Foreign Affairs Review Spring Issue, 2014. Russia Special


Published on

This is the second issue of the St Andrews student magazine The Foreign Affairs Review, accessible at 1500 copies of this 44-page magazine were distributed to students and advertisers in St Andrews in March 2014.

Published in: News & Politics
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Foreign Affairs Review Spring Issue, 2014. Russia Special

  1. 1. The Foreign Affairs Review Issue 2 Spring / Summer 2014 FAR THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS REVIEW RussiaBACK IN THE USSR? p18 over 11 pages Putin’s Russia Reasserts Itself FOREIGN POLICY, SOCHI AND THE OLYMPICS, PUSSY RIOT AND HUMAN RIGHTS A Congolese Warlord is Brought to Justice Why the West Can’t Ignore China’s Navy How Russia’s History Fuels its Foreign Policy Pussy Riot and the Growth of Anarcho-Populism Venezuela’s Democracy on the Brink FEATURING: INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
  2. 2. This magazine will be my last as a St Andrews student. Throughout my time as Chief Editor of the Regulus and later as Publishing Editor at this publication I have always sought to give students here a voice, and I have been continually surprised and delighted at the level of in- sight and originality put forth by my peers. St Andrews may seem politically isolated at times, but we make up for it in writing and consuming a frankly astonishing amount of opinion on international affairs. I owe a tremendous debt to the scores of interested students who willingly give up their time to write, edit, and design this non-profit magazine. In particular I must thank Martin Lyle, who sacrificed holiday time to finish this edition. Thanks to my team of editors—Liliane, Tamar, Michael and Hannah. Thank you to J. P. Caroll, for running the excellent DC Bureau. More broadly, I am grateful for my Chief Editor Radim Dragomaca’s advice and constant vig- ilance. Radim, I don’t know how you do it all. I also owe my friend Ben Shaps for bringing me in to the magazine business in the first place and getting me started at The Regulus. This issue of The Review wouldn’t be here today without the contributions of Ben Shaps, Kurt Jose and Deborah Marber to St Andrews’ first political magazine. Finally, thanks to all of the writers, especially the ones who have been with me for several years. It’s a strange parasitic relationship that the editor shares with his writers, and I’m grate- ful that you all have put up with me as I have pestered you for articles month after month. This issue belongs to you. I will leave this university with a piece of paper declaring me fit for work but the most rewarding aspect of my time here has undoubtedly been in creating a forum for the expression of political opinion. It is my firm conviction that a healthy democ- racy requires an informed and active public, and my dear hope is that, in some small way, the Foreign Affairs Review has succeeded in this respect. Editor’s note BY: Nic Carter, Publishing Editor WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO Radim Dragomaca, Editor-In-Chief of the Review, TarletonWatkins, Director of Sponsorship, QiTian, the Foreign Affairs Society President. And a specialThanks to all our writers. Publishing Editor Nic Carter Associate Editors Liliane Stadler, Michael Cotterill, Hannah-Mei Andrews,Tamar Ziff DC Bureau Editor J. P. Carroll Design and Cover Martin Lyle Editorial Board THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS REVIEW - ST ANDREWS - The views expressed herein represent only their respective authors.All images remain the full property of their owners, fully credited on our website.The Foreign Affairs Review is a part of the Foreign Affairs Society, a non-profit entity affiliated to the St Andrews Students’Association, a registered charity
  3. 3. Contents Issue n.2 - Spring 2014 The publication of the second issue of the For- eign Affairs Review marks a milestone. Not just a milestone for the magazine, coming now to the end of its second year, and the end of its first year publishing in print, but also for its staff. This edi- torial is more than just an introduction. It is also a conclusion and a farewell. I founded this magazine two years ago with Michael Telfer. Since that time, editors and writers have come and gone, Michael left the magazine to lead the History Society Jour- nal, and when the FAR starts its third year in Sep- tember 2014, only one of the original editors will be left – Tarleton Watkins. It is the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one. In the last two years, we took a student society webpage with a few dozen articles and a few thousand views and turned it into the largest publication at St Andrews. We’ve been fortunate to have a dedicated and talented staff of over a 100 people in the past two years, have published over 500 articles and have reached an audience of over 30,000 people around the world. We’ve expanded into audio and interviews, opened a DC Bureau, and with the help of the Regulus Magazine, which was absorbed by the Foreign Affairs Review in September 2013, we began publishing this print edition, now on its second issue. The FAR is no longer a fledgling publication looking to find its identity, build its team, and establish itself in the media landscape of St Andrews. It is a project of worth, which reaches a wide audi- ence and contributes to the student experience of hundreds in St Andrews. This is my last editorial as Editor-in-Chief, and I want to thank the incredible team that has made all this possible in the last two years, and it is with great pride and great hope for the future of the Foreign Affairs Review that I pass the torch. BY : Radim Dragomaca, Editor-in-Chief of the Review CONTENTS 4 The foreign affairs review
  4. 4. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 5 Contents p18 EUROPEAMERICASWORLDDCBUREAUFEATURES Switzerland’s Immigration Laws: What Does the Future Hold? #LaSalida - Crisis in Venezuela Habeas Corpus From Lincoln to Bush Why we Cannot Just Ignore Chinese Sea-Power Interview with Charles Bird: The “Longest-Surviving Resident” The Great War, its Aftermath, and its Relevance Today Journalism and Justice: Hai- ti’s Jean Dominique American Empire: Decline and Fall? Crisis and Crossroads: Cam- bodia in Transition Freedom House and Neglected Instruments of Democratisation Releasing US Immigration Reform from the Immigrant Detention Quota The ICC Prosecutes a War- lord in the DRC Terrorism and International Law p10 p 29 p 34 p 38 p 6 p13 p 30 p 36 p 40 p 16 p 32 p 42 p 8 RUSSIA
  5. 5. In an interview conducted by the Foreign Affairs Review, Charles Bird, a Teaching Fellow at the St Andrews Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), shares some of his insights into the study and practice of international relations over the course of his career. Who were some of the high-profile decision-makers you have met in your time as a diplomat? In the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Jack Straw; then government ministers, politicians, and senior business people such as Richard Branson I also saw represent- atives from the oil and gas industries, many Members of Parliament (some on a more or less daily basis). I’ve also met a number of Foreign Secretaries, including David Miliband. I have strong views concerning pol- iticians. I do not have a particularly high opinion of some of the decisions they have made in the past or of the way they were seduced by vanity, by misinterpretations or misunderstand- ings of events. The legacy of Iraq is one example. It is an issue that the Iraqi people, most of all, have to deal with on a daily basis owing to the numbers of women, children and innocent civilians killed. I myself still think about my respon- sibility for the part that I played. I wonder how those in positions of government can rest easy at night. What should prospective deci- sion-makers be prepared to do over the course of their career? Students who are considering a career in diplomacy should bear the follow- ing in mind: have realistic expecta- tions and don’t see it as a career for life. That being said, do not be afraid to speak your mind. One of the dangers of an organization such as the For- eign Office is that it breeds tradition. However much an organization encourages its people to speak out and approach problems with a critical mind, it does demand conformity if you want to rise through the ranks, Intentionally or not, this process can stifle people’s ability to think critical- ly. What it can boil down to is com- petition for promotion on the basis of conformity. Another thing is that senior officials can be seduced by their proximity to power, or what they perceive as pow- er. They tend to make decisions based not on the national interest of the UK, but on what could increase their chances of preferment. We often take decisions on the safe side, when we should be prepared to stick our necks out and disagree with the consensus. Make moral decisions. I always hoped that my involvement in difficult situations could make a difference for the better. What is the purpose of diplo- macy today? It is the same as it has always been: to sort out intractable problems, to avoid confrontation, violence and the loss of face. How do academia and di- plomacy differ? How do they enhance each other? Both have much to learn from each other, but academia works within a longer timeframe. In diplomacy, you often have to distil a huge amount of information very compactly and synthesize it in order to make a quick decision. For instance, in the Syrian crisis, a diplomat needs to know the situation on the ground. Who are the individuals and groups in a position to change the course of events and understand the methods and means to bring about change? They don’t necessarily need to know the specific affiliation of different tribal members -hose interests are more academic. That being said, academics get things right pretty often, because they can test their analysis and their conclu- sions. However, they often do not have a realistic understanding of how their recommendations can be implement- ed. Take the situation in Afghanistan. It is easy for academics to say that the UK should do this, the USA that and the Pakistanis something else. It is far INTERVIEW BY : Liliane Stadler Charles Bird : The Longest-Surviving Resident FEATURES 6 The foreign affairs review
  6. 6. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 7 harder for diplomats to turn that into a reality. How well do academics pre- pare future diplomats? Diplomacy is not necessarily about knowledge, but about a skill set. For example, some doctors are only suit- ed for pathology, because they should never be let near a living patient. There are some people who may be brilliantly clever, but who are totally unsuited to diplomacy. In academ- ia, it is less important to have good inter-personal skills. What was your most memora- ble experience as a diplomat? I’ll describe three particularly memo- rable occasions. The first was during my time in Iraq, which lasted about six months – both during the war-fighting phase and later - I was involved with setting up a civilian administration in the area under UK control. It’s an ex- traordinary experience, being faced with trying to find people to run a city like Basra within twenty-four hours of capture, knowing that every civil servant, every doctor, teacher, engineer, oil worker, gas worker, electrician, has disappeared because Saddam told them that we were going to execute them. I remember walking into a building where we asked Iraqis interested in working for us to meet after the capture of Basra. We were the first of the occupying forces to come into close contact with the local population, trying to find engineers or medics who were prepared to run a city on an interim basis. I found out I was the only Arabic-speaker, which made things interesting. The second occurred when I met Slo- bodan Milošević, who was extremely manipulative and clever. During the Yugoslav wars, a number of EU diplomats were charged with voicing objections to his practices. Milosevic knew this, so what he would do is, he would stand diagonally across from you at the other end of the room when you came in. He would then greet you with his hand outstretched. It is a natural reaction for most people to stretch out their hand in response and perhaps even to smile. At the same time, in the other corner of the room, Milosevic had arranged for the press to film and photograph the entire scene, so that all EU con- stituents would see would be smiling, hand-shaking diplomats, who had initially promised to scold Milošević for his actions. I spent nearly a year at the Hyatt Ho- tel in Belgrade. It was cheaper than renting a house – the hotel had to charge at the official rate of exchange, while private landlords demanded US Dollars or Deutsche Mark. Anyway, a well-known sanctions-breaker moved into the suite next to mine. For his own protection, his guards were permanently stationed in the lobby of the hotel. One night, as I was asleep, the sanctions-breaker opened the door and was shot three times with a silencer. I slept through the whole thing. The next morn- ing, as I was leaving, the desk clerk greeted me, saying, “Congratulations Mr. Bird, you are now officially our longest-surviving resident!” People in these situations often have an amaz- ing sense of humor. Actually, I’ll give you one more story. One of the things we struggle to find as humans is a sense of normalcy in the midst of chaos. During the Kosovo crisis, I used to go to no- man’s land at night to bring refugees to the border region of Macedonia. One night, I was standing with a whole load of refugees: women whose husbands had been shot, women who had been raped, the old and infirm, and the injured – a scene of chaos and of utter human misery. Sudden- ly, my mobile phone rang. It was my son, who had no idea where I was or what I was doing. He had called to ask about whether I had heard the news about the test (cricket) match, and gave me a one-on-one account of the day’s play! It was a wonderful moment of calm and connection with another world, away from what I was seeing around me – I cried. Who are the people who have im- pressed you the most over the course of your career? The people who have impressed me most over the course of my career are not politicians or high-profile people. Instead, I have huge admiration for the people who are often regarded as unimportant. I respect colleagues, who put their lives at risk and their personal lives under immense strain because they are committed to what they are doing. I admire the individ- uals who have to suffer the conse- quences of political decisions. I have huge respect for soldiers, who are asked to do difficult and dangerous jobs without necessarily understand- ing or agreeing with the policies that guide their assignments. I am most impressed by the ordinary people who can see through national and international disagreements and discover basic humanity in all of us. I have witnessed kindness and under- standing from ordinary people in countries with whom we were at war or in a state of diplomatic deep-freeze (meaning we were not talking). It’s easy to be dumbstruck by meeting the “heroes and villains” you reg- ularly see on the news. But equally
  7. 7. ‘Ethical’ foreign policy has been in vogue for some time. A ‘foreign policy based on values’, as our man in Whitehall puts it, has made considerable in- roads into the popular political consciousness and vocabulary. Yet to con- sider some of the major challenges to international relations today is to trace a fault line between hard-headed realism and the kind of global moralism which raises the suspicions of even the most trusting spectators. It is some- thing of a non-choice: do we prefer a ruthlessly ambitious power unafraid to be the cudgel-player in the china shop (to twist Hume’s famous phrase), or do we carry on pretending that the soft-speaker doesn’t have a big stick? Ei- ther way, the suspicion lingers that value-laden language forms a superficial gloss to the substantive reality of international transactions. It would hardly be an original argu- ment to suggest that international ethics seem to be stuck in a rut. That, in any case, sounds alarmingly close to a concession that those realists whose critique of liberal internation- alism is invariably accompanied by a condescending reproach for even beginning to think that systems of personal obligation could be tran- scribed to the global sphere, should have the last word. The challenges we face in several avenues of global af- fairs, however, beg a fresh approach. For example, where might we be- gin to shift the discourse on our re- sponse to transnational terrorism? In 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed memorable are the people who suffer the consequences of the actions and decisions of politicians. I have spent a lot of time in conflict zones, meeting people who have suffered physical, emotional and psychological damage and loss beyond imagination. Their courage never ceases to amaze me. Here we are in Britain, upset about flood damage. We would fall apart if we had to experience what people in conflict and post-conflict situations have to endure. I will never forget the words of a sol- dier outside of Basra. As we stopped for a cup of tea, there was a skirmish outside the city. He was about to go and put his life on the line and he asked me, with a cheerful grin, “Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me what we’re doing here?” Charles Bird, OBE, is a Teaching Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), University of St Andrews. Between 1986 and 2010 he was a member of HM Diplomatic Service specializing in the Middle East, conflict, post-conflict, terrorism and counter-terrorism issues. Post- ings included to the UAE (1988–92) with involvement in Desert Storm, Belgrade (1992–93) during the war in former Yugoslavia, Macedonia (1999) for the Kosovo crisis, Greece and Nigeria. During tours in the UK his jobs included Deputy Head of Middle East Department, Head of South Asia Department, and leading a project that resulted in the forma- tion of the interdepartmental (FCO, MoD, DfID) Stabilization Unit, which co-ordinates the UK Government’s post conflict reconstruction work in, amongst other places, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003 he was second- ed to the military and was on the staff of the General Officer Commanding First (UK) Armored Division in Iraq, both during and for several months after the invasion. Between 2004 and 2008 he was on secondment to the MoD working on issues related to counter-terrorism. FEATURES 8 The foreign affairs review TERRORISM BY : Taylor Carey Terrorism and International Law: Building a Trustworthy Programme
  8. 8. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 9 by US soldiers inside Pakistan. The raid was secret, and expedient, com- pleted in 38 minutes. Osama’s assassi- nation meant, according to President Obama, that ‘justice has been done’. Yet, for those avowedly clinging to an ethical framework for global politics, such a move presents certain tensions. Bin Laden was guilty – by his own gloating admission – of grotesque acts of mass-murder, beyond even of the casualties of 9/11. However, “jus- tice” has an essentially communica- tive component. We are convinced of it when we see it and thus our con- cern for a just foreign policy ought to be rooted in the extent to which it lends itself to public scrutiny. In the domestic sphere, this is all fairly uncontentious. Accountability is the sine qua non of a democratic polit- ical order. The values of democracy maintain self-criticism as the foun- dation for an equitable political set- tlement. Moral programmes are fre- quently diverse, but converge to the extent that, through proximity, they must argue for their permissibility and perspective. The role of the state is to act as a guarantor of freedom of argument, discourse and debate. More specifically, the state provides a guarantee that, in those areas of public life where the good of any one community threatens to impinge on the good of another, might need not equal right. What the state ensures is scrutiny, the possibility of genu- ine public debate, and accountability. These are the values that we claim to bring to our foreign policies. Yet, the guarantee of fair argument, which states provide their constituent com- munities, does not exist in a glob- al context, where states constitute those interested parties themselves. At this stage, returning to a focus on transnational terrorism will prevent a panegyric on the desirability of com- prehensive global governance; but perhaps the natural fluidity of such an argument suggests something of the difficulty of detaching a supposedly ethical programme for global engage- ment from the foundational principles with which we shape our own commu- nities. The killing of Osama bin Laden is problematic, because it suggests an arbitrary suspension of ethical norms and international law. The argument from the Obama administration was that the operation constituted wartime self-defence. That sounds convinc- ing only if self-defence is understood liberally, to say the least. What haunts this episode is its isolation from pro- cedural politics – triggers were pulled before arguments settled. Granted, a host of practicalities would have made the detainment and trial of bin Laden a gargantuan struggle. Granted, too, that al-Qaeda kingpins don’t regular- ly hand themselves over to due pro- cess. Still, the biting question remains: can we ever trust a foreign policy that treats law as so easily dispensable? Trust is at the heart of the West’s dif- ficulties in the ‘War on Terror’. The inescapable reality is that a large pro- portion of the world’s Muslim com- munities feel that Western powers besieges their identity and threatens their cultural inheritance. What be- gan as unanimous solidarity behind a wounded icon of liberty and freedom – the World Trade Center – rapidly decayed into begrudging support, at most, for an American project. Here, we feel the true consequences of treat- ing international law as no more than an occasionally convenient tool. If the arguments advanced about the nature of the state as a guarantor of freedom of speech are correct, then we ought to be able to extend them to critically evaluate the failings of in- ternational cooperation with regard to issues of collective responsibility. Transnational terrorism poses a challenge to the basic security of the political order, demanding a collec- tive response. These threats to the underpinnings of democratic lib- erty demand consensus and con- versation over unilateral zeal. Di- plomacy is today often seen as little more than a veil for vested nation- al interest – not least when the ‘big stick’ of which Theodore Roosevelt spoke is hidden behind one’s back. What would an ethical foreign pol- icy look like? The theologian and philosopher Herbert McCabe once quipped that ethics is ‘just about do- ing what you want’. International law and governance does not mean rigid imperative imposed from on high; rather, it exists to provide the space for argument, accountabili- ty, debate and demonstration which any notion of justice presupposes. Our prospects for meeting the de- mands of the most pressing global challenges, from terrorism to climate change, are fatally damaged by the absence of trust in the global sphere. Yet for all the lack of a reliable and trustworthy discursive framework, for all the presumption of vested interest around every corner, our language about ethical engagement in the in- ternational sphere points us towards a solution. A foreign policy based on democratic values is exactly what we ought to be engaging in. Until we do, contrary to Mr Obama’s asser- tion, justice will not have been done.
  9. 9. EUROPE 10 The foreign affairs review
  10. 10. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 11 The referendum, which passed by a margin of only 0.36%The referendum, which passed by a margin of only 0.36% above the required 50%, is in direct violation of the agreeabove the required 50%, is in direct violation of the agree- ment made between Switzerland and the EU to allow freement made between Switzerland and the EU to allow free movement of people between borders. Implications for SwitzerlandImplications for Switzerland The Swiss People’s Party has been instrumental in creatingThe Swiss People’s Party has been instrumental in creating fear and hysteria over the prospect of ‘mass immigration’.fear and hysteria over the prospect of ‘mass immigration’. The party has spearheaded other campaigns along similarThe party has spearheaded other campaigns along similar right-wing ideals in the past, for example a 2009 ban onright-wing ideals in the past, for example a 2009 ban on the construction of minarets, which prompted concernsthe construction of minarets, which prompted concerns of Islamophobia in the country. This referendum has beenof Islamophobia in the country. This referendum has been a great victory for the party, which seeks to create a morea great victory for the party, which seeks to create a more inward-looking Switzerland. Proponents of the new cap on immigration believe thatProponents of the new cap on immigration believe that free movement has created pressure on housing, health,free movement has created pressure on housing, health, education and public transport. They also lament thateducation and public transport. They also lament that foreign workers drive salaries down for Swiss nationals.foreign workers drive salaries down for Swiss nationals. Further, they fear the discrepancy between the SwissFurther, they fear the discrepancy between the Swiss unemployment rate of 3 per cent, and the EU average of 7unemployment rate of 3 per cent, and the EU average of 7 percent, distressed that continued free movement mightpercent, distressed that continued free movement might raise the number of unemployed people in Switzerlandraise the number of unemployed people in Switzerland and affect economic prosperity. As a result of the referenand affect economic prosperity. As a result of the referen- dum, especially in areas of high unemployment, employdum, especially in areas of high unemployment, employ- ers will have to prove that they are looking for Swiss staffers will have to prove that they are looking for Swiss staff before opening the pool out to foreign applicants.before opening the pool out to foreign applicants. Immigrants make up around 60 per cent of workers in theImmigrants make up around 60 per cent of workers in the pharmaceutical, construction and farming industry. Atpharmaceutical, construction and farming industry. At the Basel university hospital, over 50 percent of doctorsthe Basel university hospital, over 50 percent of doctors do not hold a Swiss passport. These industries would bedo not hold a Swiss passport. These industries would be negatively impacted by the results of the referendum, asnegatively impacted by the results of the referendum, as many would lose their competitive edge with highly qualimany would lose their competitive edge with highly qualimany would lose their competitive edge with highly quali- fied foreign employees.fied foreign employees.fied foreign employees. There are many significant backlashes resulting from theThere are many significant backlashes resulting from theThere are many significant backlashes resulting from the referendum, for example on study and research programs.referendum, for example on study and research programs.referendum, for example on study and research programs. Erasmus+, a European education exchange program thatErasmus+, a European education exchange program thatErasmus+, a European education exchange program that was recently allocated more funding and opened up towas recently allocated more funding and opened up towas recently allocated more funding and opened up to allow the participation of Swiss students, is one of manyallow the participation of Swiss students, is one of manyallow the participation of Swiss students, is one of many programs that is in jeopardy if the EU chooses to close offprograms that is in jeopardy if the EU chooses to close offprograms that is in jeopardy if the EU chooses to close off Swiss membership. Between 2011 and 2012, over 2,600Swiss membership. Between 2011 and 2012, over 2,600Swiss membership. Between 2011 and 2012, over 2,600 Swiss students took part in the Erasmus program. SwissSwiss students took part in the Erasmus program. SwissSwiss students took part in the Erasmus program. Swiss universities that participate in the program stand to loseuniversities that participate in the program stand to loseuniversities that participate in the program stand to lose funding from research grants. The Federal Institute offunding from research grants. The Federal Institute offunding from research grants. The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, for example, could lose almost 100Technology in Zurich, for example, could lose almost 100Technology in Zurich, for example, could lose almost 100 million francs in funding. On top of this, the referendummillion francs in funding. On top of this, the referendummillion francs in funding. On top of this, the referendum sends a clear message to foreign students who are alreadysends a clear message to foreign students who are alreadysends a clear message to foreign students who are already in Switzerland, that they are not welcome. Naturally, thisin Switzerland, that they are not welcome. Naturally, thisin Switzerland, that they are not welcome. Naturally, this also greatly affects the plans of many students who wouldalso greatly affects the plans of many students who wouldalso greatly affects the plans of many students who would like to stay in the country after to stay in the country after to stay in the country after graduation. As a shock tactic to demonstrate the concrete results ofAs a shock tactic to demonstrate the concrete results ofAs a shock tactic to demonstrate the concrete results of the referendum, a German TV program released a phothe referendum, a German TV program released a phothe referendum, a German TV program released a pho- to-shopped image of the Swiss football team, removingto-shopped image of the Swiss football team, removingto-shopped image of the Swiss football team, removing players with multicultural backgrounds from the photo,players with multicultural backgrounds from the photo,players with multicultural backgrounds from the photo, leaving only three players. Metaphorically, what thisleaving only three players. Metaphorically, what thisleaving only three players. Metaphorically, what this demonstrates is that the booming Swiss economy is greatdemonstrates is that the booming Swiss economy is greatdemonstrates is that the booming Swiss economy is great- ly supported by immigrants, many of whom are extremelyly supported by immigrants, many of whom are extremelyly supported by immigrants, many of whom are extremely well qualified.well qualified.well qualified. Relationship with the EURelationship with the EURelationship with the EU Switzerland is famously not a member of the nowSwitzerland is famously not a member of the nowSwitzerland is famously not a member of the now 28-member European Union, choosing instead to benefit28-member European Union, choosing instead to benefit28-member European Union, choosing instead to benefit from the EU’s single market through a series of over onefrom the EU’s single market through a series of over onefrom the EU’s single market through a series of over one In the early hours of the 17th of February, anIn the early hours of the 17th of February, anIn the early hours of the 17th of February, anIn the early hours of the 17th of February, an Ethiopian Airlines flight un- expectedly landed at Geneva airportGeneva airport. The hijacker on board only had one. The hijacker on board only had one. The hijacker on board only had one demand: asylum in Switzerlandasylum in Switzerland. When the news broke, it seemed that. When the news broke, it seemed that. When the news broke, it seemed that the most puzzling element of the hijacker’s decision was his destination ofthe most puzzling element of the hijacker’s decision was his destination ofthe most puzzling element of the hijacker’s decision was his destination ofthe most puzzling element of the hijacker’s decision was his destination of choice. Why, of all European countries, would he choose Switzerland at thischoice. Why, of all European countries, would he choose Switzerland at thischoice. Why, of all European countries, would he choose Switzerland at thischoice. Why, of all European countries, would he choose Switzerland at this time? Less than two weeks earlier, the small Alpine country narrowly passedtime? Less than two weeks earlier, the small Alpine country narrowly passedtime? Less than two weeks earlier, the small Alpine country narrowly passedtime? Less than two weeks earlier, the small Alpine country narrowly passed a referendum vote to create strictera referendum vote to create stricter quotas for immigrationquotas for immigrationquotas for immigration from European Union (EU) countries, a decision that is bound to have far-reaching implicaUnion (EU) countries, a decision that is bound to have far-reaching implicaUnion (EU) countries, a decision that is bound to have far-reaching implicaUnion (EU) countries, a decision that is bound to have far-reaching implica- tions on the country’stions on the country’s relationship with the EUrelationship with the EUrelationship with the EU. BY :BY : Alexis McGivernAlexis McGivernAlexis McGivern Switzerland’s Immigration laws:Switzerland’s Immigration laws:Switzerland’s Immigration laws:Switzerland’s Immigration laws: What Does the Future Hold?What Does the Future Hold?What Does the Future Hold?What Does the Future Hold?
  11. 11. hundred bilateral treaties that link goods, services, people and capital between the two markets. In 2013, trade with the EU amounted to over 110 billion Swiss francs, making it the country’s biggest trading partner. Over 1.2 million EU citizens currently live in Switzerland, and 450,000 Swiss citizens live and work in the EU. The relationship between the two has been afflicted in the past by conflicting ideas about tax evasion, particular with regards to multi-national corporations and citizens of neighboring countries with secret Swiss bank accounts. The decision to place quotas on the number of immi- grants arriving in Switzerland is a far cry from the Swit- zerland that seemed to be opening up its borders only six years ago, when it first signed the Schengen Agreement in order to eliminate internal borders within the region and make travel hassle-free for EU and Swiss citizens. At the same time, Switzerland accepted the related Dublin Convention, designed to simplify the application process for asylum seekers. However, at the time of ratification of the Schengen Agreement, many citizens already expressed fears over the potential influx of cheap labour from sur- rounding EU countries. How Should the EU React? The EU’s reaction to the referendum not only has implica- tions for the future of their relationship with Switzerland, their fourth largest trading partner, but also affects how similar right-wing movements across Europe choose to move forward with their agendas. Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK’s Independence Party, stated that the result of the referendum was “wonderful news”, and he praised Switzerland for “[standing] up to the bullying and threats of the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels.” Many other European right-wing parties, like the Progress Party of Norway or the Party for Freedom in the Nether- lands, are promoting the idea that the European Union ideals present a threat to national freedom and prosperity. Most concerning is the direct impact this may have on the 2017 referendum regarding David Cameron’s policy to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU. British Eurosceptics could look to Switzerland as an example of a successful move away from the European Union. The EU has struggled to make immigration policy uniform across the EU, with many countries viewing it as a nation- al foreign policy decision, rather than subject to common agreements across the union. Now it is up to the EU to decide how to treat the results of this referendum. Some EU commissioners have favoured making it clear that “cherry-picking with the EU is not a sustainable strategy”, as Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ger- many’s foreign minister, made clear in his warnings to the Swiss government. However, if they choose to come down too hard on the country, they may push others into distancing themselves from the union. Referendums are the first stage of any policy change within the Swiss government. As of now, the Swiss federal government has three years to create the matching legis- lation to set quotas for immigrants depending on annual economic needs. The bilateral agreements with the EU that allow the Swiss access onto the single market come with a ‘guillotine clause’, meaning that the compromise of one part of the agreement will put all others in jeopardy. Swiss Political System The vote was largely divided along the ‘Rösti curtain’, a po- litical split between French-speaking and German-speak- ing cantons in Switzerland. The French-speaking cantons overwhelmingly voted ‘no’ to imposing quotas on im- migrants, the German-speaking cantons were divided, and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino voted ‘yes’ to curbing the amount of immigrants allowed in Switzer- land. The voting was also disproportionate across a rural and urban divide, with fewer city-dwellers voting for the initiative than those in rural regions. The Swiss political system operates through referenda, which are at the core of its unique democratic function- ing. All Swiss citizens are eligible to vote on policies at the cantonal and national levels several times a year. This form of direct democracy is essential to the Swiss political system, as it stimulates discussion on important issues that affect citizens. There are many long-term implications of this vote; therefore, though the result of this referen- dum is fearful and upsetting, it represents the will of the Swiss people, which is ultimately the most important part of any functioning democracy. Alexis McGivern is a third year International Relations student who has a keen interest in environmental issues’ impact on the political sphere.Alexis has Canadian and Irish citizenships and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. She cites this multiculturalism as the cause of her interest in the work of international and non-governmental organizations in coor- dinating political action. She also has an interest in interna- tional trade, development and aid, energy studies, corporate responsibility and marine conservation. EUROPE 12 The foreign affairs review
  12. 12. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 13 D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover opens with a stark and powerful truth: “Ours is an essentially tragic age… the cataclysm has happened, we are amongst the ruins.” It perfectly captures the despair and incredulity that em- bodied the views of so many people who continued to suffer from the scars of World War One. The war was to cast a shadow over global proceeding for decades to come. Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary in 1914, was more accurate than he had anticipated when he remarked that “the lights are going out all over Europe and I doubt we will see them go on again in our lifetime.” Indeed, the disastrous aftermath of the Great War induced a paralysis in international relations and inadvert- ently planted the seeds of destruction that would lead to the unfolding of a Second World War. This year’s centenary commemoration provides a poignant opportunity to gaze back at the war and its aftermath, and try to educe a nugget of wisdom from the lessons of history. The First World War remains so significant because it fundamentally altered the way that war was waged and perceived. After 1918, war could no longer be conceived of as a chiv- alrous pursuit, fought on distant bat- tlefields, for the glory of the Empire. Yet in 1914, without the benefit of hindsight, the cream of English youth followed their blind patriotism to fight for ‘King and Country’. Patriotic verses, such as the St Crispin’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V, were successfully invoked to invigor- ate ‘heroism in the abstract’. In Vera Brittain’s immortalising classic, ‘A Testament of Youth’, even the schol- arly and progressive Roland Leighton declared in conversation that he saw war as “ennobling and very beautiful, something whose elemental reality raises it above the reach of all cold theorising.” This is a fine example of the nauseating jingoism that captured the imagination of an entire gener- ation. Those who failed to volunteer immediately were met with posters designed to intimidate men into ‘doing their bit’ for their country. One particularly effective poster, with a charming homely scene in the back- ground, depicted a young girl sat on her father’s knee asking, ‘Daddy, what did you do in the great war?’ Yet this eruption of nationalistic fervour was soon dampened by the bitterness of reality. The slow decay of time ushered in a deadly realism tinged with grievous loss, profound suffering and abject misery. For the first time, the home front was ines- capably drawn into the abyss of war, with rationing and conscription im- posed on all citizens. Another mod- ern first was the threat of death by bombing. It seemed that even civil- ians were no longer safe. In total, the war claimed 9 million British souls, an astronomical figure, with the bulk of a generation being decimated and left to rot in the fields of Flanders. For anyone in search of an illuminating glimpse of the squalor these soldiers endured, priority status must be given to the majestic war memoirs and poetry of literary titans such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sas- soon. Through gazing at these deeply personal and heartfelt accounts, the natural questions crops up: why on earth did such horrors have to be endured in the first place? One substantive answer to this lies in the psyche of contemporaneous military leaders, whose visions were blinkered by a domineering strategy, known as the ‘cult of the offensive’. This strategy held that victory could only be won by launching all-out strategies of conquest. Germany’s Schlieffen Plan is the best embod- iment of the prevailing idea that “attack is the best form of defence.” Yet, this seemingly unanimous endorsement of an outdated set of political and military ideals meant that military leaders failed to recog- nise the many advantages of pursuing defensive strategies, and failed to rec- ognise the obstacles that aggressive tactics would be forced to confront. Indeed, British and French leaders WORLD WAR ONE BY : Michael Cotterill Look Back in Anger! The Great War, its After- math, and its Relevance Today
  13. 13. were so convinced that superior morale would overcome the superior defensive firepower hurtling from the German trenches, that troops were ordered to climb out into ‘No Man’s Land’ for what they knew would be almost certain death. Failure to follow this gruesome command would result in execution for cowardice. After four years of fighting, Germany sued for peace after suffering near defeat. The long-lasting legacy of the war is an- nually recalled in a collective manner through the wearing of poppies as an enduring symbol of remembrance for the fallen. In terms of the war’s repercussions, it is not an embellishment to say that the Treaty of Versailles was one of the most heinous political flops in histo- ry. It humiliated Germany through the parching of national pride, the stripping of territorial assets, the infliction of torturously high repa- rations, and the expurgation of her military forces. Regrettably, leaders in Britain and France heeded the opinions of their newly enfranchised democratic populaces, who espoused retributive rhetoric such as ‘Hang the Kaiser’ and ‘Make Germany Pay’, and imposed punitive treaties upon the now subjugated and defeated nations. Winston Churchill once declared, “In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Goodwill.” Contrary to the noble ideals of Churchill’s statesmanlike remark, there was a fatal absence of goodwill and magnanimity in the peace negotiations of Versailles and elsewhere. Indeed, the extreme vindictiveness of Versailles ushered in an age of uncertainty; thus providing extraordinarily amenable condi- tions which facilitated the growth of totalitarian ideologies and dictatorial regimes. Unequivocally, the actions of Britain and her allies in the aftermath of World War I are at least partially responsible for Hitler’s ascendancy. From 1917 onwards and through- out the inter-war years, a blizzard of change swept through the European continent. Vast autocratic empires crumbled into dust, ancient mon- archies were toppled, the air became tinged with revolution- ary fervour, and Europe became polarised by the ideological ex- tremes of fascism and communism. This was an epoch that required strong hegemonic leadership in order to cultivate the nascent democra- cies, guard them from undesirable political extremes, and lead them to fruition and prosperity. Un- fortunately, the initial optimism of Wilson’s idealism ended in colossal disappointment. Without military backing and the threat of force, the League of Nation’s potential to be a force for good was curtailed. In this period, the League desperately needed a liberal hegemon to carry forward the flame of Wilsonian liber- alism, and ensure that democracy was upheld in lands still unaccustomed to its practices. Yet, not a single nation had the stomach to grab the reins of leadership. Former hegemons sunk into a stupor of depression, and the Wall Street Crash led to the exacerba- tion of defence-spending parsimony. France and the United States retreat- ed into a shell of reclusive isolation- ism, and Britain followed tradition by refocusing its gaze on imperial matters. The inability of the stronger League of Nations powers to uphold collective security and peaceable international norms stimulated apathetic attitudes towards the growth of totalitarian- ism. Britain, along with many other countries, was immersed in the grip of a pacifist dream. Forward-thinking and progressive intellectuals began to garner prestige as their cosmo- politan ideas gained currency. E. M. Forster captured the spirit of the age by remarking: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” The infamous 1933 Oxford Union Debate similarly epitomised this shift in values, when it declared that ‘This House will not fight for King and Country.’ This ambivalence towards constructively interacting with the international community, engaging in tough decision-making, and culti- vating long-term national strategies meant that the democratic powers were woefully unprepared to deal with the unprecedented threats posed by belligerent fascist regimes deter- mined to wage war at any cost. The prevailing lesson that can be learned from the First World War and its dire aftermath is that complacen- cy can act as the enemy of common sense. When faced with the alarming and unprecedented challenges of the EUROPE 14 The foreign affairs review
  14. 14. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 15 twenty-first century, it simply will not do to idly sweep these problems under the carpet of inertia. Nor- man Angell’s 1909 classic The Great Illusion sensibly propounded the idea that Europe’s increasingly globalised economies were integrated to such an extraordinary extent that war would be unthinkable. Even though this was a widely accepted truth, the world nevertheless found itself at war in 1914. One thread of similarity that unites us with our forebears a century ago is the troubling resurgence of national- ism as a political force, especially in the BRIC nations. Nationalism is a scourge of humanity, and represents a malignant and mutated offshoot of the more benign patriotism. Throughout the world, nationalism is being whipped up at a truly alarm- ing rate. In China, the all-powerful state is energetically cultivating a growing Japanophobia. In India, Narendra Modi (a Hindu nationalist who resolutely refuses to apologise for a pogrom inflicted on Muslims in the regional state he controls, and who, if elected to power, would have his finger on the nuclear button in a potential conflict with neighbouring Pakistan) might get elected next year. Moreover, Putin is pursuing a strate- gy of nationalistically flexing Russia’s military muscles, most recently over the political debacle in Ukraine. Perhaps above all else, the First World War teaches us that nothing is so fragile as the illusion of civilisation. Merely assuming reason will prevail is not enough. The single biggest threat to global security is an isolationist America. Presently, and in contra- diction to his supposedly progressive values, Barack Obama appears to be pulling back from regions of the world where an American presence is most required. Obama’s rather lethar- gic attitude towards foreign affairs has meant that he has not applied enough effort to building bridges of dialogue with the Middle East, and conse- quently a groundswell of suspicion lingers between the United States and the Arab countries. The US President has similarly adopted an unasham- edly laissez-faire attitude towards the tragic turmoil engulfing Syria. Problematically, Obama has done lit- tle to warmly assimilate the emerging BRIC giants into playing a strong and constructive role in the development of a more equitable international framework. The BRICs will be less likely to pursue quests for aggressive hegemony if they can engage in pro- ductive dialogue with the West, and more particularly the United States. Alas, after six years in office, Oba- ma’s lack of appetite for engaging in foreign affairs is unlikely to change. Let us ardently hope, that if Hillary Clinton becomes President in 2016, the United States will rise up to the challenge of playing a fruitful role as the world’s foremost hegemon. The US thrives as a nation when it un- dertakes an internationalist view of global events. Winston Churchill once declared: “The era of procras- tination, of half-measures, of soothing, and baffling expedients, of delays is com- ing to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” America needs to be roused from its deep sleep of complacency, and remember that the mantle of the free world still lies in the palm of its hand. Domestic pressures are no excuse for shunning the problems facing the internation- al community. The world needs a benign policeman, equipped with the harmonious qualities of democratic values, progressive liberalism, and a reservoir of goodwill. We look back to history to gain a greater sense of who we are, and where we are going. Looking back to World War One and its aftermath, we should appreciate that the rise of nationalism, bellig- erent moves towards hegemony, and indifference by the West, all raise cause for concern.
  15. 15. The world is less free than it was eight years ago. To be more specific, 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which both civil liberties and political rights suffered a decline. At least, this is the provocative statement kick-start- ing the analysis of the data presented in the annual report of the Ameri- can-based think tank Freedom House, Freedom in the World. In the 2014 Freedom in the World publication, the data collected sug- gests that several countries that used to be ‘Free’ are now ‘Partly Free’ or in- deed ‘Not Free’. Rhetoric aside, fewer countries now meet Freedom House’s criteria for pluralism, participation, greater transparency and openness in the electoral process and rights of association and organisation. It is also sceptical about improvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, particularly as a result of the counterrevolution and extremism in states that experienced the effects of the Arab Spring, and singles out Eurasia for particular criticism. Eurasia is condemned for having the lowest regional political rights scores. For example, Azerbai- jan’s score for political participation is just three, while Australia scores fifteen. Not only does Freedom House sug- gest continued resistance to democ- ratisation (and the liberal values now bound up with democracy itself), it claims that democracies are expe- riencing a “crisis of confidence”. It claims that self-absorption, most like- ly brought on by domestic economic issues, has reduced the attention paid to the promotion of democracy and human rights. The annual report subsequently calls for democracies to renew their efforts at promoting political rights and civil liberties in other countries. Specifically, it claims that the United States needs to step in and take the lead once more. This American-centric approach ignores the growing importance of the Eu- ropean Union as an actor in world politics. It is hardly surprising that a Washing- ton, D.C.-based think tank depend- ent upon US funding focuses on US policy-makers, but America is not the only international actor capable of setting the agenda on civil and po- litical rights. While its support is still important, it is not the only force for democracy promotion in the world today. The world has changed since the 1970s, and the EU now plays a vital role in democracy promotion, and could play an even greater one. While the term ‘democracy pro- motion’ may evoke uncomfortable memories of the George W. Bush administration and Operation Iraqi Freedom, regime change imposed from the outside is an exception to the norm. Democratically motivated aid has been the staple of efforts to increase civil liberties and political rights across the globe while encour- aging local ownership. The EU has played an increasing role in this form of democracy assistance, particularly through the funds allocated by the EUROPE 16 The foreign affairs review FREEDOM HOUSE BY : Hugh Oberlander A False Crisis of Confidence? Freedom House and Neglected Instruments of Democratisation
  16. 16. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 17 European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) founded in 2006. Initiatives like the EIDHR, under the auspices of EuropeAid, have had a significant impact, and cannot be considered a mere ‘ally’ of American efforts. Among the key objectives of the EIDHR are “Enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental free- doms in countries and regions where they are most at risk” and “Strength- ening the role of civil society in pro- moting human rights and democratic reform”. For example, the EU is the largest foreign donor in Azerbaijan and in February 2012 it announced that EIDHR funding would go towards sixteen new projects in the country, focusing on a more in- dependent media and civil rights activities (a key component of free societies). In stepping up its efforts to strengthen civil society in Azerbaijan as early as 2012, the EU is already one step ahead of Freedom House. The EIDHR also takes part in elec- toral observation and the training of electoral observers in order to prevent violations of political rights. It has taken part in missions in Mali, Honduras, Nepal, and Kenya among others. These are all countries that Freedom House has registered as becoming freer in its report. While the reasons for these gains are mani- fold, the involvement of groups such as EIDHR is likely beneficial to the consolidation of democratic rights and practices. Between 2007 and 2013 the EIDHR had an assistance budget of €1.104 billion and while this funding period overlaps with the eight year decline in freedoms alleged to exist in Freedom in the World, the EIDHR itself may provide an answer to the perceived ‘crisis of confidence’. As the EIDHR notes in one of its strategy papers, budgets have increased but so too have expectations and demands on initiatives related to democracy and human rights. Indeed, the demand for improved results often ignores the complexities of democratisation. Thomas Carothers, the current vice-president of the Carnegie En- dowment for International Peace, has noted that democracy takes a long time to become consolidated, and is a chaotic, non-linear process. Not only does this partly explain the fluctua- tion of civil and political liberties in several states reported by Freedom House, it also suggests that think tanks like Freedom House are being too hasty in pinning a large portion of responsibility for the ‘decline’ in world freedom on a lessening interest in democratisa- tion and human rights promotion among democra- cies. The assertion that there has been a ‘crisis of confidence’ is only partly true. The EU has remained continually en- gaged in low-key democratisation efforts supporting civil society with EIDHR grants and projects. American ef- forts to promote democracy may be suffering a particular crisis, wheth- er it results from the damage to US legitimacy caused by the George W. Bush administration or a more general over-reliance on promoting civil society. Freedom House should not so readily discount the continued efforts of European democracies. Not only can it aid civil society. The EU has more power than ever before to supplement initiatives by EIDHR and other agencies by encouraging dem- ocratic reform through the economic and diplomatic channels. While the rhetoric of Freedom House should be welcomed for drawing attention to the ongoing difficul- ties faced in fostering political and human rights, it is overly pessimistic in many areas. American leadership is no longer essential, and while increased American participation would be beneficial, the EU can hold its own. It will be interesting to see how the EU continues to tackle the challenges facing the promotion of democracy and human rights both near and far from its borders. With this in mind, the outlook for world freedom in the absence of strong American leadership may not be as bleak as Freedom in the World makes out.
  17. 17. RUSSIA 18 The foreign affairs review MOSCOWPUSSYRIOTHUMANRIGHTSSOCHI How Russia’s History Fuels its Foreign Policy of Tomorrow. Putin’s Games and Fanfare: Sochi Symbolic Pussy Riot and the Growth of Anarcho-Populism in the Inter- national Political System Two Tiers of Judgment for Russian Human Rights Violations p 20 pp 23 p 25 p 27
  18. 18. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 19 As the world’s eyes turn increasingly to an aggres- sive and resurgent Russian Federation, the FAR brings you 11 pages of analysis on different aspects of Russian foreign and domestic policy. While the situation in Ukraine changes day by day, and any coverage of it here would be hopelessly out of date by the time the magazine reaches you, we’d be re- miss not to comment. It is striking to see troop mobilisations, naval blockades and trenches being dug on European soil in the 21st century. Shattered is the illusion of a European farewell to arms. Though in the West we can tell ourselves that this conflict is only pos- sible on our periphery, the Eurasian heartland will always be a part of Europe, and its fate looms large for the Euro-Atlantic alliance and the future of East- West relations. In December 1991, it was the Soviet Union that bade a farewell to its military might and forty year long Cold War against the West. Two months later, the leaders of Europe, gathered in Maastricht, signed into being the European Union. As one bloc fell and another rose, confrontation that was so dreaded for so long seemed consigned to history. But now, with Russian troops seizing ter- ritory in Europe-proper, Putin has resurrected the ghosts of 1956 and 1968. What is the price of peace in Europe, and what is the price we’re willing to pay to defend it? Welcome to the FAR’s special issue on Russia. The decision to cover this vast country, its dynamic foreign policy, controversial domestic policy, and often larger than life president was made before the seizure of Crimea. In the year and particularly months leading to this dramatic development, there was a sense of momentum for Putin’s Russia: Putin’s diplomatic intervention on As- sad’s behalf in Syria which staved off an American military intervention, the crackdown on gay rights and dissidents that garnered so much attention in the West, the spectacular but polarising Sochi Olympics, and then of course Ukraine’s pivot to the East, with everything that followed. Editor-in-Chief - Russia special - A few words from the RADIM DRAGOMACA
  19. 19. Empire in Eastern Europe Vladimir Putin often proves a somewhat incongruous character to popular perceptions of him. While he fits the profile of the perennial Russian strongman (or, in the case of Catherine the Great, woman) leader, Putin often proves a hypocrite, at least in terms of public rhetoric. Nowhere is this more clear than in his own perception of Russia and its surrounding neighbours. In 2005, he remarked, “First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Nevertheless, just a year later, President Putin addressed Western perceptions of his state’s foreign policy by remarking, “I see that not every- one in the West has understood that the Soviet Union has disappeared from the political map of the world and that a new country has emerged with new humanist and ideological principles at the foundation of its existence.” Since the days of the USSR, Russia has evidently democ- ratised and extensively embraced capitalism. Yet many, including this analyst, would argue that although Russia has transformed ideologically, many of its immediate and long-term foreign policy goals are aimed at preserving the power of old Russia; the mirage of a state and a leader that can muscle its way through relations in the international system. Prior to 1991 Russia had never known itself as a singu- lar entity. Since the days of the 9th century Kievan Rus, Russia has known itself as the centre of a vast and consist- ent empire, albeit under a variety of monikers. The fall of communism brought the largest loss of territory in mod- ern history for Russia, perhaps with the exception of the short-lived concessions under the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Li- tovsk. It is perhaps understandable then, although cer- tainly not excusable, that Russia continues to attempt to economically and militarily dominate the Eastern Euro- pean region. Many such as Kremlinologist Lilia Shevtso- va see Russia’s attempt at a Eurasian Union as a sign of economic imperialist expansion in order to create a “mi- rage of a post-Soviet archipelago in which authoritarian leaders use each other to preserve their power. While this view has some problems regarding anachronism and an unhelpful return to a Cold War mentality, it is not difficult to believe that Putin’s Russia is eager to keep resource-rich states on side for its own benefit. Should states such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus “go west,” Russia would suffer greatly in the economic sense. At the time of writing, Russian troops have taken the parliament building in Crimea, as well as 12 border guard posts between Ukraine and Russia. Putin has taken effective control of the region and suggested a referendum that will likely go ahead mid-March. The recent Ukrainian turmoil that was sparked in November 2013 has, arguably, BY : Ellen Macpherson Bearing the Weight of the Past: How Russia’s History Fuels its Foreign Policy of Tomorrow Despite its diminished status in the post-Cold War era, Russia still main- tains that it is a global force to be reckoned with. Militarily and econom- ically, perhaps Russia is no longer able to play a round of honest poker with the United States. Nonetheless, President Putin and long-standing Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have done an admirable job at bluffing their way through diplomatic negotiations and coercing people into believing that Russia is as great a power as it has ever been. This article looks at Putin’s Russia and where its interests lie. RUSSIA 20 The foreign affairs review
  20. 20. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 21 been one of the biggest tests to Putin’s future aspirations in the region. Yet Putin must act carefully. His vehement global rhetoric on non-intervention has been well documented, particu- larly in terms of the frustration it has caused the United States and international humanitarian missions. If he were to intervene in the Crimea, it would risk jeopardising decades of proclamations that withhold a state’s right to sovereignty above all else. Presumably, Russia has learned hard lessons about international credibility after its war against, and subsequent occupation of, South Ossetia and Georgia during 2008. If there is one thing Russia cannot afford to give up, it is the credibility it has gained from critics of international intervention in recognised conflict zones. From this rhetoric, Putin and his veteran Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have gained valuable respect in the Middle East and Africa - regions that are of critical strategic importance to Russia in its wider foreign policy objectives towards the United States. The Middle East Yet it’s clearly not just in the regional sphere that Russia is exerting its influence. 2013 was an extremely success- ful year for Putin in the United Nations. His success in accidental diplomacy led to the brokering of a chemical weapons deal in Syria and Putin’s resistance to United States sanctions on Iran in P5 meetings has secured pos- itive Russian-Iranian relations. Many in the international system have seen Russia pick up where the United States has left off in the Middle East, securing spaces harbouring anti-United States sentiment and bolstering military and economic ties. In December, Russia quietly secured a lucrative $2 billion weapons deal with Egypt (at that time under the leader- ship of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, offering MiG-29 in- terceptor jets, helicopters and air defence systems. “Today Russia is coming back to many regions it lost in the 90s. I’m talking about the African continent and the Middle East,” declared Mikhail Margelov, the Russian Federa- tion Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, in a speech in London. He went on to say, “Russia was quite explicit about its interests in those regions even before the Arab Spring.” Through the Arab Spring, Russia has maintained its business relations with a swath of changing leaders in the region. Russia’s willingness to overlook any moral misdemeanours is undoubtedly a reason why the leaders of the Arab Spring states are much more agreeable in doing business with Moscow rather than Washington. And yet it is not just in economic terms that Russian and Middle Eastern diplomats are negotiating. Putin has been stamping Russia’s presence on all possible fronts. Mos- cow-run oil giant Lukoil has won a number of large oil contracts in the Middle East, most notably in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. More recently, Russia has signed a $4 billion arms deal with Iraq. Crucially, Putin has been increasingly involved in peace processes, holding talks with Hamas and travelling to Israel in 2012, well before United States President Barack Obama made the trip. Individually, these developments may be of little notice, but it is indisputable that Putin is the bearer of a power in the Middle East that the United States is unlikely to get its hands on ever again if it continues to sanction and punish Middle Eastern states on standards of democratisation. The Chechnyan terrorist threat in Russia has posed very few obstacles to Putin’s deals in the Middle East itself. While originally aligning himself with the United States on the ‘War on Terror,’ Putin has since realised that it is far more lucrative to stay quiet on terrorist and rebel movements in the Middle East itself, perhaps realising that one day Russia may have to, at least temporarily, cooperate on a business level with individuals Putin might view as a threat to security in his own state. This mentality does, however, also link in with Putin’s wider anti-inter- ventionist ideology regarding the primacy of sovereignty. What works at home - the brutal military suppression of separatist movements - may not work abroad. In this, Putin has learned a valuable lesson from the United States failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  21. 21. Goals of Foreign Policy with the United States “The Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat, as the saying goes,” noted Vladimir Putin in his May 2006 annual ad- dress to the Federal Assembly, “It knows whom to eat and is not about to listen to anyone, it seems.” Many western commentators have argued, and would still argue, that Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy objectives in both his own region and in the Middle East are simply a part of a bigger policy objective linked to a ‘new Cold War’ mentality. It’s not hard to see why this would be the case. Russia has been notorious in the past decade for using its United Nations veto power to oppose the United States on issues of intervention. Putin’s often anti-US rhetoric has been a feature of his presidency thus far, making him popular with those who would like to see the United States’ status of world hegemony crumble. This analyst however, believes the situation slightly more complex. There is one simple guiding statement that can explain all of Russia’s foreign policy goals. As Putin remarked to a particularly critical journalist in Moscow in 2012, “Our country must not be humiliated.” Russia fears, above all, being forgotten and being laughed at, particularly by its oldest and most formidable opponent, the United States. One only has to look at Putin’s ener- gy policies in Eastern Europe. His constant dictatorial economic bullying of states such as Ukraine shows a great amount of fear - fear that the United States’ advances in shale gas production will demote Russian energy giants to the periphery of global energy commerce. Putin himself is so popular in Russia purely because he is so reviled elsewhere. Western media commentary of Sochi’s fail- ures was met with mockery and contempt in Sochi. “I’m very offended that the closer we get to the opening of the Olympics, the more hysteria around Russia becomes inflamed in the Western media,” wrote Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, the builder of much vital infrastructure for the Sochi Games. Putin’s coldness, and often outright hostility, towards the United States is not because of some obsessive loy- alty to a Cold War mentality. It is a response to the fear of being sidelined and internationally humiliated. If the West were to show respect, or at the very least, under- standing towards Putin’s Russia, we would undoubtedly see a sweeping change in relations. As Putin remarked in a 2013 interview with Russia Today, “It’s not by chance that Russia and the United States forge an alliance in the most critical moments of modern history. That was the case in WWI and WWII even if there was fierce con- frontation, our countries united against a common threat which means there’s something that unites us. There must be some fundamental interest which bring us together. That’s something we need to focus on first. We need to be aware of out difference but focus on a positive agenda that can improve our cooperation.” Cooperation between the United States and Russia is indeed becoming vital in the international system. International institutions have suf- fered from extravagantly angry language from both sides. As abhorrent as Russia’s economic and military bullying in Eastern Europe has been, as draconian as Putin’s an- ti-homosexuality laws are, as corrupt as the Kremin might seem, the United States and Russia must find common ground. The United States should indeed be speaking out about human rights abuses in Russia, but for both sides to continue with opposing each other for little reason other than what is essentially a diplomatic gun show is helpful to no one. Unfortunately, unless the United States and the West in general is willing to concede at least understand- ing to Russia, little will change and Putin’s Russia will remain the stubborn wedge in the cog of the international system. Ellen Macpherson is a second year student pursuing a joint de- gree in International Relations and Modern History. Her par- ticular interests lie in security and development studies, the role of nuclear weapons in the international system, and studies of social movements for change.Although definitely not limited to the one area, Russia is of particular interest to her studies. She has written much about its post- communist development, its role in the international system and its path towards democracy. RUSSIA 22 The foreign affairs review
  22. 22. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 23 For Putin, Sochi was far more than a friendly international sporting event. It was an unparalleled opportunity to reassert Russia at the forefront of the international community. De- termined to project the “new face of Russia” that had overcome the slump of Soviet decline and was now a promising land of growth and achievement, Putin championed Sochi as an exhibition of the very best of Russia. The Sochi Games would be first and foremost a publicity stunt on the grandest scale, all extravagances worth the enormous costs in ex- change for the prestige Russia would gain from playing host. From the night of the Opening Cere- mony, the event was permeated with political tension dating back to Cold War; a technical malfunction left the fifth Olympic ring, historically the ring corresponding to the Americas, from blossoming into its snowflake configuration, sparking speculations as to whether the failure was perhaps intentional. Sochi was monumentally symbolic for the change that has led up to it. The last time the Olympics were held in Russia was in Moscow in 1980, when more than 60 countries, led by the United States, boycotted the games in response to the Soviet Un- ion’s invasion of Afghanistan. Leading up to the Sochi Games, tensions over Russia’s anti-gay rights stance, the fear of Islamist terrorist threats and the violent unrest in neighbouring Ukraine had Russia in the politi- cal spotlight and some, especially the LGBT community, voiced calls for another boycott. Although the resulting tensions never escalated to the point of a boycott, many heads of state announced ahead of time that they would not make an appearance at the Sochi Games. This included British Prime Minister David Cam- eron and American President Barack Obama. The absence of the latter was mostly a result of the disagreements between Russia and the United States over events in Syria and the affair of Edward Snowden. With regards to the running of the games, to Putin’s credit, many of the fears voiced in international media coverage never manifested them- selves. The Russians certainly handled security well with its “Ring of Steel” successfully preventing any terrorist attempts to infiltrate the Games. Once the sporting events commenced, focus was on the athletes and many of Russia’s human rights issues faded to the background though embarrassing blips emerged over unfinished hotel rooms and bathroom facilities of two toilets side by side with no partition. However, although he pulled off the Winter Games successfully, the question of whether Putin has truly opened the doors of Russia is still unclear. Sochi, formally a single road town is now home to massive venues to be turned into exhibition centres; including the host of one of the 2018 World Cup games and the 2014 Rus- sian Grand Prix. However, once these events pass, will there be any need for a massive shopping centre, new rail- ways and an amusement park without an international audience flooding in? Sochi’s population will not be suf- ficiently large or affluent to maintain the facilities on its own – so was this $50 billion a frivolous waste if Putin failed to truly rejuvenate Russia in the eyes of the world? Despite its superficial success, the Sochi Olympics are a microcosm of old-world Russian extravagance and plutocracy at the absurd neglect of the masses. One village, a mere 10 minutes from Sochi, Akhshtyr, re- mains cut off from both the new road leading to mountain resort Krasnaya Polyana, where the skiing and snow- boarding events were held, as well as the newly constructed $8.7 billion railway. A village covered in dust and grime since Olympic construction began, Akhshtyr has not had fresh water since 2008, since its wells were destroyed by new waste dump site to serve Sochi’s development. The village is now entirely dependent on water deliveries from the authorities. Hence, many promises of improved infrastructure for the region have gone unfulfilled, reminiscent of Sovi- et times. Some estimate that insufficient over- On February 23, the most expensive Olympics in history came to a close in Sochi. Russia emerged triumphant, with 13 gold medals and highest overall medal count of 33, an extra feather for Putin to place in his cap. Yet the So- chi games have been controversial from the start. The final cost of the games runs at $51 billion, eclipsing the $40 billion spent on Beijing and the $7 billion spent on the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver. SOCHI BY : Elizabeth Mastoris Putin’s Games and Fanfare: Sochi Symbolic
  23. 23. sight has led to excessive and avoid- able costs: a ski jump at the Rosa Khutor resort in Krasnaya Polyana was originally slotted a $40 million budget, yet when Putin visited the jump last year the cost had soared to $265 million. Furthermore, a mem- ber of the International Olympic Committee along with Russia’s oppo- sition party allege that about a third of Sochi’s funds were stolen. Those reaping the benefits of these Olympics are almost exclusively from among Putin’s tight inner circle. The Rotenberg brothers, Putin’s child- hood friends who once joined him in his boyhood marital arts instruction, were awarded 21 Olympic contracts worth $7.4 billion – a staggering amount worth more than the pre- vious Vancouver Winter Games but only a fraction of the final enormous total. Though the Russian economy has certainly evolved from Soviet times, the state remains the single largest employer and state owned industries dominate the economic landscape and as such received a bulk of the Olympic contracts. Private businesses still struggle to succeed as some speculate nearly half of Russia’s economy is made up of state controlled companies run by Putin’s inner circle. Though Putin strove to present Russia as a modern great power at Sochi, the state clearly represses modernisation. Between 35% and 40% of Russians are dependent on the state with a quarter employed in the public sector. While the rest of the world began to ease out of the recession, economic growth stagnated to less than 1.5% and prompted Putin’s admission of internal institutional flaws in the Russian system. Despite how far it has come since the Soviet era, Putin failed to tru- ly catapult a “new Russia” onto the international scene. Sochi showed that irresponsible excess, cronyism, underground crime, corruption, oppression, and vanity still persist. Russia remains uncomfortably stuck between its Soviet roots and modern- isation, as the state remains highly centralised and power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few. While Putin may not have built a bridge between Russia and the West with the Sochi Games, he may have improved his slipping image at home. Leading the medal count and having produced an impressive spectacle, Russian pride was at its peak – stories of corruption and scandal were trivial matters in juxtaposition to worrying about the glory of Russia’s athletes, yet Putin’s dream of a vindicated Rus- sia has seemed to fall short of its goals to those watching from afar. RUSSIA 24 The foreign affairs review
  24. 24. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 25 In the case of the latter, this was to lead to the prosecution and eventual imprisonment of two members of the group. More recently, Pussy Riot made an appearance at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi where they were violently subdued by Cossacks. Since its inception, Pussy Riot’s methodology has been fairly con- stant, following the same formula. This has usually involved its members dressing up in distinctive, brightly coloured clothing and face masks and performing politically motivated songs with incendiary lyrics in public locations. These are then filmed and posted to YouTube where they have a cult following and attract worldwide attention. Songs have included ‘Putin Zassal’, or ‘Putin has pissed himself’ and ‘Mother of God, Drive Putin Away’. As with all punk, central to these songs is a salient anti-authority, anarchic element. Their first song, ‘Release the Cobble Stones’ called upon the Russian public to protest against an illegitimate parliamentary election process by using cobble- stones as missiles in street clashes. The video was filmed on the Moscow metro and was accompanied by a blog post that stated simply: “Your ballots will be used as toilet paper by the Presidential Administration”. However, this anarchic element goes beyond the simple anti-establishment drive seen in punk music. It repre- sents a concerted political message, a call to arms for a wider society to overthrow a fundamentally illegit- imate societal structure. This tran- scends the usual parochial and gener- ationally bounded audience. Through their use of social media Pussy Riot has attempted to mobilise a usually politically apathetic or apolitical so- cial strata through extra-institutional and non-conventional means – in keeping with what political scientist/ sociologist Alvin So conceptualised as a ‘post-modern mode of political organisation’. This broadening and mainstreaming of previously small-scale anarchic principles and methodology ties into wider developments globally. The post-2008 international political sys- tem, in which the austerity has been the predominant economic trend, has witnessed the growth of a wide vari- ety of grassroots organisations and movements with principles of active resistance and counter-hegemonic struggle at their heart. King’s College lecturer Dr Paolo Gerbaudo labels Ever since Pussy Riot’s formation in 2011, it has been a proverbi- al thorn in Putin’s side, a source of protest in a country where open government criticism is relatively rare – a nod as much to the current administration’s authoritarian leanings as Russia’s Soviet autocratic heritage. Originally beginning with small-scale protests on the Mos- cow metro, the feminist punk political collective gradually rose in international prominence following performances in Moscow’s Red Square followed by the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. ‘There’s going to be a revolution. It’s going to happen…’ Russell Brand PUSSY RIOT BY : Jonathan Bertulis-Fernandes Pussy Riot and the Growth of Anarcho-pop- ulism in the International Political System
  25. 25. this development as ‘anarcho-pop- ulism’, representing the ‘uncanny marriage between anarchism and progressive populism’ in current pro- test movements globally. This incorporates movements such as the indignados in Spain and the student protests and the anti tax-avoidance movement in the UK such as UK Uncut. Interestingly, it also includes the global Occupy movement, an international protest movement against social and eco- nomic inequality. This movement led to the development of grassroots-led protests all over the world, which saw the forceful occupation of public spaces in major cities in an attempt to assert the collective power of an otherwise un-heard majority. In his now famous Newsnight in- terview with Jeremy Paxman since viewed some ten million times online, Russell Brand characterised the growth of this mode of political organisation as one bound up with a struggle against an inherently disar- ticulated political system separating the governing from the governed. Linked to this, Loïc Wacquant argues for the development of a ‘centaur state’ within the recently emerged neoliberal Leviathan. That is, a state with a small liberal head, but an authoritarian body – a state struc- tured so as to systemically privilege a small powerful elite. This builds on the central Marxian dialectic exist- ing between the capitalists and the proletariat, the superstructure and the infrastructure. The processes of neoliberalism and market-expansion have led to the development of a state and societal structure, which has been fundamentally reengineered to systemically, and systematically ben- efit this small minority at the expense of the majority. In a contemporary reworking of this Marxist principle and the notion of the centaur state, anthropologist David Graeber has argued for the notion of the 99% and the 1%. This principle has been cen- tral to the Occupy Movement, with the movement pushing for a radical rebalancing of the state apparatus and societal structures to redress this perceived power imbalance. The rise of transnational anar- cho-populist movements also hints at the rise of a global capitalist structure and the creation of a truly post-national global elite. Marxist Anthropologist Eric Wolf argued that revolutions and socio-politico unrest originate from a societal ‘incoher- ence’, which serves to exploit vari- ous social strata for the benefit of a hegemonic power. With the creation of an international capitalist system governed by the neoliberal doctrine of market expansion and de-regula- tion, this societal incoherence thus becomes transnational. And are we therefore seeing the development of an international anarchic revolu- tionary movement, a global common mode of political organisation predi- cated on transnational millenariasm? The ultimate efficacy of anarcho-pop- ulism as a mode of political organisa- tion remains to be seen. However, the mainstreaming of previously mar- ginalised and extreme methodology and concepts shows a clear evolution in political organisation amongst Generation Y. The creation of a truly transnational social movement shows the increased integration into a global capitalist structure and hints at a wid- er post-nationalist trajectory of the international political system. RUSSIA 26 The foreign affairs review
  26. 26. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 27 The bill passed unanimously in the lower house of the Duma, 436 votes in favor of an established neo-con- servatism that the American Right can only dream about. The move drew hefty and immediate criticism from commentators at home and abroad, with many angling for a boy- cott of the impending Sochi Olympics and decrying Putin for his blatant violation of human rights. Anti-gay sentiment is arguably mere- ly another attribute of the religious, semi-tsarist traditionalism that has surged in Russia throughout Vladimir Putin’s fourteen-year stronghold on the Russian government. Ranked the most powerful person in the world by Forbes in 2013, Putin’s ascent to head of state in 1999 (following Boris Yeltsin’s impromptu resignation) and subsequent electoral success ushered in a social regression to 19th-century values and an emphasis on pre-Rev- olutionary religious mores. These are keenly felt in Putin’s rhetoric and resulting domestic policy decisions, which serve both to consolidate the legitimacy of his ‘tandemocracy’ with Dmitri Medvedev – oft referred to as ‘Putin’s puppet’– and to engineer society in accordance with an arcane, preconceived notion of Russia. In his state of the Union in 2013, Putin un- derscored the need to represent “the will of the majority of the people” by enforcing a staunch conservatism that protects against other countries’ “[odd] equivalence of good and evil.” He alluded to the controversial legislation passed against homosexual advocacy, claiming that Russia must oppose “so-called tolerance – gender- less and infertile.” These statements, as well as govern- ment promotion of homophobia implied by the law, caused a backlash from Western political leaders, public icons, corporations, and citizens. Massive rallies were held in cities around the globe, from Asuncion to Durban, Melbourne to Jerusalem: people called for Olympic sponsors and organisers to denounce the “discriminatory laws” and fight for the basic human and civil rights of all peoples. By itself, this response is laudable – a testament to modern society’s global consciousness and active moral compass. Russia has a very long track record of human rights violations, extending back to its Soviet days. The fall of the USSR ostensibly initiated a more tol- erant and democratic time – its very dissolution was tied to Mikhail Gor- bachev’s ‘glasnost’, or a new allowance for free speech and protests in the late 1980’s. Under Yeltsin, new civil free- doms were indeed introduced and maintained, though he engineered privilege of the executive above the legislative or judicial branches, maintaining the Russian tradition of authoritative government. In an attempt to ameliorate Russia’s reputa- tion on human rights, in 1993 Yeltsin established a commission specifically designed to oversee Russia’s com- pliance with human rights norms, to be headed by Soviet-era dissident Sergei Kovalev. However, the com- mission was established by presiden- tial decree, which presented a legal conundrum: if Kovalev’s power was legitimated by Yeltsin, he would not The global community has been kept well abreast of the struggle of Russian homosexuals to achieve recognition from a government that denies them basic civil rights. Media outlets have leapt to report on the manifold protests and demonstrations of indignation over the treatment of the LGBT commu- nity in Russia. Citizens of many western states, regardless of sexual orienta- tion, have banded together to denounce the Russian government, who last year passed a law banning so-called “gay propaganda,” (i.e. gay rights advo- cacy.) HUMAN RIGHTS BY : Tamar Ziff Complex Sympathy: Two Tiers of Judgment for Russian Human Rights Violations
  27. 27. be able to criticise the latter’s actions, problematising the effectiveness of his role. During his tenure as head of the Presidential Commission for Human Rights, Kovalev witnessed the neglect or violation of a variety of human freedoms, especially in the conduct of Russian soldiers in Chechnya. In 1996, the United Nations Commis- sion on Human Rights issued a report expressing “concern for the lives and physical integrity of the civilian pop- ulation of Chechnya, as well as that of members of the [Russian] armed forces who had laid down their arms or had been placed hors de combat” resulting from “excessive and dispro- portionate use of force by Russian forces.” Two years of war ended in a tense but amenable peace, bringing about de facto independence for the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and auguring the hope that the 100,000 Chechen deaths – most of which were civilian – would be enough to buy peace. However, the power vacuum created in 1996 would catalyze the flourishing of various terrorist groups who engaged in illicit operations in order to survive within Chechnya’s unraveling social infrastructure and “rock-bottom” economy. In 1999, Russia staged another invasion into Chechnya, with the aim of establishing order and reining in terrorist activity. Russian forces administered heavy-handed violence to the region, beginning an intense campaign of airstrikes that demol- ished Chechen cities and forced tens of thousands to flee from their homes. Though initially viewed as a domestic policy issue by Western nations, increasing brutality on the part of the Russian military prompted reports from groups such as Human Rights Watch on the myriad abuses committed by Russian troops. HRW also mentioned the worrying “lack of strong Western response” to the dire human rights situation in Chechnya, highlighting the protracted apathy of Western leaders – and their constit- uents – toward crimes against the Chechen people. The absence of visible Western in- dignation over the past and present abuses against Chechens – as well as human rights activists and reporters seeking to raise awareness of their plight – is unpalatable, if unsurpris- ing. Chechnya still sees the restriction of free media and the persecution of journalists and human right activ- ists seeking to raise awareness of the abuses perpetrated by the puppet regime headed by Ramzan Kadyrov, who was personally appointed to power by Vladimir Putin. Besides the odd verbal castigation or stern statement, however, the West’s reaction has been tepid at best. Why, then, is there such a disparity between the Western reaction to Russian abuses in Chechnya and its response to anti-gay legislation? The answer is multifaceted, grounded in the West’s limited moral space for sympathies abroad, the complex amalgam of factors inherent in the Chechen identity, and the current popularity of the global gay rights movement. First, the citizens of West- ern nations have a circumscribed amount of available empathy for for- eign crises: with the myriad human rights violations occurring in all parts of the globe, industrialised nations cannot feasibly address all, or even most, of them. When one region is witnessing a series of abuses on mul- tiple fronts, the West has to budget its sympathies and focus on the most relatable one, the clearly delineated conflict. In effectively condoning homo- phobia, if not overtly prohibiting it – though some, including Russian Orthodox church leader, Vsevolod Chaplin, have suggested the re-crim- inalisation of homosexuality – Rus- sia is the clear antagonist. Russian discrimination against gay people is a black-and-white issue: the West can- not do anything but condemn it, lest it also be accused of tacitly support- ing bigotry. As a group, gay people in Russia are exclusively victims – they have done no wrong, and are being unjustly persecuted due to govern- ment emphasis on neo-conservatism. Meanwhile, the Chechen crisis is a convoluted one, and does not present an equivalent pathos to the Western audience. Though they have also been victim to undue Russian force, Chechen extremist factions have committed egregious infractions of both domestic and human rights law, utilising torture and concertedly tar- geting civilians in their violent quest for recognition and independence. The Chechen situation – that of an entire region blighted and character- ised by a single, vicious group within it – raises parallels to a post-9/11 Afghanistan, when the actions of a terrorist group were seen as justifi- cation for invasion of a nation-state. Some in the West see the Chechens, like Afghanis, through the ‘Muslim terrorist’ trope, a narrative that, con- sidering manifold Western involve- ment in the Middle East, invokes a certain war-weariness and distaste that precludes extended sympathies. Endorsement of the Chechens, even from a supposedly humanitarian angle, can furthermore be reasona- bly viewed as an affront to Russian sovereignty. Despite the tension brought about by the Snowden affair, the United States cannot be seen to support threats to Russian territorial integrity. Far easier, and less contro- versial, would be to target Russia’s attack on homosexuals, which in light of a global trend toward legal equality can justifiably be criticised as arcane and irrational. The inability of Western nations to truly empathise with, and attempt to ameliorate, the situation of the Chechens is understandable, but not acceptable. The current lambasting of Russian domestic policy over its treatment of gay individuals only serves to underscore the need for more attention to Russia’s perhaps more horrific human rights viola- tions, against people that exist at a greater psychological distance from the West. Distance, however, provides a weak rationale for indifference. RUSSIA // DC BUREAU 28 The foreign affairs revieW
  28. 28. PRINT ISSUE NUMBER 2 The foreign affairs review 29 The statement above is one of many. It survives, uneasily, past the barri- cades, the banging pots and bulleted echoes of that unceasing sound of protest, past the watchful eyes and wishful masses. It is posted on Twitter under #LaSalida – perhaps one of the only social media outlets for demon- stration left unobstructed by govern- ment authorities, aimed at demand- ing President Maduro’s salida, or immediate departure from office. Since February 12, nation-wide marches by anti-government masses and student protestors have erupt- ed into violent confrontations with police and criminal gangs known as colectivos. Yet the only broadcaster that carried live feed from the streets of Caracas, NTN24, was an interna- tional channel highly censored by the Maduro administration. “In a climate in which the media are discouraged by the Maduro adminis- tration from covering social protests, social media such as Twitter, Youtube and related platforms are one of the few ways in which protestors can communicate with each other,” says Harold Trinkunas, senior fellow and director of the Latin America Ini- tiative at the Brookings Institution. “They provide information to the broader global community about what is happening in Venezuela.” In the absence of live coverage of protests, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are document- ing the discord in its full rawness, to historicise an account of the unjust and the harmed. Protestors are stripped of basic police protection, blocked on one end by the Guardia Nacional, and the other by the more dangerous colectivos and the intelligence service, Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN), who continue to employ firearms against civilians. Out of uni- form, in secrecy, and without formal command, these entities perform hideous human rights abuses. The Maduro administration has intensified its present policies in light of the protestors it regards as “right- wing conspirators and participants in a coup d’etat.” Its heightened attempts to censor the media caused the dis- mantling of NTN24’s signal and the fining of local broadcasts that pre- sented scenes of violence. President Maduro himself has already revoked press credentials from numerous CNN reporters. “I would place President Maduro’s decision to revoke the press creden- tials for certain CNN journalists in a larger context of growing official control of the Venezuelan media,” says Trinkunas. President Maduro remains eager to block Twitter from supplying access to anti-government information, while newsprint suffers from the can- celations or shortening of their print editions due to administrative threats. “Newspapers have continued to pro- vide some coverage, although these are slowly dwindling in both number and depth of coverage due to a short- age of newsprint,” says Trinkunas. RCTV, a powerful private television station, was removed from cable television offerings in 2010 for its criticisms of Maduro. Then came the purchasing of the once protest-cover- ing Globovisión by a pro-government corporation in 2013. “The government controls a large number of radio, television and newspaper media outlets, and others have been purchased by private sector allies of the government,” adds Trinkunas. “These generally follow a pro-Maduro editorial line.” Their next target is the web. Because internet providers grant public access to websites on the black market bolivar exchange rate, they are obliged to screen news reports in or- der to keep access to the very foreign exchange that sustains them. News, then, is concentrated in the hands of government businesses. And for that, it will only become harder to dig out the truth of its broadcasts, for Vene- zuelans and for the rest of the world. “Remaining independent radio and TV broadcasters have engaged in self-censorship regarding the popular protests going on in Venezuela for fear of fines and loss of access to gov- “No somos ni de Izquierda ni de Derecha, somos los de Abajo y Vamos a por los de Arriba”/We are neither Left nor Right, we are the Underdogs and We go for the Top. VENEZUELA BY : AriannaTalaie #La Salida