Chapter 5 Basic Webscraping

5.1 The rvest package

library(tidyverse)
library(rvest)

5.1.1 Define the URL

url<-"https://www.e-ir.info/category/articles/"

5.1.2 Read the URL

page<-read_html(url)
class(page)
## [1] "xml_document" "xml_node"
page
## {html_document}
## <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns:og="http://ogp.me/ns#" lang="en-US">
## [1] <head>\n<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8 ...
## [2] <body data-rsssl="1" class="archive category category-articles category-5 ...
page %>%
  html_nodes(".heading a") %>% 
  head(5)
## {xml_nodeset (5)}
## [1] <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-di ...
## [2] <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae- ...
## [3] <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politi ...
## [4] <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-th ...
## [5] <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-d ...
page %>%
  html_nodes(".heading a") %>% 
  html_attr("href") %>% 
  head(5)
## [1] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/"                                                 
## [2] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/"
## [3] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politics-damaging-south-africas-health/"                        
## [4] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-the-eu-carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism/"                 
## [5] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-dirty-state-image/"
df <- page %>%
  html_nodes(".heading a") %>% 
  html_attr("href") %>% 
  as.data.frame() %>% 
  rename(url=1)
df$title <- page %>%
  html_nodes(".heading a") %>% 
  html_attr("title") 

df$authors <- page %>%
  html_nodes(".h--meta a") %>%
  html_text()

Can you get the date?1

df <- df %>% 
  mutate(opinion = case_when(
    str_detect(title, "Opinion")~1,
    TRUE~0
  ))
url title authors opinion
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/ The Legacy of Russian Ballet Diplomacy Tatiana A. Slokvenko and Anna A. Velikaya 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/ Human Rights Reform in the UAE: Natural Socio-Political Evolution or Positional Strategy? Reem Saeed 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politics-damaging-south-africas-health/ Opinion – Is International Politics Damaging South Africa’s Health? Martin Duffy 1
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-the-eu-carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism/ Opinion – US Carbon Border Mechanism in the Twilight Zone Ann-Evelyn Luyten 1
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-dirty-state-image/ Can Sport Mega-events Clean a Dirty State Image? Sigmund Loland 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/student-mobility-and-its-relevance-to-international-relations-theory/ Student Mobility and Its Relevance to International Relations Theory Nancy Snow 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/assessing-the-international-communitys-obligation-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-afghans/ Assessing the International Community’s Obligation to Protect the Human Rights of Afghans Christopher Fitzgerald 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/02/using-disability-critical-race-theory-in-american-special-education-classrooms/ Using Disability Critical Race Theory in American Special Education Classrooms Christopher Keith Johnson 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/01/opinion-no-change-after-kyrgyzstans-2021-parliamentary-elections/ Opinion – ‘No Change’ After Kyrgyzstan’s 2021 Parliamentary Elections Martin Duffy 1
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/27/pluriversal-peacebuilding-peace-beyond-epistemic-and-ontological-violence/ Pluriversal Peacebuilding: Peace Beyond Epistemic and Ontological Violence Garrett FitzGerald 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/23/why-india-needs-a-gender-policy-for-its-armed-forces/ Why India Needs a Gender Policy for its Armed Forces Kiran Chauhan 0
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/21/opinion-why-womens-rights-in-the-gulf-matter-for-afghanistan/ Opinion – Why Women’s Rights in the Gulf Matter for Afghanistan Rachel A. George 1

5.1.3 Ploting

df  %>% 
  ggplot()+
  geom_bar(aes(as.factor(opinion)),
           fill="#56B4E9", 
           width = .6)+
  scale_x_discrete(labels = c("No","Yes"))+
  scale_y_continuous(breaks= scales::pretty_breaks())+
  labs(x = "Opinion Article",
       y = NULL,
       title = "Some Scraped E-IR Articles",
       caption = sprintf("Scraped on: %s", Sys.Date())
       )+
  theme_classic()

5.2 Cleaning Text

url2 <- df$url[1]
url2
## [1] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/"
text <- read_html(url2) %>% 
  html_nodes(".-inset article") %>% 
  html_text() 
text 
## [1] "The Legacy of Russian Ballet Diplomacy\n\n        \n          \n                          \n                Tatiana A. Slokvenko and Anna A. Velikaya              \n                          \n\n          \n            Download PDF\n            \n              Dec 11 2021\n              • Loading views\n              \n            \n          \n        \n\n        \n        \n        \n\n                      \n                          \n                Tricky_Shark/Shutterstock\n              \n            \n          \n          \n            \n              \nRussia has utilized ballet in its foreign policy goals for more than a century, and it has become an integral part of the country’s cultural diplomacy, as well an instrument to promote international dialogue and build bridges. Among the gifts that Russian culture gave to the world, the legacy of the Russian ballet has a significant role. The cultural interactions between Russia and European countries (primarily France and Italy) resulted in the emergence of an academic school that was internationally recognized by the end of the 19th century. “Swan lake”, a ballet created by P.I. Tchaikovsky in 1877, transformed the form of ballet music. A significant role in the development of ballets worldwide belonged to Russian choreographers A. Vaganova, M. Petipa, L. Ivanov, M Fokine.\n\n\n\nAfter the success of the exhibition of Russian artists during the Paris Autumn Salon in 1906, Russian choreographer Serge Diaghilev, under the patronage of the imperial court of Russia and influential persons in the secular circles of France, began organizing Russian seasons. These were annual tours of Russian artists through Paris. In 1907, Anna Pavlova and Adolph Bolm headed a small troupe of twenty artists for tours abroad. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, which took place from 1906 to 1929 in Europe and America – especially the first ones, and which included the ballets The Firebird, Petruska and The Rite of Spring – made a great contribution to the development of world ballet and opera. These seasons popularized Russian culture abroad and contributed to popularity of Russian fashion – even the wife of King George VI of Great Britain got married in a dress that paraphrased Russian folklore traditions. \n\n\n\nAfter the period of the Revolution and Civil War, many Russian ballet stars, choreographers and composers were in exile – from Anna Pavlova to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, classical ballet traditions in Russia were alive and waiting for the chance to be told to the world and be used as a cultural diplomacy tool.\n\n\n\nIn 1935, Serge Lifar, the head of the Opera de Paris ballet company invited a star from the mysterious Soviet Russia by sending a letter to world known choreographer Agrippina Vaganova (after whom, in 1957, the main Russian ballet school would be named), who was then living in Leningrad. Vaganova recommended the talented ballerina Marina Semenova, who was married to the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Lev Karakhan. In Paris, Semenova danced Chopiniana, Giselle and Swan Lake. Both the French and the Russian émigrés were getting ready to see the red commissar who walked with a Mauser. Instead, they were visited by a “young, pretty, shy woman” who drank only champagne, spoke good French, but most importantly, danced amazingly. The success could be seen when sensitive Parisians wiped away their tears during the scene of Giselle’s madness. Through her performances, Semenova developed a relationship with the French public and her tour was one of the first ballet diplomacy initiatives of Soviet Union.\n\n\n\nIn 1956, the Bolshoi Theater went on a foreign tour for the first time thanks to Khrushchev’s official visit to Great Britain. The premiere of Romeo and Juliet was attended by celebrities such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Margot Fontaine. The expectations of the London audience were fully met and their standing ovation lasted 90 minutes. To say that the Bolshoi Theater troupe in London were triumphant is to say nothing. The Soviet ballet, which carefully preserved and multiplied the traditions of Diaghilev’s “seasons”, became a true sensation of its time, rediscovering the richness of this cultural tradition as it astonished foreigners. Former prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Matilda Kseshinskaya wrote about this with pride: “- I cried with happiness … I recognized the old ballet. It was the same ballet that I had not seen in over 40 years. The soul remained, the tradition is alive and continuing …” Soviet ballet stars Ulanova and Plisetskaya gave performances in Rome, London and New York, and witnessed the worship of kings and presidents alike with their world fame. Moscow had become the “ballet capital” of the world. Even “move to the West” of Alexander Godunov, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov were contributing towards international interest to Russian ballet.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Nowadays, Russia is one of the few countries where ballet traditions have been carefully preserved and developed. Russia currently hosts various ballet festivals and competitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – Dance Open, Vaganova Prix, Dance Inversion, Context, Kremlin Gala, Benois de la danse, Baletomania, Moscow Summer Seasons, International Ballet competition and the International Nuriyev festival in Kazan and Ufa to name them. In 2006, the directors of the twelve most significant and authoritative international ballet competitions established the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and turned to the outstanding choreographer of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, Yuriy Grigorovich, to head organization as its President. In 2013, it became a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council and currently it fosters international cultural dialogue.\n\n\n\nLike any instrument, ballet diplomacy has its limitations. At times, Russia uses cultural diplomacy too actively and disregards the tastes of the target audience and opportunities to use other public diplomacy instruments. Ballet diplomacy cannot build trust at once in an atmosphere of mistrust. But the peoples of the world invariably feel the need to supplement their own cultural traditions with the values of other peoples. The distinctive features of Russian ballet are spirituality, meaningfulness, expressiveness and traditionalism and these features are relative to the image of Russia that is being promoted both by official diplomacy and ballet diplomacy.\nFurther Reading on E-International RelationsUkraine and the Russian Challenge to the European Order\n\nThe Dynamics of Sino-Russian Relations in Central Asia\n\nWhy Russian Hybrid Warfare Is a Threat To … Russia.\n\nExpecting the Expected: Russian Presidential Elections 2018\n\nNew Book – Crisis in Russian Studies? Nationalism (Imperialism), Racism and War\n\nRussian Democrats’ Stance on the LGBT Community: An Attitudinal Shift\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\n          \n\n        \n\n        \n        \n        \n          \n            \n              About The Author(s)\n            \n            Tatiana A. Slokvenko holds MA from MGIMO University. She works in the sphere of sports diplomacy. Her research interests cover cultural diplomacy and international humanitarian cooperation with the focus on Balkan states.\nDr. Anna A. Velikaya is Associate Professor at The Russian Presidential Academy of National economy and Public administration (RANEPA). She is the co-editor of Russia’s Public Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).\n          \n        \n        \n        \n        \n        \n        \n          TagsBalletRussia\n\n        \n        \n      "
text <- text %>% str_replace_all("[\r\n]" , " ") 
text <- text %>% str_remove("(.*)(Shutterstock|Loading views)")
text <- text %>% str_remove_all("[:graph:]{50,1000}")
text <- text %>% str_remove_all("[:space:]{2,}")
text <- text %>% str_remove_all("(Further Reading|References)(.*)")
df[1,"text"] <- text
url title authors opinion text
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/ The Legacy of Russian Ballet Diplomacy Tatiana A. Slokvenko and Anna A. Velikaya 0 Russia has utilized ballet in its foreign policy goals for more than a century, and it has become an integral part of the country’s cultural diplomacy, as well an instrument to promote international dialogue and build bridges. Among the gifts that Russian culture gave to the world, the legacy of the Russian ballet has a significant role. The cultural interactions between Russia and European countries (primarily France and Italy) resulted in the emergence of an academic school that was internationally recognized by the end of the 19th century. “Swan lake”, a ballet created by P.I. Tchaikovsky in 1877, transformed the form of ballet music. A significant role in the development of ballets worldwide belonged to Russian choreographers A. Vaganova, M. Petipa, L. Ivanov, M Fokine.After the success of the exhibition of Russian artists during the Paris Autumn Salon in 1906, Russian choreographer Serge Diaghilev, under the patronage of the imperial court of Russia and influential persons in the secular circles of France, began organizing Russian seasons. These were annual tours of Russian artists through Paris. In 1907, Anna Pavlova and Adolph Bolm headed a small troupe of twenty artists for tours abroad. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, which took place from 1906 to 1929 in Europe and America – especially the first ones, and which included the ballets The Firebird, Petruska and The Rite of Spring – made a great contribution to the development of world ballet and opera. These seasons popularized Russian culture abroad and contributed to popularity of Russian fashion – even the wife of King George VI of Great Britain got married in a dress that paraphrased Russian folklore traditions.After the period of the Revolution and Civil War, many Russian ballet stars, choreographers and composers were in exile – from Anna Pavlova to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, classical ballet traditions in Russia were alive and waiting for the chance to be told to the world and be used as a cultural diplomacy tool.In 1935, Serge Lifar, the head of the Opera de Paris ballet company invited a star from the mysterious Soviet Russia by sending a letter to world known choreographer Agrippina Vaganova (after whom, in 1957, the main Russian ballet school would be named), who was then living in Leningrad. Vaganova recommended the talented ballerina Marina Semenova, who was married to the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Lev Karakhan. In Paris, Semenova danced Chopiniana, Giselle and Swan Lake. Both the French and the Russian émigrés were getting ready to see the red commissar who walked with a Mauser. Instead, they were visited by a “young, pretty, shy woman” who drank only champagne, spoke good French, but most importantly, danced amazingly. The success could be seen when sensitive Parisians wiped away their tears during the scene of Giselle’s madness. Through her performances, Semenova developed a relationship with the French public and her tour was one of the first ballet diplomacy initiatives of Soviet Union.In 1956, the Bolshoi Theater went on a foreign tour for the first time thanks to Khrushchev’s official visit to Great Britain. The premiere of Romeo and Juliet was attended by celebrities such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Margot Fontaine. The expectations of the London audience were fully met and their standing ovation lasted 90 minutes. To say that the Bolshoi Theater troupe in London were triumphant is to say nothing. The Soviet ballet, which carefully preserved and multiplied the traditions of Diaghilev’s “seasons”, became a true sensation of its time, rediscovering the richness of this cultural tradition as it astonished foreigners. Former prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Matilda Kseshinskaya wrote about this with pride: “- I cried with happiness … I recognized the old ballet. It was the same ballet that I had not seen in over 40 years. The soul remained, the tradition is alive and continuing …” Soviet ballet stars Ulanova and Plisetskaya gave performances in Rome, London and New York, and witnessed the worship of kings and presidents alike with their world fame. Moscow had become the “ballet capital” of the world. Even “move to the West” of Alexander Godunov, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov were contributing towards international interest to RussianRussia is one of the few countries where ballet traditions have been carefully preserved and developed. Russia currently hosts various ballet festivals and competitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – Dance Open, Vaganova Prix, Dance Inversion, Context, Kremlin Gala, Benois de la danse, Baletomania, Moscow Summer Seasons, International Ballet competition and the International Nuriyev festival in Kazan and Ufa to name them. In 2006, the directors of the twelve most significant and authoritative international ballet competitions established the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and turned to the outstanding choreographer of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, Yuriy Grigorovich, to head organization as its President. In 2013, it became a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council and currently it fosters international cultural dialogue.Like any instrument, ballet diplomacy has its limitations. At times, Russia uses cultural diplomacy too actively and disregards the tastes of the target audience and opportunities to use other public diplomacy instruments. Ballet diplomacy cannot build trust at once in an atmosphere of mistrust. But the peoples of the world invariably feel the need to supplement their own cultural traditions with the values of other peoples. The distinctive features of Russian ballet are spirituality, meaningfulness, expressiveness and traditionalism and these features are relative to the image of Russia that is being promoted both by official diplomacy and ballet diplomacy.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/ Human Rights Reform in the UAE: Natural Socio-Political Evolution or Positional Strategy? Reem Saeed 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politics-damaging-south-africas-health/ Opinion – Is International Politics Damaging South Africa’s Health? Martin Duffy 1 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-the-eu-carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism/ Opinion – US Carbon Border Mechanism in the Twilight Zone Ann-Evelyn Luyten 1 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-dirty-state-image/ Can Sport Mega-events Clean a Dirty State Image? Sigmund Loland 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/student-mobility-and-its-relevance-to-international-relations-theory/ Student Mobility and Its Relevance to International Relations Theory Nancy Snow 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/assessing-the-international-communitys-obligation-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-afghans/ Assessing the International Community’s Obligation to Protect the Human Rights of Afghans Christopher Fitzgerald 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/02/using-disability-critical-race-theory-in-american-special-education-classrooms/ Using Disability Critical Race Theory in American Special Education Classrooms Christopher Keith Johnson 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/01/opinion-no-change-after-kyrgyzstans-2021-parliamentary-elections/ Opinion – ‘No Change’ After Kyrgyzstan’s 2021 Parliamentary Elections Martin Duffy 1 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/27/pluriversal-peacebuilding-peace-beyond-epistemic-and-ontological-violence/ Pluriversal Peacebuilding: Peace Beyond Epistemic and Ontological Violence Garrett FitzGerald 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/23/why-india-needs-a-gender-policy-for-its-armed-forces/ Why India Needs a Gender Policy for its Armed Forces Kiran Chauhan 0 NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/21/opinion-why-womens-rights-in-the-gulf-matter-for-afghanistan/ Opinion – Why Women’s Rights in the Gulf Matter for Afghanistan Rachel A. George 1 NA

5.3 A for Loop

df[2,"url"]
## [1] "https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/"
for(i in 1:5){
  
  text <- read_html(df[i,"url"]) %>% 
    html_nodes(".-inset article") %>%
    html_text() %>% 
    str_replace_all("[\r\n]" , " ") %>% 
    str_remove("(.*)(Shutterstock|Loading views)") %>% 
    str_remove_all("[:graph:]{50,1000}") %>% 
    str_remove_all("[:space:]{2,}") %>% 
    str_remove_all("(Further Reading|References)(.*)")
  
  df[i,"text_loop"]<-text
  
  }
url title authors opinion text text_loop
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/ The Legacy of Russian Ballet Diplomacy Tatiana A. Slokvenko and Anna A. Velikaya 0 Russia has utilized ballet in its foreign policy goals for more than a century, and it has become an integral part of the country’s cultural diplomacy, as well an instrument to promote international dialogue and build bridges. Among the gifts that Russian culture gave to the world, the legacy of the Russian ballet has a significant role. The cultural interactions between Russia and European countries (primarily France and Italy) resulted in the emergence of an academic school that was internationally recognized by the end of the 19th century. “Swan lake”, a ballet created by P.I. Tchaikovsky in 1877, transformed the form of ballet music. A significant role in the development of ballets worldwide belonged to Russian choreographers A. Vaganova, M. Petipa, L. Ivanov, M Fokine.After the success of the exhibition of Russian artists during the Paris Autumn Salon in 1906, Russian choreographer Serge Diaghilev, under the patronage of the imperial court of Russia and influential persons in the secular circles of France, began organizing Russian seasons. These were annual tours of Russian artists through Paris. In 1907, Anna Pavlova and Adolph Bolm headed a small troupe of twenty artists for tours abroad. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, which took place from 1906 to 1929 in Europe and America – especially the first ones, and which included the ballets The Firebird, Petruska and The Rite of Spring – made a great contribution to the development of world ballet and opera. These seasons popularized Russian culture abroad and contributed to popularity of Russian fashion – even the wife of King George VI of Great Britain got married in a dress that paraphrased Russian folklore traditions.After the period of the Revolution and Civil War, many Russian ballet stars, choreographers and composers were in exile – from Anna Pavlova to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, classical ballet traditions in Russia were alive and waiting for the chance to be told to the world and be used as a cultural diplomacy tool.In 1935, Serge Lifar, the head of the Opera de Paris ballet company invited a star from the mysterious Soviet Russia by sending a letter to world known choreographer Agrippina Vaganova (after whom, in 1957, the main Russian ballet school would be named), who was then living in Leningrad. Vaganova recommended the talented ballerina Marina Semenova, who was married to the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Lev Karakhan. In Paris, Semenova danced Chopiniana, Giselle and Swan Lake. Both the French and the Russian émigrés were getting ready to see the red commissar who walked with a Mauser. Instead, they were visited by a “young, pretty, shy woman” who drank only champagne, spoke good French, but most importantly, danced amazingly. The success could be seen when sensitive Parisians wiped away their tears during the scene of Giselle’s madness. Through her performances, Semenova developed a relationship with the French public and her tour was one of the first ballet diplomacy initiatives of Soviet Union.In 1956, the Bolshoi Theater went on a foreign tour for the first time thanks to Khrushchev’s official visit to Great Britain. The premiere of Romeo and Juliet was attended by celebrities such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Margot Fontaine. The expectations of the London audience were fully met and their standing ovation lasted 90 minutes. To say that the Bolshoi Theater troupe in London were triumphant is to say nothing. The Soviet ballet, which carefully preserved and multiplied the traditions of Diaghilev’s “seasons”, became a true sensation of its time, rediscovering the richness of this cultural tradition as it astonished foreigners. Former prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Matilda Kseshinskaya wrote about this with pride: “- I cried with happiness … I recognized the old ballet. It was the same ballet that I had not seen in over 40 years. The soul remained, the tradition is alive and continuing …” Soviet ballet stars Ulanova and Plisetskaya gave performances in Rome, London and New York, and witnessed the worship of kings and presidents alike with their world fame. Moscow had become the “ballet capital” of the world. Even “move to the West” of Alexander Godunov, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov were contributing towards international interest to RussianRussia is one of the few countries where ballet traditions have been carefully preserved and developed. Russia currently hosts various ballet festivals and competitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – Dance Open, Vaganova Prix, Dance Inversion, Context, Kremlin Gala, Benois de la danse, Baletomania, Moscow Summer Seasons, International Ballet competition and the International Nuriyev festival in Kazan and Ufa to name them. In 2006, the directors of the twelve most significant and authoritative international ballet competitions established the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and turned to the outstanding choreographer of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, Yuriy Grigorovich, to head organization as its President. In 2013, it became a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council and currently it fosters international cultural dialogue.Like any instrument, ballet diplomacy has its limitations. At times, Russia uses cultural diplomacy too actively and disregards the tastes of the target audience and opportunities to use other public diplomacy instruments. Ballet diplomacy cannot build trust at once in an atmosphere of mistrust. But the peoples of the world invariably feel the need to supplement their own cultural traditions with the values of other peoples. The distinctive features of Russian ballet are spirituality, meaningfulness, expressiveness and traditionalism and these features are relative to the image of Russia that is being promoted both by official diplomacy and ballet diplomacy. Russia has utilized ballet in its foreign policy goals for more than a century, and it has become an integral part of the country’s cultural diplomacy, as well an instrument to promote international dialogue and build bridges. Among the gifts that Russian culture gave to the world, the legacy of the Russian ballet has a significant role. The cultural interactions between Russia and European countries (primarily France and Italy) resulted in the emergence of an academic school that was internationally recognized by the end of the 19th century. “Swan lake”, a ballet created by P.I. Tchaikovsky in 1877, transformed the form of ballet music. A significant role in the development of ballets worldwide belonged to Russian choreographers A. Vaganova, M. Petipa, L. Ivanov, M Fokine.After the success of the exhibition of Russian artists during the Paris Autumn Salon in 1906, Russian choreographer Serge Diaghilev, under the patronage of the imperial court of Russia and influential persons in the secular circles of France, began organizing Russian seasons. These were annual tours of Russian artists through Paris. In 1907, Anna Pavlova and Adolph Bolm headed a small troupe of twenty artists for tours abroad. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, which took place from 1906 to 1929 in Europe and America – especially the first ones, and which included the ballets The Firebird, Petruska and The Rite of Spring – made a great contribution to the development of world ballet and opera. These seasons popularized Russian culture abroad and contributed to popularity of Russian fashion – even the wife of King George VI of Great Britain got married in a dress that paraphrased Russian folklore traditions.After the period of the Revolution and Civil War, many Russian ballet stars, choreographers and composers were in exile – from Anna Pavlova to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, classical ballet traditions in Russia were alive and waiting for the chance to be told to the world and be used as a cultural diplomacy tool.In 1935, Serge Lifar, the head of the Opera de Paris ballet company invited a star from the mysterious Soviet Russia by sending a letter to world known choreographer Agrippina Vaganova (after whom, in 1957, the main Russian ballet school would be named), who was then living in Leningrad. Vaganova recommended the talented ballerina Marina Semenova, who was married to the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Lev Karakhan. In Paris, Semenova danced Chopiniana, Giselle and Swan Lake. Both the French and the Russian émigrés were getting ready to see the red commissar who walked with a Mauser. Instead, they were visited by a “young, pretty, shy woman” who drank only champagne, spoke good French, but most importantly, danced amazingly. The success could be seen when sensitive Parisians wiped away their tears during the scene of Giselle’s madness. Through her performances, Semenova developed a relationship with the French public and her tour was one of the first ballet diplomacy initiatives of Soviet Union.In 1956, the Bolshoi Theater went on a foreign tour for the first time thanks to Khrushchev’s official visit to Great Britain. The premiere of Romeo and Juliet was attended by celebrities such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Margot Fontaine. The expectations of the London audience were fully met and their standing ovation lasted 90 minutes. To say that the Bolshoi Theater troupe in London were triumphant is to say nothing. The Soviet ballet, which carefully preserved and multiplied the traditions of Diaghilev’s “seasons”, became a true sensation of its time, rediscovering the richness of this cultural tradition as it astonished foreigners. Former prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Matilda Kseshinskaya wrote about this with pride: “- I cried with happiness … I recognized the old ballet. It was the same ballet that I had not seen in over 40 years. The soul remained, the tradition is alive and continuing …” Soviet ballet stars Ulanova and Plisetskaya gave performances in Rome, London and New York, and witnessed the worship of kings and presidents alike with their world fame. Moscow had become the “ballet capital” of the world. Even “move to the West” of Alexander Godunov, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov were contributing towards international interest to RussianRussia is one of the few countries where ballet traditions have been carefully preserved and developed. Russia currently hosts various ballet festivals and competitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – Dance Open, Vaganova Prix, Dance Inversion, Context, Kremlin Gala, Benois de la danse, Baletomania, Moscow Summer Seasons, International Ballet competition and the International Nuriyev festival in Kazan and Ufa to name them. In 2006, the directors of the twelve most significant and authoritative international ballet competitions established the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and turned to the outstanding choreographer of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, Yuriy Grigorovich, to head organization as its President. In 2013, it became a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council and currently it fosters international cultural dialogue.Like any instrument, ballet diplomacy has its limitations. At times, Russia uses cultural diplomacy too actively and disregards the tastes of the target audience and opportunities to use other public diplomacy instruments. Ballet diplomacy cannot build trust at once in an atmosphere of mistrust. But the peoples of the world invariably feel the need to supplement their own cultural traditions with the values of other peoples. The distinctive features of Russian ballet are spirituality, meaningfulness, expressiveness and traditionalism and these features are relative to the image of Russia that is being promoted both by official diplomacy and ballet diplomacy.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/ Human Rights Reform in the UAE: Natural Socio-Political Evolution or Positional Strategy? Reem Saeed 0 NA In the world where human rights records are increasingly generating political debates, changes may be required to domestic human rights laws, especially for emerging socially reforming countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Conceptually, the internationalised social identity theory (SIT) explains why the need for human rights reforms may lead to the emergence of a hierarchical status in which a country seeks to climb this status ranking, while simultaneously consolidating on the acquired status to gain economic and geopolitical advantages. With respect to the UAE, this article shows that human rights reforms may not only improve the UAE’s standing as a socially reforming nation, but also advance its objective of becoming a regional hospitality, military and economic hub.Half a century since its formation, the UAE’s economic transformation, largely through its energy resources, has also allowed it to invest in developing soft power (international diplomacy and foreign aid) as well as in hard power (military capabilities and intervention in international conflicts). However, the UAE’s growing economic and geopolitical influence has also attracted attention to its socio-political development, which has not kept pace with its evolution as an economic and geopolitical player (Salisbury, 2020). At the heart of the UAE’s socio-political development debate is its human rights record which often attracts international attention and criticism.Economically, the UAE relies on migrant labour, which accounts for about 90 percent of its population. This puts a focus on the rights of these foreign nationals, which, sometimes results in diplomatic tension between the UAE and migrant worker’s home countries. Also, the growth of UAE as an international hub for financial and tourism investments has also raised question about its human rights as international investors and organisations become increasingly mindful of human rights records of the countries they invest or deal with.Politically, the issues around human rights in the UAE also centres around whether the existing human rights laws offers sufficient protections, with questions raised about treatments of political dissidents, women and human rights advocates. The human rights organisations keep the spotlight on reported alleged human rights violations, putting pressures on the UAE government to defend its records on human rights and, in recent years, taken measures to improve human rights in terms of diversity, gender equality, workers’ rights and representations.Geopolitically, the UAE has become increasingly assertive in its regional and international relations, which also raises debates about its human right records. In particular, in exercising its hard power through weapon acquisitions, military intervention and establishing military bases in foreign countries, the UAE is often reminded of human rights obligations – both from its western military equipment suppliers and human rights campaigners about its military strategies, assets and targets abroad.over the last decade, there has been a change in human rights protections for both Emiratis and migrant workers. But the question that arises is whether the recent move by the UAE to further reform human rights is just natural socio-political evolution, or a measured policy change in maintaining economic and geopolitical influence? Therefore, this article analyses the recent trend in human rights, highlighting the role economic and geopolitical considerations may have played in shaping these recent changes.The Evolution of Human Rights in the UAEHuman rights reforms in the UAE have been taking place gradually, but the last decade has seen the biggest changes. A review of these human rights reforms is summarised below.Efforts to protect children’s rights in the UAE started with the establishment of the Supreme Children Protection Committee in 2009 and the Children Protection Centre in 2011. But to guarantee the basic rights of children, including the right to life, education and health, the Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 was enacted to provide legal framework for protection of children. Also, in 2017 additional measures, including the Strategic Plan for the Rights of Children with Disabilities 2017-2021 and the National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood 2017-2021, were introduced to reinforce the government’s determination to create child friendly environment where their safety is paramount and rights guaranteed.Facing international criticisms on the reports on human trafficking and accusation of lacklustre efforts in dealing with the scourge of human trafficking, the country has embarked on combatting all forms of human trafficking crimes within the country, while working with the regional and international countries to root out these crimes. The UAE has assumed a leading role in the global campaign against human trafficking, and was the first country in the region to enact a comprehensive anti-human-trafficking law with Federal Law 51 in 2006, and established The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT)to oversee its enforcement (Mofaic, 2021). To ensure its human trafficking laws remain effective, an amendment was done in 2013 to United Nations Protocol on human trafficking and further amended in 2015 to improve support for victims and protection of witnesses (Mofaic, 2021).Overall, the UAE has adopted the 5Ps national strategy for human trafficking: Prevention, Prosecution, Punishment, Protection of victims, and Promotion of international cooperation (NCCHT, 2016). In addition, rehabilitation services are provided to human trafficking victims, including the Ewaa shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking crimes, the Abu Dhabi Centre for Sheltering and Human Care, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) and the Women’s Protection Centre of the Sharjah Social Services Department.The UAE’s record on women’s rights, especially as it relates to gender equality, has raised questions about the country’s claim of being a global, tolerant state. In response to its critics, the country has undertaken political and legal changes towards eliminating gender biases against women (Hamel and Dexter, 2021). Over the last decade, the UAE has made important women’s rights reforms, introducing further domestic violence protections, but significant discrimination against women and girls remains (Human Rights Watch,in recent years, the UAE’s government has devoted more efforts towards improving women’s rights. By introducing the Gender Balance Council (GBC), the UAE has made significant progress in women’s rights, specifically targeting social and economic empowerment. Recent reforms on women empowerment include ability to apply for passports, right to become a head of the family, laws against domestic violence, criminalisation of sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination against women (Hamel and Dexter, 2021). In fact, the rapid and sustained efforts towards gender equality in the UAE have received international recognition. The latest available data for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Gender Inequality Index (GII) shows the UAE is positively ranked first regionally and 18th globally (UNDP, 2020). Also, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law (WBL) 2021 index highlights a jump in women’s rights in the UAE, despite the MENA region as whole still ranking lowest in the WBL index, with women having less than half of the rights exercised by men. More specifically, the WBL index shows the UAE’s total score from 30 out of 100 points in 2019 to 82.5 out of 100 points in 2021 (Hamel and Dexter, 2021).Yet, the UAE has continued to introduce additional legal instruments to enhance and protect women’s right. For example, new laws targets domestic violence and honour killing, with legal enforcements against all forms of violence against women. Also, new laws permitting women to engage in night work and be employed in the previously male-restricted roles have been adopted, allowing women the freedom of career. Finally, the UAE, having made significant progress in gender equality at home, has embarked on global campaign to support women’s rights in other countries using its soft power through foreign aid. As a result, the UAE tops the list in terms of the amount of foreign aid dedicated to empowering and protecting girls and women where discrimination is still being practiced.Most of the recent reforms introduced to improve human rights in the UAE are those targeted towards workers’ rights, especially migrant workers. To develop its legal framework on workers’ rights, the UAE has ratified nine key International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions related to workers’ rights, including six fundamental conventions, one governance conventions and two technical conventions (ILO, 2021). Labour laws and regulations are being introduced to reform the labour markets and grant workers, especially the migrant labour, more legal rights. For example, from 2009, the UAE introduced the Wage Protection System (WPS), which has transformed the relationship between employers and their employees, especially domestic workers, by ensuring that wages are protected – an important effort towards improving workers’ rights. While the legal protections for domestic workers are weaker than the non-domestic labour laws and comparatively fall below international standards, laws and regulations have been introduced from 2017 to grant them additional rights, including the banning of confiscating passports, physical abuse, and travel rights (Human Right Watch,1991, the United Nations convened global conference in Paris for consultation on the establishment of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the outcome of the 1991 conference, and subsequent the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, is the so-called Paris Principles, which outlines the internationally expected status of the NHRIs to guarantee their independence, legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness (OHCHR, 2010).While the UAE has made efforts to improve its human rights records, it has been criticised for failing to create an independent NHRI to champion the protection of human rights and, despite claims of being a leading human rights advocates in the region, it trailed other gulf neighbours such as Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have all established their NHRIs (IFEX, 2018; DW, 2021). In a move to show its human right reforms are continuing in a positive direction, the UAE enacted Federal Law number 12 of 2021, setting up an independent National Human Rights Institution (DW, 2021). The new human rights institution is set up in accordance with the so-called Paris Principles, suggesting the government intends to allow it to be independent, with administrative and financial autonomy. However, there are fears that the proposed institution may not reach such autonomy, given the experience of human rights institutions already established in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia (DW, 2021).Possible Economic and Geopolitical Reasons for UAE’s Human Rights ReformsWhile the UAE has made incremental progress in human rights reforms in recent decades, the acceleration of human rights provisions and protections, including the latest announcement of the law establishing a national human right institution, has raised the question about the real reason behind the country’s dramatic shift to liberalise its social-cultural laws. The argument centres on whether the recent human rights reforms follows a natural social-cultural progress of a modern state, or strategic positioning designed to maximise economic or geopolitical gains.Theoretically, Gotz (2021) summarises existing theories used in the study of move up the status ranking in competitive international relations into three perspectives. First, the Rationalist–Instrumental Perspective, led by Renshon (2017), which explains how the strategic nature of status seeking in world politics can lead to a deference hierarchy, in which states competes to climb at expense of others. Second, the Social-Psychological perspective, based on social identity theory (SIT), is championed by Larson and Shevchenko (2003, 2010, 2019a, 2019b). This theoretical perspective explains how a status-seeking state strategically positions itself to attain higher rank order in a hierarchy characterised by valued attributes, including socio-cultural progress. Third, a Constructivist Perspective, which, according to Murray (2019), explains how a state can craft a national self-image, or identity, and, when recognised others, allows it to attain higher standing in international community.In this article, Larson and Shevchenko’s internationalised social identity theory (SIT) is used to explore why human right reforms undertaken by the UAE may be an attempt to seek socially-driven status, and utilise it, to potentially gain economic and geopolitical competitive advantage. Larson and Shevchenko (2003) suggest social mobility, social competition and social creativity as three strategies a state can employ to position itself for higher internationalfirst strategy is the social mobility, which implies that a state identifies a specific valued international social endeavour, in which it ranks low, accepts the evaluation criteria for advancing into higher status, and, therefore, systematically seeks to emulate the social endeavour of a high ranking state for the purpose achieving higher rank itself. In the context of international human right status positioning strategy by the UAE, social mobility implies it seeks to follow the standard of human rights advocated by more democratically advanced countries, or those codified by international conventions. Also, in exercising its hard power through military hardware acquisitions and military intervention, the UAE is being forced to improve its domestic human right records for two reasons. First, western government face serious challenge from their citizens and parliaments when supplying arms to countries poor human right records. Second, countries with poor human rights records tend to face higher criticisms by international political bodies i.e. the United Nations when engage in military operations abroad. For example, UAE’s military intervention in Yemen raised a number of international backlashes in terms of possible human rights violations.The second strategy is the social competition, which involves the application of the higher status attained through social mobility strategy. In fact, the social competition strategy has geopolitical competiveness as a key motivation, which may apply from governance institution or human right to economic and military intervention (Larson and Shevchenko, 2019a). In this case, a state attempts to outshine countries at similar level or in regional group a given area of endeavour.For example, according to its latest country report on the UAE, the Human Right Watch highlighted the strategic investment in its “soft power”, which is primarily aimed at positioning the image of the country as a progressive, tolerant, and rights-respecting nation in a time of increased economic and political competition in region (Human Rights Watch, 2021b).In addition, Saudi Arabia is rapidly reforming its social values, with introduction of various human rights protections and a new economic policy, aiming to position the country an attractive regional economic and financial centre. Consequently, the UAE, a natural ally and competitor of the Saudi Arabia in the region, had effectively positioned itself as economic hub of the region, must not be seen to be behind in social and political capital (i.e. global acceptability for having higher moral value through adoption of human rights). Being seen as the country with higher human rights record in the region will give it the advantage of being the natural ally of the international community with respect to the regional politics and international politics and relations in general. For example, positive changes in human right laws potentially reduced the possibility of international criticisms or boycott when international competition or forum. i.e Dubai Expo 2021.Finally, the third strategy of social creativity implies a situation in which a relatively low-ranking state makes efforts to recreate evaluation criteria as a way of advancing into higher status (Larson and Shevchenko 2019a). This can be done by identifying an area in which it is superior to its competitors, and seeks to move the ranking criteria on that basis. For example, in the case of human rights develops in the gulf and middle east, the UAE, having been challenged by the human rights reforms undertaken by its neighbouring states, has veered towards a new way of positioning itself as the champion of liberalisation in the region by trumpeting the expanding its soft power especially through its international development assistance on human right. More specifically, as a leading donor towards global protection women and girl child rights, the UAE may argue it is not just reforming human rights at home, but also facilitating it abroad. Yet, it will be hypocritical for the UAE to provide financial support for other countries to tackle human rights violations when it has not provided similar protection to its women and girls. Therefore, the UAE may see a need to implement even greater human rights as a way to gaining legitimacy for international relation andHuman rights debates have become a major discourse across many areas of international politics and relations, with serious economic and geopolitical implications. Consequently, socially reforming states like the UAE have increasingly sought to improve their human rights credentials. Recognising its potentially double benefits, the UAE’s potential aims for reforming human rights are twofold: seeking the status recognition of first among its Gulf or regional neighbours in terms of being a socially friendly nation and; using the status as a positional strategy to maximise economic and geopolitical advantages.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politics-damaging-south-africas-health/ Opinion – Is International Politics Damaging South Africa’s Health? Martin Duffy 1 NA To South African physicians, scientific disclosure must now come with a high price tag. As the first to discover the Omicron variant of Covid-19, South Africa’s reward has been an international embargo of sorts. In a detailed analysis, The Economist has set out how both the Omicron variant and travel bans are profoundly hurting the southern African economy and a population already on the bread line. 2021 has been South Africa’s annus horribilus. Its corrupt politicians diverted Covid-19 relief funds and hived off emergency donations to personal bank accounts. Riots claimed four hundred lives and energy cuts further crippled the economy. Yet, South African scientists have performed an exemplary job in responding to multiple health crises.Not long after the discovery of Omicron, the UK shut its airports to flights from South Africa and several of itsneighbouring states. The US and the EU followed suit. Many South Africans felt they were being unfairly punished for their country’s scientific rigour and openness. It is far from clear that Omicron actually originated in South Africa. And it is already spreading in the countries that have isolated the region. Moreover, the travel bans may also delay South African efforts to study the variant by impeding supplies of the reagents needed to isolate it. To add insult to injury the travel embargo has also jeopardized the free flow of expertise and specialist chemicals, thus also hampering African medics.To some it looks like unequal treatment for Johannesburg compared with the endless patience shown to Beijing earlier in the crisis. This goes to show there are two standards on scientific disclosure. Many commentators believe the international community could have taken a more severe approach to China’s response to Covid-19. They point to the international political system’s boundless generosity towards China, which appears to have been the source of the pandemic, and who certainly withheld vital information from their international colleagues while they sought to contain the outbreak in Wuhan.The international community and its media machine said little about China’s piecemeal and belated response to a looming pandemic. Indeed, some countries praised the PRC’s tardy implementation of city-wide zonal quarantines. Others are unhappy the World Health Organization (WHO) appears to have let politics get in the way of a robust response to a member state’s dangerous inaction. Even by the “kid-gloves” approach of the United Nations system, WHO inspections in China lacked a fundamental forensic discipline. Health investigators seemed embarrassingly accepting of laboratory information while every piece of epidemiological evidence pointed to confusion if not absolute obfuscation from China’s best physicians.Undoubtedly the WHO’s mission to study the pandemic’s origins in China faced enormous pressure from Chinese scientists (who made up half the team) to conclude it wasn’t a lab accident. Mission Chief, Peter Ben Embarek, told a Danish television documentary, broadcast on 12 August, that Chinese scientists refused to discuss the lab leak scenario unless the final report dismissed any need for further investigation. Having haggled about it until 48 hours before they left China, Ben Embarek said, his Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab leak theory in the report “but only on condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.” This is old-fashioned scientificDanish scientist had cooperated with the documentary makers for months, and their footage of the China visit came partly from his mobile phone. The documentary also showed him expressing his worries in January about the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which is beside the food market that Chinese authorities blamed for the outbreak. This facility, independent of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was overlooked by WHO as a potential source of concern. But Embarek has since observed this Chinese CDC laboratory, was handling coronaviruses, “without potentially having the same level of expertise or safety,” and was not even part of their inspection.China’s sensitivity and secrecy, Embarek is quoted as saying, “probably means there’s a human error behind such an event” which will never be admitted. The WHO team’s scientists had to be approved by China and accompanied by an equal number of Chinese scientists, under conditions China set before allowing their entry. The Chinese scientists had to approve the report before its release. But the swift dismissal of a lab leak drew widespread criticism, including from WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has since called the finding “premature.” In addition, raising further suspicion, a mysterious Swiss epidemiologist was widely quoted in Chinese media berating a US campaign to pressure WHO into falsely blaming China for the pandemic. The WHO and Swiss authorities have since called him “a fake invented by the Chinese media.”South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned his African counterparts in their rush to emulate the west in locking South Africa out as Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius, Egypt and Angola and others swiftly closed their borders. Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the action, which he described as unjustified, and called for the bans to be urgently lifted. The result of the latest unilateral action by states has been to leave hundreds of thousands of South Africans in economic peril, cauterized international investment and cut off most of its foreign aid. WHO’s own Africa director Dr Matshidiso Moeti reported that travel bans that target Africa or any specific region are just, “an attack on global solidarity.” Dr Angelique Coetzee, the virologist who first spotted Omicron, initially described “extremely mild” symptoms in patients, but even with that encouraging news, the international community’s embargo has gone into over-drive.The World Bank recently determined that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world — and the UN’s Human Development Index ranks its worsening income inequality. About 11 million South Africans live on less than $55 per month. Indeed nearly 4 million South Africans are in a state of multi-dimensional poverty. So, when South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Naledi Pandor, blames the international community for “punishing” South Africa, she is “speaking the truth”. The WHO has repeatedly urged countries not to impose travel restrictions in a knee-jerk reaction. The WHO statement reads: “This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker. Excellent science should be applauded and not punished.” Supporting this caution, WHO Head of Emergencies Michael Ryan stressed the importance of waiting for more data. “We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said. To be fair, the WHO have also dispatched a helper team, but the flags of intergovernmental organisations do not go far when you are unemployed, have no customers or taxi fares or can fill no tourist hotelsaid South Africa’s capacity to test and its ramped-up vaccination programme, backed up by its world class scientific community, “should give global partners confidence in their doctors, not embargo.” However, despite all the international promises, this is (alas) a plain case of international politics damaging South Africa’s health. One does not need million-dollar diagnostics to see the effects in the impoverished streets of Johannesburg. This is one of the clearest recent cases of the international community shooting the messenger. It may seem good international politics to pull up the drawbridge, but its economic effects are already being felt in one of the financially most unequal countries in the world. For the duration of the embargo, South Africa’s poor will only further suffer while international politicians selfishly persuade home electorates that they are keeping their citizens safe. To ordinary South Africans it must seem a high price to pay for global health.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-the-eu-carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism/ Opinion – US Carbon Border Mechanism in the Twilight Zone Ann-Evelyn Luyten 1 NA In July 2021, the European Commission (Commission) introduced a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in support of the European climate targets, which is to reduce 55% of carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and to become climate-neutral. The EU characterizes the CBAM as a climate measure that contributes to preventing the risk of carbon leakage, while emphasizing that it is compatible with World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rules. The CBAM is based on the purchase of certificates by EU importers and the price of the certificates will be calculated based on the weekly average auction price of EU ETS allowances. However, the CBAM will initially apply only to the following sectors: cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizers and electricity from 2023. During the transitional period (2023-2025), EU importers must correctly report the embedded emissions. From 2026, the CBAM fully enters into force with financial obligation to purchase CBAM certificates.The US response to the EU CBAM proposal until now was friendly, but not enthusiastic. Even before the Commission announced the CBAM proposal, the US already raised its concerns about the mechanism both at the WTO Market Access Committee, and the Trade and Environment Committee in 2020. In particular, the US (and several other WTO Members) stressed that the CBAM must be consistent with WTO rules and must not constitute disguised trade barriers.At the same time, the US appears to be not too concerned about the implications of the CBAM to its export to the EU for now. Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, estimates that the US export value to be affected by the EU CBAM will be around USD 1 billion. When comparing this estimated number to the Airbus-Boeing dispute, which had an economic impact of USD 7.5 billion on US export to the EU, this is relatively small.However, the impact of the CBAM on US export to the EU could quickly become more significant when the EU expands the scope beyond the five targeted sectors. The expansion of the CBAM could take place in 2026 at the earliest, as the Commission will present a report on the application of the CBAM, which will cover possible extension of targeted sectors.The US could choose to take a negative position against the EU CBAM in an attempt to slow down its introduction. In fact, the US is already taking this approach by expressing its concern on the CBAM at the WTO. Further, after his visit to Brussels in March 2021 to coordinate on climate issues ahead of COP26, John Kerry, the US Climate Envoy, stated that the EU should only consider introducing the CBAM as a “last resort”. The US is expected to continue to use the WTO as a platform to question the CBAM’s WTOthe same time, the US is less likely to introduce its own carbon border mechanism in the near future. When Biden became a president-elect, he pledged to introduce the US version of a carbon border tax. However, no details have been mentioned since his inauguration in January 2021. In addition, John Kerry mentioned in an interview in July 2021 that an introduction of an US CBAM might do harm to the on-going multilateral efforts that the US is engaged in to encourage other countries to strengthen their climate policies. This appears to be one of the reasons why the US did not make a statement on the CBAM during COP26.In the long run, the US may eventually introduce its own carbon border tax. In May 2021, John Kerry said President Biden had instructed officials to examine “what are the consequences, how do you do the pricing, what is the impact” of a carbon border tax. Moreover, in July 2021, Senator Chris Coons and Representative Scott Peters from the Democratic Party introduced companion bills that would impose a “border carbon adjustment” fee on imports of carbon-intensive goods into the US. Under the Democratic proposal, a tariff starting in 2024 would apply to roughly 12 percent of imports coming into the US and would target petroleum, natural gas and coal, aluminium, steel, iron and cement.Another option for the US is to participate in a “Climate Club”. According to Nobel laureate William Nordhaus, a club of countries who implement a carbon pricing system should agree on an “international target carbon price”. While countries who are members of the climate club will not face any tariffs, other countries who refuse to join the club would face unilateral tariff applied to all their exports into the club. If, for example the EU, the US and China succeed in creating a climate club together with other countries, it will open up a promising avenue for higher climate ambition without fear of carbon leakage and create a strong incentive for other countries to join.The US and the EU can cooperate closely to address carbon leakage as this will create a huge momentum in reducing carbon emission in a meaningful manner. While there are some positive comments coming from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, they are often vague without any concrete actions. This means that the EU will become the first mover by introducing its CBAM in 2023. It remains to be seen if and when the US and other countries will join the force. We are likely to see a patchwork of different carbon pricing system in different jurisdictions before they take serious steps to discuss and implement a global carbon pricing system. However, this patchwork will make it more difficult for companies to implement a carbon pricing system and effectively reduce carbon emissions.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-dirty-state-image/ Can Sport Mega-events Clean a Dirty State Image? Sigmund Loland 0 NA Some states accused of human rights violations use major sporting events to distract the criticism and embellish their reputation. Is it time for radical sanctions and boycotts to end the practice of sportswashing? Major sporting events such as the Olympics or the World Cup capture the world’s attention. Billions of people follow the events via various media outlets and digital platforms. Hence, there is the possibility of reaching a global audience with messages of many kinds. This can be handled in both constructive and problematic ways. Most organizing cities and states seem to use mega-events in line with the Olympic ideal of enlightened patriotism. With grandiose ceremonies, high-tech facilities, and (if possible) sporting success for the home team, the aim is to demonstrate progress and social and cultural flourishing with no substantial claims on superiority or dominance. The 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany showing cheering and playful Germans challenged the international cliché of a controlled and disciplined people. The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games included humor and a series of popular-cultural references. Agent 007 James Bond parachuted the Queen into the stadium, and the Spice Girls were reunited. A global audience smiled and followed the rhythm.There is however also the possibility of exploiting sporting mega-events in problematic ways. Historically, some events have been means to strengthen aggressive, totalitarian regimes. Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, the so-called Nazi-Olympics, was a carefully planned propaganda show. With drilled groups on the bleachers forming the head of Lenin and the hammer and the sickle, the opening ceremony of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was embedded with communist symbols. Often, political and ideological exploitation is combined with a bread and circus-strategy, as when the Argentine hosted the soccer World Cup in 1978. Post-Peron Argentina was in the hands of a military junta eradicating the opposition with torture and executions. The tournament, ending with the Argentinian team beating the Netherlands in a controversial win, was used for whatever it was worth to silence the opposition internally and externally. The 1978 World Cup is referred to as ‘the beautiful game’s ugliest moment’.The Argentinian case is an early version of what today is called sportswashing. Sportswashing implies a state’s unbalanced and to a certain extent false portrayal of progress and well-being to cover problematic policies and practices, in particular human rights violations. Mega sports events are used to clean a dirty reputation.Current sportswashing controversies relate to two upcoming events in 2022: the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February, and the soccer World Cup in Qatar in November. Both organizing states are accused of significant human rights violations. In China, among other things, the concern relates to oppression of the Uighur minority, in Qatar to the violation of immigrant workers’ rights.One part of the controversy is the critique of international sport organizations. How can organizations with visions of making the world a better place through sport award important events to totalitarian states accused of human rights violations? These organizations have long hovered in a non-transparent trans-national sphere without real exposure to critical scrutiny. Their structural setup, distribution of power, and election procedures have opened for secret deals and corruption. In simple terms, events have been sold to the highest bidder.situation has changed, however. In the last decades, and due to corruption scandals, organizations such as the IOC and FIFA have been confronted by increased requirements on transparency and social responsibility. In several aspiring Olympic cities such as Hamburg, Oslo, Boston, and Chicago, the IOC has been met with anti-Olympic protests, and bids have been cancelled. In the FIFA case, commentators and supporter activists have called for a complete boycott of Qatar. Hence, over the last years, the bidding and selection process of mega-event organizers has changed. Among other things, future organizers must report on and meet strict requirements on the human rights situation. In this sense, the development is positive.The challenge remains, however, of how to deal with the 2022 events. One obvious possibility is a full boycott; athletes, teams and representatives of all kinds protesting by staying at home. A full boycott does not necessarily lead to change, however (Gomez 2018). If the objective is the strengthening of human rights, further efforts are needed. In their analysis of more than six decades of boycott sanctions, Felbermayr et al. (2020) estimate an overall success rate of34%. The rate for sanctions related to human rights is lower: between 25% and 30%. Successful sanctions seem to share some core features:There is broad, multilateral support from both government authorities and other actors, that is, multilateral boycotts, preferably initiated by the UN Security Council.The boycotted party is dependent in some way on the boycotting parties, primarily politically and economically.With respect to human rights, it is more effective to bind an actor to commitments than to try and reduce rights violations.The objectives of the boycott should be limited and clear-cut. It is easier to apply a sanction to free a political prisoner than to achieve system change.It is easier to achieve objectives in democratic than in authoritarian or theocratic regimes.As Galtung (1967) observed, boycotts may also have unintended consequences, such as costs to an innocent third party (often the civilian population) and strengthened resistance to the boycotting party on the part of the boycotted. In other words, to create real change, boycotts require careful analyses, extensive coordination, and loyalty among many parties.Another option is to take part while at the same time protesting in one way or the other against human rights violations. In a comprehensive study, Murray (2018) points to the possibilities of ‘soft power’ in what he calls ‘the new sports diplomacy’. What was previously a sphere of states and governments is today a complex system of additional actors with a diversity of objectives: influential athletes and teams, NGOs such as Amnesty International, media corporations and sponsors, inter- and supranational bodies with active sport policies such as the EU, and activist groups exemplified by soccer supporters or anti-Olympics campaigners. In contrast to the more formal and established diplomatic channels, sports diplomacy is flexible, fluid, innovative, transparent, and activist, and seems to possess an interesting potential for impact and change.Murray (2018) offers multiple examples of how to realize the potential. During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Obama sent openly gay ex-athletes as official representatives. One of them was the outspoken tennis legend Billie Jean King. The stunt was a clear protest against the gay legislation in Russia and a gesture of solidarity with the Russian LGBT society. A recent example is a message on the Norwegian national soccer team’s warm-up T-shirts during one of the World Cup qualifier games: ‘Respect on and off the pitch!’ Another example comes from Denmark where main sponsors have freed the space on the national soccer team shirts to enable human rights messages. On the one hand, the initiative no doubt is driven by ideals. On the other hand, this is creative marketing. By removing the logo, a company comes through as socially and morally responsible and builds goodwill.option, however, is easy to clear off the road. No leader, neither from sports, politics, NGOs or the commercial sector, can go to Beijing or Qatar without a clear plan on how to deal with the accusations of human rights violations. The critical spotlight on the organizers is increasing in strength. Actually, one is left wondering whether the very idea of sportswashing loses force. For repressive states and regimes, hosting mega-events might do more harm to their international image than to promote it.Managed by responsible organizations with political and diplomatic insights and competence, sporting mega-events can become a true detergent in the fight against the dark spots of repression and human rights violations. The Beijing Olympics and Qatar World Cup might become the turning points after which sportswashing becomes a less attractive option.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/student-mobility-and-its-relevance-to-international-relations-theory/ Student Mobility and Its Relevance to International Relations Theory Nancy Snow 0 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/assessing-the-international-communitys-obligation-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-afghans/ Assessing the International Community’s Obligation to Protect the Human Rights of Afghans Christopher Fitzgerald 0 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/02/using-disability-critical-race-theory-in-american-special-education-classrooms/ Using Disability Critical Race Theory in American Special Education Classrooms Christopher Keith Johnson 0 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/01/opinion-no-change-after-kyrgyzstans-2021-parliamentary-elections/ Opinion – ‘No Change’ After Kyrgyzstan’s 2021 Parliamentary Elections Martin Duffy 1 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/27/pluriversal-peacebuilding-peace-beyond-epistemic-and-ontological-violence/ Pluriversal Peacebuilding: Peace Beyond Epistemic and Ontological Violence Garrett FitzGerald 0 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/23/why-india-needs-a-gender-policy-for-its-armed-forces/ Why India Needs a Gender Policy for its Armed Forces Kiran Chauhan 0 NA NA
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/21/opinion-why-womens-rights-in-the-gulf-matter-for-afghanistan/ Opinion – Why Women’s Rights in the Gulf Matter for Afghanistan Rachel A. George 1 NA NA

5.4 Functions

eir_scraper<-function(url){
  require(tidyverse)
  require(rvest)
  clean_text<-read_html(url) %>% #we define our variable
    html_nodes(".-inset article") %>% 
    html_text() %>% 
    str_replace_all("[\r\n]" , " ") %>% 
    str_remove("(.*)(Shutterstock|Loading views)") %>% 
    str_remove_all("[:graph:]{50,1000}") %>% 
    str_remove_all("[:space:]{2,}") %>% 
    str_remove("(Further Reading|References)(.*)")
  return(clean_text)
} 
df$text <- sapply(df$url, eir_scraper)
table(df$text_loop==df$text)
## 
## TRUE 
##    5
df$text_loop = NULL
url title authors opinion text
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/11/the-legacy-of-russian-ballet-diplomacy/ The Legacy of Russian Ballet Diplomacy Tatiana A. Slokvenko and Anna A. Velikaya 0 Russia has utilized ballet in its foreign policy goals for more than a century, and it has become an integral part of the country’s cultural diplomacy, as well an instrument to promote international dialogue and build bridges. Among the gifts that Russian culture gave to the world, the legacy of the Russian ballet has a significant role. The cultural interactions between Russia and European countries (primarily France and Italy) resulted in the emergence of an academic school that was internationally recognized by the end of the 19th century. “Swan lake”, a ballet created by P.I. Tchaikovsky in 1877, transformed the form of ballet music. A significant role in the development of ballets worldwide belonged to Russian choreographers A. Vaganova, M. Petipa, L. Ivanov, M Fokine.After the success of the exhibition of Russian artists during the Paris Autumn Salon in 1906, Russian choreographer Serge Diaghilev, under the patronage of the imperial court of Russia and influential persons in the secular circles of France, began organizing Russian seasons. These were annual tours of Russian artists through Paris. In 1907, Anna Pavlova and Adolph Bolm headed a small troupe of twenty artists for tours abroad. Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, which took place from 1906 to 1929 in Europe and America – especially the first ones, and which included the ballets The Firebird, Petruska and The Rite of Spring – made a great contribution to the development of world ballet and opera. These seasons popularized Russian culture abroad and contributed to popularity of Russian fashion – even the wife of King George VI of Great Britain got married in a dress that paraphrased Russian folklore traditions.After the period of the Revolution and Civil War, many Russian ballet stars, choreographers and composers were in exile – from Anna Pavlova to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Still, classical ballet traditions in Russia were alive and waiting for the chance to be told to the world and be used as a cultural diplomacy tool.In 1935, Serge Lifar, the head of the Opera de Paris ballet company invited a star from the mysterious Soviet Russia by sending a letter to world known choreographer Agrippina Vaganova (after whom, in 1957, the main Russian ballet school would be named), who was then living in Leningrad. Vaganova recommended the talented ballerina Marina Semenova, who was married to the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Lev Karakhan. In Paris, Semenova danced Chopiniana, Giselle and Swan Lake. Both the French and the Russian émigrés were getting ready to see the red commissar who walked with a Mauser. Instead, they were visited by a “young, pretty, shy woman” who drank only champagne, spoke good French, but most importantly, danced amazingly. The success could be seen when sensitive Parisians wiped away their tears during the scene of Giselle’s madness. Through her performances, Semenova developed a relationship with the French public and her tour was one of the first ballet diplomacy initiatives of Soviet Union.In 1956, the Bolshoi Theater went on a foreign tour for the first time thanks to Khrushchev’s official visit to Great Britain. The premiere of Romeo and Juliet was attended by celebrities such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Margot Fontaine. The expectations of the London audience were fully met and their standing ovation lasted 90 minutes. To say that the Bolshoi Theater troupe in London were triumphant is to say nothing. The Soviet ballet, which carefully preserved and multiplied the traditions of Diaghilev’s “seasons”, became a true sensation of its time, rediscovering the richness of this cultural tradition as it astonished foreigners. Former prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Matilda Kseshinskaya wrote about this with pride: “- I cried with happiness … I recognized the old ballet. It was the same ballet that I had not seen in over 40 years. The soul remained, the tradition is alive and continuing …” Soviet ballet stars Ulanova and Plisetskaya gave performances in Rome, London and New York, and witnessed the worship of kings and presidents alike with their world fame. Moscow had become the “ballet capital” of the world. Even “move to the West” of Alexander Godunov, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov were contributing towards international interest to RussianRussia is one of the few countries where ballet traditions have been carefully preserved and developed. Russia currently hosts various ballet festivals and competitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg – Dance Open, Vaganova Prix, Dance Inversion, Context, Kremlin Gala, Benois de la danse, Baletomania, Moscow Summer Seasons, International Ballet competition and the International Nuriyev festival in Kazan and Ufa to name them. In 2006, the directors of the twelve most significant and authoritative international ballet competitions established the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and turned to the outstanding choreographer of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, Yuriy Grigorovich, to head organization as its President. In 2013, it became a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council and currently it fosters international cultural dialogue.Like any instrument, ballet diplomacy has its limitations. At times, Russia uses cultural diplomacy too actively and disregards the tastes of the target audience and opportunities to use other public diplomacy instruments. Ballet diplomacy cannot build trust at once in an atmosphere of mistrust. But the peoples of the world invariably feel the need to supplement their own cultural traditions with the values of other peoples. The distinctive features of Russian ballet are spirituality, meaningfulness, expressiveness and traditionalism and these features are relative to the image of Russia that is being promoted both by official diplomacy and ballet diplomacy.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/human-rights-reform-in-the-uae-natural-socio-political-evolution-or-positional-strategy/ Human Rights Reform in the UAE: Natural Socio-Political Evolution or Positional Strategy? Reem Saeed 0 In the world where human rights records are increasingly generating political debates, changes may be required to domestic human rights laws, especially for emerging socially reforming countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Conceptually, the internationalised social identity theory (SIT) explains why the need for human rights reforms may lead to the emergence of a hierarchical status in which a country seeks to climb this status ranking, while simultaneously consolidating on the acquired status to gain economic and geopolitical advantages. With respect to the UAE, this article shows that human rights reforms may not only improve the UAE’s standing as a socially reforming nation, but also advance its objective of becoming a regional hospitality, military and economic hub.Half a century since its formation, the UAE’s economic transformation, largely through its energy resources, has also allowed it to invest in developing soft power (international diplomacy and foreign aid) as well as in hard power (military capabilities and intervention in international conflicts). However, the UAE’s growing economic and geopolitical influence has also attracted attention to its socio-political development, which has not kept pace with its evolution as an economic and geopolitical player (Salisbury, 2020). At the heart of the UAE’s socio-political development debate is its human rights record which often attracts international attention and criticism.Economically, the UAE relies on migrant labour, which accounts for about 90 percent of its population. This puts a focus on the rights of these foreign nationals, which, sometimes results in diplomatic tension between the UAE and migrant worker’s home countries. Also, the growth of UAE as an international hub for financial and tourism investments has also raised question about its human rights as international investors and organisations become increasingly mindful of human rights records of the countries they invest or deal with.Politically, the issues around human rights in the UAE also centres around whether the existing human rights laws offers sufficient protections, with questions raised about treatments of political dissidents, women and human rights advocates. The human rights organisations keep the spotlight on reported alleged human rights violations, putting pressures on the UAE government to defend its records on human rights and, in recent years, taken measures to improve human rights in terms of diversity, gender equality, workers’ rights and representations.Geopolitically, the UAE has become increasingly assertive in its regional and international relations, which also raises debates about its human right records. In particular, in exercising its hard power through weapon acquisitions, military intervention and establishing military bases in foreign countries, the UAE is often reminded of human rights obligations – both from its western military equipment suppliers and human rights campaigners about its military strategies, assets and targets abroad.over the last decade, there has been a change in human rights protections for both Emiratis and migrant workers. But the question that arises is whether the recent move by the UAE to further reform human rights is just natural socio-political evolution, or a measured policy change in maintaining economic and geopolitical influence? Therefore, this article analyses the recent trend in human rights, highlighting the role economic and geopolitical considerations may have played in shaping these recent changes.The Evolution of Human Rights in the UAEHuman rights reforms in the UAE have been taking place gradually, but the last decade has seen the biggest changes. A review of these human rights reforms is summarised below.Efforts to protect children’s rights in the UAE started with the establishment of the Supreme Children Protection Committee in 2009 and the Children Protection Centre in 2011. But to guarantee the basic rights of children, including the right to life, education and health, the Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 was enacted to provide legal framework for protection of children. Also, in 2017 additional measures, including the Strategic Plan for the Rights of Children with Disabilities 2017-2021 and the National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood 2017-2021, were introduced to reinforce the government’s determination to create child friendly environment where their safety is paramount and rights guaranteed.Facing international criticisms on the reports on human trafficking and accusation of lacklustre efforts in dealing with the scourge of human trafficking, the country has embarked on combatting all forms of human trafficking crimes within the country, while working with the regional and international countries to root out these crimes. The UAE has assumed a leading role in the global campaign against human trafficking, and was the first country in the region to enact a comprehensive anti-human-trafficking law with Federal Law 51 in 2006, and established The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT)to oversee its enforcement (Mofaic, 2021). To ensure its human trafficking laws remain effective, an amendment was done in 2013 to United Nations Protocol on human trafficking and further amended in 2015 to improve support for victims and protection of witnesses (Mofaic, 2021).Overall, the UAE has adopted the 5Ps national strategy for human trafficking: Prevention, Prosecution, Punishment, Protection of victims, and Promotion of international cooperation (NCCHT, 2016). In addition, rehabilitation services are provided to human trafficking victims, including the Ewaa shelters for women and children victims of human trafficking crimes, the Abu Dhabi Centre for Sheltering and Human Care, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) and the Women’s Protection Centre of the Sharjah Social Services Department.The UAE’s record on women’s rights, especially as it relates to gender equality, has raised questions about the country’s claim of being a global, tolerant state. In response to its critics, the country has undertaken political and legal changes towards eliminating gender biases against women (Hamel and Dexter, 2021). Over the last decade, the UAE has made important women’s rights reforms, introducing further domestic violence protections, but significant discrimination against women and girls remains (Human Rights Watch,in recent years, the UAE’s government has devoted more efforts towards improving women’s rights. By introducing the Gender Balance Council (GBC), the UAE has made significant progress in women’s rights, specifically targeting social and economic empowerment. Recent reforms on women empowerment include ability to apply for passports, right to become a head of the family, laws against domestic violence, criminalisation of sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination against women (Hamel and Dexter, 2021). In fact, the rapid and sustained efforts towards gender equality in the UAE have received international recognition. The latest available data for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Gender Inequality Index (GII) shows the UAE is positively ranked first regionally and 18th globally (UNDP, 2020). Also, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law (WBL) 2021 index highlights a jump in women’s rights in the UAE, despite the MENA region as whole still ranking lowest in the WBL index, with women having less than half of the rights exercised by men. More specifically, the WBL index shows the UAE’s total score from 30 out of 100 points in 2019 to 82.5 out of 100 points in 2021 (Hamel and Dexter, 2021).Yet, the UAE has continued to introduce additional legal instruments to enhance and protect women’s right. For example, new laws targets domestic violence and honour killing, with legal enforcements against all forms of violence against women. Also, new laws permitting women to engage in night work and be employed in the previously male-restricted roles have been adopted, allowing women the freedom of career. Finally, the UAE, having made significant progress in gender equality at home, has embarked on global campaign to support women’s rights in other countries using its soft power through foreign aid. As a result, the UAE tops the list in terms of the amount of foreign aid dedicated to empowering and protecting girls and women where discrimination is still being practiced.Most of the recent reforms introduced to improve human rights in the UAE are those targeted towards workers’ rights, especially migrant workers. To develop its legal framework on workers’ rights, the UAE has ratified nine key International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions related to workers’ rights, including six fundamental conventions, one governance conventions and two technical conventions (ILO, 2021). Labour laws and regulations are being introduced to reform the labour markets and grant workers, especially the migrant labour, more legal rights. For example, from 2009, the UAE introduced the Wage Protection System (WPS), which has transformed the relationship between employers and their employees, especially domestic workers, by ensuring that wages are protected – an important effort towards improving workers’ rights. While the legal protections for domestic workers are weaker than the non-domestic labour laws and comparatively fall below international standards, laws and regulations have been introduced from 2017 to grant them additional rights, including the banning of confiscating passports, physical abuse, and travel rights (Human Right Watch,1991, the United Nations convened global conference in Paris for consultation on the establishment of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the outcome of the 1991 conference, and subsequent the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, is the so-called Paris Principles, which outlines the internationally expected status of the NHRIs to guarantee their independence, legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness (OHCHR, 2010).While the UAE has made efforts to improve its human rights records, it has been criticised for failing to create an independent NHRI to champion the protection of human rights and, despite claims of being a leading human rights advocates in the region, it trailed other gulf neighbours such as Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have all established their NHRIs (IFEX, 2018; DW, 2021). In a move to show its human right reforms are continuing in a positive direction, the UAE enacted Federal Law number 12 of 2021, setting up an independent National Human Rights Institution (DW, 2021). The new human rights institution is set up in accordance with the so-called Paris Principles, suggesting the government intends to allow it to be independent, with administrative and financial autonomy. However, there are fears that the proposed institution may not reach such autonomy, given the experience of human rights institutions already established in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia (DW, 2021).Possible Economic and Geopolitical Reasons for UAE’s Human Rights ReformsWhile the UAE has made incremental progress in human rights reforms in recent decades, the acceleration of human rights provisions and protections, including the latest announcement of the law establishing a national human right institution, has raised the question about the real reason behind the country’s dramatic shift to liberalise its social-cultural laws. The argument centres on whether the recent human rights reforms follows a natural social-cultural progress of a modern state, or strategic positioning designed to maximise economic or geopolitical gains.Theoretically, Gotz (2021) summarises existing theories used in the study of move up the status ranking in competitive international relations into three perspectives. First, the Rationalist–Instrumental Perspective, led by Renshon (2017), which explains how the strategic nature of status seeking in world politics can lead to a deference hierarchy, in which states competes to climb at expense of others. Second, the Social-Psychological perspective, based on social identity theory (SIT), is championed by Larson and Shevchenko (2003, 2010, 2019a, 2019b). This theoretical perspective explains how a status-seeking state strategically positions itself to attain higher rank order in a hierarchy characterised by valued attributes, including socio-cultural progress. Third, a Constructivist Perspective, which, according to Murray (2019), explains how a state can craft a national self-image, or identity, and, when recognised others, allows it to attain higher standing in international community.In this article, Larson and Shevchenko’s internationalised social identity theory (SIT) is used to explore why human right reforms undertaken by the UAE may be an attempt to seek socially-driven status, and utilise it, to potentially gain economic and geopolitical competitive advantage. Larson and Shevchenko (2003) suggest social mobility, social competition and social creativity as three strategies a state can employ to position itself for higher internationalfirst strategy is the social mobility, which implies that a state identifies a specific valued international social endeavour, in which it ranks low, accepts the evaluation criteria for advancing into higher status, and, therefore, systematically seeks to emulate the social endeavour of a high ranking state for the purpose achieving higher rank itself. In the context of international human right status positioning strategy by the UAE, social mobility implies it seeks to follow the standard of human rights advocated by more democratically advanced countries, or those codified by international conventions. Also, in exercising its hard power through military hardware acquisitions and military intervention, the UAE is being forced to improve its domestic human right records for two reasons. First, western government face serious challenge from their citizens and parliaments when supplying arms to countries poor human right records. Second, countries with poor human rights records tend to face higher criticisms by international political bodies i.e. the United Nations when engage in military operations abroad. For example, UAE’s military intervention in Yemen raised a number of international backlashes in terms of possible human rights violations.The second strategy is the social competition, which involves the application of the higher status attained through social mobility strategy. In fact, the social competition strategy has geopolitical competiveness as a key motivation, which may apply from governance institution or human right to economic and military intervention (Larson and Shevchenko, 2019a). In this case, a state attempts to outshine countries at similar level or in regional group a given area of endeavour.For example, according to its latest country report on the UAE, the Human Right Watch highlighted the strategic investment in its “soft power”, which is primarily aimed at positioning the image of the country as a progressive, tolerant, and rights-respecting nation in a time of increased economic and political competition in region (Human Rights Watch, 2021b).In addition, Saudi Arabia is rapidly reforming its social values, with introduction of various human rights protections and a new economic policy, aiming to position the country an attractive regional economic and financial centre. Consequently, the UAE, a natural ally and competitor of the Saudi Arabia in the region, had effectively positioned itself as economic hub of the region, must not be seen to be behind in social and political capital (i.e. global acceptability for having higher moral value through adoption of human rights). Being seen as the country with higher human rights record in the region will give it the advantage of being the natural ally of the international community with respect to the regional politics and international politics and relations in general. For example, positive changes in human right laws potentially reduced the possibility of international criticisms or boycott when international competition or forum. i.e Dubai Expo 2021.Finally, the third strategy of social creativity implies a situation in which a relatively low-ranking state makes efforts to recreate evaluation criteria as a way of advancing into higher status (Larson and Shevchenko 2019a). This can be done by identifying an area in which it is superior to its competitors, and seeks to move the ranking criteria on that basis. For example, in the case of human rights develops in the gulf and middle east, the UAE, having been challenged by the human rights reforms undertaken by its neighbouring states, has veered towards a new way of positioning itself as the champion of liberalisation in the region by trumpeting the expanding its soft power especially through its international development assistance on human right. More specifically, as a leading donor towards global protection women and girl child rights, the UAE may argue it is not just reforming human rights at home, but also facilitating it abroad. Yet, it will be hypocritical for the UAE to provide financial support for other countries to tackle human rights violations when it has not provided similar protection to its women and girls. Therefore, the UAE may see a need to implement even greater human rights as a way to gaining legitimacy for international relation andHuman rights debates have become a major discourse across many areas of international politics and relations, with serious economic and geopolitical implications. Consequently, socially reforming states like the UAE have increasingly sought to improve their human rights credentials. Recognising its potentially double benefits, the UAE’s potential aims for reforming human rights are twofold: seeking the status recognition of first among its Gulf or regional neighbours in terms of being a socially friendly nation and; using the status as a positional strategy to maximise economic and geopolitical advantages.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/10/opinion-is-international-politics-damaging-south-africas-health/ Opinion – Is International Politics Damaging South Africa’s Health? Martin Duffy 1 To South African physicians, scientific disclosure must now come with a high price tag. As the first to discover the Omicron variant of Covid-19, South Africa’s reward has been an international embargo of sorts. In a detailed analysis, The Economist has set out how both the Omicron variant and travel bans are profoundly hurting the southern African economy and a population already on the bread line. 2021 has been South Africa’s annus horribilus. Its corrupt politicians diverted Covid-19 relief funds and hived off emergency donations to personal bank accounts. Riots claimed four hundred lives and energy cuts further crippled the economy. Yet, South African scientists have performed an exemplary job in responding to multiple health crises.Not long after the discovery of Omicron, the UK shut its airports to flights from South Africa and several of itsneighbouring states. The US and the EU followed suit. Many South Africans felt they were being unfairly punished for their country’s scientific rigour and openness. It is far from clear that Omicron actually originated in South Africa. And it is already spreading in the countries that have isolated the region. Moreover, the travel bans may also delay South African efforts to study the variant by impeding supplies of the reagents needed to isolate it. To add insult to injury the travel embargo has also jeopardized the free flow of expertise and specialist chemicals, thus also hampering African medics.To some it looks like unequal treatment for Johannesburg compared with the endless patience shown to Beijing earlier in the crisis. This goes to show there are two standards on scientific disclosure. Many commentators believe the international community could have taken a more severe approach to China’s response to Covid-19. They point to the international political system’s boundless generosity towards China, which appears to have been the source of the pandemic, and who certainly withheld vital information from their international colleagues while they sought to contain the outbreak in Wuhan.The international community and its media machine said little about China’s piecemeal and belated response to a looming pandemic. Indeed, some countries praised the PRC’s tardy implementation of city-wide zonal quarantines. Others are unhappy the World Health Organization (WHO) appears to have let politics get in the way of a robust response to a member state’s dangerous inaction. Even by the “kid-gloves” approach of the United Nations system, WHO inspections in China lacked a fundamental forensic discipline. Health investigators seemed embarrassingly accepting of laboratory information while every piece of epidemiological evidence pointed to confusion if not absolute obfuscation from China’s best physicians.Undoubtedly the WHO’s mission to study the pandemic’s origins in China faced enormous pressure from Chinese scientists (who made up half the team) to conclude it wasn’t a lab accident. Mission Chief, Peter Ben Embarek, told a Danish television documentary, broadcast on 12 August, that Chinese scientists refused to discuss the lab leak scenario unless the final report dismissed any need for further investigation. Having haggled about it until 48 hours before they left China, Ben Embarek said, his Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab leak theory in the report “but only on condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.” This is old-fashioned scientificDanish scientist had cooperated with the documentary makers for months, and their footage of the China visit came partly from his mobile phone. The documentary also showed him expressing his worries in January about the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which is beside the food market that Chinese authorities blamed for the outbreak. This facility, independent of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was overlooked by WHO as a potential source of concern. But Embarek has since observed this Chinese CDC laboratory, was handling coronaviruses, “without potentially having the same level of expertise or safety,” and was not even part of their inspection.China’s sensitivity and secrecy, Embarek is quoted as saying, “probably means there’s a human error behind such an event” which will never be admitted. The WHO team’s scientists had to be approved by China and accompanied by an equal number of Chinese scientists, under conditions China set before allowing their entry. The Chinese scientists had to approve the report before its release. But the swift dismissal of a lab leak drew widespread criticism, including from WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has since called the finding “premature.” In addition, raising further suspicion, a mysterious Swiss epidemiologist was widely quoted in Chinese media berating a US campaign to pressure WHO into falsely blaming China for the pandemic. The WHO and Swiss authorities have since called him “a fake invented by the Chinese media.”South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned his African counterparts in their rush to emulate the west in locking South Africa out as Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius, Egypt and Angola and others swiftly closed their borders. Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the action, which he described as unjustified, and called for the bans to be urgently lifted. The result of the latest unilateral action by states has been to leave hundreds of thousands of South Africans in economic peril, cauterized international investment and cut off most of its foreign aid. WHO’s own Africa director Dr Matshidiso Moeti reported that travel bans that target Africa or any specific region are just, “an attack on global solidarity.” Dr Angelique Coetzee, the virologist who first spotted Omicron, initially described “extremely mild” symptoms in patients, but even with that encouraging news, the international community’s embargo has gone into over-drive.The World Bank recently determined that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world — and the UN’s Human Development Index ranks its worsening income inequality. About 11 million South Africans live on less than $55 per month. Indeed nearly 4 million South Africans are in a state of multi-dimensional poverty. So, when South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Naledi Pandor, blames the international community for “punishing” South Africa, she is “speaking the truth”. The WHO has repeatedly urged countries not to impose travel restrictions in a knee-jerk reaction. The WHO statement reads: “This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker. Excellent science should be applauded and not punished.” Supporting this caution, WHO Head of Emergencies Michael Ryan stressed the importance of waiting for more data. “We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said. To be fair, the WHO have also dispatched a helper team, but the flags of intergovernmental organisations do not go far when you are unemployed, have no customers or taxi fares or can fill no tourist hotelsaid South Africa’s capacity to test and its ramped-up vaccination programme, backed up by its world class scientific community, “should give global partners confidence in their doctors, not embargo.” However, despite all the international promises, this is (alas) a plain case of international politics damaging South Africa’s health. One does not need million-dollar diagnostics to see the effects in the impoverished streets of Johannesburg. This is one of the clearest recent cases of the international community shooting the messenger. It may seem good international politics to pull up the drawbridge, but its economic effects are already being felt in one of the financially most unequal countries in the world. For the duration of the embargo, South Africa’s poor will only further suffer while international politicians selfishly persuade home electorates that they are keeping their citizens safe. To ordinary South Africans it must seem a high price to pay for global health.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/opinion-us-and-the-impact-of-the-eu-carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism/ Opinion – US Carbon Border Mechanism in the Twilight Zone Ann-Evelyn Luyten 1 In July 2021, the European Commission (Commission) introduced a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in support of the European climate targets, which is to reduce 55% of carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and to become climate-neutral. The EU characterizes the CBAM as a climate measure that contributes to preventing the risk of carbon leakage, while emphasizing that it is compatible with World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rules. The CBAM is based on the purchase of certificates by EU importers and the price of the certificates will be calculated based on the weekly average auction price of EU ETS allowances. However, the CBAM will initially apply only to the following sectors: cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizers and electricity from 2023. During the transitional period (2023-2025), EU importers must correctly report the embedded emissions. From 2026, the CBAM fully enters into force with financial obligation to purchase CBAM certificates.The US response to the EU CBAM proposal until now was friendly, but not enthusiastic. Even before the Commission announced the CBAM proposal, the US already raised its concerns about the mechanism both at the WTO Market Access Committee, and the Trade and Environment Committee in 2020. In particular, the US (and several other WTO Members) stressed that the CBAM must be consistent with WTO rules and must not constitute disguised trade barriers.At the same time, the US appears to be not too concerned about the implications of the CBAM to its export to the EU for now. Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, estimates that the US export value to be affected by the EU CBAM will be around USD 1 billion. When comparing this estimated number to the Airbus-Boeing dispute, which had an economic impact of USD 7.5 billion on US export to the EU, this is relatively small.However, the impact of the CBAM on US export to the EU could quickly become more significant when the EU expands the scope beyond the five targeted sectors. The expansion of the CBAM could take place in 2026 at the earliest, as the Commission will present a report on the application of the CBAM, which will cover possible extension of targeted sectors.The US could choose to take a negative position against the EU CBAM in an attempt to slow down its introduction. In fact, the US is already taking this approach by expressing its concern on the CBAM at the WTO. Further, after his visit to Brussels in March 2021 to coordinate on climate issues ahead of COP26, John Kerry, the US Climate Envoy, stated that the EU should only consider introducing the CBAM as a “last resort”. The US is expected to continue to use the WTO as a platform to question the CBAM’s WTOthe same time, the US is less likely to introduce its own carbon border mechanism in the near future. When Biden became a president-elect, he pledged to introduce the US version of a carbon border tax. However, no details have been mentioned since his inauguration in January 2021. In addition, John Kerry mentioned in an interview in July 2021 that an introduction of an US CBAM might do harm to the on-going multilateral efforts that the US is engaged in to encourage other countries to strengthen their climate policies. This appears to be one of the reasons why the US did not make a statement on the CBAM during COP26.In the long run, the US may eventually introduce its own carbon border tax. In May 2021, John Kerry said President Biden had instructed officials to examine “what are the consequences, how do you do the pricing, what is the impact” of a carbon border tax. Moreover, in July 2021, Senator Chris Coons and Representative Scott Peters from the Democratic Party introduced companion bills that would impose a “border carbon adjustment” fee on imports of carbon-intensive goods into the US. Under the Democratic proposal, a tariff starting in 2024 would apply to roughly 12 percent of imports coming into the US and would target petroleum, natural gas and coal, aluminium, steel, iron and cement.Another option for the US is to participate in a “Climate Club”. According to Nobel laureate William Nordhaus, a club of countries who implement a carbon pricing system should agree on an “international target carbon price”. While countries who are members of the climate club will not face any tariffs, other countries who refuse to join the club would face unilateral tariff applied to all their exports into the club. If, for example the EU, the US and China succeed in creating a climate club together with other countries, it will open up a promising avenue for higher climate ambition without fear of carbon leakage and create a strong incentive for other countries to join.The US and the EU can cooperate closely to address carbon leakage as this will create a huge momentum in reducing carbon emission in a meaningful manner. While there are some positive comments coming from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, they are often vague without any concrete actions. This means that the EU will become the first mover by introducing its CBAM in 2023. It remains to be seen if and when the US and other countries will join the force. We are likely to see a patchwork of different carbon pricing system in different jurisdictions before they take serious steps to discuss and implement a global carbon pricing system. However, this patchwork will make it more difficult for companies to implement a carbon pricing system and effectively reduce carbon emissions.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/07/can-sport-mega-events-clean-a-dirty-state-image/ Can Sport Mega-events Clean a Dirty State Image? Sigmund Loland 0 Some states accused of human rights violations use major sporting events to distract the criticism and embellish their reputation. Is it time for radical sanctions and boycotts to end the practice of sportswashing? Major sporting events such as the Olympics or the World Cup capture the world’s attention. Billions of people follow the events via various media outlets and digital platforms. Hence, there is the possibility of reaching a global audience with messages of many kinds. This can be handled in both constructive and problematic ways. Most organizing cities and states seem to use mega-events in line with the Olympic ideal of enlightened patriotism. With grandiose ceremonies, high-tech facilities, and (if possible) sporting success for the home team, the aim is to demonstrate progress and social and cultural flourishing with no substantial claims on superiority or dominance. The 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany showing cheering and playful Germans challenged the international cliché of a controlled and disciplined people. The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games included humor and a series of popular-cultural references. Agent 007 James Bond parachuted the Queen into the stadium, and the Spice Girls were reunited. A global audience smiled and followed the rhythm.There is however also the possibility of exploiting sporting mega-events in problematic ways. Historically, some events have been means to strengthen aggressive, totalitarian regimes. Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, the so-called Nazi-Olympics, was a carefully planned propaganda show. With drilled groups on the bleachers forming the head of Lenin and the hammer and the sickle, the opening ceremony of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was embedded with communist symbols. Often, political and ideological exploitation is combined with a bread and circus-strategy, as when the Argentine hosted the soccer World Cup in 1978. Post-Peron Argentina was in the hands of a military junta eradicating the opposition with torture and executions. The tournament, ending with the Argentinian team beating the Netherlands in a controversial win, was used for whatever it was worth to silence the opposition internally and externally. The 1978 World Cup is referred to as ‘the beautiful game’s ugliest moment’.The Argentinian case is an early version of what today is called sportswashing. Sportswashing implies a state’s unbalanced and to a certain extent false portrayal of progress and well-being to cover problematic policies and practices, in particular human rights violations. Mega sports events are used to clean a dirty reputation.Current sportswashing controversies relate to two upcoming events in 2022: the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February, and the soccer World Cup in Qatar in November. Both organizing states are accused of significant human rights violations. In China, among other things, the concern relates to oppression of the Uighur minority, in Qatar to the violation of immigrant workers’ rights.One part of the controversy is the critique of international sport organizations. How can organizations with visions of making the world a better place through sport award important events to totalitarian states accused of human rights violations? These organizations have long hovered in a non-transparent trans-national sphere without real exposure to critical scrutiny. Their structural setup, distribution of power, and election procedures have opened for secret deals and corruption. In simple terms, events have been sold to the highest bidder.situation has changed, however. In the last decades, and due to corruption scandals, organizations such as the IOC and FIFA have been confronted by increased requirements on transparency and social responsibility. In several aspiring Olympic cities such as Hamburg, Oslo, Boston, and Chicago, the IOC has been met with anti-Olympic protests, and bids have been cancelled. In the FIFA case, commentators and supporter activists have called for a complete boycott of Qatar. Hence, over the last years, the bidding and selection process of mega-event organizers has changed. Among other things, future organizers must report on and meet strict requirements on the human rights situation. In this sense, the development is positive.The challenge remains, however, of how to deal with the 2022 events. One obvious possibility is a full boycott; athletes, teams and representatives of all kinds protesting by staying at home. A full boycott does not necessarily lead to change, however (Gomez 2018). If the objective is the strengthening of human rights, further efforts are needed. In their analysis of more than six decades of boycott sanctions, Felbermayr et al. (2020) estimate an overall success rate of34%. The rate for sanctions related to human rights is lower: between 25% and 30%. Successful sanctions seem to share some core features:There is broad, multilateral support from both government authorities and other actors, that is, multilateral boycotts, preferably initiated by the UN Security Council.The boycotted party is dependent in some way on the boycotting parties, primarily politically and economically.With respect to human rights, it is more effective to bind an actor to commitments than to try and reduce rights violations.The objectives of the boycott should be limited and clear-cut. It is easier to apply a sanction to free a political prisoner than to achieve system change.It is easier to achieve objectives in democratic than in authoritarian or theocratic regimes.As Galtung (1967) observed, boycotts may also have unintended consequences, such as costs to an innocent third party (often the civilian population) and strengthened resistance to the boycotting party on the part of the boycotted. In other words, to create real change, boycotts require careful analyses, extensive coordination, and loyalty among many parties.Another option is to take part while at the same time protesting in one way or the other against human rights violations. In a comprehensive study, Murray (2018) points to the possibilities of ‘soft power’ in what he calls ‘the new sports diplomacy’. What was previously a sphere of states and governments is today a complex system of additional actors with a diversity of objectives: influential athletes and teams, NGOs such as Amnesty International, media corporations and sponsors, inter- and supranational bodies with active sport policies such as the EU, and activist groups exemplified by soccer supporters or anti-Olympics campaigners. In contrast to the more formal and established diplomatic channels, sports diplomacy is flexible, fluid, innovative, transparent, and activist, and seems to possess an interesting potential for impact and change.Murray (2018) offers multiple examples of how to realize the potential. During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Obama sent openly gay ex-athletes as official representatives. One of them was the outspoken tennis legend Billie Jean King. The stunt was a clear protest against the gay legislation in Russia and a gesture of solidarity with the Russian LGBT society. A recent example is a message on the Norwegian national soccer team’s warm-up T-shirts during one of the World Cup qualifier games: ‘Respect on and off the pitch!’ Another example comes from Denmark where main sponsors have freed the space on the national soccer team shirts to enable human rights messages. On the one hand, the initiative no doubt is driven by ideals. On the other hand, this is creative marketing. By removing the logo, a company comes through as socially and morally responsible and builds goodwill.option, however, is easy to clear off the road. No leader, neither from sports, politics, NGOs or the commercial sector, can go to Beijing or Qatar without a clear plan on how to deal with the accusations of human rights violations. The critical spotlight on the organizers is increasing in strength. Actually, one is left wondering whether the very idea of sportswashing loses force. For repressive states and regimes, hosting mega-events might do more harm to their international image than to promote it.Managed by responsible organizations with political and diplomatic insights and competence, sporting mega-events can become a true detergent in the fight against the dark spots of repression and human rights violations. The Beijing Olympics and Qatar World Cup might become the turning points after which sportswashing becomes a less attractive option.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/student-mobility-and-its-relevance-to-international-relations-theory/ Student Mobility and Its Relevance to International Relations Theory Nancy Snow 0 Student mobility refers to the process whereby a person enrolls at an academic institution across a national border for part or all of one’s education. UNESCO (2015) defines an internationally mobile student as “an individual who has physically crossed an international border between two countries with the objective to participate in educational activities in a destination country, where the destination country is different from his or her country of origin.” In fewer than three decades, this category of postsecondary student experienced a 300% growth from 1.1 million in 1985 to 4.1 million in 2013.By 2025, several forecasts predicted a worldwide internationally mobile student population of 7+ million, although these numbers will certainly be impacted by anongoing global pandemic. More noticeable than just numbers, however, is the projected geographical location concentration in Asia, specifically three countries. A 2013 megatrends report on international higher education (British Council) concluded that the “future of the world’s mobile students to 2024, predicts that in ten years’ time, four countries will be home to over 50% of the global 18–22 year old population; India, China, Indonesia and the United States.” These students will become part of a global pool of skilled workers over which primary nation-state actors like governments and corporations will compete. Kuroda et al (2018) state that Asia is now the “center of the global landscape of international student mobility,” as its outbound student numbers tripled from 771,496 to 2,328,887 (1999-2015). Likewise, Asia is serving as a popular inbound educational destination with nearly a triple-fold growth from 323,487 in 1999 to 928,977 in 2015.The concept of the internationally mobile student includes self-financed international students – who make up the majority of the cross-border movement – as well as a small percentage of sponsored exchange students. Collectively, these students are part of an international educational exchange experience that is so intrinsically valued that the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) refer to international student mobility as the “crucial aspect of internationalization of higher education” and the “heart” of what these institutions do (Beall and Lemmens 2014). Most recently, Cull expands the dimension by referring to exchanges as the “soul” of public diplomacy (2019).If international student mobility is the heart and soul of international relations, why is it so often ignored as a unit of study in International Relations theory? Is IR theory lacking its heart and soul? Not quite. What is needed is a better critical understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of student mobility in a body politic examination of the student on the move. Much of the higher education literature has emphasized push-pull factors and cultural adaptation aspects to international educational exchange. Policymakers and government officials in diplomacy are increasingly recognizing the political and economic power that these human relations bring to research and development.International Student Mobility (ISM) is a merging of the global knowledge economy with the concomitant creative cosmopolitans and international political economy benefits. And yet, an overemphasis on the idealization of educational exchange outcomes has had the consequence of marginalizing student mobility in the international relations foundational literature. Indeed, student mobility is a mainstay of the pursuit of national interest (in French raison d’État) that is a foundation of the realist school (Morgenthau 1948), along with the neorealist pursuit of power in international relations (Waltz 1979). Consequently, student mobility must be viewed in light of great power relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, the two leading indicators of student mobility in the world.quick view of the literature from the post-WWII era to the present notes a seesaw theoretical approach to student mobility. On the positive side, an American case can be made for promoting exchanges as a contributing factor in the postwar economic boom and national image (Snow 2008). Study abroad is viewed as a global public good that positively impacts one’s perceptions and attitudes toward a host national culture, as evidenced by a British Council report, “Megatrends: The Future of International Education” (2013, 16):Educational exchanges are generally accepted to be one of the most powerful and long lasting influences on attitudes towards national culture, therefore investment in student and academic exchange is seen as a very important. Student choice of one study destination over another is greatly influenced by a nation’s culture and the potential to experience living and studying within it. […] International student mobility is a crucial aspect of the internationalization of higher education, enriching the lives of ambitious and talented young people from across the globe, and building greater understanding and trust between nations.Despite the realist portrayal of the anarchical nature of international relations where zero-sum gains dominate, crossing borders in pursuit of educational goals is assumed to have self-interested personal gains as well as win-win offshoots for nation-states in the form of an elite corps of globally skilled workers. Embedded within are social and psychological enhancers of trust-building and mutual understandin and the opportunity to build value networks (Scott-Smith, 2008). Manuel Castells (2010) refers to these internationally mobile students as communicationally powerful switches in a networked society. They move from the old to the new network and credibly represent the new to the old. Snow (1992) and Stephen Bochner (1981) have referred to these networks in a similar vein as Castells as cultural mediators or mediating persons serving as links between cultures, functioning as translators and synthesizers. “The mediating person is seen as an individual who serves as a link between two or more cultures and social systems” (Bocher, 1981, 3).Senator J. William Fulbright (1976) referred to his namesake international educational exchange program as “the most significant and important activity I have been privileged to engage in during my years in the Senate.” He envisioned those who have “Fulbrighted” as cosmopolitan peacemakers “scattered throughout the world, acting as knowledgeable interpreters of their own and other societies; as persons equipped and willing to deal with conflict or conflict-producing situations on the basis of an informed determination to solve them peacefully; and as opinion leaders communicating their appreciation of the societies which they visited to others in their own society.” Ideally, in a 21st century sense, mobile students, through direct exposure and experience, transcend cultural homogeneity and become transcultural persons.The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the outbound powerhouse of international student mobility. Karudo et al (2018, 17) note a six-fold increase from 123,539 students in 1999 to 801,187 in 2016. The top geographical destinations for outbound Chinese students are North America (USA-centric, Canada), Western Europe (UK-centric), and Australia, all exemplars of liberal democratic political systems. China is likewise serving as a destination center for globally mobile students. In 2002, there were only 85,000 foreign students in China, but by 2016 there were 442,000 foreign students, representing a 420% increase. This rise is not surprising since President Xi of China and his predecessor Hu Jintao have referred to the concept of soft power repeatedly in speeches and the concept has been readily accepted by Chinese leadership (Cull 2019, 16; Brady 2017). The China interpretation of soft power is more aligned with a top-down state-guided political influence approach than the top down version of civil society and networks presented by Nye. Forty percent of the inbound students to China originate from the East Asia Pacific region, which positions China well for retaining its regional hegemonicher research on China’s influence in New Zealand, Brady (2017) argues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in its relationship to overseas Chinese, including students, does not want to be seen as leading them but rather guiding. “The goal of successful overseas Chinese work is to get the community to proactively and even better, spontaneously, engage in activities which enhance China’s foreign policy agenda.” In a report published by the Hoover Institution on Chinese influence activities in the United States, Diamond and Schell (2019, xii) conclude that the People’s Republic of China “united front” influence bureaucracy views the whole worldwide Chinese diaspora as “overseas compatriots,” who owe a measure of loyalty to “the Chinese Motherland.”With funding from the U.S. State Department, AidData, a research lab at William & Mary, published a series of reports to spotlight China’s influence peddling through these inbound and outbound growth patterns in international educational exchange (Custer et al 2018, 2019). Mobile students in China are discussed as having not only a fiduciary benefit to the development of China, but also an ideological one – influencing the China narrative by becoming bound to the city capital image of Beijing as well as the country reputation of China. There is no other global education capital comparable to the power of Beijing, China in utilizing these students across a range of purposes from exchange diplomat to ersatz propagandist.Hans Morgenthau’s theories of power politics and realism are regarded as among the most influential theoretical scholarship of 20th century international relations. Morgenthau establishes prudence over moralism in foreign policy and says that nation-states must base decision making on the rational pursuit of interest. International relations is competitive and conflictual, habits rooted in human nature. His principles of realism can be easily applied to China’s more strategic approach to student mobility. The foundation of these principles rests with the St. Augustine maxim that rational man is inevitability and perpetually lusting for power, i.e., gain and advantage.As applied to diplomacy, Morgenthau identified nine rules, four of which were fundamental. The first fundamental is that diplomacy must not carry the spirit of the crusader. States and state actors must avoid being overly self-righteous or blindly pursuant about their beliefs (Art and Jervis 2013). The second fundamental is that foreign policy must always be defined in terms of the national interest and, in turn, be supported with adequate power to defend that interest. The third fundamental in diplomacy is to examine the political scene from the point of view of other nations (their interests and security). This examination is not like the empathic sense of walking in the shoes of another but more like a high stakes poker player would study the competition. Finally, nations must be willing to compromise on all issues that are not vital to the national interest. The last of the nine rules, what Morgenthau identifies as a prerequisite to compromise, is command and control with regard to public opinion. It is applicable to a realist interpretation with respect to authoritarian power politics players like China:The government must realize that it is the leader and not the slave of public opinion; that public opinion is not a static thing to be discovered and classified by public-opinion polls as plants are by botanists, but that it is a dynamic, ever changing entity to be continuously created and recreated by informed and responsible leadership; that it is the historic mission of the government to assert that leadership lest it be the demagogue who asserts it (Morgenthau 1948, 144).There is an asymmetrical imbalance in student mobility between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, the world’s leading economies under contrasting and conflictual political economies. China is the nation-state that leads the world in outbound students to Western nation-states, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The United States is the leading receiving country of the world’s students. If one acknowledges the rise of China in not only student exchanges but in political economy, particularly in seeking regional hegemony (notably the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), then one must conclude that there is both political economic intent and political economic effect to exchange programs. Li Xiguang of Beijing’s Tsinghua University (2010) argues that the U.S. combined use of soft and smart power has helped make it the leading receiving country for the world’s mobile students.power is the power of making people love you. Hard power is the ability to making people fear you. Over the last 500 years, all the world powers gained their hegemony through hard power, but the US has gained its hegemony through combining hard power and soft power, both striking at and assimilating its opponents. The US has built its soft power by making its values and political system, such as the US interpretation and definition of democracy, freedom and human rights, into supposedly universal values.The emphasis in that quote is on “supposedly,” as the PRC would not ascribe to a universal definition of a US-defined interpretation of values and political system, but rather its own alternative “peaceful rise” and “good neighbor” approach. China’s instrumentality in exchange lies close to that of offensive realism. Using John Mearsheimer’s offensive realism theory as a guide, the only great power status in an internationally anarchical system driven by fear is to become a hegemon. From this theory, one might conclude that China bases its survival and security in part on regional hegemony in student mobility. It may have sought a measure of global hegemony, an overreach, in its Confucious Institutes, but this did not turn out as planned as university host institutions over time began to reject the overt propaganda intent of what were cast as language and education (Shin 2020).Mearsheimer argues that although the United States is often viewed as a global hegemon, it is more like a mirror to China, a regional hegemon in the Western Hemisphere to China’s regional hegemony in the Eastern Hemisphere (Lind 2018). A state that seeks global hegemony must commit enormous resources across vast distances, including the Atlantic and Pacific, and the power of nationalism makes it extremely difficult to occupy and rule a country over a lengthy time. Great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony that will eliminate any possibility of a challenge by another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to be the hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power to survive. The paramount goal a great power can attain is regional hegemony, which means dominating one’s surrounding neighborhood (Mearsheimer 2001, 2006). China calls this approach to its high profile foreign policy that took off under President Xi “neighborhood diplomacy” (Li and Zheng 2016) and refers to soft power and educational diplomacy as part of its overall “good neighbor” strategy (Zhao 2017).Student exchanges as a tool of public diplomacy have long been associated particularly in the West in glowing terms, with positive-sum outcomes such as cosmopolitanism (citizen of the world), pluralist values, and enhanced soft power outcomes (Fitzpatrick 2011; Nye 2004; Marginson 2009 chap. 8). In a study of cultural mediation and blogging influence in international exchange programs, Lee and Ingenhoff (2020) stress that the relational and human dimension of international relations matters more despite the rise in online communication tools and international broadcasting to distribute information. Nye (2019, 14) argues that exchanges are more effective than broadcasting since through these relational exchanges one can “understand how [others] are hearing your messages and adapting accordingly.” Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2006) pointed specifically to this goal at a U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Higher Education: “Every foreign student attending one of our universities represents an opportunity to enhance democracy in America strengthen the cause of freedom abroad.”The opportunity to win hearts and minds is is a long-held perspective that has its origins in the height of the Cold War and the battleground for public opinion and political influence between the US and USSR. After the Cold War, the U.S. sought to expand its global reach through heart and knowledge transfer, using person-to-person exchanges as a way to inject democratic values and the attributes of a democratic society into people. Economist and U.S. assistant secretary of educational and cultural affairs Philip Coombs referred to the human dimension in foreign policy as too often neglected or taken for granted in foreign affairs. He defines the human dimension as:concerned, in short, with the development of people, both within and beyond our borders—their skills and knowledge, insights and understanding, attitudes, and values, and all their creative potentialities. It is concerned also with the development of knowledge and creative works—with scholarly research and scientific discovery, with the cultivation of arts and humanities. And it is concerned with the transmission and application of ideas and knowledge in myriad forms and ways.Mobile students are assumed to have benign intentions, but to state institutions involved in the process, educational exchanges have political aims—to shape political attitudes and behaviors (Atkinson 2010). Such students do not cross borders in order to invade and conquer but to study and learn, transferring what they know to their counterparts at home. These students participate in educational exchange programs for human betterment and for enhanced educational attainment, and yet the political competition never subsides in this human interaction.is possible for student mobility to have both positive-sum and zero-sum features? Yes. China’s power pursuits are seen by some scholars and officials as not “soft” but increasingly “sharp” in seeking regional hegemony and engaging in a game of zero-sum politics (Economy 2020; Fullerton 2018). As Elizabeth C. Economy (2019) states:During part of the Mao-era, in the late 1950s and 1960s, China promoted its revolution as a model for other third world countries. But it is not until now that the Chinese leadership has once again sought to export its model. Whether the export of this model is welcomed by others or not, whether it succeeds or fails, and whether we believe the impact to be benign or malign are second order questions. What matters in the first instance is that we recognize and acknowledge that China’s leaders believe they have a model worth exporting and are seeking to do so.China presents its regional hegemony in positive-sum language like “peaceful rise” (Zhang 2017). In September 2014 Xi Jinping gave a speech on the importance of united front work or political influence activities as one of the CCP’s “magic weapons” (Brady 2017, 1). Do China’s foreign influence activities undermine the sovereignty and integrity of the political system of targeted states? It is too soon to tell. Jennifer Lind (2018) states that while the U.S. is currently the hegemonic power in East Asia, it will not last:Great powers typically dominate their regions in their quest for security. They develop and wield tremendous economic power…use regional institutions and cultural programs to entrench their influence. Because hegemons fear that neighboring countries will allow external rivals to establish a military foothold, they develop a profound interest in the domestic politics of their neighborhood, and even seek to spread their culture to draw other countries closer.So far, China’s rhetorical flourishes underemphasize hegemony and overemphasize promotion of peace and development. In a December 2018 speech, President Xi suggested the potential universality of the China model: “Forty years of practice has fully proved that China’s development has provided successful experiences and shown bright prospects for the majority of developing countries to modernize. It is a powerful force for promoting world peace and development, and a great contribution of the Chinese nation to the progress of human civilization.” To that end, China was through the end of 2019 investing heavily in becoming a more attractive recipient nation for international students as it continued to dominate the international marketplace in outbound students.Shen (2020) refers to a term first coined by Juan Pablo Cardenal in 2017, “sharp power” as wielded primarily by authoritarian regimes to “manipulate and co-opt culture, education systems, and media.” This approach takes advantage of the asymmetry between free and unfree systems, allowing regimes to limit free expression and distort political environments in democracies while simultaneously shielding their country from outside influence.China’s foreign policy has transitioned in recent years from attraction-based soft power to sharp power, leveraging its economic and ideological might. This has led U.S.-based scholars like Economy and her Council on Foreign Relations’ colleague Joshua Kurlantzik (2008) to call for more proactive soft power activities to address China’s sharp power strategies. In a statement before the U.S. Congress in March 2020 that preceded a global pandemic border lockdown, Economy said that “the United States should think creatively about how best to deploy non-traditional or soft power.For example, the United States should redouble its efforts to attract the best and brightest from around the world to study in the United States. In 2019, sixty-two current heads of state and heads of government had previously studied in the United States. The State Department, however, cut the number of visas it issues to newly enrolled international students by almost 10 percent during 2017-2019. This trend undermines a critical element of U.S. soft power at a moment when China is actively recruiting and paying students globally to study in China.”In applying IR theory to student mobility, states and their institutions still matter the most. The two dominant schools of international relations – realism and liberalism – view the state as the organizing unit of the international system whereby state behavior is both rational and intelligible. Realists extend state power further with respect to power. States seek power both as a means and as an end, which is why for realists, the so-called high politics of security dominates the low politics of social welfare and global social good. Idealists emphasize interstate cooperation more than realists, but acknowledge that states remain autonomous and self-reliant. To liberals, while there may not be an overarching global government entity to promote liberal values and norms (universality of human rights, cosmopolitanism), there are voluntary institutions of global governance like the UN and other international organizations that make cooperation more possible. Nevertheless, this cooperation is unpredictable and unsteady – and international institutions, which lack independent authority – are limited in their power to shape state behavior. This is why power politics and regional hegemony will likely continue to drive student mobility growth and influence. In 2021, the 75th year of the Fulbright Program, the political and cultural relevance that exchange of persons and international student mobility have on international relations theory should therefore not be taken forArt, Robert J. and Robert Jervis. 2017. International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues. 13th Edition. New York: Pearson.Atkinson, Carol. 2010. “Does Soft Power Matter? A Comparative Analysis of Student Exchange Programs 1980-2006,” Foreign Policy Analysis 6: 1-22.Bochner, Stephen. Ed. 1981. The Mediating Person: Bridges Between Cultures. Boston:G. K. Hall.Brady, Anne-Marie. 2017. “Magic Weapons: China’s political influence activities under Xi Jinping.” Conference paper presented at the conference on “The corrosion of democracy under China’s global influence” supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Arlington, Virginia, USA, September 16-17.British Council. 2013. “Megatrends: The future of international education.” London. November.Cardenal, Juan Pablo. 2017. Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for Democracy.Castells, Manuel. 2010. Communication Power. New York: Oxford University Press.Cohen, William S. and Maurice R. Greenberg. 2009. Smart Power in U.S.-China Relations. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies.Coombs, Philip H. 1964. The Fourth Dimension of Foreign Policy: Educational and Cultural Affairs. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.Custer, Samantha, Brooke Russell, Matthew DiLorenzo, Mengfan Cheng, Siddhartha Ghose, Jacob Sims, Jennifer Turner, and Harsh Desai. 2018. Ties That Bind: Quantifying China’s public diplomacy and its “good neighbor” effect. Williamsburg, VA: AidData atWilliam & Mary.Custer, Samantah, Mihir Prakash, Jonathan A. Solis, Rodney Knight, and Joyce Jiahui Lin 2019. Influencing the Narrative: How the Chinese government mobilizes students and media to burnish its image. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.Economy, Elizabeth C. 2018. The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State. New York: Oxford University Press.Economy, Elizabeth C. 2019. “Yes, Virginia, China is Exporting Its Model,” Council on Foreign Relations, December 11.Economy, Elizabeth C. 2020. “Exporting the China Model.” Prepared statement by Elizabeth C. Economy, C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies Council on Foreign Relations. Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing on The “China Model.” March 13.Engberg, David, Gregg Glover, Laura E. Rumbley, and Philip G. Altbach. 2014. “The rationale for sponsoring students to undertake international study: an assessment of national student mobility scholarship programmes.” London: British Council and Bonn: German Academic Exchange Service, May.Fitzpatrick, Kathy. 2011. U.S. Public Diplomacy in a Post-9/11 World: From Messaging to Mutuality. Los Angeles, CA: Figueroa Press.Fulbright, J. William. 1976. “The Most Significant and Important Activity I Have Been Privileged to Engage in during My Years in the Senate,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, International Exchange of Persons: A Reassessment 424: 3.Fullerton, J. 2018. “Xi Jinping says China willing to fight ‘bloody battle’ to regain rightful place in the world, in blistering nationalist speech,” The Telegraph. March 20.Kurlantzik, Joshua. 2008. Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power Is Transforming the World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Kuroda, Kazuo, Miki Sugimura, Yuto Kitamura, and Sarah Asada. 2018. “Internationalization of Higher Education and Student Mobility in Japan and Asia.” Paper commissioned for the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls. Paris: UNESCO and Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency. 1-38.Lind, Jennifer. 2018. “Life in China’s Asia: What Regional Hegemony Would Look Like,” Foreign Affairs 97 (2), March/April.Li, Xue and Yuhen Zheng. (2016). “A blueprint for China’s neighborhood diplomacy,” The Diplomat. March 30.Marginson, Simon. 2009. “Sojourning Students and Creative Cosmopolitans.” In Michael A. Peters, Simon Marginson, and Peter Murphy, Eds. Creativity and the Global Knowledge Economy. New York: Peter Lang.Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2001.Mearsheimer, John J. 2006. “China’s Unpeaceful Rise.” Current History 105:690:Hans. 1948/1973. Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. 5th Revised Edition. New York: Knopf.Nye, Joseph S. 2004. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs.Nye, Joseph S. 2019. “Soft power and public diplomacy revisited,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 14: 7-20.Rice, Condoleezza. (2006). Remarks at the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education Dinner. Washington, D.C. January 5.Shen, Simon. 2020. “The World is Awakening to China’s Sharp Power.” The Diplomat. June.Sung Lee, Kyung, and Diana Ingenhoff. 2020. “Cultural Mediation in InternationalExchange Programs: Personalization, Translation, and Coproduction in Exchange Participant Blogs,” International Journal of Communication 14: 4343–4363.Snow, Nancy. 1992. Fulbright Scholars as Cultural Mediators: An Exploratory Study. Ph.D. dissertation. The American University, Washington, D.C. https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=5743582Snow, Nancy. 2008. “International exchanges and the U.S. image,” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616 (1), 198–222.Snow, Nancy. 2020. “Exchange Programs as Good Propaganda.” In Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, edited by Nancy Snow and Nicholas J. Cull, New York and Abingdon: Routledge.Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. New York: McGraw Hill.Williams, Michael C. 2004. “Why Ideas Matter in International Relations: Hans Morgenthau, Classical Realism, and the Moral Construction of Power Politics.” International Organization 58, No. 4, 633-665.Li, Xiguang. 2010. “Soft power’s reach depends on friendly Internet,” The Global Times, November 2nd.UNESCO. 2015. UNESCO Science: Towards 2030. Paris.Figure 1.4. Long-term growth of tertiary level international students worldwide, 1975-2013.Zhao, K. (2017). China’s public diplomacy for international public goods. Politics & Policy, 45(5), 706-732.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/05/assessing-the-international-communitys-obligation-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-afghans/ Assessing the International Community’s Obligation to Protect the Human Rights of Afghans Christopher Fitzgerald 0 The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban culminated in the capture of Kabul and the collapse of the US-supported democratic government in August 2021. This was a rapid and unexpected development for the international community as well as for international media outlets and humanitarian organisations[1]. With the Taliban back in power, concerns have been raised regarding the human rights of Afghanistan’s citizens, including women and children, people with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, civil society groups and those connected to the previous Karzai and Ghani administrations[2]. These concerns stem from the notorious actions of the Taliban during their previous reign from 1996–2001 when they undertook extrajudicial killings and executions and oppressed women and girls under the premise of strict sharia law. The Taliban have also attacked civilians, journalists, human rights advocates and civil servants, resulting in one of the highest civilian death rates in the world[3]. The withdrawal of NATO forces, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and human rights groups raises legitimate questions about how the international community can protect the human rights of Afghan citizens moving forward. In the absence of an effective, inclusive government within Afghanistan, the international community has obligations through the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to protect the human rights of Afghans.Afghanistan has suffered through coups, military interventions and civil war for forty years, including the Marxist coup of 1978, the invasion and occupation by the Soviet Union between 1979 and 1989, the collapse of the communist regime in 1992, the subsequent civil war, and the beginning of the first Taliban regime in 1996[4]. In 1995, the then United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali stated “the world has turned away from Afghanistan, allowing civil war, ethnic fragmentation and polarisation to become state failure. The country has ceased to exist as a viable state and when a state fails civil society is destroyed.”[5].The first Taliban regime, a predominantly Pashtun group, was hostile to Afghanistan’s ethnic and Shiite minorities and, as Malley describes was “by a wide margin the least feminist movement on the face of the earth”[6]. The Taliban implemented severe and restrictive policies towards women, including removing women from all public places, banning education and employment, and implementing and enforcing a strict code of veiling. The Taliban punished lawbreakers severely with Islamic punishments, including the amputation of hands for theft, collapsing mud walls on people found guilty of homosexuality and public executions for murder and for women found guilty of adultery[7]. The Talban was also guilty of mass killings, with many documented examples, including in Mazar-e-Sharif on 8 August 1998, where a three-day massacre occurred, resulting in approximately 2000 killed[8]. The Taliban’s scant respect for the human rights was evident by the then leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, stating that “we do not accept something which somebody imposes on us under the name of human rights which is contrary to the holy Koranic law. The holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people’s requirements; people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the holy Koran.”[9].Human rights abuses continued to be perpetrated by the Taliban insurgency after the United States-led 2001 invasion. Amnesty International claims that the Taliban were largely responsible for approximately 47,000 civilians killed as well as 72 journalists, 444 aid workers and 3,846 US contractors[10]. This highlights the challenges the Afghan population face with a resurgent Taliban in power, with human rights abuses continuing to be perpetrated by the Taliban up until August 2021. Smucker summarises the brutality of the Taliban and the current dire situation faced by Afghan citizens by stating that “The troubled nation of Afghanistan, set in the unforgiving deserts and foothills of the Hindu Kush, is once again sagging under the yoke of a medieval minded regime that enforces draconian punishments and gender rules that echo that of sixteenth or seventeenth century Europe”[11]. This has also exacerbated existing problems, including extreme poverty, drought and food shortages, with the international community freezing government assets and donor funding to Afghan institutions and with the World Food Program warning that fourteen million people are on the brink of starvation[12].Mass displacement has also continued to take place, with the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stating that over 540,000 Afghans were newly displaced, eighty percent of whom were women and children, between 1 January and 31 July 2021[13]. While substantial progress was made in promoting human rights in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021, the withdrawal of UN and diplomatic missions has removed capacity to monitor and document human rights abuses and possible war crimes at the very moment the Taliban are in power. Considering there is now a lack of accountability for human rights at the national level, it is vital that the international community make every attempt necessary to prevent, monitor and punish human rights abuses in Afghanistan perpetrated by the Taliban regime[14]. This is particularly vital for the international community because an unstable Afghanistan will have flow on effects globally, including migrations flows andprinciple of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was largely a result of two events, the first being the successful intervention in Bosnia in the 1990’s by the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces that protected civilians, demobilised militias, returned refugees and imprisoned war criminals[16]. The second was the UN Security Council’s difficulty intervening in the subsequent Kosovo conflict when vetoed by a member state[17].R2P was developed by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in 2001 and was subsequently accepted by states at the 2005 UN World Summit[18]. R2P dictates that each individual state has a responsibility to protect its own population from crimes against humanity, such as genocide and ethnic cleansing. If a state fails in its responsibility to protect its population, either through deliberate action or neglect, the international community, through the UN Security Council, may take collective action to prevent and intervene militarily to prevent or stop human suffering[19]. This is a recognition that crimes against humanity are no longer an internal matter, but an international one, with the state to uphold basic human rights for their citizens[20]. As such, how a state conducts itself in the treatment of its people is directly linked to its legitimacy with the international community, with Samara stating that through the principle of R2P, sovereignty has become conditional[21]. Thakur also discusses this new paradigm for sovereignty by stating that “The doctrine of national sovereignty in its absolute and unqualified form, which gave rules protection against attack from without while engaged in the most brutal oppression within, has gone with the wind[22].”But, while R2P is a preventative duty of the international community and a responsibility to react to gross human rights abuses in particular states, it is still unlawful for a state or states to use armed force unilaterally, aside from self-defence, without the approval of the UN Security Council[23]. It can also be said that the idea that states have obligations to their citizens is not new. This is evident in the responsibility of the UN Security Council under Article 24 of the UN Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security as well as legal obligations under human rights and human protection declarations, covenants and treaties, and international humanitarian law[24]. As a UN member, Afghanistan is itself bound to several human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment[25]. By granting UN membership, the international community welcomes a state as a responsible member, but, on the other hand, by signing the UN Charter, the state accepts the responsibilities that come from this membership, including respecting human rights[26].However, the Taliban regime has recently been reported committing human rights abuses against women and girls as well as attacks against civilians linked to the former government, involving executions, beatings, interrogations and threats to family members. This reveals that the international community does have cause for concern over the Taliban’s treatment of Afghan citizens and these concerns can lead to legitimate, UN-sanctioned actions through the principle of R2P[27]. This is evident with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, advising member states on 24 August 2021 that “a fundamental red line will be the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls, and respect for their rights to liberty freedom of movement, education, self-expression and employment, gilded by international human rights norms”[28].The international community has a range of options through R2P to intervene when a state is committing human rights abuses against its own citizens, as well as having options to attempt to prevent abuses occurring in the first place. R2P is broken down into three responsibilities, the responsibility to prevent, react and rebuild. Prevention, arguably the most important, involves addressing the root causes of human rights abuses, including aid and humanitarian assistance, whereas reaction involves responding to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures depending on the severity of the abuses committed. This can include financial sanctions, international prosecution and military intervention. It is important to note that with R2P, military intervention is seen as a last resort, once all other forms of intervention are exhausted, particularly prevention[29]. Thakur clarified the importance of prevention and says that “prevention is the single most important dimension of the responsibility to protect, so prevention options should always be exhausted before intervention is contemplated”[30]. With the Taliban and Afghanistan, intervention through prevention is particularly relevant considering the recent withdrawal of military and diplomatic personnel.the additional withdrawal of NGO and UN workers, along with the persecution of Afghan journalists and human rights advocates, has resulted in a loss of monitoring and reporting capacity for human rights abuses within the country. For this reason, under the principle of R2P, an appropriate form of preliminary intervention by the international community would be in the form of a UN-mandated fact finding mission to monitor human rights in Afghanistan, collect evidence and present findings for potential prosecution on potential human rights violations[31]. With over half of the Afghan population dependent on humanitarian aid, restarting the flow of aid through UN channels and NGOs can also be used as an instrument to induce the Taliban regime to respect human rights law within the country and to help reduce flow on effects, particularly mass displacement to neighbouring states[32]. Smuckers provides an accurate representation of the situation the international community faces with protecting Afghan citizens and dealing with the Taliban by stating that “the UN must now grapple with how to help direct new humanitarian assistance through a Taliban Government that has shown little stomach for gender equality or free speech, major pillars of the ‘universal human rights’ that the UN claims to represent.”[33].Afghanistan’s citizens are currently faced with two life-threatening problems, eerily similar to the country’s previous decades of violence, poverty and conflict, when the country was isolated and ignored by the international community[34]. The first is the fragile state of Afghanistan itself, with the effects of Covid-19, drought, famine, mass displacement and extreme poverty made more acute with the withdrawal of humanitarian aid and support and the collapse of government services – causing concerns over potential economic and state-failure[35]. Second, while the new Taliban regime seeks international recognition and acceptance, there is already evidence of human rights abuses occurring, including those directed at women and girls, journalists and civil servants, causing concern over a repeat of the former regime who conducted appalling human rights abuses. This included staged executions, forced marriage for women and girls and massacres of minority groups[36]. These reasons alone reveal that it is not in the interest of the international community to ignore Afghanistan and a government that doesn’t respect the human rights of its citizens.A fragile, isolated, Afghanistan also has international repercussions – including strengthening transnational terrorism, the illicit drug trade and increasing amounts of refugees fleeing economic collapse and persecution[37]. It can be argued, then, that the international community has an obligation, through the principle of R2P, to protect the human rights of Afghan citizens in a situation where the Taliban regime is unwilling to do so. With the Taliban now seeking international recognition to reopen the flow of humanitarian aid and the unfreezing of government assets, the international community has an opportunity to intervene through preventative measures to tie financial and development support to how the new regime treats its citizens and to help improve conditions within Afghanistan more generally[38]. This is consistent with the prevention principle of R2P, with Thakur stating that “the best guarantee of human rights is a world of competent, responsible and legitimate sovereign states”[39]. This is evident at present, with the European Union pledging $1 billion euros in aid to Afghanistan and neighbouring countries and the United States approving approximately $64 million in humanitarian aid in recent weeks[40]. This shows that, through R2P, the international community has a direct interest in the stability of Afghanistan and can take steps to ensure human rights are respected by playing a proactive role in leveraging its influence and using preventative measures to ensure the stability of Afghanistan and the safety of its citizens to ensure peace, stability and prosperity[41].
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/02/using-disability-critical-race-theory-in-american-special-education-classrooms/ Using Disability Critical Race Theory in American Special Education Classrooms Christopher Keith Johnson 0 Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) is a tool that, if implemented, can give voice to Black children with disabilities in a system that cares little about either. Its merger of disability studies (DS) and Critical Race Theory (CRT), if applied, would provide the necessary shock to the system to racist policymakers who would rather pity, at best, than support the empowerment of visible Black disabled bodies. DisCrit “calls for activism and resistance that ‘removes the policing and enforcement of normality’ rooted in ableism and racism[…] (Park et al., 2021, p. 59) DisCrit is a fight for ownership of the Black bodies, minds, and aspirations of an underserved population as partners rather than clients/beneficiaries of the kindness of a white-controlled system that has not interrogated its own bias and hatred of Blackness in all its forms. Through it, a holiday, passage of disability laws that lack enforcement, and other feel-good measures would no longer be the extent of meaningful change.DisCrit is the most effective tool to center the study of power in the hands of the oppressed. In particular, it offers a kinetic response to injustice within the sector, focusing on the education of Black students with special needs. Its interrogation of a system that devalues the very humanity of the subject provides arguably the most comprehensive reading of the oppressor, forcefully turning the gaze of whiteness on black back onto itself where its systems rather than the Black body become what must be analyzed and acted upon.To examine the utility of DisCrit in the American classroom, one must first define the critical barrier to realizing a truly inclusive experience in that space – white supremacy. In the popular American imagination, the term conjures images of villainous white men spewing hate and threatening or carrying out violence akin to the antagonists in Norman Jewison’s film In the Heat of the Night or Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning. If only it were that simple. As celebrated as these two motion pictures are, the reality is far more complex and nuanced. White supremacy is less about a white individual’s raw hatred of people of color and their unshakeable belief in that group’s inferiority. It is systemic. It seeps into every crevice of the American project. White supremacy is at times easy to see, but it is invisible to the average American—it being so much a part of the country’s history and mission.A highly effective explanation/definition/navigation of white supremacy is offered by Vann R. Newkirk II who references critical race theorists while cutting to the heart of the term:The school of critical race theory, championed by scholars such as bell hooks, has been around in academic circles for at least 30 years, and its definition of white supremacy has long animated black activism. To quote scholar Frances Lee Ansley (taken here from a passage from David Gillborn, also, a critical-race-theory scholar): By “white supremacy” I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings (Newkirk II, 2017).For most African-Americans, a white person not liking them has minimal impact on their lived experience. But being shut out of educational opportunities, the professions, healthcare, housing, freedom of movement, and all manner of fundamental rights is far more than a trivial vexation. It reduces their quality of life or may even result in their death. This all-encompassing aspect of white supremacy would require surgical excision to separate it from the history of the American project. It is so embedded in the mission and purpose of America that white people seldom realize that they benefit fromthere a difference between a well-meaning, progressive white teacher in an urban school system serving Black students and a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan or activist in the alt-right movement? Sure, there is. But do they both exist in the same system that provides them privilege while reducing people of color to second-class status? There’s no doubt that this is also true. Not being conscious of the impact of white supremacy on themselves and those around them makes them both unhelpful at best and at worst equally dangerous to African-American youth’s life and life chances.This article will interrogate, in an admittedly modest fashion, the history of white supremacy that has led to a need for an intersectional tool, not just a theory, but a tool to counter the American education system’s desire to control Black, disabled children, no different than it has any other category of Blackness in America. It will focus on how DisCrit can function as an education and awareness tool for educators, parents, and children who view formal spaces of learning as necessary for the liberation of people of African descent rather than an institution to isolate and imprison both the minds and bodies of disabled children in service of white supremacy. It will engage a brief history, leaning more on recent events, current definitions, explore the limits of disability law without implementation, and the steps necessary to reform special education as applied to Black people in America.DisCrit Interrogates the American Desire to Control Black BodiesFrom the political violence that led to the murder of Crispus Attucks before the American revolution, the mutilation of Emmet Till, and the forced sterilization of Black women in the South, until this moment, the destruction of Black bodies has catalyzed opening democratic space in America. The filmed torture and murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis resulted in the most significant moment of collective reflection on the evils of white supremacy since the end of the American civil rights movement. Floyd was incapacitated, lost control of his bodily functions, cried for help, and was exterminated as the world watched. Americans observed in both fascination and disgust as the full power of systemic anti-Black racism was captured so visibly that even conservatives were temporarily aghast at its horror.What would usually go no further than a hashtag on social media became a moment for corporate philanthropy, study circles on race, and even a national holiday marking the end of America’s original sin—the enslavement and forced labor of African people in the formation of America itself. Shortly after this rare moment of handholding and togetherness, the political and social space transformed into yet another battle in America’s culture wars. Legislative attacks against Critical Race Theory (CRT) were launched only days after celebrating the nation’s supposed reckoning on race (Sawo & Banerjee, 2021). The quick pivot from compassion and a need to understand each other across racial lines turned to self-serving claims by numerous state and national legislative bodies that enough had been done to placate African-Americans. Nothing more was needed.The current legislative position in numerous American statehouses calls for progressive disability advocates and, more importantly, those with disabilities themselves to forcefully approach and engage struggle in an intersectional manner that challenges systems rather than individuals and institutions. America was built on the backs of Black bodies. The fierce pushback required for Black people to be seen and heard in America necessitates, as it always has, the inclusion of its children, including those with disabilities. Black children within special education classrooms are no less feared than George Floyd was by the police officer who murdered him. The resistance to subjugation that DisCrit offers is informed by the historical legislative, scholastic, and criminal justice-backed aims to control BlackDisCrit builds upon the legal activism embedded within Critical Legal Studies (CLS), CRT, and DS. Its voice is as inclusive as CRT’s, with change agents approaching its strictly theoretical elements in an expansive and interdisciplinary manner. It interrogates and engages history, sexuality, gender, the whole person (body and mind), organizational development, conflict resolution, family studies, and personal and community agency. DisCrit places the disabled child in the center as a subject rather than an object of their liberation. The last element places it squarely within an African-centered approach to change that predates even CRT in the 1970s. One of CRTs founders, Kimberley Crenshaw, declares that it “is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice” (George, 2021). DisCrit is inspired and driven by the spirit of its theoretical predecessor.Raush et al. (2019) capture the definition of DisCrit as a theory and the possibilities of its application in practice:Consider the marginalization that Children of Color with dis/abilities and their families experience due to the intersection of power and privilege around race and dis/ability[…] the DisCrit framework can be used to understand how a difference in power (e.g., between administrators/teachers/schools and families) can lead to the exclusion of very young children with dis/abilities and other social identities and their families […] (Raush et al., 2019 p. 45).In America, it is dangerous to praise an unfinished project. The passage of a law, the change of a policy, and the adoption of an inclusive curriculum are often seen as the conclusion of engagement rather than its start. What DisCrit does is challenge/interrogate well-meaning law/theory/policy to agitate for action and function as a reminder of the centuries of broken promises America has made to its most vulnerable citizens and residents. With DisCrit, there is no sacred space for white supremacy to hide. Furthermore, there is no faith in a system that has proven repeatedly that it is willing to view the codification of best wishes as satisfactory for a population that should be grateful even to be acknowledged.Disability Law, Policy and ImplementationThose resistant to further reform of special education in American classrooms point to the existence of disability law and well-meaning child-focused policy as positive proof that America has changed for the better in its treatment of all children with special needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if applied equitably, would bring America closer to its stated aim of inclusion and protection for students with disabilities (ADA National Network, 2018). Further, the policy created by the Division for Early Childhood and the National Association for Education of Young Children, on the surface, acknowledge there are a multiplicity of innovative ways to educate children in the American classroom.However, applying the most positive standards will be limited without an interrogation of race and white supremacy. If the default from which all changes occur is whiteness, then what of those who are not white? If whiteness is the standard, then the beneficiary of these gifts would need to be white or white adjacent to be worthy of receiving anything meaningful from the system. With this in mind, education of special needs children of African descent would first be an exercise in diminishing their blackness to make them deserving of the assistance on offer. DisCrit is forced to involve itself in pushing against the othering of Black students and questioning the utility of an exercise in whitening black spaces through pacification and policing of Black bodies—students, parents, administrators, teachers—any BlackNeed for Systemic OverhaulHancock et al. (2021) describe DisCrit resistance in childhood education as an exercise that transforms theory into praxis. It moves with an awareness of educator bias and racism, is an asset rather than deficit-focused, dismisses whiteness as a default entry point for learning, embraces resistance by parents and students as an opportunity to reflect on systemic white supremacy, rather than a marker for punitive action. Respect for the value of the student must be reflected in curriculum, pedagogy, and solidarity with the community of learners and parents that are purportedly the focus of special education efforts (p. 49).The above is not an exercise that is workshopped into an educator after they are hired. It is something that, at minimum, begins during teacher education. It assumes that what has been absorbed by the educator before this engagement is a product of white supremacy. It matters not whether the teacher is a woman of color or even a person with disabilities herself. One can be taught to hate themselves and, at times, are more kinetic in disciplinary measures against members of their self-identified group than someone from outside of it. In a system that identifies a Black student with disabilities as a liability or, worse, a threat, it takes a mighty indoctrination process to view anyone with a Black body as a decision maker rather than a body to be acted upon.American policy of all types sees Blackness as threatening—all forms of Blackness. Khalil Muhammad (2011) zeroes in on this reality by positing that the fear of Blackness defines the American cityscape itself. Urban America is defined not by greater access to education, commercial space, advancement in technology, employment, or any other factor. Instead, the presence of Black people and their association with crime frame the value of the American city. With rapid de-industrialization and re-segregation of many of these spaces on the one hand and equally aggressive gentrification on the other, the American city is on some level fighting against itself whether it is rising or falling, based almost exclusively on the number of Black people within it. Therefore, among the blackest, legitimate spaces where progress should occur, the American school system is deemed worthy only by how prevalent (or not) Blackness is within it.Community resistance to pity and fear is an essential aspect of DisCrit. Studies show that parental involvement in their children’s education is vital in a program for young people with special needs. DisCrit sees resistance to racism as capital rather than a deterrent to education. Monique Matute-Chavarria (2021) defines cultural community wealth as consisting of “six forms of capital: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance” (2). An educator allied with white supremacy would have difficulty even speaking to a parent whose every move, inflection of voice, and lived experience is different from their own. One false move could result in punitive action towards the child, no different than a police officer who misinterprets African American cultural norms as something that must be countered with brute force.Remember that we are speaking of systems. White supremacy’s umbrella is large enough to cover both the criminal justice system and the education system – with the school to prison pipeline being in itself a journey of progressive discipline leading to the control of the Black body. DisCrit sees African-American ways of being as a strength through which the curriculum and pedagogy should be informed rather than something to be, at times, violently resisted by the education system.Labeling Black students with disabilities as “at-risk” has led to their isolation and opened the door for re-segregation of the American public school system in direct opposition to earlier hard-fought legal victories against the practice (Love & Baneke 2021, p.37). Underneath this desire to help Black disabled children is another reason for the labeling and othering of Blackness in white-controlled spaces – protection of white children through re-segregation (Love & Baneke 2021, p. 35). It is one thing for a white female educator to be exposed/subjected to the grotesquery of Black disabled bodies. It is another to put her children among them. DisCrit identifies individual bias and racism but sees the bigger picture in challenging white supremacist fueled rollbacks of civil rights policy that further disadvantage already marginalized and underservedsupremacy is ever-shifting with the times. Policy and law in disability have led to confusion as to who is considered disabled. It is now widely accepted that special education is not isolated to the physical. It must also address the mind through new learning methods for those who do not process what is widely offered. What is considered normal? The fact that Blackness is not considered acceptable or malleable makes many different learning methods within the community special. Practitioners often do not understand cultural differences and the need for new teaching methods. They instead see their purpose as an opportunity to segregate Black students in special classrooms, ghettoizing special education and transforming it into an exclusively black space in some school districts.The dilemma here is that progressive white educators reject special education opportunities for Black students not to appear racist (Connor et al., 2019). While this may seem commendable, it then locks out students who might genuinely benefit from innovative new learning strategies. There is a better approach than obsessing about the over-representation of Black students in special education. A more comprehensive, truthful curriculum that acknowledges the existence of white supremacy would be a commendable starting point.DisCrit in PracticeThe section above navigates theory but less so practice. How would an educator apply DisCrit in the classroom and interactions with Black parents? An understanding that the school itself is not always a place filled with pleasant childhood memories might be of value as the teacher prepares to engage with Black families in that space. Accepting that what is (at times) difficult for the educator to see does not mean that it does not exist. This is an appropriate starting point, especially as it relates to issues of race. For a teacher of any race, to see all forms of resistance from parents and students as defiance, pushback, oppositional behavior, and overall unreasonable diversions from learning is an error. To expect lockstep compliance within a system that has often failed Black families means that there needs to be a more nuanced interpretation of what is being observed in the classroom or parent-teacher interactions.As noted by this DisCrit tenet, children of Color with dis/abilities and their families intentionally act in the face of marginalization, and such actions should be respected as necessary communication to support justice efforts rather than simply targets for intervention. For example, Collins (2011) described how a Black child with perceived challenging behaviors engaged in literacy moves to confront deficit positioning and capitalize on self-identified strengths. Acknowledging such behaviors as intentional forms of participation, rather than disruptions, encourages innovative practice and counters deficit assumptions that hinder inclusive education. Similarly, families of Color often resist deficit positioning of their children by engaging in behaviors that are not traditionally recognized as parent involvement, such as refusing disability labeling and enacting culturally meaningful parenting (Kaomea, 2005; Lalvani, 2014; Waters, 2016). Understanding such acts as necessary family advocacy and engagement creates new avenues for family–professional partnerships supporting young children (Love & Baneke 2021, p.40).The school should not in any way resemble a prison. Parents have a right to question what is being taught to their children, and the children themselves have to be their genuine selves to process what is being provided by the educator. DisCrit advocates are not asking for special treatment of Black students with disabilities, but that they are given the room to learn in an environment that values their existence and recognizes their humanity. It’s not too much for an educator to engage parents as equals and children as young people who explore possibilities and at times test boundaries. DisCrit advocates demand the above. None of which is too much to require of the educationSpecial education for Black students should not be a different division within a scholastic prison structure—a medical or psychiatric ward. It should be a place where all students experience the opportunity to excel through plans tailored to them as individuals and as members of a larger community. White supremacy robs the educator of the nuance to move successfully in black spaces. There is no way forward for the system, the community, or most importantly, the student when the profession refuses to see any need to interrogate their bias or to listen, process, and hear the voices of Black people moving within a system they do not control.DisCrit does not attempt to fix the bias of individual educators. It seeks change beyond the walls of the special education classroom and the school surrounding it. Its aims and objectives are simple. It exposes the classroom as merely another venue for the operationalization of anti-Black racism. The space cannot change unless those within it and the greater powers that control it seek to understand, challenge, and actively work to eliminate all forms of white supremacy within what should be a sacred space for learning rather than a holding cell in the school-to-prison pipeline.This process will take courage on the part of educators of all races as it would be easier for them to maintain the status quo. There will be countless discomforting moments for the educator pursuing this shift in theory and practice. The result will be the truly inclusive classroom that allows all students to reach their potential and the transformation of one of the foundational structures in the American project—its education system.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/01/opinion-no-change-after-kyrgyzstans-2021-parliamentary-elections/ Opinion – ‘No Change’ After Kyrgyzstan’s 2021 Parliamentary Elections Martin Duffy 1 There are several Russian words for “no change” but the expression does not translate well in the dynamic Turkic Kyrgyk script abolished under Stalin’s orders and now revived as the country’s co-official language. Nevertheless, this is the word which comes to mind when one looks at the recent Kyrgyzstan election, largely down to President Japarov’s capacity to carry off an illusion. It has been a busy year for politicians in the Kyrgyzstan Republic. They have got used to that old USA military snipe, “hurry up and wait…”In this former communist state, the massive statue of Marx chatting with Engels at Bishkek’s Dubovy Park is a reminder of old days, but also of the shady credentials of Kyrgyzstan democracy. After months of unprecedented political turmoil, snap parliamentary polls were conducted on 28th November 2021. These followed in the wake of the notorious October 2020 elections which were abruptly repealed amidst rare public protests in the major cities. This time everything ran rather more smoothly, with few surprises either on polling day or in the election’s outcomes.The OSCE preliminary report is the proverbial curate’s egg, “Competitive but constitutional changes weakening parliament… a stifled campaign and voter disillusionment hindered meaningful engagement.” President Japarov neither looms Lukashenko-like as one of the “last dictators”, nor is he a Zelenskyy, the democracy-loving, Ukrainian comedian turned president of Ukraine. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index previously classified Belarus as a “moderate autocracy’ and lists Kyrgyzstan (and Russia too for that matter) under the ‘moderate autocracy’ label. Lukashenko’s shares have since plummeted with his penchant for aviation kidnapping, state repression and exploitation of the European migration crisis, but Japarov’s have not risen with this carefully choreographed state election.There have also been a few false starts on the way. In 2020 street protests forced the annulment of the earlier parliamentary polls and the hasty resignation of President Jeenbekov, the steady foot soldier of his politically colossal predecessor, Almazbek Atambayev. However their rift, Atambayev’s arrest and the closure of that era in Kyrgyz politics had seen the emergence of a new (in some ways tougher) regime. His reputation tarnished with corruption and government paralysis, Jeenbekov unsuccessfully belittled electoral fraud in 2020. The public would only stand so many empty platitudes.His resignation became inevitable amidst political unrest over the disputed elections. Japarov then stepped in as acting president and prime minister before finally securing the 2021 presidential elections.In January 2021, the presidential and government referendum elections went ahead which ushered in Japarov as president who almost immediately delayed the parliamentary elections to the autumn. As Freedom House analysis puts it, these changes dropped Kyrgyzstan into the “not free” category, reflected in a marked increase of intimidation and incarceration of activists. Subtly, Japarov increased his grip on power. The Supreme Council fell from 120 to 90 seats, MP’s powers were reduced and a presidential advisory body or People’s Kurultai was formed. Japarov took executive authority and effective control of the judicial system. Human Rights Watch, issued an alert that these measures in Kyrgyzstan, “endanger freedom of association and speech”. There is limited space to explain the subtleties here, but in a nutshell Japarov tweaked things to increase his grip. He also barred Kyrgyz voters casting their ballots outside of their home districts, which effectively disenfranchised large swathes of his target opposition among migrant workers.Now Kyrgyz voters are far from docile. Suspicions of election irregularities that sullied two previous parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan triggered revolutions that ousted two presidents. Only a firm grip of all his departments allowed Japarov to take to the polls again on November 28, amidst accusations of misuse of funds and gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing electoral districts in a way that gives one political party or candidate an advantage. New electoral laws, coming into effect on August 27, also changed the national party-list system leading to derision that Japarov had basically bought off voters, an old stunt. These electoral changes could have harmed Japarov, “since his meteoric rise from prisoner to prime minister and then president in October 2020”. As for the state of Kyrgyzstan’s democracy more generally, the Freedomhouse.org records some core changes. The country’s National Democratic Governance (NDG) rating plummeted from 1.50 to 1.25 due to the collapse of the government and illegal grab of executive power by Japarov. His Electoral Process rating declined from 2.25 to 2.00 due to the postponement of local elections in March (admittedly under pretence of the COVID-19 pandemic). The country’s Civil Society rating fell from 3.25 to 3.00 due to the right-wing extremism. These rightist clusters showed great capacity to marginalize pro-democracy voices during the post-parliamentary electoralKyrgyzstan’s Democracy Score declined from 1.96 to 1.93. 2020 was tumultuous with the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraud hanging over parliamentary elections and musical chairs at the cabinet table thanks to an increasingly dictatorial president. Civil society offered little in the way of a counter-blast to this demagoguery and indeed seems itself percolated with pseudo-civil-society groups. Election observers confirmed that as in many former Soviet countries, the entire environment of election monitoring was being contaminated by “observer stooges”. Whereas the presence of domestic observation is normally recorded in merit points, recent years have seen a dramatic rise in charlatan observers representing the state and intimidating voters. In Kyrgyzstan, there was some revival of civil society in response to Covid19 while Japarov’s poor decision-making elicited an increasing vocality of opposition parties, but the effect was little.Japarov’s ousting of Jeenbekov and propelled his metamorphosis from prisoner to president and thus to a real power grab. Naturally, measures to return Kyrgyzstan to a super-presidential system were viewed by observers as an attempt to monopolize formal power. Predictably, International human rights organizations voiced their concerns. Seen in the cold light of statistical day, in 2020, the democratic quality of Kyrgyzstan’s national governance deteriorated severely as both the executive and legislative branches of power were seized without an electoral mandate by Japarov, a lot of this cunningly concealed by pandemic upheaval (Ibid.)Now the downfall of two elected institutions of government was widely thought to be the result of blackmail, coercion from Japarov’s supporters protesting in the streets, and, perhaps, the participation of organized crime. Meanwhile the Supreme Council quietly but effectively perverted the country’s governing institutions. Japarov quickly exploited his newly acquired office to conduct meetings in flagrant disregard for his presidential neutrality, even ordering teachers and public employees to recruit for him. Meanwhile under Japarov, the state began effectively controlling the web and intimidating international NGOs and domestic civic society organizations. Harassment of journalists became a frequent practice in Kyrgyzstan.Finally, a brief look at the election and what it says about the state of Kyrgyk democracy. OSCE and its partners saw a governance and election framework fatally “undermined by limitations on civil and political rights and diminished separation of powers and independence of the judiciary”. The centralized hand which came in after October 2020 resulted in a vaguely camouflaged state repression. Changes to election legislation were the opposite of democratic law-making. As for gender representativeness, if anything women’s participation declined, with more than 93 per cent of candidates being men. As for opposition representation, there was really none of it.On the state TV channels critical reporting was largely absent during the official campaign thus limiting the voters’ ability to make an informed choice. Now while observers reported that election chiefs (the CEC) handled complaints in a collegial and transparent manner, the fine print of the OSCE statement suggests a further democratic set-back.Fresh parliamentary elections have contributed little to a very nascent Kyrgyzstan democracy. Kyrgyzstan civil society appears eviscerated as suggested by the limited vocality of women’s, environmental, LGBT, civil justice and other protesting groups. An increasingly intimidatory and intrusive justice system has cut the rug from whatever was left of the opposition. Journalists are genuinely frightened. The media faces tighter and tighter restrictions, the web is covertly controlled and all opposition subject to security exposure. However, Japarov is not a Lukashenko or even a Nazarbayev or Niyazov. He is less thuggish but perhaps more politically skilful.Japarov has proven surprisingly resilient for a leader who attained his power almost by accident, and who does not have the natural political instincts of arch manipulators in “trophy cities” of former Soviet wildernesses. He is unlikely to emulate his neighbour President Berdymukhammedov’s grand architectural gestures in Ashgabat, or to rival him with a re-designed white alabaster Bishkek. However, elections are the acid-test of Japarov’s resilience when political cards are down, and of his genuine control of the Kyrgyzstan security apparatus. The election will determine the future civil progression of this central Asian republic, and whether it may yet take a step back from the rigid authoritarianism which has characterized its recent political nomenclature. For the moment Japariov promised and delivered “Bez Izmeneniy” and his next five years will be about clawing untoReading on E-International RelationsParliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: Entrenching Democratic ChangeThe Geopolitics of the 2018 Parliamentary Elections in BangladeshOpinion – Uzbekistan at A Political Crossroads?The 2018 Elections and the Uncertain Future of Brazilian DemocracyOpinion — US Policies towards Latin America: What to Expect from the November ElectionsOpinion – Can Museveni Keep Uganda from Boiling Over?About The Author(s)Martin Duffy has participated in more than two hundred international election and human rights assignments since beginning his career in Africa and Asia in the 1980s. He has served with a wide range of international organizations and has frequently been decorated for field service, among them UN (United Nations) Peacekeeping Citations and the Badge of Honour of the International Red Cross Movement. He has also held several academic positions in Ireland, UK, USA and elsewhere. He is a proponent of experiential learning. He holds awards from Dublin, Oxford, Harvard, and several other institutions including the Diploma in International Relations at the University of Cambridge.TagsKyrgyzstan
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/27/pluriversal-peacebuilding-peace-beyond-epistemic-and-ontological-violence/ Pluriversal Peacebuilding: Peace Beyond Epistemic and Ontological Violence Garrett FitzGerald 0 The field of international peacebuilding increasingly recognizes that violence is not a unitary phenomenon, but an array of constraints on human flourishing spanning physical, structural, cultural, and symbolic registers (Galtung 1969; 1990; Jabri 1996; O. Richmond 2012; 2016). This recognition provides corollary insights that building peace requires, at the very least, the reduction of violence in its complex and interlocking forms. But despite a normative commitment to reducing diverse forms of violence, the field of international peacebuilding has struggled to address the potentials for epistemic and ontological violence following from the inherent Eurocentrism of its own disciplinary origins and orientations (Walker 2004; Jabri 2013; Sabaratnam 2013; Goetze 2016). As a result of its exclusion of ways of knowing and being not authorized by Western academic discourses, the theory and practice of international peacebuilding frequently presumes the universalizability of Eurocentric modes of social, political, and economic organization viewed as ontologically destructive by Indigenous and other communities that continue to suffer under conditions of global coloniality (Azarmandi 2018; Maldonado-Torres 2020).To address the paradoxical danger of perpetuating epistemic and ontological violence while seeking to promote peace, critical scholars of peacebuilding have begun to grapple in substantive and sustained ways with various strains of decolonial thought (Sabaratnam 2013; Hudson 2016; Azarmandi 2018; Brigg 2018; Rodriguez Iglesias 2019; Shroff 2019; Omer 2020). While vital for excavating the field’s participation in harmful ideological, economic, and political formations, these encounters have produced lamentably few practical tools for unsettling peacebuilding’s problematic epistemic politics or mitigating their material consequences (Tucker 2018). The following discussion advances the encounter between decolonial theory and the field of peacebuilding by considering the decolonial concept of pluriversality as a resource for imagining peacebuilding beyond epistemic and ontological violence.Pluriversality and the Peaceful Violence of ModernityThe concept of pluriversality is associated primarily with the modernity/coloniality framework of decolonial thought. Originating from the work of Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano, modernity/coloniality names the inextricable bond between a Eurocentered modernity and its ‘darker side’ of coloniality (Quijano 2000; 2007; W. D. Mignolo 2011). Modernity here reflects the historical emergence and self-narration of a Eurocentric modern/capitalist world-system with material and ideological roots in the European colonial conquest of the Atlantic basin. Coloniality denotes the co-constitution of this Eurocentered modernity through patterns of enslavement, dispossession, and genocide against differentially racialized, gendered, sexualized, and territorialized peoples constructed as Europe’s constitutive ‘others’ (W. D. Mignolo 2000; Wynter 2003; Maldonado-Torres 2007; Lugones 2007; 2010). A key aspect of modernity as a discursive formation is the erasure or subalternization (‘epistemicide’) of the knowledge of non-European peoples (Grosfoguel 2015). The discourse of modernity naturalizes the violences of coloniality by eradicating resources for imagining and enacting possible alternatives to a world structured through modernity/coloniality’s intersecting, Eurocentric hierarchies.Pluriversality, by contrast, denotes the existence of irreducibly plural ways of knowing and being that have survived the on-going violences of coloniality (Escobar 2018; Reiter 2018). Pluriversality carries both ontological and ethical implications. In its ontological sense, pluriversality names the survival of myriad ways of knowing and being in the world that deny the authority of any knowledge system claiming universal validity or a transcendent grasp of ‘objective’ reality (W. D. Mignolo 2011, 70–71). Pluriversality thus affirms the existence of ‘multiple ontologies, multiple worlds to be known—not simply multiple perspectives on one world’ (Conway and Singh 2011, 701). Because the universalizing discourse of modernity imperils the survival of other ways of knowing and being, embracing the ontological fact of pluriversality impels a corresponding rejection of epistemologies, discourses, and political projects that view the world as knowable and governable from within any single system ofontological or descriptive aspect of pluriversality directly informs the concept’s ethical or programmatic sense, which consists of dismantling systems of power that threaten the survival of diverse ways of knowing and being. Pluriversal ethics minimally entails resistance to the violences of modernity/coloniality through efforts to build ‘a world in which multiple cosmovisions, worldviews, practices and livelihoods co-exist, a world where no one particular way of living shuts down others’ (Dunford 2017, 380–81), a world often described through the Zapatistas desideratum of un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos—’a world where many worlds fit.’ In this ethical or programmatic sense, pluriversality provides a touchstone for imagining the proliferation of irreducibly plural, situated alternatives to the violently universalizing tendencies of modernity/coloniality (Querejazu 2016; W. D. Mignolo 2018; W. D. Mignolo and Walsh 2018; Reiter 2018; Escobar 2018).This two-fold understanding of pluriversality offers critical and constructive insights into peacebuilding theory and practice. On the one hand, pluriversality provides a lens for assessing how peace discourses perpetuate modern/colonial logics and promote ends hostile to pluriversality in its ontological sense. These dynamics become particularly apparent when examining how hegemonic peace discourses overdetermine the content of ‘peace’ itself, delegitimizing alternative meanings and promoting social, economic, and political transformations experienced as destructive to some communities’ ways of knowing and being (Rodriguez Iglesias 2019).In its programmatic sense, pluriversality also provides insights into how the concept of peace might still function on a decolonial register when delinked from such hegemonic discourses. The cultivation of pluriversality is closely linked to dialogical practices that take shared concepts, or ‘connectors,’ as the discursive grounds for encounters that bridge epistemic and ontological differences (Delgado, Romero, and Mignolo 2000; W. D. Mignolo 2011; Querejazu 2016; Dunford 2017; Hutchings 2019). Pluriversal dialogue that centers peace itself as a potential connector opens possibilities for constructive encounters around modes of peacebuilding attuned to the dangers of epistemic and ontological violence too frequently perpetuated by the field.Analyses of the epistemic politics of peacebuilding clarify the urgent need for praxis delinked from modern/colonial logics. In The Distinction of Peace, Catherine Goetze demonstrates how the field prioritizes ‘Western, liberal, neocapitalist forms of knowledge’ that presuppose white, Western, male supremacy in constructing expertise (Goetze 2016, 221). But Goetze also shows how these intra-disciplinary biases are externalized and reified at scale as the field’s exclusionary politics of knowledge are translated into expert policy in conflict-affected societies that naturalize racist, sexist, and heteropatriarchal ideological formations within oppressive social, political, and economic systems—all in the name of promoting ‘peace.’Partly in response to these exclusionary dynamics, critical scholars of peacebuilding have advocated for a ‘local turn’ in the field (O. Richmond 2012; Mac Ginty and Richmond 2013; Hughes, Öjendal, and Schierenbeck 2015; Paffenholz 2015; Leonardsson and Rudd 2015; O. Richmond 2016). At its most pointed, the local turn depicts international peacebuilding efforts of the last several decades as thin veneers for cultural imperialism that use violent conflict as pretext to enforce social, economic, and political transformations in postcolonial states. By contrast, local turn advocates highlight the indispensability of local peacebuilding resources and agency, and describe how contestatory interactions between local conceptions of peace and prevailing ‘liberal peacebuilding’ approaches can produce ‘hybrid’ forms of peace offering ‘emancipatory’ alternatives to both violent conflict and the violent impositions of unreconstructed liberal peacebuilding interventions (Mac Ginty 2011; O. Richmond 2012; 2015).However, critics employing decolonial approaches demonstrate how international peacebuilding’s enduring epistemic Eurocentrism limits the constructive potential of such immanent critiques of the field. Meera Sabaratnam shows how local turn advocates fall prey to a ‘paradox of liberalism’ that cannot fully de-center the liberal/modern peacebuilding approaches they critique (Sabaratnam 2013). As a result, the local turn’s emphasis on hybridity constrains the emancipatory potential of peacebuilding by presuming liberal interventions whose necessary hybridization predetermine limits for ‘peaceful’ modes of social, economic, and political organization (Randazzo 2016; Nadarajah and Rampton 2015). By failing to thoroughly excavate the field’s epistemic exclusions and broader metaethical presumptions, the field of international peacebuilding excludes explicitly decolonial alternatives to both hegemonic peace discourses and to critical alternatives developed within the field. It therefore appears that ‘surprisingly little is at stake’ in the liberal/local peace debates, in which ‘fine-grained distinctions’ around the local sensitivities of liberal interventions conceal ‘a large area of political consensus’ around these interventions’ indispensability (Campbell, Chandler, and Sabaratnam 2011,Azarmandi similarly reveals the modern/colonial dynamics reflected by the ‘racial silence’ within the field of peacebuilding (Azarmandi 2018). Azarmandi suggests that purported ‘paradigm shifts’ within the field (such as the local turn) mask underlying colonial continuities by failing to account for the constitutive role of race in structuring discourses around peace and violence. As a result, peacebuilding efforts often reproduce modern/colonial discourses representing Eurocentric social, political, and economic orders as more ‘developed,’ ‘advanced,’ or ‘civilized’—that is, as more inherently peaceful. Conceptions of peace reflecting colonial logics thus compound the disproportionate harms from direct and structural violence suffered by racialized and colonized peoples by delegitimizing ways of knowing and being that offer alternatives to what Frantz Fanon called the ‘peaceful violence’ of modernity/coloniality (Azarmandi 2018; Stavrevska and Smith 2020).Through its naturalization of violence toward racialized and colonized peoples constructed as Europe’s ‘others,’ modernity reveals itself to be what Nelson Maldonado-Torres describes as a ‘paradigm of war’ (Maldonado-Torres 2020). Peace—as both a hegemonic discursive formation and a constellation of social, economic, and political systems named by this discourse—is similarly revealed by these decolonial interventions as frequently co-imbricated in theory and practice with the project of modernity. Transforming these dynamics requires a systematic accounting of the field of peacebuilding’s role in reproducing the coloniality of peace, and new strategies for imagining and practicing peacebuilding delinked from modern/colonial violence.Peacebuilding in the PluriverseThe Colombian peace process provides an instructive case study for contestations over the (de)coloniality of peace (Acosta et al. 2018; Rodriguez Iglesias 2019; Zulver 2020; Paarlberg-Kvam 2021). The peace agreement reached in 2016 between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government ended over five decades of conflict through the most comprehensive peace accord ever produced. The Colombia Barometer Initiative, the body tasked with monitoring the implementation of the peace accords, has identified 578 distinct implementation items stipulated within the agreement, and proponents tout the agreement’s intersectional attention to cross-cutting issues around differential experiences of violence and aspirations for peace among ‘women and girls, Indigenous peoples, children and adolescents, communities of African descent, small-scale and family farmers (campesinxs), displaced people, LGBTI persons, persons with disabilities, and so on’ (Stavrevska and Smith 2020, 6; Bouvier 2016) .However, Ana Isabel Rodríguez Iglesias indicates that the Colombian peace process still risks reproducing colonial logics and violence. Tenets of Eurocentric liberal peacebuilding within the Colombian peace agreement over-determine the significations of concepts like democracy, development, and security in ways that ‘(re)produce certain identities and alterities,’ reinforcing hierarchicalised modern/colonial binaries of ‘developed/underdeveloped, civilized/uncivilized, ethnic/white, threat/ally’ (Rodriguez Iglesias 2019, 210). These hierarchies are themselves reinforced through both the discursive association of peace with specific forms of social and political organization and political economy within the formal peace agreement, and through the disciplinary powers of the nation-state and its securitization of perceived threats to dominant articulations of ‘peace’ and ‘development.’ Peace discourse therefore risks performing epistemic and ontological violence by consigning primarily ethnic minority communities to conditions of coloniality and delegitimizing alternatives to the hegemonic significations of the liberal/modern peace.Despite these pressures, Indigenous and Afro-descended communities in Colombia continue to imagine and enact conceptions of peace that directly challenge the hegemony of the liberal peace and the modern/colonial logics it reflects (Acosta et al. 2018; Rodriguez Iglesias 2019; Zulver 2020; Paarlberg-Kvam 2021). While some communities pursue strategies of isolation or non-cooperation with the state, Rodríguez Iglesias notes the constructive, pragmatic interplay that other communities have sought with the formal peace process. Through coalitional efforts, Indigenous and Afro-descended communities secured the late inclusion of the Peace Agreement’s ‘Ethnic Chapter,’ which affirmed ethnic and territorial rights as integral aspects of the peace process. Yet some communities cited by Rodríguez Iglesias worked to shape hegemonic peace discourses despite acknowledging their insufficiency for delivering broader goals of a ‘political-epistemological…peace’ that would uproot interlocking colonial forms of ‘exclusion, discrimination, oppression, and violence…suffered since the establishment of a racial, classist and gendered stratification of society’ (Rodriguez Iglesias 2019,the Colombian peace process through the lens of pluriversality helps to bring the concept’s ontological and programmatic insights into view. The existence—and resistance—of subalternized understandings of peace among Indigenous and Afro-descended communities in Colombia reveals troubles the hegemonic significations of key concepts within ‘expert’ peacebuilding discourses and reductive approaches to ‘local’ conceptions of peace. Recognizing the complexities around these communities’ pragmatic engagements with the formal peace process also helps mitigate the risk of romanticizing or reifying Indigenous and ‘local’ peacebuilding praxis as homogenous, insular, and static, as such framings reinforce modern/colonial dichotomies and flatten internal power dynamics and intersectional contestations within and among these communities (Omer 2020). Despite examples of pragmatic engagement with liberal/modern peace discourses through the formal peace process, these communities’ explicit identification of peace with decolonial horizons indicates the insufficiencies of dominant peace discourses for building a more genuinely peaceful and pluriversal world—a world in which many worlds can fit.So how can the field of peacebuilding utilize the ontological and ethical insights of pluriversality to engage with understandings of peace that do not replicate its exclusions? One way in which decolonial theorists understand pluriversality to be both disclosed and pursued is through practices of pluriversal dialogue (Querejazu 2016; Hutchings 2019). Pluriversal dialogue describes encounters in which non-reductive conceptions of difference allow interlocutors to bridge—if never wholly reconcile—various forms of difference. Walter Mignolo points to the enabling role that specific ‘connectors’ play in facilitating instances of pluriversal dialogue, describing connectors as analogous concepts that share a simultaneous presence and distinct and irreducible specificity of meaning across differing epistemologies and ontologies (Delgado, Romero, and Mignolo 2000; W. D. Mignolo 2011). Through the mutual exploration of specific connectors as they function within and across different ways of knowing and being, pluriversal dialogue reflects the ontological fact of pluriversality by acknowledging the existence and validity of these concepts’ pluriversal meanings. This acknowledgment in turn provides a platform for concrete practices of collaborative resistance to the violences of modernity/coloniality that remain mindful of the incommensurabilities that inevitably attend the pursuit of pluriversal, decolonial projects (Tuck and Yang 2012).The role of connectors is linked in part to the violences of modernity/coloniality through the enforced globalization of concepts like democracy, development, and human rights. But the simultaneous, self-conscious appellation of these ‘universal’ terms to explicitly decolonial projects alongside their continued usages in the dominant Western contexts demonstrates how they can function in ways that do not command universal, hegemonic meanings (W. D. Mignolo 2011). The pluriversal usage of these concepts provides the discursive grounds for forms of dialogue that again indicate both the ontological and ethical aspects of pluriversality. Examples of dialogues across Indigenous, peasant, pastoralist, fisherfolk, and Global South feminist groups show how pluriversal dialogue simultaneously reflects and cultivates pluriversality’s ontological and ethical aspects, as these communities ‘unpick multiple, intersecting hierarchies and construct, in their place, a pluriversal world’ through situated practices of dialogical interculturality (Dunford 2017, 382; Conway and Singh 2011; W. D. Mignolo 2011; Martínez-Torres and Rosset 2014).The established role of signifiers like democracy and development as pluriversal connectors opens doors onto similarly pluriversal possibilities for the concept of peace itself. Preliminary engagements with decolonial literature and movements disclose ready examples of pluriversal conceptions of peace. Indeed, even the limited example of Colombia discussed above already reveals what Rodriguez Iglesias describes as a plurality of ‘local, situated, and particular peaces’ that contest both the violent impositions of modernity/coloniality and hegemonic liberal forms of peacebuilding (Rodriguez Iglesias 2019, 212).However, like democracy and development, possibilities for grounding pluriversal dialogue using the concept of peace as a connector are revealed only by the fact that peace is already in use by diverse communities to describe horizons of possibility beyond the violences of modernity/coloniality. Concepts like democracy, development, and peace command no a priori decolonial cache as potential pluriversal connectors outside of this fact. And as the examples from Colombia show, pluriversal dialogue around the concept of peace is further complicated by the fact that situated understandings of peace are hardly static, but reflect dynamics of constant internal and external contestation.The ability of peace to act as a pluriversal connector indicates a capacity to exceed its discursive associations with interlocking violences of modernity/coloniality. But scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding hoping to engage with pluriversal re-imaginings of peace must also be attentive to the risks of privilege that attend decolonial critique abstracted from the lived struggles of Indigenous and other racialized and colonized peoples. Overly purist academic engagements with decolonial thought can actually undermine efforts by marginalized populations to achieve access to recognition and resources needed for survival within existing systems (Cusicanqui 2012,to the Colombian example, Rodríguez Iglesias shows how practices of decolonial politics by Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are reframed through colonial tropes to support centuries-old narratives depicting these communities as obstacles to progress and peace, thereby justifying their continued experiences of direct, structural, and cultural violence (Rodriguez Iglesias 2019, 215). Examining interreligious peacebuilding practices in Kenya and the Philippines, Atalia Omer similarly shows how marginalized communities in these contexts maintain a tension between the performance of decolonial politics and pragmatic engagements with organizations whose approaches to peacebuilding—including their mobilizations of the category of religion—perpetuate epistemic and material legacies of colonization. Reflecting on the work of the School of the Living Traditions (SLT), an Indigenous women’s organization in Mindanao, Omer describes how participants link the regeneration of Indigenous lived traditions to women’s immediate concerns of daily survival, in part through Indigenous reinterpretations and enactments of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through this ‘concurrently regenerative and re-interpretive mode,’ the women of the SLT engage in situated practices of interculturality, historical contextualization, and double critique of discourses around peacebuilding, health, and education to negotiate questions of immediate survival alongside non-reductive practices of decolonial politics (Omer 2020, 289–90).Such examples illustrate the importance of avoiding ahistorical (and thus inherently depoliticizing) approaches to interrogating pluriversal accounts of peace that flatten internal complexities and contestations within and across both modern/liberal peacebuilding approaches and among the colonial ‘others’ these discourses construct. These examples also underscore the indispensability of intersectional analysis for apprehending the pluriversal character of peace. Thoroughgoing intersectional attention to the specificities, interrelations, and differences that exist within and between situated accounts of peace might yet avoid both abyssal logics of colonial alterity and depoliticizing decolonial critiques abstracted from the lived struggles of racialized and colonized peoples.Toward Pluriversal PeacebuildingLike pluriversality itself, a pluriversal understanding of peace reflects both ontological and normative dimensions. On the one hand, the ontological pluriversality of peace acknowledges that other peaces are actual, affirming the already-existence of irreducibly plural conceptions of peace alongside the ways of knowing and being within which they find their meaning. The ontological pluriversality of peace also challenges the authorization of ‘expert’ knowledge within the field of international peacebuilding, underscoring how a field oriented toward reducing violence ironically perpetuates epistemic violence through its devaluation of other forms of knowledge, and ontological violence through its promotion of social, economic, and political transformations that threaten the lifeworlds within which diverse ways of knowing and being are entwined. Scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding working in settler-colonial contexts bear particularly urgent responsibilities for grappling with the field’s implication in epistemically and ontologically destructive processes of Indigenous erasure and dispossession (Walker 2004).But the programmatic aspect of pluriversality also reveals the potential role that peace as a connector plays in enabling the pursuit of decolonial projects in manners respectful of various forms of difference. As a pluriversal connector, ‘peace’ functions as a signifier that bridges ways of knowing and being, revealing diverse and incommensurable meanings not exhausted by the concept’s participation in hegemonic modern/liberal discourses. While new strategies for engagement are needed, the pluriversality of peace opens possibilities for dialogue and collaboration across epistemic and ontological differences toward the transformation of global systems of oppression rooted in colonial logics.Despite pluriversality’s association with reducing various forms of violence, pluriversal politics is not without conflicts of its own. Reflecting on pluriversal encounters with and between Andean Indigenous environmental movements, Martha Chaves and her colleagues caution against ‘romanticizing’ the pluriverse as a place free from power or struggle (Chaves et al. 2016, 5). Pluriversal conceptions of peace may therefore have important roles to play in navigating inevitable conflicts arising even in the shared pursuit of a world in which different ways of knowing and being can coexist. Intersectional and decolonial resources offer possibilities for a chastened and critically reimagined field of international peacebuilding to better navigate its own internal contradictions and contestations, and to discover new roles as one discourse among many participating in the pluriversality of peace. As Maldonado-Torres writes, to truly be ‘in peace’ it will require collective movement against the racialized hierarchies and ‘institutional, symbolic, and epistemological foundations’ of modernity/coloniality (Maldonado-Torres 2020). 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https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/23/why-india-needs-a-gender-policy-for-its-armed-forces/ Why India Needs a Gender Policy for its Armed Forces Kiran Chauhan 0 On August 18 2021, the Indian military moved one step further regarding women’s participation in the military. Women can now take the NDA exam and enter the armed forces after the 12th grade board exams. The Indian Army also granted time scale Colonel rank to five women officers in August 2021. This is the first time women officers serving with the Corps of Signals, Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), and the Corps of Engineers have been approved to the rank of Colonel. Earlier, the promotion to Colonel was only applicable for the women officers in Army Education Corps, Army Medical Corps and Judge Advocate General. According to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), ‘Combined with the decision to grant permanent commission to women officers from a majority of branches of the Indian Army, this step defines the Indian Army’s approach towards a gender-neutral Army.’Though India is now gradually seeing several developments regarding women’s participation, The assertion of the MoD regarding a gender-neutral army needs to be seen and questioned in the light of women’s participation and gender reforms in militaries all over the world. Nigeria, in March 2021, launched the gender policy for its armed forces. It focuses on gender mainstreaming and integrating gender into recruitment, training, planning, budgeting and operations. Nigeria is a signatory to United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security, and the implementation of a National Action Plan (NAP) based on resolution 1325 has been crucial in bringing the gender reforms in its armed forces. Despite making crucial contribution to peacekeeping and women’s participation in it, India has not implemented a NAP yet.In 2007, India became the first country to provide All-Female Formed Police Unit (FFPU) for UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia. There were 105 female officers from India’s paramilitary troops, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). In 2019, India’s first female engagement team was sent to Congo. Despite making considerable contributions regarding women’s participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions, India is yet to frame a National Action Plan based on the WPS agenda to increase the participation of women at the domestic level in India’s security and military domain.Most of the reforms regarding women in the Indian military have been coming from the country’s Supreme Court, which has played a crucial role in opening up the military for women, critiquing in harsh terms the arguments made by the government during the proceedings as rooted in ‘gender stereotypes’. Although a series of steps are being taken, from allowing women in Sainik Schools to inducting the first batch of women in Military police, a great deal more needs to be done to make the Indian military more gender-inclusive. Increasing opportunities for women’s participation in the Indian military is just the first step.If India wants to move towards a more gender-integrated military, It needs to critically examine the military’s prevalent gendered narratives and discourse. It was only in 2018 that homosexuality was decriminalised in India, and the Indian military hasn’t even opened up even a conversation of allowing queer people in the military. Homosexuality is a punishable offence in the military. The distinction between civilians and military culture is provided as a reason to keep the status quo intact. One might argue that India is not ready for this conversation yet, but ‘later is a patriarchal time zone’ (Enloe 2004). The conversation needs to begin now. Women’s participation without engaging with the questions of gender and sexuality in the military will perpetuate the same masculinist culture and marginalisation of women in the military.When women join military, They join groups whose terms, premises, and behavioural norms are already defined in terms of the masculine values that they have prized before the inclusion of women (Sjoberg and Via 2010).Hence just having more women doesn’t make the institution “gender-neutral”. There’s a bigdifference between participation, representation and integration. It is possible to achieve equality in representation without actually working at the roots and making the military more conducive for women’s participation. Even in terms of representation, India still needs to do much more. As of February 8 2021, the percentage of women in the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy is 0.56%, 1.08% and 6.5%, respectively. Militaries the world over are masculinist organisations, and the culture is set in a way that makes the integration of women replete with challenges. Feminist Scholars have highlighted how if attention is not paid to the discursive and performative elements of gender dichotomies, the discursive structures of gender subordination remain even in a gender-integrated military (Sjoberg 2007). Hence it is crucial to pay attention to these discursive elements and language used in official and unofficial settings.the Official Website of the Indian Army, The page elaborating on the Ethos of the Indian Army reflects its hypermasculine culture and erasure of women officers who have been a part of the Indian Army since 1992. The website defines the spirit of the Indian Army as ‘the spirit of comradeship and brotherhood of the brave, regardless of caste, creed or religion. The motto is, “One for all and all for one”!’. The list of values is summed up in the following words,These values stoke the attitude of Service before Self in every soldier. The famous credo of Chetwode Hall is deeply imbibed in the men in Olive Green. It is the spirit of this credo, imbibed in every officer that binds him with his men in an unshakeable bond of camaraderie.This notion of camaraderie based on the idea of brotherhood ultimately makes the women officers outsiders. Masculinities win the discursive contests and perpetuate the symbolic order by discursive validation (Sjoberg 2007). The narratives and language of the military have not changed much at the core level. Women are not soldiers but women soldiers; their gender marks their identity on the battlefield (Sjoberg, 2007).Being a women soldier amidst the “Brotherhood” of the military brings forth various challenges for Women officers. Unless the underlying gender discourse is questioned, the othering of women officers is bound to continue. The arguments presented by theMoD against providing permanent commission to women in the Indian Army provide interesting insights into how women officers are considered relevant for specific tasks only in the Army. As MoD made the argument that Short Service Commision SSC women officers can be “utilised” by training them in specialised fields such as ‘language interpreters’, ‘imagery interpreters’ and ‘cyber and information technology’. The reference to challenges due to adverse conditions of service, which include an ‘absence of privacy’ in field and insurgency areas, ‘maternity issues’ and ‘child care’ (The Secretary, Ministry of Defence vs Babita Puniya & Others 2020) showcase deep-seated stereotypes regarding gender roles, where women officers are argued to be more apt for domains like language, cyber and IT. The Indian military cannot aim for a gender-integrated military without looking into these aspects.Gender equality is not just about having more women but understanding how gender operates at the various levels in the military, from recruitment to training. To understand the role and participation of women in the Indian military, we need to ask questions like how does gender operate in the Indian military? What are the gender expectations and portrayal regarding femininities and masculinities in the Indian military? How is the contribution of women officers marginalised in the Indian military due to its masculine character? How does this further impact the prospects of integration and progression of women in the military?A gendered analysis of the Indian military can provide insights into how gender plays a vital role in sustaining and maintaining the institution that is the Indian military. Focus on femininities and masculinities tells us how gender is shaped by the military and shapes the military. The impediments to women’s integration in the Indian military are rooted in gender biases and specific constructs of femininities and masculinities. Analysing them requires a look at the current state and the history of the Indian military and women’s association and participation in the Indian military, along with the discursive elements of the it as an institution. This could provide newer entry points for women and a gender-integrated military.
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/11/21/opinion-why-womens-rights-in-the-gulf-matter-for-afghanistan/ Opinion – Why Women’s Rights in the Gulf Matter for Afghanistan Rachel A. George 1 Qatar’s foreign minister recently called the Taliban’s actions to deny girls’ education in Afghanistan “very disappointing.” Applauding his country’s own progress on women’s rights, he added,“ [We] have also been trying to demonstrate for the Taliban how Muslim countries can conduct their laws, how they can deal with the women’s issues.” The Gulf has never been seen as a bastion for women’s rights. And yet, these comments prompted by the turmoil in Afghanistan are perhaps unsurprising. They illuminate subtle changes taking place in the region which could offer a unique lens into an understanding of women’s rights challenges in Afghanistan, the Arab world and beyond.For the Gulf states, there is a delicate balance between the region’s evolving geostrategic interests and a desire to appear as leaders of Muslim modernity. The crisis in Afghanistan and its implications for women only highlights these tensions further.The Gulf region has also long played a complicated role in Afghanistan’s trajectory. In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, along with Pakistan, were the only countries to officially recognize Taliban rule. Since then, the Gulf states have positioned themselves variously playing critical roles with respect to Afghanistan.Qatar hosted talks between Washington and the Taliban, and provided critical assistance to refugees in transit, while the UAE provided troops to support the US in its withdrawal, and Gulf states have served as a landing space and host for recent swaths of refugees, to some controversy. As the violence in Kabul escalated this summer, prominent Muslim clerics from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere met in Mecca, condemning Taliban violence as “unjustified,” the Secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation even accusing the Taliban of perpetrating “genocide against Muslims.”Despite an unwavering commitment among the Gulf States to enshrining strict interpretations of religious conservatism and pursuing claims of cultural distinctiveness, perhaps nowhere is a quiet evolution in the Gulf more visible than on the issue of women. The Taliban takeover, though not directly linked to the Gulf’s own policies on women, is bringing this to the fore in a timely way.The rhetoric of gender equality is gaining traction in the Arab Gulf, where reforms over the last decade alongside the delayed ratification of the CEDAW convention in the 1990s and 2000s have begun to crack otherwise persisting rigid legal and social systems which not long ago allowed for little movement on gender equality. While still falling to the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the region has seen swift gains in maternal mortality, education, with rates improving across Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, today mirroring many OECD countries. Saudi Arabia recently lifted restrictions allowing women to obtain passports and travel without permission from a male guardian, and enshrined new standards against gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace. My research on local press reporting in Kuwait found a swift expansion of the coverage using the language of gender discrimination in Kuwaiti media in the past five years, a topic around which the local press was previously relatively silent, and the country recently established a new domestic violence law. And the UAE now boasts a world-leading rate of 50% female representation in its Federal Nationalshiny reforms and sometimes surprisingly progressive rhetoric from the country’s overwhelmingly male political elite, the region remains a hotbed for violations on human rights and women’s rights. Kuwait’s new law on domestic violence was the result of hard-won gains prompted by a thriving women’s movement, which has long been calling to ‘Abolish 153’ by repealing the penal code which provides lesser sentences to male perpetrators of violence in circumstances of male ‘honor killing’. In spite of years of attention and advocacy, the code remains unreformed. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s move to grant women the right to drive in 2018 was met with the arbitrary jailing and mistreatment of many of the country’s female #Women2Drive activists, exposing the dark reality behind glossy headlines around women’s emancipation in the region.Though setbacks persist, it clear that the gender issue is not going away, and, importantly, women’s issues are different today than they were in the 1990s. This is the case globally, and the Taliban and the Gulf are not immune from 30 years of women’s rights progress. In the Gulf, women’s rights issues and a wider array of rights concerns bubble under the surface, with top-down reforms subtly growing and responding to economic pressures as local activists continue their struggle. The Qatari Minister’s statement on girls’ education is just one indication that the Gulf is an important context for contestation and positioning on women’s issues in the region, which is different but not isolated from the situation in Afghanistan.These issues are highly political – as has been noted, the Taliban’s repression of women is in many ways ‘more tactical than ideological.’ This is also true of the Arab Gulf. Historical grievances, contestation over cultural identity, and economic shifts have meant that the ‘women question’ remains a breeding ground for political division in both contexts despite their vast differences. But they are also areas of potential transformative upheaval.Growing Muslim feminist movements are reaching beyond borders which once seemed impenetrable and offer some threads of hope that change is possible. Even the Taliban has had to bow and bend to the sway of global women’s rights discourse, offering some vague promises on gender equality, however empty. There is clearly a fear even among the Taliban of stepping too far out of line on women’s issues to become a global pariah. In the 1990s, this pressure was present but muted, with clamp downs rampant and even unapologetic. Today, Taliban leaders gave vague promises on women’s rights, brazenly pulling the rug as they are caught between competing pressures to play to international discourse while also exerting their strict interpretations of social order. These tensions are not going unnoticed by Taliban supporters and critics alike, and are clearly seen by domestic and global audiences.Overall, there is a sense that, if those aiming to support women in Afghanistan can exploit this desire for good image on gender equality, then there is hope for change. But it is also clear that these pressures can only go so far. Both hope and despair can be felt among women’s rights advocates in the Gulf, while despair heightens in Afghanistan. The two contexts, despite overwhelming differences, are not developing in isolation from one another, or from the global agendas within which they assert claims, and taken together can offer a deeper understanding of women’s rights around the world today.

5.5 Writing our corpus

A collection of documents is usually referred to as a corpus. This is what we have created today, so the final step will be to save it into our working director. Below we use the function write_csv() from the readr package (included in the tidyverse) to write a .csv file with UTF-8 encoding.

write_csv(df, "my_corpus.csv")

  1. Hint, try using the node .h--meta and functions from the stringr package like str_extract() in the %>% pipeline.↩︎