U.S. Presidential Foreign Policy Management

Fall 2005

Northern Illinois University

Christopher Jones


Office: ZU 415

Phone: 753-7039

E-mail: cmjones@niu.edu


Class Time: Tuesdays, 3:00-6:00 p.m. in DU 466

Office Hours: TBA


The ongoing national security crisis related to global terrorism and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq provides a good opportunity to consider the role of the chief executive in foreign affairs. Clearly the president is one of several actors with the capacity to shape the direction and content of American foreign policy. The president, however, retains an impressive array of formal roles and informal powers in foreign affairs, including the awesome responsibility of commander in chief. While modern presidents may not dominate foreign policy-making to the extent their cold war predecessors did, they wield considerable power during times of crisis and remain the only actors with the potential to impact every type of foreign policy issue. The president, therefore, enjoys the greatest overall influence relative to any individual or institution within the U.S. foreign policy process. Moreover, no other actor carries the mantle "leader of the free world" at a point in history when the United States enjoys unprecedented and unrivaled international power.

This graduate seminar strives to meet three objectives. The first goal, which we will seek to accomplish during the second class meeting, is to expose student to a number of theories, concepts, and frameworks related to the role of the president in foreign affairs. Any graduate student of U.S. foreign policy and international relations should be familiar with these well-known constructs. Moreover, this material will provide a valuable foundation as we proceed through the semester.

The second purpose of this course is to facilitate a solid understanding of the substance of U.S. foreign policy from end of World War II to the present day. The course is structured in such a way to allow students to develop a strong understanding of the foreign policies of 10 different presidents -- Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush. The cold war dominates much of the 1945-2005 period. Although the Soviet Union has disappeared and there is considerable discussion of a "new era" in international politics, many aspects of contemporary U.S. foreign policy are rooted in the cold war period. Thus a related aim is to consider how each chief executive from Truman to G.W. Bush has impacted present-day U.S. foreign policy. In addition, it is important to understand the significant changes associated with the post-9/11 era within the broader context of six decades of U.S. foreign policy making.

The third objective is to identify and then analyze thoughtfully and critically how particular independent variables shape presidential foreign policy management within and across administrations. What types of factors tend to shape all presidents handling of foreign affairs? Are some factors more influential? Do some factors have a greater impact on certain presidents? What variables make some presidents better foreign policy managers than others? Is it experience, personality, leadership style, good advisors, a clear vision, a willingness to devote economic resources to policy goals, the quality of advisors, domestic politics, the state of the world, or sheer luck? These questions lie at the center of this semester’s inquiry into presidential foreign policy management.

After being exposed to the weekly reading material, we will use a detailed question set and an entire class period to analyze each president’s handling of foreign policy. At the end of the semester, we will attempt to draw conclusions about presidential foreign policy management in general as well as assemble a ranking of presidential foreign policy performance (e.g., success versus failure). We will also try to tackle the issue of whether it is possible to build a generalizable model of presidential foreign policy success.

Throughout the semester, each member of the class will be asked to arrive at his or her own personal conclusions about the material and to support one’s position with reasoned argumentation (e.g., logic and evidence). To facilitate this process, the instructor will not indoctrinate the class with his views. Instead the goal will be to consider the material in a manner that allows individuals to formulate their own positions.



Since this is a graduate, 500-level course it will be conducted as an interactive seminar. I will interrupt our meetings from time to time to introduce material or to share my thoughts, but the majority of our time will be devoted to a group discussion and analysis of the literature and questions related to U.S. presidential foreign policy management. Therefore, everyone’s full participation is essential and expected. All required readings for a particular week are to be fully completed by everyone before arriving in class; and each member of the class should be prepared to summarize, react to, and draw from any of the reading in depth.

In an effort to focus the assigned readings and make these discussions more fruitful, we will employ a specific set of questions throughout the semester. This framework will also help the class draw comparisons and conclusions across U.S. presidents at the end of the semester. Please make a serious effort to formulate tentative answers before arriving at class each week.

Please note that participation is voluntary. However, everyone's involvement is essential and expected. Regular and thoughtful participation will be rewarded. The instructor may call on students if he finds that it is the only way that they will participate. Seminar participants are expected to stay on topic, to refrain from dominating or hiding during discussions and to demonstrate respect and tolerance for others' views.



There are three components of the final course grade. The first is a written final examination that will resemble the format of a comprehensive examination given by the department’s international relations faculty. That is, it will encompass multiple sections and essay questions. It will be administered during the university’s final examination period on Tuesday, December 6 and be worth 25 percent of the course grade. The class meeting on Tuesday, November 29 will be devoted to drawing conclusions about the material and preparing for this test. The examination must be completed to earn a passing grade and credit for the course. However, students enrolled under an audit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory option are exempt.

The second requirement is preparation of an original research paper related to the American presidential foreign policy management since 1945, which is due in my office Monday, November 28 at 4:00 p.m. To earn a passing grade and credit in the course, this assignment must be completed. However, students enrolled in the course under an audit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory option are exempt. Contemporary subjects are particularly encouraged. Acceptable approaches include the following:

  1. the use of key factors (independent variables) or an existing theory to explain a significant U.S. presidential foreign decision, policy, or action (dependent variable);
  2. an analysis of a president's relative influence with regard to another actor, an issue area, a time period, a piece of legislation, an event, a foreign state, or some other relevant factor since 1945;
  3. an analysis of a significant contemporary change or continuity related to U.S. presidential foreign policy management;
  4. a descriptive case study based on an accepted case study model;
  5. an analysis of a president's foreign policy advisory system or management style,
  6. an analysis that supplements, corrects, sharpens, or extends an existing theory, thesis, or model related to U.S. presidential foreign policy management;
  7. the development and application of a new theory of presidential foreign policy-management;
  8. an analysis of a particular president's foreign policy performance; or
  9. some other approach approved by the instructor.

Regardless of the selected approach, the analysis should meet certain basic requirements. First, it should be carefully written and edited with regard to prose, grammar, spelling, diction, format and word-processing. Second, it should be properly documented and draw upon a diversity of well integrated materials including whenever appropriate both primary and secondary sources. Third, it should be 20 to 25 full pages in length with standard size type (12 pt.), double-spacing, one-inch margins, and page numbers. Title pages, abstracts, appendices, tables, figures, endnotes, and bibliographies do not account toward the minimum page requirement. Fourth, the final paper should contain the following components: (1) title page, (2) abstract, (3) introduction (e.g., problem identification, research question, significance, and "road map" paragraph), (4) background section and/or literature review, (5) research design, (6) analysis or test, (7) findings and/or conclusion, (8) any necessary ancillary material (e.g., appendix, tables, and figures), and (9) a bibliography. The paper should also have identifiable subsections and subheadings. Fifth, the text, format, and citation of sources should conform to style guidelines commonly used by international relations and foreign policy scholars, such as those set forth in International Studies Quarterly, the American Political Science Review, or The Chicago Manual of Style. Sixth, write with authority, use an analytical, third person voice and avoid the use of me, my, I, we, our, you, and your within the final draft. Last, it is expected that all papers will be of a written and analytical quality such that with modest revisions, they could be accepted as a department starred paper or presented at a relevant professional meeting and then submitted to an appropriate journal for possible publication. Thus everyone should be prepared to defend their choice of research questions and methods, and devote the necessary time and hard work to create a high quality paper.

The research paper assignment, which is worth 50 percent of the final course grade, includes a submission of a research design statement and a brief oral presentation. The one-page, word-processed research design statement is due in class on Tuesday, September 20 and, at minimum, should provide the proposed study’s research question, analytical approach, temporal boundaries, and a tentative bibliography of five quality sources. Paper presentations will be delivered in class on Tuesday, November 15 and Tuesday, November 22. The order of presentation will be determined by lottery. If, however, the class size is unusually large, we will invoke the seniority rule where Ph.D. and second-year MA students give in-class presentations and first-year MA students make an oral presentation during an appointment with the instructor. On the day of the presentation, copies of a word-processed outline or overview (e.g., talking points) should be distributed to all members of the seminar. Details about the length and content of the paper presentations will be discussed later in the semester, but the exercise has a twofold purpose. On the one hand, it is designed to give students practical experience in presenting and defending their work in public. On the other hand, it should improve the quality of the papers by allowing the class to comment constructively on each study before the final submission. The expectation is that both the research design statement and in-class presentation will be well prepared. Failure to complete these requirements by the due dates will significantly reduce the paper grade.

The third graded requirement is class participation. Components of this grade include: (1) regular attendance (no more than one absence), (2) regular and thoughtful participation in seminar discussions; (3) one brief oral report on a reading related to presidential foreign policy management; and (4) completion of any additional assignments. Failure to fulfill any one of these expectations will significantly reduce the participation grade that is worth 25 percent of the final course grade.

In general, relevant in-class participation will be evaluated according to the following scale (with the possibility of plus/minus grades):

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

Each student is also strongly encouraged (but not required) to draft a fairly succinct written summary of one week’s readings and discussion. The final item would be distributed to all members of the seminar so it could be used to prepare for the final examination. Students in past years have found these summaries to be extremely beneficial. Ideally, one student from the seminar should serve as the coordinator of this collegial group study initiative.



  1. Makeup Exams: A makeup final examination 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 examinations 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 University’s Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR). CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.
  3. Late Assignments: A research paper or 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 write their papers and prepare other assignments, this standard will be waived only in extreme circumstances.
  4. Submitting Completed Work: Assignments and papers should be handed-in to me personally or given to a department secretary to be time-stamped. If a student selects other modes of delivery, he or she does so at their own risk. Students are also requested to retain their completed work on paper and computer diskette should the instructor request additional copies.
  5. Academic Dishonesty: In preparing their work and meeting the requirements of this course, members of this seminar are expected to adhere to all the rules, regulations, and standards set forth by the Department of Political Science, Graduate School, Northern Illinois University, and the scholarly community. This statement encompasses intentional and unintentional plagiarism, cheating on examinations, using, purchasing or stealing others' work, misusing library materials, and so forth. Failure to honor these rules, regulations, and standards could result in a failing course grade and/or disciplinary action.
  6. Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted rarely and 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 instructor’s discretion.
  7. Handouts: Any handouts are a privilege for those students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because he or she is registered for the course.
  8. Additional Assignments: The instructor reserves the right to assign additional reports, presentations, or short papers if the quality of the class discussion is less than satisfactory or if he feels such assignments will complement the course's goals.



With a few exceptions, namely when it comes time to discuss and analyze George W. Bush, our weekly readings will be drawn from the following six books. All of these books are available for purchase at the university bookstore. I have made a conscious effort to keep the material affordable as possible. Therefore, the texts are paperback editions.

1. Ambrose, Stephen and Douglas Brinkley. 1997. Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (eighth edition). New York: Penguin.

2. Gaddis, John Lewis. 2005. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (revised and expanded edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

3. Greenstein, Fred I. 2004. The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush (second edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

4. Melanson, Robert. 2005. American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War: The Search for Consensus from Nixon to Clinton (fourth edition). Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe.

5. Preston, Thomas. 2001. The President & His Inner Circle: Leadership Style and the Advisory Process in Foreign Affairs. New York: Columbia University Press.

6. Strong, Robert A. 2005. Decisions and Dilemmas: Case Studies in Presidential Foreign Policy Making (second edition). Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe.




Important Dates:

September 20: Research design statements due at the beginning of class

November 15 and November 22: Research paper presentations

November 28: Research papers are due in the instructor's office at 4:00 p.m.

November 29: Course conclusion and review for final examination

December 6 Final examination


Week 1

August 23: Course Introduction

· Introduction to instructor, seminar participants, course content and syllabus

· No assigned readings


Week 2

August 30: U.S. Presidential Foreign Policy Management: An Introduction to Key Literature

Required: So we can efficiently cover a broad range of literature that will serve as background information for the remainder of the semester, each student will be assigned one of the following readings and asked to present a brief oral report (e.g., five to seven minutes in length). Please supply the other members of the seminar with a one-page handout. The goal is to teach the class about the central framework or concepts in the assigned reading.

1. James David Barber, The Presidential Character: Predicting Presidential Performance in the White House (1977 or a subsequent edition), Chapter 1.

Teaching Point: Explain the author's typology of presidential character and provide an example for each category (One student)

2. John Burke and Fred I. Greenstein, How Presidents Test Reality: Decisions on Vietnam, 1954 and 1965 (1988), Chapter 1.

Teaching Point: Explain the authors' approach and framework. How do presidents test reality? (One student)

3. Louis Fisher, "Presidential Wars," Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence (2004), Chapter 10. (One student)

Teaching Point: Explain the author's thesis and general argument. (One student)

4. War Powers Act of 1973

Teaching Point: Explain the major components of this law with central emphasis on Sections 3, 4, and 5 (one student).

5. Alexander George, Presidential Decisionmaking in Foreign Policy: The Effective Use of Information and Advice (1980), Chapter 8.

Teaching Points: What three key personality variables affect presidential decision-making and management styles? In broad strokes, what are the three leading presidential management models? (Two students)

6. Fred I. Greenstein, The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Clinton (2004), Chapter 1.

Teaching Point: Explain the author's approach and framework (One student)

7. Robert Melanson, American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War: The Search for Consensus from Nixon to Clinton (2004), Chapter 1.

Teaching Point: Explain the author's approach and framework with emphasis on the "elements of consensus" (Two students)

8. Michael Nelson, "Person and Office: Presidents, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy," In The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence (2004), Chapter 9.

Teaching Point: Explain the author's thesis and general argument (One student)

9. Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership (excerpt from 1960 edition)

Teaching Point: What does the author see as the key to presidential power? (One student)

10. Paul Peterson, "The President's Dominance in Foreign Policy Making," Political Science Quarterly 109 (1994), 215-234.

Teaching Point: What factors contribute to presidential dominance in foreign policy? Be sure to reference Wildavsky and Waltz in the presentation. (one student)

11. Thomas Preston, The President & His Inner Circle: Leadership Style and the Advisory Process in Foreign Affairs (2001), "Introduction: Understanding the Mosaic of Presidential Personality and Leadership Styles," pp. 1-4, and "Presidential Personality and Leadership Style," pp. 5-31.

Teaching Point: Explain the author's approach and framework (Two students)

12. Jerel A. Rosati, The Politics of United States Foreign Policy (2004), Chapter 4; and Graham Allison and Phillip Zelikow, Essence of Decision (1999)

Teaching Points: Identify and explain the formal foreign policy powers of the president? Identify and explain the leading constraints on presidential power. What is the image of presidential power within Allison’s Model I: The Rational Actor and Model III: Governmental Politics? (Instructor)


Required: Complete the first half of readings for President Truman (which we will discuss on September 6)

- Greenstein, pp. 229-233 and Chapter 3

- Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 4 and 5

- Gaddis, Chapters 2 and 3

* Note: the second half of the readings for President Truman is listed under September 6.


Week 3

September 6: President Harry S. Truman & U.S. Foreign Policy



Preston, Chapter 2

Strong, Chapter 1

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 6 and 7

Gaddis, Chapter 4



- Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (1969)

- Gar Alperovitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (1967)

- Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (1995)

- Michael T. Benson, Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel (1997)

- Clark Clifford, Counsel to the President (1991)

- Robert J. Donovan, Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman (1977)

- Robert J. Donovan, Tumultuous Years: 1949-1953 (1982)

- Herbert Feis, From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War, 1945-1950 (1970)

- John Lewis Gaddis, Origins of the Cold War: 1941-1947 (1972)

- Alonzo Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (1995)

- Francis H. Heller, ed., The Korean War: A Twenty-Five-Year Perspective (1977)

- Francis H. Heller, ed. The Truman White House: The Administration of the Presidency, 1945-1953 (1980)
- Michael Hogan, The Marshall Plan (1987)

- Michael Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 (2000)

- Joseph M. Jones, The Fifteen Weeks (1955)

- George Kennan, Memoirs, 1925-1950 (1967)

- Burton Kaufman, The Korean War (1987)

- Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power (1992)

- Melvyn Leffler and David Leffler, Origins of the Cold War: An International History (1994)

- David C. McCullough, Truman (1992)

- J. Robert Moskin, Mr. Truman's War: The Final Victories of World War II and the Birth of the Postwar World (1996)

- William Pemberton, Harry S. Truman: Fair Dealer and Cold Warrior (1989)

- Forrest Pogue, Marshall: Statesman, 1945-1959 (1989)

- Harry S. Truman, Memoirs of Harry S. Truman 1945: Year of Decisions (1955)

- Harry S. Truman, Years of Trial and Hope (1956)

- Robert Watson, Michael J. Devine, and Robert J. Wolz, eds., The National Security Legacy of Harry S. Truman (2005)

- Daniel Yergin, The Origins of the Cold War and National Security State (1977)



Week 4

September 13: President Dwight D. Eisenhower & U.S. Foreign Policy




- Greenstein, pp. 233-236 and Chapter 4

- Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 8 and 9

- Gaddis, Chapter 5 and 6

- Preston, Chapter 3

- Strong, Chapter 2



- Isaac Alteras, Eisenhower and Israel (1993)

- Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President Elect, 1890-1952 (1983)

- Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President (1984)

- Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President (1990)

- David J. Anderson, Trapped by Success: The Eisenhower Administration and Vietnam, 1953-1961 (1993)

- Barton J. Bernstein, "The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered," Foreign Affairs, January/February (1995)

- Michael R. Beschloss, MAY-DAY: Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and the U-2 Affair (1986)

- Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Lincoln P. 2000. "The Genetically Engineered Secretary of State," Foreign Service Journal, (July/August).

- Meena Bose, Shaping and Signaling Presidential Policy: The National Security Decision Making of Eisenhower and Kennedy (1998)

- Robert R. Bowie and Richard H. Immerman, Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy (2000)

- H.W. Brandes, Cold Warriors: Eisenhower's Generation and American Foreign Policy (1988)

- John Burke and Fred I. Greenstein, How Presidents Test Reality: Decisions on Vietnam, 1954 and 1965 (1988)

- David Bernard Capitanchik, The Eisenhower Presidency and American Foreign Policy (1969)

- Richard V. Damms, The Eisenhower Presidency, 1953-1961 (2002)
- Robert A. Divine, The Sputnik Challenge (1993)

- Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956 (1963)

- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Waging Peace: 1957-1961 (1965)

- Herman Finer, Dulles Over Suez (1964)

- Fred I. Greenstein, The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader (1982)

- Samuel Huntington, The Common Defense: Strategic Programs in National Politics (1961)

- Richard Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Politics of Intervention (1982)

- Cole C. Kingseed, Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis of 1956 (1995)
- W. Roger Louis, Suez 1956 (1989)

- Richard A. Melanson and David Mayers, Reevaluating Eisenhower: American Foreign Policy in the 1950s (1987)

- Steve Neal, Harry and Ike: The Postwar Partnership that Remade the Postwar World (2001)

- Herbert Parmet, Eisenhower and the American Crusades (1972)

- Stephen G. Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anti-Communism (1988)

- Sergei Y. Shenin, ed. America's Helping Hand: Paving the Way to Globalization (Eisenhower's Foreign Aid Policy and Politics (2005)
- Duane Tanabaum, The Bricker Amendment Controversy: A Test of Eisenhower's Political Leadership (1988)

- Maxwell Taylor, The Uncertain Trumpet (1959)

- William A. Williams, The United States, Cuba and Castro (1962)



Week 5

September 20: President John F. Kennedy & U.S. Foreign Policy

Note: The research design statement is due in class today.



Greenstein, pp. 236-237 and Chapter 5

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 10

Gaddis, Chapter 7

Preston, Chapter 4

Strong, Chapter 3



- Graham T. Allison and Phillip D. Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1999)

- Warren Bass, Support Any Friend: Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S-Israel Alliance (2004)

- Michael Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963 (1991)

- James G. Blight and David A. Welch. 1989. On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis (1989)

- James G. Blight and Peter Kornbluh, eds., Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined (1998)

- Meena Bose, Shaping and Signaling Presidential Policy: The National Security Decision Making of Eisenhower and Kennedy (1998)

- Dino A. Brugioni, Eyeball to Eyeball: The inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1993)

- Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam (2000)

- Raymond Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (1989)

- James N. Giglio and Stephen G. Rabe, Debating the Kennedy Presidency (2003)

- Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (1967)

- Howard Jones, Death of a Generation; How the Assassination of Diem and JFK Prolonged the Vietnam War (2003)

- Robert F. Kennedy. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1969)

- Ernest R. May and Phillip D. Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis (1997)

- Kem Montague, Patricia W. Levering, and Ralph B. Levering, The Kennedy Crises: The Press, The Presidency, and Foreign Policy (1983)

- Richard E. Neustadt, Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective (1999)

- Herbert C. Parmet, Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy (1980)

- Herbert C. Parmet, The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (1983)

- Thomas G. Paterson ed. Kennedy's Quest for Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-1963 (1989)
- Christopher A. Preble, "Who Ever Believed in the Missile Gap?: John F. Kennedy and the Politics of National Security," Presidential Studies Quarterly (2003)

- James N. Giglio and Stephen G. Rabe, Debating the Kennedy Presidency (2003)

- Richard Reeves, President Kennedy: Profile of Power (1993)

- William Rust, Kennedy in Vietnam (1985)

- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (1965)

- Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy (1965)

- Theodore Sorenson, The Kennedy Legacy (1969)

- Andreas Wenger and Marcel Gerber, "John F. Kennedy and the Limited Test Ban Treaty: A Case Study of Presidential Leadership," Presidential Studies Quarterly (1999)


Week 6

September 27: President Lyndon B. Johnson & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 237-240 and Chapter 6

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 11

Gaddis, 8

Preston, Chapter 5



- Loren Baritz, Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did (1985)

- David M. Barrett, Uncertain Warriors: Lyndon Johnson and His Vietnam Advisors (1993)

- Larry Berman, Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam (1982)

- Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War (1989)

- Michael R. Beschloss, ed., Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 (1997)

- H.W. Brands, ed., The Foreign Policies of Lyndon Johnson: Beyond Vietnam (1999)

- John Burke and Fred I. Greenstein, How Presidents Test Reality: Decisions on Vietnam, 1954 and 1965 (1988)

- Joseph Califano, Jr., The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years (1991)

- Warren I. Cohen and Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, Lyndon Johnson Confronts the World: American Foreign Policy 1963-1968 (1995)
- Thomas W. Cowger and Sherwin Markman, eds., Lyndon Johnson Remembered: An Intimate Portrait of a Presidency (2003)

- Robert Dalleck, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times (1998)

- Robert Dalleck, Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President (2004)

- Henry E. Graff, The Tuesday Cabinet: Deliberation and Decision in Peace and War under Lyndon B. Johnson (1970)

- David Halberstam, The Best and Brightest (1972)

- Paul Y. Hammond, LBJ and the Presidential Management of Foreign Relations (1992)

- George C. Herring, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (1986)

- George C. Herring, LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War (1994)

- Townsend Hoopes, The Limits of Intervention (1969)

- Michael H. Hunt, Lyndon Johnson's War: America's Cold War Crusade in Vietnam, 1945-1968 (1997)

- Robert Mann, America's Descent into Vietnam (2001)

- Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (1995)

- Michael B. Oren, Six Days of War (2002)

- Jeffrey Record, The Wrong War: Why We Lost in Vietnam (1998)

- Kathleen Turner, Lyndon Johnson's Dual War: Vietnam and the Press (1985)


Week 7

October 4: President Richard M. Nixon & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 240-243 and Chapter 7

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 12

Gaddis, Chapters 9 and 10

Melanson, Chapter 2

Strong, Chapter 4



- Jonathan Aitken, Nixon: A Life (1993)

- Stephen E. Ambrose, Nixon: The Triumph of Politician: 1962-1972 (1989)

- Stephen E. Ambrose, Ruin and Recovery: 1973-1990 (1991)

- Fawn Brodie, Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character (1981)

- William P. Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency (1998)

- Raymond Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (1985)

- John Robert Greene, The Limits of Power (1992)

- Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977)

- Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (1994)

- William Hyland, Mortal Rivals: Superpower Relations from Nixon to Reagan (1987)

- Walter Issacson, Kissinger: A Biography (1992)

- Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (1979)

- Henry Kissinger, Years of Upheaval (1982)

- Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal (1999)

- John F. Lehman, The Executive, Congress, and Foreign Policy: Studies of the Nixon Administration (1976)
- Robert Litwak, Détente and the Nixon Doctrine (1984)

- Richard M. Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1981)

- Richard M. Nixon, In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat and Renewal (1990)

- Herbert Parmet, Nixon and His America (1990)

- Earl C. Ravenal, Large Scale Foreign Policy Change: The Nixon Doctrine as History and Portent (1989)

- Richard Reeves, President Nixon: Alone in the White House (2001)

- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (1973)

- Melvin Small, The Presidency of Richard Nixon (1999)

- Gerald Smith, Doubletalk (1980)

- Richard C. Thorton, The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping American Foreign Policy (1989)



Week 8

October 11: President Jimmy Carter & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 245-247 and Chapter 9

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 14

Gaddis, pp. 342-349

Melanson, Chapter 3

Strong, Chapter 5



- Coral Bell, President Carter and Foreign Policy: The Costs of Virtue (1982)

- Peter G. Bourne, Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency (1997)

- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Advisor, 1977-81 (1985)

- Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Governing America: An Insider’s Report from the White House and the Cabinet (1981)

- Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982)

- Warren Christopher, et al. American Hostages in Iran (1985)

- Warren Christopher, Chances of a Lifetime: A Memoir (2001)

- Betty Glad, Jimmy Carter: In Search of the Great White House (1980)

- David Patrick Houghton, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2001)

- Hamilton Jordan, Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency (1982)

- Burton I. Kaufman, The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr. (1993)

- Michael Leeden and William Lewis, Debacle: The American Failure in Iran (1981)

- Alexander Moens, Testing Multiple Advocacy Decision Making (1990)

- Alexander Moens, "President Carter's Advisers and the Fall of the Shah," Political Science Quarterly 106 (1991), 211-237.

- George Moffet III, The Limits of Victor: The Ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties (1985)

- William B. Quandt, Camp David: Peace Making and Politics (1986)

- Jerel A. Rosati, The Carter Administration's Quest for a Global Community (1987)

- Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience in Iran (1981)

- Gary Sick, All Fall Down (1985)

- David Skidmore, "Carter and the Failure of Foreign Policy Reform," Political Science Quarterly (1993-94)

- Gaddis Smith, Morality, Reason, and Power: American Diplomacy in the Carter Years (1986)

- John Stempel, Inside the Iranian Revolution (1981)

- Robert Strong, Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of American Foreign Policy (2000)

- William Sullivan, Mission to Iran (1981)

- Strobe Talbott, Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II (1979)

- Cyrus Vance, Hard Choices: Critical Years in America's Foreign Policy (1983)


Week 9

October 18: President Ronald Reagan & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 248-251 and Chapter 10

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 15

Gaddis, pp. 349-377

Melanson, Chapter 4

Strong, Chapter 6



- Martin Anderson, Revolution: The Reagan Legacy (1988)

- Coral Bell, ed., The Reagan Paradox: American Foreign Policy in the 1980s (1989)

- Lou Cannon, President Reagan (1982)

- Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (1991)

- Robert Dallek, Ronald Reagan: The Politics of Symbolism (1984)

- Theodore Draper, A Very Thin Line: the Iran-Contra Affairs (1991)

- John Dumbrell, American Foreign Policy (1997)

- Beth A. Fischer, The Reagan Reversal: Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War (2000)

- Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Caveat: Realism, Reagan, and Foreign Policy (1984)

- Bruce W. Jentleson, With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush and Saddam (1994)

- Harold Hongju Koh, The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power after the Iran Contra Affair (1990)

- Nicholas Laham, Crossing the Rubicon: Ronald Reagan and U.S. Policy in the Middle East (2004)

- Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (1983)

- John Matlock, Autopsy of an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of Soviet Union (1995)

- Robert C. MacFarlane with Zofia Smardz, Special Trust: Pride, Principle, and the Politics Inside the White House (1994)

- Constantine C. Menges, Inside the National Security Council: The True Story of the Making and Unmaking of Reagan's Foreign Policy (1988)

- Peggy Noonan, When Character Was King (2001)

- Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (1998)

- Ronald Reagan, An American Life (1990)

- George P. Schultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (1993)

- James M. Scott, Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy (1996)

- Michael Smith, "The Reagan Presidency and Foreign Policy," In The Reagan Years: The Record in Presidential Leadership, ed. Joseph Hogan (1991), 259-285.

- Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober, Reagan: The Man and his Presidency (1998)

- Strobe Talbott, Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control (1984)

- Kenneth W. Thompson, ed., Foreign Policy in the Reagan Presidency (1993)

- Richard C. Thorton, The Reagan Revolution, I: The Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy (2003)
- Caspar Weinberger, Fighting for Peace: Seven Critical Years in the Pentagon (1990)

- Daniel Wirls, Buildup: The Politics of Defense in the Reagan Era (1992)

- William C. Wohlworth, ed., Witnesses to the End of the Cold War (1996)


Week 10

October 25: President George H.W. Bush & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 252-254 and Chapter 11

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapters 16 and 17

Gaddis, pp. 377-379

Preston, Chapter 6

Melanson, Chapter 5

Strong, Chapter 7



- James A. Baker, III with Thomas DeFrank, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989-1992 (1995)

- Michael R. Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (1993)

- Kevin Buckley, Panama: The Whole Story (1991)

- George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (1998)

- George Bush, All the Best: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (1999)

- Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds., The Bush Presidency: First Appraisals (1991)

- Cecil v. Crabb and Kevin V. Mulcahy, "George Bush's Management Style and Operation Desert Storm," Presidential Studies Quarterly (Spring 1995).

- Deibel, Terry L. "Bush’s Foreign Policy: Mastery and Inaction," Foreign Policy (1991)

- Eytan Gilboa, "The Panama Invasion Revisited; Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era," Presidential Studies Quarterly (1995-96)

- Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (1993)

- Alan Friedman, Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq (1993)

- Michael R. Gordon and Bernard Trainor, The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (1995)

- Steven Hurst, The Foreign Policy of the Bush Administration: In Search of A New World Order (2000)

- Bruce W. Jentleson, With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush and Saddam (1994)

- Frederick Kempe, Divorcing the Dictator: America's Bungled Affair with Noriega (1990)

- John Matlock, Autopsy of an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of Soviet Union (1995)

- David Mervin, George Bush and the Guardianship Presidency (1996)

- Kerry Mullins and Aaron Wildavsky, "The Procedural Presidency of George Bush," Political Science Quarterly (1992)

- Ramon Hawley Myers, Michel Oksenberg, and David L. Shambaugh, Making China Policy: Lessons from the Bush and Clinton Administrations (2001)

- Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (1998)

- Herbert S. Parmet, George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee (1997)

- Colin Powell with Joseph E. Persico, My American Journey (1995)

- Dan Quayle, Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir (1994)

- Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Gulf War Reader: History, Documents, and Opinions (1991)

- Jean Edward Smith, George Bush's War (1992)

- Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (1993)

- Bruce Watson and Peter Tsouras, Operation Just Cause: The U.S. Intervention in Panama (1991)

- Marcia Lynn Whicker, James Pfiffner, and Raymond Moore, eds., The Presidency and the Persian Gulf War (1993)

- Bob Woodward, The Commanders (1991)


Week 11

November 1: President Bill Clinton & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 254-259 and Chapter 12

Ambrose & Brinkley, Chapter 18

Preston, Chapter 7

Melanson, Chapter 6

Strong, Chapter 8



- "The Clinton Report Card," Foreign Policy (Winter 1995-96)

- "Clinton's Foreign Policy," Foreign Policy (November/December 2000)

- "Grading the President," Foreign Policy (Winter 1997-98)

- Madeleine Albright, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003)

- Douglas Brinkley, "Democratic Enlargement: The Clinton Doctrine," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1997)

- Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds., The Clinton Presidency: First Appraisals (1996)

- Ralph G. Carter, ed., Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Trade to Terrorism (2002)

- Warren Christopher, In the Stream of History: Shaping Foreign Policy for a New Era (1998)

- Warren Christopher, Chances of a Lifetime: A Memoir (2001)

- Wesley K. Clark, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat (2002)

- Bill Clinton, et al., The Clinton Foreign Policy Reader: Presidential Speeches with Commentary (2000)

- Bill Clinton, My Life (2004)

- Ivo H. Daalder, Getting to Dayton: The Making of America's Bosnia Policy (2000)

- Elizabeth Drew, On the Edge: Inside the Clinton White House (1994)

- David Halberstam, War in a Time of Peace (2001)

- Ryan C. Hendrickson, The Clinton Wars: The Constitution, Congress, and War Powers (2002)

- Thomas H. Henriksen, Clinton's Foreign Policy in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and North Korea (1996)

- Richard Holbrooke, To End a War (1999)

- William G. Hyland, Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (1999)

- Joe Klein, The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton (2002)
- Thomas W. Lippman, Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy (2000)

- Michael Mandlebaum, "Foreign Policy as Social Work, Foreign Affairs (January/February 1996)

- James M. McCormick, "Assessing Clinton's Foreign Policy at Midterm," Current History (November 1995)

- Ramon Hawley Myers, Michel Oksenberg, and David L. Shambaugh, Making China Policy: Lessons from the Bush and Clinton Administrations (2001)

- William A. Orme, Jr., Understanding NAFTA (1996)

- Stanley A. Renshon, High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition (1996)

- John Stremlau, "Clinton's Dollar Diplomacy," Foreign Policy (1994/95)

- George Szamuely, "Clinton's Clumsy Encounter with the World," Orbis (Summer 1994)

- Martin Walker, "Present at the Solution: Madeleine Albright's Ambition Foreign Policy, " World Policy Journal (Spring 1997)

- Martin Walker, The President We Deserve (1996)


Week 12

November 8: President George W. Bush & U.S. Foreign Policy



Greenstein, pp. 259-263 and Chapter 13

Melanson, Chapter 7

Strong, Chapter 9

** Additional readings will be assigned before November 8.



- "Grading the President," Foreign Policy (July/August 2003)

- T.D. Allman, Rogue State: America and the World under George W. Bush (2004)

Richard K. Betts, "The First-Year Foreign Policy of Bush the Younger," The Forum 1 (2002), http://www.bepress.com/forum

- Jack R. Binns, "Weighing Bush's Foreign Policy," The Forum 1 (2002), http://www.bepress.com/forum

- M. Kent Bolton, U.S. Foreign Policy and International Politics: George W. Bush, 9/11, and the Global-Terrorist Hydra (2004)
- Meena Bose and Rosanna Perotti, eds., From Cold War to New World Order: The Foreign Policy of George Bush (2002)

- George W. Bush, National Security Strategy of the United States of America (September 2002)

- Alex Callinicos, The New Mandarins of American Power (2003)

- Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects (2003)

- James Carney and John F. Dickerson, "Inside the War Room," Time (January 7, 2002)

- Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies (2004)

- Ivo Daadler and James M. Lindsay, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (2003)

- John W. Dietrich, ed., The George W. Bush Foreign Policy Reader: Presidential Speeches with Commentary (2005)

- Tommy Franks, American Soldier (2004)

- John Lewis Gaddis, "A Grand Strategy," Foreign Policy (November/December 2002)

- Philip Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro, Allies at War: America, Europe and the Crisis over Iraq (2004)

- Gary L. Gregg, II and Mark J. Rozell, Considering the Bush Presidency (2003)

- Fred I. Greenstein, "The Changing Leadership of George W. Bush: a pre- and Post-9/11 Comparison," Political Science Quarterly (2002)

- Fred I. Greenstein, The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment (2003)

- Karen Hughes, George W. Bush: Portrait of a Leader (2005)

- Bill Keller, "Reagan's Son," New York Times Magazine (January 26, 2003)

- James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans (2004)

- Kevin J. McMahon, David M. Rankin, and Jon Kraus, eds., Transformed by Crisis: The Presidency of George W. Bush and American Politics (2004)

- Alexander Moens, The Foreign Policy of George W. Bush: Values, Strategy, and Loyalty (2004)

- Robert J. Pauly, Jr. and Tom Lansford, Strategic Preemption: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Second Iraq War (2004).

- Clyde Prestowitz, Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (2004)

- Todd S. Purdum, A Time of Our Choosing (2003)

- Condoleeza Rice, "Promising the National Interest," Foreign Affairs (2000)

- Bob Woodward, Bush At War (2002)

- Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (2004)



Week 13

November 15: Presentation and Discussion of Research Papers


Week 14

November 22: Presentation and Discussion of Research Papers


Week 15

November 29: Course Conclusion and Review for Final Examination



Greenstein, Chapter 14

Gaddis, Chapter 12

Preston, Chapter 8

Melanson, Chapter 8

** An additional one or two readings on evaluating presidential performance will be assigned before November 29.


Week 16

December 6: Final Examination