My International Relationships Final Essay

Discussion in 'Religion & Politics' started by Dr. Rice, Jun 4, 2012.

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  1. Dr. Rice

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    I got an A- on it, enjoy.

    This is the writing prompt- What factors make the world prone to conflict today? What factors make it prone to cooperation? In your lifetime, do you expect conflict or cooperation to dominate international politics? Why? Which theoretical perspective best explains current patterns of conflict/cooperation? Which offers the best prescriptions for coping with future security threats?

    Essay starts here- The world is not more or less conflict prone than it was in history, but that is not entirely true. For example humans don’t wage holy wars anymore. And in terms of modern problems, the leaders of nations realize the dangers of nuclear proliferation and are making strides (though not enough) to reduce the dangers of nuclear weapons. Both these threats are the only species ending events humans can directly do to themselves and we all concluded that is dumb. So yay!

    While nuclear non-proliferation is a success of modern problems, most modern problems are not close to being solved. Interestingly enough, some problems that cause conflict in certain regions will be used as a reason for cooperation in other regions.

    The biggest conflict of the coming century will bring about unprecedented cooperation between states: this conflict is global climate change. This conflict of man vs. nature has united the majority of the world’s nations because this is the only means to solve this problem. Conflict between states cannot solve the problem, so only cooperation remains. What is required is a collective global effort to prepare for changes. As the situation becomes more serious nations will be more open to accept assistance or more strict conditions (imagine conditions like the IMF put onto Greece regarding environmental regulations) for that assistance.

    The more industrialized nations will assist more vulnerable nations to prepare for environmental change and develop sustainable industry. Currently dealing with problems such as rising sea levels (Bangladesh will flood and displace 150 million) and drought (the drought that is spreading through the horn of Africa and the drought in Northern Mexico can easily displace millions). These problems are not atypical, but typical throughout the world. What is to be worried about is that the more industrial nations will get drawn up into their own internal problems (The EU crisis, America’s domestic political instability, or China’s housing bubble popping) and prevent these nations from offering developmental assistance to vulnerable nations to deal with their regional problems.

    Another large source of conflict in the coming century is water availability. Excessive usage of the fresh water resources will cause those reserves to be exhausted in most parts of the world by 2030. With climate change creating uncertain environmental changes, those reserves could deplete sooner. Given the nature of wars based on resources needed for consumption survival, these conflicts will only cease when those when are armed have the all the resources they need.

    While some regions could remain the same or improve under climate change (like California or Siberia), the global environment will not do to well. Physiocratic agriculture and natural fresh water sources will be impossible for many regions due to severe climate changes. This environmental challenge poses no hindrance on life. Technological improvements with lab grown meats, hydroponic agriculture, and inexpensive desalination has made natural environmental processes unnecessary.

    The problem with such technology is that it is expensive and the most vulnerable nations that could benefit the most from such technologies do not have the personal or equipment to make advanced technological tools. They require on industrial nations. These nations can help these vulnerable nations as long as industrial nations have the ability to focus resources on foreign policy.

    As always, neo-realism explains everything. It can easily explain the reason behind cooperation and conflicts between states. Cooperation between states due to climate change has happened because with the economic downturn of the industrial nations, it is in these nations interests to increase trade. This is the purpose behind the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Western Nations raised the GC funds so high at 1 Trillion dollars because they knew some of that money would return to their pockets through vulnerable nations buying western nations’ goods and services. The GCF fell apart due to domestic issues of industrial nations in the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the following EY crisis. This demonstrates how nations will shift away from cooperation to fend for themselves first, even though in the long term, it is in their interest to cooperate. Even without economic incentives, states are inclined to act with one another towards dealing with climate change because they lose more by not sacrificing a little and the leaders of the world know that.

    Regarding neo-realism and conflict, conflict over water availability will happen because states and their inhabitants will naturally be more confrontation and prone to commit acts of violence over the security and availability of their water. Unlike climate change which is a slow, gradual extinction, which does not promote violent action, dying of thirst is very painful and promotes violent action.

    Water availability is not a state problem, but an individual (as it is a personal problem for all individuals; example: if I don't drink any water for 5 days, I will die) problem. Water availability will cause conflict in parts of Africa and the Middle East, but in Northern Mexico, the United States will offer assistance to the Mexicans due to we can help and it is in our best interests.

    The nature of realism and neo-realism needs to expand to include the individual into their thetorical calculations, because what defines power is changing on the state and individual level. Commodities that are defined as “power” and fungible will expand dramatically. The commodities of this new power structure will as always, be the classical guns and money, but food, fresh water, electricity, raw resources, and as technology advances, access to additive manufacturing machines will be considered as the basis for power. In this new system, the power of the state will be determined by the fungible power of the average citizen.

    Neo-realism explains the means of security as it will define the means of security as it will happen. The state will protect its citizens from external threats (such as foreign states) with cash and weapons. The individual will protect the state from internal threats by dealing with the security of substance. This is due to individuals becoming more self-sufficient and independent of forces outside of their community, that the focus of the state will not be directed towards feeding or housing its own people.

    Given that neo-realism will now consider the fungible power of the average citizen, the main focus of the state as the supreme actor will shift to more local actors such as counties or clear geographical regions. The “State” will still exist, as the citizens need to have a means to protect themselves from the actions of other states as communal militia can only do so much. A neo-realist analyst will look at conflict/cooperation between states and hegemonic conflict within the state between communities and geographical regions for cultural dominance. The internal conflict focus will be on the power of “city-states” and confederacies of rural communities as internal players within states fighting for (cultural/economic/political) influence. All these regions will fight for federal control. Selfish interest will propel even the most decentralist and anti-statist factions to want to control the state to promote their own community. This will happen because individuals will put themselves and their communities’ interests over the interests of the collective good for short term gains (“cause once we’re in complete control, we can do whatever we want”).

    I have hopes that the internal conflicts of the industrial nations do not become too serious, to bet on these problems getting worse is an unreasonable bet. As the situation gets worse (but not collapse of civilization worse), the industrial nations will draw inwards and they will be less likely to assist vulnerable nations. This does not mean industrial nations won’t shift their own policy. In fact, I will bet they embrace these advanced technologies and focus on adapting their environment first before they export such adaptation technologies. The isolationism carried out by industrial nations in which they focus on their own problems will trickle down onto vulnerable nations, many which are nearing their hour of need. These nations don’t seem likely to survive without bloody resource wars. While I see the chance of hope for cooperation in the world, I see the chance for a lot more conflict happening in the world.

    I wish there were prescriptions to offer to lessen these two problems, but I don’t see any. These things will happen because everything is ideal for the perfect storm. Those who can help are distracted by their own problems and the masses within the countries who are at risk for these two problems don't have the means to adapt to these problems.

    “Peace is impossible, no matter what it seems. Someone is killing someone, even in your dreams.” Funker Vogt
     
  2. scumhook

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    Those who can help, won't; due to them being either distracted by their own problems, or being occupied with devising ways to profit from the impending carnage.

    Nice job Ricey.
     
  3. SuzanneMarie

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    Salt water or unpotable water can be distilled with a simple solar still consisting of a barrel half full of salt water, a bucket suspended above the salt water inside the barrel, and a pane of glass or plastic on the top of the barrel. The water vapor will collect on the underside of the pane of glass and drip down into the bucket.

    Similar, more efficient, bigger solar stills could be built. If I were rich I would fund this.

    Too bad all of us except PerpA will be shot for meat by cannibals before these drought problems arise.
     
  4. Slavoj Jizzek

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    I got blown by a Korean exchange student once. Does that count?
     
  5. Dr. Rice

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    Desalination for individuals and families is simple and I know that. Now try supplying water for hundreds of thousands of individuals everyday for 365 days for years to come and we have a logistical problem with water availability.
     
  6. SuzanneMarie

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    That's why we need to amplify the water supply with riverbank wells, aqueducts, man-made lakes and ponds, cisterns, deep wells that tap into aquifers far below large rivers, desilting of filled in lakes and ponds, optimization of monsoon rain catchment in Asia, and low cost water treatment and desalination centers.

    The cannibal hordes will still eat us, but we won't die thirsty.
     
  7. Dr. Rice

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    If we food activists have our way, we won't die of hunger.
     
  8. scumhook

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    You precious little hippies shall be swallowed by the waves of fear and hate that will sweep the globe, erasing all in its path.

    None will survive, save the mutant and the heretic.
     
  9. SuzanneMarie

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    Best head for some place difficult of access and bereft of roads, like the lost coast of California, or some remote isle. Learn to fish, forage and get nourishment and shelter. Bring a nurse or doctor and other peeps with useful skills.

    A mutant or heretic is fine too.
     
  10. scumhook

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    I already live there.
     
  11. Dr. Rice

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    The guy I am building a CSA (community-supported argiculture) is hardly a liberal as a former seal. Also I am hardly a hippy myself.
     
  12. scumhook

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    The hippie comment was a cheap CA crack. Surely you're not suggesting you're an ex-SEAL?

    CSA's a dream. Globalised produce companies will wipe you out, and if you manage to avoid them, then the Lord Humungous will have you for dinner when the apocalypse comes.
     
  13. Dr. Rice

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    No, he is my friend. Also they are not a dream.

     
  14. scumhook

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    All the best.

    I truly hope that one day I shall come through and get produce from your community. I just don't think it will work.

    Then again, I've been wrong before.
     
  15. KimmoAlmPhoenix

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    How about we just mass sterilize the poor people who don't want to better themselves and allow the socially mobile poor to join the ranks of the middle class, and then replace all uncomplex blue collar jobs with robots? Poor people who want to stay poor will soon be obsolete, the prospect of a better world will ethically outshine all their human worth. All of the greatests civilizations collapsed in final decline due to this parasitic bottom class never thinking in the first place.
     
  16. Seku

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  17. MrGask

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    I have only read down to here, and don't think I will bother with the rest. I hope this was not considered exceptional college work, or humanity is more fucked than I had first believed.

    I would say that our current conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, Malaysia, and elsewhere qualify as "holy wars." (wars fought over who's God is king of the playground)
     
  18. Dr. Rice

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    We are fighting a small number of terrorists and insurgents (none of which have the backing of a State) in armed insurrections and these militia groups are religiously motivated does not constitute a holy war like the Crusades or the Thirty Years War. What is happening in Azawad on the other hand is going to become a holy war.
     
  19. Seku

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    I just skimmed the first two paragraphs. I won't argue with your politics (I agree with you mostly of time), but I think you need to proofread your papers a little better.

    REVISED:

    [...]For example, humans don’t wage holy wars anymore. Also, in terms of modern problems, the leaders of nations realize the dangers of nuclear proliferation and are making strides (though not long enough) to reduce the dangers of nuclear weapons. Both these threats are the only species ending events which humans can directly cause, and we have all concluded that they are foolish.

    While nuclear non-proliferation is a modern success, most modern problems are not close to being solved. Interestingly enough, certain problems that cause conflict in certain regions will be used as a reason for cooperation in other regions.

    Many of your sentences don't really fit well with the surrounding text, making the paper seem choppy and disjointed. You should probably do something about that.
     
  20. MrGask

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    He was already recognized as exceptional in this field (A- grade), why would he change anything?
     
  21. MrGask

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    I counter that the mujahedin's ability to slip back and forth across the Iran/Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan borders, whilst maintaining training camps/bases in Iran and Pakistan indicates state backing (or at least approval).
    In any case, if you narrow your definition of holy war down to only fit your criteria, of course no current conflicts are going to fit.
     
  22. Seku

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    Rice is a professional. His papers should reflect that.
     
  23. Dr. Rice

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    So what do you guys think about my views on redefining realism and neo-realism to include factions within the State who are fighting for hegemonic control of that State?
     
  24. Seku

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    u r a doodyhed
     
  25. scumhook

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    I am going to use that question next time I want a girl not to have sex with me.
     
  26. Zaichata

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    The Crusades were one big land grab and can hardly be classified as a holy war in the way that it was only fought and driven by religious ideals. If so, then it wouldn't have lasted centuries. It might have initially started as a quest for God, but it ended in a bitter war for land and resources with the Muslims. The Thirty Years War was also not really religiously driven. Ofcourse the good college student you are Dr. Rice, you'll have read that this was an opposition between catholics and protestants. But if you broaden your horizon you'll see that this was again another giant war for land and resources.

    In conclusion i think most scholars need to get their head out of their pooper and see that 'Holy Wars' are just ordinary land grabs using the people's opium, religion, to motivate them into a war that benefits them very little and the rulers very much.
     
  27. Dr. Rice

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    The rational, motivations, and ambitions behind the elites who control the numerous factions within "Holy Wars" like the Crusades and the Thirty Years War were sometimes motivated by religious sentiment (for example people really did believe every non-believer they killed would erase a sin during the Crusades) or political intrigue (the best example of this is Cardinal Richelieu). However, the opinions of a small number of people is incomparable to what the men on the ground who were bleeding for these causes thought.

    Even if we look at less religiously motivated crusader conflicts, for example the Teutonic Crusades into Pagan Lithuanian to the elites of the order was about acquiring (pagan) lands. The actions on the ground between Christian and Pagan soldiers was incredibly bitter and fueled by religious hatred. The same thing could be said about the Catholics and Protestants (until Cardinal Richelieu had France switch sides which I'm sure confused people, but the hate was still there) fighting one another. For fucks sake, we've had problems with Catholics when Kennedy was being elected, what do you think Protestants thought of Catholics when they (Protestants) were getting their asses kicked and their nations' raped by Catholic forces for Thirty Years.

    In today's world one can motivate a small group of fighters to fight for a religious cause, you cannot motivate entire armies of people to kill and die in the name of God.
     
  28. Neurogeezer

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    the following is a rant,

    It might need to be expanded - but of course I haven't lurked enough through your other threads.

    In the Western tradition many have observed, from Rome to America (if only those are the best fitting examples) that as a Republic expands it leads to Empire. In the case of America (unlike the case of Switzerland) the triumph of Democracy over Federal Republicanism allowed different pressure groups to combat for more power or hegemony over an increasingly powerful state. To compensate this state has an Army big enough to be itself a pressure group in the Word scene.
    What you describe is already happening.
    When you describe a conflict or alignment of rural society vs city states, already happens (like red and blue states), and is historic. Uniting the needs of the farmer with the incongruent needs of the industrial worker was the claimed victory or goal of Communism, hence their symbol.

    Maybe you're talking about the Denationalization that is occurring as the other hand of Globalization.
    The Age of Nations (which began 400 years ago) ended between WWII and the Fall of the Soviet Union.
    Babies born after that period don't feel as much identified with their nation as with their social status, religion.
    Migration (poor immigrants, rich expatriates, and those in the middle) has never been so fluid and massive (never before entire airplanes were available, even at the end of WWII migrants came in ships).

    You talk about cooperation in light of certain circumstances which deserve its own thread (what you call climate change, what I call the consequences of exponential technological and industrial growth). That cooperation among nations is very real, and as you pointed out what happens in a macro scale, is now also mirrored in the individual scale.

    If you and your SEAL buddy moved to an underdeveloped but somehow desirable region of the World (as many have) you'd be inadvertently helping your adoptive community drastically, in fact achieving in practice that integration between First and Third World societies which you hint throughout the essay.

    That integration (visible in migration, outsourcing, international aid, international intervention, fluid movement of goods and people) is in fact what I see central to the problem you poise. I was waiting for you to give an example of circumstances where something that would cause conflict in one are causes cooperation in another
    Globally, integration between different nations (vertically, or longitudinally) is already causing cooperation (FTAs) and conflict (immigration tied to drug war in the west, and religious extremism in the east).
    Inside each integrated nation state, or big city, an microcosm of the world begins to appear, again mirroring in a smaller scale similar cooperation (ethnic food) and conflict (gethoizaton)

    All in all your essay seems too theoretical and needs some concrete examples for each paragraph if not sentence.
     
  29. Zaichata

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    Opinions of the masses are irrelevant. For example, 99% of Americans believe that America won the cold war, whereas every participant in the cold war was ultimately a loser. Both America and Russia lost a fucking fortune to useless military spending, including but not limited to funding African warlords which they viewed as being anti-communist to kill other African warlords who they viewed as being communist, while the African warlords themselves just wanted to wear leopard skin, get sucked by five bitches at a time and drive a Mercedes Benz.
     
  30. Dr. Rice

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    Their opinions do matter if you are calculating the behavior of a faction because the masses are the majority of a faction in a "Holy War." It is the masses' desires and actions ultimately dictate action within the faction, with the elites of the faction who mold that desire for action into actual policy and find ways to benefit off of such policy.