With students pouring out into the hallways, Professor Coit Blacker and Professor Stephen Krasner took part in a debate on Monday October 25th. The two political science professors debated foreign policy issues regarding the upcoming election on November 2nd. The event took place in the Peter Wallenberg Learning Theatre, and it was part of the Election 2004 Speaker Series hosted by Stanford in Government. Professor Blacker identified himself as a Democrat and supported Senator John Kerry. Professor Krasner, on the other hand, argued why President George W. Bush should be reelected.
Each participant had the opportunity to give introductory remarks. Then the moderator asked both professors to respond to a series of questions that were posed by the audience. Finally, both Professor Blacker and Professor Krasner gave a closing statement.
In his opening statement, Professor Krasner stated that this election might be a turning point in history of the world. He argued that there are two possibilities concerning the status of the world today. The first possibility is that there will be three or four terrorist attacks in western cities in the next decade, on the scale of the recent Madrid bombing. The second is the possibility that there will be up to six nuclear explosions in western cities over the next decade. Professor Krasner argued that the difference between President Bush and Senator Kerry over foreign policy issues arises in the belief of which state the world is in today. He said that Kerry believes we are in the first world. In contrast, Krasner aligns himself with Bush’s foreign policy initiatives because, like the president, he believes we are living in the later, more catastrophic world.
Professor Blacker, in his opening statement, said that the differences between Democrats and Republicans over foreign policy issues are less pronounced than those over domestic issues. However, he also stated that the gap between Democrats and Republicans over foreign policy widens in times of war and crisis such as the one we are in today. Blacker argued that Senator Kerry would be a better president because he would refocus the war against terrorism and would interna-tionalize the war effort in Iraq.
After articulating their opening remarks, both professors were asked a series of questions by the Stanford in Government moderator. The questions included: Who is a better candidate for resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine?; Is it wise to open bilateral talks with North Korea?; Would the US be safer and in a better international position if it had not invaded Iraq? Is spreading democracy in the Middle East a good idea? Other questions addressed nuclear weapons in former Soviet republics, the importance of multilateralism, the Ira-nian nuclear weapons program, ethnic cleansing in Sudan, the ICC, and the Kyoto Protocol.
The event was an excellent exchange of intellectual ideas and political ideologies. Both Professor Blacker and Professor Krasner articulated their ideas clearly and maintained great respect for one another. Stanford in Government did an excellent job of hosting the event and deserves great praise for putting on the debate.