International Relations

The readings and videos in this section address  the complex and globally consequential role of violence, extremism, terrorism and military interventions and occupations that  fundamentally have preoccupied world politics, and especially the US, since the terrorists attacks and the tragic events of 9/11. The short and sweeping book by Tamara Sonn (and the chapter by Mandaville ), provide an overview of the dynamics of “global jihadism”, the emergence of violent non state actors such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, etc., and the geopolitical and violent encounters, especially since 9/11. Karen Armstrong in her two articles reflects on the connection between religion, violence and “jihadism”. The articles by Pape and Atran, provide contrasting theories and arguments on the roots of religious violence and the phenomenon of suicide terrorism. The works by  Voll, Calebres, WaltonMesbahiCrews and Hunter, each deal with a particular region such as Africa, Eurasia, Europe, Asia, or major international actors, such as Russia and China. US relations with the Muslim world  is a major theme of this section. In addition to Tamara Sonn’s book, mentioned above, the chapters  by Amir Hussain and the article by Lawler, provide a historical look on America’s experience with Islam and Muslims. Prodromou deals with the role of religion in general and Christianity in particular in shaping US foreign policy, especially after 9/11.  The intriguing article by Seymour Hersh looks into the dynamics of intervention in Iraq, while the articles by William Astor on Afghanistan and Gareth Porter on Syria, address the complex challenges facing US strategy in these conflicts. The two articles by Steven Walt address the product of the violent encounters between the U.S. and the region, and provide a critical assessment of the Trump Administration’s understanding of Islam and Muslims. The chapter by Vali Nasron “the power of commerce” presents the author’s thesis on the impact of modern capitalism and the market on US relations with the Middle East, Robert Hunter explores the implications of the decision by the Trump Administration to move the U.S embassy to Jerusalem. Finally, John Esposito in a sweeping and critical analysis addresses the key dynamics of US relations with the Muslim world and its future.

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