Unruh discusses foreign policy, election

first_imgUniversity faculty and students came together on Wednesday to discuss the global challenges the United States’ next president will face in an event hosted by the Jesse M. Unruh Institute for Politics and the Political Student Assembly — part of a series called “It’s Our Election Too.”Panelists included senior correspondents for the student publication Glimpse from the Globe Luke Phillips and Kshitij Kumar; Robert English, associate professor of international relations; and Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute.The discussion began with a commentary on how the role of foreign policy in this election cycle differs from previous years.“This year, the gulf between what’s being promised … and what [candidates] are really likely to do, what they will be able to do in the real world … seems to me wider than ever,” English said. “Some would say the level of irresponsibility and recklessness is greater than ever.”But Kumar expressed concern over campaign promises that would make for ill-advised foreign policy initiatives in reality, particularly those that focus on isolationism.“It worries me because that’s what the American people are going to come to expect,” Kumar said.Schnur agreed, additionally referring to the prominence of American isolationism that has been gaining momentum recently.“Outside of rooms like these, where smart young people know how important these international issues are, the wall-builders are winning,” Schnur said.The topic of discussion shifted to the idea of the war on terror and its role in presidential campaigns. Schnur talked about the importance of how candidates are portraying Islam and acts of terror in this election.“The distinction between condemning radical Islam, and Islam is of absolutely critical importance,” Schnur said. “An increasing number of our political leaders are making a point of drawing the distinction, but the loudest voices in the political debate are not.”Phillips responded by saying that the socioeconomic unrest in the Middle East is to blame for much of radical Islamism rather than the religion itself. He said that a good foreign policy should take that into consideration.“I’m not saying it’s not important to be fighting a moral war,” Phillips said. “But I think something that a true leader will have to tell [Americans] eventually is that because of events that are out of [anyone’s] control, there’s a tendency among members of the Muslim community to get radicalized because of forces that are happening to the Muslim community.”English said that with those forces and the efforts the United States has made so far, it’s not possible to transition quickly to an isolationist policy.“Since 2002, … we have spent $4 to 5 trillion with what some would say is remarkably little gain,” English said. “We have now crossed 1 million casualties. These guys are acting like isolationists, as if you can just throw bombs and stay home, but you can’t. It’s just fantasies.”last_img read more