PSCI-207 World Politics

Workshop Assignment (4/25 by 5pm) posts by all students

with 16 comments

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?

Written by Steve Hess

November 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

16 Responses

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  1. According to John Mueller’s assessment 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.”
    This is a predictable and expected reaction. After 9/11 despite being widely despised by Americans around the country President Bush became a hero for a split second. He ordered the “War on Terrorism” and everyone admired him briefly. Since this attack he has changed homeland security, national defense programs and even the airport security. The citizens were afraid therefore something had to be done to ensure that they feel safe and secure in the comfort of their country. Any president or leader would have had to do the same thing.
    The reaction of putting national security as a top priority isn’t overblown but rather needed. America was attacked that day unexpectedly. After this attack everyone felt vulnerable and open without protection from terrorist attacks. The media portrayed the situation as if America was helpless and needed to be rescued. No one had ever experienced such an attack against humanity with the killing of so many of our citizens. Since then around the world threats have been made, individuals have been caught with bombs and countries have become nuclear armed. These simple things don’t show a definite future attack but they do pose a threat on the security of the United States.
    Therefore the increases in security help lower the likelihood of Americans being killed by terrorist, the likelihood of being damaged by Al Qaeda and also help us become less vulnerable.

    Jame'el Lawrence

    April 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm

  2. Response to Question #3

    The recent Pew Research poll shows the Millennials generation having more liberal beliefs and convictions regarding foreign policy than Generation X and Baby Boomers. This is not surprising since according to Pew Research, “Younger generations hold more liberal values than older generations regarding U.S. foreign policy.” This also held true when “Generation X” and the “Baby Boomers” were the youngest generation. However, unlike the previous “younger” generations, I believe the Millennials generation have the technical knowhow (Smartphone’s, iPads) and means (internet, social networking, twitter, etc.) to significantly change American foreign policy based on their ability to instantly transmit information that support their liberal beliefs regarding; diplomacy, military force, and the right to refuse to participate in war.
    The current technologies provide the ability to instantaneously and widely transmit the horrible consequences of war, as it relates to U.S soldier causalities and its effects on local innocent civilians. The proliferation of this uncensored information, enables the younger voters and future lawmakers who are well-versed in this technology, to directly influence the American populous and current politicians; thus, potentially impacting policy related to military force. An example of this was recently found in the news when, a young U.S. soldier, part of the Millennials generation, snapped horrific photographs of fellow soldiers posing with Taliban corpses and body parts and placed them on YouTube. As discussed in an April 18, 2012 Los Angeles Times article, “The soldier who provided the photos said he and others in an 82nd Airborne brigade were concerned about a lack of discipline, leadership and security that he said compromised soldiers’ safety.” Thus, actions like this could easily result in policy changes in the military.
    The Millennials generation can also change policy in the area of human rights violations. The human slaughtering found in the Darfur genocide and the Uganda atrocities depicted in the KONY 2012 video are definitely examples of the Millennials generations’ ability to educate the populous that could easily influence future foreign policy through their voting and political pressure.

    Andrew Musolf

    April 21, 2012 at 1:18 am

  3. With the 9-11 terrorist attack the security in the US increased at it’s highest to prevent another attack like this. Yet, after ten years since the attack the US was able to kill Osama Bin Laden. In my opinion I believe now the US security should stay as it is, or improve a little bit more since they might be other terrorist attack. Those who use to follow Osama might look for revenge and of course this terrorist attack will take quite some time to build. With the security staying or improving we could make another 9-11 stage be impossible. Mueller stated “International terrorists would have to increase their capabilities considerably to change such astoundingly low probabilities”; they will since terrorist know how the security of the US is harder to break than before. Still, with the US democracy system and opportunities that anybody can have that migrates from another country, and everybody treated equal, they are still some people around the world that hate the US; “Polls around the world strongly suggest the answer to this is a decided ‘yes.’”(Muller). With people still hating the US, that means that those could be terrorist so the US cannot stand down with their security system because when they do that would be the point were terrorist are going to take the best out of it.

    Ariam Rivera

    April 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm

  4. Response to Question #1

    While an aggressive counter-terrorism policy may be publicly popular, there are indications that it’s completely unnecessary. Kevin Drum has this chart showing that indictments for homegrown support for terrorist attacks have declined significantly. In addition, violent attacks carried out by Muslim-Americans in 2011 were almost non-existent. Drum quotes a recent report: “Of the 20 Muslim-Americans accused of violent terrorist plots in 2011 only one, Yonathan Melaku, was charged with carrying out an attack, firing shots at military buildings in northern Virginia. Nobody was injured.” The report shows that, “in the ten years since 9/11, Muslim American terrorist plots have killed 33 people in the U.S. but there have been more than 150,000 murders.” We completely overdid the response to 9/11. That was always going to happen. At first 9/11 was a catalyzing event, and the response would of course be vast. But at this point, it’s just total overkill. Terrorism is a law enforcement issue and will be in the same manner that it has been for decades. But it is not a world-historical issue that threatens the safety and sanctity of every American. In relative terms, freeway driving carries more peril. I feel that yes 9/11 happened, it was real we were not perpared but whether or not it will happen again its always good to be prepared. no, we havent seen anything since but just as 9/11, it could easily happen again. I also wanted to address a situation at hand. Since 9/11 I’ve seen and heard so much hate toward Muslim-Americans. Just yesterday i was at the corner store with my best friend and my cousin when a few muslims parked and went it. some of the kids stared yelling out “they gonna blow us up” and words cant explain how upset that made me. i kind of feel the tables have turned. we are over protective and racial profiling takes place in america everyday. would you say that we are some what terrorist now towards them or am i overblowing it now ?

    Tienna Guadarrama

    April 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

  5. 2. Stephen Walt’s “grand strategy” for America, which he labels “offshore balancing”, could rescue the nation from its plummeting reputation and preserve its primacy. The United States’ long history of promoting democracy in foreign nations—specifically in the Middle East in recent events at the point of a gun—and taking the role of “world police” has diminished our credibility, even amongst our own allies, while igniting increased hostility in the targeted countries. Forcing democracy on unwilling participants not only pushes them further away from accepting the United States and its ideologies, but fuels anti-American support and strengthens terrorist groups. Walt’s “offshore balancing” approach would reform our current foreign policy from working as a “world police” and using American power to establish democracies, which clearly has only damaged our reputation, to a self-restraint approach; this approach entails that the United States establish a clear set of goals and vital interests, and will use its power and force abroad only when these are threatened. In accordance to this, the nation will also engage in multilateralism, looking to regional allies to maintain the balance of power in areas of vital interests to the US, intervening only if their counterparts cannot. In general, the “offshore balancing” approach keeps the United States out of conflicts that are unnecessary and beyond its concern, encourages consideration of foreign interests and opinions through the utilization of multilateralism and associated international institutions (so, for example, we can meet at least some of the diverse interests to prevent conflict with foreign nations, and by listening to other countries, make them feel as though their opinions matter and we are open to and considerate of them). The United States would still promote and support human rights, intervening only when necessary and appropriate, as in mass genocides or a direct threat to the US, but would no longer keep troops deployed overseas. Using this self-restraint strategy will keep the US out of unnecessary conflicts; keep us out of situations where we are unwelcome, which has the potential to relieve some of the strong animosity felt by nations with large anti-American support, as well as terrorist groups; minimizes the fear our power projects onto other nations; and shifts foreign nations’ concerns of the US onto each other. Soft power also plays a major role in altering negative perceptions of the US to a more favorable one, by promoting foreign interests, such as opportunities to become educated in the US and cultural exchange. Acting multilaterally, rather than unilaterally, can only help the US rebuild its admirable reputation, but it must honor its own policies and rhetoric to do so by taking action—not just telling people what they want to hear.

    Jessica A.

    April 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

  6. Response to #1

    According to John Mueller’s assessment the reaction to terrorism in the post-9/11 world is 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.”

    It seems to be overblown, because before 9/11 when was the last time our country been attacked ? Never, So it is rare that there would be another terrorist attack. But we have to also realize that we just killed Osama Ben laden the leader of a great terrorist group. So there is a great possibility of future danger along the line which would make them might want to retaliate, and try to attack our country. The U.S should have it in there mind to make it there top priority to protect this country to avoid another 9/11. With having new ways to stop international terrorism and becoming more aware of any suspicious activity that goes on in U.S airports.

    nicholas santiago

    April 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

  7. 3. I think that the Millennials will definitely contribute to significant changes in American foreign policy as both voters and national leaders. As votes they will be less likely to vote in a president who has a history of rushing into action before the situation can be fully assessed and brought to a peaceful resolution. Any president whose first answer to solving a conflict is through force will inevitably lose popularity with the people from this generation. As national leaders, this generation will probably be more likely to act in such a way that will please the general population.
    Specifically, the changes that we might see to America’s foreign policy are a greater emphasis on negotiations. America leaders will have to make greater efforts to resolve any conflict with their words rather than their actions. The people are going to want to see that a real effort is being made to avoid war at all cost. If they do not, they will probably find that there will be protests to any war that is started, and a decrease in the number of recruits for the armed forces.
    With an emphasis on talking first and using violence as a last resort we may find that America’s foreign policies regarding trade may also change. With a more willingness to listen we may find that other countries may in fact be more open to entering into some type of agreement with the United States. While fear has proven to be a good deterrent for some countries and groups to avoid attacking the U.S., it may also have led others to be hesitant to do business with us.
    It is hard to say how exactly things will change because even if it is started now it will take a while before any real change is clearly visible to the world. However, it would be foolish to believe that this up and coming, outspoken generation will stand by and watch as things continue to stay the same when they obviously disagree with some of the decisions being made.

    Ericka Facella

    April 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  8. Question #1
    “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.”After the 9/11 terrorist attacks a lot of Americans were devastated and heartbroken because of the loved ones that were lost in this disaster. The threat level in America was always at red due to America not knowing what else damages what were going to because. The white house, pentagon, and other governmental agencies were also a target for destruction. Bush the president at the time retaliated with “War on Terrorism”. Since the attack was administered high security agencies such as the homeland security, the national defense programs, and the airport security were implemented for advancement for the safety and protection of the American citizens.
    After the death of Osama bin Laden, should protecting the U.S. against international terrorism continue to be a top security priority? Yes, because after the death of a great leader that the Afghanis’ admired someone may try to follow in his shoes and cause another devastating attack but it may be more severe than just a plane crash. Nuclear weapons or bombs may be directed our way. If America lets its guard down and thinks nothing of another attack how will they be prepared if an attack is proposed?

    Trebawan Soomaroo

    April 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

  9. I do not agree with John Mueller’s assessment that terrorism in the post-9/11 world has been “overblown.” Terrorism is not something to take lightly in my opinion. It is a very serious threat even eleven years after the attacks on the World Trade Centers. Terrorists are a very serious threat because they can strike anywhere at any time. Terrorists have no “home.” What I mean by this is that when terrorists do strike we do not where the attack came from. In years past when we were at war, we knew who we were fighting. In this day and age, when we are attacked by terrorists, we do not know who and what to retaliate against. I do not think that it is unwise of the US to continue protecting us against international terrorism. They can strike at any time and this is something that is very scary. It would be in the US’s best interest to keep international terrorism a top security priority. We do not need another 9/11 here in the US or anywhere else for that matter.

    Stefan Wagner

    April 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

  10. I strongly disagree with John Muellers assessment on that terrorism in post -9/11 world has been ” overblown”. In this world, there are no countries that are complety safe from terrorism. If there was such a thing, then there would be no problems between countries. Terrorism is always a threat to everyone in every country. The attack on 9/11 was a surprise to the United States and to many other countries around the world. The United States was caught sitting back on there heels when 9/11 happened. US citizens beleived that we were the strongest country and we are protected the most on our own soil. Even eleven years after the attack, there are still threats that the United States have to be aware of, due to the fact that there are many different religions and cultures that are active in the United States. Each year, technology is more advanced and the risk for more terrorist attacks rises. There is not one individual that is safe from a terrorist attack. It can happen anywhere at anytime. There have been no signs of another terrorist attack within the past few years, but that is mainly because terrorist organizations are smart and will do everything they can to stay under the radar. The United States showed how powerful they can be by capturing Sadam Hussien and Osama Bin Ladin. Terrorists may or may not be planning an attack on our country, but when they realize the United States are sitting back on there heels, they will attack again. There will always be a risk. The fact that it took many years to capture Osama Bin Ladin and Sadam Hussien is beacuse they were good at hiding and had many people within Al Queda to help them remain hiden. The same thing goes for planning an terrorist attack. There will always be a threat against our country and every individual has a right to be fearful of an attack

    Chris Maull

    April 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm

  11. Question #1
    I disagree with John Muller’s assessment that the reaction to terrorism in the post-9/11 world has been “overblown”. It’s clear that events like 9/11 don’t occur every year or that often but it’s that reason which causes Americans to act the way they do about terrorism. You can never be safe enough nor will we will ever come to that point in which we can say we are safe. In John Mueller’s article he asks his readers what are the chances of an individual being attacked by a terrorist in the U.S. I can see where he is going with that question but the simple fact is that not just one American was attacked but thousands and if you want to get literal this event affected everyone in the U.S.
    I don’t believe the reactions of people towards terrorism has been “overblown” because if this happened to us once right under our noses who’s to say it won’t happen again? Next time it can be an attack from a terrorist from a foreign country that hates American and to be honest we are looked up to but at the same time we are hated. Even though Osama bin Laden has been killed and a large amount of his followers have been captured that doesn’t make us safe. There will always be another terrorist group that would want to carry on where they left off or believe they could do it better. The reason I say this is because the world has witnessed this event and have seen what this group has done so it is made clear that it “can” be done. American can be attacked and weakened as a whole. So I strongly disagree with John Muller and I believe protecting the U.S. against international terrorism should continue to be a top security priority.

    Ishel Morales

    April 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm

  12. 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?

    i disagree that the reaction to terrorism has been overblown. i think immediately after 9/11 there were justified reasons for the heightened security. homeland security turned to one of the most important things to throw money into to ensure our safety, president bush shipped out troops to show our dominance, and of course the heightened security processes in airports. nobody seemed to be complaining immediately after the terrorist attack because we were all scared that something else would happen and Bush did what he could as a leader to ensure us that with all of these changes we would become a safer nation.

    but now over ten years later we are still in the same boat as we were directly after the attack. we continue to have terrorist reports, see stuff on the news about new attacks that have been prevented, and we still have the grueling wait in the airport that we all hate. but i feel that because 9/11 came at such a shock to us that we were definitely ill equipped and that’s what hurt us the most. if we let down our security now who knows if another attack will happen. it isn’t just bin laden who hates America, there are plenty of people who could easily stage some kind of terrorist attack in order to try to make a point that the US isnt as powerful as we make it out to be. terrorism should definitely continue to be a top priority, we take it as a joke but i think if you took a national poll more people would choose to wait an hour in the security line then risk the devastation that happen in september 11 years ago. you can never be too safe and you never know when terrorism will strike.

    Leona Reyna

    April 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  13. Question 1.
    John Muller’s assessment to the the reaction to terrorism in the post 9/11. ” Terrorism is a rather rare and appropriately considered, not generally a terribly destructive phenomenon. But there is a danger that hysteria over ti could become at least somewhat self-fulling should extensive further terrorism be visited upon the Home of the Brave”. The terrorist attack on 9/11 had the American culture devastated and scared. From that day the national security level was always on red to insure the safe of our country. During this time Bush had declared a “war on Terrorism”. This resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden even though he might be dead it didn’t mean that these aren’t others that would want to follow in his footsteps that would continue for where he had left off.

    Jason rhule

    April 25, 2012 at 10:35 pm

  14. To answer the question,” Does offshore balancing provide a useful strategy for more cheaply and efficiently pursuing America’s national interests?” I would say that Stephen Walt is right; the United States should abandon its strategies aimed at establishing “global hegemony” or “selective engagement” and moves towards a foreign policy that involves what Walt called “offshore balancing.” Offshore balancing is the reliance of regional allies to secure a region of the world; instead of the United States putting its military bases in certain areas of interest and deploying its own soldiers. For example; it would be better for the United States to honey trap states like the United Kingdom in Europe, Israel in the Middle East, and South Korea in Asia to keep stability in the region and which ensures that enemy states or anti-Americanism are kept in check. The United States wouldn’t have to worry about the history of states becoming too powerful in a region and wanting complete domination because they would be under U.S. influence. This is also good because the United States can keep global hegemony through allowing states to do their bidding while performing selective engagement on its enemies that want to disrupt the peace and stability through terrorism or any forms of radicalism against the U.S. This foreign policy allows the United States to avoid getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts and encourages other states to do more for us. This approach is multilateral which is heavily favored in the international system and would give the U.S. a better reputation in the world, rather than its unilateral policy under the Bush administration which tarnish U.S. reputation in the world view. As Walt stated in the article,” Everyone knows that the United States is the most powerful country in the world.” in which he goes on that the U.S. should use their power more efficient. I agree, with the U.S. trying to stay on top of the international system for as long as they can.

    Dornell Miller

    April 26, 2012 at 1:18 am

  15. 1)I believe that the article by John Muller on whether or not terrorism is more of a threat post 9-11 has some very accurate points. I agree with his idea that we may in fact safer today then we were a decade ago. The goal of terrorism is to make the population feel as if they are under threat all the time Americans today are notably more afraid of being killed at the hands of terrorists. Since 9-11 zero American citizens have been killed by a terrorist regime on United States soil. It was calculated that the chances of being killed by a terrorist or a terrorist attack are 1 in 80,000. Since the 9-11 attacks, it seems to me that the United States is even safer from terrorist attacks, than it was 10 years ago. The US military and security programs are now on high alert and are constantly looking for any type of Taliban threat. It was found that there was no notable jihadist or any people tied to the regime, living within the US. This has led me to believe that even though the worlds view of the US is less than popular, I believe we are in fact more safe from a terrorist attack today, than pre 9-11, because the attacks have shed light on Al Qaeda and their potential threats.

    Helen Humphreys

    April 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  16. On the article by John Muller, i feel like he came up with some valid points and questions about is the country safer or more bound to be attacked by a terrist again. Wel i feel like after 9-11 the country is more alert of terrists attacks, thus making it mucgh more safer. Now me telling you the country will will again be attacked of another bombing o attack from another terrist attack, is like me telling you when the next world war will occur. its possible but not likey, because the U.S is currently at war with iraq.
    But i disagree with John Muller in saying the world is “overblown”, the reason for me saying so is because, the bombing or attack of 9-11 isnt something that happens often, and its most likey to not occur again.
    Ever since the last attack america has become more strong and efficient and trying to make security much more stronger.

    Bryan Edwards

    April 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

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