“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.” 
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.
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.
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?
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.  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.  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. 
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?
A major feature of contemporary humanitarian aid is the idea that it is an apolitical embodiment of human good and compassion, one which transcends all ideologies and cultures. It is from this delusion that many of the inadequacies of the practice stem.