POL S 203, Spring 2010
Introduction to International Relations
TA Reading Questions
Rise of the Modern State System
David Ziegler, "War in the Past," War, Peace and International Politics (Harper Collins, 1993), pp. 17-30.
1. Who were the "idealists?" How do the views of idealists differ from those of "realists?"
2. According to Clausewitz, does politics interfere with war, or is war nothing but violent politics?
3. Who was Bismarck? Was he sympathetic to the idea of the German nationalism?
4. "Great questions are solved by iron and blood." What's he talking about?
5. Did Bismarck view war as an end in itself or as a means to an end?
6. In the Seven Weeks' War, Ziegler thinks that Prussia's modern industrial technologies explain its victory over Austria. What were the new technologies and how did they contribute to the Prussian victory?
7. How did the Prussians treat the Austrians after the Seven Weeks War? And the French after the Franco-Prussian War. Why the difference?
8. What motivated Bismarck's selection of allies?
Felix Gilbert and David Large, "The quest for hegemony and world power," The End of the European Era: 1890 to the present (Norton, 1991), pp. 101-121.
1. Did the Great Powers believe in self-determination? Why?
2. How do Gilbert and Large explain the rise of "jingoism"? What factors contributed to the rise of the nationalism in the nineteenth century?
3. What connection do the authors make between nationalism and imperialism? Between "lesser breeds" and imperialism?
4. What were the two opposing blocs leading up to WWI: who was allied with whom?
5. What's driving all the complicated maneuvering for alliances and for advantage before WWI? What is the overall effect of the series of crises from 1905-1914? Don't get lost in the details.
6. What triggered WWI? Why did the Austrians react as they did to the assassination?
7. How important was German support to the Austrian decision to attack Serbia? And why did the Germans care what Austria did? Who was Germany most worried about?
8. How did the Russians react? How important was French backing to the Russians?
9. How did the British respond? What was the policy of the "free hand"?
10. What explains the initial response to declarations of war?
Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's burden".
1. According to Kipling, what was the "white man's burden"?
2. What reward did Kipling suggest the "White Man" gets for carrying his "burden"?
3. Did Kipling suggest that imperial powers should dominate and enslave the people in the colonies?
4. Are the ideas behind Kipling's poem relevant today? Should they be?
5. Do you think the poem is satiric or was Kipling serious when he wrote the poem?
Thucydides "The Melian Dialogue"
1. What role does fair play, justice, and morality play for the Melians? And for the Athenians?
2. Why did the Athenians prefer hostile relations with the Melians rather than neutrality?
3. Under what conditions can there be a just debate between two hostile parties?
4. The Athenian delegate stated that "It is a general and necessary law of nature to rule wherever you can." Is this true? Why did the Melians think it was possible to resist the Athenians? What third party may have altered the balance of power?
5. What is the value of honor and pride?
6. How do the Melians and the Athenians define a "rational" action differently?
7. What eventually became of the Melians? Should they have surrenderd?
8. Is it generally true in international relations that "the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they must?" Can you think of examples to support or contradict this Athenian view?
Robert Gilpin "The Theory of Hegemonic War"
1. What was Thucydides' contribution to the study of International Relations?
2. What is a stable international system? Why is it stable? What does Gilpin mean by systemic change?
3. What is a great or hegemonic war? How is it different from other wars? What determines the structure of the system? Who can change the structure of the system?
4. Does regime type matter? How did the differing character of the domestic regimes of Athens and Sparta affect their foreign policies?
5. According to Gilpin, what does Thucydides think humans are motivated by? Throughout history have people always been driven by the same passions?
6. What are the three hegemonic wars of modern times? What caused these wars and what were the consequences?
7. Has the nuclear revolution caused the theory of Hegemonic War to become irrelevant? What does Gilpin think?
8. For a Realist, has the fundamental dynamic of international politics changed since Thucydides?
Stephen M. Walt, "How not to contain Iran" in Foreign Policy (March 5, 2010).
1. What, in this context, is a "hawk"? What's the other bird commonly invoked in IR?
2. What is Walt worried about?
3. What are three or four reasons Walt thinks it's time to "chill" on Iran?
4. What's a "hair-trigger, forward-leaning approach to containment"? What's the problem with such an approach?
5. Is Walt right about how one should approach Iran?
6. What makes Walt a Realist?
Michael Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs"
1. What is the main question in this article?
2. What are the current contradictory legacies of liberalism? How can they be compatible in liberal societies?
3. What is the most essential principle of liberalism, and what are the three fundamental freedom rights generated by this principle?
4. What are the four major institutions that embody the essential principle of liberalism?
5. How do liberal states' domestic principles and institutions affect their foreign affairs? What are the consequences of "mutual respect" of the liberal rights in international relations?
6. What are the realist responses to the liberal peace? How does Doyle attempt to refute these arguments?
7. Doyle argues that most liberals have poorly explained the liberal peace. What are these explanations and why are they insufficient?
8. What is Immanuel Kant's main idea in "Perpetual Peace?" What are the three "definitive articles" of peace that guarantees the perpetual peace?
9. How does the liberal peace theory relate to anarchy?
10. Why is liberalism an "inside-out" theory?
Michael Doyle, "After the Freedom Agenda"
1. What are some differences between the inaugural speeches of President Obama and George W. Bush?
2. To what extent has the U.S. internationally promoted democracy in modern history? Why?
3. How much did George W. Bush attempt to spread democracy?
4. Internationally, how popular is democracy as form of governance?
5. What are some reasons that Doyle gives for why the U.S. should promote democracy?
6. Can you think of other reasons why the U.S. shouldor should notpromote democracy?
7. What does Doyle think about George W. Bush's style of promoting democracy? Does he provide a viable alternative?
8. In your opinion, should the U.S. be concerned with trying to promote democracy in the world?
Max Boot, "Neocon 101"
1. What are the origins of the neoconservative movement?
2. What is the difference between a neoconservative and a conservative?
3. How does a neoconservative view international organizations?
4. What does a neoconservative think about the liberal peace theory?
5. How do most neoconservatives view Israel? Why?
6. How have neoconservatives influenced U.S. foreign policy?
7. What is the significance of the Project for a New American Century?
8. Is a neoconservative more of a realist or a liberal?
9. To what extent do you believe that the neoconservative movement is still intellectually and politically viable.
K. Zilliacus, "Economic and Social Causes of War"
1. In what ways can WWI be seen as a "preventive" war?
2. What role did the mass public have in influencing their government's participation in WWI?
3. According to Zilliacus, why didn't the British government commit to the Franco-Russian alliance?
4. For Zilliacus, who are the beneficiaries of imperialism?
5. What does Zilliacus mean by "the plutocracy?"
6. What is the "Foreign Office?" What were its influence and views on foreign policy?
7. Zilliacus claims that the plutocracy and political leaders were not able to imagine an alternative to imperialism and war. Does this suggest the power of ideas?
8. How does Zilliacus' explanation of why states engage in imperialism differ from that of Realism and Liberalism? Which do you find most persuasive?
9. To what extent do you find Zilliacus' framework applicable to more recent conflicts?
10. How would you define imperialism? Does it exist today?
Cassidy, "The Return of Karl Marx"
1. How does the author describe Marx's "materialist conception of history?"
2. To what extent did Marx foresee the rise of "globalization"?
3. What does Marx have to say about the productive capacity of capitalism to generate wealth?
4. What is Marx's "theory of immiseration?" Is there any data to support this?
5. What is the surplus army of workers, and what is its role in a capitalist economy?
6. Who are the "bourgeoisie?" Who are the "proletarians?" How helpful do you find these concepts for understanding capitalism and international relations?
7. How does Marx view the state and politicians?
8. What similarities does Marxism have with Realism? With Liberalism?
9. Communism has failed to replace capitalism. To what extent does this historical fact undermine the credibility Marxism?
10.What's your interpretation of the last sentence of this article?
Leo Panich, "Thoroughly Modern Marx"
1. Why did Marx think that capitalist crisis would itself fail to bring about change?
2. What is the key to overcoming this social passivity?
3. According to Panitch, what should be done with the banks? Why?
4. Why shouldn't factories fire workers during an economic recession? Compare a likely Marxist solution to a liberal one.
5. Radical change depends on thinking ambitiously, but really, why bother when nothing anyone does is going to make a difference anyway?
6. Capitalism and inequality go together like pastrami and rye. So, for Marx, what's wrong with a little economic inequality?
World War I
Gordon "Domestic Conflict and the Origins of the First World War: The British and the German Cases"
This reading is difficult. The first few pages set-up the historiography. Fritz Fisher triggered a major reconsideration of the Origins of WWI. Instead of holding for the primacy of foreign policy, where states responded to the pressures of international anarchy, Fisher turned that on its head. He argued for the primacy of domestic politics. Gordon also argues for the primacy of domestic politics. For Gordon, WWI was caused not by bipolarity, or power transition, or a belief in the power of the offensive, but instead was caused by something else.
In part II, Gordon discusses British and German foreign policy and argues that Realist explanations cannot account for these policies. If the external environment can't explain it, what can? Were the domestic situations in Britain and Germany sufficiently different to explain their different foreign policies? He takes up this issue in Part III.
It is in Part IV that we get to the heart of the argument. Don't get lost in the detail; focus on understanding the basic parts of Gordon's argument.
Note: Weltpolitik means "world policy." It implies an abandonment of Bismarck's (post '71) status quo policy, and a turn to an adventurist foreign policy, where Germany insisted on having colonies, and focused more on national honor and prestige.
1. What are the main arguments of the traditional explanatory model of diplomatic history? How does Fischer challenge this model?
2. How did foreign policies of Germany and Britain differ from each other before the 1914? What would Giplin say about those policy differences from a hegemonic war theory perspective? Why the traditional model cannot fully account for those policies and their differences?
3. What was the parallel between Germany and Britain's domestic scenes before 1914? What were the crucial differences in domestic situations that separated "Edwardian England" and "Wilhelmine Germany"?
4. How did the German political elites and their British counterpart differ in their approaches to foreign policy?
5. What were the distinct patterns of industrialization in Britain and Germany? How did their respective pattern influence the foreign policy of each?
6. Why might a common national identity have important implications on both domestic and foreign policy? How do Britain and Germany differ in this regard? Which country had "the unsolved problem of national identity," and what impact did it have on foreign policy of that country?
7. What were the characteristics of governmental institutions in Germany that made its foreign policy different from that of Britain?
8. What historical variables interacted in determining the behavior of working-class, and what were the consequences of their interactions in shaping domestic politics of each country?
9. Compared to Gilbert and Large, what is distinctive about Gordon's view of the origins of the WWI? Is Gordon's argument Realist, Liberal, Marxist, or some combination of the three?
End of the European Era: Versailles to Munich
End of the European Era: Versailles to Munich
Ziegler, "Results of WWI" and "WWII," pp. 39-51.
1. What were the four main features of the Versailles Treaty?
2. What was the "war guilt" clause, and how did Germans react to it?
3. For Ziegler, why did the victors of World War I become "less and less interested" in enforcing the Versailles Treaty?
4. What was Hitler's strategy for rearming Germany? How was he able to pull it off?
5. "Give me that last piece of toast or I'll blow my brains out on your new suit." This captures what?
6. What is appeasement, and how is the Munich Conference an example of appeasement?
7. What explains Hitler's foreign policy toward Russia in 1939?
8. For Ziegler, why were the British able to hold out and win the
Battle of Britain?
9. Why didn't the US simply demonstrate the atomic bomb to Japan instead of dropping it over a city? Why drop it over a second city?
10. How did WWII change the structure of international politics?
Origins of the Cold War: the Bomb and Containment
X [George Kennan], "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," Foreign Affairs (July 1947).
George Kennan was the U.S. Ambassador to the USSR from 1944-46. This article is part of his Long Telegram from Moscow in 1946, and it laid the foundation for American Cold War policy.
1. What does Kennan mean when he says: "It is an undeniable privilege of every man to prove himself right in the thesis that the world is his enemy."
2. What does Kennan say are the sources of Soviet conduct?
3. Does Kennan think that antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union was determined by the bipolar international system structure, arose from innate ideological differences, or was necessitated by Soviet domestic needs to maintain power?
4. Kennan wrote that "least of all can the rulers dispense with the fiction by which the maintenance of dictatorial power has been defended." What was this fiction?
5. Doesn Kennan believe the US and the Soviet Union were trapped in a security dilemma?
6. What foreign policy does Kennan recommend for the United States? What does he say is not useful?
7. Did the Soviet Union experience similar consequences to late and rapid industrialization as did Germany? How did the Soviet Union handle them? Any other similarities between Gordon and Kennan?
8. What does Kennan cite as the vulnerabilities of the Soviet Union?
9. Was the Soviet Union the "weaker party" during the Cold War? Did U.S. policymakers think so?
10. Is Kennan more of a Liberal or a Realist?
Korean War and the Causes of the Cold War
Ziegler "The Cold War and The Korean War"
1. Why is the Cold War called the Cold War?
2. Why did Western powers accept Russian acquisition of the Eastern European states?
3. What was the "Truman Doctrine" and what was its significance? How did the US and the Soviet Union interpret the Truman Doctrine and how typical was this exchange between the two countries during the Cold War period?
4. What was the Marshall Plan?
5. What was the Berlin Blockade and what were its consequences?
6. What is bipolarity? Who joined the different blocks? How did the U.S. and the Soviet Union view non aligned states?
7. What are the different explanations for the Korean War?
8. What was Acheson's defensive perimeter ("the Acheson line")?
9. What was the key reason for China's involvement in the Korean War?
10. What policy changes did the US make in Asia as a result of the Korean War?
11. In what ways did the Korean War remain limited?
12. Is bipolarity stable or unstable? Why?
13. Was the Cold War system a betterthat is, more stable and peacefulthan the one we have today? Was it better than the pre-Cold War multi-polar system?
Gaddis "The Long Peace"
1. What is Gaddis's puzzle?
2. What is systems theory and how does the Cold war fit the criteria for "stability"?
3. What are the structural elements of stability in the postwar international system?
4. Does Gaddis believe in intentions or capability? What were the problems of the Versailles Treaty?
5. How did the settlements of WWI and WWII differ?
6. According to Gaddis, why is the postwar bipolar system more stable than the multipolar system?
7. Does Gaddis think interdependence is important for peace? Why or why not?
8. To what degree can domestic politics explain the stability of the Cold War?
9. Compare and contrast Gaddis' and Kennan's description of the Cold War. Which do you think is more accurate? Why?
10. What does Gaddis think of Kennan's analysis ("X" article)?
11. What are the behavioral mechanisms of stability?
12. What role did nuclear weapons play for the stability of the Cold War?
13. What is the "reconnaissance revolution" and what role did it play in the Cold War?
14. How important or unimportant is ideology in explaining the stability of the Cold War?
15. Why did the Soviet Union shift its position regarding ideological interests?
16. What was NSC-68? What were its immediate and ultimate objectives? Why did Washington disapprove of an unconditional surrender doctrine for the Soviet Union?
17. What were the key rules of the game between USSR and the US?
18. Is Gaddis a Realist, Marxist or Liberal?
The Gulf War and the New World Order
Eric Miller and Steve Yetiv, "The New World Order in Theory and Practice: The [G.H.W.] Bush Administration's Worldview in Transition."
1. What is the concept of the New World Order in the post Cold War period? How does it differ from the world order during the Cold War period?
2. What made the NWO possible?
3. How did G.H.W. Bush's understanding of the NWO differ from common understandings?
4. What are the three key dimensions of the new world order? Did they lead to a clear and well-planned policy?
5. Why was Bush determined to check aggression?
6. Why do Miller and Yetiv argue that "while the Gulf crisis offers the best case of collective security in history, it was not by any means pure collective security"?
7. Why did Bush prefer collective UN action, even though the US could have pursued a more unilateral approach?
8. Why did the US not remove Saddam from power in 1991?
9. Why did the Soviet Union not support Iraq, which was one of Moscow's key regional allies durring the Cold War?
10. How would realists, liberals and Marxists view Bush's new world order?
From Sarajevo to Kosovo : The War over the Remains of Yugoslavia
1. Who was Tito, and how did he manage to keep power over multiethnic Yugoslavia?
2. Who was Milosevic, and how did he come to power? What were the major national/ethnic groups in Yugoslavia at the time?
3. What was Milosevic's main political motivation?
4. Why was Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia more 'complex' than Slovenia's?
5. Stoessinger claims that "the most extensive single act of "ethnic
cleansing" in Bosnia was carried out by the United Nations" (226). What does he mean?
6. What were the main features of the 1995 Dayton Accords? How effective were they?
7. What were Milosevic's main goals in Kosovo?
8. How did international actors respond to the conflict? How might a liberal and a realist explain their responses?
9. What was Milosevic's "colossal miscalculation," and what were the consequences?
10. According to Madeline Albright, why Kosovo and not Rwanda?
11. What was the Hague Tribunal, and what were its findings?
12. What role did myth-making play in the conflict over Kosovo?
Rwanda and Darfur
Frontline, Triumph of Evil
1. What was the relationship between Hutu and Tutsi under Belgian rule?
2. What are the Arusha Accords? How did they play into extremists' plans?
3. What were the Hutu extremists' probable intentions in early 1994?
4. What was the UN's first reaction to the UNAMIR's suggestion to seize weapons from the Hutu extremists? What was the UN mandate? How important was "neutrality"?
5. What lesson or lessons should one draw from the Rwanda genocide?
6. How would Realists, Liberals, and Marxists explain the failure of action of the UN and other Western powers?
Samantha Power, "Bystanders to genocide: why the United States let the Rwandan tragedy happen," The Atlantic (September 2001)
1. Samantha Power identifies three potential explanations for the US failure to respond to the Rwandan genocide. What are they?
2. What were the Arusha Accords all about? What started the conflict that led to the Accords in the first place?
3. Who was Romeo Dallaire? How much support did he have from the
international community when he arrived in Rwanda?
4. What event served as the catalyst for the genocide?
5. What is the Somalia analogy? How did it impact extremists' plans, and how did it play into Western responses to Rwanda?
6. What were the three weaknesses of American diplomacy prior to the beginning of the genocide?
7. What was the primary mandate of the Belgian, French, and Italian troops' in Rwanda after the killing began?
8. To what extent were US officials aware that genocide was taking place in Rwanda?
9. Why, according to Power, did American officials shun the use of "the g-word"?
10. Was the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Rwanda ever considered?
11. What was the response to Brussels's request for "cover"?
12. How important was the use of radio in the genocide? What are some things that could have been done to stop radio broadcasts? What was the American response to these proposals?
13. Powers remarks, "What is most frightening about this story is that it testifies to a system that in effect worked." What were Clinton's three aims?
14. How do policy officials view their performance in retrospect? How likely do you think another "never again," in terms of incentive structures, national interests, and elite view of genocide?
Samantha Power, "Dying in Darfur," The New Yorker (August 30, 2004)
1. Who are the main ethnic/national groups in Sudan?
2. Where is Darfur? Who are the perpetrators and who are the victims of ethnic cleansing in the region?
3. What are 'janjaweed', and what role do they play in the conflict?
4. According to Samantha Power, what explains long-standing
hostilities between Africans and Arabs in Darfur?
5. Who are the Sudanese Liberation Army, and what are their political motivations?
6. Who is Musa Hilal, and what are his motivations?
7. Who is Omar al-Bashir? According to Power, what might explain his government's actions in Darfur?
8. How has the Sudanese government managed to deflect criticism from the US and the international community?
9. Power says, "Genocide is a crime based on intent" (13). Why is it so difficult to determine whether Darfur is a case of genocide?
10. What have been the fates of the victims of ethnic cleansing in Darfur?
11. What was Bill Clinton's approach to Sudan, and what motivated it?
12. What was George W Bush's approach to Sudan, and what motivated it?
13. For Power, what explains European inaction on Darfur?
14. Power wrote this article in 2004. What, if anything, has changed since then?
Pendergast and Ismail, "Genocide in Darfur: How Sudan covers it up"
1. How does the Genocide Convention define genocide?
2. In what ways do the authors say the Sudanese government is covering
up evidence of human rights crimes?
3. What is President Obama's approach to Darfur? How is it similar to
and different than the Clinton and Bush approaches?
Kennedy, "The Perils of Empire" (2003)
1. What parallels does Kennedy draw between Britain in the early 20th Century and the United States in 2003?
2. Why might democracy in the Middle East be a problem?
3. What are the hawkish intellectuals' plans, according to Kennedy?
4. What lesson does Kennedy believe Kipling's poem holds for Washington's leaders at the time?
Boot, "Liberal Empire Strikes Back" (2003)
1. What is liberal imperialism? What are some recent examples?
2. How does Boot view the history of US imperialism and the "White Man's Burden"? On the whole, was US imperialism something beneficial? Give some of his examples.
3. Marxists say US imperialism always driven by economic interests. Boot's response?
4. Can the US be an imperialist power on the cheap? Is it possible to get in, build democracy, and then get out quickly?
5. Why does Boot anticipate that US soldiers would commit "abuses" in Iraq and Afghanistan? What are the lessons he draws from the French in Algeria? (See the movie, "Battle of Algiers," which was shown to Pentagon officials very early in the Iraq war).
6. What are the three reasons for supporting liberal imperialism? How well do these apply in Iraq? In Afghanistan?
7. How are Europeans' imperial missions of the past different than
those undertaken by the US today?
8. Is Boot more a Realist, a Liberal, a Marxist, or something else?
Free Trade, WTO, Globalization
Robert Gilpin, "The Nature of Political Economy."
1. What does Gilpin mean by the "reciprocal interaction" between politics and economics?
2.What are the three prevailing perspectives of political economy? What are their general theoretical outlooks? How do these match-up to the theories used in our class?
3. Who will argue for "the cosmopolitan interest in a national form," and who will disagree? How will they differ in their understanding of the essence of international economic relations (hint: harmonious vs. conflictual; non-zero-sum game vs. zero-sum game)?
4. Who cares about income distribution and who doesn't? Why don't liberals care? Any difference between those who care?
5. Who are the major actors in the three theoretical approaches? How do their contrasting views in this regard relate to their differing conceptions of the nature of the state and public policy?
6. How do the different theoretical approaches address the relationship between politics and economics?
7. What is a "Pareto optimum" world?
politics is about relative gains." What does he mean by that? Does this formulation of the nature of politics deny cooperation among nations?
9. What does Gilpin's discussion of relative/absolute gains tell you about whether he is more of a liberal, a Marxist, or a mercantilist?
10. What does Gilpin mean by "power is more than physical capability"?
11. Who does Gilpin see as the primary actors in international politics?
12. Does Gilpin view an international order based on free trade as "natural and inevitable"? Why?
John Cassidy, "Winners and Losers" New Yorker (Aug 2004).
1.What is "outsourcing"? What is Mankiw's argument about outsourcing that sparked bipartisan criticism?
2.What are the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing? Identify the winners and losers of outsourcing.
3.What is Ricardo's idea of "comparative advantage" and how is it different from Adam Smith's "absolute advantage"? How can one use "comparative advantage" to rationalize outsourcing?
4. What happens when a very low wage economy begins competing with a very high wage economy? What happens as wage differences narrow?
5. What types of jobs are being outsourced most recently and what types are likely to remain "safe"?
6. What is the "factor-price equalization" theorem? Do you agree that "the downward pressure on American wages could become irresistible"?
7. For Ricardo, comparative advantage was endowed by nature. Is that still true? Give some examples.
8. According to Cassidy, what is a truly enlightened trade policy if the US is to meet the challenge posed by a truly global economy?
9. The California budget crisis means the entire UC system (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, etc) is being gutted. The same thing could happen at UW. How does this trend fit with Cassidy's solution to the challenge posed by outsourcing?
James Fallows, "China's Way Forward," The Atlantic (April 2009)
1. Is the China story more like the "Japan story," the "Soviet story," or neither?
2. Fallows says modern China is not a model that others might replicate. Can you think of anyone who apparently does view it as a model?
3. In what way does China today look like the US in the 1920sand with what implications?
4. What's the Smoot-Hawley Tariff act? How did other countries at the time respond to it? Fallows distinguishes between an "economic" effect and a "political" effect. Does this distinction make sense to a political economist (like Gilpin)?
5. Fallows says "the real counterpart to Smoot-Hawley would be Chinese protectionism." What protectionist measures are available to the Chinese?
6. By protecting its trade surplus (in part by keeping its currency artificially low), is China forcing its unemployment problems onto others? How so? Any economic and political implication?
7. In what way are the US and China unhealthy co-dependents?
8.What is the significance of the quote: "Do you understand how different this is? My mother has bound feet?"
9.When Chinese workers protest, who do they protest against?
10. Why does Fallows think China will come out of the economic crisis stronger than it was prior to the crisis?
Deborah Solomon interview, "Questions for Dambisa Moyo: The Anti-Bono," New York Times Magazine, February 19, 2009.
1. According to Moyo, what's wrong with celebrities championing the cause of Africa? Do you agree?
2. According to Moyo, why has China succeeded much more than African countries in reducing poverty?
3. Why does Moyo believe foreign aid explains poor African economic performance?
4. What is microfinance? Why does Moyo think it can lead to positive change?
5. According to Moyo, why would issuing bonds not work in Zambia?
6. Do you agree with Moyo that we should completely stop giving aid to
Africa? What are the immediate consequences of this view?
Jagdish Bhagwati, "Banned Aid: Why International Assistance Does Not Alleviate Poverty," Review of Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. Foreign Affair (Jan-Feb 2010)
1. According to Moyo, what is the "African Silence" and its consequence?
2. What are some customarily cited factors to account for the African regression? Does Bhagwati think aid is to be blamed for Africa's problems? If not, then what/who does he blame?
3. According to Bhagwati, why is Moyo's proposal of terminating aid within five years both impractical and unhelpful?
4. What is the altruism argument in support of aid? What's the problem with it? What are some reasons for providing aid based on enlightened self-interests? Why are they not effective?
5. What is the moral hazard faced by the World Bank? How does it affect the provision of foreign aid?
6. According to Bhagawati, why has India and China succeeded much more than African countries in reducing poverty?
7. According to Bhagwati, how could we make aid more effective?
8. Is Bhagwati a liberal, Marxist, or mercantilist?
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, "The Women's Crusade," NYT (8/23/09)
1. "Women and girls are the solution," to what?
2. What's the Kashf Foundation? Would Dambisa Moyo approve?
3. 107/108 to 100. Where did they all go? What happened?
4. Is "gendercide" hyperbole or does the term capture an important but largely unrecognized phenomenon?
5. Examples of "gender discrimination" in the developing world?
6. "The only thing worse than being exploited in sweatshops is," what? How do you suppose Kristof and WuDunn view "outsourcing"?
7. Why do microfinance organizations usually focus their assistance on women?
8. What is Kristof and WuDunn response to Moyo's criticism on foreign aid? According to them, when can aid work?
9. What does girls' education have to do with terrorism?
10. What is Kristof and WuDunn's three point plan for helping girls and women? Why address obstetric fistula?
Adam Hochschild, "Blood and treasure: why one of the world's richest countries is also one of its poorest," Mother Jones 35.2 (March-April 2010)
1. What is the "resource curse" in Congo in particular?
2. What does "a child heiress without a guardian" mean?
3. How did Congo become then the world's only privately owned colony?
4. On what kind of labor was the colonial economy based? Where did the labor come from? When did this phenomenon end?
5. Why did "the Congolese, ironically, enjoyed their highest standard of living in the decade or so before the colony won its independence in 1960"?
6. Who is Mobutu Sese Seko? How would you characterize his rule in Congo?
7. Who were the combatants in the war after Mobutu's overthrow and death? Which two neighboring countries supported militias in Congo? Why?
8. How is the Congolese army connected to the mining industry?
9. What kind of government do multinational corporations prefer in Congo? How do they manage to get mining agreements with the government? Who has more bargaining power? Why? Who is left out in these agreements?
10. How important is social responsibility to multinational corporations like AngloGold Ashanti in Congo?
11. Where do the profits of gold mining in Congo go?
12. Who are the freelance miners? How well do they get paid?
13. In general, what are the political, economic and social consequences of gold mining in Congo?
Marvin Soroos, "The Tragedy of the Commons in Global Perspective,"
1. What two events does Soroos identify in the 1970s as having an important impact on the environment as a global issue?
2. What is the "tragedy of the commons"?
3. How does the concept of a "free-rider" fit in with the tragedy of the commons?
4. What are some examples of global environmental issues that are analogous to the tragedy of the commons?
5. What four strategies does Soroos suggest in order to avert a global tragedy of the commons? What is the track record of these different approaches?
6. What are the four competing values for dealing with environmental issues? Which values do you think should have priority?
Barry Schwartz, "Tyranny for the Commons Man" The National Interest (July/Aug 2009)
1. What is the "tyranny of small decisions"?
2. How does "cap-and-trade" fit with a self-interest approach to addressing commons problems?
3. Familiar with these game-theory terms: one-shot, iterative, defect, start out nice.
4. Why is cooperation easier in an iterative game than in a one-shot game?
5. What do "naïve realism" and "reactive devaluation" have to do with reaching international agreements on climate change?
6. If it is true that people hate losing more than they love winning, then how does that complicate negotiations in multi-option games? (And is it true? Given a choice between a sure gain of $900 and a 90% chance of $1,000, what would you do? Or, given a choice between a sure loss of $900 and a 90% chance of a loss of $1,000 (but a 10% chance of losing nothing), what would you do?)
7. If people hate to lose more than they love to win, then how can environmentalists "frame" problems to their advantage?
8. What is "psychic numbing"?
9. What is "American exceptionalism" and why does Schwartz view it as a problem?
Identities: Conflict and Cooperation
Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72/3 (Summer 1993).
1.Summarize the gist of Huntington's hypothesis about global politics in the new world.
2.What are the three previous phases in the evolution of conflicts that preceded the conflicts between civilizations?
3.How does Huntington define civilization? Is it an objective term, a subjective term, or a combination? Name the seven or eight civilizations he mentions. Do you agree with Huntington's categorization? Is there any other civilization you would add?
4.What are the six reasons that Huntington offers as to why we should expect a clash of civilizations? How significant is religion's role in this clash?
5.Can you think of recent/current international conflicts that support/refute Huntington's hypothesis?
6. What are the fault lines in the clash of civilizations? What does the quote "The Velvet Curtain of culture has replaced the Iron Curtain of ideology as the most significant line in Europe" mean?
7.What is "kin-country syndrome"? What are some evidences of it?
8. How do non-Westerners see the new world after the Cold War?
9. What is "universal civilization"? Does Huntington think it is possible to achieve? What strategies are available for non-Westerners to respond to the promotion of this universal civilization?
10.What are the three exemplary "torn countries"?
11. What is the Confucian-Islamic military connection? What's its main goal? Is it sustainable?
12. What are the implications of this clash of civilizations for Western policy?
13.How is Huntington's civilization paradigm similar/different with the Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism?
Interview with Samuel Huntington, "A head-on collision of alien cultures?" NYT (10/20/2001).
1.Is the US' War against terror' a clash of civilizations?
2. How does Huntington explain the fact that people involved in fundamentalist movements are often educated?
3. According to Huntington, does Islam promote violence? Is Islam more violent than Christianity?
4.What is the paradox that the US confronts in promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East?
5.Why did Russia support the war against terror? Does it have to do with its redefinition of civilization identity? Or out of interests?
6."If I want to call Europe, what number do I call?" What does this statement by Kissinger mean?
7. In general, do post 9-11 developments support Huntington's theory or contradict it?
Justice and Human Rights
Katzenstein & Snyder, "Expediency of the Angels" (March/April 2009)
1. What impact have human rights advocates had on state behavior?
2. How do the authors characterize U.S. public opinion on human rights? Do you agree? Do you think the same is true for public opinion in most countries?
3. What social dilemmas tend to undermine human rights efforts?
4. Do you agree with the authors that Realists have "rarely prevailed for long" in the U.S. because they lack attractive ethical appeals to human rights? Do Realists have ethics?
5. What is "naming and shaming" and to what extent is it effective?
6. What impact do grass roots activism, signing treaties, and monitoring have on human rights?
7. What are "spoilers" and how should they be dealt with?
8. How do communities find themselves locked in a "perverse-equilibrium trap"? What are three examples of this? Can you think of some examples specific to the U.S.?
9. What happens if human rights activists overlook the role of perverse-equilibrium traps?
10. What are some ways in which human rights activists can attempt to get communities out of these traps?
11. Citing a Chicago Council survey, the authors state that "the number-one foreign-policy priority is to raise America's standing in the world," and they argue that to do this the U.S. must focus on human rights.Do you agree with their argument? Do you think most Americans would agree?
12. The authors suggest compatibility between Realism and human rightsdo you agree with their statement? To what extent do you think national strategic interests overlap with the promotion ofhuman rights?
13. Why did they call the article, "expediency of the angels"?