The students in my global econ class this semester have been a real wealth of information! Here’s another student guest post, this one discussing the political economic challenges of the DRC.
What is a poverty trap? According to one definition, it “is a spiralling mechanism which forces people to remain poor. It is so binding in itself that it doesn’t allow the poor people to escape it.” Five commonly observed poverty traps include the conflict trap, poor governance and corruption, poor geography, health crises, and the resource curse (Collier 2007). A combination of these is detrimental to a nation, but even just one of these makes overcoming poverty a challenge.
No country exemplifies the “poverty trap” quite as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). It is continually ranked number one on the lists of poorest countries in the world, and it is almost easier to list the poverty traps it lacks than the ones it has! Here are three of the major poverty traps that continually drive the DRC into poverty:
As mentioned in a previous post, the students in my World Politics summarized a few policies the US might pursue in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, and were asked to write-up their arguments in an Op-Ed style post. Given that the most recent talks between the US and Iran have fallen through (with a debate on whether Iran or the West are to blame), this seems like a good time to cover the option of just letting Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.
The opinion expressed therein is the student’s own work – and we’ll be featuring the airstrikes and covert actions arguments soon, so you can hear a different opinion if you follow up!
This cartoon was featured in Kenneth Waltz’s article “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb”
The word containment is a word of the past, instantly bringing forth notions of Soviet espionage, the Red Scare, President Reagan, and old James Bond movies. For nearly fifty years, America devoted itself to preventing the spread of communism, fighting wars in both Korea and Vietnam in the name of containment. Although the Cold War is long over and the Soviet Union can no longer be found on a map, the policy of containment may not be as outdated.
The policy of containment is being brought out again in talks about Iran, this time under the name nuclear deterrence. The gist of the policy is the same as it was during the Cold War: Let Iran have nuclear capabilities and even nuclear weapons, but work to keep the country weak and its power contained within its borders.
There are three requirements for mutual nuclear deterrence:
- Each state must have a survivable second strike force.
- Leaders must be rational, or at least care about their state’s survival.
- In the event of attack, each side can reliable verify where the attack originated.
As with all policies, there are both advantages and disadvantages to nuclear deterrence in Iran: Continue Reading
A guest post by a student from the post-Soviet class…and one I wanted to have up before I do a post later today on something this president has done recently!
After Turkmenbashi’s sudden death to cardiac arrest in 2006, total control over Turkmenistan was up for grabs. Speculation briefly circuited that the new leadership could usher in long overdue democratic reforms, and that the severe oppression of the people would be over. In reality though, the current president, President Berdimuhamedov, is ruling as a dictator with his own cult of personality.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty features Berdymukhammedov and his cult as part of their “Silly Dictator Stories” (#25 in their series). He’s been featured in this series a lot…
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was originally Turkmenbashi’s personal dentist, and was in turn named the Minister of Health in 1997. Berdimuhamedov’s leadership was undemocratic from the start; since the constitution stipulates that the role of acting President should have go to the Chairmen of the People’s Council, Ovegeldy Atayev. Conveniently and suspiciously though, immediately after Turkmenbashi’s death, Atayev was subject to a criminal investigation and was sacked. Once he secured his position as Acting President, Berdimuhamedov further manipulated the constitution to ensure his candidacy in the actual Presidential election. Continue Reading