POL326Y1 Lecture 5: May 19 Lec 5

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14 Dec 2016
Current aspects of US Foreign Policy: City of Ramadi run by ISIS; so questions over whether the tide had
been turned; US government (John Kerry) gone over his way to declare this as fluke and not significant
change; contradicted by those closer to the situation, particular (BBC) interviewed former Ambassador
to Iraq claiming that it is a big blow to the Iraqi government; his assessments (Patrick Couborn) aligned
with experts; Iraqi military trained by US disappeared when Mosul fell; entire idea of 350,000 soldiers a
fiction because of the way Iraqi military is run; officers for instance claim of more soldiers to get more
money; their bluff was called when Mosul was overrun; if they trained that kind of army in 8 years, what
kind of army did they train in the last 12 months; but the actual force against ISIS, Kurdish militia and
Shiite militia supported by Iran not controlled by Iraq; ISIS claims 150,000 soldiers;
Another development: John Kerry meeting President Putin; souring of relations between Russia and
Europe and the West over Ukraine; largely blamed on Russia by Western media; Western media pretty
selective with claims of Russian invasion; even in Crimea, Russian troops already stations for decades; a
major in difference in tone by the policies put in place by the US and statements made by Kerry; Minsk II
agreement the best as per Kerry (March of 2015); Minsk II agreement roundly denounced by the US;
strong evidence by US and Ukrainian government to undermine such an agreement; a major change;
what brought it about; in the last couple of days, a sea-change of project to Isolate Russia; during the
annual celebration of Nazi defeat by Russia, traditionally Western Europeans would come and take part;
this year none of the Western European governments sent reps; US did not send any major delegates;
the major difference; China with a large delegation; US and West had shot itself in the foot and that has
created a situation fairly predictable; policy of NATO expansion eastward by Brezenski; closer military
alliance of China and Russia; they have also joined operations near Japan and the Mediterranean; China
also created Asian Development Bank to compete with World Bank; Britain, Germany and France have
already joined; as such, a major blow to the US; both Germany and Britain see relationship with Russia
very valuable; if Russia and China to make a common cause, for Europe to be excluded is undermining
their own interest; as such, American markets not expanding for German and British interests;
SU-5000 to be installed by Russians by 2017; in terms of military dominance, US still dominant;
Ipat of puli opiio o puli poli; should’t hae a ipat;
From a realist perspective: should not have any impact; FP to be determined by national interest based
on rational choices;
Liberals: not willing to go that far; they argue FP outcome of domestic policies and should be a reflection
of public opinion; therefore, need to re-valuate the assumption that democracies and totalitarians are
the same as per realists (states inherently rational actors defending national interests);
In that regard, for the most part, general public is ill-informed and as such a poor guide for policy
makers; public mood swings change with rapid winds; example: US in 1920s and 1930s went out of its
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way to create the Red Scare; but then, Pearl Harbour came along; changed impression of Stalin regime
and Soviets; ideas of Uncle Joe; that transformation followed back to the original Red Scare; it was the
attitude of West that change as their interest changed;
While public opinion a poor guide for foreign policy, it really applies to the mass public as elite and mass
public very different; public opnion poll by PEW Research Group and Council for Foreign Relations; 52%
versus 32% agreed with the statement that US should mind its own business and let the world deal with
its own problem; elite: favour freer trade by margin of 81%, globalization by 73%, view US jobs as a
priority in Foreign Affairs by 29%; by contrast 81% of mass believe US job to protect public jobs;
ANOTHER DISCUSSION: to oe aa fro PO to Ideolog….
- Public opinion changes rapidly and is volatile; ideology is far less so
- In terms of ideology, US very stable; but certainly not immune to change; as ideological
- General perceptions: US is not heavily ideological; number of political scientists making that
observation (Robert Daul); reason: Americans tend to share the same ideology and do not see
themselves ideologically motivated as much as Europeans;
- That observation based on Hartz Horowitz Theory: North American societies as fragments of
European culture that brought with them certain ideologies from Europe but not the complte
ideological spectrum from Western Europe; the vast majority of Americans somewhere in the
middle of the left-right ideological spectrum; extreme right and left missing in the American
political spectrum;
- One way of making this understandable; in European politics very strong left-wing parties;
absent in the US; few exceptions; in Europe prominent right and left parties; NPD in Germany
for example; very careful in its statements in rejecting German Constitutions as it is illegal;
- Those parties do’t eist i the US; otetio etee Deorats ad Republicans mostly in
the centre;
- However, not accurate for the elites; the picture is much more different; very few on the
extreme left and very few on the extreme right; Democratic party traditionally had strong base
of support from Unions particularly from the North; that wing has lost cloud since Bill Clinton;
Clinton appeared populist but acted otherwise; same with Obama;
- Republican party also further to the right than the general public; particularly evident in the
- Hilary Clinton as an example: needs to get approval of supporters active in the Democratic
party; those tend to be elites and tilted to the far left; She has gone out of her way to appear as
a regular person; spoken out against Transpacific Parternership and Free Trade; contrary to her
husad’s poliies; she needs to appear far to the left;
- Let’s sa she sueeds i iig the oiatio by moving further to the left; THEN SHE NEEDS
TO MOVE TO THE CENTRE BY PLEASING THE MAJORITY; Obama did the same; furthermore,
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