20th and early 21st century conflict in the Middle East. The Britannica article effectively communicates the significance of the Six-Day War in the Golan Heights and the Yom Kippur War, therefore providing students with the critical information required to educate students on the factors which contributed to the conflict. The curriculum guide then suggests that through these articles, students will come to understand how the “conflict between Israel and its Muslim neighbors resulted in increased global tensions between the West and the Muslim world” (North Carolina Department of Education, 2013). This conclusion is insufficient as it assumes that the Israel-Palestinian conflict (and the involvement of Muslim neighboring countries in the conflict) is the result of tension between the West and the Muslim world. The curriculum makes a stark transition from explaining the IsraeliPalestinian conflict to then directly correlating the details of the conflict to the tension between the West and the Muslim world. This conclusion places complete blame on the Muslim world while failing to dissect the ways in which the West has contributed to increased tensions between the West and the Muslim world, including the wars sparked by the West onto the Muslim world in the early 21st century. Finally, curriculum standard WH.H.8.7 states that teachers are expected to “explain why terrorist groups and movements have proliferated and the extent of their impact on politics and society in various countries” including “Palestinian Islamic Jihad” (North 60
Carolina Department of Education, 2013). The curriculum states that the “PLO and Islamic Jihad in Israel who want to change the existing political order and replace it with their own” exemplify how “desire for change in existing political order or geopolitical boundaries can lead to violent acts and alter societies” (North Carolina Department of Education, 2013). This standard is perhaps the most dangerous in its extreme bias towards the state of Israel. The curriculum, in its rightful mention of groups including Hamas who have played a role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, fails to acknowledge why such groups exist, and how Palestinians have been terrorized by the Israeli Defense Force since its founding. Furthermore, the curriculum’s assertion that “Islamic Jihad in Israel” exists to change the existing political order and replace it with their own” is ironic given the fact that the State of Israel, in its forced creation by the Zionist movement, was founded for the desire for change in existing political order and geopolitical boundaries. The Zionist movement transformed Palestinian territory into Israel, a country founded exclusively for one group of people, at the expense of another. To create a fair and balanced curriculum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction must address this contradiction in their current curriculum standard. South Carolina South Carolina’s Department of Education drafts the state’s social studies standards. The subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is referenced in the sixth and seventh grade standards. For sixth grade, the Israeli-Palestinian subject matter falls under Global Interdependence standard 6.5.CE which states that teachers must “explain the impact of nationalism on global conflicts and genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries” (South Caroline Department of Education, 2019). The document then communicates that this standard was created to “promote inquiry into the cause and effect relationship between nationalism and world wars… to promote inquiry into genocide, including the Holocaust, as well as the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ensuing conflict that resulted from the creation of the state of Israel” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019). For seventh grade, the IsraeliPalestinian subject matter falls under “World History from 1300: The Making of the Modern World” standard MWH-7.4 which states that 61
teachers must “explain the origins of the conflict in the Middle East as a result of the collapse of the German, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires after World War I and the creation of the state of Israel after World War II” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019). Additionally, standard USHC-7.4 under the “United States History and the Constitution” section requires teachers to “summarize the economic, humanitarian, and diplomatic effects of World War II, including the end of the Great Depression, the Holocaust, the war crimes trials, and the creation of Israel” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019). Lastly, standard 7-4.6 under the section “Contemporary Cultures: 1600 to the Present” requires that teachers teach students to “analyze the Holocaust and its impact on European society and Jewish culture, including Nazi policies to eliminate the Jews and other minorities, the Nuremberg trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rise of nationalism in Southwest Asia (Middle East), the creation of the state of Israel, and the resultant conflicts in the region” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019). While the South Carolina Department of Education successfully highlights the important connection between World War II and the founding of the state of Israel, the curriculum fails to demonstrate the ways in which the state of Israel came to be, and dismisses the existence of Palestinians and the Palestinian experience before, during, and after the founding of the state of Israel. South Carolina’s Department of Education’s decision to completely dismiss the Palestinian narrative is damaging to the academic experience of the students of which they serve within South Carolina’s public education system. From South Carolina’s public education curriculum standards, students receive a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that only communicates the factors that contributed to the founding of Israel, failing to acknowledge the Palestinian people, and therefore inadequately educating students on the conflict. Texas The Texas State Board of Education drafts the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies which are used to guide teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The social studies standards for the high school level include World History Studies requiring that students understand the “impact of major event associated with the Cold War and independence movements” in which 62
a student is expected to “discuss factors contributing to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the rejection of the existence of the state of Israel by the Arab League and a majority of Arab nations” (Texas Education Agency, 2018). The Texas Education Agency’s decision to include only one example for the factors contributing to the Arab-Israeli conflict creates an extremely biased narrative that lacks accuracy and dismisses more significant factors that contribute to the conflict, including the displacement of Palestinians in the state of Israel’s assertion that the state is to be a state exclusively reserved for Jewish populations. While the tension between Israel and neighboring Arab nations is a critical component of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reducing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a conflict that is solely the result of this tension is unfair to the conflict and the students receiving a public education in the state of Texas. In the United States History Studies Since 1877 curriculum category, teachers are required to help students understand the “impact of political, economic, and social factors in the U.S. from the 1970s through 1990” (Texas Education Agency, 2018). Through this understanding, students are expected to “describe U.S. involvement in the Middle East such as support for Israel” (Texas Education Agency, 2018). This section of the Texas state curriculum effectively communicates the significance of United States support for the state of Israel—a factor that is essential to student understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, in its repeated mention of the state of Israel, the Texas Education Agency fails to acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people or Palestinian territory. An attempt to educate students on the emergence of the state of Israel and United States support for the state while simultaneously failing to acknowledge the Palestinian people and/or Palestine is a failed attempt to educate students on the conflict. Conclusion Through examining the public education curriculum of California, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, it can be concluded that, in broad terms, the United States has failed to provide public school students with an accurate education of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An accurate education of the conflict is a precursor to drafting effective peace solutions to the conflict, and
the United Statesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; decision to inaccurately articulate the history of the conflict to its students threatens the success of future peace solutions presented by the United States to Israelis and Palestinians. In order to accurately educate students on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, each state in the United States must adopt a human rights-rooted curriculum that first, establishes the existence, dignity, and human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, to then explain the factors contributing to the creation of the state of Israel and how the creation of this state has affected the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. Of the six U.S. states investigated within this study, the state of Massachusetts provides the most extensive, accurate, and effective curriculum to educate students on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until the United States can accurately communicate the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in each of the fifty states, United States policymakers should refrain from drafting policy that affects the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis.
Works Cited Agency, Texas Education. “Chapter 113. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies Subchapter C. High School,” 2018. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter113/ch113c. html. California, Department of Education. “HSS-6.3.5 (History–Social Science).” Search the California Content Standards, 2019. https://www2.cde.ca.gov/cacs/id/web/4292. California, Department of Education. “HSS-10.9.6 (History–Social Science).” Search the California Content Standards, 2019. https://www2.cde.ca.gov/cacs/id/web/4532. Department, State Education. “New York State Grades 9-12 Social Studies Framework,” 2019. http://www.nysed.gov/ common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/ssframework-9-12.pdf. Education, Massachusetts Department Of. “History and Social Science Framework Grades Pre-Kindergarten to 12.” Massachusetts Curriculum Framework – 2018. Accessed April 1, 2020. http:// www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/2018-12.pdf. Laqueur, Walter, and Barry Rubin. The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict. New York: Penguin Books, 2016. Pappé Ilan. Forgotten Palestinians A History of the Palestinians in Israel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. Public Education, North Carolina Department Of. “North Carolina Essential Standards: World History.” Accessed March 20, 2020. https://files.nc.gov/dpi/documents/files/world-historyunpacking-document.pdf. Shaul Arieli. “Israel and Palestine, a brief history of the negotiations.” Babylon, no. 1 (May 1, 2016). https://doaj.org/ article/df27ea0b37a9491c997efc504000bf04.
South Carolina, Department of Education of. “South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards.” The South Carolina Department of Education. Accessed February 10, 2020. https://ed.sc.gov/index.cfm?LinkServID=9677E07BCFFE-6A5C-AA47F98625149ABC. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Arab-Israeli Wars.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., January 17, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/event/ArabIsraeli-wars. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed April 15, 2020. https:// encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/postwar-refugeecrisis-and-the-establishment-of-the-state-of-israel. Woodson, Ashley N. “‘What You Supposed to Know’: Urban Black Students’ Perspectives on History Textbooks.” Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research 11 (2015).
Kenya as a Target for Al-Shabaab: A Theory for Understanding Cross-Border Terrorism By: Evangeline Mathis Editor: Noah Meyer
Since 2008, the Somali-based terrorist organization known as Al-Shabaab has made frequent cross-border attacks on the neighboring country of Kenya (Cannon and Iyekekpolo 2018, 3). According to the Global Terrorism Index, Al-Shabaab carried out a total of 302 transborder terror attacks from 2008 to 2018 (Global Terrorism Index 2018). Of the countries bordering Somalia, three attacks occurred in Ethiopia, five in Uganda, and two in Djibouti, while a staggering 291 occurred in Kenya (Global Terrorism Index 2018). This disproportionate amount of violence suggests that border proximity cannot be the sole explanation for Al-Shabaab’s involvement in Kenya (Lind and Mutahi 2015, 23). There may also be distinguishing qualities of Kenya that make it subject to attack (Lind and Mutahi 2015, 23). Given that Al-Shabaab is an active threat to Kenya and there exists a global effort to eradicate terrorism, a case such as this calls for scholarly inquiry (Lind and Mutahi 2015, 23). This paper will seek to answer what qualities of Kenya cause it to be a target for AlShabaab (Mohamed 2019). I theorize that the main contributing factors to this phenomenon are Kenya’s free media and international visibility (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). In order to understand why Al-Shabaab has the opportunity to carry out attacks in Kenya, one must first understand the terrorist organization’s historical actions and motivations (Felter and Masters 2019). Al-Shabaab was created as a member of the Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of Sharia law courts united against the federal government of Somalia (Felter and Masters 2019). The Islamic 70
Courts Union broke apart in 2006 and Al-Shabaab became the most extreme faction made up of mostly youth (Felter and Masters 2019). Al-Shabaab is directly translated as “the youth” or “youngsters” (Felter and Masters 2019). They controlled most of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu, until Ethiopian forces backed by the United States ousted Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu in 2006 (Felter and Masters 2019). In 2012 Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to the jihadist terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, and carried out suicide bombings attacks and other acts of brutality against those they view as “enemies of Islam” which include Sufi Muslims and Christians who reside in the Horn of Africa (Felter and Masters 2019). Today, Al-Shabaab has an estimated 5,000 fighters and remains a disruptive force in Somalia (Otiso 2019, 4). They have also frequently shown their willingness and ability to attack “soft targets,” or crowded vulnerable areas, within Kenya (Otiso 2019, 4). One must also understand the mechanisms of terror Al-Shabaab has used in the past in Kenya before exploring their motivations for doing so (Otiso 2019, 4). Al-Shabaab began small scale attacks on Kenya in 2008 (Otiso 2019, 4). However, one of the most notable attacks in Kenya was in 2013 when Al-Shabaab fighters claimed responsibility for an active gunman that killed 67 people in the upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi (Otiso 2019, 4). In 2015, the group killed 148 people in an attack on a university in the city of Garissa (Otiso 2019, 4). Here they held 700 students hostage and freed Muslims while killing those who were Christian (Otiso 2019, 4). As recently as January of 2019, a suicide bombing on a Nairobi hotel took the lives of 21 people, including citizens of the United States and United Kingdom (Stevis-Gridneff 2019). Al-Shabaab’s ideological motivations and goals are important for understanding why Kenya is a target for attacks (Bryden 2014, 5). According to terrorism specialist Matt Bryden, the motivations of the group today have “become more extreme and therefore more prone to attack targets based on the ethos of international jihad- propagated by Al-Qaeda after 9/11” and have cultivated an “us versus them” narrative between Muslims and non-Muslims in order to assert their forcefulness and status of significance (Bryden 2014, 5). Like many jihadist groups, they denounce the Western lifestyle and the principles of democracy (Bryden 2014, 5). Bryden also notes that Al-Shabaab’s leadership does not demonstrate a high capability of attacking states other than Kenya
to include those in the West (Bryden 2014, 5). This due to the fact that they have neither the resources or personnel of terrorist groups like the Islamic State, which has a far reach and numerous Western recruits (Bryden 2014, 5). Understanding this, one must postulate why Kenya specifically is the target of attack (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). Scholars Cannon and Pkalya note that when Kenya began military action against Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia in 2011, it caused retaliation, and therefore increased cross-border attacks directed at Kenya (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). However, Kenya is not the only bordering country who has fought against Al-Shabaab (Freear and Coning 2013, 18). Africa Union forces fighting al-Shabaab as part of the Mission to Somalia, which is known as AMISOM, are comprised of 22,000 soldiers from the nations of Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Kenya (Freear and Coning 2013, 18). Ethiopia shares a significant border with Somalia yet has not faced such frequent attacks from Al-Shabaab (Freear and Coning 2013, 18). We must also note that while pure geographic proximity to Al-Shabaab is certainly a factor in cross-national attack, it cannot fully explain Kenya’s disproportionate status as a target (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). Economists Dominic Rohner and Bruno Frey theorized that the media and terrorists are engaged in a symbiotic relationship (Rohner and Frey 2007, 17). Based upon an econometric model, they suggest that “terrorists adapt their terror strategy with respect to media behaviour” (Rohner and Frey 2007, 20). They note that across the world, there is a trend suggesting that terrorists have a goal to obtain media attention in order to expose their ideology (Rohner and Frey 2007, 17). They further theorized, based on their model, that Western media is more likely to cover terrorist organizations in developing countries if a high number of fatalities are involved (Rohner and Frey 2007, 20). Therefore, they postulate that “terrorist attacks in developing countries tend to be bloodier” (Rohner and Frey 2007, 17). Evidence of a specific instance of their theory would be the presence Western media in an area experiencing high levels of terrorist attacks, where evidence of an area with low Western media influence and high levels of terrorism would counter this theory (Rohner and Frey 2007, 18). 72
In line with Rohner and Frey’s theory, Kenya is both a target of
frequent attack and a country with relatively high exposure to Western and free media (Freedom House 2019). Based upon analysis by Freedom House, Kenya can be considered the country with the most available and free forms of media compared to the other countries near Al-Shabaab, which include Ethiopia, Uganda, and Djibouti (Freedom House 2019). This is due in part to a constitutional protection for media from the most recent constitution passed in 2010, which blocks the government from interfering with private media outlets (Freedom House 2019). The availability of a free media not only allows attacks on the country to be publicized nationally but creates an echo chamber in which international organizations can pick up on stories relating to Al-Shabaab’s terror (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). Additionally, many international news outlets, including BBC, CNN, and Al-Jazeera maintain correspondents or offices in Nairobi (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). This is not the case for Ethiopia, Uganda, and Djibouti, who face frequent governmental censorship (Jones 2019). During a recent 2019 suicide bombing in Nairobi, major United States news publications, such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times covered the incident (Stevis-Gridneff 2019). Al-Shabaab is specifically concerned with maintaining international reach as they wish to spread the ideology of jihad and increase recruitment efforts (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). To expand upon Rhoner and Frey’s theory I would suggest that Kenya’s overall international visibility is also a factor that contributes to their targeting by Al-Shabaab (Gaibulloev and Sandler 2019, 3). Political scientists Khusrav Gaibulloev and Todd Sandler support this, as they find that terrorist groups who wish to exhibit “longevity and prolonged periods of operation” tend to engage “in transnational and/or transborder strikes up to 30 percent of the time” (Gaibulloev and Sandler 2019, 3). They postulate that terrorists “are drawn to transnational operations in order to enhance their global visibility” (Gaibulloev and Sandler 2019, 3). Kenya has the highest international visibility compared with the rest of the region surrounding Al-Shabaab (Youndas 2019, 4). This is due in part to Kenya’s tourism industry, which is currently represents 10.22% of the country’s GDP (Youndas 2019, 4). It is estimated that 1.2 million people visit Kenya per year (Youndas 2019, 4). Ethiopia, which neighbors Somalia, has half the number of tourists as Kenya, and tourism represents only 5.5% of their GDP (Youndas 2019, 4).
Kenya recently announced an initiative to increase tourism via direct flights from the United States to Nairobi that would include a visa on arrival program, and the creation of a port to support a new cruise line. (Kenya International Travel Information 2019). Currently 51% of Kenya’s tourism is from the United States and Europe which results in the creation of Western-style modern commercial hubs (Youndas 2019, 4). Al-Shabaab’s most deadly attacks, at a hotel and shopping center, have been in areas that are tourist destinations (Otiso 2019, 4). When attacks result in casualties of Western or other international tourists, they garner more attention from those countries (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). Consistent with Gaibulloev and Sandler’s theory, Al-Shabaab has not only demonstrated their desire for international recognition, but longevity (Gaibulloev and Sandler 2019, 5). In a recent recruitment video, Al-Shabaab leaders chant “Mortar by mortar, shell by shell, only going to stop when they go to hell” denoting their relentless nature (Otiso 2019, 4). They claim responsibility for attacks, which in turn assists in asserting their relevance to the international community (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 4). The general international influence in Kenya is stronger compared to other countries in the region (Musila and Yiheyis 2015, 2). On an economic level, its primary port, Mombasa, is the largest in the East African region and connects the Kenyan economy to the rest of the world (Musila and Yiheyis 2015, 2). The United Nations also holds their African headquarters in Nairobi. Additionally, there is a higher density of non-governmental organizations and foreign business in Kenya than in other countries in the region (Musila and Yiheyis 2015, 2). Nairobi in particular, which has seen the deadliest attacks, houses 81 embassies which include diplomats and international staffs (Youndas 2019, 4). For Al-Shabaab, the benefit of being on the international stage to spreading their ideology, outweighs the risk of retaliation by global powers. (Bryden 2014, 7). While we must recognize that Kenya’s free media and international visibility are not the only factors at play, they help explain why Kenya is disproportionately a target of cross-border terrorist attack (Cannon and Pkalya 2017, 7). This is supported by the theories of Rhoner and Frey as well as Gaibulloev and Sandler who connect terrorism to areas with global influence such as Kenya (Rohner and Frey 2007, 18). Kenya, along with the international community, must consider the fact that globalization and liberalized media can contribute to the spread of terrorism (Rohner and Frey 2007, 18). 74
Bibliography Bryden, Matt. “The Reinvention of Al-Shabaab.” Center for Strategic & International Studies 12 (2016). Cannon, Brendon, and Wisdom Iyekekpolo. 2018. “Explaining Transborder Terrorist Attacks: The Cases of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.” African Security 11 (4): 370–96. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/19392206.2018.1560970. Cannon, Brendon J., and Dominic Ruto Pkalya. 2017. “Why Al-Shabaab Attacks Kenya: Questioning the Narrative Paradigm.” Terrorism and Political Violence 0 (0): 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2017.1290607. Counter Extremism Project. n.d. “Al-Shabab.” Counter Extremism Project. Accessed April 4, 2019. https://www. counterextremism.com/threat/al-shabab. Freear, Matt, and Cedric de Coning. 2013. “Lessons from the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) for Peace Operations in Mali.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 2 (2): Art. 23. https://doi. org/10.5334/sta.bj. Freedom House. n.d. “Kenya.” Accessed April 4, 2019. https:// freedomhouse.org/country/kenya. Institute for Economics and Peace. 2018. “Global Terrorism Index.” http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/terrorism-index/. Jones, Alon Mwesigwa Sam. 2016. “Political Intimidation Having ‘chilling Effect’ on Uganda’s Media.” The Guardian, January 11, 2016, sec. Global development. https://www.theguardian. com/global-development/2016/jan/11/uganda-electionspolitical-intimidation-having-chilling-effect-media. “Kenya International Travel Information.” n.d. Accessed April 4, 2019. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/internationaltravel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/ Kenya.html. 75
Lind, Jeremy, and Patrick Mutahi. 2015. Tangled Ties: AlShabaab and Political Volatility in Kenya. Institute of Development Studies. Musila, Jacob W., and Zelealem Yiheyis. 2015. “The Impact of Trade Openness on Growth: The Case of Kenya.” Journal of Policy Modeling 37 (2): 342–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. jpolmod.2014.12.001. Otiso, Kefa. “Kenya in the Crosshairs of Global Terrorism: Fighting Terrorism at the Periphery.” Kenya Studies Review 1, no. 1 (2019): 107-132. Rohner, Dominic, and Bruno S. Frey. 2007. “Blood and Ink! The Common-Interest-Game between Terrorists and the Media.” Public Choice 133 (1–2): 129–45. https://doi.org/10.1007/ s11127-007-9182-9. Stevis-Gridneff, Matina. 2019. “Terrorists Claim Deadly Attack on Kenya Hotel Complex.” Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2019, sec. World. https://www.wsj.com/articles/kenyahotel-complex-under-siege-as-gunmen-open-fire-detonateexplosives-11547563451. Younas, Javed. n.d. “Impact of Terrorism on Developing Countries | St. Louis Fed.” Accessed April 1, 2019. https:// www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/fourthquarter-2017/impact-terrorism-developing-countries.
U.S. Africa Command & Security Assistance to Fragile States By: Joseph Kinyanjui Editor: Mushfequr Rahman
Is U.S. Africa Command contributing to the militarization of weak states in Africa? Under the administration of President George W. Bush and then Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the United States created a new unified command for the Africa region: the United States Africa Command. What was once a continent split among three separate
U.S. military commandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s AOR (areas of responsibility) according to Cold War conceptions of the world, was consolidated into a singular
command in 2008 (Volman, 2007, 737). Keeping the Africa region divided among three separate commands that “were frequently distracted by responsibilities in their primary geographic regions” mean that Africa was often a secondary or even tertiary priority to the U.S. military (Wheelan, 2007, 4). The status quo of ignorance towards African security ultimately harms U.S. national security interests given the regions propensity to harbor new security issues. The current USAFRICOM area of responsibility covers 53 African nations, excluding Egypt, but including island-nations associated with Africa; Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles (Ahmad, 2015, 58). U.S. policy in creating USAFRICOM was the presumption that these new security issues with direct ramifications on U.S. national security concerns deserved the full attention of a dedicated U.S. command. This new institution differentiates itself from its nine other counterparts, in that, AFRICOM focuses on “war prevention rather than war fighting” (Ahmad, 2015, 58). Africa has become of increasing strategic importance to U.S. interests due to a convergence of factors. The region has gone from an international relations afterthought with the non-aligned movement during the cold war, to one of the most important regions in the post 9/11 landscape due to a) terrorism, b) energy sources, and c) “China’s creeping influence in Africa (NsiaPerpa, 2014, 51; Shinn, Eisenmann, 2012, 33-36). State fragility jeopardizes favorable outcomes (from the American perspective) in all three areas of strategic interest discussed. Weak and failing states on the African continent threaten the national security interests of the United States. However, irresponsible security sector aid to illiberal weak states can sustain the underlying issues that cause weak statehood and instability. Simply looking at a map of global state fragility via the Fragile State Index shows a heavy concentration of weak and failing states within the same Sub-Saharan band of insecure states that stretches from the Sahel through Central Africa before arriving at the quintessential failed state in Somalia. Weak states by definition are those that inadequately deliver the public goods that constitute statehood (Rotberg, 2011, 2). Paramount of those public goods is security, particularly human security (Rotberg, 2011, 2). Human security is that which concerns itself with the well-being of ordinary citizens and encompasses a wide array of issues from economic
security, to food, health, environmental, community, & political security (Gjory, 2018, 221-235). When states fail, either as a consequence of unwillingness or lack of capacity, to provide these public goods, it breeds discontentment among the population and is an underlying factor in insecurity and conflict. Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice put it aptly by stating, “poor, young, disaffected, unhealthy, uneducated population often have no stake in government, no faith in the future, and harbor an easily exploitable discontent with the status quo” (Nsia-Perpa, 2014, 51). State fragility has both direct and indirect consequences to the national security interests of the United States. Weak states, and the absence of the rule of law associated with such, are ’incubators’ for the kinds of international criminal activities that threaten U.S. persons and interests. While general conflict, the potential for genocide or ethnic cleansing, piracy, and illicit trafficking (especially of narcotics, weapons, and people) are all concerns related to internal insecurity within poorly governed African states, the issue of primacy for U.S. national security thinkers is the relation between state fragility and terrorism (Watts, 2015, 1). Having learned from the case studies of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States in the post 9/11 era has aggressively combatted incidents of state failure that terrorist may seek to exploit. National security thinkers draw a very clear causal logic in linking terror to state fragility, “failing states and insurgencies were dangerous because terrorists could use weak states as sanctuaries and gain strength from internal disorder” (McNerney et al, 2014, 12). The preferred policy solution has been conducting capacity building exercises with partner states in order to improve that nation’s ability in public goods service delivery. Capacity building as U.S. national security strategy has been of increasing interests to the literature on security studies, especially given the desire to limit the deployment of U.S. assets (taxpayer monies but especially U.S. troops). The strong public response to the loss of four American servicemembers during the Tongo Tongo Ambush in Niger 2017 reaffirmed the military’s commitment to minimizing U.S. involvement in active combat situations (Mitchell, 2018). This desire to mitigate domestic backlash for large scale foreign operations (in the wake of a now three presidencies long campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan) is the driving force behind pursuing a policy of ‘outsourcing’ security. Outsourcing in the sense that, rather than the United States taking an active role in combat operations, the U.S. has 79
been more inclined to employ support and advisory roles in global security. Capacity building is aimed at ensuring that the partner nation is properly able to deploy their own assets to service security needs. ‘Capacity building’ is often associated with training programs by the U.S. military. These programs focus on developing a wide array of skills in local military officers that will enable them to defend their homelands, defeat terrorists, and address regional conflicts (Ward, Galvin, 2010). The case study of Mozambique is a shining example of the positive outcomes of capacity building. The southern African nation regularly experiences monsoon-level rain and flooding. In prior periods, like was the case in 2000, Zambezi River floods meant scores of dead and displaced leading to a humanitarian health crisis in which the United States deployed significant resources to mitigate humanitarian suffering. At Mozambique’s request, the U.S. Government and international partners provided various programs over several years to bolster Mozambique’s capabilities to mitigate and respond to the next major flood. Several American agencies got involved. The U.S. Agency for International Development established the Mozambique Integrated Information Network for Decision-Making, which enhanced the nation’s ability to prevent human losses and economic disruptions from natural hazards. 80
Fast forward to the next major flooding of the Zambezi in 2008. Even though the deluge was greater than that of 2000, Mozambique was better prepared to deploy their own resources based on prior preparation with U.S. agencies. No military assets were deployed to respond in 2008, and the humanitarian situation was better managed (Galvin, Ward, 2010). This was achieved through coordination of both civilian (USAID) and military (U.S. Marine Corps Engineers) entities. USAFRICOM is in a unique position relative to other military installations around the world. Having integrated the holistic, active security approach to its mission in Africa, AFRICOM has taken under its mandate “a range of activities that were perceived to be the exclusive prerogative of civilian agencies and organizations in the past” (Nsia-Perpa, 2014, 52). U.S. Africa Command touts its own ability to aptly conduct both its traditional military responsibilities in addition to its management of African state building that is typically exclusively the realm of civilian agencies and civil society, rather than a civil-military partnership. In this regard, USAFRICOM certainly keeps itself busy. It was reported by Commander General David Rodriguez that in 2012, the U.S. military carried out a total of 546 “activities” on the continent. In other words, it averages about one and a half missions a day which represents a 217% increase in operations, programs, and exercises since the command was established in 2008. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Rodriguez noted that the 10 exercises, 55 operations, and 481 security cooperation activities made US AFRICOM “an extremely active geographic command” (Ahmad, 2015, 62). The extent to which AFRICOM has been able to strike balance between its military and civilian responsibilities is questionable. Many of the operations, even if not need be, have taken distinctly militarized paths. As would be expected, given that the expert knowledge of the command’s leadership is more so in military affairs than civilian development and human rights matters. AFRICOM’s leadership structure, mission history, even operational budget1 are reflective of a priority imbalance between civil-military operations of Africa 1 In 2009, U.S. economic and other non-military aid for all of Africa was $10.4 billion, compared with $8.26 billion in military assistance through the Foreign Military Financing program. In 2012, economic aid dropped to $8.1 billion while military financing rose to $16.8 billion (Ahmad, 2015, 62).
command. For instance, the AFRICOM-led U.S. Ebola response program in West Africa during the Obama administration has come under scrutiny for its militaristic outlook. Former AFRICOM head General David M. Rodriguez touted the U.S. Mission in Liberia as a demonstration of the institution’s ability to “address mutual threats with partners while simultaneously building relationships and capacity” (Military Strategy Forum, 2015). Critics, on the contrary, question the decision to deploy troops rather than a more robust, humanitarian focused civilian agency led response (Dionne, Seay, 2014). The nations in which these ‘activities’ are conducted is what this paper scrutinizes. Illiberal states have been the main beneficiaries of military assistance from the United States through U.S. Africa Command. Because the majority of insecurity in Africa happens to be occurring in undemocratic states, they receive the most bilateral security assistance from the United States through USAFRICOM. Figure 2.1 is an illustration of that fact. There is abundant overlap between states with poor governance and power projection across its territories, and those that are partner nations in the USAFRICOM missions -the TransSahel Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and the Partnership for Regional East Africa Terrorism (PREACT) (Watts, 2015, 16). It is ironic that in states where civilian leadership is the weakest, which is a direct correlate to the prevalence of conflict in that region, that security sector assistance has actually been shown to undermine civilian institutions that are meant to oversee the armed services, due to concentration of resources within the military apparatus (Watts, 2015, 17). This is problematic on many fronts. For instance, the armed services themselves may be a destabilizing force in their nation and may use their increased capacities, by way of American material and training support, to inflict harm on their domestic populations. This was a concern from congressional members since the inception of the U.S. Africa Command. During a hearing before the subcommittee on Africa and global health of the House of Representative’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (August 2nd, 2007), ranking member Chris Smith of New Jersey openly displayed his apprehension on military assistance to such forces: “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 believing, as we do, that elements of the Ethiopian Command, police, and army have been misused by the Milas regime to quell protests resulting in the
loss of many, many lives. We and many Members of Congress remain deeply concerned that military assets should never be employed by rogue leaders or dictators against their own civilian population or that of their neighbors. Military trading and cooperation that enables or facilitates the misuse of force needs to be avoided at all costs.â&#x20AC;? Despite the congressional apprehension, Africa Command launched the next year and has dealt with cases of alleged militarization of fragile, illiberal forces since. The March 2012 coup in Mali being one of the most spectacular instantiations of such. The country is vast, with the central government rarely able to extend its authority to its ethnically diverse outer regions. The Tuareg southern rebellion had been brewing for a decade prior to 2012 (Ahmad, 2015, 63). The movement was able to capitalize on the general weakness of the Malian state in part due to the leader Amadou Sanogo. Sanogo himself was a captain in the Malian armed forces and received IMET training (Nsia-Perpa, 2014, 54). IMET is the International Military Education and Training course run by the United Statesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; security assistance program. In empirical studies conducted by the academic community, statistical analysis has mostly yielded results that are largely inconclusive on the success of these security aid programs in achieving peace (Watts, 2015, 12). Given that security and good governance are paramount to U.S. national security, it is important that the programs
pursued by the United States government push towards long lasting peace and promote liberal values, rather than be a contributing factor that brought about cycles of violence in the 1st place.
Bibliography Gjorv, Gunhild. “Human Security.” Security Studies: an Introduction, by Paul Williams and Matt McDonald, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018, pp. 221–235. Mitchell, Ellen. “Questions Linger over Deadly Niger Mission.” TheHill, 13 May 2018, thehill.com/policy/defense/387428questions-linger-over-deadly-niger-mission. Rotberg, Robert I. “Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice.” Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets, 2013, doi:10.1093/ obo/9780199756223-0119. Seay, Laura, and Kim Dionne. “AFRICOM’s Ebola Response and the Militarization of Humanitarian Aid.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/ monkey-cage/wp/2014/09/25/africoms-ebola-response-and-themilitarization-of-humanitarian-aid/. Shinn, David H. “A Historical Overview of China-Africa Relations.” China and Africa , edited by Joshua Eisenman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. “United States Africa Command.” United States Africa Command, www.africom.mil/. Volman, Daniel. “US to Create New Regional Military Command for Africa: AFRICOM.” Review of African Political Economy, vol. 34, no. 114, 2007, pp. 737–744., www.jstor.org/stable/ pdf/20406460.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Af3951460f0bf018b535 046bc4b4b1e27. Ward, William E, and Thomas P Galvin. “U.S. Africa Command and the Principle of Active Security.” Www.army.mil, U.S. Army, 1 Mar. 2010, www.army.mil/article/35118/us_africa_command_ and_the_principle_of_active_security. Watts, Stephen. Identifying and Mitigating Risks in Security Sector Assistance for Africa’s Fragile States. RAND Corporation, 2015, rand.org, www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR808.html. Whelan, Theresa. “Why AFRICOM? An American Perspective.” Institute for Security Studies, 17 Aug. 2007, pp. 1–8., www. africaportal.org/publications/why-africom-an-americanperspective/.
The Resurgence of State-Owned Enterprise in China Under Xi Jinping By: MacAllister Hogan Editor: Daniel Covert
I. Introduction How can state-owned enterprise reform factor into Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current and future plans for economic development under the leadership of Xi Jinping? President Xi has tightened state control over strategic industries; maintaining the CCPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s authority over the Chinese economy has been a top priority since he took office. The Xi administration represents a dramatic reversal in market reforms that China has undergone over the last forty years. State-owned enterprise in China was fundamental to the Chinese economy during the Mao era. Since the end of the central planning era, both the scope and extent to which the Chinese Communist Party controls the economy have decreased to make way for a growing private sector. The changing role of SOEs has been a prominent part of Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gradual shift toward a market economy. SOEs first began gaining a significant level of autonomy in the 1980s under a new system designed to increase their productivity and profitability. The system gave enterprises more freedom in decisions about production planning, marketing, and workforce adjustments and even allowed them to keep a share of the total profits as long as the state-mandated output quotas were met. Only in 1992 did ownership reform take place which involved privatizing smaller SOEs. Performance increased under this restructuring but continued to lag behind private enterprise, so in 2003 the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) was established in order to supervise the largest SOEs and maintain control over strategic industries such as defense, power, 88
telecommunications, steel, construction, etc. Through a variety of goal-oriented policy measures, the size and value of SOEs actually increased. SOE reform has led to improvements, but the sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s overall performance continues to lag behind the private sector. As China faces slowing economic growth, SOEs present an obvious opportunity to shed economic deadweight and maintain the pace of growth. Although they operate with much more autonomy and are subject to greater market discipline and competition from private enterprise, there is still room to modernize the position of SOEs in the Chinese economy. An obvious source of productivity gain is improving the allocation of resources and capital. The state sector has always benefitted from favorable policies such as low taxes, preferential access to credit, and subsidies. Without these protections, the real profitability of SOEs is much lower than it appears. Unfortunately, due to the inherent inefficiencies of SOEs, they would cease to remain profitable if these protections were to disappear. The favorable conditions under which SOEs operate limit the growth of more profitable private enterprises by forcing competition between two types of entities which play by two different sets of rules. By increasing privatization of SOEs and slowly subjecting them to greater market forces, they can incorporate a higher level of fiscal responsibility into their production and workforce models. This progress in turn should decrease instances of sunk resource and capital investment in relatively inefficient enterprises, allowing those resources to be allocated more efficiently to the sectors which need it most. The issue with SOE reform is the influence SOEs wield in shaping policy priorities coupled with their understandable interest in protecting the current role they play in the economy. Moving forward, the large and influential SOE interests in Chinese policymaking may result in the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s taking on a larger role in controlling the economy. SOEs have been used in the past to stabilize market forces and have allowed the Chinese government to achieve economic goals largely through policy rather than typical loosening of economic controls. SOE interests will certainly attempt to steer policymaking in this direction. The government could maneuver this obstacle by providing more support for private enterprise and increasing competition in the marketplace by reducing barriers to entering industries dominated by SOE. Decreasing regulations around SOEs to encourage growth outside the SOEs could force them to become more competitive. I argue that further reform of SOEs is necessary to maintain healthy economic growth and that this 89
reform must be a gradual evolution similar to the broader economic shift China has undertaken for the past 40 years. II. The State-Owned Enterprise System in Maoist China 1. Primary Functions and Benefits of SOEs While the SOE system came with many drawbacks, there were concrete benefits for China concerning the overarching goals of the planned economy, as well as for a group of people who were rewarded by the advantageous position that SOEs held in Chinese society. Under Mao Zedong, SOEs played a major role in the Chinese economy. SOEs were the main economic units in industrial enterprise under the central planning system. They were used primarily to fulfill the government’s production and distribution objectives, which were heavily invested in the growth and development of heavy industry.1 All large factories, transportation, and communication enterprises were owned by the government and were assigned production targets to be met and the outputs sold at set prices. Despite product prices being virtually meaningless in guiding production decisions for SOEs, they could be used by the government to channel resources between economic sectors effectively.2 These price controls were important in allocating maximum resources to industry in order to achieve the Big Push Industrialization plans set forward by Mao. The SOE system played an important role in developing the command economy system as well as reinforcing the CCP’s control over that system. SOEs, as government agents, were also responsible for providing welfare for employees and their families. SOE employees enjoyed a comprehensive social safety net, which included housing, health care, education, and retirement.3 Urban residents employed by state-owned firms were directly included in the formal party hierarchy and thus had a relatively high level of access to national resources and support compared to rural residents. 2. Drawbacks of SOEs
These positive externalities were dwarfed by the production
1 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 346. 2 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 346. 3 Ibid., 346.
inefficiencies and wasted capital that became a feature of the SOE system. SOEs were given very little autonomy in determining what to produce, how much to produce, or how to use surpluses. Planners made commercial and employment decisions, and any profits made had to be handed over to the state.4 The lack of market-based incentives and poor organization and management of SOEs led to their low efficiency as production units. Inefficiencies in SOEs contributed to several issues during the planned economy period under Mao. Low output and shortages were typical during the Mao years. SOEs also never had to compete with each other or other enterprises in a statecontrolled market for inputs and outputs.5 Without having to adhere to competitive market forces, coupled with their extreme reliance on government funding, subsidies, and tax exemptions, SOEs were very prone to losses, mismanagement, and poor performance. In a broader sense, the adverse effects of SOEs infected many facets of the Chinese financial system. The Chinese government used the financial system to channel low-cost funds from households to SOEs, while households were restricted in their ability to purchase financial assets other than bank deposits.6 Financial repression led to the misallocation of investment, increased volatility in asset markets, and depressed household consumption. Under Mao and the command economy, the Chinese financial system was very shallow. Governmentrun banks provided trade credit and payment services to facilitate the exchange of goods, but no long-term lending for investment projects. Decisions about investments were made by planners and financed from the government budget rather than being based on financial considerations.7 The key economic and societal role that SOEs played under Mao before 1978 made reform a slow and complicated process. Due to the blatant deficiencies of extensive state intervention in the economy, however, it was clear to reformers that the role of the state had to be mitigated in order to transition from the command economy to a market economy.
4 Dong Zhang and Owen Freestone, “ China’s Unfinished State-owned Enterprise Reforms,” Economic Roundup2 (November 2013): 79-102. 5 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 346. 6 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 481. 7 Ibid., 487
III.Post-Mao SOE Reform 1. Deng Xiaoping, 1978-1992: Increasing Autonomy and Introducing Market Forces China’s transition from a command to a market economy is marked by different periods of economic reform in response to macroeconomic patterns, which began with facing harsh realities in the direct aftermath of Mao’s rule.8 Transforming the command economy into a market economy involved reforming many of the institutional structures which had been in place for over two decades. At the time of initial reform in 1978, there were virtually no market forces or private businesses. Most significant urban enterprises were state-owned, and farmers were organized into rural collectives. Deng Xiaoping was handed an economy that was completely insulated from world markets, where individual prices and profits were meaningless and material incentives of all kinds were abolished and frowned upon.9 The initial steps of the early reform process included reducing the power of planners, lowering entry barriers, and giving ordinary people some decision-making authority. Reformers aimed to gradually change the rules under which all economic actors, including SOEs, operated in order to maintain the CCP’s control and limit the scope of disruptive change.10 In the wake of some of Mao’s more disastrous economic policies, the most obvious area in need of immediate attention and reform was agriculture. At the end of the 1978 Third Plenum, China’s leaders decided to reduce the constant pressure under which farmers had operated. For the previous 30 years, China’s farmers were a resource that the government extracted cheap grain from in order to fuel industrialization, resulting in slowing grain production and a dissatisfied rural population. Procurement targets were reduced, procurement prices were raised, and prices for production above the procurement target were raised dramatically.11 The fundamental institutions in place remained, but the parameters under which they operated were adjusted. The collectives remained, but they were 8 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 109. 9 Ibid., 96. 10 Ibid., 98 11 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 101.
allowed more latitude in how they organized themselves. Ultimately the collectives gravitated towards the solution of contracting specific parcels of land to individual households, essentially reverting collectives to the role of landlords.12 With more autonomy and drastically reduced quotas, rural residents were allowed to sell the surplus food they grew above the planned output in the free market. The increased independence also led to the establishment of township and village enterprises (TVEs), which were permitted to produce goods in response to market demand once agricultural output quotas had been met. The success of the household responsibility system and TVEs in the rural reform experiment showed that improved market incentives could dramatically increase output, and the improved quality of life for farmers gave further reform popular support.13 In 1984, based on this success, an enterprise responsibility system was implemented with the goal of increasing SOE productivity, output, and profitability. After fulfilling the state-mandated production quotas, firms were allowed to keep a share of the total profits and make decisions regarding production plans, purchases of inputs, and employee management.14 It granted SOEs much more autonomy in decision making, increased competition, and encouraged the development of nonstate enterprises. State ownership of SOEs remained intact due to the perception of the need for continued state control of most critical means of production, but the contract responsibility system gradually introduced industrial product markets and inter-SOE competition. This first period of accelerated reform and transition is characterized by a slow and cautious decentralizing approach, which involved shifting power and resources from the hands of central planners to local actors while protecting core state interests. This approach would come to be known as the dual-track system because, instead of dismantling the plan, reformers introduced markets while maintaining a continuous role for the plan in order to keep the macroeconomy on track.15 The dual-track system opened protected industries to new entrants, allowed state-owned firms to use 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., 102. 14 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 349. 15 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 104.
additional capacity for the production of market goods above their planned output, and increased managerial incentives and performance monitoring for the purpose of profitability rather than plan fulfillment. It also ultimately committed to freezing the central government’s materials-allocation plan in absolute terms, which would gradually increase the share of non-plan, market transactions in the economy, as well as incentivizing individual enterprises to make decisions based on market prices. The system led to enhanced competition and induced the government, as owner of the firms, to become more concerned with profitability.16 However, with price decontrol and firms and local governments wielding the power to make new investments, suppressed inflation surged. Policymakers reacted to these adverse developments by suspending reforms and attempting to stabilize the macroeconomy, effectively marking the end of the first period of accelerated reform.17 From 1989-1991, China entered a period of conservative ascendancy in response to the economic crisis and successive political crisis culminating in the Tiananmen Square incident. After this brief, failed period of economic retrenchment and reform rollbacks, Deng Xiaoping visited and endorsed the SEZs and reemphasized the need for accelerated reform. After Deng’s “Southern Tour” in 1992 and the October 1992 CCP Congress’ endorsement of a “socialist market economy,” reform was back on the agenda, and the next period of accelerated transition could begin.18 2. Zhu Rongji, 1992-2013: Privatization, Ownership Reform, and Streamlining the SOEs The accelerated transition period in the 1990s involved improving the legal and regulatory environment in order to create a more level playing field as the economy “grew out of” the plan. The banking system underwent fundamental restructuring, and the central bank was given an active role in determining and implementing monetary policy. By 2003, the China Bank Regulatory Commission was established to more closely supervise and manage nonperforming 16 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 104-107. 17 Ibid., 109. 18 Ibid., 110.
loans. State-run commercial banks then faced harder budget constraints due to curtailed access to easy government money leading to tougher standards being imposed on clients in state-owned enterprises.19 SOE reform in the 1990s and early 2000s under Zhu Rongji focused on transforming ownership and led to the privatization of many SOEs. Ownership transformation allowed small firms to be gradually released from the explicit and direct control of the state while the larger, more important firms were retained. The gaizhi ownership transformation process is characterized by this policy of zhuada fangxiao or “grasping the large, letting go of the small.”20 The reasoning behind zhuada fangxiao was that large firms performed much better and had much greater importance in the economy compared to smaller firms, and the policy was formally approved at the fifteenth National Congress in 1997. Between 500 and 1,000 large SOEs were retained, while all other enterprises were restructured through sale or lease.21 The ownership transformation reduced the number of SOEs in the economy and began transferring state production assets to the private sector. The financial burden of poorly performing SOEs on government spending was reduced while more the more productive private firms were able to benefit from absorbing the resources and labor released from the state sector. The most significant difference between the two periods of reform and transition in the 1980s and 1990s is the evolution from “reform without losers” to “reform with losers.” During the 1990s, public firms faced increased product-market competition and pressure, as well as reduced access to funding from government banks.22 The benefits of reform in the 1980s were widely shared, and almost no major social group had suffered significant economic losses.23 Conversely, reform after 1993 clearly imposed significant losses on substantial social groups. Most directly affected were SOE workers who were laid off by the millions, and further, millions were forced to abandon failing firms. Those who had once been members 19 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 114. 20 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 352. 21 Ibid. 22 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 115. 23 Ibid., 110.
of one of the more privileged groups in the economy were deprived of job security for the first time since the establishment of the PRC. The benefits of the 1990s transition were spread much more unequally than had been the case in the 1980s.24 The losers of reform in the 1990s exposed a vastly inadequate social safety net. In 2003, the new Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao administration had new policy priorities, which marked a significant drop in the commitment towards introducing and implementing market-oriented reforms. Instead, priority was given to policies geared towards rebuilding social services like health insurance, bolstering agriculture by cutting taxes and providing protection, developing robust industrial policies, and initiating steps to reverse increasing environmental degradation.25 The reform period under Zhu Rongji would be the last big push for SOE reform in China. 3. Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao, 2003-2013: Stagnating Reform and SOE Restructuring Market-oriented reform stagnated under the Hu JintaoWen Jiabao administration due to new policy priorities, which focused more heavily on addressing China’s inadequate social safety net. Despite priority being given to policies geared towards rebuilding social services, boosting agriculture, and reversing increasing environmental degradation, SOEs were not ignored. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) was established to supervise the central SOEs directly.26 The SASAC was initially charged with improving the performance of 196 of China’s largest nonfinancial state firms in sectors such as oil, telecommunications, electric power generation, coal production, steel production, and the airline industry.27 The focus of SASAC and the Chinese government was to increase the size and state control of SOEs in key and strategic industries. The SASAC’s goal was to turn these large firms into “national champions,” cementing the decisionmaking role of the state-party apparatus in the market. The Chinese government asserted its control over high technology, nonrenewable 24 Ibid. 116. 25 Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018), 120. 26 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 356. 27 Nicholas R. Lardy, Markets over Mao: The Rise of Private Business in China (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2014), 50.
natural resources, public utilities, infrastructure services, and national security through industrial policy measures designed to allocate resources to SOEs in these industries.28 Government and SASAC support for SOEs to pursue international M&As, as well as the public listing of SOEs on domestic and international stock exchanges, increased the average size of SOEs despite a decrease in number. The number of state firms continued to decline as it had in previous years, but the remaining ones became much larger and wielded greater market power.29 The importance of state-owned firms was reinforced further under the Hu-Wen administration by a set of aggressive industrial policies and initiatives. These aggressive industrial policies appeared to promote state-owned firms, often at the expense of foreign and indigenous private firms. The State Council launched the Strategic Emerging Industries policy in October 2010. This initiative identified seven next generation technologies that the government believed would become “the backbone of China’s next phase of industrial modernization and technological development,” and these industries would then be promoted through tax rebates and financial incentives at the detriment to other non-state firms.30 Furthermore, the Hu-Wen administration did not respond to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and the subsequent weak performance of state-owned companies, with market-oriented reform. Instead, the administration opted for a massive credit-financed stimulus program to keep the important state sector afloat.31 The 2009 stimulus program routed most funds through the SOEs themselves.32 The establishment of the SASAC and the flood of stimulus capital in response to the GFC strengthened the position of SOEs in the economy and increased the role of the state in these important firms. The first decade of China’s WTO membership was dampened by accusations that unfair buttressing of the state sector by the government provided evidence that China is not a real market economy. 28 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 357. 29 Nicholas R. Lardy, Markets over Mao: The Rise of Private Business in China (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2014), 48. 30 Ibid., 54-55. 31 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 17. 32 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 105.
IV. The Reversal of SOE Reform Under Xi Jinping 1. Xi Jinping, 2013 to Present: Promoting Mixed Ownership and Tightening State Control SOE reform under the Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping administrations is highlighted by the consistent promotion of mergers and mixed ownership in the hope of improving financial performance, corporate governance, and return on assets of state firms. The SASAC has orchestrated mergers among the largest state-owned companies, reducing the number of central firms under their control from 196 to fewer than 100 by 2017.33 By merging large state firms in individual industries, the SASAC has become arguably one of the world’s largest and most powerful holding companies. While the initial role of the SASAC was meant to be limited to that of a financial holding company, the commission has assumed direct management of most of its holdings and subsidiaries instead of leaving them in the hands of professional management.34 These central state firms have not only failed to improve their financial performance. According to the SASAC’s own data, firm performance has deteriorated parallel to their consolidation through mergers under the SASAC. Returns on assets of central SASAC enterprises have dropped from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 2.4 percent in 2016.35 Mixed ownership has been promoted for decades by reformers and was formally endorsed by the CCP at the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee in 2013. By 2017, over two-thirds of all central state firms and over half of their subsidiaries had introduced mixed ownership. This method was meant to rejuvenate state firms with fresh private capital while reducing the burden on the state banks that typically support them.36 However, most firms that adopt mixed ownership remain firmly under state control. The Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party continues to nominate 33 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 86. 34 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 87. 35 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 89. 36 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 91.
candidates for top management positions, and there are no known cases where the board of a state-controlled mixed-ownership company has failed to confirm one of these nominees.37 The merger program of the SASAC and the push for mixed ownership have failed to accomplish their given missions of either positively impacting the financial performance of state forms or improving their corporate governance structure and transparency. Initially, Xi Jinping seemed committed to reforming the economy, reducing the role of government stimulus, and allowing the market to play a more decisive role.38 However, in the vital SOE arena of economic reform, efforts have been mostly underwhelming. The Chinese government has pulled back considerably from purely market-oriented reform with regard to SOEs and is instead opting to assert absolute control over final decisionmaking in enterprises engaged in strategic industries. SOEs are now divided into public and commercial categories, and firms in each category are evaluated with different standards. While competitive sectors have been encouraged to steadily promote mixed ownership of SOEs, the strategic sectors have remained tightly under the control of the Chinese government.39 They receive government subsidies, preferential interest rates when they borrow money, lower tax rates, and privileged access to resources. Even with the sturdy crutch of the Chinese government aiding them, SOEs are consistently outperformed by private firms in profit margin, cash flow, and return on assets.40 The SOE system is a major source of inefficiency, waste, and overcapacity, but Xi Jinping has opted to strengthen its role in strategic industries. There has been a renewed sense of commitment to SOEs, and their role as agents of the Chinese state has expanded as a result. The central role of both the CCP in managing SOEs and SOEs in core economic sectors has expanded.41 This commitment is indicative of a larger goal of Xi Jinping to ensure that the state holds ultimate control over all important aspects of the economy. 37 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 97. 38 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State(New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 97. 39 Ligang Song, “State-owned Enterprise Reform in China: Past, Present and Prospects,” China’s40 Years of Reform and Development: 1978–2018(2018): 362. 40 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State(New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 106. 41 Ibid., 120.
In addition to strengthening the Party’s commitment to SOEs as a key player in the economic and political realm, the Xi administration has also tightened the Party’s administrative control over these centrally-owned companies. The global expansion and financial dominance of SOEs under the Hu-Wen administration was matched with significant gains in political influence and autonomy from the central government. The rapid growth of SOEs in the 2000s left the SASAC outmatched in most attempts to effectively monitor, discipline, and govern its holdings.42 Xi Jinping took immediate action through existing government mechanisms and techniques to reaffirm Party authority over the operations and personnel in strategic industries. Central leading small groups are “supra-ministerial, extraconstitutional organizations that bring together high-ranking officials from the government’s agencies, Party organs, and/or the military who are involved in decision-making for particular policy areas.”43 Under the early Xi administration, central leading small groups were employed as an added tool for the purpose of advancing policy while simultaneously mitigating the influence from SOE actors who could potentially benefit from maintaining the status quo which allowed them to become so influential while operating under a weak SASAC. The regime created, and Xi himself chaired, the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms. This group served as the de facto headquarters for Xi to personally liaise with relevant SOE actors with regard to his roadmap for wider SOE reform.44 Xi has altered traditional power bases before in attempts to consolidate power. In 2016, the President split up the four powerful general departments of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into fifteen functional departments and appointed himself as head of the most prominent one.45 President Xi also utilizes joint appointments to leadership roles in SOEs as a means of solidifying Party control through co-optation. The top three executives for core central SOEs are appointed by the Central Organization Department by direction from higher ranking 42 Wendy Leutert, “Firm Control: Governing the State-owned Economy Under Xi Jinping,” China Perspectives113, no. 1-2 (2018): 28-29. 43 Wendy Leutert, “Firm Control: Governing the State-owned Economy Under Xi Jinping,” China Perspectives113, no. 1-2 (2018): 29. 44 Ibid., 29. 45 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State(New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 26.
Party officials. By appointing individuals into joint leadership roles, decision making power is consolidated in the hands of only one or two executives who, due to the nature of their appointment, are brought into the political realm and become more intimately bonded with the goals of the Party.46 The deliberate placement of officials with stronger Party ties into decision making roles simultaneously asserts the Party’s own authority while weakening potential opponents of its broader reform and policy agendas. Furthermore, the higher frequency of leadership rotation of executives in state firms limits the opportunity for those executives to develop networks of influence and support. This practice inherently limits the influence and managerial autonomy of SOE executives and suggests that influence lost equates to authority vested by Xi and the CCP. Lastly, the anti-corruption campaign he has championed (similar to the campaigns of bureaucratic and citizen mobilization characteristic of Mao’s rule) implements fear as a tactic in his broader campaign to recentralize authority over SOEs. The cadre culture prevalent in SOE management disproportionately allocates authority and benefits to those with personal connections and preferable family backgrounds. Although the administration’s allegations of corruption in central SOEs is a contentious issue, their weak oversight made top executives of these firms an early and easy target of the campaign. By the end of Xi’s first term, twelve top executives of strategic SOE firms were charged with corruption.47 The steps taken by the Xi administration have affirmed the Party’s influence and authority over the critical sector of SOEs, but these actions appear to be contradictory to the administration’s public strategy of promoting mixed ownership. It is difficult to measure how Xi’s power consolidation could potentially undermine his own public agenda. However, institutionalizing the Party’s leadership role in the mixed ownership scheme can be linked to real quantifiable economic costs which will be discussed shortly.
46 Wendy Leutert, “Firm Control: Governing the State-owned Economy Under Xi Jinping,” China Perspectives113, no. 1-2 (2018): 30. 47 Ibid., 32.
V. The Future of SOE ReforM
1. The Context for Further Reform China faces slowing growth and must search for new growth drivers and transition towards a more sustainable growth model. While the scope of SOEs has decreased over the last 40 years, many remaining SOEs, concentrated in strategically important industries, arguably play a more important role than ever before. China’s rise to a high-income economy requires ever-increasing efficiency with regard to the returns from capital invested. A considerable amount of political and financial capital is funneled, both directly and indirectly, towards SOEs. The reliance on state-led economic growth following the GFC is a key contributor to China’s slowdown in growth. The growing role of the state in resource allocation and the deteriorating performance of SOEs has occurred almost simultaneously with slowing growth and points to a clear opportunity for resuming SOE reform.48 Before laying out the various possibilities, parameters, and implications of further SOE reform, the current approach to SOE reform must be considered critically. 2. The Potential for Resuming SOE Reform SOEs in the PRC have always been far less efficient than private firms, but they have always commanded a much larger quantity of assets and resources. The difference in returns between private and state firms is at an all-time high. Between 2005 and 2016, the number of state firms reporting losses had declined slightly, but the absolute size of the losses increased sevenfold.49 Although fewer firms are posting losses, the loss-making firms are losing more money than ever. In this period, the return on assets of state companies fell by 2.3 percent. 1.2 percent of this decline was due to rising losses, and 1.1 percent was due to the declining profitability
48 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 16-17. 49 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 50.
of profitable state firms.50 This large domestic disparity in performance represents a loss of potential economic growth.51 If state firms could close the gap in efficiency with private firms, or if more productive private firms were allowed to acquire underperforming state assets, the resulting efficiency gain in the aggregate allocation of assets would bolster economic growth. In fact, the estimated efficiency gains from eliminating this gap would raise China’s GDP by 5 percent.52 Misallocation of capital, insufficient profit-maximizing behavior, and soft budget constraints have allowed poorly performing SOEs to survive and expand. It is becoming clear that SOEs have diminished economic growth, and the data suggest that the efficiency gap is continuing to widen despite efforts under the current reform approach. There is a potentially feasible and effective approach to reform that might allow China to take advantage of this opportunity. One method would be promoting real, market-oriented mergers and acquisitions. Unlike the state-orchestrated mergers under the SASAC mentioned previously, individual firms can be enabled to participate in M&A activity.53 By allowing private firms to acquire some underperforming state companies or assets, increased exposure to competition and profit-maximizing behaviors could remedy many of the flaws that caused those assets to perform poorly. Instead of using mergers to consolidate the inefficiencies of the SOE system, M&A can be used to offload financial burdens and let the market encourage innovation and financial performance. For example, on December 9th of last year, the three state-owned energy companies (CNPC, Sinopec Group, and CNOOC) merged to form the National Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Group. The merger will consolidate the pipeline networks of three major SASAC holdings totaling a combined US $71 billion in combined assets.54 It’s too early to tell if this move will increase efficiency by consolidating the transportation of oil and natural gas, or if this is yet another instance of the SASAC merging multiple large SOEs in order to create larger super-SOEswith the goal of artificially enhancing their ability to withstand increased global competition. Only 50 Ibid., 52. 51 Ibid., 46. 52 Ibid., 49. 53 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 102. 54 Louise Moon, “China Establishes 3-in-1 Oil Pipeline Operator to Enhance Efficiency,” SouthChina Morning Post, December 9, 2019.
time will tell, but it has the potential to be a step in the right direction. SOE reform can also be stimulated by increasing domestic competition on the supply-side. Providing more support for private firms and lowering entry barriers could serve a dual purpose of pushing SOEs to become more competitive while also reducing their costs.55 It remains highly unlikely that existing state monopolies or oligopolies will be broken up in various strategic sectors in the near future. However, gradually allowing private participation in these sectors could be mutually beneficial for all parties. Private firms gain entry, and state firms can cut costs by outsourcing stages of the production or distribution process. A new wave of SOE reform with a renewed emphasis on increasing competition and reducing political interference could help address the inefficiencies that are holding China back from fulfilling its growth potential. 3. Obstacles to SOE Reform Regardless of the apparent need or high potential for further market-oriented SOE reform, meaningful reform efforts will travel on the path of most resistance. Numerous obstacles stand in the way of implementing future economic reform. The most potentially problematic adversary for reform efforts is the top leadership of the CCP and their commitment to the SOE system. The leadership has operated under the assumption that SOEs are essential to maintaining the party’s control and achieving strategic party objectives. Furthermore, they seem willing to tolerate the diminishing effect that SOEs have on economic growth as long as they continue to serve the interests of the party.56 The prospective value that SOE reform could stand to supplement China’s economy with has been outweighed by the fundamental value that Xi and the CCP place on the ability to command extensive economic and political authority. Xi’s attachment to the SOE system is a fundamental obstacle to market-oriented reform. There cannot be market-oriented economic reform in China without reforming SOEs as well. This commitment to SOEs and the emphasis on state-party authority is indicative of what is possibly the CCP’s greatest fear: instability. 55 Dong Zhang and Owen Freestone, “China’s Unfinished State-owned Enterprise Reforms,” Economic Roundup2 (November 2013): 79-102. 56 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State(New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 15.
Another significant obstacle facing far-reaching economic reform is the Chinese leadership’s fear of social or economic instability. Reform would likely result in the downsizing of the state sector, significant job losses, and short-term growth slowdown and could exacerbate already-growing social unrest in China.57 Private firms would not be able to immediately expand to fill the employment gap. Although some state firms may be taken over by private firms, a large number will likely be fully liquidated if they remain unprofitable even with better management or reduced state interference. Even those firms that are taken over by private interests will experience major downsizing. The Chinese leadership has made it known through official media outlets that avoiding the type of layoffs which occurred due to SOE reform in the 1990s would be a priority. Unemployment is not the only risk that would accompany an aggressive reform package. China’s credit and debt problems could threaten financial stability. Although China has made some progress addressing the buildup in domestic debt since the GFC through deleveraging non-bank financing credit, reducing the liabilities of SOEs is much more challenging.58 Many of the most heavily indebted state firms are those that have been borrowing to cover a long history of ongoing losses. Since these firms lack sufficient profits, reform could result in widespread loan defaults.58 These defaults would put enormous pressure on those financial institutions that have lent large sums to SOEs for long periods of time. The nature of the previous obstacle threatens to push reform efforts in the wrong direction towards further consolidation rather than meaningful progressive reforms. Since the establishment of the SASAC in 2003, consolidation has been the most appealing method of reform. On the surface, consolidating core and strategic state-controlled firms is an attractive option for would-be reformers. Merging the powerful yet inefficient firms in strategic industries aims to promote international competitiveness and increase the availability of labor, capital, and client networks for China’s “national
57 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China?(Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019),122-123. 58 Ibid., 124. 58 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 125.
champions” to wield in consultation with the Party leadership.59 Further consolidation is a flawed method of reform because it represents a lateral move that not only fails to address the current issues with SOEs but also risks exacerbating those issues. Creating even larger SOE conglomerates out of China’s massive core firms, without the necessary downsizing that the Party firmly opposes, is likely to create an even bigger source of redundancy, inefficiency, and waste. Furthermore, doing so would only exacerbate current concerns over domestic and international competitiveness. The last sentence of the previous section alluded to potential costs of institutionalized Party leadership in firms. Staying the course of consolidation through mergers, acquisition, and mixed ownership threatens the ability of Chinese firms to attract private investment.60 Investors are already wary of the state’s support and direction of SOEs to fulfill commercial and political objectives. Consolidating the increased Party authority over these firms risks scaring away the private sector and will draw more scrutiny over foreign investment made by SOEs. The third major obstacle standing in the way of SOE reform lies in the implicit complexity of the modern SOE system. The first component of this obstacle is characterized by the opposing vested interest group which currently benefits from the system as it exists now. The policy channels between SOEs and the Chinese government provide a strong position for SOEs to influence policy. Since SOE reform primarily focuses on continued and increased exposure to market forces, decreased subsidies and tax exemptions, and removing barriers for potential competitors, SOEs as an interest group have every motivation to slow future reform. Despite no longer being a formal part of the bureaucratic system, senior managers in state enterprises retain high-level state and party rankings, which places them in a strong position to influence deliberations on future reform.61 Local government officials can also find themselves at odds with reform programs that might reduce local employment or fiscal revenues. Officials who expand fiscal revenues, meet growth targets and minimize local unrest are often rewarded with cash and increased 59 Wendy Leutert, “Challenges Ahead in China’s Reform of State-Owned Enterprises,” Asia Policy21 (2016): 88. 60 Wendy Leutert, “Firm Control: Governing the State-owned Economy Under Xi Jinping,” China Perspectives113, no. 1-2 (2018): 32. 61 Dong Zhang and Owen Freestone, “China’s Unfinished State-owned Enterprise Reforms,” Economic Roundup2 (November 2013): 79-102.
chances of promotion.62 As beneficiaries of the existing system, these vested interests may be highly motivated to maintain the status quo. Another facet of SOEs is their complicated and often confusing organizational structure. The period of unprecedented SOE consolidation and growth over the last two decades has created sprawling networks of disjointed holdings across the globe. Member companies consist of different bodies of varying size, financial performance, geographic location, number of subsidiary firms, etc. Additionally, different member companies and their bodies have varying levels of partial marketization.63 Their hybrid structure creates an assortment of intra-firm obstacles to further reform. Communication is a major issue in SOEs due to the lack of information-sharing mechanisms across departments, weak reporting requirements, and inaccurate information collection.64 Communication and reporting shortfalls often point towards a lack of oversight, but in SOEs, it could also mean that internal or external audits are so bureaucratically intensive that they foster inefficiencies while still failing to effectively scrutinize firms and their subsidiaries. Finally, reformers must contend with the politics within the firms themselves. The relationships among the top executives, member companies, and subsidiaries are often competitive which makes each one a potential point of conflict.65 Even if Xi Jinping and the CCP can get behind a progressive and comprehensive reform strategy, there are structural roadblocks within SOEs themselves that must be addressed. VI. Conclusion There is still significant room to resume the process of privatization gradually, and quietly, in order to cut certain loss-making enterprises that remain viable only through the financial and political support of the state. By implementing reforms that are mutually beneficial for both SOE and private interests, at least in the short 62 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 126. 63 Wendy Leutert, “Challenges Ahead in China’s Reform of State-Owned Enterprises,” Asia Policy21 (2016): 96. 64 Wendy Leutert, “Challenges Ahead in China’s Reform of State-Owned Enterprises,” Asia Policy21 (2016): 97. 65 Ibid., 97.
term, the threat of vested interests may be mitigated long enough for the changes to take hold. There are also contradictions with the fundamental challenge that Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership have leveled against SOE reform by ostensibly confirming the SOE system’s function as a lever of party control. “No issue is as central to the Chinese leadership’s legitimacy as ensuring rising income levels.”66 We previously established that the domestic disparity in efficiency between state and private firms is a key characteristic of China’s slowing growth. By committing to maintaining the present SOE system that perpetuates this disparity, the Chinese leadership weakens its ability to achieve this “central” goal. Furthermore, China’s pursuit of state-driven growth is inconsistent with Xi Jinping’s claimed goal to promote globalization and open the economy.67 An ongoing concern about China’s status in international relations is the significant involvement of the state in supposedly competitive enterprises. Many foreign observers are concerned that the unfair advantages the Chinese government bestows upon SOEs create an uneven playing field.68 Xi Jinping and China’s claim to “go global” and participate in free trade and open markets, while simultaneously advocating for the preferential status of state enterprise. Entry to Chinese markets is restricted, SOEs are protected, and outward-bound foreign direct investment actively targets leading firms in other countries.69 The overinvolvement of the state in so many sectors of the economy has diminished China’s status in the international community as well as its potential for economic growth.
66 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 95. 67 Nicholas R. Lardy, The State Strikes Back: the End of Economic Reform in China? (Washington DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019), 128. 68 Elizabeth Economy, Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and The New Chinese State(New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 211. 69 Ibid., 208.
South American Politics
Argentina’s Looming Default: Navigating a Debt Crisis & Global Pandemic By: Hank Cohen Editor: Raleigh Dewan A Troubled History Argentina remains a nation plagued by perpetual economic mismanagement with an endemic propensity for public expenditures that exceed government revenues resulting in large fiscal deficits. These misinformed policies lead the Argentine government to employ imprudent monetary policy and foreign borrowing, which fuels inflation and debt accumulation. These trends often bring Argentina to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF promotes global economic growth and financial stability in critical markets to avoid radical shifts in economic policy. Since its independence in 1816, Argentina has defaulted on its external debt nine times, entered into 21 IMF programs since 1956, and has experienced economic contractions for 22 of the past 58 years. The IMF mandates that countries who receive financial aid packages abide by strict austerity measures, with governments slashing spending and raising taxes. However, Argentina repeatedly fails to adhere to these regulations, most often avoiding cuts to public expenditures that its citizens rely on and expect. Argentina’s inability to disengage from this familiar cycle of economic downturns and financial crises is primarily due to problems posed by gradual neoliberal reforms, a lack of commitment to austerity measures by politicians and the public, and depleted investor confidence in the extremely volatile emerging market. Before Argentina’s first debt default of the 21st century, former President Carlos Menem committed the nation to neoliberal
principles during the 1990s, courting foreign investment, cutting barriers to trade, and privatizing ineffective state enterprises. As a result, persistent inflation fell to single digits and the IMF praised the country for its free-market reforms. However, when Menem left the Casa Rosada in 1999, corruption and the preceding Asian, Russian, and Mexican financial crises triggered capital flight in Argentina, while a currency peg adopted during the Menem administration prohibited the government from printing money, forcing them to adopt foreign borrowing. Widespread unemployment, poverty, and social unrest followed, as Buenos Aires erupted into riots. Argentina’s economy shrunk by a fifth and the government defaulted on more than $100 billion in debt to private creditors, the largest default in history at the time. From 2003 to 2015, Argentina’s Peronist legacy allowed for the consecutive presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Following the 2001 default, Néstor Kirchner was able to leverage beneficial global commodity pricing to implement redistributive policies and maintain fiscal surpluses without external funding, allowing him to be less accommodating towards private creditors during the 2005 debt restructuring process. As well, holders of Argentina’s defaulted bonds had not received payment on them since 2001, inclining them to be more flexible. Kirchner forced private creditors to accept a 70 percent “haircut” on their expected dividends before paying back the IMF in full. Following this conclusion, political support for the Kirchner’s soared as regular Argentine’s reaped the rewards of the distinct version of Peronism employed by their administrations, now known as “Kirchnerism,” which was marked by intense protectionism, unsustainable public programs, and unorthodox financing methods that led to grave deficits, inflation, and criticism from the international financial community. During her presidency, Fernández de Kirchner took an uncompromising position against bondholders who had refused to accept the 2005 restructuring agreement, leaving Argentina expelled from international capital markets for a decade, while strengthening her popularity among working Argentines. A Return to Normalcy?
In 2015, the election of the business-friendly and wealthy
former Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri was predicted to be a return to economic orthodoxy and development in Argentina, as he aimed to address the Kirchnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mistakes through structural reforms. Macri immediately cut export taxes, lifted currency controls, and resolved disputes with international creditors to regain access to capital markets. At the same time, the central bank raised interest rates to 25 percent to curb persistent inflation. Following these reforms, the Argentine economy contracted by 1.8 percent in 2016, which hurt a third of Argentines living below the poverty rate in 2016. To maintain political support for his reform package, Macri avoided addressing the budget deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP. President Macri employed traditional borrowing from international capital markets to spur growth, as the government issued $56 billion in external debt between January 2016 and June 2018. Still, interest payments caused the public budget deficit to grow to 6.4 percent of GDP in 2017. Increased capital inflows financing the deficit contributed to an overvaluation of the peso by 10 to 25 percent, causing the current account deficit to expand from 2.7 percent of GDP in 2016 to 4.8 percent in 2017. Dependency on external financing left Argentina susceptible to changes in the cost and availability of international capital, and this risk came to fruition in 2017. The U.S. Federal Reserve raised its interest rates, leading investors to be bearish towards Argentine bonds. Macri lowered his inflation targets raising international concerns over his commitment to austerity, and an extreme drought hurt commodity yields, as agricultural export revenue eroded. Investors sold their Argentine assets, which further depreciated the peso, making it even more difficult for the government to pay back its dollar-denominated external debts. To improve investor confidence, the central bank announced in April and May 2018 it would raise interest rates and pursue fiscal reforms to control the budget deficit. Yet, market volatility continued, forcing President Macri to approach the IMF, which ultimately granted Argentina a $57.1 billion bailout package (the largest in the fundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history) administered in installments. During this period, the government committed to unpopular austerity requirements to bring the primary deficit to equilibrium by 2020, despite projections of the external debt reaching $285 billion by 2019.
A Return to Normalcy… for Argentina The Macri government continued to enact gradual fiscal reforms, reducing the budget deficit from 5.3 percent of GDP in 2018 to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2019, without making significant gains. Still, rampant inflation, intense devaluation of the peso, economic contractions, and continued adherence to austerity lowered public approval of President Macri as the 2019 Presidential elections approached. Macri continued to advocate for economic pragmatism to guide Argentina through the recession. Nevertheless, the Peronist resurgence behind the ticket of party man Alberto Fernández and former firebrand, leftist president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, mobilized nostalgic Peronistas, while worrying investors who were familiar with the country’s populist past. After Fernández convincingly defeated President Macri in a shocking primary election result in August, capital flight, currency devaluation, and plummeting market valuations ensued, worsening the recession. Macri reinstalled illiberal policies in response. He imposed convertibility controls, rolled out tax breaks, raised the minimum wage, and froze fuel and utility prices to curb social unrest. The government announced it would postpone $7 billion in payments on short-term local bonds, extend the maturities of $50 billion in longterm bonds, and seek to delay repaying $44 billion in IMF loans. On October 27, 2019, 26 million voters participated in Argentina’s general election, as the Peronist Fernández - Fernández ticket secured the presidency over Mauricio Macri with 48 percent of the vote. After being inaugurated on December 10, 2019, President Alberto Fernández comes into government with an absolute majority in the Senate presided over by his Vice President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. However, he still faces a dire economic situation where two-fifths of Argentines are unable to afford a monthly basket of staple goods, and the year-on-year inflation exceeds 50 percent. The new government hopes to restructure its $105 billion in foreign debt, not including its obligation to the IMF. The Fernández administration will likely defer interest and principal payments to creditors for the next two years, and it could require even more concessions, as market evaluations expect a 50 percent loss in value of Argentine bonds’ face value. President Fernández is likely to increase wages for public and minimum-wage workers while raising pensions.
To address inflation, the government will maintain currency controls to protect the peso and price controls on utilities, while also negotiating with employers and unions to freeze prices and wages. While Fernández rebuked the IMF on the campaign trail to energize his Peronist base and held hope that he could avoid utilizing the remainder of the IMF loan, his government must still negotiate a deep debt restructuring with the IMF and private sector to prevent another external debt default. Despite economic saber-rattling by his more radical Vice President, Fernández signaled moderate pragmatism to attain the aid and patience needed from the IMF to address the inflation, unemployment, poverty, and recession afflicting the nation. He has worked extensively to garner IMF support to reschedule Argentina’s debt repayments. Fernández also enjoys solidarity from the IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, who inherited this situation from the previous IMF director, Christine Lagarde, making her more receptive to Argentine requests. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear to the government, the IMF, and private creditors that the country’s debt is unsustainable, as the fund argued the actions necessary to balance the country’s accounts while managing the debt-level was neither economically nor politically feasible (Under Fernández’s current economic plan, Argentina will not achieve a fiscal surplus until 2023 at the earliest). A tortuous default is likely to occur, requiring bondholders to make a meaningful sacrifice for a possible solution. However, private creditors are not eager to accept a “haircut” in the short-term if it is likely that they will have to restructure the debt again in the long-term. Since the IMF’s analysis of Argentina’s debt following the fall primary elections, the peso depreciated more than 40 percent, international reserves fell by about $20 billion, and real gross domestic product contracted more than expected, causing the gross public debt to rise to almost 90 percent of GDP at the end of 2019. At the same time, the poverty rate reached 36 percent, extreme poverty was 8 percent, and the country lost 167,000 private-sector jobs in 2019, with the unemployment rate hitting 9 percent. Extenuating Circumstances: COVID-19 Muddies the Water As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout Latin America, Argentina will face severe health and financial challenges, as 116
the economic effects of social distancing and global market volatility will overrun weak fiscal stimulus measures, deepening its recession as the economy contracts, weakening the peso and financial markets. Before the pandemic began, the likelihood of default, protectionist economic policies, insufficient government taxation, unimpressive export rates, and unemployment led many analysts to believe the economy would contract by 1.2 percent in 2020. The Economist Intelligence Unit now suspects a more significant contraction of 6.7 percent. On March 20, President Alberto Fernández imposed a national lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus, opting for the protection of public health over economic activity, despite the looming threat of default. Mr. Fernández must illustrate that social distancing measures are effective in flattening the country’s curve. As of now, his safety initiatives have garnered him politically advantageous public support, as his approval rating increased from 48 percent following his election to now 69 percent, but the number of reported cases has still risen to almost 2,000. Like many other emerging markets, health and economic concerns exist over Argentina’s 10 million impoverished citizens who lack sufficient access to sanitation and healthcare and live in informal settlements. The national lockdown sacrifices Argentina’s informal sector of the economy that makes up 36 percent of the economy, and federal and provincial authorities will struggle to support these individuals due to scarce resources. While government officials continue to negotiate with the IMF and private creditors over the logistics of its debt restructuring, Argentina will be unable to access international credit markets. As well, Argentina failed to maintain cash reserves during the 2000s commodity boom and will face the pandemic with little savings. To support any economic stimulus programs, Argentina will likely have to print pesos, driving up inflation once more. The problem facing President Fernández is inherently political and is only muddled by the complexity and uncertainty of a global health pandemic. If he surrenders to creditor’s demands for austerity measures, then his administration will lack the necessary resources to sustain public spending and prop up Argentina’s fledgling economy during this financial and public health crisis. The alternative could see Argentina’s government fail to reach an agreement in time to avoid a default, once again isolating Argentina in the global economy, severely 117
damaging the country’s credibility in international markets that will deter foreign investment for years to come. However, a question that some argue is that Argentina will likely not regain access to financial markets for some time given the country’s dismal economic record, so why not simply default? Ultimately, neither an amicable debt restructuring, nor a default will improve Argentina’s long-term economic situation. The periodic debt crises that afflict Argentina are a product of embedded structural and political problems. The public sector is massive, inefficient and contributes to the country’s large fiscal deficits. Citizens rightly distrust the national currency and financial institutions. Finally, the economy is comparatively not competitive enough in the international marketplace to gain the hard capital required to service debts and finance imports. The substantial reforms and austerity measures necessary to address these obstacles are historically, unpopular politically among Argentines and subsequently insufficient action from reactive public officials follows. As Latin America faces its worst recession in 50 years, Argentina will continue to navigate its complicated economic situation. However, it has become increasingly apparent that the tale of Argentina and creditors will not enjoy an idealistic conclusion. The only certainty is that Argentina’s road ahead will be among the most difficult for the world’s emerging markets.
Works Cited: • Binetti, Bruno. 2020. “Argentina Stares Down Yet Another Default.” Foreign Affairs, 9 March. • Gillespie, Patrick & Jorgelina Do Rosario. 2019. “The Man Who Would be Argentina’s President Terrifies Investors.” Bloomberg, 24 October. • Kirschbaum, Ricardo. 2019. “The Resurrection of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.” Foreign Affairs, 22 October. • Mander, Benedict & Colby Smith. 2020. “IMF to Argentina’s creditors: you must share the pain.” Financial Times, 19 February. • Mander, Benedict & Colby Smith. 2020. “Investors brace for losses in Argentina debt talks.” Financial Times, 20 February. • Mander, Benedict. 2020. “Argentina postpones debt restructuring deadline.” Financial Times, 1 April. • Marsh, Sarah & Brian Winter. 2014. “Chronology: Argentina’s turbulent history of economic crises.” Reuters, 30 July. • Pérez, Santiago & Ryan Dube. 2019. “Why Argentina Faces an Economic Crisis. Again.” Wall Street Journal, 25 September. • Roberts, James. 2011. “Holding the Kirchners Accountable for Argentina’s Economic Freefall.” The Heritage Foundation. (April 9, 2020). • Saldías, Nicolás. 2020. “Downtrodden in a Shut Down.” The Wilson Center: Argentina Project – Weekly Asado. Wilsoncenter.org/blog post/downtrodden-shut-down (April 10, 2020). • Stott, Michael. 2020. “14 Latin American nations seek IMF help to combat big recession.” Financial Times, 5 April. • U.S. Congressional Research Service. Argentina’s Economic Crisis (IF10991; January 28, 2020), by Rebecca Nelson. Congressional Research Digital Collection; Accessed: April 9, 2020. 119
• 2020. “IMF Staff Statement on Argentina.” International Monetary Fund. (Febryary 19, 2020).
Gracious Neighbors: An Overview of Humanitarian Aid Efforts for Venezuelan Refugees in Colombia By: Peter Wetherbee Editor: Varsha Appaji “You have to be doing things that matter responsibility, but also, responsibility with epic and beautiful and noble tasks” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Introduction: An Unparalleled Crisis in Latin America The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is facing a multifaceted humanitarian crisis. Due to the systematic violations of human rights, social control, repression, shortage of food and necessary medicines, failures to supply basic services such as electricity and water, widespread violence and extrajudicial killings, and an economic collapse resulting in a hyperinflation rate of 10,000,000 percent, over 4 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2014, with 1,408,055 of them residing in Colombia as of July 2019.1 Colombia and Venezuela share a land border of 2,219 kilometers, with 7 official border crossing points and an unknown number of informal crossing points. Additionally, only 850 kilometers separate the Venezuelan capital of Caracas from the nearest border town of Cúcuta, Colombia, making Colombia the most easily accessible destination for the
1 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group to Address the Regional Crisis Caused by Venezuela’s Migrant and Refugee Flows,” (2019)
majority of Venezuelans.2 Colombia and other Latin American states have been welcoming to migrants, but are beginning to buckle under the pressure as Venezuelans continue to migrate at an increasing rate that if not curtailed, could bring the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees to between 7.5 and 8.2 million by the end of 2020.3 This shocking increase in potential migrants raises the question: What has the humanitarian community done in response to the Venezuelan migration crisis in Colombia, and what areas need improvement as the crisis continues to worsen? The methodology used in the following paper comes from two associated approaches: content analysis and the chain referral sampling method. Content analysis aims to systematically transform a large amount of text, either in the form of academic articles or interview transcripts, into a “highly organized and concise summary of key results.”4 First, the texts are analyzed and distilled to the main points. Then, the content is divided into meaning units, at which point further condensation is possible if the study calls for it. Often, researchers can use content analysis to turn mass amounts of qualitative data into manageable quantitative data, which can then be codified and analyzed as such.5 For our purposes, content analysis is used to analyze the many articles and reports collected over the past month. The approach provides an overview of the literature and substantiates the main themes of the content from the past 50 years. The chain referral sampling method, colloquially known as “snowball sampling,” typically “yields a study sample through referrals made among people who share or know of others who possess” knowledge that could be helpful towards the research.6 The method is particularly useful when the subject matter is difficult to access, like when contained within exclusive groups or communities. Regarding this paper, the method is used to access to information on the migration crisis not generally available to the public, as the crisis remains a taboo topic for discussion particularly in international forums. From Oil-Rich to Dirt-Poor: Economic and Political Chaos Oil production and the welfare of the Venezuelan state have long been perilously intertwined. Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America in the 1970s, with the highest economic growth rate and lowest level of inequality in the region, having been an oil
country since the early 20th century.78 In Donald Kingsbury’s 2016 article “Oil’s Colonial Residues: Geopolitics, Identity, and Resistance in Venezuela,” he discusses that oil tends to contour not only the economies and geographies of countries, but also the “reasons for and technologies of warfare, the limits and prerogatives of sovereignty, and the exploitation and desecration of environments and their inhabitants in all late modern states.” 9 However, it does so unevenly, and Venezuela is no exception to the influence of colonialism on development and underdevelopment. This suggests that developing countries must catch up to the developed, rather than imply the devious and implicit relationship that developed countries have had in the growth of the developing world. Kingsbury argues that the coloniality of oil in Venezuela, caused by the processes of development in the North Atlantic hindering economic and political growth in the Global South, “naturalizes, hides, and rewrites maldevelopment as underdevelopment,” which in turn exacerbates already prevalent anxieties of dependency, modernization, and vulnerability to domestic and international events.10 Another major influence on events in Venezuela is the resource curse – the idea that an abundance of one or more highly valued natural resources, such as oil, dooms a country to inequality, corruption, and underdevelopment. While typically touted as theoretical, the resource curse manifests itself into reality in Venezuela, as it shapes the symbolic and material nature of daily life. The state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, exemplifies this relationship by sponsoring massive public works projects. Kingsbury ties the two ideas together in the following quote: “Since the early twentieth century, this structural dynamic has been dominated by petroleum extraction, by the prerogative to progress along a civilizational path forged by European norms, experiences, and narratives, and by an elite anxiety about the oil economy’s ostensible incompatibility with North Atlantic modernity. In the past, not only have all aspects of government policy been driven by the dynamics of petroleum production, so 7 Hausmann, R. & Rodríguez, F.R. Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse. Penn State University Press, (2013). 8 Kingsbury, D., “Oil’s Colonial Residues: Geopolitics, Identity, and Resistance in Venezuela,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 35, no.4 (2016). 9 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016): 423. 10 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016): 423.
too has Venezuela’s self-identification as a developing nation.”11 From the early 20th century until now, Venezuelan politics and society were defined by oil, yet contrasted by ambitions to free itself from the confines of being a petrostate. However, due to ongoing colonial influence and the tangible influence of the resource curse, Venezuela never developed beyond its dependence on oil. Prior to the perilous intertwinement of oil and the national political economy, Venezuela had emerged from the Latin American wars of independence in 1830 as one of the poorest countries in the region, with its infrastructure, political systems, and economy in ruins. Civil wars and fragmented sovereignty characterized the rest of the nineteenth century, highlighted through diametric struggles between the liberal and conservative parties / industrialization and agriculture / peasants and landlords.12 A Venezuelan nation-state only came into being following the consolidation of centralized control by Juan Vicente Gómez in 1908. After taking over a country with a lack of organizations, structures, and processes built to respond to pressures and manage demands on the national government, Gómez utilized his influence to broker deals between powerful foreign oil interests and the Venezuelan natural oil resources to consolidate financial, political, and military power in the executive branch of the relatively weak Venezuelan national government. With this system in place, one’s status and wealth depended entirely on proximity to the state, rather than capitalistic control over labor.13 According to Juan S. Gonzalez in his 2019 article “The Venezuelan Crisis and Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” Venezuela possesses the largest proven oil reserves when compared to the rest of the world, meaning that the “proceeds from oil sales provide nearly all of the foreign exchange necessary to fund the government and allow the government to import consumer goods, but also make the country vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of the oil market.”14 The wealth generated by oil in Venezuela powered its economy from 1920 until the regional economic collapse in the 1980s, when the country 11 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016): 426. 12 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016). 13 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016). 14 Gonzalez, J., “The Venezuelan Crisis and Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” Prism : A Journal of the Center for Complex Operations 8, no.1 (2019).
went from one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America to a country declining far more rapidly than its neighbors. Between 1972 and 1974, the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil “nearly quadrupled, raising over US$247 billion in export revenue by 1985,” resulting in the massive oil boom from 1974 to 1978.15 However, most of the income from the oil boom flowed into the hands of corrupt elites and political officials, causing the government to use future oil income as collateral for international governmental loans. Additionally, Venezuela failed to construct a financial architecture capable of absorbing large sums of surplus oil rents from foreign companies extracting oil in the country, with both factors resulting in the 1976 nationalization of oil. Starting in 1978 however, Venezuela’s economy experienced a sharp decline in both the Latin American commodities market and an increase in oil production competition around the world. Venezuela’s population struggled following the 1978 collapse in the economy – by 1997, the percentage of Venezuelan people living in poverty hit 60.9 percent, with 29.5 percent of the population living in extreme poverty.16 A political sequence began in February 1989 with a spontaneous uprising that saw up to 3,000 people killed in a subsequent government crackdown. This continued into the 1990’s culminating in the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 and the pursuit of self-management and self-valorization. The Chávez government moved to distribute oil rents through various social programs that helped the poor emerge out of poverty. By 2007, the poverty rate was cut in half and extreme poverty reduced to only 7.6 percent.17 Despite the opportunity arising from the early 2000s oil boom, which directly followed the election of 1998, as well as the vastly successful social programs that were initiated, Hugo Chávez set the Venezuelan economy up for failure. The lack of diversification combined with underinvestment in the infrastructure of the oil industry lead to underproduction throughout his presidency.18 Now under the Nicolás Maduro regime (which began in 2013 due to Chávez’s death from colon cancer complications), economic ruin has intensified by international sanctions and continues to 15 Kingsbury, “Oil’s Colonial Residues,” (2016): 425. 16 Weisbrot, M., Ray, R. and Sandoval, L., “The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators,” (2009). 17 Weisbrot, M., “Poverty Reduction in Venezuela: A Reality-Based View,” ReVista Harvard Review of Latin America, (2008). 18 Gonzalez, “Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” (2019).
manifest itself as political unrest. Maduro’s accession solidified the degradation of democracy in Venezuela, quickly pairing with Cuba to become one of two authoritarian regimes in Latin America. When the December 2015 national elections put two-thirds of the Venezuelan National Assembly in the opposition’s hands, the Maduro regime stripped the National Assembly of its authority and violently suppressed the resulting protests.19 Starting in 2013, the quelling of opposition also led the number of extrajudicial killings to reach over 8,200, committed under the accusation of “resistance to authority”. According to the non-governmental organization Observatorio Venezolano de la Violencia, 2,124 of those 8,200 killings occurred between January and May 2019.20 Outside of government-sponsored killings, Venezuela’s homicide rate has reached a level of 91.8 per 100,000 individuals, resulting in more than 28,000 killings last year alone.21 Economically, the national GDP declined 35 percent between 2013 and 2017 and consumer prices rose 833,997 percent in 2017 alone.22 Rooted in poor economic populist policies funded by inconsistent and nonguaranteed capital from the unilaterally funded economy and governmental corruption, the crisis resulting in significant migration from Venezuela can be divided into three distinct phases of displacement.23 The first phase began in 2000, when middle-class students and entrepreneurs left for the United States and Europe due to increasing insecurity following the failed coup attempt in 2002 lead by Pedro Carmona and supported by the United States. The second phase began in 2012 following the collapse of the Latin American commodities boom and Chávez’s fourth reelection, causing shortages of food and medical services to emerge. Migrants represented both the middle and lower class and their destinations still included the United States and Europe, but their destinations expanded to include Colombia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. 19 Gedan, B, “Venezuelan Migration: Is the Western Hemisphere Prepared for a Refugee Crisis?,” The SAIS Review of International Affairs 37, no.2 (2017). 20 United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of Human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” (2019). 21 Gedan, “Is the Western Hemisphere Prepared,” The SAIS Review, (2017). 22 Hanson, R. “Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave: As Venezuela’s crisis deepens, many are leaving. What are the politics behind conflicting numbers of migrants?” NACLA Report on the Americas 50, no.4 (2018): 356–359. 23 Hanson, “Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave,” NACLA Report, (2018).
The third and current phase began in 2015 when the humanitarian crisis spiraled out of control with unfathomable inflation paired with political violence, extrajudicial killings, intense medical shortages, and over 10,000 different protests in 2018 alone. Food insecurity is the main problem, with only 3 percent of households being able to afford three daily meals for each of their inhabitants. Presently, the crisis and consequential displacement of Venezuelans knows no socioeconomic bounds.24 Regional Response: A Concerned Latin American Community The UNHCR 1967 Additional Protocol to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as: A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.25 As reflected in the Cartagena Declaration of 1984 (agreed to by the Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico, and Panama), the definition states the parameters used to evaluate whether somebody is technically a refugee in the Latin American context. However, the 1967 definition “includes no capacity to protect persons denied even such basic rights as food, healthcare, or education” and strictly defines refugees as persons in danger of prosecution, excluding “stateless persons, victims of poverty, of natural disaster, or of generalized civil war.”2627Within Venezuela, 24 Freier, L., & Parent, N., “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History 118, no.805 (2019): 56–61. 25 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967” (1967). 26 Hathaway, James C., “Reconceiving Refugee Law as Human Rights Protection,” Journal of Refugee Studies 4, no.2 (1991): 114. 27 Innes, A. “States in a World of Asylum Seekers: Agency, Rights, Security.” Migration,
governmental corruption, political targeting of oppositional entities, and the severe economic crisis is affecting all citizens and is thus directly prosecuting every person within Venezuela. The definition of refugee status laid out in the Cartagena Declaration therefore should apply to all Venezuelan migrants.28 Irrespective of that conclusion, Latin American countries have been hesitant to grant Venezuelan migrants refugee status due to both the difficulty of guaranteeing full protection and services as well as the Maduro regime’s complete denial of the crisis. That is not to say that Latin American countries are reluctant to take in Venezuelans – most Latin American countries boast generous open-door policies and strictly adhere to human rights principles regarding migration and refugee conventions. Rather, they have opted to implement special visa schemes that provide differing levels of protection and ultimately still allow the movement of Venezuelan people.29 On 26 July 2019 the President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, announced the creation of two visas available to Venezuelan migrants: one being humanitarian in nature specific for entry into Ecuador, the other being an exceptional temporary residence for Venezuelans already in Ecuador.30 Latin American governments recognize that they are not equipped to handle the influx of migrants across their borders alone, and thus have turned to regional cooperation. The response to the crisis escalated with the creation of the Lima Group in 2017 under the leadership of then-Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Through the signing of the Lima Declaration on 8 August 2017, the group publicly expressed concern about the erosion of democracy in Venezuela and demanded that humanitarian aid be let into the country. While the group claims to be noninterventionist and will not consider militaristic action against the Maduro regime, the Lima Group is explicitly in opposition to the Maduro regime. On 7 August 2019, Peru hosted the International Conference on Democracy in Venezuela, which included all Lima Group member countries, regional actors, and international representatives. Citizenship, and the Challenge for Security: An Ethnographic Approach (2015): 91. 28 Freier & Parent, “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History, (2019) 29 Freier & Parent, “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History, (2019) 30 Interagency Group for Mixed Migration Flows Colombia, “Situation Report on Venezuela – July 2019,” (2019)
On 4 September 2018, the Quito Process initiated by Ecuador resulted in the Declaration of Quito on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Region, signed by many of the most important Latin American countries in dealing with the Venezuelan crisis.31 The Declaration stated that the signatories would combat intolerance, discrimination, and xenophobia against Venezuelans and protect Venezuelans against human trafficking and smuggling. Additionally, it declared that Venezuelan migrants would be able to apply for residency with expired documents and without needing passports, and that regional cooperation would focus on supporting high-inflow countries (like Colombia) through information and policy sharing. The Quito Process is the first collaboration of its kind in Latin America in both scale and scope, focusing on respecting international human rights standards and supporting their fellow Latin Americans.32 While the first Quito Process meeting hosted purely regional actors, the second meeting on 22-23 November 2018 included UN agencies and representatives from both the United States and various European nations, signaling an increase in cooperation and importance in the international community. While domestic politics within the Latin American countries influence their actions to some degree, overall, the response of the region has been overwhelmingly supportive towards the Venezuelan migrants. International and regional tensions rose following Maduro’s refusal of United States sponsored aid and supplies requested by Juan Guaidó for the people of Venezuela in February 2019. This resulted in Maduro breaking off diplomatic ties with Colombia, shutting down the border crossing into Cúcuta, and increasing border security to keep people in the country.33 These developments spurred the heavy involvement of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in the crisis, specifically in Colombia. International Response: The United States and European Union 31 Freier & Parent, “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History, (2019) 32 Freier & Parent, “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History, (2019) 33 Daniels, J., “Colombia struggles to cope with care in Venezuelan influx,” The Lancet 393, no.10187 (2019).
While the Latin American response has been direct and generally positive, the international response has been characteristically uncertain and incomplete. The crisis is difficult to speak about publicly on the international stage because of the Maduro regime’s complete denial of its existence. However, dialogue is necessary because the international community is unprepared for a migration crisis in the Western Hemisphere, especially when the United States lacks the will to aid others. An absence of humanitarianminded leadership in both the White House and a essentially defunct State Department, paired with reduced United States global soft power influence and the historical deference of nations in Europe to the United States for crises in the Western Hemisphere, make for an international community that is ill-equipped and unprepared to handle a migration crisis going into the next decade.34 Clearly, the risks to a life with dignity for Venezuelans demand international humanitarian responses, especially from influential actors such as the United States and European Union. Since 2017, the United States has sent a total of $568 million to support the response to the Venezuelan crisis, including $472 million in humanitarian aid from USAID and the State Department and $95 million in economic and development assistance.35 According to the OAS 2019 Report, the United States “provides the lion’s share (75 percent) of all the funding channeled to the response plan.”36 Understanding the American response to the Venezuelan crisis requires modern contextualization of the America-Chávez relationship that has existed for the last 18 years. Following the attempted United Statessupported coup in 2002, the reports of meetings between plotters and United States officials, and the United States’ backing of Pedro Carmona against Hugo Chávez, the relationship deteriorated quickly. Chávez took the opportunity to divide Latin America and Caribbean into pro- and anti-America blocs, bolstering his profile and utilizing the process’s confrontational nature to accelerate his domestic policy goals. At the end of the second Bush Administration under Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon, the United States set aside direct confrontation and public sparring with Venezuela, and instead pivoted toward “internationalizing 34 Gedan, “Is the Western Hemisphere Prepared,” The SAIS Review, (2017). 35 United States Department of State, “U.S. and International Community Actions on Venezuela,” (2019). 36 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group,” (2019).
their response through multilateral organizations.”37 By highlighting human rights violations and the breakdown of democratic norms, the United States achieved their goal of granting the Venezuelan people access to their own government. The Obama Administration sought to improve relations with Latin American countries, engaging selectively with Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) countries, silently undermining the bloc’s significance, and attempting to force Venezuela’s hand. The United States provided goodwill through multilateral diplomacy by seeking common ground with all governments, regardless of their political leanings, and supporting transparent and accountable institutions. These efforts helped bolster the region’s democratic development models and led to Obama’s second term policy of using a comprehensive regional approach to address the deteriorating political situation inside Venezuela. Through the encirclement approach, the United States successfully exposed to the world the horrid reality of the Maduro regime, spurred regional consensus on the issue of political and economic crisis within Venezuela, and encouraged support for the Venezuelan migration crisis.38 Since 2017, the Trump Administration has expanded economic sanctions from human rights abusers and money launderers to include Maduro, his family, and many other Venezuelan officials. Additionally, United States citizens are prohibited from trading in Venezuela. The current administration supports Juan Guaidó, the internationally recognized interim president of Venezuela, and lead a wave of countries to recognize him as the interim president .39 In August 2019, the United States began physically distributing supplies and goods to Venezuelans in Colombia through the framework coordinated by GIFMM. Most recently, USAID announced $52 million in prodemocracy, governance, and health resources to aid interim President Guaidó and help the devasted health sector. The next day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that “nearly $119 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the regional response, which includes $36 million for life-saving aid inside Venezuela.”40
Despite the current pledge of funds, the United States is clearly
37 Gonzalez, “Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” (2019). 38 Gonzalez, “Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” (2019). 39 Gonzalez, “Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” (2019). 40 United States Department of State, “U.S. on Venezuela,” (2019).
doing the minimum to aid the largest crisis in its hemisphere. USAID understands the gravity of the situation, as it maintains emergency supplies in Florida, ready to stock Colombia refugee camps, while the National Security Council calculates the chances of collapse. So why has there not been a greater response from the most powerful state in the Western hemisphere? A strong reason for why it is difficult to raise funds for humanitarian crises in the United States lies in that most people must feel like they identify with the people who need aid. According to a study conducted in 2018, people with strong world identities and weak national identities tend to support international humanitarian aid the most. Specifically, younger, educated, and affluent individuals feel they identify more with the superordinate group (the world) rather than the subordinate group (the nation).41 It is important to note that a large reason for the lack of public support for international humanitarian aid, at least in the United States, is the general lack of individual knowledge about international issues – Americans tend to think that they live isolated from the rest of the world.42 Ultimately, the Trump Administration should increase funding towards the response. Currently the United States has pledged just over $568 million in three years, but that is far less than the need expressed in the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, which totaled $738 million in 2019 alone. Additionally, the administration should halt the deportation of Venezuelan migrants back to Venezuela and grant Temporary Protected Status to migrants and refugees, as the situation in Venezuela is clearly not fit for societal reintegration. Finally, the United States needs to include Venezuela on its agenda with China, particularly in trade talks where the American government holds more leverage than the Chinese government. As China is one of Venezuela’s largest trading partners and the provider of most of Venezuela’s imports, finding common cause with the Chinese would be “the fastest and most effective way to arrive at a negotiated resolution of the Venezuelan crisis.”43 Whatever the avenue for solving the crisis, one thing is clear: America must lead the cause and provide the most support for its hemispheric neighbors 41 Alvarez, L., Boussalis, C., Merolla, J., & Peiffer, C., “Love thy neighbour: Social identity and public support for humanitarian aid,” Development Policy Review 36, S2 (2018). 42 Alvarez, Boussalis, Merolla, & Peiffer, “Love thy neighbour,” Development Policy Review (2018) 43 Gonzalez, “Salvador Allende’s Glasses,” (2019).
to the south. Following the lead of United States, the actions taken by the European Union are helpful but not enough given the reality, making up only 4.8 percent of the resources given to the response.44 The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) recognizes that the level of aid given is not in the least parallel to the actual level of strife happening in Venezuela. Importantly, the disproportionality has more to do with the resistance of the regime run by Nicolas Maduro to the international aid sent in response to a crisis that the regime refuses to acknowledge. For all intents and purposes, Venezuela is officially not in a crisis – the world knows otherwise, however. European public sentiment may be low in comparison to European responses to other crises, but the European Union has still contributed significantly to humanitarian assistance in Venezuela. Since 2016, the European Union donated more than $99 million to “assist Venezuelans in need inside the country, and those hosted in neighboring countries.”45 Humanitarian assistance is delivered through different United Nations agencies, international organizations, and the Red Cross movement, who does most of the implementation on the ground with the other 94 members of GIFMM in Venezuela, Colombia, and other neighboring countries. The aid helps GIFMM deliver healthcare, water, hygiene, sanitation, food, and assists migrants with emergency medical services, legal services, protection initiatives (specifically regarding human trafficking and gender-based violence) and shelter. Of course, the aid focuses on combatting the most vulnerable sectors in the migrant population: children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and indigenous groups.46 However, the European Union is working to increase their support in less direct ways as well. In addition to pledging more funds and resources, the European Union Parliament adopted a resolution on 18 July 2019 “condemning the repression and human rights abuses of the former Maduro regime” and supported a mission to establish a United Nations Commission of Inquiry to investigate the 44 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group,” (2019). 45 European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. “Venezuela Fact sheet,” (2019). 46 ECHO, “Venezuela Fact sheet,” (2019).
human rights violations and human rights violators in Venezuela.47 Additionally, the European Union partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the IOM to host an International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuela Refugee and Migrant Crisis, which took place in Brussels on 28-29 October 2019. Without international support, the response on the ground in the countries neighboring Venezuela, specifically Colombia, would not be physically or economically possible. Gracious Neighbors: Response in Colombia For a long time migration happened in the other direction, with Colombians fleeing the decades-long civil war between the government of Colombia, paramilitary groups, crime syndicates, communist guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the National Liberation Army, and finding a new home in Venezuela. Yet according to the July 2019 Situation Report on Venezuela published by the Interagency Group for Mixed Migration Flows in Colombia (Spanish acronym GIFMM), 1,408,055 of the over 4 million Venezuela migrants now reside in Colombia. They reside primarily in the border departments (the Colombian equivalent of American states) of La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Antioquia, and Nariño, which are not only affected by robust migrant populations, but also ongoing conflict. GIFMM is the primary coordinator of humanitarian efforts regarding Venezuelan migrants, as mandated by the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (RMRP) created by Response for Venezuelans (R4V). The effort consists of 55 IGO/NGO members with direct financial support from 16 official state governments and 24 other donors, including 10 UN departments. The humanitarian strategy to manage the influx of Venezuelan migrants coordinated by GIFMM consists of four distinct areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration, capacity strengthening of the host government. Different member organizations focus on different areas to disburse resources and materials strategically and efficiently. The following data is gathered from the GIFMM July 2019 Situation Report – all the numbers are from July only, unless specified otherwise. 47 United States Department of State, “U.S. on Venezuela,” (2019).
The first and most crucial area, direct emergency assistance, consists of providing food-aid, emergency and general medical treatment, access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene to nearly 364,500 beneficiaries through 22 key (coordinating) partners and 30 implementing (on the ground) partners primarily located in La Guajira, Norte de Santander, and Arauca. The most important aspect of direct emergency assistance is the provision of health care because migrants and refugees are often at risk of sexual assault, trafficking, and forced labor, and frequently have complex physical and mental conditions.48 Given that access to health care is not a right given to Colombians, international aid focused on providing medical services relieves a portion of the stress that is causing the Colombian health care to buckle due to the increase in patients.49 The primary organizations involved in providing direct emergency assistance are UNHCR, Action Against Hunger, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, IFRC, NRC, IOM, Plan International, ADRA, SNCRC, IRC, and Caritas Switzerland. The second area of protection provides Venezuelan migrants and refugees with information and orientation assistance regarding regularization, documentation, and asylum processes, as well as information on the prevention of trafficking, smuggling, and labor exploitation. When the Colombian government began issuing Border Mobility Cards in February 2017 and Special Stay Permits in July 2018, the Protection area of the RMRP plan kicked into action with the help of 14 key partners and 12 implementing partners. IOM has reported that 1.6 million Venezuelans now hold a Border Mobility Card, which allows migrants to move freely across the ColombiaVenezuela border.50 In July 2019, 75% of the 69,300 beneficiaries for the month resided in the department of Norte de Santander. Through cultural activities meant to integrate Venezuelans into the Colombia population held in La Guajira, Nariño, and 9 other departments as well as five alliances with private companies to guarantee jobs for migrants in Bogota, Atlántico, and Antioquia, the socio-economic and cultural integration area of the humanitarian response has a smaller, but just as impactful effect on the livelihood of 7,400 Venezuelan migrants. Through 5 key partners and 12 48 Gostin, L., Abubakar, I., Guerra, R., Rashid, S., Friedman, E., & Jakab, Z., “WHO takes action to promote the health of refugees and migrants,” The Lancet 393, no.10185 (2019). 49 Hanson, “Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave,” NACLA Report, (2018). 50 Hanson, “Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave,” NACLA Report, (2018).
implementing partners, 28 activities promoting peaceful coexistence and social cohesion facilitated “dialogues related to discrimination and xenophobia” against Venezuelan refugees and migrants.51 Socioeconomic and cultural integration services provide important economic independence and social entries into the Colombian host communities. The final humanitarian response is focused on strengthening the capacity of the Colombian government by supporting the health care system with technology and material donations, as well as building the capacity of governmental institutions for long-term sustainability. Through 7 key partners and 7 implementing partners, 60 individual institutions implemented changes to improve migrant and refugee assistance, including access to rights and regularization of migratory status. One major success of the area happened on 5 August 2019, when Colombia announced that over 24,000 children born within its borders to Venezuelan migrants will receive Colombian citizenship.52 Into the Future: Protecting the Right to a Life with Dignity Despite the progress being made in helping Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, there are still significant challenges as the situation continues to worsen and pressure continues to mount on Venezuela’s other neighbors. If the conditions in Venezuela do not rapidly improve, famine from complete lack of funds to purchase food imports, deterioration of citizen security from increasing vigilantism and violence by armed non-state groups, and political paralysis triggering civil unrest will cause the number of people fleeing Venezuela to dramatically increase.53 According to the Organization of American States, there could be between 7.5 and 8.2 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants by the end of 2020.54 Simply put, Colombia and the GIFMM desperately need funding and material support from the international community if they are to continue their efforts along the border and throughout Colombia. Colombian 51 Interagency Group for Mixed Migration Flows Colombia, “Situation Report on Venezuela – July 2019,” (2019) 52 Kurmanaev, A. and Gonzalez, J.C., “Colombia Offers Citizenship to 24,000 Children of Venezuelan Refugees,” The New York Times, (5 August 2019). 53 Gedan, “Is the Western Hemisphere Prepared,” The SAIS Review, (2017). 54 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group,” (2019).
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that his government “requires at least US$1-2 billion to continue bringing services to Venezuelan migrants and refugees,” which is nowhere near the $738 million asked for by the UN and the $61 million that has been given directly to Colombia since 2015.55 Donations to the Syrian situation bring in around $5,000 per Syrian refugee, as compared to only $100 per Venezuelan migrant.56 Following the first half of 2019, the United Nations has only been able to collect 21 percent ($158 million) of the total estimated in the RMRP, meaning that the operation still lacks $579.5 million dollars.57 To increase public support for aid in and out of the United States, organizations should encourage a sense of world citizenship and directly challenge nationalist rhetoric. Importantly, world citizenship relies on “global connectedness, global awareness and knowledge, a sense of responsibility to act, [and] caring for others,” which emphasizes a certain cross-cultural and cross-border interconnectedness.58 The more that organizations can create a narrative of “us” rather than “them,” the more likely they will be successful in securing the necessary support for causes around the world. A 2018 study entitled “Grand Challenges for Humanitarian Aid” gathered that the top 10 humanitarian challenges moving into the next decades will be as follows: to strengthen economies, reduce inequality, improve metrics, address funding, protect identity, expedite aid, save more lives, support mental health, democratize data access, and boost direct communication.59 Moving forward into the future, four main principles should govern humanitarian actions – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. There are still many aspects of the humanitarian aid response that need to be developed, particularly in the realm of medical treatment. Enhanced surveillance, strategies for improved prevention and control, prompt diagnoses, early individual and collective interventions, education, drugs, quarantine, and vaccines would all
55 Daniels, “Colombia struggles to cope,” The Lancet, (2019). 56 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group,” (2019). 57 Organization of American States, “OAS Working Group,” (2019). 58 Reysen, S., Pierce, L., Spencer, C. J., & Katzarska-Miller, I., “Exploring the content of global citizen identity,” The Journal of Multiculturalism in Education 9, no.1 (2013). 59 Daar, A., Chang, T., Salomon, A., & Singer, P., “Grand challenges for humanitarian aid,” Nature 559, no.7713 (2018).
significantly improve the lives of both Venezuelans and Colombians.60 Furthermore, an effort must be made in “affording migrants and refugees access to health and social protection on a fully equal basis,” by incorporating the voices of vulnerable communities and fighting the dangerous realities of discrimination and xenophobia.61 According to Marianne Menjivar, the country director for Colombia and Venezuela at the International Rescue Committee, “Until people around the world see the images of a child in Syria, covered in rubble, or of a child drowned and washed up on a beach in Greece, it is difficult for people to get mobilized, to understand the plight of these people.” The global community must recognize the severity of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and commit to aiding the efforts already in place to help defend the right to a life with dignity for all Venezuelans.
60 Rodríguez-Morales, A., Suárez, J., Risquez, A., Cimerman, S., Valero-Cedeño, N., Cabrera, M., Paniz-Mondolfi, A., “In the eye of the storm: Infectious disease challenges for border countries receiving Venezuelan migrants,” Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 30, (2019). 61 Gostin, et al, “WHO takes action,” The Lancet, (2019).