Throwback Thursday: (Belated) Politics

So, it looks like my stance on politics hasn’t really changed since high school. I have now lived on bboth coasts and in the midwest again, experienced a multitude of different types of people, and have a lot more world experience under my belt. I also really HATE talking about politics. So today–in honor of last week’s elections–I would like to shed light on some of my past–and current–beliefs.

Is it weird that I feel like if I post an old paper from high school, you can’t hold my views against me?

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Meredith Schneider
Mr. Little
ACCP International Relations, Hour 1
12 May 2008

Final

  1. My standing on the political spectrum has not changed since the beginning of this course.

I still consider myself a Liberal in the same way that I did in the first semester.  Although I am still outspoken about my own opinions, I have learned to harness my opinions more in class, seeing as it is almost impossible to sway someone of their own views.  Nor do I necessarily want to sway them.  However, any ounce of admitting that I am liberal has made the conservatives in my class attack me.  So, I am a little less outspoken than I was during the first semester.  However, I still consider myself a radical liberal.

During this course, our class debated over whether or not the war in Iraq is—or ever was—justified.  I hold a very liberal view on this topic.  The fact of the matter is that it was not, is not, and never will be.  Bush was indefinitely wrong in acting upon his own personal issues with our country’s troops and reputation.  The war has triggered more frustration and bitterness than ever out of both our enemies and our allies.  Because of what Bush has done, he is now considered a terrorist around the world.  Of course, staunch republicans and conservatives would not agree with this because they only see that Bush is using our troops to defend our country.  If Bush had not made the mistakes that he did, this debacle would not even exist.  If he had thought it through, we would not need the troops to ‘defend our honor’ in this situation.

In the question of whether environmentalists overstate their case, I am definitely on the liberal side.  Having lived in California and vacationing there frequently over the years, I see how things could be if the rest of the world were a little more environmental friendly.  I believe that no matter what the situation is, we should always keep in mind that the earth is our haven—this is our home, and we should treat it with the respect and dignity that it deserves.  California’s extremely expensive penalty for littering ($1,000+) should be applied everywhere so that we can keep our earth clean and our air breathable.

I am also very liberal in the case of whether global warming exists or not.  Conservatives would argue that the earth is going through its regular warming and cooling patterns, and that our destructive behavior toward it has nothing to do with the drastic changes in temperature and environment over the past few decades.  As much as I would like to believe that, it is proven that the pollution in the air and the trash on the ground is not beneficial to the world.  It is proven that the water on the coasts is slowly inching its way closer to civilization—in other words, ice around the world is melting and causing water levels to rise.  Unless we want our houses under water, we should become more environmentally conscious.

The issue that I am more conservative on than normal is the issue of whether The United Nations promotes world peace and security.  As a liberal, I believe in the influence and power that the United Nations could potentially have.  However, I just do not see how the United Nations has done anything in recent years to promote world peace and security.  If the United Nations followed through with their promise, the genocide in Rwanda would not have gotten as far as it did.  The United Nations was present in Rwanda at the time, and stood in silence as thousands upon thousands of innocent citizens were killed due to their physical appearance.  The United Nations continues to stand aside in events of genocide such as that in Darfur.  It seems that the United Nations is only concerned with the safety and security of a select few people, and do not genuinely consider the rest of the world unless it is in their best interest.

I am not afraid of what people might think of my attitudes regarding political, and even non-political, endeavors.  Given the opportunity, there is no question that I would rally for any particular belief that I do have.  I am an extrovert and continue to be proud of my political standing as a radical liberal.

  1. Terrorism is the use of illegitimate violence by sub-state groups to inspire fear, by attacking civilians and/or symbolic targets. This is done for purposes such as drawing widespread attention to a grievance, provoking severe response, or wearing down their opponent’s moral resolve, to affect political change.  Determining when the use of violence is legitimate, which is based on contextual morality of the act as opposed to its effects, is the source for disagreement over what constitutes acts of terrorism.  Nations and states often resort to violence to influence segments of their population, or rely on coercive aspects of state institutions.  This is referred to as state-sponsored terrorism.  The difficulty with state-sponsored terrorism is that it is when people in power—people who are normally trusted and looked to for influence—commit acts of terrorism for their own benefit.  Realists suggest that the political violence used by terrorist groups is illegitimate on the basis that states alone have a ‘monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force’.  However, when it is the leaders and officials of states that are abusing said monopolies, the lines of true terrorism are blurred.

Modern technology has helped to multiply acts of terrorism recently.  The internet provides easy access to information on how to assemble weaponry and former methods of terrorism.  The internet also provides a place where people can exchange information and plan events without being necessarily suspected of terrorist acts.  It makes communication faster and easier, so that terrorism that used to take months and even years of planning can occur in the shortest period of time possible.

Although the internet is a strong influence on terrorism, other technology has presented a problem, also.  With a computer, readily available software packages, and equipment such as printers and CD/DVD burners, members of terrorist groups can create propaganda leaflets, learning materials, and multimedia presentations in bulk.  Such things are difficult to trace unless there is a preconceived notion about it.

Culture transcends ideology, and is about the substance of identity for individuals in a society.  An awareness of a common language, ethnicity, history, religion, and landscape represent the building blocks of culture.  The Western Enlightenment gradually allowed individuals to challenge God and His worldly government with questions and doubt.  Culture continues to play an important role in international relations between the west and the Middle East.  The rational and scientific foundations of Western modernity have challenged all religious faiths since the eighteenth century.  Because of globalization, different cultures have been brought into closer contact and continue to represent a challenge to traditional patterns of culture and social order.

The only extreme difference between the West and the Middle East lies in religious beliefs.  The West has a more modern view of religion, while Middle East religions and struggling to maintain their influence over the world.  Religious fundamentalism has become the most imperative cause of domestic and international terrorism in many parents of the world.  Islam extremists are fighting so hard to maintain their influence that they are causing their members to commit acts of terrorism on those who are affiliated with other religions.  However, it is also possible for religious activists to see other religions in another light—whether positive or negative—and form new opinions about them.

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