Saturday, May 11, 2013

Introduction to Chapter 31

Chapter 31 covers a time span from 1980's to the modern day.  This time span covers a period of vast change.  Key issues in this chapter discuss the revitalization of Russia, increased globalization, and also deals with new modern day issues such as an increase in terrorism.  Through this blog I hope to expand my knowledge of the time period, learning beyond what was covered in the textbook.  I believe that the essential question in this chapter is how has the global community addressed the pressing issues of today.  Some of these issues have been resolved with violence and others with diplomacy.  For example, some issues are solved by The United Nations, a body that was set up to foster international peace and help struggling countries, however, some issues such as the cultural difference between the US and the middle east have led to terrorist attack and a long and devastating war.      

Significant People of the Times

1. Vladimir Putin, born October 7, 1952, began his government career as a KGB intelligence office.  From there he continued to climb the governmental ladder, becoming the first deputy mayor of Leningrad in 1994.  Then in 1998 he became the deputy head of management under Boris Yeltsin's administration.  Soon after, in 1999 the president made him prime minister and was appointed president later that year.  Under his regime, in 2001 he declared the US an ally, however, in 2012 he put a ban on United States adoption of Russian children.  He also attempted to improve relations with Israel, beginning talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  However, after two terms, Putin was forced to step down, and passed power to Dmitry Medvedev who made Putin his Prime Minister.  After one term Medvedev stepped down, allowing Putin to become President once again in 2012.  This power exchange is the perfect example of the authoritarian regime that Putin operates, rigging the political system to wield absolute power.     
2. Angela Merkel, born July 17, 1954, is a native of West Germany.  Before entering into politics Merkel obtained a PhD in physics in 1978 and was a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry.  However, she entered into politics after the fall of the Berlin War in 1989.  Leading up to her election as chancellor, she became the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union Party, and served on the cabinet for women and youth under Helmut Kohl.  In 2005, Merkel won the election for Chancellor by a small margin against Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, winning by just three seats.  Throughout her tenure she has established herself as one of the strongest leaders in Europe.  She has successfully pulled Germany through the worst economic crisis since World War 2, keeping budgets down and maintaining a strong growth rate of 3.6, the highest in Western Europe (as of 2011).  She has also been a strong voice in maintaining the strength of the EU throughout the economic crisis of many poorer EU nations.  
3. Slobodan Milosevic, born August 20, 1941, was at different times the Serbian and Yugoslavian president.  He began his career in the business and managerial profession.  At one point he was the head of a state owned gas company and president of a major Belgrade Band.  He entered into full time politics in 1984 under the mentorship of Ivan Stambolic, the head of the League of Communists of Serbia, and became the leader of the league in 1987.  He and his cohorts demanded that the federal government restore full control to Serbia over the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo.  To reach this goal he pushed through constitutional amendments, curtailing the provinces' autonomy.  Despite his efforts, countries began to break away from the state, beginning with Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia all declaring independence in 1991, followed by more countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina in the following year.  Milosevic is responsible for the death of thousands as he order the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovar Albanians during his presidency which began in 1989.  In 2001, he was arrested by the Yugoslav government and turned over to the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  He died in prison in 2006.

Cross Continent Connection

1. September 12, 2001 was a day that shook the world.  In New York City, two planes were crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and two more into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania.  Overall approximately, 3,000 people lost their lives on this tragic day in history.  These deaths were not only Americans, nearly 400 casualties were from foreign countries, especially from Great Britain.  However, this is not where the connections between continents end.  Post 9/11, the United States launched into an global War on Terror, focused on the middle east.  In accordance with NATO agreements, the attack on the United States was seen as an attack on all NATO member countries, launching many of the World's superpowers into war which has claimed 300 000 lives of soldiers from the United States and European countries as well as insurgents, and civilians.
2. In 2008, Barack H. Obama, was elected as the first African American President of the United States.  Considered the most powerful man alive, President Obama has made serious changes to the United States and relations with Europe and the World, attempting to create positive relations.  For example, he has begun to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, unlike the Clinton and Bush administration.  He has also attempted at improving relations with Russia, with mixed results.  In addition to these political measures, the President has also attempted to promote greater environmental measures in the United States, an issue which is of great importance to Europeans.  Europeans also praise his Affordable Healthcare act as a step in the right direction for America.  In 2012, Obama's approval rating in Europe was far greater than in the United States, with over 2/3 of polled Europeans approving of the President.


Picturing the Past

The Bosnian Genocide was a conflict between  the Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats of Bosnia.  This conflict driven be cultural and religious differences was intensified when Bosnia, declared independence from Yugoslavia, deeply angering the some Serbs.  This conflict developed into a mass ethnic cleansing between the years of 1992- 1995 leading to the deaths 200 000 people.     
Analyzing the Image: What is occurring in this picture?
Connection: What other events in history does this picture call to mind?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Connections across Time

1. Bosnia- Herzegovina experienced a brutal civil war in 1992 which is characterized by the ethnic cleansing which was practiced by both sides in the attempt to create a homogenous ethnic community.  They strove to create this ethnically pure society by intimidation, forced deportation and killing.  As is expected, this civil war did not end well, with 300 000 people dead, and millions left homeless.  Despite grievous violations against humanity the west united by NATO failed to respond in a swift fashion.  Which leads to a clear connection across time.  In World War two there were horrible acts of ethnic cleansing occurring, yet the United States, the strongest Western Nation did not respond.  They refused to insert themselves into a fight that was not theirs, allowing innocent individuals to be slaughtered.  The lack of Western intervention demonstrates the relationship between the Bosnia- Herzegovina civil war and World War 2.

Bosnia- Herzegovina 
2. Throughout the late 20th and into the 21st century the development and implementation of personal computers and the Internet revolutionized communication and international trade.  These advancements paired with the deregulation of national and international financial systems allowed for an international stock market to be developed.  However, at the core of this development is the increased flow of information which is similar to the invention of the printing press in 1439 which allowed for the mass production of books, newspapers and the greater sharing of information.  While on a much smaller scale than the internet,  the printing press, like the Internet, has revolutionized the sharing of information make the process faster and more efficient.


Art Pieces of the Period

1. Since the late 20th Century the world has become a much smaller place.  Transportation has improved, as have communication methods which has led to a more globally aware world.  In keeping with this growing globalization, artists have been depicting this theme of global awareness.  Marjetica Potrc, one such artist, depicts realities of the world as a whole through sculpture.  Her sculpture below, Hybrid House, she creates a house which hybridizes features from buildings from Caracas, the West Bank, and West Palm Beach.  By incorporating these cultures she creates a surrealist feel, effectively showing the viewer of the vast culture and economic separation.  She embraces the realities of the global society, showing the different conditions that people live in all around the world.
2. September 11, 2001 was a grave day in American history.  The collapse of the twin towers led to the deaths of approximately 3000 people.  One of these people, so desperate for escape from the smoke filled tower, plummets to his death to avoid burning alive or being killed in the impending collapse.  Richard Drew's photo, The Falling Man, shows the intense grief experienced by Americans on this horrid day.  This grave day in history sparked the War on Terror, declared by the George W. Bush.  9/11 exemplifies the hostile relationship between the US and the Islamic world.


3.2.1. Summary Chapter 31

Three Things I learned:
1. Vladimir Putin has served a total of three terms as President of Russia.
2. 300 000 people were killed in the Bosnia- Herzegovina civil war.
3. Slobodan Milosevic committed genocide and was convicted by the International Criminal Court.  He died in prison.

Two Things that Interested me:
1. The growing relations between Europe and Islamic nations and the dynamics that exists between them is an interesting phenomenon.
2. The development of the global market through the internet and deregulation of international trade is fascinating.

One thing I am still unsure about:
1. I am still confused about the Serbian political struggles and their involvement in the Bosnia- Herzegovina civil war.