The study of the history and origins of support for Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia is highly relevant in the contemporary world. From a study of the rationale and motive of such groups, we can arrive at the security implications for the Australian government and the preventative measures that could be taken to thwart any possible terrorist attacks.
To begin with, the term ‘terrorist organization’ should not be interpreted to mean a formal hierarchy of personnel who are assigned fixed responsibilities and duties. On the other hand they imply propaganda and support mechanism whose aim is to recruit willing individuals from the Islamic world to participate in the holy war, also known as ‘Jihad’. Consistent with this fact, the term ‘Al Qaeda’ was not Christened by Osama bin Laden; rather, it was the United States intelligence agency CIA that referred to the Islamic activists led by bin Laden in this manner in the mid-1990s. Al Qaeda, translated from Arabic, literally . . . Read More
The political configurations of constituent nations in the Asian continent have seen many significant changes over the last fifty years. The conclusion of the Second World War served as the precipitant event in transforming the erstwhile colonies in Asia into independent, sovereign nations. But, not all transformations have led to positive consequences. It would be simplistic to not look beyond official labels attached to governments in these nations. For example, classifying an Asian nation as a democracy or a dictatorship without taking into account the complex and often subtle political realities can lead to distorted perceptions. It is the objective of this essay to understand the real social, economic and demographic parameters that define a civil society and evaluate political transitions in Asia in this context.
Many analysts have pointed out that the salient features of a vibrant democracy are quite different from superficial symbols of a democratic setup as seen in . . . Read More
Immigration has always been a contentious issue in British polity, with public opinion neither completely for it nor against it. The nature and complexion of immigration to the UK has undergone a radical change since the economic integration of European nations and the enacting of common European Union laws. Ever since the New Labour ascended to power under the leadership of Tony Blair, the British government has been confronted with the challenging task of pleasing its indigenous people while not affronting immigrants. This essay will assess the immigration situation in the UK and what can be expected of the recent and proposed policy changes in this area.
If we accept the precept that public opinion is a driving force for policy changes, then the outlook for immigrants does not look promising. A survey conducted by Channel4’s Dispatches, in collaboration with YouGov titled ‘The survey for Immigration: The Inconvenient . . . Read More
When the New Labour government rose to power in 1997, it was expected of it to engineer a more egalitarian society. A British society where the elderly will not be abandoned, the poor not neglected, etc. Now into its third term in power, the party’s promises to the underprivileged sections of society remains largely unfulfilled. To the contrary, the decade under the leadership of Tony Blair is disparagingly described by political commentators as “a Thatcherite mix of more privatization and flexible labour markets, with a few nods in the direction of social justice” (Bevir & O’Brien, D. 2003). The following passages will attempt to show why such an assessment is not correct, and that not only is New Labour policy framework theoretically different, but has also fetched impressive results.
Going by policy initiatives of the New Labour government, it is certain that it took a new direction, . . . Read More
The notion of financial support for parents has undergone notable changes over the period of the last twenty five years. The era of Conservative hegemony, which started in February of 1975 with the election of Margaret Thatcher as leader of the Tory party, gave rise to the implementation of a political philosophy that strongly believed in “authoritarian populism” (Giddens, 2004).
The thirteen years that followed under Margaret Thatcher, as well as the tenure under John Major, contributed very little in the way of providing financial support for parents. As author Joe Sim explains, “the capacity of the state for coercive, militarized, and authoritarian intervention into the lives of those constructed as ideologically and socially problematic — a central component of its institutional armoury since the early 19th century — was intensified during those two decades” (Sim, 2000). Consequently, Thatcher’s . . . Read More
The Battle of Midway remains one of the pivotal events of World War II, precipitating the beginning of the end of Japanese ascendancy in the Asia Pacific region. The military confrontation between the United States of America and the Japanese Empire escalated in the early months of 1942, as strategic territories located in and around the Pacific Ocean saw unprecedented levels of attritional warfare. The following passages will analyze the unfolding of events during the Battle of Midway from various authors’ viewpoints and place this battle in the wider context of the Second World War and the then emergent new world order.
To begin with, let us consider the book written by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully titled Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. The most remarkable aspect of this book is the fact that the authors try to present the political and military developments from the point of view of the Japanese. American and British documentations of . . . Read More
The issue of regulating internet and television content is highly significant, given the exponential growth in the use of this medium for commercial and informational purposes across the globe. When the internet was thrown open for commercial use during the mid 1990s, most of its content originated from theUnited States of America, making English the dominant language in the Internet. This phenomenon was a reflection of the fact that the content was directed at a universal audience located across geo-political borders. But, gradually, the complexion of the Internet undertook a process of change, making its content more relevant to local political and cultural conditions. This implies that the Information and Communication Technology industry is increasing its penetration and presence in theThird World. The flip side of this localization is that the Internet is no longer the vehicle of free-speech and expression that it once was. . . . Read More
The advent of molecular genetic diagnostics has opened up new opportunities in the field of preventative and restorative healthcare. The newly available genetic diagnostic technologies have given rise to legal and moral conundrums that have not been sufficiently resolved. Just as the debate on the broader implications of genetic technology continues, the number of patients willing to avail of the technology is also on the rise. Such trends are witnessed here in the United Kingdom, as elsewhere in the industrialized world. This essay will discuss the molecular genetic diagnostic . . . Read More
The American criminal justice system has adopted punitive measures of varying degrees, the harshest of them being capital punishment. Over the recent decades, the judiciary has decidedly moved toward incorporating more restorative measures in its sentencing. This is not applicable across the length and breadth of the country, as the conservative South is still differentiated by its unwillingness to abandon death penalty. Nevertheless, at least in the more liberal states of the Union, the judiciary is seen to promote community service or work release as a means of delivering justice. It was intended that such alternative sentencing will inculcate into the offending individual a sense of social responsibility and self-reliance. The rest of the essay will discuss the pros and cons of these alternative approaches to criminal justice, with a special focus on community work/service programs.
As a result of community work programs, the participant individuals undergo a personal . . . Read More
The first few years of the new millennium is defined by the rise of terrorism across the world. This escalation is attributable to two primary causes. The first is the hegemonic foreign policy initiatives of the United States of America, tacitly supported by its strong allies that include Britain and Australia. The second is the radicalization of Islamist ideology, which has given shape to the concept of ‘holy jihad’ and ‘noble martyrdom’, making it easy to find willing participants in terror operations. Any study of terrorism in the contemporary world should be made in light of these two complementing factors and this essay attempts to do the same.
The United Nations has long been at the forefront of international peace initiatives. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and subsequent terror strikes in the power centres of Europe and Asia, the UN had put . . . Read More