News and Opinion From a Team of Young People

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China’s gunboat diplomacy

in Asia/World by

China for the past 1,000 years has focused on consolidating power over its vast and diverse landmasses; China has to focus on preventing nationalist sentiment and any possible rebellions from territories such as Tibet and Xinjiang seeing themselves as independent from the Han Chinese which dominate China politically, economically and culturally. Meaning China historically has only been able to have a Green Water Navy  to patrol its maritime borders, and not the Blue Water navy (a maritime force capable of exerting influence globally) that it desires. However, recent developments mean that the realisation of a strong Blue Water Navy is becoming more of a possibility. On the 28th June, China launched Asia’s biggest and most advanced warship, enabling China to strengthen and modernise its navy.…

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The Self-Destructive Revolution and Saving the Future of the West

in History/US and Canada/World by

Reform has always been the death of revolution. Reform is what governments and leaders do to keep their heads attached to their shoulders. The principle behind this is obvious – if you give the people what they want, they won’t have to take what they want by force. Reform is a counter to change; gradual (sometimes so gradual as to be insignificant) change as opposed to any real alterations. For the most part, reform is good. Revolution can be sloppy, and if poorly executed, disastrous for people, nations and sometimes the world. There are countless situations (most recently the 2011 Arab Spring), where some degree of reform on the part of governments would have prevented copious loss of life. But sometimes revolution is necessary, to…

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International Revolution is Coming, and We Need to be Ready to Face It.

in Election 2016/World by

Recently, I attended a lecture at a local school on the on-going American election. One issue raised during this talk was the sustainability of the international system – one of the academics present made the point that our current international system was designed to maintain the power balance of 1945 when it was set up. We can see this with just the slightest glance – the UK and France both have a veto in the UN, ahead of more populous and powerful countries such as India, Brazil and Indonesia. Our international system was designed for 1945. It was designed to address the concerns of 1945 and to prevent a repeat of the Second World War. The problem is that we no longer live in 1945,…

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Austria needs to stop trying to erase parts of its dark history

in Europe/History by

When I went to Auschwitz this summer I wanted to write a piece on the experience but just couldn’t think of anything to say, until I read that Hitler’s birthplace (an Austrian city called Braunau) is to be demolished by Austrian authorities in an attempt to prevent the site from acting as a focal point for Neo-Nazi ‘pilgrimages’ worldwide. This is a completely ridiculous solution, a futile attempt at addressing the symptoms of a decaying society. It’s almost as if the Austrian interior minister doesn’t realise that other much more important sites pertaining to Hitler exist. Should we knock those down to for the sake of crossing off one more stop on the neo-Nazis road trip? There is more than mere historical value in this…

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Baluchistan, India and China: Poetry in Politics

in Asia/World by

One of my more unfortunate habits is projecting my own sense of poetic justice and a sense of overarching narrative onto reality. Though in my head it immeasurably improves the 6:00 news, in reality it is more of a troublesome habit that clouds my understanding of international politics. Despite this, there is something irresistibly human about looking for pattern or a story in events – searching for something solid and dependable in an ocean of uncertainty and doubt. The desire to feel an emotional connection with characters in an unfolding history; this is a habit that –though I recognise it’s profound distance from reality- I guiltily indulge in. It is for this reason that I take particular interest in the unfolding drama in the East…

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Radicalisation: The Law is in Your Hands

in Middle East/UK/World by

Radicalisation: the buzzword of security councils and foreign ministers around Europe and America. From Jihadi John to Kadiza Sultana, the names that plaster our front pages are starting to pose increasingly complex moral questions to which we must somehow find legal responses. It is on all of us to take a vocal stance on these issues because these crimes are new. UK law will have to try and catch up with new ideas of justice, freedom, security, responsibility, vulnerability, and rights. If we don’t start asserting our own ideas on the issues then huge legal changes will go on behind the scenes and it will be too late for us to guide them. You have more power over the progress of British ideals now, as…

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Liberty with Caveats: France’s Move Towards Fascism

in Europe by

Liberté, égalité, fraternité. These are the words behind the 1789 French revolution, a movement that abolished the monarchy and established a secular and democratic republic and the liberation of the people from monarchist repression. Recent events concerning the banning of the ‘burkini’ have thrown these values and France’s ‘secularism’ in to question. What must be discussed now is whether or not the French government is really committed to these values. French Prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated on the 18th of August that wearing a burkini was “not compatible with the values of the French Republic”. Calls to ban Islamic religious symbols in public have risen since 85 people were killed by a truck on Bastille Day in Nice last month, such bans have been imposed…

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Brexiteers’ Reaction to the Olympic Games Has Been Deplorable

in Europe/UK by

Billions of people around the world see the Olympics as a noble example of international cooperation and the indomitability of the human spirit. For once, the Olympics offer us a chance to set our political beliefs and agendas aside, and instead come together to celebrate our common humanity. For some of us, that is. Of course the Olympics will never be free of political agendas. Since it’s earliest days the event has been seen by countries as a chance to show some form of superiority over their neighbours. This is as true in 2016 as it has ever been. Ever the opportunists, Brexiters have taken the triumph of British athletes to demonstrate the natural superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race; despite this year’s team GB having…

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Is the time right to revaluate Hong Kong’s ‘pressure-cooker’ style of education?

in Asia by

Having collected my AS exam results, I breathed a sigh of relief as a very long year had come to a conclusion. I found myself wondering how other students my age have been faring in other countries over the past year. Hong Kong, a high density population of 7,000,000 has 3 universities in the annual Time Higher Education ranking. This is an impressive feat for a region with such a comparatively small population. The Hong Kong education system is reputed as one of the best in the world, producing a high number of students which go on to further education and high-paying jobs. However, it is all swings and roundabouts. Hong Kong’s education system has its fair number of vocal cynics and has been labelled…

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The Olympics: Some Good News for Once

in World by

Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands may have cycled up a wall to avoid a nasty crash, but the Olympic officials have pulled off an even more impressive stunt to keep their plans upright in Rio this summer. Getting more than 200 countries and a few independent athletes together in one village to compete against each other in an incredibly tense situation where national and personal pride is at stake and billions of pounds have been invested barely sounds possible if you look at the tattered state of international relations outside the stadium doors. But every four years the world gathers to participate in this most uplifting and unlikely of events, producing some glimmer of hope for humanity on the dull horizon. The Olympics time…

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