My Thoughts and Opinions Concerning the Sonneborn’s Film and Whether It Presents a Different Picture of War and Conflict
Regret to Inform by Barbara Sonneborn is an American documentary film that was nominated for the Academy Awards in 1998 under the Best Documentary category. Revolving around Sonneborn’s trip to Vietnam 20 years following her husband’s killing, this film presents an analysis of the Vietnam War and its impacts. It incorporates the tales of women from America and Vietnam, who lost their husbands and loved ones in the war. The film also tells the tales of numerous combatants who survived the war, although died either from the terror of flashbacks, or poisoning by Agent Orange. One instance that I will not easily forget is where a woman was lamenting why the name of her husband who shot himself because of being tormented by the Vietnam War’s flashbacks, was not included on the Vietnam War Memorial (Sonneborn, 1998). It was terribly sad indeed.
I must say that Regret to Inform is one of the best documentaries I have ever watched regarding Vietnam War. There have been several complaints that the Vietnam War’s filmic representations tend to concentrate too narrowly on the individual relationships of the involved characters and ignore both the opinions of the Vietnamese participants, as well as the war’s political context. Coming Home by Hal Ashby, is an example of such films that overlooked the Vietnam War’ particulars. By concentrating on the tales and struggles of the victims of the Vietnamese war and giving the widows of the war a voice, Sonneborn makes this film truly real and factual. The Vietnamese women recollect their torture experiences in the hands of the American and South Vietnamese forces, and disclose the pain they suffered upon loosing their loved ones in the war; an indication of the reality of the war’s effects (Sonneborn, 1998). While the past mistakes cannot be corrected, Sonneborn’s film is appealing for reconciliation and healing amongst those who were affected by the war. Regarding whether the film presents a different image of the Vietnam War, I do not think so. This is because Sonneborn, through the incorporation of the voices of the war’s victims, manages to paint a clear picture of the aftermath of the war.
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Security Theory and Peak Oil
The Main Arguments Presented in Oil, Smoke and Mirrors? And the Alleged Connection between “Peak Oil” and the 9-11 Attacks, and the Subsequent “War On Terror”
Oil, Smoke and Mirrors, is a 50-minute film that provides a sobering analysis of America’s perceived current history and globalization circumstances, as well as, its shared future with regards to the looming, misrepresented and underreported energy production restraints. Via a series of remarkably informed, lucid and honest interviews, the film claims that the peculiar occurrences surrounding the 9/11 attacks, as well as, the equally weird prosecution of the war on terror, is better comprehended in the larger context of a critical and imminent divergence between the oil demand and supply of the available global oil (Doyle, 2007). This film helps to paint an image of a global-political culture that is sadly hyper-mediated and disconnects itself from the same values it allegedly represents. Though the ideas in this film may appear to daunt initially, its eventual declaration is that the challenges that Americans are facing are indeed solvable, but only if Americans have the courage to identify their root causes. From the film, I came to realize that “Peak Oil”, the 9-11 Attacks, and the “War on Terror”; all had a connection with the bail out crisis that America underwent in 2008. Therefore, the film does a superb job in enlightening people on the underlying issues behind America’s problems.
Globalization and the North
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Interdependence
Interdependence refers to a relationship where every member is mutually reliant on the other. Persons within an interdependent relationship may be economically, emotionally, morally or ecologically dependent on each other.
The Benefits of Interdependence
One of the advantages of interdependence is that members depend on one another within the society in order to survive, as well as for success. Generally, interdependent persons are not by themselves in their growth efforts, and mental, spiritual and social development Kokemuller, 2012). Various persons undertake different roles within the community, which help in supporting the entire community.
According to Kokemuller (2012), interdependence helps in overcoming people’s natural insecurities and fears, which arise during moments of survival. The fear of loosing one’s job, family trouble, or even the fear of the future may drive individuals to thoughts and actions that are self-serving. Recognizing that we have professional, personal and community support may assist in alleviating some of these negative feelings.
Valuing interdependence can lead to professional and personal relations that are more meaningful. Persons who are highly independent are at times excessively self-sufficient in relationships, which makes it hard for people to get near then and share feelings and ideas openly. The growing utilization of work teams in many organizations during this 21st century has added to the significance of interdependence. Kokemuller (2012) maintains that workers who embrace interdependence are highly likely to enjoy their work, and build exceptionally strong and deep relationships with their customers and colleagues.
Economic interdependence comes into the picture when interdependence is viewed from a wider perspective. Individuals are generally dependent on one another within the society with regards to producing good and services use for daily needs. This interconnected economic interdependence helps to contribute to the society’s economic growth overall.
Disadvantages of Interdependence
A disadvantage of interdependent relationships is that decision making follows a democratic process, which means that it takes a relatively long time to make decisions, which most of the times are a compromise (Kokemuller, 2012). In general, there is less commitment within both directions of an interdependent relationship, and they are likely to be short-term. This is because decisions in such relationships are often influenced by partners who are more independent than the rest. Parties who cannot stand such dictatorial associations tend to disconnect from the group and that is why they fail to last long.
Globalization and the South
Duties of Wealthy Countries towards the World’s Poor
Wealthy countries believe that they can influence growth in poor countries by providing them with financial resources. However, they seem to forget that developing poor countries is mostly determined by poor nations and that outsiders’ role is extremely limited. Therefore, the financial aid that the wealthy nations are focused on providing the world’s poor, is only a short-term solution, and does remarkably little to fight poverty in the long-term. Relief food, for instance, has been associated with rich country’s assistance towards poor nations; however, this is only a short-term solution to poverty. It is worth noting that financial aid provided by rich nations to poor countries has helped attain impressive strides especially in the education and health sectors. For instance, Aid programs have helped enhance access of women to modern contraceptives, lower infant mortality rates by eradicating illnesses like malaria, diarrhea, smallpox etc, and increase access to ARVs in poor nations (Birdsall, Rodrik, & Subramanian, 2010). Additionally, financial aid from wealthy nations have helped increase the enrolment of children in schools due to the provision of free primary education as it is the case in Kenya. It is vital to note that for financial assistance to work, recipient poor nations must help themselves by having the leadership and capability to spend the money as it is intended. The following are some of the duties that wealthy nations should undertake in order to end world poverty in the long-term.
To have a significant effect on poor nations, wealthy countries ought to spend more time enhancing cross-border labor mobility, especially of low-skill employees. According to Birdsall, Rodrik & Subramanian (2010), the present WTO negotiations regarding labor mobility tend to focus solely on high-skill labor. Creating more chances for less-skilled workers in poor nations to travel across the border would help in increasing the incomes of people in poor nations, as well as, ensuring efficient resource allocation.
Another way of assisting the world’s poor is by rich nations lifting the burdens that they impose on poor nations. For instance, they employ international trade agreements for imposing heavy and costly obligations on poor nations. An example is the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; which has significantly increased costs of essential medicine to the poor countries (Birdsall, Rodrik & Subramanian, 2010). Another issue is the effects of climate change, which is negatively affecting persons throughout the globe. It is a fact that wealthy countries like the United States and China etc have adamantly refused to cut back their green house emissions, which according to scientific research, disproportionately burdens poor developing nations. Therefore, to assist poor nations, rich countries ought to be in the fore front in executing long-term measures aimed at stopping global warming.
Another duty of rich nations is to spur technological advances, which serve the interests of poor nations (Birdsall, Rodrik & Subramanian, 2010). It is a fact that limited technological advancement contributes to poverty in developing nations, therefore, by investing in technological development, rich nations will help increase poor nations’ potential to develop and possibly, be independent. Corruption is also a key obstacle to the progress of many poor nations; therefore, wealthy nations have a duty to act against corrupt leaders, and also encourage democracy.
Religion and Nationalism
A Discussion of Mead’s Analysis of the U.S. Evangelical Community and Its Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy
According to Mead, evangelical power in the U.S. has increased considerably recently, and has become extremely influential in matters of U.S. foreign affairs. An increasing number of evangelical leaders are acquiring firsthand experience on foreign policy, which puts them in a better position, to offer what has been lacking in American foreign policy; a group of experts, who is trustworthy and capable of persuading a significant number of American citizens, to support foreign policies, which are sometimes counterintuitive and complex (Mead, 2008). According to Mead, evangelicals have in the recent past overwhelmingly voted Republican, which has assisted in putting conservatives at the helm of American foreign policy while they concentrate their energy on crucial issues. Areas where evangelicals have been deeply concerned include promoting religious freedom abroad, alleviating hunger within Africa, supporting Israel, as well as, advocating for the rights of children and women.
Evangelicals are, however, gaining political maturity, and consequently, their interests have extended to a wide range of foreign policy matters including global warming (Mead, 2008). Mead has maintained that Evangelicals be incorporated in the process of foreign policy making, so as to impact the world positively. I totally agree with Mead’s argument; Evangelicals, just like other Christians ought to be given a voice in matters of U.S. foreign policy not only because of the immense influence they have over the Christian community, but also, to ensure that those policies have a moral ground and are in the interest of the entire world.
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