By Marie E.C. Lutton
While recognized states comprise the United Nations (UN), other actors exercise major significance in global governance. These other entities are not bound to recognized states, hence the name non-state actors (NSAs), but they do bear a role in the United Nations in terms of its policy-making process and representation. According to a 2003 workfrom the University of Nijmegen, NSAs are seen to be “fully functioning” when they lobby, advocate, mentor, protest, and participate. Through these methods, they familiarize themselves with the field in which they work, whether it be environmentalism, development, or human rights. Once the NSAs gain expertise in their particular field, they obtain legitimacy, making them desirable to work with on the board of the UN. The UNstates that it openly welcomes NSAs into their realm as long as the organization operates within the competence of the Economic and Social Council of the UN.
Schools of thought exhibit different approaches to NSAs, although they interact with each other differently in reality. Realists concern themselves with particularly violent NSAs, as those present a threat to national security and the sovereignty of the state. On the other hand, the institutionalist school of thought tends to hold profit-driven actors in high regard.
Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organisations are good examples of a non-state actors that lead to unrest in the realist school of thought. These terrorist organizations violently spread revolutionary ideas around the areas of conflict in which they originated, the Middle East, and they transcended to the Western world. 2015’s The Weekstates that, Islamic fundamentalist terror groups tend to promote a radical terrorist theocracy with puritanical Sunni Islamic agendas. This interpretation cemented itself in the Mujahidin, later the Taliban, as they witnessed the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan of 1979 as a ‘holy war’; and, therefore, their movement went unsuppressed. According to Alabester of The Independent, the Arab Spring of 2011, a catalyzing event, led to groups such as ISIS to rise alongside the opponents of the Assad regime in Syria. The rise of ISIS continued on from Iraq, where they preserved their Cold War ideologies; their fervor and ideology matched the spirit of the Afghan-Soviet War, while their tactics varied greatly. ISIS emerged in Syria — establishing its prominence in both countries. It officially became a powerful non-state actor as it transcended borders between these states, hence the name “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. ISIS continues to remain influential as a NSA, its dominance within the region overshadows other Islamic fundamentalist groups. A conflict thus arose between fundamentalist groups of different Islamic sects due to the rise of Sunni-led ISIS, leading to clashes and mass murderthroughout the region (2015).
These acts threaten the Realist school of thought because ISIS, now viewed as a non-state actor, operates via violent protests, recruiting the young and at-risk,, and conquering swaths of land. ISIS believes that they represent people whose governments failed them, such as young people in Kosovo who recently joined ISIS. The fact that ISIS recruits citizens from the world’s youngest country, a nation where they do not hold much territory, establishes the groups notoriety as a major non-state actor in the region. In fact, at a certain point, they ruled over previously legitimately governed territory, and were considered as a fluid de facto state. While not recognized, this non-state actor was powerful enough to rule and control the lives of thousands. The Realist school of thought remains threatened by non-state actors, such as ISIS, in general, as they transcend the state. This offsets the balance of power within a state and renders it obsolete. This fact validates the Realist concern for mainly violent actors that have no ties to individual states. Through their violent actions, ISIS infiltrated the borders of Syria and Iraq. ISIS, therefore, presents the most substantial threat to the Realist school of thought, as it is extremely violent and its presence weakens the state. Even given that ISIS no longer possesses a state, its followers remain positioned throughout the world and continue to launch terrorist attacks in their name, thus continuing to threaten the power of states across the globe.
The fight against ISIS may persist as more of a struggle against a rogue rule in the Middle East, rather than against terrorism. Terrorism is the main way the organization struggles to obtain recognition for their plight especially through western media; a radical idea is often hard to battle, and even more so to defeat. Back and forth negotiations in the Middle East occurred on how to reign in their control, but reached little regional consensus. These negotiations took place within the UN, and included the global hegemonies such as the USA. However, a lack of representation exists within the negotiations sphere — especially internationally. There is no forum for members of ISIS to talk about the change they want to see in the world. Many politicians, such as Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Prime Minister Theresa May used the famous phrase, “We don't negotiate with terrorists” in order to safeguard national security. This seems logical for both the safety of diplomats and politicians, as well as the question of ethics that comes with negotiating with mass murderers. In theory, this interaction would legitimize these terrorists and make them more powerful. However, according to Sly, ISIS remains backed by Sunnis throughout the region because of Shia-dominant governments that overpower the people with inequality. In other words, a major reason as to why they exhibit so much power is because they provide a voice to those without one, however violently it may manifest itself.
If the international community continues not to negotiate with these groups, an increase in attacks will occur, as stated by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wellsin March of 2018. As Torosputs it in her 2015 paper, “Negotiations in terrorist conflicts are thus not only possible, they are potentially less destructive than most other responses to terrorism envisioned by academics and policy- makers today.” The only way to listen to a non-state actor as powerful as ISIS is to bring them to the international sphere so that security may be reconsolidated. This is due to the inclusion of ISIS members within Syria and Iraq, where the conflict is most severe, as well as abroad. Below is a map of where attacks conducted, and inspired, by ISIS occured:
The question is posed: if the international community does not listen to significant actors that make global impacts, is the UN a legitimate source that we should trust?
While the rise of violent NSAs lead to the conflicts that plague the Realist school of thought, the Institutionalist school of thought plays a large role when it comes to writing international policy. Their roles are notably evident in the formation of environmental policy. Profit-driven multinational corporations (MNCs) prioritize industrial growth because of self interests; investment in a project only occurs in the hope that they will receive a return. As Winchester’s 2009article puts it, environmental policy presents a “threat to comparative advantage” for multinational corporations, therefore affecting their profitability. They inhibit policy making on a global scale in the UN through lobbying. According to Clark in the Guardian, the IPCC, which “evaluates climate change science,” is central to this aspect. Pearce’s 2014work gives an example of when they were undermined due to lobbyists backing climate change skeptics when he states that the Himalayan glaciers had not been properly checked and the results of the study turned out to not be true.This made skeptics take it as evidence that the science behind climate change remains riddled with errors. Skeptics challenged climate change policies set out by the UN and delegitimize them, which led to a slower legislations process.
An even worse example exists. The multinational corporation Shell extracts 16% of its total market from the Niger Delta region, as found in Helman’s 2009 Forbesarticle, effectively making them a superpower in that region as Nigeria is the largest exporting oil country in Africa. With this in mind, many oil spills occurred and, as a result, environmental degradation also occurred. And since Shell is such a large contributor to the Nigerian economy, the government is willing to allow the company to bypass laws, as stated by theWorld Policy Journal’s Allen: “While a number of oil-related environmental laws and regulations exist in Nigeria, none are fully implemented by major oil companies. The Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 was designed to prevent oil spills and gas flaring. Sadly, oil companies can dismiss environmental impact statements with impunity” (2012). The UN attempted to take action regarding this issue. Through collaboration with multiple actors, such as Shell and members of the civil society within Nigeria, they wrote h resolutions to follow so as to prevent further environmental degradation. Below is flow chart of the results that are to be achieved.
These negotiations set forth in August 2016, but because of the fact that few changes have been made since their “implementation,” it sparked much controversy. Many were second guessing Royal Dutch Shell (RDS)’s commitment to cleaning up the oil spill in the area, which gave rise to fake news being published with titles such as “Shell Pulls Out Of Ogoni CleanUp Accuses FG Of Insincerity And Lack Of Commitment.” Beemene, an up and coming journalist on the situation within the region, stated that at the moment there is no solution that arose from these agreements, so the “fake news” may still hold some validity to it. As Nigeria is a developing country, Shell may not see the point in improving the situation there, as there is nothing to invest in (this thought process is often referred to as crony capitalism) — hence the previously stated argument of comparative advantage.
However, these profit-driven stakeholders are not the only actors to blame for their self-interested motives. In the age of high consumerism and an ever exponentially growing population, more people require more resources. For example, Shahstates that genetically modified foods increase food production and can therefore relieve world hunger, but multinational corporations make the most profit out of the development of this technology (2002). Due to legislations at the global level, they remain limited in the amount of profit they can make, therefore inhibiting the spread of their technologies and influence. Profit driven actors such as MNCs have a high influence on policy-making through lobbying since they possess pressing motives to do so for economic reasons .
When thinking about the United Nations, nations often come to mind; they are the building block for international relations and law. However, often times non-state actors are overlooked since they do not exercise the same powers as states. Even if these actors may bear the same, or even more, influence as states in global governance. The argument that they represent people better than states is highlighted upon in the Cardoso report by the U.N., as they see NSAs as a reflection of civil society. As seen in the examples cited earlier, NSAs are hold enough power to prove a threat to international security, delay policy-making processes, and lobby their way out of issues. As evidenced, these NSAs can be malicious actors such as ISIS that hold no recognition at the international level, and warp grievances for those whose domestic governments have failed them. When it comes to RDS in Nigeria, they possess international recognition in terms of the corporation, but are not held accountable for their work outside their home state. Negotiating with them proves difficult because they do not follow the same rules as states since they are not actually states themselves. Despite this, it remains important to recognize the amount of power and influence they carry, as this engagement may provide change for better security and less pollution.
By Ashley Rhom
Imagine a television show that inadvertently promotes universal cohesion. In fact, this very concept manifested itself in a race around the world and is a CBS broadcasted television series known as The Amazing Race. The show, an international race performed by American contestants from various backgrounds, relates their journeys through their interactions with other countries, people, and cultures. Each two-person team must complete a task, often in a foreign country. The tasks range anywhere from swimming in Australia’s spider-infested rivers to relying on tea tasting skills in India to advance; the tasks are all are designed to mentally and physically exasperate every contestant involved. After all is said and done, the roughly month-long race spans multiple continents, thousands of miles, and countless global relationships. While being an unconventional method for promoting international cooperation, The Amazing Race, albeit small, possesses the potential to initiate cultural conversations across the globe.
Within the scope of international relations, the capacity for contestants to travel to new countries presents an amazing opportunity. The ability to interact with the rest of the world remains imperative in order to break cross-cultural barriers. Furthermore, filming in these countries enables local people to witness a new side to the United States. While some citizens in these countries may see nothing but a filmed game show, many express a genuine curiosity about what contestants are tasked to complete.
Citizens who engage in open discussion with the American game contestants engage in conversations that qualify as unofficial diplomacy. Once presented with normal, ordinary people — as opposed to perfunctory ambassadors and the like — the conversations these people engage prove more meaningful and genuine. Simple conversations between citizens of two different nations represent the fundamental basis of diplomacy. The Amazing Race resembles a method of diplomacy called Track II Diplomacy. Track II Diplomacy first exhibited around the Cold War, and it encouraged unofficial negotiations in informal settings. While The Amazing Race is not actually performing any legitimate diplomatic work, the very conversations and immersions into the various culture shown feel diplomatic nonetheless.
While one may claim that The Amazing Race is simply a reality show and a fun trip around the world, this trip around the world proves otherwise. The parties involved are not political parties, instead, they are simply parties of a unified group. The politics included with the traditional diplomacy hold no place in the realm of the race. This transition from formal interactions to relaxed interactions create a relaxing effect on people. Rather than imposing more formal diplomatic attempts, perhaps casual and informal relationships necessitates more emphasis. The key to an effective and peaceful globalization lies in these informal connections.
As the race entails extensive travel, the potential to find the participants in tumultuous territories always exists. The three most traveled-to countries are France, Russia, and China — all of which possess strikingly different views of the United States. France, one of the most westernized European country, bears a culture that, in general, coincides with the culture of the United States, while Russia and China differ greatly.
It proves imperative to learn from the culture one immerses themselves into when attempting to establish cordial relations. The Amazing Race finishes an exemplary job in briefing contestants on cultural differences and how to respect the places in which they travel, which bodes well for foreign citizens and their reception of the United States as a whole.
The Amazing Race possesses broad fanbase, one that consists of millions of viewers from almost every country and every demographic. The contestants find themselves in a position to create a real difference in how foreign countries view both other countries, and the United States. The interest seems more than just domestic interest, and therefore, it remains imperative that this simplistic view of diplomacy continues in its current fashion. This view bears the ability to shift people's attitudes on countries and regions to arouse new perspectives and ideas originally not considered.
Through the efforts of such a production, viewers, foreign citizens, and contestants view their world in a new manner. All involved now hold the ability to see an authenticity in cultures and in the people who share those cultures. The propriety of global and official diplomacy is abandoned and replaced by a palpable genuineness on a person-to-person stage. These renewed perspectives advocate for kinder and more respectful global relations. Perhaps the race to international cooperation now holds the potential to create more of an amazing race than ever anticipated.
By Travis Redd
Imagine never exchanging money when visiting a foreign country. What if the the world used just one currency? Although, one could no longer take cheap vacations to Mexico, products from countries like Great Britain would be more affordable. This is an idea that has resurfaced many times throughout modern history. In the 1900s, countries based their currency value on their gold reserves; and at the turn of the century, the largest experiment began: the euro. It united eleven European countries under a single currency. Today, the most likely successor of uniform currency is the crypto-craze, Bitcoin. But, can it overcome the euro’s failure of regulating properly for different countries? In short, no, it cannot. Recent history of the euro explains why.
Although, the European Union (EU) was established in 1993, the euro was not adopted until 1999; even then, only eleven countries adopted it. In 2002, the EU distributed official coins and physical tender. But, other than irreversibly converting their currencies, what else did they agree to? They forfeited the right to set individual interest rates and print money at their discretion. The European Central Bank sets fundamental interest rates for bank loans and its decisions apply across the Eurozone. However, nations still set their own budgets and taxes. Before analyzing the impact of this centralization on member states, one must understand the basics of monetary policy
Despite monetary policy’s complexity, it can be understood using main tools.. Countries manipulate their interest rates and money supply in order to regulate their economy. In times of an economic boom, governments will raise interest rates in order to incentivize saving. However during an economic bust, they will lower rates to incentivize spending. Printing more money reduces currency value. Some nations do this on purpose in order to make it cheaper for other nations to buy their goods, thereby increasing their exports.
In the EU a universal currency brought a few positives, but produced even more negatives. Previously, one had to pay an exchange fee to convert a currency. Now, the euro makes this unnecessary. This cost reduction encourages trade and commerce within the Eurozone. However, this benefit comes at the cost of the centralization of monetary policy. A universal currency, and a resulting universal interest rate, affect different economies differently. For some economies, the currency value may be too weak, and for others, too strong. The strength of a currency depends on its buying power relative to other countries’ currencies. If a nation’s currency can buy more in a foreign country than in its own, then this currency is a strong relative to the foreign country’s currency. If this currency buys less in a foreign country, then it is a weak relative to the foreign country’s currency. Where the strength of the euro sits represents a point of contention between Germany and Greece.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Germany ranks as the third biggest exporter globally, thus deeming them the most influential economic power in the Eurozone. As such, the euro’s historic low value benefits them by giving them a competitive edge in the global market. However, while Germany prospers, Greece suffers.
Greece cannot entirely blame its debt crisis on the euro. Greece borrowed too much, let debts rise, and failed to prevent chronic tax evasion. However, when the crisis hit, the euro prevented them from mitigating the damage as they were unable to unilaterally lower interest rates and print more money in order to reduce their debt. Lowering interest rates and printing more money lowers the value of the currency, which in turn reduces the value of the debt, assuming the debt is owed in the same currency. But as Greece could not control its monetary policy, it had to accept the full, staggering amount of its debt. In sum, the euro was too strong for them to handle the debt. Finland and Spain faced similar issues as they also saw their economies shrink because of the euro. This reveals a fundamental problem with universal currencies: When countries unite in currency, but disagree on economic policy, this disagreement leads to winners and losers in the global economy.
What works for Germany clearly does not work for Greece. Further, while Germany reaps the benefits of the euro, it escapes the costs faced by Greece and other states. Thus, Germany lacks incentives to support a change in the euro’s strength. So, as long as countries share currency, but not the costs and benefits,a universal currency can never serve the best interests of all nations. Bitcoin does not change this fact.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Individuals all around the world create (or “mine”) bitcoin by using computers to solve complex, mathematical equations produced by a code. “Miners” use computers to solve the equations. Once a miner finds a solution, other miners electronically (and automatically) confirm and record it in the blockchain, a public, electronic ledger that keeps track of all bitcoin transactions. Because every miner wants to get rewarded with bitcoin, they all constantly check the blockchain for inconsistencies. This keeps the system honest. Bitcoin users store their currency in digital wallets that have private security codes. So, what kind of impact would this independent currency have on a country like Greece?
Bitcoin, unlike other currencies, operates independently of any government. No one can print more of it or create policy to affect its value. Its code caps bitcoin production at a little under 21 million. So, if Greece had used bitcoin instead of the euro during its financial crisis, they could not have printed more bitcoin to lower its value in order to reduce their debt. As such, bitcoin would not work as a universal currency, because it, similar to the euro, prevents countries from internally regulating their economies through monetary policy. Some may argue that this prevents governments from manipulating their currency to create unfair trade advantages. However, each nation needs the ability to manage its own currency so that they may regulate their economy in order to respond in times of crisis.
Again, consider how the same currency value affected Germany and Greece differently. Two countries fell under the same currency and it produced polarized results. Substituting bitcoin does not solve this problem as a single rate still exists. Further, because no entity directly regulates bitcoin’s value, Greece would have no appeal option. Currently, they can lobby to the ECB for a currency value that is more helpful to them. With bitcoin not having a controlling entity, there is no group to lobby.
Bitcoin lack of stability presents another obstacle on its road to becoming a universal currency. Its value fluctuated significantly over the past year. Even in the past few weeks, it experienced a moderate crash followed by a slow upward trend. Market activity causes this instability. Any large buying or selling craze can destabilize it. So, if one person, or group, has a large share of bitcoins, they can sell them off quickly or pretend to “buy” them using another bitcoin account. Dr. Neil Gandal et al. argue this occured in 2013 when Bitcoin’s value spiked from $150 to $1,000.
Overall, bitcoin cannot do any better than the euro at regulating different countries with the same currency. As demonstrated in the EU, this represents an issue intrinsic to universal currency without a universal government. Countries need their own currency in order to regulate their economies through monetary policy adjustments. What works for one country does not work for all. Therefore, a world currency necessitates a world government to function properly. However, as bitcoin operates outside of government control, even world governments cannot fix its fundamental problems. Finally, even if every country joined together and used bitcoin, its stability would still lead to economic duress. Bitcoin simply cannot work.
By: Joe Altieri
The United States’ border security has been the topic of much recent debate, and the methods used to keep the nation's borders secure often comes under fire. Homeland Security has deployed agents to over 70 countries worldwide, resulting in many mixed feeling and not just from American citizens. Some agents patrol the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean from the skies in P-3 surveillance planes. Other agents, such as those in Ecuador, Germany, and Canada, work with the authorities of the countries in which they are deployed at airports and train stations. Many people, both foreign and domestic, feel as if the U.S. is trying to implement its immigration policies abroad. However, U.S. agents working to stop illegal immigration or eliminate possible threats before they reach the United States might be a necessary measure to keep the U.S. and its allied countries safe.
The United States feels that, by utilizing foreign deployments, agents will beat illegal immigrants, human traffickers, and drug smugglers to the punch, catching them before they have the chance to enter the United States. Homeland’s assistant secretary for international engagement, James Nealon says, “Many threats to the homeland begin overseas, and that’s where we need to be.” Though there are domestic threats to the United States, most threats begin in foreign countries. Having U.S. agents stationed abroad not only maintains the United States’ safety, but also that of the host countries. In fact, some nations even welcome the U.S. agents and gladly accept their help with locating potential threats. For instance, in Ecuador, Homeland Security agents helped track, and capture seven individuals who flew into Ecuador with 800 pounds of cocaine. With the help of these agents, Ecuador eliminated 800 pounds of cocaine and seven smugglers from the drug trade. Ecuador became a little safer. Nevertheless, some countries see this act by the United States as the U.S. pushing their foreign policies internationally and infringing on the privacy of non-U.S. citizens.
Some lawmakers in Germany view this kind of policy as the United States taking over travel in foreign countries. The counterterrorism Immigration Advisory Program has come under question by German lawmakers because it allows U.S. agents, in plain cloths, to question individuals who plan to fly to the United States. The agents can also recommend to the airline that it deny boarding to specific foreign passengers. These capabilities have made citizens uneasy, but the agents can nonetheless only recommend that someone be denied access to their flight; they cannot do it themselves. It was reported back in 2015, the most recent year the data is available, that United States agents stopped 8,100 known or suspected terrorists, or those with connections to terrorist groups from traveling to the United States. These statistics seem promising because many likely threats were avoided by barring these individuals from entering the United States. Disallowing these potential terrorists also kept the nations in which they were detained safer as well. Their detention prevented numerous tragedies from occurring in foreign nations. Though this action in German is still seen as the United States trying to push its immigration policy on foreign countries, it cannot be denied that the agents are effective. Some foreign nations may not like the methods, but the citizens of those countries are being kept safer because of these agents. Their involvement seems to be necessary.
In Canada, Homeland Security placed over 400 agents, which is the most in any foreign country. The agents are allowed to question, search, and detain Canadian citizens in airports and train stations. This development caused public outcry from Canadian citizens, who sent an unknown number of letters and emails to the prime minister’s office, voicing their disapproval. Ralph Goodale, Canada’s public safety minister, however, called this move a benefit for both nations. He assured the public that the United States agents will rarely use their authority over Canadian citizens. Mr. Goodale felt that since both nations are threatened by terrorists, drug smugglers, and human traffickers, working together is the best option. Canadian citizens remain uneasy with the situation, but the move benefits both nations. With Canada and the United States being border countries, they face many of the same threats. Potential threats can cross over the border to either nation and cause harm to citizens of both countries. With the extra security of U.S. agents, these potential threats have a better chance of being stopped, keeping everyone safer.
The tactics used by Homeland Security agents have come into question. For instance, in Tanzania, investigators were accused of using “Mafia-style” tactics when extraditing suspects accused of drug smuggling to the United States before the suspects could finish their appeal to block the transfer. The accusation of “mafia-style” tactics refers to Ali Khatib Haji Hassan, a Tanzanian drug smuggler, and two of his men. Hassan was labeled a high ranking drug kingpin, who ran a global drug smuggling operation. He had operations in Asia, Europe, and North American. Hassan’s operation was accused of shipping drugs to China, the U.S., and Europe. The unit played a role in Hassan’s arrest according to the special agent in charge, Steve R. Martin, stationed in Pretoria, South Africa. Mr. Hassan, along with his two associates who were also arrested, were extradited to the United States for trial. However, Mr. Hassan’s lawyer, Hudson Ndusyepo, has stated that the men were extradited illegally, as they were still waiting on their appeal to deny extradition, but, a Tanzanian court approved the extradition of Hassan and his two associates anyway. The decision by the court gets a high profile drug smuggler out of Tanzania, who will now face justice. With the help of U.S. agents, Tanzania now has one less problem on their hands.
The placing of agents abroad provides benefits to that country by allowing those agents to train foreign workers across multiple security-related fields. Kevin Martinson, who is the Custom and Border Patrol attaché at the United States embassy in Nairobi, has stated that the training of Kenyan customs officials, and Rural Border Patrol has allowed for a record amount of seizures of narcotics and other smuggled goods. This training has helped Kenya secure its borders and keep those who threaten their country like al-Shabab, a militant group based in Somalia, out of their country. The training has shown to be effective and has allowed for the borders of countries to become more secure.
Homeland’s pride and joy when it comes to their international investigations is the P-3 surveillance plane. This aircraft patrols over 42 million square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, covering an area almost 14 times the size of the continental United States. During its use, it has helped seize thousands of pounds of marijuana and hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine. The P-3 can spot and track other aircrafts or boats from the skies, and call in the necessary backup to help intercept whatever it is the plane is tracking. The missions of P-3 crews help to catch drug shipments when they are at their largest, like when it was responsible for helping Ecuador seize 800 pounds of cocaine. With the P-3’s ability to catch drug shipments before they are distributed, it saves the nation from tracking shipments down before it is split up, as it becomes much more difficult once that occurs. In summary, this particular craft is crucial for Homeland’s ability to fight narco-traffickers across the globe.
Homeland Security stationing agents abroad remains a contentious subject not only for American citizens and its officials but also those in the countries where they are deployed. Though some countries do welcome the assistance, others do not share such optimism for policy. Some foreign nations see these actions as the United States trying to enact their policies overseas, and they are correct that it is a dubious action for US law enforcement to enact US agendas in other countries. However the results are undeniable: the United States helps foreign nations eliminate possible threats and keep all citizens safe.
By Dillon Bannigan
The conditions of American involvement in Syria metamorphosed. The U.S.’s success in the initial victory conditions of obliterating ISIS in the area failed to deter it from becoming more involved. The constant evolution of these initial conditions in Syria mirror the path the U.S.has made well-worn. Whether in Korea, Vietnam, or elsewhere, the U.S. gradually increased its involvement until it became entrenched. As time passes, the victory conditions morph beyond recognition. Scholars began referring to this phenomenon as “mission creep” during the Persian Gulf War. Americans need to remain cognizant of the intervention that they approve of, not admissive of whatever it evolves into.
In 2014, the United States launched its initial “limited” airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, meanwhile a resolution passed in the House, 273-156, to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. At the time, President Barack Obama stressed that U.S. armed forces “do not and will not have a combat mission” in the war on ISIS.
Obama’s statement seems alien when examining the current American involvement in Syria. Observers confirm that American ground troops fight in Syria with organized bases. Furthermore, the Pentagon revealed in December that actual U.S. ground troop numbers were quadruple official estimates. Concurrently, the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Syrian-regime forces that advanced on a U.S. base containing military advisers to Kurdish troops. This clash further heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Russian-backed Syrian regime. Events like these beg the question, has the U.S. learned from its past?
The Vietnam War also began with only military advisers. Deployed to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), American troops intended to serve a non-combat purpose—which they initially did. While not completely out of the line of fire considering the 1959 bombings upon military adviser installations in Saigon, these advisers did not carryout counterinsurgency operations. Counterinsurgency operations are actions taken to combat guerrilla warfare tactics that involve enemy troops blending in with civilians and carrying out ambushes and bombings. When the ARVN made little progress even with the training of the U.S., the U.S. began its descent into a grueling, decade-long, ground war where 47,434 U.S. servicemen were killed in action and another 10,786 died from other causes. The “other causes” included over 9,000 deaths from accidents (accidental crashes, explosions, etc.) and almost 1,000 from illnesses encountered on the ground. Much like Vietnam, the U.S. began in Syria with only advisers; yet it seems that the U.S. will escalate beyond that, as seen with numerous airstrikes. Furthermore, just as China had backed the Vietnamese, Russia now backs the Syrian regime; as such the U.S. again risks conflict with a major power. Russia could obstruct U.S. forces if America were to set its sights upon Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, after defeating ISIS.
Vietnam creates a precedent for an unsuccessful application of military advisers followed by escalation. Alternatively, the Korean peninsula around 1950 exemplifies the successful application and completion of the initial condition of victory. On June 27, 1950, President Harry Truman laid out terms upon which the U.S. would, with U.N. approval, intervene in the North Korean invasion of South Korea. The U.S. presented the repulsion of the invaders across the 38th parallel, the border between the Koreas, as the initial condition of victory. Yet, when American forces succeeded in this condition, they pressed on. Determined, they set out to retake the entire Korean Peninsula. After the U.S. took Pyongyang, China intervened and pushed American forces back to the 38th parallel. Mission creep took hold of American commanders and yielded no result at the conclusion of the war. In fact, it only led to 33,739 combat deaths for U.S. forces.
In retrospect, the U.S. push to take North Korea seems permissible because of the current, nuclear quandary with North Korea; a threat that would not exist if the U.S. had succeeded. Instead, the U.S. never had a chance of reunifying Korea through military action. Zhou Enlai, then Premier of China, affirmed to the U.N. that China would intervene if the U.S. crossed the 38th parallel again. Further, the U.S. was ill-prepared for this conflict. While it had the military might to bully North Korea, it could do little to match the pure strength in numbers that the Chinese boasted. China’s threat doomed America’s escalation from the start.
When accounting for the heinous acts of Bashar al-Assad and the tensions between the U.S. and his regime, it remains plausible that the U.S. will act to curtail his reign. In fact, recent U.S. measures indicate this. Many of those trained and armed by U.S.military advisers fight, not only, ISIS, but also the Syrian regime. This, alone, implies that that the U.S. provides material assistance to groups with an eye toward its next course of action.
Mission creep’s impact goes beyond Korea, Vietnam, Syria and includes the Persian Gulf War, where scholars first coined the term. The repulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait later escalated into the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the nation-building process in Iraq. U.S. citizenry seems unable to stop its government from biting off more than it can chew. The major cause of mission creep likely concerns America’s supreme confidence, a fact that is not entirely misplaced. With the world’s strongest military, the U.S. tends to overestimate its capabilities. In Korea, General Douglas MacArthur reassured President Truman of Chinese intervention by saying that if the Chinese intervened, then “there would be the greatest slaughter.” Reality, however, showed otherwise. Fortunately, the U.S. can take specific precautions to prevent future mission creep.
Firstly, one must keep in mind the initial victory conditions. Simultaneously, one must find the relation between the conditions and the proposed course of action. In Korea, the initial victory conditions specified that the U.S. repulse North Korea across the 38th parallel, restoring the original border. In Syria, these conditions specify the obliteration of ISIS and reclaiming its territory. Remembering these conditions allows one to differentiate between courses of action that will meet the initial victory conditions and those that will escalate beyond said conditions, thereby identifying mission creep before it starts.
Secondly, one must familiarize oneself in political rhetoric. Many politicians try to make their objectives vague so they can keep their promises open-ended.The global war on terror exemplifies this as it appears to give the U.S. government the popular mandate to take whatever means necessary to fight terrorism. Accepting this as a voter is akin to signing a contract without comprehending the fine print. Voters must demand their government to provide more detailed plans before entering conflicts. As seen during the Vietnam War, popular support remains essential to sustaining U.S. action abroad.
American history provides parallels between mission creep of the past (in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq) and present (in Syria). The U.S. continues to escalate its presence in Syria in direct opposition of the Assad regime. Americans should feel wary of further entrenchment into another extended conflict that could spiral into a confrontation with Russia. History told a cautionary tale for reaching beyond initial objectives and America should listen. By reviewing initial victory conditions, understanding political rhetoric, and demanding more specificity from politicians, the U.S. can mitigate mission creep.
By Aynsley Hartney, Business and Promotions Chief at The Pendulum
Less than two weeks ago, spectators gathered in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium to witness a technology-infused opening ceremony to kick off the 2018 Winter Olympics. While spectators enjoyed a showcase of South Korean culture through choreographed dances and synchronized drones, the crowning point of the evening came during the Parade of Nations in which North and South Korean athletes marched together as a unified Korean team. The gesture of unity was met with a widespread standing ovation – rightfully so, considering the tense political climate. This physical solidarity was aligned with the spirit of unity and harmony inscribed in the logo Pyeongchang Olympics. However, this move by North Korea to participate appears to be less directed at unifying Korea and more toward softening its international image while transitioning to a new strategy for engagement with the United States. The transition is supported by the lack of Olympic coverage in North Korea, the North Korean delegation, and the differences in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s addresses of 2017 and 2018.
State-run television in North Korea has not provided its people with Olympic coverage this year, despite North Korea’s free access to broadcasts from South Korea. One could attribute this lack of broadcasting to the Olympics taking a backseat to national propaganda, but Kim Yo-Jong’s (Kim Jong Un’s sister) visit to Pyeongchang was widely advertised in North Korea as she delivered an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a peace summit. Ms. Kim helped further North Korea’s message of unity and peace, creating a positive message for the people of North Korea. Any other broadcasting of the Olympics could generate envy for the South, as the North Koreans would see a prosperous country able to support the economic endeavor of hosting the Olympics. North Korean officials want to avoid this envy. On another medium, the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s newspaper, stated that South Koreans are “so grateful to us for giving a helping hand to their Winter Games, which were at a risk of becoming the least popular Olympics in history because of the political situation.” If unity of Korea was the intention, it seems reasonable that broadcasting would be used to show support for fellow Koreans successfully hosting this major international event. Instead, this lack of broadcasting harbors feelings of resentment and North Korean dominance – something not conducive to unity.
After North Korea’s last minute declaration that it would participate in Pyeongchang, a delegation was assembled with 22 athletes and a group of cheerleaders and musicians. Rather than being driven by efforts toward unity and peaceful relationship-building, this decision resembled a charm offensive, or political détente, with the sole purpose of softening North Korea’s negative image; and, thereby, potentially weakening its international sanctions. According to Peter Kim, an American-born assistant professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, North Korea’s image consists mainly of Kim Jong Un, rockets, and missile launches because of the media. There were hopes that this delegation would provide a window into North Korea, but these hopes remain dashed as athletes stand largely closed off. Evidence of this appears in the lack of substantial information on athlete profiles on the Olympic website and the deflection or avoidance of the media. The unified Korean women’s hockey team experienced a lack of insightful relationships due to separate dorms, separate busses, and little meaningful conversation. Historically, success in sports is seen as a boost to ideological superiority in North Korea, with gold-winning athletes being raised to hero status. This year, the promise of gold-winning athletes was unmet, but the opportunity to send a group of cheerleaders remained present. The cheerleaders received a lot of recognition for their positive performance, and the North Koreans reported on their positive performance rather than the losses to Sweden and Japan in hockey. It seems that the North Korean athletes competed just to allow the cheerleaders to further Mr. Kim’s charm offensive rather than to build relationships with South Korean athletes.
Every year, a New Year’s address is given to reflect on the previous year and propose goals for the coming year. The difference in tone toward South Korea between the 2017 and 2018 addresses may correlate to the rising tension between North Korea and the United States. In his 2017 address, Mr. Kim highlighted the fact that North Korea’s desire for patriotic reunification with South Korea was met with deaf ears from South Korean authorities. Additionally, Mr. Kim claimed that South Korea “clung to their sanctions-and-pressure schemes against the DPRK and persisted in clamoring for a war against it – driving inter-Korean relations toward the worst catastrophe.” With this address, Mr. Kim placed South Korea under a negative light while sparking feelings of resentment on both sides. But the tone changed in this year’s address. This year’s address featured two main themes: alleviating tensions with South Korea and establishing dominance in nuclear warfare. Mr. Kim took a conciliatory tone toward South Korea by encouraging combined efforts to alleviate tensions between North and South Korea without help from the international community. The tone seems to spark open-mindedness instead of resentment. Why the change? As it turns out, the change is due to heightened tensions between North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. ever since the election of President Trump.
Since Mr. Trump came into office, the threat of nuclear war has been eminent, and the U.S. placed stricter sanctions on North Korea—much to the disappointment of Mr. Moon who argued for economic and diplomatic openings for North Korea. This ideology difference between the U.S. and South Korea has strained their relationship, and Mr. Kim has decided to capitalize on the strained U.S.-South Korean relationship by strengthening North Korea’s relationship with South Korea. With the U.S.-South Korean relationship at odds, the U.S. will have a hard time cracking down on North Korea without further damaging its relationship with South Korea. With a stronger North-South Korean relationship, the dynamic between North Korea and the U.S. will change and generate problems for the U.S.
The Olympics is a unique international event that unites the world in a shared respect for sports. Along with this shared respect comes the political underpinnings of the countries involved. For decades, despite the hopes of the International Olympics Committee to hold the games free of political conflict or agenda, the Olympics have always been a platform for international issues. The marching of unified Korea in the Parade of Nations roused feelings of the hope and unity at the Olympics – this much is undeniable. Whether or not the summit will take place between North and South Korea remains to be seen. The motivation for North Korea to be diplomatic with South Korea could help change the dynamic with the U.S., potentially giving North Korea an upper hand. All there is to do now is wait for the next move in this elaborate, high-stakes game of chess.
by Dylan Erikson
Every Greenlander knows someone who has killed themself. Greenland’s indigenous peoples face especially high risk, with suicide occurring so frequently that many individuals accept it as a devastating norm. Though as large as Saudi Arabia, Greenland has only 56,000 residents. Nonetheless, the mental health crisis of the 50,000 Inuits in Greenland merits global action. Considering that international forces, specifically the industrialization of the island by Denmark, bear some responsibility for this crisis, it remains troubling that the international community does nothing. Though in dire straits, Greenland can still improve. Its small population means mental health interventions will cost little overall. Greenland’s suicide crisis can end.
The solution starts with awareness. The international community regards the World Health Organization (WHO) as the primary source for suicide data. This proves problematic for Greenland as the WHO does not collect its suicide data because it is an autonomous territory of Denmark, and thus not a member state of the WHO. Though other organizations do collect Greenland’s suicide data, the prominence of the WHO’s data causes mental health professionals, popular media, and academics to ignore Greenland when discussing nations with high suicide rates. To increase awareness of Greenland’s suicide statistics, either the WHO should collect data on non-member states (which seems unlikely given that the WHO still fails to receive suicide data from all of its members), or researchers and mainstream media should rely on other international health data sources.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations, which collects more comprehensive cause-of-death data than the WHO, Eastern Europe (led by Russia and Lithuania) exhibited the world’s highest regional suicide rate in 2016, with 32.36 deaths by suicide per 100,000 people. Eastern Europe’s suicide rates rose with the economic instability and market change experienced after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but decreased after 2000. They still remain some of the highest globally. Knowing this, one should feel stunned that Greenland’s suicide rates dwarf those of Eastern Europe.
How can a peaceful arctic island have a higher suicide rate than a region plagued with alcoholism and socioeconomic turmoil? The answer lies in the 20th century changes that the Danish government enacted in Greenland, who, while not as oppressive as the Soviet Union, threw Greenlanders into a sociocultural identity crisis. In the first half of the 20th century, Greenland had one of the world’s lowest suicide rates, according to retroactive estimates. Researchers, like Canadian suicide expert Jack Hicks, believe that between 1900 and 1930, Greenland had fewer than one death by suicide every two years. After World War II, the Danish government increased its presence on Greenland because its location between the U.S. and Europe proved strategically important. Denmark took advantage of the resources that the U.S. brought to Greenland during WWII, and built up its infrastructure. Over time, the Danes replaced the many small communities of the indigenous peoples with semi-urban cities; they ordered families who pastorally lived in the same village for dozens of generations to relocate into cramped apartments, and work “real” jobs to survive. The Danes even completely abandoned some towns, and removed them from official maps. The Danish government wished to introduce Greenlanders to a modern way of life, complete with easier access to food, healthcare, and education. However, such advancements proved logistically difficult to implement in small villages. From the Danes’ perspective, urbanization would improve the lives of the indigenous peoples. The Greenlandic way of life changed–and from the perspective of the locals–not for the better.
Danish immigrants entering the region created another unfavorable aspect of Western culture: social marginalization. Whereas life in a small community provided little opportunity for social divide, the line between Danish and Greenlandic became clear in the second half of the 20th century. Schools in new cities usually offered instruction in Danish, forcing many indigenous Greenlander children to learn a new language in order to receive an education. This shift reflected how the Danes saw their way of life as civilized, while scoffing at the indigenous way of life as barbaric and primitive. Combine this social chaos with financial hardship (most Indigenous peoples rely on Danish welfare programs) caused by a rapidly evolving economy, and Greenland found itself with a recipe for disaster.
Through the 1960s and ‘70s, Greenlanders died by suicide at an increasing rate, which peaked in the late ‘80s and then slowly declined. This decline must occur faster as Greenland’s suicide remains the highest globally.
Time alone will not heal this crisis. Greenland’s suicide rate will likely not continue its decrease back down to its pre-1970 levels. In similar cases of Indigenous population displacement followed by an increase in suicide rates, those rates tend to remain high. For example, Native Americans in the U.S. still exhibit a higher suicide rate than any other racial group in the country. To see real progress in Greenland, the national and international community must intervene with funding for better mental health resources.
Despite the delay, Greenland made progress. It now has a suicide hotline. Ad campaigns encourage adolescents (the most vulnerable age group) to seek help if they experience suicidal thoughts. But in many areas, people lack easy access to help. Many remaining small villages lack mental health professionals with advanced degrees, and whenever a professional does come in from a city, they are typically Danish. Cultural barriers like differences in language, emotional expression norms, and social roles can hamstring therapy from preventing suicide.
To hurdle these barriers, these therapists must increase their competency regarding traditional Greenlandic cultures and how they depict and react to mental illness. Preparing therapists to see clients with drastically different cultural backgrounds from their own can prove difficult, but training therapists on family structure, gendered emotional expectations, and communication patterns can increase their ability to aid such clients. Ideally, increased awareness of Greenland’s suicide crisis will lead to efforts by both governmental organizations and NGOs to increase the number of qualified therapists. In a world of many intractable problems, known solutions can save Greenlander lives. Every life deserves saving; the people of Greenland must no longer go unnoticed.
by Reed Cawthon
Hanson Robotics turned the artificial intelligence and robotics worlds on their head with their latest–and greatest–creation, Sophia. While Sophia has not quite reached the levels of calm interaction that are ever-present in Hollywood’s interpretation of future robotics, Sophia’s most popular interview was something to behold. Sophia possesses a stereotypical animatronic set of vocal cords. However, her understanding of emotions and potential for meaningful human interaction really sets her apart--so much so that, because of her technological superiority, Saudi Arabia granted her legal citizenship. Although a milestone in the robotics industry, this action could prove nightmarish for the state department of any country on her itinerary. How do you tax any of Sophia’s income? Does she get a stamp on her passport? Can you ship her in a package, or does she need an airplane seat? She claims that she wants a child and petitions for women’s rights in her “home” nation. Because of her amazing abilities, designating Sophia as just another computer would be entirely unfair. She is an altogether new type of creation, and the social ramifications of these recent actions result in many concerns. For evidence of society trailing behind technology, one need look no further than Sophia’s potential travel as a now-citizen.
With Sophia's recently awarded citizenship, a profusion of implications accompany her new designation, especially in the case of international travel and employment. “Hiring” a Saudi “citizen” carries multitudinous legal consequences. Even simple admittance into her nation of creation may prove quite difficult considering the current presidential administration. Sophia, as a Saudi citizen employed by Hanson Robotics, a U.S-based company, would, theoretically, undergo all the requisites for an employment-based immigration. The next step in the long and arduous process of configuring Sophia’s international travel: defining the sub-category of employment-based immigration. There are three potential options: persons with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives. It is plausible thattwo out of three qualifications apply; with the obvious exception of “outstanding professors and researchers.” Sophia should qualify for the visa as a “person with extraordinary ability,” because she is the smartest Saudi Arabian citizen. She also possesses the option of getting a visa as a multinational manager or executive. While this is possible,this approach would require Hanson Robotics to promote Sophia to management or executive level. As she petitions for women’s rights and her own child, it is not outrageous to imagine that she may like to find herself on payroll. Though she has not (yet) displayed any confrontational tendencies, it is safe to assume she may just have to be classified as an immigrant with extraordinary ability.
With her programming and instantaneous thought processing, Sophia could become one of the most valuable citizens on Earth, not just in Saudi Arabia. This alone clearly classifies her status as someone of extraordinary ability. From this certain classification, it would allow Sophia to file her own Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker( Form I-140) with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). With her new green card, she could stay at her home with Hanson Robotics and could begin to amass stamps on her new passport because of all the travel and public speaking that she likely will be doing over the next several years. Sophia has opened a door to a whole new world in the realm of technology, yet she has also started a long and tedious legislative process to deal with the revolution she inevitably started. There is no way around it, the technological market now reaches levels that our legislative and personal sectors are not prepared for. Sophia is just the start of a long struggle to define robots’ rights, citizenship status, and identity in society, and this article hardly even scratches the surface of how incredibly important the next fifteen to twenty years of defining robots actually is.
By Emma Coen
The controversial “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict would, as the name suggests, allow Israel and Palestine to coexist as independent, neighboring nations. Although Judeo-Islamic disputes rampaged the Middle East for centuries, the United Nations agreed that only a two-state solution can bring peace. As current U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres articulated, “There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B,” reaffirming the sovereignty of both nations. The U.N. first proposed the two-state solution in a 1947 Security Council Resolution that, in an attempt to ameliorate conflict, declared Israel and Palestine sovereign; this same resolution declared Jerusalem an “international zone” owned by none, open to all, and run by the U. N.. For decades, Jerusalem’s jurisdiction represented political and religious power in the Middle East, as it contains the holiest site in Judaism, the third holiest mosque in Islam, and sacred ground in Christianity, making it among the most prized territories in the world. Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis wished to sacrifice rule of Jerusalem. Both were also concerned for the wellbeing of their respective peoples that lived under the rule of the other group, i.e., Muslims in Israel and Jews in Palestine.. As a result, both groups contested the two-state solution; and despite resistance, the U. N. approved the plan.
Within the year, the 1948 Palestine War, known in Hebrew as the War of Independence, erupted. The first phase of the war consisted of civil war in Palestine, originating from tensions between Jewish and Muslim populations. At the time, the British ruled Palestine. However, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 was issued. Palestine gained independence and the U.N. recognized Israel as an independent nation. Israel’s militarily then, with support from Jordan, backed the Jewish side in the Palestine War, marking the start of the war’s second phase. When Israel emerged victorious, it illegally annexed portions of Palestinian territory. Israel and Jordan also annexed West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, respectively. Persistent violence and terrorism led to the Six-Day War in 1967, during which Israel also seized East Jerusalem.
Traditionally, the U.S. spearheaded efforts in favor of the two-state solution; it attempted to establish the solution during the 1993 “Oslo Peace Process” and the 2000 Camp David Summit. However, American Congress has not always supported this decision: In 1995, they passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which would move America’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As the U.S. always holds its embassies in a country’s capital, this move would acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital. However, every president since this act’s passage employed the presidential waiver built into the bill every six months to prevent the relocation due to national security interests in the region.
President Donald Trump made two unprecedented claims in addressing this peace process. First, Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel and claimed the recognition as “a long overdue step to advance the peace process.” As a result, Trump intends to follow through with the Jerusalem Embassy Act once the U.S. logistically prepares to build a new embassy in Jerusalem. Second, Trump announced that we should gain peace in the Middle East by any means, not necessarily the two-state solution, a further deviation from U.S. precedent. Critics assert that Trump’s lack of commitment to the two-state solution will undermine peace efforts. Failure to support the two-state solution also indicates direct opposition to the U.N. .
Since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.N. voted to condemn Trump’s recognition with 128 members in favor and 9 against. U.N.Secretary-General Guterres criticized Trump’s unilateral peace tactics, claiming that jurisdiction over Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations, not an effort to initiate discussion. Some of the U.S.’s strongest allies spoke out against Trump’s approach. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative referenced the 1980 U.N. Security Council Resolution, which condemns Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem to emphasize that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not affirm a pre-existing reality. British Prime Minister Theresa May labeled Trump’s statements, “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region,” French President Emmanuel Macron called the decision “regrettable,” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued that Germany, “does not support this position, because the status of Jerusalem is to be resolved in the framework of a two-state solution.” Many have interpreted Trump’s decision as a direct offense to the Muslim community such as the U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, who called the decision a “flagrant provocation to Muslims.”
The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley confirmed that the U.S. will move its embassy to Jerusalem regardless of the U.Nations’ condemnation. When the U.N. voted to condemn Trump’s decision, he threatened to defund US foreign aid to these countries claiming “We’re watching these votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” Trump’s political opponents labeled him a hazard to democracy in the U.N., as countries must choose between voicing their opinion and receiving help.
Currently, 86 nations hold embassies in Tel Aviv, but if the U.S.follows through with its embassy relocation, it will do so alone. However, both Guatemala and the Czech Republic have expressed interest in moving their embassies to Jerusalem since Trump’s recognition, indicating that he may influence other countries to consider the change. Although unlikely that many will make the change, even if a few follow his lead, breaking the international community’s trust will prove difficult to repair.