May 2, 2003June 6, 2003Meeting Report

May 18, 2003

Dr. Bahman (Buzz) Fozouni
The Motivational Factors Driving U.S. Foreign Policy

The meeting began with a tribute to Anna Andrews for her service to HAGSA in her most recent role as Chair of the Program Committee. It should be noted that she was also HAGSA’s President for three years.

Our invited speaker, Dr. Bahman (Buzz) Fozouni turned out to be a real treat. Originally from Iran, he now teaches courses in international politics, the Middle East and nationalism in the Government Department at California State University Sacramento. Dr. Fozouni started by saying that although he was quite optimistic when the Cold War was ending, he has been quite bothered by American foreign policy in its aftermath. He has been especially bothered by the public’s ignorance and jingoistic attitudes that now seem to be the norm. He blamed the media for this.

Dr. Fozouni went on to talk about political "realism" of the kind espoused by Rice, Perle and Wolfowitz. It is the idea of power determinism; that is, that any nation with power will try to add to it. The weapons determine policy. This "realism" is hegemonic and is likely to be viewed by the rest of the world as predatory. To be successful in this kind of power politics, a nation must be powerful both economically and militarily. Gaining control of the world’s oil reserves, if it is successful, will give our government tremendous additional leverage internationally. A few neo-conservative Defense Department officials who promote this type of hegemony now have more influence on American foreign policy than does the State Department. This does not bode well for the future.

After his presentation Dr Fozouni fielded a lot of questions related to America and the Middle East. He paid tribute to his mentor, Richard W. Cottam, author of "Nationalism in Iran" and "U. S. and Iran: Case Study in Cold War."

Report prepared by Wayne Luney, HAGSA Recorder

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