The Tunisian Spark: Triggering the Fourth Wave of Democratization

Mohamed Bouazizi was a college graduate and yet at twenty-six years old he found himself selling fruit on the side of the street to support his mother, uncle and five siblings in their hometown of Sidi Bouzid.  According to a report by the New York Times,[i] a municipal inspector, Faida Hamdy, seized Bouazizi’s goods because […]

The Struggle for Kirkuk: Oil, People and Power

As the violence in Iraq slips from western headlines and the coalition mission appears accomplished, there is a false sense of calm in this troubled country. An unanswered question of who controls the Northern city of Kirkuk has threatened to throw the most promising region of the country into war. To ethnic Kurds, the most […]

The Syrian ‘Day of Rage’: A Revolution That Wasn’t

In a recent exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria stated, “When there is divergence between your policy and the people’s beliefs and interests, you will have this vacuum that creates disturbance.” He also said that despite the similarities between Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia, Syrians were different because they had […]

The Microfinance Split: Reharnessing the Good Micro Loans

Poverty can be eradicated by 2050 as proposed by the Millennium Development Goals, according to Muhammad Yunus. Founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, he believes that microcredit is the answer. Lending small amounts of money to people who are too poor or marginalized to qualify for bank loans in order to further their small businesses […]

Why the EU Needs Turkey: A Case for Accession

The Republic of Turkey stands at the crossroads of the Eastern and Western worlds. It is a land bridge between Europe and Asia, and through it flows the major water route between Russia and the Middle East. Its location has always put Turkey at the center of cultural origin and intercourse. For hundreds of years […]

America and Cuba Today: The Coming of Age of the Cuba Embargo Under the Obama Administration

In retrospect, the Cuban embargo was presumably logical. World order was essentially polarized into two distinct categories: Capitalism vs. Communism. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, this approach seems worthless in terms of achieving peaceful, stable relations with Cuba in contemporary international relations. In short, the Cuban embargo […]

Labour 2010: Not So Rosy

In May 1997, after a surprising election victory, a young, charismatic man named Tony Blair settled into his new office at 10 Downing Street in London as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister. This signaled the beginning of the Labour Party’s hold on the Premiership. However, after nearly thirteen years in power, Labour’s grasp on Downing […]

Iraq’s Huddles Masses: Iraqi Refugees and the Special Immigrant Visa Program

Many Iraqis face certain danger from armed militias and terrorist groups if they work for the American military or contractors. These groups threaten, hunt down, torture and kill Iraqis whom they know or suspect have worked for Americans.  Realizing this heinous trend, the US made it easier for Iraqis to come to America.  In 2007 […]

A New Beginning: Balancing Values and Interests in Obama’s Foreign Policy

Promoting and defending human rights has long challenged governments and policymakers. Some hardly bother and others give it their all. All governments balance their interests with their values. The United States has wavered back and forth between vocal and aggressive “democracy promotion” and realpolitik, often within the same administration. Most recent administrations have agreed on […]

Bitter Sweets: The Problem of Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry

Ten-year-old Madi, whose family cannot afford to send him to school, spends his days hacking away at cocoa pods with a machete. Such conditions are common in the Ivory Coast’s farms where 43% of the world’s chocolate is produced. Although United States chocolate companies passed a protocol to get rid of “the worst forms of […]