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THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES
Immigration Measure in Defense Bill Raise Republican Uproar
Obama's Test Remains to Sell Iran Talks to Arabs, Israel
Labor Aids Clinton on Trade
Debate on U.S. Role in the World Is Wide Open
U.S. Rethinks Strategy to Battle Islamic State After Setback in Ramadi

Immigration Measure in Defense Bill Raise Republican Uproar
by: Kristina Peterson and Gordon Lubold
May 15, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Congress, Immigration, Political Parties, Republicans

SUMMARY: In considering the annual defense spending bill, a number of Republicans objected to the inclusion of a non-binding resolution to encourage the Pentagon to consider allowing some undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the U.S.as children by the parents, to enlist in the military. Unexpectedly this resolution stirred negative reactions from many Republicans, who said that this would allow undocumented immigrants to potentially displace U.S. citizens seeking military jobs. They further said that it was not appropriate to have this resolution as part of the military spending bill. On a 221-202 vote on an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), this non-binding resolution was stripped from the measure. Democrats charged that the real reason for Republican concern is that Republicans do not want to appear to be pro-immigration. Regarding the spending bill itself, Democrats objected to its increasing military spending beyond the cap in the sequester and failing to increase spending for domestic programs.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Kristina Peterson and Gordon Lubold report on the conflict over the inclusion of a non-binding resolution in the defense funding bill that would encourage the military to consider accepting undocumented citizens who had been brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. The class can first review the extensive history of having non-citizens in the military. For example, the Lodge Act allowed non-citizens from Eastern Europe to join the U.S. Armed Services from 1950 to 1959. Another statute permitted Filipino nationals to enter the Navy from the late 1940s to 1992. Even now, individuals from Pacific Island nations that have a compact with the U.S. can serve. One benefit to the individuals is that they can more quickly be nationalized, which was affirmed by an executive order issued by President George W. Bush. Given this, students can discuss why Republicans are not willing to differentiate between groups of undocumented immigrants, such specifying those who came as children, especially when the Hispanic vote is important to winning national elections. While the undocumented immigrant may benefit from military service, the military gains as well. The class can discuss these benefits, including language and technical skills. Other controversies in the GOP involving undocumented immigrants can be discussed. Most notably, governors, including some Republican governors, have permitted these individuals to obtain driver's licenses and to be eligible for in-state tuition at state schools. Lastly, the political dilemma for the GOP may be analyzed, whereby opposing immigration reform is important to the conservative base, but could prove to be a detriment to winning a national election. Republican business leaders are much more willing to accept immigration reform, policies to assist undocumented immigrants, and to bring skilled immigrants in the U.S.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Has the U.S. ever allowed non-citizens to enlist in the U.S. military?

2. (Introductory) How did Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry when he was governor deal with undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children with their parents?

3. (Advanced) Other than the controversy over the non-binding resolution on undocumented immigrants and military service, what objections did Democrats have with the military spending bill itself?

4. (Advanced) What benefits could the undocumented immigrants, brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, bring to the U.S. military?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Republican Party Wrestles With Immigration Stance as It Courts Hispanics
by Laura Meckler
Apr 17, 2015
Online Exclusive


Obama's Test Remains to Sell Iran Talks to Arabs, Israel
by: Carol E. Lee and Jay Soloman
May 16, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Iran, Israel, Middle East, Mideast, Netanyahu, Nuclear Weapons, Obama

SUMMARY: As the Obama administration and other nations are in the final phase of negotiating an agreement with Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons for at least a decade, Arab Gulf states and Israel are skeptical that Iran will agree to a deal that incorporates the strong verification that President Barack Obama indicated would be part of the agreement. Obama met with Gulf state leaders in Washington and at Camp David to convince them. Neither the king of Saudi Arabia nor Bahrain's monarch attended. Obama and Saudi leadership have had a rocky relationship, especially after Obama said that they should worry more about internal treats than Iran. Despite the skepticism, the Gulf states issued a statement following the meetings that said they are willing to normalize relations with Iran provided Iran ceased "destabilizing activities." Iran has continued to support Houthi rebels, strongly opposed by Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. While Obama is working to convince the six nations of the Gulf Cooperative Council of the benefits of the Iranian deal, he has yet to reach out to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who increased tensions with the White House by giving a speech to Congress opposing the Iranian agreement. However, Obama plans to make overtures to Israel and American Jews.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Carol E. Lee and Jay Soloman report on President Barack Obama's meetings with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperative Council to convince them of the benefits of a possible agreement with Iran. The class can examine the concerns that these governments plus Israel have with Iran. These include the ability to truly verify that Iran is abiding by the terms of the agreement, that the allowed nuclear equipment are not sufficient to build a nuclear weapon, that Iran could not end the deal and produce nuclear weapons quickly, and that by ending the economic sanctions Iran will have more resources available to support Hezbollah and destabilizing activities in other nations. Iran has been involved in many Middle East nations, including supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Students can note that underlying the conflicts is a sectarian element with Iran being Shiite Muslim and the Gulf States being Sunni. Assad is an Alawite, which some consider related to Shiites but even if not Shiite, they are opposed by Sunni Muslims. The class can also discuss the opposition to the potential Iranian agreement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who would like to see economic sanctions continued. Students can debate whether Israel will be safer with a verifiable agreement where Iran actually gives up the capacity to produce nuclear weapons but a lifting of sanctions with no agreement and sanctions in place.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Even if a verifiable agreement is reached with Iran, why are the Gulf states concerned about Iran?

2. (Introductory) Why has Saudi Arabia increased its conflict with Iran in recent months?

3. (Introductory) Explain the sectarian divide between Iran and the Gulf states.

4. (Advanced) How has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to use U.S. interest groups to quash the agreement with Iran?

5. (Advanced) At the conference with the Gulf States, what did President Obama promise the six nations to get their support of the Iranian agreement?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Gulf States Want U.S. Assurances and Weapons in Exchange for Supporting Iran Nuclear Deal
by Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee
May 02, 2015
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Labor Aids Clinton on Trade
by: Laura Meckler and Melanie Trottman
May 18, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Presidential Election, Trade, Trade Agreements, Unions

SUMMARY: Despite labor unions' opposition to free-trade legislation, they seem to be willing to give Hillary Clinton a pass on the issue if she remains neutral or comes out in favor of President Obama's fast-track legislation and the Pacific Partnership Act. While in the senate, Clinton voted for all trade pacts but the one with Central American countries. However as a candidate, she has thus far been non-committal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. To reporters she has emphasized that trade agreements must produce U.S. jobs, raise wages, increase prosperity, and protect security. Unions are worried that free-trade legislation will result in job losses, often citing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiated in former President Bill Clinton's administration. Concerning NAFTA, Hillary Clinton says that she approved of NAFTA as written, but its implementation resulted in the job losses. While unions say that opposition to trade pacts is important, they also note that it is not the only issue on which to judge candidates. Plus today union members are less impacted by trade agreements because fewer of them are in jobs that can be outsourced. Both of Clinton's probably opponents, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, oppose fast-track legislation and the TPP.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Laura Meckler and Melanie Trottman examine union opposition to trade pacts and the position of the leading Democratic Party contender for the president Hillary Clinton on these agreements. In the article Meckler and Trottman point out changes in union membership that make opposition to trade pacts less a priority for the interest of their members. The class can discuss the reasons for the decline of union membership in the private sector from about a third to the current approximate 8%. The inability of unions to stem this loss can be seen in the adoption of right to work legislation in several northern states. Increasingly unions are representing public workers, who are not likely to lose their jobs because of trade. Even if trade remains one of union's top priorities, students can suggest the poliltical box that this would put unions in if Clinton does favor the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which she was involved with as secretary of state early in the negotiations. Clinton is out in front to win the Democratic Party's nomination, and she is much closer to the union's position on issues than any of the Republican candidates. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, for example prides himself on breaking public unions in Act 10 legislation and in recently signing right to work legislation, which he had sponsored as a state legislator. As for TPP, President Obama said that it would not result in the loss of U.S. jobs. What kinds of provision could be in the pact that could convince unions that this trade deal is different than prior ones?

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Why have the percent of unionized private sector workers significantly fallen?

2. (Introductory) For many years manufacturing jobs have flowed to Asia. Given this, do you believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Pact could result in more jobs leaving the U.S.?

3. (Advanced) In considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership Pact, unions are focusing on its impact on jobs. However the TPP may be important for reasons beyond jobs. Discuss some of these reasons.

4. (Advanced) If Hillary Clinton ultimately comes out against approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Act, how can she justify this position when she supported all others but one?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Clinton Walking Fine Line on Pacific Trade Deal
by Peter Nicholas
Apr 22, 2015
Online Exclusive


Debate on U.S. Role in the World Is Wide Open
by: Gerald F. Seib
May 19, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Defense Policy, Military, Presidential Election

SUMMARY: U.S. foreign policy has followed a cyclical pattern--intervention followed by a pull-back from world conflicts. In the post-Cold War, threats to the U.S. and other nations are more likely to come from non-state actors than hostile nations. Threats extend beyond traditional militaryforces, such as terrorism, to economic competition and cyber-threats. The reactions to this environment by presidential candidates differ with many pushing for a more robust response, including the use of military intervention, while others proclaiming that the U.S. cannot get involved in every conflict. On the hawkish side is Senator Marco Rubio who said that he would use American power to oppose any violation of international waters, airspace, cyberspace, or outer space, including economic disruption. Challenging this idea is Senator Rand Paul, who believes in a less aggressive U.S. policy in the world. For Democrats, Hillary Clinton is seen as more willing to use U.S. forces than President Barack Obama. As secretary of state she supported U.S. intervention in Syria and Libya and keeping the military option on the table in dealing with Iran. While many Republicans support a more hawkish policy, they also question Clinton's support of using military force to oust Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Gerald F. Seib in his Capital Journal examines the policy positions of several presidential candidates on U.S. intervention in the world. The class can first discuss the notion that the U.S. tends to turn inward after major confrontations. Is this what occurred after World War I, Korean War, and Vietnam? After each war, the U.S. has reduced the size of its military force with the public believing that there should be a reprioritization with emphasis on domestic needs. The assumption of foreign policy hawks is that the use of the military will able to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. Students can evaluate this, examining Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars. With terrorism in particular, military intervention may not be very effective. The class can suggest other means to cope with the rise of terrorism from non-state actors. Further, the use of the military, including drone strikes, can have the opposite effect by increasing the recruitment of terrorists. For cyberterrorism, the traditional military is not very effective. Students can suggest the types of policies which can have more impact. Lastly, non-military approach to world issues can be explored.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Why are Republican candidates more willing to use American military might in the world than Democrats?

2. (Introductory) Hillary Clinton and President Obama have been criticized for action in Libya. Why did the U.S. and NATO enter the Libyan conflict to oust Moammar Gadhafi? Why has the result been a lawless situation in Libya?

3. (Advanced) Republicans have criticized President Obama for pulling out all troops from Iraq and not leaving a residual force. Why did this occur?

4. (Advanced) In terms of the use of U.S. military forces, Senator Rand Paul often follows his father's ideas, former Rep. Ron Paul, who had run for president. What are Ron Paul's views of U.S. foreign policy action? How did his views impact the support he received in his run for the presidency?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
GOP Presidential Hopefuls Criticize Obama Foreign Policy
by Janet Hook
May 09, 2015
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U.S. Rethinks Strategy to Battle Islamic State After Setback in Ramadi
by: Carol E. Lee and Dion Nissenbaum
May 20, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Iraq, Middle East, Mideast, Terrorism

SUMMARY: The loss to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq, demonstrates the weakness of Iraqi military forces, which had been given credit for recapturing Tikrit from the ISIS. While the Iraqi military is Shiite dominated, like the government, Anbar province is significantly Sunni. The White House has pressed for the training and equipping of Sunni fighters along with the Shiite force. To aid Bagdad, the U.S. has increased the provision of military equipment, including 1,000 shoulder held rockets, but does not plan on expanding the number of American troops. The Iraqi military has had tough time defending against the ISIS's use of Vehicle Borne Improvised Devices (VBIEDs) and will probably increase its use of surveillance drones. With the loss of Ramadi, Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), are criticizing President Barack Obama's strategy. Some observers though attribute the setback to several exceptional factors.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Carol E. Lee and Dion Nissenbaum report on reactions of the Obama administration and Republicans to Iraq's loss of Ramadi to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). While training and equipping of Iraqi forces could be issues in Ramadi, the class can discuss the underlying sectarian problem. While Ramadi is primarily Sunni, the Iraq government's force is mostly Shiite as is the government. It has been clear for some time that Iraq has not been strongly training and equipping Sunni soldiers. The Obama administration increasingly has pressed Iraq to do so, but the government has dragged its feet. Reports are that Iraq has not even paid and equipped the police in Ramadi. One fear that they have is that Sunni police and militia would join the Sunni Islamic State forces. Students can also detail other problems with the Iraqi force. One that is reported is that Iraq has paid individuals who are not actually part of the fighting force, the so-called ghost troops. Thus the size of the Iraqi fighting force is considerable smaller than that which was reported. With the loss of Ramadi, which is not very far from Bagdad, observers now worry about the Iraqi capital itself as well as Kurdish areas. Are there reasons that these areas are safer from ISIS than Ramadi was?

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) If the U.S. does not put "boots on the ground," what can they do to effectively improve the fighting force against ISIS?

2. (Introductory) Republicans are arguing that President Obama strategy in Iraq is not effective in confronting the Islamic State. What do they see as a more effective approach?

3. (Introductory) Explain the reluctance of the Iraqi government in arming and training a local force in Anbar.

4. (Advanced) Why was the Iraqi force been able to retake Tikrit but lose in Ramadi?

5. (Advanced) What was the role of Iranian forces in the fight for Tikrit? How did the Obama administration explain this?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
After Ramadi, U.S. and Allies Face Dilemma on How to Proceed
by Yaroslav Trofimov
May 20, 2015
Online Exclusive


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