The Beautification of International Relations

My first year in policy debate, the topic was about increasing economic and diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China. One of the seniors at that time delved into the critical literature surrounding US-China engagement and its parallels with plastic surgery. As a freshman, I remember being interested, but hardly understanding the implications for beauty having a central role in international relations. This year for Theory of Knowledge (an IB class), I had the opportunity to finally dive into the politics of aesthetics. This isn’t a proper post per se, but the following are my notes of my research:

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Terrorism as an Exaggerated Construction

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Racism is bad. Terrorism is bad. These two statements seem quite intuitive and intrinsically true. Yet, under careful scrutiny, they are quite contradictory.

What do you think of when you hear “terrorism”? Is it the pixelated, daunting images of the 9/11 attacks? Is it throngs of men clad in all black, with their eyes the only humanistic characteristic left to see? Either way, terrorism sparks fear, danger, and a sense of frustration. After all, why would people have a motive to kill and bomb the United States, and their own countries as well? Generally speaking, we view terrorism as a very real current threat.

Yet, the risk of being killed by a terrorist in America is 3.5 million. According to Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, Americans are more than 3.5 times more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub than from terrorism. Hence is the question: why is America obsessed with painting terrorism as a constant threat?

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