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mervin eyler

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  1. I'd like to return to the question posed at the beginning. The curriculum is interestingly wide in breadth, but I think it's too shallow in depth. It's very Euro/US(as an extension of European culture)-centric. Perhaps it would be more enlightening for the students to get a multi-cultural perspective. For example, topics might include these areas of investigation (as well as a few other thoughts): Democracy: cooperativism, Utopian Socialism, how those in power have attempted to maintain their position, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Porto Alegre, Iran, Kuwait, (OK, in the US, but non-european -- Iroquois Confederacy) Poverty: Pre-late 1800s West Africa, Conquest: Mongol Empire, West African/Sahel empires, Incan & Aztec Empires, Siamese Empire Capitalism: Why is this separated from ideology? Would it include Mercantilism? Ideology: Brazil under Vargas and the Revolution of 1964's regime (these two dovetail nicely into other topics/areas), Peoples Rep. of China (esp. today), Kampuchea, Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict: (Perhaps Conquest could be a part of Conflict) boundaries in Africa, and South Asia, the United Nations, the Non-aligned Group, Nigeria (1960s & now), North-South, NGOs There's a whole world out there to be discovered, analyzed, and understood.
  2. I think you're right on target, and I fear it is the Kurds who will fare the worst.
  3. It's like hitting a hornets nest with a stick. I wonder how well it is(n't) going down in places like Qatar and Bahrein? Jordan must be thrilled...not to mention Saudi Arabia, Pakistan...
  4. Consequently, the most powerful and organized group(s) in Iraq will impose their brand of "democracy (or whatever) through the barrel of a gun" on the Iraqi people. In terms of stemming the voiolence in Iraq, with the death tolls mounting at an ever-quickening pace, I think both arab as well as non-arab muslim countries may be the only ones that can be the moderators/facilitators for the Iraqi people if massive bloodshed is to be avoided. Of course, that is to say that there are countries out there that can not only exert enough pressure on the groups in Iraq, but also want to do so. As to how to get the occupiers out of Iraq, I think electoral pressure, along with friendly country pressure (read France and Germany, principally, but with more countries, like Spain, getting on board), may be the most effective route. After all, the major players aren't so far down the slippery path yet so as to have leaders bold enough to actually carry out a coup d'etat in their own country.
  5. What grade level is the web quest project aimed at? How much time do you give the students to prepare and to present? Thanks.
  6. One possible reason for democracy's taking root in post-war Japan would be that the US wanted a strong ally in the region, therefore enourmous US interest and investment. (The US didn't choose China to be its bastion. Why?) Perhaps the Japanese didn't actively resist the US occupation because they were afraid of more traditional enemies Russia and China. Furthermore, no other countries had enough money to help out any Japanese insurgent movement. Their economies were all destroyed. Moreover, Russia was more interested in consolidating its control over E. Europe and rebuilding its own economy than in offering heavy financial and materiél aid to Japanese communists. The Iraq of today is very different from the Japan of yesteryear. There is lots of money out there to supply the insurgents with the materiél needed to put up a strong resistence to US occupation. Which foreign "power(s)" then, can "take control" of Iraq and avoid either a bloody US occupation or an equally bloody US-less civil war? Which country or countries can take over and let the US get out or at least take a less high-profile position, without losing too much face (at home), and be acceptable enough to the Iraqi population to broker a workable deal among the groups vying for power, thereby making elections even possible? (It may end up being acceptable to the US to have the oil nationalized, as long as it is exported.)
  7. Please allow me to correct a mistake. The Spanish base I mentioned is located in Nayaf, not in Faluyah. I've read the NYT article, and it only reinforces my opinion. The author of the article, along with most other journalists I have read, says 90% of Spaniards oppose the war. I have not read of or seen on TV reports of Spanish popular support for US policy or US troops in Iraq. I'm sure there are Op/Ed pieces in "ABC" or "Las Provincias" (bastions of the conservative press) in support of a continued Spanish military presence in Iraq, but these reflect certain segments of Spanish society, some with vested interests, and not popular opinion. I don't doubt for a second that muslim fanatics would be happy to reconquer Spain (along with the rest of Europe and most if not all of the world). Nor do I doubt that many Muslims living in Europe are glad to see 11S & 11Ms and would like to see more. How did "we", the West, get ourselves into this? We did it by treating the rest of the world as second-class citizens, which is how many of these immigrants continue to feel in their host countries. And a "love it or leave it" attitude towards them won't make matters any better. Either the West gets off its high horse or it will continue to have disgruntled neighbors. This is not an apology for terrorism from the less developed world. It is another way of pointing out that a unilateral, mono-cultural policy like Bush's leads to failure in the long run. (Some of the most important causes of WWI were that the Kaiser felt his army to be invincible, and that there were numerous ethnic groups seeking independence living within the borders of European empires.) This can be applied to domestic politics as well. If justice is not even-handed, then justice is not served.
  8. Admittedly, I based my assertion about Spanish soldiers and rambo Americans on one article in "El País", a high-circulation Spanish newspaper. It was, however, written by a journalist who was alongside the soldiers at the Spanish base in Faluya at the begining of the recent events there. I still believe there is a place for multiculturalism, but not one that is wide open, just as I do not believe in wide-open politics. People should have the right to say what they want as long as they do not foment violence towards or censorship of others. Clerics of all beliefs then may push their own agenda as long as it does not expound violence or the censorship of others. If not, we are leading ourselves down a very dangerous path. One that leads to the few deciding for the many, and the few imposing there will (eventually by force) on all. I furthermore do not think government should be in the business of supporting, partially or wholly, denominational schools. This also leads to the above. Government should stay as much out of religion as possible. Government's job in this respect is to keep religion, just as any other social group, from infringing upon the rights of all. Will this type of attitude open up western society to attacks. From without, perhaps. But if we do not remain open to myriad opinions from an array of cultures, the attacks will surely come from within. And we will be very bad off then, indeed.
  9. I don't think I could quote the pertinent remarks of all of the people who have contributed over the past month to this particular topic, and to what I write below, so I won't try. Given the events of the last week in both Iraq and Spain, two things have become clear. First, the international force in Iraq hasn't been able to address the problems of the people. Any good will gotten from removing Hussein has been squandered. Americans and anyone associated with them are hated. Spanish soldiers in Iraq don't like the Americans either!! (The Spanish press portrays US soldiers as trigger-happy Rambos.) Furthermore, an Iraqi cleric said the struggle was to kill jews and christians. Second, a video made by the terrorists who blew themselves up when surrounded by the police in Spain portrays the attacks as part of a larger anti-christian struggle, one that streches back centuries. References were made directly to the sufferings of muslims under the Reconquest and Inquisition. It also refers to innocent muslims, and that their lives are just as valuable as christian ones, being killed today in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is obvious that Bush, and those who were crazy enough to go along with him, are going to pay dearly. I suspect there will be attacks in Poland, Japan (!)... It remains to be seen if non-participating countries will also be targeted (France, Germany). I think it ia also safe to say that some of it is rhetoric aimed at gaining more popular support since some attacks have been aimed at muslim countries. I see it as a major revolt of the less developed world. The developed world and its allies need to pay attention and help create a more equitable and sustainable world economic system both in individual countries as well as between them. If not, what we have seen may be but the opening shots of something far greater and far graver than anything humankind has seen to date.
  10. I was under the probably naive assumption that part of the motivation behind western "power" was a belief in plurality, democracy and freedom . If I am wrong then does it matter a jot which competing economic elite I support so long as I am on the winning side?? If there is no "international law" then we are truely in a uniquely dangerous situation that can only end extremely badly. The powerful have more responsibilities than they are currently willing to acknowledge. Ignoring the values which ought to underpin their actions and systems is a self defeating decision. As to whether it matters or not, it depends on one's ethics. Albeit "plurality, democracy and freedom" rank high on my personal list of priorities so do charity and fairness. For me, multilateral organizations such as the UN are absolutely necessary for the term 'international law' to have any true overriding meaning. But I think it is necessary for the Christian West to seek out consensus with the other cultures of the world before trying to impose a western Ethics agenda on the rest. As to the obligations of the powerful, I think the above should be a part of them. Is this naivete on my part? Maybe so, but if humankind is to avoid periodic, catastrophic upheavals, I think it is absolutely necessary.
  11. I'm not so sure we've ever left Bismarckian 'realpolitik' behind. European powers, Japan, and the US have dominated world economics and politics for well over a century. If one could partially attribute appeasement to Hitler to redressing the injustices of Versailles, staying out of the Spanish Civil War is difficult to justify on moral grounds. The Cold War, along with the numerous 'hot wars' that were a part of it, has been seen by some historians as a power struggle between two economic (not political) powers. The one with the more powerful economy won. Today, the struggle for economic power in the world includes players that are not a part of the 'club'. They (OPEC, India, Brazil, China) have enough economic and numerical clout to be heard, and they want a piece of the pie. An attitude of, 'We the few have, you the many don't; let's take a long time to talk, not fight, about how you can have some without our giving up much (any)', doesn't go over very well in less developed countries. The UN has the potential to be a powerful tool in avoiding war, but only if it is not grossly manipulated or conveniently ignored by the powerful few to their advantage.
  12. I am new to the Forum and am willing to get as involved as my expertise allows. At the same time, I am in need of help. My school is implanting the International Baccalaureate, and I will be teaching Standard Level Business. I am in desperate need of materials, both on line as well as in print. Can anyone offer me suggestions? They would be enourmously appreciated.
  13. I think having things unravel in Irak would certainly help Kerry since it will make Bush look as if he is losing control of the situation and that his policy has been mistaken. That would leave Bush in the awkward position of having to convince existing allies to stay put, entice new ones or convince the US electorate that the US can and should go it alone. Kerry would need only to make statesmanlike proposals.
  14. I'm not very well versed in British politics so I'm hesitant to conjecture. Blair is probably under a lot of pressure at home for his stand on the war, and I doubt that will diminish much unless something distracts public opinion. As PM of a powerful country both economically as well as militarily, Blair will have a greater degree of influence than most. What will Zapatero do? I think he will pull the troops out. His stand on Irak is long established, and should not be (but surely will be) attributed to 11M. Whether he does so or not will be a function not only of how much pressure Bush, Blair, & co. put on him, but also of how much his own party (and others) puts on him. In the end, I don't think he'll change his mind since it might well cause his government to implode. What should Zapatero do? I personally think he should pull the troops out. It was a huge mistake in the first place. Aznar totally destroyed the good will Spain had built with muslims (read Arabs, mostly), and it will take a long time and much effort to regain it. The sooner Zapatero starts, the better. Irak is just another Vietnam (Afghanistan) or, in the case of Spain, "El Rif".
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