Snow Day Discussion

While everyone enjoys a snow day – at least, until that snow day becomes an ice day like it did last week for us in the Pacific Northwest – it put us back a little on discussion.  I like to spend the beginning of the semester talking about the differences between Europe and the US and the stereotypes each hold about the other, but our snow day meant this discussion had to be shortened.  Just for fun, I thought I’d post some of the questions we did not get to here.

For class, we read Kagan’s “Power and Weakness” and the introduction to Hill’s Europe’s Promise.  Both agree that Europe and the US seem to be moving further apart, but they offer two very distinct arguments for why this is (and what should be done about it).

  • What do you think of each argument?  Do you prefer Kagan or Hill?
  • What do you think of Kagan’s argument about the “psychology of weakness”?  Do you think this is enough to explain Europe’s focus on domestic spending and diplomacy rather than military spending?

And a few more general discussion questions:

  • What are the major political and cultural differences between the US and Europe?  What about their major policy differences?
  • Why do these differences exist?  For instance, why is class structure more important in Europe than the US?
  • Is it possible for the US and Europe to become closer again?  What would be needed for this to occur?
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