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EPR

Emory Political Review

Volume VIII, Issue 2

INSIDE

What Health Care Boils Down To

Why Hamas is so successful in Palestine

The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Politics

2009 Year in Review

The Future of U.S. Power


2

EPR

Volume VIII, No. 2

Editors-in-Chief

Executive Editor

Senior Copy

Editor

Copy Editors

Senior Layout

Editor

Story Editors

Website

Christina Yang

Lilly Zhong

Grant Wallensky

Andrew Hull

Amanda L. Carey

Kristin Bielling

Lindsey Bomnin

Sara Hagey

Monroe Hammond

James Hamraie

Elizabeth Janszky

Eddie Lopez-Lugo

Kathryn Madison

Victor Rudo

Hali Michele Stokes

Laura D. Withers

Gregoire E. Taillet

Monroe Hammond

David Michaels

Anuj Panday

Peter Rasmussen

Mishal Ali

Shalini Ramachandran

Letter from the Editors

Well, there goes another year. 2009 will be remembered as

the year the death of Michael Jackson united the world, whilst

the murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller divided our nation.

While Iran filled its streets with protestors decked in green, the

People’s Republic of China celebrated its 60th anniversary in

a haze of red and yellow. Although South Carolina Governor

Mark Sanford made extramarital affairs international, Tiger

Woods reintroduced the word “harem” to the 21st century. To

say the least, it’s been quite a year for the average American,

the politician, and the celebrity.

The year started off with a bang. It brought us our first African

American president, our first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice,

and the real possibility of redeeming America’s image in the

eyes of the international community. But the positives were

soon overshadowed by such problems as rising unemployment,

growing international security threats, and the relentless

worldwide recession. Indeed, no place was left untouched by

the headlines of 2009, including our own Emory University.

Students dealt with rising tuition, cuts in club funding, and the

“Swine ‘09.”

This issue covers everything from the U.S. as a world power to

the prospects of democracy in Iraq to the new possibilities the

FIFA World Cup brings to South Africa. And though we may

not have as many articles as Tiger Woods has mistresses, we

hope that the articles we do have will provide you, the reader,

with a greater understanding of some of our world’s important

happenings.

With the onset of 2010, Emory Political Review — along with

the rest of the world — is looking to revamp itself. We are

launching our new and refurbished website, in which we hope

to incorporate new media forms (think Huffington Post and

Twitter feeds). To make up for budget cuts, we are looking into

advertising. And of course, we always welcome new writers,

new stories, and new readers. Here’s to 2010.

- Christina and Lilly

This issue’s layout was done by

Christina Yang

Editor’s Note: Unless otherwise noted, art is either

created by C. Yang or taken from Photos.com, Google

Images or Wikipedia. All art from Wikipedia is part of

the public domain and is used under fair use.


january 2010

Current Affairs

4-5 Dissecting Health Care

Spotlight

6

Democracy in Iraq?

Nation

7

8

9

Should We End the Fed?

The Future of Global

Non-Proliferation

The Scope of Executive Power

14-15 America’s Failed War on Drugs

16-17

The Right to Bear Arms:

McDonald v. Chicago

Cover Story

10-13 U.S. Hegemony Challenged?

Foreign Affairs

18-19

20-21

22-23

24

25

Special

26-27

The Impact of War and

Terror on Pakistan

Russia Resurgent

The Hearts and Minds of

Palestine

2010 FIFA World Cup:

More than Just a Game

Comedy in Compaigns

Year in Review


Current Affairs

EPR

By: Lilly Zhong and Christina Yang

Health Care

Starting from the beginning of

2009, plans for a major overhaul

of the American health care system

have rumbled onward, gaining steam and

momentum toward the end of the year.

Democrats and Republicans have argued

vigorously over health care reform, with

the two sides bearing almost irreconcilable

views. Democrats view health care

reform as a major step in giving millions

of uninsured Americans coverage and in

cutting the costs of health care overall. Republicans

staunchly oppose the government

playing such a large role in the health care

system, claiming that the proposed reforms

will weaken the insurance coverage of those

who already have it. However, as debates over

the public option, “death panels,” and abortion

coverage rage on, President Obama has

remained true to his campaign promise to push

for universal health care, and results are coming

in. Despite almost unanimous opposition

by the Republicans, what began as—and still

remains—a hotly debated topic has finally been

consolidated into a concrete form. On November

7, 2009, a version of the health care bill passed

the House, with a 220 to 215 vote. On December

24, 2009, the Senate also passed a version of

health care reform, albeit with some differences

from the House edition and along party lines, in

the first Christmas Eve Senate vote since 1895.

So what now? The next step is for two

versions of the bill to go to a conference committee,

in which the House and the Senate must combine

the two forms and agree on a final version. Though

some major disparities (e.g. the public option)

exist, the current outlines contain some common

stipulations. To expand coverage, a greater number

of low-income people would become eligible for

Medicaid, and subsidies would be provided to some

middle-income individuals to help them buy insurance.

Insurance companies would be prohibited from

denying coverage to individuals based on preexisting

conditions, and insurance exchanges, where people and

small businesses can essentially “shop” for insurance,

would be created. Individuals who are currently under

employer insurance (about 160 million) would remain

that way, and almost everyone would be required to get

insurance or else face certain penalties. To help decipher

the ins and outs of health care reform, here’s a look at the

specifics of what may be in the final version of the bill.

Information taken by the New York Times

4 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


EPR

Now...what’s the difference?

Cost

Public Option

Individual

Requirements

Employer

Requirements

Issue House Senate

Would cost $1.1 trillion over a decade,

which surpasses Obama’s $900 billion

decade spending cap.

Includes a government-run insurance

program that offers plans competitive with

the private market. The government would

negotiate rates with health care providers.

Requires the majority of people to get

health insurance or pay a penalty of up to

2.5 percent of their income. In addition to

subsidies for the poor, this plan extends

coverage to approximately 36 million

Americans.

Employers are required to contribute to

health insurance for employees. However,

businesses with payrolls under $500,000

are exempt, which is approximately 86

percent of all American businesses.

Would cost $871 billion over a decade, reducing the deficit

by $132 billion, and possibily an additional reduction of

approximately $1.3 trillion over the second decade, according

to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Does not include a public option. Instead, the Office of

Personnel Management, which supervises health plans for

federal workers, would oversee national plans offered in

the health insurance exchanges.

Requires most people to either have health insurance or

pay a penalty, which begins at $95 in 2014 and increases

to $750 two years later.

Employers are not required to provide health insurance.

However, companies with over 50 employees will be

charged with a penalty for any employee whose health

insurance the government ends up subsidizing.

Financial Assistance

New Taxes

Abortion

Medicare Changes

Includes subsidies to help those making

up to 400 percent of the federal poverty

level pay for health insurance premiums.

Medicaid eligibility would be expanded

for low-income families and individuals,

as well as cover new preventive services,

and increase payments for check-ups.

The wealthiest Americans (individuals

making over $500,000 and families

making above $1 million) would pay a

surcharge on a portion of their income.

The new public option does not cover

abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or

threat to the life of the pregnant woman.

Also bans people from using government

subsidies to purchase private plans with

abortion coverage.

Reduces Medicare spending by approximately

$440 billion over a decade by

reducing payments to private insurance

plans that serve Medicare patients and by

requiring hospitals and other health care

providers to operate more efficiently. The

plan also includes several new benefits for

seniors, including more preventive care

services.

Includes subsidies to help cover those making up to 400

percent of the federal poverty level (presently, $88,000/

year for a family of four) and expands Medicaid to include

those making 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Imposes a 40 percent tax on high-cost insurance plans

(valued over $8,500 per individual and $23,000 per family).

A 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services will be

enacted, which is expected to raise $2.7 billion in the first

decade. Also increases Medicare payroll taxes from 1.45

to 2.35 percent on individuals earning $200,000 a year and

couples earning $250,000.

Creates a “firewall” to prevent federal subsidies from going

toward abortion coverage. In plans covering abortion,

beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those

funds would have to be kept in a separate account from

taxpayer money.

Reduces Medicare spending by approximately $395 billion

over ten years, including cuts to private insurance

plans. In 2010, Medicare beneficiaries will also receive

$500 towards paying for prescription drugs not currently

covered because of cost, falling into the so-called “doughnut

hole.”

Information supplied by the National Public Radio

(http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120068329)

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

5


Spotlight

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab

states have been a breeding ground for autocracies

and illiberal democracies. With one

or two exceptions in the Middle East, a democracy

resembling those of Western Europe or the United

States has not even been considered by Arab leaders,

in spite of a globalizing international community

that is beginning to reflect its “Americanism.” But

why has the Arab world been so reluctant to adopt

a system of government that can potentially grant

its citizens’ personal freedoms and opportunities for

prosperity? Theorists such as Michael Ross place

blame on the method in which Arab states spend their

oil revenues. Others like Alfred Stepan believe that

the biggest obstacle is not Islam, but rather something

“Arab,” since there are states, such as Indonesia

and Pakistan, that have developed and consolidated

democracies in spite of an overwhelmingly Muslim

population. However, this examination’s focus is on

Iraq, a state recently freed from a tyrannical regime,

which has raised many questions, not only about the

date for U.S. withdrawal but also the date for the consolidation

of a democratic system.

Is democracy even fit for Iraq? At the

moment, the answer is no. Despite the progress its

parliamentary government has made, Iraq still has

many issues to resolve. Although problems such as

guerilla-style insurgency and the established animosity

between ethnic and religious groups still exist but

can be solved, people may forget about the challenges

remaining after the violence has quelled. Democracy

will not be suitable for the developing state if the potential

for disproportional representation continues to

exist, if the issue of “stateness” still thrives, and if

Iraq remains the oil-dependent state that it is. This investigation

will explain why the development of this

democracy can breakdown altogether on account of

these issues.

According to Oxford University’s Zhidas

Daskalovski, a “stateness problem” is a complication

in politics and society where groups quarrel over

where a region’s boundaries are drawn, who gets what

resources, and which inhabitants can become citizens.

A wide array of languages, religions, and ethnicities

EPR

DEMOCRACY IN

By: Robert “Bobby” Santos

IRAQ?

6 • EPR Winter 09-10 •

can be the cause of this complication. Thus, Iraq

has a stateness problem. To begin with, Iraq is a

multi-ethnic and heterogeneous country consisting

of Arabs, Kurds, and other minority groups

who aim to conquer one another for the control

of resources and power. Northwestern University’s

Edward Gibson claims that even when

Iraq is rid of all violence, the consolidation of

democracy would still be in jeopardy because of

the renewal of constituents’ hostile attitudes towards

one another. The reason being is that the

government has to decide who is a citizen and

who is an outsider to Iraq. Although the obvious

answer would be to just make everyone living

within the borders a naturalized citizen, in reality

it is not that simple. While Iraq is known to

be an Arab-dominated state, the Kurds struggle

to be a small, but crucial minority. The two

groups have engaged in not only a psychological

and cultural war, but also in a war over competition

for water, fertile land (Iraq is 50-60%

desert), and oil. So what would happen when

their parliament is seated by a huge majority of

Pan-Arabic nationalists or pro-Kurdish policymakers?

Clearly, the politicians in Baghdad will

do what they can to support their own ethnic or

religious groups, however, what will become of

those groups that are not represented at all in

government? The democratization is threatened

when civil liberties and representation are not

granted to some of the state’s inhabitants.

Iraq also has a Shiite Islamic majority

that thrives on the idea of transforming the state

in order to resemble an Iranian theocracy. Even

after Saddam Hussein’s execution, many Shiite

extremist groups continue to resort to violent

measures in retaliation for their religious oppression

under Hussein’s regime. Furthermore,

these measures are caused by numerous factors,

such as the fear of being subjected to a Sunnidominated

government, the embracement of

secularism, or the idea that democratizing-Iraq

is a puppet of an American and imperialistic foreign

policy. It is important that these extremist

groups receive a voice in government. Doing so

can be the solution to the violence presently being

encountered.

Iraq also has an oil problem. As mentioned

earlier, UCLA professor and political scientist

Michael Ross claims in “Does Oil Hinder

Democracy?” that oil has been sustaining the

existence of authoritarian regimes. Even when a

democratic system is being experimented with,

Iraqi officials are responsible for re-distributing

these massive oil revenues not only to the development

of the state, but also to the micro-development

of the people. With all of the corruption

discovered in almost all bureaucratic levels

of government, responsible redistribution will

continue to be an ongoing challenge. The global

demand for oil causes the Iraqi government

to lease out its petroleum-rich land to foreign

companies in exchange for massive revenues.

However, because the government depends on

only these revenues and not the tax revenues of

its citizens, it chooses to remain independent

of that sovereign authority citizens have over

their democratic governments. Therefore, without

any taxes for citizens to pay, there are no

means of obtaining representation or accountability

from the higher authorities. Furthermore,

a government without any responsibilities to the

people is free to subjugate any social or political

movements that call for a change from the

status quo. Policymakers can also choose not to

acknowledge a minority or majority’s need for

representation without any penalty of law. For

the sake of democracy’s consolidation, the Iraqi

government must find new ways to obtain revenues

and new ways to spend those revenues instead

of relying on an unstable commodity, like

oil.

An established democracy in Iraq is

not going to be possible under current conditions.

The apparent ethnic and religious schisms

in its society are what drive the corruption, repression,

and exploitation levels beyond control.

The constant acts of violence must be put to end

before the government can responsibly spend

for the betterment of its citizens rather than on

its defense budget. It is also time to diversify

Iraq’s income with not only oil, but also with tax

revenues and the capital gained from exports.

When the government re-distributes the wealth

to the people, both the government and citizens

will also develop. Once Iraqi society modernizes,

the middle-classes can also begin demanding

accountability and representation. Despite

their long history of clashing, ethno-religious

groups must share the valuable resources impartially

divided by the government in order to rid

themselves of the stateness problem. One way

to do this is to establish an equality in the political

arena where diverse groups can compromise

with each other over what would be proportionally

fair due to the scarcity of resources and the

irregular ratios of one ethnic/religious group to

another. If all ends well here, then perhaps in

the near future other Arab states can follow by

example. EPR

Robert “Bobby” Santos is a junior in

the College and majoring in Political

Science


Nation

EPR

Should

We End

the Fed?

By: Ted Keast

When the American economy collapsed

at the end of 2008, many

experts, as well as then-President

George W. Bush, blamed Wall Street for its

greed, claiming that they “got drunk” with power.

In response, economist and current Senate

candidate Peter Schiff was quoted, “Of course

they got drunk. Wall Street got drunk, Main

Street got drunk, the whole country was drunk.

But who gave them the alcohol?” Schiff, who

is vying for a Republican nomination to oppose

Senator Chris Dodd in Connecticut, is one of the

leaders of the End the Fed Movement, a growing

protest of the Federal Reserve’s involvement

in the United States economy. The answer to his

question of who encouraged corporations to

hedge risky bets and individuals to overextend

themselves, is the U.S. Federal Reserve. But

what causes Schiff and many others to question

the Federal Reserve’s policies? After all,

the media, as well as the current administration,

claimed that corporate greed coupled with

bad economic policies of the Bush era were

primary causes for the depression, while Ben

Bernanke’s, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

System, and the Federal Reserve’s roles in the

crisis went relatively unquestioned. Bernanke

was reappointed by President Barack Obama

to continue the policies that were partly responsible

for the nation’s economic crisis.

So, what was it about Bernanke’s policies

that were so detrimental to the U.S. economy?

And if they were so detrimental, why was

he rewarded with Obama’s reappointment? Part

of the role of the Fed is to influence the United

State’s monetary and credit policies by controlling

interest rates. This is done by either selling

U.S. securities to decrease the money supply,

or by buying them to increase it. Before the financial

crisis, the Allen Greenspan-led Federal

Reserve had been encouraging credit spending

by keeping U.S. interest rates artificially low for

years. This encouraged borrowing rather than

saving, creating a credit economy that does not

encourage real growth. Only a small number

of politicians and economists have acknowledged

the Federal Reserve’s role in creating

credit bubbles. This included the housing market

bubble which, when it burst in 2008, helped

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

to cause the already troubled economy to spiral

downward.

The artificially low interest rates

encouraged the private sector to take risky investments,

and the same people who set those

interest rates are currently in charge of restoring

our economy. The remedy to our economic

problems that Bernanke has given is to keep the

low interest rates. Obama has also echoed the

idea that the key to restoring our economy lies in

restoring the credit system in the United States.

However, if the United States’ interest rates remain

close to zero, the Federal Reserve’s target,

we run into the same problems that caused

the recession in the first place: a system that is

based too much on credit wealth rather than actual

wealth. Low interest rates and Bernanke’s

policies actually encourage reckless spending

and bubble growth, rather than meaningful economic

growth through saving.

If the Federal Reserve’s actions are so

harmful, why does the United States keep such

a system? And if Bernanke and Greenspan’s

policies have adversely affected the economy,

why did they hold their jobs for so long? Part

of the reason lies in the longevity of the Federal

Reserve. Established in 1913 to prevent bank

runs, the Federal Reserve is more or less universally

accepted as the national bank of the United

States. Economists are accustomed to the system,

and its policies are rarely questioned. To

question its establishment or its policies after

nearly one hundred years would be similar to

questioning the Supreme Court or the Congress—only

the Federal Reserve is not a branch

of government. Another reason that Bernanke

has been one of the staff members in Washington

who lasted through the Bush administration

is because the Federal Reserve’s policies are

popular. Because it is not politically acceptable

for interest rates to go sky high, which would

certainly occur if the free market would determine

interest rates in a country where saving

money is discouraged, it is not advisable for

the Federal Reserve to change policies. There

are few politicians who want to encourage the

American people to spend less, which is what

would be most advantageous for the economy.

The original intent of the Federal Reserve was

to make it a non-politicized institution. The

president’s right to appoint the chairman was

designed to keep the Federal Reserve free from

the political process. However, the reappointment

of Ben Bernanke by Obama, even after

his failed policies during the Bush era, shows

that the Federal Reserve has in fact become

politicized. Because Bernanke came out of the

crisis relatively blame-free, and even praised by

some economists, it was a politically safe move

to keep him as chairman. Obama would rather

keep Bernanke as chairman than put himself under

scrutiny for appointing a new chairman.

Finally, what should be the solution to

the problems of the Federal Reserve? If the free

market is allowed to wholly determine interest

rates, economic growth in the United States will

be stifled. However, under the status quo, the

Federal Reserve is encouraging more economic

bubbles that will eventually pop, and the country

will be doomed to face recessions in the future

that could be potentially worse than the current

crisis. So, is it time to “End the Fed,” as many

people are starting to say? Probably not. Many

of the consequences of such an action would be

too uncertain. However, the United States faces

the need to call into question the policies of an

economic interventionist institution that has become

too politicized, and whose policies aided

in causing the current recession. EPR

Ted Keast is a junior and majoring in

Finance at the Business School.

7


Nation

One of the most controversial parts of

the global arms control agenda has

been the Comprehensive Nuclear Test

Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international agreement

that prohibits nuclear explosion tests. More than

a decade after the United States Senate failed to

approve the treaty, the growing perils of modernizing

arsenals and the spread of nuclear materials

to state and non-state actors has increased

radically. The CTBT is a valuable tool in the

global non-proliferation strategy because without

testing nuclear weapons, states would have

no confidence in the success of the weapons

they were developing, slowing down or even

halting the horizontal and vertical spread of

nuclear weapons. However, despite adoption by

the United Nations General Assembly in 1996,

resistance from previously neutral states on this

topic has prevented the test ban from entering

into force.

Although approximately 150 states

have ratified the treaty, several nations referred

to as “key hold-out states,” whose ratification

is deemed as the last obstacle to treaty’s global

adoption, have refrained from jumping on board

the global non-testing regime. These nations are

the United States, China, Indonesia, Iran, North

Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt. While

United States’ ratification would not directly

cause the treaty system to immediately go into

effect (known as “entry into force”), its ratification

would lead to a domino effect in the international

community, creating pressure to get the

remaining hold-out states to ratify it. Indonesia,

EPR

The Future of Global Non-Proliferation

By: Marta Chlistunoff and

Elena R. Kuenzel

for example, has publicly declared that it will

ratify the treaty as soon as the U.S. does. In the

case of China, many believe that security concerns

over nuclear parity with the United States

prevent China’s ratification. However, if the

U.S. decides to ratify, it could represent a concrete

commitment to non-testing, which could

give China confidence that their own ratification

would not put them at any sort of geopolitical

disadvantage. Similarly, U.S. ratification could

put strong pressure on India, Iran, North Korea

and the others to sign.

Luckily, even if entry into force

doesn’t occur in the short term, U.S. ratification

would still yield substantial benefits. While

Obama’s speeches on security are full of resolve

for stopping the proliferation of weapons of

mass destruction, it is impossible to solve proliferation

without cooperation from the international

community. Without ratifying the test ban,

this cooperation will be difficult to achieve. The

2005 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Review Conference established thirteen steps

that the international community could take

to bolster the NPT. First and foremost among

these was the entry into force of the CTBT. Recent

statements by sixteen non-nuclear weapon

states that will be taking part in the 2010 Review

Conference reflect that this first step is still

a relevant concern in assuring these non-nuclear

nations that the nuclear weapon states will limit

the expansion of their nuclear arsenals. In fact,

Obama’s overall non-proliferation promises

look hollow and hypocritical to the rest of the

world in light of not also ratifying the CTBT.

The U.S. is essentially asking other nations to

not build up and instead relinquish their nuclear

arsenals, while the U.S. actively retains the legal

right to test and improve its nuclear stockpile

if need be. This nuclear hypocrisy shatters

global non-proliferation cooperation since the

U.S. is not seen as a credible partner. It prevents

countries from working with the United States

on important actions like ramping up sanctions

against Iran or North Korea or working to reshape

the nuclear fuel cycle by strengthening

safeguards of the International Atomic Energy

Agency.

Another equally important benefit

is the effect that U.S. ratification of the CTBT

would have on the International Monitoring

System (IMS). Absent entry into force, ratification

of the test ban would ensure an increase in

funding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization,

which uses its funding to sustain and

expand mechanisms that monitor seismic activity

and detect nuclear testing. The benefit of this

is two-fold. First, due to its supreme monitoring

8 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


capabilities which allow for differentiation between

the seismic activity observed during an

earthquake and the activity felt during a nuclear

explosion test, the system allows CTBT signatories

to effectively verify compliance with the

tenets of the treaty and take counter-measures

against nations who try to proliferate. Second,

the increase in support and funding for the IMS

would also facilitate the early detection of natural

disasters. Scientists involved in the development

of IMS have indicated that due to the

high level of sensitivity enjoyed by the system,

seismic activity created by an imminent natural

disaster, such as a tsunami or a volcanic eruption,

could easily be identified and action could

be taken much more quickly to evacuate the area

and limit the monumental amount of life that

could be lost. Such developments become readily

important in the face of intensifying weather

fluctuations and the increased incidence of large

tropical storms that have been experienced in

recent years.

Despite all of these benefits to U.S.

ratification of the CTBT, significant domestic

political obstacles remain. During the first attempt

to achieve U.S. ratification in 1992, the

treaty received substantial opposition from

members of Congress who resisted the treaty

due to their suspicions that it did not have sufficient

and credible verification mechanisms.

Over the past seventeen years, some of the concerns

about the implementation of the treaty’s

standards have been alleviated as the IMS has

been strengthened, and new technology for

monitoring has been developed. Unfortunately,

in spite of these advancements, a substantial

number of lawmakers still maintain a united

front against this non-proliferation measure because

of ideological reasons.

Congressional focus on maintaining a

credible deterrent via nuclear modernization is

bolstered by retaining the right to legally test.

This attitude has subsisted even though a moratorium

on nuclear testing has been in place for

over a decade. Regrettably for United States’

non-proliferation goals, this moratorium is not

legally binding in the same way that CTBT

ratification would be and does not preclude the

ability to test without adverse reactions from

the international community. Nevertheless it appears

likely that if the CTBT comes up for vote

in the Senate in 2009, opposition may remain as

strong as it was in the 1992. In order to create

momentum for passage, Obama and Secretary

of State Hillary Clinton have indicated that they

plan to delay introduction until after the Nuclear

Posture Review, which is to be held within the

next year. They hope that this will result in further

support of Obama’s non-proliferation initiatives,

including the CTBT. EPR

Freshman Marta Chlistunoff is an International

Studies and Chemistry double

major. Elena R. Kuenzel is a freshman

and double majoring in International and

Women’s Studies major

EPR

The Scope of Executive

By: Stephanie J. Bennett

When the executive branch uses national

security threats as an excuse

to impose unilateral action, how

much power should the president really have?

From President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 invasion

of Grenada to President George H. W. Bush’s

deployment of troops to Panama in 1989, the

scope of the executive branch’s power has

grown far beyond what the framers of the

Constitution intended. Even before Abraham

Lincoln’s blockade of federal ports, presidents

have sought to increase their power, especially

in regard to the commitment of troops and the

imposition of unilateral action. The U.S. Constitution

provides for a separation of powers

between branches, and shared influence over

foreign and domestic actions. Presidents have

used numerous reasons to justify bypassing

the legislative branch. Whether those reasons

are valid or

detrimental

to the wellbeing

of the

A m e r i c a n

people remains

in

q u e s t i o n .

During times

of perceived

threats to the

security of

the United

States, many

p r e s i d e n t s

have used

their title of

Commander

in Chief of the Army and Navy to deliberately

further their pursuit for power. Presidents

have maintained over time that they are able

to act quickly and efficiently during a national

security emergency. Executive orders

allow decisions to fall into the hands of one

man, instead of the 435 men and women of

Congress. Additionally, the executive branch

typically acts swiftly, a trait Congress often

fails to possess due to legislative obstacles,

such as the review of legislation by committees

and voting in both the House of Representatives

and the Senate. The president’s

ability to act quickly lends itself to possible,

and likely, violations of the War Powers Resolution.

Especially during the responses to perceived

national security threats, the President

may violate the War Powers Resolution or, in

some cases, precipitate the wrath of Congress.

The War Powers Resolution requires

that “the president in every possible instance

shall consult with Congress before introducing

United States Armed Forces into hostilities

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

POWER

or into situations where imminent involvement

in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances”

(§ 1542). It also requires reporting and

consultation by the president to Congress. Especially

in a time when national security threats

prevail on the minds of U.S. citizens, it is vital

that the president and Congress work together for

the benefit and protection of the United States.

Recently, Presidents have violated the

War Powers Resolution in numerous ways. President

Bill Clinton launched a missile attack in

1993 against the Iraq Intelligence Headquarters

without the consent of Congress. Additionally,

some have argued that President George W. Bush

violated the War Powers Resolution by using the

assumption that Iraq contained weapons of mass

destruction as a reason to invade, even when that

postulation was later determined to be incorrect.

The framers intended for the Constitution

to

separate the

legislative,

judicial, and

e x e c u t i v e

b r a n c h e s .

When the

p r e s i d e n t

o v e r s t e p s

his inherent

powers and

challenges

the Constitution,

he

risks other

b r a n c h e s

ex c e e d i n g

their boundaries

as well. If branches become concerned

with gaining and consolidating power, they may

disregard the well-being of the American people.

While it is true that the president is more

efficient in dealing with a national security

emergency than Congress, where should we,

as American citizens, draw the line of executive

privilege? The Constitution does not offer

much help in this matter, especially considering

its ambiguities, and the courts have been reluctant

to intervene in struggles of power between

the president and Congress, often holding that

the issues raised are political, and not judicial

in nature. Citizens of the United States must

decide when the president has gone too far and

transformed our democracy into a dictatorship.

We, as citizens, have the ability, through voting

and demanding action by our legislators, as

well as judicial means, to ensure the sanctity of

legislation and the United States Constitution.

Senior Stephanie Bennett is a double

major in International Studies and

English.

EPR

9


Cover Story

EPR

U.S. Hegemony

Challenged?

Point/Counterpoint

• EPR Winter 09-10 •


U.S. Hegemony is

Sustainable

By: Anuj Panday

EPR

Has the American Era ended? Intellectual

commentators, government officials,

and the media elite seem to think so.

Frightening prophecies pervade the headlines.

Last year, a New York Times Magazine cover

story, titled “Waving Goodbye to U.S. Hegemony,”

argued that the United States’ “standing

in the world remains in steady decline.”

Roger Altman, a former deputy secretary of the

Treasury, has written that the financial crisis

“has inflicted profound damage on...[the United

States’] standing in the world.” This recent

scare is characterized by stories of the “rise of

the rest” that focuses on the diffusion of economic

power outside of the U.S. to rising powers,

such as China and India. This argument,

however, overestimates the degree to which

this is happening and overlooks the enormous

inequality of power between the U.S. and others.

With a leading position in all indicators of

power, the United States will remain the world’s

lone superpower for a long time to come.

Declinism, a recently developed term

for this phenomenon, is not new. Proponents

of this theory have been vocal since the U.S.

inherited its coveted status in the post-World

War II era. In the 1950s, Sputnik spurred the

collapse myths. In the 60s, it was the “missile

gap.” The 70s saw unprecedented challenges:

oil shocks, failure in Vietnam, deep recessions,

and victories by Soviet-endorsed regimes in

Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The 80s saw

rapid growth in the Japanese economy along

with what historian Paul Kennedy called “imperial

overstretch,” where the economic burdens

and security interests of an expanding empire

eventually outstrip its capacity to manage those

burdens or defend its interests. Each of these

scares was well-founded and potentially indicated

the coming of real change in the power

distribution. At the end of each period, however,

the United States emerged in a position with its

power even further entrenched. According to

Dartmouth Professor Wohlforth, “It is impossible

to know for sure whether or not the scare

is for real this time — shifts in the distribution

of power are notoriously hard to forecast.”

The problem lies in the confusion of

what constitutes leadership. Defining power as

the ability to resolve any global dilemma guarantees

frequent alarmism. The more powerful

the United States becomes, the greater the

number of problems in the international arena

it is expected to solve. The result is a perpetually

elevating standard for what it takes to be

the dominant power. It must be understood that

no empire is impervious to errors. The United

States failed in Vietnam and failed to overthrow

Fidel Castro, yet seems to have maintained its

leadership status in spite of those failures. Britain

at the height of its power could not stop

the loss of the American colonies. Alexander

the Great failed in Afghanistan, but created a

massive empire nonetheless. Failure in Iraq or

Afghanistan does not forecast complete doom.

What makes the odds even better

for the United States than any previous power

is that all the fundamental aspects of national

power are concentrated in the United States to a

degree never before experienced in history. The

U.S. spends close to four percent of its gross

domestic product (GDP) on the military and

“Our power,

shaped in part

by our adaptability,

will

allow us to

weather the

crisis better

than other nations.”

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

accounts for 47 percent of the world’s military

spending. The U.S. has invested large sums in

institutional capital, technological capacity, and

military research and development, all of which

give us great qualitative and quantitative edges

in military superiority. The U.S. will remain the

only nation that can project its military power

in any area of the world due to its uncontested

supremacy on land, sea, and in air. Previously,

no other country has had such unchallenged

dominance of these areas. Established military

presence in all regions of the globe cements

U.S. influence everywhere — it allows for responsiveness

and elasticity to deal with multiple

contingencies simultaneously. It is this military

supremacy, combined with an extraordinary

economic capacity that gives the United States

its unique advantage. Over time, the U.S. has

achieved an ever-increasing amount of economic

power with arguably more natural resources,

developed industry and infrastructure, and intellectual

capital than any other nation. These

capabilities create extraordinary flexibility and

large, untapped pools of power. In the instance

of a peer competitor, the U.S. can increase its

capabilities by devoting more resources to

military primacy. Despite all the talk about the

current economic crisis eroding our economic

power, in 2008 our share of the world product,

as documented by the International Monetary

Fund (IMF), was 27 percent. In that year, the

United States had a quarter of the world’s economic

power and the world’s most competitive

industries. Our power, shaped in part by our

adaptability, will allow us to weather the crisis

better than other nations. China and Russia have

experienced worse economic slowdowns than

the U.S., and leaders such as Gordon Brown

and Angela Merkel are looking to the United

States for more guidance through the recession.

Declinists, proponents of the declinism

theory, also point to the increasing deficit

and the decline of the dollar. Neither is much

of a problem for the United States. The dollar

will remain the world’s reserve currency and

we will serve as the lender of last resort for a

long time to come. The federal budget deficit is

fixable: increasing taxes and controlling costs

can put the budget back on track. Increased

spending during the Great Depression helped

to solve the financial crisis of that time and

prepared the U.S. for World War II, in a time

when budget deficits were a larger percent of

the GDP than now. The deficit lies partially

outside of the United States’ control. China

and Japan hold a large portion of the debt and

are dependent on exports to the United States.

They must continue purchasing dollars to ensure

their currencies are weak against it, thereby

maintaining competitive export potential.

Indeed, globalization strengthens, not

weakens, U.S. power. American universities

attract the best minds from all over the world,

creating the foundation for an innovative and

adaptive society. We have remained the head

of the world’s most popular political philosophy,

democracy, which is widely viewed as

the most legitimate form of leadership. Even

powerful autocratic nations must at least pay

lip service to democratic ideals such as voting

and human rights. We also remain at the center

of the world’s institutional system. The United

States plays central roles in many world organizations,

such as the World Trade Organization

(WTO), the United Nations (UN), and the

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

As extensions of American ideology and values,

they serve to enhance and channel U.S.

authority. For example, the WTO has dispute

mechanisms for facilitating free trade, which

is consistent with American ideals and is the

cornerstone for American economic growth.

No other empire in history has had the advantages

that multilateral institutions provide.

Institutions also legitimize U.S.

leadership. These mechanisms for global gov-

11


EPR

ernance create a benign face for U.S. power

because others believe in the United States’

commitment to common rules and norms.

Even President George W. Bush’s aggressive

unilateralism did not permanently damage the

U.S. image. President Barack Obama offers

a fresh start and can help redefine America’s

reputation and show the world that we have

renounced Bush’s exceptionalism. Robert Kagan,

senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment

for International Peace, has repeatedly argued

that the rise of great power autocracies pushes

strong democracies back in the direction of

the United States. Allies are pursuing policies

that reflect great concern about Russia’s and

China’s increasing influence. Strengthened alliances

allow the United States to rely on allies,

economize forces, and share burdens.

There is no one country that can take

the place of the United States. Although there

is much buzz about the so-called BRIC (Brazil,

Russia, India, China) nations growing in development

and power, no one has the economic or

technological capabilities to replace the United

States. Looming on the horizon is the rapidly

growing eastern powerhouse: China. Its economy

is growing, inequality is decreasing, it holds

a large chunk of U.S. debt, and it is modernizing

its military rapidly. China is predicted to

become a peer competitor to the United States

in terms of economic leverage by 2020. If these

predictions hold true, China is likely to have

half the world product of the United States, as

calculated by American political scientists. The

problem here is that economic trends are an ineffective

way to predict power transitions. Japan

was projected to outstrip U.S. economic production

given projections in 1989, but it is now

only just recovering from its economic downturn

in the early 1990s. In fact, between 2007

and 2009, Chinese economic growth has halved

from 12 percent to 6 percent, proving that its

incredible growth is dependent on foreign

economies. Benjamin Joffe, a noted consultant

in China, declares, “China is a place where

the rest of the world essentially rents workers

and workspace at deflated prices and distorted

exchange rates. The Chinese economy is extremely

dependent on exports — they amount

to two-fifths of China’s GDP — and hence vulnerable

to global economic downturns.” China

is still plagued by massive amounts of poverty,

fractured infrastructure, domestic upheavals,

pollution, disease problems, and an aging population

that can significantly alter the trajectory

of economic growth rates. These problems will

put new pressures on government spending

and will create new social upheavals. Costly

fixes will restrict spending on the military and

constrain modernization efforts. India faces

similar problems along with massive corruption,

colossal linguistic barriers and tremendous

ethnic fragmentation. Russia appears to be fading

into irrelevance. Its nuclear stockpile is antiquated

and its military forces are crumbling.

Its economy relies on oil exports, which makes

it too vulnerable to the unpredictable swings in

global oil prices. Brazil, while no doubt experiencing

significant growth and development,

still lags far behind the United States in military

power, per capita GDP and industrial output.

Indeed, the United States, even if it weakens a

little bit, remains far more powerful than any

other country, therefore ensuring dominance.

The United States will see many more

years at the helm of the international system.

Lots of things can and will go wrong. But no

one failure internationally is enough to topple

the gigantic lead in power that the United States

possesses both militarily and economically. The

demand for U.S. leadership has never been higher;

the United States has pacified any fears of its

potentially threatening stature by exporting a

culture of transparency and benevolence. As the

only country capable of leading such a chaotic

world, the U.S. will remain the sole superpower.

Anuj Panday is a sophomore in the

EPR

College and majoring in International

Studies

12 • EPR Winter 09-10 •

U.S. Hegemony is

Unsustainable

By: James Hamraie

The election of President Barack Obama,

the withdrawal of troops from forward

deployment in Iraq, and the mending

of ties with foreign nations that were alienated

during the War on Terror, have helped to create

an atmosphere of optimism for the continued

primacy of the United States as the leading nation

in the international arena. This optimism,

however, is premature. Despite the perceptual

stability of U.S. dominance over the past two

decades, the continuation of its primacy will inevitably

decline.

This claim is neither extreme nor unprecedented.

History is ripe with examples that

show that all great empires collapse. The fall of

Rome, Britain, the Mongols, the Han Dynasty,

and the Byzantine Empire show that changes

in the balance of power are quite frequent. An

analysis of the structure of unipolarity combined

with a focus on recent events shows that a


number of issues in all sectors of power, including

economic, military, and diplomatic sectors,

limit the ability of the United States to prevent

counter-balancing and the weakening of power

projection, eventually causing a shift to a world

where the United States shares the stage with

rising powers.

Economic woes have affected the

ability of the United States to maintain its supremacy.

The recent financial crises, the erosion

of U.S. competitiveness in business and education,

and the declining purchasing power of the

dollar have created domestic turmoil and dented

the leading view of U.S. dominance among international

allies. These factors, coupled with

dependence on foreign oil and energy resources,

are weakening U.S. flexibility and allowing foreign

nations with exploding economies, such as

China and India, to close the gap. For example,

if China’s booming growth continues, then China’s

total GDP would be 2.5 times that of the

United States. A weaker economy has high domestic

dissatisfaction contributing to a greater

urgency to focus on national issues instead of

international affairs. It is essential for the United

States to maintain its flexibility in international

EPR

involvement and conflict resolution because it

lends the impression that the U.S. does not have

its hands tied and that the U.S. military is still

extremely powerful. A strong economy also

lessens the amount of domestic spending on

social services and foundation-level economic

stimulus and allows for greater allocation of resources

into research and development of new

military technologies and upkeep of military

supplies. Both of these factors are essential for

conventional combat readiness and warfare, and

allow the U.S. armed forces to sustain their lead

over other nations.

Diplomatic woes arise from the United

States’ diminished image. Although the War

on Terror initially forged alliances and international

sympathy, the unilateral policy decisions,

human rights abuses, and exceptionalism

that followed transformed the perception of the

United States from a benevolent world power to

an international bully willing to neglect multilateral

solutions in favor of ad-hoc cowboy diplomacy.

The abuses of Abu Ghraib, arguments

over the Kyoto Protocol and global warming,

and the invasion of Iraq are only a few examples

of policies that have spurred heavy disdain and

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

lasting animosity with both allies and hostile

nations. Although Obama’s election has caused

many foreign countries to begin changing their

attitude towards the United States and public

polls have illustrated a stronger approval rating

of the United States, there are still major issues

that need to be settled. The U.S. has failed to

take concrete action on a majority of issues that

the international community has been asking the

United States to follow through on for over a decade.

These include the ratification of the Comprehensive

Test Ban Treaty, the Law of the Sea

Treaty, and the Rome Statute of the International

Criminal Court. Being a world leader requires

more than raw power. Sustaining alliances and

goodwill with other nations is essential. Additionally,

if the United States can convince other

nations to comply with its wishes, it can lower

the costs of shaping the global stage to reflect

its interests. This arrangement, coupled with the

evolving balance of power, can cause other nations

to support the U.S. and oppose its potential

challengers. For instance, the changing security

dynamics in East Asia show that self-interest is

spurring countries to be less willing to oppose

neighbors on important issues or strategic circumstances.

This is due to a fear of losing economic

and trading ties, despite a long history

of cooperation and positive relations with the

United States.

Imperial overstretch, domestic costs

of forward deployment, fighting capability,

and overburdening security and humanitarian

commitments has caused a decline in military

power, the lifeline of U.S. global dominance.

The growing strength of foreign militaries exacerbates

the effect of these problems. The

post-Cold War apex of American power has

begun to erode while other nations with larger

populations are training substantial military

forces with increasingly sophisticated technology.

Recent events illustrate the implication of

these factors on the decline of U.S. power and

the growing strength of potential global rivals.

India and China are economic powerhouses,

whose growth has allowed for greater modernization.

Despite the military edge currently

held by the U.S., domestic sentiment has drifted

away from an overwhelming focus on defense

spending since the invasion of and subsequent

public backlash from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Additionally, China’s expanding naval forces,

such as the nuclear-armed submarines, are

lessening the effect of U.S. nuclear supremacy

and first-strike leverage. Furthermore, in other

important global regions, Brazil is vying for regional

hegemony, China is building security and

economic ties with African nations, and Russia

is legitimizing interventionist policies with the

invasion of Georgia and fiery rhetoric over national

expansion and national missile defense. EPR

James Hamraie is a sophomore in the

College and majoring in International

Studies.

13


Nation

EPR

America’s Failed War on Drugs

By: David Michaels

It is no secret that the “War on Drugs” in

the United States has been an abysmal failure.

Since its birth during Richard Nixon’s

presidency, and its escalation under the Reagan

administration, the federal government’s crackdown

on narcotics has morphed into a modern

day battle against our own lower class. Liberals

are not the only ones calling out its faults;

instead, observers on both sides of the spectrum

have come to grips with its ineffectiveness.

Conservative minds have admitted that our drug

policy is neither cost-effective nor a deterrent

of abuse, including the late William F. Buckley,

who conceded the merits and inevitability

of legalization of marijuana in a 1996 issue of

National Review.

In May, President Barack Obama’s

Director of National Drug Control Policy, Gil

Kerlikowske, finally became one the first highranking

officials to publicly speak out against

the idea of labeling federal policy as a “War on

Drugs.” His emphasis on rehabilitation rather

than incarceration is an idea that should have

been acknowledged long ago.

While it is a relief to finally hear those

words from the administration, it remains difficult

to be optimistic about real change when the

federal government alone will spend $22 billion

in 2009 to enact the same ineffective policies

as before. That is an absurd amount, especially

given the record budget deficit, and threatens

more important expenditures, such as education.

For all of our spending on the drug war, the

United States still has one of the highest rates

of narcotic consumption in the world for nearly

every illicit drug, according to the United Nations’

World Drug Report in 2009. And of the

$64 billion worth of narcotics sold in the U.S.

in any given year, less that 1 percent of that is

ever seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

One of the most visible problems with

our current drug policy is its contribution to the

overcrowding of our prisons. Approximately

one in every 31 U.S. adults is in a community-based

corrections facility that is focused on

rehabilitation, and one out of every 100 is incarcerated

in a county jail or state prison. To give

a better idea of how this measures against other

nations, The United States contains five percent

of the world population but has 25 percent of

the world’s prisoners. That is the highest incarceration

rate in the world. This overcrowding

strains our tax dollars and law enforcement

resources, while additionally increasing prison

violence. But more importantly, it reduces the

effectiveness of our corrections process.

The increase in prison overcrowding

has many causes, but it is certainly correlated to

the drug war. Approximately

20 percent of state prisoners

and over 50 percent of federal

prisoners are incarcerated for

drug charges. Additionally,

those that are prosecuted for

drug offenses are overwhelmingly

involved in drugs at the

less potent end of the spectrum.

In 1998, a whopping 79

percent of all DEA convictions

involved either marijuana or

cocaine.

Given the state of

our corrections system, it is

absurd to waste limited resources

on incarcerating nonviolent

drug offenders. And

in states with “three strikes

laws,” a person with three

felony drug offenses can face

up to life in prison. Not only is

this warranted, but does it really

do anything to fix the drug

problem?

Over-incarceration

creates problems that go beyond

prison overcrowding.

Our eagerness to lock-up drug

offenders leads to an endless

cycle where the judicial system

does nothing to help inner-city

kids who are caught in

drug use and the dealing trade

at an early age. These children

are arrested and processed

through the system at a young

age, and are then released on

the street without an education

or job training, just a criminal

record. Such a system does

nothing to address the issue

that one out of every 15 African-Americans

is incarcerated,

and that 44.8 percent of drug

offenders in state prisons are black.

Our drug policy continues to attack

users and lower-level dealers, but it does nothing

to address the institutional problems in our

corrections process that encourage the drug

trade and incarcerate the same people again and

again. It is illogical to imprison the individual

players in the drug trade without doing anything

to fix the conditions that allow these players to

enter the game in the first place. While Kerlikowske’s

words give hope for a change in attitude,

the Obama administration has yet to put

its money where its mouth is. One campaign

promise that Obama has gone back on is to use

federal funding for a needle exchange program.

The program would drastically reduce the risk

of HIV and AIDS among drug users by allowing

them to exchange used syringes for clean

ones. Despite Obama’s pledge of support for

the program, no funding for it showed up in

his budget proposal. By simplistically viewing

drugs as taboo, the government is abandoning

its own struggling citizens by prioritizing senseless

ethical concerns over the own well-being of

its citizens.

A different approach needs to be

taken. The U.S. needs to actually focus on re-

14 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


habilitating drug users instead of just talking

about change. The first step is in this process

is to decriminalize drug possession. Instead of

wasting money on prosecuting and jailing nonviolent

offenders, they should be sent to rehab

facilities to curb their addiction. This course of

policy was adopted by Portugal in 2001. The

government eliminated all criminal penalties

for individual drug possession, and the results

have been extremely successful. In its first five

years, drug use rates declined significantly, especially

among teenagers. All drug use in seventh

to ninth graders dropped from 14.1 percent

EPR

to 10.6 percent. Overall marijuana use in all

people over the age of 15 is down to 10 percent,

which is the lowest rate in the European

Union and nearly a quarter of what that rate

is in the U.S. Additionally, the HIV infection

rate in Portugal’s drug users has declined by 17

percent. Meanwhile, the number of individuals

that were treated for drug addiction doubled.

Additionally, the U.S. needs to explore

more unconventional treatment methods

that have been proven to work better than our

current rehabilitation methods. A current study

in Great Britain has discovered that one of the

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

best ways to treat heroin addicts is to remove the

drug users from the streets and give them supervised

daily injections in a medical clinic. The

program has drastically reduced illegal heroin

use by 75 percent and eliminated two-thirds of

heroin related crime. This new treatment approach,

which also includes addiction counseling,

is only about one-third of the amount that it

annually costs to place these individuals in jail.

A program such as this could have great success

in America, but it will never develop as long as

we let our fear of reform cloud our judgment.

While it is important to improve

treatment, it is even more essential to focus on

eliminating the black market created by the drug

trade. Just as prohibition in the 1920s led to a

rise in organized crime and mob violence, our

drug policy has created a culture of gangs that

wreak havoc on urban society. As economists

like Milton Friedman have pointed out, the

black market violence results from a simple case

of reducing drug supply to a much lower level

than the demand. The reality is, when taking into

account the gang wars that result from the underground

drug economy, more people die from

the effects of the war on drugs than are actually

dying from drug use itself.

Critics of drug policy reform will

claim that making harmful drugs more widely

available to the public will create more drug

addicts. However, historical precedence shows

that this is not the case. After prohibition, the

amount of alcohol purchases as a percentage of

total national consumption increased for three

years before steadily declining over the next 50

years to nearly half the level it was at when the

18th Amendment was repealed. Whether drugs

are illegal or not, those that want to use drugs

will be able to access them one way or another.

The novelty of their legalization would only be

a short-term effect.

Loosening our drug regulation reduces

black market violence both domestically and

in nations such as Mexico, where cartel violence

has led to thousands of murders and police corruption.

This violence spills across our borders

and into hub cities, such as Atlanta, where drug

traffickers have been tied to increases in murder

and kidnapping cases. Additionally, cutting off

black market drugs reduces funds for the Taliban

and other corrupt groups in Afghanistan, the nation

where over 90 percent of the world’s supply

of heroin comes from.

It is important to note that by decriminalizing

drugs, the government is not advocating

drug use in any way. But the strength of the

black market combined with the factors of overcrowded

prisons and urban decay makes it obvious

that our current stance on drugs has failed.

It is time to wave the white flag on a war that

has ripped apart our own communities, and reform

our drug policy from mindless punishment

to sensible, safe, and effective treatment that is

accessible to everyone. EPR

Sophomore David Michaels is a double

major in Political Science and Journalism.

15


Nation

EPR

The Right to

Bear Arms:

McDonald v. Chicago

By: Andrew Hull

With the monumental decision of D.C.

v. Heller being determined by a 5-4

vote in the U.S. Supreme Court, it

would seem like the guns rights activists have

won their constitutional battle. The District of

Columbia’s gun ban was performed in an area

under the exclusive governance of the federal

government; its overturning indirectly implied

that the federal government is constitutionally

forbidden to abridge an individual’s right to bear

arms.

What about a city like Chicago,

though? The question now facing the Supreme

Court in the case McDonald v. Chicago, concerning

the constitutionality of a handgun ban in

Chicago, is whether or not the Second Amendment

applies to the states. It looks like the proponents

of an individual’s right to bear arms

16 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


have only finished half the race.

Although the Second Amendment as

first drafted does not protect the right

from the states, there can be a constitutional

argument made for the right being

indeed saved from the states. The argument

is known “incorporation” and it

finds its basis in two different parts of

the 14th Amendment: the Privileges or

Immunities Clause (§1, Cl. 2) and the

adjacent Due Process Clause (§1, Cl. 3).

Incorporation, as broadly defined, is the

extension of the rights written in the Bill

of Rights against the states.

It would appear that the

Privileges or Immunities Clause would

be the best basis for this incorporation,

as it says, “No State shall make or enforce

any law which shall abridge the

privileges or immunities of citizens of

the United States.” It seems to imply the

barring of creating a law that abridges

the rights of a citizen as found in the Bill

of Rights. This view is probably given

its best defense by Justice Hugo Black

in his dissenting opinion in Adamson v.

California in which he includes an exhaustive

list of excerpts from congressional

debate during the drafting the

14th Amendment supporting this interpretation.

This robust sounding

clause, however, has been curiously

dormant in constitutional law for most

of the clause’s existence. In 1873, the

Supreme Court dispelled this reading of

§1, Cl. 2. “Slaughterhouse Cases”. Instead,

the Supreme Court has preferred

to use the much more controversial and

legally complex Due Process Clause,

which reads, “…nor shall any State

deprive any person of life, liberty, or

property, without due process of law.”

The phrase “due process” has a long

and complex history stretching back to

the Magna Carta. Without becoming

too bogged down in legal history, it means that

a legal system has to respect certain rights of a

person while prosecuting them for a crime.

The easiest example of due process is

that in order to be convicted of a crime, a person

has to be found guilty by a jury of his or her

peers. The Supreme Court has used this clause

to selectively incorporate the Bill of Rights

against the states. Rather than broadly applying

the Bill of Rights to the states, like the Supreme

Court would have done under the Immunities

Clause, it instead decides each of the individual

rights contained in the first ten amendments on

a case-by-case basis. In order for a right to be

incorporated, the right has to be “implicit in

the concept of ordered liberty,” a “fundamental

right,” according to the Supreme Court’s ruling

in the 1968 case Duncan v. Louisiana. Until this

point, most of the rights in the Bill of Rights

have been considered “fundamental rights”

EPR

and have been applied to states through a long

patchwork of cases. The exception is the Second

Amendment, which is why McDonald v.

Chicago is such an important case.

McDonald v. Chicago is actually one of several

cases that were spawned post-Heller as a test

case for incorporation. Other similar cases include

NRA v. Chicago, Guy Montag Doe v. San

Francisco Housing Authority, Nordyke v. King,

and Maloney v. Rice. What makes McDonald

unique as well as a potentially landmark case

is that it explicitly calls for the overturning of

the Slaughterhouse Cases and the restoration of

the “full meaning” of the Privileges or Immunities

Clause. McDonald’s Petition for Certiorari

states:

More critically, owing to the Fourteenth Amendment’s

plain text, original purpose, and original

public meaning, this Court should also hold the

Second Amendment is incorporated through the

Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities

Clause. Although consensus regarding this

provision’s full meaning will likely remain elusive,

there is now near uniform agreement that

this Court’s decision in The Slaughter-House

Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873), which all

but eviscerated the Privileges or Immunities

Clause, was wrongly decided. Given the profound

scope of Slaughter-House’s error, and the

confusion it has spawned in Fourteenth Amendment

jurisprudence, overruling Slaughter-House

remains imperative. The unique interplay between

the Second and Fourteenth Amendments

makes this the ideal case in which to do so (17).

Ruling in favor of McDonald, then, could not

only incorporate the Second Amendment to

the states, but also overturn the Slaughterhouse

Cases. This would be a reversal of monumental

proportions because the Privileges and Immunities

Clause could then be used, with one

broad stroke, to incorporate the entirety of the

first eight amendments of the Bill of Rights. The

wish of Black, who championed this totalistic

or “mechanical” incorporation, would finally be

fulfilled. The process of selective incorporation,

which uses rather vague and undemanding criteria,

would become obsolete, as a right would not

have to be considered “fundamental” to qualify

for incorporation. This ramification has resulted

in the support of many liberal legal theorists,

who have interests in other rights aside from

those included in the Second Amendment.

The reevaluation, though perhaps not the rejuvenation

that Black supported, of the Privileges

and Immunities Clause also has the support of

many conservatives, most notably Justice Clarence

Thomas who lamented on the state of the

clause in his dissent in Saenz v. Roe:

“ As The Chief Justice points out, ante at 1, it

comes as quite a surprise that the majority relies

on the Privileges or Immunities Clause at all in

this case. That is because, as I have explained supra,

at 1-2, The Slaughter-House Cases sapped

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

the Clause of any meaning. … Because I believe

that the demise of the Privileges or Immunities

Clause has contributed in no small part to the

current disarray of our Fourteenth Amendment

jurisprudence, I would be open to reevaluating

its meaning in an appropriate case.”

An issue remains, however, if McDonald were

to win his case: the status of the Fourteenth

Amendment’s Due Process clause, the clause

originally used to facilitate incorporation. Both

the Immunities and the Due Process clauses

would then be interpreted to protect the rights

of people against the states, with the Immunities

Clause being far stronger in this case. The Due

Process clause would then seem to be redundant

and utterly useless given the Due Process

clause in the Fifth Amendment, but this may not

be the case. While the Fifth Amendment’s Due

Process clause protects the same abstract right

as the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause,

the Fifth Amendment’s meaning would be restricted

when incorporated through the Privileges

and Immunities Clause to protecting only

citizens. This is because the objects protected

in the Immunities Clause are “citizens,” not the

broader noun “persons” that is in both of the

Due Process Clauses. The Fourteenth Amendment’s

Due Process Clause, however, protects

all persons’ due process rights explicitly against

the states. This makes it broader than the Fifth

Amendment’s Due Process Clause as incorporated

through the Immunities Clause.

It then appears that a ruling in favor

of McDonald would accomplish several constitutional

progressions. The Supreme Court

would first, with even the narrowest ruling, finally

incorporate the Second Amendment and

overturn a century and a half of contradicting

case law. At its most ambitious, it would restore

the Privileges and Immunities Clause from the

constitutional gutting it received during the

Slaughterhouse Cases. This would result in the

automatic incorporation of not only the Second

Amendment, but also all other rights that have

not yet been formally incorporated: The right

to petition for redress of grievances in the First

Amendment, the right to indictment by a grand

jury in the Fifth Amendment, the protection

against excessive bails and fines in the Eighth

Amendment, and the entirety of the Third and

Seventh Amendments. McDonald v. Chicago

is a case that, while at first glance is simply

the next constitutional step after the individual

rights reading of the Second Amendment in

D.C. v. Heller. However, it could also be something

of a new beginning in the Supreme Court’s

jurisprudence. Black’s vision for the Privileges

and Immunities clause, more than 60 years in

the making, may finally be realized through Mc-

Donald v. Chicago. EPR

Andrew Hull is a sophomore in the College

and a double major in Philosophy

and Classical Civilization

17


Foreign affairs

EPR

The Impact of

War and Terror

on Pakistan

By: Mishal M. Ali

Situated between Afghanistan, a country

torn apart by war, and India, a longtime

enemy allied with the United States, Pakistan

has been an enigmatic actor in South Asian

politics over the last decade. Since the U.S.

invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan has

been scrutinized by the international community,

which has offered both praise and admonishment

for its role in the conflict. This article

looks at the impact of the war on Pakistan’s civil

society by exploring public attitudes towards the

United States and Islamic extremism.

The Beginning

Pakistan has been a volatile actor

in South Asia since its founding in 1947. Post

independence, it has seen multiple upheavals

- from dictatorial and military governments to

parliamentary democracy and everything in between.

In Pakistan, political power is divided

into three main sectors. The first sector is the

civilian government, led by Asif Ali Zardari

since September of 2008. The second sector is

the military, which many argue holds the most

political influence. The third branch of power is

the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The power of the ISI, like the Central Intelligence

Agency in the United States, is hard to

measure due to its secrecy.

The inability of Western governments

to understand Pakistani politics is a reflection

of the complexity of Pakistani society. On one

hand, Pakistan has never been able to become a

major economic player in the region in the way

India has. On the other hand, it has been noticed

for obtaining nuclear weapons. Many Pakistani

people are willing to support the United States

in exchange for economic and strategic aid, but

Pakistanis have not forgotten that the U.S. lent

support to the Mujahedeen during the Afghan-

Soviet War. In the eyes of many Pakistanis, the

United States has had a longtime unwelcome

hand in their country’s politics by supporting repressive

governments, such as that of Muhammad

Zia-Ul-Haq, and in attempting to affect

election outcomes in other cases.

Prior to 9/11, the main political problem

that Pakistan faced was the dispute with

India over control of Kashmir, a territory that

spans the northern borders of both countries, as

well as southern China. The international border

between India and Pakistan in this region

has been disputed since the partition of India

and Pakistan in 1947. Before 9/11, Pakistan’s

ISI was also accused of supporting the Taliban

in Afghanistan—an accusation that gained enormous

political significance for the country in response

to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Response to 9/11 and the War on Terror

After 9/11, Pakistani President Musharraf

reluctantly aligned himself with the United

States, pledging that he would cooperate with

U.S. efforts to eradicate the Taliban. Many communities

were incensed by the government’s

stance. The Pashtun ethnic community in Pakistan,

most of which resides near the border with

Pakistan, has extensive social links with Afghani

Pashtuns. The Pashtuns understood Musharaf to

say that he would stand for the killing of many

of their brothers and relatives. Other Pakistanis,

particularly those from non-Pashtun ethnic

groups, viewed their country’s partnership with

the United States as essential.

Maybe the most telling statement

about U.S.-Pakistani relations at the time came

from a memoir recently written by Musharraf

titled, In the Line of Fire. In the book Musharraf

alleges that the day after the attacks he received

a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State Colin

Powell and was told, “you are either with

us or against us.” The next day, according to

Musharaff’s account, Deputy Secretary Richard

Armitage “told the director general [of the ISI]

not only that we had to decide whether we

were with America or with the terrorists, but

that if we chose the terrorists, then we should

be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone

Age.” If Musharraf’s allegations are true, it

is easy to see why many Pakistanis see the

United States in a negative light.

Impact of Afghanistan War on Pakistan

Although Pakistan has been politically

unstable since its founding, the amount

of internal violence it has suffered since the

beginning of the U.S. war on terrorism is unprecedented

in the country’s history. This is

due to the increasing influence of Al Qaeda in

Pakistan.

A concise summary of the problems

Pakistan faces as a result of the U.S. intervention

in Afghanistan comes from noted Pakistani

scholar M. Nasrullah Mirza who states,

“An influx of millions of Afghan refugees [has]

resulted in small arms proliferation, drug trafficking

and increased sectarianism. Furthermore,

foreign militants have been able to infiltrate

through Pakistan’s porous borders.”

The political problems identified by

Mirza have resulted in intensified public attitudes

about religious extremism and foreign

policy. In a 2009 study by the non-partisan International

Republican Institute, 90 percent of

Pakistanis agreed that religious extremism is

a major problem in Pakistan, whereas only 63

percent agreed with the same statement in 2007.

In 2006, the study found that 43 percent of Pakistanis

had a favorable opinion of U.S.-Pakistani

cooperation in fighting terrorism, as compared

with 18 percent in 2009.

The annual terrorism report published

by the U.S. State Department notes that there

were 1,839 terrorist incidents in 2008—a fourfold

increase from 2006. Although most of these

incidents took place near the border with Afghanistan,

many others, like the assassination of

former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the

18 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


EPR

attacks on the Sri Lankan national cricket team,

happened in the eastern part of the country, distant

from conflict zones.

So, what does this mean? First, it

means that Al Qaeda and other sympathetic

organizations are attacking with greater sophistication

and finding many civilians who are

sympathetic to their cause. What is less obvious

is the role of local police and the ISI in these attacks.

Pakistan is notoriously corrupt, and many

of these attacks cannot happen without bribes

and favors. For example, Pakistan is still facing

corruption on a national level today. In a report

given to Zardari by Pakistan’s Auditor General,

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was identified

as having financial irregularities of $5 million

(U.S.) in 2007-2008. Pakistani corruption is

not only a problem at the national level but also

stems down to the local level where police are

often paid off to “keep quiet” about illegal activities.

Proposed Solutions to the problem

Experts have proposed different ways

of helping Pakistan combat its growing threats.

Mustafa Malik, writing in Middle East Policy,

agrees that the Obama administration’s decision

to send Pakistan $1.5 billion in aid over the next

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

five years will only help reduce violence if it is

distributed in a way that targets the lower economic

classes of society. Even if aid is distributed

properly, Malik also contends the money will

do nothing to reduce anti-American sentiment

in the region. To do that, he says, the U.S. must

withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Along

with the economic aid, the legislation itself

requires that President Barack Obama inform

Congress in detail of his Pakistani strategy. It

also requires Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

to update him on progress of the strategy every

six months.

Nasreen Akthar, a Pakistani lecturer

and scholar suggests that “building a safe society,

functional state institutions, and reviving

the economy of Afghanistan would bring tremendous

benefit to all its neighbors” because

of the potential for economic integration with

Afghanistan. Many experts have suggested that

resolving the Kashmir dispute with India will

benefit both countries economically and free up

resources that are spent on the conflict.

The most important thing the Pakistani

government can do for itself is to convince

its people that this is their war. Pakistan is a very

weak state, and many believe that Pakistan will

not have the institutional capacity to handle extremist

organizations if the United States were

to withdraw from Afghanistan. Without the support

of Pakistani citizens, whether they are from

the Sindh province in southern Pakistan or from

the northwest Frontier Province, the government’s

efforts will be stymied.

The only way for the Pakistani government

to find its way out of its current situation

is to establish transparency and accountability

in all three of its main power sectors. This will

be difficult, given that all three branches have

a long tradition of corruption. If Pakistan is to

become a stable state, it will need help from its

regional neighbors—India included. Pakistan

needs to make a meaningful attempt to end the

Kashmir conflict and show India that greater security

in Pakistan will lead to a more secure India,

as well as a more stable South Asia. While

Pakistan has been seen as an enigmatic actor, its

actions may be the difference between winning

and losing the battle against Islamic extremism

in South Asia. EPR

Mishal M. Ali is a senior in the College and

a Political Science and Economics double

major.

19


Foreign Affairs

Russia

Resurgent?

EPR

By: Peter Wolf (with special thanks to

Prof. T.F. Remington)

A

little over ten years ago, Russia

was regarded as the “sick man” of

Europe. It was a Pandora’s box of

problems: ethnic strife, crippling

poverty, a tortured economy, soaring rates of

alcoholism, drug use, and AIDS, and an ineffective

government fraught with endemic corruption.

One could hardly believe it to be the same

country that had once so strongly contended for

world dominance.

But when we look at Russia today,

one word continues to crop up, over and over

again: “Resurgent.” And indeed, the adjective

is well-deserved. Russia has emerged from the

dark, uncertain days of the post-Soviet collapse

as a vigorous and, prior to the recent economic

downturn, economically dynamic country determined

to reassert its role as a major player

on the world stage. This reality is nowhere more

apparent than in the realm of European affairs.

Yet, for all of this newfound strength, clout, and

wealth, this resurrected bear may not be as sturdy

as many might believe.

To fully understand the future of Russo-European

relations, one must look at these

blocks’ rather complicated past. Like most other

countries, Russia’s foreign policy is dictated by

its national interest, yet never before in history

have these interests been more opaque. Under

both the tsars and Soviets, the cornerstone of

Russian foreign policy had a common theme:

dominance: dominance over what Russia refers

to as its “near-abroad,” the independent

states that emerged after the collapse of the

USSR. Justification for Russian dominance has

come in many guises throughout history: Pan-

Slavism, the defense of the Orthodox faith, dubious

claims of continuity with the Byzantine

Empire, and, in more recent memory, Russia’s

self-anointed role as the leader of International

Communism.

Today, each of these dogmas has been

largely discredited and for once, Russia faces

the realm of global politics without the backing

of an ideology with internationalist appeal. Yet

as early as 2001, despite the manifold weakness

of his country at the time, President Vladimir

Putin asserted Russia’s right to have major influence

in its “near abroad,” declaring the region

to be within his country’s “sphere of influence.”

20 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


EPR

Too many European countries that once lay under

direct Russian control, Putin’s words, while

by no means novel, were nonetheless worrisome.

In 2004, the traditionally Russophobic

Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

joined both NATO and the European Union,

a move which may very well have been partly

motivated by the protection these organizations

offer against any possible Russian aggression.

Yet Europe in general has so far been unsure of

how to respond to this new Russia. It is unused

to a Kremlin that no longer desires dominance,

but rather influence instead. Moreover, Russia

now also has firm control over Europe’s energy

supplies: the European Union (EU) presently

imports nearly half of its natural gas and 30 percent

of its oil from Russia, and Russia has been

far from shy in taking advantage of this fact. In

a report issued by the Swedish Defense Agency

in 2007, 55 incidents involving Russian energy

suppliers, including cut-offs, explicit threats,

coercive price policy, and certain takeovers,

were listed since 1991, most of which were determined

to have “both political and economic

underpinnings.”

Along with showcasing its formidable

skills at this game of petropolitics, Russia has

also proven itself very adept at playing EU members

off of one another. Italy and Germany, two

of Russia’s largest trading partners, have consistently

defended Russian actions, even over such

issues as blatant as Russia’s “accidental” shutoff

of EU gas supplies after a row with Ukraine over

gas transport earlier this year. France has also

begun to take a more conciliatory tone towards

Moscow. During the controversial 2008 South

Ossetia War, the United Kingdom was the only

Western European nation to condemn both Russia’s

overly-aggressive response and Georgia’s

recklessness, while Germany, Italy, and others

issued statements critical of Georgia and largely

sympathetic to Russia. This instance is perhaps

one of the most visible illustrations of the EU’s

disjointed stance towards Russia.

Many could take, and have taken,

these circumstances as proof that Russia has reemerged

as a neo-imperialist power bent on a

policy of coercion and adventurism. The reality

of the situation, however, is vastly different. Far

from seeing itself as a reborn superpower, Russia

is vividly aware of the distrust with which

it is seen by other countries, and it knows what

sort of alarms the idea of Russian expansionism

sets off in the rest of the world. When South Ossetia

and Abkhazia asked to be absorbed into

Russia in the wake of the Georgian War, they

were instantly denied. The breakaway republics

of Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh were

met with the same icy dismissal when they too

asked for integration into the Russian Federation.

These so-called “frozen conflicts” have no

foreseeable end, largely due to the fact that it is

in Russia’s best interest to keep them alive so

that they may be used as pressure points whenever

Russian interest calls for it.

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

In recent years, this intense selfawareness

has been coupled with increased

Russian anxiety regarding its neighbors. Although

they are both members of the Shanghai

Cooperation Organization (a sort of Eurasian

NATO), Russia has become wary of China and

its efforts to dominate the security pact, since

Central Asia is an area of high Russian focus as

well. There, Russia must compete with China,

and to some degree the United States as well,

for power and influence amongst the newlyindependent,

savvy, and immensely energy-rich

republics of Central Asia.

However, this situation does not mean

that Russia has turned its back on Europe. Far

from it, since the Ukraine is an ever-present

concern to Russia. The Kremlin believes that

Ukrainian admission to the EU or NATO would

severely jeopardize Russian national security

and is actively working to prevent any such

event from occurring.

The Ukraine has become more and

more a source of contention in the years following

the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005. Since

2008, the government has become cripplingly

polarized, with Viktor Yushchenko’s flagging

pro-Western faction competing with the increasingly-popular

blocs led by Yulia Tymoshenko

and Viktor Yanukovych, both of which favor

rapprochement with Russia.

Political quagmire aside, Ukraine also

faces a crisis of national unity. Ukrainians in the

eastern part of the country much more readily

identify with Russia and Russian culture than

with that of their homeland. This situation is

especially true in the strategically vital Crimea,

which has flirted with secession, wherein 58

percent of the populace is ethnically Russian

and 77 percent report Russian as their native

language. Of particular note is the fact that the

Russian government has been distributing passports

to Ukrainians in the south and east. This

act is especially ominous not only because of

Russia’s declared policy of militarily intervening

to protect Russian citizens abroad, but also

because many South Ossetians were issued Russian

passports in the months leading up to the

Georgian War.

It is undeniable that the future holds

great potential for conflict between Russia and

the West. The reality of the situation, however,

is not that Russia has reemerged to bully

and browbeat its way to supremacy, but rather

it is trying to find its place in a rapidly changing

world. Its attempts have so far been at once

clumsy and deft, promising and suspicious. The

bear has reawakened to a world much changed

from the one it left. It is defensive, anxious, and,

above all, unsure; therefore, we must treat it

with caution. EPR

Peter Wolf is a freshman in the college

and is undeclared.

21


Foreign Affairs

EPR

The Hearts and Minds of

Palestine

22 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


By: Jonathan Silberman

EPR

For years, Hamas has been labeled a terrorist

organization by the European

Union and the United States, among

others. The group’s own charter says that it is

waiting to “obliterate [Israel]” and that there is

no solution except, “…jihad. Initiatives, proposals

and international conferences are all a waste

of time and vain endeavors.” Yet Hamas won a

2006 democratic, parliamentary election, and

polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for

Policy and Survey Research as late as March

2009 showed the organization winning 47 percent

of the vote if an election were held at that

time.

How has an organization labeled by

the outside world as a terrorist organization

gained popularity? It is easy to dismiss Hamas’

popularity, but it is much harder to take a step

back and try to figure out why Hamas has

gained the support of ordinary, everyday Palestinian

people.

Hamas’ first and most resonant message

in its 2006 campaign was that it would end

the corruption that has plagued the Palestinian

Authority (PA). The Fatah Party had run the

entire PA until its defeat in the 2006 elections,

where corruption was a substantial reason for

it’s loss. The Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is

a great example of this; he lives in a stone mansion

with extensive security. This, of course, is

nothing compared to the $1.3 billion net-worth

of Hamas’ former leader Yasser Arafat at the

time of his death. Most of that fortune was made

by transferring funds designated to help the

people living inside the PA into his own private

accounts. Even though 47 percent of the West

Bank and 80 percent of the Gaza strip live on

under $2 a day, Fatah’s oldest leaders made a

fortune creating monopolies, draining aid, grabbing

properties, and making protection rackets.

Perhaps even more alarming was that while all

government workers received full pay under Fatah,

20 percent did not show up to work.

Hamas’ promises in 2006 were simple

and effective. The organization agreed to

require all government institutions and departments

to open their records, including financial

records, which had been private under Fatah.

It promised that all institutions would keep accurate

records of their actions. Hamas also said

it would set up complaint departments for each

department of Government that worked with the

Attorney General’s office. Hamas has not been

as effective in fighting corruption, as its promises

would make it appear. Many problems have

arisen within its government. However, Hamas

is still seen as less corrupt than Fatah.

As a result of Fatah’s corruption,

money that should have been spent on public

services was not, and among other things,

the health infrastructure was underdeveloped.

Hamas stepped up and filled the void to the best

of its abilities by creating the Scientific Medical

Association in 1997. The Scientific Medical

Association coordinates the activities of various

medical centers and blood bank that Hamas has

set up in the Palestinian Authority. These medical

centers are willing to treat anyone at lower

rates than other medical clinics, or for free if

a person is unable to pay. The medical centers

are also popular because the doctors are “good

Muslims” and are trusted by some of the more

religious Palestinians. One example of a medical

facility is the Jaffa Medical Center. It is a

five-story hospital with three floors devoted to

outpatient clinics. There is a dental facility, a

large x-ray room, two operating rooms, and surgical

and medical wards, among other services

for men and women. One-third of the doctors

there are female, so female patients can be treated

by doctors of the same sex. Another example

“Hamas has been

successful at social

services because

they see

what the people

need and try to

provide it.”

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

of a clinic is the Al Quds clinic in the southern

part of the Gaza strip. This clinic contains pediatrics,

maternal, orthodontics, and post-surgical

care, and now reaches 400 people a month.

Another service that was lacking in

the PA was providing food for those who cannot

afford it. Hamas is willing to give food and cash

to anyone who asks for it. Hamas and its affiliated

organizations operate dozens of food banks

and soup kitchens. In 2001, one Hamas-affiliated

charity provided 33 percent of total food and

cash assistance, while its umbrella organization

provided another 21 percent. In the alleys near a

refugee camp, families receive $40 to $100 per

month, along with beans, flour, eggs, and other

essential foods. One Palestinian-Christian said

that Hamas was so popular because you would

wake up and “find a box of [food] staples like

oil and sugar here on the sidewalk.” Hamas provided

food baskets for people shortly before the

2006 elections. More recently, it has provided

free iftar, the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast,

to some residents of East Jerusalem. Hamas also

provided cash to people who were hurt during

Israel’s recent operation in the Gaza strip.

Hamas has been successful at social

services because they see what the people need

and try to provide it. While Hamas’ latest outreach

effort may seem surprising, even astonishing,

to some, it is just another example of

Hamas providing a needed social service. The

group has now entered into matchmaking. In

the conservative Islamic community of the Gaza

strip, women are supposed to marry young and

are matched to husbands through their mothers.

However, many women in their mid-twenties,

who are old by Gaza’s standards, are still single

and their families have given up trying to find

matches. So Hamas has set up a service, Tayseer

Association for Marriage and Development,

where single women can apply to be matched

with a suitable husband. Men and women both

fill out a questionnaire and then apply to Tayseer

to be matched. Tayseer tries to find similar

matches on the questionnaires and then sets

up a meeting for the couple through employers

or mutual friends. If the meeting goes well, the

man will tell his family to visit the woman’s

family and hopefully the two can be married.

Hamas has arranged at least 40 marriages in the

two years since it first opened the Tayseer Association.

Despite its social work, Hamas is a

terrorist organization and should be stopped.

As Harvard Law Professor Allan Dershowitz

wrote, “Hamas leaders have echoed the mantra

of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah

that, ‘we are going to win because they love

life and we love death.’” Hamas launches rockets

from schools, playgrounds, and hospitals in

the Gaza strip at Israeli schools, playgrounds,

and hospitals; they hides rockets, missiles, and

other weapons in mosques and other civilian locations;

Hamas militants do not wear uniforms

so they cannot be distinguished from civilians;

Hamas’ actions are intended to increase the

deaths of Israelis and to create a situation where

any response from Israel would create as many

dead Palestinian civilians as possible, which

Hamas considers to be good publicity; Hamas

uses summer camps to indoctrinate hate of Israel,

militancy, and support for themselves; the

camp teaches skills that will prepare children

to kill Israelis; Hamas’ schools refuse to teach

what happened during the Holocaust, and instead

teach that it is a Jewish fabrication and a

political issue.

Elections are now overdue in Palestine,

as they were scheduled for January 2010

but are likely to be delayed. Hamas is losing in

current polls and has declared that they will take

action against anyone trying to vote in the Gaza

strip. Meanwhile, Fatah’s leader Mahmoud Abbas

has claimed he will not run for re-election

and will soon step down as leader of the PA.

Other top Fatah officials are talking of resigning

because the peace process has still failed to create

a Palestinian state. These are very uncertain

times in the Palestinian Administration, but we

can be certain of one thing: that Hamas’ role as

a central player in Palestinian politics will continue

to make it a major power in the Middle

East for years to come. EPR

Freshman Jonathan Silberman is a

Political Science major in the College.

23


Foreign Affairs

EPR

2010 FIFA World Cup:

More than Just a Game

By: Amanda Mac

Next June, South Africa will make history by

becoming the first African country to host

soccer’s most prestigious tournament: the

FIFA World Cup. Hosting a first-class international

event represents a chance for the world to witness a

special part of Africa that is normally overshadowed

by headlines about war, disease, and poverty.

Positive news about Africa is largely absent

from news media reports. This is not because

positive news does not exist, but because it is not

covered. For example, the media constantly reports

discouraging HIV/AIDS statistics but overlooks

stories such as Namibia’s massive improvements

in providing antiretroviral therapy (coverage is up

from just 1 percent in 2003 to 88 percent in 2007).

Although reports on violence and human suffering

in Africa bring awareness to a misunderstood

and underrepresented continent,

many journalists sensationalize

these problems. Positive change in

Africa does not happen overnight, but

journalists tend to focus on timely controversies

over gradual improvements.

For instance, Mozambique, a formerly

war-torn country in southern Africa,

has averaged an impressive eight percent

growth rate for nearly a decade.

This news, however, remarkable as it

is, will probably never make headlines.

Africa is not just huts and

warriors, nor is it a static, unchanging

place. People often forget that many

African nation-states are still quite

young and face a unique set of problems

that are both directly and indirectly tied to the

continent’s colonial past. Gaining independence was

a messy process for many African states.

When the imperial powers decolonized in

a hurry, the newly-independent states had few tools

to deal with the consequences of years of destruction.

Neocolonialism and the lingering effects of

colonialism were some of the greatest obstacles to

development in Africa. Groups like the International

Monetary Fund (IMF) now echo the domination and

coercion tactics practiced by some colonial powers.

Rather than criticizing development failures, people

should consider the enormity of the challenges facing

Africa today. Of the 25 lowest ranked countries

on the United Nations Human Development Index

rankings, all but two are African nations. With such

enormous development gaps to close, it will take patience

and dedication to make the necessary changes

to improve these countries’ standings. We must reform

our thinking and realize that although there are

many challenges for the citizens in Africa, there are

also many opportunities.

Contemporary Africa is as modern and

diverse in its social, cultural and political environments

as any other country. People often forget that

many of the activities we consider to be staple

parts of our culture are not solely ours. Music,

film, and sports are not exclusively Western

forms of entertainment. The universality of arts

and sports brings together people of many different

backgrounds and environments. A group

of teenagers in London can listen to the same

music as a group of teenagers in Shanghai. Likewise,

a game of soccer played in an American

neighborhood is the same as a game played in

South Africa.

Bringing the World Cup to South Africa

is an extremely expensive undertaking that

will cost billions of dollars. However, this massive

expenditure comes with promise of a high

return on the money invested in development.

Stadiums, roads, and railroads are investments

24 • EPR Winter 09-10 •

for South Africa’s future that will remain for

many years after the World Cup ends.

As with any other important international

event, there has been some controversy

around the 2010 World Cup. This past July, for

instance, stadium construction workers went

on strike, demanding better compensation and

benefits. Additionally, other protestors have

accused the South African government of putting

too much focus on spending on World Cup

preparations while neglecting important social

issues like health care. Human rights groups

have alleged that evictions related to World Cup

construction are a thinly veiled attempt to hide

poverty from visitors who will attend the tournament.

One major controversy, for example,

involves the South African government’s plan to

move approximately 20,000 residents from the

Joe Slovo Informal Settlement in Cape Town

to a housing district in the impoverished Delft

Township on the outskirts of the city. South Africa

has so far dealt with these problems tactfully

and insisted that preparations will be completed

on time.

Next year’s World Cup also presents

an opportunity for change outside of the political

realm. People often forget that anyone can

drive social change, not just politicians. Lawmaking

is not the only way of problem-solving.

The indispensable, but sometimes subtle, power

of the people is too often overshadowed by political

muddle. Although officials and administrators

brought the World Cup to South Africa,

ordinary people from inside the country will

bring a special and profound meaning to the

tournament itself.

Hosting the World Cup is a first for

South Africa, but the idea of using sports to

unite people is not new. In 1995, only a year after

the end of apartheid, Nelson Mandela made a

decision to try to bring the Rugby World Cup to

his country. For him, it was not only an opportunity

to turn the international community’s eyes

on the new, democratic South Africa, but it was

also a chance to take a major step in bringing

together a once broken country. Rugby in South

Africa was a symbol of white power during

the Apartheid days, so the decision to host the

rugby World Cup was a major turning point in

post-Apartheid reconstruction. Mandela viewed

the tournament as an opportunity to reconcile

South Africa’s whites and blacks, urging

people of all colors to support the

Springboks under the mantra, “One

Team, One Nation.”

As the Springboks claimed

more and more victories, public support

for the team skyrocketed. At the final,

South Africans eagerly watched the

Springboks play a fierce game against

New Zealand where they finally won in

overtime. As the entire stadium erupted

in excitement, South Africa’s first black

President made his way onto the field.

With the crowd chanting, “Nelson,

Nelson!” he mounted the platform and

turned to face the people of South Africa.

When Mandela presented the trophy

to Springbok team captain Francois

Pienaar, the captain replied, “No, Mr. President.

Thank you for what you have done,” a sign of

the unifying power of the game. Beyond the stadium,

in townships and villages all across South

Africa, blacks and whites joined each other in

celebration of their country’s win. When asked

at the trophy ceremony what he thought of the

fans cheering in the stadium, team captain, Pienaar

said that the 65,000 South Africans in the

stadium were only a fraction of the 43 million

South Africans who stood behind them on that

day.

In 2010, the international community

will get a chance to witness an even greater,

more advanced, and more unified South Africa

than it saw in 1995. People will see the progress

the country has made and get a glimpse of the

bright future that is possible for the region. It is

time for the world to revolutionize its thinking

on Africa and developing nations. We must stop

thinking of Africa only in terms of what sets us

apart from it and instead think of what unites us.

EPR

Sophomore Amanda Mac is an International

Studies and Global Health double major.


Pop Culture

EPR

Comedy in Campaigns

By: Rui Zhong

It can be said quite ironically that the media’s

fixation on politics is old news. However, an

emerging trend in the world of politics is not

what the media focuses on, but how it is able to

change the game of politics itself.

For many years, politicians have always

been attempting to develop methods in

capturing one particularly slippery demographic

during national elections: the youth vote. Thus,

in recent years, the shows of late-night comedians,

such as The Colbert Report and The Daily

Show have begun to exert influence over the

game of campaigning, most notably over young

voters, as well as the entire American political

culture.

Although The Daily Show and The

Colbert Report both help attract attention to

campaigns, news, and politics, for their niche

audience of under-30s, their formats and messages

about politics differ.

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show focuses

on news events and the media’s approach

on politics. With a format imitating those of

prime-time news networks, he and his motley

team of correspondents face elections, scandals,

and policies with a sarcastic edge that is light on

political correctness and heavy on

the uncomfortable truth.

Contrasting the wisecracking

Stewart is the blustery,

self-centered persona of Stephen

Colbert. In his show, The Colbert

Report, Colbert delves into the aspect

of personality and charisma

in politics, parodying a blowhard

conservative pundit with very

skewed world views and a stereotypical

American stubbornness

against facts. He instead works by

the idea of “truthiness”, favoring

gut instinct and stale jingoisms to

solve essentially any problem that

America faces.

Although these comedians

assure the media from time to

time that their primary business is

funny, there is inevitable influence

stemming from these Comedy

Central programs into real-world

politics. Both Colbert and Stewart

regularly host interviews with

hopeful politicians and activists;

their evening shows are booked

with Senators, prominent political

authors, and candidates for key

elections.

During the 2008 election

season, Stewart was able to host both

presidential candidates, Senator John McCain

and then-Senator Barack Obama to voice viewpoints,

while Colbert had Democratic presidential

candidates then-Senator Hillary Clinton and

then-Senator John Edwards during the fierce

three-way Democratic primary in the spring and

summer of 2007. As the general election of November

2008 approached, Colbert and Stewart

had their say in situations such as the introduction

of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential Candidate

for the Republican Party, the Presidential

and Vice-Presidential Debates, and finally their

joint coverage of the historic election night itself,

of which Barack Obama emerged president-elect.

2008’s election season is shown primarily

as a season in which the youth vote was

significant in determining results. With shows

such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

spurring the interests of recently enfranchised

voters, information is far more accessible to the

young voter than it has been in the past, working

in tandem but not cooperatively with efforts

such as MTV’s “Rock the Vote.”

What differentiates the strategy of

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

these new pseudo-pundits than past efforts to get

young voters out to the polls? The answer lies

in the idea of entertainment. Although the idea

of 73-year old Senator and former presidential

candidate John McCain speaking to 20-somethings

in a New York studio seems ineffective

and dry, comedy can simultaneously be effective

in drawing attention to issues and keeping them

on the issues. During the 2008 season, one particularly

striking moment is Stewart’s interview

of McCain, when he discussed the politicians’

changing tactics in regards to his traditional role

as a ‘maverick’ of the Republican Party. When

the moment calls for it, there is seriousness in

the policies and politics that he discusses.

In the case of Colbert, a similar trend

of mobilization occurs. His exaggerated approach

to campaigns and policies in effect

humanizes the veritable flaws of politicians

and pundits, providing a simultaneously lighthearted

yet poignant observation of the quirks

of news and politics.

The impact that comedians can have

on the American political culture, especially

popular culture, is to reformat it to be approachable

by the public, especially the youth. Although

the observations made on shows such as

the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are first

and foremost funny, they can be, at the same

time, meaningful in stirring interest in public

policy. EPR

Rui Zhong is a freshman in the College.

She is double majoring in Political Science

and East Asian Studies.

25


Special

EPR

“King of Pop”

Michael Jackson

dies (50)

25

EPR

2009 YEAR

2

G20 Summit

$500 billion made available

to IMF, $100 billion to World

Bank; G20 to move against

territorially-based tax havens

Noted abortionist Dr. George

Tiller is shot and killed at the

31

Reformation Lutheran Church in

Wichita, Kansas

GM declares

bankruptcy

1

Swearing in of

44th President,

20

Barack Obama

in REVIEW

By: Grant Wallensky

Compiled by: Lilly Zhong and Christina Yang

30

Chrysler declares Chapter

11 Bankruptcy

The first of the “Big Three”

to declare bankruptcy after

bailouts fail to sustain it, its

equity ownership is now split

between U.S. and Canadian

governments, Fiat, and the

United Auto Workers Union

retiree medical fund.

Sen. Ensign

admits affair

16

Gov.

Sanford

24

admits

affair

Jan. Feb. March April May June

15

29

Milorad

Blagojevich

removed

as Illinois

Governor

Isreali

Election

Benjamin

Netanyahu

of Likud

appointed

Prime

Minister

10

14

Stimulus Bill signed

into law

The American Recovery

and Reinvestment Act is

nominally valued at $787

billion.

American International

Group (AIG) bonus

controversy15

American journalists

Arlen Spector

Euna Lee and Laura

17

(Senator-PA)

Ling are detained by

switches party 28

North Korea

affiliation

In June, they are sentenced

to 12 years of hard labor.

On August 5th, Kim Jong-il

pardoned the two women after

former president Bill Clinton

publicly arrived in North Korea

unanncounced.

2

Hijacking of Maersk

Alabama by Somali

Pirates

Ship, crew and captain

rescued by April 12;

attempted hijacking

Nov. 18 is repulsed

successfully

North Korean Second

Nuclear Test (underground)

25

Bernard Madoff

sentenced to 150 years

in prison

Waxman-Markey

passes House

Cap-and-Trade bill

currently stalled in

Senate

Iranian election and

“Twitter Revolution”

12

Ahmadinejad wins

another term in office,

opposition candidate

Mousavi cries foul,

protests and worldwide

condemnation of the

use of violence against

protestors lasts a few

weeks

26

29

26 • EPR Winter 09-10 •


Cash 4 Clunkers

claims processing

24

begins

7

Al Franken

assumes office

Sarah Palin steps down

as Minnesota

as Alaskan Governor

Senator 26

EPR

July August Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

17

Barack Obama calls arrest of

Gates “teachable moment”

22

Broadcast journalist

and CBS Evening

News anchorman

Walter Cronkite dies

(92)

8

Sotomayor sworn in

The Supreme Court’s

first Hispanic justice

and third female justice

11

30

Founder of

Special Olympics

Eunice Shriver

dies (88)

60th Anniversary of

People’s Republic of

China

Japanese Election

Yukio Hatoyama’s Democratic

Party of Japan defeats Liberal

Democratic Party, the latter’s

second defeat since 1955.

Actor Patrick

Swayze dies (57)

14

1

9

24

Dubai defaults

Dubai World

26

announces intention

to delay

debt payments;

all markets

decline briefly.

Chicago eliminated

from the first ballot in

2

IOC voting.

Announcement

that Khalid Sheik

13

Mohammed to be

tried in NYC

Exchange of fire off

Korean peninsula

10

Gubernatorial United States Elections

Republicans win gubernatorial elections in

VA, NJ; Democrats claim victory in NY-23

President Obama declares

H1N1 (swine) flu a national

emergency

As of Nov. 14, the CDC

estimates that in the U.S.

alone there had been

9,820 deaths caused by

swine flu

3

Saudi Arabia

and Iran begin

proxy war

Fort Hood

Shootings

5

5

President Obama wins 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

Strategic

Arms

Reduction

Treaty

extended

5

1

1

Afghanistan troop

surge

President Obama

calls for 30,000

more troops

CA mammogram

subsidies for middle

aged women ends

Landmark health

care bill passed

(60-39) 24

Tiger Woods

involved in

27

early-morning car

accident Diane Sawyer

is the new

21

ABC World

News anchor

Perpetrator of the 2002 D.C.

Beltway Sniper Attacks,

claiming 10 lives, John Allen

Muhammed is executed (48)

Abu Dhabi bails

14 out Dubai

United States Senator

Edward “Ted” Kennedy

dies (77)

25

United States

scraps Missile

Defense System 17

for E. Europe

“PelosiCare”

passes House 7

Environmental

Protection Agency

7

classifies CO2 as

pollutant

“The Godfather of

neo-conservatism”

18

Irving Kristol dies

(89)

“Balloon Boy Hoax”

15

17

19

Federal Reserve

Transparency

Act

“ClimateGate”

The Climactic

Research Unit in the

University of East

Anglia is hacked,

its data released;

climate skeptics

immediately accuse

the CRU of data

manipulation

• EPR Winter 09-10 •

27


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