Syria Debate – Friday October 25th, 2013

2013. Photograph. AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, Syria.

2013. Photograph. AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, Syria.

Resolved:  The United States should use military force to protect the people of Syria against the Assad regime


International norms regarding war, ethics, human rights, and sovereignty are constantly evolving. States’ responsibilities and freedom of action in the face of foreign governments’ perpetration — within their own borders — of human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and genocide remain unresolved.  The debate about what the U.S. should do in Syria touches on these and related issues, including American exceptionalism, R2P, and the requirements of just war.  Moreover, the question of what the U.S. should do in Syria is a timely foreign policy issue that merits a frank and open airing of possible future U.S. actions as this terrible humanitarian crisis continues to unfold.

Not since the Munich crisis and the Spanish civil war has an international conflict illuminated the fault lines in international politics as thoroughly as the Syrian civil war. At stake above all are the lives and well-being of millions of Syrians, who have suffered immeasurably. The governments of Iran and China  are also boldly attempting to fix an authoritarian international order on the world that Americans, Europeans, and many other governments oppose, an order that would subject every constructive global and humanitarian impulse to the veto of oligarchs in Moscow and Beijing.

Featured speakers:

Professor Edward Haley

Professor P. Edward Haley is the W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College where he serves as Director of the Middle East Studies Program and, ,for the past five years, as  Director of the Center for Human Rights Leadership.

Previously Professor Haley served on the staffs of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as Dean of the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific, and as Fulbright senior specialist. 

Professor Haley has published ten books and dozens of articles and op-eds. Among his recent publications are Strategies of Dominance: The Misdirection of U.S. Foreign Policy (Woodrow Wilson Center/Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); Strategic Foreign Assistance:  Civil Society and International Security, with Lawrence Chickering and others (Hoover 2006). His commentaries have appeared on CNN and National Public Radio, and his op-eds have been published in newspapers all over the United States and in the International Herald Tribune

Links to Op-Eds:

Four Reasons Obama’s Critics on Syria Have it Wrong

The United States Must Take Substantial Action in Syria Now

Balkan conflicts hold clear lessons on intervention in Syria

Professor Haley will be accompanied in the debate by William Mitchell CMC ’14.  William Mitchell is a Government-History major from Oceanside, California.  He is interested in many things, among them US history and politics, aviation history, and security studies. At the Claremont Colleges he has been a member of the Debate Union, a contributor to the Keck Journal and served as the managing editor of the Claremont Indepdenent. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school and begin a career as a writer and educator.

Professor Jennifer Taw

Professor Jennifer Taw of the Government Department’s IR Program spent ten years at RAND working for the U.S. Army and DOD on counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism before she transitioned into teaching.  Her courses at CMC include U.S. Foreign Policy, Introduction to International Relations, Security Studies, and War.  Columbia University Press published Professor Taw’s book Mission Revolution: The U.S. Military and Stability Operations in September 2013 and the 6th edition of her co-authored textbook World Politics in a New Era is due from Oxford University Press this coming spring.  


Professor Taw will be accompanied in the debate by Abby Dolmseth CMC ’14.  Abby is an International Relations major from Vashon Island, Washington.  Within the major, her focus is in Latin America.  She has an interest in development studies, particularly women in development.  With regard to Syria, her interest is manifest primarily in the crisis posed by the growing number of refugees and the border-country refugee campus. 


Talia Segal – CMC ’15

Relevant Links:

Harvard-Belfer Center


President Obama’s September 10th Address

New York Times


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