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.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Introduction Chapter 25

Throughout this blog I will be exploring Chapter 25, the West and the World, and I hope to successfully analyze and discuss the impact of imperialism on the world.  This chapter explores the the imperialistic movement which largely takes place between 1815 - 1914.  This movement is the culmination of the industrial and nationalistic movements of the European countries which fostered the militaristic ability and the popular support needed for the European countries imperialistic dreams to come to fruition.  This chapter examines the effects the imperialistic movement and the consequences that it had upon home countries and the countries which were colonized.  It is important to note the essential question of this chapter.  The central question in this chapter is "what was impact of the imperialist movement on the world as a whole?"  Overall, the imperialist movement had a positive impact on the world.  In most effected areas, imperialistic movements led to modernization and/or liberal reform.  Two examples of this modernization would be China and Japan which opened the countries up to trade and led to western reforms such as the construction of railroads and civil rights.  In the European countries there was an inherent benefit for merchants and citizens.  Imperialist movements led to more resources and the a larger market for European merchants and business people to expand into, bringing more wealth to the "homeland".  Additionally, Europeans had more places which they could move and settle to.     

2 Political Cartoons from the 19 Century

         This cartoon demonstrates the large migration of Chinese to the United States, especially to California where they worked in plantations or in gold mines.  This cartoon focuses on the Asians in California participating in gold mining.  This is demonstrated by the small bag of gold and the wash board held by the man who looks somewhat less than human, characterized by an evil look and disturbing features, such as his hair.  The details of the man as well as the words "the CHINESE MUST GO" are indicative of the artists belief that the Asians are bringing negative change to the USA.  The cartoon demonstrates the man running away from San Francisco and towards China demonstrating his/her desire for the Chinese to leave not only California but the Untied States as a whole.  The contempt held by the artist for the Asians was not unique to him.  There was a movement of individuals who had negative feelings towards the Chinese who they believed were driving down wages and taking away jobs from white people.
          While I cannot claim to enjoy the message of this cartoon which promotes racism towards people who are legally attempting to better themselves in a country which promises "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  However, I will admit that I find the artists rendition of the situation humorous and visually interesting.  My favorite aspect of the cartoon is the facial expression of the Asian which is demonic in a humorous way.  
           This political cartoon depicts the effect of the Monroe Doctrine which went into effect in 1823.  This doctrine declared that any act of colonization or interference in North or South America would be seen as an act of aggression and would necessitate US intervention.  This cartoon demonstrates the distinct line which the European rulers could not cross without invoking the wrath of the United States.  The artist seems to have a positive view of the Monroe Doctrine as the words "KEEP OFF: The Monroe Doctrine must be respected" appear at the bottom of the cartoon.  Additionally the artist depicts the European rulers as ornate and sinister while the United States guard is depicted as a strong and morally upright individual.  Personally I am a fan of this cartoon because of the intense detail of the characters involved, especially the European Rulers.  I honestly do not know what my feelings are regarding the doctrine itself but I respect it as a historical piece of American policy which was intended to prevent foreign intervention of the United States.   

Modern US Imperialism Political Cartoon

    This cartoon depicts the American involvement in the Middle East, intended to root out terrorism and help to establish democracy.  This involvement has led to vast debate about the purity of American's intentions and whether it is right to attempt to insert Western Values and democracy into the Middle Eastern society.  The artist clearly feels that Americans are causing harm to the people they are attempting to save and that the true intentions of bringing democracy to the Middle Eastern region is based on Americas need to secure and stabilize the Middle East oil economy.  In regards to the cartoon, I feel that it is well drawn but I feel that the content matter is biased and largely unfair.  While I realize that a large reason for our military involvement in the Middle East is based on our need for a stabilized oil market, I believe that it is important to remember that many people of the Middle East did desire democracy, it was not forced upon them, they desired it.   

Is the United States Imperialist?

When learning about the Imperialist movement between 1815-1914 we have learned about the imperialist desires of western countries.  With this in mind, it is interesting to examine modern day United States and attempt to discern the extent of imperialism present in the US today and throughout our history.  In the following remarks I will present three reasons demonstrating that the US is or has been imperialist and three reasons defending that the United States is not imperialistic.
The United States is/ has been Imperialistic:
1. The United States occupied and annexed the Philippines during the course of the Spanish- American War.  While attempting to obtain Cuban independence, the United States successfully annexed the Philippines, opening a market to the territory and creating a gateway to trade with the middle eastern markets.
2. In July 1898, towards the end of the Spanish- American War the United States occupied and annexed Puerto Rico, a Spanish Territory.  While United States forces met very minimal resistance, this is still considered an imperialist take over, as the United States took over another country without the approval of the people or the ruling country.  Interestingly, Puerto Rico was officially given to the United States in the Treaty of Paris at the conclusion of the Spanish- American War.  
3. In recent years the United States has followed a policy of implementing democracy in Middle Eastern countries, for multiple reasons, one of which is to stabilize the oil markets so that we could continue to trade with the country to obtain oil.  This is eerily reminiscent of Britain's intervention in China, where Britain forced themselves into China to create and sustain an opium market.   

The United States is not Imperialistic:
1. During the course of the Spanish-American War the United States fought for Cuban Independence, even occupying the country at one point, however, they made no attempt to annex the country.      
2. In 1899, the United States promoted open commerce for all countries with China.  However, it believed that Western Nations should respect China's territory, essentially demonstrating the United States disinterest in colonizing China.
3.The implementation of the Monroe Doctrine as an United States policy is another example of the United States anti-imperialistic attitude.  This doctrine essentially promised the United States would not interfere with internal matters of Europe or existing European colonies.  Therefore, while the United States did not follow this doctrine consistently, this doctrine demonstrates the United States disinterest in colonizing European areas or using military force to claim current European colonies, even through they had the military strength to do so.  

Personally, I feel that while the United States has been imperialistic in the past, we are presently not an imperialistic country.  In modern day United States people attempt to claim that the United States is imperialistic because of our invasion of middle eastern countries.  However, the goal of these invasions is often to stabilize the country, search for dangerous weapons, or remove terrorists, not create an entity which would be ruled by the United States for material gain.  Therefore, I truly feel that the United States has been imperialistic in the past but is not currently.      

Cross Continent Connection

1.  The goal of Spanish American War, which took place in 1898, was to liberate the Spanish territory of Cuba.  American involvement in this conflict began on April 20, 1898 when a joint session of Congress recognized Cuba's independence and authorized force to expel Spain from the territory.  This defense of Cuba led to American involvement with a war which led to American occupation and annexation of the Philippines and Puerto Rico.  The major players in this conflict were Americans, led by President William McKinley of America and Queen Maria Christina of Spain.  Overall, the Spanish- American War demonstrates the U.S.A's imperialistic desires because even though America was attempting to rid Cuba of the imperialistic tendrils of Spain, they were spreading there own during the course of the war, in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  This growing imperialistic goal is similar to that of other western countries during this same time period.  For example, Great Britain attempted to gain control of parts of China and successfully annexed India. 

2.  On December 2, 1832, the Monroe Doctrine, written by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, was accepted by President James Monroe.  This doctrine essentially stated that any attempt to colonize or interfere with North or South American states would be seen as an act of aggression requiring U.S. intervention.  Additionally, the doctrine stated that the United States would not intervene with existing European colonies or become involved in internal European matters or matters of war between European countries.  This policy clearly had an immense impact on the countries of Europe, as the United States had effectively closed the doors on the colonization of North and South America, further closing the land available for expansion by European countries.  This made the need to gain land in Africa, Japan, China, and India even greater for European countries.  The Monroe Doctrine can be seen as an additional reason for the European countries to compete for land in the aforementioned places to secure resources and trade markets for their countries.


Uprisings Now and Then

Imperialist Uprising
From early 1900 till September 7, 1901, a group of Chinese nationalists lashed out against foreign interference.  The Boxer Rebellion was an extremely violent uprising which sought to rid China of foreign interference.  After the Chinese defeat in the Sino- Japanese war, China under the rule of Tzi Hsi, experienced a period of great turmoil upon realizing how vulnerable they were to foreign invasion.  This realization led people to realize that the European countries could effectively divide the country amongst themselves.  Therefore the Boxers thought it necessary to dispel all foreigners, especially Christians.  They worked towards this goal by murdering 200 foreign missionaries and several thousand Chinese Christians.  This murderous rampage paired with the Boxer's invasion of the embassy quarter in Beijing led to Western intervention.  The Western governments successfully sieged Beijing using an international force of 20 000 soldiers used to force China to accept a large number of penalties which led to political turmoil within the countries and eventually anarchy.  However, this rebellion was one of the early catalysts for the end of the Qing Dynasty (1912),which led to a republic being formed by Dr. Yet-sen.

Modern Day Uprising
           On December 18,2010, Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire after being stripped of his livelihood by the government of Tunisia, this event sparked the revolutionary fire in the country of Tunisia.  Bouazizi was unemployed much like 14% of the country. This extremely high level of unemployment serves as one of the key reasons for the Tunisian Revolution which ousted President Zine El Abidine Ali from power because of the political corruption practiced by his administration, the high unemployment rate, a lack of freedom of the press, and severe economic distress.  This rebellion was made up of series violent street protests often involving setting buildings and cars on fire.  This continued until the resignation of Ali, who was replaced by his prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouahi, who later resigned on February 27, 2011.  A new popularly elected Constituent Assembly was formed and Moncef Marzouki was elected as interim president, and Hamadi Jebali was elected as Prime Minister, later to resign and be replaced by Ali Larayedh.  After this rebellion the government was a Republic operating under a two party system, rather than the single party system which was in place before the rebellion.  A constitution is currently being drafted and debated.           

Spotlight on Suez Canal

Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is a 101 mile strip of water connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez  a northern branch of the Red Sea.  This canal was originally planned by Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 1700s.  He believed that a canal on the Isthmus of Suez would either cause the British to pay the French to use the canal or continue there slow methods of travel, such as going around Africa by sea or cross across the land.  However, calculations predicted the canal to be impossible to make and use.  Therefore the project was scrapped.  The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company brought back the idea of a canal connecting the two bodies of water and construction began on April 25, 1859.  The company would build and control the canal for 99 years after which time the canal would be given to the country of Egypt.  The canal opened on November 17, 1869 and immediately began moving goods in record time.  Over the next years the canal was be traded hands between Egypt and Great Britain causing serious turmoil, but in 1888 a treaty was enacted allowing all countries to use the canal. Interestingly, in 1948, Egypt prohibited the use of the Canal by the country of Israel.  Furthermore, Egypt nationalized control of the canal and attached a fee for all countries, and after facing opposition from countries who felt they were violating the 1888 treaty, the country sunk 40 ships in the canal to prevent the use of the canal all together.  This was known as the Suez Crisis, but in 1956 the United Nations interceded and help develop an agreement between the feuding countries, opening up the canal for trade once more.  However, in 1962 Egypt finished payments on the canal to the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company and the canal became the rightful property of the country of Egypt  who currently controls the canal today.  The Suez Canal Authority currently maintains the canal which takes between 11 and 16 hours to travel.  In modern day the canal is still significant as it provides passage for approximately 50 ships a day, supporting 8% of the worlds shipping traffic.  The Suez Canal opened for transport in 1869 and still remains one of the world's most significant water ways as the canal dramatically reduces shipping time across the world.     

3.2.1. Summary Chapter 25

Three things I learned:
1. The Boxer Revolution led to the murder of more than a thousand Chinese Christians and 200 foreign missionaries as the Boxers believed they were the cause of all problems that had developed in China.
2. British merchants grew opium in the British colony of India and smuggled the opium into China where it was illegal to consume.  This led to the first Opium war, resulting in the Treaty of Nanking which forced China to cede Hong Kong to Great Britain forever, pay a $100 million dollar indemnity and open 4 ports for trading with foreign countries.
3.Commander Mathew Perry utilized Gun Boat Diplomacy to "open" Japan to trade in 1853.  Gunboat Diplomacy is the threat or use of force to reach a diplomatic agreement.

Two things that interested me:
1. The Maxim Machine Gun was invented in 1884 and was crucial in the defeat of the Muslim force at Omdurman.  General Horatio H. Kitchener utilized the Maxim machine gun to cut down      11000 Muslim soldiers while only 28 British soldiers were killed.  I found this interesting as for some reason I thought that the machine gun was made more recently than 1884.
2. I found it interesting that an increasing liberalized society, which was increasingly recognizing the rights of man, would feel that it would truly be in the interest of the native people of the colonized areas to be forced to accept the culture and societal constructs of the European countries.  I find it interesting that the European people would accept the concept of the White Man's Burden.

One thing that confused me:
1. I am still deeply confused about the roles of David Livingstone and the Henry Stanley and their connection with one another.            

Introduction Chapter 23

Chapter 23, Life in the Emerging Urban Society, discuses the time period between 1840- 1900.  During this time period there was a revolution in scientific, societal, medical, and religious thought.  This revolution reflected the new urban society which was continually growing due to the Industrial Revolution and the growing amount of employment available in growing factories.  Through this blog, I will attempt to discuss this change in thought and it's effect on the growing urban society.  The most essential question of this chapter is how the world issues impacted the new urban society?  These new ideas in science led to advancements in medicine, public health, and an noticeable reduction of religion in urban societies.  Societal and political developments such as the growth of socialism and the new belief in city planning led to political turmoil and better water supplies respectively.  These harsh turnaround from ideas of the past came to exemplify the new urban society.      

Monday, February 11, 2013

3.2.1 Summary Chapter 23

During this chapter I learned many things such as:
  • Many prosperous middle class families rented, rather than owned, their homes.
  • One out of every three women in Great Britain between the ages of 15-20 were domestic servants.
  • Herbert Spencer coined the phrase "survival of the fittest," not Charles Darwin.
While Studying this chapter I found it interesting that:
  • There was a great deal of gambling on sporting events which led to an increase in literacy as the working classes wished to understand the racing forms, therefore they needed to be able to read.
  • Prostitution was simply considered a stage of life for many lower and working class girls.
After reading this chapter I am left wondering:
  • Why there was a decrease in cruel sports such as bull baiting and cock fighting.