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Zehner: Deutsche Drift

(11/08/19 7:15am)

In the next few days, people will come together to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a moment of triumph over division and repression, the event deserves recognition. But it would be a mistake to believe that the bringing-down of the wall, and the reunification of Germany that followed, marked an end. Germany is still not a unified nation, and the repercussions of this are only now coming to popular attention.


Zehner: Clamp Down

(10/17/19 6:10am)

The protests that have wracked Hong Kong since June have been receiving support from a broad range of voices in the West, with everyone rightly joining in on the feel-good support of democracy against tyranny. However, while attention has been turned toward the fight for freedom in Hong Kong, the public has largely been distracted from mainland China’s insidious erosion of some of those very same freedoms in their own countries. China’s growing influence over what can and cannot be said is a frightening trend.


Zehner: The Hidden Occupation

(10/10/19 6:05am)

‘Unity in Diversity’ has been Indonesia’s tagline ever since its independence from the Dutch over 70 years ago. In many respects, this has not just been a soft rhetorical move, but a highly tactical one. With the multitudes of ethnicities, languages and religions that reside within Indonesia’s borders, the government in Jakarta has, since its inception, utilized this phrase to placate its population, to assert the singularity of the Indonesian people. 


Zehner: The Ethiopia Example

(08/02/19 6:20am)

Now is an interesting time for Ethiopia. The country has emerged in the last year as the sweetheart of the developing world, in large part due to the leadership of its new reformist Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. But a central issue has threatened the country’s new-found prosperity: ethnic nationalism. At the moment, Ethiopia’s budding progress is being diluted by the secessionist ambitions of its myriad ethnic minorities. However, this is not the time for individual nationalist ambitions to be entertained by the central government. Rather, it is time to establish a functioning national government that can enable a well-oiled, growing economy.


Zehner: Let's Paint The Town Green

(07/19/19 6:00am)

Food is a needlessly controversial topic at Dartmouth. Still, there seems to be a strong consensus against the current state of campus dining. For the most part, this hostility stems from the limited food options that students find themselves left with. To be clear, this scarcity of variety should not be wholly surprising, as we are, after all, inhabiting a small New England town. However, the situation could be vastly improved in a way that benefits everyone involved. The solution is simple: Dartmouth meal plans should be usable in Hanover’s restaurants.


Zehner: No Longer Made in China

(05/23/19 6:15am)

China’s manufacturing prowess is no secret. In the 40 years since its market reforms, China has grown to become the world’s leading player in manufacturing, contributing 20 percent of global output. And the ubiquity of the “Made in China” moniker on everyday items is such that China’s preeminence often seems untouchable. This is, however, not the case. The features of the Chinese economy that have facilitated the country’s meteoric rise in manufacturing are dissolving. Manufacturing jobs are increasingly leaving China and moving abroad. And the ongoing China-U.S. trade war is only accelerating the flight of manufacturing from the Middle Kingdom. 


Zehner: The Gray Dynasty

(04/02/19 6:00am)

According to Western news media, China presently faces a large number of problems. News stories are constantly awash with reports concerning the pollution in Chinese cities, political and religious repression and government corruption, among more. But there is one issue in particular that will seriously threaten China’s success within the next thirty years: Demographics. Even as a nation of 1.3 billion people, China will soon lack a sufficient number of citizens to support its economy. The country is aging quickly, and the repercussions of this should be a grave concern for Beijing.


Zehner: Derailed

(10/16/18 6:20am)

The comparisons were too easy to make. The world watched a charismatic leader and advocate of democracy released from years of confinement by an authoritarian government, who went on to win the country’s first openly-contested elections. Many people, including myself, firmly believed that Aung San Suu Kyi’s impact on Myanmar would mirror Mandela’s reformation of South Africa, that she would eliminate the draconian restrictions of the established military government and herald a new era of Burmese democracy. This, however, has not come to pass. Tragically Suu Kyi, now the country’s de facto leader, has overseen the erosion of democratic potential in Myanmar. The country that so recently carried the hopes of the international community has regressed.


Zehner: The Full Brazilian

(10/09/18 6:00am)

If I were to describe a leader who framed himself as a political outsider, who decried the corruption of the established elite, opposed such things as the Paris climate accord and has become famous for making outrageous comments, I suspect you would not immediately think of the Brazilian politician Jair Bolsonaro. But maybe you should. Brazil is about to elect its next president, and Bolsonaro will likely take up that mantle. This will be a wasted opportunity to turn the country around, but the result should not be considered surprising. Brazil’s recent problems have perfectly set the stage for Bolsonaro’s grand entrance, creating populist conditions in which the far-right strongman can easily establish control.


Zehner: The Prodigal Son

(09/25/18 6:00am)

Bickering between China and Hong Kong has surfaced, once again, in international news coverage. But this time, something as seemingly-innocuous as a new train link has triggered outcry from concerned Hong Kongers. However, they are justifiably angry; the train link is merely the latest attempt by China to erode the civil liberties guaranteed to Hong Kong after the British departure in 1997, and to ensure that the Special Administrative Region is chained to the mainland. It is becoming increasingly apparent that China has an overarching plan to erode the features of the “one country, two systems” model, and to unite the region with the rest of China.


Zehner: The Empire Strikes Back

(05/10/18 6:05am)

 There is certainly something endearing about the notion of a group of geographically-disparate nations coming together to perform broad values-based activities. And against a growing trend of inward-looking nationalism, the Commonwealth of Nations certainly has a distinct appeal. However, although it should presumably be considered a paragon of grand multilateralism, the Commonwealth is effectively powerless in its current state. The organization puportedly has two aims: advancing democracy and human rights and aiding economic development. It struggles to do either, and it must be reformed for there to be any reason to keep it.


Zehner: The War Against Caster Semenya

(05/01/18 6:05am)

 Caster Semenya has just come out of another winning streak. She easily captured gold medals in both the women’s 800m and 1500m events at the recent Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia. These successes have been added to her larger list of achievements, including multiple Olympic and World Championship medals. Yet her running career is now seriously threatened. New regulations issued by the International Association of Athletics Federations could see Semenya, and others like her, unable to compete in their respective events in the future. This is ludicrous.


Zehner: The Laughing President

(02/22/18 5:30am)

“[Taking a shower] would [minimize] the risk of contracting the disease” — such was the advice for dealing with HIV and AIDS prescribed by Jacob Zuma before his accession to the presidency of South Africa in 2009. The ignorance accompanying the comment should have been warning enough that Zuma would prove to be an incompetent leader during his presidency. However, it was not. Now, as of Feb. 14, Zuma’s almost decade-long stint as president has come to an end. Under his leadership, South Africa has been devastated, and the post-Apartheid dream of the “rainbow nation” has been severely threatened. The general unease surrounding Zuma’s accession to office in 2009 has proved to have been merited.


Zehner: An Unlikely Partnership

(01/30/18 5:15am)

Neocolonialism is a strong term, with implications of extractive and abusive control of a weak state by a strong one. It conjures up ideas of the dominant predator insidiously creeping up on its unsuspecting prey. It is also the term most frequently used to describe the fast-growing economic relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the African continent. But although this relationship certainly has grown quickly, with the value of Chinese trade with sub-Saharan Africa rising from $15 billion in 2003 to $100 billion in 2010, it cannot be described as neocolonialist. Despite how it is popularly portrayed, the relationship is not a destructive one. Africa’s industry and population have benefited from the rise of China.


Zehner: Mealtime Musings

(01/16/18 5:15am)

Questions about the effectiveness of the new house communities tend to elicit responses of hearty ambivalence. Students refer to the communities’ irrelevance, their failings and their lack of utility. It seems glaringly apparent that the houses have little to no bearing on students’ lives, that they already exist outside of the zeitgeist. In fact, it often seems that their only relevance is found in the brightly-colored shields emblazoned on merchandise and hung from the ceiling of Foco.


Zehner: Ini Tidak Bagus

(10/26/17 4:30am)

We rarely hear about Indonesia in the same context as many other majority-Muslim countries. Yet with about 227 million adherents within its borders, Indonesia has the most Muslims of any sovereign state. Indonesia has had, in its 68-year history since its independence from the Dutch, a strong record. It has had a tradition of tolerance, state secularism and moderate Islam. However, these features of Indonesian society are faltering. Hardline Islamism is rising, and the success of the archipelago’s secularism and pluralism are, as a result, at risk.


Zehner: My Heart’s Devotion

(10/10/17 4:30am)

To most American citizens, the small Caribbean island of Puerto Rico seems to be distant and wholly irrelevant to the country as a whole. Indeed, only 54 percent of Americans are aware that the 3.5 million inhabitants of the island are U.S. citizens. And they are suffering, not just from Hurricane Maria, but from underlying issues worsened by the island’s territorial status. Washington has a duty, therefore, to protect its citizens by accepting Puerto Rico into its ranks as the 51st state in the Union.


Zehner: Modi Operandi?

(10/05/17 4:45am)

“Acche Din” — “Good Days” in Hindi — was the slogan that helped bring Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in India in 2014. Now, more than three years into Modi’s term, India has yet to experience those promised good times. Modi has put India into an undesirable position. The BJP’s reforms have not gone far enough, the economy is not growing as quickly as expected and the country is increasingly being divided along ethno-religious lines.


Zehner: Not the Next Big Language

(09/28/17 4:15am)

If you were to ask a Dartmouth student studying Mandarin why they were devoting their time to learning the language, they might cite its potential utility in the near future. With a population of around 1.3 billion people and an economy that, depending on who you ask, either is about to or already has surpassed that of the United States, China is irrefutably a major player on the international stage. So, the Mandarin-learning Dartmouth student would be right to say that Mandarin will become more useful. However, its overall use will remain limited, and it is unlikely to ascend to become the next global lingua franca — or “bridge language.”