Foreign Affairs

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  • Discussion of Ideological & Legislative Responses To Terrorism

    June 2017

    At this panel discussion and press conference held in New York City on June 24th, 2017 by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance, Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined a panel discussion about how academic and legislative responses to terrorism are complementary approaches that will provide long term and intellectual responses to terrorism.

    In a press release about the event, the IFUT said that this discussion "will lead towards nuanced understanding and informed solutions."  

    Gabbard said, “I think that there has been a concerted effort both on the part of some in the media, as well as many in politics, and many in our foreign policy establishment seem to have been advocating for a continuance of these regime change wars, really ignoring the fact of what has been the consequence of these wars in countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria, where each time we have waged these wars, [it] has resulted in the strengthening of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL], and it has resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and death for the people of these countries."

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  • Germany Breaks A Solar Record - Gets 85% Of Energy From Renewables

    May 2017

    "On April 30th, Germany established a new national record for renewable energy use. On that day and throughout the long May 1 weekend, 85% of all the electricity consumed in Germany was produced from renewables such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power."

    This article delves into the funding and success of German policy around renewable energy sources. Germany expects that "days like April 30 will become “completely normal” by 2030, as the federal government’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, begins to really reap the benefits of the investments made in renewable energy resources since 2010." 

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  • There’s No Strategy Behind Trump’s Wars — Only Brute Force

    April 2017

    "Trump's wars are now all over the map. The peace movement can fight back by joining already thriving intersectional campaigns."

    This article, written by Phyllis Bennis and highlighted by Danny Glover, investigates the foreign policy approach under the Trump administration. It describes the focus on raw power and war as opposed to diplomacy. "According to the British human rights monitor AirWars, well over 1,000 civilians may have been killed by U.S.-led forces just in Iraq and Syria in March alone, the highest monthly total they’ve ever tracked."

    Bennis suggests that there is a way for the United States, and factions therein, to turn back towards diplomacy. He states "What we do know is that everyone - from Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis, and Yemenis to those of us in this country — needs diplomacy to win out over war. We’ve faced wars for decades now, but we’ve also had some victories where negotiations triumphed over force — in Cuba, in Paris at the climate talks, and most especially in the Iran nuclear deal."

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  • History Of The Syrian Conflict

    April 2017

    This video by Vox describes the complex history and alliances of the Syrian civil war.

    It begins with the Arab Spring protests in 2011, then describes the transition through multiple foreign powers backing the different sides, the rise of ISIS, through to the decision by the Trump administration to bomb forces related to Assad - "This is the first time that the United States has directly attacked the Assad regime."

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  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What At A Glance

    April 2017

    This article details the current nuclear situation around the world. At the "dawn" of the Nuclear age the United States hoped to hold a monopoly on nuclear weapons, but that has since changed. Since the U.S. acquired nuclear weapons, a number of other countries have acquired the ability to build nuclear weapons. In 1968, a number of countries signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty designed to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further; in 1996 many also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

    The article then lists each of the countries who have possession of nuclear weapons, how many they have and information about retirement and dismantlement. For instance:

    The United States has 1,411 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 673 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. In addition to approximately 2,300 non-deployed strategic warheads and roughly 500 deployed and non-deployed tactical warheads. 

    Warheads Graphic

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  • USAID's Syria Complex Emergency Fact Sheet

    April 2017

    This fact sheet lists all of the humanitarian aid that the United States is involved with in Syria.

    It describes the current situation in Syria specifically looking at the individuals who are in need of humanitarian aid. Looking specifically at the time period between February and March of this year, official organizations have "recorded nearly 687,000 displacements, including approximately 44,000 new displacements, from conflict-affected areas in northern and southern Syria."

    The report also looks at the humanitarian access that these individuals have, and how the UN and others give humanitarian aid: "Between February 1 and 31, three UN humanitarian convoys delivered food assistance for approximately 64,000 people and relief commodities for more than 30,000 people."

    These actions, however, are not enough. The fact sheet goes on to describe the areas where assistance is not covering all the need that exists:

    Food security and nutrition: "An estimated 9 million people across Syria are in need of emergency food assistance, agriculture support, and livelihoods interventions, according to the UN."

    Health: "The ongoing conflict, including attacks on health infrastructure and personnel, continues to diminish health care capacity throughout Syria."

    Water: Approximately 51 percent of Syria’s population lacks sustained access to the public water network, according to the UN."

    Refugee Assistance: "As of March 24, UNHCR had registered nearly 5 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries."

    Other Humanitarian Assistance: "In mid-March, the UN released the 2017 HRP, requesting $3.4 billion to address the critical needs of conflict-affected people in Syria."

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  • Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Update After 23 Years

    March 2017

    This paper from the Center for Economic Policy Research compares the performance of the Mexican economy with that of the rest of the region and with its own economic performance, over the 23 years since NAFTA took effect, based on the available economic and social indicators. Among the results, it finds that Mexico ranks 15th out of 20 Latin American countries in growth of real GDP per person, the most basic economic measure of living standards; Mexico’s poverty rate in 2014 was higher than the poverty rate of 1994; and real (inflation-adjusted) wages were almost the same in 2014 as in 1994. It also notes that if NAFTA had been successful in restoring Mexico’s pre-1980 growth rate - when developmentalist economic policies were the norm — Mexico today would be a high-income country, with income per person comparable to Western European countries. If not for Mexico’s long-term economic failure, including the 23 years since NAFTA, it is unlikely that immigration from Mexico would have become a major political issue in the United States, since relatively few Mexicans would seek to cross the border. 

    Tags: NAFTA, Trade, Mexico
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