Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

As A Poly Sci Major... This I Believe (2nd Installment) H03

In my first installment I talked about where my anxieties over the political system lay. But in the past 5 hours in my Global Politics study group we've talked about where the problems lay in the WORLD and how we are going to fix them; and I think I've realized something; our international problems are much bigger. I'm never going to completely agree with a system in America... But at least we have one. We decided to try to create a system for the world that is both fair and also achievable. NOT easy.
We spent a long time talking about the perfect system for the world, having gotten off topic from the real question and finding ourselves in a much more interesting discussion. Instead of talking about why our present nation-state system didn't work (like we were meant to) we got a little off track. Instead talking about ways to fix it. First we decided that obviously what we are doing now doesn't work; nation states don't work. First let me explain what they are... It's actually super interesting philosophy. States are the geographic boundaries that we live inside of; there is no difference between the word state and the word country. A nation is a mental construct, if you consider yourself to be, you are. If you consider yourself American, then you are American. The main problem with the nation state system we said, was that everyone was out for themselves, and there is no big force that can stop a nation state from harming their own people to get it. Genocide, tyranny, multi-national companies, global warming... All running rampant.

Like I said, the main problem with the nation state system is that every one is out to do what's best for themselves. What we devised to fix this is: nation states can't work alone. The only way to solve the global issue is to first come together as humans. When we go to another country, and someone asks us where we are from, we automatically say American. That is our national identity, there is almost nothing stronger than that. If Mexico invaded California tomorrow, and the government called for more soldiers, how many of us would volunteer? It's a higher number than you might think. That's because our nationalism compels us to help, it is part of who we are as humans; find a tribe, join a tribe, defend the tribe. We think it's time for a new tribe. A global tribe; so before anyone identifies with a country, they identify with their fellow humans. We think that it is necessary for global peace for everyone to recognize first that whats best for the good of humanity is what's best for us all first and foremost. I understand though that this is an extremely liberal point of view, and I'll admit it is idealistic.

One of the main problems is that some humans are inherently selfish, not every country will think this way... How do we fix that? One of the ways we came up with: give the UN or the EU more power to regulate international power. The problem with that is that not every state would be represented. So make it one country one vote we said, but wait thats not fair either. We decided to leave the system for another day in favor of another blatant problem;  neither body is mandatory. The UN has by far the most international cooperation of any governmental body in history but anyone can leave and rejoin at times that are convenient for them. So make it mandatory we said. The problem is, and threaten them with what? Here is where the group and I differ: we could use hard power (aka war), to threaten other countries into doing what we want -my idea-, or we could use soft power (economics, trade bans, that kind of thing) -their idea-. They didn't want to threaten death, my philosophy is, that there are always going to be people who will go around the trade bans to make some cash (I'm just not as idealistic). But wait! What if we let them leave but then just enforce the rules anyways, they just don't get the voting rights anymore. Ahh. No, it's been proven by the fact that we rebelled when Britain did this to us that this isn't a great idea. So at an impasse we look at our options again. We look and we realize why we even need to discuss this in the first place.

Constructivists believe in changing the ideas that the world is based on, and that it is easier for some than others. It tends to be easier for people in high places than normal people because people will listen, that in itself is because of some of the rules that the world is already based on. The world is an endless cycle of changed rules, little bitty rules framed by how life already works. They see the world as something that is built out of interpersonal relationships, the social construct everything is based on.Constructivists ask questions on a much larger scale, so it takes longer to answer. If people were to doubt the construct, the whole thing disintegrates, everybody decides it stops, so it stops. It could be some other way, red is an arbitrary color for stop, but everyone knows that it means that. If someday we were to choose a different color, we could, everyone would just have to believe it to make it true. Everyone believes that there are states so there are.

How much of belief structure do you have to share before you can have international relations? You can’t establish diplomatic relations with people who don't understand the concept to a state. This is the international problem. Each country is different in that they each have their own sense of right and wrong. We can't have a working solution to global issues right now because not all countries have the same problems. What we here in America consider a concern is probably infinitely different than what someone in China considers an issue. This is what political realists consider to be the issue. As long as we are so widely varied we must accept diversity but we cannot depend on others. Because we do not share our ideologies, today's friend could be tomorrows enemy; you can't trust anyone to repay a favor tomorrow, so each thing is something for something, every man for themselves.

Anyways, just wanted to let everyone in on why the global political system is trash. And why it's ineffective and useless at the time being. It has no power to effect global issues or human rights grievances until we give it some.  That's why I'm glad our biggest problem in the US right now is someone that we didn't want for president to win. Although a large portion of the country is unhappy, it was inevitable either way. I think truly the fact that we are so upset is insane. The democratic and republican parties don't even really differ that much on ideologies. In fact, the US it the MOST ideologically mushy country in the world, the things we make such big issues about are actually relatively small issues. I'm just glad that I line in America where everyone pretty much believes the same thing, agreeing on the majority of the big things instead of constantly fighting over the big things. I think the country would run much smoother if we were all constructivists and decided that the different parties didn't exist anymore, we were all American and that that is what matters, not party alignment, but again, I realize how ideological and unlikely to happen this is. Everyone has their own beliefs, and here in 'Murica, we are allowed to express them, no matter how much others might disagree.

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1 comment:

  1. "If you consider yourself American, then you are American" - I'm afraid that's not the view of the incoming administration.

    "The democratic and republican parties don't even really differ that much on ideologies." - their party platforms do differ, significantly. Too many ill-informed non-voters who opted out of participation in this election are going to find out just what a difference they might have made.

    If disbanding political parties made people nicer, more tolerant, less xenophobic and homophobic and sexist and racist and, well, deplorable, I'd be all for it. At this stage too many of us remain tribal and hostile. And deplorable. But taking the long view, it's better than it was a century ago in most respects. Women have the vote, Jim Crow is officially outlawed, more and more of us support equal rights for all.