Pessimism was the prevailing sentiment at two Law School forums yesterday, at which professors from Harvard and abroad discussed issues stemming from the war in the Middle East.
The forums, entitled "The Gulf Crisis and the New World Order" and "The War and Its Aftermath," were chaired by Cabot Professor of Social Ethics Herbert C. Kelman and Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) Director William A. Graham, Jr.
The first forum analyzed the events of the war and speculated about their effects on what President George Bush has dubbed the "new world order."
"How we act now will determine the state of the region after the war," said Kelman, who introduced a list of nine goals for the war effort. They included: restraining Iraq, imposing greater arms control in the region, establishing security and stability, and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict over the Palestinian issue.
Walid Khalidi, a research associate at CMES, outlined problems the coalition will encounter in attempting to establish the "new world order," such as pan-Arabic support for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, the "legacy of hatred" between Iraq and Kuwait, the power of Israel, and economic strife in many areas of the Middle East.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dillion professor of international affairs and director of the Center for International Affairs, hypothesized about Hussein's possible motives for escalating the conflict into a war he cannot possibly win.
And Stanley Hoffmann, Mellon professor of social sciences, said that Americans cannot evade the moral issues surrounding the war. "The one decision which we all have to make is moral stand about this war," he said.
The second set of panelists looked further into the future, discussing possible U.S. responses to potential war developments.
"We are witnessing the beginning of the end of order in the Middle East," said Zachary Lockman, associate professor of history. Lockman said that the war is not the answer to the problems in the Middle East, and that the people of the United States are victims of media and government propaganda.
"I think we should exercise caution before believing anything reported by our government," Lockman said.
Some panelists suggested that the U.S. should withdraw its forces from the Gulf theater.
"This is a flawed concept, the concept that because we are in war, we have to keep going," Kelman said.
"As opposed to supporting our troops to die, I think we should show our support by bringing them home safe and sound," Lochran said
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