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Can politics still be poetic?

This article was inspired by a discussion organised by SIB Groningen, on the 12th March 2018, called “Poetry and Politics in Iran: The Power of Verse”. It was led by Professor Asghar Seyed-Gohrab an Associate Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies at Leiden University, who has specialised in Islamic spirituality and Persian mysticism.  The ideas of politics and poetry may ... Read More »

Conditions, Challenges and Consequences of Korean Unification

Last week has witnessed a dramatic shift in the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea: after years of increasing tensions North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un announced he wanted to ‘write a new history’ of unification with the South. Even after the unprecedented cooperation between the two Koreas during the Olympics, this announcement came ... Read More »

Marketing for States – the Power of Nation Branding

The common war strategy of demoralizing the enemy by providing them with one’s own ideology over radio airwaves had found its way into the Cold War tactics. Western German radio stations were using frequencies that were so strong they could be easily received and thus heard in the East, behind the wall. The, so-called „Westfunk“, widely condemned by the eastern ... Read More »

The Beastly Component of Conflict: How War Endangers Species

New Year’s: it is the time of excessive drinking, an overdose of oliebollen and rants by cat ladies about the bombshells and fireworks their most beloved pets must endure. While their outcries are often ridiculed, there is a certain truth in them, as they shine light to the overlooked damage conflict causes on animals. War is viewed as being fought ... Read More »

A Link between Worlds: The History and Future of the Silk Road

When taking a look at the countries that once constituted the Soviet Union, one notices either violent internal unrest and bloody civil wars, or ongoing stagnation and economic crisis. Even several developing countries in the global South seem to outpace the former Soviet Republics due to their lack of dynamism. This has not always been the case, however, for central ... Read More »

Rodrigo and the Rainbow: Same-sex marriage in the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, has become notorious for his rowdy rhetoric and supercharged war on drugs. Last month, however, he struck a remarkably progressive tone on a wholly different issue. At an LGBT gathering in his hometown of Davao City on December 17, Duterte declared his support for marriage equality, saying that “If that is the trend ... Read More »

An Economic War: Sino-Japanese rivalry in Southeast Asia

While the international community has been focusing on the possibility of an armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, a war – even though not mentioned in the headlines – is already being fought between China and Japan. The battleground of this conflict is Southeast Asia, the soldiers are bankers and the bullets are investment loans. One does not have to ... Read More »

Bloody Interventions and Opportunistic Alliances – How Putin is Challenging the Unilateral World Order

In the abundant chaos in the streets of Homs, the unprecedented destruction of the sites of Palmyra and the stains of blood on the walls of Aleppo, Russia, Iran and Turkey have found opportunity. Together they crave to reshape the regional – and potentially global – balance of power. With president Donald Trump pushing the United States on the isolationist ... Read More »

Abe’s Gamble – A Report of Japan’s Snap Elections

Back in the beginning of 2017, the popularity of prime minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was at an all-time low. Many Japanese had grown tired of the economic recession and government stagnation. Abe’s unpopularity with the public culminated even more when his name was mentioned in a series of corruption cases. His disgrace led to the ... Read More »

Natural Heritage as a Diplomatic Tool?

With its rise as the second most promising economic power over the last decade, China, by far regarded as the leading actor in using economic models in diplomacy. Whereas in the American Peninsula this is observed as dominance over oil reserves in the world, Canada as one welcoming immigrant policy and Europe over green energy promotion, the outstanding Asian actor ... Read More »