become more stable. Unfortunately for its proponents, the Iraq War significantly undermined the neoconservative cause as a lack of post-war planning undermined the ability of the Iraqi state to function and produced the rise of radical groups. Over the last several decades there has been the rise of a “post-modernist” critique of political systems and global affairs. These post-modernists question the assumptions behind why democracy might be the best form of government or why international institutions such as the United Nations think that they should promote human rights in other nations. Some would argue that existing international bodies such as the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank impose Western values on non-Western nations, thereby becoming a “neo-imperial” instrument. Still others that are on the Marxist end of the political spectrum (i.e. communist) find that international bodies further oppress the rights of workers and are in the clutches of an international business class that profits from cheap labor. Feminists have also challenged the scholarship of political and international relations theory, arguing that too much attention has been paid to men and that not enough international efforts have been directed to help the women of the world. Of course, there are standard political philosophies that might have some bearing on this round. For example, democracy, socialism, nationalism, totalitarianism, Marxism, and Zionism (the call for Jews to have their own homeland in the Middle East) might find a place. Of those ideologies, nationalism is arguably the most relevant as there is rising nationalism is Europe with calls for Scottish and Catalan independence (do not forget about the Scottish referendum earlier in the season and the SNP’s performace in the latest British parliamentary elections!) and the rise of the National Front in France and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain. Additionally, you could see questions go back to older theories of pan-Arabism or pan-Africanism to argue that there needs to be more integration of Arab or African peoples in the Middle East/North Africa and the African continent to accomplish geopolitical aims. Nation-centric policies such as China’s conception of itself as “the Middle Kingdom” and the center of the world might also be relevant because China’s government sees its rise in the modern era as
23 reclaiming its long lost position in global affairs. Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Socialism” that has spread to other countries such as Bolivia could be a target for question writers. The call by Islamic rebels for the return of a caliphate and the growing reach of the Islamic State can be seen within the context of rejecting Western values and even Russia might find something in common with these groups as it also opposes Western liberalism on issues such as gay rights. StrategyOne of the ways that these rounds can be fun is that you get to take an abstract theory and explain how it fits an existing international issue.