MUN-E Cheat Sheet: 2012-2013

We at Model UN Education and The MUNIVERSITY are happy to FINALLY bring you what will become our “annual” international news pre-season summary.

Have you ever heard of Fantasy Football or even an All-Star game in professional sports? Well, this is our all-star list of newsworthy world events starting from the near end of your previous school year. We hope to give you a quick overview of the summary of these events, linking each one to a series of news articles. We will undeniably confess that we have our own bias as EVERY organization does. As educators, we seek to give a bird’s eye view of each event on a large timescale.

As a lesson, you should NEVER believe what you read in a single article, especially when it comes to anything you read on the INTERNET. The sooner you begin to use your ability to CURATE YOUR RESEARCH, the more embarrassment you will avoid in the future. Some opposing or allied delegates will lose trust in you immediately if you begin quoting a source that is completely wrong, for example, when John Kerry says the USA has a very strict line about chemical weapons, you cannot quote him and assume that we have never sold chemical weapons to middle eastern countries. The mountain of historical evidence is against you. ToEducateTEXT

We also do not want you to think that we are historians. We have no intention of giving a complete deconstruction of ANY event. We may actually phrase our bias in such a way that you, as a Model UN delegate, can “spin” your position the way we will undoubtedly spin ours. But you will have to rephrase your research through the perspective of your respective country or the person that you represent in your respective committee. For example, don’t use our arguments about Barack Obama’s failure to work with Congress if you are a representative of the United States.

Our review will begin in the summer, post-Putin election. Note that the links we are attaching are from a site that simply aggregated a series of news articles so that you may do your own investigation. We wanted to thank the creators of the website endgame.com but there is no information through which we can thank them. So give them some clicks and do your proper diligence of RESEARCH:

MoneyBagsSpain Accepts 100 Billion Euro Bailout Deal. (06-08-2012, 40 Records)

Financial issues are becoming the hallmark of every political decision in the world. If you are going to have any power as a diplomat, you are going to have to become financially savvy. In the case of the European Union, you need to focus on the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BOE). The Federal Reserve of the USA (the Fed) is a replica of the BOE and the ECB is a modern, overextended replica of the Fed. European countries that rely on tourism much less than Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain (unfavorably called the PIGS), have much more stable economies. Greece’s troubles should be relatively familiar to you, and Italy, Spain, and Portugal are experiencing very similar troubles with historic levels of unemployment. The more northern countries like Germany and France are essentially experiencing a “forced credit” situation where the ECB is “shifting risk” by giving large loans ($100 billion Euro, for example) to the PIGS on behalf of the entire European Union. These kinds of financial moves are being pushed by the ECB and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) much to the chagrin of economically robust countries like Germany and the Scandinavians. There is a lot to read here, but a greater number of economists are beginning to see that the enormous loans and haphazard printing of currencies by central banks throughout the globe (Abenomics is a new word referring to the Bank of Japan’s [BoJ] enormous printing of Yen, the currency in Japan) are giving rise to the potential for future inflation and what some are calling a “currency war.” The nuances of these arguments will start showing up in crisis committees much more often.

Syria shot down Turkey Warplane. (06-23-2012, 3 Records)

This is an interesting story that wasn’t covered at all, but now that we see what is happening in Syria, this was something on the Security Council’s radar for quite some time. NATO had a lot to talk about in reference to this event… but the lead phrase we believe falls out of this story is “Unarmed Turkish jet fighter and two pilots shot down by Syria when the jet flew one mile outside the boundary into international air space.” The fired shot is definitely not a good reaction by the Syrian government but the INFORMED diplomat needs to know that the United States, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia had been financially and militarily supporting a rebellion against the Syrian government for more than a year. Syria has reason to believe that any military vehicle of any these countries entering its borders has ill intentions. If Mexico’s government was supporting a violent, armed rebellion against the state government of Texas, what would the United States do? Also, it seems as if a retaliation may be under way.

gunsGunman kills 14 at Batman Premiere in Denver. (07-19-2012, 9 Records)

Most of our conferences occur in the USA and in the USA there is a heavy debate about gun control. On one side we have the victims of the Colorado and Newtown murders. On the other hand we have the citizens of low-crime states like Florida with much less gun regulation who can cite the statistics about crime as well as the Constitution’s 2nd amendment. It is a classic Qualitative vs. Quantitative argument and it will fuel the fires of American patriots and civilians for years to come. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but guns sure make it a lot easier to attack and defend human life. Extreme hypotheses result in “What would happen to sexual assaults in India if every woman was given a pistol?” vs. “How would Americans defend themselves if the government became tyrannical and instituted martial law?” The problem is that there are about as many guns on this planet as there are people. The other problem is that there are more mentally ill people on the planet than at any time in “civilization’s” history. We would try and position our argument this way: “How can we decrease BOTH, number of guns as well as number of mentally ill people?”

Rover Curiosity lands on Mars successfully. (08-01-2012, 326 Records)

The science and technology crew can enjoy stories like these. We don’t know how much about how you can use the Martian exploration other than in Education policy discussions which may happen much more often in the future. We’d like to see more education policy discussions because there is a gross failure of the United States to manage the increasing diversity of our country’s population and their wealth distribution. Wealth, aka “socioeconomic status [SES],” is the single best predictor of a student’s “academic success.” This statistic demonstrates the failure of policy to create educational opportunities for advancement. Stories like the Mars Rover are used to inspire students and the curriculum they learn from.

US Ambassador Killed in Libya. (09-11-2012, 112 Records)

Some wonder whether we will EVER know what really happened in this story. The mystery behind how it happened, who knew, and the resulting rhetoric have seriously blackened this moment in history. Wesley Clark, General Petreaus, and a multitude of other politicians suffered severe backlash as a result of this event. When they used well-informed arguments, they were subsequently removed from their jobs. Americans seemed purposely distracted by stories of improper relationships and the simple-minded argument about Obama’s inability to call it a “terrorist attack” quickly enough. Complicating things further, the CIA was in Benghazi on that night as reported by CNN. There is very little to be learned here other than the fact that the United States has gotten horribly pathetic at justifying its military intelligence. This will be a theme throughout the last year, and that fact is extremely unfortunate considering the amount of international military action employed by the United States when compared to the recent history of every other nation in the world.

bushhh_boreedObama Reelected Second Term as US President. (11-05-2012, 47 Records)

There are two parties in the United States. One party is always guaranteed to win and since both parties receive huge donations from very, very powerful interests, this means that large, private interests never lose an election. Just because a president receives a Nobel Peace Prize does not mean that this system will ever yield fresh policy decisions even though we all would like to believe differently. It does not take very much insight to see that very little has changed in American politics since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In reference to history, we are a relatively young civilization. In America, indigenous cultures were decimated and the entire USA was built in about 350 years. As a result of tinkering, the current economic, cultural, and political system that exists is volatile and very experimental. In the past 75 years, the consolidation of wealth and power happened so rapidly with very little change in the momentum of policy, so a stagnation of change has led to a financial fragility that is apparent in the bankruptcies of Detroit and General Motors, the crash of the real estate bubble, the boom and bust of the tech bubble, and the escalating military bubble and no bid contracts on nations we militarily destroy (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc). There is a coming currency bubble, a breaking municipal bonds bubble (LIBOR), NAFTA is in the interest of corporate profits and deregulation, …are you starting to notice the “financial” themes here? Oh, did I mention the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and the resulting “jobs” controversies in relation to our unemployment crisis? Also a financial discussion… Ask the question: Who are the biggest donors to political campaigns post-Citizens United? The answer is MONSTROUS corporations and POWERFUL investors. It didn’t matter who won this election; the beneficiaries of national policy have been the same since the early 20th century. Even with 50% of the world’s lawyers, it has been a long time since legislation has benefited the 99%.

Conflict between Israel and Gaza reignited. (11-11-2012, 225 Records)

If you are a Model UN veteran, you have already debated this issue multiple times. The story hasn’t changed since Zionists first laid claim to “Jewish” land. Financial interests help maintain investments in Jewish settlements throughout Palestinian territory and the United States is deeply vested in Israel’s existence due to its own strategic military presence there; with those two relationships firmly in place, and coupling the fact that this nation was legitimately called Palestine for many years before World War 2, it is highly doubtful that the arguments will evolve and/or disappear. Israeli relations with Lebanon and Iran seem more interesting with respect to the future of this region.

N Korea Launched Long Range Rocket. (12-11-2012, 14 Records)

He’s so ronery… If you don’t get the joke, click here. Isolationist policy leads to situations similar to the super loud Chihuahua that thinks it can beat up any pedestrian behind the fence. DRNK can only win MUN awards by being super anti-USA and pro-China while claiming it is in fear for its citizens. Another uninteresting story.

Gunman assaults Conn. elementary school, 27 dead. (12-13-2012, 231 Records)

See the previous discussion about the Colorado shooting and apply to even more sensitive victims, elementary school children and the school faculty of teachers and principal. A horrible tragedy. The NRA marches on and claims we need guns in schools like the teachers in Israel. Good luck debating this, no matter who you represent.

Stampede During New Year Fireworks in Ivory Coast. (01-01-2013, 9 Records)

This story isn’t too big of a deal on the global stage, but we’re including it because politicians throughout the world do not discuss Africa enough. It’s very sad because the continent, as a whole, needs help but they keep being pillaged and bribed. This individual stampede in the Ivory Coast is not necessarily a topic that can enhance IR debates, but it does reinforce the dominant view that the chaotic symptoms show a systematic lack of organization that seems to result in huge numbers of unnecessary deaths throughout the continent. This is, unfortunately, a minor event. There have been two other large Ivory Coast stampedes in the last 4 years. Political corruption is a constant there, as in most other nations, usually fueled by western money and corporate contracts where valuable resources are sold for pennies on the dime.

Algeria Hostage Crisis. (01-16-2013, 69 Records)

In our view, and we emphasize OUR view, this is the modern expression of third world, corporate, international relations issues. On a global scale, large corporations (especially oil and mining magnates) make sweet, sweet deals with corrupt and/or contested governments that have the transactional power to sign the contracts for land use. The people of the country get zero benefits while the tyrannical leaders barter away the nation’s resources and use swift force against any militant group that cries foul. The problems inherent in this unjust imbalance of power become magnified when the world media lumps the Muslim activist groups together into one big pile of “Terrorism” and convinces the world that these “terrorist” crimes are more unjust than the “tyrannical” crimes of corporate partnerships between dictators and energy/mining companies. In this story an oil company named BP “jointly” runs the natural gas complex that was infiltrated by this militant group. The financial details of BP’s arrangement with Algeria needs to be on the table for any legitimate discussions of policy to be undertaken here. Another African country that exemplifies this dichotomy of sovereign resources vs. international interests is Somalia; “pirate” is the label given to what the Somali citizens know as their “Coast Guard.” Their maritime borders are being infiltrated and their primary sovereign resource, the ocean, is being overfished which is leading to the destruction of their wealth and health. This is not normally discussed and it is the position of Somali government.

RomePope Benedict XVI resigned. (02-10-2013, 212 Records)

This is not very surprising considering the troubles of the Pontiff. Pope Benedict would have liked a lot of horrible press on the Vatican to just go away, but more and more scandals plagued the church throughout his tenure. The better story here is the new Pope Francis of Brazilian origin, the first pope from South America. He is much more progressive and shows wonderful promise for advancing the public relations and outdated values of a stagnant institution.

Cyprus taxes bank deposits. (03-17-2013, 60 Records)

This is a modern financial heist. Banks make bad deals, governments are swindled, and the public pays for their greedy and incompetent crimes of self-interest. This event may become a precedent as governments throughout the world are treading through deepening pools of debt and do not have the power to demand that the banks repay them for the mismanagement of risky derivatives and options that are corrupting financial systems throughout the globe. In modern economic systems, the currency of national debt is printed (on worthless paper, called “fiat currency”) and credited by a central bank (usually backed by NOTHING, thus the word “fiat”) and the government is the benefactor while the nation’s populace is taxed on the interest. The banks are not government organizations, they have private shareholders who are never spoken about. People throughout the world are begging for an audit of these central banks yet are always ignored. When banks fail, the governments bail them out (usually on the backs of the taxpaying citizens regardless of their disapproval) and this is the first instance in many years of a government unlawfully withdrawing this “bail-out debt” from the already taxed savings of their citizens. This sets a scary precedent for anyone with a savings account considering the current financial instability throughout the world today.

Currency symbols, binary codes and globe (Digital composite)The rise of bitcoin. (03-20-2013, 110 Records)

This is another financial story worth noting. Bitcoin is the first currency that appears to have its own regulation “built-in” and separate from centralized authorities. If you have an interest in programming, you should learn about how bitcoin works. It’s a very intelligent system but unfortunately has no serious foundation of wealth. The first bitcoin miners were allowing their CPUs to crunch data, not pulling anything of value from the ground (which is what occurs in REAL mining), but simply concatenating strings. Maybe this will last, maybe it’s an imitation that will inspire a better system than the fiat currencies owned by shadow banking interests in BIS, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We will probably find this out in the very near future.

Boston Marathon Blasts . (04-16-2013, 254 Records)

Terrorism in the USA is a small problem that we pay FAR TOO MUCH to prevent, but the media is really good at making it into a prime time special. Not only did this entire story sound like a storyboard pulled out of Grand Theft Auto, it also gave us live updates on the future of the presence of the military in our everyday lives. The videos of the shutdown of an entire city suburb were very harrowing. The terrorists were the buzzword on every news report, so much so that it seemed like we were stuck in a reality TV show. We have yet to hear more updates on their motives, international connections in Chechnya, and the death of their relative during an FBI interview in Florida. Still, it is strange that we didn’t hear much about the rights violations when a town was put under martial law due to the search for these two men. Guns were drawn on citizens in their homes. We hope we don’t see much more of this in the future.

Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Over 700 Dead. (05-05-2013, 20 Records)

This tragedy is the result of medieval labor laws that exist throughout third world countries worldwide (which corporations are happily exploiting rather than implementing ethical treatment of their third world employees). There are buildings throughout Asia with horrendous infrastructure, used for industrial purposes, housing workers paid less than a dollar a day. The S&P 500 features about a hundred of these companies outsourcing their production. This will never stop until workers’ rights are regulated and internationally policed. But again, try to remember who is funding political campaigns and it doesn’t take much insight to see that there will be very little progress in the future of these labor relations.

DigitalPersonBadScientists successfully cloned human stem cells. (05-17-2013, 3 Records)

Genetic engineering is a very interesting ethical discussion that needs more airtime. The words “sacred” and “life” were both viewed with a genuine appraisal of virtue and care, but are now very separate. The former is an adjective that carries very little meaning for an increasingly secular world, and the latter is becoming easy to manipulate. Why not clone an army? Why not replace all of the world’s tomatoes with a new genetically modified tomato (also known as a genetically modified organism, GMO) that can grow in harsher climates (while also containing the genes of bacteria, less nutrients, and requiring a new kind of pesticide)? Some countries are burning any field in which a GMO is found, e.g. Austria and Hungary. Some countries are allowing private companies who own those GMO patents to sue the private farms whose farms were invaded by the natural ecological propagation of GMO seeds, e.g. USA. This debate will get hotter in the near future, especially with the increased visibility of Monsanto.

Huge tornado hits Oklahoma. (05-20-2013, 30 Records)

Some still don’t believe in climate change. Some are experiencing severe tragedies that have become larger disasters than similar events in history. Tornadoes are even showing up in unusual places not known for tornadoes, e.g. the Northeastern states New Jersey and New York. The weather is getting very strange and anomalies like Hurricane Sandy, wildfires, and excessive flooding are becoming more common. The international community is in good agreement that this is largely a result of human activity. We do not disagree. This argument is a necessary piece of pushes for alternative energy.

DigitalTunnelUS NSA Prism Program. (06-06-2013, 175 Records)

The world is still reeling from the revelations of Edward Snowden. He has become a nexus for the argument against government interests, similar to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. This story rippled throughout the world, another example of the USA’s ability to overstep its boundaries. Germany featured prominently in this debate since America had infiltrated their news organizations. Microsoft, Google, and Apple are still experiencing blowback because their software is apparently rigged to allow the NSA “backdoor access” into anyone’s devices. Since iOS and Windows are not “open source,” users are forced to have insecure software protecting their privacy. If you’d like to see how much money is really involved in this illegal activity, you should read about the storage location of all of our nation’s data in Utah.

Egypt Army Ousts President Mursi. (06-22-2013, 345 Records)

This movement comes on the heels of the population of Egypt learning that President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have been working with the United States, against their popular interests. You didn’t see this on the news, but you should google the images from Egypt during the recent coup. If you don’t know what a coup d’état is, you should learn about it now. The position of the USA on this issue is somewhat humorous rhetorical posturing. The interim replacement was good friends with George Soros, which is quite awkward. Complicating the issue now, there is still no long-term replacement and Hosni Mubarak is in the process of being released from prison. Nothing here makes a lot of sense other than to say that this instability will last for a long time.

DollarDetroit files for bankruptcy. (07-18-2013, 45 Records)

This story needs to be attached to the LIBOR scandal and a consequential fixture in the financial theme of the year’s events and the coming events expected to besiege our future stability. Detroit is the first MAJOR city to fall to economic mismanagement. Multiple smaller cities have gone bankrupt (Stockton, CA and Jefferson County, AL and 5 more have filed) and more are on the horizon. “Entitlement reform” is also central to this debate on our economy because the biggest expenditures of some of these cities are on retiree health plans and pensions. Police and teacher salaries are always first on the chopping block and fears of scaring private companies out of town or losing votes prevent necessary increases in commercial and private property taxes. Not central to the debate but a necessary component that goes invisible, public money is dwindling while private profits have been at record highs for many years.

20120726-185529.jpgSyria Chemical Attack Allegation. (08-21-2013, 38 Records)

And lastly, we will finish with what we’ll call the “Syrian uncertainty.” If you haven’t heard of this, you are failing horribly at being a good Model UN delegate. This conflict appears at first glance to have been leading to an inevitable war for almost a year. When 9/11 occurred, Afghanistan was our first target, but the feelings that we needed to enter Iraq somehow emerged and felt just as inevitable as it finally became. As a matter of fact, this conflict has many of the same hallmarks of the Iraq war. The USA has shoddy intelligence that it isn’t presenting in a transparent manner (sound familiar?), the rest of the world is asking us why this is necessary, and the regime is being likened to the Nazis by our Secretary of State. Absent from the debate are those countries who also have a vested interest in the fall of the Assad regime, notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. The USA and these three countries have been supporting a rebellion of Al Qaeda linked rebels which is in direct opposition to the goals of “stabilizing” these countries, their political systems, and their economies as well as our own safety in a post-9/11 world. The Russians have offered a diplomatic solution and the Assad regime is attaching unrealistic clauses to the resolution that will unlikely be accepted by the USA. This conflict also has the potential to evolve into WW3, which will threaten the health and welfare of the entire planet.

 

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