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September 16, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 16, 2005

OPINION

CI je 40,

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
4 4I, for one,
wake up in the
middle of the
night thinking
about it."
- Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY), on his
difficulty deciding which way to vote on John
Robert's nomination to become Chief Justice,
as reported yesterday by washingtonpost.com.

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0

Balancing hegemony
BRIAN SLADE GL-OBAL CURRENTS

0

f you've picked up
a national news-
paper in the past
six months, chances
are that a story on the
world's fastest growing
economy, China, was
on the front page. In
2004, China reached
the trillion dollar mark
in total contracted
foreign investment, taking in $60 billion
in 2004 alone. And this massive influx of
investment has translated into a skyrock-
eting gross domestic product, leading to
higher levels of employment and disposable
income fostering a booming middle class.
Cell phone use is up, and auto manufactur-
ers like General Motors are building plants
in China in hopes of driving away with the
world's fastest growing automobile market.
Many economists and policymakers believe
that this extensive integration of Chinese
and American markets will significantly
lessen the chance of a military conflict, but
don't be fooled.
The subtle shift in the international sys-
tem is currently underway threatens the
unilateralism America has enjoyed for
more than a decade, and threatens to throw
America into conflict with an increasingly
powerful China. Currently, it is infeasible to
think that China is able to spark such a shift
alone. But help seems to be on the way, as
China has found partners with similar goals
of stemming U.S. unilateralism. To put the
type of systemic shift I'm talking about into
context, a look into history is insightful. A
brief survey of European history tells the
story of the Balance of Power principle. The
theory explains the complex chess game
that governed Europe from the 18th cen-
tury to the end of World War II. The age
was marked by the formation of Europe's

contemporary states, as well as frequent
warfare. Inevitably, certain states came to
dominate this system at different times, and
it was seen as dangerous to all involved to
allow a single state to become too powerful.
A series of "balance of power" wars, culmi-
nating with the Napoleonic Wars, were set-
tled when coalitions of less-powerful states
defeated the dominant power.
The question is: Is America now play-
ing the part of Napoleonic France? And if
so, is a coalition building in hopes of end-
ing American hegemony? There isn't yet a
clear-cut answer, especially because the era
of conventional inter-state warfare seems
to be fizzling out. However, several states
would very much like to see an end to U.S.
economic, political and military domi-
nance. China, of course, is one of these, but
an unlikely coalition (a necessary coalition
by balance of power standards) is forming
around China with similar goals.
Joint wargames with Russia at the end
of August not only upped the stakes on the
contentious issue of Taiwan (Both militar-
ies practiced amphibious beach landings
complete with paratroopers.), but provided
Russia the opportunity to show off new
weapons it hopes to sell China for much-
needed cash.
While a potential Russian-Chinese mili-
tary alliance is a formidable thought, the
most worrisome scenario for military strat-
egists is the potential military cooperation
between China and Europe. Fed up with
President Bush's overbearing foreign poli-
cy, Europe may be looking for ways to stem
America's intervention capabilities as well.
Recent numbers confirmed that Europe is
now China's largest trading partner, and
this strengthening economic relation nearly
led Europe to terminate its arms embargo
on China last year. There is deep anxi-
ety among military strategists over what

a modern, European-built Chinese navy
would mean to the security of Taiwan and
America's ability to defend the tiny island.
In South America, China has been show-
ing its increased geopolitical savvy by
buying-up key resources, while friendly
relations with Iran will add a strain on rela-
tions as well.
These recent developments are certainly
intended to send a message to Washington
that the European Union, China, and Russia
are tired of American carte blanche foreign
policy.
While it's still in the realm of the unlike-
ly that this challenge will break out into
a major military conflict, smaller but sig-
nificant conflicts are increasingly likely in
regional flashpoints. Several nonmilitary
consequences of this growing coalition
instead are more likely. First, the United
States will be increasingly limited in its
aggressive foreign policy without financial,
political and military support from Europe.
Similarly, the Chinese have been a critical
partner in diplomatic dealings with North
Korea and its nuclear threat.
These events are coalescing to give this
unlikely coalition increasing leverage
against what much of the world resents as
arrogant American imperialism. A real-
ization is dawning in Washington that the
era of American unilateralism is gradually
drawing to a close. Contentious issues like
Taiwan and a worldwide resource shortage
will inevitably bring the involved countries
into conflict. The sooner U.S. leaders and
policy makers accept and adjust to this new
system and how they deal with potential
conflicts will determine the future geopo-
litical landscape as well as America's posi-
tion within it.

I

Fixing Detroit' schools
Charter schools not a real solution for students

he Daily wrote an editorial on
Wednesday (A plan worth follow-
ing, 09/14/05) altering its prece-
dent on charter schools in light of the dire
situation that the Detroit Public Schools
is facing. Although the Daily supported
the charter school proposal - which
calls for the opening of 15 charter high
schools in Detroit - with reservations,
there is never a justification for chang-
ing opinions when it comes to charter
schools. Charter schools will only cause
more problems for Detroit than they
will temporarily fix. Despite the utmost
urgency to medicate the diseased educa-
tion system in Detroit, we cannot give in
to the temptation of charter schools.
The Daily supported the new schools
under the condition that they were super-
vised by former Detroit Pistons player
Dave Bing, a credible businessman
who wants only to help the children of
Detroit. However, what went missing
from the argument was the mention of
the operation's vanguard. Enter Robert
Thompson, a cunning millionaire whose
initial proposal to open charter schools
in 2003 was thrown away due to pressure
from the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
Thompson is back with the same $200
million, but now he has come equipped
with a nice face and name to put on the
project: Detroit hero Dave Bing. Despite
continued opposition from the DFT,
Thompson's proposal has won support
because of his partnership with Bing.
And although it cannot be assumed that
opening 15 schools is Detroit is all about
profit, Thompson has declined to work
with the Detroit schools. Instead of offer-
ing to lend his money to public schools
to support athletic, art and after-school
programs, he has made the executive
decision to construct his own schools.
This suggests a certain conclusion: he's
in it for the profits.a
Thompson's other partner in the oper-
ation, The Skillman Foundation, claims
it hopes to create a model with these new
schools from which the Detroit Public
Schools can borrow. Skillman President
Carol Goss said, "I hope everyone under-
stands this is all about the children." But
if this were true, charter schools would
not be on Thompson, Bing and Skill-
man's plates. Aside from the teachers,

administrators and parents who lose in
charter schools, studies have shown that
charter schools do no more for students
than public schools. In the book "The
Charter School Dust Up," it was shown
that students in charter schools "have the
same or lower scores than other public
school students in nearly every demo-
graphic category." More surprising is
"that the test scores of low-income black
students in charter schools are lower than
in the public schools in both math and
reading." Special education and English
as a Second Language programs are also
virtually eliminated in charter schools.
Charter schools, by definition, are free
from most of the regulations imposed by
state boards of education or legislatures.
Also, parents could be left out of the
whole equation when it comes to their
children's schooling because the people
with the money might make final admin-
istrative decisions. As the Daily stated
in an earlier editorial, "Contributing to
this dearth of accountability, a generous
donor will perhaps have a greater influ-
ence on the school than the community
because private donors are essential to
the sustenance of these schools." (Off the
charts, 7/12/2004). Schools funded in this
way do not err on the side of students.
Rather, they focus on moneymaking and
the interests of the private investors.
Detroit cannot wait indefinitely for a
revival of it public school system, and
there is simply no time to be spared when
it comes to the education of children in
the poorest city in America. However,
one-step solutions, such as using Robert
Thompson's checkbook and Dave Bing's
face, are not adequate - even if they
are only temporary. The charter schools
Thompson wants to create, regardless
of whether they are designed with prof-
its in mind, do not encourage reform or
improve the quality of the public school
system. They will only hinder the public
schools system by taking away teachers,
students and money. With school fund-
ing already scant in Detroit, the district
will be forced to make more cuts, creat-
ing a "slippery slope" and leading to even
more rich businessmen's pet projects.
Theresa Kennelly is an LSA sophomore.
She can be reached at thenelly@umich.edu.

Slade can be reached at
bslade@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I

Contraception not tied to
women's careers
To THE DAILY:
I enjoyed Emily Beam's column (The
debate that just won't die, 09/14/05) about
challenges to the availability of emergen-
cy contraception. However, there was one
little logical connection that I missed - it
was probably overshadowed by the feminist
rhetoric. What exactly is the connection
between contraceptive rights and women
being able "to pursue their own interests,
even careers, before settling down and
starting a family?" To me, this implies that
being able to have sex without consequenc-
es is somehow a necessary right of the
empowered modern woman. The only way I
can rationalize this is if I equate "their own
interests" with "promiscuity." However, this
line of thinking raises unpleasant notions
about what Beam means by "career."
I understand, of course, that women like
sex. So do men. And contraceptive use lim-
its unpleasant outcomes of pleasure. This
does not mean that a woman (or man) can-
not pursue his or her interests or career in
the absence of casual sex. I also under-
stand that one mistake can mean spending
the next 18 years as a slave to the spawn
of your ephemeral pleasure. Nevertheless,
by implying that contraceptive availability
is a fundamental part of equality between
the sexes, Beam seems to agree with the
view she ascribes to Wisconsin Rep. Dan
LeMahieu (R): Maybe the female popula-
tion is able to keep its pants buttoned; it just
doesn't want to.
I still don't see how this implies equal-
ity, unless we have been assuming all along
that men are scum. I guess that would make
it all make sense. But, as a male, I am prob-
ably too dumb to understand.
Dan Bertoni
LSA junior
Fnrmer Daily editor deehly

mission; to avoid at all costs making a state-
ment. With all the heavy-handed, pomp-
ous seriousness shoveled down students'
throats, every Thursday they deserved a
break. Maybe it's just a name change, but a
picture of man with a zipper mouth speaks
loader than words.
In the name of respectability, The Michi-
gan Daily dumped its Jeopardy issue well
over a year ago, perhaps inevitably for the
best granted its track record of violence
and pain. Still I'll say now what I said then,
at no other time in your career as writers
are you ever going to have the freedom to
publish what you want as you do at The
Daily. Don't squander.it trying to be taken
seriously. They have a name for this sort
of thought-provoking, in-depth crap; it's
called News. For god's sakes, lets have no
more of it.
Scott Serilla
Alum
The letter writer is a former Daily arts editor.
Edwards fails to see the
real culture in Ann Arbor
To THE DAILY:
I was shocked after reading Victoria
Edwards's narrow-minded opinions on the-
atre and culture (Too Far from NY, NY,
09/14/2005) being that she is an Arts edi-
tor. I think it is extremely arrogant of her to
only consider Broadway and off-Broadway
plays "real theater." She demeans our student
body's experiences by saying that many of our
students are from "some bumblefuck town in
Michigan" and makes a patriarchal attempt
to advocate for those less fortunate than she:
"those students deserve as much as anyone
else to see real theater. Who knows. This may
be the only opportunity some people have to
experience real culture."
Excuse me? "Real theater?" "Real cul-
ture?" What the hell is it that we are doing
here in Ann Arbor? Is it "fake theater?"

Edwards assert that some students haven't
experienced "real culture," because they've
never seen a Broadway or off-Broadway
show? While it would be beneficial to bring
more theatre to Ann Arbor, she is ignorantly
discrediting Ann Arbor's theatre scene by
saying we need go elsewhere to "experience
excellence in professional theatre." First
of all, Ann Arbor does have a professional
theatre, The Performance Network, which
is renowned more than locally. The Univer-
sity Musical Society seasons feature inter-
national professional productions, at which
students can experience theatre with a glob-
al, rather than American, sensibility.
As she believes that professionalism
means paid actors, I challenge her to see a
show from MUSKET, a student-run musi-
cal theatre group and not be absolutely
stunned. Other student theatre groups, such
as the RC Players, the Basement Arts, the
Rude Mechanicals, Shakespeare in the Arb,
the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, ComCo
and Witt's End, offer student written works,
improvisational comedy and unique inter-
pretations of plays that one will not find
anywhere else. She is wrong that we need
transportation to Detroit "so that each and
every student who wants to be enriched
through the theater can do so," when we are,
in Ann Arbor and we have that opportunity
here - if we recognize it.
Marilia Kyprianides
RCjunior
DAILY OPINION WON'T SE
BACK WITH ANY MOIEGRAY
BOXES UNTIL MONDAY.

"In Dissent" opinions do not reflect the views of the Daily's editorial board. They

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