The war in Iraq has sparked questions about the direction of the conflict and the future of the United States, and several Temple University professors see cause for concern.
The United States will have to be very careful in implementing President George W. Bush’s foreign policy, said the chair of the University’s Political Science Department, Dr. Joseph Schwartz.
“In this kind of post-Cold War environment, it is extremely risky for the United States to be pursuing actions that so much of the world views as unilateral,” said Schwartz.
“It may not be wise for the U.S. to begin a habit of striking preemptively anywhere in the world that it perceives a threat. Whether it is necessary or not, preemptive strikes of one nation against another are bad for international stability.”
Schwartz says the United Nations inspections failed to produce a “smoking gun” that would prove Saddam Hussein’s violation of U.N. resolutions, and he disagrees with the Bush Administration’s assertion that the circumstantial evidence was threatening enough to warrant an attack on Iraq.
“I’m not supporting the regime of Saddam Hussein, but if the Iraqis do indeed have those kinds of weapons, they are certainly not a threat to the mainland United States,” he said.
After the initial military phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the reconstruction of the country presents the next challenge for the coalition.
Post-war Iraq will be more difficult to organize than is currently being anticipated, said Religion professor Mahmould Ayoub.
“The Iraqi people will not support a widespread Western military presence in their midst for long,” he said.
“The majority of people in the region will not want the large numbers of non-Muslims there. Many Iraqis still have bitterness towards the West and for the United States insistence on arming and supporting Israel, and leftover bitterness from the first Gulf War.”
Ayoub said that the leaders of countries like Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, whose leaders support the U.S. intervention in Iraq, are in fact going against the will of the majority of their respective populations.
“The average Muslim in the Middle East does not hold a favorable view of the West or United States and its foreign policies,” Ayoub said.
Despite concerns that the war could have drastic impact on the world oil supply and energy prices the war should no cause an immediate financial panic, said Business professor Frederic Murphy.
“In terms of oil, we should really be concerned about what’s going on in Venezuela. They give the U.S. most of [its] oil, and the new government down there is harassing the oil producers,” he said.
“There was recently a massive worker’s strike, and it has been causing spikes in recent gas prices. The war with Iraq doesn’t really affect these oil prices.”
Eric Raible can be reached at email@example.com.