Program to evaluate US foreign protection obligation
Panel seeks to highlight intervention case studies
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 00:10
From the Cold War to the current crisis in Syria, the U.S. has long debated intervening in foreign countries to restore balance and bring American democracy and ideals, allowing for a variety of opinions on U.S. foreign actions.
To contribute to the discussion, The Bush Community Dialogues Committee will present “International Intervention and the U.S. Responsibility to Protect,” an interactive panel on U.S. intervention policy, from 5:30-6:40 p.m. Wednesday in Rudder 301. The event aims to bring students and experts together to discuss past, present and future examples of intervention and U.S. foreign policy.
Cheryl Landry, international affairs graduate student and chair of the Community Dialogues Committee, said the goal of the committee is to bring in the Bryan-College Station community to talk about a variety of topics that are popular in the news. With Syria as a “buzz” topic in the international affairs world, Landry said Syrian issues could open up a range of discussions that students would be interested in participating in and asking questions about.
“There are people who are reading the news about Syria and they don’t study the same things we do, so they have even more questions,” Landry said. “We wanted to talk about a broad topic that would also encompass this issue.”
The panel will host three expert panelists — history professor, Brian McAllister Linn, assistant professor at the Bush School, Joshua Shifrinson, and the commander of detachment 805 for the AFROTC, Col. Hugh Hanlon.
Landry said the panel will cover all aspects of U.S. intervention because of the different areas of expertise represented by the panelists. She said she hopes people will think about the topics discussed and engage in the dialogue.
“I think that it’s important because the U.S. is the global great power and has this perceived responsibility to take care of everybody in the world,” Landry said. “With the economy the way that it is right now it’s not possible. We have to decide where is it feasible to intervene, where can we do good without doing harm. I think the panel will help people really hash it out in their heads.”
Linn said his role in the panel will be to provide the historical context of U.S. intervention and discuss “the big picture.” He said he believes the issue of international intervention may directly affect students at A&M, especially those who have been in or plan on being a part of the armed forces.
“This is perhaps one of the most important topics in the United States,” Linn said. “What is the United States’ role in the world? Is it a force for good or a force for bad? If you’re an American citizen, you should be concerned about [these issues].”
For students who are around the age of 20, Linn said intervention policy has changed just in their lifetimes, as American leaders stated they would not intervene again, but later became involved in the Middle East.
“It’s common for people to only see things they know personally,” Linn said. “I think that if all you’ve got is your own experience, then you need to be able to draw on other’s experiences as well. One of the purposes of coming to a University is so you won’t be dependent on your own experience.”
Shifrinson said he will be focusing on the history of American involvement in frequent interventions after the Cold War, the success or failure in its efforts to build peace and how these results should affect future decisions.
“There was basically an intervention every other year after the Cold War,” Shifrinson said. “Each intervention has its own particular cause and resolution. Understanding what problems and successes can inform efforts going forward and more successful reconstruction.”