Focus on Foreign Affairs
October 21 – 22, 2010
Focusing on economics and the rhetoric, ideology and strategy of today's world leaders, Fall 2010's Amherst Today event provided insight and discussion on America's current foreign policy. The event included talks with with some of Amherst's distinguished professors including: Javier Corrales, professor of political science; Beth Yarbrough, Willard Long Thorp Professor of Economics; William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science; Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought; N. Gordon Levin, Dwight Morrow Professor of History and American Studies; and Pavel Machala, professor of political science.
Rhetoric, Ideology and Strategy in the Era of Post-Unipolarity
We will reflect on the nature of Obama's foreign policy centering on such key issues as Israel/Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Russia, China, and the world economy. We will try to place Obama's foreign policy in a comparative framework by examining how American diplomacy has evolved in the Post-Cold War Era under Presidents G.H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, and, now, Barack Hussein Obama.
The Remarkable Rapprochement Between the United States and Brazil Since 2007
Was it Predictable? Is it Sustainable? Does it Matter?
Defying most expectations, the United States, under a Republican administration, and Brazil, under a leftist president, signed a series of agreements on energy and economic cooperation in 2007. Most analysts contend that these agreements mark a deepening of political cooperation between both nations, maybe even a historical turning point after years of bickering and mutual suspicion. Obama has continued this rapprochement by extending agreements to the area of security. What is driving this rapprochement between the region's two giants? What are its implications for U.S. relations with the rest of Latin America? To answer these questions, we will look at Anglo-American relations 100 year ago. The parallels with U.S.-Brazilian relations today are too striking to ignore, but so are the differences.
Eichmann in Jerusalem, Demjanjuk in the Hague
The ongoing trial of Ivan Demjanjuk, which started in Munich in December 2009, promises to be the last of the great trials involving Nazi atrocities. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who lived for decades in suburban Cleveland, stands accused of complicity in the deaths of 27,900 Jews during his service as a guard at the Sobibor death camp. We will examine the meaning of Demjanjuk’s bizarre legal odyssey, now in its third decade, and place it in the context of the larger struggle to bring perpetrators of the most extreme international crimes to justice.
U.S.-Russian Relations: Can the “Reset Button” Work?
Early in his administration, President Obama promised that the United States would press the “reset button” in U.S.-Russian relations. He was reacting to severe strains that had arisen during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. What has that “reset” involved? How have the Russians reacted to it? Has the “reset” worked? Can it, or something like it, work? In order to answer these questions, we will look at relations between the countries before, during and after the Cold War so as to discern the forces that facilitate and limit better relations between the United States and Russia.