Part 1: International Political Economy and Globalization and the North
3. Explain which of Keohane and Nye’s ‘globalizations” is the most significant
It is important to look at globalization from all perspectives because of the interrelatedness of all the factors involved. People tend to focus more on economic globalization because of the visible practical consequences. However, environmental globalization is also significant as well because of its ability to affect people and the economy. The changing nature of the political situation in many countries necessitates the need for military globalization. Many countries are affected by the threat of terror and terrorism. Events happening in one country no longer happen in that region alone. The interdependence of different countries has shown how issues can spread from one region to another with relative ease. Although some countries have managed to maintain a large percentage of their culture, most of them are influenced by other ideologies and beliefs. This has become common as people continue migrating from one country to the other.
Social globalization has affected culture, ideas, and people. This has determined the way people respond to the occurring changes and the crisis facing them. All these different forms of globalizations are interrelated. People have increased the rate at which they travel and many of them have moved from their countries. Environmental globalization can happen in many different ways and it can affect a nation’s economic development. Social globalization has influenced the way people make decisions. It has been influential in determining policy formulation. Many people continue to benefit from economic globalization. The opening of trade and implementation of free trade has improved the economic situation of many countries and this has helped to improve people’s living standards. Economic development makes it possible for people to deal with any emerging challenges such as poor health and environmental degradation.
Part 2: International Political Economy, Globalization, and the South
7. Please respond with your thoughts on the film we have been watching “The End of Poverty”, which takes a critical view on the process of globalization. What would proponents of unfettered globalization say in response to this presentation? Did this film expand your understanding of the concept (positively or negatively)?
From watching the documentary, it is clear that slavery continues today although it does so in different forms. The slave owners are the rich nations in the global north, who continue to make unfair policies aimed at ensuring that they get the maximum benefits yet the global south continues to suffer from poverty. They continue to purchase raw materials from the developing nations and they develop them by value addition. The global north becomes wealthy because they source the materials at low prices and sell the finished products at high prices. The use of international organizations such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the international monetary fund is another form of exploitation that has enslaved many countries in the developing world. Despite their poverty, developing countries continue to pay huge interests to the international organizations. Unequal trade policies and the presence of transnational corporations in the poor countries are further examples of exploitation.
The film highlights the consequences of globalization. Looking at globalization from the perspective of capitalism, suggests the unfairness in the system. Capitalism has been a major enabler in creating unequal systems in the world. Since the beginning, it thrived on free labor and exploitation, enabling those with the means to become richer. The poor have continued to suffer under this system. The colonialists were able to enrich themselves through exploitation, by using the local people as free laborers although they were benefiting from their work. The use of force ensured that they were able to acquire land from the local population as well. When countries in the global north source raw materials from the countries in the south, they continue this exploitation. Unrestricted globalization makes cheap goods available in countries and this limits the progress of the local industry. The film was enlightening in helping me to understand the origin of globalization. Having seen the effects of globalization in terms of aggravating suffering and poverty, I think that people should consider other alternatives.
Part 3: Security Theory and Peak Oil Theory
5. Of the five theoretical approaches to security, which do you think our foreign and defense policies should be formulated upon?
The recent events in some Middle Eastern countries, whereby the people have gone against the traditional political systems in their country, have necessitated the need to reexamine foreign and defense policies. The revolution in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine are examples of how political situations in a country can end up affecting other countries. The Syria conflict has largely contributed to the development of the terror group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The creation of this and other groups show how a situation can escalate into a global phenomenon. If ISIS continues its operations without restrictions and if it succeeds in forming an Islamic caliphate in the region, it will end up posing a threat to other countries around the world (Speedie & Dorfman, 2014). It has managed to succeed because it has gained control of the oil fields and refineries, which have enabled it to get the revenue it needs. Energy is a major issue of conflict around the world. Nations recognize its importance in providing revenue and they are aware that it is a finite resource. This has led to conflicts among different groups and such conflicts have affected other regions outside the warring areas (Klare, 2014).
The US does not live in isolation and it cannot remain passive as violence and terrorism continue. Global peace and stability among nations benefits the US economically. Therefore, the country should formulate its defense and foreign policies on the global security approach. Unlike other approaches, the global security approach takes a wholesome approach on security concerns. It recognizes that depending on the military agenda will not be a sufficient way to examine the security issues. It considers other agendas such as economic and social development, politics, human rights, and the environment. In addition, this approach realizes that the world has become more of a global village. Instability in one nation can escalate into unimaginable proportions and affect other countries if nothing is done.
Part 4: Religion and Nationalism
7. The documentary “Beyond our Differences” makes the case that the world is too largely focused on the negative aspects of the contemporary religion, particularly the western tradition, and not enough in the positive. Did you agree or disagree with this essential message of the film and why?
The documentary traced the fundamental beliefs of world religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. The main findings reveal that many world religions are found on love. They teach that people should help each other, love one another, and work towards the common good. The religious leaders interviewed in the film noted that it is not possible to use hatred and violence as a means of ending the vices in the society. Hatred can only be cured when people choose to demonstrate love towards one another. Violence can only end if people decide that they will not engage in violent actions. People have forgotten the fundamental basics of religion. They have interpreted it in ways to suit their own needs and preferences. They want to fulfill their own selfish ends and they blame this on religion. Some of the people interviewed in the documentary had experienced suffering in the past when they were wrongly treated by other people. However, they chose not to reciprocate this with similar acts of violence or hatred.
I agreed with the messages highlighted in the documentary. They were a reflection of what the world has become today. People are different and each person holds his or her religion strongly. They do not consider their differences as something to be celebrated. Instead of delighting in their diversity, they choose to mistreat each other and discriminate against one another. This has not helped the world achieve much as it has only caused strife and animosity. Moreover, some people tend to think that every person should behave similarly and have the same beliefs. They will spend time and effort trying to convince those who are different to convert to their religion. In areas without democracy, the dominant religion wins, as the minority are mistreated and tortured to the point of surrender. Some of them are killed for failing to accept the common religion. This reflects the misconception that people have concerning religion. It shows a lack of understanding of why religion exists in the first place.
Part 5: United States Foreign Policy
2. Should America follow a realist or idealist policy? Isolationist or internationalist? Do these terms have any real meaning in 2013?
America’s foreign policy is based on serving the nation’s interest. A realist approach to foreign policy is more concerned with matters of national interest rather than ideologies. It is pragmatic and formulates its policies on the situation as it currently is, and not on what it is supposed to be. On the other hand, an idealist approach is based on abstract principles including moral and ethical values and legal norms. Under this approach, the country employs soft power and it contributes more foreign aid (Powerpoint-US Foreign Policy). The US has had a history of using both the realist and idealist approaches to foreign policy. However, it has also combined both methods, as a way of ensuring that it benefits the most from its foreign policy. For instance, it has used military invasion in the name of promoting democracy (Parenti, 2003). Realism, isolationism, internationalism, and idealism in regards to foreign policy formulation may not have any real meaning in modern times.
Basing the country’s foreign policy on morals and ethical values may not serve its best interests and it can actually put it at a disadvantage. Other countries may not share the same ideas and beliefs. Moreover, historical events involving US participation in other countries affairs have proved that idealist principles will not work for the benefit of all the countries involved. In its quest to spread democracy in regions such as the Philippines and Cuba, the US ended up being like the colonizers who had exploited the country. The realist approach has its disadvantages as well. This approach encourages excessive use of military defense and it does not take a keen interest on issues concerning human rights. Applying this approach in the recent past shows how ineffective it has been. The invasion in Iraq was costly in terms of loss of human life and destruction of property (Selfa, 2005).
Part 6: International Relations and the Global Environment
6. Victor Wallis’ article draws distinctions between both capitalist and socialist responses to contemporary ecological thought. Examine his argument and discuss your position on his arguments
Wallis discusses the implemented solutions to the ecological crisis from an interesting perspective, which many people would not consider examining. After reading his argument, I agree with the position he has made that the ecological crisis has indeed been capitalized. Not only has capitalism reigned in the area of environmental protection, but it has also contributed significantly to the current ecological crisis (Urie, 2014). The desire for increased profit has been instrumental in determining the methods implemented to deal with the crisis. This desire for profit also downplays some of the practical solutions offered to deal with the problem. For instance, encouraging a reduction in consumerism is against the capitalist idea since it would mean loss of market and consequent loss of profit. The popular recommended solutions to the current environmental challenges are only meant to benefit a few. Those who lack the required technology have to depend heavily on those who have it if they fail to realize the importance of looking at the crisis from a socialist perspective.
ecological perspective from a socialist perspective will encourage the
implementation of practical and affordable approaches. Industrialized countries
have depended on capitalism for their survival. Individual corporations are
more concerned with the interests of their shareholders, rather than with the
community or environmental interests. Those that presume to have such an
interest find ways of benefiting from their initiatives (Smith, 2014). The
solution to the ecological crisis cannot be effective in these countries, as
many of the suggested socialist ways of dealing with the crisis would be a
threat to their economy. Increasing awareness concerning the importance of
dealing with the crisis, the limitation of the proposed solutions, and the need
for more practical solutions, will help in driving the socialist perspective.
Cinema Libre Studio (Producer), & Diaz, P. (Director). (2008). The end of poverty? [Documentary]. USA: Cinema Libre Studio
Klare, T. M. (2014). Our 21st century energy wars. Common Dreams. Retrieved from http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/07/08/our-21st-century-energy-wars
Parenti, M. (2003). The logic of U.S. intervention. In C. Boggs (Ed.), Masters of war: Militarism and blowback in the era of American empire (pp. 19-36). New York, NY: Routledge
Selfa, L. (2005). U.S. Middle East policy: Democratic illusions. International Socialist Review. Retrieved from http://kropfpolisci.com/foreign.policy.selfa.pdf
Smith, R. (2014). Green capitalism: The god that failed. Retrieved from http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/21060-green-capitalism-the-god-that-failed
Speedie, C. D., & Dorfman, Z. (2014). A clear and present danger: why we need the UN Security Council to help defeat ISIL. Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/articles_papers_reports/0229.html
Teuschenkov, V., Soljan, T., Tatge, C., Chien, K., & Griffiths, M. (Producers), & Bisanz, P. (Director). (2008). Beyond our differences [Documentary]. USA: PBS
Urie, R. (2014). The climate crisis is capitalism. Counter Punch. Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/21/the-climate-crisis-is-capitalism/
Wallis, V. (2008). Capitalist and socialist responses to the ecological crisis. Monthly Review, 60(6). Retrieved from http://monthlyreview.org/2008/11/01/capitalist-and-socialist-responses-to-the-ecological-crisis/
United States Foreign Policy. Power point presentation