The Week That Was: Global News in Review

Foreign Policy Policy Brief #76 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | May 16, 2023
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This is our 7th in a series designed to help our readers catch up on international events of the past week.


End of US policy Title 42

Last week the policy known as Title 42 expired, ending one of the country’s most controversial border restrictions in recent memory. Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that had allowed US authorities to rapidly turn away most migrants and refugees who arrive at the country’s southern border, without giving them an opportunity to apply for protection. US officials are now expecting to see a surge in the number of migrants and refugees attempting to enter the country’s Southern border. The large number of people now expected to pass through is a result of the policy that kept thousands of people from making asylum claims in the first place. In another controversial move, the Biden administration deployed military troops to the border. These actions have drawn major concern from rights groups that accuse Washington of cracking down on asylum, which is a right recognised under both US and international law.


Turkish Elections

Turks last week began voting in the country’s first elections since a number of traumatic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadly earthquakes back in February, and the invasion of Ukraine. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has ruled the country for the past 20 years is facing his toughest challenge to the presidency. His public support has waned against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis, lingering effects of the earthquake, rising costs of housing, and the large number of refugees in the country. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is Erdogan’s main rival, represents a bloc composed of six political parties and has also secured the backing of many other opposition groups. Additionally, million’s of first-time young voters who make up almost 8% of the Turkish electorate support Erdogan’s opposition and want a change after 20 years under his rule. The election outcome will have major consequences for the region and would affect a wide range of international events, from migration to Europe, to the wars in Syria and Ukraine, to the addition of further members into NATO and more. 


Chile’s Conservatives will rewrite the country’s constitution

In 2020 Chileans voted to draft a new constitution to replace their current one which was drafted under former dictator Agusto Pinochet. The largely independent and left-wing constituents drafted the first rewrite, which focused mainly on social benefits, environmental rights, gender parity and Indigenous rights. The failure of this constitutional draft was seen as a blow by many who saw it as a chance to uphold environmental and indigenous rights for the region and the globe. This draft ultimately failed to pass because of a struggling economy and rising crime that many attributed to the new left-wing government. After the Chilean public voted on a new round of  right-wing constitutional drafters last week, conservative parties, many of whom objected to a constitutional rewrite, will now be able to implement their version of a redraft and put it to a vote in the coming year.


Arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister

Late last week Pakistan’s former Imran Khan was granted bail by the country’s High Court. His release comes just days after his dramatic arrest over corruption charges set off an outpouring of anger against the country’s military. The dramatic arrest triggered clashes with police and paramilitary forces across the country that resulted in the killing of a dozen people, and nearly 2,000 protestors arrested.The former PM is accused of corruption for illegally acquiring land and unlawfully selling gifts sent to him by foreign leaders while in office. Pakistan has a tumultuous history with arresting its Prime ministers, often with the army taking control of the country in the interim. Political turmoil in the country is currently being exacerbated by the record high inflation, unemployment, and natural disasters that have struck the country. 


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