May 9th, 2005

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08:08 pm - POLI 391
Wow.  This is gonna be... interesting.  I didn't know quite what to expect from Poli 391: The US, UN, Terrorism and Iraq, but it certainly wasn't this: wargames.

That's right; turns out there is to be very little to no lecture involved in this three hour a day class; instead there will be a FUCK TON of readings on foreign policy statements and the like every day, and the three hours of class time largely spent functioning as a presidential cabinet, with Roger Coates (our instructor) serving as the President we're there to advise.  Every day we're supposed to come up with three questions for the President based on the day before's readings, and we find out what the President's leanings and tendencies are from his responses - as things stand, we don't even know what his party affiliation is.

This is particularly going to be a pain in the ass for me, considering I'm supposed to be the freaking Special Advisor to the President.  No real Special Advisor ever had to try to advise the President on the best course to keep from politically offending his constituency or his power base without knowing what party he belongs to...  sigh.

Nevertheless, it looks to be ferociously interesting, and we're expected to frequently dissent rather harshly with one another and express our own viewpoints, so it should be ... something.  Coates is one hell of an engaging and dynamic personality, and while he's been careful to let slip few clues to his real life political affiliations, I'm pretty heartily encouraged by the fact that (again, in real life) he's served the Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton administrations in various capacities but has not served either Dubya administration.  He also mentioned that in the face of ridicule from many colleagues, he has always maintained that Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism until we invaded it, so I suspect that whatever his real positions are, we're probably not too far off from one another.  Which is comforting.

Of course, his "Presidential" bearing may or may not reflect his real life views.  He intends to make us work to figure that out.  But man... I just hope I don't wind up having to try to tell a Republican and religious right warhawk president how to maintain his powerbase amongst red state voters and blocs.  That would be intensely difficult. =\

* addendum: one of his suggested reference readings is the wikipedia article on ECHELON! How freaking cool is that?! (It's a damned good article and interesting read, btw - yes, Big Brother is watching, and probably considerably more comprehensively than you think.)


(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture] From: electricia
Date: May 9th, 2005 - 05:57 pm
For some reason I'd gotten it into my head that you live in Los Angeles, though I have no idea why.

Where do you go to school? What are you studying (besides the obvious from your post).

Also, I always find that "metric assload" works pretty interchangeably with "fuck ton" if you ever want some variety.

[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 9th, 2005 - 06:04 pm
"I don't live in LA, but I do live in Lothar!" Heh.

I'm actually a CS major; I'm just taking this course because 1. I didn't want to not be taking any courses over the summer, I derive a lot of personal satisfaction out of being a college student and 2. it looked fucking interesting.

Regarding the metric assload: I try to avoid describing asses or their loads in terms of the measuring system - "metric" sounds so... square and boring, and "english", well. English. Enough said! (When I'm talking about a REALLY large volume, though, I will generally go for "cubic assload.")

Oh yeah! And I live in Columbia, SC, and attend USC - the University of South Carolina. Overall it's really been impressing the hell out of me; I've never been enrolled in college before but I've been involved tangentially with a pretty fair amount, and this one really rocks.

Also I need to put in another edit about why Coates kicks ass - when I went to the CS lab today to save the required readings that were only available from campus computers onto my thumbdrive to take home with me, I noticed amongst his suggested reference materials a wikipedia article. How fucking incredible is that? (If you're curious, the article in question is the one on ECHELON, and it's a damned good one and interesting read. Yes, Big Brother is watching - and probably a hell of a lot more comprehensively than you think.)

[User Picture] From: electricia
Date: May 9th, 2005 - 06:11 pm
That's a real thing? I really thought it was just something they made up on Alias.

See you in Lothar. :)

[User Picture] From: scarlett723
Date: May 9th, 2005 - 06:43 pm
Sounds like my international relations class in which we did a cuban missle crisis simulation and I got to be fidel castro. Though you figure out in that position that he didn't really have a ton to do with the crisis. (This was based on recently declassified documents of the time). But now do you understand why I have a degree in poli sci? I loved classes like that. It almost makes me want to go back to school and write papers.

[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: May 10th, 2005 - 03:43 am
consider that bush gives lip service to conservatism but is anything but, particularly fiscally ("tax cuts during war time? SURE! ...hey, let's have TWO wars while we're at it!" is the acme of conservatism to my mind,) although his moral values (like, both of them,) are more in line with conservatives he's still not a mainstream conservative (compare and contrast with reagan's "small government" focus.)

also, dubya is known for not telling his advisors what he thinks until after they've advised him on an issue (9/11 and iraq being a big exception to that -- after 9/11, the whole "saddam! terrists! find the connection!" thing). so yes, someone could actually be in the position of advising a president they know nothing about.

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