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An Analysis of the Happiest Countries in the World

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The purpose of this thesis is to study the happiest countries in the world and see what factors, laws, and values they have in common. I will be focusing on the Scandinavian countries, as they rank highest according to the

The purpose of this thesis is to study the happiest countries in the world and see what factors, laws, and values they have in common. I will be focusing on the Scandinavian countries, as they rank highest according to the World Happiness Report. First, I will research these countries to learn more about their political, economic, educational, legal, and social landscapes. Then I will interview individuals from these countries on their views as well as values and thoughts on their country. Finally, I will compare and analyze this information to come to a conclusion to see if there are similar factors that allow these countries to be ranked so highly in the department of happiness. After reading this the reader can take away ideas of how to improve their happiness as well as new perspectives on other countries.

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2018-05

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Syria and Iraq: How Religious Minorities Gained and Maintained Power

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This thesis will exam the history of intra-Islamic conflict as well as its modern incarnations, and illustrate how minority regimes gained power over religious majorities in the Middle East, and used military power, social programs, and foreign aid in order to maintain that power.

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2017-12

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Curation and Hegemony

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Recognition of sovereignty provides the means by which states have their independence and sovereignty formalized. In cases of secessionist conflict, the decision to grant or withhold recognition of a new state is forced upon the international system, unlike cases that

Recognition of sovereignty provides the means by which states have their independence and sovereignty formalized. In cases of secessionist conflict, the decision to grant or withhold recognition of a new state is forced upon the international system, unlike cases that deal with decolonization or internationally imposed partition. Recognition therefore provides a means by which members of the international system can curate the potential international membership from a set of new secessionist states. A central feature of this curatorial function is that it does not proceed evenly, multilaterally, or simultaneously across all cases. Instead, curation proceeds along hegemonic lines in a Gramscian sense: recognition is granted by great powers that lead particular hegemonic systems in an effort to expand their images of social order to new states. These fractures are expressed clearly in cases of split or contested recognition. The paper proceeds from a discussion of secession since the end of the Cold War, then assesses the input of contemporary literature, and ends with the suggestion of curation as a new means to understand the dynamics of international recognition.

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2015-12

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The New Iron Curtain?: Russian Foreign Policy Objectives in the Near Abroad

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The purpose of this paper is to examine why the Russian government has been taking political, economic, and military actions in Belarus and Ukraine, and the extent to which the Russian people support these actions. Many observers in the West

The purpose of this paper is to examine why the Russian government has been taking political, economic, and military actions in Belarus and Ukraine, and the extent to which the Russian people support these actions. Many observers in the West seem to believe that the Russian government is forcing its political will onto Russian citizens. However, public opinion research indicates that Russian citizens express a genuine support for the regime's political behavior in neighboring countries. Russian citizens seem to support the decisions to build closer relations with countries they consider culturally significant or culturally similar to themselves. Perhaps the clearest examples of these sentiments occur in relationships with Belarus and Ukraine. This is especially apparent when compared to Russian relations with the Baltic nations. Although these nations are home to a large numbers of Russians, the citizens of Russia do not consider the Baltics as significant as Belarus or Ukraine because of pronounced cultural differences. In this context, it seems as though Russian public opinion drives government action toward international relations with the Near Abroad nations perhaps just as much as the government influences public opinion.

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2014-05

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A Civil War, a Sectarian War and a Proxy War: Problems of Negotiated Settlement in the Syrian Civil War

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This paper examines the Syrian Civil War using seven different civil war settlement theories in order to assess the likelihood of a negotiated settlement ending the conflict. The costs of war, balance of power, domestic political institutions, ethnic identity, divisibility

This paper examines the Syrian Civil War using seven different civil war settlement theories in order to assess the likelihood of a negotiated settlement ending the conflict. The costs of war, balance of power, domestic political institutions, ethnic identity, divisibility of stakes, veto player, and credible commitment theories were used in a multi-perspective analysis of the Syrian Civil War and the possibility of a peace settlement. It was found that all of the theories except for costs of war and balance of power predict that a negotiated settlement is unlikely to resolve the conflict. Although the Syrian government and the Syrian National Coalition are currently engaged in diplomatic negotiations through the Geneva II conference, both sides are unwilling to compromise on the underlying grievances driving the conflict. This paper ultimately highlights some of the problems inhibiting a negotiated settlement in the Syrian Civil War. These obstacles include: rival ethno-religious identities of combatants, lack of democratic institutions in Syria, indivisibility of stakes in which combatants are fighting for, number of veto player combatant groups active in Syria, and the lack of a credible third party to monitor and enforce a peace settlement.

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2014-05

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The International Foundations of Russian Gay Communities and Civil Society

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Civil society, when taken as a whole, is a complex phenomenon that incorporates several movements and can be accompanied with international support. For instance in 1987, 40 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were registered by the government, and within 25 years, the

Civil society, when taken as a whole, is a complex phenomenon that incorporates several movements and can be accompanied with international support. For instance in 1987, 40 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were registered by the government, and within 25 years, the number has increased to 300,000 in the present day Russian Federation. These numbers only include registered organizations, and do not count unregistered organizations, as approved under article 3 "Public organizations...can function without state registration and acquiring of the rights of registered legal body," or organizations that have been refused registration, such as the "Marriage Equality Russia" NGO that was denied registration in 2010. Thus the total amount of NGOs is significantly higher than 300,000. Every one of these NGOs "contribute to Russia‘s economic, political and social life in numerous ways and provide opportunities for citizens to help create better communities and elevate their voices" ("USAID in Russia"). With hundreds of thousands of organizations attempting to make a better society, they are creating a Russian civil society, one that could use the experience of countries with already well-established civil societies (Walzer). Walzer, however, notes the importance for civil society of political engagement with the state (317). In this thesis, I argue that the LGBT movement in Russia today has set an important example for other groups in civil society through its willingness to take on the Russian state through demonstrations and to use the state through the EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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2012-12

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Religion and political activism in Mexico

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Why do religious organizations facilitate secular political activism in some settings and not others? This dissertation uses regional variation in political activism across Mexico to elucidate the relationship between religious organizations and political activism, as measured through associational activity and

Why do religious organizations facilitate secular political activism in some settings and not others? This dissertation uses regional variation in political activism across Mexico to elucidate the relationship between religious organizations and political activism, as measured through associational activity and involvement in political protests. I utilize a quantitative analysis of 13,500 data observations collected from the nationally representative National Survey of Political Culture and Citizenship (ENCUP), supplemented by municipal and diocesan-level data from a variety of governmental and Church statistical databases, to test several theories describing religion's potential impact on political activism. I also utilize a qualitative comparative analysis examining the relationship between the Catholic Church and political mobilization in the Mexican States of Chiapas, Morelos, and Yucatán. I present an agent-based model developed to delineate the micro-level mechanisms linking Church institutional configurations and religion's pro-social effects to individual incentives to politically organize. The predictions of the agent-based model are assessed against my statistical dataset. The study finds where religious institutions devolve decision-making, monitoring, and sanctioning authority to the laity, individuals develop capacities to overcome collective action problems related to political activism. Religious ideology is also found to influence capacities for political activism.

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Date Created
2013

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The Intelligence Community and the IAEA: Detecting Undeclared Activities Pursuant of the NPT

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This thesis paper discusses the interplay between the intelligence community and the United Nations (UN) governing body, namely the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in the detection and dismantlement of undeclared weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. With the intelligence

This thesis paper discusses the interplay between the intelligence community and the United Nations (UN) governing body, namely the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in the detection and dismantlement of undeclared weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. With the intelligence community uncovering almost all of the clandestine nuclear programs that have occurred in the world, it is important to ask if the intelligence community has an inappropriate amount of power over an objective UN structure. The cases of Iraq and Libya are used to highlight the relationship between major intelligence agencies and the IAEA as well as the existence of intermediary agencies created by the UN in special cases. The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) were both created to ensure Iraq's compliance with international weapons regulations. These appeared to be entirely autonomous and objective, which may have clashed with the intelligence community. However, research has proven that UNSCOM faced criticism for its connection to US intelligence agencies which UNMOVIC attempted to correct. Yet, the US was still able to utilize false intelligence that allowed them to internally justify a preemptive strike on Iraq. This disproven intelligence eventually ostracized the US intelligence community. The clear disregard for the expertise of the IAEA and the disapproval of the UN delegitimized both institutions. When Libya decided to dismantle its weapons programs, it answered to President Bush in the US and Prime Minister Blair in the UK. These communities kept the Libyan cooperation from the UN and IAEA until it could benefit their own nations. This type of power delegitimizes the UN regime and destabilizes an objective system. The ensuing struggle for jurisdiction and mandate confusion exemplified the confusion between a strong intelligence community and an unbiased international regime.

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2016-12

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Swords and plowshares: Jewish non-Weberian governance in British Palestine

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What does it mean to speak of governance in the absence of states? This dissertation seeks to answer this question through an empirical examination of the founding of two unique agricultural settlements constructed by the Jewish community of Palestine, also

What does it mean to speak of governance in the absence of states? This dissertation seeks to answer this question through an empirical examination of the founding of two unique agricultural settlements constructed by the Jewish community of Palestine, also known as the Yishuv: the kibbutz and the moshav. Commonly, in order to be considered effective, states must, at minimum, provide their population with two critical public goods: the satisfaction of their material needs and their physical protection through a military or police force. Dominant assumptions across multiple subfields of both Comparative Politics and International Relations content that because weak and failed states cannot provide their civilian populations with these critical public goods, that governance in the absence of effective, sovereign, and territorial states is a myth. It is often argued that violence, anarchy, and human suffering inevitably follow in the wake of state collapse and that in order to alleviate these problems, state building practices must focus on creating a fully sovereign state that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within its borders. This dissertation questions these assumptions. Through quantitative analysis of an original dataset constructed from Israeli archival sources as well as a qualitative historical examination of declassified Israeli archival material from 1920-1948, this dissertation demonstrates that it is possible for non-state actors to construct institutions of governance within the context of a weak or failing state. The Jewish community, through its organs of governance, utilized the kibbutzim and the moshavim to provide the all important public goods of military defense and economic growth respectively. It is shown in this dissertation how political institutions can be crafted endogenously within weak and failing states and how these institutions may actually serve to increase political stability, staving off anarchy and violence.

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Date Created
2013

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Multilateral organizations and domestic democratic governance

Description

International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political regime seeks international legitimation of its rule, or because an

International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political regime seeks international legitimation of its rule, or because an intervention may prevent political crisis. Whatever the reason, there are consequences of such interventions for domestic society. This project asks how interventions sanctioned by international organizations affect individual political involvement, specifically attitudes toward democracy and democratic institutions. I theorize and empirically demonstrate that when an international intervention reinforces existing democratic institutions in a state, individual levels of confidence in democracy and levels of trust in democratic institutions improve. By contrast, when an intervention undermines existing democratic institutions, levels of confidence in democracy and trust in democratic institutions decrease. This research is important because it shows that the determinants of individual political engagement are not only domestic, but also affected by international-level phenomena. This means that international organizations and the interventions they regularly employ in states can meaningfully affect the prospects for democratic consolidation.

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2015