These are some questions students have written down in past class lectures, and which I promised to address in writing myself (as time permitted). The questions are not necessarily related to the lectures or other class activities, but do have some bearing on international relations and politics. I do this as a way of sharing ideas with them and encouraging them to think. The public nature of the dialog is necessary so that other students and faculty may be encouraged by example (fond hope anyway). Amendments to some of my orignal response are shown in blue. Links will occasionally be found to class materials or sources I happen to think of as I respond. Questions of a personal nature are not responded to in this forum.
|Student's question||My answer|
|1/15||Jennifer: What exactly is this class about? What will I take away from this class after it is over?||Perhaps the most important things you should take away from this class are
|1/15||Molly: If new political "ideas" are taken as "noise," then how does democracy, for example, survive in a country, rather than succumb to dictatorship or something else?||Boy do I wish I knew what you meant! :-) Anyway, here's a shot: I'm going to first rework the question in terms I understand: if new political viewpoints are treated with indifference and contempt rather than afforded enough respect to at least be the occasion for dialog and debate, won't that cause the gradual deterioration of democracy into something less responsive to the needs of humanity? My understanding is that democracy as a system doesn't so much require respect for competing viewpoints as the opportunity for those with those viewpoints to take political action. Majorities may not care for the opinions of minorities, for example, but nevertheless must permit those views to be heard. If political action is surpressed with state power or by others with tacit approval or complicity of the state, it just leads in the long run to political instability and internecine warfare--not always, not consistently, but that's the "drift" over the long run. |
|1/22||Thomas: What is your grading policy?||Woops! A page I have on the subject should have been linked to my new homepage for the course. It now is; you'll find it there, or you can go to my grading policies page here.
|1/22||Casey: What are realists?||I think my lecture notes on realism and my notes about Morgenthau on realism pretty well give the standard answer. If they don't answer your question, make a note of it and give me some detail that I can respond to in greater depth. As for myself, I place the realist perspective in the drift strategy context (see my GDA model generally).|
|1/22||John: What is a bourgeois society as mentioned in Ch. 10 of Stoessinger?|| I have an old Funk and Wagnalls dictionary that has been with me since I was sixteen. Reading it was one of the ways I learned the vocabulary I needed in order to think and communicate. I highly recommend the strategy. It is in fact where I first learned the meaning of the word bourgeoisie (I can still remember looking it up!!!). Enjoy.
bourgeois - adj. Of or pertaining to the commercial or middle class, as distinguished from the nobility or from the working class; used by some writers as signifying uncultivated; ill-bred; common. - noun 1 A citizen; a member of the commercial or middle class; a townsman; tradesman. 2 A 14th-century coin. 3 In radical circles, anyone who owns property.Funk and Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary of the English Language. 1956: Funk and Wagnall's Company, New York.
|1/22||In other words, pS-SJ-R have an inverse relationship to each other?||Two of the three relations, pS-R and R-SJ, are inverse; the SJ-pS relationship is not. Consult my note on political stability for more detail.
|1/22||Do you personally think international relations developed to put forth policies for economic benefits for capitalist nations? i.e.., one market is dangerous, so move to others as a back-up for ambitious entrepreneurs?||Not in an exclusive sense and not in the context to which you apparently refer. What I do think is that survival and security (anticipated survival) are fundamental values that most national leaderships most of the time concern themselves with. And I think that most, most of the time, use the resources of wealth and power to assure these fundamental values as best they can. This is independent of any considerations of who their support groups are (in Easton's sense), e.g., whether they are capitalists, bourgeoisie, or military, industrial, or religious elites, or "average people." As to "backup" strategy you refer to, it was common among Marxists to think that "capitalism" would eventually run out of markets to milk dry and then turn on themselves in some form or another of capitalistic cannibalism. What I think is that we all live in humanly created and continually transformed systems that at any point in time present constraints and opportunities which we then use to "follow our bliss" (a quote from Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth). "Capitalism" is only one of many categories of systems through which wealth and power have been and continue to be used to such ends. As to modern international relations, one of the chief ingredients of this "new world order" is the complex dynamic represented by Hughes checklist of policy dilemmas: recall growth vs. equality? progress vs. sustainability? and peace vs. security? The pursuit of any of these goals isn't limited to "capitalist nations." The IMF, WB, WTO, and UN, for instance, contain nations quite different from each other regarding "capitalism," yet work through them to communicate their own concerns and ambitions. Their principal creators were indeed "capitalist" in a sense, but yet were also socialist (most Europeans) or "welfare economies" (the USA), and "democratic." Don't worry; we'll be discussing these and related topics throughout the course.
|1/22||Kristen: What is the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?||I knew sooner or later someone would ask me this! One of the reasons I like to answer questions in this medium is that it affords me a chance to think about things without having to waste everyone's time watching me think. Here's what I think I think right now about that subject. First, I note that not even the ambitious political dictionary project dares tackle the question; I searched this online dictionary in vain for an answer! Second, I found the History Guy site to have some nice links to what the Democratic Party and Republican Party have to say about themselves through their respective national committees. Second, my favorite quote of all time on this question is from an MIT professor become satirist, Noam Chomsky. Recalling from memory now (I'll find the accurate quote and citation eventually): "There is only one party in the United States, the Business Party; it has two factions, the Republicans and the Democrats." My guess is that the argument can be found somewhere in Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, Manufacturing Consent (1988: Pantheon Books, N.Y), although David G. Guyatt says that Chomsky credits C. Wright Mills with the observation. Third, let's use a football analogy: what's the difference between this team and that? Answers will include the coaches, the players, the strategies, the histories of each. But at the risk of simplification, people like me would say that what is much more important are the rules of the game and how football makes a bundle of cash for its investors, and even more importantly what the overall impact is of keeping a whole lot of people rivited to the media rather than getting an education and exercising personal judgment over how they themselves spend their time and money! One might call that "following your bliss," but some people's "bliss" seems informed only by mythological entities and quixotic characters (did you hear that Rep. Henry Hyde's favorite entertainment to prepare him for the Senate impeacement hearings was "The Man from La Mancha?"!). But the issues implied here are far broader and deeper than we have time to discuss here.|
|2/3||Casey asks: what is the "Bay of Pigs?"||A body of water in Cuba and the site of a USA-backed counter-insurgency attempt to overthrown Castro. See your Stoessinger texts for details.|
|3/?||Ricky asks: I want to know why Japan can get away with war crimes in WW II. Do you think Japan will ever apologize to China? (Rape of Nanking) It makes me very angry that those so-called Japanese "historians" can just lie about the past. For example, they say the Chinese exaggerated the actual number of casualities in Nanking. How can people (even Japanese) tolerate their behavior?||Let approach this in a number of different ways. First historically, there is hardly a nation on Earth that has not behaved similarly on a scale commensurate with their technologies of war. Think for instance, of the European settlers of the North American continent and their treatment of the roughly two thousand native American tribes, or the Belgians in the Congo. Check out Rummel or Gurr for more gory details. Apparently, atrocity rates have more to do with type of government at a structural level, and as Stoessinger points out at the social- psychological level, our prejudices and how they can be used to dehumanize and stereotype others. Second, "blame" in international relations serves a political function, meaning nations do not do "the right thing" for its own sake. There is usually a political motive, which is to say an "instrumental" purpose, not simply an "expressive" one. Please recall Maslow for a checklist of basic needs/purposes. Third, Japan (Prime Minister Obuchi) has apologized at least to Korea, albeit too little too late from some Korean perspectives (see this reference also); I don't know if they've done anything similar with the Chinese, but I think a similar occasion will present itself soon. Do they need to? I think so. You can read my views in my essay for KINU.|
|3/?||Dean P. asks: how is a leader such as Sadam Hussein able to stay in power. Given that he destroys people close to him and plays factions against each other, I find it hard to see how he still can stay in power.||You've answered you own question to an extent (in your "given"). Take a lesson from Michael Oksensberg, former president of the East-West Center. Speaking on Bob Reese's "Island Issues" (Sundays, 2 p.m., KHPR) show some time ago, when asked who the next premier of China would be, he replied that he didn't know but whoever would be would have to have the following four characteristics: (1) have a lust for power, (2) be absolutely ruthless, (3) have a vision for his country, and (4) have a dedicated group of like-minded followers. (Hope I remember it right, Michael; if not please email and correct me.) [to be continued]|
|3/12||Casey asks: Chiang Kai-Shek was mentioned as non-communist in the Nations at Dawn book. Then how is Mao Tse-Tung involved in this?||Read on! Stoessinger has a good review of the splits between Sun Yat-Sen, Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Tse-Tung.|
|3/17||Jin-yi asks: "do you see any possibility of unification of Korea? Why? How soon?||As you know that is a very hot issue. I wrote an essay for KINU that pretty much gives my views on this subject; and I have a bookmark file which gives you the references I used to write the essay after doing a variety of web searches. Briefly, I judge the likelihood to be large enough to pursue with some definite policies (discussed in the essay), but the "when" part depends not on the "drift state" but on the interaction of policies. Plainly put, it's a choice, not a forecasted event, whether the two will reunite; to me it's not a question of fate but of leadership (recall Bogee?).|
|4/12||Ian asks: could you further elaborate on commission and omission? What are the inherent categories of each in terms of war?||I think you are referring to two different discourses. Errors of commission are those in which you do or think something that is wrong in some sense; errors of omission are those in which you fail to think or do something that you in some sense should have. In terms of war, using Stoessinger's viewpoint, an "error of commission" would be underrating your opponent (even defining another leadership group as an opponent; we tend to exaggerate; see Jervis). A typical error of omission would be to ignore information readily available--throw it out because it doesn't fit the pattern we all too often superimpose on data--usually leading to an error of commission, such as ignoring Chinese warnings that they would enter the war against North Korea, because it didn't fit our understanding of either China or its military capability relative to our own.|
|4/12||Ian also asks: what were the people of China's initial responses to Mao's takeover?||Joy for the most part (in my understanding). Land for instance, was redistributed to peasants. The "elite," meaning the educated, the well-to-do merchants, the landed "aristocracy," were another story; they fled, mostly to Taiwan. As time went on, however, the communist bureaucracy treated the peasants much as those whom they replaced (the so called "Great Leap Forward" of collectivization). Another decade went by and things got even worse with the "Great Cultural Revolution"--I'd say great cultural devolution. I once was walking in a park outside Beijing with a former "Red Guard" who said to me: "the Cultural Revolution? We overdid it. Now I have to go back to school because when I was a young Red Guard I wasn't in college; I was arresting professors. So I didn't learn to write well and I learned nothing of agriculture. Now I have to go back to school. It was a mistake." And another one told me a story of a hard working family that was accused of hoarding gold, "so we beat them up (the whole family) and demanded to know where the gold was. When we couldn't beat it out of them, we tore down their little house, piece by piece, and found nothing. There was no gold. Then we were told that we were misled by a jealous neighbor's false accusations. So we left." End of story. Nor restitution, no apology, no follow up, no one to complain to. Yeah, they overdid it all right. So after Mao, Dung found a ready and willing populace to try economic freedom.|
|4/19||Ian asks, "who, if not the USA, will be the next 'system' related to what the NWO will be?||I suppose you mean who will be the next "hegemon" or world leader in the world system? Some think it will be China, some a reconstituted western alliance (essentially the current NATO countries). Others don't rule out Russia if they can ever get their act together--by far the richest country on Earth mineralogically speaking, and with a vast Siberian plain that could feed the world if global warming continues to extend their crop growning season. Some think India with the largest middle class on Earth. No one (including me) really "knows." Remember the goal-drift-actual distinctions and what I said in my essay on Alternative Futures near the bottom. "Drift" models such as IFs can only tell you the same sorts of things a flowing river can when you get in a rowboat. As soon as you start changing policy (rowing), the world changes, at least for you. And there are just too many things that "could" happen to examine all possible scenarios. I think someone once said that there are more possible ways to rearrange a human gene than there are atoms in the universe! So I'm not into long term "forecasting" but rather into "GDA" thinking.|
|4/21||many ask: what is my current letter grade?||I don't add 'em all up until the end. On the exams you can figure it out easily: just take 10% off the maximum grade; that's the cutpoint for an A. Each 10% down is the next cutpoint for a B, C, D, and F. As to the essays, I'll give everyone in class a sheet with their essay grade components (bookmarks, policy position, evaluation) near the end of the semester so they all know.|
|4/?||Jennifer writes: "Prussia/Prakrity...is this something you read about? Where? How does it relate to what we're studying? You mentioned it in your lecture on 3/17, "bomb 'em back to Prakrity..."?||Funny what people focus on! It was a joke with a point, but it took some explaining. I got the insight from Havoor T. Behanan's Yale thesis, published as a book, Yoga: a Scientific Evaluation back in the 1960s. In some Hindu mythology, perusha is soul and prakriti is the space-time-matter-energy universe; the myth goes that both were stable and dynamic, but when they came in contact somehow, they both exploded. Perusha was all torn up, but being indestructible and having a tendency to coalesce, it started clumping. Now it finds it easier to clump in complex atoms and molecules. Hence people have more soul than a rock. So as the universe expands, perusha coalesces, and at some point gathers enough of itself together to gather the rest of itself and break free of the universe to go off doing whatever it likes "to do" (if that term still applies in some sense to an entity outside space-time-matter-energy), leaving the universe to implode on itself back to a state of prakriti. I'd assume in Chinese mythology that their equivalent of prakriti is the Tao. "Bomb 'em back to prakriti!" was a joke intended to convey that some people, like the "better dead than Red [communist]" variety, are willing to sacrifice the whole universe if need be, for their cause. No sense of proportion. And there's the connection. Over and over again Stoessinger points out the narrowing of vision causing misperception and tremendous loss of life brought about by our prejudices and fears (see also Jervis). -- What's in a joke, eh?|
|4/28||What is the process for controlling a CEO? Does he get reassigned to another position?||If the CEO isn't in class and otherwise not participating in the simulation in a timely fashion, simply reassign the roles among those who are present, by concensus; in the real world, those that don't pull their own weight and maintain their relationships with others, get the short end of the stick. Showing up is 90%, remember? When they resume participation, they can either accept the role the group as assigned them or negotiate with me to do something else. The main point is that those who show up are in control.
If the problem is more than not showing up, the CSO must make a decision not to support the CEO. When that happens, the CSO should see me for details. This is not a fixed process. Different countries and the same country under different situations, have many different processes (some "illegal" or chaotic, some rigorously procedural) for regime and/or government change. See my discussion of political stability.
to be continued (and occasionally amended)
I created this page January 15, 1999 and last amended September 28, 2000.
Copyright © 2000, Richard W. Chadwick / Students: email me at email@example.com