The Rise and Fall of Somali Piracy: Reflection on Logic of Global Supply Chains, Security, and Imperialism

Situated near the major maritime choke point at Bab el Mandeb and along the Gulf of Aden, Somalia is strategically placed in the global maritime navigation and trade network. Under this backdrop came the golden age of Somali piracy (2007-2012), which is almost exclusively predicated on a method of hijack-and-ransom, constraining the seamless flow of goods in the global supply chain network. The rise of piracy was rooted in foreign maritime predation and the state response, but also sustained by the anchoring of pirates to their local communities and their distinct approach to hijacking at sea. Through these interlinking mechanisms, both piracy and counter-piracy measures reflect and challenge logics of supply chains, security, and imperialism. Beyond illuminating those neglected from the global network, they highlight the interconnectedness of security and trade, the prevailing discourse around piracy and violence, and the naturalization of racial hierarchy in ransom negotiations.

Undemocratic States: US-India Viewpoints on Religious Freedom

Religious freedom has been on attack within India for the past decade as rampant discrimination against religious minorities becomes increasingly enshrined within the legal language of the country. Despite the right to freedom of religion being clearly outlined within the 1949 Constitution of India and the country’s accession to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the plight of religious minorities within the country have only reached unparalleled levels.2 Importantly, the lack of geopolitical accountability against the Modi administration and those perpetuating religious violence condones and exacerbates the incredibly pervasive and longstanding religious persecution against Indian minority communities.

The Quad: An ‘Asian NATO?’

“I don’t think the overwhelming majority of countries in the world would recognize that the universal values advocated by the United States… would serve as the basis for the international order.” [2]

Expressed by Director Yang at the March 2021 US-China Alaska summit, it’s the latest verbal attack on the US-led world order and its liberal values. As China steamrolled into the 21st century, President Xi has abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s ‘bide and hide’ strategy for a more assertive approach.

The Ignored Side Effect of Coronavirus: Women’s Crisis of Reproductive Health

The coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the world in 2020 and will likely continue its effects in 2021. In the grand scheme of global crisis, people are disproportionately affected across different social groups, especially those who have already been in disadvantageous positions. Currently, women around the world are facing unique but severe problems because of preexisting social inequalities. While we concentrate our energy on stopping the coronavirus from spreading, we must put more attention to the social impacts of the pandemic because they will stay even after the pandemic ends if people ignore them.

Journalistic Objectivity

Information gives people leverage to have autonomy over their lives. Unfortunately, information does not reach every sector of society—or rather, truth is not a universal resource. In a world of affinity-based media, it has proved to be a challenge for readers to discern correct representations of what’s happening from distorted versions. This challenge highlights the need for the practice of journalism objectivity. Amid the growing influence of opinionated reporting creating echo chambers, journalism needs to go back to a modified version of the tradition.

Culture & COVID: How museums reached the masses amid a global pandemic

In his foundational study on post-Cold War American power, Joseph Nye spoke to an alternative or ‘soft,’ form of power that lies in attracting others willingly to your position by fostering in them empathy or envy self-identification or aspiration. [1]  Culture, both high and low, signals society’s values, which together with its practices and policies comprise its core role as a tool of soft-power. As stewards of culture, museums have the potential to broker international soft power, working alongside or in partnership with institutions and governments to influence broad-based, positive change. [2] Museums possess an abundance of soft-power resources. Their collections include examples of civilization’s highest cultural achievements, and digitally, they foster awe, pride, admiration—the sentiments through which the persuasive power of public diplomacy operates.

Israel and Palestine: a Microcosm of Global Vaccine Inequity

The current COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts are no exception to the division in access to resources between higher income countries and lower and middle-income countries. As of March 19, high income countries have purchased over 4.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than the amount of vaccines purchased by countries classified as upper-middle income (1.5 billion doses purchased), middle income (700 million doses purchased), and lower income (670 million doses purchased) combined. [1] Higher income countries have purchased enough vaccine doses so that even groups not at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms are able to get vaccinated. This unequal distribution means that health workers and elderly and immunocompromised people living in lower and middle-income countries would be less likely to receive vaccines than young, healthy citizens of high-income countries.

Punjab’s Kisaan Under a Modi Government

Punjab’s kisaan movement is the largest general demonstration in human history. An estimated 250 million people took action, that is 1 in 4 working persons. [1] And the protests continue to this day.

In September 2020, Prime Minister Modi passed the Indian Agriculture Acts of 2020, or the Farm Bills, as an attempt to deregulate markets and “ensure a complete transformation” of India’s agriculture sector. [2] However, the impact of these policies is severe for small farm holders who control more than 86% of India’s farmland. By limiting the bargaining power of small farmers, the state puts them at risk of exploitation when negotiating their produce to larger companies. Currently, Indian farmers have the right to sell their products to the government at a ‘minimum support price’ which safeguards the farmer to a minimum profit if the open market sets a lower price than the cost incurred. New farm bills dismantle this MSP system, forcing millions of farmers to sell products to agribusiness corporations. [3]

Abandoning the Color Line for the Revolutionary Line: the Antiracism of the Cuban Independence Movement

When most Americans think of revolution in Cuba, their minds immediately go to the revolution of 1959, which ended with the establishment of the first socialist government in the Americas. The 1959 revolution, however, was hardly the first revolutionary moment to sweep the largest island in the Caribbean. For three decades from the 1860s to 1898, the island was consumed by uprisings against the ruling Spanish government. Although these revolutions were eventually truncated by the arrival of a new imperial power—the United States—they serve as excellent examples of a truly antiracist, anticolonial struggle. These revolutions also serve to broaden our conception of the 1959 revolution by placing its nationalist elements and historical grievances in the proper context of a protracted Cuban struggle for independence. 

Wolf Warrior Diplomats and the Need for a More Perfect Union

China is on the rise. So is its pride in itself, its culture, and its form of government. Nowhere is this more evident than China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy,” or zhanlang waijiao, the new diplomatic practice adopted by Chinese diplomats after President Xi Jinping took office.

It takes its name from the successful 2017 Chinese action movie Wolf Warrior 2 where the lead character, played by popular martial arts actor Wu Jing, takes down an American mercenary, Big Daddy. The movie is filled with waves of nationalism and is reflective of Xi’s governing ethos of the “Chinese Dream” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”