Chapter on Russia

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Chapter on Russia

According to the Byrnes text what was the fundamental flaw of the Soviet Union that led eventually to its downfall. Explain your answer in some detail.

According to the Byrnes text what were the more immediate reasons for the fall of the USSR?

Explain the role of tradition in determining to what extent a country will be democratic or authoritarian.

Explain the role of a free press in a democracy. In semi-democratic countries like the USA what factors might limit true democracy as promoted by the press?

Explain the role of political parties in a democracy. Questions?

How does the level of government control affect the extent of democracy in a given country?

Describe the factors of tradition, the press, political parties and the level of government control in Russia as they relate to democracy or authoritarianism.

Explain the problems Russia has had with collecting taxes and with their overall health situation.

Explain in some detail the three major factors that predict the extent to which minority and majority groups are likely to come into conflict in any country.

Explain to what extent each of these factors affect Russia today, making sure that you describe the situation with Chechnya in your explanation.

Flight From Freedom: What Russians Think and Want

What support does the author give for this statement: “Such is Russia's cultural inheritance, the net effect of which is to make Russians, even in modern times, the least socialized or politicized people on the European continent.”?

According to this article how do Russian view the word “democracy?”

According to this article how do Russians view the word “freedom?”

Why was Putin so popular according to this article?

Out of Communism: Reforming the Russian Legal System

About what percent of Russian trials result in convictions? What does this tell you about trials in Russia?

What factors does the author mention that make it easy to bribe judges. What factors make it easy for the prosecution to get convictions?

What does the author say about the “ethos of restraint?”

Verdict in Russian Courts: Guilty until Proven Innocent

In what sense are appeals in Russian courts different from U.S. courts?

What does the article say about torture and coerced confessions in Russia today?

Chapter on Japan

What features of Japan’s educational system tend to make it one of the world’s best? How does this transfer to a successful political system?

What qualities in Japan’s culture are helpful in creating a successful economic system? Do you have any experience working with Japanese?

Explain the significance of “Japan Inc.” according to the text

Explain the importance of consensus in Japanese business and politics. Describe the general lack of political competition in Japan. Generally what would one expect from so little competition? Has this occurred in Japan?

What elements in developed countries tend to lead to gender equality socially, economically and politically? Describe how this has contributed to changing gender roles in Japan.

What factors favor democracy in Japan? What factors hinder it? According to the text how might Japan be leading the world into a new form of government in the 21rst Century?

Describe the minority situation in Japan.

Criminal justice in Japan and The death penalty in Japan

From the articles comment on Japan’s practice of questioning people accused of crimes. Mention two ways that this is different from the legal system of the USA. Questions.

How many jury trials are there in Japan? What does this say about the system and the mentality behind it?

Why are confessions deemed so important in Japan? Answer this from the perspective of the police and the judicial system. Does this agree with anything you know about the Japanese culture?

Questions on India

Discuss briefly the multi-cultural aspect of India as illustrated by the different languages that are spoken. Questions?

Explain briefly the caste system in India and its importance to understanding the country. Questions?

Explain India’s democracy as it relates to custom or “habits of the mind.’ Questions?

Explain India’s democracy as it relates to where power is exercised. Questions?

Explain India’s democracy as it relates to literacy and to the media. Questions?

Explain India’s democracy as it relates to the number and types of political parties. Questions?

Give a brief description of how Kashmir came to be (mostly) part of India. Questions?

According to the Byrnes text why doesn’t India allow Kashmir to become a separate country? Questions?

Describe the minority situation in India.


Behind the Mumbai Massacre: India's Muslims in Crisis

Describe the disparities between Moslems and Hindus in India according to this article.

What is the basis for the resentment of much of the Moslem population in India against the government and against the Hindu population?

Describe the two religious movements in Moslem society that the author describes.

Explain the effects of Moslems in one of the movements who believe, “But jihad, as it is described in the Koran, does not end merely with political gain. It ends in a perfect Islamic state.”

Explain this quote from the article and what the authors see as the effects of, “ the lack of strong political and civic institutions in the region for people to have faith in.”

Nigeria Chapter

What does the term “Black African country” mean? What countries are not in Black Africa? Explain.

What does the word “tribe” mean? Explain what an ethnic group is.

Explain briefly the creation of Nigeria as a country and how this has affected the country in broad terms since then.

Why do many Nigerians feel little nationalism? Explain.

Why is the Nigerian so corrupt? Explain this in some detail.

From this discussion list and explain some of the general factors that lead to corruption in any country.

Describe the minority situation in Nigeria.

Nigeria Confronts Obasanjo’s Legacy

Describe briefly what the author said were the positives and negatives of Obasanjo’s legacy.

Explain what the author says is Nigeria’spartial-reform syndrome.”

Although Nigeria has “a miniscule international debt, a large network of universities and colleges, underexploited agricultural land, huge reserves of wealth at home and abroad, and the assurance of tens of

billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually it still lacks one thing according to this article and others. What is it and why is this so important?

What does the author see as Nigeria’s leaders’ greatest success? Why could this “success” still be a problem in the future?

According to the author what is it about Nigeria’s three branches of government at the national level that bodes well for democracy in the long run? Explain.

Nigeria: Chronicle of a Dying State

According to the author why are the thieves blatantly stealing oil from Nigeria’s oil wells so successful? What does this say about Nigerian politics?

According to the author why does the Nigerian government lack legitimacy in the eyes of the people? What would you imagine would result from this lack of legitimacy?

What does the author mean by “the state sits on society?”

In general terms why does the author maintain that Nigeria’s “malformed political

order is dying?”


According to the text what unique features does Brazil possess in relation to other Latin American countries?

Describe the similarities between Brazil and most other Latin American countries.

Describe Brazil’s democracy according to the factors of tradition and level (locale) of government control.

Describe Brazil’s democracy according to the factors of separation of powers, political parties and the media.

How do the literacy rate and the separation of Brazil into economic classes affect democracy?

Describe the minority situation in Brazil.

Lifting the Veil: Understanding the Roots of Islamic Militancy by Henry Munson

Broadly speaking why does Munson say that the Islamic world tends to see the USA as an enemy? What evidence does he give for this? What issue does he say creates the greatest animosity towards the USA?

Curbing Palestinian terrorism and in turn most of the Moslem anger towards the USA can only be achieved how, according to Munson?

How is the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s war on terror perceived by most Moslems according to this article?

According to this article what triggered Osama Bin Laden’s aggression to the USA –mention the event and what was significant to Bin Laden about this event.


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