In December 2015, Argentina elected Mauricio Macri as their president. He inherited a daunting task: close the societal rift, or la grieta,1 which the previous presidents, Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), left behind. The Kirchners have one of the most contentious legacies in the recent history of Latin America. One part of the population views them as saviors, while the other believes they left behind a country on the brink of crisis. This paper attempts to answer the question: why did the Kirchner presidencies leave a legacy of a divided Argentinian society rather than a consolidated one? There are many reasons why la grieta widened under the Kirchners’, including media wars and a confrontational foreign policy. However, this paper argues that the three biggest reasons why la grieta grew in Argentina are: institutional tampering, especially in the judicial branch, corruption, and economic mismanagement.
For observers and scholars of contemporary Lebanese politics, an understanding of Lebanon’s complex political dynamics is hardly possible without a thorough analysis of the role of Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the country’s Druze community. Notwithstanding his sect’s marginal size, Jumblatt has for almost four decades greatly determined the course of domestic developments. Particularly between 2000 and 2013, the Druze leader developed into a local kingmaker through his repeated switch in affiliations between Lebanon’s pro- and anti-Syrian coalitions. This study argues that Jumblatt’s political behavior during this important period in recent Lebanese history was driven by his determination to ensure the political survival of his Druze minority community. Moreover, it highlights that Jumblatt’s ongoing command over the community, which appears to be impressive given his frequent political realignments, stems from his position as the dominating, traditional Druze za’im and because the minority community recognized his political maneuvering as the best mean to provide the Druze with relevance in Lebanon’s political arena.
Since its electoral breakthrough in 2001, the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) has been an influential force within Danish politics. With its anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and socially conservative policies, the DPP promotes an ideology that represents a break from the socially liberal stereotype of Scandinavian countries. Yet, the DPP has steadily gained power in the Danish Parliament (Folketing), receiving the second highest percentage of votes in the 2015 elections. The purpose of this article is to posit an explanation for the DPP’s disproportionate influence and for the concurrent rightward shift in Danish politics. While there are many possible causes for the meteoric rise of the far right in Denmark, this piece will be limited to exploring the shift as a reflection of wider European political trends as well as the structure of the Danish parliamentary system. The article will demonstrate that, while an upswing in extreme right-wing politics within the successful framework of xenophobia and anti-establishment politics gave rise to the DPP’s increased power, the negative parliamentarian government structure in Denmark has additionally enabled the party to exert magnified influence on policy formation. These conclusions provide some explanation for Denmark’s strict immigration policies.
Migration is one of the most contentious and relevant issues of our time, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of migrants and displaced persons and by inflammatory political discourse throughout the world. This paper discusses the underlying causes of recent migration flows and “crises,” such as the civilian-centered nature of recent conflicts, persistent underdevelopment, climate change, and political impasse that prevents conflict resolution and adequate management of migration flows. Further, the paper focuses on policy reforms to (i) tackle the root causes of migration and (ii) minimize the costs and maximize the benefits (both social and economic) associated with migration. Such policies include a pan-European approach to relocation to ease the burden on EU border countries, increasing legal avenues for migration in the US, and integration policies to preserve social cohesion. Taking a long-term view, the paper aims to present a balanced view of the challenges of migration and to summarize policy reforms anchored upon recognition of the extensive human costs – and unrealized benefits of – one of the most defining issues of our era.
Islamic economics (IE) provides an alternative economic model to today’s Western system. Interest in this newfound field stems from its success in remaining relatively unaffected after the 2008 financial crisis. Proponents include financiers interested in attracting new business from a growing portion of the population and Islamic scholars hoping to utilize it as a tool in Muslim identity. Competing interests from these differing sectors of society has led the original intention of IE astray. But does it matter if IE is simply a reworked form of Western financial products and its framework guised under another name? This paper examines a brief history of IE followed by an analysis of its theory, goals, and operations. Finally, a comparison of implementation in three Islamic states highlights the challenges of IE and Islamic finance, and concludes with a short summary of IE’s potential legacy.
Brazil has been badly shaken, economically and politically, by the ongoing investigation into a nearly USD 1 billion corruption scheme involving state oil company Petrobras, many of Brazil’s largest construction firms, and Brazil’s leading politicians – including both former and current presidents. This article will look at the extent of the criminal organization run by political actors in Brazil to determine the country’s qualification as a captured state. With Brazil’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions since its return to civilian rule in 1985, this article will also examine how this level of criminal organization is impacted by the state’s democratic norms, and how the state has come to exploit these norms over time. This distinction is critical to the development of a new terminology to describe Brazil’s unique circumstances – those of a captured democracy.
On November 14, 2015, the Council of Ministers announced the establishment of the state of emergency upon a country in mourning after the deadliest attacks on French territory since World War II. A few months later, France seems to be sinking into risk management as a paradigm of government, to the detriment of civil liberties. This trend, however, exposed outright by the recent attacks, finds its roots in a culture of counterterrorism - pre-existent to 9/11 - gravitating around the French legal apparatus.
In the mid-1970s, the transatlantic ties between the United States and West Germany stood at a peak. However, according to most scholars, German-American relations subsequently reached a nadir under the Schmidt/Carter administrations in the second half of the decade. Why was this the case? While the common narrative typically stresses severe personal dislike between the two transatlantic leaders, this paper will emphasize their conflicts of interest and specifically those related to Germany’s foreign policy objectives. It will show how these growing disruptions across various policy areas gradually undermined the German-American transatlantic alliance by 1980. In this context, the 1977-1980 crisis of relations was driven by the emancipation of West German foreign policy from American dominance – overall exemplified by (West) Germany’s growing commitment to European integration in the following decades. Consequently, the Schmidt/Carter rift constitutes an important crossroads in postwar German- American relations, which preluded Germany’s growing international role since the 1970s into present times.
Dr. Gary Sick is a captain (retired) in the U.S. Navy and served on the National Security Council in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. He is a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an adjunct professor of international and public affairs.
The primary focus of this case study is to try to understand what risks and uncertainties governments and other actors confront when they deploy offensive cyber weapons as part of military and intelligence operations. Under current circumstances, the implications for national and international infrastructure seem staggering. The roadmap for this case study is threefold: 1) provide a framework for analysis, 2) introduce Stuxnet and survey the history and development of the first documented cyber weapon, and 3) apply the framework in an attempt to explore the risks and uncertainties inherent in the nascent arena of cyber warfare.
Social media has traditionally been unequivocally seen as facilitating democratic transitions and challenging the power of autocratic regimes. Some most recent research, however, contradicts this established narrative, and as a result, this article first aims to show that social media does not have intrinsic political qualities of its own. Rather, they are contingent upon the offline conditions and the actors who use social media. Then, building on the contingent nature of this media, the author aims to show how social cyberspace enables a new kind of influence operations that can be carried out instantly, globally, and with the help of the victims themselves (referred to as ‘sofa warriors’). Finally, the conflict in Ukraine is presented as an example of how social media influence campaigns can be employed in hybrid warfare.
Prior to the 1986 Maxi Trials, relatively little was known about the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Its omertà, or code of honor, had held strong. But the success of the trials was only possible through the testimony of pentiti, or turncoats, at the expense of the code of honor. What caused this breakdown? As the organization became increasingly globalized, the older bonds of trust and honor that originally defined the omertà became weaker, facilitating the conditions for defection. The effects of globalization are visible in five areas: profit-making opportunities, organizational structure, the code of honor, political ties, and the anti-mafia movement. The Cosa Nostra’s continued existence today has implications for perceptions of the Italian government's legitimacy.
This article explores the rising tensions between China and Japan centered on their competing claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The uninhabited islands have been under Japanese control since 1972, and the two nations had agreed to set the controversy aside for several decades in the interest of diplomatic harmony. However, China has begun to press its claim to the islands more forcefully in recent years as Chinese national power has grown. The dispute has emerged as the focal point in the broader Sino-Japanese strategic rivalry. China’s meteoric rise has fueled rising nationalism within China and led to more assertive Chinese behavior throughout East Asia. Tensions over the islands are likely to continue to grow, and the risk of an armed confrontation in the East China Sea is real. A conflict would be highly damaging to both nations’ economies, and both sides have an interest in avoiding such an outcome, but it remains unclear whether a peaceful resolution of the dispute can be achieved.