By Justin Tomczyk

This article was originally published on SIPR Forum’s website.

For 45 days Armenia and Azerbaijan fought over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. A fragile ceasefire negotiated with Russian mediation on October 9th collapsed almost instantly. A second bilateral “humanitarian ceasefire” established on October 17th lasted only a handful of hours. Even mediation of a third ceasefire by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to secure more than a few minutes of pause in the fighting. For the duration of the conflict, the cities of Stepanakert and Shushi in the Republic of Artsakh were targets of the Azerbaijani military while retaliatory strikes on a military airport near the Azerbaijani city of Ganja revealed the risk of further civilian losses and collateral damage. White phosphorus (a notorious incendiary weapon whose legality is debated in the international community) had been used in the forests of Nagorno-Karabakh while observers have recorded the continuous usage of banned cluster munitions against civilian targets. Numerous Azerbaijani drones probed Armenian airspace with interceptions occurring as far as the Kotayk province. Coupled with this new level of intensity in fighting was the inclusion of a third party into the conflict — Turkey. Through the deployment of mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh and an extensive air campaign, Ankara abandoned its passive support of Azerbaijan and instead played an active role in Baku’s military efforts. Through nearly two months of fighting, Russia remained aloof and unclear in its posturing towards the crisis. On the morning of November 10th, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that a trilateral negotiation with Azerbaijan and Russia produced a peace agreement. According to unofficial translations of the agreement, much of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh would return to Azerbaijan. The agreement includes provisions for the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh for a period of at least five years to monitor the handover of territory. …


By Samantha Lee

This article was originally published on SIPR Forum’s website.

When Barack Obama first won the presidency in 2008, the world celebrated a truly historic achievement: the election of the first African American President of the United States. I remember watching it from my home back in Singapore, and marveling at the moment. By the fact of its sheer size and influence on the global economy, international politics and academia, the U.S. draws the attention and curiosity of people around the world. Even in Singapore, the average person takes a far greater interest in America’s history and politics than those of most other countries. …


By Daniel Gajardo

This article was originally published on SIPR Forum’s website.

On October 25th, Chileans overwhelmingly decided to rewrite their constitution. In spite of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the referendum was marked by a historic record-high voter turnout in absolute terms, with nearly 7.6 million Chileans going to the polls. The “Approve” option received 78% of the votes, favoring the start of a process to reconstruct the country’s Magna Carta. In a world where political polarization has become mainstream, the results signal a hopeful indication of unity in the Chilean people when it comes to demanding change and putting an end to long-standing legacies of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Now, Chileans begin a democratic process that will define the country’s socio-economic model and put the nation’s political elite to a test of representativity and legitimacy. At this moment, the referendum is a victory for the Chilean people and for democracy, initiating what will hopefully be a constructive process of dialogue. …


Failing to act now will only cost us more down the line.

By Angela Ortega Pastor

This article was originally published on SIPR Forum’s website.

On the morning of September 9, San Francisco residents woke to a burnt orange haze that blanketed the Bay Area overnight, blocking the sun and shrouding normally blue skies. Photographs depicted a scene of utter dystopia, and news reports described the phenomenon as “a scene from Mars.” Far from the Red Planet, Bay Area residents were in fact living on a distorted planet Earth.

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California’s wildfires cast an eerie glow over the Bay Area on September 9, 2020. Photo: Ankita Banerjea.

Poor air quality and extreme heat continued to cast a pall over the Pacific Coast for days. Those lucky enough to be able to work from home spent days spared from the smoke; those who were not so fortunate reported smoke so thick it ‘hurt [their]sinuses.’ This unsettling phenomenon was the result of the latest rash of wildfires to ravage the western United States. Later in September, the Glass Fire besieged Napa and Sonoma counties through most of October. As of October 20th, the fire was finally contained, leaving in its wake 70,000 burnt acres. Tens of thousands of residents were evacuated, and 1,500 structures were damaged or destroyed by the flames, including more than 600 residences. At the time of this writing, there are 23 active wildfires in California including the most recent to make headlines in Silverado Canyon. Since the beginning of 2020, 1.4 …


Stanford International Policy Review (SIPR) is excited to announce the launch of SIPR Forum, the digital companion to our biannual academic print journal. SIPR Forum welcomes submissions by graduate students, researchers, academics, and professionals from all U.S. and global institutions of higher learning.

SIPR Forum seeks to elevate timely and thoughtful insights on international affairs and public policy, from both students and experts. The Forum is a space to share perspectives, exchange ideas, and connect to broad audiences within and beyond the Stanford community. Submissions will be accepted in a range of styles, including but not limited to short articles, analytical pieces, and op-eds. SIPR Forum will accept submissions for rolling publication throughout the academic year. …

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SIPR Forum

SIPR Forum elevates cutting-edge analyses of timely and relevant issues in international affairs in the form of short articles and opinion pieces.

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