|I. Theories And Strategies|
No readings assigned.
Overview of American Foreign Policy Since 1914
1. A world map from The New York Times Magazine, November 7, 1976, 35. Designed by Edwin O. Reischauer; tables from Paul Kennedy. Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, and Kenneth Oye, ed., Eagle in a New World.
Class discussion will focus on the map and tables 6, 17, 18, 31, 35, 4-1, and chart 2 on pages 3, 6, 7, 15, 16, 19, and 20 (handwritten numeration), so study these items with more care; skim the rest.
Theories of American Foreign Policy
1. Van Evera, Stephen. "Offense, Defense and the Causes of War." Manuscript, pp. 1-36.
Your instructor's summary of the argument, made famous by Robert Jervis, that war is more likely when conquest is easy. A key related argument: international conflict arises largely from the "security dilemma"—the tendency of states to threaten others' security by their efforts to secure themselves. Can the U.S. prevent war by making conquest hard in world trouble- spots? Have America's past conflict with others arisen from the security dilemma?
2. Walt, Stephen M. "Explaining Alliance Formation." The Origins of Alliances: Superpower and Regional Diplomacy in the Middle East, 1955-1979. Ann Arbor, Mich: Univ. Microfilms Internat, 1986, chapter 2, pp. 17-49.
Walt presents competing hypotheses on how states choose their friends. Which hypotheses are valid? Do your answers matter for the kind of foreign policy you would recommend?
Some ("spiral model" advocates) say international conflict is best resolved by the carrot, while using the stick merely provokes; others ("deterrence" advocates) would use the stick, warning that offering carrots ("appeasement") leads others to make more demands. Who's right? Probably both—but under what circumstances? And how can you tell which circumstances you face?
4. Gilbert, Daniel. "He Who Cast the First Stone Probably Didn't." The New York Times, July 24, 2006.
Why do spirals happen? Gilbert describes research noting that people underestimate their own aggressive conduct and exaggerate others' aggressive conduct. This makes for conflict spirals.
5. Isaacson, Walter, and Evan Thomas. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, McCloy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986, pp. 171-173 and 731-733. ISBN: 9780671504656.
Does the American foreign policy elite share America's wider democratic values? We learn here that George Kennan thought women, blacks, and immigrants should be denied the vote; Kennan and Dean Acheson saw little wrong with the white minority governments in Rhodesia and South Africa; and John McCloy adopted the cause of Iran's Pahlevi family. Not your typical League of Women Voters views.
What to make of the attitudes of Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Alexander Haig reported here? (Are such attitudes widespread among foreign policymakers? Do such attitudes matter?)
7. Pearson, David. "The Media and Government Deception." Propaganda Review (Spring 1989): 6-11.
Pearson thinks the American press is obedient to official views, and afraid to criticize. Anti- establishment paranoia or the real picture?
8. Just, Marion, and Tom Rosenstiel. "All the News That's Fed." The New York Times, March 27, 2005.
Television runs press-release videos handed them by powerful interests in order to save money and thicken the bottom line. TV is a business. It helps those who help it cut costs. Keeping you informed is not its purpose.
9. Jordan, Eason. "The News We Kept To Ourselves." The New York Times, April 11, 2003.
The press can be cowed into practicing self-censorship. This allows tyrants to intimidate the press into painting themselves in rose-colored hues.
10. Kristof, Nicholas. "Save Our Spooks." The New York Times, May 30, 2003.
Governments misperceive the world if their intelligence agencies misreport foreign realities. This can happen if government leaders press their intelligence agencies to tell the leaders what they want to hear regardless of the facts.
11. Beschloss, Michael R. "Foreign Policy's Big Moment." The New York Times, April 11, 1999, p. 4/17.
Claimed here: during political campaigns U.S. politicians pander to U.S. voters by framing dangerous foreign policy positions that they cannot abandon once in office. The country is thereby led into folly. A corollary: a prime threat to America is ... an American public that responds well to irresponsible pandering.
12. Cohen, Patricia. "Great Caesar's Ghost! Are Traditional History Courses Vanishing?" The New York Times, June 11, 2009.
The study of political, diplomatic and military history is being marginalized or destroyed in American universities. Some find this dangerous. Will an increasingly ignorant American public will choose unwisely on fateful security matters? As Santayana warned: "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."
American Interests and Grand Strategies
George Kennan was a prime intellectual architect of America's Cold War containment policy. In pages 24-52 Gaddis explicates his ideas.
2. Posen, Barry R., and Andrew L. Ross. "Competing U.S. Grand Strategies." In Strategy and Force Planning Faculty, eds., Strategy and Force Planning (Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 1995), pp. 115-134.
A survey of four contending post-Cold War grand strategies. Which strategy is best? (Is this list complete?)
3. Sanger, David E. "Bush to Formalize A Defense Policy of Hitting First." The New York Times, June 17, 2002.
The George W. Bush Administration embraced a general doctrine of preventive war against rogue states that aspire to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was only the first rogue state on its hit list: Syria and Iran were also high on the list; Libya and Saudi Arabia were further down. Are such preventive wars a good idea?
4. Lieber, Keir A., and Robert J. Lieber. "The Bush National Security Strategy." U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda, An Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State 7, no. 4 (December 2002).
A friendly summary and assessment of the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington DC: White House, September 2002), (NSS), the document that frames the main elements of the strategy selected by the George W. Bush administration, including its general doctrine of preventive war (see Sanger, "Bush to Formalize," directly above).
5. "American Imperialism, Embraced." The New York Times Magazine, December 9, 2001 (2 pages); and Ricks, Thomas E. "Empire or Not? A Quiet Debate over U.S. Role." Washington Post, August 21, 2001 (3 pages).
After 2000 Important elements of the U.S. conservative movement began arguing for a U.S. empire. Do Tom Donnelly and William Kristol have a good idea?
6. Gaffney, Frank J. "Worldwide Value." National Review Online, November 5, 2004, pp. 1-3; and Lobe, Jim. "Neocon Wish List." Foreign Policy in Focus, November 11, 2004, pp. 1-2.
Gaffney, a prominent neoconservative, proposed seven goals for the second George W. Bush administration, including regime change in Iran and North Korea "one way or another," and "contending with China's increasingly fascistic trade and military policies." Lobe puts a negative spin on this program.
7. Ikenberry, G. John. "America's Imperial Ambition." Foreign Affairs 81, no. 5 (2002): 44-60. ISSN: 0015-7120.
The Bush Administration has embarked on a fateful imperial rampage. It will end badly. Others will eventually coalesce to check the U.S.
8. Van Evera, Stephen. "American Foreign Policy for the New Era." In How to Make America Safe: New Policies for National Security. Cambridge, MA: Tobin Project, 2006, pp. 84-96.
The U.S. should lead in forming a concert of major powers to address the prime threats to the U.S: the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), terrorists like al-Qaeda who would use WMD against the U.S.; and climate change. Imperial conduct by the U.S. would preclude such a concert and should therefore be eschewed.
9. Sanger, David E., and Peter Baker. "Obama Reorients Approach of National Security Strategy." The New York Times, May 28, 2010.
The Obama administration national security strategy drops the George W. Bush admiminstration's unilateralist approach in favor of pursuing common action, and it downgrades the Bush emphasis on preventive war. It focuses on limiting WMD spread and halting climate change, as well as preventing terror.
10. Silverstein, Ken. "Report – Their men in Washington - Undercover with DC's Lobbyists for Hire." Harper's 53 (2007): 61. ISSN: 0017-789X.
A revealing window on how foreign lobbies operate in Washington. Silverstein demonstrates that even the most odious foreign interests can hire very capable former U.S. government officials with strong connections to the government and the press.
Newhouse, J. "Diplomacy, Inc." Foreign Affairs 88, no. 3 (2009): 73-76. ISSN: 0015-7120.
Unlike other major powers the United States allows foreign lobbies free run of its national capitol. These foreign lobbies have large influence on US foreign policy. Is this a good idea? Do foreigners have Americans' best interests at heart? The answer is no.
11. Massing, Michael. "The Storm Over the Israel Lobby." The New York Review of Books 53, no. 10 (2006): 64. ISSN: 0028-7504.
An Israel lobby has strong influence over U.S. foreign policy toward the Mideast. But a famous article by two other authors, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, also arcing that an Israel lobby strongly influences U.S. policy toward the Mideast, has major flaws.
12. Guttman, Nathan. "Pro-Israel Christians Mobilize in DC." The Jewish Daily Forward, July 21, 2007.A large and powerful group of evangelical Christians lobbies hard to prevent U.S. support for any land-for-peace settlement between Israel and its neighbors. These Christians are a powerful element of the Israel lobby.
13. Gergen, David. "There Is No 'Israel Lobby'." New York Daily News, March 26, 2006.
Gergen agues that there is no Israel lobby. Who's right? How can we tell?
14. Kaufmann, Chaim. "See No Evil." Foreign Affairs 81, no. 4 (July/August 2002): 142-149.
The U.S. could have stopped genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and elsewhere but chose not to. Good choice? Should the U.S. intervene to prevent such horrors?
15. Cooper, Glenda. "U.S. Memos on Rwanda Cited." Boston Globe (August 23, 2001).
More color on U.S. inaction in Rwanda.
16. Kristof, Nicholas D. "Starved for Safety." The New York Times, March 31, 2004.
The Sudanese government has slaughtered several hundred thousand inconvenient people in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003. Should the U.S. act against this horror? See Kristof's website for more columns on this horrific crime.
17. Gelb, Leslie H., and Justine A Rosenthal. "Comments - The Rise of Ethics in Foreign Policy." Foreign Affairs 82, no. 3 (2003): 2. ISSN: 0015-7120.
Ethical concerns once played little role in U.S. foreign policy; now they have an important place at the table.
18. Revkin, Andrew C. "Scientists Say a Quest for Clean Energy Must Begin Now." The New York Times, November 1, 2002.
As Revkin recounts, a recent study warns that we must start looking for clean energy sources now or we may destroy the planet. Later may be too late. No kidding. This will require broad international cooperation. Sadly we're not very good at international cooperation. Oh dear.
19. Byravan, Sujatha, and Sudhir Chella Rajan. "Before the Flood." The New York Times, May 9, 2005.
It may already be too late to avoid major global warming. If so we will need wide international cooperation to alleviate the vast chaos and suffering that ensues from it, especially in the poor societies that will suffer most.
20. Troedsson, Hans, and Anton Rychener. "When Influenza Takes Flight." The New York Times, February 5, 2005.
The 1918 flu killed 675,000 Americans—more than died in combat in the two World Wars combined. Bummer. Could it happen again? Maybe! The current avian flu in Asia is mighty scary. What's the answer? Worldwide preventive action. Again, everyone must cooperate. Hence this is a foreign policy problem. What are we doing about it? Washington is snoring away, oblivious of the gathering peril. Is your will up to date?
|II. America's Major Wars: World War I, World War II, Cold War, & Korea|
World War I and World War II
1. Paterson, et al. American Foreign Policy (2005 ed.), pp. 67-91, 115-122, 125-133, 139-151 and 172-213.
A standard textbook history of American policies before and during the two world wars.
Stephen, Van Evera. "The War on Terror: Forgotten Lessons From World War II." Middle East Policy 14, no. 2 (2007): 59-68. ISSN: 1061-1924 at http://web.mit.edu/ssp/people/vanevera/faculty_vanevera.html.
Does history offer "lessons" for current policy? How should they be inferred? Here's an attempt to infer lessons for the war on terror from American success in World War II.
Cold War Origins and Conduct; the Korean War
Cold War origins and conduct:
1. Paterson, et al. A Standard Textbook Account of The Cold Wars's Origins, From A Viewpoint Somewhat Critical of U.S. Policy. American Foreign Policy: 221-248.
2. ———. American Foreign Policy: 265-275.
|III. Interlude: U.S. National Security Policy; The Terror War; U.S. Foreign Economic Policy|
American National Security Policy, 1945-Present
1. Jordan, Amos A., and William J. Taylor. "The Evolution of American National Security Policy." American National Security: Policy and Process. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981, chapter 4 , pp. 63-86. ISBN: 9780801826412.
2. Gaddis. Strategies of Containment, pp. 53-196. Review also pp. 3- 52 (assigned above in September).
An excellent analytic account of American security policy under Truman and Eisenhower, by a leading American historian.
3. Rees, Martin J. Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century on Earth and Beyond. New York: Basic Books, 2003, pp. 41-60 and 73-88. ISBN: 9780465068623.
The advance of science has a fearsome byproduct: we are discovering ever more powerful means of destruction. These destructive powers are being democratized: the mayhem that only major states can do today may lie within the capacity of millions of individuals in the future unless we somehow change course. Deterrence works against states but will fail against crazed non- state organizations or individuals. How can the spread of destructive powers be controlled?
For more on controlling the longterm bioweapons danger see (PDF - 3.0MB)
4. Kelly, Henry C. "Terrorism and the Biology Lab." The New York Times, July 2, 2003.
The biology profession must realize that its research, if left unregulated, could produce discoveries that gravely threaten our safety. Biologists must develop a strategy to keep biology from being used for destructive ends.
5. Meselson, Matthew. "Averting the Hostile Exploitation of Biotechnology." CBWCB (June 2000): 16-19.
We must pursue arms control measures to limit the spread of biological weapons.
6. Allison, Graham. "Fast Action Needed to Avert Nuclear Terror Strike on U.S." Baltimore Sun (July 2, 2007).
The threat of nuclear terror is very real.
7. Robbins, Carla Anne. "Thinking the Unthinkable: A World Without Nuclear Weapons." The New York Times, June 30, 2008 (1 page).
Former nuclear hawks George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn want to pursue global nuclear disarmament. A radical idea from very establishment people. Should we do this?
8. Seitz, Frederick. "Missile Defense Isn't Rocket Science." Wall Street Journal (July 7, 2000).
A positive view of national missile defense.
For more discussion of the latest U.S. strategy statement see the "Defense Strategy Review Page" of the Project on Defense Alternatives, at www.comw.org/qdr/.
The U.S. War on Terror
1. Riedel, Bruce O. "The Thinker: Al- Zawahiri," "Al-Qaeda's Plans," and "How To Defeat Al-Qaeda." The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2008, chapters 2, 6, and 7, pp. 14-36, 116-133, and 134-154. ISBN: 9780815774143.
Highly recommended as an extra reading is Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror 2nd ed. (NY: Random House, 2003), especially pages 38-55, 61-68, and 91-94, which describe the Islamist currents of thinking that spawned Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda and the frightening rise of apocalyptic thinking in the Islamic world; and pp. 219-233 and 447-489, which survey and evaluate the Clinton administration and Bush administration counter-terror strategies and policies.
2. United States. The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America. [Washington, DC]: Dept. of Defense, 2005.
This summarizes official thinking on how to defeat Al Qaeda. Note the list on page 8 of eight major terrorist vulnerabilities to be targeted. Behind this strategy is the view that terrorist networks are like organisms whose care and feeding can be disrupted if their needs are understood.
3. Schwartz, Stephen. "The Real Saudi Arabia." Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2003); and Al-Hattan, Sulaiman. "Homegrown Fanatics." The New York Times, May 15, 2003.
Saudi Arabian society is dominated by a hateful and xenophobic version of Islam—Wahhabism. Unless Wahhabism is tempered Saudi Arabia will export more terror against the non-Muslim world.
4. Haqqani, Husain. "Extremism Still Thrives in Pakistan." International Herald Tribune (July 19, 2005).
Pakistan is in the throes of something bad, but what is it? Religious extremism? Militarism? How should the U.S. respond?
5. Van Evera, S. "Bush Administration, Weak on Terror." Middle East Policy 13, no. 4 (2006): 28-38. Online at http://web.mit.edu/ssp/people/vanevera/faculty_vanevera.html.
A proposed strategy against al-Qaeda, and a critical assessment of Bush administration policies. There is some overlap with Van Evera, "The War on Terror: Forgotten Lessons from World War II," assigned above, apologies for that.
American Foreign Economic Policy, 1945-Present
1. "World Trade: Jousting for Advantage." The Economist (September 22, 1990): 12-19.
"The Economics of Free Trade," which explicates David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage.
2. "Pakistanis Fume as Clothing Sales to U.S. Tumble." The New York Times, June 23, 2002.
The U.S. could provide large benefit to the poor of Pakistan by dropping its barriers to the import of Pakistani textiles. This could also jolly up the Pakistanis to support the U.S terror war. But the U.S. textile lobby won't allow it. U.S. special interests override the U.S. national interest. Too bad for you and me.
3. "Raising Farm Subsidies, U.S. Widens International Rift." The New York Times, June 15, 2002.
The U.S. waves the free trade banner—except when it doesn't want to. U.S. strictures on imports of agricultural products and textiles are a major blow to the world's poor.
4. Shelton, Judy. "More Aid? Sounds Great. But Wait ..." Wall Street Journal (February 15, 2002).
Shoving money at poor states doesn't make them richer. Instead western societies should help poor states improve their governance—i.e., to control corruption and bolster the rule of law. Better economic performance will follow.
|IV. Cold War Crises: Berlin, Taiwan Straits, And Cuba 1962|
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis; other Cold War Crises
1. Paterson, et al. American Foreign Policy, pp. 291-295 and 337-342.
Standard synopses of the Taiwan Straits crises and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A gripping memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis by a central participant.
3. Kaplan, Fred. "Kennedy and Cuba at 35." Boston Sunday Globe (October 12, 1997): D1-D3.
Later revelations about the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK was the most dovish official in the government. He secretly traded the U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey for the Soviet missiles in Cuba. He was willing to give even further if needed. What if someone else had been president?
4. Smith, Jean Edward. "The Peace Presidents." The New York Times, May 9, 2007.
Is history written to emphasize the uses of force by Presidents, and to downplay their horse trading and compromise? The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was settled by concessions from both sides, although Kennedy hid the U.S. concessions from public view and painted the outcome as a pure Soviet backdown. Smith notes that other war-hero presidents, including Grant and Eisenhower, eschewed force and cut deals at important moments, and more often than popular history remembers. Grant was quite a peacenick! George Washington also stood against strong hawkish criticism to reach Jay's treaty, which avoided war with Britain; and John Adams resisted strong demands for war with France, losing office as a result. But their policies look good in retrospect.
For more on the Cuban Missile Crisis you can visit an excellent Web site on the crisis put together by the National Security Archive at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/cuba_mis_cri/. Documents can be seen, tapes can be listened to, and intelligence photos can be viewed at this site. And for more sources on the crisis see a website from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, www.cubanmissilecrisis.org.
|V. American Interventions In The Third World|
The Indochina War, 1950-1975
1. Paterson, et al. American Foreign Policy, pp. 316-335 and 342-356.
A more detailed account, from a middle-of-the-road perspective, of the key decisions to escalate and de-escalate the war. Herring's book is the most prominent general history of the war.
3. Johnson, Lyndon B. "American Policy in Viet-Nam." In Marcus G. Raskin, and Bernard B. Fall. The Viet-Nam Reader; Articles and Documents on American Foreign Policy and the Viet-Nam Crisis. New York: Random House, 1965, pp. 343-351.
This statement, Johnson's famous Johns Hopkins University speech of April 7, 1965, was the fullest official explication of the case for the war.
4. Sanders, Sol W., and William Henderson. "The Consequences of 'Vietnam'." Orbis 21, no. 1 (Spring 1977): 61-76.
The authors re-evaluate the propositions at issue in the debate over the war, concluding that postwar events show that the hawks were right and the doves wrong.
A short counterpoint to Sanders and Henderson.
Other American Interventions and Non-Interventions
Other American interventions: those of 1900-1934 (Panama, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico, Russia); 1945-1993 (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, Angola 1975, Indonesia 1957, Guyana 1964, Congo 1960ff, the wars of the Reagan Doctrine, Panama 1989, Persian Gulf 1991, Somalia 1992-93); and non-interventions (Mexico in 1930s; Bolivia in 1950s).
1. Paterson, et al. American Foreign Policy, pp. 33-51, 96-99, 151- 160, 163-165, 382-386, 442-447 and 482-496.
2. Barnet, Richard J. Intervention and Revolution: The United States in the Third World: (America's Confrontation with Insurgent Movements Around the World) : (5. Print.). 1972, pp. 264-293.
A short history of some of the better-known CIA Cold War covert operations.
3. Schraeder, Peter J. "Paramilitary Intervention," and "The Reagan Doctrine and Paramilitary Intervention." In Intervention into the 1990s: US Foreign Policy in the Third World. Boulder ua: Rienner, 1992, chapter 8, pp. 131-151; focus on pp. 137-149. ISBN: 9781555872922.
The four wars waged under the rubric of the Reagan Doctrine are described here.
How did the U.S. confrontation with Saddam Hussein develop? Pollack offers good background.
On the neoconservative agenda. Also worthwhile on the neoconservatives but not assigned are pp. 277- 282. And see chapter 13 (pp. 333-366) on "intelligence to please."
6. Zeller, Tom. "Building Democracy is Not a Science." The New York Times, April 27, 2003.
The United States' mixed record at exporting democracy by intervention is summarized here.
Another reading may be handed out on the 2003ff Iraq war.
|VI. The Road Ahead: Current Crises And Future Policies|
Current Issues and Crises; Assessment of Bush and Obama Administration's Foreign Policies; The Future of American Foreign Policy
1. Huntington, Samuel P. "The Coming Clash of Civilizations: Or, the West Against the Rest." The New York Times, June 6, 1993.
Humankind will again be at its own throat, this time in a confrontation of great civilizations.
2. Jehl, Douglas. "U.S. Panel Sees Iraq as Terror Training Area." The New York Times, January 14, 2005.
Another peer into the future, perhaps even more worrying. A National Intelligence Council panel describes world in 2020 in which political Islam remains a potent force and biological and nuclear terrorism remain large dangers.
3. Shane, Scott. "Global Forecast by American Intelligence Expects Al Qaeda's Appeal to Falter." The New York Times, November 21, 2008.
Yet another peer into the future. The good news is that al-Qaeda may fade by 2025. The bad news is that the United States is fading too, and will grow weaker relative to other powers in coming decades. The world will increasingly be driven by conflict over scarce food and water, threatened by rogue states and terrorists who may be armed with WMD, and damaged by climate change. How cheery.
4. Kagan, Robert. "China's No. 1 Enemy." The New York Times, May 11, 1999.
China hates the United States. Appeasing China will only encourage Chinese expansionism and bring on a Sino-American clash. Let's get tough on China. Note: Since Kagan wrote, the George W. Bush administration cooperated productively with China against the grave threat posed by North Korea's advancing nuclear weapons program. What light does this shed on Kagan's argument?
5. Kristof, Nicholas D. "The Nuclear Shadow." The New York Times, August 14, 2004.
We are losing control of nuclear weapons. No one in Washington seems to care. A collective snore is heard from the government. This is a recipe for immense calamity. Isn't it obvious that unless we take strong action terrorists will eventually get hold of nuclear materials, make nuclear weapons, and nuke us until we glow?
6. Perkovich, George. "Bush's Nuclear Revolution: A Regime Change in Nonproliferation." Foreign Affairs 82, no. 2 (2003): 2-8. ISSN 0015-7120.
A traditional arms controller's view of how to limit nuclear proliferation: "Strengthen treaties that limit proliferation; downsize the U.S. nuclear arsenal; move toward total nuclear disarmament." Is this sensible? Is total nuclear disarmament a feasible or practical goal?
7. French, Howard W. "When Liberians Looked to America in Vain." The New York Times, July 13, 2003.
In the 1980s and 1990s the United States turned a blind eye toward the bloody rampages of Liberian dictators Samuel K. Doe and Charles Taylor. They then ignited vicious wars that spread to the wider West African region.
8. Frank, Robert H. "A Small Price for a Large Benefit." The New York Times, February 21. 2010.
Climate change is real and dangerous. We face a 10 percent chance of a catastrophic 12-degree climb in temperatures by 2100. And: we can prevent catastrophic climate change at modest cost. Maybe we should do it!
9. Homer-Dixon, Thomas. "Terror in the Weather Forecast." The New York Times, April 24, 2007.
Climate change will cause failed states, terrorism, and vast force migrations, triggering civil and international war. How cheery.
10. Dean, Cornelia. "Views of Scientists and Public in Conflict, Survey Finds." The New York Times, July 10, 2009.
The U.S. public and the U.S. scientific community inhabit different realities. For example: Half of the U.S. public does not believe that human activity is causing climate change. Public policy will not be informed by scientific knowledge while this situation persists.
11. Review again Lieber, Keir A., and Robert J. Lieber. "The Bush National Security Strategy." U.S.
Foreign Policy Agenda, An Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State, Vol. 7, No. 4 (December 2002); and David E. Sanger and Peter Baker, "Obama Reorients Approach of National Security Strategy," New York Times, May 28, 2010; both assigned above on page 6.
12. Marshall, Tyler. "Bush's Foreign Policy Shifting." Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2005.
Spreading democracy was a top G.W. Bush administration priority for a time. Some observers thought this goal impractical.
13. Zakaria, Fareed. "How To Change Ugly Regimes." Newsweek, June 27, 2005 (also posted on MSNBC.com, July 1, 2005).
The George W. Bush administration tried to oust dictators by isolating and snarling at them. This didn't work—in fact it backfired. Such a U.S. policy has helped keep Castro in power in Cuba for nearly five decades. It also failed with Iran and North Korea. Instead a loving embrace will destroy such dictators.
14. Van Evera, Stephen. "Why U.S. National Security Requires Mideast Peace." (MIT Center for International Studies, Audit of the Conventional Wisdom 05-5, May 2005, online at web.mit.edu/cis/pdf/Audit_5_05_VanEvera.pdf).
To win the war on Al Qaeda the United States must change the terms of debate in the Muslim world. To do this the U.S. must end the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover conditions are ripe for a U.S. push for peace to succeed.
15. Prestowitz, Clyde. "Why Don't We Listen More." Washington Post, July 7, 2002.
Bush lost the U.S. friends by acting with little regard for their interests and ideas. Instead the U.S. should consult its friends and take their interests into account before acting.