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2019 Summer Online – Politics 212: International Relations
Week 2: July 8

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Welcome to Politics 212: International Relations – Week 2

This week we ask a number of introductory questions about What is it that we are really looking at here?  What do we mean by “International Relations”?  (You might remember the video Charli Carpenter from last week.)  Most of all, I want us to look deeply at the four models of International Relations.  We’ll do this every week.  You’ll remember them eventually, I promise!

Intro remarks (13 minutes).  I made this video for a previous course – I tried to remake it better today, but I kept messing up, so we’ll use this one – it is almost identical to the one I tried to make today.  It introduces a couple of key ideas for this week and for the rest of the semester. Please watch.  Then proceed with the readings and assignments below.

There are a couple of important notes about this video.  First, it references our work on facebook – that was mandatory in that class but optional in this class. In any case, I ask you to find the link on Bb and join our group if you haven’t already.  Second, in the video I refer to two big shifts in IR that happened sometime in the 1990s/early 2000s – from realism to liberalism, and adding in constructivism.  There are many people who would judge that in the last few years — with the rise of China, some Obama policies, and Trump’s scoldings of allies, embraces of adversaries, and sanctions and tariffs against everyone — that the world has returned to its historical norm of realism.  We can talk about that as we go forward.

Let’s begin with my introduction to this week’s material – 13 minute video

What are some useful ways of looking at the world?  There are historically three, and now four, approaches.  Each of these is summarized in these two charts.

    • Holsti in Ikenberry AFP: Theo.Essays (2005): Three Models of IR
    • /
    • Nye, Understanding Global Conflict… (8th ed.): Four Models of IR, page 57
    • Kenneth Waltz, on anarchy as the key to understanding international relations – watch 15 minutes: from 11:41-27:28  Waltz is at the heart of understanding Realism – states in conflict – and the starting point for examining other models (“columns”) – skip to 11:41 and watch through 27:28

Is International Relations a misnomer?

Why do we still call it “international relations” instead of something else that would include the other columns?  Liberalism/globalism is a fundamental part of “IR”:

  • Vorjes, “Microsoft Bids to Acquire Catholic Church” (1994)  This is 1994 – you can imagine Amazon or Google instead today…
  • Thomas Friedman, foreign affair columnist for the New York Times and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree.  First, watch this wonderful introduction to the shift, in his opinion, from the realist Cold War model to the liberal/global globalization model. (watch 13 minutes, from 4:48 to 17:48 – you should watch much more if you are interested, of course; his talk ends at 47:11)  It’s from 1999, more than two years before September 11, 2001.  Today, Friedman is widely criticized as a pollyannish cheerleader for globalization. Skip if you like to 4:48 and watch through 17:48

    Then read these selections (posted in Bb) from that book: chapter 3 “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and chapter 12 “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention”. For the moment, they are also available on the web here and elsewhere; I urge you to buy this book, it’s very interesting time travel and quite unintentionally has some of the roots of Trump’s election and policies. Friedman’s not a scholar – we’ll see Kehonae & Nye’s “complex interdependence” later.  We’ll also get to whether/how IR has returned to realism – in later weeks.

Who are these countries that we are talking about, and how do their problems affect each other?

What do Washington Policymakers Know and How Do They Use It?

Ok, we’ve looked so far seen perspectives of realism and liberalism/globalism. Let’s shift gears here for a moment and get a little meta – what do IR scholars say about IR scholarship? What is the relationship between the study of international relations and actual international relations?

Is this what Kissinger is really talking about?

Ok, one more, from the dean of American foreign policy – the loved and loathed scholar-practitioner (he is still busy and influential – he had a recent piece on AI in the Atlantic (an interesting but not a required read).

Henry Kissinger’s most recent book is World Order.  You should read about it here and here.  Then you should watch (4min) him talk about President-elect Trump (Dec 2016).

(You can listen to the whole book read by someone else, if you have a very long drive ahead of you.) Trump is asking important, unusual questions, Kissinger says. If Trump can assess and manipulate the international scene as well as he did the U.S. electorate, Kissinger says (and I am paraphrasing), then he could be “a very considerable president.”  Let’s not discuss Trump’s personality or competency at this moment; instead, I want you to hear Kissinger and think of the last 18 months and ask yourself whether DJT fits into one of the IR models – one of our four columns.

Sure, one more on Kissinger.  Kissinger says there are norms of international behavior that many countries share, but that implies not interfering in the domestic policies of other countries.  What example does this short video use for criticizing intervention?  What other (better?) examples can you think of?

Ok, your turn  —  Prompts for Week 2

Before you move on, please go back and look at our What Makes a Good Post page.

This week there’s really a lot going on here.  For starters, if you don’t know anything else in six weeks, you should know the four models of international relations.  My goal – successful with many students – is that if I ask you in five or ten years, What are the four models of IR?, you’ll remember.  All the rest of the semester is getting you to think about these models in history, today, and in the future.

Thomas Friedman is a journalist, not an academic. But his views of globalization were enormously influential in this and subsequent books, talk-show circuits, etc.  Do you see relevance to our models?  And why is it important at the end of our 13 minutes with him that mention a couple of particular super-empowered individuals?  Can you think of some others, good or bad?

The Freedom House and Fragile States Index are almost more Comparative Politics, in that they assess single states at a time.  But look at the criteria for assessing each state – they include many transnational influences.

Take a careful look at the Ivory Tower and policymaker surveys – it’s some “inside baseball” that’s helpful to know as you walk around D.C. at internships, cocktail parties, reading and writing reports, etc.

Finally, Kissinger’s World Order is a giant, sweeping in intellectual history and analysis, and he has been a foreign policy advisor to presidents for more than 40 years. Based on these small samples offered here, how do you fit him into our models?

Or maybe something else from these readings moved you – or you relate something from this week to something from last week, or something else. If yes, then pose your question(s) and pursue for us…

Consider any two or more of these ideas, in about 300 words (max 400), and then reply to at least two of your classmates’ posts in about 100 words each.

For all this, be sure to review the What Makes a Good Post notes.

Yes, you post your short essays (400-500 words total, probably) in the box below.  Please use your @cua.edu email – no one will be able to see it but me.  The first time you post, it won’t appear until I “approve” it – it’s the only way to keep out a lot of NSFW spam.

And yes, these first weeks are a lot of work – we’ll lighten up as we shift more emphasis to your writing your final papers – more on which next week.

Ok, let’s have fun –


by Tuesday  night, July 9  – in the What do you think? box at the bottom of this page, please post a short introduction of yourself – I am a rising junior from just outside Philadelphia, a politics major and business minor, working with Syrian refugees (and scooping ice cream) in Atlantic City this summer, and a proud member of the Socialist Party of New Jersey.  20-40 words is probably fine, but as much as you like is welcome

by Thursday night, July 11 – your “essay” post (probably 400-500 words) at the bottom of this page, based on the essay prompts above

by Sunday night, July 14 – comment (approx 100 words each) on at least two classmates’ essay posts at the bottom of this page. Might be 70 words on one and 130 on another, sure, no problem.  *Please be sure to review What Makes a Good Post 


It seems like it should go without saying, but just in case:  this is academic work, not the place for screeds, ad hominem attacks, or other unpleasantness.  That’s not really suitable for your personal twitter account either, but it is certainly not appropriate here.  This is “classroom online”, not “locker-room online”.  Open, sincere, fact-based, and analytical, and even partisan, but not mean or rude.  Thanks.

Thanks, everyone.  Semester moves fast – keep up, get smart, have fun!


32 Replies to “212-ir-2019-july8”

  1. Hi, all –

    Yes, this is where you put your mini-essays on one or more of the prompts – and where you’ll respond to your classmates’ essays…

  2. I am a rising Senior, Politics major, with an interdisciplinary minor in counterterrorism from Marlton, New Jersey. I am spending this summer working in DC at Jamestown Associates, as a political consulting intern.

      1. A lot of my work has been helping to develop pitch books for future clients, create backgrounders, social media plans, and analyzing data for voter targeting!

  3. Hello, my name is Anna, and I am a rising Sophmore, Politics major, with a minor in psycology. I am from a small town in Maryland, about two hours away from DC. I hope to attend law school after graduating Catholic and I spend my summers selling antique postcards.

  4. Hello, my name is Richard Venuto, I am a sophomore politics major also studying pre-law. I am from Blackwood, New Jersey.

  5. Hello, my name is Rich Venuto, and I am a Politics Major also studying pre-law. I am from Blackwood, New Jersey.

  6. Hello my name is Kevin Hansen. I am a military brat and have lived allover this country. I am a politics major with a minor in media. I am conservative but not a huge fan of President Donald Trump. I hope to attend law school after graduating from CUA.

    1. Hi, Kevin –

      I grew up with lots of kids temporarily at West Point and now have friends dragging their kids from base to base every few years – lots of pros and cons to that life…have you had a favorite posting? Another prospective lawyer, ok, will keep this group in mind….

  7. I’m a senior Philosophy major from Potomac, MD, but grew up in and around D.C., and am currently with Rep. Tom Rice’s office as an intern. Politically I like to identify myself by a hierarchy of values: I’m Catholic first, Conservative second, and Republican third

  8. 1.Whether you are a fan of Kissinger and his policies or not, it is challenging to not appreciate his book World Order, for it lays out the historical and social aspects that help explain why certain past events happened and why certain events could possibly happen. Most people would quickly label Kissinger to be a Realist, for many reasons, including his desire for power or state security. While I believe that Kissinger does have many Realist beliefs I wanted to also argue why Kissinger could also be seen as a Constructivist. In the New York Times’ review of World Order it states that psychology plays a very important role in foreign policy, and I strongly agree with that statement. I believe that analyzing a state’s history and patterns as a society can tell you vital information about them and help predict certain actions that the particular state are prone to do. Personally, I would label Henry Kissinger as a Realist, but also as a Constructivist. One of the key axioms for Constructivism, according to the Joseph Nye model, is “depends on historical period and social context.” From the two book reviews and the short clip that we watched, I would say that Kissinger bases a lot of his academic reasoning on historical periods and the social context of the states. While Kissinger has made certain decisions under the Bush administration that I did not completely support, I think that using a Constructivist lens is an intelligent way to offer advice involving foreign policy. I would also argue that Kissinger does take non-state actors into consideration, even if he does place more of an emphasis on state actors. One of the theories behind Constructivism is that factors other than money and power matter. Factors such as security or quality of life, which I also believe Kissinger takes into consideration.
    2. While the Freedom House and Fragile States Index are more concerned with Comparative Politics that International Relations, I think it is very logical that these measurements consider different factors of foreign policy. In order to truly asses how “fragile” or “free” a state is, one most look at that state’s relationships with other states. A strong country might have solid trade routes, while a fragile country may not. While there are many other factors than this one, a lot can be said about a country itself by looking at how it interacts with other countries, which is why it is very logical that both of these indexes include different factors of foreign policy.

    1. Hello Anna, I think you are right when you say that a lot can be said about a country judging the way in which they do foreign policy. For example, North Korea or Cuba, or Venezuela are not countries which are especially poor in natural resources, especially Venezuela being one of the richest countries in the entire world in natural resources. But because of their foreign policy, they have become isolated from many countries which could be ideal for trade for example, and in that way they could trade their resources for medicines and food that they are not able to produce in their own country, but because of this lack of relationships, their people are often starving or in need of medicines which they cannot provide.

    2. I would agree that it is logical for the Freedom House and Fragile State Index to take into account foreign policy. It seems that all well developed and stable countries value foreign policy and what it can achieve for their country. As you mentioned countries that interact with other nations are more likely to have better trade, which will most likely lead to a much stronger economy, which will in turn lead to a better life for its citizens.

  9. Through reading the charts of the 4 approaches of IR, the main question I had was regarding what constructivism really is. I understand the chart was brief but the lack of definition made it difficult for me to determine what exactly they meant when stating that so many things were dependent on timing. The other question I had was how often do shifts in these paradigms happen.

    While watching the Thomas Friedman video I originally was a little confused with the relation of his talk of the shift from post-cold war to a liberal society because I think these types of societies can all co-exist (one country one type, the next a different type), unless my understanding of this is totally wrong. Friedman opened up by arguing that due to globalization and the integration of markets we are equal and that there is no one in charge, but then he went on to say that we have states, supermarkets, and individuals (super-empowered). So, this hints at the fact that if anything, this globalization integration via the media has made us even more so unequal in power, but also that each individual has the power to use these tools at hand to develop themselves into a super-empowered. Going back to the idea of the supermarkets, I questioned in Friedman’s explanation if he was referring to them as Marxist societies or really just liberalism that use their desires and dominant interests to grow. As for super-empowered individuals and the development of email coalitions, I immediately thought of last week’s lesson and how beneficial OR detrimental media can be. I think it is very easy to argue that almost all elected officials have the ability to grow email coalitions simply based on their own connections and jobs alone. Just think of the numerous amounts of emails that were investigated from 2016 to now i.e. Hillary Clinton.

    I loved reading the “Ivory Tower” article, especially because I am a young professional in DC and found it super insightful. While reading the “Ivory Tower,” the most interesting piece I saw was that the newest area of concern is the East region of Asia. The other thing I found interesting was the percentages of Theoretical Schools, but going back to what I mentioned early with a 22% Constructivism thought, I would like to have a better understanding of what it actually is.

    1. Sophie,

      I don’t really see how Friedman’s approach to Supermarkets can be understood within a Marxian context, because it seems like, if anything, Friedman is most referring to a Realist dynamic provided now by non-state entities, all vying for more influence and in a forceful dance of power; like a tango in which the two dancers force a change in the position of the other through aggressive movements. If Supermarkets were in fact Marxian, wouldn’t their natures be that of self-regulating entities which place their primary focus in social justice for the proletarians? It doesn’t seem this is the nature of a Supermarket, rather only that they can be affected by a coalition of individuals or impacted by a “super-empowered angry man”; is that what you’re seeing as possibly a Marxist view Friedman is taking?

  10. 1.​The Freedom House Index is determined by looking at how much political rights and civil liberties a nation allows its citizens. In order to better explain this, I will use the report done by the Freedomhouse.org on the nation of Algeria. Algeria was given a 34 out of a 100, which makes it not a free country for various reasons including: suppression of street protests, legal restrictions on media freedom, and rampant corruption. Though it seems that comparative politics affect the rating entirely, that is not the case, as transnational influences are largely considered. When looking at the report on Algeria, it is evident that their citizens are largely restricted from taking place in global transnational communities such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. An incident cited in the report last year stated that several journalists and bloggers faced criminal penalties for their work, including a man by the name of Marzoug Touati, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for an interview with an Israeli government spokesperson that he released online. This incident evidently shows that if a nation limits their citizen’s ability to blog, discuss, debate, associate, or do business in transnational communities, its freedom index will drop considerably. In regard to the Fragile States Index, it measures whether a nation is stable based on economic, political, and social factors. A country that prohibits its citizens from being a member of a more global transnational world, will most definitely face point deductions because these actions could lead to civilian uprising and calls for reform, which may ultimately create a fragile government. Overall, transnational influences such as trade, social media freedom, interaction between cultures, and diplomacy are taken into consideration in both the Freedom House Index and the Fragile States Index.
    2. Henry Kissinger emphasizes how he believes it is crucial for the United States to stay involved on the global stage as a balancer. Kissinger’s views seem to defiantly favor the Hobbesian way of thinking, and it’s evident that he feels the world is safer with American intervention. It is in Kissinger’s opinion that a superior force, (the United States), is what keeps the spread of weapons of mass destruction and genocide from happening. This is evident by Kissinger’s strong support for American intervention in Syria and Iraq. The goal of Kissinger’s foreign policy beliefs is to obtain power and national security, ultimately making Kissinger appear to favor realism. The book, “World Order” by Kissinger, seems to study the distribution of power using historical and personal references. His work helps us to better understand the foreign policy decisions he helped to create.

    1. I agree with Kissinger’s view that the United States does act as a balancer, and that as a country our role in international affairs is very important. While many people may argue that it is not our place in the world to intervene, personally, I think that the world would look very differently is the United States, and other leadind powers did not take on the role that we do. We are a very powerful country, and while invading other countries may seem unethical, there are usually motives that persuade the United States to do so. What those motives are may very from president to president and from party to party, but I do not think that most people consider all factors when they only here the headlines on the news that they not agree with. Now, that being said, the United States is far from perfect and we have had many mistakes in the past. But, overall, as a country I think that it is very smart and insightful to consider us as a balancer, or even a peace maker.

    2. Hello Richard, I agree with the notion of the United States being the police of the world, since it is evident that the United States has done an incredible job at moving the world forward in the right direction at some crucial points. They intervened when they had to during ww2, they intervened in korea and one can see the clear difference between the part of korea that followed the Korean-American model, and the part of Korea that followed the korean-soviet model.

  11. Anna and Sophie and Richard –

    You’re all asking very good questions – is Kissinger [also] a constructivist [whatever that is, really — we’ll have more on this soon]; can Thomas Friedman or anyone use more than just one of these IR models [yes, absolutely]; freedom of speech is definitely a consideration in the Freedom House and other indicies in comparative politics; comparative politics is one of the necessary building blocks in formulating foreign policy [“a country that borders the United States” isn’t enough information for the US or anyone else to create policy toward Canada and Mexico, for example – need geography, economics, etc.].

    There are two big fulcrums for looking at the US role in international relations [or maybe any great power, if you like]. First, is that great power a force for good in the world, or a source of trouble? Second, how much of that great power’s strength is from “hard power” (military and other coercive might that comes from money and technology and other sources) and how much of that strength is from “soft power” (non-military attributes [ideals, culture, values] that enable to a great power to attract or co-opt cooperation)?

    We’ll look at more of this later…


    I found very interesting the way in which Kissinger talks about the way in which other countries see the Donald Trump phenomenon. He mentions that for the other heads of state, this is a shocking experience, and I agree with him, because no one expected for Trump to win during the 2016 election and now that he is a reality, it seems as though many do not really know how to tackle international relations after this.

    And this unpredictability is something that the international relations workers don’t like, who would have guessed that Donald J Trump was going to be the first president to meet with the North Korean president? After all the attacks that he threw at Kim Jong Un on twitter, calling him fat, calling him rocket man in a derogatory manner. Kissinger also contraposes the way in which Obama tackled foreign policy and the way in which Trump is tackling this same matter. He points out that Obama, withdrew American from the international politics scenario, he was very passive, in a way he let the other countries work in the direction in which they wanted to work in this aspect.

    But in the other hand, Trump has come to the foreign policy scenario with a much different attitude, he has asked unfamiliar questions, he has addressed certain issues that Kissinger says that if addressed correctly this could lead to very good results. When Kissinger talks about raising unfamiliar questions, I think he is referring to for example, should the United States have a better relationship with the person sitting at the Kremlin? Should the U.S get closer to the North Korean dictator which terrorizes millions of citizens? Should the U.S be more aggressive in the middle east and address the problem of Iran and its nuclearization?

    These are questions that were kind of taboo during the past legislatures, as the politicians had no intention to close up the relations between Russia and the US or North Korea and the US. I think this area of international politics is very interesting, because this presents a huge dilemma, should the US be hostile towards all the presidents which are not democratic and perpetrate atrocities within their own borders? or should the US, in order to maintain an stable worldwide political order, close up their relationship with every country, despite of their way of doing politics?

    In my opinion, Trump has not been the most brilliant president in foreign policy, but I think that he is in the right when he wants to have a better relationship with North Korea or with Russia, because the citizens of this countries are suffering the atrocities of their dictators, and because of that I think that the U.S with the power that they have, they should try to make their lives a little better if they can since confronting these political powers aggressively at this point, will not result in a solution but rather in suffering and more i

    1. Jaime,
      I wanted to focus on your comment about other national leaders finding Donald Trump to be a cultural shock as president. Even in America, no one expected him to win the presidency. I think it just goes to show how suprising and “alive” politics really is. No one can truly predict the results or actions of a nation and I think the same can be said for international affairs. While scholars can try to predict what certain countires may do, I think that people sometimes forget that a country is made up of living, breathing people who are constantly changing their minds. I think Trump becoming president reminds us all of this, and as Kissinger states, could lead to some very interesting possibilites in the future with other countries.

    2. I would have to agree with you that President Donald Trump has a unique approach to diplomacy between the United States and countries that we have bad relations with, such as North Korea and Russia. I would also agree that it is important to have a better relationship with countries such as North Korea and Russia, and that Kissinger’s comment about the intervention of the United States in foreign affairs is interesting. Kissinger saying that the Trump administration’s approach to international relations and politics is something that is different and can be great was surprising, because Kissinger is a more seasoned mind when it comes to foreign affairs and it is surprising that he is open to the changes Trump can bring. Overall, the Trump style of US intervention in world politics is similar to that of Kissinger’s beliefs, but the way President Trump and former Secretary of State Kissinger would go about it is probably quite different.

    3. Jamie,

      I love the use of “unfamiliar questions” with regards to Trump’s tackling of such taboo, or unorthodox, aspects of foreign policy because it, in my view, most aptly describes the international approach of this administration. While, yes, the President does not have a great mind for the global landscape, and his team is at times questionable, it seems to me that this fantastic approach of his to address the unfamiliar questions it rooted in his understanding of business; that success comes from relationships. After eight years of a passive Obama administration, it would seem that such a disruptive attitude towards to the “norm” was precisely what this country’s foreign policy needed in achieving the baby-steps we are seeing; that it all be built on relationships.

  13. I am a senior (grad December 2019) Criminology major and Intelligence Certificate student from Washington State. I focus my studies primarily on non-kinetic counterterrorism. This summer I am working full time at a restaurant and interning at the Institute of World Politics on the Counterterrorism Team.

  14. On the Thomas Friedman video. I think Friedman makes some excellent points on the varied multipolarity of power in the age of globalization. One of the parts that jumped out at me was his discussion of the super-empowered individual because it directly linked to a book I recently finished reading titled War in 140 Characters. Friedman makes a point to discuss the practice of email coalitions and their ability to give the individual an outsized influence in shaping the world and War in 140 Characters, the author talks specifically this idea in how social media has changed the way warfare is waged. One of the most fascinating examples used in the book is the story of Anna Sandalova, a woman from Ukraine who is leveraging Facebook to secure funding for supplies needed by the Ukrainian army and deliver those supplies to the front lines. Anna, like the individuals that Friedman mentions, saw a problem and decided to utilize the means at her disposal to try to solve it. The Ukrainian army is rife with corruption and mismanagement to the point where the Ukrainian troops fighting separatists in the Donbas region are unable to secure winter uniforms. Anna, utilizing a network of native Ukrainians and Ukrainian diaspora has been able to create a civilian-run logistics train that delivers supplies to the front lines nearly every day funded exclusively through Facebook. This is an amazing feat conducted by a super-empowered individual.

    However, as outside of what I would consider a super-empowered individual doing good, as Friedman mentions, there are super-empowered individuals who use their power for malice. The age of the super-empowered individual has provided the modern terrorist with effective tools to asymmetrically achieve their ends. The Christchurch attack is a prime example of this. The social media empowered individual intelligently manipulated media in order to spread images of his abhorrent deeds while simultaneously spreading a manifesto throughout the world to spread an ideology and inspire further political divisions,

    In the age of globalization, the super-empowered individual has become arguably the most volatile variable in the new power equation. This presents opportunities for individuals like Anna as well as individuals like the Christchurch attacker or groups the Islamic state’s “cyber caliphate.” I think we are still on the forefront of understanding what this means for our world and it seems to me to be one of the most important issues today.

    1. Jamie and Zack,

      While reading both of your comments the thing I found the most interesting was the relationship between Donald Trump and the potential of him being a super-empowered because of social media. I just wonder how different our political climate would be today if Donald Trump ran for office back in the 80’s. I agree fully with you Zack and am very interested in reading your book suggestion, 140 Characters.

  15. (1) The recommended portion of Thomas Friedman has impressed upon me a perspective of his views within the camp of Realism. At first, the insinuation of his that it is an issue that there is not singular governing apparatus—for lack of a better word—in the globalizing world of ours, seemed alarming as it seemed contradictory to the interdependencies of nations to hold a belief that they should be within the purview of explicit governance. But then it became seemingly clear that rather than suggesting there be such a singular structure he was speaking to how unprecedently chaotic the powers of Supermarkets have lent to the international stage, and, in fact, the general political arena. While immediately this seems singularly applicable to the present-day conglomerates—Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook—Friedman speaks to the then-cusping power of “super-empowered angry men.” It would seem to me that these “super-empowered angry men” and their groups have solidified, now, their position on the world stage, as “non-state actors.” If we replace “nations” for “non-state actors” in a simple definition of Realism, what we are provided is an understanding of a seemingly powerful force globalization faces; non-state actors working to increase their own power through the acquisition of power independent of any nation. My question, however, is if a greater threat to global stability in an increasingly globalized world is the cooperation of non-state actors and nations, by way of nations using non-state actors to affect the shifts they wish to see on the world stage. Immediately this draws me to the cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, both vying for power of their region against each other through funding and military support of non-state entities like ISIL or the Kurds, respectively. Super-empowered individuals and groups are able to establish themselves on the international stage and thus affect a great impact on the international politics of nations—ISIL being a bad example of this and the efforts of the Kurds being a good example of this, while a complicated one.

    (2) The Ivory Tower survey and subsequent article was, I do hate to say, not surprising to me. Perhaps the name “Ivory Tower” should be used in the pejorative sense of the term when it comes to the bottom half of the surveyed issues. The duty of the persons whom The People have entrusted to have the mattering opinions on foreign issues are tasked with the rudimentary responsibility of the security of the Nation. It is painful to see that Academics care so little—according to this survey—about International Terrorism, Cybersecurity, WMD proliferation, and have a ten-point difference on the credit given to the threat of the rising power of the People’s Republic of China, which is a seemingly clear threat to not just the United States but to the principles of Western society. While it is consoling that eighty-five percent of Academics understand China to be the greatest threat the United States would face in the coming (from 2012) twenty years, I am failing to understand why the trust that we had “time” until China is a real problem was a justification at all for Academics in 2012 having a ten-point difference with policymakers with regards to the importance of China. Dr. Quirk, why are Academics seemingly so focused on the “oh we have time” approach? Is it because they don’t have access to substantive and up-to-date information which policymakers have access to? I am genuinely curious because society has entrusted those in Academia with preserving what ought to preserved and progressing what ought to be pushed forward, with regards to the intellectual principals we as a people are to guide our earth-bound responsibilities.

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