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Journeys to War and Peace

A Congressional Memoir

Stephen J. Solarz

Publication Year: 2011

In this remarkable book, recounting his long, influential career as a congressman from New York, Stephen Solarz gives an insider's view of the life of a hard-working legislator in the forefront of democracy movements and human rights during a tumultuous time in our nation's history. A member of the class of 1974, the so-called "Watergate" class, when 75 freshman Democrats were elected to the Congress, Solarz was part of the group that brought about a power shift in the House from an inner circle of senior committee chairs to a much larger group of subcommittee leaders. Early on he sought and won a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he earned a reputation as an expert in international relations, traveling to more than 100 countries and meeting the likes of Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Saddam Hussein, Kim Il Sung, and Robert Mugabe. Solarz gives fascinating, detailed descriptions of his role in bringing democracy to South Korea and Taiwan, the triumph of people power in the Philippines, the peace agreement in Cambodia, the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and the adoption of the resolution authorizing the use of force in the first Gulf War.

Written in an engaging style, Journeys to War and Peace will appeal to all who value the struggle for human rights and seek a better understanding between differing cultures and peoples.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Advance Praise

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Title Page

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Dedications

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Contents

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pp. vi-vii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xiii

In 1986, as a Fulbright Fortieth Anniversary Scholar, I embarked on a lecture tour in Southeast Asia, including a stop in the Philippines. In Manila, I visited Malacanang Palace, the posh home of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos when they ran the country with an iron hand. After their overthrow ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully,” Samuel Johnson said. I can testify to the enduring truth of this observation. For several years after my involuntary departure from Congress in 1992, I thought about writing a ...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-26

Who can say for sure what factors determine someone’s destiny in life? My path to Congress was neither predictable nor easy. There were several contributing factors: a father with an intense interest in politics; a broken home that left me with wounded self-esteem; a group of friends and ...

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I. Congressional Travel: Boon or Boondoggle?

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pp. 27-35

How’s this for an understatement? Foreign travel by members of Congress doesn’t have a very good reputation. The media tend to portray such trips as junkets and boondoggles—essentially vacations at taxpayers’ expense by legislators more interested in sightseeing and shopping than in ...

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2. Crossing the Allenby Bridge: Israel, the Arabs, and the Peace Process

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pp. 36-57

When people asked me to describe my congressional district, I often responded that it was the most Jewish in the nation, with more Jews than Jerusalem. But I also pointed out how diverse its population was. I represented Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Reform Jews, ...

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3. A Jewish Agenda

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pp. 81-95

When people asked me to describe my congressional district, I often responded that it was the most Jewish in the nation, with more Jews than Jerusalem. But I also pointed out how diverse its population was. I represented Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Reform Jews, ...

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4 African Encounters: Liberation Struggles, Civil War, Corruption, and Tyranny

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pp. 73-97

My first significant involvement in shaping American foreign policy in Africa began in 1976, when I took my first trip to South Africa. By the time I stepped down as chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa in 1981, I had become deeply involved in several major issues on the continent: the struggle ...

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5. Indochina: Bringing Peace to Cambodia, Protecting Vietnamese “Boat People”

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pp. 98-111

In the 1980 congressional election, Lester Wolff, who had chaired the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, was defeated, putting me in position under the seniority system to claim his spot. I decided to take it, even though this meant relinquishing the chairmanship of the ...

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6. The Philippines: The Impossible Dream

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pp. 112-129

There are moments in life one never forgets. For me such a moment came in summer 1983, in the midst of a congressional trip to Asia. On a hot, humid Sunday afternoon, I was relaxing at the guest house of the American ambassador in Bangkok when I received a call from the us embassy ...

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7. Korea and Taiwan: The Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights

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pp. 130-143

The first time I traveled to Seoul, it was a far cry from the bustling, prosperous city it would become. In the summer of 1975, South Korea was still under martial law. A curfew required people to be off the streets by ...

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8. South Asia: The “Voice of India in Congress” and “the Lafayette of Pakistani Democracy”

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pp. 144-162

I made my first trip to South Asia in 1976, as part of a fact-finding mission looking at economic development in the Third World. The Foreign Affairs Committee was responsible for authorizing our annual foreign aid program, and I wanted to get a better sense of what worked and what ...

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9. Central America and Cuba: Revolutions Closer to Home

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pp. 163-173

I must confess that I paid little attention to Central America before 1981, when the Reagan administration came into office. During the 1970s, Central America was eclipsed by the main event of the Cold War, the us- Soviet struggle for global preeminence, as manifested during that decade ...

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10. Encounters in Europe: Turkey, Cyprus, and Poland

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pp. 177-191

While I spent much of my time and effort as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee dealing with challenges confronting us in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Central America, I also dealt at times with European issues. One such case involved the conflict between Turkey and ...

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11. The Gulf War: When Evil Is on the March, It Must Be Confronted

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pp. 192-206

In the summer of 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait, imperiously proclaiming it the nineteenth province of Iraq. This action set off alarm bells in Washington and other Western and Arab capitals, which feared the political and economic consequences. No one could be ...

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12 The Year of the Shlemazel

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pp. 230-241

One day, after I had been in Congress for a while, Nina asked how long I expected to remain in the House. I assured her I would only stay as long as Manny Celler did. Emanuel Celler, a distinguished and venerable congressman from Brooklyn, had served for forty-nine years, until he was ...

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Epilogue: Lessons Learned

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pp. 219-227

Each reader will no doubt take away a different set of lessons from this account of my experiences as a member of Congress. Following are those that have most impressed themselves on me. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 229-230

Hillary Clinton reminded us that it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t pretend to be an expert on child rearing, but I can say that it took a village to make this memoir possible. There was, first of all, Bob Greenberger, a former diplomatic correspondent ...

Index

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pp. 231-247


E-ISBN-13: 9781584659983
E-ISBN-10: 158465998X

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2011