Debates: Politics

11 Dec 2015

The proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has been a concern from almost before the first atomic bomb was developed, when a number of scientists on the Manhattan Project suggested that the weapons be placed under the control of the United Nations. Since that time there has been a constant fear that...

11 Dec 2015

The ‘New START’ Treaty (for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a bilateral nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation that was signed in Prague on April 8, 2010. It is a follow-up to the 1991 START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, and...

11 Dec 2015

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) outlaws the testing of nuclear weapons (United Nations, 1996). So far, 175 countries signed the treaty, but it cannot become a binding international law until it has been ratified by all states capable of developing nuclear weapons, of which there are 44...

11 Dec 2015

Tactical nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield and in other military situations. As opposed to the larger, strategic nuclear weapons, they are not meant for use against civilian population centers or to damage the ability of states to wage war. There are many...

11 Dec 2015

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever developed. The right to possess these weapons is an issue of serious contention in the international community. Non-proliferation treaties exist within the United Nations, and between countries, such as between the United States and Russia....

11 Dec 2015

The abolishment of nuclear weapons would constitute the complete and multi-lateral disarmament of all current nuclear weapons and material earmarked specifically for their development or production.

Nuclear weapons first dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, forever changed the face...

30 Nov 2015

The first quarter of 2011 saw a remarkable wave of protests sweep across the Arab world. On January 14th, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia who had ruled since 1987 fled following days of protest. This success for people power was unprecedented in the Arab world where previous regime...

30 Nov 2015

In Syria there have now been almost two years of conflict between the Ba’ath Party of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a fractured Arab spring inspired rebellion that incorporates a broad Syrian National Coalition, Kurds and Mujahideen from around the Middle East. It is now clear that...

30 Nov 2015

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) won the Nobel prize for peace on the 11th October 2013 “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. The Nobel prize committee argued “Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have...

30 Nov 2015

On November 23rd, 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee passed a resolution condemning President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government for the ongoing deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators in Syria[1]. Passing with a large...

30 Nov 2015

Wars fought in some far away land are typically unpopular. One such far away war currently being fought by a variety of powers, particularly the United States, France and Russia, is the ongoing campaign against Islamic State (IS) or Daesh. Daesh, as with other Islamist terror groups is clearly a...

24 Nov 2015

In many countries around the world individuals are free to choose to vote or not to vote, while in other countries (Australia, a couple cantons in Switzerland, Belgium and Singapore , for example) it is compulsory for citizens to vote.  Punishment for non-voting can vary from a...

24 Nov 2015

Military recruitment has diversified in recent years to include the use of schools as a platform for the armed services to present to school children on future opportunities for employment. Though not altogether unheard of previously, in the United States it has become a particularly debated...

12 Oct 2015

John Atta Mills the President of Ghana died suddenly on the 24th July 2012. Or at least it appeared sudden to Ghanaians at the time. In fact he had been suffering from throat cancer for some time but his administration had not been open about his health. Serious questions had already...

23 Sep 2015

Labour, together with the Conservatives one of the two parties that dominate UK politics, is traditionally a left of centre party but has, since the mid 1990s been a centrist party rebranded as ‘New Labour’. The Labour party has however lost the last two elections; in 2010 under...

23 Sep 2015

“Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view.”...

23 Sep 2015

The issue of big versus small government is a significant in the election campaigns of many countries – and has recently been the subject of many hysterical pronouncements in the US. In reality no incoming government does that much to change the overall size of government as there are, in...

23 Sep 2015

Tactical note: One of the difficulties with any debate relating to ideology is that, to put it mildly, they raise definitional problems. Capitalism is relatively easy although certainly Smith would be unlikely to recognise the actions of the red in tooth and claw Capitalists of modern banking....

7 Sep 2015

Corruption is operationally defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. Facilitation payments, where a bribe is paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the receiver is required to do by law (e.g. an official processing a license application), constitute "...

7 Sep 2015

In the wake of the shocking events of 11 September 2001, terrorism and the “war on terror” became the number one issue for the US government. But terrorism has a far longer, more global history.

Political, religious and national/ethnic groups have resorted to violence to pursue their...

7 Sep 2015

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was founded in 1949 as a political and military alliance binding western European democracies such as Britain and France together with the USA and Canada. It was intended to defend Europe against Soviet communism, which in response built the Warsaw Pact as...

2 Sep 2015

Coups are a regular occurrence around the world. The most recent happened in May 2014 when the Thai army overthrew the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. From 1945 to 2006 there were 261 coups of all descriptions.1 A coup can be...

26 Aug 2015

It is an old well-worn phrase when it comes to the state and surveillance that if you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide then there is nothing to worry about. Britain’s Foreign Secretary trotted this idea out shortly after the PRISM scandal broke saying “if you are a...

26 Aug 2015

The topic of tolerance towards religious symbols has caused much controversy among many both in the Western and Eastern hemispheres. Religious symbols are incorporated into every religion and are expressions of both faith and devotion. Examples of religious symbols include the Christian,...

26 Aug 2015

The methods that law enforcement agents traditionally use to identify dangerous individuals in public locations involve observation of behaviour and the use of knowledge gained in previous investigations. Officials may even institute random checks in particularly high risk situations. Customs...

21 Aug 2015

Immigration is an increasingly divisive topic in the European Union as there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of migrants, both economic migrants and asylum seekers, crossing into Southern Europe across the Mediterranean and through Turkey into Greece. The large numbers, a record 107,500...

20 Feb 2015

Greece’s economic woes have been at the forefront of the Eurozone debt crisis over the last few years. It has received bailout packages in the form of emergency low interest rate loans in excess of €200 billion and has written off a portion of the existing public debt. Greece’s...

7 Nov 2014

In many towns and cities throughout the world, mayors are directly elected by the citizens, with varying but often considerable power to govern locally on their behalf. A town council, made up of separately elected representatives from different neighbourhoods (often called wards in English),...

28 Aug 2014

Habeas Corpus is a centuries old legal mechanism that prevents the government from arbitrarily detaining its citizens. It originated in medieval England and operates in many countries influenced by the English common law tradition. In the US, Habeas Corpus is a petition to a state or federal...

28 Aug 2014

On 9 December 1948, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide1. This is heralded as the first distinct milestone on the road to international protection of human rights. The CPPG outlines the international definition of genocide, re-affirms...