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.

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?

The Loudest Region

There are many factors that contribute to the connection amongst Latin American countries: a similar culture, a strong passion for celebration, a love for soccer, essentially equal religious beliefs and a shared painful history of subjugation. However, in the past year, another aspect of these nations has become even more characteristic: massive movements that embody an enormous feeling of dissatisfaction, fear and anger resulting from inefficient governments and unfair policies.

Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill is Necessary

Hong Kong, returned to China from British colonial government in 1997, maintained its prosperity and economic status under the “one country, two systems” framework. Although the Chinese government promised people of Hong Kong high autonomy, including an independent legal system, continued capitalism, and access to international institutions and conferences, protests against Chinese governance have been occurring since March.

Steering Forward in Syrian Quagmire

Just as Mitch McConnell said, Jim Mattis’s departure from the Department of Defense more than a year ago was distressing. He was confirmed by a 98-1 vote after gaining a waiver from the National Security Act of 1947 that required a seven year waiting period between a retired military personnel could seek the Secretary of Defense spot. Kirsten Gillibrand was the sole no vote, not on the basis of Mattis’s nomination but on her objection to the waiver–a rare bipartisan support in the contentious confirmation process. The only nominee to get less opposition was former VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama-era VA Under Secretary.