Money is the Most Dependable Power
Following the Guidelines of the American Psychological Association
“The power of money is the most dependable power” (Kant, 1983). The research questions of this thesis proposal are: how does economic interdependence affect U.S. foreign policy? How does the US-Saudi relationship challenge the democratic peace theory? The research methods to be employed in for this thesis include qualitative research methods of historical relationship along with quantitative research methods into interdependence utilizing Blanchard and Ripsman (2001). The world we live in today contains many of the attributes described by Fukuyama in 1989, however, far from ending history the proliferation of free-market economics, democratic governance, and international non-governmental entities served to highlight some troubling reminders that we have simply turned the page (Fukuyama, 1989). The persistence of oppressive non-democracies not only to survive but thrive amongst a sea of democratic reform is astonishing. In 2015, Saudi Arabia was one of twelve states Freedom House declared as “The Worst of the Worst” (Puddington, 2015) along with North Korea and Syria. While actions and rhetoric directed towards Syria and North Korea are touted as efforts to free the oppressed, the Saudi’s reinforce their tyrannical apparatus with western arms and are simultaneously heralded as reformers.Saudi Arabia is uniquely able to finance extremism, suppress calls for democracy, discriminate women and minorities, forbid freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, press, as well as, practice archaic public beheadings and crucifixions, and continue to enjoy unfettered support from the proposed ‘leader of the free world’, the United States (US). The difference between US posturing towards Syria and Saudi Arabia are quite apparent, what explains why two states classified as the worst oppressors of freedom in the world are viewed and treated differently?
The world we live in today contains many of the attributes described by Fukuyama in 1989, however, far from ending history the proliferation of free-market economics, democratic governance, and international non-governmental entities served to highlight some troubling reminders that we have simply turned the page (Fukuyama, 1989). The persistence of oppressive non-democracies not only to survive but thrive amongst a sea of democratic reform is astonishing. In 2015, Saudi Arabia was one of twelve states Freedom House declared as “The Worst of the Worst” (Puddington, 2015) along with North Korea and Syria. While actions and rhetoric directed towards Syria and North Korea are touted as efforts to free the oppressed, the Saudi’s reinforce their tyrannical apparatus with western arms and are simultaneously heralded as reformers.Saudi Arabia is uniquely able to finance extremism, suppress calls for democracy, discriminate women and minorities, forbid freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, press, as well as, practice archaic public beheadings and crucifixions, and continue to enjoy unfettered support from the proposed ‘leader of the free world’, the United States (US). The difference between US posturing towards Syria and Saudi Arabia are quite apparent, what explains why two states classified as the worst oppressors of freedom in the world are viewed and treated differently?
This thesis will also cover the cold war and why the United States found having the Middle East free of Communism was essential? The demise of Communism was supposed to send a message to tyrannies everywhere that free market societies are the normal for the global marketplace. Throughout the Cold War the United States saw the spread of communism as an enormous threat to the world and its own global interests, for this reason US leaders approached foreign policies in various regions from often bi-polar directions. Where US liberal idealism and realism coincided (such as in Europe) they were able to promote both their interests and idealist liberal principles, where interests and idealismdidn’t coincide (such as the Middle East), realist tenants dominated US foreign policy.
The Democratic Peace Theory (DPT) contains primarily two hypotheses; H1 Democracies tend to prefer peaceful negotiations rather than war with other democracies, and, H2 Democracies inclined to be more prone to war with non-democracies (Doyle, 2005). The standard definition of what constitutes interstate ‘war’ is a conflict resulting in at least one thousand battle deaths per annum (Small and Singer, 1982), there is no record of any inter-state conflict between the United States and Saudi Arabia using this or any other definition. Despite the fact Saudi Arabia has long sponsored spreading extremist ideology throughout the globe, has also used oil as a tool of coercion against the west and remains one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, it has not been targetedand/or labeled by the United States as an ‘enemy of freedom’.While the DPT seems to support most states interactions, it fails to account for the peaceful persuasion, compromise, and cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
There will be four empirical studies used to illustrate how the KSA 2030 Project for education and its focus on families working with their school-age children to improve their school performance will lead to better self-assessment by the students and teachers’ feedback in Saudi Arabia. All of this is in an effort to improve the global relation strategizes and to maximize the income generation between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
The first is a project in which 25 Portuguese teachers of mathematics were trained in self-assessment methods on a 20-week part-time course, methods which they put into practice as the course progressed with 246 students of ages 8 and 9 and with 108 older students with ages between 10 and 14 (Fontana & Fernandes, 1994). The students of a further 20 Portuguese teachers who were taking another course in education at the time served as a control group. Both experimental and control groups were given pre- and post- tests of mathematics achievement, and both spent the same times in class on mathematics. Both groups showed significant gains over the period, but the experimental group's mean gain was about twice that of the control group's for the 8 and 9-year-old students--a clearly significant difference. Similar effects were obtained for the older students, but with a less clear outcome statistically because the pre-test, being too easy, could not identify any possible initial difference between the two groups. The focus of the assessment work was on regular--mainly daily--self-assessment by the pupils. This involved teaching them to understand both the learning objectives and the assessment criteria, giving them opportunity to choose learning tasks and using tasks which gave them scope to assess their own learning outcomes (Black & William, 1998, p. 4).
This research strongly shows the validity in the KSA 2030 Project for education in Saudi Arabia’s focus on family participation in their children’s schooling. 8 to 9-year old children are more likely to be more engaged with their parents due to their more vulnerable age group compared to 10 to 14-year-olds. As a child grows, many of them become increasingly more independent from their parents, although many of them positively remain connected their parents. The KSA 2030 Project for education with its focus on family involvement in this scenario above would most likely put the older age group mentioned previously at a strong self-assessment level as the younger age group as well with more family input and more family involvement. There is much wisdom amongst elder populations and the parents to children are their elders. As well in larger families that also have grandparents living in the household, in subjects such as history (in the above scenario it was mathematics), however in a subject such as history, grandparents become a living library of historical knowledge for their grandchildren to help them with their studies at school.
Next I will discuss the second example or second scenario to illustrate the potential of the future effectiveness of the KSA Project 2030:
The second example is reported by Whiting et al. (1995), the first author being the teacher and the co-authors university and school district staff. The account is a review of the teacher's experience and records, with about 7000 students over a period equivalent to 18 years, of using mastery learning with his classes. This involved regular testing and feedback to students, with a requirement that they either achieve a high test score--at least 90%--before they were allowed to proceed to the next task, or, if the score were lower, they study the topic further until they could satisfy the mastery criterion. Whiting's final test scores and the grade point averages of his students were consistently high and higher than those of students in the same course not taught by him. `Me students' learning styles were changed as a result of the method of teaching, so that the time taken for successive units was decreased and the numbers having to retake tests decreased. In addition, tests of their attitudes towards school and towards learning showed positive changes (Black & William, 1998, p. 7).
In this example, it is the teacher that cares enough about his students to want them to do the best. However what is also noted in this example is that his students received higher test scores based on his efforts with his students. Other students in other classes were not achieving as high test scores. This particular example shows how when a teacher cares about their students, and wants them to do the best, much like a parents want that for their children, their children will do their best. The KSA 2030 Project not only will protect those students who do not have teachers such as the example above who strive for excellence, however despite less hard-working teachers with the involvement of the parents they can still have their children achieve their highest grades in school and to aim for success. The involvement of the parents in the situation with those students who did not test as high as the great teacher’s class, would have ensured that classes right across the board would have achieved deserved high test scores.
Next, I will discuss the third example to show the effectiveness of parents’ involvement for the KSA Project 2030.
The third example also had its origin in the idea of mastery learning, but departed from the orthodoxy in that the authors started from the belief that it was the frequent testing that was the main cause of the learning achievements reported for this approach. The project was an experiment in mathematics teaching (Martinez & Martinez, 1992), in which 120 American college students in an introductory algebra course were placed in one of four groups in a 2 X 2 experimental design for an 18-week course covering seven chapters of a text. Two groups were given one test per chapter, the other two were given three tests per chapter. Two groups were taught by a very experienced and highly rated teacher, the other two by a relatively inexperienced teacher with average ratings. The results of a post-test showed a significant advantage for those tested more frequently, but the gain was far smaller for the experienced teacher than for the newcomer. Comparison of the final scores with the larger group of students in the same course but not in the experiment showed that the experienced teacher was indeed exceptional, so that the authors could conclude that the more frequent testing was indeed effective, but that much of" the gain could be secured by an exceptional teacher with less frequent testing (Black & Williams, 1998, p. 10).
This third example is important in showing the positivity of the KSA 2030 Project. Not only can parents’ involvement in their children’s schooling guard against children’s natural shifts towards independence from their parents and how that would affect their school in the first example, in the second example how the luck of having a good teacher can safeguarded and buffered by parents whose children receive a less hard-working teacher – in this example, parents can help their children to succeed even with inexperienced teachers.
Next, I will discuss the fourth example:
Example number four was undertaken with 5-year-old children being taught in kindergarten (Bergan et al., 1991). The underlying motivation was a belief that close attention to the early acquisition of basic skills is essential. It involved 838 children drawn mainly from disadvantaged home backgrounds in six different regions in the USA. The teachers of the experimental group were trained to implement a measurement and planning system which required an initial assessment input to inform teaching at the individual pupil level, consultation on progress after two weeks, new assessments to give a further diagnostic review and new decisions about students' needs after four weeks, with the whole course lasting eight weeks. The teachers used mainly observations of skills to assess progress, and worked with open-style activities which enabled them to differentiate the tasks within each activity in order to match to the needs of the individual child. There was emphasis in their training on a criterion-referenced model of the development of understanding drawn up on the basis of results of earlier work, and the diagnostic assessments were designed to help locate each child at a point on this scale. Outcome tests were compared with initial tests of the same skills. Analysis of the data using structural equation modelling showed that the pre-test measures were a strong determinant of all outcomes, but the experimental group achieved significantly higher scores in tests in reading, mathematics and science than a control group. The criterion tests used, which were traditional multiple-choice, were not adapted to match the open child-centred style of the experimental group's work. Furthermore, of the control group, on average one child in 3.7 was referred as having particular learning needs and 1 in 5 was placed in special education; the corresponding figures for the experimental group were I in 17 arid 1 in 71 (Black & Williams, 1998).
This particular example, the fourth example, is particularly important for younger children and parents. In the event that a child has a learning need, which globally is becoming more discussed and accepted of its reality by many people, the parents of the child must be actively involved in the schooling. At the age of 5, many children may be having difficulties in school from the sheer fact of being away from the safe nest of the home and being in a new environment such as school. The active involvement of parents will help to ease the transition of the very young child to the school environment that any challenges that appear in the school system, such as a learning need, can be eradicated and successfully conquered by the child well before they reach the completion of their school days.
The reason there has not been and is not likely to be (in the near future) a conflict between the two, I propose, is that Saudi Arabia controls nearly a fifth of the world’s oil reserves and is making every effort to work in favor with the United States rather than against the United States. Therefore, a friendly relationship provides the United States both a reliable source of oil and the means to ensure the stability of the global economy. Ultimately, the DPT has difficulty addressing the influence of economic and trade interdependence of strategic goods on interstate relations. The question that remains is, how does the US-Saudi relationship challenge the DPT theory?
What causes war and peace? The global state of affairs today suggests we are far from understanding this pivotal question. Realists postulate that given the anarchic self-help nature of the international arena states are inclined to grab as much power as they can, hold onto it and will always put their interests above that of the group. From this viewpoint power and defense are key, essentially realists tend to fall into two camps, the defensive realists, who claim the anarchic system tends to balance itself when defensive efforts provide enough security against potential rivals; whereas, offensive realists see the system itself as the instigator of conflicts. Despite the differences in realist thought they both essentially assert that great power will seek more power in order to protect their interests regardless of the label ‘offensive’ or ‘defensive’ (Mearsheimer, 2001). Liberals on the other hand view the world as a conglomeration of states that have the ability to work together through international institutions, democratic ideals and trade to bring some semblance of order to the chaos. Although realism has had an incredible hand in shaping our world and continues to dominate defense strategies it is liberal ‘peace’ theories that dominate political discourse and often used to push the proliferation of democratic principles the globe over. These liberal principles have led to interdependence, globalization and the international organizations we see today. The liberal concept that has been the dominant force behind efforts to explain the decline in conflict (relatively speaking) in the world is the democratic peace theory.