speaks at Gray Lecture Series
ultimate fate of our democracy lies in our willingness to engage in
debate, and this lecture series provides an opportunity for that,"
said UNC Pembroke Professor Tom Ross in introducing Middle East scholar
Dr. Chris Alexander.
Dr. Alexander is
director of the Dean Rusk School of International Studies at Davidson
College. A specialist on North Africa, he spoke on the eve of the war
in Iraq as part of the Gibson and Mariana Gray Lecture Series on the
campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Dr. Gray, who retired
as chair of the UNCP Political Science Department, remains involved
in the intellectual life of the university through funding of the lecture
series and other events. Dr. Gray was on campus recently with the advocacy
group Common Cause to conduct a "town hall" meeting for students
on the North Carolina state budget.
Dr. Alexander offered
timely analysis of the U.S. foreign policy that led to war.
"I had no idea
when Tom and I agreed on a date to come to Pembroke that we would be
standing here on the eve of war," Dr. Alexander said.
Born in the aftermath
of the September 11 terrorist attack, U.S. foreign policy has taken
different direction, the Middle East scholar said. The war in Iraq marks
a new national security policy of "pre-emptive" strikes, replacing
a policy of containment.
Although Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein most likely possesses weapons of mass destruction, the
Bush Administration so far has not presented convincing evidence that
he will use them outside his own sphere of influence, he said.
is not irrational," Dr. Alexander said. "What he cares about
is staying in power, and he would not chose options that would invite
an international coalition of forces that would force him out."
In the long term,
peace in the Middle East depends on the establishment of a Palestinian
state with its capitol in East Jerusalem.
accounts for most of the anti-American sentiment in the region,"
Dr. Alexander said. "The Palestine issue is not a place where the
Bush Administration could make gains."
The Bush Administration
has not had the Middle East high on its list of priorities. Until September
11th, "but terrorism provided a good starting point," Dr.
feel about 9/11 seems to determine how they feel about the war in Iraq,"
Dr. Alexander noted
that, when asked in Congress about the policy of continued isolation
of Saddam, President Bush answered quickly: "That's not an option
after 9/11. New threats will require new thinking."
The Middle East
scholar was critical of the U.S. efforts to win world support for the
"We must engage
in real global diplomatic leadership," he concluded. "We have
the best message
we must use it."
Dr. Alexander delivered
two lectures on campus as part of the Gibson Gray Lecture Series.
to University Newswire