Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soup's Dipping Into Intl. Theory....Mmmmm, Interdependence Soup!

Article Analysis Assignment #1

The main issue in USA Today’s article titled “US Denies Proposing Direct Talks with Iran” is a “secret letter” a top conservative lawmaker in Iran claims he received from President Barack Obama. The letter remains remarkably visually absent. The main actors are US President Obama and the Iranian Government, who currently is ramping up military action in the Strait of Hormuz under threat of increased internationally recognized economic sanctions.
            Harvard Professor Stanley Hoffman presents an End of History versus Realism review of basic International Policy concepts. Realism is defined by Hoffman as “states objectives are determined by threats to survival or security,” “state’s economic and military power determines its fate,” and “interdependence and international institutions are temporary.” This is apparently the Kissinger model. End of History is “no more Global War, but Globalization is Good for progress, which technology spreading, which is good for the individual, who in turn strengthens each state,” according to Hoffman. Each model faces distinct challenges: rivalry, civil wars, and the fact that domestic policy will always shape international policy as consequence of whichever reality is chosen to operate from. There is and will be Globalization, maybe, but the trick is to decide which prism is appropriate when viewing a particular event. With the news article I chose, much like order of operations in algebra, deciding which level of analysis to use will result in the more correct paradigm used to decipher the situation in a theoretically-sound manner. Globalization is in an “embryonic” stage, and as such, civil order is still in the process of becoming legitimate. The progress of democracy, paired with autonomy-creating technology, will free individuals to help their state prosper, creating further security. And the abolition of borders will inevitably lead to “improving the human condition.” This is not always evidentiary. As described, there is no way but wisely to navigate the waterway. No one wise way is guaranteed to be correct, but peace is maintained since Westphalia, and must be kept that way. The chief threat to security appears to be inequity, that which will arise as smaller states are absorbed by larger states, due to civil war if not international intervention.  Hoffman states that cooperation presupposes altruism, but as any crazy Randian can tell you, altruism is objective. Finally, three effects of globalization ought to be understood: there will be institutional power, but will it be state (sovereign) or international? Human identity is naturally with the local state, not with the continental shelf we were born on. And the cost of less violence is inequity, which is the cause of violence. This is why we see the rise of inner-state or transnational actors, terrorists with a religious or other axe to grind. As I distill this essay, I am left with the thought: Either the future holds international anarchy because of intervention reducing the meaning of sovereign—or there will be international anarchy because there is no intervention on the behalf of sovereign states when they are under threat from non-state or inner-state actors. I will take Hoffman’s advice, and worry less about the empirical evidence versus the normative evidence and just dive into it. The “state” of Iran is claiming its sovereign right to develop technology, and the US (among others) are claiming the international sovereignty of the Imaginary Community for the purpose forcing Iran to cooperate. More to come, as military actions just today were ramped up by a series of British, French and American warships traveling through the Strait .
First, read a news story from the newspaper or the Internet.  Answer the following questions regarding your news story: 1) What is the main issue, who are the main actors being discussed;  Then, choose one of the assigned articles you read for this week.  Answer the following questions regarding the assigned article: 1) What are the basics of this article (who, what, when, how, why, etc.);  2) What is the overall main point the author is trying to convince you of?  3) Do you agree with the author’s argument?  Why?  Why not?   Finally, tie together your news story with what you learned from the assigned article, textbook readings, podcasts, videos, etc. for this week.  Type your answers in the box below using your own words, no outline or bullets, complete sentences and paragraphs, single-spaced, full-page. 

Source citation: USA Today. “US Denies Proposing Direct Talks With Iran.”
Hoffman, Stanley.”Clash of Globalizations.”

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