CIAO DATE: 9/01
From CIAO's Board: Commentary on the Terrorist Attacks against the United States
I guess now is as good a time as any so here are four initial thoughts:
(1) Role of the University:
At Duke Bob and I have been involved in efforts with other faculty and administrators in various parts of the university's response. Open forums clearly have been helpful, and we will be doing more in the days/week/months ahead as others no doubt are/will on their campuses. One issue that has arisen has been how to approach the core policy questions that have emerged. Lots to discuss here, but the main point I'd like to make now is my concern that the usual and arguably natural and inherent tendency of universities to shy away from any consideration of military action needs to be balanced. We have a responsibility to help our students and other members of university communities think through informed choices as the policy debate develops. To do that we must have room in the domain of debate for a full range of informed and sincere views both in policy and political terms. We end up only mirror imaging those we see as too reactive and too apt to just lash out if we do not allow for both the possible moral legitimacy and policy requirement of the use of force. Judgments can and should be made about particular proposals put forward, but in a serious and analytic way, not an allergic one.
Also, politically, just as in a democracy we are not bound to support the policies of a president just because he/she is president, so too we must not oppose policies just because we did not or do not politically support the president. And for those who may access this debate through CIAO who I don't know, I say that as a longtime Democrat and in 1999-2000 a senior outside foreign policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore.
(2) Bipartisanship but Active, not Passive:
Picking up on the last point, it is of course not a time for anyone to play partisan politics. Yet we also know from much experience the dangers of too much "the President knows best". Lee Hamilton, former Democratic congressman and chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, had a statement in the paper today about Congress being both a partner and a critic. He acknowledged how tough that is to pull off, but he is it right. I've written on the value of "constructive compromise" patterns in presidential-congressional relations, how optimal policy sometimes comes out of creative disagreement when that is channeled effectively; e.g., 1983-86 Philippines policy when the Reagan administration wanted unconditional support, and some Dems in Congress wanted full cut in relations, but the policy that emerged struck the right balance and helped towards the peaceful democratic transition to Cory Aquino. Constructive dialogue and compromise is what I mean by active bipartisanship.
(3) Early Warning, Psychology of Policy Focus
Separate from knowing about the particular attack, which at this point I'll accept as more an intelligence shortcoming than discrete failure, it is quite clear that any number of credible actorsgovernmental and non-governmental, US and other countrieswere warning about the dangers of catastrophic terrorism within the US. A 1998 Dept of Transportation study succesfully breached airport security 68% of the time. A 1999 test of trailing an airport employee through security passages worked 71 of 75 times. And read Jane's Intelligence Weekly from a few months ago on the bin Laden networkand these are unclasssified sources. So there was warning; the threat the warning was about was severe and close to home; yet minimal priority was given. The Bush admin pursued a futuristic and in my view more ideological than pragmatic priority of NMD; Dems in Congress focused more on all sorts of other issues, very few of which were about foreign policy and security. The early warning issue is an important one for us to focus on, as it keeps coming up: e.g., a main focus of work on ethnic conflict, preventive diplomacy and humanitarian intervention (worth reading is the article by Alexander George and Jane Holl in my book, Opportunities Missed, Opportunites Seized on preventive diplomacy, and their argument about the issue being not warning in itself but translating warning into action).
(4) The IR Field
I've always been somewhat Maslowian in my views of psychology and social psychology. In his hierarchy of needs security is pretty basic, and he argues that unless that is satisfied all sorts of others including self-actualization, have to wait. For the ongoing IR debate on the one hand many aspects of globalization and the new agenda could be seen as those that have to wait until security is satisfied. On the other hand this is precisely the kind of security issue that is very much about globalization and the new agenda, not just classical security terms. So how do we approach it in our scholarly work? Maybe yet another call for integrative approaches rather than siloed by subfield and/or paradigm?
to responses and other thoughts,
Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Professor of Public Policy, Duke University
Director, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy
Response by Etel SolingenSteven Weber
Professor of Political Science
University of California, Irvine
Response by Stephan Haggard
Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
University of California, San Diego
Response by Stephan HaggardPeter Katzenstein
Response by Robert Keohane