The Wilson Journal Spring
The Wilson Journal of International Affairs Spring 2019
Contents Editorial Staff
From the Editor
The United Nations Security Council: An Analysis of Fairness and Democracy in an Anachronistic Tradition
A strategy to Reduce Violence against Yazidis in Iraq
The Oxymoron of Haitian-Dominican Citizenship
Examining Sino-American Existential Insecurity and Economic Partnership Vis-a-vis the South China Sea
Different Strokes for Different Folks: Divergence in U.S. and Chinese Post-Crisis Economic Policy
Varun Sharma and Eric Xu
Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief
Information About the Wilson Journal The Wilson Journal of International Affairs is the University of Virginiaâ€™s preeminent publication for undergraduate research in international relations. The Wilson Journal is developed and distributed by the student-run International Relations Organization of the University of Virginia. The Wilson Journal is one of the only undergraduate research journals for international relations in the country, and aims both to showcase the impressive research conducted by the students at UVA and to spark productive conversation within the University community. The Wilson Journal seeks to foster interest in international issues and promote high quality undergraduate research in foreign affairs. The Journal is available online at wilsonjournal.org
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From the Editor Dear Reader, At home, Americans are staring down another presidential election. Even with the Mueller findings, the sanctity and legitimacy of American elections has been tested. Ukraine’s presidential election will also be struggling with legitimacy, as it begins among claims of bribes. Venezuela has been embroiled in a snap election and complex disputes over the country’s leadership. In good election news, Slovakia made important history by electing its first female president, Zuzana Caputova. Voting is not simply the new millennial trend, it is an institution of great power and importance that elicits contention around the world. It is only March, but 2019 has already provided great challenges. New Zealand made news this year by passing gun control legislation a mere 10 days after the terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch. France has been dealing with the “yellow vests” (‘gilets jaunes’) movement, a populist grassroots political movement for economic justice that began in France in November 2018. As the crises in places such as Central America and Burma continue, the plight of China’s Muslim Uyghurs remains relatively hidden. The one issue that seems to be engulfing the entire world right now is climate change. Teenagers everywhere are telling their governments that they have had enough of climate denial, and that green solutions need to be implemented immediately. At the end of the day, countries cannot exist without land. Every year, the Wilson Journal of International Affairs presents some of the finest research completed by students at the University of Virginia. The Journal covers a small sample of topics, but I hope that its contents can serve as a curated collection of student thought and research, as well as inspire further study. Susannah Gilmore’s article tackles the United Nations Security Council, analyzing fairness and democracy in an anachronistic tradition. Nicholas Carmichael’s article offers a strategy to reduce violence against Yazidis in Iraq. Brook Habit’s article delves into the relationship between the Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the oxymoron of Haitian-Dominican citizenship. Hallie Griffiths examines Sino-American existential insecurity and economic partnership vis-à-vis the South China Sea. Lastly, Eric Xu
and Varun Sharma’s article explores the divergence in U.S. and Chinese postcrisis economic policy. Similar to my goal last semester, I sought to include diversity of thought within international affairs in the Journal, and these authors offered a range of compelling topics. I have encouraged growth and change within the Wilson Journal this year; however, its mission remains constant: the Wilson Journal seeks to promote a robust discussion of foreign issues by harnessing the research expertise available on grounds. The Wilson Journal would not be possible without the ongoing support of the University community. First, I would like to recognize the International Relations Organization for its continued support and partnership. Special thanks are extended to the University’s faculty, who enthusiastically support our Journal and provide invaluable mentorship to the undergraduate student body. I would like to mention John M. Owen, IV, the Taylor Professor of Politics specifically, as he is one of the Journal’s most consistent supporters. Additionally, I want to thank my editorial staff, who have shown incredible skill and dedication in the creation of this Journal, and my senior editorial staff, who have been essential in the success of this Journal. Lastly, I would like to thank you, the reader. You make this Journal possible and we value your passion for academic discourse. I hope the articles that follow inspire you in the research you pursue. As I end my last days as Editor-in-Chief, my goal is to connect every potential reader’s interests with our scholarship. Sincerely,
Sarah F. Corning Editor-in-Chief
The United Nations Security Council: An Analysis of Fairness and Democracy in an Anachronistic Tradition By Susannah Gilmore About the Author Susannah Gilmore is a 4th year undergraduate double majoring in Foreign Affairs and Global Sustainability from Richmond, Virginia. In Spring 2018, she studied abroad at Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg in southern Germany, where she studied political science and German language, and wrote this paper for a class on United Nations policy. Currently, she is an intern in the Education Abroad Office. After graduation, she hopes to work in government and eventually foreign service. Foreword The acceptance of Susannah Gilmore’s paper titled “The United Nations Security Council: An Analysis of Fairness and Democracy in an Anachronistic Tradition“ for publication in the Wilson Journal is a much deserved reward for an exceptionally well researched, written and structured term paper. The piece concluded Gilmore’s participation in my introductory lecture course into International Relations that focused on issues of global governance, globalization and regionalization. The United Nations was one of the themes of that lecture, prompting Gilmore to probe deeper into the world organization’s reform agenda which, in particular, focuses on the UN’s most influential body, the Security Council. The structure of the Security Council, including permanent membership of five major powers, also known as P5, has been rightfully criticized as anachronistic, reflecting the global power configuration of the immediate post-World War II era. The P5 - consisting of the US, Russia, China, the UK and France - have been
endowed with veto power, which they have frequently used, often in order to give precedence to narrow national interests rather than contributing to the overarching objective of the UN, that is, maintaining peace in the world. Gilmore analyzes competently the asymmetries in the UN’s institutional architecture. She carefully discusses the pros and cons of the veto and by studying four well selected cases, enhances the reader’s understanding about the motivations to use the veto and what devastating consequences the veto might have. The Rwandan and Syrian cases are persuasive examples. I also welcome the attempt to discuss various reform proposals to overcome the current deadlock in reforming the UN’s executive multilateralism, although more than those discussed in the paper are on the table. I am happy that the paper was selected for publication by the Wilson Journal, as it gives other students a shining example how to produce a highquality paper in the field of political science and contemporary history. Prof Dr Jürgen Rüland University of Freiburg, Germany Abstract In recent decades, the United Nations has received considerable criticism over its structural and political problems. Much evidence points to the United Nations’ lack of effective and timely action in matters of crisis, as well as abuses of power within the member structure. The veto power vested in the UN Security Council has specifically permitted misconduct and undemocratic decision-making. Therefore, the misuse of this power necessitates extensive reform to both remove the power veto and also to restructure the United Nations in order to ensure fair and timely resolutions. In this paper, I will 1) give a brief history of the foundation and formation of the United Nations as well as statistics concerning veto power by country and by issue in the context of world events and key leaders, 2) outline the strengths and weaknesses of various arguments for and against the United Nations Security Council veto power, 3) explore four relevant case studies concerning Russia’s use of the veto in recent Syrian matters, China’s veto of the Guatemalan peace accords in 1997, the United States and France’s roles in the Rwandan Genocide and the United States’ use of the veto in the
Israel-Palestine conflict, 4) present several possible solutions to the current unsatisfactory United Nations Security Council structure including majority voting and majority veto voting, and 5) discuss in detail the “Binding Triad” proposal, which provides a new system of voting within the UN Security Council that attempts to more fairly distribute voting power through a triple majority vote of all members. I will conclude with my opinion on which solution is most viable and effective and what further research should be done on the matter. I. Introduction The United Nations, an international peacekeeping organization established as a result of World War II, remains the primary mode by which international cooperation and security action attempt to resolve global conflicts. It is the closest structure to a global government that the world has ever seen, and it has passed a significant number of resolutions that have positively progressed the over-arching goal of global peace. The United Nations Charter states in its opening chapter that its purposes are to “maintain international peace and security, . . . develop friendly relations among nations based on respect . . . achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character . . . [and] be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends” (Charter of the United Nations). While some argue that the UN has largely succeeded in serving these purposes, many also agree that its structure is hopelessly flawed, specifically regarding the special veto powers of the Security Council’s five permanent countries, which can prevent any resolution from moving forward with a single veto. In fact, the United Nations General Assembly has coined the phrase “one nation, one vote, and no power” to emphasize the frustrating stalemates that occur so often (Daley 2016). In the remainder of this paper, I will further discuss the problems of the United Nations’ internal power structure, as well as proposed solutions using, a variety of sources from media articles, historical journals, essays, literature, and statistical studies. II. History of the League of Nations and United Nations Security Council By the time the United Nations formed in 1945, veto powers and permanent/semi-permanent members were not a new concept. In the
formation of the League of Nations in 1920, four permanent members similarly assembled—the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan. By 1936, these four permanent members, as well as 11 non-permanent members, all had veto powers in that their rejection of certain pieces of legislation would render that legislation unmovable. Some argue that one of the main reasons the League of Nations ultimately failed was because of its inability to move legislation forward, since the veto power often led to indecision when a unanimous vote was required. In 1945, the establishment of the United Nations framed itself similarly in that it also assigned the veto power, although only to certain permanent members. It required unanimity among the five permanent members of the Security Council to pass legislation, which at the time included the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and France. The United States especially pushed for this unanimity clause. At the Yalta Conference in 1945, President Roosevelt proposed the veto power so "the Organization could take no important action without their joint consent” (Wilcox 1945, 944). This proposal caused disagreement between the countries at the conference, but the United States made it clear that it could not join without it (Wilcox 1945, 943-956). According to United States advisor Francis Wilcox, United States Senator Conally went so far as to rip up a copy of the United Nations Charter in a dramatic speech during a conference, signaling to other states that their “ defeat” of the veto meant the end of the Charter (Epstein 1995). Members finally agreed upon the clause, and thus the veto power was established. In the charter, the veto is only briefly mentioned in Chapter V, which states that "the concurring votes of the permanent members" are required for decisions (Charter of the United Nations). The United Nations veto system was supposedly established in order to prevent the body from taking harmful action against its founding members; however, many smaller countries resented the veto power, feeling that it was forced upon them as a threat—that without it, the United Nations would not form. III. Historic Use of Veto Powers The United Nations Security Council has used its veto power in a variety of situations, with over 204 vetoes between the years of 1946 and 2018 (United Nations Security Council, Research). Of those vetoes, roughly 45%
have been issued from Russia and the Soviet Union, 33% from the United States, 12% from the United Kingdom, 6% from France, and 4% from China, as displayed below in Figure I. Additionally, most of the vetoes have been issued from one or more of the Security Council’s three North Atlantic Treaty Organization members (Kessel and Richter 2017).
Figure I: Displaying Security Council P5 vetoes by country from 19452018 In 1973, Ambassador Charles W. Yost cast a United States’ veto concerning Israel, when he voted against a resolution that would condemn Israel for its war with Syria and Lebanon in 1970. This marked the beginning of a long tradition of the United States’ use of the veto to block resolutions that negatively affect its ally, Israel. Later, in 2011, Obama ordered a similar veto which prevented the UN from condemning Israeli settlements. The most recent veto on this matter occurred this past June when the United States rejected a resolution that would protect Palestinians while condemning Israel. Russia has used its veto more than any other country, which in its early days even caused others to nickname Soviet Union Foreign Affairs Minister Vyacheslav Molotov “Mr. Nyet,” or in English, “Mr. No,” as 79 vetoes from the Soviet Union were used in the first 10 years of the organization (The Return of Mr Nyet 2008). Many of these early vetoes blocked resolutions for new memberships in retaliation for the United States’ refusal to admit all Soviet Union republics. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has mainly used its veto on resolutions concerning the conflict in Ukraine and Syria. Recently, in Ukraine, many argue that Russia is abusing its veto power by preventing UNSC resolutions from addressing the political unrest in the country. In 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged the need
for reform within the Security Council, specifically to remove Russia’s veto rights, asserting, “The UN requires immediate reform to deprive the aggressor state of its veto right” (UNIAN, 2018). The United Kingdom first used its veto in 1956 to block a proposed letter from the United States to the Security Council regarding Palestine. Other notable instances in which the United Kingdom used its veto power were again in 1956, when the U.K. blocked a resolution to resolve the Suez Canal crisis, and in 1963, when the U.K. vetoed a resolution condemning Britain for failing to use force to overthrow the Caucasian-minority government of Rhodesia.(Paul, Global Policy Forum). France has most often used its veto alongside its neighbor, the United Kingdom, but occasionally as the sole veto. In 1976, France unilaterally vetoed a resolution that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the Comoro Islands off the coast of Africa in order to maintain its influence over the region. France has also used its veto with Britain to reject a resolution that would call upon the termination of military action by Israeli forces against Egypt in the Suez Crisis. In a tense moment, France threatened the United States with a veto should a resolution be put forward allowing for war against Iraq in 2003, which I will further discuss in the remaining sections of this paper (Paul, Global Policy Forum). China has used its veto power the most sparingly throughout UN history, first in 1955 (then represented by Taiwan) to block Mongolia’s application for membership, which held strong until 1960, when China conceded under pressure from the Soviet Union. (Vetoes Draft Resolutions in the United Nations Security Council, 2019). In recent decades, China has generally abstained its vote when resolutions do not directly concern its interests. The country has also vetoed in concert with Russia to prevent sanctions and military intervention in Syria in 2011 and 2012, respectively. IV. Argument against P5 veto powers Many voices point to the unrepresentative nature of the United Nations’ current structure, in that very few regions are represented. No African, Latin American, or Middle Eastern states are among the permanent members—nor is India, though its large population and expanding economy make it a key influencer in the world. The United States, France, and United Kingdom are all Western countries, which causes a disproportional influence
on Security Council decisions. The vetoes of these permanent members act in directions to forward their countries’ national interests, which often conflict with the United Nations’ overarching goal of peace. By putting the fate of peace interests around the world into the hands of five nations, the United Nations risks a veto of a single nation undoing years of work on existing peace issues. Many have heavily criticized the United Nations Security Council for its inability to take action on important, time-sensitive matters which sometimes result in loss of life. Because just one of these vetoes, or often mere threats of vetoes, can so easily dismiss a resolution, the Security Council only operates pragmatically and effectively when the resolution at hand concerns the protection of the five permanent members’ interests. History has demonstrated that the Security Council is unable to take action that goes against the foreign interests of the P5. As a result, the UN has repeatedly deadlocked on important matters. For the reasons discussed above, many consider the Security Council P5 veto power anachronistic. UN researcher Peter Nadin wrote that “. . . the veto is an anachronism . . . In the twenty-first century, the veto has come to be almost universally seen as a disproportionate power and an impediment to credible international action to crisis” (Nadin 2016, 133-134). It does seem outdated for the permanent members of the council today to be the five victors of a war that took place nearly 80 years ago. World powers shift and flux, and this must be taken into account when assigning power to countries on the Security Council. It is often noted that two of the P5 members, Britain and France, are relatively medium-ranked world powers, whereas many other countries such as India, Germany, Japan, and Brazil—which have large economies and progressing industry and thus carry significant weight in world affairs—are severely underrepresented. The need for a more effective system of international governance is especially dire in light of potential imminent crises. Climate change especially has the potential to displace millions of people (most of whom live in alreadyimpoverished areas) from their homes and countries. A large climate-related refugee crisis looms in the upcoming decades as rising sea levels in coastal areas threaten infrastructure, and rising temperatures in the Middle East threaten health and agriculture crises. Inevitably, this would bring political conflict, which may require UN peacekeeping action. In addition, the population
growth accompanied by food shortages in the face of climate change will also likely require UN mitigation and response. The United Nations needs a reformed, secure voting system that will allow it to quickly and effectively respond to crises in a rapidly changing physical and political world. When discussing reform of the veto power, the system itself proves to be incapable of internal reform, since one can assume that one or more (if not all) of the P5 will oppose a decision to abolish the veto. In this case, it seems that the ineffectiveness of the Security Council is doomed to continue. Nevertheless, at the end of my paper I will present several options for viable reform. V. Hidden Vetoes and Their Problems Aside from the many Security Council resolution vetoes since 1945, there have been just as many, if not more, un-proposed resolutions that P5 members have prevented from coming to the table due to a “hidden veto.” I define the hidden veto as the direct or indirect threat of veto usage should a particular resolution be put forward that jeopardizes the foreign interests of an individual permanent member. These threats usually occur in private meetings before a resolution officially forms and can convince other council members to shift position or abandon a resolution before anyone can bring it forward. Hidden vetoes have a very negative and hindering impact on the ability of the Security Council to pass resolutions. For example, the United States consistently threatens to veto any Security Council measure deemed critical of Israel, its long-time ally. Many have also criticized China for using a hidden veto to prevent Security Council resolutions from taking action to designate Pakistan-based Masood Azhar as a global terrorist (China Again Sides with Pakistan, Blocks UN Move to Ban Masood Azhar 2018). India’s representative to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, stated in 2018 that the Security Council’s usage of hidden vetoes in situations “where it was never meant to be exercised” is negatively affecting the effectiveness of the Council. (The Tribune, 2018) Since these vetoes are usually not made public or known by all parties, they don’t receive much media attention, and thus the problem is underestimated. The issue of hidden vetoes outlines the larger issue that with such a small circle of veto-power countries, the outcome of almost every resolution is assumed beforehand, thereby affecting the process before it even
starts. VI. Arguments for P5 Veto Powers Varied arguments exist in support of the current permanent member and veto power system in the UN Security Council. One opinion asserts that the veto power crucially prevents the formation of dictatorships, one of the primary reasons for which the UN was founded after WWII. In this case, it could be argued that the current Security Council structure has been quite effective, since there has not yet been a dictatorship as destructive as the world saw in WWII. Another common argument holds that the veto needs to remain a powerful and strong tool only available to responsible, (mostly) democratic members of the UN. Referring to economic and political weight, this viewpoint acknowledges that the governments of many non-permanent states in the United Nations do not necessarily represent their population’s best and most forward interests. Many believe that the veto power lies in the most capable and leading nations, which can be trusted to make use of their weight to ensure that the UN does not unnecessarily intervene in situations that would waste resources or make matters worse. The P5 system is also deemed necessary to ensure aid from the five large countries, especially the United States. Nevertheless, the view that P5 countries should be entrusted with veto powers in order to “check” United Nations’ resolutions because these countries have better perceived foresight or intelligence is extremely paternalistic and implies an undemocratic system of governance. In reality, the P5 and veto power system allows these nations to undermine UN peacekeeping goals through the pursuit of their own foreign interests. The blocking of a resolution by a single veto against the unanimous support of every other Security Council member is a recipe for inaction and abuse of power. Additionally, some argue that hidden vetoes can serve as preventative checks which can benefit peace-keeping resolutions by thwarting potentially problematic actions. The most notable example occurred in 2003, when French President Jacques Chirac threatened a veto should the United Nations Security Council pass a resolution to threaten war against Iraq. He publicly stated during an interview, “My position is that whatever the circumstances,
France will vote no. . . We refuse to follow a path that will lead automatically to war . . . [For the United States to wage-war without the assent of the international community would set] a dangerous precedent”(Sciolino 2003). In this case, France argued for cooperation as an alternative to war threats, in direct opposition to the United States, which produced an unusually positive effect in that the resolution was not put forward. This, combined with the publicity gained through the use of French and worldwide media, served as an effective tool in keeping the United Nations, and particularly the United States, from making use of a threat of war. While this example does show a positive effect of the veto power, it is an extremely unusual case and is unlikely to happen in the future. Furthermore, the fact that the United States declared war on Iraq despite the United Nations Charter’s prohibition of this action, shows that France’s hidden veto in this case was not sufficient to prevent war. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2004, “I have indicated it was not inconformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and the UN charter point of view, [the war] was illegal” (Lessons of Iraq War Underscore Importance of UN Charter, n.d.). UN Security Council reform is direly needed to restructure the veto power and ensure that powerful countries will not abuse their positions. VII. Case Studies The following four sub-sections contain various case studies illustrating the problematic effects of the P5 Security Council veto: 1. Case 1: Russia and Syria As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia has used its veto power in order to block peacekeeping action from being taken in the ongoing civil war in Syria. Specifically, Russia has blocked many UN peace resolutions to investigate the government’s use of chemical weapons against the people of Syria, due to its close contractual relations to Assad. Russia has issued 12 Security Council vetoes against Syrian-related resolutions (Russia’s 12 UN Vetoes on Syria, 2018). Most of these have prevented investigation into the government’s use of chemical weapons, but Russia has also blocked other resolutions to prevent sanctions, condemnations, and accusations.
Russia has justified its Security Council veto on Syrian matters mainly through the denial that the circumstances pose a significant threat. In 2011, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated Russia’s adverse position to United Nations interference in the Syrian civil war, saying “The situation doesn’t present a threat to international peace and security. . . Syria is a very important country in the Middle East and destabilizing Syria would have repercussions far beyond its borders” (Hetou 2018). He then went on to support Assad’s own attempts at reform within the country. Russia has opposed resolutions that would enable the United Nations to threaten Assad with economic sanctions in response to chemical warfare. Many have suspected that this is because the arms embargo stated in the sanctions would hinder Russian firms from selling to Syria, which would eliminate Syria’s main source of war weapons. Russia has repeatedly called upon the United Nations to support the quick implementation of Assad’s reforms, rather than directly interfere via sanctions or investigations. Recently, in 2016, during the peak of the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Russia vetoed a resolution to call upon “all parties to the Syrian conflict [to] cease . . . any and all attacks in the city of Aleppo to allow urgent humanitarian needs to be addressed . . .” and give the United Nations and its partners “unlimited humanitarian access” to help the situation (McKirdy 2017). This past April, Great Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, commented that Russia had “crossed the line” in the international order and that Russia “would rather cross the Weapons of Mass Destruction line than risk sanctions” against Syria. Later, United Kingdom Foreign Minister Boris Johnson joined Pierce and tweeted that Russia was “ holding the Syrian people to political ransom” by continuing to support Assad’s regime (Sampathkumar 2018). Johnson made these comments in response to Russia’s most recent veto against a proposed UN investigation into the use of chemical weapons warfare in Syria. In regards to the United Nations, the relationship between Syria and Russia exemplifies how the current structure has allowed powerful nations to abuse the veto power and undermine international law to protect their own foreign interests. The vetoes made by Russia (and often China) are indicative of a short-term agenda as well as a neglect of violent humanitarian crimes. 2. Case 2: Guatemala and China
In 1996, the ongoing violence in the Guatemalan Civil war— fought between the Guatemalan government and leftist guerrilla groups (named the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca)--appeared to come to a peaceful resolution. The United Nations proposed a resolution to verify Guatemala’s signed peace accords by sending peacekeeping forces to the country. The mission seemed to be unanimously supported by many nations and had a very positive outlook of success. On January 10, 1996, China unilaterally vetoed the resolution, not due to a disapproval of the peace accords, but rather because it disliked the close ties shared between Guatemala and Taiwan, who China was in conflict with over sovereignty disagreements. China and Guatemala had engaged in earlier discussions in an attempt to negotiate its friendship with Taiwan in order to receive the UN resolution, but Guatemala refused to sever ties with Taiwan. China’s veto demonstrated how the veto power could be used by permanent members for reasons entirely unrelated to the resolution or issue on the table.. As a result, the veto of a powerful country punished a much smaller country against the support of all other four P5 Security Council members, as well as many of the semi-permanent members (Stop Abuse of U.N. Security Council Veto Power 1997). 3. Case 3: Rwandan Genocide and France/United States Just as P5 vetoes can result in the delay or abandonment of peacekeeping resolutions, hidden P5 vetoes can also pose just as many disastrous consequences in humanitarian crises. In early 1994, the Rwandan Genocide began as the Hutu majority government directed the slaughtering of the minority Tutsi peoples in mass numbers in response to the assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu. This led to the deaths of 500,000–2,000,000 Tutsis in the country and is regarded as one of the most brutal, devastating genocides in world history. At the time, the United Nations failed to intervene in Rwanda due to the hidden vetoes of France and the United States. France had maintained close relations with President Habyarimana while he was in power and had supported his military during the civil war in order to preserve French influence over the country. During the start of the genocide, France helped evacuate expatriates and Hutu officials in the country and reportedly refused to aid any Tutsis seeking evacuation, even separating expatriates and children from their Tutsi spouses
(Administrator, n.d.). The United States, on the other hand, abstained from intervention due to its fear of a similar situation that had occurred in Somalia and the lack of significant U.S. interests at stake in the situation. President Clinton stated at the time, “Whether we get involved in any of the world’s ethnic conflicts. . . must depend on the cumulative weight of the American interests at stake” (Genser 2016). Intelligence reports revealed that President Clinton was well aware of the planned genocide before its height (Carroll 2004). France and the United States also exerted their influence with hidden vetoes to weaken the United Nations’ stance on the genocide, preventing the Security Council from passing any resolution even containing the word “genocide,” as this would require intervention by parties under the 1951 Genocide Convention. This led to months of delay in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis’ lives were lost in Rwanda before any kind of humanitarian intervention occurred. Human Rights Watch advisor Alison Des Forges summed up the Security Council’s unethical inaction in a report, saying “The Americans were interested in saving money, the Belgians were interested in saving face, and the French were interested in saving their ally, the genocidal government. . . All that took priority over saving lives”(Rwandan Genocide Could Have Been Stopped, 2015). It’s clear through this situation that the P5 veto power has resulted in mass loss of life in humanitarian crises throughout history, both through direct and implied vetoes of world powers. It is unacceptable to allow these five world powers to dictate United Nations peacekeeping action according to their personal foreign interests, especially when so many lives are at stake. The P5—the United States especially—has an unequal amount of power and influence over UN decisions and context framing, as seen evidenced by the body’s successful attempt to prevent the Rwandan killings from being defined as “genocide” for the first three months. This is an abuse of power exercised in order to redefine factual global events to favor one’s foreign interests and has had quite obvious morbid consequences. 4. Case 4: United States and Palestine/Israel After Russia, the United States has vetoed the most resolutions proposed by the UN Security Council. Many of these have been resolutions that involve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The U.S. has been a long-term ally of Israel, providing billions of dollars in annual grants to
the country since 1985 (Fas, n.d.). This has rendered Israel militarily and economically dependent on the United Sates. Since 1970, the United States has used its veto power against resolutions concerning Israel 43 times (The 43 Times US Has Used Veto Power against UN Resolutions on Israel, n.d.). In 2016, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power stated the reason for the United States’ veto, saying “One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict. One had to make a choice between settlements and separation.” (Nichols, 2016). Most recently, the United States has vetoed resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory as well as resolutions denouncing the violence inflicted upon Palestine by Israeli forces, maintaining that Israel has the right to defend itself, albeit against many unarmed civilians. President Trump later vetoed a UN resolution calling upon the United States to reverse its decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; the resolution noted that the largest number of protestor killings occurred the day after the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. These recent decisions represent a long pattern of United States favoritism towards Israel, as the country has vetoed nearly all resolutions which seek criticize or threaten Israel in any way. Many would argue that this history of the veto shows the United States abusing its position as a permanent United Nations member in order to ensure its economic and political relationship to Israel. The United States gains extensive insight into Middle Eastern affairs through its close ties to the country and has collaborated in the past on technological projects. One such example occurred in 2010 when the two countries created a high-tech malware system used to infiltrate Iran’s cyber infrastructure and delay its progress towards the creation of nuclear weapons (Stuxnet Worm Attack on Iranian Nuclear Facilities, n.d.). Named the “Stuxnet Worm,” the system analyzed and infiltrated target Windows’ networks and computer systems, specifically targeting Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities and compromising them by having the ability to operate, access, and override various machinery and nuclear sites. The malware was so effective that any USB that was plugged into an affected computer system would immediately become infected and infiltrate any subsequent computer system it was plugged into. It is evident through this action that the United States gains a significant amount of access and information to pursue its foreign interests through its relationship with
Israel. By using its UNSC veto power to protect these interests, the United States demonstrates an abuse of power that is made worse by the lives of thousands of Palestinians at stake. The United States has also provided billions of its foreign military aid funds to Israel (which have been used against Palestinian protestors) in exchange for defense projects. Perhaps it is the realist nature of international relations to assume that the United States will stand by its ally through the use of its veto at the Security Council table, but it is the P5 system itself that allows this to happen and therefore must be addressed. In the following section, I will describe and analyze some of the solutions that have been proposed to fix the abuse of power and perpetuated stagnation that so often occurs in the United Nations Security Council structure. VIII. Solutions Various Solutions have been invoked to improve the UN Security Council. One popular solution calls for an end to the veto power, instead establishing a “majority rules” framework in which all countries cast votes to determine if action should be taken. A variation of this solution calls for a majority rule framework in which a majority vote from the current permanent members is required for any resolution to be passed. In the past, only 13 of all vetoed resolutions received vetoes from three or more permanent countries (United Nations, Security Council, n.d.). This would prevent a single state or two states from vetoing a resolution that the remaining three or four permanent states support. Additionally, propositions have been suggested that involve the United Nations only using the unanimous voting requirement in certain serious situations rather than every single resolution. In 2015, France proposed an amendment to the United Nations that would restrict the five permanent members of the UN Security Council from utilizing their veto power in specific cases of “mass atrocities and genocide” (Charbonneau 2015). After announcing the proposal, 75 countries representing Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia pledged their support out of the 193 UN member nations. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated France’s independent commitment to not using its veto in these cases, hoping that other nations would follow his example. The proposal noted the obligation that such a veto power entails, saying “We underscore that the veto is not a privilege, but an international responsibility.” While Britain has expressed support for the proposal, both Russia and China have
indicated disapproval. 1. Binding triad In the 1970s, founder of the Center for War/Peace Studies Richard Hudson developed a proposed solution for the UN Security Council voting system. The solution, known as the “Binding Triad,” allowed resolutions to move forward with three supermajority votes: the majority of the people, the majority of nation states, and the majority of financial contributions to the UN. Each resolution would need a minimum two-thirds majority vote in all three categories and would eliminate the power of vetoes. This proposal was intended to transform the United Nations into a “world parliament,” which would be able to make global decisions more effectively than the current UN. The Binding Triad proposal comes with two limitations to majority voting. The first is that the reformed UN would deal solely with international affairs, abstaining from any one nation’s internal affairs, and the second limit is that the UN would be forbidden to have its own military force. It would also call for a new World Court to be established when dealing with difficult international cases. This proposition appeals to some due to its relatively easy installment, as it would only take two amendments to transform the current United Nations charter into a limited world government. The first amendment would apply to the General Assembly voting system, specifically Article 18. The original article states that each member of the assembly receives one vote, that decisions on “important questions” will be made by a two-thirds vote, and that decisions on other questions shall be made by a majority vote of present members (Charter of the United Nations, n.d.). The new amendment would call for the triad voting system to make resolution approvals instead. Members would also need to amend Article 13 of the General Assembly chapter, which originally states that the General Assembly will make studies for the purposes of promoting international cooperation in the political, developmental, economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields. According to Frank Barnaby, the new amendment would shift the role of the General Assembly “ from a powerless town meeting of the world into a functioning global legislature” (Barnaby 1991). Peacekeepers and economic sanctions would make binding laws enforceable, without UN military forces. It is expected that over time, the Binding Triad reforms will allow the UN
to gradually shift its power towards the individual level as member nations begin to disarm under increasing global law. It would cause military budgets to decrease dramatically, allowing these savings to be spent towards social benefits or other areas. At the core of the Binding Triad reform lie three crucial elements. The first is an executive department headed by an executive figure. The UN already fulfills this element with the Secretariat and Secretariat General, currently AntĂłnio Guterres. The second is an effective judicial arm, which is also already provided for in the current UN through the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The third is an effective legislative body. Currently, the United Nations Security Council is the closest body to this element, but it cannot make any decisions on matters other than international peace and security, and the veto power limits its effectiveness, as I have explained. The poorly designed Security Council thus limits the other two elements, as there are limited laws to be interpreted by the judicial branch as well as to be implemented and enforced by the executive branch. Possible reception of the Binding Triad is not well known, but many predict that the most difficult task will be persuading the P5 members to give up their veto power and accept a majority triad system of voting. Large powers that are not P5 members, such as Japan, India and Germany, would likely be the most receptive to the idea, since these countries feel severely underrepresented in the current UN Security Council structure. Other smaller nations of the Third World could also see the appeal of the triad system. For the Binding Triad to come into effect, a transfer and trade-off of power must be accepted in order for all states to receive equal representation in the voting system. Inevitably, there will be cases where it appears smaller states carry an equal and thus disproportionate weight in decisions concerning large and powerful states, even though there are extreme population, economic, and political strength differences between them. The three-majority voting style of the Binding Triad would hopefully keep this difference from carrying a significant weight, but it is something to consider. Barnaby later states that â€œThe reformed organization would have better efficiency to do its job, while keeping a sufficient number of checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power that is so often seen today.â€? (Barnaby 1991). A more extensive solution proposed by University of Minnesota
Professor Joseph Schwartzberg discusses the problems of the current “one nation-one vote” system of decision making in UN agencies, as well as the unfair allocation of power in the Security Council, which causes nations to hesitate to give the UN the resources it requires to promote peace. A reformed system would include a weighted voting formula to accommodate the requirements of shareholders and stakeholders in various agencies. Schwartzberg also stresses the urgency of this issue in the world today, arguing, “It is not only the threat of nuclear annihilation that is being denied. . .comparable threats arise from . . . warming, loss of biodiversity, depletion of vital resources such as petroleum and fresh water, and the explosive potential inherent in the obscene gap between the world’s haves and have-notes”( Schwartzberg and Thakur 2013). The acknowledgment of arising global crises is important when presenting a convincing case for UN reform, as nuclear and environmental threats will likely cause devastating conflict in the future and will therefore necessitate a secure global governance system to address and mitigate such challenges. XI. Conclusion Ultimately, the United Nations is in dire need of procedural restructuring and reassignment of power. In its current form, the P5 veto allows certain countries to abuse their power and influence peace-keeping actions in order to promote their own foreign interests. Throughout history, peoples and countries have suffered at the expense of the veto of a single nation positioned against the rest of the world. The Rwandan genocide in particular is perhaps the most devastating example of a UN Security Council failure. Both France and the United States used their power to avoid direct intervention, and the UN’s inaction led to hundreds of thousands of lost lives. From a realist perspective, it is natural to assume these powerful P5 countries will continue to act in their own self-interests, as has been shown through the four case studies provided. Therefore, the United Nations structure itself must be changed so as to more evenly distribute the power and decrease unilateral decision-making on the Security Council. The Binding Triad proposal presents an intriguing reform that could solve the current problems of the UN through the abolishment of the P5 veto and the creation of a more democratic voting procedure. Ultimately, the solutions presented above are not realistically implementable due to the veto power. It is very unlikely that all P5 members
will vote to relinquish the veto power, as doing so would act against their own interests and potentially leave them at risk in the future. Therefore, the establishment of a new peacekeeping organization is necessary. Looking back through history, if the League of Nations was the first generation of a multilateral peacekeeping organization, the United Nations was the second generation, and a third one is needed to truly improveâ€”and hopefully perfectâ€”the goal of international peace between nations.
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A Strategy to Reduce Violence against Yazidis in Iraq By Nicholas Carmichael About the Author Nicholas Carmichael is a third-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and German studies and minoring in Public Policy and Leadership in the Batten school. His policy areas of interest include education, immigration, and criminal justice reform. He is currently conducting research with Professor White of UVAâ€™s politics department, concerning strategies to reduce violence against Yazidis in Iraq. Travelling and cooking are two of Nicholasâ€™s favorite things to do outside of school. He is also a member of the Sigma Pi Fraternity. In the future, Nicholas hopes to move into management consulting or policy analysis. He is considering law school after graduation. Foreword At UVA, I teach a class on Religion, Violence, and Strategy: How to Stop Killing in the Name of God. Social hostilities and sectarian violence are rising worldwide, and many religious minorities perceive themselves under existential threat from their neighbors, and even from modernity itself. What can be done to interrupt cycles of religion-related violence? The cases we examine are both challenging and horrific. Consider ongoing assaults against Coptic Christians in Egypt. Rohingya families fleeing Myanmar to survive. Armenians jailed unjustly in Turkey. So many suffer through no fault of their own and need a network of international allies to amplify their voices, to stand together for survival. Each semester, I am fortunate to have access to sixty bright students and researchers, as well as experts and policymakers, working with my decision analytics company, Global Impact Strategies - giStrat. Nick Carmichael took my class to learn how to design and evaluate impact-driven strategies with potential to inhibit religion-related violence. Nick was assigned the case of Iraq, working with a small team to research the underlying causes and triggers
for conflict. He quickly recognized the risk for Yezidi genocide and grasped the need for increased government pressure and focus to engage members of the international coalition to defeat ISIS. In our examination of game-changing strategies with social impact, we define Strategy as “the art and science of creating power for sustainable change in the face of conflict and uncertainty.” Strategy requires creativity and math. So, Nick was required to apply an advanced decision analytics platform - giCompute - to simulate the likely outcomes of his strategy to inhibit religion-related violence against Yezidis in Iraq. He has continued his research since completion of his paper to help save lives and heritage, advocating for protections, asylum, and reunification of Yezidi families. Professor Jerry White Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics University of Virginia Abstract This paper aims to bring attention to a specific, ongoing humanitarian crisis, and offers a strategy to counter it. The 2014 ISIS conquest of northwest Iraq resulted in a horrific genocide of the Yazidi people, a small religious minority that has been persecuted for centuries. Lacking a large number in population, the Yazidis are underrepresented in every aspect. With few stakeholders fighting for Yazidis, the international community must come together and offer a helping hand, or Yazidi populations will disperse, and eventually face possible extinction. The feasibility and success of my strategy is measured by the data analysis software ‘giCompute,’ created by Global Impact Strategies (giStrat), a start-up company in Washington D.C, founded by UVA professor Jerry White. The main focus of my strategy is reestablishing security in the Sinjar region of Iraq to allow for the reintegration and sustainable development of the Yazidi community in their ancestral holy land. This requires an immediate shift of the narrative surrounding ISIS’s 2014 actions in Sinjar in the international policy arena. The cooperation of key stakeholders, notably within the American, German, and Iraqi governments is of paramount importance to the successful implementation of my proposed strategy.
The Problem in Iraq The Yazidis are a small, monotheistic, ethnoreligious minority group in Iraq that have been persecuted for centuries. In 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) swept through the Sinjar region, located in northern Iraq, committing a genocide on Yazidis. They murdered thousands of men and boys, and took several thousand more women and girls as sex slaves (Beck 2016 par. 6) . It is estimated that almost 70,000 Yazidis fled the Sinjar region—mainly to Germany— during this time ( Jalabi 2014) . Those who remained were trapped on Mount Sinjar with scarce resources and no place to return. Since the genocide in 2014, thousands of Yazidis have returned to the Sinjar region to find its infrastructure crumbled, unable to provide them with basic services such as clean water, electricity, and healthcare. The mayor of Sinjar, Fahad Hamid Omar, says that the lack of assistance stems from Yazidis being viewed as ‘fourth- or fifth-class citizens of Iraq’. Currently, there are over 300,000 internally displaced Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Without international protection and humanitarian efforts, the Yazidis will continue to be persecuted and face extinction. There is no easy way to resettle them. Although Germany has the largest Yazidi population outside of Iraq, Yazidis are better off returning home to Sinjar than having to resettle in the European nation. Especially since nationalism and right-wing sentiment have become more prevalent in recent years. My strategy will identify and analyze key group stakeholder preferences, and form an international coalition similar to the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh (Global Coalition), formed in 2014 to counter ISIS. This strategy will consist of three steps. The first step will be shifting the narrative surrounding Iraq, and the fight against ISIS on an international level. Religious actors and policymakers must engage with civil society to create awareness of the Yazidi plight. The fight against ISIS must be framed as incomplete. The objective of this coalition will be widened to not only include a military defeat of ISIS, but also to develop a sustainable, human security oriented, political strategy. Key members of the Global Coalition must be held accountable for stabilizing and providing humanitarian aid in liberated areas. My strategy focuses on the United States, Germany, U.K, and Iraqi governments as the leaders of a new international coalition. The second step of my strategy is to increase accessibility to the Sinjar region. Doubling down
on demining efforts will increase security within Sinjar and allow NGO’s and key individual stakeholders to access the region, identify problems, and begin providing assistance. The third step of my strategy is the stabilization of Sinjar to allow for the sustainable reconstruction of critical infrastructure. The strategy must include a peacekeeping plan that addresses underlying destabilization factors in Iraq, specifically disputed territory. Without this, Yazidis will be unable to return to their ancestral home of Sinjar. Key Strategy Components International Coalition Central to the fight against ISIS is the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, created in 2014 with five specific lines of effort to degrade ISIS: (1) Providing military support to partners, (2) impeding the flow of foreign fighters, (3) stopping financing and funding, (4) addressing humanitarian crisis in the region, and (5) exposing true nature. The four main nation states that will make up the new coalition outlined in this strategy are the United States, Germany, U.K, and Iraq. They will partner with international NGO’s who focus on providing humanitarian support specifically to Yazidis. During the fight against ISIS, the U.S, Germany, and the U.K combined, pledged over $1 billion to humanitarian aid in Iraq. Most of this aid flowed through the U.N Development Program (UNDP). More recently, the Trump administration has said that it will circumvent the UNDP, due to its delays and inefficiencies in providing aid. Instead, it will focus directly on providing aid to religious minorities in Iraq, including Yazidis. Germany is heavily incentivized to aid the Yazidis return to Sinjar, because of the ongoing refugee crisis, and the costs associated with it. This coalition will be key to stabilize and increase accessibility to Sinjar. This strategy will focus heavily on these stakeholders, as the U.S and Germany both carry veto power. It will work to mitigate two obstacles: the inefficient allocation of resources, and the narrative surrounding Iraq that ISIS has been defeated. Civil Society & Narrative Civil society carries the responsibility of calling for action in Iraq. Key individual stakeholders in NGO’s are key to shifting the narrative surrounding Yazidis and Iraq. Nadia Murad, Yazidi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She also founded ‘Nadia’s Initiative,’ an organization that focuses
on further advancing her advocacy efforts. Frustrated with the lack of aid, as promised by world leaders, Murad established the Sinjar Action Fund (SAF), which directly advocates for the reconstruction of Sinjar. The SAF includes two categories of contributions: (1) commitments from nation states to allocate part of their funding for the reconstruction of Sinjar, and (2) funding from any individual or NGO. SAF will follow up on commitments, and report progress. This provides accountability for nation states who allocate funding to the issue to actually do so. One NGO, however, cannot create systemic change in Sinjar. It will take combined advocacy efforts of Nadiaâ€™s Initiative and other organizations, such as the Free Yezidi Foundation, to shift the international narrative surrounding Yazidis in Iraq. They must meet with individual stakeholders within the new coalition and create awareness surrounding the underlying problems in Sinjar. The Sinjar Region The Sinjar region, specifically Mount Sinjar, is of holy importance to people of the Yazidi faith. It has long served as a stronghold for their people, and when ISIS attacked in 2014, many Yazidis retreated onto the mountain to find refuge. Efforts to liberate Sinjar from ISIS control were successful in 2015, but when Yazidis returned they found it nearly uninhabitable, due to its destroyed infrastructure. The Sinjar region has also long been disputed territory between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi central government in Baghdad. In order to stabilize the political tensions in Sinjar, this strategy will call on policymakers within our coalition to pressure both the KRG and Baghdad to reopen lines of direct communication and come to security and governance agreements regarding disputed internal boundaries, specifically Sinjar. These agreements must take into account human security perspectives and demands of the local community. The Three-pronged Solution Shift the narrative In order to reduce violence against Yazidis in Iraq, the narrative surrounding the issue must first be shifted. Currently, the fight against ISIS is mostly talked about as a military conflict. Shifting the narrative to frame the fight against ISIS as a humanitarian crisis, as well, will garner more international support. In order to achieve this shift, I will call on Nadia Murad to advocate within the U.S, German, and U.K government for immediate
action. Her organization, Nadia’s Initiative, is already well positioned to do so. Nadia’s Initiative has been instrumental in getting nations to recognize the Yazidi genocide, by meeting with world leaders and calling on them to issue public statements. I will task Murad specifically with pressuring Donald Trump to sign the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, introduced to the President on November 29, 2018. This bill grants the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green, the power to identify the humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery needs of religious minorities, such as Yazidis, in Iraq. It also allows Mark Green to allocate USAID funding as he identifies is necessary. A key part of Nadia’s advocacy efforts will be setting up a private meeting between Nadia Murad and Mark Green to discuss the Yazidi problem in Sinjar. Murad will be able to give Green a firsthand account of the 2014 genocide. She is an expert on the subject of Yazidis and their needs in the Sinjar region. If this bill becomes law, it will be a signal to the global community that the U.S. acknowledges the problems faced by Yazidis in Iraq, and is ready to provide them with humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery assistance. Historically, the U.S has been on the forefront in the fight against ISIS mainly as a military power. By taking a humanitarian stance on the issue, the U.S will help shift the global narrative, using its bully pulpit, towards one focused on the humanitarian aspect of the ongoing fight against ISIS. Increase accessibility to the Sinjar region Before the stabilization of Sinjar can begin, it must become more accessible. Although ISIS was dispelled from the region in 2015, remnants of their reign of terror remain in the form of landmines. Efforts to demine the region exist, but they must be increased to allow for higher accessibility into the region. My strategy calls on the U.S, Germany, and the U.K to fund NGO’s, such as the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), a British charity, in their efforts to demine the Sinjar region. The U.S. pledged an additional $17 million in July of this year towards demining efforts in the Nineveh region of Iraq, where Sinjar is located. Germany also supports the demining of Iraq, being the largest contributor to the United Nations Mine Action Services (UNMAS), contributing 44.2 million euros since 2014. This strategy is feasible since the members of the new coalition have already taken similar actions independently. This strategies success is contingent
upon the “building on shared interests,” or a formation of coalitions between populations. Landmines will be utilized as a “third side” between the new coalition, Iraq, and the Kurdish Regional Government. Since landmines kill indiscriminately, the physical and emotional damage they cause can be used to unify these stakeholders’ interests. Landmines are not just killing Yazidis; they are killing Iraqis. Framing the issue in this way will bolster support for demining efforts in the region. To further increase accessibility, Iraqi and Kurdish officials must be politically pressured into easing up on the government checkpoints along the roads of Sinjar. Mark Green has already done this on his last trip to Iraq, where he met with Kurdish and Iraqi leaders. Green did so by promising them a portion of U.S reconstruction funds allocated to the region. The U.S is able to exert its influence on the region, because it has the most money and clout in the new coalition. Mark Green will be the main actor influencing Iraqi and Kurdish officials, since he already has a working relationship with them. Stabilize Sinjar to allow for reconstruction The final step of this three-pronged solution is the stabilization of the Sinjar region in order to allow for the reconstruction of critical infrastructure. Disputed territory between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous KRG are a major underlying factor for Iraq destabilization. The Sinjar region specifically is heavily disputed. Because of this, the successful reconstruction of the Sinjar region requires Baghdad and KRG cooperation. Although ISIS was dispelled in 2015, the post-ISIS era has fundamentally changed dynamics on further decentralization and fragmentation in all of Iraq and in Sinjar in particular. Unaddressed, these factors will cause Sinjar to remain unstable, even after ISIS fully retreats, and will continue to act as an obstacle for social and physical reconstruction. In order to stabilize the region, my strategy will call on the German ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Cyril Nun, as a stakeholder to coordinate a meeting between the KRG prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, and the Iraqi President, Barham Salih. The German Consul-General in Erbil, Barbara Wolf, will also be called into this meeting. This meeting will allow both parties to identify shared interests, and create a plan to achieve peaceful coexistence. Most importantly, this meeting will be successful, because before becoming the Iraqi President, Salih served as the Prime minister of the KRG for three years. Since Salih has prior knowledge
about the KRG’s primary interests and motivators, he will be able to lead a constructive conversation with Barzani, identifying areas where there is room for cooperation. Dr. Cyril Nun will encourage both Barzani and Salih to reopen direct lines of communications between Erbil, the KRG capitol, and Baghdad. It is important that German government officials undertake this portion of the strategy as Iraqis highly distrust the U.S government. The German government will continue to support Iraqi stabilization at the forefront of this strategy, providing political assistance to both Baghdad and Erbil. We want to build a positive working relationship between the two parties, so that security and governance agreements regarding disputed internal boundaries can be made. These agreements will take human security perspectives and local community demands into account. By stabilizing the Sinjar region, we open up pathways for NGO’s such as Nadia’s Initiative and the Free Yezidi Foundation to access Sinjar and begin providing humanitarian assistance, with funding from our new coalition. Conclusion & giCompute analysis Opponents of this strategy include Islam extremist groups, such as ISIS and corrupt government officials. However, gaming this strategy out on the giCompute software shows that there is a 72.5 percent chance that violence against Yazidis will either be reduced or slightly reduced. Figure 1.1 in the appendix proves this. GiCompute analyzes stakeholder preferences and influence to give predictions on scenario outcomes. This strategy will be effective, because all stakeholder’s preferences are aligned. This strategy is S.M.A.R.T. It is sustainable, because it provides continuous humanitarian assistance to the Yazidis, while making Sinjar more accessible for future reconstruction efforts. It is also measurable, because we can gather data about how much foreign aid is being provided by the new coalition, and the Yazidi population in Sinjar. We can analyze the degree of success this strategy has, by doing a census on the Yazidi population right now, and another one in five years. If the Yazidi population has increased, as well as the amount of foreign aid allocated to the issue, then we know that this strategy was successful. This is also an achievable strategy. Many of the stakeholders incorporated have already made efforts to stabilize the Sinjar region. By bringing these stakeholders together to form the new coalition, this strategy allows for the sharing of information between parties vital for its
success. Because we have accounted for and aligned all of our stakeholder’s interests, this strategy can be viewed as realistic as well. GiCompute provides further evidence that it is realistic. This software has proven to be extremely accurate when predicting the outcomes of similar situations. In terms of timeliness, this strategy cannot be implemented overnight. However, since all of our stakeholders have already began working on this issue, we will be able to see considerable change within two years, and a significant reduction of violence against Yazidis within five years. Appendix Figure 1.1 – Overall Sensitivity
Figure 1.2 – Outcome Pathways
Figure 1.3 – Overall Results
Figure 1.4 – Veto Influence Ranking
Figure 1.5 – Results by Stakeholder
Figure 1.6 - Influence Driven Outcome
Figure 1.7 - Cost of Friction for Outcomes
Figure 1.8 â€“ Stated Positions of Stakeholder Groups
Figure 1.9 – Projected Outcomes for Stakeholder Groups (Cost and Benefits)
Figure 2.1 – Stated Position of Individual Stakeholders
Figure 2.2 – Projected Outcomes for Individual Stakeholders (Cost and Benefits)
Figure 2.3 â€“ Degree of Convergence for Stakeholder Groups
Figure 2.4 â€“ Degree of Convergence for Individual Stakeholders
Bibliography https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/iraq-yazidis-living-fear-mount sinjar-160726063155982.html Jalabi, R. (2014, August 11). Who are the Yazidis and why is Isis hunting them? Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.theguardian. com/world/2014/aug/07/who-yazidi-isis-iraq-religion-ethnicity mountains Yazidis mourn their devastated community: Sinjar is not Mosul - Qantara. de. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://en.qantara. de/content/yazidis-mourn-their-devastated-community-sinjar-is not-mosul?page=0,1 Sinjar Action Fund! (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https:// nadiasinitiative.org/sinjar/ Home. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from http://theglobalcoalition. org/en/home/ The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://www.state.gov/s/seci/ Sinjar Action Fund! (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https:// nadiasinitiative.org/sinjar/ Stabilizing Iraq with and Without the Islamic State. (2016, November 16). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://warontherocks. com/2016/11/stabilizing-iraq-with-and-without-the-islamic-state/ Advocacy. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://nadiasinitiative. org/global-advoacy/ Smith, & Christopher. (2018, November 29). Actions - H.R.390 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/390/ actions Smith, & Christopher. (2018, November 29). Text - H.R.390 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/390/text Morello, C. (2018, July 26). Help is on the way, at last, for religious minorities in Iraq. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://www.
washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/help-is-on-the-way at-last-for-religious-minorities-in-iraq/2018/07/26/e6d58265-76f5 4d26-abcc-a76ce7e1aeca_story.html?utm_term=.9484df4dd58d Germany supports Training to Respond to Explosive Hazards. (n.d.). RetrievedDecember 8, 2018, from http://www.iraq-businessnews. com/2018/08/16/germany-supports-training-to-respond-to explosive-hazards/ Freedman, Lawrence. â€œStrategy: A Historyâ€?. Oxford University Press. 2013. Accessed December 5, 2018. Morello, C. (2018, July 26). Help is on the way, at last, for religious minorities in Iraq. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from https://www. washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/help-is-on-the-way at-last-for-religious-minorities-in-iraq/2018/07/26/e6d58265-76f5 4d26-abcc-a76ce7e1aeca_story.html?utm_term=.9484df4dd58d Former KRG PM Barham Salih registers own political entity to run in elections. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from http://www. rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/160920173
The Oxymoron of Haitian-Dominican Citizenship By Brooke Habit About the Author Brooke Habit is a second year from Virginia Beach, VA pursuing a double major in French Language and Literature and Global Studies: Security and Justice. Her area of interest is the impact of French colonialism and how neocolonialism manifests itself today; in addition, she studies diversity in migration. Outside of the Wilson Journal, Brooke is an ESL Assistant with Volunteers with International Students, Staff, and Scholars, a program at UVA that seeks to provide programming to English language learners at the University, including international students, University staff, and researchers. Abstract Haitians have historically migrated from Haiti to the Dominican Republic to escape political and environmental instability and to seek upward social mobility that they could not find in their country of origin. Yet, this immigration has led to extreme tension and the development of severe antiHaitian sentiment and legislation in the Dominican Republic. Migration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic does not guarantee a path to citizenship because racism, prejudice, and systematic Dominican government intervention prevent the realization of Haitian-Dominican citizenship. The act of systematically denying citizenship to Haitians in the Dominican Republic makes labeling "Haitian-Dominican" citizenship oxymoronic, as they have not existed together. Foreword Social inequality underlies many of societyâ€™s most intractable problems. Combine this with intense racism and cultural conflict in a tropical setting and you get Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean and, in microcosm, host to the migration from poor to not-so-poor nations that characterizes much of the globe. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share
the 29,000 square mile island â€“ but not amicably. Driven by deep poverty, Haitians, historically, have traveled to the Dominican Republic to make a living. But they have faced intense resistance, even, at times, massacres. The problem, from the Dominican perspective, is that Haitians are poor and black. Though many Dominicans also trace their ancestry to Africa, as a nation they have posed themselves as being non-black. That is, not Haitian; not poor. This has created the ironic spectacle of a nation of dark-skinned and mixed race people who insist on claiming only their European heritage. These dynamics have strong implications for Haitian migrants and their children who are born in the Dominican Republic. Most pointedly: can they be citizens of that nation? This is the question posed by Brooke Habit in her trenchant paper. Brooke wrote the paper in fall 2018 to fulfil requirements in my Sociology of Immigration course. I was pleased that she wrote it because the Haiti-Dominican Republic conundrum does not receive nearly enough attention. If we care to look, Hispaniola is, in fact, a prime laboratory for studying the intersection of racism and poverty in the modern world. Add citizenship to the mix. Brookeâ€™s paper does a very good job outlining the background to the Haiti-Dominican Republic problem in service of answering the citizenship question. She hypothesizes, wryly, that Haitian-Dominican citizenship is an oxymoron. Citizenship is a complex concept but embedded within it is the idea of belonging; that people living in a society are accepted so implicitly that there is no question whether or not they have a right to be there. Dominicans typically question whether Haitians have this right. For many, Haitians will be forever foreigners, even if they are born in the Dominican Republic. Consequently, Brookeâ€™s hypothesis speaks a piercing truth, one that she analyzes well and convincingly in her paper. Professor Milton Vickerman The island of Hispaniola is split in two, with Haiti on one side and the Dominican Republic on the other. Tension between these countries has divided Haitians and Dominicans beyond territorial lines, as extreme economic disparities, cultural differences, and racial discrimination culminate in a hostile, strained relationship. The migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic has a long history. Haitians seek upward social mobility through
work and more secure government in the Dominican Republic, but they have not been welcomed to their neighboring country, nor have they been granted a path to citizenship. The loopholes found by the Dominican government make it impossible for Haitians to ever experience the rights of Dominican citizenship. Therefore, the concept of Haitian-Dominican citizenship is oxymoronic. Historical Background Spanish settlers first arrived on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, and in the early 1600s, French traders established an outpost on the western third of the island. The latter later annexed the colony of Saint-Domingue (Labrador 2018). Haiti won its independence from French colonial rule in 1804; however, post-colonial state building became a complex endeavor. Foreign intervention, including France's demand for reparations in 1825 totaling nearly $22 billion today, hurt the countryâ€™s ability to develop. During the one hundred twenty years after this demand, "as much as 80 percent of Haiti's revenues went to paying off this debt" (Labrador 2018). Additionally, the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 allowed the U.S. to control Haiti's security and finances and "impose racial segregation, forced labor, and press censorship, and deposed presidents and legislatures that opposed the U.S. presence" (Labrador 2018). Estimates say that some fifteen thousand Haitians were killed in rebellions against the U.S. presence. It is difficult for a new country to develop as economically independent when facing such foreign interventions. Political Instability Haiti also experienced extreme political instability following the U.S. withdrawal. FranĂ§ois Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, imposed an extraordinarily violent dictatorship for twenty-nine years (Labrador 2018). Haiti did not experience its first democratically elected presidential administration until 1990 with the election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Unfortunately, political turmoil continued as Aristide was deposed in two military coups, one in 1991, and another in 2004 ("Aristide wins Haiti's First Free Election"). Political instability also grew after the election of Michael Martelly in 2011. While Martelly did not make "decisions that restrained public liberties or associations," he also did not "strengthen institutions or the rule of law" (Charles 2016). Most recently, Haiti was without an elected
president from February 2016 to February 2017. The inauguration of Jovenal MoĂŻse as president on February 7, 2017 marked a "return to constitutional order," but he faces "ongoing recovery from the 2010 earthquake and 2016's Hurricane Matthew, a cholera epidemic, stalled economic growth, and a highly polarized political climate" (Taft-Morales 2017, 1). Natural Disasters Natural disasters have also negatively impacted Haiti's institutional and economic development. Widespread deforestation has left the country vulnerable to increased flooding and mudslides, both of which "strike Haiti at twice the rate as neighboring Dominican Republic" (Labrador 2018). The devastating earthquake in 2010 killed 220,000 Haitians and displaced many more. Additionally, estimates show that reconstruction following the earthquake has cost nearly $8 billion, a number which surpasses the countryâ€™s total GDP. Drought has also led to crop losses of seventy percent between 2015 and 2017, and Hurricane Matthew was detrimental to Haiti's housing, livestock, and infrastructure (Labrador 2018). Haitian Migration to the Dominican Republic Haitians have historically migrated from Haiti to the Dominican Republic to escape political and environmental instability and to seek upward social mobility that they could not find in their country of origin. From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, immigration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic was consistently high. Migration Law 95 of 1939 was the "first one to create a legislative frame for the regulation of migration" and it also created the General Directory for Migration, distinguishing foreign citizens in the Dominican Republic as either immigrant or non-immigrant (OECD 2018, 45). Trends in Migration Most Haitian migrants arrived in the Dominican Republic as a result of tumultuous changes in their physical or socio-political environment. Large increases in migration occurred after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986, after the fall of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and after the 2010 earthquake. In fact, the World Bank estimates immigration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic increased by six percent in 2010. Additionally, there has been a recent increase in undocumented immigration due to a growth in migrant smuggler networks (OECD 2018, 46).
Reasons for Migration Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and nearly sixty percent of the population lives under the national poverty line (TaftMorales 2017, i). In contrast, the "Dominican economy has experienced decades of rapid growth" (Alami 2018). The GDP of the Dominican Republic has the highest growth rate in Latin America at five percent, while Haiti has the lowest at one percent. The World Bank asserts that an estimated eighty percent of Haitians live in "abject poverty," with an average annual income of US $500 (Ferguson 2003, 8). Most Haitians migrate to the Dominican Republic due to these large economic and development disparities (OECD 2018, 46-47). An additional motivator for migration to the Dominican Republic is increased political and infrastructural stability. The socio-political environment of Haiti historically persecuted its own citizens, and even the government of Haiti has encouraged Haitians migrating temporarily to the Dominican Republic for work. For example, Franรงois Duvalier and JeanClaude Duvalier both supplied Haitian labor to Dominican authorities during a Dominican labor shortage. This large-scale worker program continued the establishment of a "permanent, resident, Haitian-born population" in the Dominican Republic. Workers remained "either because they had not earned enough money to return home or because they saw no advantage in doing so" (Ferguson 2003, 11). Haiti's Relationship with the Dominican Republic Haiti has had a strained relationship with the Dominican Republic. This tension arises from Dominican frustration with high levels of immigration and racial prejudice against Haitians. During the Dominican Republic's dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the 1930s, tensions reached a violent high. In 1937, the Haitian-Dominican border became a site of mass slaughter. Dominican soldiers carried a "sprig of parsley and would ask people suspected of being Haitian to pronounce the Spanish word for it: 'perejil.' Those whose first language was Haitian Creole found it difficult" to pronounce the word correctly, costing them their lives (Davis 2012). This became known as the Parsley Massacre, and between nine thousand and twenty thousand Haitians were slaughtered simply because of their ethnicity. Antihaitianismo, or anti-
Haitian sentiment, continues today and has manifested itself through the persecution of people of Haitian origin or heritage currently living in the Dominican Republic (Ferguson 2003, 19). Racism Dominican dictator Trujillo built upon long-held Dominican beliefs of racial superiority to Haitians by seeking to whiten Dominican society and by "systematically denigrat[ing] and abus[ing] Haiti and Haitians (Ferguson 2003, 19). Then, the administration of Balaguer reiterated racist stereotypes. Baluger's book, The Upside Down Island, argues that Haitians racially contaminate the Dominican Republic. Many Dominican leaders use race and anti-Haitian sentiment as a tool to distract from larger domestic issues or "as a way of explaining away problems" (Ferguson 2003, 19-20). Color consciousness also plays a role in this discrimination. Many Dominicans insist that they are white and wholly different from Haitians of African origin. "Dominicans employ a plethora of terms to describe subtle difference in pigmentation" and employ a racist worldview that perpetuates the idea that Dominican "roots are predominantly European, whereas its people are the product of centuries old mixing of European and African ancestry" (Ferguson 2003, 20). The Dominican Perspective Dominicans persecute Haitians not only because of supposed racial differences, but also because of the perceived burden of undocumented Haitian migrants on Dominican health and education services. After Dominican media published that public hospitals in areas with large Haitian populations are spending thirty percent of their budget to treat immigrants, the Dominican government instituted a new social security program that limited Haitians access to free health care, banning "non-legal foreign residents from any benefits other than emergency care" (Ferguson 2003, 21). Citizenship The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines citizenship as "the status of having the right to participate in and to be represented in politics," but the definition of citizenship has become a more dubious concept in relation to HaitianDominican migration ("Citizenship" 2017). One must also recognize it as "a collection of rights and obligations that give individuals a formal juridical
identity" ("Citizenship" 2017). A personâ€™s citizenship in a certain country can be based on either jus sanguinis, the principle of blood, or jus soli, the principle of birth within a country. Jus sanguinis grants citizenship based on blood relation, descent, and heritage to a certain country's population. Jus soli grants citizenship when someone is born within a country, regardless of the parent's citizenship. Both are equal forms of citizenship that should grant the person the same full rights and responsibilities of all citizens ("Citizenship" 2017). 2013 Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of Santo Domingo Many Haitians migrate to the Dominican Republic seeking a better life and to start a family in a more economically and politically secure environment. In 2013, a Dominican court ruling stripped nearly 200,000 Haitian immigrants and their descendants of their own Dominican citizenship. This decision essentially decided that those born in the Dominican Republic would no longer be considered citizens based solely on jus soli. Jus sanguinis, or blood ancestry, became necessary to be a Dominican citizen. "The rule the court decided, would retroactively apply to anyone born after 1929" (Phillip 2015). The Dominican government "is expected to round up Haitians-or, really anyone black enough to be Haitian" and expel them from the country. The government itself is describing these actions as a "cleansing" of the country's immigration system, but one could argue that this is dangerously close ethnic cleansing. Naturalization Law 169-14 After the 2013 decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of Santo Domingo, the Dominican government also imposed the Naturalization Law. The law is framed as helping "disenfranchised Dominicans reclaim their citizenship," but it requires everyone to provide records of their birth (Alarcon 2016). This is problematic for Haitians in the Dominican Republic, because Dominican officials deliberately deny birth records to people of Haitian descent. A Stateless Identity The combined impact of the 2013 Constitutional Tribunal and Naturalization Law have left an estimated 133,770 people stateless, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Essentially, these laws have revoked the citizenship of those people who stake their claim to Dominican citizenship based upon their birth in the Dominican Republic, or a citizenship claim that is jus soli. This ruling unfairly targets people of Haitian
descent in the Dominican Republic and the children of Haitians born in the Dominican. A striking example of the impact of this ruling is that of Juliana Deguis Pierre. She is a member of this second generation who "was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents who settled in the 1970s," though when she applied for a Dominican identity card, the Dominican government denied her one and then confiscated her Dominican birth certificate (Alami 2018). These second-generation Haitians born and living the Dominican Republic essentially became stateless after the Dominican government revoked their citizenship. One boy, Jeffry Valcou, lives in a shelter in the Dominican Republic. He is Haitian and has been deported nearly twenty times, but he always comes back to the Dominican Republic because he "likes to speak Spanish" and "want his last name to be Rodriguez because he feels Dominican" (Alami 2018). Jeffry does not know Haiti, and he truly identifies as Dominican, but the government seemingly refuses to recognize anyone of Haitian descent as Dominican. Conceptualization of Haitian-Dominican Identity and Citizenship Estimates show that 280,000 people currently living in the Dominican Republic were born to Haitian parents. According to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), these people "live in a state of permanent illegality" because the Dominican Republic grants them neither citizenship nor permanent residence (Ferguson 2003, 21). Their identity hangs between that of their parents and that of their birthplace. Those Haitians who move from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and live there for years are suspended between the identity they have formed for themselves in the Dominican Republic and the Haitian identity the Dominican government persecutes them for having. Loss of Citizenship as Haitian-Dominicans The Dominican Constitution "recognizes, in principle, that in keeping with the legal principle of jus soli all persons born in the territory of the Dominican Republic are Dominican citizens" (Ferguson 2003, 21). Yet, the loophole of recent legislation fueled by intense racism allows Dominican authorities to deny the children of undocumented Haitians citizenship. The Dominican government utilizes an "in-transit" clause, claiming that Haitians in the Dominican Republic are akin to that of tourists and diplomats. Some lawmakers recommended this clause to apply to anyone "traveling through the
country for a period of ten days on their way to another destination," yet the Dominican government uses it as a justification for their denial of citizenship to Haitians who have been in the Dominican Republic for years (Miranda 2014, 75). The Dominican government denies these second-generation children their right to citizenship on grounds of birth within the country, so the children have practically lost the opportunity for access to education, health facilities, or participation in political activity. First-generation Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic experience a similar lack of the benefits of citizenship. Being an undocumented Haitian in the Dominican Republic carries distinct risks and can prevent even the most ordinary of transactions. There is an increased probability of trivial arrests and continued threat of deportation without right of appeal (Ferguson 2003, 21). Former Dominican Vice President and Education Minister Milagros Ortiz Bosch states that "if you want to get a job, open a bank account, travel, vote, simply be a citizen, you need a birth certificate," something almost all Haitians in the Dominican Republic have been systematically denied (Ferguson 2003, 21-22). Oxymoronic Citizenship The act of systematically denying citizenship to Haitians in the Dominican Republic makes labeling "Haitian-Dominican" citizenship oxymoronic, as they cannot exist together. Children with Haitian parents born in the Dominican Republic are not Dominican because the Dominican government refuses to grant them the rights of citizens, simply because their parents are Haitian. First-generation Haitians who migrate to the Dominican may know Haiti, but they have formed their lives in the Dominican. Yet, they too are denied permanent residence status or a path to citizenship. Hence one can recognize the idea of Haitian-Dominican citizenship as a fallacy. The Dominican Republic continues to deport Haitians, deny birth certificates and citizenship to children born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents, and retroactively strip hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent of their Dominican citizenship. The government continues to justify these actions as seeking to "protect the Dominican national identity," clearly marking Haitians as people distinctly outside of Dominican identity and citizenship rights (Miranda 2014, 94). Thus, the government considers the Dominican and Haitian identities to be mutually exclusive.
Conclusion Grappling with the concept of Haitian-Dominican citizenship presents a devastating reality: This form of citizenship cannot exist within the current system. Dominicans will seemingly never accept Haitians in the country without drastic socio-political changes, and until that time, Haitians living in the Dominican Republic will continue to be categorized as foreigners "in-transit," regardless of how they have built their lives in the Dominican Republic. Migration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic does not currently warrant a path to citizenship or permanent residence status, and unfortunately, Haitians' hopes for upward social mobility in a new home have not come to fruition. Racism, prejudice, and systematic Dominican government intervention continue to hinder this process.
Bibliography Alami, Aida. “Between Hate, Hope, and Help: Haitians in the Dominican Republic.” The New York Review of Books. 13 August 2018, https:// www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/08/13/between-hope-hate-help haitians-in-the-dominican-republic/. Accessed 10 October 2018. Alarcon, Javiera. “It’s Really Happening: The Dominican Republic Is Deporting Its Haitian Residents." Foreign Policy In Focus. 4 April 2016,https://fpif.org/really-happening-dominican-republic deporting-haitian-residents/. Accessed 11 October 2018. Anon. “Citizenship.” United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. 2017, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and human-sciences/themes/international-migration/glossary/ citizenship/. Accessed 10 October 2018. Anon. “Aristide Wins Haiti’s First Free Election - HISTORY.” n.d., https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/aristide-wins-haitis first-free-election. Accessed 10 October 2018. Labrador, Rocio Cara. “Haiti’s Troubled Path to Development.” Council on Foreign Relations. 12 March 2018, https://www.cfr.org/ backgrounder/haitis-troubled-path-development. Accessed 11 October 2018. Charles, Jacqueline. “Martelly’s One-Man Rule Comes to an End in Haiti.” Miami Herald. 10 January 2016, https://www.miamiherald. com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article54042620. html. Accessed 11 October 2018. Davis, Nick. “The Massacre That Marked Haiti-Dominican Ties.” BBC News. 13 October 2012, https://www.bbc.com/news/world latin-america-19880967. Accessed 11 October 2018. Ferguson, James. “Migration in the Caribbean: Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Beyond.” Minority Rights Group International. 2003. Miranda, Saha. “Citizens Without a Nation: The Construction of Haitian Illegality and Deportability in The Dominican Republic.” Illinois State University. 2014. OECD. 2018. How Immigrants Contribute to the Dominican Republic’s Economy. Paris. Phillip, Abby. “The Bloody Origins of the Dominican Republic’s Ethnic
‘Cleansing’ of Haitians.” Washington Post. 17 June 2015, https:// www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/06/16/the bloody-origins-of-the-dominican-republics-ethnic-cleansing-of haitians/. Accessed 11 October 2018. Taft-Morales, Maureen. “Haiti’s Political and Economic Conditions: In Brief.” Congressional Research Service. 2017.
Examining Sino-American Existential Insecurity and Economic Partnership Vis-à-vis the South China Sea By Hallie Griffiths About the Author Hallie Griffiths is a second-year studying Foreign Affairs and Spanish, with an interest in political hermeneutics and U.S.-East Asian current relations. She loves research and writing, and she hopes to in the future work in intelligence and policy analysis. Outside of her curricular work and career aspirations, she spends most of her time outdoors hiking, backpacking, and skiing. Around grounds, Hallie also writes for the Virginia Review of Politics, holds an executive position for Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity, and is an active member of the Virginia Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team. Foreword Hallie Griffiths’s contribution to the Wilson Journal was originally part of her coursework for my lecture class, HIEA 3323, “China and the United States,” taught in the fall of 2018. The course covers Sino-US relations from the late 18th century to recent times. Most students in the class participated in team projects focusing on various aspects of that relationship. After consulting with me, Hallie Griffiths chose instead to write a research paper on the current South China Sea dispute. The resultant essay was a very strong exercise. It was carefully researched and based on a range of relevant literatures authored by Western and Chinese scholars. Hallie Griffiths conceived her topic intelligently. The essay was able to achieve its goals in presenting a clear narrative on the evolving American and Chinese stances in the dispute, and making a series of well-supported arguments. The essay was policy relevant in offering proposals for both the USA and the PRC authorities to consider, which were articulate and reasonable.
Xiaoyuan Liu David Dean Professor of East Asia Studies and Professor of History Abstract This paper explores the history of China’s involvement in the South China Sea, through the lens of the manner in which those activities affect and are affected by Sino-American relations. The paper ultimately concludes that the current tensions existing between the United States and China in the Sea act as a microcosm for the complex history of Sino-American relations, characterized to a great degree by philosophical and political misunderstanding. Key to unraveling these tensions is the recognition by both parties that an offensive realist, self-protecting vision of the interstate relations proves counterproductive to the best economic and political interests of both nations, due to the mutual interdependence inherent in their respective existences. Although viewed by some thinkers as inevitable, the prospect of war between the two nations is an impossibility, given the mentioned interdependence. Rather, in order to maintain consistency in action and creed in regard to its liberalism, it proves crucial for the United States to seek economic partnership with China, while deferring to international institutions to solve concerns regarding the legality of China’s territorial claims and activities in the South China Sea. The strategic and economic significance of the South China Sea consistently proves itself given its position at the center of Southeast Asian maritime trade. The Sea, comprising of over 870,000 square miles, contains shipping lanes, oil, and natural gas reserves key to the economic success and wellbeing of China, Japan, and the countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Labeled the “throat” of oil and natural gas trade, 80% of China’s imported crude oil passes through the Straits of Malacca and into the South China Sea (Schofield 2016, 22). In addition to China’s consumption, nearly 90% of the oil imports of other East and Southeast Asian states transits the Straits, en route via critical shipping lanes within the South China Sea. Middle Eastern exports are contingent upon the South China Sea as well, as over 50% of both Iranian and Saudi Arabian oil exports travel through the Sea to Southeast Asia (U.S. Energy Information
Western nations have increasingly found it appropriate to dismantle barriers to mobility for their citizenry. Simultaneously, certain developing countries with highly regulated internal migration schemes have seen their systems strained by new economic and social realities. In particular, the People’s Republic of China has recently become acutely aware of the problems posed by their unique household registration system, known as the hukou. The hukou system in China, which has existed in some form or another since the 2nd millennium B.C., had been reinvigorated and promoted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after the Great Leap Forward in order to maintain a socialist command economy. However, although China has recently begun to move away from a command economy to one governed instead by “capitalism with socialist characteristics,” the hukou system remains an antiquated reminder of the old economic model. In this essay, I will develop a comprehensive analysis of the hukou system and its historical origins, the social and economic purposes that the system was designed to fulfill, and the strains that the system has recently began to place upon contemporary Chinese society. I will then address several refinements implemented by the CCP intended to reform the hukou system to better suit the needs of a contemporary China heavily reliant upon migrant workers to urban environments. This essay will then evaluate various criticisms of those reforms from both normative and empirical sources, with the hopes of developing the hypothesis that opposition to the CCP reforms stems primarily from those who perceive the reforms to be too slow and moderate in pace. I will argue that calls to immediately do away with the hukou system are mistaken in neglecting the tremendous history and bureaucracy that comes with it. Attempting to rapidly fix the hukou system ignores the ways in which issues of internal migration are fundamentally tied together with urban-rural divides, welfare state reform, and cultural concerns over local identity. In particular, because the Chinese hukou system governs not only internal migration but also privileges granted by the CCP such as health care, government-provided housing, and food rations, its incremental reform is a prudent and calculated decision by the CCP to maintain national order. In summary, I will argue that the piecemeal hukou reform that the CCP is currently pursuing is the only way to proceed without harming the social fabric of the People’s Republic of China, and must also be accompanied by
Administration 2017). Furthermore, an estimated 130 billion barrels of oil are located in the continental shelf below the South China Sea, which has sparked a great deal of international conflict over ownership of the Sea and its resources (Kaplan 2014, 10). Framing the conflict are the archipelagos and reefs within the South China Sea: the Paracel, and Prata and Spratly Islands, Mischief Reef (a feature within the Spratly Islands), and the Scarborough Shoal (Schofield 2016, 23). Making specific use of international maritime law, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Southeast Asian states have sought to legitimize competing ownership claims over the South China Sea Islands. To date, China has both verbally and physically laid claim to each significant feature of the Sea, and, as of 2015, participated actively in constructing new islands on pre-existing, submerged geographical features (The Economist 2015). The two most significant disputes over China’s claims are those registered by Vietnam and the Philippines: Vietnam has claimed features in both the Spratlys and the Paracels, and previously engaged militarily with China over control of the Johnson Reef of the Spratly islands in the late 1980s. Additionally, the Philippines have disputed with China over its activity in the Scarborough Shoal, the Mischief Reef of the Spratly Islands, and for other island-building incursions near the territory of the Philippines. As Vietnam and the Philippines lack the military and diplomatic power relative to China that is necessary to control their holdings over South China Sea territory, most backing for their claims, as well as those of other Southeast Asian states, arises from the United States. Their promise of support has created discord within the region, as its ties to Vietnam and the Philippines have clashed with Chinese interests, challenging the dynamic of Sino-American relations. Much of the complexity surrounding territorial claims in the South China Sea region stems from the multifaceted nature of China’s interests and history in the region. Acquisition of an oil reserve of this size would heavily bolster China’s domestic oil market, which currently relies on imports from the Middle East, and would strengthen China’s export market. In addition, control of the Straits of Malacca and internationally-recognized ownership of the islands within the Sea would secure China’s regional hegemony, economic primacy, and international influence. Pursuit of these goals has driven much of China’s activity in the South China Sea in recent decades, and comprises the overarching aspiration of Beijing’s foreign policy: to
establish itself as an influential global player, as it watched the United States do during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to the strategic importance of the South China Sea, China’s foreign policy also values the symbolic importance the South China Sea has held both historically and contemporaneously for their nation. Given the evolution of the foreign policies of China and the United States during the twentieth century, the current tension over territorial claims to the South China Sea seemed inevitable from the outset. However, there is no real threat of direct military conflict; the Chinese pursuit of regional hegemony is balanced by the ever-growing nature of China’s global interdependence. As China’s national identity, foreign policy, and economic system stabilize, so will its involvement in the South China Sea region. The best policy option facing the United States is giving China space so that it may fully integrate itself into international geopolitics and institutions, converting Sino-American bilateral tensions into multilateral working relationships. The start of the Chinese Civil War added concreteness and urgency to China’s territorial expansion. Having been forced to flee to Taiwan, Chiang Kai-Shek’s Republic of China sought to use the physical occupation of the Spratly and Paracel Islands as a line of defense against incursions by Mao’s People’s Republic of China. Beginning in 1946, the Taiwanese military presence on and around the islands bolstered Chinese claims to them. The Republic of China first put forth the “U-shaped,” 11-dash line, encompassing within it 770,000 square miles of maritime territory, nearly the entire South China Sea in 1946 (Ling Mingjiang 2016, 65). Almost simultaneously, the People’s Republic of China began to assert claims in the South China Sea, and, in 1950, took Hainan (Hayton 2014, 64). When the People’s Republic of China began to formally document its own claims in the early 1950s, it merely co-opted Taiwan’s intermittent line as demarcating its own sovereign jurisdiction. In 1953, the 11-dash line was altered slightly; two dashes were dropped, and the nine-dash intermittent line was established (Yi 2014, 31). The nine-dash delineation perseveres into current international affairs, and has caused tension, as other Southeast Asian nations began to officially register competing claims within the international system in the 1970s (Schofield 2016, 30). However, a problem arises: many of the “islands” which China has used to legitimate its claims within the South China Sea are uninhabitable,
merely rocks that are only exposed during low tide. Others contain nothing more than an airstrip, or a military barracks raised out of the water on stilts. In order to support its oil aspirations, China relies on the protection of its 200-nautical-mile Economic Exclusion Zones (EEZ), stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), from the claims of others Asiatic nations. But, islands that fall under the UNCLOS EEZ protection must be habitable, not just semi-submerged airstrips (Bader 2014). Consequently, China’s efforts towards “island building” seek to substantiate their regional claims, yet those man-made islands do not necessarily provide China’s claims the legal protection it seeks. In February of 2014, as a facet of President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia,” the Secretary of State issued a statement which spoke out against China’s apparent violation of the UNCLOS Doctrine. But, to date, the U.S. Senate had not even ratified the Convention, and its statement largely fell on deaf ears (Bader 2014). Chinese scholar Hou Yi attempted to legitimate the nine-dash line in relation to the UNCLOS on a technicality; because the nine-dash line was finalized by the PRC in 1958, and the UNCLOS was adopted over a decade later, the UN cannot retroactively apply its policies to China. Regardless, the legalistic approach to negotiations has not held much sway over the South China Sea conflict, and China has maintained much of its sovereignty in the region, despite UNCLOS regulations. (Yi 2014, 32). The People’s Republic of China has held onto the nine-dash line since its derivation from Chiang Kai-Shek’s U-shaped line in 1946. Yet, China’s activities to support their claims in the South China Sea have been variable since then. Taiwan has also attempted to maintain territorial claims in the region. However, due to its flagging strength, lack of meaningful support from the United States, and its inability to effectively counter Beijing’s selfrecognizing “One China” policy, their effect on the region is negligible (Hsiao and Len 2016, 77). In regard to competing claims, Vietnam, upon in its independence from France, inherited claims to both the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos. However, ravaged by conflict throughout the late 1970s, and without the military power or tangible backing to compete with the Chinese forces, their claims were largely ignored. China and Vietnam have disputed ownership of the islands with varying intensity throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century, due especially to fluctuations in China’s approach to
establishing regional influence. Considering the history of U.S. involvement in the region, the United States inherited its association with the Philippines in 1898 via colonialism, following its defeat of Spain during the Spanish-American War. Following its independence, American defense obligations to the Philippines proved significant in the context of the Cold War and the contemporary South China Sea situation, as the U.S has repeatedly used the Philippines both as an ally and a proxy. Today, as China interferes both in the Philippines’ territorial waters and on the features that the Philippines has claimed in the Spratly archipelago, the Philippines look to Washington for support, but receive tepid responses in return (Baviera 2016, 163). Furthermore, in 1973, following the U.S.’s departure from the Vietnam War, South Vietnam provided Americans with a vital interest: oil contracts (Hayton 2014, 71). Having annexed ten of the Spratly islands, the Republic of Vietnam offered North American oil companies contracts in an area of the seabed China had already claimed for itself decades earlier. In the interests of protecting the aspirations of major American corporations such as Shell, who were awarded contracts by South Vietnam on South China Sea archipelagos, Washington began to pledge military support of Vietnam, which it reaffirmed in 2010 (Kaplan 2014, 62). As a result of backing from Washington, Vietnam’s territorial claims within the South China Sea gained legitimacy, and the United States took on a direct stake in the geopolitics of the region. As a result, during the Cold War period, the United States used its alliances in the Southeast Asia region, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, in order to put pressure on the People’s Republic of China. Consequently, American interests in the South China Sea became firmly cemented in the mid-to-late twentieth century due to the United States’ involvement in Vietnam and the Philippines. The United States has fallen back on this Cold War framework, viewing China as an existential threat to the position of the U.S. within the established global world order. Such a framework is characterized by emphatic efforts towards containment and offsetting China’s activities in the South China Sea region. The South China Sea has already begun, and will continue to provide the geopolitical theater upon which the future of Sino-American relationships hinge. But, the establishment of a constructive relationship would necessitate the relinquishing aggression by both the U.S. and China. The United States cannot legitimately enforce an arbitrary hegemony over
China’s activities in China’s backyard, just as China cannot bully its way to regional and global hegemony over its neighbors. Along this line, however, in manners both intentional and subconscious, China has modeled its rise within international diplomacy by following the path the United States forged during the twentieth century, particularly with the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (Chang 2014, 87). The Roosevelt Corollary gained additional significance in the era immediately following World War II as the United States exerted considerable effort to establish itself as a global hegemon. Just as the United States fashioned a global expansion based on a sense of manifest destiny during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, China sees a similar destiny for itself unfolding later than that of the United States. By extension, much of what occurs in the realm of international relations is symbolic; meaning there exists a formulaic means by which a state can signal its international influence. China, noting the historical circumstances of the rise of the United States, seeks to signal its power along the lines of this pre-established formula, an objective which characterizes the policies of both Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping. Such a formula includes economic expansion, claiming territory, taking part in international negotiations and diplomatic proceedings—evident in China’s involvement in institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization—and participating in foreign direct investment, all of which China has undertaken in recent decades (Chang 2014, 245). Considering the historical circumstances that precipitated Washington’s current entanglement in the South China Sea conflict, the degree to which the United States has tied itself to China over time is paramount. Historically, trade with China was prohibited for the American colonies by British colonial rule, and thus subsequent trade – following independence – helped give the United States a foundation for its identity. Then, in the nineteenth century, China again became a means by which the U.S. fueled its conception of nationhood. Manifest Destiny encapsulated the widely-held belief that it was the intention of God for the United States to expand its influence not only across the North American continent, but across the Pacific, and into China, as well. Missionary activity, trade, and political involvement picked up as the U.S. began to attempt to open China to the West, seeing these interventions as intrinsic to the American national identity and telos.
During the Cold War, while the tone of the relationship shifted greatly, the underlying sentiment driving American interaction with China remained the same; America’s destiny, for better or for worse, is inextricably connected to China. In addition, the prevailing belief in the domino effect of the expansion of communism, adopted under the Truman administration, dictated American foreign policy for much of the Cold War. While indicative of a misunderstanding of Beijing’s view of Moscow, these assumptions, working in tandem with the American perspective of relations with China, confounded policy makers in their tackling of the “China question.” Under the described ideological framework, the victory of Mao Zedong, and China’s subsequent fall to communism represented an existential threat to the very identity of the United States, shocking the American consciousness and triggering a slew of policy responses, ultimately leading to war in Korea and Vietnam. As contemporary American policy under the Trump administration revitalizes Cold War tensions, it is necessary, just as Richard Nixon advised in 1967, for America to again “come to grips with the ‘reality of China” (Brands and Cooper 2018, 220. Rather than fear China and resist its rise, the United States must seek to establish a strategic economic partnership with China— fostering a sense of cohesion within the historically-tumultuous relationship. U.S. policy towards the PRC has largely been contingent upon the president, and has shifted greatly in the decades since Nixon’s watershed visit to Beijing in 1972. Nixon’s visit carried significant symbolic weight: until this diplomatic gesture the United States had refused to acknowledge Beijing’s existence since 1949. The administrations between Nixon and Trump were divided in regards to the specifics of the China question; however, each came to similar conclusions that, especially in regards to economics, the success of both China and the U.S. is mutual and intertwined (Council on Foreign Relations 2018). Critics of this perspective feel that the idea that China and the United States will “converge” economically is reminiscent of the hyperromanticizing of China that has characterized American opinion and policy regarding China for centuries. Such romanticizing creates disparities between expectations and geopolitical realities, fueling arguments that a Sino-American strategic partnership simply is not viable over a long period (Chang 2014, 249). However, the truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. Certainly, the romanticizing of relations with China and the overestimation
of America’s ability to impact the identity and ideology of other nations have consistently proven counterproductive to American foreign policy. The most compelling examples are the deeply fraught war efforts the United States undertook in Korea in the 1950s and in Vietnam in the late 1960s in pursuit of containment, a policy crafted largely as a result of the collective anxiety America experienced in response to the perceived threat of China. By extension, failure to view the China question with tempered realism coupled with a constructivist understanding of China’s evolution has led to an intense degree of subjectivity in the United States’ policy towards China. Nevertheless, China and the U.S. do not necessarily have to “converge” in order to maintain a successful economic partnership. The potential for a viable Sino-American strategic relationship is supported by clear empirical evidence from the economic interaction and interdependence that arose during China’s period of explosive growth in the 1990s and 2000s. Continuing the discussion of the varied U.S. policies towards China, policy makers have recently articulated four options available to strategy in the South China Sea: accommodating China’s ambitions, offsetting Chinese action, containing Chinese expansion, or rolling back China’s activities and acquisitions in the South China Sea (Brands and Cooper 2018, 2). Since the Cold War, and into the twenty-first century, the United States has pursued a policy of containment, with varying degrees of enforcement depending on the geopolitical situation at any given point. In recent decades, the United States has also incorporated diplomatic measures into its policy, such as economic sanctions, in a manner that reflects the offsetting course of action. In contrast to many of his predecessors, President Trump has articulated a hardline policy of economic sanctions intended to heighten competition with China and reinforce the United States’ historical position of hegemony (Council on Foreign Relations 2018). The sanctions imposed by the United States, seeking to rebalance the current Sino-American trade deficit, targeted nearly 60 billion USD in Chinese steel and aluminum imports. China’s response, aimed mostly at American agricultural imports, has greatly destabilized both American farmers and overall economic relations between the U.S. and China (Thomas and Wiseman 2018). In contrast, a policy of accommodation would involve the United States relinquishing a certain degree of its influence in Southeast Asia, allowing China to continue its expansion unhindered by American countermeasures.
Such a policy is based on the recognition that China’s interests in the South China Sea are, by geography and history, more deeply entrenched than those of the United States. As a result, under this policy framework, it is in the best interests of both the U.S. and China for Washington to simply leave the South China Sea issue alone in order to avoid military conflict and remove tension from U.S.-China relations. Military analysts have expressed concern that Washington’s extrication of itself in the short term may only lead to more extensive military conflict in the long term, should China feel free to act aggressively towards other Southeast Asian states and violate international norms (Brands and Cooper 2018, 14-15). Accommodation maintains the potential to de-escalate existing tensions. Instead of a direct conflict between the U.S. and China, less unilateral involvement on the part of Washington places the burden of enforcing international norms on multilateral international institutions, such as the United Nations, should it be decided that China has violated UNCLOS. Taking a position more offensively realistic than that of accommodation, the strategy of offsetting China’s territorial gains and militant actions in the South China Sea highlights preventing continued Chinese activities while avoiding military conflict. The intention underlying this policy is that through diplomatic means, especially economic penalties such as sanctioning, the United States may limit China’s actions without having to be directly militarily involved. Thus, the effects of the responses from the United States on the Chinese government and economy “offset” the value of any strategic gain China may have made in the South China Sea (Brands and Cooper 2018, 10). However, attempting to offset China’s territorial claims and activities only serves to breed mistrust and resentment on the side of the Chinese government. As a result, China’s resolve to assert dominance will only be strengthened, providing greater impetus for China to continue to impose itself in the region, both for material and symbolic ends. The implicit assumption in the rollback policy option is that a prior status quo can be re-established in the region with active American military involvement (Brands and Cooper 2018, 6). In reality, China is not staging the South China Sea for a war; rather, China is merely behaving rationally within realist framework. The military exercises the United States is interpreting as signals of war have long been used as a tacit means to signal prowess and influence, and the U.S. has done exactly the same in the region already,
exhibiting bellicose intent. The U.S. Department of Defense conducts yearly Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) throughout international waterways, and has been especially active in and around the South China Sea archipelagos in the past few years (U.S Dept. of Defense 2017, 3). The United States cites non-internationally-codified principles of “freedom of maritime and air navigation” as the basis for its actions both in the South China Sea and in all of its FONOPS missions, which demonstrates that these missions stand more to protect the United States’ status as global hegemon in the face of a growing China, rather than in defense of any clearly defined global liberal order. Therefore, China is responding in kind to the actions of other international powers, and marking itself to be viewed as one of those powers. Following this logic, an American military intervention would go against that which is realistically best for both the U.S. and China. Escalating military tensions directly threatens the best interests of both parties; war would satisfy neither the American end of maintaining its influence in the region, nor the Chinese end of gaining recognition and influence internationally. The victory, assuming a clear victory could even be attained by either side, would prove pyrrhic. China and the U.S., while deeply intertwined economically, ought not to view one another as mutual existential threats. The conflict in the South China Sea ought to be viewed more-so as “growing pains” in their evolving relationship than a gearing-up for all-out conflict, invoking a tempered and far-looking response from the United States with regard to the long term. On a different tact, when questioning the potential of war in the South China Sea, one must consider the policy goals of the two major actors. The United States has frequently misinterpreted China’s aims and initiatives: taking means for ends and assuming a bellicose intent where there actually exists none. For instance, Xi Jinping has undertaken an initiative to bolster his People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as described in his address at the 19th National Congress in 2017 (Babones 2017). While the U.S. views this as an aggressive act, the intent is to foster nationalism and create a unified Chinese identity, as Xi’s administration has been the first to abandon the five-nation China. As China’s economic boom has stalled, the Party has sought to fill the gap with other means of fostering national identity and pride; in this case, an expanded influence over South China Sea island features. Xi has maintained a strong hand in his control of China in order to effectively foster the national
identity he seeks to create, which highlights congruence across a nation that has been diverse and incongruent since its inception (Babones 2017). While President Xi has received criticism for the aggressiveness of his policies, most notably for his actions in the South China Sea, it is critical for the health of Sino-American relations that political criticism come from international institutions, rather than from unilateral U.S. foreign policy measures whose aim is contingent upon the current American president’s views (Ratner 2018). Keeping an understanding of China’s history, vital interests, and aspirations in mind, the best policy for the United States to pursue is one of negotiation: a more active form of accommodation that still maintains the sentiment of American values. By respecting China’s sovereignty, loosening its influence over allies in Southeast Asia, and working to integrate China into the liberal world order, the U.S. may begin to let go of its implicit treatment of China as an existential threat. However, the world order, rather than being one characterized by American hegemony, must be one that does not arbitrarily favor any one state, by extension holding China and the United States equally accountable for their actions. China’s aggressive activities do not have to be tolerated, especially if they directly threaten other Southeast Asian states, but it is not part of the jurisdiction of the United States to unilaterally decide these matters through conflict. Ultimately, the tensions in the South China Sea are a microcosm of the long and complex history of Sino-American relations. China seeks to expand its international influence, and the United States has interpreted this as a direct existential threat, rather than a mere reality of evolving geopolitics. In order to maintain the essential Sino-American partnership from which both states benefit, the long-term aim of U.S. foreign policy must be to maintain the strength of Sino-American economic associations. Consequently, the trade war that has come about due to ideological concerns runs counter to the long-term best interests of both China and the United States, although the symbolism of the tariffs may accomplish some short-term policy goals of the Trump and Xi administrations. As war is clearly not in the economic, moral, or political interests of either state due to the extent of potential damage to both nations, the chances of direct conflict in the South China Sea are slim. In addition, given China’s strategic reliance on South China Sea maritime trade, it proves equally unlikely that China would attempt to choke the trade flowing through
Straits of Malacca. However, the conflict in the South China Sea teases out a more significant phenomenon: the existential insecurity the United States and China cause one another due to the close bilateral relationship that has formed throughout the development of the two states. Complicating the dynamic of Sino-American relations is the fact that China has been modeling its rise off of the formula of building international political influence that the United States utilized during its rise to power during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Consequently, in order to ease the insecurity corrupting the relationship between the U.S. and China, it is crucial that the future of Sino-American diplomacy focus not on geopolitical primacy and competition, but rather on economic partnership and mutual understanding.
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Du Weiwei. Contemporary International Relations 20, no. 6 (2010): 132-41. http://oversea.cnki.net.proxy01.its.virginia.edu/kcms/ detail/detail.aspx?recid=&FileName Fanghua, Lu. “An Analysis of U.S. Involvement in the South China Sea Disputes.” Translated by Du Weiwei. Contemporary International Relations 20, no. 6 (2010): 132-41. http://oversea.cnki.net.proxy01. its.virginia.edu/kcms/detail/detail.aspx?recid=&FileName Jingming, Li. “The Current Situation in the South China Sea and Suggested Responses.” Translated by Li Hongli. Contemporary International Relations 22, no. 5 (2012): 63-68 Potter, Robert. “The Importance of the Straits of Malacca.” Last modified September 7, 2012. https://www.e-ir.info/2012/09/07/the importance-of-the-straits-of-malacca/ Xiaotian, Xu. “Worries Mixed with the Peaceful Situation in the South China Sea.”Contemporary International Relations 28, no. 2 (2018): 56-61. Ichford, Robert F. Jr. Southeast Asia and the World Oil Crisis: 1973. Southeast Asian Affairs (1974): 27-56. https://www.jstor.org/ stable/27908218 Manning, Robert A. and James Pryzstup. “Stop the South China Sea Charade.” Last modified August 17, 2017. https://foreignpolicy. com/2017/08/17/stop-the-south-china-sea-charade/.
Different Strokes for Different Folks: Divergence in U.S. and Chinese Post-Crisis Economic Policy By Eric Xu and Varun Sharma About the Authors Eric Xu is a fourth-year in the Politics Honors program. Born in China, Eric grew up in Montreal, Canada before moving to Charlottesville for middle and high school. These cross-cultural experiences served as his first introduction to the global arena, and he has been passionate about international relations and comparative politics ever since. At UVA, Eric has developed a strong interest in US-China relations and the future of Chinese economic development, with a focus in environmental politics and sustainable investment. In this piece, Eric hopes to expand his knowledge of the Chinese political system by examining its fiscal and monetary policy decision processes. Next year, Eric will join Roark Capital Group in Atlanta as a Private Equity Analyst. Varun Sharma is a fourth-year majoring in Finance, Information Technology, and Economics. His interest in China began during a policy simulation of the Chinese politburo during high school; during his first semester at UVA, he enrolled in Mandarin courses and has studied the language ever since. During the summer of 2017, Varun had the opportunity to study in China, completing independent research on the Chinese public pension system through the UVA in Shanghai Intensive Chinese Language Program. This piece is an attempt to consolidate his interests in economic development, politics, and China. Next year, Varun will pursue a Master in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar. Abstract Following the collapse of the American subprime mortgage market, the U.S. and Chinese governments relied upon distinct monetary and fiscal
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policy tools to restore market confidence. The Chinese government’s fiscal stimulus package focused on infrastructure spending to combat falling global exports, whereas the U.S. fiscal policy response emphasized relief for consumers. On the monetary policy front, the Federal Reserve attempted to spur economic growth through quantitative easing and changes to benchmark interest rates, while the Chinese Central Bank focused on a blunter instrument — bank reserve requirements. The evidence suggests that major differences in the ideological context of economic policy debates, the institutional incentives that bias action in favor of certain agencies over others, and the interest groups that seek to affect legislation across these two nations explain the divergent usage of these economic policy tools. This framing will be helpful to leaders responding to future financial crises, demonstrating that economic policies cannot be transported across borders without appropriate regard for context. Foreword Memories are short. Many people would rather forget the “late unpleasantness” of the financial crisis of 2008. Nevertheless, the crisis follows us like a shadow, a long tail of after-effects, not least in the fiscal and monetary policy debates in the developed economies. While the U.S. and Europe have garnered most of the policy headlines, history teaches that global growth and systemic stability depend importantly on the rapidly developing economies, among which China is paramount. Here in 2019, speculation over China’s policy choices preoccupies forecasters, leaders, and pundits. Will China manage to avoid a recession by means of fiscal stimulus? Will China manage to avoid systemic instability among its banks by artful monetary policy? Any intelligent answers must reflect the pathway to the present. This is why this essay by Varun Sharma and Eric Xu is both timely and informative. Not only do they give us a precise of China’s fiscal and monetary policies over the past ten years, but they also benchmark those policies against those of the United States. Thus, they give an interesting comparison of the policy choices of the world’s current economic hegemon (the U.S.) and the emerging economic hegemon (China). And their 10-year retrospective coincides with the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis of 2008. Mark Twain supposedly said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Inter-country comparisons, such as this essay offered by Sharma and Xu can help us understand where,
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when, and how history might rhyme. Professor Robert F. Bruner Distinguished Professor of Business Administration Dean Emeritus of the Darden School of Business Introduction In the post-Great Recession world, the divergent responses of the Chinese and U.S. political-economic systems have been the subject of much analysis and debate. The Chinese fiscal policy system, as an engine of its economic development as well as its rigorous and active monetary policy, has been analyzed to mine learnings that could be implemented in the U.S. or globally (Zheng, 2014 and Zhao, Han, Kearns, and Scott, 2018). The U.S.’s tumultuous path to recovery from the Great Recession of the early 2010s caused concern among American and international commentators. Many of them recognized the rise of China and the eclipsing of the Americanled global economic system. In contrast, China’s prodigious economic growth following the Great Recession has led many to call for a greater understanding of the “China model” in order to mimic its successes (Zhao, 2010, 420-421). Much of the hype surrounding the quality of the Chinese stimulus package and their use of the reserve requirement policy lever needs proper contextualization. This essay examines the details of the Chinese fiscal and monetary responses to the Great Recession in direct contrast with similar U.S. initiatives. Fiscally, this paper hones in on the divergent routes taken by Chinese and U.S. policy-makers in crafting a stimulus package that addresses the specific concerns faced by each country. While Chinese policy-makers pushed for increased infrastructure spending to replace projected falling global exports in 2008, American policy-makers focused on relieving tax burdens on American citizens in hopes of stimulating greater domestic consumption. Though both fiscal stimulus packages were inspired by Keynesian ideas concerning government spending, the details of how both nations crafted their stimulus packages shed a great deal of light on the replicability of the policies in countries with different structural conditions. Fiscally, Chinese and American policies did not address similar issues; thus, are poorly served by an apple to apple comparison.
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American economic policy in the fall of 2008 focused on quantitative easing and a reduction in the federal funds rate, with the Federal Reserve hesitant to adjust bank reserve requirements. In contrast, Chinese policymakers frequently adjusted the country’s reserve requirements in the years during and following the Great Recession, often with relatively little fanfare or controversy. This essay argues that the relative inefficiency of the reserve requirement policy tool in the U.S. economic context and the stringent institutional barriers surrounding its adjustment prevented it from being seriously considered as a policy solution during the Great Recession. In contrast, the ease with which Chinese central authorities could manipulate the reserve requirement without having to worry about interest group-led pressures, combined with the Chinese economy’s historically heavy reliance on exports, led the usage of reserve requirements by Chinese monetary policymakers. Fiscal Policy In the wake of the Great Recession, the Chinese government announced a $586 billion economic stimulus program to stabilize its economy. After having been hit hard by export drops across the board due to the rippling effects of the financial crisis, the Chinese government decided on fiscal stimulus as a way of sustaining economic growth figures throughout 2010. Though the United States federal government passed its own stimulus package in February of 2009, Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) differed from the Chinese stimulus package in scope and scale. Given the distinct nature of the two economies and the dissimilar problems faced by both governments, the fact that the stimulus packages themselves were distinct should come as no surprise. However, a closer examination of the specific spending categories in both the Chinese and American stimulus packages post-Great Recession can illuminate the divergent fiscal policy paths taken by the developing and the developed economy, respectively. The Chinese and American stimulus packages were drafted and approved in very different political circumstances. Chinese fiscal policymaking comes directly from the State Council, the chief administrative authority of the People’s Republic of China. Led directly by the Premier, the State Council has the authority to commission reports and policy
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recommendations from various lower agencies (The State Council, 2018). The State Council generally commissions policy recommendations from the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China (NDRC), which has broad authority to inject central government funding into the economy (National Development and Reform Commission, 2018). The Chinese stimulus package was thus created in the shadows of an administrative agency not beholden to the general public: this is in line with Chinese policyâ€™s usual origins in the recesses of centralized bureaucratic agencies rather than in the court of public opinion. The Chinese government had also been operating under a different set of pre-crisis circumstances than American policy-makers. Chinese exports of goods and services declined by 10 percent in 2008-2009, with marketbased investment and foreign direct investment (FDI) declining severely in 2007 (China Quarterly Update, 2018). However, Chinese policy-makers were blessed with an initially low public debt level and a large government budget surplus, which accumulated during the pre-recession era (Fardoust, Lin, and Luo, 2012). The large surplus allowed the Chinese government to spend aggressively during the post-crisis period. The Chinese stimulus package eventually amounted to 16 percent of Chinese annual GDP over the twoyear lifespan of the stimulus: a significant boost to the Chinese economy (China Seeks Stimulation, 2008). Expectations for the Chinese government and criteria for success also deviated from U.S. expectations. After averaging almost 9 percent annualized GDP growth since the late-1990s, the Chinese government faced a crisis of confidence and legitimation when growth struggled in the later quarters of 2008 (GDP Growth, 2009). Given the narrative of Chinese success that had been established by the Chinese government after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chinese policy-makers were pressured to keep growth figures robust throughout what appeared to be an increasingly serious recession. In aggressively maintaining growth figures throughout the recession, the Chinese government was determined to position itself as an ascendant economic power in relation to the United States. The U.S. bicameral political system, in contrast, resulted in a stimulus package that was highly contested and [fiscally? Economically?] moderate than its Chinese counterpart. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed through both a Democratic House and Senate with minimal Republican votes: Republicans saw the legislation as an
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impermissible increase in federal spending without sufficient long-term guaranteed tax decreases (Otterman, 2009). The U.S. stimulus package that was eventually passed was a product of multiple committees within the House and the Senate that all had to respond to public pressures against the stimulus package, in contrast to the cloistered nature of the Chinese policy-making process. The rhetoric surrounding possible post-crisis policy responses was also markedly different within the U.S. than in China. U.S. policy-makers were divided from the start over which policy goals to pursue, given that the goals of rescue, recovery, reform, and relief were at odds with one another in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis (Bruner, 2018, 2). Divergent perspectives on the usefulness of stimulus packages in recovery prevented both sides from reaching a consensus on the single best policy response to the crisis (Matthews, 2011). Although the U.S.â€™s history with stimulus packages goes back to Great Depression New Deal policies enacted by Franklin D. Roosevelt, mixed reception of his efforts muddied the historical precedent for effective U.S. stimulus spending. In contrast with China, where stimulus spending suffered no negative connotations nor historical controversies, the United States was significantly more divided over the proper fiscal levers to use in a financial crisis. The composition of the Chinese stimulus package, included as Exhibit 1, indicates a heavy reliance on infrastructure spending not present in its U.S. counterpart. Following official NDRC details of the contents of the Chinese stimulus package, over 3 trillion RMB of the 4 trillion RMB total spent on the stimulus package went to transportation network construction, reconstruction in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake, and increased spending on rural infrastructure. The Chinese government justified the large amount spent on infrastructure by pointing to opportunities for further economic development within Chinaâ€™s heartland region. Chinese spending in the stimulus package was couched in the language of equity and relief for underprivileged members of Chinese society: rural development projects were marketed as ways to improve the domestic drivers of demand in Chinaâ€™s poorest regions, while 25 percent of the stimulus was explicitly demarcated as relief for Sichuan province post-earthquake. By shifting the public marketing of the stimulus package from recovery to relief, the Chinese government sent signals to the international community about the positive
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effects of the stimulus while simultaneously quelling domestic unrest over the reduced GDP growth rate. Confidence in private investment skyrocketed following the stimulus package, leading many to hail it as a success. A focus on infrastructure and housing spending, as well as being economically beneficial for the Chinese economy, is also in line with Chinese cultural norms regarding homeownership and success. Chinese culture has historically placed a premium on home ownership as a symbol of independence and honor: a lack of property taxes within the People’s Republic of China has added to the appeal of owning significant property in contemporary times (Bradsher, 2018). Young Chinese families rushed to purchase new apartments in the post-2008 housing glut as a way of proving their independence from their families in a rising China. Despite fears about a growing property bubble developing in Chinese housing, demand for housing remained high as families accumulated multiple properties to put their excess wealth to use (Ranasinghe, 2014). Due to the absence of a robust and protected equity market for most of Chinese history, real estate has historically served as the most commonly held and stable asset class for Chinese wealth. The Chinese stimulus package reflected long-running cultural trends in Chinese economic life while also providing an economically beneficial way of stimulating domestic demand and consumption. The Chinese stimulus package achieved its goals of slowing Chinese GDP growth declines in 2009 and maintaining Chinese confidence postrecession. A study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicates that Chinese GDP growth would have slowed to 2.9 percent in 2009 without expansionary fiscal policy (Zhou, Shi, Li, Yuan, 2011, 9-10). Chinese stimulus spending accorded with general Chinese objectives to reduce their economy’s reliance on export-oriented and labor-intensive modes of development. The U.S. stimulus package, in contrast, consisted of over $500 billion in tax relief clauses for middle-income Americans, reflecting the distinct inputs into the American stimulus process [?]. Out of the $811 billion agreed to by the House and the Senate, only $311 billion was committed to spending proposals from the federal government, with the rest going towards tax relief and state/local fiscal relief (Summary of Spending Programs in the $789 Billion Stimulus Compromise, 2009). U.S. investments in “Infrastructure and science” totaled $120 billion, with other large categories including $106 billion in “Education and training” and $37.5 billion” invested in “Energy”.
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The U.S. stimulus package, a product of a democratic bureaucratic process ultimately beholden to voters and interest groups, emphasized tax cuts as a way of generating broader support for the initiative. U.S. policy-makers were forced to consider how different perspectives on the role of government in stimulating the economy should be reflected in the final legislation, a pressure not experienced by their Chinese counterparts. Setting aside $500 billion of an over $800 billion stimulus package for tax relief and state/local fiscal relief demonstrates U.S. policy-makersâ€™ interest in placating constituents calling for tax breaks and pro-federalism advocates arguing for devolution. Unlike the spending-heavy Chinese stimulus package, the U.S. stimulus packageâ€™s emphasis on tax relief taps into long-standing U.S. voter support of tax cuts. Democrats inserted language concerning the tax cut provisions in the 2009 Recovery Act to win Republican votes. When Republicans voted against the spending bill, many argued that the tax cuts were insufficient because they were not made permanent. A Harvard Business Review analysis predicted in 2012 that hypothetical John McCain and Mitt Romney presidencies would have led to similar stimulus packages being passed, with the main difference being the targets of the tax cut provisions (Fox, 2012). This indicates the wide popularity that tax cuts have across political divides in America and explains their emphasis in the final version of the stimulus package. The clauses in the stimulus package calling for state and local fiscal relief are also strongly tied to American political traditions. State governments are legally required to balance their budgets each year. Consequently, state governments facing recession were prepared to cut spending and raise taxes in order to make up for the lower tax revenues spurred on by the recession (Fiscal Relief for State and Local Governments, 2009). Medicaid and education funds provided to state governments allowed them to continue to supply vital support systems for disadvantaged members of their societies, all while maintaining U.S. notions of federalism by preserving state autonomy. State and local fiscal relief were widely praised as a bipartisan achievement of the 2009 Recovery Act due to its congruence with U.S. customs. The U.S. and Chinese stimulus packages should be viewed as two fundamentally different policy tools that address distinct issues and respond to dissimilar pressures. The Chinese stimulus package was designed to combat export dependency and a lack of consumer demand by stimulating
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infrastructure development in line with Chinese cultural norms and understandings about wealth. The U.S. stimulus package, in contrast, was one piece of the puzzle meant to stabilize the post-financial crisis economy. Additionally, it sought to bring about fiscal stimulus through tax relief and state/local government support rather than infrastructure spending. Properly contextualizing the two stimulus packages within their countriesâ€™ broader objectives during the financial crisis establishes a more grounded comparison between the two policies. Monetary Policy Immediately following the onset of the Great Recession, the U.S. and China both pursued expansionary monetary policies, hoping to generate the investment necessary for robust economic recoveries. However, they used vastly different tools to achieve the same goals. Ultimately, major differences in institutional setting and interests of market participants explain the divergence in monetary policy between the U.S. and China following the Great Recession. The Federal Reserve relies primarily upon four monetary policy tools (How Monetary Policy Works, 2018). The first and most commonly used tool is open market operations, which refers to the Federal Reserveâ€™s systematic purchases and sales of government bonds. Open market operations are particularly useful to the Federal Reserve because they empower the institution to quickly change the supply of U.S. dollars through purchase and reverse repurchase agreements. The Federal Reserve also influences credit availability by changing two benchmark interest rates: the federal funds rate and the discount rate. The federal funds rate corresponds to the rate at which member institutions lend to each other, while the discount rate refers to the rate at which the Federal Reserve lends to distressed firms that cannot obtain funding in the capital markets. [remove bc reference to exhibit?]Short-term treasury bill yields closely track the federal funds rate: assuming the shortterm treasury bill yield is used as a risk-free rate, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) suggests changes to the short-term treasury bill yield will be reflected in risky corporate bond yields. The third element of the Federal Reserveâ€™s monetary policy toolkit is reserve requirements. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors dictates what percentage of deposits banking institutions must keep in their vaults or at one of the twelve reserve banks. Finally, the
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Federal Reserve influences both the money supply and banks’ incentives to hold excess reserves by changing the interest rate paid on required and excess deposits. The Chinese central bank, the People’s Bank of China, employs some of the same tools used by the Federal Reserve, namely open market operations and reserve requirements. However, the People’s Bank of China also has more direct tools in its arsenal. Whereas the Federal Reserve indirectly affects market interest rates through the federal funds rate, the Chinese central bank historically set the lending and deposit rates used across the nation’s entire commercial banking sector. Although individual institutions are now allowed to deviate slightly from this benchmark, Chinese banks are significantly more constrained than their U.S. counterparts (China’s Evolving Toolkit to Manage Monetary Policy, 2018). In 2014, the People’s Bank of China instituted a new program known as Pledged Supplementary Lending (PSL). The Financial Times reports that this program was designed to increase loans to typically underserved sectors, including “agriculture, small business, and shantytown redevelopment” (Wildau, 2015). Although the U.S. Federal Reserve developed special lending facilities to support failing firms during the Great Recession, it does not have a standing loan facility designed to support the development of individual sectors of the economy. That same year, the People’s Bank of China also introduced the Medium-Term Lending Facility (MLF). The goal of this program is to provide funding to financial institutions for periods of time ranging from three months to a year, in direct contrast to the U.S. open market operations which focus primarily on durations from hours to a few months. At the beginning of the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve made significant efforts to expand the money supply and foster investment. In September 2007, the FOMC set the federal funds rate at 5.25 percent; fifteen months later, in December 2008, the rate was reduced nearly to zero, for the first time in the institution’s history (Frenzel, Penny, and Stenholm, 2009). During this period, the Federal Reserve also expanded the scope of its asset purchases. Instead of limiting purchases to short-term government bonds, the Federal Reserve began to purchase toxic mortgage-backed securities and long-term bonds from financial institutions in a policy that came to be known as quantitative easing. Between November 2008 and October 2014, the
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Federal Reserve purchased approximately $4 trillion in long-term treasuries, mortgage-backed securities, and debt held by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. One important tool the Federal Reserve used sparingly during this crisis was changing the reserve requirements; between 2008 and 2013, the Federal Reserve only modified reserve requirements five times compared with dozens of modifications to the federal funds rate. In 2008, the People’s Bank of China introduced similar, accommodating monetary policies. Liqing Zhang of China’s Central University of Finance and Economics argues the reduction of benchmark interest rates and the reduction of reserve requirements were two major parts of the Chinese government’s response to global market instability (Zhang, 2006, 6). In November 2008, the People’s Bank of China also eliminated an annual quota for new loans with the goal of spurring domestic investment ( Jun, 2010). However, in 2010, fearing the possibility of unbridled economic expansion, the Chinese central bank increased the reserve requirements six times within twelve months. All in all, since 2008, China has modified its reserve requirements twentyeight times, compared with just five in the United States (Liu and Spiegel, 2018). How can we explain the differential usage of reserve requirements as a monetary policy tool during the Great Recession? Structural differences between the U.S. and Chinese economies render reserve requirements more important to the baseline monetary policy of the People’s Bank of China. Exports have been a crucial part of China’s growth from an under-developed Communist nation to a global economic powerhouse. Yuqing Xing and Manisha Pradhananga of Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies estimate that exports accounted for 18.2 percent of Chinese GDP growth in 2001, 38 percent in 2005, and upwards of 50 percent in the post-crisis period (Xing and Pradhananga, 2013). Chinese firms with significant exports must convert their foreign earnings into RMB to pay suppliers and workers; collectively, these firms rely on the People’s Bank of China for this conversion. To consummate these transactions, the People’s Bank of China must print RMB and accumulate foreign notes in its vaults. As a net exporter of important consumer goods ranging from clothing to small electronics, China accumulated significant foreign exchange reserves in the first few years of the 21st century. The domestic currency printed in the process of this accumulation as a percentage of the entire money supply
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increased from 12.0 percent in 1999 to 35.4 percent in 2008(Hu, 2010). Such rapid expansion of the money supply required a robust monetary policy that could permanently drain excess liquidity from the financial system — the systematic increase of reserve requirements. The People’s Bank of China implemented this policy from 2004 to 2008. In contrast, as of 2011, 71.2 percent of U.S. GDP has come from consumer spending; 20.3 percent from government spending; 12.3 percent from business/industry spending, and net imports, in fact, comprised a negative 3.8 percent share. This relationship, with consumer spending as the largest portion of GDP and net imports reducing aggregate GDP, held quite consistently during the first part of the 21st century (Patton, 2014). With relatively limited exports, the U.S. did not have the opportunity to accumulate significant foreign exchange reserves, thereby reducing the inflationary pressure from currency printed in the reserve accumulation process. Furthermore, as the world’s de-facto reserve currency, the U.S. had little incentive to accumulate significant amounts of foreign currency. As such, unlike China, the U.S. did not need a robust monetary policy tool to eliminate significant liquidity in the early 2000s. By 2008, the People’s Bank of China had spent years modifying its reserve requirements, whereas the Federal Reserve had made relatively few changes to required bank reserves. Assuming policymakers prefer monetary tools they are relatively familiar with during a crisis, it makes perfect sense that the People’s Bank of China would continue relying on this policy lever, while the Federal Reserve would focus on other options. Another reason why the Federal Reserve likely did not emphasize reserve requirements in its monetary policy response to the Great Recession comes from the nature of U.S. central bank reserves. Using data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, we computed the excess reserve ratio for the U.S. from 1985 to 2017, computed as the ratio of excess reserves to required reserves in percentage terms. Given that the U.S. did not compensate financial institutions for reserves until 2008, the excess reserve was relatively low from 1985-2007, generally under 4 percent. However, following the change in compensation policy, there was a substantial increase in the number of excess reserves. By 2009, the excess reserve ratio climbed to 1562.68 percent; by 2011, it reached 1681.27 percent. On the other hand, China’s excess banking reserves have systematically declined since the beginning
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of the 21st century. In 2001, the excess reserve ratio was approximately 7 percent; by 2008, the same metric reached approximately 3.5 percent; today, the excess reserve ratio is hovering around 1.5 percent (CBNEditor, 2017). The presence of significant excess reserves in the U.S. banking sector implies a reduction in the reserve requirement may not have incentivized financial institutions to increase lending, leading the Federal Reserve to focus their energy on higher-impact policy proposals, namely asset purchases through quantitative easing programs and a reduction in the federal funds rate. A final reason why China relies more heavily on changes to reserve requirements emerges from differences in monetary policy rulemaking processes. The People’s Bank of China derives all of its authority from China’s State Council. This institutional design contains few checks on the power of the People’s Bank of China. Designed to implement the Politburo Standing Committee’s policy objectives, the People’s Bank of China has limited supervision from a legislative body or the public as a whole; as such, it can change reserve requirements relatively quickly. For example, the People’s Bank of China announced a reserve requirement reduction on October 7, 2018, set to take effect just eight days later (Zhang and Yao, 2018). The reserve requirement modification process in the U.S. is significantly more complicated. Regulation D of the Federal Reserve, enumerated within Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dictates the current reserve requirements and how they can be modified. There are two ways in which the Federal Reserve can temporarily modify reserve requirements. First, the Board of Governors can implement supplementary reserve requirements “on every depository institution of not more than four percent of its total transaction accounts” (2018). However, this policy can only be implemented if supported by 5 of 7 members of the Board of Governors. Even with this support, the policy must be discussed with the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and the National Credit Union Administration Board before implementation. If supplementary reserve requirements are enacted for more than a year, the Board of Governors must submit a written report to Congress justifying the necessity of the policy’s continued implementation. The Board of Governors also has the authority to impose emergency reserve requirements of any magnitude under extraordinary circumstances (2018). Nevertheless, this authority is also limited; the implementation of emergency
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reserve requirements requires consultation of the appropriate congressional committees. Given that the basic reserve requirements are enumerated in 12 CFR 204.4, permanent modifications are governed by a procedure outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act (1946). This procedure would require the Federal Reserve to publish initial rationale and motivation for a reserve requirement change, solicit public feedback, circulate a proposed rule, and allow anywhere from 30 to 180 days for public comment before new requirements are finalized. The evidence suggests that changing reserve requirements in the U.S. is a cumbersome process that requires weeks of consultation and review. By contrast, the FOMC has the authority to change either of the major benchmark interest rates almost immediately during one of its eight annual meetings. As such, it is not surprising the U.S. prioritizes monetary policy tools that are more easily implemented. The Federal Reserve and Peopleâ€™s Bank of China both have a variety of monetary policy tools at their disposal. Both institutions often engage in open market operations; both nations have the ability to influence market interest rates. However, the Peopleâ€™s Bank of China relies heavily upon changes to bank reserve requirements, whereas the Federal Reserve appears relatively hesitant to employ this tool. Macroeconomic data regarding foreign exchange reserves and excess reserve ratios across the two nations, as well as differences in the U.S. and Chinese monetary policy creation processes, lend support to the hypothesis that ideas, interests, and institutions can be used to explain economic policy responses to financial crises. Conclusion Post-crisis fiscal and monetary policy decisions are not conceived in a vacuum. In a crisis atmosphere, the considerations germane to the final policy product include the ideological context of economic policy debates, the institutional incentives that bias action in favor of certain agencies over others, and the wide variety of interest groups that seek to affect legislation. Simplistic explanations for why policies exist rarely tell the complete story: the framework outlined above can help explain why certain policies are enacted while others are left on the cutting block. This essay has established the policy outcomes of both the U.S. and
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Chinese governments as outputs to a system of inputs consisting of political history, economic common sense, and institutional barriers. Recontextualizing the stimulus package and reserve requirement debates in this language clarify the reasoning behind the ways in which U.S. and Chinese policy-makers framed options after the Great Recession. This framing will be helpful to policy-makers hoping to resolve future financial crises, hopefully illustrating that context is crucial to the success of post-crisis economic policy. Exhibit 1 | Composition of the 4 trillion RMB Chinese stimulus package
Source: China National Development and Reform Commission Exhibit 2 | Composition of the $787 billion U.S. stimulus package
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Exhibit 3 | Relationship between federal funds rate and 1-year Treasury constant maturity
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Exhibit 4 | U.S. bank excess reserve ratio, 1985-2017
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
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