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Lehigh experts help shape world opinion

As the winds of the war sweep across the globe, the national and international media are increasingly turning to Lehigh international relations experts for insight and analysis.

Henri Barkey, chair of the international relations department, and Raj Menon, the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor of International Relations, have been interviewed extensively over the past few months on a variety of topics related to international conflicts.

Barkey, a former member of the State Department under President Clinton, has appeared on several widely viewed national and international television programs to discuss issues related to the Middle East and the conflict with Iraq. In addition to appearing on CNBC’s "Morning Call" program, several NPR stations, and a host of major-market radio programs, Barkey recently discussed the impact of elections in the Muslim world on the critically acclaimed "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Barkey also was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on the role the Kurds may play in any war with Iraq, and he appeared on a live, 90-minute call-in program on C-Span discussing the pivotal role Turkey is playing on the international stage and the unpredictable future for the country many consider the gateway to the Muslim world.

"Turkey has made enormous progress (over the past four decades)," Barkey told the C-Span audience. "It is now knocking on the doors of the European Union, and it is considered an ally of the West."

Barkey also noted that Turkey’s military has played a dominant role in the country’s politics since the 1960s, and that contemporary politicians are well aware of the military’s power to depose leaders who disapprove of its agenda.

Most recently, Barkey co-authored an Op-Ed article that appeared in the New York Times that discussed Turkey, Cyprus and the fate of the European Union.

"Coming in the wake of NATO’s decision to expand its own membership to the new democracies of the East, the European Union announcement will be rightly seen as a momentous further step toward the consolidation of European stability, democracy and peace," Barkey wrote.

He also noted that this pivotal moment in the nations’ history "offer(s) the greatest opportunity in decades to finally solve the Cyprus problem and set Turkey firmly on a European path."

Questioning Iraq policy

Menon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, the nation's premier institution for research and discussion on international affairs, was interviewed on CNN on the web of terror that spread to Russia, and was interviewed by the BBC, and by PBS for a string of affiliates. On MSNBC, he offered opinions on Russia’s attitude toward the Bush administration’s efforts to gain U.N. authority for an attack on Iraq.

In addition, Menon recently has had two editorials appear in the Los Angeles Times, the fourth largest newspaper in the U.S.
In the first Op-Ed, Menon questioned the wisdom of the Bush administration’s approach to a conflict in Iraq.

"The strategy makes no sense given the (accurate) portrait the White House and the Pentagon have painted of Hussein," wrote Menon, who raised the possibility that such an approach is as much a provocation as it is a plan for prevention.

"The administration’s case for war...is that Hussein cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear, chemical or biological weapons because the laws of deterrence don’t apply to him. He’s too ruthless and unpredictable; threatening him with retaliation if he uses such weapons would be useless.

"But if Hussein can’t be deterred when he has everything to lose...why would he hesitate to roll the dice when he knows he’s finished?"

Menon suggests that the U.S. should declare that it will immediately destroy all facilities that make, store, and target weapons of mass destruction once it learns that Iraq is manufacturing them, and pledge that an attack by Hussein on his neighbors will be equivalent to a war on the U.S.

In his most recent Op-Ed in the L.A. Times, appearing on January 3rd, Menon wrote of the tenuous situation in North Korea: "The psychological--let alone the operational--effect of nuclear weapons could set off a spiral of fear and worst-case thinking that culminates in war, one that the U.S. could not avoid. And neighboring China and Russia might be drawn into the maelstrom."

Menon also pointed out the problems these developments pose for the United States.

"There's the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't problem. If President Bush ignores (North President Kim Jong Il) Kim's antics, he undermines the administration's claim that it is essential to stop dangerous dictators from getting nuclear weapons--the nub of his case for war against Iraq."

--Linda Harbrecht
lmh2@lehigh.edu

Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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