13 October 2016   Leave a comment

The International Food Policy Research Institute has published its Global Hunger Index  for 2016 (Students in the World Politics course need only read the “Summary” for purposes of the weekly quiz).  The Index measures the degree and severity of food insecurity in most countries of the world and this year’s report indicates that there has been measurable progress in reducing levels of malnutrition and starvation in the world.  Nonetheless, the report finds that “Levels of hunger are serious or alarming in 50 countries.”

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died.  The King was the most recent holder of the Chakri dynasty which has ruled Thailand since 1782 and ascended to the throne in 1946.  He guided the country through two military dictatorships and was viewed as a stabilizing force in Thai politics.  He was revered by most Thais even though he held little formal power.  His departure comes at a very sensitive time in Thai politics since the country has been ruled by a military junta since 2014 and the country has yet to return to a full democracy. Bhumibol’s son, Vajiralongkorn, will become the new King of Thailand.

In class we have talked about the difficulty of “recalibrating” power as weak powers become strong (as is the case with China in the contemporary world).  The difficulties of adjusting to changes in the balance of power was the source of the conflict that led to the Peloponnesian War:  Sparta became increasingly concerned at how Athenian power grew dramatically and quickly.  Graham Allison refers to the conundrum as the “Thucydides Trap” in an essay which elegantly posed the difficulties of balancing when the targets are moving.

Posted October 14, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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