Pope's Explanation of Anti-Western Sentiment in the Arab World

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Early on in Mr. Pope’s speech he poses the question “why do they hate us?” and then he quickly answers this by saying this is a product of “nation building wars.” He believes that the anti-western sentiment in the Arab world was caused by the the American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars can be seen as a realist adventure for two different reasons. First in Afghanistan we view the attacks on America by Al Qaeda as a violation of national sovereignty, therefore justifying a military intervention. This makes sense in realist perspective as Al Qaeda was a “weak actor rebelling against a strong actor (Nau 14).” The invasion of Afghanistan can be also be justified in a liberal perspective as the Taliban regime was an oppressive government that cared little about women and minority rights. So therefore, one can view the Afghanistan war as more of a war of liberation. This view was supported by the vast majority of Liberals in congress supported Afghanistan, including former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Despite the fact that Larry Pope believes she is a realist, I would disagree. Iraq seems to be a little different as there was no direct violation of national sovereignty. Therefore it was a preemptive war to stop Saddam Hussein from producing WMD’s in a significant quantity. You could also argue that this was a war for resources as Iraq was a large producer of oil and George Bush did not want these precious resource to fall into the hands of the “Axis of Evil”, otherwise known as Iran. Both of these reasons Larry Pope would disagree with, so I would say he is definitely not a realist.

Then Larry Pope said that “there are no good wars”. This phrase a rather extreme statement that leads me to think that he is an idealist as they are pacifists. Then Mr. Pope justifies this in two ways. Firstly, he believes that the economic costs and repercussions will be long and costly. He also thinks that we could have been doing other more productive things with our money instead of debt financing conquests; this is what he means when talks about the “opportunity costs.” So this is part of the reason but he then mentions the more human costs. Then he explains by telling a story about how the ambassadors in the Libya were cowering behind their large walls as the native populace was just peacefully celebrating so diplomats and ambassadors can no longer do their jobs. Not to mention all of the death and destruction that has been caused by America in the middle eas. He thinks that was just a waste. This seems to be a stereotypical idealist position on both an economic and human level.

He would not be a true idealist unless he offered diplomacy as an effective alternative to war and destruction. He first describes two visions: the middle east one as an endless desert full of war, and the other a misunderstood and exotic land. Larry Pope argues that diplomacy is the answer but you can not have militarized compounds as the beacon of peaceful diplomacy; that will fail. This is a very liberal or idealistic approach to foreign policy as he does not even like a military imposing embassy. Then he says that these embassies “will be monuments to our folly for decades to come” he even thinks that our diplomats have given up at their own jobs as they “cower behind their walls.” This shows be truly believes in peaceful solutions so I believe he fits the bill as an Liberal or an Idealist as he sees this as a “failed negotiation (Nau 16).”

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