News

“Equal Play, Equal Pay”

“Equal Play, Equal Pay”

In July 2015, the US Women’s Soccer Team made history when they defeated Japan and won a third World Cup title in front of 53,300 spectators in Vancouver, Canada. This game, which was seen on TV by more than 25 million viewers, became the most-watched soccer match in United States television history—men’s or women’s.   Ever since their record-setting World Cup victory, the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) has been fighting for US Soccer to acquire the same playing conditions, travel arrangements, and financial compensation as the US Men’s National Team (USMNT).   The effort stretches beyond just the field....

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Why Lifting Vietnam’s Arms Embargo is a Smart Choice for the United States

Why Lifting Vietnam’s Arms Embargo is a Smart Choice for the United States

On May 23 2016, President Barack Obama kicked off a weeklong visit to Asia by visiting Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. While there, he negotiated a commercial deal between Vietnam and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Pratt & Whitney that is worth $16 billion. Obama also made the historic decision to lift a long-standing arms embargo on the country.   Human rights groups argue that keeping Vietnam’s arms embargo allows the United States to send a message to the country about protecting civil liberties.  The Communist Party of Vietnam maintains a political monopoly over the government and is known to restrict basic freedoms...

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Should UN Peacekeepers be Able to Engage in Offensive Operations?

Should UN Peacekeepers be Able to Engage in Offensive Operations?

The practice of United Nations peacekeeping began in 1948 when the Security Council deployed observers to the Middle East to monitor the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Since then, UN peacekeepers have been deployed in around 70 different operations.  The peacekeeping practice has historically proven to be one of the UN’s most effective tools. The peacekeepers provide both security and political peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace.   The limitations of these peacekeepers’ power, however, have recently come into question. Specifically, should the United Nations give peacekeepers the power...

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The Asian Glass Ceiling: America’s Diplomatic Dilemma

The Asian Glass Ceiling: America’s Diplomatic Dilemma

For the past decade, United States foreign policy has been characterized by its relationship with the Middle East. That relationship’s roots began in 1919, when Woodrow Wilson made the United States a key player by using his League of Nations to establish the now defunct Ottoman Empire’s colonial boundaries. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s hosting of Ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, on the USS Quincy in 1945 was another watershed moment. It forged an influential partnership between Saudi Arabia and the United States, where the Saudis sold inexpensive oil worldwide in exchange for American protection. Middle Eastern oil still dominates US-Middle...

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Role of Women in Japan

Role of Women in Japan

Japanese culture has historically emphasized gender roles. Expectations for men and women have traditionally aligned with societal obligations in the private and public sector. Women dominated the household but outside of the home, their families dictated their behavior. Although ancient philosophies like Confucianism and feudalism laid the foundations for the status of women, turning points like WWII allowed them to break through the glass ceiling and defy gender expectations.   The evolution of Japanese society has caused women to acclimatize to new customs and responsibilities. Various waves of change introduced new philosophies that guided Japanese lifestyles. Women were instilled with values...

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Brexit: The Pros and Cons

Brexit: The Pros and Cons

On June 24, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom made a decision that reshaped their country’s place in the world.  In a stunning vote of 52 percent to 48 percent, they voted to leave the European Union. Around the globe, people reacted with shock as news of this historic decision, known as ‘Brexit’, filled newspapers, magazines, and television channels.   But what does all this mean? What are the implications of Brexit?   Those who support Brexit argue that there are numerous advantages to Britain’s exit from the European Union. The country’s departure from the EU will result in...

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English Vs. Mandarin Chinese: The Fight for the Global Reign

English Vs. Mandarin Chinese: The Fight for the Global Reign

As the world evolves and cultures blend, the concept of identity often becomes blurred. Slowly, English has grown more popular and come to be understood as the common tongue of the world. However, the fate of thousands of other languages is at risk of being overshadowed by English’s rapid spread and influence. Formerly regarded as the language of innovation, English dominated for centuries and started replacing many native languages, which inhibited the potential for growth of aboriginal cultures.   English-speaking countries imperialized many Asian and Hispanic areas, imposing English on cultures that thrived without the use of the foreign language....

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Growing Economic Disparity in Modern China

Growing Economic Disparity in Modern China

On April 3rd 2016, an anonymous source leaked 11.5 million documents containing sensitive financial and legal information to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. This leak, the largest in history, is known as the Panama Papers. The documents originated from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest law firm specializing in offshore money management. They revealed how a global elite used offshore accounts and shell companies to hide billions of dollars in financial transactions from taxing authorities. Public outrage was swift and widespread. One of the first casualties of the leak was Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, the former Prime Minister...

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“We Are Whatever They Want Us to Be”: Identity Politics and Hungarian Roma

“We Are Whatever They Want Us to Be”: Identity Politics and Hungarian Roma

  Despite their status as the country’s largest minority, Hungarian Roma remain excluded from the political and cultural movements—and the basic human rights—enjoyed by their non-Roma compatriots. Reflecting the broader European trend of Roma exclusion, Hungarian Roma suffer at significantly higher rates than other minorities from infant mortality, shortened life expectancy, and extreme poverty.   If Roma had the cultural capital to form a unified movement within Hungary, instances of forced eviction and (sometimes fatal) violence against Roma would attract greater national and international attention. Roma voices would form a stronger contingent in media and the arts, which could inspire...

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(Not) Made in China

(Not) Made in China

In 2014 China reported yearly economic growth at 7.3% of GDP. In 2015, it reported 6.9%, the slowest annual growth rate since 1990. On March 5th Premier Li Keqiang announced China’s GDP growth target for 2016 to be between 6.5% and 7%. Forecasts from the IMF estimate an expansion of 6.3%. In January of 2017 many expect China to announce it hit its goal. In January of 2017 many will doubt it actually did.   Reasons abound for the skepticism and pessimism. Analysts increasingly take official Chinese economic data with some salt (a pinch or bucketful depending on who you...

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Putin’s Russia, Part VI: A Political Machine – Society

Most tellingly, the majority of Putin’s mass popular support stems from the historical contrast of current living conditions in Russia against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1990s , which continues to cast its dark shade in the minds of Russians.   Russia, under Boris Yeltsin’s rule in the 1990s, was marked by years of anarchy and abuse during the long, costly, and unstable transition towards liberalization and decentralization. The country plunged into political deterioration, economic depression, and widespread social decline and wrecked the standard of living as corruption, inflation, and lawlessness ran rampant in the country. This experience effectively discredited...

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Putin’s Russia, Part V: A Political Machine – Economy

The Russian economy is a blend of liberal free market and statist socialist features, plagued by pervasive corruption. Under Putin’s system, the economy is carefully managed by the state.  Since Putin assumed the presidency in 2000, the Russian government has nationalized and seized control of the country’s raw materials export economy, which is especially pertinent to its energy sector. Through his management, Putin was able to siphon revenue from Russia’s oil and natural gas trades during the oil boom years of 2000-2008 to build state reserves large enough to pay off the countries’ outstanding Soviet-era debts to foreign countries—over $40...

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