The National Security


To protect its citizens in a post-9/11 world, the US has been forced to adopt policies that might seem to violate both domestic and international law. However, a closer look reveals that measures like enhanced interrogation or state-sanctioned surveillance programs, far from being yet another expression of imperialism, are a continuation of a long-term national security strategy aimed at securing democracy at home and abroad. Given the severity and scope of the on-going Coronavirus pandemic, these prerogatives have if anything become even more important. In this context, it has become even more clear that the reckless actions of self-professed defenders of democratic rights like Assange, Manning or Snowden are misguided and criminal.

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Your task:

Write an essay (8 pages, double-spaced) that agrees or disagrees with the claim above. Regardless of your position, your paper should:

1) Briefly discuss whether national security prerogatives have been affected by the on-going pandemic

2) Demonstrate your understanding of one of the two mentioned methods used to “secure the nation” in post-9/11 world (either enhanced interrogation or surveillance)

Your argument should also give a sense of how you think these methods might be connected to the underlying logic of the “war on terror,” and American national security strategy in general. For instance, if you make the case that these strategies are about defending democracy, then your paper needs to engage with the question of how democratic rights are being protected by the measures adopted during this war. Conversely, if you argue that these are manifestations of imperialism, you need to show how these methods work to reinforce the power of the ruling class, while in fact undermining democratic rights.

3) Provide an argument about how you see the role of whistleblowers like Assange, Manning and Snowden in the struggle for democracy.

4) In writing your answer, make sure to engage with the arguments proffered by Realists, Liberals, and Marxists about the logic of US security strategy, particularly in terms of the question of imperialism and democracy. You could this in many ways – for instance, use one of the theoretical frameworks to support your argument while engaging with the other two as providing potential challenges and showing why they are ineffective.

How to write the paper:

Your paper will be graded on the basis of three main factors:

1) cogency and strength of your argument

2) your familiarity and usage of the texts read for class, and the simulation assignment

3) overall clarity of writing.

Keep in mind that writing styles vary from person to person and there is no single style that will assure you a good grade. However, the hallmark of any good writer is her ability to convey her point of view to the reader in a clear and persuasive manner. Since this is an academic paper, you need to follow a more formal style of writing – which means that you should avoid colloquialisms and follow a proper and consistent citation style.

You might find the following suggestions useful as you start working on your paper.

Your essay should demonstrate that you understand the material, but it should not be a mere summary of it. The essay should therefore begin with an introductory paragraph that presents a thesis statement. In order to be effective, the statement should be very clear and explicit, giving the reader an idea of what you are arguing and which position you are arguing from (For instance, “The challenges faced by democratic states in this era are fundamentally different from the past, especially as made evident by the on-going pandemic. Therefore, it might occasionally be necessary for them to use methods to secure themselves that may appear to go against democratic values.” The first paragraph should also include a schematic account of how you will go about defending and demonstrating your argument (To make this argument, this paper begins with……I then move to an analysis of….I conclude with….).

The main part of the paper would then be a fleshing out of the claims as you presented them in the first paragraph. As you proceed, you should remember that while the argument must be your own, it must also be well-grounded in the readings. Keep in mind that you do not need to present every bit of research that you have done – only use the material that is relevant to your argument. You can and should use textual references and quotations to make your case. Be sure to indicate the author and page number as you quote or make reference to the texts. You should, however, avoid too many lengthy quotations. Do not rely on a quotation, however powerful it may be, to carry the explanatory burden of your paragraph. The quotations you use should substantiate and illustrate your argument, not the other way around.

In the end, you should have a concluding paragraph that sums up your argument, how you went about establishing it, and perhaps reveals some insights or conclusions that your analysis has brought to light.

In writing the paper, keep in mind a few basic rules: be succinct (avoid long and dense sentences, stay away from repetitions, edit unnecessary connecting sentences like “I will now turn to another point”); develop the argument cogently through good transition sentences that segue from one paragraph to the next; provide a fair summary of the counter-arguments; carefully select the quotes you need, and most importantly articulate the broader vision that frames your simulation role.

Finally, a good essay displays care in its self-presentation (spelling, style, etc.) and also some measure of elegance in its writing. Take some time to refine the phrases you construct and the words you use. While you may not be able to bear the sight of your paper after having worked on it for a couple of weeks, do remember that editing is a necessary process. A final read, even if it is cursory, of your completed essay will ensure that you hand it in without any obvious and easily avoidable errors. For more information on The National Security see this:

The National Security

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