Until Putin Leaves Power, Russia Is No Friend of the United States

Stop if you have heard this before: Russia is no ally of the United States. You’d guess you were just dropped into the middle of the Cold War. Nope, it’s still 2017. The last two American administrations have spent money and time on trying to establish better relations with Russia. Let’s not forget President Obama’s proclamation in the 2012 debate with Mitt Romney: “The nineteen eighties are calling and they want their foreign policy back.” Other than that being a poor attempt by President Obama to crack a one liner, that line will forever define the legacy of his foreign policy. Only two years later was he made to look like a fool when the Russians invaded Ukraine.  Let’s examine the current administration. Before President Trump was elected, the Russians actively tried to undermine the 2016 Presidential Election. Mind you, those aren’t my words; those are the words of the U.S. intelligence community and numerous experts who have testified before Congress, including the open panel hearing that the Senate Intelligence committee held on 30 March, at which three experts dove into further details on what exactly the Russians did. Continue reading “Until Putin Leaves Power, Russia Is No Friend of the United States”

A Guide to Korean Foreign Policy: How the South Should Interact With the North

In an unsurprising move, the courts upheld Park Geun-Hye’s impeachment. The panel of judges, appointed mainly by Geun-Hye or former president Lee Myung-bak, unanimously voted to uphold the impeachment of the first female president. The government will move forward with elections in early May to determine a new president. The president will be looked at optimistically, but will have a short leash. A super majority of South Koreans supported Geun-Hye’s impeachment and a majority want structural reform to curb unemployment and corruption. Broadly, the next South Korean president will have a multitude of issues to deal with moving forward: unemployment, corruption, environmental degradation, etc. In spite of these issues, I believe foreign policy and specifically relations with the North should be at the top of the agenda. Ultimately, the next president should be more forceful and maintain a hawkish policy towards the North. Continue reading “A Guide to Korean Foreign Policy: How the South Should Interact With the North”

“The Old Ills Are Forgotten”: Must the European Union’s Success Be Its Undoing?

It is true that some problems can be solved, some ills cured, in both individual and social life . . . but any study of society shows that every solution creates a new situation which breeds its own new needs and problems, new demands. The children have obtained what their parents and grandparents longed for—greater freedom, greater material welfare, a juster society; but the old ills are forgotten, and the children face new problems, brought about by the very solutions of the old ones, and these, even if they can in turn be solved, generate new situations, and with them new requirements—and so on, forever—and unpredictably.

–Isaiah Berlin, The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), 14.

In the autumn of 1945, Konrad Adenauer, the future Chancellor of West Germany, found himself brooding on the fate of his country and of Europe. The Second World War had just drawn to a bloody close. Germany, having nearly torn the Continent apart, was a shattered wreck, occupied by foreign powers, universally despised and feared. Something had gone horribly wrong—of that, Adenauer was certain. His countrymen, infatuated with power and blinded by raison d’état, were partly to blame. Yet he also sensed that some grander and more terrible process was at play. As a Great Power, the German state had terrified its neighbors for a hundred years. Now it lay prostrate before them, they held its fate in their hands, and this was still not enough to make them feel secure. And why should they? After all, “[p]olitical history has shown that nothing ever stands still and that political circumstances can change very rapidly.”[1] Continue reading ““The Old Ills Are Forgotten”: Must the European Union’s Success Be Its Undoing?”

“Our Unbreakable Alliance with the State of Israel”: An Assessment

In a sudden reversal of the Obama administration’s retaliation against Israel last December, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the Trump administration has proposed a campaign for “considerable reform” within the UN’s Human Rights Council through the threat of the country’s withdrawal of membership. Though the threat is nothing extraordinary within the context of these decades, the proposed reform campaign may be the last nail in the coffin for the pro-Palestinian camp (or anyone in favor of neutrality for that matter), given a contention of the campaign: the Human Rights Council’s “biased agenda” against Israel. Continue reading ““Our Unbreakable Alliance with the State of Israel”: An Assessment”

American Climate Change Policy: Heating Up and Cooling Down

How does the U.S. Trump presidency impact the trajectory of curbing climate change worldwide? Though initial outlooks seem unsettling, the matter is a complicated one.

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to withdraw United States’ ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. So far in his presidency, he’s followed this line of thought. His actions to date–from the executive order ending the Clean Power Plan to the drastic budgetary proposals surrounding the EPA–suggest that his stance against environmental preservation is unwavering. The U.S. often serves as an example for other nations. If Trump adheres to his position against the Paris Agreement, he may have tremendous international influence.

Or, he may not. Continue reading “American Climate Change Policy: Heating Up and Cooling Down”