Baylor > Political Science > Undergraduate Program > Honors Theses for 2010

Honors Theses Completed in 2010 by Political Science

and International Studies Majors

Erik Baumann, Philosophy and Political Science
Dr. Linda Adams, mentor

US Foreign Policy in Iran from 1953-2010: What it Was, Where it Went Wrong, and What can be done to make it better. A Policy Proposal for the Obama Administration

This thesis is a study of US foreign policy towards Iran from the Truman Administration to the Obama Administration. The paper analyzes the policy differences between presidential administrations and shows that they have continually ignored history when instituting new policies. History shows that the Iranians have strong anti-American sentiment that has been caused predominantly by US policies in their country. Consequently, many of the problems that Washington has with Tehran have been created through decades of ineffective US policies. Therefore, my thesis culminates in a foreign policy proposal for the Obama Administration that takes into account the importance of history and argues for a policy that I believe will most improve US-Iranian relations. The policy is unique because it has a long term outlook rather than trying to satisfy short term interests. In summary, I propose extending diplomatic hand to Iran through working with them on issues which both countries agree such as Iraq and Afghanistan; showing goodwill to the Iranians through the lifting of sanctions; accepting the fact that Iran will most likely join the nuclear club; and working to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem that satisfies both parties in order to reduce Iran’s support for international terrorism.

Matthew Berry, University Scholar
Dr. David Corey, mentor

War and Tragedy: Insights from Homer and Aeschylus

Every age has the ability to correct past mistakes, alongside the propensity to commit errors, new and old, to which earlier ages may have answers. Modern considerations of warfare often overlook a number of key facets of conflict, particularly with regard to the disorder war imposes on the polis and on the soul, and to the great difficulty involved in achieving a just peace. In short, the modern conversation concerning war lacks an understanding of the tragedy of war. Just as the ancient Athenians needed tragedy as an integral part of their cultural and political system, we moderns would benefit from a tempering appreciation of tragedy. The Ancients, possessing a keen sense of tragedy, augment our understanding of conflict, even revealing the possibility that some conflicts are irreconcilable; that is, some conflicts require the destruction or subordination of one system to another, due to the nature of the conflicting systems.

Erica Gibbs, International Studies and French
Dr. Jerold Waltman, mentor

Executive-Legislative Relations in France and Great Britain

Relations between the executive and legislative branches in both Fifth Republic France and Great Britain have proven to be interesting and the executive has proven to be the stronger of the two branches, with politicians such as Tony Blair, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and Margaret Thatcher coming to mind as these strong executives. France and Britain also have radically different histories, France with its past of revolutions and upheavals and Britain with its history of longstanding precedents and relative stability. Institutionally, both of their executive branches are stronger than their legislative branches, but for very different reasons. This thesis explores the history, political background, and current situation of both France and Britain and explains why two such different states are both moving in the same direction, with strong executives leading both states.

Rachel Huntsman, University Scholar
Dr. Victor Hinojosa, mentor

Memory, Isolation, and Apathy: Political Themes in One Hundred Years of Solitude

Gabriel García Márquez’s best-selling novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, winner of the Nobel Prize, defies easy categorization. The novel is set in the fictional town of Macondo, which allows García Márquez to create a world that spans epic proportions to include such themes as love, war, death, and solitude. While the focus of the novel is on the several generations of the Buendía family, the citizens of Macondo encourage a political reading of the novel through their failures in collective memory, isolation, and political apathy. This thesis argues that Macondo’s destruction comes about as a result of the combination of these themes. While García Márquez does not outline a particular political agenda in the novel, each of these themes resonates both with political principles in general and Colombia’s political experience in particular, which reveals the novel’s political insight.

Jessie Kuykendall, International Studies
Dr. Bradley Thayer, mentor

Winning Quiet Support in the Middle East, Soft Power Style: An examination of how the United States can use specific soft power methods to lessen the effectiveness of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in the Middle East

Soft power methods have a definite role to play in the struggle against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in the Middle East, especially in the area of winning over the opinions of the majority. This research examines specific soft power methods aimed at reaching those called “quiet supporters,” who sympathize in some ways with terrorist organizations but are not fully dedicated members. The study breaks down into three main categories: United States Government methods, new media sources, and techniques originating in the Middle East. In order to examine the potential of these methods more fully, the case studies of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States are examined. The results show these soft power methods have the possibility for making great strides among quiet supporters. However, changes at the structural level and further research are needed to create an integration of hard power already in use and newly evolving soft power methods.

Kym MacNeal, University Scholar
Dr. Adams, PSC, mentor

Chemical and Biological Weapons and Their Affect On the Stability of the Middle East

This work is dedicated to the study of how chemical and biological weapons have affected the stability of the Middle East. First, the work investigates the history of both chemical and biological weapons and describes how multiple subcategories of these substances and organisms work on a chemical and biological level. Additionally, attention is given to how the various antidotes work on a chemical level. Next, the paper utilizing open sources describes the history of the chemical and biological weapons programs of the countries Syria, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq from inception to latest published information. Finally, this paper investigates the relationship between destabilizing factors in the Middle East and the instances of chemical weapons usage and uptake in chemical and biological weapons research. This comparison finds that although there is some correlation between destabilizing factors, such as war, and an increase in research activity, this is not always the case nor does it hold true in every country.

Joe Muller, University Scholar
Dr. David D. Corey, mentor

The Jus in Bello of Homer's Iliad

In this thesis I examine the idea of jus in bello (rights and wrongs in the conduct of war) put forth in Homer’s Iliad. I argue that the heroic ideal which informs much of the warfare in the Iliad poses a problem for any substantive jus in bello, but that a warrior nevertheless experiences certain moral pressures both in his relationship with his allies and in his relationship with his enemies that potentially limit his action. Ultimately I argue that the poem as a whole can be read as a movement away from the heroic ideal and its inhuman extremes and toward a more relenting and universal morality of war that is particularly suited to humanity.

Cynthia Perez International Studies
Dr. Jerold Waltman, mentor

The Development of Dual Citizenship in an Increasingly Globalized Society

The increase in technological capabilities and the movement of peoples has led to increased instances of overlapping citizenship. This overlap creates the need for States to develop policies and procedures relating to jurisdiction, military obligations, etc. should an issue need to be resolved. This thesis investigates the development of dual citizenship within two States, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America, by analyzing nationality laws, court cases, and international treaties as well as articles within the popular press. It answers the question of how modern states have developed their laws and international relation policies in relation to dual citizenship.

Tyler Talbert, International Studies
Dr. Joan Supplee, mentor

Juan Domingo Perón and Hugo Chávez Frías: The Evolution of the Latin American
Authoritarian and the Longevity of the Populist

This thesis contends that these two leaders, Argentina’s Perón and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, embody the ideals of populism and are manifestations of the recurring trend of Latin American authoritarianism. This project demonstrates that populism emerged from the leadership style prevalent in the period after independence known as caudillismo. The research then examines how populist leaders and the political style of populism has persisted for nearly a century. Using Perón and Chávez as examples, this thesis contends that populism appears in societies with similar social, political, and economic voids. The two leaders filled those voids by carefully constructing “patron-client sets.” They became legitimate benefactors, utilizing nationalist rhetoric, and demonstrating their revolutionary and independent stances. This study finds that the populist’s patron-client set transcends the exchange of goods for votes. The crux of the populist’s longevity is social programs; by providing an improved quality of life, the populist inspires long-lasting fidelity. As a result of this analysis, populism’s salient features can be isolated and examined, a cogent study of present populist leaders can be conducted, and more reasoned inferences can be made about the future of Latin American populist regimes.

Emily Ivy, History
Dr. Jerold Waltman, mentor

The Fairness of Workfare in Regards to Mothers

In the current policy of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), there is a large influence placed on “workfare” versus an unrestricted dole. The policy of workfare usually requires that welfare recipients be actively searching for work or employed in order to receive government funds. The goal of this thesis is to explore the idea of whether the policy of workfare is fair to its participants, examining in particular mothers who may have received governmental funds in the past in order to provide at home care. I will examine different writings on theories of economic, social and political fairness. I will also examine studies that question the different qualities between at home care and out of home care, paying particular attention to whether one is more beneficial than another for children of welfare recipients.