Sunday, October 17, 2010

World Politics = LIFE?

This week was a whirlwind for SIS-105-081 UC.  Not only were there pancakes (physical and moral support) with our essays, but there was also an opera and a game as real as Jumanji.

Going to the opera was very exciting.  Interested in theater/Broadway (maybe not as much as some people on our floor, but that is going to change), I was in awe as I stepped into the Kennedy Center.  As PTJ noted, it definitely was "red-carpet"-ed.  Yet, despite its glamour, it stood out because of its D.C. prestige:  the international array of flags and Kennedy's bronze head in the lobby.  The atmosphere was exhilarating.  However, what made me stop and question this "bubble" was a UC friend, "What is this?  Is this just the thing old, white people do?"  Indeed, there were many "white" Tuesday theater-goers (some more impolite/snobby than others) strutting into the theather, and the previous night, my "white" grandmother was ecstatic for my opportunity to see an opera.  However, I almost think this was because of circumstance.  Though operas can be expensive and "high culture," Salome depended on its location (What part of D.C. is the Kennedy Center located?) and audience (biblically rooted performance).  Looking at history, operas or performances-like-operas have spanned across cultures (i.e. Japan's "No" [Noh? sp.]).  Though sometimes inclusive because of their language, their universal truths are not only meant for the elite.
     Needless to say, I enjoyed the opera, not necessarily for the acting (for I am even more graceful than Salome!), but for the music and pretense of it all.  One can be critical about art, but the best way to judge it is simply by seeing if one can enter its "unwilling suspension of disbelief."  I went there, so the opera had to be at least decent.

Then, in other news, Diplomatic Risk was quite the game.  I had never played regular, realist Risk before, so it took me a bit to adjust to the "diplomatic" aspect as well as the game itself.  However, I think it has proven that many in our class were born to be diplomats.  I did not realize how much one had to see the future of events (consequences) and how much bargaining had to be done to get goals accomplished.  There cannot only be a Plan A, but also B, C, and D.  In future class periods, I look forward to making some sly negotiaions myself.


  1. Whoever you are, I really enjoyed your reflection this week. I also agree with you on your point that you could have been more graceful than Salome! I also agree with your take on the risk situation. I just have one question, how do you think people have been looking at this situation, through a realist, constructivist, or liberal approach. I feel that even though the game is not purely blood sport there is a huge dose of realist ideology in the game. What do you think?

  2. Holly,

    Regarding Diplomatic Risk, I think it is a great way to use all of our IR tools. Though it is clearly realist centered, especially because one's own goals (interests) are the objective of the game, the "diplomatic table" of negotiations and the constructivist elements of change (i.e. disease) also have an effect. I cannot say which of the three tools become strongest, even though I tend to favor realism because it is the most concrete. Maybe the extent to which the countries use the policies vary according to their relationships with others (which I guess is a constructed notion) and again, their ending goals.

    ~ Rachael W.