Thursday, November 28, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
As in any similar scenario, a civil war is a serious threat to the citizens of a state, and in the case of the Syrian Civil War “more than 115,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, including tens of thousands of soldiers, rebels and civilians” has been reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights . This situation is greatly aggravated when foreign industrialized states, permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the private sector corporations within their borders, are arming different sides of the domestic civil conflict. One recent example was apparent when “Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport (ROE)” lost a deal with the U.S. after it “was revealed that the company was still supplying arms to Syria”. On the other side of the spectrum, the U.S. has been arming Syrian opposition groups in order to weaken the Assad regime. According to a September 2013 report by the Washington Post, “the CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration .
The civil conflict in the Syrian state, intensified if not perpetuated by foreign industrialized states with economic and political interests in establishing a new regime or maintaining the current regime in the region, has caused physical and economic destruction to the state. Before the Syrian war “unemployment was below 10 percent; now every second Syrian is without a job” and “overall economic costs of the war already surpass the [country's] annual economic output”, not to mention economic investment in Syria has plummeted . Of course, regardless of which regime controls Syria after the conflict dies, the IMF and World Bank will be prepared to issue the victorious regime so-called humanitarian loans in order to open the Syrian state to foreign private sector investment (exploitation).
The United Nations Security Council works well enough when the economic and political interests of the Permanent members of the UN Security Council are on the same page (or in a majority), but reminiscent of the League of Nations, it does not provide international security when the member states are at odds concerning economic and political interests.
1. Reuters, “Syria Death Toll Tops 115,000, Group Says,” Huffington Post, October 1, 2013, accessed November 17, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/syria-death-toll_n_4022414.html
2. Christopher Haress, “Russian Arms Deals: US Scraps Plan To Buy 15 Russian Helicopters Amid Syrian Disagreement,” International Business Times, November 15, 2013, accessed on November 17, 2013, http://www.ibtimes.com/russian-arms-deals-us-scraps-plan-buy-15-russian-helicopters-amid-syrian-disagreement-1472372
3. Ernesto Londono & Greg Miller, “U.S. Weapons Reaching Syrian Rebels,” Washington Post, September 11, 2013, accessed on November 17, 2013, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-11/world/41972742_1_lethal-aid-syrian-rebels-chemical-weapons
4. Hilke Fischer, “Civil War Shatters Syrian Economy,” DW, October 31, 2013, accessed November 17, 2013, http://www.dw.de/civil-war-shatters-syrian-economy/a-17196882
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Instead of cultural explanations on how states develop, I would have to focus
more emphasis on the spread of political ideologies through military
intervention and capital trade, especially after the technological quickening of
the 19th century concerning expanded sea navigation, trade, and military
conquest. I support this theory with the fact that Japan’s first exposure and
transitional assimilation to a parliamentary government, was after “the forcible
entry in 1853 and 1854 of a small flotilla of American warships under the
command of Commodore Matthew C. Perry into a bay some 160 kilometers (100 miles)
southwest of Edo” (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 196).
It would appear that Japanese culture has had a greater, and more consolidating, impact on its state policies today than French culture has implemented on modern French policies, which have long been incorporated into the various European cultures. Two differences of note would be geographic location and imperialist history. Japan is an island in the Pacific, isolated to some extent from mass immigration of foreign cultures, and France is located in Europe, sharing borders with Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany. France has not only engaged in imperialism and participated in wars highlighting religion, but has been occupied by foreign powers several times through history (England occupied territories in the 1400s, Russians occupied territory in the 1800s, and Germany occupied territory during World War II). The only time that Japan was occupied by a foreign state was after World War II, and that was by the United States, but Japan, through importation and trade, has underwent cultural influence from Korea and China in “religion, literature, law, architecture, and fine arts” to include Buddhism and the teachings of Confucius (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 195).
Japan does not have to deal with a multiplicity of ethnic groups and the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. As the text book states, Japan is 99.87% composed of Japanese (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 192 ). Prior to the 1800s, Japan maintained a “centuries-old official policy that banned unauthorized foreigners from entering Japanese territory” (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 196). France, on the hand, claims that 76.9% of their citizens are “French born”, but that does not paint an accurate diversity of ethnic groups, sometimes in political conflict, that have resulted from centuries of colonialism, occupation, and the international African holocaust (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 94). The religions in France, mainly the three Abrahamic religions, are also more diverse, and conflicting in ideological nature, than religion in Japan. Since France has been historically nationalistic within the European stage, an example of domestic cultural conflict can be seen in the fact that recently “the French government imposed a national dress code” revealing “insecurity about French national identity and the relation of Islam” (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 92). France is “deeply divided by social, economic, and cultural cleavages” and this influence and turbulence more than likely has been a cause for the various transitions and multiple political parties in French government over modern history (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph, 102).
The following link is a news video concerning the domestic French ban on the Islamic burqa or hijab from 2009 which showed the nationalistic side of French domestic policies over domestic cultural values:
Mark Kesselman, Joel Krieger, and William Joseph, Introduction to Comparative Politics, 6th edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2013.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Despite implemented ‘checks and balances’ built into the
structure, representative democracy, from the legislative branch to the
executive, is one of the most easily manipulated forms of government in
existence and is fertile soil for the capital influence of private sector
corporations and foreign governments. With two main political parties,
resembling two opposing groups of football fans, often stalemated over domestic
legislature and the next election, corporate and foreign interest goals are
often accomplished through bi-partisan lobbying of both
For our brief case study, we will focus on the foreign state government of Israel and the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in Washington which is a compilation of many domestic lobbying organizations, but led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC basically takes marching orders from the foreign state of Israel and works diligently, with capital and political clout, to ensure that enough votes within the Senate and House (and the assigned sub-committees for the proposed interest), along with support or silence from the current presidential administration, is obtained. With this being explained, let’s take a look at how the foreign state government of Israel has 1) secured irrational amounts of annual military aid (over 3 billion dollars each year for decades) despite a growing debt to GDP ratio in the United States, 2) has secured the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council for all resolutions critical of the government of Israel, 3) has pushed foreign economic sanctions, and pushed for U.S. military regime removal, against states such as Iraq (which was a success for Israel) and currently Syria and Iran. AIPAC spreads influence on all members of Congress to support Israel, both members of the democrat and republican parties. In order to provide a picture of how capital contributions by lobbyists, whether to the foreign or private sector, impact foreign and domestic policy making in Congress, the following link is a report written by Janet McMahon of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and provides several charts on campaign contributions by the pro-Israeli lobby:
In addition, AIPAC provides fully-paid trips to Israel for both democrats and republicans. In August 2013, Democrat Joseph Kennedy, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership, along with “36 other members of Congress” received an AIPAC funded trip to Israel during the August recess. In the same month, a “delegation of 25 Republicans” was led on their free trip by Eric Cantor, the House majority leader. Who could forget the 2012 AIPAC funded trip when Republican representative Kevin Yoder decided to skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee (Steinhauer)? The year 2012 was a very successful year for AIPAC funded congressional trips with “more the 80 members of the House” partaking in the free trip (Steinhauer). Through bi-partisan influencing within Congress, the foreign state of Israel is able to achieve passage on proposed U.S. legislation such as the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. In order to understand which U.S. policy makers are influenced (greased) most by the foreign lobby, it is recommended that Americans analyze which ranking members of Congress are usually present and giving speeches at each year’s annual AIPAC conference. Here are a few links from years past:
The list goes on and on, and it should also be mentioned that nearly every presidential candidate fears the pro-Israeli lobby so much that they go out of their way to visit the foreign state of Israel, to make promises, during the presidential campaigning process. Yet, lobbyist organizations such as AIPAC do not wait for a presidential or congressional election in order to buy and influence future legislative votes. They are constantly scouring the colleges of America for future leaders. The following link provides a video of the AIPAC lobbyist organization recruiting future government leaders throughout the colleges of the United States:
Besides representing a foreign state government, the pro-Israeli lobby machine is not very different from private sector lobbyist manipulation when it comes to impacting legislation under representative democracy. Representative democracy is easily manipulated by capital influence, whether foreign or corporate, and result in policy-makers placing foreign or private sector interests before the interests of the United States and American citizens.
Although, it must be admitted that one of the reasons why this system of government is so vulnerable to manipulation is due to the apathy of the American people. Every four years, a good portion of Americans rush out to cast a presidential ballot which is basically decided by the Electoral College, but extremely low voter turn-out rates for Congressional elections, which determine policy votes, are the usually the trend across the United States. Last month, Cory Booker was elected to a Congressional seat in an election where “Less than one in four registered voters showed up to cast ballots” (Munsen).
Perhaps Capitalism and Free Trade would work better under a true democracy.
Steinhauer, Jennifer. “A Recess Destination with Bipartisan Support: Israel and the West Bank.” New York Times, August 15, 2012. Accessed on November 14, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/us/politics/16congress.html
Thursday, November 7, 2013
“The introduction of the telegraph in 1837, the telephone in 1876, the wireless in 1895, the aeroplane in 1903, the television in 1926, the liquid-fuelled rocket in 1927, the coaxial cable in the 1930s, and the digital computer in 1946 were all key events in the period of incipient globalization”, and these archaic examples do not even begin to describe the economic technological boom of the past fifty years . While it is accepted that “technological innovations have provided much of the infrastructure for globalization”; the focus of technology and globalization usually applies praiseworthy credit to the developments in computer technologies, telecommunication fields, and shipping methods as positive reinforcements into the structure of globalization.
So how does technology influence globalization’s impact on the global human population (the environments most precious resource)? Most students of international and domestic politics understand that the general rule of capitalism is that capital is needed to generate capital. Evolution stages in technological advancements greatly impact capitalist societies, whether globally or domestically, and in turn impacts the human resources that generate capital production and profits. One historical example of this impact was the industrial revolution in the United States and the economic divide between the North, where new industrial production technology was greatest, and the South, where agricultural production still dominated. The result of the new stage of industrial technology reduced the mandatory requirements of human labor, and can be argued to have made domestic slavery an outdated mode of capitalist production. Considering new technologies that reduce the requirement of human labor against a continuously growing human population under global capitalism where capital generally becomes consolidated under a small ownership group, it is only natural to see the end result of economic inequality among the human population (domestically within state borders or globally).
 Scholte, Jan. Globalization : A Critical Introduction. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. p 100. Http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/Doc?id=2002945&ppg=120
[2} Scholte, Jan. Globalization : A Critical Introduction. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. p 101. Http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/Doc?id=2002945&ppg=121
The Shift From Colonialism and The Evolution of Globalization: The State, The Private Sector, The Hegemon of Treaty
From the 1400s onward, states increased agendas of imperialism, often through colonialism. One example of this imperialism was during the height of the Holy Roman Empire when Portugal was awarded a trade monopoly on the West coast of Africa, via Papal Bull Dum Diversas, to supply Spanish colonies in the Caribbean with slave labor in which to exploit natural resources for trade. After the British Empire rose to new heights after breaking with the Holy Roman Empire over Protestantism, the British Empire took international exploitation and colonial trade to new levels of imperialism through territories such as North America and, the Jewel of the British crown, India. Even leading into World War I, the European states were conducting a colonial scramble in Africa.
We can actually see the 20th century evolution from state sponsored colonialism, in which the state burdened colonial expenses, toward private sector imperialism backed by collective state entities such as the League of Nations, and later the United Nations, when we look at the independence dates of post-colonial states, mostly known today by organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as Lesser Developed Nations.
The following examples of independence dates for post-colonial British territories are just a few in order to illustrate the timeframe trend:
India in 1947, (which includes the partitioning and creation of Pakistan), Burma – 1948, Jamaica – 1962, Kenya 1963, Sierra Leone – 1961, Singapore 1959, Uganda – 1962, Trinidad – 1962, Kuwait – 1962, Barbados – 1966
At the conclusion of the First World War, the League of Nations was established, with internal structural errors, to provide the blueprint for globalization. Those internal structural errors were corrected after the Second World War by allowing the victorious states permanent Security Council status with veto capability. In the aftermath of World War II, the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) was established (which would eventually become the World Trade Organization).
“At the conclusion of World War II, twenty-three countries, led primarily by the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, negotiated the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” 
The winners of World War II set the international structure for globalization and instantly began to allow their colonial possessions independence in order to bring them into the global economy via the GATT, World Bank (originally established as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for conditional loans to post-colonial and war-torn states), and the International Monetary Fund (which established international currency exchange rates). One interesting note about World Bank and IMF loans is that, in addition to containing conditional terms which opens up recipient states to foreign private sector investment, the loans are issued in the strongest currencies and required to be repaid through the weak currency of the loan recipient state.
Once the international global market was firmly established, the Cold World between the Capitalist U.S and the Communist Soviet Union (which bolstered incredible private sector profits in arms production) kept the international capital system from global expansion. Looking back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, you can see the World Bank issuing loans to former Soviet bloc states and the admittance of those newly “independent” states into the GATT/World Trade Organization.
The overall difference between international connections in the past and modern globalization is that prior to the World War I and II, individual states were the primary actors. In modern globalization, collective international organizations such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization maintain international systematic hegemony. Any state that does not assimilate into the global market can be punished by collective international (or, as the U.S. likes, unilateral) sanctions. The primary actor role shifted from the individual state to international private sector organizations that utilize the collective military hegemon of the most powerful states (linked by international treaties) to bring non-compliant states and states suffering from instability into capitalist market compliance (because foreign capital exploitation of natural resources is impossible under political instability).
 Brookings Institute. The WTO and GATT: A Principled History, p. 11. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/press/books/2009/selfenforcingtrade/selfenforcingtrade_chapter.pdf
Two states that share a connection under globalization: Jamaica and Barbados
Two states that are connected through the IMF and the international global economy are Jamaica and Barbados, both post-colonial possessions of the British Empire that were allowed independence in the 1960s. Both states currently hold debt to GDP ratios well above 100% and both states have been recipients of multiple IMF loans. Jamaica recently entered into a new agreement with the IMF; Barbados is currently being pressured to enter into an new agreement.
1. U.S. and World Report news report listing the top 10 states with the highest GDP to Debt ratios:
2. 2009 Article from the Jamaican Gleaner on the threat of downgrading the Jamaican international credit rating if that state did not secure an additional IMF loan:
3. IMF Press release on the latest 2013 IMF agreement forced on Jamaica:
4. Barbados received “financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank” in 1990. Previously, loans were issued to Barbados in 1977 and 1982-83 (p.42). The following report by Dr. Andrew Downs provides a brief history.
5. The last link is a November 2013 article in the Jamaican Gleaner on the pressures being placed on Barbados to accept, yet another, IMF agreement.
Many pro-globalization positions will use Brazil and India and positive examples of globalization, but, it appears the economic inequality that usually accompanies capitalism is present in both states.
In India, 10% of the population owns over 53% of domestic wealth while the bottom 80% battle of less than 30% (BBC News, 2007). The following is from the same report: "About 35% of people live on less than US$1 a day. Poverty is at its worst in rural areas and is often accompanied by high levels of illiteracy and poor health. Nationally, almost half of children suffer from malnourishment, although infant mortality rates have declined. Almost 60% of people in towns and 20% in rural areas do not have access to proper sanitation. Despite such problems, India has seen overall poverty decline - a shift which has been accompanied by more general improvements to living standards."
In Brazil, the CIA World Factbook states that 21.4% of the population lives under the poverty level. In addition to the CIA World Bank Factbook, I have listed a World Bank report below that show a "Gini coefficient of 0.59 in the distribution of household incomes per capita, Brazil has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world: (p.11)
BBC News. Key Facts: India Rising, January 22, 2007. Accessed from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6257057.stm
CIA World Factbook. Brazil. Accessed from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html
World Bank. Inequality and Economic Development in Brazil. Accessed from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/10/05/000012009_20041005095126/Rendered/PDF/301140PAPER0Inequality0Brazil.pdf