Four Girls and a Guy

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

Us vs Them?

Regardless of the amount of deaths due to terrorism, the ripple effect from a single attack touches numerous lives. This effect is international; borderless. The problem itself, terrorism, is a concern of all nation states. Certain terrorist groups may target specific states or governments, but the terrorism as a whole must be combated by all nations. The "War on Terror" should not be the USA vs every hostile organization and non-governement group. Instead, all governments which are concerned about human rights, safety, and the growth of humanity need to work together to eliminate terrorism at its roots as well as existing terrorist cells. The attacks of 9/11 were massive human rights violations, dramatic gestures, and the culmination of years of planning. 9/11 was not just one of these things, but all of them. True, it was sensational here in the US because we are not exposed to this kind of violence regularly. While these attacks are more common in other areas of the world, that doesn't mean that we should accept this norm. An attack on innocent people in area of the world should be a rare occurence, a shocking act. This is why global cooperation needs to be the paramount goal of all nations. Massive evolution and change is needed throughout the world to make this cooperation possible. The goal of eliminating human rights violations and violent struggle should be important enough to facilitate these changes.

Reactionless

I would like to elaborate on a comment that Adam stated in class which was that Americans in general make such a big deal about terrorist attacks because it is different from everyday life; unlike the life of say a person living in the Middle East. This was in reference to why Americans react the way they do with a terrorist attack apposed to a car accident which kills more people a year than a terrorist attack. I thought Adams point was a good one to make. Humans are naturally scared of the unknown and since unfortunately car accidents are not the unknown in our country, people have become somewhat unaffected by them. Terrorist attacks however are not the norm and that is why people react the way they do.
Also the media plays a big role in the new reaction of Americans because their goal is not to report the news but to get the highest ratings. To make this goal the media has become almost its own little Hollywood. People will only watch if there is blood, sex, and gore. Thus that is the only thing that the news features and they have become obsessed with finding the best story before each other. It is said that a mother could turn on CNN and find out the death of her son before the military has told her. Americans are a product of their society and the news is a big part of that. Thus if the news tells them to react greatly to a terrorist attack they will however, the news does not even feature a section of the amount of people who died in a car accident that day thus they don’t have as great of a reaction.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Aware

I don’t think that the world is more secure, I think that the world is more aware. September 10, 2001 I thought that there would never be another war. In my eyes there was no need for one. Yes, I was that naive. I was not aware of terrorist organizations and the threat that they imposed on our nation. However, to be truthful I also did not follow international news. September 11, 2001 made me grow up. It made me open my eyes to the world and not just see Franklin, Tennessee and its “problems.” I believe that more teens began to read the newspaper and question why would someone want to do this? Generation X had not experienced a situation so intense that their country would go to war until this point. That made us curious which lead to us becoming more knowledgeable of foreign policy. I don’t feel safer even five years after 9/11 but I am glad that more people are interested in our countries foreign policy especially the growing increase of interest coming from the future of our country. But this at least gives me hope for the future to find a new way to deal with our new security threat (terrorists) and to maybe resume the peace of the 90s.

Partly cloudy, with a chance of rain

Is the world safer today than it was on September 10, 2001? No, not at all. Everyday the world seems to get a little more dangerous, the skies a little darker. On September 10, the majority of US citizens were only vaguelly aware of the Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, and the plans in action to attack the western nations. Ignorance, however, does not make the threat disappear. In the wake of 9/11, their was a general increase in security in the Western nations, as well as a more publicly active stance to combat terrorists. What has come of this? The US and UN have spread their forces across the Middle East, bring violence to the terrorists, but also the innocent. Al-Qaeda has gained support because it has proven it can get results. To this day, Osama Bin Laden remains at large. Both Afgahnistan and Iraq have been plunged into chaos, with various sects vieing for power. The need for arms in Africa, the Middle East, and other struggling nations has increased, and that need is always met by various governments and gun runners. Norh Korea has had a successful test of a nuclear weapon, and Iran is working on its own nuclear program. In attempt to surpress terrorists groups and achieve victory in the Middle East, the US government has eliminated the rights of its own citizens. Now I am not only threatened by potential nuclear and biological attacks on the US by enemy nations and non-government groups, but now I cannot even hold my government accountable for its activities. Using fear as a tool, the US government has begun to remove all acountability of the government for its actions. Sadly, ever day seems to be a step backwards, away from hope and security.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Question #7

Although the world overall has implemented significantly more security measures since September 11, 2001, and everyone and everything is monitored much closer, I don't necessarily think the world is more secure than it was before Sept. 11. There are many more threats and the never-ending problem of terrorism and terrorist threats. Before September 11, there was terrorism and threats, yet they weren't necessarily as imminent because there wasn't cause for fear. The world was a little more peaceful because there wasn't a declared War on Terror, and people were just going about their everyday lives. I think that physically, our country is more secure because it is more prepared for possible attacks than it was prior to Sept. 11. However, I think that a lot of people, myself included, feel less secure because we now know what terrorists are capable of, and previously we had been more oblivious, just going about our everyday lives.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Are Americans Ready?

I find it very scary that just in the last 30 years a new threat has developed that hinders our security. I am talking about terrorism. In The National Security policy of US for 2002 it states that the “the enemy is terrorism” which is “premeditated politically, motivated violence perpetrated against innocents.” This is a totally different field that America had gotten into. It reminds me of when the American Soldiers had to learn a whole new way to fight against the Japanese in World War II. Now America has to again find a new way to fight because the enemy is not a state anymore it is a regime. Everyone is fair game to our enemies however if Americans want to keep there same set of moral tactics (or at least what the American people perceive about the militaries tactics) they are going to have find a way to only destroy the regime not the individuals living in the country in which the regime is established.
I guess I am scared about the unknown and if the American administration continues with their interesting form of Foreign policy (in which I mean creating a large list of enemies) America could possibly not be the most powerful nation anymore. As a child of the 90s growing up in a time where the American economy was booming I think that many of us would not know how to react if America was not most powerful country.

Security

During the Cold War period, national security policies were primarily focused on one thing, the USSR. The globe was polarized in , split by the "Free World" and Communist nations and their allies. The fate of humanity relied on the balance of nuclear, economic and military power between the US and the USSR. MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction was the stalemate, the certain death of both societies if nuclear war became reality. Now, in the age of globalization, de-centralized terrorist networks, and unlimited information, the US faces infinite threats. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States lost the key, the focus of all of its security policies. However, the new threats the US faces have the potential to do more damage than the Soviet Union ever did. When terrorists kill thousands of innocent people, the US has no government or state to hold solely responsible. Now, more than ever, every military action and new foreign policy is scrutinized and source for contempt. When the US attacks one terrorist group, it only inspires another to act. The US recieves so much global contempt because there is no other power to point to. To eliminate its enemies, the US needs start at the root of the problem. Working with impoverished nations and their governments in a positive and cooperative manner, the breeding grounds for terrorist are dissolved. The US needs to work with it's allies as well so the burden does not fall solely on the US government and its people.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Reflection on Security

I thought that it was very interesting to compare and contrast the two national security strategies by the United States from different years. It was a good idea to compare the Cold War and everyone's attitudes with the war on terror and how attitudes are different. In NSC-68 they considered the threat to be communism and therefore the main threat to be the Soviet Union. However, in the more recent security strategy, the threat was no longer communism but rather terrorism, which anyone could do and not just a specific country. Our group had to look at the NSC-68 document and determine how it defined security. We said that security is a balancing act between protecting the freedom of the individual and the state to protect the values and morals of our society. In class we also had to consider how you would know what a security threat was. I thought this was interesting because depending on who's eyes you are looking through, different things could be considered security threats. Anyway, I enjoyed our class discussion, and it made me think about different ways to look at security and I like talking about the Kremlin and the Cold War because I always think that time period is so interesting.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prepared for Disaster

While natural disasters have the potential to cause massive damage, their full potential shouldn't ever be realized. Any government should be prepared to protect against the initial damages of any disaster, as well have an effective clean up/damage control strategy to use after first impact. It's true that can be difficult to predict hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. This is exactly why the government needs to use all of it's scienitific knowledge and man power to prepare for the most likely and worst case scenereos. Some argue that natural disasters are security threats because they create a time of chaos that other hostile forces could exploit. This is only the case if the government does not have a sound infrastructure and comprhensive response strategies. Natural disasters are only serious threats to national security when a nation is completely unprepaired, by their own lack of planning.

Security Threat: Red level

Natural disasters should be considered a security threat because when a country has been hit with a natural disaster they are in a very vulnerable state. They are at their weakest point and need help from everyone to regain composure and stability; just as if the country was hit by a terrorist attack. The same kind of aid such as medical including physical and mental, construction, and the basic survival necessities are required for all security threats. The same kind of results exist between what one would normally consider a security threat and a natural disaster: long term pain and suffering. The point is not what one should call a situation the point is what the government does to prevent this “security threat” and if it happens the government's job is to aid and rejuvenate the country. For example, if the government would have considered Hurricane Katrina as a security threat maybe there would have been less mass confusion and disorientation.
Thus, the response to natural disasters should be planned out more. It can’t be prevented and once it happens people are reduced to inhuman survival tactics that are not just short term but like Katrina can last a life time. Thus, people can prevent the distraction that follows natural disasters by creating a plan for aid and recovery that would go along with every situation. This way aid and recovery can be efficient and more productive.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Question 6: Natural Disasters

Natural disasters should be considered security threats for many reasons. One definition of security is freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt. When a natural disaster occurs, such as a hurricane or tsunami, people's lives are turned upside down, thus they are no longer secure, or feel freedom from danger or risk which is another definition of security. Usually when the world hears security, it thinks national security or it thinks about terrorism. However, this question asks in general if it would be a security threat, and the answer is yes. Regardless of the fact that natural disasters are unpreventable and not the doings of humans, they are still extremely powerful and definitely create insecurity, not only in people's lives that are forever changed, but also in the cities, states, etc. which are affected by the natural disaster.
I do though also believe that natural disasters should be considered security threats in the realm of national security. If a natural disaster occurs in a country, it generally causes mayhem and chaos, at least right away. Therefore, the country is vulnerable to possible attacks because it's attention and resources are elsewhere. Even if for a short while, until things are under control, the disaster is a threat to the country's security because it causes discontent among its own citizens, and it basically creates a weak point, where threats to security are more imminent. So, a natural disaster is a threat in many senses of the word "security."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Question #6

Should natural disasters be considered security threats? My answer to this question is no, unless we happen to be in a large war and this natural disaster wipes out supplies, power, and our defenses across a large span of the country. Natural disasters can come at the most inopportune moments but they should only be considered a serious security threat if it destroys a large portion of our supplies to defend and sustain ourselves. After Katrina, many parts of the south were devestated, but I don't think that would be considered a security threat. Yes, there were large quantities of oil that we were unable to get because Katrina destroyed most of the off-shore oil rigs and most stores/businesses were shut down for quite a while because of the extensive storm damage. However, the country would still have been able to defend itself against an attack in that area and in other areas of the country. If the whole southern half of the country was severely crippled, which I don't forsee happening, then it would probably be considered a security threat. In this sense of the term security threat, I mean it would threaten the security of our nation. This pharsed is used most commonly nowadays to describe a person's act that purposely threatened the safety of our nation. Natural disasters don't happen on purpose. Because they don't, it would take a large natural disaster to be considered a security threat. Using this definition, the tsunami in India a few years ago would be considered a security threat in my eyes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Consumers are the New President

I also really enjoyed Friday’s class. I thought that it was fun to be given a position and go with not what you believe in, but what your position would believe.
In response to PTJ’s question at the end of class: which IR theory would support our position? My group’s position was the consumers thus we did not want the tariffs. Since we took this side one could say that constructivism could support our position. This is because constructivists believe that the future is not restricted and that there are different paths that the world has the ability to choose. Thus, if a tariff needs to be changed it can be changed. The people that were able to choose, accordingly to the constructivist were, the people themselves. This would definitely support the consumer perspective. It is the people that give the government sovereignty and as my group tried to explain to the president and secretary we are the people you need to please. I guess my groups could just say we don’t think that PTJ is the President anymore and that Lennea is not the Secretary of Commerce and the representatives of the consumers now run the country. In that split second we are the new head of government for the United States. Concluding, the constructivist approach gives the consumers the power and that is what they would want the most.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Simulation Reflection

I enjoyed very much our class simulation on Friday. It was very nice to do something completely different during class, and I thought it was interesting to listen to the arguments from each group and see how they went about presenting their position. Though we didn't win, according to the President and Secretary of Commerce, I still believe in all of the arguments that my group, the consumers, made. We know that ours made the most sense and we had the best rebuttals :) But everyone did a good job and I look forward to our next simulation. One more thing, I liked how it was more structured than our regular debates, and how we had a certain amount of time to say everything.

Friday's class reflection

I thoroughly enjoyed friday's class. I enjoyed listening to the positions of each group and then the time to argue/discuss what each group said about another and whatnot. I just wanted to point out that my group, the AIAM, forgot to mention that we do not represent any Chinese auto manufacturers. Now after saying that, I think the ending to the class was rather biased on part of the President and the Secretary. I understand that is how politics work in the country but I thought it was very unfair, and it seemed that they had pre-determined the answer. I know, I'm a sore loser. I did have fun researching and I think it was an excellent project.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Question #5

I think that international countries shouldn't be run on the basis of morals. I completly agree with what Lauren was saying when she wrote that a business has to have a practical business plan. However, we, as humans, will neve escape our morals. They will always be a part of our decisions and lives, but businesses, especially international ones designed to help everyone, should be run from the practical business plan which would't exclude anyone except in extreme circumstances. Every country should have an "equal" footing when it comes to internaitonal organizations. I quote equal because at the IMF, certain countries get more voting percentages so they really aren't equal in that sense but they are treated with the same regulations and procedures when they go to take out a loan.

A Fine Line

I think that there is a "fine line" between evaluating an international organization based soley on moral and ethical issues or confining ourselves to the realm of practical efficacy. It would seem that the right thing to do is to base our evaluations on moral and ethical issues, yet realistically, that approach would not work. Everybody has different ideas of morales and different versions of ethics, and there would be too much debate all the time, or there would be complaints that someone's rights were being violated to some extent. However, if evaluations were based only on what is deemed practical, then there would be a lot of dissent because there would probably always be some moral wrong being committed. So, though it is impossible to perfectly balance practicality with sticking to morality, it is possible to work toward keeping that "fine line."

Profits or People?

Before evaluating international organizations, ethical and politcal beliefs must be defined. International organizations which strive only to increase the wealth of member nations may be acceptable, if one believes the state comes before all else. However, many international organizations benefit wealthy, powerful nations, but developing nations as well. In these cases, these organizations or based around humanitarian and economical principals. If this is the case, evaluating the ethical grounds is unnecessary. If organizations are founded on humanitarian principles, then keeping them efficent and effective is the most important issue. When incredibly powerful global organizations faulter or become corrupt, even when founded on humanitarian beliefs, they do more damage than good. Long term cooperation between nations can only exist if these nations use global organizations to help one another, while growing stronger themselves.

Does the IMF have Morals?

It is human nature to use morals and beliefs in ones opinions. Thus, when one is evaluating an organization such as, the IMF even if one tries to evaluate it without any moral or ethical grounds there will still be a bias perspective. For example, if the IMF was not successful in giving foreign aid to needy countries like for instance if money was given to several countries and the situation in these counties did not improve would people be able to dismantle the IMF under lack of efficacy? I think that it would be several years if ever for people to realize the inefficacy because they are too blinded by the moral and ethical grounds that support and make up the IMF. Until people have brains in which they can leave out the emotional and social aspect of decision morals and ethics will always be within ones opinion even subconsciously.
This brings one to the actual question is it appropriate? Yes, it is appropriate because humans cannot have a non-bias practical evaluation. The IMF is set up on moral and ethical values, why else would an organization be established to give money too aid countries. Thus, when evaluating this international organization one can not leave out a moral or ethical approach with the establishment of the program is based on a moral and ethical ground.