UGA’s Wiarda returns from, comments on Europe and U.S. foreign policy

Athens, Ga. — Howard J. Wiarda, the Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations and head of the department of international affairs in the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, has just returned from a U.S. Department of State–sponsored lecture tour in Europe.

Wiarda was asked by the State Department as part of a program to bring speakers to Europe to give a series of lectures on American foreign policy. He lectured on the Iraq war, foreign-policy decision-making in the George W. Bush administration, and the foundational contrasts between the United States and Europe.

The State Department asked Wiarda to provide “an alternative viewpoint to Michael Moore.” Worried that Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” was becoming Europe’s popularly-accepted viewpoint about the United States, the State Department sought to present a greater diversity of viewpoints.

Wiarda lectured in Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, and Kiel, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Valencia and Madrid, Spain. He also visited The Netherlands and Slovakia to conduct his own research.

Reflecting Europe’s consuming interest in the United States and the George W. Bush administration, Wiarda lectured to overflow university, think tank and public audiences. He also met with high-level policy planning and foreign ministry officials in Germany and Austria.

In Germany to observe the North Rhine-Westphalia elections that stunned Chancellor Goerhard Schroeder’s ruling coalition, Wiarda also observed the elections on the proposed European constitution in France and The Netherlands.

Of the “no” votes in both France and The Netherlands, Wiarda said “these votes have severely set back the course of European integration and probably of further enlargement too. A major side effect is that they practically guarantee the U.S. will be the world’s major and virtually only superpower as well as global policeman, fireman and hegemon for the next fifty years!