ASSIGNMENT: Focus on the blog “War and Piece”

January 26, 2007 at 11:35 pm (Other Blogs)

 As I was scrolling down the list of example blogs under the General IR category, I quickly spotted the blog “War and Piece”. I immediately found interest in it because the title spells the intended word “peace” as “piece” instead. I found this title to be very clever and attracting, and I wanted to understand what her play on words necessarily meant.

After clicking on the Blog, it became evident quickly from pictures and advertising that this author’s main focus of discussion was primarily related to the Bush Administration, the War on Iraq, and the focus on Iran. On the left of the page, a list of articles published by the author were listed. Much of these articles had to do with the U.S. position on Iran, and the policy on Iraq. Some of them seemed to lean towards anti-Bush policy sentiments. Also, most of the articles seem to be published in the The American Prospect, which is a very liberal and democratic magazine. As stated on the magazine’s website, “The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics.”

Clearly, the author uses a lot of biased sources, that have interests that lean more towards democratic and liberal points of view. On the right column of the Blog page there are advertisings. One of these advertisings is a link to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign support. Right under this, there is an advertising that promotes “Congress should do what the president has refused to do: de-escalate, negotiate, withdraw.” Once again, the emphasis towards liberal policy becomes clear.

The author’s name is Laura Rozen and she earned a masters degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with a concentration in international security studies. The “About” section of her blog briefly explains that,  “Laura Rozen reports on national security and foreign policy from Washington, D.C as a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a contributor to other publications. Her work has appeared in The American Prospect, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, Congressional Quarterly, The Economist, the Forward, the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, The Nation, National Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salon, Slate, Tom Paine, USA Today, the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, Wired, and on public radio programs.”

Although her personal work, and her opinions are very much liberal, she has a very neutral and logical approach to explaining her points of view. She doesn’t use an authoritative tone of voice, and she isn’t arrogant and snobby in her writing. Anyone, regardless of their political creed can comfortably read, discuss, and analyze her work because she simply makes sense. Also, her Blogroll is very extensive, and covers a wide array of topics. From the War in Darfur, to International Law, and even to topics on China, Rozen’s interests seem to be very diverse. In general though, quite a number of popular liberal-leaning links were also provided, such as The Agonist, Consortium News, and Open Democracy just to name a few examples. Overall, I would judge her Blogroll to be “fair and balanced”.    

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Reflection on “What Terrorists Want” SO FAR……..

January 19, 2007 at 10:46 am (Uncategorized)

I’m not much of a writer coming from a Biological Sciences background, but hopefully my skills strengthen throughout this course as I continue to write in this weblog and read other peoples posts. I’d like to start my first blog by briefly expressing my opinion in regards to Louise Richardson’s book, What Terrorists Want.

Before reading the first chapter of the book, I had concerns in regards to the credibility as far as it being non-biased and inoffensive. In more recent years, specifically after September 11, the focus on Terrorism has increased greatly. From the scholars of the academia, to infamous politicians, and even to ordinary citizens around the world, terrorism has become a very pertinent subject matter for everyone. There seems to be a personal connection that everyone seems to have built up towards terrorism in some form or another, and this personal connection has given rise to a vast array of perspectives on the issue.

Terrorism is generally a misunderstood topic, and most people’s perspectives about terrorism are usually one-dimensional, emotionally-affected, and incorrect misconceptions. As Richardson puts it, terrorism has come to be “pejorative”, and “terrorists [looked upon] as one-dimensional evil-doers and psychopaths”. People don’t really question who these terrorists are and what their agenda is.

I’m not trying to convince anyone that terrorism is “okay” because it’s absolutely not okay to carry out cowardly attacks against innocent civilians, however, in order to understand the enemy, we must analyze their objectives and their character more in-depth. Upon closer analyzing, it will become apparent that terrorists are normal, sane individuals, who are using terrorist tactics to send a political message. They usually have legitimate political agendas, and when powerful countries, like the US do no help or cooperate with them, they resort to terrorist tactics.

Whether or not you feel that their political agenda is legitimate is irrelevant to the fact that using terrorism as a tactic is heinous and disgusting. However, one should not dismiss the ultimate message of these terrorists. The question you should ask is, “What do they want?”, and maybe you will learn that bombing and killing individuals responsible for terrorism is not the solution, but rather solving the root cause of their political agenda and understanding their perspective.

This is what Louise Richardson is trying to say. So far her explanations have been logical, unbiased, and neutral. She doesn’t seem to take sides, but simply dissects the terrorist. Not as a monster, but as an individual with an agenda. I feel comfortable reading this book and look forward to finishing it.

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Introduction

January 17, 2007 at 6:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey Everyone!

I am using this blog for my Political Science class at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. I will be making posts and comments on topics related to my course.

Thanks,

Omid

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