August 28, 2005

IR Lecture and Questions, Day One


“World Politics” – sort of a misnomer. But – given that there is no ‘world election’, and even with the UN and other world political bodies, that tell countries how to act – as in – there is no ‘world’ Congress or Senate or President, what do you think the term ‘world politics’ means? My own view, is that we are here in order to examine how people in countries must relate to each other. This is very simple, to be sure, but there’s depth there that we have to take a look at; just like in domestic politics, “non-governmental” actors have a role to play. Trade, education, the socialization of the young – these are all acts when, taken as a whole, reflect, but also change the world’s political system.

The mechanics of this course are laid out in your syllabus, but there are a couple things to pay attention to; specifically, I think this is a great textbook. It is aimed at students with a certain degree of interest and/or experience; if you are here simply for the credits and to get your AA, please try and put yourself in the shoes of the student who is here because they are knee-deep in an interest in world politics –and if you are one of these who are very interested, then please put the shoe on the other foot, and make every attempt to see this as the introductory course that it is.

My goal here is to acquaint you with how the authors of your book see the world, and to help you see where you fit into the country’s, and the world’s political system.

Questions for today –
When you hear the term “International Politics”, what do you think of? What is happening in each community in Iowa that reflects and affects the international system?

  1. Government – anyone here a member of the Guard or Reserves?

  2. Business – parents as Deere’s Employees

So this is not –necessarily- some abstract concept. This is real!

What has happened in the past years to bring IR home to you?
  1. 9/11

  2. Iraq

What about more recent history such as :

  1. Fall of the Berlin Wall

  2. Tienamen Square

  3. Iraq

For Wednesday, I want you to examine carefully what our book says about “Popular Views of World Politics” – such as the “Star Wars/Dog Eat Dog” – etc.- tell me what you think, and where your own thoughts are.
Give me a definition of the term “anarchy” as it applies the international system.


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