The concept of faith has been an extremely crucial pillar in the contemporary theology and religion

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Introduction

The concept of faith has been an extremely crucial pillar in the contemporary theology and religion. This is especially with regard to Christianity, which is primarily built on Christian faith in a supreme being. While there is an element of abstractness in the definition of faith, which makes it difficult to grasp the concept entirely, one cannot escape this abstruse problem either as it is extremely crucial to comprehend in rational terms. Varied scholars have explored the concept of faith and given varied views on the same. In “The Dynamics of Faith”, Paul Tillich states that faith goes beyond or “precedes all attempts to derive it from something else, because these attempts are themselves based on faith”.

This statement is based on the notion of faith as the ultimate concern, where Tillich sees it as a centered act that revolves around an individual’s entire being. In essence, faith incorporates the both the unconscious, as well as conscious elements (Tillich 2). For faith to be genuine, it should not simply have the unconscious as its driving force, rather it has to emanate from human freedom, otherwise it would not involve faith but compulsion. He notes that faith does not merely revolve around obedience to, what he calls, “the internalized image of the Father” since faith comes with the power to transform the image. He underlines the fact that faith, instead, is ecstatic, a statement that underlines the fact that it transcends or goes beyond both the unconscious and the conscious reasoning. On the same note, as much as faith incorporates both the unconscious and the conscious elements, it does not bear stark identity with either of them.

Tillich dismisses the notion pertaining to a “will to believe” stating that it seems to underline the capacity to step over all resistance and merely make a declaration of faith as revolving around willpower (Tillich 2). He opines that faith is not a creation of an individual’s will nor is it something that an individual merely decides to undertake. In fact, he notes that faith can never result from human will, which means that there exists no single psychological mechanism that can render an explanation as to the manner in which faith comes about. He is apprehensive and against any religious psychology that claims to incorporate the capacity to reduce the concept of faith to the predisposing psychological processes (Gerhart and Fabian 663).

In supporting the notion of faith as preceding all efforts to derive develop it from something else, Tillich examines the source of faith or rather the ultimate concern. He states that as much as human beings belong in the finite and temporal realm, they incorporate an intuitive or innate sense of an entirely different realm, which he calls “the realm of the unconditioned” (Tillich 2). It is noteworthy that the eternal realm or the realm of the unconditioned is not subject to time and space, rather it goes beyond individuals yet individuals feel that they belong to it. He underlines the fact that the awareness of infinite realm to which an individual belongs drives him to faith. It is worth noting that man, despite the consciousness of the infinite realm to which he belongs, does not own it like he would a possession (Cooper 124). The experience revolves around the depths of life, or rather a fascination, as well as a yearning for the mysteries pertaining to the existence. In essence, faith, which must exist in the finite and conditioned world, revolves around the unconditioned and infinite world.

On the same note, symbols have to be used in any discussion pertaining to the unconditioned world. This is because all language is finite or restricted and conditional, which implies that that languages are socially, culturally, as well as historically situated thereby coming with all the marks pertaining to finitude. It is impossible to have the realm of the unconditioned translated using vocabularies pertaining to the conditioned. Symbols come with the ability to open up to an entirely new realm of existence or being (Cooper 125). As much as it is impossible to take symbols literary, it is worth noting that they take part in the reality to which they point. Tillich notes that there is nothing that individuals can say about the Divine that is true in its literal meaning, thanks to human finitude and temporality. There is no way that religion can exist without the language of symbols. As much as there is truth in the statement that all faith incorporates a content, the content must be comprehended in a symbolic manner. These symbols must point to something beyond themselves, take part in the reality that they point to, and open up realities’ levels that are not available ordinarily (Cooper 126). In addition, symbol cannot be invented nor can they be intentionally produced, rather they grow from the individual, as well as the collective conscious.

This view is entirely different from the perspectives outlined by other Marx and Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach opines that theology is essentially an external picture of the human psyche. He notes that religion reveals individuals to themselves not to God, telling them about their metaphysical realm. It is worth noting that human beings are a reflection of their best qualities onto the image of a divine being, with the projection being unconscious. He states that human beings created God out of their own psyches, which is why human beings feel empty while worshiping their own abilities in an imaginary God.  Unfortunately, this results in massive self-alienation. Feuerbach opines that all the good and desirable aspects of human beings are projected to God, while they have psychological leftovers, which are what human beings condemn. This means that God, in a way robs human beings of their goodness as they are preoccupied with handing it over to Him. They personify their own projected perfection as a deity that is entirely independent from them and then make a miserable comparison to the image. In essence, religious beliefs and faith give no metaphysical message, rather they tell human beings about their own alienated potential, as far as psychology is concerned. In essence, God does not become human, rather God emanates from human imagination. Human beings can only regain their rightful place in the universe through taking back the goodness that they gave to God, thereby affirming their own potential. This is the same idea that is outlined by Karl Marx, who states that religion is merely an expression of the economic injustices and material realities. In essence, problems are essentially problems within the society. It is a symptom and not the disease. Oppressors use religion to make people feel better with regard to the distress that they experience thanks to being exploited and poor.

However, Tillich rebuffs Feuerbach’s notion of projection of images of God stating that these are images of subhuman powers or human power that has been elevated to superhuman realms. He noted that the fact is essentially the basis for all “projection” theories that underline the notion that gods are merely imaginary projections or reflection of elements of finitude, which are human and natural elements. He states that theories such as the ones underlined by Feuerbach disregard the fact that any projection must be made on something, which can be a screen, wall, another realm or being (Cooper 127). It is undoubtedly illogical and meaningless to place that which the projection is realized on in the same class as the projection itself. He notes that screens receive projections but are not projected. In the same way, the realm on which images of the Divine are projected cannot be placed in the same class as the projection itself. It is essentially the realm of the ultimate concern, the experienced ultimacy pertaining to meaning and being or existence. As much as the will be some elements of the human psyche that will be projected on the images of the Divine, this can never amount to a sufficient basis for dismissing the reality pertaining to the transcendent realm on which the projections are made. This state of becoming ultimately concerned is what is faith. On Karl Marx’s ideas, Tillich states that human beings are concerned about numerous things especially those on which their existence is pegged. However, they go beyond the concerns of other living creatures and clamor for spiritual things that are political, social, cognitive and aesthetic. Some concerns are extremely urgent, thereby demanding ultimacy or the total surrender of the individual with other concerns being relegated to the periphery. If spiritual concerns claim ultimacy, other things such as justice and humanity, cognitive truth, aesthetic, family and health have to be sacrificed.

Works cited

Cooper, Terry D. Paul Tillich and Psychology: Historic and Contemporary Explorations in Theology, Psychotherapy, and Ethics. Macon, GA: Mercer Univ. Press, 2005. Print.

Gerhart, Mary, and Fabian E. Udoh. The Christianity Reader. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Print.

Tillich, Paul. Dynamics of Faith. New York: Harper, 1985. Print.

The Causes of War

The Causes of War

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Institution

Introduction

Peace and security are arguably the most fundamental pillars of any nation. It goes without saying that they safeguard the existence and enjoyment of all human rights, in which case their presence or absence have a bearing on any country’s wellbeing. Needless to say, the world has, since time immemorial, seen a fair amount of conflicts among varied parties including nations, races, religions, and even regions. Of course, there are variations and changes in the weapons used, numbers, the magnitude of the wars, as well as the cost of wars among other factors. For example, in 2008 alone, there were about 9 wars and close to 130 violent conflicts all over the world. Previously non-violent conflicts spiraled into violent confrontations in areas such as Yemen and Kenya. Conflicts were also experienced in other parts of the world such as Congo, with its mineral resources as the center of the conflicts. Closer home, there have been conflicts between the United States and other countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Israel and Palestine. Israel has been angling for war against Iran, which it sees as a threat to its existence and stability. Needless to say, there are variations as to the triggers of wars in different regions and times. In fact, rarely is war caused by one element, rather it emanates from an interplay of different factors and causes. In most cases, the key cause of war is buried in an avalanche of political statements, with the real motives (and culprits) being hidden through oaths of secrecy (Ellsberg, 2013). These oaths are not only in the military, but also the varied institutions of governance involved in the planning and execution of the wars. Issues pertaining to national security are rarely revealed, with whistleblowers being regaled as traitors and unpatriotic individuals (Ellsberg, 2013). Nevertheless, the key cause of war is almost always individuals or groups of individuals that occupy the varied powerful institutions of government and who have differing ideologies. This underlines the fact that wars are usually a manifestation of the conflicting ideologies of the conflicting individuals or groups of individuals.

Causes of war have formed a common subject among numerous scholars across different disciplines. It has also been examined through films and documentaries. In the 2003 American documentary film titled “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara” Robert McNamara examines the varied aspects pertaining to modern warfare. The film outlines the life of McNamara right from his birth in the course of World War I into his days in the military, the corporate world and in public service where he was the Secretary of Defense for President Kennedy, as well as President Johnson. In essence, he outlines issues surrounding the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, both of which mark some of the most remarkable wars or conflicts in the history of the United States. One of the outstanding remarks that he makes in the film is that he was serving President Johnson’s requests in an effort to assist him in carrying out his duties as president in line with his beliefs pertaining to the people’s interests. While he argues that the president had a reason for putting the country through the Vietnam War, he acknowledges that the president did not reveal it. This underlines the fact that the Vietnam War (and many other wars) was merely the product of ideologies of individuals in the government, who may have been driven by varied motives in pursuing such techniques.

This notion is also outlined in the movie “The Most Dangerous Man in America”, a 2009 documentary that revolves around a former insider of Pentagon named Daniel Ellsberg. Daniel made the decision to challenge the imperial presidency that was not answerable to any institution including the Press, the Congress or even the American people (Hale, 2009). The decision was made in an effort to assist in ending the Vietnam War. Daniel smuggled confidential documents from the Pentagon, detailing how five American presidents had persistently been feeding Americans with lies pertaining to the Vietnam War that had torn America apart and resulted in the deaths of millions of Vietnamese people (Hale, 2009). While the government of the day made varied efforts to stop Daniel from releasing the information, he relentlessly pursued the path of truth revealing how the Vietnam War was fundamentally a product of Imperial Presidency’s secret deeds.

Scholars have also blamed the occurrence of war on conflicting ideologies pertaining to the leaders of the warring countries (Mead, 2001). They use the example of the cold war, which they note as a blend of a religious crusade that favored one ideology over the other and extremely ruthless power politics that struck out for expansion and advantage in Europe and the entire world at large. These ideologies were Communist (espoused by the Soviet Union) and Capitalism (espoused by the United States and Britain, among other European countries). These two ideologies are significantly different, with communism promoting the needs of the state over personal needs and human rights (Sample, 2002). Capitalism, espoused by the United States, revolved around personal freedom, and distinguished by representative government, individual liberty, free institutions, as well as numerous other freedoms that are absent in communism.  The key foundation of conflict between the two ideologies is not merely their differences, but also their militant and expansionist nature (McNamara, 1996). Individuals holding the two beliefs or ideologies held the notion that the alternative ideology posed a threat to their way of life. In addition, their expansionist tendencies were fueled by the belief that the world was better off with their ideology rather than the alternative one (Kremenyuk, 1994). This blend of aggression and ideological fear implied that the USSR and America had their foreign policies being affected by the ideologies. In light of the ideological differences, scholars note that international conflicts such as the cold war, war on Iraq and even Vietnam War is usually a product of the national regimes character, rather than any form of international misunderstanding. They note that the Cold War was merely a manifestation of the aspirations of Stalin and decisions made by the varied US presidents to stop the expansion of communism (Vasquez, 2000). While they acknowledge the differing circumstances, the state that there were variations between the conflicts that cropped up during the reign of different presidents. This is not merely coincidental, rather it is a manifestation of the fact that wars are products of individuals occupying the varied positions in governmental institutions (Vasquez, 2000).

While ideology may be the key trigger of war, other causes also contribute albeit in a significantly less magnitude to the occurrence of war. These are mainly social-economic considerations of the people in power in the concerned governments (Sample, 2002). It is worth noting that, even in the Cold War, the countries were concerned about the expansion of the alternative belief or ideology, thanks to the fact that any country’s ideology has a bearing on the manner in which it relates with other countries (Dodds, 2002). Countries such as Cuba Russia, Iran, and North Korea among others are significantly reserved as far as doing business with America is concerned. This may have resulted from their differences in ideology.

Scholars support this notion through the examination of World War II. They note that World War II, like any other modern war, was fundamentally caused by international rivalries that were inseparable from capitalism, as well as the domination of world resources by the capitalist class (Sample, 2002). They trace the background of World War II to the 1930s alliance between Germans, Italians and the Japanese, an alliance that made expansion efforts at the expense of older colonial powers and weaker neighbors such as France, Holland and Britain. An alliance had earlier on been formed between Germany and Italy way before 1914. However, the two countries had been late in developing, in which case most or all the strategic positions, trade routes and best territories had been taken up by more powerful alliances or countries (Mead, 2001). These scholars note that both world wars were directly connected in the fact that the settlement that was imposed on the states that had been defeated in World War I was successful in increasing the antagonism that resulted in World War II (Kremenyuk, 1994). The triple alliance between Italy, Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire seemed to disintegrate with the exit of Italy, which claimed that the promise that it would keep a large share of the spoils of victory was not kept (Kremenyuk, 1994). France and its systems of alliances dominated Europe after the weakening of Germany and Russia. Its alliances with Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia were aimed at preventing the revival of Germany and Russia. The British government deemed it necessary to help Germany recover so as to offset France’s preponderance in the interest of its capitalism. However, the entry of Adolf Hitler after Wall Street crash of 1929 changed this. The crash had led to a massive breakdown in international payment systems, and the plummeting of trade thanks to the reduction of production in countries. Dominant capitalists in France, Britain and the USA were the sole holders of gold, not to mention the fact that the countries had monopoly in accessing most sources of raw materials all over the world. This created a division in the world into countries that had raw materials and gold, and others that did not possess these things (Sample, 2002). Italy, Japan and Germany did not have gold and raw materials. In this case, their governing bodies tried to solve the problems presented by organizing themselves on an aggressive totalitarian basis, while also making policies that challenged the dominant group (Dodds, 2002). Germany threatened the dominance of other powers through trade that did not involve gold, in which case the use of gold declined considerably. Japan and Germany had considerable success in Latin America, southern Asia and Southern Europe. The dominant powers reiterated by boycotting products from the three countries and giving credits to Southern Europe to eliminate dependence on Germany. Germany, on the other hand, resorted to armed force to which Britain and USA responded in the same manner (Sample, 2002). This led to the World War II.  This underlines the interplay between economic factors and ideology in causing war between nations. It is no wonder then that the Cold War pitted the two ideological blocks, which were strong remnants of the World War II.

In conclusion, peace and security are some of the most fundamental pillars in the wellbeing of any nation. The world, nevertheless, has experienced numerous conflicts and wars pitting different nations against each other and having differing magnitudes. While there may be varied causes of these wars, the common denominator in all of them is the ideology of the leaders controlling the varied governmental apparatus. This is clearly exhibited in the 2009 documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America” and the 2003 movie titled “The Fog of War”, both of which outline the fact that the reason for war is usually the behests or aspirations of the leaders or presidents at that time. This is also tied to the ideologies of the leaders of the warring nations. Scholars give the example of the Cold War period and note that the countries with conflicting ideologies were uncomfortable with the expansion of the alternative ideologies, in which case they engaged in aggressive strategies to curb their expansion. These strategies were founded on the belief that the world was better off with their own ideology, and the notion that the alternative belief was a threat to the existence of their own ideology. Nevertheless, they also note that ideology blends with other factors especially economic factors. This is because the dominance of any ideology or power is founded on economic prosperity and the ability to sustain itself and gain the support of other countries.

References

McNamara, R (1996). In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. Random House Digital, Inc.

Hale, M (2009). “Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, The Untold Story of a War, and the Story of the Man Who Told It“. New York Times. Retrieved 6th March 2013

Ellsberg, D (2013). Secrecy and National Security Whistleblowing. Daniel Ellsberg’s Website. Retrieved 6th March 2013 from http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/secrecy-national-security-whistleblowing

Vasquez, J. A. (2000). What do We Know about War? Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Sample, S. G (2002). “The Outcomes of Military Buildups: Minor States vs. Major Powers” Journal of Peace Research 39.6

Mead, W. R. (2001). Special Povidence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf

Kremenyuk, V. (1994). The Cold War as Cooperation.” From Rivalry to Cooperation: Russian and Americans Perspectives on the Post Cold War Era. New York: HarperCollins

Dodds, S (2002). The Role of Multilateralism and the UN in Post-Cold War US Foreign Policy.” Diss.  Australian National University

Globalization has been one of the most controversial topics in the contemporary human society

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Introduction

Globalization has been one of the most controversial topics in the contemporary human society. This is especially considering the differing views on the effects that the phenomenon has had on the human society, and especially with regard to the authenticity of cultures of different parts of the globe. Needless to say, a wide range of modifications have been visited upon the varied cultural aspects of countries. Indeed, globalization has enabled languages and customs of different societies to spread to other parts of the globe, thereby allowing for the fusion or merging of the same. In addition, it has allowed for the smooth flow of goods and services thereby giving individuals the capacity to attain goods and services that they previously could not obtain. A case in point is the possibility of finding KFC, Coca-Cola and even mobile phones in almost every part of the world. Of particular note is the fact that globalization has enabled individuals from different parts of the globe to be familiar with cultures from other parts of the world, thereby enhancing their understanding and comprehension of the same (Rothstein 14). Nevertheless, as much as the phenomenon increases the opportunities for individuals in a particular region, it also results in the mixing or blending of cultures, consequently resulting in the deterioration of distinctive cultural variations. In addition, there are other negative aspects of globalization touching on economic equality, deterioration of the nation’s individual sovereignty, as well as other devastating effects on the environment. However, questions have been raised as to the role of religion as far as globalization is concerned.

In the article “The Case for Contamination”, Kwame Anthony Appiah explores the globalization of the world and uses numerous extensive examples to outline the manner in which the globe is becoming contaminated. “Contamination”, in this case, underlines the aspect of having the authentic cultures and way of life passed down by the ancestors damaged and destroyed by the mixture of the numerous innovative or creative traditions and values. In this analysis, Appiah describes the measured transformation or modification of the numerous religions and cultures. However, he is open-minded in his personal opinion and does not seem to carry the influence of religion. As much as the main theme in his analysis if globalization, he inadvertently conveys ideas pertaining to the power of leadership, freedom of choice, as well as the ultimate message pertaining to respect for other religions. It is worth noting, however, that Appiah has been an ardent advocate of cosmopolitanism, which is essentially a global ethics that has the sole aim of establishing shared values and universality as a common denominator or determinant. In the article, Appiah uses descriptive narrative technique to underline the fact that cultural assimilation takes varied forms. In his hometown, Asante in Ghana, Appiah comes across exotic traditional customs that fellow-Ghanaians observe, even as they exhibit signs of contemporary 21st century living such as the use of technological gadgets such as wristwatches and cellphones, and wearing suits. Indeed, as much as the Ghanaians still have their roots in traditions, they have established links with the Western culture as seen in the case of the Ghana president who is not only a catholic but also a graduate from Oxford. He takes particular note of the opinions of cultural purists who advocate for the preservation of the unspoiled traditions and cultural values. This attitude, however, is not in conformity with cosmopolitanism or the ethics of globalization. Appiah opines that the appropriate moral object concern In Cosmopolitanism revolves around the individual rather than entire tribes, nations or peoples. Every person is a citizen of the world. However, the world is further away from cosmopolitanism in instances where homogeneity only underlines artificiality or superficiality in the cultural changes. In his examination of the varied forms of religions, Appiah underlines the fact that religions can be used as tools of oppression of the entire society or parts of it, or even a source of redemption.

First, religion has played the role of an oppressor or used to oppress certain portions of the society. This is especially the case for the treatment that is levied against women in religions such as Islam. It goes without saying that women are not considered to share the same platform with their male counterparts, in which case they are treated in a different way. Indeed, a large number of Islamic countries in the world are yet to allow their women to participate in varied activities such as voting or driving (Beyer and Lori 36). In fact, they have their modes of dressing controlled, not to mention the manner in which they relate with other people especially members of the opposite sex. Their functions, activities and areas of operations are restricted to the domestic world and would not have any freedom to work outside their houses. Of particular note is the severity of punishments that are levied against women when they are perceived as wrong. For instance, Mullahs in Nigeria not only inveigh or advocate against polio vaccination but also sentence adulteresses to death through stoning (Appiah 5). In other countries such as India, the same religion calls for the burning of wives to death in instances where they fail to make dowry payments. However, it is worth noting that this has been undergoing gradual changes especially in the Islamic countries thanks to the effects of globalization (Rothstein 17). There has been increased popularity of women who have stood against oppression in the face of dangers especially in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, often with detrimental effects. This has not only resulted from the increased interactions between the cultures of these people and their more liberated ones in other countries such as the United States (Rothstein 23). Indeed, the entry of the internet and mobile phones has allowed for increased openness and increased interactions, which has opened up space for these women.

In addition, religion has severally been used in the propagation of cultural imperialism, where certain cultural aspects are seen as superior to others. This is especially the case for the entry of Christianity in African countries. Of particular note, according to Appiah, is the fact that the entry of Christianity spelled doom for traditional ways of life as the Africans who wished to join the new religion had to abandon their old ways (Appiah 2). As much as the converts had the freedom to think for themselves and could decide what aspects to retain and what could not be retained, or even what they could adopt from the missionaries and what could not be adopted, the missionaries were highly against such retention. This notion was essentially rooted on the belief that everything that did not conform to the teachings espoused by the missionaries was wrong and inferior, and had to be abandoned.

On the same note, religion has been used as justification for wars and intolerance among nations and societies. Indeed, some religions have underlined the fact that any individual that does not subscribe to their teachings is not worth of wrong and not worthy of living. This may be seen, for instance, in the Thirty Years’ War that ravaged Central Europe up to 1648, as well as the Peace of Westphalia, when the Catholic and Protestant princes from Sweden to Austria struggled against each other leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Germans in the battle. There was also the first Bishops’ War in 1639 all the way to the end of the English Civil War in 1651, where the Protestant Armies were fighting against the armies of a Catholic King, resulting in the extermination of about 10% of the population (Appiah 4). This may have emanated from the intolerance that these religions propagate. Appiah notes that the enforcement of a single vision of universal truth would only result in blood bath in the world. In the contemporary world, religious imperialism and intolerance may be seen in the case of Islam, whose calls for jihad are interpreted as an actual warfare met against the United States.

Lastly, Appiah sees religion as playing the role of a cultural artifact that has the capacity to be modified or undergoing change and evoking varied responses from its audience. This underlines the fact that religious cultural change is no different from any other cultural change that results from the increased or enhanced globalization of ideas. Religion plays roles similar to those of other cultural aspects such as customs, dress and language, with different people having different ideas about the changes that it effects. In this regard, he underlines the acceptable nature of religious traditions, while noting that the cultural change process that results in the creation of a single cultural mode would be unacceptable. Homogeneity and artificial cultural diversity may, in essence, be an entrapment that hinders the evolution of human beings to higher natures (Beyer and Lori 56). Diversity, on the other hand, would be more conducive to the nature of man in the achievement of the maturation of his moral, aesthetic and mental potentials, not to mention the attainment of their fair share of happiness in life.

In conclusion, globalization has resulted in the contamination of the uniqueness and authenticity of varied cultural aspects. Indeed, various cultural practices have been blended together resulting in the elimination of certain aspects and the adoption of new ways of life. Religion, in this phenomenon, has been primarily used as a way of oppressing certain portions of the society and even redeeming some. Indeed, some religions have been propagating intolerance of diversity and instead calling for universality. This has resulted to numerous deaths as was the case in the religious wars in the 17th century. On the same note, religion has been a tool for fundamentalism or imperialism especially considering that the entry  of varied religions in countries such as Africa spelled doom for some of their practices as they opined that only the practices that were in line with their teachings were acceptable. Lastly, there have been instances where religions have been tools of oppression as is the case in Islamic countries where women are relegated to the unimportant spheres of life.

Works cited

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The Case for Contamination. New York Times, 2006, web retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/magazine/01cosmopolitan.html?_r=0

Rothstein, Mikael. New Age Religion and Globalization. Aarhus: Aarhus Univ. Press, 2001. Print.

Beyer, Peter, and Lori G. Beaman. Religion, Globalization and Culture. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Print.

The Black Death

The Black Death

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Institution

INTRODUCTION

The globe has seen quite a number of unpleasant events. In fact, the history of the entire globe was carved and continues to be carved by unpleasant events. Some of these are manmade while others are natural, with some of them remaining unresolved for a long time. In most cases, manmade calamities such as wars and acts of terror steal the show, alongside natural calamities such as earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and others. Of course, natural calamities pique a lot of interest thanks to the fact that there remain quite a lot of hidden details. While there are variations in the magnitude and the interest that different calamities pique, plagues have been among the topmost both in magnitude and interest piqued. The human society has seen quite a number of plagues, none of which can match the magnitude of The Black Death plague.

The Black Death was a term given to arguably the largest pandemics to occur in Europe’s (and human) history in the mid-1300s. The plague peaked between 1348 and 1350 in Europe, leaving between 75 and 100 million people dead (Scott & Duncan, 2008). The Black Death was responsible for about 1.5 million deaths in Medieval England between 1348 and 1350. While there exist varied theories pertaining to the Black Death’s etiology, modern science has shown that the plague was mainly caused by the Yersinia Pestis bacterium (Byrne, 2004).

The Arrival and Spread of the Plague

The Black Death, according to varied accounts, had its origin as Central Asia or China. The disease then reached Crimea in 1346, travelling through Silk Road. Black rats are credited with its spread from Crimea to Europe and the Mediterranean as they were regularly found in merchant ships. These rats were infested with Oriental Rat fleas.

Historians note that the plague, carried by 12 Genoese ships into Sicily where it reached in October 1347 and spread all over the island. Venice and Genoa experienced the outbreak in January 1348, introduced by ships from Caffa. However, the key point of entry into Northern Italy was Pisa. Italy seems to have been the key spreading ground as it was from here that it spread northwest throughout Europe into Spain, England, Portugal and France by mid 1348. It then spread into Scandinavia and Germany in 1348, with Norway feeling the pinch in 1349 through its Askov port (Byrne, 2004). The plague then swept through Bjorgvin before finally sweeping through northwestern Russia around 1351. While a large part of Europe was affected, the plague did not touch certain parts such as the Kingdom of Poland, as well as some parts of Netherlands and Belgium.

England had the first outbreak between 1348-49, with the disease seeming to travel into the south in form of bubonic nodes in the summer months of 1348. On the onset of winter, the disease mutated into a significantly frightening pneumonic form, hitting London in 1348 and sweeping across East Anglia in the New Year. Midlands and Wales were already experiencing its pinch by spring 1349 (Byrne, 2004).

Causes of the plague and Human factors that enhanced the spread of the Black Death Plague

The Black Death resulted from fleas carried by the oriental black rats that were so common in cities and towns. The common fleas, which went by the botanical name Xenopsylla cheopis, carries the Yersinia pestis bacteria. Eventually, the bacteria in these fleas kills the rats, in which case the fleas will have to seek new hosts and homes, which more often than not is in humans. Once the humans were bitten by the fleas, bacteria would be directly transmitted into their bloodstream, from where it would spread throughout the blood stream and the human body.

Scholars note that, in about a fifth of the victims, the disease would spread into the lungs of the patient, resulting into a pneumonic plague. There were variations in the time taken for the victims to succumb to the disease, varying from 2 to seven days. However, the pneumonic plague comes as the most dangerous and highly infectious category of plague, with the bacteria being spread through the air (Byrne, 2004).

 

Human activities

Nevertheless, there were varied human activities or conditions that may have resulted in the spread of the disease especially in Medieval England.

First, it is noted that the conditions of living in cities and towns were far from the best. People lived extremely close to each other with not much attention being given to sanitation. In fact, most people were not very particular about their sanitation until the 19th century. These unsanitary conditions created fair grounds for overpopulation of rats carrying the fleas. While the rats may not have caused the disease, they were responsible for its fast spread, aided by the filth littering the streets (Byrne, 2004).

In an attempt to cure their sores, the people would also cut up the buboes and lance them so as to draw out the noxious poisons. In such cases, the buboes would release a spray of puss, which often escalated the spread of the plague. Even in instances where the patients got over the treatment, they became increasingly vulnerable to contracting other infections thank to the open sores (Byrne, 2006). While the treatment may have temporarily aided in relieving pain thanks to the release of puss, it worsened things for doctors, patients and those people around them.

In addition, the human society at this time was deficient of medical knowledge in which case they tried numerous techniques to escape the disease. Unfortunately, some of these techniques aided in the spread. An incredible example is the flagellants, who thought that the plague had resulted from God’s punishment, in which case they whipped themselves to show repentance. On the same note, they believed that the disease was in their blood, in which case they could eliminate it by bleeding (Byrne, 2006). They also though that the demons resided in their bodies causing the plague, in which case whipping themselves was a way of beating the demons. Unfortunately, the open sores only aggravated the spread of the disease.

Moreover, the people in this society believed that cats and dogs were aiding in the spread of the disease. In this case, they killed the dogs and cats, with the animals’ blood being used to make some concoctions thought to eliminate the plague (Byrne, 2006). Unfortunately, this had the contrary effects especially considering that cats and dogs are natural predators of rats, in which case their elimination resulted in multiplication of the flea-infested rats and the spread of the plague.

The limited knowledge led to the enactment of varied rules. The people were forbidden from eating pig and poultry meat or even fat meat as these categories of meat were thought to spread the plague. In addition, they were forbidden from bathing as this was thought to weaken people’s hearts, while exercising was thought to attract the plague’s evil spirit (Byrne, 2006). These were real academic opinions emanating from the pope, but had the exact opposite as the people simply became dirty, hungry and weak thereby worsening the plague.

Impacts and Implications of the Black Death

The Black Death had far-reaching implications on the medieval English society, stretching from their economic aspects to their political and social lives.

On the economic aspect, the plague rendered the people incapable of ploughing their fields, especially considering that the men who usually carried these duties were victims. In addition, bringing in the harvests was virtually impossible, while animals got lost as there was no one to tend them. In essence, the entire villages faced starvations. The cities and towns had food shortages simply because the surrounding villages did not have sufficient food supplies. This also resulted in inflation of food prices, which in some cases went as much as four times. On the same note, most lords resorted to sheep farming after losing their manpower to the plague as sheep farming needed considerably less labor (Byrne, 2004). Needless to say, basic foodstuffs became scarce in cities and towns as the popularity of grain faming reduced considerably.

One of the most significant effects of the plague was on the social-political arena, especially with regard to the Peasants Revolt in 1381. Individuals who survived the plague believed that they had done it through God’s protection in which case there was something distinctive and unique about them. In essence, they exploited the opportunity that the disease had provided to enhance the quality of their lifestyle. Scholars note that the peasants were required by the feudal law to only leave their villages if they had the permission of their lord. (Scott & Duncan, 2008) While it was previously difficult for the lords to grant their permission, the disease had introduced an incredible shortage of labor, in which case the lords had no option but to not only allow the villagers to leave their villages but also encourage them to come and work for them so as to fill the gap. Once the peasants left their villages and signed up for the work, the lords would restrict them from returning to their villages. Peasants were privy to the lords’ desperation in getting their harvests in, in which case they demanded higher wages for their labor (Scott & Duncan, 2008). The massive loss in population resulted in economic changes founded on increased social mobility with the depopulation reducing the peasants weakened obligations to stick to their conventional holdings (Zahler, 2009).  In essence, the government was faced with the paradox as peasants could leave their lords and look for better and more enticing deals, something that upset the fundamentals of the Feudal System introduced with the sole aim of tying peasants to the land. It is worth noting that the lords were encouraging this movement, which was ironic as the Feudal System was bound to benefit them more (Zahler, 2009). The government tried to counter the constant movement of peasants looking for better pay by introducing the 1351 Statute of Laborers. This Statute limited the amount of wages offered to peasants to the same amount as that paid in 1346, with lords or masters being prohibited from exceeding this amount. On the same note, peasants were prohibited from leaving the village to which they belonged (Zahler, 2009). Any disobedience of this statute could have resulted in serious punishments for the peasants, but some chose to ignore it. However, the statute led to vast amounts of anger among peasants, resulting in the 1381 Peasant Revolt. This provides a causal link between the Black Death plague and the 1381 Peasant Revolt in England.

The Black Plague was also credited with the Renaissance, as well as the Reformation. This is because of the sudden decrease in cheap labor, which provided landlords with incentives to compete for laborers. They would use varied enticements such as freedom and increased wages, an innovation that is argued to have formed the basis for capitalism while the subsequent social upheaval resulted in the Reformation and the Renaissance. Apart from the increased ability to demand for better remuneration, workers in Western Europe started moving away from the yearly contracts, opting instead for successive temporary jobs as they offered better remuneration (Scott & Duncan, 2008). The plague also gave peasants the capacity to move to other areas that they previously could not go to in search of better opportunities.

In conclusion, the Black Death was arguably one of the most devastating plagues in written human history. It is thought to have emanated from Central Asia through cruise ships into Europe. Of course, there were varied entry points, but the disease was spread not only by the ships but also through the air. Varied human activities aggravated the situation, especially with regard to cleanliness and the techniques used to eliminate the disease. Most of these techniques were based on ignorance as not much was known about the disease’s etiology. Nevertheless, the disease had far-reaching social, economic and political implications. It is thought to have a bearing on the 1381 Peasants Revolt, as well as the Renaissance and Reformation. In addition, it reduced cheap labor, thereby allowing peasants to move to other areas seeking better opportunities.

References

Byrne, J. P. (2004). The black death. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Byrne, J. P. (2006). Daily life during the Black Death. Westport (Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Scott, S & Duncan, C (2008). Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer. New York: John Wiley & Sons

Zahler, D. (2009). The Black Death. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books.

Realism

Realism

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Introduction

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians started in the immediately after the second world war when Britain ended the mandate it had in Palestine. To that effect, there was a partitioning of Palestine into two sides the first part was to be Israel the homeland of Jews. The second one was meant to be for the Arabs. From then on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has been defined by tensions that are escalating evidently in the failed peace processes. The conflict has formed a core part of the larger Arab-Israeli conflict. The conflict has been termed as the most intractable conflict in the world (Boaz,  2005). The hallmark of this conflict has been the height of violence that has been seen during the entire period of the conflict. The fighting has been carried out by paramilitary groups, regular armies, and individuals. The casualties are not only the military, but a considerable number of the deaths have been recorded in the civilian population. The conflict has negatively impacted this region and there has to be a lasting solution that will bring peace to the region. There have been numerous attempts at finding a solution in the region, but they have not been effective. The paper will look at the different measures that have been taken to bring peace between Palestine and Israel.

Research question and Thesis

The paper seeks to investigate the best way to handle the peace problem between Israel and Palestine. The attempts made to come to an agreement between the two parties have revolved around the role that the leaders in both sides have played and the international community. Resolving conflicts in such ways does not put into consideration the role the public plays in the peace process. It is of little importance since peace does not exist between conflicting parties if the people have no belief that peace indeed exists. Therefore, the overarching question the paper attempts to answer is: is the use of force and military power the best way to handle the peace problem between Israel and Palestine.

Different measures have been taken to deal with the peace issue between Israel and Palestine, but they have not been effective. Therefore, use of force and military power is the best measure to be used to going to handle the conflict between Palestine and Israel and bring peace to the region.

Literature review

There have been numerous long-term peace processes as well as reconciliations of Israelis and Palestinians, but they have failed to come up with a final peace agreement. The key issues that persist include security, mutual recognition, water rights, borders, control of Jerusalem, Palestinian freedom movement, Israeli settlements and finding a solution to the claim by Palestinians of the right of their refugees returning (Shlaim, 2008). The violence that has been witnessed from this conflict especially in such a region that has rich historic sites, religious and cultural interests all over the world has made this issue an international problem. There have been many international conferences that deal with historical rights, human rights and security issues set-up to examine the issue. The conflict has been a factor hindering tourism in the area and the access to these areas that have been contested hotly.

There have been many initiatives taken to try and come up with a two-state solution that involves creating an independent Palestine together with the state of Israel. From various polls, many of the Palestinians and Israelis were in support of the creation of a two-state as compared to any other solution. They prefer this to any other means of solving the conflict. However, there exists significant disagreements and mutual distrust of the commitment on each side to uphold the obligations that come with the agreement. The conflict has generated various opinions and views within the Palestinian and Israeli society. It brings out the deep divisions that exist between the Palestinians and Israelis and also within each of these societies.

Method

The answer to the research question can be found only if the different methods used to find peace between Israel and Palestine are considered. The paper will use the level of analysis methodology to answer the research question.

There have been numerous attempts to solve this conflict through conflict resolution process as well as international mediation. The conflict is deteriorating and it is escalating as both the willingness and positions of the two parties is becoming more polarized. The direct negotiations have been conducted by two parties that are the Palestine liberation organization led by Mahmoud Abass and Israeli government that is led by Benjamin Netanyahu. These negotiations are conducted by an international contingent called Quartet on the Middle East. These negotiations have failed to come up with a solution to the ongoing conflict due to various reasons (Shlaim, 2008). First, the process has failed owing to the elastic approach that is being used to resolve the conflict. The process failed due to three personal level factors which are; an existing disconnection between the promises by leaders and what they actually deliver to the public. Second, the leaders of Palestine and Israel are only involved in the peace process so as to promote their individual interests. Third, there was a lack of change in the leadership of both sides hence the deadlock.

The peace process also failed due to political and economic factors in the region. The Palestine region lacks a democratic political structure. Israeli political structure is unified, and it operates with a parliamentary democratic structure. There is no way that peace can be achieved between Palestinians and Israelis if there is a lack of unity in the claims. The major differences between Israeli and Palestinian economic performance also led to the failure of the peace process (Kriesberg, 2009). International involvement is a critical factor that has caused the failure in the peace process in the region. International involvement translates to the role of international factors in the resolution of conflicts while leaving out Arab states to support Palestine and counter balance the support Israel receives. Arab states in the region are not involved in the peace process and hence its failure. These reasons show how the peace process has failed to bring peace to the region. Therefore, it means that conflict resolution is not an appropriate way to solve the peace issue between Israeli and Palestinians.

There are many military solutions to the conflict between Israeli and Palestinian. The wars that stop short of killing people of the opposing society accept a political solution. Wars are normally a contest of political will, and military force is a tool that a society can use for enemies as well as the public. There are various military actions that can be used to bring peace between Palestine and Israel (Halileh, 2002). One of these actions was on an impressive display during the military campaign that has taken place recently. The display is of the missile defenses which have outweighed the effect brought about by the rockets by Palestinians. The cost-exchange ratio is inclined towards Palestine since their missiles are relatively not expensive. However, the economic advantage of Israel levels out this scale. The precision that comes with intelligence and communication has made it possible for the number of civilian casualties to be reduced among the Palestinians. They are also helpful in bringing out the existing moral difference between the military tactics of the Palestinians and those of Israel. The physical vulnerability of Israeli’s will be reduced by technologies that enable the identification of tunneling. There has also been cooperation with Egypt has made it possible to bear down on the military fields and intelligence.

There are numerous proportions of military forces from Arab governments that act as a buffer and interference between Palestine and Israel in the Gaza. Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia can also contribute small contingents of the security forces when it comes to the staff within checkpoints at borders and carry out patrols with the Palestinian and Israeli security forces (Halileh, 2002). The creation of a multinational Arab force whose primary task will be policing Gaza would create a separation of the necessities of security from those of the political issues that are of dominance in Israel. The advancement in sustained and pervasive surveillance can lead to an increase in the confidence in Israel in the work that is being done by their military forces and hence become an accumulating asset. The Israeli military forces would also be free and hence be used in other areas.

There has been American training of the Palestinian forces in the West Bank, which is a sound investment that has shifted the responsibility of producing security among the Palestinians from Israel to Palestine. The training has created security forces that are capable of acting on the state’s behalf (Ross, 2007). There is a lot of collaboration between Israeli Defense Forces units and the Palestinian military currently in the aftermath of the fighting that has occurred currently. Assistance from the U.S military helps in the establishment of operations and intelligence fusion centers. It ensures that the two forces operate from a standard picture and hence there can be an improvement in their security collaboration.

There have been numerous peace talks arranged by leaders in a bid to bring peace to the region. These talks have not borne any fruits because the conflict between Israel and Palestine has not come to an end. Perhaps there must be a more serious approach to the issue in order to find a lasting solution. Since the talks have failed, there is a need to use a more serious approach that will force peace in the region. The talks by the leaders seem not to be taken seriously by the people and hence there is a need to show the people that this is a serious issue. The only way that seems viable is the use of military force because the military mean business. The military is out there to execute the instructions given to them and hence they will work hard to ensure that peace is restored in the region.

Conclusions

The contributions of military forces and the operations by the military have greatly advanced the peace in the region. The actions of the military forces have resulted in significant advancement of peace in the area. The military are keen on ensuring that peace is restored in the area. The military action has also reduced the number of civilian deaths due to the conflicts. The military camps offer assistance to the civilians who have been wounded during the conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian region is an important region to the entire world and hence the reason many nations are concerned with the peace issue in the region. The only solution that will bring peace in this region is the use of force and military action. Though military action and force have some negative impacts in the long run, it is an effective way of restoring peace in the region.

References

Boaz, J. (2005). The Israeli-Palestinian conflict. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

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Halileh, S. (2002). Israeli-Palestinian conflict. BMJ, 361-361.

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Kriesberg, L. (2009). Mediation and the Transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Journal of Peace Research, 373-392.

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Ross, S. (2007). The Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Blacklick, OH: McGraw-Hill.

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Shlaim, A. (2008). Reflections On The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict. Asian Affairs, 1-13.

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Tov, Y. (2007). The Israeli-Palestinian conflict from conflict resolution to conflict management. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

The Basis for Camp David

The Basis for Camp David

Author

Institution

Introduction

The world has seen its fair share of conflicts between different aspects of the human society. Indeed, almost every country has had to grapple with conflicts both within and outside its borders. Of course, the magnitudes and the basis for conflicts changes between countries, not to mention the time that is taken for the predisposing issues to be resolved. In the contemporary world, the shape of conflicts has only change with regard to the technology that is used in these conflicts. While there have been numerous conflicts both in the ancient and contemporary human society, none has been more controversial than the conflict between Israel and Arabs.

As much as the conflict between Jews and Arabs can be traced way back to the ancient societies, the current conflict has its basis on the 1948 declaration of independence by Israel on 14th May 1948. The independence had been predicated by the 1947 Partition Resolution, where the former Palestinian mandate of the Great Britain was to be divided into Arab and Jewish states, while the areas that had religious significance in Jerusalem were to remain under the administration of the United Nations (Geary, 2011). This, however, did not resolve the conflict as the Palestinian Arabs were unsatisfied with the arrangement as they saw it as unfair to the Arabs who were to remain in the Jewish territory, while favoring the Jews (Quandt, 1986). The conflict that took shape was, essentially an attempt by the Arabs to block the implementation of the Partition Resolution, as well as prevent the Jewish state from being established. On the other hand, the Jews were hoping to have the Partition Resolution implemented so that they can have full control over the allotted territory (Nido, 2006). The new Jewish state of Israel endured attacks from the seven Arab countries, including Egypt, with Arab refugees fleeing to Arab lands. Unfortunately, these refugees were intentionally not integrated to the Arab lands where they fled. Arab nations have maintained the descendants of the refugees in squalid conditions in the hope that they will at one time dislodge Jews in Israel. Numerous attempts have been made to resolve the conflicts between Israel and the Arab states, with Camp David accords remaining to be the most significant negotiations (Lesch, 2008). Camp David Accord was signed in 1978 between Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin with United States President Jimmy Carter as a witness (Mangle & Langone, 2005). Underlining the critical role played by this accord in resolving the conflict is the fact that the accord has been the basis for numerous other accords and negotiations (Quandt, 1986). These include the Camp David II, between Yasser Arafat of Palestine and Ehud Mu Barak.

Why did it fail?

While the Camp David accord remains one of the most significant steps towards resolution of the conflict, it has failed in bringing the conflict to an end. Indeed, the Jewish and Arab states are in a state of constant conflict with numerous talks and negotiations being held in an effort to resolve the conflict. There are varied reasons for the failure of Camp David Accords.

First, the two nations, despite agreeing on the varied provisions did not trust each other’s commitment to implementing the accord. This seemed to emanate from the countries’ varying degrees of importance to the United States, which was brokering the peace accords (Smith, 2007). As much as the two parties had underlined their commitment to the negotiations process, Israel had kicked off efforts at removing Egypt from the conflict using another peace deal that was overwhelmingly in the best interests of Israel (Telhami, 1990). Researchers note that Begin seemed to be buying time to the extent of allowing the negotiations to nearly collapse over non-issues so as to avoid being pressed on fundamental issues (Schulze, 2008). On the other hand, Sadat flatly refused to undertake any negotiations on matters that deeply concerned him including the sovereignty and land of Egypt (Mangle & Langone, 2005). At one time, Sadat had packed his bags and prepared to leave after being frustrated by the refusal by Begin to cede any ground on West Bank. Of particular note is the fact that such a departure would essentially mean an end to the relationship between America and Egypt (Telhami, 2012). This underlined the fact that as much as the positions presented by Sadat were more similar to the ones presented by the United States that were those of Israel, the American president could, with no hesitation, threaten Egypt (Findlay & Thagard, 2011). Even after the making of the Camp David accords, Begin did not hesitate to underline the right of Israel to indefinitely remain in West Bank and build settlements, thereby creating the impression that he did not consider the Camp David accord as binding in any way (Kāmil, 1986). It is worth noting that Israel was not treated with threats from the United States even after this violation.

In addition, there seems to have emerged the interference of other parties that are not primarily concerned with the peace and stability of the region. The main culprit remains the Soviet Union in general and Russia in particular (Bercovitch & Kadayifci, 2002). In 1991, Iran had yet to recover from the defeat it suffered in the hands of Iraq in the 8-year war, while Iraq had just suffered a crumbling defeat from Israel (Karsh, 2002). The Soviet Union, on the other hand, had started crumbling, in which case it could not offer its strategic backing to the Arab states hostile to Israel (Mangle & Langone, 2005). However, this had changed in 1993, with Iran running nuclear tests under the backing of Russia. This drew insufficient objections from the United States (Bercovitch & Kadayifci, 2002). While the United States was pursuing peace accords between Egypt and Israel, it failed to keep an eye on other nations. Israel had vouched for the maintenance of control of about 40% of West Bank to defend its borders and could not consider lowering this to 7% or 5% brought up in Camp David (Bie, 2012). Indeed, such an agreement would increase the vulnerability of Israel to attacks from its eastern border, at a time where there was increased threat from other countries such as Iran and Iraq.

Addressing the conflict between Arabs and Israel and brining the conflict to an end would necessitate that a policy is crafted addressing the Middle East in its entirety rather than in portions. Camp David accords in Jimmy Carter’s administration and Clinton’s government were based on the significantly dubious assumption that addressing the conflict between Israel and one of its neighbors such as Palestine or Egypt would solve the entire conflict, as other Arab countries would eventually fall into place, a highly unlikely scenario (Quandt, 1988). Indeed, partial diplomacy with just one of the Arab countries while ignoring developments in other Arab countries would successfully challenge any peace agreement.

References

Bercovitch, J & Kadayifci, S.A (2002). Conflict Management and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Importance of Capturing the “Right Moment” 9 Asia-Pacific Review 113, 123

Bie, S. (2012). From Sinai to the Golan Heights: A comparative analysis of Israel peace negotiations. Oslo: University of Oslo.

Findlay, D. & Thagard, P. (2011). Emotional change in international negotiation: Analyzing the Camp David using cognitive-effective maps. Berlin: Springer Publisher.

Telhami, S. (2012). The Camp David Accords: A case of international bargaining. College Park: University of Maryland.

Telhami, S. (1990). Power and leadership in international bargaining: The path to the Camp David accords. New York: Columbia University Press.

Quandt, W. B. (1988). The Middle East: Ten years after Camp David. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution.

Quandt, W. B. (1986). Camp David: Peacemaking and politics. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution.

Nido, E. (2006). Power, politics, and identity: President Carter and the forging of the Camp David Accords. Hanover: Dartmouth College.

Kāmil, M. I. (1986). The Camp David Accords: A testimony. London: KPI.

Geary, B. (2011). Camp David Accords (1978).

Mangle, A. & Langone, C. (2005). Jimmy Carter: Discovering the soul of a leader through aninvestigation of personality traits. Athens: University of Georgia.

Quandt, W. B. (2001). Peace process: American diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967. Washington, DC: Brookings Inst. Press

Schulze, K. E. (2008). The Arab-Israeli conflict. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman.

Smith, C. D. (2007). Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict: [a history with documents]. Boston, Mass: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Lesch, D. W. (2008). The Arab-Israeli conflict: A history. New York: Oxford University Press.

The balance sheet

The balance sheet

Contents

Why is the balance sheet important in order to understand the financial condition of the organization?  1

What types of accounts are found in the balance sheet?. 1

How are the accounts arranged and grouped?. 1

What types of business transactions add to the balances in each grouping of accounts on the balance sheet?  2

What types of information may users of the balance sheet discern by properly analyzing a balance sheet?  2

Why is the balance sheet important in order to understand the financial condition of the organization?

A balance sheet shows a summary of all the financial balances of a business organization at the end of a trading period, usually at the end of the year (Spurga, 2004). The balance sheet shows the net worth of the organization which is usually the difference between assets and liabilities. It is imperative but not a must that the assets side balances with the liabilities and owners’ equity side. Since the balance sheet is drawn at the end of a certain period and since it captures the net worth of the business, it thus serves a very important role in showing the financial position of an organization.

What types of accounts are found in the balance sheet?

The balance sheet has various types of accounts. These include; assets, (current, fixed and intangible), liabilities (short and long term) and owners’ equity accounts (Spurga, 2004).

How are the accounts arranged and grouped?

The assets are listed on the left side of the document. The assets are listed in order of their liquidity. Usually, the current assets are listed first after the available cash at hand or in the bank has been listed. The fixed assets which include the organization’s items such as machinery and buildings are listed last. Capital or owners’ equity and all liabilities are listed on the right side of the business document. Capital is listed first followed by the current liabilities and finally the long term liabilities (Makoujy, 2010).

What types of business transactions add to the balances in each grouping of accounts on the balance sheet?

Business transaction involves buying and selling either in cash or in debt. The assets side contains what the organization is owed by other companies while the liabilities side shows what the company owes to other companies (Makoujy, 2010).

What types of information may users of the balance sheet discern by properly analyzing a balance sheet?

Since a balance sheet shows the net worth of the business, users of a balance sheet will easily know the worth of the organization. The balance sheet also provides information of whether the organization is operating at a loss or profit. Failure of the balance sheet to balance may indicate either a surplus or a deficit which should give the management of the organization information and directions of which measures to take. The balance sheet also provides information to its users of which debts to collect and which to pay in the near future (Spurga, 2004).

References

Makoujy, J.R. (2010). How to read the balance sheet: the bottom line on what you need to know about cash flow, assets, debt, equity, profit… and how it all comes together.

New York: McGraw-Hill professional.

Spurga, C. R. (2004). Balance sheet basics: financial management for non-financial managers.

New York: Penguin Group.