Lessons from Minnesota and Dixie for the Fate of the Eurozone

Sam BrazysThe current iteration of the Greek debt crisis, and the possibility of a “Grexit”, has elicited numerous policy proposals, ranging from the German creditors saying “nein” to any new arrangement, to calls for debt forgiveness, to proposals in between. Yet, the most obvious, equitable, and legal remedy is conspicuously absent from most discussions: fiscal transfer.

I am a Minnesotan, of German heritage, living in Ireland, and as such should be poised to say a few things about debt, credit and fiscal transfer. Minnesota is not well-known abroad, but it is the land of 10,000 lakes, the land of 10,000,000 mosquitos (midges, only worse), the land of Minnesnowta. As shown by The Economist, Minnesota is also one of the biggest net-contributors to the US federal system, transferring nearly 200% of its annual GDP to the federal pot between 1990 and 2009. A state of just over five million people transferred in excess of $500 billion dollars, net, to the federal coffers over 20 years, a sum almost 1.5 times the total Greek debt. Where did Minnesota’s money go? It went to Mississippi and Alabama, two of the largest net recipients of federal transfer over the same period. But this wasn’t cash being handed out in the streets. It wasn’t a credit into some Southern bank. It wasn’t a padding of public salaries.   That is not what fiscal transfer means. Fiscal transfer means motorways that meet the same standards in Mississippi as Minnesota. Fiscal transfer means the same baseline of health care for the poor or elderly, despite the state abbreviation on their address. Fiscal transfer means Coast Guard stations that can function effectively on all shores. Fiscal transfer means jobs and spending and stimulus in Mississippi associated with all of the above. Fiscal transfer is a harmonising force across a political union.

Minnesota contributes $5,000 per capita, per year, to the federal budget. Over the 15 years of the Eurozone, Germany would have needed to transfer just $300 per person, per year, to wipe out the Greek debt. Not a crippling amount. Not an unfair amount to ensure infrastructure, social protection and human dignity. The analogy is obvious. Germany is to Minnesota as Greece is to Mississippi.   The difference is that Minnesotans recognize the obligations inherent in the social pact of a political and monetary union.

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Women: pure, wholesome caregivers or agents of change in social contract theory?

Picture Charlotte AmroucheThis is the fourth in a series of blogposts on the film 2014 Russian film, Leviathan, written by students in the Politics module, Individuals and the State, who were asked to reflect on the connections between the film and the ideas of Hobbes or other social contract theories. 

Charlotte Amrouche writes:

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film portrays the struggles of a working-class family in remote Russia against the powerful, belligerent mayor, as he extends his power over them to buy their land. Within this context it is easy to distinguish elements of the power-play which contractarians such as Hobbes and Locke outlined in their social contract theories. However what is most interesting to focus on is how the power of women is played out in Leviathan. Do they stick to the roles and notions of women in social contract as outlined by Hobbes and Locke?

In analysing any society within social contract theories it is first necessary to inspect what notions of individuals exist in the society. Much of the time individuals are idealised and reduced in order to be able to create a social contract theory – disregarding the vast array of individuals and the accordingly different relationships they hold within society. Although Hobbes and Locke do go into detail about what elements create the free man, what rights and what faculties he has, what is often excluded, or skimmed over, is the nature of women in social contract theory. Therefore we cannot begin to look at Leviathan and how this society reflects on these theories without assessing how the role of women in the film may differ from the expected roles as elaborated by Hobbes or Locke.

Much of the work by Hobbes and Locke describe women as integral part of the marriage contract, a supporting role to that of the men who run and rule the societies and sovereignties. Within Leviathan the leading woman, Lilya, is seen at the beginning to have an integral yet silent role to the wellbeing of the family. Through her job at the fish farm, to how much less she drank in comparison to her husband, to the care of the child in the home, all portray her as a caring, responsible, motherly figure. And to begin with her role starts and ends here. In the work of Hobbes and Locke this is also where their explanation of women in the social contract ends.

These themes of subordination to the men of the society continue throughout, from the representation of women in Church as silent witnesses: covered and modest. Even in their role within government and in power they may be called “sweetheart”, a vocal way men continue to assert their control over women. However I would argue that, although these issues of subordination are apparent and relevant to the story of women in social contract, it is not the full story. What classical contractarianism fails to recognise is that women are agents of control and power in society. Despite the continuous attempt to subordinate women they will continuously prove to not be silent witnesses to men as they carry out and control social life, but instead active agents of their own destinies, and the destiny of their society and its members. The decisions that Lilya made throughout the film led to the destruction of her husband. Simplistically we can suggest that in her role as caregiver in the family domain she maintained an importance balance in the lives of the other family members. When this balance was removed destruction ensued. This approach continues to place the main role of women as caregivers within the social contract. However unlike Hobbes and Locke who end their role for women here, we see in Leviathan that the role of women expands and that without them the men become shells of their powerful active roles. After Lilya’s death her husband becomes easy to manipulate by the authorities of corrupt power, which is where on the outset the power appears to lie. However the subtle power of Lilya, and women like her, should not easily be forgotten or dismissed.

What is fascinating throughout this evaluation of women in social contract is how women are idealised. The notions of emphasised femininity which have been fed through Western media and society can easily be mirrored in the Leviathan’s society. When Lilya’s best friend exclaims that “[all men] think that you’re pretty and then want to kill you” we see how men’s violence against women can cross cultures and societal systems with no regard to any other social differences. The manipulation by the state of Lilya’s death show how even in death women are not seen as individuals, instead as objects to use in the path to one’s own objective.

These themes of subordination, power and exclusion of women all run throughout the work of Hobbes and Locke. And we can plainly see through this film and in our own society today that these are sadly parts of women’s lives today. However what we can see from films such as Leviathan is that the story does not end here. Despite the excluding depiction of women in social contract by Hobbes and Locke, reality shows that women rise above and outside of these exclusions. Like any individual you cannot assume one role, one image, one norm of women, but instead must be ready for any multitude of representations.

I am currently in second year studying Sociology and Politics & International Relations. My main areas of interests in this degree are social justice, human rights, feminism and gender studies. On completing this degree at UCD I hope to continue studying gender studies.

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How does Andrey Zvyaginstev’s Leviathan interpret social contract theory in Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

Aonghus O DonnchuThis is the third in a series of blogposts on the film 2014 Russian film, Leviathan, written by students in the Politics module, Individuals and the State, who were asked to reflect on the connections between the film and the ideas of Hobbes or other social contract theories. 

Aonghus Ó Donnchú writes:

Andrey Zvyaginstev’s Leviathan (2014) depicts a brutish example of Hobbesian social contract theory in which Locke’s views are forced aside; in the words of Observer film critic Mark Kermode it ‘is a tale of big themes and little people’.  The protagonist, Kolya, battles alongside his old friend Dmitri for his supposed Lockean right to property which Dmitri claims is enshrined in Russian law.  This falls short of the actuality of the situation whereby the local mayor, Vadim, fights for his right to take Kolya’s property.  This reflects a Hobbesian state of affairs in which man sacrifices his rights in return for the protection of the state.

The film reflects the Hobbesian nature of Russia’s social contract very well.  Hobbes sees the social contract as a safeguard against the anarchy of the state of nature he describes.  This anarchy can be seen simmering under the surface from beginning to end with hatred growing, violence and betrayal between friends and corruption within the authorities as every man looks after himself.  Ironically it is the crooked government of Vadim that stops this anarchy from coming to a boil.  The fact that the movie frequently alludes to Russia’s wider power structures, Vadim often referencing power brokers in Moscow, the picture of Putin in his office and even the shooting of portraits of previous Russian and Soviet leaders at a birthday get-together, proves that this outlook on the social contract is not just in play in this town, but across Russia as a whole.  This, however, does not mean that this rural, seaside town under Vadim’s control lives under a peaceful social contract whereby the people make sacrifices and in return Vadim protects them.

A key motif of Leviathan, clearly tangible throughout, is the failure of Russia’s social contract under current leader Vladimir Putin, whose portrait hangs centrally in the corrupt Vadim’s office. None of the protection the state owes its individuals is provided to the main characters in this film.  This is palpable in Dmitri’s beating to the brink of death at the hands of Vadim’s bodyguards, Lilya’s suicide and Kolya’s biased trial which judges the innocent man guilty.  However, there is no starker case of Government failure to uphold the social contract than the case of Kolya’s son Roma, who is left alone for roughly five days after the arrest of his father, and after that is saved by his father’s accusers rather than be left to the implied misery of state care.  Failure to adequately care for the weakest in society, children under eighteen years of age, is a clear depiction of Vadim’s, and through him, Putin’s, failure to uphold the totalitarian Hobbesian contract that appears to be favourable to the corrupt mayor Vadim.

Hobbes acknowledged that the state of war as depicted before the social contract came to exist does, after its creation, become existent on a higher level as those in power have no sovereign powers to bow down to.  A microcosm of this can be seen in Leviathan in Vadim’s leadership.  There is of course a higher power here, in the form of the Moscow power base, but they seem disinterested for the most part provided Vadim proves to be no trouble for them.  The only other power that can be expected to outweigh that of Vadim is that of God and the Russian Orthodox Church, a strong recurring organisation in the film.  Vadim clearly respects the power of the Church with frequent visits to priests in the church; however the church is constantly committed to Vadim.  Its unwavering support grants him heavenly support to do as he wishes.  Of course the favour is returned when Vadim builds a church on Kolya’s land.  This is clearly seen to be no more than a power grab by Vadim, however, at the end when the poor majority are barely visible in the midst of the power players driving expensive cars to this church.  Not even the church was above Vadim.  Once he was granted the power of the social contract the world became his in his eyes.

The view of the social contract portrayed in Leviathan would be a horror to the civil rights based contracts of Locke or Rousseau, however it is too similar to Hobbes’, whose book of course shares the film’s title, to dismiss.  Even this version of the social contract is visibly coming apart at the seams, but a strong ruler remains who does, for the most part, provide protection, if rather limited, in return for the loss of certain rights.

Kermode, M. (2014) ‘Leviathan review – Andrew Zvyaginstev’s outstanding tale of the epic and the everyday.’  Guardian available from http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/nov/09/leviathan-review-andrey-zvyagintsev-epic-everyday [last accessed on 24 November 2014]

I am a 2nd year history, politics and international relations student in UCD.  I was born and raised in Ballyboden in South Dublin.  In politics my main interest would be international relations, while in history I prefer military history.  Thankfully there is quite a lot of overlap between these two fields of research.  I hope to continue studying history after my degree and attain a masters.

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Social Contract in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan.

Matthew DoncelThis is the second in a series of blogposts on the film 2014 Russian film, Leviathan, written by students in the Politics module, Individuals and the State, who were asked to reflect on the connections between the film and the ideas of Hobbes or other social contract theories. 

Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan is a beautifully shot film, which seems to combine both visual and narrative elements to create a running commentary on the faith that men place in the social contract they hold with a ruler, a vertical contract, and the consequent ease in which they fall back into the natural state of war, when the security they were assured of when they allowed themselves to be subject to a government’s rule falls apart. The film shows us that it is not just the everyday man, but also those who hold the power who will fall back on the use of violence to protect what is theirs when the system fails to work in their favour.

The opening shots of the film convey the beauty and freedom found in the natural state of the world while also giving us a sense of it being unwelcoming and an uncomfortable place to be in – much like how Hobbes describes the natural state in which one would be free to have all rights, yet be in a constant state of stress caused by the threat of conflict. We are introduced to Kolya who lives in this wild part of North-Western Russia and is fighting a compulsory purchase order from the town council on behalf of the town’s corrupt mayor. He places his faith in the established legal system and reaches out to his friend Dmitri, an old friend and lawyer from Moscow for help to get back what is rightfully his. Dmitri comes prepared for both, using the system in place and using some not so legal tactics to help Kolya. Their faith in the system, albeit wavering at this stage, is seen again after the mayor’s drunken visit to Kolya and his family. Dmitri tries to issue a complaint and bring criminal charges on the mayor over misconduct and abuse of his powers at the police station but is met with frustrating bureaucratic walls being thrown up in front of him. The mayor Vadim then decides to use the system to punish Kolya for attempting to use it to fight him and to keep the land from him by having him arrested and held in custody.

As their faith in the social contract between them and the Russian legal system begins to dissolve we see the men turning to the state of nature as Hobbes predicted. Throughout the film there are many references to the characters as animals. Lilya calls Roma an “ape”, Vadim calls the Sergeyevs “annoying insects” for trying to stall his acquisition of the land and Lilya and Angela call the men “animals” when they are out shooting. In fact the happiest we see the men in the film is when they are out in the wilderness shooting and drinking, far from the laws of any sovereign which would restrict their freedom. Even Dmitri, one of the characters who subjects himself to the authority of the state the most, delights in the violent shooting. It is not only quite striking that the men happily allow themselves fall back into this brutish manner which Hobbes wrote about but also that they seek out ways to relinquish themselves from the confines of the social contract.

When the peace and protection which Hobbes said the sovereign would give in return for being subject and having rights restricted by its laws stop existing the men return to a state of war. When the thought of not winning the case crosses Kolya’s mind he mentions using violence against Vadim. He threatens use of violence again later when he mentions ‘lynching’ the mayor and we see that when the mayor comes to his house and abuses Kolya by telling him he “has none and never had any rights” he is inside with his rifle on his lap. When the security afforded to us by official channels fail, we seem to fall back into a state of war like a threatened animal does when backed into a corner. But it is not just the subjects of the sovereign who revert to this state of war. When Dmitri blackmails Vadim with damning evidence of crimes he committed in return for the release of Kolya from custody and the 3.5 million roubles the property is worth, it threatens Vadim enough that he feels he has no official, legal way to fight Dmitri and relies on violence instead to assert his power and security. He has Dmitri taken away from civilisation and out into the wilderness, another nod from the director to the Hobbesian state of nature where just like in the shooting scene violence is normal, and has him beaten. He threatens death to Dmitri and harm to his daughter and only then gets him to back off and let Vadim feel safe. Hobbes predicted that fear of death was one of the only things that would ‘encline men to Peace’ (Hobbes, T. 1651 Ch13: para7), and it was the only thing that got Dmitri to flee back to Moscow. In fact Vadim’s priest seems to encourage him to use all of the powers afforded to him to protect his territory and overwhelm his enemies just as Hobbes said men would in a state of war.

This loss of faith in the power of the state to protect your rights, arguably the most important part of the social contract is what leads to Kolya’s devastating end. He sees traffic cop Pascha drink drive, is victim to police corruption, the state fails in protecting his property rights and all this makes him lose his faith in the system so much that he barely fights the charge of murdering Lilya. Instead of helping and protecting Kolya, as the social contract is meant to do, it is used against him so that he would ‘know his place’, as Vadim said. This film was a fantastic commentary on Hobbes’ Leviathan, even if I did get cirrhosis of the eyes from the sheer amount of drinking in it!

Bibliography:

Hobbes, T. (1651) Leviathan.

Matthew Doncel is a 2nd year Law with Politics student. He is interested in international relations and environmental law. After his degree he would like to pursue further studies in these areas.

 

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Leviathan Revisited: Reflections of Hobbes in Zvyagintsev’s latest award-winning film

ellinor soderstrom

This is the first in a series of blogposts on the film 2014 Russian film, Leviathan, written by students in the Politics module, Individuals and the State, who were asked to reflect on the connections between the film and the ideas of Hobbes or other social contract theories. 

Eleanor Soderstrom writes:

Zvyagintsev´s Leviathan is set in modern day Russia, introducing us to Kolya and his family, living in a remote town in northern Russia by the Barents Sea. You could argue that the movie´s main aim is to show us the social contract that has been established between the citizens of Russia, in particular in this small town, and the government – the sovereign (Debruge 2014). As the title of the film suggests, you could argue that the movie portrays a modern day Hobbesian view that shows that in order to live in peace, you need to obey the sovereign. In this case the sovereign is portrayed as Vadim, the local mayor. Trying to keep the rights to his property, Kolya tries with the help of his friend Dimitri, a lawyer from Moscow, to convince the mayor through blackmail, to pay Kolya a fair price for his land, which the former is trying to confiscate and return to the hands of the state. Vadim, who is portrayed as a corrupt power seeker, has the support of the Russian Orthodox Church and will by all means necessary do whatever it takes to win this power struggle.

You could argue that the similarities between Zvyagintsev´s Leviathan and Hobbes´ Leviathan are striking. Zvyagintsev shows us a modern day Hobbesian Russian society where, even though corrupt – government needs to be obeyed at all costs. As Hobbes argues in his Leviathan; when you are in a society under the social contract – you need to always obey your sovereign (1996:120-25). If not, this will give the sovereign right to do with the individual what he seems fitting. This can be immediately related to the ominous “fate” that awaits Kolya and his family as the film progresses. As the sovereign´s powers are absolute and undivided according to Hobbes (1996:120-27), the misfortunes that Kolya and his family are facing throughout the movie could be explained through Hobbes´ theory of the sovereign. In other words, Vadim´s words and actions are in fact the ultimate law, and when the sovereign´s subject, in this case Kolya, is no longer obeying, the sovereign has the power to: “…being able to destroy them if they refuse…” (Hobbes 1996:121).

Although, you could also see it from another perspective of Hobbesian view – that the corrupt politicians we see in Zvyagintsev´s Russia are a portrayal of failed and illegitimate government, and so this could explain the “state of war” that culminates as the film is coming to an end. The distrust for Russian politicians and politics is a silver lining that we can follow throughout the film. This can especially be seen in the scene where on an outing, the local police, while off duty, are using pictures of former Russian politicians such as Brezhnev and Lenin for target practice. While at the same time, a picture of Vladimir Putin has taken the ceremonial centre piece of the corrupt mayor Vadim´s office. The phrase “man is the most dangerous animal” is also spoken during this trip, which again, you could argue, hints at Hobbes´ view of the natural condition of human kind.

If you take the stance of interpreting the film in the way that it portrays a weak and corrupt government, which eventually leads to a state of war, the quote “…continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” can undeniably be an underlying message taken from the film. The more the corruption of Vadim´s actions shines through, the more you see the film taking a Hobbesian turn for the worse. That is, the more corruption within politics, the less legitimate government becomes. When the local government fails to be legitimate, society falls in to a kind of chaos, and immorality becomes a guiding light for the officials – in this case both for the government and the church. Hobbes describes human nature as power seeking and conflict prone (1996: 88), which ultimately can be seen through the struggle of Kolya´s plot of land, between Kolya himself and the state, and ultimately the church. Kolya feels entitled to the land as it has “been his for as long as he can remember”, which implies that it has been passed down from generation to generation. Although, looking at it from the other view suggested earlier (always obey the sovereign), the reason for Kolya´s misfortunes can also be explained by his inability to accept the sovereign´s decision of confiscating the property. As Hobbes argues that the sovereign has absolute power over everything, including property rights (1996: 125), Vadim has legitimate reasons for his actions and decisions.

No matter which of the two different views you decide on while watching this movie, one thing is certain – Zvyagintsev´s Leviathan most definitely reflects many aspects found in Hobbes´ writings. Zvyagintsev´s Leviathan is a great portrayal of a modern Hobbesian society, an example of what it could be – or maybe already is.

Bibliography
Debruge, P. (2014) Film Review: ‘Leviathan’. Variety, 22 May. Available from: http://variety.com/2014/film/reviews/cannes-film-review-leviathan-1201189022/
[12 November 2014]

Hobbes, T [1651] (1996) Leviathan, R. Tuck ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

I´m a 2nd year undergraduate student in UCD doing a single major in Politics and International Relations. I am from Sweden, but I’m doing my 3 year undergrad in UCD. My main areas of interest are Comparative Politics and International Relations. After completing my undergrad I intend to do a Masters in Political Science.

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New blog posts on our sister blog from the Dublin European Institute

Check out the new blog posts from students of our capitalism and democracy undergraduate course. As part of the course, students were asked to write about an issue pertaining to the political economy of distribution. The best blog posts have been selected to provide an opportunity to exceptional young scholars at UCD to contribute to the debate on the future of European and global economic governance, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience. – See more at: http://europedebate.ie

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North Korea, Human Rights, and the ICC

alex dukalskisThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea or DPRK) has been much in the news recently. In a shift from years past, this time North Korea is under scrutiny more for its appalling human rights abuses than its nuclear weapons program or the strange habits of its leaders. Attention to the repressive conditions under which North Koreans live is on the agenda of international leaders in a serious way, but relief still appears to be a long way off.

In February of this year the United Nations Human Rights Council released a 372 page report detailing the dire human rights situation of the DPRK. The report contains hundreds of interviews with North Korean defectors along with satellite imagery and other types of evidence demonstrating the depth and scope of violence and repression in North Korea. The report itself said little that informed observers did not already know or suspect. Indeed one can find similar assessments and formulations in scholarship on North Korea dating back to at least the 1970s. Nevertheless, the document is indispensable not only because it systematically catalogues conditions in the DPRK but also because it has focused the world’s attention on the country’s human rights situation. The situation is grim for many in North Korea, and the UN report details the specifics of the “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations [that] have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

The report prompts at least two questions. First, what explains the sudden attention to human rights in North Korea? The UN report seemed to have come out of nowhere, but from another perspective it can be seen as the culmination of long and careful work by numerous civil society, religious, and intergovernmental organizations. Much of this has been made possible by the drastically increased numbers of North Koreans leaving the country. Before the mid-1990s the numbers of North Koreans escaping and making it to the South could be measured in the dozens. These were often more elite individuals and their stories about North Korea were sometimes treated as unreliable or unrepresentative. After a disastrous famine in the mid-1990s led to widespread starvation in many parts of the DPRK, ordinary citizens began to escape in larger numbers. By the mid-2000s there were over 1500 North Koreans arriving in South Korea every year, reaching a high of almost 3,000 in 2009. There is now a total of over 26,000 North Koreans living legally in South Korea, with tens of thousands more in living illegally and precariously in China. These defectors bring their stories with them, which allows researchers, civil society organizations, and the UN to learn more about North Korea. The fact that defectors’ stories are remarkably similar in many respects lends them credibility. These factors have facilitated an accumulation of human rights knowledge about North Korea cultivated by a variety of actors and culminating in the UN’s detailed report.

Second, what comes next? Unfortunately options are limited. There are already a variety of sanctions on North Korea designed to hinder the DPRK’s nuclear program but the human rights impact of sanctions is ambiguous at best. In a non-binding vote earlier this month the United Nations Human Rights Committee urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Security Council is unlikely to do so because China will almost surely attempt to quash such a resolution, if necessary by using its veto as a permanent member. This raises the question of why China supports North Korea to the extent that it does despite the private grumblings of Chinese diplomats and political leaders that North Korea is an embarrassing anachronism. China wants stability on its borders and fears that regime change in Pyongyang might lead to an influx of unwelcome North Korean refugees and nuclear materials that could be looted amid the chaos. North Korea may also provide a cheap source of minerals and other materials for China’s development, although surveys of Chinese businesspersons who deal with North Korea reveal significant frustrations with the institutional and regulatory structure of the DPRK. Geopolitically some in China may fear that if Korea is to unify it will surely be a case of South Korea absorbing the North, meaning that a unified Korea would place a United States ally which hosts American troops directly on China’s border. Combined with extant US military commitments to Japan and Taiwan and the Obama administration’s professed ‘pivot’ to Asia, a US-friendly unified Korea may be too much for policymakers in Beijing to countenance.

Despite China’s reticence to push North Korea on human rights, the notion that China could flick a switch and get the DPRK to act as it wishes is probably overblown. Historical research based on newly available sources from archives in post-Soviet countries reveals that North Korea has long been adept at maneuvering among great powers with the aim of protecting its own autonomy. Nevertheless China does have more leverage over the DPRK than any other country and ultimately could press for human rights improvements in North Korea if it prioritized such an approach. Short of that, it is clear that sanctions and imposed isolation are unlikely to encourage North Korea to begin treating its people better. More engagement might be part of the answer, but North Korea is a notoriously opaque and persnickety partner. One potentially (and paradoxically) encouraging aspect of the recent attention to North Korean human rights abuses is the fact that the DPRK government responded to them publicly and at the UN. Granted, North Korea’s response has been full of vitriol, self-serving arguments, red herrings, and half-truths, but at least now leaders in Pyongyang cannot say that they did not know that much of the world condemns their human rights practices. For now, in a situation with few unambiguously appealing diplomatic and policy options, let alone quick fixes (beyond, of course, political will in Pyongyang), the relatively new attention to human rights in North Korea in addition to the nuclear issue is a welcome but nascent step.

Alexander Dukalskis, Ph.D.

Lecturer, UCD School of Politics and International Relations

2014-15 East Asia Institute Fellow on Peace, Governance, and Development

alexander.dukalskis@ucd.ie

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