Michael Haas (political scientist)
|Born||1938 (age 78–79)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||Stanford University
Michael Haas (born 1938, Detroit, Michigan) is an American political Scientist.
Early life and time in Los Angeles
Michael Haas was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1938, where he attended Stellwagen Elementary School and Jackson Intermediate. Adopted at birth, his adoptive mother had been an elementary schoolteacher, and his adoptive father was a journalist who earlier had been threatened by the Ku Klux Klan because he wrote an editorial condemning their terrorist acts against Mexican Americans in Orange County, California. (His adoptive mother’s sister had married a Californio, that is, a descendent of a pre-statehood Californian whose Spanish ancestry predated Mexico’s independence from Spain.) While in Detroit, Michael Haas observed one of the effects of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “hire now, train later” affirmative action during World War II, namely, blacks hired anew in the cafeteria of the General Motors Building in downtown Detroit, across the street from the Fisher Building, where his father worked at radio station WJR.
In 1950, he moved with his adoptive parents to Los Angeles, where his father became program director of radio station KMPC. He attended Le Conte Middle School and graduated from Hollywood High School in 1956. The 1950s were the dark days in which perceived left-wing members of the film industry were blacklisted, and several of his classmates were directly affected because their parents were fired or investigated. As a result, he joined the American Civil Liberties Union in college.
Under the direction of his thesis adviser, Robert C. North, his Ph.D. dissertation, Some Societal Correlates of International Political Behavior, was among the very first in political science to use a computer to calculate correlations. His doctoral thesis developed a “mass society” theory that aggressive warfare occurs in societies wherein there is a breakdown of civil society. International Conflict (1974) was a major multivariate quantitative effort that went beyond his dissertation by finding correlates of decision-making conditions, societal asymmetries, and global structures with the probability of war.
During his last year of work on his doctoral degree, he taught temporarily at San Jose State University from 1963 to 1964. He then accepted a permanent position at the University of Hawai`i’s main campus in Manoa Valley, Honolulu, where he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor from 1964 to 1971 and remained until 1998.
While on the faculty in Honolulu, he also held temporary positions at Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of California (Riverside), San Francisco State University, the University of the Philippines, and the University of London. During the time he was at Northwestern, he was witness to the crackdown of protesters at the Democratic Convention in 1968. He observed the Poll Tax Riots of 1990, the largest in Britain during the twentieth century, while teaching in London.
His research appointments include a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) consultancy at the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok during 1971 and a Fulbright Research Fellowship at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies on the University of Singapore campus in 1987.
In 1986, to give some recognition to directors who bravely raise political consciousness through outstanding feature films, he founded the Political Film Society (www.polfilms.com), which reviews political films and gives awards to directors and films that raise political consciousness each year. He is now President of the Society, which has offered conference papers on the politics in film for many years. Accordingly, Haas edited Hollywood Raises Political Consciousness: Political Messages in Films (2014). Later, he produced and directed a program that reviewed films for KCLA, an FM and Internet radio station.
The University of Hawai`i’s Department of Political Science has one of the largest graduate programs in the country, attracting brilliant students from Asia who have returned to their homelands to establish themselves as foremost political scientists. Haas advised several. There were so many from Korea that they are known there among political scientists as the “Hawai`i Mafia,” to whom he dedicated the book Korean Unification: Alternative Pathways (1989).
One of his students, Kao Kim Hourn, founded and is president of the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. He asked Haas to chair the university’s International Advisory Committee, in which capacity Haas has ever since conferred several honorary doctorates.
In 1998, he opted for early retirement and returned to Los Angeles. During the next decade, he held temporary positions at Loyola Marymount University, California State University, Fullerton, California State University, Los Angeles, California Polytechnic University (Pomona), Rio Hondo College, College of the Canyons, and Occidental College. In December 2008, he resigned from his latest teaching position to complete George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Liability of the Bush Administration for 269 War Crimes (2009).
Production of Books to Match the Times
Among more than fifty books that he has written over the years, the earliest were edited collections of original essays focusing on basic questions in the field of political science—Approaches to the Study of Political Science (1970) and International Systems: A Behavioral Approach (1974). He also compiled several reference books—International Organization: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (1971) and Basic Documents of Asian Regional Organizations, nine volumes that were published over the years 1974-1985.
Some of his publications have been more topical, including four books on Hawai`i—Politics and Prejudice in Contemporary Hawai`i (1976), Institutional Racism: The Case of Hawai`i (1992), Multicultural Hawai`i: The Fabric of a Multiethnic Society (1998), Looking for the Aloha Spirit: Promoting Ethnic Harmony(2010), How to Demolish Racism: Lessons from the State of Hawai`i (2016), and Racial Harmony Is Achievable: Lessons from the Kingdom of Hawai`i (2017).
Inspiration for the books on Hawai`i was the discrimination practiced in the 1960s by Japanese administrators of Hawai`i State Government against Filipinos, Native Hawaiians, and even Caucasians. Accordingly, Haas formed the Foundation for Race/Sex Equality and the Spirit of Hawaiian Aloha (FRESHA) and filed several third-party civil rights complaints on behalf of aggrieved persons. As a result of his complaints, Hawai`i State Government was required to have an affirmative action plan, to restructure the Department of Health and the welfare program, and for ten years the statewide Hawai`i Department of Education was under scrutiny in moving from defiant civil rights noncompliance toward Filipinos to a program of bilingual education run by Filipino professionals. For a time, the Honolulu chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked Haas to chair its Education Committee.
What the books on Hawai`i demonstrate is how problems of discrimination were identified and handled within the multicultural ethic that pervades the diverse Aloha State since statehood. The cultural and political contexts described in his books define the main social influences on Barack Obama during most of the first eighteen years of his life. Accordingly, a book, with a Foreword by Michael Dukakis, is Barack Obama, The Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles (2011). A follow-up book is Mr. Calm and Effective: Evaluating the Presidency of Barack Obama (2012).
Several of his books have been on Asia and the Pacific. Korean Unification: Alternative Pathways (1989) contains essays by several distinguished scholars that proposed a change in policy from confrontation to cooperation between North and South Koreas, and indeed the two Korean governments later adopted many suggestions in the book. The book was updated in a second edition during 2012. The book was updated in a second edition, published in 2014.
About one hundred regional intergovernmental organizations are described in The Pacific Way: Regional Cooperation in the South Pacific (1989) and The Asian Way to Peace: A Story of Regional Cooperation (1989). Materials for the latter book were obtained during extensive trips to Asia, the first of which was supported by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and UNITAR. To prove that regional cooperation increased the capacity for peacebuilding during the previous quarter century in both regions, he undertook an extensive analysis in Asian and Pacific Regional Cooperation: Turning Zones of Conflict into Arenas of Peace (2013), using operation code analysis, comparative international organization analysis, diplomatic history, comparative conflict resolution analysis, and a multivariate test of theories of Karl Deutsch and others.
While in Singapore on a research Fulbright grant during 1987, young Catholic social workers were arrested on trumped-up charges of being “Marxists,” a spectacle that was played out on government-controlled television, prompting him later to edit The Singapore Puzzle (1999). The truth in the book, which contains chapters written by Haas and by several scholars who had been mistreated in the island republic, so annoyed the Singapore government that its sale was banned in that country. The book is now in a second edition, completed in 2014.
In 1988, after visiting Indochina, principally Vietnam, he received a U.S. Institute of Peace grant. He then wrote two books—Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States: The Faustian Pact (1991) and Genocide by Proxy: Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard (1991), arguing for an end to American covert support for the Khmer Rouge’s ambition to regain power in Cambodia and for a détente between the United States and Indochinese countries. Both objectives eventually came to pass, and peace finally arrived in Cambodia in 1991. To describe the lengthy peace process, he wrote Modern Cambodia's Emergence from the Killing Fields: What Happened in the Critical Years? (2011).
Haas’s major theoretical contribution to political science is first found in Polity and Society: Philosophical Underpinnings of Social Science Paradigms (1992). The book contrasts varying metatheoretical paradigms applied to the study of economic and political development, community power structure, presidential and ethnic voting patterns, civil strife, international violence, and efforts to build international community. The book was one of the first political science expositions to identify basic metaphilosophical concepts.
Having experienced the beginning of the behavioralist movement and its decline, he undertook a book to explain his approach to political science--linking theory with research while mindful of policy relevance, thus developing the concept of a "neobehavioral" political science. Neobehavioral Political Science: A Profession's Fascinating History, Subfields, Paradigms, Research Agendas, Policy Applications, and Future (2014) is a kind of "magnum opus" that covers all the parameters of political science and has essays involving political anthropology, political economy, and political sociology. Using a sociology-of-knowledge approach, he applied the same perspective to the study of international affairs in International Relations Theory: Competing Empirical Paradigms (2016) and to political sicnece in Political Science Revitalized: Filling the Jigsaw Puzzle with Metatheory (2017). .
An example of his advancement of neobehavioral political science is his book Deconstructing the "Democratic Peace": How a Research Agenda Boomeranged (2014), in which he exposes faulty research behind the unproved notion that democracies never fight each other, a so-called empirical finding that was cited by President George W. Bush to justify going to war in Iraq in 2003. What went wrong, he points out, was that political scientists eager to discover correlations developed inept research designs, never grounded their research in democratic theory (or any other paradigm), and preferred to ignore the serious policy implications of their findings, which were twisted by decision makers eager to launch war.
In the past decades, he has focused on international human rights. His Improving Human Rights (1994) found statistical patterns that suggested an optimal way in which foreign aid can best advance human rights-—by enabling countries to develop more diverse communication systems. Haas’s International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction (2008) is the first complete textbook on the subject, covering all the parameters of the field; an upgraded second edition was published in 2014.
While researching the chapter on war crimes for the latter book, he realized that daily events reported from Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and Iraq matched the description of prohibited conduct in the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, the United Nations Charter, and many related international treaties that form the basis for civilized international behavior that has been promoted for 150 years by most American presidents. He then decided to link the legal texts with reports of various occurrences in his George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Liability of the Bush Administration for 269 War Crimes (2009), which has a foreword written by Benjamin Ferencz, former prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. His America's War Crimes Quagmire: From Bush to Obama (2010) followed up some of the themes in the book.
When not working on the computer to write articles, blogs, books, and letters to the editor, he enjoys filmgoing, gardening, karaoke, telling jokes, and many other diversions. In addition to membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, he belongs to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Progressive Democrats of America, the Stonewall Democratic Club, and various academic professional organizations, including a life membership in the International Studies Association. He was elected to the California Senior Legislature in 2010, proposed legislation relating to rights of seniors, and retired in 2014 after one term in office to continue to write topical books.
In 2009, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Now living the Hollywood Hills, Michael Haas has devoted his life to advancing the goal of greater respect for human rights along with the establishment of a more peaceful world. His work continues.
- Approaches to the Study of Political Science (1970)
- International Organization: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (1971)
- International Systems: A Behavioral Approach (1974)
- Basic Documents of Asian Regional Organizations (1974), vols. 1-4
- International Conflict (1974)
- Politics and Prejudice in Contemporary Hawaii (1976)
- Basic Documents of Asian Regional Organizations (1979), vols. 5-7
- Fundamentals of Asian Regional Cooperation (1980)
- Basic Data of Asian Regional Organizations (1985)
- Korean Reunification: Alternative Pathways (1989)
- The Pacific Way: Regional Cooperation in the South Pacific (1989)
- The Asian Way to Peace: A Story of Regional Cooperation (1989)
- Cambodia, Pol Pot, and the United States: The Faustian Pact (1991)
- Genocide by Proxy: Cambodian Pawn on a Superpower Chessboard (1991)
- Polity and Society: Philosophical Underpinnings of Social Science Paradigms (1992)
- Institutional Racism: The Case of Hawai`i (1992)
- Improving Human Rights (1994)
- Deconstructing International Relations Theory (1997)
- Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism (1997)
- The Political Film Today (1998)
- Multicultural Hawai`i: The Fabric of a Multiethnic Society (1998)
- International Human Rights (1999)
- The Singapore Puzzle (1999)
- American Government in Turmoil (2000)
- Discrimination, American Style (2000)
- The Politics of Human Rights (2000)
- Comparing Governments and Global Policies (2001)
- Discrimination and Public Policy (2001)
- Human Rights Imperiled (2001)
- Choices: An American Government Reader (2001)
- International Relations: Arena of Terror (2002)
- International Human Rights in Jeopardy (2004)
- International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction (2008)
- George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration's Liability for 269 War Crimes (2009)
- America's War Crimes Quagmire: From Bush to Obama (2010)
- Looking for the Aloha Spirit: Promoting Ethnic Harmony (2010)
- Barack Obama, The Aloha Zen President: How a Son of the 50th State May Revitalize America Based on 12 Multicultural Principles (2011)
- Modern Cambodia's Emergence from the Killing Fields: What Happened in the Critical Years? (2011)
- Mr. Quiet and Effective: Evaluating the Presidency of Barack Obama (2012)
- Korean Reunification: Alternative Pathways, 2nd edn. (2012)
- Asian and Pacific Regional Cooperation: Turning Zones of Conflict into Arenas of Peace (2013)
- International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd edn. (2014)
- Deconstructing the "Democratic Peace": How a Research Agenda Boomeranged" (2014)
- The Singapore Puzzle, 2nd edn. (2014)
- Hollywood Raises Political Consciousness: Political Messages in Feature Films (2014)
- How to Demolish Racism: Lessons from the State of Hawai`i (2016)
- International Relations Theory: Competing Empirical Paradigms (2016)
- Racial Harmony Is Achievable: Lessons from the Kingdom of Hawai`i (2017)