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How Our View of Humanitarianism is Harmful

Julia An, Editor, Foreign Affairs Review

A major feature of contemporary humanitarian aid is the idea that it is an apolitical embodiment of human good and compassion, one which transcends all ideologies and cultures. It is from this delusion that many of the inadequacies of the practice stem.

Area Studies Asia Political Science

Limits of Realism in Understanding Chinese Land Reclamation

By Joy (Zhiruo) Wang

Written for Prof. Steven David’s Contemporary International Politics class

Prompt: Realism was arguably the dominant approach in international relations during the Cold War. But is it still relevant in today’s world? Select an issue that threatens world stability today (e.g. terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, cyber warfare, the rise of China) and discuss how relevant Realism is in understanding that issue. Where Realism falls short, what other approaches would help?

Throughout human history, territory has remained one of the most fought over assets by nations and individuals alike. Indeed, nearly all warfare involves some form of territorial dispute or adjustment. The Thirty Years’ War, a religious war at its core, can also be viewed as a struggle for territorial domination between Protestant and Catholic states; the Cold War, though not a war in the traditional sense, to a large extent consisted of a race for incorporating unaligned territories into established spheres of influence.

Asia Economics

Buy Buy Baby: Why China and Japan Need Consumers to Combat Secular Stagnation

By Lucy Massey

Most developed nations are currently facing post-Great Recession economic sluggishness that has responded inadequately to both traditional fiscal and monetary policy tools. While the sources of this crisis lie in a vast array of social, political, demographic, and economic problems, one key issue for East Asia, in particular, is consumer spending. The potential for consumer spending to reinvigorate an economy is apparent in a careful analysis of the policies currently in place, those being proposed, and other solutions to this persistent East Asian stagnation. On the other hand, mishandling of consumer spending policy could lead down a slippery, economically stagnant slope. This paper will focus on China and Japan, charting the economic and fiscal policies which have led to and arguably perpetuated this crisis and analyzing the leading policy options to buck the downward trend.

Americas Asia Europe Political Science

Analyzing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Through Realism

By Elizabeth Goldstone 

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNODA,  phrases the situation well: “Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on earth.”[1]

Though one can analyze this topic through constructivism and liberalism, realism is the most comprehensive theory of international relations through which one can understand the refusal by these nuclear states to sign the ban treaty. In this paper, a brief background on the recent ban treaty will be provided, and a discussion will follow on advantages and disadvantages of using realism to explain this phenomenon. Furthermore, I will elaborate on the disadvantages, and state whether constructivism or liberalism would be the better choice for analysis in these cases. Concepts of realism I will discuss in this paper are “states wanting survival,” “balance of threat,” “balance of power,” and “anarchy in the international system.”

Asia Political Science Uncategorized

The End of East Asian Pacifism: Nuclear Policy in Japan and South Korea

By Aaron Pultman and Sarah Rosenberg

Executive Summary

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal poses a monumental threat to its neighbors throughout Asia. South Korea and Japan, however, are in particular danger due to their proximity to the rogue nation and their ties to the United States. There are numerous possible solutions to resolve this danger, yet they vary in their efficacy, feasibility, and practicality. Two specific possibilities stand out from previous literature on the subject: Japan and South Korea can develop their own nuclear arsenals, or maintain the status quo by relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Both of these strategies carry just as many drawbacks as positive aspects, including cost and effectiveness. We propose a different solution: the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons to Japan and Korea. This solution rates the highest in its practicality and capability to truly deter North Korean aggression. We use speeches, polls, and articles to demonstrate that this solution would be met with favor in the two countries. This strategy will provide the region with a stable measure to counter North Korean nuclear hostility and maintain peace.