Page 1

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011


ISSUE VI, 4/4/11 Also in this Week’s Edition:


By Randy Bell, ‘13 -Page 3


By Sahdia Khan, ‘13

-Page 4


By Anna Kochut, ‘12

-Page 5


By Aliza Fishbein, ‘11

by Alex Clearfield, ‘14 Staff Writer


ichele Bachmann may make history. If you don’t know who she is, you will soon. Within a year, she will likely become the first Republican woman to participate in a primary, and possibly the first to win a primary. And, with the right breaks, she may be the presumptive nominee. Of course, she could flame out by primary time and retreat back to Congress, but with the way things are going now that seems doubtful. Bachmann is 54-year-old thirdterm Representative from Minnesota, representing a relatively conservative district. She is likely to be the favored candidate of the Tea Party, barring the entry of Sarah Palin into the race. A former lawyer who served as a state senator for six years, Bachmann has long held po-


sitions consistent with the conservative Christian wing of the Republican Party: she is pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and supports the inclusion of Intelligent Design theory in school science classes. The Tea Party, after gaining attention for being a so-called “renegade” arm of the Republican Party, now finds itself with real influence. Many Tea Partiers were elected to Congress last November, and their public supporters are steadfast in their desire to see Obama lose in 2012. Bachmann has been courting these voters, and it stands to reason that she may be their favored candidate if Sarah Palin does not run. Bachmann founded the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, and is seen by many as the most prominent Tea Partier in office.

-Page 6


By Paul Grossinger ‘11 - Page 7

JOHNS HOPKINS’s Only WeeklyPublished Political Magazine

Despite her prominence, Bachmann was defeated in her bid to join the House Republican leadership. She lobbied to be named Chairperson of the House Conference Committee, but did not get the support of then Speaker-Elect John Boehner. She instead requested to be placed on the House Intelligence Committee. She received her widest exposure to date when she delivered an unofficial response to January’s State of the Union address. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave the (Continued on Page 2)

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011




Joshua Ayal

Harry Black

Sam Lichtenstein

Staff Writers

Executive Editors

Randy Bell Alex Clearfield Rachel Cohen Rohit Dasgupta Eric Feinberg Becca Fishbein Conor Foley Cary Glynn Benjamin Goldberg Paul Grossinger Dan Hochman Jordan Kalms Anna Kochut Briana Last Hilary Matfess Daniel Roettger Ari Schaffer

Managing Editor

Will Denton Morgan Hitzig Hannah Holliday


Casey Navin Neil O’Donnell Faculty Advisor

Steven R. David JHU POLITIK is a student-run political publication. Please note that the opinions expressed within JHU POLITIK are those solely of the author. Please sign up for our e-mail list on our website,


(Continued from Page 1) official Republican response. Bachmann has not declared her candidacy yet, but comments made by her aides and her frequent trips to early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire indicate that she will almost certainly run. She recently announced that she intends to form an official exploratory committee in the coming months. Bachmann has strong Tea Party credentials on economic policy and government reduction. She opposed the health care reform bill, “intrusive” Census questions, and a bill that would have increased the amount of aid given in each Pell Grant. Bachmann notoriously proclaimed that she would not fully fill out her Census form in a protest against government intrusion, which is in fact a violation of federal law. Bachmann has not been free from controversy, and much media attention has been placed on verbal gaffes she has made. During a speech in New Hampshire, Bachmann claimed that the famous first shots of the American Revolution were fired in the state; as any grade school student can tell you, the Revolution’s first shots were fired in Massachusetts. Bachmann also claimed that global warming, which is almost universally accepted by scientists, is “a hoax,” and that the “gay lifestyle” is “personal enslavement.” Perhaps most egregiously, she claimed that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

It is common knowledge that many of the Founders, including Washington and Jefferson, owned slaves. As of now, Bachmann is the only prospective Tea Partier that has declared serious interest in running. Sarah Palin, now contributing to Fox News and riding the lecture circuit, has not made any definitive statements on her status. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a favorite of the Tea Party, has also not made any official declarations. If neither of them run, it is likely that Bachmann will be the choice of many Tea Partiers, and would also be one of the most conservative candidates in the field. Bachmann is perhaps the most divisive prospective candidate. She has developed a devoted following of social and fiscal conservatives excited by a fresh face in the field, but her views are not very likely to have crossover appeal to Independents and frustrated Democrats. Evangelical candidates have often had trouble attracting votes outside of their base, and it appears that Bachmann will be no exception to that rule. Although a recent Gallup poll has her “positive intensity” score ranked second behind Huckabee’s (the score is the difference between a candidate’s strongly favorable and strongly unfavorable figures), the poll is likely to reflect more enthusiastic voters, who may not be representative of the party as a whole. Whether or not Bachmann decides to run – although (Continued on Page 3)


Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011

NATIONAL REPORT (Continued from Page 2) it is increasingly likely that she will – she is shaping her public image to maximize her influence in the primaries and general election. As the official leader of the Tea Party’s Congressional Caucus, which numbers over 50 representatives and senators, she is in prime position to influence legislation, and perhaps drive John Boehner farther to the right to appease the Tea Partiers. If she is not the nominee, her endorsement will carry weight. Although many do not take her seriously, she does represent a mobilized element of the electorate. Her endorsement would signal a temporary truce between the far-right segment of the Tea Party and the more mainstream Republicans. She may not be nominated by the Republican Party to run for president, but instead she may find herself in a more powerful position: kingmaker. And if she does with the nomination…then you’ll definitely know her name. s

Labor Disputes Spread Nationwide by Randy Bell, ‘13 Staff Writer After the midterm elections last November, a wave of new Republicans swarmed into our nation's highest offices with promises of change. Eighteen new Republican governors were elected, each vowing to reign in the intrusive role of government in their respective states. After several months, it is clear that they have cashed in on their campaign promises to change the status quo, but the extent of their efforts is more far-reaching than anyone expected. Florida governor Rick Scott is pushing a mandate that will ultimately require employees to submit to drug testing. For his part, South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard recently signed a bill requiring women to wait three days and undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers before they can get an abortion. At the same time, Michigan governor Rick Snyder is pushing through a bill that would allow him to declare a "financial emergency" and appoint someone to fire local officials, seize assets, break contracts, and terminate services and school districts. The most publically recognizable Republican governor of the last month is Wisconsin's Scott Walker, who has taken a staunch stance against unions and the benefits they afford workers, which he and other state Republicans consider to be in excess. Thousands of


activists fought to end Walker's efforts, protesting in front of the Wisconsin statehouse, going to the homes of lawmakers, and starting a media firestorm across the country. Although Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi put an end to Walker's attempts last Thursday to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights to demand higher wages and cut their current pay by an average of 8%, the battle that began in Wisconsin has spread like wildfire to other states. In an attempt to alleviate Maine's budget woes, Governor Paul LePage has proposed numerous cuts to social programs as a part of his two-year, $6.1 billion budget plan. Some cuts being considered include lowering the maximum income level for Medicaid eligibility from 200% of the federal poverty level to 133%, lowering the maximum income level for the eligibility of seniors to receive help paying for prescription drugs, limiting the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to a maximum of five years, and requiring Maine residents to have lived five years in the state before they are eligible for food stamps and assistance with finances or medical bills. LePage has also come under fire for his attempt to remove a mural portraying the historical plight of labor in the state from the lobby of the Department of Labor, claiming it represents a biased view of labor relations in which the side of business is unrepresented. After national outrage and a collection of 300 labor union members protesting in front of the state Capitol at the attempt to remove the mural, LaPage has apologized for the conflict caused by this decision. Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry said, "Paul LePage cannot erase our history, and he will not silence the voice of the working class in Maine." As Wisconsin and Maine have fought to limit the rights of unions, Ohio, Tennessee, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas have followed suit with similar proposals of their own. Each of these states has considered eliminating collective-bargaining rights for government employees and local government officials. This has prompted numerous protests and legislative movements around the country. President Obama has called the actions of the governors "an assault on unions" and has led to creation of grassroots movements against them. The president, along with the activist wing of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, have continued to fight the anti-labor efforts politically and have put pressure on the legislators behind them. The Service Employees International Union and AFL-CIO have or(Continued on Page 4)

April 4, 2011

Volume VI, Issue VI

NATIONAL REPORT / INTERNATIONAL REPORT (Continued from Page 3) ganized waves of protestors to continue to show up outside state capitols and keep the pro-labor sentiment alive. As Republicans continue their efforts to push through legislation limiting the rights of public-sector workers, it is uncertain how far their pursuits will reach. With opposition from judicial rulings, high-level democratic politicians, labor unions, union workers, and civilians passionate about their cause, these newly elected governors will have their hands full in trying to work though the distractions of protestors and animosity from the left. It remains to be seen whether these governors will continue with their goals unabated or make concessions to appease nationwide protests. s

Japan’s Unfolding Nuclear Crisis by Sahdia Khan, ‘13 Contributing Writer

Contaminated water from the crippled No. 2 reactor leaking through a crack and into the ocean at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. (Tokyo Electric Power Company/ Reuters)

On March 11th, the worst earthquake in Jpan’s history ripped through the country’s streets. Along the way it amassed 15-18 million tons of debris (equivalent to 23 years of waste), left 28,550 people dead or missing, and devastated Japan’s culture, economy, and morale. Not long after, it triggered a 23-foot tsunami that pummeled the country’s eastern coast. But the distress does not end there. In addition to the immediate ramifications of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, two nuclear reactors were damaged during the disaster, resulting in a number of long-term repercussions that have already begun to affect the rest of the world.


The earthquake-tsunami combination prompted several explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which caused severe melting at two nuclear reactors. The damage to the reactors resulted in radiation leaks and the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians within a 12-mile radius of the plant. While verified numbers are hard to come by, experts have acknowledged that radiation levels in the immediate area are many times the amount found at normal operating capacity. Indeed, some samples have found 100,000 times the radioactivity of normal background levels. The effects of Japan’s nuclear problem have rippled throughout the world. The radioactive material from the Fukushima plant has made its way into the ocean, elevating the levels of radioactive cesium and iodine. Although a small level of natural radiation is normal, high-frequency radiation has the potential to alter DNA to the extent that the body can lose the ability to repair damaged genes. According to the spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Company, "High levels of cesium and other substances are being detected, which usually should not be found in reactor water.” Experts say that if the radioactive materials continue to enter the ocean, it could seriously threaten marine life by causing abnormal mutations in offspring or passing the radiation up the food chain. Additionally, the ocean has provided an avenue for Japan’s nuclear radiation problem to affect other countries. In California and Washington State, for example, small amounts of radiation have been detected in water and milk. While this radiation is too minuscule to pose a real threat to consumers, it has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the level of national drinking water and milk monitoring. In the upcoming years following the earthquake, Japan has a serious task at hand. According to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the earthquake caused the largest crisis for Japan in decades and could potentially cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. Now, not only is the country faced with rebuilding its infrastructure, dealing with a humanitarian crisis, and stabilizing its economy, it is also responsible for combating increasing nuclear reactivity levels throughout the world. While the drama continues to unfold on the other side of the planet, expect the consequences of the disaster to be worldwide. s

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011

INTERNATIONAL REPORT / OPINION French Political Drama Unfolds by Anna Kochut, ‘13 Staff Writer Two weekends ago, the Socialist Party won the French cantonal elections with 36% of the vote, while President Sarkozy’s party only received 18.6% of the vote in the second round. However, the “National Front”, which takes a decidedly anti-immigrant stance, won nearly 40% of the vote in certain areas throughout France. As the country and international observers turn their attention to France’s 2012 presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy is bound to feel the mounting two-sided pressure. In a breakdown of the votes and seats acquired by the parliamentary left, the origin of this pressure becomes clear. In total, the leftists won 4,487,036 votes to the(AP) incumbent party’s 2,908,667. The Socialist Party won the majority of the left’s votes, with 2,284,967 votes. With 1,379,902 votes, the top-winning party on the right side was the National Front, a solid competitor for the votes of the Union for a Popular Movement (1,554,744), which is the party Sarkozy was leader of prior to his election as President of the French Republic. French cantonal elections elect councilors for each canton in the country. Cantons are territorial subdivisions of France’s 342 arrondissements and 100 departments. These councilors are elected precisely to act as “electors” for the upcoming senatorial elections. The results of these cantonal elections, therefore, have a profound impact on the senatorial races. The French Socialist Party is the largest party of the center-left, and evolved from the French Section of the Workers’ International. The First Secretary of the party is Martine Aubry, who defeated Ségolène Royal in November 2008. She is seen as the frontrunner for the Socialist presidential nomination for the 2012 elections. Ségolène Royal was the party’s presidential candidate in 2007. She received 25.87% in the first round, and 46.94% in the second round of votes. In the end, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), led by Nicolas Sarkozy, won by 18,983,138 votes in the decisive second round. Support for the Socialist Party in France has tended to decline ever since the 1970s, especially in presidential election. However, the French National Assembly elections have shown an upswing in support for the party. Given these two trends, it will be interesting to observe what will happen in the upcoming elections senatorial


and presidential elections. Compounding the uncertainty of the French political landscape is the position of the National Front. The farright party, led by Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder, has seen a resurgence of popularity in pockets of the country. While no political observer has argued that the party has achieved enough support to compete nationally, it can easily complicate matters for both the traditional left and right. For Ms. Royal’s leftists, the increasing popularity of the National Front risks drawing more votes away from a movement that is increasingly divided between Ms. Royal and a likely presidential challenger and former Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique StraussKahn. For Mr. Sarkozy, the National Front could drag his party even more to the right, thereby leaving the president open to more a challenge from the left. While the role of the National Front is yet to be determined, the fact remains that next April’s presidential election will be a contentious one. For a country that has endured intense social unrest over the past year, next year’s outcome will show politicians whether the population has approved of their dramatic choices. s

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Jihad by Aliza Fishbein, ‘11 Contributing Writer Amidst a time of uprisings and protest in the Middle East and North Africa erroneous suppositions emerge about the nature of potential government entities. For example, in Volume VI, Issue IV of JHU Politik on February 28th, the assertions made by Cary Glynn and Jacob Grunberger in their article titled “In Defense of the Muslim Brotherhood” are not only misleading; they are downright dangerous. They argue that a Muslim Brotherhood takeover could only lead to a more democratized Egypt, but this claim could not be farther from the truth. Glynn and Grunberger’s primary assertion is that the Muslim Brotherhood, while it was founded on a militant, religious platform, has now shifted and become a secular group that only pursues social ends. Glynn and Grunberger go on to equate the Brotherhood with Christian groups in the United States that use a religious philosophy to justify their political actions. However, in terms of the Muslim Brotherhood, exactly the opposite is true; (Continued on Page 6)

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011

OPINION (Continued from Page 5) the Muslim Brotherhood continues preaching its program of victory through violent jihad, which means “struggle” in Arabic. Despite many claims that some members of the Brotherhood are reformers, the true measure of where the organization’s philosophy lays in it the leadership it elects. Recently elected Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi laid out the aspirations of the movement in his sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny.” As an “immoral country,” Badi threatened, the United States is “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise." He elaborated, saying that all Muslims are required by their religion to fight against Islam’s true enemies, which “can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” The elected leadership of the Brotherhood is very clear about the intentions of the organization. When considering the threat of a radical group it is critical to pay attention to what the group broadcasts to its supporters. Muslim extremist groups are notorious for saying one thing to the English-speaking media and quite the opposite in Arabic. The authors of Defending the Muslim Brotherhood quoted Deputy General Mahmoud Izzat as saying that the Brotherhood wants freedom and a parliamentary system, but these words must be taken with caution for these are not the only messages being transmitted. The updated ideological book of the Brotherhood, called The Laws of Da’wa explains the need to “spread [Islam] around the world” and establish a worldwide Muslim Caliphate. In fact, the Brotherhood has no respect for any law other than its own religious law, a position that was made clear by Badi to Muslim listeners in September: “The sources of your authority, as all religious scholars have agreed, are the Koran and the Sunna, and not U.N. resolutions or the dictates of the Zionists or Americans.” One major implication of potential Muslim Brotherhood takeover is the effect on current political norms and policies. For example, politicians and journalists are now calling into question the stability of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Glynn and Grunberger quote Essam alErian, a public spokesman for the Brotherhood, speaking on television as saying “the decision on the treaty does not belong to the Brotherhood, it belongs to the entire Egyptian people.” They pointed to this statement as a measure of the Brotherhood’s moderate political position. However, regardless of what they have said to some Western media outlets, the Brotherhood is doing its best


to increase its level of influence in this and other matters. Through television broadcasts and religious sermons to its followers, its leaders are pushing their messages of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism as hard as they can manage. What is this message? It is a message of hate and destruction. Rashad al-Bayoumi RiaNovosti, a Brotherhood official, could not have been more explicit in his statement last month, saying, “There is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel.” The Muslim Brotherhood is not only radical; it is also far reaching. In 2002, the Brotherhood asked Youssef alQaradawi to be its leader, but he turned them down in favor of a position in the organization that would offer more influence. Now, Sheikh Qaradawi has the prominent status of Religious Cleric to preach his Fatwa, or religious proclamation, about the Western world. He broadcasts his desire to establish a United Muslim Nations as a modern caliphate. He has even asked for Allah “to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.” Qaradawi is a particularly influential and dangerous character, acting as somewhat of a “global mufti,” appearing on television and offering advice on all religious subjects. Specialist Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, who resides at the University of Copenhagen, even says that Qaradawi was an instigator in the violence that followed the publication of the Danish cartoon that depicted the Prophet Muhammad. It is very dangerous to ignore the real intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood. History teaches us that those who suffer the consequences of violence are those who try to fool themselves into believing that their enemy is actually their friend. "Caution is the watchword," warns Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, one of the group’s founders, describing the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood. He says its leaders know that "now is not the time to expose itself." The concern should not be if; it should be when. This is of particular importance at a time when turmoil is quickly spreading across the region. s Aliza Fishbein (‘11) is the Campus Fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011

OPINION NATO’s Strategy in Libya by Paul Grossinger, ‘11 Staff Writer

Explosion from an Allied missile strike in Libya. (Mahmud Turkia/Agence France-Presse)

On March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the imposition of a no-fly zone over parts of Libya to prevent Colonel Gaddafi’s military forces from mercilessly destroying the rebel movement and massacring civilians. Two weeks later, NATO announced that it would formally take over the operation, which should lead to a strategic reassessment of what, exactly, the alliance intends to achieve in this conflict. The first step in creating a coherent wartime strategy is to set clear boundaries on actions. To his credit, President Obama managed to do this very quickly; he has maintained that ground forces will not be included in this campaign. The commitment to keeping ground forces out of this conflict is critical to respecting our current military resource capabilities and preventing this conflict from getting out of control. Simply put, American and other NATO forces clearly have the air and naval power necessary to impose a no fly zone, bomb Gaddafi forces, and prevent a collapse of the rebel resistance, but the inclusion of land forces in this campaign at any time would be disastrous. The expense of a land campaign would be prohibitive, almost certainly be American-led and involve more soldiers’ deaths, and would turn a fairly clear-cut conflict into an open-ended quagmire. Therefore, it is critical that President Obama continue to realize that Libya is not a vital security interest to the United States and limit this intervention to an air and sea operation.


The second step of creating a competent wartime strategy, which the current administration has yet to complete, is to clearly define the goals of the conflict and set a concurrent endpoint. To be fair, the state of Gaddafi’s regime and military forces remains unclear, which prevents NATO leaders from accurately assessing the full strategic picture in Libya and setting an endpoint for intervention. However, despite the lack of a clear strategic assessment of the enemy, NATO should still set more clear goals for the conflict as soon as possible. The current campaign occurred as a result of Gaddafi’s military success and his vows to murder all rebel forces and civilians. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters) But what level of rebel military or political success and civilian protection should be set as the standard ‘goal’ for victory in this conflict? Should we withdraw our forces when Gaddafi’s forces are too crippled to re-conquer rebel strongholds, when his government is in turmoil, or only when he is fully removed from power? These questions have yet to be answered and NATO leaders must tackle these issues if current operations are to be successful. Setting these goals is doubly important in Libya because, due to the state of affairs on the ground, our goals will determine the resources we spend and the length of the intervention. Even more importantly, setting achievable goals here will make or break the success of the campaign. If NATO continues to engage in a limited air and naval operation to protect rebel civilians and weaken Gaddafi’s military power, then this operation should be clear cut, successful, and fairly short. However, if NATO decides to extend the operation’s goals to a full-scale removal of the Libyan leader from power or includes ground forces in the action, then this conflict could be extremely costly and have no endpoint. As a result, it is critical that NATO leaders continue to limit the scope of the conflict and set clear goals for its resolution. s

Volume VI, Issue VI

April 4, 2011

DEALING WITH IRAN An Expert Panel Featuring

PATRICK CLAWSON Deputy Director for Research The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

MICHAEL ADLER Journalist, Author Agence France-Presse Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

MARK DUBOWITZ Executive Director Foundation for Defense of Democracies Moderated by

STEVEN DAVID Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education Johns Hopkins University


Volume VI, Issue VI  

Volume VI, Issue VI