Intern Essays

As part of the AIIA NSW internship program, we ask our interns to undertake a major piece of analytical thought on an issue of international affairs of their choosing. Our interns are wonderfully talented group of people and we would like to expand the readership of these pieces by providing access to them here.

Please note that the views expressed in these papers are the views of the interns and do not represent the views of the AIIA or the AIIA NSW.

If you are impressed by the works here – no doubt you will be – and you would like to be put in contact with the authoring intern, please comment the essay in particular and the email will be actioned shortly.



Decision-Making in the Security Council: The Influence of the P-5 Nations on Chapter VII Interventions
Cameron Bruce 

This paper will attempt to establish the connection between the agendas of nation-states and the outcomes of Security Council deliberation with regard to the authorisation (or lack thereof) of the use of force under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter (‘the Charter’). Specifically, it will investigate the factors that led the Council to authorise the use of force in one instance (Libya) but not in another (Syria), despite the existence of similar relevant circumstances. To do so, the preferences of the Permament Members (‘P-5’) will be established in relation to the cases of Libya and Syria, drawing on various sources, including, inter alia, key foreign policy documents, past behaviour (such as voting history) and statements from heads of state/government. Subsequently, anomalies between national preferences and the outcomes in both cases will be highlighted to determine key foci of analysis. Finally, these anomalies will be examined in several ways, including content analysis of draft resolutions and meeting records, in order to offer some preliminary explanations as to the outcomes, with a focus on the influence of particular nation states.


The Nuclear Crisis surrounding the Korean Peninsula and the United Nations Security Council: A New Perspective
Peter Son 

Humans are imperfect creatures. We are often driven by self-interest and the lure of power. Co-existence in a limited world of unlimited desires has displayed the best and worst in the human character. In a Westphalian system, international organisation is deemed anarchic where States act in self-interest. Thus, the proliferation of nuclear weapons has given States a false sense of security and balance of power. Following the Cold War, a large number of States, outside and within the so-called “nuclear club”, have exploited this misconception as a source for political power. This paper will engage with the crisis surrounding the Korean peninsula, particularly focusing on the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a country-specific example.


Is Humanitarian Intervention Legal in International Law? Does this Legal Position Need to be Clarified and if so how?
Marion Russell 

Unilateral humanitarian intervention is not legal in international law. Assertions to the contrary are based on politics, ethics, or wishful thinking. The one process by which humanitarian intervention can be legal in international law is through Security Council authorisation. This legality is achieved not by virtue of the definition and standing of humanitarian intervention itself under international law, but through one of the two explicit exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force, as outlined in the Charter of the United Nations. If the Security Council grants authorisation, humanitarian intervention gains a legal status through this process. If no such authorisation exists, humanitarian intervention is not legal. In a refreshingly concise statement on the topic, Corten asserts that due to the clarity in legal texts, the question at hand is “one of the least complex in contemporary international law”.


Bullet, Badge, or Bandaid: Assessing Counterterrorism Approaches in Pakistan
Elizabeth Bellion

This article examines the three main theoretical approaches to counterterrorism: treating terrorist violence as an act of war, a crime, or a social disease. Using the case study of Pakistan, the relative merits of each strategy are examined. The author concludes by arguing that the overtly military emphasis of Islamabad’s counterterrorism program is ineffective and that a more holistic strategy must be employed for the sake of long-term regional stability.


Food Security: The Geopolitical Realities
Jessica Glover

Discourse pertaining to the issue of food security has gained increasing attention in contemporary political debate. Idioms such as ‘the worst drought in 60 years’ have been propagated by the mass media to explain the cause of the 2011 food crisis in the Horn of Africa. However, by portraying the food crisis as one dimensional, the interconnected web of geopolitical realities that lie at the crux of contemporary food security, and what is described as the most severe food crisis of the 21st Century, are obscured. This paper illustrates that global hunger and incidences of famine are not solely a repercussion of inexorable climatic conditions such as drought, but are the result of human-created historical social structures, whereby entrenched disparities in wealth and resources distribution perpetuate cycles of dependency and exploitation of (under)developing countries. Geopolitical factors such as unstable social and political environments that preclude sustainable economic growth, macroeconomic imbalances in trade, natural resource constraints, poor human resource base, gender inequality, inadequate education, poor health, and the absence of good governance contribute to insufficient national food availability or insufficient access to food by households and individuals in the Horn of Africa region. However, with limited space, it is not possible to accommodate the entirety of all geopolitical factors that undermine food security in the Horn of Africa. This paper examines the ramifications of conflict, the stranglehold of the global food system by agribusinesses, and the impact of the global capitalist structure and implementation of Structural Adjustment Programs on contemporary food security in the Horn of Africa region.


Reconciling the irreconcilable: Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations and the Papuan desire for Merdeka
Nathaniel Jones

This paper explores the concept of human security and examines its relevance for Australian foreign policy formulation towards Indonesia given the ongoing violent conflict in West Papua. The prevalence of human insecurity in West Papua has long lacked sufficient academic analysis and public attention. This paper investigates the applicability of a human security framework for shaping Australian policy to help mitigate the grievances of West Papuans, within the context of Australia’s bilateral relationship with Indonesia. It explores the theoretical strengths and weaknesses of human security, highlighting the indeterminacy of Australia’s rhetorical commitments to the concept, before examining the nature of threats to human security in West Papua. It argues that the Papuan pursuit of Merdeka, meaning freedom in Bahasa Indonesia, is highly compatible with human security’s core aims of spreading ‘freedom from fear’ and ‘freedom from want’. Although the implementation of a Australian human security agenda in West Papua is challenged by the complexities and sensitivities of Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations, this paper proposes measures necessary to overcome the status quo of Australian policy inaction in order to improve outcomes for the Papuans. The paper concludes by asserting the need for a recalibration of Australian declaratory policy of support for human security with tangible Australian foreign policy initiatives, and identifies scope for greater Australian application of the human security concept.


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