Refugees are not the Villains

In 2011, the U.S. and its allies tried to forcefully install a democratic system in Libya by removing its president of 42 years, Muammar Gaddafi. He was killed soon after by militants. Gaddafi had succeeded in improving many societal services in Libya, including education, health, and housing. According to the World Bank, in 2010 Libya had the sixth highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa, and its population’s life expectancy ranked number one. In his 2011 remarks on Libya, while Gaddafi was still in power, President Obama said, “Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means.” Unfortunately, Libya has been standing on shaky grounds ever since the U.S and its allies removed Gaddafi from power...

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Bluster with Bombs: Trump’s Ultimately Meaningless Strike on Syria

The use of sarin indicates that Assad’s chemical weapons program is far more extensive than intelligence experts and policymakers believed. In the wake of the 2013 chemical attack in the Ghouta district outside of Damascus, the U.S. and Russia backed a plan by which Syria would give up its chemical stockpiles. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)would then transport and dismantle them under international supervision. By spring of 2014, the Obama administration reported that all of Syria’s reported chemical weapons had been removed from the country. Since then, the Syrian government has used chlorine gas on rebels on multiple occasions.  

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Temporary Fixes

Leveling contradictory examples of isolationist, pragmatic and Machiavellian policy choices, the new president appears to be leaping down the same path of support for brutal authoritarian regimes and to be supporting vicious insurgent movements in favor of a “quick fix” in the Middle East. Clearly failing to hide his reverence for the autocratic institutions of oppressed nations, President Trump is pursuing an unsustainable, counterproductive and outright dangerous policy that, according to all logic, will produce tangible benefits for neither the American people nor the average citizens of literally any other country.

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Venezuela is at Risk of a Coup

On Thursday, Venezuela lost its last vestige of representative democracy when President Nicolas Maduro, aligned with the country’s supreme court magistrates, suspended the Venezuelan National Assembly. In a move derided by the international community, Maduro and the magistrates removed the opposition party from power and effectively completed Venezuela’s transformation into a one-party state. These developments, coupled with an economic and humanitarian crisis, make a military-backed coup d’etat against Maduro’s government a very real possibility.

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Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong (and why Morten Jerven Gets It Right)

The use of one trend—chronic growth failure—to describe postcolonial African growth is like drawing a linear line of best fit through a circular function. While the line will inadvertently intersect the function twice, this line in no way properly describes the relationships between data points. Combine this with the one-size-fits-all insistence that bad institutions and bad governance account for slow growth. We are left with a determination for why growth in Africa has failed that may appear aesthetically salient, but exercises no real explanatory power or guidance for future strategies.

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Refugees and Regimes: Using Historical Precedent to Address the Migrant Crisis

The belief that the United States is not in an adequate state to embrace refugees ignores not only the strength of the U.S. as a global world power, but also the example that countries with far fewer resources than the United States set. Lebanon has the greatest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. With a two-year political vacuum, decades-old internal divisions, and an infant government, Lebanon is in a comparatively far less adequate position to welcome refugees.

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The European Far-Right: A Platform Rooted in Fear, Not Fact

Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and founder of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom (PVV) was recently indicted in a hate speech lawsuit for rousing discrimination against immigrants in his country. The Netherlands is holding federal elections in mid-March. Wilders’ party is leading in nearly every poll. The PVV is set to win.

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Chinese College Student Perspectives on President Trump and Why They Matter

So how do Chinese college students in China view President Trump? The answer is not in Trump’s favor. Because of his campaign rhetoric and aggressive stance on the South China Sea - most notably Steve Bannon’s prediction of a war in the region – the Chinese people have long been wary of Trump’s foreign policy ideas. Talking with Chinese students at Tsinghua University and Peking University, I found that they believe Trump’s behavior and attitude towards their country is unhealthy for developing a constructive relationship between the two nations.

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Turning Against the Silicon Prophets: The Walling off of the Digital West

Seven years on, that spirit of tech optimism seems amusingly naïve. The Prophets of Silicon Valley were wrong. The much expected end of history remains as elusive as ever in the Digital Age. Occupy Wall Street slowly asphyxiated without a definite end game. The specter of austerity lingers across Europe. Of the nations involved in the Arab Spring, only Tunisia has made lasting democratic reforms.

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The Fountain Pen Century

With a stroke of a pen, Putin completed the annexation of Crimea, but the confidence and power projected by the bare-chested horse-riding is completely ruined by the amateurism of annexing a region with a common Montblanc Meisterstück 149.

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