The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Homework assignment

May 23, 2006

I’m not sure if my colleagues here at the Duck teach critical theory in their IR theory courses. I do, at least in my master’s class.

My classes ended last month, but I have a homework assignment just begging for a student population.

Write an “immanent critique” of the following passage from President George W. Bush.

Monday May 22, this question for President Bush came from a member of the audience at the Arie Crown Theater at Lakeside Center — McCormick Place, Chicago:

Speaking of oil-producing countries that are not friendly to the United States right now, I’m very concerned about what’s going on in Venezuela and Bolivia and all, the coalition of Hugo Chavez. I wondered what your strategy was going to be, or what you’re working on in that respect.

Here is Bush’s response:

I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights and human rights is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace. I’m going to remind our allies and friends in the neighborhood that the United States of America stands for justice; that when we see poverty, we care about it and we do something about it; that we care for good — we stand for good health care.

I’m going to remind our people that meddling in other elections is — to achieve a short-term objective is not in the interests of the neighborhood. I will continue to remind people that trade is the best way to help people be lifted from poverty; that we can spend money — and we do in the neighborhood — but the best way for there to be growth is to encourage commerce and trade and prosperity through the marketplace.

I want to remind people that the United States stands against corruption at all levels of government, that the United States is transparent. The United States expects the same from other countries in the neighborhood, and we’ll work toward them.

We’ll continue to work with forces like the Central — countries like the Central American countries, where we passed a free trade agreement called CAFTA, to remind the people in that area that relations with the United States will be beneficial to their people. There’s a lot of things we’re doing.

Please restrain your answer to fewer than 10 double space typed pages.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.