World Politics Question #5

There's an old cliche that reads: one person's terrorist is another person's freedom-fighter. [Yes, I've edited for inclusive language.] So for this week, a two-part question for us to wrestle with: first, is the statement true, and second, does it have any implications for policy directed at those considered "terrorists"?


It's Different Now

Tomorrow night I am fortunate enough to be going to see Genesis, my favorite band in the entire world, play a show at the Verizon Center. Since Phil Collins left the band about 15 years ago, I was fairly certain that the one time I'd gotten to see them live during their 1992 tour would be the only time I'd ever get to see them perform in person -- but here we are a decade and a half later and there's a reunion tour featuring the longest-serving Genesis lineup (Banks/Collins/Rutherford, with Steurmer and Thompson backing them up) and I get to go! Very happy about this.

Of course, things were a bit different back in 1992 in terms of the kind and amount of information that I had about the concert before going to see it. I was then, as I am now, a member of the "Paperlate" online group, but back then it was a text-only listserv. I did have acess to setlists from earlier shows on the tour, and reviews of those shows, so I had a reasonably good idea what to expect when walking into the stadium. But this time around, before going to see the show tomorrow I have available to me:

1) complete and detailed reviews of every show that they've performed on this tour to date;

2) fan-produced video footage of other concerts (through YouTube, among other sources);

3) bootleg recordings of earlier shows on this tour [and yes, I am one of those people of the opinion that fan-traded bootlegs of live performances are perfectly acceptable products as long as no one is making any money off of them -- and they certainly don't cut into any profits that the band would otherwise make, since if anything they -- like fan fiction -- only make those of us obsessive enough to go out and find those recordings more excited about the official releases and performances]; and

4) "official" soundboard recordings of the earlier shows on the tour, purchased through a commercial service (http://www.themusic.com/) that is making available recordings of every show on the tour available for purchase. I have two already -- Manchester and Munich -- and have the DC show on order.

Some may think this a bad thing; "no surprises?" is the complaint I often hear. But for me, not having surprises at a concert is a good thing, because it allows me to appreciate all the more precisely what is going on, secure in the knowledge that I have a pretty good idea what to expect. That way I can get my mind out of the way, as it were, and just enjoy the experience. And since Genesis concerts are such rare events, I want to make sure to enjoy this one to the fullest.

If I get inspired I may post a review after the concert.


World Politics Question #4

As we dig into liberal IR theory a bit, here's a question that will help to focus our attention on a specific issue:

If a state pursues wealth as its highest goal, will that make it more peaceful? Does the pursuit of wealth (instead of other possible goals that a state might pursue) lead to peace?

Note that the best answers to this question will involve both a theoretical argument about the relationship between wealth and peace (even if that argument is that there is no relationship), and some reference to empirical examples. You want to make a case as strongly as you can for your point of view, and incorporating both of these styles of reasoning will help you to do so.

Also, note that if you are arguing that the pursuit of wealth does not necessarily lead to peace, you might want to use that as an occasion to argue for the primacy of something other than wealth as a state goal and assess the impact of that on peace. Just a suggestion.


World Politics question #3

Hopefully Nathan was able to deliver this to you in class today. In any event, here is the weekly question:

Is Layne prudent, or paranoid?


World Politics question #2

Taking advantage of my trans-sovereign authority over the blogging-group nations in the class, I will pose this question for all of us to ponder over the next three days:

Can sovereign states agree on global standards? If so, how and why; if not, why not?

I am looking for arguments here: state your position and then support it. In other words: provide claims and warrants.