The Compass

New Pakistani Legislation Promotes Women’s Rights

New Pakistani Legislation Promotes Women’s Rights

In October, the Parliament of Pakistan unanimously passed historic legislation for women, declaring that perpetrators of “honor killings” can no longer be forgiven and pardoned by the family of the victim and serve zero time in jail. There is now a 25-year mandatory prison sentence for perpetrators of the crime, […]

Rethinking the Jihadist Threat in Syria

Rethinking the Jihadist Threat in Syria

Amidst the chaos, suffering, and confusion of the Syrian Civil War, popular rhetoric in the media has understandably swung towards a rudimentary, far-simplified explanation of the conflict. It has been painted as a stalemated bloodbath between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria […]

Syria: A Hard Pill to Swallow

Syria: A Hard Pill to Swallow

Little more than two weeks after the latest ceasefire fell apart, the U.S. has cut off talks on Syria with Russia, at least for the time being. Little more than two weeks after the latest ceasefire fell apart, the U.S. has cut off talks on Syria with Russia, at least […]

HANGZHOU, CHINA SEPTEMBER 5, 2016: US President Barack Obama (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry meet with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei DruzhininTASS via Getty Images)

American Prestige in Decline, Thanks Obama

Upon Air Force One’s landing in Hangzhou, China, for the G20 summit in early September – amid U.S.-China tensions and the general perception of U.S. decline – Chinese officials refused to roll out the red-carpet staircase for President Barack Obama. Instead, he had to, as one expert put it, leave […]

Questionable American Airstrikes in Syria

Questionable American Airstrikes in Syria

On September 17th, 2016, the United States made a fatal mistake, carrying out an airstrike on Syrian government troops that were thought to be ISIS militants, inadvertently killing sixty-two troops and wounding hundreds. This is not the first time a United States led coalition’s use of drones resulted in the […]

What the 2016 LegCo elections mean for Hong Kong

What the 2016 LegCo elections mean for Hong Kong

The last time I discussed the political situation of Hong Kong a few months ago, I predicted that the Hong Kong Legislative Council, also known as LegCo, elections would sway to the mainland regime’s favor. As it turned out, that prediction failed to come true, but was not totally wrong either. The […]

Shifting Dynamics of a Nuclear North Korea

Shifting Dynamics of a Nuclear North Korea

On September 9th, North Korea conducted its fifth and most recent nuclear test. While we often look at Kim Jong Un’s displays of military bravado as childish temper tantrums, this time the threat may be credible, affecting both regional and international security. Pyongyang has been creating new bombs in terms […]

What Does Islam Karimov’s Death Mean For Uzbekistan and Central Asia?

What Does Islam Karimov’s Death Mean For Uzbekistan and Central Asia?

Central Asia’s largest country by population, Uzbekistan, is currently going through its most crucial leadership transition in recent history. On August 29th, reports began to emerge from various Russian-language media outlets that Islam Karimov, the only president in Uzbekistan’s history, had passed away after suffering a stroke. Government sources vehemently […]

ODA and Corruption: Vietnam’s Development Scheme Walks a Thin Line

ODA and Corruption: Vietnam’s Development Scheme Walks a Thin Line

Japan’s postwar foreign policy has been structured around its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program, proactive measures designed to improve human welfare in developing countries and further Japan’s economic interests. In East Asia, Japan and Vietnam’s partnership has grown from the implementation of the ODA. Vietnam has been the most successful […]

TOPSHOT - A Belgian soldier speaks to a police officer outside Brussels Central Station as people are allowed in small groups of ten to reach the station in order to take their commuter train following attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016. 
Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights and European railways froze links with Brussels after a series of bombs blasts killed around 35 people in the city's airport and a metro train, sparking a broad security response. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe’s Transnational Security Shortcomings

The terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22 has brought the European security complex under increased scrutiny for alleged shortfalls, as critics claim the attacks could have been prevented if intelligence-sharing networks were stronger. Amid these charges of incompetence, many European officials have echoed previous calls for the creation of […]

The Power and Politics of “Almost”

The Power and Politics of “Almost”

On April 14th, 2016, a Russian Su-27 jet crashed into a RC-135 US aircraft. Presidents Obama and Putin – after failing to reach a peaceful agreement – resorted to force and declared war on their respective nations. All told, the world is watching in horror as two superpowers descend once […]

Bernie’s World: The Oversimplification of Israel

Bernie’s World: The Oversimplification of Israel

Even as a young Republican, I have to appreciate the world from Bernie Sanders’ point of view. In Bernie’s world, everything is wonderfully black and white; anything that makes sense in theory works flawlessly in practice; and all people everywhere just want to get along. I confess: Bernie’s world is […]

Making Sense of the Panama Papers

Making Sense of the Panama Papers

What has emerged from the release of the Panama Papers, a phrase that now seems to overshadow WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, and the Pentagon Papers in significance – paradoxically remains jarring and enigmatic. Despite following the largest data leak in world history basically since its flashpoint, I still have questions that […]

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front Party.

The Rise of the Far-Right in Europe

  “We are ready to open the ovens. We will turn them into soap… to wash cars and pavements. We will make lamps from their skin.” These remarks do not come from Nazi Germany, but from a Greek parliamentary candidate running as a member of the far-right Golden Dawn party […]

Are we nearing another housing bubble?

Are we nearing another housing bubble?

The short answer is no. Most people who sat through two and a half hours of The Big Short were ready to predict the next financial crisis, but nothing of that housing bubble’s magnitude can exist today. Those years were marked with blatantly illegal underwriting standards, and poor risk management […]

Will the Umbrella Revolution Return? Probably.

Will the Umbrella Revolution Return? Probably.

In 2014, when the Chinese Communist party announced that it would require preapproval of candidates for Hong Kong’s highest office under Beijing’s proposed reforms, many residents of Hong Kong noted the apparent contradictions with Hong Kong’s Basic Law promising the right to self-determination and democratic and civil liberties. This lack […]

Children in the Za’atari refugee camp with a mural that says “Let’s go register for school.” (Photo:  UNHCR/J.Kohler)

Avoiding a “Lost Generation” of Syrians

The Syrian refugee crisis needs no introduction. Since the start of the conflict in 2011, an estimated 11 million people have been displaced. In American media, we are presented with news that largely focuses on the way the crisis is affecting our country and countries in Europe. While the influx […]

Conflict Over the Kurds: The United States and Turkey

Conflict Over the Kurds: The United States and Turkey

U.S. policymakers across the political spectrum have recognized that to effectively combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the United States needs reliable allies on the ground to follow up on their aerial campaign. For a while, it seemed that Kurdish militias could provide this much needed support. […]

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and French President Francois Hollande (R) meet for bilateral talks before a summit to discuss the conflict in Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France,  October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Michel Euler/Pool

France and ISIS: The Russian problem

“I may climb perhaps to no great heights, but I will climb alone” is my favorite line from the famous French play Cyrano de Bergerac. The 1990 cinema reenactment was particularly well done. Gérard Depardieu – a man who epitomizes Gallic spirit and French culture – played Cyrano. Everyone loved the world’s best […]

H.E. Frank Walter Steinmier encourages transatlantic partnerships at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs

Germany’s Foreign Minister Calls for More Trans-Atlantic Cooperation, Condemns Politics of Fear

In a visit hosted by the Elliott School of International Affairs on Tuesday, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeier struck an optimistic tone as he delivered remarks on why the Trans-Atlantic Partnership is crucial for solving global problems. Steinmeier, who has served since 2013, outlined the major global challenges Germany […]

“Brexit” a bad move

“Brexit” a bad move

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently set June 23 as the date for the highly-anticipated referendum to decide the future of the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union (EU). The announcement followed two days of negotiations with EU leaders, from which Cameron emerged with an agreement limiting some EU power over the […]

The 2016 Munich Security Conference (Feb. 11, 2016 - Source: Lennart Preiss/Getty Images Europe)

Bleak Predictions at the 2016 Munich Security Conference

The 52nd Munich Security Conference (MSC) has come to an end and has left the world with a litany of horrific concerns. From February 12-14, 2016, over 600 of the world’s most influential decision-makers in international security policy gathered in Munich, Germany to discuss some of the most troubling security […]

Aung San Suu Kyi greets crowd at National League for Democracy rally

Myanmar’s Transition: NLD Enters Uncharted Waters

The sidewalks of the city of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, serve as a perfect metaphor for the problems the country faces. The cement pavers are cracked and crumbling, and often jut out at such extreme angles that it would be easier to walk if they hadn’t attempted to build a […]

Why We Can’t Call it Radical Islamic Terrorism

Why We Can’t Call it Radical Islamic Terrorism

In light of the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad, the discussion surrounding the term radical Islamic terrorism has been enlivened with a newfound sense of urgency. In the November 14th Democratic debate, the candidates were asked point blank whether they would describe the War on Terror as a […]

Time to Ditch First-Past-the-Post Voting

Time to Ditch First-Past-the-Post Voting

By Conor McGrath Last month, Canada’s Liberal Party swept to electoral victory, ending Stephan Harper’s 9 year-long Premiership. The Liberal’s victory garnered the party an impressive 184 seats, enough to form a Parliamentary majority with Justin Trudeau at the helm. However, a majority of Canadians did not vote for Trudeau’s […]

The United States and the Refugee Crisis: A Promising Start

The United States and the Refugee Crisis: A Promising Start

By Conor McGrath   Just over a week after the world awakened to images of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body splashed across newspaper front-pages, the Obama Administration announced that it will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees this year, twice the amount the United States had already pledged to take. Finally, it seems, […]

Iran Map

Analyzing the Iran Deal

If you bat one eye at CNN, Fox, or any major news network, you know the current hot debate is whether Congress should accept or reject the recent nonproliferation treaty between Iran and the P5+1, a group of six countries that joined together in 2006 to start diplomatic efforts on […]

The Yemen Crisis and American Grand Strategy

Saudi Arabia has begun an aggressive airstrike campaign to combat the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels by controlling the Yemeni skies and coast. Is there a role for more international intervention to defuse the situation? Should the United States step in on the side of its ally, Saudi Arabia? Blog post by: Conor […]

Corruption in Brazil forces accountability

Corruption in Brazil – In recent weeks, corruption scandals have rocked the political landscape in Brazil. President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity has plummeted thanks to the Petrobras scandal, and now a multimillion dollar scheme involving over 70 companies bribing tax officials is making headlines. Will this be a wakeup call for […]

100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: A Look into the Future of The Armenian-Turkish Relations

April 24th marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. A century later, the genocide remains controversial as Turkey and Armenia disagree on the events of 1915. Armenia and twenty countries around the world, many with active Armenian diaspora communities, recognize the genocide took place. Turkey’s official position is that forced migrations throughout the region resulted in the deaths of […]

Is Athens burning? Reflections on a Divided Europe

Blog post by: Sam Kramer January’s elections in Greece left no uncertainty as to the popular opinion there. Far-left, anti-Euro Syriza won 48% of the seats, one of the biggest margins since democracy’s return in 1976. Berlin and Brussels are concerned for the rest of the Eurozone. Greece, saddled with […]

Double Take: Israel

Double Take: Israel

Politics Transcended  Blog post by: Alisa Laufer When considering challenges present in the American political scene—before the economy, the environment, or health care—I worry first about the lack of bipartisanship among our national leaders.  Without compromise across the aisle, issues that should be prioritized suffer from excessive debate and stalling.  That […]