Monday, August 10, 2009
So what I think I can do to help the cause of climate change would be to change my way of doing things. For example I live about eight blocks from a convenience store which I usually drive to from now on I will walk that distance. I also live about 3-5 miles from school and from work instead of driving there I could bike. When I purchase my own home I will hopefully be able to power at least some of it via solar power. My father runs a farm in Northfield, Mn and within the next couple years or so he plans to put in a wind turbine.
Also I think what I can do to help is spread the word, I think a lot of people just really don't know how bad things could get here in the next forty or fifty years and if they do know it could make all the difference. I will do my best to minimize carbon emissions and greenhouse gases and hopefully I will be buzzing around in a nice little solar or electric car within the next ten years.
Edkins, J., & Zehfuss M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Barringer, Felicity (2008) Polar Bear is Made a Protected Species. New York Times
Mufson, Steven (2007) Climate Change Debate Hinges on Economics. The Washington Post
Erdman, Shelby Lin (2009) Glaciers a Canary in the Coal Mine of Global Warming. CNN
Plumer, Bradford Is There a "safe" Limit for Global Warming. Wall Street Journal
Associated Press (2009) UN Chief Paints Doomsday Climate Picture. FoxNews.com
Anuradha, R.V. (2009) Legalities of Climate Change. Council on Foreign Relations
There are many problems and consequences that come along with climate change. We have talked about in class how certain areas that are below sea level will most likely be gone along with about 500 or more animal species going extinct. But one problem that could be very serious that does not get talked about much would be our drinking water supply. With the melting of the polar glaciers it causes the sea level to rise and with the rise of the sea level it could contaminate our fresh water springs and rivers from which we get our drinking water.
"The melt of glaciers is resulting in higher sea levels and affecting ecosystems and the rivers that emanate from these glaciers, Josberger said. "In terms of water supply available for people, Anchorage is fed by two glacially fed lakes. There are some very strong impacts that could happen." (CNN).
The biggest thing about global warming is that it is not an American issue and it isn't a North American issue, but it is in fact, a Global issue. Most technologies that could reduce greenhouse gases are not only expensive but would need to be embraced on a global scale (Washington Post). There are projections that are thought to be necessary by the year 2030 and they are as follows; 1 million wind turbines throughout the world, massive reforestation, billions of solar panels (enough to cover half of jersey), major retooling of the auto industry, and as many as 400 power plants need to be refitted with new and pricey equipment to trap carbon dioxide and store it under the ground (Washington Post).
When I process all of this information and look over it(and it's probably a lot easier for me to say but..) I just don't understand why we can't start taking action now. I mean the facts are all right there, now obviously we can't predict the future per say but I think we have a pretty good idea of what we are in store for in the future due to the rapid climate change. Last year world military spending amounted to about $1.4 trillion, of which the U.S. accounted for about half (FOXNEWS). We seem to have no problem spending money on weaponry and bombs to protect each other from each other, but what it all boils down to is that the weapons we have won't mean anything when half of the world's animals are dead, countries are under water, and our drinking supply is shorted.
There are some good things happening like the MEF ( The Declaration of the MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM on Energy and Climate) which will follow up on the kyoto protocol which expires in 2012. MEF comprises of 17 developed and developing economies- Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US. It is all in efforts to keep the Earth's temeperature from rising 2 degrees celsius of the pre-industrial average (Council on Foreign Relations).
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and call on governments to reach a deal on the environment at a meeting in Denmark later this year. Ban said the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet." (FOXNEWS)
It is understandable that Climate Change can be a bit slow going in terms of slowing it down and rectifying the situation with all of the other problems and issues that are going on globally in the world today like the oil crisis, disease, hunger and the economy. With all of the figures which most clearly state that if something isn't done we are going to be living in a whole new world by 2050 something needs to be done quickly. 2050 is a mere forty years away so we cannot just leave global warming and climate change on the back bunner for much longer. Something needs to be done and done soon or the future of the world and the human race could very well be at stake.
This is a challenging question to ask myself. How can I affect the world I live in. Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, and that statement alone sends chills down my spine, and encourages me to make something of myself. Before a change can occur, we need to change ourselves. That is what we all are doing everyday. I went to college to make a change in my life, to become more aware of the world. I could have decided any degree and I decided to follow in the footsteps of Picasso, Michelangelo, and Frida. I am receiving my degree in Art and Art History. Next, I need to find out how to use these skills I worked so hard on learning.
I believe that it is important to understand that art is going to be my vehicle for change. I do understand the importance that art can play in our world. If we look to more recent times with the 2008 Election, art was a huge form of Obama’s campaign. Artists came together and created music, art, and many other forms to show who they believe in. That in itself is a statement that art can be used for that vehicle of change.
I realize that I cannot change the world but I know that I can change someone’s life so that is what I am going to do. If I change enough individuals through my art, they would hopefully go on to change another life. This is the pay it forward method.
Whether I want to fight for an education reform, equal rights, poverty, or other issues, all I need to start with is a paintbrush and serving others. Those will be what I will do to make an impact in the world.
Fox, Dennis. (2001). Radical Dilemmas in the Anti-high-stakes-testing Movement. Radical Teacher
Gardner, S. (Jan. 2002). Forecasting and Managing Student Achievement on High-Stakes Tests. T.H.E. Journal
Haladyna, T. M. (2002). Essentials of Standardized Achievement Testing. Validity and Accountability. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Ormrod, J. E. (2003). Educational Psychology. Developing Learners.
Popham, W. J. (Feb. 2002). Right Task, Wrong Tool. American School Board Journal
As hard as it is for the U.S. to come up with a good solution and end to the problem with North Korea, I find it very difficult for me to have a significant role with this issue. For the matter of fact I did not even really know exactly what was going on before. However, now that I have learned more and feel that I am informed on the problem with North Korea there could be minor ways of me having a very small role.
One way I feel like I could have a minor role with North Korea is to keep up to date on what is going on. I feel like if I keep myself informed on the issue I will be a little less nervous as I was before. To continue to be up to date with this issue I will be an informed citizen and be able to make correct thoughts. If there should be someone else whom may not know what is going on, I will be able to inform him or her. I can take this issue as an example of the other scary global events that are happening and learn more about them as well.
Another minor role I believe I have this with issue is to have more of an understanding these kinds of large political issues. However, I may not fully understand why countries such as North Korea do these kind of extreme actions but I will perhaps understand how other countries deal with situations like this. I will still wonder why these extreme issues happen and why they are not so easily fixed. Therefore, taking time to learn about them and try to understand how tactful people in the political world have to be when handling such large problems will help me continue to learn.
Bleiker, Roland. Global Politics A New Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2009.
Benson, Pam. Levine, Adam. U.S. dismisses latest missile provocation by North Korea. 24 June 2009. CNN.com. 8 August 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/06/24/us.north.korea/index.html
Fulghum, A. David. “Testing, Testing.” Aviation Week & Space Technology pg 22. Vol 170. No 22. 1 June 2009.
Haggard, Stephan. Noland, Marcus. “North Korea IN 2008 Twilight of the God?” Asian Survey. Vol. 49, Issue 1. Pp. 98-106. http://www.ucpressjournals.com
Reynolds, Paul. North Korea a problem for Obama. 6 April 2009. BBC.com. 8 August 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7985336.stm
Snyder, Scott. “Responses to North Korea’s Nuclear Test: Capitulation or Collective Action?” The Washington Quarterly. 30.4 pg. 33-43. 2007. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/washington_quarterly/v030/30.4snyder.html
“North Korea conducts nuclear test”. BBC.com. 25 May 2009. 8 August 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/806615.stm
“Path of peace available to North Korea, Obama says”. CNN.com. 16 June 2009. 8 August 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/16/south.korea.meeting/index.html
“North Korea”. NYtimes.com. 16 June 2009. 25 July 2009. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/northkorea/index.html
To know when a country is a threat to any nation or the world it is a scary reality and there always has to be a plan on how to handle this reality. North Korea is exactly this kind of situation.
As time has gone on with the issue of North Korea’s threat with their nuclear activity it has come pretty close to answer if they are a threat to the U.S. It seems that they are looking like a threat to the U.S. Paul Reynolds, a World affairs correspondent of the BBC News website, said that “The reason that the U.S. and the North’s neighbors are so concerned is that, if one day North Korea makes a nuclear warhead capable of being carried on a ballistic missile and it develops that missile successfully, it will have become a fully fledged nuclear-armed state.” Back in April of 2009 the talks with the six-party about how to stop the Yongbyon plant and its plutonium plant had been temporarily on pause (Paul Reynolds, BBC News). During that time as well president Obama had his special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, to try to get the conversation with the six-party to get started up again (Paul Reynolds, BBC News). Even thought it looks like a great possibility of North Korea attacking the U.S. and its allies, there is still this notion of being unsure what they are going to exactly do. News reporter Paul Reynolds makes two good options what North Korea could do. The first one he comes up with is “It may want to dodge and weave its way past sanctions and talks, and one day develop a usable nuclear weapon and a missile that could deliver it.” The second one is “Or it may be content to hold the world’s attention while keep its options open and making concessions here and there, withdrawing them when it feels the need.”
During the second missile that North Korea had successfully launched President Obama had made a statement that North Korea’s nuclear activity is a severe danger to peace. Part of his exact statement was, “blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council” (BBC News). Continuing this statement Obama goes onto saying “The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the six-party talks as well as other members of the UN Security Council in the days ahead” (BBC News).
Through out this time as well North Korea said it would keep under military threat towards South Korea and South Korea’s allies, which is primarily the U.S. (BBC News). It was reported that in April of 2009 Pyongyang backed out on the six-party talks about its nuclear program to show disapproval to the international criticism on North Korea’s test firing of rockets (BBC News).
On June 16th 2009 when President Obama and the leader of South Korea, Lee Myungbak spoke, Obama had said, “Allowing North Korea to develop nuclear weapons would destabilize Asia and threaten the world” (CNN). Obama had also mentioned that there is still a strong alliance between the U.S. and South Korea if North Korea should attack South Korea. He as well stated that North Korea could join the UN nations if they would end their nuclear activity (CNN). He thinks this could happen by him saying, “There is another path available to North Korea, a path that leads to peace and economic opportunity for North Korea” (CNN). During this time an un-named Security Council resolution happened, where it meant that the U.S. would forbid shipments to and from North Korea. Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would make sure to keep this ban intact (CNN). With this resolution North Korea decided to protest it by saying they would enhance uranium and weaponize plutonium, which was reported by KCNA (CNN). It is reported that plutonium can be made into atomic bombs. After the U.S. had established this resolution, Japan had decided to follow along with it. On this day a Senate Armed Services Committee was told that the Pentagon planned to leave a certain amount of ground-based missiles in Alaska and California in case of any threat (CNN). Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said, “At the current time and into the immediate future, we think 30 silos and 44 missiles is sufficient for the threat we face.”
Now in the last couple of months the U.S. intelligence group does not think that North Korea means to launch a long-range missile in the close future (CNN). Japan had warned the U.S. that North Korea was going to launch a missile that was supposed to go near Hawaii on July 4th. With this news Defense Secretary Robert Gates had said he was going to put defensive protection around Hawaii (CNN). However, as it turns out nothing had happened with this possible missile being launched towards Hawaii. During the month of June 2009 there was another warning though made by North Korea which consisted of them saying they were going to only do short and medium range missile tests. The U.S. intelligence had said that the shorter-range missiles can be “roll out on a dime” but they had believed that the longer-range missile was not an immediate threat at the time (CNN). The U.S. intelligence had also said at that time that there is a concern that the shorter-range missile tests “could go wrong”. In the same month there had been recent reports that North Korea threatened to “wipe out” the U.S. if provoked (CNN). According to U.S. intelligence people they believe that North Korea will keep doing these missile tests and see how far they can get with this activity. One official had commented by saying that with the change of leadership in the U.S. it’s been a “big factor” (CNN). He also had said that he believes that with this change North Korea is “testing the new administration.”
With all of this information and events happening with North Korea there is now the issue on how to handle North Korea. There are ways that are good and or bad to handle a serious situation like this with North Korea. It is a matter of trying to choose the best solution to handle North Korea. It is also important to strategize on how going about the solution.
One of the solutions to this issue with North Korea could be confrontation. However, that is not the right way to go about handling the issue because it has been shown that being confrontational with North Korea has not made things better. It would also give North Korea’s regime a way to have legitimacy (Bleiker, p.470). In the confrontational approach there is the way of giving economic sanctions. There were economic sanctions that were given to North Korea by the UN Security Council in 2006. There is a problem with giving sanctions because it has been seen to be limited usage (Bleiker, p. 470). One of the biggest reasons why confrontation would not work with North Korea is because the natural way of conflicts. It is hard to know how North Korea perceives the military threats that have been given to them. There is a better way to handle the situation.
The better way to handle this situation is more on the theory of engagement. With the engagement approach to the North Korean issue it would bring a more peaceful result. Even South Korea has wanted to take this type of approach to try to solve things with North Korea. The start of this approach by South Korea was from their leader Kim Dae-jung in 1998. He was the one who wanted to have a co-operation with North Korea (Bleiker p. 471). After Kim’s time of ruling, Roh Moo-hyun, the next leader continued this idea. Now currently the leader, Lee Myung-bak, keeps this idea but has wanted to be more cautious.
The engagement theory also involves an emphasis on dialogue (Bleiker p. 472). Having dialogue creates both sides having to talk things out and to come to some negotiations. There was a success with this emphasis on dialogue in February 2007. During that time there was an agreement between North Korea, South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan (Bleiker p.472). This agreement even allowed economic exchanges between all these countries with North Korea that had not been happening for a while. The engagement approach to North Korea would take some time but would bring better results of having an understanding between North Korea and the U.S. Roland Bleiker an author in the book Global Politics even said, “The engagement policy is based on the traditional liberal assumption that increased economic co-operation would eventually engender common interest and understanding.” Hopefully with the engagement approach things could eventually come to peaceful result and prevent North Korea to really use any nuclear weapons.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
“ Because we are not alone in the world, having a clear idea about the right way forward almost always involves having ideas about what should do and what is good for them”(Zehfuss.2009)
This quote to me demonstrates to me is that all of us have opinions of the world and the politics that come with being human. Though, just because you have a strong position on a certain subject doesn’t mean you have to force it on someone.
Regarding the question of what I can do about the Iranian election, the answer is not much. Though I do believe that some sort of fraud took place through the research I have done there is not much I an American college student can do about this situation. It is ultimately up to the people of Iran, and their government officials. I do believe that the U.N. could step in, and do something, but any country stepping in could further damage relations with a country that isn’t really known as being very friendly. Especially regarding the relations the United States has with Iran at the current moment. All in all I wish I could do something because I feel like the regime in place are that of the fundamentalist type (even bordering on a dictatorship), but there isn’t much that I can do from a realistic standpoint.
Edkins, J., & Zehfuss, M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Black, Ian (2009) Mir Hossein Mousavi Calls Iranian Government Illegitimate, The Guardian (UK).
Weisbrot, Mark (2009) Was the Iranian Election Stolen? Does it Matter?, Common Dreams.org (Washington, DC.)
Collins, Michael(2009) Iranian Election Fraud 2009- Who was the Real Target and Why? (Washington, DC.)
Beber & Scacco(2009) Irans election was fixed, says number crunchers. The Great Beyond. (UK)
Slackman, Michael(2009) Amid Crackdown, Iran admits Voting errors. New York Times. (Cairo, Egypt.)
“The council consists of six Islamic jurists appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran and six from Majilis, Iran’s popularity elected parliament. They screen presidental canidates through background checks and a detailed written examination. Very few pass the test. Since 2004, the council has routinely rejected reform candidates. That’s the fraud. It couldn’t be more obvious.” ( Collins.2009)
Considering how difficult it is to ever become a candidate on the ballot in Iran. It is hard for me to believe a person like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a holocaust denier, and very radical in his ways got onto the ballot for a second time. To me you could make an argument saying that Ahmadinejad’s regine is one of funamentalism.
“ Fundamentalism’ from an exclusively religious connotation and to associate it instead with any form of thought or idealology that is uncomprimising in its worldview and which represents itself as the sole source of truth or the only solution to global problems.” (Ali. 2009)
Looking at the reformist perspectives Ahmadinejad’s regime could fit into this from the fact that his way is the right way. Also, when they protested how he sent troops out to disrupt the protests, and put them to an end. You could say that this shows how his way is the only way. The fact that he denies the holocaust, and has even held confereces with other anti- semtic followers tells you a lot a bout his character.
Another example of Ahmadinejad’s regime would be looking at Max Weber’s defintation of a modern state.
“ a state is that human community which (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a certain territory, this “territory” being another of the defining characteristics of the state.” ( Weber. 1994. Pg 310-311)
Here the used the power of being the state and stopping the protestors through physical brute force. Going into the numbers of the election there is a possibility of fraud occurring. Though, supports of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would disagree with this statement. Saying that fraud is impossible. If there was any fraud of any sort someone in the counting process would’ve said something. An example, of voting fraud from the blog The Great Beyond.
“They used the results published by the Ministry of the Interior and examined the last two digits of the votes reported for the four main candidates.
“The numbers look suspicious,” they report in the Washington Post.
There are far too many 7s, for a start, and not enough 5s. Such results would occur in fewer than four in 100 non-manipulated election results, they write.
That would not rule out Iran’s election being fair. But Scacco and Berber go further. They note that previous work has proven that humans have trouble generating “non-adjacent digits”, ie: 27 as opposed to 23, or 36 rather than 34. Non-manipulated results should be approximately 70% non-adjacent digits; Iran’s results are 62% non-adjacent.
The probability of that happening in a fair election is less than 4.2%, they write.” (Beber & Scacco. 2009)
According to these statistics there was a 96.8% of voting fraud that occurred in the 2009 election in Iran. The thing that is really disturbing to me is if these calculations are correct, how no one has stepped forward about the fraud. Also, if this was the case wouldn’t the U.N. step in, and appoint the candidate who actually won the election? Then, when you look at the cities in Iran and where the voting takes place the number of votes do not add up. Looking at an article from the New York Times journalist Michael Slackman says this,
“Iran’s most powerful oversight council announced on Monday that the number of votes recorded in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there by three million, further tarnishing a presidential election that has set off the most sustained challenge to Iran’s leadership in 30 years.”( Slackman. 2009)
Looking at the most recent facts of the election it seems to me that the Iran election did have some fixing to it. The big question to me is why is no one doing anything about it?
On the other hand however, much of what I have seen about the conflict in Iran has been documented, written about or filmed from a Western perspective. Wibben has discussed how individuals or groups of people write from a narrative, which is a portrayal of their beliefs and ideologies, and it may be that the conflict is talked about in a manner that portrays the Iranian government as the “Other” when the West is the “We.” Since the Iranian government has censored the media from writing about the current conflict, I was unable to find any writings about the current debates from somewhere other than a Westernized view. We (the West, the United States, and myself) may not see the current dynamics in Iran as something desirable and our belief may be to “liberate” these individuals (to send in humanitarian work, if the conditions warrant, and “help them” establish a more democratic government. However, I bring this up with some hesitation because as we have discussed in class, not much intervention is done without some others interest being involved in the situation.
Simma and Cassese argue that explanations to invade other countries may warrant a metaphysical account, insisting that it may not be legal but ethical to do so, but what we have discussed in class has be wondering what the real reasons would be for a nation to intervene in the situation. Huysmans argues using a realist approach that every country has some sort of interest or political agenda when offering aid to a country. For example, we discussed in class that the underlying reason why the United States may have invaded Iraq was presented to the people as metaphysical, to spread democracy to a country that is deserving of such freedoms (and the War on Terror) but, other agendas such as gaining access to one of the world’s largest oil reserves may have been another motive for the United States to invade Iraq.
When it comes to the big picture of global politics it is difficult for me to see what I can do as one individual. It seems that the problems are vast without any concrete solutions, but there are some things that I can do as one person to make changes that I want to see in the world even if they do not amount to a mass worldwide movement. Recently there has been a movement to go green and purchase locally grown and make products. This recent change has been in response to climate change (our contributions to living in a carboniferious capital society) and the costs of neo-liberalism. Before entering this course I was unaware of the reasons why people were choosing to commute eco-friendly and what the importance was of buying organic, locally grown products, but now I have begun to make the change. I think that it is important for me, as well as everyone who participates, to find alternative lifestyles if we do not agree with the current dynamics of our political society. These small changes in my lifestyle are the ways in which I can change the current geopolitical situation. And while they have nothing to do with the current events occurring in Iran, which I am completely dumbfounded on how to change as one individual, I know that what I am doing now will in some way (whether it be big or small) make our world better for future generations. And as this movement against climate change and capitalism grows just as Hobbes has argued in our text perhaps these changes will take on a life of their own and in several generations be the norm in which individuals live in our society.
Black, Ian (2009) Mir Hossein Mousavi Calls Iranian Government Illegitimate, The Guardian (UK).
Bruno, Greg (2009) Religion and Politics in Iran, Council on Foreign Relations.
Edkins, J., & Zehfuss, M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Erlich, Reese (2009) Iran and Leftist Confusion, Common Dreams.org
Fathi, Nazila (2009) Iran’s President Praises Disputed Elections, The New York Times.
Godspeed, Peter (2009) Iran Faces Struggle for Power, The National Post (Canada).
Gwertzman, Bernard (2009) Iran’s Political Crisis Far from Over, Council on Foreign Relations.
Hardy, Roger (2009) Iran Vote Dispute Moves to Seminary, BBC News (UK).
Kian, Azadeh (1997) Women and Politics in Post-Islamic Iran: the Gender Conscious Drive to Change, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 24, 75-96.
Murphy, Brian (2009) North Korea and Iran Use Similar Script to Get Their Way, The Washington Post.
Sayah, Reza & Amanpour, Christiane (2009), Iranian Election could be Test for Women’s Rights, CNN.
Slackman, Michael (2009) Iran Protestors Take to Streets Despite Threats, The New York Times.
Much of what I have seen about the conflict in Iran has been illustrative of a country in turmoil over traditional vs. modern belief systems. The current government holds a very strong preference for religious affiliation within the political system while recent political candidates are in favor of less religious affiliation in the government, more freedom for all citizens (especially women) and more integration into the global market and adapting more Westernized views. Taking the perspective of Tariq Ali, I argue that the current political members may be working in a fundamentalist way; seeking to keep the current beliefs and ideologies of Iran intact without much Western interference.
In terms of the power struggle that is occurring in Iran with the government and its’ citizens there are number of different theoretical approaches that can be taken. According to Thomas Hobbes we should not look at power as existing from one source (whether it is the Iranian government or the citizens) rather, power is in and of itself. In other words, power is born when individuals buy into a socially bound contract and then combine to form a being greater than them. In the current example, power is a manifestation of all of the dynamics that are occurring in Iran presently. It is my opinion then that the struggle of power would not be occurring in Iran if it were not for the present government and the citizens that want some sort of political change. Had there not been a desire of change we would not be seeing the unrest that is currently being illustrated in the country.
Michel Foucault on the other hand, takes a different approach to power struggles. Instead of thinking of power manifesting in the government and the people either obeying or fighting for different representation, Foucault insists that power should be looked at as power relations. What this means is that in any given situation for event there is always going to be a struggle for power with one side getting what they want while the other side has to negotiate for the time being. Furthermore, this idea of power relations stresses that power is relative, just because one side has gotten what they wanted in one specific situation does not mean that the hold all the power forever instead, it is susceptible to change every time to parties do not agree on a particular issue.
The current illustration of power is relatable to the current situation in Iran in a number of ways. While the Iranian government may have been the party with more power for a number of years, the citizens have now decided that they do not want to obey or compromise. So while the protesting continues and the public defies the law it can be seen that the public has one this fight but the government is taking many more actions that question the power relations in the country. The Supreme Leader has issued a statement prohibiting any protesting, the police have been thought to injure and kill innocent protestors, the government has been accused of falsifying the conditions and treatment of the jailed protestors and even manipulating the death count and has even gone as far as the blame foreign influence on the cause of the nation’s unrest.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
So how then can I encourage the idea that the world needs a democratically led world police? I think most would agree that the idea of the U.N. is a good idea. To that extent I'd like to support any politician that promotes strengthening that entity. Obviously all countries can't contribute the same amount financially or militarily to make it so the U.N. can have a strong military to defend its decisions. But I believe if it did, and if it worked the way we'd like it to work, the situation in North Korea would have been settled a long time ago. The world would have been able to move on to help other people in need with that situation solved. So I think it would be with action by inaction that is how I will attempt as one person to make a difference in the global economy. Whether it be by boycotting certain products or shouting loudly at a rally for a cause I care about. The silence towards the issues and products, however associated they are with countries that are not acting in the worlds best interests, should make the point where others try to use words and violence.
Lawrence Davidson. Arab Studies Quarterly. Belmont: Winter 2009. Vol. 31, Iss. 1/2; pg. 1, 10 pgs
Edkins, J., & Zehfuss, M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Soloman, Jay (2009) Broader Issues on Table in Pyongyang, Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124952003814809689.html
Holland, Steve (2009) White House says policy toward North Korea unchanged, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/06/AR2009080602066.html
Unknown Author, (2009) Freed US reporters safely back on home soil, The Standard, http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=17&art_id=85952&sid=24845655&con_type=3&d_str=20090806&sear_year=2009
Landler, Mark (2009) North Korea Says It Will Halt Talks and Restart Its Nuclear Program, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/15/world/asia/15korea.html?_r=1
Findley, Paul (2008) The Proper U.S. Role in Pakistan, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Washington: Vol. 27, Iss. 2; pg. 14, 4 pgs
Davidson, Lawrence (2009) American Foreign Policy and the Rise of Islamic Politics, Arab Studies Quarterly. Belmont: Vol. 31, Iss. 1/2; pg. 1, 10 pgs, http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.augsburg.edu/pqdlink?index=1&did=1749358811&SrchMode=1&sid=3&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1248484813&clientId=1427
Boot, Max (2003) America's Destiny Is to Police the World, Council on Foreign Relations, http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=5559
Weisbrot, Mark (2001) Should America Police The World?, Common Dreams.org, http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0412-09.htm
Friday, August 7, 2009
With respect to the democratic account of law (Orford 2009)that our text discusses it seems apparent that the best way to police anything is with a democratic vote on how to handle military and humanitarian interventions. In order for a police force to be trusted and respected its actions cannot be the result of the interests of larger countries, or large world businesses. Some set up like the U.N. has to take the lead on making the decision on how to act. The U.N. has yet to have the make up a military force of its own to use to police matters but in the case against North Korea they have at least issued a list of economic sanctions against the country. These even targeted specific businesses (Landler 2009.) If anything these sanctions could slow the North Koreans ability to access the global financial system (Soloman 2009.)
Even if we had a truly democratically led world police how would they go about conducting themselves? Stopping the North Koreans from continuing nuclear arms research is the goal. The confrontational approach (Bleiker 2009) seems to have its problems. If military action is used, people die. If sanctions are enforced it's usually the general populace who suffers. Also if we begin labeling the country as evil then the likely hood of negotiations begins to diminish and the prospect of war becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bleiker mentions a preferable choice of engagement instead of confrontation. The Standard (2009) reported that very recently Bill Clinton was successful in negotiating the release of two U.S. journalists from captivity for crossing into North Korean territory from China. During those supposed humanitarian negotiations the topic of nuclear weapons was discussed. We've yet to see if this positive result to a dangerous situation will yield some positive actions by the North Koreans. If anything, Hillary Clinton has hopes that the North Koreans can see that they can have a positive relationship with the U.S. going forward (Holland 2009.) This seems like a more productive outcome. If that's the case does the world police then need to be thought of as superior negotiators first before they are thought of as a mighty military? For these negotiators to work they would need to respect the heads of state that they are speaking to and avoid any appearance of self righteousness (Findley 2008.) The U.S. may be able to help finance a military but I don't believe it could represent the strongest negotiators. An example would be the volatile middle east. Lawrence Davidson (2009) states, It is the militarism, neo-liberal economic interventionism, political subversion and immoral arming of the military and civilian thugs who presently run so many Middle Eastern countries, which has earned the U.S. the epithet of the "Great Satan." With a name like that the U.S. is clearly not the people to represent the globe in negotiations for a world police.
I would tend to believe that the world police, U.S. or not, needs to invest in negotiations first with a strong military to back up what was agreed upon. Negotiators would be sent out with an agenda based on an international council and not based off of one country's ideology or one global business's ideas. Hopefully the military would never have to be used as the decision of what to do in any given situation would not be based on anyone's fundamental ideas or interests but one that is best for those involved as well as the rest of the world.
You can think about your role on a range of different “levels”: in your day-to-day actions and interactions, in your community, regionally, nationally, and globally. In your entry you might write about your role on one or more of these levels. There are also different realms we operate in: the political realm of voting or writing letters to Congress, the economic realm of buying things and working a job, the religious realm of participating in a spiritual community. In each of these there are different ways in which we participate in global politics.
One way to look at this in terms of how “political” you are. A number of you mentioned “not knowing much about politics” at the beginning of this course. But if we look at a basic definition of politics (used by Harold Lasswell)—the process of determining who gets what, where, when, and how—I’d say you all know plenty about politics. I would argue that we can’t help but know something about politics in that sense, since we can’t avoid being involved with the processes that determine who gets what, where, when, and how. Every day we make decisions about how to spend our time and money, we pursue careers, talk with friends and coworkers, consume resources, and live out a set of values.
So if we can’t help but be at least a little political, what kinds of goals do we have? What role do we have in relation to these big political issues like war, poverty, justice, and the global environment? I’d encourage you to think about what constitutes a “realistic” set of goals in regard to these issues, and I’d suggest that the goal should be somewhere between doing nothing (which is really impossible unless you’re dead) and achieving world peace or ending poverty (not going to happen). We can’t fix any of these problems in some final sense, but we can work on making things a bit better.
When we were looking at the impact of climate change in class, we sketched out two possible scenarios for the what the world looked like in 2050—one in which we worked hard on combating climate change and another where we did very little, and those two worlds looked significantly different. Neither scenarios involved utter chaos and catastrophe and neither one looked like paradise, but one looked better than the other (fewer species going extinct, less people dying from tropical diseases, fewer major storms, etc.) I think those are the kinds of trade-offs or alternative futures we have to work with here, and I hope you see that those the difference between those various outcomes is really important and that we therefore do need to engage on these issues.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and “narratives” about your role in the world, and sense of what it means to be a global citizen.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
For your third blog entry you should finish up that description and background (maybe half the blog, or so) and then turn to the theories and concepts from the book to see how they can help make sense of this case and provide a useful framework for it.
For most of your projects, it's pretty obvious what ideas or readings would be most useful: Ch. 3 on Climate Change, Ch. 19 on N. Korea, Ch. 18 on intervention and "policing the globe." Economic development is covered in various chapters and can be used to discuss the rise of China (as I see Mike has done in his last blog entry).
But it's often not easy to figure out exactly how to use these theories or concepts in a way that's really helpful in gaining a better understanding of global politics (and not just throwing in some fancy terms because they sound impressive). So do your best to explain how a particular theory is helpful for you in understanding a given situation.
For instance, in studying climate change I could see using the idea of neoliberalism and globalization (and could site 3 or 4 different places in the text book where these ideas are discussed). These help us understand how the free market has spread and become more important in global politics in the last 30 years, and this may have something to do with the increase in the level of global energy use and resource depletion as well. If the government is given a smaller role in the economy under neoliberal policies, that means it will have less control over businesses and industries (or individuals) when it comes to the environmental damage they are doing. This means that any global attempts at addressing climate change may run up against the whole set of neoliberal policies that have been so influential around the globe in recent years.
That's just one quick example, but I hope that helps. I'll post some guidelines for the fourth blog entry shortly.
Rapley, John (2008) took China as an example in this article and stated that although China has a very fast growth in economy, it also needs to deal with a lot of problems such as pollution and violence.
Have you ever questioned yourself that do you feel the real improvement of the world the development brings us? Or we are just stepping to the wrong way, which only increase conflicts among people, decrease the diversity of species, fading the color of our earth.
First of all, let’s see some of the figures that show the growth of Chinese economy.
1990 3.9% 1991 8.6% 1992 13.6% 1993 13.4% 1994 11.8% 1995 10.2% 1996 9.7%
1997 8.8% 1998 7.8% 1999 7.1% 2000 8.0% 2001 7.3% 2002 8% 2003 10.0% 2004 10.1% 2005 10.4% 2006 11.1% 2007 13% 2008 9%
The figures presented above are the percentage of growth of China’s GDP these years after market reforming. This is amazing because China even had remained a growth of 9 per cent in GDP during the economic downturn last year.
By the way, let me mention the graph we drew about Chinese development and its position in the world in the past 200 years. But here, I want to say at first that we probably made a mistake that we left the Opium War between China and Britain in 1840 out. I think Chinese economy once dropped to the bottom immediately after a series of wars from 1840 to the beginning of 20th century, especially the Opium War.
What caused that? We can conclude that British Industrial Revolution led Britain to industrialization, which practically bring a country prosperity and power. According to V. Spike Peterson in the Global Politics book, feudal markets were proved not to be efficient, which was changed by the later industrialization all around the world. As the same case, China is now still experiencing industrialization, which absolutely made China much stronger than before.
But of course it cannot settle all the problems. According to Rapley, John (2008), the informal section of Fiji’s economy prospered so rapidly that many people abandoned the traditional textiles industry. This can be some part of the cause of the crimes happened there. In other words, neoliberalism is not always the best. It also brings the differentiation of well-being, and poverty to a part of people. But that used to be one of the “unknown unknowns” before, which now becomes a “known known”.
Let’s come back to the issue focusing on China. Who is leading in China today? Of course, it is the only communist party. But it’s really hard to comment on the communist party, because we just can’t make a judgment easily that it is good or bad. Definitely, in politics, China is not as advanced as U.S. We are now under a revolutionary Communist regime, which limit people’s access to participating in dealing with politics. By contrast, just look at what U.S is doing. I still remember the day we visited the capital of Minnesota. There was a sentence written in Latin to the top of Lincoln’s portrait. It says the voice of people is the voice of god. But in China, we don’t even have right to speak freely. And the communist party in China is “doing pretty well” than any other parties in the world in influencing the citizens’ idea. They monopolize the media in China. We almost went crazy about the fact that they even had banned the Youtube in China since last year only because “someone was telling their dirty little secrets” there. But we should also appreciate the great job the communist party did in changing an old China into today’s huge economic entity in the world. You have to recognize it’s not easy for you to babysit 1.3 billion kids of that yellow earth.
The problems discussed in that article were undoubtedly reasonable. But poverty is not likely to be swept out right away. Although China has an inspiring large income in total, a lot of places there have many people who are still struggling on the survival standard. Let me tell you a story. I know Jack along with some of the UIC students attended a program arranged by UIC last year. They went to Guizhou province in China, where is in the center of south China. They taught classes there for primary school students. I think the people there may be some kind of the ones who only make $2 a day or less. The kids were eager to learn. They had to climb over mountains after mountains to reach the school on foot. But it was surprising that they got there very early like 5 o’clock in the morning. And it was not until the end of the program that the volunteers discovered the reason: they had no watches or clocks at home! Not to mention the TVs or any other thing made by modern technology. They just left for school every morning when the sun rises, so that it would not be possible for them to be late. I was so moved when I heard this story… Who is to blame? Should it be the mountains, the historical factors, people’s being simple and innocent? And what can we do? Will the poverty be wiped out by donating the limited amount of money to the poor? And what the hell the communist party is doing! This is one of the known knowns of the current China, but they are still unknown with the unknown method.
But such is life, such is the world today. As it is also implicated in U.S’s constitution, everyone is born equal. So why should we ignore those poor people, and consider our well-being as a kind of superiority?
However, it does take a long time. Poverty, environmental problems, violence, those are the endless issues we discuss nowadays in the world.
We don’t care what party will be taking charge of China. We only know that the current China is still blind to some degree. As a result, if we drive the party away immediately, there will be totally chaos, because wisdom only belongs to a group of us. We definitely need further development.
All in all, it seems like that Chinese age of development will never end. We all hope one day to see a strong China not only in GDP and population, but also in other real things that we can truly take pride of.
Source: Rapley, John, Progress in Development Studies; Apr2008, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p177-182, 6p
Reference: 1. Database, Academic Search Premier, retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=19&hid=2&sid=de90d02b-efcd-4af8-9ca2-beadabdc523d%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=36133698#db=aph&AN=36133698#db=aph&AN=36133698
2. Chinese GDP growth, retrieved from http://q.sohu.com/forum/20/topic/4977472
3. V.Spike Peterson, Economics from feudal markets to industrialization, Global Politics, P271-P273
4. Michael Dillon, Unknown unknowns, Global Politics, P418
5. From Revolutionary Regime to Normal Governance: China's Long March toward Political Reform, Database, Academic Search Premier, retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=12&hid=2&sid=de90d02b-efcd-4af8-9ca2-beadabdc523d%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=37699009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
During our last class, we discussed supply and demand, and the value the businesses and consumers place on that free-market theory. Education is a business in itself and should that not uphold the same thought of supply and demand? Are our students getting left behind though? Before we can truly look at the education we are receiving, we need to look to those who are giving us an education.
Is it possible to raise our standards for teachers and still have enough teachers for the incoming students? The creation of new standards for teachers is one sign of progress. These standards make sure teachers will know the subjects they teach and how to teach them to children. These values include those of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS or National Board), which has developed challenging examinations to document and make out accomplished teaching among veteran teachers, and related values of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), a group of more than 30 states that has lined together to make more tough licensing values and tests for beginning teachers. The national accrediting body for teacher education, NCATE (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), has included standards into its outline for evaluating teacher education programs. This means that accredited programs must now show that they set up teachers with understanding of the content areas they teach and with an perceptive of learning, teaching, curriculum, assessment, and the uses of technology, among other things.
What can we do to ensue that our students are going to be achieving the best education they can achieve? We need to work on achieving a more constant look at education and not by a state-to-state problem. When one state struggles, our whole country will struggle. In Wisconsin or Minnesota, a future high school teacher must have done a bachelor's degree that includes a major in the subject area to be taught, also assignments covering learning theory, development of a youth, teaching methods, curriculum design, teaching strategies, uses of technology, behavior and motivation, human relations, and the education of students with special needs. The potential teacher must also complete at least 18 weeks of student teaching under a cooperating teacher who meets minimum standards. In Minnesota, this must include work in a setting with special needs students. On the other side, in Louisiana, a possible high school teacher could be licensed without even a minor in the field she was going to teach. The state would not require her to have studied the curriculum, classroom organization, uses of technology, or the needs of special students, and the teacher could receive a license with only six weeks of student teaching.
These are issues that we need to investigate in concerns to our own country. In my third and fourth blog, I will further investigate the issues of education in the U.S. and discuss more in-depth issues surrounding our financial backing from our government.
I was completely prepared to turn in my first and second blog on Somalia and the issues that plaque that country, but during tonight’s class, I felt very convicted to look at the issues that plagued our own country. It is late in the evening and many questions begin to fill my head. The whys and why-nots, the hows and the whats, but these questions just seemed to be a philosophic look at our country. I then had to look at how I can utilize my passions to make sure my blog speaks compassion, understanding, and a yearning to know more. I then realized that all of these questions I have are due to the level of education I have received. I have lived a fortunate life moving from one school to another. I grew up going to very good educational institutions since it was funded by your tax dollars (Thank you). I received my education from military schools. I have also been very fortunate to receive a college education from a highly respected institution, Augsburg College. My educational background is what has caused me to investigate the issue of education in the United States of America.
Tonight’s class caused me to question why big businesses run our country, why middle-class America is struggling, why homelessness occurs, and what is terrorism within the U.S. These questions, many of them, are very philosophical. We need to understand that we need to be in a constant state of questioning our actions and the actions of our world especially that of our own country. Through the course of the next three blogs, I will take a closer look at the United States and our “value” for education. I will do some compare and contrasting of different countries, more focused on the United States. I will look at where our tax dollars are going, test practices, and other theories concerning education.
With all of the droughts across the globe including the drought in Australia, and the melting of the polar caps, along with the increase of storm damage like the size and abundance of hurricanes it seems pretty safe to say if the temperature rises past two degrees the problems could and most likely will be catastrophic. "But the long-delayed decision to list the bear as a threatened species may prove less of an impediment to oil and gas industries along the Alaskan coast than many environmentalists had hoped. Mr. Kempthorne also made it clear that it would be "wholly inapropriate" to use the listing as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases, as environmentalists had intended to do."(Felicity Barringer, New York Times).
Many conservatives seem to be willing to now acknowledge the fact that global warming is indeed real, but still feel we should do little or nothing about it. "It might be the case that we could go slightly above two degrees celcius and muddle through. Most conservatives are ready to gamble on this-a habit they've become awfully fond of."(Bradford Plumer, New Republic). It seems to me like pretty much everyone can realize that global warming is taking place, but they are not ready to lose the money and efficiency that can be made from oil and greenhouse gases. When we are talking about the potential lives of many animals and eventually the lives of many humans being lost because of ignorance it doesn't seem right in any way. We are talking about the earth that people have lived on for thousands of years with no altercations, and then to go throw away the beauty and cleanliness for a hundred or two years of burning oil and fuel?
The fate of the earth could very well rest in this generations hands and what we do between now and the next fifty years could decide what will happen to the earth forever.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
According to Ikenberry, G. John, China’s size of economy has doubled and doubled so far from late 1970s when China reformed its market. And it is said that the size of economy will double again in the coming ten years. At the same time, China is spending more and more money on military construction, which is considered an action of preparing to step a foot into global politics order. If so, as a result of China’s being a competitor to U.S, the global position of U.S may go down. Simultaneity a new order of the world’s politics will be built. But G. John stated that it was not that easy for the order which was so far built by western countries changed by a single China.
I agree with G. John at some points. I think that China will never be what it is explained in China threat theory that it will once become “something”. Assuming that China continues to grow fast in economics, generating huge amount of wealth, you should at the same time look at the average level and also the problems involved like environmental issues. I mean that China has not come far away enough, not even enough when decades of years later. The foundation of western economy is so strong compared to China’s. The average people in China are still living a poor life. The total figures only have little meaning. There are too many problems existing in Chinese development. The environment is getting worse. The efficiency and effectiveness are still not high in most cases. We do produce a lot of wealth but at last we only can own little part of it because of property rights and some other critical items. For example, the Nike shoes are mostly signed as made in China today. But by making each pair of shoes, Chinese only get about $2, while the other tens of dollars will go to Nike owner’s pockets. This may be some kind of inequality in economics. But anyway, this is the case. So why do you guys think that China is able to make a big change in the world, only because China has a fabulous revenue? It is ironic that it is a fact that tens of thousands of starving people in western China are dying when Chinese communist party is holding a meeting talking about their glorious socialism. I mean China had better focus more on its citizens’ life rather than this boring competition in military with such strong countries like America. Because we people care nothing about what you mark it as socialist thing, but the current situation and also the future, about whether we can have a better life.
After all, I also don’t think China will have the desire to rule. Look back at the history of China. See what we Chinese people are. We had had so many chances to rule the world in the past thousand years, but we didn’t. If you know China, but I suppose most westerners don’t, you will find Chinese people in most cases not as aggressive as what westerners think. G, John mentioned in his article that Japanese “behaved better” than Chinese in this case. I think G, John misunderstood. Personally, I think the reason why Japanese has not challenged the current international order yet is that they are still seeking for the opportunity. America is not already weakened, right? And so will not it be weakened so easily in the coming decades of years. Who know what Japanese are planning to do? May be another war, I suppose. Why do people only keep an eye on China and show so much mercy to Japan? Is it just because people have common issues in ideology with Japanese but not Chinese? I think still many people are afraid of Chinese.
But I have to say, we are the same. Let’s talk about identity. According to Annick T.R. Wibben (n.d.), “identities are seen to be constructed in a process of social, cultural and political struggle, rather than given by nature.” I, as most Chinese people will also do, identify us as a group of peaceful people nurtured on the yellow earth of China by our proud thousands of years’ wisdom. Please excuse us if one day China becomes such a country that is eager to rule in the world. It will be the communist party to blame, but not Chinese peaceful people.
Anyway, the world needs China. See, the first Strategic and Economic Dialogue between China and America has just begun. “Washington, July 27 (PTI) US President Barack Obama today said the relationship between America and China will shape the 21st century as their ability to partner is a "prerequisite for progress" on many of the most pressing global challenges.” (www.ptinews.com) And no matter what China will be in the future, the only thing we know for sure is that it is very important for China to participate in the world’s stage, helping to form a better order of the world.
Source: Ikenberry, G. John, Foreign Affairs, The Rise of China and the Future of the West. 00157120, Jan/Feb2008, Vol. 87, Issue 1
1. Annick T.R. Wibben, (n.d.). Static and dynamic approaches to identity. Global Politics. P84.
2. STAFF WRITER 20:37 HRS IST, retrieved from http://www.ptinews.com/news/197457_US-China-relationship-to-shape-21st-century--Obama
Monday, July 27, 2009
“ According to the official election results, the incumbent president Ahmadinejad won the election by a margin of 63 percent to 34 percent for his main competitor, Mir Hossein Mousavi. This is a difference of approximately 11.4 million votes. Any claim of victory for Mousavi must therefore contain some logically coherent story of how at least 5.65 million votes (one half of the 11.3 million margin) might have been stolen.” (Weisbrot. 2009)
This quote from Mark Weisbrot of the Washington Post is telling in if the election was fixed, that it would very apparent if it were. In my understanding Ahmadinejad won the election of almost 30 percent of the votes. That is a pretty lopsided election. Claiming that 5 million votes were “stolen” is a very drastic statement to make. You would think that if all of these votes were stolen that it would be obvious to the world, and that the person responsible would be punished.
Though the statistics show that the possibility of the election being stolen, not being very plausible. What about those on Mousavi’s side? Who were in the streets of Iran demonstrating, many of them whom were arrested. Some even being injured and killed in the demonstrations. Some Mousavi’s supports will go ahead and compare Ahmadinejad regime as a dictatorship.
“People are tired of dictatorship," she told Reuters. "People are tired of not having freedom of expression, of high inflation, and adventurism in foreign relations. That is why they wanted to change Ahmadinejad." (Black, Dehghan, Siddique. 2009)
According to this the demonstrators and people of Iran are tired of Ahmadinejad’s oppression of their rights. The main issue in the election is Ahmadinejad’s regime who is considered to be a dictator, and oppressor. Then, there is the side of Mousavi’s who are considered the reformists. Who are being persecutated, and not being giving freedom of expression.
One of the biggest reasons why I am interested in the climate change is because I am a really big fan/lover of animals. I think that the polar bear is one of the most amazing animals on the planet today. I have heard figures where within forty or fifty years our polar ice shelf will be decreased to half of what it originally was. In turn it would wiped out over two-thirds of the world's polar bear population and put them well on their way to extinction. I happened to be watching a show on the History channel called MonsterQuest (where they try to locate unknown/fictitious animals in the wild) and they were searching for bears of ungodly size. While they did not locate a monster bear, what they did find in the upper part of Alaska was a dead carcass of young bear which was half polar bear and half grizzly bear. This was quite a discovery because the two types of bears are not known to coexist in the same regions. Scientists had figured that the polar bear had stepped onto Alaskan terrain when the ice caps had reached the state, then when they receded the bear was trapped. As for the grizzly bear they assumed that maybe human influence scared the bear up further north. It is not only polar bears that are on the chopping block, there are several other animals which could and will go extinct if nothing is done to prevent climate change on the earth.
I visted Los Angeles earlier this year in march, and although it is a beautiful city there is a thick cloud like cover of smog that hangs above(sometimes so thick you can hardly see a mile or two through it). This makes me realize that it doesn't take a genius to figure out the pollutants we emitt are taking a toll on the ozone which in turn takes a toll on the earth. Climate change is very apparent to be linked to the carbon from all the different types of fuel that we burn. I really believe that climate change is real and maybe what we do on this earth at the moment won't have any effect on us, but I think it is very selfish to not think about future generations to come. It seems unfair that even kids born today could be at serious risk with the climate change. I feel like they should not have to inheret the mistakes that everyone on the world has made. The world is an ongoing cycle and with the discovery of fossil fuels it seems like we have been dissrupting the cycle. There is no telling what exactly will happen in the future, but I think it is pretty safe to say if we continue to burn the same fuels there will be consequences.
I think that we should start putting an end to the global warming by having the governments of the world accept that our fossil fuels are not the answer to a clean earth. Until we have figured out a solution to burning a clean fuel everyone should do their part to try to burn less fossil fuels and make sure to do little things like recycle instead of throwing everything in the garbage.
It is difficult to know what a countries real intentions are when they become a high risk of potential danger to others. Others around them or that could be affected by the dangerous country have to pay attention. North Korea is one of those potential dangerous countries. It is in question what North Korea’s military intentions as it relates to nuclear bombs.
In 2006 North Korea became another player in the game of having nuclear weapons (New York Times). Soon after they had been the next country to have nuclear weapons, North Korea half attempted to conduct their first launch of a nuclear device. However, in February 2007, North Korea had said they would in time stop their nuclear program (New York Times). This agreement that North Korea would shut down their nuclear program in the area of Pyongyang. They put their nuclear devices under an inspection by the Atomic Energy Agency within 60 days (Snyder, Washington Quarterly). By doing this North Korea received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (Snyder, Washington Quarterly).
After this agreement, in June 2008, the Bush administration had removed North Korea from their list of potential terrorist countries (New York Times). It has seemed that progress was being made with North Korea. However, in December of 2008 the nuclear base in Pyongyang disagreed to accept terms by the U.S. about Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
As the progress had seemed to fail with North Korea it got a little worse when in April 2009 they did a test with a ballistic missile (New York Times). Then on May 25th 2009 North Korea did their second nuclear test, which was successful. Even though they had been warned by other countries to not go forth with their nuclear testing’s (New York Times). The United Nations Security Council reacted to this second test by setting up a more strict way of monitoring this issue on June 12th 2009 (New York Times). With this they told United Nations members to check out North Korea cargo vessels and airplanes that could be holding weapons. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea have now frozen Pyongyang’s overseas bank accounts. They had done this in the past and it had seemed to work because it had hurt the regime in the past (New York Times).
North Korea has seemed to be playing this “catch me if you can” game by starting out with nuclear testing then stopping and then starting again. An author of an article in the Aviation Week & Space Technology has suggested a similar method. David Fulghum whom wrote the article Testing Testing in AW&SP said that North Korea is afraid that because they are turning into third-world country they would have no influence over anything (Fulghum, Aviation Week & Space Technology). In this same article Fulghum reported a statement by a senior Pacific based Air Force official saying that North Korea does not want to be ignored. This official also said that North Korea has seen that the U.S. reacts to them, so they keep acting out.
Now leading up to where things are at, president Obama is faced with this challenge of North Korea. During the second nuclear test that North Korea did, president Obama declared that the U.S. and its allies will stand up to them. There is now a ship that has taken off from North Korea that the U.S. is concerned about. They are not sure what is on it and Obama has requested the U.S. Navy to inspect the ship but will not step aboard it. North Korea has said if the U.S. does then it will make it known of war. This is currently where the issue is at with North Korea and there is still the concern about North Korea’s nuclear activity.
What has caused for more turmoil in the country is historically Iran has been a nation with very strong religious governmental ties. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is one of the most powerful and influential members of the government that overseas the military, appoints military and judicial members, supervises the constitution, and sets general state policy. The Supreme Leader of Iran has more political power than the President(Council on Foreign Relations). So, with this type of dynamic in the country of Iran, having a very strong religiously based government, the debates of the current presidential election have caused a breakdown in the structure of the current Iranian government. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, has sided with the re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and believes that the current election was done fairly. On the other hand, other clerical members do not believe that the election was done fairly and support the pro-reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Some members of the cleric have gone as far as to insult the Council of Guardians, a twelve member clerical group that is in charge of reviewing legislation and electing candidates, of tampering with the voting ballots so that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be elected president for another term (BBC).
All of this turmoil in what is best for the future of Iran; whether to remain a religiously conservative based government or adopt more Westernized views of secularism and modernization has resulted in chaos. Thousands of protestors have moved to the streets insisting that the election was fixed and are unpleased with the current state of government in Iran. The death toll of civilians is rising each day that the protests continue, despite the nationwide ban of protesting by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. More recent reports suggest that the Iranian government is deceiving the public about the actual death count of protestors and other reports suggest that police are brutally harming peaceful protestors. All the while, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has announced that the Iranian government is not the result of the public’s oppression and recent national uprise, but Western influence is to blame for the state of unrest (New York Times).
I will have to admit that I do not know very much about what is going on with world political issues. I have paid attention to the news and kept up with some of the stories that have been going on. One of the issues that I have learned a little bit about and am interested in is about North Korea. I am concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
The initial reason why I chose this issue is because of my fear of it. There have been other political issues that have also made me worried. For example, I was worried about the attack of September 11th and the start of the Iraq war. At first the U.S. was told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Soon after we entered Iraq we found out that they did not have weapons of mass destruction. I was confused as to whom to believe. This confusion on the war with Iraq has made me question if I should play into the fear of what is going on in the world or learn about it. I chose to learn. With learning about what is going on with these serious issues in the world I will know better which issues I should be concerned about.
This led me to my fear of North Korea and wanting to know more about it. I am looking more into this issue regarding North Korea’s having nuclear weapons. Could they be a threat to the U.S?
One the major concerns is if North Korea attacks South Korea. How could this threaten the U.S? If North Korea did this, then the U.S. would have to come to South Korea’s defense. We signed an agreement with South Korea and Japan promising if they get attacked we would defend them militarily. If North Korea attacks either of them then U.S. soldiers would have to go over there to fight. This would stretch our military as our soldiers are already fully employed over in Iraq and elsewhere.
Another reason why I am interested in this issue is because as North Korea does have nuclear weapons and if they use them could this is a trigger of something bigger? It could be a trigger into other countries who have nuclear weapons to pull them out and we could have an outbreak of a global nuclear war. This is an obvious serious issue that the U.S. needs to pay attention to and take action on.
I will continue to learn about the issue I chose about North Korea and find out how big of a concern it is to the U.S. I will study what the U.S. should be doing and has been doing on handling this issue. I will be searching for information that will help me better deal with fear and draw a bigger conclusion on what the U.S. should do next with North Korea.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
It seems evident that countries want to live their lives in different ways. whether it be different religions, different national identities, or on how to run their existing economies. It seems as this will not be changing any time in the near future. So how can a country whose fundamental beliefs are religious freedom, democracy, and capitalism be in charge of policing other countries who may not value those ideals as we do? In some societies it is these values that are seen as evil traits that should be done away with. Our book discusses the idea of power. Edkins (2009) quotes Michel Foucault. His quotes suggest to say that power is a relationship between people, and obedience to that power will be accepted only if it is seen as a non-oppressive force that doesn't exist simply to say no to things. That power needs to also produce things, or introduce pleasures as well as new forms of knowledge. How can two societies with different fundamental ideologies agree with what forms of pleasure are acceptable, or what knowledge should be passed on? Can we really believe that the people that we are trying to police are going to respect our power and authority to keep the peace between different nations? Are they going to let us play the role of arbitrator when they don't trust us. It's even been suggested (Davidson, 2009) that the foreign policies with regard to the middle east have direct relationships to the strengthening and radicalizing of Islamic fundamentalist groups throughout the area. It seems unlikely that we can police the world due to very different fundamental beliefs. For that to happen I would think we would have to base our policing efforts on the fundamentals of the given nation in dispute. World view of the U.S. would also have to be very high to respect the power that we would be trying to wield.
Still, there will always be people around the world that need to defend themselves but don't have the means to do so. It's obvious that even in a bad economy the U.S. is still far better off then some of the third world countries across the globe. According to Shah (2009) the United States was responsible for 48% of the world's military spending. He also projects that 44.4% of our tax dollars will be spent on our military. There's no question that we have the resources to at least lead a military whose responsibility would be to police the world. Since we have the ability the question here is do we help those that can't help themselves, or do we focus on the problems that we have at home?
Another concern that I have would be the motives of those who would be in charge of this world police force. There are always whispers that politicians are only out for their careers and not really the public interest. There are politicians that say that they won't raise taxes and then they do after they get elected. I'm just not sure that we could trust just one government to run an institution whose job it is to police the world. I'm not sure what they would be but I think there would have to be some sort of checks and balances to ensure that those in power do not abuse that power.