The Nepalese Constitution

Henry Vaule



Memo #7

After the 10 years Maoist Civil War, the Nepalese government created a constitution in 2015. This constitution made the government federal, which better represented the vast diversity of Nepal. Within Nepal, there have been many cases of marginalized ethnic groups that were not previously represented. So this constitution established seven states. However, even the provisional boundaries for these states caused protests between different groups. These protests lead to the death of at least 40 people. With an unsuccessful past and ethnic groups protests, much of Nepal was uncertain about the newly formed constitution.

Now that three years have passed since the creation of the Nepalese Constitution, we are able to see the lasting effects of their changes. According to the Korea Herald, since 2015 Nepal has seen rapid economic growth and development, while reconstructing and rehabilitating infrastructures that were damaged during the earthquake in 2015. In the years 2016 and 2017, Nepal saw economic growth of 7.5 and 6.9 percent. This growth is expected to continue into next year and the future. Also, Nepal has focused on restoring ethnic groups connection through democratic means. Nepal foremost ambassador stated that they are aiming to maintain stability, advance socioeconomic transformation and ensure social justice, good governance and the rule of law.

How do federal governments allow various ethnic groups to gain power within the government?

Since a federal system enables state governments to be more involved in the governing process, ethnic groups, no matter the population, are able to voice their opinions on laws. Especially, in Nepal’s case, this helped ethnic groups regain trust between each other and the government.

Dickovick, James Tyler, and Jonathan Eastwood. Current Debates in Comparative Politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Herald. “Nepal Progresses with Republican Constitution, Grassroots Democracy.” The Korea Herald. (October 01, 2018.)


Structure of India’s Government

Henry Vaule



Memo #8

Although there have been multiple instances of government restrictions on civil rights and periodic demonstrations of intolerance towards protests, Indian politics have been successful and inclusive. With an extensive population size and variety of races and cultures, India has an array of political groups. The Indian National Congress was founded in 1885 with the idea of national independence. This party gained large amounts of support and after India gained their independence, the INC pursued a more socially democratic form of rule. The INC later fell apart, which gave way for The Bharatiya Janata Party. This parties influence grew as support for secularism increased. The BJP continued their advocacy for Hindu nationalist party with very little influence until 2014, when they came into power. The parties on the left mainly follow communist beliefs, however, have struggled to gain power without seeking help or forming alliances with other parties.

Although the Bharatiya Janata Party was not initially able to gain power, the gradual fall of The Indian National Congress helped their growth as a party. According to Hindustan Times, the BJP has dominated the political race since their initial rise to power in 2014. The BJP adopted an emphasis on Hindu nationalism and a “new developmentalism” because secularism fell out of favor. After a decisive single-party parliamentary majority it earned in 2014 and victories in many state elections, allowed the BJP to quickly make a lasting impact on the Indian government.

With a large diversity in India, what makes their political party system successful?

India’s political party system is prosperous because they have a collection of different parties that maintain the ideals of many groups. Also, each party has an equal and fair opportunity to gain power within the government.  

ONeil, Patrick H., Karl J. Fields, and Donald Share. Cases in Comparative Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.

Vaishnav, Milan, Jayaram Ravi, and Jamie Hintson. “What’s Fuelling BJP’s Dominance in Indian Politics?” (October 08, 2018.)

Example of an Authoritarian Regime

Henry Vaule



Memo #12

After the death of the former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, crowds of people showed their devotion to the politician. According to the locals, Hugo Chávez had won using his charisma and his vision for Venezuela. During his political career, he insulted his opponents by obscuring his attacks in misleading speeches to further his own agenda. While many ordinary citizens supported Chávez, many politicians feared his radical agenda. Chávez wanted to dismantle the former two-party system and install give his own socialist party complete control. Also, he attempted to limit the people’s and media’s right to information. Today, many Venezuelan politicians have attempted to emulate Chávez’s political career. In the 2013 election, Nicolás Maduro, a clear Chávez supporter went against Henrique Capriles. Capriles advocated for many changes as the Venezuelan economy is failing and the murder rate is skyrocketing. Despite these issues, Maduro narrowly won and has struggled so far in his presidency.

As many world leaders of authoritarian regimes look to Chávez for guidance and a way to gain the people’s trust, many are overwhelmed and make drastic changes, similar to those of attempted by Chávez. After a recent election, the Democratic Republic of the Congo cut off all access to the internet to avoid the possible “chaos” after the election results. The government is attempting to control all media access so they can disband any coup. This control is similar to China’s as they are limiting the people access to news and the ability to assemble.

How can an untruthful politician with an unsuccessful career be praised?

Despite the failures of a leader, the media often serves as the only news outlet for many people. So they can distort the realities of a politicians life to maintain a party’s following.

Munoz, Boris, and Boris Munoz. “In the Shadow of Chávez.” The New Yorker. ( June 19, 2017.)

Sherman, Justin, and Justin Sherman. “It’s January, and Three African Countries Have Already Had Internet Blackouts This Year.” Slate Magazine. (January 18, 2019. )

Divisions in Parties

Henry Vaule



Memo #10

In Ken Kollman’s piece, The Formation of National Party Systems, he explains the causes of various party’s creation. He establishes the context behind each party’s development. Kollman describes three causes for the progress of different party systems. These causes for the creation of new parties include: smaller division within our society demand power, unanswered challenges continue to plague groups, and electoral rules drive leaders to emerge. The divisions between parties are essential to represent the electorates in the assorted levels of the government. However, while the majority of these levels must be differing in political opinions, these political groups must account whether the party is local, regional, or national.

Kollman covered multiple countries that have a diverse array of political parties including, Canada, Great Britain, India, and the United States. Although all of these countries have similar electoral laws, the United States is the only country where two national parties have dominated the political landscape throughout history. This is seen as quite unusual for countries with electoral rules and tensions between the parties continues to increase. As of last Tuesday, Democrats captures the House of Representatives and are set to directly impose President Donald Trump. With this recent win, the Democrats broke the previous Republican monopoly of power. Overall after the midterm elections, the political disputes in America will continue, but these will allow for more differing opinions in the political system.

Is there a possibility of the creation of a new party in America because of the three causes Kollman discussed?  

Although the American government does permit the creation of new parties, it is very unlikely that these newly formed parties gain traction because unlike countries like India and others, our parties system goes beyond the regional differences.

Dickovick, James Tyler, and Jonathan Eastwood. Comparative Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Collinson, Stephen. “A Divided Congress, a Divided America.” CNN. (November 07, 2018. )

International Relations

Henry Vaule



Memo #15

With an increase in nuclear and terrorist threats, multiple theories have been created and used to deal with this international relations dilemma. In an attempt to repress these threats, some countries have used realism, the theory that states act out of self-interest in international relations, to dictate their actions. Within this theory there are defensive and offensive prompts depending on the state’s attack plan. This theory is most challenged by liberalism and Constructivism. These theories look at the state’s social and political interactions as a guide to their international influence. Finally, the most unpopular theory, Marxism, emphasizes the role of social classes in controlling a state’s international affairs.

Although a nuclear holocaust has not been at the forefront of people’s worries today, radical terrorist groups have become a major concern in international security. In recent years, The United State’s war against terrorism had led to ISIS, a radical Islamic terrorist group based across the Middle East. According to the New York Times, ISIS has lost a majority of its territory. This is mostly due to the U.S.’s aggressive attacks, which have been prompted by an offensive realist mindset. Instead of waiting for a possible terrorist attack, the U.S. decided that the easiest path to peace would be through further invading the middle east and the territories held by ISIS.  

With the complexity of today’s international relations and conflicts, how can these theories be used together?

While Liberalism, Constructivism, and Marxism can be used to originally view other states and their actions, realism and it’s relative branches, often drive the actions the state takes based on their initial outlook of another nation. However, the many factors influencing a state’s international presence can greatly sway their perspective.

Dickovick, J. Tyler, and Jonathan Eastwood. Comparative Politics: Integrating Theories, Methods, and Cases. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Schmitt, Eric, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Helene Cooper, and Alissa J. Rubin. “Its Territory May Be Gone, but the U.S. Fight Against ISIS Is Far From Over.” The New York Times. (March 24, 2019.)

China’s Government Structure

Henry Vaule



Memo #9

The annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress will meet to discuss multiple issues. These issues include the financial opportunities of the upcoming year, the defense budget, a crackdown on corruption, free speech, the question on international affairs, and new leadership within the presidential council. At this meeting, 3,000 elected members delegate over these problems that they believe are the most pressing for China. This congress is similar to a parliament but includes communist members. Overall, this meeting helps the Chinese Government set goals and a guide for the coming year.

Although this problem was not a planned major point of discussion, China’s current trade war with the United States is one of the most important complications they are facing. In the National People’s Congress, a few questions are going to be raised about the Chinese Government’s relationship with President Trump. However, members of Congress rarely take unscripted questions and are unlikely to answer any conflicting question. Since the meeting of the National People’s Congress, this trade war has escalated. According to CNBC, the United States and China are expected to remain in a trade war for a long time. With more tariffs surfacing in 2019, analysts are expecting the United States and China to not resume trade talks. Also, it has surfaced that the two sides have yet to find common ground or agreement.  

How can a modern communist state respect and take into account all of their people’s needs?

For a communist state to thrive in today’s world, the government must establish some form of a parliamentary system like the National People’s Congress. This would allow people to bring up issues that they believe require the government’s attention.

“Six Key Issues for China’s Meetings of the National People’s Congress.” The Globe and Mail. ( April 11, 2017.)

Domm, Patti. “Trump’s Trade War with China Matters More to the Market than the Elections and It’s Not Going Well.” CNBC. (November 06, 2018.)

Political Cleavages based on Gender and Ethnicity

Henry Vaule



Memo #13


In CCR, Mala Htun investigates gender’s relation to ethnicity in political representation. She argues that unlike ethnicity, there are very few political cleavages based on gender. Instead, gender is crosscutting, which means that one cleavage or group overlaps with another. Htun also emphasizes that gender does not correlate with class or rank. Although a specific group within the cleavages of gender and ethnicity have experienced discrimination, the division of gender includes much more people. Today, countries have made progressive changes to include more of the minority ethnic groups within their governments. However, a large proportion of these countries have failed to make the same changes for the minority gender, which in most cases are women.


Even though American is known as an epicenter for democracy and acceptance, our history is filled with bigotry towards certain groups. Congress recently swore in two Muslum Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. The Congresswomen won in the midterm elections in November. Both women and Muslims are still facing varied forms of hatred in America. This recent election marks a great point for Muslims and women because these politicians are the first Muslim women to ever be elected into Congress. This election helped contradict any negative notions about Muslims and show the increasing number of supporters Congresswomen are gaining in their respective districts.


How can granted reserved seats for each ethnic and gender group within a legislature, benefit and harm the productivity of a government?


Reserving a certain number of seat for each group would allow for a more diverse array of opinions that take a greater number of people into account. However, this system would also cause more differences and overall separation between cleavages.  


James Tyler Dickovick, and Jonathan Eastwood. Comparative Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.)

Michelle Boorstein, Marisa Iati, and Julie Zauzmer. “The Nation’s First Two Muslim Congresswomen Are Sworn In, Surrounded by the Women They Inspired.” The Washington Post. (January 03, 2019.)


Henry Vaule



Memo #3


With the recent increase in the democratization of many nations across the world, there has been a multitude of new forms of democracy. These new democracies vary in their style which has led many political scientists to question how each democracy should be labeled. This resulted in a new form of reviewing democracies called analytic differentiation. This new structure of evaluation allows political scholars to view each individual democracy instead as a more broad concept. Also, this analyzation has prompted many to challenge a multitude of these newer democracies.


One of these democracies that has been put into a spotlight by political scholars is Ghana. Since its transition to democracy in 1992, Ghana has had issues with free and fair voting and transitions of power. In the Newspaper, Modern Ghana, The Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government, Dr. Eric Oduro-Osae states that Ghana’s democracy has so far been successful but many of the checks and balances have failed. He believes the failures of these checks has led to the increasing income gap in the country. His report suggested that the upper class earns more in a month than what the poor will earn in 1,000 years. This drastic difference is partly due to the corruption in the government that has benefited the wealthier in Ghana. Ghana can also not stray away from these corrupt leaders because it is harder to communicate to the general population because Ghana has high illiteracy rate and unlike larger and more powerful democracies, Ghana cannot distribute political information in an abundance ways.


Should the U.S. step in and aid these democracies in their process in democratization?


Although the U.S. has a history of interfering in these transitions because they refuse to give these countries time to become democratic, our government should not “help” these nations because it can take many years for a democracy to fully develop. Also, there is now various way to view or analyze a democracy, so the U.S. should not “jump the gun” and force the other country to accept our aid in their democratization.  

Anim-Appau, Felix. “Ghana’s Democracy Widening Inequality Gap.” Modern Ghana, Modern Ghana. (20 Sept. 2018.)

Conflicts Within the Democratic Process

Henry Vaule



Memo #14

According to The Atlantic and many other news outlets, Russia hacked the 2016 election. These hackers attacked the U.S. through social media, propaganda, and the Democratic Party. Both Facebook and Twitter found thousands of fake Russian accounts that had been influencing American voters. This caused confusion for many as there were limited credible news sources. The information that was stolen from the Democratic’s email servers was then given to Wikileaks. Many news sources spread this stolen information and thus helped the Russians. Overall, Russia was able to damage and humiliate America’s democratic system.

In his ongoing quest to diminish and belittle America’s political influence in the world, Putin has recently exchanged military and financial aid for Venezuela’s oil reserves. Also, Putin has publicly supported Venezuela’s current socialist president, Nicolas Maduro. This support directly contradicts America’s current situation with Venezuela as Trump has recognized the self-declared president, Juan Guaidó as the true leader.

How can America and Russia maintain a peaceful political relationship while Russia is secretly attempting to influence American politics?

Although it seems that Russia has been the main culprit of influencing one another’s politics, both America and Russia are guilty of this crime. Since the end of the Cold War, America and Russia have found ways to attack each other without actually fighting a war. This discrete battle usually takes the form of each country attempting to manipulate struggling governments like Venezuela. However, this recent cyber attack marks one of the first times of a direct attack in many years. Especially considering the importance of this election, Putin and his assumed fleet of hackers have definitely crossed a line and American-Russian relations are at an all-time low for the twenty-first century.

Julia Ioffe. “What Putin Really Wants.” The Atlantic. (December 11, 2017.)

“Putin Taunts Trump: 400 Russian Military Contractors Sent to Venezuela in Support of Maduro.” The Washington Times. (February 04, 2019.)

Transistion into an Authoritarian Regime

Henry Vaule



Memo #11

Authoritarianism is in it’s most basic definition is “a form of government or regime that is non-democratic”. Even though we all have the privilege to live in a democratic society, many places still have an authoritarian ruling regime. Throughout history, an authoritarian rule has been the norm for multiple regimes, all with different variations. These regimes have traditionally been centered around one individual or a small group of elites. Today, new authoritarian regimes are often formed after a coup or a democratic breakdown, which is the transition from a democratic to a non-democratic regime. If a current authoritarian leader is removed, the process of authoritarian persistence may occur. This is the ongoing continuation of an authoritarian regime, such that democratic transition does not take place. This processes can often occur in less developed countries such as Nigeria. Between 1979 and 1983, Nigeria experienced a brief period of democracy, however after this regime failed, an authoritarian leader once again regained power.

Although American politics appears to distance itself from authoritarian regimes, many of these regimes have been discretely influencing our politics for years. In a recent article by Bloomberg Government, it was revealed that multiple authoritarian regimes have been investing millions in lobbying. These regimes hire companies to have their country promoted. Saudi Arabia, a country that has had numerous human rights issues, apparently spent $24 million in lobbying since the beginning of 2017.

How should America interact with unstable Authoritarian regimes?

Once a stable relationship has been established between America and the Authoritarian regime, America should respectfully feel free to trade or establish deals with this country. However, these regimes should have no influence on America’s politics through the abused lobbying system.

James Tyler, Dickovickand Jonathan Eastwood. Comparative Politics: Integrating Theories, Methods, and Cases. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.)

Jodie, Morris. “Authoritarian Regimes Pay Millions to K Street Lobbyists.” Bloomberg Government. (January 09, 2019.)