Discussion 1: “Age of Anxiety”
The hydrogen bomb that effectively ended World War II shocked the world with the realization that human beings could blow up most of civilization with the press of a few buttons. Weapon sophistication has continued to advance in small arms, surface-to-air missiles, and bombs of every category. Students will respond to the following:
• Give your opinion on which is more influential in keeping world peace, and why: The United States or the United Nations.
• Estimate the portion of working time the current Secretary of State of the United States spends (or should spend) concerned about the world wide arms race and explain your estimate.
• Agree or disagree with this statement: “Nations must continue to arm themselves to prepare for an eventual invasion from another planet, the next ‘war of the worlds’.”
Discussion 2: “Guns and Butter”
Flexing America’s military might around the world is expensive, especially when a war seems to never end, as was the case in Vietnam. A conflict which had its roots in the Republican Eisenhower administration brought down a Democratic President Johnson two administrations later. A big difference between the two (2) was that Johnson also put forward the “Great Society” at the same time, starting new entitlement programs that match or exceed our war debt every year. Students will respond to the following:
• Explain what differentiates a “just and legitimate” in your opinion war from one that is “unjust and illegitimate.”
• Provide two (2) reasons either for or against a “war tax” that would pay for the cost of a current war as it is being conducted, rather than borrowing to pay for it.
• Agree or disagree with the following statement and justify your opinion: “It is not possible to maintain massive war and policing efforts around the globe while maintaining generous social programs at home without the threat of national insolvency.”