An Examination of the European Union’s Use of Lawfare Since 2001

By: Morgan Harris

Winner of the 2019 Karl Popper Prize

The European Union is typically regarded as a soft power institution that influences others through co-option and cultural integration. Research now indicates, however, that the EU is beginning to explore coercive hard power tools and tactics. In other words, instead of strictly enticing actors to behave through diplomatic soft power, scholars suggest that the EU is now forcing desired action. A key concept related to hard power is “lawfare” or the use of law and legal mechanisms in substitution of hard-military practices. Archival data collection of EU sanctions and flight bans from 1993—when the union was formally established—to 2017 reveals that the European Commission, European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union have been actively engaged in lawfare since the 1990s. The analysis finds that the European Union enacted 439 separate instances of lawfare against its enemies from 1993 to 2017 and that its lawfare usage is nuanced, either to cripple an enemy’s capability, condemn or punish a government or actor’s behavior, or to substitute specific military action. These findings complicate and challenge the idea that European Union is a strict soft power institution and that its possible hard power tactics are a recent development. In addition to providing critical insight into how the EU responds to domestic and international threats, this study, as both the first quantitative analysis of lawfare and of lawfare’s usage by a supra/multi-state institution, extends the literature to provide valuable insight into measuring and analyzing the global usage of law as a weapon of war.

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Bringing Women to the Table: Women’s Inclusion in the Northern Ireland Peace Process

By: Julia White

In the past century, conflict resolution has increasingly shifted towards negotiated agreements. The field of inclusive security claims to improve the durability of agreements, however, women in particular are typically excluded from negotiations. There is significant research documenting the positive influence of the inclusion of civil society on agreement durability, and there is a substantial body of literature theorizing that women’s inclusion in peace negotiations contributes to the durability of the agreement. However, because of the extreme rarity of cases of women’s inclusion, there is little documentation of this theory in practice. My research seeks to explore and demonstrate the effect of women’s inclusion on the durability of two rounds of negotiations of the Northern Ireland Troubles: the 1973 Sunningdale Communiqué and the 1998 Belfast Good Friday Agreement. I use structured, focused case comparison (SFCC) to conduct a within-case study with an aim for providing empirical evidence for the inclusion of women, in connection with other forms of inclusion, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), and international mediation. The further assessment of women’s inclusion in the negotiations could support the inclusion of women in future peace processes and highlight some of the obstacles women face in getting to the table.

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Urban Park Paths and their Impact on Community: A study of Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Park

By: Maura Fennelly

In 2019 the 11th Street Bridge Park will open in Washington, D.C., linking the Anacostia neighborhood with the rest of the capital. Although parks have the capacity to facilitate community, lower-income residents are sometimes displaced; the construction of park paths expedites gentrification (Jacobs 1961, Logan and Molotch 2007, Littke et al. 2016). This paper discusses urban parks and their relationship with gentrification and increased housing costs. The study design uses two park paths, the 606 in Chicago and the High Line in New York City, to consider their influence on their respective neighborhoods.  It then analyzes the 11th Street Bridge Park’s planning and equity plan in conjunction with patterns of gentrification in D.C. to determine if the park can prevent displacement while simultaneously facilitate joint community usage. Because D.C. has undergone so many socioeconomic transformations and Anacostia is still 90% Black and low-income (median household income is $34,000) (Hurley et al. 2016), it is imperative to determine if this park can avoid the undesirable outcomes of urban developments that harm community.

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License to Chill: James Bond and Détente in Film

By: Jennifer Roberts

The following paper aims to investigate how the détente period from 1963-1979 was portrayed in film. Détente as a policy significantly contributed to the ending of the Cold War, for it opened avenues of dialogue previously not available between the United States and Soviet Union. However, how the average person experienced détente or whether or not the policy impacted citizens lives at all is up for debate. This paper utilizes film as a unit of popular culture to understand détente’s role in everyday life in the United States between 1963 and 1979. This paper specifically investigates James Bond films because of their creation during détente, their ongoing series nature, their inclusive rating system, as well their role as insights into the geopolitical landscape.

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The Making of an Illiberal Democracy: The Case of Hungary

By: Noah Higgins

This paper investigates democratic decline in modern Hungary. In recent years this type of decline has become more common and thus, understanding the factors that drive it is critical. This paper draws on scholarship on nationalism, economic decline, and regime legitimacy and utilizes a process tracing methodology to gain a nuanced understanding of how variables outlined in the scholarship interacted with one another in the process that resulted in Hungary’s slide away from democracy. This paper hypothesizes that economic decline created the conditions for political change within Hungary while nationalism, a decline in support for liberal values, and the appeal of alternative systems of governance were key antecedent conditions determining the illiberal form of that change. It finds that the data supported the idea of economic decline creating the conditions for political change but that that change was driven by rising nationalistic sentiment and the appeal that alternative systems of governance had for the political elite. The evidence does not support a decline in support for liberal values or popular level appeal for alternative systems of governance having a role in Hungary’s democratic decline.

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India and Burma: A Case Study in Democratic Movements vis-a-vis Colonialism

By: Emily Wolfe

Great Britain set out for many countries during the colonial expeditions. One of these countries was India. During the 19th century, Burma was also incorporated in to the British Raj. While India and Burma were under the same colonial rule, their norms and practices previous to this could not have been more different. When the British Raj ended, India and Burma regained their independence. However, there is a clear distinction between the two during their course of colonization. India was able to form a cohesive democratic movement, and eventually form the Indian National Congress. Burma did not see the rise of a democratic movement. This is important, because it arguably changed the course of the countries’ respective futures. India became a democracy, and Burma became a hybrid regime. The factor that gave way for the rise of India’s democratic movement must be explored.

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Investigating the Failure to Rebel: The Case of the Russian Minority of Northeast Estonia from 1992-1993

By: Daniel Herschlag

There is a large body of scholarship that explores why some ethnic minorities, when faced with a threat from an ethnic majority, mobilize for violent conflict while other minorities do not. Stuart Kaufman in an investigation of the ethnic rebellion of Moldova’s Russian minority, posits nine key conditions that are necessary for ethnic rebellion to occur. However, the Russians of Estonia did not engage in ethnic rebellion despite the presence of these nine conditions. To explore the theoretically unexpected outcome of the Russian minority of Estonia I utilize a process tracing method. I hypothesize that the Russian political elites made efforts to dampen the threat perceived by the general population of the Russian minority in Estonia posed by the Estonian government, thus mitigating the effects of the antecedent conditions. However, through a structured analysis of contemporary Russian newspapers, I find that opposite to be the case. The Russian political elites engaged in threat-inducing rhetoric. I find evidence that although the general Russian minority population of Estonia was impacted by the threat inducing rhetoric, they felt that they had an illegitimate claim to the territory in which they resided. This was due to the fact that the majority of the Russian population of Estonia were first or second-generation immigrants. This finding suggests that a historical claim to the territory in which an ethnic minority resides is critical for an ethnic minority to engage in rebellion, a factor that was neglected in Kaufman’s model. This finding contributes to broader literature on ethnic violence and could be utilized to predict when ethnic minorities are more likely to mobilize for conflict.

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Presidential Discourse and the U.S. Coptic Diaspora: Conflicting Narratives of Sectarian Violence and Identity in Egypt

By: Nilya Knafo

Although Christianity was first introduced to Egypt in 48 AD, acts of sectarian violence targeted towards Egypt’s Copts have persisted for centuries. For decades, Egypt’s leaders have employed similar discourses of unity and nationalism in response to the growing divide between the nation’s minority Coptic Christian community and majority Muslim population. In response to a persistent lack of coexistence between religious and national identity, I argue that Egyptian presidential discourses of unity and nationalism are oftentimes linked to practices of silence in response to the sectarian violence that afflicts the nation. This paper analyzes the rhetoric of Egyptian presidential speeches from 2011-2018, and contextualizes historical discourses following the end of British colonialism in Egypt in 1952. I study the Egyptian Coptic diaspora in the United States as a counter discourse to presidential rhetoric, by focusing my analysis on the juxtaposition of two major events in Egyptian history that impacted minority-majority relations and identity politics: the Arab Spring and the inauguration of the newest and largest church in the Middle East, the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ in Cairo. I conclude that the lack of consensus between the Coptic diaspora and Egypt’s regimes highlights the conflicting nature of identity and nationalism within Egyptian politics and society.

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All clouds are clocks, even the most cloudy of clouds. Karl Popper

About Us

Clocks and Clouds is an American University undergraduate research journal that publishes articles on the cutting edge of political science, international relations, and public policy.

Through the journal, our authors contribute to the intellectual dialogue both within the American University community and in broader academia. Philosopher Karl Popper’s “clocks and clouds” metaphor describes the two ends of the spectrum of predictability in social science. Clouds represent the disorderly and irregular, and clocks represent the predictable and rational.

By providing a venue for top undergraduate research, Clocks and Clouds aims to find the clocks amidst the clouds.

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