Republican Debate Highlights on Foreign Policy and National Security

Its been long since the last time I heard a candidate from the GOP really defending the values of fiscal conservatism, respect for individual freedom and a non-interventionist foreign policy for the US in a debate. I have heard it in some Democrat candidates from past debates but never in a Republican debate.  Luckily, I was happy to hear Ron Paul doing so and getting my support and applauses.

Last night, November 23th 2011, CNN, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation sponsored a debate on foreign policy. I leave you now with an interesting summary and some notes done by CBS of the most relevant candidates:

  • WINNERS:

Ron Paul

This was the Texas lawmaker’s strongest debate, getting lots of airtime and challenging many of his rivals about U.S. foreign policy. His views are not in the mainstream of Republican orthodoxy, but he is consistent in his beliefs and not afraid to tell voters what he really thinks. His fundraising numbers could go up in the short-term, based on his debate performance Tuesday night, even if long-term it may be hard for him to broaden his support.

Newt Gingrich

Success begets success. Newt has done well in past debates and it has helped him in the polls. With his polling success, moderators gave him more airtime, which allowed the one-time afterthought and current front-runner to show off his debating skills. He took a risk by going against conservative Republican orthodoxy on immigration, and that could backfire, but overall Gingrich showed that he has been thinking about these issues for decades. And since it was a debate focused on foreign policy, no one asked him about his relationship with mortgage giant Freddie Mac and the $1.6 million he earned, which also helped the former House speaker.

Jon Huntsman

As the former ambassador to both China and Singapore, Tuesday’s national security debate was Jon Huntsman’s moment to shine. And for the most part, he succeeded: Huntsman, who touted throughout the debate his experience living abroad, presented clear policy positions on Pakistan and Afghanistan – at one point getting into a heated debate with Mitt Romney over the Afghan troop drawdown ¬- and even managed to bring the conversation back around to the American economy. Perhaps for the first time in the campaign, the former Utah governor was able to set himself apart from the rest of the GOP crowd.

Michele Bachmann

Despite having largely been written off as a major player in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann delivered a strong performance in Tuesday’s debate, demonstrating her confidence discussing policy issues, and taking her competitors to task when they faltered. In a heated exchange with Rick Perry over providing aid to Pakistan, the Minnesota lawmaker blasted the Texas governor for what she described as his “highly naïve” take on the issue; later, she sparred with Newt Gingrich for his stance on immigration. Whether or not Bachmann’s performance was strong enough to get her back in the game remains to be seen – but she certainly earned more screen time than in recent debates.

Mitt Romney

Romney had one of his worst performances of the 11 debates so far, but he still managed to do fairly well. Romney is a front-runner for a reason: he has been running for president for five years and that practice has paid off for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney skillfully turned questions about foreign policy into answers about domestic issues where he was able to contrast his own positions with those of President Obama, cementing the idea that this race is going to come down to Romney and one other candidate.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum is still widely considered a long-shot candidate, but he earned his fair share of airtime in Tuesday’s debate. And while the former Pennsylvania senator may not have said much to change how America feels about him – he endorsed racial profiling Muslims and mistakenly referred to Africa as a country – he made his best effort to make his way back onto the public’s radar.

  • LOSERS

Herman Cain

Herman Cain did not have the standout moment he needed to prove to voters he has a command of foreign policy. After surging in the polls, Cain’s campaign has lost momentum in recent days, most notably after stumbling over a question regarding Libya. The only memorable moment from Cain in this debate came when he flubbed debate moderator Wolf Blitzer’s name, calling the CNN anchor “Blitz.”

Rick Perry

The Texas governor took some bold positions during this debate, but his policy stances were vigorously challenged by his colleagues. Perry almost seemed to immediately backtrack on the tough stance he took against foreign aid to Pakistan after Michele Bachmann called his position “naive.” Perry was also on the defense when other candidates — Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Ron Paul — said they disagreed with Perry’s assertion that the U.S. should consider a no-fly zone over Syria.

Where are the world’s biggest Chinese and Indian immigrant communities?

The Economist published a mind-blowing graphic depicting the migration of Chinese and Indian people around the world. The asses that “more Chinese people live outside mainland China than French people live in France, with some to be found in almost every country. Some 22m ethnic Indians are scattered across every continent.” More so, they emphasize that even though Diasporas have been a part of the world for millennia; their size and the ease of staying in touch with those at home are making them matter much more with the emergence of social network online technologies.

World's top 20 destinations for Chinese and Indian migrants

Now, this is once again part o the large “discourse of newness” that embeds great part of current mainstream history.  This is something that has been denied and discussed by Prof. Adam McKeown in the article “Article: Global Migration, 1846–1940” who claims after doing a extensive research of migration from China and India during the 19th Century that the amount of immigrants and the global effect it had is comparable (and at some points superior) to the more known Atlantic migration from Europe to America. I strongly suggest you checking the Article by Prof. McKeown an check also Dr. Dirk Hoerder great book titled: Cultures in Contact in case you are interested in this subject.

Article: Global Migration, 1846–1940 by Prof. Adam McKeown

via Flickr”]Port

Rudolph Vecoli introduced his edited volume A Century of European Migrations, 1830–1930 with the statement “[w]e need to move beyond the framework of the ‘Atlantic Migration’ . . . It [has] blinkered us to the global nature of [migration].”

And indeed, that is what Prof. Adam McKeown planned to demonstrate in the article “Global Migration, 1846–1940”.  The article is a great tool to understand the role that global interconnectedness, industrialization and increase in trade meant for the world. McKeown explains how was it that millions of migrants during the period of his study enabled for the population of America, Southeast Asia and Manchuria to increased more quickly than world population.

Read it:Global Migration 1846-1940. McKeown, Adam, Ph.D. Journal of World History, Volume 15, Number 2, June 2004, pp. 155-189 (Article)

Full Access HTML Version | Full Access PDF Version (421k)

Paper: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations

Map of Jewish Migrations

Yesterday I had the honor of attending a lecture organized by the Centre for Area Studies titled “Migration and Transnational History” with Prof. Dirk Hoerder as lecturer.

Prof. Hoerder is the author of one of my favorite books: Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium (Comparative and International Working-Class History). The book is an encyclopedic historical treaty that reviews the story Global Migrations in the last 1,000 years.

Today’s paper is related to two other great specialists in Migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman whose works are among the most relevant for the study of Migrations and Globalization.

About the Article:

This article deals with two prominent figures in the historiography of twentieth-century European forced migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman. Their studies, although published between 1946 and 1962, are still among the standard works on the subject and are as yet unsurpassed in their scope and breadth of outlook, despite the flurry of new publications on the subject after the opening of East Central European archives after 1989. In this article I strive to explain how and why they were able to accomplish such a scholarly feat, paying special attention to their biographies which I have tried to reconstruct, using, for the first time, not only their own writings but also personal testimonies from their students and disparate archival sources located in the United States and Israel. I also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their works by comparing them with more recent works on the same subject. This is, to my knowledge, the first attempt to reconstruct on the basis of archival evidence the lives and works of the two most important historians of a phenomenon whose impact on the overall history of Europe (and especially of its East Central part) is now generally recognized.

Continue reading: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations from Journal of Contemporary History recent issues by Ferrara, A.

In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World

rice
Image by tamaki via Flickr
map: United States, 1860, percentage of the sl...
Image via Wikipedia

Today I finished reading the Kindle book In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World by Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff; and I have confirmed that the work of any historian cannot be done without the help of Geography and a Globalized view of the power behind migrations. In her book, the author made very clear the effects of this forced migration of black slaves to America and how they changed the botanical future of the whole American Continent.  Reading this also was a great way of remembering when I worked as Collection Developer of the Wilson Popenoe Library (2,300 items) at the Ludwig von Mises Library.  His was a fantastic bibliography and you could see in his books how he managed to be the first exporter of Avocados to The United States.

 

Now, I invite you to check the book review via Project MUSE® prepared by Brian Grabbatin,

Many geographers know Judith Carney from her award-winning book Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (2001). There she explored the development of rice growing techniques in Africa and subsequent role of enslaved Africans in transferring those techniques to North American plantations, particularly in the South Carolina low-country. In the Shadow of Slavery, a new book coauthored by Carney and independent researcher Richard Nicholas Rosomoff, builds on these findings, examining how enslaved Africans participated in botanical exchanges that have shaped foodways in the Atlantic world. In contrast to Black Rice, this book focuses on a variety of subsistence crops instead of a single cash … Read More