Tuesday, October 7, 2008

how dr. seuss might see international relations

Instead of focusing on the task at hand (working on lesson plans), I've been reviewing samples of my own work as an undergraduate student and have been reminded of my finest achievement. I regret that it is not completing three majors in three years with honors, studying abroad in two languages, writing a paper with enough gobbledygook that my theater professor thought I should be a theater critic or playing volleyball on scholarship.

No, though all those are good in their own right, my finest creative achievement was a final paper written for my International Relations course. It stands as an example of why professors should be careful about encouraging students to "be creative" and why Dr. Seuss is a genius. I should also note that to avoid scaring readers from the blog permanently and to keep you from wanting to scratch your eyes out, I've shortened this considerably.

Aspiring Dr. Seuss to Mr. President

The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648
Established the modern system of several nation states.

From this time on nation states continued to grow
Due to advanced technology and an increased interaction flow.

Between Westphalia and the mid 1920’s many powers balanced each other out
For a time this multipolar system was effective without a doubt.

However, there are two main rules that must be adhered to
Without them the balance of powers system is definitely through.

The first is to form alliances to keep one country from domination
Obviously, this is critical to keep the system from ruin and disintegration.

The second rule is never to defeat a power so bad
That you cannot be allies—now wouldn’t that be sad.

Yet, the second rule was broken after World War I
Germany was so humiliated she returned to see vengeance done.

The United States and Russia emerged as leaders at the top.
But Capitalism and Stalin hated each other a lot!

Good versus Bad and Evil versus Pure
Conflict between the two was inevitable for sure!

The peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union in January 1992
Resulted in a changed international environment—everything was new!

The United States is now the leader at the top—alone
And you, Mr. President, have ascended to the throne.

This subject of the levels of analysis is critical for you to know
It will help you understand the forces working in a country as you go.

There are three players at the system level
IGO’s, NGO’s, and individuals.

Function, geographic regions, or alliances are how IGO’s are organized
On the other hand, NGO’s are transnational as no borders do they recognize.

Nike, Sony, Disney, and McD’s are examples of these multinational corporations.
The Big Mac and Mickey Mouse are now international temptations.

People at the system level are the final component
These are the leaders of countries, yourself included Mr. President.

You must understand power relationships and what the rules are
Without this knowledge you will not go far.

Secondly, know that most of the wealth is in the Northern Hemisphere
But most resources are in the south—certainly not here.

The final and perhaps most critical aspects to understand
Are the customs, traditions, and accepted norms in each land.

People will have more respect for you when you aim to please
By understanding their culture and not making it a tease.

Next is the state level with considerations of four
A country’s policy is greatly affected by its domestic factor.

The type of government is second to consider when reviewing the state
Pay special attention to the groups who cannot participate.

Beliefs and past history form the political culture of a land
And they must be known and respected if your policies will stand.

Actors at the state level are the fourth and final group
Executives, legislation, and bureaucrats make up the troop.

The individual level requires that you know and understand humans
This will only be brief as it is so complex—the rest you must research as you can.

Understanding human nature should be dubbed the impossible mission
Such as psychological factors, expectations of others, and making cognitive decisions.

A benign or coercive hegemony, concert of great powers, or regional rivalry
Are the possible destinations as to what the future system might be.

Because we are in the midst of change and shifts
I would advise you to avoid creating rifts.

Regardless of what the system turns out to be
Avoid war and be prudent when dealing with the economy.

This is all the information I can supply at this time
Plus, I’ve completely exhausted my brain and run out of rhymes.

So by now I’m sure you’re tired of poems by an aspiring Dr. Seuss
But alas, this is the result of not enough sleep and creativity on the loose.

I have written so many long essays in the past two weeks
My brain could not think of another and my insanity peaked.

So here are all the facts in order and in line
I apologize though for trying to make it all rhyme.

And I must say that although the teacher’s great and the class was fun
I am very glad that this is all over and done.

The rhymes are atrocious, the substance sorely lacking, meter completely absent and the fact that I passed, shocking. But, it was and still is, the most fun I've had writing an academic-esque paper. And, I can still tell you the significance of 1648 and the Treaty of Westphalia.

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