Four Girls and a Guy

Welcome to our blog for our University College World Politics class!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday Class Reflection

So wednesday's class centered around the aliens landing on the White House lawn problem. I think that the debate was very lively and brought up some good points. However, I believe that we should treat anyone with respect, whether we know anything about them or if they are strangers. I don't think we should bomb the bejeezus out of anyone unless they instigate the fighting, officially declare war, or if we have evidence of someone destroying large amounts of the human population. I also appreciate Prof. Jackson's point of different gestures meaning different things to each civilization/culture. I think that it's a very good point we need to consider. I think that if some unknown civilization shows a gesture, we should be open-minded to any of its possible meanings. I just feel like we should give everyone a chance to explain themselves concerning their actions/gestures and we, as a population, shouldn't jump to any conculsions. However, there are always certain exceptions, such as 9/11. We knew what bin Laden ment by that action, mainly because we knew what kind of culture/group of people we were dealing with. I also think we could never find a definate answer to the alien landing problem becasue we have never encountered and such problem before. It's a completely hypothetical situation with many possible outcomes and decisions based on events happening at that time. It's hard to find an answer in that situation becasue you don't know what you would do. There are so many variables to consider. In general, I think that we should be more open-minded to other cultures or ways of life.

Constuctivism and Aliens

Emma made a great point on Friday that the analogy of aliens landing on the Whitehouse lawn was far fetched. I thought that it was a great opening however when we really started to consider it it was hard for me to imagine. Since it is so unrealistic I think that made it hard to find the relevance with international relations. It reminded me of Machiavelli because in the Prince he stated that each conflict should be treated with a different result. By imagining that aliens would land on the lawn of the Whitehouse I do not think that any American would know what our result would be. It is so inconceivable at this time that I do not think we can even pretend to know what we would do.
However, it would be like if the Native Americans ever discussed the topic of another civilization across the sea. To them they probably thought that was impossible. Nevertheless, it happened but they did not think that these white men where human; they perceived them to be Gods. So this brings up the question that if aliens came to earth what makes one think that there would only be a fight or flight reaction? In fact, what if humans’ reaction to the landing created another IR theory. This could be the change that Constructivists are looking for.
Concluding, that there are so many reactions to this problem that I find it hard to even discuss seriously. I do however see the relation to International relations in which there is an problem in the world that needs to be fixed and there are three different approaches: the realist approach in which one invades, the liberalist approach in which mediation is in order, and the Constructivist approach in which each situation has to be handled differently. So I guess I take the constructivist approach and say that we will see how we react to Aliens landing on the Whitehouse lawn until it happens.

Wednesday Reflection

I thought it was very interesting how we spent most of class discussing aliens on the White House lawn. Everyone brought up interesting points, and I thought it was intriguing how sometimes the subject changed from discussing what we, the United States, would do in such a situation, to why we were even bothering to discuss a theoretical event. I understand how Professor Jackson was making the connection between aliens and for example terrorists, or other rather "foreign species," and I thought it was poignant to discuss how we would react in such an incident. Also, I would have to disagree with Emma a little by saying that it is not completely ridiculous that we were discussing aliens because one can never know what might be around the corner, such as the planes hitting the two towers. Though the specific idea of aliens may seem absurd, anything, anytime, could happen right out of the blue, and we should attempt to be as prepared as possible for any circumstance.

Aliens: Past and Present

I'm sure you all remeber my little tirate during class, so in the intrest of time/not making myself look like an ass, I'm not going to renew those sentiments. Instead, what got me thinking after class was, how was my argument wrong? What I eventually came to realize is that the arguement about aliens landing on the white house lawn does not apply to modern world politics in the sense that what would we do if, say, a chinese jet landed on the white house lawn, because there are those amoung us who could communicate with them, who could understand why they landed on the white house lawn. And there, at least to me, is the most important aspect of the alien question. We could find out why the chinese landed their jet on the white house lawn, we could understand why Al-Qaeda flew jumbo jets into the WTC and the Pentagon. But we could not understand why aliens have landed on the white house. It is the is unknown factor that makes the question so hypothetical. The fact that we would not know what said aliens wanted makes it an unanswerable question. At least for the modern era. But not so much for the past. Indeed aliens did land on planet earth at some point, just ask the indeginous people of the Bahamas when they first met Christopher Columbus. Or the people of China when they first saw Marco....Polo....Marco....Polo....(sorry, I just had to). How did they react, how did they bridge the gap of the question of "Why"? That is the most important point that we must take away from this alien question. What does history show is the reaction of humans when they met someone or something they don't understand? If we look at this question in the scope of the past, than the question of "What would we do aliens landed on the White House lawn?" seems alot less absurd.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reflection

Friday's discussion seemed to go in circles at times. I think part of this had to do with the confusion definition/use of the term Liberalism. In regards to trade embargos, the goal seemed to the embargos was overlooked. Instead we argueed over their immediate negative consequences without talking about the long-term effects. Government use trade embargos and invasions towards the same end. They seek to change the political structure or policies of political entity. Yes, invasion meens military conflict and loss of life, but it allows for total re-structuring. Policies which involve trade embargos also result in the death of the innocent. Political change comes through the struggles within in the country. Both policies create violence, disorder, and destruction; however, the hope is that following this, better governments and organizations will replace the previous. With these new tools, the people of the country and of the foreign power can prevent further disagreements and conflicts. I hoped to make this point in class, but time did not permit.

Friday class reflection

I find classes like friday's very difficult. The large class discussions change topic so often that when it's your turn to talk, the topic you wanted to comment on has changed multiple times already. I found myself wanting to speak several times about an issue but then finding the topic changed in a matter of minutes. I also found it interesting that when discussing liberalism vs. realism, embargos were brought to the forefront when they weren't even talked about in the article we read. I found friday's class to be intense debating but hard to jump into the debate especially because it was class-wide.

18th Century Furniture?

As we were leaving the room on Friday PTJ brought put a very interesting observation: why the State Department tour consisted only of 18th century furniture and banquette rooms? I found this interesting because it was not what I expected. I thought that the tour was going to be different offices of important mediators- in fact I really did not know what to expect. I know it was just not what was presented to me.
I think the reason the US State Department shows off the banquette room is to strengthen nationalism and to show the strength of the United States. It shows off the United States wealth which gives the citizens something to brag and be proud about. They want the people to think of the United States as the most powerful and richest country in the world thus they created a very rich in architecture and style setting. The rooms remind one of the Versailles palace in France which is one of the many French symbols of rich heritage and French style. This brings up another element to the design of the rooms; with the 18th century setting it made the illusion that the United States is a very old established country; when really it is one of the youngest countries in the world. With this illusion the guests that are invited to the banquettes also get this illusion of a very powerful established country which is exactly what the US wants foreigners to think. This way if it creates the perception that the US has experience thus they would be more incline to authority. The rooms that were involved in the tour were like a showcase of America’s wealth and prestige.
Also it is a showcase of the most important time in American history the founding of our country. With original and copy paintings of America’s most famous founding fathers and one room being a replica of a room in Monticello it shows culture and history to further the illusion of a long standing established country.

I thought it was interesting to get into a discussion about trade embargos and invasions during the Friday class. People made valid points for each option, yet I still think that it depends on the situation. I still think it is worthwhile to attempt to come up with alternative solutions than enforcing a trade embargo or simply just invading a country. I agree a little with what Emma said about if invasions are planned out then they have a much better chance of succeeding.
To change the subject, I thought I would say that I wish we had discussed what we read in the Opello and Rosow book because I thought it was interesting to read about the liberal constitutional state, the antiliberal state, and the managerial state. I thought that one interesting point that was brought up in the managerial state section was that, "political information and images are produced and circulated as industrial products like soap and cars." It was interesting, but anyway I'm excited to see what interesting topics will come up during our pizza party, which I need to go to right now!!

Embargos? More like Embarg-NOs!

I, like Prof. Jackson, found it interesting that the vast majority of friday's class was dedicated to discussing the idea of trade embargos as an alternative to an invasion in terms of possible means of regime change. I just wanted to start out by saying that I in no way believe that an invasion of a country should be a common policy, and further I believe that it should be a last resort. Look at the current war in Iraq, the situation has become a quagmire for so many reasons, however I firmly believe that if we (as in the United States and its Colalition of the Willing) had taken the time to a.) work with the U.N, and b.) planned the invasion right by anticipating all possible outcomes (looting anyone?) it would have turned out to be far smoother sailing. Like I said earlier, invasions should be the last resort, but if we are going to be seriously considering doing one, we need to be prepared. That being said, although I do not support frequent invasions of nations, I equally do not support trade embargos on nations either. Think about it, who are you really hurting by restricting trade into a nation. A strongman doesn't care if nations don't want to trade with him, he's got all he needs in his palace, or your common worker who is no longer able to afford food and other basic necessities. And whom do you think he will direct his anger towards, his leader, or the international world for starving him. And for those who argue that the anger of said citizen will moblize him and his fellow common men against their leader in a glorious rebellion straight out of V for Vendetta is kidding themselves. It has never happened, and I highly doubt it every will. The strongman's secret police will take care of it before it does. If anything, I believe that international community should encourge trade into the nation in question. I mean look at China, where is the opposition to the communist regime coming from? Not the poor farmer, but the growing middle class that has benefited from the wealthy economy. It's like Adam Smith said, the free market promotes freedom. And now to wrap up this rather long post, I will simply state that it's time for the international community to figure out new ways of dealing with rouge nation outside of the traditions of invasion and trade embargos.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Potential Threat

I think that the Liberal hope of global policies being based on humanitarian sympathies and peaceful processes is a pleasant fantasy. However, at this time, it's a naive hope. Governments and their people are not solely concerned with the well-being of their fellow man. Natural resources, territory, trade, and wealth remain as the primary motivators for interactions between nations. These things are often aquired, controlled, and protected by military force. As of now, political Realists are correct, military force and global politics are inseperable. Force is not always used to settle disputes or to enforce policy, but it's the threat of military action that looms. The threat alone is often all that's needed to change economic policies or political alliances. To change this, the desires of men and nations must change. If human prosperity and cooperation were the chief concerns of humanity as a whole, only then could the Liberal ideals of peace be put into practice.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Realism all the way!

The belief that the military can wither away so that people can solve their problems through peace talks and through mediation is very much a utopian concept. People have different beliefs because of those different beliefs conflict arises. Mediation is a great way to keep the world at peace but when conflict occurs humans will return to their innate sense of protecting themselves thus one could never eliminate the military. Until the world has become one and that includes having the same religion, customs, practices, etc. (I don’t ever see that happening) then the military must stay to protect each country.
The reason I say protect is because the only way I could see this concept potentially working out is if the world forms under one government (again to form the same beliefs) and then that way there would be no reason to attack one another because there would be no land to conquer, religious war to fight, etc. But humanity is not perfect and people don’t get along. It is survival of the fittest, one country or society tries to establish themselves over another in order to gain power. Nevertheless if this was to happen, this perfect world, a military would still need to be in-order for the protection of the people just incase a terrorist group was established. However, even still it just proves that this utopian society will not work.
Concluding that the liberalist view that military can wither away forms a utopian concept in which is not possible due to the fact that one person’s utopia is not the same as another person’s utopia. If people resorted to negotiations conflict would arise because not everyone has the same beliefs thus the military will always need to be established to protect and carry out the elements of survival of the fittest which humanity is innately compelled to.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Realism vs. liberalism

This is another very difficult question posed to us by Professor Jackson. I personaly think that both the realists and the liberals have it right in their own way. Realists believe that military force will always be a central part of world politics while liberals believe that negotiations will resolve the conflict instead of force. The liberal belief is certainly the most desired belief in a perfect world. However I also think that this world will never be perfect so there will always need to be at least a threat of military retaliation in order for peace to have a chance. I'm in no way pro-war. I just think that some countries respond to military threat better than if there is only peace talks. In talks I feel that the stronger power controls the negotiations and the weaker power tends to get the worse end of the deal, in most cases. I would prefer peace talks to military conflict but I don't think that only peace talks would be very wise in this world. I think that a combination of the liberal and realist view is what is right. I think that a country should have a working army but if there is a problem, they should try to settle it through talks instead of through military force. Darcy's post about the Cold War was right on. I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Military Force or Rational Negotiations?

I believe that rational negotiations are becoming a more central part of world politics today. In this day and age, more than any other time in history, communication is stressed as key and is sought after in dealing with the players in the international community. Countries have realized the importance of attempting to solve problems peacefully and nobody desires war. Ideally, which is what liberals hold out, rational negotiations would be enough to settle disputes without the use of force. However, in reality that's never going to necessarily be enough or be all that it takes to settle disputes. Military force is going to remain a dominant part of every country.
However, the threat of military force is what often makes negotiations possible. No country is realistically going to stop maintaining or building up their military because it is needed as back-up and incentive for peace keeping. Take the Cold War as the prime example, both the United States and the Soviet Union had the capacity to take the other out, yet neither desired to because there was the threat of the other. In essence, by demonstrating that each had immense military force, it became possible for communication to resolve the disputes between the two countries. Thus, fortunately making it the "Cold War" instead of World War III.
Basically, I agree with the realists who declare that military force will always remain a central part of world politics, only it will be the threat of that force, not the use of it. In such an advanced world, where militaries have such high-tech weapons, most rational people will feel an incentive to communicate and negotiate as much as possible with each other, making these negotiations a central part of world politics.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday's Class was Prime

I just wanted to start out this post by saying that I enjoyed the end of Friday's class, and the discussion that we had about Machiavelli. It was really interesting to have to argue the other side and I acually ended up questioning my own point of view. I certainly don't argee with many of Machiavelli's views, but the most interesting thing about his work is that fact that its how many hundreds of years later, and we still take this guy seriously, especially considering that Machiavelli was a completely (pardon my french) kiss-ass. So many people, myself included, think his ideas to be out dated, but he is still such an important figure in our debates about so many realms, from international relations, to politics, to religion. The biggest question that got me thinking after class was a point that Dan brought up in our discussion. Machiavelli denounced religion and blamed it for wars and instability. So the question that got me thinking is what is better, a world without culture or religion, but with no wars or cruelity, or the world we live in today, rich with culture and diversity, but full of instability? It's a hard question, one that I don't even know the answer to, but I would love anyone's thoughts!

To Be loved or feared?

Sorry I am computer illiterate and I just published my title by accident. Anyway I thought a very interesting point that Machiavelli brought up in the Prince was the question “is it better to be loved than feared, or vice versa?” (p.51) His response to this was that “since it is difficult to accomplish both at the same time, I maintain it is much safer to be feared than loved if you have to do without one of the two” (p.51). My question is why does a ruler have to go with one or the other? Machiavelli was explaining how to be the best ruler thus I don’t think he should have settled. He should have said that a good ruler would know in the right situations when to be nice and when to be feared.
One could possible relate this to Hitler in the early stages. He said that he would not invade any other countries except Poland. He could have said, “I am going to take over whatever country I want.” However, he had a plan and it required creating a good peaceful relationship with the countries of Europe. To be loved by Europe Then when the time was right he invaded the rest of Eastern Europe and the world began to fear him.
However, if one takes Machiavelli’s point that one should be feared then Stalin would be a great example. When he died he was deemed to most feared person on the planet. So if one wanted to be a powerful leader I guess killing off thousands of your own people is the way to go.
Concluding Machiavelli has a great point and it still relates to resent history however, I believe that a successful ruler should be able to deviate between when to be feared and when to be loved.

To Be loved or feared?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday Reflection

I enjoyed this Friday's class, and it was interesting to have a debate where we had to argue for the opposite of what we actually thought of Machiavelli. Also, I enjoyed listening to everyone's thoughts on UN involvement. Something that I kind of learned or hadn't thought of to look at it in this specific way was the difference between authority and capacity. It made more sense when looking at the problem of UN involvement, to distinguish between the two. Just because someone or something has the capacity to do something does not necessarily mean they have the authority to do it. That could apply to a lot of other issues and not just the United Nations. Some could argue that the United States had the capacity to go into Iraq, but not necessarily the authority to. It depends on how one perceives it. Anyway, I enjoy debating and discussing in class, and I actually kind of feel like we are diplomats at a conference or something because we sit around discussing issues and the best way to go about solving them. Though it will be a while before any of us are real diplomats, this class is an ideal way for us to start learning what it feels like to "wrestle" with such key issues in world politics.

Friday, September 15, 2006

United Nations

Though I agree that the United Nations should recognize the sovereignty of other states, it is just not that simple all of the time. People are people regardless of what state's boundary they live within, and when thousands of people are being murdered, something needs to be done to stop the atrocities. When there is an organization that has the resources and the will to help save the lives of needy peoples, then there is no reason why it should not be able to based on guidelines and rules created by human beings themselves, which should be subject to change if need be.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What is the UN Purpose?

should the United Nations have more authority and capacity to intervene in events taking place within the borders of a single state? Take events in Darfur, for example: should the UN be able to send in troops without the consent of the Sudanese government?

I think this question comes down to the beliefs of each country. The Sudanese government does not want the United Nations to invade because they have a different plan to run the government. The United Nations was set up to be a democratic peace keeping establishment. So if one gave the United Nations the power to send in troops to Darfur without the permission of the Sudanese government then that would be an invasion. How would that be different from the Nazi Government invading Poland? Then, what will stop the UN? Why don’t they just invade all of Africa or maybe takeover over the world?
Thus, the United Nations should not be able to send troops into Darfur simply because that was not what the United Nations was established to do. Here is an excerpt from the UN Constitution stating its purpose,
1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The United Nations Charter PREAMBLE TO THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS.13 Sept. 2006

Now one can see that the Sudanese government is not complying with section 3 however the UN can provide a place for peace keeping talks and that is it.
This might come down to the fact that the UN has no official power other than peace keeping mediation. If they what to establish a military force then one country should make a proposal and then the others should ratify it. That is how the UN works.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

UN involvement

I think the question of UN involvement is very hard to answer. There are some instances in which there needs to be UN involvement, such as Darfur. However, there are also some instances where the UN doesn't need to be involved. There is always the problem of over-involvement. Right now though, we have a case of under-involvement and lack of power. I think the UN needs to get involved when there is clear evidence of genocide or some other tragedy, such as Darfur, even if the country doesn't welcome the involvement. There are just some crimes which need to be ended.
There is also the problem of sovereignty and what rights sovereign states have in the UN and the world. Right now, the UN has no force to back up its rulings. Any state can ignore the rulings and the UN can't do anything, except maybe impose sanctions, which doesn't really hurt the state that much. I think that if an institution like the UN is going to exist, there needs to be more co-operation from the individual sovereign states.
There are some instances in which the UN doesn't need to be involved, such as the day-to-day workings of the individual state governments. A global governemnt is very important especially in this age of globalization but I don't think it will be achieved without more co-operation from the major states, such as the US and the members of the EU.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Friday's class review

I must say that I really enjoyed friday's class. I am not one to volunteer to speak in front of a group of people but I found that in small groups, I can articulate better and when we presented a a group, I found that it really helped me get my point across to the classs. I think soveriegnty is a very large issue in world politics today and it's so difficult to describe what makes something sovereign. I can't wait until we talk more about sovereignty in future sunday and friday discussions. Tonights pizza dinner was fun as well. We had a nice 90's flashback before we started talking about sovereignty ;). I really like the fact that in class we can disagree with each other but out of class we are friends and we don't let our personal views get in the way of our friendships.

Economics?

The core of global politics is communication between governing bodies. In the information age access to information must be immediate. When nations cannot quickly send and recieve information, it becomes impossible to maintain a global community. Lack of communication between nations, states, or governments results in conflict and tension. But what makes communication necessary in the first place? First and foremost, commerce. For any nation or state to grow it must have wealth. A nation can only do so much with its own resources. In order to expand, nations must trade with one another. If a nation is isolated from the global community, it will only wither and die. Economics fosters a need for global politics. Communication becomes the most important aspect of world politics, because it allows global trade.

Collectivism dead

One thing I found very interesting that I thought Walter and Stephen did a great job at was showing the evolution from the Empire to Capitalism. I noticed that throughout the chapters one can see the increase and the acceptance of individualism. That sparked up the question is individualism a good thing or a bad thing? It comes with such a negative connotation that it is hard to think positively on this topic. However, Opello and Rosow state, “Property came to be seen as a right of the individual, not the corporate group, and thus the individual was allowed to buy and sell it at will.” (p.86) This shows that without individualism the market economy which Capitalism is based on would not be established today.
Then one has to consider the drawbacks of Capitalism. If one looks at it from an American’s perspective there would probably be nothing wrong with it; since, they have been raised in a “cut throat” society. This might sound a little harsh but look at where you are: you are at American University and you got here by competing with thousands of senior high school students. You got in because someone else did not. With if you lived in a small clan community in which it is everyone’s job to look out for everyone, like the communities which were established in nomadic societies. Capitalism to this person would be brutal and cruel.
So over time our world has become more wealthy monetarily and technologically with the emergence of Capitalism and the market economy but at the expense of the collectivism.

Communication is the Key

Last week I didn't write a blog about the most important issue in the world today. However, after discussing with everyone and listening to the various viewpoints I came to the conclusion that communication is the key issue in world politics. A lot of the issues that were discussed were extremely important, and I also felt they correlated to communication in some way. In our communication group we discussed how communication creates understanding amongst cultures, and we also divulged into the subject of media and how it affects communication. We discussed how the media can be responsible for lack of communication at times or sending the wrong message, but I think the media discussion is only one aspect of the entire communication issue. Willingness to have "dialogue" within the world is the key to creating successful communication, thus understanding.
I thought the religion group was very interesting and made some very good points about why it's such an important issue, which I agreed with. Religion has been and still is responsible for much of the conflict in the world: in history with the 30 years war, and now today with everything going on in the middle east. However, I believe that with the right kind of communication there would be less ignorance, which is what is responsible for much of the hate and conflict in history and in today's world.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Communication is the answer!

Communication is the biggest issue in World Politics today. The reason for this is that the concept of “World” Politics is due to the increase in technology and thus the increase in communication between countries. World Politics would not be here if counrties did not communicate with one another. With the increase in communication countries are now able to trade more efficiently and create stronger relations with one another. It is all one continuous circle. The more efficient the technology the more the world is able to communicate with one another and the more they are able to communicate with one another the more our societies will share ideas and concepts to create better technology. However if communication is cut off then the circle is cut. Technology does not flourish and the strong relations formed are ruined. When these relations are ruined society does not advance to its highest potential such as China during the verge of the Industrial Revolution. The Chinese culture and society was actually more advanced do to their exploration and trade with in the West. However, the Chinese emperor declared China to become isolated because he believed that the Chinese culture was being invaded and destroyed by the foreign influence. Thus, Europe went on to have the industrial revolution and shared ideas between countries which helped the advance of technology and the strengthened communication whereas China slept and did not advance until the 19th century. Thus, today we must continue to hold strong relations with one another in order to advance in society.
Also with bad communication comes bad relations. For example after the Cuban Missile Crisis the Red Phone was established from Washington to Moscow so that the World would not get so close to a Nuclear war again. This shows the establishment of good communication to better society and to allow its advancement. Concluding that communication is the biggest issue in World politics today because it is what drives the world economy, its politics, and its society.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Islam and Europe...Not So Much

I believe that the growing Islamic population around the world, in particular Europe, is the most important issue in world politics today. According to the June 24th edition of the British news magizine The Economist, the EU existing 25 members have a population of roughly 15 million Muslims , and predict that the number will double to 30 million in 2025. That's not counting the 70 million in EU-applicant Turkey. How exactly is old Europe going to deal with new "Eurabia"? As the train bombings in Madrid, the riots in Paris, the Tube attacks in Britian, and the Danish cartoons prove, not well. As Europe grows more liberal and secluar, it finds itself at odds with its new conservative and religious Muslim citizens. Not to toot our own horns, but Muslium populations generally have a greater degree of sucess in intergreting into American culture for the sole reason that we let them, we encourage them to be active participants in American society, some of the greatest Islamic scholars are Americans. However, European Muslims, often times excluded in the private and public sectors by racism and an overall discomfort with immigrants, have become frustrated with European society and retreat to Muslim communities, that left alone, can breed radicalism. Why should we care? If you believe the experts that claim the battle over Islam is the deciding conflict of this century, then Europe is becoming ground zero. If Europe is able to bring its policy regarding Muslims into the 21st century, meaning giving them a chance at active and welcomed citizendry, then the tides of radicalism might turn, not only in Europe, but all around the world. However, if Europe can not come to grips with its crisis in the making, then it better get cozy with the idea of it becoming, as The Economist states, the new "field of jihad". And the world better get comfortable with radical Islam, for if we cannot stop where its population is booming, what hopes do we have of stopping it at all?

-Emma

Question #1

What is the most important issue in world politics today, and why?

It's hard for me to pick just one issue in the world politics arena to focus on to answer this question. I think that Americna relations with the rest of the world is going to be very important in the coming years, especially if we keep trying to force our ideas down everyone's throats. I mean think about it. We went into an Islamic country as the champions of democracy without even thinking if democracy would work in a society based on religious values. Our original intent was to get rid of Saddam Hussein because he might be gaining to much power/nuclear capabilities but we ended up smashing our ideals in the face of a society who doesn't accept a lot of them. For example, a big thing in Islam is the inferiority of women. We forced the new government to have women involved. It might be a good thing in the end but the means in which it was done makes the US seem like conquerors. It's almost as if we are saying, "Do things my way or else I will come kick your ass." I think that if the Iraquis were left to their own devices, sooner or later they would see the light and would try to reform themselves. As for the conflict now, I believe that if we had tried to go through the UN or if there was a clear threat of nuclear retaliation, we would have done better in the eyes of the world and the US citizens. As it was, we went in without the support of many countries that we thought were our allies and we didn't have a clear plan and now we are stuck with a mess that we have to clean up becasue we caused it. Even in the early stages of the conflict, it seemed to me that we were looking to attack anyone who even mentioned the word nuclear. We were jumpy and nervous that someone was going to attack us again, which is resonable to a point. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the US should drop everything and leave. I think that becasue we didn't think things through, we caused a mess and we are now responsible for cleaning it up properly.

In conclusion, I believe that US foreign relations are going to be the most improtant part of the global arena in the coming years, especially if the Iraq conflict explodes into a civil war.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Dialogue"

Hey guys,
I actually wanted to talk about globalization. I once heard a lecture from Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed about globalization, and that was where I first heard the concept of "dialogue," and I wanted to share it with you. The only way to truly live in peace with and accept cultures different from one's own is by learning and gaining an understanding about those cultures and countries. Dialogue means creating a conversation between completely different cultures and attempting to communicate with each other to truly gain knowledge about them before judging. So often, it occurs that an idea or a stereotype is formed about a culture without actually knowing how and why they have those specific traditions. For example, Dr. Akbar discussed Islam and how it is so important to have "dialogue" between their world and ours, so that there is no longer that ignorance that makes hate prevalent. I know i'm babbling, but I also want to point out that basically the only thing that brings all different cultures together and the one language that they all share and relate to is soccer of course. Soccer is a form of dialogue in itself since it creates an opportunity for communication and hopefully some understanding amongst ourselves.

Why Beckham and not Vince Young?

While I was at the Navy football game I started to wonder why soccer has become the sport of globalization? Why not American football or basketball or baseball? Also why had these sports become so popular in America and why soccer is just developing into a popular sport in the USA?
Looking at it, America and in fact, the rest of the world have just become accustomed to the idea of the world becoming "smaller" and the concept of globalization. The European union was just established in the early 90s and before America was in the Cold War in which American set up a isolated foreign policy. Then one has to go back even further past WWII and consider the Golden Age of Sports which occurred shortly after WWI. During this time baseball became known as "America's favorite pass time" because they were entertained with the talents of Jackie Robinson, and America went into a period of isolationism which lasted until WWII. Thus soccer become more established in foreign countries because they were exposed to it. And other countries did not pick up American sports because they were not exposed to them.
Now one has to address my other question: why soccer? As implied before, soccer has been established much longer than American football, baseball, and basketball. Also maybe it could be because the game of soccer was invented in Europe so the European people are more excepting of this game because it does not invade their culture. But then it could just be the game itself. It is appealing to all ages, genders, and races.
Either way soccer is growing quickly as the world becomes smaller and with the right techniques it might even become one of the top American sports. And who knows American football might become one of the top European sports.

Nats game

My post is about the Nationals game some of us went to on saturday in the drizzle. I thought it was interesting how we managed to sit next to the fans that almost exactly modeled soccer hooligans. The only difference between the two was the lack of weapons and opponants. These baseball fanatics had beer in their hands and were shouting insults at the Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder, Byrnes, without opposition. A few members of our group decided to give them some opposition but it was all in the spirit of the game. What really stuck out to me was the comment made by Professor Jackson's wife. She mentioned that this game was the most interesting game she has been to and she has been to a lot of games apparently. I thought that comment fitted the tone of the last chapter in the soccer book. The last chapter mentioned that US fans weren't that excitable or into the game. I think that chapter is very true to real life, with the exception of some diehard fanatics and cheering for homeruns/runs scored. I think that we fans don't get so into the game is that we know it's a game and these teams don't really have the background that most soccer teams have in Europe, for example the religious backgrounds of the Celts and the Rangers. The teams in the US don't really have major enemies except for maybe the Red Sox/Yankees clashes which spawned from the trade of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees in my opinion. I think that most fans in the US go to games to relax from the stress of everyday life, not to humiliate the other team into losing. At the game I sat there thinking what mental control Byrnes must have to tune these fans out. He didn't even look their way at all and I know he heard them. I think eeryone in the stadium heard these fans, especially becasue the stadium was very empty beacuse of the rain/drizzle. Another thing I thought was interesting was the fact that our group also got caught up in the spirit of the game thanks to the fans next to us. I was screaming and hollering especially after the two homers were belted out near the end of the game which tied up the score at six. This game was the perfect real life example of the soccer hooligans. I don't think Professor Jackson could have planned it better if he tried.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's Gettin' Hot In Here

JESUS CHRIST IS IN THE HOUSE!!!! And this room is really hot. It is punishment for the wicked freshmen.
That is all.
J.C.

WELCOME!!

Hey guys!! This is the first post of our group, Four Girls and a Guy.