The Reality of Globalization: Friend or Foe?
Globalization is a key element in the modern political atmosphere. The increased interdependency of nations in the last half century has spawned both positive and negative trends. Nations’ increasing reliance on one another’s natural resources and labor are making the world smaller politically, socially, and economically. The isolationist policies that the United States and so many other countries endorsed at the dawn of the twentieth century are no longer viable options. American foreign policy and the political landscape of the world changed forever when the Allied Forces prevailed in World War II. The Marshall Plan’s doctrine of economic recovery and globalization set the stage for nearly every major international conflict since World War II. Varying opinions exist on whether or not globalization improves or agitates international issues but the only definite conclusion one can draw is that globalization is neither completely beneficial nor is it totally harmful to the international community as a whole. Many skeptics argue that the consequences of globalization exceed the benefits. Stanley Hoffman believes that in today’s climate of increased international dependence, state sovereignty suffers directly from globalization. In “Clash of Globalizations”, Hoffman discusses the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States on the international community and the consequential violations of individual liberties as a sacrifice for security from future attacks. Hoffman alleges that globalization has made the world a more dangerous place because “terrorism is a global phenomenon that ultimately reinforces the enemy- the state- at the same time as it tries to destroy it” (440). Essentially, he feels that by combating terrorism, nations reinforce more state power and inhibit individual liberties. To an extent, this is true. Hoffman states that “the crackdown on terror allows them to tighten controls on their own people, products, and money. They can give themselves new reasons to violate individual rights in the name of common defense against insecurity- and thus stop the slow, hesitant march toward international criminal justice” (439-440). Hoffman’s connection between globalization, terrorism, and the diminishment of civil liberties is well-founded. The notion that terrorism is a by-product of globalization is not an uncommon theory. “Terrorism and Organized Crime Under Globalization Conditions”, by Vladimir Kudryavtsev, Viktor Luneyev, and Viktor Petrishchev, states that “globalization, increasingly a problem in the modern epoch, brings in its wake not only positive change but also negative consequences likely to erode the world civilization”(84). According to the article, globalization has strengthened international crime and weakened national goverments’ ability to prevent and fight crime. Terrorism is constantly changing and the spread of the latest advances in science and technology only aid the advent of future terrorist attacks. Essentially, the spread of knowledge has enabled international criminals to operate with more success than ever before. However, “Terrorism..” does not address the fact that the spread of technology can also greatly increase success in the fight against terrorism. Without exploring the role of the devil’s advocate, “Terrorism...” fails to fully analyze the effects of globalization. “Terrorism...” blames globalization for the growing gap in development levels of different states. These development level gaps, the article alleges, encourage weak states to enlist the support of terrorist groups for their best interests. Many people of the lower classes resort to criminal activity to survive. For example, opium trafficking has long been the main source of income for many people in Afghanistan and has funded the Taliban. With globalization’s theoretical abolition of economic boundaries and an increase in action by wealthier,...
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