Iraq-Blog Post #8

The guest lecturer that I found the most informative was Jason Kinnear and his lecture about the Peace Corps. I found this lecture informative because I never knew there were guidelines for volunteers to follow. For example, we watched a video about the Red Cross and their rules of war were: Most importantly, civilians can never be targeted, the laws of war prohibit torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, whatever their past. They must be given food and water and allowed to communicate with loved ones, and Medical workers must always be allowed to do their job and the Red Cross or Red Crescent must not be attacked. The sick or wounded have a right to be cared for, regardless of whose side they are on. During this time in class we were discussing the Rwandan genocide, NGOs and the roles they play, and reading Crisis Caravan by Linda Polman. I felt that those weeks were the most informative because it gave me a new perspective on how different cultures use war tactics, how NGOs can or should respond during those types of situations, and how humanitarian groups and even our own government responded at that time and how these same events are happening today with ISIS. This time was also informative because it gave me, and hopefully other students, insight on past events that happened to African countries. This was a serious matter and the way the U.S. Government and other governments handled it was very shocking and saddening. They could have stepped in but because we have ‘no economic interest’ with Rwanda, they just let it continue on. This topic was an eye-opener to how cold the world can be.
I also found the lecture on The Silk Road: One Belt One Road with Jung Ha-Brookshire to be very informative and interesting. This lecture was very interesting because it seems that China wants to break free from the label ‘Made in China’ and go towards ‘Made for China’ with their concept of one big Silk Road, essentially. This project involves 60 countries and 4.4 billion people, most of which are from developing countries. China wants to shift from export-led growth to domestic-led growth. I thought this concept that China is proposing was very interesting and informative about international nations working together to form one big trade route. There is pros and cons to this potential project. The first question is where will the money to fund this project come from? China is talking about building highways to connect countries together, but what happens if the project falls through? Countries will have big highways in the middle of them, separating existing people and cutting off communication. For example, if there is a huge highway in the middle of an African country that is a part of this project, then they could potentially be separated from other tribes in that country or even separated from neighboring countries which lead to cut off communication or trade, etc. This project also brings about competition between China and the West. Countries can choose to stay with the West or become a part of One Belt One Road (OBOR). On the positive side, this project can increase the number of jobs domestically for Chinese citizens because everything will be made domestically. With this project, China can step from behind the United States’ shadow and become a leading competitor in terms of economics. With this project they could become a new superpower.
During the duration of this class I have also learned a lot about Iraq and the Middle East. I have gained better knowledge of different aspects of Iraq such as the environment, minority groups, the different languages spoken, pressing events happening, NGOs that are either based in Iraq or who help Iraq internationally, the history of Iraq, and the economy of Iraq.

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