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Thinking and Caring About World Politics

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players," William Shakespeare (1564–1616) wrote in As You Like It. Shakespeare's lines are used here because they help convey the drama of world politics. The characters are different, of course, with Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States replacing those of his time and imagination. Beyond that, though, there are remarkable parallels between international relations and the master's plays. Both are cosmic and complex. The characters are sometimes heroic; at other times they are petty. The action is always dramatic and often tragic. As with any good play, the audience was drawn into the action at The Globe, the London theater where Shakespeare staged his works. Similarly, the global theater of international politics draws us in. Indeed, we are seated on the stage, no matter how remote the action may seem or how much we may want to ignore it. Like it or not, we and the world are stuck with each other. The progress of the play, whether it continues its long run or closes early, is something we will all enjoy or endure.

Included here on the Online Learning Center are many useful activities, from simulations to current debates to interactive maps, and of course a thorough review of the text to help you better understand the chapter concepts and arguments. You are encouraged to use the text review to test your understanding of each chapter as well as the Web news to help you apply the theories and terms from the chapter to current events.

Chapter Objectives

Explain the interconnection of all the actors in the international system and how events taking place in one country have effects on other countries.

Describe some of the effects of world politics on individuals.

Describe how the world is economically interconnected.

Analyze how world politics affects the way countries distribute their economic resources.

Consider how global problems and challenges, such as population increases, pollution, and resource depletion, affect individuals and their living space.

Consider how individuals can make a difference in world politics.

Summarize realist beliefs and assess their implications for understanding the world political system.

Understand the tenets and goals of liberalism as a present and future force in world politics.

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