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15. Global Politics: U.S.A. and the World, Using the Video
Topic Overview Using the Video Readings Critical Thinking Activity Web-Based Resources

 

Classroom Applications Pos-Viewing Activity and Discussion Watch the Video and Discuss] Pre-Viewing Activity and Discussion


 


 

Using the Video Unit 15

Pre-Viewing Activity and Discussion (30 minutes)

Before viewing the video, discuss the following questions:

  • What, according to Monroe, are the differences between the interests of Europe and those of the Western Hemisphere? Is this still the case?

  • What was Mark Twain trying to convey about war?

  • In this era of globalization, what are the lines between domestic and international policy?

  • Is the traditional nation-state becoming a historic relic?


Watch the Video (30 minutes) and Discuss (30 minutes) [Top]

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The video includes three segments:

1. New World Orders: U.S. Role in NATO Peacekeeping in Bosnia

The primary mission of our military has always been to protect and defend the United States against its enemies. But today our military is used to pursue a variety of national interests. As a world leader, the U.S. often intervenes in overseas conflicts, not only to address threats to our nation but also to keep peace, maintain economic stability, and promote democracy in other regions. A recent example is the U.S. involvement with international peacekeeping and nation-building operations in the former region of Yugoslavia.

Discussion Questions

  • Is the role being performed in Bosnia by the U.S. military one for which they are trained?

  • Should the military be involved in nation building?

  • Why are these activities so controversial?

2. International Trade and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Korea

International trade remains one of America's most important foreign policy tools. In general, the U.S. seeks to reduce trade barriers through regional and international agreements. Trade policy also remains a tool to promote democracy, secure allies, and create new trading partners in an increasingly interdependent world. One of the most sustained efforts to use trade policy to build a strong ally and, at the same time, promote democracy was the Food for Peace program that the U.S. maintained with South Korea.

Discussion Questions

  • Can trade policy promote democracy?

  • What are the advantages of reducing trade barriers? What are the disadvantages?

  • What did the Food for Peace program in South Korea entail?

  • Did the Food for Peace program work?

3. NGOs and the Campaign Against Landmines

Like all nations, the U.S. uses its diplomatic relations with other national and international organizations to shape and implement its foreign policy. Treaties with other nations, and those creating international organizations like the UN or NATO, remain an important foreign policy tool. But in the post-Cold War era, NGOs are increasingly pushing their causes, some of which clash with express aims of the traditional nation-states. The effort of Jody Williams to oppose the use of landmines represents a case in which the aims of an NGO clashed with U.S. foreign policy.

Like most of us, Jody Williams found the images of children maimed by landmines abhorrent, but unlike most of us, she sprang into action to do something about the problem. Williams started an NGO with the goal of banning the use of landmines worldwide, and eventually she succeeded in getting over 1,000 NGOs from around the world to join her cause, which became known as The International Campaign To Ban Land Mines. Williams's primary battle was with the military bureaucracies of the world; her primary weapons were a gutsy attitude, a telephone, and a fax machine. Through the efforts of Williams and others, the anti-landmine movement gained ground. By 1997, more than 120 countries had signed a treaty banning the distribution of landmines, but the U.S. was not among them.

According to U.S. policy-makers, if used properly, landmines are viable defensive weapons, as the border experiences involving North and South Korea prove. Williams remained unconvinced by such reasoning, even after she visited the de-militarized zone between those two countries. President Clinton, in contrast, maintained that landmines were an unfortunate necessity. As Jerry White, co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network, sees it, the difference of views between the U.S. and anti-landmine forces is an example of the "love-hate" relationship that often prevails between NGOs and nation-states: "I would say governments love us and love to hate us. But it's a dance that works both ways. They want to have the resources and work done by NGOs who very often are the experts on a particular issue. At the same time they want distance from [our] strong advocacy points." In the end, Jody Williams and her International Campaign To Ban Landmines were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. Despite their failure to get the U.S. to sign the treaty banning landmines, the efforts of Williams and others are now being analyzed by other NGOs that want to enhance their own success in a number of other causes.

Discussion Questions

  • How has The International Campaign To Ban Land Mines become effective?

  • Why does the U.S. continue to oppose the treaty?

  • Are NGOs a threat to national sovereignty?

  • What is the relationship between NGOs and nation states?

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Post-Viewing Activity and Discussion (10 minutes) [Top]

Try the Critical Thinking activity for Unit 15. This is a good activity to use with your students, too.

1. Who Should Be in Charge of Foreign Policy? (10 minutes)

The making of foreign policy in the United States has always involved the weighing of appropriate influence between the president and Congress. Although the president has historically been accorded the responsibility of representing the interests of our nation to other countries, Congress has nevertheless played an important role in foreign policy decisions. What are the appropriate roles for the president and Congress? Where should the locus of power reside? Does globalization and its concurrent shifts across national borders of capital and enterprises suggest that Congress should play a larger role.

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Classroom Applications [Top]

You may want to have your students do the post-viewing activities: A Timeline of Key Events in the History of U.S. Foreign Policy and Who Should Be in Charge of Foreign Policy? They are provided for you as blackline masters in the Appendix of the print guide.

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