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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Local EFFECTS OF Globalization: The Middle East Crisis

    People around the globe are more connected to one another than ever before.International trade and travel are more frequent, and international communicationis mundane leading to increased interdependency of nations and people. Thisphenomenon has been titled ‘globalization.’

    What in the past affected only a local region nowadays reaches and influencesother regions thousands of miles away.

    The conflict in the Middle East, and more specifically, between Israel andthe Palestinians, is a good example. At one time, knowledge of this disputewas very limited among the general population of the United States. Today, however,we are inundated with information and we also realize that it affects our everydaylives.

    Sept. 11 shocked and traumatized people from all walks of life in spite oftheir religious affiliation, sex, or creed. But Americans also became more awareof the world abroad and were asking new questions and demanding action. Psychologistsby and large agree that individuals and groups usually define their identitiesby differentiating themselves from and placing themselves in opposition to others.And theories of cognitive dissonance explain how thoughts and belief systemscan change relatively quickly and without difficulty in response to changedexternal environments.

    What is happening now in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories issuch a local event with global effects’#151;politically, socially, and economically.

    For example, prior to the recent crisis, the Bush Administration was intenton adhering to a hands-off policy in the Middle East. As the violence in theregion surged, threatening vital U.S. interests and world peace, internal andexternal pressure mounted on President Bush, ‘the leader of the free world’,to take a more active approach. Our Arab and European allies alike were pressingthe U.S. government for more active arbitration or intervention.

    And economic effects of the crisis were felt in many countries too. After Iraqdiscontinued some of its sales, oil prices in the U.S. did go up to over $26a barrel.

    Finally, traditional Muslim allies such as Egypt and Jordan have both feltthe social ramifications of the conflict. Both countries experienced enormousstreet protests in their capitals earlier this month by angry citizens frustratedby their own government’#146;s inaction and perceived U.S. bias favoring Israel.

    Under the condition of global interdependence once isolated events take onnew meanings for the rest of us and create uncontrollable ripple effects thataffect the lives of people thousands of miles apart. This is why some arguethat in the global village the ‘local’ influences the ‘global’and that global events eventually trickle down to the local.

    Students who are interested to learn more about globalization at Stony BrookUniversity should look into the Federated Learning Community program (http://www.stonybrook.edu/flcglobal)or contact Professor Hermann Kurthen ([email protected]).

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