April 1, 2010 – Roundtable Discussion – Obama’s America and the Muslim World.
The Hauenstein Center convened a roundtable discussion to answer additional questions about Professor Juan Cole’s address the previous evening titled “War and Peace: Obama and the Muslim World.”
Hauenstein Center Research Assistant Austin Knuppe introduced the panel’s moderator, Grand Valley Professor Majd Al-Mallah.
Dr. Majd Al-Mallah begins the panel by introducing the panelists and fielding questions from the audience after some brief reflective comments by the panel.
Professor Coeli Fitzpatrick talks about the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to greater cooperation in the Middle East. She believes that the Obama administration should continue to make Arab-Israeli peace a central component to their foreign policy in the Middle East.
Grand Valley Students take notes on the comments by each panelists. Both Professor Cole’s presentation and the roundtable discussion were heavily populated by students from the political science, history, and Middle East studies departments on campus.
Calvin College political scientist Joel Westra explains the Bush administrations strategy for deciding to wage war on the nation of Iraq. Out of the three “axis of evil countries” —
Iraq, Iran, and North Korea — Iraq was the easiest country to invade and disarm. By successfully disarming Saddam Hussein, the administration hoped to deter Iran and North
Korea. Unfortunately, the U.S. invasion of Iraq has the opposite effect, emboldening both Iran and North Korea.
Dr. Jim Goode from Grand Valley’s history department puts the topic of Muslim extremism in historical and theology context for the audience.
A Grand Valley student asks the panel why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so central to Middle Eastern peace writ large.