In this century
where our world is becoming more and more globalised and countries are
interconnected by the practice of trade, it seems we can no longer contain
ourselves in our own shell. We need to be aware of issues that occur even
outside our homeland and send help whenever we can, not just because we should
show compassion for our fellow species, but because it is important to build
strong diplomatic ties to survive in the 21st century.
Argument: International issues are arguable more important than national
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 too, can have huge impact on national ones given the kind of tie-ups
and links countries have amongst each other today. Vice versa, what one country
does, especially a country that is more powerful and influential, would have an
impact on domestic issues elsewhere.
E.g. The member states of the EU share a common
currency (Euro), thus have complex economic structures and trade agreements
that tether their markets to one another. The downfall or instability of one
economy can greatly harm another, just as how the Greek bankruptcy led to the Eurozone
crisis that required 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 also more complex than ever before . The
Earth’s resources are all shared in the end thus the 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. An 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 many food scandals revealed that
suppliers were using expired or rotting meat for fast food chains. From then
on, consumers around the world became sceptical of food products from china.
E.g. In Europe, horsemeat was passed off as beef in
many frozen foods, leading to a global outcry as food products from Europe 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. Pressing
international issues such as climate change and the rise of global terrorism
can have a profound, if not immediate impact on countries on the home front.
E.g. The Paris Agreement sees many countries coming
together to form a pact in tackling climate change that has serious
implications on a shared planet, in recognition of the fact that environmental
issues transcend geographical boundaries. When Trump made his withdrawal from
pact to focus on US economy, he was 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. Every year, the Indonesia haze crisis impacts neighbouring
countries like Malaysia and Singapore. The haze issue has become critical due
to serious impact on health and businesses.
Terrorism has been an issue that has been widely discussed in the past
few years. The rise of foreign militant group is no longer restricted to a
foreign country that is of no concern for people elsewhere. There is a need for
countries to share intelligence and recognize that the threat is no longer
contained to one country alone.
E.g. The rise of ISIS and their terrifyingly swift
spread of radical ideology through their usage of the internet has led to
multiple terror attacks in Europe and other countries – even terrorists not
directly linked to ISIS also carry out attacks in their name. Globally,
religious leaders and Muslim clerics are asked to be more vigilant about their
congregation and take attentive note of any changes in behaviour amongst young
men. Parents are also now 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. As humans, all of us have an innate sense of obligation to our fellow
species, whether we like it or not. Each and every one of us needs to 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 crisis
Germany took in 1
mill refugees in an act of compassion and generosity to those fleeing the
conflict zones in desperation, after images of a drowned Syrian toddler on
Europe’s shores sparked a wave of guilt and compassion for the plight of
E.g. Natural disasters: Typhoon Haiyan Philippines
devastating disaster, the world saw an outpouring of help from regional
countries even though the typhoon was contained within that country. Singaporeans
reported to have raised funds voluntarily, going to Tacloban to inject new life
into the community
Argument: 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. It is not always true that
international issues are more important. Often, local issues are just as
important, if not more important than international ones as they affect the
people more directly. For example, local legislation and 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. The Venezuela economic crisis led to
daily protests and widespread food shortages, which is a critical problem that
Venezuelans are most concerned with as their daily lives and bread-and-butter
issues are affected.
Moreover, country-specific issues require tailor made solutions depending
on the context. Domestic issue sometimes have to be dealt with by the country
itself and other countries should not interfere as some issues are uniquely
local and require specific measure, thus domestic issues can be considered more
important and people should be more concerned about their own domestic issues.
E.g. Singapore has attempted to make changes to
education system, steering from one that takes academic grades taken very
seriously. It was proposed to tackle the problem of children experiencing
excessive stress due to high stakes and local competitive culture. This affects
Singaporean parents and children directly as changes are being made to the way
primary school exams are graded. The change greatly concerns and interest Singaporean
parents and does not concern or affect other countries.
E.g. The rise in hate crimes and racism in US is
arguably in tandem with election of Trump and his divisive rhetoric about race
and religion. The trend poses a great
cause of concerns for Americans with countless of worrying incidents happening
recently, including one in Portland of Muslim girls being verbally abused by a
man that later stabbed 3 passengers who stood up in defence for the girls. After
the incident, there was an outpouring of grief for those heroes who stood up
against bigotry and prejudice and people were so deeply affected by it, they have
called for a stop to the divisive rhetoric that had perhaps endorsed or
normalized hate speech and actions.
Contrary to what many may think, the impact of globalization is not
inevitable as some countries have been able to mitigate or minimize its effects,
if the local government is strong enough or effective policies are put in place.
E.g. The SARS outbreak in 2004 led to several
countries grappling with the disease but was effectively managed in Singapore
as the government took swift measures to quarantine the affected and put
stringent checks on people from schools to airports to other crowded public
E.g. The ZIKA virus that led to a crisis in Brazil
had minimal impact in other countries as other countries quickly took steps to
check for early warning signs in patients and contain the spread.