Table of Contents
Clashing Views on Global Issues,
Unit: Global Population
- Issue: Is Global Aging a Major Problem?
YES: Neil Howe and Richard Jackson, from Global Aging and the Crisis of the 2020s, Current History (January 2011)
NO: Calestous Juna, from Why We Need Innovation to Prepare for the Global Aging Society, Forbes.com (October 3, 2012)
Neil Howe and Richard Jackson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argue that global population aging is likely to have a profound and negative effect on global economic growth, living standards and conditions, and the shape of the world order, particularly affecting China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and countries of the West. Harvard professor Calestous Juma suggests that while technology alone will not be adequate to addresses elderly needs, utilizing technological advances in fields like engineering and medicine will likely result in allowing the elderly to be an asset rather than a burden.
- Issue: Does Global Urbanization Lead Primarily to Undesirable Consequences?
YES: Divya Abhat, Shauna Dineen, Tamsyn Jones, Jim Motavalli, Rebecca Sanborn, and Kate Slomkowski, from Todays Cities are Overcrowded and Environmentally Stressed, http://www.emagazine.com (September/October 2005)
NO: United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, from Productivity and the Prosperity of Cities in State of the Worlds Cities 2012/2013, www.unhabitat.org (2012)
Divya Abhat, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine, and colleagues suggest that the worlds cities suffer from environmental ills, among them pollution, poverty, fresh water shortages, and disease. The 2012 UN report suggests that as countries become more urbanized, national productivity increases, particularly in high- and middle-income countries. Particularly important is managing urban growth in such a way so as to avoid negative consequences for future economic growth.
Unit: Global Resources and the Environment
- Issue: Should Environmentalists Continue to be Alarmists?
YES: Paul B. Farrell, from The Coming Population Wars: A 12-Bomb Equation, Market Watch (September 29, 2009)
NO: Ronald Bailey, from Our Uncrowded Planet, The American (October 1, 2009)
Paul B. Farrell, an investing and personal finance columnist for CBS MarketWatch, describes 12 global time-bombs put forth by Jared Diamond, an environmental biologist. The two biggest are the overpopulation multiplier (population will increase 23 percent before it peaks) and the population impact monitor (third-world citizens will adopt much higher first- world consumption patterns). Ronald Bailey, Reason magazines science correspondent, takes Farrell to task on each of his 12 time-bombs, arguing that current trends do not portend a looming population apocalypse.
- Issue: Should the World Continue to Rely on Oil as the Major Source of Energy?
YES: Leonardo Maugeri, from Oil: The Next Revolution, Harvard Kennedy School (June 2012)
NO: Andrew McKay, from Seven Myths Used To Debunk Peak Oil, Debunked, Counter Currents.org (May 6, 2012)
Leonardo Maugeri, one of the worlds foremost experts on global oil, presents a most optimistic picture about the future of oil, arguing that it is not in short supply and, in fact, production will grow, with much growth occurring in the West. New Zealander Andrew McKay counteracts what he calls seven myths used to debunk the notion that the world has reached the peak in oil production and will thus begin to decline.
- Issue: Will the World be Able to Feed Itself in the Foreseeable Future?
YES: H. Charles J. Godfray et al., from Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People, Science 327, 812 (2010)
NO: Lester Brown, from The Great Food Crisis of 2011: Its Real and Its Not Going Away Anytime Soon, Foreign Policy (January 10, 2011)
Charles Godfray, Oxford University professor, and his team suggest that the proportion of the worlds population that is hungry has decreased over the past half-century as a consequence of food production increases, thus boding well for the next 40 years despite a number of important challenges. Lester Brown, founder and president of Earth Policy Institute, argues that unlike in the past when weather was the culprit, the spike in food prices is now caused by trends on both sides of the food supply/demand equation that are causing higher food prices.
- Issue: Is the Threat of Global Warming Real?
YES: Bill McKibben, from Think Again: Climate Change, Foreign Policy (January/February 2009)
NO: Richard Lindzen, from A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action, Global Warming Foundation (January 15, 2011)
Bill McKibben, author of numerous books on ecological issues, addresses seven myths about climate change, arguing that the global community must act now if it is to save the earth from a climate catastrophe. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT, cautions us not to act too hastily in addressing assumed climate change as the evidence does not support such a conclusion or the need for hysteria.
- Issue: Can the Global Community Successfully Confront the Global Water Shortage?
YES: William Wheeler, from Global Water Crisis: Too little, Too Much, or Lack of a Plan? The Christian Science Monitor (December 2, 2012)
NO: Stewart M. Patrick, from, The Coming Global Water Crisis The Atlantic (May 9, 2012)
William Wheeler, while spelling out the factors contributing to global water shortage, concludes that these pessimistic scenarios may be avoided, particularly by increased agricultural efficiency and better economics. Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations discusses why the simultaneous ubiquity and scarcity of water is one of todays ironies, pointing to dramatically increased demand, particularly in the poorer regions of the globe, while acknowledging that solutions to the problem lie in better water management.
Unit: Expanding Global Forces and Movements
- Issue: Can the Global Community Win the Drug War?
YES: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, from World Drug Report 2012, United Nations, http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2012.html (2012)
NO: Global Commission on Drug Policy, from War on Drugs: Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports (June 2011)
This 2012 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggests that efforts are paying off as the worlds supply of the two main problem drugs, heroin and cocaine, continue to decline. According to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world, and thus other approaches such as ending the criminalization of no-harm-to-others drugs, implementing new governmental models of regulation, offering health and treatments services, and also focusing on preventing initial use by young people should be considered.
- Issue: Is the International Community Adequately Prepared to Address Global Health Pandemics?
YES: Council on Foreign Relations, from The Global Health Regime, http://www.cfr.org/health-science-and-technology/global-health-regime/p22763?cid=rss-otherreports-the_global_health_regime-072512 (accessed May 7, 2013)
NO: Heath A. Kelly, et al. from We Should Not Be Complacent about our Population-Based Public Health Response to the First Influenza Pandemic of the 21st Century, BMC Public Health (vol. 11, no. 78, 2011)
The Council on Foreign Relations overall assessment suggests that the global health regime has an unprecedented focus and funding, as the institutional landscape has an array of new players who are more diverse and better funded than before, yet several major weaknesses are apparent. Heath Kelly and colleagues, at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, suggest that the lessons of the global communitys dealing with the H1N1 virus in 2009 show that its strategies could not control the spread of the virus.
- Issue: Do Adequate Strategies Exist to Combat Human Trafficking?
YES: Luis CdeBaca, from A Decade in Review, A Decade Before Us: Celebrating Successes and Developing New Strategies at the 10th Anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, speech at 2010 Freedom Network Conference, Washington, DC (U.S. Department of State, March 18, 2010)
NO: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, from Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012, http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/Trafficking_in_Persons_2012_web.pdf (2012)
Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large for the U.S. Department of State, reported in a speech at the Freedom Network Conference that appreciable progress has been made in understanding the issue of human trafficking and thus the global community is in the early stages of positive change in addressing the issue. This 2012 UN report suggests that while progress has been made in creating awareness of the problem of human trafficking throughout much of the globe, only limited progress has been made in convictions of those guilty of trafficking.
- Issue: Is the International Community Making Progress in Addressing Natural Disasters?
YES: Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate Summary and Recommendations: 2009 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations (2009)
NO: David Rothkopf, from Averting Disaster, Newsweek (January 15, 2010)
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat, a unit within the United Nations, suggests that countries are making significant progress in strengthening their capacities to address past deficiencies and gaps in their disaster preparedness and response. At the center of progress is the plan, Hyogo Framework for Action 20052015, which is aimed at reducing human and nonhuman disaster losses. David Rothkopf, president of Garten Rothkopf (an international consulting agency) and a member of former president Bill Clintons international trade team, argues that the efforts of international organizations to prevent natural disasters from escalating into megadisasters have fallen short of what is required.
- Issue Is the International Community Making Effective Progress in Securing Global Human Rights?
YES: Council on Foreign Relations, from The Global Human Regime, Issue Brief (May 11, 2012)
NO: Amnesty International, from Amnesty International Report 2012: The State of the Worlds Human Rights (Amnesty International, London, 2012)
The Council on Foreign Relations, an independent nonpartisan and essentially American think tank, in Issue Brief summarizes the development of an elaborate global system of governmental and nongovernmental organizations developed primarily over the past few decades to promote human rights throughout the world, while recognizing that the task is still far from complete. Amnesty Internationals annual report on the state of human rights around the world suggests major failures in all regions (Failed leadership has gone global in the last year . . .), with specific restrictions on free speech in at least 91 countries and cases of torture and other ill-treatment in over 101 countries.
UNIT: Economic and Social Aspects of Globalization
- Issue: Is the Global Economic Crisis a Failure of Capitalism?
YES: John Bellamy Foster, from A Failed Economic System: The World Crisis of Capitalist Globalization,Global Research, (March 1, 2010)
NO: Dani Rodrik, from "Coming Soon: Capitalism 3.0," The Taipei Times, (February 11, 2009)
Foster argues that the global financial and economic crisis of 2008-to today is a function of real structural contradictions and issues within the capitalist order and it is manifested in many states including China. He does not surmise that capitalism is dead but he does postulate that it must undergo fundamental change to address the problems that currently plaque it. Dani Rodrik, professor of international political economy at Harvard Universitys John F. Kennedy School of Government, contends that the current economic downturn is not a sign of capitalisms failure but rather its need for reinvention and adaptation. Rodrik argues that this is precisely why capitalism will survive and thrive because it is so changeable based on new trends and conditions.
- Issue: Does Globalization Increase Inequity?
YES: Vandana Shiva, from Globalization and Poverty, an interview with Gary Null of NPR, Share the Worlds Resources, (January 3, 2009)
NO: Lawrence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz, from With Little Notice, Globalization reduced Poverty, YaleGlobal Online, (July 5, 2011)
Dr. Shiva argues that globalization increases poverty and inequity because the riles of the game are rigged in favor of those countries and corporations who produce products and extract resources. She contends that only through significant change can that reality be altered and addressed. Chandy and Gertz contend that by looking at objective data as it relates to poverty rates, availability of food and resources, poverty rates across the globe are falling and more people are being elevated into lower and middle class than ever before.
- Issue: Is Social Media Becoming the Most Powerful Force in Global Politics?
YES: Clay Shirky, from The Net Advantage, Prospect, (December 11, 2009)
NO: Malcom Gladwell, from Small Change: why the revolution will not be tweeted, The New Yorker, (October 4, 2010)
Clay Shirky argues that social media has and will empower individuals and groups in profound ways giving political movements power, reach, and access. He contends that it will change the power dynamic between these groups and the state (often the object if not adversary of political action) and make insurrection and revolution more likely to occur and potentially to succeed. Gladwell contends that social media while intriguing and fast is another tool of social activism and it is not revolutionary. He argues that its presence does not mean that revolutions will sprout up everywhere nor does he believe that when they do they will be successful. A host of other factors are just as if not more important.
UNIT: New Global Security Dilemma
- Issue: Are We Headed for a Nuclear 9/11?
YES: Brian Michael Jenkins, from "Terrorists Can Think Strategically: Lessons Learned from the Mumbai Attacks," Rand Corporation (January 2009)
NO: Graham Allison, from "Time to Bury a Dangerous Legacy-Par I," Yale Global Online (March 14, 2008)
Brian Michael Jenkins, senior advisor to the President of the Rand Corporation, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, posited that a team of terrorists could be inserted into the United States and carry out a Mumbai-style attack as terrorism has increasingly become an effective strategic weapon. Graham Allison, Harvard professor and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, affirms that we are not likely to experience a nuclear 9/11 because nuclear terrorism is preventable by a feasible, affordable agenda of actions that . . . would shrink the risk of nuclear terrorism to nearly zero.
- Issue: Will China be the Next Superpower?
YES: Jonathan Watts, from China: Witnessing the Birth of a Superpower, The Guardian, (June 18, 2012)
NO: Minxin Pei, from Chinas Not a Superpower. The Diplomat (2010)
After living and reporting on China for over a decade Watts argues that China is becoming the next superpower. He cites its economic growth and expansion, government policies and growing international influence as signs of this emerging status. Minxin Pei argues that the political and economic situation in China is not as stable and robust as we believe. He contends that there are structural economic concerns and growing political unrest that will mitigate Chinas ascension to superpower status and for the foreseeable future.
- Issue: Have al Qaeda and its Jihad Against the United States Been Defeated?
YES: Fareed Zakaria, from The Jihad against the Jihadis: How Moderate Muslim leaders Waged War on Extremists and Won. Newsweek (February 22, 2010)
NO: Scott Stewart, from Jihadism in 2010: The Threat Continues, STRATFOR (January 6, 2010)
Fareed Zakaria argues through the acts of moderate Muslims across the Islamic world, We have turned the corner on the war between extremism and the West and . . . now we are in a new phase of clean up and rebuilding of relationships. His argument rests on the actions of Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Indonesia who are fighting back against jihadism, engaging in military and political policies that are marginalizing extremists and consequently winning the war. Scott Stewart contends that despite Western victories against Al- Qaeda based in the AfghanPakistan border region, regional groups and cells have taken up the slack and the threat of extremism and jihad
- Issue: Is the Middle East Undergoing a Democratic Revolution?
YES: Fareed Zakaria, from How Democracy Can Work in Middle East? TIME, (February 3, 2011)
NO: Daniel L. Byman, from After the Fall of the Arab Spring, The Chill of an Arab Winter, The Washington Post, (December 4, 2011)
Fareed Zakaria argues that there are strong strands within the Egyptian polity and around other parts of the Middle East to indicate that the Arab Spring is truly a democratic revolution. Although he cautions that democracy results are dependent on a host of complex factors, he sees several reasons for optimism, including a strong and secular military and an independent judiciary system. Daniel L. Byman argues that the initial hopes for democracy in the Middle East are now tenuous at best. He points out that various groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have moved toward renewed authoritarianism and not real democratic reforms and participation.
- Issue: Should Israel Preempt Irans Nuclear Program?
YES: Elliott Abrams, from Israel and Iran: The Grounds for an Israeli Attack, World Affairs Journal, (May/June 2012)
NO: Colin H. Kahl, from Before Attacking Iran, Israel should learn from its 1981 strike on Iraq, The Washington Post, ( March 2, 2012)
Elliott Abrams argues that a nuclear-armed Iran represents a unique and existential threat to the survival of the state of Israel and therefore is unacceptable. He contends that some states when faced with such a threat should act to prevent destruction since the approach and policy of the Iranian regime is clear and unequivocal in its hostility to Israels very existence. Colin H. Kahl argues that Israels attack on the Osirak reactor in Iraq had the reverse impact it wished. Saddam Hussein be- came even more determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Given the greater strength and resiliency of the Iranian regime, its geo- graphic position, and its resources, an Israeli preemption on Iran would merely galvanize hard liners to regroup and continue the work toward nuclear weapons. And this is something that Israel or the United States cannot ultimately stop.