February 21, 2007

Current Items on the President's Agenda

By Jenna Steigerwald, Ben Ogden,Steven Parris Samuels, Dov Magit, and Matthew Martise

The President, as head of the executive branch, plays a significant role in creating America's laws. He approves the laws that Congress creates, along with approving bills which the Senate and the House approve. The President's role is quite extenuating, dealing with duties encompassing various sides of political topics. There is no doubt the role of the President is very difficult and his choices have very serious ramifications on both political and practical levels. The Presidential group therefore examines recent headlines pertaining to his agenda, these are: leakage of information, the threat of Iran's nuclear program, the war in Iraq, and the United States' military spending and nuclear treaty non-compliance.

President Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to have the ability of listening to phone communications without a warrant. Americans have seemed to be divided on this subject. A survey conducted January 20-22, 2007, found that half of Americans believed this wiretapping with no court order, was wrong. However, for tests like these, answers could highly depend on the order in which the words appear, and how they appear (i.e. "average Americans" versus "suspected terrorists) With all the calls Bush has been making, is it wrong not to trust the Bush Administration to use good judgment with wiretapping of our digital communication system? Is it the cost of our civil liberties and privacy which we need to sacrifice in the name of freedom and safety? This is the Administration that has constantly lied about important matters of U.S. policy, including the infamous fear of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Could this wiretapping be a way of gaining information from unsuspecting citizens to for political purposes and power gains? All evidence points too the word, "Yes."

If we are to indulge the “yes” answer, and most would agree to one extent or the other, then let me explain how President Bush may be looking at this. The United States is the only one that seems to be pressing the issue of nuclear weapons in Iran. Why us, because the European nations are much too connected with Iran to force the hand and suffer the repercussions. They are connected in many ways. The first being the trading of oil, Iran’s biggest export. Also the imports of European goods into Iran. This would include raw materials for buildings (i.e. skyscrapers), technology to further the economy, ammunition for defense, and trained skills men with know how of all of these things. Also, the European nations have recently had an influx of Muslims into their territories. Even though they are still the minority, they are growing in number and well diverse across Europe. If certain European nations went to war with Iran over nuclear weapons, they would almost certainly have civil wars in many of their countries. This is why every now and then the European nations will agree with the United States and say they are worried about the nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the only acceptable solution so far agreed upon is for Iran to come up with compromises to everyone, but this only prolongs the process, and gets us nowhere. They say they will stop making their nuclear weapons if all of the other nations stop and cease theirs. In fact, just this past weekend Iran said they announced they would discontinue their development of nuclear weapons if the western civilization stops their development of nuclear research as well. We all know this will never happen, and most importantly, Iran knows this will never happen as well.

Over the past year the nation of Iran has been pushing the development of their nuclear program. This program has been questioned as to whether the nation is attempting to enrich uranium for a civil use or to create weapons of mass destruction. Soon after it became evident that Iran was working on a nuclear program the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Security Council have been asking Iran to halt there nuclear development program. Recently Iran has refused both organizations plea’s to discontinue there development.

On Monday, President Bush declared that force is not necessarily required to stop Iran from having nuclear weapons. Bush has said that his goal is to keep the Iranians from having the capability and knowledge to have a nuclear weapon. There have been reports stating that Bush and the United States government have plans for a military attack against Tehran, the capital of Iran. Bush and his administration do not refute that “normal” military planning is underway. Several reports claim that President Bush and his administration have been studying options of military strikes, one of these being the possibility of a nuclear strike against Iran’s underground nuclear sites. President Bush claims that the use of nuclear weapons is just a wild speculation, but left it at that. President Bush still supports his decision to include Iran in the Axis of Evil and is enthusiastic that many other nations have now come to the conclusion that Iran should not have the ability to posses a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration contends that additional weight of the Security Council would push Iran to be more cooperative with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and relinquish their nuclear program.

The debacle that is the Iraq War has taken another twist, as of Tuesday February 20th, 2007, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has stated that he will be announcing benchmarks for gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq because he believes that the situation in his zone has improved enough to relinquish more control to the Iraqis. This decision is occurring as the U.S. is concurrently sending more troops over and debating about recalling the troops gradually this year also. The Iraq War continues to be extremely unpopular in the U.S. as President Bush continues to over exercise his executive powers by blatantly ignoring the will of his citizens to end the war as quickly as possible. Hopefully, the Congressional non-binding resolution, which advocates setting benchmarks for withdrawal (much like the British plan), will not be ignored by the President.

All nations must keep in mind is that it no longer takes a $700+ billion military and arms program for nations to destroy one another and cause a complete world catastrophe. This is not a matter that has been overlooked, however, by the United Nations (UN) and it is for this reason that the UN has created agreements such as the Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Furthermore it is more than ironic that the United States uses agreements such as the latter and guidelines set forth by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), when the U.S. violates international law on this matter on a daily basis. If the U.S. was truly concerned about “weapons of mass destruction” making their way to the “axis of evil” maybe the U.S. should cease being the number one producer of nuclear weapons in the world. Or perhaps that would not fit the steller economic tract we are currently on?

On the issues stated in this paper President Bush's policy and action are clearly seen as lacking. An underlying theme to these issues seems to be one of mistrust on the part of the people and of an eagerness to fulfill the President's own agenda, sometimes forsaking planning and ethical judgment. It is not too late however, the President can still act in a more socially conscious way by first listening to the will of his citizens by detaching the U.S. from foreign affairs, secondly by reversing the policies of allowing the government's intelligence agencies to invade the privacy of ordinary citizens, and finally to honor the U.S.' commitment to peace by reducing military spending. After these things are accomplished the prestige lost during his term might return to a country that has lost its way.


Politiko said...

Very comprehensive piece. Are you political science students? I've learned something. Thanks.

Steven Parris Samuels said...

Well I cannot speak for Ben, but Jenna and Dov are Poli Sci majors and I (Steven) am a poli sci minor. However, Jenna,Dov and I are all part of the model UN team at Pace.

Anonymous said...

I assume you need to be graded on this piece. Remember when you post these things on the net everyone has access.