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Showing posts from January, 2009

Learning about Foreign Affairs from my student

The peace plan brokered between Russia and The Republic of Georgia with the help of France's Sarkozy still seems about as stable as York's email server as of late. Reports of Russian and Georgian soldiers sharing cigarettes with each other one minute and pointing AK-47's the next suggest this conflict may not end immediately. These events remind me of what the Christmas Truce of World War I demonstrate about the internal conflict troops face.I don't claim to know what it's like to be a soldier in a war zone, but from what I've gathered, most soldiers who experience fire don't relish the experience. As realistic as the violence in Call of Duty or Rambo may be, I don't think such entertainment media conveys the horror of warfare. Which is why, when given the choice, soldiers on opposite sides of the front are able to find common ground, which is more elusive at the negotiating table among diplomats and generals. When I read a couple weeks ago about the cr…

Journey to the flat world

The first assignment I give my history students each Fall is Thomas Friedman's article, "It's a flat world after all," a condensed version of his book, "The World is Flat." Most of you all know the premise. For a variety of reasons, the global playing field has been leveled. At one time there was a significant advantage to being born in the United States, but with the ubiquity of broadband internet (among other disruptive technology) a high school student in India or China now has many of the same opportunities as a student in California. It's a bit of a wake-up call for my students.

I see the flat world everywhere I look. My favorite example is the popular power ballad band, Journey. Ever since Steve Perry and his signature voice left the band in the 80's, founder Neil Schon struggled to find a suitable replacement. Various singers were hired, but none really caught a lot of attention. Back then, Journey held auditions, listening to a handful of voc…