Site icon


Published Articles

The Disabled Community and Employment in Arizona

Throughout my job search, there were hundreds or even thousands of applicants for job postings in Tucson, Arizona. I am 50 years old, been disabled since 2003, and I have no recent work experience. Apparently, three strikes, and I’m out from looking for meaningful and gainful employment in Arizona. By gainful employment, I mean a job that actually pays a living hourly or salaried wage in Arizona. Bots that search resumes do not give a complete account of individuals with disabilities. HR reps need to take the time to dig a little deeper when it comes to the disabled workforce. Despite my learning and physical disability, I just graduated from the University of Arizona with my bachelor’s degree in Political Science/International Relations with a 3.7 GPA. I began my job search 6 months prior to graduation to be able to start working as soon as I graduated figuring that would be plenty of time to secure a job. I am not the typical college kid and being that I am 50 years old, have two kids living with me and a house to maintain, I can’t just move back in with my parents until I find work. I was in the engineering/defense field prior to my disability, and I served in the US Navy as a submariner from 1996 – 2001, which translates to plenty of experience that is still relevant today. My disability did not take my experience away, I have kept up with technology and my knowledge base over the years and gained experience in other areas. I also gained licenses in insurance to serve as a backup in case I couldn’t find the job/career I was hoping for. Not discounting those career fields at all, but that is not what I went to college for. All of this adds up to still being very relevant in the current job market.
Outside of the insurance industry, I have only had one decent job offer, but it offered very little to no advancement opportunities and no skills that I could apply to other opportunities. I have sent out over 60 resumes and had multiple recruiters and HR representatives reach out and who wanted an explanation for the large gap in my work history. I tell them that I have been disabled since 2003, and then never hear from them again. I do typically send out a cover letter that explains this and is tailored to a particular job posting. I was part of the Workforce Recruitment Program through the university, which is a program for disabled people to help find work in government agencies. I was part of that for two years and only had one contact through the program. Government agencies use this database to search for disabled people who they feel matches their job openings. Whether they utilize it or not isn’t know to me.
I have found that any job openings that require a medical exam, I will fail, and have failed. Which meant I did not get the job. Because of my disability, I spent 90% of my day studying and doing homework, 7 days a week normally. It was almost impossible for me to socialize in any way because I had to study so much. This leads to no networking opportunities, and the good-ol-boy network of finding jobs is alive and well. It seems ageism and ableism is alive and well also.
Some statistics:
From 20191: 72.7% of Arizona working-age adults employed
26.3% of Arizona working-age adults employed with a cognitive disability
15.8% of Arizona individuals with household income below poverty line
28.3% or Arizona individuals with household income below poverty line with
cognitive disability
According to a report by the Arizona Workforce Development Board, prior to Covid there were 488,802 working age adults with a disability and only 38% were employed2.

Academic Papers

International Law and the Treatment of Refugees

Michael Foglietta, POL 456, University of Arizona

November 29th, 2021   

            We have all seen and heard news and social media reports of refugee crises around the world. International laws have been created regarding the treatment of refugees. With the sheer number of refugees around the world, growing nationalist sentiment and sovereignty issues, and states inability or unwillingness to tackle the problem have acted to contravene international law with regards to the treatment of refugees. The UNHCR and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees were created to address the rights of refugees. In recent years, the number of refugees around the world is in the millions, and reform is needed to address the issue to ensure the basic human rights of refugees as set forth in the agreements are being met.

            The 1951 Convention that was drafted post WWII and addressed the refugee problem that was created by the war and set the definition of a refugee, the principal of refoulment, and established the refugees’ and signing country’s rights and responsibilites1. The following 1967 Protocol addressed refugee crises of the 1950s and 1960s and gave a broader refugee definition of a ‘refugee’ to include all people vs individual countries effected by the war. Following treaties have been created to address more regionally specific refugee crises like the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees and the Convention on Regulating Status of Refugees in the Arab Countries. According to the UNHCR, there are at least 82.4 million people that have been forced to flee their homes, with 26.4 million refugees and millions of stateless people2. The most shocking statistics are from states who are hosting these refugees, UN data calculates that 86% of refugees are being hosted in developing countries while 73% being hosted in neighboring countries, Turkey hosts 3.7m, Syria is the largest source at 6.7m, with Germany the only Western country hosting at least 1.2 million people3. There is aid to refugees through organizations like the WFP, but western nations are better equipped to deal with refugee crises and provide the basic needs and rights guaranteed to refugees, if they so choose. With the numbers of refugees in the tens of millions, international organizations and states must do more to resettle these refugees and give them a chance to survive on their own and support themselves and live autonomously. International law needs to have stronger regulations on resettlement numbers to spread the burden from the developing countries to the western world based on certain indicators like GDP and population. For example, in 2018, only 27 countries accepted 55,700 refugees for resettlement4.

            These low numbers of resettlement can be attributed to, at least partially, growing nationalist sentiment and sovereignty issues. In theory, refugees have access to civil, political, economic, social, cultural rights and the opportunity to become naturalized citizens of the host country5. In practice, those rights are sometimes violated. The US southern border with Mexico is an example. Most individuals who presented themselves to US officials were subjected to expedited removal. To ensure the US is not in violation of international law, the individual(s) are subjected to the credible and reasonable fear tests, but CBP officers do not properly follow this process6. The language is vague and ambiguous. Credible and reasonable fear are not specific and what constitutes these fears is unspecified. During the Trump administration, Trump turned away asylum seekers back to Mexico under the ‘safe third country’ doctrine. Mexico is not designated as a safe third country, so this claim is false and goes against international law of refoulement. Rather than returning refugees to Mexico where they are not safe, the US should build an effective refugee protection system in Mexico7. Growing nationalist sentiment was also perpetuated during the Trump administration and his efforts to severely limit the refugee program have caused anti-refugee sentiment. The issues of sovereignty and national security have caused refugees to be viewed with more suspicion and increasing xenophobia around the world8. While there are rare exceptions, refugees are not terrorists or commit crimes in their host country. Sovereignty concerns are one reason why the US did not sign the 1951 convention. The US also used sovereignty concerns for withdrawing from The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration UN resolution on the assumption that it would become customary international law and circumvent US immigration law such as the 1980 Refugee Act9.

            With the number of refugees in the tens of millions, states’ resources are being drained and outside help from international organizations have had to step in. As in the previous example, the unwillingness of some states to accept more refugees keeps these fellow human beings in refugee camps where they live in inhumane conditions. The largest of these camps is in Bangladesh at the Kutupalong refugee settlement where 700,000 Rohingya refugees live10. Around 22% of the world’s refugee population live in camps, the UN refugee agency does have alternatives where they can live autonomously but they are faced with other challenges like living in sub-standard housing11. At a German refugee center, people are claiming inhumane conditions and inadequate health care while waiting months for their asylum applications to be processed12. Refugees and asylum-seekers can wait years for their applications to be processed. Unwillingness and inability to manage refugee populations can be intertwined. State resources need to be diverted to areas where aid only solves a portion of the problem, like logistical challenges and personnel. International law needs to set minimum goals and standards for addressing refugee populations, and be binding. Housing 700,000 refugees in one of the poorest countries is unacceptable.

            It is a human right that every individual be given the opportunity to improve their socio-economic conditions. Housing refugees in the developing world does not facilitate improvement, it stunts it. International law requires minimum standards that guarantee refugees equal treatment and be enforced, sometimes stepping on the toes of sovereignty to help our fellow human beings. International law is required and coordination between other NGOs and international organizations to coordinate a response to this crisis. Realistically, there are enough personnel and resources around the world to handle the refugee crisis in a more responsible manner.


Assassination and the Consequences: Is it Worth it?

Michael Foglietta, Pol. 202, University of Arizona

February 7th, 2020

 “Assassination is murder-killing a person-using secrecy or surprise…assassinations support the goals of a government, organization, group, or cause” (Berkowitz). There have been several high profile assassinations recently, Qassem Suleimani in Iran, Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, and the attempted assassination Sergei and Yulia Skripal in England. All three carried out in different countries, by three different states, in three different ways, for three different reasons. By the above definition, all three are assassinations with only one that could be considered justifiable. The justifiability of an assassination is determined by the consequences. Not all consequences are equal. A child will only steal a cookie if the child knows he can get away with it and knows the consequences if he’s caught, and the risk is worth the reward.

With the assassination of the Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, who was assassinated in a targeted bombing campaign by the United States, the justification is “that an imminent attack had been foiled and that, in any case, Suleimani was responsible for the deaths of many US and allied soldiers” (Observer editorial). This wasn’t an attack on a stateless terror group, but on a sovereign state. By carrying out the assassination, Trump seems willing to accept the risk and the consequences which are many and varied. US troops are stationed in Iran, are they in danger? Are Britain’s or other allies in danger? Iran has demanded US troops leave Iran. “Attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia by Iran’s allies and proxies appear more likely” (Observer editorial). Was the assassination legal? Is the US considered a rogue actor? Trump appears to be willing to accept all these consequences; all could come to fruition. Without more information on what is meant by an “imminent” attack, a conclusion can’t be known. If there was an imminent attack, it would have been in the national interest to foil the attack and give the American people and our allies a clearer justification for the assassination.

The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi occurred in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey. It was reported that he was strangled to death, his body dismembered and disposed of. He entered the embassy to obtain documents for his marriage. This assassination is different from the Suleimani assassination in that Khashoggi was a journalist. He was a journalist who spoke out against the Saudi Arabian government. After an investigation, it was determined that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned the killing. “The US Senate voted to accuse the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being behind the killing” (Kiley). Saudi Arabia admitted Khashoggi had been killed but it was not sanctioned by the royal court. The team on the ground was supposed to take Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. There were multiple arrests and several men sentenced to death for the assassination. The Crown Prince denied all of the allegations of course, men were convicted, and the assassination of an award winning journalist faded away. It should be noted that Saudi Arabia is a key ally to the US. The consequences seem to be in the reputation of Saudi Arabia. The intelligence services of the US point to the Crown, Trump has ignored this evidence.

We turn to the attempted assassination of Sergei Skipral and his daughter, Yulia, in England. Depending on your beliefs, this could be called an attack. That is until all of the relevant information comes to light. Police treated this as an attempted murder and they were specifically targeted. A nerve agent was used to poison them. “the precise source of the nerve agent had not been verified, but it was likely to have been deployed by a “state actor” (BBC News). The suspects were Russian nationals from the GRU and evidence showed the attack was very likely to be approved by the Russian state. Sergei Skipral was a Russian military intelligence officer convicted of passing the identities of Russian agents undercover in Europe to MI6. Skipral settled down and lived in the UK. The Russian state, including Vladimir Putin, have denied all of the allegations and accused the UK of “Russiaphobia.” A term that has been used multiple times against Russia when Vladimir Putin thinks himself and Russia have been slighted. This case “has drawn comparisons with the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko” (BBC News). He was a former Russian intelligence officer who died in London. The same conclusions were argued that Putin approved it as well. The consequences of this attempted assassination/murder were far different than the first cases here. The UK Prime Minister flatly accused Russia and expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK. UK would not attend FIFA World Cup in Russia. Russian state assets would be frozen because it happened on UK soil. Custom checks would increase. 29 countries expelled 145 Russian officials, and so on. In return, Moscow expelled 23 British diplomats and 60 US diplomats

What stands out the most in these three cases, isn’t the act of the assassination itself, but the consequences. In the case of the US, so far the consequences have been minimal. The Iranians launched a rocket attack on a joint US air base with some non-lethal casualties. But the consequences cannot be known at the moment. For the Saudi’s, the Crown Prince denies any involvement, 20 men are put on trial, international condemnation, and that’s about it. For the Russian state and Putin, as with the Saudi’s, Putin and the state deny any involvement and massive consequences. There are many different political ideals we are dealing with. Saudi Arabia is an important ally to the US. Russia is seen as going back to the Cold War era. Assassinations happen, most go unnoticed. Assassinations happen for different reasons, political reasons. Whether it is right or wrong, the consequences harsh or none at all, the risk vs. the reward, the reputation of a State and the safety of its citizens around the world cannot be taken lightly. Assassination puts people at risk, military and civilians. It is not logical for a state to get permission to assassinate someone, but if there is credible evidence that the assassination isn’t in the interest of saving lives, states should be held accountable. Citizens have a right to know what their country is doing. This idea is oversimplified and there are many facets to this argument. Simply assassinating a man because he speaks out against his/her government is not a valid reason. Assassinating a man for giving state secrets away, serving his time, is not a reason for assassination. Assassinating a ranking member of a government because of a so-called imminent attack, has to be clarified. If I go to a foreign country, I want to be assured that I am safe.

Trade War and Consequences

Michael Foglietta, Pol 360, University of Arizona

September 26, 2020

                In 2018, the Trump administration initiated a trade war with China. The purpose of the trade war has been very clear, and the effect of the trade war is clear, it is hurting the American people. The trade war is helping only two things, Donald Trump, and his ego. It is not known how long Trump can keep the trade war going, but in the meantime, it is hurting the American economy with job loss and higher prices for goods due to the retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese.

                The trade war has significantly hurt the American economy without solving the underlying economic concerns that it was meant to resolve1. Unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and currency manipulation, which are main points of any future trade deal with China. So far, only phase one of the deal has been signed which does address some of those problems. The trade war has yet to bear the fruits of that phase one labor and the effects on the American people. One study by JP Morgan shows that tariffs end up costing US families $600 per year2.

                Many American firms need to import goods from China to make products at home, and as the trade war continues, firms have had to look to other nations to buy products from to avoid the tariffs. The tariffs have hurt importers, like steel and cars. Prior to the trade war, the US was already competing with lower steel prices from other countries like Canada and Mexico. There was hope Trump would remove the tariffs with Canada and Mexico once the USMCA was signed5. That did not happen. The consequences of the new tariffs have led to more price increases, and lost jobs. Manufacturing and farming have been hit hard. With manufacturing, Trump’s thinking was to bring jobs back to America. The data shows this is not happening. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that just 46,000 net manufacturing jobs were added in 2019, an increase of less than 0.5%2. Farming and manufacturing are two industries most effected in the trade war since China imports many agricultural products like soybeans from the US. While the Trump administration is helping these industries with subsidies to help absorb the costs of the trade war, the manufacturing industry is at its lowest point in a decade and many farmers have had to file for bankruptcy2. The subsidies are not helping everyone. Suicide rates and foreclosures have increased3. As a result of retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese, farmers have lost most of what was a $24b dollar market in China.

                The trade war is hurting another area of manufacturing, the export of computer products and technology to China. Two major exports of the US are financial services and technology. China is undertaking its own efforts to cut tech ties with the United States4. China has a big advantage over the US, the CCP can pour huge amounts of money into its economy and become less dependent on the US as many of China’s firms are state-owned. In fact, in one of Trump’s many famous tweets, he ordered American companies to look for alternatives to China or bring their companies back to america3. That comment shows the lack of knowledge and understanding as businesses have been looking at relocating prior to this administration, some have already relocated. Trump has also placed restrictions on two Chinese firms, Huawei and ZTE, which puts limits on how much technology they can buy from the US. About 75% of US companies said the tariffs are having a negative impact on their businesses3. In essence, the tariffs are considered taxes.

                Trump has claimed that other countries are paying the tariffs, while General Motors and Ford have both claimed to have lost $1b dollars each, it is hard to see the connection5. Trump’s other claims, phase one was the biggest deal ever seen and that trade wars are good and easy to win1 are evidence this President’s ego is making the decisions. China can afford to just sit around and wait because many Chinese firms are state-owned which inherently means the state is paying the salaries. US firms stand on their own and are directly affected by the trade war. The Trump administration has made the Trade War a priority which has led to China seeking other trade deals and oppressing its people knowing that the US would not respond for risk of losing the trade deal1. The evidence shows that this President puts ‘The Deal’ as priority over human rights abuses and the economic security of the American people.






Globalization and the Developing World

                The debate about globalization cannot exist as purely good or bad for the developing world. In a general sense, globalization has been good for the developing world, mortality rates have fallen, life expectancy has risen, fewer people in poverty, to name a few. For SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa), the consequences of globalization have resulted from ineffective government, climate change, corruption, Dutch Disease, the resource curse, capital exports, and deindustrialization, which have caused the entire region to be left behind when compared to other regions, like East Asia. The region is caught in a vicious circle where aid is used for debt relief and debt repayment rather than for financing development1. For the reasons stated above, a series of policy initiatives, or lack of, can help to explain the lack of progress and stagnation in the region.

                In the first decade of colonial rule, Africa was growing faster than other developing regions in the worldwith per capita GDP and GDP growth higher in Africa than in Asia and it would grow due to the vast amounts of natural resources2. Oil is one of the major resources available in the region. Oil price hikes and interest rate hikes during the decades after independence spelled the end of growth in Africa. As profits dried up, so did spending on necessary infrastructure projects like education and health. The IMF and World Bank have loaned over $150 billion to countries in Africa, these loans are accompanied by structural adjustment programs which limit the ability of states to make their own economic decisions3. The continent has stagnated since that time. Since 1990, the share of people living in poverty in SSA has dropped from 54.3% to 41%. Compared to East Asia, the share of people living in poverty went from 60.2% to 3.5%4 . In 2001, the poverty incidence was at 46% and the number of poor, based on the US$1 per day, doubled from 164m in 1981 to 313m in 20015. These figures are representative of the problems faced in SSA over the last 4 decades.

                While industrialization had been occurring in most of the developing world, SSA has been experiencing deindustrialization due in large part to ‘Dutch Disease’. A situation where growth in national income from natural resource extraction damages other sectors of a country’s economy6. Since the first industrial revolution led to a surge in international trade, Africa has remained largely on the sidelines of the global economy7. After the shocks of the 1970s and 80s, trade was being liberalized which exposed its infant industries to competition from more developed nations. With decolonization occurring a short time prior, SSA’s industries did not have the time required to mature and therefore could not compete in world markets. In particular, the past neglect-if not overt exploitation-of agriculture in many African countries short-circuited the development process as agriculture is the only potential engine of growth at an early development stage8. In this regard, the loss of tariff income creates less government spending. A phenomenon called ‘immiserizing’ growth9. Compared with East-Asia, public expenditure in favor of the agricultural sector during the early stages of development produced sustained growth10 in that region and have benefited from investing in agriculture during the early stages of development with equitable division of land and education11.

                Agriculture has not been the only shortfall on the continent. Combined with the structural adjustment programs beginning in the 1980s, lack of investment in agriculture and much needed infrastructure by SSA governments, slow growth, rising inequality, and vulnerability to exogenous shocks has contributed to civil conflict in the region12. Investment and FDI in SSA has been geared towards resource extraction and money earned has not been distributed evenly. SSA has been a net capital exporter. Despite growing poverty: its private asset held overseas exceed the continent’s foreign liabilities. In 1990, 40% of privately held wealth was invested outside africa12. After two decades of economic stagnation, contraction and deindustrialization, agrarian problems, corruption, desertification, climate change, disease, conflict, and other scourges have also taken a huge toll on the continent’s economic, social, and political fabric13.

                Recovery is still possible and has shown improvement. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement was ratified creating a single African market for goods and services14. To make bigger gains, the region must invest in its infrastructure and lessening the gap in inequality. As FDI is concentrated on extraction of resources, SSA must begin to diversify. The logical step is to invest in agriculture and bring sustainability to compete with markets in developed world.















Argentine Junta

Argentina has gone through various types of government over its history. The military junta between 1976 and 1983 was particularly brutal and eventually led to a more democratic society. The use of violence to curb dissention is what eventually led to the dictatorship’s downfall. In order to understand the military junta of Argentina, it is necessary to explore the different typologies of authoritarian regimes and give a background of the political climate of Argentina, circumstances leading to the regime, and post-regime. The population was exposed to forced disappearances, torture, murder, kidnapping, and other brutal activities committed by the regime. Military regimes were prevalent in Latin America during this time.
There are several different types of authoritarian regimes, military, personalist, and party-dominated regimes. Each have their own characteristics. In a personalist authoritarian regime, the “power lies in the hands of the leader” (Frantz pg 76). The leader essentially holds all the cards. Trusted advisors and posts are usually help by trustworthy associates or family members. Personalist regimes are more common in underdeveloped countries. Party-dominated regimes have one party that maintains power. There are other parties allowed to contest elections, but rarely win. The party controls power and the government is made up of party elites. “The structure of dominant-party dictatorships is often quite similar to the structure of democracies” (Frantz pg 74). Mexico’s PRI party dominated for decades and are common in Eastern Europe. Military dictatorships, the military is in control of all aspects of government. It is a hierarchical structure, just like the military. Key government posts are filled by high-ranking military officers. This typology was prevalent in Latin American countries due to the proximity of the United States and its aid to the militaries to keep from becoming communist countries and assisted “in executing coups against democratically elected leaders” (Frantz pg 72). There are some leaders like Muammar Gaddafi that wore military style uniforms but are not military regimes.
Latin America has a long history of military regimes. Augusto Pinoche of Chile is probably the most well known of the Latin American dictators, but there were others. Venezuela, Cuba, Panama, Brazil, and others. During The Cold War, the US was even involved in these governments as part of an effort to curb communism in Latin America. Some regimes ended with democratic systems, some ended with another nondemocratic regime. Some were equally as brutal as Argentina’s military dictatorship. Some of the regimes in Latin America happened prior to the Argentine dictatorship, some during, and some after, and had similar typologies using repression and violence. This would assume that these dictatorships do not learn lessons from the past, but their arrogance can be the deciding factor. Prior to the coup, Jorge Videla was asked about the fight against subversion and answered, “In order to guarantee the security of the state, all the necessary people will die” (Arditti pg. 19. He defined a subversive as “Anyone who opposes the Argentine way of life” (Arditti pg. 19).
The typology of the Argentine dictatorship from 1976 – 1983 used methods are very similar to Chile’s dictatorship under Pinochet. The political atmosphere in Argentina was in a state of disarray with an ineffective government, and the people of Argentina welcomed the coup that installed Jorge Videla as its leader. “Argentina’s political history throughout the twentieth century was fraught with institutional instability and military coups” (Crenzel pg. 146). Juan Peron’s return as president used repression as a tool and was kept alive after his death when his wife became his successor. The coup d’état in 1976 that removed Peron’s wife saw this violence becoming a part of everyday life in Argentina. Prior to the coup, “from 1973 to 1976, 1543 political assassinations were committed, 5148 people were imprisoned for political reasons, and another 900 were forcefully disappeared” (Crenzel pg. 146). The military dictatorship continued these acts, and the excuse was “to ‘restore’ Argentina’s national identity” (Juarez-Dappe pg. 79).
The reorganization was labeled as El Processo. The process of returning Argentine values to its society. Along with democratic institutions being eliminated, “the junta indicated that one important goal of El Proceso was to radically transform Argentine society” (Juarez-Dappe pg. 80). This new social order completely altered the state of education. Its goal was to transform society through education. Beginning at the elementary level and continuing through a child’s scholastic career. Teachers were trained under the new curriculum, along with family. Which were the building blocks of this new process. Print media and films were also used to provide legitimacy to the dictatorship and reinforce the values the junta forced upon the Argentinian population. “According the the military leaders, the years of Peronist administration had resulted in social disorder led by the younger generations and manifested not only by the rise of guerrilla activity but, most importantly, by the erosion of the essential Argentine values of social order, discipline and respect for tradition and authority” (Juarez-Dappe pg. 84). Teachers were given literature to explain the dangers of Marxism. Schools and families were the means of transformation. Not only did teachers have to follow these rules, but families also had to follow the rules set out by the junta. It was thought that subversion started in the family. “Marxismo y subversion observed that disorder and the dissolution of hierarchies existed when parents became ‘friends’ with their children; husbands and wives became ‘buddies’; spouses were considered ‘partners’; and children challenged their ‘parents’ (Juarez-Dappe pg. 91). Not only was the junta hierarchical, but families were as well. The father/husband as the leader of the family and responsible for its behavior. Peronism was the personification of what the new junta had to teach away from. The true purpose of the takeover was to “exercise full control over the minds and bodies of the Argentine people” (Juarez-Dappe pg. 100).
Many Latin American countries were caught in the middle between East and West. It is not surprising that the US endorsed some of these regimes and helped install them in power. The US would go to any lengths to secure its ideology, even at the cost of thousands of lives and diabolical dictators. The US trained “Latin American armies to obliterate the menace of Marxism” (Arditti pg. 20). Argentina’s military junta used a hierarchical strategy in line with the military. Key posts were held by senior military members, no elections, and no political parties. The regime had total control of Argentine society. After the honeymoon phase of the junta taking power, subversives began operating in response to the use of violent suppression of Argentine people. State sanctioned violence needed a response and guerilla groups were that response (Guevara pg. 114). Those who did not conform, subversives, were dealt with harshly. Rape, torture, murder, throwing people from helicopters and airplanes, and the disappeared, left no trace for families to find their loved ones. Bodies were buried in mass, unmarked graves, to hide evidence and give families no recourse to pursue legally. The disappeared were just that, disappeared, and the families were left with no bodies to bury, left in a state of purgatory. The children born through rape while in prison, or women pregnant while in prison, the children were taken from them and sent out for adoption. No one was safe from being labeled as a subversive. Due to the unwavering rules of the dictatorship, children were taken from families who were seen as “unfit to raise their children” (Juarez-Dappe pg. 82). Juan Peron himself was responsible for the creation of “a death squad known as the Triple A (the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance) began operating with official backing from the government, murdering hundreds of political activists” (Crenzel pg. 146). This political violence perpetuated through Peron, his wife, and the military junta. Amnesty laws were passed during the Peronist government to justify these human rights abuses and were used by the military junta to also justify their actions in a war against subversion.
Human rights groups were beginning to take notice of these abuses. Human rights law was decreed in the UN charter and in the UNHCR. The military junta was beginning to realize that its government was slipping away. Thus, the reason for attempting to pass amnesty laws to avoid prosecution for its human rights abuses. People were beginning to question the leaders of the dictatorship with regards to their disappeared family members. It was against the law to speak out against the regime, but a few women did just that in the Plaza de Mayo. They were added to the list of disappeared. The group did not falter. More mothers began meeting in the plaza to share their stories with each other. In 1977, which was relatively early in the regime, “the Association of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and organized around one specific demand: that the kidnapped children be returned to their legitimate families” (Arditti pg. 22). The children that were found were living under false pretenses and given to families. Some had knowledge of where the children came from, which makes them culpable to violating these human rights. In 1980, the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights reported that the military was responsible for the disappearances and recommended prosecuting them for human rights abuses (Crenzel pg. 147). Argentine lawyers had been away on business and discussed the abuses by the dictatorship. The Falklands war against the British was supposed to take people’s minds off of the disappearances, a victory might have done that. But Argentina lost that war and were humiliated in defeat. The effect of the war brought even more attention to the abuses. As more people were speaking out against the regime, no one was safe. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, was even abducted and disappeared “until he was officially charged and held openly as a political prisoner” (Crenzel pg. 148). Other exiles were speaking out against the regime and advocated for forced disappearance to be a crime against humanity (Crenzel pg. 148). The Catholic Church, who supported the regime in the beginning, spoke out to have a reconciliation with the methods used by the regime.
After the Falklands defeat, the tone of the regime had changed. The opposition began dialogue with the academic community and philosophers. International organizations were taking notice of the human rights abuses. “The dictatorship was not in a position to impose demands that would prevent an examination of the human rights violations, and the opposition did not wish to assume any commitments with the dictatorship” (Crenzel pg. 148). A new democratic style of government was emerging and filling the vacuum left by the dictatorship. The CELS was formed to promote democracy and investigation the disappearances after discovering a mass grave. The March for Life demonstration drew “100,000 people calling for “trial and punishment for all perpetrators” (Crenzel pg. 149). Some people wanted to forget the past and move on, while others called for justice. A document was released by the junta explaining the justification for its abuses which was universally rejected. Raul Alfonsin was democratically elected as President of Argentina after the fall of the military junta. The decision to prosecute those responsible for the tyranny was a tricky one. “Alfonsin believed that if these crimes were left unpunished, impunity would open the door for them to be repeated in the future” (Crenzel pg. 150). It should be noted here that there were other dictatorships in Latin America, and this could serve as an example of the fight against repression.
But there were sets of individuals in the junta that ordered the atrocities and those that carried them out. In the military, there will never be a time when a soldier is questioned about following an order. It is normal practice for the leadership to be prosecuted. If someone does not follow orders, their lives would be in danger. Ethics is the question that confronted by who would be put on trial. Human rights law was still relatively new at this point in time. Experiments had been conducted at the collegiate level about whether a person would follow an order knowing that the other person was being harmed. In the end, some were put on trial and convicted, only to be later released from prison by another President. The Truth Commission was another avenue by which international law could be tried without international institutions (Guevara pg. 126).
The legacy of the military junta can still be felt today. The Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo is still attempting to find the missing children of this dirty war. There have been many children found with some success at reuniting families. Some children only knew one family growing up and found it difficult to relate to their true families. The children knowing what happened to them are still dealing with the psychological cost of being ripped away from their true families. It is interesting to note that many Argentinians are still angry at the loss in the Falkland Islands and still harbor resentment towards the British.

Britain and the Rise of China: Decisions

Over the centuries, great powers have risen and fallen, changing the course of history in different ways. Various dimensions throughout time have shaped our world into what it is today. Although world war has become obsolete, and globalization the norm, the rising economy of China is the new threat to the globalized world and Britain has engaged its own strategy on how to deal with the threat of a rising China using trade and FDI. Each side of British politics has its own view on how to deal with China. With Britain leaving the EU, new challenges face both the Chinese and the British.

                The election of 2015 gave the conservatives a majority in the House of Commons and was now able to implement policies that would boost the parties “electoral fortunes and cement the party’s ascendency” (Harris, 2017, p. 250). Prior to that in the 2010 election, there was a ‘hung parliament’ which meant no party had a majority. A coalition government formed. Labour no longer had a majority. The task was now to change the political landscape with the coalition government. China played a role in this change where both parties made China a key issue in domestic politics (Harris, 2017, p. 241) until 2016 when Britain passed a referendum to leave the EU.

                Prime Minister David Cameron and many other MPs resigned in 2015 and Theresa May became Prime Minister and the head of the Conservative government. They conservatives took over the government but inherited massive debt. The 2008 financial crisis was devastating to Britain. One of the main policies for the new government would be to fix the economy. The massive debt, a problem their Labour predecessors left Conservatives to deal with was the result of investment in public services and the response to the global financial crisis which involved policies to stabilize the economy, bailouts of financial institutions, stimulus package, and reduction of the consumption tax (Harris, 2017, p. 251). The problem facing Britain was, how do you invest in infrastructure without increasing spending? The answer, China.

                To fill the gaps by using foreign direct investment, you need investors. The Conservatives had their road map to China, much to the dismay of the outgoing Labour party (Harris, 2017, p. 252). China has become a major lender of FDI to Britain and benefited from the rise of China. This agenda is a major shift in British politics. The Sino-British partnership is a large part of this shift. “Britain was the first Western government to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), for example, which was widely viewed as a diplomatic overture aimed and currying favor with Chinses leaders, and in 2015 the country hosted President Xi to great fanfare” (Harris, 2017, p. 254). After this visit, billions of dollars flowed into Britain. Fiscal austerity could be achieved without taking austerity measures that would hurt the people of Britain and funding from China was a key part of major projects in Britain. Of course, when you have infrastructure projects, you create jobs which is good for the economy. The less unemployment, the more spending.

                Not everyone is happy about the new relationship. Especially Labour. Anti-China sentiment is engrained into the DNA of Labour. Chinese investment is seen as a political threat. Furthermore, the policies towards China needed to be abandoned to engage in homegrown economic recovery (Harris, 2017, p. 256). China is associated with low-paying jobs. Britain would have to compete with that; thus, firms would leave Britain for China. Labour wanted to open a National Investment Bank using public funds for infrastructure versus foreign capital. Labour’s position on China in part was to create anti-China sentiment at home to gain public favor with the idea of the state over foreign capital. Labour politicians were not warm to the idea of the rise of China in world politics. Labour was involved politicizing the loss of jobs in the steel industry and blamed China for the slowdown of the steel industry in Britain.

                As is the case in politics, there is always opposition. Whoever is in power, usually makes policy. What should be done, is usually somewhere in the middle of both sides’ ideas. There is no real way to know yet if the Conservatives made the right choices. Or to know what Labour would have exactly done if they were in power and if they would have made the choices. The fact is, China helped pull Britain out of the debt crisis and China is a rising power and it is reshaping economic and foreign policy. China’s role in international affairs is rising along with its economic status. China is now the second largest economy in the world (Harris, 2017, p. 253). With Britain leaving the EU, there are more challenges ahead.

                One challenge, trade, is one of the biggest questions to be asked. There are many dimensions to economic and foreign policy between Britain and China. Now that Britain has left the EU, it must forge its own path with China with regards to trade and investment, inward to China and outward towards China. This process will be extremely challenging and probably take years to come to any agreements. Both sides want to be able to benefit from any deals. There are many hurdles to overcome. Brexit, political constraints, technical barriers to trade, economic reform, giving China market economy status, economic and national security issues, and human rights.

                The rise of China can be thought of in conjunction with these issues. As China rises, so does the attention on these issues. Within the Brexit context, Brexit is bound to have an impact on a privileged economic partner such as China (Morales and O’Callaghan, 2018, p. 2). During its 43 years of EU membership, Britain enjoyed the economic gains as a member of the EU. As it leaves, Britain is now on its own to forge new deals. China and Britain have a long history together and China is Britain’s largest source of FDI. Now that Britain is free to negotiate outside of the EU, Britain wants greater access to the Chinese market through FDI. Whether it be FDI or FTAs with China, Britain and China have many other challenges to consider along with its own intentions.

                While the consequences and/or benefits of Brexit are yet to be seen, relations might be strained before they even begin. China’s market economy status is in jeopardy by Brexit. Britain supported market economy status for China while in the EU. China is a labor rich country; market economy status would enable China to produce more, and cheaper goods to sell in the EU and allow Chinese investors greater access. That loss could also be felt in Britain. For Britain, “it might commit to a country that raises global concerns regarding its legal and political system and as a result the UK could become potentially isolated from global economic and financial affairs” (Morales and O’Callaghan, 2018, pp. 4-5). Any deal with the UK will most likely have one condition, giving China MES. Granting China MES status comes with its own challenges.

                China joined the WTO in 2001. WTO rules state “Under WTO trade defense rules specific treatment is accorded to exporters based in WTO member countries that are not recognized as market economies” (Cooks and Farnell, 2018, p. 109). China believes it should be granted MES status automatically just by joining the WTO. Developed countries want China to meet certain conditions, one of which is the WTO Anti-Dumping agreement. China has other FTAs with different countries that have granted China MES status. If any deal is to be with Britain, one condition in the agreement would be to grant China MES status. This comes with its own hurdles to overcome.

                Political constraints are going to hinder negotiations with China. The EU, US, and domestic constraints will influence Britain’s negotiations with China. Britain is a close ally to the US, it is an outspoken critic of Chinese human rights violations, Hong Kong was a colony of Britain until 1997, and still has treaty commitments to Hong Kong. “Ministers will need to find a balance between demands at home for stronger engagement with China and highly controversial issues such as democracy in Hong Kong, mass detentions in Xinjiang, and China’s role in the future of the international system” (Crooks and Farnell, 2018, p. 114). If Britain remains in the EU customs union, it will have to abide by their rules. The EU is Britain’s biggest trading partner. “Evidence already suggests that the US is ready to respond robustly to any foreign government, ally or not, that takes measures in respect of China that undermine US interests, such as by granting China MES status, offering concessions that might reduce international pressure on China to abide by international rules, or permitting acquisitions of technology assets by Chinese state-backed firms” (Cooks and Farnell, 2018, p. 113). Domestic constraints will hurt negotiations. It will be Britain that will be doing the negotiating, which will make the negotiations more public and influence public opinion. Brexit was in large part based on growing anti-foreign sentiment with the number of refugees flowing into the country and FDI coming into the country (Morales and O’Callahan, 2018, p. 4). Protectionism in the UK will also hinder negotiations with China.

                China also has domestic constraints. The priority of China’s state-owned businesses is the priority of the Chinese government (Crooks and Farnell, 2018, p. 115). Centralized control and no transparency hold China back from getting MES status. The rise of China and Brexit pose real challenges.  Improvements need to be made with respect to transparency, national treatment, and the protection of intellectual property rights (Golley and Song, 2011, ch. 1, p. 4). China’s human rights violations, forced technology sharing, alleged intellectual property theft, national security issues, hamper negotiations with Britain.  

                China’s rise has brought closer scrutiny by Britain and others into national security issues. What China lacks is industrial technology, China’s state-run businesses have national security implications. Britain is a world leader in technology resources and China wants to tap into that market. Concerns have risen in the technology sector. China’s technology is lacking in the industrial side of technology. China is not lacking in other forms of technology. China uses its technology for repression. China has the most intrusive public monitoring system (Roth, 2019, p. 3). Deploying many cameras gives China the ability to use constant surveillance on its own people. China also uses the highly controversial facial-recognition technology, mobile phone apps, and others to allow the CCP to monitor what is being said and to keep opposition from forming (Roth, 2019, p. 4).  China also uses internet censorship to suppress information and prevent the people from being exposed to criticism of the government (Roth, 2019, p. 2). What China lacks is industrial technology, Britain has it, and China wants greater access.

                Human rights are a problem for China. With the detention of millions of Uyghur Muslims for forced indoctrination and attacking anyone who opposes the government (Roth, 2019, p. 2), China is forced to justify its activities on its sovereign territory. Not only does China use electronic surveillance, it uses party cadre as uninvited guests to visit homes and monitor their activities. China uses a social credit system that both punishes and rewards. The people’s trustworthiness gives access to social good, the right to live where they choose, what schools, or even travel (Roth, 2019, p. 3). While china’s record is well-known, China rationalizes its behavior because the CCP is afraid of its own people. Foreign concern on human rights is an infringement on its sovereignty and trying to undermine international institutions. (Roth, 2019, p. 6). Chinese government has signed human rights treaties but uses ambiguity to disregard them. With China’s well-known record on human rights, seemingly no one steps up to China publicly. Including the UK. In meeting with foreign officials, the issue of human rights is never brought up or discussed. Governments are more worried about trade deals than human rights. In the UNHRC, governments expressed concern about human rights, no one read the statement aloud. In the UN General Assembly, the UK read a similar statement, but with hesitation and a reluctance to challenge China.

A big issue is telecoms giant, Huawei. A Chinese telecommunications company given a contract to build some of Britain’s 5g wireless network. “National security worries have also led to curbs on Chinese companies, such as telecoms giant Huawei and ZTE, and on Chinese investment abroad” (Costa, 2018, p. 3). Huawei’s ownership has been called into question. According to Huawei, it is owned by the employees, according to intelligence, the Chinese government pulls the strings. “the potential extraterritorial reach of China’s national security law, that obliges domestic firms to cooperate with Chinese security agencies if and when required” (Crooks and Farnell, 2018, p. 114). As anyone would expect, this leads to mistrust. Despite lobbying against it, Britain decided to approve the project.

                Clearly, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome with regards to how Britain’s foreign policy will deal with a rising China. From domestic issues, to FDI, to trade, to human rights issues, to national security, the domestic constraints Britain will have to overcome, will all determine how Britain will deal with China in the long run. “On the greatest foreign-policy consideration of all, how to deal with China’s rise, London no longer seems to share Washington’s strategic assessment” (Mctague, 2020, p. 2). Not everyone has to agree, but they do need to compromise. The end results have yet to be seen. One thing is for sure, this conversation would not be taking place not so long ago. It seems unfathomable to me that countries put economic concerns over human rights. It is a complex issue. Infrastructure can be put in place in other countries to produce the same products China makes and the money in the form of FDI from other countries if more countries would come together and pool resources.

Works Cited:

Harris, P. (2017). China in British Politics: Western Unexceptionalism in the Shadow of China’s Rise. The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 10(3), 241–267. doi: 10.1093/cjip/pox009

Morales, L. (2018). The Impact of Brexit on the Stock Markets of the Greater China Region. International Journal of Financial Studies, 6(2), 1-19.

Irwin Crookes, P., & Farnell, J. (2019). The UK’s Strategic Partnership with China beyond Brexit: Economic Opportunities Facing Political Constraints. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 48(1), 106-121.

Chinaʹs Rise in a Changing World. (2011). In Golley J. & Song L. (Eds.), Rising China: Global Challenges and Opportunities (pp. 1-8). ANU Press. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from

Ana Nicolaci da Costa. (2018, October 26). Grappling with China’s growing power. BBC News.

Roth, k. (2020, April 10). China’s global threat to human rights. Human Rights Watch.

McTague, T. (2020, January 30). Britain and America have a China problem. The Atlantic.

Sengupta, K. (2019, April 4). UK putting trade with China above security and human rights abuses, warn MPs.The Independent.

Exit mobile version