Foreign policy still an issue as economy falls

Kyle Roerink

The economic crisis is not the only issue facing college students this election season.

Students at Kent State are going to face a dangerous world when they graduate, said Steven Hook, chair of the Department of Political Science, who highlighted the effect foreign policy has on students.

“They need to be aware that the problems facing the United States and other countries will affect their job prospects and career choices,” he said.

Hook said foreign policy is an issue in this year’s election because the United States is fighting two wars that have drained its resources and left it spread very thin militarily and economically.

“Students have a direct interest in whether the United States has a draft and whether our military forces are committed to large-scale military interventions all over the world,” he said. “Students may find themselves fighting in these wars someday whether they like it or not.”

The two presidential candidates have different views on how they will tackle foreign relations.

Hook said Sen. Barack Obama, who has lived all around the world, knows a great deal about international relations.

“He is less concerned about military power and more concerned with diplomatic solutions to our problems,” Hook said.

Sen. John McCain, Hook said, has focused on national security as a major foreign policy concern during his career in the Senate.

“He was a major supporter of the Bush administration’s foreign policy,” Hook said. “He supports a strong military and a forward-leaning foreign policy that uses military rather fiercely.”

Hook said that before the economic crisis began to overshadow the military’s problems in the Middle East, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were the two most important problems facing the United States.

“We still have to find Osama bin Laden and come to grips with global terrorism,” he said. “And as we have seen by the current economic crisis, the United States is faltering as the world-dominant economy.”

Junior conservation major Jack Gorian said he thinks maintaining dialogue with other nations, respecting treaty and alliance organizations and cooperating with international law will help the global community regain confidence and trust in the United States.

“Due to globalization, the world is more of a global village instead of an east-west superpower,” Gorian said. “Since the United States is economically tied to so many nations, to be conceited as a superpower who doesn’t need international opinion, hurts the market and dialogue with other nations.”

When the United States sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold, Hook said, and what happens in the U.S. economically has an enormous impact on the global economy.

Bill Harris, junior computer science major, said the crisis does not worry him because the strongest economies in the world are going to fluctuate.

“If you ask anyone what America makes anymore, they say ‘we don’t make anything,'” he said. “We have exported our manufacturing jobs away from home, handing our economy over to other countries’ economies. I think the new president needs to work with other countries to help bring jobs back to America.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].