PS 109b at Middlebury College with James Morrison
Feb 4th, 2010 by James Morrison
This page is for posts related to the “real world” application of the concepts and issues considered in the course. Here, students may post links to news stories, additional readings, &c.
An irreverent article in the Middlebury Campus about overpopulation that makes reference to Malthus:
In other crazy nuclear news here is a story about what you do not want to have happen when transporting highly enriched uranium.
Professor Morrison and I went to a lecture by a nuclear non proliferation expert who brought up an interesting point that I thought pointed out the weakness of international organizations well.
The example was what effect the U.S.-India nuclear exchange deal had on the power of NPT (non-proliferation treat). “Article I of the treaty says nations that possess nuclear weapons agree not to help states that do not possess weapons to acquire them.” We have given them assistance several times by creating an “exception”. Besides the threat that this “could pose serious risks to the security of the United States” by potentially allowing Indian companies to proliferate banned nuclear technology around the world it causes lead other suppliers-including Russia and China-to bend the international rules. This is done by selling their own nuclear technology, about the only thing that make them a superpower, to other countries. Many of these buyer nations are hostile to the United States, like Syria NK and Iran. Moreover once these nation have nuclear capability they are more likely to cheat the NPT or call the US nuclear criminals after seeing this hypocrisy.
This article relates back to our discussion on Mexican Immigration into the United States. Although always a hot topic, immigration policy is receiving extra attention right now in Arizona. The New York Times has run a series of articles chronicling the development and passing of a bill that will make life much more difficult for immigrants living in Arizona. Relating to the articles we read, it seems that many in Arizona don’t consider any benefits from Mexican immigration to be positive, or at least to outweigh any of the potential downfalls of such a large population of immigrants. Nobody in the article commented on the changing face of America and the comments towards Mexicans seemed much more racially charged than anything else. It will be interesting to see how the law is actually enforced and whether it actually has any impact on the immigration flow. If it is effective, it may have repercussions in the sense that other states may adopt similar regulations.
This article in the Economist seems to be relevant to our International Political Economy chapter. It discusses the ways in which the US can get out of the recession stressing the importance of exports. Nevertheless the article expresses little concern on how these policies will affect the average worker. The author writes: “…the smoothness of this transition cannot be taken for granted. Policy decisions both inside and outside America will determine whether this rebalancing is painful or easy.” This argument shows us how important political policies are when it comes to assuring economic stability and how international trade is one of the most significant tools to do so.
Is trade the solution for the global recession?
Virginia Fortna’s article on interstate peacekeeping to me looked like a response to the following Neil MacFarquhar’s article in New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/world/11peacekeeping.html?_r=1
While Fortna’s findings provide some kind of a rationale for using peacekeeping forces, MacFarquhar points out a series of significant issues with this conflict resolution method. Both Fortna and MacFarquhar agree that peacekeepers are more likely to be deployed during difficult conflicts, where chances of maintaining the ceasefire are otherwise low (Fortna, 499). For Fortna, this apparent “selection bias” explains the phenomenon that peacekeeping does not ensure the stability of the peace (while facilitates its maintenance for a period of time). MacFarguhar suggests some other reasons behind this correlation, such as the tendency of UN to send the peacekeepers before the conflict was resolved, the unwillingness of UN member-states to take a lead in peacekeeping in some of the worst present day conflicts and a lack of relevant equipment on behalf of the peacekeeping force. The UN has also changed its expectations from the peacekeepers, currently expecting them to promote economic development and human rights, among others. Thus, one may conclude that while peacekeeping may be a relevant conflict resolution tool, there is an apparent need of reform of the general UN’s approach to conflict resolution. Perhaps, it is time to create some status quo group that will preoccupy itself with precisely the tasks of development and human rights, while leaving the peacekeepers do their job of monitoring and prevention. In my opinion, this will definitely boost the motivation for UN member nations to consider sending its peacekeeping forces, as the scope of their tasks will be narrowed, and their expectations will be more clear. It will also improve the efficiency of the conflict resolution, since each group will be working within its appropriated scope. After all, if we can’t expect a carpenter to teach political science effectively, then why does one expect a professional peacekeeper to be able to promote economic development?
In reference to the lecture on international organizations and law there’s an article from 2009 in the New York Times regarding the legality of political assassination.
It’s evident after reading the article that assassination is common practice in the U.S. but the C.I.A. and politicians face legal backlash for endorsing these covert operations. From an international law perspective, I’m curious how the “ban” on assassination came about. As seen in the lecture, security could be responsible for the cooperation and creation of international organizations. States prefer stability and predictability. However, it would seem less predictable to have a law, such as assassination, that’s followed at the state’s discretion. Furthermore, eliminating one target in an assassination instead of “legally” bombing an entire building with a drone attack would seem to lead to greater security stability. You could argue that political leaders of international superpowers endorse this law to protect themselves from assassination. However, the countries or groups who would be likely to attempt an assassination in one of these nations are unlikely to respect any international laws. In fact, an international law like banning assassination seems to give a rogue nation or political group an upper hand in international conflict because they don’t have to mask their intentions or worry about political repercussions. Overall, I am interested to see why countries such as the U.S. claim to endorse a ban on assassination when it seems detrimental to their interests.
I found this article on NY times.com and found it very relevant to our discussion about NATO and nuclear weapons. The article is about a negotiation concerning the reduction of nuclear weapon stockpiles in Europe that were put in place during the Cold War. Officials are worried because some newer member states are more concerned about those weapons staying in place. This debate, some worry, may lead to the splintering of the alliance. The US is attempting to shift the focus of NATO to newer threats while maintaining it. Hilary Clinton is expected to speak on the issue to the ministers tonight stressing the need to maintain a deterrent and the important of remaining unified on the issue.
There was an article in the economist yesterday that fits well in our discussion of IPE. It talks about how the BRICs countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—are changing the arena of international relations trying to win allies by helping poor countries financially. A few examples are mentioned in the article but what’s really interesting are the incentives behind these donations. Although it may seem like this is a direct help to poor countries, it is probably a lot more complicated than that and as we have observed in the past, aid money from powerful states does not always benefit the developing countries.
Looking at the BRIC composition it is obvious that these countries could use this money to help take care of domestic issues such as poverty and inequality. So why do they choose to send it to others? One of the comments left by a reader was: “This only highlights the fact that all nations are basically the same. As they grow in power they seek to influence and proselytize the poorer ones…” there is no doubt that this reader is a realist and it sounds like he is following Mearsheimer’s theory that all states want to become hegemony. This could be one possibility of explanation of BRIC’s incentives; however, could it simply be that they are interested to built friendly relations with states for future trade?
Another point that we have seen in class and was mentioned in the article is China’s policy of depressing its exchange rate which according to the author: “undermines their [poor countries’] competitiveness and forces them to try to push their own currencies down.”
There was an opinion piece in (I think) the Boston Globe last week about remittances that I thought made an interesting point. I can’t find the article now, but the basic point was that we tend to think of immigrants as being bad savers, but the amount of money they send back to their home countries proves that they’re not. The writer suggested that if immigrants used the money they send back home for their childrens’ education in the United States instead, we would see a much faster jump in their socio-economic status and therefore assimilation. It’s interesting to look at remittances from the other side, as in what else this money could be used for, and I think he made a good point. But it’s hard to argue for using the money for something else when right now it’s putting food on the table for these immigrants’ relatives. The argument also ties in to Samuel Huntington’s fears about assimilation – if Mexican immigrants are constantly thinking about sending money back home rather than improving their lives here, will we ever see assimilation?
Hey guys, take a look at this article from the Economist: http://www.economist.com/business-finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15871905
There has been a ton of talk about economic tensions between China and the US. Many in the US accuse China of “manipulating” their currency — keeping the Renmingbi (RMB) weak in order to favor its exporters. Yet Tim Geithner hesistates to condemn China.
I feel this topic is especially appropriate to what we’ve been discussing in class the past few lectures. I’ll admit, Econ is not my forte, but I can see the fundamental risks involved with China-US currency tensions. I see this as an example of a little trade war going on. China has definitely been trying to boost its role as a world powerplayer the past few years. Mearsheimer’s idea of a race towards hegemony immediately comes to mind. Yet the US depends heavily on China for borrowing money. Is this enough to prevent the US from openly condemning China? Does this demonstrate that China is steadily becoming a hegemon in the Far East?
Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit is all over the news still (as well as all over these posts). I agree with Greg that there is no massive gain from this summit, and with Diana in saying that a strike was less likely when the bipolar balance of power was intact. That dichotomy is now gone, yet there are definitely still echos of it in current nuclear policy.
I’ve found myself riveted to all these news sites, looking at just what exactly they’re covering and making out to be the big news pieces from this conference.
And while it is definitely newsworthy that Ukraine pledged to eliminate its nuclear stockpile (see this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8616048.stm), I find Israel’s stance (and refusal to attend the summit) the most interesting aspect:
I would like to talk a little bit about a point Hillary Clinton mentioned on Friday at the University of Louisville in Kentucky about the global nuclear situation. She says: “The nature of the threat has changed…We no longer live in constant fear of a global nuclear war, where we’re in a standoff against the Russians with all of our nuclear arsenal on the ready. But as President Obama has said, the risk of a nuclear attack has actually increased. And the potential consequences of mishandling this challenge are deadly.”
This point is interesting because what she is saying is that when the world order was bipolar led by the US and USSR, it was less likely that someone would actually use nuclear weapons (although both states had the capability). And indeed this could be explained by Waltz’s theory of balance: when distribution of power was clear, both powers balanced each other. What’s different today is that the balance of power is not as clear cut as it used to be. Some would claim that it is a hegemony led by the US while others would disagree. This difficulty to see clearly the balance of power between states changes the nature of the threat. Countries are more likely to continue developing nuclear weapons or even using them when they are unsure of how much power there is relatively to theirs.
The role of a chance event in international politics does not cease to amaze me. In our last discussion we touched briefly upon a role of a comparably minuscule event in provoking what later became World War I, followed by Professor’s hypothetic scenario of a World War III.
Only a few days have passed since a grave plane crash near Russia’s Smolensk, killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some other important figures of Polish government. While Polish citizens are still mourning the loss of their leader, the media is already speculating on the potential deterioration of Russo-Polish relations as a result of this catastrophe. Here are the links to only a few articles: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-another-tragedy-strikes-polishrussian-relations-1942126.html and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8613355.stm
What made this catastrophe exceptional is not only its unprecedented political scale, but also the context in which it occurred. A delegation of Polish politicians, led by the President, were bound to Russia in order to mourn the victims of the infamous Katyn massacre of Polish intelligentsia carried out by the Soviets during WWII. For a lot of Polish people, Katyn had a deep emotional meaning, and the fact that a plane full of modern day Poland’s political intelligentsia crashed in the close proximity of Katyn forest may provoke hostility towards Russia on a subconscious level.
What I was trying to say here is that, a single chance event may bear deep implications on international relations when interpreted in a particular context. It sometimes takes only this much to provoke the seemingly forgotten old hostilities to arise on a fully blown scale. This made me think once again about the Thursday’s discussion on the nuclear deterrence and WMDs. While states might be extremely keen on maintaining the status quo, they can hardly exercise any level of control over events like this.
In response to our discussion Thursday and Rob’s post I wanted to discuss the U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement. Frankly, in addition to the technical loopholes Rob mentioned, I think the media attributed much more success to the nuclear agreement than it deserves. The world is no safer with the current agreement than it was a month ago. A future nuclear strike is not going to come from Russia or the United States. A future nuclear strike is much more likely to come from a country like Iran or North Korea. While some news articles recognize that technically the agreement has small implications, positive diplomatic implications between the U.S. and Russia are large. However, various articles also claim that Russia viewed the agreement as a concession to Russia on Obama’s part. While it is negative to be perceived as a war-mongering nation, it would be unfortunate for the U.S. to be viewed as a country vying to make military compromises. It would be regrettable for the U.S. to lose national security in the pursuit of disarming a negligible number of nuclear weapons.
“Obama and Medvedev sign Nuclear Arms Reduction Pact”- The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/world/europe/09prexy.html?hp).
“The treaty, if ratified by lawmakers in both countries, would require each country to deploy no more than 1,550 strategic warheads, down from 2,200 allowed in the Treaty of Moscow signed by President George W. Bush in 2002. Each would be limited to 800 total land-, air- and sea-based launchers — 700 of which can be deployed at any given time — down from 1,600 permitted under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, or Start.
Because of counting rules and unilateral reductions over the years, neither country would have to actually eliminate large numbers of weapons to meet the new limits. Moreover, the treaty does not apply to whole categories of weapons, including thousands of strategic warheads held in reserve and tactical warheads, some of which are still stationed in Europe.
But the treaty would re-establish an inspection regime that lapsed along with Start last December and bring the two countries back into a legal framework after years of tension. Moreover, both sides hope to use it as a foundation for a new round of negotiations that could lead to much deeper reductions that will cover weapons like stored or tactical warheads.”
Info on the Tet offensive writing by veterans 40 years after the fact. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/01/army_history_080131w/
If you want to take a break from reading about nuclear weapons / procrastinate, make sure you watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2kdpAGDu8s
This video was created by U.S. Federal Civil Defense Administration in 1951, aiming at promoting precautions against nuclear weapons. It features a tortoise called Bert, who “knows how to duck and cover properly”. Personally, I found it to be a nice insight into the mentality of the defense specialists in the realities of the early Cold War.
I tried my best to find an equivalent from the USSR, but unfortunately all I could dig were (rather) boring documentaries (compared to Bert ducking and covering). Still, if you are interested, here is a brief footage on the explosion of first Soviet atomic bomb in Semipalatinsk, on the territory of modern Kazakhstan: http://rutube.ru/tracks/2307931.html?v=14b7d83abba27cbb1f6a329d26e71e8a The video is in Russian, yet I believe it is quite straightforward (Potsdam conference > Truman telling Stalin about the creation of a new weapon > the latter smoking nervously > Hiroshima & Nagasaki explosions > Communist apparatchiks determined to “put an end to American monopoly” > Semipalatinsk & the explosion by itself). In the final part of the video the narrator quotes the Nobel laureate Otto Han: “If Russians are going to have an atomic bomb, then there will be no war”. The narrator continues by wondering if indeed there is anyone who will be willing to destroy our planet (while showing the steppes of Kazakhstan).
Here is a very interesting article on the political costs and benefits of educating international students in the U.S.: http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/01/27/the_downside_of_soft_power
While acknowledging the role of higher education as one of the means to exercise soft power control overseas, the author also points out the necessity to educate more U.S. students abroad. Moreover, he states that although U.S. educated foreign leaders usually tend to hold pro-U.S. views, they can also use their knowledge of the U.S. system for lobbying their own interests.
The Japanese were really loyal. This is a story about some of the holdouts who loyalty to the emperor and the idea of Japan made surrender inconceivable. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917064,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
It would be interesting to see what Edward Luttwak would make of the current situation developing in Israel over the proposed expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. His overall argument suggests that this new conflict only exists because his principle of national “survival of the fittest” was not adhered to in the aftermath of the war for the creation of Israel. According to Luttwak, externally crafted ceasefires and refugee camps for displaced Palestinians have served to prolong the conflict and prevent its natural resolution. Aside from this retrospective approach to the issue, I wonder if he would actually argue for an end to US involvement in these attempted proximity negotiations in favor of a more violent resolution between Israel and the nations of the Arab League, along with whatever international implications that would bring. I also wonder if he would actually support the demolition of Arab neighborhoods to make way for Jewish biblical heritage parks simply because he believes these “refugee children” should have been better assimilated following the original conflict.
These three video interviews of ordinary Iraqi citizens nicely put into perspective our today’s discussion of intervention and imperialism: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8545403.stm
The moral of the story? When it comes to intervention there can be no single judgment about its morality and level of justification. Certainly, it is rather easy to debate the long term beneficial consequences of intervention for the country’s stability, economic development, yada, yada while being away from the theater of action; but what about the individual destinies of the accidental victims (for example the one of the girl interviewed). And what about the lives of those who benefited from the previous regime? (like the handicapped taylor). Is it justified to discount those people’s future for some other long term goal? Personally, I can not find a plausible answer. Hopefully, though, this post provokes some reactions which would target this set of dilemmas.
Today we talked about how Australia was founded by convicts forcibly sent there. Although the practice of deporting prisoners was stopped in the mid 19th century, the forced transportation of “undesirables” continued in other forms long after. The longest lasting was the deportation of orphans and unwanted children to Australia because it made fiscal sense. As a result of this excessively frugal approach thousands of children were separated from remaining family members and siblings at very young ages. Although it sounds Dickensian in nature the practice continued until 1967, with ten thousand children being transported between 1947 and 1967 alone.
I found this NY Times editorial a while ago and it reminded me of our constant debates in class of the usefulness of studying theories vs. empirical evidence.
Among other topics, the article discusses how “the past is a map, not a compass. It charts human experience, stops at the present and gives no clear sense of direction.” I found this interesting in light of the tendency of many students in our class to utilize historical examples to predict and analyze current situations. The editorial, on the other hand, points out that this is just “sophisticated guesswork.” By contrast, the theories we’ve studied rely on an analysis of the larger forces behinds states’ actions – such as motivations, desires, etc. – to support their assumptions. Although neither theories nor patterns determined from empirical evidence alone are enough to predict the future, perhaps this at least lends some support to those who believe in the importance of theory.
I sent this link to Professor Morrison a few weeks ago but decided to post it here, too, because I think everyone might find it interesting: http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15452821&source=most_commented
It is a very good article (the Economist never fails to produce solidly-written work); partly because I am sick of the New York Times and their typical paranoia of the growing power in the East. This article is very well thought-out and emphasizes the mutual benefits of cooperation between China and the US instead of the usual head-on-head race to ascendancy. I thought it was incredibly relevant to the debate in one of our previous discussions about Waltz and Mearsheimers’ realist theories and how it applies to Sino-American disagreements today. In this case, the article definitely reflects Mearsheimers’ idea of offensive realism — it true that the US and China are both competing desperately to be hegemons, but it is also possible to obtain equilibrium…
The role of generals and war as an instrument of policy takes on a new dimension when military coups are carried out. While armies are normally used as instruments off foreign policy if domestic policy reaches an emotional enough level. The states military becomes the solution. Coups can be occur for as base a reason as pay (in the case of last years mutiny in Bangladesh) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7909323.stm
or an attempt for personal power in the form of an autocracy to the detriment of the nation (like the rule of Idi Amin or the Thailand military Junta). However, coups can serve as a course correct to ideology or actions incompatible with the peoples wishes. Such is potentially the case in Nigeria.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8537043.stm
Sadly it is a slippery slope so that even those who start out with noble intentions can end up seeking only personal gain. Papa Doc and Hitler were elected after all.
The role of Turkey’s army in such efforts seems to be dead after decades of such intervention then handing power back over.
Reading von Clausewitz’s discussion of the role of individual generals in determining the course and character of wars immediately brought to mind the roles played by Generals Patraeus and McCrystal in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars respectively. While neither was involved in the initial decisions to go to war in these two countries, their influences over military strategies are monumental. McChrystal’s report especially has been criticized as an attempt to force Obama’s hand in determining military strategy in Afghanistan, and based on von Clausewitz’s article it seems that he would agree with this analysis.
This argument seems to have larger impacts on the discussion between the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello, as it questions the validity of decisions made in the course of a war that may have been originally justified, especially in the case of Afghanistan.
I’d be interested to see how Wendt would view the current Greek financial crisis and the underlying problems it has brought to light. For a little background, to be included at the creation of the European Union a number of states engaged in “creative finance reporting” to meet the requirements to enter the union. These states are affectionately known as the “PIGS” of Europe (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). The healthier nations of Europe recognize the fact that one of these single economies could bring down the shared currency and wreak economic misery on European Union members. They face the problem that there is no legal precedent for ejecting a state from the European Union. According to Wendt, structure depends on process. However, the structure of the European Union has largely affected the international environment and the ways in which states are acting to maximize their interests and protect their economic stability.
Soner Cagaptay’s article “Is Turkey leaving the West?” (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65634/soner-cagaptay/is-turkey-leaving-the-west?page=show ) provides a brilliant case study illustration to Goldstein & Keohane article. It demonstrates how the emergence of Islamist party (AKP) altered the public attitude towards Islamism and political unity of the “Muslim world”.
If Turkey was purely concerned with achieving security, it would have pushed for an even more close relationship with the West and the U.S. in particular. In fact, the article says, Turkey actively supported U.S. military initiatives by its membership in NATO and collaboration with Israel. The fact that it decided to switch sides and ally with Syria instead of Israel seems to contradict the realist hypothesis about the nature of international politics and security. Nor such decision seems to accord with the rationalist view of IP, as obviously Turkey would exert more utility from cooperating with the West in political and economic terms (e.g. an increasing potential of accession to the EU as a result of pro-Western foreign policies).
The explanation of such a phenomenon, then, lays in the fact that through switching public opinion in favor of Islamism, AKP managed to change the public image of the Western values. According to the article, Turkish leader Recep Erdogan called the West “immoral” in his 2008 speech, profoundly affecting popular opinion on the EU accession. All things being equal, the general Western outlook on the Middle Eastern policies did not change profoundly in the past decades. However, the Turkish population started acquiring a perception of the West and its policies that is incompatible with successful cooperation. Hence, the way of perception of the same issue can have a deeply profound potential implications for the Turkish foreign relations, which is consistent with Goldstein & Keohane suggestions.
There is no doubt in my mind that looking into a state’s “black box” is important in accurately predicting how it interacts in the international system. Susan Shirk’s China: Fragile Superpower discusses the importance of China’s domestic characteristics in its decisions on foreign policy. Shirk explains how China has a history of acting irrationally when it comes to topics like Taiwan, Japan and the US. Although China would likely benefit through good relations with all three entities, Shirk shows that China’s fear of social unrest combined with domestic Chinese sentiment creates a unique situation that results in a fickle and unpredictable Chinese government. To look at China like any other state, and not take into account China’s history and culture could result in miscalculations that could have serious consequences.
In Russet’s “Controlling the Sword” he refers to the Falklands Conflict between the U.K. and Argentine. The conflict is heating up again now for economic reasons. Except this time its more about what benefits the islands have than the economic status of the feuding nations.
This article reminded me of our discussion about Waltz vs. Mearscheimer on why states behave the way they do. These new findings by UN weapons inspectors argue most strongly for Mearscheimer’s perspective, as Iran is taking an enormous political risk by using its already controversial Uranium enrichment program for military purposes. Whatever purpose Iran’s nuclear development program is meant to serve, their actions are clearly not those of a risk-averse state. As the article states, Iran’s nuclear policy and the consistent refusal to compromise “almost suggest the Iranian military is inviting a confrontation.” According to Mearscheimer’s view this blatantly confrontational policy in the face of overwhelming political and military risk is a suggestion of Iran’s desire to alter the international balance of power. Although it is incredibly unlikely that Iran will become an actual hegemon (especially given the increasing internal political conflict), their actions may be viewed as attempts to assert themselves in an increasingly multi-polar political world.
This past Friday, Dr. Haas, The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, gave a talk at the RAJ. In his talk, he discussed both the two Iraq wars, and the idea that there are wars of necessity and wars of choice. Throughout his talk, I was reminded of Waltz’s theory on international politics, assumptions made in theories and the difference between foreign policy and international politics as discussed by Waltz. In Dr. Haas talk, he made an assertion that assumptions hinder foreign policy. Yet, Waltz’s theories on international politics are based on assumptions. It made me wonder: why can assumptions be useful in one area, and so detrimental in another, albeit separate but related, field? Furthermore, if assumptions are as prohibitively ineffective and in fact, dangerous in the field of foreign policy, an assertion I fully agree with, how are they not, as Waltz claims, necessary for the theory of international politics. In fact, Waltz claims that the validity of an assumption is not important, he states that the assumptions in his theories are “theoretical, not factual” (119). However, I am not completely sure that I can buy into the idea that an assumption does not have to be factual. How can these theories be considered valid if they are not based in some aspect of fact? I’m not sure if I have an answer to this, but I thought it was an idea worth putting out there, especially in light of Dr. Haas discussion of war on the international level.
As we were talking about the acceptable boundaries of defense on Tuesday, I brought up the case of U.S. missile interceptors that were supposed to be placed in Czech Republic. Recently, I found out that the story still has a continuation, despite President Obama’s decision not to station interceptors in East Central Europe. Here is what Russia Today (a pro-Kremlin news agency) has to say about the situation: http://rt.com/Politics/2010-02-15/roar-russia-missile-defense.html
I think this article brilliantly illustrates the power paradigm, showing how one country’s increase in military defense power can be interpreted as a threat to another country’s security.
In class today we learned about the devastating assault on Gallipoli by ANZAC troops. I found a pretty cool speech by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, one of the Ottoman commanders at the battle and the first president of Turkey. Years after the war he spoke on ANZAC day, one of the most prominent national holidays in New Zealand and Australia, about the thousands dead on both sides and the nations’ new relationship.
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now living in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
This is a quote from an article posted on Nytimes.com that is incredibly applicable to what we talked about, at least in my discussion group. It’s from the article, “Coalition Troops Storm a Haven:”
“The message for the Taliban is: It will be easy, or it will be hard, but we are coming,” Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the commander of the United States Marines in Helmand Province, told the men of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines before the operation began. “At the end of the day, the Afghan flag will be over Marja.”
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