People participate in government activities in different ways. One of the ways is by turning up in great numbers during election. Research has shown that voting is one of the crucial activities that show the willingness of people to participate in the government activities. When people turnout greatly during the day of voting, it shows there is legitimacy in that country and many people are willing to participate in the activities of the country. Where the turnout is low as compared to another country, this shows that the people of that country consider its government to be somewhat illegitimate. Among other things, this study explains how Americans are engaged in different political activities as compared to those people in western European countries. Voting is one of the political activities that show the willingness of people to participate in government activities in the United States. Turnout in the US is not high as compared to western European countries during elections, which may be brought by variations in registration necessities, regularity in elections, or the environment of the various political parties.
Why Americans Vote At a Lesser Rate than Western Europeans
Voting is one of the ways in which people participate in different political activities. There are many ways by which people participate in their government activities such as voting during elections, joining in various political parties, and participating in other government activities. In America, there has been a low trend in participation of political activities like voting during elections. This has led to low turnout of people during elections, which as compared to western Europeans the turnout of people is very high. This is brought by lack of education and creation of awareness about importance of voting in America as compared to their western European citizens. The European citizens are educated while still young and a lot of favor is done to those who are disadvantaged in terms of labor and other social matters in the country. This is done in order to create a positive attitude to all people towards the participation of government activities especially voting. However, much has always tried to be done in America in order to remove the different barriers that lead to low turnout of people during elections. The various reasons that have contributed to the low turnout include many requirements for registration, elections being made many times thus people becoming bored to attend them regularly and the differences in parties involved in the country. These reasons have contributed greatly to the low turnout of the American people during election as compared to those people in the western European countries. In America, registration is a personal responsibility as opposed to western European countries where the government takes the responsibility of registration of people. Many states have started using motor voter as their mode of registration in order to ease the process and make it more convenient to many people. However, this mode of registration does not improve the number of people who turn out during the Election Day but only during the time of registration. Due to the many opportunities available for voting in America, it has become a burden to many and thus some do not turn up many of the times. The low turnout is also brought by scheduling the elections in week days when every one is in his/her own businesses. The governments do not set up special days for election where many jobs and companies will be closed in order to avoid conflicts between employees and their employers. The perception of people about parties also affects the turnout because in the US, there is no much variation between republican and democratic parties but in the western European countries, the parties are very dissimilar according to classes and the various interests.
Why Some Americans Vote Regularly While Others Do Not
Voting in America is usually done regularly, which makes people to develop different attitudes. There are many reasons that make some people become frequent voters while others are not. Regular voters see this as a civic duty and so they consider voting as one of their great responsibilities as compared to others. The different beliefs of people about the consequences of voting makes them turnout in great numbers. If people believe that their voting will make a difference, they will turn up in great numbers. Those people who think that they are separated from the control of the country are always likely to withdraw from the government activities like voting. Other factors like age, schooling, and economic matters also affect voting in the US. Those people of middle age and adults turn up in high rates than those of lower age. This is brought by lack of education and creation of awareness about importance of voting. Some Americans also frequently vote many times than others in the country due to creation of awareness about the people they are going to vote for and their willingness to participate in all government activities.
Improving Voter Turnout in the US
Generally, the US citizens are just moderately engaged in voting and other political activities. In order to enhance voter turnout in America, the government should change the citizen’s attitude. This can be done by holding political and social movements in order to improve the interests of people towards the government activities. The government should try as much as possible to settle the different grievances of people in order to improve on their attitude towards engaging in the different government activities. This is because many people protest the type of government by not availing themselves during elections. Turnout during voting can also be improved by educating the young people while still young for them to develop a positive attitude early enough. Voter education should be taken seriously in the United States as it is critical for developments in the country
Voting has been seen as one of political activities that citizens of a country participate. Voting in United States has been seen to be low as compared to the western European democracies. This has been affected during registration of Americans as everyone who has to vote must register personally as compared to other countries where the responsibility of registration is left to the government employees and not the citizens. The regular elections held in America also make the citizens to become very reluctant to turnout during the process. The citizens become reluctant because of the many elections that are done without experiencing a great change in the elected government. Finally, the differing interests between different political parties, which do not seem to solve the people’s problems in the United States unlike those in the western democracies, make the people in America discouraged from frequent voting.
Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden was the forbearer of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant organization responsible for several casualty mass attacks antagonistic towards both the military and civilian targets. The prominent targets were however strategized against the United States. He was the protagonist of the Arab Spring. This paper summarizes his strategized terrorism plans in relation to psychological models of radicalization.
One of Osama’s strategic plan letters was to plea with the jihadist groups to terminate domestic attacks against Muslim civilians, but concentrate on the United States since that was their main goal (Lahoud et al. 2012, 38-39). He therefore made a public statement based on Muslim opponents such as unscrupulous Muslim rulers and their counterparts Western overseers. Secondly, since he lacked public media campaigns to support his politics, he strategized to affiliate with a terror group that did not work in his favor and ended up killing thousands of Muslims. After the failure of this plan, he then strategized to threaten United States that he would take public measures with clear and practical steps in a bid to dissociate himself from the vile errors that violate Islamic laws. He also planned on expansion of al-Qaeda from the Arabian Peninsula by warning them not to declare an Islamic state in Yemen (Lahoud et al. 2012, 39). Later on, he strategized to take the loyalty pledge of al-Qaeda to Somali rebel movements to prevent foreign aid and investment in Somalia. The prominent strategic letter however was that of the dawn of the new political landscape, which he considered the formidable event. The political landscape emerged in North Africa and the Middle East, to foster its guidance and efforts on media outreach.
Osama’s relationship with the regional jihad groups at the time of his death was filled with frustrations, anguish and contest because they were being exploited by the enemy, further distorting the jihadis’ image in the eyes of the general public (Lahoud et al. 2012, 18). His was frustrated with the jihad groups, which caused sufferings to Muslims and urged them to outdo these attacks but rather focus on the U.S. In addition, his inability to control their actions and public statements was very compelling, advising them in pain to stop Muslim civilian casualties. He was not amused by the emerging trend of American populist jihad and its English magazines meant to appeal American Muslims launch attacks random attacks in the US because of its possible dangerous consequences (Lahoud et al. 2012, 57). His relation with the affiliates was a contest between three different positions and the senior leaders.
The radicalization process can be explained using five models that illustrate discrepancies and commonalities, as there has been a shift in the conception of a terrorist group (King et al. 2011, 604). Three essential elements of the radicalization process are evident in each model, and they include the struggles over identity, phenomenon of relative deprivation, and the presence of personality characteristics (King et al. 2011, 609-612). This is directly in line with the jihadists who possess different personal characteristics and Osama, the al-Qaida organization founder who was an active and radical extremist. In discrepancies, the focus is mainly on the portrayals and different formats of the radicalization process. Emphasis has been placed on the radicalization of “homegrown” jihadists to understand why immigrants born in Western countries can “become radicalized and plan terrorism against their homeland”, taking into consideration that most Western countries are currently facing multicultural challenges (King et al. 2011, 604).
The basing of counter-radicalization strategies on models that have not been empirically validated can be misleading and risky because ideology on its own can ensure continued individual radicalization and sustenance of extremist violent Islamic community, even though the jihadist organization or the adherents may be directly disadvantaged (King et al. 2011, 616).
While it is evident that Osama was a Protagonist in the Arab Spring and other terrorist activities, the involvement in such activities is influenced by psychological transformations occurring within individuals, increasing their susceptibility to legitimate terrorism. The transformations are referred to as radicalization. Each of the five prominent models of homegrown jihad radicalization has contributed essential theories in the field of terrorism research. However, future research on the radicalization of homegrown jihadist should focus on the single narrative and the Internet (King et al. 2011, 618). While the internet has featured in most homegrown jihadi terrorist plot since 2002, the jihadi narrative has a considerable influence on those involved in terrorist plots against the West (King et al. 2011, 618). Apart from these, the discussion forums can also be applied as a pathway to homegrown jihads.
King, Michael, and Donald Taylor. “The Radicalization of Homegrown Jihadists: A Review of Theoretical Models and Social Psychological Evidence.” Terrorism and Political Violence, 23 (2011): 602-622. Print.
Lahoud, Nelly, et al. “The Letters from Abbottabad.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. 3 May, 2012. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
The Arab revolution, a pro-democracy, modern day rebellion that has engulfed most of North Africa and the entire Middle East region since 2010, has been illustrated as a devastating revolutionary wave that has brought about the over-throw of many political regimes in its wake. The downfall of the Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, and Muammar Gaddafi governments and the riots of displeasure of Algerian and Moroccan citizens are the result of a deep revolution of these realities This phenomenon has had a great effect on the political advancement, and democratic supremacy in the Arab world in particular. Many scholars argue that, although the political, environmental, and socioeconomic aspects and variables that brought about, and sustained the revolutions in the affected countries appear similar in nature, they vary from one country to the other. Recent findings however, show that the inability of governments in these affected states to respond adequately to the growing demands of political inclusion, good governance, job creation and policies of inclusive growth played fundamental roles in awakening the people’s consciousness, resulting in the revolutions, this paper draws a comparative analysis of the key factors and variables that gave rise to the Arab Spring.
Many political scientists argue that the prevailing patterns of the Arab revolution have many underlying causes that vary sharply by country, For instance, religion, tribal, ethnic, sectarian, and regional ideology differences within each given nation (Rand. p. 126). Nonetheless, an examination of the broader demographic, economic, and security trends in the MENA region shows how these critical factors are in shaping public anger and discontent. The results from this analysis also show the critical role of the quality of governance, internal security systems, Justice systems, and progress in social change in shaping and dealing with each nation’s problems
Though different in many aspects, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt share a range of similarities with regard to the socioeconomic and political origin of the revolts as well as the contemporary phase of transition. Despite the issues, being brought to light by different reports claiming that there is no reliable way to assess the deep underlying structural impact of factors like demographics and economics on unrest. A number of skeptical technocrats claim similar efforts to underline these factors, like the Arab Development report warned nearly a decade ago, however, a combination of factors such as dictatorships or absolute monarchy, demographic pressures, human rights violations, extreme poverty, government corruption, economic decline, unemployment, and several demographic structural factors such as a great percentage of educated, but displeased youths within the population have been identified as having led to the objections. However skeptical these scholars may be, no one can realistically address the current upheavals in key countries and the MENA region without considering such factors.
Unequal distribution and income fluctuations create instability
During the making of this analysis, a common critic always came up, in some regions of political science, some researchers claimed that the data involved are uncertain, and many proceed the current period of unrest, but it is clear that economics and inequities in the distribution of wealth are among the key forces driving unrest in the MENA region.
The critics may hold some fact in their opinions, The Middle East GDP has lagged considerably behind other regions in the world. The per capita GDP for the North American region grew at a much greater rate than the per capita GDP in the Middle East between 1980 and 2010. During this time the North American GDP per capita nearly quadrupled, while the Middle East GDP per capita grew, expanded by just 25 times its original value. In 2010, the per capita GDP in North America was $47,111, while the average per capita GDP in the MENA region has been just $6,488 (Livingston. p. 23). However, the rate at which the regional GDP lagged behind is what is considered as the major factor or the Arab spring. Furthermore, while Kuwait had a GDP per capita ratio of $46,970 in 2012, Jordan’s ratio was $4,788, additionally, the per capita oil export income of Qatar, the MENA state with the highest per capita income is 25 times the per capita income of Algeria, the MENA State with the lowest income. The MENA region had wealth disparities among themselves and this was a sign that the region had financial issues despite them being oil-producing countries.
Figure 1: this graph shows the degree that the Middle East region has performed over the years against other regions
Economic adversity can be tolerated if the citizens believe there are a better days ahead, or have a sense that the burden is at least to some extent equally distributed (Morgeson. p. 159). This was not the case in the MENA regions. Political analysis show that the previous governments-led development gave place to a friendship based capitalism that benefited only a small minority. For example, in Egypt, new corporate elite’ entities collaborated with the Hosni Mubarak regime to accumulate fortunes unthinkable to the majority of the population living on 2 dollars a day. Additionally, in Tunisia, no investment arrangement was closed without approval of the ruling family.
Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia for Selected Years
Sources: (Lambsdorff .p. 212 )Author’s Compilation from Transparency International (CPI Report for Selected Years)
From the above data, it is evident that through the decade all three countries got worse in terms of corruption ratings. This showed that though the degree of corruption was different amongst the countries, it was a predominant factor in all countries and led to the revolution.
The economic situation in the Arab region could steady over time under a capable and credible government, however, by the end of the 20th century nearly all Arab dictatorships were outright bankrupt both ideologically and morally. For example, as the Arab Revolution happened in 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had been leader of government since 1980, his Tunis counterpart Ben Ali had ruled since 1987, while the self-proclaimed imperial leader Muammar al-Qaddafi ruled over Libya for about 42 years (Rand. p. 3).
A majority of the population were deeply skeptical about the authenticity of these ageing regimes. Although until 2011, most citizens remained submissive out of fear of the government security services, and as a result of an apparent lack of better option or fear of an Islamist takeover.
Bungled State Response
The response of Arab dictator leaders to the mass protests was predictably brutal and unlawful, going from removal from office claims to panic, from law enforcement brutality reform that came too little too late. Attempts to calm the protests through the use of force flop spectacularly (Rand. P.130). For example, in Libya and Syria the conflict between citizens and law enforcement led to civil war. Every funeral for the casualty of state violence only fueled the anger and attracted more people to the street.
Even though backed in a number of countries by youth activist groups and unions, the riots were initially largely impulsive, not linked to a fastidious political party or an ideological wave. This phenomenon made it difficult for the old regimes to discourage the movement by simply arresting a few rabble-rousers, a situation that the law enforcement forces were entirely unprepared to encounter.
National Appeal of the Arab Revolution.
The explanation for the collection appeal of the Arab Revolution came from its universal message. A major motto of the protestors in the Arab world was “ash–shag lurid isa at an–nixam” that was translated to English, as ‘the will of the people is to bring down the regime’. This message called on the Arabs regains their country away from the fraudulent elites, a perfect fusion of patriotism and social message. The demonstrators wielded national flags, along with the iconic rallying call that became the symbol of the uprising across the region. The Arab revolution united, though for a brief time, groups of secularists and Islamists, both left wing groups and supporters of liberal economic improvement, middle classes, and the underprivileged
Arab Youth: Demographic Time Bomb
Most earlier Arab regimes for years had sat on a demographic time bomb. Results from the UN Development Program revealed that the population in Arab states had more than doubled between 1975 and 2005 to about 314 million people. For example, in Egypt, two-thirds of the inhabitants are under 30 years of age. Political and economic progress in most Arab countries simply could not cope up with the astounding increase in the youth population, as the ruling select group incompetence aided to lay the causes of their own end.
The MENA region has an extended history of struggle from leftist groups to Islamist radicals for a change of political structures. However, the protests that began in 2011 could not have developed into a mass phenomenon had it not been for the prevailing discontent over unemployment and low living standards. The rage of university graduates required driving taxis to make a living for themselves, and families struggling to afford for their children exceeded ideological divisions.
Massive conflict due to unemployment were largely responsible for the can, stir up in places like the Gaza Strip (40% unemployed), Afghanistan (35% unemployed), Yemen (35% unemployed), Libya (30% unemployed) and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.
The first group protest in Egypt was publicized on social media site Face book, by an unidentified group of protesters, who in a few days were able to attract a large number of supporters (Howard, and Muzammil. P.4). the social media platform provided a powerful recruitment tool that aided the activists to outsmart law enforcement.
In conclusion the Arab spring phenomenon that brought about extraordinary changes that have taken place in the Arab world since 18 December 2010 have changed the landscape of Arabic or Islamic politics. Many scholars will argue their facts that despite the spontaneous reaction of the revolution each country had a variation of revolutionary aspect that sparked the unrest. However, through this analysis, it is safe to say that there are similarities in the factors that brought about political change in the affected states. A combination of factors such as dictatorships or absolute monarchy, demographic pressures, human rights violations, extreme poverty, government corruption, economic decline, unemployment, and several demographic structural factors such as a great percentage of educated, but displeased youths within the population have been identified as having led to the objection.
Dabashi, Hamid. The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism. London: Zed Books, 2012. Print. http://www.worldcat.org/title/arab-spring-the-end-of-postcolonialism/oclc/761850343
Howard, Philip N, and Muzammil M. Hussain. Digital Media and the Arab Spring. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Lambsdorff, Johann. The Institutional Economics of Corruption and Reform: Theory, Evidence, and Policy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print. http://www.worldcat.org/title/institutional-economics-of-corruption-and-reform-theory-evidence-and-policy/oclc/225430844
Livingston, Steven. Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood. , 2014. Print.
Morgeson, Forrest V. Citizen Satisfaction: Improving Government Performance, Efficiency, and Citizen Trust. , 2014. Internet resource.
Rand, Dafna H. Roots of the Arab Spring : Contested Authority and Political Change in the Middle East. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. Print.
HIV/AIDS and Prostitution
It is now more than 25 years since HIV/AIDS was declared a global pandemic, yet the strategies necessary to combat it are still issues of great concern. Statistical analysis has indicated that approximately 34 million people live with the virus across the globe with an estimated 22 million dying annually (Hanenberg 69). The demographics of prevalence and HIV incidences continue to change over time. Research studies indicate that prostitutes suffer a larger portion of this infections and deaths, accounting to nearly three quarters of the total worldwide (Hanenberg 70). Worldwide, the pandemic has struck all sectors of life and has affected social economic growth of the global economy. It is believed that a well-written constitution that is supported by governmental laws will help to combat the menace (Weinberg 377).
The initial account of the world’s largest pandemic was first published in 1986; mobility and mortality report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly illustrated the trend. An editorial note used to show the analysis of the report stated that all the patients who were positive were exclusively prostitutes working as homosexuals. This suggested the aspects of the relationship between the disease and prostitution (Weinberg 377). In United States of America, the earliest identification of HIV/AIDS to prostitution continued to dominate the public perception and shaped the civil servants and government responses. Despite the varied evidence of the spread of the disease among the heterosexuals, some of the religious leaders still considered the disease as Gods punishment, to sin thus advocated for quarantining or tattooing of homosexuals and prostitutes (Hanenberg 70).
The combination of panic and denial of HIV/AIDS characterized by the United States response was consequently echoed to the entire world. Majority of African nations negatively denied the disease and deeply resented paying attention. Countries such as China argued that in their republic, there are no homosexuals, prostitutes and drug users thus they were free. In Germany, a recognized federal judge declared the necessity of tattooing and quarantines the infected individuals within their state. In the initial decade of the disease onset, majority of the world countries adopted restrictive laws related to the HIV/AIDS virus. The infection also spark a greater form of stigmatization where the infected were both physically and verbally assaulted. However, when reliable test kits were devised to help diagnosis of the disease much of such legislation soared (Hanenberg 71).
One of the most contentious threats to overcoming the HIV/AIDS pandemic is prostitution. The most vulnerable means of transmission of the disease among the prostitutes is through sexual intercourse, a model that has been considered to fuel the unique infection. Poor laws and negative societal norms have placed prostitutes at relatively disadvantaged position. Prostitutes are biologically susceptible to the HIV/AIDS since they have sex with several partners. During the process, some of them are exploited and used as sex objects by individuals who are already infected while others undergo vulnerable practices such as homosexuality, anal and oral sex. Women involved in this practice are usually vulnerable due to their biological susceptibility, gender inequality and poverty (Barrows 159).
Civil societies were the first groups to respond to this situation. The gay community, community activist, and people living with the disease addressed the society inability to act on the plight of individuals living with the virus. They advocated for change of policy, creation of new medical units and development of education initiatives to illuminate the public on matters pertaining to the disease. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization in United States of America and the ACT UP continuously drew unprecedented global attention on the various needs of individuals infected or affected by the pandemic. This led to the Launch of AIDs Support Organization in Uganda, a unit that was quite active and vital across Africa. The year 1986, WHO declaration on its devotion on the global control and prevention of the disease has brought a greater progress on the campaign against the HIV/AIDs virus. Driving the concept of the WHO, many countries were willing to take part in the mitigation without any political identification (Barrows 164).
To date, the state laws play an important role in the controlling the spread of the disease among prostitutes and the entire nation. The global comparative analyses of the law have suggested that legislation and litigation critically intersect the HIV/AIDS and prostitution. As discovered, a well-designed government regulation and legislation may greatly help create systemic variation that may support changes necessary for prevention and treatment of the disease. The legislation will also be quite vital in dispelling the propaganda and stigmatization related to the disease (Barrows 167).
The states’ eminent effort to protect vulnerable individuals from HIV/AIDS is considered as a great call for the recognition and respect for individual human rights and sexual rights under the law. Pursuant to these rights, prostitutes and vulnerable individuals are able to pursue reproductive health issues without any fear. They will be able to receive paternal healthcare, access to the relevant information related to their condition and procure necessary protective devices against the disease. The government legislation is considered vital in the provision of health care and range of services to the prostitutes and other vulnerable individuals. This legislation will advocate for the provision of prevention mechanisms such as male and female condoms, a critical and effective mechanism of HIV/AIDS prevention in such vulnerable areas. The provision of high quality and low cost condoms by the government to the prostitutes will enable them to carry out their business without a greater cohesion and prevent the spread of the disease to greater levels (Gable et al 1780).
The established women rights and the various state governments need to recognize the role of gender on the vulnerability of HIV/AIDS on prostitutes. Violation of women prostitutes should be an issue of the past. Women prostitutes should be encouraged to report incidences of gender violence such as rape, social stigma and gender bias that aims to contain the vulnerability of the disease in the society. Nations that prohibit the businesses of commercial sex workers need to continue as such legislation reduces HIV/AIDS with a greater percentage. However, mechanism such as discrimination, stigmatization and prosecution in the court of law should be greatly avoided. This principle drives the prostitutes underground thus denying them the opportunity to understand most of the matters pertaining to the risks, treatment, and protection option on the HGIV/AIDS (Hanenberg 74).
In conclusion, it is recommended that states and concerned international organizations should review their legal frameworks on issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS and Prostitution. This will ensure that all relevant laws and policies pertaining to the pandemic are adhered to and strengthened, which will help reduce the spread of the virus.
Barrows, Jeffrey. “AN ETHICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HARM REDUCTION APPROACH TO PROSTITUTION.” Ethics & Medicine 24.3 (2008): 159,166,131. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014 .
Gable, Lance,J.D., M.P.H., Lawrence O. Gostin J.D., and Hodge, James G, Jr,J.D., L.L.M. “HIV/AIDS, Reproductive and Sexual Health, and the Law.” American Journal of Public Health 98.10 (2008): 1779-86. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014
Hanenberg, R., and W. Rojanapithayakorn. “Changes in Prostitution and the AIDS Epidemic in Thailand.” AIDS Care 10.1 (1998): 69-79. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014.
Weinberg, Thomas S. “Men Who Sell Sex: International Perspective on Male Prostitution and HIV/AIDS.” Contemporary Sociology 29.2 (2000): 377-8. ProQuest. 17 Mar. 2014
Children’s Rights Movements
Children’s rights movements refer to associations that seek to champion the rights of children across the globe. The organizations comprise government institutions, academics, advocacy groups, judges, legislators and attorneys. According to Archard (2015, p. 38), the children’s rights movements have been in existence for over a century. The movements recognize any person who is below eighteen years as a child. The children’s right movements have been at the forefront in the fight against child labor and other forms of exploitation meted on children. In the United States, the children’s rights movements have been in existence since early 19th century (Archard, 2015, p. 41). The movements are organized as non-profit organizations and are founded on the ideology that children are vulnerable and require protection. Despite the presence of children’s rights movements in the United States, cases of child abuse continue to be reported. One may wonder if the movements have failed in their duties or the society is ignorant of their presence. Cases of child labor and sexual harassment are still prevalent particularly among the minority groups. Besides, some children still do not have access to quality healthcare and education. This article will give a brief description of the children’s rights movements. The paper argues that despite the movement making significant strides it is yet to realize its primary goal of curbing child exploitation and ensuring quality health care and education.
Cmiel (2004, p. 119) maintains that the earliest children’s rights movements were established in 1875. The first movement was known as the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The movement was founded on the realization that children were vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of organizations that protected them. Before the establishment of the movement, the society relied on the prosecution to protect children. Many incidents of child abuse went unnoticed. The rescue of a nine-year-old girl in 1874 marked the origin of children’s rights movements. The girl lived with guardians who regularly tortured her. A religious missionary learned of the girl’s ordeal and sought to rescue her. The preacher asked for assistance from the police, but they were unwilling to help (Myers, 2008, p. 451).
The missionary approached numerous charitable organizations, but they could not assist since they were not allowed to get involved in family issues. The challenges faced in the attempt to rescue the girl were what gave birth to the first children’s rights movement in the New York State. Other states learned about the establishment of the movement and by 1922, there were over 300 children’s rights movements in the United States. The main problem was that the movements were concentrated in the main towns (Hawes, 2004, p. 124). Therefore, it was hard to assist children who resided in rural areas.
The first children’s rights movements were nongovernmental. In the middle twentieth century, people demanded the establishment of governmental institutions. The need for the establishment of national organizations came at the time when the American government was creating state-level departments to provide social services. In 1912, the government established the Children’s Bureau. The economic recession witnessed in the 1930s led to the closure of many nongovernmental children’s rights movements (Myers, 2008, p. 456). Later, the rise in the cases of child abuse led to the desire to revive the movements. Doctors, as well as the media, played a significant role during this era. The media published numerous cases of child abuse prompting the Congress to enact laws to protect children. Currently, various movements protect children against all forms of abuse. Nevertheless, little is said about the success of these movements. People only learn about their existence when something bad happens.
The American government supports the children’s right movements through various institutions. The government has established juvenile courts that help to arbitrate issues of child abuse. The courts work in union with the kids’ rights movements to ensure that the society observes the established children’s rights. The federal and state governments also support the children’s rights movements through legislation. As per Freeman (2006, p. 279), the federal and state governments have enacted laws, which have empowered the movements in the fight against child abuse. Before the enactment of legislation, the children’s rights movements could not get involved in family issues. Today, the movements can intervene in family matters whenever they suspect incidents of child abuse. According to Hall (2005, p. 1238), there are over 500 child advocacy groups that support the children’s rights movements. The primary goal of the advocacy groups is to assist children’s rights movements to investigate and address cases of child abuse. The advocacy groups have established numerous centers that facilitate forensic interviews with victims of child abuse.
Initially, the children’s rights movements worked in liaison with charitable organizations. The organizations helped to rescue children who were victims of exploitation. Besides, the charitable organizations worked in liaison with the government to educate the public about the importance of observing children’s rights. Inadequate finance made it hard for many charitable organizations to continue to fight for the rights of the children. However, this does not mean that there are no charitable organizations that fight for children’s rights in the United States (Roose & Bouverne-de-Bie, 2013, p. 437). Apart from charitable organizations, other supporters of children’s rights movements include the American government and the child advocacy groups. Moreover, many individual activists work in collaboration with the children’s rights movements. For instance, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Elton Jon and Angelina Jolie help the movements to champion their course.
Hussey, Chang, and Kotch (2006, p. 76) argue that the children’s rights movements do not live up to the ideologies that led to their establishment. The movements believed that the society requires protecting children. Additionally, they felt that children have exclusive rights. Many times, the society only focuses on the obligations that the children have towards their parents. They overlook the obligations of the parents, community and government to the children. In spite of the children’s rights movements appreciating that parents have an obligation to take care of the children and educate them, they do little to ensure that the parents meet their part of bargain. For instance, there are many children who loiter in streets of Las Vegas without a place they can call home. A majority of these children come from households that have both the mother and the father. However, the parents abdicate their responsibilities forcing the children to go to the streets a fed for themselves (Hussey et al., 2006, p. 78). One wonders if the children’s rights movements are aware of such instances. If they are aware, what have they done to ensure that the children go back to their families? Besides, what have they done to guarantee that the parents assume their responsibilities? The children’s rights movements do not require filing lawsuits to force the parents to take back the children and assume their responsibilities. Instead, they need to talk with the parents and help them to overcome the challenges that make them unable to take care of the children (Hussey et al., 2006, p. 81). However, it appears that they have done little to help the children particularly in areas inhabited by minority groups.
The children’s rights movements understand that kids have some needs that the nation should satisfy. Industrial growth brought about the demand for labor. The available manpower could not serve the high number of industries in the United States. Thus, some industries started to recruit children. The children stopped to attend to domestic chores and got assimilated into the factories (Mildred & Plummer, 2009, p. 603). Some activists like Charles Dickens felt that the plant owners were exploiting children. As a result, they started to publish articles that exposed factories that took advantage of children. The urge to stop child labor and ensure that children have access to education led to the establishment of children’s rights movements (Myers, 2008, p. 457). However, it appears that the spirit of fighting for the right of children to education continues to dwindle with time. Many parents do not take their kids to school. The government has done little to ensure that the kids are in classes. Unfortunately, the children’s rights movements that are supposed to work as watchdogs do little to pressure the government and parents to take children to school.
Oliver and Johnston (2007, p. 41) posit that the children’s rights movements outline numerous demands that seek to ensure that kids are not mistreated or exploited. One of the requirements is the right to healthy life and health care services. Oliver and Johnston (2007, p. 43) claim that the children’s rights movements demand that the government provides health care services to children. Additionally, the movements require that the community and government ensure that children live in a healthy environment. According to Oliver and Johnston (2007, p. 45), the children’s rights movements insist that kids should be protected from physical and sexual abuse. The movements advocate installation of severe punishment to deal with those who assault children either physically or sexually. No one has the right to beat children. The movements require parents to use other forms of chastisement to punish their children.
One may argue that the children’s rights movements have failed in their mandate. It would be preposterous to claim that the movements have succeeded yet they still fight for these demands. The demands that led to the establishment of children’s rights movements are the same grievances that champion today. No new demands have evolved. It signifies that the movements are yet to achieve their core objectives forty years down the line. The movements are yet to ensure that the government and society protects girls from the minority groups against being recruited into prostitution (Hawes, 2004, p. 152). Additionally, many boys from the African American families continue to indulge in drug abuse, despite the movements championing for the abolishment of drug trafficking. For example, over 30% of school-going children fall victims of drug abuse in the United States. To our surprise many kids still do not have access to social benefits like quality health.
Most children’s rights movements are organized in the form of non-profit organizations. The movements such as Children’s rights Council and Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) are non-profit organizations that help to protect children against abuse. A majority of the non-profit organizations are created by individuals with vast experience in resolving custody and other family disputes that involve children. These are people with common interests (Reynaert, Bouverne-de-Bie & Vandevelde, 2009, p. 520). They have the desire to ensure that children enjoy their tender age without interference. The involvement of celebrities in the fight against the rights of children is an indication that the children’s rights movement cannot win this battle alone. Time has come for other parties to assist the movements in the fight. Celebrities like David Brenner and Jamie Farr assist the Children’s Right Council in the fight against child abuse. The involvement of celebrities and other influential individuals is a clear indication that the society has started to realize that children’s rights movements have taken long to realize their goals.
A majority of the states in America have Child Protective Services (CPS), which are governmental institution that deals with the cases of child abuse (Reynaert et al., 2009, p. 522). Besides, the institutions assist children who are neglected by their parents or guardians. One may wonder what these institutions do as many children are still on streets. The cases of child abuse are still high amid ethnic minorities. Does this imply that the institutions have neglected the minority groups or they are unaware of instances of child abuse among these groups? It can only be that they have failed to meet the objectives that led to their formation.
Proponents of the children’s rights movements claim that they have succeeded in many ways. First, the movements helped to abolish racial discrimination in schools. Initially, the white and black children could not interact in schools. However, the children’s rights movements fought for equal rights for all children regardless of their race. Eventually, the blacks were allowed to send their children to white schools (Wall & Dar, 2011, p. 601). The children’s rights movements also succeeded in minimizing the rate of child labor in the United States. Besides, they ensured that all children had access to education. Presently, most American children have access to education. Wall and Dar (2011, p. 604) assert that the children’s rights movements have succeeded in ensuring that the government provides quality medical services to children. In 2013, the children’s rights movements managed to lower the voting age. Currently, the children can participate in city elections at the age of sixteen years. The movements continue to fight for children’s rights to quality medical care (Lundy, 2007, p. 931). Movements such as the American Academy of Pediatrics seek to give doctors the power to intervene in case a child is in danger, and the parents are against treatment due to cultural or spiritual beliefs.
In spite of the success, the children’s rights movements have failed to mitigate numerous challenges that affect children. The children’s rights movements have failed to recognize that fighting for children’s right alone cannot help to eliminate the problems that they encounter. The children do not require rights, they need actions. Children need shelter, food, education, clothing and many other requirements. Enacting laws cannot help in the provision of these requirements. Instead of fighting for children rights, the movements ought to pressure the government to ensure that children have access to all these necessities. Many children still do not have access to quality health care and excellent education despite the children’s rights movement championing for the same. Besides, cases of child labor and prostitution are still common in the United States, particularly among the African Americans. For instance, in 2006, Wal-Mart was accused of hiring children as tailors (Lundy, 2007, p. 932).
The children’s rights movements have a lot to do in the future. The movements are expected to be at the forefront in ensuring that children have access to medical services. Besides, the movements should pressure the government to endorse the Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC) as this will compel it to take the lead in the promotion of children’s rights. In the future, children’s rights movements should participate in the realization of the established rights and not just act as watchdogs.
The children’s rights movements have been in operation since early 19th century. In the United States, the movements are run as non-profit institutions that receive support from donors and well wishers. Initially, the movements worked in liaison with charitable organizations. Lack of adequate funds impedes the effectiveness of the movements. The children’s rights movements demand the provision of quality education and medical service to children. Presently, the children’s rights movements do not live up to the ideologies that led to their establishment. Despite acknowledging that children are vulnerable and require protection, they have done little to accomplish the same. Many children are abandoned on streets. The movements have done little to reunite these children with their parents. Additionally, they do not pressurize the government and society to take care of children. Many children continue to suffer from physical assault. Others have been forced by their parents to look for employment instead of going to school. The present demands that the children’s rights movements fight for are the same that led to their establishment. It shows that the movements are yet to realize their core objectives. They still have a long way to go to ensure that the government and society meet the obligations that they have towards the children.
Archard, D. (2015). Children: Rights and childhood. New York: Routledge.
Cmiel, K. (2004). The recent history of human rights. The American Historical Review, 109(1), 117-135.
Freeman, M. (2006). The future of children’s rights. Children & Society, 14(4), 277-293.
Hall, J. (2005). The long civil rights movement and the political uses of the past. The Journal of American History, 91(4), 1233-1263.
Hawes, J. (2004). The children’s rights movement: A history of advocacy and protection. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
Hussey, J., Chang, J., & Kotch, J. (2006). Child maltreatment in the United States: Prevalence, risk factors, and adolescent health consequences. Pediatrics, 118(3), 74-89.
Lundy, L. (2007). Voice is not enough: Conceptualizing article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 927-942.
Mildred, J., & Plummer, C. (2009). Responding to child sexual abuse in the United States and Kenya: Child protection and children’s rights. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(6), 601-608.
Myers, J. (2008). A short history of child protection in America. Family Law Quarterly, 42(3), 449-463.
Oliver, P., & Johnston, H. (2007). What a good idea! Ideologies and frames in social movements research. An International Quarterly, 5(1), 37-54.
Reynaert, D., Bouverne-de-Bie, M., & Vandevelde, S. (2009). A review of children’s right literature since adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Childhood, 16(4), 518-534.
Roose, R., & Bouverne-de-Bie, M. (2013). Do children have rights or do their rights have to be realized? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a frame of reference for pedagogical action. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 41(3), 431-443.
Wall, J., & Dar, A. (2011). Children’s political representation: The right to make a difference. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 19(4), 59
U.S Foreign Policy for Middle East: A Critical Review Essay
Several analysts believe that the U.S is losing grip in its relationship with the Middle East or else lacking a coherent policy on its dealing with Middle East issues. In order to argue the assertions, it is necessary to outline U.S historical policy in the region. Also, it would be rational to elucidate the cause of U.S foreign policies in the Middle East. U.S imperialism in Middle East has been felt on every nation in the region. Involvements have included calculated interests comprising of antagonism with Soviet Union. Besides, economic interests have drawn U.S to influence oil trade from the region. Also, immigrants from the region have created cultural ties that oblige U.S to get involved in Middle East matters.
In the eve of Cold War, U.S endeavored to contain a socio-political campaign of Soviet Union in the region and ensure survival of Israel. In addition, for economic reasons, it was to ensure uninterrupted global supply of energy from oil and gas supplies of the area. U.S policy of balancing of power in the Middle East was employed. It embarked on forming allies including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Persian Gulf and Jordan. However, the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran created enmity between Iran and US and confrontations with Saudi Arabia. Israel, a major U.S ally, has been involved in border conflicts with Palestine.
It might have been expected that the end of Cold War would lead to a decline in US interests in the Middle East. Nonetheless, the assault of Kuwait by Iraq was seen by US as a threat to other oil-rich countries especially Saudi Arabia. A new American policy of dual containment obliged the U.S to help in driving out Iraq forces out Kuwait. Lack of support for the Kurdish and Shiite communities who helped fight against Saddam infuriated the groups. The occupation of American troops in Saudi Arabia irritated Muslim fundamentalists. The anti-American dogma began to spread in Middle East Islamic countries. Additionally, sectarian differences arose among the Muslims Sunni and Shiite communities. Most significant was the rise of Al-Qaeda jihadists led by Osama who began terrorism activities against America and its allies. The 9/11 terrorism attack catapulted the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush Junior administration. However, after the war in Iraq, another anti-U. S terror group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) group also referred to as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria arose. Selective reactions to Arab Uprising have created hesitant U.S allies in the Middle East.
Terrorism has become a universal threat. ISIS has political ideologies of expanding their territories beyond the already subjugated Syria and Iraq regions to form a caliphate that would use Islamic rule over the world. U.S as the superpower has an obligation to campaign and facilitate for stability in the Middle East. Thus, U.S cannot ignore its role and relationship with Middle East for global political, social and economic stability. Such a relationship is especially significant given the threats posed by terrorism towards global stability. Therefore, the relationship between the US and Middle East tends to impact the whole world as it determines the success or failure in the fight against terrorism. In the section below, the paper attempts to evaluate three main peer-reviewed articles that focus on the US foreign policy of the Middle East and the seemingly withdrawal from Middle East issues. I argue that, in the past issues, confronting stability in the Middle East were well defined and straightforward. However, over the years, burgeoning and complication of issues have risen in the region. On the other hand, I argue that American policy in the Middle East has complicated relations with its allies enabling their rivals to dominate their political intrigues. Political maneuvers by some rival states such as Iran include sectarian divides, Islamic unity, sovereignty, Arab nationalism and imperialism. Consequently, two blocs of status quo versus revolutionary have been created.
Iran has had ambitions of dominating the politics of Islamic states through political control. After removing Saddam and the ruling Baath regime of Sunni Muslims, Iran is taking advantage to influence a possible Shiite dominance in the region. Ron Tira in the article, The United States in the Middle East: An Exercise in Self-Defeat, describes how U.S actions in Middle East have created a room for Iran to penetrate its ideologies and influence in the Middle East. To begin with, Ron says that both Obama and predecessor Bush employed idealistic policies in the Middle East. He explains that Bush made an unpopular decision to engage in military action that weakened Iraq, an Iran adversary. Additionally, Obama efforts of reconciliation further escalated the loss of grip to American Arab allies. The author claims that nature of Middle East issues are profoundly influenced by local dynamics and U.S has had little influence over the region (Tira 42). Accordingly, U.S has been forced to play the strategic game of Middle East nations. The U.S policy in the region has had an accidental result of assisting Iran’s political agenda by weakening the nations that contained Iran in the region.
The article gives the impression that the ability to contain Iran should have been the policy of the U.S. The author uses Iran factor to describe the purported failure of U.S policy in the Middle East. In fact, after reading the article, one finds the article as an explanation of failure in dual containment by America. Interestingly and contrary to traditional analysis, the author refers to the policy of U.S in the Middle East as an act of balancing power (Tira 42). Balance of power refers to reducing the dominance of a rival nation in a region. In this regard, Tira refers to Iran as the powerful rival. However, U.S invaded Iraq who was in the same category of rivals with Iran but a competitor to Iraq. The author is able to illustrate that the effect of Iraq war, was an assistance of Iran in spreading its political ideologies using carrots and sticks (Tira 45). The author succeeds in illustrating the counter-balancing effect throughout the subtitle “Optimizing the Theater for Iran”. Iraq and Afghanistan have become suitable regions for Iran to maneuver and even become a threat to Israel. However, having mentioned the use of carrots and sticks by Iraq, the author does not offer comprehensive information. The outlining of carrots and sticks could have been followed by a precise account of how Iran is using the methods.
Additionally, another theme observed is how U.S has weakened its support by Arab Allies. The author explains that U.S did not support Mubarak during the uprising against his government. It is a fact that despite flaws in the government of Mubarak, U.S and Israel had used Egypt to mediate talks between conflicting nations in the region (Tira 47). One of the consequences of losing an ally in Egypt includes mistrust among Arab monarchies. The author ignores the possibility of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood taking over in the future and converting Egypt into an Islamic state. Tira asserts that there could be no revolution in Egypt and only a replacement of Mubarak with Army general who would maintain the traditional role of Egypt (Tira 50). The leaving behind of Mubarak has not only angered Arabs but also Israel due to fear of control of Muslim Brotherhood. Israel feels that U.S could should not have supported or allowed a coup led by an Islamic party. Again, the author connects an advantage to Iran, if Arab allies distant themselves from American policy. In the end, U.S military intervention in Libya to oust Qaddafi is described as inconsistent and confusing. U.S was tight-lipped in uprising in Tunisia against Ben Ali and in Iran against Ahmadinejad. In conclusion, the author advices unipolar American hegemony and Obama’s soft approach as ineffective in containing Iran. It is a good article that describes consequences of past U.S policies that have led to a stronger Iran. It illustrates a U.S that has lost grip and in a quagmire of how to deal with the consequences of the past policies in the region.
America to Stay
There has been a perception that U.S is exiting the Middle East and focusing on the East Asia. In the article, The End of the American Era in the Middle East, Yoel Guzansky explains the actions that have led to such a perception and then expounds how Middle East still remains significant to U.S. The author makes a strong argument about the waning influence of the US in the Middle East affairs. The reasons provided by the author indicating a weakness of US foreign policy on Middle East include the minimal efforts applied in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the exit from Afghanistan without a reliable plan, lack of control in the Iran nuclear situation, decline in U.S control in Iraq, lack of power over Syrian civil war, an apprehensive relation with Arab allies and uncertainty over relations with Egypt.
The author provides a convincing discussion about U.S not abandoning the Middle East. The article first tends to convince the reader that there are valid reasons for U.S to exit the region in favor of China. Actually, he says that claims of a possible shift of U.S to far East are “well grounded” in the U.S strategy (Guzansky 25). He illustrates the claims that U.S is heading East. Firstly, he uses the announcements made by Obama’s administration that the pacific region and Asia constitute challenges of the twenty-first century. Another declaration by Defense Secretary Panetta that balancing of Chinese power in the region would occur through increased occupation of U.S naval in the Pacific. Thirdly, the author refers to Hillary Clinton’s description of the next decade as requiring an investment in Asia including diplomatic, economic and other strategic efforts. The author identifies a signaling of importance of the Pacific basin to U.S by Obama’s first visit in the second term to the region (Guzansky 26). U.S has been reaching out to China recognizing the influence its gathering over the region and on global economy. Since it recognizes that China through trade with other countries is gaining ground, it can only try to create a temporary ally for a multilateral support.
When the author says that U.S is cautious not to be drawn into military clash with China, it brings in an issue of balancing of power and not economic ties (Guzansky 26). China has been growing economically and conflicts with Japan over ownership of territories are historical. U.S cannot be relied on for moral authority in dealing with matters of controlling Chinese high-handiness in the border conflicts. U.S has used force before to curb conflicts and even to protect its sovereignty. Guzansky argues that abundance of domestic oil could have led to a lesser concern with Middle East (Guzansky 27). It seems contradictory for the author to use the same issue of oil to support that U.S has to stay in Middle East. The author also makes assertions similar to Ron Tira that that the effects of Arab Spring and selective engagement in Egypt and Libya and ignoring Iran demonstrations have led a nervous relation with Arab allies.
Although the bulk of the article covers intricacies about the challenges and reasons for focusing on pacific basin, the author offers compelling reasons against the initial assertions. However, they are an indication of a burdensome Middle East or else a region that U.S has left to stabilize itself. Guzansky outlines reasons that indicate U.S cannot abandon the region. Middle East still provides about half of the oil and gas supply (31). Thus, for stability of global economies, U.S cannot lose control of the region. China being second on GDP from U.S relies also Obama led a multilateral action against nuclear proliferation and global disarmament. In order to avoid acquisition of nuclear weapon by Iran and to protect Pakistan nuclear arsenal, Middle East remains of interest to U.S. There is still hope that resolving Israel-Palestine conflicts can help in stabilizing the region. Israel and U.S are tied through shared military investment and technology as well as curbing terrorism (Guzansky 33). Also, there is danger of Al-Qaeda thriving in the war torn Arab countries posing a threat to U.S. America has mega deals of supplying weapons to the Gulf States in order to contain Iran (33). In the end, the author claims that the challenges U.S has encountered of executing policies in the Middle East have not led to a retreat but additional focus to investment China. Although the activities in the Middle East show that U.S has interests in the Middle East, it’s clear from the article that U.S influence has declined if it is not a withdrawal from the region.
Fawaz Gerges analysis of Obama’s foreign policy also alleges a weakness in the Middle East strategy. Entitled as The ‘Obama Doctrine’ in the Middle East, Gerges illustrates how an unclear ideology of engagement with Middle East has complicated U.S foreign policy in the region. The author says that Bush thought he was realistic in leading a war in Iraq based on claims of liberating people from oppressive government. However, it was realpolitik and founded on idealism. Gerges starts with mention of an ambiguous ideology in dealing with Middle East (Gerges n. p). Unlike in the past when conflicts were simply seen as ideological differences between West and East, terrorism and an anti-American Muslim has complicated matters. Specifically, he mentions that the US in general and Obama administration in particular has not been successful in establishing a strong working relationship with the Middle East. The reasons provided by the author include the lack of human right considerations, low risks approach in the Israeli peace process, and the lack of a decisive role in addressing the Arab uprising.
Gerges uses the same arguments as Tira and Guzansky by showing that Obama doesn’t have a clear policy for Middle East. He says that Obama’s appeasement of the Muslims and lack of clear foreign policy has had a little effect in reversing the excesses of Bush in the Middle East. The argument that Obama’s actions of reaching out to Muslims are not a foreign policy does not hold (Gerges n. p). Having recognized the dent that military action caused makes reconciliation a realistic policy. The results of reconciliation may not be immediate and, therefore, arguing that the efforts have been futile may be wrong. Trust from Muslims cannot be regained as quickly as the writer asserts. On the other hand, Obama said that involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq had distracted interest in the more important Pacific Ocean (Gerges n. p). America under Obama administration has been trying to beg allies in the region to be more helpful in containing stability in their region as it seeks leverage in the Pacific region. Besides, it is true that America has been inconsistent in promotion of values of democracy. This could have led the writer to conclude that the world does not trust U.S as a promoter of democracy. In the end, Gerges says that Obama has behaved like a moderate republican. It would be against U.S interests for Obama to ignore the national strategies and withdraw troops without considering consequences of security in the region. Having inherited an Iraq and Afghanistan that were not stable, Obama was trying to change tactics and try soft methods. Unfortunately, the allies in the Middle East including Israel have found the tactics to be blunt.
The above three articles underpin the perception that U.S policy in the Middle East has failed. America got itself at the center of the Middle East cold war, and it would be irresponsible to withdraw from the region issues. Besides, the importance of the region to America and the world continue to pressure America to act. Although as Guzansky writes America is strengthening military force in Saudi Arabia, it needs the support of U.S to confront security challenges. It is an indication that American values and interests are yet to be inculcated in the allies. The situation has been worsened by the Arab uprising that has caused U.S to support depose of autocratic leadership. Regrettably, such uprisings have created vacuum in leadership of the countries. The ungovernable countries escalate the threat of terrorism because terrorists are finding safe havens in those countries. U.S seems to be disoriented both by the consequences of the past policies as well as the politics in the regions. Thus, with such a complexities and obligations, it would be prudent to reach out to other power centers. A multilateral approach would ease the burden of U.S in the Middle East. The balances of power in the region need to be hastened and carefully carried out to reduce U.S attachment. Saudi Arabia is an essential ally that U.S cannot manage to let go. Mistrust with the monarch leadership should be reduced as America pressures for systematic reforms.
Gerges, Fawaz A. “The Obama Doctrine in the Middle East.” Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, October 16, 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://www.ispu.org/pdfs/ISPU_Brief_Duke_1017_(1).pdf>
Guzansky, Yoel. “The End of the American Era in the Middle East?” Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Strategic Assessment 15. 4, 2013. 25-36. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://www.inss.org.il/uploadImages/systemFiles/adkan15_4ENGd_Guzansky.pdf>
Tira, Ron. “The United States in the Middle East: An Exercise in Self-Defeat.” Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Strategic Assessment 14.1, 2011. 41-54. <http://kms1.isn.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/135700/ichaptersection_singledocument/1bf751a5-7139-48df-a6e1-d0d8f6dd8655/en/ch_3.pdf>
Political Science: The Midterm
Question 1: Will of All and the General Will
Rousseau argued that the most ideal solution to settle for when moving from state of nature towards an organized society is through the social contract. He made the argument when discussing the difference between Hobbes’ and Rousseau’s states of nature as we will see in the following article.
This refers to the persons will to be governed by a single authority. Such governance is achieved through the peoples consent and as a result, social contract. Even so, the idea of the will is not as an understanding as giving a yes or a no. Rousseau further talks of the General Will and the Will of All.
General will in general terms refer to ‘general interest’. It focuses on what is best for the community. In other words, given the situation, every person gives based on individual interests for what will be good for the entire community. The will of all on the other hand represents ‘sum of private interests’. It therefore focuses on the private interests of individual members in the society.
Following democracy governance, we can infer what the two means. The will of all would basically involve preferences to elect a leader. We have the government established by the ‘sum of individual interests’’. Similarly, the same government cannot favor interests of individuals only. However, it must govern efficiently for the sake of everyone under its leadership.
We can deduce in other words that while general will is the government’s mandate, the will of all is with those governed. Fromm pens ‘general will alone can direct the State according to the object for which it was instituted, i.e., the common good: for if the clashing of particular interests made the establishment of societies necessary, the agreement of these very interests made it possible’’(21).
It is however imperative to put emphasis on the fact that Rousseau does not provide the distinction. For example, many have questioned the likelihood of having individuals to exercise the ‘general will’. Nonetheless, he believes that the general will can easily be achieved through the rule of law. To other people, the notion is not any different from tyranny that Rousseau aims to heal with his argument or theory.
Question 2: State of Nature: Rousseau vs Hobbes
While Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau explored nature’s state and tried to build what they believe was the most ideal governing body, the way in which they explored their ideas is quite different. For example, Hobbes suggested that the most ideal solution is absolute governance to limitations of nature’s state but Rousseau believes that the ideal solution is direct participation by the people. In other words, the two end up in different places even though their beginning is the same.
Similarly, the two agree that men are naturally equal in the natural state but the way in which a person lives with the other that makes the two to disagree. For instance, when conceptualizing the state of nature, that point that man was considered most primitive, Hobbes takes a very pessimistic view. According to Hobbes, there is always a perpetual warfare with every human being fighting the other in the state of nature. ‘’Bellum omme contra omnes; war of all against all’’ (Hobbes 185).
Rousseau on the other hand does not take a pessimistic view on the state of nature. According to him, man is not cruel and harmful naturally. However, he attributes man’s animosity and anger to the society as all societal systems that enhance different elements of the society. While he also agrees that war does not necessarily exist, it is not an element of nature’s state.
Man therefore, does not have a very natural disposition of war. ‘War then is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State, and individuals are enemies only accidentally’’ (Rousseau 9).
Secondly, Hobbes and Rousseau do not agree on their view of relationship between justice and power. According to Hobbes, for order to prevail in the society, every individual must give up on individual rights and accept to live under the leadership of those in power. Equality therefore comes in from the fact that individuals are accountable to the single unit and that is sovereign power. This is because they all respect and fear in the same level.
Hobbes also believes that fear for power sovereignty is one of the factors that make it possible to maintain peace between men. While framing his view in opposition against Hobbes, Rousseau believes that authority or power is achieved through coercion. As a result, it is not agreed on or consented. To him, no member of the society is obliged to accept such governance or authority. He also says, ‘’Force does not create right, and we are only obliged to obey legitimate powers’’ (Rousseau 9).
According to Rousseau, for a stable government, man must be willing to give up on his state of nature to create a society that is orderly. The two (the will and the creation of a stable of a stable society) are often achieved through a social contract. In this relevance, even if man gives a mandate to a single governance by specific authority on his behalf, he has not given up on his authorization, which is, ‘’the greatest necessity for his happiness’’ (Roseau 13). As a matter of fact, he has fully exercised his freedom.
Question 3: Marx on the Types of Alienation that Workers Experiences
Marx believes that alienation is ‘’ the separation of things that naturally belong together or to putting antagonism between things that are properly in harmony’’ (Fromm 66). The theory is largely based on the premise that the production mode of capitalist takes away workers determination of their destinies as well as their lives. In such a case, workers are often deprived of their rights to see themselves as those who direct action and indeed, their actions. Marx also discusses four types of alienation in relation to the workplace but three are discussed below including
the worker from the work (the product of labor)
Marx believes that it should be the workers who should determine what to produce and the means to produce them. Work is part of a human essence as discussed under the alienation of the worker from himself as a producer. Therefore, we can state that work is indeed part of an individual realization. Even so, it cannot be considered as self-realization if other people influence and determine it in ways that are beyond an individual worker
It is however what happens in the society and more specifically capitalist society. Thus, the focus shifts from community to individuals that ‘we’ to the ‘I’. Even in the event where workers are the majority, it is only a few, those who own their means of production that end up to determine the elements of production.
They are the Capitalist class according to Marx and they ‘’appropriate labor, including that of engineers and designers, and seek to shape the tastes of consumers in order to maximize profits’’ (Fromm 68).
Alienating the worker from working (that is, the act of producing)
Marx argues in this type of alienation that in capitalist mode of product, work is simply patterned into ‘’endless sequence of discrete, repetitive, trivial and meaningless motions, offering little if any intrinsic satisfaction’’ (Fromm 69). If work is part of man’s essence and, thus, part of self-realization, then man does not get any form of satisfaction coming from self-realization in the capitalist world. What’s more, the workers are not supposed to self-realize themselves. However, their work plays a crucial role in helping others (capitalist class) achieve satisfaction.
Alienating the worker from himself (the producer)
Marx holds on to the fact that we cannot separate the essence of man from his activities as a producer. In other words, the nature of man includes all his potential. This is what he refers to as species-essence. It does emphasize on the fact that man has desire and is therefore, the tendency to work as a way of promoting his survival and psychological well being.
This nature is characterized by pluralism and dynamism. Even so, man is alienated from himself in the capitalist society. He is dejected and often becomes an empty vessel that works for the satisfaction of others and not necessarily theirs.
Question 4: Historical Materialism
The concept of historical materialism stems out from the fact that for man to survive, they must always produce and reproduce life’s material requirements. In his explanation of the concept, Marx picked up on this premise, emphasizing that people must at all times enter into a very definite social relation to exchange and produce. Production relations in this case are therefore; the most fundamental relation and humans often enter the relations randomly, arbitrarily or at will.
Marx however believes that this kind of materialism does not necessarily deal with production elements including raw materials, tools, technology and other instruments as well as division of labor. However, in some cases as in the case of capitalist society, there are people who actually live off other people.
The distinction that is made in this case constitutes the works of historical materialism. However, the way in which it functions or works largely depends on the type of society. For instance, there is a great difference between how historical materialism works in a capitalist society and the way it works in a communist society.
In the communist society, people often such relations arbitrarily so that historical materials become more of the mode or force of production. Even so, social relations in a capitalist society largely depend on the material well being of individuals. For example, the relationship between landowners is quite different from the relationship between a worker and landowner. The nature of materialism greatly differs in the two cases.
Question 5: Marxists Economic Terms
Use-Value refers to the core function of a commodity or service. The value does not depend on a purchaser’s subjective valuation. However, it depends on the application of a particular service or product by the purchaser. The Use-value is also solely determined as per consumption and in the event of labor, Use-value does not depend on the amount of work that one has done to produce the product.
Marx says that the Use-value is indeed the ‘’substance of all wealth, whatever may be social form of wealth’’ (Fine 9). He therefore does not imply that Use-value is something that matters most.
B) Exchange value
Exchange value is the ratio in which one service or commodity trades with another. It also means that when a person produces something that is not meant for sell, then that thing is not considered a commodity. It is only considered a product or commodity if it is produced for open end exchange.
C) Commodity Fetishism
Commodity fetishism is considered the view of economic relations concerning money and commodities exchanged in the marketplace. It is the attempt by an individual to determine the exchange value of a commodity. Marx (cited in Fine 5) argues that it attempts to link the objective and subjective commodity aspects of economic value. This is additionally based on what one believes is indeed the fundamental value of the real thing.
Rousseau and Marx on property
According to Marx and Rousseau, property was indeed central to society relations. Even so, their views differ greatly. Rousseau emphasizes on social contract in which, he gives the concept autonomy even though he asserts that the freedom is independent of the community. He also believes that private liberty is vital for man to be happy.
Therefore, one of the aspects of this kind of this liberty was right to own property. In this case, property is that in which one can obtain legally. Using force is illegal based on the fact that it breaches Rousseau’s terms of social contract. It is only through social contract that an individual can claim property ownership.
The right to ownership is also deferred in this case and thus, attached to moral and legal code (Rousseau 87). Property ownership in an ideal society is driven by the core code, ‘right of first occupant’. Rousseau (95) believes that legitimate ownership of private property often requires three major precedents and no previous inhabitants and should also be based on the need to own it and not greed so that the person should own more property than he can work; and finally, the person should be in a position to work on the land he owns.
Marx who is a strong communism proponent also disagrees with Rousseau’s view of private liberty as well as private property. He however offers a distinction between ‘personal’ and ‘private’ property. The former refers to production means based on wage labor and socialized production.
The latter on the other hand refers to consumer products or services that are produced by an individual. He also criticized the latter with the believe that it is a fact that led to class distinction; where property owners as well as those that do not own with the latter often suffering impoverishment, alienation in the hands of property owners and experiencing estrangement.
However, this often occurs in a capitalist society where the individual takes precedence over the community. Therefore, Marx argues that ideal property refers does not involve class distinctions and everybody has the right to access the same resources (Fromm 113).
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, London: Penguin Classics, 1985. Print
Fine, Ben. The Value Dimension, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986. Print
Fromm, Erich. Marx’s Concept of Man, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1961. Print
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract and Discourses, London: Dent & Sons, 1947. Print
Younkins, Edward W. Capitalism and Commerce: Conceptual Fondations of Free
Enterprise, New Jersey: Lexington Books, 2002. Print
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