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International Relations

US administrations may change, but the North Korean problem, in all its guises, has plagued the United States for at least the past thirty years. The new Commander-in-Chief, Joe Biden, and his administration are facing increasing calls from the broader international community to clarify US policy towards East Asia, which includes China, Japan, and the two Koreas. The last Democratic administration, that of Barack Obama, focused on strengthening US bilateral alliances within the East Asian region, regional stability, and bolstering relationships with emerging powers. Yet, it did not fully address one of the greatest geopolitical challenges in the region: North Korea’s nuclear program. During the Obama administration, North Korea conducted four nuclear tests, one of which it claimed to be …

The chasm between what the presidencies of Trump and Biden mean for the ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK has starkly demonstrated how dependent the UK is on the occupant of the White House for its relationship with the US. It would be easy for the UK to forget the lessons it learned from engaging with Trump, who put less value on the bilateral relationship with the UK, because of the comparative enthusiasm of President Biden. However, it is exactly  the experience of  the Trump era that should convince UK policymakers to think about how to insulate the UK from volatility in the White House. US-UK cooperation on areas like security and defence will never be in question, but the likelihood of a broad trade deal, …

Welcome to the OxPol Blogcast, a podcast where we will be sharing research, analysis, and experiences from members of the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. On each episode, we will talk to a guest about a piece they’ve written for the OxPol Blog. Then, we’ll discuss their larger research agenda, their insights on conducting political science, and their time at Oxford. On the 2nd episode of the OxPol BlogCast, host Chase Harrison talks to MPhil students Jasmine Chia and Scott Singer about the Milk Tea Alliance and its relationship to 20th century black anti-colonialists. They also discuss the movement to decenter International Relations scholarship. Read the original blog post here: https://blog.politics.ox.ac.uk/the-new-worldmakers-how-the-20th-century-black-anticolonial-dialogue-reveals-the-strategic-importance-of-the-milk-tea-alliance/

On 14 July, following legal proceedings, the National Archives of Australia released correspondence between Sir John Kerr, who served as Governor General of Australia from 1974–77, and Sir Martin Charteris, the Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to the queen. The letters concern Kerr’s decision to dismiss Gough Whitlam, the Labor Prime Minister, who was then locked in a battle between the House of Representatives, where he held a majority, and the Senate, which opposed him and was blocking supply (the federal budget).  Leading scholars, such as Anne Twomey, as well as Buckingham Palace, have argued that the letters contain no smoking gun connecting Kerr’s actions to the monarch or her PPS. However, we believe that we can see a wisp of smoke. And it lingered. Kerr and Charteris …

Growing tension in Berlin. A proxy war in Korea. The escalating Space Race. The world—and particularly its realists—focused on the evolving great power competition between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War. However, in the shadows of this marquee battle, black leaders such as Kwame Nkumrah, Eric Williams, and George Padmore drove an anticolonial dialogue that sought to transform the international order on their own accord. Their core mission: to reframe sovereignty, reconceptualising it as self-determination and the elimination of racial hierarchy.  This weighty conversation, which took place from the 1950s to the 1980s, doesn’t seem related to an Asian meme war in 2020. However, amidst a new, growing Cold War between the U.S. and China, the ‘Milk Tea Alliance’ has emerged as the newest supranational …

As the host of the postponed COP26 climate summit, the UK has set out the ambitious goal to convince all countries to commit to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible within their mandatory climate targets. Reducing overall emissions remains the paramount task of global climate governance. However, an overlooked but defining question concerns carbon accounting—the methodology of how national CO2 emissions are assessed. The conventional territory-related production approach, which has traditionally been used in climate governance, stands in contrast to an often ignored consumption-based approach, which more closely captures emissions embodied in the domestic end-use of energy and goods. This article lays out why the seemingly dull and technical matter of carbon accounting has the potential to become the future stepping-stone for a global consensus on …

In 2009, Nobel Prize laureate and former Chief Economist of the World Bank Paul Romer proposed the concept of ‘charter cities.’ In contrast to special economic zones, charter cities were envisaged as quasi-sovereign units located within existing states which were to be maintained by a foreign guarantor nation or nations. This arrangement would not merely construct a separate economic framework for the designated territory, but also establish a legal and political system autonomous from the host state. This, Romer believed, would create city-scale epicentres to stimulate economic development within the Global South. This piece examines Romer’s project and questions the immediate feasibility of such a project by taking into account the ‘stickiness’ of ideas regarding the territorial sovereign state.  Since 2009, the idea of charter …
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meets Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu at UN Headquarters in 2018

With the diversion of Israel’s military resources towards West Bank, Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territory appears imminent, pending approval from and coordination with the American administration. Struggling to rally right-wing voters amidst the fight for his political survival in the elections of April, September 2019 and March 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had stated that he would “apply Israeli sovereignty” over the West Bank, if re-elected. Bolstered by the reversal of decades of American policy on the issue and the subsequent release of Trump’s much criticized, one-sided ‘Middle East Peace Plan’ in January 2020, Netanyahu has aggressively pursued the annexation agenda with the emergency government formed with Benny Gantz in March 2020. Considering the expected blockage of the Security …