Thеmеs in Glоbаl Роlitiсs

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Thеmеs in Glоbаl Роlitiсs

5. Is democracy necessary for capitalism?

No. Democracy is not a precondition for capitalism. To illustrate there, there are many societies that are not currently democracies but have capitalist economies. There are also societies that existed in the past which were not democracies but were characterized by capitalism. Some examples include such countries include South Korea under Park Chung-hee and Chile under General Augusto Pinochet. Notably, both Park Chung-hee
and Augusto Pinochet were army generals and therefore led their countries as dictatorships but the economies of South Korea and Chile had features of capitalism. As well, the fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler existed very well under an economic system that was capitalistic. These examples show that democracy is not necessarily a companion of capitalism. They also show that that democracy is not required in order for capitalism to exist in a country. In other words, it is possible for capitalism to exist even in societies that do not have democratic regimes.

7. What did the global financial crisis teach us about the realities of the global capitalist system?

The first lesson is that market fundamentalism, which is the foundation of capitalism is not a panacea for economic success and stability. Market fundamentalists of advocates of the free market economy claim that markets should be left on their own since they have mechanisms to correct themselves. This is not entirely true as seen through market failure that instigated global financial crisis.The second point is that some of the policies advocated by the World Bank and IMF, which are capitalist-oriented are not applicable all situations. Countries need to evaluate and adopt policies best suit their individual situations. Thirdly, the GFC teaches us about the reality that state intervention is necessary in any economy. While global capitalist system advocates private firms having a free hand in business, the GFC shows that today, more than ever, government intervention is necessary to ensure that businesses play by the rules to avert market failure.

8. How has a rising China utilized the global capitalist system to its advantage?

China has made use of the global capitalist system to its advantage reforming its governance and economic systems so as to benefit from the capitalist world. The reforms go back to the end of 1976 with the start of post-Mao reform. From this point, China worked towards having a semblance of a market economy by promoting market openness. By the 1990s, China was moving towards a market economy status and in 2001, the country joined the World Trade Organisation. These changes have been accompanied by market attractiveness such as provision of cheap labour, which has made China a hub of manufacturing for virtually every major company across the world. Today, large companies such as Apple, Samsung, LG, Toyota, Caterpillar and many others have some or all of their manufacturing operations in based in China. All this is evidence of how China’s increasing market openness has made the country use the global capitalist system to its advantage.

9. How should the Arab Spring be assessed in retrospect?

In reflection, the Arab Spring should be assessed by looking at what the factors that caused the uprising and what the uprising achieved. Some of the issues that were possible causes of the Arab Spring include socio-economic issues such as widespread poverty, marginalization of the youth, failure to address unemployment among the youth, and failure to address other economic issues such as rising food prices. Oppression of the masses by those in power was also possibly a cause of the uprising. The lessons that governments can learn from the causes of the Arab Spring include that governments needs to be inclusive and more open, and also address the challenges facing the citizens without turning to oppression. Without addressing issues that face citizens, governments are likely to be regarded as illegitimate, which was the case in some of the countries that were affected by the Arab Spring, such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

10. What is causing the increasing levels of protest in Saudi Arabia?

Several reasons have caused the increasing levels of protest in Saudi Arabia. To start with, the government of Saudi Arabia has been accused of severely restricting freedoms of expression, assembly and association. In many cases people are arrested and imprisoned without trial. The government is also perceived to be discriminating against the Shi’a minority in the country. Many Shi’a activists have been jailed and executed. As well, the government is notorious for violating the rights of women. Women face discrimination in law and are often ineffectively protected against sexual and domestic violence. Protests against the government of Saudi Arabia are also fuelled by what citizens perceived to be failure by the government to play its role in ensuring social and economic wellness. For instance, there are complaints about corruption in public institutions, which causes financial losses and inefficient service delivery. People also frequently complain about high unemployment in Saudi Arabia, which renders many people unproductive.

11. Is ISIS still a threat to stability in the Middle East and why?

Yes, ISIS is a still a threat to stability in the Middle East. This is because ISIS’s intent of taking over Iraq and Syria is still very much on course. The ultimate goal of ISIS has been to impose an ideological a rule over Iraq and Syria and other parts of the Middle East, and the raging war that currently exits demonstrates that the terror group is still fighting to achieve its objectives. In recent times ISIS has taken over cities such as Mosul in Iran. The group also controls large parts of Syria and is present in several other countries like Libya and Afghanistan. The fact that ISIS has evolved from a mere terrorist organisation to a group that acts like an army fighting several other army groups from different countries such as Syria, Russia and Turkey show just how pronounced the threat posed by ISIS is. With the continue fighting between ISIS and other countries in the region the threat posed by the group to stability in the Middle East is real.

12. What factors have caused Somalia to be assessed as a failed state?

Somalia has been assessed as a failed state because it has many of the features that characterise failed states. The most conspicuous characteristics that make a state to be categorised as a failed state are as follows. First, the state has an enduring violence, in most cases in the form of a civil war that pits the warring factions against the state. As well, a failed state is characterised by predatory and oppressive regime or system that results in the persecution of the country’s citizens. The third aspect is that the state is not able to control its own territory, meaning that the country is basically lawless and characterised by people having their own version of what they consider to be right or lawful. A failed state is also featured by an increase in the level of criminal violence as well as lawlessness that poses a threat to the overall security of the people. Failed states are also by symbolised by worsening or destruction of physical infrastructure as such as roads and electricity lines, the decay of state social amenities like health and education, and provision of economic opportunities in manner that favours only a few while leaving the majority disenfranchised. More importantly, a key highlight of a failed state is loss of state legitimacy. This means that the people who appear to be in power are not legitimately holding the positions of power.

Somalia happens to be classified as failed state because it has most, if not all, of the features described above. Since 1991, Somalia has been a failed state with no legitimately installed government. Instead of having a president or any other symbol of power and unity, Somalia has been led by warlords based in different territories and controlling the regions for their own benefits. Attempts to have a president who has authority over the whole country have failed severally. Although the country has a president, the presidency is a just a title since the president has been unable to form a stable and centrally managed government. The country has also been characterised by semi-independent states, and was once led by Islamic courts, which morphed into the terror group al-Shabaab that has had links with al-Qaeda – an international terror group. The presence of groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia has meant that the country does not have territorial integrity. Many times, peacekeeping groups from organisations such as UN and the African union had had to intervene to try and create a semblance of peace in Somalia.

Because of the lack of a formal government, Somalia has had a long civil war, and many people have been forced to live as refugees in other counties. The unrest in the country means that many citizens cannot get access to services such as education and health. Also, because of the civil war and the unrest perpetuated by warlords in the country, Somalia does not have good communication and transport infrastructure, and most of those infrastructures that existed were destroyed in the raging war.

The conflict that has raged in Somalia means that the country is fraught with cases of human rights violations and abuses. Without a properly defined law system, terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab apply their own version of the Sharia law, which they use to oppress the population. The oppression is not limited to the general population but also applied to the media and civil society groups. Members of media and civil society groups are said to be vulnerable to arbitrary arrest, detention, harassment and even killing by the different groups that purport to hold power, including policemen in transitional governments.

Combined, the lack of a stable government, the civil warfare, the lack of reliable provision of amenities such as healthcare and education, and the general lawlessness experienced in Somalia are some of the attributes that make the country a failed state.

14. Has the international nuclear non-proliferation system been a success or failure?

The international nuclear non-proliferation system has to some extent been a failure because its key objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons has not been as successful as would have been expected. This is because despite the existence of the international nuclear non-proliferation system, some countries have continued to increase their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. These countries, notable Iran and North Korea, have capitalized on and underscored the weaknesses in the non-proliferation regime that need to be fixed if the system is to serve the purpose that it was meant to serve. The weaknesses of the system are in regard to the limitation and ambiguities in the current rules, and emanate from a failure to put in force the existing rules. As currently applied, the rules have been unable stop the spread of nuclear processing and enrichment and it is these loopholes that countries that have access to materials such as uranium and reactors use to produce nuclear material for military or unclear intentions.

15. Why do states such as Iran and North Korea seek nuclear weapons?

States such as Iran and North Korea seek nuclear weapons because of the imminent threat that they deem to be facing. Primarily, such countries seek to have nuclear weapons in order to be able to match their perceived threats (other countries they consider to be threats and which have more powerful conventional military capacity). For example, North Koreas started building its nuclear capacity when it was received that South Korea, its enemy, was getting militarily stronger. This has been exacerbated by the involvement of the US in the Korean Peninsula, and its support for South Korea. Therefore, North Korea pursuit for nuclear weapons is a strategy for the country to defend itself in case of an incursion by the South Korea and/or the US or other militarily powerful neighbours like China. Similarly, Iran’s nuclear program was fuelled by the perceived threat of a US attack, especially when the US stationed its naval power near the shores of Iran.

18. How can you explain Russia’s behaviour over the past few years on the international political stage?

Russia’s behaviour over the past few years on the international political arena can be described as an attempt by the country to redefine itself as a superpower. This can be seen through actions such as the annexation of the Crimea region that was claimed by Ukraine despite condemnation by several countries, the alleged downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in the conflict with Ukraine, the involvement of Russia in the Syrian civil war, and Russia’s increased aggression towards the US over the Syrian civil war. Russia also used its veto power in the UN Security Council, together with China, to vote against a resolution that called for the turmoil in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. In all these cases, it can be seen that Russia is trying to tell the world that it still wields the power that it once had as superpower together with the US and that it can influence international policy.

20. What are the greatest challenges facing global politics today?

The first challenge is food security. Despite the world population growing, there are indications that many people across will continue lacking food especially due to problems such as drought, floods and poor distribution of food to where its required. Already, many people, especially in Africa and Asia, do not get adequate food. Another challenge is climate change. Over the last 50 years, the Earth’s mean land temperature has increased by nearly 1 °C due to human activity and greenhouse gas emissions. It the situation is not tames, the Earth will continue experiencing unpredictable weather patterns and catastrophic events such as droughts and floods. Another is issue lack of inclusive growth. Over the years, the gap between the richest people and the poorest people in the world has continued to increase, suggesting lopsided growth. Another key challenge is terrorism. Terrorism has evolved and is now practices using more sophisticated and hard to predict methods across the globe.