Mark Danner

Talk Talk, Fight Fight: Ending Conflict, Limiting Arms

Mark Danner, Peter Tarnoff 
 Description: Despite talk of “the end of history,” conflict dominates coverage of foreign affairs. Through a close study of conflicts both real and speculative, and through extensive class discussion and some role-playing, we will come to understand how wars, both “hot” and “cold,” both “low-level” and “high-intensity,” come about, how they are fought, and how they are brought to an end. We will study the Cuban Missile Crisis, analyzing the actual discussions in which President Kennedy and his counselors decided how to respond to the Soviet challenge. We will delve into the chronic conflict between India and Pakistan, which has now reached the verge of an all-out nuclear conflict. We will analyze the rapidly evolving world of “arms control,” including missile defense, space-based weapons and “weapons of mass destruction,” nuclear, chemical and biological, discussing how such weapons might be “limited” or whether they can be. Through a thorough airing of these and other topics”and by means of extensive reading and weekly writing we will come to an understanding of the current state of international competition, and the challenges facing the journalist seeking to cover it.


*Main Class Requirements:* This is a seminar. We judge it most important that students: 

* Attend classes 
* Participate in discussions 
* Do all reading 
The class meets only fifteen times and attendance is mandatory. 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. 
*Writing:* Students will be assigned a number of short papers. Insofar as possible, students should draw in their papers on the assigned reading and on class discussions. In this graduate-level journalism school course, we will grade heavily on the clarity and vigor of the writing. (Note that Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” are required reading for this course. Please read or reread these thoroughly before the third class.) 
*Books and Articles:* Students will find books for the course on sale at Collected Thoughts Bookshop, which is located at 1816 Euclid Avenue, about fifty yards north of the Graduate School of Journalism at North Gate Hall (Lorraine Zimmerman, owner; telephone 843 1816). Other materials, including articles, chapters, case studies, and, in some cases, entire books, we will distribute in photocopy. Copies of all photocopied material will be kept in the office. 
*Newspapers and Magazines:* Although we will be trying to look to “the near future,” this course in fact takes up contemporary foreign affairs. From the beginning of this course, students are expected to be well-versed in current events and to follow them daily in the newspapers, preferably The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Los Angeles Times. The Economist, a British weekly available at any good newsstand, is also highly recommended.
*Films:* From time to time during the term we will screen films intended to complement our studies. These likely will be shown outside of class, in the evening; the place and time will be announced.
*Schedule:* Note that all classes will take place on Mondays, 3 to 6 p.m. Classes will be divided at 4:30 p.m. by a ten-minute break.
*Outline:* In working our way through the several actual or prospective foreign crises involving either prolonged or compressed negotiations, we will come to understand: (1) how the U.S. government conducts its own internal negotiations among the heads of relevant foreign affairs agencies and departments before the President ultimately decides what the American position should be in a given negotiation; (2) how the U.S. government conducts itself in negotiation with a foreign government even as the situation evolves in the area of actual or potential conflict; and (3) how a correspondent, in understanding both the process of policymaking and its historical background, might be able to “pierce” the governmental and other barriers set up and cover a developing story. As we pursue this inquiry, our schedule will surely change. Some books and articles may be discarded; others may be added to the list. Our project is ambitious and it is likely we will need to shape and reshape it as we move along. Once again, the success of the class depends heavily on your informed participation in discussions. ~ Indicates books should be purchased. All other reading, unless otherwise noted, will be distributed in photocopy.
*January 22: Introduction to Class* Discussion of fundamentals of foreign policy making in the postwar United States. The National Security Act of 1947. The roles of the U.S. foreign affairs and national security agencies. The 1962 Cuban missile crisis: an introduction.
*January 29: The Cuban Missile Crisis* How the problem was detected and initially handled by the Kennedy Administration. How domestic political attitudes affected the handling of the crisis by Kennedy. Readings: George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy Robert F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” Strunk and White, Elements of Style
*February 5: The Cuban Missile Crisis* How negotiations were conducted and concluded between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. a retrospective on how the media conducted itself during the crisis: was the press too tame? Would the press act differently in a comparable crisis today? Simulations: Robert F. Kennedy Press Conference MacBundy (NSC adviser) Press Backgrounder Readings: MacBundy, Danger and Survival, Cuban Missile Crisis chapter Fursenko and Naftali, One Hell of A Bargain Russia Chapters May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, Selections Paper: Review of movie, “The Thirteen Days,” 750 words
*February 12: From the Cuban Missile Crisis to Bosnia* Summary of what we’ve learned about crisis management during the Cuban crisis. Crises after the Cold War: The Altered Context. How to judge US national interests in a world without the Soviet Union. Readings: May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, selections Chuck Sudetic, Blood and Vengeance
*February 19: President’s Day Holiday*
*February 26: The War in Bosnia: 1991-1995* The moments of decision: 1990-91; 1995. Why intervene after the Cold War? The role of the Allies. Calculating US National Interests in the Post-Cold War World. Readings: Chuck Sudetic, “War and Vengeance” Mark Danner, “The US and the Yugoslav Catastrophe,” New York Review Danner, “America and the Bosnia Genocide,” NewYork Review Danner, “Clinton, the UN and the Bosnia Disaster,” New York Review
*March 5: The Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia* The decision to intervene. Srebrenica and its Aftermath. America and its Allies: the implications of withdrawal. Bosnia and Kosovo: Judging the two interventions and the Decisions that preceded them. Simulation: Deciding to Intervene, Bosnia 1995 Readings: Richard Holbrooke, To End A War Mark Danner, [remaining New York Review Bosnia and Kosovo articles]
*March 12: The Middle East Peace Process: A Historical Perspective* The cycles of the Middle East: American intervention and withdrawal since 1948. Judging the process from the beginning through the Two Camp Davids. Readings: Henry Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, excerpts
*March 19: The Middle East Peace Process: The Two Camp Davids* The current state of the Middle East Peace process, in the wake of Camp David II and the Second Intifada. The Bush Administration: Is Disengagement Possible? Readings: William Quandt, Peace Process Christopher Hitchens, “The Case Against Henry Kissinger,” I & II, Harper’s Henry Kissinger, The White House Years, “The Autumn of Crises: Jordan”
*March 26: Spring Recess Holiday*
*April 2: Middle East Peace Conference* How to “restart” the peace process? Would a broad-based conference help to “jumpstart” stalled Middle East diplomacy? A multi-lateral approach to stopping the violence and restarting talks. Readings: Clyde Haberman, “Dennis Ross’s Exit Interview,” The New York Times Magazine, March 25, 2001 Paper: “Briefing paper” from National Security Council staff member
*April 9: The History of Deterrence* Thinking About the Unthinkable: What is Deterrence? Deterrence and Defenses. The Historical Context of the Missile Defense Debate. An introduction to arms control. The current world of national missile defense and how we got there. Defenses and Offenses. Readings: McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival, “Called Bluffs,” “Debating the Danger” and “Lessons and Hopes” Bernard Brodie, War and Politics, “Nuclear Weapons: Utility in Non-Use” Frances FitzGerald, Way Out There in The Blue, “To the Star Wars Speech,” “National Missile Defenses, 1989-99” Theodore Draper, Present History, “How Not to Think About Nuclear War” Paper: “Six Weeks In: Judging Bush’s Foreign Policy,” 750-word Op-ed piece
*April 16: Bush and National Missile Defense: Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?* The delicate politics of the Missile Defense Debate. Politics within the Bush Administration and without. The future of Arms Control: Is there one? How did we get to where we are now? A talk by Michael Nacht, Dean of the Goldman School and former Assist Direct, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1994 – 97) Readings: Jonathan Schell, “The Folly of Arms Control,” Foreign Affairs Stephen J. Hadley, “A Call to Deploy, The Washington Quarterly, Sum, 2000 Michael Nacht, “The Politics: How Did We Get Here?” Washington Quarterly Richard Garwin, “A Defense That Will Not Defend,” Washington Quarterly Peter Boyer, “When Missiles Collide,” The New Yorker
*April 23: Debating Missile Defense: Fighting Within The Government* The struggle within the Bush Administration over US security policy. Defenses vs. Offenses: whose ox is gored? Winners and losers. Is it a zero sum game? The struggle within the Pentagon. Simulations: National Security Council “Principals” meeting on Missile Defense US-China Bilateral Meeting on Missile Defense National Institute for Public Policy Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control, January 2001 Carnegie Endowment, Non-Proliferation Project
*April 30: US Policy Toward Colombia: Drugs and Rebellion* When foreign policy becomes a domestic battleground: Drugs, interdiction and foreign policy. The Cuba parallel. The development of American drug policy, 1970 to the present. The roots of interdiction. What are the US “national interests” in Colombia? Fighting over foreign policy in the domestic realm: the interests of the players. Readings: Mark Danner, “Clinton and Colombia: The Privilege of Folly,” NY Review, October 20, 2000 Malcolm Deas, “Plan Colombia: The Case for US Military Aid,” London Review of Books, April 5, 2001 Council on Foreign Relations, US Interests and Objectives in Colombia Council on Foreign Relations, Rethinking International Drug Control Paper: “A Letter to the New Drug Czar,” 750-word essay on drugs and foreign policy
*May 7: The New World of Nuclear Weapons: Is Abolition Realistic?* A discussion on current nuclear policy, focussing on President George W. Bush’s “new framework,” with Frances FitzGerald and Jonathan Schell. Readings: Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth Frances FitzGerald, Way Out There in the Blue (excerpts) Simulation: “A UN Program: Toward Nuclear Abolition” Evening Program: “The New World of Nuclear Weapons: Are We On the Brink of A New Arms Race? Discussion: Mark Danner, Frances FitzGerald, Michael Nacht, Jonathan Schell, Lowell Wood