Friday, April 27, 2012


By: George Friedman

Published: April 17, 2012; The Geopolitical Weekly the state of the world

Level: ****

Thanks are due to my friend and colleague Hamide Koz for this interesting text.


Read the first two paragraphs of the text.

1.       What is the function of the last sentence of paragraph one?

2.       What was the advantage of the significant loss of land and political control Turkey suffered after WWI?

Read The Russia Problem.

3.       What vested interest did Russia have in the reshaping of Turkish sovereignty?

4.       What were the reasons for The US foreign policy after WWII?

5.       Close ties with the US suited Turkey too because………………………………………….. (Be brief and to the point)

6.       Why exactly did relationships with the US change in the ‘90’s?

Read The Post Soviet Shift:

7.       Why exactly did Turkey’s relationships with the US remain unchanged even after the change in strategic environment?

8.       Read the information about the US invasion of Iraq. What conclusion can we draw from this information?

9.       What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That left Turkey free to consider other options”?

10.   This shift in foreign policy could have gained Turkey EU membership. It did not. Why?

11.   In retrospect, the denial of EU membership turned out to be a blessing. Why?

12.   What three factors determine Turkey’s post cold war strategy?

Read The Transitional Stage.

  1. For what reasons has Turkey not yet become a great power?
  2. Current Turkish foreign policy may be compared to that of the US between 1900 and WWI. What is the similarity?
  3. What two problems must Turkey address before becoming a great power in the region?
  4. The Kurdish problem could be seen as Turkey’s soft underbelly because…………………………..
  5. A dire consequence of the above situation could be ………………………………………………………………
  6. In this last section of the text, Turkey and the US are, once again, compared. What is the similarity?
  7. What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This means allowing events around them to take their course”?
  8. Why exactly is managing a transitional power so hard?


This brilliant analysis of Turkey’s strategy off the Stratfor website is one of the most concise, historically accurate, insightful and well organized pieces of writing I have seen in a while. I have not included a pre reading activity as I have grave doubts the students have the background but I do feel this text will go like a dream. It might be an idea to analyze organization too as it is so well thought out. I suggest the students read the text in sections and answer the relevant questions so they actually absorb the content as well.

  1. It justifies the way the text has been planned and written.
  2. It solved the problem of Turkey’s strategic interests having come to outstrip its power.
  3. To prevent a blockade, to project power into the Mediterranean.
  4. A soviet allied or Soviet influenced would have broken the center of the American containment system, changing the balance of power.
  5. It was unable to deal with the Soviets alone.
  6. Because Turkey was freed from the fear of Russia. The defining element in Turkish foreign policy was gone is unacceptable as it requires further clarification.
  7. Because of inertia and inattention.
  8. It is much easier to forge a foreign policy in the face of a clear threat than in the face of an undefined set of opportunities.
  9. The Turks viewing themselves…
  10. A host of reasons from massive Turkish immigration to Greek hostility blocked Turkey’s membership bid.
  11. Turkey was left with a more dynamic economy than most of Europe and without liability for Greece’s debts.
  12. Its rise in relative power, the possible dangers posed to Turkish interests by destabilization, the US is in the process of….
  13. Paragraph one in the section.
  14. A transitional foreign policy is at work OR there is a period of balancing.
  15. The ongoing tensions between the secular and religious elements in its society; the Kurdish problem.
  16. So long as the Kurdish issue persists…
  17. The undermining of Turkey’s power….
  18. The more powerful a nation becomes, the more vulnerable it might be.
  19. Turkey’s current strategy is to make its safety among nations last as long as possible.
  20. Because it involves keeping your balance when the world around you is in chaos and the stresses this places on society and government.


By: Mark A. R. Kleiman, Jonathan P. Caulkin and Angela Hawken

Published: The Wall Street Journal; April 20, 2012,
Level: **


Rethinking the war on drugs


1.       What are the consequences of drug abuse for individuals and society?

2.       What measures are taken currently to combat the problem?

3.       How effective are the above measures?

4.       Are there any other measures you would suggest?


1.       What two approaches to drug abuse is the writer critical of?

2.       The reason why the writer is critical of current practices is that ………………………………………..

3.       What misconception does the writer mention about drug users?

4.       The push for legalization came as a reaction to ………………………………………………………………….

5.       What is the downside of legalization?

6.       What lesson should we learn from the legalization of alcohol?

7.       What would the advantage be of tripling the current alcohol tax?

8.       What exactly is 24/7 Sobriety? Who does it target and how successful has the measure been?

9.       How would showing an ID to buy a drink help address the problem?

10.   How would the above suggestion help curb drug abuse – which is after all illegal at the present time?

11.   Read the stories of Steven Alm, Leighton Ile’s Swift program and the story of the pilot efforts in Seattle. What conclusion can we draw from these stories?

12.   What is the purpose of David Kennedy’s first program and how successful has it been?

13.   What exactly is The Boston Ceasefire Program and how successful has it been?

14.   Read the last paragraph of the text and state clearly what qualities of a concluding program it has.


Use the suggestions put forward in the text and any others you may think of to write problem solution essay concerning how to curb drug abuse. The suggestions in the text are as follows:

1.       Showing an ID to buy drugs

2.       Showing up twice a day for testing

3.       The Kennedy program

4.       The Boston Ceasefire Program


This activity is reasonably straightforward and could be covered quite early on. Alternatively, it could be considered a prelude to writing and covered quickly with plenty of discussion and accompanying videos. In either case, it comes up with completely novel solutions to rather a hackneyed topic, which will make it fly in class.

1.       The drug war; wholesale drug legalization.

2.       It flies in the face of Pareto’s law (that for any given activity…)

3.       Most are not addicts but a few consume heavily.

4.       The horrific levels of trafficking related violence…

5.       The law would have to include not just possession of drugs but their production as well and not just of marijuana…

6.       It would worsen the problem of drug abuse (The answer is repeated with different wording)

7.       It would prevent at least 1000 homicides and 2000 motor vehicle fatalities a year.

8.       People who commit alcohol related crimes show up twice a day, every day for a breathalyzer test; that small group of people who behave very badly when they drink; successful.

9.       The state could make someone convicted of drunken driving or drunken assault ineligible to buy a drink just by marking his driver’s license.

10.   It would constitute a swift, moderate penalty for detected drug use.

11.   Swift and certain actions make all the difference.

12.   To force dealing into a less flagrant and socially damaging form; very successful

13.   Violent youth gangs engaged in drug dealing and other crimes are brought in and told “If anyone in your gang…”

14.   It goes beyond the text, summarizes and draws conclusions.

Friday, April 13, 2012


By Suzanne Daley; Published: The New York Times, April6, 2012

The link to a related video on
Level of difficulty: **

Remember to check on tedtalks for related videos before you start.

Thanks are due to my friend and colleague Kerem Özkan for this text concerning a serious human rights violation.


1.       What do you know about human trafficking?

2.       Who exactly is trafficked for what reasons?

3.       For what reasons are women trafficked?

4.       Which countries do enslaved women usually come from?

5.       How do you think they get to the developed world?

6.       What do you imagine their lives are like?

7.       Why do you imagine the problem can’t be successfully dealt with?

8.       How do you suggest the problem be stamped out for once and for all?

9.       Read the title of the text. Why do you imagine the problem is so big in Spain which is after all a catholic country and a member of the EU?


1.       How was Valentina persuaded to become a prostitute?

2.       Why is prostitution big business in Spain?

3.       Who are most of the trafficked women?

4.       What change has taken place in the customer profile? Why?

5.       What effect has the economic downturn had on the prostitution business?

6.       What does the phrase “Now it’s time to take them out for a drive” mean exactly? Use your own words.

7.       How well prepared was Spain for the prostitution problem? How do you know?

8.       What conclusion can we draw from the fact that business meetings end with dinner and a visit to a brothel? Use your own words.

9.       How credible does the writer find the following comment: “But I think they’re having a good time”? How do you know?

10.   How does the writer reach the conclusion that these women are modern day slaves?

11.   What conclusion can we draw from the information concerning the gangs?

12.   What shocking fact is revealed in the text as to why some of these women become enslaved?

13.   What incredible form of promotion is mentioned in the text?

14.   How helpful are the authorities to the enslaved women who seek help? How do you know?


Write either a cause analysis or a problem solution essay using the points made in the text and your own views.

The Causes mentioned in the text

1.       Lack of legislation ( No laws distinguishing trafficking from illegal immigration, no laws against advertising prostitution)

2.       Prostitution is an accepted institution (A customary end to business dinners, Spain a tourist destination, the article in the Barcelona newspaper)

3.       Lack of public concern ( Not enough being done fast enough, people only pay lip service to the problem, outlawing prostitution not imminent, help for enslaved women hard to come by)

4.       Vested interest ( Families are on gang’s payroll for selling their daughters; it is big business)

The Solutions hinted at in the text

1.       Harsh legislation and punitive measures

2.       Enforcing the above laws indiscriminately

3.       Physical and psychological help for the victims

4.       Education for the public


This depressing and horrifying text focuses on a problem we know all too well but comes up with a few surprises in the shape of the role played by Spain; a fact that I certainly wasn’t aware of. The text lends itself to an essay and hopefully the students will become better informed about this serious human rights violation. It could be covered at intermediate level as a prelude to writing or at pre intermediate level as a more challenging reading task.

1.       Her boy friend threatened to beat her and kill her children.

2.       It is legal

3.       Trafficked foreign women

4.       They are young men; they take advantage of Europe’s seamless travel

5.       Women are forced to work for lower pay.

6.       It is time to see whether the new legal framework works.

7.       It wasn’t prepared. Spain doesn’t even have laws distinguishing…

8.       It is now an accepted institution.

9.       He doesn’t. If any of them actually are, they would seem to be the exceptions

10.   They are controlled by illegal networks.

11.   The networks vary enormously.

12.   They were sold into the business by their families.

13.   Advertisements are legal and appear in the most reputable newspapers.

14.   They are not helpful. Valentina was told she had to go to Figueres which was 15 miles away.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


“Many popular Facebook apps are obtaining sensitive information about users – and users’ friends – so don’t be surprised if details about your religion, political and even sexual preferences start popping up in unexpected places”  ANGWIN, Julia and SANGWIN- VINE JEREMY (April 7, 2012), Selling You on Facebook, The Wall Street Journal;

Level: ***


1.       What exactly are apps? Provide some examples

2.       Which apps do you have and what do you like about them?

3.       Is there a hidden cost of getting apps? What do you think it might be?

4.       Now read the title and subtitle of the text and explain your reaction.


1.       What price do you pay for apps?

2.       What reassurance do Yahoo and Skype offer their users?

3.       Why does Facebook covet all this personal information?

4.       Privacy has become an issue in the modern world because ……………………………………………………

5.       Read the information concerning “MyPad for İPad”, “Between You and Me” and “Truths About You”. What conclusion can you draw concerning Facebook from these examples?

6.       How do advertisers benefit from personal information?

7.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “This explains why some apps…” on page 3?

8.       Read the story of Jill Levenson. What does the word “unconstrained” mean in this context?

9.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “This could be a violation of Facebook’s advertising policies”?

10.   “Apps are required to seek permission to access Facebook data”. What term is used to explain why people just go ahead and approve the request?

11.   Read the story of Foursquare. What conclusion can be drawn about the decisions making process of those who got the app?

12.   According to Helen Nissenbaum, what would have prevented the Foursquare problem?

13.   In what ways are Smartphone apps inferior to their Facebook counterparts?

14.   What wise business decision did Mark Zuckerberg make which News Corp neglected to do?

15.   Why did Elizabeth Denham agree to allow Facebook not to seek permission from friends when their data was disclosed to an app?

16.   Read the story of Amy Vernon. Does she represent a majority or a minority according to the text? How do you know?


Write a cause analysis essay discussing the reasons for the popularity of apps. It is suggested that you divide your development into two paragraphs so as to be able to cover the reasons in terms of people who get the apps and the reasons in terms of big business. You will need to refer back to the text in order to do this. In your conclusion, you might like to suggest some solutions to the problem. Again, refer back to the text to pinpoint them.  It is also possible to write an effect analysis essay wherein you discuss the effects in terms of individuals and big business. The conclusion in this latter instance should again be solutions.


This very topical text should go down well with most students. Although the text and the accompanying reading task are relatively straightforward, the writing task is not. So it could be done at pre intermediate level with more guidance and at intermediate level with less; the latter is what I propose to do next week.

1.       You supply personal data.

2.       That they seek the information to customize their services for users and that they are committed to protecting data.

3.       To attract advertisers, apps makers and other business opportunities.

4.       Most people now carry information transmitting devices with them at all times.

5.       Facebook occasionally isn’t enforcing its own rules concerning data privacy.

6.       They create customized adds.

7.       Popular apps can go viral there and gain millions of users.

8.       Unrestricted

9.       Letting unapproved advertising companies track users

10.   Habituation; If people see a warning a lot but the nothing bad happens, in the average case , it decreases the alarm level.

11.   They have trouble understanding… end of page 3

12.   Data usage norms or laws.

13.   They lack privacy policies, don’t offer as much information and control over their use of personal data.

14.   Welcomed widget makers by providing the kind of help that would ensure that their software could operate smoothly within Facebook . It also offered…

15.   Because many apps are designed to be social and interactive.

16.   Minority. More than half surveyed…. About 40% didn’t understand that…