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Faculty looks for truth

Jeannine Privat | Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The greatest casualties of the 2004 presidential campaign are the facts, a group of professor-panelists who discussed foreign policy topics said Monday night at Notre Dame.The four professors commenting at the panel were political science professors Dan Lindley and Curtis Kamman, economics professor David Ruccio and peace studies professor Gerry Powers. The four professors served on the “Election Perspectives on Foreign Affairs” faculty panel in the first of many election season events sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns and others.While all four professors highlighted the issue of the war in Iraq, each focused on a different area concerning the war. According to Lindley, one of the biggest security threats facing the United States is the problem of “loose nukes” in the former Soviet Union.”Facilities are largely unguarded,” Lindley said.Prior to Sept. 11 and after, some analysts drew attention to the problem as a major security threat, but the current Bush administration has instead focused on the war in Iraq, according to Lindley. “Between a glass that’s empty, cracked and broken, and a glass that’s a quarter full, I’ll choose the latter,” he said. Ruccio focused on issues concerning economics, including international trade pacts and negotiations, immigration and energy concerns for America. “How do we manage our relations with oil-producing nations?” Ruccio said. Some oil-producing nations are those who harbor many terrorists and commit violations of human rights that the United States must keep in mind, as oil imports have steadily increased and reliance on domestic energy sources has decreased during the last 30 years. “Right now, there is consensus on opening up free trade,” said Ruccio. Powers spoke solely on the war in Iraq. He called the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq “a radical departure” from past international law consensus but noted similarities between Bush and Kerry’s views on Iraq and foreign policy.”Both platforms are pushing a muscular foreign policy. The differences are the tactics, but strategies are not all that different,” Powers said. “Clearly, the Bush Administration does not have a stellar record.” Kamman, the last speaker, criticized the Bush administration’s foreign policy.He cited the administration’s actions in the Kyoto Protocol, treaties with Russia and other foreign affairs issues prior to Sept. 11 to support the claim that the Bush administration generally preferred unilateral and nationalist politics and completely disregarded the international community.”I’m afraid we’re back in a large quagmire,” Kamman said of the war in Iraq.Having started the war in Iraq, the panelists agreed that the United States’ top foreign policy in the next few years would be to maintain geo-political stability in the world.