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Fall 2017

The Wilson Journal of International Affairs

Fall 2017

Wilson Journal

The Wilson Journal of International Affairs Fall 2017

Contents Editorial Staff




From the Editor

Eric Xu


Institutional Creation of Social Power for State Development

William Truban


Do Structural Funds Effectively Equalize Opportunity in the European Union?

Robert Stephens


India’s Inequality and Education as an Equalizer: A Case Study on the Relationships Between Educational Policy, Practice, and Inequality

Ankita Satpathy


The Rohingya: A Stateless Minority Seeking Refuge

Sarah Corning


Why did the Moroccan Monarchy not Fall during the Arab Upheavals?

Morgan King and Sarah Rupert


To what extent is Russian lobbying and psychological influence a threat to the economicand political security and stability of the US and EU?

Ansley Bradwell and Anna Gray


Defying The State: How Executive Constraint and State Capacity Affect Control over Pro-Government Militias

Pascal Hensel



Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief

Eric Xu

Managing Editors

Alexa Iadarola, Vilas Annavarapu

Production Chair

Isabelle Foley

Media Manager

Molly Magoffin


Niko Marcich

Editing Staff

Ankita Satpathy Anna Pollard Anna von Spakovsky Brendan Novak Carly Mulvihill Caroline Peters Catherine Huang David Martineau Devan Keesling


Ellie Beahm Emma Anderson Griffin Asnis Madeline Swank Nicholas Mortensen Richard Song Sarah Corning Victoria Farris

Information About the Wilson Journal The Wilson Journal of International Affairs is the University of Virginia’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

Submissions Interested in submitting to the Wilson Journal? The Journal seeks research papers on current topics in international affairs that are at least ten pages in length. Only undergraduates or recent graduates are eligible to submit. Submissions should be sent to

Contact Please direct all comments to


From the Editor Dear Reader, At the close of 2017, the global order remains precariously perched on the brink of significant turmoil and conflict. The Trump administration’s actions have pivoted the United States away from a series of multilateral, global initiatives by taking an increasingly isolationist stance to international affairs. In Asia, Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power in the aftermath of the 19th Party Congress presents the world with a unified and assertive China looking to counterbalance a perceived decline in American world influence. A stand-off between North Korea and the United States over the state of its nuclear weapons program continues to trouble traditional U.S. allies in the region such as South Korea and Japan. The European Union remains at an impasse with the half-exited United Kingdom, diverting its attention from a still unresolved migrant crisis and growing authoritarian voices in Central and Eastern Europe. Success against ISIS forces on the ground in the Middle East comes with the straining of new tensions between former coalition allies, and Iran remains a concern with top policy makers in Washington. Given the domestic political climate, support for international engagement within the United States is fractured and uncertain. Bringing an awareness of these issues and more to student discourse at the University of Virginia is the goal of the Wilson Journal, now in its 14th year. This semester’s edition of the Wilson Journal of International Affairs touches upon a variety of different geographic and subject areas, with the goal of educating its readers about world issues through the lens and language of undergraduate student research. Our articles this semester look at issues in Russia, Morocco, the EU, Burma, and India, among other regions, and focus on topics as diverse as structural funds to education as an equalizer for inequality. By showcasing both the breadth and depth of undergraduate student work at the University of Virginia, the Wilson Journal hopes to play its part in elevating the quality of foreign affairs discussion. The quality of the Wilson Journal would not be possible without the help and support of many different groups and individuals in the


university community. First, I would like to thank the International Relations Organization for providing consistent financial and logistical support to the Wilson Journal. I would also like to thank the Miller Center for partnering with the Wilson Journal on myriad events throughout the semester, which have done a phenomenal job of bringing foreign affairs scholarship right to the heart of the university. My sincerest gratitude also goes to all of the professors and students involved in our submissions process, as well as the hard work put in by our Executive Board and staff editors in making the final product shine as it does. Finally, I would like to thank you, the reader, for motivating us to create our best work and to serve the community through the publication of quality foreign affairs research. Your continued interest in world affairs strengthens the atmosphere of international engagement so desperately needed in these troubled political times; we are honored to have you as partners for the journey. Sincerely,

Eric Xiaohang Xu Editor-in-Chief



Institutional Creation of Social Power for State Development By William Truban ABSTRACT


uch of the world is considered weak and unstable due largely to the billions of dollars funneled into aid packages in the hopes that the money will stabilize conflict-ridden zones. International development has changed direction in the last few decades, and countries have begun to loosen their restrictions on civil society and the economy in order to establish a more effective means of control. While outside variables such as geography, military conflict, and economic development all have substantial impact on state development, it is the effective construction and legitimization of government institutions that most effectively creates stable countries. I will trace out a series of case studies in modern Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Then, I will compare them to European state development and assess the effectiveness of state institutions that have been established. In all cases, I will reference key pieces of literature that effectively cover the different regions.


The 1997 World Bank re-

port titled “The State in a Changing World� made a stark assertion that the state’s role in enforcing transaction law is crucial to development. It argued against the reduction of government and in favor of a proactive state, reinvigorating an emphasis on state power. Since then, hundreds of case studies have aimed to identify the causes of strong state development. Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa have consistently experienced issues with the development of state power and the exercise of social control within their territories. Some have attributed this to geography, a lack of economic development, or a lack of military conflict. Ultimately, all failures can be attributed to an inability to establish effective institutions. The failure of these countries to monopolize power prevented any development of state legitimacy. In this essay, I will argue that institutions and their use in establishing social control enables a powerful state to take hold. I will examine and critique the alternative arguments of economic development, lack of military conflict, and geography. I will then examine the case for the institutional development of state authority and the expansion of social control in the European experience. In this process, I will utilize case studies

o Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa to explain the importance of effective institutions--specifically adjudication and tax collection--in the development of the state. It is first necessary to define social control and what is implied by an institutional theory of state development. For the purposes of this paper, social control is the ability of a state institution to impose processes and rules on a populace deemed to be under its authority. This idea falls within the definition of state infrastructural power espoused by Michael Mann, where he identified an effective state infrastructure as one that can penetrate civil society and implement decisions (Soifer 231). Effective and fair institutions engender legitimacy and support for the state that would have been otherwise impossible. The discussion of social control in state development refers to institutional systems, their ability to penetrate civil society, and the exercise of state authority. The key institutional variables are adjudication and tax extraction, as they are considered substantial measurements in understanding the capabilities of the state. In my research, geography repeatedly arose as a significant factor in state development for both Latin America and Sub-Saharan Af-


rica. Centeno points out that harsh border environments and geographic barriers prevented any serious conflict from developing in Latin American countries (Centeno 75-80). The issue is similar for African countries plagued by low population density and a lack of arable land--a situation that promotes political competition for populations instead of territory (Herbst 11). Geography may increase the costs of power projection, but such obstacles are not insurmountable. If the state’s institutions are capable of mobilizing resources and binding peripheral populations to the center, then states can overcome barriers with infrastructure and technology. If states set up adjudication and tax collection effectively and these retain the power to fulfill their purposes, then disputes can be resolved, allowing taxes to be collected anywhere within the territory regardless of location. In any case, geography cannot take credit for incompetent institutions that stand at the heart of any effort to project power (Soifer 242). The bellicist argument is pushed by both Centeno and Herbst as they assess the lack of development in Africa and Latin America. The lack of recent war in both of these continents is seen as the primary reason for the lack of active state

development. The main idea thus far has been that the absence of geopolitical competition in both regions prevents bargaining between the state and the populace for resources (Herbst 113; Centeno 11). Without an outside threat to the state, there is little need to make sacrifices or resort to extraction methods. Since Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa lack recent military conflict, states in those regions do not have effective governmental authority. However, the failure to effectively bargain with the populace in order to extract taxes and manpower is due to ineffective institutions, not a lack of war. War does not endogenously spawn institutions, nor does it ensure that such institutions are effective. France waged numerous wars over the course of history yet extracted fewer resources, fielded fewer troops, and had less control over its population than England (Bean 210, 214 – 215). Nations such as Chile, Uruguay, and South Africa have proven successful in developing state power despite little international conflict (Centeno 10 – 11, 161; Herbst 85). The lack-ofwar argument does not carry enough evidence for consideration as the primary cause of state weakness in these regions. Another argument is that nations in Latin America and


Sub-Saharan Africa lack the capital necessary for state expansion, and international trade can create that needed foundation. If a country is prosperous based on competitive market competition, then individual actors tend to band together in order to create the conditions necessary for continued growth in production (Spruyt 87 – 88). Such conditions include the standardization of measurements, uniform market effects, and effective courts to resolve disagreements. These higher levels of commercialization and market activity lead to the development of new social classes and weaken the influence of the previous social elements, such as tribes and clans. Increased growth in production creates a series of competing interests that produce state institutions in order to create balance and protect these interests (Spruyt 83 – 84). However, neither Latin America nor Sub-Saharan Africa has developed an economy geared towards production, despite the reduction of trade barriers and the increasing commercialization. African countries have seen an increase in the monopolization of the market by elites, which prevents any new class from developing and seeking state protection (Reno 31 – 32). Latin American economies have rested on the international value of a single

commodity, where any fluctuation in the market can be catastrophic (Centeno 136 – 137). This argument fails to recognize the effective institutions affecting the economy. High rates of economic development are a result-not a cause--of good governance that resolves disputes and imposes order. The main issue with these alternative arguments is that none of them is the primary reason for weakness; they are merely the effects of a lack of social control. The bellicist arguments are ones of omission. It is difficult to prove that a lack of war is the reason for low state development, especially because countries from both regions engage in repeated efforts to subjugate domestic rivals. Finally, to blame the environment for a lack of state capacity is nonsensical, for countries with even harsher terrains and lower density populations have still been able to exercise power even within these regions themselves. Therefore, we cannot point to geography, economic development, or military activity as the cause of weak state development in Africa and Latin America because they are all the effects of a weak state. Effective institutions are necessary to wage war, encourage economic development, and penetrate geographically harsh areas. Such institutions contribute to state


infrastructural power and provide social control that cannot be created through war or economic development. Adjudication and tax extraction allow the state to penetrate civil society and control the people within its jurisdiction. However, this success is premised on the ability to provide effective and fair services to the population that benefit local politics with decisive arbitrators. These institutions, in turn, can punish the populace for failing to abide by the state’s laws by ordering them to pay what is owed in taxes (Rotberg 3 – 4). If the populace accepts these processes, a state can mobilize wartime resources more effectively and ensure greater compliance with state initiatives. However, the only way for courts and tax services to be accepted is for them to be effective, since nations require social control before they can develop legitimacy (Rotberg 31 – 32). I will argue that the majority of states in Latin America and Africa have failed to create effective courts or tax extraction systems that are vital to successful state development. While this failure stems from a variety of sources--such as the lack of external pressure, geographic obstacles, and a lack of capital--it has primarily stemmed from the inability of African and Latin American political hegemons to establish a mo-

nopoly on social control. Initially, efforts were made to model state development after England, which had the most effective institutional dynamic of medieval Europe. The English did not face substantial threats to their nationhood and had to use traveling officialdom to establish rule (Bean 212 – 213; Strayer 39 – 40), as colonial officers in Africa attempted to do pre-independence (Herbst 87). The Chancery was expanded to more effectively tax subjects, and courts continued to resolve disputes using juries in order to make the system appear fair and just (Strayer 40 – 42). People of all social statuses used these courts to appeal to the King to protect themselves from each other and ensure that all elements of society were invested in maintaining these new systems. While these courts did protect many sectors of society from each other, they also ensured that no one gained too much power within the system. Elites checked elites, and consistent methods of peaceful conflict resolution through use of the courts allowed all to appeal perceived injustices (Strayer 39 – 41). These institutions empowered the crown to extract a new state loyalty from the populations while resolving any disputes that might arise (Strayer 57). The English focused on em-


powering state institutions beyond the base level and had royal approval even when it checked the power of the King (Henshall 102 – 104). Kings were forced to follow legal rulings to set a precedent against violations of the rule of law they had worked so hard to build up (Strayer 63). This prevented rulers from behaving despotically through excessive use of coercion against the populace and allowed for uniform policy across England. Such institutions ensured that elite goals were aligned with the crown’s, and the state made efforts to expand the power of these institutions by strengthening court and tax systems. This meant little intra-elite competition and enabled the said elite to be involved in building up the state through appropriations and legislation in Parliament (Henshall 110 – 111). England was unique in its circumstances, but that does not change the argument for developing a stake in the state for the population via adjudication and tax extraction. On the topic of alternate groups competing with government institutions for social control, the lack of state development in African and Latin America was similar to France. Beyond Ile-de-France, there was not a great deal of direct control over what the King claimed to be France. As the French Monar-

chy aimed to expand its direct rule, it faced increasing competition from local and regional authorities that retained effective societal cohesion. Such cohesion meant that Paris had to accommodate local society and serve in a supervisory role, where royal officials were selected to oversee all regional courts and tax exemptions (Strayer 50 – 52). Just as in Latin America and Africa, local elites aimed to preserve their customs and privileges. Yet a big difference between the cases is that France was kept together by intense layers of bureaucracy that were administered at the local, provincial, regional, and national levels. This institutional system ensured that elites did not question the taxes or the King’s right to adjudicate on matters in the realm (Strayer 53 – 54). Elites in Africa or Latin America could simply refuse to cooperate, in contrast to the case in developing France. The French considered the tax extraction and court systems in place to be legitimate, permitting substantial social control in areas where the state was lacking in power. However, once the French Crown attempted to expand direct rule to ensure uniform control of France like in England, it ran into the resistance we see in Africa and Latin America. Elite privileges acquired


during the period of regional accommodation limited state tax extraction and forced the French state to rely on revenue from other sources. This mosaic system of governance engendered the increased use of coercion mechanisms, as the state lacked the institutional capabilities to eliminate the causes of the rebellions (Downing 133 – 135). This stratification continued well until the French Revolution, when the government and social systems of privilege were under siege from newly politically-conscious French peasants (Downing 136 – 138). Nevertheless, it was this upheaval that pushed France towards a system where institutional success became more important than individual privilege. Even during the periods where coercion was used regularly, emphasis was placed on developing the courts, as they were a successful method of resolving disputes (Strayer 63). These sorts of institutions solidified the idea of French national identity and French state authority. Not only were courts and tax systems vital in providing initial resources and conditions for international trade and war, but they also developed the social control necessary for a strong state. Using Europe as the prime historical example, Centeno and Herbst agree that low social control


adversely affects state development but disagree with each other regarding the reasons why. For Herbst, the perpetuation of ineffective states prevents necessary conflict. Centeno’s argument focuses on the presence of internal instability and the argument that institutions are needed to establish effective social control over the population. Despite Centeno’s claim that a lack of military conflict causes internal instability, his theory is still strong. For both Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, efforts have been made to undermine the very frameworks of government necessary for stability and success. Social control is derived from effective institutions, like tax extraction and courts. Latin America is exemplary in its lack of effective institutional systems, specifically in adjudication and tax extraction. The primary issue has always been the logistical constraints on the abilities of each state to project power. Each nation was left in ruins by independence, when they had massive countries with vast hinterlands that needed to be governed, making social control difficult. (Centeno 130 – 131). Military logistical development was constrained as city-oriented states had to expend more energy to crack down on bandits, caudillos, and communist rebels in the 20th century (Centeno

82 – 86). Such consistent internal stability meant that no group was able to gain primacy in most Latin American countries (Centeno 141). Without primacy, there is little desire to build up state institutions, since rival groups could use the institutions against each other if they gain control. The protection of the individual wealth of elites became a priority, and the state was unable to enforce the law or extract taxes from wealthy elites (Centeno 157). Without this development, power remains in the hands of regional authorities and the cost of entry is kept down for any group wanting to undermine government power (Centeno 147). If any group is able to challenge government authority, then efforts to gain the primacy necessary for strong state development will fail. The lack of institutional penetration in Latin American states has allowed for other groups to develop their own sort of social control. Perhaps the best example is that of Columbia. As the government lost control over its peripheral areas during the civil war, guerrilla and paramilitary groups would move and establish their own control over the territory. Initially, these groups assessed the political viability of their efforts with reconnaissance work, and then they would create

systems of voluntary involvement for the local populations (Arjona 173 – 177). These systems were accommodating and penetrated where the government could not, demonstrating the deficiencies of predecessor institutions. The results of these village governance projects were lower crime rates, regulation of private behavior, extraction of revolutionary taxes, and general civil arbitration (Arjona 181 – 185). Such actions brought local society to accept the rebel authority and look to it for provision and security. However, these systems of governance invoke questions of permanence and stability. This is practical, as it is much more difficult to extract taxes sustainably or resolve a criminal matter when there is an existential threat to the authority of the government (Arjona 202 – 205). Nevertheless, these wartime structures created social control that demonstrated that it is the institution that must come first with quality results in order to develop the needed authority. Africa similarly suffered from the failure to effectively create social control within its territory, because their government made the same efforts to undermine any institutions that may have become effective. Initially, Sub-Saharan African nations were governed based on the


premise that territory alone is where power can be exercised (Herbst 41 – 42). The post-colonial nations had clearly delineated borders that were deemed legitimate by the international community. Unfortunately, the state did not have authority in many of these territories despite the fact that the nations officially claimed them (Herbst 103). The dynamic of competing polities enveloped Africa while the city-based elites worked to suppress the hinterlands (Herbst 107 – 109). At the same time, there was also a collective effort to undermine institutions that would have established social control within the national territory, given enough time. Unlike Latin America, Sub-Saharan African governments primarily did this to get more foreign aid by pointing to ineffective institutions. In turn, this prevented African countries from effectively establishing state authority in the hinterlands. As a result, the presence of competing polities enhanced the attack on effective institutions. This ensured that a ruling faction would mitigate any disadvantages that might incur if they were to lose power as well as attract more aid from international patrons (Reno 19). Rulers had the choice between effective institutions that would require sacrifice from elites or weighing tax and adjudication systems in their

favor to stay in power. The majority opted to stay in power (Herbst 133 – 134). Sub-Saharan African countries continued to fail at establishing effective tax extraction or court systems due to the same problem of no polity gaining political primacy. A few African nations have effective institutions in place today, such as Uganda and Eritrea. In these cases, political primacy was established by the National Resistance Movement and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (Weinstein 15 – 18). These institutions only became effective because of the very war-making elements Centeno, Herbst, and Tilly see as necessary for state-building. Uganda and Eritrea both developed effective tax extraction and adjudication systems at the local level by establishing local council groups that enabled more reliable information and public participation (Weinstein 16 – 17, 19 – 20). While these systems did develop as a result of war-making, they did not develop upon the model of predation that bellicism underscores. War-making institutions transitioned to civilian-oriented institutions that pushed developments that were beneficial to the nation’s citizens. Uganda and Eritrea also adopted more participatory mechanisms than were desirable for a nation focused on extraction and


stability solely for the sake of war. Small village leaders were involved in the governance and state-building process in a way that was similar to England (Weinstein 17 – 20). While the war created the tax extraction and adjudication institutions, it no longer dictated their growth as the bellicist arguments describe it. State development in Eritrea and Uganda has been focused primarily upon expanding social control through strengthening local governance systems fiscally and judicially. The lack of institutional efficacy, specifically in adjudication and tax extraction systems, crippled state development in African and Latin American countries. Few African leaders were prepared to establish court systems that would adjudicate fairly when a court ruling might harm their kinsmen or their tenuous power. The same was true of tax collection agencies, as no elite wanted such organizations to become effective or efficient (Herbst 119). African leaders remained disconnected from their populations in a way dissimilar to England. Such division is counterproductive in any effort to bargain with the populace over tax extraction, largely due to the influx of foreign aid (Reno 21 – 23). Latin America is no different, as the elite capture of the state became the norm and


efforts were made to ensure that the state lacked the capacity to do anything but leave the elites alone (Centeno 141). States willing to establish strong institutions in the interest of the nation are the ones that walk away successful. In the cases of Latin America and Africa, as laid out by Centeno and Herbst, the most compelling argument is for institutional strength driving state development. Though military activity, economic development, and geography all affected the development of states, they all failed to account for the primary factor in state development: the quality of the state itself. If the state is of low quality, then it will be unable to establish the social control necessary to run a nation. Without institutions like tax extraction and court systems, efforts to conduct organized war, develop the economy, or overcome geographic barriers are useless. None of these efforts alone have the ability to mobilize the necessary resources in and of their own right, nor do they provide the people with any sort of stake in the state. These actions require the institutional development of the state. While Centeno’s argument certainly falls within this line due to his emphasis on the factor of internal stability from social control, Herbst’s does not. Nevertheless, both regions have

examples of nations with and without effective institutions, so it is this development that comes before any other kind of success. Institutional success is state success. Without the social control that such elements provide the state, there is not a state in the world that would be successful.


Bibliography Arjona, Ana. 2016. Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bean, R. 1973. "War and the Birth of the Nation State." The Journal of Economic History 33 (1):203-221.

Centeno, M. 2002. Blood and debt: war and the nation-state in Latin America. Downing, Brian. 1992. The Military Revolution and Political Change: Origins of Democracy and Autocracy in Early Modern Europe. Henshall, N. 1992. The Myth of Absolutism: Change and Continuity in Early Modern European Monarchy. Herbst, J. 2000. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Reno, William. 1999. Warlord Politics in African States, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Rotberg, Robert. 2004. When States Fail: Causes and Consequences. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Soifer, Hillel. 2008. "State Infrastructural Power: Approaches to Conceptualization and Measurement." Studies in Comparative International Development 43 (3-4):231-251. Spruyt, H. 1994. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. Strayer, J. 1970. On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State. Weinstein, Jeremy. 2005. "Autonomous Recovery and International Intervention in Comparative Perspective." Center for Global Development.



About the Author William Truban is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy Undergraduate Program. While he attended the University, William focused on issues relating to state development, counterinsurgency, civil-military relations, Asian politics, and American foreign policy. Additionally, he was an award-winning member of the Model United Nations Travel Team. Currently, William is applying for graduate school programs in international relations while he engages in part-time work in order to save enough money to travel to Asia in the future.




Do Structural Funds Effectively Equalize Opportunity in the European Union? By Robert Stephens


The political climate of the

European Union (EU) is often marked by the struggle of its 28 member states to build consensus and forge policies for the region. As the European Union expanded, it required greater emphasis on the equalization of opportunity throughout the zone. After the Southern European Enlargement brought Greece, Spain, and Portugal into the EU Region, the need arose for a series of policies to promote economic equalization among the member states, despite their varied levels of development. The European Union instituted its standing Structural and Cohesion Fund policy to meet this need as the EU expanded into Eastern Europe. Of provided funds, Objective 1 structural funds, also known as convergence funds, focus on underdeveloped regions, historically including Poland and Southern Italy. Both regions lag behind the rest of the EU economically and have received an influx of structural funds aimed at boosting their economies. The success of structural funds must be analyzed first according to their ability to redistribute resources and second according to their ability to create self-sufficient growth in developing economies. In this paper, I will examine the success of Objective 1 structural funds at equalizing

opportunity in the European Union and then predict their future impact on EU policies by considering their impact on Poland and Southern Italy. The convergence portion of the structural fund policy is comprised of three major funds. The first, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), supports infrastructure, innovation, and investments. The second fund, the European Social Fund (ESF), covers vocational training and other initiatives to boost employment. The last fund, the Cohesion Fund, provides for environmental and transportation infrastructure and renewable energy. Access to these funds is restricted to member states whose gross national income (GNI) per capita is lower than 90 percent of the EU average. Traditionally, structural fund policies target regions with economic, territorial, or social disparities with the rest of the EU and the funds act as an equalizing force among the member states. In order to receive convergence funds, a member state must have a GDP below 75 percent of the European Union average. Recipient states usually converge on other development indicators as well, such as low levels of investment in development, an unemployment rate higher than the EU average, a shortage of services available to in-


dividuals and businesses, and poor infrastructure in the region (European Commission 2015). The EU often requires that recipient member state co-finance the investment in an attempt to instill confidence that funds will be spent as intended (Hubner 2007). Structural fund investment success depends on two critical factors. The first measure is statistical: did the funds help to redistribute wealth throughout the European Union and to achieve the goal of providing infrastructure, jobs, and other improvements? The second measure is less straight forward: did the funds help the region to maintain newly elevated economic activity without continued or increased support? One nation state of interest is Poland, which became a member of the European Union in May 2004. When the country joined the European Union, all Polish provinces ranked below the 75 percent GDP threshold and received convergence funds (European Union Cohesion Policy 2007). Since its entry, assistance to boost the Polish economy has gradually increased. While support projects successfully improved infrastructure, redistributing EU resources and increasing the country’s GDP, Polish provinces were unable to maintain productive self-sufficiency. For the


first three years after Poland joined the EU (2004-2007) fund stipulations prioritized improving Poland’s infrastructure. According to European Union documents, over half of all projects funded in Poland were infrastructure-related. This heavy investment in infrastructure resulted in over 3,700 km of new roads and 350 km of railways built by 2007 in addition to numerous efforts to improve the nation’s waste management and recycling programs. By 2007 Poland saw positive GDP growth of about 0.75 percent and the labor force participation rate rose to 57 percent in 2007 from 51 percent in 2003, just before Poland joined the EU (European Union Cohesion Policy 2007). Initially, cohesion fund support brought benefits to the region. Structural fund investment continued in 2013. In the second lending period, the European Union invested 346.5 billion euros, of which 67 billion euros were allocated to Poland, making Poland the largest beneficiary of structural funds in that period. As with previous investments in Poland, 2013 shepherded in more direct investments in infrastructure. New goals included doubling the length of motorways and railways, investing in innovation, and improving environmental practices through efforts such as waste removal and

recycling (European Cohesion Fund Policy 2007). According to a 2016 report published by the European Commission reviewing structural fund investments during this period, the investments brought “positive, tangible results” both in Poland, and in the EU as a whole. In Poland, infrastructure investments resulted in the construction of 1,900 kilometers of new roads, 7,200 kilometers of new motorways, and 482 kilometers of upgraded rail lines. According to estimates, 87,000 jobs were created and 2,000 startup corporations were founded. Poland also saw numerous improvements to environmental practices (Cohesion Policy 2013). These tangible changes indicate the positive impact of the ERDF funds on Polish development. In examining the effectiveness of structural funds in Poland, it is also important to consider the debt-to-GDP ratio in the context of Poland’s economic trends and those of the EU. From 2007 to 2013, Poland’s debt as a percentage of GDP rose from 44.2 percent to 55.7 percent, a modest increase that still ranks Poland amongst the lowest EU totals (European Commission 2017). Poland’s GDP during this time fluctuated, ultimately increasing from 429.25 billion USD in 2007 to 524.21 USD in 2013. However, during this


time period, Poland’s GDP did not show constant growth, but rather both increased and decreased. While higher debt-to-GDP ratios usually indicate higher spending, Poland’s debt increase did not correspond with a consistent level of GDP growth. Such trends indicate that while the funds have redistributed resources throughout the European Union, they did not engender stable growth in Poland (Tradingeconomics 2017). Both the 2004-2007 and 2007-2013 structural funds provided the additional infrastructure and other improvements that brought the level of resources in Poland closer to that in the rest of the EU by redistributing the wealth of some EU nations to Poland. By improving infrastructure through the ERDF, Poland gained a basis for economic growth by making the transport of goods and people more reliable. By improving infrastructure, the funds have trickled down to the Polish workforce. Also, the infrastructure helped Poland politically and culturally align with Western Europe after years of communist rule. For example, the A2 motorway connects Warsaw and Berlin, providing a “practical and symbolic link between Poland and the West.” (Morris 2012). Given that Poland is geographically closer

to the former Soviet bloc than it is to the West, the motorway is a vital link in shaping Poland’s identity as an EU member state. In terms of the second measure of success--self-sufficiency--Poland embodies a rare success story. The Mazowieckie region, once amongst the least developed EU regions during the 2007-2013 allocation period, is now classified a “more developed region,” which is the highest classification, during the most recent allocation period. This means that the Mazowieckie region’s GDP is greater than 90 percent of the European Union average (European Commission 2014). However, in other Polish regions, problems remain despite impressive infrastructure improvements. During the latest allocation of structural funds, Poland was still the largest recipient under EU cohesion policy (European Commission 2014). While the first measure of success in Poland shows positive measures, the second measure of success, self-sufficiency, has not yet been achieved. It remains to be seen whether the funds will successfully relieve Poland’s reliance on structural funds for economic growth. Southern Italy provides another example of the Structural and Cohesion Fund policy of the European Union. In Italy a large disparity


exists between the economically successful, more industrialized northern regions and the relatively poor regions in the south. EU support historically flows to the southern regions, causing tension between the more industrialized northern regions of Italy and the southern regions receiving structural funds (European Commission 2007). As in Poland, infrastructure is a major investment area. The largest investment was the ERDF, which saw a 17.8 billion euro investment in Italy focusing on research, development and innovation (European Commission 2007). The EU also invested funds in a wide array of other areas to both bring the region’s level of development closer to that of the rest of Europe and provide it with a foundation for sustainable, independent growth. The cohesion and structural investments brought impressive results. The funds led to 60,000 new jobs, supported 4,473 startups, and helped firms finance investments through 51,729 projects. An additional 825,000 additional people were connected to “new or upgraded” water treatment facilities to help them dispose of their waste more efficiently and cleanly. The funds saw the building of 1,035 kilometers of railways and the pursuit of 6,000 research projects. Like in Poland, the

structural funds in Italy improved infrastructure through the ERDF funds and successfully redistributed funds from wealthy northern EU regions to the less industrialized south (European Parliament 2014). However, when investigating the Structural and Cohesion policy effectiveness in Southern Italy, it is important to consider the case of the Abruzzi region. Abruzzi exited the structural fund program six years after its entrance without institutions in place to handle the transition between 1989 and 1996. In terms of redistributing the funds of the European Union, the structural funds allowed Abruzzi to enjoy a higher level of investment and a certain sense of equalization with the rest of the European Union by proxy. However, after the EU removed structural funds, new mechanisms for growth were not created. In fact, since the region ended its participation in the program, GDP growth has been weak, leading some experts to question the effectiveness of the structural funds in creating the framework necessary for regions to achieve self-sufficiency (Aiello 2017). Calabria, Italy is another region dependent upon EU spending for growth. Structural fund expenditures increased in 2015, leading to local GDP growth. However, unlike

Mazowieckie in Poland, Italian recipients receive an increasing amount of structural funds each year to support their economies. The national debt of Italy also paints an alarming picture. Both the magnitude of Italian debt and total debt as a percent of GDP have increased since 2007, rising from 99.8 percent in 2007 to 129.0 percent in 2013. While the debt-to-GDP ratio grew, overall GDP decreased from 2.2 trillion USD in 2007 to 2.13 trillion USD in 2013. It continues to drop (European Commission 2017). Increasing debt coupled with decreasing GDP suggests that while Italian regions underwent massive infrastructure projects and resource investment processes, GDP did not increase. Calabria exemplifies the fact that structural funds in their current state do not promote robust GDP growth in the states in which they were heavily implemented. Overall, while the structural funds have successfully redistributed EU wealth to poorer member states and have launched massive infrastructure projects to upgrade resources, they have not consistently contributed to the self-efficiency of developing economies at a high-performance benchmark. As pointed out by Professor Francesco Aiello at the University of Calabria in Italy, “if


structural funds removed the causes of underdevelopment, thereby triggering aid to virtuous growth mechanisms, regional economic systems would benefit from it permanently” (Aiello 2017). Yet, in the next structural fund cycle the European Union plans to allocate investments in the same locations as in previous cycles: Eastern and Southern Europe. This time, the programs are expected to expand despite the fact that recipient states like Poland and Italy have not displayed consistent GDP growth. Thus, this trend begs the question of limitations on EU aid--what are they, when will they be reached, and can mechanisms to generate sustained growth be put in place before those limitations are reached? The Mazowieckie region of Poland exemplifies fund-facilitated, positive economic growth. However, a number of factors must be present to guarantee the effectiveness of structural funds. First, each region in the European Union varies in its capacity to sustain additional growth. Several factors have a negative effect on the funds’ ability to spur growth. For example, poorly backed public education systems do not positively contribute to a stable model for growth, for without an educated citizenry a nation’s workforce cannot expand, making it very difficult to

sustain any growth achieved without continuous funding. Additionally, corruption in a system could hamper the effectiveness of the structural fund policy, as is commonplace in several failing regions in Italy and Greece where state institutions failed to transform structural fund investment programs into sustainable growth. While the most recent period of structural funding that began in 2014 provides the most extensive observed support for infrastructural revitalization programs, the European Commission introduced new measures to improve program effectiveness. The EU now requires demonstrated sustainable improvements in return for the continued receipt of funds and streamlined program requirements. It is now clear that the European Commission can “suspend funding for a member state which does not comply with EU economic rules” (European Commission 2014). These improvements represent a step in the right direction toward improving the effectiveness of funds and their ability to create sustainable economic improvement in stagnant states. Structural fund policy in the European Union has had a mixed record of success. While the policy effectively redistributes European wealth, helping low-achieving


regions reach consistently higher levels of short-term growth, most recipient states continue to suffer from entrenched inequality and unsustainable growth mechanisms. The Mazowieckie region of Poland is a notable exception. While provided assistance increased in the 20142020 structural fund cycle, it remains to be seen whether the funds will enable poorer regions of the European Union to achieve sustained economic success. Hopefully, the reforms of the 2014-2020 cohesion plan will allow structural funds to continue redistributing European wealth and will finally provide a reliable framework for helping low-achieving economic zones to be self-sufficient and economically successful.



Bibliography Aiello, F. (2017). Growth in the South of Italy.. [online] Open Calabria. Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. Cohesion Policy. (2013). Supporting Jobs and Growth in Poland. [online] Avail-

able at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission. (2014). Available budget 2014-2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission, (2007). European Cohesion Policy in Italy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission. (2014). Cohesion Policy and Poland. [online] Available at: and-future-investment/factsheet/poland_ en.pdf [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission. (2017). Eurostat - Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table. [online] Available at: 25&plugin=1 [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission. (2017). Eurostat - Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table. [online] Available at: 25&plugin=1 [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission (2015). Regional Policy Inforegio. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Commission. (2014). Priorities for 2014-2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Union Cohesion Policy. (2007). European Cohesion Policy in Poland. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. European Parliament. (2014). Impact and Effectiveness of Structural Funds and


EU Policies Aimed at SMEs in the Regions. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. HĂźbner, D. (2007). Cohesion Policy 2007-2013. [online] European Union Regional Policy. Available at: docoffic/official/regulation/pdf/2007/publica ions/guide2007_en.pdf [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017]. (2017). Poland GDP | 1985-2017. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2017].


About the Author Robert Stephens is a third year from Bartlett, Illinois double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In addition to the Wilson Journal, Robert is the Secretary of the Roosevelt Society, an Associate Editor for the Virginia Review of Politics and a Researcher in the Virginia Optoelectronic Devices Group. Outside of school, Robert has a passion for baseball, especially his hometown Chicago Cubs, is involved with Catholic Student Ministry, and loves travel and the outdoors.




India’s Inequality and Education as an Equalizer A Case Study on the Relationships Between Educational Policy, Practice, and Inequality By Ankita Satpathy INTRODUCTION


his paper considers the strengths and limits of India’s educational policies in terms of their effects on economic development. It first presents several theoretical frameworks which argue that improved quality of and accessibility to education has great potential to decrease economic and social inequality in developing nations, a premise which is taken as an assumption for the remainder of the paper. It then gives a brief history of national education policies in India, and points out that while addressing inequality both within the educational system, and more broadly addressing inequality by using and improving the educational system, have always been priorities for the Indian government, the disadvantaged groups which receive most of the government’s attention, and the methods by which the government seeks to address these disadvantages have changed over time. This paper will primarily focus on the quality and quantity of primary education and its implications for development; however, in several instances, I will draw upon work done on higher education and seek to apply its lessons to primary education, while keeping in mind the differences between the two. After examining existing Indian educational policies and basic educational statistics, I will draw upon a variety of secondary sources to seek connections between educational policies and economic development in India, reviewing a small sample of the key


literature in this field. The purpose of this paper is not to yield policy recommendations, but rather to identify some key strengths and weaknesses of Indian educational policy and their implications on Indian economic development. The key findings of this paper include the following: That there is a strong connection between access to education and economic growth; that this connection is even stronger and likely a causal relationship in the case of primary education; that it is not enough to merely consider quantitative access to education but that the quality of education provided must also be considered; that the Indian government has done a remarkable job in considering and improving the former (basic access to education by the numbers) but not necessarily the latter (high quality education for all); that this discrepancy can be used to explain discrepancies in educational performance between rural and urban students, and otherwise socially disadvantaged and advantaged students; that this discrepancy can further be explained by the fact that students who begin with greater social and economic resources have access to educational institutions which also have relatively more social and economic

resources; and that further research and time is necessary to determine the exact nature of the causal relationship between primary education and economic development in India.




ducation is commonly considered a ‘great equalizer’ among development economists-the argument is typically some variation of universal access to education allowing for universal potential to take advantage of opportunities, such as certain jobs, which can increase one’s income. In the aggregate, income inequality (closely tied to social inequality, according to most mainstream sociologists and anthropologists) theoretically decreases as education levels increase. A further explanation for the connection between access to education and reduction in inequality rests on theories of human capital-because human capital development and higher-skilled and educated participants in the labor force can lead to more productivity and innovation, widespread education has the potential to not only reduce income inequality, but also to spur broader macroeconomic growth. Branko Milanovic is one such proponent of this view, and develops it extensively in his book,


Global Inequalities. In Milanovic’s view, technology, openness, and politics are three factors which contribute to inequalities in various ways, while education can serve as a political factor which reduces inequalities. For Milanovic, widespread education is a “benign” mechanism, or one which has the potential to reduce income inequality (Milanovic 55). However, Milanovic qualifies this argument by pointing out that benign mechanisms, including increased access to education, are only likely to work effectively in economies which are already growing, as these benign forces are typically lacking in countries with static mean incomes. In other words, there is a meaningful correlation between nations with higher incomes and nations with higher levels of education. This connection, among other factors, partially explains the decline in inequalities found in Kuznet waves. This theory implies that enhanced access to education holds great promise for developing nations, particularly for India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Joseph Stiglitz expresses similar views about the potential of education to improve the plight of the economically disadvantaged in his book, The Price of Inequality.

Though the book focuses on income inequality in the United States, the lessons concerning the importance of improved access to education and the policy implications for such a goal are applicable to any developing nation. Stiglitz writes that “opportunity is shaped, more than anything else, by access to education� (Stiglitz 344). He points out the decreased support for public education, especially at the level of higher education, for-profit schools, and income-segregated residential communities (which typically correspond to the quality of schooling available to members of that community) are all contributing factors to unequal access to education, which is in turn a factor behind broader economic inequality. Stiglitz argues that any substantive change to these policies would require concentrated efforts at the national level, even in a nation where education is largely meant to be a responsibility of individual states. Therefore, this paper will largely consider national Indian educational policies, because they either directly affect inequalities and policies within states, or at least set a clear policy direction and tone that is likely to diffuse to state policies. The mechanism by which widespread education reduces income inequality is via a reduction


of the education premium, meaning that there is greater demand for higher-educated workers, and greater incentive to educate or be educated on the part of the state and the individual respectively. In this way, Milanovic argues for widespread education as an equalizing factor in most cases; however, he does not clearly define widespread education, which limits his argument. Widespread education could mean any of number of things, from universal primary education, to near-perfect literacy rates, to broader access to higher education and universities funded by the government. In this paper, widespread education will be analyzed in the context of education policy which seeks to increase literacy nationwide via universal primary education, because these goals have been clearly set forth by the Indian government since the Indian Constitution was first drafted in 1949. Since then, India’s national policies on Education have strengthened this goal by laying out more specific points about how to ensure education reaches socially disadvantaged minorities, including women and members of traditionally lower castes, but the primary focus has remained universal or near-universal education, at least at the primary school level.

Although this paper primarily focuses on educational policies and politics as they concern primary school, the theoretical contributions of Pierre Bourdieu prove relevant insofar as they demonstrate how higher education perpetuates existing systems of social inequalities in communities. Bourdieu’s framework presents university education as an intellectual “field” which is relatively autonomous, in that it perpetuates values and incentivizes behaviors relatively independently of external economic forces (Naidoo on Bourdieu, 458). The system itself is hierarchical in that different agents and institutions occupy different positions of efficacy and social prestige, based on the resources or “capital” available to them. Because a certain amount of social “capital” is also necessary to gain entry into specific intellectual communities at the higher education level, and the system is relatively free from external intervention, university practices can be understood largely as “economic” practices insofar as they are looking to improve their relative standing in the field. In Rajani Naidoo’s explanation of Bourdieu, he writes, “higher education is conceptualized as a sorting machine that selects students according to an implicit social classification and re-


produces the same students according to an explicit academic classification, which in reality is very similar to the implicit social classification” (Naidoo 459). Bourdieu’s empirical studies conducted in 1988 and 1996 demonstrate that criteria typically found and cultivated through dominant social groups closely matches the criteria for entry valued in elite higher education, thus giving factual backing to his theory that social inequality is perpetuated by the system of higher education. Naidoo summarizes this concept well in writing “In this way, higher education establishes a close correspondence between the social classification at entry and the social classification at exit without explicitly recognizing, and in most cases denying, the link between social properties dependent on social origin (such as class) and academic selection and evaluation” (Naidoo 459). The reminder of Naidoo’s work focuses on demonstrating the strength of Bourdieu’s framework by applying it to case studies on admissions in South Africa; however, Bourdieu’s theories about educational policies perpetuating inequalities in many ways are relevant here because much of his argument also applies to primary schools. The key

difference between the higher education system described above and the primary education system described below is that primary education in India does not rely on any formal admissions process in most cases. Therefore, entry is frequently based on residential factors, if the student’s family chooses not to send them to a for-profit school, so there is no active human agency which results in barriers to entry. This is partly because the goals of primary education in India themselves are more basic than the goals of higher education, as one would expect. However, Bourdieu’s points about “capital” that schools operate with affecting the quality of education offered is relevant at all levels of schooling. Furthermore, Stiglitz points out in his framework that residential communities, and by extension schools which exist to serve those communities, frequently follow income-based trends--again, this may seem intuitive in that rational actors will typically live in neighborhoods which they can afford. (That being said, the issue is not purely static, and residential areas are not clearly delineated by income levels all the time--the politics of housing and income is a separate issue in and of itself, but for the purpose of this discussion, one can consider broad in-


come trends that are associated with residential communities and schools in those communities.) Therefore, whether primary schools use admissions systems or not is largely irrelevant, because in a broad sense, one’s social status will still affect the type of education they receive. As a result, even when access to education is enhanced, educational systems can still perpetuate inequality because there is no guarantee that the quality of education being offered is on par with other schools, or even national standards. This point will be used to explain why, despite seemingly robust efforts by the Indian government to provide broader access to education, there are still notable levels of income inequality. There are clear confounding variables involved in this question, but these aside, Bourdieu’s theories also provide evidence regarding why it is clear that not all existing Indian educational policies are successful in providing the education they seek to. Furthermore, this point is also used to argue that there are weaknesses in the bulk of the data collected by the Indian government and the existing body of literature, which often analyzes quantitative trends such as the number of schools which exist in rural areas, but not qualitative descrip-

tions of educational methods and successes in these areas. Milanovic also emphasizes the need for considering differences in the caliber of education offered within countries. Though Milanovic only focuses on access to education itself in his written work, in later years, he has been quoted expressing ideas about the quality of education provided. In March 2017, at ESADE University in Spain, Milanovic said, “Guaranteed access to education is no longer a magic recipe against inequality. That was years ago in Europe and the United States. What’s crucial now is not the number of years of education that a state can guarantee, but rather the state’s ability to balance the quality of that education.” EXISTING EDUCATION POLICY IN INDIACONTEXT, GOALS, AND SHORTCOMINGS In order to effectively understand which primary educational policies in India are particularly effective at contributing to economic development and which ones inhibit further growth, it is important to first contextualize the Indian educational system and recognize where India’s focus on primary education comes from. As noted above, education and increased literacy have


been a domestic priority since independence, and the government’s strategy to advance their agenda in this area took for the form of the National Policy on Education in 1968. The policy was first put into place under Indira Gandhi, and called for a “radical restructuring” in order to address inequalities in educational opportunities. Thus, inequality within the educational system has always been a priority for the government, and it would be inaccurate to suggest that the shortcomings outlined below have not been noticed or addressed in some capacity by the government. However, such attempts have failed to fully mitigate economic inequalities in the state, and because the theoretical frameworks described above boast education as a development tool, this begs the question of how India can better shape its educational system into such a tool. The policy retrained teachers and sought to completely educate all children up to the age of 14 at minimum, as well as teach English and Hindi in secondary schools in addition to Sanskrit. In 1986, the policy was updated a second time, again with the intention of reducing social inequality by making education more accessible to all. This time, rather

than focusing on children, the policy attempted to redirect resources towards women, and scheduled tribes and castes by recruiting more teachers from these groups, expanding adult education, providing incentives for poor families to send their children to school (via government support if the children were attending school rather than working), expanded the open university system, focused on higher education in rural areas, and launched “Operation Blackboard,” the goal of which was to guarantee a minimum level of basic facilities in all primary schools. Both initial policies were successful in updating the infrastructure and access to primary education, although because India’s education system was still incomplete in 1968, there was vast room for improvement to begin with. The most recent policy update occurred in 1992, which updated and consolidated the exam procedures necessary to enter professional and technical programs. Though this version of the policy saw no marked improvement for primary education, commissions began planning for an updated policy once again in 2015, this time taking a grassroots approach in seeking to incorporate constituent feedback via a mass-distributed online response system. The


commission reports available thus far suggest that the policy may seek to address teacher development, promoting research and technology, considering new pedagogical strategies in STEM fields, and once again reducing inequality by focusing on educating girls, schedule tribes and castes, minorities, and children with special needs. A formal policy update has yet to come of this commission, though the drafting committee was named in 2015. India’s shifting priorities in terms of education policy are further complicated by the changing nature of bureaucracy in India. In their paper on the “Goals and Governance of Higher Education in India,” Martin Carnoy and Rafiq Dossani explain that not all of India’s policy decisions concerning education are motivated by stakeholders in the process, but India has clearly take a more activist role in shaping educational policy since the colonial era. In discussing how forces of industrialization and, subsequently globalization, resulted in heightened focus on development and education, Carnoy and Dossani consider shifts in political power between federal and state governments over education. While the bulk of their analysis focuses on higher education, several of their historical findings are rele-

vant to primary education as well. Specifically, conflict between the national government and state governments over who has the dominant role in shaping educational policy has been an issue since Nehru’s era, despite the original National Policy on Education being envisioned as one in which the central government would have primary authority and set universal standards. This may help explain why there are such differences in achievement statistics across states, and even between rural and urban areas within them. In their abstract, Carnoy and Dossani write that “while these outcomes changed the relative roles of the central and state governments, it did not change their joint influence on governance, which remained high and crowded out direct roles for other stakeholders, such as private providers.” Additionally, they contend that provincial policymakers brought in private providers more than the national government did, and also led the way on affirmative action systems, although the national government currently sets robust admissions quotas based on caste for higher education. Nonetheless, students from lower castes or scheduled tribes or castes admitted under these affirmative action programs


tend to perform significantly worse than students from higher economic and social standing (Kaushik and Ramani, 2011). States were also able to allocate a higher portion of individual state budgets to education as compared to the percentage allocated by the national government, which helps explain some of the positive increases in access to education described below, since there has been relatively little increase in national public expenditures on education in recent years. Apart from India’s specific efforts to revise their primary system and make it more accessible to girls and otherwise socially and economically disadvantaged people, India has also been part of broader movements in the developing world to guarantee universal primary education. Universal primary education was named a United Nations Millennium Development Goal to be achieved by 2015. Though the United Nations proposed a host of strategies involving external inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (the influence of which is a separate argument in and of itself ), India has yet to completely achieve this goal, despite it being a defined priority since independence. According to the 2016 data

from the Indian government’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Gross Enrollment Ratio for all people in elementary education rests at approximately 96.9 percent (MHRD Report, A2). Though this a provisional figure, it represents a 15.3 percent increase since 2000, which is an impressive leave and should not be discounted. Despite this improvement, the adult literacy rate is still approximately 70.5 percent, which represents a lack of rapid progress in terms of human capital development (MHRD Report, Al). Though part of this discrepancy can be explained by the fact that the children who will benefit from the increase in education availability since the year 200 are not yet adults, when one considers the fact that these statistics define “adult� as anyone over the age of seven years old, it raises questions of the quality of education available at the primary level, not just the sheer number of students supposedly attending school. That being said, there has been substantial progress in improving the gender parity index, which demonstrates that enrollment in primary schools is actually favorable to females now, with only minor favorable differences towards males in the drop-out rate (MHRD Report,


A3). However, the quality of education provided across India are again called into question by the vast differences in mean achievement between rural and urban areas. At the national level, on an assessment scale of 265 points, urban students outscore rural students by nineteen points in English, nine points in math, ten points in science, and ten points in social science (MHRD Report, A3). Furthermore, the improvement in providing primary education to all seems to have not followed through to an improvement in the labor force participation rate, which for females, has fallen since the mid-2000s, and rests under forty percent in urban areas and just over twenty percent in rural areas (Das et. al., 11). This represents approximately a sixty percent difference between the rate for males in urban areas, and approximately a forty-five percent difference in rural areas (Das et. al., 12). From 2012 to 2014, Indian public expenditure on education has increased by a mere .03 percent, further suggesting that some of the broad improvements described above may have taken place in the early half of the past decade, and progress may have stagnated recently. Regardless, World Bank and United Nations Development Pro-

gramme Estimates place the Gini coefficient of inequality in India somewhere between 34 and 35. In fact, this coefficient has increased since the year 2000, at which time it was approximately 32. Therefore, in so far as one believes Milanovic’s theories about increases in access to education reducing income inequality in growing economies, there is clearly room for further improvements in the quality and quantity of education provided in India, primary or otherwise. EFFECTS OF INDIAN EDUCATION POLICY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT In seeking to identify connections between the policies and data described above and broader economic development and reduction in inequality in India, this section will consider a variety of sources from the existing body of literature on India’s relationship between education and economic growth. In this paper, economic development is largely synonymous with economic growth--though both of these phenomena involve a variety of factors, I will primarily consider income inequality and the measures of economic growth outlined in each individual study summarized below.


This section will also consider some ethnographic accounts which provide some insight into how cultural values interplay with the political importance and availability of education. In explaining the discrepancy between the government’s vast improvement in providing access to primary education and the relatively minimal change in income inequality, my argument is threefold. -- First, India’s near-universal primary education is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it may take several more years for the full effects of these policies to reveal themselves in economic trends. Secondly, enhanced access to education does not necessarily equal enhanced quality of education, and the data clearly demonstrates disparities in achievement and educational resources and qualities across India. Lastly, Bourdieu’s theoretical framework holds great relevance here, because those with access to the highest quality of education are those with the most social and economic resources to begin with, meaning that education can sometimes perpetuate inequality at the micro level rather than alleviating it. Primary education is of particular importance to economic growth, not just because of the UN development goals and political

factors, but also because it empirically contributes more to economic growth in India than any other level of education. In their paper in the Economics of Education Review, Sharmistha Self and Richard Grabowski analyze connections between primary, secondary, and tertiary education, and economic growth in India. They measure economic growth via factors including physical capital accumulation and technological change, but also focus heavily on human capital, which leads them to measure education via enrollment rates and average years of education which are used as proxy variables for human capital. They are also careful to control for confounding variables, strengthening their study by differentiating between correlation and causation amongst education levels and economic growth. They conclude that while there is a strong positive correlation between education at all levels and economic growth, this relationship is only strongly causal at the primary school level. There is some evidence, to a lesser extent, to suggest that it may also be causal at the secondary school level. Self and Grabowski also examine the gender break-up of the data, which demonstrated that educating women at all levels holds strong potential for economic


growth, while educating men seems to only yield economic growth at the primary school level, and perhaps at the secondary school level. This potential for economic growth may come from the fact that fewer Indian women participate in the labor force to begin with, and Indian women are less educated than men at the secondary and tertiary levels of education, so there is more room for improvement and economic growth. Despite these conclusions, Self and Grabowski are careful to qualify their conclusions, and note that further research with broader data sets than the ones they used are necessary to completely eliminate potential confounding variables in determining a causal link between primary education access and economic growth. This is because economic results from increases in primary education occur over time, and the coming years may reveal more data about the relationship between primary education and economic growth. As is alluded to several times above, the mere quantity of schools and availability of primary education is necessary, but not sufficient, to yield true economic development. The quality of education provided is hugely significant because it dictates the degree to which those educated

will actually be productive members of the workforce. At a basic level, quality of education is obviously important, and perhaps explains the relatively low adult literacy rate in India, especially in rural areas. However, slightly less intuitively, for education to truly increase human capital potential, its style and methods need to mirror the cultural style and methods desirable in the state’s workforce. Sri Sreenivasalu argues this point in his paper on the “Role and Importance of Educational [sic] for Effective Growth of Indian Economy.” In the paper, Sreenivasalu contends that economic growth and development in India revolves around the quality of public institutions and technology, factors which affect innovators, and most importantly, technological advancement. As a result, Sreenivasalu holds the view that teachers must be trained to educate Indians with the skills which will yield success in an increasingly knowledge-based economy; specifically, technological adoption and use of information and communication technology. This theory holds implications even at the primary school level, because in many highly industrialized and developed nations, technology use and technological culture is infused into the tools that


elementary students use and grow up with. The same can be said for a number of high quality schools in India, many of which are for-profit. Martin Carnoy argues a similar point is his analysis on higher education, noting that BRICS nations must now shift their focus from quantitative education policy analysis to qualitative education policy analysis based on skills which will yield success in the modern economy. Carnoy writes, “although number of graduates are important, the issue of critical thinking and innovativeness, which would be fostered by college teachers who know how to develop and nurture such skills in students, and higher education institutions that provide incentives for such teaching, may be even more important in the future” (Carnoy 22-23). Though many believe that private institutions are the solution to this issue because they are better funded than government institutions in many cases, Carnoy cautions against this view and places the value of training of educators themselves, noting that private institutions are just as likely as their public counterparts to overlook necessary skills in the information economy. In a country like India, where education levels dramatically drop after secondary, and to a lesser

extent primary, education, genuine economic development will be twofold--part of it may encourage more enrollment in higher education, but given that primary education is much more closely tied to economic growth and the empirical reality is that most children in India will receive some form of education, a larger part of encouraging development is implementing the skills and strategies Carnoy and Sreenivasalu describe even at the primary school level. Though this may seem unrealistic when considering the fact that many rural schools lack basic writing utensils and updated books, let alone more advanced training and technology, it is perhaps an area in which increased public expenditure on education could prove useful, and improve the quality of Indian education. In considering what types of educational resources students have access to and how that impacts the quality of education they receive, and subsequently how much their human capital potential increases along with their ability to me more productive members of the workforce, participate in occupations which require higher skill-levels, and earn higher incomes, Bourdieu’s framework is particularly useful. The raw data considered in


the previous section demonstrates clear differences between achievement at the rural and urban level, as well as significant differences in workforce participation between men and women despite virtually no differences in the number of men and women participants in primary schools. There may also be cultural factors which motivate this discrepancy. In an ethnographic study done on “Learning, Livelihoods, and Social Mobility: Valuing Girl’s Education in Central India,” Peggy Froerer considers Indian girls’ aspirations for social mobility and what contributes to or inhibits their potential to realize them. In general, her conclusion is that girls valued schooling as a means by which to delay marriage, get a job outside of household or agricultural labor, or for its intrinsic value; and over time, the paradigm has shifted even in many rural areas towards a model which values some measure of primary education. However, as the girls grew older, parental expectations and existing social and cultural norms take hold of their aspirations--the girls went from valuing education as a potential ticket out of the village, to valuing it as a way to delay marriage, to ultimately accepting what they grew to view as their

inevitable fate--agricultural and household labor as a wife. Because such labor is not accurately recorded in existing measurements and data about participation in the workforce, it at least partially explains the large discrepancy between women’s and men’s participation, and brings cultural factors to light. Similarly, social factors ignored by the numerical data on universal primary education is highlighted in Educational and Inequality in India: A Classroom View by Manabi Majumdar and Jos Mooij. The authors argue that though universal primary education is becoming realized in India as a relatively recent phenomenon, it is not effectively implemented at the local level, particularly in rural areas. One account of a teacher struggling to accommodate his officially enrolled pupils in just two crowded classrooms, as well as attempting to accommodate 120 other disadvantaged village students who received little to no help from the government to access quality education, demonstrates the implementation levels which exist as a side effect of universal primary education in India. Perhaps the reason that income inequality is still so prevalent is that it is not enough to simply check a box noting that a school has been built in a village

without providing additional financial support to the school and evaluating its progress toward successfully accommodating and evaluating students. Arguments about the timeline of economic results aside, one can infer from this data, as well as from ethnographic accounts about schooling in India, that there is vast inequality among the capital available to various educational institutions. This inequality is mirrored and perpetuated by preexisting social and economic inequality which dictates which primary schools students have access to. To demonstrate this point, consider a simple example: for children living in rural villages, who already live well below the poverty line and are often from socially disadvantaged groups in rural India where the caste system is still observed, it is not surprising that they only have access to whatever rural primary school exists in their area. This fact, coupled with relatively low recent government expenditures on education and the paltry amount and quality of resources available to that school, means that the average rural child’s education is not as meaningful or advantageous as the average urban child’s. Therefore, as Bourdieu points out, while enhanced access to education has a


positive impact on economic growth in the aggregate, existing educational systems in India can also perpetuate social inequalities without external correction from the government. It is a simple case of market failure, in which the rural market for education is incomplete and fails to produce sufficient high quality education as a merit good. CONCLUSIONS In this paper, I have attempted to consider the broad question of India’s educational system impacts economic development, in terms of the educational policies’ strengths and weaknesses. To narrow my focus, I have primarily examined economic development from the perspective of reducing income, and by arguable extension social inequality, and I have mainly considered India’s primary education system. In recent years, the Indian government has made dramatic strides towards achieving universal primary education, and while there is still some room for improvement, the primary education rate now sits impressively just below 97 percent, and in fact favors girls, which was never the case before the mid-2000s. That being said, this improvement does not seem to have tracked to equal workforce participation, which remains


startlingly low for women, and income inequality in India overall, which remains relatively high with a Gini coefficient of approximately 35. (The coefficient, albeit high, is still lower than a number of developed nations, including the United States, but is notably higher than most European democracies.) Using the body of secondary sources available, I have explained these discrepancies in a few key ways, operating under the theoretically defined and empirically proven assumption that there is indeed a strong connection between widespread education and reduction in equality. In the Indian case study, there is strong correlation between increased education at all levels and especially a causal relationship between increased primary education and economic growth, which needs to be further studied over the course of the next several years. That being said, the discrepancies between the increase in access to primary education and the simultaneous increase in Indian income quality can be explained by a government focus on quantity of education rather than quality of education. Universal primary education is indisputably a key component of development, and India’s progress in this field is a strength insofar as how their ed-

ucational policies may affect their economic development. That being said, while the government has done well in increasing the number of schools and the number of students attending school, the next step may be to invest further in human capital development via an increase public expenditures to improve the quality of resources in schools, especially technology in order to gear students towards skills which will assist them in the modern information-based economy. Additionally, the Indian government has done well thus far to focus the attention on socially disadvantaged groups, including students from scheduled tribes and castes, women, and economically disadvantaged students, but the data clearly demonstrates a neglect of students in rural areas and a need for increased government intervention in order to break the cycle described by Bourdieu of students with greater economic resources to begin with having access to institutions with greater resources, and perpetuating economic inequality. Greater attention to these areas may yield even more room for economic development, though more information and data analysis is required to eliminate potentially confounding variables in the relationship between economic development and education, and

discover further nuances in this relationship.


Bibliography Carnoy, Martin, Dossani, Rafiq. Goals and Governance of Higher Education in India, 2012. Froerer, Peggy. Education, Inequality and Social Mobility in Central India. European Journal of Development Research. Dec2011, Vol. 23 Issue 5, p695-711. Grabowski, Richard; Self, Sharmsmitha. Does education at all levels cause growth? Economics of Education Review, March 2003. Kaushik, Manas; Ramani, Subha. Address education inequality in India. Nature. 5/19/2011, Vol. 473 Issue 7347, p285-285 Ministry of Human Resources and Development: National Policies on Education, Commission Reports, Educational Statistics Milanovic, Branko. Global Inequality. Harvard: Belknap, 2016. Naidoo, Rajani. Fields and institutional strategy: Bourdieu on the relationship between higher education, inequality and society. British Journal of Sociology of Education. Sep2004, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p457-471. Pieters, Janneke. Education and Household Inequality Change: A Decomposition Analysis for India. Journal of Development Studies. Dec2011, Vol. 47 Issue 12, p1909-1924. Stiglitz, Joseph E. The Price of Inequality. New York: WW Norton, 2012 Watts, Michael. Education and inequality in India: a classroom view. Journal of Education Policy. Jan2013, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p153-154. 2p. DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2012.674722. (AN: 101042064) World Bank and United Nations Development Data Base: Gini Coefficients and Inequality Statistics



About the Author Ankita Satpathy is a third year in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is in the Politics Honors program and is pursuing a minor in history. She is particularly interested in international relations and development. Apart from her involvement with The Wilson Journal, Ankita is also the Secretary General for Virginia Model United Nations, a policy simulation conference for high school students. She also serves as an Honor Support Officer and the Focus Senior Associate for The Cavalier Daily. She is especially passionate about issues surrounding access to primary education, and is grateful for the opportunity to share her thoughts on this important topic in The Wilson Journal!




The Rohingya A Stateless Minority Seeking Refuge By Sarah Corning ABSTRACT


he Burmese minority group, the Rohingya, has become Southeast Asia’s newest and most pressing refugee crisis, adding to the list of migrant crises that seem to be sweeping the globe. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority group from the Rakhine State of Burma, a small Southeast Asian country north of Thailand. Their persecution dates back well before the turn of the century; however, they remain relatively unknown to the rest of the world. As the Rohingya flee Burma, a country that is still taking its first steps as a democratic nation, the international community has begun to pay more attention. The Buddhist nationalists, along with help from the Burmese military, have been trying to forcibly remove the Rohingya from Burma entire and possible destroy them. This research explains the origins of the Rohingya people, the persecution and human rights violations they face, and their refugee experience. Although it is easier to paint this conflict as simply religious, much more factors into the significant escalation of violence against this minority group.



Rohingya people have various ancestral roots, some coming from inside the country--Bengali and Rakhine--and from outside--Arabs, Turks, Persians, Moguls, and Pathans. The Muslim ethnic group originated in the area known today as Bangladesh, but there is evidence that they have long populated the region formerly known as Arakan in Burma, which is now the Rakhine State. Within the western state of Rakhine, most of the Rohingya live in the townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, the neighboring villages, and in the state capital Sittwe (Measures). However, the Burmese government treats the Rohingya as if they are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, thus they are essentially stateless (Glatz).


t is important to note when I refer to the country “Burma,” that there is a new official name for the country. The ruling military junta changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. This change came the year after thousands were killed in the suppression of the popular uprising of 1988. It is the same word pronounced differently; “Myanmar” is the more formal and literary pronunciation and “Burma” is the more vernacular pronunciation. Members of the democracy movement and leaders of resistance organizations argue that the regime did not have a decree to change the name of the country and thus have continued to use “Burma.” They have encouraged the internaWHY ARE THEY tional community to also use “BurPERSECUTED? ma.” Therefore, in this report I use Burma is a country that is “Burma” not “Myanmar,” except in very aware and proud of its Buddhist direct quotations or images. majority, and its identity is strongly intertwined with its religious beWHO ARE THE liefs. Over the history of the country, ROHINGYA? Buddhism has been tied to authority The Rohingya people are a and prosperity. The tensions between Muslim ethnic minority in the South the Buddhist majority and Rohingya East Asian country of Burma, a coun- Muslims, while definitely involving try with a population of 52 million religious differences, also pertain to in which 75 percent of people iden- ethnicity and socioeconomic status tify as Buddhist, but only 4 percent (Marshall). The aim of Burmese identify as Muslim (Measures). The Buddhist nationalist groups is ethnic


and religious purity for the country; the nationalists believe that the Rohingya originated in Bangladesh and thus they do not acknowledge the Rohingya people’s claim to their history in Arakan. In fact, many say that the term “Rohingya” is a recent development, and that the people who claim to be “Rohingya” are simply the descendants of colonial-era immigrants from Bangladesh. Since the Rohingya are not considered a “national race,” they are instead referred to as “Bengali,” “so-called Rohingya,” or “kalar” by the Burmese government (“Burma: End Ethnic Cleansing”). However, this argument is questionable, considering the records of Francis Buchanan, a surgeon with the British East India Company, who travelled to Burma in 1799 and wrote about an ethnic minority who called themselves “Rooinga” and were purported to be natives of Arakan (Poling). Today in Burma even using the term “Rohingya” is controversial and causes tension.

be considered indigenous to Burma (Measures). At that time, the Rohingya, those who come from Arakan, fell under the definition created by the government. In fact, Prime Minister U Nu used the term “Rohingya” in 1952, declaring that the Rohingya had citizenship, which contrasts with the current narrative that asserts that the term “Rohingya” is a recent development (Ullah). The Rohingya had all the same rights as other citizens and the national public radio even broadcasted several segments each week in the Rohingya language. However, these provisions did not stop the long period of persecution of the Rohingya during post-colonization period. In 1962, General Ne Win seized control of Burma in a coup d’état, and his goal was to rid Burma of Muslims, Christians, Karens, and other ethnic people, but Muslims were the top priority (Measures). Since then, several military-backed regimes have controlled the country and continued to persecute the Rohingya minority. HISTORY OF In addition, since 1948, more than PERSECUTION AND 30 ethnic insurgent armed groups CONFLICT, 1947-2012 have emerged, contributing to the Burma declared indepen- conflict (“Myanmar”). In 1971, the dence in 1947 from the United King- Bangladeshi War precipitated the dom and in its founding constitution migration of many Bengalis to Burdetermined what qualifications a ma. Then, in 1978, the Burmese person needed to meet in order to government initiated a campaign,


Operation Naga Min, with the intention of forcing refugees out of the country (Measures). Thus, because of the history between Bangladesh and the Rohingya, many Rohingya Muslims, along with the Bengalis, fled to Bangladesh where the United Nations established temporary refugee camps. In July of 1978, an agreement was reached between Bangladesh and Burma to repatriate 200,000 refugees back to Burma (Measures). However, the attempt at repatriation was met with violent protests against the inclusion of the Rohingya minority. Thirteen years later, in 1991, the Rohingya once again fled to Bangladesh. This time because the Burmese government organized another campaign against the Rohingya, called Operation Pyi, meaning “Clean and Beautiful Nation.” The purpose of this campaign was to systematically investigate every state to determine whether the people were citizens or “illegal immigrants.” As the Rohingya fled, almost 250,000 of them, a true refugee situation emerged (Measures). The Rohingya have not only faced violent persecution but also legal challenges. The Burmese 1982 Citizenship Law determined that the Rohingya were excluded from both full and associated citizenship. The law defined Burmese citizens as peo-

ple of an ethnic group that had permanently settled within the boundaries of modern day Burma prior to 1823; according to the government the Rohingya had not settled before then. Then, in 1994, the government stopped issuing Rohingya children birth certificates (Measures). It is not easy for the Rohingya to simply apply for citizenship, as Burma’s naturalization process requires the Rohingya to speak one of Burma’s official languages; the Rohingya speak the “Rohingya” dialect and, since they have limited access to education, it is difficult for them to learn one of the official languages (“All You Can Do”).


CURRENT STATUS OF ROHINGYA IN BURMA, 2012-2017 The rampant discrimination the Rohingya face has not been addressed by the Burmese government. In the Rakhine state, where a majority of the Rohingya live, the combination of poverty, a scarcity of resources, and religious and ethnic tensions has led to inter-communal violence since 2012. Buddhist nationalists attack the Rohingya minority, declaring that “to be Burmese is to be Buddhist” (Measures). Over the past several years, there have been violent clashes between the Buddhist na-

tionalists and the Rohingya. In fact, it is thought that much of this violence stems from the influence of the 969 Movement. This movement, led by the Buddhist Nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, explicitly encourages anti-Muslim sentiments (Measures). Wirathu, who has referred to himself as “the Burmese Bin Laden,” called the Muslim majorities in Burmese towns “crude” and “savage,” and has clearly made racist comments about the Rohingya. While his movement does not decidedly call for violence, the rhetoric of leaders like Wirathu has been extremely aggressive (Measures). In early June 2012, deadly violence erupted between the Arakanese Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State. It began as a sectarian clash in four townships and by October the violence had reached nine other townships. By this time, there was a fully coordinated campaign to remove the state’s Muslims. In October, the Arakanese political party members, Buddhist monks, and other local Buddhist residents attacked Rohingya communities. Rohingya Muslims were killed, buried in mass graves, and their villages were demolished. The Burmese President at the time, Thein Sein, did not take any significant action to reprimand the attacks or prevent

future violence (“Burma: End Ethnic Cleansing”). At the beginning of the conflict, the state security forces simply did not involve themselves, for or against the Arakanese Buddhists; however, later they joined the Arakanese in attacking Rohingya villages. On October 23, 70 Rohingya were killed in a massacre in Yan Thei village (“Burma: End Ethnic Cleansing”). Despite warnings of an attack, few security forces were present, and those that were in attendance promised the Rohingya that they would be protected. However, once the mob of Arakanese began their attack, the national security forces helped the mob disarm and kill the Rohingya. The attack lasted all day until government forces finally intervened to restore order; by the end of the day 28 children were dead--many had been beaten to death (“Burma: End Ethnic Cleansing”). In addition to the government sanctioned violence, the Rohingya face other challenges. In the 2014 census, there was not an option to identify as Rohingya. The government claimed that Rohingya people could select other and write in “Rohingya,” but the Burmese government has a history of using violence and intimidation against Rohingya during registration and census drives. In the end, the census may not have


changed anything since any redefinition of Burma’s ethnic groups must be decided by Parliament (Measures). Treatment of the Rohingya only seems to get progressively worse, not better. In fact, legislation in the Burmese Parliament to secure Rohingya’s status as illegal immigrants still exists (Measures). The former Burmese President Thein Sein coordinated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in October 2015. However, since then, both the signatories and non-signatories have continued fighting. The November 2015 election was the first democratic election since 1962. The new government, led by the National League for Democracy, took office in March 2016 and promised sweeping political and social reforms. First State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Htin Kyaw started off well by releasing more than 200 political prisoners and detainees (“Burma: Events of 2016”). However, since then they have fallen short of expectations. Aung San Suu Kyi held the 21st century Pangong Conference to facilitate a peace process between the Burmese army and the militant groups. Unfortunately, the conference did not succeed in establishing peace and the conflict has only continued to escalate (“Burma: Events of 2016”). Even Aung San Suu Kyi,

a Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights champion, has resisted supporting the Rohingya minority, primarily because she does not want to anger the Buddhist Nationalists or the military (Peng). More recently, the events of October 2016 took the violence against the Rohingya to a new level and further increased instability and uncertainty within the Rakhine State. Coordinated attacks on the Border Guard Police Headquarters and two other posts resulted in the deaths of nine police personnel (“2017 Humanitarian”). The Burmese Government said that these attacks were carried out by a previously unknown militant Muslim group. The attacks on the police posts reignited the conflict between the Rohingya and the Buddhist Nationalists, illustrated by clashes over the following days and another significant escalation of violence in November. As a result of these attacks, houses and buildings were burned, many people were killed, and thousands of Rohingya fled (“2017 Humanitarian”). On August 25, 2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an armed militant group whose aim is to defend the Rohingya against state oppression, attacked approximately 30 military bases and police posts (“Video: Rohingya”).


Since then, armed ethnic groups, and the Burmese police and army have coordinated attacks against Rohingya villages in the Rakhine State. Many of the killings and arson occurring in the Rohingya villages are government-approved military operations. Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing told the media that these operations are “unfinished business” (“Video: Rohingya”). The Burmese government claims that the ARSA are terrorists, but ARSA has no links to jihadist groups nor does it attack civilians (“Myanmar: Who Are…”). Since August 25, 123,000 Rohingya have fled Burma and entered Bangladesh because of the escalation of violence in Rakhine. U.N. camps are far over capacity and aid services are stretched thin (Naqvi). Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response, said “By blocking access for humanitarian organizations, Myanmar’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life” (“Myanmar: Restrictions…”). Rohingya in their villages in Rakhine currently do not have access to food or aid services, they can be killed for trying to escape, and entire villages have been burned down by the Burmese army (“Myanmar: Restrictions…”).

THE EFFECTS OF PERSECUTION The significant inter-communal violence that is now common in the Rakhine State has left over 402,000 people, primarily Rohingya, in need of humanitarian assistance. Those Rohingya who do not seek refuge outside of Burma relocate to Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. At least 140,000 Rohingya have relocated to these camps while others living in remote villages, unable to escape their worsening conditions (“2017 Humanitarian”). Of 52 million person population, 6.4 million live in conflict-affected areas, and 525,448 are in need of assistance (“2017 Humanitarian”). Many Rohingya do not have access to basic services--healthcare, education, and others--because their freedom has been greatly restricted; their rights to work, travel, study, marry, and practice their religion have all been limited. In fact, Rohingya are required to have travel permits even for travel within a township, and since 2012 Rohingya have been banned in some townships from accessing state schools and universities, denying their right to education. In addition, malnutrition rates in northern Rakhine are above WHO emergency thresholds (“2017 Humanitarian”). The conditions in the camps that the


Burmese government has established for the Rohingya are abysmal. Yet, the government continues to insist that the confinement of Rohingya in these camps is ‘for their own protection’ (“Human Rights Council”). Once the Rohingya enter these IDP camps, they are not allowed to leave. More recently, international humanitarian groups have called them “concentration camps.” Even after an effort in 2015 to return and relocate 25,000 IDPs, 120,000 people remain in camps. There are still 36 camps or camp-like facilities, and 79% of their inhabitants are women and children (“2017 Humanitarian”). These camps are overcrowded, have limited food, and lack privacy. The poor conditions have increased residents’ feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. The Protection Sector, a European Union Humanitarian organization, reports that these feelings within the camps have led to an increase in the incidence and severity of gender-based violence (“2017 Humanitarian”). Children are growing up without access to education and with greater exposure to violence and instability (“2017 Humanitarian”). The impact on women, specifically, has been horrendous. There is structural gender inequality in Burma, and the conflict exacerbates the problem. Burma is ranked 85 out of 187 countries on the

Gender Inequality Index. Women do not have equal political participation, they are victims of gender based violence, and are subject to trafficking and discrimination (“2017 Humanitarian”). Women from ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable to these conditions as well as multiple forms of abuse by the government. As the government poses limits on the travel of Rohingya, accounts of targeted harassment and exploitation of women at road blocks have emerged (“2017 Humanitarian”). In 2016, the United Nations came out with a report that identified the top five protection threats facing the Rohingya people living within the Rakhine State: limited freedom of movement, physical insecurity, gender based violence, lack of documentation, and human trafficking (“2017 Humanitarian”). For Rohingya in Rakhine, lack of civil documentation is a serious problem; Rohingya are not issued personal identification documents (birth, death, and marriage certificates) or documents showing legal residency. The lack of documentation affects people’s safety and their claims to citizenship, further pushing the Rohingya into statelessness. The Rakhine State has the highest rating of global acute malnutrition, is the least developed area of Burma, and has


the highest poverty rate in the country (“2017 Humanitarian”). 100,000 children in Rakhine do not have access to education, 258,375 people are in need of safe water and sanitation services, and 376,600 people have difficulty accessing healthcare services. 260,000 people in Rakhine are in need of food and livelihood assistance, and 144,924 people are in need of protection against gender-based violence, grave violations against children, and civilian casualties in conflict areas (“2017 Humanitarian”). HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WITHIN BURMA Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, which took office in March 2016, promised significant reforms, but it has failed to improve the situation of violent fighting and human rights violations in Burma. Repressive laws are still in effect, allowing authorities to prosecute people for criticizing the government (“Burma”). Throughout 2016, the Burmese military targeted the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, raping and torturing them, performing extrajudicial killings, and committing arson (“Burma”). The Rohingya have also been subjected to forced labor to build public facilities in Burma (Marshall).


The persecution of Rohingya has escalated to the point that the crimes committed against them are now considered “crimes against humanity.” According to international law, “crimes against humanity are crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack by a government or organization on a civilian population” (“Burma: End of Ethnic Cleansing”). In 2012, international advocates for human rights called the situation in Burma an “ethnic cleansing.” Ethnic cleansing is not an official legal term, but it is considered to be the “purposeful policy by an ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas” (“Burma: End of Ethnic Cleansing”). The Rohingya have faced this kind of forced removal for years, long before violence erupted in 2012. However, in 2012, Burma began a formal ethnic cleansing campaign, even advertising their efforts around the country (“Burma: End of Ethnic Cleansing”). The violence that erupted in 2016 was the most serious and widespread fighting since 2012, with evidence that political and religious leaders planned and incited violence against the Rohingya with the intent to drive them out of the state (“Burma: End of Ethnic

Cleansing”). In addition, some Arakanese describe the Rohingya as a “problem” that needs “help to solve” (“All You Can Do”). There is no real protection for the Rohingya--they are prevented from accessing the help of humanitarian aid organizations, state security forces either sit idle or assist with attacks against them, and the government does not investigate or attempt to take legal action against the perpetrators of violence. Burmese army soldiers build mass graves and dump dead naked bodies right next to IDP camps, sending the residents a very aggressive message that they do not belong in Burma. These mass graves make identification of the victims difficult and absolve the soldiers of any sort of accountability for their crimes (“All You Can Do”). Humanitarian organizations have been barred from the IDP camps and the Rohingya are beaten by security forces while searching for food. HIV/ AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis have also become major concerns as organizations like Doctors Without Borders can no longer provide aid, and the conditions in the camp have grown worse (Motlagh). Since violence erupted again in 2016, conditions in the camps have worsened with rampant and systemic human rights violations. Security forces have raped, beaten,


tortured, arbitrarily arrested, and performed summary killings against Rohingya villagers. When the Burmese soldiers enter a village, they separate the men from the women and children, burn some of the men alive, mutilate the children and throw them into fire, while the rest of the Rohingya men must watch as their mothers, wives, and daughters are raped and slaughtered (“Burma: Events of 2016”). The army have also used arson as a tactic of expulsion and have destroyed 1,500 buildings since October 2016--the destruction is so widespread that it can be seen in satellite images (“Burma: Military Burned Villages”). Perhaps the most troubling violations the Rohingya have suffered are the sexual crimes committed against women. In Burma, there is no complaint mechanism through which to report sexual violence or assault. Men are not held accountable for their actions and few women report the assault in the first place, knowing that their attacker will suffer few consequences (“Burma: Events of 2016”). Women displaced or living in conflict zones are especially vulnerable to abductions and sexual violence and exploitation. During the Burmese Army’s raids of Rohingya villages, some women were taken back to military

compounds and used as sex slaves; women have died from gang rape (Allard K. Lowenstein). Burmese Government officials deny that any of this sexual violence has occurred, calling it “fake rape,” and a Rakhine member of parliament was quoted saying that no soldier would rape a Rohingya woman because they are “too dirty” (Robertson). THE ROHINGYA SEEKING REFUGE ABROAD Facing persecution, human rights abuses, and restrictions to humanitarian aid, many Rohingya have fled Burma. Many try to escape to Thailand or Malaysia with hopes of being chosen by a humanitarian organization for resettlement in a Western country. They flee the country by boat, and many Rohingya have died at sea (Wright, 2017). The Rohingya rely on smugglers to help them get to South East Asian countries, but often the smugglers are human traffickers with ulterior motives and many refugees find themselves forced into labor stuck in Thailand or Malaysia (“Guilty verdicts for Rohingya trafficking deaths”). Once these Rohingya refugees reach Thailand or Malaysia, many of them are not recognized by the governments as refugees and thus live illegally in poverty, subject to more discrimina-


tion and persecution. ROHINGYA IN THAILAND As many Rohingya flood into Thailand, the Thai government is challenged with the conflicting tasks of controlling its border and offering protection to this persecuted minority. However, Thailand has proven to be more concerned with border control than the plight of the Rohingya. According to the Thai Constitution, government should treat the Rohingya as refugees and should not discriminate against them. The Constitution declares that, “Unjust discrimination against a person on grounds of difference in origin, race, language, sex, age, physical conditions or health, economic or social status, religious belief, education or constitutionally political view, which does not contravene the provisions of this Constitution, shall not be permitted” (Constitute Project). However, poor implementation and accountability has undermined the government’s legal duty to protect the Rohingya. Since the Thai government has not granted the Rohingya legal or refugee status, they are treated as illegal immigrants and thus cannot enjoy the rights granted to legally-recognized residents. As Thailand was not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations

High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Convention relating to the Status of Refugees nor to the 1954 UNHCR Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, Thailand continues to use its Immigration Act of 1979 as its legal framework for refugees (Equal Rights Trust – Thailand). The act states that foreigners must have a valid passport or legal identification--which the Rohingya are denied in Burma--to enter and stay in the country (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). In early 2009, the Royal Thai Navy committed multiple human rights violations against incoming Rohingya, including arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment, and pushing boats full of Rohingya refugees back out to sea without petrol or food (Equal Rights Trust – Thailand). In 2013, the number of boats fleeing Rakhine State increased, but when they reached the Thai coast, they were not allowed to land and were either pushed back or “helped on” to Malaysia (Equal Rights Trust- Thailand). The people who do manage to land in Thailand are taken to camps in the jungle on the border of Thailand and Malaysia. Their relatives are then contacted for money, and, once the smugglers receive the money, the Rohingya refugees are released or assisted onward to Malaysia. Throughout this

process, the Rohingya refugees are subject to physical and psychological abuse (Equal Rights Trust – Thailand). Other refugees who land in Thailand are taken into custody by state authorities and forced to migrate to Malaysia. Thailand also informally deports Rohingya refugees to Burma through a process called “refoulement” that returns people to places where they face persecution and human rights violations. In 2013, 2,000 Rohingya were detained in Immigrant Detention Centers by Thai authorities because the Thai Provincial Admissions Board did not see the Rohingya as needing protection in refugee camps (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). Those refugees who manage to evade Thai security forces and settle in Thailand are still considered illegal immigrants and thus cannot legally work, register births, or access education or healthcare (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). Without a legal right to work, they enter the informal labor sector and have no protections from workplace abuse. The Rohingya also are forced to pay bribes to Thai police to protect themselves from arbitrary arrest (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). The Thai security forces improperly treat the Rohingya refugees and refuse to allow the UNHCR to sufficiently aid them within Thailand. The UNHCR is not


allowed to screen individuals from Burma for refugee status and is thus unable to reach the populations that most need their help (Equal Rights Trust – Thailand). On the border between Thailand and Burma, there are nine official spaces for asylum. Restrictions on the refugees in these camps are harsh, and refugees are not allowed to leave because they are otherwise officially considered illegal immigrants within Thailand. These camps are largely overcrowded, especially the camps Mae La, Ban Don Yang, and Tham Hin, and a video was released from one camp showing 276 men crammed into two cells that are each designed to fit 15 people (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). The men said they have not been let out of the cells in five months. The overcrowding, abysmal conditions, and restricted movement result in domestic violence, depression, and other mental and health problems (“Thailand: End Inhumane Detention). ROHINGYA IN MALAYSIA Malaysia has long been dealing with refugees and asylum seekers trying to find protection within its borders. Like Thailand, Malaysia was not a party to the UNHCR 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, but has previously provided people with asylum

and refuge. Malaysia’s percentage of foreign workers is higher than any other country; 2 million of its 8 million workers, and half of those 2 million are undocumented (“Ad Hoc and Inadequate”). However, there remains a deep distrust of foreigners in Malaysia, which can be seen through frequent government denunciations of foreigners (“Malaysia/Burma: Living in Limbo”). In recent years, more of the incoming refugees have been Rohingya--families fleeing together, women trying to reunite with their husbands who went ahead, and children, sometimes unaccompanied. Malaysia is the final destination for most Rohingya refugees not looking to be resettled in the U.S. or Australia. Malaysia does not make a legal distinction between asylum seekers, refugees, and illegal immigrants, and thus, like Thailand, its government focuses on border control rather than protection of refugees (Equal Rights Trust – Malaysia). Some Rohingya refugees are registered with the UNHCR, but those not registered have created communities of Rohingya “illegal-immigrants” and do not have the right to work or access to education and other basic services. As in Thailand, these Rohingya enter the informal labor sector and are subject to abuse and extortion (“Malaysia/ Burma: Living in Limbo”). How-


ever, even the Rohingya registered with the UNHCR are not safe from threats. Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Foreign Minister of Malaysia, 1999-2008) said that Malaysia does not recognize the status of refugees; foreigners can come to Malaysia temporarily and then should return home. Since refugees are not distinguished from illegal immigrants in Malaysia, there is a practice of ignoring UNHCR refugee rights, starting at the highest levels of government and permeating all other levels. Police will ignore UNHCR documents and detain and/or deport Rohingya refugees (“Malaysia/Burma: Living in Limbo”). Once deported, they often try to re-enter Malaysia, are deported again, and repeat this cycle many times. Although Malaysia is party to the U.N. Charter and therefore bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which prohibits discrimination on grounds of national origin, Malaysia has disregarded its international responsibilities. The Rohingya also are uniquely vulnerable under the 1959/1963 Malaysian Immigration Act, which states that anyone can be arrested, detained, or deported for entering Malaysia through an unauthorized point of entry, failing to provide their legal documents of identification, remaining in the country after the legal ex-


piration date of their stay, and using false documents (“Malaysia/Burma: Living in Limbo”). Since almost all Rohingya lack valid passports or documents and usually enter through an unauthorized entry point, they are in violation of the Act. At checkpoints and police stations, the Rohingya are subject to physical abuse and forced to pay bribes. As in Thailand, many Rohingya arriving in Malaysia are taken to detention camps where the food is insufficient, conditions are abysmal, infection and disease are rampant, medical care is barred, and detainees are beaten and sexually abused (“Malaysia/Burma: Living in Limbo”). Additionally, in 1995, Malaysia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which does not permit differential treatment based on status of the child’s parents. Malaysia even enacted domestic laws in accordance with the CRC. Unfortunately, when it came to implementation, the Malaysian government resisted extending the protections to non-citizen minors, including the Rohingya children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee reviewed Malaysia’s performance and raised concerns over the discrimination they found being committed against refugee and asylum seeking children. Malaysia was found to be lacking in three main obligations to

the Rohingya children: the right to identity, the right to education, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health (Equal Rights Trust – Malaysia). GENOCIDE IN THE MAKING? AN ANALYSIS The 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) defined the legal elements of a genocide: is the group in question a protected group under the terms of the Genocide Convention, have any of the acts enumerated in the Convention’s definition of genocide been committed, and were these acts performed with intent to destroy the group “in whole or in part”? (Allard K. Lowenstein). The Genocide Convention identifies four titles that constitute a “group”: nationality, ethnicity, religion, and race; the Rohingya constitute three of the four groups. They are considered a nationality because there is evidence of them being in Burma since the 19th century. They are an ethnicity because they use a distinct language from other groups in Burma. They are a religious group as they are mainly Muslim, and the Burmese government has repeatedly expressed anti-Muslim sentiments. The Rohingya can also be considered


a distinct group from other groups within Burma because the government considers them a separate group. The Burmese government refuses to call them “Rohingya” but does refer to the people as one group, instead calling them “Bengali” since they are considered illegal Bengali immigrants (Allard K. Lowenstein). The second legal element of the crime of genocide refers to the “acts” committed against the group: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. According to the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, much of the violence committed against the Rohingya falls under the interpretation of killing outlined by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (which set precedents for genocides to follow); namely, the state security forces’ involvement in massacres and their failure to investigate, stop, or punish local violence against the Rohingya (Allard K. Lowenstein). Proven instances of torture by the Burmese Army and sexual assault by the border security

force NaSaKa, Burmese Army, and Burmese Police Force satisfy the second “act” component. The forced removal of Rohingya from their homes and limited access to healthcare, education, sanitation services, food, and work satisfy the third “act” component. Restrictions on Rohingya marriages and the number of children they may have falls under the fourth “act” component outlined by the Genocide Convention (Allard K. Lowenstein). The Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic finds that the acts committed against the Rohingya have contributed to the destruction of a substantial part of the group. The final requirement to establish whether or not what has been happening in Burma constitutes a genocide is the determination of whether or not there was intent to destroy the Rohingya group. The actions, and in some cases inaction, committed by the government against the Rohingya, together with anti-Rohingya rhetoric, provide the intent required for a legal finding of genocide as defined by the Genocide Convention. Although the Lowenstein Clinic found strong evidence to support that what is happening to the Rohingya Muslim population in Burma is in fact a genocide, it did not make a definitive conclusion as “such


a conclusion would require a full and independent investigation by an appropriately authorized institution with investigatory powers and provisions for the accused to respond to accusations” (Allard K. Lowenstein). Burma also has a practice of singling out the Rohingya as an alien presence in the country. The current government, led by State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has responded to the widespread arson in Rohingya villages by saying that the Rohingya are burning their own houses to attract international sympathy (Nice and Wade). The Home Affairs Minister, Kyaw Swe, described the Rohingya as an “invasion” of “rapid Bengali breeders,” insinuating that they are animals. The Global New Light of Myanmar Newspaper published a piece claiming that Burma is “facing the danger of the human fleas”--an analogy the Nazis frequently used in reference to Jewish people (Nice and Wade). Using rhetoric that likens the Rohingya to animals and insects is a tactic of dehumanization, one that has been identified in other genocides, and thus supports the argument that a genocide may be occurring in Burma. Throughout the years, an ethnic cleansing has been committed against the Rohingya. Now, there is significant evidence that the violence and persecution against the

Rohingya in Burma is turning into a genocide with focusing on their destruction and not simply on their removal. CONCLUSION In the past, the international community has looked at human rights atrocities and widespread violence and said “never again.” Now, the Rohingya in Burma face violent persecution, which has been identified as an ethnic cleansing, and, while some scholars have said the cleansing is approaching a genocide, little significant action has been taken. While the current leaders, Aung San Suu Kyi and Htin Kyew, decide if and how to confront this conflict, the international community must decide what kind of action they will take. Media outlets have reported the plight of the Rohingya for years, yet many people outside South East Asia have never heard the term “Rohingya.” Burma’s neighbors are in a unique position to help the Rohingya who are fleeing their home. South East Asian countries could adopt a policy similar to what European countries have been trying to implement in the face of their own migrant crisis. The European Commission has created a plan for resettling refugees that would entail dividing up the migrants and send-

ing them to EU member countries. The number of migrants each country would receive would depend on the EU member’s prosperity, number of refugees already received, and their unemployment rate, among other factors (Kurlantzick). The South East Asian countries could adopt a similar formula based on GDP, unemployment rate, and other factors to determine the number of refugees to be resettled. Countries like Thailand and Malaysia could capitalize on the opportunity they have to add to their workforce and provide refuge to this stateless minority. International powers outside of South East Asia could also pledge to resettle a certain number of Rohingya every year for the next decade (Kurlantzick). The United States, an international power that has accepted many refugees in the past, has begun to close its borders at a time when refugees all over the world most need resettlement in a stable country. If the United States Supreme Court does not rule against the recent Travel Ban, Rohingya without any family ties in the U.S. will not be able to create a better and safer life there. Finding a place for these stateless refugees will not be easy, but they cannot stay in Burma and their suffering can no longer be ignored.


PROFILES OF KEY PLAYERS Thein Sein The Burmese Parliament appointed Thein Sein as President in February 2011. He was a former military general and served as the military junta’s Prime Minister. The Burmese people saw him as a career military bureaucrat with deep ties to the military regimes that preceded his Presidency. He briefly broke from expectations and, once he took office, pushed for many democratic reforms and released hundreds of political prisoners. However, under his administration, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities have continued: killings, forced labor, sexual violence, forced removal, and denial of citizenship. In 2011, the Nay-Sat Kut-Kwey Ye, the Burmese border security force, arbitrarily detained 2,000 – 2,500 Rohingya. Thein Sein urged Parliament to change national legislation regarding forced labor, which was ultimately passed, and there was a general decrease in forced labor. However, in the Rakhine State, the amount of forced labor remained constant (Allard K. Lowenstein). During Thein Sein’s administration, widespread violence broke out again in 2012 as Muslim-Buddhist tensions grew to a fever pitch. Sein turned to the UNHCR, asking them

to admit all Rohingya into UNHCR refugee camps or send them abroad. He publicly announced that, “We will take care of our own ethnic nationalities, but Rohingyas who came to Burma [Myanmar] illegally are not of our ethnic nationalities and we cannot accept them here” (Allard K. Lowenstein). Aung San Suu Kyi Born in Rangoon in 1945, Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San, the “Father of the Nation” of modern day Burma, who was assassinated in 1947. Aung San rose to prominence in the 1988 Uprisings and became a leader in the pro-democracy movement. She was the Secretary General of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and was placed under house arrest by the military before the 1990 elections for her efforts to democratize the nation ("Profile: Aung San Suu Kyi."). She spent about 15 years under house arrest, becoming one of the world’s most notable political prisoners. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000. In 2015, the NLD won the election and she became First State Chancellor. A world-renowned leader and champion of democracy, Aung San has been under fire for not doing more for the persecuted


Rohingya minority. Leaders across the world have publicly condemned her inaction, declaring that such inaction undermines her reputation. The Harvard Political Review argues that her inaction is not because she does not care, but rather because she wants to avoid antagonizing the Burmese military and angering the Buddhist Nationalists, who hold significant power in the country (“Understanding…”). That theory has lost its footing, as has Aung San’s silence, as violence against the Rohingya appears more and more like a genocide (McPherson). A Burmese diplomat anonymously confessed the government’s increased panic, illustrating the tangibility of international pressure, but it has only resulted in Aung San’s counter narrative of country defense (McPherson). However, that does not make the international community any more sympathetic. Desmond Tutu, a South African social rights activists and Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote, “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep” (McPherson). Some still stand by the argument that she could not speak up even if she wanted to because of the military’s immense influence in the country--influence that is substantiated by the Burmese Constitution.


Barack Obama Barack Obama was the first sitting United States President to visit independent Burma. Obama delivered a powerful speech during his first visit in 2012 at Rangoon University, declaring that it was necessary to stop the violence in the Rakhine State (Office of the Press Secretary). During his second visit in 2014, he brought attention to the outright discrimination against the Rohingya and the problems with the rule of law in Burma. In regards to the future for democracy in Burma, Obama discussed how the Burmese constitution creates a political environment that helps the military retain its power over the government. The objective of the trip was not only to highlight the positive nature of U.S.-Burma relations, but also to pressure Burmese leadership into reform. Obama was perhaps too optimistic about Burma’s path to democracy. He said that he saw Burma going through democratic change, and he had faith it would continue, even though reform is difficult. Obama was criticized for not bringing more attention to the blatant human rights violations and other issues in the reform process. He did not directly criticize Aung San Suu Kyi or other government leaders for their inaction as the violence against the Rohingya escalated (Landler).

Many human rights groups and some members of U.S. government wanted a slower process of rapprochement with Burma because the violence had not been adequately addressed by the country’s leaders (Kurlantzick). The western narrative that democracy is sweeping through Burma, obscures the impact of the permanent segregation of Rohingya (Motlagh).



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About the Author Sarah Corning is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing a major in Foreign Affairs. She is particularly interested in refugee crises and migration movements, human rights advocacy, and politics of developing areas. On grounds, Sarah is a research assistant in the Politics Department, Speaker Selection Co-Chair of TEDxUVA, and an Honor Support Officer. Sarah is also dedicated to the study of foreign language – she speaks Spanish and Portuguese, is currently learning French, and hopes to study Arabic. In the future, Sarah hopes to go to law school and enter the humanitarian field.




Why did the Moroccan Monarchy not Fall during the Arab Upheavals? By Morgan King and Sarah Rupert INTRODUCTION


hen the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire in December 2010, his actions served as the spark for similar combustions across the Middle East and North Africa. Shortly thereafter, protests erupted in Morocco, and by early February 2011, Moroccan youth had taken to Facebook to voice their discontent and plan similar protests to those in Tunisia and Egypt. Known as the February 20 Movement, thousands joined the protests, demanding an end to corruption and limitations on the King’s powers. Similar to other “Arab Spring” countries, the protestors were a combination of leftists, Islamists, and unemployed youth. Each group had their own separate, and arguably contradictory, grievances and demands; they were united, however, in their desire for a more transparent government and better economic prospects. In Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, the people successfully brought down their respective authoritarian dictators. As those long-standing governments fell, the central question surrounding the Arab Upheaval in Morocco became: How did the Moroccan monarchy maintain power while neighboring regimes were toppled by protests? In order to address this question, it is critical to examine the stability and legitimacy of the Moroccan regime prior to the Arab Spring, as well as the monarchy’s actions in response to the 2011 protests.



The monarchy in the King-

dom of Morocco is a cleverly devised regime carefully constructed with self-perpetuating policies and networks. The Alaouite dynasty has ruled since the 17th century and draws its legitimacy from its divine lineage and status as the “Commander of the Faithful.” To monarchs in the Arab World, religious capital is equally as important as political capital. Therefore, the claim that the Moroccan monarchs descend from the Prophet Mohammed perpetuates their legitimacy. In stark contrast to other Middle East and North African countries, the regime predates colonialism. Unlike the pre-2011 authoritarian dictatorships of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, the Alaouite dynasty has existed for four centuries. This endurance, combined with Mohammed V’s support of the independence movement, gives the Moroccan monarchy a stronger claim to power than many other MENA countries. The Kingdom is also fortunate to host an absolute Sunni majority, which has allowed it to avoid the internal conflict that has plagued other Arab nations. Both

the religious claims and dynastic longevity have provided the Moroccan monarch legitimate claims to power in the eyes of many Moroccan people. Prior to King Hassan II’s death in 1999, the King had served as the harsh and oppressive ruler of Morocco for four decades. In his final years, Hassan II began to gradually reform his policies to facilitate a smooth transition for his son, King Mohammed VI, who would succeed him to the throne. Mohammed VI took power under the pretense of being the “King of the People.” The image of the King as a reformer is popular among the Moroccan people who experienced the oppressive “Years of Lead” under Hassan II. Mohammed VI promised to end corruption, uphold human rights, and reduce poverty across the nation. In 2004, he passed a new family code, Moudawana, which raised the minimum age of marriage, allowed citizenship to pass through maternity, and increased property rights for women (Ottoway 2006, 3). He also facilitated the reconciliation efforts to investigate the human rights abuses that occurred during Hassan II’s reign. Mohammed VI’s picture hangs in museums, restaurants, universities, and shops around the country as a reminder of his dedication to the common man. The King’s image in Morocco is ex-


tremely popular due to his commitment to reform, flexibility, and outwardly constitutional use of power. Under his reign, Morocco has greatly improved the education system, expanded certain personal liberties, infrastructure, sectoral projects, and more. In the wake of the protests, the people largely viewed him as a progressive leader with legitimate authority who was willing to negotiate with and represent the people. Although the Moroccan regime boasts a constitutional and democratic appearance, there exists a complex tension between the liberalizing movements and the efforts of the monarchy to maintain near-absolute power (Daadaoui 1970, 41). Pre-Arab Spring, the palace continued to control every level of the political process with undue influence and corruption. King Mohammed VI and his father have mutually relied heavily on the support of a patrimonial network of elites, Makhzen, to sustain power. This symbiotic system of patronage highlights the disparity between the King’s political declarations of progressive democracy and his private practices that rely on a pre-colonial tradition of elitism (Daadaoui 1970, 42). The Makhzen is part of a centralized political system that revolves around the King. The elite are allowed intimate access

and political influence over the King in exchange for absolute loyalty. As a result, Morocco’s ruling elite and the King combined have a powerful network with which they cling to power. The concept of a truly representative democracy in Morocco is undermined when the King appoints members of the Makhzen to official government and ministerial positions. The narrative that paints Mohammed VI as a progressive reformer preserves his popularity with the Moroccan people. His network of loyalists in the government assures that Mohammed VI remains secure in his power over politics. MOROCC'S STRUCTURAL ADVANTAGES AT THE OUTBREAK OF THE ARAB SPRING Despite Morocco’s recent liberalization movements and comparatively progressive policies, the country still felt the impacts of the 2011 Arab Spring. The Moroccan protests differed from other Arab revolts in a few key ways: Unlike in the majority of the other countries involved, Moroccan protesters, by and large, did not demand the removal of the King but rather a limitation of his powers. Protesters also demanded other policy changes, such as wage increases by labor unions and official language


recognition by Amazigh activists. Some of the protesters demanded the abolishment of the monarchy, but even within the outspoken February 20 Movement, this was not a majority opinion. The structure of the regime and its widely accepted authority prior to the 2011 protests convinced the public that Mohammed VI was open to reform. Protests occurred across the Kingdom in most major cities. In stark contrast with the response of other states, the Moroccan security forces did not retaliate with the excessive force seen in Bahrain and Egypt. Limited government violence likely played a crucial role in preventing the protests from developing even further. Moroccan protesters did not experience the extreme brutality that motivated demonstrators elsewhere. Overall, the Moroccan movement “lacked [the] energy and zest� that catalyzed the revolutionary protests in other countries (Layachi 2011, 219). The Moroccan government strategically chose how to assert force in order to maintain control without inciting further protests. Fear of instability, positive perceptions of the King, and decades of strategic moves by the monarchy positioned Mohammed VI in a better position at the outbreak of the Arab Spring than many of his

authoritarian neighbors. Morocco benefits from governing a large and relatively homogenous population of Maliki Sunnis. In comparison, Bahrain and Syria are both ruled by minority Muslims, the Sunnis and Alawites respectively, which causes widespread resentment among their citizens. While there are tensions between the Amazigh and Arab ethnicities, this dichotomy is tempered by cultural acceptance of intermarriage and the fact that King himself is of both Arab and Amazigh ancestry. Libya and Yemen both struggled with subduing tribal loyalties; both Gaddafi and Saleh favored their respective tribes, which allowed discontent to boil over in each country. As the result of decades of legitimate authority and attempts at social unification, the Moroccan regime had a strategic advantage at the start of the Arab Spring in comparison to other MENA countries which experienced more dynamic protests.


THE MONARHCY'S POLITICAL RESPONSE DURING THE ARAB SPRING Despite comparably mild demonstrations, the protests were impactful enough that King Mohammed VI felt compelled to respond. On March 9, 2011, after a month of continuous protests, King

Mohammed VI announced a plan for constitutional reform without ever specifically addressing the Arab Spring movement. In a 12-minute address broadcasted across the country, the King promised to meet key demands of the protesters, including a reduction of his own power, an increase in parliamentary and judicial independence, and increased oversight to curb corruption. The King announced the formation of a constitutional committee that would report back to him in three months with recommendations for the referendum. The move was applauded by royalists and many in the West as a great step forward; however, the February 20 Movement was largely unimpressed as the proposed reforms were interpreted as largely superficial. The King’s statement failed to halt the protests; on the contrary, their numbers increased in the following weeks and months. Incidents of violence occurred between police and protesters. At least one protester died and countless others were injured. A number of important groups refused to engage with the constitutional reform committee because they felt it was illegitimate. Nevertheless, in June 2011, Moroccans went to the polls to vote “yes” or “no” to the committee’s proposed constitutional reforms. According to the Interior


Ministry, the reforms passed with a turnout of 73%, 98.5% of which voted “yes” (Elmurr 2011). Experts largely agree that, in the end, the constitutional reforms were purely cosmetic; for many Moroccans, incremental change was better than the chaos that continued revolts caused in Libya and Syria. Many Moroccans remain unhappy with the results of the 2011 Arab Spring in Morocco, but they lack the numbers and organization to truly threaten the monarchy--for now. Ultimately the constitutional reforms, combined with the tried-and-true practice of divide and conquer, were enough to deter the February 20 movement during the 2011 uprisings. THE MONARCHY'S STRATEGIC RESPONSE TO NON-STATE ACTORS The monarchy’s response to the non-state actors’ demands played a key role in controlling the protests. Negotiating with pre-established non-state actors, especially labor unions and Amazigh activists, allowed the monarchy to both remove large numbers of protesters from the streets and reinforce its position as the legitimate authority. The negotiations with these groups that were willing to work within the system instead of outside of it allowed the

monarchy to more convincingly dismiss the February 20 Movement as simply rowdy youth. The unions in particular played a key role, especially public employee unions that consisted of government clerks, teachers, and doctors. By joining the February 20 Movement in street protests, the unions were able to secure a better negotiating position. Though these unions did not organize the protests, they were large in number and presented the Moroccan government with familiar negotiating partners. Four main labor unions met for talks with the government in April 2011. The unions were ultimately successful; they rejected early packages proposed by government negotiators and were eventually able to secure significant salary increases (Buehler). It was a win for public employees and for unions, but it was also a win for the monarchy because satisfying union demands took a significant portion of the protesters off the street. In negotiating with the unions, which were firmly established parts of civil society, the government was enabled to reject, to a certain extent, the youth of the February 20 Movement as simply rabble-rousers. Additionally, Mohammed VI used the Arab and Amazigh divide to his advantage. By making

Tamazight--the main Amazigh language--the official state language in his constitutional reforms, he was able to satisfy many Amazigh protesters participating in the demonstrations. This constitutional change positioned the King as an ally to the Amazigh cause as he officially recognized and sympathized with their grievances. In playing upon pre-existing Arab-Amazigh tensions, the King was able to redirect Amazigh attention toward the Islamists, especially the Justice and Development Party, who systematically dismiss their cultural value in society. To this day, many activists continue to mobilize against Arab-centric Islamist groups and consider the King as a potential friend and ally in their struggles (Schemm 2016). The negotiations that Mohammed VI made with Amazigh activists during the Arab Spring were a means of maintaining his own control and diverting discontent toward the Islamists rather than the regime. Leftist activists during the protests were incentivized by their fear of Islamism to negotiate with the regime. They understood that creating true democracy in Morocco would likely lead to the rise of Islamist parties (Bradley 2012). Feminists and human rights activists had witnessed the Islamist backlash to


the 2004 changes to the Moudawana. Images of furious Islamist protesters calling the restriction of polygamy “un-Islamic” sparked fear over the reduction of secular rights under new leadership, were the King to fall. Leftist activists had nothing to gain by overthrowing the moderately progressive Mohammed VI in favor of a system that would likely yield Islamists in high-level elected positions. The King used the leftists’ willingness to negotiate within the system to make compromises in the new Constitution. For example, he promised greater transparency and limitation of his power, which satisfied the activists’ basic demands. Although the changes are now considered merely cosmetic, by creating the facade of an ideological alliance with the leftists Mohammed VI was able to eliminate the group of potential state detractors and dispose of their motivation to continue protesting in the streets.

goods and was killed in the process. Like Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in 2011, Fikri quickly became a martyr, showcasing the official abuses and corruption of the Moroccan authorities. His death, further perpetuated by the viral video of the event, sparked a series of uprisings in the Rif region, including in Al-Hoceima, and have made their way to Rabat. The main grievances revolve around the region's underdevelopment and underrepresentation in government. Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied to publicize the massive unemployment, lack of economic opportunities, and continued scandals within the regime. The protests have an eerily similar vibe reminiscent of the 2011 uprisings. It will be interesting to see how these new protests against injustice and corruption are handled by the monarchy. This is hardly the first time that the Moroccan monarchy has been forced to respond to protests in the Rif. In 1958--only two years afCURRENT IMPLICATIONS ter independence--and again in 1984, OF THE ARAB SPRING protests in the Rif were violently supIN MOROCCO pressed by King Mohammed V and In October 2016, local au- King Hassan II respectively. In both thorities in the Rif region of Mo- cases, the Moroccan army fired live rocco confiscated a street vendor’s ammunition on protesters and arrestinventory. Mouhcine Fikri, the street ed thousands of citizens. Violent and vendor, subsequently jumped into inhumane tactics were carried out in a trash truck to retrieve his stolen order to ensure the stability of the


regime (Samaa TV). King Mohammed VI’s regime is just as committed to maintaining stability, but times have changed. International outrage would reach intolerable levels if the King’s advisor used a helicopter to fire his machine gun on protesters, as King Hassan’s right hand man General Oufkir did in 1965 (Maddy-Weitzman, 93). Additionally, social media outlets allow journalists to directly engage with protesters on platforms such as Twitter. In order to stay in the good graces of the West, King Mohammed VI understands that he cannot resort to the same level of violence undertaken by his predecessors. Instead, King Mohammed VI has tried to resolve the current Rif protests in the same manner as he had in the 2011 Arab Spring: by compromising and promising reforms. This doesn’t mean that there have not been unethical actions on the part of the regime; many users on Twitter allege that the government has shut down Moroccan news websites that publish details on the protests, and international journalists as well as citizens in Al-Hoceima allege that there has been violence (Radi 2017). However, the Moroccan government has promised the investment of 10 billion dirhams in the Rif region in addition to job creation

in the area (Morocco World News). As in the Arab Spring, Moroccan officials have shunned the more radical sections of the protests and are instead attempting to woo moderates back to the regime by promising improvements. It remains to be seen whether or not these methods will be successful once more. CONCLUSION Ultimately, there was no single factor or decision that saved the Moroccan monarchy during the Arab Spring protests of 2011. Mohammed VI benefitted from a system his father engineered to maintain stability as well as a number of conditions beyond his control. The relative homogeneity of the Moroccan society, low levels of tribalism, and the King’s title of “Commander of the Faithful” all helped the monarchy maintain authority during the uprisings. Mohammed VI took a number of steps in the wake of the Arab Spring that undoubtedly stabilized his own position. Chiefly, his reformation of the Constitution served to satisfy Moroccan and Western society for the time being. Even if the constitution only provided relatively minor reforms, they were enough to placate the majority of protestors. The King further mitigated the conflict by making alliances with labor


unions, Amazigh activists, leftists, and other non-state actors within the system to make institutional changes. Thus, Mohammed VI’s ability to maintain power during the Arab Spring was a combination of his own manipulation of the system, the mild demands of the protestors, and circumstantial factors beyond the regime’s control.


Bibliography Bradley, John R. After the Arab Spring: How the Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts. New York City: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print. Buehler, Matt. “Labour Demands, Regimes Concessions: Moroccan Unions and The Arab and The Arab Uprising.” 21 Dec. 2014. Web. 22 May 2017. Daadaoui, Mohamed. “The Makhzen and State Formation in Morocco.” Springer. Palgrave Macmillan US, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 22 May 2017. Elmurr, Jessy. "Morocco approves King Mohammed's constitutional reforms." BBC News. BBC, 02 July 2011. Web. 10 May 2017. Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce. The Berber Identity Movement and the Challenge to North African States. The University of Texas Press, 2011. "Moroccan Government to invest MAD 10 billion in Al Hoceima." Morocco World News. 23 May 2017. Web. 06 June 2017. Layachi, Azzedine. “Meanwhile in the Maghreb: Have Algeria and Morocco avoided North Africa’s Unrest?” Foreign Affairs. March 31 2011. Ottaway, Marina and Riley, Meredith. “Morocco: From Top-down Reform to Democratic Transition?” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 06 Sep. 2006. Web. 10 May 2017. Radi, Omar (@OmarRADI). Twitter. 15 June 2017. Samaa TV. "Five things to know about Morocco’s Rif." 5 May 2017. Web. 06 June 2017. Schemm, Paul. "North Africa's Berbers get boost from Arab Spring." 03 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 May 2017.



About the Author Morgan King is a fourth year studying Foreign Affairs and French. She will continue at UVA to complete her master’s in Religion, Politics, and Conflict. In 2017, she spent five months living in Rabat, Morocco studying Christian Sub-Saharan migration to North Africa and hopes to write her thesis about Arab-Muslim migration to the United States. King’s long-term career goal is to serve as a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department. Sarah Rupert is a fourth year in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Foreign Affairs and French. She is interested in U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa.




To What Extent is Russian Lobbying and Psychological Influence a Threat to the Economic and Political Security and Stability of the US and EU? By Ansley Bradwell and Anna Gray


Putin’s Russia uses a multi-

faceted strategy in order to influence political and economic affairs in both America and Europe. Through various forms of lobbying, psychological influence and soft power approaches, Russia can carry out its agenda in an inexpensive, covert manner that is less likely to lead to resistance from the political leaders and general public of the US and EU. This article will first analyze the political and economic lobbying efforts of Russia to enhance their agenda in both Europe and America. This will be followed by an investigation of Russia’s use of RT and Sputnik to psychologically influence the public and spread a counter-narrative to that of the West. Although this form of influence is not new, it has grown exponentially and we have yet to be able to effectively counteract it. This account will conclude by looking into Russia’s soft power influences in America through cultural means, notably seen in the activities of Russian diplomats. Although Russia appears to be involved in many different domains in both Europe and America, there are counter-approaches we can take that could effectively reduce the tension between the West and Russia. We will conclude that the threat of Russian influence isn’t as serious as one might suspect. Due to the sym-

biotic trade relationship between the three different geographical spheres, it is of a collective interest to maintain an open dialogue. This article will prove that there are some aspects of Russian influence in the West that should be addressed, but that most are not only manageable, but potentially enlightening. Before detailing the mechanisms by which Russian institutions and the Kremlin exert their influence upon the Western sphere, this article must first diagnose Russian intentions. Upon examining of the methods of influence exercised by Russian institutions, two essential aims become apparent. The first is their economic aim; Russia is working to advance their economic agenda into the greater world economy. This intention is largely exhibited by the efforts of Russian institutions. For instance, the Valdai Discussion Club and St. Petersburg International Economic Forum are international economic forums held each year in Russia that promote foreign investment and broadcast Russian economic potential. These forums operate under the guise of intellectual institutions bringing together the world economy on a macro-scale, but in reality they function largely as advertising forums for Russia. The second intention of Russian institu-


tions and the Kremlin is more toxic and far-reaching in the long-term. It is an ideological aim to dismantle the Western narrative of transparency and rule of law by exporting corruption. This aim is carried out through Kremlin-based psychological initiatives in Europe and America as well as through direct Russian affiliation with American political actors and European parties. Within the corporate spheres of both Europe and America, Russia uses political-economic lobbying to influence the economic climate. By using the objectives of American corporations to its advantage, Russia is able to subtly forward its economic agenda while they remain unintimidating to the public. The political factor applies when the Russian government uses western politicians, with whom they have good relations, to make it more likely that their policies will make it through western legal systems. The case of Techsnabexport illustrates how the nuclear fuel-exporting branch of ‘Rosatom’, a Russian state corporation, was able to exploit the divides within the US energy sphere to increase its trading capacity within America. Techsnabexport wanted to diversify its exports and directly sell nuclear materials to its American business partners, a plan which

had previously run into trouble due to an antidumping investigation by the US Department of Commerce (Kostyaev 2012, 284). Previously, the direct sale of nuclear materials had been banned to protect American nuclear material producers, since in 2009 and 2010 Russia had been the fifth top producer of materials, with the US coming in at eighth in the world (Kostyaev 2012, 284). Russia hired PR companies to actively lobby, yet merely spent $450,000 when their commodities turnover of 2010 was $4 billion. Their success arose in their connection to American energy companies, who were also supporting this proposed bill and wanted to diversify and increase their number of uranium suppliers. Energy companies spent over $440 million on lobbying the federal government, which boosted the potential support for the bill. Further, the good relations at the time between Obama and Medvedev gave the bill the President’s stamp of approval, which in turn led to the passing of the Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation on the 9th of December 2010. Using the wealth of American corporations as well as the power of top-level officials in America, Techsnabexport was able to gain access to a new market with the fruition of this deal. Russia, however, is


known to use more calculative methods, such as price manipulation and leveraging close ties with top-level officials to exert their influence in legally questionable ways. This became increasingly evident in the issues surrounding Gazprom in 2009, with the news that the Russian state oil giant was slashing oil exports to Ukraine (Kramer 2009). This particular method can be considered dangerous especially when states do not have diversified energy suppliers, allowing Russia to potentially use their oil prices as a bargaining chip to gain a favorable economic climate. Furthermore, there was speculation that Schröder, upon agreeing to the Nordstream Two pipeline, which would allow natural gas to directly travel from Russia to Germany, may have potentially been economically influenced by his close acquaintance Vladimir Putin. Less than a month after his term as Chancellor came to an end, Schröder took up a lucrative position at the Russian oil giant, fueling speculation that he could have been promised the job prior to his leaving office, thus signifying corruption within the German system. As much as one would like to be able to limit the Kremlin’s ability to covertly influence both America and Europe’s economic climate, evidence shows that the Rus-

sian government uses such a variety of methods that one blanket policy change would not be able to control their lobbying efforts. For the most part, not all of these methods should arouse suspicion of a destructive intent. For example, situations like that of Techsnabexport, where Russia is a just a member of a larger beneficiary group, including American corporations. Further, energy leveraged as a weapon to gain political control has, for the most part, little evidence to support it. Countries that are weak or small still tend to resist the pressures of the Kremlin, and the EU has successfully repaired loopholes in its system when problems arose in the past (Stegen 2011, 6511). This was evident in the Ukraine energy crisis when the EU implemented protective measures against gas disruptions that included protective action plans to safeguard these more vulnerable countries (Stegen 2011, 6511). The problem lies in the potential forms of corruption like Schröder’s ‘revolving door’ maneuver, in which he joined the energy industry in which he has political and legal dealings whilst having been in public office only a few months before (Ninua 2010, 2). In some countries, this government favoritism is regulated by laws; however, this is not the case in Germany. To deal with such an issue,


countries should implement ‘cooling off periods’during which politicians cannot join certain industries for a period of time after leaving office, to try and prevent corruption (Ninua 2010, 4). Although this would be difficult to enact in the whole of the EU in a singular policy, it could provide a preemptive remedy for this form of political-economic lobbying. Again, it is important to note that Russia is trying to acquire a better position in the landscape of international trade, but not purposefully destroy western economic systems. As a result, we do not need drastic reforms, just exact and pointed laws to address these specific issues. Within the governing systems of Europe and America, Russian agents, in the form of institutions and persons, also exact political influence through relationships with insurgent parties and the Trump administration. For the purposes of this article, this influence is defined within the terms of political-economic lobbying as a mechanism by which the Kremlin can affect the political atmosphere of other states for its own advancement. Lobbying within the political systems of America and Europe is more personal, individualized, and perceivably more threatening than lobbying within their respective corporate systems;

political lobbying can exact more pointed influence and greatly affect public opinion, due to its overt nature. In America, interests of the Kremlin appear to have been adopted by high-level officials in the Trump administration. One of the most noticeable links between the Trump administration and the Kremlin was Paul Manafort, former Campaign Chairman for President Trump. Manafort’s discovered connection to Putin was instrumental because it provoked an initial speculation of the Kremlin’s intentions to affiliate with American political agents. The decision to use Manafort as Campaign Chairman was perplexing because of his known affiliation with Russia’s geopolitical sphere. Manafort served as a political consultant in Ukraine for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau revealed that Manafort received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party (Kramer, 2016). Manafort’s lawyer denied that these payments were received (Kramer 2016). The Trump campaign, initially lead by Manafort himself, embodied a pro-Russian sentiment that tested its perception by the American public. Manafort’s role as the Campaign Chairman provoked scrutiny over Trump’s own


relationship with Putin. Manafort eventually stepped down from the campaign, but the pro-Russian sentiment that he largely broadcasted remained an underlying facet of the Trump campaign and present administration. Former National Security Advisor for the Trump administration, Michael Flynn, is another example of Russian influence in the American political system. Flynn, who was forced to resign after twenty-four days as Trump’s National Security Advisor, collected almost $68,000 from Russian-related entities in the past year (Helderman 2017). More than half of this money came from RT, the Kremlin-backed news outlet (Helderman 2017). In addition, Flynn received thousands of dollars from a Russian cyber-security firm and a Russian airline (Helderman 2017). The corporation’s claim the money was given in exchange for speeches that Flynn delivered in Washington. While Flynn’s agent asserts these speeches were not made at a time when Flynn was a part of the American government, they raise questions of the objective intentions of the Trump administration and its overt ties to agents of the Kremlin. These notably high-profile cases of American officials and their connections to Russian agents have

colored the Trump administration with a corrupt character in the minds of the American public. One must also address the potential threats that could arise from alliances between various far right parties in Europe and Russia. Finding themselves on similar ideological planes, both sides have tended to have anti-western rhetoric, and look towards more conservative approaches for answers to current issues. These far right parties prefer closed borders, low levels of immigration and overall have nationalistic tendencies, priorities that are very similar to those of Russia. However, one must take into account that these various groups like the Five Star Movement, UKIP and Front National have different views on how to deal with Russia, and do not unanimously agree on removing sanctions against Russia. Regardless, a large number still favor a closer relationship with Russia. Marine Le Pen’s Front National movement in 2016 asked for a €27 million loan to help gain a more influential position in parliamentary and presidential elections (Oliviera, 2016). This investment in the future of Front National by the Kremlin would connect the two bodies on a potentially more significant level. An additional problem also lies in the parties’ relations to NATO and their


views on their future affiliations with the organization. Some are looking to move away from the alliance, which could leave room for a bilateral rivalry forming between NATO and a potentially strong coalition of opposition states led by Russia. This however, could be catastrophizing the situation, because although we have seen some recent traction of far-right parties in EU elections, it is still unlikely that they will be elected to majority power. For example, as of the 5th of May, Le Pen was holding only 38.2% of the vote for the French Presidential election, and UKIP had to date lost all of their seats in the local elections in England (Kirk 2017, BBC 2017). Furthermore, changing EU legislation is a lengthy process, which would likely take longer than the lifespan of a single far-right party in power. One thing that can be changed to deal with this potential arena for Russia to exploit is the laws surrounding funding of domestic political elections. In Germany, parties can receive government funds but are not subject to very onerous disclosure requirements (Palmer 2009). This grey area extends into the legislation of other European states, where, for example in France, foreign entities cannot donate to political candidates, but a foreign person can (Atwill

2009). These patchwork laws around Europe leave much room for interpretation by various parties. It is difficult to imagine the legislative systems of twenty-eight member states becoming uniform overnight, however any form of limiting Russian interference could be potentially beneficial. Limiting interference would give Putin one less chance to exploit the divides between European countries. The influence of Russian institutions on American political actors and European parties can be most effectively combatted by increasing transparency within the respective systems. The Foreign Agents Registration Act, FARA, requires anyone representing a “foreign principal� in the United States to register with the Justice Department (U.S. Department of Justice 2017). Under FARA, foreign entities cannot make monetary contributions to American campaigns (FEC). FARA serves as a way for the American people and government to monitor the dealings of foreign agents within the United States. Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn should have been registered as foreign agents under FARA. FARA, as a democratic institution, represents in part the American narrative of transparency and rule of law. The most effective way to combat the insertion of Russian influence


in Western political spheres is by increasing transparency between the political systems and the public. One way to increase transparency would be to reform FARA and tighten monitoring processes to make sure all foreign agents register, increasing the awareness of how much foreign states are investing in the US political system. In addition, a FARA equivalent in the EU could help minimize the holes within the system that are currently being exploited. However, as mentioned, this would take some time to create and it could be difficult to construct cohesive legislation that would be supported in all the EU member states. From the evidence presented, political-economic lobbying efforts by Russia are diverse but can also be dealt with using tighter restrictions and greater monitoring. Overt anti-western media propaganda is not a new phenomenon in US and EU relations with Russia. Dating back to before the Cold War, there were campaigns aimed at discrediting western ideology in order to influence the public in the time of a bilateral world order. However, the West was unprepared for the exponential increase in the volume and false nature of the news propagated, as aided by Russia’s greater access to the public through media outlets and social media plat-

forms as the year continued (Paul 2016, 2). Russian-sanctioned platforms like RT and Sputnik have recently come under the limelight following their potential roles in the US elections. During the presidential campaign, RT openly collaborated with WikiLeaks to access ‘new leaks of secret information’ that surrounded the Hillary campaign with a sentiment of distrust (National 2017, 3). Although it is unclear how many people watch it and for how long, RT claims it can reach 700 million viewers in more than 100 countries, and that it has a budget of $300 million to spend on the dissemination of false information (Erlanger 2017, Paul 2016, 2). Sputnik, part of the RIA Novosti news agency, is also said to have news hubs in 34 countries with a global team of over 1,000 staff (Roth 2014). To avoid registering as a foreign agent under FARA, RT uses a Moscow-based non-profit organization to finance its US operations rather than the Russian government (National 2017). These movements continue to grow at a rapid rate and are gaining traction as ‘alternative’ media sources. A bill was recently introduced into the Senate to address the growing volume of inconsistent propaganda that the news outlets release. ‘The Foreign Agents Registration


Modernisation and Enforcement Act’ would give the Justice Department the right to compel organisations to produce information about their foreign connections and funding (Sutton 2017). Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced the bill in hopes that it would enlighten the public about whether the disinformation campaigns come from the orders of a foreign entity. This would further forward an agenda of transparency that is needed particularly in America in this current political climate. Many are not aware that these media platforms do not originate in the West, and once pointed out to them, they can make informed decisions about the news they consume. However, as proven in numerous psychological studies, telling people that the news they consume is making false claims will not always deter them from reading or watching it, if anything it can strengthen their resolve to do the opposite (Paul 2016, 9). In addition, it is unlikely that this democratic bill will make it very far in the legal process due to political divides. As a result, we have to look at addressing the problem at its root, specifically at the western narrative that is propagated by foreign media. The West holds a stance superior to the disinformation campaigns projected by the Kremlin, and believes

that influencing the public in such a manner is morally questionable. Although Putin often claims that the West is trying to defame his own regime, many see this as a mere form of ‘whataboutism’, a strategy of false moral equivalences (Osnos 2017). Disinformation campaigns perpetrated by the West in Russia would be unlikely to have any strong effect, particularly due to the fact such campaigns would likely backfire and the western media would once again be vilified by Russia as it has been in the past. Apart from it being expensive and also useless, false information campaigns would go directly against what America believes in, which is a fact that Russia knows it can exploit: ‘It is a clever game. There are unwritten rules between nation states, and these rules are clearly being violated by the Russian side, but they know the West cannot ban them without harming their own values of freedom of expression’ (Igor 2016). As a result, the West must determine tactics to fight the disinformation campaigns that involve remaining on this high road that they have so aptly built for themselves. What would be beneficial for their systems would be a growth in the forces that combat the false information offenses, including the teams, which are there to disseminate accurate information


about relevant situations. Further, digital literacy and false-information awareness campaigns, including using fact-checking networks, could be used in more commonplace settings. More technically speaking, countries are finding the answers in algorithms that could judge the accuracy of websites as well as their dates of creation, with the assumption newer websites are less likely to be trustworthy (Wendling 2017). This psychological influence on the part of Russian propaganda is ample evidence to prove that the Kremlin is exporting corruption in aims of causing the American peoples to question their proper narrative. Lastly, it is necessary to address the more nuanced influence that comes from the cultural activities of the socially active Russian consulates in both America and Europe. These individual-to-individual relationships are an area in which Russia can excel. This sort of influence does not pose an immediate threat. One should see this rather as a way for the West and Russia to close the gap in their personalities, reducing the animosity of the greater macroscale tensions that have existed since the Soviet era. US diplomat Samantha Power once commented on the former Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin in his obituary, “no

matter how much our countries relationship deteriorated — and we saw a steep decline during our time together — we had much in common as individuals” (Power 2017) Furthermore, the Russian Consulate’s website has a webpage dedicated to ‘Russian-American Cultural Cooperation’ in which it describes various cultural events Russian entities and individuals host in cities around the country. The Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History that is connected to American University is dedicated to making students aware of study abroad opportunities, as well as Russian cultural events in the DC area. The consulate websites for European countries contain sparser information of this nature than that of America, but they do make suggestions on locations to visit within Russia. This indicates a desire to attract western tourism to their country. What one should take into consideration when thinking about the soft cultural power Russia holds especially in America but also in Europe, is that it could be a blueprint for the West to follow in Russia itself. James Barbour, once the Press Secretary for the British Embassy in Moscow, spoke in an interview about his experiences with Russians. He described how he felt that they loved


American culture, and from his point of view saw that they were particularly fond of British fashion and food. He made the suggestion that educating Russians on the different cultures of Europe and America could help build a stronger personal relationship with Russia. Barbour felt that there was not an inherent fear of the West in Russia, however it just took some work to get through the people’s guards before they were more open and friendly with outsiders. This particular method would preserve the positive Russian influences that are present in the West, whilst also building up the symbiotic relationship between the two countries. For instance, the western arts sector could find particular success in exporting their culture to Russia due to the existence of a receptive audience. This article has provided an account of the ways in which the Kremlin pursues its larger visions in the geopolitical powerhouses of the world. Based on a broad examination of the influential tools utilized by Putin and agents of the Kremlin, this article has proven that the most urgent concern of the US and EU should be the psychological power that the Kremlin uses to penetrate the Western public conscience. Through such psychological manipulation, Russia is attempting to disassemble

the Western narrative of democratic institutions and rule of law and replace it with one of corruption and plutocracy. This article postulates that the most potent way to counter the Russian psychological insurgence is by adopting policies that promote transparency. While the ideological aims of Russia are threatening, and call for the US and EU to protect their institutions, the economic aims of the Kremlin could prove advantageous to the West should they be capitalised upon. In the economic realm, the US and EU should put aside their exemplarist pride and negative view of Post-Soviet Russia in order to maintain a symbiotic trade relationship. A more cohesive, bilateral narrative with Russia must be worked towards by the U.S, EU, and their respective populations.


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About the Author Ansley Bradwell is a fourth year pursuing a double major in Foreign Affairs and Spanish Linguistics. She served as an intern for the US Senate this summer and looks forward to pursuing a law degree in the future. Anna Gray is a fourth year in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Foreign Affairs and Psychology. On grounds, she is involved with various clubs including Madison House, WUVA, and is acting President of Operation Smile. She is originally from London, England and will be working for Accenture Federal Services in DC after graduation.




Defying the State How Executive Constraint and State Capacity Affect Control over Pro-Government Militias By Pascal Hensel ABSTRACT


his thesis examines how governmental characteristics related to executive constraint and state capacity affect a government’s ability to control pro-government militias (PGMs). I theorize that executive constraint and state capacity represent important factors in a government’s ability to monitor and control PGMs as agents to the government. I conduct a qualitative case study comparison in which I look more broadly at executive powers and aspects of state capacity and how they affected governments’ abilities to control PGMs and use them to their advantage. When operationalized and studied more broadly as in my case studies, low executive constraint and high state capacity can increase a government’s ability to control PGMs.



paramilitaries against Chechen insurgents. I compare the Colombian n civil conflicts, pro-gov- and Russian governments’ abilities to ernment militias (PGMs) often control PGMs based on the chief exemerge to fight rebels or insurgents ecutive’s powers and the state’s abilalongside state forces. Governments ity to project power into the region may tolerate or even encourage of conflict. The operationalizations PGM activity with mixed results. of executive constraint and state PGMs can slip out of the control capacity in my qualitative study are of their governments and engage therefore much broader. in unchecked violence. I propose My qualitative findings that differences in the powers of the suggest that lower executive conchief executive and/or in the state’s straint and/or higher state capacity ability to assert dominance over its improve a government’s chances of territory explain these differing re- controlling PGMs and using it to sults. In theory, a government with their advantage. I argue that, when an unrestrained chief executive and/ understood more broadly, executive or a strong state presence through- constraint and state capacity can imout its territory, often manifested pact a government’s ability to control in military strength, will be better PGMs. able to control PGMs. Therefore, it is important to study how indicators THEORY AND of executive constraint and state caLITERATURE pacity affect a government’s ability to I begin this section by incontrol PGMs. troducing the theoretical topics of I examine how executive why states use PGMs and the danconstraint and state capacity sepa- gers that may come from delegating rately affect 1) the viability of peace powers to PGMs in order to build a agreements when PGMs are present, foundation for my own theory. and 2) the effectiveness of a govern PGMs, which Sabine Carey ment’s attempts to control PGMs and Neil Mitchell define as “armed when it is fighting insurgencies. groups that are linked to the gov The second analysis involves ernment and separate from the regqualitative case studies of Colombia’s ular forces (Sabine Carey and Neil use of paramilitaries against FARC Mitchell, 2014, 4-5),” have received and the ELN and Russia’s use of increased attention over the years.



A sizeable body of research has emerged to explore why states ally with PGMs and some of the dangers which associating with them poses. As Ariel Ahram points out in “Why States Use Paramilitarism,” states can use PGMs to harness potentially disloyal groups and use them to their advantage (Ahram, Ariel, 2006, 2). Carey and Mitchell elaborate on some of the advantages of PGM usage. Namely, despite the Weberian expectation that governments would not surrender their monopoly on violence, PGMs can become useful to a government because they add to the total number of forces fighting for a government. They often have better local knowledge, enjoy local support, and allow the government to maintain plausible deniability for violence committed by the PGM against the opposition (Carey and Mitchell. 6-10). Therefore, states may have several concrete incentives to delegate powers to informal groups of armed supporters. Despite the logic of why states engage with PGMs, Ahram and Mitchell et al. shed light on the dangers of the principal-agent problem: delegating powers to outside actors can result in a loss of control. Ahram warns that providing PGMs with coercive powers risks legitimizing them while creating possibilities

for further encroachment on the state’s monopoly of force (Ahram, 2006, 67). Within the context of human rights violations, Mitchell et al. show how the principal-agent problem leads to PGMs gaining the ability to engage in unchecked violence as states delegate repressive tasks to PGMs to avoid accountability and minimize monitoring costs. Although I will not be discussing issues such as human rights violations in depth, the framing of the use of PGMs as a principal-agent problem is vital to my research. Specifically, as I look at executive constraint and state capacity as important attributes of a government, as a principal, I use those variables to test the likelihood of the principal-agent problem occurring, i.e. whether a government loses control over PGMs. Carey et al.’s “Governments, Informal Links to Militias, and Accountability” introduces regime type and state strength as important variables in the study of PGM usage. The study uses both variables to assess the likelihood of PGM presence and finds that weak democracies are the most likely to establish informal ties with PGMs (Carey et al, 2015, 861, 869). One of the main arguments is that weak democracies are more likely to be punished (by their own population or by other countries)


for repression than dictatorships, and thus rely on militias to suppress opposition (Carey et al, 2015, 852, 854, 869). Such ties are unlikely to appear in strong Democracies, since transparency and freedom of speech prevent governments from being able to establish secret ties with militias (Carey et al, 2015, 853). This analysis of regime type and strength fits importantly into the discourse of PGMs in the principal-agent model as it establishes characteristics as predictors of governments’ incentives to delegate powers to PGMs. However, Carey et al. focus on regimes differs significantly from mine. I am not so much interested in accountability as much as I am in the institutional breakdown of regimes, how power is centralized, and how strong the state is. Indeed, under a strong authoritarian government that does not fear punishment for its use of force, per Carey et al., there will be a smaller chance that PGMs will exist. But where they might exist, I predict that they will be closely aligned with the state because of the state’s ability to define and punish opposition. In theory, a stronger state will be better able to punish defiance and thereby control agents than weaker states. Therefore, a state characterized by strong exec-

utive power and high enforcement capabilities would be more capable of controlling PGMs as agents to the state. More specifically, an unrestrained chief executive can better execute policies and use enforcement tools, including security forces and bureaucratic agencies, without check, to establish ties with and maintain control over PGMs. Meanwhile, higher enforcement and military capabilities, as indicators of high state capacity, increase a government’s ability to use force against entities that threaten their interests HYPOTHESES My hypotheses are based on the assumption that the more power within a government is centralized within the office of the chief executive and the greater the capacity of the government to exert violence against opposition throughout its territory, the less likely it is that the government will lose control of PGMs. In other words, I hypothesize that low executive constraint and/or high state capacity would make it more difficult for a PGM to escape the control of the state. I therefore propose the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Unconstrained executives are more able to control PGMs.


In my qualitative analyses of Colombia and Russia, I operationalize control over PGMs and executive constraint more broadly by exploring the general powers of the chief executive, how the chief executive attempted to control PGMs, and whether that control was exercised and maintained. Hypothesis 2: High capacity states are better able to control PGMs. In my qualitative analysis, I again operationalize my variables more broadly by studying the effects of state power projection/military strength on the state’s ability to control and maintain control of PGMs. In theory, a more centralized and/or capable state will be able to control a PGM better than one in which a PGM can take advantage of loose control to advance its interests apart from those of the state. I believe that there are specific and identifiable characteristics related to executive constraint and state capacity that can have significant impacts on the relationship between a government and a PGM. Using the logic of the principal-agent model, I predict that the presence of characteristics which reflect greater power centralization in the executive branch, limited checks and balances, and/or a greater ability to punish those who

defy the state diminishes a PGM’s ability to act outside of the control of the state. Although this point may seem irrefutable, I propose a closer look at specific characteristics and trends as they affect relationships between governments and PGMs in order to critically test my theory. QUALITATIVE STUDY My qualitative study involves a comparative case study of Colombia’s use of paramilitaries to counter FARC and the ELN in the late 1990s and 2000s and Russia’s use of paramilitaries against insurgents in Chechnya throughout the 2000s. Both cases involved governments fighting rebels with PGMs in the post-Cold War period while avoiding direct association with PGMs. Unlike conflicts in Indonesia, Iraq, and Sudan which occurred in the same timeframe, these cases do not involve significant international presence and/or state collapse (Solomon-Strauss 96). Russia is an outlier in that it is one of the few strong and well-established states to use PGMs for both internal and external conflicts, such as in Georgia and Ukraine. Russia’s motivations for using PGMs are unique given its strength and global stature. However, I am less interested in motivations than I am in how differences in


broader understandings of executive constraint and state capacity between Russia and Colombia affected the governments’ abilities to control PGMs. As I will show, Russia had significantly less executive constraint and much stronger military presence in its respective conflict than Colombia. Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, and after researching many of the constitutional rules and practices of each country, I explore some of the more nuanced manifestations of executive constraint and state capacity and how they affected the governments’ abilities to control their respective PGMs. Colombia The Colombian government’s struggle against The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) tells a valuable story about government-PGM relations, as well as the roles of the executive constraint and state capacity. In this study, I focus on how paramilitaries emerged in rural Colombia to combat guerrillas, how Presidents Pastrana and Uribe dealt with these paramilitaries, and the weaknesses in the implementation of Uribe’s demobilization programs. I show that, in contrast to the case of Russia, the

Colombian government did not have sufficient control over its own enforcement and military capabilities within rural areas, which severely limited the government’s ability to control the paramilitaries. Weaknesses in executive power and state capacity manifested themselves not so much at the national level but in the Colombia’s provincial political and military institutions. Ever since the 1970s, Colombia has dealt with dangerous Marxist narco-terror groups FARC and ELN. The terror groups ravaged the countryside causing serious suffering among local populations. Self-defense paramilitaries began emerging as early as the 1950s and ‘60s to combat anti-state guerillas, and in 1968, the Congress passed Law 48, which gave legal status to paramilitaries waging war against the rebels (Kline, 2009, 14). By law, the national army was able to train and supply members of these legally recognized paramilitaries, and ties between private paramilitary organizations and the military strengthened (Kline, 2009, 14). Carlos Castaño, who would become the leader of the AUC, set about beginning paramilitary activities with his three brothers in the late-1980s and ‘90s to avenge their father’s kidnapping and execution


by FARC (Spencer, 2001, 5). The Castaño brothers turned guerilla tactics against the guerillas, a departure from traditional Colombian military doctrine (Spencer, 2001, 5). Due to the initial success of the paramilitaries, Colombian military officers continued to tolerate -- and even encourage -- these organizations (Ibid). These paramilitaries emerged independently of one another, so whereas some remained strictly “self-defense” organizations hired by wealthy landowners, others were more aggressive, and others developed affiliations with powerful drug cartels (Ibid, 7). Therefore, the mobilization of paramilitaries in Colombia was characterized by the emergence of decentralized, private paramilitary organizations with intertwined connections within Colombia’s military institutions. As the paramilitaries became more powerful and successful, they gradually began to form a national front. At first, they formed regional alliances, such as the Self-Defense Organizations of Cordoba and Uraba (ACCU), to coordinate activities (Ibid, 13). Then, in 1997, these regional organizations established a national front known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) (Ibid). The purpose of this organization was to coordinate a

common strategy against the rebels while allowing each individual paramilitary group to maintain operation and financial autonomy (Ibid). Paramilitaries had quickly replaced the state across rural Colombia, resulting in what Harvey Kline calls “political archipelagos.” In theory, Colombia’s chief executive wields many important powers that would put him at the forefront of enacting policies to control PGMs and maintain stability throughout the country. According to the 1991 Constitution, the president acts as head of government, chief of state, and commander-in-chief of Colombia’s Armed Forces, and he also has the power to conduct foreign relations and declare states of emergency and the suspension of liberties (Ramirez, 2016). The president can also appoint and dismiss cabinet members and is responsible, along with the highest courts, for providing the Senate with candidates for certain positions, such as the Prosecutor General and the Attorney General (Ramirez, 2016). Nevertheless, the government maintains separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and the Constitutional Court can challenge executive and legislative actions (Colombia-Politics and Government). Whereas the executive branch is the


strongest branch and holds important enforcement powers, the president is still subject to several constitutional checks and balances common within democratic systems. Despite the strength of the executive at the national level, the greatest weakness of the Colombian government was its inability to demonstrate a strong political and military presence in the provinces. After the formation of the AUC and under President Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002), Colombia witnessed a significant increase in paramilitary violence. This happened as Pastrana attempted peace negotiations with FARC and the ELN. In comparison to the previous presidency Pastrana’s presidency saw, on average, over 1,000 more murders, over 1,000 more kidnappings, 200 more terrorist attacks, and an over tenfold increase in the number of internal refugees each year. (Kline, 2015, 52). Yet, this loss of control was not at all due to high executive constraint at the national level. It was a result of Pastrana’s personal lack of focus on paramilitaries, which, when combined with weak state presence in the provinces, allowed for the expansion of paramilitaries in a power vacuum. Mauricio Romero, who studied the growth of paramilitary organizations during negotiations, suggests three

reasons for the increase in the size and strength of paramilitaries under Pastrana: "First, regional elites disagreed with the peace processes and challenged them publicly, while being silent about violence against the popular sector. Second, drug traffickers who had become landowners promoted private groups to attack suspicious civilians. Finally, the armed forces rejected the negotiations with guerillas, publicly opposing them and privately using counterinsurgency tactics against civilians as auxiliaries of the guerrillas" (Romero, 50-51). Romero concludes that the military and regional leadership’s disagreement with Pastrana’s peace process produced a scenario in which drug dealers and local elites exploited the lack of a common and visible central authority to build paramilitary networks (Ibid, 52). As a 74-year-old survivor of an AUC massacre put it, “We don’t have a government in this country anymore. Carlos Castaño is our president (Wilson, 2001).” Indeed, the most significant factor contributing to the growth and increased brutality of the AUC was the government’s lack of tight control over the military. According to a 2001 Washington Post article, Castaño claimed that about


thirty-five retired officers as well as 1,000 former soldiers had joined the AUC (Wilson). Then-Defense Minister Luis Ramirez acknowledged in an interview, “You fire these people, and immediately they are contacted by the paramilitaries (Ibid).” As military personnel left their positions to find better pay in the AUC, human rights organizations and military officials worried that the AUC’s deepening connections in the military would allow the paramilitary organization to benefit from more troops, equipment, and intelligence (Ibid). The AUC’s expansion accelerated even to the point that it caused serious management issues within the organization. According to Castaño himself, the organization’s rapid growth made it difficult to successfully train new commanders on the AUC’s rules of engagement (Ibid). During Pastrana’s administration and peace negotiations, weak control of the military, lax policies against paramilitaries, and the AUC’s own inability to manage its own expansion caused a widespread increase in paramilitary violence. The next presidential administration of Alvaro Uribe sought to increase the presence of the state throughout the country. To achieve this goal, Uribe’s government increased military spending by .5%

of the GDP, set up a system of informants to military outposts called “Soldiers from My Town” to answer directly to military or police officers, and organized community councils throughout the country with which Uribe would confer with (Kline, 4142). His most significant endeavor would be the passing of the Law of Justice and Peace, which laid the framework for the formal demobilization of Colombia’s paramilitaries via a system of confessions and sentencing benefits to incentivize paramilitaries to demobilize. Although the Law of Justice and Peace was only passed by Congress in 2005 and revised by the Constitutional Court the following year, Uribe’s government began the demobilization process early on without legally defined and standardized measures for establishing and judging truth (Denissen). The initial implementation of the demobilization was quite successful at first. As Marieke Denissen explains, from 2002 through 2006, over 31,000 paramilitary members demobilized, Colombia witnessed a noticeable decrease in violence (Denissen, 332333). However, the demobilization process was only successful on paper. The decrease in violence, as reported by Marieke Denissen, was


only in homicide rates across four big cities, not in the rural areas (Ibid, 333). Meanwhile, internal displacement actually increased significantly from 2004 through at least 2007 according to Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch, 2010, 6). Paramilitary organizations often found loopholes to continue their illegal activities, and according to police figures, successor paramilitary groups were present in 24 of Colombia’s 32 provinces as of July 2009 (Human Rights Watch, 6-7). Human Rights Watch also reports that the government failed to verify the identities of demobilized paramilitary members and failed to gather enough information from demobilized persons about paramilitaries’ assets and criminal networks (Ibid, 11). Several paramilitary organizations even hired local civilians to pose as paramilitary members to demobilize in their name (Ibid). Using such loopholes allowed paramilitary groups to continue operating under different names and participate in what Human Rights Watch calls “widespread and serious abuses against civilians, including massacres, killings, rapes, threats, and extortion (Human Rights Watch, 2010, 6).” Paramilitary infiltration into several parts of the government

also allowed for their continued activity. This was the issue of parapoliticos. In 2009, cases were opened up against 35% of the members of Congress for maintaining paramilitary connections (Kline, 134). Another 249 cases were opened against governors, mayors, members of departmental assemblies, and municipal councils (Ibid). Indeed, years after the end of the demobilization process in 2006, illegal paramilitaries, now largely criminal organizations, still wielded a concerning amount of influence throughout the country. The Colombian paramilitary phenomenon, from mobilization to demobilization, highlights several key patterns related to executive constraint and state capacity which allowed for such a dramatic diffusion of regional power to paramilitaries. Constitutional checks on the executive branch made it very difficult for the President to undertake direct dialogue with paramilitary groups, relegating demobilization to formal government institutions. Meanwhile, Congress and the Constitutional Court made it difficult for a president to get a bill passed. When Uribe began his demobilization process before the finalization of the Law of Justice and Peace, the lack of a consistent legal framework for a broad demobilization process resulted in


an inconsistent and poorly executed process. However, the president still wielded significant powers by democratic standards. Although he probably would not have been able to establish personal ties with paramilitaries and illegally negotiate with PGMs without punishment, the fact that Uribe was able to reinforce state presence in the provinces, personally participate in community councils, and even begin the demobilization process before the finalization of the Law of Justice and Peace suggests that weaknesses in the government’s ability to control paramilitaries lay not in national-level limitations on executive power. The absence of a firm grip over the military and regional governmental institutions resulted in illicit ties between the AUC and regional military and political offices. The Colombian Armed Forces, one of the most important executive institutions, failed to present itself as a viable tool against both paramilitaries and the guerrillas, thereby allowing both groups to fight each other. Meanwhile, regional governments were too weak to stand up to paramilitaries and were easily infiltrated by paramilitary influence. This culminated in widespread corruption throughout both regional governments and Congress. Throughout the

AUC’s mobilization and demobilization, one could argue that the chief executive was constrained by the fact that he had poor control over regional politics while corruption caused weak military power projection. In conclusion, a broader approach to understanding executive constraint and state capacity shows how implementation limitations on the executive branch, as manifested in poor control over regional politics, and weakness in state power projection, as manifested in military vulnerability to corruption, cause significant difficulties for the state to control PGMs. Russia Russia’s counterinsurgency campaign following the Second Chechen War provides a different perspective. In this case study, I show how Vladimir Putin maintained close and personal connections with the leadership of different paramilitary groups in his first two presidential terms. Indeed, he maintains many of these relationships to this day. The Russian President wields tremendous power. Indeed, Putin used his position and personal relationships to exercise authority over PGMs for political gain. For example, he established close relations with Chechen warlord Ramzan


Kadyrov. In allowing Kadyrov’s paramilitary forces to fight rebels and “criminals,” Putin “Chechenized” the conflict, showing his critics that he cared about the Chechens’ interests while also sending fewer Russian troops to fight (Finn, 2006). He also mobilized Cossack paramilitaries and kept them under his grip by institutionalizing their role. Meanwhile, the Russian government maintained a strong military presence in Chechnya that could easily punish defiance. In the end, the Russian government was better able to control and use PGMs to its advantage. In 1996, Chechnya won de facto independence from Russia following a brutal war under Russian president Boris Yeltsin (Williams, 1999). The war saw the heavy bombardment of the Chechen capital Grozny, which resulted in a death toll surpassed only in modern European history by that in Dresden in World War II (Herpen, 188). The war itself had also taken a heavy toll on the Russian military, leaving thousands of Russian soldiers dead (Williams, 1999). Three years later in 1999, then-Prime Minister Putin laid the groundwork for a new war in Chechnya. Following a rebel-led invasion of the neighboring region Dagestan and a series of apartment

bombings in Moscow blamed in the Chechen rebels in September 1999, Putin began the aerial bombardment and invasion of Chechnya (Ibid, 172, 187). Russian tactics were brutal and caused widespread international condemnation. Tactics included using overpowered “Tochka” fuel bombs without allowing the civilian population to safely evacuate, recruiting poorly trained contract soldiers from private security companies, carrying out warrantless searches of homes by masked soldiers, maintaining detention and torture centers (filtration points), and so on (Van Herpen, 188-193). Although in 2000 the Kremlin denied claims of torture at filtration points, the brutal tactics continued. Russian forces detained young men trying to escape the country, and emerging pro-Kremlin Chechen militias reportedly began a blackmail racket in which they would threaten to arrest civilians if they did not pay a fee (Cockburn, 2000). Meanwhile, a breakdown of the Russian forces’ discipline signified not only the violence of Russian troops but also the Kremlin’s apparent reluctance execute a surgical counterinsurgency campaign (Ibid). Before I further examine the Russian government’s ability to


exercise control over the conflict and emerging PGMs, it is important to lay out some of the key powers of the executive branch. According to the 1993 Constitution, the president leads the armed forces and Security Council and has the power to appoint a multitude of officials without check (“Russian Government”, 2016). The president also selects the prime minister and the chairman of the Constitutional Court (Ibid). Although those positions require confirmation from the lower legislative house, the Duma, the president has the power to dissolve the Duma if it fails to confirm a Prime Minister nominee three times (Ibid). Both legislative houses have failed to pose as a significant check to the president because of their limited constitutional powers and the absence of viable opposition parties (Ibid). Although the Duma seats are assigned via democratic vote, political parties were set up in such a way that it was virtually impossible to oppose the executive. As Marcel Van Herpen explains, the 2007 Duma elections witnessed the use of a fake political party “A Just Russia,” created by the pro-Kremlin “United Russia,” to draw votes from communists to create a larger pro-Kremlin coalition (Van Herpen, 94). As a Moscow Times article put it, “Russia…[has] become possi-

bly the first country in history with a two-party system in which both parties share the same overriding principle, that the executive is always right (Ibid, 93).” Indeed, Anna Politkovskaya, a staunch Putin critic who was famously assassinated in 2006, said in 2004 that there had been a trend of “bogus political movements created by a directive of the Kremlin (Ibid, 95).” Meanwhile, the judicial branch is little more than a rubber stamp (“Russian Government, 2016). Another important attribute of Russia’s government is the close relationship between the president and the highly capable secret service (FSB). As Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribilovsky explain, Putin came to power through a network of inner-circle FSB (Kontora) connections (Felshtinsky and Pribylovsky, 2008, 7). Putin’s relationship with the FSB developed into a relationship in which political backing was traded for favors, including assassinations. During his presidency, Putin gradually began appointing FSB members to fill vacant and presidentially appointed regional positions. This relationship was so strong that many believe the FSB was responsible for the series of apartment bombings that triggered the Second Chechen War in the first place. The idea was that these


bombings would allow Putin to show his resolve and strength; Chechnya would be “Putin’s War (Van Herpen, 171-172).” Especially under Putin, the FSB became a valuable component of executive power that allowed for underground and nearly limitless enforcement of the executive’s goals. Therefore, although a rudimentary analysis of Russia’s institutions may suggest that Russia has somewhat high executive constraint in that it has democratic institutions, a closer look shows that the chief executive wields tremendous personal power, so long as he and the FSB maintain a friendly relationship. This is especially true given the use of fake political parties and the underground relationships between the president and the FSB. Yet, despite the lack of executive constraint when it comes to appointing officials, the makeup of political parties, and the role of the FSB, Putin still had to answer to his populace and the legislature to prove his competence. Ever since the beginning of the Second Chechen War, Putin promised that the war would be short and would not cost too many Russian lives (Ibid, 195). He therefore quickly came under pressure to “Chechenize” the conflict, or prove that Chechens themselves were invested in Russia’s side of the conflict.

The Kremlin handed over control to Akhmad Kadyrov -- a former rebel who gave up his cause in support of the Kremlin -- in 2000 (Ibid, 195). The Russian government then held a referendum, which was widely regarded as rigged, which showed that 85 percent of Chechens favored autonomy within Russia over independence (“A Squalid Election”, 2003). In 2003, the promise of Chechenization was fulfilled when Kadyrov, who had a 7,000-man personal militia and an endorsement from Putin, was elected president (Ibid). By securing Kadyrov’s position, Putin could demonstrate to his critics that he sought normalization and Russian disengagement (Ibid). Although Russian troops continued to operate in Chechnya, Putin’s political maneuvers put him in direct contact with the leader of a sizeable PGM. To Putin’s embarrassment, this relationship was terminated in 2004 when Akhmad Kadyrov was assassinated in a bombing amid Victory Day celebrations in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital (Zygar, 2016, 76). However, despite the setback, the Russian president was quick to welcome Akhmad Kadyrov’s son, Ramzan, into his inner circle. Putin immediately called Ramzan Kadyrov to the Kremlin, Kadyrov professed his loyalty to Putin, and received a


carte blanche along with massive subsidies, much of which was sent to Karyrov personally (Ibid, 77, 318). It is important to note that the Kremlin had control over the subsidies and could choose to reduce or even remove them if Kadyrov defied Putin. Meanwhile, by 2006, the Russian government still had tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and soldiers present, thereby serving as a reminder of the presence and power of the Russian state (Chivers, 2006). Kadyrov was too young at first to lawfully become the Chechen president, but with Putin’s help, he served as deputy prime minister and then as prime minister before becoming president in 2007 (Ibid, 77). As the leader of a now-8,000-man, pro-Kremlin militia that gradually began to overtake the Russian troops in disappearances, Kadyrov had been considered the de facto Chechen ruler even before his presidency (Finn, 2006). Putin, undoubtedly recognized Kadyrov’s influence and power as a PGM leader, and he established a strong, personal connection with the young warlord. Putin’s Chechenization plan was in full swing, and yet he was in close personal contact with the head of the infamous kadyrovtsy militia. Throughout the Chechen crisis, Putin also renewed the prima-

cy of another paramilitary force: the Cossacks. A historical warrior caste once determined to protect the tsars, the Cossacks were persecuted under the Soviet Union (lAAN, 1997). Under Yeltsin, the Cossacks received special status as oppressed peoples, and they began to rediscover their identity as patriotic defenders of Russia’s borders and traditions (Ibid). Twelve Cossack regions emerged and were given legal status as an archipelagic state run by a Council of Atamans, which was accountable not to the Russian government but directly to the president (Van Herpen, 144). This “revival” sparked the blossoming of Cossack culture, which included military training and schooling (Beeston, 1999). Vladimir Putin had always been “highly appreciative” of the Cossacks (Van Herpen, 145). In 2003, he appointed a Cossack general who had run military operations in Chechnya to serve as special advisor for Cossack Affairs (Ibid). Then in 2005, Putin signed a bill that would formalize and expand the de facto procedure of recruiting Cossacks for military and police service (Saradzhyan, 2005). Though the law did not limit Cossack activities strictly to any particular region, Cossacks helped maintain security and fight terrorists in the Caucasus region


(Evans, 44). Under the bill, the state could solicit existing services (e.g. for emergency situations like firefighting or policing) from registered Cossack organizations (Saradzhyan, 2005). After this institutional revival, the Cossacks expressed their gratitude to the president by giving him the esteemed title of ataman. Putin became, for the lack of a better term, the highest Cossack and maintained a title previously given to tsars. Putin’s role as the top of the Cossack hierarchy was not solely ceremonial. As Simon Shuster points out in TIME, albeit later in 2014, the Kremlin could easily remove Cossacks from the official Cossack registry and halt any funding to them if they defied the interests of the state (Shuster, 2014). Although the Cossacks would only become famous as a PGM later, Putin once again became personally invested in PGM activity, and his position as ataman over a semi-formalized paramilitary network ensured a degree of both personal and institutional control over another PGM. Overall, it appears as though the Russian state was able to control PGMs quite well. While it is difficult to make conclusions about the use of Cossacks, since they appear not to have played a significant role in Chechnya, the results

of Putin’s relationship with Kadyrov and how the Russian military maintained presence in Chechnya suggest important implications on the study of executive constraint and state capacity. Chechnya under Kadyrov did experience stabilization, the reconstruction of infrastructure, and the eventual defeat of the rebels in 2009. A 2006 New York Times article describes some of the infrastructural developments completed under Kadyrov with the Kremlin’s assistance. Along with a steady decline in rebel activity, large portions of Chechnya began to have electricity, over sixty miles of road in Grozny were repaired, a new mosque was under construction, and buildings were being rebuilt across the republic (Chivers). Although some, such as Van Herpen, suggest that the 2009 “victory” did not end terrorist attacks and was also followed by some spilling over of conflict into some neighboring republics, it would be hard to say that the Russian state could have done much better given the brutal tactics of its enemies (Van Herpen, 196-197). Although it is important to acknowledge the growing role of Kadyrov’s forces under Chechenization, it is important to recall the presence of Russian troops in Chechnya. Delegating some of its monopoly


on violence to the kadyrovtsy while maintaining a strong military and police presence allowed the Kremlin to claim to be allowing for Chechenization while still maintaining enough presence and assistance to allow for growing stability and infrastructural development. Furthermore, the presence of state forces acted as a tool to keep the Chechen regional government and the kadyrovtsy in check—the kadyrovtsy would be unable to act directly against the interests of the state without some sort of response from the tens of thousands of state forces present there. Whereas Chechenization was a political tool that allowed Putin to show his critics that he was pursuing a path of disengagement and normalization, it appears as though the Kremlin maintained control over Chechnya and Chechen PGMs by creating personal relationships with Chechnya’s strongmen, manipulating elections, controlling subsidies, and maintaining a strong military presence. In the context of executive constraint and state capacity, this case study has shed light on many interesting aspects of government-PGM relationships. As president, Putin could freely appoint government officials and get bills passed in the legislature without much difficulty. The presence of the

FSB as a highly capable apparatus at the hands of the President meant that Putin almost certainly used the FSB to maintain contact and/or keep an eye on PGMs. The powers and institutions at Putin’s disposal meant that he could employ and mobilize militias, such as the Kadyrovtsy and the Cossacks, without much difficulty and fear of backlash. In addition, by institutionalizing certain aspects of government-PGM relations, such as through the controlling of funding of Kadyrov’s government and of Cossacks’ registration status, Putin’s Kremlin established punishment mechanisms for defiance of state interest. Meanwhile, it is also important to note that the Russian government did not delegate the entire responsibility of defeating the rebels to Kadyrov and the Cossacks. Russian troops and police forces remained present, and the PGMs fought alongside them. So, because of Putin’s special relationship with the FSB as well as the continued presence of state forces in Chechnya, defying the Kremlin was a poor option for the leaders of the PGMs. Due to Russia’s low executive constraint, and high state capacity, the Russian state was much better able to establish and maintain control over PGMs.


CONCLUSION The initial goal of this project was to assess how executive constraint and state capacity affect the ability of a state to control PGMs. I looked at two qualitative case studies to look at how general patterns in executive power and military strength affected the Colombian and Russian governments’ abilities to control PGMs and the outcome of PGM usage. My qualitative findings suggest that executive constraint and state capacity play important roles in a government’s ability to control PGMs. In Colombia, the decentralized nature of regional politics and military institutions limited the executive branch’s abilities to project political and military power into the provinces, thereby allowing for a massive expansion of paramilitary activities in the late 1990s and early 2000s and widespread circumventions of the government’s demobilization process throughout the 2000s. Meanwhile, the nearly unlimited nature of executive powers in Russia as well as strong state presence in the region of conflict allowed the president to establish and maintain much better control over PGMs. Therefore, once understood more broadly to take into account various nuances in how executive constraint and state

capacity may manifest themselves, it becomes clear that executive constraint and state capacity can have important impacts on a government’s ability to harness PGMs and use them to their advantage. Future research should focus on new ways to operationalize executive constraint and state capacity empirically. I have shown that these two variables can have important effects on a government’s control over PGMs, but only after looking broadly at two very different cases. My theory that it is harder to defy a state with high executive power and/or high enforcement capabilities seems to hold for now, but it would be useful to test this theory more systematically and using more than just two case studies. My study has contributed to the discourse of government-PGM relations in that I have introduced new variables, considered multiple operationalizations for them, and developed a useful theory about governments as principals to PGMs within the principal-agent model. Yet, there remains much work to be done to find more comprehensive approaches to test the theories I have proposed.



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About the Author Pascal graduated in May 2017 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies and with a thesis for the Politics Distinguished Majors Program. He is currently working at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC and hopes one day to bring his skills, including speaking German, French, and Arabic, to the State Department. In his spare time, he writes for The International Scholar, an unaffiliated student and young-professional-run online journal. Aside from worldly and scholarly pursuits, Pascal enjoys composing, playing, and recording music.




The Wilson Journal of International Affairs Fall 2017 University of Virginia Printed by Charlottesville Press Charlottesville, Virginia Sponsored by the International Relations Organization, a contracted independent organization


Wilson Journal – Fall 2017  
Wilson Journal – Fall 2017