Prof: Election's outcome will be 'enormous' on U.S. foreign policy

By Alida Kunsa
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Iraq is not the only foreign policy issue the future presidential administration must focus on, said political science professor Tom Volgy during yesterday's Faculty Fellows Speaker Series.

Volgy spoke to an audience of about 100 people on this year's election and the impact it could have on future U.S. foreign policy.

"The outcome of the election will have an enormous impact on foreign policy," Volgy said.

Volgy began by pointing out Bush's grayer hair and the bigger bags under Kerry's eyes since they started campaigning.

Volgy said no other presidential election has been as crucial as this one, concerning foreign policy issues, since the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

He said the predominant foreign policy issue in this election has been the war with Iraq, but said foreign policy is about more than just Iraq.

He pointed out that the candidates have quarreled a lot about Iraq and the military but neither has articulated their ideas on foreign policy issues other than Iraq.

Volgy told the crowd he would try to stay non-partisan in explaining what is in store for U.S. foreign policy.

Volgy, the Democratic Tucson Mayor from 1987 to 1991 and political science professor ran against Republican mayor of Tucson, Bob Walkup, last year.

"My role is as an analyst here (at the speech)," Volgy said.

Volgy went on to say that some of the world's most powerful countries aren't as convinced that terrorism should be the United States' main focus. He said European countries have frequent terrorist attacks but realize other issues in their countries should not be neglected.

He said the United States should consider other security threats as well.

Volgy said the elected administration needs to look for answers to problems concerning the global economy.

He spoke of trends he found disturbing, like the United States' loss of quality jobs that are being replaced by worse-paying jobs.

Volgy said outsourcing jobs to other countries is partly to blame for job problems, but is not the largest concern.

Globalization creates inequalities between states, which can breed resentment and war, and also creates inequalities within states, which can prevent democracy from thriving in a country, Volgy said.

He said whoever wins the November election will need to deal with a range of foreign policy problems.

"The issue of Iraq will continue to pose a fundamental challenge in January," Volgy said, concerning the Iraqi elections scheduled for January.

He said some challenges the administration will have to deal with after the elections are the "turmoil and strife" that continue in Iraq and the fact that Iraq is "spawning" more terrorism.

He said he believes the worldwide perception of American people is changing.

"There is confusion about us and who we are. We as Americans are being held responsible for the actions of our government," Volgy said.

Scott Patterson, an international relations major, said he was very impressed with Volgy for keeping the discussion virtually non-partisan.

Patterson said it was the first time he has heard someone criticize both candidates.

"I have a lot of respect for Volgy. He has the experience and the resume," Patterson said. "He makes sense."

However, Patterson disagreed with Volgy that the 1960 election compares to this year's election.

"The world system is so completely different," Patterson said.

He said this election could be significant, if Kerry and Bush actually had different foreign policy stances. Patterson said he thinks they would do the same things, just in different ways.

"The differences between Kerry and Bush are so minimal," Patterson said.

James Larrenaga, a journalism junior, said he thought the topic was very interesting but a little depressing because of the bleak picture Volgy painted about the future of foreign policy.

"I kind of agree with him concerning the loss in manufacturing jobs and the world impact it will have," Larrenaga said.

Libby Navarro, a senior majoring in Spanish, said she thought Volgy was well-spoken and said she agreed with most of what he said.

Volgy ended by saying the two presidential candidates will bring fundamentally different foreign policy ideas to the White House.

"It is up to you to judge what those differences are," Volgy said.