July 30, 2014

Kasturi Puntambekar – Marketing and Fundraising Fellow

Kasturi is a senior at American University in Washington, D. C. and is majoring in History with a minor in Psychology. Originally from a rural town in Massachusetts, she has worked in the development sector of non-profit organizations around the Capital and has enjoyed learning new and innovative ways of communicating with donors and foundations. She is looking forward to exploring new methods of promoting the cause of Americans for Informed Democracy and reaching out to the greater D. C. community in the process. As a student of a highly politically engaged university in the nation’s capital, she believes that students must be heard and can contribute greatly to the country’s endeavors on the international scale. In her free time, she enjoys Indian classical dance and cooking.

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US-Iran Relations: A History Part II

By Alen A. This week, we will continue our examination of modern Iranian history, recounting nearly three decades that changed the course of Middle Eastern history as we know it. As mentioned previously, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, assumed power after the ouster of his father in 1941, and fully cemented his leadership in 1953 after former prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh and his Tudeh Party were reduced to political irrelevance*. The Shah of Iran embraced secularity and the West, and in the 1960s launched his “White Revolution,” a set … [Read more...]

Is There A Class Problem with Social Media Movement Building?

By Alex Tuai. Without moving more than your fingers you can tell thousands of people around the world, what you’re doing, what you’re eating, and what you’re thinking. But taking social media to the next step-you can mobilize hundreds of thousands of people around a cause. The Obama Campaign. The Arab Spring. A country’s domestic movement brought to the international stage with a few clicks and taps on a smart phone. Social media usage is increasing every day, however there are still many challenges being faced. Looking in particular at Durban, … [Read more...]

Women and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Lauren Shin Last week, the 47 rocket-fire launched by the Hamas destroyed all hopes for peace that have been built after Egypt had almost successfully mediated a ceasefire. Chance for any possible agreements was again destroyed after the Israeli government resumed their military attacks to respond to the Hamas attacks. Recent events have further irritated the tensions between the two countries, pushing on a conflict that has already continued for several decades*. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a complex struggle that seems to be too far … [Read more...]

Eurasian Economic Union: Basic Information

By Ani Hakobyan. Speak of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brainchild, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and you will have Western leaders sighing and shaking their heads in frustration. So what is it about the EEU, which will come in effect in 2015, that so greatly troubles leaders outside of the former Soviet Union? Putin, along with Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko officially signed the documents creating the Union in May in the Kazakh capital of Astana( Abigail Hauslohner, The Washington Post … [Read more...]

Soccer, BRICS, Inequality, and Solidarity

By Alex Tuai. Nine days ago in a captivating match Germany beat Argentina and won the 2014 World Cup by a single decisive point. As the estimated 600,000* visitors return home hundreds more fly to Fortaleza to begin the 2014 BRICS (a moniker coined by Jim O’Neill in 2008 and changed in 2010 to highlight the five fastest growing economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit. As discussions of cooperation, a BRICS bank, development, and future economics begin the World Cup will fade into the background. The eleven stadiums … [Read more...]

Fight or Fall: Internal flaws the UN must fix for South Sudan

By Alex Beck. As mentioned in the previous AIDemocracy article on South Sudan, the United Nations’ peacekeeping activities are currently providing badly needed security and shelter for civilians in UN refugee camps. This is, of course, a vital function that is essential for the survival of many South Sudanese civilians. However in addition to this task, the country’s UN peacekeeping force, known as United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS)*, has its own internal problems that need to be solved. The intent of this article is … [Read more...]

Strategic Goals 2: A Series on the US State Department/ USAID Strategic Plan

By Virginia Cady. In March the U.S. State Department and USAID released a joint Strategic Plan for 2014-2017. This article is the second in a series of five on each of the main strategic goals outlined in the 2014-2017 plan. Strategic Goal 2: Strengthen America’s foreign policy impact on our strategic challenges. Taking a close look at the strategic objectives in this section does a good job of informing the reader what the Department of State views as the most important of the U.S. strategic challenges for the next few years. Strategic … [Read more...]

Does Putin Really Have His Sight Set on the “Next Crimea”?

By Ani Hakobyan. With the recent annexation of the Russian-majority Crimea, comes the fear that most, if not all, members of the former Soviet Union are asking themselves, “are we next?” This, of course, is referring to the worry that areas of certain countries in the former Soviet Union will become Russian President Vladimir Putin’s newest desire for conquest. Before listing the areas, it is important to remember that after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, with South Ossetia and Abkhazia breaking away, all of Eastern Europe and Central Asia … [Read more...]

What’s More Than Just Bringing Back Our Girls

By Lauren Shin. After three unsettling months of little progress made in investigating the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings, 63 school girls managed to escape on the July 3rd and 4th. These students snuck away while their captors were caught in the midst of a chaotic attack in Damboa town. While this news finally brings hope in rescuing the rest of the girls, the escape was not aided by the help of the Nigerian government or military. With 219 girls still missing, the government has received a lot of criticism for its failure to act accordingly. The … [Read more...]

Game of Drones: An Introduction to President Obama’s Air War

By Zander Farrow. “Battlefields have changed and technology has evolved”*. Speaking at the National Defense University in May 2013, President Obama emphasized the need to employ advanced military technology in order to effectively engage terrorism on a global scale. Enemy combatants hide in caves and caverns and swim in a sea of civilians. Therefore, conventional methods of warfare are often not effective for rooting out belligerence; the United States must wage an unconventional war against terrorism. Furthermore, the Bush administration first … [Read more...]