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POL208 Introduction to I.R w/1 Sept.14th
Bombing of Hiroshima. Second Crucial event is the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989; symbol of the
end of the cold war. Third event, 9/11.
Those three events still effect to date. Aim is to illustrate understanding of these events.
Drop of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima:
August 6th 1945(3 days later, Nagasaki) 2 nuclear bombs were dropped on cities, killing 200 000
civilians. It was the first and last use of Nuclear weapons. These two decisions to drop bomb
ended WWII. Lead to captivation of Japan. Every battle against Japanese forces has lead to large
U.S casualties. Nearly 250 000 U.S killed. Prospect of facing an invasion of inland japan was a
daunting task. By using nuclear weapons we saved american lives; was argument used. Japan
was obviously willing and able to fight until last man. They suffered huge casualties defending
pacific islands, so projection of civilian and japanese casualties were above 1 million. From a
U.S perspective, nuclear bombing was part of a campaign of mass bombardment. Tokyo was
targeted weeks before, 60 000 killed before. Tip of a campaign for “shock and owe”
Decision making Process: president of the time Harry Truman was inexperienced. Wasn’t aware
of program leading to the nuclear bomb, Manhattan project. Very secretive. Even vice president
was not aware of it. He faced pressure from military official, all of the government, everyone
was telling him to sign the paper for the manhattan project. The chances that a president like
Truman would oppose an already made decision were slim to none. Truman was just a pawn.
Some diplomats consider the use of atomic weapons against Japan was a good way to show to
Russia that the U.S was the most powerful nation in the planet.
At the time, Russia is an ally of the U.S. Tension among the two. Stalin had a tension regarding
the countries that the soviet union liberated from nazi germany. Use of nuclear weapons was a
good way to tell russians they’re still ahead. Controversial opinion.
Why didn’t the U.S drop an atomic bomb on a deserted island, inviting japanese officials to see
the effect of the bomb without killing?
Bureaucratic reasons and strategic reasons.
Bureaucratic reasons:Not sure the bomb will actually function. Any scenario of a demonstration
was unlikely because there was a risk that it may fail.
Strategic Reason: The U.S at the time had only very few nuclear bombs, 3 are operation 6 are
not. We just don’t know if these bombs will be sufficient for a japanese defeat. Do not want to
waste one bomb for a demonstration; use the bomb as a weapon immediately. Not clear at all that
these bombs by themselves will end the war. After the fact (nuclear weapons got their status due
to japanese capitulation) were so powerful it changed the world. Equivalent of 12 000 TNT.
Strategic reason, relationship with Japan, a weak president, some bureaucratic politics, all these
factors help understand why decision to drop the bomb was unanimous. No concern about the
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morality of the act. Not only the U.S; brits and canadians were in agreement to use the bomb.
Churchill put in his memoir; never a second thought about dropping the bomb.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall
November 1989; the divine surprise of Berlin wall falling. President Bush (father) watching
CNN and seeing Berlin wall is in process of being breached said to an aid” if the russian let that
happen, they must be serious about reforms”. Nobody among decision makers/diplomats/military
officials expected that event.
Factors: First, the Gorbachev factor. Improving soviet union. Changing the system at its core.
Communist; wants to improve the community. He is ready to address soveit economy by
negotiating arms control and disarmourment with washington the obbjective was to decrease the
pressure on the soviet budget. The competition in the arm races was so high it was crumbling
soviet economy. He wanted impact at home, interacting with Washington. Openness of the
system. They didn’t include lesser control over the eastern european countries. Gorbachev came
to review, if poland wants to reform itself so be it. But I don’t want to intervene in their own
affairs; old soviet way of sending tanks to crush any freedom movements is gone. Gorbachev
wanted to focus on domestic economy/situation. So the the grip on eastern europe was more
flexible than it use to be. Background factor. Image of the actual fall. A decision by Hungary to
abandon any control on their borders with austria. And that lead to a massive flow of
immigration from hungary to western europe, the Iron Curtain (division between communist
world, and western world) was already breeched. There were refugees in all the western
embassies across eastern europe because that was their ticket to the free world. Low ranked
bureuatcrats of eastern germany to say, by accident in a press confrence that freedom of travel
was allowed. Never the plan of east german government. Journalist asked if it was applied from
now and the response was “yes from now”. Actual border guards were overwhelmed.
Background elements and then the l uck element that explain that event. Most important event of
20th century. Allows unification of Europe; Russia brought back.
Luck and nontangible element; the flow of information that was present at that moment. The
west german television would broadcast into east germany and so east germany got a real sense
of what freedom in the west entails. Flow of money from west germany to east germany is
crucial for this to happen. Moved on since separation. West Germany was the first supplier of aid
to east germany.
Attack on U.S by al-Qaeda.
Failure of intelligence. Not we didn’t know. There were plenty of signs coming from all over the
world to say that al-qaeda was potentially targeting the U.S. Nobody would’ve accepted the
cancellation of all flights in america. But if you don’t have operational evidence, you can’t do
it.All the radar were positioned outside of the U.S. The scenario of a U.S airliner departing from
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boston that could be hitting a target in new york was not predicted. When it happened, the U.S
only had 4 planes that could be dispatched over New York; no way to stop it. Al-Qaeda used
openness to succeed.
Why did Al-Qaeda strike U.S:
Motives: Lead by Bin Ladden, key reason why U.S became an enemy was because of the
presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia. Presence was considered blasphamy by Bin laden.
Al Qaeda is a non state active group (several individuals). Informal network they used
asymmetrical warfare; using weapons of the enemy (U.S planes). 4 planes were hijacked in 15
minutes. Hijackers were trained and informed 3 years in advance. Some in U.S, some in Europe.
Hamburg Germany; all assimilated into their environment. U.S has never been attacked directly
due to safety of the ocean. Impact of 9/11 on the psychology of Americans was deep. At the
political level it changed fundamentally the calculous of risk that the U.S was willing to accept.
Prior to 9/11 strategic framework to use for by the U.S was under a directive which called for
zero casualty (for the U.S); no U.S soldiers could be killed on battle field. After 9/11 ready to
intervene. Some battle, they just used weapons from the air. Attitude towards proliferation
changed. Fear of it. Fear of information being spread to terrorists. Changed intervention and use
of force attitude.
Factors: diversity, instant communication among these groups.
1) level of individual leaders (Gorbachev factor)
World Politics (poltiicians, personalities character, belief that these men and women carry)
2) the Role of decision Makers. Role; the position of advisors the institution they represent their
respective status in a circle of decision making. It may be important to assess influence of an
3) Government Structure.
What system is this government in? Democratic system does not have the same opportunities
than an autocratic system. When government is accountable, pressure can be used.
4) Relative openness/ sources available; influence decision. Culture is also an important
5) The level of classic international relation; the relation among states. Pakistan, india
dynamic. The emerging interdependence between china and U.S
6)world system. Unique by itself. What are most fundamental characteristics? Cold war; key
aspect was the bipolar distribution of power.
Pol208 w/6 Oct 19 Tuesday
Mainstream of IR Theories: impossible to reconstruct the intention and decision making process.
Individual and the rationality of the Individual
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