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The Perversities of Power - Human Rights & U.S. Foreign Policy
Bard College
Spring 2017

Description

Half a million people, most of them civilians, have died in Syria’s civil war, and hundreds more die every week. Does the United States, far and away the world’s most powerful nation, have a responsibility to stop the killing? Virtually every week the United States acts to assassinate people in Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Does the world’s strongest country have any responsibility to justify these extra-judicial killings? Today scores of prisoners sit imprisoned in Guantanamo, having never been charged with a crime. Does the United States have the right to hold them? Our country is at once the leading force for the present human rights treaty regime that binds the world’s nations and its most prominent and persistent violator. How did the United States’ strikingly peculiar relationship to human rights come about and what does it tell us, not only about the United States but about the character of power itself? In this course we will study the history of American power and its evolving relationship to human rights, both in treaties and in practice, and will attempt to untangle and illuminate the paradoxes that lie at its heart.



Syllabus

Class Requirements This class will be a mixture of lectures and discussion, backed up by a large amount of reading. The most important requirements are that students

 

*Attend all class sessions

*Keep up with reading assignments

*Participate in discussions

*Deliver one presentation to the class

A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion, together with the thoroughness of his or her preparation, will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade.


Schedule Note that classes will meet Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10:10 a.m. in Olin 304.


Reading Our primary reading will draw largely from a number of books on human rights and US foreign policy. They are listed below. I strongly urge you to obtain these books in your own copies and in the edition specified, either from the school bookstore or from online suppliers, so that you will be able to highlight and annotate them

Tracking the News A significant part of the class will be given over to tracking and discussing US foreign policy as it emerges out of the first months of the Trump administration. Following these events closely in various publications, beginning with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers and websites, is essential. Even if you are not a habitual newspaper reader, you must become one for this class.

 

Writing There will be an in-class midterm examination on March 27. The midterm will consist of short-answer questions and some essay questions. Depending on response to the reading there may be an occasional in-class quiz. Whether or not there will be a final examination will depend on the judgment of the professor during the semester.

     To bolster the clarity and vigor of your English prose, I strongly suggest studying two works: George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which can be readily found on the web, and Strunk and White’s little manual, The Elements of Style.


Presentations Each student will make one presentation in class on a subject related to our assigned reading or discussion. The latitude on subject matter is quite broad. Use of multimedia and social media is strongly encouraged.

 

Office Hours I will count on meeting with each of you individually at least once during the course of the term. We will make these appointments on an ad hoc basis. I am best reached via email, at mark@markdanner.com. My office is in Aspinwall 108. My writing, speaking and other information can be found at my website, markdanner.com.


Grading Students will be graded on their preparedness and their participation in class, the strength of their presentations and the quality of their written work, as follows:

 

Attendance            25 percent

Participation          25 percent

Midterm Exam      25 percent

Presentation          25 percent

 

To do well in this class a solid record of attendance is essential.

 

 

Required Texts  

 


Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994)

 

Roy Gutman et al, Crimes of War 2.0: What the Public Should Know (Norton, 2007)*

 

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009)

 

Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012)

 

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown, 2015)

 

Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003])

 

Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016)

 

Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2011)

________________

*Short chapters from this text will be assigned to supplement the reading from time to time.


Tentative Syllabus

 

January 30, 2017 – Power and Human Rights: Introduction to the Class. Postwar American Power and the Rise of the Human Rights Regime. The Components of the Emergency State. September 11 and What It Did. Can A Superpower Be A Leader in Human Rights? The Rise of Donald Trump and the Questioning of Human Rights Leadership. Outlining the Class. Requirements: Attendance, Participation and Presentations. The Midterm Exam. A Possible Final Exam. Grades and Where They Come From. How To Make The Class Succeed. An Introduction to the Central American Wars.

  

Case One: Massacre, Human Rights and National Security

 

February 1 – Balancing National Power v. Human Rights: A Misleading Image? The Soviet Challenge: Its Realpolitik and Ideological Aspects. Central America and “The American Lake.” Mass Murder and the Problem of “Dirty Hands.” A Communist Victory: How Damaging to Human Rights?

 

       Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), p. 1–84.

 

 

February 6 – Reporting the Story: The Struggle Over Ideology. The Cover Up. How to Investigate and Note Investigate. Did the Diplomats Lie? The Congress and the Effort to Moderate National Interest with Human Rights. Is It Possible to Form a Synthesis?

 

       Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), pp. 84–161.

 

 

February 8 – The Cables: The Lie at the Heart of the Story. What Necessitated the Lie? How was it carried out? What do the documents reveal? How Close Can We Get to the Truth?

 

       Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), pp. 163-304. 

 

The Rise of the National Security Paradigm

 

February 13 – Nuclear Weapons and the Reality of Executive Power. The Early Cold War and the National Security State. The March Toward the Unchallenged Executive. The Constitution and the Reality. Who Decides On War?

 

       Reading: Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2011), pp. 1-134.

  

February 15 – Information and Its Control. The Manifold Uses of Secrecy. Information as Power. The Unitary Executive. 9/11 and the Unchallenged Executive. Power and Foreign Policy Today.

 

       Reading: Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2011), pp. 134-241.

 

 

Case Two: September 11, Black Sites and Torture


February 20 – The Post-9/11 Detention Regime. The Security Panic. The Black Sites and How They Arose. Interrogation and Enhanced Interrogation. Torture.

 

       Reading: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown, 2015), pp. 1-188.


February 22 – The Dilemma of Interrogation: How To Know What They Know? Techniques of Interrogation. The Army Field Manual. Once We’ve Got Them, How Can We Release Them?

 

       Reading: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown, 2015), pp. 191-381.

  

February 27 – September 11 and the Search for Security. The Importance of Interrogation. The “Second Wave” of Attacks. Improvisational Governance. How to Bypass the Bureaucracy. The Post-9/11 CIA.

 

        Reading: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009), pp. 1-181

 

March 1 –How To Improvise Torture. The Memos. The Role of Lawyers. How Can Torture Be Legal? The Role of the OLC. Blowback.

 

              Reading: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009), pp. 182-335

 

 

Human Rights As Concept and As Movement

 

 

March 6 – Human Rights: How To Build A Movement. What Are Natural Rights? Where Do They Come From? Making Natural Rights A Movement.

 

              Reading: Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 1-92

 

March 8 – International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law. The Cold War and Human Rights.

 

              Reading: Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 93-185

 

 

March 13 – The Organizations and How They Arose. The Shock of September 11. Fighting for Human Rights in the post-9/11 Era

 

              Reading: Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 186-334

 

 

March 15 – Catch Up Day. Possible In-class Debate. Review.

 

[March 20 & 22 – Spring Break, No Class]

 

March 27 – Midterm Examination. There will be fifteen to twenty short-answer questions, focusing on the reading and concepts drawn from it that have been emphasized in class, and three to five essay question, treating broader subjects of class discussion.

 

Case Three: Genocide and US Foreign Policy


March 29 – The Meaning of Genocide. In Search of A Definition. Raphael Lemkin and the Creation of the Genocide Treaty. The Meaning of the Treaty: Honored in the Breach.

 

              Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 1-86

 

April 3 – The First Opportunity: Cambodia. Foreign Policy, National Interest and the Crime of Genocide.

 

              Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 87-170

 

April 5 – Saddam and the Kurds. Chemical Weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Bosnia: Feeding the Dead. Europe’s Genocide.

 

               Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 171-328

 

April 10 – Rwanda: The Fastest Genocide. Srebrenica: Under the Eyes of the West. Safe Areas and What They Are Good For.

 

               Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 329-442

 

April 12 – Genocide: Never Again? The Worth of Lemkin’s Treaty. Will National Interest Always Win?

 

           Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 443-517

 


Case Four: Endless War and the Rise of the Drone

 

April 17 – Awlaki: Who He Was, What He Stood For. The Rise of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Drone Warfare.

 

         Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016),

pp. 3-144


April 19 – The Rush to Drone Warfare. Obama’s Embrace.

 

               Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 145-236

 

April 24 – How Did It Happen? Can the President Kill Any American? If So, What Are Human Rights?

 

              Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 237-326

 

April 26 – Review and Discussion Day

 

 

May 1 – The Syria Dilemma: Does the United States Have An Obligation to Intervene? A Debate.


May 3 –


May 8 – Possible Final Examination (to be determined)


May 10 –

 

May 15 –

 

May 17 – Completion Days

 

May 22 – Completion Days


Annotated Syllabus


January 30, 2017 – Power and Human Rights: Introduction to the Class. Postwar American Power and the Rise of the Human Rights Regime. The Components of the Emergency State. September 11 and What It Did. Can A Superpower Be A Leader in Human Rights? The Rise of Donald Trump and the Questioning of Human Rights Leadership. Outlining the Class. Requirements: Attendance, Participation and Presentations. The Midterm Exam. A Possible Final Exam. Grades and Where They Come From. How To Make The Class Succeed. An Introduction to the Central American Wars.

 

Class Notes 1/30/17:

Discussed Donald Trump’s recent travel ban and the possibility that it will instigate terrorist activity.

Briefly examined terrorist’s tactics, specifically employed by ISIS:

To commit acts of terror that force people to choose a side

To eliminate the grey zone (zone of neutrality).

Defined Populism: The mobilization of a large alienated population against a government controlled by the out-of-touch elite.

Discussed how the election of Donald Trump represents a political and social retrenchment in the United States.

Defined the Course’s three main elements: American Power, Human Rights, and the Advent of Donald Trump.

Introduced the idea of the contradictory nature between a national super-power and the rights of the individual. “Can the United States of America be a global super power while also upholding its fundamental ideals regarding human rights?”

 

 

Case One: Massacre, Human Rights and National Security

 

February 1 – Balancing National Power v. Human Rights: A Misleading Image? The Soviet Challenge: Its Realpolitik and Ideological Aspects. Central America and “The American Lake.” Mass Murder and the Problem of “Dirty Hands.” A Communist Victory: How Damaging to Human Rights?


Class Notes 2/1/17:

Discussed the role of the Cuban revolution in the cold war.

Discussed Reagan’s policy on Cuba: We had to draw the line of soviet penetration on the western hemisphere of Cuba.

Defined Domino Theory: The fear that countries would fall to the soviets like dominos.

Defined the Contras and their role in Nicaragua during the cold war: USA funded guerilla warriors against the country’s new regime.

Discussed the tactical advantages of El Mazote’s location. On the boarder of Honduras making it easy for guerillas to flee from government forces.

Discussed guerilla’s tactic of targeting isolated military outposts.

Discussed the role of forensic anthropology in the El Mazote massacre as being a huge win for the human rights movement.

 

Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), p. 1–84.

 

February 6 – Reporting the Story: The Struggle Over Ideology. The Cover Up. How to Investigate and Note Investigate. Did the Diplomats Lie? The Congress and the Effort to Moderate National Interest with Human Rights. Is It Possible to Form a Synthesis?

 

Class Notes 2/6/17:

 Discussed the Trump’s refugee ban:

Countries included: Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan

All countries the US has bombed

None of the countries listed have been involved in terrorist attacks since 9/11

Discussed the Federal Courts stay of the refugee ban.

Discussed the possibility of an increase in “lone wolf” terrorist attacks following the refugee ban.

Discussed the increase in terrorist attacks since 9/11. And organizations like ISIS’s goal to eliminate the “grey zone”. 

 

Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), pp. 84–161.

 

February 8 – The Cables: The Lie at the Heart of the Story. What Necessitated the Lie? How was it carried out? What do the documents reveal? How Close Can We Get to the Truth?

 

Class Notes 2/8/17:

Discussed Trump’s violation of norms E.g. his antagonistic use of twitter.

Discussed the clash of the human rights community and the US government following the El Mazote massacre. Evident in Todd Greentree’s cable.

Discussed the Politics behind US involvement in the Salvadoran conflict

Democratic congress feared blame of FMLN victory if they had cut funding to train Salvadoran military.

FMLN victory was viewed as a greater risk to the human rights of Salvadoran people than that of the conflict itself.

 Discussed the possibility that there was no long-term benefit of US involvement in the conflict, given that the FMLN eventually came into power, and the countries public life has declined greatly.

 

Reading: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote (Vintage, 1994), pp. 163-304.

 

 

The Rise of the National Security Paradigm

 

February 13 – Nuclear Weapons and the Reality of Executive Power. The Early Cold War and the National Security State. The March Toward the Unchallenged Executive. The Constitution and the Reality. Who Decides On War?

 

Class Notes 2/13/17:

Discussed Michael Flynn’s alleged negotiations with Russian officials that he is currently under investigation for.

 Discussed the national security act of 1947: created the CIA, DOD, NSC, NSA

 Defined a Deep State: enormous national security organization that stays in place with a façade of democracy.

 Discussed NSC and Principals meetings.

 

Reading: Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2011), pp. 1-134.

 

February 15 – Information and Its Control. The Manifold Uses of Secrecy. Information as Power. The Unitary Executive. 9/11 and the Unchallenged Executive. Power and Foreign Policy Today.

 

Class Notes 2/15/17:

Discussed the recent info leaks happening as a result of Trump taking office.

Reflected on the possible crippling nature of said leaks. Examined how Nixon destroyed his administration trying to get a hold on leaks.

Discussed the effect of Snowden’s leaks on global surveillance and security culture.

Followed up on prior class’s discussion on Michael Flynn, who has now resigned.

Presentation: Skyler Muldaur - Global Surveillance, 5 eyes/Snowden

 

Reading: Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2011), pp. 134-241.

 

  

Case Two: September 11, Black Sites and Torture

 

 

February 20 – The Post-9/11 Detention Regime. The Security Panic. The Black Sites and How They Arose. Interrogation and Enhanced Interrogation. Torture.

 

Class Notes 2/20/17:

Discussed the New Yorker’s recent call for Trump’s removal under the 25th amendment.

Discussed trumps brash statements and possible repercussions they will produce. Trump has thrown out aspects of the presidency that were once sacred.

 Discussed Guantanamo Diaries and its haphazard redactions. 

Discussed the US government’s trend of lies and secrets in recent years: WOMD’s in Iraq, Cambodian bombings.

Presentation: Ella Hardy - "In the Shadows" The Post 9-11 Detention Regime, Enhanced Interrogation, and Torture.

 

Reading: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown, 2015), pp. 1-188.

 

February 22 – The Dilemma of Interrogation: How To Know What They Know? Techniques of Interrogation. The Army Field Manual. Once We’ve Got Them, How Can We Release Them?

 

Class Notes 2/22/17:

Discussed extraordinary rendition: “official kidnapping” as it was put in class. Contradicts the writ of habeas corpus.

Discussed Guera Sucia (dirty war) that took place in Argentina.

Discussed the failure of GTMO Bay, specifically how interrogators caused inmates like MOS to admit to things they did not do.

Presentation: Dylan Long – Why We Torture

 

Reading: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown, 2015), pp. 191-381.

  

February 27 – September 11 and the Search for Security. The Importance of Interrogation. The “Second Wave” of Attacks. Improvisational Governance. How to Bypass the Bureaucracy. The Post-9/11 CIA.

 

Class Notes 2/27/17:

Push away the notion that a bunch of evil people are controlling the government, and reframe the question at hand: what context made responsible members of our government takes such huge steps away from our supposed morality?

Discussed how the people torturing those in GTMO were not breaking the law, they were following the law

There is a distinction between following the law and true morality

The government called in the lawyers and asked “what can we do” instead of “what should we do” when approaching the issue of terror after 9/11

When a president chooses to be given the raw intelligence instead of told by intelligence experts what it means, you put the responsibility in the president’s hands alone

When they say they’re “going to take the gloves off” they’re referring to respecting constitutional rights, international human rights treaties, etc, which had a liming effect on the president’s power

By necessitating taking the gloves off, they’re implying the “gloves” are to blame for attacks

Presentation: Lia Russell - US National Security Post 9/11

Presidents have historically exercised more power during war time (lincoln, roosevelt)

Nixon took this precedent a step further by normalizing such approaches for peace time: “when the president does it, that means it’s not illegal”

George W. Bush also exemplified this philosophy, though we were arguably in a time of war

 

Reading: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009), pp. 1-181

 

March 1 –How To Improvise Torture. The Memos. The Role of Lawyers. How Can Torture Be Legal? The Role of the OLC. Blowback.

 

Class Notes:

Defined:"Criminal Law"

If you’re tried as a criminal, you have all the rights of a criminal

After 9/11, Bush’s administration decided terrorists were not criminals, because this was war.

“Law of War”

In the opinion of Bush’s administration, terrorists are unlawful combatants, so they do not even deserve the protections offered by “Law of War”

However, the Supreme Court overruled this

Defined OGA: Other Government Agency (usually the CIA)

Defined IDT or P: Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Presentation: Aniya Picou - Can Trump “Legally” Institute Torture and How

 

 

Reading: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009), pp. 182-335

  

Human Rights As Concept and As Movement

 

March 6 – Human Rights: How To Build A Movement. What Are Natural Rights? Where Do They Come From? Making Natural Rights A Movement.

 

Class Notes 3/6/17:

Discussed whether or not economic security was a human right.

Discussed the history of the human rights movement. Dates back to French

Revolution.

In our lifetime (millennials) many basic human rights have been tossed out by American officials (e.g. Torture).

Bush administration legalized torture in USA.

Discussed hoe increased public knowledge of torture has not made people more opposed to it.

 

Reading: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009), pp. 182-335

 

March 8 - Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 1-92

 

Class Notes 3/8/17:

Discussed trump’s priority of “protecting Americans”, even if it means other nations must sacrifice their natural rights.

Natural Rights: occur in nature. Adhere to all humans. Can’t be taken away

Compared positive law and natural rights.

Discussed John Yoo’s torture memos

Presentation: Sarah Goldberg - Torture Memos

 

March 13 – International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law. The Cold War and Human Rights.

 

Class Notes 3/8/17:

Discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1945, which came to fruition around the 1970s.

Noted the distinction between international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The latter regards law of war: governs military conduct, civilian /noncombatant/prisoner rights.

 Discussed Charter 77 of Czechoslovakia, which demanded the communist government’s recognition of human rights.

Discussed Patt Derian’s role in the human rights movement.

Presentation: Catherine Baum - Hate Speech

 

Reading: Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 93-185

 

March 15 – The Organizations and How They Arose. The Shock of September 11. Fighting for Human Rights in the post-9/11 Era

 

Class Notes 3/15/17:

***Class canceled due to weather***

 

Reading: Aryeh Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton, 2012), pp. 186-334

 

[March 20 & 22 – Spring Break, No Class]

 

March 27 – Catch Up Day. Possible In-class Debate. Review.

 

March 29 – Midterm Examination. There will be fifteen to twenty short-answer questions, focusing on the reading and concepts drawn from it that have been emphasized in class, and three to five essay question, treating broader subjects of class discussion.

 

Case Three: Genocide and US Foreign Policy

 

April 3 – The Meaning of Genocide. In Search of A Definition. Raphael Lemkin and the Creation of the Genocide Treaty. The Meaning of the Treaty: Honored in the Breach.


Class Notes 3/8/17:

Discussed the age-old notion of sovereignty as well as the idea of human rights and the responsibility to protect. Noted the Westphalian idea that there is no responsibility to protect.

Discussed the birth of the word genocide coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1945.

Presentation: Miranda Shulman - Understanding the Birth of the Word Genocide


 Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 1-86


April 5 – The First Opportunity: Cambodia. Foreign Policy, National Interest and the Crime of Genocide.

 

Class Notes 4/5/17:

Discussed the Syrian chemical attacks. Does the US have an obligation to intervene?

Discussed the possibility of working with Russia and Iran in order to deal with Assad.

Explored the nature of the USA’s hypocrisy, regarding its foreign affairs.

Presentation: Jack Lustig - US Human Rights Abuses in Yemen

 

Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 87-170


April 9 – Saddam and the Kurds. Chemical Weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Bosnia: Feeding the Dead. Europe’s Genocide.

 

Class Notes 4/9/17:

Discussed the trumps decision to fire missiles at the Syrian air base, and the fallout from the decision.

Presentation: Michael Monaghan – Syrian Chemical Weapons

 

Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 171-328

 

April 11 – Rwanda: The Fastest Genocide. Srebrenica: Under the Eyes of the West. Safe Areas and What They Are Good For.

 

Class Notes 4/11/17:

Discussed Russia’s role in the recent Syrian chemical attacks.

Explored possible motivations for Trump’s attack on Syria outside those he released to the public.

Discussed the USA’s secret bombing of Cambodia. Did we have an obligation to the nation following our attacks?

Discussed the definition of genocide, and the proportionate nature of when civilian deaths will be considered a war crime.  

 

 Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 329-442


April 17 – Genocide: Never Again? The Worth of Lemkin’s Treaty. Will National Interest Always Win?

 

Class Notes 4/17/17:

Discussed the permanent wars in which the US is involved. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia.

Discussed the current state of crisis in Syria and North Korea. Specifically possible responses to Asaad’s war crimes, and North Korea’s development of Nuclear Weapons.

Presentation: Edward Hargrave - The Application of Lemkin's Law and the Rwandan Genocide

 

 

Reading: Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic, 2013 [2003]), pp. 443-517

 


Case Four: Endless War and the Rise of the Drone

  

April 19 – Awlaki: Who He Was, What He Stood For. The Rise of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Drone Warfare.

 

Class Notes 4/19/17:

Discussed the often-conflicting nature of Idealism and Realism with regards to Humanitarian Intervention.

Noted that the USA has yet to achieve the balance of national interests and the ideals of humanitarian intervention.

Highlighted past examples of this: Supporting Iraq with agricultural credits. The extremely late intervention following the Bosnian market massacre.

Presentation: Isa Tenuta - Drone Warfare/Awlaki

 

Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016),

pp. 3-144


April 24 – The Rush to Drone Warfare. Obama’s Embrace.

 

Class Notes 4/24/17:

 Conducted an in class debate regarding whether or not the United States should intervene militarily in Syria.

Concluded proposition team won, who posited that any time Asaad uses a chemical weapon or barrel bomb, the US should respond in an effort to uphold international law.

Presentation: Andre Berger - Humanitarian Interventions/Imperial Excuses

 

Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 145-236

 

April 26 – How Did It Happen? Can the President Kill Any American? If So, What Are Human Rights?

 

Class Notes 4/26/17:

Review session focusing on Samantha Power’s “A problem from Hell”.

Focused on Rwandan and Cambodian genocides.


Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 237-326


May 3 – The Syria Dilemma: Does the United States Have An Obligation to Intervene?

 

Class Notes 5/3/17:

Discussed the endless nature of US involvement in the Middle East. No end in sight.

Discussed ISIS’ use of terror as a strategic weapon, and possible strategies for more effective combat against the Islamic State. (E.g. containment).

Discussed the attempted terror attack via an airplane over Detroit.

 

May 8 – US Involvement in The Middle East: is Our Current Strategy Working?

 

Class Notes 5/8/17:

Discussed the injustice present in the war on terror.

Discussed the ethics of drone strikes. Over 5000 killed. Tactical safety traded for strategic safety.

Discussed whether the killing of Anwar Al Awlaki was extrajudicial.

Compared the war on terror to the cold war in regards to its supporting bureaucracy.

 

Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 237-326

 

May 10 – Debate: Should the US ramp up its drone program following the hypothetical terrorist attacks in NYC and LA?

 

Class Notes 5/10/17:

Conducted an in class debate regarding Drone strikes following hypothetical attacks on McDonald’s in both NYC and LA.

Proposition team won advocating for a revised system for authorizing each strike before conducting it.

 

Reading: Scott Shane, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan, 2016), pp. 237-326

 

May 15 – Presentations

 

Class Notes 5/15/17:

Presentation #1: Alphonso Kenneth - State of Surveillance/Snowden’s Views

Presentation #2: Arielle Akerele – Rwanda: The Fastest Genocide

Presentation #3: Matt Phelps – US Drone Program

 

May 17 – Final Class

 

Class Notes 5/17/17:

Discussed United States foreign aid policies. The US struggles with morality. It is supposed to value laws, not men.

Discussed the recent controversy involving President Trump’s sharing classified information with Russia.

Tied together course material and discussed the importance of staying informed. Identified the generational difference in ideals of those who grew up during the War on Terror and those who grew up during the Cold War.

Presentation: Lotus Velasquez-Rios - U.S. Foreign Aid, The War on Terror




© 2017 Mark Danner