That’s it, folks. 2022 has come to an end, and it’s been quite a year: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, record inflation, AI art, Spitgate, Midnights on repeat, and so much more.
At Inkstick, we remain committed to changing the face of foreign policy. This year, we held ourselves accountable to our goal of diversity and inclusion and published the findings of our author audits here.
Over the past two years, Inkstick’s audience has nearly tripled in size, reaching 2 million pageviews in 2022. Our podcast, Things That Go Boom, has appeared regularly on National Public Radio. And high-level reporters and congressional and administration staff frequently reference our work.
At just five years old, Inkstick Media consistently punches above its age and weight, and that’s thanks to you.
Inkstick is written explicitly by and for you: a broad, inter-generational, and diverse group of real people impacted by global security. This year we brought you stories from Ukraine, The Marshall Islands, Iran, Afghanistan, the US border with Mexico, and more.
You heard from real people with real stories to tell. And we’re still just getting started.
So bring it on, 2023. We’re looking forward to a new year, a new site, an exciting slate of new work, and a whole lot of possibilities for this growing team. For now, we’re all very busy taking a well-deserved break. So, we’ll see you next year…
… here’s some of the most popular work we published in 2022.
Joshua Shifrinson and Patrick Porter
As Washington contemplates the next steps in the shadow of President Vladimir Putin’s brinkmanship, leaders should be clearer about what’s at stake for them. Now is the time to openly discuss whether taking the steps up the ladder toward nuclear war is proportionate to the interests at stake. They owe their citizens nothing less.
Naureen Kabir writes that we need policy and lawmakers to define, prevent and prosecute mass shootings with the same urgency we addressed jihadi terrorism in the post-9/11 era. We need to ensure that hate-driven and racially motivated mass shootings are called what they are: acts of domestic terrorism. Policymakers need to enact critical gun safety legislation and make it more difficult for firearms to be used readily and frequently to perpetrate acts of terror. And we need to ensure that we have a legal framework to prosecute perpetrators of mass shootings with the same severity we would an attack by jihadi terrorists. We also need to be able to call these horrific shootings what they are: truly heinous acts of domestic terrorism.
David Hundeyin argues that voting as a unit at the UN General Assembly would have given Africa — 54 states out of the UN’s 193 member states, with a vote share of 27% — an edge in their collective and individual ability to protect their citizens fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead, their treatment is allowing the “immigrant” narrative to take hold, where European publics continue to view Africans in Europe within the simplistic narratives of poverty, crime, and “migration.”
It is true that many Chechens willingly fight with the brutal Ramzan Kadyrov, the “Chechen Putin.” It is true that others face horrific threats to their family’s well-being. It is true that there is financial gain in enlisting. These truths should not enable Western media to buy into the myth that Chechens are innately bloodthirsty, violent warriors. After all, this generalized narrative emerges from Russian propaganda and now serves the purpose of intimidating Ukrainians.
While the world understandably wants to help Ukraine battle the Russian invasion, Jordan Cohan thinks that policymakers should think long and hard about the result of sending more weapons. Moreover, if they choose to send weapons to aid in the conflict, they must take the monitoring of these weapons seriously as well. The US’ inability to keep track of where military equipment ends up after delivery could easily result in unintended consequences.
Freedom of speech means one can express themselves without punishment from the state. In other words, freedom of speech means freedom from imprisonment or other punishment from the government. Maggie Seymour points out that those who are arguing to deny Griner the full protections and commitment of the US government as a punishment for her protesting systemic racism are forgetting that freedom of speech provides and protects the right to dissent. Furthermore, denying her protection would mean that freedom of speech does not exist in the United States. Above all, not only is this unconstitutional and a violation of our foundational values, but it’s a move that would render the nation less powerful in the international community.
Beatrice Neal de Souza and Johanna Mendelson Forman
By promoting clean cookstoves, Earthspark is using renewable energy to empower Haitian women. Beatrice Neal de Souza and Johanna Mendelson Forman explain that what makes Earthspark stand out is its application of a Sparkmeter, a device that allows people to purchase electricity they need rather than rely on a national power grid for electric power that is expensive and unreliable. Also unique is the organization’s focus on feminist electrification: bolstering the participation of — and benefits to — women in newly electrified areas through infrastructure planning, training, and employment. The focus on women is also logical because active participation by women is essential for promoting widespread access to electric-based cooking appliances.
In 2014, Russian soldiers took control of all administrative buildings in Crimea. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, displaced people from Crimea are realizing that they have twice been victims of Russian occupation.
The unending information, along with the juxtaposition of its varying quality, makes for a complicated social dialogue. Often, though, public discourse parses through this complexity and identifies a more simple narrative. Matthew Parent explains that one emerging narrative is that of the material and symbolic importance of the Javelin missile. Among the Stinger missiles, Main Battle Tank and Light Anti-Tank Weapon (NLAWS), and now even Soviet-era Strela missiles, it’s the Javelin that seems to have disproportionately captured public attention. But is the Javelin a divine tool of intervention or simply one of the more effective weapons on battlefields across Ukraine?
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is still wondering how sanctions on Russia harm Ukrainians or how Ukraine and the United States are pursuing a path to war rather than Russia. In this article, she explains the three things that progressives misunderstand about the standoff between Ukraine and Russia.