Mark Danner

The New World Horror Show: Covering the Crisis and Catastrophe in Foreign Affairs

Mark Danner, Peter Tarnoff 
 Description: A decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union led some to talk of “the end of history,” Americans find themselves inundated by it: historic conflict dominates coverage of foreign affairs, with “crisis-management” at its heart. 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 foreign policy crises develop, how they are “managed,” and how they are brought to an end. Against the background of the September 11 crisis – which we will analyze and study throughout the course – we will delve into a number of crisis scenarios and their effect on the United States and its leaders. These scenarios will include a confrontation in the Gulf involving Iraq and Saudi Arabia; a border confrontation between India and Pakistan; the escalating narco-war in Colombia; and the struggle over the control of nuclear weapons. We will also investigate at least one scenario involving domestic terrorism, treating the government’s evolving attempts to “manage” it and the journalist’s response. 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 crisis, 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 all classes 
Participate in discussions
* Do all reading and writing assignments 
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. 
* 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 recommended reading for this course. We strongly suggest you reador 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, referably The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. The Economist, a British weekly available at any good newsstand, is also highly recommended. 
* 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 Mondays, 3 to 6 p.m., and will be divided at 4:30 p.m. by a ten-minute break. 
* In working our way through the several actual or prospective foreign crises, 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” governmental and other barriers set up and thereby 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 28: Making Foreign Policy – America and the World
* The Roots of US foreign policy. 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 Cold War struggle. The post-Cold War world: the End of Ideology?
*February 4: American Realism and the September 11 Crisis
* From Realism to the New New World Order. George Kennan and the Cold War. The Kissinger Moment. The Coming of 9/11. Readings: George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy
* Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, pp. 762 – 836 , Does America Need A Foreign Policy? pp. 164-211; 234 – 285 John Lewis Gaddis, “Lessons From the Old Era,” in Talbott and Chanda, The Age of Terror
* Niall Ferguson, “Clashing Civilizations and Mad Mullahs,” in Talbott Paul Kennedy, “Maintaining American Power,” in Talbott Harry Kreisler’s Web site: Suggested: George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” Strunk and White, Elements of Style
February 11: Crisis in the Gulf Scenario: Seeking to “clean up the problem” of Saddam Hussein, the United States begins to “exert pressure” on the Iraqi regime. A royal assassination attempt leads to a crisis in the Saudi Kingdom. Daalder and Lindsay, “US Made Mistakes in Fight Against Communism…” Bernard Lewis, “The Revolt of Islam,” The New Yorker Fouad Ajami, “The Uneasy Imperium,” in Talbott and Rose Michael Scott Doran, “Someone Else’s Civil War,” in Talbott and Rose F. Gregory Gause III, “The Kingdom in the Middle,” in Talbott and Rose William Pfaff, “A Strange Alliance,” International Herald-Tribune Mark Danner, “The Battlefield in the American Mind,” The New York Times Dilip Hiro, Neighbors, Not Friends (excerpts) Said Aburish, Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge (excerpts) Alexander and Swetnam, Usama bin Laden’s al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network Roula Khalaf, “Saudi Deficit Mystery Symbolizes Frustration,” Financial Times Campbell, “Globalization At War.” Barringer and Rutenberg, “The News Media Prepares…” Moisi, “The west must temper strength with generosity.” Adams, “America’s focus…” The Economist, “Are America’s troops over-staying…” Gause, III, “Saudi Arabia in the Crisis: Domestic Stability…” Michael Scott Doran, “Somebody Else’s Civil War,” How Did this Happen? Recommended: Michael Mandelbaum, How Did this Happen? Due: Talking Points for National Security Council crisis meeting
February 18: Presidents’ Day – No Class Due: Op-Ed “What Should the U.S. do with Saudi Arabia?” Due: On February 20, Statement to the Press giving the U.S. position on the crisis in the Gulf
February 25: War at the Top of the World – India and Pakistan 1947 and All That: The Roots of Hostility. The Wars Over Kashmir. The Nuclear Confrontation: Kargil and Afterward. The 9/11 Tilt: The US Between India and Pakistan. Terrorism and Territory: Moving Toward Crisis George Perkovich, Selections from India’s Nuclear Bomb Pankaj Mishra, “Kashmir: The Unending War (a three-part series),” The New York Review of Books Ahmed Rashid on the Taliban, Foreign Affairs Jonah Blank on Kashmir, Foreign Affairs Seymour Hersh, “On the Nuclear Edge,” The New Yorker Devin Hagerty, Selections from The Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation *March 4: Kashmir: War at the Top of the World, II* The Scenario: Moving Toward War. India: War as Policy. Pakistan: War as Survival. Crisis Diplomacy and How It’s Practiced. Thinking the Unthinkable. Deterrence and Its Failure Due: Op-Ed on how India and Pakistan have changed their policy on Kashmir since 9/11
*March 11: Colombia
* “Working Group Report: U.S. Interests and Objectives in Colombia: A Commentary” The Council on Foreign Relations, 2000 “Toward Greater Peace and Security in Colombia: Forging a Constructive U.S. Policy,” Independent Task Force Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Inter-American Dialogue Newspaper articles on Colombia: Karen De Young, “Hill Stance on Colombia Aid Shifts,” The Washington Post, March 4, 2002 Richard Lapper, “America’s New Jungle War,” Financial Times, February 21, 2002 Peter F. Romero, “Save Colombia,” The Washington Post Peter F. Romero, February 20, 2002 “A Slide Back to War,” The Economist, February 21, 2002 Christopher Marquis, “U.S. to Explore Aid to Colombia, Citing Threat of Terrorism,” The New York Times, March 3, 2002 From the New York Review of Books Web site ( Michael Massing, “The Narco-State?” Alma Guillermoprieto three-part series on Colombia Mark Danner, “Clinton & Colombia” Kenneth Maxwell, World Policy Journal Due: On March 14, “How Should the U.S. Respond to the Colombian President’s Request for More Aid in the War Against Terrorists and Drugs?” Due: On March 16, Plan II Colombia
*March 18: Colombia II
* Defend and debate the U.S. Plan II Colombia with representatives of the Organization of American States.
*March 25: SPRING BREAK no class*
*April 1: Homeland Security* In-class ports scenario led by Michael Nacht Michael Nacht, “Testimony before the senate judiciary subcommittee on technology, terrorism and government information,” Dirksen Senate Office Building, February 26, 2002 *April 8: Guest James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets* 1. Intelligence Issues for Congress: First go to: Then under the “CRS ISSUE BRIEFS” header click on: IB10012 Intelligence Issues for Congress 2. Reuel Marc Gerecht, “The Countertrrorist Myth,” The Atlantic Monthly: 3. James Bamford, “Is The Press Up To Reporting These Stories,” Harvard Nieman Reports: 4. James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency (New York: Doubleday, 2001) Chapters 11-14. 5. Lock K. Johnson, Secret Agencies, U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World, chapters 1 and 4. 6. Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, selected chapters.
*April 15: Israel/Palestine
* Scenario: Consider a course of action with the Secretary of State, negotiating in Israel/Palestine in real time. National Security Council principles to decide on instructions for the Secretary of State in the field. Dennis Ross, Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, “Camp David: An Exchange,” New York Review of Books Henry A. Kissinger, “The First Shuttle: Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement,” Years of Upheaval Michael Nacht, “Clinton the Facilitator,” from Peace Process Khalil Shikaki, “Palestinians Divided,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2002 Martin Indyk, “Back to the Bazaar,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2002 Dennis Ross, Selection of Recent Op-Eds Deborah Sontag, “The Palestinian Conversation,” The New York Times Magazine, February 3, 2002 Deborah Sontag, “Quest for Middle East Peace and How and Why it Failed,” The New York Times Magazine, July 26, 2001 Anthony Lewis, “Is There a Solution?” New York Review of Books, April 25, 2002 Henry A. Kissinger, “What We Can Do,” Newsweek, April 1, 2002 Due: 1000-word Op-Ed on How September 11 affected the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
*April 22: Germs
* Scenario: Press conference after the administration’s announcement of an action plan for Israel/Palestine Tara O’Toole, “Smallpox: An Attack Scenario,” Center for Disease Control, ( D. A. Henderson, “Smallpox: Clinical and Epidemiologic Features” Center for Disease Control ( Jason Bardi, “Aftermath of a Hypothetical Smallpox Disaster,” Center for Disease Control ( Jessica Stern, “The Prospect of Domestic Bioterrorism,” Center for Disease Control ( Statement by Dr. Kenneth Alibek, Program Manager, Battelle Memorial Institute, “Terrorist and Intelligence Operations: Potential Impact on the U.S.” Statement Before the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, Wednesday, May 20, 1998 (Economy
*April 22: Germs
* Scenario: Conference call with Dr. Margaret Hamburg, former Health Commissioner of New York City and former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. On anthrax outbreak in Chicago. “Preparing for and Preventing Bioterrorism,” Margaret A. Hamburg, Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2001-2002 Testimony of Margaret A. Hamburg, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee of International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services, October 17, 2001 Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, William Broad, Selected Chapters Germs Michael T. Osterholm and John Schwartz, Living Terrors Eric Croddy, Selected Chapters, Chemical and Biological Warfare, A Comprehensive Survey for the Concerned Citizen
*May 1: Movie evening “The Battle of Algiers.”
* Due: May 3, Memos with action plans from federal, state and municipal working groups to deal with anthrax bioterror attack in Chicago.
*May 6: A View from Afghanistan
* Guest: John F. Burns, The New York Times Assorted Burns New York Times pieces from Pakistan and Afghanistan *May 13: New World Horror Shows: Drawing Conclusions* Guest: Dr. John Arquilla, Monterey Naval Postgraduate School and consultant, RAND From Arquilla, John and Ronfeldt, David, Networks and Netwar (Rand, 2001): “The Advent of Netwar (Revisited)” “The Networking of Terror in the Information Age” “Emergence and Influence of the Zapatista Netwar” “What Next for Networks and Netwars?” “Afterword (September 2001): The Sharpening Fight for the Future”