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Week 9 (US) - Hudson Reading Summary

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Political Science
POLI 341
Storrs Mc Call

Hudson Summary  Paradox  Unipolar moment, no serious challengers to American hegemony.  US has won a series of wars dating back to the Gulf War, militarily very powerful  US dominates the Middle East as if it was an unprecedented threat to national security  Why? What’s at stake here?  Traditionally, the interests were 1) containing the Soviet influence 2) Oil interests around the Gulf 3) Protection of Israel as a strategic ally o But since 9/11, there has been a move from upholding the regional status quo, to radically intervening and socially engineering the region  Emergence of Islamist transnational networks, non-state actors, has led to the US to misunderstand the terrorist threat o What changed?  9/11. Was a watershed or historical fulcrum that posed a clear security threat but not exactly a clear approach to the problem  Here, Hudson argues for the role of lobby groups, most importantly, the neoconservatives, to sell a particular approach to the problem o Norman  Domestic politics is a thrust of Middle East politics because of long term interests that extend beyond the limited tenure of the presidency or the individual idiosyncrasies of people in power  Dynamics of domestic politics that allows for lobby groups to have a disproportionate amount of power Neoconservatives are “supported by right wing Israeli circles” and they extol the importance of American hegemony and the use of military force to spread liberal values. This according to the lobby, is the best way to achieve peace  It is important to note here that when Hudson speaks of the neoconservative lobby, don’t think of them as if they were a group of elites have hijacked the American policymaking process. It’s not a new thing. These are interest groups. Mearsheimer and Walt argue that loose group of individuals that push policy because they believe it will help the US. But objectively, it might not be in the national interest. So the neocons are no different from a gun lobbiest in Southern tenessee or an farmer in iowa rent seeking.  But the problem is that because there is no countervailing force in domestic politics, there is no internal balancer. This is what gives rise to what Hudson calls the neoconservative revolution. They were able to influence congress, dominate political discourse so as to sell the idea that proactively intervening in the US is probably the best move.  Such was the ideological nature of the Bush Doctrine to shape the Middle East to the US image  to create instant power mix democracies.  All of this explains why the US has alienated allies in the region and perpetually have threats to national security o And you’ll see this in the articles we’ll present later Sadowski Critique  First of all, let’s start with things that I think he got right o The policy that the US has pursued in the region has alienated a lot of people, including their allies. Sadowski relates this to the “idealist” or moralistic nature of the Bush Doctrine.  Realism tells you that if you use let ideology or domestic politics interfere with your decisionmaking, you’ll get into a lot of trouble  And it seems like this is the case. First of all, the US policymakers have seriously m
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