6 Law and order, war and peace

  1. After a Tunisian fruit vendor immolated himself, his death launched a series of protests against inequality and poor living conditions ignited the 2011 Arab Spring. Using social media to inform the rest of the world, protestors overthrew governments in Tunisia and Egypt and called for change in Syria. Examining these countries 8 years later, did they achieve the democratic rule they hoped for? Would you consider the Arab Spring an overall success?
  2. In a post-9/11 world, the PATRIOT Act ramped up surveillance of citizens using the NSA to monitor people of interest. Does the move from security and privacy to policy infringe on democratic rights? Consider the actions of Edward Snowden discussed in detail in Chapter 9.
  3. There is increasing concern over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by the U.S. in the Middle East. Many computer scientists and AI experts believe UAVs should be banned because they will escalate conflict, kill innocents, become uncontrollable, and raise severe ethical concerns.
    1. If a UAV killed an innocent civilian, who – or what – should be held responsible? How would justice be administered? Defend your stance.
    2. In 1964, President Howard Johnson cautioned the use of nuclear weapons, stating: “[m]ake no mistake. There is no such thing as a conventional nuclear weapon”. Could this statement be applied to drones? Why or why not?

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