1. In 1885 foreign ministers of the European great powers had a conference in Berlin at which they agreed on a division of Africa into spheres of influence. Though Liberia and Ethiopia were acknowledged to be independent states and various kingdoms and chieftaincies away from the coasts also operated outside European control, no Africans were invited to the Conference. What institutional and ideational changes in world politics mean that a similar conference would not be possible today?
2. World politics has changed in many ways since the late 18th century. Identify what you regard as the two most important changes and explain why those two are more important than the others.
3. Mao Zedong’s approach to developing China combined central planning with very low connection to the global economy. His successors modified both, allowing establishment of local government-owned and private enterprises not subject to planning and opening China’s economy to more international trade and investment in the 1980s. Drawing on theories and analytical schemes learned in class, explain why the changes were made.
4. In the 1960s, developing countries – especially the newly independent ones in Africa and Asia – formed the Group of 77 and used the UN General Assembly to advance their views about how world politics and the international economy should be organized. In recent years it has become to use the phrase “the Global South” to designate the same set of more than 120 countries. The phrase suggests two things: that all of those countries can be regarded as common characteristics and that those common characteristics lead them to have similar foreign policy goals. Thinking across the issue areas of security, economic affairs, human rights, and environmental concerns, assess the extent to which states of the Global South do or do not have common goals and explain why the convergences and divergences of goals exist.
5. The leaders of the Meiji Restoration in late 19th century Japan often summarized their goals for Japan with the slogan “rich nation, strong army.” What does the slogan suggest about how a country should order its priorities in a decentralized international system? Indicate whether it is an equally relevant guide for a small state and explain why or why not.
6. Joseph Nye defines contextual intelligence as “the ability to understand an evolving environment and capitalize on trends” and argues that world politics in the rest of the 21st century will not be about determining which country is “number 1” but about great powers using their power in collaboration with other states and with nonstate actors rather as a tool for dominating those other states and nonstate actors. This is a very different view than the realist emphasis on unending competition among great powers for dominance. What features of contemporary world politics support Nye’s argument?