Three professors discuss national issues
Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, many changes have occurred within the world. The United States used military force against various regimes and has had a leading role in the international community.
Three UW-Eau Claire professors debated these changes Thursday at the International Forum in front of about 40 students in Phillips 119.
The three debaters were associate political science professor Ali Abootalebi, assistant political science professor Stephen Hill and assistant economics professor Thomas Kemp.
Sophomore David Carpenter explained the importance of the style used for the debate.
“I really like the forum situation,” said Carpenter, a business administrations major. “It helps get points across and allows for feedback from students.”
The debate, which was sponsored by the Model United Nations Club, began with club Vice President Sina Javaherian addressing the audience to introduce the issues to be discussed.
The main issue was the pre-emptive use of force by the United States and its role in the international community. The pre-emptive issue was the topic for the first round.
Each panelist was given five minutes to debate his point. After that, they had an additional two minutes to counter any points made.
Abootalebi began by stating problems with the United States’ use of force. He said discrimination plays a major role, along with other countries seeing the United States’ actions as a reason to follow suit.
“If the U.S. has the right (to use force), so would other countries,” he said. “You would have a domino effect.”
Hill took a different stance, staying the United States is facing a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with and its use of force against rogue nations is legit.
The only way that these countries can be stopped is to prevent them from ever becoming a threat, Hill said. “These are undemocratic regimes that threaten their own people.”
Kemp concluded the five-minute debates with his argument against estimating the actions of rogue nations.
“Determining future actions based on historical actions are problematic,” Kemp said. “You can’t estimate actions.”
During the two-minute counteraction, Abootalebi further emphasized that the United States shouldn’t use force, saying a solution lies elsewhere.
“Confrontation is not the answer,” he said. “Dialogue is the answer.”
Hill claimed the uncertainty that we face today with our situation in Iraq is not solely our fault but is based mainly on the confusion left because of Saddam Hussein.
Kemp said it is difficult to define terrorism and democracy.
“These terms are not clear,” he said. “Behavior-wise, the U.S. has the most violent behavior.”
The second issue discussed was the United States’ involvement in the international community.
Abootalebi said the United States’ behavior toward other nations has been the country’s downfall.
“We need better behavior of the U.S.,” he said.
The United States is not as isolated right now in the international community as many people perceive, Hill said. Last year, the United States donated $14 billion in foreign aid and, since World War II, has donated $400 billion, he said.
“We donate our money to help out other states and nations,” Hill said.
Kemp finished the forum by agreeing with Abootalebi and Hill. He ended by proposing the question of whether the United States is pursuing the national interests of the world.
As the students walked to the exit, a sign-up sheet for the Model United Nations Club lay before them. While a line formed, a smile covered Javaherian’s face.
“This was definitely a success,” he said.