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JC History Tuition Online - How does the UN General Assembly work - United Nations

How does the UN General Assembly work?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

The UN General Assembly: Revisited
Let’s recap on what we have learnt about the ‘world parliament’, also known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As stated in Article 7 of the UN Charter, the UNGA is one of the six principal organs. Among all six, the UNGA allows political representation of all member states through its “one nation, one vote” system.

Ever since its inception, the membership size has increased from a humble 51 to 193. Initially, the UNGA started out with its predominantly European and Latin American composition. Following decolonisation, the inclusion of newly-independent countries in Africa and Asia contributed to a global forum that is more representative of the world.

The Six Committees
There are six main committees to address a wide range of matters, such as “Disarmament and International Security” (First Committee) and “Administrative and Budgetary” (Fifth Committee). In October and November, the UNGA will begin its proceedings in these committees. During this phase, the UNGA will consider the adoption of resolutions to deal with procedural matters, like membership admission. Interestingly, the First Committee saw heated debates during the Cold War.

Article 21 of the UN Charter states that the UNGA shall “elect its president for each session”. Additionally, Article 22 points out that the UNGA should “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”. As such, presidents serving the main committees will come from different regional groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern European and Western European) in a rotational manner. Notably, the Permanent Five members of the Security Council will occupy positions in the committees as vice presidents.

Each main committee elects a chair, two vice chairs, and a rapporteur. The chair presides over committee meetings and co-ordinates or encourages the informal consultations on procedural and substantive questions necessary to its effective functioning. The vice chairs preside as needed, and in most committees also organize or promote informal discussions on agenda items assigned to their care. The rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat, drafts the summaries of debates and explanations of committee drafts that comprise its reports to the plenary.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

The Regular Sessions
In the UNGA, the regular sessions commence from the third Tuesday in September till the third week in December. Each government of a member state can send delegates as representatives to attend the General Assembly session. Article 9(2) of the Charter stipulates that each member state should send “not more than five representatives”.

The Special and Emergency Sessions
In view of more exceptional situations, the UNGA can conduct Special or Emergency Special Sessions to address specific agendas. These sessions can last from one day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the matter. They can be held at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the member states.

The following are some notable Special Sessions held by the UNGA:

As for Emergency Special Sessions, here are some examples:

  • 1st Emergency Special Session (1956): Middle East on the Suez Canal Crisis
  • 4th Emergency Special Session (1960): Congo Crisis

Use of the General Assembly as an arena for criticizing rivals and appealing to wider audiences began in earnest as the Second World War allies divided into contending Cold War blocs. Public debate provided both sides with occasions for asserting the superiority of its own vision for the world and the inferiority of the other’s. By 1950, another broad cleavage, between an anti-colonial majority and the remaining colonial powers, had also emerged, but did not inspire the same two-way intensity of discussion because the colonial powers were more defensive and subdued. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the South–North cleavage produced sharp rhetoric as the more radical members of the Third World coalition took the lead in denouncing Western imperialism and neocolonialism.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined roles?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate the effectiveness of the principal organs of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and source based case study references for productive revision.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises - Superpower relations with China

What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises?

Learn more about the first Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958 that shaped Sino-American relations from the late 1950s to the 1960s [Video by British Pathé]

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

The First Taiwan Straits Crisis: A geopolitical contest
Following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) victory over the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the latter fled to Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait separated mainland China from Taiwan as the KMT formed the Republic of China (ROC).

Map depicting the Taiwan Strait that separated mainland China from Taiwan [Source: Ohio State University]

Quemoy (金门 or Kinmen) and Matsu (马祖) Islands were considered the first line of defence for Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC. Additionally, the United States offered to aid its newfound ally, the ROC, especially after its hostile interactions with Chinese troops during the Korean War.

Notably, US President Harry Truman delivered a rousing speech that reaffirmed the American commitment to its political alliances in East Asia, including Taiwan.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

An excerpt from a statement by the US President Harry Truman on Korea, 27 June 1950.

A Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with ROC to legitimise American military presence in the vicinity. Yet, such actions proved aggravating to Sino-American relations. In early September 1954, the PRC launched the bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu Islands. Chiang deployed about 100,000 troops to defend the two outermost islands, hoping that the American allies would come to their aid.

After the first crisis, the US Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution” that granted President Eisenhower the authority to defend Taiwan from communist aggression.

The Second Taiwan Straits Crisis: The Conflagration
During the Bandung Conference of 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai expressed desire to negotiate with the United States, possibly to de-escalate tensions and avert a full-scale military conflict with it. The olive branch offered by Zhou to the United States had earned much support and praise from the attendees at the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

By following the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems can be realized. When these principles are ensured of implementation, there is no reason why international disputes cannot be settled through negotiation.

An excerpt from Premier Zhou Enlai’s speech during the Asian-African Conference, 19 April 1955.

However, efforts to reduce tensions were negated by Eisenhower’s contemplated to use nuclear weapons on the PRC. On 23 August 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong authorised the artillery bombardment of Quemoy Island. In retaliation, the ROC armed forces fought back.

Under the obligations of the American-Taiwan defense treaty of 1954, the United States offered military aid to the Nationalists. Increased American presence in the Taiwan Straits had alarmed the Soviet Union, such that Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Beijing to uncover the rationale behind Mao’s decision to attack Quemoy. Fortunately, the conflict did not escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

Chairman Mao said that the bombardment of Jinmen, frankly speaking, was our turn to create international tension for a purpose. We intended to teach the Americans a lesson. America had bullied us for many years, so now that we had a chance, why not give it a hard time?

… In our propaganda, however, we still need to condemn the Americans for causing tension in the Taiwan Straits. We did not put them in the wrong. The United States has several thousand troops stationed on Taiwan, plus two air force bases there. Their largest fleet, the Seventh Fleet, often cruises in the Taiwan Straits.

An excerpt from the “Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling Jinmen” by Wu Lengxi

A thorn in the flesh: Prelude to the Sino-Soviet Split
On 6 October 1958, a ceasefire was made. Yet, the peace was short-lived as the PRC resumed its attacks on the two islands for nearly two decades until the late 1970s due to the Sino-American rapprochement.

Along the same vein, the Taiwan Straits Crises in the 1950s had impacted Sino-Soviet relations. On the surface, it appeared as if the signing of the Treaty of Friendship had proved to be fortuitous for Mao Zedong as he received Soviet military support to deter American attacks. Yet, the diverging perceptions by the two Communist leaders began to cause the gradual deterioration of bilateral relations. Partly, Khrushchev’s hesitance to antagonise the United States could be traced to his notion of “Peaceful Coexistence” that Mao could not agree with.

New evidence suggests that, on the contrary, the Soviet Union did everything it had promised to do in support of the Chinese operation, and that it was China, not the USSR, that was unwilling to follow through. This outcome explains why Khrushchev, feeling he had been burned once, was determined not to let it happen again. From then on he emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan problem, a lesson that Mao was unwilling to draw, for fear it would expose the magnitude of his failure in the Quemoy crisis. These different views became a sore point in Sino-Soviet relations, as was evident during Khrushchev’s visit to Beijing in the autumn of 1959.

An excerpt from “The USSR Foreign Ministry’s appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations on the eve of the Split, September 1959” by Mark Kramer.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Taiwan conflict was the root cause of the Sino-Soviet split.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the significance of Taiwan and other related factors that shaped superpower relation with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Students who enrol in the programme will receive concise study notes to enhance their study strategy and gear up for the examination.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was the Cultural Revolution - Superpower Relations with China

What was the Cultural Revolution?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979): Sino-Soviet relations

Examine the social, economic and political impacts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution [Video by BBC News]

Context: An ideological split
Before the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Mao Zedong declared the start of the Cultural Revolution, the rising Communist power clashed with the Soviet Union. In particular, Mao disagreed with the Soviet leader Khrushchev’s policy of ‘de-Stalinization’ in 1956, fearing that the latter’s reforms may jeopardize the global Marxist movement. From then on, Mao criticized Khrushchev as a ‘revisionist’, revealing signs of a Sino-Soviet split that characterized bilateral relations of the two Communist powers in the 1960s.

The Chairman turned against Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization more decisively than ever before: “[Stalinism is] just Marxism . . . with shortcomings.” He continued: “The so-called de-Stalinization thus is simply de-Marxification, it is revisionism.” Finally, the Chairman maintained that the Chinese comrades, “unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, . . . are acting in accordance with objective reality.” It was the first time that Mao clearly distinguished between the views of the subjectivist revisionists in Moscow and the objective Marxists in Beijing.

An excerpt from “The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World” by Lorenz M. Lüthi.

A decade-long revolution: Eradicating dissent
In the 1960s, Mao bore rising concerns with the bourgeois culture, which he perceived as as threat to the Chinese society. Mao viewed intellectuals and individuals that were supportive of the West as enemies of the Communist Party.

In January 1965, Mao established the ‘Five Man Group’ (文化革命五人小组) with Peng Zhen (彭真) to oversee the Cultural Revolution. However, Mao dismissed Peng Zhen and the rest of the Group. Notably, the publication of a circular on 16 May 1966 marked the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Peng Zhen had no discussion or exchange of views at all within the Group of Five. He did not ask any local party committee for its opinion… and still less did he get the approval of Comrade Mao Zedong. Employing the most improper methods, he acted arbitrarily, abused his powers [and] issued the outline report to the whole party

Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

An excerpt from the May 16th Circular, 16 May 1966.

The ‘Four Olds’
The Red Guards were formed to carry out Mao’s Revolution, comprising of radical students and officials. His aim was to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’ – old ideas, old customs, old culture and old habits (四旧 – 旧思想, 旧文化, 旧风俗, 旧习惯). From the mid-1960s to 1970, numerous party leaders were imprisoned, including the Chinese President Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇). Additionally, schools were forced to shut down. Cultural influences deemed too oriented to the West were also being suppressed.

The four olds embraced symbols of China’s traditional, premodern society, such as artworks celebrating Confucian elitism. These were roundly denounced as “feudal” at a time when the old society was still a memory for many, and its visible heritage included not only classical paintings and string-bound books but also elderly ladies with bound feed. The savagery of this aesthetic response to Mao’s call for Cultural Revolution is perhaps best understood as youthful ignorance and bravado, mixed with a generalized anxiety that counterrevolutionaries wished to restore the old society.

An excerpt from “The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction” by Richard Curt Kraus.

On the other hand, the ‘Little Red Book‘ was promoted and distributed to the Chinese citizens. It served to strengthen his goal of creating a cult of personality, similar to Stalin.

End of the Revolution
In the early 1970s, the Cultural Revolution came to an end. The Sino-American rapprochement of 1972 had changed the Chinese government’s foreign policy stance towards the USA. By the end of the Revolution, the Chinese economy was severely damaged. The ‘Gang of Four’ (四人帮), which included Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing (江青), was blamed for the devastating effects of the Cultural Revolution.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Mao Zedong was responsible for the developments of the Sino-Soviet relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the key events that shaped the Sino-Soviet split. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic discussions, essay writing and source based case study workshops. Be analytical, organised and persuasive in your writing.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the SIJORI Growth Triangle - Economic Development Notes

What is the SIOJRI Growth Triangle?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Growth Triangle: What is it about?
In December 1989, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, proposed the idea of a ‘Growth Triangle’. Countries could capitalise on the complementarity of resources and the geographical proximity to promote economic integration.

For Singapore, it had skilled labour and well-developed transportation and communications infrastructure. For Malaysia and Indonesia, Johor and Riau Islands had abundant natural resources like gas, water and land.

Thus far, the “Growth Triangle” has been implemented through a series of bilateral arrangements, rather than through one multilateral agreement, with development primarily led by the private sector. The three governments in turn coordinate investments, immigration, and other policies and plans to adjust to the requirements of the private sector.

An excerpt from “The Growth Triangle of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia” by Terence P. Stewart and Margaret L. H. Png.

The SIJORI
The Singapore-Johor-Riau (SIJORI) Growth Triangle was created as a tripartite arrangement between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia on 20 December 1989. Notably, the Singapore-Riau link had contributed to the development of industrial parks and tourist resorts in the Indonesian islands like Batam and Bintan.

SIJORI was formed in 1989 and covers a population of more than 8 million people. It is built on a vertical division of labour, whereby Singapore serves as the supplier of advanced electronic infrastructure, technology, financial and insurance services, a comfortable international entrance port, and international know-how. The Batam island (in Riau, Indonesia) supplies low-cost labour and land, whereas Johor (Malaysia) provides semi-skilled labour, industrial sites and competence.

An excerpt from “Rethinking Regionalism” by Fredrik Söderbaum.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that regional cooperation was vital in shaping the economic development of Singapore in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Paths to Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online classes, study references, essay and SBCS outlines.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why is Hyundai so successful - Asian Tigers Notes

Why is Hyundai so successful?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan]

Learn more about the history of Hyundai to find out how it grown to become a dominant Korean automaker [Video by Hyundai]

Humble beginnings
Chung Ju-yung was born in poverty-stricken family that relied on farming to make a living. After the end of the Second World War, Chung established the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company (HECC). The HECC began its operations as a civil engineering subcontractor that provided maintenance and repair work in the 1950s.

A turn of events: The Korean War
During the Korean War, the HECC took on projects by the United States Army, enabling it to expand into one of the leading construction companies in South Korea. Furthermore, Chung worked with the Rhee administration to secure construction projects for the development of local infrastructure.

When General Park Chung-hee took over in the 1960s, Chung continued to obtain contracts to entrench Hyundai’s market dominance, such as the development of the Gyeongbu Expressway. Externally, the HECC helped to develop infrastructure in Vietnam and the Middle East, which proved to be a fortuitous time for diversification.

The success of HECC in the construction industry, aided by support from the Park military government, enabled Hyundai to diversify into the automobile and shipbuilding industries and establish the Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries in 1967 and 1974.

… This aggressive entry into the Middle East market had important implications for the growth of both HECC and the Hyundai Business Group. It enabled HECC to become an international construction company no longer dependent on its domestic market. Moreover, the rapid expansion of its heavy industrial construction projects created a large internal demand for materials, enabling Hyundai to strengthen its monopoly position in the domestic construction market during the 1970s.

An excerpt from “The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai” by Seung-Ho Kwon and Michael O’Donnell.

Enter Hyundai Motor
Initially, the Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) forged a joint agreement with the US-based Ford Motor Company. Yet, the lack of consensus over managerial and marketing issues led to the termination of the partnership in the early 1970s. In 1976, HMC developed its first car, the Hyundai Pony, in 1976.

The Hyundai Pony as described by George Turnbull [Video by ThamesTV]

The Hyundai pony was developed with the support of the Mitsubishi Motor Company that sought to expand its market access beyond the shores of Japan. Hyundai was granted a technical licensing agreement, which enabled it to develop its very own nameplate cars.

Additionally, Chung roped in George Turnbull, who was formerly the president of the British Leland – an automotive company. Turnbull assumed the role as vice president of the HMC. In two years, Turnbull oversaw the development of the car production facilities in Ulsan.

By 1976, the new plant was completed and the first cars began rolling off the assembly line. Chung named the new model the Pony, a familiar name to many Koreans who were brought up on American Western movies. The Pony was a 1.2 liter rear-wheel-drive subcompact of modest quality. No market research had been done. Chung and his company had simply designed and built the car they thought the Korean people should have. President Park guaranteed the financing; Hyundai built it. It was Korea’s first national car.

An excerpt from “Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the Rise of Hyundai” by Richard M. Steers.

From mid-1970s onwards, the HMC moved beyond the limited domestic market to the export markets. Alongside other similar automakers like Daewoo and Kia, the HMC increased export production in the 1980s. Hyundai Motors set up a production facility in 1985, which had an annual capacity of 300,000 units. By the mid-1980s, more than half of the total car production was exported, enabling the South Korean economy to benefit from continued current account surpluses by 1989.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the rise of Hyundai from the 1970s to 1980s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about chaebols and other factors relating to the Asian Tigers. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning activities to consolidate your content awareness and improve answering skills. Attend our free writing practices to improve your time management and application techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is NAFTA and what is its purpose - Global Economy Notes

What is NAFTA and what is its purpose?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Examine the contributions of the NAFTA to the affordability of goods and services [Video by Vox]

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
On 1 January 1994, the NAFTA was signed by three members – the United States, Mexico and Canada. Its purpose was to eliminate tariffs between the signatories, facilitating market integration. Furthermore, the agreement required all parties to support the gradual elimination of trade barriers over a course of fifteen years to enhance cross-border investment and the flow of goods and services.

Before the signing, the Mexican government sought US investment in the wake of the Latin American debt crisis. In June 1990, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and the American President George H. W. Bush announced the creation of a free trade area between the United States and Mexico.

Impacts on involved parties
It turns out that the NAFTA yielded tremendous benefits to the trading partners. NAFTA amounted to a $6 trillion economy with a population of 360 million. By 2004, the NAFTA area expanded to a $12.5 trillion economy.

Wonnacott believes, that in one important way, the NAFTA is superior to treaties like the GATT, which allows developing countries to maintain many of their own barriers to liberalized imports. The NAFTA has effectively told Mexico and other future participants that if they want to participate in the agreement, they must be prepared to remove their own trade barriers.

An excerpt from “Nafta As a Model of Development: The Benefits & Costs of Merging High-And Low-Wage” by Richards S. Belous and Jonathan Lemco.

From the US perspective, the NAFTA was seen as a significant step forward to achieve encourage international trade. The agreement was meant to be a signal to other participating members of the GATT to re-affirm their commitment to achieve freer trade.

I am gratified that, as Vice President Gore and Chief of Staff Mack McLarty announced 2 weeks ago when they met with President Salinas, next year the nations of this hemisphere will gather in an economic summit that will plan how to extend the benefits of trade to the emerging market democracies of all the Americas.

The United States must seek nothing less than a new trading system that benefits all nations through robust commerce but that protects our middle class and gives other nations a chance to grow one, that lifts workers and the environment up without dragging people down, that seeks to ensure that our policies reflect our values.

An excerpt from US President Bill Clinton’s speech on the NAFTA, 8 December 1993.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the USA played a crucial role in the resurgence of trade in the 1990s?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the development of the global economy. Our H2 and H1 History Tuition classes are conducted online to broaden your knowledge of diverse issues and enhance your writing skills.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What caused Japan's lost decade - Global Economy Notes

What caused Japan’s Lost Decade?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Examine the impacts of the ‘Lost Decade’ that led to the commercialisation of ‘closeness’ [Video by Polygon]

The geese ahead of the flock
Before the ‘Lost Decade‘, Japan’s economic progress have continued until it was the second largest in the world, after the United States. In fact, the ‘flying geese paradigm’ was used to refer to Japan as the frontrunner of economic development in Southeast Asia (contrast with the ‘Four Asian Tigers’).

The pattern was one in which first Japan, followed by its former colonies, achieved miracles of growth. They left such bastions of U.S. influence as the Philippines in the dust. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, followed by Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia were all members of Japan’s flock. Even China took its turn.

An excerpt from “How Asia Got Rich: Japan, China and the Asian Miracle” by Edith Terry.

Speculative activities: A growing asset bubble
After the Plaza Agreement was signed, Japanese Yen was twice the value of US dollar between 1985 and 1987, spurring speculators to plough their funds in assets and stocks. Additionally, borrowers could obtain funds from banks in Japan easily, fueling more speculative activities. Over time, stock and land prices surged.

Between January 1985 and December 1989 the real value of the Nikkei 225 stock price index tripled. By the middle of 1992, the index in real terms was less than 20% above its January 1985 level. Land prices have behaved similarly. An index of land prices in Japan’s six largest cities almost tripled in real terms between 1985 and 1990.

An excerpt from “Japan’s Bubble, Deflation, and Long-term Stagnation” by Kōichi Hamada, A. K. Kashyap, David E. Weinstein.

The Bank of Japan viewed the growing bubble as a threat. As such, it raised interest rates from 2.5% to 6% to discourage speculation. Consequently, borrowers were alarmed by higher interest rates as they anticipated their inability to finance their loans. Panic selling took place, causing the value of shares to plunge drastically.

By August 1990, the discount rate reached 6%. meanwhile, starting in 1990, the Bank of Japan sharply reduced the growth in the supply of money. Although Japanese officials were trying to engineer a soft landing by gradually deflating the speculative bubble, it burst with surprising speed. By October 1990, the Nikkei had fallen to nearly 20,000 yen. The price of real estate began its descent in 1991… Non-performing loans piled up at banks. Economic growth virtually ground to a halt, as it averaged only 1% per year from 1990-2003.

An excerpt from “Japan’s ‘Lost Decade’: Causes, Legacies and Issues of Transformative Change” by Miles Fletcher III, Peter W. von Staden.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Japanese government was responsible for the ‘Lost Decade’?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the development of the global economy. We conduct H1 and H2 History Tuition Online classes, featuring thematic discussion and writing workshops.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition - Why did Nixon abandon the gold standard - Global Economy Notes

Why did Nixon abandon the gold standard in 1971?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Let’s take a look at the implications of the collapse of the ‘gold standard’ on the US economy and the rest of the world [Video by Ampleforth]

An unsustainable model
Ever since the Bretton Woods system was established in 1958, the convertibility of United States (US) dollars to gold was fixed at $35 an ounce. Initially, the US government held nearly 75 percent of the world’s official gold reserves, instilling confidence in the global monetary system.

However, demand for gold increased in the 1960s when exports from Western Europe and Japan became more competitive with the US. Additionally, the large Cold War expenditures contributed to excess supply of US dollars in circulation.

The economy falters
In the late 1960s, the US economy was hit by the increase in inflation (5.4%) and unemployment (6%) rates. An unexpected phenomenon has occurred – stagflation, which meant a combination of slow growth and high inflation.

In order to fight stagflation, US President Richard Nixon addressed the nation on 15 August 1971, declaring the end of the fixed exchange rate system that underpinned the Bretton Woods ‘gold standard’.

The Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates based on the free convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold, which had been showing signs of strain for many years, came apart entirely on August 15, 1971. President Nixon’s announcement that the U.S. would no longer sell gold at $35 per ounce effectively set the dollar afloat. By December 1971, the dollar had fallen about 6% relative to a multilateral trade weighted average of currencies, as the world groped for a new international monetary system.

An excerpt from “Economic Policy and the Great Stagflation” by Alan S. Blinder.

Bold actions
During Nixon’s historic speech on 15 August, he raised three points to protect the US economy – lower unemployment rates, curb inflation and minimise international speculation.

For the third point, Nixon claimed that the ‘gold standard’ was not sustainable as currency speculators have been ‘waging an all-out war’ on the US dollar even though it functioned as a ‘pillar of monetary stability’ on the global scale.

I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the American dollar except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interest of monetary stability and in the best interests of the United States.

… If you want to buy a foreign car or take a trip abroad, market conditions may cause your dollar to buy slightly less. But if you are among the overwhelming majority of Americans who buy American-made products in America, your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today.

The effect of this action, in other words, will be to stabilize the dollar.

An excerpt from a speech by Richard Nixon, 15 August 1971.

Nixon defended his position by asserting that the devaluation of the dollar was to ensure fair competition between the American workers and the rest of the world. Furthermore, he imposed a 10 percent tax on imported goods into the US as a temporary measure to protect domestic jobs.

Fragmentation of markets
In response, the European governments were taken aback by the policy shifts of the US government. On 10 September 1971, The New York Times reported that the imposition of tariff barriers may affect nearly 90 percent of the European exports to the US, amounting to $7 billion.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system was a turning point?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the complexities of the global economy. Our online learning classes are suitable for students taking either H1 or H2 History. In preparation for the GCE A Level History examination, we provide thematic revision and writing practices.

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JC H1 H2 History Tuition Online - Criticisms of the veto - United Nations Essay Notes

Criticisms of the veto

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Explore the issue with the veto to understand its significance on the United Nations. [Video by NowThisWorld]

Yea or nay?
As discussed in the previous article on the role of the Security Council, the Permanent Five (P5) Members possess special voting rights to either support or block resolutions.

Article 27(3) of the UN Charter states that consensus within the Security Council is only made possible with the “affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members“.

This means that if at least one of the P5 members exercised the “right to veto” (negative vote), the resolution would not be approved.

The use of veto by P5 members
Although the Charter states that the United Nations was formed with the primary aim to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war“, the repeated use of the veto has sparked criticism among member nations over the relevance of the international organisation.

The following illustrations highlight the veto problem ever since the UN’s inception.

Security Council Vetoes - Bloomberg Opinion
Illustration by Bloomberg Opinion on the use of vetoes
Security Council Vetoes - Vocativ
Statistics by Vocativ on the use of vetoes

A flawed creation or a necessary evil?
One of the main criticisms was that the veto had allowed the P5 members to wield disproportionate powers, thereby creating an unrepresentative structure in the United Nations. On the other hand, defenders of the veto argued that the veto was essential in retaining membership of Great Powers and averting another world war.

For most UN Member states, Article 27 UN Charter is a codification of the painful reality that some States are more equal than others. This idea is obviously at odds with the principals laid down in the UN Charter, such as Article 1(2), pursuant to which the UN aims at developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights of peoples, and Article 2(1) which affirms the principle of sovereign equality as one of the basic pillars of the world body.

The concerns underpinning the insertion of Article 27 were well-founded in light of the demise of the League of Nations. This organisation never managed to live up to its aspirations due to the requirement of unanimity among all members of its Council on the one hand, and the lack of support from various power States on the other hand… None of the P-5 has abandoned ship. Moreover, no direct military confrontation has occurred between them.

An excerpt from “Security council reform: a new veto for a new century?” by Jan Wouters and Tom Ruys.

Reforms to the veto mechanism
In 2015, France proposed the practice of ‘veto restraint‘ in the United Nations Security Council, particularly for conflicts of mass atrocities and genocide. Its basis was that the veto should not be abused.

Interestingly, France early on broke ranks with the other permanent members of the Security Council and led the third initiative calling for veto restraint.

… Veto restraint in atrocity situations was initially suggested in 2001 by French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine at a roundtable sponsored by the ICISS in Paris. He called for the permanent members to create a “code of conduct” for themselves and not to apply their veto to block humanitarian action where their own national interests were involved.

An excerpt from “Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” by Jennifer Trahan.

Another proposed reform was the expansion of the Permanent Membership to create a more representative structure in the Security Council. The G4 nations, comprising of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, asserted that their admission would maintain the relevance of the principal organ.

The concept of new permanency is prefaced on the notion that the current council does not reflect the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. In short, the council’s permanent membership is outdated. To address the disequilibrium, the G4 proposes the inclusion of six new permanent seats and five new elected seats.

An excerpt from “UN Security Council Reform” by Peter Nadin.

However, any reform made to the Security Council membership composition requires full consensus from the existing Permanent Members.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the limited effectiveness of the proposed reforms to the Security Council.

Join our JC History Tuition to derive a better understanding of the veto mechanism and other critical areas of study for the United Nations. We provide H1 and H2 History Tuition classes to empower students to organise their reading, thinking and writing techniques. Through a comprehensive learning programme, students will become more acquainted with the content and confident in their methods of expression for the GCE A Level History examination.

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JC H1 History Tuition - Singapore's Foreign Policy - JC History Essay Notes - Cold War in Asia

What is Singapore’s Foreign Policy?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]: 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Singapore’s Foreign Policy during the Cold War

Examine Singapore’s Foreign Policy towards Malaysia in view of the Merger-Separation issue. [Video by Channel NewsAsia]

“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

— Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, 1 March 1848

What is a ‘foreign policy’?
It refers to a set of strategies employed by the state to protect its domestic and international interests. A ‘foreign policy’ affects the state’s interactions with other states. Ultimately, the policy is implemented to safeguard national interests.

Foreign policies can involve the use of aggressive (military force) or non-coercive means (diplomacy). Also, these policies can also be carried out through engagement with other states in addressing a common challenge, such as regional security threats.

Singapore’s foreign policy: A summary
There are two key foreign policy theories that are covered the A Level H1 History syllabus: Survival and Realism.

1. Survival
One key ideology that shaped Singapore’s foreign policy is the concept of survival. Following the sudden Separation that led to Singapore’s independence in 1965, the government had to deal with political threats and economic challenges.

Amidst the Cold War context, the rise of Communist insurgencies was a common concern that affected the political stability of Southeast Asian nations. In Singapore, the government was challenged by the Barisan Sosialis.

As for the economic viewpoint, the People’s Action Party (PAP) took the first step towards modernisation by embarking on state-led industrialisation. In particular, the government aimed to establish strong trade ties with other countries, including Great Powers like the USA.

The historical roots of Singapore’s political ideology of survival lie in the events following the country’s ejection from Malaysia in 1965. Survival in both political and economic terms for newly independent Singapore was a very real issue for the PAP Government. The government in the period 1965-67 was involved in an intense, often violent struggle, for power against the Barisan Sosialis and the communists.

…In terms of economic policy, the survival ideology is linked with the concept of the “global city” first proposed in 1972 by Singapore Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam. This concept suggests that if Singapore is to survive, it must establish a relationship of interdependence in the rapidly expanding global economic system.

An excerpt from “SINGAPORE: Reconciling the Survival Ideology with the Achievement Concept” by Lee Boon-Hiok [from the Southeast Asian Affairs 1978]

2. Realism
Realism describes the notion that states should act according to their best interest. From a realist’s perspective, the world is in a constant state of anarchy. Individuals are inherently egoistic and will do anything to pursue power. As such, states should protect their interests through means like the development of an independent defence force as well as the conduct of diplomacy.

Singapore’s interpretation of such a concept and practice was spelled out by Lee Hsien Loong in the same speech as follows:

This policy depends on the competing interests of several big powers in a region, rather than on linking the nation’s fortunes to one overbearing partner. The big powers can keep one another in check and will prevent any one of them from dominating the entire region, and so allow small states to survive in the interstices between them. It is not a foolproof method, as the equilibrium is a dynamic and possibly unstable one, and may be upset if one power changes course and withdraws. Nor can a small state manipulate the big powers with impunity. The most it can hope to do is to influence their policies in its favour.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability” by Michael Leifer

More importantly, Singapore did not rely solely on the goodwill of external powers to manage security challenges. Its emphasis on regionalism and multilateralism was also another vital channel, seen in terms of Singapore’s diplomatic role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

Through Singapore’s consistent lobbying efforts at the United Nations General Assembly, the government was successful in publicise the Cambodian conflict at the international level.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs distinguished itself as a diplomatic dynamo during the course of the Cambodian conflict. The advocacy, lobbying and drafting skills of its officials were employed to great effect within the United Nations against Vietnam and its client government in Phnom Penh. For example, the declaration of the International Conference on Kampuchea held at the UN in 1981 was drafted by Singapore’s delegation. Singapore’s diplomatic success was accomplished through playing on the political sensibilities of states that had been alarmed by the example of a government despatching its army across an internationally recognised boundary to remove an incumbent administration recognised at the United Nations and replacing it with another of its own manufacture.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability” by Michael Leifer

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that Singapore’s foreign policy was largely shaped by Realism.

Join our JC History Tuition and learn more about Singapore’s foreign policy in response to the Second and Third Indochina Wars. We cover other topics for H1 and H2 History through online discussions and written practices. Also, students will receive summary notes to consolidate their content knowledge.

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