Friday, February 24, 2006

The Politics of Fear

Tufts University is hosting an EPIIC (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship) Symposium this week. I was invited to attend and wasn't quite sure how that came about. I missed last night opening lecture but made it for tonight's topic "Causes and Consequences of Anti-Americanism". I found it hugely interesting. Although a common thread was the bemoaning of the fact that America acts in it's own best interest first and foremost. Sometimes that coincides with our espoused ideals or the interests of other countries/peoples and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not going to apologize for that. Our foreign policy should be about us first! The most interesting speaker was Professor Gwyn Prins. When he spoke it was funny, knowledgeable and highly enjoyable. He referred to us as an imperial power and then spoke about how that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I agree. We are and I won't shy away from it. My least favorite was Professor Winn, very dour and super critical of the U.S. While no one was rah-rah for the U.S, most agreed we were mostly a force for good. Overall, more fair to the US as the lone superpower and less critical to the current administration than I expected. Most points brought up against the Bush Administration were legit.

When I was leaving I asked one of the students running things how I had come to be invited (remember, my Mum was sure it was a setup and I was about to be whisked off to Gitmo because of all my poking around on the Internet). She asked if I was on the Cambridge Forum mailing list and that was it. I jokingly brought up my mother's Gitmo remark. A gentleman standing nearby misunderstood and told me to "keep fighting Gitmo". I laughed and told him that he misunderstood.........that there were maybe a dozen people in the lecture hall as conservative as me.......and they were in uniform. There was a small group of students from Annapolis and another group from West Point with their faculty advisors.

Tomorrow night "Fault Lines: The Tension Between Security and Civil Liberties"

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