Illiberal Europe: A Case Study Analysis of Populist Politics in the European Union

By Jared Angle

Despite the European Union’s progress toward closer integration between its 28 member states, a notable number of national governments and political parties have increasingly begun to demonstrate illiberal behavior that contrasts with the values espoused by the supranational political framework in Brussels. In the past five years, populism has become an increasingly disruptive force, much to the ire of the European Union political institutions and of the political mainstream of its member states. Continue reading “Illiberal Europe: A Case Study Analysis of Populist Politics in the European Union”

Policy proposals to boost support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

By Jared Angle

October 19, 2015

*Note: this article is a hypothetical policy memo for a graduate school assignment and does not necessarily reflect my exact opinions on aspects of the TTIP negotiations.


Despite strong indications that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be successfully concluded in the near future, the European Commission must take several steps to ensure the agreement’s ratification by European Union member states.

  • Increase public and media access to TTIP negotiation texts and draft proposals
  • Dismantle the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework and establish an investment court system that is equitable, democratically accountable, and publicly accessible
  • Establish a comprehensive food labeling system to protect regional agricultural traditions, identify GMO products, and facilitate consumer choice in European and American markets


For the past two years, citizens of EU member states have paid considerable attention to the ongoing TTIP negotiations. Multiple public consultations have demonstrated significant dissatisfaction surrounding the quality and impact of TTIP as it currently stands. This public opposition gives the European Commission renewed incentive to use the next round of negotiations as an opportunity to coordinate with our counterparts at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to make key revisions to the proposed text of the agreement in a manner that addresses the concerns of European civil society while also reconciling the economic interests of private individuals and enterprises in each sector.

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Theoretical Synthesis, Post-Paradigmatic Research, and the Common Ground between Realism and Constructivism

By Jared Angle

October 27, 2015

Theoretical synthesis, as it is proposed by J. Samuel Barkin, John Gerard Ruggie, and Marc Howard Ross, serves to benefit the theoretical study of international relations because it attempts to describe instances of state behavior that individual theories employed in a mutually exclusive manner are unable to explain. Whereas many scholars may view one particular theory of international relations as the best framework to analyze the behavior of a given set of states, other scholars may consider an alternative theory as the appropriate lens through which to describe the intents and actions of the same set of states. Mark Irving Lichbach notes that in the midst of paradigm conflict, competing theories fall into a vicious cycle of neglecting to analyze certain aspects of international relations in favor of pursuing other concepts more rigorously.[1] Scholarly research over the years has indicated that different theories have their respective strengths in explaining state behavior, but each individual theory fails to encompass every possible scenario for the behavior of a given state. Furthermore, the characteristics of an individual state or the relationship between multiple states may shift over time, marginalizing once-prevailing theories and bringing new theories to prominence. As such, a post-paradigmatic approach that incorporates the key elements of realism and constructivism may be the best tool for assessing instances of state behavior that defy the prescriptions of a given theory. Realist constructivism’s reconciliation of both theories positions it as an analytical framework with the ability to account for the interaction between socially-constructed normative influences on state behavior and the inherent egoism and power politics that are a hallmark of political realism’s description of relations between states.

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Implications of unsustainable euro inflation for US exports

Since the euro’s introduction in 1999, over 75 percent of foreign debts have been denominated in euros and US dollars, echoing the dual-currency system of the first half of the twentieth century, when the dollar and the British pound sterling were the key currencies in international finance.

With the euro seen as a stabilizing factor for regional economies, many nations have pegged their national currencies to the euro, maintaining a fixed exchange rate. Bulgaria, Denmark, Croatia, and more than a dozen mostly-francophone West and Central African countries have pegged their currencies to the euro. Such was the case for Switzerland until January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank suddenly scrapped the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro in an effort to preempt the European Central Bank’s planned €60 billion-per-month quantitative easing program.

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Mitigating feedback loops in formulating a policy response to the Syrian conflict

By Jared Angle

The Middle East, specifically in the Syria-Iraq-Iran corridor, is a volatile region that presents considerable challenges to securing a balance between a lack of Islamist militants and a lack of autocratic regimes. The United States must focus its efforts on eliminating militant groups, and then must carefully manage its relations with regional powers such as Iran to encourage democratization and stability (through soft power rather than by force) while discouraging the development of new militant groups.

The contemporary security situation in the Middle East can be traced to a series of disruptions to the regional power dynamic, which created a power vacuum and allowed certain states to expand their regional influence in a way that was previously unfeasible. This dynamic was first disrupted during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although Saddam Hussein’s swift deposition was a victory for democratization and human rights, his autocratic Iraqi regime was an important regional power with the ability to keep non-state actors in check. Hussein’s removal signaled the implosion of a key stabilizing actor and introduced new variables into the regional dynamic.

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“Silent majority” behind unexpected Conservative victory in UK vote

Despite a virtual tie with Labour in pre-election polling, the sweeping Conservative victory on May 7 was far from unprecedented. New analysis by the Economist magazine recalls the role of a “silent majority,” which propelled the Conservatives to 10 Downing Street in 1970 and 1992 despite polls suggesting defeat at the hands of Labour. With a majority of 331 seats in the House of Commons, the Tories no longer need a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Nick Clegg has stepped down. Labour leader Ed Miliband also stepped down after the election, while the Scottish National Party swept up all but three of Scotland’s 59 constituencies and stands to quintuple its parliamentary funding.