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The Refugee Crisis and the Importance of Action in International Relations

in Europe/World by

In international politics, as in life, it can seem easier to stand back and allow others who want to, to deal with the world’s problems. On an individual scale, sometimes that’s the best decision. However, on the international scale the people who want to deal with the world’s problems are exactly the people you wouldn’t want dealing with them. The only way to ensure that we achieve what we want is to go out and get it. It’s ridiculous to assume that doing nothing is going to get us the solution we want – because when we’re doing nothing, others are most certainly not. The first issue that we can apply these ideas to is the refugee crisis. The UK has done little to nothing…

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Putin’s Unlikely New Friendship

in Europe/Middle East/World by

A few days ago, after visiting a local Chinese restaurant, I received an ominous message from a fortune cookie: ‘An unexpected friendship will turn out to be permanent.’ Of course, I interpreted the prediction as applying to me, despite the fact that it is not specified. However in an unexpected twist in the tale of modern international politics, the anonymous writer may have for once made a successful foretelling. A few days ago, Turkey’s foreign minister announced deepened defensive cooperation with Russia, establishing a joint military and intelligence mechanism with their former foes. It was only last year when Turkey and Russia were at each other’s throats after the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces. More recently, Erdogan began to consciously push for…

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Europe Needs Pragmatism and Unity, Not Delusions

in Europe by

For a long time, I’ve been hesitant to express my thoughts about the EU. Months ago I published a short piece on the topic, but in it I simpered and tamed my ideas to make them more palatable to those who may be undecided on the issue of Europe. That was before the referendum. Now, those of us who supported EU membership have been proven right. The warnings we issued to the British public were not heeded and the suffering we predicted is materialising. People don’t need to be persuaded by sugar-coated arguments, they are demanding truth – and the truth is what I will give you. Brexiters even now continue to peddle the fantasy of a ‘global Britain’. A Britain engaged in the world,…

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Western Elitism in History: Thinly Veiled Lying

in History/World by

In sixteenth century Korea, a naval genius called Admiral Yi changed the course of history almost single-handedly. The Japanese military leader Hideyoshi had made the decision to invade China to bring down the Ming dynasty and all that stood in his way was the militarily weak state of Korea. Having rejected the introduction of guns into their army years before, the Korean aristocrats that fought still used archers as their main form of attack. Their cannons were around one metre at largest and they had never updated their defensive walls to allow for the firing of these cannons at advancing troops from the ground. Their weakness showed when they were faced with noise and dust billowing around them as gunfire erupted and Japanese Samurai charged.…

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Why Secular Democracy Will Never Be Achieved in the Middle East

in Middle East/World by

In the west, we see secularism, democracy and liberty as the zenith of human progress – admirable goals which all societies should aim for. Indeed, throughout most of our history we have attempted to enforce these values on the rest of the world. Though our understanding of western values was different in the 19th century, European empires still attempted to ‘civilise’ the rest of the world by forcing their values on them. There are places where these practises have successfully created ‘Western’ democracies, however there are even more where this strategy has backfired with terrible consequences for the nations involved. Despite these failures, western countries continue to attempt to mould the world in their image, regardless of the consequences. A more recent example of this…

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Banning Foreign Funding for Mosques: A Purely Political Move

in Europe by

This week the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has made a statement that supports the idea of banning foreign funding to all mosques. This idea has been raised in an attempt to improve the security of France, a country that has been the target of multiple high-profile terror attacks which have been claimed by the so-called Islamic State. This Islamic extremist terrorist group recruits some individuals for its cause through local mosques where preachers prey on and eventually radicalize people living in the West. It is thought that by cutting off the money from extremist groups, the incentive for a mosque to turn a blind eye to extremism, or even to actively encourage it, will be diminished and so will the number of radicalized individuals.…

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The Bad Penny Debates: Are Religious Freedoms and a Liberal Society Contradictory in Modern Europe?

in Europe by

  Emily Religious freedom, to me, is the right to act as you please in regards to following your own personal religious beliefs. Many liberals would argue that it is necessary to have religious freedom to function in a liberal society. However, within certain religions, not only does it dictate how the religious follower should act, but how the religious follower should respond to someone else breaking that religions laws, such as adultery or homosexuality. The resulting question raised is: to what extent may someone act out their religion and have the right to religious freedom, even if it removes the freedom of another citizen? Throughout history, the state and church have acted as one. This usually means that there is one main religion within…

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The Nice Attacks: A Disproof of J.S Mill’s “On Liberty”?

in Europe/History by

Two days ago, a man in Nice drove a truck through a crowd killing 84 victims and injuring countless more. His actions have had wider repercussions than the ending these innocent lives, they have bought immeasurable pain to families and friends and hit of the French public with another collective loss. He has catalysed the unraveling of French liberality. Already there have been calls for all people under suspicion, but yet to commit acts that warrant arrest to be tracked more closely, even to be taken into custody. Muslims as a whole have been blamed, by some, for having a religion that perpetuates unhealthy radicalism, or that is not compatible with the West at all. Litigation and the government are the only elements that the…

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Should We Be Worried About the Situation in the South China Sea?

in Asia/World by

A common theme when discussing China (and a theme that I have mentioned in numerous articles) is that of events currently unfolding in the South China Sea. For those of you who don’t watch the news, the situation is as follows: The South China Sea is an area (plot twist) just south of China. The sea is considered by most of the world as international waters, however China claims almost all of it. This has upset the other nations that border the sea –e.g. the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan- and has prompted the USA to test China by constantly sailing vessels through these waters to demonstrate exactly how ‘international’ they are. This has obviously annoyed China, who have taken their claims further by building airports and…

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Turkish foreign policy: Erdogan reassesses his options

in Middle East/World by

I have previously been a little critical of Turkey’s approach towards foreign affairs. Before now it seems as though they have done nothing but make mistakes: whether it be backing groups that proceeded to fail dismally, possibly funding ISIS or alienating almost every major player in the region it seemed as if Turkey was never going to make any good choices. Now however that seems to be changing. The relationship between Russia and Turkey has historically been frosty. In fact, the two powers have never quite seen eye to eye. This is a problem for Russia, as the Bosporus is the only way for Russian ships to enter the Mediterranean. It also poses a major problem for Turkey, as they stand between one of the…

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