PSCI 2601, Week 2 Notes
PSCI 2601, Week 2 Notes PSCI 2601
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This page Class Notes was uploaded by Matthew Sketchley on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 2601 at Carleton University taught by Simon Langlois-Bertrand in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 78 views. For similar materials see International Relations: Global Politics in Political Science at Carleton University.
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Date Created: 01/24/16
Globalisation and Major Events in World Politics a m m cm l The implications ofwhat is considered important to teach and to not teach is important There is a political agenda behind these decisions and there are implications behind why certain things are chosen as important Forinstance ifColumbus39s arrival in the Americas is taught to be the first contact between America and the outside world that shows a specificworldview as it leaves out many other peoples who made contact such as the Vikings or even the Japanese Modern World Politics by Events One ofthe most important gamechangers in the last 75 years was the invention ofthe nuclear bomb It affected the outcome of WWII and shaped the Cold War It still affects us today which you can see in things like North Korea talking abouta Hydrogen bomb orin Iran39s nucleartalks The aftermath of WWII played a very important role in shaping the world with the development of majorinstitutions like the UN NATO Warsaw Pact World Bank EU etc It led to human rights and decolonisation overthe course of several decades which drastically changed former colonies39 relations with the rest ofthe world International laws around human rights and trade were formalised and became a part ofthe international landscape The oil shocks in the 19705 had a large impact as well We had the Arab wars and the US wanting money which led to embargoes When the oil embargo started the US had to find a way to share the oil out among the West The oil countries figured that out an said they39d cut offsupply to nations sending it to the US This led to a new conundrum one that hadn39t really been around before Overall oil is very important to global politics Everyone having a carwas fairly new especially with multicarfamilies Industry uses itfor most processes especially at the time Electricity and heat both used oil although now we39ve started using alternative energy sources So oil is the backbone ofthe economy especially in the West It wasn39t realised to that extent before the 19705 Of course the end ofthe Cold War is very important to world politics as well with the Soviet Union crumbling and the United States rising to be the world39s only superpower During the war lowincome nations had to declare allegiance to one ofthe two blocs in orderto have allies and trade According to a numberofanalysts the postColdWarera is still similarto that or similarto it again with Russia39s rising status and power According to others it39s China ratherthan Russia and others still proclaim a lasting American hegemony 911 is a pretty important event globally In some ways it changed the world and international relations It wasn39t the first terrorist attack on the US or anywhere else It wasn39t even the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center It brought to light the contexts around it and the ramifications ofwhat America was doing around the world and was used as a way to justify certain actions The reactionary response seta standard forinvasions and Americancentric policies in the Middle East leading to a destabilisation ofthe region It put the Western world back into an usagainstthem mentality which was absent in the 19905 afterthe Cold War Think about how all the movie villains were Nazis then Russians and now they39re Middle Eastern There was an abrupt change in the perceptions ofthe US as the world39s only superpower as well 911 is much like Columbus in that it doesn39t necessarily need to be much more important than events that came before it but it39s symbolicand it39s the one people paid attention to And the fact that it39s what is given the attention means that it has a more prominent noticeable effect The global economiccrisis of 20089 had a majorimpact It highlighted some problems with capitalism and gave a realisation ofvery complex financial issues that were not understood but had an impact on everyday life The Arab Spring in 2011 and after was very important as well It involved different sets of events depending on the country or subregion you look at but there were many lasting effects and new governments There were also many unpleasant aftereffects in places PSC12601 Page 1 Ifwe39re talking about the global economy the Euro is a big deal as a part of Europe39s economic union It39s a single unified currency The whole concept ofthe European Union which has in some ways been emulated by the African Union in recent years is a sign ofa major shift in international relations with many sovereign statesjoiningtogetherin a larger union in a much more cohesive mannerthan the United Nations which exists more as mediation Whetherthe EU is or will remain successful is another question with some pointing to Greece39s failed economy or France39s recent borderclosing in the wake ofthe Paris attacks in late 2015 as signs that it is collapsing However regardless of its success and it has had successes and failures the fact that nations have conspired to make this happen shows a globalised world where borders are starting to seem less relevant Ifyou39re trying to talk about important global events there are many that matterand you can list forever And in doing that you have to be careful what you talk about or what you don39t Important Events by Region Latin America One ofthe good things about the oil shock was money went to many oilsupporting countries These countries invested in banks promising high interest rates These banks then gave governments who needed money loans at low rates Many Latin American countries had these loans However in the 19805 interest rates skyrocketed and these countries had to pay back huge amounts of money They were impacted very harshly Some countries performed well afterthat like Brazil but others like Argentina took longerto get back on theirfeet SubSaharan Africa Decolonisation led to independence forthese nations buta lack of capacity to do things The former colonial empiresjust pulled out without giving them any kind offrameworkfor how to function Because much ofthe administration ofthese places had been done by the colonists who were now gone and there was often very little easing into power Theyjust sort of assumed democracy would work itselfout in these countries despite the fact that they had never had it before and that the militaries often had quite a bit of power that39s usually bad for a democracy That of course led to corruption and coups d39 tat In addition to this Africa was beset by very strange borders given to them by Europe at the Conference of Berlin without necessarily caring who was insidethe borders You can tell it was done arbitrarily because a lot ofthem arejust straight lines Borders are never naturally straight So you have ethnicand religious groups bunched together and split up which makes policies and governance very difficult Forinstance Nigeria has hundreds of ethnicand linguistic groups thrown together and a devout Muslim north trying to work with a very Christian south which usually has more power That39s led to many problems including the current issue with Boko Haram they were the bringbackourgirls ones ifyou39ve forgotten MiddleEast and North Africa The creation of Israel as a state is probaby the biggest thing here along with all the conflict that followed it SixDay War the otherArabIsraeli wars the current situation in Gaza etc but you also have the rise of regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Iran and of course the Arab Spring And as many people would immediately think terrorist groups such as AlQaeda and ISIS have had a majorimpact on the region and its politics in recent years Decolonisation was important here as well and among other things added to a long list of historical grudges This colours relations between this region and some otherstates North AmericaWest Ifwe39re talking about the Western world we could focus on American hedgemony during and afterthe Cold War or we could look at the EU We39ve already touched on these things forthe most part but it39s important to mention them here forthe sake of completeness Eastern Europe and Russia This region often has clashes with the EU and NATO FormerSoviet states are more interested injoining the EU in this new world with new relationships Sometimes this leads to things like the Ukrainian civil war because Russia doesn39t like it when its allies or neighbours align themselves with its enemies This highlights tensions left overfrom the Cold War and is why some experts see the PostCold Warera as PSCI 2601 Page 2 more ofa NeoCold War with a struggle for dominance still going on across the world but with different tactics and perhaps different ideologies Counterto this of course is the idea that there are several rising powers and the world is not dominated by the United States but is also not split in two Whether eitherofthese ideas are necessarily quotcorrectquot they do put into doubt the idea ofan American hegemony lasting beyond the 19905 In the 19905 Eastern Europe had a lot of civil wars overindependence such as the breakup of Yugoslavia because many states did not know what to do with independence seequotdecolonisationquot for more examples of thatand split apart The Bosnian War is a good example ofthat It39s also a good example of foreign intervention with peacekeepers enteri ng the country The Ukranian civil war is also an example ofthat This kind of intervention is hardly new but there has been a shift in world politics to the point where it is almost expected This is in some ways contrary to the Westphalian idea of nation states wherein states are supposed to mind theirown business and not interfere with each other39s affairs Asia There have been many wars and developments since WWII in Asia The rise of China has made it a large emerging economic power but also powerful in foreign relations China andJapan have had much conflict overthe wounds of WWII which has affected the region There were obviously many issues like Vietnam and Korea during the Cold War The East Asian Tigers is a group of nations that is rising economically that is often overshadowed by China Obviously the NorthSouth Korean conflict is still an importantthingto considerin Asian politics Thingsto Keepin Mind When talking about world politics you have to think about ofwhat you39re talking about Important powers Major states A region NGOs A more general nebulous quoteveryonequot One way you can look at major events is in terms of state actors and institutions Some powers or states tend to have a larger role in foreign relations You can see changes in that over the past couple decades and it shows you who has a bigger impact There39s the idea ofthe elimination ofthe balance of power between the US and USSR but also the idea ofgrowing powers like BRIC Brazil Russia India and China South Africa is also sometimes added to BRIC making it BRICS Rapid growth leads to a lot of issues to manage though like China39s problems with pollution It can also lead to things like overpopulation However these are problems faced by many developed nations and not necessarily restricted to these fastgrowing states International and Transnational Organisations The expansion of international institutions is important since WWII with the UN While the UN is often criticised for being ineffective in controlling rogue states orenforcing international law since especially from a realist perspective international relations is anarchy it has its accomplishments as well It istrue that with both sides on the Security Council they could veto pretty much anything but that doesn39t mean it was not useful This allowed for both sides to sit down and talk negotiate the issue It39s good to have everyone in the same room to talk This is often done by the UN and provides clearer communication While it is an optimistic idea and often does not work it has led to positive results in the past Ifall the dialogue is together then it is easierto solve peacefully ifthe nations want such an arrangement There has been a shift from westerndominated institutions like NATO orthe G7 G8 when you add Russia Most ofthese institutions are Western and have liberal internationalminded ideals Now the 620 meets more often than the G7 does and gets more attention There are a lot of challenges with a meeting like that because you have to get actual communication between a large numberof nations In terms oftransnational organisations there39s supposed to be a transnational civil society which is a monsterto define You wind up with a lot of international movements like the occupy movement or antiglobalisation movements While these movements weren39t necessarily new people who didn39t care before suddenly noticed on a large scale Environmental movements for example have also had influence overthe years These movements have an impact on international relations and governments but you have to be careful not to over or understate it PSCI 2601 Page 3 Transnational corporations are considered the bad side ofglobalisation although in some ways maybe they39re also the good side They39re corporations that do not operate within the confines ofa state which allows them more freedom of movement and influence Of course it has also been highlighted as allowing them to move their bases ofoperations to countries where they can use cheaper labour often done by children Companies with global bases and interests aren39t new however Things like the Hudson39s Bay Company have been around for centuries They39re more integrated though now and have a non statebased set ofoperations while all current legalframework is statebased This means that strictly they only have to comply by the laws ofthe state that branch is in and they can move a base of operations ifother nations39 laws are more convenient It also means that prosecution can be difficult againstthem The rise of International Non Government Organisations INGOs has made a new kind of playerin world politics They don39tjust lobby they are actually important actors They have a seat at the table often in major negotiations but there are also otheraspects where they39re the ones being mandated by governments to do theirwork They often have contracts with governments They39re active in many countriesforinstance World Vision is active in 120 nations This is more nations than some states have embassies in While they don39t officially have any political hold that is still a useful way of having theirvoice heard Issues and Causes in Global Politics Issues are also importantto global politics Labourstandards and environmental standards are very important to discussions of globalisation and expanding trade The concern is that with globalised trade there is a lowering of standards You have less control overwhat standards and processes went into what you39re consuming and you don39t know if the values expressed in the making ofthe product are in line with yours Child labourand emissions are a major part ofthis Climate change has led to many agreements like the recent Paris discussion and child labour is always a hot topic along with workplace safety Most major clothing outlets especially the cheap ones have had scandals in which hazardous environments and working children were exposed often in the same place The eradication of poverty is another major cause in world politics There has been success in fighting it but most sets of goals are not met because they are unrealistic The biggest discussions ofthis started a little after911 during security discussions The suggestion was made that terrorism and instability might not be as big of a problem without poverty and disenfranchisement Miscellaneous Factors Pandemics have led to changes fears ofthe one time we lose control SARS Swine Flu Ebola these have all caused major panic Pandemics have killed many before in history so they39re often treated with caution orfear This has led to many new policies such as sterilisation for airplanes or health codes The ruralurban divide has changed with more people living in cities now We39re not necessarily very good at handling cities and dense populations but eitherway cities are very different This is a major challenge to developing policy in internationalgovernance On Globalisation The question of how globalisation has affected world politics is often asked but anotherquestion is quothas it Further some question whetherglobalisation is a recent phenomenon fgobalisation is considered to be the spreading and melding of cultures and ideas to have a more connected world in which borders are less strictly defined it could be said that this isjust a largerscale example ofwhat has previously been a more localised phenomenon Rome globalised much ofthe world around it Athens globalised its part ofthe Mediterranean and this could even be said as far back as Ancient Egypt Of course the scale ofglobalisation is new due to the levels oftechnology and communication now available The debate over how and whetherglobalisation affects world politics is not something that can be answered simply but is something that should be considered PSCI 2601 Page 4 On the paper proposal Forthe research paper there39s a lot of leeway forthe topic You have to picka theory and use it to explain a topic orthe opposite take the event and explain how theories fare in relation to it Ideally picka theory we talkabout and a topicwe talkabout Ifyou want to tackle something we39re not covering maybe talkto yourTA You39ll have to narrow down obviously the topics are pretty broad Maybe you want to explain an event orthe actions ofa certain state or organisation The more you outline foryour proposal the less you have to do later so it39s a good idea to geta jump on it Some theories or events are easier or harderto talk about If you apply a more difficult theory really well it39ll look really good but make sure you take something that works foryou You don39t want to try to talk about something really complicated but not know what you39re talking about The idea is to provide a basicdescription ofwhat you39re going to do your paper on Look at the rubric for the papertoo so you can talk about how you39re going to structure your argument and what you39re talking about It39s always good to know as much about what you39re doing as possible PSCI 2601 Page 5
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