A person who has studied political science is armed with relevant information that increases their understanding of the world in ways unmatched by the rest of the populace. The diverse points and perspectives from which political science is taught make it an all-encompassing discipline. There are many current issues that get highlighted in the media about the happenings in nations, and regions of the world such as the Middle East and Monshipouri (2014) are of the opinion that understanding of these events is only possible for a political scientist. They can detect opportunities in conflict and see tribulations in prosperity. Such intuition is the one that may be required in enhancing the relationships between warring or conflicting regions such as the Americans and the Middle East.
Issues Contributing to the Study of Political Science
Dansinger (1998) asserts that the curiosity and urge to expand one’s awareness regarding the founding philosophies of the various types of government and their operations is one of the motivations for studying political science. The political science student in the process of learning gains a deeper understanding of his or her political environment and that of the rest of the persons in the world. The student comes to learn and appreciate why some nations are at peace while others are in constant conflict and ends up appreciating either. Furthermore, political science offers a diversity of future careers due to the broad knowledge that one is exposed to. One of the possible careers is business and the person that is acquainted with politics may have knowledge regarding the parts of the world that offer the best opportunities for commerce. This makes their success in business more probable. A business person with background knowledge in political science is equipped with people dynamics, that is, he/she has the insight into what appeals to people and may therefore incorporate that into their enterprise increasing their chances of success in politics. The leadership potential of persons with political science goes without question, as is their capability to represent their nations as diplomats.
The different approaches that may be adopted in learning political science are the ones that make it interesting and more attractive to learn as a course. The learner is encouraged to have their own deductive conclusions and become independent thinkers. There are no absolute correct approaches or theories, and the mantra in political science classes is that there is always room for improvement of the theories that have been in existence. No answer given is entirely correct and neither is an opinion dismissed as wrong. What matters is the evidence given for any assertion made. This makes for interesting interactions between the tutors and students making each feel valued and giving the student a sense of purpose. The students are equipped with skills in both critical and quantitative thinking. They gain skills at analyzing data and may make political projections based on historical data and present circumstances. And this is not limited to the political sphere as they have the ability to also predict the economic outcomes of society and many other factors dependent on the political choices made. This skill of knowing how to relate the past to the present and the possible future makes the learners avoid the fatalism that has plagued human thinking for a long.
Being very broad and inclusive, political science affords its learners the ability to have multiple careers and still function effectively. This might be the reason why very many students have a great desire to take it as a course. It is easily understood and makes for a flexible career with multiple skills that will never be obsolete. The political skills that were applied by the Romans and Greeks thousands of years ago are still relevant today. This shows just how timeless this discipline is. A person that has learned political science can pursue a career as a political analyst and still work as a psychological assessor. Others may want to analyze and understand the legal and judicial system while still there are those that may decide to study the different forms of governance and their relevance to their environment and existing conditions.
The Middle East
The mention of the Middle East elicits thoughts of the many conflicts that plague that region. The issues that besiege the Middle East are racism, religious conflicts, terrorism, fighting between the Arabs and Jews, and violation of human rights in the name of religion that results in gender inequality. Despite the many problems that face the region, there are immense potential possibilities and opportunities. The Middle East has primarily drylands but is then blessed with immense reservoirs of oil and natural gas. The geographical position of the region is very strategic in the distribution of its resources to Europe, Asia, and Africa at a minimal cost. Its location is very favorable to commerce and the weather is relatively stable with no extremes, hence can have activities running all year long. This would spell prosperity for the residents of this region if only there was political goodwill. The recent political uprisings were not a surprise to many, but the magnitude and spread of the uprisings from one Arab nation to the other were shocking. This begs for a critical analysis of the causes of the revolutions and the consequences afterward.
Unemployment has been identified as one of the factors that led to the uprisings. Many youths in the Middle East study well and get good qualifications and skills only to find that there are no opportunities to apply the skills they have gained. The disappointment of not getting employed is made more complex by the rising costs of living whilst having no regular income or being dependent on parents which most of them find humiliating. This was especially the situation that was observed in Tunisia and Egypt. The overall results of the revolutions have been astounding to the level of having presidents get ousted from power. Monshipouri (2014) cites that these upheavals resulted in several hard political realities that reverberated to all corners of the world. Every part of the Middle East, even those that were spared the revolutions was negatively affected. Thousands of people died in the unrest leaving families devastated besides having properties valued at millions of dollars destroyed. This, therefore, was a message to all leaders and planners in the world that the joblessness of the youth is a time bomb that needs to be looked into in order to avoid large-scale chaos. The Middle East is a commercial herb due to its resources and geographic location. The prices of oil suffered as a result of the uprisings causing suffering to persons that were thousands of miles from the conflict. Everything that happens in the Middle East politically affects the rest of the world in a way. Hence, the problem of unemployment in the Middle East ought to be addressed and eliminated if possible. The revolutions did not solve the unemployment problem. Instead, they resulted in the loss of the few jobs that were available and condemned many more to poverty. If the escalation of the problem is to be contained, then the administrations of the Middle East nations need to come up with policies that will do away with joblessness.
Another possible cause was the frustration of the common persons in these nations as a result of having limited opportunities while the nobility had it easy at their expense. The tyrannical forms of leadership denied the youths a chance to be heard contributing further to their frustration. Indeed, the people of the Middle East have been voted severally as the most frustrated people on the planet (Monshipouri 2014). The revolutions resulted in new leaders that the people on the ground placed a lot of expectations. The failure of these leaders to fulfill these lofty expectations resulted in further frustration. Hence, one may conclude that frustration was a cause of the uprising and a result of the same as well. In Egypt for instance, Morsi failed to fulfill the expectations of the citizens and the military leading to his removal from power barely a year after replacing Mubarak, who was ousted during the revolution. The same situation of escalated frustration has been observed in Libya and Tunisia as well. This warrants a careful examination and handling of the political issues in the Middle East.
However, there were many opportunities brought about by these revolutions. The major one among them was the chance to restore the old tyrannical regimes with democracy. The uprisings also sent a subtle message to would-be dictators on the possible fate that awaited them, hence checking their intentions. It was a good show of populations previously dismissed as timid and submissive to their leadership that they indeed are capable of taking charge of their destiny and would want to have a part in deciding who is to rule them and for how long. By doing this, they were joining the ranks of the major democracies in the world where immense progress economically and in terms of welfare has taken place. The major possible drawback of these revolutions is that it is possible for them to result in radicalization of the youth, which would eventually kill the little gains that have been made politically.
Enhancing Relationship between Americans and the People of the Middle East
The relationship between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East has been strained for a long time due to ideological differences and the menace of terrorism states Oren (p.5). However, all is not lost, as research done by Pintak (2003) revealed employment of cultural diplomacy may enhance their perceptions of each other. Pintak further defines cultural diplomacy as putting into use the culture of one’s nation with the aim of reaching out to the international arena. The crucial role played by diplomacy in the realization of essential political goals warrants its success in improving the relations between these two groups when culture is added to the mix. The recognition and acceptance of the other’s culture create an understanding environment where it is easier to get along and work together.
Benefits of Cultural Diplomacy
The components of cultural diplomacy include the culture of the people, political ideologies, and foreign policy. According to Pintak (2003), cultural diplomacy influences the preferences of different people and will assist in making the Americans as Middle East people become more familiar with each other. This will allow them to see each other in good light especially in the aspects of a culture where they have shared values. This increases their probability of having mutual understanding and a sense of duty toward each other owing to their shared cultural values. The many stereotypes that abound in each group about the other are bound to be rendered obsolete paving the way for joint efforts in improving the quality of life for both peoples.
The application of cultural democracy in enhancing the relations between nations is more effective compared to the traditional channels of embassies and ambassadors. This is because cultural diplomacy reaches more people as opposed to the embassy that is heavily limited by bureaucracy. Investors from either region are likely to succeed in the other if they have a basic understanding of the prevailing culture. Cultural diplomacy offers just that while the embassy may be considered to be aloof (Pintak 2003). This will no doubt instill the investors from both sides with the confidence to go and invest in the other region with the self-assurance that they have an idea of what the behavior and preference of the new market and labor are likely to be.
Being an integral part of cultural diplomacy, learning the language spoken in foreign countries will go a long way in improving the relations between the two. For a long time language barrier has been the greatest hindrance to the interaction between Americans and persons in the Middle East, according to Pinto (2003). Learning a language from another culture is a great way of coming to a deeper understanding of the culture and the values held deeply by the people. This is because such values are found in the words that are prevalent in that particular language. Foreign language learning is also an integral part of cultural diplomacy. As more Americans learn the Arabic language and the Middle East people learn English, they will be better equipped in understanding the courtesy expected of each other. Negotiations will be easier to conduct and the trust between them is enhanced. This will lead ultimately to a more intimate relationship between both.
In conclusion, the study of political science is interesting and affords the learner limitless opportunities for growth academically, personally, and professionally. Moreover, there are many problems being experienced in the Middle East. These issues are very complex and are affecting the whole world, thanks to globalization. Within the problems facing the Middle East lays opportunities whose impact ought to be maximized in order to vanquish the problems. This calls therefore for a critical examination of the political landscape of the Middle East followed by appropriate recommendations. Lastly, the relationship between the United States and the Middle East has been plagued by mistrust in the past. Pintak (2003) proposes that cultural diplomacy be used to improve the relations between them. Indeed, it is observable that the strengths of cultural diplomacy are by far superior to traditional diplomacy.
Dansiger, James N. Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science. New York: Longman, 1998. Print.
Oren, Michael B. Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2007. Print.
Monshipouri, Mahmood. Democratic Uprisings in the New Middle East: Youth, Technology, Human Rights, and Us Foreign Policy. N.p., 2014. Print.
Pintak, Larry. Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. London: Pluto Press, 2003. Print.