Journal Response

1. Michael Klare describes what he calls a new “Thirty Years War” that is now developing that has similar outlines of the earlier conflict (1618 – 1648) discussed in class. What are some of the similarities and differences between the two?

According to Michael Klare the most important future problem on our planet will be connected with the energy pre-eminence. Such fuels as coal and oil will plummet as those, which contaminate the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. As a result of the impossibility to preserve the existing level of energy output, there will begin a struggle between the energy supplying corporations. According to his prediction the contest between those, which supply different forms of energy to humanity, will put some countries into a dominating position but have a devastating effect on the others. Marking out such energy resources, which would replace oil and coal, as natural gas, nuclear power, wind and solar, biofuels and algae, hydrogen, and some other, which are unknown yet, he believes that the future competing technologies would define the fate of the nations. Therefore, the reason for the war will be not only profitability of the winners, but also the survival of the nations, unlike the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, which was entailed by the territory claims. Though the brutal conflicts, which took place between the European countries at the period from 1618 to 1648, have brought much bloodshed, which will not be brought by the energy contest, Klare draws a parallel between these two events because both should be momentous for the future. The struggle between the vital resources will cause the armed violence and, consequently, numerous environmental disasters on the planet. Another common feature between the two events is its endurance of thirty years, exactly this much are necessary for the experimental energy systems to fullscale the industrial development. Nevertheless, if the old “Thirty Years War” resulted in the Treaty of Westphalia it is difficult to predict the results of the new one. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the winners will profit enormously and define the way the people on the Earth will live while the losers will be disremembered.

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2. Concerning the text reading and the film, do you agree with Machiavelli that it is better for the Prince to be parsimonious, rather than generous? Feared or loved? Do you agree or disagree with his analysis of leadership with regard to our foreign policy towards Iran?

The power of the country is a great responsibility, and, I support Machiavelli’s idea that state leaders and politicians must consider the final result more important than the means. The actions of the ruler must contribute the overall goals on the national or international level rather than consider the details. Moreover, it is widely known that the better decisions are mostly made when the mind is cold and calculating; therefore, I believe that the ruler should always calculate the positive and negative aspects of the decision and, finally, make a decision. The emotions rarely lead to making the right choice; therefore, compassion and generosity are not good advisors for a leader. Moreover, I also agree that fear of punishment is more effective than love. If a diligent Christian must be generous and filled with love, it necessary to emphasize that such model of behavior is not appropriate to ruling a big country. Consequently, it is better for the Price to be parsimonious rather than generous and feared rather than loved. Such priorities are more likely to bring the country to stability and order, which is to be the main aim of the Prince. Love and respect of the population is less important. Nevertheless, it is worth to avoid cruelty if there is a possible way to do it, and the first aim should not be harmed because of it. Regarding the foreign policy of the US towards Iran, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the primary aim of the United States is to prevent the nuclear weapons falling into the hand of the terrorists. Iran is one of the most volatile regions in the world; therefore, if it gets the nuclear power, this nation can become even more aggressive and bring impunity to the cruel terroristic acts. Consequently, according to Obama it is appropriate to use the most crippling sanctions towards Iran and, to my mind, such position is right because on such example preventing the growth of terrorism and disposing it from the peaceful inhabitants must be the primary aim of the leaders.

3. Do you believe that Keohane’s use of the phrase “informal violence” is a useful alternative to the term terrorism? Has the term terrorism become too politicized to be useful as an analytical term? If so, why?

Acts of terrorism are shocking, hurtful and can influence different societies. One of such examples described by many researchers, among which one can find Robert Keohane, is the one, which took place in the US on September, 11, 2001. Numerous scholars try to find out the reasons, which can explain the terrorism and ways to avoid it. Referring to Keohane’s point of view, using the term “terrorism” does not contribute to the right representation of the problem. The term “informal violence” is used to free the notion of terrorism from the negative connotation, which hinders one to understand and analyze it properly. He marks out that this connotation makes people doubtful about highlighting the difference between terrorism acts as enemies’ ones and not their own ones. This proves that the term “terrorism” has become too politicized and negatively marked. At the same time the analytically neutral term “informal violence” is more likely to be defined as deliberately targeted attacks on civilians, aimed to frighten other people. Such definition pushes one to reflect on the reasons, which can possibly cause the above mentioned attacks. Robert Keohame, for instance, regards globalization as the factor, which carries terrorism while the underlying reasons can be not only cultural hate, but also jealousy to what the others have It is also important to pay attention to the implications of the formal and informal violence globalization as the formal violence one is profound for traditional foreign policy conceptions in the earlier generation while the informal one is peculiar for the latest attacks on the peaceful citizens. Moreover, the word “informal” in the chosen phrase acknowledges that the violence is not wielded by the formal state institutions, but is unexpected and sudden. Consequently, this highlights the difference between formal and informal actions and defines the origin of the terroristic acts as those of non-state actors.

4. How does Lenin explain the evolution of imperialism from capitalism?

The transition from capitalism to imperialism has happened in the end of the nineteenth century – beginning of the twentieth century. One of the most important features, which differs these two economic systems is free competition, which is a characteristic of the first one, and domination of the extensive monopolistic capital, which does not exclude, but complicates the free competition, in imperialism. According to Lenin the imperialism is not a new way of manufacturing, but a special, “high” stage of capitalism. The basic capitalistic manufacturing methods are also efficient in imperialism, but some new essential features appear. The first is the concentration of production and of capital has attained the level, where the monopolies, which play a definitive role in the economic life of the country, are created. The second feature is that bank capital shares with the industrial one, and, as a result, a new financial capital of the financial oligarchy appears. One more definitive feature is that the export of the capital unlike the export of goods becomes exceptionally important by the monopolistic production. The next one is the division of the whole world by monopolistic unions of capitalists. The last definitive feature is that the territory division by the biggest capitalistic countries is finished. Nevertheless, Lenin has finally come to the conclusion that imperialism can be regarded as a dying capitalism. The further historical events have proven that he was right about it. The main reasons of the decline of this economic system were the numerous contradictions, which have brought imperialism to the uttermost limits. The labors oppression by the monopolistic capital is the central contradiction of capitalism and, therefore, imperialism. The number of exploiters, who plunder and depress not only the working class, but also the middle class, the lower middle class, decreases while the number of the labor class increases. As a result, the young developing countries stand against the imperialistic ones; and the national liberation movement, which leads to imperialism decline, is originated.

5. According to Tickner, why does a feminist perspective on international relations continue to remain outside the mainstream of traditional approaches to IR theory? How would a feminist analysis of global terrorism differ from that of a realist?

According to Tickner’s view the gender discourses play a great role in creating the hostile atmosphere and reinforcing it in the world politics. Though some terroristic leaders labeled the US as “feminized”, the American citizens mostly do not think so. Moreover, many scholars and politicians even do not understand the gender theory properly and finally do not refer to it by handling the conflicts. Most of the conflicts on the international level are managed with “a masculine approach”, or “hegemonic masculinity” as Tickner calls it. The gender identity is mostly associated with an accepted type of behavior. Men are encoded to be reasonable, powerful, independent and strong; women should be vulnerable, weak, passive, and bring peace. These are the identifying characteristics, which are regarded by Tickner as unfair and erroneous. Such stereotype of masculine behavior does not coincide with the real one and the feministic approach tends to question such gender coding, which is taken for granted, but in reality is not the truth. The war in Iraq or the acts of terrorism are also regarded by her as a masculine approach. Though the military response is regarded as masculine approach, female representatives also supported this war. Nevertheless, the feminists doubt about comprehending the war with terrorism as the fight of the good against the evil. The dichotomous thinking is apprehended as quite problematic by the feminists as ambiguity is considered by them as quite dangerous. Regarding the terrorism from the feministic point of view it is important to emphasize that killing of innocent people must be brought to justice. Regarding the feminist geopolitics it important to mark out that the state security and militarization are regarded as the main point, which would help to keep peace in the country and as such approach is critical and does not provide a new political or geography theory, but the alternative view on the problems from another point of view.

6. Fukuyama contends in “The West Has Won” that radical Islam does not constitute a serious alternative to Western liberal democracy. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

According to Fukuyama’s view, which has been challenged by many scholars, the evolutionary process regarding liberal democracy and free markets is not going to bring the world to something larger than the end. This means that, as a result, only one system will dominate in the world politics, and this system is the modern western liberal democracy. I support his view, and find many of his arguments quite logical, philosophical, and, finally, correct. The existing economic systems are closely connected with the cultures of the countries; therefore, two different examples should be marked out – the Islamic and the Christian one. Regarding their opposition on the example of the modern US and Iraq society, it is essential to highlight that the representatives of the Muslim community are obviously more cruel, aggressive and inclined to terrorism. On the contrary, for the Christians democracy and sympathy towards others can be marked out as the highest values, which make people more kind and supportive.  As the most successful attacks on the global capitalism were evidently committed by the Islamic extremists “the clash of civilizations” described by Huntington is not likely to have place because two cultural groups, which are so different are not likely to co-exist in one community peacefully. Nevertheless, if the Muslims radically review their views, it is possible to change the lifestyle of their community. Regardless the success of the radical Islam in some cases, the representatives of it have no appeal to dispose the liberal form of living as nowadays there exist many examples, which prove that a great part of the younger Islamic generation already prefers to have a similar to western lifestyle. At the same time there exist no data about the American inhabitants, who support the behavior of the Muslim community representatives. Though many people do not support the policy of the US, this does not make them angry and violent, only sympathizing the soldiers, who go on missions and sometimes even the terrorists.

7. What are some of your thoughts and observations on the Weimberg / Ryan documentary? How does it support, or undermine, the tenets of human nature or cognitive theory?

The documentary “True Rarity: The Amazing Story of Irwin Weinberg” was based on the historical event of 1980 described inThe New York Times. It tells the story of the entrepreneur Irwin Weinberg, who followed his dream and built a profitable career on selling stamps. From the first view, the story seems to tell about a single individual and chronicles of his life, and a rare British Guiana stamp, which was finally sold for $850,000 from the auction. However, it becomes obvious that the film emphasizes the life experience of the main hero and shows that it finally had a global influence on other’s deeds. The cognitive theory emphasizes that the internal thought process is of great importance for the behavior of the person, in the same way the documentary acknowledges this idea. Therefore, one can follow not only that the reflections of Irwin Weinberg has brought him to success, but also that the example of his story gives birth to the other’s thoughts, as a result, inspires them to follow their dreams till the end and believe in luck. Showing how the man has built a career on selling various rare items and stamps let a person analyze how the plans can be fulfilled if one is ambitious and self-oriented. Consequently, it is possible to state that the documentary “True Rarity: The Amazing Story of Irwin Weinberg” depicts not only the story of some businessman, but human nature in general. It offers the view that people’s thoughts and, therefore, behavior and life are closely connected with various changes in the environment. Nevertheless, there exists self-control of a person, the inner world, which predetermines the behavior of an individual and the reaction on the outer-directed struggles and obstacles. Consequently, as it was shown in the documentary, the person makes the decisions according to his or her inner beliefs, and according to feelings as the main hero followed his dream, which shows that the documentary supports the cognitive theory of human nature.

8. What does author Robin J. Crews mean by the phrase “images of truth”? What are the fundamental values associated with peace studies?

Speaking about the peace studies comprehension at least three issues are of great importance: the prevention of war and violence, social change and community impact. The image of the world, which is more just and peaceful than the existing one, becomes a desirable eventual result of the studies. Referring to the international relations and sociology, peace movements and non-violent struggles become the means of fight against the negative social changes, wars, acts of terrorism, and must bring the positive results to the society and to its members. Nevertheless, the justice can not be ignored by these actions as it is one of the most fundamental values associated with peace. This concept is obviously very important when settling the conflicts, and makes one deal with the differences in views, beliefs between the individuals, and is closely connected with the notion of the moral obligations. Therefore, peace studies should to be aimed to contribute to people’s understanding of “good” and “bad”, and show how the peace is built. Moreover, it is important to differentiate between the notions of “negative peace” and “positive peace”, which separate the types of violence. According to Galtung the term negative peace is referred to the “direct” violence and the absence of war while the term positive peace is referred to the presence of social justice and absence of “structural” violence. According to Crews the same terms can be replaced by “essential peace” and “shadows of peace”.  He also believes that different kinds of conflicts are to be learned on both interpersonal and global levels; this is the best way to perceive the truth. As he read lectures on peace studies to the students, he regarded the images as the best educational method. Consequently, the issues of justice, human rights, peace making and conflict resolution were regarded and analyzed on the life examples of his students. Such education of the peace fundamentals through “images of truth” is quite effective and widely available.