September 2006 Archives

Session #23 - GUEST: J. Michael McQuade

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Many of you know Mr. McQuade as "Kevin's dad." In addition, he has other duties... Here's the announcement from United Technologies Corporation regarding his new position with them. He'd most recently been Vice President of 3M's Medical Division. I'm sure he'd be happy to share more about his background, but that at least lets you know a bit.

As I have mentioned, part of the reason I'm so pleased Mr. McQuade is joining us is that he was part of the MPA Strategic Planning process that really served as the inspiration for even trying this course. I can remember talking with him about Friedman's book and his own very similar experiences almost two years ago.

Session #22 - Terrorism in the 21st Century

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For Thursday: Remember that Michael McQuade will be joining us in the morning. This article isn't necessarily the focus of his conversation, but he thought it might be relevant to much of what we've been covering. Try to get a look at this before tomorrow.

"Barking Up the Right Tree", Paul Houston, Phi Delta Kappan, September 2006


We'll begin by returning to yesterday's WMD/proliferation discussion. It looked like there was some interest in a few of those questions that we didn't get to at the end of the block.

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Today's topic will be terrorism. We've touched on it before in the course, and Friedman does some of his best writing later on regarding the topic.

"What is Terrorism?" - Constitutional Rights Foundation
This article compares and contrasts some of the definitions offered for "terrorism." We'll work to derive a definition as well.

"Prespectives on Terrorism: Defining the Line" - Christian Science Monitor
Click on "full version." We'll work through the 5 cases together to see what you think.

Aon, which is some sort of insurance and risk management business, issues a 2005 Terrorism Risk Map. You can Google it if you want to download a copy, but I'll pop mine up on the board. It's pretty detailed.

The Naval Postgraduate School has a site with the US Department of State's Terrorist Group Profiles (2004). We're not going to do the blog entry thing, but here are 13 groups we should learn at least a bit about. We'll have you work in pairs for 5 minutes on one of these and then report back...

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
Aum Shinrikyo (Aum)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
HAMAS
Hizballah
Lineration Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Palestine Liberation Front
Al-Qaida
Shining Path
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR)


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: We talked quite a bit about the whole "War on Terror" in terms of domestic safety, the war in Iraq, etc. I'll try not to go back over the same ground here...

Why do they hate us? (Yeah, it's cliche, but I want to know what you think.)

How much does it really matter whether the recent news stories about bin Laden's possible death are true?

Ten years from now, will terrorism be a greater or lesser threat to the international community? Why?

Other than simply working to better defend and guard possible targets, how can the US and others work to prevent terrorist attacks? Is the solution political, economic, military?

Harvard's Dean of the Kennedy School Joseph Nye writes about "soft power" quite a bit. That refers to a state like the US working on "co-opting people, rather than coercing them" via interdependence, values, etc. Do you think this is more or less effective in combatting terror than our traditional focus on "hard" power?

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FYI: A couple of worthwhile sites to check out...

Frontline (PBS) produces great web sites. The Roots of Terror has information related to a number of their television broadcasts related to terrorism.

I've never seen this before, but Terrorism Research appears to be some sort of "open source" research tool on terrorism. It looks like it has a lot of features.

Session #21 - WMDs and Proliferation

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REMINDERS: You should have "The Quiet Crisis" read for class time tomorrow. (I'll post the blog today, and it will be due Monday.) Blog Entry #7 will be due tomorrow. The "Take-Home Essay #1" should either be in my hands by the end of the day on Thursday or in my email inbox (as an attachment) by 11:59:59 PM on Thursday... I'll consider it late after that time.


INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS: We'll start with these today. You'll find the write-ups posted as comments to the Session #20 lesson.

Remember, this is what I asked you to consider... Briefly, what is the agreement? Who are the major parties? (Not necessarily a list...) When was it created? Why? What is the position/status of the United States regarding this agreement? Finally, what is your assessment of the desirability/efficacy of this agreement in the 21st century world?

This order is pretty random, except that I clumped the ones that will come up in today's lesson toward the bottom... We'll do two or three minutes each on these.

Maastricht Treaty
Geneva Conventions
International Criminal Court (ICC)
UN Resolution 242 (and 338)
Oslo Accords
Dayton Agreement
Sunshine Policy
Kyoto Protocol
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM)
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
Land Mine treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

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Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation: There's a lot we could do here, but we'll try and give you an overview, take a look at a couple of cases studies and have some discussion.

Deadly Maps:
This is a collection of maps from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Global Proliferation Status - 2005
Nuclear Weapons Status - 2005
Biological Weapons Status - 2005
Chemical Weapon Status - 2005
Ballistic Missile Proliferation - 2005


CASE STUDIES: What does it look like in a country working to acquire WMDs? Here are two looks...

Iran
North Korea


NUCLEAR WEAPONS - DETERRENCE AND STRATEGY: There's a whole lexicon of terms used in the justification of nuclear weapons and the considerations for their eventual use (or non-use). Here are a few.

Doomsday Clock: This was maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists until 2002. It showed the world how "close" they were to midnight, or a nuclear conflict, through use of a clock analogy. Scroll down to see past "covers" of the magazine with brief explanations.

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) - This is the belief that weapons would not be used since any use would result in the destruction of both the attacker and the nation attacked. It formed the basis of deterrence theory in the Cold War.

Prisoner's Dilemma: This explanation for the arms race is drawn from the field of game theory. (You know, the film, A Beautiful Mind, and all that.)

first strike - A nation is said to have a "first strike" capability when it can attack another nation without fear of being counterattacked. Typically, the attacker would destroy all of the other nation's WMDs in the initial attack.

Nuclear triad - This refers to the traditional "three prongs" of the US nuclear force: strategic bombers, ICBMs and missile submarines.

counterforce v. countervalue targets - Counterforce targets are those that are part of a nation's own weapons systems and the military structure that supports them. Countervalue targets refer to civilian populations and institutions.


DISCUSSION:
Is the possession of WMDs by the government of a sovereign state immoral? Why or why not?

Is it hypocritical for nuclear states to work to prevent others from acquiring the same weapons? Why or why not?

Are nuclear weapons an effective deterrent? Why or why not?

Are India and Pakistan more or less stable now that they both possess nuclear weapons?

How can the international community best prevent "rogue states" from acquiring WMDs? What should be done with Iran? With North Korea?

What do you believe would happen if Israel disclosed its nuclear arsenal to the world?

Would a viable missile defense system make the world safer or more dangerous?

Will nuclear weapons be used in anger by a nation during your lifetime?


FYI: Here's an article that has more than you'd ever need to know about the future (and past) of United States nuclear strategy in the 21st century.

What Are Nuclear Weapons For? Recommendations for Restructuring U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Sidney D. Drell and James E. Goodby, Arms Control Association Report, April 2005

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #7

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 7, “The Right Stuff.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON WEDNESDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

1. On pages 302 - 303, Friedman tells of answering a student's question about what courses to take: "Go around to your friends and ask them just one question: 'Who are your favorite teachers?' Then make a list of those teachers and go out and take their courses - no matter what they are teaching, no matter what the subject." Is this sound advice or silly sentimentalism? Explain.

2. (I promised very little math in this class, but here's a little algebra...) On page 303, he posts an inequality (I think that's the word for those things...): CQ + PQ > IQ Using specific examples or analysis, assess the truth of this statement in our increasingly flat world.

3. I'm not usually into all the "brain" science, but I've always found the left-brain/ right-brain stuff interesting. React to what Friedman argues in this fourth theme, "The Right Brain Stuff," including at least some specific reference to your own left/right tendencies. (It's on pp. 306-309.)

4. I know we've got some band nerds in here. (You just got called out by a debate coach...) React to the message that underlies the Georgia Tech anecdote. (pp. 309-315) In particular, I'm interested in any comparisons you see to MPA or other places you may have spent time or heard about.

5. After you sift through Chapter 7, it is time to face the big question. "Can America educate its citizens for the "flat world?" (Friedman concludes both that we have all the necessary conditions and attributes, yet we are not currently doing so.) To make it a little more specific, I want you to comment on how well you think we'll be doing a decade from now.


Session #20 - International Agreements (Disagreements?)

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I've got your scores for the blog entries recorded on a spreadsheet (old-school paper, by hand) right now, but I'll have those on PowerSchool by the end of tomorrow for sure...

REMINDERS: Blog Entry #7 will be due on Wednesday. You should have "The Quiet Crisis" read for class time tomorrow. The "Take-Home Essay #1" should either be in my hands by the end of the day on Thursday or in my email inbox (as an attachment) by 11:59:59 PM on Thursday... I'll consider it late after that time.

SCHEDULE: Since we're now past the half-way point, I thought I'd give you a preview of what is to come. ("My" days may switch around in terms of actual topics, but the guests and Great Decisions should be pretty well set. Let me know if you see big problems...)

Monday 9/25 - International Agreements
Tuesday 9/26 - Weapons of Mass Destruction/ Proliferation
Wednesday 9/27 - Terrorism
Thursday 9/28 - GUEST - J. Michael McQuade

Monday 10/2 - Political Hot-Spots
Tuesday 10/3 - Issues of Health and Environment
Wednesday 10/4 - GUEST - Matt Commers
Thursday 10/5 - Great Decisions - Pandemics
Friday 10/6 - Great Decisions - UN Reform

Monday 10/9 - Great Decisions - Energy
Tuesday 10/10 - GUEST - Scott Johnson
Wednesday 10/11 - Great Decisions - China and India
Thursday 10/12 - GUEST - Mary Brainerd
Friday 10/13 - Great Decisions - US and Iran

Monday 10/16 - GUEST - Ali Galaydh
Tuesday 10/17 - Great Decisions - Brazil

Monday 10/23 - GUEST - Ford Runge
Tuesday 10/24 - Great Decisions - Human Rights
Wednesday 10/25 - GUEST - Matt Commers
Thursday 10/16 - Wrap-up

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GREAT DECISIONS: I posted a list of ideas for you to consider on the last blog entry. Now that these are actually starting in 10 days, I thought we'd take a little time to chat about them as a group. I'll also be sure to get you some chunks of time to meet with your group during class time. (No full blocks, but 15 minutes here and there...)

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A left-over from our migration discussion on Friday. First, I wanted to take any additional comments regarding US immigration policy. We cut that short a bit. Second, I erred in not including an example of migration similar to what has been occurring in Europe via Islamic immigration. Let's look at that for a few minutes.

Here are a couple excerpts from a Foreign Affairs article: "Europe's Angry Muslims" (July/August 2005)

"But it is estimated that between 15 and 20 million Muslims now call Europe home and make up four to five percent of its total population. (Muslims in the United States probably do not exceed 3 million, accounting for less than two percent of the total population.) France has the largest proportion of Muslims (seven to ten percent of its total population), followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Given continued immigration and high Muslim fertility rates, the National Intelligence Council projects that Europe's Muslim population will double by 2025.

Unlike their U.S. counterparts, who entered a gigantic country built on immigration, most Muslim newcomers to western Europe started arriving only after World War II, crowding into small, culturally homogenous nations. Their influx was a new phenomenon for many host states and often unwelcome. Meanwhile, North African immigrants retained powerful attachments to their native cultures. So unlike American Muslims, who are geographically diffuse, ethnically fragmented, and generally well off, Europe's Muslims gather in bleak enclaves with their compatriots: Algerians in France, Moroccans in Spain, Turks in Germany, and Pakistanis in the United Kingdom. The footprint of Muslim immigrants in Europe is already more visible than that of the Hispanic population in the United States."

DISCUSSION: How is this situation similar to and/or different from the increasing presence of Hispanic immigrants in the United States?

To what degree is a European state (or any other) responsible for accommodating the beliefs and customs of those from different backgrounds? To what degree do those immigrants need to assimilate to the customs and/or expectations of their new homes?

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INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS: We've done this type of thing before. You and a partner will claim one of the agreements below, research it a bit, and post your information as a comment on today's blog entry. (THIS ONE, not the new "The World Is Flat" entry.)

For each, this is what your post of perhaps one good paragraph should include:

Briefly, what is the agreement? Who are the major parties? (Not necessarily a list...) When was it created? Why? What is the position/status of the United States regarding this agreement? Finally, what is your assessment of the desirability/efficacy of this agreement in the 21st century world?

Maastricht Treaty
Geneva Conventions
International Criminal Court (ICC)
Dayton Agreement
Oslo Accords
Sunshine Policy
Kyoto Protocol
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM)
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
Land Mine treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
UN Resolution 242 (and 338)

We'll start with these tomorrow, so be sure to make your post before then.

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WORK TIME: The rest of the block is yours. I wouldn't anticipate any time tomorrow or Thursday, but I'll try to get you some time on Wednesday.

Session #19 - Migration: People on the Move

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REMINDERS: Your Blog Entry #6 is due today, as is the reading of Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff." Your Exam #1 will be due next Thursday by 3:30 PM. I'll also ask you to have the next chapter, "The Quiet Crisis" read for Tuesday. We'll make Blog Entry #7 due on Wednesday.

Our guest speaker list is shaping up quite nicely. Six locked in, and a couple more still in the works...

We'll do one topic today and then aim to give you the last 30 minutes to work on any of these things, while I'll be available to help with any questions: Exam #1, "Great Decisions" presentation, reading, or blog entries.

"GREAT DECISIONS" Expectations:

Expect that this will be worth roughly the same as one of the two "take home" essays that you will do.

We'll have a schedule set as soon as my guest speaker dates fall into place.

I figure you'll have roughly 45-60 minutes for your group. Anything short of 40 minutes will be viewed suspiciously...

Here's what I want from you:
* overview of the key issue(s) at stake
* presentation of necessary background information
* some sort of discussion or other activity

Yeah, that's pretty broad. You're teaching, so you decide how to do it. Remember that I have the 30-minute video excerpts on each topic available for you, and I also have some activities for each in my "Teacher's Guide." (We'll say you can use 10-15 minutes from the DVD if you want, but I won't count any more than that toward your time.) Their website, which contains additional resources, is again linked above.

If you want to make a handout, go ahead. Want me to put something on the blog? Get it to me. Need something copied? I can do that. Most of you will be leaving home in about ten months. I think you can figure out how to do a nice job on a presentation...

Please ask with any questions or make any suggestions. I'll develop a more formal "score sheet" but it will be based on the comments above.


In my mind, at least, today's topic is a natural follow-up to yesterday's focus on population and demographics. Broadly speaking, I want us to take a look at migration. (No, not birds fleeing the oncoming cold, but rather different migrations among peoples around the world.) The issue raises a lot of different specfic and interesting questions depending on where we look.

First, some definitions are probably in order. (No, I didn't just go to Wikipedia. I sought some more academic sources.)

migration: the movement of persons from one country or locality to another (Princeton)

Illegal Immigrant: Someone present in the country without authorization. People considered illegal immigrants can enter the United States in two ways: either by sneaking across the border, or by entering the country legally under a temporary visa but then failing to leave once their visa expires. (NPR website)

Refugee: Any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside of the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it. (Source:UN Convention Related to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol)

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border. (Source: "Guiding Principles on Internal Displacements" issued by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in 1998)

Asylum-seekers: Persons who file an application for asylum in a country other than their own. They remain in the status of asylum-seeker until their application is considered and adjudicated.

Foreign migrant workers: Foreigners admitted by the receiving State for the specific purpose of exercising an economic activity remunerated from within the receiving country. Their length of stay is usually restricted as is the type of employment they can hold.

Trafficking: When a migrant is illegally recruited, coerced and/or forcibly moved within national or across national borders. Traffickers are those who transport migrants and profit economically or otherwise from their relocation. (Source: International Organization for Migration).


WORLDWIDE:

Here's the website for Refugees International. This map is also interesting.

Here's a comprehensive site from Human Rights Watch: Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Asylum Seekers

In case you were wondering, it looks like we currently make provisions for the admission of about 70,000 refugees a year into the US. Specific quotas are set for different areas of the world, and 20,000 spots are held "in reserve."


UNITED STATES:

A New Century: Immigration and the US is an extensive article that provides a good overview of new issues and challenges in immigration policy that face the United States in the 21st Century.

I've also got a PDF map I can show you that presents the distribution of the "foreign born" population of the United States.

Most estimates place the number of "undocumented" (illegal) immigrants in the country at any one time between 10 and 11 million.

NPR: The Immigration Debate is a very thorough website covering immigration and its status as a very important issue in the upcoming American elections.


ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION:

1. China is experiencing an unprecedented internal migration. Estimates are that between 300 and 500 million Chinese will leave rural areas and migrate to the cities of China. What implications will these have for China's internal stability? How should Beijing deal with this movement?

2. By many estimates, the Palestinians make up one-quarter of the world's refugees. Based on your understanding of their situation, how does it compare with what you typically think of as a refugee issue? If you see it as different, explain why. What should the international community push for if they want to settle this issue?

3. How do you view the plights of refugees in comparison with those of internally displaced peoples? Should the international community treat them differently?

4. In the post-9/11 world, the United States has significantly altered its position on many immigration issues. Which do you think is the greater fear: allowing too much legal immigration or allowing too little? Why?

5. Congress is considering some broad immigration reforms. Assume that you are in charge. What would you do? In particular, what would you do regarding the southern border and the status of the 10-11 million illegal immigrants already in the country?


Exam #1 - Due Thursday, September 28th

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Since "mid-term" would probably be Friday, I suppose it's time for one of these. Let's do take-home "essay." You do NOT need to use any resources outside of what we've referenced in class. (You can do outside research if you'd like, and you would, of course, cite any of them appropriately.) I want you to choose 2 of these questions to answer. I'm thinking somewhere between 500-750 words on each. If you go beyond two single-spaced pages on a question, you're doing too much (or using a huge font...)

Let's have these due a week from today - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th.

Remember, you pick two questions from the list...

1. You're at least several hundred pages (hopefully) into Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat. Now it is your turn to "talk" to him. This is your chance to present your critique of any/all of his ideas and positions. It's your chance to articulate an alternative vision of the events and trends of the early 21st century. It's your turn. (Note that this is not intended to be an evaluation of Freidman as an author, but rather as a thinker or interpreter or whatever. And, no, you shouldn't simply rehash some blog answers here.)

2. This is your chance to show of your prognosticating abilities. Assume that you receive a copy of the 2011 Foreign Policy magazine's "Failed States Index" from me as a college graduation present. Tell me which three states you believe will lead the Index as "failing" or even "failed" states. Your answer should display both an understanding of some of the indicators of a failed state as well as some sort of explanation of what you believe will have transpired over those five years in those states.

3. It's the year 2016. You have your choice of sitting down with Samuel Huntington ("Clash of Civilizations") OR Thomas Barnett (The Pentagon's New Map) and telling him why you believe events in the world over that decade (2006-2016) have proven him to be either a prophet or a liar. Explain why.

4. Maybe you think Jared Diamond and/or Kirkpatrick Sale might be on to something, or maybe you think they are brilliant. Either way, you want to make a name for yourself. Establish your own set of 4 or 5 criteria that you believe can effectively differentiate 'civilizations' or states doomed to fail from those destined to succeed. Obviously, you should explain why you chose the criteria that you did.

5. Mr. Downs decides to take a well-deserved vacation, and he puts you in charge for the next two weeks. Assuming that you have a reasonable (not unlimited) budget, a cooperative faculty, and the power to implement changes quickly, tell me how you would change things at Mounds Park Academy to better prepare its students to succeed in the globalizing world of the 21st century. (Your answer should display an understanding of some of the issues/facts/trends discussed in "Lost in America," the Foreign Policy article reprinted on the bottom of the Session #13 blog.)

Session #18 - Demographics - Destiny or Doom?

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REMINDERS: Both your Blog Entry #6 and your reading of Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff," should be completed before class on Friday.

In my efforts to keep this from simply being a "current events" class, we've actually done very little with recent news. A couple things you might want to chime in on:
* Pope's speech on Islam draws angry reaction
* Iran's Ahmadinejad and President Bush speak from the same UN podium hours apart
* Venezuela's Chavez refers to President Bush as a "devil" from the same podium

OK, I've put it on the blog a couple straight days... Let's talk a little about those "Great Decisions" presentations and the other resources at your disposal.


As if I needed more examples to confirm my "nerd" status, I will confess that I really like today's topic. Demographics and population issues are neat. Let's see if you agree...

Here's a population clock from the Population Coalition. Watch it change.

Here are the US Census Bureau's world population projections through 2050.


The World's Most Populous Countries - This is a cartogram of world population. Here's another at The Population Map.


IDB Population Pyramids are a cool resource from the US Census Bureau. Look at the way they break down populations by age and gender. In addition, they project changes out through 2050. Play with these a while. Some suggestions: Gaza Strip, Germany, India, Rwanda and the United States.

Let's look a little closer to home at some maps and data...

Here's a look at a US population cartogram, but it's mixed in with information from the 2004 Presidential election.

This is another US Census Bureau publication, "Population Projections for States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2025." Scroll down to the "HIGHLIGHTS FROM PREFERRED SERIES" to find some highlights. What conclusions can we draw from these trends?


OK, that's enough high-tech nerdiness. We'll start drawing the connections from population to policy issues. (Immigration is yet to come...) I've got two articles for us to work with on population. Both are from one of my favorite new websites, The Globalist.

21st Century Demographics: Highs and Lows Let's look at these and ponder their implications for the future.

Ready for some gloom and doom? Here's an excerpt from Philip Bobbit's book, The Shield of Achilles. He projects a possible future for Africa as a result of projected population growth on the continent. Africa's Plight - The 2050 Scenario. I'm curious as to your reactions to this excerpt.


Remind me that I've got an interesting (and short) handout from The Economist for you. It synthesizes and number of things about which we have been talking.

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #6

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 6, “The Untouchables.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON FRIDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

1. Assume that you are one of the following: CEO of a Fortune 500 company, US President needing to fill out your Cabinet or the head of an influential non-profit organization. (Tell us which you are pretending to be.) I want you to identify which two of the "skills" or types described by Friedman you'd be most eager to have join your organization. Be sure you explain why.

2. Is there an additional type or "skill" for the 21st century workplace that you feel Friedman has overlooked? If so, describe what that skill is, and explain why you believe it would be so useful and/or necessary.

3. Do you know of anyone who has already undergone a transition similar to that of Bill Greer? (page 296 forward) If so, tell us about it. (It can be a success story or just a story... You can use the real names or make the person anonymous.) Try to incorporate some of the concepts or topics that Friedman introduces into your narrative.

Session #17 - Working in the 21st Century

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Just an observation... I'm not sure I'd have offered to reach this class in a pre-Internet world. In addition to the features of blogging, etc., I'm not sure how easy it would have been to access materials. Sure, we'd have Friedman, but it's awful nice to be able to Google the topic I want and find good resources. End of observation.

REMINDERS: Your Blog Entry #6 will be due by class time on Friday, and I'd like you to have Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff" in The World Is Flat read for Friday as well.

Let’s chat a bit about the "Great Decisions" chapters and what we want the presentations to look like in October.


To be honest, I wasn't originally planning to look at this topic already. However, given where we are in Friedman, it seems like a good match... WORKING IN THE 21ST CENTURY. (Yes, we'll be coming from a United States perspective for this one.)

“The Untouchables” wasn’t just an early Kevin Costner film, it’s also the title of Chapter 6 in The World Is Flat. I wanted to see where you thought you might best fit in the “flat-world” employment picture of your future. I’ve listed the general categories that Friedman identifies as advantageous in securing the jobs of the future. Take a minute to browse the chapter and the list. I’d like each of you to determine into which one or two categories you see yourself best fitting a decade or so from now. In addition, I'd like you to think of one other person (famous or not) who you believe fits into one of the categories. We'll list these (you and the "other") on the board.

Great collaborators and orchestrators
Great synthesizers
Great explainers
Great leveragers
Great adapters
Green people
Passionate personalizers
Great localizers


21st Century "Job Fair" - I thought these were kind of neat. Joyce Gioia and Roger Herman both write for The Futurist magazine, and they composed a list of some jobs they expect to see emerging early in this century. We'll hand out the slips and you can check them out.


The 21st Century Workplace
is the testimony of economist Jared Bernstein before a 2005 US Senate committee. It's quite a bit to process in class, but I'd like you to take ten minutes and browse through it before we share some impressions.

I'd like you to identify four things:
* one statistic, fact or prediction that really surprises you
* one conclusion, inference or question you draw from the graphs and/or tables
* one of his conclusions or arguments with which you strongly agree (or disagree)
* one policy recommendation (his or yours) that follows from the data and/or text


For a slightly different perspective, let's look at Evolving Trends in the 21st Century. This article comes from Cari Dominguez, the Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Dominiquez identifies three "megatrends" that she argues are both redefining the workplace and serving as emerging challenges for issues related to the work of the EEOC.
* demographics
* technology
* globalization

The EEOC is charged with enforcing laws such as these:
* Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin)
* Age Discrimination in Employment Act
* Equal Pay Act
* Americans with Disabilities Act

My questions are these: How will the three megatrends do you think will most profoundly affect issues of discrimination in the American workplace? Which of the three do you believe has the potential to be the most disruptive?

Session #16 - "Structures" of the 21st Century World

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We’ll sandwich the two chapters from The World Is Flat around our central activity for today. Your blog entries for Chapter #5, “American and Free Trade,” are due. Let’s hear what you thought about that reading. It’s probably a good place to introduce some of the “vocabulary” of protectionism. (More free preview from Economics class…)


International Organizations:
We’ll take a tour through the “alphabet” organizations today, trying to figure out how each plays a role in the 21st Century world. As you’ve probably noticed from the list, some are bigger players than others, and we’ll be revisiting a few of them later in the course. Consider this another “primer” on a wide variety of groups.

I placed them below in an order that I thought made sense, but you could reshuffle them a number of ways. Remember, we’ll ask you to tell us a bit about “yours,” particularly something beyond what we’ll read on your list. Feel free to share your thoughts on the group’s value, functions or desirability in today’s (and tomorrow’s) world.

United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Security Council
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Bank
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
European Union (EU)
Group of 8 (G8)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Mercosur
African Union (AU)
League of Arab States
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
Organization of Islamic Conferences
Commonwealth of Independent States
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Food Program (WFP)
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


READING: Please have Friedman’s Chapter 7, “The Right Stuff,” read for Friday.

Session #15 - "Organizing" the 21st Century World

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READING/ REMINDERS: Please have "The Untouchables," chapter 6 in The World Is Flat read for class time on Tuesday. Your Blog Entry #5 is also due before class time tomorrow.


Let's try the 2006 National Geographic - Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy. I'm hoping it will make you feel good about where you're coming from. If not, I'm sorry for getting your week off to a bad start...

Test yourself... We'll walk through these together
Findings - read about what they found, conclusions they drew, etc.


We'll pick up a couple threads here to start the week. We'll then begin a look at the "international system" or scene or whatever you want to call it for the next couple weeks. Politics, economics, sociology, environmental studies and some other disciplines will be pulled together here.

First, I want to go back to the education article. Let's talk for a while about some of the recommendations you made for our educational system.

Second, I want to do some brainstorming with you about how to best handle the Great Decisions lessons that you will "teach" in October. You should have gotten your articles on Friday. I've also got another short handout on the foreign policy making process in the United States from the same source.


"ORGANIZING" THE 21st CENTURY WORLD: While political scientists might quibble about whether these all belong on the same list, here are 25 intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations. Here is what you need to do: Do a little research on “your” organization. You’ll be asked to post a comment on the Session #16 blog entry. (It’s the one for Tuesday that is currently just a title.) Here’s what the comment should contain...

TYPE THE NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION (and ABBREVIATION) IN ALL CAPS.

You are responsible for sharing with us the “TOP TEN” things we should know about your group. We’re interested in things like purpose, origins, important events, membership (not just a long list, but maybe size, role of US, etc,) ideology, key successes and/or failures, challenges to come, etc. You can do a numbered list, and I’ll leave it up to you whether to go 1-10 v. 10-1, rank their order of importance, etc.

You’ll talk about your group briefly on Tuesday, and you’ll be asked to provide a brief “evaluation” of the organization. I won’t expect anything very extensive, but perhaps comment on the role or value of this organization in our 21st Century world.

These lists and comments will form the basis for a matching quiz on these organizations. HAVE COMMENTS POSTED BY CLASS TIME ON TUESDAY. YOU'LL GET SOME CLASS TIME TODAY TO DO THIS...

African Union (AU)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Commonwealth of Independent States
European Union (EU)
Group of 8 (G8)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
League of Arab States
Mercosur
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Organization of Islamic Conferences
Organization or Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Security Council
World Bank
World Food Program (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
World Trade Organization (WTO)

I hope you don't mind doing this, as we'll be doing similar activities a couple of times this week...

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #5

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 5, “America and Free Trade.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON TUESDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

A. "When you lose your job, the enemplyment rate is not 5.2 percent; it's 100 percent." (Page 262) How should America balance this reality with the demands of a flat(ter) world and competition? What (if anything) do we owe workers who lose their jobs to globalization?

B. What's your take on this whole "lump of labor" theory? (page 264)

C. "There may be a limit to the number of good factory jobs in the world, but there is no limit to the number of idea-generated jobs in the world." (page 267) Is this realistic, or simply a case of optimism run wild?

D. On page 274, Friedman cites the comparison made between China and India's entry into the global economy with the coming of railroad lines across the American West. Is this an apt comparison, or another instance of "analogy overstretch?" Explain.

Session #14 - "Great Decisions" Worktime

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READING: Please have "The Untouchables," chapter 6 in The World Is Flat read for class time on Tuesday.

Between the combination of your Homecoming "trip" down to the Middle and Lower Schools and the All-School Assembly schedule, we'll be lucky to have 30 minutes for class time today. It seems like a good day for me to attend the Communication Teachers Association of Minnesota Annual Conference. (Imaging a bunch of debate, speech and theater people all together...)

Anyway, here's your task for today. I've made copies of the "Great Decisions" chapter that you each signed up for. That list is below. If "Energy" wants to work as a "mega-group," I'm OK with that. I want at least three to stay with "Energy," but a couple of you can defect to other groups if you would like.

Brazil: Laurel, Lauren, Megan
Energy: Christian R., Dan, Maggie, Maria, Michelle, Patty (possible defections to come)
Human Rights: Eric, Will B.
India/China: Peter, Sam, Soren
Iran: Byron, Cam, Missy
Pandemics: Karl, Kevin, Trevor, Steph
UN Reform: Bert, Christian D., Michael, Will L

YOU SHOULD PICK UP YOUR COPY OF THE CHAPTER FROM MS. MURR SOMETIME BETWEEN 9:00 and 9:15.

We'll settle on a specific schedule, but I don't anticipate doing any of these presentations before October.

Thing of this as a "big day" for your group. You'll basically be in charge of running the class in terms of providing/teaching the information you deem most relevant, adding additional resources or activities as you see fit, preparing for and moderating a discussion, and whatever else. This is more than a "read this article and blog a comment assignment...

We'll provide you with a rubric or checklist, but here are some ideas to start your thinking. I'll expect some sort of content presentation, some activity, some discussion, and some form of evaluation or response from class members. We can talk about what these will all look like after you've seen the material a bit.

* Additional resources for each topic are available at The Foreign Policy Association's Great Decisions website.

* I have a copy of a 2 DVD set with 30-minute segments dedicated to each of the issues. You'll be able to access/show portions of that if you'd like.

* We done readings or activities in class that are relevant to many of these issues.

* You are, of course, welcome to incorporate any other resources that you believe would enrich your presentation.

* I have a copy of the "Teacher's Guide" to "Great Decisions" that has some activities for each issue. Some that I've looked at are below this group (more middle school or Regional Studies), but you are welcome to check them out and get ideas or make modifications in you would like.

Have a great homecoming weekend...


Session #13 - Educating 21st Century Citizens

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Think of this as our final day of this first "unit." I'm not what it should be called, but I guess that's irrelevant.

Jared Diamond v. Kirkpatrick Sale: We'll look at your blog entries from yesterday and hear some of your opinions as well.

Here are quick reminders of what the two established as their criteria:

Jared Diamond:
Environmental damage
Climate change
Hostile neighbors
Friendly neighbors - trade
Cultural response

Kirkpatrick Sale:
Environmental degredation
Economic meltdown
Military overstretch
Domestic dissent and upheaval

You were asked to evaluate the two views and choose the one that more closely matched your own views. Let's hear what you thought.


I've got another quick activity here... Thomas Barnett's sequel to The Pentagon's New Map was called Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating. His final chapter is directed at you folks, the "Echo Boomers," the generation of more than 80 million Americans born between 1980 and 1995. He argues that you will be the cohort doing the most "moving and shaking" in the political and economic worlds come the year 2025. He closes with a list of "heroes" that he believes the world will encounter as it moves forward. He challenges the Echo Boomers to raise, recognize and support these heroes when they can. More importantly, he encourages you to become one of these heroes, "not out of duty or guilt but because you can find yourself in these tasks."

Let's meet some of the heroes Barnett forsees in a "future worth creating"... I've cut the little descriptions up. Browse through the 40 or whatever I have and "claim" one that seems interesting and understandable to you. (A few will be confusing if you haven't read the book.) When you get the word, it's time to "introduce" yourself to others. We'll do that for a few minutes, and then we can reconvene in the full group.


At 9:10, we'll halt our discussions and shift gears to an activity designed to return our little journey into these nebulous forces and world views back to the safety of our classroom. Clearly, American education needs to adapt to this 21st Century World. I want you to help begin that effort today...

Lost in America
is another Foreign Policy article. It is a very interesting article, and certainly one of high relevance to all of us in the room. It asks the central question of how well we are preparing American students for a globalizing world.

IT IS FOUND ON THE EXTENDED ENTRY BELOW...

Here's what I'd like you to do. (Feel free to work alone or in a group of up to 3 people.) Please use the article as a backdrop from which to make your recommendations for improving the future of American education. (For purposes of this activity, let's assume we're talking about public educaiton as a whole, not MPA.) I'd like one member of your group to post a comment (a post not begun before 9:35 and not begun after 9:40) to this blog entry. Your group should propose five specific steps you believe will help address the challenges presented in the article. Please list all group members' names at the top as well.

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #4

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 4, “The Great Sorting Out.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON FRIDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

A. Friedman seems to be seeing Karl Marx as some sort of kindred spirit, a communist peering into his crystal ball and channeling some sort of globalization vibe. Do you think the Marx excerpt IS relevant to our 21st century world? Tell me why or why not.

B. India versus Indiana: Who is exploiting whom? Tell me. Tell me, please. Tell me, I can't take the suspense... (Oh yeah, tell me WHY as well.)

C. The chapter begins with Friedman's contention that we are moving from a vertical (command and control) to horizontal (connect and collaborate) value-creation model. Having read the chapter, tell me what you think of this claim. Do you agree? If so, will this be a positive development? Why or why not?

Session #12 - Collapsing Civilization???

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We'll take a bit of a step back from the very interesting, and occasionally somewhat heated, discussions that took place yesterday. We're moving toward the end of our "looks at the world as a whole" section, and we'll be getting into more specific issues next week. Here's an article, "Outsourcing Torture," from The New Yorker that Michelle asked me to pass on to those of you who might be interested. It's the one she was looking for during our discussions on Tuesday.

We'll start with looking at chapters 3 and 4 from The World is Flat.
I don't have a particular agenda, other than asking if there are any questions or comments on "The Triple Convergence" or "The Great Sorting Out." Blog entry #4 will be due by class time Friday, and I'd like you to have Chapter 5, "America and Free Trade" read by then as well.


In addition to wrapping up the Barnett/"Pentagon's New Map" activity, I wanted to spend some time with Samuel Huntington's, "The Clash of Civilizations?" article from the 1993 Foreign Affairs issue. I asked people to, in addition to forming a general position on Huntington's thesis, to identify three points of agreement and three points of disagreement with his arguments. Let's start with those.

Here's "The Clash of Ignorance," a response to Huntington from Edward Said published shortly after 9/11 in The Nation. Said, who died in 2003, was a Palestinian-American who taught at Columbia University and wrote and spoke extensively on a wide variety of issues.

"Re-Clash of Civilizations" describes a forum held in 2004 to consider Huntington's views a decade after their initial publication.


The other question for today... Is the American civilization (or, if you prefer, empire) headed for collapse? Two very interesting, and very different, takes on this one come from Jared Diamond and Kirkpatrick Sale.

Jared Diamond: Many of you have probably at least seen Jared Diamond's book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. (He's also the author of Guns, Germs and Steel.) Diamond is currently a professor of geography and environmental health sciences at UCLA.

Here's a transcript from a 2002 appearance by Diamond on Australian radio.


Kirkpatrick Sale: Sale is an author and technology critic. (He's referred to himself as a 'neo-Luddite.') You'll probably either love him or hate him, but there's no denying he makes for interesting reading.

Here's a 2005 essay by Sale on what he sees as the impending collapse of the American empire.

YOUR TASK: You can either work alone or in a pair on this one. Read the two sources, making note of the factors they each identify in the collapse of civilizations/empires. As you probably guessed, I want to know which of the two views you believe better captures where America is headed. Please post a comment to the blog below telling me with which view you more agree and why. I'd like those comments posted before class time Wednesday.

Session #11 - Clashing Civilizations???

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Thanks for your contributions and comments yesterday. We didn't get to the last activity. Here are some of the big questions... Consider them conversation starters, and I say no more than 5 minutes on each today.

Are we winning the "War on Terror?" (I'm not asking primarily about Iraq here.)

Are we safer than we were before 9/11?

What should be done with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?

What infringements or abridgements of privacy will you accept in America today?

Should profiling be used to identify potential threats on airlines and elsewhere?

Was the National Security Agency's use of wiretaps justified in today's climate?

I'm also interested in getting your reactions to the Dobson article from yesterday's extended entry. (It's the Foreign Policy article, "The Day Nothing Much Changed.")


REMINDERS: Blog entry #3 is now posted, and it is due before Wednesday's class. You're also supposed to have read Chapter 4, "The Great Sorting Out." Blog Entry #4 will be due by Friday's class. I'll be asking you to have Chapter 5, "America and Free Trade," ready for Friday as well.


TODAY: Now that we're back to our "regular" curriculum, I want to go back to a couple of the "world views" that I have mentioned. We'll look at want Thomas Barnett wants to do with The Pentagon's New Map that we drew and saw on Friday. We'll also introduce Samuel Huntington's work, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.

Let's turn back to Barnett's "The Pentagon's New Map." I want to shift from Barnett's description of the world to his prescription for what should be done. Several concepts that you might be interested in:

* a new US military: Gap Leviathan and the System Administrator
* rule sets, system perturbations and rule-set resets
* a future worth creating - Barnett's underlying optimism is that something can be done. We'll look at 10 steps he sees as essential in creating that future. I'd like you and a small group to look at these for two purposes.

First, rank the 10 in terms of how likely they are to come to be in your opinion.
Second, rank the 10 items in terms of their desirability from your perspective.


Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" - Huntington is a Harvard Professor who authored one of the post-influential and controversial articles/books of the post-Cold War era.

Here's the actual 1993 Foreign Affairs article, "A Clash of Civlizations?" that became the basis for Huntington's later book.

A Clash of Civilizations: A Reading Guide This feature at the Christian Science Monitor's website might be useful in understanding Huntington's work. Scroll down below the map.

FOR TOMORROW: I'd like you to tackle the original Foreign Affairs article linked above. (It's better than assigning the whole book, right???) Anyway, it is challenging, but very interesting as well. I'm less concerned with you mastering every detail than with digging into the article in some places you find most interesting. Here's what I'd like you to come prepared to discuss:

What do you see as Huntington's main thesis and/or arguments?
How persuasively do you believe he proves those key points?
Identify three conclusions or arguments of Huntington's that you support.
Identify three conclusions or arguments of Huntington's with which you disagree.
Overall, what is your reaction to the article?

I'll give you some class time to get started on this one...

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #3

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Three cheers for Christian D. He's my new hero for finding my copy of the book and my coffee cup on Friday. Of course, that means I can now assign you work, so maybe he's not your hero anymore...

By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 3, “The Triple Convergence .” Answer one of the following two questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON WEDNESDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

A. On page 203, Friedman begins to get at the heart of what he means by “the triple convergence.” My question is simple. Of the three, which convergence do you believe will have most profoundly influenced the world by the time you have graduated from college? Why?

B. On page 229, Friedman begins discussing what he calls the “other” triple convergence, one that masked much of what is described earlier in the chapter. He is referring to the dot-com bust, 9/11, and the scandals in corporate governance. Do you believe these, or any other factors, can stop the continued impact of the ten flatteners and the triple convergence? Why or why not?

Session #10 - 9/11: Five Years Later

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Clearly, in a class called, "The 21st Century," it's appropriate we take a slight detour to consider the defining event of the century thus far on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We'll pick up tomorrow back where we were on Friday. By the way, we'll come back to the topic of terrorism later, as we look at specific threats, etc. I'm interested in keeping the focus on 9/11 and its legacy today.

REMINDERS: Blog entry #3 is now posted, and it is due before Wednesday's class. You're also supposed to read Chapter 4, "The Great Sorting Out," for tomorrow's class. I'll be asking you to have Chapter 5, "America and Free Trade," ready for Friday as well.

I recopied the Foreign Policy article that you were supposed to read for today on the extended entry below... I'm interested in your reactions to that article off the top this morning.

Do you agree with William Dobson's conclusion? Why or why not?
How do you feel the world HAS changed since 9/11?
What do you feel remains the same?


"Think Again" is a Foreign Policy feature each issue. Not suprisingly, this issue focused on 9/11. It is one of those "challenge the conventional wisdom" sort of features with questions and quick summaries. We'll look at those together. This particular edition was written by University of Michigan Professor of History Juan Cole. Let's see what we think of his conclusions.

I've got the "9/11 + 5" graphs from the same issue to show you on the projector here...


Foreign Policy (July/August 2006) - The Terrorism Index If you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of Foreign Policy magazine. Let's take a look at a report produced by the Center for American Progress that was summarized in the July/August 2006 issue. Notice that this was a survey of 100 foreign-policy experts from all parts of the political spectrum. We'll take a look at the data reflected in the six sidebars. First, I'll give you five minutes to browse around.


The Center for American Progress website has some additional information. You can download the "Metrics of Failure" if you'd like, but we'll give each of you a copy of one of the metrics so we can go over them together. Keep in mind that, although they claim they are "a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all," the Center may reflect a political persepctive that you might want to take into account when drawing conclusions.


Finally, it's time to simply pick your brains. Here are some of the big questions...

Are we winning the "War on Terror?" (I'm not asking primarily about Iraq here.)

Are we safer than we were before 9/11?

What should be done with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?

What infringements or abridgements of privacy will you accept in America today?

Should profiling be used to identify potential threats on airlines and elsewhere?

Was the National Security Agency's use of wiretaps justified in today's climate?

Session #9 - The Failed (Failing?) States

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A couple of loose ends to wrap up: Let's hear a bit about those different forms of government that you were asked to consider. Here's that "forms of government" map I found at Wikipedia. It's quite colorful, isn't it?

Republic (presidential)
Republic (parliamentary)
Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
Absolute Monarchy
Republic (single party)
Military Dictatorship

READING: If you get time, start reading that 4th chapter in The World Is Flat. I'd like that read for Tuesday. There's additional reading for Monday at the bottom of this entry.


We did some thinking yesterday about what makes a State "strong" or viable. Today, we'll begin by considering the flip side. What happens when a state is at risk of collapse, or worse?

The Failed States Index: This is another neat tool that has been featured annually in Foreign Policy magazine. It was first used by "The Fund for Peace," a group conducting research in an attempt to prevent wars and conflict. We'll do several things with it.

First, before we look at the actual results, I want to consider the methodology they used. 12 "indicators" have been identified, and countries receive a score of up to 10 points on each of those indicators.

Here's the short list of the dozen indicators:

Social Indicators
1. Mounting Demographic Pressures
2. Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
3. Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia
4. Chronic and Sustained Human Flight

Economic Indicators
5. Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
6. Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline

Political Indicators
7. Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State
8. Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread Violation of Human Rights
10. Security Apparatus Operates as a "State Within a State"
11. Rise of Factionalized Elites
12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors

TWO TASKS: Let's cluster in groups of 4 or 5. I'll give you a handout with a bit more detail on the indicators. Use that to determine which of the indicators you feel are the strongest. In other words, "Which four indicators do you believe are the most useful in determining which states are at risk of failing?" You'll mark the numbers of your choices on the board. On the flip side, are there factors that you don't see linked to the success or failure of a state?

One more task: I want you to make a list of five states you expect to see appear high on the list. Let's put those up on the board as well.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let's look at the Failed States Index. The map itself might be the place to start, but let's look at the graphs, tables and additional features as well.

Feel free to ask whatever questions pop into your mind...

Here's an interesting response to this article: "Failed States Index A Disgrace To Western Scientific Community." This is from RIA Novosti - The Russian News and Information Agency.


Next, we'll turn our attention to several thinkers who have attempted to conceptualize our world in different ways. I want to start with Thomas Barnett. He's going to be way too much of a military "wonk" for some of you, but I think his basic framework is worth considering. He's the author of The Pentagon's New Map and Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating.

In The Pentagon's New Map, Barnett presents his view of the world. As an excerpt from his website says, "The map divides the world into two parts: “the functioning core” and the “non-integrated gap.” The core consists of economically advanced or growing countries that are linked to the global economy and bound to the rule-sets of international trade. The rest of the world is the non-integrated gap – outside the global economy, not bound to the rule-sets of international trade."

My challenge to you: I'll give you a world map, and I want you to attempt to show this division. We'll give you a few minutes, and then we'll take a look at his work.

If you're interested in learning more, here are some links:
Thomas P.M. Barnett homepage
Here's his weblog - 3500 posts and counting...

We'll come back and look at what he recommends for the future of US foreign policy at a future date.


FOR MONDAY: The sequence is pretty good, but we'll jump out of order a bit on Monday since it will mark the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On the extended entry is an article that I'd like you to read before Monday's class. Please come prepared to discuss specifics.

The Day Nothing much Changed by William J. Dobson
Foreign Policy, September/October 2006

Session #8 - The State in the 21st Century

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REMINDERS: You were asked to post your "international relations" term by now, and your blog entry #2 is due by 10 PM tonight. We'll use them both tomorrow in class a bit. You were also asked to read "The Triple Convergence" (Chapter 3 for class today.) Your blog entry #3 questions will be posted later today, probably due by Monday afternoon.

Here's what I came up with for the "Great Decisions" groups... No Turkey takers.

Brazil: Laurel, Lauren, Megan
Energy: Christian R., Dan, Maggie, Maria, Michelle, Patty (possible defections to come)
Human Rights: Eric, Will B.
India/China: Peter, Sam, Soren
Iran: Byron, Cam, Missy
Pandemics: Karl, Kevin, Trevor, Steph
UN Reform: Bert, Christian D., Michael, Will L.


Monday we'll take a look at the legacy of 9/11 five years later. We'll spend today looking at the role of the state in our world, and, on Friday, we'll consider a couple interesting works that attempt to better understand the interactions of these states.

First, we need to have at least a working definition of several terms that are often used almost interchangably. Let's try to sort them out.

state
nation
nation-state
country

Let's see what we can figure out here... I have a series of questions.

What is a State?
What are the characteristics of an independent State?
How many States are there in the world today?
Here's the "List of Member States" of the United Nations.
Which other term is most often used interchangably with "State"?
What are some geographic entities that are NOT States?
What is a nation?
What is a nation-state?
Are there nations without states?

Questions for Discussion:

What do you identify as the key functions of the State in the modern world?
What do you believe that a State owes to its own citizens?
What do you believe that a State owes to others in the world?

Should Iraq be considered a State?
Should Taiwan be considered to be a State?
What about Palestine?

Will the "flatteners" and the "Triple Convergence" (plus everything else that's been going on) strengthen or weaken the State in the 21st century?

Would the world benefit more from the weakening or the strengthening of the institution of the State?

RECOMMENDED READING: Here's an interesting, but challenging article from The Brussels Journal - "Is the Nation State Obsolete?"

Two more for you:
The State - Its Rise and Decline by Martin van Creveld

"The Fate of the State" by Martin van Creveld

If you'd like to comment upon any of these, please do. It's not an assignment.


Governing the State: We'll take a look at some of the various forms of government that remain in place during the 21st century. You've probably done some variation of this activity before, but we'll try to go a little deeper. Notice that we're looking at "forms" of government here, not political ideologies.

Here's a "forms of government" map found at Wikipedia. It's quite colorful, isn't it?

You'll be assigned to one of six types of government:
Republic (presidential)
Republic (parliamentary)
Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
Absolute Monarchy
Republic (single party)
Military Dictatorship

Here's your group's task in the next ten minutes. First, briefly define what this form of government is. Second, what are some examples of where we find it? Third, and most importantly, what do you see as the major advantages or strengths of this form of government for a country that practices it? We'll expect 2-3 minutes per group. Don't worry, the rest of us will take the job of trying to knock your form apart...

Finally, let's go make use of that big circle in the commons. I'll explain what we'll do, but here are the statements we'll use.

1. A State has no higher responsibility that to protect the welfare of its own citizens.
2. A State may justifiably use all means at its disposal in self-defense against attack by another State.
3. The State has become corrupted by the influence and power of the elite.
4. The State is justified in taking preemptive action outside its borders when it fears for its own physical safety.
5. International organizations (like the UN) can effectively regulate the actions of individual States.
6. The power of international organizations to regulate individual States should be increased.
7. A viable State will emerge in Iraq within the next five years.
8. Taiwan will be recognized as an independent State within the next ten years.

"The World Is Flat" - Blog Entry #2

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At this time, you are supposed to have read at least a part of Chapter 2, “The Ten Forces That Flattened The World .” Your blog entry should do the following: Choose one of the write ups on the "flatteners" that are posted on the Session #6 blog extended entry. (Don't pick yours.) After reading that entry, and perhaps the Friedman section on it as well, discuss how significant (or in what ways) that "flattener" is in shaping our world of today and tomorrow. (That's not worded very well. Just make it clear that you're discussing/assessing/evaluating/whatever, and not just repeating.)

I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings. Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted by the deadline.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BY 10 PM ON THURSDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

Session #7 - An Intro to International Relations

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READING ASSIGNMENT: Please read Chapter 3 of The World Is Flat, "The Triple Convergence," for Thursday's class.

There's a separate entry for today with the information on your second required blog entry. I'd like that by the end of the day (Let's say by 10 PM, just for kicks...) on Thursday.

Today, we'll begin shifting our focus from globalization to the nation-states and civilizations that comprise the globe itself. We'll borrow from the fields of geography, politicals and international relations for the first couple of days of our look at the international system.

Forget just how big this world is? Here's a population clock.

First, I thought I'd try to make us all feel a little overwhelmend by the sheer size and complexity of the world around us. The Minnesota International Center is based near the East Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. They host an annual WorldQuest international trivia competition. The next one will be on February 2, 2007. Let's see how we do on last year's set of questions. We'll use the computer projector. (Yes, I'd have flunked this if it was graded by any typical set of criteria...)

Second, I think it is important to take some time to figure out (sort of) just where our own views are coming from. I assume that you are all familiar with the left-right conception of the political spectrum, but I want us to lacte ourselves on something a little more complex, The Political Compass. This is one of those self-quizzes that will take a while to do, so we'll tackle it here in class. Basically, I want you to take the assessment and record your answer. (Scroll down on that last screen to the grid. You'll record two numbers: a left/right value and an authoritarian/libertarian value.) You'll plot your point on a class grid, but you can decide whether or not to identify yourself by name. You might want to read their page of analysis AFTER you take the quiz.

Next, we'll dive into a field of study most of you probably aren't really familiar with - international relations. If you want to be blown away, check out this list of IR Theory. Yes, we'll dip our toes in here with a little exercise.

Here are 25 of the terms from the list:
Balance of Power Theory
Collective Defence
Complex Interdependence Theory
Constructivism
Critical Social Theory
Dependency Theory
Deterrence Theory
Feminism
Fourth World Theory
Game Theory
Globalism
Hegemonic Stability Theory
Idealism
Imperialism
International Regime Theory
Just War Theory
Legal Positivism
Liberalism
Marxism
Neorealism
Pluralism
Postinternationalism
Postmodernism
Power Transition Theory
Realism
Transnationalism
World-Systems Analysis

You'll each sign up for one of these and post a comment below. (I'll give you some class time, and I want these posted before tomorrow's class...) Here's what you should have in your comment.

* NAME OF TERM IN CAPITAL LETTERS

* "Definition"/ description of the term or concept. This should be no more than 75 words, and it should be written in a way that we can all understand. (NO wholesale quoting from Wikipedia or anywhere else...)

* An example (real or hypothetical) from how this term is being used/could be used to understand something about internation relations today

* Your brief assessment of whether this strikes you as a useful "tool" to use in viewing our world today and into the future (no more than 75 words here either)

Some of this is tough material, but we'll see if we can make effective use of it.

Finally, I want to get those "Great Decisions" topics assigned. We're still three+ weeks before any of those are "due," but I'd like to put the information in your hands ASAP. Remember, it's groups of three.

Session #6 - "Flattening" the World

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Welcome back. I want to start by taking ten minutes to just skim some of the entries for your required blog entry for Chapter 1 from The World Is Flat. Your task is this: Find something that interests, provokes, intrigues, irritates, confuses or "something elses" you. Talk to the author of that post about it.

Next, I wanted to carve out a few moments to talk about Chapter 1, "While I Was Sleeping." As another sign of my own nerdiness, I've come up with my ten "talking points" from the chapter, and I'd like to know what you found most memorable.

Our major task for today will be to share information on the 10 "flatteners" that Friedman identifies in Chapter 2. Your written summaries will appear below on the "extended entry," and they will be the subject matter for you next required blog entry. I figure that we might as well go straight through the list, and we'll give each group up to five minutes to share what they read as well as answer questions.

READING ASSIGNMENT: Please read Chapter 3 of The World Is Flat, "The Triple Convergence." for Thursday's class.

Session #5 - Globalization: Odds and Ends

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A couple of things to either wrap up or kick off today...

I think we'll have a brief guest appearance by an MPA alum who had an interesting experience this summer that certainly relates to a number of topics we've touched upon this week. (If not today, we'll do it next week...)

Next, I want to take a little time and hear your reactions to some of the anecdotes and information in Chapter 1 of The World Is Flat, "While I Was Sleeping." I know you are commenting on the blog on this as well, but I'd like to hear some discussion on it also.

We'll let you assign yourselves to groups for the "Great Decisions" activity that we'll do later in the quarter. The Foreign Policy Association selects 8 issues a year, and I introduced those yesterday. Later in the quarter, we'll basically spend an class period on each of the issues. Your group will "lead" us that day by providing background, introducing conflicting perspectives, leading a discussion, etc. We'll update you more on the specifics and the schedule later, but I thought I'd put the preliminary material in your hands early on. (I also have a 30 minute DVD excerpt on each of these issues you'll have access to.)

The last 30 minutes of the period are yours to work with your "flattener" group on your write-up. Remember that I am thinking 300-400 words is about the right range. You can simply send it to me as either an email or an attachment by Tuesday morning. I'll get them posted on the blog for us to make use of them on Wednesday during class.

Reminders:
Flattener #1: Peter, Sam
Flattener #2: Megan, Steph, Trevor
Flattener #3: Christian D., Soren, Will L.
Flattener #4: Bert, Kevin, Michael
Flattener #5: Christian R., Maria
Flattener #6: Laurel, Lauren, Michelle
Flattener #7: Byron, Cam, Warsame
Flattener #8: Maggie, Patty
Flattener #9: Eric, Willy B.
Flattener #10: Dan, Missy

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