Democracy is not to Blame: How Institutions Sink or Float a Country’s Covid-19 Response

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has stood out for its failure to contain the virus’ spread. Meanwhile, governments in places such as Vietnam and China (after its initial attempts to conceal the existence of the virus) have been noted for the ways in which they have stopped the spread of Covid-19 within their borders. Given that Vietnam and China are both authoritarian countries, and the United States, a democracy, the popular idea has arisen that authoritarian governments are better at adequately preventing the spread of the virus. However, this is false. It is the quality of the institutions that matter, not the type of government.

South Korean Conservatism Perpetuated by the Cho, Joong, Dong

Fox News, CNN, and MSMBC consist leading cable news in the United States in 2020, a mix of liberal and conservative. [1] Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo are the three most highly circulated newspapers in South Korea, all three of them conservative. As a native Korean, I’ve always wondered how the US has such successful liberal media outlets. Now, as an international student surrounded by peers from all around the globe, I’ve realized the real question is why all South Korea major media outlets are conservative.

Muslims in France: A Double Identity

This past October, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons provoked another deadly incident. After a French teacher showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammed to his class, he was beheaded by one of his students. Days later, three people were killed in front of a church in Nice. President Macron labeled the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack.” [1] The recent killings have evoked widespread fear and memories of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the November 2015, in which two Muslim gunmen broke into Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters and killed twelve people, as well as the Paris terrorist attacks. Can France construct a secure society without alienating its Muslim citizens?

Globalized Hollywood: Good Politics Makes for Bad Art

Since the 1980s, Hollywood films have become an artistic manifestation of American economic dominance. The industry’s major distributors have been able to leverage U.S. foreign power to pave the way for a new international market in countries that have historically shielded their domestic film industry. In 2019, the international box office hit a record $42.5B with Hollywood films comprising 73% of grosses. [1] However, Hollywood’s global power is not without cost. To meet international film-production laws, Hollywood sacrifices artistic autonomy.

The Balance Between Political Freedom and Economic Revival in Southeast Asia

It would be the understatement of the century to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted nations’ economies. In the Southeast Asian region, where economies are considerably dependent on tourism, economic recovery has been particularly brutal. However, many of these Southeast countries have compromised democratic ideals to revive the economy. For example, Thailand has expanded upon the government’s emergency powers, and Indonesia has enacted procedures to curtail expressions criticizing the government’s COVID-19 response. These actions are worrisome to democracy promoters, but the question remains: is it necessary to limit freedom in times of emergency?

Will K-Pop Really Bring About the Downfall of the North Korean Regime? It’s Not Likely.

In a 2019 interview with Time, North Korean diplomat-turned-defector Thae Yong-Ho boldly predicted, “Materialism will one day bring change.” [1] Like Thae, many North Korea watchers are betting on the power of pop culture and its ability to take down a 75-year-old regime. But is North Korea’s trajectory really pointing toward collapse? And if so, does the credit for that go to Korean dramas, K-Pop, and other flows of outside information? The short answer: no, and no.

Un Término Más para el MAS: Luis Arce’s victory in Bolivia Represents a Resounding Victory for Democracy in Latin America

On November 8th, 2020, Luis Arce was sworn in as the third president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. [1] Before serving as the presidential candidate for the Movimiento al Socialismo party, Arce served as Economic Minister under its previous leader, Evo Morales. During his tenure, he implemented policies that delivered economic growth rates far exceeding other Latin American countries. The Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) noted that during his tenure, Bolivian GDP per capita rose more than 50%- one of the highest in the world. [2] This radical transformation was in part owed to nationalizations he oversaw: from 2006 to 2019, industries such as telecommunications and mining were nationalized to finance anti-poverty campaigns. These programs also paid astounding dividends, with poverty rates slashed in half from over 60% in 2006 to 35% in 2019. [3]

The Uneasy Future of Rohingya Muslim Refugees in the World of 2020

Three years ago, the world was shocked to learn the news of the attempted ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, a minority Muslim group primarily residing in the majority-Buddhist nation of Myanmar. In August of 2017, Myanmar military forces began entering Rohingya villages at random, killing indiscriminately and then leveling their structures to the ground. Global outcry quickly followed. Despite a sharp decrease in media coverage, the crisis is ongoing in 2020. In light of the political and public health firestorm of 2020, what does the future hold for this particularly vulnerable population?

Israel’s Democratic Backsliding

Israel has stood as a unique example of a stable democracy in the Middle East for decades. However, in the last several years, political science scholarship has begun to raise questions as to whether Israeli democracy is under threat. Given the evidence that Israel is experiencing democratic backsliding, in what manner is this occurring, and what implications does it have for the country’s future?