ASEAN 34th Summit: Reviewing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific

In late June 2019, in the ASEAN 34th Bangkok Summit, ten member-states agreed to adopt the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Throughout the summit, ASEAN acknowledged both opportunities and collective challenges facing the regional organization, and alertly demanded an urgent response to those, leading to the creation of AOIP. ASEAN must take the lead in shaping its own economic and security architecture and to ensure that such dynamic continues to bring about peace, stability, and prosperity for people in Southeast Asia and in the wider Indo-Pacific area.

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A Mixed Reality of The Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia

Earlier this year between April 25-27, Beijing hosted the second Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum with attendance of 36 heads of state, including 9 from Southeast Asia. Yet, the future of the BRI in the region is more complicated than meets the eye due to a range of issues ranging from BRI’s vagueness to the complicated triangular relationship among China, the United States, and Southeast Asia. 

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Can the United States Legally Justify an Attack Against Iran?

The combative action of shooting down an unmanned US reconnaissance drone by Iran has raised reasonable concerns among the international community about the possibility of an impending war between the sparring nations. If events continue along a path analogous to what we have been observing over the past week, the likelihood of a trigger-happy incident occurring that sparks a wider conflict unfortunately increases, at which point the legal considerations and cautions of the international community may be thrown to the wind.

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Arguments from Another Side: Al Qaeda and the Jus ad Bellum

Can terrorism ever be justified? While ‘terrorism’ is a nebulous term that is often difficult to justify due to the predominantly negative view of the subject, one can apply the concepts of jus ad bellum towards the phenomena, namely the right authority, just cause, last resort, as well as the reasonable hope of success of a violent act. A closer case study of Al Qaeda against this definition may indeed shed light upon the original question and even bring about another controversial but thought-provoking perspective.

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Descendants of the Yellow Emperor: Prospects of Chinese Reunification with Taiwan Under Xi Jinping

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan”, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the country’s commitment towards Reunification with Taiwan as espoused by the landmark 1979 proclamation. On the other side of the Strait, Taiwanese (Republic of China) leader Tsai Ing-wen continues to stress the irreconcilable differences as an insurmountable barrier to the People’s Republic’s propose “One Country, Two Systems” reunification plan. As Xi and Tsai have both taken hardline stances on the subject, the possibility for compromise on the subject may continue to dwindle in the near future.

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Why Are the Uyghurs Still Facing Human Rights Violations in China?

In 2019, Beijing continues to escalate a domestic campaign of detention and surveillance against the Uyghurs, a Muslim Turkic minority that primarily inhabit China’s far-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. While some members of the United Nations, especially Muslim allies of China, support China’s assertion that the reeducation camps are a national security project to combat extremism and terrorism, others have called to stop the persecution. Why haven’t they?

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Nearly Five Years After the Umbrella Movement - Where is Hong Kong Now?

While imperialism has often led to disastrous outcomes for colonized states, Britain’s colonization of Hong Kong was an outlier in almost all respects. Though the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, the succeeding decades have seen increasing tensions between Beijing and the Special Administrative Region, which culminated in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Five years on, how has the situation developed?

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Overlooking Culture in American Foreign Policy

It seems that Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations.” has drawn the ire of Stephen Walt, numerous Foreign Affairs scholars, and students of IR everywhere.  Yet, in the era of ‘globalization’, culture is taking a more prominent place on the global stage, including the waves of right wing populism throughout the West and rise of illiberal states in a number of other states. As international relations theory today is largely dominated by the tenets of realism and liberalism, Huntington perhaps suggests an unconsidered factor: culture. 

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Globalization and the Future World Order

While it seems that China is poised to become a dominant power along with the United States, and the world will become more interconnected through globalization, these two changes in the future world order cannot steer the world toward more reciprocity. What would the future world order look like under a multipolar system?


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The Venezuelan Crisis: A Proxy Conflict?

In recent years, Venezuela has faced shortages, hectic inflation, and political repression; yet, the United States, Russia and other foreign powers have chosen now to pay acute attention. The U.S. must not fall back upon the historical interventions made in Latin America with the justification of promoting democracy and combating communism. The country must not turn into yet another battleground for Cold War powers.

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Putin Is Testing NATO’s Fortitude

On 25 November 2018, Russian ships carrying elite Spetsnaz soldiers seized two Ukrainian naval gunships, killing of six Ukrainian sailors and capturing thirty more. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia reached a climax last November and have since remained high. As the European Union continues to fracture and as the United States Trump administration continues to hold a soft spot for Russia, future acts of aggression will become more likely.

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Why The Chinese Real Estate Market Is Global Cause For Concern

While China has made considerable strides in aligning its economy more with market principles following Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, the Chinese government is still heavily involved in many aspects of the economy, particularly the real estate sector. As China faces its slowest growth rate in 28 years, the country’s real estate market could potentially act as the amplifier of initial economic stagnation that may lead to regional and global implications.

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Japan: The Financial Benefactor of Syrian Refugees

Between 2016 and 2018, Japan’s Abe administration has successfully used its economic power to support Syrian refugees globally, providing almost $3b USD to assist refugees and migrants. However, Japan has only recognized six Syrians refugees as of 2015. In the realm of refugee status recognition, there is still much that can be done not only for Syrian refugees, but for all refugees who desire to come to Japan.

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The Ethical Concerns Of Drone And Automated Warfare

Drone warfare has, in recent years, become a tactic that the United States has become increasingly reliant on. Warfare is already brutal and inhumane when people are involved, and deploying tools of war that can’t discern between threats and innocents will only worsen this.

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Xi and Bun: The Chinese President's Ordinary Meal Turned Extraordinary

A politician’s choice of meal and his table manners are revealing of his habits, personality, and mindset. In 2013, Xi Jinping’s unannounced visit to Qinfeng Restaurant, an ordinary chain bun shop in Beijing, surprised the entire nation. While China has since changed significantly and Xi’s public lunch is not likely to repeat, the event continues to remain vivid in Chinese public memory and internet more than five years on.

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Expenditures of Unknowing: Failures in COIN

From Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, United States counterinsurgency policies (COIN) strategy has led to marathons of expensive conflict by failing to balance “winning the hearts and minds of the people” and avoiding being seen as an occupying force. With an understanding of the role of politics and importance of population-centric strategy, perhaps United States counterinsurgency policies should begin to focus mostly on deterrence and negotiation, rather than force and occupation.

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Importance of Human Rights in North Korea Negotiations

In December 2018, the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on three senior North Korean officials in response to the regime’s ongoing violation of human rights in accordance with the 2016 North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act (NKSPEA). The integration of human rights issues into global security negotiations is an effective foreign policy strategy that both serves as an additional mechanism of containment and a long-term tactic that can transform the norms of oppressive regimes.

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Is the World Seeing a Change in the Will of the People?

Only twenty years ago, democracy was the champion system of the world. Today however, the very countries that are often regarded as the bastions of democracy and liberalism are electing the system’s downfall. So a question arises: do the people no longer want democracy? Or more importantly, is the world seeing a change in the will of the people?

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