Was the Syria Strike illegal? Explaining the International Law of Warfare

  The recent US missile attack against the sovereign state of Syria was an act of aggression bearing distinct resemblance to the strike on Iraq in 2003. On April 6, 2017, the United States military dropped nearly 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield; this strike was in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s usage of… Read more »

Introducing the Upcoming Cornell Policy Review Board

The Cornell Policy Review is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 selections for Editor in Chief, Senior Managing Editor, Senior Content Editor, and Senior Public Relations Editor. Please join us in congratulating Arpit Chaturvedi, Paulina Lucio, Elizabeth Sweitzer, and Lillie Gabreski on their new roles, which will officially begin in May of this year. As Associate… Read more »


Lobby Law in Chile: Democratizing Access to Public Authorities

The Lobbying Act of 2014, a reform 10 years in the making, and the commitments of the Chilean government in its Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan (NAP) to adopt and implement the legislation, must be situated in the wider context of reforms designed to combat corruption and promote transparency.

UK’s International Role, Post-Brexit

On June 23, 2016, a majority of the British people voted to leave the European Union. The political earthquake that followed Brexit is now beginning to stabilize, and the British population is beginning to demand answers about how future negotiations with the European Union (EU) will be carried out. The truth, as in all negotiations, is that there is no answer—outcomes will depend not only on the British government but also, clearly, on the position the EU takes.

A Matter of Political Time: The Rise of Populist Leaders

With the commotion of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election still echoing, pundits have looked inward to understand what the weekly polls got wrong. Incomplete sample sizes, overestimated voter turnouts, and incorrect assumptions about demographic loyalties are topping recent lists of explanations for how President Donald Trump captured over 270 electoral votes. Trump’s victory over long-time… Read more »

Environmentalism in the Space Age: An Analysis of the Space Junk Problem and Potential Solutions

NASA has been studying debris hazards to (and caused by) spacecraft for over a decade, and there is a host of international organizations involved with the dense thicket of regulations governing environmental issues in outer space. Of particular concern is debris, more colloquially known as “space junk.”

Misleading Incentives – South Asian Farmers’ Use of Fertilizer

Since the Green Revolution in the 1960s to 1980s, which introduced high-yielding varieties of crops, improved fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides to agriculture in developing countries, South Asia’s appetite for inorganic fertilizer has not stopped. In 2012-3, fertilizer consumption in this area accounts for 18 percent of the world’s total usage. India alone consumed 28.1 million tons of fertilizer in 2010, making it number two in the world, after China. However, farmers in South Asia do not use the appropriate ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potash (K) fertilizer that would increase their yields.

Creating Corporate Social Responsibility for the Nonprofit Sector

In the private sector, profit maximization has historically been the most important figure to measure success, yet in recent years there has been a nascent but powerful movement that also measures environmental and social implications. This approach to business has been popularized as “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) and is becoming more structured and legitimized with third party certifiers. Meanwhile the nonprofit, or plural sector, lacks a similar framework that allows donors to better understand business ethics.

Mobile Money Impact Evaluations: A Review

The 2000 Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations provided a universally agreed upon set of objectives for all its member nations to follow. The first Goal that was identified was the elimination of poverty. Eradication of poverty subsequently became the focus of many initiatives by many organizations and governments around the world. To address some of the problems related to poverty, Mohamed Yunus started a financing scheme that would later develop into microfinance.

An Outsider Look at the US Presidential Elections

Almost 650 days have passed since Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the Presidency. Nearly 550 since President-elect Donald Trump did the same. More than a year and a half since this competition started, I cannot believe it is finally over and Donald Trump has been inaugurated as President. Certainly, the results were shocking for most of us: for the campaigns, for the pollsters, and for the pundits, among others.

  • Can Policy Language Reduce Unsafe Abortions?

    An overwhelming number of unsafe abortions occur in developing countries. The lack of clarity in the language of Sustainable Development Goal target 3.7, regarding universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, suggests that abortion policies should be liberalized. Considering the social prominence of pro-life advocates in developing countries, this SDG target risks being ineffective.

  • Germany on the Rise? Language, Culture and Foreign Policy

    Historically, the German language has been both a minority and majority language. From serving as a regional lingua franca within the Hapsburg Empire[1] to evolving into the language of oppression in Europe from 1919-1945, the popularity and prevalence of the German language have fluctuated significantly. Today, German is predominantly a language of education, tourism, and… Read more »

  • Examining the Influence of Economic Inequality on Campaign Finance in the Pre-Citizens United Era

      Abstract: The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has received much of the blame for the extraordinary amounts of money in American politics. While this decision certainly allowed for greater amounts of money in politics, Citizens United was the culmination of a larger causal trend, not the catalyst. From 1972 to… Read more »

  • Why Does Service Learning Matter?

    Service-learning is an experiential approach to education that encourages students from elementary to college ages to engage actively with social issues through volunteer activities. The volunteering is accompanied by a set of educational goals laid out during the development of the educational program, and may be combined with a traditional instruction component. Students are usually… Read more »

  • It’s on us (or so they say): Sexual Assault Reporting at Cornell University

    Within the last few years, conversations about a long surviving issue have resurfaced, managing to draw the much –needed attention of higher education institutions across the United States. A stream of alleged cases of Title IX violations, several of which have led to investigations at some of the most prestigious universities across the country, has… Read more »

  • Clinton’s War

    Clintonian Policy in a Changing World: An assessment of the impact of former President Bill Clinton’s foreign policy reveals a mixed legacy. While many Clinton loyalists praise him for being a true globalization president who embraced the challenge of steering the post-Cold War America into a model of economic prosperity and democratic influence, countless critics… Read more »

  • Recreational Marijuana: How Oregon Constructed A Market

    On October 1st, 2015, the Oregon Recreational Market went live on a restricted basis, permitting only select medical marijuana facilities to operate until 2016.[1] However, it was not until mid-October that official draft rules were signed into law. These draft rules implemented several proposed rules, and changed others. Oregon’s recreational Marijuana market illustrates the difficulties… Read more »

  • Special Edition: Systems Thinking

    Systems are ubiquitous. From our devices and networks to our social constructs, we are surrounded by complexity and its accompanying difficulties. For students of policy, these intricacies are familiar, and often accompany what Cornell professors Derek and Laura Cabrera have termed “wicked problems.” The articles in this edition are written by thirteen Fellows of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)…. Read more »

  • Get It Right: ‘Latin American Policy’ is a Misnomer

      In an increasingly global society, a nation’s need for responsive foreign policy is critical to future success and stability. Amidst the United States’ increasing focus on Asia and the Middle East, the nation’s Latin American foreign policy has not received the focus it enjoyed in the past several decades. Historically, the relationship between the… Read more »

  • Water Infrastructure Improvements: Avoiding the Costs of Delaying Action in the City of Ithaca

    Across the United States, the delivery of water services is an important public responsibility for municipalities. From treatment of the water at the source to its delivery to the end user, the proper functioning of these systems is important. Municipal policymakers are ensuring that this natural resource is being handled with a duty of care… Read more »

  • Interview: Ilya Espino de Marotta, Executive Vice President, Panama Canal Authority

      The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Cornell Latin America Student Society, and Cornell Policy Review are pleased to present an interview with Engineer Ilya Espino de Marotta, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management at the Panama Canal Authority. Mrs. de Marotta oversees the Panama Canal Authority Engineering and Programs Administration Department, responsible for… Read more »

  • The Opportunity Costs of Mexico’s Political Grand Bargain

    The Pacto por Mexico: a political grand bargain Political grand bargains are growing rarer in the world. Whether this is attributed to radicalization, polarization, or the “end of power” (due to an increasing number of mobile and independent stakeholders)[i], the fact is that incumbents whose parties do not control a majority in Congress are increasingly… Read more »