Fears about Globalization and Integration – Jared

As a burgeoning political scientist I have found my interests in politics to be torn. On one had, I absolutely love election season. The democratic process in American gets me nothing less than fired up about the future of America, the right policies and decisions about our future on so many levels. But I also enjoy dabbling a little in international politics and it is probably more than domestic politics, my interest of choice.

Now the rules of international politics/diplomacy are so different because of the different races, cultures, ideologies, creeds, religions, all conflicting to create a mass of people that more often than not, is hard to predict in their responses to anything. Will self-interest or ideology make the decision for insert nationality/ethnicity/religion?

This article here gave me some pause for thought. Having just read for my World Politics class A Future Perfect by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge and The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, both of which I really enjoyed, I began to see the real promise in our world system, leading to calmer relations through trade, which was more profitable and much better for everyone. Free(er) trade allows currency to flow, moving money from the more profitable nations with cash to burn to those who have people who needs jobs. Theoretically, the United States and Western Europe is helping to pull everyone up “by their boot straps”.

But what are the side effects of those forces of globalization and integration? Fareed Zakaria touched on something I, as a student, hadn’t had the chance or the light bulb moment to think through (my book review would have been much better if I had). Ukraine and Poland suddenly liking the idea of the US Missile Shield in their countries seemed to me to be a perfectly rational reaction to this Russian-Georgian conflict.

Why Russia initiated this conflict was less important to me initially as their timing, which I thought couldn’t have been better. But why did Russia invade her little neighbor? The deeper reasoning was that Russia is currently strong enough to get away with it. They are flush with cash because of rising energy prices and have the muscle to improve their military and defend themselves from attack and to pick on their neighbors. So what if “globalization” and “integration” have an adverse effect?

The thought that increased profitability could lead to more nationalistic tendencies is not that much of a stretch. Money leads to pride, and a proud nation can help its citizens take that step up, followed by a more nationalistic fervor and a stronger appeal for public service by the best and the brightest. This leads to a more belligerent nation acting more as a deterrent to globalization and integration.  With nationalism behind it, the nation’s leaders can make moves to increase profitability further, modernize their military power, and begin to project soft power abroad.  A large supply of soft power and a belligerent leadership is not the goal of globalization.  While Russia may not exactly fit the bill, and the Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention has been shattered, the future of globalization may yet be in doubt.

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2 Responses to Fears about Globalization and Integration – Jared

  1. Karl Rove says:

    This blog is perhaps best summed up by the quotation: “Russia may not exactly fit the bill.” That it fits the bill even crudely would be a stretch. Russia has a long history of nationalism, and there is no reason to believe that it has been increased by recent oil revenues. If anything, Russia’s nationalistic tendencies have been greatly diminished since the Cold War. Russia’s possession and use of both soft and hard power has little to do with global integration and more to do with the fact that Russia is still the dominant power in the region and that it still feels a sense of ownership over much of Eastern Europe.

    The example of Russia does little, if anything, to cast doubt over the future of globalization. “Fitting the bill” is certainly a prerequisite if you wish to challenge a widely held theory.

  2. cannelle14 says:

    What I’m about to say may well make no sense. But I think that theory might be wrong. If I understand, you mean that globalization will give everyone more money, and the more money they have, the more belligerent they’ll become, which poses more of a threat towards globalization? But, if there’s more money, and more dependence, there’ll also be more trust, and less need. That usually means less conflict. And one country might end up with the world against it if it starts attacking a neighbour for no good reason, so wouldn’t that be a deterrent? I dunno, maybe I’m giving mankind too much credit – we all know that people are often swine, but it just seems to make sense.

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