October 1, 2012 POL327
Current Events: Obama made speech at UN regarding the protests across the Middle East.
Initially protest broke out in Egypt, but than in Libya where ambassadors were killed. Obama
gave a speech arguing that the Muslim world, we have this thing called Freedom of Speech,
US and Middle East: Hypocritical “freedom of speech”. Example is of a kill list of a person who
was an operational member of Al Qaeda, who wanted to attack the US. Though they had no
evidence, he was never charged. He was placed on the hit list for his public record, for his
freedom of speech.
Within the US, when it acts outside of its own territory, there foreign policy acts differently, it’s
a perception of opposing upon the kind of government they favor (a civilizing force) upon other
nations. From the outside, those in Latin America, Africa and Middle East view it as not
exceptional, and their foreign policy on being motivated by self-interest and power calculations.
Iran Issue: Israel President asked Obama to meet, Obama turned him down, shows growing
tension. The situation in Iran, Israel leader stated Obama has to make a decision to stop the
nuclear weapon development, or Israel will. Within the United States, there are many pressures.
1) He’s a democrat, non-confrontational, Republicans more aggressive, more favorable to Israel.
Though there is no evidence this is true, majority of Jewish population in USA are democratic,
one of the things in the current election by Romney campaign is the idea that Obama is throwing
Israel under the bus, although little evidence. Israel leader stepped right into an election issue,
made comments to throw their support behind one, this is very rare. Obama echoed the claims,
stating that there are red lines, that Iran can’t cross, that while there is time for diplomacy that
time is not unlimited. Interesting: atomic energy agency (over sees proliferation treaty) found no
evidence that Iran has diverted any nuclear material to a weapons, which all agencies in USA
that look at nuclear programs have not seen any since 2003. This was left out of Obamas speech,
seems like Obama was pressure by Israel issues. If Iran do not open up their books, they may
intervene that there will be a war in Iran. It’s unlikely that USA wants a repeat of Iraq, A)
occupation of Iran much more difficult, larger country better armed and organized B) safe to
assume troops would not be welcomed as liberators in the territory, sizable operation. By US
own definition, they are in a state of war with Iran, a) Obama administration bragged to media
outlets about cyber-attacks on nuclear programs. If a foreign power was seen doing the same to
its own, it’s an act of war. b) MEK < group of Iran exiles fighting against the Shia in Iran before
Islamic revolution; they are labeled a terrorist group. They are credited/blamed for being the
chief agent assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran. US used to support them, but last week
labeled them as a terrorist organization.
Kenneth Waltz argued Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear weapon, it would stabilize the
Middle East make it harder for actors like Israel to take aggressive actions, like the same way of conformation of India and Pakistan simmering down because they both have nuclear weapons.
The other aspect is can Iran be prevented from developing nuclear weapons? Consensus from
American intelligence agents is that it can’t. The problem is the response of attacking would
make them more effort in actually developing them, hiding them and an action by Israel would
only make things worse, move them around the country harder to find unless you are occupying
the country. Makes no sense to attack Iran, the greater pressure the more threats, the more
undermines those in Iran that don’t support nuclear weapons.
Ronald Reagan: William Casney, campaign head, apparently met with the Iranians to not let the
hostages (American embassy hostage in Iran) go until after the elections, Reagan’s inauguration
was when the hostages were let out. *talk more about this in coming lectures.
Context within States Act
Realist: states are rationale actors, they know the threats they face, those may differ, and
depending on the assets each states have at their disposal, and the neighborhood to which they
exist. They are rational because when doing with a threat, they are capable of analyzing those
threats & come up with a list of different responses, and are capable of performing of a cost
benefit analysis to determine which are most likely to be successful to diminish the threat.
States don’t always make right decision, miscalculations occur. Do those bad miscalculations
make them not rationale actors? Realists would argue that they are dealing with incomplete
information. On the basis of incomplete information, any cost-benefit analysis is subject to
problems. The making of foreign policy, the most important variable is international context to
which states respond, this is the conclusion which Kenneth Waltz, examines the possibility that
war is caused by the nature of states. Idea of democratic peace theory: certain type of institutions
are more prone towards war fare, democracies are least prone, in part democracies the rule of law
prevails, but more importantly because unlike authoritarian systems of government, provides
those that bear the brunt, the common citizen with an input. The citizens have to be drawn into
military service, predisposes democracy to solve problem with diplomacy. Democracies rarely
go to war with each other, when they have to go to war it’s in “defense”.
Conscription: pro-democratic parties insisted upon, felt conscription would force governments to
be more careful to go to war/ not go. Debate in US: through conscription up until Vietnam, end
of Vietnam War, conscription was ended; professional military have really only touched 1% of
population. Those that join, tend to be little or no choice economically, get military to pay for
college, is an attractive option, especially during 1970s when those that enrolled didn’t have big
fears, no real combat. Since Afghanistan that has changed, the least influential people, bare the
heaviest burden, those that make the least during elections, allows US to become more war like.
Kenneth Waltz 3 basic ideas of war in images: 1) first imagine individuals 2) nature of states
(democracy) 3) international system. In the analysis of each comes to conclusion, the first &
second imagine are not decisive, it’s the instability of the international system. If this is true, than we have to look at the context in the meanings of explaining the foreign policy and differences.
We are looking at number of states who function in very different con