Ever since the first missiles flew and the first tanks rolled across Ukraine’s borders in late February of 2022, it would be easy to assume that everything not related to repelling the invasion froze in place. For most of the world, the overwhelming majority of media coverage about Europe’s largest country by land area became focused on the movements of troops, the flows of millions of refugees generated by the conflict, and the myriad reports of war crimes being committed primarily by Russian troops throughout the country. Given far less attention, however, are the ways in which the nuts and bolts of statecraft continue to function independent of the largest land war that Europe has seen in decades.
The Olympics is widely regarded as the largest sports event in the world. As much as the Olympic motto advocates for pure sports spirits, the Olympics have always created political implications. Host countries are often incentivized by the opportunity to show the world its strength, to increase collective confidence in their people by winning medals, and to stimulate consumption during the game. During the Olympics, numerous audiences cheer in front of televisions not only because of adrenaline and love for sports but also for national pride. The recent Beijing Winter Olympics was no exception. Chinese nationalism was pushed to a peak whenever a Chinese athlete won a medal or broke a record. While the Chinese audience was generally encouraging to native athletes, their opinions on non-native Chinese athletes were more ambiguous. To boost the performance of the Chinese team in the Olympics, China recruited many foreign-born, ethnically Chinese athletes in its weak disciplines such as skiing, ice hockey, and figure skating. Responses from the Chinese audience to these athletes provide a unique perspective on understanding Chinese nationalism. Among the recruited athletes, the comparison between Eileen Gu, an 18-year-old freestyle skier, and Yi Zhu, a 19-year-old figure skater, is the most interesting.
However, despite the benefits for foreign retailers and Mexican maquilas, working conditions and wages are strongly affected by retailer practices and the exploitation of loosely enforced regulations. Together, the impact of poor working conditions and external pressure on workers highlights human rights concerns throughout the maquila industry and reveals the actual cost of such a unique form of global logistics.
In the aftermath of the Cold War and the wake of globalization, a new type of organized violence emerged. The “new war” blurs the distinctions between traditional warfare, privately organized crime, and large-scale human rights violation, which marks its growing illegitimacy. Kaldor attributed this shift to “the intensification of global interconnectedness – political, economic, military and cultural – and the changing character of political authority.” Under this backdrop, gender plays a key role in shaping “new war” dynamics.
Religious freedom has been on attack within India for the past decade as rampant discrimination against religious minorities becomes increasingly enshrined within the legal language of the country. Despite the right to freedom of religion being clearly outlined within the 1949 Constitution of India and the country’s accession to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the plight of religious minorities within the country have only reached unparalleled levels.2 Importantly, the lack of geopolitical accountability against the Modi administration and those perpetuating religious violence condones and exacerbates the incredibly pervasive and longstanding religious persecution against Indian minority communities.
Situated near the major maritime choke point at Bab el Mandeb and along the Gulf of Aden, Somalia is strategically placed in the global maritime navigation and trade network. Under this backdrop came the golden age of Somali piracy (2007-2012), which is almost exclusively predicated on a method of hijack-and-ransom, constraining the seamless flow of goods in the global supply chain network. The rise of piracy was rooted in foreign maritime predation and the state response, but also sustained by the anchoring of pirates to their local communities and their distinct approach to hijacking at sea. Through these interlinking mechanisms, both piracy and counter-piracy measures reflect and challenge logics of supply chains, security, and imperialism. Beyond illuminating those neglected from the global network, they highlight the interconnectedness of security and trade, the prevailing discourse around piracy and violence, and the naturalization of racial hierarchy in ransom negotiations.
With the United States clearly positioning itself to take a much more active role militarily in East Asia–a proposition that necessarily brings increased attention to Guam’s strategic advantage–it is critical to understand how the United States’ current relationship with Guam exemplifies an unequal framework that denies Guamanians influence over the United States’ military policy that consumes the island’s land and places it in far more direct danger of attack than any location on the mainland.
Globally prominent pieces of South Korean media, such as Squid Game and Parasite, represent a growing discontent with the conditions which have been created and engendered by global neoliberalism. South Korea represents a particularly salient microcosm of this from its historical context as a strategic incubator for American capitalist development and the implications of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on its 21st-century socioeconomic landscape.
The coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the world in 2020 and will likely continue its effects in 2021. In the grand scheme of global crisis, people are disproportionately affected across different social groups, especially those who have already been in disadvantageous positions. Currently, women around the world are facing unique but severe problems because of preexisting social inequalities. While we concentrate our energy on stopping the coronavirus from spreading, we must put more attention to the social impacts of the pandemic because they will stay even after the pandemic ends if people ignore them.
The current COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts are no exception to the division in access to resources between higher income countries and lower and middle-income countries. As of March 19, high income countries have purchased over 4.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than the amount of vaccines purchased by countries classified as upper-middle income (1.5 billion doses purchased), middle income (700 million doses purchased), and lower income (670 million doses purchased) combined.  Higher income countries have purchased enough vaccine doses so that even groups not at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms are able to get vaccinated. This unequal distribution means that health workers and elderly and immunocompromised people living in lower and middle-income countries would be less likely to receive vaccines than young, healthy citizens of high-income countries.