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012009 - PLIR 365 I How much difference can an American...

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01/20/09 PLIR 365 I. How much difference can an American president make? A. A lot! i. Most of these decisions involve choices so individual players matter ii. Bring to the job a certain way of looking at the world and way of making judgments iii. Doesn’t mean successful policy decisions and they aren’t the only factor B. Doesn’t actually have very many choices (Structuralists) i. Much determined by larger forces, like the economy, military realities, etc. ii. As a new president gets used to his role, he will realize that the policies in place are based on certain realities iii. Shrinks the role of choice in politics C. Will have a natural experiment over the next couple months by comparing Bush and Obama II. Actors in Middle Eastern politics A. States- not always there, recent development B. Oil companies- very important in Iran in the 1950s C. International Organizations- League of Nations played a very formative role post- WWI, UN after WWII D. Non-state actors- political movements that sometimes have trans-national connections like bin Laden’s group, Hamas, etc III. Difference from other regions & general points A. Similar in that they have a fairly stable state structure B.
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