Feed on

Global Politics?


I devote this, the final section of our course to the meaning of Globalization for the Nation State.

The term “globalization” is frequently used as if it were an entirely new phenomenon.  But I am comfortable with this, ironically, global use of the concept because it is so vague.  If we define globalization as a massive expansion in contacts among peoples and an explosion in new technologies, I’m afraid that Genghis Khan (1162-1227 AD) and Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) would be offended by being excluded.  To avoid making the concept extend too far, I will merely focus on a few contemporary ways in which they world has become, as they say, “a smaller place.”  To do this, I will debunk a few popular mythologies about where we are and where we are going.  These are the myths of global rationality; terrorist irrationality; and our end of history.

35. LECTURE:  Monday,  April 16

Myth #1:   “The spread of global liberalism is rational.”  No, it’s not always rational!  Its effects are often counterproductive and destabilizing.

Assumption:   We tend to associate the idea of “globalization” with the  spread of our own values.  It’s sheer mythology to imagine that these values are uniformly appropriate for the rest of the world.

Assignments:  So, is globalization good or bad?  Or should we frame the question differently?

Globalization and the Mythology of Coca-Cola   WATCH

Benjamin Barber, “Jihad vs. McWorld” PRINT AND READ

John Rapley: “The New Middle Ages,” Foreign Affairs (May-June 2006)  At JSTOR, then search through ProQuest Social Science Journals:  PRINT AND READ


36. NO CLASS:  Wednesday,  April 18

I will be in Dublin, Ireland, hosting a Nanovic Institute distinguished lecture and giving my own lecture at University College-Dublin


37. DISCUSSION SECTION:  Friday, April 20

Discussion sections will not be held today.  Please use this time to catch up on your old reading assignments and complete the assignments for Ro and Omar’s lecture on Monday.


38. LECTURE:  Monday,  April 23

Special Lecture.  Ro and Omar will give the lecture today: “Reflections on the expansion and consequences of neoliberalism”

Please read the following articles in preparation for this lecture:

Stahler Schok, Vanden, and Kuecker, “Globalizing Resistance”  READ

Kenneth Roberts, “Latin America’s Populist Revival,” SAIS Review of International Affairs, Volume 27, Number 1, Winter-Spring
2007, pp. 3-15  READ

Gerardo Otero, “Neo-liberal Globalization, NAFTA, and Poverty”  READ


39. LECTURE:  Wednesday, April 25

Myth #2:  “Global Terrorism is irrational.”  No, it’s often frighteningly rational!

Reflections on terrorism:  My focus on the rational roots of inhumanity.

Sanche de Gramont, “The Transformation of Moral Idealism into Violent Revolution” PRINT AND READ

Dale Eickelman: “The public sphere, the Arab ‘Street’, and the Middle East’s Democracy Deficit”: HERE

Osama bin Laden: “Transcript of Speech,” Al Jazeera.com, Nov. 1, 2004 READ

“The French Colonialist’s Global Comeuppance,” Foreign Policy, January 2015 PRINT AND READ

40. DISCUSSION SECTION:  Friday, April 27

Paragraph Assignment:  Has political history, as we have known it (see Fukuyama) come to an end, or are we destined to relive the conflicts of the past (see Stanley and Lee)?

For this discussion, read only Fukuyama’s Introduction and Sections 3 and 4.  You should complete these readings before this section meeting:

Francis Fukuyama: “End of History,” National Interest, Summer 1989  PRINT AND READ

Timothy Stanley and Alexander Lee, “It’s still not the end of history” PRINT AND READ


41. LECTURE:  Monday, April 30

Reflections on liberal democracy:  My bias for hope

Today’s Assumption: It’s hard to be optimistic about the chances for global liberalism, but it’s reasonable to be hopeful.


Samuel Huntington: “Democracy’s Third Wave,”  Journal of Democracy, Spring 1991. See JSTOR at PRINT AND READ

Knowledge@Wharton, “Lew Gerstner’s turnaround tales at IBM,” READ

Cas Mudde, “It’s fashionable to say that democracies are dying” PRINT AND READ


42. LECTURE:  Wednesday, May 2

Myth #3:  “We are the end of history.”   No way!  We are only kidding ourselves when we make this assumption.  This attitude explains why the United States is so unpopular throughout the world.

Today’s assumption: The world is not ours to control.  Still, I believe that we can take some steps to make it better for ourselves and, equally important, for others.  Another way framing the issue is: On why liberalism is not enough.

My bias for perspective about our limitations.

Read these short essays in sequence and ask yourself whether each will lead us in the right direction.

Yuval Lewin, “Taking the Long Way”: READ

Stuart Jeffries, “Welcome to the new age of uncertainty”:  READ

Kurt Andersen, “The end of the world as they know it”  READ

Erica Goode, “Is humanity getting better?”  READ

Kelly J. Baker, “Why I remain hopeful,” Chronicle of Higher Education  READ

Alan Weisman, “The World Without Us” WATCH


Your final essay assignment is HERE


Ecclesiastes 9:11  “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Comments are closed.