1/23/11- EU diplomat "disappointed" in nuclear talks with Iran

This is an article about the breakdown of talks with Iran about its nuclear program. It is a relatively short article with an interesting interview with one of the key Iranian negotiators. The interview mentions a clash with the west directly, so I found this to be pertinent to what we were discussing this week.

Talks in Istanbul ended on a bad note recently and there was really no progress made with Iran’s nuclear program. Talks broke down because the western countries that attended the meeting refused to accept Iran’s preconditions for the talks. The West wants Iran to disarm its nuclear program because the possibility of nuclear weapons in the hands of a non-western country and in the Middle East is not a good prospect for the world. Iran claims that they are trying to acquire nuclear technology for the energy benefits that it would supply for the country.

I think that this article is best because of the interview at the top. One of the Iranian negotiators is basically talking about the inhabitability of the west’s logic with the logic of Iran. This plays perfectly into the viewpoint of Huntington, because the two civilizations are starting to come together and to clash. Iran is even trying to make the West seem isolated. The negotiator that was being interviewed said that they had invited 130 countries to view their nuclear facilities and most of them accepted. This makes the west seem like the bad guys because they are trying to keep this important technology all to themselves.

There is no certainty on how this conflict will end. Will it be a true embodiment of Huntington’s clash of civilizations or will there be a peaceful resolution to this conflict?

10/13/10- South Korea to conduct naval drills

Nice work, Andrew. This is a great example and a very relevant and important issue. I think the US/South Korean trade agreement is considered a systemic action, as it involves more actors globally. Tracing this issue throughout the trimester might be interesting.

This is a relatively short article but is a good example of the recent escalating tensions between North and South Korea. It talks about how the recent activity in the North and South is prompting hostile actions. However the causes run deeper than just remote ones.

The reasons for the recent South Korean military drills stem from both proximate and remote causes and each of those has systemic, state, and individual causes. The Koreas certainly have a complicated history behind them, starting with the Korean War in the 50’s and most recently coming to light in the North’s bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island, both of those being systemic causes. State level causes for the split in Korea would include the different economic systems in the two countries, the South capitalist and the North communist. However, a more proximate state (and economic) cause for the tension would be some of the recent trade agreements that South Korea has accepted from the United States, which will further isolate the North. Some individuals both proximate and remote would be Kim Jong-il and his father Kim il-Sung and their complete isolation of the North.

Now where do I fit in? I am certainly not a state or an individual cause. I would consider myself to be part of a proximate systemic cause to some of these actions, because I am part of the capitalist nation that is putting so much pressure on the North, through isolation and trade with the South. I am not doing it directly, but I am also doing nothing to stop the isolation of the North. I may not be making a large difference but the government that I support is supporting the South, and that is causing enough upset in the region to put it on the brink of war. I may not be doing much, but the American government is certainly acting as a proximate systemic cause.

10/5/10- Meddling Neighbors Undercut Iraq's Political Stability, Cables Say

This article is about the political stability of Iraq. Especially after US troops will completely withdraw in 2011. Because of that many of Iraq's neighbors are trying to influence it's government. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria are all trying to have a hand in Iraq's politics for different reasons. The main reason that Iraq's neighbors are worried is because its new government is backed by the United States, and a government influenced by America that is in the Middle East is bad news. at least in their minds. The job that the United States is trying to do is to make Iraq's neighbors see that if Iraq's current government remains untouched (out of their influence) that Iraq isn't a lost cause. The United States is especially working with Saudi Arabia.

This article pertains to chapter one because the political situation of Iraq is closely tied to its past. The Middle East has, since the 60's or so, been in a state of turmoil. Conflicts like the Iran Iraq War have shaped that region and the politics that happens between countries. Iran so interested in the new government of Iraq because the the history that the two have together might come back to haunt Iran when a United States backed government arises. Also the competition between neighbors highlights cognitive dissidence because the Saudi Arabians do not trust the Iranians because of their past. The king of Saudi Arabia goes as far as to call an Iranian diplomat a spy.

The Middle East's conflicts could not be solved with one simple policy. A positive outcome right now (Iraq's fledgling democracy can support the country) might sow the seeds for distrust from other countries for years to come. If the United States does nothing, however, Iraq will fall to one of the competing influences and the outcome might effect the whole region in a bad way. I feel as if the United States should continue to support a democratically free Iraq and allow it to run its own government, no matter what other counties in the Middle East might think.
Nice post, Andrew and your connection to chapter 1 is solid. A stable, democratic Iraq would be ideal, but if it is perceived as an American puppet, more terrorists might be inspired to do us harm. Their established "schema" might get in the way of Iraq's success. This is what happened in Saudi Arabia. They supported us in the first Gulf War and this, as well as other forces inspired Bin Laden to target the U.S.