As of this issue’s publication, the United States Congress has failed to pass legislation preventing scheduled, across-the-board, federal spending cuts. With the sequester in effect as of March 1 and cuts to military, domestic discretionary, and Medicare spending looming, we are prompted to reconsider the size and role of government. In this issue of the Columbia Political Review, we see government as an impetus for social change. In “The Irish Curtain” (9), by Bryan Schonfeld we explore political tensions between Unionist Protestants and Irish Catholic Republicans in Northern Ireland. Schonberg argues for the creation of schools in Northern Ireland that integrate Protestant and Catholic students, citing Harvard psychologist Gordon W. Allport’s Contact Hypothesis, which highlights the need for interpersonal contact in alleviating social stereotypes and discrimination.
Government should also play a role in ensuring equality of potential and opportunity. In “Teaching the A-Team” (4), Kyle Dontoh argues the need for governments to provide educational opportunities for the nation’s gifted and talented students. Gathering inspiration from the global scale, Dontoh suggests looking to Singapore and Finland’s educational systems as models for what the United States can do.
In February, our managing editor, Taylor Thompson, had the distinct privilege of talking to Jack Murphy, GS ’14 and an eight-year veteran of Army special operations, about his new book Benghazi: The Definitive Report. In his book Murphy, along with former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, recounts the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya and its implications for Washington. Ultimately, we learn the importance of coordination between different facets of government, particularly the White House, the military, the intelligence community, and the State Department, in ensuring effective counterterrorism policy.
For our cover story, “First Nations, Last Hope” (21), Julian NoiseCat brings to light turmoil between the First Nations of British Columbia and the Canadian government. In the wake of recent treaty negotiations, the First Nations are forced to choose between rights and entitlements as sovereign nations as opposed to land and money. With the future of a people at stake, NoiseCat explores the rising Idle No More movement and underscores that Canada’s indigenous population is a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, in this issue’s briefing, we explore global energy strategies in developing nations. I would like to heartily thank Adjunct Professor Joel Moser, Adjunct Professor Phil LaRocco, and Professor Jason Bordoff from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs for sparking an insightful discussion on the state of energy production and consumption today and in the coming decades.
And so it is with an eye to the future that I implore all our readers to think critically about the questions at hand. What can and should we expect of our governments? And how do we ensure our governments fulfill their duties and responsibilities?
I would like to thank my fellow board members for all their hard work and dedication over the past few weeks. Congratulations on completing the first issue of the Columbia Political Review’s thirteenth volume.
And I would like to thank all of our readers for their continued support for our work. Feel free to email me questions, comments, or concerns at email@example.com.