Posts Tagged

Democracy

During the 2019 Anti-Extradition Bill protests in Hong Kong, activists made extensive efforts to internationalize their movement, engaging in public diplomacy and lobbying foreign governments to support their cause. The Hong Kong pro-democracy lobby—a loose coalition of individuals and organizations aiming to steer Western foreign policy in a direction they believe will benefit Hong Kong’s democratic prospects—emerged amidst this unprecedented grassroots mobilization. Four years on, however, the Hong Kong lobby is facing an uncertain future. Activists are striving to overcome the barriers posed by transnational repression and reinvent their image in today’s fraught geopolitical landscape. Two factors explain the success of Hong Kong activists in constructing and consolidating their lobbying infrastructure in 2019. First, the expansion and transformation of the …

Historian Joseph S. Tulchin once described U.S.-Latin American relations as a “historical legacy of conflict.” Over the last two years, the Biden administration has neglected regional concerns in Latin America. With a new year ahead, the Biden administration must revaluate its relationship with the region with ample considerations of social geopolitical elements tinted with historic predispositions. Regional concerns cannot continue to be addressed from a preoccupied hardline position. As other nations outside the Western hemisphere strengthen their influence in Latin America, the time to disregard human dignity as imperative to current affairs must end. A U.S. Progressive Foreign Policy While the Biden administration has advocated for a foreign policy stipulated to adhere to international human rights norms, it has failed …

The latest mass uprisings in Thailand have driven a wedge between people who remained complacent towards the status quo and people who sought to upend what they saw as conservative authoritarianism by resorting to rally politics. The latter wished to take matters into their own hands and steer the country in a more democratic direction as faith in mainstream political actors dwindled. Should marginalized civil-society actors not take drastic measures, future political trajectories will remain shrouded in conservative mist. A military coup in 2014 had enabled the conservative establishment to tighten its grip on the country’s politics. This is not a one-off incident but a recurring pattern in Thailand’s modern history. Via military coups, conservative forces have always found a …

One of the most critical questions of modern comparative politics is: who governs? The first thing that would come to mind would be party politicians. However, transformations in several European countries’ governmental arena indicate that partisan presence in office, and, more broadly, the general model of party government, characterised by parties’ centrality in representing the needs and demands of citizens, is in decay. Such a decline owes much to the increased government involvement of technocratic personnel – i.e., ministers with no political affiliation. Indeed, while Italy established itself as the promised land of technocracy, currently led by Mario Draghi and by four technocratic prime ministers in the last two decades, technocratic ministers have also entered the last three partisan governments …

This week, political leaders from countries all over the world are gathering for their annual meeting at the United Nations (UN) in New York. Since its creation and to this day, there have been discussions about reforming the UN. Soon after the UN was founded in 1945, public figures like Albert Einstein called for a much more powerful and democratic UN. Today, leaders such as Ukrainian President Zelensky urge fundamental reforms to strengthen the UN, while NGOs like Democracy Without Borders campaign for making the UN more democratic and representative of citizens. In an international survey in six countries worldwide (Argentina, China, India, Russia, Spain, and the United States), Mathias Koenig-Archibugi (London School of Economics and Political Science), Luis Cabrera …
Decorative globe

In the upcoming months, the OxPol Blog will be featuring Q&A sessions with faculty from the Department of Politics and International Relations to highlight their ongoing research. Over the last few weeks, the OxPol editorial team spoke with Professor Ezequiel González-Ocantos about his ongoing projects since winning the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2018.  OxPol (OP): In 2018 you were awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize. Could you share what projects you have been working on over the last few years since winning the prize? Ezequiel González-Ocantos (EGO): Since 2018 I’ve been working on three different projects. First, together with my colleagues Sandra Botero and Daniel Brinks we curated a collection of essays that looks at new trends in the judicialization of politics in …

The storming of the American Capitol building on the 6th of January 2021 during a session to formalize Joe Biden’s presidential victory made headlines around the world. For many Americans, the fact that there was an armed attempt to disrupt a democratic transition of power was a worrying sign of democratic backsliding and the consequence of years of extreme partisanship. The siege suggested a grim vision of America’s political future. However, 40 years ago, the Spanish political system was able to recover from a similar event, in what could be an instructive experience for contemporary America. In February 1981, the Spanish political system, which had rapidly democratised following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, faced its first real …

Zbigniew Brzezinski noted that the politics of fear is an efficient means of control because it “obscures reason and intensifies emotions.” After more than 34 years in power, President Museveni of Uganda—who toppled Milton Obote’s regime in 1986 after years in the bush with the National Resistance Movement (NRM)—understood the politics of fear better than anyone else. If one still had doubts, the death of around 40 people in Kampala at a political rally organized by Bobi Wine, Museveni’s main opponent, in November came to confirm one thing: it is election season in Uganda. On 14 January 2021, Ugandans will go to the polls. Museveni will most likely win re-election, after having scrapped the presidential term and age limits in 2005 and 2017 respectively. However, this piece argues that the intense politics of fear used by his regime can be interpreted as the possible end of post-liberation politics in Uganda.   Post-liberation …