Workshop Assignment (4/25 by 5pm) posts by all students
1. Do you agree or disagree with John Mueller’s assessment that the reaction to terrorism in the post-9/11 world has been “overblown?” In his words, “terrorism is a rather rare and, appropriately considered, not generally a terribly destructive phenomenon. But there is a danger that hysteria over it could become at least somewhat self-fulfilling should extensive further terrorism be visited upon the Home of the Brave.” Particularly after the death of Osama bin Laden, should protecting the U.S. against international terrorism continue to be a top security priority?
2. In a 2005 article in the Boston Review, realist thinker Stephen Walt argued the U.S. should reject strategies aimed at establishing “global hegemony” or oriented around “selective engagement” and instead opt for a third “grand strategy” he labels “offshore balancing.” According to Walt, this strategy has a number of clear advantages: “by setting clear priorities and emphasizing reliance on regional allies, it reduces the danger of being drawn into unnecessary conflicts and encourages other states to do more for us,” and “it takes advantage of America’s favorable geopolitical position and exploits the tendency for regional powers to worry more about each other than about the United States.” In your view, does offshore balancing provide a useful strategy for more cheaply and efficiently pursuing America’s national interests? Why or why not?
3. According to a recent poll conducted by Pew, Millennials (those born in the 1980s, 90s and 2000s) have greater faith in the effectiveness of diplomacy, are more skeptical of the use of military force in foreign relations, have a stronger belief in an individual’s right to refuse to participate in a war that runs against their moral convictions, and place a higher priority on willing the support of America’s allies than the preceding generations (Generation X and the Baby Boomers). In your view, will the growing role of Millennials as both voters and national leaders contribute to any significant changes in American foreign policy? If so, what specific changes would we see in America’s foreign policy? If not, what other factors will outweigh the effect of this generational shift?