The Wilson Journal

The University of Virginia's home for undergraduate foreign affairs


About the Wilson Journal

Founded in 2004, the Wilson Journal is the pre-eminent publication for foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. Distributed in partnership with the student-run International Relations Organization (IRO), the Wilson Journal is one of the only undergraduate research journals for international relations in the country.

The Journal celebrates and showcases the impressive research conducted by UVA students, striving to foster meaningful dialogue on the world’s most pressing challenges, spark interest in international issues, and promote high-quality undergraduate research in foreign affairs. We encourage all University students and recent graduates to submit for our next edition!

Submitting to the Wilson Journal

Do you have a thought-provoking essay about a contemporary foreign affairs topic? Would you like to join the ranks of distinguished Wilson Journal authors?

Submit to the journal at! We accept submissions on a rolling basis, with journals published semesterly. Guidelines for submission can be found below. Essays for our Fall 2018 issue are due by TBD

Only University of Virginia undergraduates or newly-minted graduates are eligible to submit.

  • Topic: A contemporary issue related to foreign affairs
  • Length: 10 pages or more
  • Essay grade: B+ or higher
  • Additional information: Include a title page, abstract, and brief author bio (150 words max.)
  • Format: Send your essay in Word document form with MLA, parenthetical, inline citations

Executive Board – Fall 2018


Editor-in-Chief –Sarah Corning

Sarah is a third-year from Atlanta, Georgia pursuing a degree in Political and Social Thought. Outside of the Wilson Journal, Sarah works as a research assistant for Professor Denise Walsh in the Politics Department, serves as Curator for TEDxUVA, Director of Taste of Home, and works at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville. Sarah's independent research concerns migration and protection for vulnerable women, focusing on the latest migration and refugee crises. Her latest research project took her to Mexico with the United Nations International Organization for Migration. 

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Richard Song is a second year from Pennsylvania studying finance and computer science. His role in the Wilson Journal has given him insight into the global events that affect macroeconomics and financial markets around the world. Outside of the Wilson Journal, Richard is a manager in the McIntire Investment Institute and participates in Model UN. Last summer, Richard studied abroad in Europe and conducted research with Professor Matos of the Darden School of Business.

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Events Coordinator – Vaishnavi Karimpuzha

Vaishnavi Karimpuzha is a second-year from Richmond, Virginia who is pursuing a major in Biology and East Asian Studies/Chinese. Aside from the Wilson Journal, Vaishnavi is an Outreach Officer for the Undergraduate Research Network and is the Treasurer for X-Tasee Dance Crew. In her spare time, she enjoys continuing to practice mixed martial arts and traditional Indian Dance. 

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special projects coordinator – Moriah Hendrick

Moriah is a second year from St. Louis, Missouri pursuing a degree in Global Security and Justice. Outside of the Wilson Journal, she is Journalism Chair for the Charlottesville Alliance for Refugees, an America Reads tutor, a volunteer with the IRC, and a member of the University Guide Service. She has spent the last two summers working with refugees in St. Louis, most recently by designing an education program to assist local Syrians in becoming small business owners. In her free time, she rewatches The West Wing and consumes far more Chick-Fil-A than should be allowed. 

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media manager – DEVAN KEESLING

Devan Keesling is a 3rd-year from Paeonian Springs, Virginia pursuing a double major in Foreign Affairs and Religious Studies, as well as a minor in French. She is aiming to join the MA Track in Religion, Violence, and Politics. Outside of the Journal, she is the Wellness, Diversity, and Inclusion Chair in her sorority, an active part of the French community on Grounds, and a dedicated member of the International Relations Organization; she has served as an Assistant Crisis Director for the Cali Cartel Committee in the 2018 Virginia Intercollegiate Crisis Simulation. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and photography, and has been to over 25 countries across the globe, studying abroad in both Rabat, Morocco and Paris, France. Devan also spends her free time watching a little too much Shameless, Narcos, and House of Cards. 


production chair – madeline swank

Madeline is a 3rd-year from Leesburg, Virginia. Her interest in politics and recent time studying abroad in Spain has lead her to pursue a degree in Foreign Affairs and Spanish. Outside of the Wilson Journal, Madeline is a Spanish tutor for the Spanish department and mentor for the club College Mentors for Kids. 

editorial staff – FALL 2018

former editors-in-chief

Daisye Rainer

Landon Holben

Kevin Wang

Campbell Turner

Sara Keene

Emily Ma

Matthew Heller

Manaal Kwaja

Lorena Tabrane

Stella Connaughton 

Tristan Guarnieri

                      Eric Xu (Fall '17, Spring'18)                              Christopher Benos (Spring '16, Fall '16, Spring '17)
Jackson Simon (Fall '15)
Michael Breger (Fall '14, Spring '15)
Frances Russell (Fall '13, Spring '14)
Daniel Clark (Fall '12, Spring '13)
Camille Danvers (Spring '12)
Haley Hicks (Spring '09)
Svanje Swider (Spring '08)
J. Salvatore Calascione (Spring '07)
Caitlin N. Howarth (Spring '06)
S. John Mikhail (Spring '05)
Kurt Mitman (Spring '04)

Print Edition Archives

The Wilson Journal's online archives go back to 2005 and contain articles on every topic within the foreign affairs literature and more. All articles seen here were published in print form by the Wilson Journal. 

To access PDFs of certain Journals, click on either the highlighted links or the image previews of the Journals for a new tab containing the Journal.

Spring 2018

This Journal includes articles by:


Fall 2017

This Journal includes articles by: 

  • William Truban – Institutional Development of Social Power for State Development

  • Robert Stephens – Do Structural Funds Effectively Equalize Opportunity in the European Union?

  • Ankita Satpathy – India's Inequality and Education as an Equalizer: A Case Study on the Relationships between Educational Policy, Practice, and Inequality

  • Sarah Corning – The Rohingya: A Stateless Minority Seeking Refuge

  • Morgan King and Sarah Rupert – Why Did the Moroccan Monarchy Not Fall During the Arab Upheavals?

  • Ansley Bradwell and Anna Gray – To What Extent Is Russian Lobbying and Psychological Influence a Threat to the Economic and Political Security and Stability of the US and EU?

  • Pascal Hensel – Defying the State: How Executive Constraint and State Capacity Affect Control over Pro-Government Militias

Spring 2017

This Journal includes articles by: 

  • Celia Aidinoff – To What Extent Do Economic Circumstances Fuel Religious Violence? An Examination of Boko Haram's Growth

  • Grant Oken – Islamic Banking and the Global Financial Crisis

  • Sabrina Kim – War or Diplomacy? Lesson from the Bush Administration's War in Iraq and the Obama Administration's Nuclear Deal with Iran

  • Liam Kraft – Fundamentalism, Secularization, and Politics in South Asia

  • Emily Zhou – Forecasting a Peaceful Resolution of the Taiwan Issue

  • Zhen Wang – U.S. and China's Counterterrorism Initiative

Fall 2016

This Journal includes articles by: 

  • Sean Rumage – Turkey and the EU: Friends with (Conditional) Benefits

  • Erica Jensen – Who Will Attack Again? A Quantitative Analysis of Variables in Recidivism Among Guantanamo Bay Detainees

  • Kelly Abbinanti – Reassessing Beijing's Carrot-and-Stick Policy: The Significance for Future Trilateral Relations

  • Fiona McCarthy – International Criminal Law: The Problem of Serving Arrest Warrants

  • William Henagan – The Worst Kept Secret in Washington: American Dissent to Intervention in Guatemala, 1954

Spring 2016

This Journal includes articles by:

  • Kara Anderson – Cubs of the Caliphate: The Systematic Recruitment, Training, and Use of Children in the Islamic State

  • Jake Anderson – How the CIA's Role in Combating the Threat Presented by Al-Qaeda has Evolved

  • Stephanie Sacco – The Role of Islam in Violent Extremist Islamist Radicalization in the West

  • Rachel Goretsky – Giving in to International Peer Pressure: The Extent to Which UN Human Rights Council Condemnations Influence Israeli Counterterrorism Policy

  • Connor Kennel – The Hunt for Silver Bullets: The Threat of Lone Wolf Terrorism and Preventive Countermeasures

FALL 2015

The Journal includes articles by:

  • Kelly Abbinanti – China's Proliferation of Cyber Warfare Capabilities

  • Ana Derrick – The Power of Community-Based Crime Prevention

  • John Brake – Power and Principle at Play in Iraq

  • Benjamin Harris – Withdrawing from Iraq: The 2008 SOFA Negotiations

  • Saiful Khan – Why the Dollar Will Remain the Principle Reserve Currency

  • Caitlin Hall – The Obama Administration's Response to the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

Spring 2015

This Journal includes articles by:

  • Sam Gruber – Implementing Party State Democracy in China

  • Mathilda Shepherd – The Enemy of My Enemy is My Enemy?

  • Colleen Cook – Mohamed Morsi's Removal in the Media

  • Avery Rasmussen – The Tension Between Enlargement and Integration in the EU

  • Muskan Mumtaz – Qatari Labor Reform for the FIFA 2022 World Cup

  • Jessica Hirsch – Mozambique: The Exception to Duverger's Rule

Fall 2014

This Journal contains articles by:

  • Patrick Hoover – The Neighborhoods of Baghdad

  • Erica Johnson – The Atypical Irish Political Spectrum

  • Katharyn Gadient – Iraqi Women and Mental Health Initiatives

  • Jessica DeJesus – What the Dalai Lama Could Learn From Gandhi

  • Naguib Bebawi – Politics of Resistance

  • Eric Sutherland – The Responsibility to Protect Initiative and UN Intervention in Darfur

  • Lila Kelso – Politics in a Gendered World

Spring 2014

This Journal contains articles by:

  • Colleen Cook – Game of Drones: The Battle to Define U.S. Drone Policy

  • Adria Penatzer – The Chinese Communist Party's Hierarchy of Needs: China's Domestic Threats and How They Affect Party Behavior

  • Ryan Smith – Odebrecht: A Case Study of South-South Cooperation Between Brazil and Other Developing Nations

  • Naomi Bishop – Prosecuting United Nations Peacekeepers for Human Rights Violations

  • Alexandra Dicocco – Triangular Tension: How Tension Was Generated Within the U.S.-Russian Relationship by Their Independent Interactions with the Republic of Kazakhstan and Today's Potential for Cooperation

Spring 2012

This Journal contains articles by: 

  • Joe Riley – How did FM 3-24 Become the Most Revolutionary Military Doctrine in the 21st Century?

  • Lillian Frost – How Does Al-Jazeera Arabic Influence Jordanian Political Attitudes and Identities?

  • Allie Vandivier – The Role of Islam in Turkish Politics and its Effects on Democratic Transition

  • Emily Laser – A Failed Response: Why the United States' Policy Toward Genocide Has Failed and How to Change It

  • Melanie Bartell – The Causes and Effects of Migration on Nepali Women

  • Andrew Koch – Al-Shabaab: Recruiting Practices and U.S. Mitigation Efforts

  • Peter Snyder – Why the Visa Waiver Program Should be Extended to Poland

  • Nicole Bailey – Bolivia and the Global Financial Crisis

  • Stevie Chancellor – Exacerbation of Islamophobia in American News Media: Turkey's Ban on Youtube

  • Colin Custer and Peter Slag – The Copper Dragon: Zambian Perceptions of Chinese Investment in Lusaka and the Urban Copperbelt

Spring 2009

This Journal contains articles by:

  • Prashanth Parameswaran – Beyond 'Jihad': A Typology of Insurgency Internationalization and the Case of Southern Thailand Insurgency

  • Gary Lawkowski – Biting the Hands that Feeds: Conflict in Humanitarian Interventions

  • Thomas Wonder – The Intersection of Power and Interest: Russia-U.S. Interaction in the South Caucasus

  • Wesley Stanley – The Face of Proliferation: The Story of A.Q. Khan and History's Greatest Proliferation Network

  • Alexander MacKay, Colleen Barrett, Martin Oberst, Sebastian von Marschall, and Shane Warren – Is Food Aid Beneficial? An Analysis of Its Effects in Ethiopia and the United States?

  • Yi-Xian Ng – Tibet's Influence on China: Tourism, Tibetan Medicine, and Tibetan Buddhism

  • Vetan Kapoor – Democracy and Economic Growth in Pakistan

  • Giancarlo Vannini - The Dynamics of Romania and Bulgaria in the Global European Economy

  • Taylor Maltz – Sino-Sudanese Relations: Beijing's Changing Policy and Its Implication For China's Asymmetric Relations

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Spring 2007

This Journal contains articles by:

  • Taylor Jaworski – Terrorism, the State and Islam in Central Asia

  • Konstantin Lantsman – U.S., E.U., and Iran: Creating a Stark Choice

  • Lee Skluzak – Domestic-Foreign Linkages: China's Energy Security in Eurasia

  • Jennifer Love Stringfellow – Success Isn't Everything: The Effectiveness of International Intervention

  • Tiffany Bassford – The Two-Ballot Electoral System and Party Behavior in the French Fifth Republic

  • Jessica Stallings – Compromising National Interests: Policies of Ethnic Relations in Hungary and Poland

  • Josh Levy – Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

  • Diana El-Osta – In Pursuit of Silence: Academic Freedom and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

  • Andrew Miller – A Critical Analysis of the Bush Administration's Development Policy

Spring 2006

This Journal includes articles by:

  • Andrew Tuttle – A Window of Relaxation for the Developing World

  • Marie-Adelaide Mol – U.S.-China Policy: How Interests Trump Ideals

  • Lee Skluzak – Kyrgyzstan's "Tulip Revolution": An Asymmetric Perspective

  • Aigerim Karimova – The Cuban Embargo in the 21st Century

  • Mary Rodeghier – Modern Tibetan Ethnicity in Political China

  • Scott Anderson – A House Built on Sand: Stability in the Saudi Royal Family

  • Charles Taylor – Norway: Cleavages and E.U. Integration

  • Stephanie Maximous – Women's Bodies and the Israel-Palestine Conflict

  • Nadia Shairzay – Executive and Legislative War Powers

Spring 2005

This Journal contains articles by:

  • Patrick Lane – Domestic Politics, Realist Calculations, and the Iraq War

  • Bsrat Mezchebe – Nation Building in Eritrea and Ethiopia

  • Benjamin Rankin – Nicaragua v. U.S.: A Legal Analysis

  • Shareefa Al-Adwandi – The Life Cycle of Israel's Labor Party

  • Ken Ray – The Neglected Element in U.S.-Colombia Policy

  • Scott Anderson – A Potential Partnership: Sino-Saudi Relations

  • Nathan Damweber – Cosmopolitan Theories on Poverty and Disease

  • David Buckley – Abrahamic Faiths and High Diplomacy

  • Devon Knudsen – Japan's New Nationalism

Famine, Peace, and War in the World’s Newest Nation

By Tristan Guarnieri

On the twelfth of September, 2018, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal, formally ending the South Sudanese civil war, which had lasted five years. With an estimated 400,000 deaths, the South Sudanese civil war has proven to be one of the deadliest armed conflicts in recent history. How did the conflict escalate so far? To understand this, we have to go to back to 2011, where this nation and its problems were born.

Gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan’s creation marked it as the world’s newest country. This independence, however, did not mean peace for the nation, as between 2011 and 2013 the government waged war against Sudanese armed forces occupying nine out of the country’s ten states. Simultaneously, growing inter-ethnic tensions led to other forms of conflict. Not only did these conflicts contribute to the nation’s instability, but conflicting claims over oil fields fueled tension between South Sudan and Sudan. These tensions culminated in a battle between South Sudanese and Sudanese forces in March of 2012 for the Heglig oil fields, which were eventually permanently claimed by Sudan. With the economy relying on oil it did not own and with continued widespread instability, South Sudan rapidly became one of the poorest countries in the world, experiencing incredibly low literacy and widespread poverty. South Sudan’s problems thus far have been a result of war against Sudan, but it was actually conflict within the South Sudanese government itself that led to the country’s downfall in late 2013. A power struggle between President Kiir and his deputy at the time, Riek Machar, led to a tumultuous five years of war between the president’s governmental forces and Machar’s rebel forces. The South Sudanese public were helplessly caught in the crossfire.

Despite bloodiness of South Sudan’s recent history, many worldwide remain in the dark about the South Sudanese civil war. This can be traced back to two main causes: South Sudan’s resources and refugee movement. South Sudan’s main resource is oil, but although they do have some oil fields, these are not near large enough to garner international interest,, especially considering the country’s current instability. Besides this, refugees from South Sudan have not been fleeing towards Europe, and it is near impossible to garner attention from the mainstream press without causing problems for western countries..

But why care about this conflict if it has ended? Unfortunately, this recent peace agreement is far from the first this country has tried. In fact, according to The Economist, there have been at least nine ceasefires since the civil war started in 2013, and all were eventually broken. There’s no telling how long this period of peace will last, which makes using this ceasefire to help the South Sudanese population all the more important. This help is desperately needed, as the real victims of this violent war have been civilians, who have . not only been killed in the violence, but continue to suffer silently through a UN classified famine that began in 2017. With over five million of the country’s 12 million people in severe hunger and 2 million displaced, humanitarian aid is urgently needed. It is imperative to get to get food and other forms of aid to these people before warfare resumes. Even with this urgency, organizations such as the UN are struggling to finance these efforts, with a recent UN appeal of 1.7 billion dollars to aid the country being only 45% funded. To aid those in suffering, we must help spread this country’s story and make governments and other organizations aware of South Sudan’s hardships. Without interference, South Sudan will likely continue down its destructive path, creating more torment for those who have already suffered too long.

An East Asian Refugee Crisis

By Emily Ma

Indefinite detention. Forced labor. Brutal torture. These are the realities that North Korean refugees face for escaping their totalitarian state. In accordance with a 2010 statement by the North Korean Ministry of Public Security, leaving the country without permission amounts to a “crime of treachery against the nation.” Despite the severity of this threat, thousands of men, women, and children risk their lives to escape across the 880-mile boundary between North Korea and China. Tightening border security by both countries has made this no easy feat. Yet even in the face of patrol guards, barbed wire fences, and surveillance cameras, these defectors still flee towards the hope of safety, freedom, and a better future.

Unfortunately, the struggle doesn’t end at the border. China currently refuses to recognize North Korean defectors as real refugees. It instead classifies them as illegal economic migrants, using the pretext of that label to forcibly repatriate them to their home country, despite the knowledge of the certain punishment they face upon return. According to a 2013 report by the UN Commission of Inquiry, China has deported tens of thousands of North Koreans over the past twenty years. Human Rights Watch has also reported crack downs on the networks of local guides that help facilitate the flight of these defectors, making future escape that much more difficult.

Even those that manage to evade law enforcement find themselves without the financial means to reach safety in countries like South Korea. Instead, they’re stranded, hiding illegally in a completely foreign world. In China, these vulnerable individuals have no recognized rights, and unscrupulous individuals, from brokers to human traffickers, are eager to take advantage of their desperation. As a result, many refugees are forced into invisible industries like prostitution or black-market manufacturing, living in fear of discovery by Chinese authorities.

While China certainly has a legitimate state interest in controlling its borders, as well as an agreement with North Korea that compels it to stop “illegal border crossing of residents,” China’s interest in preserving its UN obligations and international integrity should take precedence. As a party to the UN Refugee Convention, China’s current behavior violates objectives to protect refugees; it’s evident that these individuals meet the 1951 UN Refugee Convention definition of the term “refugee.” For one, these North Koreans are clearly fleeing for fear of persecution; Pyongyang has legalized inhumane penalizations for any kind of political “dissent,” from practicing religion to listening to foreign music. Moreover, testimonies submitted to the Committee for Human Rights show that those who return to North Korea are interrogated and imprisoned without due process in labor camps where beatings, starvation, sexual violence, and execution are common.

By enabling the continued abuse of refugees, China has allowed itself to become complicit in North Korea’s human rights violations. Beijing’s refusal to change its policy in this case represents a failure to the international community because, by suppressing the voices of these refugees, China hinders other countries’ and supranational organizations' abilities to identify and understand Kim-Jong Un’s extensive crimes against humanity and take action against them.

The international community has a responsibility to hold China accountable. Faced with this humanitarian crisis, multilateral action is needed to pressure China to, at the very minimum, immediately cease its deportations, allowing these refugees the chance to at least seek asylum elsewhere. However, preferably, China should work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to organize a refugee adjudication system that could determine official refugee status parameters and institute measures for protection and resettlement. Although this approach could have far-reaching implications for China’s deteriorating relationship with North Korea, it also has the potential to save thousands of North Korean victims.

Tourism: An Economic Weapon

By Matt Heller

It has become far too apparent recently that the People’s Republic of China, to be referred to simply as China, has far too much leverage over other countries in its efforts to eradicate support for the Republic of China, commonly regarded as Taiwan. Just recently, US air carriers acquiesed without incident to a Chinese ultimatum to drop any mention of Taiwan as a sovereign country. China’s ability to force foreign entities to accede with its policy demands is augmented by its ability to control its population and businesses more effectively than almost any other major power. Nowhere is this truer than with China’s control of its tourism industry, as the Chinese government has weaponized Chinese tourism to coerce states to give into its demands.

According to an article in The Economist, there were over 130 million international tourists from China in 2017, accounting for over $260 billion in spending, more than any other individual country. Chinese tourism is expected to continue considerable growth in tandem with China’s burgeoning middle class. And China wields near absolute control over its tourists by exercising strict oversight over all travel agencies (responsible for the majority of international Chinese travel) and by maintaining a list of acceptable countries for Chinese tourists to visit. This gives China immense leverage in cutting off this massive economic driver, especially over countries dependent on tourism.

One good example is the Dominican Republic, which switched its diplomatic recognition for the official Chinese government from Taiwan to the People’s Republic in 2018. In large part, this shift was due to promises by the Chinese government to increase the flow of tourists. China is able to use tourism as positive incentive for following China’s policy while  countries opposed to China’s policy, such as Taiwan or the United States, find it difficult to respond with incentives of their own as they do not have the same control over where their tourists go as does China. For a tourism-dependent country like the Dominican Republic, an influx of new tourists presents a tantalizing increase in revenue and for China, the offer costs nothing. For another state to counter that and stop the defection of a nation to China’s sphere of influence, it would require a direct financial investment, one that a nation like Taiwan is often unable, and the United States unwilling, to provide.

Nowhere is the use of weaponized tourism more overt than in Palau, a small Pacific island state where tourism is one of the main economic drivers. Palau recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign country, and China recently barred its tourists from visiting Palau. This has resulted in a drop in airline bookings, a rise in empty hotel rooms, and a dramatically decrease in tourism revenues in a country where half of all tourists were Chinese. In this case, China is not offering to open up tourism to Palau, but instead is aggressively cutting Palau off to cause them economic pain. Perhaps the only reason Palau has not caved into Chinese demands for a change in diplomatic recognition is that the United States is still under agreement to provide funding until 2024, and Palau has historically relied heavily on American financial assistance. However, with American interest in the partnership dwindling and financial assistance’s ineffectiveness in growing the Palauan economy, it is likely only a matter of time before the island nation switches recognition to China.

Though Palau and the Dominican Republic are both small countries and the diplomatic recognition of China over Taiwan is a relatively trivial issue among more important international policies (most countries maintain de facto relations with both Chinas, including the US), China’s use of tourism to coerce policy change is still a threat to American and Western interests. At absolutely no cost to its government, China is able to offer a country a large financial investment that has the potential to grow, tying those countries economically to China and gradually bringing them under its influence. Though the weaponization of tourism is less effective against larger countries, as China’s ban on tourism to South Korea during the THAAD deployment had minimal effect, it is still a major threat as those small countries under China’s sway can provide much needed votes in the UN, potential locations for foreign military bases, and markets for foreign goods. Though today China is just leveraging these countries to switch recognition away from Taiwan, tomorrow it could be coercing them to vote in China’s favor at the UN or to open up their soil for military bases of a China ever readier to assert its influence in the world.