Area Studies Middle East & North Africa Political Science Uncategorized

Israel’s Democratic Backsliding

Written by Gabriela Baghdady, Editor, Foreign Affairs Review

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?

Americas Area Studies Blog Posts Blog Submissions Political Science Uncategorized

The Loudest Region

Maria Camila Garcia, Johns Hopkins Foreign Affairs Review

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.

Americas Middle East & North Africa Political Science Uncategorized

Steering Forward in Syrian Quagmire

Chris Park, Editor, Foreign Affairs Review

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. 

Americas Blog Posts Blog Submissions Europe Political Science Uncategorized

The Populist Challenge

Gabriela Baghdady, Editor, Foreign Affairs Review

“The time of the nation has come.”[i] These are the words of Marine Le Pen, former French presidential candidate, president of the National Rally party in France, and alleged “populist.”  Populism is the international phenomenon that has been sweeping European countries for last decade, prompting a flood of analyses from leading political thinkers. As political scholarship grapples to reach a consensus on populism, populist leaders continue to fight for dominance in European governments. The recent surge of populist movements across Europe has not only transformed mainstream politics but has also posed a challenge to liberal democratic norms, mainly through fostering antipluralism and a rejection of important aspects of democracy.

History Political Science

Analysis of Classical Liberal & Socialist Thought

By Julianne Schmidt
Marked by the success of the American Revolution and the turmoil of the French Revolution, the nineteenth century was the setting for the birth of classical liberal thought. Out of these historical events emerged Wilhelm von Humboldt’s On the Limits of State Action and, later, Alexis de Tocqueville’s work, Democracy in America. Both of these works outline the basic principles of liberalism by emphasizing the importance of private initiative over the collective and advocating for the limited role of the state. A second derivative of political thought matured towards the middle of the nineteenth century amidst the height of the Industrial Revolution: socialism. Half a century after Humboldt’s text, Friedrich Engels published The Condition of the Working Class in England, a fundamental analysis of the life of the English proletariat as framed by their environment and the consequences thereof. Shortly afterwards, Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto detailed a structure for the proletariat’s shift to the ruling class. In contrast to liberalism, socialism prioritized the collective and embraced the role of the State as a sort of referee promoting the welfare of the commoner. The disparity between liberalism and socialism is rooted in their different levels of analysis—the individual versus the collective proletariat— their contrasting opinions on the role of the state, and their opposing conclusions on the future of European states’ societal and governmental structure.

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.

Americas Political Science Sociology Uncategorized

A right to DREAM: The historical role of youth in the immigrant rights movement

By Heidi R. Woll

The movement to defend the rights of immigrants, particularly those of Latinx[1] undocumented immigrants, was spearheaded by youth in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of these youth, having arrived in the United States as children, found themselves in a precarious position when entering adulthood, when many of them discovered – either for the first time or not – that they would encounter significant difficulties when seeking employment or going to college, as well as when embarking on simpler tasks such as obtaining driver’s licenses or boarding flights.

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.

Americas Political Science

Honduras’ Election Fraud: Are the U.S. & Canada to Blame?

By Allie McManus 


Latin America has a history of external influences proven to be detrimental to its society, from Spanish colonialism to U.S. fruit companies. Today, this pattern of economic extraction continues, but a surprising new agent engages in the same behavior– Canada. Fatigued by centuries of imperialism impeding true autonomy, Latin American countries today continue to struggle ineffective self-governance.

This paper will focus specifically on Honduras, where on November 26, 2017, protests broke out across the country in response to government manipulation and voter fraud in the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hérnandez. Protests continue internationally by organizations such as the European Union and the Organization of American States, who have questioned the legitimacy and transparency of the Honduran electoral commission. Squelching the voice of the Honduran populace either through the election of illegitimate political actors or the improper removal of legitimately elected officials by a series of military coups–as recent as eight years ago–Honduras remains a democratically fragile state.