Blog post 7: Foreign policy and the Internet

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

After reading the two articles (and making notes, as always), your task is to find an opinion column or editorial (Op-Ed) or analysis at a news website that you can use as a case for your discussion of the two articles. For example, a case might concern the U.S. reaction to censorship of free speech on the Internet in another country. (That is just one example. Your case does NOT need to include censorship.)

Both of the assigned articles discuss U.S. foreign policy and the Internet. Each article is really about a distinct aspect of U.S. policy regarding use of the Internet and other nations. You need to read both articles carefully before you will understand this distinction. Make sure you can state clearly — in one or two sentences — what each assigned article is really about, in a way that makes obvious the difference between them.

Requirements for the opinion column or editorial or analysis you select:

  1. It must be in English. The news website may originate in any country.
  2. It must appear on a website that regularly publishes news. It cannot be a p.r. site. It cannot be a government site. It cannot be the website of a scholarly journal. It CAN be non-mainstream or alternative media, e.g. Mother Jones or The Huffington Post. It can be strongly partisan and/or take a side. (It doesn’t have to take a side.)
  3. It must be mostly analysis and/or opinion — not a news report.
  4. It must be about the U.S. AND another nation or nations AND the Internet (mobile and hacking included). It must NOT be just generally about U.S. foreign policy. NOTE: The U.S. aspect can be a very small proportion of the article — what is most important is that you have another country (other than the U.S.) to use as a case. Most of Shirky’s examples are like that. (Think about his examples.) It can be about a single incident, or it can be broader than one incident.
  5. It must have a visible publication date within the past two years.

Shirky mentions several cases concerning events in other countries, e.g. Spain in 2004. Comor and Bean wrote more generally about the Muslim world. The events or situations they refer to in the two articles were written about in various opinion articles at that time. Many other events have been written about since that time!

Content of the post: 

  1. In the first sentence of your blog post, give the full title (headline) of the opinion or editorial article, and make that title a LINK to the Web page where the full text of that article appears.
  2. Summarize the case in your selected opinion or editorial article briefly.
  3. Answer this clearly: Does the case support or refute Shirky, or does it support or refute Comor and Bean? Why (or why not)? Use specific references to BOTH of the assigned articles (BUT NOT a lot of QUOTES!).

It is possible that the editorial/opinion column/analysis is not relevant to one of the assigned articles, while it is very relevant to the other assigned article. That is okay! But in order to make that point, you really need to understand both articles.

Your deadline for posting is Monday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. 

SLUG: The TITLE of your blog post about these articles must begin with the words “Foreign policy and the Internet.” You can add more words after those if you want to.

If you need any clarification about this assignment, please make a comment on this post. I will answer it here.

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