Mississippi College

Political Science Class at Mississippi College Addresses Syria Crisis

September 12, 2013

As America’s leaders and much of the world focus on the risks of a U.S. conflict with Syria, the crisis is taking center stage in a Mississippi College political science class.

At the beginning of Wednesday’s class, political scientist Glenn Antizzo read President Barack Obama’s speech on the subject this week and asked students for their opinions.

As Antizzo polled his students on the role the United States should take, WJTV-12 cameras were rolling in the classroom in Jennings Hall. WJTV newsman Brad Soroka filed his report airing on the Jackson television station Wednesday evening.

“Obviously, if we wanted to enough, we could do whatever we want because we’re America,” MC junior Andrew Petersen of Hattiesburg told the reporter during an interview. “We’re the strongest nation in the world.”

But what should the United States do? The political science major, like millions of others, is uncertain.

A specialist in international relations, Antizzo is keeping up with the latest developments from Washington, D.C. to the Middle East and Russia. Last evening, Russia’s leader, Putin, weighed in with a lengthy column appearing in “The New York Times.”

At the moment, U.S. and Russian diplomats are working on a plan they hope will lead Syria to give up using chemical weapons that President Obama and others say were used against civilians. Obama says the U.S. will explore a possible diplomatic solution although the U.S. military remains ready to attack.

A few hands went up when Antizzo asked students if they’re supporting President Obama’s position on Syria that was outlined in his White House address to the nation on Tuesday.

A few hands also shot up when the Cornell University alumnus asked if they believe the United States should stay out of it. Some of the students think a U.S. attack on Syria will cause war to break out, and it will expand to bring in other nations.

For the United States, “this is a no-win situation,” Antizzo said.

Since early September, a potential U.S. strike on Syria has changed from seeming to be a sure thing to the point where it may or may not occur.

The use of chemical weapons during the rule of Syria’s anti-American dictator, Assad, dates back for a year. “Several thousand have been killed,” Antizzo said. As for the rebels fighting during the civil war in Syria, he said, “we are not sure who these guys are.”

No matter what action is finally taken by the United States, “the government will need to act sooner, rather than later,” Antizzo said. “We need to talk away Syria’s ability to use gas.”

The MC professor discussed the crisis in Syria in a front-page story appearing in this week’s “Collegian,” the university’s student newspaper.

For more information, contact Glenn Antizzo at 601.925.3973 or antizzo@mc.edu.

Photo: Professor Glenn Antizzo reads President Obama's speech about the crisis in Syria to his students at a political science class at Mississippi College on Wednesday.

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