Reading Response

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ReadingResponse

ReadingResponse

Part1:

Question3: Cold war

Thereis no clear cut answer as to who between the United States and theSoviet Union initiated the Cold War. The onset of the Cold War hasbeen attributed to a long time mistrust that existed between the U.S.and the Soviet Union. This mistrust has in turn been attributed todifferent factors, such as the failure by the U.S. to shareinformation about the science of making the nuclear weapons, thefailure of the U.S. government to recognize Bolshevik governmentfollowing the Russian Revolution, Truman’s dislike of the leader ofthe Soviet Union named Stalin, USSR’s hatred over the idea ofcapitalism, expansion of the USSR into Europe, and the U.S. fear ofcommunist attack. This indicates that both sides mistrusted eachother, leading to the Cold War.

Thebeginning of the end of the cold war can be attributed to MikhailGorbachev, who came into power in the year 1985. The new leaderbrought unprecedented revolution and allowed the western ideas aswell as goods to start reach the USSR. In addition, the crumble ofthe USSR in 1989 destroyed the key symbol of the Cold War, thusgiving the U.S. the opportunity to negotiate trade and foreignpolicies with individual nations, instead of the former geopoliticalpower, the USSR. By 1991, the Cold War was over since each state haddeclared its independence and could determine its foreign policy andchoose its trade partners. It can be argued that the U.S. won the warbecause the USSR adopted the U.S. ideologies. In addition, the factthat the countries forming the USSR adopted the U.S. ideologiesimplies that cooperation with the rest of the globe was guaranteed inthe post-war period.

Part2:

Question1: The U.S. national interests

TheUnited States’ foreign as well as domestic policies are alwaysformulated with the view of protecting some interests that thecountry has held dear since the declaration of independence. Althoughthese national interests are put into numerous categories, they canbe broadly put into four major categories. The first interest is thesecurity of the Americans and that of the vulnerable members of thesociety in other countries. The U.S. efforts to protect the interestof security has been confirmed in several incidents, including theattempt to prevent the propagation of techniques for making nuclearweapons to Russia and other high risk nations.

Thesecond interest democracy, which is the key pillar of the U.S. systemof leadership. The U.S. people believe the rights of all members ofthe society to be heard and speak freely. To this end, the U.S. hasan interest in protecting democracy locally and spreading democraticgovernance in other countries. Although democracy is often associatedwith capitalism, the U.S. holds that it is the democratic leadershipis the foundation of national development.

Thethird interest in human rights, where the U.S. serves as an exampleof the countries with the effective laws and policies that seek toprotect the rights of the all groups (including the minorities)irrespective of whether their values seem to depart from the what isbelieved by the general public to be correct. The U.S. takesinitiatives to protect human rights locally and in other nations,such as Russia.

Lastly,the U.S. is interested in the establishment of economicallyproductive relations with other countries in order to increase itsexport market.

Part3:

Question3: Differences between high and low politics

Themain difference between the concept of low politics and high politicsis based on the level of priority that is attached to various issuesunder consideration. These issues could be used to determine theinterdependence of several states or the survival of a given state.Although the concept gained popularity after the Cold War, its origincan be traced back to the seventeenth century where it was first usedby the theorist named Thomas Hobbes.

Whenderiving the concept of high politics, Thomas held that human beingsshould be considered to be inherently unable to meet their needs andconstantly require the intervention of the state to supply most ofthese needs. The needs that people expect to be fulfilled by thestate are considered to be of high priority and they determine thesurvival of the state. Examples of the high priority needs mayinclude societal order and security, both of which determine thestability as well as the survival of the state. The U.S. carried thisexplanation of the high politics and high priority needs into thecold war period, where it feared a communist attack that couldendanger its survival.

Theconcept of low politics, on the other hand, focuses more on the ideaof interdependence rather than the survival of a given state. Factorsthat are categorized as low priority under the concept of lowpolitics do not necessarily influence the survival of the state, butthey may affect human as well as societal welfare. In most cases, thelow politic or priority issues concern more than one nation, and seekenhance interdependence among the affected states.

Part4

Question4: Evolution of capitalism to imperialism

Leninheld that the concept of capitalism would eventually develop andgraduate to imperialism. By the idea of graduation Lenin meant thatthe world would move or transition from free competition that acts asthe key characteristic of capitalism to monopoly, which is the keyfeature of imperialism. Therefore, imperialism, according to Leninwould be the advanced stage of capitalism.

Accordingto Lenin, the successful transition of the world to imperialism wouldbe marked by five key factors. The first factor is the emergence ofmonopolies that would have sufficient power to make decisions thatwill influence the world’s economic life. Secondly, the emergenceof the bank capital would market the beginning of the development ofcapitalisms towards its monopolistic status. Third, the export ofcapital would gain more significance as compared to the exportationof commodities. Fourth, nations would establish monopolisticorganizations that will share the world economy among themselves.Lastly, the world’s largest capitalists will establish territorialdivisions that will be able to make influential decisions.

Thereare two major factors that will motivate the development ofcapitalism to imperialism. First, the perception that monopolies aremore profitable will motivate the world’s largest capitalists tofast track the process of transitioning to imperialism. Secondly, thedesire to maintain security and control using military power willprovide a platform for the established capitalist economies todenominate other nations, thus resulting in the establishment ofimperialism.

Onceimperialism takes place, the world monopolies will start purchasingworkers to their home countries, which will be a sign of exploitingother countries that will not have adequate capacity to compete thesemonopolies. Therefore, imperialism will be creating an economy thatis dominated by a few, unlike capitalism that invites all people toaccumulate wealth according to their respective abilities.

Part5:

Question4: Wendt meaning of the phrase social structure

Wendtused the phrase of social structure to refer to socialstratifications that are used to group individual members of thesociety. Wendt held that social structure is defined by three keydimensions. The first dimension is the principle of ordering, whichrefers to the framework in which different elements of the socialstructure are organized. The second dimension is character units,which refers to the key functions that are performed by elements of agiven social system. The last dimension that defines that socialstructure is the distribution of capabilities, which is the extent towhich material resources are concentrated in different strata of thesociety.

Thethree dimensions of social structure as put forward by Wendt are usedto predict interactions that take place among units of states andtheir standing in relation to each other.Wendt held that thearrangement of units is a function of the entire system whileinteraction takes place at the unit level. Units that form the socialsystem have shared knowledge, expectations, and understanding thathelp them predict the reach of each other in different situations.For an instant, security dilemma can be considered as a socialstructure that is composed of interactive expectations andunderstanding, where different states are distrustful and tend tomake negative assumptions about the intentions of each other. Asecurity community, on the other hand, resolve issues withoutengaging in war. Wendt explanation of the concept of social structureincreases the understanding of the theory of constructivism andinternational relations. For example, the manager in which units in asocial structure or system can be used to predict how differentstates are likely to interact and relate to others, which is similarto the theory of constructivism.

Part6:

Question4: Factors leading to the end of the history according to Fukuyama

Accordingto Fukuyama, factors the led to the end of the history include thecollapse of the Soviet Union and a continuous acceptance of thewestern ideologies in the Asian countries. This end of the historystarted taking place in the late twentieth century and it was markedby the end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the SovietUnion that upheld the principles of communism and socialism.According to Fukuyama, the end of the history means that the Asiancountries started adopting the Western style of governance and doingbusiness and abandoned their traditional principles of communism.This resulted in the liberalization of economies of countries thatformed the Soviet Union.

Inaddition, the end of the history ushered in the concept ofconsumerism that is part of the western culture. Fukuyama held thatthe adoption of the numerous concepts of the western culture marksthe “universalization” of the liberal democratic way of life andgovernance that has been the main feature distinguishing the westernculture from the rest of the world. Therefore, the phrase of the endof the history is derived from the notion that other systems ofgovernance will come to an end and their place be taken by theliberal democratic system of governance.

However,Fukuyama acknowledges the fact that transition to liberalization is agradual process and nor all nations will achieve the same level ofliberalization. This is the case with China and Japan that havealready been affected by liberalization but their level ofliberalization is far from reaching that of the United States. Ashistory ends, nations of the world will continue moving away fromsocialism to individualism.

Part7:

Question4: Why individuals sacrifice their liberty to Leviathan

Hobbesformulated two major rules that advice human beings about thecircumstances in which they need to forego their liberty. The firstrule holds that people are forbidden from actions that aredestructive to their own lives or taking decisions that might lead toremoval of the means that preserve their lives. This rule providesthe basis of judging between what is wrong and what is right beforetaking the final action. This means that people are expected toforego actions that are intended to help them pursue their owninterests, but they are likely to be destructive. In the second lawof nature Hobbes held that people are obliged to endeavor peace byall means, which implies that they should be willing to forego theirliberty if pursuing it is likely to destroy peace.The two rulessuggest that personal liberty should be sacrificed when actions ordecisions that are intended to pursue that liberty are likely tocause harm to an individual or cause harm to other people.

Foregoingone’s liberty when pursuing it might cause harm to an individual orto other people is an appropriate course that should be taken in themodern world. This is consistent with the principle of utilitarianismthat encourages people to take actions that are likely to increase ormaximize one’s happiness as well as the happiness of others. Fromthis perspective, one should be willing to give up personal libertywhen doing so will increase the happiness of a large number ofpeople. Therefore, pursuance of personal liberty is dependent on theoutcome of the actions taken to pursue that liberty.

Part8:

Question4: Gandhi’s notion that economic war is better than armed conflicts

Adecision on which one between the economic war and armed conflicts isbetter depends on their probable outcomes. Although the two can bedestructive to the targeted nation, it is evident that economic warmay be used for a noble purpose and cause less harm to civilians ascompared to armed conflicts. This is because an economic war plan isimplemented in a strategic way and its main aim is to contain thesupply of resources to the enemy. Gandhi’s assertion could be rightin early days when the economic war could be misused as states foughtto increase their geopolitical power, but its misuse in the moderndays is difficult.

Theworld has made a significant progress in the establishment ofinstitutions (such as the United Nations, IMF, WTO, and the WorldBank) that intervene in different issues that affect internationalrelations. This implies that it would be difficult for any individualcountry or a group of states to implement an economic war strategythat would affect another country without a valid reason. DuringGandhi’s days, these international organizations were either weakor did not exist, and countries could jeopardize the economies ofother countries without serious measures being taken to avoid unfairtreatment. This is unlike the armed conflicts (such as the ArabSprings) that are beyond the control of these internationalorganizations. Therefore, it is impossible to compare the armedconflict with economic war because both of them have varying levelsof severity and their chances of occurring differ significantly.