Course Description



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American Foreign Policy

PSC 6346


Fall Semester 2014
Professor Hugh De Santis

globestrat@comcast.net



Course Description

This seminar course focuses on American foreign policy from 1945 to the present. It aims to foster a wide-ranging discussion on the formulation as well as implementation of American foreign policy in the major regions of the world. Its principal objectives are twofold: 1) to help you to think critically about American policy goals and the means to achieve them and 2) to encourage you to develop and defend your own views on the way America approaches the world.

The course will examine American foreign policy both chronologically and functionally. To provide a conceptual framework for the way Americans have historically responded to the world beyond its shores, the first two sessions will be devoted to the cultural foundations of American foreign policy and the evolution of the policy process. These introductory sessions will focus on the cultural and historical factors that have contributed to America’s foreign-policy style or orientation as well as the tools of statecraft – diplomacy, military strength, commercial power, intelligence, the propagation of public information – that enable states to advance their interests and national objectives. The influence of these factors on the policy process varies in response to international developments and domestic politics.

The next three sessions will examine the evolution of American foreign policy during and after the Cold War. They will address the militarization of American foreign policy during the era of rigid bipolarity from 1945 to 1973, détente and the reduction of superpower tensions in the period of loose bipolarity from 1973 to 1990, and the post-Cold War era of unipolarity versus multipolarity. They will be followed in meetings 7-11 by focussed discussions of contemporary American foreign relations with the major regions of the world: Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.

The regional discussions will also serve to reinforce the course’s pedagogical approach, which is to simulate the work of foreign-policy practitioners. Students will be divided into “foreign desks” and will be expected to offer weekly commentary on developments in their particular region on the basis of their reading of the foreign and American press (e.g. New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Economist, and foreign-language publications). In weeks 12-13 students will present briefings on their regions. The briefings will assess the effect of regional developments on American interests and offer foreign policy recommendations to senior officials in the US government. The concluding seminar will explore the transformation of the international political system and the future of American power in the twenty-first century. Reading the assigned book earlier in the course will help to provide an intellectual framework for the discussion of American foreign policy in the twenty-first century.

The course will be a seminar in the formulation and conduct of foreign policy, which will permit you to explore your own policy ideas as well as critique current and past initiatives. This will require everyone to stay current with the reading, just as you would be obliged to do if you were a practitioner, and to be an active participant in the discussions. You will be expected to have read the required readings prior to class. This approach is intended to sharpen your verbal and cognitive skills, especially the ability to advance and defend your position in a clear and logical manner. The seminar approach also aims to inculcate the value of working in groups, including the importance of achieving a consensus without sacrificing the core elements of one’s position.

In addition to being prepared for the weekly discussions and student briefings, including probably one outside presentation by a regional expert, students will be required to take an in-class exam and write a 15-page research paper on any topic generated by the readings, class discussions, or the regional concentration. The exam, which will take place during the first hour of class in Week 6, will entail the preparation of a brief essay on one of three questions. Blue books will be provided. The research paper must be double-spaced, clearly written, and logically argued. It should include primary sources and be properly footnoted. Reliance on Wikipedia and other web-based shortcuts is not acceptable scholarship for graduate students and should therefore be scrupulously avoided. The papers may be turned in any time but not later than November 25.

Course Goals

Improve critical thinking

Develop the ability to think conceptually

Broaden one’s understanding of the complexity of the world

Broaden one’s understanding of America’s global interests

Strengthen the ability to assert and defend a position

Work constructively and harmoniously in groups

Learning Outcomes

Increased ability to analyze and interpret conflicting data

Increased ability to aggregate data into concepts and strategic frameworks

Increased ability to formulate sound hypotheses and make predictive judgments

Increased ability to evaluate domestic and foreign obstacles to foreign policy

Increased ability to understand the foreign policy bureaucracy

Increased ability to work collaboratively in competitive problem-solving situations

Grade Computation

The course grade will be a composite of class participation (30 percent), the mid-term exam (20 percent), the regional briefings (20 percent), and the research paper (30 percent). Class participation will be evaluated on the basis of your substantive contribution to the discussion. Clarity of expression, imagination, and willingness to challenge conventional thinking will be especially highly valued. This applies as well to the regional briefings, which should also be crisply presented, demonstrate a good understanding of the subject matter, and offer clearly defined policy options. As for the research papers, those that are well-written, convey a solid understanding of the subject matter, and reflect analytical incisiveness and insight will merit an A. Papers and presentations that demonstrate a general understanding of the subject matter and that are clearly written and cogently argued will receive some variant of a B.

If you miss a class, you will be expected to complete the readings for the class you missed and to be prepared to offer commentary on them the following week. The point here is to be sure that you understand the readings and for others in the class to benefit from your assessment of them. Because we all learn from each other, you have an obligation to your classmates as well as to yourself.

University Policies

Like you, I am bound to honor the university’s policies with respect to academic integrity and decorum. Academic dishonesty is inexcusable under any circumstance and will not be tolerated. If students intend to be absent for reasons of religious observance beyond the scheduled spring break, they should notify me during the first week of class to ensure that they stay abreast of course requirements. There will be no individual make-up classes. Students are also kindly requested to refrain from cell phone use and texting during class.



Calendar and Reading List

Week 1: The Culture of American Foreign Policy

Required Readings

•Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Knopf, 2001), Chapters 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 (on reserve).

Week 2: The Policy Process

•Eugene R. Wittkopf, Christopher M. Jones, and Charles W. Kegley, eds., American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008), pp. 265-75 (public opinion), 301-15 (media), 445-80 (bureaucracy), 403-33 (president and Congress) (on reserve).

•Morton Halperin, Priscilla Clapp, and Arnold Kanter, Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy, 2d edition (Brookings Institution, 2006), Chapters 3-4, 10, 12, and 16 (on reserve).

Suggested Reading: The Federalist Papers, Numbers 23-24, 41, 75-77.

Week 3: Containment and Confrontation, 1945-73

•Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-2000, 9th ed. (McGraw Hil, 2002), Chapters 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 (on reserve).

Suggested Reading:

Alexander L. George and Richard Smoke, Deterrence in American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice (Columbia, 1974), pp. 295-446 (Hungarian Revolution, Eisenhower Doctrine, Quemoy-Matsu, and second Berlin crisis).



Week 4: Détente, Defense, and Dialogue, 1973-90

Robert E. Hunter, “Will the US Remain a European Power?” Survival (May-June 1988), pp. 210-31.

Robert A. Pastor, “Preempting Revolutions: The Boundaries of US Influence,” International Security, Spring 1991 (15:4), pp. 54-86.

Jeffrey Kemp, “The Gulf Crisis: Diplomacy or Force?” Survival, (November-December 1990), pp. 507-18.

•Max Guderno and Bruna Bagnato, The Globalization of the Cold War: Diplomacy and Local Confrontation, 1975-85, Chapters 1, 5, and 7 (LA, Africa, Iran-Iraq) (on reserve).

C. Fred Bergsten, “What to Do about the US-Japan Economic Conflict,” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1982 (60:5), pp. 1059-1075.

Suggested Reading:

Hugh De Santis, After INF: The Political-Military Landscape of Europe, Washington Quarterly (11:3), Summer 1988, pp. 29-44.

Maynard W. Glitman, The Last Battle of the Cold War: An Insider Account of Negotiating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

I.M. Destler, American Trade Politics, 4th ed. (Institute for International Economics, 2005).



Week 5: Multipolarity and the Unipolar Actor

Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993 (72:3), pp. 22-49.

Kishore Mahbubani, “The Impending Demise of the Postwar System,” Survival, Winter 2005-6, pp. 7-18.

Hugh De Santis, “The Graying of NATO,” Washington Quarterly, Autumn 1991 (14:4), pp. 51-65.

Philip H. Gordon, “Recasting the Atlantic Alliance,” Survival, Spring 1996, pp. 32-57.

Richard K. Hermann, “The Middle East and the New World Order: Rethinking United States Political Strategy after the Gulf War,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1991, 16:2, pp. 42-75.

●John E. Rielly, “Public Opinion: The Pulse of the 1990s,” in Charles Kegley, Jr. and Eugene R. Wittkopf, eds., The Future of American Foreign Policy (St. Martin’s 1992), pp. 124-32.

●I. M. Destler and Michael Nacht, “Beyond Mutual Recrimination: Building a Solid US-Japan Relationship in the 1990s,” in Kegley and Wittkopf.

Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang, “The Debate over North Korea,” Political Science Quarterly (119:2), Summer 2004, pp. 229-54.

Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama, “The Post-Washington Consensus,” Foreign Affairs (90:2), March-April 2011, pp. 45-53.

Suggested Reading:

Joseph Nye, “US Power and Strategy after Iraq,” Foreign Affairs (82:4), July-August 2003, pp. 60-73.



Week 6: In-Class Exam/Discussion of Iraq-Afghanistan Wars

Natalie Jomini Stroud and Bartholomew Sparrow, “Assessing Public Opinion after 9/11 and before the Iraq War,” International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 2011 (23:2), pp. 148-68.

Gilles Andreani, “The War on Terror: Good Cause, Wrong Concept,” Survival, Winter 2004, pp. 31-50.

Week 7: Europe and Russia

Martin Feldstein, “Failure of the Euro: The Little Currency that Couldn’t,” Foreign Affairs (91:1), January-February 2012, pp. 105-16.

Robert Skidelsky, “After the Crash: The Future of Globalization,” Survival (54:3), June-July 2012, pp. 7-28.

Thomas Wright, “What If Europe Fails?” Washington Quarterly (35:3), Summer 2012, PP. 23-41.

David Calleo, “Europe and America in a New Century,” Survival (55:5), October-November 2013, pp. 211-24.

Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman, “Why Moscow Says No,” Foreign Affairs (90:1), January-February 2012, pp. 122-38.

Neil MacFarlane and Anand Menon, “The EU and Ukraine,” Survival (56:3), June-July 2014, pp. 95-101.

Week 8: China, Japan, and the Asianization of Asia

Eric Heginbotham, Ely Ratner, and Richard J. Samuels, “Tokyo’s Transformation: How Japan Is Changing – and What it Means for the United States,” Foreign Affairs (90:5), September-October 2011, pp. 138-48.

Gerald L. Curtis, “Japan’s Cautious Hawks: Why Tokyo Is Unlikely to Pursue an Aggressive Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs (92:2), March-April 2013, pp. 77-86.

Wang Jisi, “China’s Search for a Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs (90:2), March-April 2011, pp. 68-79.

Ashley J. Tellis, “Balancing without Containment: A U.S. Strategy for Confronting China’s Rise,” Washington Quarterly (36:4), Fall 2013, pp. 109-24.

Minxin Pei, “How China and America See Each Other,” Foreign Affairs (93:2), March-April 2014, pp. 143-47.

Jusuf Wanandi, “ASEAN’s China Strategy: Towards Deeper Engagement,” Survival, Autumn 1996, pp. 117-25.

Marvin Ott, “Deep Danger: Competing Claims in the South China Sea,” Journal of Current History, September 2011, pp. 236-41.

Hugh De Santis, “The China Threat and the Pivot to Asia,” Journal of Current History, September 2012, pp. 219-26.

Kevin Rudd, “Beyond the Pivot: A New Road Map for US-China Relations,” Foreign Affairs (92:2), pp. 9-15.

Manjari Chatterjee Miller, “India’s Feeble Foreign Policy: A Would-be Great Power Resists its Own Rise,” Foreign Affairs (92:3), May-June 2013, pp. 14-19.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “How India Stumbled: Can New Delhi Get Its Groove Back?” Foreign Affairs, July-August 2012 (91:4), pp. 64-75.

George J. Gilboy and Eric Heginbotham, “Double Trouble: A Realist View of Chinese and Indian Power,” Washington Quarterly (36:3), Summer 2013, pp. 125-42.

Suggested Reading:

“India: In Search of a Dream,” The Economist, September 29, 2012, pp. 1-14.

Week 9: The Middle East Muddle

Michael Oren, “The Ultimate Ally,” Foreign Policy, May-June 2011, pp. 44-51.

Ronald R. Krebs, “Israel’s Bunker Mentality,” Foreign Affairs (90:6), November-December 2011, pp. 10-18.

Daniel Byman, “Israel’s Pessimistic View of the Arab Spring,” Washington Quarterly (34:3), Summer 2011, pp. 123-36.

Robert Malley and Peter Harling, “Beyond Moderates and Militants: How Obama Can Chart a New Course in the Middle East,” Foreign Affairs (89:5), September-October 2010, pp. 18-29.

Shadi Hamid, “The Rise of the Islamists,” Foreign Affairs (90:3), May-June 2011, pp. 40-47.

Fouad Ajami, “The Arab Spring at One,” Foreign Affairs (91:2), March-April 2012, pp. 56-65.

Colin H. Kahl and Marc Lynch, “U.S. Strategy after the Arab Uprisings: Toward Progressive Engagement,” Washington Quarterly (36:2), Spring 2013, pp. 39-60.

Andrew J. Tabler, “Syria’s Collapse: and How Washington Can Stop it,” Foreign Affairs (92:3), May-June 2013, pp. 90-100.

Omar Taspinar, “The End of the Turkish Model,” Survival (56:2), April-May 2014, pp. 49-63.

Robert Jervis, “Getting to Yes with Iran: The Challenges of
Coercive Diplomacy,” Foreign Affairs (92:1), January-February 2013, pp. 105-15.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, “What Iran Really Wants: Iranian Foreign Policy in the Rouhani Era,” Foreign Affairs (93:3), May-June 2014, pp. 49-59.



Week 10: From Iran-Contra to the Liberalization of Latin America

•Robert A. Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool: US Policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean (Westview, 2001), Chapters 3-6, 8, 10, 11, 14.

Kenneth Roberts, “Bullying and Bargaining,” International Security (15:2), Fall 1990, pp. 67-102.

●Howard Wiarda, “American Foreign Policy toward Latin America in the Post-Cold War Era: a Case of Benign Neglect,” in Jurgen Ruland, Theodor Hanf, and Eva Manske, eds., US Foreign Policy toward the Third World: a Post-Cold War Assessment (M. E. Sharpe, 2006)

Abraham F. Lowenthal, “Obama and the Americas: Promise, Disappointment, Opportunity,” Foreign Affairs (89:4), July-August 2010, pp. 110-24.

Christopher Sabatini, “Rethinking Latin America: Foreign Policy Is More than Development,” Foreign Affairs (91:2), March-April 2012, pp. 8-13.

“Cuba Hurtles toward Capitalism,” The Economist, March 24, 2012, pp. 1-10.

Julia Sweig and Michael J. Bustamente, “Cuba after Communism: The Economic Reforms that Are Transforming the Island,” Foreign Affairs, May-June 2013 (92:3), pp. 101-14.

Shannon K. O’Neil, “Mexico Makes It: A Transformed Society,” Foreign Affairs (92:2), March-April 2013, pp. 52-63.

“Grounded: Special Report on Brazil,” The Economist, September 28, 2013, pp. 1-16.



Week 11: The Forgotten Continent: Post-CW Africa

•Herman J. Cohen, Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacemaking in a Troubled Continent (St. Martin’s 2000), Chapter 2, 4, 6, 8, 9.

•Raymond W. Copson, The United States in Africa: Bush Policy and Beyond (Zed Publishing, 2007), Chapters 2, 5, and 7.

Bruce Gilley, “The End of the African Renaissance,” Washington Quarterly (33:4), October 2010, pp. 87-101.

“Cry, The Beloved Country,” The Economist, October 20, 2012, pp. 22-24.

Shantayanan Devarajan and Wolfgang Fengler, Africa’s Economic Boom: Why the Pessimists and Optimists Are both Right,” Foreign Affairs (92:3), May-June 2013, pp. 68-81.



Week 12: Student Briefings on Europe, Russia, and Asia

Week 13: Student Briefings on Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa

Week 14: American Foreign Policy in a Multipolar World

G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton, 2011). Required Purchase.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Balancing the East, Upgrading the West,” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2012 (91:1), pp. 97-104.

Bruce W. Jentleson, “Strategic Recalibration: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy,” Washington Quarterly (37:1), Winter 2014, pp. 115-36.

“Time to Cheer Up: America’s Foreign Policy,” The Economist, November 23, 2013, pp. 3-16.

Gideon Rachman, “This Time It’s for Real: American Decline,” Foreign Policy, January-February 2011, pp. 59-63.

“The Gated Globe: Special Report on the World Economy” The Economist, October 12, 2013, pp. 3-20.

Raghuram Rajan, “The True Lessons of the Recession: The West Can’t Borrow and Spend its Way to Recovery,” Foreign Affairs (91:3), May-June 2012, pp. 69-79.

Arvind Subramanian, “The Inevitable Superpower: Why China’s Dominance Is a Sure Thing,” Foreign Affairs (90:5), September-October 2011, pp. 66-78.

Yu Lin and Dingding Chen, “Why China Will Democratize,” Washington Quarterly (35:1), Winter 2012, pp. 41-63.

Suggested Readings:

●Henry A. Kissinger, Does America Need a Foreign Policy: towards a Diplomacy for the Twenty-first Century (Simon Schuster, 2000), Conclusion.





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