Hiatus

Due to the fact that I am currently a member of the board of United Netherlands, unfortunately I will be unable to continue updating this blog during this academic year. United Netherlands is a Dutch student organisation that – among other things – organises and teaches a 10 ECTS course at the Radboud University for around 30 selected students from different academic backgrounds. The course covers international politics, public speaking, diplomacy, and Model United Nations, with participation in international MUN conferences at Oxford and Harvard. Together with two others, I’m responsible for directly organising and teaching the course.

This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m greatly enjoying it so far. However, seeing as I’m also doing a Political Science masters on the side, I will be unable to update this blog, with the exception of some potential random posts. Hopefully I will be able to pick it up again in summer 2017! Until then, thanks for reading!

André

4 reasons to vote yes in the Ukraine referendum

Tomorrow the Netherlands goes to the polls for a referendum on the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. For international readers, here’s more information on what this referendum is, and who’s called for it. For Dutch readers, who know all that already, I just want to get straight into it, as tempting as it is to write pages on why this sort of referendum is neither effective nor democratic. Here are 4 reasons to vote Yes tomorrow.

Onderaan staat een samenvatting van de belangrijkste punten in het Nederlands! Continue reading

What is going on in Nagorno-Karabakh?

For most people in the West, even the name ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ sounds stereotypically foreign and remote. For the people of the Caucasus, however, it’s another leftover conflict from the Soviet era that is still taking lives today. Over the weekend 30 people have been killed in fighting between the Azerbaijani army and ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh forces. While in recent hours the Azerbaijani president has announced a ‘unilateral ceasefire’, this is a conflict that is not going away. So what is it all about? And why are the consequences of a potential war as bad as ever?

nagorno-karabakh_occupation_map

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Fear in Europe after Brussels

I have a confession: After hearing of the Brussels attacks this morning, riding my bike past parliament to the The Hague Central and seeing a dozen Royal Marrechaussee armed with automatic weapons, and hearing that Hoofddorp station near Amsterdam had been shut due to an ‘incident’, I got on to a train. A young Middle Eastern man sat next to me, speaking in Arabic on the phone. He was wearing a thick coat, and had a big square bag between his legs. And for a moment I felt a flash of fear. I thought about the possibility of a bomb being in the bag, and images of Brussels ran through my mind. The moment passed very quickly, and I felt stupid and guilty, not believing that I really had been worried for a minute. But I did feel fear, for a brief moment.  Continue reading

Super Tuesday -Trump headed for victory

Super Tuesday – the biggest single day of primaries in the US election campaign – has come and gone, and Donald Trump has taken an even more commanding lead. Despite their optimism, his closest rivals look unable to beat him, and unless something in the campaign dynamic changes dramatically, Trump will be the Republican nominee for President this November. So how has Trump managed to do this? Is there really no hope for his opponents? And what happened on the Democratic side? Continue reading

Will the Syria ceasefire stick?

On Saturday the first widespread negotiated ‘cessation of hostilities’ started in Syria, and a day later it is still in place despite some violations – already a small victory. The deal has been brokered and supported by the US and Russia, two of the most powerful backers on each side of the conflict, and the UN has also backed it with a resolution. So what are the chances this ceasefire will succeed?

Here’s some background on Russian and American efforts in Syria, and for more info on Islamic State, see here. Continue reading

What happens if the UK leaves the EU?

After more than a year of promises, David Cameron has finally set a date for a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. After managing to make a deal with the 27 other states, Cameron will campaign for the UK to vote to stay on the 23rd of June. But what exactly does his ‘deal’ with the EU mean? What would happen if the British left? And is this the only threat to the EU? Continue reading