Last of the Notes for UNL’s International Politics

Here’s a retro post: notes for International Politics that I never got around to posting last semester.

They aren’t that useful, or interesting, but I’ve tried to post as much class-related material as I can, so the notes are included before for completeness sake.

The only “cool” notes I took for this class were on Marxism, which evolved into a pretty post on theological capitalist stability and also an exploration of Tom Barnett’s Marxist roots. This class also saw me write my first political science literature review and research design — a task I should not have even attempted without first taking Scopes & Methods.

Spectrum of Currency Relations: Fixed – Pegged – Floating

International Finance System
good/services = “trade system”
capital = “financial system”

assumption of how markets should facilitate international financial system,
economies with savings surplus => economies where investment opportunities > savings
* but what about China?

remember the trilemma (pick 2 of 3)
capital mobility v. domestic autonomy v. fixed exchange rates

Minsky’s Stages
1. Displacement / external shock
2. Euphoria
3. Mania/bubble
4. Panic / crunch
5. Crash / crisis
(1997 East Asia as an example?)
(disputed by many economists)

does currencies dropping when it floats imply government failure?
* investors “knew” countries couldn’t sustain their peg

“not taking into account any domestic factors”
– but before you were criticising an over-reliance on domestic factors

when did the crisis start?
1. when Thailand devalued
2. when investors realized Thailand had an unsupportable baht
3. when Thailand first had an unsupportable baht

market failures / government failures

comparative advantage of stuff
– but percent of economy in manufacturing has remained constant

“The Capital Myth” argument against capital liberalization

Transnational Corporations

Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are widespread due to foreign direct investment (FDI)
“unfortunate thing is that MNCs are here to stay”

Three Views of MNC
1. Force for good
2. Force for bad
3. Force for statist-realism

horizontal investment
– relatively self-sufficient “clones”

vertical investment
– internationalization of production processes
– will invest “in unstable countries”
– student comment “looks like sweat-shops to me”
– Prof: “based on a complex division of labor”

“obsolescing bargain-pattern” – an MNC holds the maximum bargaining power just before the investment

“R&D” – tendency of corporations to locate research/development in home country

if you’re a poor country… it’s basically a company “exploiting” you

MNCs hurt LDC (Least-Developed Countries)

Prof: History of MNS
First Wave: The Great Trading Company (East Indies Company, etc)
– like dinosaurs – huge bodies, small brains
– “over time, better technologies have allowed more complex specialization”
– much international trade are internal to a multinational (1/3 of American trade)
– firms try to maximize global operations, not for each-and-every branch
– firms adroit at tax-minimization
– but remember currency risk

“Western understanding” — but use of Eastern concepts
Is Imperialism Hyperimperialism inherently “feminine”?

“environmental degradation” — but what about environmental improvement?

presentation> public : private :: male : female (?)

feminist theory as essentially normative? (apparently!)

good phrase: “or, in third world countries, the ‘survival sector’ [of the economy]”

originality of the critique of rational man [a rational actor would only spend money on food]

“men rewarded disproportionately to women” — but what about disproportionate empowerment of women in developing countries?
– student critique: “this hurts women, because of introduction of capitalism”

“an ethic of care and responsibility”

Abu Musab Zarqawi, Think Different. (The Muslim Brothers Already Are).

Praise be to God who gives strength to Islam with His victory….,” by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, U.S. Central Command, 9 January 2006, (from ZenPundit).

Long before he began his blog, or even guest blogging here, tdaxp has focused on al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He often knows better. Note this time, though.


Zarqawi should follow the Muslim Brothers. He should think different.

The Party can be considered the Iraqi branch of the — a scary politico-terrorist organization that assassinated Anwar Sadat. But the is supporting elections in Iraq, while Zarqawi’s terrorist group “” is opposing them. Why?

Because the Iraqi Islamic Party is thinking different.

Or more specifically: because the Iraqi Islamic Party is thinking higher.

While the classic work Man, the State, and War lists three levels of international politics analysis, really there are five:

Mnemonic Level Example
Man Individuals George Bush, Osama bin Laden
His Friends Groups Republican Party, al Qaeda
the State States United States, Iraq
Her Friends Alliances NATO, Arab League
War Systems The underlying assumptions

In his letter, Zarqawi castigates the Iraqi Islamic Party for ignoring the Groups level of analysis

We address a message to the Islamic Party, inviting it to abandon this rough road and ruinous path it pursued. It was about to destroy the Sunnis and implicate them in relying on worldly life and accepting the jahiliyah [pre-Islamic] rule, which they disguised as legitimate interests. They should have called on people to perform jihad for the sake of the almighty God and to grieve over our sisters and brothers in the prisons of the worshippers of the cross, instead of rejoicing and dancing in streets to celebrate an imaginary victory and alleged conquest. Where is their zeal for religion and Muslims?

As well as the States — the IIP seems unconcerned with seizing Iraq!

“This Party coordinated contacts with Zalmai Khalil Zad, the U.S. ambassador, who is ruling Iraq, when he met with their leaders in the Green Zone before voting on the infidel constitution, and told them: Vote on the constitution and have what you want. Thus the deal was struck and the Party started to give tempting bribes to certain tribal chiefs to convince them of the need to participate in the elections. What did they get in exchange? A seat in parliament was promised if the tribal chiefs promised to preserve the security of the U.S. forces in their areas. A religion is being sold and a jihad stopped in exchange for a seat in a parliament that does not prevent harm or fight infidelism. Has madness reached the extent that a man should sell out his religion for worthless mundane offers?

At these levels Zarqawi is right in his criticisms: Sunnis make up only 15% of all Iraqis, so a democracy would not favor Sunnis.

But the Iraqi Islamic Party isn’t looking at group and states — its looking at alliances and systems.

While Zarqawi is nickle-and-diming in Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Party (along with the ) is looking at the Arab world.

The Muslim Brothers want Syria, where they would in a free election.
The Muslim Brothers want Egypt, where they would win a free election.

By thinking simply, Zarqawi and al Qaeda in Iraq are fighting the US and against democracy to take one country.
By thinking different, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Muslim Brothers are working with the US for democracy to take many countries.

The Muslim Brothers know better. They think different.