In Western media there has been justifiable outrage over the reports of concentration camps being established in Chechnya. Naturally such a move should be condemned and pressure need to be put on the Russian government to either stop the persecution or permit the safe passage of those under threat out of Chechnya. However, this doesn’t require any substantive political analysis as even those who do not especially care about LGBT rights would oppose the establishment of concentration camps. The subject of this piece is concerning the discourse around this news story, particularly the view that seeks to link this new development with Chechnya’s status as a Muslim-majority area.
On the campaign trail Donald Trump paid lip service to the idea of non-intervention by arguing from a position of economic nationalism. Any illusion that he was intending to reduce the role of the American military in the world has now been shattered, but this is not especially surprising given his temperament. In response to the suspected chemical attack in Idlib province on Tuesday, the US military has launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian military installations. The targets are centred on the Shayrat Airfield south of the Syrian city of Homs and were designed to cripple the Assad government’s aerial capability. Everything about this is situation is terrible.
A week ago the German Development Minister Gerd Müller has suggested that in order to stem the flow of refugees coming from Africa, as well as enhance the economic prospects of these countries, an economic assistance programme modeled on the Marshall Plan should be implemented. The German Development Ministry have even said that in next few weeks they shall publish a report outlining how such a plan could be enacted. At this early stage the proposal would include measures to improve education and training, strengthen the rule of law, and provide massive amounts of employment.
A significant number of people in the world support democracy but there are some instances where democracy comes with an asterisk. By an asterisk I mean that a democratic decision made by people may be deemed illegitimate by others for a number of different factors. The purpose of this piece is to take hypothetical examples, and some real-world instances, to ascertain if the democratic decision reached in these scenarios could be regarded as legitimate. The default position of many ordinary people is that democratic decisions should be respected but I contend that in some instances there is a grey area that needs to be made more clear.
The Liberal Democrats have called on NATO to suspend Turkey from the military alliance because of the Turkish government’s recent crackdown on dissent following the failed coup d’etat in the country. The Lib Dems claim that the actions by the Turkish government violate “the principles of liberty, democracy, and rule of law that NATO upholds”. This response illustrates why political discourse in foreign policy is so poorly understood as people ascribe qualities to an institution rather than what the institution actually stands for.
Three weeks ago Radovan Karadzic, the architect of the Srebrenica massacre, was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). This is, of course, a victory for international justice however the fallout of the decision exposed a number of things about the mechanisms for enforcing international law. As well as illustrating the complicated nature of this system, the successful prosecution illustrated how no ‘Western’ leader will be prosecuted for crimes against humanity or any other violations of international law. If international law is to exist then it must be universal, and there must be a huge simplification of the international justice system.