Sunday, September 14, 2008

Independence Day

After talking in class, I started to wonder what could bring the world to unite and forget about our individual sovereign powers. I couldn’t think of anything that could make the entire world become one.

A couple days later, the movie Independence Day was on TV. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, it’s centered around an alien attack of the whole world. Many countries were in contact with each other, trying to decide how to protect the society of mankind; completely forgetting their differences so that they could formulate some kind of plan for this unbelievable war that was coming to them. Military forces from different countries came together to provide defense. Would a threat common to the world bring us together? Could our country act in alliance with other countries completely? Could each sovereign state set aside their individual ideas about how to rule and band together to form one sovereign, ruling one body of people?

Each sovereign state rules how they want: they enforce what they want, they appoint rulers how they want, and they essentially have nobody telling them what to do. Would we be able to forget how we do things to help the common welfare of the world? Part of me says that we would be too selfish and would want to act in a way that would make us feel dominant. (us meaning the United States) For example, Russia could have a completely different tactic to deal with this situation than the United States might.

Would it even be possible, if the world wanted to, to band together and fight, considering communication barriers and the fact that all militaries in the world are trained in combat differently?

I think that it would happen just as it did in the movie. We would ignore all differences because when it comes down to it, everyone wants to live, and when lives are at threat, the world would choose what’s best to stay alive. The real question is: would we continue to be united once the threat was gone? In WWII, we united with Great Britian, and now we are each our own sovereign. I think each sovereign state is so stuck in the way they do things, that it is too late to change how we rule, govern, and act.


Ai said...

I agree with you that if some kind of attack were coming on to the world as it did in the movie, we would unite. However, I think that the minute the catastrophe is over, the world will once again turn into the way it was. There will always be at least one leader that will try to over rule everyone. Of course, once that happens, not everyone can come into agreement. SO yes, maybe the world can come to agreement on one thing, but there are so many more things that we disagree on that it is hard to continue on as just one nation.

Thach Truong said...

Personally, it is one of my favorite movies. Everything is just RIGHT. You can see the motif, the music, the characters, the theme...It is truly like an EPIC. I do agree with the idea that if somehow there was an alien force coming down to the earth and threaten our survival, all the nations would unite and do UNBELIEVABLE things to fight against that threat (Al-Qaeda would even send another Bin Laden’s video saying that he prefers diplomatic solution and wants to shake President Bush’s hand so his terrorist friends could join the UN Protection Force). However, the reason is because all those nations realize that their sovereignties are threatened. It might sound sarcastic to say that what they would think would be, “Ok, everyone, let’s put our fights aside, let’s just kill these aliens first and we will take care of our businesses later!” I strongly think it would be like that, and it would FOREVER be that way. We can discuss in a macro view how countries and nations demonstrate their sovereignties; however, let’s just make it easier to approach by thinking that sovereignty is something that was built in our nature, each one of us. Who does not like to make an influence? Who does not want to rule and make decision? We all want to influence, to rule, to possess sovereign power. It is good, though, to have such a good movie like ID to make us realize that we can also fight against some strangers like aliens over the sovereignty issue instead of just fighting with each other.

leecbryant said...

I have to say I disagree that the whole world would unite together should aliens attack or some other force threaten the entire world. As Ashley said, every sovereign state rules how they want. In a time of massive crisis this individual style of ruling would only be emphasized. Each leader would be looking out to protect his/her own state before looking to help others. When people panic, 9 times out of 10 they think about themselves and their families rather than their next door neighbors. Are we to assume that on the world level a country in Africa is going to worry about the safety of a country in Australia when they are separated by thousands of miles?
Even if all sovereign countries did try to unite the process would take too long and by then the world would probably already be taken over or in ruins. If we were being attacked more than likely our communication and transportation would be affected and then what? How would we tell England, "Hey, we'd like to ban together" when they are an ocean away? The physical barriers as well as language would impede unification to a point where it would be too late.
There is the possibility that in the aftermath some unification would occur but I do not believe it would last. People would divide because inevitably someone would think that another person’s plan was wrong. This unification would still be limited by distance and would probably only occur in neighboring areas.
Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I feel that world unity is an idealistic idea that will never become reality. The situation posed in Independence Day is part of a cinematic story line to draw in viewers rather than present a feasible outcome should such a disaster occur.

Cat Rauck said...

I agree that the world would fail if confronted with this hypothetical alien scheme. Not only would communication prove to be a barrier but also the convergence of power would be ultimately overwhelming. This isn't an episode of lambchop everyone does want to live when it comes down to it but each person would want it on their terms. Do you think Kip would want Virginia on the world unity board deciding how best to zap the aliens? I think not. Its not pessimistic its just realistic but in the off chance that science fiction comes to life I'm voting Brangelina.

Paul Bendor-Samuel said...

To succeed against an alien attack, different tactics would be required than are portrayed in Independence Day. All of the sovereign countries fighting as equals would not work, it’s too confusing. A solid and unquestionable command structure would have to be created. Someone in charge at the top organizing and giving commands to the world nation as a whole. This post explores a very interesting question. In the graphic novel Watchmen another unifying scenario is explored. One of the heroes creates a giant alien looking creature using cloning technology. Built into it is a psychic capability. He then teleports it into the middle of New Your city where it sends out a psychic blast killing everyone in New York. This looked like an alien attack, and the amount of people dead was so horrifying that it caused the other nations to cease their wars and come together. Somewhat similar, but trying to accomplish the same unity as in Independence Day. Unfortunately I don’t thing that any country would want to relinquish control of its military to any extent, or for that matter any other of the functions of state. This I believe exposes a gaping flaw with sovereignty, its inability to “stack” or “fit” with other sovereign states to create something bigger.

lynn s said...

The best way to approach this question is to put yourself in the shoes of a leader of some country. Let’s say you were the President of the United States. You have to defend your country. And your family. And yourself. Would you seriously listen to the ideas of other powerful countries like China or Russia when it came to defending the world? Especially, since past history tells us not to trust them. It is really not a matter of whose idea is the best or that the armies around the world train differently and therefore would not be able to unite to fight. It’s just that it’s human nature to do it your own way to survive. It’s instinct. Maybe less powerful countries will be willing to unite with more powerful countries, since they know that they have less of a chance to survive on their own. But even so, they would be uniting by following the more powerful country’s lead.

ThomasJ said...

If all the nations of the world were faced with a common threat, there is no doubt that they would band together to form one. Even though all nations have different ways of operating and handling their own problems, they have something in common; they are all made up of human beings. If something threatens mankind, like a deadly virus (or in this case aliens), nations could and would work together for survival.
Although World War II is an example of conflicting national interests, it also shows how nations with common differences can work together. The United States and Russia, two nations with diverse interests, combined to form the Allied alliance. They worked together to end the war. Nations in alliance have to ability to put aside major differences to work together and accomplish significant feats.
Once the threat is eliminated, there would be no need for all nations to be united. The unified human race would create more problems than people would be able to handle. The difference in cultures and interests would tear the group apart. The Cold War between the US and Russia started almost immediately after WWII ended. After conflicts of this magnitude have been solved, there is little motivation for nations to work together and most of them would focus on national needs rather than the needs that would benefit mankind.

ThomasJ said...

And the movie is sweet