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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Between Fallacy and Fulfillment: Dismantling the Re-emergence of the Clash of Civilizations Narrative

Mwahaki King
B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs | Occidental College
M.A. Law and Diplomacy | The Fletcher School, Tufts University
December 2015

Between Fallacy and Fulfillment: Dismantling the Re-emergence of the Clash of Civilizations Narrative
Recently, terrorist attacks in New York, London and Paris have resurrected the “clash of civilizations” narrative that pits Islam and the West as monolithic entities locked in an eternal battle with one another for supremacy and domination. Mainstream media and political candidates in the United States have taken this up with fervor, preying on the American populace’s fear and inciting rampant Islamophobia. The “clash of civilizations” is not only an antiquated and lazy term that minimalizes an entire religion [1] and casually ignores centuries of communication, trade and peaceful cross-cultural co-existence [2]; but it is also highly dangerous to the safety of Muslims everywhere as they are forced to live in a climate of fear at the mercy of the bigoted, ignorant or simply misinformed. Furthermore, Muslims like any other group of people are individuals and as such react to and process information differently from one another. There is no singular reaction when accused of being inherently dangerous and naturally predisposed to violence. Some moderate Muslims react by distancing themselves from such benighted and incendiary claims, while others fueled by anger, resentment or socioeconomic inequalities can become radicalized by such remarks. As such, the “clash of civilizations” can sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy when manipulated by the media, politicians and those with no understanding of historical nuance. Quite frankly, it serves as a divide and conquer tactic that is counter-productive for anyone truly interested in proactively confronting and eradicating Islamic terrorism [3] and violent extremism. 

Saving South Asia: How the Negative Effects of Climate Change in South Asia Will Create Some of the Greatest Security Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

Mwahaki King
Spring 2015
B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs || Occidental College
M.A. Law and Diplomacy ||  The Fletcher School, Tufts University 

Saving South Asia: How the Negative Effects of Climate Change in South Asia Will Create Some of the Greatest Security Challenges of the Twenty-First Century


Background

This paper proceeds from the assumption that addressing the effects of climate change in South Asia will be one of the greatest but also one of the most important challenges of the twenty first century. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), temperatures are predicted to rise worldwide by 0.6 to 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st Century. Specifically for South Asia, the temperature is expected to rise on average by 3.3 degrees (Celsius) but could reach a maximum of 4.7 degrees (Celsius).Temperature rises on the Tibetan Plateau have already started glacial retreats in the Himalayas. Furthermore, these increased temperatures will have a profound effect on sea levels. Sea levels are expected to rise between 0.18 and 0.59 meters, and that is without taking into account the possible rapid changes from ice flows. The IPCC predicts that the cities of Thatta and Badin in Sindh, Pakistan will be entirely submerged by 2025. Today, sea level rises have already submerged low-lying islands in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Sundarbans in Bengal. The Sundarbans is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world, covering approximately 10,000 square kilometers and thousands of people have already been displaced due to increased sea levels. This information provides the statistical foundation for the progression of this paper. 

The Possibility of World War III: Outbreak in the Middle East

Mwahaki King
Spring 2015
B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs || Occidental College
M.A. Law and Diplomacy ||  The Fletcher School, Tufts University 

Prompt: Your Head of State has asked you to assess policy towards the most volatile, dangerous flashpoint on the globe. Drawing upon your knowledge of the origins of World War I, where do you see the greatest risk of World War III breaking out? Is it inevitable? If not, what policies might help stave it off? Will "appeasement" or the "Vietnam syndrome" help or hurt? Write a memo of four (4) pages.

The Possibility of World War III: Outbreak in the Middle East

The area that poses the greatest risk for an outbreak of World War III is the Middle East. This is due to resource competition exacerbated by severe environmental concerns and the internal conflicts stimulated by regional instability and large youth unemployment. 
Water scarcity is a major problem for several Arab states. This, in conjunction with rapid desertification is having a detrimental effect on agriculture and increasing malnutrition rates.[1] These environmental concerns will only worsen as the century continues. [2] Furthermore, the regional instability seen in the Syrian civil war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, coupled with the largely disenfranchised youth population that ignited the revolutions of the Arab Spring will lead to inter-state warfare as the environmental factors place additional stress on already limited resources. As this region is the epicenter of global oil production, Western powers such as the United States will feel the need to intervene to protect their national interest in the oil, elevating the conflict to a World War III scenario. Additionally, water scarcity is also a massive problem for rising power, India [3] and unless a solution is found the consequences in a World War III situation could be disastrous
However, an outbreak of World War III is not inevitable. The similarities do exist between this World War III scenario and World War I, particularly internal conflict, resource competition and in some spheres of the West the belief that with modern technology war can be easy. Nevertheless, we are not doomed to make the same mistakes. If policies are enacted to address the underlying issues, primarily water scarcity and youth unemployment the risk of war can be greatly reduced. While being problematic, regional instability alone will not lead to an inter-state conflict of World War III proportions. The Swedish and Swiss governments have already developed measures to tackle the water crisis designed for the Middle East and the World Economic Forum has made suggestions specifically targeted at Middle Eastern youth

Bargaining with the Bear: How the Lessons Russia Drew from the End of the Cold War Have impacted its Current Worldview

Mwahaki King
Spring 2015
B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs || Occidental College
M.A. Law and Diplomacy ||  The Fletcher School, Tufts University 

Prompt: Did the end of the Cold War impact Russia’s contemporary outlook on the world and if so, how? Make your argument in no more than four (4) pages.

Bargaining with the Bear: How the Lessons Russia  Drew from the End of the Cold War Have impacted its Current Worldview

This paper proceeds from the assumption that the lessons Russia drew from the end of the Cold War continue to shape the state’s worldview and foreign policy today. It is imperative for policy makers outside Russia to understand that the lessons Russia took from the end of the Cold War were drastically disparate from those taken by the United States of America and as such the way in which Russia approaches the outside world is remarkably different. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand the backgrounds Russia’s current leaders, towards the end of the Cold War. This comprehension will be essential for effective analysis of Russia’s modern external decisions.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Restorative Justice, Gender and the National Psyche: A Review of Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa

Mwahaki King
Autumn 2015
B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs || Occidental College
M.A. Law and Diplomacy ||  The Fletcher School, Tufts University 



Restorative Justice, Gender and the National Psyche: A Review of Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa 


Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgeiveness in the New South Africa, is a searing literary and psychological analysis of the complex nature of the apartheid system in South Africa. As a renowned poet and journalist, Krog expertly weaves prose and poetry with her journalistic coverage and personal experiences to examine the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. Krog also insightfully brings the notion of gender into her analysis, a feature that is often lacking in examinations of South Africa’s TRC.