Archive

Penn State Journal of International Affairs Fall 2012 Issue 2 Volume 1

China’s Oil Diplomacy and State-Backed Investments in the Partition of Sudan – Ben Wang, Tufts University

This paper examines the evolving role the People’s Republic of China has played in breaking the oil deadlock between Sudan and South Sudan. By offering a historical overview of the Sudanese conflict in the context of China’s oil development, this paper first outlines the conflicting nature of China’s economic and political interests when conducting oil diplomacy between both states. Then, it details the options and strategies available to China’s leaders as they mediate the deadlock, while finally providing a prediction as to how they might proceed in the years to come.

Network centrality and weapon advocacy – Emily Schirvar, George Washington University

Weapon ban activism typically focuses on the excessive destructiveness of the weapon under scrutiny, and highlights its departure from the commitment to “humane warfare”—a concept enshrined in the Geneva Conventions. However, a variety of weapons are still in use which, based on these qualifications, should likewise be prohibited. In addition, even weapons facing great public outcry and may still be widely used. How then, does the international community decide which devastating weapon is worthy of a ban? This paper tests the explanatory power of both the prevailing realist theory (Weapon Utility) and a constructivist theory by Charli Carpenter, which states that the centrality of a few significant NGOs secures their prominent roles and positions them to act as gatekeepers, giving them power to set or vet the advocacy agenda. The paper first establishes the “observable implications” anticipated by each theory, and then attempts to match them to the realities of historic ban efforts—using Chemical Weapons and Napalm as case studies. Although the strengths and weaknesses of both theories are addressed, the research finds strong evidence to support Carpenter’s theory, further contributing to the dialogue between Constructivist and Realist interpretations.

The Effect of International Trade Bands on the population of Endangered Species – Ryan Cole, College of William and Mary

The international trade of endangered species is leading to greater amounts of biodiversity loss all across the globe. This paper examines the role of international species trade bans on the status of endangered species by comparing those listed on CITES Appendix I with their corresponding IUCN Red List status. The paper results indicate that species listed under trade bans for longer amounts of time tend to have more positive statuses. However, a variety of factors, including conflicting trade policies, state regime types, and species demand, do seem to have a significant impact on the success of trade bans on endangered species.

How Non-State Actors Evolve: Clausewitzian Lessions from Northern Ireland and Lebanon. – Paul Baumgardner, University of Michigan

In his 1832 masterwork On War, Carl von Clausewitz argued that successful warfare demands that state actors balance the public, governmental, and military arms of society. In modern warfare, national entities are not the sole beneficiaries of Clausewitz’s theory of the trinity. Using the Irish Republican Army and Hezbollah as case studies, we learn that non-state actors must evolve in order to attain a balanced relationship between public, governmental, and military resources. The Irish republican movement successfully shifted military resources into the political realm in order to achieve a balanced trinity. Although Hezbollah has made significant organizational changes since the 1980s, the group has been unwilling to reorient its military and political arms, thus damaging Hezbollah’s standing in the international community.

Penn State Journal of International Affairs Spring 2012 Issue 1 Volume 2

The Future of Terrorist Financing: Fighting Terrorist Financing in the Digital Age – Sean Paul Ashley, Princeton University

The principal concerns of anti-terrorist financing (ATF) reforms thus far have been the seizure of al-Qaeda’s assets, increased regulation of financial institutions and the use of blacklists and sanctions against non-compliant states, terrorist groups and supporting financial entities. With the success of post-9/11 ATF reforms, al-Qaeda has increasingly moved away from traditional financial institutions to alternative financial networks. This includes the expanded used of digital networks as a source and means of circulating terrorist funds. Troublingly, online transfers, mobile banking and digital currencies et cetera challenge many post 9/11 ATF reforms. Simply put, the digital arena is not subject to the effective regulation of established financial institutions. Digital transactions and transfers are poorly regulated, highly anonymous and difficult to trace, making them resistant to seizure, sanctions and surveillance.

The central question is whether post-9/11 reforms are adequate to protect the United States from evolving digital means of terrorist financing, and how these reforms have been challenged. This paper will evaluate the challenges that digital transfers and transactions pose to post-9/11 anti-terrorist financing efforts and to discuss the need for initiatives targeting the digital networks that can be exploited by terrorist financing. Particular attention will be paid to the dangers posed by digital currencies such as BitCoin, the Younis Tsouli and Babar Ahmad cases of digital terrorist funding, and the global proliferation of mobile banking services. Finally, recommendations will be made to address the weaknesses in post-9/11 ATF reforms through expansion of legal instruments, international cooperation and technological innovation.

ANC Dominance and Democratic Consolidation in South Africa – Robert Wieczorek, Pennsylvania State University

On May 10th 1994, the world joined millions of South Africans to witness Nelson Mandela ascend a podium in Pretoria and take the oath of office as the first president of the new South Africa. This moment marked the end of the country’s arduous road to freedom, but did not guarantee its survival as a democracy. While many relished the negotiated transition to democracy, which had been deemed a “miracle,” Mr. Mandela kept his eyes to the horizon where multiple challenges to the young democracy threatened to take center stage.

Since that historic day, the African National Congress (ANC) has consistently received approximately 70 percent of electorate support, and has ultimately become the dominant party within South Africa. Its symbolic association with the liberation movement against apartheid has largely carried it through elections with staggering margins. This essay investigates how South Africa’s dominant party system may be its greatest challenge to democratic consolidation. A democracy is considered consolidated when democracy becomes “the only game in town” (Przeworski 1991). In other words, the populace accepts the legitimacy of the political system and allows it to endure. Although the ANC has been able to win elections and maintain unrivaled power since 1994, their performance has failed to resolve inequalities established by the apartheid regime. Internal friction within the ANC, in addition to unaccountability and inability to provide adequate land reform has drastically undermined the legitimacy of the government. If the ANC continues to be reluctant to address the imminent threats on the horizon, the future of democratic stability in South Africa will remain uncertain

The Role of Natural Resources, Strategic Assets, and Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Assistance Allocation – Naomi McMillen, University of Washington – Seattle

The United States is a primary actor in most international human rights organizations and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. As such, it is important that U.S. international human rights policy serves as an appropriate model for other countries to adopt and follow. To the contrary, studies have indicated that U.S. human rights policy may be motivated by factors other than the alleged drive to enforce international human rights standards. This research seeks to expose the factors that mitigate the importance of human rights considerations in foreign assistance allocation. Specifically, I address whether or not the U.S. allocates more aid to countries that are (1) rich in natural resources and (2) high in strategic value. As the dependent variable, I include a measure of American bilateral ‘official development assistance’ to a recipient country. I employ multivariate regression analysis across the dependent variable and 11 independent and control variables to test the validity of my hypotheses. I find that the U.S. appropriates slightly more ‘official development assistance’ to countries rich in energy resources, but not countries high in strategic value. These findings have implications on the legitimacy and sincerity of American human rights efforts, especially in the resource-rich Middle East.

Secession, Statehood, and Recognition: Normative Bases for International Law – Mariana Olaizola, Princeton University

The paper argues that state recognition as is currently practiced is a barrier to the attainment of international peace and justice. The cases of South Sudan and Palestine, when compared, demonstrate that recognition is subject to strategic manipulation by powerful states, creating well-founded frustration and instability. In the absence of a comprehensive normative theory of recognition, this paper uses a justice-based theory of secession as a springboard to devise a system of recognition that is responsive to widely accepted normative principles. The result is an institutionalized system of recognition that confers statehood status to entities that are likely to uphold international standards of peace and justice in the exercise of their rights, powers and duties as members of the community of nations.

Social Welfare in South Africa: Curing or Causing Poverty? – Rebecca Potts, American University

South Africa’s social welfare system affords some form of assistance to over one-quarter of its 50 million citizens.  Given the magnitude of this system and enduring tensions between its proponents and adversaries, I question the validity of South Africa’s social assistance system by asking whether it is perpetuating dependency on the state, or if it is accomplishing its primary objectives to close the poverty gap and provide opportunities individuals would otherwise be without.  This analysis provides an alternative to the two primary discourses surrounding dependence on the state, which argue that welfare either causes dependency on the state or produces benefits the poor would not otherwise have access to.  I argue that dependency on the state is not this straightforward and that dependency varies across grants in South Africa.  The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the development of social welfare in South Africa, explore the two primary dependency discourses, assess the strengths and weakness of the three largest grants in South Africa (the Child Support Grant, the Disability Grant, and the State Old Age Pension), look to the future of social assistance through analysis of the Basic Income Grant, and offer recommendations for improving areas of grant- inadequacy.

The Circular Dilemma of State Building in Afghanistan – Henry Litman, University of Pennsylvania

America’s decade-long war in Afghanistan has been extremely costly in terms of both economic and political capital. Still, America has made only marginal progress towards constructing a stable Afghan state. In this paper I analyze some of the economic and political barriers that have made this process so difficult. Ultimately, I find that Afghanistan’s woes are largely the result of several “Catch-22s” that are in many ways unique to Afghanistan. Among these is the relationship between security and infrastructural development. Afghanistan’s natural economic endowments require large investments in heavy infrastructure that is only economically viable if accompanied by a strong security force. In order to build an effective security force, however, Afghanistan badly needs revenue from new industries. Breaking this stalemate will ultimately require a far greater military and economic investment than any international actor, including the United States, is able to provide. Afghanistan represents a uniquely difficult state-building challenge that the United States has been unable to conquer.

Penn State Journal of International Affairs Fall 2011 Issue 1 Volume 1

The Stability-Instability Paradox – The Case of the Kargil War – Anuj Panday, Emory University

This paper examines the role of nuclear weapons in the Kargil War in 1999 and finds that India and Pakistan both acted in ways consistent with the Stability-Instability Paradox. The paradox states that nuclear weapons simultaneously induce stability at level of nuclear war and instability at lower intensity levels of violence. The nuclear bomb gave Pakistan the assurance needed to initiate cross-border proxy conflict, while inducing cautious responses in India to avoid uncontrollable escalation. Ultimately, nuclear weapons both spurred conflict initiation but also limited the conflict’s scope and duration.

Facing History – Memory and Recovery in the Aftermath of Atrocity – Emily Jastronb, Emory University

This paper examines how a people and a nation use memory to heal after experiencing egregious violence and atrocities. It explores the themes of truth, justice and reconciliation through the lens of post-conflict justice modalities employed, or sometimes not employed, by the state and international actors in an attempt to encourage personal and social recovery. I contend that aspects of post-conflict justice mechanisms that prioritize justice by engaging memory ultimately help to facilitate recovery in that society. In contrast, aspects of post-conflict strategies that emphasize “forgetting,” rather than memory, ultimately deteriorate the path towards peace, justice and reconciliation. Facing History demonstrates this assertion through aspects of healing mechanisms implemented in post-conflict societies including domestic and international prosecutions, truth commissions, conditional amnesty, lustration, personal memoirs, education reform, and memorialization. It draws on examples from a variety of conflicts or genocides, including those that occurred in Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Nazi Germany, South Africa, El Salvador, Korea and Japan.

Higher Education in Chile – A Study of Youth Perceptionss – Jane Leer, University of California – Berkeley

Higher education in Chile has undergone vast expansion since reforms in the 1980s privatized the system. Throughout the same period, Chile has seen rapid economic growth propelled by the transition to a market-driven economy. While the expansion of higher education has led to increased educational attainment overall, certain socioeconomic groups have benefited from this growth more so than others, and social inequality persists. Through interviews and surveys, I examine Chilean youths’ perceptions of higher education, social mobility and class stratification. I find that while educational opportunities have greatly increased, inequalities in access persist, and rapid privatization has often ignored quality standards. Furthermore, class- based discrimination and an emphasis on social status limit the perceived equality of opportunities in Chilean society.

Practiced at the Art of Deception – How the Regime Has Controlled Elections in Modern Burma – Hunter Marston, University of Washington – Seattle

This paper emerges from an underlying question that hasn’t found a satisfactory answer in scholarship on authoritarianism and transitions to democracy: why do authoritarian regimes hold elections? This paper analyzes the connection between mass movements, popular elections, and constitutional reform, in authoritarian Burma.

The essay will consider November 2010’s elections in Burma as one such data point in a historical timeline amidst numerous social and political factors. Moreover, it will consider the elections as indicative of two overlapping processes: on the one hand, authoritarian elections are a way to contest the powers that be and open up political power to other parties (access to power); on the other hand, the authoritarian regime controls rules of the electoral process (exercise of power). The rules surrounding power and how people perceive them thereby change during and through the electoral process.

I argue that the 2010 elections was a highly ordered process of regime consolidation vis-à-vis partial military withdrawal from political power, and that the shift to a new political apparatus represented elite collective action that was non-threatening to those with a concentration of power and resources at the state center. The 1990 elections left an indelible mark on state-society relations in Burma, and the outright NLD victory was a mistake the military was unwilling to repeat by allowing the political opposition genuine space. Moreover, the enduring institutional links created by nearly half a century of military rule had a large impact on the process and outcome of the 2010 elections.

The Evolution of Command Responsibility in International Humanitarian Law – Max Markham, Stanford University

This paper investigates the international legal roots and history of the principle of command responsibility. Tracing its roots back to Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the principle of command responsibility has increasingly become a more controversial topic in the context of international law. This paper closely examines specific cases advancing and interpreting the application of command responsibility, particularly in both the ICTY and ICTR with relation to humanitarian abuses in the past 20 years. Finally, the paper examines the definition of command responsibility held by the ICC as established by the Rome Statute in 1998 and the customary international law to be maintained in future humanitarian cases.