Blog 1 Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza strip; It’s poverty impact on the economy.

NAME: Frank Kwapong                                                      STUDENT I.D M00556702

Gaza strip has been under movement restriction by the Israeli authorities since the early 1990s. The restriction intensified in June 2007,when the Hamas militant group took over that part being occupied by the Palestinian territory at present .

Israel has since then imposed a very serious restriction and blockade on the land, sea and air of Gaza, citing security concerns for its citizens. Despite relaxations of some blockade-related restrictions in recent years, according to a UN report, an estimate of  1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain locked in or are denied free access to the remainder of the territory and the outside world.(UN, OCHA’s, Gaza crossings activities database).

Following reports released on the 11th of October 2017, on the total number of people allowed in and out of Gaza, there has been further declination since the beginning of 2017 as compared to the previous years. Particularly, on the amount of people who cross the Israeli-controlled crossing points and also through the Egyptian controlled crossing, it’s indeed an indication of severe low levels. This has infuriate the situation and has secluded Gaza from the remainder part of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Hence, the restrictions imposed on Gaza by the Israeli authorities had led to  limited access to medical treatment and facilities, higher education, family, social life, economic opportunities and to employment as a whole.

The rigidity of the restrictions in recent months has prevented the movement of national staff employed by the United Union and international NGOs and has also, hindered humanitarian operations. The situation keeps getting out of hand day in day out and has led to the humanitarian agencies working in the area calling upon the international community to be of great help.In view of this, the humanitarian agencies working in the area has submitted a petition to the international community to provide them with a sum of  US$25 million in their humanitarian funding, for urgent lifesaving interventions to help stabilize the situation at Gaza strip.

As part of the blockade imposed on Gaza in 2007, by the Israelis, following the take over of the Gaza strip by the Hamas, Israel completely banned exports. This seriously led to a sudden decline in their manufacturing endeavors and  increase unemployment. In the year 2010, the export ban slightly eased off to allow the exit of small quantities of goods, primarily cut flowers and strawberries to the international markets alone. Following the 2014 conflict, commercial transfers from Gaza to the west bank resumed, allowing in agriculture produce for the first time and later for textiles and furniture. Limited exports were also permitted from Gaza to Israel in 2015(UN staff, report, 2015) The rate of  denial for permit applications by UN national staff to enter or leave Gaza increased from an average of 4% in 2015 to 26% in 2016 that is from January to September. Access to areas within 300 meters of perimeter fence with Israel is restricted , making it very hard for fishing, fishermen are only allowed to access less than a third of the fishing areas allocated under the oslo Accords.The unemployment rate in the middle of 2016 was almost 42% among the global highs,whiles among youth it stood at 60% and among females at over 65%. Looking at its households, 47% in Gaza’s population suffer from moderate or severe food insecurity leading to more than 70% of its population relying on international aid, the bulk of which is food assistance.

According to an Israeli government spokesperson about 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid is allowed or flows into Gaza each week ,saying it allows enough aid- including food and medicine .But there are no evidence to support this claims by the government. The U.N says 80% the population rely on some form of humanitarian aid. The United Nations has described the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel as the “collective punishment “of the Palestinian people living in that part of the territory.The United Nations has repeatedly criticized the the blockade and the insufficient flow of materials into the area for basic needs reconstruction. The former UN Secretary – General Ban Ki-moon warned the closure ” creates unacceptable suffering, hurts forces of moderation and empowers The restrictions imposed has undermined the economy, resulting in high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependent. Restrictions on the marketing of goods in the West Bank and Israel; on the import of certain goods ,the access of land for agriculture and fishing,the energy crisis and the recurrent hostilities which result in assets lose and some left with long-term disabilities.

The blockade must be lifted, which contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective penalties and prevents the realization of a broad range of human rights.

By, Frank A.Kwapong




NAME:FRANK KWAPONG                                           STUDENT ID M00556702




white supremacy PIC The electing of Donald Trump into the white house as been cited as a factor of the          re- energisation of activities and groups in America that reject both left-wing ideology and mainstream conservatism.

Social media is also said to be playing  a large part in promoting these ideologies. A prominent US civil rights group, the southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) says that it is currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups in the country.

The question is , who are these groups, how popular have they become ,and what do they hope to achieve? Here is a look at the most visible of the white supremacist movement in the history of the US till today.

44Virginia governor tells white supremacists: Go home’

Alternative right (alt-right)

The alternative right is a disperate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love president Trump, although critics say they are biogoted with nationalists.

In the broadest sense, white supremacy is a populist movement.They belief in the superiority of the white race, especially in matters of intelligence and culture—achieved the height of its popularity during the period of European colonial expansion to the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Asia stretching from the late 1800s to the first half of the twentieth century. White supremacists have based their ideas on a variety of theories and supposedly proven facts; the most prominent of these include the claims of pseudoscientific racist academic research that attempted to correlate inferiority and pathological behavior with categories of racial phenotypes, especially head size in the case of eugenics. White supremacist belief has also been justified by the Biblical Hamitic hypothesis, which viewed blacks as the descendants of Ham who would be cursed for life. There is a direct correlation between the rise of imperialism and colonialism and the expansion of white supremacist ideology justifying the changing of international order, which increasingly saw Europeans assuming political control over black skin color through military force and ideological means, such as religion and education. It is important to note that the range of those considered “white” expanded considerably in the twentith century

The conspiracy for leftists is an elite-driven globalization that creates inequality and makes minorities and poor people suffer inordinately, whereas the conspiracy for white supremacists today is the New World Order that operates through a centuries-old chain of international bankers and is determined to end the purity of the white race. The logic in each instance — the conspiracy on the left and the right — is parallel, and leads to similar resentment of elites, who have access to special knowledge not available to the ordinary person. On the extreme right it is a mythology of battle and leverage, of heroism and valor, of Robin Hoods and dark cabals, of the Illuminati and Freemasons, of the heartland American values of liberty and individualism under assault by a globalist conspiracy to introduce monotony and conformism. In a way, the grand narrative is simply a much exaggerated version of yeoman values such as a founding father like Jefferson would have advocated.

As the reality of the industrialized economy throughout the 20th century eroded the possibility of independent freeholding such as was possible during 19th-century America and earlier, the grand narrative became more and more powerful in shaping imaginations. We can hardly claim that the emphasis on race is an innovation, because this was a constant throughout the history of oppression of Native Americans (were the Mathers and other New England luminaries of the 17th century any less racist than those we wish to condemn to perdition today?), African-American slaves, and then Catholic and Asian immigrants, except that each of America’s entanglements in foreign wars has provided increasing depth and circumstantial providence to the grand narrative.

I find it not coincidental that the KKK’s great rebirth came in the 1920s, after America had “won” World War I, and that the peak of Bircherism occurred in the 1950s, soon after they had claimed victory in World War II. Each major war is seen to have been brought about by international conspiracy, leading to the progressive diminishment of the rights of white Americans. It is perhaps easier to condemn a government that has been taken over by a secret cabal (as set out in the influential “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which were vigorously disseminated by Henry Ford, the leading founder of American industrialization, and which have in turn shaped the conspiratorial view of the Zionist Occupation Government, or ZOG, followed by those caught up in industrial decline) than to condemn the whole system of government, because to do the latter is to leave no way out, whereas to believe in a conspiracy is to set oneself up as a hero with a shot at salvation.

The persistence of white privilege, even in societies where nonwhites are the majority, has meant that white supremacy and its consequences have not ceased to be sources of social scientific research. A notable event in the growth of “white studies” was the conference “The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness,” held at the University of California, Berkeley in April 1997. This yielded, four years later, a volume of the same name published by Duke University Press.

In my opinion it think is has always been part of the American people, where they have an ideology which justifies the supremacy of the white race. With this in mind ,there is no other way for it to be out of sight soon. We have got a long way to go if we want to be accepted into the society as part of it.




Boas, Franz. [1945] 1969. Race and Democratic Society. New York: Biblo & Tannen

Brander Rasmussen, Birgit, ed. 2001. The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Montagu, Ashley. 1972. Statement on Race. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University press





In a recent interview with President Trump, he did make an exceptional annotation on foreign assistance.

President Trump unhappily, underestimated its impact and overestimated its expense.

The feedback and answers brought up upon him been questioned as to why he would prefer to put to an end to US foreign assistance is as follows, “For me, it’s America first. We have been doing that so long that we owe $20 trillion, okay?” This response conveys a clear advice that the president doubtlessly,  attributes the on-going national debt of the United states, to the exact effect brought about by the rate of its foreign aid spending. And as long as it perpetually remains an immaculate talking point, it’s at a great distance from  it been true.

The verifiable truth is that, according to a statistic based on United States spendings, it’s clear the United States spends approximately 0.8 percent of its federal budget on humanitarian and developmental assistance every year, and only 1.5% percent of their planned disbursement if you combine all of it’s international affairs pay out, like the financial backing for US diplomacy.

Closely examine in contrast that to the 6.1 percent that is paid out entirely on US debt interest every year. These settlements made solely on just US debt interest only, is even over and above seven times it’s foreign aid spending. Therefore, President Trump’s allegations about the fact that foreign support is holding back US debt is unjustifiable and counterfactual.

However, President Trump eradicating US contributions towards foreign aid and support would genuinely have minor influence on US debt. And hence, at the same time generating a calamitous repercussion for the poor and needy communities all over the world, and extremely impeding US guidance and in the near future affluence.


Data source : Congressional Budget office, FY 2015 US Federal Budget.

Foreign assistance is being used as a scapegoat for a rising deficit instead of things like tax cuts for corporations and richest among us, which are core to the administration’s policy agenda and are shown to contribute to the national debt. The Washington Post’s analysis on this front brings some important context.

Foreign aid contributes to global poverty reduction and helps to protect basic rights and liberties, and benefits America’s interest. All for less than one percent of the US federal budget. Since 1990, the world has made an exceptional advancement-elevating millions of people and communities out of poverty faster than any other time in history. Over the same period, foreign assistance has changed greatly, progressing into more innovative ,more transparent , and more aligned to partner country first concerns. The role of aid is changing, as household taxes and private investments mature more into significant financial resources for developing countries. An approximate calculation of 766 million people still live in extreme poverty, and uncompromising humanitarian crisis threatening the reverse of the gains made.

Worldwide poverty acts as a big challenge to future safety, its development, and the values of United States. Therefore, parting ways with it is not the best option, as foreign assistance has a very valuable part to play globally. The number of people who are in poverty are not just numbers, but they are real people, and most of them are women and girls all over the world, who rely solely upon USAID from everyday’s provisions for survival to providing a better life for themselves and their families,(

An example is Aligaesha a succesful Tanzanian farmer and community leader, who formed the union known as the farmers cooperative in the karagwe District of northwest Tanzania in 2007. After getting a great support from the US Agency for international Development (USAID), her cooperative, the Kaderes Peasant Development Ltd., was awarded a big contract to supply beans to the rest of the world as part of the World’s Food Programme (WFP). However, this partnership with the local farmers helped saved money as well as time, and made the channel that the WFP might have taken to supply these same goods to and from other parts of the world during humanitarian crises much easier and faster.

US’s foreign assistance is moving outside limits, other than just providing food supply to women like Aligaesha, the US is doing better by supporting their efforts to produce more and escape poverty for good. She and her fellow farmers stand to benefit if changes to US policy enable more local and regional purchases of food aid for people facing food insecurity.



NAME: FRANK KWAPONG                                                          STUDENT I.DM00556702


Recent news that black Africans are been sold at an auction house in Libya has sparked outrage across the globe. The existence of Libya’s slave trade goes way back when the subjugation and overt dehumanization of Africans was common in Libya.

Some analysts have argured that, the slave trade taking place in recent months in Libya is a result of power vaccum left after the fall of Libya’s long term leader Mummer Gaddaffi and the ensuing lawlessness and giving way to some criminals in Libya to operate a black market  in which the trafficking of black Africans becoming their main export.

Others have focused on the failing of America’s foreign policy and the humanitarian efforts to stop the operational of the slave market. But the main player of it all ,the anti-black sentiment that brought about Libyan slave trade itself, and its historical context, has been given a less attention.

The Libyan people has been plagued by overtones of racial discrimination against black Africans for decades. An examples is what happened in 2000, when the International Confederation of the Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) released statement condemning a wave of attacks that targeted black African migrants who were living and working in the country,while in 2006 and again in 2009. Human Rights Watch orgarnizations has documented that attacks on black African migrants and asylum seekers were very common in Libya.

Muslim smugglers are taking countless Africans as slaves, with many instances of people being starved to death and women being raped. Under Gaddafi, blacks in Libya were protected, but as soon as he was toppled, the Libyans began to enslave them and put them in cages. This was all thanks to American policy, a policy that I fear is continuing unchanged.  As we read in one report:

After the overthrow of Mummar Gaddafi, reports emerged of the mass abduction and killings of African migrants and the black Libyans who were falsely accused by the new government of being figthers under Gaddafi’s regime. Human rigths groups came out to report that such claims were baseless and there were no evidence to support their claims and for a matter of fact , the attacks against the blacks were racially motivated.

Some people being in support of the Arab spring have come out and critised these attacks and saying, such attacks were betraying the revolutionary aspirations of the coup because of the refusal to recognise black libyans as part of the Libyan society.Though Libya is an African country ,the ill-treatmeent that has been exhibited towards towards black Africans has been in existance for soo many years which has led to tensions between the Arab world and the Sub-Suharan region.

As a result of the seperation between two regions, regardles of their close geography, is caused by a perceived difference in culture and racial superiority. These should not be a surprise that such sentiments in the Arab world were established through the times of colonial rule and thought.

The source of Libya’s anti-black sentiment lies with the colonial tradition of racial superiority – the Hamitic hypothesis.These hypothesis is a genetic anthropological theory stating that  anything good was made by the Hamites, a subgroup of the Caucasian race.This theory dates back to the book of Genesis in which Noah has three sons-Ham,Japheth and Shem. It has been understood that Ham was a direct descent of the black race, while Japheth represnted the European Caucasians, and Shem also represented the Arabs or the Hamites.

It was with these perception that influenced colonial feelings towards the African people and was used to determine which ethnic group was superior and based on their physical feature that best resembled Western standards.

This thought has eventually spread along the Arab world and influenced their perceptions of black Africans throughout North Africa. In present day, the influence of the Hamitic hypothesis can seen throughout the racially charged aggression towards black Africans throughout North Africa, in places like Algeria, Libya and Morocco. The factors of the existence of the Libyan slave trade can be traced ways back before the socio-economic collapse Libya after the American led military intervention.


“Muslims Are Taking Countless Africans As Slaves, Starving Them To Death, Selling Them And Taking The Women To Rape Them”. 13 April 2017.

TRT World (12 April 2017). “Libya Slave Trade: Rights group says migrants sold off in markets” – via YouTube.

TRT World (26 April 2017). “Profiting off the misery of others: Libya’s migrant

 “African refugees bought, sold and murdered in Libya”. Al-Jazeer tv

Italian doctor laments Libya’s ‘concentration camps’ for migrants

‘They use black men as slaves’: Migrants tell of brutality in

Migrant slavery in Libya: Nigerians tell of being used as slaves


The Cost of the Far-Right and Immigration

The rise of terrorism has been a factor in the rise of far-right movements and anti-immigration campaigns that have seen birth to the increase of populism in many states, particularly within the European Union. Whilst being a member of the EU means that as a state you must adhere to certain policies that are applicable to all members of the Union, the rise in predominantly Islamic extremist attacks has created a reluctance by some to integrate refugees into their countries. The mostly Muslim refugees fleeing North Africa or the Middle East are now being rejected by some states, at a time when all EU states should be grouping together to fulfil their obligations to protect migrants that were established by the EU treaty.

The cost of terrorism is broad. Terror attacks affect the economy of each state in multiple aspects such as the loss of tourism (Paris suffered a €750m loss in tourism following terror attacks) (the Guardian, 2016); the State’s necessity to increase their defence spend in order to protect from further attacks (George Osborne dedicated £3.4bn extra on the country’s counter-terrorism efforts over five years) (Barber, 2015); the need to rebuild damage incurred from these attacks ($52.9billion in economic damages globally in 2014) (VICE News, 2014); often the necessity to spend billions in attempting to fight the sources of Islamic fundamentalism abroad, and as a consequence of this, states then have to spend money to house the innocent people fleeing the countries that have witnessed interventions or wars in the fight against ‘the war on terror’ (the EU alone allocated €17.7 billion from their budget towards migrants between 2015-2017) (, 2017). Essentially it is an endless circle that continuously detriments the economy in one way or another.

Whilst some states are taking in a large proportion of refugees, and fulfilling their EU obligations – for example Germany “expects to spend around 93.6 billion euros by the end of 2020 (Reuters, 2016) – others have adopted a fearful approach and consequently rejected the acceptance of many migrants.

The backlash against the refugee crisis originated from the East – Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic rejected their responsibility claiming they must protect their own people based generally on security concerns “following a series of terror attacks carried out by Islamist militants in western Europe” (Kirby, 2017). They did this by forming a political alliance called Visegrad, which is a collection of four nations, the three mentioned and Slovakia (, 2016). This backlash was partly due to the terrorist attacks that occurred in France, which sparked a very big worry in the East, with politicians gaining favour by speaking out against the EU’s choice to accept millions of people from the third world, most of which are Muslim, with Visegrad members claiming “the mainly-Muslim refugees have no place in their predominantly Christian societies” (Kirby, 2017). This is infuriating other EU members who are fulfilling their obligations and spending a large portion of their funds in order to help those affected. This division in the EU has led Brussels to sue Poland and its supporters (Kirby, 2017).

Populist parties in the West have also gained ground by criticising and openly opposing the idea of accepting so many refugees, Germany with the AfD and France with the National Front have both seen a rise of the more extreme right-wing parties (Joffe, 2017).  These attacks have created disharmony within the EU and this demonstrates the resistance created against innocent Muslims due to the small minority who have carried out attacks in the name of Islam. Countries are losing patience to pick up the costs for the people affected in the aftermath of the fight against extremism.

The impact that terrorism and migration has on the economy is indisputable, but the rise of far-right populism is a non-effective way of combatting these issues. The rise of xenophobia by certain parties in Europe serve as a counter-productive method for decreasing Islamic terror attacks, as the more they are ostracised the more likely it is for the increase in radicalisation, in response against the West. As a consequence, states are risking their own economy by being uncooperative with the reforms laid out by the Commission as the EU use financial leverage to try to ensure the adherence by all States to honour their commitment to “European values, amongst them the rule of law” (Kirby, W. 2017). This could mean funds are frozen and could potentially lead to further division within the EU.


Leila Lerari – M00559185


Barber, L. (2015). Osborne promises £3.4bn extra spending on counter-terrorism. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017]. (2016). Big, bad Visegrad. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Kirby, W. (2017). EU INFIGHTING: Brussels to SUE three member states for refusing to host asylum seekers. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Joffe, J. (2017). The right is rising and social democracy is dying across Europe – but why? | Josef Joffe. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017]. (2017). The EU and the migration crisis. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Reuters. (2016). German government plans to spend 93.6 billion euros on refugees by end. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

The Guardian. (2016). Terror attacks cost Paris region €750m in lost tourism, officials say. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

VICE News. (2014). Deaths and Damages Due to Terrorism Have Never Been Higher | VICE News. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].


Impact of immigration on economies.

There’s a pre-conceived notion especially with the current migrant crises that vase number of immigrants are entering western countries and are not educated and not contributing to the society or economy, but are benefiting from the welfare provided to citizens. This has led to a rise in nationalism with European countries as well as the USA but more so Europe to regain sovereignty in order to control the number of immigrants that enter the country. However, this notion is not true, the majority of immigrants both legal and illegal contribute a great amount to the economy and play a key role. For instance, in 2015 4.3 million immigrants were recorded living in the United States, as well as 11.1 million illegal immigrants recorded in 2010 that contribute $13 billion along with their employers. Almost half of the illegal immigrants living in the US also pay Social security payroll tax, knowing they won’t benefit from any welfare or state benefits.” Between 700,000 to 850,000 new immigrants arrive illegally each year. More than half slipped across the U.S. border. The rest (45 percent) crossed the border legally but didn’t return home when their visas expired.” (K. Amadeo, 2017). Even though immigrants contribute a huge amount to the economy, the majority who don’t have further or higher education usually gravitate towards labour filled jobs such as construction. With an increase in labour in those fields can lead to a decrease in wages as there more workers, also an illegal immigrant may be willing to work at a cheaper wage which then, impacts workers who are natively born in the country. This leads to companies reducing the price of services and goods as they are being created by low –cost labour. Immigration was a key point as to why a lot of people voted Brexit in 2016. This would mean the UK would not only leave the single market but will not be subject to the freedom of movement, in turn tightening immigration rules on people coming from Europe as well as abroad. Brexiters believed that this will allow Britton to economically trade more effectively with other nations as well create jobs that the British people will benefit from.  In the UK in 2016, 5.4 million non-UK born workers were recorded, which contributed to 17 percent of the UK workforce. Unlike the USA the UK has a vast majority of EU immigrants that live and work in the UK. From the chart shown, EU workers are even more likely to contribute to the UK economy than Native. Within the UK immigrants pay a huge part in certain industries such as IT and cleaning, therefore, a decrease in immigration would mean a lack of people working in these fields which could create a decrease in labour in those areas. “Data for the English National Health Service shows that in 2015 of the 1.22 million total staff around 235,000 were non-British, around 19 per cent.” (B. Chu, 2016),


Zainab M Abdullahi




  1. Amadeo, (2017), How immigration affect the economy and You?, The balance, Available at: <accessed 12/12/17>

B. Chu, (2016), What do immigrants do for the UK economy? Nine Charts conservative ministes seen to be ignoring, The Independent, Availabele at: <Accessed at 13/12/17>

National interest: the right to sovereignty or superiority?

One of the hot topics in the global political economy has been national interest and the right to sovereignty, the tone and rhetoric of nationalism and the desire for absolute independence from external institutions, was visibly displayed throughout the Brexit campaign and in many nationalist parties throughout the West.

While many of these politicians and right-wing parties have used distasteful and rather xenophobic rhetoric to justify their beliefs, some of them did make justifiable points, arguing that a country should be able to dictate its own politics, be respected in their sovereignty and be able to exercise economic freedoms.

Ironically, most of these countries arguing for the advancement of national interests lead and dominate institutions that violate that exact concept and the sovereign rights of other countries.

Historically, European nations imposed their sovereignty onto countries they chose to invade for a long period of time. Many European nations currently continue to influence and control the politics of countries mostly in the name of ‘economic growth’ and ‘development’.

For countries that already dominate the most powerful institutions in the global political economy to call for further advancement of national interest, in campaigns like ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Vote Leave, Take Back Control’ it raises concerns of what implications their demands for greater national interest actually hold.

Many of these nationalist parties across Europe have used “emphasis on sovereignty and policies that promote a ‘national preference’” (Halikiopoulou, 2017) to directly advocate for “strict immigration policies, Euroscepticism and policies that place the ‘native’ inhabitants first in a range of areas including welfare and social services” (Halikiopoulou, 2017) – the emphasis on putting the ‘native’ inhabitants first expresses the desire for an expansion of the supremacy and superiority of European ‘natives’ in contrast to ‘foreign’ inhabitants.

In all honesty what would an advancement of national interest entail for countries that are leading in global institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the UN?

Isn’t this just a call for the advancement of European sovereignty and more power, than what already exists, to be placed in the hands of European nations?

Grace Ashenafi M00557803


Daphne Halikiopoulou (February 2017), What is new and what is nationalist about Europe’s ‘new nationalism’?, London School of Economics and Political Science. Available at:

Images found at:

Is China the new world power?

There has been much discourse over China’s growing presence in Africa, to the point where it has been called colonial and imperialist, with critics accusing China of “exploiting Africa’s natural resources to feed its need for industrial output” (Esposito, 2015).

However, it is argued by many that “while China’s economic footprint in Africa is growing, it represents only a fraction of China’s economic activity around the world” (Albert, 2017) …

China has stretched its economic ties across the globe and initiated economic movements that have posed itself as an equal competitor against the US, with it’s Yuan currency beginning to sell oil and with the establishment of the AIIB posing a real threat to the dollar and the US-led World Bank.

What makes China a real threat to the US and a unique trading partner, especially to non-Western countries, is its favourable principles on foreign policy of noninterference and respect for sovereignty which allows contentious governments in countries like Sudan and Iran to “simply choose to sell its oil to China, and receive Yuan in return, and use that currency to trade for the necessary resources it needs to sustain its economy” (Schortgen Jr, 2012) causing the sanctions made by the U.S. to have very little effect.

Since “crude oil is the standard currency of the world” (Schortgen Jr, 2012) the US dollar and its economic position is bound to fall promptly with the amount of backing China has received in trade and support for the use of its currency from natural oil producing states, with Russia even stating that it would “sell oil to China in any and all amounts they desired” (Schortgen Jr, 2012). Even “European countries, including Germany and Italy” (Wolf, 2015) and Britain decided to apply as shareholders for China’s AIIB and support China’s economic move which subsequently “irritated the US” (Wolf, 2015).

Undoubtedly, China is on its way to becoming a first world power with it’s investments and economic ties already reaping much economic growth and advancement of China and the Yuan currency but questions still lie on what effect will this have on the global political economy and how will China’s rising position will effect the future of developing countries and current first world powers.

Grace Ashenafi


Eleanor Albert (July 2017), China in Africa, Council on Foreign Relations. Available at: (Accessed: 12th December 2017)

Mark Esposito and Terence Tse (November 2015), China Is Expanding Its Economic Influence in Africa. What Is Africa Getting Out of It?, Slate. Available at: (Accessed: 12th December 2017)

Kenneth Schortgen Jr. (September 2012), Dollar no longer primary oil currency – China begins to sell oil using Yuan, Signs of the Times. Available at: (Accessed: 14th December 2017)

Martin Wolf (March 2015), A rebuff of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is folly (AIIB), Financial Times. Available at: (Accessed: 14th December 2017)

Images found at:

Obama: The cost of war

obama.jpg(Obama Destruction, 2017)

As it was so eloquently phrased by author William Blum: “Mr President, in your short time in office you’ve waged war against six countries…With all due respect: what is wrong with you?” (Blum, 2013). Posed to Mr Barack Obama, who managed to increase this tally to seven shortly after: if the President who could do no wrong has one superseding skill, it surely would be his evasion of criticism in the face of adversity.

Obama had a massive impact on the US economy over his 8 years in the white house, but not for the better as is often portrayed by Obama supporters. Obama’s administration increased the national debt by 68% in 8 years, and added a total of $7.917 trillion (The Balance, 2017).

One of the reasons for this debt and dangerous amount of spending was due to war, or funding of conflicts. Obama was responsible for increasing military spending every single year roughly by $800 billion, with 2013 breaking a new record with $895 billion (The Balance, 2017).  A man recognised as a more peaceful president than Bush or the ones who preceded him, Obama’s drone programme killed countless civilians, an amount that “the government itself does not always know” (Ackerman, 2016), and oversaw “more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency” (Purkiss and Surle, 2017). The USA also continued its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, under Obama, albeit to a lesser extent whilst Somalia and Pakistan were targeted by drone strikes many times throughout his two spells in charge. Obama’s actions didn’t just impact upon the deterioration of the US’ economy. Nations such as Syria and Yemen will likely not recover economically from American involvement for years to come.

Obama was the President responsible for overseeing the takedown of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 and President Gaddafi of Libya in the same year. Whilst many argue the ousting of dictator Gaddafi was necessary, to help free the Libyan people from tyranny and suffering, it is more accurate to state that he merely helped rebels increase jihadist and criminal movements in the country, and in fact the people were entitled to a much better way of life before US intervention. The effect on Libya’s economy suffered enormously since Gaddafi’s removal. Clearly no lesson had been learned from Bush’s intervention in Iraq and the ensuing calamities that took place there.

The US also got involved in Syria which cost the US $250billion and counting (Hartogs, 2016). The Syrian’s were suffering in the midst of civil war, but realistically a lot less than after intervention by external interventions. Syria was highly developed and a lot more progressive than the war torn nation of today. The devastation that took place in Syria not only cost them thousands of lives, they lost important healthcare protections, housing, infrastructure, business. The GDP of Syria has declined and damages are “estimated at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010” (World Bank, 2017), as many of the citizens have either died or fled the influx of bombs penetrating them from all geopolitical directions. The ones who have fled have migrated through to Europe, with more than 1 million migrants arriving in Europe in 2015 and 2016 (, 2017), with Germany solely spending “£20billion on refugees in 2016” alone (World Bank, 2017), and the entirety of the EU dealing with this humanitarian crisis since.

Worse perhaps than any of these interventions has to be the US’ assistance of allies Saudi Arabia in Yemen, a war Saudi would not have been able to flourish in, without US backing. Not only was this not authorised by Congress, as “the Saudis…aligned with Al Qaeda to fight the Houthis undermining our very counterterrorism operations”, (HELLMAN, 2017) the destruction of Yemen in fact strengthened Al Qaeda, (DePetris, 2017), which entirely contradicts many intentions the US government sets forth to make in regards to fighting terrorism and war. This in turn “created what three U.N. agencies call “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis” (DePetris, 2017), with the devastation caused for Yemen huge with their country now poverty stricken.

So what is the difference between a President like Gaddafi or Assad and President Obama? All are responsible for the death of civilians so why was Obama not a target for such hatred as the others were? Making history as the first black President of the United States created such a legacy and idolism for Obama that people cannot bring themselves to critique him, despite bombing seven countries in six years and tripling American debt. Obama hid behind the cloak of democracy and liberalism whilst we can argue the people in the US enjoy a less democratic way of life than arguably the Libyans did before their ‘free’ state in 2011. Is it not better to have an enemy that slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back?

Perhaps it is understandable that the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Obama in 2009, was later regretted by the head of the committee (Bartlett, 2015). The man who instigated drone attacks on civilians, supported wars in other nations for no real reason, and caused years worth of economic damage to his own continent along with Africa, Asia and Europe – it is time to admit that Obama deserves a lot less praise than he has received to date.

Leila Lerari – M00559185


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