Panel discusses US intervention
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 23:10
Recent events such as the conflict in Syria have placed a global spotlight on the current U.S. policy on international intervention.
The Bush School Community Dialogues Committee presented the “International Intervention and the U.S. Responsibility to Protect” dialogue Wednesday. The program featured three panelists who discussed the history and impact of foreign intervention.
Joshua Shifrinson, Bush School assistant professor and panelist, said the U.S. is usually involved with a large military operation every one to two years and elaborated on the reasons this occurred.
“The U.S. doesn’t always intervene for one set purpose,” Shifrinson said. “The justifications of being involved include humanitarian goals or strategic purposes that hinge heavily on domestic politics.”
Shifrinson said when the U.S. involves itself in foreign affairs, there’s almost always intense global and domestic scrutiny. No matter what the reason for involvement, he said there’s always a group that disagrees because of moral codes or harms presented.
“If the U.S. decides to intervene with Syria, we’ll receive scrutiny from a variety of groups,” Shifrinson said.
Panelist Col. Hugh Hanlon focused on the military aspects of intervention with other countries and said the military should be used as a last resort.
“Not only does the U.S. not have the funds to have a purely military approach, but it’s important that the government coordinates effectively with the military,” Hanlon said.
Hanlon said contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as a purely military option.The government should take the military’s opinions and suggestions seriously, he said.
“We all want the best for our nation and that translates into our desire for military use, but without the government and departments being involved, every operation would fail,” Hanlon said. “The military is subordinate to government leadership but it’s not subservient.”
Brian McAlister Linn, A&M history professor and panelist, discussed the history of foreign intervention and what it meant for the long- and short-term goals of the U.S.
“For the most part, intervention is used to achieve short-term tactical goals, such as rescuing of hostages,” Linn said. “However, involvement can be intended for long-term strategic results, such as expanding our market for trade.”
After each panelist presented on his area of expertise and viewpoints, there was a question-and-answer period where students were able to ask specific questions about foreign intervention.
Dominic Odom, junior business honors major who participated in the questioning session, said events like this are important for college-aged people who can learn about how the military works and why it intervenes in countries around the world.
“Events with experts like this one are the best way for students to become informed,” Odom said. “Rather than listening to people who only have second-hand knowledge of the topics, students get to hear first-hand experiences.”
Elaine French, sophomore international studies major, said featuring the different panelists made the event more informative and interesting.
“The discussion was really good because each panelist offered different viewpoints,” French said. “Each of them had different stances and I think that really helped set this event apart. It was a great session and I definitely left more informed than when I came in.”