Table of Contents
TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views in American Foreign Policy
Unit 1 The United States and the World: Strategic Choices
- Issue 1. Is American Hegemony Good for the United States and the World?
YES: Michael Mandelbaum, from Davids Friend Goliath, Foreign Policy (January/February 2006)
NO: Jack Snyder, from Imperial Temptations, The National Interest (Spring 2003)
Michael Mandelbaum, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, argues that most countries in the world benefit greatly from Americas efforts to provide regional stability, limit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and maintain a free trading system. As a result, other countries are not responding to Americas power by traditional power balancing. Jack Snyder, professor of international relations at Columbia University, argues that U.S. leaders have bought into the myths that entrapped imperial powers in the past, and that American unilateralism is creating nationalist backlashes against the United States, leading to a risk of imperial overstretch in which U.S. commitments would overburden American capabilities.
- Issue 2. Is the United States in Decline?
YES: Richard N. Haass, from The Age of Nonpolarity: What Will Follow U.S. Dominance, Foreign Affairs (May/June 2008)
NO: Robert J. Lieber, from Falling Upwards: Declinism, the Box Set, World Affairs Journal (Summer 2008)
Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, maintains that the world is entering a period of nonpolarity due to the relative decline of the United States and the dispersal of power to both other states and nonstate actors. No single rival can match U.S. power, but the general dispersal of power will make it more difficult for the United States to achieve international cooperation on security, environmental, and economic issues. Robert J. Lieber, professor of government at Georgetown University, points out that forecasts of American decline in the 1970s and 1980s proved to be inaccurate. The United States retains a preponderance of power and Americas potential rivals face problems of their own that will prevent them from matching U.S. power.
- Issue 3. Should Promoting Democracy Abroad Be a Top U.S. Priority?
YES: Joseph Siegle, from Developing Democracy: Democratizers Surprisingly Bright Development Record, Harvard International Review (Summer 2004)
NO: Tamara Cofman Wittes, from Arab Democracy, American Ambivalence, The Weekly Standard (February 23, 2004)
Joseph Siegle, Douglas Dillon Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that large numbers of countries are continuing to democratize and, because of the increase in accountability associated with democratization, they tend to experience economic growth as fast as, if not faster than, other countries in the same region. Tamara Cofman Wittes, research fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, argues that U.S. efforts to promote democracy in Iraq and the Arab Middle East are likely to fail unless the U.S. government matches its rhetoric with a credible commitment to promote policies institutionalizing the forward movement of liberalism in Iraq and the region at large.
Unit 2 U.S. National Security Issues
- Issue 4. Should the United States Withdraw from Iraq Expeditiously?
YES: Marc Lynch, from How to Get Out of Iraq, Foreign Policy (January 2009)
NO: David H. Petraeus, from Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Armed Services (September 10, 2007)
Marc Lynch, associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, argues that the situation in Iraq remains fragile, but that the failure to withdraw U.S. troops on the schedule President Barack Obama proposed on the campaign trail would cause renewed instability in Iraq. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command and former commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, notes that the surge policy of increasing U.S. troops in Iraq and changing U.S. strategy and tactics has succeeded in greatly reducing violence in Iraq. This will allow reductions in the level of U.S. troops in Iraq, but further reductions must be contingent on whether Iraq remains stable.
- Issue 5. Should the United States Preemptively Attack Irans Emerging Nuclear Weapons Capability?
YES: Norman Podhoretz, from Stopping Iran: Why the Case for Military Action Still Stands, Commentary (February 2008)
NO: Scott D. Sagan, from How to Keep the Bomb from Iran, Foreign Affairs (September/October 2006)
Norman Podhoretz, editor-at-large for Commentary magazine, asserts that Iran is continuing to pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons, that carrots and sticks brandished by the United States and others have failed to slow this effort, and that the United States will soon have no alternative but military force if it is to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. Scott D. Sagan, professor of political science and director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, argues that other states have been dissuaded from acquiring or keeping nuclear weapons, and that Iran can be as well if the United States gives up the threat of changing the Iranian regime by force.
- Issue 6. Should the United States Negotiate with the Taliban?
YES: Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, from From Great Game to Grand Bargain: Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Foreign Affairs (November/December 2008)
NO: Joseph J. Collins, from To Further Afghan Reconciliation: Fight Harder, Small Wars Journal (October 31, 2008)
Barnett R. Rubin, director of studies and senior fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, and Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy, propose that the U.S. should pursue negotiations with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan to establish stability in the region. Joseph J. Collins, a retired army colonel who teaches at the National War College, asserts that many of the diverse groups fighting against the United States in Afghanistan are irrevocably opposed to U.S. goals and that the United States must achieve greater military successes in Afghanistan before pursuing any negotiations with the opposition so that it can bargain from a position of strength.
- Issue 7. Should the United States Allow Russia More Leeway in Eurasia in Exchange for Russian Help in Stopping Irans Nuclear Program?
YES: Nikolas Gvosdev, from Parting with Illusions: Developing a Realistic Approach to Relations with Russia, CATO Institute, Policy Analysis No. 611 (February 29, 2008)
NO: Stephen Sestanovich, from What Has Moscow Done? Rebuilding U.S.-Russian Relations Foreign Affairs (November/December 2008)
Nikolas Gvosdev, senior editor of The National Interest and adjunct senior fellow at the Nixon Center, suggests that Russia is unlikely to be integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community and cannot be coerced into acquiescing in U.S. policies. The United States must prioritize its core interests vis-à-vis Russia, particularly the need for cooperation on non-proliferation and counterterrorism and allow Russia greater flexibility in policy issues that are more important to Russia than to the United States. Stephen Sestanovich, professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, rejects calls for a grand bargain with Russia, which in his view would not achieve greater Russian cooperation on Iran and other issues. Instead, the United States should pursue more modest and incremental steps to integrate Russia into a European security framework.
Unit 3 The United States and the World: Regional and Bilateral Relations
- Issue 8. Should the United States Challenge a Rising China?
YES: Aaron L. Friedberg, from Are We Ready for China? Commentary (October 2007)
NO: Christopher Layne, from Chinas Challenge to US Hegemony, Current History ( January 2008)
Aaron L. Friedberg is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and director of Princetons Research Program in International Security. He served in the Office of the Vice President of the United States as deputy assistant for national security affairs and director of policy planning from 2003 to 2005. He argues that the United States should respond to Chinas rising strength and soft power with a strategy that includes intensified efforts to maintain a favorable balance of power by reinforcing existing alliances and institutions, building bilateral relations with major states in Asia, and maintaining forces sufficient to deter and if necessary, defeat China militarily. Christopher Layne is a professor at Texas A&M Universitys George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service. He argues that a U.S.–P.R.C. military conflict is certain if the United States tries to maintain its dominance in Asia, but that such a conflict can be avoided if the United States engages in offshore balancing, relying more on regional powers to counter China, and using force only in the face of direct threats to vital American interests.
- Issue 9. Should the United States Seek Negotiations and Engagement with North Korea?
YES: David C. Kang, from The Debate over North Korea, Political Science Quarterly (vol. 119, no. 2, 2004)
NO: Victor D. Cha, from The Debate over North Korea Political Science Quarterly (vol. 119, no. 2, 2004)
David C. Kang, associate professor of government at Dartmouth College, contends that the threat posed by North Korea is overblown because North Korea will continue to be deterred from acting aggressively and, con-sequently, that engagement offers the best strategy promoting economic, political, and military change. Victor D. Cha, associate professor of government and D. S. Song-Korea Foundation Chair in Asian Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and Asian director in the National Security Council of the U.S. government, argues that North Korea remains hostile and opportunistic. Engagementif used at allshould be highly conditional, and the United States and its allies should remain prepared to isolate and contain North Korea if engagement fails.
- Issue 10. Should the United States Engage Hamas?
YES: Steven A. Cook and Shibley Telhami, from Addressing the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in Richard Haass and Martin Indyk, eds., Restoring the Balance: Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Saban Center at Brookings and the Council on Foreign Relations, 2009)
NO: David Pollock, from Conclusions: Next Step Toward Peace, in David Pollock, ed., Prevent Breakdown, Prepare for Breakthrough: How President Obama Can Promote Israeli–Palestinian Peace, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Focus #90 (December 2008)
Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Shibley Telhami, professor of peace and development at the University of Maryland, assert that Hamas has genuine support from a sufficient number of Palestinians that it must be brought into a Palestinian unity government and included in the peace process, if it is not to be a spoiler in any negotiations. David Pollock, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, recommends that the United States continue to isolate Hamas unless it first recognizes Israel, renounces violence, and promises to honor past Palestinian agreements with Israel.
- Issue 11. Should the United States Contribute to a NATO Peacekeeping Force to Encourage and Guarantee an Israeli-Palestinian Peace?
YES: Daniel Klaidman, from A Plan of Attack for Peace, Newsweek (January 12, 2009)
NO: Montgomery C. Meigs, from Realities of a Third-Party Force in Gaza, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Watch, #1451 (January 8, 2008)
Daniel Klaidman, managing editor of Newsweek, Christopher Dickey, Newsweek Middle East editor, and Newsweek writers Dan Ephron and Michael Hirsh argue that NATO should provide peacekeeping forces as part of an overall settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs (Retd.), visiting professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown Universitys Walsh School of Foreign Service, cautions that the demands upon and requirements for a peacekeeping force between Israelis and Palestinians would be daunting, and warns that any such force would face attacks by extremist groups.
- Issue 12. Should the United States Continue Sanctions on Cuba?
YES: Otto J. Reich, from Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (May 21, 2002)
NO: Ernesto Zedillo and Thomas R. Pickering, from Rethinking U.S.-Latin American Relations, A Report of the Partnership for the Americas Commission, The Brookings Institution (November 2008)
Otto J. Reich, assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs at the time of his 2002 testimony, argues for maintaining existing sanctions on Cuba. The report of the Brookings Institution Partnership for the Americas Commission, cochaired by former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo and former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs Thomas Pickering, proposes the lifting of all restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans, repealing the embargo on communications equipment to Cuba, taking Cuba off the State Departments list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, and upgrading official contacts with the Cuban government.
- Issue 13. Is Loosening Immigration Regulations Good for the United States?
YES: George W. Bush, from Letting the People Who Contribute to Society Stay, Vital Speeches of the Day (May 15, 2006)
NO: Mark Krikorian, from Not So Realistic: Why Some Would-Be Immigration Reformers Dont Have the Answer, National Review (September 12, 2005)
George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, argues that the United States can be both a law-abiding country with secure borders and a nation that upholds its tradition of welcoming immigrants. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a visiting fellow at the Nixon Center, argues that immigration reforms promoting guest workers or amnesty are unrealistic and prone to fraud and paralysis.
Unit 4 U.S. International Economic and Environmental Issues
- Issue 14. Are Free Trade and Economic Liberalism Good for the United States?
YES: Matthew J. Slaughter, from An Auto Bailout Would Be Terrible for Free Trade, The Wall Street Journal (November 20, 2008)
NO: Andrew N. Liveris, from Working Toward a (New) U.S. Industrial Policy, Speech delivered to the Detroit Economic Club, Detroit, MI (September 22, 2008)
Matthew J. Slaughter, professor of international economics in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, argues that government intervention in the economy, and in the U.S. auto industry in particular, will reduce foreign direct investment in the United States, increase the likelihood of trade protectionism, reduce market access for U.S. firms abroad, and drive down the value of the dollar. Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and chief executive officer of the Dow Chemical Company, argues that a vibrant industrial and manufacturing base is indispensible to the country and this can only be achieved by developing an industrial policy targeted at rejuvenating the competitiveness of U.S. firms, bolstering economic and energy independence, and creating jobs.
- Issue 15. Is Fighting Climate Change Worth the Cost?
YES: Bill McKibben, from Think Again: Climate Change, Foreign Policy ( January/February 2009)
NO: Jim Manzi, from The Icarus Syndrome: Should We Pay Any Price to Avoid the Consequences of Global Warming? The Weekly Standard (September 8, 2008)
Bill McKibben, an environmental author and activist, argues that the science of global warming is clear and a climate catastrophe is under way, that transformational change is necessary, and that the costs of further inaction will be large and widespread. Jim Manzi, CEO of an applied artificial intelligence software company, argues that predictions about the degree and consequences of global warming are fraught with uncertainty. Consequently, the best strategy for addressing energy and the environment is to let the markets integrate known information into prices and let the consumers and producers adjust accordingly.
- Issue 16. Is It Realistic for the United States to Move Toward Greater Energy Independence?
YES: Nathan E. Hultman, from Can the World Wean Itself from Fossil Fuels? Current History (November 2007)
NO: Philip J. Deutch, from Energy Independence, Foreign Policy (November/December 2005)
Nathan E. Hultman, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, argues that historical patterns of change in the sources of our energy and the increasing efficiency with which we consume it suggest that we can enhance energy security and address climate change without major disruptions to our society. Strategies for doing this include expanding government-sponsored research and development, establishing clear and stable long-term carbon prices, and developing new technology standards. Philip J. Deutch, director of Evergreen Solar and general partner of NGP Energy Technology partners, a private equity firm investing in energy technology companies, argues that U.S. oil imports are so high that it would be impossible to end them in the next few decades, and that U.S. energy use is likely to continue to grow, as will oil prices, even if energy efficiency and conservation increase.
Unit 5 The United States and International Rules, Norms, and Institutions
- Issue 17. Is It Justifiable to Put Suspected Terrorists under Great Physical Duress?
YES: Charles Krauthammer, from The Truth about Torture: Its Time to Be Honest about Doing Terrible Things, The Weekly Standard (December 5, 2005)
NO: Andrew Sullivan, from The Abolition of Torture, The New Republic (December 19, 2005)
Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post opinion columnist, argues the lives saved by information provided by those with information about terrorist incidents justify the use of torture to obtain that information. Andrew Sullivan, senior editor of The New Republic, argues against claims of the military utility and necessity of torture.
- Issue 18. Can Humanitarian Intervention Be Justified?
YES: Kenneth Roth, from Setting the Standard: Justifying Humanitarian Intervention, Harvard International Review (Spring 2004)
NO: Alan J. Kuperman, from Humanitarian Hazard: Revising Doctrines of Intervention, Harvard International Review (Spring 2004)
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, argues that while humanitarian intervention is extremely costly in human terms, it can be justified in situations involving ongoing or imminent slaughter, but that it should only be considered when five limiting criteria are met. Alan Kuperman, resident assistant professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, argues that the benefits of humanitarian intervention are much smaller and the costs much greater than are generally acknowledged because violence is perpetrated faster than interveners can act to stop it and the likelihood of humanitarian intervention may actually make some local conflicts worse.