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.

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]

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.”

The Human Rights Legacy of Duterte’s Presidency: A Cautionary Tale

Since assuming office in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has constantly had the world on its toes, waiting with baited breath for what his next move may be. Since ascending to the presidency, Duterte has garnered a reputation — one which seemingly cannot be constrained by borders — for his highly controversial and incendiary comments concerning topics such as women, the Catholic Church, the United Nations, and the media. As a politician, his actions do not stray far from his rhetoric of demagogy.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?