The Balkan states, comprising of multiple ethnic groups, used to constitute a unified nation under the Ottoman Empire – and before that, the Byzantine Empire. Despite their ethnic and cultural diversity, the Balkans co-existed peacefully, and even had inter-communal relations. However, this changed due to the spread of nationalism by Western-influenced political elites. By analyzing the writings of Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, Mark Mazower, and Andrew Watchel, Hurain Sheikh, explains how this nationalism created homogeneous sentiments within a heterogeneous population. This nationalism caused them to turn against one another and demand physical boundaries. She notes that this not only resulted in mass ethnic cleansing, but also embedded hatred so deep within the hearts of the Balkans, that it has passed on from one generation to the next.
In the first half of the 1960s, Congo had been involved in a devastating civil war, which not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties but also laid the foundation for the continuous destruction and exploitation of the state. In her analysis of this crisis, the author, Lyba Mobeen, notes that the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo worsened due to the involvement of Belgium – the former colonizer of Congo– and the two superpowers of that time – the US and the USSR. She explains that, during the Cold War, a proxy war had started in Congo where each of these three states fought to achieve their interests, and played specific roles to bring it under their control.
Over the past few centuries, global trade and economic ties have strengthened, creating an economic interdependence between states. This interdependence, according to economic liberals, is the reason why no war at the scale of the World Wars has occurred since 1945. They argue that global peace is positively proportional to economic interdependence and that economic gains and common interests prevent states from resorting to war. However, the author, Syed Qasim Abbas, refutes this and asserts that the decreasing interest of states in armed conflict is not solely due to economic interdependence, but rather due to the collusion of many phenomena. He explains that while liberals support interdependence’s role in obtaining peace, realists, Leninists, and mercantilists prove that the pursuit of economic gains and interdependence lead to conflict – not peace.
After spending almost three decades as the world’s sole superpower, the United States of America has finally reached the point where its decline begins. The US economic, military, and political prowess is being rivaled by Russia and China. Abdul Majeed, a political researcher and former member of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan, notes that America’s share in the world economy has fallen from 40% in 1960 to 24% in 2019. Whereas, China’s share is increasing due to the massive infrastructure projects it has undertaken in Asia and Africa. Similar to its economic decline, the US has fallen behind Russia and China in technological development, and the 5G and space race. The author argues that the superpower is no longer the ideal democratic state. Not only has it been marked as a flawed democracy for the fifth consecutive year, but it has also lost its ability to militarily protect its allies, and as Russia and China develop, so do the threats to the US hegemony.
The paper deals with China’s ‘soft balancing’ in Pakistan through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and explains how such has helped limit the influence of the United States in Pakistan after 2015. The author argues that the CPEC is a step towards a more Beijing-led regional order —part of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and greater ambition of extending his country’s influence — which has been working in China’s favor.
The social, political, and economic landscape of Saudi Arabia is being dynamically reformed under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s rule. Providing newfound freedom to women, limiting gender taboos, and promoting education and recreation, Saudi Arabia is rapidly moving towards modernism. In this paper, the author discusses the underlying factors driving these changes – with a focus on the aims and objectives of the ‘modern’ Vision 2030 program.
Climate change is slowly becoming uncontrollable. Despite the extreme weather conditions around the world, the pledges, conferences, and discussions around climate change are proving to be ineffective. Collective action must be taken immediately to mitigate the intensity of this issue.
The author explains the issues of security and human rights by illustrating a juxtaposition of the central concepts of international relations — constructivism, liberal institutionalism, normative theory, and offensive realism.
China’s economic transformation in the last 40 years has had a huge impact on the global economy. This unprecedented economic scenario has attracted a lot of interest, particularly from developing countries looking to emulate China’s success. The author considers the infant industry model to explain China’s rapid industrialization and subsequent economic rise and explains how China’s long-term approach and facilitative policies have enabled local industries to become competitive worldwide. It also discusses what countries like Pakistan can learn from the Chinese experience with regards to strengthening their industrial base.
The economic and political growth of Pakistan and Bangladesh after 1971 can be seen as a reflection of their political culture. The author, Hurain Sheikh, explains that the political culture of Pakistan and Bangladesh is not new to elitism, nepotism, and corruption. She notes that while both states have a history of political instability, the economy of Bangladesh has flourished as compared to Pakistan. Keeping in mind how Bangladesh has managed to lower its unemployment and poverty rate, and improved its economy, she suggests a few measures to help Pakistan develop.
In the wake of the recent normalization of ties between varying Muslim states and Israel, Pakistan was rumored to be following suit. This stirred a debate within Pakistan – with people questioning the pro-Palestinian stance, and the rejection of Israel. The author discusses how Pakistan should continue to maintain the traditional policy towards Israel, and how it would be inadvisable to pursue normalization for limited gains.
The long history of hostility and rivalry between Russia and the United States has internalized mutual suspicion. US political actors use the rhetoric of insecurity and ‘attack on democracy’ by Russia, while Putin builds on the anti-American sentiment. The author discusses how the United States is likely to keep considering Russia a threat due to the ongoing security dilemma, perceptions of identity and security, and implications of human rights violations.
Neo-liberalism, Neo-Confucianism, and the Coronavirus: How China, the US, and Others Responded to the Pandemic
Comparing neoliberalism, Neo-Confucianism, the states representing these ideological approaches and how they handled the pandemic, reveals that China as an authoritative Neo-Confucian state, has been more proficient in handling the virus than the neoliberal states. The author supports this argument by explaining how states like the US, the UK, Italy, Spain, and France have proven themselves incapable of handling the pandemic, while China has effectively limited the proliferation of the virus and ensured the safety of its citizens. The author argues that since the US focuses more on the distribution of power and less on administrative efficiency, it cannot react quickly to unpredictable circumstances.
President Trump’s era proved to be markedly different from the traditional policies and narratives of past presidents. President Trump has pursued an increasingly biased foreign policy towards Israel – bestowing Israel with legitimation, and acceptance of its oppressive and violent policies in Palestine. By appointing like-minded officials on important positions, the president had made it clear that he would not be accommodating the Palestinians and their demands.
Myanmar has been subjected to a civil war since the time of its independence. In the last 7 decades, the state’s leadership has failed to ensure peace and stability; on the contrary, it has aided the instability and the failure of democracy. The military coup of 2021 and the human rights violations under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi have proved that militarization and human rights abuse are interlinked.
At the center of the interests of major powers lies Central Asia, a region rich with untapped energy resources and economic markets. The author explains that while the region has immense potential for transnational and international cooperation, the security challenges and instability it faces, make it difficult for the Central Asian states to develop. Furthermore, the continuing instability has made foreign interventions almost necessary for these states.
Hybrid warfare is a unique blend of conventional and non-conventional methods of war. Pakistan has endured the constant threat of hybrid warfare since its inception – long before the term even came into existence. To maintain its defense, Pakistan has begun to familiarize itself with such propaganda.