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?

Evaluating the Biden Appointments: Hawkish or Progressive?

As Joe Biden unexpectedly became the Democratic nominee after his rival, Bernie Sanders, conceded, there was much debate about how Joe Biden would be able to attract voters to his left. Before the Democratic National Convention, many within the Bernie Sanders campaign were able to push Joe Biden to adopt somewhat more progressive stances on healthcare, criminal justice, and environmental policy. Notably absent, however, were any substantial changes to Joe Biden’s foreign policy positions. The statements, advisors, appointments, and policy proposals of the future Biden administration that are currently available indicate that any substantial structural reform or progressive shift in terms of American foreign policy will not occur during the Biden administration.

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 U.S. Still Can’t Take a Hint About Voter Turnout

This year’s U.S. voter turnout is nothing worth bragging about. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still worth celebrating. The 2020 election was heralded as a breakout year for American voters. Though counts are ongoing, the election is projected to have record-breaking turnout numbers. According to the University of Florida’s United States Election Project, the turnout rate among the voting-age population was 61.8%. [1] A note to clarify what exactly they mean: the voting-age population (VAP) is defined as those eligible to vote “regardless of voter registration status” in an election.

All Talk, No Action: A Rebuke of the Feigned Response Against Human Trafficking by Tier 1 Trafficking in Persons Distinguished Countries

For every 1,000 individuals, 5.4 are subjected to inhumane treatment under a modern-day institutional adaptation of slavery: human trafficking. With 40.3 million victims across an array of trades ranging from forced labor to sex cartels, human trafficking has grown to become the second largest international crime industry, accruing approximately $32 billion dollars annually due to its low risks and high profits. [1] Due to rampant poverty, violence, and oppression, the 21st century has faced an alarming increase in global trafficking, prompting political leaders to establish enforcement measures in an effort to curb the rise of transnational crime. Despite the creation of four novel task forces by the United Nations to define, prevent, and prosecute human trafficking, Lindsey King, a high-ranked essayist in the field of International Studies, warns that compliance with international law remains one of the largest issues derailing its elimination on the global stage. [2] This year, while celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report debuted in 2000, it is important to acknowledge the progressive anti-trafficking legislation enacted by 154 countries. Nevertheless, it is equally imperative to consider the roles these countries and international conventions play in still perpetuating and exacerbating exploitation worldwide. [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?