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International vs National


In the modern world, people should care more about international than
national issues.

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Sense of obligation


issues are arguable more important than national ones.


and increased interconnectivity between businesses, politics and the movement
of money and people around the world have made it imperative for people to care
about international issues.


Countries today share
tightly interconnected markets and economies where one country’s economic
malaise or problems has immediate impact on others

International affairs
can have huge impact on national ones given the kind of tie-ups and links
countries have amongst each other today

What one country
does, especially a country that is more powerful and influential, would
have an impact on domestic issues

E.g. EU shares common
currency (Euro) thus have complex economic structures and trade
agreements that tether their markets to one another

Greek bankruptcy led
to eurozone crisis that requires a significant bail out by germany and
other EU countries to salvage the Euro

E.g. trade pacts made
between countries that share FTA show complexity of world economies today

Trump’s battering of
Mexico and threat to impose a border tax has huge implications for
Mexico’s exports to US


Global supply chains
today are more complex than ever before – vast import and export of food
products makes it necessary for govt and consumers to be aware of what
happens to their food source
E.g. outbreak of
diseases like bird flu and mad cow disease have led to curbs on imports
of supply from affected countries

Consumers became
more wary and careful about their purchase

E.g. China’s food
scandals – suppliers using expired or rotting meat for fast food chains

Consumers becoming
skeptical of food products from china

E.g. Europe horsemeat
scandal – horsemeat passed off as beef in many frozen foods

Led to global outcry
as food products were exported to many parts of the world


International issues
can be of greater significance than national ones at times as they pose an
immediate external threat to countries domestically

international issues such as climate change and rise of global terrorism
can have a profound if not immediate impact on countries on the home
E.g. Paris Agreement
sees many countries coming together to form a pact in tackling climate
change that has serious implications on a shared planet

Recognition that
environmental issues transcend geographical boundaries
Trump’s withdrawal
from pact to focus on US economy roundly criticized by international
community and US citizens themselves as they recognize that the retreat
o just caring about national issues is a short-sighted goal

E.g. Indonesia haze
crisis impact on neighbouring countries Msia and SG

Haze issue become
critical due to serious impact on health and businesses


Rise of foreign
militant group is no longer restricted to a foreign country that is of no
concern for people elsewhere
Need for countries to
share intelligence and recognize that the threat is no longer contained
to one country alone
E.g. rise of ISIS and
terrifyingly swift spread of radical ideology  through internet has
led to multiple terror attacks in Europe and other countries

Terrorists not
directly linked to ISIS also carry out attacks in their name
Globally, religious
leaders and muslim clerics asked to be more vigilant about their
congregation and note changes in behaviour amongst young men
Parents more
concerned about their children and who they interact with online, for
fear of being radicalized


Even if international
issues may not affect people directly on the home front, it is necessary
to care about them because there is a moral imperative to do so
Recognize that we have
a part to contribute and play in the world and whenever possible, it is
necessary for us to help alleviate the suffering of others

E.g. syrian refugee

Germany took in 1
mill refugees in an act of compassion and generosity to those fleeing
the conflict zones in desperation
Images of drowned
syrian toddler on Europe’s shores sparked a wave of guilt and compassion
for the plight of refugees

E.g. natural
disasters – Typhoon Haiyan Philippines

Seen an outpouring
of help from regional countries even though disaster is contained within
that country
SGreans reported to
have raised funds voluntarily, going to tacloban to inject new life into
the community


Yet, national
issues are just as important.


developments that happen on the world stage require action on the home front to
deal with them. While it is becoming increasingly necessary for people to care
more about international issues because of our global outlook, issues closer to
home sometimes require greater immediate attention.


Not always true that
international issues are more important. Often, local issues are just as
important, if not more important than international ones

Affect people more
directly e.g. local legislation / changes in policies have an immediate
impact on people’s lives

Domestic concerns can
be more pressing for ordinary people and they should be concerned with how
to confront these issues

E.g. Venezuela
economic crisis  led to daily protests and widespread food shortages

Critical problem
that Venezuelans are most concerned with as their daily lives and
bread-and-butter issues are affected

issues require tailor made solutions thus people should be more concerned
about their own domestic issues

E.g. SG change to
education system

Academic grades
taken very seriously, thus affect parents and children directly
Changes made to the
way primary school exam is graded greatly concerns and interest SG
Proposed to tackle
the problem of children experiencing excessive stress due to high stakes
and local competitive culture
Does not concern /
affect other countries

E.g. rise in hate
crimes and racism in US arguably in tandem with election of Trump and his
divisive rhetoric about race and religion is a great cause of concerns
for Americans

Incident in Portland
of muslim girls verbally abused by a man that later stabbed 3 passengers
who stood up in defence for the girls
Outpouring of grief
for heroes who stood up against bigotry and prejudice
People were deeply
affected  and have called for a stop to divisive rhetoric that had
perhaps endorsed / normalized hate speech and actions
Domestic issue that
has to be dealt with by the country itself, other countries should not

Issues are uniquely
local and require specific measure, thus domestic issues can be considered
more important


Impact of
globalization is not inevitable and some countries are able to mitigate /
minimize its effects if the local govt is strong enough or effective
policies are put in place

E.g. SARS outbreak
led to several countries grappling with the disease but effectively
managed in SG

Govt took swift
measures to quarantine the affected and put stringent checks on people
from schools to airports to other crowded public areas

E.g. ZIKA virus that
led to a crisis in Brazil had minimal impact in other countries

Other countries
quickly took steps to check for early warning signs in patients and
contain the spread


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