Author: Allison Minor

We Don’t Have to Be the Big Bad Wolf

  Israel and Palestine. It’s an issue that many people refuse to touch with a 10-foot pole, dismissing it as a hopeless black hole of debate. Over the past 20 years, it seems the only thing the peace talks and diplomatic back-and-forth can achieve is the continuation of more peace talks … and this is perhaps the most important and enduring impact of the Middle East peace process. Whether in process, post-process or working towards a new process, its mere existence legitimizes the status quo of the situation, despite overwhelming international condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and a list of U.N. resolutions against Israeli policy almost as never-ending as the expansion of Israeli settlements. For many powerful actors, reinforcing the status quo seems like the safest solution. With such an unstable situation, any change is threatening. However, in this case, maintaining the status quo is not a lack of change. It means continued unlawful Israeli settlement into the lands of Palestine, the slow displacement and carving up of any would-be Palestinian land. This means that if the peace process crawls along at its current pace, in another 20 years, there would essentially be nothing left of which to create a Palestinian state. One of the more powerful voices in avoiding change is America, who struggles to maintain a balance between a relationship with Israel that takes the word ”alliance”...

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Redefining Stability in Light of 9/11 and the Arab Spring

  Reflecting on September 11 has become a sort of tradition over the past 10 years, an opportunity to consider how American policy and society has transformed since this shocking event which has become a sort of landmark in U.S. history.  I suggest that, on this 10-year anniversary and in light of the so-called Arab Spring, we shift the prevailing understanding of the nature of the threat to U.S. security represented by September 11 and examine how our poor understanding of this threat encouraged problematic foreign policy. September 11 was, both according to common perception and the paradigm adopted by the Bush administration, the mark of a new threat and enemy for America. It was supposedly evidence of a non-state, religious/ideological enemy that is amorphous and irrational. And so it ushered in the “War on Terror.” To many, September 11 was this generation’s Pearl Harbor and thus required the power and priority of a wartime response.  The problem is that September 11 was not the coordinated, powerful attack of a sustained war. It was a single act by a small, disparate group that took advantage of a weakness in U.S. security. In addition, the idea of a war on ”terror” is inherently problematic and dangerous because we lack an unambiguous, widely accepted definition of this term in the first place, making our enemy doubly unidentifiable. Given this interpretation of the threat posed by September 11,...

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