This year, Time magazine is allowing for people to vote for who they believe should be honored as Person of the Year through Twitter and their website. Online voting ended December 6th and as the tally stands, Miley Cyrus leads the pack. Yes, that is not a typo, Miley Cyrus has garnered the most votes. Miley celebrated the news with this sophisticated Tweet, “It would be uhhhhmazig to be #timepoy smilerzzzz lets see if we can make it happennnnn.” Yep the world, this modern society we are so fond of, believe a studio-engineered, overly marketed pop singer should be credited for being the Person of the Year. Although our world idolizes a twerking no-talent, luckily Time does make the final decision on the POY. However, Time hasn’t had the best track record in their decision-making. For example, in 1938 they awarded Adolf Hitler as their Person of the Year. A year later … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of www.thechinavoice.com
At 10 AM on November 23, the China began to enforce its new East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to a bit of media fanfare and a good deal of international consternation. The announcement is the most recent in a series of sovereignty moves by the nations who ‘share’ the East China Sea. The main players in this theater are China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and, by extension of our close militaristic and economic ties to several of these nations, the United States.
First, take a look at this map provided by the New York Times to get a better sense of the area we’re talking about. And also, take a look at the map provided by the Chinese of their new ADIZ, and note the massive expansion of Chinese airspace from the red line delineating territorial waters.
Let’s talk about the political … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of www.lemonde.fr
With Saturday’s revelations that President Barack Obama believes there’s only a “50-50 or worse” chance of securing an Iran nuclear deal, the issue has once again surfaced beyond the immediate fanfare of the initial November diplomatic success that seemed to herald the prospect of a comprehensive agreement. With a nuclear-armed Middle East looming large on the United States’ foreign policy radar, what are the positions of each of the key players in any foreseeable accord? And what do these positions mean for an effective resolution to long-standing tension?
In the wake of previously failed multilateral discussions, it came as a surprise to many following international policy: diplomats from various great powers reached a groundbreaking agreement in Geneva regarding Iran’s nuclear progress. Most of the Western countries and American allies seem pleased with the results, as they significantly diminish the Iranian right to enrich uranium. Other … Read the rest
Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Iraq (Image Courtesy of www.theguardian.com).
Thirty-five years ago, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) officially formed in Southeastern Turkey, adopting its name soon after. The PKK, as it is commonly known, was founded by Abdullah Öcalan as a leftist revolutionary group seeking the establishment of a national Kurdish state known as Kurdistan. And so, we come to our second contemporary conflict: the Kurdish nationalist struggle for independence.
The tricky thing about the Kurdish situation is that the proposed state of Kurdistan spans at least part of the territory of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. A Kurdish population of around thirty million exists in this region, along with a number of different militant organizations similar to the PKK, which sometimes plays the role of an umbrella organization. For example, it is believed the group PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), which mainly operates in Iran, … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of theguardian.com
A meeting of climate envoys recently started in Warsaw, Poland, where participants are hoping to lay the groundwork for a sweeping international pact. Unsurprisingly, no significant progress is expected.
This is an embarrassment for the international community, particularly in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. There is debate over the relationship between climate change and typhoons, but compelling scientific evidence and common sense dictate that warming water will make these disasters worse in the future. The moral urgency of climate change is becoming more and more painfully clear as the death toll from Haiyan climbs.
The economics of environmental measures are usually portrayed as the main sticking point in international negotiations over climate change, which is both true and incredibly unfortunate. Governments tend to prioritize short-term needs of politically powerful interests over the long-term needs of everyone. It’s a classic time-inconsistency problem. To make matters worse, negotiators … Read the rest
Author, editor, publisher, and liberty activist Jeffrey Tucker (Image courtesy of libertopia.org)
Thanks to Penn for Liberty, Thursday I had the great opportunity to listen to liberty activist Jeffrey Tucker speak on how to prepare for life without the state. The nation-state has grown to control all aspects of our life; from something as simple as how much soda we can drink to our personal health insurance becoming illegal. However, with the advances in technology the nation-state’s reaching power is becoming limited. To use this newfound freedom to our advantage, Mr. Tucker laid out 10 practical steps to use as a framework to prepare for our future.
Number 1: Get Skeptical of Power: AKA don’t trust anyone. Our government is built on the framework of legislation created centuries ago, and it hasn’t stopped creating new laws to strengthen its reach over society. The lesson is to be wary of old … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of tvtropes.org
With this post, I’m planning to embark on a journey that I find aligns greatly with my personal interests in foreign affairs, and one that I hope will benefit this audience at large. With this post, I inaugurate a series of pieces on contemporary conflicts, hot and cold. I’m not planning to work off of a set list. Indeed, I don’t even have established criteria for what I am defining as conflict. In all instances, however, I hope to provide the reader with the basics as well as an analysis of the consequences of our recent and ongoing struggles.
To start off easy, we turn to the poster child of officially unresolved wars: the Korean War. Although the Korean Armistice Agreement ended the war in 1953, it did so as a stepping-stone to a “final peaceful settlement,” which has yet to be achieved. And so, we … Read the rest
Last week, the U.N.’s General Assembly elected fourteen new member states to serve on the HRC, the United Nations Human Rights Council. Chosen for one three-year term, the countries were selected based on their geographic locations and their respect of human rights. Multiple nations were put to the test…
France, Britain and Macedonia, unsurprisingly, passed. Uruguay and South Sudan did not. The most controversial choices, by far, included the acceptance of countries such as China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Interestingly enough, those four countries now have a seat in an organization based on preserving human rights around the world. Why is this ironic? Because those four particularly powerful countries are known to be harsh violators of even the most basic human rights.
One or two mistakes would be disappointing, but the news regarding these secret ballot votes reflects incredibly poor choices on the part of the HRC and … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of politico.com
In 1996, this story would have made a great punch line: with help from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Terry McAullife – yes, notorious moneyman Terry McAullife! – wins his race for Governor. In Virginia.
Now, what would have then been laughable has become reality. Republicans in the Old Dominion State have finally woken up this morning and smelled the roses, and as they look to the future, the need for change is evident. The question, they must surely be asking, is how much?
Perhaps not as much as you might think.
While some moderation on social issues would help the Grand Old Party, the standard media storyline exaggerates the necessity and degree to which it needs to be done.
The dynastic Clinton Machine continues to win elections long after the Big Dog himself last won in 1996. Once-reliably-red Virginia opted for a weak Democrat … Read the rest
Image Courtesy of offbeatchina.com
China’s Communist Party leadership is shaking things up, again. This time, the world’s most populous country is reconsidering its one-child policy. Ever since 1979, China has enforced a one child per couple policy as a measure of population control in urban locations. According to a report issued by the Communist Party right after its four-day meeting in Beijing, China will revamp its policy to allow Chinese couples to have two children only if one of the parents is an only child.
This groundbreaking news comes at a time in which increased demands for change – both from Chinese citizens, but also from the international community – have characterized Communist Party policy. The cries for change have come in very diverse ways, whether calling for the market to define the amount of children each couple has or taking into consideration the brutality with which this policy … Read the rest