Thirty Years War
Michael Klare describes what he calls a new “Thirty Years War” that is now developing and has similar outlines of the earlier conflict (1618 – 1648) discussed in the class. What are some of the similarities and differences between to two?
Thirty Years’ War is a period in history when Europe was absorbed in the series of ruthless conflicts. It was a kind of battle between new nation state and imperial system of governance. Frankly speaking, a great amount of scientists believe that today’s system of national states was gained in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. Michael T. Klare admits that in future our life will in some cases depend on the major forms of energy. We are entering the period in which the question of energy will be understood as a climate chaos, because fossil fuels are degenerating. Michael T. Klare tried to emphasis that today’s society embarks a new Thirty Year’s War, but this war will not have such tremendous results of bloodshed as in 1600s. Nevertheless, there are some similarities and differences between the Thirty Years’ War of 1600s and a new war appearing in today’s world.
Originally, the roots of the Thirty Years’ War in 1600s were connected with the conflict of Protestants and Catholics, but then the problem of balance of power in the Empire was the main purpose of the war. Nowadays, the problem of the major energy is the main cause of the new war. Our planet needs a new system of the organization of the energy needs, because, according to Michael T. Klare, alternative energy system cannot fully replace the fossil fuels at today’s rate of consumption. Thus people should put more afford in the developments of this resources. As we can see, the origin of these two wars is quite different. Moreover, the mentality of the societies in 1600s and nowadays is quite different. Modern society is absolutely absorbed in the information revolution, and the appearance of new technologies change the world and mentality of the people. I guess that the main similarity of two wars is its consequence – the devastation of the entire regions and, in some cases, countries.
To sum up, the new Thirty Years’ War is the war for energy pre-eminence, while the Thirty Years’ War was the war of the internal politics and the balance of power. Nevertheless, though the purposes of the wars are different, the consequences are similar and tremendous.
Concerning the text reading and the film, do you agree with Machiavelli that it is better for The Prince (the United States) 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 United States has considerable interests concerning the Middle East. The USA wants to keep control of Iraq, its continuous developing, democratic institutions and reintegration. Frankly speaking, the USA interests in Iraq are obvious. The main concern is energy, especially the accession to it. The other interest is counterterrorism cooperation and the integration of the country into the world market. Nevertheless, the USA should point out for itself the main method of influence on this country and spheres of leadership towards Iraq in order to get all possible benefits of this country.
I guess that the work of Machiavelli The Prince is an excellent guidance for the USA, which will help to take under control of the situation in Iraq. Frankly speaking, the decision to focus world attention to Iraq as one of the dangerous countries in the world, which pose threat to international peace, came after the accident on September 11, 2001. The USA government leads the campaign against terrorism, which can be won by successful building of the international coalition. Personally, I think that the rules which are described in The Prince are the keys to the successful governance of Iraq. Machiavelli pointed out the main ways of action of the state in order to possess power. I think that the USA should choose a more severe way of governing, because only in such a way the control of the other country will be effective. Machiavelli recommends the following ways of behavior for princes, “It is better to be stingy than generous; It is better to be cruel than merciful; It is better to break promises if keeping them would be against one's interests; Princes should choose wise advisors and avoid flatterers” (The Prince). I believe that these ways of leadership are the most essential for the USA.
To sum up, the interest of the USA in Iraq will grow year by year. Moreover, the USA will find all possible ways to spread its power on all regions of this country. I believe that if the USA uses the guidance of The Prince, it will succeed in the distribution of its power.
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?
Keohane made a great contribution into the development of the theory of terrorism. Moreover, he studied political violence in the analysis of theories of international relations. He took the event of September 11 to illustrate the drawbacks of such international relation theories as liberalism and realism. He used the term “informal violence” to entrap debates surrounding terrorism. Frankly speaking, his interpretation of the “informal violence” as an alternative term to terrorism greatly appeals to me.
Keohane admitted that the event of September 11 demonstrated the influence of the information revolution on the informal violence. It means that informal violence became globalized as the atomic revolution globalized he state violence in 1950. Keohane believed that the threat of informal violence redefines the theories of international relations commence of power. In some cases, power is considered as an asymmetry of interdependence, while informal violence uses an asymmetry of vulnerability, resulting alternatively in dual asymmetries of information and belief.
Frankly speaking, informal violence is understood as violence of non-state actors; it is not held by the state institution, and it is not announced in advance. Such violence becomes quickly globalized when systems of non-state actors act on the intercontinental basis. As a result, the acts of force in one country may be initiated and checked from all possible points of the globe. Concerning this information, I can certainly say that informal violence is an alternative term to terrorism.
Speaking about the term ‘terrorism’, I suppose it really has become too politicized. Today’s authorities consider terrorism as a horrible weapon in the modern era; that is why, they use it against its own people. It is a good way to intimidate and add fear to the poor people on the earth.
To sum up, nowadays terrorism can be observed as a form of globalization. In turn, ‘informal violence’ as an alternative term to ‘terrorism’ is globalized as well. I believe that informal violence wholly describes all aspects of terrorism theories of the recent years.
4. How does Lenin explain the evolution of imperialism from capitalism?
Originally, the term “imperialism” came from the British word “empire”, which was used to describe the contest between European states to guard the colonies and spheres of influence in Africa and Asia. Moreover, this term was used to demonstrate the international politics from the 1880 till 1914. Later this period was called “the age of the imperialism”. This phenomenon became very popular among economists, and they started learning it. Moreover, some economists tried to set up their own theories of imperialism. One of such economists was Lenin, who described all features of imperialism and its further development.
Lenin carefully studied the previous works concerning “imperialism”, and the most important for his studies was a book Imperialism: A Study written by the British economist John Atkinson Hobson. Lenin emphasized that it "gives a very good and comprehensive description of the principal specific economic and political features of imperialism". Lenin believed that “imperialism” was a new development that had been expected but not yet described by Marx. He emphasized that imperialism is a monopoly stage of capitalism, it is the highest and the last stage of the development of capitalism.
Lenin pointed out the main features of imperialism as a stage of capitalism: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves; and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed” (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism). All these stages show the development of capitalism. Moreover, they emphasize the transformation of free competition into monopoly, the logical outcome of capitalism.
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?
Nowadays, the role of women in the problems concerning international politics is limited. That is why, we can rarely see women at different meetings of the world leaders. When important issues are discussed, the participants are only men. Frankly speaking, women themselves have a great amount of thoughts and ideas on how to lead international politics and how to maintain peace in the world.
I believe that women have their own perspectives on politics, peace building and human needs. They carefully analyze the consequences of some events and everyday violence in the world. They suggest effective methods of struggle against violence in the modern world and, as a result, it leads to the just and lasting peace in the entire world.
Speaking about the feminist perspectives on international relations, it can be concluded that they increased in the recent years, but actually the relation between feminist and international relation scholars remained unchanged. There is a kind of misunderstanding between feminists and scholars; they have different views on international issues. Moreover, feminists and IR scholars frequently talk about different worlds and use different methodologies to understand them. I think that the problem of gender discrimination plays one of the leading roles in misunderstanding. Men cannot accept the fact that women are more peaceful than men, and if women rule the world, it will be less violent. The recent researches show that in several peace processes only a small percentage of them were formed by women and, as the result, women’s problems and needs are not fully resolved. I think that feminists are eager to change our world; they have another view on today’s world. They believe that a great percentage of conflicts are influenced by the problems of gender hierarchies which, in turn, result into inequality and oppression. There is one opinion which says that war appears in the societies with gender inequality.
In conclusion, it should be admitted that women have rights to participate in international meetings concerning the problem of international politics and peace as well. Moreover, their attitude and thoughts towards political issues may be useful for the prosperity of the world.
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?
A great majority of people believes that Islam is a peaceful religion and those who commit violence in its name are simple bigots who distort the fundamental principles of Islam. Nevertheless, this statement does not attract serious public attention. Frankly speaking, the Westerners try to understand this religion. Still, it is difficult, because actually Islam is something bigger than religion – it is a system of government. Islam never distinguishes between religion and politics. Moreover, Islamic laws control all parts of human lives, namely religion, politics, and personal action. They dominate the world, and what is more they are a form of totalitarianism. Despite this powerful religion which operates all spheres of human lives, I believe that radical Islam does not constitute serious alternative to Western liberal democracy.
There is a kind of Muslims’ hatred towards the politics of the USA, but actually Americans sometimes disagree with the US policies as well. Nevertheless, this hatred does not send Americans in the boost of anger and violence, but the same cannot be said about Muslims. In my opinion, they think that with the help of terrorism and violence, including the destruction of the towers, America will get what it deserves. Actually, those people who decide to become hijackers and commit suicide in the name of religion are only the pawn in the hands of the governing authority. They pass away and take lives of the others only in order to show disapproval of their native country politics, and innocent people suffer from this disfavor. That is why I think that political Islam is not a serious alternative to Western liberal democracy, because for Muslims political Islam is a kind of abstract notion. After the rule of the fundamentalist clerics, people themselves want to live in a more liberal society. Thus, Francis Fukuyama said that “Anti-American hatred does not translate into a viable political program for Muslim societies to follow” (The West Has Won. Radical Islam Can't Beat Democracy and Capitalism. We're Still at the End of History).
To conclude, I consider Islam to be one of the main religions in the world, but I think that this religion is too involved in the political affairs. Moreover, the negative position to America and the other countries badly mirror on the prosperity of Muslims society.
7. What are some of your thoughts and observations on the Ryan documentary? How does it support or undermine the tenets of human nature or cognitive theory?
Our life is a unique gift, which we received from God when we appeared in the world. Through years, we are very often disappointed in our lives with different problems and obstacles being the main reasons for our frustration. As a result, the strongest of us keep on going ahead and fighting with them, while the others simply give up and try to find themselves in taking drugs or alcohol. Those people even become poor and find it difficult to earn enough money for a living. There is a good example of a man who was suffering from different problems, and they left scars on his body. This man is Ryan who made a short film about the making of himself. This film brought him glory.
I think that the film is an excellent example of cognitive theory. As humans are logical beings, they may think over their behavior. Moreover, they may make choices that make the most sense to them. Cognitive theories try to explain the behavior of human beings by understanding the processes of thought. Personally, I suppose that in this short film the animator shows all possible tenets of human nature. I believe that everyone is an individual that has a personality, emotional and physical strength. Moreover, one has concrete goals, which are meaningful for him and which one wants to achieve. In this film, the animator depicts all these factors which fully describe the behavior of human beings. Furthermore, he also emphasizes that human behavior wholly depends on the environment and people around. In my viewpoint, the main purpose of this film is to show that each individual has a target in the world and pursuing the target is the essential part of fulfillment. Nevertheless, not every individual reaches his/her purpose; some circumstances stop him/her and, as a result, he/she simply gives up.
In conclusion, I want to admit that Ryan is a good sample of the explanation of human behavior. Furthermore, it shows us the possible consequences of human life if one simply gives up on the way to success. I believe that each of us after watching this film will change the attitude towards life.
8. What does the author Robin J. Crews mean by the phrase “images of truth”? What are the fundamental values associated with peace studies?
In recent years, peace studies started to be formalized and suggested as a part of university curriculum. As for me, the formalization of peace studies is one of the most important steps in the development of the modern world. I think that people should be more intelligent and know not only the issues of violence studies, but also get to know what peace studies actually are. Nevertheless, the formalization of these studies has met a great amount of objections. Some scientist thought that there was no need to distinguish peace studies as a separate discipline, because all required issues of peace studies are covered by the other disciplines such as history and philosophy. Notwithstanding, peace studies help to better understand the problems of modern societies.
Frankly speaking, I think one of the most important values associated with peace studies are discussions concerning the issues of terrorism. During such discussion, people share their points of view about terrorism, its causes and even the justifications for it. Sometimes different thoughts about the justification of terrorism are impractical and even disingenuous, but people think so, and there is nothing wrong with them, because those are their thoughts. Personally I pointed out for myself that peace studies became the education that is appropriate to the world and students’ lives as well. It is an excellent way of gaining skills and courage in order to resist the obstacles that our world faces. This study gives a possibility to students to study the world they live in and to see how one can change the world nonviolently. I think that Robin J. Crews under the phrase “images of truth” means the ability of people to learn more about the world they inhabit and to change the world themselves. These images are the ones of the ideal world, so people should evoke them in their imagination.
To conclude, I want to admit that the values associated with peace studies are obvious. Moreover, peace studies are about how to care about the other people and by doing so to transform our world, our life and the life of those who are in need.