Professor: Foreign policy undermines values

The United States is the most powerful nation in the world, yet Americans are encouraged to live in fear, a professor said during the Searchlight Symposium in Palko Hall on Wednesday.Michael Dodson, a political science professor, said he is critical of U.S. foreign policy because it harms Americans’ interest in the world and undermines values at home.

Dodson said pre-war America was respected while post-Sept. 11 America is feared. The rest of the world doesn’t think Americans are succeeding in the war on terror or in promoting freedom and democracy around the world, he said.

“Our enthusiasm for bringing freedom, reform and modernization, especially with military force, is difficult and perhaps it is even impossible to reconcile with the way we are perceived in Muslim nations today,” he said.

Dodson said 93 percent of Egyptians, 76 percent of Moroccans and 67 percent of Pakistanis and Indonesians have an unfavorable view of the United States.

Most people in these countries think U.S. foreign policy intends to undermine Islam and maintain oil resources rather than prevent future terrorist attacks, Dodson said.

A majority of Americans also think the war on terror is creating more terrorists than it is eliminating, Dodson said.

“The invasion of Iraq has proved to be deeply painful and to my judgment, a tragic illustration of a serious miscalculation,” he said.

Dodson also spoke on how the Patriot Act infringes on Americans’ right to privacy, the need to shut down Guantanamo Bay and the need for the United States to renew its engagement with the United Nations.

Mike Sacken, a professor in the College of Education who also spoke at the symposium, used personal examples to explain how education and God relate to daily life.

John Wood, a senior English and philosophy major, organized the symposium.