POLS 382/POLS 495: U.S. FOREIGN POLICY MAKING
Section CE1 (Naperville)
Northern Illinois University
Campus Office: ZU 315
Class Meetings: TH 6:30-9:15 PM
Classroom: NIU-Naperville Center
On-Campus Office Hours: Thursday 1:00-4:00 PM or by appointment
Off-Campus Office Hours: By appointment before or after class.
This survey course in U.S. foreign policy making has four basic objectives. The first goal is to provide a solid introduction to the actors, interests, and politics that shape the formulation, implementation, and oversight of American foreign policy. After an overview of the domestic and global contexts of foreign policy-making, including the impact of September 11, 2001, several class meetings will focus on specific players within the U.S. foreign policy process: the president, National Security Council, State Department, Defense Department, intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, nontraditional actors, interest groups, news media, and the public. In each instance, we will explore the actorís role, interests, and capacity to influence the direction of contemporary foreign policy. One class session will also examine interagency processes.
The second objective of the course is to understand how these actors interact to make U.S. foreign policy across a range of issue areas. During one class period we will examine interagency processes. Several other sessions will be devoted to analyzing case studies of recent foreign policy decisions. These cases will illustrate the political and human dimensions of foreign policy making and in doing so provide an opportunity to explore the real world of American foreign policy. Through these critical thinking exercises, we will also uncover the many different decision-making processes that produce foreign policy outcomes. The case studies will also advance the courseís third aim, which is to gain some appreciation of the substantive issues and challenges confronting present-day policy-makers. Some of the subjects to be discussed include terrorism, trade, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, human rights, and weapons procurement.
Through lectures, discussions and case analyses, the fourth and final goal is to consider who truly makes American foreign policy. Scholars of U.S. foreign relations have long debated the relative influence of various governmental and nongovernmental actors. Some individuals contend the president primarily shapes foreign policy. Other observers argue the chief executive is just one of a number of important players. Which perspective is more accurate today? Is there one correct explanation or does the answer change with particular issues or circumstances? We will consider these questions throughout the semester, giving particular attention to the "paradox of presidential power," and attempt to reach some conclusions during the final week.
PREREQUISITE AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This is a fairly challenging 300-level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a serious interest in foreign policy and international relations. Students should hold a junior or senior class standing. This is a prerequisite. It is strongly recommended POLS 181, POLS 285, or an introductory international relations course at another institution before enrolling in this course. Completion of POLS 100 or an introductory American government course would also be very helpful. Non-majors and POLS majors who have not completed this coursework are welcome, but should considered themselves warned about these recommendations.
Good foreign policy students keep up with current events. Staying informed allows you to make better sense of the instructor's examples and other students' comments. It will also help draw linkages between the course material and the "real world." Last, news articles will equip you with examples that you may wish to use on the examinations to highlight class concepts. The two best sources for developments related to the substance and process of U.S. foreign policy-making are the following.
- New York Times (Click on "Nation," "International" and "Washington")
- Washington Post (Click on
http://www.washingtonpost.com (Click on "Nation," "World" and "Politics." Under "Nation" also click on "National Security" for links to articles on intelligence, the military, etc.)
The portions of class meetings devoted to a specific foreign policy actor will have a lecture component. However, students are always welcome and encouraged to interrupt me to ask questions or make comments about the material. Also members of the class should be prepared to answer the many questions that I will regularly pose concerning a particular dayís material, a past class, or the assigned readings (which are to be completed before class). Thoughtful participation will be rewarded.
For the portions of class meetings devoted to the analysis of case studies, everyoneís active and thoughtful participation is absolutely essential and expected. During these sessions I will guide the discussion and highlight key points and concepts, but the vast majority of our time will be spent discussing and dissecting American foreign policy as a group. Much of the class participation grade (discussed below) will be dependent on studentsí performance during these sessions.
To ensure the quality of these class periods, everyone is expected to do three things. First, a copy of the assigned case study should be brought to class. Second, the assigned case study should be read carefully before class. Third, the "Before You Begin" questions that accompany each case study should be used as a reading guide.
Two required textbooks are available for purchase at the university bookstore. I have made a conscious effort to keep the material as affordable and update-to-date as possible. Therefore, the books are recently published paperback editions. To be successful in this course, I strongly encourage students to have personal copies of each of the following books:
For those students faced with limited budgets, I have placed one copy of each book on two-hour reserve in the library. Please return these materials in a timely fashion so that everyone is guaranteed reasonable access.
The first requirement is written examinations. The midterm exam is scheduled for Thursday, October 21 and will be worth 25 percent of the course grade. The final exam will be administered on Thursday, December 9 and be worth 30 percent of the final course grade. Both examinations must be completed to pass the course. Each test will be composed of a variety of written response short answer questions. Prior to each exam, I will outline the specific exam format, discuss grading standards, and distribute a study guide.
The second course requirement is participation. Components of this grade include (a) regular and thoughtful participation in class lectures and discussions, (b) regular attendance (no more than three absences), and (c) regular and thoughtful engagement in case study exercises or any group work. Failure to fulfill any one these expectations satisfactorily or any additional assignment will significantly reduce the participation grade, which is worth 20 percent of the final course grade.
In general, relevant in-class participation (a and c) will be evaluated according to the following scale (with plus and minus grades being possible):
A = regular and thoughtful participation
B = occasional and thoughtful participation
C = regular attendance, but little or no participation
D = less than regular attendance
F = little or no attendance
Attendance is generally taken each class session. At the end of the semester, the total number of class meetings is divided into the number of times a student was present. The resulting percentage is then converted to a letter grade. Missing class no more than one time will result in an "A" for this portion of the participation grade. Please note that a half letter grade deduction will be taken from the overall course participation grade (not just the attendance grade) for each class missed after the third absence.
The third course requirement are short quizzes on all case study days. These relatively easy five-question quizzes are designed to test one's basic understanding of the assigned case study's content to ensure that the class has completed the reading and is fully prepared to discuss and analyze it. The expectation is that every member of the class will have at least a C- quiz average (70 percent) by the end of the semester. There will be a half letter deduction in the final course grade for quiz averages in the 60-69 percent range and a full letter deduction for quiz averages in the 0-59 percent range. No make up quizzes will be administered.
The fourth course requirement is an eight-page research paper that examines the role and relative influence of an actor within the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. Unlike the exams, one is not required to complete the paper to pass the course, but failure to submit it will result in a grade of zero percent. To complete this assignment, which is due Thursday, December 2 at 6:30 p.m. and is worth 25 percent of the final course grade, POLS 382 students should follow the detailed directions provided within this syllabus (see below) and on the first day of class.
Students registered in the POLS 495 section for graduate credit will complete a paper of 20-25 pages in length. Like the POLS 382 paper, the paper can examine the role and relative influence of an actor within the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. Alternatively, the paper can be written consistent with one of the paper options listed in the instructor's POLS 585: American Foreign Policy-Making syllabus, which is posted on the Political Science Department's web page. Regardless of which direction is taken, the final submission should be of high quality and consistent with the type and style of work that is expected in a graduate level course. Again, the POLS 585 syllabus provides a good source of these expectations.
The midterm examination, final examination, and quizzes will be scored on a 0 to 100 percent scale and assigned a corresponding letter grade (with plus and minus designations included when appropriate). For the research papers and participation, letter grades will be awarded. In computing the final course grade, these two components will count as follows: A = 95, A- = 91, B+ = 88, B = 85, B- = 81, C+ = 78, C = 75, C- = 71, D+ = 68, D = 65, D- = 61, and F = 0.
SUMMARY OF GRADED REQUIREMENTS
Midterm Examination = 25 percent
Final Examination = 30 percent
Participation = 20 percent
Research Paper = 25 percent
COURSE POLICIES AND LOOSE ENDS
1. Makeup Exams: Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances arise, please contact the instructor as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for makeup exams with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a course grade of "F" as opposed to an incomplete.
2. Students with Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.
3. Late Assignments: An assignment submitted after the due date will be penalized by a deduction of ten points or one letter grade per day. Since students will have had several weeks to complete their work, this standard will be waived only in extraordinary circumstances.
4. Submitting Written Work: Assignments should be handed-in to me personally or given to a department secretary to be time-stamped. Assignments placed under my office door or sent with a friend tend to disappear at times. If a student selects one of these modes of delivery, he or she does so at their own risk.
5. Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grades. Like makeup exams, such projects raise serious questions of equity. If such a project is made available, every member of the class will be given the opportunity to complete it.
6. Handouts: Handouts are a privilege for those students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because they are registered for the course.
7. Classroom Etiquette: Students are to arrive at class on time. Two tardy arrivals are equivalent to one class absence. Cell phones, pagers, or any electronic devices that make noise must be turned off during class unless the instructor has been notified beforehand of a special circumstance (e.g., sick family member, pregnant wife, special childcare situation, etc.). No one should talk while someone else is talking; this includes comments meant for a classmate rather than the entire group. What may seem like a whisper or a harmless remark to one person can be a distraction to someone else, particularly in a small room. Overall, classroom dialogue and behavior should always be courteous, respectful of others, and consistent with the expectations set forth by the university.
8. Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to the instructorís discretion.
9. Academic Dishonesty: Regarding plagiarism, the NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: "students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university." The above statement encompasses the purchase or use of papers that were written by others. Please note that I retain copies of papers written in previous years. In short, students are advised to do their own work and learn the rules for proper quoting, paraphrasing, and footnoting.
10. Class Participation: I recognize class discussion comes more easily for some people than for others. By temperament or habit, some individuals are "talkers" while others are "listeners." Learning to be both is an important subsidiary goal of this course. Comments that are not relevant to the ongoing discussion and off the point will not be rewarded. Remarks that are disruptive to the discussion, insensitive to others, or attempt to dominate the discussion will not be tolerated. I strongly prefer students to participate on a voluntary basis. If you are particularly apprehensive about talking in class, or feel closed out of the discussion for another reason, please speak with me. There are some things I can suggest that may be helpful. Remember: communication skills and self-confidence are extremely important assets in the professional world. Thus it is better to develop these things in the collegial environment of this class rather than under mor! ! e difficult circumstances later in life.
11. Unannounced Quizzes: The instructor reserves the right to conduct pop quizzes (in addition to the case study quizzes), if it becomes grossly apparent through class discussions that students are not completing the assigned readings on a regular basis. If such quizzes are administered, they will be averaged and used to raise or lower a studentís final course grade by a half a letter grade. Whether a particular studentís grade is adjusted positively or negatively will be dependent on a class average. It will not be done capriciously.
12. Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Departmentís spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages Ė one with the studentís name and one without the studentís name. Only papers written in the previous calendar can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following yearís competition even if the student has graduated.
13. Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu
October 21 - Midterm Examination
December 2 - Research paper is due at 6:30 p.m.
December 2 - Course Conclusion and Final Exam Review Sheets
December 9 - Final Examination
COURSE SCHEDULE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
∑Reading assignments are to be completed by the appropriate date before arriving at class.
Week 1: September 9
- Subject matter
- Discussion of requirements, expectations, and policies
- Explanation of paper assignment
- Rosati, pp. 2-6 (stop after first paragraph)
The International Context of U.S. Foreign Policy Making in the Post-9/11 Era
- Rosati, Chapter 3
Week 2: September 16
The Domestic Context of U.S. Foreign Policy-Making in the Post-9/11 Era
- Rosati, "Collapse of the Cold War, September 11, & Politics in the Twenty-first Century," pp.10-13
- Rosati, "Administration of George Bush, Jr." & "Bush Doctrine", pp. 38-41
- Rosati, "Implications of the Sept. 11 Attacks & War on Terrorism," pp. 416-421
The President: Foreign Policy Roles, Opportunities, & Constraints
- Rosati, Chapter 4
Week 3: September 23
The President and War Powers: The Peak of Executive Foreign Policy Influence?
- Rosati, pp. 313 (bottom)-318
- War Powers Act, go to: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/warpower.htm
Case: The Clinton Administrationís Strikes on Usama Bin Laden
- Carter, Chapter 8
Week 4: September 30
Presidential Advisers and the National Security Council
- Rosati, Chapter 5
Case: The War in Kosovo
- Carter, Chapter 3
Week 5: October 7
The Foreign Policy Bureaucracy & the State Department
- Rosati, Chapter 6
Week 6: October 14
The Defense Department
- Rosati, Chapter 7
Case: The V-22 Osprey
- Carter, Chapter 9
Week 7: October 21
Week 8: October 28
The Intelligence Community and Central Intelligence Agency
- Rosati, Chapter 8
Week 9: November 4
- Rosati, Chapter 11
Case: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
- Carter, Chapter 7
Week 10: November 11
Interest Groups and Nongovernmental Organizations
- Rosati, Chapter 16
Case: East Timor
- Carter, Chapter 1
Week 11: November 18
The News Media and Public Opinion
- Rosati, Chapter 17
- Rosati, pp. 362-374 (top)
November 25 - No Class (Thanksgiving)
Week 12: December 2
Interagency Processes: Interactions with the U.S. Foreign Policy Process
-Reading to be assigned.
Course Conclusion: Who Really Makes U.S. Foreign Policy?
- Rosati, Chapter 10 and pp.532-536 (stop at the major subheading on this page)
* Papers are due at the beginning of class.
Week 13: December 9
GUIDELINES AND ASSISTANCE FOR RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Assignment: Evaluate an Actor's Relative Influence within the U.S. Foreign Policy Process
Do your own work: Please do not make the mistake of using or borrowing some or all of a student's paper from last year. Papers from last year are on file. The course assistant will be checking work submitted this year against work that was submitted last year. Also do not waste your time or money buying a paper from a web site or another source. This assignment was designed especially for this particular course. To earn a good grade the guidelines (below) must be followed. A purchased paper will not meet these guidelines. The keys to success are start early, follow the directions, do careful work, and ask for help when you need it.
Select an appropriate topic: Choose a specific individual, group, organization, or country that has some impact on the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. The selection cannot be a specific U.S. president, such as Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. It also cannot be a general subject covered in class, such as the State Department, Congress, or the new media. However, a smaller, more specific topic related to these actors or other class subjects could certainly be explored. Moreover, a paper topic does not have to be limited to the subjects addressed in class. There is a broad range of possibilities. The selected topic must simply be an actor that plays some legitimate role in the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. "Legitimate" is defined as a legally or politically recognized domestic or international actor that is regularly involved in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. (Please no terrorist organizations, dr! ! ug cartels, or other actors of this type.) "Contemporary" is defined as the post-cold war era, or 1993 to the present. The paper can encompass this entire time period or a simply a portion of it.
Topic suggestions: Here are some examples of possible paper topics. Use this list if it is helpful, but certainly do not be limited by it. Please feel free to discuss other ideas with the instructor.
Goal and substance of the paper: Descriptive, background information or history necessary to understand the actor under study may be included, but this type of information should not dominate the paper. Remember this is a political science paper concerned with the relative influence of an actor within the U.S. foreign policy process. First, an emphasis should be placed on the actor's formal and, if appropriate, informal roles, functions, or duties. What does he, she, or it do? Second, it should discuss the actor's interests, broadly defined. What does the actor care about? Third and most important, the paper must offer an evaluation of the actor's relative influence within the U.S. foreign policy process. In addressing this third point, consider issues like the following. Is the actor generally successful or unsuccessful? What is the actor's bargaining advantages and disadvantages, or strengths and weaknesses, when intera! ! cting with others within the U.S. foreign policy process? When does the actor win or lose? Why?
To make your analysis more effective and your topic more manageable, it may be helpful to tie your evaluation of relative influence to particular issue, points in time, other actors in the foreign policy process, certain events and relationships, or other pertinent factors. (I will discuss some strategies on the first day of class. Please feel free to ask me again later in the semester.) Whatever approach is taken be sure to present a reasoned argument based on logic, evidence, and examples rather than assertions of opinion.
Format and presentation: The final paper should be properly presented and assembled. Be sure it conforms to the following guidelines:
Research and Documentation: The final paper should be carefully and properly documented.
Quality Writing and Structure: The final paper should be well written in formal English.
Writing Assistance: For writing assistance, please consult with the Universityís Writing Center in one of the following ways.
Research and Substantive Assistance: Students are welcome to consult with the instructor as often as they wish about their paper's topic, source material, or substance. Please feel free to talk to me after class, visit office hours, ask brief questions over e-mail, or submit outlines and research design statements for feedback.
Submitting the Paper: Be sure to submit two copies of the final paper at the proper time on the posted due date. Keep a photocopy and computer disk copy of the paper. Students are responsible for supplying an additional copy should the instructor request it.
Paper Grades: The main criteria to be used in evaluating the paper will be the caliber of research, understanding of subject, quality of analysis, quality of writing and overall presentation, degree of independent thinking, and the use of evidence and reasoning to reach meaningful conclusions. It goes without saying that the paper must meet the stated goal of the assignment and the guidelines (discussed above). As noted on page four, graduate students will be held to a much higher set of expectations.
INTERNET SOURCES ON U.S. FOREIGN POLICY MAKING
Central Intelligence Agency
International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
National Security Council
U.S. Congress, House, Armed Services Committee
U.S. Congress, House, International Relations Committee
U.S. Congress, Senate, Armed Services Committee
U.S. Congress, Senate, Foreign Relations Committee
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State: International Security
U.S. Department of State: Policy (Prior to January 2001)
U.S. Department of Treasury - International
U.S. Institute for Peace
U.S. Intelligence Community
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
American Foreign Policy Council
Brookings Institution: Foreign Policy Studies
Center for Defense Information
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Foreign Policy Association
Foreign Policy In Focus
RAND: National Security Research Division
U.S. Foreign Policy, University of Michigan Documents Center
WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources
Yahoo Index to U.S. Foreign Policy
New York Times (Click on "Nation," "International" and "Washington")
Washington Post (Click on
http://www.washingtonpost.com (Click on "Nation," "World" and "Politics." Under "Nation" also click on "National Security" for links to articles on intelligence, the military, etc.)
Foreign Affairs Careers in the U.S.