Month: January 2008

Extemp Questions for the Week of January 30th-February 5th, 2008

1. Was Obama’s win in South Carolina meaningful?

2. Have oil prices peaked?

3. Should Colombia’s government cease labeling FARC as a terrorist organization?

4. What does a KMT rout in recent legislative elections mean for future Taiwan-Chinese relations?

5. Is Egypt harming the Middle East peace process by allowing people to cross its Gaza border?

6. What would be the best stimulus package for the U.S. economy?

7. Are the prospects for political compromise in Iraq any better now than before the U.S. troop surge?

8. Should the GOP base support John McCain over Mitt Romney?

9. What does the future hold for No Child Left Behind?

10. Should organ donation be mandatory?

Extemp Questions for the Week of January 23rd-29th, 2008

1. Who will win the Democratic South Carolina presidential primary?

2. Why is Martin Torrijos losing support in Panama?

3. Should there be a 90 day freeze on home foreclosures?

4. What does a nationalist win in round one of the Serbian presidential contest say about the prospects for continued peace in the Balkans?

5. Can a recently brokered peace deal bring calm to East Congo?

6. What can America do to improve inner city schools?

7. Will gas shortages in Iran be the end of Ahmadinejad?

8. Are Americans ignoring Social Security’s impending doom?

9. Is felony disenfranchisement constitutional?

10. Has Rudy Giuliani’s campaign strategy backfired?

Extemp Questions for the Week of January 16th-22nd, 2008

1. Will recent racial tensions in the Democratic Party between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weaken the party for the general election?

2. Is the world taking the threat of nuclear terrorism seriously?

3. Has the Reagan coalition collapsed?

4. Is Indonesia going the way of Iran or Turkey?

5. Will an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve stop a U.S. recession?

6. Is Mitt Romney’s candidacy dead?

7. Will the world hit peak oil production in the next decade?

8. Is a third party necessary to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

9. Why did Saakashvili win the recent Georgian presidential election?

10. Should China be applauded for switching its capital punishment method from firing squad to lethal injection?

Extemp Questions for the Week of January 9th-15th, 2008

1. Who is the best “candidate for change” in the presidential race?

2. What can the international community do to lower violence over the outcome of the recent Kenyan elections?

3. How can the U.S. best combat gang violence?

4. Why is America’s public transit system so poor?

5. Should the U.S. invade Pakistan if radicals seize control of the country?

6. What is the message from the recent Thai elections?

7. Are the Kirchner’s putting Chavez’s interests over those of the Argentinian people?

8. Should John Edwards have left the Democratic race after Iowa?

9. How should Ban Ki-moon’s first year as UN Secretary General be graded?

10. What went wrong for Hillary in Iowa?

Extemp Questions for the Week of January 2nd-8th, 2008

1. With just two days remaining, who will win the Democratic Party’s Iowa caucus?

2. With just two days remaining, who will win the GOP’s Iowa caucus?

3. What effect will the assassination of Benazir Bhutto have on Pakistan’s political system?

4. Can China save the world economy?

5. Are family politics hurting South Asian nations?

6. Should states or the federal government regulate carbon emissions?

7. Has Pope Benedict XVI strengthened or weakened the Catholic Church?

8. Should polar bears be added to the “threatened” species list?

9. Were the recent Kenyan elections fair?

10. After a year in control of Congress, what grade does the Democratic Party deserve?

Topic Brief: Iran

By Michael Garson

Many countries covered in extemporaneous speaking are decidedly one-dimensional. Either the economics, politics, or foreign policy of a country stands out as a defining trait. Iran is unique in that it has multiple areas of analysis. Round topics from Middle East to International Economics to U.S. Foreign Policy all are likely to include questions on Iran. As one of the most important countries in a troubled region of the world, Iran certainly merits deeper analysis.

Topic Brief: International Organizations and Perspectives

By Michael Garson

As an extemper, it is easy to see the world as consisting of varied chains of facts and events. Chavez’s rise in Venezuela, Ahmadinejad’s anti-Americanism, and China’s economic rise all are separate issues and need to be treated differently. While this belief is to an extent true, there are philosophies that seek to unite all of these events under a banner of ideology. Explaining the world by setting out a list of priorities and Truths, political ideologies are attractive to thinkers and extempers alike. Consolidating the world makes policy and speech-writing exceedingly easy. Yet, each new trend seems to have a logical or empirical flaw, dooming it to only mild popularity. This brief hopes to look beyond slanted histories and views of international relations and see the world in 2008 as it is.

It is not the New York Times’ headlines on January 1st that define the world on that day. It is the articles in Foreign Affairs and the debates on C-Span that define the world on every day. As the world turns the calendar on yet another year, it seems appropriate to look at where everyone stands. The themes and trends that seem to govern nearly everything need to be explored. Hopefully, this brief will stand apart as a supplement to other briefs and facilitate a greater understanding of the Whys and Hows, not Whats and Whos, of Earth’s present.

This brief will:

–          Examine the United Nations as a possible entity to preserve international peace

o   Critique its ability to be a global arbiter

o   Seek out solutions to improve the Security Council’s effectiveness

–          Explore globalization as a term and as a theme in international relations

o   Tease out the political, economic, and social ramifications of globalization

–          Use Bhutto’s assassination as a case study to understand contrasting ideologies

–          Determine the extent of America’s power

o   Attempt to solve for anti-Americanism

United Nations


Most students learned in history that the United Nations was the brainchild of FDR and Churchill. These men sought to form an international organization that would preserve international peace and security. The organization came to being in 1945 after World War II. The UN has “succeeded” in preventing another major World War, though few will argue it stopped the Cold War from becoming a full-scale conflict. The UN is the primary intergovernmental organization, and is the unofficial microphone for states to express concern over any issue.

Inherent Problem of International Law

The main problem of the United Nations is the main problem of international law: implementation. The concept behind the UN is that countries can self-police themselves. The “good” countries can punish the “bad” countries.  Yet, there is no fixed definition or separation between good and bad. Westerners perceived the Iraqi practice of killing Kurds as wrong and worthy of condemnation. Yet, Saudis perceive the American practice of letting scantily clad women drive and women as blasphemous. The only reason the UN condemned Iraq and not America is because the UN is a western institution and the world is controlled by the industrialized world. The world powers control the Security Council and can afford to buy or coerce votes from smaller countries in the General Assembly.

The reason there are multiple states in the world is to separate those of different religions, ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems. If the world could unite under a singular ideal of government, there would be no need for different countries, other than to limit the population and geography of a governmental unit.  Thus, the push to unite the different countries for common ideals is inherently asinine. The United Nations is an endeavor that is at best, futile and at worst, completely ignorant (be slightly more diplomatic in your extemp speeches, please).

Security Council v. General Assembly

The two most significant bodies within the UN are the Security Council and the General Assembly. The General Assembly is a place where all states can vote on budgetary matters and official recommendations. Each state gets exactly one vote, equalizing the United States to Equatorial Guinea. Many times entire regions vote in blocs for resolutions in the General Assembly. Since Lesotho rarely has a vested interest in a particular issue, it often trades votes with other countries for support on the issues it does care about. Additionally, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, so countries can simply not follow unfavorable recommendations. A fair way to see the General Assembly is that it allows the world to take an internal, corrupt straw poll.

The Security Council is a special organization charged with the responsibility of solving for issues of peace and stability. It has 15 members, 5 of which are permanent members with veto power. The United States, France, England, Russia, and China all have the right to block any resolution. Not surprisingly, all were allies during World War II, and were chosen by FDR and Churchill to have a permanent veto seat. The other 10 seats are doled out to countries and specified by region, to ensure geographic diversity. The UN General Assembly ensures that there is a fair rotation of seats and no non-veto country is on the council more times than appropriate. In order to pass a resolution, all 5 veto-members must vote yes or abstain and there must be at least 9 yeses. Therefore, at least 4 of the 10 non-veto countries must vote yes to pass a bill. Being on the Security Council is a great privilege for lesser countries that rarely get the opportunity to wield such power. Therefore, they often sell their votes for money or policy from the superpowers. The United States may mysteriously pass a bilateral trade deal with the Dominican Republic right before the Dominican Republic goes onto the council to vote on authorizing force in a particular region.

The existence of veto power severely complicates Security Council politics and international issues. As proven during the Cold War, any controversy involving at least one of the veto nations will go nowhere. Therefore, Chinese relations with African dictators or Russian arms sales to Iraq cannot and will not be solved the Security Council. The body has become far more political than expected and politics almost universally and unconditionally are prioritized over policies.

Both bodies suffer from corruption and deal with very different spheres of international relations. The General Assembly is largely irrelevant in most cases since its issues are of generally low significance and the resolutions are non-binding. However, the Security Council’s area of peace and conflict, combined with the power to make binding resolutions makes it far more powerful.

Fixing the Security Council

While acknowledging problems is both easy and fun, finding solutions is slightly more difficult. If feasibility is irrelevant, then it makes the most sense to eliminate veto power. The ability to block resolutions and sounds policies unilaterally gives disproportionate power to five countries. Perhaps a resolution would be rejected if two of the permanent countries voted no. In any event, the threat of a veto inherently limits what the Security Council can do. If the body is supposed to truly work towards preserving international security, it cannot possibly be expected to be successful if some issues are off-limits.

If the security council informally acknowledges that is completely impotent to fix problems involving permanent members, then it can use the body to be more open and balanced. The easiest way to improve perceived fairness is through expansion. Multiple plans exist for expansion and this brief does not intend to go through all of them. However, it is worth noting the arguments for and against the likely suspects. Before doing so, it is important to remember that UN Security Council expansion is unlikely because it limits the powers of the veto nations. More seats yields more votes, which dilutes the relative power of one vote. Additionally, it will be nearly impossible for these new members to have veto power. The UN Security Council’s only real power is derived from the ability of the veto states to cherry-pick particular issues. Adding veto seats would only further limit the power of the body. Without further ado:


One of the most logical choices for permanent membership is Brazil. The country brings a lot to the table in varied areas. Its economy is strong, but is largely agricultural. It has a stable democracy with a popular, relatively transparent ruler in Lula. Brazil would also represent Latin America, providing important cultural and geographic balance.


Egypt would make for a very controversial addition to the council. As a secular Muslim democracy, the country would give the council a lot of credibility, particularly in the Middle East. However, after Mubarak leaves office, the country’s future is unknown. The last thing the council wants is a militant, fundamentalist Islamic state with a permanent seat. Additionally, there are humanitarian concerns. Mubarak is by most accounts a dictator. Preferring stability over democracy, though prevalent in Russia and China, is a dangerous criterion for the council to convey.


As a rising economic and political power, India would be a strong addition. The existence of democracy despite such fragmented and developing political and economic infrastructures is quite impressive. However, high-profile conflicts will likely keep India out. China has famously icy relations with India and enjoys using the security council as a vehicle to express discontent. Also, India and Pakistan’s battle over Kashmir would be worsened if India was given a security council seat. The UN presence in the area would be compromised by India’s persistent attempts to use the troops as a political and military weapon.


With the world’s second largest economy, Japan seems to be the most obvious addition. Decades have passed since World War II, and Japan is on good terms with all of the veto members, except China. Indeed, China will stop at nothing to keep its sworn enemy off the council. Also, Japan is a culturally insular and xenophobic country. Laws limit immigration and the internal emphasis on the Japanese way would make discussion in the council difficult. Worse, Japan’s constitution prevents pro-active military interventions, creating an isolationist foreign policy. Prospective members need to express a willingness and desire to help those countries and populations that are most in need of peace.

South Africa

Despite a history of racial segregation, South Africa has made great strides to democratize. As a leader of Sub-saharan Africa, South Africa has a relatively strong and stable economy. Additionally, it is attempting to build political capital and emerge as the microphone for the continent. Putting South Africa on the council permanently would provide tremendous cultural, racial, and geographic diversity. However, it would be naïve to portray South Africa as a typical African country. With a developed infrastructure and large European influence, South Africa’s problems are different from those of its neighbors.

If the council wanted to improve the quality, not quantity, of issues and crises solved, then it should improve its military process. The United Nations lacks a standing army primarily because it lacks a standing population (no people = no soldiers). While its headquarters officially rest on “international soil”, the organization is essentially a phantom. This ghost country only receives power from the fear and respect given to it by actual states. Its soldiers are primarily citizens from poor countries looking for a paycheck. Membership in the UN’s military is entirely optional, but soldiers are paid more than workers in many developing countries. The leaders and commanders in the UN’s military come from different countries, creating a fractionalized fighting unit and conflicting battle plans. Problems as simple as speaking different languages hamper UN peacekeeping operations.

Another important fact to remember is that the UN has peacekeepers, not peacemakers. Its soldiers are only allowed to fire if they are directly fired upon. So if rebel groups are launching an assault on a government building, soldiers are not allowed to fire upon the rebels unless and until the rebels fire on the UN soldiers. Bureaucracy and complex rules of engagement keep peacekeepers from being effective.


What it is

Novice extempers trying to impress a judge wax poetic about the virtues or perils of globalization. Globalization is declared the savior of human civilization in one speech and vilified as the lone obstacle to peace in the next. However, few are those who do not leave globalization’s definition up to the judge. At the risk of using Public Forum’s strategies, an arbitrary definition should suffice. Explaining globalization as a phenomenon of increasing interactions between people, businesses, and governments around the world would be fine for most judges. It is extremely important that extempers NOT GIVE LOADED DEFINITIONS. The point of extemp is to take facts and trends and show how the preponderance of evidence weighs more heavily on one side. Those who intentionally distort definitions and facts are doing themselves, the judges, the category, and discourse as a whole, a great disservice.

What it is not

–          Globalization is not new. Throughout history there have been periods of increased international relations. Granted, modern times as the highest amount of interaction, but the concept is not new.

–          It is not necessarily a vehicle used by wealthy countries to exploit the poor.

–          It is not the singular cause of any conflict involving multiple cultures

–          It does not explain current events. As a trend, it can describe a series of events. As a concept, it can be used to show how an event happened. “The American economy has stalled because of globalization” is neither an argument nor is it actually true. “The American economy has stalled because the United States has lost control of its own currency” is an argument. Later on in the speech would be appropriate to contextualize currency outflows as an outgrowth of increased unregulated trade, a common occurrence during periods of globalization.

Economic ramifications

  1. Increased Trade

Though debatable, globalization is largely an economic outgrowth from a social phenomenon. From the Asian spice trade to buying a Chilean orange, economic interactions can only exist if the two cultures know each other and are willing to trade. With an increased variety of trading partners and products, there is a virtual guarantee of benefits from trade. Assuming the exchanges occur at market value, then both sides can improve their standard of living from globalization.

  1. Specialization

As explained in the economics topic brief, it makes the most sense for each country to specialize in the good that they are the best at making. To repeat, even if a country is less efficient than another country in everything, both parties still gain if they each specialize in the object they are most efficient at. An additional wrinkle in specialization is that some countries are the only producers of a given good, especially natural resources. No matter what happens, the United States cannot produce an appreciable amount of oil (arbitrarily defining “appreciable” as enough to satisfy domestic demand). Morocco simply cannot produce ice. More aggregate goods are produced and consumed in the world, thanks to the economics of globalization. Also, specialization has created new products and allowed for greater advancements, particularly in technology.

  1. Trade Imbalances

Without having to look inward for all of a country’s economic needs, there is a loss of economic sovereignty. Domestic consumption and production are dictated by the wants and needs of other countries. The Great Depression showed how the economy of a few countries can greatly affect the global economy. A Chilean drought greatly affects Floridian citrus producers. Trade imbalances result from countries importing significantly more or less than they export. Generally, as income increases, there is a greater desire for imported luxury goods. Thus, an increase in income likely leads to a net exportation of currency and a net importation of goods.

A net-importing country would theoretically watch its currency devalue, making importation more expensive. Therefore, after a period of austerity, net imports and currency value will return to normal. Net-exporting countries would have more expensive currencies. A free market will decrease exports and normalize currency and imports. This entire system of equilibrium is of course predicated on a free-market and countries that are willing to go along with the ups and downs of capitalism.

Political ramifications

  1. Increased international relations

As international trade improves, countries are forced to interact more. Countries that both gain from their relationship are likely to find more common ground on non-economic issues.  They work together to remove roadblocks to their mutual welfare. If there is a problem in the perceived fairness of the economic-side of a relationship, it will appear politically. Greedy countries will attempt to bully smaller powers. Economic benefits can be withheld in exchange for political acquiescence or political power can be used as a bargaining cheap in procuring an unfair trade agreement. For better or worse, countries that trade together are drawn to each other politically.

  1. Support or opposition to fluctuating power in light of economic changes

If we are to link political to economic power, which is not always fair, then the world’s power structure changes with globalization. Either through internal development or bullying, some countries will gain more than others. Those with the best goods at the lowest price will become extremely popular and can start to exert influence on the economic and political systems.

However, some countries will start to lose power. Many despots that seek complete control over a given economy will become undermined by the market. Those politicians who fear that globalization will result in a net loss of jobs need to stop the trend to save their political lives. Workers who cannot compete with imports blame their government and/or the country from which the imports hail.

  1. Alliances among the disenchanted with the result of free trade both within and between countries

Industrialized powers gain greatly from globalization, especially in the short-term. The influx of imported luxury items and the ability to gain cheap imported goods greatly benefit those can afford them. However, watching jobs, natural resources, and prestige leave can be equally important to the losers of globalization. Despots and nationalists can find common ground over their anger at the industrialized countries that they blame for globalization. These ad hoc friendships can be seen today when looking at Venezuela, Iran,  Cuba, and a host of African dictatorships. The world has become divided between the haves and the have-nots, creating increased tension.

Social ramifications

  1. Social homogenization as a result of international trade

Each good comes with some from of the culture form which it was created. Plaintains bring an element of Hispanic culture. A Britney Spears CD introduces western ideals to the listener. A McDonald’s offers a reminder of the American drive for efficiency and speed along with Big Macs and Happy Meals. Globalization’s social effects may in fact be its most significant. As people around the world share the same purchases, products, and interests, cultures become less unique. National dishes, music, traditions, and products give way to the cheapest, most efficient, or most popular.

  1. A loss of unique, cultural identity

As the global population becomes increasingly similar, cultural identity disintegrates. An Eminem concert in Munich represents a sacrifice on behalf of Germany. At the same time, a German restaurant in Spokane, Washington is also a cultural imposition on the United States. While globalization is made out to be an American creation, it truly creates a globally fusing culture.

  1. A potential backlash against the factors that limit cultural identity

Aside from suffering through Hillary Duff’s new CD, many people are extremely concerned with globalization’s social effects. Some see the replacement of national identity with a global identity as a direct cultural attack. The western net exporters of culture have launched a war against the rest of the world and have invaded from the inside-out. The only way to push back the invading forces of capitalism and globalization is to strike back. Only through violence will the west understand that it is not welcome.

Thought experiment: Through globalization, Saudis see McDonald’s and Starbucks on their way to work. They hear Kanye’s new song as they shop, passing by western clothing outlets. Aside from the climate and some clothing changes, this scenario could be a day in the life of an American. If the United States had indeed invaded and conquered Saudi Arabia, this scenario would exist. In this sense, one could argue that the industrialized powers have conquered Saudi Arabia without firing a single shot. It is through this lens that 15 Saudi nationals justified bringing box-cutters onto planes and bringing the world’s superpower to its knees.

Case Study: Pakistan, Democracy, and Bhutto

While this brief was being prepared, the world was rocked by the news of the assassination of democratic opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was elected twice to lead Pakistan, but was removed by the President months after entering office on both occasions. She returned from her self-imposed exile to attempt to save Pakistan from Musharraf’s militant rule. She promised democracy and wanted to bring freedom to the people. Unfortunately,  she was assassinated by a  suicide bomber. This act certainly forces the original brief regarding Pakistan to be viewed more critically, Bhutto’s assassination offers a chance to look at how different political ideologies see the situation.

Realists see the killing as yet another example of the dangerous and volatile nature of Southwest Asian politics. Terrorists have a lot of power in Pakistan, but cannot be allowed to overrule the government. Pakistan needs Musharraf to keep it stable, even if that sacrifices democracy. Support for Musharraf’s less-than-democratic rule may be redoubled, as Rudy Giuliani suggested the day of the tkilling.

Neoconservatives who believe that democracy is an inherent part of the human-political condition, see yet another external obstacle to freedom. World powers have an obligation to the Pakistani people to make the country safe for democracy. The solutions for Pakistan’s democracy deficit could range from military involvement to increased financial and political support for democratic groups. Ultimately, the terrorist networks must be completely destroyed within the country, as they are a threat to Pakistani political growth.

Isolationists will see the tumult that Pakistan is in and choose to not get involved. If Pakistani militants are willing to kill because a woman advocates democracy, there is no telling what they would do to the United States for mandating democracy. To respect national sovereignty, the ethical thing for the United States to do would be to not get involved in Pakistani, or any other country’s, politics.

I think the wise extemper would choose policy over ideology. Well-read extempers, politicos, and people in the know likely identify, at least in part, with a particular political and philosophical worldview. Subscribing to neoconservative thought is perfectly fine in a generic sense, but extemp speeches must be tailored so specifically and critically that using stock arguments will not work. It would be prudent to choose which solution or policy makes the most sense and incorporate the underlying philosophy where appropriate.

Hegemony and Unipolarity

Can the US do whatever it wants?

In the aftermath of the American-led invasion of Iraq, many policy-makers, extempers, and question writers have been forced to seriously ponder the extent of American power. As the sole superpower left after the Cold War, there has never been a question that the United States is the most powerful country in the world. Yet, the distance between America and the rest of the pack has been up for debate. To be sure, the United States literally can do whatever it wants to the extent that all sovereign countries can do anything. The real question of American power is not one of capability, but of consequence.

The classic examples of unipolarity are the ancient civilizations that had complete carte blanche. The Romans could make any laws they wanted because there was no one to answer to. Any one or entity that defied Roman rule was dominated and subjugated. With the modern institutions of statehood and a general preference for peace over increased territory, true hegemony cannot possibly exist. Even Nazi Germany did not have the ability to do whatever it wanted anywhere in the world, though it certainly did get closer than any other 20th century example.

Since traditional unipolarity clearly does not exist, it is worth investigating what the United States could do with minimal to no ramifications. Domestically, everything and anything goes along unchecked. Sure, the American people may have caught some heat from re-electing President Bush, but no country would boycott the US because of a presidential election. It is America’s foreign policy that has been so often criticized and is the main source of anti-Americanism.

Member of the prestigious Hoover Institute and overall great thinker, Dinesh D’Souza separates anti-Americanism into two parts, with two opposing causes. Europe and the industrialized world dislike America because of its cowboy foreign policy. Running roughshod over the United Nations’ wishes, President Bush showed that the United States does not care about the international community and will stop nothing to democratize the world. In short, Europe will be occasionally cold to the United States because of the Republicans and the neoconservatives. Islamic terrorists despise America because it lacks traditional values. A country where women, gays (almost), and non-Muslims have the same rights as other citizens clearly is disturbed. Without following a fundamentalist view of the Qu’ran, the United States is a liberal hellhole that must be stopped before it spreads as a cultural virus. In short, it is America’s liberal traditions that draw the ire of Osama bin Laden. Indeed, two opposing forces of American culture and government are both breeding resentment.

Extent of unipolarity

It would be unfathomably presumptive of this brief to delineate what is and is not acceptable to the international community. Timing and circumstance have as much to do with acceptability as the act itself. As a domestic example, the USA PATRIOT Act was passed because it was brought up almost immediately after 9/11. Had the Act been debated in the middle of 1994, it would have been unanimously defeated. It would be fair to conclude that the United States can do whatever it wants within a certain range of international consensus. Since nearly all countries do not want to anger the superpower, the United States will be given significantly more leeway than other states. Yet, America’s power is closely tied to the prevailing wisdom of the international community. As another example, the War in Iraq stretched what was thought to be tolerable. No industrialized states invaded the United States, but most were unhappy. The only reason the war was even thought to be permissible was because of the tenuous link to September 11th and the belief that Saddam had WMDs. Again, circumstance and timing dictated the extent of American capability.

Threats to unipolarity

By knowing the roots of anti-Americanism, extempers would be better equipped to suggest how to fight it. Silencing European critics might be as easy as electing a less-interventionist president in 2008. Pulling out from Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, and the assorted international military bases would be a sign that the United States is not comfortable as a global policeman. Seeing these moves as good policy would be debatable, but they would likely stop the depiction of America as a blind and deaf juggernaut. Working with other countries on issues such as global climate change, international trade, and military issues would show America as first among equals, not just first.

However, the threats from terrorists are far different. Signing Kyoto will hardly be enough to convince Osama to stop his jihad. Scholars often are divided on whether or not fundamentalism can be marginalized or not. Some will contend that a few extremists can exist without posing a significant risk to the rest of the world since fundamentalists of all religions and cultures are present at the fringe of society. The challenge to the United States is to find a way to convince young, Arab men that violence is not the answer. The liberal solution is that these terrorists are clearly not part of the global community and not benefitting from globalization. Working closer with all countries to ensure sustainable economic development would eliminate poverty. Even if it means slightly less imports and paying more for goods, universal labor standards and income levels would keep people from leaving the system. If the status quo is regarded as acceptable, then the call to jihad will fall on deaf, satisfied ears.

Yet, the very underlying cause of terrorism is globalization. It is universalizing that has caused the clash of civilizations. Simply accelerating the driver of the discontent is a prescription for disaster, according to others. Terrorism is either a product of extreme resentment of globalization or a result of a fundamentally flawed religion that has not yet matured past the point where it is no longer taken to be completely literal. In either case, the solution is simple: kill before being killed. Jihadists will stop at nothing to destroy us, so we should not give them the opportunity. Having the Europeans angry at our behavior is a low price for survival. American foreign policy must continue to be pro-active and preventive, not reactive and pre-emptive. High oil prices, casualties, and a draft may be the costs for freedom and American endurance


Unlike other topics, this brief has focused on the ideological and thematic underpinnings of international relations. Hopefully extempers have come to realize that no event occurs in a vacuum. There are recognizable causes and effects with all significant activities in international politics. The preceding analysis points out that not just do causes and effects exist, but also trends. As summaries of past actions, ideologies offer greater understanding and better predictions for the future. Yet, there are multiple ideologies and worldviews. Determining which one seems the most accurate is no easy task. While political and philosophical affiliations are helpful at a dinner table debate or as a facebook identifier, they do not necessarily have a place in extemp. Declaring oneself a neoconservative prior to answering a question on democratizing Pakistan will do far more harm than good. High-quality extemp breaks through intellectual boundaries and strikes at the heart of an issue, gleaning the least imperfect answer, and declaring it to be True (notice the capital “t”). The world is highly complex and beyond complete comprehension. However, if an extemper is likely, he/she will see past partisan rhetoric, look at fact patterns and find the most persuasive argument.

Barber, Benjamin. Jihad Vs. McWorld. Corgi Adult. 2003.

In light of 9/11, Barber chooses to divide the world into two camps: Jihad and McWorld. While the McWorlders are the globalizers that homogenize the world, Jihadists are not as clearly painted. Depicted not as terrorists, but as cultural nationalists, Jihadists engage in terror and anti-globalization activities in order to preserve their way of life.

Charter of the United Nations.

The United Nations’ charter is a document, much like the US Constitution, that should be in every extemper’s box. Referencing the stated goals of the organization will assist in greater understanding, explanation, and application of how the UN can and should exist within a global framework.

Coicaud, Jean-Marc. “The Future of Peacekeeping.” Foreign Policy in Focus. 28 Dec. 2007. http:///

With one of the most important roles of the United Nations being peacekeeping, it is important to look at how the body may act in the future. By analyzing current trends in peacekeeping, Coicaud draws intriguing and informative conclusions.

Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations. The Free Press, 2002.

Huntington’s description of the post-Cold War world has created one of the most popular books among extempers. Though his writing style can be painful to get past, Huntington is clearly a brilliant man with deep insights into how international relations truly works in a globalizing world.

Nye, Joseph S. The Paradox of Power: Why the World’s Only Superpowr Can’t Go It Alone. Oxford University Press, 2002.

One of the most 21st century political scientists, Joseph Nye’s book famously delineates between hard power and soft power. Hard power is derived from tangible sources, such as the military or economics. Soft power is the ability to work with other countries for mutual welfare. Nye’s belief that the United States has abandoned soft power in favor of hard power is extremely popular among extempers and political scientists alike.

Prestowitz, Clyde. Rogue Nation. Perseus Books, 2004.

Though not in the traditional extemper’s literary canon, Rogue Nation provides a deep analysis of how the United States has removed itself from the international community. Prestowitz investigates the Hows and Whys of American exceptionalism, offering substantive backing for his arguments.

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